21 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Family Cruise Reviews

Food was awesome. Shows were good but only 5 and one was a sorta redo with same comedians different material. They did two “Taks” to replace shows. Although the talks were interesting they should have had them for the afternoon of Sea ... Read More
Food was awesome. Shows were good but only 5 and one was a sorta redo with same comedians different material. They did two “Taks” to replace shows. Although the talks were interesting they should have had them for the afternoon of Sea days , where there was only two things to do . Either sit by the pool or a gamble. Very few trivia contests. No scavenger hunt, no Newlywed game. They did have two great pianists but you couldn’t get a seat unless you arrived a half hour before showtime. The same was true of the Soul Music show and the Violinists. Never enough seating. If ships are going to accommodate thousands of guests they need thousands of seats. Casino small but non smoking. On the first evening we heard a sound like a barking dog. We called the front desk and they sent someone up to the hallway to check. They called me and they said there is no barking dog and I told them that it sounded like a barking dog , that I doubt it it was actually a dog on the ship. The following day I called again and reported the same issue. This time they actually sent someone up to my state room and I took them out to the deck so that they could hear the barking dog sound loud and clear . It turned out to be the door between the balconies was vibrating and sounded like a barking dog. They repaired it and we slept in quiet the following evenings. I wish they had believed me the first evening it would’ve been Nice to get a good night of rest on the first evening of the cruise. On the next to The last day of the cruise everyone had to go down to Deck three and present their passport at different times. Our groups time was 830. We normally went to breakfast in the dining room at 8:30 so we thought it would be good to go after the passport presentation. We went and found the dining room was closed. We were told the only breakfast available was at the buffet. Apparently thousands of other passengers were told the same. We walked around the buffet for 20 minutes before finding a table. The table was on a level with a step. Thanks to that step my sister-in-law fell and broke her shoulder bone. There should not be steps on a ship that caters to the elderly, they should be ramps. After the accident , my wife and her sister spent six hours in the hospital. The reason the time was so lengthy is because the x-rays they took on the ship were faulty. That was due to the fact that the doctor gave them the wrong x-rays with the wrong person‘s name on the x-rays. So the hospital had to take new x-rays to confirm that my sister-in-law in fact did have a broken shoulder. Thank the Lord, this all happened early in the day , due to the fact the ship was departing the Port at 4:30 and my wife and both her sisters did not return to the ship until 330. Bring your own soda . I called to order two diet cokes and they advised they would deliver Wednesday. Disembarked Saturday still no Diet Coke in stateroom. Needless to say, I will never take another Holland America cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
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
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 have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were ... Read More
We have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were wonderfully smooth and a brilliant blue. The Retreat cabana was a perfect retreat and the service in was fantastic. My only complaint was the food in the main dining room was salty and bland thankfully we spent the rest of the cruise eating in the specialty restaurants. The entertainment is exceptional and we went to the main stage every night for the late show. We'd cap off the night with a visit to the BB's Blues Club. The musicians were amazing and we enjoyed watching them. Finally, the private island, Half Moon Cay was perfect. We loved being alone on the island and had private bike/hike tour along with a relaxing day at the beach. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the ... Read More
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the service is good. We are 55 & 52 and seasoned cruisers mostly on Celebrity & RCCL. This was our first HAL experience and we were looking forward to it after several months of anticipation. Our overall impressions of HAL and the Nieuw Amsterdam was favorable however we will not be sailing on her or HAL again. I will attempt to highlight the various aspects of our experience. Dining: We enjoy a variety of fine dining when we cruise and the food in the specialty dining areas are exceptional with the exception of Tamarind. The Tamarind service is forced, rushed and the food quality is mediocre. Pinnacle Grille was the saving grace for our cruise. We dined early in the cruise & went back for Rudi’s Sel De Mer pop up and also for lunch. It was without question the shining part of our cruise. The MDR was also very good even though they screwed up our anytime dining reservations which they would not correct - we did end up getting our originally requested time but had to sit with others. They turned out to be great folks. We also chose MDR for breakfast - fantastic service, selection and taste. We chose this option due to the buffet being the worst of any of the 14 cruises we have experienced. The design is awful, and the selection is extremely limited. Since they serve everyone individually the lines are long for a very limited selection of poor quality items. The MDR is recommended for breakfast & lunch - avoid the buffet at all costs. Even the cookies in the afternoons (cut from a log and not homemade) are limited and the “extra” desserts after dinner have one or two selections at most. I did not try Dive In (though I hear the fries are very good) or the pizza since the lines were very long and the pizza joint was located by the adult pool adjacent to the smoking area which made that entire pool deck undesirable at times depending on the wind direction. If the wind direction is towards the inner doors to the back of the buffet, it also fills with cigarette smoke. Canaletto was very nice and there are several options to share - nice option for an inexpensive specialty spot. Stateroom. We had a Signature Suite and it was just refurbished in Dec. Nice Job HAL! It was an amazing room with excellent technology and appointments. The cabin stewards were exceptional. The very large flat screen TV had many free movie options and it was an excellent add. The bathroom was very large with both a bath with shower and a separate shower adjacent. The standing shower however is not for anyone over 5’10”. The balcony is quite large and allowed for very comfortable room service breakfast options in order to avoid the buffet. Entertainment: the production shows use great video visuals however the main vocalist was not to our liking and had a very loud brash voice. We did not stay long at the two we attempted. The BBC World w/ live music concert was exceptional due to the pairing of musicians from Lincoln Center Stage. The LCS intimate venue is a brilliant add to HAL. These young musicians are outstanding, and we visited almost every performance. BRAVO! The guest vocalist impressionist was also very good however the comedian was not. We visited the guest vocalist encore performance that same evening. BB Kings had some very good acts, but it can get a bit loud and crowded. Very good though! A new addition of the Billboard