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We have been traveling since 2000 when we visited Australia and the South Pacific. We have been on over ten cruises from many cruise lines since then, but this is the first time we have felt the strong desire to post a comment on the web. Our cruise this year was the HAL 25 Day Mediterranean Passage to America – 2014 from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. We like transatlantic cruises because my wife has mobility issues and prolonged air travel in a cramped airline seat is very difficult for her. I think our expectations were set by our recent similar cruise, the Norwegian Cruise Line Transfer to Copenhagen followed by a tour of the Baltic Capitols. It was a beautiful and enjoyable trip in all respects. Before I get to my main comment, I will give you my first I impression of our ship, the ms Nieuw Amsterdam. It carries more passengers than the ms Noordam and the ms Maasdam which we have enjoyed on previous cruises. I will get to this later, but the sheer number of passengers was a negative. As soon we as boarded in Venice and got settled in our cabin, I did my quick survey, which for me, includes going to the highest point on the ship. I was a bit frustrated this time because the space on the forward top deck had been sold off for cabanas and access to the area was roped off. To me this smacks of the class system on the Cunard Line – without the additional amenities. Except for the full size basketball court (and the roped off cabanas) there was no useful top deck space. Now to the main reason for this comment: The day we arrived we started hearing the noise. On day 1, it was the loud banging on our pipes. We called the desk, but they could not explain the origin of the noise which continued intermittently all night. The next day was quieter until about 4:00 PM. We were trying to rest when the noise started again in full volume. It sounded like we were living over an auto body shop. A mixture of mechanical sounds: Sharp banging on pipes, grinding sounds, hammering and more banging. Of course I immediately went to the desk to report the problem, but had to wait in line for 15 minutes while the staff dealt with fallout from an Internet outage. Meantime my tired wife could not rest. Finally, a staff member agreed to send someone to investigate the problem. While we were waiting for help, I recorded the sounds on my cell phone, made a second trip to the desk, and demonstrated it to the same staff member. She came with me to our cabin to hear for herself. This pretty much ended the investigation, but we did receive an apology and an invitation to a dinner at the Tamarind restaurant. The sad ending of the story is that the noisy activity must have served some vital role in the operation of the ship because it never totally stopped. It is interesting that no one followed up to see if the issue was resolved. I believe they already knew the answer. We like cruising because your ship is your mobile luxury hotel. I have stayed in some pretty cheap hotels and motels in my lifetime, but I have never stayed in one that sounded like there was a machine shop next door. Any fine hotel would have dealt with our noise problem immediately and effectively. Unfortunately this never happened on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Now we get to lessons learned. We chose not to get a veranda cabin on this trip because we very seldom use the veranda and on a transatlantic crossing the view is not that spectacular. For this trip we just wanted a nice clean, comfortable, quiet cabin. If that is your requirement, location is important. At least it is on the Niew Amsterdam. Our cabin was 1092 on aft port side of the Main Deck. You might be lucky, but I would never accept any cabin on the Main Deck. The decks above and below are used for ship’s operations and could be noisy as we found out. Another thing I would do in the future is insist on getting an early cabin assignment. Even though we booked way in advance, our cabin assignment was kept open until the last minute. Our travel agent tried to get a fixed cabin assignment, but we should have tried harder. I need to mention some very positive experiences. My wife has mobility issues and needs a wheelchair. Before the trip, we worked very well with HAL excursion specialists to locate and evaluate accessible tours. On board, the Excursion Team gave us wonderful personal support. We did not have to worry about the wheelchair or not having a seat near the front of the bus and we were sure that the excursions were suitable for us. They all deserve six stars out of five. Also, the entire crew was willing to stop what they were doing to help us get around the ship. If you have mobility issues, don’t let that stop you. Go! The Indonesian cabin and table stewards are treasures. They maintain a tradition of great service which we remember from previous cruises. We have always enjoyed the crew show. We wonder why it scheduled late at night (11:00 PM) this time. Also, what happened to the Baked Alaska parade? These are little things that added to our enjoyment of past cruises. While I am at it, here are a few comments about entertainment. The content was good, but a bit skimpy. One night was it was a movie on the big screen. The productions were well done and the players all very talented. A problem was that the smaller entertainment venues such as Adagio (classical piano and violin) were overcrowded. All the extra passengers on this ship need to go somewhere and the entertainment space was not increased accordingly. On sea days, it t was difficult to get a table for lunch, particularly near the pool. The available poolside space was squeezed by the increased number of passengers and the fact that a quarter of the pool deck space had been sold off for more cabanas. We have reserved a HAL cruise for next year, but see increasing reasons for not going. We can make smarter choices in cabin assignment and have no concerns about accessible excursions, but we see a trend of increasing number of passengers without a corresponding increase in services and amenities. At what point will it be better to make other choices? That remains a question.

