As the cabby drove us through the port, I looked at all the large white cruise ships that were docked. I thought to myself, my god, they're so huge, I hope Ms Nieuw Amsterdam is not as large as these monsters. And to my relief, as we drove towards the end of the port, the cabby pointed his weathered finger at a ship and with his heavy accent, said "Thar she is. Ms Nieuw Amsterdam herself."
She sat calmly in the water, a dark navy blue hull with white above, decks, verandahs, the whole bit. Sitting next to it was the Allure of the sea, which looked quite trashy in comparison. My first impression was elegance and the promise for a wonderful trip through the Caribbean.
As we walked through the gangway onto the ship, we were greeted by two smiling faces, one holding a large bottle of hand sanitizer. An attractive blonde Dutch man welcomed us aboard, and directed us towards the Lido, where we dined on cakes and cookies while our baggage was being brought up to our stateroom. Everyone was smiling, working hard, and going out of their way to make it a pleasant experience for us.
Our bags were in our room shorty after we finished the cakes, and before we knew it we were on our way to the Caribbean.
Lovely art, architecture, people, rooms, and of course, food.
Ahhh yes, the food. After day one, we discovered the Manhattan Room, a more elegant place to dine than the less formal Lido. A charming young Dutch man, (this time a brunette) sat us down and talked with us a bit, making sure we had been properly taken care of and all that jazz. We later gave this man the name "Dream Boat" (my grandmother's idea), but unfortunately we never got around to actually knowing his name. Very tall, young, dutch man in the dining areas. Keep an eye out for him. Charming chap.
After dinner, which was absolutely exquisite, we made our way to the Showroom at sea, where we enjoyed listening to 4 men sing. That was the best show, the others weren't worth as much praise.
We slept like babies, ate like kings, were treated as princesses, and had an all around amazing trip. The ports were nice, St.Maarten was our favorite, then San Juan.
I'd like to say that the entire crew always had a smile and greeting for us, whether we were walking down the hall or dining in the elegant Manhattan Room. The service was quick, the people friendly, the ship was a true gem and a real gain for HAL. I would recommend this ship to anyone who is looking for a nice cruise.
I will say that the entertainment on board was more designed for people who take pleasure in themselves and other people, not in roller coasters, singing crabs and carousels. If you want that, then go to the amusement park.
This cruise was simply amazing, well worth the money, (which wasn't bad either!) wonderful, wonderful ship and crew.