10 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

Preface: I'll preface my review by saying that my partner and I are both 29 and 33 respectively and we were some of the "younger" passengers. Albeit, I did read plenty of reviews before sailing and knew that Holland ... Read More
Preface: I'll preface my review by saying that my partner and I are both 29 and 33 respectively and we were some of the "younger" passengers. Albeit, I did read plenty of reviews before sailing and knew that Holland America (HAL) was geared towards a more mature crowd so we knew what we were booking. We planned our trip in May 2018 for an Eastern Caribbean itinerary when we first discovered HAL. I traveled on NCL, Carnival, and Disney previously. We were looking for a more refined and relaxed atmosphere (without the hairy chest and belly flop contests). This is a review for the 7 day journey: Ship 5/5: Beautiful ship from the moment you step on to the moment you disembark. Nieuw Amsterdam is one of their newer ships with modern amenities with millions of dollars worth of artwork throughout. I always found something new regardless of how many times I walked the same path. I felt like the ship had a great layout and I never had difficulty finding my way after day 2. It just made sense where points of interests were located. I also seen that this ship is under constant upkeep. I always see crew either painting or cleaning, always making sure the ship is looking new and in great condition. It was also a perfect size being not too large at only 2,000 guests. Sure I've seen the same people over and over again which I loved but I never wondered why is it so crowded as crowds didn't exist except for day 1 at embarkation at the buffet which is expected. Cabin 4.7/5: We stayed in an AFT verandah cabin which I absolutely LOVED! The room was very well appointed for two people and we never felt like we didn't have space either for clothes, belongings, or just two people living together. The room was a great size and the bed was super (and I mean overly) comfortable bed. We never had a problem sleeping at night which could be a combination of not having internet or just the full days we had. We had the perfect room stewards Marko and Suko. Both were so quick at making our room up and cleaning it (albeit we aren't messy people and I actually clean before I leave the room as I feel bad for the long days most workers work...more on that later) and always worked around our schedule. The only downside of the room is it did feel a little outdated. I would love to see the bathroom and a few things updated. Again, how often are you in the room?! Although they did have a plentiful on demand selection of movies to watch. Dining 4.5/5: No matter what restaurant we went to we always had a great meal. The one restaurant that really stood out was the Pinnacle Grill. You may hear a few things about this restaurant, and the positive you hear is true! The service and food was phenomenal. The Pinnacle Grill restaurant is not included and costs $35 per person BUT I will say that price is justified. I included some photos of how many crab legs were included with my meal. We also ate at Lido Buffet and the Main Restaurant in addition to the pizza and burger place and I can honestly say I never had a bad meal. All of the food was very good! I do wish they had more Asian dishes. Why I rated it a 4.5 out of 5 as the food was a 5/5 is because whenever you go to a restaurant they really want you to buy drinks because the person selling the drinks gets an 18 percent tip. So when you order a glass of wine they will try to upsell a bottle. It just got a little pushy sometimes as I get they are just trying to make money but I don't like to be second guessed when I make a choice as "why don't you want a bottle as it's only 23 dollars more?". Overall they will leave you alone if you say "I'm fine" but I just don't like the high treasure sales tactics when I am on vacation. Entertainment and Activities 4.9/5: Now hear me out...we are on a ship in the middle of the ocean, how entertained do you want to be? I won't be critical of the entertainment on ship as I know for a fact the entertainers really gave it their all every night for several months. So into the review...The entertainment on board for the nighttime mainstage ranged from Billboard dancing to Latin Night which I found very entertaining. They also had a comedian and magician. I missed the comedian so we went to the magician with very low expectations and my face hurt from laughing so much. He was hilarious. Throughout the day the had other entertainment for all such as Windows 10 classes, floral arrangements, towel animals, piano request entertainment, and more! I'll be honest there wasn't a time on the schedule where I looked and didn't see something going on that I could attend. I just chose not to go to somethings as I wanted to relax. To end the review there is something for everyone on board and especially during At Sea days. Service 5/5: I work professionally in hospitality where we always use the 10ft rule. If someone is within 10ft of you, you acknowledge them. HAL must use the 25ft rule. When they either see you coming or approach they immediately focus on you and say hello and stop what they are doing. It was totally unexpected but something very small that made a huge difference. I felt like royalty on this ship. I still remember even the smallest request where we asked our room steward can we have ice on the first day for drinks. In the morning and at night they always made sure to refill our ice. Sure, I don't know if they did this for everyone but it was appreciated. Also we always order the same drinks when we go to the Billboard On Board bar and the staff always ask if they can get us the same drink. It was this that out of 2000 passengers made us feel like we were the only ones. Ports and Shore Excursions: I will review each port with a very small snippet review Grand Turk: 3.7/5 Maybe it was the excursion we picked or I don't know but I feel like when I wasn't on the tropical island that was raved about. Instead I felt like we were on a small private island that was commercialized. I would recommend snorkeling!! Puerto Rico: 4.8/5 Such a nice island! I been hear many times and even coming back multiple times there is just so much to do. This is a location where you don't need to book an excursion and just walk around if you are able. St. Thomas: 4.9/5 This island was my ultimate favorite on this entire itinerary! The island is just beautiful every way you look at it. What I would recommend is booking a Jeep or car and exploring the island yourself. There is so much to see and do but with a car you can do what you want to do. Why I took off such a small amount is because I been planning for us to dock at a certain port (Havensight) for months and constantly checked daily and even the ports calendar said we would dock at a certain location. Up until the moment we arrived we docked at Crown Bay which took quite a bit of logistical planning to get to Havensight for our Jeep. I would definitely book come back here. Half Moon Cay: 2.7/5 Sigh...and breathe. Now that I got that over with let me write my review. Let me say that this port had my biggest expectation which may have swayed my review. When we arrived we were made aware that the Koningsdam and us were the two ships that were docked at this port this day. Side information is that Half Moon Cay is owned by Carnival as their private island. The Konsingsdam holds a good amount of passengers and our ship holds a good amount of passengers. The island just felt very overwhelming and I didn't find it relaxing at all. We booked a Clam Shell three months in advanced which is an umbrella with two chairs. Since our ship was delayed by an hour for a medical emergency (no fault to anyone, things happen) we found it very difficult to find a chair. Every person we went to told us to go somewhere else. Finally we found a clamshell in front of a very loud family. We just head back to the ship after being on the island for 2 hours. The food on the island was very good and the staff that pulled the meal off was very good! Other: The crew is what makes the ship a solid 10/10 as they work such long days and are always looking for ways to make you happy. We booked a Retreat Cabana for the At Sea days and Korn and Raymond work such long days but always had a smile. I would say the crew is what makes Nieuw Amsterdam the ship that it is. My very minor (is he really complaining about theses things?) complaint section: Some very minor things that didn't change my trip at all but I thought I could always add it below. - I found the bathrooms to be adequate size but the toilet seats to be very small. I am by no means a big guy being 5'7 and 145 pounds but they just seemed small. - There was no midnight buffets or late night dining options past 11:30pm except for room service. I wish they had a buffet at midnight or maybe a specialty snack station. But knowing the demographics of the ship maybe midnight really is too late. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We did love sailing with Holland America. This last cruise in February 2016 on the Nieuw Amsterdam out of Ft. Lauderdale was an eye opener. Public Hallways, for example outside the Queens Lounge, were in bad need of new carpeting. The ... Read More
We did love sailing with Holland America. This last cruise in February 2016 on the Nieuw Amsterdam out of Ft. Lauderdale was an eye opener. Public Hallways, for example outside the Queens Lounge, were in bad need of new carpeting. The main Atrium NYC sculpture was lit on embarkation day only, it must have broken as it never was lit again. Upon a closer look the sculpture was covered in dirt and dust with dust balls in between the buildings of the art piece. Staffing cutbacks were obvious. We have sailed with HAL since 2004 and have seen vastly better service in the past. Buffet and Main Dining Room staff cut noticeably. The staff remaining do not know why they are there. Would rather chat amongst themselves then offer water, coffee, etc. Front Desk staff seriously did not know what a Kleenex / facial tissue was when asked for one for a runny nose. Brought me a