70 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews

I chose this cruise because of an awesome presentation by the travel agent. We were told this going to be a real Alaskan adventure and experience, instead we were on a ship full of Vietnamese people and forced to choose from mostly asian ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of an awesome presentation by the travel agent. We were told this going to be a real Alaskan adventure and experience, instead we were on a ship full of Vietnamese people and forced to choose from mostly asian food choices. I didnt pay $9,000.00 for an asian vacation to Alaska. The food lines ran out of popular food choices and we had to choose from some sort of mystery meat? We also bought a drink package and it sometimes took over an hour to get a drink from the bar staff. The only speedy bartender was the guy on the top deck. That guy was at least friendly, the others were rude and slow. The ship was neat and clean but the staff was quite rude. We sat for almost two hours at the Pinnacle Grill, so long that i almost fell asleep waiting for my food. The only good meal we had on the cruise was when we stopped in Ketchikan and went to a fresh seafood house. This experience for the money we paid was so bad, i will most like never take a cruise again.I've filled out multiple post trip surveys since returning and not a single person from Holland America has contacted me. Very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We recently completed our annual summer inside passage cruise to Alaska (this was our 36th Alaska cruise), and 21st Alaska sailing with HAL. This year we sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam, VQ Spa Veranda on deck 10 - the views from up top ... Read More
We recently completed our annual summer inside passage cruise to Alaska (this was our 36th Alaska cruise), and 21st Alaska sailing with HAL. This year we sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam, VQ Spa Veranda on deck 10 - the views from up top on the Panorama deck balcony are spectacular! - otherwise the Spa category isn't worth the higher price as it includes nothing else but 3 bottles of water. Our weather was sunny for the whole 7 days - INCREDIBLY lucky for an Alaska run! The dining (in all 7 venues) was stellar and much better than our recent sailing on Seabourn's Sojourn - and that is a high bar to beat. We ate well! The entertainment however, was without a doubt, the worst we have experienced on ANY ship, on any line, in our 388 cruises history. Literally a ghost ship inside and out. Not a single production show in 7 days? - and this is the new HAL norm according to the cruise staff... 1 sad illusionist and an unfunny comedian and the now very very tired BBC Alaska video summed up the weeks main showroom entertainment? Seriously. The piano is gone from the Ocean Bar, and no other entertainment is offered on the vacant band stage - and the people just walk by this once perfect cocktail location as there is no reason to sit there and pay for drinks in silence. The Crows Nest (EXC) is now just a place to sell shore excursions and buy Explorations coffee, no evening entertainment (or people). BB Kings and Billboard are tucked into spaces that allow no traditional cruise evening cocktails and conversation. No one stayed longer than a few minutes. We can enjoy fine dining any evening in 5 star restaurants at home, we can even watch the whales jump and play in the ocean from our homes deck during the summer months, but traditional productions shows and a compelling reason to get dressed up and enjoy a place to have cocktails in the evening has always been a reasons to cruise ... Quite simply, the party is over on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship ... Read More
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship coughing, sneezing, congested and worn out. Long land transports were ideal pathogen breeding grounds, and HAL was invisible with any contagion prevention. RCL does a much better job in this regard. Also, stayed in a real dive along the way. If you're lucky enough to be healthy at ship embarkation, you will see some gorgeous scenery, and, hopefully, some wildlife. But, wildlife viewing was sporadic at best. Other aspects of the cruise were about what you'd expect: very attentive service by stewards/waiters, good food (but specialty restaurants had the really good food), good entertainment, some good excursions/some to be avoided. If you can afford it, get a room with a veranda. The extra space and additional viewing area was great for relaxing and taking in the scenery. We had to have the steward fix a squeaky door leading out to the veranda, but he was very accomodating and got it done right away (along with fixing a slow drain in the bathtub). We usually dined with the other people in our 16-person group. The wait staff quickly became familiar with our group. We celebrated a couple of birthdays during the trip, and the staff entertained us with some birthday cakes and renditions of Happy Birthday. Food was good but did not blow us away. The ship was an enjoyable size--not so large that it took a long time to get from one end to the other and not too small as to be lacking in venues. Hot tubs were actually hot and not too crowded. Didn't get a chance to use any of the several pools but those that did looked like they were enjoying it. Overall, we were a little underwhelmed by the land portion of this tour. Didn't see much wildlife, smoke was everywhere due to the forest fires, and we're still trying to get better two weeks later. So, avoid that leg of the tour, stick to the cruise and you'll enjoy it more. Don't bank on Alaska being the "trip of a lifetime". It certainly isn't--especially the way HAL operates. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
1. The title says it all! Nothing for the younger crowd. This caters to the 50 plus group. 2. Service was excellent! 3. They cram liquor down your throat! I understand that's where the money is but wow! 4. Excursions. ... Read More
1. The title says it all! Nothing for the younger crowd. This caters to the 50 plus group. 2. Service was excellent! 3. They cram liquor down your throat! I understand that's where the money is but wow! 4. Excursions. Ehh....ok. I did better with a guy in a van! And MUCH CHEAPER! 5. The ship was super clean! 6. Entertainment....not for me on this ship. And everyone goes to bed at 9! THIS IS FOR THE OLDER CROWD! If you want to relax and do nothing...this is YOUR cruise! 7. Food was good....but all the "extra" restaurants were also crammed down your throat as no one would eat there! No coffee shops no snack shops, nothing. 8. Disembarkation, IMPRESSIVE! Customs....I didn't see any! NO ONE SAID A WORD! Had a neighbor that bought $400 in tequila, they didnt even ask to hold it when he boarded! We were told to just take it to our room! When we left the ship no one cared what we had! Not even a customs form! It was great! 9. Great ship, great line but I'm going back to RC and fight the crowds! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
As frequent travellers, we are used to backpacking, expeditions, and vacations in 1 to 5 stars resorts, all inclusive or not, on all continents, but we never travelled with a large cruises ship. Yes, we had preconceptions about ... Read More
As frequent travellers, we are used to backpacking, expeditions, and vacations in 1 to 5 stars resorts, all inclusive or not, on all continents, but we never travelled with a large cruises ship. Yes, we had preconceptions about cruises, on their misuse of obsolete maritime transport laws to create tax free tourist resorts. Or their bypass of immigration laws and hiring cheap labour from around the world. However, listening to enthusiastic cruise adepts, we expected that this trip will made us change our minds. On the positive side, we found the international staff very kind and helpful. But we did not meet many Spanish speaking staff. This HAL cruise surprised us by the very similar customers aboard: mostly white couples in their seventies. As cosmopolites, somewhat younger, we enjoy more age and racial diversity, and it was strange to be in such finely targeted crowd. There was a double talk when it comes to environmental creeds, which are emphasized by HAL especially when it comes to save money for the operation, like to remind you avoid changing your towels frequently. The plastic water bottles sold in your cabin are from Europe. Fortunately, there is little plastics items used for the food service. Food is not supplied locally, everything came from US, for the whole cruise. Quite some paper spoiled with the leaflets advertising for the shops aboard. To be serious about environmental virtues, we should bear in mind that this