6 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Just returned from a 12 night Barcelona to Venice cruise. Second time on HAL. There will definitely be a third. Embarked in Barcelona, fantastic city, will definitely return there. Embarkation speedy as we arrived mid-afternoon, avoiding ... Read More
Just returned from a 12 night Barcelona to Venice cruise. Second time on HAL. There will definitely be a third. Embarked in Barcelona, fantastic city, will definitely return there. Embarkation speedy as we arrived mid-afternoon, avoiding the rush. Verandah cabin Deck 6(for 3) adequate size, although quite cramped when the sofa was made into a bed each evening. Bathroom with a small bath and overhead shower, decent size. 3 formal nights on our 12 night cruise, although HAL website advertised it as 2 formal nights. Dined in Manhattan Dining Room and Lido. Food choice very good in both. Service a little slow in Manhattan, especially if sharing a large table. Dinner could take up to 2 hours which is why we dined in the Lido a few times, just so that we could enjoy the evening entertainment around the ship. We didn't use the other restaurants but heard that they were excellent. Entertainment good. OK, the shows weren't always the most exciting but everyone cruising on HAL knows that by now. The entertainment staff do a very good job but it would be nice to see some professional performers brought on board occasionally. Even Thomsons do that and they are nowhere near as good as HAL. The Piano Bar was always packed and enjoyable, probably the most popular bar. The Crow's Nest was always quiet and deserted whenever we passed through, usually quite late in the evening. It's probably busier when Chris, the guitarist, plays his sets. Northern Lights Disco was never very busy but played good music. The Casino was always busy and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. A smattering of people listened to Adagio Strings each evening. It's a shame it's in a lounge with "through-traffic" as some people just carry on chatting in loud voices, somewhat spoiling it for the people who are sitting quietly listening to the classical music. Not very respectful to the musicians, either, who do a wonderful job. Not much entertainment out on deck, which was a shame. The stage is there for the band, Shanthi and the Hal Cats, but I can only recall seeing them two or three times in the afternoon. Nothing else going on around the Lido pool for sail-away. Many other bars and areas we never had the time to use. Lido pool always crowded, as on all cruise lines, with limited seating around it. However, always loads of space to sit on deck in other areas of the ship, even on the "at sea" days. I mainly sat out on our verandah and suppose that, as this ship has an abundance of verandahs, most people sat out on theirs, hence the space around the ship. Cabanas seem to take up quite a lot of space. Most people I spoke to not in favour of the cabanas. My husband used the gym a few times, said it was very good. Ports of Call. We just mooched around by ourselves in many of the ports, deciding not to do the long trips, especially to Rome and Florence. Livorno was surprisingly quite nice, although the graffiti spoiled it a bit. We only walked from the port to the train station in Naples, going to Pompeii by ourselves. Cheap, easy and quick. Highly recommended. Naples a shock, filthy and crumbling but never felt threatened. I did leave all of my jewellery on the ship though, just in case! We had a private shared tour in Sicily with "Sicily with Mario", booked directly. What a lovely man, we had a great day with him and felt sad to leave at the end of it. My husband did the ship's tour to the Corinth Canal in Npfalion, he said it was very good. My daughter and I went shopping. My husband took a local train to Olympia in Katakalon. Very simple and cheap. The train is right there in the town, when you walk off the ship. My daughter and I ... went shopping! Also visited a little music museum and took the "noddy" train around the town and out into the countryside. Then lunch on the quayside in a local taverna. Very enjoyable. Corfu Town was surprisingly beautiful and a definite "must go there on holiday" for us. Dubrovnik was very beautiful too, we took a glass bottom boat trip (but no marine life to see!) and then the cable car to the top of the mountain to take in the fabulous views. Definitely worth it. All very do-able by yourself, no need to take tours. HAL provide a regular bus service to the town, very cheap. Last port, Venice. A magical, unforgettable experience, arriving in Venice by ship. Disembarkation. We were in the last group of people leaving the ship, independently at 9.30 a.m. This gave me the opportunity to have a peek at the suites near my stateroom (Upper Verandah Deck 6). Wow, I'd like one of those next cruise! Walked from the ship to the