We started our Transatlantic cruise in Venice October 27, 2011. The Nieuw Amsterdam was a beautiful ship but took us a while to get acclimated with the floor plan as the ship was so large. The staff on the ship were "Awesome" and the food in the dining room was delicious. The buffet line on the Lido deck for breakfast and lunch was ok but would not recommend for dinner. I felt that the buffet at the Lido deck needs a touch of tweaking. Loved the Pasta bar as it was nice to get fresh pasta ordered. What we didn't like ....
THE LIDO BUFFET
1. Salad bar seemed unkept and dirty 2. Desserts were much the same with too much cream and of the same type of cream frosting on all desserts. 3. Dinner menu was like eating fast food style that had no taste and seemed wilted. 4. A lot of their silverware and dishes were constantly dirty.
WHAT WE LOVED
The dining staff in the dining room and Lido deck were very nice. Food in the dining room for dinner was delicious. The tea at the Asian restaurant was wonderful and wished we could have had dinner there but we tried several times but they were booked. The rooms on the ship were large and extremely well maintained. We loved our room steward.
SHOWS & ENTERTAINMENT
Shows were less than to be desired except 1, who were singers and were Amazing. The lounge show had Rachel & Hal Cats and they were good. The Piano guy was Horrible. The Speakers for the enrichment program were very good, especially the one who had various topics and presentations from rock & roll 60's to the moon, etc. He and his wife were very gracious and interesting to listen to. There was a guy that crochet hats there, he was ok to see for a one time thing but not enough to book for the whole week like they did. It got boring
THE PEOPLE ON THE SHIP : Many of the people on board were rude and obnoxious. We were in shock at the caliber of people on this cruise as we had taken many...many cruises including many transatlantic cruises and NEVER did we encounter the type of behavior that was on board this ship by passengers. The lady with the french poodle dog was obnoxious and nobody enjoys having a dog eat off a table ...the dog was supposed to have been a special needs type dog but we felt it was really her pet she wanted to be on vacation with and used that as an excuse. There was a woman at the airport in Madrid that used the wheel chair facility to get on board first as a handicapped person that couldn't walk and we saw her jogging around the deck and dancing on the ship. There were people who were extremely RUDE to the staff members as well as other passengers and should have been kicked off the ship. There were passengers that defaced ship property and the cruise director had to mention a few times that if this type of behavior continued they would have to shut down areas. One man even tried to break into the library book area. Another man kept riding the elevator by himself up and and down without allowing any other passenger to get into the elevator. It was horrible that passengers who are old enough to know better act this way. Some people piled food on their plates as if it was to be their last meal others would cut in line pushing others who were in line out of the way to serve themselves rather than to wait in line.
THE CAPTAIN: He was amazing as he kept all passengers safe during a bad storm at sea. We are grateful for his expertise and all the staff who worked so hard to keep things going on the ship during the terrible waves and storm.
PORTS: Loved all the ports and each provided something unique to see. VENICE:We stayed in Venice prior to departure for a week and there were so many museums, shops and sites to see and the food was delicious but very expensive unless one looked for the travelers specials or went for tapas.
CROATIA: was one of our favorites to see. The old city was amazing and people very friendly. I suggest either taking a cab or van with others as it may be cheaper than the ships tour bus. The food there was delicious and reasonable compared to Venice. The women in Croatia sell these beautiful hand embroidered tablecloths that we got at a very reasonable price. You would want to go up the hill towards the top of the old city to find the best deal. CORFU was beautiful but had a lot of graffiti in areas. A lot of the Tavernas along the sea were closed. There is a wonderful shopping area that offered many Greek specialties. Look for the little nook and cranny type eatery for a quick meal as we purchased delicious leek and spinach pies to eat while walking around and other Greek specialties for about $2.00 and the pies/turnovers were so huge we had to share. The history on this island was interesting and people very nice. Try the kumquat liquor...delicious and linen at the linen shop was very nice and embroidered in Greece.
Since we couldn't go to Taormina Italy due to a race, we ended stopping at Messina and the clock tower is a must to see as well as the park and outdoor market. Try a cannoli in one of their bakery...you will absolutely love them. Cadiz Spain was our other favorite stop as the architecture of the buildings, people and food was spectacular. We had a rainstorm in Cadiz but it stopped as soon as it started. The church on the main square was wonderful and their open air market was the best we ever have seen as it was extremely clean and such an array of products. The vendors there were very nice and friendly. The pastries in Cadiz at the bakery shop was delicious. We were unable to see Funchal Portugal as the captain let out a couple of medical individuals and entertainers and due to time-frame were due to storm were unable to dock there. However, we were the before and Funchal is another port I would love to visit again. Disembarkation in Florida was ok but many including myself ended up getting the flu. I think it's because in the buffet section even though you put the antibacterial on while entering the buffet area, people are still coughing and sneezing on their hands and handling the serving utensils. Many of the passengers were so rude that they would cough in front of a person without covering their mouths. I never was as sick with the flu as this go around so it was a bad strain of flu that we picked up.