58 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Family Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
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 have never been to Alaska before and have never sailed with Holland America. We chose this itinerary because it had more time on land than at sea. We flew to Anchorage on Monday for a tour beginning on Thursday. HA picked us up at the ... Read More
We have never been to Alaska before and have never sailed with Holland America. We chose this itinerary because it had more time on land than at sea. We flew to Anchorage on Monday for a tour beginning on Thursday. HA picked us up at the airport. They took our luggage and loaded it on a bus. The driver took us to theCaptain Cook Hotel while telling us about the area. We were greeted at the hotel and brought to the tour desk. They gave us our keys and some written directions for luggage handling. We went to our room and found our luggage had already been delivered. The hotel was nice and we could walk to almost everyplace in the city. On Thursday morning we met our tour guide Ashley. A bus took us to the train station and we were given our tickets with assigned seating for the trip to Denali. There is a dining room downstairs and they also will sell you snacks at your seat. We had a nice breakfast and lunch while viewing the scenery. A bus took us from the train station to the McKinley Chalet hotel. We were disappointed that we did not get to stay at the main lodge. We were in the Canyon Lodge which was new-looking and clean but not what we had expected. Try Karstens restaurant in Denali Village - it is excellent, If you are wondering how to decide how many days to spend in Denali, it depends on how many activities/excursions you want. The all day bus tour comes with your package. A resort bus can take you to the visitor center. There’s another bus that can take you to the Princess lodge though it is walkable. If that is all you want to do, then 2 days is enough. If you want to do rafting, a helicopter tour, an atv tour, etc. you will want more time. We did not see much wildlife at Denali, but the scenery was beautiful. After two days we took a long bus ride to Fairbanks. We arrived at the Westmark late in the day. We went out to eat and that was it for Fairbanks. The same thing in Dawson city and Whitehorse: arriving too late in the day to visit attractions or museums, just enough time for some souvenir shopping and dinner. But still glad I got to see Fairbanks and the Yukon. Then we took the bus to Skagway to get our ship. We said good bye to Ashley and our driver, Tim, both of whom were fantastic, and boarded the ship. We had a suite which was beautiful. Then we went back into Skagway to take our helicopter tour which we had arranged through HA. We flew to a glacier and it was such an amazing experience. Afterwards, we did some shopping in town then went back to the ship for dinner. We loved our suite on the back of deck 8. I would recommend the 7th deck as we were right under the pool deck and we could hear them moving chairs in the morning. The next day we sailed through Glacier Bay, which we noticed is not on the itinerary of the north going, sea first tour. It was beautiful. The next day was Ketchikan which is a fun city. There are people selling tours when you dock. The Duck tour seemed very popular. We took the prearranged tour to the Rainforrest Raptor Center. We enjoyed it. When we returned to town, we had lunch and shopped. The next day was at sea with more beautiful scenery and some dolphin sightings. The last day we docked in Vancouver in the morning. Overall, we found the food and service on HA to be excellent. We loved our suite with the wrap around deck. Our room attendants did a great job. The only thing they could improve is the entertainment. I would recommend this ship and this tour. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I have wanted to take an Alaska cruise vacation for at least 25 years! Finally, we did it, and somehow, it exceeded my extremely high expectations! I spent a lot of time on CC, with the veterans and experts assisting me in choosing the ... Read More
I have wanted to take an Alaska cruise vacation for at least 25 years! Finally, we did it, and somehow, it exceeded my extremely high expectations! I spent a lot of time on CC, with the veterans and experts assisting me in choosing the "right" one for our family. It paid off, thank you CC family! We absolutely loved the ship and itinerary, we chose wisely!! This was our first time in Alaska and our first cruise on HAL. Vancouver is such a wonderful port for embarkation! We spent a day and half before the cruise enjoying this bonus port. We explored on our own and enjoyed Granville Island one afternoon and Stanley Park one full day. We would love to return to this beautiful city, with its friendly, diverse people, gorgeous scenery and delicious cuisine! Boarding the ship was easy and quick! The first thing I have to say is that service on the NA was wonderful...friendly and thorough, throughout the ship. We had a few problems with our key cards the first day and they were quickly remedied. We were accidentally charged for one of the specialty restaurants though I had pre-booked and paid from home, I simply called guest services and it was immediately removed from the bill. Our cabin stewards (2 separate decks) were excellent and deserve a