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We hadn't been on a cruise and always wanted to see Alaska so a round trip from Vancouver seemed a good idea, especially as our son lives there so we combined a visit to see him with the cruise. Vancouver is a beautiful city with plenty to do for a few days before or after the cruise . We have been there before and didn't spend so much time there this time. We no idea what to expect but ha asked friends and look at various forums to get an idea. We weren't sure about clothing given that Alaska can be cold and wet but fortunately for our mid-May trip it was mostly dry and quite warm. The day before the cruise we got an email from HAL saying expect delays embarking as there were three ships in port. They were right and it look about 4.5 hours before we got into our stateroom. They must have three ships there all the time so why don't the cruise lines work with US border protection/immigration to ensure a smoother/faster process - far from acceptable! There may be tricks/early boarding/fast track etc. but if so we still don't know of any. Our veranda stateroom was fine albeit a little compact. We had an issue whereby all of these cabins were stated all over HAL literature as having baths and showers whereas our didn't have a bath. We got fobbed off several times by the front desk with them coming up with various random excuses. In the end we got some compensation. All the meals were excellent. the main dining room was great for breakfast and dinner and were tried all three of the paid for restaurants too, along with the lido deck pizza and hamburger units. We weren't impressed with the lido casual/serve yourself dining area and I cannot understand why it was so popular apart from being much faster than the service variants. Service in the restaurants, bars and stateroom was all first class. Administration was a bit dodgy as our online running statement was regularly incorrect due to being charged for drinks although we had a beverage package and also for some meals, which meant more unwanted time in the front office - quite commonplace given the number of others there with queries. The daytime and evening entertainment was pretty good and we went to some talks, did the trivia quiz went to the evening shows and listened to the really good musical acts in the various bars. We went on excursions each time (3 in total) the ship docked, our favourite being the White Pass summit road/rail trip from Skagway. They were all good , including glaciers and the lumberjack show. The week on board was about right for us. Disembarking was much slicker and relatively painless. Things not so good : The wifi is expensive so we didn't bother with it and picked up free Wi-Fi in port. When you buy the drinks package both people in the cabin have to pay for it even if one of then doesn't drink. I understand that they think we'll just buy two drinks every time but next time I'll think more carefully about it. Also on this deal you can't get a bottle of wine, only by the glass (albeit it lots but not very elegant). Additionally a drink from the mini bar isn't included, it's extra. Finally if you buy a $10 dollar drink (limit is $9 per drink) you can't pay the $1 excess, you have to pay the whole amount. having said that we re happy with the choices. There' nothing special about the gala nights - just people getting dressed up to go to the same restaurant. For us it just meant jamming more clothes into our suitcases and hauling them all the way from the UK. All in though - very enjoyable and may well go on another cruise one day - maybe the Baltic next time..............

Great first cruise for us - Ship all good and Alaska stunning

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by dodge440

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
We hadn't been on a cruise and always wanted to see Alaska so a round trip from Vancouver seemed a good idea, especially as our son lives there so we combined a visit to see him with the cruise. Vancouver is a beautiful city with plenty to do for a few days before or after the cruise . We have been there before and didn't spend so much time there this time.

We no idea what to expect but ha asked friends and look at various forums to get an idea. We weren't sure about clothing given that Alaska can be cold and wet but fortunately for our mid-May trip it was mostly dry and quite warm.

The day before the cruise we got an email from HAL saying expect delays embarking as there were three ships in port. They were right and it look about 4.5 hours before we got into our stateroom. They must have three ships there all the time so why don't the cruise lines work with US border protection/immigration to ensure a smoother/faster process - far from acceptable! There may be tricks/early boarding/fast track etc. but if so we still don't know of any.

Our veranda stateroom was fine albeit a little compact. We had an issue whereby all of these cabins were stated all over HAL literature as having baths and showers whereas our didn't have a bath. We got fobbed off several times by the front desk with them coming up with various random excuses. In the end we got some compensation.

All the meals were excellent. the main dining room was great for breakfast and dinner and were tried all three of the paid for restaurants too, along with the lido deck pizza and hamburger units. We weren't impressed with the lido casual/serve yourself dining area and I cannot understand why it was so popular apart from being much faster than the service variants.

Service in the restaurants, bars and stateroom was all first class. Administration was a bit dodgy as our online running statement was regularly incorrect due to being charged for drinks although we had a beverage package and also for some meals, which meant more unwanted time in the front office - quite commonplace given the number of others there with queries.

The daytime and evening entertainment was pretty good and we went to some talks, did the trivia quiz went to the evening shows and listened to the really good musical acts in the various bars.

We went on excursions each time (3 in total) the ship docked, our favourite being the White Pass summit road/rail trip from Skagway. They were all good , including glaciers and the lumberjack show.

The week on board was about right for us. Disembarking was much slicker and relatively painless.

Things not so good :

The wifi is expensive so we didn't bother with it and picked up free Wi-Fi in port.

When you buy the drinks package both people in the cabin have to pay for it even if one of then doesn't drink. I understand that they think we'll just buy two drinks every time but next time I'll think more carefully about it. Also on this deal you can't get a bottle of wine, only by the glass (albeit it lots but not very elegant). Additionally a drink from the mini bar isn't included, it's extra. Finally if you buy a $10 dollar drink (limit is $9 per drink) you can't pay the $1 excess, you have to pay the whole amount. having said that we re happy with the choices.

There' nothing special about the gala nights - just people getting dressed up to go to the same restaurant. For us it just meant jamming more clothes into our suitcases and hauling them all the way from the UK.

All in though - very enjoyable and may well go on another cruise one day - maybe the Baltic next time..............
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