DFDS Seaways King Seaways Review
DFDS Seaways M.S. King Seaways (formerly M.S. King of Scandinavia) was built in 1987 by Schichau Seebeckwerft AG of Bremerhaven, West Germany, and was put into service by DFDS Seaways in 2006, following duty by two other shipping firms previously.
Following a comprehensive refitting M.S. King Seaways was put into service under the DFDS Seaways marque, registered in Copenhagen, on the Newcastle (UK) to Ijmuiden (Amsterdam) route where she has sailed ever since. Her first voyage was on 11th March 2006.
On 29th January 2011, the vessel sailed with brand new paintwork and a new name of M.S. King Seaways.
King Seaways features comfortable cabins and quality facilities
The M.S. King Seaways features comfortable cabins and quality facilities such as a wide range of restaurants, Duty Free shops, bars, cafés, two cinemas and a discotheque with live entertainment.
There are three types of cabin available on the M.S. King Seaways, each suiting your requirements and budget. Value travel comes in the form of a Seaways cabin which pretty much comprises of up to four single beds (two bunks) and a compact en-suite bathroom. Some have no windows whilst those that do offer a small view out to the ocean (although some rooms have obstructions). The Commodore suites offer more room and sleep up to four people, with extra amenities such as a complimentary buffet breakfast, an in-room TV and a complimentary mini-bar. The crème de la crème of suites is the Commodore Deluxe that can sleep up to three people and has all the benefits of Commodore class with a few more creature comforts, plus access to an exclusive Commodore De Luxe lounge.
three types of cabin available ... suiting your requirements and budget
We travelled in Commodore De Luxe but had access to the other cabins in our exclusive Behind the Scenes tour, so we have seen each grade of cabin. Here's what we thought of each class and whom we think each type is best suited to.
Seaways Class cabins are very compact and that is reflected in the price. It has very little available floor space and the en-suite bathroom is compact. The cabins feature bunk beds and can sleep between one and four people. When sleeping four, expect to use the cabin simply as a sleeping area as it will feel cramped and you would probably spend your evening around the vessel, relaxing in the lounges or browsing the shops.
Cabins come with bedding and towels, a compact en-suite shower and toilet, a small table, a small wardrobe and some cabins come with a window out to sea.
Seaways class cabins are budget options popular with families with young children. They are also popular amongst single travellers and young adult travellers, perhaps on a stag or hen party.
Commodore Class cabins are mid-range and so build upon the Seaways offering with a few more creature comforts and more space. Besides the bedding and towels, an en-suite shower and toilet, and wardrobes there are a few more luxuries. There's a TV in the room which is great if you have kids or like to keep up to date with the news. Room service is also available which can be handy if you feel peckish. There's also a small complimentary mini bar which houses a few cans of soft drinks and beer. Finally, a buffet breakfast is also included in the price.
Rooms sleep up to four people and offer more space than Seaways cabins. The bathroom is slightly bigger too.
Commodore class cabins are popular with travellers who missed out on Commodore De Luxe rooms due to not booking early enough. They are popular amongst older couples as well as families with older children who would be grateful for a TV to occupy the kids.
Commodore De Luxe Class
It doesn't get better than the Commodore De Luxe cabins and this is the grade we sailed in. The cabins sleep up to three people and offer everything Commodore Class offers and more. There is loads of space and the bathroom can occupy at least two people in one go, which was handy on the outbound sailing when we encountered rough seas!
The cabin features bedding and towels together with a large en-suite shower room. The shower room also came with a selection of toiletries which is handy if you forgot to pack some essentials.
The TV streams a handful of international TV channels with a reasonable selection, bearing in mind you are sailing on open seas and TV masts are few and far between! We even found a webcam channel which showed the view from the front of the ship which was a fun discovery. There's also a DVD player so if you have bought some DVDs along with you then you should be able to watch them.
A telephone helps you keep in touch with the Steward Service. The stewards and stewardesses were all friendly and very helpful.
Internet access is available as it is in the Commodore De Luxe lounge, for exclusive use by Commodore De Luxe passengers only. Located a deck below the bridge, this lounge can be found at the end of the Commodore De Luxe cabins and is a large room with comfy chairs at the very front of the ship. A large TV is available for use and there's complimentary drinks including tea and coffee, soft drinks, beer and wine. There are also complimentary light snacks including pastries and crisps. A selection of newspapers and magazines are available as is a computer for surfing the Internet.