standing ovation for the condition of the cabins. Every server in every restaurant and bar we encountered was top-notch and friendly, we cannot say enough about the staff on this ship! The Nieuw Amsterdam is tastefully decorated and immaculate. Public spaces are warm and inviting and look very luxurious without being gaudy. None of the areas ever seemed crowded, except for the Crow's Nest just after sail-away, where it was just a little difficult to find a window seat, and Lido Buffet, which was chaotic almost every time we visited. We enjoyed every bar, lounge, restaurant and entertainment venue on the ship. Our favorites were the Crow's Nest and the Tamarind Bar, which both offered stunning views and quiet atmosphere. We also really liked the Ocean Bar and Reading Room near the Casino (surprising, we expected the Casino to be loud and unpleasant to us, but it was not). The food was delicious, except for a few "misses." Our daughter requires a gluten-free diet, and she was well-accommodated for the most part, except for embarkation lunch, (where she was limited to a salad and a bun-less meat patty) and breakfasts in the Lido. There was supposedly a GF station in Lido, but every time she went there, she was directed to an unappealing pile of packaged bread and rolls. She had been promised on day one that GF pancakes and waffles would be available upon request, but found this not to be the case...very disappointing. I am getting the impression that this is an industry-wide problem, but I'd like to see improvement in this area. Other than the GF issues and the chaos finding a table, the food in Lido was surprisingly delicious and fresh, for a buffet. We tried all of the specialty restaurants; they were excellent and worth the up-charge. We especially enjoyed Tamarind. Canaletto was a pleasant surprise (we're picky about our Italian) and a great way to spend the first dinner, with lovely views! The MDR was better than expected, but we found that very often the descriptions on the menus didn't seem to match the food that was served. For example, "arugula and frisee salad" contained exactly one leaf of arugula. We had one pretty bad experience in the dining room (Tuesday night, after Skagway), but other than that time, all of the food was yummy. We had "anytime dining," and never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table, and that was only once. Most of the time we were seated immediately. Because of the anytime dining, we never had the same table or server, which was fine, they were all excellent. Sorry to say, the fast food places (Dine-In and NY Pizza), were virtually inedible. Entertainment was better than expected, though the HAL's choreographed Mainstage performances need updating. We went to the Mainstage show every night, and enjoyed every one. There was a Preview Show, a BBC Earth show (live music played to scenes of Alaska), a comedian, a magician and several shows with the HAL players, who were very talented. BB King's All Stars really steal the show, though. Those musicians are fabulously talented and rock the house, three shows almost every night. The Lincoln Center Stage offered several classical performances, which we never attended, but we heard them several times while passing through and they sounded lovely. The ports were all fabulous, each one was an experience of a lifetime! We booked independent excursions, so I can't comment on the ones offered by HAL. In Juneau, we did a Paddle Trek Ice Adventure which which included a stunning canoe paddle on Mendenhall Lake and a breathtaking hike on the beautiful, ever-changing glacier. In Skagway, we selected a drive up to Emerald Lake in the Yukon, combined with a sled dog experience and a train ride back down to Skagway. In Ketchikan, we took a flight to Misty Fjords on a float plane that landed in the Fjord, where we watched a bear and her cub eating grass. I could not say enough wonderful things about these amazing excursions. My family was completely blown away by each one. Glacier Bay was more stunning than we dreamed it would be, and the enrichment activities really made it more fabulous! We spent a lot of time talking to the park rangers Molly and Kelly, and the cultural ambassador, Kevin. They all had so much information to offer. It really gave us a special appreciation for Glacier Bay and glaciers in general and the way of life of the people of southeast Alaska! They made us want to return again and again to this breathtaking place. Overall, our cruise was amazing!! We are talking about what we would do differently next time (dreaming) and perhaps we would do a one-way cruise/tour experience. We are glad we did it this way for our first time. Only things we would change immediately: HAL needs to do something about the chaos in the Lido buffet (maybe have a line and help people find the next available table?) and offer unlimited internet access, Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
It was a surprise birthday gift.. It was in the planning process for 2 years by my adult children as a 80th birthday gift. I was totally surprised! We departed from Boston and went to Toronto, then from Toronto to Vancouver where we spent ... Read More
