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Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by lovetocycle: Excellent cruise with nice ports of call


lovetocycle
1 Review
0 Post

Member Rating

Cabin 5.5
Dining 5.5
Embarkation 5.0
Enrichment Activities Not Rated
Entertainment 5.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 5.5
Public Rooms 5.5
Rates Not Rated
Service 5.5
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Value for Money 5.5

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Excellent cruise with nice ports of call

Sail Date: February 2014
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

I booked the Nieuw Amsterdam on this date as I was part of an Audrey Grant Bridge Group. 93 participants and several helpers were in the group and we had use of a meeting room on deck 3 near the theatre.

The night before the cruise my friend and I stayed in the Villa Europa Hotel which is on Cleveland St. in Hollywood not far from the airport. I found the hotel on Trip Advisor. We chose this hotel as we like small and personal and it was right on the beach in Hollywood. Luis the owner was lovely and really kind... he waited for our late arrival as our plane was delayed by over 2 hours and we did not get to the hotel til almost 10pm. He gave us each a bottle of water and the password for the internet and showed us where the beach chairs were, how to unlock the bikes that were there for the patrons, and where to eat (really closeby a 100 metres or so down the beach "Broadwalk". He also booked our taxi for 11:30 am to get to the port. We had a small room with twin beds, More bathroom, frig, table and chairs and our room opened out on the courtyard. Everything was lovely and we went for pizza that night and walked a bit further for breakfast, but it was great and wonderful to be outdoors after the winter we were having in Ottawa, Canada!

Our taxi ride to Port Evergaldes was fine.... $15 each with tip, and the checkin time was relatively fast considering the lengths of the lines.. I think we arrived at the busiest time.

Once on the ship we had lots of time for lunch and a swim before the safety drill which was very well organized.

The best thing about the ship was the food - way better than my previous cruise with Norwegian, but then I like the set dining time where you eat with the same people (from our bridge group) and get to know them. I also like the formal nights, though I did not see many men in tuxedos; most were in sports jackets with tie. The buffet had great variety and the salads were my favourite for lunch. Room service for breakfast was included and arrived on the dot, (you get to choose a time eg. 7:30 - 8:00). The dishes they use are so nice and no plastic anywhere.

Being busy with bridge we did not participate in any of the daytime activities, but went to the 10:00 pm performance each night, which ranged from Fair to Excellent. The show Cantares was very good, as was the juggler and comedian, and the Island Steel Drummers.

We liked Grand Turk a lot and swam at the beach right near the boat (like 3 minutes walk out of the small cruise port) and rented snorkel, mask and snorkeling vest and swam to the rope surrounding the swimming area where there is a drop off with lovely variety of fish. You need to be patient and swim along following the drop off parallel to the rope, as in some places there were lots of fish and in others very few. We also walked around the cruise port which is very pretty and as we were the only ship in, very quiet.

San Juan was completely different - we took the free bus around (I downloaded a map of the routes before leaving which helped) and we went to El Morro, a historic fortification, which was interesting and had lovely views. We found a small market square near the Starbucks where we used the WiFi and bought some organic soaps and carved dish.

In St. Thomas we took a taxi ($11 each each way) to Coki Beach. As it was early it was very quiet - we got there before 9 am and again we rented snorkeling gear and ejoyed completely different fish here, near the rocks on the side of the beach looking toward Coral World (a white domed building). We were back at the ship for lunch and went back out to use the port WiFi ($4 charge for the day) as we did not take any valuables such as tablet or even good cameras to leave on the beach (only my underwater camera which I could take int he water with me)!

Half Moon Cay was pretty, but we only went onland for a short while as we had a bridge class we did not want to miss, so I can't say much about that. We tried hard in each port to get off the ship as early as possible to avoid the crowds, which seemed to help.

Disembarkation was painless - we chose the middle time slot as we were not in a hurry and stayed in our cabin until our colour was called, which happened within the time period we had chosen. The other great thing I can say about the Ship was the staff. Everyone we met was lovely. All in all it was a great holiday. Less


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Cabin review: Nieuw Amsterdam 5178

The cabin had everything we needed such as hair dryer, robes etc. and lots of storage for the 2 of us.

