35 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Alaska

Chose this 12 day cruise/land journey for a 35th wedding anniversary for my wife and I. Never been on a cruise or extended vacation like this before. Cruise was enjoyable but did not know what to really expect since this was our first ... Read More
Chose this 12 day cruise/land journey for a 35th wedding anniversary for my wife and I. Never been on a cruise or extended vacation like this before. Cruise was enjoyable but did not know what to really expect since this was our first cruise. We had a window in our room to watch the ocean. A balcony would have been better but for a first time on a cruise and for only 3 days it was nice. The land journey portion of the trip was fun and exciting. We visited Skagway, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Fairbanks, Denali Park, and Anchorage. Most of the motor coaches were comfortable with nice leg room and good visibility except for the last one we rode on. Weather was relatively good and we did get to see Denali with no clouds or weather to obstruct it. The last leg of our journey was to be an 8 hour ride in the glass domed train from Denali to Anchorage. Due to wildfires the train was shut down and we were loaded on motor coaches for a 12 hour ride back to Fairbanks and around another highway to Anchorage. This particular motor coach was not real comfortable. The seats were stacked closer together which meant less leg room and the climate controls did not work very well. The windows continually fogged up and you could not see outside. We were herded through a little roadhouse for lunch, which the food was good but hardly room to sit down and eat. None the less, the train trip from Denali to Anchorage was one of the major reasons we booked this particular trip and to not be able to experience it was extremely disappointing. I realize that wildfires are beyond their control but that bus ride was 12 hours of hell. It put a bad taste in our mouth for what was to have been a pretty good trip. Holland America got my money so I guess that was the most important thing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship ... Read More
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship coughing, sneezing, congested and worn out. Long land transports were ideal pathogen breeding grounds, and HAL was invisible with any contagion prevention. RCL does a much better job in this regard. Also, stayed in a real dive along the way. If you're lucky enough to be healthy at ship embarkation, you will see some gorgeous scenery, and, hopefully, some wildlife. But, wildlife viewing was sporadic at best. Other aspects of the cruise were about what you'd expect: very attentive service by stewards/waiters, good food (but specialty restaurants had the really good food), good entertainment, some good excursions/some to be avoided. If you can afford it, get a room with a veranda. The extra space and additional viewing area was great for relaxing and taking in the scenery. We had to have the steward fix a squeaky door leading out to the veranda, but he was very accomodating and got it done right away (along with fixing a slow drain in the bathtub). We usually dined with the other people in our 16-person group. The wait staff quickly became familiar with our group. We celebrated a couple of birthdays during the trip, and the staff entertained us with some birthday cakes and renditions of Happy Birthday. Food was good but did not blow us away. The ship was an enjoyable size--not so large that it took a long time to get from one end to the other and not too small as to be lacking in venues. Hot tubs were actually hot and not too crowded. Didn't get a chance to use any of the several pools but those that did looked like they were enjoying it. Overall, we were a little underwhelmed by the land portion of this tour. Didn't see much wildlife, smoke was everywhere due to the forest fires, and we're still trying to get better two weeks later. So, avoid that leg of the tour, stick to the cruise and you'll enjoy it more. Don't bank on Alaska being the "trip of a lifetime". It certainly isn't--especially the way HAL operates. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship ... Read More
This was my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship where one could settle in with a good book. The only time it felt crowded was peak times in the buffet. I liked having breakfast and lunch in the dining room. They served steak and lobster on the 2nd gala night and it was very good. Other Dining Room menu items for dinner were hit and miss. The buffet was typical. I noticed they didn't have trays and the staff dished up most of the food for you, which I didn't really like but apparently it reduces the incidence of illness. Unlike some other cruise lines I've been on, there didn't seem to be any theme nights in the buffet. We dined in Canaletto, the Italian specialty restaurant, one night and the food and service were first rate. I liked the films and talks showcasing Alaska. There were none of those dreadful "Vegas type" shows. There was an illusionist one night and a comedian. There was a dance group but it didn't appeal to me and I left. I loved the Lincoln Centre Stage featuring a piano quintette from Hungary and also the B.B. King Blues club. We had lots of fun at Trivia and Music Trivia. The staff were helpful, friendly and service oriented although I found sometimes there was quite a wait to get a drink. Speaking of drinks, I discovered the Ginger Mule and will ask for that next time. I didn't get off the ship in Juneau but took the White Pass and Yukon trip in Skagway and the Wilderness Exploration and Crab Feast in Ketchikan. Both through the ship and both very expensive. Converted to Canadian funds the cost was around $500.00. Our party included a 12 year old and a 16 year old. The younger one had a blast but we worried there didn't seem to be much for the teen. However, she said at the end that she would love to do another cruise. I had wheelchair assistance embarking and disembarking as I am on supplemental oxygen and the batteries don't last too long. I really appreciated this service. Disembarking was really well organized, probably the best I've ever experienced. All in all, a lovely week with family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no mean feat. Add to the fact there’s another cruise ship, different line, loading for the same departure time. These folks do a marvelous job, the Port of Vancouver is a great place to depart from. I am totally amazed by the comments of folks doing reviews for Cruise Critic. Fortunately you can read all the comments, and sometimes wonder “did these folks travel on the same ship?” How can one person be so positive and another negative. Well that’s the way it is, we are all different and we all see things through different eyes. But with the Cruise Critics’ review, you can at least sort out the wheat from the chaff. every review was negative, then the cruise line has a problem - a mixture gives each line a chance to iron out the negatives. Our fifth cruise, this time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, went without a hitch. Embarkation was as smooth as the previous four trips. Our cabin was ready and we met our cabin stewards. Now, these folks meet several people each trip, how do they remember our names? Holland America trains these stewards to do their job, and part of that is getting to know your clients (and that’s what we are). Our Veranda stateroom was everything we’d expected. There is plenty of room for two and the outside deck is an added benefit. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, wandering around you get to appreciate the effort in making this ship. If your only efforts take you from your stateroom to the Lido or Main Dining Room, you are wasting your travel time. In many reviews I have read that critics have said the trip is boring, there’s nothing to do. HAL regularly prints daily schedules of activities and events. Should you chose to ignore those, then yes, you will have a boring do nothing cruise. Food, does that interest anyone - the Nieuw Amsterdam has every type of venue available, and I had to say they are all top notch. From the Dive In and Pizza place to the Main Dining Room and the pay extra dining. You can have whatever you may wish, you will not be disappointed. On this trip at each stop, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan there were three other cruise ships, all arriving and departing at similar times. That’s somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 cruisers joining the locals. And yet it doesn’t seem excessive. There was a little sea movement between Ketchikan and the northern Vancouver Island, this was to be expected, but had very little effect on us. Weather forecasting sometimes is misleading. If we’d planned our trips on two-week forecasts, we’d never travel. On the week 18-25 May 2019, the weather gods blessed us. Arriving back in Vancouver, our disembarkation was as smooth and our embarkation Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Having cruised three times prior to this trip, we were aware of what to expect. Holland America had no surprises, other that the fact they upgraded us two days before departure. The Alaska cruise is so good because it is so close for ... Read More
Having cruised three times prior to this trip, we were aware of what to expect. Holland America had no surprises, other that the fact they upgraded us two days before departure. The Alaska cruise is so good because it is so close for us. A four-five our drive to Vancouver and leaving our car in the Cruise Ship parking, the price is very reasonable, if you pre-book. Both embarkation and disembarkation we very smooth, as in the past, these folks know how to handle large crowds. Prior to booking I had investigated the trip, with my travel agent's assistance the trip planning was a snap. Our three previous cruises where with the HAL Volendam, which we were thrilled with. We actually found that the food provided on the Nieuw Amsterdam was good, we felt it was a step below that offered on the Volendam. In particular the Pinnacle has never changed its menu over the past three years, and the quality was below that of the Volendam. The night shows in the theatre were as expected, the magician and comedian were OK. The crew singers and dancers were outstanding - they had a very professional show. Crew members throughout the ship were ready to give a greeting and smile if you make eye contact. I understand this is a problem with some people - to them I say "get a life!" The dining room servers were above standard and exceeded our expectations. From UCi to Adi to Edgar, thanks you for making our travels a pure joy, even though we didn't find the food level to be as good as the Volendam. That is not to say the food was not good, just a bit lower in our estimation for quality. Would I take this cruise again - in a heartbeat - we love the program. Holland America has made us cruisers. We have people who have travelled throughout the world, and always by air travel. As two seniors, we've slowed down and cruising allows us to see those places we've not seen before, or in case of Alaska cruises, something we can do time and again. Thanks HAL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
After three cruises on the HAL Volendam we decided to change ships and booked our 4th Alaska cruise on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam. We had booked an Oceanview cabin but two days before our sailing, we were informed by email from HAL that we ... Read More
