We took the 12-day Mediterranean Empire cruise, leaving out of Venice, Italy. We boarded the Nieuw Amsterdam on Friday, 9/24 and were a little surprised at the size of our Deluxe Verandah Suite. It seemed smaller than the other suites of the same class on our other cruises. But, it was very comfortable, except for controlling the temperature. The ship had a problem with a computer board and we were "stranded" in Venice for one extra day, which was great. We did not go to Croatia and were disappointed but understood the problems. The staff seemed to be a little inexperienced and we attributed that to it being a new ship. But, they were very helpful, just not quite as attentive as on the other HA cruises.
The shore excursions were good, except in Istanbul and Ephesus Turkey. Both times we ended up at rug dealers and felt somewhat pressured. We had no intention of buying rugs and didn't like waiting for those who had to makes calls to the US and decisions about buying rugs. HA should have shore excusions exclusively for those who want to buy rugs.
We definitely felt the increased nubmer of passengers on this ship, and prefer the smaller HA ships. As usual, several passengers became ill, including my husband. He developed bronchitis and visited the ship's doctor who dispensed medication and sent him to bed. Unfortunately, he missed Santorini but that gives us an excuse to go back!
All in all, it was a great cruise, the weather was perfect and as soon as we recover from jet lag, we start thinking about our next HA cruise.