We stayed the night before at the Ft. Lauderdale airport Hilton. Hotel was just O.K. and there is nothing in walking distance so you are stuck eating at the hotel which is overpriced. They really tried to sell their van service to the port but we found for the 4 of us a cab was less money and more comfortable.
Once at the port, it only took about 30 min to get on the ship. The ship itself is beautiful, our room was ready when we boarded at noon. Only problem I have with the outside window room was the bunk bed was over the queen bed and I kept hitting my head when I got in and out. Otherwise there was enough storage space for 2 teenagers and 2 adults.
And now for the important part...the food! We find that the food on HAL is probably some of the BEST food on most of the cruise lines. This ship was no exception. We also found the service to be very good and we never had more than a 5 minute wait with the anytime dining option.
The activities on the ship were good, not great. We have found that this is the only thing lacking with HAL. We assume that due to the average age on most cruises are older, that they don't have many options for family activities during holiday sailings.
We enjoyed the Eastern Caribbean route. In Puerto Rico we all did the Segway tour and had a great time. At all the other Islands, we took cab/van/open bus tours. None were booked through HAL.
All in all, we had a great time cruising on the Nieuw Amsterdam and are looking forward to next years cruise.