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The staffs are very nice, and that's about it. Overall, I wasn't impressed at all. 1. Their website design is horrendous. A. I had to do multiple separate Google searches to find all the information I need about the same ship(Nieuw Amsterdam). B. The excursions will only show details and the actual price after clicking "booking" which takes me to a log in site. Once I get there, I can't go back to previous pages. That means I have to do all the searches all over again. C. Another note about the excursions: Instead of giving you the ports/locations that associate with the specific cruise ship, the excursion page gives the information of all ports. For instance, Nieuw Amsterdam doesn't go to all the ports/locations listed under Alaska, and that same page doesn't provide you where Nieuw Amsterdam stops. In order to look for excursions, I had to open multiple pages to cross check. It took forever and I ended up just booking one thing because I didn't want to spend any more energy on the sites. 2. There's no such thing as Early Bird Special with HAL Soon after we booked our cruise, we saw another huge discount available. When we asked the lady on the phone if the same cruise could match the discount, she said no. So, the lesson is learned. Do not book anything early with HAL because they might throw a discount when they get desperate. 3. A tagged luggage of ours was left alone at a random place outside when the rest of the tagged luggages made it to the designated room. 4. The tags on the phone in our room are incorrect. We stayed on Deck 6. Number 4 was marked "Information". When I pressed it, it took me to the SPA. 5. Giving the same space 3 different names to pretend that there's more space is just confusing. Try this one! BB King room, Culinary Art..., and Queen's Lounge are exactly the same space. 6. Cruise ship photos could be done more eco friendly and cheaper. The photos are way over priced. Printing them all out for demonstration is absolutely a huge waste of papers. It's hard to believe that there isn't a way of linking photo files to the fancy personal room card. 7. Casino A. People can smoke most of time in the casino and the smoke just goes everywhere. It was shocking to see the ship letting people smoke in a close container. There was a little fire on the first night because someone's cigarette butt burned some flammable thing in the garbage/tray. Of course that didn't stop any smokers. B. There could be more table games C. The poker tournament machine was probably used only once That machine took a cut when there were more than 2 people in the tournament. Nobody wanted to play with the machine, and I only knew of one tournament(2-3 people only) at that machine for the entire trip. 8. The disappearance of our fruit basket in the room We were supposed to select what fruit we wanted on a sheet in the basket. Once we filled it, the basket just disappeared. Two days later when I saw our keeper, he told me that he was sorry and just brought me random fruit next day. 9. Manhattan Dining Room I understood that in order to serve food to everyone on the ship, there's no way that the chefs/staffs have time to actually cook/make anything from scratch. Assuming most of meat/fish came from frozen stash, most of food tasted like too much sauce in general. On the first gala night, our group seemed to sit at Bermuda Triangle. Everybody around us got services except us. We had sat there without napkins, drinks, or bread for over 25 min. We had to repeatedly tell the waiters the same information. Luckily, we never sat there again and that seemed to do the trick. *The fact that the dining room doesn't take reservation just created unnecessary traffic and wait outside of the dining area. 10. The excursions are way over priced The whale watching at Juneau was great. We saw quite a few bold eagles, whales, a seal, and some orcas.(e.g. A group of orcas eating a baby seal, a young whale breaching 4 times...) but we paid $170 per person when there were local companies providing $110 for the whale watching or $130 for both the glacier and the whale watching. 11. The karaoke selection and tablets are weird A. First, the tablet doesn't sort things out as it says. Instead of artist, it looked more like a "genre" search at first. B. The selections were extremely old or new(no much in between) and the accompaniments sounded cheap. 12. There could be fewer computers at the library(crow's nest) and more tables for the bar/games. I saw only one person using one computer during my entire trip there, because the majority of people didn't want to pay the over priced internet access fee. There were always more people looking for a place to sit down to drink/play because of the great view over there. Come on, the people who want to bury themselves in front of a computer don't need the best view on the ship! 13. There could be more ping pong tables and fewer private lounge area by the inside pool. Again, nobody wanted to pay the fee to lounge "privately" around an inside pool. For the entire trip, I didn't see anyone using any of the private lounge. 14. There was no culture walking around the ports the ship stopped by Because of the tourists, the same kind of shops just kept popping up. It was better when we found some local trails to explore. The shops in town were just repetitive and boring. 15. There could be more board games at crow's nest After all these, we still had a great time because of the family that travelled with us. That's probably the way to cruise, bringing your own gang to a close container for days. The cruise had lots of potentials, but for some reason, it didn't live up to the expectation we paid for. My husband and I paid $1500 per person for an inside cabin. Our family got two more expensive suites. After comparing the two different levels of suites to our inside cabin, we actually felt great not going for the suites. Now, the good parts about the ship. The ship looked good and durable. The service people are in general very nice and professional. You never go hungry on the ship. The gym was great. Looking at the glacier was the best part during the trip on the ship. But then again, if you go to Canadian Rockies, you can even do the tour (waking) on the glacier. After all, it's pretty safe to say that we'll never go on HAL again.

Probably my first and last time with HAL (Nieuw Amsterdam)

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by TDL1900

22 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2016
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Spa Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
The staffs are very nice, and that's about it. Overall, I wasn't impressed at all.

1. Their website design is horrendous.

A. I had to do multiple separate Google searches to find all the information I need about the same ship(Nieuw Amsterdam).

B. The excursions will only show details and the actual price after clicking "booking" which takes me to a log in site. Once I get there, I can't go back to previous pages. That means I have to do all the searches all over again.

C. Another note about the excursions: Instead of giving you the ports/locations that associate with the specific cruise ship, the excursion page gives the information of all ports. For instance, Nieuw Amsterdam doesn't go to all the ports/locations listed under Alaska, and that same page doesn't provide you where Nieuw Amsterdam stops. In order to look for excursions, I had to open multiple pages to cross check. It took forever and I ended up just booking one thing because I didn't want to spend any more energy on the sites.

2. There's no such thing as Early Bird Special with HAL

Soon after we booked our cruise, we saw another huge discount available. When we asked the lady on the phone if the same cruise could match the discount, she said no. So, the lesson is learned. Do not book anything early with HAL because they might throw a discount when they get desperate.

3. A tagged luggage of ours was left alone at a random place outside when the rest of the tagged luggages made it to the designated room.

4. The tags on the phone in our room are incorrect. We stayed on Deck 6. Number 4 was marked "Information". When I pressed it, it took me to the SPA.

5. Giving the same space 3 different names to pretend that there's more space is just confusing. Try this one! BB King room, Culinary Art..., and Queen's Lounge are exactly the same space.

6. Cruise ship photos could be done more eco friendly and cheaper. The photos are way over priced. Printing them all out for demonstration is absolutely a huge waste of papers. It's hard to believe that there isn't a way of linking photo files to the fancy personal room card.

7. Casino

A. People can smoke most of time in the casino and the smoke just goes everywhere.

It was shocking to see the ship letting people smoke in a close container. There was a little fire on the first night because someone's cigarette butt burned some flammable thing in the garbage/tray. Of course that didn't stop any smokers.

B. There could be more table games

C. The poker tournament machine was probably used only once

That machine took a cut when there were more than 2 people in the tournament. Nobody wanted to play with the machine, and I only knew of one tournament(2-3 people only) at that machine for the entire trip.

8. The disappearance of our fruit basket in the room

We were supposed to select what fruit we wanted on a sheet in the basket. Once we filled it, the basket just disappeared. Two days later when I saw our keeper, he told me that he was sorry and just brought me random fruit next day.

9. Manhattan Dining Room

I understood that in order to serve food to everyone on the ship, there's no way that the chefs/staffs have time to actually cook/make anything from scratch. Assuming most of meat/fish came from frozen stash, most of food tasted like too much sauce in general. On the first gala night, our group seemed to sit at Bermuda Triangle. Everybody around us got services except us. We had sat there without napkins, drinks, or bread for over 25 min. We had to repeatedly tell the waiters the same information. Luckily, we never sat there again and that seemed to do the trick.

*The fact that the dining room doesn't take reservation just created unnecessary traffic and wait outside of the dining area.

10. The excursions are way over priced

The whale watching at Juneau was great. We saw quite a few bold eagles, whales, a seal, and some orcas.(e.g. A group of orcas eating a baby seal, a young whale breaching 4 times...) but we paid $170 per person when there were local companies providing $110 for the whale watching or $130 for both the glacier and the whale watching.

11. The karaoke selection and tablets are weird

A. First, the tablet doesn't sort things out as it says. Instead of artist, it looked more like a "genre" search at first.

B. The selections were extremely old or new(no much in between) and the accompaniments sounded cheap.

12. There could be fewer computers at the library(crow's nest) and more tables for the bar/games.

I saw only one person using one computer during my entire trip there, because the majority of people didn't want to pay the over priced internet access fee. There were always more people looking for a place to sit down to drink/play because of the great view over there. Come on, the people who want to bury themselves in front of a computer don't need the best view on the ship!

13. There could be more ping pong tables and fewer private lounge area by the inside pool.

Again, nobody wanted to pay the fee to lounge "privately" around an inside pool. For the entire trip, I didn't see anyone using any of the private lounge.

14. There was no culture walking around the ports the ship stopped by

Because of the tourists, the same kind of shops just kept popping up. It was better when we found some local trails to explore. The shops in town were just repetitive and boring.

15. There could be more board games at crow's nest

After all these, we still had a great time because of the family that travelled with us. That's probably the way to cruise, bringing your own gang to a close container for days. The cruise had lots of potentials, but for some reason, it didn't live up to the expectation we paid for. My husband and I paid $1500 per person for an inside cabin. Our family got two more expensive suites. After comparing the two different levels of suites to our inside cabin, we actually felt great not going for the suites.

Now, the good parts about the ship. The ship looked good and durable. The service people are in general very nice and professional. You never go hungry on the ship. The gym was great. Looking at the glacier was the best part during the trip on the ship. But then again, if you go to Canadian Rockies, you can even do the tour (waking) on the glacier.

After all, it's pretty safe to say that we'll never go on HAL again.
TDL1900’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Spa Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VQ
Clean, well maintained, wrong tags on the phone
Observation Deck Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Whale Watching
    It was a great trip seeing lots of animals and surprises like orcas eating a seal and whales breaching except the excursion was way over priced. The cruise line charged us $170 each when one competitor provided $110 for the whale watching or $130 for both glacier and whale watching.
    View All 841 Whale Watching Reviews