People Mover (not particularly easy in the heat and with heavy cases) then bought the 1 Euro ticket to Piazza del Roma (just a couple of minutes away). Then we walked to our nearby hotel for an extra night's stay before flying back to UK. My daughter missed "our" ship so much that we took a water bus ride past it that evening just to say a final farewell. Then as our plane took off at 5.30 p.m. on Friday evening, we looked down and saw the magnificent Niew Amsterdam sailing out of Venice on the next leg of her journey. Our thanks go to .... Our lovely Cabin Stewards, Helmi and Frank. They looked after all our needs with a smile and made us smile every evening when we arrived back in our stateroom to a different "towel" animal. Donny Tan, Manhattan Dining Room, always had time for a chat whilst allocating our table and always managed to seat us with very nice, interesting people. Scott and Katie in the Teen Club. Our 13 year old daughter had a fabulous time with them and made countless new friends. Dave, Cruise Director, for giving us an early morning alarm call each day (lol!). Everybody from Front Desk staff to the waiters to the young men who greeted us with a cold towel and a glass of lemonade upon our return to the ship every afternoon were lovely.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
I've been on HAL before and had high expectations for this adventure. They failed miserably in several categories. First off...the food. We were part of a large group so I can tell you it was not just me personally with this ... Read More
I've been on HAL before and had high expectations for this adventure. They failed miserably in several categories. First off...the food. We were part of a large group so I can tell you it was not just me personally with this experience. In the dining room, I received over cooked meat constantly. From the duck, to the osso bucco, and even steaks. We also received items that were simply not fresh, like cheese and sushi items. HAL talks about having Celebrity Chefs do their menu, but I doubt Charlie Trotter would have been happy about the temperature of those steaks. My next gripe has to do with staffing. We never saw the captain. He didn't bother to show up for the farewell crew show at the end of the cruise. Nor did I ever run into him aboard ship. Also, it's high season and there were a ton of kids/teenagers on board (I think I heard 450). HAL should have been prepared with staff monitoring and policing the pool and common areas. They used to be very strict about this stuff. HAL did finally send out a letter half way through the cruise reminding us parents to watch our kids, but those were just idol threats. They did nothing to kick the kids from the front 2 rows of the theater. I felt sorry for the entertainers. (And keep in mind that our group was traveling with 3 kids.) Or to keep the teenagers from rough housing at the pool. The cruise director, Dave, gave a half-hearted plea to keep mind of your kids and explain that they simply have more kids this time of year. MY RESPONSE..."Well then plan ahead for it. Don't let 25 kids and obnoxious teenagers ruin a cruise for everybody else." Our cabin stewards rarely remembered to fill our ice bucket or give us fresh towels after a couple of days. We are in the Med. It's hot and nothing dries. The wine steward did something that no high end restaurant would ever do. He tried to switch champagnes on my Dad to a far inferior brand. After presenting the inferior bottle, he then told my Dad that they were out of what my Dad requested. I've waited tables before and you should return with the wine menu and ASK what to do or offer another selection as a replacement (And not one that costs $25 less.) Last gripe, they charge ridiculous prices for everything now. The photo department wanted $40 for a formal night pic and you were forced to buy an 8x10, a 5x7, and 2 wallets. We had several great pictures taken during the cruise, but you no longer get to pick a size or package. It's $40 for formal night and $20 for other. The HAL tour prices are ludicrous, especially the ROME transfer. I expect this up sale on Carnival.NOW FOR A FEW POSITIVES...the Nieuw Amsterdam is a lovely ship, although the layout is odd. The entertainers brought on board for the showroom were all fantastic...From the concert pianist, to the GRACE trio, to the wonderful comedian Scotty. And if you do go, please go up and listen to Chris Toler is the Crow's Nest. He is a rare talent with his mash-ups and not to mention, very personable. Lastly, I want to give a huge thanks to Club HAL. My son and his cousins loved their enthusiasm and activities. He rarely wanted to hang out with us. They are really great and tried to keep the kids happy with a wide array of things to do. Kudos to them. This might be my last HAL experience. I really missed the higher end touches that once made HAL my favorite