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Nieuw Amsterdam, Inside Passage Alaska, May 21-28, 2016 Let me say up front this was one of the most disappointing travel experiences I have ever had – and I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively both professionally and privately. We had booked Signature suite 6101 for the cruise. A week before departure we were informed we could upgrade to a Neptune suite for a reduced upgrade fee, which we did. That same day we received new boarding passes and baggage tag inserts for Neptune suite 7055. I am elderly and walk with a cane or with a walker for longer distances. Since boarding would involve considerable walking, and perhaps navigating gangplanks and inclines, I prearranged for a wheelchair for embarkation and debarkation. On the departure morning we turned in our luggage – including my walker – and proceeded to the check-in desks at 10:30 AM. I gave our boarding passes to the HA representative – showing we were in suite 7055. He said we were in suite 6101. I explained we had originally been in suite 6101 but had upgraded to Neptune suite 7055 the week before. He said there was no record of an upgrade I had spare copies of our luggage tags and the boarding passes – all showing suite 7055 – so the change was clearly in the system. I pointed out our luggage had already been checked in with luggage tags showing it was to be taken to suite 7055. He slammed the key cards for suite 6101 down in front of us and said “You’ll have to work that out on board the ship”. When I hesitated to take the key cards for 6101 he said words to the effect “You’re holding up the line. You’ll just have to work it out on board the ship”. Not knowing what else to do, we took the key cards for suite 6101 and set about finding the wheelchair I had arranged That was the beginning of the second bad part of the Holland America experience. There were no wheelchairs to be seen. We inquired of several Holland America personnel and were told to just follow the crowd and there would be a place to get wheelchairs. Finally we entered a large auditorium like area and were directed to a young lady who was entering names for wheelchair passengers on a clipboard. I was number nine on the list. There was apparently only a single individual pushing wheelchairs and it was taking him 15 minutes to get each passenger through security, customs and on board.. It took two hours for him to get to me. We finally reached our stateroom after 1:00 PM, cold, tired, irritated and too late for the promised boarding buffet. Then began the most frustrating part of the Holland America experience. We had purchased four shore excursions; the Tracy Arm trip, the evening whale watching, the luxury coach narrow gauge rail excursion and the float plane and crab feast. The concierge in the Neptune lounge said the tickets would be placed in the mail box outside our stateroom that evening. They weren’t. When we asked about them the next morning, we were assured they would be delivered that morning. They weren’t. Since the first excursion was scheduled for early the next morning, I asked a ship’s officer about them and he said they had been delivered to suite 6101 and they were “trying to retrieve them”. By now we were getting very anxious since without tickets we were going to miss out on shore trips we had paid for. Late that evening tickets did appear in our mailbox prominently marked “Reprints”. By now we had spent two nerve wracking days trying to straighten out problems caused by Holland America’s incompetence and indifference. The cruise was intended to be a relaxing pleasurable experience, but we had been forced to spend our time first getting the correct stateroom keys, then trying to get a wheel chair to board and finally trying to get the shore excursion tickets for which we had prepaid. Like a gullible fool I had believed the advertising about how good the food would be on the cruise. Instead, what we had for every meal for the seven days was cafeteria food. There isn’t much you can do for a breakfast – although eggs Benedict at Brannon’s in New Orleans is a four star experience – but the food in the Lido restaurant was not even up to the quality served at any number of premium motel chains. Never once in the seven days of the cruise did either of us have a meal which caused us to say, that was really good or even pretty good. Several times we wouldn’t eat what was served – the worse being a shrimp and Andouille sausage dish which tasted absolutely awful. The pastries in the Neptune lounge were more nearly stage props than pastries. It was as though someone had looked at pastries in a fine pastry shop, such as Demel’s in Vienna, and decided that a curl of shaved chocolate or a wisp of whipped cream made a fine pastry. But if the pastry underneath is simply a sheet cake it is still a sheet cake when decorated. We tried several before we realized there were no decent pastries. One of the concierge saw me hesitating over the items on display and said that they were going to be putting out some pate – which I like very much. What was put out were curls of a pink paste on crackers which I suspect may have come in an aerosol can. At any rate it bore no resemblance to any pate I have ever seen or tasted. The bottom line is that instead of having an enjoyable culinary experience, for seven days we were reduced to looking for something simply tolerable. Often that was coffee, fruit and an occasional cookie or bit of cheese from the Neptune lounge. After the boarding fiasco I kept my walker with me for debarking which was fortunate since as best I could tell there was no wheelchair even though I had ordered one. The bottom line is that this was one of the most disappointing travel experiences I have ever had. I wouldn’t go on another Holland America cruise if paid to do so

Cruise Disaster

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by Gus1930

78 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2016
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Suite with Verandah
Nieuw Amsterdam, Inside Passage Alaska, May 21-28, 2016

Let me say up front this was one of the most disappointing travel experiences I have ever had

– and I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively both professionally and privately.