form of sea transport use four time more fuel per passenger than a modern airplane. The 750 litres of fuel used by passenger for this 2 week cruise correspond to what I use a year with a car. And worse, after the booking, I had the feeling to be framed in a well rehearsed marketing process, with an objective to make me spend a maximum as I spend time with this company. A lot of staff and accessible surfaces on the ship are meant to bring additional income. I would have preferred a better service. The number of additional charges, and the high price of them perfectly reflects this financial objective. The time to spend on shore is very limited and the excursions highly priced. Come on, why charge $120 pp for a short visit to San Diego zoo? Before the cruise The call centre did not properly answer our questions before booking, as we noticed later. The booking process is cumbersome, with too many computer glitches encountered with browsers (I tried Microsoft explorer, Edge and Android). Some beta testing by HAL would be beneficial. Even we booked long in advance, HAL’s website, contrary to claims, did not allow us to book an hotel in FLL. The only choice offered was at $12000 per night. We booked elsewhere at a reasonable cost. Due to a light handicap, HAL requested additional documents for the cruise, and the details about these documents was not provided by HAL. We had to consult elsewhere. Due to the same condition, we booked our flights directly, and had also to organize our own transfers. The web checking process difficult, again with too many issues with browser. And finally, the departure flight information was requested again by HAL on the ship. I had also to sign an abusive long contract, which I should better have read before booking. In a summary, it reads ‘HAL is not responsible’. Eg the amount covered for lost luggage are ridiculous low. Embarking Very noisy hall at FLL terminal, it was hard to sustain a conversation in it. Luggage handling was OK, but with some delay. At the counter, it took long because person there did not know how to handle our special documents. Finally, we were asked to go to customer desk to have copies of our extra paperwork (even they had to be emailed to HAL before the cruise) For doing so there was a long waiting line at the customer desk. The customer desk clerk made copies of these documents, but forgot to return one original. Glad we checked, so we could get it back. The dinner time requested at booking was changed by HAL to less favourable to us, without explanation or excuses. It was difficult to have it changed afterwards. Even so, we were surprised by the absence of hosting from staff, in the sense of grouping people by affinities or languages. The second day of the cruise the customer desk requested again these documents. We had to elevate the tone and threaten to file a complain about harassment before we suddenly got to talk to somebody reasonable. In conclusion, the customer desk staff is not competent for anything but routine. The coordination between headquarters and the ship seems poor. Too long waiting time to access the customer service desk. Ship More than 2000 passengers. A dining hall and a self-service restaurant (plus 3 speciality restaurants, accessible at an additional high charge). Large surfaces devoted to shops, casino, photography, spa, wine cellar and other income generating activities. Not much space left for sports. Outdated decoration, interior brass and gold plated, in fifty shades of beige. Display of art not curated. More than 800 employed on the ship. Seems quite a high figure, but a share of staff is in income making activities at casino, spa, jewellery shops, excursions. And there is also the sailing, navigation crew, and the maintenance crew counted in it, so we understand that the customer service crew or hotel staff was overwhelmed. As welcome drink, we observed the desk selling beers, bottled water and soft drink cans. One day as we returned to the ship we were offered a glass of water and a refreshing towels. The other days nobody was around. The number of elevators is insufficient with such high proportion of customers with mobility issues. Expect to wait. The best spots for seating outside on the deck are covered with a tent and named ‘cabanas’ and accessible only at an additional fee, and left empty most of the time. The Neuw Amsterdam is not so new anymore, and the maintenance was done during the cruise. Unfortunately, we were nauseated by the smell as the whole hull was getting a new coat in Puerto Vallarta, or as the handrails were varnished, or at sea when the upper part of the ship was repainted. More precautions should have been taken to avoid unhealthy solvent be pumped in the air-conditioning system. We had to vacate our cabin. And so, HAL saves on ship yard. Last day ‘at sea' we refused to leave the stateroom to allow for more scheduled maintenance, in that case, a wet carpet cleaning. On the day of arrival, we could not access the patio again, as the outside of ship was undergoing more M&R. Cabin (called stateroom) Small. Balcony (pompously named verandah) allows for two chairs. The safe was not ok, as its battery was low. We had to wait quite long in the room to have it fixed. Clean, except stained sofa, walls and bed cover. On windy days, to avoid draft and strong whistling, we patched the patio door joints with duck tape. Fridge hardly cold. TV entertainment not as good as on an airline. Sink with cracks. Cabin due for an update. As the weather got colder at the end of the cruise, we were surprised that the air-conditioning could not to be disconnected, even temperature went too low. With a non-responsive customer desk, it took 10 hours to be fixed. Food & beverages Generally speaking noisy restaurants. Room service at no additional charge for a limited selection of dishes or drinks, or with an additional charge for others. Breakfast was delivered half an hour before requested time, with the explanation ‘It is a busy day’. Slow on some other days. Breakfast time at restaurants should have been adjusted for early arrival at port of call. Dining hall The dishes served did frequently not correspond to the pretentiously redacted menu, with ingredients listed missing or substituted. Obviously, the cooks did not read the menu, or tried to do savings on ingredients. Eg Grand Marnier, truffles, half avocado, maple syrup. Meal after meal, the comparison of the dishes with the ‘fancy’ menu became a subject of laughter. We had fun with the leftover potato soup was renamed Sunchoke Soup on Gala Night. Generally speaking rather poorly presented dishes with bland taste. Service was kind, but staff overwhelmed. Not trained to handle dishes, bottle and glasses quietly. It generally took 1 ½ hour for a seated dinner. Nice white tablecloth and tableware, and even a flower. Too many breaded dishes like scallops, sweetbread, sole, chicken ‘pillard’. Large parking area for scooters. Self service restaurant Lido No available tables as many tables for 4 are taken by couples or singles, even for filling the daily (free) crossword. To choose your table, arrive early! Chairs adapted for high BMI. Large choice of food, put on a plate by the staff at the stations where you line up. Due to communication issues, we frequently got too large servings. By the end of the cruise we got the impression that some buffet dishes were left exposed too long, like dried out mexican rice or sour smelling beans. Exaggerated additional charge for speciality restaurants. The ginger lobster served at the ‘fusion’ Tamarind was excessively salted. We did not visit the two other ones, as we got the same feeling of pretence from their fancy menus (Escargots? canned or frozen?). Not much spices used and the bland food served is compatible with dentures, except short ribs or striploin. Selection of sugar free dishes. We did not have the impression that many clients had digestive troubles, but be prudent about complaining about it at the medical facility, as you may get quarantined. In short, pretentious menus and mediocre food. Drinks Drinks are highly priced and another service charge added on each bill, on top of the daily $15 pp obligatory service charge. Wine or beer billed at 5 to 6 times the market price. Water, tea or filter coffee are complimentary. Unlimited fountain drinks for $8 per day. Other daily passes for unlimited alcoholic beverages. Unfair and peculiar rules about these passes, as they have to be bought for the whole cruise, or that everybody in the cabin has to buy the same pass. ‘Enrichment’ activities onboard Quite a high proportion of activities with additional charges, e.g. Half an hour meditation for $12. Many activities are meant to showcase the shops, casino, bars or spa. Bingo cards at $5. The cycles at the