In terms of food, the Commodore De Luxe cabins also have a complimentary small mini bar inside the room along with a complimentary hot buffet breakfast as part of the price.
Commodore De Luxe cabins are the most expensive grade but offer plenty of room, private and quiet facilities away from the rest of the passengers and plenty of creature comforts. These cabins are popular with those that crave space and comfort, those that wish to travel in style or those who prefer quiet areas to relax in. These passengers generally tend to be older couples or couples traveling without children.
Food and Drink On-board
There are plenty of places on board M.S. King Seaways to get a bite to eat or a drink, with each outlet varied on what they offer. Restaurants are usually very popular so it is wise to pre-book a table for when it suits you. Furthermore, reserve online when you book your cruise and you can save money compared to the on-board price - as much as 25% at the time of writing!
Blue Riband Restaurant
The Blue Riband restaurant is an a la carte restaurant located on deck 8. It operates between 1800hrs and 2200hrs ships time (CET) and serves an array of delightful meals.
We ate in here both directions and chose different meals each time to work through the menu. There are around 4 options each for starter, main course and dessert and you can choose whether to have a one, two or three course meal.
Between us we tried the following meals over both sailings:
Meals were presented beautifully on a par with what we would expect form an upmarket restaurant. Meals were hot, flavourful and just the right sized portion to offer great value.
Table reservations are recommended, especially for busier sailings and the dress code is smart casual. We followed that advice but found that "smart casual" varies between passengers!
A children's menu is also available.
Whilst we didn't dine in the Explorers Steakhouse , we did get to see the meals being served as some guests in the Blue Riband restaurant were dining from the Steakhouse menu.
A wide selection of cuts is available on board ranging from small value cuts to generous tender cuts of prime steak. Steaks are served with a side dish and arrive at the table sizzling away, filling the room with a delicious scent.
The Explorers Steakhouse also offers other meals that are grilled too, so if beef isn't your thing then you can still enjoy a freshly cooked delicious meal.
A children's menu is also available and the dress code for the Steakhouse is casual. Reservations are recommended.
7 Seas Buffet Restaurant
Passengers who don't pre-book table reservations at the Blue Riband Restaurant or the Explorers Steakhouse tend to gravitate towards the 7 Seas buffet restaurant .
A selection of foods are available in this all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant which includes a variety of salads, soup, seafood and shellfish, fish and meat canapés, cold meats and pâté. There's even freshly baked bread from the on-board bakery! Fresh fruit, various cheeses and sumptuous desserts are a great way to complete your meal.
This casual restaurant is usually busy so it makes sense to pre-book a table. It's also a great place to feed the kids as they can choose what they want to eat and how much.
Latitude Café is an informal café serving light meals alongside great tea, coffee and cold drinks. They serve a variety of meals from sandwiches to salads and burgers.
The cafe has a relaxed atmosphere and is popular amongst groups of travellers, such as those traveling with friends or family.
Bake 'N Coffee
The Bake 'N Coffee is a casual modern café where you can relax as you sail across the North Sea, sipping on a fresh cup of coffee.
Sample a range of coffees, teas and cold drinks, together with a range of delicious snacks, cookies, cakes and pastries.
Bake 'N Coffee is a self-service café and is an inexpensive place to relax with friends or family.
A buffet breakfast is available to Commodore and Commodore De Luxe passengers in the Blue Riband restaurant and is included in the price of your sailing. Seaways Class passengers can dine at the breakfast buffet for a fee.
Both buffets offer a choice of hot and cold foods, fresh fruit and pastries.
Additional breakfast meals (rather than the buffet) are available to Commodore and Commodore De Luxe passengers for an extra fee.
There is plenty on-board to keep you and your family entertained throughout the sailing. There's something to appeal to everyone.
If you are travelling with children then you'll be pleased to hear DFDS Seaways offers plenty to keep them occupied. On-board the M.S. King Seaways there is the Pirates Club and the Kidz' Club .
The Kidz' Club has been designed to appeal to kids aged between 4 and 8 with a dedicated playroom, ball pool, drawing tables and videos and cartoons.