on Board sounds like it would be a good fit, but it is directly across from the open casino and the slots overpower and confuse the music coming from the dual pianos. They will fix that someday, I’m sure. I did do two America’s Test Kitchen presentations and they were very informative and well done - a really cool idea on a cruise ship. The Music Walk is a winner. There is very little other music in lounges or public areas other than these 3 venues. I think this is a big miss from HAL which Celebrity excels in. Activities: this ship is just boring. I know HAL is for the older crowd but give us something to do! Each engagement segment of interest lasts only about 30 minutes and then you wait 3 hours until something else meets your interest. The pool decks are very uninteresting and open. The family pool area has a retractable roof which they do open and close appropriately. The adult pool area at the aft is very uninteresting and as mentioned prior, has the smoking area attached with detracts from its appeal. The pool decks are plain with no real activities noticed. They gym on board has ample equipment and is not too crowed based upon the older demographic of the fellow passengers. We were able to work out easily for 5 of our 7 days onboard. We did not use the spa and the excessive up-charge to the vitality pool was a turn off. Bars: This is something that I found absolutely ridiculous, in that very few bars are open during the day other than the pool bars. The mid ship lower level bars are attached to specialty dining and once dining reservations are over or not operational, these locations are not open. What a waste of income possibilities! The ship closes down at 9:30 except for B.B. Kings. Do not pay full price for the drink package since BOTH parties in the stateroom must purchase if the other wants one. We are not heavy drinkers, but it is nice to have a glass of wine and not have to search it out. Happy hours begin at 4:00 and is decent with a $2 second cocktail which they deliver together. As a side note, we did find that the Gallery Bar beside the casino was attended most days and had sports on the TV within a very nicely decorated side room - not one you would expect sports to be shown.... Go Cubs opening day! Service: Our stateroom attendant was excellent and left us alone for the most part and made the room while we were either at the gym or at breakfast most mornings. The overall feeling though from most of the crew and service people is that they just are not happy. They seldom had a smile on their face until interaction with a passenger and most of the wait staff, servers, bar tenders, and even officers looked tired. We thought that this might be the end of a contract period and they were looking forward to a break. I have never noticed this before on any of our other cruises. Another very peculiar item was that they do not push the hand sanitizer at all and many of the dispensers were empty. Maybe since they only let the staff serve the food at the buffet, that may counter this. It was a disappointment hearing so much about the HAL service. Overall: Due to the buffet design and quality, lack of activities, and missing supplemental live music options outside of the main venues, we have crossed off HAL for any future cruises. We also were very disappointed in the level of engagement from the staff and a ship with little to offer before dinner, or even on a sea day. We met many HAL loyalists and understand that not all lines are for everyone. We thought we would enjoy the traditional cursing style of HAL but we are looking forward to returning to Celebrity next March on the new Celebrity Edge. I hope this is a helpful review. If you are a MDR type for breakfast and lunch and enjoy sitting in quiet reading a book or playing games or cards with others, this is your cruise line! We enjoy a bit more action. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Main dining room service was as bad as we've had in seventeen cruises.The ship is nice and the entertainment was good. Our stateroom steward was great. Food was just so so except good in Pinnacle grill. Did not get to dock at ... Read More
Main dining room service was as bad as we've had in seventeen cruises.The ship is nice and the entertainment was good. Our stateroom steward was great. Food was just so so except good in Pinnacle grill. Did not get to dock at Dominican Republic due to high winds and seas. Snorkeling at Turks and Caicos was nice. Good clear water with nice fish. We had invited some friends who had never sailed on Holland before and will probably never will again due to poor service in dining room by waiters and wine stewards. They usually travel on Princess and said they will probably stay with them. My wife and I were embarrassed and disappointed. The last night our friends weren't even served their meal while everyone else had theirs. They had to go asks for theirs and of course by then it was cold so they had to wait until another one could be brought up from the kitchen. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
It seemed as though every square inch was occupied. The ship was probably over-capacity with family members jamming into staterooms. Of the 27 cruises we've sailed on eleven lines, this was by far the most crowded. At times it was ... Read More
It seemed as though every square inch was occupied. The ship was probably over-capacity with family members jamming into staterooms. Of the 27 cruises we've sailed on eleven lines, this was by far the most crowded. At times it was impossible to find a seat in the buffet area or some of the entertainment venues. Still, the ship was in excellent condition. Not pretty or grand in style, but in good condition. Among the positive features, the food was generally quite good. HAL seems to focus on the types of foods that Americans like to eat, and they do that well. This was some of best food we've had on a mass market line. Great fitness center with lots of useful equipment. Smooth embarkation, disembarkation, and handling of all ports. Unfortunately service was sketchy, at times very good, but at others completely missing the mark. Our small group had dinner orders mixed up twice in the main dining room. We did not meet our cabin steward until the end of the second day, and the cleaning team were seldom seen afterwards. They didn't replenish a couple of items, and unfortunately there was no way to call housekeeping directly. We had to go through the Neptune Lounge concierge for simple requests, which was not always successful, causing repeated requests before we got what we needed. I would like to explain "anytime dining," but I don't understand it, and it does not seem to work. The info in our suite indicated that one can either make reservations or just show up for a table. Unfortunately there were no reservations available for any night of our 7-day cruise (and the reservation operator often did not pick up the phone), and often if one just shows up, one has to wait in a long line. Finally by Day 4, we learned that the Neptune Lounge Concierge had a work-around available and was able to make reservations for our final 4 nights. Other than the band in BB King's, which was smokin' hot, the entertainment on board was boring standard cruise ship fare. Finally, we loved our Neptune Suite, which was comfortably designed. It was spacious so we spent a lot of time there avoiding the crowds outside. We have booked another HAL cruise for next spring, chosen because of the itinerary. I'm sure we will have an adequate experience, but out expectations are low. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was our first cruise with HAL, we are Elite with Celebrity, and have been on several other cruises, on other lines as well. We traveled with our 12 year old daughter who has also been on several cruises (and doesn't need rock ... Read More
