15 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

THE SHIP: A medium sized ship (2106 guests), the architecture is probably the least impressive of the 6 cruise ships (on 5 lines) that I have been on. The atrium area is small, and there is no grand open promenade. The décor is heavy ... Read More
THE SHIP: A medium sized ship (2106 guests), the architecture is probably the least impressive of the 6 cruise ships (on 5 lines) that I have been on. The atrium area is small, and there is no grand open promenade. The décor is heavy on old New York City scenes (reflecting the name of the ship). The main dining room is functional but not grand; the prettiest décor is at the Pinnacle Grill. The Italian specialty restaurant, Canaletto, is simply a section of the buffet area that was “roped off” to become a paying restaurant. There are two pools; the largest one, which is adults-only, has NO shade except in the smoking area. The mid-ship one is much nicer but also much smaller. It has tables and chairs in addition to the lounge chairs, which is a nice feature, and plenty of room in the shade. The ship is not really geared towards families, as the passengers are mostly over 50; I may have seen a dozen children among the 2000 passengers. The main lounge area, the Crow's Nest, is on the 11th deck and difficult to access if your cabin is at the rear of the ship. The library is there, and consists of coffee table travel books that are meant to be read in that room. The ship has three sets of elevators, and we seldom had to wait long for one. The casino is tucked away on the 2nd deck, so you don't have to encounter it if you don't want to – a nice feature. A note about which is the best side of the ship for ports of call, if you have a verandah stateroom and like a view while docked: The starboard side has the best views of Key West and the Dominican Republic, but not of Half Moon Cay. Not sure about Grand Turk, since we never docked there due to high winds. DINING: We only used the main dining room for Afternoon Tea, eating mostly at the Lido Market Buffet. Food there was good but not terribly varied; breakfast had the same items every day. A major difference from other cruise lines is that for the most part passengers do not serve themselves; you tell the crew member what you want and they put it on a plate. This cuts down on germ-spreading but also slows the line, and you have limited control on how big a portion you get. There is an Italian and Asian food area at one end of the buffet. Desserts were good but again not exceptional; for a cruise line known for its food, I expected more variety. The dessert crepes (at the end of the Italian food area) were the best. For breakfast, the eggs benedict were excellent; they are at the end of the line with the English Breakfast items. Drinks were brought to you, although there is also a serve-yourself area. ENTERTAINMENT: This was the most disappointing aspect of the cruise. It cannot compare with other week-long cruises we have been on (Royal Caribbean, Princess,and Celebrity). On the main stage, there are two shows by six dancers, and two comics. That's it for the week. This is comparable to what we had on a four day Bahamas cruise by Carnival, and can't hold a candle to the Broadway style shows on RC. The first show by the dancers was excellent, the second almost boring. We did not attend the comic shows, but other passengers said one was good, one not so much. There are several (loud) music venues with limited seating on the 2nd deck. Daily activities on board are also less interesting than other lines; many of them seem geared toward selling you things. Overall, you get a LOT more for your money on other cruise lines when it comes to entertainment. SERVICE: Top-notch. The crew is the friendliest and most helpful I have seen on any cruise. The waitress at Caneletto even remembered my name when I saw her on the ship the day after we ate there. PORTS of CALL KEY WEST Our ship was the first in port that day, and therefore got the better dock: the one with the easy walk into town (less than a block). Note that if you get stuck docking at the Navy pier, you have to take a trolley into town. I don't know if our ship always gets the “good berth” but I am glad we did this time! We had visited Key West before, so we did not take a guided tour. We did go to Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum, which is an easy walk from the ship. Admission is $15 but the exhibits are interesting and well-done. Be sure to take the time to wander a bit out of the tourist area, down one of the residential streets, to get a feel for the graceful Southern air the town has. Also look for the free-roaming roosters around the historic marina ! GRAND TURK The ship was unable to dock there due to high winds. Apparently this happens frequently, so I would advise NOT booking any shore excursion here that could be done on another island (such as snorkeling). Based on what we could see from our verandah, the island is windswept and not especially scenic or even tropical-looking. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Amber Cove) My favorite port ! The ship docks at Amber Cove, which is a “village” created for the cruise line. It is lovely and well-maintained, with lots of shopping. We took the Ocean World Day Pass excursion, and it was wonderful ! The staff there was friendly and very helpful to my husband, who has mobility issues. We didn't realize that the park is built on the side of a hill, so the walking was difficult for him. They not only loaned him a wheelchair for free, the staff pushed it for him. The park itself has great animal shows (approved by the Humane Society and World Wildlife Fund). Don't miss the dolphin show ! The seal show is excellent also, as is the parrot show. The only mild disappointment was the Shark Encounter, which is not really a show at all; you simply watch other tourists pet the sharks. We ate at their restaurant, from the menu, and the food was good and reasonably priced. The gift shop is nice as well. One thing to be aware of is that you cannot wear eyeglasses if you do the Dolphin Encounter (for the safety of the dolphins). So if you have poor eyesight and no contact lenses, you may see “fuzzy” dolphins ! HALF MOON CAY I had read so many good reviews of this private island in the Bahamas that perhaps I was bound to be disappointed by aspects of it. The site itself is very nice overall, but was not built with older guests in mind, especially those with mobility issues. The map shows there is a tram to take people to the lunch buffet hidden behind the shops, but we did not see any sign for it while we were there. When I asked an employee about the buffet, she said it was a “five minute walk” down the path, with no mention of a tram. As for the beach, the sand and water are beautiful, as is the architecture along the beach. There is a cute children's play area (which went unused while we were there, with so few children on the voyage). It was high tide, and the beach was very narrow - in fact, the first two rows of lounge chairs were literally in the water! Perhaps the beach was eroded by Hurricane Dorian, but it was way too narrow for so many guests at once. The only chairs available on the beach (without renting an expensive cabana) are lounge chairs, which are nearly impossible for someone with mobility issues to get in and out of. Another surprise: If you want a bottle of water, it costs $4.50 ! So be sure to bring your own water bottle from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October ... Read More
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October 2019, from Vancouver BC to Ft Lauderdale FL. We enjoyed a few days visiting Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship. Embarkation/disembarkation was fast and smooth. If there were children aboard, we never saw them (ok by us!)...what we DID see was more folks using power chairs and walkers than on any previous cruise! OVERALL RATING: 3.5 stars. As always, the HAL cusine and service staff were WONDERFUL, abosolutey 5 stars. What made this overall experience score a mere 3.5 for us? I've detailed a number of "hits" and "misses" below. ACTIVITES: Woefully inadequate, e.g., TOO FEW trivia offerings (and those offered frequently conflicted with mealtimes). Also, holding the trivia games in the Billboard Lounge--immediately across from the Casino--is HORRIBLE! Noise conflict/intrusion=totally unacceptable. All the fun we used to have singing karaoke and playing trivia in the Crow's Nest aboard other HAL ships: gone. And for goodness' sake, STOP the money-grubbing, pushy Spa/Shops "activities," e.g., the "Foot Analysis" (do you really think cruisers are too dumb to recognize that these offerings are merely poorly-disguised sales pitches?). Why charge $15 for riding a bicycle in the workout room? Please! Suggestions: offer stretching/yoga/etc., at later times in the morning (for those who don't rise at the crack of dawn every day). ADD more fun + games, especially in the morning...DON'T schedule pickleball during the hottest hours of the day...add INSTRUCTORS for bridge, mah jong, shuffleball, other games. And make sure everyone who wants to play card games are accommodated: every time we went, foursomes were already set, denying us a chance to play. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian Jim Short was super, as always, but we didn't care for the younger comedian (the one whose first joke involved a fart. The dance act was OK. Lincoln Center players, as always, were absolutely FABULOUS...most of their classical music offerings were standing-room-only. B. B. King band was very good. We missed having the small jazz trio for listening/dancing we'd enjoyed on previous cruises. SUGGESTION: why not have one of the pianists lead a passenger "Glee Club"? Not everyone enjoys singing, but for those of us who do, it surely would be WONDERFUL to have had the opportunity (as we did aboard another cruise)...plus, it's a super, fun, healthful activity in which older, less physically active passengers can participate. AMERICA'S TEST KITCEN: Unlike the previous cruise when we enjoyed the same ATK instructor, this time, she always looked at the camera, vs. the audience members. As she was less engaged with the audience, it made the experience less fun. Also, there used to be an opportunity to TASTE the dish that had been prepared, which was fun: we missed being able to do that. LECTURER: merely OK. He needs to listen to a recording of himself talking...he has an irritating/distracting vocal tic (a tongue-smack, like a tsk-tsk sound). COMPUTER: The Microsoft Studio person was of great help: solved a Windows 10 issue we'd been having. EXCURSIONS: The Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive beach resort opportunity was lovely, but too short. We got there too late for breakfast, and left too soon for lunch. Having all-you-can-drink between 9 and 11 a.m. is great if you're an alcoholic. The best part of this excursion was the water aerobics in the pool with one of the hotel's staff (a very cute & vivacious senorita). Nobody cared that she didn't speak English!--the acitivity was fabulous, and made us wonder why a water aerobics workout isn't offered on the ship! The Aruba Public Beach Bus excursion was SORELY lacking. The beach was great, but HOW COME NOBODY TOLD US in advance that we would need TEN DOLLARS to rent a lawn chair? We ABSULOUTELY should have been told in advance, or better, include the lawn chair rental in the cost of the excursion (which, all tolled, was basically just the bus ride). Also, to use a bathroom/cold shower involved walking 100 yards and cost another dollar...give me a break! SHOPPING: why so little reasonably-priced/cute women's clothing? Why no sparkly "bling" lanyards this cruise? The orange cloth lanyards were totally blah...I definitely would have bought an orange BLING version! Forget the high-end jewelry boutique (never saw a soul in there). PHOTOGRAPHERS were more pushy/annoying on than on our previous HAL cruises. Plus, if their photos were more affordable (e.g., $5 instead of $50 each), they would sell a lot more, plus avoid being stuck with thousands of prints that end up as trash. PANAMA CANAL: Experiencing the Panama Canal--the whole reason we went on this cruise--was a real treat, although less joyful that I'd hoped. Because I use a walker and fellow passengers were insensitive, I could never get close enough to the ship's edge to see from that vantage point (husband shot the photos with this review). Also, in plain view of the passengers, the cruise director and other staff enjoyed the view from the deck immediately below us: very frustrating, since passengers were not allowed access to that deck. I finally gave up and watched most of the crossing on the TV in our stateroom (very fuzzy camera reception). Later, I realized: AH HA!--it's another chance for the photographers to make money! Their marvelously clear video souvenier was exhorbitantly-priced. DINING: As ever, HAL dining was overall marvelous. Lido is consistently GREAT. Noticing the lovely fresh flowers on our Pinnacle Grill table reminded us of when you used to have fresh flower vases on every table in the LIDO! Pinnacle Grill dining was lovely, but we weren't convinced it was worth the extra money, especially for the Rudy's Sel de Mer nights. New York pizzas could've been better: most were underdone. Burgers were great. BEVERAGES: The biggest hit: at-sea days Mixology classes--FABULOUS fun!! Bartenders Jonathan (Ocean Bar) and Michael (Pinnacle Bar) are amazing! Not so great: the Dale deGroff cocktail selections...many were very weird, and tooooo sweet (Mixology classmates /daily Happy Hour friends agreed): bring back the standard cocktail menu!! SERVERS/STAFF SUPERSTARS: Besides Bartenders Michael and Jonathan, waitress Catherine; Sommolier Alex; and our excellent cabin stewards, Bayu and Andreas. Cruise Director (forgot her name) was pleasant, but nowhere near as engaged and fun a Cruise Director as we've experienced on previous HAL cruises. Would we go again? Maybe for the cruise itinerary, but NOT aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. That's all! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Holland America Line - Nieuw Amsterdam Sept-Oct 2018 I thought to myself what a great way to arrive in San Diego from Vancouver for those who don't care to fly, and quite reasonable especially if your prime goal was just ... Read More
Holland America Line - Nieuw Amsterdam Sept-Oct 2018 I thought to myself what a great way to arrive in San Diego from Vancouver for those who don't care to fly, and quite reasonable especially if your prime goal was just transportation with no frills attached. I had high expectations for this 4 day repositioning cruise which continued on from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale which for some I believe was a total of 23 days. My high expectations were due to this ship being newly refurbished in 2017 and we've sailed on HAL before many years ago and it was by far at the top of our list for favorites. I recall the food being exceptional ( before the days of specialty restaurants) and the entertainment stellar. So how did it fare this time around?... Embarkation: Vancouver BC Terminal This was SUPERB! HAL does it right. Your informed of the time you should arrive. Don't come earlier, you won't get any further ahead. Check in was a breeze due to the set time for arrival. We had no line ups whatsoever. After we checked in we were seated in a waiting area for about 10-15 min before we boarded. Once onboard we weren't bombarded with staff promoting dining, activities etc. While waiting for the "Cabin ready" announcement we went to the dining reservations desk to pre book our MDR reservations. Our cabin was ready in about 10 minutes after we boarded. I rate this Embarkation 9/10 Sail Away: That's it folks...we just sailed away. No live band, NO MUSIC WHATSOEVER! No countdown when going under the Lions Gate Bridge. NOTHING! On the Lido Deck they set up 2 tables with black spandex coverings which became a 'pop up bar' in addition to the existing bar. They also set up 2 cocktail tables! Two for 2500 + passengers? They stacked the lounge chairs and tucked them aside so no place to sit except for a handful of scattered chairs and the existing bar stools. I don't know why they had to stack them...It wasn't a rainy day, just overcast but still fairly warm. There was no build up of excitement, the Lido Deck was a bland, boring space. This was sooo disappointing. I hoped when we sailed away in Seattle perhaps it would improve...nope we just sailed away. For this sail away I'm rating it 1/10 Main Dining Room: For being a ship that just went through a refurbishment I expected the main dining room to have all the glitz and glamour that most shipboard dining rooms have. I was quite disappointed with the decor of the MDR. It was definitely stuck in the 70's ( no appearance of refurbishment here) with the orangey red laminate divider walls and serving stations. Our first night we were seated directly across from one of the many open, unsightly, very noisy server stations. We were seated so close to it that the waiters butts were almost touching our table when facing the serving station. Not a pretty site! Also the fluorescent office type lighting above was very dated and bright overhead so I learnt to ask to be seated in a dimly lit area of the dining room, which had a much nicer and calming appearance as you would be seated closer to the windows and it was also much quieter. What we thought was really strange was there was no music, none, nothing even piped thru a speaker system, odd to say the least. We had anytime dining and made reservations as soon as we got onboard for our preferred time. There was one evening we had no reservations and only waited a few minutes before being seated. The food was actually quite tasty and we did enjoy most meals. Always enjoyed my breakfast here especially the Lox...so fresh and superb quality. I rate the MDR 6/10 Specialty Restaurants: Tamarind- This is the only restaurant we dined in while onboard and for the $25.p/person charge was worth it. If you book onboard and dine on embarkation day they do offer a discount. The ambiance was