130 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Family Cruise Reviews

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
They sent as a coupon. 1) My husband booked me a 2 hours spa treatment. I was taken in late for my treatment, while i did the seaweed wrap the therapist left the room , and never bothered to come check on me, and ask how i was doing. ... Read More
They sent as a coupon. 1) My husband booked me a 2 hours spa treatment. I was taken in late for my treatment, while i did the seaweed wrap the therapist left the room , and never bothered to come check on me, and ask how i was doing. The massage was probably the worst massage i have ever had. Once the treatment was done, she was trying to sell me $ 350+ worth of products, and trying to talk me into purchasing additional treatments, by pointing out my skin is sagging, my eyes are puffy etc.....very intelligent:) They put a bottle of water in your room, but there was no label or warning that they were going to charge you $ 5.75 for it! When we got the final bill they raised the daily mandatory tips at $ 14.50/person. The food in the buffet was same every single day, without a fail. As far as entertainment, not much , there was only one show worth the time in the whole week. In the day time , the ship was like a dormant boring place, unless you had plenty of cash to spare you would keep yourself entertained because all they did , tried to sell you anything. The library had no books, other than speciality travel books and such. To conclude, I think I am pretty much done cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We were terribly disappointed with the entertainment. The worst in all the cruises I have taken. This was our first with Holland American and never again. This was a cruise suitable for very old people. The best entertainment was the ... Read More
We were terribly disappointed with the entertainment. The worst in all the cruises I have taken. This was our first with Holland American and never again. This was a cruise suitable for very old people. The best entertainment was the Filipino cruise members show. They put up a voluntary show. I must also mention one of Lido restaurant staff Amelia, she was helpful and very nice. She also did a great show. There was a lack of entertainment for younger people. We never met a single young person from the entertainment team beside the cruise director. All in all not a happy experience. The staff in our allocated dining area were absolutely wonderful and helpful. I found quite disrespectful to be called by my Cristian name by the cabin steward. In Europe we are not used to that or at least I am not. Not very good room service at all Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My family and I went on this cruise last minute. As in, we weren't even on the manifest. We cancelled our NCL Epic, and hopped on the Nieuw Amsterdam. What a delight! Check in was pretty easy, considering we were not checked in at ... Read More
My family and I went on this cruise last minute. As in, we weren't even on the manifest. We cancelled our NCL Epic, and hopped on the Nieuw Amsterdam. What a delight! Check in was pretty easy, considering we were not checked in at all. Our luggage was delivered in a timely fashion. Our room was an inside cabin, last minute. However, our room steward was always on top of everything. He was professional and friendly. All the staff a board the ship were the same, always there for directions or help. The food was amazing! We ate filet, lobster tail, osso buco, lamb chops and leg, a variety of Asian dishes. This was in the MDR or the buffet. We ate at Canelletto's, the Italian place, it was perfect. A family style dining experience. There were always pool chairs available. There are 2 pools and they are both heated! That is a plus if you have ever been on Carnival or NCL. The biggest bonus for me is the no smoking in the casino! It was great! The only smoking spot on the ship, that I saw, was top deck near the pool. We were also pleased with the tendering process. Easy to follow directions. Also, like I mentioned before, there are staff on each deck to help. I will say, I travelled with 2 teens. They really enjoyed the teen club. There are no water slides, video games or giant movies screens on this ship. However, there were a group of 10 teens that hung out and had fun. They played chess, ate lunch together, had scavenger hunts, and played bingo! We will definetly book again with HAL. We had a fabulous vacation! The staff, food and the effortless fun, make the decision to travel with them easy! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Holland goes above and beyond to make you as comfortable and welcomed as possible. By far it is the BEST cruise line around. The food was great. The entertainment was great. All staff personable. Our room attendants went above and ... Read More
Holland goes above and beyond to make you as comfortable and welcomed as possible. By far it is the BEST cruise line around. The food was great. The entertainment was great. All staff personable. Our room attendants went above and beyond. As did the waiters. Love everything about Holland America Cruise Line. The ship was spotless. You are treated like royalty everyday. On our last day we had a bar-b-que on the private island. It was wonderful. You would think that you would be given hot dogs and burgers. We had that plus steaks, chicken, fish tacos plus multiple salads, fruits, cupcakes and hand dipped ice cream. It was a nice change and we enjoyed it. I just wish that there was a little more shopping on their island. On the ship you never had to wait in lines. Everything moved quickly. Also you can’t forget about the bread pudding +++++++. OMG what a treat. Thank you again for a wonderful, relaxing time. I can’t wait to do it again... Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Dh and I (mid 40's) and ds (teenager) are seasoned HAL cruisers (all three star). This cruise was a family cruise that included us, our newest addition, a one year old baby girl, and both of our mothers, 6 total. Baby girl is a ... Read More
