This orange flower, lying on our table perfectly arranged in a unique glass “stem” vase, gave us a hint that this might be an interesting, colorful dinner.

flower on table, a Taste of De Librije, Holland America, Koningsdam cruise shipWhile sailing on Holland America’s ms Koningsdam cruise ship in July, we decided to try the specialty dinner that’s offered one evening per cruise in the Pinnacle Grill.

Located in Zwolle, Netherlands, De Librije is a Michelin three star restaurant set in the former library of a 15th-century Dominican abbey.  Jonnie Boer is the chef, and his wife Thérèse Boer-Tausch is maître and sommelier.

The “Taste of De Librije“is a similar offering to Holland America’s “Evening  at Le Cirque in that the Pinnacle Grill is transformed into the famous restaurant for one night.

amuse–bouche, A Taste of De Librije, ms Koningsdam, Holland America LineOur five-course Taste of De Librije dinner began with a three-part amuse–bouche that included a foie gras lollipop and a golden egg. This was paired with a sparkling wine.

Mr. Jones adored the “Golden Egg”, even when he found out the filling was made from cauliflower.

Oyster on the Beach, A Taste of De Librije, ms Koningsdam, Holland America LineThe De Librije food is fun, unusual and delightful. For example, the shells in the “Oyster on the Beach” appetizer are formed from foie gras. The chef’s creativity combines foods you would not expect to work together.

Lobster with Avocado, A Taste of De Librije, ms Koningsdam, Holland America LineEach guest gets to choose between two – four options for most courses. The appetizer pictured above is lobster with avocado and micro greens.

Jade, our amazing wine server, explained the wine poured with each course, especially chosen to enhance each particular dish.

Lobster Bisque Foam, A Taste of De Librije, ms Koningsdam, Holland America LineThe Lobster Bisque Foam contains Alaskan king crab, and is flavored with lovage (an herbaceous plant with a flavor and smell somewhat similar to celery.) Buttery, crisp brioche croutons top this delightful soup.

Beer Belly Pork, A Taste of De Librije, ms Koningsdam, Holland America LineThis “soup” is Dark Beer Pork Belly. The pork belly is arranged on top of green pea foam, and the dish is flavored with madras curry, goat cheese and caviar.

The pea-hating Mr. Jones loved every bite.

Seared Bass with Speck Ham, A Taste of De Librije, ms Koningsdam, Holland America LineThis is the Seared Bass with Speck Ham entree, served with celery and a Riesling sauce.  Portions are small but rich; you will not leave this dinner hungry.

Deconstructed Apple Pie, A Taste of De Librije, ms Koningsdam, Holland America LineThe Deconstructed Apple Pie with vanilla gelato and Chantilly-style cream was our favorite of the two dessert choices.

"Kisses", A Taste of De Librije, ms Koningsdam, Holland America LineThese candy “Kisses” were the perfect end to a magical dining experience.

The Travelin Jones enjoying A Taste of De Librije, ms Koningsdam, Holland America LineService in the Pinnacle Grill is always good, but the waiters and wine servers outdid themselves in delivering a memorable evening that was the highlight of all of our dining experiences on the ms Koningsdam.

The “Taste of De Librije” is currently offered on the ms Rotterdam, ms Eurodam and the ms Koningsdam when the ships are sailing in Europe. The five-course dinner and wine-pairing costs $69 per person.

De Librije chef Jonnie Boer is also a member of Holland America Line’s Culinary Council, so all guests can try some of his featured creations in the main dining room on every Holland America cruise.

Have you tried the “Taste of De Librije” on one of Holland America’s ships? 

Let us know your thoughts. You can interact with us on TwitterFacebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Check out these other posts on the ms Koningsdam:

When we travel internationally, we find mobile Wi-Fi often difficult to locate and/or expensive to use. While on cruise ships, internet access tends to be both slow and expensive.

For our July trip to Amsterdam and a Norwegian Fjords cruise on the Koningsdam, we decided to try a new mobile Mi-Fi device.

Frankly, the Glocalme® Mobile Hotspot device sounded too good to be true. We decided to invest $169 to give it a try.

Using our Glocalme® G1S Mobile Hotspot in NorwayBefore our departure to Europe, Mr. Jones purchased the Glocalme® G1S Mobile Hotspot Battery Pack with Global Data Reward Roaming-Free & SIM-Free Available in 108 countries (200 Euro Refill Card) from Amazon.

Our Glocalme device cost $169 US dollars, but came with a “refill card” with a 200 Euro credit for wireless data.  (This seemed like we were getting the device, plus some extra data, for free.)

GlocalMe mobile hotspot device, with 200 euro refill cardThe Glocalme G1S Mobile Hotspot is smaller in size than an iPhone 6, but is thicker and heavier. It arrived in a box with a USB charging cable (just like the ones we use to charge our iPhones and iPads.)

When the Glocalme G1s is newly-purchased, it takes about 9 hours to charge.  Once the device is fully charged, the battery lasts up to 10 hours.

We also received the 200 Euro GlocalMe refill card, as promised.

What is GlocalMe?

GlocalMe is a global mobile internet access service from Hong Kong uCloudlink Technology Network Limited.