This was our first cruise with HAL, we are Elite with Celebrity, and have been on several other cruises, on other lines as well. We traveled with our 12 year old daughter who has also been on several cruises (and doesn't need rock climbing walls, etc. to keep her happy). The pros: The crew was just great, loved the friendly service in Lido rather than self service, ship is still in great condition for it's age, food in Tamarind was outstanding, PG was also really great. Excellent embarkation, DR Amber Cove a great port (to leave it and go out and explore). Cabin was clean (but very tiny). Exploration's coffee drinks and coffee in general were great. Dive In and Slice were both fun. BB Kings was outstanding! The cons: The food, if we didn't book a beverage and dining package, this wouldn't have been such an enjoyable cruise. Food in the main dining room was so disappointing, the worst we have had on any line. We also did not like the up-sell of food in the MDR and specialty restaurants. The daily activities left much to be desired. I knew that HAL's clientele was much older, but didn't think the whole ship would cater towards this demographic. There was literally nothing to do during sea days unless you wanted to hear a lecture on how to ease back pain or something similar. Purchasing the Elite Beverage Package I would have expected better wine offerings. The rest of the drinks were fine. Club Hal was fine, but they close for hours at a time during the day and evening and end for the night at 11(which I guess the later is fine for this line since the entire ship is shut down at 11). To sum it up, we still had a fun cruise and would cruise Hal again, but only if it was a very busy, exciting itinerary where were off the ship most of the days. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our 47th cruise. Only the second on HAL. No reason for not using them more other than price/destination offered by other lines seemed to fit our plans better. We've been on NCL 22 times. We really like Celebrity and ... Read More
This was our 47th cruise. Only the second on HAL. No reason for not using them more other than price/destination offered by other lines seemed to fit our plans better. We've been on NCL 22 times. We really like Celebrity and Princess. Now, about Nieuw. The Good ... was the price and the extras provided by CruCon. $1600 per person with $525. in onboard credit + free drink package for two + dinner for two at their specialty restaurant. If you like to walk, it's one of the few ships that actually has a deck that goes right around the ship - 3 laps = 1 mile. Our balcony cabin #4006 was well appointed and very quite - I guess it's been well soundproofed. The Bad ... the entertainment was mediocre. The worst was the comedian. He chose to include three mentions of his autistic daughter as part of his comedy presentation -- who does that? Although the table and wine server staff in the dining room were very attentive, the menu was not very creative. The breakfast buffet actually has a server for almost anything you'd like to have so the theme seems to be ... wait. It's a very unusual set up for a buffet. Finding someone to clean a table for us in the buffet dining room was difficult, not automatic. I had to go searching for a table cleaner more than 6 times during our week. How's this for a safety/muster drill ... we went to the station when we were told just to find no ship staff there. We were told over the PA (after a 1/2 hour wait) that there were still passengers trying to board (@4pm). So, instead of having the late comers attend another muster drill when they got on the ship, they made 2,000 people wait for the few. The Ugly ... I mentioned the free drink package. The first time I ordered a drink, the waiter told me I had to tell them each time I ordered that I was in the beverage package. There wasn't a # or a bar code or anything on my ship's card to notify the server that I wasn't to be charged. That seemed strange so I asked the bartender. He told me they have no way of knowing when a passenger is on their beverage plan ... including ... there's no mention of it on his computer when he punches in my order. He simply said "not to worry, all beverage charges will be eliminated when they reach the ship's office". Which brings me to my other Ugly ... as mentioned, we had a dinner for 2 free gift from CruCon (valued at $70 that even included the tip). The meal was very good. I left an additional tip for the waiter and the wine steward. Two days later, I asked to see a copy of my ship's statement and was angry to find that my free dinner for 2 was actually charged to my account, $70! Absolutely ... totally ... unacceptable. If I hadn't taken the time to check my bill before departing on Saturday morning, I would have been stuck in a very long line of people at the ship's front desk. Needless to say, I checked my bill at the end of each day on the trip to see if any of my bar charges found their way onto my bill (they didn't). HAL has some work to do. They need to send some spotters onto other ships to see how easy it is to be more efficient. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My family and I went on our first Holland America Cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam for the 4/2/17-4/9/17 Western Caribbean cruise. We were booked in a Neptune Suite. Check in went smoothly with a slight delay on boarding due to a large ... Read More
My family and I went on our first Holland America Cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam for the 4/2/17-4/9/17 Western Caribbean cruise. We were booked in a Neptune Suite. Check in went smoothly with a slight delay on boarding due to a large amount of cruisers who stayed on board from the previous cruise needing to be cleared by customs. Our room was ready when we boarded and we found the room was great, with lots of space for our family of four and a spacious balcony to enjoy. We found all the workers to be great, friendly and helpful. We had reserved a cabana on the Lido Pool deck and it was perfect to have our own space while the kids swam, and the cabana service was top notch. Food was good in the dining room, lido, and we enjoyed Tamarind and the Pinnacle Grill, both were excellent. We booked all of our excursions though Holland America prior to the cruise. On Half Moon Cay we booked a cabana and cabana service, again excellent service by our server Daniel. On Grand Cayman we did a trolley ride around the Island and enjoyed that as well. Everything had been great up to this point. For Cozumel we booked an excursion through Holland America called La Casa en la Playa: A Special Retreat. My family (My husband and two children)and I were placed into a Taxi Van with 2 other couples from our ship to be taken over for our excursion. This taxi only had a few working seat belts and car batteries and other debris all throughout. We were driving down the highway when we were involved in a significant car accident. This is where our trip went down hill. The injuries from the accident ruined the rest of our trip. We were seen by medical on board, but I feel like the staff were only looking out for Holland America's protection instead of my best interest and care as their patient. We were sent flowers by Holland America Guest Relations manager Melanie, and assured SEVERAL times that we were under Holland America's care and insurance at the time of the accident since it was their excursion, and not to worry that all my