Dh and I (mid 40's) and ds (teenager) are seasoned HAL cruisers (all three star). This cruise was a family cruise that included us, our newest addition, a one year old baby girl, and both of our mothers, 6 total. Baby girl is a toddler so we had to make some special arrangement for her. My mother in law has some mobility issues, so again some special arrangements. We embarked in Ft Lauderdale on Sunday 2/3/2019. Our itinerary was sea day, Grand Turk, San Juan, St Thomas, sea day, and Half Moon Cay. We stayed at the Embassy Suites ($385 per room a night) in Ft. Lauderdale as we have 3 times before but this will be our last time there. Despite getting there at 1:30pm we were not allowed into our room until 5pm (4pm is check in) and the utter chaos of embarkation morning with the 5 tiny elevators being crammed full constantly and no help for those with mobility issues was too much. We will make other arrangements when cruising out of Ft Lauderdale next year. We used GoShuttle's private van service in Ft Lauderdale for all our transport needs as they were able to accommodate our whole family, all our luggage and they were very good with my mother in law and daughter. Embarkation: Once at Port Everglades at approx 10:50, embarkation was a breeze. We are 3 star Mariners so no special priority boarding but we still only waited until 11:45 to board. Our cabin was ready immediately. Ship: The ship is a great size. The decor is very HAL, more subdued and elegant, which is our speed. We do not care for Joe Farcus' designs as on Carnival and Costa. The layout is also very much like the Vista class. The HAL wrap around wide promenade is a favorite of ours. The retractable lido pool roof is great. We never felt crowded on the ship though the lido could get really busy at lunch. Cabin: We had three deck 4 aft starboard cabins. Ours was 4155. Great cabins. We had the stewards open the balconies up for us which was very nice. The balconies on this deck are deeper and we loved being nearer the ocean. Plenty of storage. Bath is small but has a tub which is nice for the toddler. We requested a Graco Pack n Play for the toddler and it fit next to the couch with plenty of room to spare. We also needed an extension cord for dh's cpap which the steward provided and set up. 2 normal plugs on the desk. 2 usb on the desk and 1 usb near each night stand. The bathroom counter was small but we had room for all our stuff as well as a bottle drying rack for the toddler. Cabin stewards: Great!! They were there when we needed them, took our unlimited laundry everyday, they exceeded our expectations. Food: Lido... good quality, great selection all three meals. The whole roasted suckling pig with crispy skin was a nice meal. The curry and chili crusted lamb chops were even better. High chairs WITH TRAYS available on request though we did have one attendant that had to go ask someone else where they were MDR... food was very good, service was too. We ate 4 dinners and 2 lunches there. Our table stewards were always on the ball. The meal did not feel over long. A highchair with a tray was available as soon as we sat down. The toddler was catered to. Her milk and fruit appetizer was there asap. The kid's menu was very kid friendly. Mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, french fries. For the older, more culinarily advanced kiddo, you can get a half portions of ANY mdr entree for your youngins. We even ordered her a crab cake appetizer because she ate half of mine. Gala night entrees were exceptional. The veal dishes and guinea with gnocchi were stand outs as were the baked crab cakes. Room service... great all around. We did at least continental breakfast with ample string coffee everyday. Write STRONG next to "coffee" if you like it that way and it will be that way. Good stuff. If you want something not on the nightly breakfast door tag, just write it on there. Other room service ordered by our group was great. The stuff from the mdr dinner menu was hot and just as tasty as that served in the mdr. Dive in burgers and dogs.... Mmmm, great burgers and dogs, FANTASTIC french fries. Get the Dive in sauce. Pinnacle Grill.... Good as always. I know some have said they see a change in the meat quality over the years and I don't doubt their observation but my 10 oz filet was almost tender enough to cut with a fork. We paid the $70 supplement for caviar (you only live once) and it was worth it to us. Blini, egg yoke and white, chives, red onion, and shiny brown teeny tasty fish eggs. When mom, mil, and son went they tried the the vegetarian (eggplant and ravioli) options and enjoyed them very much. Tamarind.... this was the best meal of the cruise for us. Service was great as well. As a group, we tried all the soups, all good but the laksa was the favorite. We tried satay sampler, the duck, and the rib appetizers and loved them all though I was partial to the ribs. We had a sushi sampler as well as tempura lobster and dragon roll. Again all were excellent. One of us has the Korean duck breast and the rest the wasabi crusted tenderloin. The tenderloin were perfectly cooked and all but one realy enjoy the