3 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

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
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
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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