It was a surprise birthday gift.. It was in the planning process for 2 years by my adult children as a 80th birthday gift. I was totally surprised! We departed from Boston and went to Toronto, then from Toronto to Vancouver where we spent the night at the Metropolitan hotel. It is a very nice hotel and only a couple of blocks from the Canadian place where you board the ship.We walked down at 11:00 am and was thru customs and onboard in one hour. We had a tour of the ship and spent the rest of the day in the spa area. I was pampered by the spa girls with manicure, pedicure, facial, and a weeks worth of trips to the hydro pool. Everyone should have one in their back yard! The chairs that are heated are also a must have! I definitely would go again aboard this great ship. It is the best! The debarkment process was very organized and we were off in no time. We took a hop on hop of tour of the city,, which also transported our luggage to the airport hotel for us. After the tour we were given tickets for the sky train to the airport At the airport we stayed at the Hamilton hotel right inside airport where our luggage was waiting for us. A great relief not to have to worry about baggage.The hotel is very nice and very very convenient. Every airport should have a hotel in it. It makes those very early flights a little more enjoyable. I can't wait to go on another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Onboarding - easy, efficient and stress free. If you want to get on board get to there early. Food - Overall we were generally happy with the food .The Lido buffet was good for breakfast and dinner. The main dining room was ok. The Dive ... Read More
Onboarding - easy, efficient and stress free. If you want to get on board get to there early. Food - Overall we were generally happy with the food .The Lido buffet was good for breakfast and dinner. The main dining room was ok. The Dive In was good but always busy. Food on Half Moon was ok, just get in early as it gets busy. We didn't eat in any other of the paid dinning places. Service. Very good. Everyone was helpful in every aspect. Denise the restaurant manager was outstanding!! Entertainment was I hate to say poor, but we didn;'t choose this ship for entertainment. We bought our 9 year old on who didn't do club HAL but was always busy doing something and loved the cruise. Decor of the the ship was just beautiful and it was keep very clean. TIPs 1) happy hour at 4pm each night where you can take your drinks to dinner 2) don't buy alcohol at the Comzumel Duty Free. Go to the Mega Supermarket where you will find it half the price! 3) don't do this cruise if you want action, its quiet and for us it was lovely 4) balcony room is best on the port side 5) room service for a wake up coffee each day is perfect 6) beer tasting event was excellent 7) salads at the Lido bar were the best! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship. I was impressed immediately upon boarding. Granted, I have no idea what she looked like prior to her recent dry dock, but I was generally knowledgeable of what was old and what was new. I think the ... Read More
The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship. I was impressed immediately upon boarding. Granted, I have no idea what she looked like prior to her recent dry dock, but I was generally knowledgeable of what was old and what was new. I think the new changes are wonderful. First of all, the new carpeting is perfect. The color scheme is spot-on and provides an elegant foundation in the public spaces, especially near the elevators. I thought the new venues, especially Billboard Onboard, the Gallery Bar, and the Crow's Nest (I forget its new name), looked fantastic. I agree with some others that the Crow's Nest now has a bit of an identity crisis, but I think this can be remedied in time. The new technology up there has limited use but certainly looks impressive. And I love how the casino, piano lounge, and Gallery Bar now have this fluid, open feel to them. And bravo to making the casino non-smoking. The atrium looked nice as well, but as I mentioned, I did not see it before the removal of the stairs. Overall, the ship was stunningly beautiful and easily navigable. We stayed in two adjacent (non-adjoining) obstructed view cabins on Deck 4, mid-ship (Cabins 4101 and 4103). I was hesitant to book these cabins but did so anyway, given the great rate that was offered. I had only ever sailed with a balcony, so I was a tad spoiled. Needless to say, we loved these rooms for the value they provided and the natural light allowed in by the full-length windows (essentially, non-opening balcony doors). For the first time, I had a cabin all to myself, and that was quite a treat. The rooms were wonderfully appointed. The carpets and sofas were either new or well-kept. The bathroom was just the right size and had a tub/shower combo. My petite-sized aunt appreciated the ability to take baths, although the tub probably would have been uncomfortable for me. One of the best things about the cabin, and what surprised me the most, was the huge selection of on-demand movies available on the fairly-large flat-panel television mounted on the wall. The movies played with ease and in great clarity. This is a far cry from out small, desk-mounted television on the Noordam a couple years ago, which offered only snowy views of very few channels. Our stateroom attendants were very personable, remembered our names, and did a fantastic job with their twice-per-day visits. My only complaint was that the A/C did not get my room as cold as I normally like. The food ranged from good to