relaxing and peaceful just what is needed after dining in the noisy MDR for 3 nights straight. I ordered the Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon. This was a full size filet, not the tiny piece of meat you get in the MDR, it was cooked perfectly as requested and the flavor was delicious. My husband ordered the Lobster Tempura main entree, where they cut the lobster meat, tempura it and stuff it back into the lobster shell beautifully prepared. The lobster was fresh, tender and not rubbery. There was only one item I didn't care for on the shared appy plate, but that could be based on personal preference, otherwise everything else we enjoyed immensely which made our last evening on board our favorite. Service by the all female wait staff was attentive and courteous. We wanted to tip our waitress but no 'tip option' on the receipt so we had to tip with cash. I rate Tamarind 9.5/10 Dive-In- no fee This grill on the Lido deck served the most delicious burgers and fries. We ordered the Cannonball burger, very yummy. The wall-mount menu has milkshakes listed on it, however you have to go across the deck to actually order them from the bar. Definitely worth it. Rating 9/10 Pizza- no fee Good pizza here, wait time was a bit long over 1/2 hr but they were lined up before we ordered. While we were waiting we could smell cigarette smoke drifting our way so the smoking area is nearby by the bar. Rating 7/10 Tea is Served 3p.m.- Allocated in the MDR where your usually able to order all kinds of beverages. Don't expect to be able to order any other beverage. I love having an afternoon cup of tea, my husband does not ever drink tea so he asked if he could at least order a beer. "NO! This is TEA,TEA,TEA! NO BEER!" was the response. Ok we get that but we also understand that cruise lines will 'bend over backwards' to please you within reason and I don't think it was too much to ask for one beer as a beverage preference. Also a kinder response would of been appreciated. The Buffet: Nothing much to write about this was your average nice buffet, not as big of a selection that we enjoyed on Celebrity but you still get a fairly decent selection. The behind the counter servers plate your choice of items for you which I really appreciated instead of everyone touching everything with self serve buffets. We really liked the salad bar where there's an array of salad items you choose and the 'salad chef' tosses it altogether for you with your choice of dressing in these large salad bowls. The oriental dressing was my favorite. Rating: 8/10 Entertainment: On the Mainstage over the 4 nights there were 2 magic shows-Magic Rocks, a musical production-One World and a comedian-Frances Dilorinzo. We didn't go to the magic shows, the musical production was boring also the young performers timing was off on the dance moves. It was like they were dancing just to get it over with. I thought I was watching a high school performance, it was so bad we left. I was now skeptical about going to see the comedian but she was fantastic. The theatre itself is large and even though it appeared a bit dated it's still beautiful. There was plenty of room and a seat could be found easily on any level. The cup holders are hidden in the chairs arms, but some were a bit rusty and difficult to pull out to open. BB King's All Stars: Fantastic! The music, singers and instrumentalists were all top notch! Three performances per evening all different sets except we noticed on the 4th night they started over again with the same show and music we saw on the first night which isn't so bad unless you were staying onboard for the entire 23 day cruise. Billboard Onboard: The When & Where daily newsletter would just print Billboard Onboard 1970's. So what does that mean? There was no explanation of what type of entertainment this was. We weren't even sure if it was live entertainment. It was right in the casino where we never ventured except to purchase a used casino deck of cards at the lottery booth for only $1. We discovered it after exiting the Mainstage show one evening and this ended up being our favorite night time place to go for drinks and fabulous music. This is the venue to be at to enjoy 2 pianists dueling out tunes from the 60's, 70's and All Requests later in the evening. Now that should of been the newsletter write up. We absolutely loved it! Lincoln Center stage: This was a small group of young Performing Arts graduates playing stringed instruments with a pianist performing Beethoven to Buble. We never saw a full performance but stopped for a bit to hear them play one afternoon and they were a fantastic, extremely talented group of musicians. Overall Evening Entertainment rating 8/10 Drink Package: ( make sure you continually check your onboard account for accuracy) You would think that your drink package regulations, rules, and restrictions should be basic knowledge by onboard staff especially by those who work behind the customer service desk. To me it's fairly simple....we purchased a basic alcoholic beverage package online which included gratuities ($206. ea USD for 4 night cruise) which allowed us to have ANY drink on the menu valued at $9 or less. Anything over $9 we would have to pay the full price for, not the difference in price like you're able to do on Celebrity & NCL. There was no shortage of drinks (except wine-very few at $9/glass) that fell within this price range which was excellent. So did this end up being so straightforward? Oh no, why would it? After signing into the free onboard Navigator App ( which is excellent by the way) to view our shipboard expense account I noticed we've been charged the full price for every drink with an added gratuity! At first I thought they're just listing every drink we've ordered and it will be reconciled later. So off to the customer service desk to double check. " NO" says the young man at customer service. "You have to pay full price for all those drinks". " You see because you ordered a drink for $9 you have to mentally calculate what the gratuity will be, which now brings the drink total to $10.28 which exceeds your $9 package allotment, so really you should be ordering drinks at about $7.75." WHAT??? First of all there are no drinks on the menu for that price and second it's not my responsibility to mentally calculate the gratuity which by the way I already paid for. Then I mentioned that I specifically asked the bartender if one of the drinks I ordered was included, and she said it was. He asked me what her name is so she can be reprimanded for giving out the wrong advice! He then gave us a printout of the drink package policy and told us we obviously need to pay heed to the 'fine print'. His co-worker also peered at our account and said "yeah that's how it works". Frustrated and not wanting to waste anymore time there we questioned a few bartenders about the policy and told them our predicament. They told us exactly what we thought... that we're entitled to ANY drink on ANY menu that's $9 or less which is exactly what the policy states. No gratuity should be added as it's already been calculated into the package price. The next morning back to the service desk we go ( not how I want to be spending this short cruise). Thankfully the other person there spoke to the bar manager, reversed all our charges and apologized for the inconvenience, and thankfully we checked our shipboard account on a regular basis which I advise everyone to do. My advice to HAL is coach your staff so they at least understand and are on the same page for your basic policies especially on something so simple like the beverage packages. Overall: A beautiful boat, but nothing grandeur. Aside from the evening entertainment we found this to be a bit of a boring cruise. Few were under the age of 70 so there was no shortage of canes, walkers and scooters. Kindness and patience is a must. I personally don't want to fill my days with acupuncture appointments, reflexology, and how to reduce swollen ankles and then pay a bomb for their so called remedies. Overall we found the daytime activities quite boring...I love cards but don't play bridge, however we did enjoy Americas Test Kitchen in the afternoons. Earlier I mentioned that there was no music piped into the MDR at any time. Actually it was nowhere during the day anywhere...not in the observation lounge while enjoying a coffee, not in the buffet having a meal, not in the atrium area waiting in line at the customer service desk...nope I listened for it but no daytime music whatsoever except at 2pm for a Lincoln Stage performance which was live. Overall if you want a completely relaxing do nothing cruise this is for you, if you want excitement and a more youthful variety of things to do cruise on another line. Overall rating 7/10 Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Went with a family group (3 generations) for a special birthday celebration of a grandparent. Went along for the ride but we did not pick cruise, etc. We enjoyed the cruise overall and had set our expectations for activities for kids ... Read More