crust. The other person just scrapped off some and enjoyed the rest. The duck was tender and good as well. The mushrooms and bok choy as sides were really top notch. So much flavor. Dh and I enjoyed a flask of sake each during our meal which was indeed included in our Elite beverage package. The only miss was the dessert, we all got the Tamarind chocolate at the suggestion of our server but the ginger flavor was too bold for us. It was alright though because we were all so full and we went for ice cream in the lido later that night. Staff/crew in general: Regardless of location, they were great. They loved on our daughter and made our moms feel so welcome. There was one grumpy bartender in the Pinnacle Bar but he made the best drinks on the boat so he is excused. Holland America really does pick the best people. It is their strength. Entertainment: Main Stage:First night was the Super Bowl which was presented minus commercials on the Main Stage complete with waiters taking beverage orders and attendants with trays of yummy game snacks. We saw a bit of one of the shows in the Main Stage but we are not big production people so that was really not a focus. What we did see seemed far more professional than what we have seen on HAL in the past. BB Kings... THIS is the place to be. The BB King All Stars were unreal. Candy Graham, the lady singer, could really bring the house down. The gentleman singer, I didn't catch his name, did a Marvin Gaye medley that was out of this world. 3 sets a night, first 2 were better attended but even the last set had plenty of folks dancing the night away (I am guilty as charged) Billboard Onboard... caught a couple of these sets. The pianists are very talented but I am just not the fan of this style as opposed to the old style single piano man type (think Jimmy Maddox or Stryker). But it was a good time and very very popular. We never made it to the Lincoln Center Stage though we are very much fans of classical music. But with the toddler, not the easiest thing to manage. We did miss having a jazz trio in the Ocean Bar. HAL has had some great jazz musicians there in the past. All in all though there was more than enough great music to keep us completely entertained. Drink package: First time with a drinks package. We did the Elite package as it offered a better wine selection. We were not disappointed. We never reached the 15 alcoholic beverage limit and we did get quite a few non-alcoholic beverages too; coffees, bottled water, milkshakes at the lido bar. It was worth every penny to us. We could upgrade to top shelf liquors in our mixed drinks as well or add a shot of Bailey's, Kahlua or Frangelico in our milkshakes. We also used one of our drink allowances to do a Mixology class which I highly recommend. They never fail to be fun. We did the Quench package for mom's and son. Very good choice. Never had to worry about bottled water or soft drinks plus all the mocktails at any bar and the special coffees at the Crow's Nest were covered too. Spa: First time without the Thermal Suite package. I missed it but knew with the toddler I would not have time for it. I did get an updo for both Gala nights. The stylist did a great job both nights but do go into your appointment with an IDEA of what you want or you risk looking like Tina Turner in Thunder Dome. I always peruse the daily spa specials and wasn't disappointed this time. Mini-facial, full body massage by a very strong/talented masseuse. I got my monies worth. Good experience. Ports: Standard Eastern Caribbean. Grand Turk is no longer a favorite sadly. The port area is too crowded and Margarittaville's DJ started getting vulgar pretty early in the day. We headed back to the ship at noon for lunch. We might try Jack's Shack for longer next time or just stay on the ship. I will say though that the cruise port staff were kind and the complimentary wheel chairs they offer are much appreciated. My mother in law has difficulty with long distances and that pier is a bit of a hike. The lady that helped her was a real sweet lady. We tipped her well. San Juan was very pleasant though very crowded. We got there early thankfully. Mom had never been to the forts (mil had years ago so she stayed on the ship until later) so we walked there and did that. Then we stopped in Old Town for shopping and back to the ship by 4:30pm. It rained all night so no more venturing out. St Thomas was very nice. We got a van cab to downtown. We went to Palm Passage and ate at Amalia Cafe. The food was great. Tapas, olives, gazpacho, sangria, paella, zarzuela.. fresh fish, very very good. I recomend this place. Email them for reservations though. It gets crowded. Half Moon Cay... we had the cabana with butler. It's worth it. The food was excellent and more than we all could eat. Unlimited drinks included is a very nice perk. But even without the cabana, HMC is idyllic. It is the perfect beach day. Disembarkation: Smooth. We were off by 8:45. A porter helped us with luggage and mil wheelchair. He whisked us through customs. We were on our transfer bus by 9:15. The kids: Our son who is a teen met up with some other teens onboard. The teen club is pretty free flowing and stays open on their schedule. He had fun. We also bought him the Quench Package which is unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. He used this very well on coffees and mocktails. We will buy it again. Our 1 year old daughter was too young for any shipboard activities but she was catered too and loved on by the crew and even many of the passengers. She was the "Rock Star" and we were merely her staff. I think the whole crew greeted her by name by