1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Nieuw Amsterdam
Sailed on a 7 night itinerary from Ft Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turks, Amber Cove and Key West. Had sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam about 18 months ago and really enjoyed the cruise. However, this time some things just seemed "off" and different from the last sailing. So I am disappointed as this sailing was not what I had expected, but it was still an overall ok / good cruise and would recommend sailing on the NA. She is a beautiful ship. LOVE the promenade with the wonderful comfortable deck chairs. It is great that there still is a wide promenade to walk around to try to burn off some of the calories! Embarkation was excellent. Quick and no issues. On board within a reasonable amount of time in the port. Upon arrival we ate in the dining room which was very pleasant and nice as we wanted to avoid the crowds in the Lido. MDR lunch was excellent. After lunch, we proceeded to our stateroom which was ready. Upon checking out of the stateroom, I discovered that the bathroom area had not been cleaned up to standards. There were "body part hairs" on the toilet flush mechanism and surrounding area. There was also a horrible, nasty toilet ring. This was really quite gross. Obviously, this had not been properly cleaned and disinfected prior to our entering the stateroom. This is not acceptable. Then we noticed that there was a used bathroom towel underneath the bed, when we were trying to put the luggage away. We found our stateroom steward and told him about these problems and he apologized. He said they had to clean many rooms in a hurry and it must have been missed. He did clean it up and take care of the issues, but I never felt confident about the level of disinfection of the room after that first incident. Have sailed on many ships and have never had this happen before..... Found the bed to be very firm and uncomfortable. On day #2 we asked the cabin steward if he had a foam toper or memory foam pad to put underneath the bottom sheet to make the bed a little softer. He told us that the ship did not have any.... All he could do was take an extra duvet and place it underneath the bottom sheet to try to soften up the bed. Which he did do. However, it did not help at all. We questioned him about a foam topper again on day 3 and the same reply. The ship did not have anything like that to place on the bed. To me this makes absolutely no sense, as I know on Celebrity one time we had to request a foam topper as the bed was too firm for us and we were accommodated and no problems after that. But for some reason on this HAL ship, we were told no, we cannot do that , we do not have anything. So..... 7 nights of back pain...... I would NOT recommend staying in cabin 4166 as it was very noisy from the surrounding crew area. There is a crew door directly next door and then another crew door directly across the hall. And both of these rooms were used by the cabin stewards all day long. They would go in and out of these areas and cling and clang things around. This was as early as 8:00 AM. And was as late as 10:30 PM. So much clanging of racks or something or another going on in those rooms. Not sure WHY they had to make so much noise by they did. If noise does not bother you in the AM or late in the PM, then this is a fine cabin. It has a double size balcony which is fantastic. But to me, it is not worth it due to the potential noise issue. Never understood why the cabin stewards had to make so much noise in those rooms, but they did. Overall food was very good. Dinner in the MDR most evenings at fixed early dining. Nice table for 2 with good waiters. I will say that the waiters always seemed very rushed and if you had a question for your waiter, it did take quite some time to fine one to come to your table. I do understand that they are understaffed, and that is why things run the way they do in the MDR. Slow between courses, but that is usual in the MDR. Was not a problem for us as we were not in a hurry. HMC is a beautiful private island and I do wish I could stay there forever! Always enjoy the private island. It is really a beautiful place with stunning blue water. Grand Turk is a small island that there really is not a lot to see. We took a ship excursion where we drove "Hummer" electric vehicles (golf carts with a Hummer shell) in a convoy around the city to see the sites. Our tour guide was excellent and he made the trip worth taking. It was interesting to see most of the island, as I had never been there before. But truthfully, there really is not a lot to see. "Margaritaville" is at the port dock and I found it to be my worst nightmare! But this is JMHO. Lots of people love it there, but it was just not for me. If you enjoy sitting row to row with hundreds of people on a small beach then you will like it. What was worse than that was the incredibly LOUD music that was blaring from the pool / bar area with a woman DJ who did nothing but encourage drinking and doing Jello Shots. No way to relax with this blaring loud music and DJ. It was a shame as it could have been a nice place to visit. We left after 15 minutes. Went back to the ship. Amber Cove which is a port that the cruise line built in 2015 is actually a beautiful port. The cruise line did a very nice job of building nice shops and a beautiful pool area. There are even some lovely cabanas in the water than you can rent. We were told by the shore excursion desk that Amber Cove Pool Area was not at all like Margaritaville on Grand Turk. However, after arriving at the pool around 9:00AM we were very, very disappointed to discover that it was indeed like Margartaville. Loud music playing at the pool area! Again! Why they feel the need to play this loud music is beyond me. So, this was not going to work out for us as we just wanted to relax and unwind, not listen to loud blaring music..... And it is a shame as the pool area really is quite beautiful. So we left and decided to take a City Tour of Puerta Plata. We did enjoy the city tour and were glad that we got to see this town in the Dominican Republic. The tour guide was really excellent. Key West is Key West. Took a tour of the Truman Little White House and did enjoy learning about the history of this home. Enjoyed the tour and the guide was excellent. Do recommend that tour if you have never done it. Entertainment on board is just ok. Two comedians during our week. One was excellent (first name Derrick) as he was really very funny. The second one (Francis something or another) was just ok. Not so great at all. I don't think she was hitting it off at all with the HAL audience. Dancer show was not good for us and we walked out. No big production shows anymore and I do really miss those. BB Kings band is great! They always play to a packed house and I can see way. They really are good. Billboard Online is not really my thing, but everyone else seems to like them. I personally just do not like them. Casino was always busy at night and always hard to find a slot machine. Very tight slots. Casino is on the small side. Wish it was larger. Smoke was NOT an issue as I never saw anyone smoking in there. MDR food was good (not excellent) as well as the service. The Lido always felt crowded, not sure why it felt that way on this sailing as opposed to my last sailing on the NA but it was hard to find a seat. And many tables were dirty and needed to be bussed. Most times I had to flag down a server in the Lido to get them to clean off the table. The burgers at the Dive In are great! The pizza was very good too! Really LOVE Tamarind restaurant and we always enjoy a dinner there!! Outstanding service and excellent food! Overall an ok cruise, not a great cruise for the above mentioned reasons. Starting off the cruise with a nasty bathroom is not a good way of starting off a cruise. And sleeping on a hard bed with clanging noise next door does not make for a restful vacation.....

OK cruise but not great

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by margar

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Sailed on a 7 night itinerary from Ft Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turks, Amber Cove and Key West. Had sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam about 18 months ago and really enjoyed the cruise. However, this time some things just seemed "off" and different from the last sailing. So I am disappointed as this sailing was not what I had expected, but it was still an overall ok / good cruise and would recommend sailing on the NA. She is a beautiful ship. LOVE the promenade with the wonderful comfortable deck chairs. It is great that there still is a wide promenade to walk around to try to burn off some of the calories!

Embarkation was excellent. Quick and no issues. On board within a reasonable amount of time in the port. Upon arrival we ate in the dining room which was very pleasant and nice as we wanted to avoid the crowds in the Lido. MDR lunch was excellent.

After lunch, we proceeded to our stateroom which was ready. Upon checking out of the stateroom, I discovered that the bathroom area had not been cleaned up to standards. There were "body part hairs" on the toilet flush mechanism and surrounding area. There was also a horrible, nasty toilet ring. This was really quite gross. Obviously, this had not been properly cleaned and disinfected prior to our entering the stateroom. This is not acceptable. Then we noticed that there was a used bathroom towel underneath the bed, when we were trying to put the luggage away. We found our stateroom steward and told him about these problems and he apologized. He said they had to clean many rooms in a hurry and it must have been missed. He did clean it up and take care of the issues, but I never felt confident about the level of disinfection of the room after that first incident. Have sailed on many ships and have never had this happen before.....