medical bills post cruise would be covered. Not only did this turn out to be false, but we have felt ignored and dismissed since we disembarked. It took almost 6 weeks for someone to even respond to our inquiry on who to speak with in regards to our medical bills, and then we were told it was not Holland America's responsibility at all, that it would be the excursion companies responsibility. To say that I'm disappointed by the lack of customer service or concern during all this is an understatement. Prior to this incident I was ready to book another cruise on the spot with Holland America, but now I'm so disappointed in their lack of concern or care for their customer's, that I will not be sailing with them again. Our once a year family vacation was ruined, and we are not only out the money we spent on the cruise that we didn't get to enjoy, but we are also out the money we spent on the drink packages that went unused after the wreck, and out a ton of money in medical bills, with no one taking responsibility. We would say cruising with them is fine, but we would say avoid booking excursions directly through them and don't expect much in the form of customer service from them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We like to go as a family on a cruise during this week because it is our Spring Break back home and all of us are off work and school for the week. This was our 7th cruise on Holland America and our 30th overall. We have also sailed on ... Read More
We like to go as a family on a cruise during this week because it is our Spring Break back home and all of us are off work and school for the week. This was our 7th cruise on Holland America and our 30th overall. We have also sailed on (Carnival, Princess, RCI, MSC and Costa.) This cruise sailed to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay. This cruise had a mixture of passengers of all ages. This probably had something do to with the fact that Canada and some states in the US have spring break during the dates we sailed. Embarkation – Quick and easy. We were onboard by 12:00 and our room was ready shortly after. Ship – The ship is pretty and classy. The ship was clean and well-maintained for its age. Cabin – We were in an obstructed view cabin. The lifeboat did not block the whole window, so we could still see the ocean and get some light. We had a shower/bath tub which is nice compared to the small stand-up shower other cruise lines have. I liked the TV mounted to the wall with a selection of newer movies and tv-shows. The pull -out couch was surprisingly comfortable. Our room stewards, Rudy and Bong, were very attentive and were always able to meet our needs. Entertainment – I absolutely loved the BB Kings Club and I really enjoyed listening to the music. One of our travel companions never missed a show. We listened to Adagio one night waiting for dinner, it was also good. The singer at the Piano Bar was good too. Dining Room – Overall, the food in the Manhattan Dining Room was nicely done. We did not eat at the specialty dining restaurants. We had Anytime Dining. Service was slow the first night but got better on the second night. I enjoyed everything that I ordered and I thought the desserts were all good. I would like to mention Winda who worked at the front of the dining room each night. I think she was an Assistant Matrie‘d. She arranged for our family to sit together with the time that we wanted every night. She always greeted us with a smile and made sure we were taken care of. The waiters were pleasant and were willing to accommodate any requests we had. We also went to the Mariner Lunch on the first day and enjoyed it. I would recommend the peanut butter pie for dessert, it was to die for. Lido – The Lido Buffet had a great breakfast selection. Eggs benedict, omelets, bacon and sticky buns was my breakfast of champions. LOL. Coffee was alright. I enjoyed the “Make your own” Pasta at lunch time. The hamburgers and cheese fries at the Dive-In were awesome and well-worth the wait. I personally prefer being served instead of touching the tongs and serving myself. I think Holland is the only line that does this still. Some people don’t wash their hands and then touch the tongs or avoid using the tongs at all and pick out cookies with their hands. If I need to wait a few extra minutes in line to stay healthy, I am ok with that. Fitness Centre – I used the gym frequently throughout the cruise. It was not busy so I didn’t need to wait to use any of the equipment. The built-in TV’s were a cool feature. Ports – We have been to all 4 ports before. Grand Turk was beautiful as always. We relaxed by the Margaritaville pool and went snorkeling in the ocean. In San Juan, we went to the Big Fort and toured around the city. In St. Maarten, we went to the beach close to where the water taxi docks, which is always a good beach spot. In Half Moon Cay, we sat at the beach and just relaxed. We had beautiful sunny days for all our port stops and we all came back with nice tans. Bad NO DECK PARTY! I was bummed there was no deck party. That is one of my favorite parts on every cruise. On the 5th day of the cruise, the toilet in our room would not flush. We called to ask for an attendant to come look at it and he told us the whole floor was having toilet problems and it will hopefully be fixed soon. The problem was fixed by the time we got back from port, however, parts of the hallway smelled like a sewer for the remainder of the week. Activities during the day were non-existent on this ship. Lots of name that tune, bingo and trivia during the sea days but not much by the pool. They seemed to have lots of activities for kids during the day from what I heard though. I personally was not that impressed with the entertainment in the Showroom at Sea. I have seen some phenomenal shows on past cruises (Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival etc.) but the production shows on this ship were just ok. The days in ports were not long enough. We are used to 8 AM – 5 PM port days so we ended up getting close to being “pier runners” on more than one occasion. Most of the lunch stations at the buffet were closed by 2:30 PM which was a bit inconvenient, unless you want to shorten your day to make the buffet before it closes. The only stations open were pasta, desserts, pizza and Dive In. Staff cut-backs in the public areas was noticeable especially in the Lido. Ugly This by far was the “ugly” part of my cruise experience. After our day in Grand Turk, we went to the Tea in the Ocean Bar. We had our travel companions with us. The tea used to be in the dining room but now it is in a bar, meaning limited seating. An older lady and her husband were sitting at the back of the bar. I am not sure when they arrived. The tea started at 3:00 so most of the food was picked over by the time they got there I am assuming. A server walked up to them and offered her what was left on the tray which made her stand up and start yelling at the poor server. She started yelling louder and louder and got in the server’s personal space. Everyone was turned around looking at her. She was swearing at the server and told him she was disgusted "they missed her table." What disgusted me the most was this other lady who thought this outburst was acceptable, made a nasty comment out loud about the service/staff and then applauded her behavior by clapping. The supervisor apologized and came back a few minutes later with a brand-new tray of cupcakes and I think that might have diffused the situation. I applaud the supervisor for trying to satisfy the passenger even though desserts identical to the ones served at the tea were just an elevator ride away to deck 9. Overall, We enjoyed our cruise but felt that Holland has cut-back since our last voyage with them. My favorite parts of the cruise were the BB Kings Club, the food and the ports of call. :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I loved all of the port excursions, dining, the cabin we had (a room on the verandah),and the service was amazing. The only thing that I have a complaint about is the activities. I have a 10 year old girl and she didn't really like ... Read More