Went with a family group (3 generations) for a special birthday celebration of a grandparent. Went along for the ride but we did not pick cruise, etc. We enjoyed the cruise overall and had set our expectations for activities for kids going in advance (ages 4-14yo in our group). Service was excellent in the rooms. A bit disappointed in embarkation and customer service as we had two problems: somehow they didn't apply our card that/payment that we used in the port at embarkation. So after getting charges denied a few times had to make trip to add it. Not a huge deal but not how you want to spend your time. Then, they continued to miss me as a named guest in our room even though TA submitted all my info in advance. So, that caused trouble with names on excursions, and charges for room. Club Hal was ok- staff seemed a bit rigid that we were dropping by for info first night but had missed the Orientation first afternoon. Not easy to make if you've just boarded, are eating, finding way around cruise. Ultimately, we didn't use it for the 6 kids in our group at all. If it is important to you age groups in clubs were different than cited on website. No paper schedules available and we were told to check the schedule on tv in room for ClubHal activities. Great when its working but it was one day behind on all data (port, menu, etc.) the first few days at least so that was no help. No pager or way to contact parents like on other cruises. They seemed like they might be accomodating to my special needs kid if he passed muster but they were quick to state they didn't have an extra crew member to take care of him and I would have to be with him if not. I get it and I wasn't requesting that. A little offputting since they advertise on the front of ClubHal that they accomodate special needs kids. My son would have done fine but that might have been a disappointing surprise to others upon arriving if hoping to have a break from the kids. I had made attempts to ask questions and inform them in advance of the cruise. Worked out ok but a bit disappointing. Activities for kids that we saw on board were 1 family pool, 2 ping pong tables, sports court, board games and advanced puzzles for more mature kids in Crows Nest. There was a BINGO contest or two but we missed it. Ironically didn't ever see shuffleboard either. Worked for us with cousins to visit with but might fall short to others. Many excursions had age limits that could have been limiting for kids under 8 or so too. Would want to read that in advance. Liked that they had Mass on Sundays and daily though that was not easy to confirm in advance. Decent entertainment but repeated later in the week (e.g. comedian) and only 1 main production (e.g. no Lincoln Center Orchestra and Planet Earth(?) movie per night- downfall of smaller boat maybe? Not many bars open past 830 or 9pm either. They existed but had to go find them in casino or Crow's Nest I think. Food was good and one of the better things about the cruise but not the reason to go. Ate in main dining room(MDR) as a group with two tables near each other for a scheduled early seating (530pm) a number of nights. The first night it took forever to even get drinks, menus and then for food to come. We were lucky to be done around 745 or 8pm when they were signaling to leave for the next seating every time. Had kids from 4yo+ so not for the faint of heart or with extreme wiggles : ) Ate in Lido Market a lot and that was pretty good. Lots of variety and broader hours. Nice cabin but not a fan that of the design that all Quad Rooms on HAL have the 4th bed over the 2 singles that make a Queen. Worked ok but no room to even sit up a little underneath vs maybe 4ft of clearance above the bunk. A few bumped heads by all. Cabin seemed a bit dated in terms of a piece of the divider between cabins on the balcony shook free first day and made horrible sound. They were able to fix with some towels wedged in for the rest of the cruise. Also, one overhead storage wouldn't stay up and kept slamming closed. Data on television not working first few days at least- heard their satellite was out but would think there might be a backup plan. May be true of all cruises but was really hard to hear announcements in room and around ship. A downfall of this cruise was the times we were in Cozumel. We arrived at 11am and left at 11pm. We were the last cruise ship in I think and most things had closed down or were pretty dead between 8-9p near the port (except for a few vendors right by dock). Many nearby parks closed at 430pm. So, not a ton to do if you weren't on a late day excursion except catch a cab and eat out if you were even venturing away from dock/port area. Check schedule in advance if you care about time there. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Nieuw Amsterdam Eastern Caribbean Cons: Embarkation was very difficult for disabled passengers who waited a very long time for wheelchairs simply because only 2 chairs were made available to take them onto the ship. Crew members ... Read More
Nieuw Amsterdam Eastern Caribbean Cons: Embarkation was very difficult for disabled passengers who waited a very long time for wheelchairs simply because only 2 chairs were made available to take them onto the ship. Crew members waiting to assist guests could do nothing without wheelchairs. Several disabled pax eventually hobbled through the long lines on their own after waiting for well over an hour. There was no valid excuse for this. Having been on many Holland ships, including a couple of sister ships to the Nieuw Amsterdam, it was disappointing to see that many features we had enjoyed on those ships and cruises have been eliminated on the NA. Cultural enrichment talks, nature films, elegant afternoon teas, sculptures and other artwork have been greatly reduced in number and quality on the NA. Healthy vegan foods are difficult to impossible to find on the ship. Plain whole vegetables such as unadorned baked potatoes, plain beans, sweet potatoes, corn, etc. are very rare and repeatedly asking for them yielded no successful results over the course of our two week cruise. Most foods on the buffets and in the main dining room are made or coated with oils, butter and/or cheese. Unfortunately, one cannot live on salad alone. Every day we noticed others needing special diets often going hungry, as well. No attempts were made by staff to accommodate requests. We were on a back to back two week cruise. Not having self service guest laundry aboard the ship created difficulties. The tiny bag provided for laundry done by the crew at a charge of $20 per bag was woefully inadequate. Witnessing the very wrinkled crew-washed laundry being delivered to other guests was also discouraging. In the end, we decided it was far cheaper to buy extra shirts at the weekly onboard shop sales and hand wash our underwear, hanging it to dry in the stateroom shower. Other cruise lines can provide guest laundry, why not Holland? As a result, we're reluctant to book any more long cruises with this line. Although we requested a special celebration for a birthday, no attention whatsoever was paid to it by staff or crew. No note, no mention, no balloon on the stateroom door, no cake in the MDR, nothing. Why does Holland ask for special celebration information if nothing is going to be done for it? It was usually a challenge to find a window table on the Lido deck as many people habitually "reserve" them with personal items before going to get their meals. Finding unreserved chaise lounges by the pool was actually easier! Behind the scenes kitchen "tour" required a long wait and then consisted of a simple file through an empty kitchen. There were no personnel on hand to explain anything nor demonstrations of any kind and no labels of the different areas, just a lot of bare stainless steel. Why special forms had to be filled out, closed shoes worn and hands washed for this I do not know. Pros: Generally a very friendly crew and staff throughout the ship, several of which we gave kudos to in our comment cards. Our particular stateroom was pleasant and fairly quiet. Storage space was adequate. Maintenance by room stewards was usually timely and well done. Overall a relaxing cruise, with plenty of quiet spaces that felt uncrowded as well as uninterrupted by noisy commercial announcements over the ship's speaker system. Lines for buffets were rarely long and even though the lines for the main dining room were also sometimes long they usually moved fairly quickly despite there being no designated lines for guests who already had reservations versus those who did not. Passenger mix was international and all across the age spectrum from families with young children, teens, twenty & thirty somethings, on up to retirees. This nice diversity was despite the cruises not taking place over any holidays. Children were well behaved and most adult guests were respectful of others. Though there are always a few who cut the lines or behave in other obnoxious ways, they were definitely the exception on this ship. Shipboard entertainment was adequate and diverse, behind the scenes tours and Q&A with the dancers and singers were interesting, and some of the bar lounge musicians were very good. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We had an Alaskan Cruise on our bucket list to check off so we decided to do it when cruise season opened up to Alaska from Vancouver, BC. We called a cruise travel agent who was very knowledgeable as he had done the cruise twice. He did ... Read More
