3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Dear all My room no. Is 8012 in ms nieuw amsterdam. 23rd June departure from vancouver There are several issues. Let me point out each one 1. I am pure Hindu vegetarian traveller. Before booking I had clearly asked that I need ... Read More
Dear all My room no. Is 8012 in ms nieuw amsterdam. 23rd June departure from vancouver There are several issues. Let me point out each one 1. I am pure Hindu vegetarian traveller. Before booking I had clearly asked that I need Indian vegetarian meal. I was clearly told yes Holland America is best vegetarian friendly. On coming the same turned to worst nightmare On first day of lunch it was told that there were less supply as new supply is being refilled and from tommorow you will get variety of food. Told ok no problem. Let's manage a day while all other had there full option to eat. From 2nd day the same is situation till day 6.either something is over or we will do tommorow but there is no tommorow than. Had Worst experience where I had taken a naan and just yogurt to each and tried to break naam with hand and in couldn't and than with teeth than too it was unbreakable. Given it to chef MR mani who told me this is hard one requested by guest but no guest request a UNBREAKABLE NAAN as it is to eat and not a sovenier at the room I was told daily to contact Mr mani and he will make seperate but my simple question is why we are not provided quality food and substandard is done between guest who complains and some they are normal and no complain gets the unbreakable naan. Matter reported to charnea guest manager at lido market. Most Indian on cruise if asked are satisfied than you can see the reply 15 are there in my group. The best person who eats in to most item in our group it wss also now fed up. There are no variety. I had complained on day 3rd breakfast where I had waited 1 hrs for a menu item before the steward came to me and told item is wrongly written and had complained to Denise who was manager for in room dining and she called chef Mr siva Kumar who says he is only one Indian chef and have 120 people to handle alone. There is no fault of him seems and so called Denise in front of Mr siva Kumar and told her what Mr siva said as this is fault of Holland America side that enough staff was not provided though clear booking was done with passport details nationality and even telling our food preference to booking agent. Even in Indian item. Name tags are not being put and the same counter is mixed with non vegetarian. 2nd greenhouse spa Offered hydro pool and thermal suite package at 219 per couple and was booked by me immediately on the day of embarkation and was told only last 4 space left 35 couple. 70 person is the max allowed. All good for 2 days and than came the day of skagway where board was kept for the same thing of 130 dollars which was only for skagway joining passengers but to my surprise they took booking from all the guests who boarded from Vancouver too and with bargained price of 90-100 dollars for couple. Right now there are much more than 70 persons and had told first day that I would only do it if the max cap of 70 is maintained. It is like public pool now and also with this bargain thing totally dissatisfied with working and demand a strong refund for the same. Also all general public is entering the hydro pool as the door is not kept closed 3rd room shower had fallen when it was turned on leg on first day of cruise which can't be allowed as it was not checked 4th room ac not working properly complained on first day is not resolved till date. 5th highly overcharged from exc tours. Don't buy they don't care for us Team to my surprise I found that white pass railway done by me through exc tours is also price higher than the price given on its official website Matter report to Mr lyron who was not ready to agree the fact first that it's overpriced. After giving him proof he have taken time and than comes with terms and conditions no where published. Mr lyron says this offer is only for online purchase and sent letter of terms which wasn't available online. no where that terms are published online Also if its for online only it should have been clearly written on main page This is program with Holland America that you try to earn 10 dollars more for anything and everything after normal profit and than just tell to read terms where nothing was told to us like this. Point 1 reported to Denise and charnea as well as guest manager Mr Jorn Point 2 reported to mr jorn who committed me to get back to me within next 24 hrs. Point 3 and 4 reported to housekeeping Point 5 reported to lyron exc manager on board Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Excellent accommodations in Neptune Suite 8162 (aft). Room stewards Agus and Putu were awesome! Concierge perks with Neptune level accommodation worth the extra money. Main dining room food was excellent. Dined at a table of 6 with ... Read More
Excellent accommodations in Neptune Suite 8162 (aft). Room stewards Agus and Putu were awesome! Concierge perks with Neptune level accommodation worth the extra money. Main dining room food was excellent. Dined at a table of 6 with great tablemates from Canada and Louisiana. Don't ask for a table for two. The experience of meeting other passengers is worth breaking out of your comfort zone for. Servers Libra and Hendri were also excellent. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The filet mignon was perfect. Worth the extra surcharge for dinner. We chose Holland America Line for the classic cruise line atmosphere and adult settings. Ambiance was great with the decor and art pieces throughout the ship. Don't miss the BBC Planet Earth live performance accompanied by the Lincoln Center Stage musical performers. Wish it was more than once. Took advantage of breakfast room service on the veranda every morning before shore excursions. No searching for a table in the Lido Market during peak hours. Seas were too choppy to take the tender boats to Half Moon Cay, so that was the only dissapointment of the trip. We had heard so many good things about the island and were looking forward to the excursion. Looking forward to future cruises on HAL exploring other itenieries. Signed, Future 5 Star Mariner Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Hello everyone, Welcome to my review of the Nieuw Amsterdam. This is my cruising history: Cruise lines – 16 Ships cruised (size) – from 5,000 GT to 225,000 GT Ships cruised (capacity) – from 300 to 5400 Ships ... Read More
Hello everyone, Welcome to my review of the Nieuw Amsterdam. This is my cruising history: Cruise lines – 16 Ships cruised (size) – from 5,000 GT to 225,000 GT Ships cruised (capacity) – from 300 to 5400 Ships cruised (ratings) – from 2.5* to 5* We have not been on the Nieuw Amsterdam for a while. The more exciting it is to see the ship again – after recent refurbishment. Our itinerary this time – Eastern Caribbean in March. MS Nieuw Amsterdam This ship is one of a few most significant landmarks in the world of cruising. Some comments on the general situation in cruising are necessary to understand our vision of this ship today. 2010 The year of its construction, glorious 2010, was the highest peak that the cruise industry ever reached. The Queen of all ships RMS Queen Mary 2 ocean liner was already in service. Royal Caribbean launched the Allure of the Seas - a slightly improved sister ship of their unique giant Oasis of the Seas. What must be emphasized: all these ships were in their original design in 2010 (some unpleasant modifications have been done since then). The opulent Queen Elizabeth was launched in 2010. MS Nieuw Amsterdam (NA) joined her sister ship MS Eurodam (built in 2008). These two cruise ships weren’t the most expensive ships ever built. However there was something special about them. The stars, or the gods that govern shipbuilding were in their good mood when these ships were designed. Neither fastest, nor largest, they have accommodated an exemplary list of luxury features within the size that allowed the economically reasonable number of passengers (2,100) to enjoy high quality cruising in its fullness on the most spacious and comfortable resort ship. In the other words, intentionally, or just as a matter of luck, these ships designers created a pair of the best resort cruise ships ever built. Different ships were built; different people were managing cruise industry in 2010…. Redefining Luxury The NA is a fairly large ship, but not crowded as opposed to some mega ships. Not “officially” luxury, NA is packed with luxury features that leave so-called “luxury ships” far behind (from Silversea to Regent). Really? What is luxury at sea? To know that we need to open a glossy cruise brochure at the page called “Luxury cruises”. It will tell us that, for a few thousand dollars, you can get an unparalleled personalized service and enjoy first class dining at sea in the most sophisticated environment (of course marbled bathroom included). The highest numbers of space ratio and crew/passenger ratio will complete the picture. Wow! Now please recycle this brochure properly. Passenger space ratio (to make it simple) is ship’s internal volume divided by the number of passengers. It does not include the open space (sun decks, pools, promenades). Unless you limit your cruising experience to what a luxury nursing home resident may dream about (eating, sleeping, talking, bedside nurse with a tray of canapés 24/7), you’ll need much more on a cruise ship to call it luxury. People live under heavy pressure of various stereotypes. Say “resort cruise ship”, and a harping echo will bring “we don’t need climbing walls”. Why climbing walls? Who is talking about climbing walls? Why does it need to be climbing walls if it’s not a “luxury” ship?! Lack of experience feeds stereotypes. The sleep of reason produces monsters. Lack of cruising experience & blind cruise line loyalty feeds cruising stereotypes. What is it really like? “Luxury ships” is a label that is commonly associated with club style cruise ships. Most people have no idea of what cruise ships really are. Various ads are their primary source of “information”. Club style ships are relatively small (up to 50,000-60,000 GT). Indeed, they offer personalized service and great food. The prices are kept so high that only those who can afford (and like this type of cruises) can be seen on board. No “strangers” that may hurt delicate feelings and habits of the “members only”. As explained above, the price tag does not necessarily mean “luxury”. “Luxury” is rather confusing, heavily overused, and distracting marketing word. Therefore I prefer star ratings. Due to the limited size (but not for this reason only) club style ships are lacking some amenities that are available on larger, higher-class ships (like Nieuw Amsterdam – a real, not “brochure” luxury). A special note to remember about the higher class ships: this is the quality of the ship, not passengers. I review cruise ships, not passengers. Let’s go back to 2010 and overview the new ship. Tonnage: close to 90,000 GT (a mid-size cruise ship) Passengers: 2100 (double occupancy) Nieuw Amsterdam from bow to stern: observation deck, observation lounge, full circle promenade, two swimming pools (adult only aft sea view pool deck), large sports court, first class spa with a real hydrotherapy pool, modern gym, spacious private feel sun decks with sweeping vistas, choice of specialty restaurants, elegant art deco interiors, fresh flowers everywhere, artwork collection that fills the ship with a flavor of classic sea travel and more than 100 years history of the cruise line, good to excellent food and service, daily afternoon tea – something that goes without saying. a classic ocean liner vibe on a modern cruise ship Any “official” (in the brochure meaning) “luxury ship” to fit this list from A to Z? None! Wait, how about “being close to the sea” on a large cruise ship? This is not an exclusive feature of the small ships. It’s a matter of talent and taste of the shipbuilders (and those who order the ships of course!) Needless to say that on the Nieuw Amsterdam one can feel as close to the sea as if it was a private yacht with added feel of being on a powerful ship that sails majestically across the waives. This is what the Nieuw Amsterdam was at the time of leaving the shipyard in 2010. Who is NA for? The 5* luxury cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam welcomes everyone who can pay from let’s say $500 pp for a 7-day Caribbean cruise, while a 10-day Caribbean cruise on a 3.5* club style ship is likely to start from $3,500 pp. MS Nieuw Amsterdam today A $100 note today is not what it was in 2010. We have to admit this. And we also have to admit that the stars of a cruise ship rating in 2010 are not exactly the same weight in 2018. The cruise industry standards have deteriorated since then and continue to do so. More water is being added into cruise lines cooking pots (literally – food and service, and figuratively – new ships design). Bean counters have more say nowadays. However different cruise lines/different ships have made different progress going down. Some did more, some did less, some did not (rare exception). How did the Nieuw Amsterdam survive this period and how is she