3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Many kudos - crew + food + drinks - all good! The complaint: We booked an aft cabin (#8164) - on deck #8. That's one deck below deck #9 - the Lido deck where the aft pool is located. Each morning - about 6-7am - incredible noise ... Read More
Many kudos - crew + food + drinks - all good! The complaint: We booked an aft cabin (#8164) - on deck #8. That's one deck below deck #9 - the Lido deck where the aft pool is located. Each morning - about 6-7am - incredible noise traveled downward from Lido. We complained non-stop, but to no avail. So on the 2nd 1/2 of our back-to-back, we upgraded to a Neptune suite at a considerable increase in cost. This suite was wonderful! DO NOT BOOK AFT SUITES IF YOU WANT A DECENT NIGHT'S SLEEP!!! The cruise itself was just about perfect: Fine weather, scenic sites, easy embarkation/disembarkation. The BB King Lounge was a hoot: Great band that played many contemporary songs, but not too many BB King tunes - odd! "The Band" that played in the Piano Bar was so-so if you like ballroom dancing (we drank at the bar until a decent tune came up). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We took this New Year's Cruise with our granddaughters . It was a great getaway from work and winter. Embarkment was very fast and smooth. Our room was ready when we got on board about 12 noon. Kids couldn't wait to get ... Read More
We took this New Year's Cruise with our granddaughters . It was a great getaway from work and winter. Embarkment was very fast and smooth. Our room was ready when we got on board about 12 noon. Kids couldn't wait to get in the pool and made friends really fast. This was our 4th cruise with Holland America and it was a lot younger crowd than we usually see , more diversified like Royal Caribbean. It being during holidays brought on more families . Food was good . Ate in main dining room and buffet mostly. Did the pizza once. It wasn't to my liking but Dh did. Loved all the port of calls but Falmouth . It was third world country for sure and we took ship tour to a beach. Not a pretty beach and food was expensive and ended up throwing it in trash as it was so bad. Grand Cayman was wonderful. Went to turtle farm and went snorkeling with those giant turtles. It was the best time . Kids got in small holding tank and held the turtles. Roatan we went on private tour and went to sloth sanctuary where we held a sloth named Dori. Oldest granddaughter was in Heaven ! She is an animal lover through and through. Cozomel we did Playa Mia for about 5 hours. Got sunburn but it was so worth it. Don't care for beach as sand is coarse so your feet sink into sand quite a bit and makes it hard to walk on the beach. Pools were great and kids loves the children's water area. Key West we just did the Hop on / Hop off bus without actually hopping off . We did the loop. Disembarkment went well and we went straight to airport unfortunately as this was the day of the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting. We were safe but caught up in evaluation. Ended up renting car for extremely over priced amount to get home. Either that or wait 4 days to fly. The road it was . Home again, home again jiggity jog. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We always take a holiday cruise and this fit our schedule. This is our 6th cruise on Holland America and our 25th overall. Nobody beats them for Pizza and Hamburgers and HotDogs on the Lido deck. Fresh and made to order. The BB King All ... Read More
We always take a holiday cruise and this fit our schedule. This is our 6th cruise on Holland America and our 25th overall. Nobody beats them for Pizza and Hamburgers and HotDogs on the Lido deck. Fresh and made to order. The BB King All Stars make the trip worthwhile even if you saw nothing else. The Production show, however, leaves a lot to be desired and they could certainly use some enrichment lectures during the day, or some other activities. We were pleased with both embarkation and debarkation. Fast, efficient and the cabins were ready when we got aboard rather than waiting on the Lido deck as we have done with other cruise lines. Since this was a Christmas cruise, I thought there could have been more emphasis on the season, such as a production show with a Christmas theme. Instead they gave us 2 viewings of White Christmas, which has to be at least 50 years old. Never the less, the cruise was enjoyable and of good value. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We selected Holland America for the food and service (our second cruise ever). We're in our early thirties and we're joined by both sets of parents and an 18 year old sister with a total of 7 in our group. We had a really nice ... Read More
We selected Holland America for the food and service (our second cruise ever). We're in our early thirties and we're joined by both sets of parents and an 18 year old sister with a total of 7 in our group. We had a really nice Christmas on this cruise and would recommend it to others. Disembarkation: We flew in the night before to ensure no flight delays. We aimed to be at the cruise port at 1:00 but due to heavy traffic didn't make it until 1:45.(9 cruise ships leaving on the same day with an estimated 25,000 arriving and another 25,000 leaving). Unfortunately some flights were cancelled and some other passengers didn't make the cruise. Despite the official paperwork saying the boarding process was 1:00 to 5:00 we learned that we could have boarded as early as 11:30 that morning. Food was available at Lido upon boarding, the buffet restaurant as it always is (skip paying for an outside lunch).. Ship: Built in 2010, the ship still feels relatively fresh and classy. There's not a ton of activities (no water slides or climbing wall) but that's expected due to the small size of the ship as it only carries ~2,100 passengers verses 5,000-7,000 of larger ships. The Silk Den (bar) on the top deck (11) is the best place for some quiet and to enjoy the views. Best place to go if you get sea sick is the seats around the circular staircase in main atrium on the Deck 1. It's the "middle of the middle" and sways the least. The ship will provide sea sickness drugs if you need them. Dining: Manhattan Dining Room (only dining room): Overall, food was "Really Good". About 80% of the menu was different each night and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It's unlikely that they will cook anything that's the "best you've ever had" but it will likely come in one or two notches below that. We were very happy with the food in the Manhattan Dining Room. They don't tell you but you can order multiple appetizers and entrees. So we would each order 1-2 appetizers and occasionally an extra entree so we could share and try everything. If you like something that comes small like scallops (3 tiny bites) order extra in advance. Two months in advance, we reserved a table in the Manhattan Dining room for the 5:30 dining time and were glad we did. Others had to wait a while in line for 15-30 minutes whereas our party walked right in each night, a must if you have a larger group. We saw them accommodate a group as large as 9 at a single table. Pinnacle Grill: We doubted whether the additional $35 up charge would be worth it for the upgrade to this restaurant but it ended up being a great value. I would describe the food here as "Amazing" (a small step down from "Life Changing" at a five star restaurant). The steak was on par with some of the best steak houses we have in Dallas, Texas. The food was noticeably improved over the Manhattan dining room and my only regret was not booking another dinner here. Lido Buffet: Never had to wait and it got busy but didn't feel overly crowded. It's a good option if you need something quick as something is available through-out the day. The food was good but definitely a step down from the dining room. Dive In: The Burgers and Hot Dogs were pretty good here. It did however consistently take 20-30 minutes to receive your food which is too long for this kind of food. Slice: Pizza was okay. Not bad, not great either. Room Service: You can also order room service 24 hours a day. A great option if you need an early breakfast before an excursion. They mixed up our order a few times but they tried to fix it ASAP when they did. We did not eat at any of the other specialty restaurants. Entertainment and Activities: Overall the acts were barely entertaining, any less and I would have just walked out. The magician/ comedian just juggled. Magic in the circus show for example was simulated with a live actress pulling doves out of a hat but she pretended to pull doves out of a real hat which then just flew around on the LED TV screen (not impressed). Activities listed on the Holland America website like America's Test Kitchen and BLEND we're not available on this ship (we were very disappointed). Really wish Holland America would list what activities are available for each ship as we were really interested in these two particular activities. Digital Workshops were for those that had little to no experience with the computers and applications they cover. They start each work shop with "this is a mouse". Fitness: We were interested in fitness classes but they tried to charge you an extra $15 for the classes like a cycling class. I think it should be included. The mixology class allows you to get behind the bar and practice making drinks. For $15 you get three pre-determined cocktails and more if you correctly answer trivia questions for the excess drinks, A fun and fantastic value. The art shows offers overpriced art. Virtually all are reprints that they try and sell at $1K-$15K. They have lots of gimmicks to suck you in. If you study the art closely you can see the ink blotches, the same micro dots they use on printing magazines and newspapers. If you have bad eye sight you probably won't notice. If you see something you like, take a picture of it and find it online for a lot less. The ship's shops offer increasingly large discounts towards the end of the cruise. Service: Service was pretty good. Most staff had a positive and courteous attitude and were semi-personable (tough when there's new passengers each week). Staff would do their best to help you with questions and I don't think I was ever told "no". There were occasional mistakes and staff apologized and did there best to fix it ASAP. I felt like I was developed a friendship with our server and cabin steward, wish we could have spent more time with them. Ports and Shore excursions: Our smaller ship size helped mean that we did not overcrowd an island we were visiting. We did three excursions and had a good time with each. Overall we found the excursions to be a pretty good value and a fair deal considering the time and hassle it would take to do it on your own. Other Passengers - Holland America is known for the "newly wed and the nearly dead". We were on a "young" cruise with families joining for the holidays (can't imagine what a regular cruise is like). There was space to park walkers at the entrance to the dining room. My younger sister, 18, went to several events intended for ages 18-25 and five or less people would show. Unless you like music from the 40's-60's the night life is DEAD. Otherwise, you'll fit right in and enjoy the dancing and songs which all ends at 11:00. I need to find a cruise line with good food, service, and activities that's not a booze cruise with drunkards. Christmas Activities - They decorated the various Christmas decorations including a Christmas trees, toy train, gingerbread houses, garland, and Christmas lights. They had various hot cocoa nights, Christmas caroling, and visit from Santa on Christmas day. Christmas Eve and Day meals were EXCELLENT. Christmas Eve included a choice of a traditional Christmas Dinners from various countries (6-8 options). The choir of crew put on their own heart warming show on Christmas Eve. The staff went out of their way to really make it feel special. Would definitely do it again. The only downside was on December 26th we were supposed to visit Half Moon Cay (Holland America's Private island) and they cancelled it when we arrived in the morning (another day at sea). The captain said that the wind was 30-40 knots with waves cresting at 5 feet, and the ship couldn't get a hold of their staff on the island. The ship's weather channel showed 9 mph wind and when I went outside there was a light breeze with what appeared to be small waves. We were later told the island's staff couldn't come to the island due to the large waves. Based on my knowledge and experience, I suspect because it was the day after Christmas, the island staff was either too drunk or didn't want to come into work and called in sick. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I like Holland more now that I am older. We have cruised over 40 times and this is our 4th Holland cruise. The quieter, more refined atmosphere is a pleasure now. The decorations, fresh flowers, and classical music was a nice alternative ... Read More
I like Holland more now that I am older. We have cruised over 40 times and this is our 4th Holland cruise. The quieter, more refined atmosphere is a pleasure now. The decorations, fresh flowers, and classical music was a nice alternative to some other lines. I wish the Carnival Family of Cruise lines would give credit for overall cruises the way that Royal Caribbean and Celebrity does, We have cruised extensively on Carnival as well as Costa, Holland, and Princess but we get more perks on RC and Celebrity. MSC even matches you highest level from any other cruise line! These perks do make a difference to the passenger and costs the cruise lines very little. The staff was the most impressive asset. They have always been excellent. I do miss their countries on their name tags. My biggest disappointment was in the cost of excursions as well as the limited number of easy excursions for those who are older and physically challenged. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our 21st cruise, but only the 2nd on HAL. But only after two cruises on HAL, I can honestly say that they are becoming my favorite cruise line. When we cruise we like low key, quiet, "left alone" cruising. Does that ... Read More
This was our 21st cruise, but only the 2nd on HAL. But only after two cruises on HAL, I can honestly say that they are becoming my favorite cruise line. When we cruise we like low key, quiet, "left alone" cruising. Does that mean there is nothing to do on the Nieuw Amsterdam? Of course not! There's plenty to do. But if you like to do nothing, it much easier to do so on this cruise line! On previous cruises, (mostly Carnival), we always had a good time, but it was hard to get away from obnoxious, loud, drunken groups, and from the noise of someone spouting off on a loud speaker. You still have that on HAL, but it's the exception rather than the rule. Embarkation: We arrived around 2pm for a sailing time of 4pm. The time from check in to on the ship was only about 25 minutes. No problems-except the Port Everglades traffic. From when we got off I-95 and got into the port area, traffic just stopped. I don't know what the deal was, but we spend an hour just in that area alone. I thought there might have been an accident or something blocking traffic. Nope, just 6 mega ships in port and not enough room for all the cars! Overall ship impression: This was a nice ship. Not too small that it's cramped, not so big that you loose yourself. One main swimming pool that has a cover so you can still stay out when it rains. In the back was a smaller adults only pool with 2 Jacuzzi that were so small that if you don't know the person that gets in after you, you will soon! Plenty of deck chairs and quiet areas to place them. Stateroom: We had a standard balcony cabin on deck 5 (5035). Typical size compared to most ships. Comfortable bedding. Very nice wide screen interactive tvs. Bathroom was a tub/shower combo which is nice-no more flooding the bathroom floor when you shower. Service: This is where HAL excels. On all our cruises, most service personnel are friendly. But on this ship they were above and beyond friendly, helpful and cordial. Food: We had late fixed dining. Usually main dining fare is hit or miss. Just about everything we had was at the least, good, and in some cases, excellent. The Pinnacle steak restaurant was exceptional, although I opted for the porterhouse, which was tasty, but a bit fatty with some gristle. The filet however were superb. Lido deck buffet was good. But I'm not crazy about two things there: 1. They serve you. Which is OK for efficiency, but I like to serve myself. I felt as if I were in an elementary school cafeteria. Plop, keep moving, next! 2. There are no trays anywhere. I was going to bring a couple of desserts and coffee back to our room, but had to leave the coffee. I couldn't carry it all. (Seeing this was my biggest gripe tells you that it was an great cruise!) The pizza place was very good. Only they serve whole 10 inch pies, I didn't see any slices. You order and it's ready in about 15 minutes. Entertainment: The first night the comedian was quite good. But most of the variety acts were not. The piano bar was always happening and had good tunes emanating from it. Our favorite however was piano/violinist duo that play classical pieces each night. Ports of call: One small complaint here: I'm not sure why HAL has to leave the ports so early. With the exception of San Juan, we had to be back on board by 2:30pm! In St. Maarten, out of 5 ships, we were the last to arrive and the first to leave. Which is a shame since we booked with Bernard's Tours (which I highly recommend) and they had to condense all the stops to accommodate our return to ship. Disembarkation: We had a luggage tag that was estimated to be called between 0845 and 0900. That ran about 30 minutes late-no biggie. The problem was when we got our bags the line to clear customs was about an hour long. Not really HAL's fault, but again like the traffic at the beginning, it seems as if Port Everglades can't seem to handle a full complement of ships at the same time. We're looking forward to our next cruise on HAL. The overall passenger age is slightly higher than most mainline cruises, but there were still many younger groups on board. If you are into the party all night crowd, you may want to stick with Carnival. This ship winds down after 11pm!. Still plenty to do. Still a lively crowd-just not that lively!! Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Smoking Policy. The pre-cruise literature, website, and the Welcome booklet each proclaim (promise) “all … verandahs are non-smoking.” Our friend’s verandah was totally unusable because of incessant cigar and cigarette smoking ... Read More