The Pirates Club is run by the professional children's entertainer on selected sailings during the school holidays. Fun activities on offer include treasure hunts, drawing competitions and plenty of fun and games.
Fruit Machines and Amusement Games
Deck 9 is host to many fruit slot machines where you can try your luck. Alternatively, head over to the small amusement games room where you'll find a full size air hockey table and some video games to keep families entertained.
Located on deck 1 is the cinema with two screens. Tickets are reasonable in price and the films were current too. We found however that the films started very early on so if you want to take the kids to see a movie at sea, you need to book this as soon as you board and expect it to start soon after.
Between them the cinemas can seat up to 102 passengers so for popular films, seating may be limited so book early to avoid disappointment.
Not really an advertised attraction but on deck 9 we found a Wildlife centre with information about the wildlife that lives in and around the North Sea. During summer there are often themed mini cruises with expert advisers on-board helping to spot wildlife on the journey between Amsterdam and Newcastle.
The Columbus Club is the main night club on board and is usually the host to live entertainment. During our sailings Curls & Pearls were performing, singing a selection of great all-time classic tunes.
There's usually a change of live acts periodically but the Columbus Club is a great place to have a drink and sing along or dance to great music.
If you are feeling lucky then why not head up to Deck 9 where you will find the on-board Casino room. It had select opening hours but did attract the attention of a few passengers when it was.
Soon after setting sail a game of bingo is played. The announcer was keen to emphasise the fact that the more people that play, the bigger the jackpot is. Bingo may not be everyone's cup of tea but it can be a fun way to spend the early evening.
Bingo is a family friendly event and refreshments are available within.
Navigators Bar is a lounge bar, perfect for unwinding in whilst sipping on a glass of wine. A selection of wines, beers, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks are available served in a laid-back atmosphere.
The live entertainment on our return sailing was a very talented guitarist who sang some classic songs to the applause of passengers. The live entertainment is definitely worth a listen to.
The live entertainment is definitely worth a listen to
The Sports Bar has more of a cool and trendy nightclub feel to it, with pumping music playing and a wide choice of cocktails and drinks. It has a younger feel to it than Navigators Bar and is more modern and trendy. If you want to dance the night away to some great tunes, this is the place to go.
Neptune Sky Bar
Neptune Sky Bar was closed on our sailings due to poor weather and very cold temperatures. However during the warmer months this is a bar that resides at the rear of the vessel on the outer deck. Stunning views over the rear of the ship together with great drinks and a glorious sunset would make a great end to the day.
Commodore De Luxe Lounge
Perhaps not strictly speaking an entertainment choice but the Commodore De Luxe Lounge is somewhere you can sit in peace and quiet, mingle with a small group of fellow travellers and dine on complimentary snacks and drinks. Access to the Commodore De Luxe Lounge is restricted to those travelling in Commodore De Luxe suites and the lounge can be found at the end of the Commodore De Luxe cabin corridor.
Main Duty Free Shop
The main shop on deck 7 sold a variety of products although there was a distinct lack of DFDS Seaways merchandise that could have easily been a big seller, especially model ferries and other branded merchandise souvenirs for the kids.
Instead, this shop sold a range of clothes and duty free bottles of alcohol, together with a range of confectionary and other snacks.
You could by souvenirs of Amsterdam on board but bizarrely for a ferry that departs Newcastle you could also buy London souvenir items.
Nevertheless, there was a large range of products to browse and was always popular when we walked on by.
Next door to the main shop was the outlet that specialised in duty free fragrances. As you walked on by you got a waft of designer scents and the shop was well stocked. Every time we passed it there were quite a few people browsing the wide selection of bottles on offer.
Tucked away on deck 9 was a shop aimed more towards kids, selling a range of toys and games. There was a range of toys on offer and is a great stop if your child is getting bored on-board.
King Seaways Vital Statistics
If you're a ferry buff or mechanically minded then check out these vital statistics for King Seaways:
Facts and figures care of DFDS Seaways: The m.s. KING SEAWAYS
King Seaways Deck Plan
This deck plan image for King Seaways shows the vessel layout in a profile view:
Sailings On-Board King Seaways
King Seaways sails in tandem with Princess Seaways on the Newcastle to Amsterdam route, connecting the North East of England to Holland. A range of mini cruises and ferry options are available to book online.