28 days in the Mediterranean: Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by VEGAS-CRUISER

Nieuw Amsterdam 4
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28 days in the Mediterranean

Sail Date: August 2011
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
We arrived in Barcelona 3 days early for time adjustment and to see the city. The on-off bus is the best to see the most in a short time. Barcelona was an extremely clean city as compared to Venice (yuk). A side trip to Montserrat was super. Services pre-booked through HAL were great in getting us to the Hotel Melia and to the ship. Unaccustomed to European dining we found restaurant's didn't open till 9 PM. At the ship checking in and getting to room was a breeze. Our veranda stateroom was on deck 8 offering us a great view. Our luggage arrived quickly and we began to unpack before dinner. Nothing unusual through our first day (at sea) arriving in Liverno on day 2. We opted to book an Italian Trio of excursions (Florence / Rome / Naples) through a London Company. All three offered more for almost half the cost of HAL. Only difference was having to walk from the ship to the transportation as they were not allowed on the pier.

Of all the places (cities) we visited Santorini More was the most beautiful. This is not to lessen anything from Florence, Rome, Naples, Messina (Sicily), Nafplion , Katakolon and Kerkira (Greece), Venice, Dubrovnik & Split (Croatia), Kotor (Montenegro), Istanbul and Mykonos (Turkey, and Kusadasi & Santorini (Greece).

We noted that there was over 400 kids on our fully booked ship for the first twelve days of the journey creating some consternation due to parents NOT minding their children. The second half there were only about 30. We had a great private tour in Messina booked through people we met on the Cruise Critic web site. At Nafplion we took the HAL tour and later had dinner at the Tamarind (Asian) restaurant ($10 extra PP). We also discovered the Pinnacle Grill ($23 extra PP) which was excellent. It is fine dining to the maximum and we used it four times. The Lido buffet (not like a totally help yourself buffet) was OK but being from the buffet capitol of the world (Las Vegas) we chose late dining. We soon discovered that because Europeans prefer late night options the shows (more on this later) were after dinner so we switched to early dining and had wonderful table mates on both legs of the trip.

Presentation of the food in the main dining room prevailed over the menu choices and the quality. My wife and I think it was better on our last RCCL cruise. We did a few excursions with HAL but found it easy to either book ahead with tour companies or with others we found on CC or found our own off the ship. In Athens at the end of the pier there were taxi's offering trips to see everything HAL offered for only €90, not the $420 for the HAL excursion. Sorry HAL. In Athens there is an elevator to the Acropolis for handicapped but you have to ask about how to get to it. We finally got to eat a GREEK pizza which we are unable to find in LV. The "Istanbul by Night" HAL excursion was well worth the money. It was great. We took the HAL tour in Santorini, probably the most picturesque of the Greek Islands and then chose to get off the bus in the capital and take the cable car down. It is beautiful and we plan to go back someday.

Although I took a tux I wouldn't do it again plus we just had way too much clothing. If you buy the unlimited cleaning & pressing (we did) you get things back in a day. I kept track of the number of bags and we ended up way ahead. Except for a few shows (outside pro's) most evening shows were less than stellar which was a big minus for this cruise. We've seen better on RCCL & Princess.

We only missed one port (Mykonos) due to heavy winds and seas otherwise it was sunny, hot and sticky all other days. On the final night we dined at the Pinnacle with a number of the friends we had met on the ship and through CC. Overall the cruise was great although taxing as this is a very intensive eighteen in-port day (four sea days) cruise. We got to see everything we wanted to see and more. Lots of walking. Again HAL debarkation to airport in Venice was very smooth. If you are going to sail with Holland America and have the extra cash, I suggest you buy 100 shares of Carnival stock and get $250 in shipboard credits. Carnival owns HAL, Seaborne, Princess, Costa and others.

We are booked on our next cruise in November 2013 -- 21 days Caribbean Seafarer/Wayfarer on the Noordam. Happy sailing.

Alan & Ruth Davis
Las Vegas, NV Less

Published 12/02/12

Cabin review: VAV8113 Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

Rooms smaller than expected - good balcony location - great view - hallway noisy because too many very young kids on first half of trip - had to call security three times - they were very slow to respond - insufficient house phones throughout the ship - had to search all over for a phone to call security. Very inconvenient if you needed to call your room from afar. None (working) near pools or restaurants. Many people (workers) in buffet room not savvy as to ship places. Need to have coffee and something small to eat 24 hours a day somewhere. Computer time extremely expensive. No allowance to "get on" (time purchased). Next time I'll bring my own computer. $0.75 a minute is outrageous. Never had to pay that much on RCL. The Pinnical Grill was absolutely super despite the added cost - well worth the money. Service was better than most Las Vegas fine dining restaurants on the strip.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Taxi took us everywhere

Very clean city Used On-off bus to see most of city
Read 1749 Barcelona Reviews

Great. Took private tour out of London OK

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Lots of vendors - on our own a lot which was good

Tuscany Walking Tour

We enjoyed this one - lots of time on our own

Lots of hurry up walking
Read 1171 Naples Reviews

Pompeii Walking Tour

Tour guide walked very fast - tired us out

Loks of walking on private tour

Sistine Chapel

Combined tour but we were told to see chapel on our own but got lost. Guide for this was not part of advance tickets.

Oia Village

On return from Oia we got off the bus in the capital - everything OK - walk to and rode the tram down to landing rather than walk which would have been OK and mule ride maybe more exciting. Path very wide. Walking to tram quite picturesque - most beautiful island of Greece - would visit there by itself in the future

Lots of interesting thigs to see - extremely crowded - buy advance water taxi tickets on line - rather dirty canals
Read 1147 Venice Reviews

Boat tour

Took us to St. Marks Sq but we had our own water taxi tickets

Burano Island

Great trip to the glass works - spent too much money there

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