Like most realistic people, we tend to throw out the tip-top reviews (overly superlative) and the very bottom layer (those wanting to trash the ship or cruise line). This one was quite good, not the best one we have ever been on, and very very far from the bottom. In reality, it was pretty much as we expected based upon the other reviews you will see here. Cabin size, appointments, storage, and stewards were excellent. Entertainment was really quite good, and sometimes gets a bad rap from people's personal tastes. Overall the entertainment was professional, and they tried to appeal to most tastes (which never works 100% of the time).
Debarkation was smooth and handled well, although Embarkation is not the panacea everyone says. First, we were directed down the wrong hallway by their "trained staff", and were expected to board without checking in. Once we figured this out, we went back and registered. We were supposed to get priority boarding due to our cabin level, but when More
we asked for a priority boarding pass were told that no one really cares, just go and tell them to let us through. This was NOT the case, we argued for a couple of minutes with the line people to let us through, then finally they gave up and said "OK, go ahead". Their "finely trained personnel" need some "fine training" and better supervision.
Food was good but not exceptional. The Manhattan Dining Room was better than most of the other venues, although Canaletto was good. Tamarind was also good, but EVERYTHING was very spicy, even to those who like spicy food. There was not an alternative to the hot spicing, everyone got it.
A special word about the Pinnacle Dining Room. One night each cruise they feature the food from Le Cirque (in New York). Unfortunately (yes, I really mean this) we happened to book this particular night. The menu selections were very limited. One appetizer, one soup, three entrees. One has to like what they served or not eat it. Two of the people in our party opted for the steak. Again, this was a mis-steak (yes, I know about the spelling, it is a PUN). It was underdone (more rare than medium as requested) with lots of fat and silverskin. About 1/3 of it stayed on the plate. The service was also, ummm, sporadic. The servers were either hovering over us every 3 minutes, or were gone for 20-25 minutes at a stretch. They also seemed to gravitate towards the rowdy tables to the exclusion of the others. I chalk this up to poor supervision. Overall, disappointing and NOT worth the premium price paid.
I will not talk about the excursions, because it is such a matter of personal taste. We did a combination of private tours, ship tours, and personal walking around. Overall, we found this to be great, and loved most of the ports.
Drinks & bars are what everyone says they are. Sporadic depending on the bartender and servers. A little on the expensive side, but that was to be expected. We don't go on cruises for the alcohol experience.
Overall, we found the ship to be fairly elegant, had no really bad experiences, liked most of what we did and used, and felt that we got our money's worth. Would not do the very same cruise again, but will sail again with Holland America Line as we know what to expect, and get that. Less
Nieuw Amsterdam Cruises to the Western Mediterranean