the time we disembarked. She was very spoiled. Of note, FLL airport is a pit. I am sorry for those that like the airport. It is the worst international airport I have been in and I have been in some bad ones. It has been horrible for years but now it is intolerable. It is a quarter the size it needs to be to comfortably handle the number of travelers that move through it several days every week all fall and winter long. We will never go through FLL again. The staff are rude, the help for those with mobility issues is nil, the seating and food options are completely inadequate. We will fly into MCO (Orlando, a great airport with tons of options and cheaper flights), rent a car, and stay at a less expensive hotel north of Ft Lauderdale, do our pre-cruise shopping in comfort, and drop off the car embarkation day and take an Avis/Budget shuttle to the port. We will do the reverse when we disembark. In summary, everything HAL this trip was great. FLL airport, Embassy Suites, and Grand Turk were the only downers and things we will change in the future. We are already booked on Nieuw Amsterdam for next year we enjoyed the ship that much! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were so excited to be back on a Holland America Line (HAL) ship after a few cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We missed the classic European charm of HAL. The little Dutch/European touches -- fine dining at breakfast -- ... Read More
We were so excited to be back on a Holland America Line (HAL) ship after a few cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We missed the classic European charm of HAL. The little Dutch/European touches -- fine dining at breakfast -- with classic European or Asian breakfasts, the ginger served after dinner, escargot on formal nights etc. Oh, we were so disappointed. We were 11 people on the cruise and each of us felt the food was sorely lacking. Marinara sauces watered down so that it was like adding thick pink water to your pasta. It was absolutely flavorless. Granted I am vegetarian and so assumed it was just me. So, when my carnivore son also complained about the food -- I knew the problem was real. Even the cappuccinos and lattes that cost $5+ each -- tasted of weak poor quality coffee. I spent so much time hungry on this cruise -- literally hungry. The salad bar was a good solid bet. The poached egg station in the morning was nice. The oatmeal was made palatable by adding nuts from near the yogurt station. Each meal on the Lido deck was a matter of hunt and gather -- hunt for the base of your meal -- then gather items to make it flavorful and tasty. Actually felt hunger pangs on the cruise and left the ship on Sunday ravenous. Body was literally craving nutrition. I will applaud almost every member of the crew. They never failed to smile or greet you. The only one who seemed apathetic was the girl not excited about making our pasta with extra spinach or gluten free -- even though we fetched the spinach from the salad station ourselves. We have truly enjoyed the elegance and high standards on HAL prior to this cruise and selected it because an elderly family member was traveling with us. As a large group, we felt it was the best cruise line to get a quality experience. Sorely disappointed on so many fronts but mainly the food front. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find ... Read More
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find enough to keep them entertained in casino & on New Years Eve. The ship was clean and nicely furnished but nothing that really awed me. Food was average, but like most lines, the food has gone down in quality since catering to pay for dining rooms. Room service was good. Service was very good & staff was friendly. I found it more difficult to get port information as I could not make their info session on stage. Most ships I have been on have a TV channel devoted to ports of call, but i couldn't locate one on this ship. In room movie selection was very good. We loved the piano bar & it's proximity to the casino. I did find the atmosphere on the ship relaxing. I have been on 5 other HAL cruises & think they are a good value but not a lot of bells & whistles, especially on the pool decks like many of the other lines. I like the size of their ships. Boarding was easy, but Ft. Lauderdale port is rather chaotic, especially with 7 other ships there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was a family Christmas Vacation Cruise sponsored by my Mother, Step Father, Sister and my 13 year old Daughter. Words can't describe the entire experience from the moment our Taxi dropped us off at the Port Everglades to our ... Read More
This was a family Christmas Vacation Cruise sponsored by my Mother, Step Father, Sister and my 13 year old Daughter. Words can't describe the entire experience from the moment our Taxi dropped us off at the Port Everglades to our ten minute total check in time!! The ship looked perfect size from outside. AS soon as we got off elevator our Steward walked us to our room, his name was Amin and his partner was Ray Ban! The cabin had a balcony and plenty of storage!!! The space on balcony was perfect! Bedding was so very comfortable! The Dining was varied and perfect everwhere...our Dining Room Steward was YanMar and he walked us to our table each night and pushed the wheel chair for us!! Activity room for teens was active and safe! Service was friendly and prompt at ALL times!! We took tender to Grand Caymen..loved the public beach. Did Dolphin Swim at Ochos Rios.....Beach Park at Cozumel and Beach at Moon Cay. My favorite was water temperature and clarity of water at Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach. My least favorite was the taxi ride rip offs to the beaches in Cozmel which were very rocky! Cozmel seemed like a hustle...all other desitinations were more relaxed Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
