842 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews

The charter I give 5 stars, the ship 3 stars. It was a wonderful week on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise! Review Nieuw Amsterdam Jan 19-26/14 Blues Cruise It was a gorgeous day to embark on our 4th Legendary Rhythm & Blues ... Read More
The charter I give 5 stars, the ship 3 stars. It was a wonderful week on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise! Review Nieuw Amsterdam Jan 19-26/14 Blues Cruise It was a gorgeous day to embark on our 4th Legendary Rhythm & Blues cruise. The party starts at the embarkation area at the pier – lots of talking and laughing and everyone is geared up to go on board! When we boarded, the crews were working hard getting the stage set up at the pool deck and pulling our several rows of chairs at the Showroom in order to put down the huge dance floor. The extras bars were being set up on the pool deck and showroom. Prep was soon underway to get the sail away BBQ started. Within a few hours the ship was transformed to party boat central! Some of the lineup this year: Taj Mahal, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Curtis Salgado, Chris Cain, Debbie Davis, Otis Clay, Sista Monica Parker, Marquis Knox, Trampled Under Foot, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Southern Hospitality with JP Soars, Victor Wainwright and Damon Fowler. Denise LaSalle, Super Chikan, John Hammond, Ana Popovic and her big band, Eden Brent, Paddy Milner and Marcus Bonfanti, Tab Benoit, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Theodis Ealey, Corey Ledet Zydeco, Selwyn Birchwood, James Hunter Six just to name a few. A stellar line up! Right after the rowdy and raucous life boat drill we all headed up to the pool deck for the sail away party with the supremely talented Curtis Salgado. The bar staff (and any other member of the serving staff from all venues) were working flat out serving drinks. It was like a giant house party! There are a huge number of repeat offenders (70%? more?) and the rest were virgins  A good number of the staff and crew were repeat offenders and some had requested specifically to be working for this cruise. It seems we have a bit of a reputation as a fun and crazy bunch with the staff and crew. 48 hour rule: didn’t exist on this cruise. The sail away BBQ had self-serve food. Salt and pepper grinders were in the cafeteria from day one. No noro on this cruise thank goodness. We are a pretty healthy bunch overall, I only heard of a couple of folks with head colds after the cruise. The ports: St. Martin, with an excursion to Anguilla. 330 of us went by chartered ferry to Anguilla to Bankie Banx Preserve. The fabulous IBC winners Marquis Knox (2012) and Selwyn Birchwood (2013) played while we enjoyed the sun, sand and sea on this idyllic little Caribbean island. St. Thomas, Mitch Woods was playing at a small place not far from the docks, but we wanted a beach day. We went to the Ritz-Carlton Resort and hung out on the beach, had lunch and yummy cocktails. Grand Turk – Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials were set up at Margeritaville, steps from the ship. The beach isn’t great there, but the party with Lil Ed was great! We donned our fezzes and danced to the music. I don’t think the folks from the Carnival ship knew what hit them there. They thought they were the fun ship! They have nothin’ on us blues cruisers! The ship: cleaner than last year, but could be better. The seriously stained carpets had been cleaned or replaced by the aft lido area. The stairs could still do with a good going over with the vacuum. I still don’t think they have enough crew to do the routine stuff around the ship. The public washrooms, oh dear. Not good. So many washrooms were out of service at any given time. At one point, every woman’s washroom on the Lido deck was out of service. Every one. Upon checking out every washroom, finding them all out of service, there was another woman who made the same rounds. I told her we could hightail it down to my cabin on deck 8 and use the loo. So we sprinted down to my cabin. What a fun way to meet someone! We had a good laugh . But the issue with the public washrooms being out of service happened everywhere on the ship. From the loos by the Tamarind to the loos by the showroom. The stalls had to be checked every time to see if it was usable. Some never seemed to get fixed the whole week. The loungers by the Lido pool had been switched from the brown woven resin loungers to the metal/mesh loungers. They relocated the resin loungers to the forward upper deck. They looked really ratty. Since the pool deck is taken over with the stage and there is only chairs to sit on, it makes sense that the loungers were moved to the lido pool. Some of the furniture is looking very tired and dirty. The worst were the white leather chairs in the crow’s nest. They need a good clean and some need repairing. Other couches and chairs need a good clean. Lots of stains on the soft furnishings. The cabin: we were in 8157, same as last year. This year no plumbing issues – yay! Again, the carpets and soft furnishings are stained and worn looking. Time for some deep cleaning or replacements. Our cabin stewards, Made and Ketut worked their butts off this week. My friend and I gave them extra work to do one day  It involved Bloody Caesars