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We chose this cruise as a special Christmas and New Year holiday, just for my wife and I coming from the UK, having been told that HAL was a big step up from P&O, which we travelled last time. Nothing could be further from the truth (except the price, I suppose). When I booked, the line couldn't/wouldn't tell me which cabin we'd be in - we didn't find out until we boarded. In the event it was fine, but others had a very different outcome. The general service was magnificent. The cabin was very good and the ship was in an excellent state of repair. The food in the buffet and dining room was simply outstanding, but ironically, the premium restaurants, for which additional payment was required, were ok but not worth doing (cold food; poorly seasoned). The entertainment was woeful; won't even bore you with the details, but more than half the advertised events were simply sales pitches or invitations to do the slots in the casino. Entertainments manager wasn't around much. This was Christmas and New Year, and aside from a pool party on NYE, nothing much changed. One of the propellors had broken so the ship vibrated considerably most of the time, and we were late to pretty much every port. This meant we had to cancel several private excursions - this was a real issue, as this was supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime. I got precious little help from most of what they laughingly refer to as 'Guest Services', although a couple went above and beyond and were massively helpful (I have contacted the line to acknowledge and thank them by name). Tenders were dreadul - we saw people who had waited 2 hours to get off the ship, and the stops were shortened anyway, because of the broken propellor. Also, the crew had been instructed not to talk about this: we heard it from friends who'd had their cruise cancelled. I expect to pay premium prices for beverages, but these were not only highly priced ($5.50 for a bottle of water; $7 for a beer; $50 for a really mediocre bottle of wine) but a mandatory 15% service charge was added (therefore $8.05 for a beer) as well as the gratuity charge at the end of the cruise. Money wasn't the overriding factor, but is there really any justification in charging $25 wifi per device per day? It's 2020, people, and hotels etc have free wifi. The trip rounded off nicely with late arrival (propellor again), problems with baggage collection and a curtailed excursion due to the lateness (the tour company had told the ship, but the ship didn't say anything to the tourists). Overall, we had a nice time because we saw some nice places and met some really nice people. However, I was expecting a great time. This was not that. While some things were great (especially the other cruisers and the destinations), the important bits that we'd paid for were pretty poor. Hopefully this was a one off, as we've planned 2 other HAL cruises over the next 18 months. I shan't be booking them until I have some resolution from my complaints this time round, and as HAL hasn't even replied to my emails or social media tweets, I'm wondering whether to look elsewhere.

Deeply disappointing

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by Andy from London

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
We chose this cruise as a special Christmas and New Year holiday, just for my wife and I coming from the UK, having been told that HAL was a big step up from P&O, which we travelled last time. Nothing could be further from the truth (except the price, I suppose).

When I booked, the line couldn't/wouldn't tell me which cabin we'd be in - we didn't find out until we boarded. In the event it was fine, but others had a very different outcome.

The general service was magnificent. The cabin was very good and the ship was in an excellent state of repair. The food in the buffet and dining room was simply outstanding, but ironically, the premium restaurants, for which additional payment was required, were ok but not worth doing (cold food; poorly seasoned).

The entertainment was woeful; won't even bore you with the details, but more than half the advertised events were simply sales pitches or invitations to do the slots in the casino. Entertainments manager wasn't around much. This was Christmas and New Year, and aside from a pool party on NYE, nothing much changed.

One of the propellors had broken so the ship vibrated considerably most of the time, and we were late to pretty much every port. This meant we had to cancel several private excursions - this was a real issue, as this was supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime. I got precious little help from most of what they laughingly refer to as 'Guest Services', although a couple went above and beyond and were massively helpful (I have contacted the line to acknowledge and thank them by name).

Tenders were dreadul - we saw people who had waited 2 hours to get off the ship, and the stops were shortened anyway, because of the broken propellor. Also, the crew had been instructed not to talk about this: we heard it from friends who'd had their cruise cancelled.

I expect to pay premium prices for beverages, but these were not only highly priced ($5.50 for a bottle of water; $7 for a beer; $50 for a really mediocre bottle of wine) but a mandatory 15% service charge was added (therefore $8.05 for a beer) as well as the gratuity charge at the end of the cruise.

Money wasn't the overriding factor, but is there really any justification in charging $25 wifi per device per day? It's 2020, people, and hotels etc have free wifi.

The trip rounded off nicely with late arrival (propellor again), problems with baggage collection and a curtailed excursion due to the lateness (the tour company had told the ship, but the ship didn't say anything to the tourists).

Overall, we had a nice time because we saw some nice places and met some really nice people. However, I was expecting a great time. This was not that. While some things were great (especially the other cruisers and the destinations), the important bits that we'd paid for were pretty poor.

Hopefully this was a one off, as we've planned 2 other HAL cruises over the next 18 months. I shan't be booking them until I have some resolution from my complaints this time round, and as HAL hasn't even replied to my emails or social media tweets, I'm wondering whether to look elsewhere.
Andy from London’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VH
Not much to say, really. In beautiful condition; everything you would wish for.
Upper Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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