Updated by Gina Kramer, Associate Editor, and David Molyneaux, Cruise Critic contributor
When Holland America launched Nieuw Amsterdam in 2010, the line unveiled a fresh take on its successful style: a traditional cruising experience, which steers clear of rock climbing walls and waterslides in favor of timeless touches like fancy afternoon tea and elegant formal nights (when most passengers go above and beyond with their ensembles). Several years post-launch, the ship still focuses on continually growing entertainment, enrichment and dining options while still embracing the past. (Note the vintage art and black and white photographs highlighting notable moments throughout the line's history.) Nieuw Amsterdam lives up to the line's standards with its friendly and relaxed atmosphere and attention to service. The ship also pays homage to its name with subtle New York-inspired elements in its art collection and design (notably the atrium chandelier and main dining room).
Ongoing enhancements have included the fleetwide "Dancing with the Stars: at Sea" program, pairing the cruise ship tradition of ballroom dancing with a popular television trend. Passengers can partake in complimentary dance classes, based on the ABC hit show, and compete for a chance to earn a spot on a championship theme cruise held at the end of the season. Also new to the entertainment lineup are world-class musicians from B.B. King's Blues Club; the Queen's Lounge aboard Nieuw Amsterdam is transformed to resemble the renowned Memphis club.
Friendly service and top-quality dining are also hallmarks of this line. With the addition of the Master Chef's Table, which serves an outstanding tasting dinner in its own classy room, Nieuw Amsterdam offers four different gourmet menus, including those found at the Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind and the weekly Le Cirque presentation. The menu at Canaletto has also been enhanced with a small plates option to make sure passengers continue to have a variety of choices.
Nieuw Amsterdam's layout is well designed, and passengers will quickly learn their way around the ship. The combination of classic, understated elegance, a relaxed vibe and easy walkability will make first-time cruisers and repeaters both feel right at home.
Nieuw Amsterdam Fellow Passengers
Holland America ships tend to appeal to a mature crowd, with a mix of North Americans, Europeans, Canadians and Australians. Look for more families and multigenerational groups during summers and school holidays.
Nieuw Amsterdam Dress Code
During the day, dress is casual. In the evenings, dress is categorized either as smart casual or formal. Smart casual for men means slacks and collared shirts (and perhaps a jacket, though it's not required). For women, it's skirts or trousers with sweaters or blouses. Formal draws tuxedos, dark suits or jackets and ties for men, while women don suits, cocktail dresses or gowns. On our seven-night cruise, most passengers went dressed to the nines on both formal nights.
Nieuw Amsterdam Gratuity
The ship adds $11.50 per person, per day, to shipboard accounts. Passengers can adjust the amount up or down at the front desk. A 15-percent charge is added to all bar bills.
Our experience with HAL pre-cruise was fantastic: I called up to fix a name change a couple weeks before we left, all worried-like cause I'm used to dealing with airlines. Didn't have to wait on hold for long - they said they'd fix it and had no ...continue
This was our fourth HAL cruise, all which have been in the Mediterranean, and this itinerary was almost identical to a cruise we did in 2010, with a few different ports. Our first sailing on the Nieuw Amsterdam, we found the ship familiar as we ...continue
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12-night Mediterranean Empires cruise May 2, 2014 – May 14, 2014
Depart: Venice, Italy (round-trip)
Cabin / Suite: 7031 (category PS)
Itinerary: Venice, Italy; at sea; Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Piraeus ...continue