We had booked Signature suite 6101 for the cruise. A week before departure we were

informed we could upgrade to a Neptune suite for a reduced upgrade fee, which we did. That same

day we received new boarding passes and baggage tag inserts for Neptune suite 7055.

I am elderly and walk with a cane or with a walker for longer distances. Since boarding

would involve considerable walking, and perhaps navigating gangplanks and inclines, I prearranged

for a wheelchair for embarkation and debarkation.

On the departure morning we turned in our luggage – including my walker – and proceeded

to the check-in desks at 10:30 AM. I gave our boarding passes to the HA representative – showing

we were in suite 7055. He said we were in suite 6101. I explained we had originally been in suite

6101 but had upgraded to Neptune suite 7055 the week before. He said there was no record of an

upgrade I had spare copies of our luggage tags and the boarding passes – all showing suite 7055 –

so the change was clearly in the system. I pointed out our luggage had already been checked in with

luggage tags showing it was to be taken to suite 7055. He slammed the key cards for suite 6101

down in front of us and said “You’ll have to work that out on board the ship”. When I hesitated to

take the key cards for 6101 he said words to the effect “You’re holding up the line. You’ll just have

to work it out on board the ship”. Not knowing what else to do, we took the key cards for suite 6101

and set about finding the wheelchair I had arranged

That was the beginning of the second bad part of the Holland America experience. There

were no wheelchairs to be seen. We inquired of several Holland America personnel and were told

to just follow the crowd and there would be a place to get wheelchairs. Finally we entered a large

auditorium like area and were directed to a young lady who was entering names for wheelchair

passengers on a clipboard. I was number nine on the list. There was apparently only a single

individual pushing wheelchairs and it was taking him 15 minutes to get each passenger through

security, customs and on board.. It took two hours for him to get to me. We finally reached our

stateroom after 1:00 PM, cold, tired, irritated and too late for the promised boarding buffet.



Then began the most frustrating part of the Holland America experience. We had purchased

four shore excursions; the Tracy Arm trip, the evening whale watching, the luxury coach narrow

gauge rail excursion and the float plane and crab feast. The concierge in the Neptune lounge said the

tickets would be placed in the mail box outside our stateroom that evening. They weren’t. When we

asked about them the next morning, we were assured they would be delivered that morning. They

weren’t. Since the first excursion was scheduled for early the next morning, I asked a ship’s officer

about them and he said they had been delivered to suite 6101 and they were “trying to retrieve them”.

By now we were getting very anxious since without tickets we were going to miss out on shore trips

we had paid for. Late that evening tickets did appear in our mailbox prominently marked “Reprints”.

By now we had spent two nerve wracking days trying to straighten out problems caused by

Holland America’s incompetence and indifference. The cruise was intended to be a relaxing

pleasurable experience, but we had been forced to spend our time first getting the correct stateroom

keys, then trying to get a wheel chair to board and finally trying to get the shore excursion tickets for

which we had prepaid.

Like a gullible fool I had believed the advertising about how good the food would be on the

cruise. Instead, what we had for every meal for the seven days was cafeteria food. There isn’t much

you can do for a breakfast – although eggs Benedict at Brannon’s in New Orleans is a four star

experience – but the food in the Lido restaurant was not even up to the quality served at any number

of premium motel chains. Never once in the seven days of the cruise did either of us have a meal

which caused us to say, that was really good or even pretty good. Several times we wouldn’t eat

what was served – the worse being a shrimp and Andouille sausage dish which tasted absolutely

awful. The pastries in the Neptune lounge were more nearly stage props than pastries. It was as

though someone had looked at pastries in a fine pastry shop, such as Demel’s in Vienna, and decided

that a curl of shaved chocolate or a wisp of whipped cream made a fine pastry. But if the pastry

underneath is simply a sheet cake it is still a sheet cake when decorated. We tried several before we

realized there were no decent pastries. One of the concierge saw me hesitating over the items on

display and said that they were going to be putting out some pate – which I like very much. What

was put out were curls of a pink paste on crackers which I suspect may have come in an aerosol can.

At any rate it bore no resemblance to any pate I have ever seen or tasted.

The bottom line is that instead of having an enjoyable culinary experience, for seven days

we were reduced to looking for something simply tolerable. Often that was coffee, fruit and an

occasional cookie or bit of cheese from the Neptune lounge.

After the boarding fiasco I kept my walker with me for debarking which was fortunate since

as best I could tell there was no wheelchair even though I had ordered one.

The bottom line is that this was one of the most disappointing travel experiences I have ever

had. I wouldn’t go on another Holland America cruise if paid to do so
Gus1930’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Neptune Suite with Verandah
Cabin SA 7055
Cabin was luxurious. Enjoyed it very much Cabin steward was top notch as were the concierge in the Neptune lounge.
Rotterdam Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins