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

Shore Excursions - a lie

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by Jasmine 113

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2017
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

We spent approximately 2100.00 $ for two to experience shore excursions. What was stated online was not what we received for most of our excursions. We felt lied to. By day 3 we complained and it fell on deaf ears. By week 2 we complained again....and it fell on deaf ears. We weren't the only ones upset, as others on our excursions also complained. When Guest Services attempted to set up an appointment with Shore Excursions we were told it was not possible because they were inundated with complaints.

Also, before we booked with Cruiseplus.ca, I asked the agent if this cruise line was popular with very senior guests. We did not want a disabled cruise, nor a senior cruise. I was told that it wasn't known for this. Not true! There were so many with walkers, scooters and canes. I am quite mobile, and felt that many of the excursions were likely geared for this clientele group.

The evening entertainment was not even close to what I have experienced with Celebrity.

We have been told that since Carnival bought out Holland America, Princess and I'm sure there are more.....that it hasn't been the same.

Disembarkation was also a problem. Our agent had told us to take a shuttle, because then if we were late for our flight then the Cruise Line would have to look after this. The gal at guest services stated that we couldn't take the shuttle as our flight was for 12:05 and the shuttle could only be used by those with 12:30 or thereafter. She then told me to put our luggage out in the hall the night before and pick it up at the terminal in the morning. I knew that this couldn't be correct, as we wouldn't be able to disembark early in the morning, retrieve our luggage...get a taxi (which become hard to obtain when 2,000 people are disembarking), and get to the airport 2-3 hours before our flight. We likely wouldn't make it on time....and then of course the cruise line wouldn't be responsible. The girl behind the counter stated with attitude, "Mam, I'm trying to explain to you!". I gathered my papers and went upstairs to alert my husband that he was needed. We went back to Guest Services and were told by a different employee that we should select Early Disembarkation (Expedited), and bring all of our luggage with us. She agreed that retrieving our luggage at a later time from the terminal likely would have made us late for our return home flight.

There were other rude employees, but most were very nice. Sad that one remembers the rude ones though. Costa Rica was a terrible excursion due to about a dozen of us not being able to locate the driver, tour guide for at least 3/4 of an hour. And once again it was an excursion that did not meet up with what was outlined...it was a huge lie.

Regarding TIPS! Why would I want to give a gratuity to those that are rude, or to parts of the ship that I don't partake....such as drinking and gambling. Yet when one wants to say no from the start....you are made to feel guilty .... and you are still given a bill at the end of the trip with this included. The night before disembarkation we had to visit Guest Services again to have this removed. We couldn't. They have your credit card....so you feel that this hangs over your head the entire trip. The morning of disembarkation we finally had it removed and I rushed around with envelopes of money to give to those who deserved a tip! Went beyond the call of duty. Whether our stateroom attendants received this money.....I will never know. They had to disembark the ship and go through customs. I had to leave their envelopes in our room. SAD!!!

We were extremely disappointed with this 21 day trip!

Jasmine 113's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

The Cabin was kept clean and the attendants were awesome!

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Dolphin Encounters

We didn't get to feed the dolphins, and we only spent about 10 minutes in the water....not 20 minutes. Because the outline did not state that our possessions would be in a locker, we did not take credit cards with us. This meant that we did not buy the package that was offered....but with the cash we had were able to purchase at least something.

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This excursion was truthful! We saw what the outline said we would!

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Muir Woods

Sausalito was part of the excursion, and the outline stated that this was an artist colony. We had FREE TIME to explore the many art galleries, boutiques and quaint shops of this bayside village. NO WE DIDN'T! We had time to line-up for a burger for lunch and eat it! Washroom break and basically back to the bus!

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There wasn't an excursion here! This was the starting point! There are places you have listed that weren't part of our package! We spent about 2100.00 Cnd on excursions.

Seaside & Cannon Beach, Astoria, Oregon....15 min at Cannon Beach and then to shopping on a Sunday at Seaside!

