4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our first cruise with HAL, we are Elite with Celebrity, and have been on several other cruises, on other lines as well. We traveled with our 12 year old daughter who has also been on several cruises (and doesn't need rock climbing ... Read More
This was our first cruise with HAL, we are Elite with Celebrity, and have been on several other cruises, on other lines as well. We traveled with our 12 year old daughter who has also been on several cruises (and doesn't need rock climbing walls, etc. to keep her happy). The pros: The crew was just great, loved the friendly service in Lido rather than self service, ship is still in great condition for it's age, food in Tamarind was outstanding, PG was also really great. Excellent embarkation, DR Amber Cove a great port (to leave it and go out and explore). Cabin was clean (but very tiny). Exploration's coffee drinks and coffee in general were great. Dive In and Slice were both fun. BB Kings was outstanding! The cons: The food, if we didn't book a beverage and dining package, this wouldn't have been such an enjoyable cruise. Food in the main dining room was so disappointing, the worst we have had on any line. We also did not like the up-sell of food in the MDR and specialty restaurants. The daily activities left much to be desired. I knew that HAL's clientele was much older, but didn't think the whole ship would cater towards this demographic. There was literally nothing to do during sea days unless you wanted to hear a lecture on how to ease back pain or something similar. Purchasing the Elite Beverage Package I would have expected better wine offerings. The rest of the drinks were fine. Club Hal was fine, but they close for hours at a time during the day and evening and end for the night at 11(which I guess the later is fine for this line since the entire ship is shut down at 11). To sum it up, we still had a fun cruise and would cruise Hal again, but only if it was a very busy, exciting itinerary where were off the ship most of the days. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was a one-week Thanksgiving cruise. It was our 18th cruise, and second with HAL. We are in our 40s and sailed without our kids. This cruise was just what we wanted. The service is impeccable. While food admittedly is subjective, ... Read More
This was a one-week Thanksgiving cruise. It was our 18th cruise, and second with HAL. We are in our 40s and sailed without our kids. This cruise was just what we wanted. The service is impeccable. While food admittedly is subjective, I found all of the food to be excellent, the best I have had on a cruise. This is what old-style cruising is about: elegant, pampered, formal, relaxing. HAL does it the best of the mainstream cruise lines. But I would not recommend this cruise to everyone. The passengers were of different ages, as compared to the typical elderly passengers that HAL attracts, since it was Thanksgiving. There were a lot of multi-generational family groups. That was nice, but I think unique to the Thanksgiving sailing. There was not a lot to do on the ship. Days at sea we mainly spent reading, eating, and walking. In the afternoons there was some trivia. There are a few other activities (cooking demonstrations, computer classes, etc.) but not much going on for the "active" set. I don't need sexy-legs and belly flop competitions, but it would be nice to see some athletic or other activities. The evenings had a show and some music. The disco was dead. The shows were amateur hour, as were the featured performers. But BB Kings was great. HAL is very well organized, so getting on and off, tenders, etc. were handled well. It was a frustration-free cruise, and a very relaxing one at that. It was just what we wanted. Just be aware if you are looking at this cruise that there is not a lot going on throughout the ship, and you definitely are not sailing this ship for the entertainment. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
It was going to Turks and Caicos and DR The best thing about this cruise is the fantastic crew they have Gala night 11/20 and 11/26 absolutely no music until 8:30 and no house band everyone dressed up and it felt like a funeral. Sail ... Read More
It was going to Turks and Caicos and DR The best thing about this cruise is the fantastic crew they have Gala night 11/20 and 11/26 absolutely no music until 8:30 and no house band everyone dressed up and it felt like a funeral. Sail Away NO band, cruise director said hello on microphone and then left, no sailaways from any of the ports No cruise director team except for Andy and Marcus. My family got on 11/25 their first cruise, paid a ton of money for absolutely nothing. If it wasn't for the crew we would have been bored to death. No one told us this ship was going in dry dock 12/6 for a couple of weeks.. Found out Holland called people to come on the ship for 1/4 of what me and my family paid and the ship was at least 300 people shy. Thank you for the crew in dining room ,Ocean bar, seaview. We went to a couple of shows and walked out. the worst I have seen and I have been on 26 cruises. We did a catamaran CASTAWAY GIRL BOAT 4 in St Thomas the best and they are taking good care of us. Thank You Ezza,John,Elmer,Marisol. Marcello.Katherine, UR, Rick for making this terrible cruise some fun, Holland America you can have all my mariners points and pins back since you are no more on our cruise list. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
