2 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Transatlantic

We have been traveling since 2000 when we visited Australia and the South Pacific. We have been on over ten cruises from many cruise lines since then, but this is the first time we have felt the strong desire to post a comment on the web. ... Read More
We have been traveling since 2000 when we visited Australia and the South Pacific. We have been on over ten cruises from many cruise lines since then, but this is the first time we have felt the strong desire to post a comment on the web. Our cruise this year was the HAL 25 Day Mediterranean Passage to America – 2014 from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. We like transatlantic cruises because my wife has mobility issues and prolonged air travel in a cramped airline seat is very difficult for her. I think our expectations were set by our recent similar cruise, the Norwegian Cruise Line Transfer to Copenhagen followed by a tour of the Baltic Capitols. It was a beautiful and enjoyable trip in all respects. Before I get to my main comment, I will give you my first I impression of our ship, the ms Nieuw Amsterdam. It carries more passengers than the ms Noordam and the ms Maasdam which we have enjoyed on previous cruises. I will get to this later, but the sheer number of passengers was a negative. As soon we as boarded in Venice and got settled in our cabin, I did my quick survey, which for me, includes going to the highest point on the ship. I was a bit frustrated this time because the space on the forward top deck had been sold off for cabanas and access to the area was roped off. To me this smacks of the class system on the Cunard Line – without the additional amenities. Except for the full size basketball court (and the roped off cabanas) there was no useful top deck space. Now to the main reason for this comment: The day we arrived we started hearing the noise. On day 1, it was the loud banging on our pipes. We called the desk, but they could not explain the origin of the noise which continued intermittently all night. The next day was quieter until about 4:00 PM. We were trying to rest when the noise started again in full volume. It sounded like we were living over an auto body shop. A mixture of mechanical sounds: Sharp banging on pipes, grinding sounds, hammering and more banging. Of course I immediately went to the desk to report the problem, but had to wait in line for 15 minutes while the staff dealt with fallout from an Internet outage. Meantime my tired wife could not rest. Finally, a staff member agreed to send someone to investigate the problem. While we were waiting for help, I recorded the sounds on my cell phone, made a second trip to the desk, and demonstrated it to the same staff member. She came with me to our cabin to hear for herself. This pretty much ended the investigation, but we did receive an apology and an invitation to a dinner at the Tamarind restaurant. The sad ending of the story is that the noisy activity must have served some vital role in the operation of the ship because it never totally stopped. It is interesting that no one followed up to see if the issue was resolved. I believe they already knew the answer. We like cruising because your ship is your mobile luxury hotel. I have stayed in some pretty cheap hotels and motels in my lifetime, but I have never stayed in one that sounded like there was a machine shop next door. Any fine hotel would have dealt with our noise problem immediately and effectively. Unfortunately this never happened on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Now we get to lessons learned. We chose not to get a veranda cabin on this trip because we very seldom use the veranda and on a transatlantic crossing the view is not that spectacular. For this trip we just wanted a nice clean, comfortable, quiet cabin. If that is your requirement, location is important. At least it is on the Niew Amsterdam. Our cabin was 1092 on aft port side of the Main Deck. You might be lucky, but I would never accept any cabin on the Main Deck. The decks above and below are used for ship’s operations and could be noisy as we found out. Another thing I would do in the future is insist on getting an early cabin assignment. Even though we booked way in advance, our cabin assignment was kept open until the last minute. Our travel agent tried to get a fixed cabin assignment, but we should have tried harder. I need to mention some very positive experiences. My wife has mobility issues and needs a wheelchair. Before the trip, we worked very well with HAL excursion specialists to locate and evaluate accessible tours. On board, the Excursion Team gave us wonderful personal support. We did not have to worry about the wheelchair or not having a seat near the front of the bus and we were sure that the excursions were suitable for us. They all deserve six stars out of five. Also, the entire crew was willing to stop what they were doing to help us get around the ship. If you have mobility issues, don’t let that stop you. Go! The Indonesian cabin and table stewards are treasures. They maintain a tradition of great service which we remember from previous cruises. We have always enjoyed the crew show. We wonder why it scheduled late at night (11:00 PM) this time. Also, what happened to the Baked Alaska parade? These are little things that added to our enjoyment of past cruises. While I am at it, here are a few comments about entertainment. The content was good, but a bit skimpy. One night was it was a movie on the big screen. The productions were well done and the players all very talented. A problem was that the smaller entertainment venues such as Adagio (classical piano and violin) were overcrowded. All the extra passengers on this ship need to go somewhere and the entertainment space was not increased accordingly. On sea days, it t was difficult to get a table for lunch, particularly near the pool. The available poolside space was squeezed by the increased number of passengers and the fact that a quarter of the pool deck space had been sold off for more cabanas. We have reserved a HAL cruise for next year, but see increasing reasons for not going. We can make smarter choices in cabin assignment and have no concerns about accessible excursions, but we see a trend of increasing number of passengers without a corresponding increase in services and amenities. At what point will it be better to make other choices? That remains a question. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My husband and I cruise frequently and are the highest tier on Celebrity and Princess. We had a great experience on the Zuiderdam a few years ago; we thought a new Holland America ship would be fun. We were wrong. I believe Holland America ... Read More
