My wife and I read several reviews prior to our December 19th cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. I have to admit we became concerned about all the complaining about code orange, code red, noise in the rooms, a rocky ship, cheap furniture and poor food. Now that the cruise is over, we found almost none of the complaints to be valid.
I am happy that we remained healthy thanks to safe hygiene practices. Sure the ship rocked in rough waters, so has every other ship we have been on. My son said the sofa bed that he slept on was comfortable and the food tasted great. And for those who complained about the carpeting or the red MDR, get a life. They were fine. Besides, who goes around staring at carpeting?
We arrived at the port around 1:10 pm and check in was a breeze. There was almost no line or wait during any part of the embarkation process. We were on-board by 1:30 pm. Never again will I try to get on the ship when the doors first open.
Our room (1016) was ready as soon as we got on the ship so we were able to drop off our carry-on luggage immediately and check out the ship with free hands. The ship is clean and elegant. There is quite a bit of artwork throughout the ship that adds to elegance.
There is always plenty of open seating around the ship. Except for the chairs on the rear Lido deck, we always found a place to sit in the sun or shade, inside or out. It seemed like nobody knew about the wooden lounge chairs on deck three until day six. The main showroom never filled up so finding a seat at the last minute was always possible.
Aside from the usual peak times, food lines on the Lido deck were usually short. Our room was great. There is plenty of storage. I especially liked the tub in the bathroom. It was nice to be able to bend down in the shower without having the curtain stick to your butt.
The open seating for the MDR worked well. We ate at 5:30 pm without a reservation and never had to wait in line. We chose to share a table every night and enjoyed the company. The food was great. We didn't try any of the pay for use restaurants because we found the food to be just fine on the Lido deck and MDR.
My seventeen year old son said this was the best cruise he had ever been on. He and his friends had the Lido deck pretty much to themselves after 10:00 pm since the ship turns into a cemetery by then.
I thought the shows during the first two nights were totally forgettable. The music was canned and the lighted screen for the NYC show was cheap and overpowering. The rest of the shows were top notch.
Getting off the ship was as easy as getting on as long as you follow instructions. Once our number was called, it took about 3 minutes to get off and another few minutes to find our luggage. Disney World isn't this good at handling people.
Finally, I will get a little picky. After sailing before on Carnival, I found the deli (sandwich counter) on this ship to be disappointing. I love my Reuben sandwiches for lunch. I got one first thing after getting on the ship. I was turned down for the rest of the cruise, saying they were not available. On Carnival, the staff would custom make any sandwich you wanted and the Reuben was quite popular. Come on, a ship named after NYC and no Reuben sandwiches.
Finally, silverware and a clean table was hard to find on the Lido deck after the usual rush and at night after the first show. I don't recall every having to hunt down silverware on our Carnival cruises.
Overall we found this ship to be more than we expected. The kids were well behaved and there were plenty of classes for the adults to keep busy. Don't miss the computer classes, they are great. If you want a faster pace and more of a night life, stick with something like Carnival. If you like a relaxing cruise with great food and where you can talk without having to yell over the noise, this is the cruise for you.