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Arrived in Barcelona 2 days before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Universal. 4* property and properly rated, excellent staff, great breakfast buffet, terrific location (metro and bus stops in front of the hotel, 1/2 mile to Las Ramblas and 3/4 mile to the port.) great rooms, free internet, nice bar, roof top pool and terrace, the complete package. Barcelona the city is interesting but over-rated, great history, terrific restaurants, good public transportation, but petty crime is a major problem. Embarking at 12:30 was a breeze and staterooms were available upon boarding. Luggage arrived before 2:00. Beautiful new ship in perfect condition. Loved the decor and extensive art work. Others have been critical, but we thought it was well done, tasteful, understated and set the tone we were looking for. The stateroom, a VD had plenty of storage space, was well laid out, nice use of color, wonderful bed and deep veranda. Temperature controls worked well. We had 2 excellent stewards (Irwan and Abdul), no issues the entire 20 days. Won't spend any time on the ports, all interesting in their own way, no negative issues. Liked Valencia and Lisbon by far the best, others will have a different perspective. The staff in every area met or exceeded our expectations. Although we were in open dining we had the same table in the MDR each night and the 2 guys (Kerti and Pande) were perfect. The bar staff knew us after a couple of days and were always on the case. The issue that really put a damper on this cruise was the Code Red the last 12 days. (9 of them sea days) A complete pain. This greatly impacted our enjoyment. The Spa was closed, no hydro-pool, no hot tubs, steam/sauna rooms closed, library closed etc. The Lido restaurant was a complete foul-up. Never had a hot meal because of the congestion, multi-station trips for silverware, beverages, everything being hand served by staff, over-crowding, just poor in every area. We could never get out of Code Red, the staff worked long hours cleaning everyday but the cases kept piling up. The senior management staff on the ship starting with the Captain did a poor job of communication, gave false information, failed to enforce the rules of containment and became invisible near the end of the cruise. This cruise had the potential to be a "10" ended up being a "7". Will we sail HAL again, yes, but not short-term. Far too many of their cruises go into Code Red, they need to figure out why and correct the causes. I know that Noro/GI is common in the general population, but this was one sick ship with 200+ passengers confined to their staterooms and at least that many more with acute cold like symptoms. We did not get sick by the way, no colds and no other problems.

High expectations not fulfilled

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by E-500

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2010
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Arrived in Barcelona 2 days before the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Universal. 4* property and properly rated, excellent staff, great breakfast buffet, terrific location (metro and bus stops in front of the hotel, 1/2 mile to Las Ramblas and 3/4 mile to the port.) great rooms, free internet, nice bar, roof top pool and terrace, the complete package.



Barcelona the city is interesting but over-rated, great history, terrific restaurants, good public transportation, but petty crime is a major problem.



Embarking at 12:30 was a breeze and staterooms were available upon boarding. Luggage arrived before 2:00. Beautiful new ship in perfect condition. Loved the decor and extensive art work. Others have been critical, but we thought it was well done, tasteful, understated and set the tone we were looking for.



The stateroom, a VD had plenty of storage space, was well laid out, nice use of color, wonderful bed and deep veranda. Temperature controls worked well. We had 2 excellent stewards (Irwan and Abdul), no issues the entire 20 days.



Won't spend any time on the ports, all interesting in their own way, no negative issues. Liked Valencia and Lisbon by far the best, others will have a different perspective.



The staff in every area met or exceeded our expectations. Although we were in open dining we had the same table in the MDR each night and the 2 guys (Kerti and Pande) were perfect. The bar staff knew us after a couple of days and were always on the case. The issue that really put a damper on this cruise was the Code Red the last 12 days. (9 of them sea days) A complete pain. This greatly impacted our enjoyment. The Spa was closed, no hydro-pool, no hot tubs, steam/sauna rooms closed, library closed etc. The Lido restaurant was a complete foul-up. Never had a hot meal because of the congestion, multi-station trips for silverware, beverages, everything being hand served by staff, over-crowding, just poor in every area.



We could never get out of Code Red, the staff worked long hours cleaning everyday but the cases kept piling up. The senior management staff on the ship starting with the Captain did a poor job of communication, gave false information, failed to enforce the rules of containment and became invisible near the end of the cruise.



This cruise had the potential to be a "10" ended up being a "7". Will we sail HAL again, yes, but not short-term. Far too many of their cruises go into Code Red, they need to figure out why and correct the causes. I know that Noro/GI is common in the general population, but this was one sick ship with 200+ passengers confined to their staterooms and at least that many more with acute cold like symptoms. We did not get sick by the way, no colds and no other problems.
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