doing today? A special note for the first timers (please read carefully). There will be a fair amount of critical notes below. But… Please understand that we are reviewing the most comfortable cruise ship available at the moment. Much attention has been paid to some fine details that may be important only to those who know this ship, love this ship and cruise a lot. It’s the uniqueness of the ship that justifies the amount of time I spent on the critical notes. Disaster and disgrace: someone has misplaced diamonds in the King’s crown jewels! This is what it is about. Nothing more. No worries. Even with a somewhat damaged crown, this cruise ship is still #1 at sea. Major refit: 2017 Cruising in March, 2018 The Ship After recent revamp: immaculately clean, fresh and shiny like an amber drop. God forbid, the ship did not suffer any major hardware design changes (like added cabins, ruined open decks, etc.) Changes were made to the layout, décor, and functionality of some areas only. Interiors The ship retains its original elegant décor and layout in general. Changes: the good, not so good, the bad, the ugly. The atrium staircase has been removed completely. IMO this is a clear improvement. The atrium is more spacious now. The ship is still easy to navigate: there are three major staircases and 14 elevators. The panoramic sea view elevators are as beautiful as they used to be. The unique art deco chandelier in the atrium (a rotating stylized model of New York City skyline) is in place but for some reason it is not rotating. Is it temporary or permanent? I don’t know. If it’s permanent…. Well, it can be a bad omen - like a clock that stopped. Very bad. Holland America, don’t let anyone stop your clock! Some strange toponymic changes have been made. The Queen’s Lounge has lost its original name. Now it’s a BB King’s Blues Club & America’s Test Kitchen …. with Queen of Netherlands Beatrix’s statue bust and the Royal Family portrait at the entrance! It seems to me that this “kitchen” has no taste… Could BB King’s continue to perform in the Queen’s Lounge? The former Nothern Lights Disco/Dance Club has become the Gallery Bar. The space is completely redesigned. Now it’s a small lounge that opens directly to the casino. We can say that the former Casino bar has moved here. A single most visible change is the conversion of the Piano bar. The bulkheads have been removed. Casino bar removed (moved to the former disco club site). Now is an open space board to board. The space includes the newly installed “dueling pianos” on the redecorated starboard side and the casino itself (no smoking) on the port side. At a glance this area is somewhat “carnivalized”. Those who cruise on Carnival ships may remember musicians performing near the casino - across the main passage way. The noise of the casino is mixing up with the beauty of the singing pianists. Can we dream about something? What a wow ship would there be if the casino goes overboard, or at least being reduced to the size of the one on the Queen Elizabeth and separated by a nice bulkhead… The Explorer’s Lounge has been reduced to a faceless area with a few chairs and an empty wall (where the podium for the String quartet used to be). The purpose of the change is to create a more appropriate space for chamber music concerts. The stage is now on the opposite (forward) end of the former lounge. A light partition separates the performance area from the main passage. It’s a good idea. However the implementation is a lazy work. Do these people know (or just pay attention to) why this lounge was called Explorers’s Lounge? What artwork belong to this lounge and why? Zero attention was paid. Rushed changes? Half artwork left in the new chamber music lounge. They forgot to relocate the installation (thus an empty wall). The other one remains in the dwarfed Explorer’s Lounge. However the author name plaque (now invisible) was found attached to the wall upside down behind the couch seatback. The worst part of this change is that the view of the largest artwork displayed on the ship, the Panorama of Manhattan, is now obstructed. The awkward location of the decorative set of flowers completes the damage. The counter should have been on the other side of the open space (exactly where the podium was) so that at least a part of the view of the beautiful Panorama remains open… Not the most visible due to its location away from the main traffic, but the most painful change is…. Yes, it’s the Crow’s Nest. I welcome the removal of the stairs in the atrium. I see the benefits of the new dueling pianos. The new Gallery bar seems a good spot at times (if the casino is quiet). I can smile looking at the ignorance related to the Queen’s Lounge situation. I see the benefit of the new partition that separates the chamber music area. But the Crow’s Nest! The area of the former Exploration café is now an excursion office. A few touch screen tables indicate that the digital world has found it’s way here. Touch the screen and get information on the ports of call and other destinations worldwide. The thing is that these screens are total waste. Two of them display the minimum info on the ports of call (a map with a few “points of interest”). The other ones display “cards” – selections of colored pictures, etc. This is a good stuff to look at while waiting in a doctor’s office, i.e. something that you would look at and put aside in a few minutes. IMO this is a useless decoration, waste of space and equipment. The area where the library was, is now hosting a big screen with ever changing views of tourist destinations – pure decoration. Think of electronic wallpapers. In front of it – another screen table that may attract your attention for a minute before you get bored with its primitive “interactive options». A huge double screen installation takes the central part of the panoramic view forward. Again. I will repeat it because the readers are likely not to imagine this. The Crow’s Nest is a forward observation lounge. By definition the beauty of this venue is a panoramic view forward. This is a luxury feature on a cruise ship. What happened? As a part of the “improvements”, a monstrous two-screen installation is placed right in the middle of the panoramic view. Does it block the view? Yes. It’s like a melanoma spot on someone’s nose. The screens display current navigation information. It’s basic but interesting. Good to know. But why here? Why in the middle? There is so much wasted space, so many useless screens nearby… This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Another thing in the Crow’s Nest that turned my face red. Port side. The original SS Nieuw Amsterdam bell and the beautiful model of the liner are gone! Can one imagine that such unique memorabilia can be replaced with an IKEA-inspired tour office lecture room with a few rows of seats and a digital screen displaying colored pictures (again, another one!!)… The whole area of the Crow’s Nest has been sterilized as if it’s ready for rent: no links to the Holland America Line, nothing to remind where you are … Very strange. Explorations Café That is amazing. Viking Cruises have followed the New Amsterdam planning (in general) for their new ships. They put their Mamsen’s café in the observation lounge exactly on the spot where the Explorations café used to be on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The Mumsen’s has more options to choose from (think of the Dutch café on the Koningsdam). While another cruise line is copying the best of Nieuw Amsterdam, HAL is getting rid of it! At the same time. The Explorations café has been removed and replaced with that excursion desk. Specialty coffee is now available from the bar some 50 feet away from the crash site. No dance floor any more. That’s it about the changes. I do not owe this cruise line. This is not my business. I am only a paying guest there. I don’t make decisions. I only review the ship. What has survived? The library is not exterminated completely (as it was done on the Koningsdam). There are several bookshelves here and there in the lounge with some very interesting books. The lounge is still available to serve its primary purpose as a forward observation lounge. This is a luxury feature, and one of the most beautiful spots on the ship. Nieuw Amsterdam Food Let’s start from…. the food. The buffet food on this ship used to be excellent. One would look for and never find freshly squeezed orange juice and some 10 kinds of eggs benedict as a standard feature on any other large ship (non-HAL). Today these features exist in memories only. Juices are from standard vitality dispensers now. There is only one kind of egg benedict as a feature of the day. Crab meat benedicts are available in MDR. The quality of desserts in the buffet was not consistent. It varied from very good to rather boring (late snack). Gone are pastries from Explorations Café as the café itself does not exist any more. Coffee is available from the bar in the Crow’s Nest lounge. This is it about the losses. Let's continue wuth the cruise... The buffet in general was good to very good. Excellent meats. Excellent bread pudding. Omelets-made-to-order have uncountable number of ingredient to choose from. Salad bar is great with options. Enormous variety of juices/juice drinks for breakfast. Excellent muesli. Fruits – good selection during the cruise, but not everything available every day. Service – outstanding. Waiters provide reasonable amount of assistance in the buffet – not annoying, just effective. Main Dining Room Cruises is our vacation time that is short and precious. We are flexible as to where, when, and with whom to eat, and the Nieuw Amsterdam provides great opportunities for freestyle dining. However we have preferences as well. As the cruise time is short, we try to have the best of it. We do not follow the MDR ceremonial dining routine every night. We are in MDR for Gala dinners, and for quick visits on the other nights to see what is going on, to try something good… and of course to take pictures and review menus. I am pleased to report that the food on Gala nights was simply excellent in selection, taste and presentation (lobsters, foi gras, excellent meats, amazing cold soups…). Other days – good to very good. Specialty restaurants We never skip the Tamarind. This is the most popular specialty dining venue on the ship that never disappoints. We did not do Pinnacle Grille this time – just too much food. We did not do Sel de Mer event at the Pinnacle Grille. We tried it on the Koningsdam and did not like it. It was not worth the money IMO. The Canaletto (an area in the buffet that is converted into a specialty venue each night) was pretty full every night. But their menu has never been to our liking (tastes differ). A few more words about public rooms Interiors retain the elegance of the original design. No closed-in feel. The ocean view panoramic elevators are magnetic. A three-deck high Atrium is relatively small yet charming, with the famous NY skyline chandelier. The Atrium continues to the spacious (board to board) central elevator foyers with the panoramic elevators on both sides. The new carpeting is a piece of art. The ornament of the carpet is now matching the luxurious ornate elevator doors. We enjoyed both observation lounges: Crow’s Nest (Deck 11 forward) and Tamarind (formerly Silk Den Lounge - Deck 11 midship). The Nieuw Amsterdam is a ship of artwork and fresh flowers. Open decks The Nieuw Amsterdam (along with the sister ship) is the most spacious cruise ship at sea (internally + externally). It features the iconic full-circle teak promenade, the forward view deck, and astonishingly vast (yet private feel) sun decks. There are two swimming pools on the ship. The central pool has a sliding roof The aft pool area (adults only) is a fantastic open panorama of the sea. No crowds. Extra charge service: cabanas for rent. Spa and Fitness It’s amazing that the sports court on the mid-size Nieuw Amsterdam is larger than on many mega ships. The spa is top class at sea: thermal suite (thalassotherapy pool, three steam rooms, heated tile beds), relaxation room, and various treatment rooms. This is something for you to know about the spa on the Nieuw Amsterdam. All the cruising passengers know that “food is included” in the price. But all cruising passengers (I believe) know that this fact says nothing about the food quality (from mediocre to excellent). Thalassotherapy pool (AKA hydropools) are relatively rare, so most cruisers have little idea of what they are. Some people believe that a hydropool is somewhat standard. In fact, the hydropool quality varies as wide as the food quality – from the imitations to the real ones that are extremely rare. The hydropool on the Nieuw Amsterdam is one of those real that are extremely rare. This is $$$ and worth every penny if you want to have an effective hydro massage, not just a fun time in an enlarged jacuzzi. There are also two free separate saunas for men and women. The forward-looking gym is well equipped. Design deficiencies? Yes, there is one that is pretty obvious: a wasted space above the bridge that could have been a much more appropriate place for the forward viewing deck (rather than on Deck 5 forward). Cabins There is a wide selection of cabins for different budgets