My wife and I are 3 star Mariners and enjoy the slower pace of Holland America Line. Fewer kids, 5 star service and food and larger than average cabin size. We booked cabin 4127 which is a category HH obstructed ocean view. The ... Read More
My wife and I are 3 star Mariners and enjoy the slower pace of Holland America Line. Fewer kids, 5 star service and food and larger than average cabin size. We booked cabin 4127 which is a category HH obstructed ocean view. The cabin was perfect, but we were awakened each morning at 5:30 am to the sound of a deck hand pressure washing the side of the ship! I notified guest services and at first, they denied that someone was performing maintenance, but after my second call, they apologized. Andy the Cruise Director was accessible and love to engage with guests. John Wing the comedian was great. I didn't like the BBC Earth videos in the main show lounge. Just plain boring. Glad TV had FoxNews, but not enough movies available. Dinner in both Caneletto and Tamarind were PERFECT! I wish they served bread pudding more often than just 11:30 am until 2:30 p.m. The BB Kings Blues Club band was amazing. Packed house every night! In conclusion, we loved the ship, the food, the service and the ports of call. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Nieuw Amsterdam Eastern Caribbean Cons: Embarkation was very difficult for disabled passengers who waited a very long time for wheelchairs simply because only 2 chairs were made available to take them onto the ship. Crew members ... Read More
Nieuw Amsterdam Eastern Caribbean Cons: Embarkation was very difficult for disabled passengers who waited a very long time for wheelchairs simply because only 2 chairs were made available to take them onto the ship. Crew members waiting to assist guests could do nothing without wheelchairs. Several disabled pax eventually hobbled through the long lines on their own after waiting for well over an hour. There was no valid excuse for this. Having been on many Holland ships, including a couple of sister ships to the Nieuw Amsterdam, it was disappointing to see that many features we had enjoyed on those ships and cruises have been eliminated on the NA. Cultural enrichment talks, nature films, elegant afternoon teas, sculptures and other artwork have been greatly reduced in number and quality on the NA. Healthy vegan foods are difficult to impossible to find on the ship. Plain whole vegetables such as unadorned baked potatoes, plain beans, sweet potatoes, corn, etc. are very rare and repeatedly asking for them yielded no successful results over the course of our two week cruise. Most foods on the buffets and in the main dining room are made or coated with oils, butter and/or cheese. Unfortunately, one cannot live on salad alone. Every day we noticed others needing special diets often going hungry, as well. No attempts were made by staff to accommodate requests. We were on a back to back two week cruise. Not having self service guest laundry aboard the ship created difficulties. The tiny bag provided for laundry done by the crew at a charge of $20 per bag was woefully inadequate. Witnessing the very wrinkled crew-washed laundry being delivered to other guests was also discouraging. In the end, we decided it was far cheaper to buy extra shirts at the weekly onboard shop sales and hand wash our underwear, hanging it to dry in the stateroom shower. Other cruise lines can provide guest laundry, why not Holland? As a result, we're reluctant to book any more long cruises with this line. Although we requested a special celebration for a birthday, no attention whatsoever was paid to it by staff or crew. No note, no mention, no balloon on the stateroom door, no cake in the MDR, nothing. Why does Holland ask for special celebration information if nothing is going to be done for it? It was usually a challenge to find a window table on the Lido deck as many people habitually "reserve" them with personal items before going to get their meals. Finding unreserved chaise lounges by the pool was actually easier! Behind the scenes kitchen "tour" required a long wait and then consisted of a simple file through an empty kitchen. There were no personnel on hand to explain anything nor demonstrations of any kind and no labels of the different areas, just