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This was my first solo cruise after losing my husband. We had sailed on NA in 2012 and I welcomed sailing on a familiar ship. I had booked a guarantee obstructed ocean view and was assigned exactly that. The day before I left home my TA got an email from HAL to upgrade to a balcony for a minimal amount which I did. My cabin was 6134, port side and fairly close to the elevator, a definite plus for me. The cabin was as I remembered. There was plenty of storage space for me, didn't need to use all of it, in fact. As this was a very port intensive cruise (5 ports in 7 days) I didn't get to take advantage of the balcony as much as I do on a Caribbean cruise. The cabin steward was pleasant, but seemed to have more cabins assigned to him as he was not as visible as I remember from previous cruises. In fact, all of the crew were very pleasant and always a greeting in passing in corridor, etc. I had opted for 8pm dinner and was assigned to a table for 6, but actually only 3 attended dinner. My dinner companions who knew each other helped to make my solo cruising experience wonderful. They were very friendly and welcoming. I looked forward to meeting up with them and conversing during dinner. One of them was Ruth and I recognized her from her picture on the Cruise Critic Message Boards! I ate in the dining room all except 1 night when I went to the Pinnacle Grill with a group of folks that I had booked two private excursions with. I found something on each night's menu that I liked and was satisfied with my choices. I did notice that there were far less choices than previous. I liked the cold fruit soups, prime rib, roast turkey, sautéed sole and the fruit crisps. I went on 2 HAL excursions: "Shopping in Sorrento": only 1 hr and 40 min free time in Sorrento after drive there (lots of traffic) and stopping at cameo factory and wood inlay demo. "Old Town Nice and Eze: I felt this was much better value, we walked around Old Town with guide and then had over an hour of free time at Flower Market. Then we boarded bus and went to Eze, a hilltop town. When I saw the walk up the mountain, I chose to remain at the bottom and walked around a small outdoor market was some food and some jewelry. The other 3 excursions were privately arranged by members of the Roll Call. I enjoyed them. Embarkation: I am not sure if it was HAL or the Italian Port who handled this but it was sort of chaotic. When I walked into the building, I was handed a form to fill out by one person. I sat down to fill it out and 10 min later another person came up to the door and was handing out numbers which turned out to be the group number to board. They didn't seem to be coordinated in this process, people were not going by the numbers called, etc. Entertainment: I very much enjoyed Damian in the Piano Bar. However the rest left something to be desired.... I sat through the show with the female singer, I heard complaints from others that they left because she was too loud. I left the comedian show as well as the variety show. There is definitely room for improvement in this area! The reason I titled this "Rome to Barcelona: 7 Nights plus 1!" is that we were unable to dock in Barcelona on Nov.2nd as planned due to bad weather. This resulted in an extra day on the ship! It didn't impact me in the way that it did others as I was going to remain in Barcelona for 3 days....so I lost one of those and was charged for my hotel. HAL handled the situation very well I thought. They helped those who needed to change air reservations contact airlines, gave us free internet to contact and a form to fill out and send with receipts for charges like my hotel room. I was sorry to lose a day in Barcelona, but being on the ship one more day was a nice way to relax before Barcelona. All in all, I had a wonderful time and would definitely cruise HAL and solo again!

Rome to Barcelona: 7 Nights plus 1!

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by SailB

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was my first solo cruise after losing my husband. We had sailed on NA in 2012 and I welcomed sailing on a familiar ship. I had booked a guarantee obstructed ocean view and was assigned exactly that. The day before I left home my TA got an email from HAL to upgrade to a balcony for a minimal amount which I did. My cabin was 6134, port side and fairly close to the elevator, a definite plus for me. The cabin was as I remembered. There was plenty of storage space for me, didn't need to use all of it, in fact. As this was a very port intensive cruise (5 ports in 7 days) I didn't get to take advantage of the balcony as much as I do on a Caribbean cruise. The cabin steward was pleasant, but seemed to have more cabins assigned to him as he was not as visible as I remember from previous cruises. In fact, all of the crew were very pleasant and always a greeting in passing in corridor, etc.

I had opted for 8pm dinner and was assigned to a table for 6, but actually only 3 attended dinner. My dinner companions who knew each other helped to make my solo cruising experience wonderful. They were very friendly and welcoming. I looked forward to meeting up with them and conversing during dinner. One of them was Ruth and I recognized her from her picture on the Cruise Critic Message Boards! I ate in the dining room all except 1 night when I went to the Pinnacle Grill with a group of folks that I had booked two private excursions with. I found something on each night's menu that I liked and was satisfied with my choices. I did notice that there were far less choices than previous. I liked the cold fruit soups, prime rib, roast turkey, sautéed sole and the fruit crisps.

I went on 2 HAL excursions: "Shopping in Sorrento": only 1 hr and 40 min free time in Sorrento after drive there (lots of traffic) and stopping at cameo factory and wood inlay demo. "Old Town Nice and Eze: I felt this was much better value, we walked around Old Town with guide and then had over an hour of free time at Flower Market. Then we boarded bus and went to Eze, a hilltop town. When I saw the walk up the mountain, I chose to remain at the bottom and walked around a small outdoor market was some food and some jewelry. The other 3 excursions were privately arranged by members of the Roll Call. I enjoyed them.

Embarkation: I am not sure if it was HAL or the Italian Port who handled this but it was sort of chaotic. When I walked into the building, I was handed a form to fill out by one person. I sat down to fill it out and 10 min later another person came up to the door and was handing out numbers which turned out to be the group number to board. They didn't seem to be coordinated in this process, people were not going by the numbers called, etc.

Entertainment: I very much enjoyed Damian in the Piano Bar. However the rest left something to be desired.... I sat through the show with the female singer, I heard complaints from others that they left because she was too loud. I left the comedian show as well as the variety show. There is definitely room for improvement in this area!

The reason I titled this "Rome to Barcelona: 7 Nights plus 1!" is that we were unable to dock in Barcelona on Nov.2nd as planned due to bad weather. This resulted in an extra day on the ship! It didn't impact me in the way that it did others as I was going to remain in Barcelona for 3 days....so I lost one of those and was charged for my hotel. HAL handled the situation very well I thought. They helped those who needed to change air reservations contact airlines, gave us free internet to contact and a form to fill out and send with receipts for charges like my hotel room. I was sorry to lose a day in Barcelona, but being on the ship one more day was a nice way to relax before Barcelona.

All in all, I had a wonderful time and would definitely cruise HAL and solo again!
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