on a wobbly tray. Don’t ask. Suffice to say, we tipped Made and Ketut quite a bit extra (each of us) for the mess. They thought it was funny! Canadians losing bloody Caesars is tragic! ;) Crew and staff: everywhere to be seen. If you needed a senior officer of any sort – just hang out by the pool deck. There was often a sea of white shirts with epaulets with bars. The one tall, lanky officer (I don’t remember his name) has been on several blues cruises, he is a real fan. He has his favourite bands and makes a point to see them during the week. It is quite normal to see maintenance guys in the brown boiler suits, guys in blue uniforms (who are these guys? Anyone know?), all the spa girls, all the entertainment staff, the pinnacle grill folks in white jackets etc. at the various venues drinking and dancing in their off time. Apparently the entertainment staff was given the option of not staying on board for this cruise, but clearly they all stayed – and partied up a storm! A former ship’s doctor (he worked a few blues cruises) is now a several time repeat offender on da boat. Smoking: there aren’t too many smokers on board. However – smoking rules are sadly not enforced on the pool deck. I had to ask one the organizers to tell a particular fellow not to smoke in front of the stage. It is very crowded and he has burned me in the past. He wasn’t sober, so I personally didn’t want to confront him. He was very mellow about moving, so it was ok. The sports bar by the casino reeked. The casino reeked, even though there were very few people gambling. The smoke drifts into the piano bar, so unfortunately I can’t spend a lot of time there. That is a shame, because great jams go on in there til the very wee hours of the morning. The last day Tab Benoit, Tasha Taylor and a few others were still singing and playing at 8am when the ship was in Fort Lauderdale. Food: We ate in the MDR a couple of times, we normally never do, but we had friends with us and they wanted to try it. Well, I still don’t like the MDR. The menus were not great, the food wasn’t very good. Soggy Caesar salad. Lukewarm soup. Either chemically or mechanically tenderized meat- the always available strip loin tasted odd and had inconsistent colour throughout. Many other cruisers complained they thought the food was super salty. The sauces definitely were very salty. We went to the cafeteria for lunch a couple of times. Not good at all. Cold food. Always cold food . The taco/nacho stuff was not only cold, but needed some spices. There was only one thing that was hot. Corn fritters. They just took them out of the deep fryer, they could be better with some jalapenos in them. The cook put them as the last thing at the end of the line, I don’t know what they should have accompanied. They just put them out randomly. I got one, and was so happy to get something hot, my hubby went back and got more. The lido guy gave him the evil eye. Probably because they were so popular he had to make more! We went to the Tamarind – always great  We went to Pinnacle (only once this time, we usually eat there 3 or 4 times in the week) and were not happy with the new menu. It seems to be a big step down from the previous menu. No steak Diane, no table side Caesar salad, the substitute isn’t great. My steak was seriously overcooked for my liking, but from experience, I just used extra béarnaise sauce to make it edible. I didn’t want to send it back and not get my meal until everyone was finished. My hubby was not happy with his rib eye. We used to really enjoy dinner there. Sad that they have downgraded the meals at the Pinnacle. Our waiter Claudio was brand new to HAL, but clearly and experienced server. I don’t remember the other fellow’s name, but he was quite good. Claudio happily spoke French at our table and had a nice chat with us. He is a huge blues fan and was thrilled to see some of his favourite bands playing. We went back to the Canaletto after giving it a miss for a couple of years. We thought we would give the new menu a shot. There is no way I would personally eat here with less than four people. I don’t eat fish/shellfish/pork and lamb. The menu is limited for me. My friend and I shared a salad, the ricotta pasta and the veal piccata. The lads had the pate, mussels, clam something, the sausage rigatoni and the chicken cacciatore. The meals were pretty good, a bit salty. We brought a bottle of our own wine, and our wine attendant (Marcy) forgot all about us. I had to call over the manager to ask him if we could order another bottle of wine, since we were ignored. Canaletto was not busy, so I don’t know what was going on. I would only go again with a group. If it was just hubby and I, we would have ordered completely different things and there would have been a lot of waste. Pizza – horrible!!! So awful in fact, a whole pool deck full of people who are partying, hardly a soul will touch it. Now, that’s saying something. Burgers – they only had a limited selection of stuff. No real hot dogs, only turkey dogs all week and other stuff they didn’t get. We did have a couple of burgers, but they are unseasoned meat, so kinda boring. The hamburger guy was very pleasant though! Lunch time pinnacle and tamarind. We never go there are it is prime time for music. ***Some of you may remember there were some serious issues on my last blues cruise on the NA. A non-functioning toilet for most of the week. Bug bites at the Pinnacle. Finally, after ONE YEAR HAL responded to my complaint. I got a call from Bilal (I believe that was his name) from the front desk office. It was kind of an odd conversation. He apologized that no one responded about the issues on board last year. He implied that there were some real troubles with his predecessor and that there had been a “change” of management on board. Not like “the contract ended” kind of change, but some sort of major change. I can’t really think of the exact words, but from what he said I think there were lots of things not addressed and he knew there were unhappy customers out there. So goodness knows what else went on. Anyway….he was apologetic and offered us a dinner at the Tamarind and a bottle of wine. He also gave us an OBC. Certainly it was a nice gesture, but last year I wanted someone to make sure the toilet would work all the time and acknowledge the issue with the Pinnacle. And for goodness sake find out if the insects were in the linens or carpet and clean the darn place. I still can’t get over the fact it took a whole year to respond.*** Overall it was a fantastic week with fabulous musicians on board. It is a wonderful time to see so many folks that we know and partay ;) We have pre-booked the next two LRBC, October cruise from LA on the NCL Sun and next January back on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Our virgin friends will become repeat offenders next January as they had such a great time on this cruise :)   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We were three families 6 cabins. We did our Xmas/New Year’s Eve (14 nights back to back) cruise on Holland America’s (HAL) newer ship the Nieuw Amsterdam this year 2013/14. We switched from Princess to HAL a few years back because HAL ... Read More
We were three families 6 cabins. We did our Xmas/New Year’s Eve (14 nights back to back) cruise on Holland America’s (HAL) newer ship the Nieuw Amsterdam this year 2013/14. We switched from Princess to HAL a few years back because HAL is one of the few remaining cruise lines that allows you to have a smoke on your balcony otherwise we would still be on Princess. I just heard RCCL has also “outlawed” smoking on balconies also! I find this sad they cannot accommodate smokers in some manner in allowing balcony smoking. I guess the remaining cruise lines left to harvest of vacation dollars other than HAL that allow smoking on balcomies are the mother ship cruise line, Carnival and now NCL which we are happily exploring again as options. We have many cruises under our belt, maybe 50 since 2002. Cruising has been as very good vacation value over these years for us. Usuallly the airfare is the bigger consideration in determining whether we take a cruise. Let me get back to this cruise. This year was a cheap year for a holiday cruise. It must be the ecomony. The cabins were going for more than 65% off for the last few months before sailing. I find Holland OK but an older crowd for sure. I should say that I am 59 years old. I get the feeling (talking to the people in the casino) that most of the younger families with small kids on these Holland cruise, were there as invited guests of the grandparents and that is fine. It’s too bad the HAL cruise line would never give a thought to having one on the many countdown locations, for New Years Eve, on the open-air Lido deck. I still remember on our first New Years Eve cruise years back on Carnival’s Spirit(2003) what a great party atmosphere under the stars. I imagined at the time it was as good an atmosphere as being NYC in time square. I am so excited for the new NCL big ships that are coming out, having fireworks every cruise. What a simple marvel idea! The drink packages are a great NEW idea for those wishing to sign up for it. Obviously some young business analyst pointed this out to the finance people in the cruise industry. I think a no brainer as they say. Other than the other mega cruise conglomerates, the all inclusive resort competition is providing a holiday package where the cost of drinks is off the table. It is included! Worse than that when you think about it, booze on the high seas is tax free. That average drink they charged $8 for, cost them probably less than 20 cents gross before other expenses. Also missing on HAL is any late night adult entertainment as other cruise lines are often providing. Other than that, the chef’s, dining area/room and cabin steward staff is top shelf as they normally are with all cruise lines I have found. And that is the major reason today a cruise is better than an all-inclusive vacation. The 2nd reason is the casino staff experience is still better than anything at an all-inclusive. Watch out once they figure that out. Tip to HAL: take the lido deck extra tables you have tried squeezing in and have been placed in the walking pedestrian area in the lido desk out! Nothing worse than bumping into and walking around dazed people every single day of the cruise in the lido deck when it gets very busy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Pre-cruise: We flew into FLL a day before our cruise, which I highly recommend, and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on 17th street. The night front desk clerk and the shuttle driver were very pleasant. The hotel had a weird retro vibe. ... Read More