We had an Alaskan Cruise on our bucket list to check off so we decided to do it when cruise season opened up to Alaska from Vancouver, BC. We called a cruise travel agent who was very knowledgeable as he had done the cruise twice. He did all the recommendations and we inquired about tours and settled in on the whale watching tour in Juneau and the train tour in Skagway... AWESOME!!! The staff were extremely friendly and they remembered our names as well as other tourists. The food at the Lido Buffet was to die for. They changed it up every day and it was so good, never had a buffet that pleased us so much. The gala night in the Manhattan Dining Room was the best food ever. They had two gala nights and again, service was exquisite and the food was second to none. The Lido pool was great, they would retract the roof when it was warm and sunny. Oddly enough, in our whole 7 day trip, we only had one bad morning of heavy misty rain in Ketchikan but it became sunny in the afternoon. Otherwise, the whole cruise was sunny and rather warm. Even the workers on the cruise ship stated this was not normal, but we're not complaining. LOL ... We had a balcony/veranda suite so we enjoyed sitting outside with our champagne and wine and just watching the beautiful scenery. Amazing is all I can say. The trip through Glacier Bay was something to die for. The cruise ship stopped so that we could see falling ice chunks from the glaciers falling in the sea... every time it happened, all passengers oohed and ahhhhed like us. We'd do this trip again in a heartbeat. The STAFF were phenomenal...extremely friendly, we can't say enough about them! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Our group of young adults (upper 20s) did a week long cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam with family and significant others, total of six of us. We chose this cruise because of the price, dates, itinerary and the fact that we had not yet been ... Read More
Our group of young adults (upper 20s) did a week long cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam with family and significant others, total of six of us. We chose this cruise because of the price, dates, itinerary and the fact that we had not yet been with Holland America. Having prepped by reading some reviews and general information, we knew that the ship would scale elderly. There is no getting around this fact and what it entails for the cruise experience. This was the oldest group of people I've ever seen on a cruise. As such, we were prepared for bland food, strange entertainment choices and some other inconveniences along with a slow paced cruise. We were very wrong about bland food. The food was a true delight and a highlight of the cruise. This is the best dining experience and best food taste, presentation and selection I've ever had, hands down, in comparison to Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. The range represented from upper-class wedding catering up to true-blue restaurant quality meals. The Buffet was phenomenal and open much more often than rivals' buffets. The ship ran like clockwork, and was already very accustomed to having an elderly set of passengers. It was very rare that our party was inconvenienced, although we did often feel very loud despite trying to remain as quiet as possible. Despite it being a relatively small ship, there were so many lounges and bars to hang out at, and each offered a different view or experience. As a bonus, the crew was great at handling the very elderly and I believe they would do very well with disable passengers. Drinks were inexpensive and of medium strength. Specialty drinks like espresso were fantastic and inexpensive. The only drinks that stood out as high priced were soda and beer. Tips were 15% automatic gratuity which was actually nice as the receipts did not have a tip line and we never felt pressured to give more. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the wait staff, some of the bar staff was unfriendly. While many were absolutely excellent, we had a number of unsatisfactory experiences with bar tenders that had us moving on to the next lounge. Entertainment was strange and extremely lackluster. Luckily for us, the majority of our party was not into Broadway style shows so we weren't disappointed by the shows in the main theater, although some of them were worth a laugh. We could tell we weren't the only one with this sentiment, as the theater did not reach over 50% capacity after the 2nd day. However, the BB Kings All Stars Band played for 3 hours almost every night and were the heart of nightlife on the ship. There was also a popular piano bar but it pandered heavily to the older audience and did not interest us much at all. As you might be able to guess, the night club was consistently dead and despite having a great setup never reached its potential. Our group brought our own entertainment. Our games and books were a life-saver, as the many lounges provided interesting new locals for us to socialize and play. The ship also has a ton of games on loan to borrow, and even a puzzle corner. But we were basically on our own: trivia lasted 10 minutes, with then nothing interesting going on for 3 hours, and the hokey cruise game shows were few and far between. Our cabin was satisfactory. The bathroom was wonderful: good water pressure, great soap, lots of space. The TV system was great, it had a built in on-demand system that had dozens of movies and tv shows ready to watch and access to live news. The ship was lacking in white noise (engine hum / wind / waves) that generally comes on a cruise ship - which made it a bit more difficult to sleep especially when we could hear crew moving large equipment down the hall. Other notes about the ship are mostly positive. The elevators were plentiful for a ship that size and always quick. The pools were great and never overcrowded, and there is an indoor pool and an outdoor pool and 4 small hot tubs. Room service had very limited menu but was good. Cabin stewards were like ninjas and did a great job cleaning up while we were out. They would fill a bowl with fruit and would keep ice in the ice bin which was very nice. Average dress wear was higher than Carnival or Norwegian, even on non-formal nights people were dressed well and there were very few t-shirts on board even just relaxing in the lounges and pool decks. Embarkation, debarkation, and each of the ports was a breeze. Due to weather, we were not able to go to our first stop at Half Moon Cay which was a huge bummer. The announcement said they were going to beef up the entertainment for the day to make up for it but it sure didn't seem like it. We also stopped at Grand Caymen, got a $5 ea taxi ride to the 7 Mile Beach, very nice but crowded, we walked a quarter mile and found just the right amount of people! Cozumel we took another $5 ea taxi to a private beach (Paradise Beach) which was fun and interesting. Our final stop was Key West where we had a very strange customs routine that everyone on board had to do - it was a huge waste of time and the timing forced everyone on board to wake up early which was unfortunate. In summary, this is a great laid back facility to use for your own entertainment. The food is wonderful and the staff is very friendly. The rooms are comfortable and the amenities are top-shelf. Don't expect to be wowed by the pre-packaged entertainment in terms of quality or quantity. For other young adults, don't expect to pick up any singles on the cruise. If you're bringing a S.O. or a group of buddies you should have a lovely time. Just make sure to bring some card games, a good book and a tablet or gameboy! Use the ports of call for your chance to party! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I just got back from the 9 night Holiday cruise to the Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam ship. The overall experience was good, but I will tell you the good, the bad and the downright ugly. First, the great. Embarkation was smooth as ... Read More