After three cruises on the HAL Volendam we decided to change ships and booked our 4th Alaska cruise on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam. We had booked an Oceanview cabin but two days before our sailing, we were informed by email from HAL that we had a change in cabin. When I went to the Check-in page I noticed that our cabin had been changed from the Main Deck to the 8th and our cabin changed to a Balcony Cabin. When I contacted our tour agent she told us we’d been granted a no cost to us upgrade, and that we’d retain all of our benefits. This cruise included a drink package, which allowed us up to fifteen drinks per day with a limit of $9.00 a drink. As this was a free package even if we did not use the full number of drinks per day, it was a wonderful addition because all beverages, were included. Even a bottle of water would constitute one drink. In addition a dinner for two was included in the package in the Pinnacle Grill Embarkation was an easy exercise, after dropping off our luggage we parked in the Cruise Ship parking area. Booking the parking ahead of arrival is a money saver. Keeping track of the parking stall is a very important fact of life. There is a period of line-ups but these folks have been doing this for some time, and the whole operation moves very quickly. We noticed that the Nieuw Amsterdam was larger than the Volendam, our favourite watering hole was the Ocean Bar, which on the Volendam was more intimate. However that did not detract from the Ocean Bar, it was larger but had the same feel and we thoroughly enjoyed our visits. We found the bar staff in all the bars very attentive and pleasant. Throughout the ship we found the crew to be very friendly, they were quick with a greeting and smile. Our cabin stewards, Dang & Ang always greeted us by our names which we found amazing knowing how many different people they must serve in each week. We also found our MDR Waiters (Uci and Adi) and Wine Steward (Edgar) made our meal times memorable. If we had a disappointment it was that we found the meals in the MDR not of the quality that we had come to expect from our cruises in the Volendam. The food was good, but just not quite up to the level of the Volendam. The same was true of our visit to the Pinnacle Grill. It has not changed its menu in three years, and again not to the standard we were used to from the Volendam. While we didn’t partake of the buffet much, we noticed a better selection of food than we remember from the Volendam. The dining area was larger and there did not seem to be the crowding we had observed previously. We did use the Dive in which again provided excellent hamburgers and hot dogs. New to us was the Pizza Bar, it was truly a great addition to the Lido Deck eating establishments. Located on the Seaview deck we had a wonderful lunch. Both the Dive in and Pizza Bar give you a buzzer that alerts you when you order is ready. We will not discuss the shore excursions, we came for the cruise and that’s what we budgeted for. In that consideration our cruise was a success, would we do it again on a HAL cruise ship, in a heartbeat. Thank you Holland American for again exceeding out expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I chose this sailing for our family because I was looking for a roundtrip sailing from Vancouver, through the Inside Passage. We traveled as a family of three: 1 adult with 2 kids ages 12 and 14. I chose Holland America's ... Read More
I chose this sailing for our family because I was looking for a roundtrip sailing from Vancouver, through the Inside Passage. We traveled as a family of three: 1 adult with 2 kids ages 12 and 14. I chose Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam mostly for the itinerary, but also because it was one of the only round-trip options from Vancouver. Embarkation was a breeze! We stayed in the Pan Pacific Hotel, so we rolled our luggage (we only travel with carry-on luggage) downstairs at around 10:15. We went through the embarkation process and sat for about 5-10 minutes before being called to board the ship. We were on the ship before 11:15, and at around 11:30am the announcement was made that our staterooms were ready. Our stateroom was clean, and only toward the end of the week did I notice a mildew smell from the bathroom. Traveling with two kids, if that's the worst thing that happens in the bathroom I am OK with it! Our Room Stewards were very friendly, and left us towel animals nightly. We left them candy a couple of times, and they seemed to love that. We only attended one show, which was the BIllboard show. It was great, and I wished I had seen more shows, if that's what they are like. We dined in the Main Dining Room each night, and we had excellent service. One of my children has food allergies, so while I had made note in our reservation we also spoke to the servers on our first night. They gave us a menu for the next night's dinner every night so we could order safe food. We were allowed to make substitutions if we wanted something different with our meal. Our wine steward recommended some fun non-alcoholic drinks for the kids and they really enjoyed them. The kids went to the Tween and Teen club every day and enjoyed it very much! They both agree that the clubs were much better than the ones on our previous cruises (with another cruise line that is famous for catering to kids). We used the Holland America online chat service, which is free of charge. This service also had an itinerary feature that could be customized by adding or removing events, which was nice. I do wish the service had push notifications so I didn't have to check it to see if one of the kids was texting me. It also would have been nice to have notifications for events in the itinerary, and I wish they had included the Kids Club hours and events in the service as well. The excursions we booked were mostly great. We went whale watching in Juneau and saw several whales and seals, despite horrible rain and cold wind. We did the Yukon bus and train excursion in Skagway which would have been better if there hadn't been a clearly "bad" side for both the train and bus, and no option to switch seats which meant you had to stand over strangers to take photos. I wish there were stadium seating, or perhaps the out and back trip would have been better so the people on the "bad" side would have had the "good" side on the way back. The highlight of the trip for the kids was the Bering Sea Fisherman (Deadliest Catch) excursion in Ketchikan. They LOVED everything about this! I don't want to spoil it by telling the stories, but they loved holding the crabs and prawns, watching the fishermen work the machinery, and hearing the stories. We also loved watching them feed the eagles, who swooped down and picked up the fish. So cool! We also stopped in Glacier Bay, which was breathtaking. The scenery was surreal. Photos do not do justice to this amazing place! Overall this was a great experience and we can't wait to go back again some day! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
my husband has been wanting to sail to Alaska for years and we have been on at least 15 cruises so I finally gave in and I'm glad I did. Alaska was amazing however I will never sail Holland American again. the service was horrible. ... Read More
my husband has been wanting to sail to Alaska for years and we have been on at least 15 cruises so I finally gave in and I'm glad I did. Alaska was amazing however I will never sail Holland American again. the service was horrible. the staff was so unhappy and they showed it, I did have e good dining room server and one server in the casino that was nice but honestly that was it. I was shocked because service makes or breaks your experience. you could tell they did not want to be there. the food was mediocre to say the least, buffet was the same things over and over, dining room options and quality below par. to top it off they try to save on entertainment and had a show one evening called the Filipino cast show, I felt so sorry for them it was a train wreck. we will return to Alaska on a cruise but not on Holland America nor will I recommend it, if this was someone's first cruise I bet they would never go on another. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
A Celebrity Cruiser tries Holland America to Alaska (warning this is long) We just returned from a seven day Alaskan Cruise (Vancouver return) on Holland American’s Nieuw Amsterdam. We were a group of 10 ranging in age from 50 to ... Read More
A Celebrity Cruiser tries Holland America to Alaska (warning this is long) We just returned from a seven day Alaskan Cruise (Vancouver return) on Holland American’s Nieuw Amsterdam. We were a group of 10 ranging in age from 50 to 90. We chose Holland America because they had the itinerary we liked the best with generous port times, particularly in Skagway, where we wanted to take the complete train trip to the Yukon. Pre-Cruise We flew Air Canada through Toronto to Vancouver. The Vancouver Airport is very nice and easy to navigate. We booked ground transportation through Perimeter Transportation who provided a Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van for our first two transports and a mini-bus for the final one. They were excellent to deal with and the rates were very reasonable and the drivers safe and friendly. We stayed two nights at the Sunset Inn and Suites. It is located is a nice part of downtown with lots of shops and restaurants and short walk to Granville Island. The rooms were large and well equipped with full kitchens. A complimentary continental breakfast was provided which we could enjoy in our rooms. Cruise Day 1 - Port of Vancouver Our Perimeter van picked us up on schedule and delivered us to Canada Place at the Port of Vancouver where a porter took our checked bags to the ship. The check in process was fast and friendly. US customs was also quick and straight forward. We arrived at the pier around 11 and were on board by 11:35. We enjoyed lunch in the Lido Buffet and were in our staterooms before 1pm. All of our bags were delivered by 1:30pm. This one of the best embarkation experiences I have ever had. Canada Place is tourist draw so there were lots of people waving to us as we departed at 4:30pm. It reminded me of the departing scenes from Love Boat without the streamers. The Princess Ship that departed after us had a huge waving had from one of the crew spots. It was a really fun departure. Main Dining Room We had a table for 10 in the main dining room. Our evening waiters were excellent and the food was good, although the steaks were only so so. On formal nights the menu was more limited, for some reason. The dining room was attractive but nothing like the beautiful Celebrity dining rooms with two story windows looking out the back. The Lido Buffet The Lido Buffet was fine when there were very few of us on board. All other days it was hard to find a seat and most items had to be served by staff. This meant long lineups. We were used to RCI and Celebrity having staff insisting people use Purell when entering the dining areas. While Purell was available, most people ignored it. If they had staff at the entrances with Purell pumps, they could have let guests serve themselves and sped up the whole process. The older members of our group quickly hated the buffet and chose the main dining room for breakfast and lunch whenever possible. The Celebrity and RCI buffets are better run and, I think, have better selections. The Pinnacle Grill Our travel agent surprised us with a free dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. The food was very good with huge portions. I’m not sure I would pay for it, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Day 2 - Cruising the Inside Passage We had a beautiful day at sea cruising the Inside Passage. Some of our group spotted whales and sea otters. We enjoyed afternoon tea in the main dining room and a lovely concert on the Lincoln Centre stage by a Quintet of violins, Cello and piano. The evening show was ear piercingly loud and most of us found it quite uncomfortable. The content was typical song and dance stuff with a weak story behind it. Not my cup of tea, but many seemed to enjoy it. Day 3 - Juneau Alaska Two of us did a tour for photographers that included whale watching and a small 1.5km hike to the local glacier. We saw a pod of Orca whales (only the 3rd siting this season) and some humpback whales. There were a lot of boats out chasing the whales. I would imagine it would be even more crowded with more ships in port. We had three of the maximum six. We’ve done lots of whale watching and it’s always a thrill, even though there are better places to see both of these kinds of whales. Our