on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The most typical is a standard balcony cabin. The cabins are reasonably spacious for the category, have a good storage space, most cabins have tub/shower combos rather than shower stalls. The balconies are very spacious, with unobstructed views (except for the substandard balconies on Deck 5 midship). The ocean view cabins (most of) follow the layout of the balcony cabins. The ones on Dec 4 (so-called “obstructed view” – behind lifeboats) feature large floor to ceiling windows. The cheapest inside cabins has two main configurations. Both are rather compact with amazing amount of storage space. These cabins on the luxury ship deliver outstanding value for money. Outstanding means o-u-t-s-t-a-n-d-i-n-g. The large insides category “J” and “I” is a pinnacle for families of four. The largest insides at sea combined with the price - is a miracle. Many cruisers make huge mistakes searching budget cruise lines for a “value-for-money” cruise vacation, not knowing that a luxury cruise vacation may cost them less! A big step up in balcony cabin size are mini-suites (“Signature Suite”). Although not full suites, the “Neptune Suites” are very pleasant spacious cabins with extra large balconies. The ones on stern are absolutely beautiful, with huge balconies (think of a private open deck). The ship features two very expensive full suites (“Pinnacle” category). The Nieuw Amsterdam is a one-class ship, no ship-within-a-ships, no obnoxious segregation. The Nieuw Amsterdam provides a ship-within-a-ship quality experience (actually above that) for all on board. A Nieuw Amsterdam – within – a Nieuw Amsterdam, so to speak. Holland America Line is still doing many things right. The suite perks are set up in the most civilized way that does not affect the cruising experience “for the rest of” the passengers (about 87%, i.e. the whole ship). HAL ships remain the most egalitarian (only Viking Cruises and Costa Cruises compares) among the major cruise brands that makes credit this respectable cruise line. “Many classes” means “No class”. Entertainment The theater is fully capable modern entertainment venue. From RCI to NCL, I have not seen any production show that cannot be repeated on “The Main Stage” as it’s now called. It only depends on the cruise line intention and budget. The best show IMO was the BBC Earth footage accompanied with a live orchestra. Some may or may not like the concept, but it’s without a doubt a top-notch professional performance. The production shows performed by the resident troupe (canned music) were full of energy but …. Canned music is like plastic food. We respectfully skipped the guest performers. There was a lot of discussion on how Oprah’s O magazine would affect the cruising experience. It was absolutely harmless. We were able to avoid any interactions easily. B.B.King’s performances were well attended. Not my cup of tea though. The dueling pianos performances were very entertaining. We could attend a little bit a few times, and it was very well done. The chamber music concrts were probably the most professionally done part of the entertainment program. Fellow cruisers Is “HAL demographics a good fit for us”? Here you go. Be aware that a ship called “HAL’ does not exist. HAL ships have their names and differ like day and night from 3*+ to 5*. Never say HAL. Say what ship. There were many young people on board. This ship, this itinerary, and the short duration of the cruise attract the youngest clientele. There was visible number of kids on board. Nieuw Amsterdam cruise tips Believe me or not, many cruisers still don’t know… how to cruise! Take time to study the whole ship and identify the best features for you to enjoy. Don’t go where and when most people go. Life at sea is different. Leave your habits on land. You’ll go back to the boredom of them in a week or two. A cruise ship is not a floating hotel. Don’t book a cruise if want to stay in a hotel. Start you day early. Morning is the most valuable time on a cruise. See how the sea and the sun wake up. Enjoy your early breakfast in the buffet while everything is for you only. The single most important thing on a cruise ship (after hand wash): the buffet. Sometimes you can have better food than in the Main Dining Room – right from the stove. Eggs benedict with crab meat – try MDR breakfast one time (two times max). You don’t have to have full dinner in the MDR every day. Be flexible. Save time. Combine MDR and the buffet. Walk! The Nieuw Amsterdam is a ship far active cruisers. You didn’t know that? Wow! Don’t miss Gala dinners in MDR. Have a dinner at Tamarind – a must. Try wasabi crusted filet mignon. Check out the buffet daily for lunch and dinner. You are going to find something you will like. Ask if lobsters will be available in the buffet on Gala night. Best Thermal Suite at sea – book for the duration of the cruise as soon as you get on board. Need a table for the party of one or two? Contact cruise line in advance, and see Maitre D as soon as you get on board. Any time dining is good way to get a table you want for the time you want. Be quick. What unique place is found nowhere else but on a cruise ship? Promenade deck – this is where you start your day. Yes you do. Do all cruise ships have promenade decks? No. It’s a luxury feature. Don’t forget about the gym. Don’t order room service. Food in the buffet is much better. Is it a good idea to book an inside cabin? Yes, the best. Book an inside and save money for the spa if you cruise on a budget. Is a beverage package waste of money? Yes. Came across something tasty? Grab it and save for later in the fridge. The food will not be waiting for you to come back. Don’t forget that you are cruising on a romantic ship. Check out the very top private sun decks forward and midship. Don’t forget that the Nieuw Amsterdam has a large sports court. Sounds of charm – go to the Silk Den Lounge (now called Tamarind bar?) The Nieuw Amsterdam is not a ship where sun lounges have to be placed in rows “cheek to cheek”. Take an advantage of this. You are on the most spacious cruise ship at sesa! The ships will supply sun deck towels –unlimited. Your part is to bring clips to fix them on the loungers. Mark you packing list. What if I don’t want to go to the gym, but want room service, have breakfast in MDR, don’t have dinner in the buffet, don’t swim in the pool, stay away from thermal suite, watch for trivia sessions… ? Then it’s time to book a cruise on the Maasdam. But you are on the Nieuw Amsterdam my friend! Itinerary The itinerary was the crème de la crème of the 7-night Caribbean cruises. Fort Lauderdale – Grand Turk – San Juan – St.Thomas – Half Moon Cay – Fort Lauderdale. Paradise islands Paradise cruise ship Paradise weather We have waited until all three points are in line. And that was the Chocolate of the Seas cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. My cruise blog collection: cruiseadmiral.com Happy cruising! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Arrived in Vancouver a day and a half early to see some of the city sights.Took a cab to the cruise terminal and yes...they take American money. The driver took us all the way up to the entrance to Holland America section of the terminal. ... Read More
Arrived in Vancouver a day and a half early to see some of the city sights.Took a cab to the cruise terminal and yes...they take American money. The driver took us all the way up to the entrance to Holland America section of the terminal. Upon arrival a porter had us put the labels supplied by Holland on our bags and took our luggage. He directed us to the next step which was registration. After filling out an agriculture declaration form we sat on a row of chairs until our we were called (about 10-15 mins) to register. When that was complete it was off to customs then we boarded the ship. Embarkation was a breeze, well organized and quick. Once aboard they directed us to the spa to hear a sales pitch. They will try to sell you the spa packages available, access to the fitness center and pools, etc.To save money book your spa days when the ship is in port. Its less crowded and there are special deals with cheaper rates at the spa. Upon arrival to our cabin 7034 we met our cabin attendent Putu. He was friendly and pleasant. Cabin was clean and comfortable. I chose the Rotterdam deck of the ship because the are many suites on this deck. Even though our cabin was not a suite ships usually put the best cabin stewards on the decks with the suites. Since our luggage had not arrived yet we decided to get acquainted with the ship. We stopped at the crows nest to get a bloody mary and it was the best I have ever had. The prices of the drinks were a lot lower than I expected too. Every drink I had on this cruise was excellent. It is easy to see the bartenders take a lot of pride in what they do. I also cant say enough about the food. Tamarind restaurant was excellent. My only regret was discovering this wonderful restaurant on our last night of the cruise. I would have dined here 3 or 4 nights if we found it earlier. Order the sake mojito in the bar, it was the best! Entertainment onboard was good, Bingo was fun because my wife won $240. We enjoyed the dance lessons in ballroom dance, the computer classes, and the slot tournaments. Nothing bad to say about the service. We had great service everywhere aboard ship. The highlight of this trip was cruising Glacier Bay National Park. Breathtaking scenery, glaciers so close you can see the deep blue colors. The sounds you hear at the glacier is amazing and we saw calving of the glacier as large chunks of ice break off and hit the water...Amazing. As far as port excursions go our 5 glacier seaplane expedition was cancelled due to low clouds and fog. I was very disappointed but glad they did not take us in bad weather. The mushers camp in Dyea was fantastic. We really enjoyed that. The cruise was great despite the bad weather in Juneau. Already planning another one in 2 years. If I go to Alaska again in will be in July or August. September was a little too late as the weather started to change, lots or rain. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
About Us: We are an active married couple ages 55 & 63 at the time of the cruise. This cruise marks our 3 Holland America cruise and my 15th cruise overall. Our 9th cruise together in the past 10 years. I just added it up and I have ... Read More
About Us: We are an active married couple ages 55 & 63 at the time of the cruise. This cruise marks our 3 Holland America cruise and my 15th cruise overall. Our 9th cruise together in the past 10 years. I just added it up and I have spend 105 days at sea in my life! Seems like a lot to me, but there are single voyages in the brochures that are longer than that! We intended to sail on the Holland America 14 day New Zealand Discovery but we cancelled due to the unexpected very high cost of the shore excurions in the New Zealand ports of call.... but that's another story. In exchange we booked a "back to back" 14 day cruise on a "nieuw" ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam (new for us). We just wanted to get out of the cold weather and relax so we chose a familiar itinerary. One where we had been to all of the ports before and didn't feel the need to do too much in port. EMBARKATION We arrived from the Pacific Northwest the day prior and stayed overnight at a hotel near Port Everglades. It was Superbowl Sunday and we wanted to get on the ship as early as possible to get settled and find out where the game would be showing so we arrived about 12:00 noon and checked our 6 pieces of luggage (yes, I overpacked) in with the porters and were ushered into the terminal to check in. The lines were short and moved very quickly. As long as you fill out all of your documentation at home and have your Express Docs and your proper ID ready to go, it's quite expedient. I believe from the time we entered the building after dropping off our luggage to the time we stepped aboard it was only 15 minutes. The agent who assisted us took our photos and was friendly and pleasant. We no longer stop for the photo ops when embarking or disembarking. Upon boarding we were greeted and advised which general direction to head to in order to find our AFT cabin. (not the pointy end) My first impressions were that the ship seemed very nice. Subtle and tasteful deco and no unpleasant smells in the corridors. CABIN Our aft cabin 7141 was perfect. We were so pleased with it's size and that it had a very comfortable bathroom and bathtub/shower combo. If you drop your razor you can actually bend over and pick it up without hitting your bum and your head at the same time! Christina and her assistant HoHo were our cabin attendants for the 2 weeks. She made a point immediately to introduce herself and to learn both our first names and always greet us with a smile and something nice to say. There was a mixup n the bed configuration and she promptly rearranged them into a king size bed from twins after we set out to explore the ship. She attended to our ice and fresh fruit requests and we politely told her it was "ok" to skip the towel folding for us each night. They are cute, but I thought if I could save her 3 minutes a day for 14 days she would appreciate it. Since I over packed I needed more