Muir Woods & Sausalito, San Francisco, California

San Diego Highlights

Cabos San Lucas, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Huatulco, Mexico...cancelled due to a tropical storm

Puerto Chiapas, Mexico

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

Corinto, Nicaragua

Pura Vida Gardens, Costa Rica (The worst excursion of all)

Oranjestad, Aruba

Activity level states Moderate, yet once on board the catamaran we were told that once at our destination the hill was steep and slippery and people with back and knee problems shouldn't attempt it. So, my husband said no to hiking through the jungle and seeing the waterfall. There wasn't an abundance of anything....no dolphins, humpback whales, sea turtles, giant manta rays! A total LIE!!! Our trip was for 7 hours. We were to meet at 10:15 and leave at 10:30 plus 7 hours = 5:30. Once off the catamaran we had a fair distance to walk to get back to the ship. The couple before us took the last golf cart back to the ship and so we had to walk really fast. We arrived at the ship a few minutes before 5:30. We were made to feel guilty for being the last ones to arrive. This was NOT our fault!!! I felt set up to fail.

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This excursion was cancelled and our money was refunded due to a tropical storm that literally broke mooring cables, took out the gangway to the pier, and then moved quite a way from the pier. The ship was then listing on the port side, as we were hung up on I believe rocks, as the captain said they had to send divers down to inspect the hull and that nothing was broken....just very deep scratches. There were literally hundreds of guests stranded on the shore. An hour later we would have been one of them, as we had booked a tour. The captain was very good about how he explained what was happening and eventually those ashore were transported back to the ship via 'Tenders'.

Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

Port 8 was Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala "Antigua on Your Own". Because it is basically a city of walls one is forced to hire a guide in addition to having paid 59.95 USD per person. We did hire someone and were really glad we did. We heard from others that they felt unsafe, and one couple had to ask our guide how to get back to the Jade Shop meeting area as they were lost.


Port 9 was Corinto, Nicaragua, "Colonial Leon & the Bubbling Mud Pots".

This trip was an honest one. What one read in the outline was what one would actually see. No hidden costs, and no lies about seeing an abundance of creatures when there wasn't any to see. It was very good!

Pura Vida Botanical Garden

ALL OF OUR EXCURSIONS WERE BOOKED THROUGH THE CRUISE LINE and therefore Holland America has to take ownership! This is by far the worst tour ever! What a LIE! When we got off the ship our driver, guide and bus could not be found. People with the same orange #14 tag stayed together. There was about a dozen of us. A female approached our group and we told her our situation. She said she worked for that company and went looking for us...came back and said she couldn't find them either. She left. We waited for approximately 3/4 hour before the guide found us. As we approached the bus, which was quite a way down the pier, a couple disembarked and stated they were no longer interested. I wish we had joined them. The duration was for 5 1/2 hours and we got 5 hours. We are told in the outline that we will see NATURAL beauty of Costa Rica's spectacular flora, fauna, waterfalls..... The guide tells us that most plants are brought in. It would take about 20 minutes to walk through these gardens. There is NOT an abundance of birds nor butterflies. We saw 2 butterflies and 3 birds. "Many bird watching clubs have mentioned this spot as the best vantage point for bird spotting in all of Costa Rica." We did not see a meandering river. There is an easy walk to see the tallest waterfall in Costa Rica. They forget to tell you that you will see it at an angle through dense forest from a lookout point 1/2 mile away. The outline proceeds to say, "Next up is a STOP at the Tarcoles Bridge." Home to an immense population of crocodiles....a study in reptilian fascination. Well, the TRUTH is that we weren't allowed to stop. We went 30 km/hr across the bridge and saw very briefly the back of one crocodile.This excursion cost 99.95 USD per person. There was plenty of time to stop...and we saw that other tour buses had. Remember we arrived back at the ship 1/2 hour earlier than the outline states. I chose this excursion as I wanted to see the crocodiles and the waterfall. I was so disgusted. When I told the guide what the outline states, he remarked with attitude that he doesn't do the programming. He was told not to stop. He later gave us and another couple an 'incident report' to complete. We did! Many people we talked to were equally fed up as us, but wouldn't put it in writing! SAD!

View All 22 Pura Vida Botanical Garden Reviews

The Fontein Cave was a disappointment as I was expecting to see something different when I read that we would see 'authentic drawings' by the Arawak Natives. I don't know when these drawings were created, but they didn't look what one might see in a history book. But for the most part the trip was what was stated in the outline and was honest.

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Jasmine 113
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