great. We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the Lido, 4 dinners in the main dining room, and one dinner, each, in Canaletto, Tamarind, and the Pinnacle Grill. Breakfast and lunch were great in the Lido. I found the servers to be very kind and welcoming, and I think I prefer being served my food vs. using utensils that have been touched by others. The Lido was crowded during obvious times (breakfast on port days and lunch on sea days), but it was manageable. I enjoyed having fresh-fried eggs for breakfast. I wish I hadn't discovered the French toast and crepes, but I did. Delicious! The service and food were very good in the main dining room. We were lucky to get Diaz as our server. He perfectly combined humor with good service. The menu on the first night was not to my liking, but it was all uphill from there. Standouts over the course of the week included the tomato soup and basically anything served during Gala evenings. We found most desserts to be good, also. My favorite was the warm chocolate cake (it might have been flourless) on the second Gala evening. I asked for a second, without shame. We found all three specialty restaurants to be very good and worth the price of admission. The ladies in Canaletto provided the best service of the three. Standouts included the seafood soup, salad, and lasagna in Canaletto, and all appetizers and the mini donuts in Tamarind. Both ladies enjoyed the king crab legs, lobster bisque, and Caesar salad in Pinnacle, while I particularly enjoyed the NY strip steak and mashed potatoes. Oddly, I thought the desserts in the Pinnacle were the most disappointing, perhaps only because the rest of the meal was so good. I thought the best dessert in Pinnacle was the soufflé. I wanted to love the molten chocolate cake but found it tasted too boozy for my liking. I thought the entertainment was good overall. I enjoyed the BB King blues band, as well as Will and Ivy, the Billboard Onboard duo. In the main showroom, I really enjoyed the Billboard-themed production show covering #1 hits over the past several decades (I apologize, its name now escapes me). However, I did not like the 'One World' show, as I found the singing, dancing, and costumes to be a little on the cheesy side. I LOVED the BBC Earth/Lincoln Center performance. This is such a wonderful show, and I find it to be very moving and even thrilling at time. The cruise director said this was the premier of this particular show on this ship, which I cannot confirm. The two guest entertainers were okay- the comedian was better than the juggler, but I will always choose comedy over juggling. I agree with others who say that daytime entertainment is lacking on sea days. The daily program almost becomes laughable with its offerings of "anti-aging miracles" and "secrets to a flatter stomach" seminars. I suspect there is a sales attempt tied to these programs, and that's why they are offered. I cannot put my finger on what programs should be offered, but I do know that something feels lacking. Then again, I am content finding a cozy lounger around the pool on sea days, but of course, these can be difficult to come by. We stopped in Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Key West. I will be brief on these, as we did not book any excursions, and reviews of these ports are easy to find. Half Moon Cay- Wow! Perhaps the best beach and ocean water (my goodness, that color of blue/green!) I have ever seen. I think Disney's Castaway Cay is still the best private cruise port, but Half Moon is a close second with an even better beach. However, I will say that I did not love the BBQ buffet. Grand Cayman- My least favorite day of the week. There were many ships in port, and we ended up on 7 Mile Beach at the Royal Palms. BIG MISTAKE. It was a zoo, spring-break-like atmosphere. Completely overcrowded and not enjoyable for me, at all. The food was good but not enough for me to ever return. Cozumel- Having been to Cozumel 3 times in the past 3 years, I opted to stay on the ship. It was great to spend the day around the pools, which were completely uncrowded. The ladies enjoyed a quick step out and some light shopping, but did not stay long. I will say that I think it is a nice touch that Holland brought a mariachi band and dancers onboard and offered chips, salsa, and guac to the spectators around the aft pool. This was a nice touch. Key West- I was particularly excited about this stop, as I had never been. I must say, I really liked Key West. Others I spoke with said it was too touristy, but I found that only to be the case in the few blocks immediately surrounding the port. We took the little train for $29, which I think was worth it. I love the architecture of the island and also enjoyed a visit to Hemmingway's former home (a $14 admission fee, if I remember correctly). Conclusion I had a great week aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. I highly recommend this ship. I found the food, entertainment, service, and accommodations to be very good, and the ship is stunningly beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
My husband and I and our two small children are avid cruisers but up until now, had only cruised the Caribbean. Our last three cruises were all on Celebrity. We were actually on the Nieuw Amsterdam once in the Caribbean, six years ago, ... Read More