A GlocalMe G1S device allows travelers to access the Internet while traveling without local SIM cards and roaming charges in 108 + countries around the globe.

The Mi-Fi device is a portable SIM-free Wi-Fi hotspot that can provide internet connectivity for up to five devices connected at the same time. Other features include:

  • The mobile Wi-Fi device is powered by innovative Cloud SIM technology, rather than a local SIM card.
  • The device comes unlocked, and you don’t need a contract to use it. 
  • Users only pay for the amount of data they use.
  • The device offers cost-effective data rates:
    • Pay as you go (€0.05/MB).
    • Or, purchase data packages through the GlocalMe website. A 1GB Global data package for Worldwide Use is currently 29 Euros. 
    • If you are going to one country or region, data packages are much cheaper. For example, a Europe package covers 33 countries in Europe and currently costs 16 Euros for 1 GB of data. For Thailand, a 1GB data package is currently only 5 Euros. You can check all current package rates on the GlocalMe package page.

GlocalMe AppThere is also a free GlocalMe Mobile App available from iTunes.

GlocalMe mobile appOnce on your iPhone, this GlocalMe App allows you to easily monitor your data usage and purchase data packages on the go.

Once you get a GlocalMe device, you charge it, and set up an account. This is where we entered our 200 Euro “credit.”

So How Did the GlocalMeG1S Device Work?

We found the GlocalMe device to be very useful for accessing Wi-Fi when on land in Amsterdam and various cities in Norway.

We also used the mobile Wi-Fi device in our cruise ship cabin #11001 when our ship, Holland America’s ms Koningsdam was either docked in port or close to a port. NOTE: Our cabin was at the front of the ship on a high deck, so that might have improved our connection ability compared to if our cabin was mid-ship on a low deck.

  • In port, we would turn on the GlocalMe device and put it in our backpack. While our phones were on airplane mode, we could still access wi-fi everywhere we went.
  • Since you can connect up to 5 devices at a time, we could both access Wi-Fi at the same time. We could also add in our iPad tablets, or even a laptop when we needed to do more involved work (such as writing a blog post.)
  • The Wi-Fi service speed (3G)was adequate for checking emails, posting photos on Social media, instant messaging, and making Skype calls.
  • We did follow GlocalMe’s tips for conserving data on iOS devices, which include instructions to:
    • Turn off background APP refresh;
    • Close app store automatic updates;
    • Close iCloud data synchronization
  • There are also tips to economize the use of data for Android users.
  • In 10 days of use, we consumed 3GB worth of data. We purchased 1 Global Data package and 2 Europe data packages, and we had the device on all day each day we were in port, and during the land portion of our trip. In total, we used 61.90 Euros of our 200 Euro “free” package.
  •  Compared to $.55 to $.75 per minute of Wi-Fi use for a single device while on a cruise ship, this mobile Wi-Fi data is a terrific deal, and you don’t have to worry about logging out; we just left it on during the day in our back pack.
  • Of course, the GlocalMe mobile Wi-Fi hotspot does not work when the ship is at sea unless it is really close to land (such as when sailing down Norway’s most narrow Fjords with Wi-Fi connected towns on the banks.

Were There any Downsides with the GlocalMeG1S Device?

  • When we left our GlocalMe device on for several hours, the device got very warm. This did not seem to cause any problems, but was a little concerning.
  • The GlocalMe device takes a few minutes to turn on and locate Wi-Fi. You need to turn it on at least 5 minutes before you plan to use it.
  • Sometimes the device would lose Wi-Fi connections.  We learned we had to turn the device off, wait a few minutes, and then turn it on again.
  • While roughly the same dimensions as an iPhone (slightly thicker) it is heaver and does not fit well in your pocket.
  • You have to watch your data consumption as once a package expires it will automatically switch to pay as you go.  This is not expensive but is more than the package price.
  • While GlocalMe has service in 108+ countries, not all areas have coverage.  We noticed that coverage is lacking in the Caribbean (with locations such as Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic not currently available.)  Many countries in Central America and Africa do not currently have coverage.

Would We Recommend the GlocalMe Device for Global Travelers?

Yes, we would buy this device again as it met our need for frequent, on-going mobile internet access without have to search for a cafe or “hot spot”, or to be tethered to one.

If you are considering a GlocalMe, be sure to check out the global coverage map first to see if your destinations offer coverage.

How do you access Wi-Fi when you are traveling? 

Let us know your thoughts. We’re on TwitterFacebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

Carter Bar & Kitchen, Amsterdam

August 22, 2016

During our post-cruise stay at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel, we set out to explore the neighborhood and look for a spot to enjoy a late lunch. A few blocks from the Hilton Amsterdam hotel, at the corner of Valeriusstraat and Emmastraat, we found the outside dining area of Carter Bar & Kitchen. The place looked popular, […]

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A Look Inside the Hilton Amsterdam Hotel

August 21, 2016

In July, we enjoyed a 2-night post-cruise stay in Amsterdam at the Hilton Amsterdam Hotel. Located at 138 Apollolaan near the Vondelpark in Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter, the Hilton Amsterdam Hotel is famous as the location of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 ‘bed-in for peace.’ Today hotel guests may reserve the 538sq. ft. “John and Yoko Suite” filled with […]

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