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

Great trip to Panama Canal

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by Canada Lady

0 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2017
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America

We decided to take this cruise as we wanted to explore the west cost of North and Central America and to experience travelling through the Panama Canal. We had a wonderful trip and we're not disappointed. The food, service and entertainment were excellent. We enjoyed all our HAL tours as well as the walking ones we took on our own. The meals in the Canaletto, Tamarind, Main Dining Room and Lido Market were top notch.

The usual entertainment on HAL was very good, especially the singers/dancers, Adagio and of course the BB Kings. We enjoyed the talks on the history of Central America, Mexico and the Panama Canal. The talks about the sea life in the Pacific. Also, the BBC films with music from the HAL band. They had a Mexican troupe that sang and did traditional dancing from each area of Mexico for about 4-5 days (they were excellent). Captain Albert (from Captain Albert's HAL blog) was on board and he gave a talk on the history of Holland America which was quite interesting. I must say I enjoyed sailing on the Pacific as we saw so much wildlife (birds, porpoises, flying fish, sea lions and even a sea turtle).

All we can say is that we were spoiled for 21 days and who could complain about that. This was a fabulous cruise vacation (except the heat and humidity, but we survived). We find a cruise is what you make of it, and we have never in our 16 cruises with HAL ever been disappointed. If you are disappointed, shame on you as you only have yourselves to blame, because HAL sure looks after you.

Canada Lady's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin Inside cabin - Spa 10040

The cabin was smaller than expected, but the larger the ship the cabins seem to be smaller. Lots of space for our clothes in the closets and luggage under the bed. We don't spend much time in the room anyway. Would have liked a small couch though.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Island Interior Tour

Beautiful, but scary drive if your afraid of heights. Doesn't matter what side you sit on as the same road is used for going up and back to Avalon. The road was narrow and a long drop if the bus went off the road. Really enjoyed the excursion as you got to see great vistas, lots of different cactus plants, the dryness of the island and buffalo.

View All 7 Island Interior Tour Reviews
San Francisco

We just walked around Fisherman's Wharf, the park, and hiked up the road to see the famous crooked street and great view.

San Diego

We took the hop on hop off trolley for the two hour tour. We made the mistake of not getting off at Balboa Park stop (which if we ever return will do next time), but did get off at the area around the USS Midway and Old Town. Both enjoyable.

Cabo San Lucas

Should have taken a tour as the heat and humidity were unbearable. We did walk around the town and enjoyed it. The view from the ship overlooking Land's End is beautiful.

Puerto Vallarta

We had been here eons ago, but the city has really grown. Took a taxi to the Malecon (waterfront) and wandered around the town. The artwork as well as the view is spectacular. Visited the church which is beautiful. The steeple looks like a crown. We had a lovely time and stopped for a Corona for a dollar on the waterfront.


We did not take a tour, but we explored the town and walked to La Crucieta through the walking area between the two towns. Both were interesting, pretty and two very different churches. We had a downpour and high winds unexpectedly show up so we did not get to go for a beach swim in the afternoon.

Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

We took a tour to Antigua. This a UNESCO World Heritage site and is not to be missed. Really enjoyed it and the Jade Museum/Factory. Beautiful jewellery. I would not hesitate to return again to explore this colonial city.


We did a tour to Old And Colonial Leon. Just do the Colonial Leon. I enjoyed it more. Not quite as nice as Antigua, but the church is not to be missed. Especially climbing up on the roof to see all of Leon and the view. Old Leon is an architectural area, but I must admit the view over the lake and active volcanos are not to be missed and I felt it was worth the drive. The lunch was very good there.

Cloud Forest National Park

A long drive, but the scenery in Costa Rico was breathtaking. Enjoyed the walk and lunch at the Cloud Forest, and we did have clouds and a bit of rain. It was a long day as it was a long weekend in Costa Rico and unfortunately there was a serious accident on the highway that delayed us (and everyone else on a bus tour) and we had to make our way back up where we had just left and drive down another highway (that they had to reopen for traffic to move as a tropical storm had gone through a week before and made a mess). It was scary in the dark as all the roads wind back and forth, but we all made it back safely.

View All 10 Cloud Forest National Park Reviews

We had been to Aruba a couple of times before on Caribbean cruises, so we just walked around enjoying the day. Stopped for coffee/tea at the new Starbucks in a mall near the small marina.


We flew in a couple of days before the cruise and stayed at the Metropolitan Hotel downtown (few blocks from the cruiseport). We had been here before so we did our usual walking/wandering around. Vancouver is a beautiful city to walk around. Put your walking shoes on and go.

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Canada Lady
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