cruise line. If I pay more for a cruise, I don't want to be nickel and dimed. I want more interesting food and more importantly, well cooked food. It was under average most nights. HAL didn't do theme nights where everybody dressed up. I missed having Dutch night with the fun hats and Dutch food. We talked to cruisers with more than 200 days on HAL and they too were disappointed. There used to be this air about HAL that they were the best and knew it. No more. The lack of discipline comes from the top. The staff seemed ill-equipped to deal with the simplest of problems that arose...from my problem with a bar drink, to issues around the pool area, to problems with something in the lido ding room. I hope they get their act together. This was not the HAL of old. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Just finished a 12 day Mediterranean cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam. It was a total disappointment. The food service was very inefficient. We had to wait in long lines for all three meals since we don't like the slow service in the formal ... Read More
Just finished a 12 day Mediterranean cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam. It was a total disappointment. The food service was very inefficient. We had to wait in long lines for all three meals since we don't like the slow service in the formal dinning room. Once you got in front of the servers, they gave you very little servings of everything. Once a girl gave me very little veggies, so I asked for more. She picked up three more pieces of string beans and put on my plate....!!!!! The excursions were ok except one, which prompt me to write this review. We joined the Florence/ Pisa excursion after docking in Livorno. All went well in the morning until lunch time. We were taken to 'SABATINI' restaurant in downtown Florence. There were three groups from the ship. Each group had about 40 people. The restaurant only gave us one young boy as waiter. There were three more waiters busy serving their walk in customers. They whipped pans of pasta and chunks of meat in front of us, while we only had a dry roll in each of our plate. We asked for butter or oil/vinegar but was ignored. After about 40 minutes, the boy started serving a tiny dish of pasta. They ran out for our table. We waited another 20 minutes for a tiny plate of broken lasagna noodle in pasta sauce. We waited another 30 minutes for a meat dish with a piece of paper thin slice of meet with 5 potato wedges and 7 tiny pieces of squash. My eight year old was still hungry after the main courses. My mother asked the waiter if we can order from the menu and he pretended not understanding English. Totally we spent 2.5 hours in the restaurant watch them busy serving other 'paying' customers. We were treated like second class citizens who were there for free food. The excursion costs almost $200 per person!!!! Our trip to Pisa had to cut short because of the time spent in the restaurant. The tour guide only gave us 30 minutes once the bus arrived in Pisa. This included the time we walk from the bus station to the tower. So basically hi leaning tower and bye Pisa. We paid the cruise Line to provide transportation to the airport in Barcelona. When we got off the ship, HAL people told us they are one bus short. We had to wait for one to come. It's mind boggling that they had the exact count of people and still messed up. We stood in the hot sun waited fir 30 minutes while the people got off the ship with us were already in a taxi on their merry way to the airport. I reminded the HAL person that we paid triple the taxi fare to the cruise line so we can be on time for our fight. The person told me there is nothing she can do and she does not have a manager to report this issue. I should report this to the cruise Line after I get home. All in all, you think I'm going to take another HAL cruise???? Naaaaa....... Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
The Nieuw Amsterdam was a very nice ship and most things of exceptional quality during the cruise. That being said I will first address the things we did not like. One of the biggest things we did not like about the ship was the Crows ... Read More
