Good, not Great: Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by jblazzze
Overall Member Rating
Good, not Great
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Holland America does seem like a good company to cruise with. We did not have any major complaints with either the ship or the cruise line. All the staff was very courteous, but not overly friendly. The ship was new which probably contributed to the positive experience.
The food on the ship was just "OK". We had much better food on our own on shore. I found the food to be generally bland, unimaginative and under-seasoned. Having said that, all the food is perfectly edible, but don't take this cruise if you are interested in rapturous gastronomic experience - you will not find it, even in the specialty restaurants. The traditional dining seatings are at 5:45 and 8:30. We found the earlier More seating to be much too early and it would conflict with a late return on a shore excursion. The late seating was much too late for our taste. Most days we went to the Lido buffet or we went to open seating in the dining room. We did go to Canalis - the Italian specialty restaurant - one evening. Again, the food was average and the service was good, but not exceptional. I did find it quite odd that the cruise originated in Italy and sailed through Greece, but most of the wine was over-priced California or Washington wines. I had hoped for a local wine list.
The cabin that we booked was an ocean view stateroom. It was spacious and the bathroom came complete with a bathtub! It was very roomy for two people. The drawback was that there was quite a bit of engine / thruster noise. This did bother us the first night, but we generally regarded it as "white noise" on subsequent evenings. If you are a light sleeper, you would want to book a cabin on a higher deck.
On our first day, we signed up for an internet package. Although they claim that internet is accessible throughout the ship, the signal is extremely weak in the staterooms and you really need to go to public areas. Even with a strong signal, the satellite connection is painfully slow. It will take at least three if not five times as long to accomplish the same tasks. Holland America should consider contracting with local ISPs while in port to use their services instead of the satellite; it may be less frustrating.
We have no complaints regarding the entertainment or the shipboard activities. We did not participate in may on-board activities, but we did always have positive experiences when we did.
All things considered, I will take a Holland America cruise again for the right price. It definitely was not a high-end line, but a solid middle-range line. Less
Cabin review: DD1083 Large Ocean-View Stateroom
The cabin had a constant hum from the engine room. After the first night, we hardly noticed, but if you are a light sleeper or sensitive to background noise, you should book a cabin on a higher deck.Read All Large Ocean-View Stateroom (DD) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
After walking through what looked like a warehouse district, we found a small cardboard sign directing us to the check-in area. We were the only ones in the hall since we arrived well after the main rush. The clerk looked at us and somewhat indignantly stated "Oh, you have your luggage, you should have left it at the yellow tent." We did not see a yellow tent and there was no one outside to direct us. My reply was a terse "There was no one there." His supervisor then tried the same admonishment to which my hot, sweaty, tired, reply was an even more terse "I said, there was no one there." They got the hint did not push the issue and checked us in promptly.
Once on board, we were able to shower change and eat. We did not venture out again our first evening in Venice. On our second day we did a walking tour on our own that took us through the Jewish Ghetto, St Mark's Square, and plenty of points in between. My advice for Venice is to stay away from the tourists and follow the locals, they know better.
I was a little disappointed that Holland America had not arranged some water taxi service directly to St. Marks, Guideca and/or Lido. You either needed to walk from the terminal or arrange your own transport. A previous cruise did have a shuttle service to take passengers directly to St.Marks. There was an extra charge of $10, but it was worth the charge having used it about 6 times.
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