baby wipe instead. Seriously? Room Cabin was dirty. Found old shirt and old water bottle from previous guest still in room. Closet floor was covered in dust and dirt, which I used the old shirt to wipe clean. Shower stall with mold and mildew. Room steward forgot our nightly turn down service, as we were not ready for him to come in when he made his only pass. Spa appointments were still confused after booking online and speaking to a HAL rep. In the end, we got what we booked but only after multiple calls/visits to get it right. Food in Main Dining Room: scallop appetizer = two dime sized scallops and a leaf of something with a drizzle of some brown liquid. Food in Lido Buffet. Fresh squeezed orange juice is gone. Evening cheese and deli slices are gone. You get the same pizza every night. Food choices very limited and repetitive. Tea and Cupcakes was hilarious as we were offered timy cupcakes and when we asked the waiter what flavor the cupcakes were he was clueless and said the flavors were "blue" and "green." Shared some of our experiences with a staff officer who asked us how we are doing and he just laughed at the news. Staff overall bored, and not interested in providing HAL service levels from the past which built the reputation of HAL. Corporate cutbacks have reduced the HAL experience to flying coach on a discount carrier. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our second sailing on the Nieuw Amsterdam this year. I had reservations about the ship since the first sailing while not bad didn't stand up to other HAL ships. I am happy to report that the December voyage was much better ... Read More
This was our second sailing on the Nieuw Amsterdam this year. I had reservations about the ship since the first sailing while not bad didn't stand up to other HAL ships. I am happy to report that the December voyage was much better than expected and I wish I could have stayed on for another week. We flew down the day before and took a hotel shuttle to the port. The embarkation process went fairly smoothly but did take longer than necessary. It would seem that the need to try and get everyone's picture trumped speed. I heard one of the ship photographers tell the couple ahead of me that this picture was for ship identification. Never mind that everyone's photo is taken when you check in. This did not code well for the start of the cruise. Once we got past this hurdle, picture not taken, we took our bags to the room and proceeded to the embarkation lunch. Typically we stay away from the MDR except for the lunch the first day to avoid the crowds on the lido deck. This trip we tried breakfast in the MDR and the service was quick and the food was good. Once the waitstaff realized that I liked more than one cup of coffee they made sure to keep the coffee cup full. It seems like a much easier way to start the day if you are not in a rush to get to port. We did enjoy a night at the Pinnacle Grill. Service was wonderful and the food was even better. In many ways this trip was almost like a homecoming. We ran into several crew members that we meet on previous HAL sailings. This may have added to our enjoyment but the crew on this trip was outstanding. Far better than what we received on our earlier NA sailing. At the first happy hour we meet a wonderful bar person who remembered our names after one order and said hello throughout the cruise whenever we saw him. Interestingly we even had the same cabin stewards as our first sailing on the NA. Here too the service was improved. On the first day they stopped and asked us when we wanted ice delivered to the room. They followed through at the requested time. They kept the fresh fruit filled, the room cleaned and always checked throughout the cruise to see what, if anything, they could do for us. Getting off ship in port was no problem was seemed to go well. The biggest surprise was at disembarkation. I was fully prepared for an hour or more wait to go through customs and much to our delight we walked right through. Less than five minutes from end of line to getting our taxi to the airport. Regrettably there was one flaw and that was with the front office. When we filled out our boarding documents online we each provided separate credit cards. The front office in their infinite wisdom decided that only one card would be billed and it would be their choice. When I complained I got a blank stare from the woman behind the counter as if to say why is this a problem? In the end they did correct and provided separate statements and billed correctly. Another mistake was that we did not get our full OBC and that is under review with our TA. In the future, if we use a TA, I will request better documentation from them. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have a lovely time sailing with Nieuw Amsterdam. Ship was beautiful, clean and uncluttered. We did experience a few issues. The transfer from the airport to the ship (organized by HAL) was not good. Because of weather and flight delays ... Read More
We have a lovely time sailing with Nieuw Amsterdam. Ship was beautiful, clean and uncluttered. We did experience a few issues. The transfer from the airport to the ship (organized by HAL) was not good. Because of weather and flight delays we had to scramble to get the FLL in time. We arrived just before 2pm but were left waiting at the airport until after 3:30 pm (and the ship sailed at 4pm). The same with the transfer from the ship to the airport. We waited on the bus for more than an hour before we left for the airport. We have decided not ever to use transfers arranged by HAL. The entertainment on board the ship was also not great. Probably saw the most boring / terrible show ever on any ship/cruise liner ever (juggling act with a dog running across the stage - very amateurish). We also find the service during afternoon tea in the main dining room very slow and unfriendly. Food was excellent. We will sail with HAL again. Our next cruise is with Celebrity - will interesting to compare our experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was the second time for us on the Nieuw Amsterdam and our first time in a Superior Suite. We had cabin 6098 which was mid ship, not that we needed to be careful on this cruise, it was like a millpond the whole time. Firstly the ... Read More
This was the second time for us on the Nieuw Amsterdam and our first time in a Superior Suite. We had cabin 6098 which was mid ship, not that we needed to be careful on this cruise, it was like a millpond the whole time. Firstly the good. Food in the main dining room has improved vastly. Visiting the future cruise consultant was quick with no big queue's. Cabin Stewards great as usual. Tenders when used were good. Check in was seamless. Cabin was spacious and decor not gaudy. Pinicle and Tamarind was good and even though Caneletto's now has a cover charge, the food is vastly improved. Service when calling the front desk was swift. Room service was correct on every order. Now the little niggles we all get from every cruise. up-selling in the spa was not clear so you had a shock with the bill. The Bon Voyage champagne, we knew it was sparkling wine but it has been changed and the quality is terrible. Entertainment is still the worst at sea on HAL, 1-2 good shows on a 12 day cruise is not great. Soda cards are not for cans, just the weak flat pumps. I would rate this cruise a 8.5 out of 10, it was good value, we met lovely people we shared some great times with and that helped as we made our own entertainment, the ports were great even though there was just 2 new ones for us and food was excellent overall. HAL's tours are still overpriced and we did hear of a fight with security after those with private tours were not allowed to disembark until HAL had their tours off the ship, but this did not effect us. I am glad to have given HAL another chance as they do seem to be changing for the better, they could do with linking systems with Seattle and London as things take a great deal of time to be sorted and the entertainment is a big let down that dominates the conversation of fellow cruisers in the evening, but food, customer service, room service and arranging the Cruise Critic meet and greet were the much better than they previously have been. I should say we got a good deal on this cruise and see no reason that HAL should charge more than other cruise lines of similar class such as Celebrity, so it is worth shopping around. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
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
Sail Date December 2011
My partner and I were on the RSVP's Grand Mediterranean gay cruise on this ship which did a circle route from Barcelona to Tunis, Palermo, Civitavecchia, Livorno and Marseilles. It was our first cruise and therefore expect some ... Read More
My partner and I were on the RSVP's Grand Mediterranean gay cruise on this ship which did a circle route from Barcelona to Tunis, Palermo, Civitavecchia, Livorno and Marseilles. It was our first cruise and therefore expect some superlatives. We found the Nieuw Amsterdam to be luxurious, spacious and comfortable. The public spaces are grand without being garish or stand-offish! Loved the twirling Manhattan crystal skyline in the atrium. There are too many bars and lounges to mention. Don't think I saw half of them. But I think the one next to the gym would have been a favourite. Visited the gym quite a few times. It is small but adequate. Surely it has never been as busy as on this cruise. One had to work on those pecs. Liked the chilled towels. The duty-free shop is small. Liked the idea that for this cruise they changed their merchandise accordingly. The pool-areas and whirl pools were great fun and the eye-candy delicious. Although it was sometimes difficult to find a sun bed at the covered pool. Yes, passengers tend to mark their beds before leaving it for selfish reasons. The open pool at the back could be windy at times. But there is more space. Had breakfast and late lunch always in the Lido restaurant. Was always spoiled for choice. In the evenings we went to the Manhattan restaurant. Preferred to eat our dinners here seeing that the buffet-overload of the Lido mesmerised me. Never had to wait long for a table and enjoyed the fact that we were not forced to dress up. Were grouped with wonderful guys from Dallas with whom we spent most of our dinners. Food was always exceptionally well prepared, tasty and beautifully presented. Had the most amazing lamb chops! And of course there are the pizza slices on the Lido deck at one o'clock in the morning - sounds cheap and nasty, but they were sumptuous. We stayed in an inside-cabin towards the back of the boat. Loved the fact that we could unpack (there was enough space) our suitcases and make it our own for the week. The room and bathroom were well appointed and spacious enough. Liked the shower and the force of the water. Bed was comfortable. Pillows a bit puffy (!?). Never watched TV, way too much to do. Our room did not look like the picture/video on the promotional site. It was most probably smaller. Other critics complained about the movement of the ship; really had no problem. Staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. Our cabin steward, Luki, was a star. It felt great in the evenings to return to your cabin and the beds were turned, the next day's programme and destination map were on it, together with chocolates and of course his own artistic flair - a folded towel in the shape of a swan, octopus, etc. complete with staring eyes. Something about bar service: best to ask one of the 'walking' stewards because they will get your drink much quicker. Going to the bar can be a lengthy affair ... one almost feels invisible. But then this cruise was specifically very busy for the bar ... LOL. Remember that you can buy cards at the front desks - 45$ for the value of 50$ on any drinks, and 25$ for the value of 50$ on sodas. But the latter almost unnecessary seeing that coffee, tea, water, juice and ice tea were included. For dinner we found the house wine of great value and good fare at around 20$ a bottle. And remember the cocktail of the day, which is a dollar cheaper. Shows were partly RSVP and partly the cruise's own. Only saw the Holland America's Cantare (ala Il Divo) four men ensemble who sang popera. It was a well-rehearsed and slick performance. Was quite impressed with the mechanics of the stage. Our greatest highlight was definitely the performances of Amy and Fred (two RSVP stalwarts) ... what an extraordinary talent! She works her audience like few I have seen. Furthermore we had some great late-night parties on the Lido deck ... was just difficult to get up the next morning LOL! The ports - I will give a brief summary: Tunis - 'hot and bothered' (this was the only excursion we did, the others we did our own thing), Palermo - charming with its jaded grandeur, Rome - 'hot and bothered' and way too overpowering for a few hours visit, Pisa - the tower is indeed skew, Marseilles - wonderful views from the basilica on the hill, take the petite train! Have to say that those chilled towels and lemonade upon our return every day were heaven-sent. Thank you to Tom, the travel wizard, who always gave honest and valuable info and advice. We had a great time and will for certain do it again! Thank you RSVP for an unforgettable experience! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I just returned home from the February 13 - 20 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam, and I thought I would pass along some of my thoughts on this sailing while they were still fresh in my head. First, this sailing was an RSVP charter of ... Read More
I just returned home from the February 13 - 20 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam, and I thought I would pass along some of my thoughts on this sailing while they were still fresh in my head. First, this sailing was an RSVP charter of the ship, so this experience was somewhat different than your normal HAL cruise. But, hopefully some of my observations about the ship, crew, and port destinations will be of value. As background, my partner and I are 52 and 49 respectively. That seemed to be the general demographic of this cruise. Some older, some younger, but a real good mix. Pre-Cruise We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before the cruise, which I definitely recommend. Thankfully, the east coast didn't have the weather we had last year, so the trip south was uneventful. We had plenty of time in Ft. Lauderdale to stop by the Total Wines to stock up and to have a nice dinner. We stayed at the Embassy Suites which is in the perfect location. It has a great complimentary breakfast in the morning which was perfect. The nicest part though was to wake up Sunday morning and see the Nieuw Amsterdam (and 5 other ships) in port. I agree with what other posters have said and recommend getting a room on the 10th floor or higher facing the port. You can't really beat it for the view. Embarkation We left the Embassy Suites at about 11:15a.m. The lobby was crowded as a large tour group was gathering for a cruise on the Ruby Princess. Once we fought our way through the crowd, we were able to easily get a taxi to the port. 15 minutes later, we were at Pier 26 with the Nieuw Amsterdam before us. Check-in was a breeze. We had our bags taken from us, were checked in, and were onboard by 11:45. Our room wasn't ready yet, so we grabbed a table near the Sea View Bar and ordered our first (of many) drinks. This was the perfect place to begin our vacation. By the time we had eaten lunch, a general announcement was made (about 12:30) that staterooms were available, so we made our way down to our home for the week. Stateroom We book a Superior Verandah Suite (Category SS) and it was perfect. We booked into cabin #6094 which was midway between the center and aft elevators. This was the perfect location for accessing the Lido Buffet, the aft pool (scene of many shipboard parties), and the gangway for port visits. The stateroom was substantially bigger than the standard Verandah stateroom and was very comfortable for two tall guys. I really liked the fact that it had the full length sofa and the double sink in the bathroom. It also had both a tub and a standing shower which was very nice. The balcony had to chaise loungers w/ ottomans and a dining table with two chairs. Perfect for morning breakfast ordered from room service Ship The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship. I've sailed on the Eurodam twice, and I really like the colors better on this ship. The atrium and common spaces seem to be a little more understated from a color standpoint, which I think is more the HAL style. The Manhattan Dining room is certainly bold with its reds and oranges, but I think I liked it... I agree with what other posters have commented on regarding the carpeting. I think whoever selected it made a mistake. Although immaculately cared to by the crew, it looked stained due to the pattern. No doubt this will be changed out some day. Otherwise, the common spaces were very similar to what I have found on the Eurodam, so there were no surprises. I think the ship is well designed to minimize the feeling of being on a completely full ship. Crew I can't say enough about the crew of this ship. To a person, they were very friendly, polite, and very accommodating. Ono and Kadek were our stewards and they did an excellent job of cleaning up after us. They always greeted us by name, and always checked to make sure we had everything we needed. The staff in the dining room, Tamarind, Pinnacle, and the Lido were equally friendly and responsive. The bar staff that attended to the many events on the ship were excellent. It actually seemed like they were having fun. The nice part about this cruise, was that it appeared that the officers, crew, and entertainers are encouraged to participate in the evening dance parties and interact with the guests. They really seemed to enjoy themselves and we enjoyed interacting with them. I even understand that some of the crew extended their contracts so that they could participate in this cruise. Food True to form for HAL, the food was excellent. I can say I didn't have a bad meal the entire time. The food in the Lido is exceptional compared to other cruise line buffets. The experience in the main dining room, Tamarind, and Pinnacle was top notch. The Tamarind and Pinnacle were well worth the nominal additional charge. I could have eaten every night in the main dining room and been happy. Ports The itinerary for this trip was a little different than the standard Nieuw Amsterdam voyage. For this cruise, we stopped in Costa Maya, Mexico, Puerto Cortes, Honduras, Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Honduras, and Cozumel, Mexico. The port visits were great except for Puerto Cortes. I think HAL/RSVP were trying to appeal to nature lovers when they selected this port. Unfortunately if you had an excursion you had a minimum 2 hour bus trip to get there, and if you stayed in Puerto Cortes you were stuck in the middle of the second largest shipping port in Central America. To leave the ship, you had to hazard being struck by massive cranes carting containers to nearby container ships. We ventured into the town, and turned around after 15 minutes. I hate to sound like a spoiled American, but there was nothing attractive about this port. I did love Cozumel, Mahogany Bay, and Costa Maya. We were fortunate (or some thought unfortunate) to share Cozumel with 7 other cruise ships, including the new Allure of the Seas. We docked next to that massive ship and it made me very thankful to be on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Disembarkation We decided to do the Expedited Disembarkation as our flight was at 11:10 am and I wanted to make sure we had enough time. Boy we did. They announced the Expedited Disembarkment at 7:20, and we were off the ship, through customs, and at the airport by 7:50. Couldn't ask for any better! In summary, we had a great week onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. I really enjoyed the ship and crew, and thoroughly enjoyed this special sailing!! Please let me know if you have any questions, I'll try to answer them as best I can. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
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
Sail Date December 2010
