The MS Amsterdam is an elegant ship with a nautical theme. This was my fifth cruise and the longest one to date . Traveling solo I found that it was easy to socialize with other passengers since this ship only carries 1380 pax . I felt that the fare that I paid for this cruise represented a good value for what was offered on the Amsterdam.
I used the Holland America one night pre-cruise package which was at the Rio Sheraton Copacabana. I was met at the airport by a shuttle service and alnog with some other pax who arrived early was driven to the hotel. The check-in at the hotel included some pre-cruise paperwork and was expedient. We checked in to our rooms and had the day to do whatever we wished. The smooth way this was handled was a sign of good things to come for Holland America!
The Sheraton is in Leblon and is very clean and well maintained , but it is too far away from the beach area to walk or to do any sightseeing . Some fellow cc'rs and I went to the Grayline desk and booked a dinner and show at the famous Plataforma. The dinner at the Churascarria was good and the show was GREAT. This show is a must see in Rio !!!
The next morning a shuttle bus picked us up at around 10:00 a.m. and did a city tour on the way to the ship. We arrived at the pier in a timely manner and embarkation was quick , smooth and painless. Onboard the vessel we were directed to the Lido where we had lunch cafeteria style.A NOTE :( When traveling solo and dining at the Lido one should carry a bag and place it on the table otherwise when going away for a refill the table will be cleared off before you return with your drink .)
Exploring the "DAM" ship
The Amsterdam is one of two flagships for Holland America. She has a pretty three tiered atrium with an astrolab clock and a planetarium. There are a lot of artworks in niches and it is tastefully done . My first stop was at the front desk to sign up for the unlimited laundry package for $140.00. This was worth it for me as I never wore the same thing twice without being cleaned and I can travel lighter this way . I did not come on vacation to do laundry !!
This was on deck 4 and I then went over to the small but adequate computer center. Special internet packages are available which can keep one in touch with business associates and loved ones at home . The Java Bar is right next to the computer center on the way to the Pinnacle Grill. The Java Bar is a cozy area that serves Cappucino and lattes with an ever changing assortment of cookies. This area is at NO extra charge.It is a quiet space to relax or to meet newfound friends. Our small CC group met there on our first day at sea .
The Pinnacle Grill is right behind this space. This reservations only restaurant is a $20.00 charge per person and was worth every penny and more !!!! The service was flawless and the food simply exquisite. I dined there twice on this ship and had the petite filet mignon , the clam chowder , and the volcano cake Yummy !!!!!
I went down to deck three and found a lovely teak promenade with teak deck chairs. This made for a great place to view the Antarctic on this itinerary . Wondering back up to deck five I found the Queen's Lounge which was an ample place for the two sitting shows and to gather the groups for Bingo and for shore excursions. There are several other venues for socializing on this ship. Decide what mood you are in and you can go dancing at the Ocean Bar on deck five , listen to an entertainer at the Rembrandt Lounge on five or relax in the more quiet explorer's lounge on five. You can take a break from gambling at the well laid out casino in the casino bar on five or go to the Lido pool area and see Danny Boy for a card trick and a drink.
The ship is easy to explore and very well laid out as I found all of these venues easily . I came across two pool areas on this ship. The aft pool was a fresh water open air pool where the Antarctic Penguin Swim was held --boy was that COLD BRRRRRR !!!! The Lido pool area is also fresh water and has two hot tubs. This pool area is enclosed by a retractible magrodome which was nice in both warm and cooler weather which we experienced on this South America / Antarctica voyage.The spa area and fitness center are beyond the pool . I never used the spa , but had a great view of the ocean from my treadmill on the bow of the ship. My only criticism here is the lack of any instructior . Several of the older pax had trouble setting the equipment and no one there to attend to this . the other great venue for socializing and viewing was the Crow's Nest Lounge which was above the gym area on deck nine . this is where we had the Black and White Ball and the Ice Ball !!!!
There are four different venues for dining on the Amsterdam. The La Fontaine dining room is a two sitting affair with two levels and a double tiered brass staircase. This is a beautiful public space which served a good average to above average menu of meals . the service was not flawless , but was met with a smile and special requests were handled with a YES SIR !!! The Lido cafeteria served above average victuals for this type of dining . They had everything one would want . For example there was a deli sandwich bar , great salad bar and ice cream bar which was open all day long on this ship !!!! The Lido pool area also had a small buffet which had a taco bar and condiments to go along with hamburgers , hot dogs , cheeseburgers , and garden burgers . They also put out fresh pizzas and french fries from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Yummy !!! :-) The Lido also had a late night snack at 11:00p.m. The pinnacl was wonderful as I have already mentioned while exploring the ship earlier.
My outside view cabin was on the lower deck , the Dolphin Deck #1919. It had a nice King sized bed, a sofa , a dressing table and a small coffee table . The cozy accomodations had ample closet space and a nice bath with a separate tub and hand held shower. Holland America provided bath amenities , but I onle used the combo shampoo for my thinning hair !! There was a tv for catching up on the latest news but no refrigerator and no robe.
ACTIVITIES and SPECIAL EVENTS
What can I say !!!! I stayed so busy for twenty one days that I need a vacation !!!! HA !! This ship was a destination in itself . During twenty one days they held a Black and White Ball, an Ice Ball, a Penguin Swim and sooooo many other things . there was always something going without being too noisy or tacky !
PORTS OF CALL
The places that we went to on the South America / Antarctica
itinerary were FABULOUS !!!!We went to Rio de Janeiro , Montevideo Uruguay , Buenos Aires Argentina, Port Stanley The Falkland Islands , The Antarctic Peninsula , The Antarctic Circle , Cape Horn , Ushuaia Argentina , Punta Arenas Chile , Puerto Chacabuco Chile , Puerto Montt Chile , and ended in Valparaiso Chile Whew !!!!
It would be too lengthy to go into detail here . Suffice it to say that we had greta weather all the way around . Pack some gloves , a jacket and layer your clothing and you will be fine . I used all of the Holland America shore excursions when I went and found them to be well organized. Many of them they had bottled water for us and I feel that they were worth not having the hassle to book one at the pier. I fell that oce again Holland America took care of us !! I booked these online before I left home and the tickets were in my cabin upon arrival . FABULOUS !!! FABULOUS !!! FABULOUS !!!!
The entertainment was good most of the time . There were the standard cruise ship reviews etc. There were a couple of duds but it was good by cruise ship standards .
This went smooth as silk ! We went to various public spaces and disembarked as our numbers were called. I had purchased the Air-Sea transfer with Holland America and they did a city tour of Santiago while on our way to a hospitality room at the Sheraton. Most of our flights were late at night and this was an unexpected surprise !!! Usually when the cruise is over they kick you off the ship but not Holland America . I think that it shows that Holland America appreciates my business and treats me well !! I will definitely be looking their way in the future for other opportunities !!