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Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
872 Reviews

16-Day Panama Canal -- Responsive Crew

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by ICruiseWithKids

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Apr 2017
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom

We chose this cruise because my Father-in-Law wanted to do the Panama Canal, and it was great. We loved the food, itinerary, hospitality of the crew and overall journey. Watching the ship go through the Canal was a real treat, but some of the more obscure stops were also fun. Here are the itinerary highlights we enjoyed most:

Half-Moon Cay (Private Island): Beautiful beach, fish in the shallows & lots of birds.

A great day in the sun!

Columbia (Cartagena): National Bird Aviary -- fun, but a bit sunny and hot

Panama Canal: Watching the ship rise and fall powered by rainwater & gravity -- amazing!

Costa Rica (Puerto Caldera): Mangrove river cruise -- like a Disney Jungle Boat cruise with real crocodiles & exotic birds.

Nicaragua (Corinto): You MUST walk on top of the white domed church at the town center!

Guatemala (Puerto Quetzal): Bus ride to Antigua was well worth it. Elevation made it cool, and the town architecture was fun to explore on our own.

Mexico (Puerto Vallarta): Rythms of the Night show excursion was great. By luck of the draw we had front row seats. The performers were very entertaining (especially the more gymnastic ones), and the food was good and plentiful if not quite as tasty as it could be.

We had some minor issues, but the crew worked hard in every instance to make things right. The two worth mentioning were some cabin noise from the BB King Lounge that lasted until about 10 most nights, and some slow service at tables for 10 during open-seating dining. The crew addressed the first with earplugs that worked great for me, and some proactive efforts by the head waiters to seat us at smaller tables where the service was prompt. They also offered a free meal at the Pinnacle which was very much appreciated.

Overall, a great experience, and we'll be back on another Holland ship again soon.

ICruiseWithKids's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin C 1062

Convenient location for entertainment & access to front desk. Quiet most of the time except evenings when the BB King Lounge bass would permeate the cabin until closing time which was usually around 10pm. Earplugs from the front desk solved the problem for me, but others may prefer a different location.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

Seemed a fine terminal -- spacious and orderly boarding.

Half Moon Cay

Fantastic private island -- no excursion required if you're up for walking, exploring, swimming and enjoying the beach on your own. We particularly liked the fish that swam around our feet in the shallows.

Mangrove River Tour

Way cool up-close views of Mangrove forests, birds and animals. We saw crocodiles, a baby racoon, many different bird species and crab.

View All 35 Mangrove River Tour Reviews
Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

Interesting old town to walk around with cool architecture and history.


We enjoyed the archeological museum tour. The port itself is clean and full of touristy shops. We didn't get to the town proper, so I can't comment on it.

San Diego

Pretty easy disembarkation and not much of a crowd for transportation to the airport.

Rhythms of the Night

We're not fans of the town, but there's a lot to see and do here we haven't done. We were pointed at the Rythms of the Night excursion though and thoroughly enjoyed it.

View All 21 Rhythms of the Night Reviews

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