From the moment we boarded this ship until we left we were treated so well on this cruise. All of the staff members went out of their way to provide top notch service. The cabin was clean, bright and spacious for a cruise line. We had a ... Read More
From the moment we boarded this ship until we left we were treated so well on this cruise. All of the staff members went out of their way to provide top notch service. The cabin was clean, bright and spacious for a cruise line. We had a partial view cabin but we were not disappointed as we could see the ocean every morning when we woke up. The cabin stewards did a great job keeping our cabin clean, put cute towels on our bed along with chocolate. When we were in the hallways our cabin steward always greeted us by name and asked if we were having a good time.The dining at night was excellent and the staff went above and beyond to ensure we had a great experience. There were many choices of food during the daytime, I really liked the homemade pizzas.There was plenty to do on board, the 2 pools, games, bars, casino, shows, trivia, bingo and even a 5k walk. We took advantage of so many activities throughout this cruise. The ports and shore excursions were so much fun. We traveled with our 21 year old son and he had so much fun, and he met quite a few people around his age. This is a top notch cruise line and not a party boat. We appreciated it being a little more on the quiet side versus some of the other cruise lines. We will definitely be back. It was a great cruise for older children and adults. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop ... Read More
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop .Next to the casino is billboard 2 pianos and vocalists playing requests, old hits , some sing along.Casino is friendly not bad for a cruise ship. Lincoln Center on stage is the place for classical music. Cello violin and such.The main stage has a different act every night, although this is where HAL needs the most improvement The ships singers and dancers and show just ok. Acts such as comedian and or magician not very good. Four ports of call not bad for a seven day cruise. On this particular cruise we were unable to tender to their private island because of rough seas, but we have been there before it’s a great beach day with free bbq. Private beach set up really nice. They also have beach houses for rent which I never thought would be worth it for a half day outing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We arrived a day early in Fort Lauderdale and stayed at Embassy Suites near the Cruise Port. We ended up taking the hotel's shuttle as Uber was too busy, we knew the cost was $9/person for the service. Hotel did not have room ready ... Read More
We arrived a day early in Fort Lauderdale and stayed at Embassy Suites near the Cruise Port. We ended up taking the hotel's shuttle as Uber was too busy, we knew the cost was $9/person for the service. Hotel did not have room ready so they gave us dining credit at their restaurant, which was mediocre even for free food. Embassy has a nice pool, coy ponds and water fall and conveniently located in front of Total Wine, a grocery store and restaurants for those that want to load up on soda, wine etc to take on the cruise. Picked up Uber at the hotel for $15 to pier 21. Took under 5 minutes to get through security at 11:15 and we were on the ship and in our room before 12pm as group 12 to embark. Easy. Checked out the ship, grabbed lunch at the Lido and hit the pool with the kids. The Edge was parked next to us, it is a beautiful giant ship. We were the last to leave of 7 ships in port that day just after 5pm. We sat down at dinner after 6 on level 2 for Open Dining. This was our least favorite experience of our week on NA. The waiter and his assistant were less than good at being waiters. As parents of kids with allergies we know it is our responsibility to check what has nuts and what doesn't, but HAL makes a big deal about allergy issues during our registration and express document so one would think that this would be taken care of when we sit down for dinner. On our previous cruise the assistant maitre d' discussed the allergy with my daughter prior to us getting food at the table, this time nothing not even the waiter asking anyone at the table. I found this odd. We watched one of our dishes be offered to the adjacent table and then placed back on what I call the waiter stand with the other three dishes for almost 10 minutes before it was served to us.... It doesn't matter what the dish is it isn't boing to be great after that long, our snapper was average the kids' steaks were not great. Ordered dessert and decaf, received regular and the wrong dessert. Anyway we knew what section not to be in the rest of the week. Sea day was relaxing, beautiful sunrise in the morning from the Explorer's Cafe. The kids and I ate in the Lido and one of them noticed a dolphin jump off the side of the ship that we enjoyed briefly of another few jumps, lucky. Lido breakfast is very good, fresh made eggs nearly anyway you want including omelets, poached and fried; but scrambled are pre-made. We love the eggs and crepe stations along with what else bacon. The chocolate croissants seemed to find my plate each morning as well. The service is always with a smile and the service at