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Experienced senior cruisers (7 or 8 on HAL, Princess, Carnival, Regent) traveling with 40-something son and wife. Embarkation no problem, as we arrived later than the crowds (1:30) for a 4 PM sailing. Bags already in room, as we had dropped them at the airport, even though we had not booked HAL transportation. On a couple of our last few cruises on HAL (all Caribbean)we felt like the line had slipped. Too much sales pitch, food not too good, ships a little worn. Not the case here. The sales stuff was still there (sales in the shops, art auction, port talks) but easy to ignore, as they did not hammer on it at all, and the "announcements" were kept to an absolute minimum after the initial barrage they give you before the embarkation. Amsterdam was the cleanest ship we have ever been on, furniture, carpet, etc. in good condition, the service was absolutely top notch, and food very good and well presented. We ate in the main dining room most of the time, but had a few lunches and a couple of breakfasts in the Lido. Much enjoyed the little coffee bar near the library lounge great Irish coffee at a good price, free small sandwiches and cookies. Did not try the Pinnacle, as it is an enclosed space with no windows and did not look as nice as the main dining room. The line has attempted to create a second alternative dining spot (free) at one end of the Lido at night. It is Italian, and reservations are required. We didn't try it, but it might be something different for southern Italian food fans. It looks like it is only partially successful as alternative dining spot, since it is really just a cordoned off area of the Lido, and the Lido itself has tablecloths at night for a little nicer feel than the breakfast and lunch buffets. Most folks dressed up for formal nights, though the men wore mostly suits not to many tuxedos. People did seem to adhere to the "smart casual" on other nights, and we didn't see sloppy jeans and t-shirts in the dining room at any time. We booked one of the spa specials on a sea day (you only learn about these the night before) worth the money at the price; the regular prices are quite high. Exercise equipment busy but the weather was bad so people were probably using it more than usual. We booked a cooking class with the Pinnacle chef for $29 a person. There were 12 people in the class, held in the Food and Wine show kitchen area. It was chaotic as hell and we didn't learn very much, but we had a great time with the other cooks, and all the wine we could drink while cooking. Great souvenir apron one of the better bargains of the week. For those traveling with kids and teenagers, we saw almost no small children and it seemed like only a couple dozen teenagers, but they seemed well occupied. The main pool stayed covered the whole week as it was rainy and cool, so it was monopolized by the younger set most of the time. The rear uncovered pool was adults only, but it was never used due to the weather until the last day, when a few brave souls could be seen trying it out. Disembarking was the usual chaos; we had booked a third party shuttle (half the price of HAL) and had to wait about 20 minutes to get going after our luggage was collected. Don't know how that would compare to the HAL shuttles, as the whole area seemed pretty confused. We all had a great time and would definitely book the Amsterdam again. (One curious note we did not bring travel alarms, and there are no clocks in the staterooms. We were using our cellphones as clocks, and they were off part of the time by one time zone (2 different phone carriers). Use the TV if you need correct time.)

Wet, sometimes cold and wonderful on the Amsterdam

Amsterdam Cruise Review by oftentraveler

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2009
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
Experienced senior cruisers (7 or 8 on HAL, Princess, Carnival, Regent) traveling with 40-something son and wife. Embarkation no problem, as we arrived later than the crowds (1:30) for a 4 PM sailing. Bags already in room, as we had dropped them at the airport, even though we had not booked HAL transportation.
On a couple of our last few cruises on HAL (all Caribbean)we felt like the line had slipped. Too much sales pitch, food not too good, ships a little worn. Not the case here. The sales stuff was still there (sales in the shops, art auction, port talks) but easy to ignore, as they did not hammer on it at all, and the "announcements" were kept to an absolute minimum after the initial barrage they give you before the embarkation.
Amsterdam was the cleanest ship we have ever been on, furniture, carpet, etc. in good condition, the service was absolutely top notch, and food very good and well presented. We ate in the main dining room most of the time, but had a few lunches and a couple of breakfasts in the Lido. Much enjoyed the little coffee bar near the library lounge great Irish coffee at a good price, free small sandwiches and cookies. Did not try the Pinnacle, as it is an enclosed space with no windows and did not look as nice as the main dining room. The line has attempted to create a second alternative dining spot (free) at one end of the Lido at night. It is Italian, and reservations are required. We didn't try it, but it might be something different for southern Italian food fans. It looks like it is only partially successful as alternative dining spot, since it is really just a cordoned off area of the Lido, and the Lido itself has tablecloths at night for a little nicer feel than the breakfast and lunch buffets.
Most folks dressed up for formal nights, though the men wore mostly suits not to many tuxedos. People did seem to adhere to the "smart casual" on other nights, and we didn't see sloppy jeans and t-shirts in the dining room at any time.
We booked one of the spa specials on a sea day (you only learn about these the night before) worth the money at the price; the regular prices are quite high. Exercise equipment busy but the weather was bad so people were probably using it more than usual. We booked a cooking class with the Pinnacle chef for $29 a person. There were 12 people in the class, held in the Food and Wine show kitchen area. It was chaotic as hell and we didn't learn very much, but we had a great time with the other cooks, and all the wine we could drink while cooking. Great souvenir apron one of the better bargains of the week.
For those traveling with kids and teenagers, we saw almost no small children and it seemed like only a couple dozen teenagers, but they seemed well occupied. The main pool stayed covered the whole week as it was rainy and cool, so it was monopolized by the younger set most of the time. The rear uncovered pool was adults only, but it was never used due to the weather until the last day, when a few brave souls could be seen trying it out.
Disembarking was the usual chaos; we had booked a third party shuttle (half the price of HAL) and had to wait about 20 minutes to get going after our luggage was collected. Don't know how that would compare to the HAL shuttles, as the whole area seemed pretty confused.
We all had a great time and would definitely book the Amsterdam again. (One curious note we did not bring travel alarms, and there are no clocks in the staterooms. We were using our cellphones as clocks, and they were off part of the time by one time zone (2 different phone carriers). Use the TV if you need correct time.)
oftentraveler’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
Cabin HH
HH with "partially obstructed" view on the lower promenade deck. Small but liveable. A few cabins away from the very back of the ship. We thought it would be horrible, but it turned out to be a great location. A few feet and you're on the back promenade deck with tables and chairs. Nearest elevators go straight to the dining room and library/coffee bar. The engines are midship, so no engine noise, and not a rocky ride in the least. We weren't disturbed by the partially obstructed part, since we could see out fine and you don't sit in your room to look at the scenery with those great deck chairs right outside your door.
Lower Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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  • Victoria
    Our last stop was Victoria, Canada, from 7-11PM. We landed there on a Friday night. There are city buses right at the dock that will take you to town and back for $7. It was a great city to walk and shop in, street buskers everywhere, and dock area was great, along with the grand hotel (all very walkable). We got a few street food snacks, and caught the late night buffet in the Lido when we returned.
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