Smoking Policy. The pre-cruise literature, website, and the Welcome booklet each proclaim (promise) “all … verandahs are non-smoking.” Our friend’s verandah was totally unusable because of incessant cigar and cigarette smoking from another nearby verandah. HA offered my friends another stateroom, but it was much smaller and had a verandah that had no privacy. This was not acceptable. Then they were offered a meal in a specialty restaurant but that also seemed to be only slight compensation. Finally they were offered a bottle of wine. A bottle of wine = a verandah? Hardly. If this is an indication of HA’s honoring their promises, be forewarned. Is this false advertising? My friends clearly should be compensated the difference between their stateroom and a comparable non-verandah stateroom, and this matter is still very much alive. Gym. Attendants when present were helpful. The problem was that they were so often not around. The equipment is quite good, but HA has an older clientele, and on more than one occasion, I saw persons who could not figure out how configure a workout on the treadmills. Once several of us were trying to make the dials work, and could not. Finally, on the third machine that was apparently frozen I learned to go down below the machine and turnoff its master switch for 10 seconds, and the machine would then reset. This should be unnecessary. First the machines should work. Second, there should be attendants on the scene or at least a “help phone.” Food. The food was excellent. The choices were excellent and the preparation was excellent. Five star all the way. Stateroom. Our stateroom was on the aft of the ship and the design and layout of the stateroom itself and the bath were the best we have had on any ship. The bath was actually roomy, and the stateroom and balcony were excellent. The drawback was that sometimes the room was not cleaned very well, and we had to venture under the bed (see below)…only to discover that it had probably been last cleaned/vacuumed in 2014 or before. Pins, toothpicks, dust, debris, etc.…..likewise behind the end tables. Service. The ship ran out of extension cords for the guests’ medical equipment (C-paps, oxygen, etc.) This is inexcusable for HA, given the demographics of its clientele. Luckily I had brought an extension cord, but then the problem was that the room had only two electrical outlets, both far away on the dresser. (The one in the bathroom did not work, and we could not find another.) Only after moving the furniture around did we arrive at a way to hook up the machine at night. That’s how we discovered the dirty carpet under the bed. HA, you should be ashamed! We were told there were no more extension cords… but in the days that followed, I did see HA’s extension cords here and there. Entertainment. This is, like all the other elements of a review, simply a matter of preference and opinion, but compared to other cruises I have done (RC, Celebrity, Princess), the shows were nowhere near the shows on those other cruise lines. Moreover, the shows were notches below the really great shows that HA used to have. The exception is the violin/piano duo playing primarily classical music nightly in Adagio. Olena Boiko and Anton Zynchyn are world class if you like that kind of music. What a high class, professional team they are! Conclusion. Looking at HA along with comparable cruise lines (RC, Celebrity, Princess, NCL) HA seems to be increasingly showing the corporate mentality associated with Carnival. HA seems to have become complacent in its decline. You can see the decline in lots (LOTS!) of little ways. The glass (windows, etc.) on the ship looked like it had not been cleaned in ages. Mirrors, even wood-veneer doors, showed finger prints. In the past, you could always get escargots or shrimp cocktail as an appetizer; no more. I could go on. My guess is that the decline one senses starts with corporate. It seems that HA corporate is no longer insisting on excellence. Yes, the cruise was very good, but my past cruises in recent years on RC, Princess, and Celebrity and NCL have been EXCELLENT in every way. My last cruise on HA was about 10 years ago. The decline since then has been subtle but unmistakable and pervasive. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
The service and food was up to Holland Americas standard. The shows in the Theater, had alot to be desired. For a 14 day cruise,I expected more from this cruiseline. Mediocre productions repeated the second week. Majicians and comedians ... Read More
The service and food was up to Holland Americas standard. The shows in the Theater, had alot to be desired. For a 14 day cruise,I expected more from this cruiseline. Mediocre productions repeated the second week. Majicians and comedians twice both weeks. The most outstanding entertainment was The BB Kings Band in the Queens lounge. On Wed, when they would have a night off, it was truly dead on the ship. If you enjoyed classical, there was the Adaggio grp playing. The cruise director,didnt have a team to work with. Ive come to think, thats why there werent many fun onboard activities. There was LaLa and Abigail-the DJ. This is the first cruise ive ever been on, that the Dj did more than play music. The "sail away parties,"were nothing more than a makeshift bar set up on the aft deck, with musaq being piped in over the speakers. No Dj playing, no live band! NO PARTY!! The music trivia game was fun, all 10 minutes of it. The sandbag toss game was ok, for about 15minutes or so. The ship sailed on Sunday,by Saturday night at 11p, there was absolutely nothing happening onboard. We were told that since some passengers were on for only 7 days, they shut everything down early. Ummm, excuse me, There are alot of passengers onboard for the entire 14 days!! Are we being sent to bed at 11p? Ive been on a few HAL cruises, This is my first experience like this. The ports of call were nice, enjoyable even. The activities onboard were very much lacking. The captain of this vessel was not seen by quite a few of us passengers, but the cruise director was always,"In bahalf of the captain"yada yada yada. You would hear a recording of sea facts from our invisible captain. Mariners luncheon,..stil no captain, the cruise director instead. Service was wonderful, staff is amazing,yet shortstaffed at times. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We travel as a group of 12, booked 1 year ahead so we could have rooms all in a row. The balcony is extra nice when they open the divider between them so we all have extra living space. Registration process was a little long and tedious, ... Read More
We travel as a group of 12, booked 1 year ahead so we could have rooms all in a row. The balcony is extra nice when they open the divider between them so we all have extra living space. Registration process was a little long and tedious, but once we all got through there, everything was fine. Our rooms were ready as soon as we got on the ship so we could drop our stuff and run up to lunch. The Lido deck buffet is pretty big and did not seem crowded as the first lunch usually does. Good choices, easy seating. By the time we stopped back in our rooms, the luggage was already there-- fastest ever!! We were mostly unpacked by the safety drill. We chose fixed dining so we could all eat together and that worked out fine. We ate in the Pinnacle Grill one night-- very good as usual with excellent service and wonderful food. We found the show a little disappointing-- the talent was good, but the choice of shows was very strange. The 3rd show was better and the other entertainers were good. On deck, we did not find any shade. the back deck is 100% sun, the middle pool is surrounded by tables and chairs or cabanas that are an extra charge. Outdoor restaurants (pizza and burgers) involved placing an order and waiting with a buzzer-- not always convenient. Food is mostly done by 12m unless you use room service. We appreciated the fruit in room. We were quite surprised that the dining rooms and room service were available on debarkation day. We did not do any shore excursions as we are familiar witht he ports and arranged our own. We like this new ship and had a wonderful cruise. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We took this cruise 25 years ago (but on the Westerdam) and what we found interesting was that we paid the same dollar amount. This knowledge couldn't help but be a factor. That it could be done at all for the same price seemed ... Read More
We took this cruise 25 years ago (but on the Westerdam) and what we found interesting was that we paid the same dollar amount. This knowledge couldn't help but be a factor. That it could be done at all for the same price seemed amazing, so we had to be realistic and accept that everything couldn't be the same. There had to have been some cost cutting measures along the way. I think these have been done thoughtfully. Embarkation was more time consuming, similar to airport check in. I did wonder if some older people would find the amount of standing around and walking between large halls to be tedious or difficult. Our cabin window was a fully obscured by a lifeboat although we still had a light and a peek-a-boo view. It was only $30 more than an inside so we felt it was a reasonable exchange. I liked the love seat so there was somewhere to sit. We could hear music or conversation from a public room on another floor. I presume it travelled through the ventilation system. We didn't find it disturbing to go to sleep to the sound of music but some might. I recall that Alaska King crab legs were on the menu in the main dining room in the past; today it is necessary to go to the Pinnacle Restaurant for that. There were next to no props for the stage shows but rather a light show displayed various items and pieces of furniture. The band did not accompany the dancers; the music was a recording. The portions in the main dining room were sometimes very small. I wonder if food waste over the years is a consideration. We could always order more. I recall the 3 scallop appetizers where the scallops were about the size of a dime. The strawberry mousse dessert was the size of a meringue cookie and the Seafood Terrine appetizers perhaps the size of an American half dollar in width. Generally the food was very good, not outstanding, but very good. We travelled with our young grandchildren and they found the one and a half hours that the meal took trying at times. Often they would go through half the bread basket before the first course arrived. But the serving staff was very solicitous and the supervisor would come around regularly with magic tricks or origami displays to amuse them. The BB King Blues band was very good and popular. We couldn't get seating the first time and another time only one person got a seat. We wanted to take our grandchildren to the ABBA evening in one of the lounges (Northern Lights) but there was a sign that it was only for over 18's so we didn't go in. The kids liked the pool and often it wasn't too crowded. We babysat a few times and they enjoyed watching one of the children's movies available on a large mounted television screen. We would have liked some short children's programs but there weren't any of those. Holland America obviously has no control over this but it seems to be that the destinations have suffered from having four or five cruise ships turn up every day for four or five months. I've