Port and Shore Excursions


The night before the cruise my friend and I stayed in the Villa Europa Hotel which is on Cleveland St. in Hollywood not far from the airport. I found the hotel on Trip Advisor. We chose this hotel as we like small and personal and it was right on the beach in Hollywood. Luis the owner was lovely and really kind... he waited for our late arrival as our plane was delayed by over 2 hours and we did not get to the hotel til almost 10pm. He gave us each a bottle of water and the password for the internet and showed us where the beach chairs were, how to unlock the bikes that were there for the patrons, and where to eat (really closeby a 100 metres or so down the beach "Broadwalk". He also booked our taxi for 11:30 am to get to the port. We had a small room with twin beds, bathroom, frig, table and chairs and our room opened out on the courtyard. Everything was lovely and we went for pizza that night and walked a bit further for breakfast, but it was nice on the beach and wonderful to be outdoors after the winter we were having in Ottawa, Canada!

Our taxi ride to Port Evergaldes was fine.... $15 each with tip, and the checkin time was relatively fast considering the lengths of the lines.. I think we arrived at the busiest time.
Disembarkation was easy and also quite fast. There was a long line for a taxi but it did not take long at all.


Grand Turk is a small island only about 6 miles long I think. We did not venture far but liked it a lot and swam at the beach right near the boat (3 minutes walk out of the small cruise port) and rented snorkel, mask and snorkeling vest and swam to the rope surrounding the swimming area where there is a drop off with a lovely variety of fish. You need to be patient and swim along following the drop off parallel to the rope, as in some places there were lots of fish and in others very few. We also walked around the cruise port which is very pretty and as we were the only ship in, very quiet. We did not buy anything as it was the first stop we had been to and thought we might get more choice in San Juan.


Half Moon Cay was pretty, but the snorkeling was disappointing. We rented snorkel equipment at the beach but it was $20 (twice what I paid the revious two days) and they give you fins, snorkel vest, mask and snorkel, ie, no choice as to what you get. There were only a few types of fish when were were there, and none colourful, and only really near the edge of the beach on the left side as you are facing the water. None of it is out of your depth (so you don't need fins or vest really) and if you go past the rope, someone whistles you in straight away. We had a bridge class to go to so only stayed an hour, and did not explore the island (you could walk a lot further than we did) so can't really give more info. The stalls are nice enough. The people who work there come in by boat each day from a nearby island and are all paid by the cruiseline, so there are only a few islanders there. I heard varying reviews about the lunch - a BBQ - but we ate in the ship as we wanted the salads from the Lido Buffet.


San Juan was completely different than Grand Turk- we took the free bus around (I downloaded a map of the routes before leaving home which helped) and we went to El Morro ($3 entry), a historic fortification, which was interesting and had lovely views. We found a small market square near the Starbucks where we used the WiFi and bought some organic soaps (3 for $10, and carved dish for spices with a pestle for $15). It was easy to get on and off the ship and you are right in the old part of town so don't need a taxi.

Read 1359 San Juan Reviews

In St. Thomas we took a taxi ($11 each each way) to Coki Beach. As it was early it was very quiet - we got there before 9 am and again we rented snorkeling gear and ejoyed completely different fish here, near the rocks on the side of the beach looking toward Coral World (a white domed building). The waves are pretty strong if you get too near where they are breaking on the rocks so watch out as I got washed into some rocks once. By the time we left the beach it was pretty full, though not crowded. The taxi driver on the way back stopped at a viewpoint so I could take some photos. We were back at the ship for lunch and went back out to use the port WiFi ($4 charge for the day) in the restaurant in the cruise port (well marked) as we did not take any valuables such as tablet or even good cameras to leave on the beach (only my underwater camera which I could take int he water with me)! The island itself is extremely hilly with lovely views and we drove through the town on the way back (Margaritville I think it was called) and it was all pretty and pleasant.

Read 2322 St. Thomas Reviews

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