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I just got back from the 9 night Holiday cruise to the Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam ship. The overall experience was good, but I will tell you the good, the bad and the downright ugly. First, the great. Embarkation was smooth as silk, and we were very impressed that it went so smoothly. We arrived before the crowds, so that helped. The food on this cruise was exceptionally good, even for basic food. We agreed that there has never been such a great variety of high-quality food on any other of our 26 cruises. Our room stewards took very good care of us. Our cabin was always clean and we could get anything we desired quickly. Room service was quick and perfect. The care I received at the medical office was the best, although painfully expensive. Now the bad. Several moments of negative experiences colored our desire to cruise again soon with HAL. One particular diningroom officer absolutely refused to clean the Lido table we wanted, even though all the tables in his section were dirty with leftover plates. I called out to him twice within a short distance, but he did not respond or make eye contact with me. I know he must have heard me. Eventually I had to push all the dirty dishes left by others to the side of the four-person table, and two of us sat down and ate. I reported this to another diningroom officer, but that did no good at all. Because the Lido was so slammed full, we had to eat at the smoking area in the very back of the ship, where there was no service at all. No coffee, no refills, no newspapers and nothing but dirty tables, which we had to clean up ourselves. I even went to the bar and ordered a smoothie, which never arrived. When I went to find my smoothie 20 minutes later, all I got was a shrug from the bar manager. The MDR service was so slow that we got up and left after waiting 30 minutes for the entree to arrive. No explanations, and again, the servers would not respond to stares, excuse me's, or a hand going up as they passed by. The service was non-existent. We were simply invisible. So were their tips. Now is where it gets ugly. I spent a total of a day and 12 hours in isolation after eating a lunch provided by a HAL-purchased snorkel trip by catamaran in Amber Cove by a company called Tip Top. Avoid this company. After my time in isolation for food poisoning, I asked two other families we had met on that trip if they got sick from the food, and they told me that they were sick also with food poisoning, but that they were trying to hide their symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain so that they would not be put in isolation or asked to leave the cruise early. I reported these facts to the manager of shore excursions, and I asked for compensation since I was put in isolation by the ship doctor. The manager of the shore excursion desk asked me to contact all the members of that snorkel trip, and ask them all to go to the medical office, pay to see the doctor, and risk being put in isolation before he would even consider giving me any sort of compensation. This was even when I could identify the two families who admitted to me that they also had symptoms of food poisoning. This request by the manager of the shore excursions desk was unreasonable. He also told me that Tip Top claimed that nobody in history had ever complained about their food. Of course not. Sure. HAL would never do anything that does not make them money. The laundry lost a pair of my husband's shorts, but failed to acknowledge it; instead they kept denying that they were lost and kept refusing to either produce the shorts or compensate us for them. Delay, delay, delay. Why do they deny compensation for my lost laundry? To keep my dollars. Almost every activity offered on the cruise involved a fee (classes teaching you how to use a bicycle and pilates) to a sale or a purchase of some sort for wine tasting, bingo, casino games or art. It's all made up to separate you from even more of your money. Why do they charge you for spinning classes, which use the bicycles in a group setting? It's bicycle riding, folks! Why? To make money! I even received a very special invitation, for a select few, mind you, for the Privileges Club. Oooooh. Sounds exceptional and elitist. The letter, and later in the cruise, the reminder postcard, outlined that I could get up to 60% of my future cruise off just by doing things I do anyway. I was intrigued but suspicious. If it's too good to be true, there's a money grab. And yes, when I went to ask about the details and the cost to belong to this exclusive club, the HAL representative avoided answering my question with an actual number until I asked how much three different times. Finally, it came out: $795 for the lowest tier of exclusive membership up front. I laughed and walked right out of there. Another money grab scheme. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Two of the disembarkation employees of HAL flexed their powerful authority to keep me, a physically disabled war veteran, from using the customs line for disabled people because, even though I have my own personal custom wheelchair, I did not look "disabled enough" to them. I have made a complaint to HAL in their survey already. I have received no response. HAL, you really disappointed us this time. Every hour of every day you wasted our time with mailbox invitations to spend more money, but give us the poorest meal service on any cruise. We made our own fun on shore, and the food was terrific, but we had all our daily tips stopped (which took TWO attempts because the first guest services rep, Barbara, refused to give me a copy of the form I signed because she said it was "too financially delicate...). I paid generously for the entire cruise in full three whole months in advance of stepping on the ship, and you still demand $12.50 each per day tips for this poor service? Nope. You just have to pay your slaves from the pile of money I paid you for the cruise itself. I do not believe the myth that if I don't pay you $12.50 per day, your severely underpaid staff will starve. I will search for my next cruise among the many other cruise companies out there.