I loved all of the port excursions, dining, the cabin we had (a room on the verandah),and the service was amazing. The only thing that I have a complaint about is the activities. I have a 10 year old girl and she didn't really like Club HAL, the kids club onboard. So we tried to find activities that would be suitable for all of us to go to. But there was hardly anything on the daily schedule that was either entertaining or interesting to all age groups. Most of the activities seemed to cater seniors only. But overall our trip was good and we enjoyed it. The places we liked most were the Explorations Café and the Showroom at Sea. I would recommend this for people who would like to go on a cruise for relaxation and not for the fun and parties. This may not be cruise for you if you have kids who like to do more than just play trivia. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had just a great time last year on our repositioning cruise (Princess Line) that we decided to go for a 2nd repositioning cruise this year. A short cruise is perfect way to take a break from our hectic work schedules and spend some ... Read More
We had just a great time last year on our repositioning cruise (Princess Line) that we decided to go for a 2nd repositioning cruise this year. A short cruise is perfect way to take a break from our hectic work schedules and spend some family bonding time with our 2 twenty-something years old children. We wanted to try Holland America Line, as we heard about their reputation of great customer service, classy ship décor, high standard of food quality and choices. We must state that we are very disappointed with the availability of food choices and food quality. It is the worst amongst the 12 cruises we have been on. Generally, customer service is decent, but would not consider it to be great though, as comparing to the 5 different cruise liners (10 ships) we have been on. Our biggest pet peeves is that at every single meal we have, there are always either bowls, bread plates, cups and/or serving plates have chips on them. How could HAL whose image is tailoring themselves to a more affluent group be serving meals with chipped soup bowls and dinner plates at their Main Dining Room? Even on our previous NCL and Carnival cruises, their kitchen team and servers know better to replace them once they are no longer whole! Overall, we like • The ship Nieuw Amsterdam, it is easy to maneuver from deck to deck. We enjoy hanging out at the Crow Nest area • Quality of entertainment and activities being offered • Lido Restaurant – the Lido area that we have been on. Great layouts and excellent service personnel with both behind the counters and dining area attendants • Cabin’s Bathroom – best layout and roomy; can shower comfortably without being attacked by shower curtain or bumped elbows with the side walls. Love having the bathtub! • Our Balcony on Upper Promenade level - even though we have the steel enclosure as opposed to the plexi-glass. We were happy for the extra room to move around and stretch out on the balcony, as we lay outside for an afternoon nap on Sea Day, well protected from the wind, and I, even at slightly over 5 feet tall can see the ocean and horizon if I sit upright on the chair. Would we sail HAL again? Probably yes if opportunity arises; we would like to give them another chance to impress us with better Dining Room experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I was really interesting on going on a Holland America Cruise as I have been on many cruises but this was my first Time Boarding was easy and simple as you would expect. We were part of a large group and despite going through US ... Read More
I was really interesting on going on a Holland America Cruise as I have been on many cruises but this was my first Time Boarding was easy and simple as you would expect. We were part of a large group and despite going through US Immigration, it was all good. I was impressed when we got on the ship around 12.30 that all the cabins were ready, normally we have to wait an hour or 2 but it became clear later that they have 2 people to a cabin. The ship itself looked great, loved the décor and this sort of made me realise why it was a lot more expensive than my other cruises. We have been on RCCL for over 150 nights and that is our main cruise line we use. In general terms I thought the overall food quality was better than RCCL however, the range was a bit limited on Holland America. No where near the choices. The drinks prices were considerably cheaper than RCCL however my friends who had a drinks package indicated there was a limit per day. In the dining room I believe there was a struggle to keep up and there appeared to be a lot less staff than RCCL. Dinner was slow and often went over 2-2.5 hours In terms of things to do RCCL leaves Holland America for dead, so much more to do on RC. The biggest thing that worried me was the lack of control on hand cleaning. On RCCL there are staff next to machines insisting that you wash before entering eating areas. On Holland America there were none and I noticed many people not cleaning hands and also some cleaning dispensers were empty. One area I thought was fantastic was the pool area, it had a roof which was closed and made this area much more useable even in cold days. It was very well set up and looked classy. Another thing I saw was the endless way cruise lines now try and extract money from you by renting out cabana's around the pool area was the latest. That was on top of renting out cabana's on the adults only area. Our cabin was a bit smaller than RCCL and we were on deck 6 in a balcony cabin. Our cabin people were just fantastic Interestingly on RCCL, the Cruise Director is always around and you know who they are . Similar with most Captains , like Captain Charles from Voyager who spends time with the Guests However, on Holland America if I fell over the Captain or Cruise Director I would not know who they were. We enjoyed the cruise to Alaska Getting off the ship was easy as I would have expected Would I travel on Holland America again, most likely not However, if I can give you 1 tip , it seems cruise lines these days offer 20%/25 or 30% off etc. That's OK but ensure you check what you net price is after all these SO CALLED discounts are taken off . Work out what it costs per day, what you get for your $ then decide and I think it would be fair to say you may be surprised Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Backgorund- ME 63 and DW 58. This is our seventh cruise in 14 months. Second cruise on the NA in that time period. we were in an aft Neptune suite. Embarkation - no waiting. But the guy directing us wouldn't let us go to the suite ... Read More
