We had a very enjoyable 7day cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam- Eastern Caribbean. There were very few problems but most of them were resolved. We found all of the cruise ship staff to be extremely friendly and caring trying to make sure everything was to our satisfaction.
We were very pleased with the embarkation to the ship. There was a slight delay getting aboard because they did not have adequate staff to man all the people who were in wheelchairs. I happened to be one of them on this cruise since I just recently had an accident and broke a bone in my back. The transporter did an excellent job making sure my ride was smooth. He took us directly to our stateroom which was a big help to me. Our cabin was a fully obstructed outside view. We were very happy to see there were safety bars in the tub as well as a rubber mat. The toilet was very difficult to flush. There was a safe and a minibar in the cabin. Our cabin steward made sure we had an egg-crate mattress and 2 bath robes as well as extra ice that I was going to need for my back. The refrigerator did not have a freezer. The TV had a remote control with a sleep timer which I always appreciate having. We did have a problem with the TV sound and after notifying our steward several people came to fix it including the Cruise Director but it eventually had to be replaced. We had breakfast delivered to our cabin daily. The delivery person was very pleasant and timely. Lots of food choices, however, eggs, bacon, toast, muffins and potatoes were always cold. The coffee was always hot and delicious. The salt shakers were always clogged. They need to add rice to them so that they will pour readily. The blueberry muffins were the best I have ever tasted.
Finding our way around the ship was easy since the ship had a similar layout as the Eurodam which we traveled on last year. We were surprised that they still have not taken my suggestion that on the midship elevator bank where there are 4 glass elevators and 2 or 3 conventional elevators be linked to one button activation rather than having to run to all the different banks to press for service. It is very difficult for a handicapped person to run in all different directions to catch an elevator. I also have a problem with claustrophobia and found myself along with 8 other cruisers in elevator #2 Aft by the Manhattan Dining Room trapped. The doors would not open no matter what button I pushed. I was on the right side by the buttons and did not see a phone or a red button to press in an emergency. I started pounding on the door an fortunately someone on the outside heard me and hollered to me what to do. On the left side of the elevator their were another set of controls and low down below the buttons was a help button (silver in color as the other buttons) and a phone inside a silver case. Once we pressed that button the doors opened and we all escaped thanking this passenger who said he also was trapped in the same elevator that morning. I reported the problem to the attendant in the front of the dining room.
I was the Cruise Critic Leader for our Roll Call and had arranged the Meet and Greet Party in the Crow's Nest on the first sea day. We had an excellent turn out, by both senior staffers and our roll call members. Roughly 40 people attended the party. We had a gift exchange which everyone enjoyed. We all introduced ourselves and some told funny cruise stories as we went around the room. Our Cruise Director Eric was there as well. He is so funny. He is also a stand-up comedian and does a great job at both.
Entertainment aboard the ship was good. A quartet called Cantaré was our favorite. The lighting and the sets for this group were fantastic! Other favorites were the juggler (Mike Price), the comedian (Julie Barr) and the Steel Drum Band called Island Magic. We were a little dissatisfied with the piano bar (Gregg) who challenged his audience in a 50's and 60's trivia game where you had to name every song he played and the artist. My husband and I participated and found we were the winners of this challenge and received nothing as our prize. The next day Mark, one of our favorite cruise staff crew did another music trivia by the pool and the winners, all 6, were rewarded with whatever cocktail they wanted delivered to them by Mark. We told Mark about Gregg's contest the night before and Mark said he would talk to Gregg. We stopped by the piano bar that night and Gregg still gave out no prize to the winners. I do not understand why Holland America has cut back on their prizes at Trivia. All they give out is a pin that has either a smoke stack or a picture of the ship. I have never seen anyone wear one. They should give out prizes that people will use and publicize the Holland American Ships. These items could be luggage tags, passport holders, drink mugs, pens and tee shirts.
Food was always good and the service excellent. Presentation was perfect. However, we were disappointed when as the leader of our Cruise Critic Group I had asked for them to arrange a dinner for my husband and myself to dine with the cruise director. I was told this would happen by the onboard event services coordinator, Tia Thomas. When we did not hear from the cruise director we asked at the front desk if they could give the cruise director, Eric,a message about when we would be dining together. We were free any night or time. The next day I was approached by Eric and he told me dinner would not be possible because this was only a 7 day cruise and his schedule did not permit this. We were very disappointed. Later we spoke to a friend we met onboard and were told that they had dinner with one of the officers. This was not planned by my friends the officer just walked up to their table at random and asked if he could join their table. He said all officers were required to dine at least once a week with a table of cruisers. How discouraging. They got what I had asked for and had a great time.
We enjoyed all the ports of call which included Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.
Debarkation went smoothly. We had breakfast in our cabin. Were escorted off in a wheelchair in a timely manner, however, when we reached the long line to go through customs the transporter said I had to get out of the chair so he could return to the ship. The porter who handled our luggage said "where did he go with your wheel chair"? I told the porter what the transporter said and the porter said that was wrong and never give up the wheelchair till you get through customs. No need for you to have to stand. I guess I will take his advise on our next cruise.