The Noise – Sadly It Never Totally Stopped

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by PixTraveler

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2014
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom
We have been traveling since 2000 when we visited Australia and the South Pacific. We have been on over ten cruises from many cruise lines since then, but this is the first time we have felt the strong desire to post a comment on the web. Our cruise this year was the HAL 25 Day Mediterranean Passage to America – 2014 from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. We like transatlantic cruises because my wife has mobility issues and prolonged air travel in a cramped airline seat is very difficult for her. I think our expectations were set by our recent similar cruise, the Norwegian Cruise Line Transfer to Copenhagen followed by a tour of the Baltic Capitols. It was a beautiful and enjoyable trip in all respects.
Before I get to my main comment, I will give you my first I impression of our ship, the ms Nieuw Amsterdam. It carries more passengers than the ms Noordam and the ms Maasdam which we have enjoyed on previous cruises. I will get to this later, but the sheer number of passengers was a negative. As soon we as boarded in Venice and got settled in our cabin, I did my quick survey, which for me, includes going to the highest point on the ship. I was a bit frustrated this time because the space on the forward top deck had been sold off for cabanas and access to the area was roped off. To me this smacks of the class system on the Cunard Line – without the additional amenities. Except for the full size basketball court (and the roped off cabanas) there was no useful top deck space.
Now to the main reason for this comment: The day we arrived we started hearing the noise. On day 1, it was the loud banging on our pipes. We called the desk, but they could not explain the origin of the noise which continued intermittently all night. The next day was quieter until about 4:00 PM. We were trying to rest when the noise started again in full volume. It sounded like we were living over an auto body shop. A mixture of mechanical sounds: Sharp banging on pipes, grinding sounds, hammering and more banging. Of course I immediately went to the desk to report the problem, but had to wait in line for 15 minutes while the staff dealt with fallout from an Internet outage. Meantime my tired wife could not rest. Finally, a staff member agreed to send someone to investigate the problem. While we were waiting for help, I recorded the sounds on my cell phone, made a second trip to the desk, and demonstrated it to the same staff member. She came with me to our cabin to hear for herself. This pretty much ended the investigation, but we did receive an apology and an invitation to a dinner at the Tamarind restaurant.
The sad ending of the story is that the noisy activity must have served some vital role in the operation of the ship because it never totally stopped. It is interesting that no one followed up to see if the issue was resolved. I believe they already knew the answer.
We like cruising because your ship is your mobile luxury hotel. I have stayed in some pretty cheap hotels and motels in my lifetime, but I have never stayed in one that sounded like there was a machine shop next door. Any fine hotel would have dealt with our noise problem immediately and effectively. Unfortunately this never happened on the Nieuw Amsterdam.
Now we get to lessons learned. We chose not to get a veranda cabin on this trip because we very seldom use the veranda and on a transatlantic crossing the view is not that spectacular. For this trip we just wanted a nice clean, comfortable, quiet cabin. If that is your requirement, location is important. At least it is on the Niew Amsterdam. Our cabin was 1092 on aft port side of the Main Deck. You might be lucky, but I would never accept any cabin on the Main Deck. The decks above and below are used for ship’s operations and could be noisy as we found out.
Another thing I would do in the future is insist on getting an early cabin assignment. Even though we booked way in advance, our cabin assignment was kept open until the last minute. Our travel agent tried to get a fixed cabin assignment, but we should have tried harder.
I need to mention some very positive experiences. My wife has mobility issues and needs a wheelchair. Before the trip, we worked very well with HAL excursion specialists to locate and evaluate accessible tours. On board, the Excursion Team gave us wonderful personal support. We did not have to worry about the wheelchair or not having a seat near the front of the bus and we were sure that the excursions were suitable for us. They all deserve six stars out of five. Also, the entire crew was willing to stop what they were doing to help us get around the ship. If you have mobility issues, don’t let that stop you. Go!
The Indonesian cabin and table stewards are treasures. They maintain a tradition of great service which we remember from previous cruises. We have always enjoyed the crew show. We wonder why it scheduled late at night (11:00 PM) this time. Also, what happened to the Baked Alaska parade? These are little things that added to our enjoyment of past cruises.
While I am at it, here are a few comments about entertainment. The content was good, but a bit skimpy. One night was it was a movie on the big screen. The productions were well done and the players all very talented. A problem was that the smaller entertainment venues such as Adagio (classical piano and violin) were overcrowded. All the extra passengers on this ship need to go somewhere and the entertainment space was not increased accordingly.
On sea days, it t was difficult to get a table for lunch, particularly near the pool. The available poolside space was squeezed by the increased number of passengers and the fact that a quarter of the pool deck space had been sold off for more cabanas.
We have reserved a HAL cruise for next year, but see increasing reasons for not going. We can make smarter choices in cabin assignment and have no concerns about accessible excursions, but we see a trend of increasing number of passengers without a corresponding increase in services and amenities. At what point will it be better to make other choices? That remains a question.
PixTraveler’s Full Rating Summary
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