a lot of bare stainless steel. Why special forms had to be filled out, closed shoes worn and hands washed for this I do not know. Pros: Generally a very friendly crew and staff throughout the ship, several of which we gave kudos to in our comment cards. Our particular stateroom was pleasant and fairly quiet. Storage space was adequate. Maintenance by room stewards was usually timely and well done. Overall a relaxing cruise, with plenty of quiet spaces that felt uncrowded as well as uninterrupted by noisy commercial announcements over the ship's speaker system. Lines for buffets were rarely long and even though the lines for the main dining room were also sometimes long they usually moved fairly quickly despite there being no designated lines for guests who already had reservations versus those who did not. Passenger mix was international and all across the age spectrum from families with young children, teens, twenty & thirty somethings, on up to retirees. This nice diversity was despite the cruises not taking place over any holidays. Children were well behaved and most adult guests were respectful of others. Though there are always a few who cut the lines or behave in other obnoxious ways, they were definitely the exception on this ship. Shipboard entertainment was adequate and diverse, behind the scenes tours and Q&A with the dancers and singers were interesting, and some of the bar lounge musicians were very good. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were on the Oosterdam March 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise so we chose Holland America again. We had all of our meals at the Lido Buffet and the food was repetitious and sometimes limited selections i.e. one evening the ... Read More
We were on the Oosterdam March 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise so we chose Holland America again. We had all of our meals at the Lido Buffet and the food was repetitious and sometimes limited selections i.e. one evening the vegetables were pureed parsnips or Brussel sprouts. More often or not the baked potatoes were very dry as though they were leftovers from the previous night with different a topping added. The beautiful floral arrangements and the live orchids that were on the Oosterdam (which we enjoyed and appreciated very much) were absent on the Nieuw Amsterdam. There were orchids on the tables but a third of them were wilted and sparse of blooms. The ceiling of the Lido buffet leaked causing the staff to mop and vacuum and place caution wet floor sighs around. There were posted pool rules, no infants in diapers, no jumping or diving from the sides of the pools but these were not enforced, besides the children jumping in there was also an adult mother and there was an infant clearly in diapers in the pool several times. The handrails were extremely worn in some areas. The staff did their best to keep things looking as well as they could. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I went on this cruise with my husband, my parents, and my brother and his wife. We chose this cruise because of our preference for Eastern Caribbean ports and interest in getting away from the rowdiness and younger families you find on ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my husband, my parents, and my brother and his wife. We chose this cruise because of our preference for Eastern Caribbean ports and interest in getting away from the rowdiness and younger families you find on some ships. If you don't feel like reading my novel below, here are the high points: - Dining averaged out to pretty good. Had a bad experience at a specialty restaurant but enjoyed main dining and some of the other poolside eateries. - Cabin/overall all layout of ship was good. - Entertainment and activities were lacking... unless you're into bridge, bingo, or lottery drawings. - Ports/shore excursions were terrible experiences. I will not be sailing with Holland America again. SHIPBOARD ACTIVITIES I now understand why Holland America gets a reputation for being the cruise line for elderly folks. The average age definitely leaned towards the 60+ crowd. That wasn't a problem for us. However, I found it interesting that several crew members (assistant cruise director, etc) told us the line is trying to target a younger demographic (mid 20's - mid 30's) when nothing in their programming supports that goal. There was absolutely nothing about the shipboard activities that encouraged you to stay out late. The casino was tiny with many of the tables closed. A lot of the bars close around 10pm and there aren't any activities scheduled for after 10pm. One of the two night clubs was tiny and the other only played Blues music and was oriented for watching the performance on stage, not for dancing or mingling with other guests. DINING Our first night we chose to eat at Tamarind, one of the specialty restaurants. The service was