38 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

We were terribly disappointed with the entertainment. The worst in all the cruises I have taken. This was our first with Holland American and never again. This was a cruise suitable for very old people. The best entertainment was the ... Read More
We were terribly disappointed with the entertainment. The worst in all the cruises I have taken. This was our first with Holland American and never again. This was a cruise suitable for very old people. The best entertainment was the Filipino cruise members show. They put up a voluntary show. I must also mention one of Lido restaurant staff Amelia, she was helpful and very nice. She also did a great show. There was a lack of entertainment for younger people. We never met a single young person from the entertainment team beside the cruise director. All in all not a happy experience. The staff in our allocated dining area were absolutely wonderful and helpful. I found quite disrespectful to be called by my Cristian name by the cabin steward. In Europe we are not used to that or at least I am not. Not very good room service at all Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Holland goes above and beyond to make you as comfortable and welcomed as possible. By far it is the BEST cruise line around. The food was great. The entertainment was great. All staff personable. Our room attendants went above and ... Read More
Holland goes above and beyond to make you as comfortable and welcomed as possible. By far it is the BEST cruise line around. The food was great. The entertainment was great. All staff personable. Our room attendants went above and beyond. As did the waiters. Love everything about Holland America Cruise Line. The ship was spotless. You are treated like royalty everyday. On our last day we had a bar-b-que on the private island. It was wonderful. You would think that you would be given hot dogs and burgers. We had that plus steaks, chicken, fish tacos plus multiple salads, fruits, cupcakes and hand dipped ice cream. It was a nice change and we enjoyed it. I just wish that there was a little more shopping on their island. On the ship you never had to wait in lines. Everything moved quickly. Also you can’t forget about the bread pudding +++++++. OMG what a treat. Thank you again for a wonderful, relaxing time. I can’t wait to do it again... Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Dh and I (mid 40's) and ds (teenager) are seasoned HAL cruisers (all three star). This cruise was a family cruise that included us, our newest addition, a one year old baby girl, and both of our mothers, 6 total. Baby girl is a ... Read More
Dh and I (mid 40's) and ds (teenager) are seasoned HAL cruisers (all three star). This cruise was a family cruise that included us, our newest addition, a one year old baby girl, and both of our mothers, 6 total. Baby girl is a toddler so we had to make some special arrangement for her. My mother in law has some mobility issues, so again some special arrangements. We embarked in Ft Lauderdale on Sunday 2/3/2019. Our itinerary was sea day, Grand Turk, San Juan, St Thomas, sea day, and Half Moon Cay. We stayed at the Embassy Suites ($385 per room a night) in Ft. Lauderdale as we have 3 times before but this will be our last time there. Despite getting there at 1:30pm we were not allowed into our room until 5pm (4pm is check in) and the utter chaos of embarkation morning with the 5 tiny elevators being crammed full constantly and no help for those with mobility issues was too much. We will make other arrangements when cruising out of Ft Lauderdale next year. We used GoShuttle's private van service in Ft Lauderdale for all our transport needs as they were able to accommodate our whole family, all our luggage and they were very good with my mother in law and daughter. Embarkation: Once at Port Everglades at approx 10:50, embarkation was a breeze. We are 3 star Mariners so no special priority boarding but we still only waited until 11:45 to board. Our cabin was ready immediately. Ship: The ship is a great size. The decor is very HAL, more subdued and elegant, which is our speed. We do not care for Joe Farcus' designs as on Carnival and Costa. The layout is also very much like the Vista class. The HAL wrap around wide promenade is a favorite of ours. The retractable lido pool roof is great. We never felt crowded on the ship though the lido could get really busy at lunch. Cabin: We had three deck 4 aft starboard cabins. Ours was 4155. Great cabins. We had the stewards open the balconies up for us which was very nice. The balconies on this deck are deeper and we loved being nearer the ocean. Plenty of storage. Bath is small but has a tub which is nice for the toddler. We requested a Graco Pack n Play for the toddler and it fit next to the couch with plenty of room to spare. We also needed an extension cord for dh's cpap which the steward provided and set up. 2 normal plugs on the desk. 2 usb on the desk and 1 usb near each night stand. The bathroom counter was small but we had room for all our stuff as well as a bottle drying rack for the toddler. Cabin stewards: Great!! They were there when we needed them, took our unlimited laundry everyday, they exceeded our expectations. Food: Lido... good quality, great selection all three meals. The whole roasted suckling pig with crispy skin was a nice meal. The curry and chili crusted lamb chops were even better. High chairs WITH TRAYS available on request though we did have one attendant that had to go ask someone else where they were MDR... food was very good, service was too. We ate 4 dinners and 2 lunches there. Our table stewards were always on the ball. The meal did not feel over long. A highchair with a tray was available as soon as we sat down. The toddler was catered to. Her milk and fruit appetizer was there asap. The kid's menu was very kid friendly. Mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, french fries. For the older, more culinarily advanced kiddo, you can get a half portions of ANY mdr entree for your youngins. We even ordered her a crab cake appetizer because she ate half of mine. Gala night entrees were exceptional. The veal dishes and guinea with gnocchi were stand outs as were the baked crab cakes. Room service... great all around. We did at least continental breakfast with ample string coffee everyday. Write STRONG next to "coffee" if you like it that way and it will be that way. Good stuff. If you want something not on the nightly breakfast door tag, just write it on there. Other room service ordered by our group was great. The stuff from the mdr dinner menu was hot and just as tasty as that served in the mdr. Dive in burgers and dogs.... Mmmm, great burgers and dogs, FANTASTIC french fries. Get the Dive in sauce. Pinnacle Grill.... Good as always. I know some have said they see a change in the meat quality over the years and I don't doubt their observation but my 10 oz filet was almost tender enough to cut with a fork. We paid the $70 supplement for caviar (you only live once) and it was worth it to us. Blini, egg yoke and white, chives, red onion, and shiny brown teeny tasty fish eggs. When mom, mil, and son went they tried the the vegetarian (eggplant and ravioli) options and enjoyed them very much. Tamarind.... this was the best meal of the cruise for us. Service was great as well. As a group, we tried all the soups, all good but the laksa was the favorite. We tried satay sampler, the duck, and the rib appetizers and loved them all though I was partial to the ribs. We had a sushi sampler as well as tempura lobster and dragon roll. Again all were excellent. One of us has the Korean duck breast and the rest the wasabi crusted tenderloin. The tenderloin were perfectly cooked and all but one realy enjoy the crust. The other person just scrapped off some and enjoyed the rest. The duck was tender and good as well. The mushrooms and bok choy as sides were really top notch. So much flavor. Dh and I enjoyed a flask of sake each during our meal which was indeed included in our Elite beverage package. The only miss was the dessert, we all got the Tamarind chocolate at the suggestion of our server but the ginger flavor was too bold for us. It was alright though because we were all so full and we went for ice cream in the lido later that night. Staff/crew in general: Regardless of location, they were great. They loved on our daughter and made our moms feel so welcome. There was one grumpy bartender in the Pinnacle Bar but he made the best drinks on the boat so he is excused. Holland America really does pick the best people. It is their strength. Entertainment: Main Stage:First night was the Super Bowl which was presented minus commercials on the Main Stage complete with waiters taking beverage orders and attendants with trays of yummy game snacks. We saw a bit of one of the shows in the Main Stage but we are not big production people so that was really not a focus. What we did see seemed far more professional than what we have seen on HAL in the past. BB Kings... THIS is the place to be. The BB King All Stars were unreal. Candy Graham, the lady singer, could really bring the house down. The gentleman singer, I didn't catch his name, did a Marvin Gaye medley that was out of this world. 3 sets a night, first 2 were better attended but even the last set had plenty of folks dancing the night away (I am guilty as charged) Billboard Onboard... caught a couple of these sets. The pianists are very talented but I am just not the fan of this style as opposed to the old style single piano man type (think Jimmy Maddox or Stryker). But it was a good time and very very popular. We never made it to the Lincoln Center Stage though we are very much fans of classical music. But with the toddler, not the easiest thing to manage. We did miss having a jazz trio in the Ocean Bar. HAL has had some great jazz musicians there in the past. All in all though there was more than enough great music to keep us completely entertained. Drink package: First time with a drinks package. We did the Elite package as it offered a better wine selection. We were not disappointed. We never reached the 15 alcoholic beverage limit and we did get quite a few non-alcoholic beverages too; coffees, bottled water, milkshakes at the lido bar. It was worth every penny to us. We could upgrade to top shelf liquors in our mixed drinks as well or add a shot of Bailey's, Kahlua or Frangelico in our milkshakes. We also used one of our drink allowances to do a Mixology class which I highly recommend. They never fail to be fun. We did the Quench package for mom's and son. Very good choice. Never had to worry about bottled water or soft drinks plus all the mocktails at any bar and the special coffees at the Crow's Nest were covered too. Spa: First time without the Thermal Suite package. I missed it but knew with the toddler I would not have time for it. I did get an updo for both Gala nights. The stylist did a great job both nights but do go into your appointment with an IDEA of what you want or you risk looking like Tina Turner in Thunder Dome. I always peruse the daily spa specials and wasn't disappointed this time. Mini-facial, full body massage by a very strong/talented masseuse. I got my monies worth. Good experience. Ports: Standard Eastern Caribbean. Grand Turk is no longer a favorite sadly. The port area is too crowded and Margarittaville's DJ started getting vulgar pretty early in the day. We headed back to the ship at noon for lunch. We might try Jack's Shack for longer next time or just stay on the ship. I will say though that the cruise port staff were kind and the complimentary wheel chairs they offer are much appreciated. My mother in law has difficulty with long distances and that pier is a bit of a hike. The lady that helped her was a real sweet lady. We tipped her well. San Juan was very pleasant though very crowded. We got there early thankfully. Mom had never been to the forts (mil had years ago so she stayed on the ship until later) so we walked there and did that. Then we stopped in Old Town for shopping and back to the ship by 4:30pm. It rained all night so no more venturing out. St Thomas was very nice. We got a van cab to downtown. We went to Palm Passage and ate at Amalia Cafe. The food was great. Tapas, olives, gazpacho, sangria, paella, zarzuela.. fresh fish, very very good. I recomend this place. Email them for reservations though. It gets crowded. Half Moon Cay... we had the cabana with butler. It's worth it. The food was excellent and more than we all could eat. Unlimited drinks included is a very nice perk. But even without the cabana, HMC is idyllic. It is the perfect beach day. Disembarkation: Smooth. We were off by 8:45. A porter helped us with luggage and mil wheelchair. He whisked us through customs. We were on our transfer bus by 9:15. The kids: Our son who is a teen met up with some other teens onboard. The teen club is pretty free flowing and stays open on their schedule. He had fun. We also bought him the Quench Package which is unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. He used this very well on coffees and mocktails. We will buy it again. Our 1 year old daughter was too young for any shipboard activities but she was catered too and loved on by the crew and even many of the passengers. She was the "Rock Star" and we were merely her staff. I think the whole crew greeted her by name by the time we disembarked. She was very spoiled. Of note, FLL airport is a pit. I am sorry for those that like the airport. It is the worst international airport I have been in and I have been in some bad ones. It has been horrible for years but now it is intolerable. It is a quarter the size it needs to be to comfortably handle the number of travelers that move through it several days every week all fall and winter long. We will never go through FLL again. The staff are rude, the help for those with mobility issues is nil, the seating and food options are completely inadequate. We will fly into MCO (Orlando, a great airport with tons of options and cheaper flights), rent a car, and stay at a less expensive hotel north of Ft Lauderdale, do our pre-cruise shopping in comfort, and drop off the car embarkation day and take an Avis/Budget shuttle to the port. We will do the reverse when we disembark. In summary, everything HAL this trip was great. FLL airport, Embassy Suites, and Grand Turk were the only downers and things we will change in the future. We are already booked on Nieuw Amsterdam for next year we enjoyed the ship that much! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were so excited to be back on a Holland America Line (HAL) ship after a few cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We missed the classic European charm of HAL. The little Dutch/European touches -- fine dining at breakfast -- ... Read More
We were so excited to be back on a Holland America Line (HAL) ship after a few cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We missed the classic European charm of HAL. The little Dutch/European touches -- fine dining at breakfast -- with classic European or Asian breakfasts, the ginger served after dinner, escargot on formal nights etc. Oh, we were so disappointed. We were 11 people on the cruise and each of us felt the food was sorely lacking. Marinara sauces watered down so that it was like adding thick pink water to your pasta. It was absolutely flavorless. Granted I am vegetarian and so assumed it was just me. So, when my carnivore son also complained about the food -- I knew the problem was real. Even the cappuccinos and lattes that cost $5+ each -- tasted of weak poor quality coffee. I spent so much time hungry on this cruise -- literally hungry. The salad bar was a good solid bet. The poached egg station in the morning was nice. The oatmeal was made palatable by adding nuts from near the yogurt station. Each meal on the Lido deck was a matter of hunt and gather -- hunt for the base of your meal -- then gather items to make it flavorful and tasty. Actually felt hunger pangs on the cruise and left the ship on Sunday ravenous. Body was literally craving nutrition. I will applaud almost every member of the crew. They never failed to smile or greet you. The only one who seemed apathetic was the girl not excited about making our pasta with extra spinach or gluten free -- even though we fetched the spinach from the salad station ourselves. We have truly enjoyed the elegance and high standards on HAL prior to this cruise and selected it because an elderly family member was traveling with us. As a large group, we felt it was the best cruise line to get a quality experience. Sorely disappointed on so many fronts but mainly the food front. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find ... Read More
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find enough to keep them entertained in casino & on New Years Eve. The ship was clean and nicely furnished but nothing that really awed me. Food was average, but like most lines, the food has gone down in quality since catering to pay for dining rooms. Room service was good. Service was very good & staff was friendly. I found it more difficult to get port information as I could not make their info session on stage. Most ships I have been on have a TV channel devoted to ports of call, but i couldn't locate one on this ship. In room movie selection was very good. We loved the piano bar & it's proximity to the casino. I did find the atmosphere on the ship relaxing. I have been on 5 other HAL cruises & think they are a good value but not a lot of bells & whistles, especially on the pool decks like many of the other lines. I like the size of their ships. Boarding was easy, but Ft. Lauderdale port is rather chaotic, especially with 7 other ships there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was a family Christmas Vacation Cruise sponsored by my Mother, Step Father, Sister and my 13 year old Daughter. Words can't describe the entire experience from the moment our Taxi dropped us off at the Port Everglades to our ... Read More
This was a family Christmas Vacation Cruise sponsored by my Mother, Step Father, Sister and my 13 year old Daughter. Words can't describe the entire experience from the moment our Taxi dropped us off at the Port Everglades to our ten minute total check in time!! The ship looked perfect size from outside. AS soon as we got off elevator our Steward walked us to our room, his name was Amin and his partner was Ray Ban! The cabin had a balcony and plenty of storage!!! The space on balcony was perfect! Bedding was so very comfortable! The Dining was varied and perfect everwhere...our Dining Room Steward was YanMar and he walked us to our table each night and pushed the wheel chair for us!! Activity room for teens was active and safe! Service was friendly and prompt at ALL times!! We took tender to Grand Caymen..loved the public beach. Did Dolphin Swim at Ochos Rios.....Beach Park at Cozumel and Beach at Moon Cay. My favorite was water temperature and clarity of water at Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach. My least favorite was the taxi ride rip offs to the beaches in Cozmel which were very rocky! Cozmel seemed like a hustle...all other desitinations were more relaxed Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop ... Read More
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop .Next to the casino is billboard 2 pianos and vocalists playing requests, old hits , some sing along.Casino is friendly not bad for a cruise ship. Lincoln Center on stage is the place for classical music. Cello violin and such.The main stage has a different act every night, although this is where HAL needs the most improvement The ships singers and dancers and show just ok. Acts such as comedian and or magician not very good. Four ports of call not bad for a seven day cruise. On this particular cruise we were unable to tender to their private island because of rough seas, but we have been there before it’s a great beach day with free bbq. Private beach set up really nice. They also have beach houses for rent which I never thought would be worth it for a half day outing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We arrived a day early in Fort Lauderdale and stayed at Embassy Suites near the Cruise Port. We ended up taking the hotel's shuttle as Uber was too busy, we knew the cost was $9/person for the service. Hotel did not have room ready ... Read More
We arrived a day early in Fort Lauderdale and stayed at Embassy Suites near the Cruise Port. We ended up taking the hotel's shuttle as Uber was too busy, we knew the cost was $9/person for the service. Hotel did not have room ready so they gave us dining credit at their restaurant, which was mediocre even for free food. Embassy has a nice pool, coy ponds and water fall and conveniently located in front of Total Wine, a grocery store and restaurants for those that want to load up on soda, wine etc to take on the cruise. Picked up Uber at the hotel for $15 to pier 21. Took under 5 minutes to get through security at 11:15 and we were on the ship and in our room before 12pm as group 12 to embark. Easy. Checked out the ship, grabbed lunch at the Lido and hit the pool with the kids. The Edge was parked next to us, it is a beautiful giant ship. We were the last to leave of 7 ships in port that day just after 5pm. We sat down at dinner after 6 on level 2 for Open Dining. This was our least favorite experience of our week on NA. The waiter and his assistant were less than good at being waiters. As parents of kids with allergies we know it is our responsibility to check what has nuts and what doesn't, but HAL makes a big deal about allergy issues during our registration and express document so one would think that this would be taken care of when we sit down for dinner. On our previous cruise the assistant maitre d' discussed the allergy with my daughter prior to us getting food at the table, this time nothing not even the waiter asking anyone at the table. I found this odd. We watched one of our dishes be offered to the adjacent table and then placed back on what I call the waiter stand with the other three dishes for almost 10 minutes before it was served to us.... It doesn't matter what the dish is it isn't boing to be great after that long, our snapper was average the kids' steaks were not great. Ordered dessert and decaf, received regular and the wrong dessert. Anyway we knew what section not to be in the rest of the week. Sea day was relaxing, beautiful sunrise in the morning from the Explorer's Cafe. The kids and I ate in the Lido and one of them noticed a dolphin jump off the side of the ship that we enjoyed briefly of another few jumps, lucky. Lido breakfast is very good, fresh made eggs nearly anyway you want including omelets, poached and fried; but scrambled are pre-made. We love the eggs and crepe stations along with what else bacon. The chocolate croissants seemed to find my plate each morning as well. The service is always with a smile and the service at the tables for drink refills is impeccable. Lunch at the Dive-in for burgers, hot dogs chicken sandwiches and maybe the best fries you will ever have. The taco bar in the lido makes a nice guacamole and chip dish for a nice snack at the pool as well. Dinner at 5:15 as the reservation line for Open dining pushed us to have that or 745. You can also show up without a reservation anytime between 515 and 8 to be seated. They turned people away after 8 pm. We had a window table for the four of us this evening and had a wonderful waiter, Putu Subeka. First words out of his mouth were "does anyone have food allergies?" Made me realize that our first waiter failed at this step in his training. We requested Putu's section each night thereafter. He remembered how we liked steaks cooked the next night and that our daughter had a nut allergy, made recommendations of what we might like each night and that portions of certain dishes may be smaller than we would like... so order more than what the initial dish. He made our dining experience more enjoyable and we thank him for that. Favorite dinners were Gala night filet and lobster (don't be shy ask for another tail) and the veal cutlets. The veal was amazing! Our girls enjoy the steaks that we learned our a little cooked a little past what we prefer so we ordered them medium instead of medium well and that was to their liking. HAL has several dishes on the menu each night that don't change French Onion Soup, a salad, Salmon and a New York Strip steak. The steak now has a peppercorn sauce that we didn't enjoy, once ordered without this sauce it is a nice steak. Other dishes that stood out were the mushroom risotto as an excellent dish the, shrimp cocktail and coconut shrimp were our favorite appetizers. The first stop was Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. We were on the port side of the ship and felt like we were at the beach the pier is so close... I had a call to be on so unfortunately we didn't do an excursion here. The beach is nice, but I suggest going to the other side of the pier as the snorkeling is better and you're not staring at the ships. We were going to walk around the corner of the island for better snorkeling, but the sea was a little rough due to a storm blowing in, I had read the snorkeling was better there. We did see an octopus, huge barracuda and some coral, but unfortunately too many people walk on the coral in the shallow water and it is having a hard time recovering from the hurricane. There are better beach stops that Grand Turk, explore the island rather than sit at a small beach. Next port Old San Juan, PR. We had been here in the past for a long weekend so felt comfortable driving (warning the locals don't know how to use blinkers and often cut from one side of the freeway to the opposite to exit - worse than all of the bad Chicagoan drivers I know). We took and Uber to the airport to get a rental car for the day. Unfortunately getting in at 1pm and all aboard at 10:30 didnt allow us to see the forts, rainforest and beaches in one trip. We elected to show the kids the only rainforest in the USA, El Yunque, though it was beat up by Hurricane Maria. Half of this national forest is still closed, you can see several waterfalls from the road or short hike, but the best waterfall and hike in the park are still closed; El Mina Falls. The lookout which allows you to see the sea from the forest is still open. We saw and felt the waterfalls, found a bunch of lizards and decided to hit the beach. We chose to go the Isla Verde as it is beautiful and close to the airport for our rental return (the airport car rentals are open 24/7 vs most in OSJ that close at between 4 and 5). Great beach for perfect body surfing waves, chilling in clean soft sand. Stayed here past sunset and the other 3 got no-seeum bites due to this.... lesson learned. This was our favorite beach of the trip and only one with waves. The other beach that is easy to reach via car/Uber is Condado both are in safe areas with plenty of security. Back to return the rental car. Uber cannot pick up at SJU yet, so it was a $24 taxi ride back to the ship for a shower. Plenty of time to shop though many of the shops closed at 6 or 7. We walked by CVS/Walgreens along the water and then up towards OSJ and there was a gift shop open within 4 blocks of the water. Good selection of shirts, trinkets, and normal souvenir junk. Walked around SJU to show the kids the European feel of the city and paver streets. Such a cool city. Off to grab some Lido ice cream and a movie in the room. Our third stop in as many days was St. Thomas. We docked at sunrise in a gorgeous port staring at the island and its hills/mountains. We have snorkeled around much of North America and won't go on a "cattlemaran" with 50 plus people. I found a small charter called Bama Breeze V.I. who would customize the trip to our liking. I highly recommend them for any of your boating needs in the USVI, our only disappointment was that we booked the half day instead of the full day. Pay the extra to be picked up near your ship as we did. My phone plan through Verizon allows us to use our phones in US Territories so I was able to call the charter that our planned docking location had changed. We snorkeled in the crystal clear waters of Buck Island above a shipwreck and along the shoreline that has beautiful coral that is regrowing and is nearly recovered from the recent hurricanes. We saw a giant stingray buried in the sand and two octopi amounts the dozens of fish species, great spot. There were other tours here, but we were able to stay away from them for the most part. Off to Water Island for a rest stop and then to Honeymoon Beach (on Water Island). Honeymoon beach is protected in a bay is a marina, has several bars, the softest white sand, grassy swim area, and lots of TURTLES. We swam/snorkeled with 7 or 8 turtles here for nearly an hour. They are truly amazing to watch in the water and so rare to see that many at once. You can take a ferry from the mainland to Water Island. Captain Doug dropped us near the ship. A quick change and off to downtown for a souvenir or two. St. Thomas has open sided vans that they use for taxis, they drive on the wrong side of the road and frankly there was no way I was driving here. $4 per person to get a ride to downtown on the taxi. Found the market to be lackluster and headed to a shop. The taxi dropped me off at the grocery store, Pueblo (I think), for Dt. Mountain Dew. That is right Dt. Mountain Dew on St. Thomas, not in or on Puerto Rico. My wife is addicted to it so we needed to get a 12 pack, $6 wasn't bad for an island stop and well worth it for my wife. The "supermarket" as they call it is a short walk from Crow or Crown Bay (people called it both). A relaxing sea day followed by a tender ride to Half Moon Cay. While the beach at HMC is gorgeous, it is fairly crowded with 2 ships in for the day, the food is below average at the "cook out" and the swimming areas are fairly small. This was our least favorite stop on the Eastern Caribbean Voyage. Disembarkation day was a quick breakfast, finish packing and then waited in the US customs line for maybe 15 minutes. Easy. Uber to the airport and on our way home to cold WI. No vacation is perfect, but this one was amazing. We made memories as a family, had a lot of laughs, wonderful service, delicious food and met a lot of friendly people along the way. Thank you HAL for taking great care of us and putting your best foot forward for your guests. I almost forgot, the captain came on the loudspeaker at 630p on our last sea day to make an announcement to tell passengers to stay off the open decks and balconies. One of our fellow passengers had to be evacuated off the ship... A somber moment in our cruise, we were told the passenger made it to the hospital and was doing well... We pray that this passenger and the family are doing well. We hadn't seen this before and it certainly amazing that the Coast Guard is able to take someone from the ship within a moments notice (an hour or so...) talented selfless people. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We had a a group that ranged from kids to seniors on a Thanksgiving Cruise. We are avid cruisers but had never been on Holland America. We all loved it! The food was amazing and the entertainment was better than we expected. The evening ... Read More
We had a a group that ranged from kids to seniors on a Thanksgiving Cruise. We are avid cruisers but had never been on Holland America. We all loved it! The food was amazing and the entertainment was better than we expected. The evening music options were fantastic. The ship was kept immaculate and had the most attentive crew onboard. They definitely had less of a party vibe and a more relaxed, calmer mature feel to the ship. I heard that there are plenty of kids on board when it’s a holiday or summer. I enjoyed the quieter aspects of it but could see how a younger adult crowd might want a little more excitement. The kids club was fun for the kids but very basic as far as the activities planned. It was a mixture of games with a little arts and crafts mixed in. Their private island was fantastic with plenty of beach chairs and a gorgeous beach and view. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were ... Read More
We have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were wonderfully smooth and a brilliant blue. The Retreat cabana was a perfect retreat and the service in was fantastic. My only complaint was the food in the main dining room was salty and bland thankfully we spent the rest of the cruise eating in the specialty restaurants. The entertainment is exceptional and we went to the main stage every night for the late show. We'd cap off the night with a visit to the BB's Blues Club. The musicians were amazing and we enjoyed watching them. Finally, the private island, Half Moon Cay was perfect. We loved being alone on the island and had private bike/hike tour along with a relaxing day at the beach. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
It has been a few years since I sailed on Holland America as friends have chosen Princess and family is now happier on Disney. First, let me say that the boarding process was very good and my room was ready when I boarded right around ... Read More
It has been a few years since I sailed on Holland America as friends have chosen Princess and family is now happier on Disney. First, let me say that the boarding process was very good and my room was ready when I boarded right around noon. The ship was spotless and the crew was among the best I have encountered in 20+ cruises. Why does this review say "very good" instead of "Excellent"? The fact is that at age 70 I am not content to sit around and vegetate when I really want activities and participation. Both of the aforementioned cruise lines seem to be better at making things happen as opposed to letting me sit and watch things. The shows were OK, but not great. The selection of entertainment was somewhat limited compared to the bigger ships I have been on but that is not always true for ships of this size. Even the comparable ships from other lines have multiple lounges and game areas. If I want to learn to play the Ukulele, or sing in a choir or make balloon animals or fold towels or try out the water slide or glide along the zip line, it's nice to have the choice to do so as opposed to listening to lectures or performances. There was not even a good dance band that I can think of. Food in the main dining room was very good as was the lido deck fare. The Holland private island is a great place and has to be included as part of the cruise experience although it is still a tender port wasting time compared to others. In short, love the ship and the staff, while to that pleased with the opportunities to have fun. For a cruise in the Mediterranean or Asia where the ports are historic and full of culture this would be an appropriate transport. For a week in the Caribbean I'd have to look at other options closely and weigh the benefits carefully. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the ... Read More
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the service is good. We are 55 & 52 and seasoned cruisers mostly on Celebrity & RCCL. This was our first HAL experience and we were looking forward to it after several months of anticipation. Our overall impressions of HAL and the Nieuw Amsterdam was favorable however we will not be sailing on her or HAL again. I will attempt to highlight the various aspects of our experience. Dining: We enjoy a variety of fine dining when we cruise and the food in the specialty dining areas are exceptional with the exception of Tamarind. The Tamarind service is forced, rushed and the food quality is mediocre. Pinnacle Grille was the saving grace for our cruise. We dined early in the cruise & went back for Rudi’s Sel De Mer pop up and also for lunch. It was without question the shining part of our cruise. The MDR was also very good even though they screwed up our anytime dining reservations which they would not correct - we did end up getting our originally requested time but had to sit with others. They turned out to be great folks. We also chose MDR for breakfast - fantastic service, selection and taste. We chose this option due to the buffet being the worst of any of the 14 cruises we have experienced. The design is awful, and the selection is extremely limited. Since they serve everyone individually the lines are long for a very limited selection of poor quality items. The MDR is recommended for breakfast & lunch - avoid the buffet at all costs. Even the cookies in the afternoons (cut from a log and not homemade) are limited and the “extra” desserts after dinner have one or two selections at most. I did not try Dive In (though I hear the fries are very good) or the pizza since the lines were very long and the pizza joint was located by the adult pool adjacent to the smoking area which made that entire pool deck undesirable at times depending on the wind direction. If the wind direction is towards the inner doors to the back of the buffet, it also fills with cigarette smoke. Canaletto was very nice and there are several options to share - nice option for an inexpensive specialty spot. Stateroom. We had a Signature Suite and it was just refurbished in Dec. Nice Job HAL! It was an amazing room with excellent technology and appointments. The cabin stewards were exceptional. The very large flat screen TV had many free movie options and it was an excellent add. The bathroom was very large with both a bath with shower and a separate shower adjacent. The standing shower however is not for anyone over 5’10”. The balcony is quite large and allowed for very comfortable room service breakfast options in order to avoid the buffet. Entertainment: the production shows use great video visuals however the main vocalist was not to our liking and had a very loud brash voice. We did not stay long at the two we attempted. The BBC World w/ live music concert was exceptional due to the pairing of musicians from Lincoln Center Stage. The LCS intimate venue is a brilliant add to HAL. These young musicians are outstanding, and we visited almost every performance. BRAVO! The guest vocalist impressionist was also very good however the comedian was not. We visited the guest vocalist encore performance that same evening. BB Kings had some very good acts, but it can get a bit loud and crowded. Very good though! A new addition of the Billboard on Board sounds like it would be a good fit, but it is directly across from the open casino and the slots overpower and confuse the music coming from the dual pianos. They will fix that someday, I’m sure. I did do two America’s Test Kitchen presentations and they were very informative and well done - a really cool idea on a cruise ship. The Music Walk is a winner. There is very little other music in lounges or public areas other than these 3 venues. I think this is a big miss from HAL which Celebrity excels in. Activities: this ship is just boring. I know HAL is for the older crowd but give us something to do! Each engagement segment of interest lasts only about 30 minutes and then you wait 3 hours until something else meets your interest. The pool decks are very uninteresting and open. The family pool area has a retractable roof which they do open and close appropriately. The adult pool area at the aft is very uninteresting and as mentioned prior, has the smoking area attached with detracts from its appeal. The pool decks are plain with no real activities noticed. They gym on board has ample equipment and is not too crowed based upon the older demographic of the fellow passengers. We were able to work out easily for 5 of our 7 days onboard. We did not use the spa and the excessive up-charge to the vitality pool was a turn off. Bars: This is something that I found absolutely ridiculous, in that very few bars are open during the day other than the pool bars. The mid ship lower level bars are attached to specialty dining and once dining reservations are over or not operational, these locations are not open. What a waste of income possibilities! The ship closes down at 9:30 except for B.B. Kings. Do not pay full price for the drink package since BOTH parties in the stateroom must purchase if the other wants one. We are not heavy drinkers, but it is nice to have a glass of wine and not have to search it out. Happy hours begin at 4:00 and is decent with a $2 second cocktail which they deliver together. As a side note, we did find that the Gallery Bar beside the casino was attended most days and had sports on the TV within a very nicely decorated side room - not one you would expect sports to be shown.... Go Cubs opening day! Service: Our stateroom attendant was excellent and left us alone for the most part and made the room while we were either at the gym or at breakfast most mornings. The overall feeling though from most of the crew and service people is that they just are not happy. They seldom had a smile on their face until interaction with a passenger and most of the wait staff, servers, bar tenders, and even officers looked tired. We thought that this might be the end of a contract period and they were looking forward to a break. I have never noticed this before on any of our other cruises. Another very peculiar item was that they do not push the hand sanitizer at all and many of the dispensers were empty. Maybe since they only let the staff serve the food at the buffet, that may counter this. It was a disappointment hearing so much about the HAL service. Overall: Due to the buffet design and quality, lack of activities, and missing supplemental live music options outside of the main venues, we have crossed off HAL for any future cruises. We also were very disappointed in the level of engagement from the staff and a ship with little to offer before dinner, or even on a sea day. We met many HAL loyalists and understand that not all lines are for everyone. We thought we would enjoy the traditional cursing style of HAL but we are looking forward to returning to Celebrity next March on the new Celebrity Edge. I hope this is a helpful review. If you are a MDR type for breakfast and lunch and enjoy sitting in quiet reading a book or playing games or cards with others, this is your cruise line! We enjoy a bit more action. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Main dining room service was as bad as we've had in seventeen cruises.The ship is nice and the entertainment was good. Our stateroom steward was great. Food was just so so except good in Pinnacle grill. Did not get to dock at ... Read More
Main dining room service was as bad as we've had in seventeen cruises.The ship is nice and the entertainment was good. Our stateroom steward was great. Food was just so so except good in Pinnacle grill. Did not get to dock at Dominican Republic due to high winds and seas. Snorkeling at Turks and Caicos was nice. Good clear water with nice fish. We had invited some friends who had never sailed on Holland before and will probably never will again due to poor service in dining room by waiters and wine stewards. They usually travel on Princess and said they will probably stay with them. My wife and I were embarrassed and disappointed. The last night our friends weren't even served their meal while everyone else had theirs. They had to go asks for theirs and of course by then it was cold so they had to wait until another one could be brought up from the kitchen. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
7 days were all we had for a cruise. We love Holland America so this cruise fit the bill. The itinerary really didn’t have anything to do with the decision. Embarkation was quick and efficient. Our room was ready when we arrived at ... Read More
7 days were all we had for a cruise. We love Holland America so this cruise fit the bill. The itinerary really didn’t have anything to do with the decision. Embarkation was quick and efficient. Our room was ready when we arrived at 11:30. We were able to drop our carry ons and get the cruise started with a nice lunch in the dining room. Sail Away was nice with lots of waiters to take drink orders and pass hors d’oeuvres. Unfortunately there were not many places to sit so it was a lot of standing. We were three adults in a cabin and it worked surprisingly well. There was enough space for our clothing and the cabin steward was quick to bring extra hangers. The pull out bed was comfortable. The only downside to using the pullout was that it blocked the balcony door. We ate dinners in the main dining room with the exception of one meal in the Pinnacle Grill. All of the food and service were excellent. Portion sizes have gotten a bit smaller over the years and we really prefer that. Since you can order as much as you want, you will never go hungry, but with reasonable portion sizes you don’t need to feel stuffed or leave food on the plates to go to waste. The entertainment was very good. HAL has gotten much better in this department over the years. The doors to the stage venue didn’t open until a half hour before the show and there was always a line to get in. This was only a real issue on the two nights that they had only one show. The new music walk offers music for everyone. The ports were fine (Key West, Grand Turk, and Half Moon Cay). We missed Amber Cove due to bad weather conditions. Half Moon Cay with its beautiful blue waters and soft white sand was a highlight. The ship was great, service was excellent, and food outstanding, however, we would not choose a seven day cruise nor a Caribbean cruise again due to personal preference. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Family cruise of 9 people. The boat was fabulous and the service and food outstanding. We had reservations for the upgraded dining, but cancelled them after determining the food in the formal dining was very, very good. The crew was ... Read More
Family cruise of 9 people. The boat was fabulous and the service and food outstanding. We had reservations for the upgraded dining, but cancelled them after determining the food in the formal dining was very, very good. The crew was fantastic and always attentive. The ports of call were OK. Key West was fun, Grand Turks was VERY disappointing. We rented a golf cart to see the island and it was not as expected. Don't think this is the resort portion of Turks and Caicos. It is very poor and dirty. We should have stayed at the port where the cruise line has a pool and beach chairs in front of a very pretty beach. Would not do this port again. The next port was Dominican Republic which was cancelled due to rain and high winds. We heard this was the third time it was cancelled in the past few months. You would think the cruise line would not pick this port in the spring. So, we had two sailing days that were OK. The Bahamas island was nice, but yet again it was another beach to pay on. Two of the people in our party scheduled snorkeling which was cancelled due to water being too choppy. All in all, the cruise was good. However, I am done with Caribbean cruises since the ports are not that great. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
It seemed as though every square inch was occupied. The ship was probably over-capacity with family members jamming into staterooms. Of the 27 cruises we've sailed on eleven lines, this was by far the most crowded. At times it was ... Read More
It seemed as though every square inch was occupied. The ship was probably over-capacity with family members jamming into staterooms. Of the 27 cruises we've sailed on eleven lines, this was by far the most crowded. At times it was impossible to find a seat in the buffet area or some of the entertainment venues. Still, the ship was in excellent condition. Not pretty or grand in style, but in good condition. Among the positive features, the food was generally quite good. HAL seems to focus on the types of foods that Americans like to eat, and they do that well. This was some of best food we've had on a mass market line. Great fitness center with lots of useful equipment. Smooth embarkation, disembarkation, and handling of all ports. Unfortunately service was sketchy, at times very good, but at others completely missing the mark. Our small group had dinner orders mixed up twice in the main dining room. We did not meet our cabin steward until the end of the second day, and the cleaning team were seldom seen afterwards. They didn't replenish a couple of items, and unfortunately there was no way to call housekeeping directly. We had to go through the Neptune Lounge concierge for simple requests, which was not always successful, causing repeated requests before we got what we needed. I would like to explain "anytime dining," but I don't understand it, and it does not seem to work. The info in our suite indicated that one can either make reservations or just show up for a table. Unfortunately there were no reservations available for any night of our 7-day cruise (and the reservation operator often did not pick up the phone), and often if one just shows up, one has to wait in a long line. Finally by Day 4, we learned that the Neptune Lounge Concierge had a work-around available and was able to make reservations for our final 4 nights. Other than the band in BB King's, which was smokin' hot, the entertainment on board was boring standard cruise ship fare. Finally, we loved our Neptune Suite, which was comfortably designed. It was spacious so we spent a lot of time there avoiding the crowds outside. We have booked another HAL cruise for next spring, chosen because of the itinerary. I'm sure we will have an adequate experience, but out expectations are low. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Service and food is good. Amenities insufficient e.g. two pools but nothing really for kids. there is no music at the pools, employees, nor entertainment. Other passengers mostly great with a few sour apples i.e. grumpy and old. We ... Read More
Service and food is good. Amenities insufficient e.g. two pools but nothing really for kids. there is no music at the pools, employees, nor entertainment. Other passengers mostly great with a few sour apples i.e. grumpy and old. We even had an old couple tell us, its refreshing to see some young people. It is NOT child friendly unless you are using Club HAL for children 3 and older so you can dump your kids away like daycare and be rid of them to enjoy yourselves. This doesn't make up for the lack of child friendly amenities & grumpy guests. Everything costs extra e.g. not all restaurants are free. So, if your old, have a lot of money, caucasian, don't want many children around this cruise is for you! Will not return to this cruiseline! even when I'm old. Our experience: You aren't allowed the entertainment if you have kids! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We like to go as a family on a cruise during this week because it is our Spring Break back home and all of us are off work and school for the week. This was our 7th cruise on Holland America and our 30th overall. We have also sailed on ... Read More
We like to go as a family on a cruise during this week because it is our Spring Break back home and all of us are off work and school for the week. This was our 7th cruise on Holland America and our 30th overall. We have also sailed on (Carnival, Princess, RCI, MSC and Costa.) This cruise sailed to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay. This cruise had a mixture of passengers of all ages. This probably had something do to with the fact that Canada and some states in the US have spring break during the dates we sailed. Embarkation – Quick and easy. We were onboard by 12:00 and our room was ready shortly after. Ship – The ship is pretty and classy. The ship was clean and well-maintained for its age. Cabin – We were in an obstructed view cabin. The lifeboat did not block the whole window, so we could still see the ocean and get some light. We had a shower/bath tub which is nice compared to the small stand-up shower other cruise lines have. I liked the TV mounted to the wall with a selection of newer movies and tv-shows. The pull -out couch was surprisingly comfortable. Our room stewards, Rudy and Bong, were very attentive and were always able to meet our needs. Entertainment – I absolutely loved the BB Kings Club and I really enjoyed listening to the music. One of our travel companions never missed a show. We listened to Adagio one night waiting for dinner, it was also good. The singer at the Piano Bar was good too. Dining Room – Overall, the food in the Manhattan Dining Room was nicely done. We did not eat at the specialty dining restaurants. We had Anytime Dining. Service was slow the first night but got better on the second night. I enjoyed everything that I ordered and I thought the desserts were all good. I would like to mention Winda who worked at the front of the dining room each night. I think she was an Assistant Matrie‘d. She arranged for our family to sit together with the time that we wanted every night. She always greeted us with a smile and made sure we were taken care of. The waiters were pleasant and were willing to accommodate any requests we had. We also went to the Mariner Lunch on the first day and enjoyed it. I would recommend the peanut butter pie for dessert, it was to die for. Lido – The Lido Buffet had a great breakfast selection. Eggs benedict, omelets, bacon and sticky buns was my breakfast of champions. LOL. Coffee was alright. I enjoyed the “Make your own” Pasta at lunch time. The hamburgers and cheese fries at the Dive-In were awesome and well-worth the wait. I personally prefer being served instead of touching the tongs and serving myself. I think Holland is the only line that does this still. Some people don’t wash their hands and then touch the tongs or avoid using the tongs at all and pick out cookies with their hands. If I need to wait a few extra minutes in line to stay healthy, I am ok with that. Fitness Centre – I used the gym frequently throughout the cruise. It was not busy so I didn’t need to wait to use any of the equipment. The built-in TV’s were a cool feature. Ports – We have been to all 4 ports before. Grand Turk was beautiful as always. We relaxed by the Margaritaville pool and went snorkeling in the ocean. In San Juan, we went to the Big Fort and toured around the city. In St. Maarten, we went to the beach close to where the water taxi docks, which is always a good beach spot. In Half Moon Cay, we sat at the beach and just relaxed. We had beautiful sunny days for all our port stops and we all came back with nice tans. Bad NO DECK PARTY! I was bummed there was no deck party. That is one of my favorite parts on every cruise. On the 5th day of the cruise, the toilet in our room would not flush. We called to ask for an attendant to come look at it and he told us the whole floor was having toilet problems and it will hopefully be fixed soon. The problem was fixed by the time we got back from port, however, parts of the hallway smelled like a sewer for the remainder of the week. Activities during the day were non-existent on this ship. Lots of name that tune, bingo and trivia during the sea days but not much by the pool. They seemed to have lots of activities for kids during the day from what I heard though. I personally was not that impressed with the entertainment in the Showroom at Sea. I have seen some phenomenal shows on past cruises (Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival etc.) but the production shows on this ship were just ok. The days in ports were not long enough. We are used to 8 AM – 5 PM port days so we ended up getting close to being “pier runners” on more than one occasion. Most of the lunch stations at the buffet were closed by 2:30 PM which was a bit inconvenient, unless you want to shorten your day to make the buffet before it closes. The only stations open were pasta, desserts, pizza and Dive In. Staff cut-backs in the public areas was noticeable especially in the Lido. Ugly This by far was the “ugly” part of my cruise experience. After our day in Grand Turk, we went to the Tea in the Ocean Bar. We had our travel companions with us. The tea used to be in the dining room but now it is in a bar, meaning limited seating. An older lady and her husband were sitting at the back of the bar. I am not sure when they arrived. The tea started at 3:00 so most of the food was picked over by the time they got there I am assuming. A server walked up to them and offered her what was left on the tray which made her stand up and start yelling at the poor server. She started yelling louder and louder and got in the server’s personal space. Everyone was turned around looking at her. She was swearing at the server and told him she was disgusted "they missed her table." What disgusted me the most was this other lady who thought this outburst was acceptable, made a nasty comment out loud about the service/staff and then applauded her behavior by clapping. The supervisor apologized and came back a few minutes later with a brand-new tray of cupcakes and I think that might have diffused the situation. I applaud the supervisor for trying to satisfy the passenger even though desserts identical to the ones served at the tea were just an elevator ride away to deck 9. Overall, We enjoyed our cruise but felt that Holland has cut-back since our last voyage with them. My favorite parts of the cruise were the BB Kings Club, the food and the ports of call. :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I loved all of the port excursions, dining, the cabin we had (a room on the verandah),and the service was amazing. The only thing that I have a complaint about is the activities. I have a 10 year old girl and she didn't really like ... Read More
I loved all of the port excursions, dining, the cabin we had (a room on the verandah),and the service was amazing. The only thing that I have a complaint about is the activities. I have a 10 year old girl and she didn't really like Club HAL, the kids club onboard. So we tried to find activities that would be suitable for all of us to go to. But there was hardly anything on the daily schedule that was either entertaining or interesting to all age groups. Most of the activities seemed to cater seniors only. But overall our trip was good and we enjoyed it. The places we liked most were the Explorations Café and the Showroom at Sea. I would recommend this for people who would like to go on a cruise for relaxation and not for the fun and parties. This may not be cruise for you if you have kids who like to do more than just play trivia. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The service and food was up to Holland Americas standard. The shows in the Theater, had alot to be desired. For a 14 day cruise,I expected more from this cruiseline. Mediocre productions repeated the second week. Majicians and comedians ... Read More
The service and food was up to Holland Americas standard. The shows in the Theater, had alot to be desired. For a 14 day cruise,I expected more from this cruiseline. Mediocre productions repeated the second week. Majicians and comedians twice both weeks. The most outstanding entertainment was The BB Kings Band in the Queens lounge. On Wed, when they would have a night off, it was truly dead on the ship. If you enjoyed classical, there was the Adaggio grp playing. The cruise director,didnt have a team to work with. Ive come to think, thats why there werent many fun onboard activities. There was LaLa and Abigail-the DJ. This is the first cruise ive ever been on, that the Dj did more than play music. The "sail away parties,"were nothing more than a makeshift bar set up on the aft deck, with musaq being piped in over the speakers. No Dj playing, no live band! NO PARTY!! The music trivia game was fun, all 10 minutes of it. The sandbag toss game was ok, for about 15minutes or so. The ship sailed on Sunday,by Saturday night at 11p, there was absolutely nothing happening onboard. We were told that since some passengers were on for only 7 days, they shut everything down early. Ummm, excuse me, There are alot of passengers onboard for the entire 14 days!! Are we being sent to bed at 11p? Ive been on a few HAL cruises, This is my first experience like this. The ports of call were nice, enjoyable even. The activities onboard were very much lacking. The captain of this vessel was not seen by quite a few of us passengers, but the cruise director was always,"In bahalf of the captain"yada yada yada. You would hear a recording of sea facts from our invisible captain. Mariners luncheon,..stil no captain, the cruise director instead. Service was wonderful, staff is amazing,yet shortstaffed at times. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was the third cruise for both my wife and me. All three have been on Holland America ships. Embarkation: The process went smoothly as expected. We had one hiccup somewhat of our own doing where our two children, 9 and 11, both ... Read More