Backgorund- ME 63 and DW 58. This is our seventh cruise in 14 months. Second cruise on the NA in that time period. we were in an aft Neptune suite. Embarkation - no waiting. But the guy directing us wouldn't let us go to the suite counter check in since the regular counter had openings. Once there, we were told they would check us in, but we were in the wrong line. They obviously need to train the guy directing folks. Room was excellent. We had this same type room on our last NA cruise. The balcony itself is worth the cost. Food - MDR average. Not bad, just nothing we'd have to back for. Pinnacle( 2 nights) - great food, and love Le Cirque especially, although the menu is getting a bit tired. Tamarind( 2 nights). We could eat there more often. Everything is excellent. Buffet is OK. I surprised that you can't get soft serve there. It seemed to available some time during lunch hours. Once they were out, they were out. Odd. In all our cruises this was the first time we didn't have one, not that we didn't try on multiple occasions. New York Pizza - with no reservations we both said it was the best pizza we've ever had at sea. Nobody else even close. Entertainment - the band in the BB King room was one of the best we've seen on a cruise ship. We when about every night, because there was nothing else to do. We id try the Piano lounge and Mike was pretty good. But you can only do tat for a while. He was there 6 nights. Entertainment in the theater was horrible. Both of us tried a couple of evenings to watch. I would say it like nails on a chalk board, but it wasn't something we'd actually stay for unless we were made to it. That's our biggest problem with this ship. Entertainment options are really limited for us. Follow passengers. While we did meet some very friendly folks, most were in the much older range. One evening while introducing a show, the cruise director said he had to stay up late the night before because they didn't close down Northern Lights until almost midnight. They even had to close the main pool one day due to an "accident" one of gents had in it. All in all, it was OK. I have no complaints about the food or service or ship. We're just ready to be that relaxed, I guess. After a while, we got tired of resting. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I must state my point of view. As a "platnium" NCL Cruiser I've read all the glowing CC reviews of HAL & so had my expectations raised pretty high. We booked a 20 day Panama Canal trip with HAL & then decided that ... Read More
I must state my point of view. As a "platnium" NCL Cruiser I've read all the glowing CC reviews of HAL & so had my expectations raised pretty high. We booked a 20 day Panama Canal trip with HAL & then decided that if we took a 7 day Caribbean cruise on the same ship we'd have some familiarity for our longer cruise. My sister-in-law joined us for this cruise & we all shared the same cabin. Fastest & most efficent embarkation ever. Our Fwd veranda stateroom was ready upon boarding @ 11:15! Stateroom was smaller than I expected & the balcony was tiny. Freshened up & headed to the Manhattan DR. (Ashore a HAL employee told me the MDR would not be open but I had read that the MDR was no longer restricted to Star Mariners, so I went to check it out.). Sure enough we were seated at a nice table at the stern, by the window...lovely. Another couple sat at our table & we chatted away. As we placed our orders a single lady was brought to our table & so we were 6. The orders came & the other couple immediately complained that their orders were wrong. The soup was now a salad & the tea was coffee, the dressing on the other salad was creamy instead of balsamic vinegar. This was straightened out & then the main course came & well done was bloody. This couple were on the second half of a 14 day cruise, b2b, & commented that the Nieuw Amsterdam was not up to the usual high HAL standards. They were 3* Mariners, this trip would make them 4*, & they were disappointed in the quality of food & the poor diningroom service. As it turned out...we ate lunch, if not ashore, & dinner in the Manhattan DR every day. I found "Dine as you wish" is actually Dine when we tell you". Your choice is before 5:15 or after 8:00. No other times were available although I asked about today? tomorrow? how about 3 days from now...7,7:15,7:30,7:45,NO! 8:00? O.K. Every meal we joined others, or others joined us for dinner. The single lady joined us for all but one dinner. Every meal there was a problem was someones order, or it just didn't come at all. Many a HAL fan who joined us commented that they found the service lacking & not up to the usual high HAL standards. The food was good, not gormet, but about the same quality as any local restaurant. It's unfair to compare HAL's enertainment with the high quality of great entertainment you find on NCL. BUT, this had to be a new low. The only real quality entertainment was in the Piano Bar with the "Piano Man". The rest was really amateurish or just plain poor. The daily program was not delivered to our cabin on the first 2 days, showed up for 3 days & then forgotten about. Everything was alright, but not real good. "Not up to the (described) HAL stardards. I hope it improves for our Panama cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I've been on HAL before and had high expectations for this adventure. They failed miserably in several categories. First off...the food. We were part of a large group so I can tell you it was not just me personally with this ... Read More
I've been on HAL before and had high expectations for this adventure. They failed miserably in several categories. First off...the food. We were part of a large group so I can tell you it was not just me personally with this experience. In the dining room, I received over cooked meat constantly. From the duck, to the osso bucco, and even steaks. We also received items that were simply not fresh, like cheese and sushi items. HAL talks about having Celebrity Chefs do their menu, but I doubt Charlie Trotter would have been happy about the temperature of those steaks. My next gripe has to do with staffing. We never saw the captain. He didn't bother to show up for the farewell crew show at the end of the cruise. Nor did I ever run into him aboard ship. Also, it's high season and there were a ton of kids/teenagers on board (I think I heard 450). HAL should have been prepared with staff monitoring and policing the pool and common areas. They used to be very strict about this stuff. HAL did finally send out a letter half way through the cruise reminding us parents to watch our kids, but those were just idol threats. They did nothing to kick the kids from the front 2 rows of the theater. I felt sorry for the entertainers. (And keep in mind that our group was traveling with 3 kids.) Or to keep the teenagers from rough housing at the pool. The cruise director, Dave, gave a half-hearted plea to keep mind of your kids and explain that they simply have more kids this time of year. MY RESPONSE..."Well then plan ahead for it. Don't let 25 kids and obnoxious teenagers ruin a cruise for everybody else." Our cabin stewards rarely remembered to fill our ice bucket or give us fresh towels after a couple of days. We are in the Med. It's hot and nothing dries. The wine steward did something that no high end restaurant would ever do. He tried to switch champagnes on my Dad to a far inferior brand. After presenting the inferior bottle, he then told my Dad that they were out of what my Dad requested. I've waited tables before and you should return with the wine menu and ASK what to do or offer another selection as a replacement (And not one that costs $25 less.) Last gripe, they charge ridiculous prices for everything now. The photo department wanted $40 for a formal night pic and you were forced to buy an 8x10, a 5x7, and 2 wallets. We had several great pictures taken during the cruise, but you no longer get to pick a size or package. It's $40 for formal night and $20 for other. The HAL tour prices are ludicrous, especially the ROME transfer. I expect this up sale on Carnival.NOW FOR A FEW