heard of the same thing in Caribbean destinations. Places like Ketchikan and Juneau become streets full of souvenir shops. We didn't take any excursions as most seemed to be more active/athletic than we were looking for. I think if you took one in each port you could easily double the cost of your cruise. There wasn't that much to do on board on Port days which was three of the days. I appreciated that we could sit in a lounge without being pressed to order a drink. Compared to the library on the Queen Victoria (Cunard) this one didn't seem to have much organization and not the same volume of books. I did find one book that enjoyed reading. This was our fourth Alaska cruise and we only decided to go a few weeks before to spend time with our son and his family and assist them with their two small children. I do think this cruise, like many others, is a very good value. It is possible to spend as much or as little as you want in addition to the fare unlike resorts or hotels which seem to tag on various resort fees and housekeeping expenses in addition to the published charge. We noticed that Glacier Bay was warmer and the icebergs small compared to 25 years ago. We didn't see the glacier calving that we had previously and also less wildlife. I suspect he constant cruise traffic leads wildlife to find other locations and routes. I noticed a more casual appearance on this cruise by the passengers. On formal night, polo shirts and slacks were acceptable attire for men and I noticed more than one man, on the second 'gala' night, in shorts, a logo T shirt and baseball cap. Unlike, Cunard, there was no ballroom dancing. I used to like to watch the ten or twelve talented couples weave around the dance floor every night but most people stayed off the floor. I don't think we'll go to Alaska again but we'll go on more cruises and likely some at least with Holland America. The prices are very good compared to resort vacations and if you can get a few perks like included gratuities or cabin credits thrown in, so much the better. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our 10th cruise, our 5th on Holland America and our 5th to Alaska . . . our 3rd to Alaska on Holland America. We chose this particular cruise primarily because of price and timing, but have wanted to sail on the Nieuw Amsterdam ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise, our 5th on Holland America and our 5th to Alaska . . . our 3rd to Alaska on Holland America. We chose this particular cruise primarily because of price and timing, but have wanted to sail on the Nieuw Amsterdam because of the good experience we had on the Eurodam, her sister ship. Overall, we found it met our expectations - we really cruise with the idea that "Any day at sea is better than a day on land" and we know the HAL experience pretty well, So, again, it met our expectations and we were very pleased, highly recommend it and would do it again. But it didn't make us go "Wow!", really, at any time. There were a few highlights, but nothing that really leaped out as truly exceptional. To break it down into the basic components: Embarkation: - Embarkation was a breeze. We dropped off our bags at about 10:30 a.m. so we could walk around Canada Place a little bit. Worth it and we were glad the porters were there that early. Started the check-in at 11:30 and we were onboard by about 12:15 - in time for lunch in the Manhattan Dining Room. No longer doing the Mariner's lunch on the first day, we discovered. - Having sailed from Vancouver before, they have changed the check-in. You check in in one line, in the same room as Princess, which was a bit confusing and we saw a LOT of people getting moved from line-to-line. Then you go back out of that room, downstairs, through the parking deck to security. Then to another room to go through Customs and THEN you get to the hall where you sit and wait to board. While it moved quickly, it was very confusing and we felt badly for anyone with ambulatory problems - it was a lot of walking. - Very disappointed to learn upon boarding that they had increased the prices in the specialty restaurants - not by much, just enough to be irritating. It would have been very easy to do a pre-cruise email/announcement. - Bags were in the cabin quickly, muster was easy and we were under sail by 5:00 p.m. if not before. Cabin: - We were in Stateroom 7011, category VE, Rotterdam deck. We like the location since we use the spa suite frequently - one of the main reasons we cruise with HAL. It was clean, our stewards were terrific. Use of space is great, bed was comfortable. - The sofa that converts to a bed is not really comfortable for sitting - that was really our only complaint about the room. - We don't like the new TV interface . . . having a flat screen is so much better than the older ships as you get more desk space, but we did not like the new format. Only a few channels of Live TV (which is fine - you should be watching the ocean anyway), and they were inconsistent. GREAT selection of shows and movies. But we missed having the channel that showed recorded programs from the cruise - like the daily announcements with the Cruise Director, the presentations from the showroom, etc. I particularly didn't like the map interface as it no longer shows latitude and longitude and isn't as detailed on the map as to your current location. Really prefer the format on the older ships. - Cabin was quiet, though. We heard others complaining on higher decks about noise from the Lido and some complaints that cabin stewards were not as attentive as usual -- we believe stewards have a higher number of cabins than they used to - It's silly, but we had the best towel animals every night than we've ever had - really complicated elephants and rabbits. It was a treat every night to see what would be new. Food: - While service in the Manhattan was very good, the quality of the food was just ok. We've always praised HAL for the quality of their soups (really - we love their soup, without fail) and even the soups this time were "just ok" . . . there was nothing awful in the MDR, but nothing great. It was almost like they were trying too hard and the quality really suffered - The burgers and fries at the Dive In were exceptionally good - The pizza on the aft pool deck is quite good and a great addition on this class of ship. But, oh, the wait was interminable - clearly very popular, but quite good - I've always questioned HAL's Lido Buffet service - it's confusing, lines pile up, people never quite seem to get it and this trip was no exception. The food was fine, again, but not great -- and too much of a hassle - They have a station with pre-made sandwiches and bags of chips at the end of the Lido. Had these several times and, really, the sandwiches were extremely good - very well done and very easy. The salad bar station was quite good, as well. - Tamarind -- DO IT. The good was fantastic, ingenious and the service was exquisite. The whole atmosphere is wonderful and a real delight. Very, very pleased with it. - We ate at Canaletto twice it was so good. Just fantastic. There's a lasagna that isn't on the menu that we would not have tried if the manager hadn't encouraged us, too. This is not your mother's lasagna - this is a lasagna for the gods. Definitely, definitely worth the additional cost even WITH the increased price on this cruise. Entertainment: - I work in the performing arts, so we really don't go to the shows (hey, it's a vacation!) - can't comment on the quality, but people seemed to enjoy. - Never even saw the Cruise Director in any other capacity - Felt like the activities were lacking - fewer lectures and "other activities." Went to a couple of the Culinary Arts presentations and they were fine, but they seemed few and far between. It's rare for us to look at the "On Location" and quite literally not see one thing we wanted to do. Other Items: - The staff in the shops and the photography area were downright rude. Absolutely unhelpful, uninterested and, at one point, completely skipped over us in line to help another customer. Our only complaint about the entire staff. - The staff, overall, of the ship was lovely - helpful, kind, nothing was too much trouble - they went out of their way to make it a good experience. - The only excursion we did was the Tracy Arm Fjord tour -- exceptional. Really should be on the must-do list if you take this itinerary. And it's kind of cool to get off your ship, while moving, in the middle of the ocean. But this itinerary took us right up to Sawyer glacier on a smaller boat - really worth the extra cost and absolutely incredible. - Disembarkation was a BREEZE . . . our flight was at 11:55 and we were not sure how long it would take to get off the ship. We elected to be first off and walk our bags out and it could NOT have been easier or faster -- except the instructions were lacking, so it was confusing as to where you were supposed to be to disembark, but it was quite fast and very easy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Overall, our cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam to Alaska was amazing. Embarkation was quick. The ship was well designed, it was never crowded(except for the buffet), and the service was great. Having elevators at midship in addition to forward ... Read More
