After completing a number of investigations into cruising we decided to choose Holland America and their new ship Nieuw Amsterdam. It was a fantastic cruise with lots of things to do onboard and the food was of a high standard. Below I have listed pros and cons. After reading a lot of reviews we decided not to do any shore excursions by HAL and organised a few with cruise critic roll calls, the best thing we did as reports from other cruisers was that HAL excursions are extremely overpriced and not worth the money. Will definitely do another cruise, with who we are yet to decide.
Cabin was well set out and the balcony was worth the extra cost.
Our cabin stewards Arie and Gerdie were excellent, nothing was a problem.
Food, lido had a good array of food for all tastes. Manhattan dining room was very good. Pinnacle grill was well worth the extra cost as was the Tamarind. Dined at Le Cirque one evening and wasn't worth the extra cost, would avoid this in future.
Entertainment was very good but the Piano Bar was the highlight. This guy is a true entertainer.
Comedian was very funny.
The shows by cast members very entertaining.
Embarking and disembarking was not a problem, very efficient.
Why this ship hasn't got free wifi astounds me, the penny pinching wifi access was either non operating and very costly. When we docked at Argostoli there was free wifi in the information centre and at any given time there was about 60-70 people using this. If HAL had any sense they would provide free wifi at least in ports, if it was a money making exercise think about this, if I had access to wifi in ports I would be using this whilst having a drink or two which isn't a bad money spinner for HAL
15% service charge on all drinks, what a farce this is. Even on soft drinks they did this. Build it into the cost of the drinks and get rid of the charge, just plain stupid really.
Why do Australians pay more? I asked this question to the future cruise person on board and he admitted this was true and just shrugged his shoulders and said this is fact but couldn't answer why exactly. To be fair and equitable HAL needs to offer specials to Australians. Talking with fellow cruisers we paid in excess of $1,000 more than some travellers.
HAL Australia needs to be up to date with their knowledge. I was told I couldn't pre book a table or time prior to travelling but this was not the case as a fellow cruiser from America could not only book his time but the table also. We were also advised by HAL Australia that the fee would be $11 per day per person but this was $11.50 and was changed over two months before the cruise. Only a small amount but HAL Australia needs to be up to date.
As stated HAL shore excursions.