POSITIVES...the Nieuw Amsterdam is a lovely ship, although the layout is odd. The entertainers brought on board for the showroom were all fantastic...From the concert pianist, to the GRACE trio, to the wonderful comedian Scotty. And if you do go, please go up and listen to Chris Toler is the Crow's Nest. He is a rare talent with his mash-ups and not to mention, very personable. Lastly, I want to give a huge thanks to Club HAL. My son and his cousins loved their enthusiasm and activities. He rarely wanted to hang out with us. They are really great and tried to keep the kids happy with a wide array of things to do. Kudos to them. This might be my last HAL experience. I really missed the higher end touches that once made HAL my favorite cruise line. If I pay more for a cruise, I don't want to be nickel and dimed. I want more interesting food and more importantly, well cooked food. It was under average most nights. HAL didn't do theme nights where everybody dressed up. I missed having Dutch night with the fun hats and Dutch food. We talked to cruisers with more than 200 days on HAL and they too were disappointed. There used to be this air about HAL that they were the best and knew it. No more. The lack of discipline comes from the top. The staff seemed ill-equipped to deal with the simplest of problems that arose...from my problem with a bar drink, to issues around the pool area, to problems with something in the lido ding room. I hope they get their act together. This was not the HAL of old. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We were excited about taking our first cruise on Holland America Cruise Line. Although we had heard that it was mainly for older people, we wanted to give it a try and found a very great rate for a balcony room. We were two married ... Read More
We were excited about taking our first cruise on Holland America Cruise Line. Although we had heard that it was mainly for older people, we wanted to give it a try and found a very great rate for a balcony room. We were two married couples celebrating our wedding anniversaries. Ship: Sadly to stay, Holland America's ship Nieuw Amsterdam did not meet our expectations. Compared to the ships we've been before, it is a conservative and smaller ship. Other than the NYC chandelier on the smallest atrium we have seen on a ship, it had nothing that visually could stand out or that you would remember. Food: Most of the time was under seasoned, cold and the waiting time between courses on the Manhattan dining room was more than 20 minutes. The exception was the soups, always excellent and hot! Twice in the same dinner I had to return the food because I asked for a medium steak and they kept bringing me a well done overcooked steak. They got it right the third time after all the people in my party had finished eating their food. Not even in their specialty restaurant, The Pinnacle Grill, did they have it right. I got a bloody rare filet mignon instead of the medium filet that I had ordered. They charge $25 p/p on this "beef specialty" restaurant so the least you can expect is the steak to be perfect. On this particular sailing the food on the Lido buffet was always served by the waiters. You could not cater yourself for the food. Needless to say the portions were very controlled and we even thought that they were running out of food. The Tamarind was a very nice and different restaurant! Service: Not as expected! The service at the restaurants was terrible. We were left unattended most of the time with empty water glasses, stale bread and no food for longs periods of time. The service at the SPA was terrible as well! SPA: Watch out for the scam on the Greenhouse Spa Hydro pool and serenity area. We paid $250 per couple to use the Hydro pool and the Serenity areas for a 6 day cruise. After paying for the service, they identified us as qualified users by placing a small navy blue sticker to the back of our room keys. SURPRISE! This same sticker was used for all correspondence, reminders, invitations, etc. that we received on our stateroom daily. In other words, anyone could have placed the same sticker on the back of their room card key for free! It is a very nice relaxing area but after buying the access, we found that it was highly priced compared to other Holland America sailings. Besides this, they did not have any control whatsoever on who entered the area. Even though they give you an access card to open the door to the pool, because of the Spa layout (the reception area on one side of the ship and the hydro pool, hot stone beds, sauna, etc. crossing to the other side of the ship) people got in and out as they wished and we saw this happen on various occasions. We presented a formal complaint to the Spa manager and she said that it was impossible to have somebody on a full time basis checking on this. Shows: Besides the Cantare group show and the comedian, nothing else was to stay awake for. They need to improve on entertainment! GOOD: One of the best things of the cruise was the extremely comfortable bed, ample closet and the most spacious bathroom. We even had a bathtub in our cabin! Great balcony cabin! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We are veteran cruisers with several longer cruises under our belts. We have sailed on Norwegian, Carnival, Celebrity, Disney and now, Holland America. Ship: The ship was beautiful. We had adjacent cabins on the upper verandah ... Read More
We are veteran cruisers with several longer cruises under our belts. We have sailed on Norwegian, Carnival, Celebrity, Disney and now, Holland America. Ship: The ship was beautiful. We had adjacent cabins on the upper verandah deck. The rooms were in fantastic shape and well laid out. Couldn't have been happier with the cabin. I loved the Crow's nest and Explorations Cafe!! Great coffee and service on Deck 11. Cabin steward: The cabin steward was top notch. Our room was always clean but he often forgot to leave a few items that were needed, like a replacement laundry bag after we sent out the laundry and a breakfast tag for the door. Not a big deal but a slight hassle to track someone down to get another one. Dining room: Here is where the problems start. The service in the dining room was awful. We had anytime dining and we learned that this was probably why the service was so bad. The first few nights we had a server who NEVER even smiled at us. He looked mad the entire time. This made us a bit uncomfortable. We had empty tea and water glasses most of the time and practically had to beg for tea or coffee. Not once in 15 nights did anyone in the dining room ask if we wanted refills on our coffee or tea. NOT ONCE!! We always had to remember to ask when they went whizzing by. We never saw the head waiter nor did anyone ask us if we enjoyed the meal, if everything was alright or anything. I received a card in my room to report if there was anything that they could do to help make my cruise more enjoyable and I reported my poor experiences in the dining room. The head waiter called me in my room and we talked and he made a reservation for us for the following night. I figured since I complained, they would make extra efforts to stay on top of the service. That did not happen. The service was just as bad. Our dinners in the specialty restaurants were a little better but not much. Food: I always seemed to find something to eat. Of course, that is not hard on a cruise ship. The food was good I would say overall. Room service: My teenage son must have ordered at least one cheeseburger from room service everyday and no matter how hard we tried, we could not get a plain hamburger. Out of 15 calls in 15 days, only twice did room service get the order right. We had them even repeat the order back to us to make sure they understood that it was supposed to be plain. They just kept putting mayonnaise on those burgers. Entertainment: The shows I saw were okay but nothing out of the ordinary for a cruise ship. I really loved the cruise director and went to all the trivia contests and other "smaller" fun entertainment that J.C. put on. Kids club: My daughter enjoyed the kids clubs and there were a lot of kids on the cruise. Ports: We loved Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk and Roatan, I would go on a cruise that just went to those ports. I loved the beaches at these ports. I would probably not recommend the Nieuw Amsterdam because of my experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Our group of ten consisted of family and friends (6 male, 4 female), aged between 24 to 56 years. Most of us have cruised before. My wife, our son and I have cruised with Carnival and Royal Caribbean several times before. This is our 4th ... Read More