Found the bed to be very firm and uncomfortable. On day #2 we asked the cabin steward if he had a foam toper or memory foam pad to put underneath the bottom sheet to make the bed a little softer. He told us that the ship did not have any.... All he could do was take an extra duvet and place it underneath the bottom sheet to try to soften up the bed. Which he did do. However, it did not help at all. We questioned him about a foam topper again on day 3 and the same reply. The ship did not have anything like that to place on the bed. To me this makes absolutely no sense, as I know on Celebrity one time we had to request a foam topper as the bed was too firm for us and we were accommodated and no problems after that. But for some reason on this HAL ship, we were told no, we cannot do that , we do not have anything. So..... 7 nights of back pain......

I would NOT recommend staying in cabin 4166 as it was very noisy from the surrounding crew area. There is a crew door directly next door and then another crew door directly across the hall. And both of these rooms were used by the cabin stewards all day long. They would go in and out of these areas and cling and clang things around. This was as early as 8:00 AM. And was as late as 10:30 PM. So much clanging of racks or something or another going on in those rooms. Not sure WHY they had to make so much noise by they did. If noise does not bother you in the AM or late in the PM, then this is a fine cabin. It has a double size balcony which is fantastic. But to me, it is not worth it due to the potential noise issue. Never understood why the cabin stewards had to make so much noise in those rooms, but they did.

Overall food was very good. Dinner in the MDR most evenings at fixed early dining. Nice table for 2 with good waiters. I will say that the waiters always seemed very rushed and if you had a question for your waiter, it did take quite some time to fine one to come to your table. I do understand that they are understaffed, and that is why things run the way they do in the MDR. Slow between courses, but that is usual in the MDR. Was not a problem for us as we were not in a hurry.

HMC is a beautiful private island and I do wish I could stay there forever! Always enjoy the private island. It is really a beautiful place with stunning blue water.

Grand Turk is a small island that there really is not a lot to see. We took a ship excursion where we drove "Hummer" electric vehicles (golf carts with a Hummer shell) in a convoy around the city to see the sites. Our tour guide was excellent and he made the trip worth taking. It was interesting to see most of the island, as I had never been there before. But truthfully, there really is not a lot to see.

"Margaritaville" is at the port dock and I found it to be my worst nightmare! But this is JMHO. Lots of people love it there, but it was just not for me. If you enjoy sitting row to row with hundreds of people on a small beach then you will like it. What was worse than that was the incredibly LOUD music that was blaring from the pool / bar area with a woman DJ who did nothing but encourage drinking and doing Jello Shots. No way to relax with this blaring loud music and DJ. It was a shame as it could have been a nice place to visit. We left after 15 minutes. Went back to the ship.

Amber Cove which is a port that the cruise line built in 2015 is actually a beautiful port. The cruise line did a very nice job of building nice shops and a beautiful pool area. There are even some lovely cabanas in the water than you can rent. We were told by the shore excursion desk that Amber Cove Pool Area was not at all like Margaritaville on Grand Turk. However, after arriving at the pool around 9:00AM we were very, very disappointed to discover that it was indeed like Margartaville. Loud music playing at the pool area! Again! Why they feel the need to play this loud music is beyond me. So, this was not going to work out for us as we just wanted to relax and unwind, not listen to loud blaring music..... And it is a shame as the pool area really is quite beautiful. So we left and decided to take a City Tour of Puerta Plata. We did enjoy the city tour and were glad that we got to see this town in the Dominican Republic. The tour guide was really excellent.

Key West is Key West. Took a tour of the Truman Little White House and did enjoy learning about the history of this home. Enjoyed the tour and the guide was excellent. Do recommend that tour if you have never done it.

Entertainment on board is just ok. Two comedians during our week. One was excellent (first name Derrick) as he was really very funny. The second one (Francis something or another) was just ok. Not so great at all. I don't think she was hitting it off at all with the HAL audience. Dancer show was not good for us and we walked out. No big production shows anymore and I do really miss those. BB Kings band is great! They always play to a packed house and I can see way. They really are good. Billboard Online is not really my thing, but everyone else seems to like them. I personally just do not like them.

Casino was always busy at night and always hard to find a slot machine. Very tight slots. Casino is on the small side. Wish it was larger. Smoke was NOT an issue as I never saw anyone smoking in there.

MDR food was good (not excellent) as well as the service. The Lido always felt crowded, not sure why it felt that way on this sailing as opposed to my last sailing on the NA but it was hard to find a seat. And many tables were dirty and needed to be bussed. Most times I had to flag down a server in the Lido to get them to clean off the table. The burgers at the Dive In are great! The pizza was very good too! Really LOVE Tamarind restaurant and we always enjoy a dinner there!! Outstanding service and excellent food!

Overall an ok cruise, not a great cruise for the above mentioned reasons. Starting off the cruise with a nasty bathroom is not a good way of starting off a cruise. And sleeping on a hard bed with clanging noise next door does not make for a restful vacation.....
margar’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VB
I would NOT recommend staying in cabin 4166 as it was very noisy from the surrounding crew area. There is a crew door directly next door and then another crew door directly across the hall. And both of these rooms were used by the cabin stewards all day long. They would go in and out of these areas and cling and clang things around. This was as early as 8:00 AM. And was as late as 10:30 PM. So much clanging of racks or something or another going on in those rooms. Not sure WHY they had to make so much noise by they did. If noise does not bother you in the AM or late in the PM, then this is a fine cabin. It has a double size balcony which is fantastic. But to me, it is not worth it due to the potential noise issue. Never understood why the cabin stewards had to make so much noise in those rooms, but they did.
Rotterdam Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Amber Cove (Puerto Plata)
    Port that the cruise line built is beautiful. Shops and beautiful pool area. However, pool area is very loud with blaring music. They really need a "quiet" are for people who just want to rest and relax in this tropical paradise. If you like loud music like they play at Margaritaville in Grand Turk you will love the pool area at Amber Cove. Not for me though. Did take an excursion of Puerta Plata Panaramic Tour. Did enjoy the city tour and the tour guide was excellent. About 30 people on a large air conditioned bus that drove to the city from the port about a 20 minute bus ride. Once in the city we saw the city square (historical), an old cathedral, learned the history of the island. souvenir stop so you could buy some trinkets, drove by the Malecon (beach area), saw the old fort. Overall it was a very good tour and worth the amount of money paid. About a 2.5 hour tour but it was interesting and a good way to see the island, if you have never been.
    View All 747 Amber Cove (Puerto Plata) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Amber Cove (Puerto Plata) Cruise Port Review
  • Grand Turk
    Nice way to see the entire island. Tour guide was excellent. Cute "hummer" vehicles that are very peppy to drive. We enjoyed the drive and seeing the island. Went with about 10 or so other drivers convoy style around the island. It was expensive for what it was, but we did enjoy doing it. Would recommend it for an easy way to see the island. Made stops in Downtown (not much to see there) to shop at some vendor shops for trinkets. Nice beach area there to take photos. Stopped at the Nature Pond and showed us all the marine life in the waters. Guide took out various types of marine life and we learned about them. Stopped at the Salt Pond and guide explained all about the history of them. Saw John Glenn capsule replica. Nice tour of Grand Turk, but there really is not a lot to see on the island. But we still enjoyed it. Guide made it worth while.
    View All 13,595 Grand Turk Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Grand Turk Cruise Port Review
  • Half Moon Cay
    Nice tram tour of the island. Great way to see everything on the island and the tour guide was very good.
    View All 13,595 Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Review
  • Key West
    Little White House tour is very interesting and a nice piece of history to learn about. Our tour guide was excellent. Easy walk from the main port. Would recommend seeing this as it is a nice history lesson.
    View All 13,595 Key West Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Key West Cruise Port Review