2 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Fitness Cruise Reviews

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 February 2015
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 January 2012
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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