abysmal. From the time we ordered to the time we received our first appetizer was approximately 50 minutes. We watched a group of three crew members seated and served two courses of food before we even received our appetizer. The food wasn't great -- the sushi had a disproportionately large amount of rice. Not worth the $25/person in our opinion. We were so displeased with our experience we cancelled all our reservations at the other specialty restaurants -- it wasn't worth the risk. When I spoke with someone in guest relations about getting to watch the crew members seated after us and served two courses before we received our first they did a good job of expressing their apologies, but nothing was really done about it. Two days after my complaint, the manager of Tamarind found my husband and me. He apologized and explained that the crew had actually "pre-ordered their sushi, it was only one course they were served before us, not two." First off, I was there, the manager was not. They were served two courses before us. Second off, I'm not buying this "pre-order" stuff. He invited us to try again to which we obviously said no. Pay $50 for subpar dining again? No thanks. I would have been pleased with a refund for my meal, but instead they sent us a cheap bottle of champagne (had a horrible sparkling cider flavor) to our table in the general dining restaurant. Needless to say it didn't smooth over the ruffled feathers. We were pretty pleased with the food and service in the general dining restaurant. My recommendation would be to avoid paying the premium and just eat the food in the main dining restaurant. Also were very happy with the poolside pizza eatery and the "Dive-In" burgers. There was no additional cost for either (unless ordered through room service) and both tasted GREAT. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS Due to the hurricanes, our itinerary was entirely changed. We understand that this could not have been avoided and though we were extremely disappointed with the alternatives (Bahamas and Dominican Republic rather than Turks & Caicos, St. Thomas, etc), there wasn't any frustration with Holland America for the change. But we WERE frustrated with Holland America for the way their handled the changes. The Bahamas stop was removed last minute because of weather, so our first stop was on day three -- Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. After much research on shore excursions, we chose a Holland America Snorkel and Catamaran Cruise over a similar sounding and very highly rated tour through Viator. Our thought was that Holland America would surely vet any of their tours for quality and it's nice to have the peace of mind that if the tour runs late, the ship won't leave without you if it's their excursion. Plus, though a little more expensive, the Holland America excursion was 5 hours instead of 3. Bonus! Except not. The tour met in the middle of the port shopping area. No shade, very hot, etcetera. They told us to meet at 10:35 and the group didn't start walking towards the buses until 10:55. Once on the buses we waited another 10 minutes for late arrivals to show up. Then we had a 40 minute drive to Punta Cana which was NOT mentioned in the tour description. We finally get to the excursion area and the tour operators tell us it's going to be 30 minutes before we can leave but to "please enjoy the shops." The shops included 3 shacks filled to the brim with tacky trinkets. The entire group was furious -- it was incredibly obvious that the operators were taking advantage of their captive audience and hoping for some extra money from their gift shop sales. Eventually we are lead to a briefing area and given a description of our agenda. The operators then ask one volunteer to sign a waiver on behalf of all 60 people in the tour. This was about the time we started wondering whether Holland America had done ANYTHING to vet this tour before sending 60 of it's customers on it. Then they take us to the catamaran. I'm no expert, but after a little research, I can confidently say the maximum passenger capacity for this boat had to be less than 15. Our tour operators squeezed all 60 in our group, plus the 4 tour operators onto the boat. Not only was this incredibly unsafe, but it was terribly uncomfortable. Everyone had to sit shoulder to shoulder, packed like sardines. Hardly optimal cruising conditions. The "cruise" ended up being a 5 minute jaunt from the shore to the middle of the cove we were in. Everyone's herded off the boat into the water with no explanation of snorkeling guidelines. Fine for us as we've been snorkeling many times but there were quite a few people who had never snorkeled before. The tour operator in the water with us wanted everyone to follow him in a line, rather than letting us swim on our own. If you strayed too far from the group, you were yelled at until you rejoined. As a result, there