Background Info: As my title says, this cruise was to celebrate my 50th (actually in September but starting early) birthday. Booked this cruise back in October and have been counting down ever since. I've been on 10-15 cruises lost ... Read More
Background Info: As my title says, this cruise was to celebrate my 50th (actually in September but starting early) birthday. Booked this cruise back in October and have been counting down ever since. I've been on 10-15 cruises lost count and have been on one other HAL ship, Maasdam, very nice but smaller and I must be truthful, on a gay sponsored cruise so that was a bit different. Also picked this cruise for the itinerary and the fact that the ship was new. Also never been to the Med, so all ports were new to me. Our itinerary was Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Liverno (Florence), Civitavecchia (Rome),Messina,Nafplion,Katakolon,Corfu,Dubrovnik and Venice. Ship: Very beautiful and understated, not as glitzy as other lines such as the corporate owner Carnival. Staff is extremely friendly and nice, I think more than other cruise lines. I lost my camera about half way through the cruise and one of the staff found it and returned it to lost and found. When she (Evangeline from the Sea View pool) saw me at the pool she told me she found it I gave her a big hug since I had taken some 500 pictures already and was very upset about losing it. She was one of the highlights of the trip! One of the others was Tom the tour guide. What a great guy and gave some great advice on what to do on shore. Loved the narration coming into Venice! Also have to mention a bar attendant name Boozie Boozie (his last name) at the Sea View pool, this is a guy that loves his job and is excellent at it. What a great personality and makes everyone laugh. Stateroom: Loved the stateroom. Our cabin was on the port side which seemed to the side we docked each time, love to watch the docking process. Lots of storage and I travel heavy meaning lots of clothes and I had plenty of room. They even had two drawers under the bed which I never used! Even had enough room to store the luggage under the bed and in the closet. Loved having the tub for more room for showering, rare on a cruise unless you have a suite. Also loved the containers in the shower for shampoo, conditioner and loved the shower gel. The baloney was very roomy and used it every morning when having coffee. Very fun way to not lose your stateroom key, HAL makes you insert the key in a pad by the door to turn on the electricity, good way to save energy as well. Excursions: Took three HAL sponsored excursions to Florence, Rome and Olympia and was not disappointed. I must say they are a bit pricey but I didn't want to deal with renting cars and getting lost especially since your only in these ports for a certain number of hours. For the ports where we could walk to a town or beach that's what we did. On one occasion we rented a car in Corfu with friends we met on board and that was fun. Hint - if your a dumb American (LOL) like me make sure you asked if they rent auto transmissions since alot don't. Dining: We opted for "As you Wish dining" and was not dissatisfied. The only comment here is even though its "As you Wish", when you go you tend to have to wait for a table, but no problem, they gave us free champagne! We loved loved loved the Tamarind restaurant and ate there three times. Fredy, the mgr, was the greatest guy and always fitted us in. The food and service was magnificent. We also ate once in Pinnacle and loved that as well, but a bit more formal but a very nice place and again service was great as well as the food. Formal nights: One note I wanted to make was how HAL handles formal nights. Now I have been on many cruises as stated and HAL is the only ship I've been on that requires formal attire in all dining revenue on formal nights. Other lines require it in the dining room but not in the specialty restaurants. I would be okay with that if it was communicated prior to the cruise. The first formal night I was turned away from Pinnacle since I didn't have a jacket. Now I know better than to wear jeans and was wearing black dress pants and a dressy long sleeve shirt, but still turned away. Had to go back to the stateroom and order room service. Needless to say I was not very happy that night. One of the reasons I loved Fredy in Tamarind was he allowed me to go there on the formal nights and other guests I might add, if they did not have a jacket or tuxedo. My own opinion is I think HAL should rethink formal attire in the restaurants on formal nights. This was the only per say negative of the cruise, but I got over it. Standout Moments: All ports but especially Dubrovnik, I was so surprised how beautiful this city was, not to say the others weren't but I was so pleasantly surprised. Also coming into Venice was an experience one will never forget, unbelievable. Summary: A wonderful cruise with wonderful new friends we met on the ship and wonderful memories. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
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

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