fitness are only meant for cycling classes at 12$. No fitness instructors besides classes. Very slow internet access at an excessive price. At the arrival, on a day of disrupted air travel, it would have been kind to make the wifi free for everyone. The mainstage had some pleasant shows, by professionals, but they lacked spontaneity. As we travelled during Carnival week, we vainly expected some reference to it. The sound on the BBKing club and the mainstage is set so loud that if you do not wear hearing aids, you will soon need some. Better use protective ear plugs. Small shows with local dancers on the rear deck. We liked the dancing classes. Excursions Long waiting before departure. The EXC staff selling them seemed overwhelmed, and there was a long waiting line. Anyway, they could not provide us the practical information about where was the supermarket we needed or where to get a fast web access. We had an enquiry about an excursion, and were told that we will get the answer later… we did not get it. Generally speaking the excursions are highly priced. E.g. in Huatulco, a snorkelling tour was offered for $80 pp. We took a taxi to this same beach and rented the equipment for a total of 300 pesos for two. Unfortunately, in three ports of call the ship was moored along a similar sized cruise ship, the Coral Princess. This was not a smart, as it brought quite a crowd getting ashore. A port of call, Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala was very unpleasant, as the ship moored in a polluted coal harbour. Taxis were not allowed to access to the ship there and we had to walk a mile way from the entrance of the port to the ship. The time allowed ashore was short, and we made the best of it with a local taxi or just by walking. So, we had the chance to practise some Spanish, and we could adapt to the weather and our envy. And got also quite some authentic memories or photos. Disembarking The announcement on the PA were not very audible, as the are mixed with music and static on TV. It was delayed, and service staff impatient to get to cabin. The questionnaire we received by email after the cruise did not cover all the sides of HAL’s services. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I just read covemanb 12/18 review and it was right on target. My wife and I took three Celebrity cruises last winter and this one was by far the worst. The entertainment was poor. No bands during the day at the pool, no music at the ... Read More
I just read covemanb 12/18 review and it was right on target. My wife and I took three Celebrity cruises last winter and this one was by far the worst. The entertainment was poor. No bands during the day at the pool, no music at the pool , and no place to sit at the pool since they only have 125 lounge chairs and around 3000 passengers. Night entertainment was BB King and strings every night. They were fine for one night--maybe two. They had a comedian and illusionist in the Main stage for two nights. Comedian was funny for five minutes and illusionist was boring and performed the same act that you've seen a hundred times. His card tricks were boring. Anyone that watched last season of AGT would have fallen asleep at his card tricks. There were two good shows in the Mainstage performed by the Cruise entertainers. Breakfast at the buffet was the same every day. You had to stand in long lines and wait to be served. Celebrity at least featured some new items daily for breakfast and it was self serve. No banana bread for the entire cruise offered for breakfast. Celebrity also labeled every food item with codes to tell you if it was dairy free, gluten free, etc. Nothing was labeled on this ship and you had to point to the food item and ask the server what you were eating. Of course they had no idea what ingredients were in the food. Lunch buffet was ok, but lamb and pork were on the carving station almost every day. They only had turkey breast one day and that was not a whole roasted turkey. Celebrity had whole roasted birds on two days of a seven day cruise. Celebrity also had an ice cream counter with a big selection of flavors. The selection on this ship was four flavors max. Sit down dinner was good in the main dining room and comparable to Celebrity. (I'm comparing this ship to Celebrity REflection) Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
WORST Internet of the high seas!!! In this day & age of technology, I find this absolutely unacceptable! I tried paying for their "PREMIUM" internet and it was so atrocious. It's embarrassing that they even dare to ... Read More
WORST Internet of the high seas!!! In this day & age of technology, I find this absolutely unacceptable! I tried paying for their "PREMIUM" internet and it was so atrocious. It's embarrassing that they even dare to charge for the "service". I've been on Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Crystal & Disney all in the last few years & none of their internet has been this pathetic. Seriously, there is no excuse for such terrible internet access when the other cruise lines can provide cruisers with far, far superior internet. I have to admit, it did REALLY hinder my enjoyment of the cruise since I do like my internet access. So, if you or your family members want the internet like I do (contacting kids/family at home, accessing websites of tour operators, streaming, opening emails & the links, etc.), I strongly advise against booking with HAL until they re-vamp & fix their "SHIP" internet ... pls replace the "P" with "T" as was so jokingly emphasized by one of their own employees. Another item that I do NOT like about HAL is their beverage package requirement that EVERYONE in the same cabin MUST get the same beverage package. This is absurd to me as not many people I know have the exact drinking habits. For example, I do not drink soda but one of my girlfriends did; also, my other girlfriend drinks wine while the other 2 do not ... so really, it forces everyone to order drinks a la carte just because we have different drinking habits. I find that as a big CON to cruise with HAL with friends and even with my spouse since we also have different drinking habits. However, HAL does try to compensate by allowing cruisers to bring their own wine, soda & water as carry on but I prefer purchasing beverage packages while cruising and not worrying. On a positive note, the food was good in the Dining Room. For interested foodies, I would rank it better than the Freedom of the Seas & Ruby Princess but not as good as Celebrity, Crystal or Disney ships. The buffet area foods are served to cruisers which has it's good points & bad points ... pros - it prevents cruisers with bad habits or kids from making unhygienic acts. cons - it often causes a back up in the buffet line. With regards to service, the dining room & stateroom service were very good. They were all very nice & cordial. In SUMMARY, do NOT book if you like to have internet access or if you have different drinking habits than your cabin mate. FOOD is good --- better than Freedom of the Seas & Ruby Princess but NOT as good as Celebrity, Crystal or Disney. SERVICE is good throughout the ship. For me, I do NOT foresee myself ever booking on HAL again when there are clearly better choices & better values available to cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The crew didn't seem to care about going the 'extra mile' to help. There seems to be a morale issue with most of the crew. Food was average at best, somehow they managed to make all their pork dishes dry and tough, even ... Read More
The crew didn't seem to care about going the 'extra mile' to help. There seems to be a morale issue with most of the crew. Food was average at best, somehow they managed to make all their pork dishes dry and tough, even the ones that were only cooked to medium were dry. The menus were pretentious and they weren't very appealing. We're foodies and yet it was hard to find desirable choices on the main dining room's menu. There was never a dish that I said to myself, "That was great! I hope they have it again later in the cruise!" Food service was mediocre, good luck trying to order a beer/wine/cocktail in the Lido! The Lido buffet is mostly served by the workers, which slows things down and makes lines longer. Yes, it can be more hygienic that way but I suspect it's more to control the serving sizes and reduce costs. Our room attendants were very nice but missed details such as no pen/paper, several days where the fruit bowl wasn't refilled, the balcony furniture and floor had spilled food & wine from the previous occupants that didn't get cleaned until our 5th day. Any time we'd mention a problem it was addressed quickly, but we shouldn't have to mention those sorts of things. The America's Test Kitchen lectures were fun, but not hands-on. BBKing Blues club was, by far, the best entertainment on the ship. This was our second cruise on Holland America. We'd go with them again if there was an incredible deal, but certainly not our line of choice. Stick to Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this ship specifically because of its BB King’s Blue Club. We’d been on another Holland America ship where the same club was the best part of the voyage. But no—this club barely played any blues at all. Imagine ordering ... Read More
