We just came off the Nieuw Amsterdam in Fort Lauderdale. The ship was lovely, the service was impeccable and the food was great. Onboard entertainment and activities need to be reenergized and reengineered though....The only activities on the program were related to promotions of shops, Spa, bars and art auctions/lectures. Meaningful afternoon activities were almost non excitant. The ship caters to an older demographics (78 average on this voyage) and had 80% repeat passengers. Having such a high repeat passenger count may seem to be a blessing but it is a blessing in disguise...Passengers eat early and retire early and the only time you find anyone in the bars for cocktails would be from 4 to 5 pm in the afternoon.
We were supposed to embark in Malaga on 4 November, only problem was that when we arrived in the port on embarkation day, the ship was not there! The ship was delayed in Barcelona and would arrive in Malaga 24 hours late - and no one had informed us! Due to the time difference, we were unable to talk to anyone in HAL, Customer Service, before late in the day and other than the usual "we are sorry", they were not very helpful. They acted more like "Gatekeepers" for senior management than problem solvers.
When we finally embarked the following day, the embarkation was anything but smooth...No representatives from the ship on the dock, no porters and no one to assist - it took us almost 2 hours to embark.