This was the third cruise for both my wife and me. All three have been on Holland America ships. Embarkation: The process went smoothly as expected. We had one hiccup somewhat of our own doing where our two children, 9 and 11, both had low grade fevers. It took about 20-30 minutes to get a ships doctor into the processing area to evaluate our kids before boarding, but we'd probably wait that long in a typical clinic. Once we were cleared to board, our room was ready and clean. Service: I need to qualify that we made a number of requests that go beyond the ordinary for a cruise crew to accommodate. Our son has numerous food allergies. On the first day or two, they struggled to come up with food that avoided his allergens that he would eat. After they got the hang of it, though, they came up with numerous options, even desserts that he could have. They made sure we had the menu for the next day and could preorder. The wine steward had a new puzzle for the kids to figure out every night which made them feel special among a typically older clientele. Beverage service by the pool took a bit longer than we remembered from our previous cruise aboard the Eurodam. Requests for extra towels were answered in just a few minutes. One evening, our son got sick in the room and the room stewards were there within 5 minutes to clean up. In room dining orders were on-time. A request for an extension cord for my CPAP was fulfilled almost immediately. The barista at the Explorer's Cafe could remember both our names and our "usual" within a couple of days. When she'd see us in other areas of the ship, she knew our names. One of the dining officers not only got us into the upscale Pinnacle Grille (after being told they were booked), but was able to make arrangements so our kids could eat with us, stating "it's the least we can do". We had a few billing issues that needed to be disputed after the trip and a dress my wife sent off for cleaning had to be sent back. Otherwise, we felt the service was up to HAL par. The shows we attended were all great, from the "On Tour" group to the juggling comedian...or comedic juggler if you prefer. Half Moon Cay was again our favorite stop and all aspects went according to plan including our clamshell rentals, food and beverage. Grand Turk was the least favorite of our stops which also included Amber Cove in the Dominican (our stop in Key West was canceled due to a weather related situation). Amber Cove is beautiful and our excursion to Ocean World is one we will always remember. Communication was stellar. We never felt like we didn't know what was going on and the captain and cruise director went into technical detail as to why we could not leave Amber Cove until about 13 hours after our scheduled departure due to gale force winds perpendicular to the ship, which exceeded the ships crosswind maneuvering component. We had a beverage package included in our trip and never did see an unexpected charge for a beverage. I read another review about the fitness center being just a set of non-adjustable Precor machines. The fitness center had everything my fitness center at home has...free weights, treadmills, steps, floor mats and more than enough machines for a full workout. All-in-all, it was an excellent cruise with only a few things that prevent me from a full 5-star rating. Multiple HAL employees felt compelled to assist with our son's food allergy situation and our ad hoc requests were all taken care of. We felt very "at home" as repeat HAL cruisers and we put a deposit down for our next HAL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I title this "special cruise" because it was a burial cruise for my late husband's ashes. My 2 daughters, one of their husbands, and my two grandsons as well as a couple with whom we traveled were on this cruise. We each ... Read More
I title this "special cruise" because it was a burial cruise for my late husband's ashes. My 2 daughters, one of their husbands, and my two grandsons as well as a couple with whom we traveled were on this cruise. We each had Neptune Suite (other than the other couple), and the two Concierge in the Nepune Lounge were outstanding, Carena and Patricia. I reported to them upon my arrival on the ship and they were prepared to meet with me. The burial was to be the next day, and I was kept informed every so often during the day as to what time this special occasion would take place. When given the time, I met them in the Lounge and we were escorted to the Mooring Deck by the Security Crew. We had a very small ceremony, and it was so memorable. The staff on the entire ship were wonderful. The boarding process in Fort Lauderdale was very smooth. I like the way that the muster was conducted as you reported directly to your boat station. I do wish they would scan your card when you reported which would eliminate the room calling for those who did not report to the officer in charge. I was disappointed in the main dining room (both food and service) and ate there only once in a week. We were also disappointed in the food in the Pinnacle; however, on the other hand, the food was outstanding in Tamarind, and we ate there almost every night. I was shocked not to see that restaurant full all of the time. The meal we had in Cannaleto was very good as well--just a lot of food. Our family spent time on the deck, and it never seemed to be overcrowded. I spent a lot of time in the Windows 10 seminars, which were excellent. She is a beautiful ship, and the staff was excellent, particularly our Concierge and the staff at the Reception Desk. Disembarkation at the ports seemed to operate very smoothly. I would definitely sail her again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I have been on over 14 cruises and this ship did not disappoint. Are they perfect, no, but for the price we paid for a verandah it was great. Hal adds back the little things other cruise company's have taken away. But really ... Read More
I have been on over 14 cruises and this ship did not disappoint. Are they perfect, no, but for the price we paid for a verandah it was great. Hal adds back the little things other cruise company's have taken away. But really one thing that we find makes the cruise really great is the food. Hal has not compromised on their food quality. You still feel like you are eating in a fine restaurant and if you like lots of time between courses, Hal is for you. We had select dining and we never waited more than 20 min for a table and often we just went right in. The cabin Stewart and all the staff were great. No waiting to get a drink in busy times on the ship because the size, and staff to passenger ratio, is also great. If you want crazy pool games and multi night clubs with the top 40 playing this is also not the ship for you. But if you like your cruise a little more civilized, and one night club and one blues club will do, you just might really like this ship. Even though she is about 6 years old, she has held her age well and she is just the right size. Finally, one of our favourite things about Hal ships is that you can stroll around the entire ship on the outside on a gorgeous teak deck. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Embarkation was horrible.. Standing in line for one hour and 15 min. with only 4-5 agents who were being "trained" by another one standing next them. People were having to get out of line and go and find a wheelchair, because ... Read More
Embarkation was horrible.. Standing in line for one hour and 15 min. with only 4-5 agents who were being "trained" by another one standing next them. People were having to get out of line and go and find a wheelchair, because they couldn't stand any longer. And the one man in the area, said he couldn't leave his post to go and fetch a chair.. so the people had to leave the line and go find someone to get them a wheelchair.. Then, of course, they lost their place in the long line... Food was good, but the portions get smaller and smaller each year. Staff was friendly and helpful. Shows were mediocre.. music much too loud . The singers and dancers worked very hard, but the material they were given to perform was much to ultra-modern, flashy and loud! Piano bar in a room so small that it was hard to even get in, never mind find a seat! Ship was very rocky the first few nights... a crew member said that there was something broken or wrong, with whatever it is that stabilizes the ship. I'm more into the larger ships from now on with the bigger stabilizers! The Ship's corridors leading to staterooms were painted a dismal grey with black/white art work...Reminded me of the inside of a submarine or military ship.. very dreary looking! I guess I'm at the stage now, having travelled on RC Allure and Oasis that I prefer the newer, large ships with the fantastic entertainment, swimming shows, ice skating shows. Two nights on this cruise there wasn't even any entertainment in the showroom. Just the Lido Deck Party which didn't start until after 9 p.m..around 9:30 p.m. and the Marriage Show which didn't start until 10 p.m. If you're eating at 5:30 p.m..what is one to do for the two hours between dinner and showtime at 9:30 p.m.?? Overall, very disappointing cruise... won't be back on HAL again I'm afraid. Disembarkation was excellent I will say! Very quick and efficient! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
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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