I just got back from the 9 night Holiday cruise to the Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam ship. The overall experience was good, but I will tell you the good, the bad and the downright ugly. First, the great. Embarkation was smooth as silk, and we were very impressed that it went so smoothly. We arrived before the crowds, so that helped. The food on this cruise was exceptionally good, even for basic food. We agreed that there has never been such a great variety of high-quality food on any other of our 26 cruises. Our room stewards took very good care of us. Our cabin was always clean and we could get anything we desired quickly. Room service was quick and perfect. The care I received at the medical office was the best, although painfully expensive. Now the bad. Several moments of negative experiences colored our desire to cruise again soon with HAL. One particular diningroom officer absolutely refused to clean the Lido table we wanted, even though all the tables in his section were dirty with leftover plates. I called out to him twice within a short distance, but he did not respond or make eye contact with me. I know he must have heard me. Eventually I had to push all the dirty dishes left by others to the side of the four-person table, and two of us sat down and ate. I reported this to another diningroom officer, but that did no good at all. Because the Lido was so slammed full, we had to eat at the smoking area in the very back of the ship, where there was no service at all. No coffee, no refills, no newspapers and nothing but dirty tables, which we had to clean up ourselves. I even went to the bar and ordered a smoothie, which never arrived. When I went to find my smoothie 20 minutes later, all I got was a shrug from the bar manager. The MDR service was so slow that we got up and left after waiting 30 minutes for the entree to arrive. No explanations, and again, the servers would not respond to stares, excuse me's, or a hand going up as they passed by. The service was non-existent. We were simply invisible. So were their tips. Now is where it gets ugly. I spent a total of a day and 12 hours in isolation after eating a lunch provided by a HAL-purchased snorkel trip by catamaran in Amber Cove by a company called Tip Top. Avoid this company. After my time in isolation for food poisoning, I asked two other families we had met on that trip if they got sick from the food, and they told me that they were sick also with food poisoning, but that they were trying to hide their symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain so that they would not be put in isolation or asked to leave the cruise early. I reported these facts to the manager of shore excursions, and I asked for compensation since I was put in isolation by the ship doctor. The manager of the shore excursion desk asked me to contact all the members of that snorkel trip, and ask them all to go to the medical office, pay to see the doctor, and risk being put in isolation before he would even consider giving me any sort of compensation. This was even when I could identify the two families who admitted to me that they also had symptoms of food poisoning. This request by the manager of the shore excursions desk was unreasonable. He also told me that Tip Top claimed that nobody in history had ever complained about their food. Of course not. Sure. HAL would never do anything that does not make them money. The laundry lost a pair of my husband's shorts, but failed to acknowledge it; instead they kept denying that they were lost and kept refusing to either produce the shorts or compensate us for them. Delay, delay, delay. Why do they deny compensation for my lost laundry? To keep my dollars. Almost every activity offered on the cruise involved a fee (classes teaching you how to use a bicycle and pilates) to a sale or a purchase of some sort for wine tasting, bingo, casino games or art. It's all made up to separate you from even more of your money. Why do they charge you for spinning classes, which use the bicycles in a group setting? It's bicycle riding, folks! Why? To make money! I even received a very special invitation, for a select few, mind you, for the Privileges Club. Oooooh. Sounds exceptional and elitist. The letter, and later in the cruise, the reminder postcard, outlined that I could get up to 60% of my future cruise off just by doing things I do anyway. I was intrigued but suspicious. If it's too good to be true, there's a money grab. And yes, when I went to ask about the details and the cost to belong to this exclusive club, the HAL representative avoided answering my question with an actual number until I asked how much three different times. Finally, it came out: $795 for the lowest tier of exclusive membership up front. I laughed and walked right out of there. Another money grab scheme. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Two of the disembarkation employees of HAL flexed their powerful authority to keep me, a physically disabled war veteran, from using the customs line for disabled people because, even though I have my own personal custom wheelchair, I did not look "disabled enough" to them. I have made a complaint to HAL in their survey already. I have received no response. HAL, you really disappointed us this time. Every hour of every day you wasted our time with mailbox invitations to spend more money, but give us the poorest meal service on any cruise. We made our own fun on shore, and the food was terrific, but we had all our daily tips stopped (which took TWO attempts because the first guest services rep, Barbara, refused to give me a copy of the form I signed because she said it was "too financially delicate...). I paid generously for the entire cruise in full three whole months in advance of stepping on the ship, and you still demand $12.50 each per day tips for this poor service? Nope. You just have to pay your slaves from the pile of money I paid you for the cruise itself. I do not believe the myth that if I don't pay you $12.50 per day, your severely underpaid staff will starve. I will search for my next cruise among the many other cruise companies out there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We selected Holland America for the food and service (our second cruise ever). We're in our early thirties and we're joined by both sets of parents and an 18 year old sister with a total of 7 in our group. We had a really nice ... Read More
We selected Holland America for the food and service (our second cruise ever). We're in our early thirties and we're joined by both sets of parents and an 18 year old sister with a total of 7 in our group. We had a really nice Christmas on this cruise and would recommend it to others. Disembarkation: We flew in the night before to ensure no flight delays. We aimed to be at the cruise port at 1:00 but due to heavy traffic didn't make it until 1:45.(9 cruise ships leaving on the same day with an estimated 25,000 arriving and another 25,000 leaving). Unfortunately some flights were cancelled and some other passengers didn't make the cruise. Despite the official paperwork saying the boarding process was 1:00 to 5:00 we learned that we could have boarded as early as 11:30 that morning. Food was available at Lido upon boarding, the buffet restaurant as it always is (skip paying for an outside lunch).. Ship: Built in 2010, the ship still feels relatively fresh and classy. There's not a ton of activities (no water slides or climbing wall) but that's expected due to the small size of the ship as it only carries ~2,100 passengers verses 5,000-7,000 of larger ships. The Silk Den (bar) on the top deck (11) is the best place for some quiet and to enjoy the views. Best place to go if you get sea sick is the seats around the circular staircase in main atrium on the Deck 1. It's the "middle of the middle" and sways the least. The ship will provide sea sickness drugs if you need them. Dining: Manhattan Dining Room (only dining room): Overall, food was "Really Good". About 80% of the menu was different each night and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It's unlikely that they will cook anything that's the "best you've ever had" but it will likely come in one or two notches below that. We were very happy with the food in the Manhattan Dining Room. They don't tell you but you can order multiple appetizers and entrees. So we would each order 1-2 appetizers and occasionally an extra entree so we could share and try everything. If you like something that comes small like scallops (3 tiny bites) order extra in advance. Two months in advance, we reserved a table in the Manhattan Dining room for the 5:30 dining time and were glad we did. Others had to wait a while in line for 15-30 minutes whereas our party walked right in each night, a must if you have a larger group. We saw them accommodate a group as large as 9 at a single table. Pinnacle Grill: We doubted whether the additional $35 up charge would be worth it for the upgrade to this restaurant but it ended up being a great value. I would describe the food here as "Amazing" (a small step down from "Life Changing" at a five star restaurant). The steak was on par with some of the best steak houses we have in Dallas, Texas. The food was noticeably improved over the Manhattan dining room and my only regret was not booking another dinner here. Lido Buffet: Never had to wait and it got busy but didn't feel overly crowded. It's a good option if you need something quick as something is available through-out the day. The food was good but definitely a step down from the dining room. Dive In: The Burgers and Hot Dogs were pretty good here. It did however consistently take 20-30 minutes to receive your food which is too long for this kind of food. Slice: Pizza was okay. Not bad, not great either. Room Service: You can also order room service 24 hours a day. A great option if you need an early breakfast before an excursion. They mixed up our order a few times but they