Just back from the Eastern Caribbean on Nieuw Amsterdam.
This was our 4th HAL cruise and it is the most beautiful of their ships we've been on. Wonderful public areas. The entertainment was the very best we've seen on any cruise ship - truly excellent - even one I did not think would good like the comedian, who was in fact terrific!!
The service was in general good, tho they seemed to always got bogged down with the open seating which is odd as the dining room was half empty most nights. I think of lot people didn't want to bother with a sit down meal and just went to the Lido buffet, especially on formal nights. So how come service was slow and inept in the main dining room anyway?
We just were on the Noordam last fall and the food was better on the Noordam than the Nieuw Amsterdam. No other way to say it. Not very interesting choices, pasta either hard or gummy, and rather poor meats. Desserts just sweet. Actually the Lido seemed better than the dining More
room but we preferred to be served in the evenings than do the cafeteria.
Excellent book selection in the library as on Noordam but library sitting space a little tight. Still you could go next door to the lounge to read in comfort.
The spa was particularly good. Best massage and treatments I've had on a ship and the most willing and courteous operators I've ever had aboard ship. Also with their specials not badly priced at all. The thermal room was totally worth it!!!!
Ship excursion people went over and beyond to work with us to get on a trip that had been full - really helpful.
One disappointment was that the weather did not allow us to dock at Grand Turk Island. To compensate for it, the Captain docked the next day at 8AM at San Juan rather than our expected arrival time of 2PM! Lots of cruise lines won't try to make it up like that but just kill time at sea.
As always their private island Half Moon Bay is the most beautiful beach around. Less
Smallish cabin, located near the back of the ship and we could feel and hear a bit of the engine in heavy seas but quiet enough on gentle days,and I am very noise sensitive. Good balcony. Could hear the "ping" of the elevator sometimes.
Did a walk about on our own in the city and had a fine time, a very walkable city. Had an excellent lunch on our own at El Jabarito.
Also went on the rain forest hike with the ship to El Junque. A good experience, tour guide spoke excellent English, pretty tame walking for the most part.
Our second time to El Junque. Last time there we just waled to the end of the pier and took a van for a drive through it but wanted to get a little closer to nature this time.