Overall, our cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam to Alaska was amazing. Embarkation was quick. The ship was well designed, it was never crowded(except for the buffet), and the service was great. Having elevators at midship in addition to forward and aft allows almost no wait times for elevators. One of the reasons we chose this ship is because the pool deck had a retractable roof, so we could swim if it was cold outside. The scheduled activities onboard were spectacular. They even had cooking demonstrations! We went with kids, and they loved the cruise. The kids program space just needed an outdoor area though. We did have a couple of complaints though. One of the issues I thought was that the service in the Main Dining Room couldn't have been better when using As You Wish dining. We only had spectacular service if we used the set time dining, which would have been more convenient if it had been at 6:00 instead of 5:30. The entertainment was pretty good. The production shows were not great, as the performers had no original work and were just singing pop songs that I could already hear whenever I wanted to on my phone. The illusionist Leon Etienne made up for this though. Our cabin was pretty good, but I would have liked more electrical outlets and not having to put a card in the slot to turn on power. Just a tip to everyone: there is no jogging track onboard, you will have to use the fitness center. My last complaint is that having booked a shore excursion in Juneau through the cruise line, we had to wait in the theater for a tender instead of being able to explore the town before our excursion. I would definitely reccomend this cruise to anyone who wants to expirence Alaska. While the ship does not have features like rock climbing walls an so Johnny Rockets, the activities that were put together onboard were amazing. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our 10th cruises to Alaska but 1st with HAL. Balcony room, and accompanying two 83 years adults. What we like: Hard working staffs everywhere, clean ship. Entertainments: Bobby Wilson's Motown evening, Illusionist's ... Read More
This was our 10th cruises to Alaska but 1st with HAL. Balcony room, and accompanying two 83 years adults. What we like: Hard working staffs everywhere, clean ship. Entertainments: Bobby Wilson's Motown evening, Illusionist's performance; Adagio, violinist and piano duo at the 2nd floor lounge every evening; Foods: All the desserts and ice cream. good waffles, custom order Pizza. Dinner evening: Softshell crab(Monday), Arctic Char, Lobster(Wednesday), Wild mushroom soup, and Quails(Sunday). Johnny Walker taster party(free on Thursday evening, 8 differents types of scotch whiskeys served with JW blue label as highlight; same evening 2 bottles of Blue label sell for $310 usf less 10%). Staffs were not pressure to sell drinks. Not so crazy about: every morning 5am, all outside walking areas were sprayed with fresh water, as an early riser, very difficult for me to jog. As a photographer, the ship has no clear view to the very front of the ship, all front views have to view thru windows or plastic windshield on sky deck. No problem if you are not a serious photographer. The ship only stop at the front entrance of Tracy Arm and one has to buy a tour to see the Fjord. Ports: Juneau, I walk among the Main street all the way to the hill and hike into the mountain and has a good view of waterfall, not a difficult hike but do have some steep area and some mosquitoes ( not too many). Skagway, If you walk pass the town, there was an old cemetery and a pretty waterfall. No salmon sighting as the run was late this year.. Ketchikan: Walk up along the creek. The 1st run of salmon was near the end and dead salmons were all over the creek, the next run should come in in the next few weeks and fill the creek with lively fish. Whale sighting: 2nd day evening and 3rd day morning. One close unexpected sighting at 4am Thursday morning from the balcony ( yes, I am an early person). Overall, a very enjoyable cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
The food and eating areas were clean, efficient and well run. They offered pleasant surroundings with efficient, hard working and friendly staff. We ate in the Lido, the common eating area and we impressed by it - much better than the ... Read More
The food and eating areas were clean, efficient and well run. They offered pleasant surroundings with efficient, hard working and friendly staff. We ate in the Lido, the common eating area and we impressed by it - much better than the 'trough' we had experienced on a different cruise. We also ate at two of the fine dining areas and both were excellent. Our accommodation with very good. It was bigger than we thought it might be and the cleaners did a great job of keeping the room and bathroom clean and neat. We have had other experiences on different cruise lines and were not very impressed. So it was a very pleasant surprise to experience the Holland America organisation. The drinks packages were also surprisingly reasonable with a 1 litre bottle of gin and two cans of tonic for $33 Canadian dollars. The organisation of the ship allowed a lot of areas where we could sit quietly and talk if we wanted to, but also offered other areas where quiet music was played or more upbeat stuff was played. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was our first cruise, along with two friends who hadn't cruised before either. We were all a little apprehensive, particularly with the idea of being herded on & off ship, into restaurants, etc. But we were very pleasantly ... Read More
This was our first cruise, along with two friends who hadn't cruised before either. We were all a little apprehensive, particularly with the idea of being herded on & off ship, into restaurants, etc. But we were very pleasantly surprised. We chose Holland America on the recommendation of our travel agent, as HAL caters to the more mature cruiser group, has mid-sized ships & dress is "country club casual". Positives: Excellent service - nothing is too much trouble. All the staff are so happy and, although extremely busy, always find the time to say a few words or enjoy a joke. Excellent food. Plenty of choice and well-presented. We ate in the Manhattan Dining Room four evenings, once each in the Pinnacle Grill, the Caneletto, and the Lido. We celebrated my 60th birthday in the Pinnacle Grill and this was truly fine dining - the best experience of the cruise. Excellent entertainment with good variety. Tendering at Ketchikan & Disembarkation - smooth & very well orchestrated. Our overall rating would have been excellent if it hadn't been for some improvement opportunities (embarkation & service in the Lido restaurant & Explorations Cafe). We provided constructive feedback to HAL - they acknowledged our feedback & made all appropriate management aware. Because of the way HAL responded, we are in the process of booking another cruise with them, and on the same ship. Read Less
49 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Back ground: My husband and I are avid cruisers. We have been on many different cruise lines. Although we both have been on Alaska cruise before, this is my husband’s first HAL cruise. It is my 4th on HAL. Alaska is our back ... Read More
Back ground: My husband and I are avid cruisers. We have been on many different cruise lines. Although we both have been on Alaska cruise before, this is my husband’s first HAL cruise. It is my 4th on HAL. Alaska is our back yard. And yes, we are spoiled with frequent sightings of wild life and majestic natural beauty. We live in Victoria, BC, after all. We still love nature and wild life. The reasons we selected this ship & cruise: It fits our schedule. It was convenient-- no flights involved. It is a newer ship. And the price was right. We also happened to be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in June, this cruise is a fantastic present to us! Normally, itinerary is an important consideration, the ship's amenities were secondary. Not so for this cruise. We wanted to enjoy the amenities. Food We were pleasantly surprised with food on HAL Nieuw Amsterdam. Every Seafood dish we had was well-prepared. Not overcooked. Their special Salmon Bake was excellent, definitely worth trying or saving your stomach for! Even if you don’t like seafood, this Salmon lunch is one you have to try (in particular in Alaska!) And you may even forever change your mind about seafood! The staff in the Dining Room are very experienced and flexible. If we were not sure, their recommendations usually turned out better than our original choice. And sometimes, they even made suggestions we never considered, and which turned out perfect. HAL has improved Anytime Dining! Anytime Dining can be very challenging and tricky to meet the guests' (our) demanding expectations. We found HAL orchestrated the dining well for us. We never had to wait very long for our entrees. Maybe dining around 6pm, before the rush, helps. In Lido, I especially appreciate a permanent separate station dedicated to Asian-focused fare. I love the choice of congee every morning! How cool is that? We did tried one specialty restaurant: Canaletto. Although it was $10 per person, we find the service and the food in the main Dining Room just as good as Canaletto. Service We were very satisfied with our room stewards, dining room staff, Bar attendants, …Everyone was friendly and eager to please, eager to help. The only area I think can be improved will be in Lido Buffet. They either need more staff, or let us guests know we are to help ourselves with table cleaning, and or table setting. (I had seen guests helping themselves.) We were most impressed with the In-Room Dining service. That was totally unexpected. We get a phone call after each delivery to ensure our order was correct, and the food was to our satisfaction. The fact they all care... even if it was just coffee, couple of yogurt,....made it more enjoyable. When we insisted on having our martinis in Martini glasses, the bar waiters would hunt them down for us. Apparently, the Martini glasses are not available in every beverage / bar lounges. They aim to please. Ship Decor & Amenities We wanted to be on a newer HAL ship. The old ships are just too much wear & tear. But, I have mixed feeling about the newer ship designs. Be it HAL, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, the public spaces are smaller, and newer "theme" space or room is intentionally created for revenue-generating. It is understandable. For example, the forward observation lounge on deck 11 now host Crow’s Nest & the Library with café. The grand lobby is no long grand with expansive staircase. More space is carved out to accommodate a specialty restaurant, and bar lounge. Having said that, we like the library, the book/magazine