tried to fix it ASAP when they did. We did not eat at any of the other specialty restaurants. Entertainment and Activities: Overall the acts were barely entertaining, any less and I would have just walked out. The magician/ comedian just juggled. Magic in the circus show for example was simulated with a live actress pulling doves out of a hat but she pretended to pull doves out of a real hat which then just flew around on the LED TV screen (not impressed). Activities listed on the Holland America website like America's Test Kitchen and BLEND we're not available on this ship (we were very disappointed). Really wish Holland America would list what activities are available for each ship as we were really interested in these two particular activities. Digital Workshops were for those that had little to no experience with the computers and applications they cover. They start each work shop with "this is a mouse". Fitness: We were interested in fitness classes but they tried to charge you an extra $15 for the classes like a cycling class. I think it should be included. The mixology class allows you to get behind the bar and practice making drinks. For $15 you get three pre-determined cocktails and more if you correctly answer trivia questions for the excess drinks, A fun and fantastic value. The art shows offers overpriced art. Virtually all are reprints that they try and sell at $1K-$15K. They have lots of gimmicks to suck you in. If you study the art closely you can see the ink blotches, the same micro dots they use on printing magazines and newspapers. If you have bad eye sight you probably won't notice. If you see something you like, take a picture of it and find it online for a lot less. The ship's shops offer increasingly large discounts towards the end of the cruise. Service: Service was pretty good. Most staff had a positive and courteous attitude and were semi-personable (tough when there's new passengers each week). Staff would do their best to help you with questions and I don't think I was ever told "no". There were occasional mistakes and staff apologized and did there best to fix it ASAP. I felt like I was developed a friendship with our server and cabin steward, wish we could have spent more time with them. Ports and Shore excursions: Our smaller ship size helped mean that we did not overcrowd an island we were visiting. We did three excursions and had a good time with each. Overall we found the excursions to be a pretty good value and a fair deal considering the time and hassle it would take to do it on your own. Other Passengers - Holland America is known for the "newly wed and the nearly dead". We were on a "young" cruise with families joining for the holidays (can't imagine what a regular cruise is like). There was space to park walkers at the entrance to the dining room. My younger sister, 18, went to several events intended for ages 18-25 and five or less people would show. Unless you like music from the 40's-60's the night life is DEAD. Otherwise, you'll fit right in and enjoy the dancing and songs which all ends at 11:00. I need to find a cruise line with good food, service, and activities that's not a booze cruise with drunkards. Christmas Activities - They decorated the various Christmas decorations including a Christmas trees, toy train, gingerbread houses, garland, and Christmas lights. They had various hot cocoa nights, Christmas caroling, and visit from Santa on Christmas day. Christmas Eve and Day meals were EXCELLENT. Christmas Eve included a choice of a traditional Christmas Dinners from various countries (6-8 options). The choir of crew put on their own heart warming show on Christmas Eve. The staff went out of their way to really make it feel special. Would definitely do it again. The only downside was on December 26th we were supposed to visit Half Moon Cay (Holland America's Private island) and they cancelled it when we arrived in the morning (another day at sea). The captain said that the wind was 30-40 knots with waves cresting at 5 feet, and the ship couldn't get a hold of their staff on the island. The ship's weather channel showed 9 mph wind and when I went outside there was a light breeze with what appeared to be small waves. We were later told the island's staff couldn't come to the island due to the large waves. Based on my knowledge and experience, I suspect because it was the day after Christmas, the island staff was either too drunk or didn't want to come into work and called in sick. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I like Holland more now that I am older. We have cruised over 40 times and this is our 4th Holland cruise. The quieter, more refined atmosphere is a pleasure now. The decorations, fresh flowers, and classical music was a nice alternative ... Read More
I like Holland more now that I am older. We have cruised over 40 times and this is our 4th Holland cruise. The quieter, more refined atmosphere is a pleasure now. The decorations, fresh flowers, and classical music was a nice alternative to some other lines. I wish the Carnival Family of Cruise lines would give credit for overall cruises the way that Royal Caribbean and Celebrity does, We have cruised extensively on Carnival as well as Costa, Holland, and Princess but we get more perks on RC and Celebrity. MSC even matches you highest level from any other cruise line! These perks do make a difference to the passenger and costs the cruise lines very little. The staff was the most impressive asset. They have always been excellent. I do miss their countries on their name tags. My biggest disappointment was in the cost of excursions as well as the limited number of easy excursions for those who are older and physically challenged. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I should start by putting my basis for this rating into perspective. Last summer we cruised on the Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) in the Mediterranean. You will not find a more modern ship with more amenities than Allure; however, I ... Read More
I should start by putting my basis for this rating into perspective. Last summer we cruised on the Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) in the Mediterranean. You will not find a more modern ship with more amenities than Allure; however, I can honestly say I enjoyed the Nieuw Amsterdam more. If it takes rock climbing walls, Johnny Rockets, zip lines, vintage cars in the Mall of America-esque promenade to entertain you then this isn't the ship for you. The mid-sized ship experience allows you to feel like you're part of a family. There are numerous activities that likely fit into one of your interests. We thoroughly enjoyed, for instance, the three wine tasting events; however, when one goes on a cruise sometimes it's the downtime that we seek. For an Alaskan cruise, simply looking out the window is the entertainment you desired. Fit a cocktail hour (or three) into your day; find a seat by a window and enjoy a little piece of heaven. Dinner time was a highlight of each day. As the father of two elementary aged children I don't have the luxury of becoming a high end restaurant critic so I can honestly say the food was better than 95% of most meals I eat. It wasn't the food that made the experience memorable, it was the service. Our waitstaff felt like part of our family by the end of the week. They did not only provide excellent service but took a genuine interest in our kids in particular but all three generations of our family in attendance. Find a set dinner time that works for you and go to the same table every night. You will not regret it. We clearly live in a age of one-upping and how to out-flash the competition. While Royal Caribbean does an excellent job of staying on top in that regard, Holland America quietly pays attention to what people truly want in a cruise. When people think about taking a cruise they don't immediately hope it has an ice show or Johnny Rockets. They want tasteful elegance and comfort that focusses their attention outward which is really why they came on the cruise in the first place. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We really enjoyed a glass of wine when the weather permitted watching the incredible scenery go by. The room was quiet and central, docking twice while we were still in bed and had not realized we were in port until we opened the curtains. Cleaned twice a day by the hard working crew. The water pressure in the shower was great with hot water immediately. Elemis products were of good quality, beds and pillows comfortable. Plenty of hangers in the closet. We had two meals in Tamarind, excellent, all but the desserts that we didn't finish. The cocktails in the Silk Lounge are interesting and very good with the bonus of a lovely view and quiet escape before dining in Tamarind. Pinnacle dining room for lunch at $10 a good value, try the Crab Cakes and the Sable Fish sandwich. Pinnacle for dinner is good but we think Tamarind a more interesting menu for the price if you are just choosing one. Canaletto was good too, however, the atmosphere isn't the same as the other two specialty restaurants but at only an additional $10 well worth it. We were quite surprised that none of the specialty restaurants were near to capacity on the four occasions we dined in them. Did happy hour from 4-5 in the Crow's nest a couple of days and the best time to have a drink as only $1 more for a second cocktail or beverage. Enjoyed the coffee bar in the Explorers lounge too as hubby a bit of a coffee snob. We carried on 6 bottles of wine. Two corkage free as they were consumed in our stateroom. The other 4 bottles incurred a corkage fee of $18 each. We saw this as an opportunity to enjoy quality wine we had been cellaring for many years with a chef prepared meal. It was easily done as the four bottles were stickered and corkage charged to our room as we embarked in Vancouver. We had a cloth wine bag that we transported the wine in to and from restaurants. We had open dining in the MDR. We made reservations usually the day before for 8:00. We never waited for more than 5-10 minutes before getting a table. Service and food there was good too. The ship is tasteful with plenty of art to discover. The ship was sold out but the only time it felt crowded was in the Lido, the rest of the time it was hard to believe it was at full capacity. If you are sailing out of Vancouver on the Nieuw Amsterdam and are interested in bringing on some of your own wine there is a BC Government Liquor store within four blocks of the ship. One of us shopped as the other sat with the luggage at the Pan Pacific Hotel. We arrived at 12:30 to embark in Vancouver and were aboard by 1:30. We understand that this was not everyone's experience so we would suggest allowing yourself ample time. Disembarkation for us was 15 minutes, long lines but it went smoothly for us. We had 3.5 days of rain and 3.5 of better and some excellent weather. The scenery on sunny days blew us away, spectacular. Absolutely recommend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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
We had a very enjoyable 7day cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam- Eastern Caribbean.  There were very few problems but most of them were resolved.  We found all of the cruise ship staff to be extremely friendly and caring trying to make sure ... Read More
We had a very enjoyable 7day cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam- Eastern Caribbean.  There were very few problems but most of them were resolved.  We found all of the cruise ship staff to be extremely friendly and caring trying to make sure everything was to our satisfaction. We were very pleased with the embarkation to the ship.  There was a slight delay getting aboard because they did not have adequate staff to man all the people who were in wheelchairs.  I happened to be one of them on this cruise since I just recently had an accident and broke a bone in my back.  The transporter did an excellent job making sure my ride was smooth.  He took us directly to our stateroom which was a big help to me.  Our  cabin was a fully obstructed outside view.  We were very happy to see there were safety bars in the tub as well as a rubber mat.   The toilet was very difficult to flush.  There was a safe and a minibar in the cabin.  Our cabin steward made sure we had an egg-crate mattress and 2 bath robes as well as extra ice that I was going to need for my back. The refrigerator did not have a freezer.  The TV had a remote control with a sleep timer which I always appreciate having.  We did have a problem with the TV sound and after notifying our steward several people came to fix it including the Cruise Director but it eventually had to be replaced. We had breakfast delivered to our cabin daily.  The delivery person was very pleasant and timely.  Lots of food choices, however, eggs, bacon, toast, muffins and potatoes were always cold.  The coffee was always hot and delicious.  The salt shakers were always clogged.  They need to add rice to them so that they will pour readily. The blueberry muffins were the best I have ever tasted. Finding our way around the ship was easy since the ship had a similar layout as the Eurodam which we traveled on last year.  We were surprised that they still have not taken my suggestion that on the midship elevator bank where there are 4 glass elevators and 2  or 3 conventional elevators be linked to one button activation rather than  having to run to all the different banks to press for service.  It is very difficult for a handicapped person to run in all different directions to catch an elevator. I also have a problem with claustrophobia and found myself along with 8 other cruisers in elevator #2 Aft by the Manhattan Dining Room trapped.  The doors would not open no matter what button I pushed.  I was on the right side by the buttons and did not see a phone or a red button to press in an emergency.  I started pounding on the door an fortunately someone on the outside heard me and hollered to me what to do.  On the left side of the elevator their were another set of controls and low down below the buttons was a help button (silver in color as the other buttons) and a phone inside a silver case.  Once we pressed that button the doors opened and we all escaped thanking this passenger who said he also was trapped in the same elevator that morning.  I reported the problem to the attendant in the front of the dining room. I was the Cruise Critic Leader for our Roll Call and had arranged the Meet and Greet Party in the Crow's Nest on the first sea day.  We had an excellent turn out, by both senior staffers and our roll call members.  Roughly 40 people attended the party.  We had a gift exchange which everyone enjoyed.  We all introduced ourselves and some told funny cruise stories as we went around the room.  Our Cruise Director Eric was there as well.  He is so funny.  He is also a stand-up comedian and does a great job at both. Entertainment aboard the ship was good.  A quartet called Cantaré  was our favorite.  The lighting and the sets for this group were fantastic!  Other favorites were the juggler (Mike Price), the comedian (Julie Barr) and  the Steel Drum Band called Island Magic.  We were a little dissatisfied with the piano bar (Gregg)  who challenged his audience in a 50's and 60's trivia game where you had to name every song he played and the artist.  My husband and I participated and found we were the winners of this challenge and received nothing as our prize.  The next day Mark, one of our favorite cruise staff crew did another music trivia by the pool and the winners, all 6, were rewarded with whatever cocktail they wanted delivered to them by Mark.  We told Mark about Gregg's contest the night before and Mark said he would talk to Gregg.  We stopped by the piano bar that night and Gregg still gave out no prize to the winners.  I do not understand why Holland America has cut back on their prizes at Trivia.   All they give out is a pin that has either a smoke stack or a picture of the ship.  I have never seen anyone wear one.  They should give out prizes that people will use and publicize the Holland American Ships. These items could be luggage tags, passport holders, drink mugs, pens and tee shirts. Food was always good and the service excellent.  Presentation was perfect.  However, we were disappointed when as the leader of our Cruise Critic Group I had asked for them to arrange a dinner for my husband and myself to dine with the cruise director.  I was told this would happen by the onboard event services coordinator, Tia Thomas.  When we did not hear from the cruise director we asked at the front desk if they could give the cruise director, Eric,a  message about when we would be dining together.  We were free any night or time.  The next day I was approached by Eric and he told me dinner would not be possible because this was only a 7 day cruise and his schedule did not permit this.  We were very disappointed.  Later we spoke to a friend we met onboard and were told that they had dinner with one of the officers. This was not planned by my friends the officer just walked up to their table at random and asked if he could join their table.  He said all officers were required to dine at least once a week with a table of cruisers.  How discouraging.  They got what I had asked for and had a great time. We enjoyed all the ports of call which included Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. Debarkation went smoothly.  We had breakfast in our cabin.  Were escorted off in a wheelchair in a timely manner, however, when we reached the long line to go through customs the transporter said I had to get out of the chair so he could return to the ship.  The porter who handled  our luggage said "where did he go with your wheel chair"?  I told the porter what the transporter said and the porter said that was wrong and never give up the wheelchair till you get through customs.  No need for you to have to stand.  I guess I will take his advise on our next cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date March 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 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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