Pre-cruise: We flew into FLL a day before our cruise, which I highly recommend, and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on 17th street. The night front desk clerk and the shuttle driver were very pleasant. The hotel had a weird retro vibe. Regarding the free breakfast, well let me just say, you get what you pay for. There's a small space in the lobby with tables and chairs adjacent to the buffet area. The kitchen staff seemed hard-pressed to keep the victuals stocked for the numerous cruise passengers. After a day of airline delays, I found the hotel adequate for one night. A transportation company has a desk in the lobby and provides shuttle service to the port, which is about 5 minutes away for $8 per person. Now for the cruise: DH and I are in our late 40s and this was our first grown-up cruise sans kids. Our previous 6 cruises have been on Royal Caribbean or Carnival with the kids. I'll probably make several comparisons to my last Carnival cruise (2011), and I do mean LAST. I really wasn't sure what to expect on HAL since Carnival Corp. is the parent company. I was pleasantly surprised. Embarkation was without incident. The staff guided passengers where they needed to go, and the line moved quickly. The muster drill was extremely organized and roll was taken, unlike my last Carnival cruise where the drill was unorganized. HAL's procedures, and from what I understand, those on other lines as well, are a welcome change. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship with nicely appointed common areas. Our stateroom on Deck 10 met my expectations. There was adequate storage and plenty of hangers for day and evening attire. The bed and pillows were comfortable. Our room steward kept our room clean, and made it a point to ask us how the room was every time he saw us. On the first night, I noticed a few spots/stains on the sheets and called for replacement bed linens. A steward arrived and was changing the sheets within 10 minutes. Spa: We spent a fair amount of time at the spa. We purchased a spa package that included the use of the hydrotherapy pool, the heated ceramic lounge chairs, and a few other amenities. The pool was never too crowded, which we made good use of, but the ceramic lounge chairs were usually occupied when we wanted to use them. There's supposed to be a 20 minute limit when people are waiting, but we didn't care to wait and went on our way. We also had a few spa treatments which were wonderful...top notch spa staff. I also got a good, morning water aerobics class in. Entertainment: The showroom entertainment consisted of the usual comedians, singers/dancers. The comedians were good for a few laughs and the singers talented. There's no need to get to the showroom early as there were plenty of open seats when we got there for 10:00pm shows. We made a few visits to the piano bar, which was usually packed. Food: The food was good. It met my expectations, and I can't say I really had a bad meal. Breakfast and lunch include the usual cruise options -- buffet or Lido deck grill (for lunch). I had pizza once. I'm not crazy about this pizza - it's ok in a crunch. I found the Sicilian-style a little more palatable. I really loved the poached pear dessert one night. We made a reservation for dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and, while the meal was good, the service was extremely slow. If you want to dine at the Pinnacle Grill, I suggest you book before your cruise. Le Cirque is also an option; again reservations need to be made in advance of sailing. Service was slow in the main dining room on the last formal night, not the norm, though. A new option for us was the anytime dining in the main dining room. That worked out well. We always had a table for two in different locations. On two nights, we had to wait for a table, but the wait wasn't long at all. We headed to Canaletto, the Italian restaurant, for our last night on the ship. Our meal was very good, but what really made the experience was the attentive and friendly staff topped only by the cotton candy surprise at the end of the meal. Excursions: We did excursions in Puerto Rico and St. Maarten and enjoyed the beach in Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. We planned a day of snorkeling at Half Moon Cay, but due to a cold front moving south, Half Moon Cay was really cold and windy in the morning. We decided to have lunch at the barbeque that HAL provides, and thought we'd go back to the ship after that. Instead, we took a walk along one of the trails and by this time the sun was shining and warmed everything up. I recommend packing fashionable sweats or appropriate clothing for cool days like this. I was able to shed my sweats by noon and enjoy the beach in my bathing suit. Disembarkation: This necessary evil was also without incident for us. We had an excursion in FLL and were in one of the first groups to get off of the ship. I was pleased to see our luggage neatly organized in groups according to disembarkation order/tag color. On our last Carnival cruise once the ship was cleared in port, getting off of the ship was a free for all, which resulted in bottle necks on the ship. Our luggage came out on conveyor belts in the terminal building, and I would characterize that whole experience as complete chaos. Years ago, Carnival handled disembarkation the same way as HAL. I appreciated the order. Overall, this cruise was all about relaxation. In between ports, there are a lot of shipboard activities, and as previous cruisers know, you can do as much as you want or nothing at all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Just back from the Eastern Caribbean on Nieuw Amsterdam. This was our 4th HAL cruise and it is the most beautiful of their ships we've been on. Wonderful public areas. The entertainment was the very best we've seen on any ... Read More