selection. We were also impressed with the huge selection of current movies in our stateroom TV. I still enjoyed the afternoon tea, even though it has changed since my first Afternoon Tea on Oosterdam 10 years ago. Embarkation & Disembarkation We had no problem with either. In fact, we expected longer line ups at embarkation. It was quite swift, and organized. We were also very surprised our cabin was ready as soon as we embarked. We actually get to drop off our stuff in the cabin before lunch at the Lido! Smoking This is a irksome & pesky issue for us on HAL. I was surprised to find Smoking is allowed on the balcony and a few other public places. A highly-sensitive non-smoker, I just can’t seem to blend my cup of morning coffee with a whiff of cigarette smoke, in the midst of Alaska Super Nature. And the smoke need not be next door. Smoke permeates everywhere. It did limit my enjoyment of our balcony. My husband played in the casino a couple of nights. He left early one time because a smoker lit up. It also irritated the heck out of me, at one critical moment, the moment most Alaska cruisers wait for...outside on the deck, being surrounded by this Magnificent glacier, the majestic mountains, and the deep emerald ocean water, (the highlight and the purpose of this Alaska journey), I drank in this crisp pure glacier air, deep, and wham was hit by aimless cigarette smoke. As we entered the Bay, the National Park, we guests were asked to respect the pristine condition of this bay. Thus no loud music or conversation. Why is smoking not included? I would ask HAL to consider that. Bottom line, do I recommend HAL? Yes. It provides good value, consistent food quality, and friendly service. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We had a wonderful cruise. A Panama Canal transit was on our "bucket" list - we enjoyed every minute of our 19 day cruise. Dining: our booking included dinner in each of the 3 specialty restaurants. Tamarind was our ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise. A Panama Canal transit was on our "bucket" list - we enjoyed every minute of our 19 day cruise. Dining: our booking included dinner in each of the 3 specialty restaurants. Tamarind was our favorite of the 3. Canaletto was average, Pinnacle was good, but we felt the upcharges there were too steep. We loved the burger place on lido for lunch as well as the pizza. We had several breakfasts & dinners in the MDR. We felt service, quality & presentation were very good. Lido for breakfast or lunch was good, but at dinner the food looked over cooked and held in the warmers too long. Crew: every crew member we encountered was friendly, helpful & a pleasure to interact with. Even though the crew seemed over worked, they still did their duties with a smile & pleasant attitudes. Ship: she was clean & in good condition. We liked the décor and enjoyed the amenities. Ports: we loved them all. Laundry: we purchased the "unlimited" laundry pkg & felt it was well worth the money. Everything came back the next day neatly folded or on hangers. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We are 2-star Mariners with a few HAL cruises under our belt, and prior cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. This was a 7-day Western Caribbean out of Ft Lauderdale, stopping at Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Key West, ... Read More
We are 2-star Mariners with a few HAL cruises under our belt, and prior cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. This was a 7-day Western Caribbean out of Ft Lauderdale, stopping at Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Key West, with 2 sea days. Our party was my DH, our adult friend (first time cruiser), and myself. I am early 40s, my DH and friend are late 50s. We are physically active. Our priorities for this cruise were to relax, exercise daily, enjoy a variety of food on board, and sample the live music. We did not book any shore excursions. I enjoyed massages at the Greenhouse Spa every day. Overall: Our first time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, sister to the Eurodam (one of our previous ships), and a lovely cruise. We were blessed with calm seas and fine weather. The ship is in fine shape overall -- we did not see any unsightly problems beyond the normal wear and tear one would expect from a ship in active use. Service was excellent. Food was inconsistent (detailed below). My overall grade for this cruise is a B+. Travel: We arranged our own travel to Ft Lauderdale on Saturday 02 April (day before departure) and stayed at the Renaissance, a perfectly serviceable hotel with a view over the harbor. Travel to the port was 10 minutes and we used Uber, as we were a group of 3 and needed no van or special services to get there. Embarkation: We showed up at 11 am ready to board early (thanks to our Neptune Suite privileges). We were checked in quickly and ushered to the "VIP waiting room" close to the gangway. We kept our friend with us through the expedited process (though he was not in a suite) and nobody batted an eye, which was a nice courtesy to him and to us. Boarding began about 11:25 and was fast and easy. Our luggage arrived within 2 hours. Decor: We loved the "Manhattan" theme of the ship. The burgundies, taupes, and grays throughout felt sophisticated and chic. The Manhattan Dining Room in particular felt like a dinner club. I took time to look at the photos and art and really liked it all. My favorite ship decor of all HAL ships so far. "Mood": I've been struggling to articulate this, as it's an extremely subjective assessment, but we found this sailing to be the least "fun" cruise we've ever been on. Some combination of the time of year (post Spring Break), the itinerary, the HAL clientele, and the tone of the captain and crew produced an experience for us that felt sedate and reserved. This was good -- relaxation was our goal -- but also somewhat disappointing, as I've enjoyed getting to know staff on previous ships (shoutout to Alice, culinary arts coordinator on the Maasdam!). The cruise director and captain were little more than garbled voices on the PA. We've previously seen ship's officers greeting passengers boarding the ship or chatting during the day, but didn't see this on this cruise. Officers I spotted in the Lido kept their eyes averted and didn't seem to want to engage with passengers; I also didn't see a captain's table in the Manhattan Dining Room (though we were only there 2 nights and could have missed it). That said, I am also responsible for my own experience on board, and I could have sought out more interaction. But ultimately I found the mood of this ship to be somewhat reserved relative to other HAL ships. Suite 7076: Our SA-grade Neptune Suite was a pleasure. For this itinerary, however, I would recommend a starboard cabin, as our clockwise path around Cuba had us looking out to sea most of the time. (Of course, if you prefer sea views, then go with a port cabin!) The one exception was the last day at Key West: the ship was tied up such that our port view away from the pier gave us a great view of all the active boating traffic, parasailers, planes coming in to land, etc -- all-day entertainment. Food: The food was inconsistent, and this was the only disappointment on the cruise. We ate at every dining facility at least once: Lido Market, Manhattan Dining Room, Dive In (pool cafe), Canaletto, Tamarind, the Pinnacle Grill, and Le Cirque (a one-night experience at the Pinnacle Grill). The best overall was Tamarind, by a healthy margin. As others have said, Tamarind is a highlight -- the small footprint makes it an intimate experience, and the food was delicious and felt hand-crafted. (If you've ever eaten in a large busy cruise ship restaurant, you know what I mean!) I highly recommend taking advantage of the Tamarind experience if your ship offers it. Close second were the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto. Pinnacle has a large and varied menu, and I could see myself eating there several nights. Canaletto suffers from poor ambiance (it is a partitioned seating area in the Lido) but works mightily to make up for that with some truly delicious Italian food. I would have liked a second evening at Canaletto to explore its menu a bit more. The Manhattan Dining Room (MDR) was fine. I have, unfortunately, become a discerning restaurant patron, such that I notice spotted glasses, dull silverware, spots on the tablecloth, and so forth. I cut the MDR some slack for maintaining a high level of service in a chaotic and unpredictable environment -- the free-form dining schedule must be a nightmare for the staff -- but I have to avert my eyes from the details in order to enjoy the experience. The food quality was good, with the one low point of the jumbo cocktail shrimp on Gala night that were yellowed and toughened. I suspect that the kitchen has to prepare hundreds of these and that they sit for a while before being served; some dishes suffer more than others for this, and the cocktail shrimp are one of them. For me, eating in the MDR felt chaotic, and though we were never rushed, our servers certainly seemed to be in a perpetual motion covering the floor. The worst? Le Cirque, sad to say -- not because the food was bad, but because it should have been much better for the vaunted culinary experience it is portrayed to be. We've experienced Le Cirque on Maasdam, and it was intimate and delightful. On Nieuw Amsterdam, however, the Pinnacle is open to the central atrium, and music from the Pinnacle Bar over the Grill's own piped-in sound created a cacophonous environment. The food was inconsistent: the foie gras amuse bouche was cold and hardened, and my escargots first course was borderline repellant: it was tepid, and the large unshelled snails in a green sauce were unappetizing. I had to force it down. (I probably should have complained, but I figure that anyone who orders snails should be prepared to deal with whatever comes!) The chateaubriand main course was delicious and went a long way to redeeming the meal, but I was still