We chose this ship specifically because of its BB King’s Blue Club. We’d been on another Holland America ship where the same club was the best part of the voyage. But no—this club barely played any blues at all. Imagine ordering steak at a restaurant and being served a hot dog. “But this is what we call a steak.” OK, HAL, you want to play to a different market, fine. But don’t advertise as something you’re not. The food was sub par. Having ordered a dessert with fruit and macadamia nuts, the plate arrived with one blueberry cut in half, a thin slice of a strawberry, and one macadamia nut cut into pieces. Order a hot dog with onions at the outdoor grill, and it comes with onions and relish. Instead of buying into anything with scrambled eggs at breakfast (never made with freshly prepared eggs), we ordered eggs over. More often than not, we had to send them back to the kitchen because they arrived too hard or too soft. (This occurred in the restaurant reserved for suite guests—not many people there in the morning.). Sandwiches were gross: the roast beef had more fat than beef. Another annoyance. Given that the main breakfast and lunch venue was generally overcrowded, you’d expect that the crew would be quick to clean tables. It often took up to three requests for a table to be cleaned so we could sit down (this while we were holding plates of food). The women’s locker room at the spa was a real disappointment. All three showers had wet mats, and dirty towels were strewn around the changing rooms. Undraped windows (docked next to another ship)—how uncomfortable to realize that people could look directly into the massage and locker rooms. The women’s spa had showers but no combs, no Q-tips, no spray deodorant. Did I mention that the WiFi was very spotty and didn’t work with all Kindle readers? Unless you travel in a scooter or wheelchair and prefer a ship with many other people who do as well, you might want to stay away from the Holland America line. In short, the ship was a disappointment at a high cost. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Meals were good, although some of the restaurants were extra, but we weren't told until the end when they asked for the room card. Poor communication. We don't mind paying for drinks (alcohol), but coffee? Daily hotel ... Read More
Meals were good, although some of the restaurants were extra, but we weren't told until the end when they asked for the room card. Poor communication. We don't mind paying for drinks (alcohol), but coffee? Daily hotel charge (tip fee) seemed high at $13.50US per day per person. Pay the staff more! Have it included in the price of the cruise. We always tip the staff and we did this trip, only to discover at the end that we were charged the above amount daily. This cruise is all about shopping and buying, which we were not interested in doing. The uniformed woman who is in charge of the diningroom staff referred to them as her children, which we found rather demeaning as these men and women are adults often with families. She is not their momma as she stated. This is our first and last Holland American cruise. We do not mind paying for an all inclusive cruise, just don't nickle and dime us for little extras! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
my husband has been wanting to sail to Alaska for years and we have been on at least 15 cruises so I finally gave in and I'm glad I did. Alaska was amazing however I will never sail Holland American again. the service was horrible. ... Read More
my husband has been wanting to sail to Alaska for years and we have been on at least 15 cruises so I finally gave in and I'm glad I did. Alaska was amazing however I will never sail Holland American again. the service was horrible. the staff was so unhappy and they showed it, I did have e good dining room server and one server in the casino that was nice but honestly that was it. I was shocked because service makes or breaks your experience. you could tell they did not want to be there. the food was mediocre to say the least, buffet was the same things over and over, dining room options and quality below par. to top it off they try to save on entertainment and had a show one evening called the Filipino cast show, I felt so sorry for them it was a train wreck. we will return to Alaska on a cruise but not on Holland America nor will I recommend it, if this was someone's first cruise I bet they would never go on another. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I first cruised with Holland America 18 years ago, and it's clear that an abundant amount has changed in such a long period of time. That was certainly expected! I cannot stress the incredible service we received on this line both ... Read More
I first cruised with Holland America 18 years ago, and it's clear that an abundant amount has changed in such a long period of time. That was certainly expected! I cannot stress the incredible service we received on this line both times from their extremely friendly and overall incredibly happy staff. It's so refreshing to meet people who seem like they are enjoying being there as much as you are! It also makes me wish their compensation was not so geared on Holland America aiming to collect $450+ from a family of 4 sharing a cabin in addition to our fare to pay them as they deserve. Even cash tips given to those we appreciated were taken and put into a pool for even distribution behind the scenes, even though as most service goes, not everyone provides the same level of care and attention. More on gratuity later, but in the meanwhile, I will try to provide my opinions as objectively as I can. Embarkation was one of the most chaotic and unpleasant experiences of the whole cruise. It really set a sour note on our family's excitement for a vacation we had spent a lot of time saving for. Lunch was served in the Lido and it was absolute madness. Lido service stations sometimes have multiple lines for one station, and there was poor signage for diners to figure out where to go. Trying to get a meal for myself and three children (age 1-9) was awful, we had no idea where to go or where to stand, and the overwhelmed staff was unable to assist or direct as necessary. There was not enough room for everyone to eat. We also received "open seating" as the only available option with our booking, and reservations were all taken except for 5:15pm dining for parties of 8, and when we did walk ins the service staff seemed confused and frustrated that they would have to rearrange the dining room to accommodate us with a high chair. Thankfully, the As You Wish reservation team answering the phones was always extremely helpful and our waitstaff made the confusion and frustration worth it by treating us like absolute gold. Gede Gunawan is the most amazing service person I have ever met in my life and he made our trip very special and helped salvage what was a lot of headaches! Our cabin was nothing to really write home about - a large bed for my husband and I, a crib for my daughter Aurora, and a ceiling and sofa bed for kids to hop between our room and their grandparents' room next door. Mohammad, our room steward, took great care of us. The Dive-In burger joint upstairs is not really what people come to cruises for, which means the lines are short to non-existent and the food was OUTSTANDING. Main dining hall also receives absolutely nothing but praise from my family, even my picky eaters. Kids menus were everywhere and they accommodated even our pickiest palate. The Nieuw Amsterdam was a gorgeous ship. We have always enjoyed the art on display and the clear directions and information for navigating the ship. This is one of the newer ships, although we experience leaking ceilings in our stateroom hallway. We also saw leaking into some of the art displays. Here's a secret - the cruise lines own all those shops and jewelry shillers on the main piers in each port. You can skip every shopping guide presentation by Victoria because she is just a salesperson there to direct you to cruise line owned businesses. You're better off googling what to do and where to shop from smaller sites and not from the cruise itself. I don't remember there being so many gaudy jewelry stores 18 years ago! Noise: This ship