My husband and I and our two small children are avid cruisers but up until now, had only cruised the Caribbean. Our last three cruises were all on Celebrity. We were actually on the Nieuw Amsterdam once in the Caribbean, six years ago, and were unimpressed - mostly because it skewed older and had very little in the way of nightlife and entertainment. But when my parents announced they wanted to do a family cruise, all of my research suggested Holland America was the best line to Alaska. And it turns out we made a wonderful choice. Overall, we had a fantastic time. We had 20 people total in our group, with six small children (a 2 year old, a 3 year old, 3 six-year olds and an 8 year old) six people ages 40-50 and eight people around 70. We had a row of balconies on deck 5 midship, so we were able to open all the balconies to create a communal balcony area that was awesome. Embarkation took a bit of time. Vancouver is a beautiful city with a shortage of taxis and no Uber or Lyft. Plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time to get to the pier. Some things had not changed since our experience in the Caribbean. Yes, this is still an older skewing ship. Yes, it's a quieter ship with not that much nightlife. And no, there weren't many kids on board. But we liked all of that. Our kids got extra special attention in the kids club and absolutely LOVED going (truly - they begged to go every single day, which was awesome for us parents!!!) There weren't a million kids running around the ship screaming. Also, which was a HUGE plus for us, Holland America ships have retractable roofs over the main pool, so the kids were able to swim whenever they wanted (the roof is closed throughout most of the cruise.) In fact, that is a strong reason TO choose HAL for an Alaskan cruise - our weather was incredible, but it was still not warm enough to swim out in the open except for a couple of days in port. Our weather was spectacular, not a single drop of rain the entire week and the sun was out in every port, which I'm sure added to our experience. Our family rented two cabanas for each sea day (there were three) so we had a place to hang out and watch the view. And they were super cheap, just $50 each per day. Our cabana attendant was amazing and really attentive. The ship had two naturalists on board, who were incredible at spotting wildlife and answering questions about the nature and beauty of Alaska. The day we cruised Glacier Bay was simply incredible and breathtaking, and the bow of the ship was opened for anyone to go out and watch. That one day made choosing this cruiseline completely worth it. A few things really stood out overall. 1) The FOOD. Some of the best food I've ever had on a ship was on this cruise. We ate in the dining room every night (early seating) and never had a bad meal. We actually had reservations at the Pinnacle Grill on one of the gala nights that we canceled because they wanted to charge even more for the lobster tail that was free in the main dining room. Even the food in the Lido was wonderful. 2) The service. Our cabin stewards and our dining room attendants were all wonderful. I found all of the service to be top notch. Even the wine steward in the main dining room was wonderful. A few things that could be improved upon. 1) The Lido buffet was very frustrating in the morning. On Celebrity, you serve yourself from the buffet. But on this ship, you must wait to be served. When you are trying to feed several kids and yourself breakfast, waiting for the ONE person behind the counter (who sometimes had to leave to go get more food) to serve someone who can't make up their mind about what they want can seemingly take forever. The set up is also frustrating as there isn't a whole lot of room to walk between the tables and the food stations and you are constantly running into people. It was also challenging to find a table in the morning, especially for a large group. For some reason I will never understand, parties of 2 people love to sit at tables meant for 6 or more. 2) The drink package policy. On Celebrity, you just flash your card that has a sticker on it to get a drink in your package. But on HAL, you have to actually give them your card, which they swipe, each and every time. And they count the number of beverages, albeit water, soda or alcohol, which is annoying. You can only have up to 15. Which do not make it all inclusive. It felt like there was a lot more nickel and diming on HAL in general. 3) I hated that there was smoking in the casino, even for just a small area. My family likes to gamble, and the smoke permeated throughout the whole casino. I don't understand why it can't go smoke free like most other ships. Entertainment - if you are looking for nonstop entertainment, this is not your ship. The shows were mediocre at best. There was no party atmosphere around the pool or really anywere else on the ship. I'm not sure if this was a product of the cruiseline or that it was a cruise to Alaska. The ship itself is in very good condition, and while we were on board, it appeared they were staining all of the wood on the ship, of which there is a LOT. There are a lot of nooks and crannies, and it isn't a very big ship. We loved the Crow's nest, and spent a lot of time up there, mostly putting together puzzles. We also had amazing experiences with the shore excursions. Unlike the Caribbean, it's easiest in Alaska to book the excursions directly through the cruiseline. The pricing is pretty much the