Just returned last Sunday (NOV. 20th) from Caribbean cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam on 14 days of the worst HAL cruise that we ever experienced. With more than 400 days on HAL ships and having sailed on this ship twice before, we never experienced anything remotely like this. In fact it was one of the worst cruises ever on any line including Carnival which can be inconsistent at best. Apparently in an effort to fill, HAL offered very reduced fares through several on-line travel groups plus offers to South FL repeat cruisers from both HAL and Carnival. 1st week had more than 200 school aged children. Adult passengers were younger in 20's, 30's and 40's. Drink packages were also reduced so bars were active from early morning to late at night. No masks anywhere and hand sanitizer dispensers were frequently empty. Not the HAL experience we had expected.
Staff was short handed and breakfast in Lido, which is usually terrific, was terrible. Orange juice was over diluted; coffee weak and breakfast patisseries often depleted. You had to request smoked salmon at breakfast which has always been a staple. Eggs were frozen and mostly whites with yellow coloring. Self service thongs were common on breakfast buffet and pastries were in short supply or depleted. We tried breakfast in MDR but waited over an hour and was served cold food. Supervisor said waiter forgot to retrieve food from kitchen as he was new and stil in training. This was also an issue with staff in Lido.
At lunch, the Lido served pork belly as the carved meat 12/14 days with chicken the other 2. The sides were the same everyday including the Asian bar. The salad and sandwich bar were the better bets. The Dive-In and pizza bar were better but not as good as in the past. The MDR was a disaster; food tasteless and repetitive. I ordered the extra cost lobster one night at $15 for 2 small tails which were so rubbery that I could not cut even with a steak knife. Returned to kitchen and got refund.