hangers (a lot more) and she happily brought me some right away. When that wasn't enough (I counted wrong) I called "90" ... and they brought me 10 more right away. On our bed were a number of pre-paid package "gifts" and "invitations" to dine at the specialty restaurants, information on our Admiral 7-Bottle pre-paid wine package as well as a pre-paid 3 liters of alcohol to be consumed in our cabin... which we never opened. What we didn't know is that our travel agent had arranged a "Signature Beverage Package" for us. More on this later. SPECIAL OCCASION As I mentioned, it was Superbowl Sunday and we came in our "Sunday Best" ... SEAHAWKS attire ready to enjoy the big game and the years best commercials, only to find out they were broadcasting the game from ESPN International and the reception was not HD or even clear for that matter. Never mind who won the game ... that was a big let down for us. They showed the game in the big showroom and had a section cordoned off for VIP seating. I don't know if anyone bought into that. We sat up front and it was perfect. Besides we had the "signature beverage package" and didn't have to pay for any drinks. They had a cake on each side of the theatre entrance, 1 for the each team, nicely decorated and a mini buffet of bar food, sandwiches, quesadillas, chips, guacamole, salsa, buffalo wings, etc. Overall they did a great job .. except for the clarity of the broadcast of such an important game. The only commercials we saw were for cricket matches and rugby and cricket and weren't mainstream. Dining Starting with the Lido. I was satisfied, if not impressed. I don't like buffets because of the lines and the people reaching and breathing and touching - but most of the self serve things were set up well and many of the buffet items required interaction from the servers behind the counter. They were always friendly. Especially the omelet gal .. very personable. At one end of the Lido is a cordoned off section they call Canaletto's. This is an uncharge restaurant we never tried due to it's location in the Lido. We forfeited our prepaid dinner there for that reason. Fast Food: Outside the Lido doors is the Dive-In. Fabulous burger and hot dog place where you have a choice of burgers and dogs to choose from. You put in your order and they give you a vibrating alarm for when your food is ready. Fabulous idea. Gives you time to get a drink and find a table. Dining tables outside the Lido and inside were scarce on most days at peak times, but you can eventually find a place to eat. There were some imitation rattan chairs and ottomans with cushions on them that were quite comfortable by the Lido pool and some palm trees to give it a tropical look. Main Dining Room. We had anytime dining. We always had a table for 2 by request and our dining room supervisor made sure we got the table we wanted each night. I have to say that as we passed by everyone else dining I noticed there were many tables right in front of the bus stations and I wondered why folks accepted that. I realize that there must be bus stations, but I think the designers of the ships should find a way to keep that out of sight. Food here was quite good most nights. I didn't think the desserts were that great this cruise. I also felt that although our waiter, Dika and assistant were super friendly, (and taught me how to say thank you in their language "terima kasih") I always felt like they rushed our dinner order, but I don't think it was anything they themselves could control. We really appreciate that Holland America does not try to perform a song and dance in the dining room. Our second week there were a few birthday songs.. that gets old. Admiral Wine Package: We bought the 7 bottle package for 14 nights and it was perfect. We also had 2 14-day Signature Beverage Cards compliments of our travel agent .. wow that was a huge bonus. All you can drink of anything on the menu under $7.95 .. which is any well drink and most all of the specialty cocktails except cordials and top shelf.. and they don't work on Half Moon Cay. Pinnacle Grill: We pre purchased a package with 2 dinners here and 1 dinner at Canaletto (not used) and 1 dinner at Tamarind (went there 2x) . Pinnacle Grill is an uncharge steak house. We did not eat there on the nights it was turned into Le Cirque, but on 2 formal nights. Much nicer than the main dining room as you would expect, but there were items on the menu that had uncharges after paying an uncharge to eat there. Seriously .. tacky. And .. about that "no shorts" policy... on our formal night there was a gentleman in there looking very sporty in his neon pink Bermuda shorts .. and a dress shirt and jacket. Kind of like saying my Beagle is a companion dog and sneaking him on a flight or in a restaurant. People do the darnedest things. Tamarind: Cannot say enough GOOD about this restaurant. Also the Silk Den bar next to it is the best kept secret on the ship. Very classy - top notch service (much better than in the Pinnacle) beautiful decor and SUPERB Asian/Fusion and Sushi. Both visits here I had Phó (wrong symbol.. I know) to die for. Sushi was super fresh and beautiful presented. We had a piece of filet that was so tender you could cut it with your chopsticks. Hot towels, appetizers .. 5 star. Room Service: The worst. We had breakfast in our cabin on day 2. Watered down coffee, cold toast, barely warm eggs, no place in the cabin to comfortably eat.. we had a sitting area with an oval table that could only house the tray. They called to ask us if everything was ok, but we had to tell the truth. They sent us chocolate covered strawberries later that afternoon to apologize. We tried one more time the following week and it was just as bad. Not sure if lunch or dinner is different. Also we called to have the tray removed and it took 3 hours and we had to call twice. I really hate all the "class separation" the cruise ships are doing now. Pay extra for cabanas, pay extra for thermal suites... They wanted $499 for 14 days for a couple to use each one of these. So for an extra $1000 we would be able to get into a bigger hot tub (I have done this before .. it's nice, but not that great) .. I did enjoy the tile beds on another HAL cruise, but I paid much less. As for the retreat areas .. I have to say I just laughed as I walked by knowing how much money people spent on them. Trust me, they weren't having any more fun than I was. We were on deck 7 and as we walked forward from our aft cabin .. we always passed the "special" Neptune room .. for suite folks.... I'm sure I would enjoy it if I were in there, but I just can't see spending the extra money for a suite. Pools: Loved that they were fresh water. Did you know that this ship generates it's own fresh water from a desalinization plant onboard the ship to the tune of 500,000 gallons per day? It's crazy. (my numbers may be off) ... after I heard that we drank more Pellegrino ! Just kidding. We always drink Pellegrino. We liked the Sea View Pool (adults only) .. however our first week there were only 7 kids onboard. The hot tubs were actually hot enough .. .and kept clean with bromine vs chlorine .. I asked. We loved the pool layout. Chairs are always taken up early. You have go out and stake your claim before the sun really comes out.. but they discourage that with signs, but everyone still does it and nobody really enforces they time limit. Deck chairs need to be updated. Towels readily available. Worst cruise ever was one we had to sign out the towels each day... thank goodness HAL doesn't require that. Gym: Great machines and stair climbers and ellipticals facing the sea. Many of the TV's tied in were no working though and need to be fixed. I used the gym 5-6 times in 2 weeks. Nice little fridge with damp towels for your face to cool off. The Serbian guys that work the gym were friendly and gave classes on detoxing your body .. with a sales pitch at the end .. we signed up for the body analysis on a 2:1 but it was really a waste of time... it ended with them trying to sell you hundreds of dollars in seaweed treatments! Salon and Spa : Did not use it. Too expensive Kids: Didn't bring any - HAL has a kids club but the area is small. If you have kids .. take them on Disney or RCCL. You will have more fun. Casino: The usual. We had bad luck 2 nights - so they got maybe $150 from us.. usually my husband does better. The dealers were friendly but they only had 1 straight blackjack table .. the other tables were variation games.. so inevitably there is 1 crowded table. Plus they have 9 points on the table instead of 7 .. too many players.. only 7 stools fit. 2 must stand. Big 6 deck shoe The slot machines work with your card key or money, but they don't give you money.. you have to take your receipt to the cage to get any winnings or leftovers. Oh yea... SMOKING is allowed in there. And in the sports bar next door... No Cigar Bar: Had to go to the Seaview Bar in back. Art: Same old stuff from Park West. Tarkay, Kincaid, etc.. we don't participate but they offered free champagne at the auctions... if you want to get a free drink from them! Photos: This is a dying feature (I hope) on the ships... I guess it's great for first time cruisers .. we haven't bought a photo in a long time. Once on a family reunion cruise we bought one. They also had a upscale studio set up for anyone wanting professional portraits. Digital Workshop: I cannot criticize because I didn't attend, however I walked by and it was mostly older folks (like me!) who probably only use their computers at home for email. Next time I will sit in to see what it's all about.. Culinary Arts: Wanted to go sit in, but it never worked out. They had the owners of Le Cirque on board and they were giving cooking demos and tastings. Lounges: Best thing on this cruise was the BB King Lounge each night. Fabulous R and B group from Memphis... (not Indonesia) playing great music to listen to and dance to. Many other bars throughout the ship.. they were nice and offered nibbles before dinner with the drinks. Shows: We peeked in on them and they were really really awful. They need better talent. RCCL is doing a full scale production of "Chicago" .. NCL has the Jean Ann Ryan Company doing great stuff .. Dancing With The Stars: Very entertaining to watch fellow passengers pretend to be on this show. They learned a dance in the afternoon.. the best man and woman got picked to pair up with a ships show dancer on the last night and then they competed via applause for the "mirror ball trophy" .. no real mirror ball just applause.. and if they were actually really good, they might get chosen by HAL at the end of the year to get a free cruise and compete in the big production with real DWTS cast members. Northern Lights: Did not go there. Back to Back Experience: Nice not having to pack up and leave. We stayed on the ship that day and watched the transformation from "last day of the cruise" to "first day of the cruise" ... by the way. In case you are wondering.. we had to muster both weeks. Shore Excursions: We bought ours from an outside vendor due to pricing and overcrowding of ship tours. I guess that is why they call it Cruise Critic ... We tend to pick out the negative. So let me say something positive. I love HAL. It totally fits my age and cruise desires. There is something for everyone and they have the best cabins in the industry for the price. I had a bathtub for Pete's sake. Great friendly service and so much more classy than their counterparts. Disembarking after two weeks.. smooth and we were literally the last people to pick up our bags. We had no flight leaving and were staying an extra day so we held back and asked for late departure. I would not do another back to back. I would just choose a longer itinerary.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
12-night Mediterranean Empires cruise  May 2, 2014 – May 14, 2014 Depart: Venice, Italy (round-trip) Cabin / Suite: 7031 (category PS) Itinerary: Venice, Italy; at sea; Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Istanbul, ... Read More
