Viva Venice: Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by gifted

Nieuw Amsterdam 5
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Viva Venice

Sail Date: July 2010
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
My husband and I just returned from a 10 day maiden voyage on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We are experienced cruisers who have been on Holland America ships four times and many other cruise lines. We took this voyage because of the itinerary going in and out of Venice, Italy. We had never been to the ports that the ship was scheduled to visit and looked forward to a brand new ship. Since we knew that we would probably be tired from the long flight, we decided to travel a day early to make sure we could get to see a little of Venice before getting on the ship. We stayed in a hotel near the Piazzale Roma. We had been told that the cruise lines offered free shuttle buses from that point to the port. So we waited on the day of embarkation at that place for a bus along with many other people getting on the ship. Holland America never did send a bus for the people. I managed to get a taxi for us and several other passengers to take us to the pier.

The embarkation itself was relatively More painless and fast. We mentioned to the Holland America representatives that they should send someone over to tell the remaining passengers that a bus was not being provided, and they indicated that they would. When we got aboard the ship looked just lovely and inviting. We got to our room which was a deluxe verandah on deck 6. Then we tried to turn on the lights and the t.v. and found out that they weren't working. When I went down to guest services to ask about the problem, I found out that the lights would not work without the room keys being inserted in the small box entering the cabin. Our lights still wouldn't work until our steward managed to get two keys from maintenance and place them in the box. We later found out that this was a common problem on the ship. It seems that the ship is designed to conserve energy, and they had put this feature in the lighting systems in each cabin. Some other glitches in the cabin were drain stoppers that were not working correctly and other minor annoyances. Overall the cabin was very adequate. The beds were extremely comfortable. They could have put better lighting in the entrance as it was hard to see into the closets. There was a bath tub in our cabin. There could have been more shelves for storage. Our room steward was wonderful. He took great care of us on the ship, He was one of the best stewards we ever had on a ship.

We were also impressed with the dining room food and service. Our waiters made sure that we were well taken care of and remembered what we liked. They even remembered that our dining room companions liked Earl Grey tea and since there was a shortage of it on the ship, they even looked for it in different dining rooms to make sure they had it at dinner. The food and menu was interesting. We had lobster three times on the menu, maybe it was because our ship had a lot of Holland America executives on board for this cruise including the president of the company. The Lido food was also very tasty and varied. We never really had trouble finding a seat during breakfast or lunch. The help was always pleasant and professional. The tours were not that memorable. We felt that the tour guides did not speak adequate English and were difficult to understand. One tour to the Jewish Ghetto in Venice was a complete waste of money. The guide trotted along at a very fast clip and would not slow down for the elderly guests who were having trouble keeping up. She refused to allow even fifteen extra minutes for browsing in the shops. In Croatia we were hot and tired, because many of the tours required a lot of walking in the heat. However we did have no trouble getting on and off the ship in the ports we visited. Our ports were Venice, Dubrovnik, Katakolon, Corfu, Split, Kotor (Montenegro), and Trieste.

The entertainment on the ship was generally better than average. The first night on the ship we were treated to a musical group called Abracadabra which sounded and looked like ABBA. They were wonderful. The stage shows were good, but I have seen more elaborate technical shows on other ships. On the third night of the cruise a serious incident occurred. I was sitting in the dark enjoying the show, when an elderly couple came in to sit beside me. The woman fell on the floor because the seat was not properly attached to its back. She got hurt and was not able to get up. Her husband and I struggled to get her to her feet. I then told him to go and get her some help. He approached two employees of Holland America who were watching the show. They came and picked up the seat. Then they left with the seat and never returned. After a while I went to find another employee in the theater who came and took them out to the medical office. I was very upset for them that she was treated so badly. I couldn't believe that those employees just left her there.

If you are a gambler, you might want another ship, as the casino is very small and understated. The library was the best one my husband has ever seen on a cruise ship. It was large and carried all the best sellers. The gym was also large and had all the latest equipment. However the Internet service on the ship was very slow and expensive. There were three pools. I heard some complaints from other passengers that they were too small and lacked supervision of children who were running around making noise. I did not see much for kids in the way of activities. It is geared to a more mature traveler. The hands on cooking demonstrations on board were excellent. I learned a lot about Italian and Greek cooking.

here was enough to do during the two days at sea. I especially liked the first run movies that were shown in the theater. We were lucky to be on a Holland ship during the World Cup finals. That night the ship was aglow in orange. The ship had a huge screen set up for the game in the theater. There were great appetizers for all and a joyful time was rocking the boat. Unfortunately things got quiet when Spain scored the winning goal!

The biggest criticism I have on this ship is the laundry. Since there are no guest washers and dryers on board, I made the mistake of sending out a bag of laundry. For seven days they could not find my clothes, and I was miserable. They managed the last day I was on the ship to locate most of my clothes. I was not a happy camper! The supervisor of customer relations gave me a hassle over possible compensation if the clothes never showed up. Originally she was going to take my claim for the clothes and send it to the corporate office to determine whether my claim would be settled. Only after I complained loudly did she finally agree to compensate me at the end of the cruise. They really need to get their act together. The highlights of the trip were the celebrities that were on board, including Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, who christened the ship. We all got to sign a ceremonial wall that will be laminated and kept on board the ship as a permanent fixture. The debarkation was very easy. They assigned times to the passengers with color coded tags, and the passengers just left at those times. There were no lines, no announcements, and no hassle.

Overall we had a very interesting and enjoyable trip, but I will never send out laundry on another Holland America ship! Less

Published 07/19/10

Cabin review: VB Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

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Port and Shore Excursions

Dubrovnik is simply a world heritage site. The old city is fascinating. You can wander thru the narrow streets and find new discoveries at every turn.

Katakolon itself is not much to look at. The city has many old buildings and trash on the streets. I would recommend you take a tour out to Olympia to see the original site of the Olympic games. They are excavating this archaeological site and it is very interesting to visit.

Split has much more in the way of shopping than Dubrovnik. The highlight of the city is Diocletian's Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace itself, in the city center, is well preserved and original, but many of its interior structures were added in later periods.

Read 293 Split Reviews

Venice is a magical city. Since there are no cars allowed, be prepared to walk or take a water bus. If you decide to walk, have a comfortable pair of shoes, and a good map with you. There are many confusing streets so be prepared to get lost.

Read 1149 Venice Reviews

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