Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by alacruisers
- Sail Date: November 2010
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Signature Superior Verandah Suite
Hotel: Renaissance Hotel, it's a beautiful hotel, great bar, clean and modern rooms. Close to ship port.
Embarkation: No problems, quite smooth, no complaints.
Food: The food in the main dining room was consistently great. Unlike other cruise lines I've been on the entrees were never overpowered by the spices in the dish. The spices were there, but complimented the natural flavors well. Deserts were fantastic and the appetizers were also. I highly recommend Tamarind, the service was super, the dinner china was unique, and the food was not only interesting but also flavorful, and overall it was a great dining experience. The Explorers cafe had good coffee and snacks but could have a larger selection of pastries and finger food like the Princess line's international cafe. As far as the Lido, we didn't eat there much because the main dining room food was so much better and the no tray, no self serve style buffet wasn't to our liking. HAL should be given kudos for their room service, it is by far the best on any cruise I've been.
Ship: The ship is a strange mixture of styles. While the central theme is Nieuw Amsterdam (New York) it really didn't come across as any coherent interior design plan, having none of the old world charm of the Princess ships, or the Vegas glitz of some of the Royal Caribbean ships. I wish instead of a so called "New York" style or theme they had picked a real style, art deco, post modern, craftsman, and carried the theme through the whole ship. The atrium is not grand and really didn't serve as a central meeting place or get together hang out as it does on most ships. The best designed rooms I feel were the culinary arts center, the crow's nest and the library. The quality of materials seemed strange also for a premium cruise lines. The carpet was chintzy, the corridor walls a strange mixture of dark brown paneling that reflected the colors on the floor making them look purple and the pictures on the walls which were mass market looking. I mentioned it to my wife that the interior and common areas could best be described as "efficient and inexpensive pre-packaging" almost modular looking in nature. Nothing really shouted out premium as far as dEcor was concerned.
Room: We had a Superior Verandah Suite and it was marvelous, spacious, laid out well, bathroom was fantastic, and the suite was just a joy to stay in. I slipped up one night and said to my wife, "It's getting late lets head back to the apartment" that's how nice it was. We are now officially spoiled by that room.
Staff: Our room staff was consistently punctual, polite and helpful. The staff in the main dining room, except for the last night, was attentive and pleasant. The bartenders in the crow's nest were outstanding. One of the things we noticed that by the fifth day was we knew more about the ships areas then some of the crew. We were given wrong directions about 8-10 different times.
Entertainment: The New York City review was good. My wife thought they were lip synching but I couldn't tell. The Magician was marvelous and I'd pay to see him again. The string quartet was good. The piano bar and crow's nest performers were ok, just not my cup of tea. The ships entertainment director needs to be more involved and visible.
Likes: I loved the cabanas, what a wonderful idea. I loved the cleanliness of the ship and the efficiency and courtesy of the crew. The suite has us spoiled. The food in the main dining room was fabulous. The shows were fine. The drinks were well made. The pub crawl was outrageous fun. The cruise critic meet and greet was the best I've ever attended and HAL's support of it should be commended. Room service is a home run. The beds were great also the best I've seen on cruise. I loved how you were not bothered 24/7 by someone on the ship either hawking products or trying to sell you something. The announcements weren't going on all day and night like some ships I've been on and weren't intrusive.
Dislikes: The SEC championship game was being played but yet we couldn't get it on our ship due to "reception problems". After leaving the sports bar to go back to my room to watch the Oregon/ Oregon State game, I noticed that the channel it should have been on said "CAR blacked out" After we arrived back at Ft Lauderdale I found out the other ships in the area had the game but not us. What is up with that, 24/7 boring soccer but no SEC Championship?
How many obnoxious people does it take to ruin a cruise? Well any more then 1 is one too many. My wife was pushed and told to get out of my way b---- by someone and quite a few of the guests were rude to the staff. We also ran into some haughty people at dinner. I guess if traditional cruising means you have to act like you are better than people and rude I'd rather go back to non-traditional cruising.
Ports: I'll keep this short, we've cruised long enough that shopping doesn't sway our port opinion, Half Moon Cays was good, Turks and Caicos ok, Grand Cayman with its body surfing height waves on 7 mile beach, fantastic and Costa Maya with our get away to Maya Chan resort, great.
Disembarkation: The best I've seen. Having us stay in room till called to depart made it so easy, another great HAL idea.
In summation: This cruise didn't live up to my expectations. While I had a wonderful cruise, it was more due to my fantastic wife, great suite, and fantastic food in the main dining room and less to do with the ships design and Holland Americas cruising philosophy.
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Bathroom was marvelous.