same. In Juneau, we took a seaplane over the glaciers to the Taku Lodge, which was incredible. The kids were mesmerized. In Skagway, we did the Yukon railroad train ride, which was spectacular (we are a train obsessed family, so it was a no-brainer). And in Ketchikan, part of the group went salmon fishing, and the rest of us took the kids on the Duckboat, which was so much fun and a great way to see the town. Overall, we had a great time. I would highly recommend this ship and cruiseline for an Alaskan cruise. It is perfect for a large group family vacation. I would not go on this ship or cruiseline in the Caribbean, however, it just skews too old for that kind of atmosphere. But for Alaska, it was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Our family has never tried going on a cruise before, but now that our kids are in their teens and are young adults, we decided to do this Alaska Inside Passage cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Also thought that cruising ... Read More
Our family has never tried going on a cruise before, but now that our kids are in their teens and are young adults, we decided to do this Alaska Inside Passage cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Also thought that cruising closer to land rather than in open waters would be ideal for first-timers like us. Booked this cruise way in advance and through HAL travel agent, who helped us make changes here and there. Got Pinnacle Grill dinner for 2 with Signature Beverage Package promo per stateroom booked, which was really fortunate for us. Spent a day in Vancouver prior to cruise departure and stayed at the Pinnacle Marriott Downtown Hotel which was just 2 blocks from Canada Place, where the pier is. It's walkable even if you have luggage to tug around. No need to take a taxi. Again, booked this hotel 8 months in advance, knowing that June will be peak season for travelers and got a really good rate for 2 rooms. Love Vancouver! Discovered Bella Gelateria along W. Cordova and Burrard St. -- truly award-winning gelato! Will go back again for more :-) On day of departure, checking in was a breeze, procedure was very organized and well-staffed. Crew were very welcoming right from embarkation, very helpful in showing us where to go. Our 2 cabins with balconies were adjoining and Wibi and Nai, our cabin stewards, were around to introduce themselves and welcome us. Explored the ship after having lunch at the Lido, everything looked impressive and clean. Love the artwork and decor. Food was good overall, with different cuisines available on various days. Shout out to Emily and Diane, our wine stewards! They introduced me to Snoqualmie Riesling and I really got to like it. Made dinner reservations to the Pinnacle Grill on Father's Day. It was also our first gala night and were dressed for the occasion. Seated by the window with a view of the calm waters. Really enjoyed the ambiance, the service and the food. Lamb chops I ordered were very tasty and tender. We joined several day activities like the family and music trivia (didn't win), had the afternoon tea twice (felt so pampered), had a massage at the spa, used the gym 2-3x, watched movies in the screening room (Hidden Figures and Split), went to the BB King lounge several times at night and really enjoyed the band. Got to dance too! Also enjoyed the Filipino crew concert, the other shows could be better. Booked excursions for Juneau (City tour, Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching) and Skagway (Full day Yukon tour) through Viator, was cheaper than what ship offered but got excursion in Ketchikan (Canoe with nature trail hike) from the ship because they were cheaper. All excursions were great, with weather just drizzling slightly and cloudy throughout. Amazing time at Glacier Bay National Park, saw calving glaciers and a brown bear cub along the cliff! On our way back from Ketchikan, saw a humpback whale breaching 8 times!! Read so many reviews about this ship and itinerary months before we were set to sail. Yes, it's passengers were mostly adults and seniors but didn't take that as a factor, in fact, I appreciated seeing them enjoy their lives -- dining, drinking and dancing! Yes, passengers came from all over the world -- UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, US, etc. Checking out was easy as well, just waited in our cabin to be called for our disembarkation time. Took a shuttle from the pier to the airport. Great experience for our family, thanks HAL and your hard-working crew. Last tip -- bring a good pair of binoculars! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise because it suited our dates sailing from Vancouver up to SE Alaska and it lasted 7 days and returned back in time to disembark and reach our family wedding later that Saturday afternoon. We had booked an inside ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it suited our dates sailing from Vancouver up to SE Alaska and it lasted 7 days and returned back in time to disembark and reach our family wedding later that Saturday afternoon. We had booked an inside stateroom and it was perfectly quiet and the bathroom and space was perfectly adequate. The ship was immaculate and we regulalry noted cleaners wiping and vacuuming to keep the beautiful interiors up to top levels of hygiene. The decks were also hosed down regulalry and there were operators painting the ship every time we ventured