The Nieuw Amsterdam is brand new and classy. The Lido restaurant sets itself apart from the buffet restaurant of other lines - orchids on the table and table cloths at night. The Personal Computer classes and the culinary center were great, conducted by two competent and friendly individuals Ryan and Ashley. The cruise director Gene Young and the HAL performers were wonderful These instructors and the entertainment staff impressed upon the passengers that they genuinely love their jobs. Their enthusiasm enhanced a warm friendly atmosphere for the sailing - especially with a long stretch of 7 days. Salute to HAL for a great crew.
The food was good with great presentation. The soup is on the "salty side" to me, may not be for others. For a few nights, the fish was not at its best. Otherwise, there is a lot of variety and HAL lives up to its reputation.
HAL provided a travel expert with specific hours to answer questions. He was also available at shore sides too. Check the daily newsletter for specific times. This arrangement was in addition to scheduled port talk or presentations in the theatre.