12-night Mediterranean Empires cruise  May 2, 2014 – May 14, 2014 Depart: Venice, Italy (round-trip) Cabin / Suite: 7031 (category PS) Itinerary: Venice, Italy; at sea; Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Istanbul, Turkey (overnight); Mitilini, Lesbos, Greece; Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Santorini, Greece; Argostoli, Cephalonia, Greece; at sea; Venice, Italy (overnight) Introduction This 12-night “Mediterranean Empires” cruise aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam was my 34th cruise, but my first to Europe. I have previously sailed Carnival 23 times, Holland America and Royal Caribbean three times each, and once each on Celebrity, Princess, Majesty, and Premier. I consider myself pretty well-versed and experienced in cruises, but I hadn’t taken a cruise in over two years before my trip on the Nieuw Amsterdam, and I hadn’t taken a cruise as long as this one. My last cruise was a New Years’ trip to the Western Caribbean aboard the Carnival Legend, and my last cruise with Holland America was in July, 2008 to Alaska on the Oosterdam. I had never cruised in a suite on a cruise except for one trip on Carnival’s Imagination back in 2005, so I especially looked forward to this cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. This review will cover the various aspects of life onboard the ship since I’ve already provided a port-by-port account of this cruise in previous posts. We traveled in the Pinnacle Suite (PS) #7031 on Rotterdam Deck, and I also posted on that earlier. In Summary… This was easily my most memorable cruise for many reasons. First of all, we were traveling in the largest suite on the ship — the Pinnacle Suite thanks to the generous invitation from my Aunt and Uncle. Since I’m accustomed to standard staterooms, this was a real treat and a definite outlier from my “typical” cruise experience. Secondly, the fact that this cruise allowed us to visit so many destinations to which I had not previously traveled made it an especially memorable experience. Finally, the company with whom I traveled — my Aunt, Uncle, and girlfriend all added to this cruise. I’m not sure if it was because we were suite guests, but the service aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam was exceptional in all aspects. Pretty much everyone we came in contact with went above and beyond throughout the cruise. Just as exceptional was the food. I found the cuisine all over this ship to be some of the best I’ve had on any cruise. The ship itself was beautiful and filled with art, and it had more than adequate facilities for the guests. Entertainment was for the most part pretty good, but considering the port intensive itinerary, it was not a priority for our party during this trip. As mentioned before, the itinerary was sensational, as we visited eight ports during the twelve nights. All in all, this cruise was fantastic and probably my best cruise to date. Food Since this was, after all a cruise, there was naturally food available whenever you wanted. On the Nieuw Amsterdam, there were two primary food venues — The Manhattan Dining Room and the Lido Restaurant. In addition to these two venues were four specialty restaurants — The Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, Canaletto, and the Dive-In Burger Shack. An extensive room service menu was also available, and for suite guests – snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and canapés were available daily in the Neptune Lounge (concierge lounge). Manhattan Dining Room We enjoyed dinner most of the nights in the Manhattan Dining Room. As the main dining room on the ship, the Manhattan offered open seating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as two assigned seatings on the upper level for dinner. We chose the late seating dinner and enjoyed a table for six by a window in the aft section of the upper level of the dining room at table #57. Our waiter team led by Slamet and Ming provided impeccable service throughout the week. By the second night, they knew our preferences, and accommodated special requests without hesitation. The Assistant Dining Room Manager, Megan paid us special attention and ensured that our every wish was granted. Starting the second night, we enjoyed most of our dinners with the ship’s doctor Richard and his wife Michelle — they were such nice people, and we enjoyed spending the evening with them on a regular basis. The food served in the Manhattan Dining Room was fantastic. It was a definite notch above the dinners I typically receive in the main dining room on cruise ships. The steaks were cooked properly, the fish and pork dishes were fantastic, and the appetizers and soups were plentiful and tasty. We found the menus each night to be varied and relevant, as fresh, local ingredients were used on regional specialties throughout the cruise. All in all, dinner in the Manhattan Dining Room was a really special experience, and we looked forward to dining there throughout the cruise. As I previously stated, the food was a cut above normal “cruise food” and seemed to be prepared for a much smaller group rather than a ship full of 1,800 guests. Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind On the formal nights, we dined in two of the three specialty restaurants. The first formal night, we chose to eat in the Pinnacle Grill. The Pinnacle Grill is the upscale steakhouse aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Though it carries a $29 cover fee, it is well worth it. The menu features an impressive selection of steaks and seafood. I ordered the rib eye, which was excellent, and my girlfriend had the filet mignon. The filet literally melted in your mouth, and was one of the better tasting filets I’ve enjoyed anywhere. We also had the opportunity to have lunch in the Pinnacle Grill on the last day of the cruise ($10) where I had a fantastic shrimp cocktail and a delicious Wagyu beef burger. The last two formal nights, we dined in the ship’s Asian-Fusion restaurant, Tamarind ($20). The food here was simply exquisite. The appetizers and soups were extremely good. On various occasions, we enjoyed the mixed satays, potstickers, pho, tempura fried shrimp, and spring rolls for appetizers. The first trip there, I ordered the excellent Penang Red Currty Coconut Chicken, and the second time I had the Wasabi and Soy Crusted Beef Tenderloin. For desert, the tempura fried ice cream is not to be missed! The tenderloin, along with the appetizers and aforementioned fried ice cream was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life – anywhere, and certainly the best I’ve had on a ship. The day we arrived in Argostoli, my girlfriend and I enjoyed a dim sum lunch in Tamarind, and it was also exceptional. The Lido Restaurant The other main food venue on the Nieuw Amsterdam was the Lido Restaurant. This was the ship’s buffet area, and it was split into several distinct food serving sections. For breakfast, the had a fantastic eggs benedict bar, where one could choose from eight types of eggs benedict; a fresh eggs / omelet bar; several traditional breakfast buffet lines; a fresh Belgian waffle line, and a continental breakfast area complete with every bread, pastry, and fruit one could imagine. I especially enjoyed the eggs benedict bar along with the waffles. For lunch, the area changed with choices for a varying “Taste of Nations” line, two traditional lunch lines, two salad bars lines, an Italian / Mexican line, and of course pizza. Though we only had lunch in Lido a few times (we were in port during lunch on most days), I really enjoyed the Taste of Nations — particularly their Asian specialties. Overall, the food in the Lido was varied, fresh, and delicious. The presentation in the buffet lines was clean and appetizing — it was an extremely good option for a meal onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Canaletto and Dive In We did not try the ship’s specialty Italian restaurant, Canaletto simply because we found it pointless to eat Italian food on a ship full of so many different options, on a cruise that started and ended… in Italy. On the other hand, we did eat at the “Dive-In” Burger Bar on a few occasions and found them to prepare a very tasty burger. They utilize a pager operation at “Dive-In” which allows one to go relax at their table until the food is ready. Room Service We utilized room service for the majority of our breakfasts, as we enjoyed having coffee and a light breakfast in our suite or on the balcony. Breakfast always arrived on time, though they did have problems grasping the concept of leaving the food in the butler’s pantry instead of coming through the main door, waking everyone up. We also arranged for room service to provide appetizers on several occasions prior to dinner. One one evening, we even ordered some appetizers from Tamarind and Pinnacle, and they were delicious (there was obviously a cost for this). They really did their best to satisfy our requests throughout the week, as we had some pretty abnormal requests, such as a plate of nachos! As previously mentioned, the food on this ship was probably the best I’ve had on any cruise. It certainly was better than the food we had on my last Holland America cruise, and blows away the notion that cruise food is relatively bland since it’s mass-produced. We found the cuisine onboard to be consistently excellent. Service Service aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam truly was top-notch. From our room stewards, to the concierge team, to the dining room waiters, to the dining room managers, to the bartenders and cocktail waiters — the service was simply spectacular. Our two room stewards, Mugi and Daniel kept our large suite spotless. They were friendly and accommodated all of our special requests. The concierge team of Chris and Nickolai were fantastic. Again, they went out of their way to ensure that all of our needs were met. One of them was always available in the Neptune Lounge, and they arranged for everything from dinner reservations to spa treatments to in-room dining. As previously mentioned, the dining room service was impeccable. The Assistant Dining Room Manager, Megan literally couldn’t do enough for us. He personally delivered a plate of fresh asparagus and spinach to the table nightly with a smile, since we’d asked for it on one occasion. He also arranged for a private tour of the kitchen, led by Petr, the Executive Chef. I know this was likely because we were guests in the Pinnacle Suite, but it was really appreciated and special, nonetheless. The same sort of friendly service was found from all the bartenders and cocktail waiters. They went out of their way to get to know us during the cruise. Our favorite cocktail waiters, Roland and Fritz greeted us with smiles and conversation on a daily basis. Again, the service aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam was consistently excellent for the entire cruise. Entertainment We really didn’t partake in too much of the entertainment on board, simply because we enjoyed very long dinners and we were dead tired and ready to go to bed on almost a nightly basis. However, one of the highlights onboard was the Piano Bar, where we enjoyed a drink on several different occasions. We did see one of the production shows, and it was pretty good — my girlfriend especially enjoyed it. One evening, we stopped in to see the comedian, but he wasn’t all that great. On most evenings, we’d have a post-dinner drink in one of the many bars onboard, but usually we ended up in the Piano Bar as previously mentioned. I did enjoy the casino on a couple of the nights — it wasn’t that large, but plenty big for the ship. We did partake in one of the “pub crawls” and had a great time despite the paltry attendance of only six guests! All in all, I’d rate the entertainment on the Nieuw Amsterdam as adequate. While the entertainment is nowhere near the elaborate shows and non-stop energy found on Royal Caribbean and Carnival, it was certainly plenty for this itinerary and clientele. Gym / Spa The Greenhouse Spa and fitness center is located on Lido deck forward, with large windows and a wrap-around view off the front of the ship. I used the fitness center three times on the trip and found it adequate. I primarily use dumbbells, and they had weights up to 75 pounds, though the lifting area was very small. This wasn’t too much of a problem since I seemed to be the only person in the area. Treadmills were plentiful, though they seemed to be almost always occupied by people walking slowly — isn’t that what the wrap around promenade deck is for? My girlfriend had two treatments at the Greenhouse spa, and seemed to enjoy both of them. On the first day at sea, she enjoyed a massage, which was preceded by an hour or so in the impressive Thelassotherapy pool and steam room. On the day we arrived in Istanbul, she got a manicure, and seemed to like that too. The only negative she mentioned was the price of the manicure seemed to be a bit exorbitant, which can be expected on a cruise ship. Ship The four-year old Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship. At 935 feet long and 86,700 gross registered tons, she is by no means a small cruise ship, but at the same time, she’s nowhere near being as large as most of the ships our there these days. This mid-sized ship and relatively low passenger count (1,800 on this cruise) made for a ship that really never felt crowded. Not once did I wait in line onboard, nor did I have to wait for an elevator. The Lido Restaurant never had lines except for the first day after embarkation when everyone seems to head straight to the Lido for lunch. The size of this ship is really just perfect. The Nieuw Amsterdam is filled with an impressive art collection. Rich with art at seemingly every turn, one could really pass time checking out the various paintings and pictures that adorned the walls of hallways and public spaces. Since it is, after all, the namesake of the Nieuw Amsterdam, New York City is the over-arching theme of the ship. The atrium is adorned with a crystal, icicle-like sculpture of the Manhattan skyline, and the Explorers Lounge is adorned with a huge mural of the New York skyline in the 1930s. The colors on the ship are very nautical and earthy — certainly the antithesis to the Joe Farcus-designed interiors of Carnival. The interior of the Nieuw Amsterdam had a very classic and elegant feel — I really enjoyed my time onboard this beautiful vessel. Of its twelve bars onboard, my favorite was the Silk Den. Located on deck 11, it features panoramic, 180-degree views of the ocean on either side of the ship, and the pool deck. It is decorated in an Asian theme, and we found it to be relatively empty all week with fantastic waiters. This was our go-to spot for pre-dinner drinks. I do love the Crow’s Nest Lounge as well, but it seemed to be the most crowded lounge on the entire ship. We also really enjoyed the enclosed Lido Pool area. Since the weather was somewhat chilly (60-degrees) for a large part of the cruise, the retractable roof was closed atop the mid-ship pool. This created a nice, relaxing, and open space where we enjoyed a few lunches and beers. One of the great features aboard Holland America ships is the wrap around promenade deck that fully encircles the ship. It’s a great deck on which to take an evening stroll as the world goes by. Since this was, of course, Holland America, the average age of fellow guests onboard was rather… seasoned. My girlfriend and I were pretty clearly the youngest couple onboard. Though there were a few families with children, probably 90% of the passengers onboard were over the age of 60. In its entirety, the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very manageable ship — it’s not too big, and not too small. It’s an extremely pretty ship inside and out. I wouldn’t hesitate to cruise her again in the future! Overall The whole experience was fantastic. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a really special ship with a very warm, attentive, and amazing crew. The service and cuisine were equality excellent, as was the incredible 12-night itinerary. Holland America excels at providing a traditional cruise experience with superior service, food, and onboard experience, and the Nieuw Amsterdam certainly lived up to — and exceeded that standard of excellence. I cannot recommend this ship and cruise enough! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
I just returned from 7 days aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was a breeze. The Holland America crew really know how to keep a line moving. Our 1st port was Grand Turk. Had a pleasurable visit to Jacks Shack on the ... Read More
I just returned from 7 days aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was a breeze. The Holland America crew really know how to keep a line moving. Our 1st port was Grand Turk. Had a pleasurable visit to Jacks Shack on the beach and enjoyed the local beer and jerk chicken. Next was San Juan, my fav ! Love that island, so many things to see and do. Visited El Jibarito restaurant for their pasteles (seasonal dish) usually Christmas and Mothers Day, along with their awesome mofongo. In port until 11pm which was very nice. On to St Thomas, we were docked in Crown Bay which is nice. Took the tram to Paradise Point for photos and drinks ! Great place ! The next stop was Half Moon Cay, rented a clamshell for the day and soaked up the warm temperature. Holland America has a magnificent BBQ on the beach and the food and drinks were delicious. I cannot say enough good things about the ship and her crew. They work together like a well oiled machine. We lacked for nothing on our voyage. No hassles, The entertainment was a pleasure, the musicians were easy on the ears and a lot of fun. There are many nooks inside the ship where one can go to enjoy quiet moments, I really enjoyed that. The gym was well equipped to work off all that fabulous food they prepared. It was all very fresh and tasty. I did not have a bad meal. The sushi was superb ! With all that said.....I had a wonderful cruise experience and cannot wait to sail on HAL again !!! I give the Nieuw Amsterdam 5 stars !!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
pre cruise stay: we stayed at the Lago Mar, which was the best pre cruise stay ever. true old fort lauderdale charm, great pool and public spaces, wonderful room right on the beach. you could walk to the end tof the beach to see the ships ... Read More
pre cruise stay: we stayed at the Lago Mar, which was the best pre cruise stay ever. true old fort lauderdale charm, great pool and public spaces, wonderful room right on the beach. you could walk to the end tof the beach to see the ships sail away, or wave from your balcony. best pre cruise stay ever. a hidden gem. good beach front and easy walk to other spots as well. great restaurant on site. great pool. great private beach. quiet area. the embarkation: easy as always. we head over there about 11am, and get on board just in time for the mariner lunch. took maybe 30 minutes but we like to head to the room and leave whatever we brought on board. the room: 5042. nice veranda. port side. good amount of space, good overhead cupboards with extra stowage space near the veranda. never really did fill all the spaces given and we moved in with a lot of stuff for two people for two weeks. comfy bed, and the pillows were amazing. always clean. ice bucket always full, and clean wine and champagne glasses always at the ready. the ship: we love the art, the decore, the orchids, the gorgeous art on each deck as well as the awesome stuff in the silk den and outside. there was art by cristo, warhol, new york pop art and so many others too many to name. as well as historic tabeltop art and other historic things. the glass sculpture in the atrium was new yorks reflection in the water. wonderful. it changed colors. of course walking the observation deck is a great source of relaxation and exercise as well as a chance to see sea birds, the sunset, sunrise and see our fellow travelers. we love hot tubbing on the back deck. we love the library and exlorations cafe as well as the crows nest. we didnt get to go out on the bow to get our famed photo of the ship bell so we will have to sail this one another time for that. the dining: mondo beyondo in the main dining room. naturally. tamarind was the shining star here. we of course had lunch at pinnacle (skipped dinner here this time as we ate at tamarind for dinner 4 times this 14 day sailing). had to have our Canaletto also. never a disappointment. only mention was that the menu repeated itself each week, so we did notice that, but we were able to chose a different thing on those repeat days . other than that, it was superb. and yes, we took pics of our food. the gym: we didnt really gain weight, but this is mostly due to going to the gym for 45 minutes each day that we werent on an excursion. good equuipment. thank god for the tv mounts and music. bring earbuds. you will need them. the excurions: we booked 7 snorkeling trips. we always book through the ship. it is always worth it. take an underwater camera. we snorkeled in cozumel, grand caymen, grand turk, half moon cay, key west and st thomas. so fun. the staff: always hard working and gracous. always remember your name. they always have a good day and acknowledge you even when you know they must be dog tired. the food: dont miss the eggs benedict station in the lido. breakfast is incredible. in the main dining is good too, but you can eat at the back deck by the sea on the lido for relaxation. lunch in main dining room is good, but this was a port intensive cruise so we had lunch on lido before or after excursions and headed out again. we liked sushi, asain, salads , panini, or heck it is all there, take your pick. sweet potato fries so yummy too. the entertainment: comedian funny, piano guy okay. hal cats good to dance to pre dinner most of the time. as well as the jazz musicians. we missed the live music on the lido. the steel drum was good but hard to dance to if you know what i mean. the shows, we have seen so many times, tired from snorkeling all day, so, we didnt attend all, but do not miss the cooking demos. they are wonderful and you get recipes to take home to try. have tried a few already. the ports: good port selections, as we listed on excursions above. we arent shoppers but we did buy a mask in key west and we usually visit the forts in san jaun. easy to walk to. we pretty much walk everywhere. the wather was fine and it keeps us moving, in shape. disembarcation: sad to leave was all. it was fine. would like to be able to stretch that out for awhile honestly. post cruise stay: we stayed at the Hilton Marina. what a mad house. our room wasnt ready for a long time. but in all fairness everyone was checking out when we were arriving on sunday. the pool and outside areas are the good things about this hotel. we have stayed at bahia mar and embassy suites on 17th street, and hilton fort lauderdale beach resort before,and those were good. so if we do this again, we will stay at the Lago Mar again. overall, we are three star mariners in love with cruising and in love with each other in our 50's.. it is hard to dampen our day. any day on vacation is better than any day at work. we live in a beautiful area, so good thing, because that makes coming home as nice as leaving it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We cruised on the Nieuw Amsterdam from October 6 - 13th in the Western Mediterranean. We visited Palermo, Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno and Toulon. The week was fantastic. The staff on board the ship were wonderful. We loved the ports. ... Read More
We cruised on the Nieuw Amsterdam from October 6 - 13th in the Western Mediterranean. We visited Palermo, Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno and Toulon. The week was fantastic. The staff on board the ship were wonderful. We loved the ports. The ship is in good shape. The only qualm we had with the cruise was the disappointing/uninspired dining room food. Dinner was so poor that my wife and I ate in all three alternate dining rooms after the first four nights just to avoid the main dining room. Two of the three alternate dining rooms (Pinnacle and Tamarind) were excellent. The Caneletto (portion of Lido Buffet turned into an Italian restaurant) was a slight improvement over the dining room, but had no atmosphere. A little about our family: My wife and I are in our mid/late 40's. We also traveled with our 8 (almost 9) year old son. We spent 2 days in Barcelona in advance of the cruise and 3 days after the cruise in this fantastic city. We have cruised many times over the last 15 years (typically at least once a year). We have cruised on Holland/Princess and Celebrity. This was our 5th cruise with Holland. We consider ourselves seasoned cruisers. This was our first cruise to the Mediterranean. Onboard Activities: 1. Kids Club - There were only 16 kids onboard (between 3 and 12), but our son loved the kids club. He insisted on attending rather than go to the specialty dining rooms. Even with only 4 or 5 other kids attending every night he found the program entertaining and loved the space. There were video games, giant screen tv's for movie night, and good counselors who kept them well entertained. 2. Casino - The casino was dead the week we were onboard, but the staff were extremely gracious and fun. We spent an hour or so every day at the casino and had a blast. They have most casino games (craps/roulette/blackjack/three card poker/let it ride with 3 card poker bonus). 3. Entertainment - The biggest surprise for us was that we enjoyed the onboard entertainment. Our prior Holland cruises have left us moaning about the poor quality of the singers/entertainers. Nothing could be farther from the truth on this cruise. The Hal Cats (with Ben) were fantastic. Our son ended up dancing with all the show performers to Proud Mary and became famous around the ship, which he loved. We also enjoyed Cantare (Il Divo type act) in the main theatre, as well as Brett Cave (classic British piano man entertainer). We didn't expect to enjoy Brett as we thought he would be corny/over the top, but 10 minutes in we were laughing and singing along. 