is incredibly noisy, and this was the noisiest cruise I've ever taken. Our stateroom was below a late night chair rearrangement area, down the hall from the Main Stage that opens directly into levels 1, 2, and 3. Remaining for meals at port calls onboard means that people are actively doing construction all around you. We tried to enjoy whale watching in Ketchikan while two humpbacks played next to the ship, but unfortunately they were actively drilling and sanding the lido room so we could not take nice videos of the sighting. Disembarkation was also a nightmare and chaotic like embarkation was. They took our bags off the ship at midnight and we disembarked around 9am to pick them up. Our bags were handled poorly and weren't even grouped together. The biggest shock of the cruise was the Hotel Service Charge tacked onto our bill every day, running up nearly $500 in what really is a gratuity charge. The front desk was poorly trained in handling it, and spent a great deal of time telling me I was taking away someone's salary by asking the charge be removed or modified. In the future, my family will cruise elsewhere, most likely with one of the many cruise lines that offers a military discount and understands we aren't all rich retirees, which was mostly who seemed to be onboard with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We took this cruise by default because we were doing a Scenic Tours trip around Canada and this was part of it. The Scenic tours are really expensive so we expected better of the cruise component. I think they would be better placed using ... Read More
We took this cruise by default because we were doing a Scenic Tours trip around Canada and this was part of it. The Scenic tours are really expensive so we expected better of the cruise component. I think they would be better placed using the services of a smaller vessel. Anyway, our experience: It took 5 hours to board in Vancouver, US border patrol were understaffed and overworked, many people had the wrong visas, we sat on hard chairs with no food or drink and waited. Near the end all the passengers from the Princess Cruise were pushed in front of us because, apparently, the ship had to leave port urgently. We were told they left 300 people behind who subsequently came on our ship, but I cannot confirm the veracity of that report. The ship left late and just after we boarded and we missed the sail away because we were rushed to the auditorium for a farcical safety briefing - something like a flight attendant would do except the girl didn't know how to work the life jacket. We weren't shown where the lifeboats were or anything sensible. The main restaurant was sloooow to serve and the food was very average. The lido restaurant upstairs was horrific. Way too many people, one person had to sit at the table while the other got food because if you both left your places would be cleared and when you returned someone else would be sitting there. The food was canteen standard and you had to queue to be served (no buffets), so at breakfast you had to line up to get a piece of toast and then line up in another line to get an egg to go onto the toast and so on until all the food was stone cold. The toast lady could never remember your order so invariably someone else got your piece. They even ran out of white bread. Tried to go to a line dancing session which was a big mistake, just about every one of the 900 people (slight exaggeration) on board were in a teeny room banging into each other as they shuffled around. I didn't even bother to enter. I am giving this 2 stars because the cabin (we had a signature suite) was really good and a haven away from the chaos of the rest of the ship. The excursions and ports were interesting. If you want to see a glacier do it quickly as they are melting fast. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We booked this cruise at the last minute because of a phenomenal last minute deal that offered airfare, transfers, 1 night pre-cruise hotel, 2 bottles of wine, SBC, dinner at Canelleto and lunch at Pinnacle Grill. The hotel - Embassy ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute because of a phenomenal last minute deal that offered airfare, transfers, 1 night pre-cruise hotel, 2 bottles of wine, SBC, dinner at Canelleto and lunch at Pinnacle Grill. The hotel - Embassy Suites in Ft. Lauderdale was very nice. The room was spacious and the cooked to order breakfast the next morning was decent. The transfer to the ship was handled very nicely and embarkation was smooth and very efficient. Our package was for an inside room and the room was a good size well maintained. Our cabin steward Oki and his assistant were always cheerful and took very good care of us. I do think that they have too many cabins to take care of though. We had open seating and it worked just fine. The food is so poor. We are long time mariners and the food used to be very good. I'm sure that much of their food is prepackaged and just heated up. The food in the Lido is so bad it is like eating at a really cheap dinner. The Asian buffet food is not as good as I've had at some food courts. When they served turkey it was a rolled turkey (sort of like a big bologna) not a real turkey. The best food on the top deck was at Dive In for the burgers, hot dogs and fries. The salad bar (make your own salad) was also very good. It's pretty bad when in a huge dining area the best food is salad, hamburger or hot dog. The fruit was not ripe. I can't understand sailing through the Caribbean with all the lovely fruit, mangoes papaya etc. and none of the nice fruit is brought onboard. The service is also very poor. There is no staff to help you with your plates and the plates are so hot that they are very difficult to carry without hurting your fingers. The food in the main dining room at dinner was also not good quality. The chefs cannot cooked fish or chicken. Both were always overcooked, dry and tasteless and the pasta was also not edible most times. When I left almost all my meal on the plate the server did not ask if there was a problem or offer to bring another meal. The best service in the main dining room was at tables 314 - 318. This is a little area that had 5 tables for 2 and the wait staff in the area were exceptional. They also have probably the best wine steward at HAL in this area. We dined at Caneletto one evening because it was part of our package. Believe me it's not worth an extra surcharge. It is an open are that is glassed in just off the Lido dining room. During dinner there are carts being rolled around and it's very noisy since it opens onto the Lido. The food is just a step up from Chef Boy Ardee. We asked to see the wine steward and told her that we had an open bottle of wine we wanted to finish. She asked where we had the wine and when we said it was opened in the main dining room she replied that it would take awhile to get our wine because she had to retrieve it from downstairs. My husband sort of hesitated but I said that we would like our wine. Excuse me but isn't it your job to serve what we want. After she poured the first glass she never came to the table again. She was too busy socializing with some of the wait staff. The staff also started clearing tables and setting up for the morning buffet while we were still eating. All of this for a surcharge. We didn't eat at Tamarind because based on what they served at the Asian buffet we felt it would probably be poor quality Chinese food court (Not as good) We enjoyed the performances at the Lincoln Centre Stage. The entertainment in the main show lounge was mixed. There were a couple of really good acts - a comedian , Scott Harris, a Lionel Ritchie impressionist and some not so good. Happy hour is no longer 2 for 1 but is now 2nd drink for $2.00 on their already inflated drink prices. We never take ship's tours as we find they ridiculously overpriced for what you get. I understand that there used to be a free shuttle in Victoria to take your downtown but that has apparently been discontinued and they now have a shuttle that they charge a outrageous price for. They also have a very high surcharge on US dollars. For what they charge on the shuttle you're better off to take a taxi into town. There were a number of passengers who had really bad colds on board this ship. We have had this experience on 2 other cruises that we've taken with Holland America. We've spoken to a number of people and they've also mentioned that this was a problem on their cruises with Holland America. We don't seem to have encountered this problem with other cruise lines. One passenger said that they had a bill for $1,800.00 from visits to the ship's doctor. There is no self service laundry on this ship so unless you are a long time mariner - 200+ days with Holland America to have laundry done is $20.00 a bag. Surprisingly for a ship this size there is no library and as far as I could see they did not even have a book exchange. Disembarkation was a joke. They were behind schedule but I noticed that colors listed after ours were being called to disembark. I went up to the front desk to ask but there was a huge line up. I found an officer and asked him but he said that I had to go to the front counter. When I pointed out the line up he brought me up to the desk and got someone to help me. I was told that different cabins were given different sheets and that the colors on the sheets were different What! Why don't you just give out the same sheets to everyone. He checked my luggage tag and bingo they must have missed my color luggage tag. Who knows if I hadn't gone up I might still be on board ship. I think it will be awhile before we do another Holland America cruise. This is one cruise that I was really glad to see come to an end. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