Just back from the Eastern Caribbean on Nieuw Amsterdam. This was our 4th HAL cruise and it is the most beautiful of their ships we've been on. Wonderful public areas. The entertainment was the very best we've seen on any cruise ship - truly excellent - even one I did not think would good like the comedian, who was in fact terrific!! The service was in general good, tho they seemed to always got bogged down with the open seating which is odd as the dining room was half empty most nights. I think of lot people didn't want to bother with a sit down meal and just went to the Lido buffet, especially on formal nights. So how come service was slow and inept in the main dining room anyway? We just were on the Noordam last fall and the food was better on the Noordam than the Nieuw Amsterdam. No other way to say it. Not very interesting choices, pasta either hard or gummy, and rather poor meats. Desserts just sweet. Actually the Lido seemed better than the dining room but we preferred to be served in the evenings than do the cafeteria. Excellent book selection in the library as on Noordam but library sitting space a little tight. Still you could go next door to the lounge to read in comfort. The spa was particularly good. Best massage and treatments I've had on a ship and the most willing and courteous operators I've ever had aboard ship. Also with their specials not badly priced at all. The thermal room was totally worth it!!!! Ship excursion people went over and beyond to work with us to get on a trip that had been full - really helpful. One disappointment was that the weather did not allow us to dock at Grand Turk Island. To compensate for it, the Captain docked the next day at 8AM at San Juan rather than our expected arrival time of 2PM! Lots of cruise lines won't try to make it up like that but just kill time at sea. As always their private island Half Moon Bay is the most beautiful beach around. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The Nieuw Amsterdam is a lovely ship. The food is very good; in fact it's downright delicious in the Tamarind and the Pinnacle. According to our friends and my husband, the filet and strip steaks were some of the best they had ever ... Read More
The Nieuw Amsterdam is a lovely ship. The food is very good; in fact it's downright delicious in the Tamarind and the Pinnacle. According to our friends and my husband, the filet and strip steaks were some of the best they had ever had. My lobster in the Pinnacle was also super. The only thing lacking in the Pinnacle were really good side dishes. Service in each restaurant was outstanding. On the other hand, service in the main restaurant was sorely lacking. On many occasions I either did not receive the side dish I requested, or I got it 15-20 minutes later. I attribute most of the poor service to the lack of communication of the staff. Their English was very limited and so, I assume, was their understanding of orders. For example, one morning two tables and us got hard-boiled as v. the poached eggs we ordered. The food, though, once we got it was overall very tasty and satisfying. The buffet food was also quite good, even though the waitstaff appeared very disinterested and not eager to help. The phone system in the cabins was a disaster. One evening we waited over 15 minutes for a person to answer and then the phone was disconnected. The system is called "at your service"-NOT! There is no way to reach any staff/cabinperson without going through that one phone line. Plus, there are no instructions in the cabins (i.e. in ours and our friends') on how to operate the system (like speaker phone, etc.) or even the TV or DVD. You would think that for a company like HAL that's been in business for a few years information sheets would be standard and available in each cabin.We did opt for the laundry service and it was wonderful-$84 for all our laundry for the 12 days. And even though we just signed up for laundary, my husband's dress shirts were pressed. Now the really disturbing part--I had read on this board that some of the NA rooms were connecting and thus did not have the usual three closets. In particular, the posting referenced our room-6097 and the adjacent one-6095. It was disturbing to me since the ship/cabin diagram did not show any connecting rooms. So-I asked my travel agent to look into it. She emailed HAL who emailed back that the NA "head housekeeper" had checked it out and 6097 did indeed have three closets. Thus I felt that the earlier posting was in error. Much to my chagrin, when we first got to our cabin, I found out that HAL had, in essence, misrepresented the number of closets since there were only two. So we had to put our shoes in that vacant spot for a few days. After much agravation and even showing the email from HAL to our travel agent, we got a shoe rack and a small ship credit. Unfortunately it does not make me trust what HAL publishes. This is too bad because it is a lovely ship and we had a good experience on our last HAL cruise.As far as the ports are concerned, they were fine and we only had to tender one time. We never took any HAL excursions, finding it cheaper to rent a car either at the port or make arrangements via the internet ahead of time. If you book in advance, you do save money as v. onsite, as evidenced by some prices we heard quoted to other travelers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We recently returned from the eastern Caribbean cruise aboard HAL's Nieuw Amsterdam which sailed from Ft. Lauderdale January 23rd for seven nights. I would like to offer my comments about this vacation trip. For the record; we have ... Read More