in to the quieter areas. The Dining experience was top standard and we enjoyed all of the dining experiences, cocktails and High teas. The choice of fresh ingredients was wide ranging and standards were incredible, given the number of passengers to feed three meals each day and also the staff. We enjoyed the tour around the kitchens on the last day. the waiting staff were very well trained and cheerful and always greeted each and every passenger at whatever time of day you happened to be sitting down to an amazingly freshly cooked meal. We really appreacited the customised omlettes at breakfast and the oriental and sushi menus available at lunch time. Totally delicious. The staff training was superb and everyone deserved commendations. from the Cruise Director, Nick to the cabin staff. We had committed to a full range of shore excursions and enjoyed each of these immensely given the varity and enthusiasm of each of the shore managers, thank you for showing us whales and bears! The entertainment was thrilling and we watched dancers and magicians and attended the band nights in the Blues Club, amazing singers with a great atmosphere. Thanks too for making hard wired computers available for those of us who prefer to use a desk top computer while we sial past islands and wild life. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise because my Father-in-Law wanted to do the Panama Canal, and it was great. We loved the food, itinerary, hospitality of the crew and overall journey. Watching the ship go through the Canal was a real treat, but some ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my Father-in-Law wanted to do the Panama Canal, and it was great. We loved the food, itinerary, hospitality of the crew and overall journey. Watching the ship go through the Canal was a real treat, but some of the more obscure stops were also fun. Here are the itinerary highlights we enjoyed most: Half-Moon Cay (Private Island): Beautiful beach, fish in the shallows & lots of birds. A great day in the sun! Columbia (Cartagena): National Bird Aviary -- fun, but a bit sunny and hot Panama Canal: Watching the ship rise and fall powered by rainwater & gravity -- amazing! Costa Rica (Puerto Caldera): Mangrove river cruise -- like a Disney Jungle Boat cruise with real crocodiles & exotic birds. Nicaragua (Corinto): You MUST walk on top of the white domed church at the town center! Guatemala (Puerto Quetzal): Bus ride to Antigua was well worth it. Elevation made it cool, and the town architecture was fun to explore on our own. Mexico (Puerto Vallarta): Rythms of the Night show excursion was great. By luck of the draw we had front row seats. The performers were very entertaining (especially the more gymnastic ones), and the food was good and plentiful if not quite as tasty as it could be. We had some minor issues, but the crew worked hard in every instance to make things right. The two worth mentioning were some cabin noise from the BB King Lounge that lasted until about 10 most nights, and some slow service at tables for 10 during open-seating dining. The crew addressed the first with earplugs that worked great for me, and some proactive efforts by the head waiters to seat us at smaller tables where the service was prompt. They also offered a free meal at the Pinnacle which was very much appreciated. Overall, a great experience, and we'll be back on another Holland ship again soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Just returned from our 12 Carribean days with Holland America Lines on board the Nieuw Amsterdam. Fantastic,the stateroom staff were the most outgoing people that you could ask for. We had a veranda room with beautiful views of the ocean, ... Read More
Just returned from our 12 Carribean days with Holland America Lines on board the Nieuw Amsterdam. Fantastic,the stateroom staff were the most outgoing people that you could ask for. We had a veranda room with beautiful views of the ocean, ports, sunsets and of course sunrises. Five options for dining, from "dressy" to casual on deck. Several evening spots for music and entertainment, piano bar, jazz, blues, and live dance performances.It was an eight island tour with stops in Tortola,Dominica,St Lucia, Barbados,Marinque,St. Martin,St. Thomas and Half Moon Kay. This was our third cruise with Holland America and we can't recommend them enough!! Great Cruising!!! Our shore visits consisted mainly of guided tours of each island, seeing sights,learning history of each Island and special interest places like old island churches and even 400 year old rum distilleries still in operation. Plants and flowers everywhere with many explained to us as medicinal uses, trees and grasses. Never a dull moment!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was an excellent cruise with a very exciting places listed to visit the ship is modern very clean , and the stateroom we had was clean and well fitted. it was a veranda stateroom , the room staff really look after the rooms. ... Read More