The Nieuw Amsterdam was a very nice ship and most things of exceptional quality during the cruise. That being said I will first address the things we did not like. One of the biggest things we did not like about the ship was the Crows Nest. They placed the library in the front right side of the room and it took up a lot of nice lounge space that should be devoted to gatherings and evening music. People would pick up a book sit down in a chair and fall asleep leaving few spaces for people that wanted to gather in a group to visit, see the sites or enjoy music. The second thing we did not like was the entertainment offered. In our opinion the only entertainment worth attending was the evening performances which were generally good to excellent. The lounge performances were a waste with the exception of Mat Murphy who had a nice voice and played an excellent range of songs. The problem we had was we could never listen to him because they had him playing in the Crows Nest from 5PM to 9 PM. This was during our early dining seating and we could never listen to him without giving up our dinner time. The The third thing I would mention is our impression that Holland America has neglected customer satisfaction and is more about finding ways to squeeze every dollar they can from each guest. They constantly had someone trying to sell you a bottle of water, a drink or they were promoting some event that you had to pay for. They did not seem to schedule entertainment when people had time to attend. The biggest gripe we had abut the cruise was the Travel Advisor, Tom. When he was asked a question about a port he tried to discourage people from doing things on their own and tried to get them go book something through the ship. Things were always too hard, too far or too difficult. As an example, when we visited Santorini he told people it was dangerous riding the mules from the dock up to town. He made it sound like you were putting your life on the line by taking this mode of transportation and suggested that you take the ships overpriced excursions. On another occasion we asked him how far it was to walk to the train station and he told us it was a 40 minute walk. After we caught a bus we found out it was only three blocks and could be walked to in less than 10 minutes. Now that the disappointments are covered, we had a wonderful cruise. All of the ports had interesting things to see and do. We opted to do things ourselves rather than through the boat and found that to be much more satisfactory. We usually saw more than the ships tours did, got there faster, stayed longer and had fewer people to wait on. With a little pre-planning and effort we always got to do more for less. This is a port intensive cruise and we got little time to catch our breath but that is better than letting the ships crew try to entertain you. The ships crew was great. They provided a comfortable pleasant atmosphere throughout the cruise. Food on the trip was very good. There was always plenty of variety and the quality was generally pleasing. The cooks tended to overcook beef however I found that if I ordered it one level more rare than I really wanted it turned out great. I usually prefer medium but had to order medium rare to get the outcome I wanted. At the Lido buffet we enjoyed the theme meals offered in one section each day. They switched that section each day and featured a different country's food which we found enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
15 June 2011 Flew from Stuttgart, Germany to Barcelona using Air Berlin, discount flights no meals, no frills & pretty cheap. Upon arrival could not locate HAL rep so after waiting fifteen minutes luckily my husband loads all the ... Read More
15 June 2011 Flew from Stuttgart, Germany to Barcelona using Air Berlin, discount flights no meals, no frills & pretty cheap. Upon arrival could not locate HAL rep so after waiting fifteen minutes luckily my husband loads all the phone numbers in his phone so he called and was told they would come. After another ten minutes of waiting she appeared something about another client. Then she walked us out the doors where we waiting another five minutes for her specific cab driver who took us to the port. We could have saved all the waiting in this crowded area and taken a cab right outside the door, we will not use this overpriced transfer service in Barcelona again. Arriving at the terminal showing the boarding pass we printed from our home computer they took our luggage and we proceeded through security inside where they do basically what they do in airports minus the shoe removal. If you have bottles in your luggage they will open your luggage and check to insure it is wine. To prevent them opening your luggage you could have it in a smaller bag in your big suitcase and remove it before giving the ship your luggage and hand carry it through security. Wine is allowed and soft drinks just no hard liquors not sure about beer. Finishing security there is an escalator with a person to direct you up to the checking in area. I asked this person where the people for the suites were suppose to go and she just pointed up the escalator. At the top to the left is the table with forms to fill out asking if you have been ill, each person must fill one out to proceed so make sure you have a couple of pens with you to speed this up if your coming with companions. Also grab a Days Events paper from here. Then once you have this form filled out proceed to the roped lines to the long counter for check in. They will need your printed boarding pass and