4. Pool - We only had one sea day and had a great day at the mid-ship pool. Our son loved the water, we had clear skies and smooth seas. 5. Food - This was the one huge disappointment of our trip. As I mentioned we have cruised 5 times on Holland and previously have enjoyed the food. Unfortunately, on this trip, the food in the main dining room was bland and uninspired. The quality of the product was simply poor. While we realize that the cruise line is essentially providing banquet/wedding food for 2000 guests, our past experience was that Holland's main dining room provided good, tasty and creative menus. This was not the case this voyage. Food is very subjective, and some may have enjoyed the fare, but for us the quality was drastically worse than our previous voyages. The Lido Buffet was equally as poor, in our opinion. Our son ate dinner in the Lido 3 nights as he wanted to go to the kid's club and not to the alternate dining. Presentation, choices and quality were once again a huge disappointment. In addition, it seemed like the buffet was always closed/closing, leaving you feeling like you had even less choice. I think the use of Canaletto in 20 percent of the Lido, at night, causes one quadrant of the buffet to be closed for use by this restaurant, further reducing the options/choices given to you for a late night snack. From a purely subjective point of view, we much prefer the set up of the buffet on the Celebrity Solstice class ships as the two parallel buffets get cumbersome. Pinnacle Grill - This restaurant never disappoints and that was the case on this voyage. The service, ambience and food quality was all excellent and well worth the $25 upcharge. Tamarind - This was our first time in the Tamarind and we thoroughly enjoyed the dining experience. Again, the room had good ambience, the menu was creative, the service was wonderful and the food delivered on taste. Canaletto - This is the alternative italian restaurant in the Lido Buffet. The food was an improvement over the dining room and the service was good. This restaurant could serve by being moved to its own room as there is simply no atmosphere here due to its location in the buffet. Room Service - We had breakfast in the room 2 days as we had busy days touring Rome and Pisa. The food was hot, of high quality and was served right on time, despite the fact that there was a large demand for room service breakfast on these days. Barcelona - We spent two days before the cruise and 3 days after in Barcelona. This is one of our favorite cities. We stayed at the Casp74 apartments before the cruise (funky, great location, clean and lots of space) and at Hotel Gran Torre Catalunya after the cruise (23 stories, great views, modern, located next to main train station). Loved both properties. Sagrada Familia is a must see, as well as the Bouqueria market on Las Ramblas. We took our son to a Barcelona football game which was one of his highlights of the trip. It took awhile to get used to eating dinner at 9:00 p.m. but the food in the city was great. Had an amazing burger and fries at Santa Burg restaurant in the Sants district. This small restaurant is killin' it. I know that it seems crazy for an American to come to Barcelona and go for a burger, but we consider ourselves foodies and this place was great. The fries/chips were memorable. They have a burger with foie gras and carmelized apples that I want to return and try on our next trip. We also ate twice at Pura Brasa, located next to the Arenas (old bullfighting arena turned mall) on the Gran Via. Chicken hanging on skewer was mouthwatering, the pasta was great, and the corn on the cob was really good. Iberian ham is all over the city and is addictive. Loved having a croissant and coffe every morning for breakfast. The pace, even in Barcelona, is slower than in the U.S. They seem to appreciate life a little more than we do, and after a few days we settled into their pace and loved everything about the culture and the people. The people we encountered on our trip were, generally, warm, embracing and interesting. A European cruise was a nice change from the beaches and trinkets in the Caribbean. We look forward to our journey.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
Just returned from our second cruise on the Neiuw Amsterdam. We love this ship. We cruised from Barcelona to Venice in 2010 on the NA so it felt like home to us. The best part of a HAL cruise experience is the food and the service. The ... Read More
Just returned from our second cruise on the Neiuw Amsterdam. We love this ship. We cruised from Barcelona to Venice in 2010 on the NA so it felt like home to us. The best part of a HAL cruise experience is the food and the service. The staff is exceptional with a smile always and a "how is your day/cruise etc going." It makes you want to pay it forward and be nice to everyone you meet. Consequently, we end up meeting great folks every time we cruise, from every walk of life. We did beach days this cruise-hopped in a taxi and went to the beach to swim and snorkel on our own. We've done 2 previous cruises to Carib-one other HAL on the Oosterdam 04' and the other was a Princess 08'. Altho' we had a nice experience on the Princess cruise, we find that the level of service, food and entertainment is just better with HAL. There is definitely an older crowd but you find and make your own fun on a cruise and if you are open to it, you'll meet some fabulous people(of all ages) along the way. The food was spectacular as always-we chose to eat in the main dining room every night and the menu had something for everyone-very interesting vegetarian choices this time I noticed as well. It so fresh and always with a made to order feeling about it-it's hard to believe that they are creating thousands of meals over the course of a week. We did not go the Pinnacle altho' we talked to people that found it exceptional. I can say that we ate at Tamarind for the 2nd time(dinner and 15$ pp surcharge) and were not disappointed-again, fresh and made to order and worth the surcharge. If you like Asian food-you will be very pleased with Tamarind. The Lido buffet had great food all week as well-definitely upscale buffet choices. We enjoyed a couples massage in the spa(highly recommend) and we took a couple of yoga classes in the fitness center as well-there's plenty of equipment for everyone to use-nicely appointed fitness center. The entertainment offered no surprises for us because we had seen the same shows in 2010 but they were fun and energetic. One comedy night was exceptional. We did a cooking exhibition with one of the chefs and Ashley-the events planner that was great. Game show night with Deal or No Deal was entertaining-JC our cruise director kept it fresh and fun. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Just returned from our second cruise on the Neiuw Amsterdam. We love this ship. We cruised from Barcelona to Venice in 2010 on the NA so it felt like home to us. The best part of a HAL cruise experience is the food and the service. The ... Read More
Just returned from our second cruise on the Neiuw Amsterdam. We love this ship. We cruised from Barcelona to Venice in 2010 on the NA so it felt like home to us. The best part of a HAL cruise experience is the food and the service. The staff is exceptional with a smile always and a "how is your day/cruise etc going." It makes you want to pay it forward and be nice to everyone you meet. Consequently, we end up meeting great folks every time we cruise, from every walk of life. We did beach days this cruise-hopped in a taxi and went to the beach to swim and snorkel on our own. We've done 2 previous cruises to Carib-one other HAL on the Oosterdam 04' and the other was a Princess 08'. Altho' we had a nice experience on the Princess cruise, we find that the level of service, food and entertainment is just better with HAL. There is definitely an older crowd but you find and make your own fun on a cruise and if you are open to it, you'll meet some fabulous people(of all ages) along the way. The food was spectacular as always-we chose to eat in the main dining room every night and the menu had something for everyone-very interesting vegetarian choices this time I noticed as well. It so fresh and always with a made to order feeling about it-it's hard to believe that they are creating thousands of meals over the course of a week. We did not go the Pinnacle altho' we talked to people that found it exceptional. I can say that we ate at Tamarind for the 2nd time(dinner and 15$ pp surcharge) and were not disappointed-again, fresh and made to order and worth the surcharge. If you like Asian food-you will be very pleased with Tamarind. The Lido buffet had great food all week as well-definitely upscale buffet choices. We enjoyed a couples massage in the spa(highly recommend) and we took a couple of yoga classes in the fitness center as well-there's plenty of equipment for everyone to use-nicely appointed fitness center. The entertainment offered no surprises for us because we had seen the same shows in 2010 but they were fun and energetic. One comedy night was exceptional. We did a cooking exhibition with one of the chefs and Ashley-the events planner that was great. Game show night with Deal or No Deal was entertaining-JC our cruise director kept it fresh and fun. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Service was good in dining rooms, lounges and stateroom. The food was excellent, and the selections numerous. Holland American rarely disappoints me in this department. Our Superior Suite was nicely placed toward AFT, but I must ... Read More
Service was good in dining rooms, lounges and stateroom. The food was excellent, and the selections numerous. Holland American rarely disappoints me in this department. Our Superior Suite was nicely placed toward AFT, but I must remember to avoid Port side. Too many smokers on this cruise. And I thought HAL had initiated a ban on verandah smoking starting the first of the year? Our neighbors were chimneys! Our stateroom was roomy and our verandah, as well. I would have liked two loungers rather than a two plastic wicker chairs with ottomans. Our bathroom was large, double sinks, and whirlpool tub and shower separate. The closet space was adequate. I filled all the drawers, nooks and closets! The entertainment was usual. Good singing and dancing. To change up the venue, one night was a magician who was quite entertaining. A comedian/magician. "Diamond" is his last name. Very good show. I had hoped another type of entertaiment would have been presented. HAL has always been good about giving excellent variety in the nighttime shows. The Captains luncheon was nice. The collector tiles were not placed on the tables as have been in the past, and when we exited the dining room I did not see them anywhere. A couple days later I inquired at the information desk and was told they were set on a table for everyone to take. Didn't see it, nor were we pointed toward "this special" table to take our tiles. The information clerk was nice enough to find two for us to have. Usually we receive a discount booklet, but none came to our stateroom. For the first two days staff served us all our food and drinks in the Lido dining area. Just a precaution to make sure we do not get that cruise bug. We were surprised to see how worn and motley the carpets appeared, especially at the base of every staircase. Some of the display tables in the stores were in poor condition, also, with chipped veneer. And there was even rubbed off graffiti on our stateroom wall. Just wasn't expecting to see this on a ship still so new. We took one excursion on Grand Cayman. The Turtle Farm one, and it was nice. Our tour guide spoke with a very thick accent and rambled quickly. We understood very little what he said. We just walked the cruise port at Falmouth, Jamaica. A lovely port where the people were very happy to sell us. All smiles. I was most impressed that they all lined up at the pier to wave goodbye to the ship. A very welcoming place that we will definitely return to! The ship sailed smoothly through rough waters. The captain cancelled our stop off at Half Moon Cay at the start of the cruise. Very disappointed, but it was a safety issue with the rough seas. We have been to three Cruise Cays during our cruising years: Half Moon Cay, Princess Cay, and Coco Cay. Half Moon Cay is by far the best one - cleanest beaches, and stonefree shorelines. There was plenty of activity on the ship for all ages, but were disappointed that there were only two chances to play bingo. Embarkation procedure was a little slow, but the disembarkation went very fast and smooth. A nice ending to a short cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
After sailing the Zuiderdam earlier in the year, we just had to try a newer version of the C Class. Liked the ship and artworks altho is was much scaled down compared to previous cruises we have taken with HAL. I thought the atrium ran ... Read More
After sailing the Zuiderdam earlier in the year, we just had to try a newer version of the C Class. Liked the ship and artworks altho is was much scaled down compared to previous cruises we have taken with HAL. I thought the atrium ran up to the Observation deck, but was mistaken. Apparently, only Royal Carib has this feature. One which we really admire. Enfin, sailed with Capt. van Zanne before on the Amsterdam. He was very cordial and approachable, something we think is very important. The Tamarind restaurant, and silk room, midship were a favorite with us. For the price, service, ambiance, you get 5 stars. Take note, only the N. Amsterdam and the Eurodam have this service. General dining was so so at best, service at times slow and the food did not live up to our expectations. Lido food, not exceptional. There was always space and staff right on the ball. I dont see the necessity for the 48 hour rule with the latex gloves to serve foods as I observed those gloves making "the rounds" regardless. Change rooms by the spa and gym are always a bonus on these ships, however, I think most people believe they come at a cost, which is not so. Crafts were a limited commodity, and should be revived on sea days. Dance classes by staff were done way to fast for enthusiastic beginners. In fact, for those dancers on board, this cruise was terrible, dance floors were very small and the music was mediocre at best. Stage productions were some of the lousiest I have seen yet, the upside was that there were always seats available. My advice, if you want some peace and quiet, never cruise over the holiday season, leave that for family time and kids. Ports of call, warm sunny, cozumel, Mahogany Bay, Cayman, Tortola, St. Maarten, San Juan, Grand Turk, and enough time to stroll around and do whatever. If you decide to take this cruise, choose a cabin on the starboard side if you like afternoon sun and sunsets. She is a new ship and nicely appointed, but check out my observations before plunking down your deposit. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2011
We cruised on the Nieuw Amsterdam March 13-20th 2011 on a Western Caribbean route. A group of 4 brothers with wives/SO...a total of 8. We booked a VF Guarantee but were upgraded to category V on the Navigation deck.This was the 13th ... Read More
We cruised on the Nieuw Amsterdam March 13-20th 2011 on a Western Caribbean route. A group of 4 brothers with wives/SO...a total of 8. We booked a VF Guarantee but were upgraded to category V on the Navigation deck.This was the 13th cruise for my wife and me. Others had cruised anywhere from 0 to 6 times. We stayed at the Springhill Suites Dania Beach. Free parking, transport to the port and pick up for $8pp. My wife and I had been on one other HAL cruise...the Zuiderdam in 2005. The Nieuw Amsterdam, even though on the same hull, seemed larger than the Z and was definitely a much prettier ship. We cruised the Celebrity Solstice last year and the Nieuw Amsterdam compared very favorably to it. It does not have the large atrium like the Solstice and other newer ships. Arrived at the port around 11:00AM. On the ship before noon. One great thing HAL has done is to have cabins ready by 11:30. We were able to go the cabin upon boarding and drop carry-ons. It also seemed to spread the crowd around the ship rather than everyone gathering in the LIDO.CABIN: Category V on the port side Navigation Deck. It was great to be able to open 4 balconies and have a huge space. Cabin was designed well...nothing flashy but very comfortable and lots of storage. Bath was one of the larger ones we have had with a tub. CREW: The cruise director was Gene Young. I have to admit I don't remember many of our cruise directors an hour after leaving the ship and he was no different. Did not really add or detract from the cruise. Crew was friendly and efficient for the most part. Cabin Steward Diding did a great job even though we did not see him often. LIDO: The lido food was always good but I like the layout of the Solstice buffet much better. Seemed to be more congestion on the NA. And one of brothers also complained that he could never get anyone in the morning to fill his coffee. One thing we noticed...we always had coffee after dinner and found it odd that they NEVER offered a refill, even in Pinnacle or Tamarind. I did notice after returning to the ship after 3:00 there was not a lot of food and we were always hungry when returning from shore.MDR: Ate there 3 times with anytime dining. Food was very good each time but I agree the service was not as friendly as past cruises and sometimes slow. I just assumed it was because this was the first time we had experienced anytime dining and the wait staff does not get "invested" in you as much or get to know you. Not bad service, just a little detached. The NY Strip served every evening was a really nice cut of beef. TAMARIND: We felt it was the highlight of the dinners. So good we booked a second night. Service excellent as was the food. The only problem we had was trying to decide what to order. We tried to get in for lunch without reservations one day but there was a waiting list so we left. Everything we had was delicious. They also brought us a large platter of sushi for the table in addition to the meals.PINNACLE: While the food was very good, service was slow. I just can't understand why it takes almost 4 hours to complete a meal. We had 6:00 reservations and got out a little before 10pm. Other tables that arrived after our party were finished long before us.CANALETTO: We ate there the first night. The food was good, nothing special, but it was free and something different. Service was okay and we did get cotton candy.ENTERTAINMENT: We had a change in much of the cast at the beginning of the cruise. Cantare was one of the best shows we have ever seen on our 13 cruises. Go to this one! Rondell Sheridan was the comedian and we all recognized him from TV. Very funny. Just saw a short sample of the magician and he was amazing. Other stage shows were pretty good but the one exception was "The Two fo Us". This was a married couple who are part of the ensemble and had their own show. While the singing was excellent, the banter between songs was so corny and cheesy it ruined the show. Several in our party walked out. Matt Murphy played guitar and sang in Crows Nest...good and very nice guy. Gini and HAL Cats seemed to play everywhere around the ship, the pool, and on Half Moon Cay. Musically they were good but they really need a male voice to assist with vocals. But the band leader told us this was the same on every HAL ship...a band with only female singer.We enjoyed the Piano Bar mainly because of "Boozie" the waiter. You have got to meet this guy. All 8 of us met him one night and he remembered our names the rest of the cruise. David Seering (sp?) played and sang but was a little over the top...think Liberace without the glitter. Adagio Strings were good but selections seemed to be designed for bedtime. They played a great "RiverDance" type of number for the variety show one evening and we expected more of this but they seemed to stick just to the classics. The Jazz Trio called The Neptunes were also good but it seemed everytime we sat down to listen they took a break.It did seem that after the late show there were not many entertainment choices but we were never bored!! THE SHIP: We really liked the Nieuw Amsterdam and as mentioned previously it was so much prettier and more elegant than our last HAL cruise on the Zuiderdam. It is indeed a beautiful ship. There are some dead ends where you "can't get there from here" but that is the case on most ships. I know some have complained about the red in the MDR but we loved it, especially when compared to the stark white in the Solstice MDR. The NA is not as open with a large atrium like the Solstice but after a while we came to like it as well. On a sea afternoon there is no place better than lounging on the promenade deck. Kudos to HAL for keeping the wrap around on all of their ships. The Queens Lounge is a beautiful spot as are most of the numerous lounges. The one place we found that was really ugly in our opinion was the casino. Very dark and not colorful and very uninviting. Maybe it was just all the smoke (oh oh...I don't want to start THAT debate). MISC: If you like to hang around the pool be sure to bring some type of shoe to wear around the pool deck. You will get the bottoms of your feet burned within seconds by just going from the pool back to your lounger. Not sure why they did not use some sort of heat reflecting material or teak for the decking. The lido pool area also seemed really closed in when compared with the Solstice. Part of it comes from the fact they have the magrodome which can cover the pool. It is nice to have but does really cut into the deck space on the deck above the pool. One brother rented a Lido cabana for the week and really enjoyed it. Had a butler with great service, champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and more. They felt it was well worth the $199 for the week. The Resort Cabana's were more private and up higher but cost $299.VERDICT: Book this ship. We had a great time. I think the NA and the Solstice are very comparable. There are some things we liked better on the Solstice and some we liked better on the Nieuw Amsterdam. But if you go on a cruise looking to find something to complain about you will. If you don't have a good time on the NA, or for that matter any cruise, it is your own fault!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We arrived at Port Everglades for boarding at about 11AM. It was the smoothest embarcation ever. In less than 15 minutes we were on the ship and shocked when shortly later it was announced that all cabins were now ready! We were slighly ... Read More
We arrived at Port Everglades for boarding at about 11AM. It was the smoothest embarcation ever. In less than 15 minutes we were on the ship and shocked when shortly later it was announced that all cabins were now ready! We were slighly underwhelmed at the ship. Our last cruise on Celebrity Equinox was a brand new ship and it was spectacular in very way. The cruise before that was Celebrity Solstice (sister ship) which was equally impressive. There is no grand staircase/atrium on this ship. The decorations are generally cheap looking black and white posters on the hallway walls of NYC. Clean and okay, but not spectacular. It appeared that most of the wall coverings, fabrics, art, etc., were done at a budget level and did not reflect what should be found on a luxury ship. Very impressed with the room. We had a superior veranda suite. More storage than any ship I can remember and very conveniently placed. Room included two sinks, jacuzzi tub and shower. Great bed, nice sized balcony. To order "in-room" movies, you have to check out a DVD which seems a little archaic for a new ship instead of ordering it on the set. For the most part, the staff was wonderful even if a little bit un-motivated. The bartender in the early part of the day at the lido bar at the rear of the ship was nicknamed lemon face by several passengers because of his surly nature. At one point I walked up to the bar, was the only patron while he spoke with an officer. When he finished he looked right at me and then turned to leave without acknowledging me until the offier called him and pointed at me and told him to wait on me. I was so angry that I just said never mind an walked away. I also had difficulty with the assistant manager of the Pinacle Restaurant. We had booked five nights and every time we went there was a problem. Lost "pre-paid" reservations, no tables available when clearly there were, etc. On every cruise I've been on, if you wanted a second entree or appetizer there was no problem. Not here! We were told that there would be an additional surcharge (in addition to the one we had already paid), to order anything extra! When we asked if we could have a dinner entre (macaroni and lobster) as a half portion appetizer, I was told, our chef will not be happy with that. I was floored. He came back and said he doesn't want to do it, but I asked him to make an exception. I told him that I could afford to eat in any restaurant that I chose and don't need to beg a chef to give me a bowl of macaroni" and cancelled all of the rest of my visits to the Pinacle. That being said, the Asian restaurant was friendly and the food spectacular every time that we ate there. The food in the main dining room (open seating) was also pretty good. Not the best in the world, but not the worst. The buffet on the lido deck was a bit of hit and miss. The omlette station for breakfast was great, but several times at other stations the employees were very unhelpful. When I asked if there was more turkey for lunch (dried bits and pieces were all that I could see), I got a curt reply of "no". I heard someone else ask if there was any more balsamic at the salad bar because the bottle was empty and she too was told "no". Pools were both very nice and plenty of nice deck chairs. The gym was a big letdown. Very small as compared to most ships and the free weight area could only accomodate about 3 people. there were machines to use if you wanted to, but often there was a line for them. The free area in the floor was often taken up by customers who paid for fitness classes. The sauna is a joke. It holds no more than three people at a time and every time I went, it had three people and others were walking away because it was full. Entertainment was very average. We have been spoiled by Celebrity doing Circus du Soleil performances I guess. There was one impersonator who was quite funny. I am not going to comment on the ports of call because we just went for warm weather and beaches. Weather did not cooperate with us a good portion of the trip and we missed several ports which one was made up by going to Key West. Cannot fault the ship for weather. Another "new inovation" which is a true rip off is that no longer are soda cards unlimited. You pre purchase a fixed amount and they punch a hole in the card. If you buy too many, you don't get a refund. Even worse is the "beverage card". You only save $5.00. The beverage card is supposed to be for any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage yet when we ordered the "drink fo the day" we were told we could not use the card for that since the drink had been discounted by one dollar already. MAKE YOUR POLICIES CLEAR BEFORE THE SALE IS MADE. I have to commend the disembarcation. For $19.00 per person, they took our bags, checked them in at the airport and left our boarding passes in our stateroom mailbox the day before. Very, very, very convenient. All in all, this was a very average ship with very average food and very average entertainment. The cruisers were generally older in the 50 - 60 year old age group. This is our second Holland America cruise and after the first we determined that Holland was our least favorite line. We decided to give it another shot because of the new ship but should have stayed with Celebrity, NCL or Royal Carribbean, all of which are far superior. Read Less
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise