The itinerary was idea for us since we overnighted in Venice and Istanbul. It was nice not to have to book a hotel room in Venice. We have sailed with HAL to Panama Canal on the Zuiderdam. The Nieuw Amsterdam was an amazing ship. Even though it is quite large with lots of folks, we never felt crowded. We meet up with folks often but constantly were exposed to new conversations. The passengers were especially interesting since over 900 were from Australia and New Zealand. The next highest number were American with lots of Dutch and English. We enjoy the mixture of nationalities on all the HAL ships.
We really enjoyed our meals at the Tamarind Rest and Pinnacle Grill. The food at the Italian restaurant was excellent, but the atmosphere left lots to be desired. We felt like we were still in the buffet of the Lido dining room. Why can't they have their on room? A must is the Indonesian Tea at the Tamarind.
As usual the staff and crew was outstanding.
The only negative was some of the shore excursions. But that was because the tours were large and the sites packed with lots of people. We hired a private company for Ephesus and enjoyed it much more. Also enjoyed winging it at the small islands. But Santorini was our least favorite. To crowded and touristy.