We recently returned from the eastern Caribbean cruise aboard HAL's Nieuw Amsterdam which sailed from Ft. Lauderdale January 23rd for seven nights. I would like to offer my comments about this vacation trip. For the record; we have cruised approximately 14 times in the past on several cruise lines, mostly on medium sized ships such as the Nieuw Amsterdam. These cruises have included various destinations around the world, including a transatlantic trip. We had sailed once before with HAL on the Noordam in 2010 and loved it. We have always elected a verandah stateroom or mini suite as our accommodation, and spend a lot of time on the verandah for activities such as coffee and juice early in the A.M., reading, relaxing, socializing with the group that we generally cruise with, and taking photographs of scenery, ports etc. (I consider myself an advanced amateur photographer.) Just to be fair to HAL, we had originally booked a 14 night back to back cruise departing earlier in January, but reduced it to a seven day cruise to be in synch with our cruising group, who booked the seven night cruise. We had changed these accommodations at least five months before the cruise, and were assured that we would receive the same cabin class (superior verandah) that we had originally booked. I began to get suspicious when we were not given a room assignment until around 2 weeks before embarkation. Our travel agent had been checking with HAL and assured us that there would be no problem. Finally, we received an email from HAL allocating us a VQ stateroom on Deck 11. On the internet, it appeared to be a Spa stateroom with a verandah, but I called HAL just to confirm, because Deck 11 was a little isolated with only 10 similar rooms on that deck. The first person we talked to said that the verandahs on deck 11 were only "viewing verandahs" and didn't have room for seating etc. When I called our travel agent to complain, she also called HAL and was told that on the Nieuw Amsterdam, the Spa VQ verandahs were standard size, and not to worry! I also called and was told the same when I gave the agent our cabin number. She even asked me to hold while she confirmed that fact with her supervisor, who did indeed confirm a "regular" verandah. When we finally boarded, we found the VQ room to be fine, but the verandah on deck 11 was much smaller that other verandahs on the ship, or the VD cabin we had originally booked. Our cruise mates who were in VD rooms confirmed this observation. The two small chairs and tiny table barely fit. If you sat in a chair facing the water, your feet were practically in the drain gutter at the front of the verandah. Needless to say, we did not spend a great deal of time on our verandah and missed out on one of the prime reasons we cruise. When we registered a complaint at customer service, we were told that "you got what you paid for" and the ship was full. Technically, the service representative was legally correct, as with all the legal disclaimers in the contract, we probably could have been put up in a storage bin! My beef with HAL is that even after inquiring, we were misled about the balcony, and we could have been told when we changed our arrangements months before that we could wind up in such a cabin. I would caution anyone getting a cabin on Deck 11 to check with HAL about the verandah size before accepting a reservation there. Deck 11 otherwise is a neat location, being somewhat isolated but containing the Explorers Cafe and Crows Nest, one of our favorite places on the ship. Having been rather critical so far, I think in fairness to HAL (I wish they were as fair to me,) I should state that: The entire crew and staff including those in the cabin areas, food locations, venues etc. were all above excellent and helpful. The food and service in the main dining hall and Pinacle Grill was excellent. The food in the buffet areas was quite satisfactory. The ship itself was very elegant and ergonomically laid out. If it weren't for our verandah issue, we would have had a great time. Unfortunately, the cruise left us with memories of a poor experience, and a negative opinion about HAL. We did mention these complaints in out exiting comments document, but we have yet to hear from HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We were on the Nieuw Amsterdam for 2 weeks on a collectors cruise, which is a lot like a back to back. Week 1 was Western Caribbean and week 2 was Eastern. There were two ports that repeated during this time, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk. ... Read More