group was small, maybe 16 and our guide and professional photographer was excellent. Our tour then did a great short hike into see the Mendenhall Glacier. It was beautiful with some waterfalls enroute and great views of the glacier. The rest of our cruise group did a tour which took them to salmon hatchery, gardens and the glacier. They quite enjoyed it. Day 4 - Skagway, Alaska The whole reason I chose this cruise was so that we could do the full White Pass and Yukon Railway tour to Carcross, Yukon. Many cruise itineraries only offer a truncated tour of the line. It was the highlight of the cruise for all of us. The landscapes are stunning and the rail line is an impressive feat of engineering. We stopped for about an hour in Bennett, BC to tour this ghost town that is now a national park. Lunch was served after Bennett as the train travelled along the shore of Lake Bennett to Carcross in the Yukon. Bennett has an interesting Museum in the 1903 train station. We really got a good sense of what the Klondike gold rush prospectors went through before the railway was built. We had about 45 minutes in Carcross to buy some souvenirs before a bus took us back to Skagway. This tour leaves Skagway about 7:30am arriving in Carcross around 12:15pm and returning by bus to Skagway by about 3pm. We had lots of room in our rail car and we were even able to go out onto the platforms at the ends of the cars to take pictures. If you go, get seats on the left if you are going from Skagway or on the right if you are going from Carcross. The vast majority of cruisers choose a shorter rail excursion. I would do the full tour again in a heartbeat. We all agreed that we made the right choice choosing Holland America, if only to be able to do this tour. Day 5 - Glacier Bay This was the second highlight of the trip. Our starboard balconies were perfect for seeing the glaciers. It was chilly on the balcony and we were glad we had brought warm clothes including toques and gloves. We stayed outside for a few hours before going in to warm up. The onboard commentary was awful, but the park ranger presentation in the afternoon was excellent as was the cultural presentation that followed. Day 6 - Ketchican, Alaska This was a short port of call. We took the Misty Fjords and Wilderness Explorer Boat Trip. We saw eagles and humpback whales enroute the fjords. The fjords were beautiful with huge cliffs and some small waterfalls. The onboard commentary was very good and we were served some chowder or chilli. Other food could be purchased. Day 7 - Inside Passage, Vancouver Island. This was even better than day 2 as we missed much of the Vancouver Island inside passage overnight coming North. It was beautiful weather and beautiful vistas all day. Day 8 - Disembarkation We had an 11am flight out of the Vancouver Airport so we chose the option to take our own bags and depart as early as possible. Unlike US ports, where only US citizens can chose this option, there were no restrictions on who could disembark this way. We were off the ship and through Canada customs in minutes and were about 50 minutes early for our scheduled pick up with Perimeter Transportation. Thankfully they also arrived early and picked us up a few minutes after the dispatcher called them up. We were all really impressed with how efficiently the Port of Vancouver at Canada Place was run. Perimeter got us to the airport in good time and offered some interesting commentary enroute. The Good - On board announcements were kept to a minimum with one morning announcement from the cruise director and the traditional afternoon announcement from the captain with navigational and weather info. Celebrity could learn from Holland America in this area as Celebrity has moved to having too many announcements and having the captain trying to sell their crap. It’s one area where Holland America is way classier. - Having connecting balconies was wonderful. - The Lincoln Centre Stage Entertainment was excellent. - America’s Test Kitchen was very good. - Afternoon tea on sea days was really nice. - I was expecting an older crowd as I always thought of Holland America as the “geezer line.” There was actually a good cross section of people of all ages, including a fair number of children. The Bad - The quality of service (outside of stateroom attendants and evening waiters) was not up to what we enjoy on Celebrity - The food selection and quality is better on Celebrity. On formal nights there is quite limited menu and main dining room lunches often had very few options. Breakfast service in the main dining room was iffy...we waited 35 minutes one morning, and four requests just to get some milk for cereal and tea. - The Lido Buffet was awful. Not enough space to sit down and long lineups. - Only two computer terminals on the whole ship and the one printer ran out of toner on the final day when people were wanting to print airline boarding passes. - HAL needs to step up their game on hygiene for the guests. RCI, Celebrity and Disney all insist on people cleaning their hands when entering dining areas, or returning to ship. - The elevators at midship had three different button to press and one elevator was broken the whole trip. A minor detail, but it meant long wait times for elevators at busy times as people pressed three buttons for 5 elevators and they were not synced. - The ship had some elegant parts, but for the most part the design wasn’t that appealing. RCI’s Radiance Class is my favourite and I love the Centrum on RCI’s ships. The Verdict We all agreed that we made the right choice to go Holland America as they “own the Alaska cruise business.” They have they best port times which they share with other Carnival brands and the others get what is left over. They literally own the Whitepass and Yukon Railroad. Our next two cruises are booked with Celebrity and we will likely chose them going forward as Celebrity simply has better service, better food and better ships. If I were Holland America, I’d send some decision makers on some Celebrity cruises to see how it’s done. I think Holland America could be quite competitive if they worked on some of these things. In the meantime, I’ll likely not cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise as a family cruise with 6 of us going. Three of the six were siblings. Three were also first time cruisers. One couple had been on this particular ship previously and recommended it to the others. We looked for a ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a family cruise with 6 of us going. Three of the six were siblings. Three were also first time cruisers. One couple had been on this particular ship previously and recommended it to the others. We looked for a cruise in the summer as one cruiser will be going off to college in the fall. A 7 day Alaskan cruise fit the bill, in both timing and destination. We were not disappointed in our choice. Embarkation was smooth, as was disembarkation. We arrived by taxi and were dropped off underground, in a parking and loading area. When we disembarked we took a ship shuttle to the airport, getting us there at around 10:00am. The ship was in great shape. This is the second time we were on her since dry dock last year and she is all spruced up. Although it is one of HAL’s larger ships, it never seemed crowded or busy. Our cabin, a veranda for 3, was in great condition. The sofa bed seemed new. It was clean and spacious enough for 3 older adults. Our other family members were in a lovely suite and enjoyed their cabin, with the larger balcony, as well. We dined in the main dining room, early seating, most nights and enjoyed every meal. Some nights were quicker than others, due to later departures and having less patrons in the dining room, but we never had long waits. One night I had the Taste of Alaskan dinner special, for a 25.00 surcharge, and it was worth every cent. Lobster bisque, crab cakes (3) and King crab legs (8). Yum! We also picked up food in the Lido, the Dive In and the New York Pizza, all of which was tasty. We travelled with a vegetarian and she was given a menu in the dining room where she could preorder for the following evening. It worked very well for her. And if the daily menu had a meal she preferred, they had no problem changing her order. Our dining room steward was very accommodating. We also had dinner our final evening at the Tamarind, one of the reasons we love the 3 larger ships. Dinner was fantastic, as always. The service is always great and the food was delicious. Everyone had something different and we all shared with each other, commentimg on what we would order the next time. We each ordered a dessert and an extra 2 plates of mini doughnuts so we could taste everything. We booked Lido cabanas, side by side, and opened the curtain between them so we had a great place to meet up and enjoy the views while sailing the inside passage. We had 4 floor to ceiling windows and plenty of space. On sea and viewing days we would get lunch from the Lido and eat in the Cabana. We would also start the day there with coffee and juice before heading to the dining room for breakfast. We enjoyed 3 shows in the Main Stage, One World, BBC Planet and the illusionist. All 3 shows were entertaining and very well done. We also enjoyed the Billboard Onboard (having met both ladies as were were embarking we found out it was their first cruise contract). They sounded like thawed had played together for years. Although we usually stop in to listen to the B.B. Kings, we seemed too busy to fit them in this time. We could here them as we passed by and they sounded as good as any other time we have enjoyed them. There was so much to see and do on our cruise that we did not get to trivia or bingo but did manage to lose a few bucks in the casino. The service was, as always, perfect. The staff were pleasant and helpful, with only one exception. We went fir drinks in the Tamarind bar before our dinner the final evening and the server there seemed like he wanted to be anywhere but there serving passengers. We had that once before, in the Pinnacle dining room on another cruise, and found out it was his last day in board. I wondered if it was the same case this time as well. It just seemed liked he had already checked out. (That was the ONLY negative on our whole cruise so we certainly did not dwell on it.) Ports: Tracy Arm and Juneau - two of us did the Tracy Arm excursion and 3 did the Whale Watching excursion, both through HAL. Both were as promised and well worth the money. Everyone enjoyed their excursions. I did the Tracy Arm excursion. The catamaran picked us up alongside the ship and it was a smooth transfer. We then went up the fjord and saw the glaciers, as well as whales, seals, sea lions and eagles. The ride back to the ship was smooth and the guides gave us great commentary throughout. Skagway - all 6 of us took the White Pass rail excursion, starting with a coach trip north through British Columbia to the Yukon, (stopping at Canadian immigration) then taking the train south through the White Pass back to Skagway. This was the highlight of the cruise. We had a great guide/driver on the bus. He was very knowledgeable and gave us great info on the drive up. We stopped in Carcross, Yukon, for lunch, which was delicious, before heading to the train for our trip south. The commentary on the train was also well done. The scenery was breathtaking, both up on the highway and down on the train. Once we departed the train (after going through US immigration) the bus picked us up again to deposit us back at the ship, with a stop in town to drop off anyone wishing to walk around Skagway. Glacier Bay Scenic cruising - wow, you have to see it for yourself. It was a great day spent in the cabana and our balcony. The views were breathtaking. Ketchikan- no one had ship tours today. It was a walk off, stroll through the town day for all. This is where we did most of our shopping and souvenir buying. It was lovely. We would do this cruise again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were on the June 30, 2018 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam from Vancouver to the inside passage (including Glacier Bay). This was our third time on Holland America and our second Alaska cruise (the other in 2000 on Princess). Bottomline, ... Read More
We were on the June 30, 2018 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam from Vancouver to the inside passage (including Glacier Bay). This was our third time on Holland America and our second Alaska cruise (the other in 2000 on Princess). Bottomline, I wouldn't hesitate booking this ship/itinerary based on our experience. For the most part, it was all very good. We did our own air and stayed at the Auberge Vancouver both pre and post stay. I would recommend this hotel for this purpose. With four-wheel luggage, it was easy to walk from the hotel to the cruise check in - even in a slight misty rain. The hotel is in a tall mixed-use building that includes condos, retail, and the hotel. There is no room service, and the free breakfast offered is limited--but for cost/convenience it was the right choice for us. (The others being the far pricier Fairmont or Pan Pacific.) Front desk folks were very helpful. Embarkation was very confusing to get our luggage dropped off. Granted we tried to board early and the offloading was still going on. Based on what pier workers told us there isn't a set place for each ship/sailing to drop off luggage - which sounds crazy given this ship makes the same trip every week. But once we found the location to drop off the luggage the rest was pretty well managed by HA. Just bring your patience with you. We were onboard by 11:15a or so, and our cabin was ready before noon. Lunch in the main dining room was the way to go, as the Lido was a zoo. We rented two Lido Cabanas for this trip (two couples), which was a great choice. It gave us a place to hang out and our steward was excellent. Granted we tipped him well at the start and throughout the cruise, but he waited on us like kings. For Alaska, I would do this again in a heartbeat. (Cost $199 per cabana for the week.) I didn't see anyone in the Retreat Cabanas all week. Food in the main dining room was very good. We ate at the Tamarid the first night (catch the first night 'special' when you get onboard at 25% discount.) The Pinnacle was good, but not as good as our memory of the meal on the Eurodam a few years ago. The Pizza, burgers, and hot dogs all got good reviews from our group. I think the best options for Lido is to get a customized food (ommlete, salad, etc.) made to order. Otherwise, the food we had was just fair. Be sure to at least order coffee via room service, as it is so nice to sit outside sipping your coffee in the morning. (Room Service breakfast was very good too.) Entertainment: We only saw the Billboard night production, which was just OK - but less than you will see on most ships. We missed the illusionist and comedian, so can't comment on that. The orchestra played the score of an Alaska nature movie one night, and it was very good. BB Kings and the dueling pianos were both excellent. We went to the pianos (Billboard) every night. Lots of fun. I also loved America's Test Kitchen classes they had on sea days. The bar drinks were disappointing, and never found the bar or bartender that could whip up something great. Our best bar experience by far was in the Tamirid Bar--as far as quality of drinks - but it was also the worst service. We finally just started going to the bar ourselves rather than have the bar waiter take our order. The Tamirid Bar isn't crowded and has incredible views. The Crows Nest has been ruined with all the new junk they have up there. This space in the past was our 'go to spot' in the past, but not anymore. #fail Holland America. Drink specials were only in two bars at 4pm and 11:30pm - BOGO +$2. Why bother having one at 11:30p on a HA ship?? As many have commented, everything seemed to be a ploy to get you to spend more money--which I don't think is unique to Holland America. The info left in your rooms about buying jewelry was overwhelming and the only port info was a push to go to cruise stores in port. Sad it has come to that. Our shore excursions (not with the cruise line) were with Harv and Marv in Juneau in the 6 person boat. Excellent!! We did a taxi to Mendenhall in Juneau. Excellent!! We did the White Pass (one way to Frasier) in Skagway and stopped off at the Skagway Brewery for a post-excursion drink. Both were great. All that said, I would go again tomorrow -- and would recommend this ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Dear all My room no. Is 8012 in ms nieuw amsterdam. 23rd June departure from vancouver There are several issues. Let me point out each one 1. I am pure Hindu vegetarian traveller. Before booking I had clearly asked that I need ... Read More
Dear all My room no. Is 8012 in ms nieuw amsterdam. 23rd June departure from vancouver There are several issues. Let me point out each one 1. I am pure Hindu vegetarian traveller. Before booking I had clearly asked that I need Indian vegetarian meal. I was clearly told yes Holland America is best vegetarian friendly. On coming the same turned to worst nightmare On first day of lunch it was told that there were less supply as new supply is being refilled and from tommorow you will get variety of food. Told ok no problem. Let's manage a day while all other had there full option to eat. From 2nd day the same is situation till day 6.either something is over or we will do tommorow but there is no tommorow than. Had Worst experience where I had taken a naan and just yogurt to each and tried to break naam with hand and in couldn't and than with teeth than too it was unbreakable. Given it to chef MR mani who told me this is hard one requested by guest but no guest request a UNBREAKABLE NAAN as it is to eat and not a sovenier at the room I was told daily to contact Mr mani and he will make seperate but my simple question is why we are not provided quality food and substandard is done between guest who complains and some they are normal and no complain gets the unbreakable naan. Matter reported to charnea guest manager at lido market. Most Indian on cruise if asked are satisfied than you can see the reply 15 are there in my group. The best person who eats in to most item in our group it wss also now fed up. There are no variety. I had complained on day 3rd breakfast where I had waited 1 hrs for a menu item before the steward came to me and told item is wrongly written and had complained to Denise who was manager for in room dining and she called chef Mr siva Kumar who says he is only one Indian chef and have 120 people to handle alone. There is no fault of him seems and so called Denise in front of Mr siva Kumar and told her what Mr siva said as this is fault of Holland America side that enough staff was not provided though clear booking was done with passport details nationality and even telling our food preference to booking agent. Even in Indian item. Name tags are not being put and the same counter is mixed with non vegetarian. 2nd greenhouse spa Offered hydro pool and thermal suite package at 219 per couple and was booked by me immediately on the day of embarkation and was told only last 4 space left 35 couple. 70 person is the max allowed. All good for 2 days and than came the day of skagway where board was kept for the same thing of 130 dollars which was only for skagway joining passengers but to my surprise they took booking from all the guests who boarded from Vancouver too and with bargained price of 90-100 dollars for couple. Right now there are much more than 70 persons and had told first day that I would only do it if the max cap of 70 is maintained. It is like public pool now and also with this bargain thing totally dissatisfied with working and demand a strong refund for the same. Also all general public is entering the hydro pool as the door is not kept closed 3rd room shower had fallen when it was turned on leg on first day of cruise which can't be allowed as it was not checked 4th room ac not working properly complained on first day is not resolved till date. 5th highly overcharged from exc tours. Don't buy they don't care for us Team to my surprise I found that white pass railway done by me through exc tours is also price higher than the price given on its official website Matter report to Mr lyron who was not ready to agree the fact first that it's overpriced. After giving him proof he have taken time and than comes with terms and conditions no where published. Mr lyron says this offer is only for online purchase and sent letter of terms which wasn't available online. no where that terms are published online Also if its for online only it should have been clearly written on main page This is program with Holland America that you try to earn 10 dollars more for anything and everything after normal profit and than just tell to read terms where nothing was told to us like this. Point 1 reported to Denise and charnea as well as guest manager Mr Jorn Point 2 reported to mr jorn who committed me to get back to me within next 24 hrs. Point 3 and 4 reported to housekeeping Point 5 reported to lyron exc manager on board Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I first cruised with Holland America 18 years ago, and it's clear that an abundant amount has changed in such a long period of time. That was certainly expected! I cannot stress the incredible service we received on this line both ... Read More
I first cruised with Holland America 18 years ago, and it's clear that an abundant amount has changed in such a long period of time. That was certainly expected! I cannot stress the incredible service we received on this line both times from their extremely friendly and overall incredibly happy staff. It's so refreshing to meet people who seem like they are enjoying being there as much as you are! It also makes me wish their compensation was not so geared on Holland America aiming to collect $450+ from a family of 4 sharing a cabin in addition to our fare to pay them as they deserve. Even cash tips given to those we appreciated were taken and put into a pool for even distribution behind the scenes, even though as most service goes, not everyone provides the same level of care and attention. More on gratuity later, but in the meanwhile, I will try to provide my opinions as objectively as I can. Embarkation was one of the most chaotic and unpleasant experiences of the whole cruise. It really set a sour note on our family's excitement for a vacation we had spent a lot of time saving for. Lunch was served in the Lido and it was absolute madness. Lido service stations sometimes have multiple lines for one station, and there was poor signage for diners to figure out where to go. Trying to get a meal for myself and three children (age 1-9) was awful, we had no idea where to go or where to stand, and the overwhelmed staff was unable to assist or direct as necessary. There was not enough room for everyone to eat. We also received "open seating" as the only available option with our booking, and reservations were all taken except for 5:15pm dining for parties of 8, and when we did walk ins the service staff seemed confused and frustrated that they would have to rearrange the dining room to accommodate us with a high chair. Thankfully, the As You Wish reservation team answering the phones was always extremely helpful and our waitstaff made the confusion and frustration worth it by treating us like absolute gold. Gede Gunawan is the most amazing service person I have ever met in my life and he made our trip very special and helped salvage what was a lot of headaches! Our cabin was nothing to really write home about - a large bed for my husband and I, a crib for my daughter Aurora, and a ceiling and sofa bed for kids to hop between our room and their grandparents' room next door. Mohammad, our room steward, took great care of us. The Dive-In burger joint upstairs is not really what people come to cruises for, which means the lines are short to non-existent and the food was OUTSTANDING. Main dining hall also receives absolutely nothing but praise from my family, even my picky eaters. Kids menus were everywhere and they accommodated even our pickiest palate. The Nieuw Amsterdam was a gorgeous ship. We have always enjoyed the art on display and the clear directions and information for navigating the ship. This is one of the newer ships, although we experience leaking ceilings in our stateroom hallway. We also saw leaking into some of the art displays. Here's a secret - the cruise lines own all those shops and jewelry shillers on the main piers in each port. You can skip every shopping guide presentation by Victoria because she is just a salesperson there to direct you to cruise line owned businesses. You're better off googling what to do and where to shop from smaller sites and not from the cruise itself. I don't remember there being so many gaudy jewelry stores 18 years ago! Noise: This ship is incredibly noisy, and this was the noisiest cruise I've ever taken. Our stateroom was below a late night chair rearrangement area, down the hall from the Main Stage that opens directly into levels 1, 2, and 3. Remaining for meals at port calls onboard means that people are actively doing construction all around you. We tried to enjoy whale watching in Ketchikan while two humpbacks played next to the ship, but unfortunately they were actively drilling and sanding the lido room so we could not take nice videos of the sighting. Disembarkation was also a nightmare and chaotic like embarkation was. They took our bags off the ship at midnight and we disembarked around 9am to pick them up. Our bags were handled poorly and weren't even grouped together. The biggest shock of the cruise was the Hotel Service Charge tacked onto our bill every day, running up nearly $500 in what really is a gratuity charge. The front desk was poorly trained in handling it, and spent a great deal of time telling me I was taking away someone's salary by asking the charge be removed or modified. In the future, my family will cruise elsewhere, most likely with one of the many cruise lines that offers a military discount and understands we aren't all rich retirees, which was mostly who seemed to be onboard with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We have never been to Alaska before and have never sailed with Holland America. We chose this itinerary because it had more time on land than at sea. We flew to Anchorage on Monday for a tour beginning on Thursday. HA picked us up at the ... Read More
We have never been to Alaska before and have never sailed with Holland America. We chose this itinerary because it had more time on land than at sea. We flew to Anchorage on Monday for a tour beginning on Thursday. HA picked us up at the airport. They took our luggage and loaded it on a bus. The driver took us to theCaptain Cook Hotel while telling us about the area. We were greeted at the hotel and brought to the tour desk. They gave us our keys and some written directions for luggage handling. We went to our room and found our luggage had already been delivered. The hotel was nice and we could walk to almost everyplace in the city. On Thursday morning we met our tour guide Ashley. A bus took us to the train station and we were given our tickets with assigned seating for the trip to Denali. There is a dining room downstairs and they also will sell you snacks at your seat. We had a nice breakfast and lunch while viewing the scenery. A bus took us from the train station to the McKinley Chalet hotel. We were disappointed that we did not get to stay at the main lodge. We were in the Canyon Lodge which was new-looking and clean but not what we had expected. Try Karstens restaurant in Denali Village - it is excellent, If you are wondering how to decide how many days to spend in Denali, it depends on how many activities/excursions you want. The all day bus tour comes with your package. A resort bus can take you to the visitor center. There’s another bus that can take you to the Princess lodge though it is walkable. If that is all you want to do, then 2 days is enough. If you want to do rafting, a helicopter tour, an atv tour, etc. you will want more time. We did not see much wildlife at Denali, but the scenery was beautiful. After two days we took a long bus ride to Fairbanks. We arrived at the Westmark late in the day. We went out to eat and that was it for Fairbanks. The same thing in Dawson city and Whitehorse: arriving too late in the day to visit attractions or museums, just enough time for some souvenir shopping and dinner. But still glad I got to see Fairbanks and the Yukon. Then we took the bus to Skagway to get our ship. We said good bye to Ashley and our driver, Tim, both of whom were fantastic, and boarded the ship. We had a suite which was beautiful. Then we went back into Skagway to take our helicopter tour which we had arranged through HA. We flew to a glacier and it was such an amazing experience. Afterwards, we did some shopping in town then went back to the ship for dinner. We loved our suite on the back of deck 8. I would recommend the 7th deck as we were right under the pool deck and we could hear them moving chairs in the morning. The next day we sailed through Glacier Bay, which we noticed is not on the itinerary of the north going, sea first tour. It was beautiful. The next day was Ketchikan which is a fun city. There are people selling tours when you dock. The Duck tour seemed very popular. We took the prearranged tour to the Rainforrest Raptor Center. We enjoyed it. When we returned to town, we had lunch and shopped. The next day was at sea with more beautiful scenery and some dolphin sightings. The last day we docked in Vancouver in the morning. Overall, we found the food and service on HA to be excellent. We loved our suite with the wrap around deck. Our room attendants did a great job. The only thing they could improve is the entertainment. I would recommend this ship and this tour. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I have wanted to take an Alaska cruise vacation for at least 25 years! Finally, we did it, and somehow, it exceeded my extremely high expectations! I spent a lot of time on CC, with the veterans and experts assisting me in choosing the ... Read More
I have wanted to take an Alaska cruise vacation for at least 25 years! Finally, we did it, and somehow, it exceeded my extremely high expectations! I spent a lot of time on CC, with the veterans and experts assisting me in choosing the "right" one for our family. It paid off, thank you CC family! We absolutely loved the ship and itinerary, we chose wisely!! This was our first time in Alaska and our first cruise on HAL. Vancouver is such a wonderful port for embarkation! We spent a day and half before the cruise enjoying this bonus port. We explored on our own and enjoyed Granville Island one afternoon and Stanley Park one full day. We would love to return to this beautiful city, with its friendly, diverse people, gorgeous scenery and delicious cuisine! Boarding the ship was easy and quick! The first thing I have to say is that service on the NA was wonderful...friendly and thorough, throughout the ship. We had a few problems with our key cards the first day and they were quickly remedied. We were accidentally charged for one of the specialty restaurants though I had pre-booked and paid from home, I simply called guest services and it was immediately removed from the bill. Our cabin stewards (2 separate decks) were excellent and deserve a standing ovation for the condition of the cabins. Every server in every restaurant and bar we encountered was top-notch and friendly, we cannot say enough about the staff on this ship! The Nieuw Amsterdam is tastefully decorated and immaculate. Public spaces are warm and inviting and look very luxurious without being gaudy. None of the areas ever seemed crowded, except for the Crow's Nest just after sail-away, where it was just a little difficult to find a window seat, and Lido Buffet, which was chaotic almost every time we visited. We enjoyed every bar, lounge, restaurant and entertainment venue on the ship. Our favorites were the Crow's Nest and the Tamarind Bar, which both offered stunning views and quiet atmosphere. We also really liked the Ocean Bar and Reading Room near the Casino (surprising, we expected the Casino to be loud and unpleasant to us, but it was not). The food was delicious, except for a few "misses." Our daughter requires a gluten-free diet, and she was well-accommodated for the most part, except for embarkation lunch, (where she was limited to a salad and a bun-less meat patty) and breakfasts in the Lido. There was supposedly a GF station in Lido, but every time she went there, she was directed to an unappealing pile of packaged bread and rolls. She had been promised on day one that GF pancakes and waffles would be available upon request, but found this not to be the case...very disappointing. I am getting the impression that this is an industry-wide problem, but I'd like to see improvement in this area. Other than the GF issues and the chaos finding a table, the food in Lido was surprisingly delicious and fresh, for a buffet. We tried all of the specialty restaurants; they were excellent and worth the up-charge. We especially enjoyed Tamarind. Canaletto was a pleasant surprise (we're picky about our Italian) and a great way to spend the first dinner, with lovely views! The MDR was better than expected, but we found that very often the descriptions on the menus didn't seem to match the food that was served. For example, "arugula and frisee salad" contained exactly one leaf of arugula. We had one pretty bad experience in the dining room (Tuesday night, after Skagway), but other than that time, all of the food was yummy. We had "anytime dining," and never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table, and that was only once. Most of the time we were seated immediately. Because of the anytime dining, we never had the same table or server, which was fine, they were all excellent. Sorry to say, the fast food places (Dine-In and NY Pizza), were virtually inedible. Entertainment was better than expected, though the HAL's choreographed Mainstage performances need updating. We went to the Mainstage show every night, and enjoyed every one. There was a Preview Show, a BBC Earth show (live music played to scenes of Alaska), a comedian, a magician and several shows with the HAL players, who were very talented. BB King's All Stars really steal the show, though. Those musicians are fabulously talented and rock the house, three shows almost every night. The Lincoln Center Stage offered several classical performances, which we never attended, but we heard them several times while passing through and they sounded lovely. The ports were all fabulous, each one was an experience of a lifetime! We booked independent excursions, so I can't comment on the ones offered by HAL. In Juneau, we did a Paddle Trek Ice Adventure which which included a stunning canoe paddle on Mendenhall Lake and a breathtaking hike on the beautiful, ever-changing glacier. In Skagway, we selected a drive up to Emerald Lake in the Yukon, combined with a sled dog experience and a train ride back down to Skagway. In Ketchikan, we took a flight to Misty Fjords on a float plane that landed in the Fjord, where we watched a bear and her cub eating grass. I could not say enough wonderful things about these amazing excursions. My family was completely blown away by each one. Glacier Bay was more stunning than we dreamed it would be, and the enrichment activities really made it more fabulous! We spent a lot of time talking to the park rangers Molly and Kelly, and the cultural ambassador, Kevin. They all had so much information to offer. It really gave us a special appreciation for Glacier Bay and glaciers in general and the way of life of the people of southeast Alaska! They made us want to return again and again to this breathtaking place. Overall, our cruise was amazing!! We are talking about what we would do differently next time (dreaming) and perhaps we would do a one-way cruise/tour experience. We are glad we did it this way for our first time. Only things we would change immediately: HAL needs to do something about the chaos in the Lido buffet (maybe have a line and help people find the next available table?) and offer unlimited internet access, Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
It was a surprise birthday gift.. It was in the planning process for 2 years by my adult children as a 80th birthday gift. I was totally surprised! We departed from Boston and went to Toronto, then from Toronto to Vancouver where we spent ... Read More
It was a surprise birthday gift.. It was in the planning process for 2 years by my adult children as a 80th birthday gift. I was totally surprised! We departed from Boston and went to Toronto, then from Toronto to Vancouver where we spent the night at the Metropolitan hotel. It is a very nice hotel and only a couple of blocks from the Canadian place where you board the ship.We walked down at 11:00 am and was thru customs and onboard in one hour. We had a tour of the ship and spent the rest of the day in the spa area. I was pampered by the spa girls with manicure, pedicure, facial, and a weeks worth of trips to the hydro pool. Everyone should have one in their back yard! The chairs that are heated are also a must have! I definitely would go again aboard this great ship. It is the best! The debarkment process was very organized and we were off in no time. We took a hop on hop of tour of the city,, which also transported our luggage to the airport hotel for us. After the tour we were given tickets for the sky train to the airport At the airport we stayed at the Hamilton hotel right inside airport where our luggage was waiting for us. A great relief not to have to worry about baggage.The hotel is very nice and very very convenient. Every airport should have a hotel in it. It makes those very early flights a little more enjoyable. I can't wait to go on another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and I and our two small children are avid cruisers but up until now, had only cruised the Caribbean. Our last three cruises were all on Celebrity. We were actually on the Nieuw Amsterdam once in the Caribbean, six years ago, ... Read More
My husband and I and our two small children are avid cruisers but up until now, had only cruised the Caribbean. Our last three cruises were all on Celebrity. We were actually on the Nieuw Amsterdam once in the Caribbean, six years ago, and were unimpressed - mostly because it skewed older and had very little in the way of nightlife and entertainment. But when my parents announced they wanted to do a family cruise, all of my research suggested Holland America was the best line to Alaska. And it turns out we made a wonderful choice. Overall, we had a fantastic time. We had 20 people total in our group, with six small children (a 2 year old, a 3 year old, 3 six-year olds and an 8 year old) six people ages 40-50 and eight people around 70. We had a row of balconies on deck 5 midship, so we were able to open all the balconies to create a communal balcony area that was awesome. Embarkation took a bit of time. Vancouver is a beautiful city with a shortage of taxis and no Uber or Lyft. Plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time to get to the pier. Some things had not changed since our experience in the Caribbean. Yes, this is still an older skewing ship. Yes, it's a quieter ship with not that much nightlife. And no, there weren't many kids on board. But we liked all of that. Our kids got extra special attention in the kids club and absolutely LOVED going (truly - they begged to go every single day, which was awesome for us parents!!!) There weren't a million kids running around the ship screaming. Also, which was a HUGE plus for us, Holland America ships have retractable roofs over the main pool, so the kids were able to swim whenever they wanted (the roof is closed throughout most of the cruise.) In fact, that is a strong reason TO choose HAL for an Alaskan cruise - our weather was incredible, but it was still not warm enough to swim out in the open except for a couple of days in port. Our weather was spectacular, not a single drop of rain the entire week and the sun was out in every port, which I'm sure added to our experience. Our family rented two cabanas for each sea day (there were three) so we had a place to hang out and watch the view. And they were super cheap, just $50 each per day. Our cabana attendant was amazing and really attentive. The ship had two naturalists on board, who were incredible at spotting wildlife and answering questions about the nature and beauty of Alaska. The day we cruised Glacier Bay was simply incredible and breathtaking, and the bow of the ship was opened for anyone to go out and watch. That one day made choosing this cruiseline completely worth it. A few things really stood out overall. 1) The FOOD. Some of the best food I've ever had on a ship was on this cruise. We ate in the dining room every night (early seating) and never had a bad meal. We actually had reservations at the Pinnacle Grill on one of the gala nights that we canceled because they wanted to charge even more for the lobster tail that was free in the main dining room. Even the food in the Lido was wonderful. 2) The service. Our cabin stewards and our dining room attendants were all wonderful. I found all of the service to be top notch. Even the wine steward in the main dining room was wonderful. A few things that could be improved upon. 1) The Lido buffet was very frustrating in the morning. On Celebrity, you serve yourself from the buffet. But on this ship, you must wait to be served. When you are trying to feed several kids and yourself breakfast, waiting for the ONE person behind the counter (who sometimes had to leave to go get more food) to serve someone who can't make up their mind about what they want can seemingly take forever. The set up is also frustrating as there isn't a whole lot of room to walk between the tables and the food stations and you are constantly running into people. It was also challenging to find a table in the morning, especially for a large group. For some reason I will never understand, parties of 2 people love to sit at tables meant for 6 or more. 2) The drink package policy. On Celebrity, you just flash your card that has a sticker on it to get a drink in your package. But on HAL, you have to actually give them your card, which they swipe, each and every time. And they count the number of beverages, albeit water, soda or alcohol, which is annoying. You can only have up to 15. Which do not make it all inclusive. It felt like there was a lot more nickel and diming on HAL in general. 3) I hated that there was smoking in the casino, even for just a small area. My family likes to gamble, and the smoke permeated throughout the whole casino. I don't understand why it can't go smoke free like most other ships. Entertainment - if you are looking for nonstop entertainment, this is not your ship. The shows were mediocre at best. There was no party atmosphere around the pool or really anywere else on the ship. I'm not sure if this was a product of the cruiseline or that it was a cruise to Alaska. The ship itself is in very good condition, and while we were on board, it appeared they were staining all of the wood on the ship, of which there is a LOT. There are a lot of nooks and crannies, and it isn't a very big ship. We loved the Crow's nest, and spent a lot of time up there, mostly putting together puzzles. We also had amazing experiences with the shore excursions. Unlike the Caribbean, it's easiest in Alaska to book the excursions directly through the cruiseline. The pricing is pretty much the same. In Juneau, we took a seaplane over the glaciers to the Taku Lodge, which was incredible. The kids were mesmerized. In Skagway, we did the Yukon railroad train ride, which was spectacular (we are a train obsessed family, so it was a no-brainer). And in Ketchikan, part of the group went salmon fishing, and the rest of us took the kids on the Duckboat, which was so much fun and a great way to see the town. Overall, we had a great time. I would highly recommend this ship and cruiseline for an Alaskan cruise. It is perfect for a large group family vacation. I would not go on this ship or cruiseline in the Caribbean, however, it just skews too old for that kind of atmosphere. But for Alaska, it was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Our family had a wonderful time on our Alaskan cruise last week on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We are a family of four (kids are 11 and 13). This was our first time in Alaska and we were all blown away by the beautiful scenery and exciting ... Read More
Our family had a wonderful time on our Alaskan cruise last week on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We are a family of four (kids are 11 and 13). This was our first time in Alaska and we were all blown away by the beautiful scenery and exciting excursions (helicopters, trains, float planes, walking on an iceberg, bear watching...wow! Alaska was spectacular). THE SHIP: This is only our second cruise as a family; we were on a Celebrity Mediterranean cruise with our kids last summer. We chose the Nieuw Amsterdam for Alaska on our wonderful travel agent's recommendation because it met the criteria we were looking for (we didn't have much flexibility on our dates, really wanted an itinerary that would visit Glacier Bay which many ships don't have permits for, and wanted a large suite with a large balcony that we would all be comfortable on if we wanted to do sightseeing from our balcony or eat a meal from room service in our room.) Our agent, who worked for HAL for many years in the past, encouraged us to consider the NA because it met all our requirements and we could book a PS for a more reasonable price than on the other lines we were looking at for our dates. He warned us that HAL has a reputation for having a much older clientele than all the other mainstream lines and helped us have realistic expectations about what to expect ahead of time so we were not disappointed by the lack of ziplines and waterslides on board. The ship was tastefully decorated with a NY theme and had a relatively calm vibe for a cruise ship. Our suite was huge with plenty of room for everyone and a great balcony with seating for all of us to be outside at once with our binoculars. The ship's main pool had a retractable roof which was a big hit as everyone could enjoy it even on the cold day in glacier bay. The pool usually had plenty of loungers free so there wasn't a culture of throwing down towels early morning and hoarding seats all day which was refreshing. There are a few little cabanas that can be rented for $50 a day next to that pool that look out to the ocean. The spa onboard was really nice; I didn't book a treatment but did buy the spa pass and highly recommend that as the hydrotherapy pool and steam rooms were fantastic. THE FOOD: Most of the food onboard was good; some was great. Nothing we would seek out on land but there was something for everyone. We ate at the Tamarind, PG and Rudi's Sel de Mer (inside PG one night of the cruise) and all of these were much better than the MDR and Lido in our opinion. We tried the burger quick service next to the pool once and thought it was just ok and our son tried the pizza quick service many times and was happy with that. We had room service a few times and were happy with that as well. We tried to avoid the Lido Buffet as there was a norovirus code red during our cruise and because there were often long lines there. KIDS STUFF: We were told that there were about 100 kids on board which is a lot for HAL but very few for a July Alaska cruise. Our 11 year old son really enjoyed the kids club. The staff was excellent and fun. The physical facility dedicated for the kids was cool and spacious. Typically there were anywhere from 2-20 kids there when we arrived. The age group for him run from 7-12 year olds which seems like too broad a range but I was told that they only divided the kids into further subgroups if there were more kids on board. My 13 year old daughter went by the teen club a few times but it was always empty; usually the counselor staffing the place was all alone. So our daughter spent her free time enjoying the pool, or reading or attending shows and programs with us. Most of the kids on board were very well behaved and supervised by their parents or grandparents