left underwhelmed. Entertainment: The highlight for us was the BB King Blue Band, which was terrific. My DH and our friend are musicians and were pleasantly surprised and impressed with the skill and talent. We didn't partake of much more entertainment; we poked our heads into the Showroom at Sea on one of the gala nights, and the singers are good but the dancing was lackluster. That's been our experience on other ships and we generally stay away from the shows. Excursions: We didn't book any. Ports: Half Moon Cay was fine -- it was a bit cloudy with some drizzle so we didn't get the full beach experience, but we dozed on lounges in our rented clamshell for a few hours and felt satisfied. Grand Cayman was a nice clean shopping experience, with the added benefit that some kind person picked up our friend's dropped room key card and gave it back to the HAL personnel at the dock, so that when we rushed back in a semi-panic at its loss, the HAL folks returned it to us with a flourish. THANK YOU, whoever you are, for doing that for us, and I promise to pay it forward if and when I ever find another guest's dropped card. Cozumel was very hot (85 degrees) and humid (100%!) and I didn't get off the ship; DH and our friend checked out the port area and said it was non-stop tourist trap for blocks and not worth suffering through in the hot sun. Key West was a nice final stop -- I would characterize it as charming, but not beautiful -- and we went for a run along the streets. Our port-side cabin gave us a fabulous view of the active boat traffic, parasailers, and planes, and we spent a few hours with binoculars just enjoying the gorgeous day. Disembarkation: Our flight from FLL departed at 10:42 am, a tad early, so for the first time we opted for the "self debark" option, keeping our luggage with us and trundling off the boat under our own power. There were quite a few people lined up by 7:30 am. It took us 30 minutes from lounge to curbside once HAL opened up the gangway, but much of the timesaving was thanks to our Global Entry cards, which zoomed us to the front of the customs line. Summary: A fine cruise on a lovely ship, with a few discordant notes. HAL's service staff are fantastic and I continue to marvel at the energy and commitment of everyone on the ship. Food, as noted above, was overall good, with some shining stars (Tamarind, Pinnacle). The logistical challenges of feeding thousands of people on-demand create some stresses that showed through, but nothing unexpected. This was not the most fun HAL cruise we've been on, but we enjoyed a week on a lovely ship and look forward to our next. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We took a 7 day cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam and found it to be very nice. Food and service were excellent except we did not think Pinnacle Grill was any better than the regular dining room. OUr cabin stewards were excellent and our cabin ... Read More
We took a 7 day cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam and found it to be very nice. Food and service were excellent except we did not think Pinnacle Grill was any better than the regular dining room. OUr cabin stewards were excellent and our cabin itself was quite nice...like most cruise ships...but unusually large balcony...luck of the draw. The embarkation was smooth as was the early disembarkation process. Our only dissatisfaction was that Holland allows folks to smoke on their verandahs and there were several times we had to go inside because someone close was smoking. While not a HA shore excursion, we got off in Georgetown Grand Cayman and took the public bus to the turtle exhibit...$2.50 each to ride and they are everywhere. Across the street was a restaurant called the Cracked Conch and it was spectacular...a don't miss. Great mojito. Found we could order a carafe of house wine at dinner and it was a real bargain...two glasses each for about $15 US. The thing that was most helpful for me is that Holland allowed us to order coffee and breakfast to our stateroom the morning of disembarkation...only line that has done that. Final score...we made a future cruise deposit. It was a great trip! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We had never been on a Holland ship and went as a recommendation of good friends, who were also with us. Embarkation/debarkation was a breeze and we chose to take our own luggage off. Our trip included a free drink package, meal at the ... Read More
We had never been on a Holland ship and went as a recommendation of good friends, who were also with us. Embarkation/debarkation was a breeze and we chose to take our own luggage off. Our trip included a free drink package, meal at the Pinnacle and $100 on board credit. Not sure if we'll do the drink package again, as we're not huge drinkers, but it was fun to have. The dinner was excellent. What we most appreciated was, the fact that we were being served at the Lido Buffet. Too many people do not know how to conduct themselves at a buffet. So much more sanitary when served. Lots of variety. Loved the Sushi offering at the Lido. We did go to the Tamarind for dinner one evening and it was also exceptional. My husband liked the gym and I did the walking deck every day along with a Thermal Spa visit. They do not have enough hot rock beds for the amount of people who signed up for the Thermal Spa. Not a positive in my book. The DJ in the Northern Lights bar needs to expand on his Disco repertoire. Very poor. Loved t BB King singers though! One major thing we found that was a huge negative was the fact that there seemed to be way too much paper mail. Good to know that it's being recycled though. We chose not to go on any paid excursions on this trip, so can't comment. However, we thoroughly enjoyed Half Moon Cay. Would love to return there some day in the future. All in all, it was a very fun and relaxing cruise. We will sail on Holland again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My wife and I and another couple just returned from a very relaxing cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday night for a 3 night pre cruise and had a very nice stay at the Hilton Marina. Embarkation was ... Read More
My wife and I and another couple just returned from a very relaxing cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday night for a 3 night pre cruise and had a very nice stay at the Hilton Marina. Embarkation was smooth and easy, arrived around 11:30am and was onboard in less than an hour. We found the ship to be similar to the other HAL ships we've sailed (Noordam and Zuiderdam) but with some nice new touches. We love aft cabins and found our room 6179 to be comfortable and well laid out. The balcony was about 7' deep and 10' wide and we opened the divider with our friends next door to make it even more open. We did experience major vibrations just one day while anchored off Half Moon Cay. The ship while anchored still ran their stern thrusters to prevent the ship from swinging. This resulted in very uncomfortable vibrations that felt similar to an earthquake but it lasted for hours. I finally left the cabin earlier than normal as I became nauseous from all the shaking. I'm a seasoned boater, own two boats and I never get seasick. Despite this one issue, we really enjoyed the cabin and our cabin stewards were outstanding. We decided to stay onboard at HMC as we have been there before and wanted the aft pool to ourselves. This was nice as we had very few people with the same idea. At Grand Turk, we returned to Jack's Shack and enjoyed some great adult beverages and tasty jerk chicken. Amber Cove was next and it was nice but we decided not to leave the port area and returned to the ship early to enjoy another day by the aft pool with very few people onboard. Due to high winds, we were unable to leave Amber Cove as scheduled. The wind was blowing 40mph and would have pushed the ship directly into the dock. We did not leave Amber Cove until the next morning and consequently the next port, Key West was cancelled. A lot of people were very disappointed, including us. We did the math and felt it was doable to still do Key West but the experts onboard and at corporate felt it was not a good idea so I respect their decision. Port taxes were returned, nothing more and nothing less. The dining onboard was a real highlight. Breakfast in our room or at Lido was decent with good choices. Lunch options including gluten free pizza and good burgers at Dive In as well as Lido were all tasty. We only had dinner in the MDR on the first night which was Easter Sunday and it was decent but unspectacular. We dined three nights at Pinnacle Grill and three nights at Tamarind. We were already big fans of Pinnacle but have never experienced Tamarind and we absolutely loved this new addition. Pinnacle continues to offer a great experience in all phases: food quality, preparation, service and ambience. We enjoyed perfectly cooked steaks, lamb chops, crab legs, Etc. The apps were great as well with steak tartare being my favorite. Wish they had French onion soup, the MDR version Easter night was bland and just not very good. The table crafted Caesar salad made by Clifford was one of the best we've ever had bursting with favors as a good Caesar should. The Tamarind was a real treat and offset the Pinnacle with the same great food quality and experience but a totally different menu. They had excellent sushi, beef, lamb and soups. Again, service was impeccable and we were made to feel very special. We brought a case of red wine onboard and never did we feel the wine stewards in both venues made us feel guilty. In fact we always offered them tastings and they were gracious and very friendly. Entertainment was pretty good. Kevin Jordan the comedian was very funny. The juggling comedian was also pretty good. The BB King Band was outstanding and we attended every night except the one day they were not playing. We were very disappointed in Mike the piano bar entertainer. He was way below par compared to others we have enjoyed on HAL ships and others. With the BB King option, the piano bar was not a big deal for us but I was surprised. For those who may have enjoyed Mike, at least it was easy to get a seat at the bar or lounge as it appeared the majority stayed away from this venue. The aft seaview pool was great as usual but a little crowded as expected on sea days. We found passengers with children obeyed the rules for the most part and kept the kids in the mid ship pool. Being Spring Break there were a lot of kids and they seemed pretty well behaved throughout the ship. Kudos to the parents out there who follow the rules and respect others. My wife had a massage and a facial and I had one massage and all services were excellent. Disembarkation was very smooth and we used luggage direct for the first time. Although our flight was severely delayed, all went well and our luggage arrived in good shape at our final destination. Overall, we had a great time and were very pleased with our choice to sail on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We found the trip to be relaxing and also a good value. We will continue to travel with HAL in the future. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was the third cruise for both my wife and me. All three have been on Holland America ships. Embarkation: The process went smoothly as expected. We had one hiccup somewhat of our own doing where our two children, 9 and 11, both ... Read More