My husband and I cruise frequently and are the highest tier on Celebrity and Princess. We had a great experience on the Zuiderdam a few years ago; we thought a new Holland America ship would be fun. We were wrong. I believe Holland America has cut every corner imaginable in building there new ships. Everything has a glossy appearance (the ship is new) but the years will not treat her well. My husband, who is in a wheelchair, and I booked a 13-Day Celebrity cruise and followed it with a 30-day Transatlantic cruise on the brand new Nieuw Amsterdam. We assumed (our fault) that a new ship would not have so many issues with handicapped passengers. His electric wheelchair had broken in the airport in Rome, but we were told that would not be an issue in Venice. It was. The shore person at the hotel assured us that someone would meet us at the pier for embarkation and help with the wheelchair. When we arrived by water taxi (which works fine for mobility impaired people) we waited for over 45 minutes for assistance - this is in the hot sun with no cover. The ship's representative was also frustrated and told us she'd been calling the ship all morning and was getting no help. I walked to the embarkation area and was told they simply had no staff to help. Embarkation went well - I think they realized I was more than a little irritated. We went to the Guest Relations, staffed by people whose primary job is to say, "no, can't be done, absolutely not." We rented a manual wheelchair for $425 for the 30 days and were told there was no way to get an electric scooter. Of course, that was inaccurate. After several emails to our travel agent in the States (when the internet worked), we were finally able to pick one up in Barcelona. When we then asked for a refund on the manual chair, they said it would still cost $320 because the rental is for 1-10 days and 11 - 30 days. Of course, the first leg of the cruise was 12 days. We then went to our stateroom. Do not book 4051 if you are in a wheelchair. In fact, guest relations is well acquainted with that room and ensured us the ADA attorney had measured the room. That should tell you something. Using a manual wheelchair, you cannot move the chair between the bed and the wall because there is not room for your hands to manipulate the chair. There is nowhere to sit but in your chair. When I was drying my hair, my husband had to sit on the other side of the bed and watch TV in the mirror - the TV is wall mounted and doesn't move. I've never seen such a cheap remote. If I then wanted to use the bathroom, he had to move the scooter for me to get into the bathroom. The entrance to the veranda is uphill - a steep incline and it's impossible for someone in a wheelchair to roll up the incline and then open the door. No sliding glass doors here; they open like a regular door going outwards to the veranda. There was a small table and two chairs in the room but because of the incline, the chair teetered. I had them remove the table and chairs to provide space for the wheelchair to turn around. Then there was the closet, Apparently handicapped people don't wear long clothes. The rod on the left side was not high enough for golf shirts to hand without crumpling on the floor. The right side had the same issue because clothes fell on top of the safe. I solved that by having them bring me a rolling clothes rack which then sat on either side of the hump by the veranda. On our first roll about of the ship, we encountered three randomly placed thresholds that you cannot roll over in a wheelchair. There is no reason for that but shoddy engineering. Beware - if you don't know they're there, the wheelchair passenger is nearly jolted out of the chair. You have to stop, turn around and back over them. There are a number of wheelchair accessible restrooms about the ship. Unfortunately, the automatic doors close so slowly that it was not uncommon to see men relieving themselves before the door would close. Eating at the Lido Restaurant is an exercise in patience. The food on either side of the serving area is not always the same. Lines form everywhere and navigating in a wheelchair is hazardous. So is trying to find a table as the walkways are narrow because they've placed tables-for-two along what should have been a walkway. Passengers who rave about the food haven't been on many other cruise lines. Ah yes. Then there's the issue with the pools. They are totally non-accessible. In fact, they had to go out of their way to design a more unfriendly pool. This is unfortunate because that's my husband's primary means of exercise. The Celebrity Solstice class ships have lifts and easy entry pools. To their credit, one of the front desk managers (when we got past the nay-sayers) then gave us a pass to the hydrotherapy pool, which worked until they drained it because of the GI problems running rampant around the ship - 12 days of Code Red. When there are so many ships that accommodate wheelchair passengers, don't spend your money on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We're staying with Celebrity and Princess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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