passports, and then they take your photo for the ships computers, this way if whenever you go off or back on the ship your photo will appear on the screen for the person to see you're really this person named on the card. We use a lanyard (of course HAL one purchased in the ships store) to make it handy to carry this card since it is basically a credit card and ID, you don't want to lose it! When you are leaving the ship and hands are full you have it hanging around your neck quick and easy, then removed while on shore of course. There is a neat slot on the door of your room to put them so as your leaving your room you just put it on and replace it when you come back in. So far we have only found the front desk will punch a hole in the bottom middle for the lanyard to go through. When you finish checking and getting your map of the ship etc you're ready to board if you are not too early. You cannot board until after 11:00 am and must stay in the big area across from the check in counter with limited seats and pay for refreshments. If you are in a suite you are allowed into the area upstairs. At the top of the escalator you came up it is on the opposite side of the table with the health forms you filled out. Take the elevator up and they will greet you with coffee, tea, and cookies. There are soft leather couches and chairs up there with TV but in Spanish of course. I think HAL could save money by doing away with this area and setting it up, just let the suite people be escorted up to the Neptune Lounge until their rooms are ready like NCL does for their villas. Now 11:00 am arrives and we are not escorted to the gangway but have to go ourselves sliding past the other passengers who have now crowded up to the roped area. On NCL they have a butler escort you to your room and show you the amenities, HAL your on your own and have to show the card you received at check in that you are in a suite. People in suites are given priority boarding. You also get champagne in your suite and can have canapEs delivered each day but most are seafood which I do not eat so we declined. Our suite is basically what you see on the web and this ship does not have the curtain providing privacy to anyone in the bed, we had hoped one was there since our granddaughter was with us; some of the other ships do have the curtain. Having a third person using the sofa bed makes for crowded conditions, when the bed is out you barely can make it out to the balcony since they stow the coffee table in front of the balcony door. We had so much storage space for all the clothes it was fabulous (this is where NCL fails in their villas they have very little storage and even less hangers). Our room was very well kept by Poni & Ilo our room stewards, they would make the sofa bed up when we went to dinner and have it picked up by mid morning. They did an outstanding job! Our only complaint was the big window never was cleaned and the glass on the balcony was covered in salt spray so sitting down in one of the two chairs made it hard to see through. The balcony also had a table and three chairs but it was too hot to eat out there in the afternoon. Next door was one of the penthouses with so many people the noise sometimes was a bit much including playing music. They had a hot tub but I never saw anyone use it, they had a very long balcony. I don't think we will get a room next to the penthouse again. In the suites you have amenities like laundry; this ship was the first that actually lost something, my husbands' favorite sleeping shirt. When asked about it they blew us off the concierge in the Neptune Lounge didn't appear to care asking how much it cost, it wasn't the reimbursement we wanted it was the shirt, like I said his favorite. If you have something you cannot part with don't put it in the laundry, lesson learned. Neptune Lounge was nice and well stocked; you could eat breakfast and lunch in there if you wanted. Most times had hot coffee and hot chocolate but had to dig for the latter for some reason. The coffee machine was not working at one point and I thought hubby would have a melt down, gotta have decent coffee, it was fixed by the next day. You also are given free breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill which was fantastic! Restaurants: The Manhattan Dining Room is free to everyone and we used it more this time then ever before. We eat early and it is less crowded. Our first server was horrid and it took two hours of sitting waiting for the meal to end. Geeze! For the first time we asked for a different server and got Andre, man is a Godsend! Nicely we let him know we liked to keep it moving and don't dally and he was fine with that. I can see if it is crowded but our area was not crowded since we were so early. The food was great with a wide selection, I only had one meal I did not like the food but no big deal. Our ten year old granddaughter was given a children's menu and she loved all the dishes, mac & cheese, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, and ice cream and several more choices offered every night. Our favorite place on board is the Pinnacle Grill with "Sam the Man" a great server and show man who we enjoyed on previous cruises on different ships, Tony the "Wine guy" he is so much fun to chat with, and Anna the "The Wine Gal" they all made our meal times enjoyable. The food was outstanding! I just wish they had more variety. We also ate in the Lido a couple of mornings and it was delish! They have stations for Belgian Waffles to die for, and an egg station any way you want them. Sadly on this station the young man doing the toast was lacking. Lunch in the Lido was nice but the salad items were allowed to run out several times. The tables were kept cleaned off and the staff attentive. We also used the grill by the pool and they have some amazing choices of knockwurst for those out there who like that option, along with hotdogs, hamburgers and lots of fries. Out in the pool area we had a drink from the bar, a bit pricey but aren't all poolside bars? The Mohita was oooooh so good. Pool was dirty with balls of hair floating on the bottom and a used Band-Aid, gross! I had to get a young man to come scoop it out. I was amazed to see there is rust already forming on the pool sides in the metal area. Room service: It was nice that this was the first time on all the ships that the person could understand English, this is crucial in a phone order. We got all the items we requested for breakfast when it was too early to go to the Pinnacle Grill, but one morning something happened and they did not get our breakfast up to us nor our neighbor so we had to make due with some items from the Lido to carry and eat on the bus. We returned from our excursion to an apology and chocolate covered strawberries. Shows: We saw one with Grease not so great, it looked scary how they had these girls on shaky stands trying to dance, they looked frighten. The magician was fantastic granddaughter loved it. Walk for the Cure was fun and had such a great turn out, you get a pink wrist band and teeshirt for $25 donation, then enjoy the walk it isn't 5 km which is fine mostly symbolic to show your support. While onboard internet is extremely expensive, solution: in your first port if you find a phone store which you can look up at home http://enterprise.vodafone.com/products_solutions/mobile_broadband/cards.jsp and buy this Vodaphone Mobile Connect Card that you stick into your laptop and have access to the internet while in ports, (nothing works at sea but the ships internet). You may have to sit in the Lido deck by the pool where you get the best reception, while in our room it did not work facing out to sea, if your room is on land side it should work on your balcony. They have outlets to plug into by the pool near the windows to keep your battery going on the laptop. If you don't use the card up by the end of the cruise you may give it to one of the crew they can use them to contact people at home. HAL Club for kids: The children have clubs divided by age. In the one my granddaughter age ten was in the attendants were great and she loved being with the group. They did arts and crafts, treasure hunt, sports, movie night with popcorn, and gaming on Xbox. One night they had a dance down on another floor and Syd loved it! It does not open until 7:00 pm so the children don't mind eating with you but gets them moving to be ready to go to dinner and then on to their evening out. It closes at 10:00 p.m. and she stayed till they closed each night. You can give permission for them to sign in and out but not sure if that is only while out to sea but in port a parent must pick them up, I would check on that. We personally went to pick her up each time there are so many people on these ships it is like a small city. We really liked this ability for her to go off and play with other children it gets boring being with old people all the time and we had time alone to watch a show or just walk around. Photographers: We paid for one of the $200 packages and received all the shots. Sadly in many on one night a couple stood in the background so appear in all of them. Also the photographer didn't care that my husband's suit was all bunched up and some my eyes were closed. They also take one when you leave the ship in each port, no background, sun in our eyes most times, and a couple of stops no one was even out there. Just buy as you go is the best bet. Ports: Barcelona, fantastic a must see is Casa Batllo by Gaudi, the man was before his time in thinking. Also the Familia church but if you go go early the line was unreal by mid day we didn't go inside. We used Barcelona Bus Turistic (blue buses) for transportation once out of the port. You catch them in Christopher Columbus square. We have