Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by KOintheKnow: My first cruise ever, and on HAL Nieuw Amsterdam 4/1/2012
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My first cruise ever, and on HAL Nieuw Amsterdam 4/1/2012
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
On a lark one day in January 2012, my husband sent me an email with a link to an incredible transatlantic cruise ship sale. Leaving Miami, Florida, on April 1 it would take more than four weeks to arrive at its final glorious destination -- Venice, Italy. Along the way it would stop several times in Portugal and Spain, once in France, followed by three or more stops in Italy, then Turkey with Venice bringing the adventure to glamorous end. Seeing all of these places sounded terrific and we spent wonderful hours giving it some serious thought. April 1 is our anniversary and so the voyage was a go!
On board the Nieuw Amsterdam, everything we needed to be comfortable was there in our little cabin -- a queen sized bed with nightstands on each side both with good reading lamps, a desk with yet another good reading lamp and access to the Internet, a large closet safe, great storage for luggage and clothes, a very appealing bathroom and a steward who introduced himself as Helmi. He More would prove to be one of the best features of the cruise. From Indonesia, Helmi brought his culture of graciousness to his work. He proved to be a lovely person and we are grateful to have met him. Helmi kept our cabin spotless and well organized, he answered our endless questions about his country and about the ship and he never once forgot the chocolates on our pillows.
Getting on board the Holland America ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam was a pleasure especially compared to flying these days. Security was in place, but not intrusive and invasive. Anticipating the civilized welcome, most passengers were well dressed and all were excited to be traveling. Everyone we interacted with on staff was courteous and helpful, even gracious, and within a short time we were on board and invited to a pre-sailing lunch. There was a buzz on board with the anticipation passengers brought with them while the ship's crew actively welcomed their guests and made all of us feel at home.
On board, everything we needed to be comfortable was there in our little cabin -- a queen sized bed with nightstands on each side and good reading lamps, a desk with a good reading lamp and access to the internet, a large closet safe, great storage for luggage and clothes, a very appealing bathroom and a steward who introduced himself as Helmi. He would prove to be one of the best features of the cruise. From Indonesia, Helmi brought his culture of graciousness to his work. He proved to be a lovely person and we are grateful to have met him. Helmi kept our cabin spotless and well organized, he answered our endless questions about his country and about the ship and he never once forgot the chocolates on our pillows.
Small boats called tenders that transport passengers in ports without adequate docking facilities double as lifeboats, but that was not a thought I wanted to dwell on. When we boarded in Miami, before leaving port all passengers were required to participate in a safety drill so we were well acquainted with the deck and with procedures should anything go wrong. There were additional drills for staff every few days along the way -- man over board and others. Our captain was a serious fellow from Holland named Vincent Smit. He was very gracious with the ship's passengers and with us personally, but he was all business about his job. That proved very comforting as there had been a few serious cruise ship problems in the news in the month before departure. As is sometimes said, Captain Smit "ran a tight ship."
This sea voyage passed more quickly than I would have imagined. The ship was beautifully managed, always spotlessly clean with attractively and comfortably furnished spaces. Staff were friendly and helpful without ever being intrusive. The food in the two main dining rooms was always good and there was enough variety to keep everyone happy. The three small specialty restaurants were each disappointing even though there was an extra charge for dining in them. There were lots of spaces for socializing, but as well there were comfortable places to enjoy a bit of solitude. The Nieuw Amsterdam seems to appeal to mature adults who aren't looking to be scaling rock walls or other things of that sort. It did have a schedule of activities -- lectures, cooking classes, bingo, music ensembles, night club acts and it had a beautifully outfitted gym with huge windows overlooking the sea. Stassi and I entertained ourselves reading, catching up on unseen movies, walking the deck and writing. All in all, it was a very pleasant time. For a more detailed account of our trip,
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