We didn't know what to expect on our first Transatlantic cruise, but we both feel this was an outstanding vacation, with impeccable service, great accommodations, fantastic food and the right mix and pace of activities. In our opinion, everything that was within Holland America's control was done with care and great attention to the comfort and satisfaction of guests. We loved the "at sea" days, which were languid, enjoyable, relaxing and calm. We barely felt the movement of the ocean, except sometimes at night, and this was actually quite pleasant. Our stateroom was well appointed and spacious. We had paid a bit extra for the suite (the smaller kind) and we loved having the larger balcony as well as a room that is a bit wider than a regular verandah.
Our stateroom attendants, Dien and Muhammed, were outstanding in every way.
We had the open dining option which worked great for us. We met some other folks and enjoyed hooking up with them most night. The food was always excellent, and there was always something on the menu that appealed to the two of us.
Cruise director was excellent. The digital lab instructor was fantastic and I had a chance to learn to navigate Windows 8, which has been a source of great frustration for me over the past month, and to ether use my digital camera.
We ate in the Pinnacle one evening, and the steak was superb. We also ate at Tamarind, and it was excellent as well.
I purchased the Navigator's wine package and the choices were great.
The ports were very interesting, and each was new to us. As it was Holy Week, many shops were closed in Alicante, Motril and Palma de Mallorca. But we still enjoyed the visits very much. We loved Gibraltar. We didn't do any shore excursions, but simply found our way around each of the communities, which was realizing and fun. Horta was a very nice stop, although the weather wasn't great.
I enjoyed spending time at the pool at the rear of the ship. There was great sunshine every day ... wasn't sure how that would go crossing the Atlantic. The other pool tended to be busier, so I liked this one.
Entertainment was very good. We went to the theatre every evening. My favourite was Cantare, a four-part men's chorus much like Il Divo. They were excellent.
Next time we might consider crossing the ocean in the other direction, as we lost an hour for 6 days on our journey. Thus, at 2pm it automatically became 3 pm, and this shortened our wonderful at-sea afternoons. I would like to experience the "extra hour" going the other direction!
All in all, I would highly recommend Holland America and the Nieuw Amsterdam, and I would certainly recommend the Transatlantic experience.
Well done, Holland America! Great value for an outstanding experience.