This was an excellent cruise with a very exciting places listed to visit the ship is modern very clean , and the stateroom we had was clean and well fitted. it was a veranda stateroom , the room staff really look after the rooms. and each night do a towel welcome which are funny when you entre stateroom .cleaned each day food is excellent well presented and plenty of choice and staff fab shopping on board not overly impressed. you possibly would get same value in most cities , while they had end of season sales and there was a few bargains , overall shopping on board make up your mind on value against your own home prices entertainment was excellent , but we did not go to the b b show so cant comment on same front office staff very helpful and friendly . but would suggest you sign that you will settle your own gratuities. and don't want them added to your credit car keep an eye on these it may be best to book your off ship excursions with your travel agent , but do carefully look and pick same a very good one is the helicopter tour Juneau . and the local bus tour in Skagway is excellent of shore shopping is an experience , the cruise ship will be making suggestions re certain outlets and do tell you up front re commissions paid to ship, and that shops pay to be on programme again have your ideas in your own mind before you go so as to check for value we did acquire a watch at a store not mentioned by cruise liner at great value , so shop around , as the outlets told us they follow the cruise ships the experience of the glaciers is worth the cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Chose a rather limited Alaska itinerary in favor of simplicity of travel with eight year old twin grandchildren on their first cruise. Couldn't have been happier with the choice, as we were even able to take public transport to and ... Read More
Chose a rather limited Alaska itinerary in favor of simplicity of travel with eight year old twin grandchildren on their first cruise. Couldn't have been happier with the choice, as we were even able to take public transport to and from the ship. We also opted for a suite, both for space and amenities; and on this itinerary at least the price was reasonable. Again, very happy with the choice. We had a great accommodation with excellent accessibility to all areas of the ship, readily available snacks and privacy because of the lounge access, greatly appreciated the included laundry and valet service and concierge assistance with all other issues, such as reservations, shore excursions, and other issues as they came up without having to wait in line at the front desk. The ship was beautiful, everything was in good condition, the food was better than on our last few HAL cruises, entertainment top notch, and as always, children were treated royally by staff, many of whom were missing their own. This was an end of summer cruise, not too many kids on board as school already started in much of the US. The Club HAL program didn't hold much interest for our children, who much preferred to hang out with us or with other adults and children in the crow's nest or at the pool. They did however greatly appreciate the classical music onboard, as well as the electric violinist duo and the illusionist. I suspect that they may now be hooked. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I should start by putting my basis for this rating into perspective. Last summer we cruised on the Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) in the Mediterranean. You will not find a more modern ship with more amenities than Allure; however, I ... Read More
I should start by putting my basis for this rating into perspective. Last summer we cruised on the Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) in the Mediterranean. You will not find a more modern ship with more amenities than Allure; however, I can honestly say I enjoyed the Nieuw Amsterdam more. If it takes rock climbing walls, Johnny Rockets, zip lines, vintage cars in the Mall of America-esque promenade to entertain you then this isn't the ship for you. The mid-sized ship experience allows you to feel like you're part of a family. There are numerous activities that likely fit into one of your interests. We thoroughly enjoyed, for instance, the three wine tasting events; however, when one goes on a cruise sometimes it's the downtime that we seek. For an Alaskan cruise, simply looking out the window is the entertainment you desired. Fit a cocktail hour (or three) into your day; find a seat by a window and enjoy a little piece of heaven. Dinner time was a highlight of each day. As the father of two elementary aged children I don't have the luxury of becoming a high end restaurant critic so I can honestly say the food was better than 95% of most meals I eat. It wasn't the food that made the experience memorable, it was the service. Our waitstaff felt like part of our family by the end of the week. They did not only provide excellent service but took a genuine interest in our kids in particular but all three generations of our family in attendance. Find a set dinner time that works for you and go to the same table every night. You will not regret it. We clearly live in a age of one-upping and how to out-flash the competition. While Royal Caribbean does an excellent job of staying on top in that regard, Holland America quietly pays attention to what people truly want in a cruise. When people think about taking a cruise they don't immediately hope it has an ice show or Johnny Rockets. They want tasteful elegance and comfort that focusses their attention outward which is really why they came on the cruise in the first place. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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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