weren't any fish to see except for the same school that followed the ball of fish food the tour operator trailed through the water. At one point an elderly gentleman started panicking in the water -- not sure if he got water in his snorkel or was having a panic attack but this guy gets his floatation belt askew and is waving his arms, crying out, and bobbing up and down below the surface. A few people noticed him and called out to the crew who proceeded to do NOTHING. I'm not exaggerating. They look at the group with these blank stares and go back to their business. So my dad jumps in, pulls this guy over to the boat and hoists him up the ladder with the help of another gentleman. Tour operators just sit there watching. By the time everyone gets back in the boat there's this palpable tension and you can overhear all the little groups mumbling amongst themselves about how much the tour sucks. So the crew decides it's time for the tropical beverages. They pull out a few cheap bottles of rum, 1 liter bottles of soda, and a cooler full of premixed juice. They start filling the glasses 75% of the way full with rum, topping them off with soda or juice, and passing them out. Might not sound like the worst experience to you, but I've been on some lovely snorkel/catamaran cruises where the put in a little more effort -- maybe with a full bar, a blender for making frozen beverages, etc. They fire up the boat and we drive 2 minutes to the other side of the cove where the water has a lovely green/brown color. They set up "water polo" in the water and encourage everyone to play. After we've piddled around in the water for half an hour, they ferry us the 3 minutes back to the middle of the cover and take us to a restaurant. We're sequestered to half of the otherwise empty restaurant. 6 seats were not available together on our designated half, so my family wasn't permitted to sit together. Nevermind that the whole rest of the "restaurant" was open. Our next port was the newly constructed Amber Cove on the North side of the Dominican Republic. Shore excursions were offered but in the pre-arrival communications about the port, they gave a lovely description of the "Aqua Zone" an incredible sounding area right there in port, allegedly complimentary for cruisers -- a resort style pool with a swim-up bar, waterslides, a lazy river, lounge chairs. The Aqua Zone sounded pretty cool so we opted not to book a shore excursion (especially not after our experience in Cap Cana). We disembark, walk over to the entrance and are stopped at the gate but were told that Holland America passengers were not permitted into the Aqua Zone as the Carnival ship (also in port) had reserved it for their passengers. I still don't know what to say about that one. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Service and food is good. Amenities insufficient e.g. two pools but nothing really for kids. there is no music at the pools, employees, nor entertainment. Other passengers mostly great with a few sour apples i.e. grumpy and old. We ... Read More
Service and food is good. Amenities insufficient e.g. two pools but nothing really for kids. there is no music at the pools, employees, nor entertainment. Other passengers mostly great with a few sour apples i.e. grumpy and old. We even had an old couple tell us, its refreshing to see some young people. It is NOT child friendly unless you are using Club HAL for children 3 and older so you can dump your kids away like daycare and be rid of them to enjoy yourselves. This doesn't make up for the lack of child friendly amenities & grumpy guests. Everything costs extra e.g. not all restaurants are free. So, if your old, have a lot of money, caucasian, don't want many children around this cruise is for you! Will not return to this cruiseline! even when I'm old. Our experience: You aren't allowed the entertainment if you have kids! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Because mass market lines are all rapidly degrading service and and value and HA seems to be doing it slower than most, we have been sailing them lately. We were not disappointed, the Nieuw Amsterdam brought us closer to the cruise ... Read More