This was the third cruise for both my wife and me. All three have been on Holland America ships. Embarkation: The process went smoothly as expected. We had one hiccup somewhat of our own doing where our two children, 9 and 11, both had low grade fevers. It took about 20-30 minutes to get a ships doctor into the processing area to evaluate our kids before boarding, but we'd probably wait that long in a typical clinic. Once we were cleared to board, our room was ready and clean. Service: I need to qualify that we made a number of requests that go beyond the ordinary for a cruise crew to accommodate. Our son has numerous food allergies. On the first day or two, they struggled to come up with food that avoided his allergens that he would eat. After they got the hang of it, though, they came up with numerous options, even desserts that he could have. They made sure we had the menu for the next day and could preorder. The wine steward had a new puzzle for the kids to figure out every night which made them feel special among a typically older clientele. Beverage service by the pool took a bit longer than we remembered from our previous cruise aboard the Eurodam. Requests for extra towels were answered in just a few minutes. One evening, our son got sick in the room and the room stewards were there within 5 minutes to clean up. In room dining orders were on-time. A request for an extension cord for my CPAP was fulfilled almost immediately. The barista at the Explorer's Cafe could remember both our names and our "usual" within a couple of days. When she'd see us in other areas of the ship, she knew our names. One of the dining officers not only got us into the upscale Pinnacle Grille (after being told they were booked), but was able to make arrangements so our kids could eat with us, stating "it's the least we can do". We had a few billing issues that needed to be disputed after the trip and a dress my wife sent off for cleaning had to be sent back. Otherwise, we felt the service was up to HAL par. The shows we attended were all great, from the "On Tour" group to the juggling comedian...or comedic juggler if you prefer. Half Moon Cay was again our favorite stop and all aspects went according to plan including our clamshell rentals, food and beverage. Grand Turk was the least favorite of our stops which also included Amber Cove in the Dominican (our stop in Key West was canceled due to a weather related situation). Amber Cove is beautiful and our excursion to Ocean World is one we will always remember. Communication was stellar. We never felt like we didn't know what was going on and the captain and cruise director went into technical detail as to why we could not leave Amber Cove until about 13 hours after our scheduled departure due to gale force winds perpendicular to the ship, which exceeded the ships crosswind maneuvering component. We had a beverage package included in our trip and never did see an unexpected charge for a beverage. I read another review about the fitness center being just a set of non-adjustable Precor machines. The fitness center had everything my fitness center at home has...free weights, treadmills, steps, floor mats and more than enough machines for a full workout. All-in-all, it was an excellent cruise with only a few things that prevent me from a full 5-star rating. Multiple HAL employees felt compelled to assist with our son's food allergy situation and our ad hoc requests were all taken care of. We felt very "at home" as repeat HAL cruisers and we put a deposit down for our next HAL cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I title this "special cruise" because it was a burial cruise for my late husband's ashes. My 2 daughters, one of their husbands, and my two grandsons as well as a couple with whom we traveled were on this cruise. We each ... Read More
I title this "special cruise" because it was a burial cruise for my late husband's ashes. My 2 daughters, one of their husbands, and my two grandsons as well as a couple with whom we traveled were on this cruise. We each had Neptune Suite (other than the other couple), and the two Concierge in the Nepune Lounge were outstanding, Carena and Patricia. I reported to them upon my arrival on the ship and they were prepared to meet with me. The burial was to be the next day, and I was kept informed every so often during the day as to what time this special occasion would take place. When given the time, I met them in the Lounge and we were escorted to the Mooring Deck by the Security Crew. We had a very small ceremony, and it was so memorable. The staff on the entire ship were wonderful. The boarding process in Fort Lauderdale was very smooth. I like the way that the muster was conducted as you reported directly to your boat station. I do wish they would scan your card when you reported which would eliminate the room calling for those who did not report to the officer in charge. I was disappointed in the main dining room (both food and service) and ate there only once in a week. We were also disappointed in the food in the Pinnacle; however, on the other hand, the food was outstanding in Tamarind, and we ate there almost every night. I was shocked not to see that restaurant full all of the time. The meal we had in Cannaleto was very good as well--just a lot of food. Our family spent time on the deck, and it never seemed to be overcrowded. I spent a lot of time in the Windows 10 seminars, which were excellent. She is a beautiful ship, and the staff was excellent, particularly our Concierge and the staff at the Reception Desk. Disembarkation at the ports seemed to operate very smoothly. I would definitely sail her again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Overall we enjoyed our cruise! The ship was extremely stable in rough seas and the pools , which were wonderful , were kept open! It was our 8 th cruise on various lines including MSC , Celebrity, Norwegian , and Princess. We enjoyed the ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed our cruise! The ship was extremely stable in rough seas and the pools , which were wonderful , were kept open! It was our 8 th cruise on various lines including MSC , Celebrity, Norwegian , and Princess. We enjoyed the fresh flowers, great service, movies available in the room on flat screen TV , lounge entertainers , and great food! The ship is kept sparkling clean !! The negatives were the poorest theatre entertainment we have ever experienced! Even long term fans of Holland America complained that it was way below average! There was only one standing ovation show and we are use to one - three ovations every night on these other lines! If the theatre is important to you, then choose another line. We found the current movies in the room , (which were easy for even seniors to use! ) , helped a lot to compensate . Also , if you love good pools and a lovely promenade deck with great lounge chairs, then this ship is perfect! I have to compliment the captain for keeping the ship so stable in rough seas! ( could not dock at Cozemel!) Another negative issue was the room temperatures were freezing and you needed fleece , not just a light shoulder covering!! Even the room temperature was difficult to regulate and others commented on this problem. We found the vibe of the ship very relaxing and the customer service everywhere was excellent! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Ocean view room was spacious and bed extremely comfortable, room very quiet. Usually do not sleep well on vacation but slept soundly. Food was excellent both in main dining room, pool, and Lido buffet; service was also excellent. Chose ... Read More
Ocean view room was spacious and bed extremely comfortable, room very quiet. Usually do not sleep well on vacation but slept soundly. Food was excellent both in main dining room, pool, and Lido buffet; service was also excellent. Chose this cruise because we wanted to relax and have a more quiet, elegant feel vs. a loud party boat with children running around unsupervised. This cruise caters to an older crowd and we were among the youngest guests (50's), but we traveled with friends and had fun. We planned all of our own excursions in advance, enjoyed the private beach cabana at Amber Cove. Ship and all public restrooms throughout VERY clean. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth; do not check luggage on final day, bring it with you and disembark with out waiting or searching in main terminal for it. Husband's suitcase was damaged at beginning of cruise and ship repaired it during trip without charge. We would definitely cruise this line again. Read Less
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise