Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by kira5
- Sail Date: August 2016
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
Embarkation was more time consuming, similar to airport check in. I did wonder if some older people would find the amount of standing around and walking between large halls to be tedious or difficult.
Our cabin window was a fully obscured by a lifeboat although we still had a light and a peek-a-boo view. It was only $30 more than an inside so we felt it was a reasonable exchange. I liked the love seat so there was somewhere to sit. We could hear music or conversation from a public room on another floor. I presume it travelled through the ventilation system. We didn't find it disturbing to go to sleep to the sound of music but some might.
I recall that Alaska King crab legs were on the menu in the main dining room in the past; today it is necessary to go to the Pinnacle Restaurant for that. There were next to no props for the stage shows but rather a light show displayed various items and pieces of furniture. The band did not accompany the dancers; the music was a recording.
The portions in the main dining room were sometimes very small. I wonder if food waste over the years is a consideration. We could always order more. I recall the 3 scallop appetizers where the scallops were about the size of a dime. The strawberry mousse dessert was the size of a meringue cookie and the Seafood Terrine appetizers perhaps the size of an American half dollar in width. Generally the food was very good, not outstanding, but very good. We travelled with our young grandchildren and they found the one and a half hours that the meal took trying at times. Often they would go through half the bread basket before the first course arrived. But the serving staff was very solicitous and the supervisor would come around regularly with magic tricks or origami displays to amuse them.
The BB King Blues band was very good and popular. We couldn't get seating the first time and another time only one person got a seat. We wanted to take our grandchildren to the ABBA evening in one of the lounges (Northern Lights) but there was a sign that it was only for over 18's so we didn't go in.
The kids liked the pool and often it wasn't too crowded. We babysat a few times and they enjoyed watching one of the children's movies available on a large mounted television screen. We would have liked some short children's programs but there weren't any of those.
Holland America obviously has no control over this but it seems to be that the destinations have suffered from having four or five cruise ships turn up every day for four or five months. I've heard of the same thing in Caribbean destinations. Places like Ketchikan and Juneau become streets full of souvenir shops. We didn't take any excursions as most seemed to be more active/athletic than we were looking for. I think if you took one in each port you could easily double the cost of your cruise.
There wasn't that much to do on board on Port days which was three of the days.
I appreciated that we could sit in a lounge without being pressed to order a drink.
Compared to the library on the Queen Victoria (Cunard) this one didn't seem to have much organization and not the same volume of books. I did find one book that enjoyed reading.
This was our fourth Alaska cruise and we only decided to go a few weeks before to spend time with our son and his family and assist them with their two small children. I do think this cruise, like many others, is a very good value. It is possible to spend as much or as little as you want in addition to the fare unlike resorts or hotels which seem to tag on various resort fees and housekeeping expenses in addition to the published charge.
We noticed that Glacier Bay was warmer and the icebergs small compared to 25 years ago. We didn't see the glacier calving that we had previously and also less wildlife. I suspect he constant cruise traffic leads wildlife to find other locations and routes.
I noticed a more casual appearance on this cruise by the passengers. On formal night, polo shirts and slacks were acceptable attire for men and I noticed more than one man, on the second 'gala' night, in shorts, a logo T shirt and baseball cap.
Unlike, Cunard, there was no ballroom dancing. I used to like to watch the ten or twelve talented couples weave around the dance floor every night but most people stayed off the floor.
I don't think we'll go to Alaska again but we'll go on more cruises and likely some at least with Holland America. The prices are very good compared to resort vacations and if you can get a few perks like included gratuities or cabin credits thrown in, so much the better.
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