After deciding on a christmas cruise, we selected holland america because it fit our schedule, was an easy comute from sarasota and the price seemed reasonable. Embarkation was a breeze and we got right to our veranda cabin which was ... Read More
After deciding on a christmas cruise, we selected holland america because it fit our schedule, was an easy comute from sarasota and the price seemed reasonable. Embarkation was a breeze and we got right to our veranda cabin which was a typical cruise line cabin - except - it had a bath tub, which is always a plus for us. we were surprised to have no phone or any information about anything happrning on the ship. as a result of this lack of info, or any announcements, we missed the lighting of the christmas tree and any sailaway gala. we learned later there wasn't mauch of a gala anyway. lack of information on this ship was a constatnt problem. No port lectures and little infor in the handouts about going ashore. it was a constant hunt tender and gangway locations. dining the first two nights was a fiasco, however after that it was very good and the main dining room food was excellent. entertainment was sparse and pretty mediocre at that. one could have kept one daily activity chart and used it for the entire cruise. service was ok, however we felt the ship was understaffed, and many outside the dining areas spoke little english.. the supervision around the pools was horrendous. posted: no children under sixteen in the hot tubs. most of the time all three hot tubs were full of kids and i even watched one urinate in one. i cimplained about lack of enforcement to the front office (no one to speak to in the pool area. was placated and told they would tell the bar servers to be more aware. next day the exact same situation, including the little boy who had urinated the day before. i guess we expected more from a cruise ship right out of a two week drydock renovation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
1st HA cruise was amazing (7th cruise total). Staff on shore and aboard ship unprofessional and or appeared inexperienced. My mother had one room and my husband and I booked a 2nd room. Upon registration my mother in a wheel chair was ... Read More
1st HA cruise was amazing (7th cruise total). Staff on shore and aboard ship unprofessional and or appeared inexperienced. My mother had one room and my husband and I booked a 2nd room. Upon registration my mother in a wheel chair was taken aboard by a staff member who would not allow either of us to walk with them because we 'were not in the same room and we could find her on the ship when we were done registering". 3day cruise and one night smokers were not allowed to access one of only a few designated smoking areas that included: an ocean view, bar, pool and numerous chairs and tables AND STAFF. The Lido deck was closed to PAYING PASSENGERS for a STAFF PARTY from 10:30pm-1:00am. Passengers were redirected to deck 11 where there were 2 couches and 4chairs without cushions. No ocean view as the cabanas were closed. Minimal lighting, no bar and NO STAFF. The wheelchair ramp was not accessible easily. Morning Room Service was a challenge. 3 out of 3 mornings were a disaster. Order placed the night before included coffee, fruit and cereal. The buffet dining room only had 50% open at all times. Day2 8am-hot coffee but no mugs. Pinncale Dining Room served grizzly steak, uneatable Seafood Cioppino & cheesecake with the texture of jello. Yes, we paid extra for that. Dress Code in sit down dining room (not buffet) was not enforced. We saw a group of 8 people in their pj bottoms, tank tops and flip flops. The response to our complaints have been even more aggravating.To the complaint about the staff party: "while we do sincerely regret you were inconvenienced, we also value our crew and sometimes it is warranted to reward our staff for their hard work and dedication to our guests and company." The response to the dress code: "there are times the dress code may be relaxed for a number of reasons." In addition over the phone I was told by a rep, due to this only a 3day cruise things are more relaxed. Thankfully, we have had six wonderful experiences to reflect on and this is our first bad experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
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
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
Sail Date October 2017
Took a 21 day Panama Canal cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale. The ship is nicely decorated with some lovely flower arrangements & art & it is in relatively good working condition. Our cabin was well cared for but we found ... Read More
Took a 21 day Panama Canal cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale. The ship is nicely decorated with some lovely flower arrangements & art & it is in relatively good working condition. Our cabin was well cared for but we found the pillows & linens to be in poor condition. Pillows had stains & no support. Stains on the duvet as well.Our bathroom shower curtain had black mold on it. It was replaced as soon as we notified the steward. Air conditioning worked great. We enjoyed the various ports on the cruise. Definitely must do a tour for Puerto Chiapas, Puerto Caldera, Nicaragua & Guatemala. There is nothing at those ports to do unless you take a tour. These are great places to get tours from to explore the country. The Nieuw Amsterdam must do something about the poor quality & quantity of food they serve. It was the most disappointing part of our cruise. Portions would not even satisfy a child. Food was overcooked or raw usually. Poor selection of food unless you like eating lamb or pork belly. They did have prime rib which came either raw or like leather. Soups lacked substance & taste. Service was beyond slow. 2 hours to get a main course is too long. Waiters had way to many tables to serve in my opinion. The only item we really enjoyed in the dining room was the fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast. We eventually quit going to the dining room as the food & service was a disappointment. We found the ship deep fries a lot of it's food which we don't enjoy. Watch out for the turkey bacon. It actually should be called turkey jerky- it's deep fried! The buffet was slow & staff seemed unenthusiastic about working. Tables were left dirty & staff were slow to pick up dirty plates from our table or ask us about something to drink. Most items have to be served to you. With only one staff serving lines were long. They were often out of items such as crackers for soup, earl grey tea, spinach & parmesan cheese at the salad bar, skim milk unless at breakfast, meatballs for spaghetti & meatballs, eggs at breakfast, etc. No one had any explanation for why items couldn't seem to be found. Just a shrug of the shoulders. The pasta bar food is reasonable. The buffet has limited hours. If you think you can get something to eat any time of the day you can't unless you order room service which has a very limited menu. Pizza is very good as are the burgers. However, expect to wait a long time to get a burger (usually have only one person cooking) & they close at 5:30 pm. Tamarind is the only pay restaurant we went to. Food was fairly good; the setting peaceful & comfortable & service excellent. They should be open for lunch but they aren't. The Mariner's lunch had halibut with rice & peas on the menu. The halibut was so overcooked it was a solid chunk of fish that required a mouthful of water with every bite so it could be swallowed. The rice was disgusting & there were no peas. We were told the peas were mashed into the rice. Really- there were no peas anywhere. Dessert would fit on a tablespoon. This is supposed to be a place to see the Captain & Customer Services Director. Neither turned up. They did a crew drill instead. Afternoon tea is a joke. More unenthused & slow staff. Would have to wait & wait & wait for someone to serve the table. Tea is served in the Ocean bar which means sitting next to public walkways & never enough tables for people who wanted to have tea. Why on earth tea is served in a location like this was an unknown even to the staff who agreed it was a poor place to have it. Eventually people quit going, including us, as there was a lot of frustration about both the location & poor service. Pastries were overdone & dry. Room service was prompt. They made an effort to serve hot food but it wasn't. We did request a few items not on the menu (peanut butter & cheese slices) & they did bring them which was appreciated. You can get English muffins, ham & poached eggs. BUT, if you want plain eggs benedict that has these items, you pay $9.00 per person more! We didn't use the spa. I had enquired about a day pass & was told they don't sell day passes only passes for the whole cruise. For 20 days the cost would be $599 each!!! Photos were very poorly done. Staff at the photo gallery would pressure you to buy expensive packages of pictures & didn't listen when told no thanks. Happy hour is a time to get a second drink for $2.00. You also get some nuts & a small plate of about 4 appetizers. A few times these were tasty & others were terrible. It gets busy & service can be quite slow as a result. Again, there doesn't seem to be enough staff. Tours through the ship were pretty good even though the selection was limited & I could not use the onboard credit to pay for them when booking them before the cruise. I also had to pay in US dollars. The excursion desk was unhelpful when onboard. The assistant manager didn't know anything about the tours other than what I already read on line. The person you can talk to with "any question" about a port was available one hours per day & basically she pushed the ship tours rather than answering questions we had. Shops onboard cater to those who have big dollars to spend. Expensive & mostly jewellery & watches. The few items they have that the average passenger might need were ridiculously expensive. A small tub of toothpaste was $7.00 US. Entertainment was hit & miss. Mostly miss. Bailamos was fabulous. The Test kitchen entertaining. BB Club was a big letdown. Brand new band that never worked together before were brought on for the cruise. They did OK but played the same songs each night. They just didn't seem to have any connection with the audience which was evident in the fact that there were always vacant seats at any show. The experts that talked about the Panama & also the sea life were excellent. The Panama Canal movie about the building of the canal was great & very informative before we got to the Canal. The pamphlet the ship handed out about the canal was helpful but it would have been nice for someone inform us of where exactly we were in the Canal when passing through. There was a speaker who told us very little during our passage. I understand you don't want someone talking all the time but more information would have been nice. Be prepared for smoking hot & humid weather on this cruise. We had fabulous weather (we like the heat & sun) for almost all ports but for those not used to the high temperatures & humidity it can be quite uncomfortable. Front desk staff were friendly & helpful. They acknowledged any concerns but little they could do about things such as the food. We had a couple of unfortunate experiences during the cruise. A microburst storm in Hutualco which resulted in us getting stranded on shore for several hours & also a 4 hour delay with a tour in Costa Rica as we were forced to travel a mountain road due to problems on the main highways. In both incidences the ship kept the buffet open for people to have something to eat when they got back to the ship & greeted passengers back to the ship with genuine care & concern. The Captain did a fabulous job with his daily announcements & also with informing passengers of any delays & the reasons for them. The Q&A they had with him was very interesting. If the ship can improve it's food- and it needs LOTS of improvement & beef up it's entertainment it could make for much more pleasant cruises in the future. We know that passage through the Panama Canal is expensive for the cruise lines but the cost of the cruise was very expensive especially when the food was so poor. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
It was a large family getaway. 12 adults and 7 kids and pretty much a complete disappointment. The ship's refit was incomplete. Nice bathrooms but old bedroom furnishings. The type of food offering was decent but the preparation ... Read More
It was a large family getaway. 12 adults and 7 kids and pretty much a complete disappointment. The ship's refit was incomplete. Nice bathrooms but old bedroom furnishings. The type of food offering was decent but the preparation was lacking, so don't expect 5 star; maybe 2 star at best. As for the "shows", they managed to coerce the crew to perform on stage. They may be good their jobs, but singing and dancing was not part of it. There was no entertainment to speak of, unless you consider the crew performing entertaining. There were very few activities available for people that were not casino bound. If you're already spending this kind of money, spend it on a real cruise line like Celebrity, Royal Caribbean or Princess. At least with these cruise ships going into Alaska, you will be entertained, fed well and at least feel that your money was well spent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was my third Holland America cruise though it has been a number of years since I last sailed HA. I am an experienced cruiser having sailed with several other lines and ships over the past 30 years. I chose this cruise for a quick ... Read More
This was my third Holland America cruise though it has been a number of years since I last sailed HA. I am an experienced cruiser having sailed with several other lines and ships over the past 30 years. I chose this cruise for a quick getaway with my mother. We had adjoining inside staterooms on deck 6. Rooms were fine, ship was clean and service from all staff I encountered was very good. The ship was very underwhelming in decor and facilities. There was very little to do on sea days. Movies on the "big screen" were the same as those played on tv in the stateroom. This was an Alaska cruise and the only adult hot tubs were outdoors, unless you wanted to pay US $199 to use the thermal spa. Food was the biggest disappointment on this ship. It was dreadful. There was not one memorable meal in the main dining room where we ate every night of the seven day cruise. In fact, there were several dishes we couldn't eat. The salmon was overlooked and dried out, the lamb was tough, the soups were inedible. Potato and shrimp soup? Please! And. Have never ever been served soup where the protein is placed in the bowl and the soup broth poured over it at the table! It was appalling. The lido food was worse than the dining room. There was food odour constantly which was not helped by the overuse of garlic. Sushi was the worst I have ever tasted. About the only thing worth eating was the bread. The room service breakfast menu was scant to say the least. The fruit plate consisted of a thin slice of watermelon or other rock hard melon, two blueberries (I kid you not) and a slice of orange. The stateroom fruit basket had unripened fruit. The only decent entertainment was in the piano bar. A great pianist and entertainer there. We went every night. The main entertainment venue was brutal. We had a third rate magician and ditto the comedian both from Australia. The Holland America singers and dancers were worse than a high school production. I'm afraid it will take a lot for me to book another cruise with HA. My travel agent feels it may be the particular ship but why would you risk ruining another vacation after this ordeal. I've already booked a Holy Land cruise with Celebrity for next year and plan to take a 20 day Mediterranean cruise with my husband in 2019. I'm afraid it won't be on board HA. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I can only extend my personal thoughts about each cruise I take. I have been on 26 cruises, 5 to Alaska and 4 on Holland. Overall, the passengers averaged about 75 yrs old with a third Australian, a third Canadian and the rest Asians ... Read More
I can only extend my personal thoughts about each cruise I take. I have been on 26 cruises, 5 to Alaska and 4 on Holland. Overall, the passengers averaged about 75 yrs old with a third Australian, a third Canadian and the rest Asians and Americans. There were only 4 kids on the ship. FOOD The food was good, always hot and portions have been scaled back compared to previous cruises. The new 70 yr anniversary menu was minimal in choices and no great changes. Lido buffet serves you and they had a scaled back offering as well. They do set tables and bring drinks. Pizza was good but very slow service. Dining room breakfast was over an hour wait to get food after ordering. Waiters were slow but I think they have cut down on staff. ROOM We stayed in an inside cabin, very small but very clean with plenty of storage for the two of us, Only saw our steward the first and last day but they did come by twice a day and the room was clean. CASINO The staff was friendly but it is a smaller casino and payoffs were not so many. After all it is a casino and its all chance ACTIVITIES The digital workshops did not happen and the cruise director we only saw introducing performers or on announcements telling us what a great time we are having. There were not many activities listed in the daily bulletin. 75 % of the passengers seemed to go to bed by 9 pm. Americas test kitchen was ok but most of it is on their website. ENTERTAINMENT Out of 26 cruises this has to be the worst offering I have ever witnessed. The comedian was not at all funny and a true waste of time. The illusionist was worse than the comedian and we could see all his illusions before he shared them, no magic at all. The last night he and the comedian shared a variety show which was 25 minutes of no comedy and 25 minutes of the illusionist trying to put one audience member in a trance. The 3 singing and dance troupe equalled that of a high school production at best. The band they used was live and they did ok. The only night program worth seeing was the bbc documentary on Alaska with live music. The scenes were breathtaking. It is worth seeing. BBKing played music nightly and they seemed quite good but by the size of the non crowds there, it was not the choice for aging passengers. FRONT DESK I had one issue and the clerk was rather rude to the point I had to address with her supervisor. Comments from other guests we met had similar comments. EMBARKATION We received an email saying to be at the ship between 930 and 1100 or have long waits. We took the Skytrain (which is great and empty and cheap on a Sat morning.) We arrived about 9 and were directed to 5 different places and given 5 different answers before we stumbled upon a security guard who let us into assigned seats by rows. It was 9am and we were the first ones to arrive. At 1010 they sent us to check in and reseated. About 1030 we went to customs and then security. We then went to another room where we were seated in order again and had to go down a very steep cement set of 20 steps to go to the ship. We were onboard about 1130. I guess this is the new security but those needing an elevator had to walk a bit further. They did have coffee, lemonade and water while waiting. DISEMBARKATION They called by luggage tag color and we were last to leave at about 10am. We handed our slips to a lady and went through a customs line. We took the skytrain to the airport for 2.25 american and the sky train is a 7 minute walk from the pier. The pier is right in town. OVERALL 25 years ago I made my first Alaska cruise and over the course of each cruise there the glaciers have almost gone away. I guess in 3 yrs they will change the itinerary. We did see lots of whales while on the ship, only 2 bears on the inside passage, lots of mountain goats and plenty of bald eagles. The ports still seem to be the same and the 5 free tours in Skagway through the rangers were great and kept us busy there for 6 hours. I give details of cruise ports in my trip advisor report. This will probably be my last Holland cruise as I think the other lines have surpassed them in service and quality. Feel free to ask questions if I can help. Hope you have a great cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We recently took a cruise from Vancouver up the inside passage and to Alaska with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We had heard from several people that this was one of the best ship to do this cruise with as they cruise deep into ... Read More
We recently took a cruise from Vancouver up the inside passage and to Alaska with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We had heard from several people that this was one of the best ship to do this cruise with as they cruise deep into glacier bay. The embarkation process in Vancouver took almost 2 hours but as this is mostly because of the USA security screening I cannot blame Holland America for this but nonetheless the trip did not get off to a good start. One of our suitcases did not arrive into our cabin until 9pm at night and when I went to the front office to query the delay I was greeted by a rather rude staff member! On one day we had no hot water for approx 4 hours and when I called guest services to find out what the problem was I was told I would be called back - I was never called back. Our toilet was blocked and that took 1/2 a day to get serviced! The battery on our safe died on our second last day of the cruise but it was never repaired. I cannot believe that they don't even have a facility where you can iron some clothes - everything must be cleaned & ironed through the ships laundry service and at a cost! The entertainment would have to be the worst I have ever seen on all the cruises I have done. We had decided to book a nice suite which had a good size bathroom and cabin. I was quite surprised that you are not even given a complimentary bottle of water in your cabin but rather you have to pay $5 for this privilege. I would not book a cruise with this cruise line in future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We had enjoyed a one week eastern Caribbean cruise with Holland America a couple of years ago and decided to treat ourselves to a back to back eastern and western cruise this year . The first week in the Western Caribbean was very good and ... Read More
We had enjoyed a one week eastern Caribbean cruise with Holland America a couple of years ago and decided to treat ourselves to a back to back eastern and western cruise this year . The first week in the Western Caribbean was very good and I particularly enjoyed the stop in Key West. One of the elements that we enjoyed the first week was the open dining when we could arrive at the dining room any time between 5:00 and 9:00. We enjoyed dinning with different folks each night at a time that fit in with our day. On the second week we were not pleased to be suddenly informed when we arrived for dinner on Sunday evening that the dining room was closed in order to provide seating for a large group (1000 people) and this would be the situation for the remainder of the cruise. This is where Holland America truly dropped the ball on customer service. The front line staff were just as surprised as the passengers that this was going to be the arrangement for the dining room so they did not have any answers for us. The customer service staff that should have been available to resolve the issue were nowhere to be found. I asked a couple of times to speak with people in authority and received no response. I understand that folks that took more time than I did out of my holiday time did actually speak with someone but all that was offered was limp apology and certainly no action was taken to address our concerns. Even folks who were 5 Star Mariners were treated very poorly in an effort to accommodate the large group. I realize that not getting dinner at the time that suited us was really a first world problem but as the cruise went on and there was no response to my concerns I was wondering what would have been the response of the staff if there had been a serious issue to be addressed. The Dining Debacle became a constant point of conversation with other passengers that we met. I understand that this group regularly books with Holland America so beware you could be on the same kind of trip. I did complete the electronic survey that Holland America sent me when I returned home highlighting my concern with the poor customer service and indicated I would be willing to discuss the problems. I have not had any response. We did enjoy the time away from winter and the ports of call were nice to visit. Our cabin staff were very attentive and did a very good job of taking care of us. I will not choose Holland America again, there are other cruise lines and other winter warm weather vacation choices that I will certainly consider in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
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

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