The Great Money Grab

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by MyCatMischief

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2016
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Standard Interior Stateroom
I just got back from the 9 night Holiday cruise to the Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam ship. The overall experience was good, but I will tell you the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

First, the great. Embarkation was smooth as silk, and we were very impressed that it went so smoothly. We arrived before the crowds, so that helped. The food on this cruise was exceptionally good, even for basic food. We agreed that there has never been such a great variety of high-quality food on any other of our 26 cruises. Our room stewards took very good care of us. Our cabin was always clean and we could get anything we desired quickly. Room service was quick and perfect. The care I received at the medical office was the best, although painfully expensive.

Now the bad. Several moments of negative experiences colored our desire to cruise again soon with HAL. One particular diningroom officer absolutely refused to clean the Lido table we wanted, even though all the tables in his section were dirty with leftover plates. I called out to him twice within a short distance, but he did not respond or make eye contact with me. I know he must have heard me. Eventually I had to push all the dirty dishes left by others to the side of the four-person table, and two of us sat down and ate. I reported this to another diningroom officer, but that did no good at all. Because the Lido was so slammed full, we had to eat at the smoking area in the very back of the ship, where there was no service at all. No coffee, no refills, no newspapers and nothing but dirty tables, which we had to clean up ourselves. I even went to the bar and ordered a smoothie, which never arrived. When I went to find my smoothie 20 minutes later, all I got was a shrug from the bar manager.

The MDR service was so slow that we got up and left after waiting 30 minutes for the entree to arrive. No explanations, and again, the servers would not respond to stares, excuse me's, or a hand going up as they passed by. The service was non-existent. We were simply invisible. So were their tips.

Now is where it gets ugly. I spent a total of a day and 12 hours in isolation after eating a lunch provided by a HAL-purchased snorkel trip by catamaran in Amber Cove by a company called Tip Top. Avoid this company. After my time in isolation for food poisoning, I asked two other families we had met on that trip if they got sick from the food, and they told me that they were sick also with food poisoning, but that they were trying to hide their symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain so that they would not be put in isolation or asked to leave the cruise early. I reported these facts to the manager of shore excursions, and I asked for compensation since I was put in isolation by the ship doctor. The manager of the shore excursion desk asked me to contact all the members of that snorkel trip, and ask them all to go to the medical office, pay to see the doctor, and risk being put in isolation before he would even consider giving me any sort of compensation. This was even when I could identify the two families who admitted to me that they also had symptoms of food poisoning. This request by the manager of the shore excursions desk was unreasonable. He also told me that Tip Top claimed that nobody in history had ever complained about their food. Of course not. Sure. HAL would never do anything that does not make them money.

The laundry lost a pair of my husband's shorts, but failed to acknowledge it; instead they kept denying that they were lost and kept refusing to either produce the shorts or compensate us for them. Delay, delay, delay. Why do they deny compensation for my lost laundry? To keep my dollars.

Almost every activity offered on the cruise involved a fee (classes teaching you how to use a bicycle and pilates) to a sale or a purchase of some sort for wine tasting, bingo, casino games or art. It's all made up to separate you from even more of your money. Why do they charge you for spinning classes, which use the bicycles in a group setting? It's bicycle riding, folks! Why? To make money!

I even received a very special invitation, for a select few, mind you, for the Privileges Club. Oooooh. Sounds exceptional and elitist. The letter, and later in the cruise, the reminder postcard, outlined that I could get up to 60% of my future cruise off just by doing things I do anyway. I was intrigued but suspicious. If it's too good to be true, there's a money grab. And yes, when I went to ask about the details and the cost to belong to this exclusive club, the HAL representative avoided answering my question with an actual number until I asked how much three different times. Finally, it came out: $795 for the lowest tier of exclusive membership up front. I laughed and walked right out of there. Another money grab scheme.

Disembarkation was a nightmare. Two of the disembarkation employees of HAL flexed their powerful authority to keep me, a physically disabled war veteran, from using the customs line for disabled people because, even though I have my own personal custom wheelchair, I did not look "disabled enough" to them. I have made a complaint to HAL in their survey already. I have received no response.

HAL, you really disappointed us this time. Every hour of every day you wasted our time with mailbox invitations to spend more money, but give us the poorest meal service on any cruise. We made our own fun on shore, and the food was terrific, but we had all our daily tips stopped (which took TWO attempts because the first guest services rep, Barbara, refused to give me a copy of the form I signed because she said it was "too financially delicate...). I paid generously for the entire cruise in full three whole months in advance of stepping on the ship, and you still demand $12.50 each per day tips for this poor service? Nope. You just have to pay your slaves from the pile of money I paid you for the cruise itself. I do not believe the myth that if I don't pay you $12.50 per day, your severely underpaid staff will starve. I will search for my next cruise among the many other cruise companies out there.
MyCatMischief’s Full Rating Summary
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