Because mass market lines are all rapidly degrading service and and value and HA seems to be doing it slower than most, we have been sailing them lately. We were not disappointed, the Nieuw Amsterdam brought us closer to the cruise enjoyment of past years. Service, can not say enough. We tried anytime dining and must admit they do a nice job seating you asking whether you would like to sit with others as we do. We were always seated immediately. Dining staff were great and bar service was right there, Many lines have cut service staff making wait staff now do bar service etc. That overloads staff and slows dining etc, but saves corporate money I guess. Especially since many sell drink packages meaning you already paid for the booze why try to get it to you fast. Menu was good and they still have every night options in case nothing on menu suits you. Best of all no EXTRA price items on main dining menu like you will find on several lines now. After dinner still have mint and figs at exist served in a politely folded napkin by a uniformed smiling staff member. Little things do count. Main theatre entertainment was adequate, no more or less, singer dance, a great steel band with amazing range. What we liked was the style of smaller venues, piano bar, blues bar, classical music bar available and more intimate. Future plans call for moving towards the standard cookie cutter versions in the future I believe. Let's just have big noisy bars with a loud big speaker band. Hopefully they tale their time becoming like all the rest. HA has always had the reputation of being the older people line, not such a bad reputation and at 67 and 62 getting there fast enough. We were pleased to see an average age on this cruise was probably our ages 60's. Not many families with kids, I have kids ( 40's ) not against kids just prefer venue now with fewer. Cabin was great we had 8168 aft balcony. We often take suites mainly for gaining a bathtub instead of just tiny shower and a little more room, bigger balcony etc. On HAL I believe all categories have tub so we did not concern ourselves. The aft balcony was large and wonderful. I will NOTE that this floor is directly under the aft pool and sunning area which means you will hear the lounge chairs hitting the floor at 5 am!! Didn't bother us good bathroom call for me and she slept fine through it. Light sleeper think of lower floor. The upper deck does not have visibility to look over and see your deck area do to overhang. Our cabin stewards were Bang Bang and Pu Tu and the best we have had in many years. Alway a smile always tending to any needs you have. Made a great cruise even better. Despite having paid gratuities they were worth extra and they got it. They worked at being great at their positions! Found ship to be in good shape and had no complaints. Officers were readily in view and walking the ship checking on spaces and mingling with passengers. Another thing missing form many lines now, nothing makes for clean and areas and better service than Officers all over the place. Love the Crows nest lounge overlooking the bow with great seats to and quiet area to view the sea. Another thing lost on many ships now as water parks etc start hiding sea views. Internet cafe, library and paid coffee bar there as well as a side open area. Ship still has great promenade deck to be closer to sea, walk around or sit on and read or nap. Yet another loss on modern resort design ships. Do to earlier hurricane itineraries had been changed. New one included Nassau which we also would up passing by due to tropical storm Phillip I think it was called. Captain elected to sail around and despite higher seas and winds high enough to close outer decks ship rode them well. I have trouble with motion but thanks to ship and I am sure Captains ship handling little motion was felt. Even in our high aft cabin, one of the worse locations at such times. We did hit two new ports for us in Dominican Republic and both looked newly made for cruise stops, shops etc actually some more original shops featuring hand made local quality leathers and things. Also a great free dancing show was in an outdoor theatre area and was wonderful on Punta Cana. Amber cove was also new nice area to just take a walk. We're not much on beach or excursions now a days have had enough of that honestly. The private beach usually our favorite was a short stay 8 to 2:30 so we elected to stay onboard and enjoy the empty pool areas. HAL also has those covered canopy areas you pay for one on upper deck and now, as again goes with new make em pay policies of cruise lines are also located in the main pool area. This takes away much needed seats but I guess is good if you don't mind feeling like you are in one of those old Egyptian movies playing the evil master overlooking the little people. I think having such private paid areas is fine in an upper away place but poolside a bit much for us. Finally the buffet area, food good, best part is that they still have section service areas where that area server ( nameplate on the tables ) will offer you iced tea, lemonade, or water delivered to your table and refilled often. Although I always got my own coffee I believe they will get that too for you. Plenty of seating most times. I love the pre-made sandwiches and little bags of potato chips available to just grab. Many people loved the huge salad bowls and varied ingredients served into them by salad staff. George in NY Read Less
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.1
Entertainment 5.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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