Our group of ten consisted of family and friends (6 male, 4 female), aged between 24 to 56 years. Most of us have cruised before. My wife, our son and I have cruised with Carnival and Royal Caribbean several times before. This is our 4th 12 night cruise in Europe and our first cruise with HAL. Ship Info : Lovely new ship - that's why we picked this cruise. Small atrium area - not as spectacular as other ships we have been on. Generally, the dEcor was tasteful and functional. Lots of very comfortable places to sit alone or to spend time together. Service : Room stewards were fabulous - always helpful and accommodating. Waiting staff were attentive and very professional. Tuxedo hire was a disaster. On Day 1, we purchased 6 tuxedos for the men, but only 1 tuxedo that fitted could be found. We are all fairly average in physique. Consequently, five men in our group had to attend the formal nights underdressed. We had been given promises and had been charged for the tuxedos, but it was right up to the hour before we had dinner on the first formal night that we realised that promises were empty. As it was, most people didn't even bother getting dressed up. Very disappointing compared to the tuxedo service and formal nights on other cruises. Internet service was slow and a little expensive. Laundry Service - We opted for the $85 Unlimited Laundry package. We got good value from this. However, others experienced some problems. Sometimes, the returns took 2-3 days. Clothing was not pressed (is that an extra charge?). The Front Desk are the single portal to all services. For instance, we were unable to contact the tailor or the laundry directly. This caused long queues and waiting times. On other cruises we could deal directly with the separate services. Port & Shore Excursions : Awesome ports. Split was interesting. Shopping around the Diocletian Palace is great. Athens is always good fun. Although the new Museum was a little disappointing - wonderful building but a little thin on exhibits. Mykonos - Party town - don't miss Paradise Beach after dark !! Istanbul - Awesome! The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Palace are just breath-taking. Also don't miss the Grand Bazaar - hours and hours of stalls. Catch the light rail from the dock to everywhere. Kusadasi - We travelled to Pamukkale- the Cotton Castles - the highlight of the cruise. The markets in Kusadasi are good too. Santorini - Plan to get to shore later than expected (thanks to HAL). Catch the Cable Car up. We hired open-top Smart cars - the roads are chaotic and the beaches are poor. More fun hanging around town. Beware of the trip back down to the tenders. Allow plenty of time. The Cable Car had a queue 90 minutes long. The donkey trail down was quicker, but very slippery and very aromatic !! Katakalon - small town. The beach 4km away is excellent. Hire a quad or a scooter for next to nothing. Last chance for cheap Ouzo. Tenders: We had tender services at Split and Santorini. HAL have a policy of giving priority to passengers going on HAL excursions. Consequently, if you were going ashore independently, you had to wait and wait and wait. For instance, at Santorini we "docked" at 8am, HAL excursions were given priority and had exclusive use of the tenders until 9:30, when independent passengers could start to queue. We were at the start of the queue, but still didn't get to shore until 10:30. We then had to queue for a Cable Car to the town. HAL were not interested in the fact that we had booked a private excursion for 9am. On top of this, HAL only revealed this "priority" arrangement late the previous night in the newsletter. Therefore we had little opportunity to change our arrangements. Stateroom : Well set out, with plenty of drawer and wardrobe space, but lacked lighting in the wardrobe. The walls are thin - we could clearly hear conversations, doors slamming and footsteps outside. Warning, Warning - do not book the following rooms: Cabins 7129, 7125 : a loud mechanical banging noise near the rear wall ceiling, starts randomly at about 4:00am and continues until the late morning. HAL could not identify the cause and we were moved after 5 sleepless nights. Cabin 5024: the air-cond was broken and was stuck on the coldest setting. It was like a meat safe and is impossible to sleep. I believe the Front desk already knew this room was problematic, but still moved us there. Both moves we had to do ourselves with no assistance and this wasted two mornings. Our final cabin, 6136 was great - we finally could sleep after 6 terrible nights. The Front Desk did not appear to care that this was inconvenient for us. Perhaps they are understaffed. We even had to forgo time ashore in order to try and catch up on sleep. Dining : We opted for Open Seating Dining - what a mistake. Although the food was excellent, the dining room booking system seemed to be tedious and the Madredie appeared to have difficulty driving the software. We had great difficulty getting a table for 10, when tables for 11 sat empty all night. Consequently we had dinner at the Tamarind on a couple of occasions. It was very pleasant, nice food, but twice was probably enough. Even here, we had to book for a 6pm or 9:30pm seating. Again, the majority of the tables were not used all night. We were unable to book the Pinnacle Grill - it too, looked as though it had empty tables. Perhaps people book and just don't turn up? Dining on the Lido deck was fine. Good variety and combinations of tasty food. Seating was ample. Entertainment : Good quality entertainment. The comedian was genuinely funny and the singers and entertainers were very professional. The band was super. Ample, comfortable seating in the main auditorium. The entertainer in the Piano Bar was outstanding. He really engaged the crowd and had a good repertoire. Most people on board were fairly conservative, hence places like the Northern Lights disco were very quiet and totally died before midnight. The Casino was small, but adequate. The croupiers were good, but again the atmosphere was quiet. It appeared that 90% of the 2000 passengers went to bed at 10pm !! Disembarkation : smooth, efficient and quick. We opted for the 9:45 exit. Summary : Disappointing response from HAL to the problems we had with our cabin(s) and suit hire etc. No real apology and no compensation, which spoilt our experience. HAL doesn't appear to be interested in problems, just maximising profit. Unfortunately, this means we will not cruise with HAL again. Better fun and value for money with other cruise lines.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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