with only a handful of exceptions which I think is unfortunately to be expected anywhere these days. One family took all of their children including screaming tiny ones (yikes!) to the specialty dining restaurants which we found really surprising and unfortunate; we asked to be seated as far as possible from them and we were fine but it was a shame that they surely kept others seated near them from enjoying their meals and the specialty restaurant staff didn't seem to intervene. Kids of all ages could often be seen playing in the main pool or at the ping pong tables near the pool and were generally well behaved and friendly. ENTERTAINMENT: We highly recommend the BB King shows; very good quality live music. We didn't attend too many of the shows in the theater. The first night there was a "Magician/Funny Man" in the theater and we asked the concierge if it was family friendly and were told absolutely but we were disappointed that there was no "magic" and some of the jokes were so raunchy that we felt we had to leave (for example, jokes about sex, adultery, condoms, etc). We also attended a show with a duo called Synergy which was ok. After that, we stuck to BB King. On Glacier Bay day, park rangers came on board and did various presentations onboard that we thought were worthwhile. PORTS: We embarked in Vancouver. Stayed at Fairmont across the street from the port which was very convenient as they send your suitcases to the ship for you. We noticed that going through security (after cruise check-in) there was a much shorter line for Global Entry so be sure to look for that if you have GE to save time. We first stopped in Juneau where we did the Whale Watching/Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari; none of us are super serious photographers but chose this because of the small group size and loved it and the guide who was wonderful. In Skagway, we had such a long time in port that we booked two excursions... the train in the morning which was a little boring at times but incredible scenery most of the time (sit on the left side on the way out because even though you will switch seats for the ride back, there is better narration on the way out than back) and then in the afternoon a helicopter ride to walk on a glacier which was incredible fun. In Ketchikan, we did the black bear viewing by floatplane trip in Tongass Forest which we enjoyed although the floatplane ride was a little scary because the Beaver planes used are so ancient but we lived to tell about it and did get to see some beautiful bears. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My family and I attended the Holland America Cruise from July 22nd – July 29th on the Nieuw Amsterdam ship and let me say that is was amazing. The food, staff, rooms and views were wonderful. This review will be broken down by each ... Read More
My family and I attended the Holland America Cruise from July 22nd – July 29th on the Nieuw Amsterdam ship and let me say that is was amazing. The food, staff, rooms and views were wonderful. This review will be broken down by each relevant topic: THE GOOD Food As my first cruise, I must say that the food really blew me away. The most impressive aspect is how they are able to feed 2,000 people a day and offer such a variety of delicious options while maintaining a very high quality and freshness to the food. Everyday had different items available at breakfast, lunch and dinner and dishes were always hot and full. Then at dinner you could go to the included dining room, Manhattan, and they are a well-oiled machine in there turning out fine dining dishes. There was honestly never a point that I was disappointed with the food. Important note, if you have any kind of eating restriction they always accommodated it. In addition, they had plenty of options for kids and would bring it out quickly for them. Simply put, food was amazing! Accommodation Since the ship is only 8 years old, it is has a distinctly modern design and that carries through to all the staterooms we were able to see. Rooms are intelligently designed with ample storage space and fine furnishings. Bathroom was maybe a little small and drab but how much time are you going to spend in there? Most important the beds were supremely comfortable and king size! My only complaint would be the lack of plugins but it is a ship so I can understand this constraint. Also, all drinks in the room are for a steep extra charge so I recommend to people to bring your own water and wine. Staff You can tell that service and hospitality are a top priority for Holland America because the service was second to none at every single interaction we had with staff. Dining staff, cleaning staff, entertainment staff, ship staff…didn’t matter; every single member would smile and say hello/good morning. The dining staff in particular was quite impressive as they would serve hundreds of guest quickly, efficiently and professionally. Every time we had a questions or concern it was addressed immediately. The cleaning staff would even fold the towels into animals every night which was very amusing. Overall, the staff are top notch on this ship! Entertainment There was a vast array of activities available every day. From cooking, athletics, shows, workshops, nature tours and just chilling there was something for everyone. Even the room themselves had a good selection of movies on the TV. The evening also had semi-professional performances from bands, singers, showmen’s and comedians and they were honestly very well done albeit a bit short (1 hour). Of course there was the on-board casino every night but that wasn’t our thing. I do have a few complaints. Firstly, don’t believe their claims of playing tennis and volleyball, the court and equipment are actually quite poor. At best you can play basketball and pickle ball. Secondly, lots of their activities were just disguised sales pitches so beware. THE BAD Wi-Fi THE IS MY SINGLE BIGGEST COMPLAINT that detracted from my experience. Not only is it not free, IT IS RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE. It is $0.75/minute and it is a pretty bad connection speed. Now I’m not saying people want to spend all trip on their computer, but basic things like checking email or googling the shore stops was impossible. Coordinating with your group is also a challenge without Watsapp/Messenger. If New Holland fixes this I will give 10/10. Advertising/Salesmanship From the moment you step on this boat, literally everything is trying to take more money from you. If you weren’t reading properly, be prepared to be charged $13.50 per person per day as a service fee. No drinks are free in the room or on the ship and they push you to buy drink packages. Every night they put pamphlets in the rooms’ mailbox and announce daily on the intercom of other events trying to sell you stuff. The nicer restaurants are not included but you can get by only going to the included one. I recommend you keep your wallet tight and don’t get sucked in! Management I just wanted to make a small note here, but on more than one occasion we witnessed what appeared to be a manager yelling at staff. In our opinion this was not professional or acceptable. The staff on this boat are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and it is not cool to be yelling at them over small details. Please address this! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Our family has never tried going on a cruise before, but now that our kids are in their teens and are young adults, we decided to do this Alaska Inside Passage cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Also thought that cruising ... Read More
Our family has never tried going on a cruise before, but now that our kids are in their teens and are young adults, we decided to do this Alaska Inside Passage cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Also thought that cruising closer to land rather than in open waters would be ideal for first-timers like us. Booked this cruise way in advance and through HAL travel agent, who helped us make changes here and there. Got Pinnacle Grill dinner for 2 with Signature Beverage Package promo per stateroom booked, which was really fortunate for us. Spent a day in Vancouver prior to cruise departure and stayed at the Pinnacle Marriott Downtown Hotel which was just 2 blocks from Canada Place, where the pier is. It's walkable even if you have luggage to tug around. No need to take a taxi. Again, booked this hotel 8 months in advance, knowing that June will be peak season for travelers and got a really good rate for 2 rooms. Love Vancouver! Discovered Bella Gelateria along W. Cordova and Burrard St. -- truly award-winning gelato! Will go back again for more :-) On day of departure, checking in was a breeze, procedure was very organized and well-staffed. Crew were very welcoming right from embarkation, very helpful in showing us where to go. Our 2 cabins with balconies were adjoining and Wibi and Nai, our cabin stewards, were around to introduce themselves and welcome us. Explored the ship after having lunch at the Lido, everything looked impressive and clean. Love the artwork and decor. Food was good overall, with different cuisines available on various days. Shout out to Emily and Diane, our wine stewards! They introduced me to Snoqualmie Riesling and I really got to like it. Made dinner reservations to the Pinnacle Grill on Father's Day. It was also our first gala night and were dressed for the occasion. Seated by the window with a view of the calm waters. Really enjoyed the ambiance, the service and the food. Lamb chops I ordered were very tasty and tender. We joined several day activities like the family and music trivia (didn't win), had the afternoon tea twice (felt so pampered), had a massage at the spa, used the gym 2-3x, watched movies in the screening room (Hidden Figures and Split), went to the BB King lounge several times at night and really enjoyed the band. Got to dance too! Also enjoyed the Filipino crew concert, the other shows could be better. Booked excursions for Juneau (City tour, Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching) and Skagway (Full day Yukon tour) through Viator, was cheaper than what ship offered but got excursion in Ketchikan (Canoe with nature trail hike) from the ship because they were cheaper. All excursions were great, with weather just drizzling slightly and cloudy throughout. Amazing time at Glacier Bay National Park, saw calving glaciers and a brown bear cub along the cliff! On our way back from Ketchikan, saw a humpback whale breaching 8 times!! Read so many reviews about this ship and itinerary months before we were set to sail. Yes, it's passengers were mostly adults and seniors but didn't take that as a factor, in fact, I appreciated seeing them enjoy their lives -- dining, drinking and dancing! Yes, passengers came from all over the world -- UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, US, etc. Checking out was easy as well, just waited in our cabin to be called for our disembarkation time. Took a shuttle from the pier to the airport. Great experience for our family, thanks HAL and your hard-working crew. Last tip -- bring a good pair of binoculars! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise because it suited our dates sailing from Vancouver up to SE Alaska and it lasted 7 days and returned back in time to disembark and reach our family wedding later that Saturday afternoon. We had booked an inside ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it suited our dates sailing from Vancouver up to SE Alaska and it lasted 7 days and returned back in time to disembark and reach our family wedding later that Saturday afternoon. We had booked an inside stateroom and it was perfectly quiet and the bathroom and space was perfectly adequate. The ship was immaculate and we regulalry noted cleaners wiping and vacuuming to keep the beautiful interiors up to top levels of hygiene. The decks were also hosed down regulalry and there were operators painting the ship every time we ventured in to the quieter areas. The Dining experience was top standard and we enjoyed all of the dining experiences, cocktails and High teas. The choice of fresh ingredients was wide ranging and standards were incredible, given the number of passengers to feed three meals each day and also the staff. We enjoyed the tour around the kitchens on the last day. the waiting staff were very well trained and cheerful and always greeted each and every passenger at whatever time of day you happened to be sitting down to an amazingly freshly cooked meal. We really appreacited the customised omlettes at breakfast and the oriental and sushi menus available at lunch time. Totally delicious. The staff training was superb and everyone deserved commendations. from the Cruise Director, Nick to the cabin staff. We had committed to a full range of shore excursions and enjoyed each of these immensely given the varity and enthusiasm of each of the shore managers, thank you for showing us whales and bears! The entertainment was thrilling and we watched dancers and magicians and attended the band nights in the Blues Club, amazing singers with a great atmosphere. Thanks too for making hard wired computers available for those of us who prefer to use a desk top computer while we sial past islands and wild life. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We returned to Alaska for another Inside Passage cruise aboard another DAM ship! This time was our first cruise aboard a Signature Class vessel. We were spoiled rotten by our wonderful cabin stewards Gede and Rae. In spite of servicing ... Read More
