I write this as an upper 30s guy with more than 40 cruises under my belt. I am happy to try new cruise lines, especially when the itinerary is right. And that is exactly why I chose this cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam. It had the best Mediterranean itinerary I could find.
The first impression was not good. The Venice terminal was very hot. It was 80 degrees outside, but they did not run the AC inside. It would not have been so bad had the cruise staff supplied water and/or snacks to the waiting guests. Most cruise lines at most embarkation ports do this.
The ship was mostly pretty and very well kept. Our room, Superior Suite 6088, was very impressive. I loved the separate tub and shower and large, comfortable room. My one gripe is the lack of interactive TVs. How is it that the newest ship of a major cruise line does not have them? This meant we could not check our statement, easily order room service, or any of the other luxuries included with this system on other cruise lines. HAL is way behind the curve with this.
The main dining room was a joke. The room is a very ugly bright red color and they burn the lights way too bright. It was not comfortable to sit in there. To make matters worse, the Open Seating dining had terrible service. Unlike other cruise lines, these waiters did not introduce themselves, make suggestions, or help with ordering at all. After only 3 nights of a 12 night cruise, we quit going there altogether. Even the little things waiters do on other lines, like removing lobster from the shell, did not happen on this ship.
Activities were also a joke. Usually on cruises, there is a live cover band playing nightly in one of the lounges. Not here. In fact, the only somewhat upbeat nightly entertainment was a mediocre piano player in a very small, overcrowded lounge.
I have never been so bored on a cruise. Luckily, this cruise was very port intensive.
I do not recommend this ship for anyone used to the great service and amenities on other large cruise lines. My first impression of this cruise line is that it is only for the elderly. That's fine, I guess. Maybe I'll return in 40 years. But for now, this line will be at the bottom of my consideration list.