This was our 42nd cruise and number 23 on HAL.
This was our first time on the newest HAL class. We drove the Port Everglades and parked at a lot right outside the gate. It was fine and 40 percent of the price inside the port. Embarkation was a breeze and we were in our cabin in 15 minutes (about 1:00PM). The modest Verandah cabin was very nice. HAL's usual wonderful beds, a desk, chair, loveseat and ample storage for this short cruise. The bath was compact and much brighter than on some of the Vista class ships because the shower curtain was translucent.
The Nieuw Amsterdam is beautiful with muted, sophisticated colors (browns and tans) except for the main dining room with its vivid red theme. All in all I loved the decor. It did remind me of the Big Apple -- 2012 style! The only fault that I found with the Nieuw Amsterdam (and it's a major one) was that it seemed crowded to me at times. The ship is the same length and width as the Vista class ships, but carries over 2,100, 200 more than the older Vistas, and at times the Lido facilities seemed crowded to me, primarily the Lido food facility and the rear pool. The cabanas make the covered pool area seem small, and on this trip the whole area was stuffy due to the rainy weather. Definitely would ;have preferred more space and less cabanas.
The food in all venues was quite good. Ate in the Manhattan dining room only once at dinner, in Canaletto twice, the Pinnacle once, and three times in the new Tamarind Asian restaurant. Each venue was pleasant, but the service in the Pinnacle could be improved on this ship at least. Tamarind is especially welcome since I don't get a chance to often get good Asian food.
With the exception of the Pinnacle the service throughout the ship was great. The new bar cards are an excellent idea. Besides a discount on the drinks, the cards incorporate a running total of the remaining credit which should lessen mistakes and the need to get corrections at the front desk.
We stopped at Half Moon Key. Weather was great, but I wish that HAL would replace this phoney paradise with a real place like Key West. Georgetown was fine, found a great restaurant in town. Roatan is wonderful. Taxied out to West End. The downtown is quite primitive, muddy main street (it rained on an off) but unspoiled and wonderful. We ate in a place over the water - on lobster of course. Taxis are regulated but the prices are high $30pp round trip. However the drivers wait for you at West End and the trip includes sightseeing on the way. GO THERE!
It rained the last two days which pretty much made a waste of Costa Maya. Most everyone went no further than the shopping area which is the same as everywhere the cruise ships docks, but smaller.
Disembarkation was a breeze, definitely not the usual HAL chaos. All in all it was a fine cruise. Naturally we will continue to cruise with HAL but on the older, less crowded ships.