the tables for drink refills is impeccable. Lunch at the Dive-in for burgers, hot dogs chicken sandwiches and maybe the best fries you will ever have. The taco bar in the lido makes a nice guacamole and chip dish for a nice snack at the pool as well. Dinner at 5:15 as the reservation line for Open dining pushed us to have that or 745. You can also show up without a reservation anytime between 515 and 8 to be seated. They turned people away after 8 pm. We had a window table for the four of us this evening and had a wonderful waiter, Putu Subeka. First words out of his mouth were "does anyone have food allergies?" Made me realize that our first waiter failed at this step in his training. We requested Putu's section each night thereafter. He remembered how we liked steaks cooked the next night and that our daughter had a nut allergy, made recommendations of what we might like each night and that portions of certain dishes may be smaller than we would like... so order more than what the initial dish. He made our dining experience more enjoyable and we thank him for that. Favorite dinners were Gala night filet and lobster (don't be shy ask for another tail) and the veal cutlets. The veal was amazing! Our girls enjoy the steaks that we learned our a little cooked a little past what we prefer so we ordered them medium instead of medium well and that was to their liking. HAL has several dishes on the menu each night that don't change French Onion Soup, a salad, Salmon and a New York Strip steak. The steak now has a peppercorn sauce that we didn't enjoy, once ordered without this sauce it is a nice steak. Other dishes that stood out were the mushroom risotto as an excellent dish the, shrimp cocktail and coconut shrimp were our favorite appetizers. The first stop was Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. We were on the port side of the ship and felt like we were at the beach the pier is so close... I had a call to be on so unfortunately we didn't do an excursion here. The beach is nice, but I suggest going to the other side of the pier as the snorkeling is better and you're not staring at the ships. We were going to walk around the corner of the island for better snorkeling, but the sea was a little rough due to a storm blowing in, I had read the snorkeling was better there. We did see an octopus, huge barracuda and some coral, but unfortunately too many people walk on the coral in the shallow water and it is having a hard time recovering from the hurricane. There are better beach stops that Grand Turk, explore the island rather than sit at a small beach. Next port Old San Juan, PR. We had been here in the past for a long weekend so felt comfortable driving (warning the locals don't know how to use blinkers and often cut from one side of the freeway to the opposite to exit - worse than all of the bad Chicagoan drivers I know). We took and Uber to the airport to get a rental car for the day. Unfortunately getting in at 1pm and all aboard at 10:30 didnt allow us to see the forts, rainforest and beaches in one trip. We elected to show the kids the only rainforest in the USA, El Yunque, though it was beat up by Hurricane Maria. Half of this national forest is still closed, you can see several waterfalls from the road or short hike, but the best waterfall and hike in the park are still closed; El Mina Falls. The lookout which allows you to see the sea from the forest is still open. We saw and felt the waterfalls, found a bunch of lizards and decided to hit the beach. We chose to go the Isla Verde as it is beautiful and close to the airport for our rental return (the airport car rentals are open 24/7 vs most in OSJ that close at between 4 and 5). Great beach for perfect body surfing waves, chilling in clean soft sand. Stayed here past sunset and the other 3 got no-seeum bites due to this.... lesson learned. This was our favorite beach of the trip and only one with waves. The other beach that is easy to reach via car/Uber is Condado both are in safe areas with plenty of security. Back to return the rental car. Uber cannot pick up at SJU yet, so it was a $24 taxi ride back to the ship for a shower. Plenty of time to shop though many of the shops closed at 6 or 7. We walked by CVS/Walgreens along the water and then up towards OSJ and there was a gift shop open within 4 blocks of the water. Good selection of shirts, trinkets, and normal souvenir junk. Walked around SJU to show the kids the European feel of the city and paver streets. Such a cool city. Off to grab some Lido ice cream and a movie in the room. Our third stop in as many days was St. Thomas. We docked at sunrise in a gorgeous port staring at the island and its hills/mountains. We have snorkeled around much of North America and won't go on a "cattlemaran" with 50 plus people. I found a small charter called Bama Breeze V.I. who would customize the trip to our liking. I highly recommend them for any of your boating needs in the USVI, our only disappointment was that we booked the half day instead of the full day. Pay the extra to be picked up near your ship as we did. My phone plan through Verizon allows us to use our phones in US Territories so I was able to call the charter that our planned docking location had changed. We snorkeled in the crystal clear waters of Buck Island above a shipwreck and along the shoreline that has beautiful coral that is regrowing and is nearly recovered from the recent hurricanes. We saw a giant stingray buried in the sand and two octopi amounts the dozens of fish species, great spot. There were other tours here, but we were able to stay away from them for the most part. Off to Water Island for a rest stop and then to Honeymoon Beach (on Water Island). Honeymoon beach is protected in a bay is a marina, has several bars, the softest white sand, grassy swim area, and lots of TURTLES. We swam/snorkeled with 7 or 8 turtles here for nearly an hour. They are truly amazing to watch in the water and so rare to see that many at once. You can take a ferry from the mainland to Water Island. Captain Doug dropped us near the ship. A quick change and off to downtown for a souvenir or two. St. Thomas has open sided vans that they use for taxis, they drive on the wrong side of the road and frankly there was no way I was driving here. $4 per person to get a ride to downtown on the taxi. Found the market to be lackluster and headed to a shop. The taxi dropped me off at the grocery store, Pueblo (I think), for Dt. Mountain Dew. That is right Dt. Mountain Dew on St. Thomas, not in or on Puerto Rico. My wife is addicted to it so we needed to get a 12 pack, $6 wasn't bad for an island stop and well worth it for my wife. The "supermarket" as they call it is a short walk from Crow or Crown Bay (people called it both). A relaxing sea day followed by a tender ride to Half Moon Cay. While the beach at HMC is gorgeous, it is fairly crowded with 2 ships in for the day, the food is below average at the "cook out" and the swimming areas are fairly small. This was our least favorite stop on the Eastern Caribbean Voyage. Disembarkation day was a quick breakfast, finish packing and then waited in the US customs line for maybe 15 minutes. Easy. Uber to the airport and on our way home to cold WI. No vacation is perfect, but this one was amazing. We made memories as a family, had a lot of laughs, wonderful service, delicious food and met a lot of friendly people along the way. Thank you HAL for taking great care of us and putting your best foot forward for your guests. I almost forgot, the captain came on the loudspeaker at 630p on our last sea day to make an announcement to tell passengers to stay off the open decks and balconies. One of our fellow passengers had to be evacuated off the ship... A somber moment in our cruise, we were told the passenger made it to the hospital and was doing well... We pray that this passenger and the family are doing well. We hadn't seen this before and it certainly amazing that the Coast Guard is able to take someone from the ship within a moments notice (an hour or so...) talented selfless people. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We had a a group that ranged from kids to seniors on a Thanksgiving Cruise. We are avid cruisers but had never been on Holland America. We all loved it! The food was amazing and the entertainment was better than we expected. The evening ... Read More
We had a a group that ranged from kids to seniors on a Thanksgiving Cruise. We are avid cruisers but had never been on Holland America. We all loved it! The food was amazing and the entertainment was better than we expected. The evening music options were fantastic. The ship was kept immaculate and had the most attentive crew onboard. They definitely had less of a party vibe and a more relaxed, calmer mature feel to the ship. I heard that there are plenty of kids on board when it’s a holiday or summer. I enjoyed the quieter aspects of it but could see how a younger adult crowd might want a little more excitement. The kids club was fun for the kids but very basic as far as the activities planned. It was a mixture of games with a little arts and crafts mixed in. Their private island was fantastic with plenty of beach chairs and a gorgeous beach and view. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My wife and I were on Holland America's Niew Amsterdam for its 18-day cruise through the Panama Canal, departing San Diego October 3, 2018 and arriving in Ft. Lauderdale on the 21st. Though we had many good-to-great experiences on ... Read More
My wife and I were on Holland America's Niew Amsterdam for its 18-day cruise through the Panama Canal, departing San Diego October 3, 2018 and arriving in Ft. Lauderdale on the 21st. Though we had many good-to-great experiences on this voyage we also had far too many disappointing ones. Highlights of the good-to-great experiences are as follows: 1. The ship's decor is spectacular, a feast for the eyes, beautifully color-coordinated with attractive furniture, fixtures and (especially) carpeting. 2. Staff universally were dedicated to pleasing passengers. Theirs was a "can do" attitude, always served with a smile. 3. Though a large ship (2,000+ passengers), it never felt crowded and there was never a sense of having to stand in long lines. Even entering and exiting the ship was an effortless process, always well-managed. 4. Even with winds and relatively high swells no one seemed to get motion-sick. The ship was wonderfully stable at all speeds. 5. Entertainment was excellent, especially the five young women (playing two violins, one viola, one cello and one piano) in the Lincoln Center Stage and the two individuals playing piano at night in the Billboard Lounge. The Holland America singers and dancers in the Main Stage also were excellent at their crafts. 