The Nieuw Amsterdam was a beautiful ship and had some of the best food ever experienced. Very well thought out menus and pleasant Filipino and Indonesian staffs. The itinerary was fairly interesting and varied from several usual stops, although the wind and waves prevented tendering in to Portimao, Portugal for the Algarve.
Were assigned a handicap veranda cabin somewhat forward, in the unusual quick curve of the ship near the elevators and directly above the owner's suite. Our balcony was very long and pretty deep. It provided a port view from 300 degrees all the way back to 180 degrees. Very pretty and versatile. You could roller skate in the bathroom, but the cabin lacked sufficient closet and drawer space, and even though it sported a lot of square footage, had no sofa. Big enough for a cocktail party for 15 to 20 if you used the balcony.
Usually, HAL and most other lines we've been on have a person who is very perceptive in assigning table mates for free style diners so that there's easy compatibility. This one must not have gone to the same school, so made a lot of errors in matching table mates. Needs working on.
The shows in the main theater didn't come close to traditional HAL bookings. They were by a wide margin less professional than the several hundred we've seen prior to this sailing. Were they saving money?
The Rosario Strings were always a classic joy to listen to before or after dinner, always positioned near the main restaurant. For the first time in years, they lost them to another line and replaced them with a group of Eastern European girls (all strings) who sounded like they came from a recent high school band. Another disappointment.
Aside from these glaring defects, we had a great time on this passage, and will try HAL again.