We returned to Alaska for another Inside Passage cruise aboard another DAM ship! This time was our first cruise aboard a Signature Class vessel. We were spoiled rotten by our wonderful cabin stewards Gede and Rae. In spite of servicing 20+ cabins on the Rotterdam deck, they were always smiling, asking if we needed anything, and meeting our every need. Even when DW was a bit under the weather, Gede made a diet suggestion that had her better in no time! Now that's service. The Neptune Lounge concierges, Roses and Lalaine were incredible, making little tweaks here and there, assisting in some MDR issues that were caused by some corporate snafus. We had some first-time cruisers aboard with us and they were totally blown away by the caring, attentive crew. They are HAL fans, big time, now! Nieuw Amsterdam was in fine shape and well maintained while we were aboard. There was a very large group onboard (over 1,000 by their estimate), but aside from the MDR issues (again caused by inaccurate information provided by corporate to the Matre'd), we really weren't impacted by them. I'll also add that the shore staff made embarkation seamless. We were literally in our Neptune Suite by 11:30AM! Alaska, was, well Alaska! Beautiful and awe inspiring. The Inside Passage route is our favorite sailing to the Great Land. We booked our shore excursions directly with the tour vendors and showed the first timers some of our favorite things. We will certainly return to Alaska, and wouldn't hesitate to sail Nieuw Amsterdam again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We hadn't been on a cruise and always wanted to see Alaska so a round trip from Vancouver seemed a good idea, especially as our son lives there so we combined a visit to see him with the cruise. Vancouver is a beautiful city with ... Read More
We hadn't been on a cruise and always wanted to see Alaska so a round trip from Vancouver seemed a good idea, especially as our son lives there so we combined a visit to see him with the cruise. Vancouver is a beautiful city with plenty to do for a few days before or after the cruise . We have been there before and didn't spend so much time there this time. We no idea what to expect but ha asked friends and look at various forums to get an idea. We weren't sure about clothing given that Alaska can be cold and wet but fortunately for our mid-May trip it was mostly dry and quite warm. The day before the cruise we got an email from HAL saying expect delays embarking as there were three ships in port. They were right and it look about 4.5 hours before we got into our stateroom. They must have three ships there all the time so why don't the cruise lines work with US border protection/immigration to ensure a smoother/faster process - far from acceptable! There may be tricks/early boarding/fast track etc. but if so we still don't know of any. Our veranda stateroom was fine albeit a little compact. We had an issue whereby all of these cabins were stated all over HAL literature as having baths and showers whereas our didn't have a bath. We got fobbed off several times by the front desk with them coming up with various random excuses. In the end we got some compensation. All the meals were excellent. the main dining room was great for breakfast and dinner and were tried all three of the paid for restaurants too, along with the lido deck pizza and hamburger units. We weren't impressed with the lido casual/serve yourself dining area and I cannot understand why it was so popular apart from being much faster than the service variants. Service in the restaurants, bars and stateroom was all first class. Administration was a bit dodgy as our online running statement was regularly incorrect due to being charged for drinks although we had a beverage package and also for some meals, which meant more unwanted time in the front office - quite commonplace given the number of others there with queries. The daytime and evening entertainment was pretty good and we went to some talks, did the trivia quiz went to the evening shows and listened to the really good musical acts in the various bars. We went on excursions each time (3 in total) the ship docked, our favourite being the White Pass summit road/rail trip from Skagway. They were all good , including glaciers and the lumberjack show. The week on board was about right for us. Disembarking was much slicker and relatively painless. Things not so good : The wifi is expensive so we didn't bother with it and picked up free Wi-Fi in port. When you buy the drinks package both people in the cabin have to pay for it even if one of then doesn't drink. I understand that they think we'll just buy two drinks every time but next time I'll think more carefully about it. Also on this deal you can't get a bottle of wine, only by the glass (albeit it lots but not very elegant). Additionally a drink from the mini bar isn't included, it's extra. Finally if you buy a $10 dollar drink (limit is $9 per drink) you can't pay the $1 excess, you have to pay the whole amount. having said that we re happy with the choices. There' nothing special about the gala nights - just people getting dressed up to go to the same restaurant. For us it just meant jamming more clothes into our suitcases and hauling them all the way from the UK. All in though - very enjoyable and may well go on another cruise one day - maybe the Baltic next time.............. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our 47th cruise. Only the second on HAL. No reason for not using them more other than price/destination offered by other lines seemed to fit our plans better. We've been on NCL 22 times. We really like Celebrity and ... Read More
This was our 47th cruise. Only the second on HAL. No reason for not using them more other than price/destination offered by other lines seemed to fit our plans better. We've been on NCL 22 times. We really like Celebrity and Princess. Now, about Nieuw. The Good ... was the price and the extras provided by CruCon. $1600 per person with $525. in onboard credit + free drink package for two + dinner for two at their specialty restaurant. If you like to walk, it's one of the few ships that actually has a deck that goes right around the ship - 3 laps = 1 mile. Our balcony cabin #4006 was well appointed and very quite - I guess it's been well soundproofed. The Bad ... the entertainment was mediocre. The worst was the comedian. He chose to include three mentions of his autistic daughter as part of his comedy presentation -- who does that? Although the table and wine server staff in the dining room were very attentive, the menu was not very creative. The breakfast buffet actually has a server for almost anything you'd like to have so the theme seems to be ... wait. It's a very unusual set up for a buffet. Finding someone to clean a table for us in the buffet dining room was difficult, not automatic. I had to go searching for a table cleaner more than 6 times during our week. How's this for a safety/muster drill ... we went to the station when we were told just to find no ship staff there. We were told over the PA (after a 1/2 hour wait) that there were still passengers trying to board (@4pm). So, instead of having the late comers attend another muster drill when they got on the ship, they made 2,000 people wait for the few. The Ugly ... I mentioned the free drink package. The first time I ordered a drink, the waiter told me I had to tell them each time I ordered that I was in the beverage package. There wasn't a # or a bar code or anything on my ship's card to notify the server that I wasn't to be charged. That seemed strange so I asked the bartender. He told me they have no way of knowing when a passenger is on their beverage plan ... including ... there's no mention of it on his computer when he punches in my order. He simply said "not to worry, all beverage charges will be eliminated when they reach the ship's office". Which brings me to my other Ugly ... as mentioned, we had a dinner for 2 free gift from CruCon (valued at $70 that even included the tip). The meal was very good. I left an additional tip for the waiter and the wine steward. Two days later, I asked to see a copy of my ship's statement and was angry to find that my free dinner for 2 was actually charged to my account, $70! Absolutely ... totally ... unacceptable. If I hadn't taken the time to check my bill before departing on Saturday morning, I would have been stuck in a very long line of people at the ship's front desk. Needless to say, I checked my bill at the end of each day on the trip to see if any of my bar charges found their way onto my bill (they didn't). HAL has some work to do. They need to send some spotters onto other ships to see how easy it is to be more efficient. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We recently took a cruise from Vancouver up the inside passage and to Alaska with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We had heard from several people that this was one of the best ship to do this cruise with as they cruise deep into ... Read More
We recently took a cruise from Vancouver up the inside passage and to Alaska with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We had heard from several people that this was one of the best ship to do this cruise with as they cruise deep into glacier bay. The embarkation process in Vancouver took almost 2 hours but as this is mostly because of the USA security screening I cannot blame Holland America for this but nonetheless the trip did not get off to a good start. One of our suitcases did not arrive into our cabin until 9pm at night and when I went to the front office to query the delay I was greeted by a rather rude staff member! On one day we had no hot water for approx 4 hours and when I called guest services to find out what the problem was I was told I would be called back - I was never called back. Our toilet was blocked and that took 1/2 a day to get serviced! The battery on our safe died on our second last day of the cruise but it was never repaired. I cannot believe that they don't even have a facility where you can iron some clothes - everything must be cleaned & ironed through the ships laundry service and at a cost! The entertainment would have to be the worst I have ever seen on all the cruises I have done. We had decided to book a nice suite which had a good size bathroom and cabin. I was quite surprised that you are not even given a complimentary bottle of water in your cabin but rather you have to pay $5 for this privilege. I would not book a cruise with this cruise line in future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
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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