6. There were many dining venues. Ratings below are from 1 (average) to 4 (excellent): Food Quality Service Value Lido Buffet--2 1 3 Main Dining--6 2 2 Tamarind--3 4 4 3 Pinnacle Grill--2 4 4 3 Canaletto--3 3 4 3 Sel de Mer--2 4 4 3 There were upcharges ranging from $15 per person at Canaletto to $49 per person at Rudi's Sel de Mer. A value rating was given only to the last four restaurants, which were the upcharge restaurants. The numbers following each restaurant's name are the number of nights we ate there. In total we spent $596 in upcharge costs on this trip. Having one bad experience aboard a Holland America ship is understandable and acceptable. Nothing is perfect. However, we had eight experiences that were disappointing (spa, hydropool, food quality in Lido buffet and Main Dining, smoking on ship, bingo, ports of call scheduled, ports skipped and our excursion-related drop-off at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. 1.Spa services were seriously over-priced and spa staff members were unpleasantly aggressive in selling spa products and services. Spa promotions appeared at first blush to offer real bargains but the fine print said otherwise. My wife and I had two couples massages, both of which were fine for my wife. My first massage was so mechanical in was not at all relaxing, so I requested a different therapist for the second one and she was fine. The first therapist was extremely pushy in selling me skin products, which I promptly returned (unused) three days after I'd purchased them. The spa staff person reluctantly processing my refund made it clear she was not happy with my return. 2. The spa's hydropool was OK but was incredibly over-priced. We were not familiar with the Niew Amsterdam's hydropool but assumed it was as large and enjoyable as the one on the Holland American's Koningsdam, which it was not. At $599 for the entire cruise--no daily pricing offered-the hydropool was a total ripoff. We and one other couple apparently were the only two families naive enough to pay $599 so we had the hydropool to ourselves the entire cruise. 3. If the food in the Lido Buffet and Main Dining had been better we would not have gone to the upcharge restaurants so frequently, far more often than we originally intended to do, spending an unbudgeted $596 as a result. 4. Smoking was permitted on the aft deck of the ship on the same level as the Sea View swimming pools, one of the two pools on this ship. We would have enjoyed using that pool because it was not covered by a roof, and it was wide open in terms of views whereas the main pool was enclosed on four sides. Also, the main pool became hot and humid when the roof was covered, which happened frequently. 5. Bingo was over-priced and my perception is that it was literally impossible to win the large cash prize until the last day bingo was played. Consequently, passengers who played bingo daily in order to try winning the large prize (growing from about $1,400 to about $2,200 at the end) spent a lot of money buying cards that probably could not win until the last day, when numbers continued to be called until a winner yelled "bingo!" I say "probably could not win" for two reasons. First, to cover 24 squares (plus "free") within the first 50 numbers called is mathematically almost impossible. Second, because the ship knew which cards were being played it would be easy to program the electronics of the numbers being called to assure that those numbers ensure no one could win. 6. As readers can learn by reading the itinerary for this cruise, the ports of call are not all that great to begin with. We have cruised on Holland America at least seven or eight times and another 5 to 10 times on other ships so we should have known better than to select this cruise. It fit conveniently into our schedules, and included the Panama Canal, but we could have chosen better. 7. We had more sea days than planned (10 days on an 18-day cruise when we had no opportunity to go ashore, versus 8 days originally scheduled as Sea days). High winds prevented the ship from entering one port in Mexico and in another port (Coast Rica) high swells prevented passengers from boarding the ship's tenders for the ride to shore. Both decisions reflected the captain's concerns for the health and safety of the passengers and crew. Nonetheless, Holland America could have offered some token as recompense for the missed ports, but did not. 8. Because we would be getting off the ship October 21 at 8:30 a.m. and our flight home was not until after 5 p.m. we signed up for a four-hour land and sea excursion, which was delightful. The bad part about it was the tour director, Bonnie, having the bus driver take her back to her car, which was parked at the port, before the driver took 40-50 of us to the airport. When we got to the airport two things happened. First, there were some missed luggage issues, eventually corrected with the help of other bus drivers, because our driver spoke virtually no english. The tour director should have been on our bus, at the airport, to resolve those problems instantly. Second, in sending us off to the airport Bonnie said I was to exit the bus at the third of three stops, but using mainly gestures the driver insisted we exit at the second stop, which turned out to be considerably farther from our check-in counter than the third stop would have been. By dumping us out at the second stop the driver then had an empty bus and could skip the third stop. It was a long walk, up an incline, for me. And if a kind airport employee had not offered to get a wheelchair for my wife it would have been a much longer and tougher walk for her. Overall our cruise had many attractive and enjoyable features. Unfortunately, it also had far too many disappointing experiences. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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
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 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
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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