We were on the Nieuw Amsterdam for 2 weeks on a collectors cruise, which is a lot like a back to back. Week 1 was Western Caribbean and week 2 was Eastern. There were two ports that repeated during this time, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk. The ship I found the ship to be very large and at times confusing (just my bad sense of direction) but the decor was lovely and nicely done, including the Manhattan dinning room that so many seem to not like the red colors. Although we were on the lower dinning only and I never did get up to see the upper dinning area. As for the food on this ship. With the exception of 2 times my eggs were not done to my liking (whoop de do!) and 1 steak that was really tough, I really like all that I got and feel a 5 star rating is applicable. We happened to get the best of dinning stewards the first evening and also as a bonus were seated with the best couple that we hit it off and made that table our own even though we were in anytime dinning. We asked the Mater'd to lock down the early seating of that table for the 4 of us for every night of the cruise and he did! Made our evenings very enjoyable! Call out to the Banditos! Iwan and Pande were the best! Casino was nicely situated but there was always a heavy cigarette smoke that not only was strong there but out in the hallway by the midships elevators. I know that other HAL ship I have been on had cigarette smoke in the casino but it usually just stayed in the casino and wasn't as strong. The Lido was set up well and organized to the point that it made it easy to find the areas you would most frequently go to. Finding a seat was somewhat challenging at times but never impossible. The stewards there were great at bringing the coffee/tea and water around to the tables if you didn't want to get it yourself. The public bathrooms were functional, but it reminded me of the trailer bathrooms we see at the fair grounds (only much cleaner!). Not as fancy as the Maasdam. Speaking of bathrooms, the one in the cabin was spacious enough. I found it interesting that they didn't use one inch of tile or grout. It was all molded fiberglass! Not fancy but functional. The sinks had a faucet that tried hard to be fancy but the spigot was position to make a mess all over the counter. Pre Cruise transfer/hotel package. The service that was provided by the HAL representatives were wonderful. The bus was comfortable. The Hilton Marina has what I rate as a 3 star hotel who wants to be a 5. But it was clean and everything worked for the night of no sleep that was had. The beds hard and low to the ground which made for a difficult time getting in and out of it for me. Embarkation was fast and quick. The rooms were ready when we got on board at 11 am. Our cabin the first week was a huge disappointment. A VA with veranda. Less storage than the Maasdam's Veranda cabins and the beds were very hard. Not anything like the original HAL mattresses. The biggest disappointment was that in cabin 7094 there was a horrible burning smell that come to find out, is a KNOWN flaw in the ships design and the kitchen exhaust fumes leach out directly to this stateroom and at least one other stateroom. We were told that there is no fix that they can do because its under warranty still and they have to get the original ship builders to do it. I would not recommend anyone booking this room or anywhere near it till they get that fix. It made both my hubby and I sick. After the front office skirted the issue for 4 days we finally got through to the supervisor who then told us we could sleep in another lower graded cabin 1094. This cabin was better on not making me sick from fumes but was not cleaned well or maintained well. It also had more space to store things, not that we packed anything to bring down with us. We only slept in that cabin. Our things remained in cabin 7094. Also just so you know. 7094 is across from the stewards cleaning supply closet. It was very busy during morning and evening hours but quiet the rest of the time. The second week we had cabin 8023 which was much better. No fumes, wonderful location and super stewards. It even had more storage space than 7094 had. spa: on the last week we purchased the hydro spa package and used it everyday that week. Enjoyed it a lot and was a nice place to go to relax. Entertainment was your everyday run of the mill cruise ship stuff with the exception of Cantera. This group of 4 male singers is so outstanding that we wondered why such talent was on a cruise ship! But surely do not miss them as they were worth us seeing the second week as well. None of the other shows drew us in after seeing them the first time. But to be fair, the production of Garage was pretty good too because it had all the Cantera boys in it too. Disembarkation: only problem was that HAL lost track of one of our bags and it took them an hour to find it which made us miss our bus to the hotel. But it was found eventually in a cart out on the dock along with some others missing bags. The HAL representatives again were great with staying with us till the bus could come back for us. Again the star rating was for the problems we had the first week since it was not consistent the second week. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
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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