used both companies and like Hop & Ride (Red buses) better they had less broken jacks for listening and better seating, both were crowded. On the blue buses the bottom back is so low ceiling many folks kept hitting their heads. If the jacks are broken in your seat use your neighbors each seat has four. Monta Carlo, Monaco-We didn't enjoy this port that much. We hiked up the fort like structure near the ship and went through the little park but just did not see anything worth staying in the humid heat. We returned to an almost empty ship and went swimming, very nice. Livorno, Italy- We took the excursion to Pisa and Florence since our granddaughter wanted to see both. Florence they took us to the Santa Croce church then to down town where the guide just went on and on it would have been better to have been allowed to go through the marketplace. The lunch was alright nothing to get excited about in a hot restaurant. Barbara was our guide she was nice and allowed the kids to take turns holding the group sign. Pisa you cannot go up time is very limited and you have to reserve a time in advance. Plenty of shopping for souvenirs at booths along the route to the leaning tower from where the bus drops you off. Florence they have some cool vendors who can bend your name out of metal in three minutes for 2 Euro I think it was. Rome-Long bus ride of course but we had the best guide Alexandra, my granddaughter just loved her. We were allowed to go on our own from the Trevi fountain and walk to the Spanish steps which look nothing like the postcards with all the pretty flower boxes are gone. We went to lunch in the most beautiful of restaurants we loved sitting outside because of no seating left inside. Went to the Vatican in the afternoon when the line was shorter Alexandra was spot on picking when to go. We purchased a couple of 3 Euro parasols while near the Coliseum which proved very useful in Greece. Naples, Italy- they replaced the original port that was in Sicily, so we went to Sorrento to shop. It was a long bus ride and you're asked to stay for a sales pitch when you get off the bus but you don't have too and I suggest you skip it and go to the tiny stores their much cheaper, time is limited. We found a jewelry box maker with his Dad and purchased all of our boxes there and they even let us take a picture with them. The bus also stopped at a Cameo maker shop and we got the most pretty Cameo of a mother and a child, they have newer styled Cameo's not only the old fashion type and they have a demonstration on how their made, be sure to bargain with them, be strong but be polite. Katakolon, Greece- Took the Olympic tour and loved it even though it got quite hot the parasols really helped. Back in time for the pool and relaxing. Navplion, Greece-Another hot day starting early, granddaughter dragging butt after a night of dancing in HAL club, she had a great time. Spent the morning walking ruins and listening to the tour guide, then Greek lunch of lamb, fab! Corfu, Greece-Another hot day, granddaughter had a sunburn so we paid for the bus to go into town it's too far to walk, many tiny shops with olive wood items and assortment of all kinds of things. We found the drug store and got skin cream (to find they had Aloe in the ships store) and went back to the ship to watch a movie. I would like to go here again. Dubrovnik, Croatia- We went when the ship pulled in. There are two gangways and for some reason everyone goes to the front one we went mid ship and missed that pile up. What a cool city no tour guide needed use free online walking guide, you have to walk the wall! Once you cross the little walkway and go inside to the right is where you purchase the tickets for 70 kn then come out the door and go to the left and there are the stairs. They don't open till 8:00 am. There was only one other woman up there with us so no shots of the walls with all the people in them, later on we saw so many people they looked like ants climbing. We walked the wall all the way to the middle where you can come back down and now you're on the backside of the city right near the tourist attractions. We walked back towards the entrance down the main street but off to the sides you can climb the steep steps to shops nestled up among the homes. For children there is a man just outside the entrance where they swing a huge hammer and make their own coin, what a cool keepsake, the vendor will pose for you too. Venice, Italy-Last port, we took the people mover for 1 Euro to the city where your supposed to get the water Taxi. We could not find any signs to help here. We just hoofed it through the city since we have been here before and I really wanted my granddaughter to experience it all. Needless to say the heat may have made this a bad choice. We found a gondola for hire cost 200 Euro for the three of us. They have three routes to choose from; short I think was €100, longer €200, and even longer and into another area for I believe it was €300. Yes VERY expensive but hey when will you ever come back here and get to do this again? Do you want to be in the photos in the gondola or taking ones of other people??? We knew it would be expensive so we were prepared. Did the pizza and ice cream thing along with the pigeons although it appears the pigeons are less in number now then the last time we visited. Lots of construction going on and has been for some time, with big sheets of ads covering stuff, ruins the photos. Didn't shop just caught the crowded water Taxi back to the ship and then the people mover. Disembarkation: The airport is small so they do NOT allow you in the airport before three hours when your flight is scheduled to leave. The ship wants you off early they start disembarkation early and even if your flight leaves later they hustle you off way before you need to be to get the next group on. We paid for the transfer again not necessary, and boarded the bus then waited...went a ways and to keep us from sitting outside the airport we sat on the bus. Then they let us off and we sat outside the airport on benches. When we finally went inside no chairs and crowded. Air Berlin would not let us check in and had some snafu on another flight making things even worse. Could not even get word on what counter to line up at, this is important with flights that do not reserve your seats before you check in with three people. Needless to say hubby vowed never to fly in or out of Venice ever again. All in all we had a great time! This was our granddaughters' maiden voyage and she is needless to say hooked on cruising. Yes we have her booked on a Baltic cruise next summer with Princess! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We got back from our Venice to Barcelona cruise last week and still have the glow. Our experience was excellent and initially concerned with have interior cabins. Recommend doing this if you want to save some money for on-board wine and on ... Read More
We got back from our Venice to Barcelona cruise last week and still have the glow. Our experience was excellent and initially concerned with have interior cabins. Recommend doing this if you want to save some money for on-board wine and on shore excursions since you are rarely in your room. * Baggage limit: None on the ship but if you travel from the US to Venice with no lay overs, you are limited to 1 bag each weighing less than 50 pounds! They are sticklers but most carriers will charge you $50 more per additional bag. If traveling within Europe (stop over) careful! 1 bag per person or in our case 360 Euros more for our extra bag....ouch! * Venice arrival: We took the ATVO bus from the airport which dropped us off at the ship terminal. See the link below, 3Euros/person and buy your tickets in the machines where you pick up your baggage. Walk out the front door to the middle island and present your tickets. Bus runs every 30 minutes. (http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/venice_airport_buses.htm) * On Board Dining: We went with the 5:30 seating in the main dining room which allowed us to see the shows at 8pm. The wine list was excellent and prices reasonable. I had wine almost every night and choose the 7 bottle package for $199. Great selection and recommend 2 on the list, the Martini Reisling and the Chilean Malbec. Food was top notch and service was excellent. Deky was our primary server, great and enthusiastic service from this primarily Malaysia crew. Don't forget to pack for at least 3 formal nights (men, wear the same thing, no one will notice) * Interior rooms - spacious, 2 big closets, regular American electrical plugs (3 prong), big enough for 3 adults, good sized bathroom with shower, sink and toilet. Plasma TV's in all rooms showing great movies for those who want to just relax with one channel showing the front of the ship and one pointing to the back. Fun to watch if you have an interior room as you come into port. * Excursions - If you are not the adventurous type, go with the HAL sponsored tours. In most ports, just climb onto the bus and let them take you where they want to take you. Our best days in port were the ones where we took the shuttle from the ship to the center of town and wandered around. Rome is a different story, we wasted 4 hours zigzagging after Trevi Fountain back across town for lunch. Went to the Vatican (very hot, take water to stand in line) but worth the visit then only 30 minutes at the Colosseum. It would have been better to have hired a taxi to go just to the places we wanted for as long as we wanted. This is the draw back of going on an organized tour. ** Overall experience on this 12 day cruise was fantastic and would absolutely do it again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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