2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Our trip consisted of a group of 8, all arriving from different destinations across Canada. We had a house rented in Fort Lauderdale for 3 days before the cruise, a lovely home within walking distance to the beach. Good thing we had 3 ... Read More
Our trip consisted of a group of 8, all arriving from different destinations across Canada. We had a house rented in Fort Lauderdale for 3 days before the cruise, a lovely home within walking distance to the beach. Good thing we had 3 days, because of weather we where delayed by over 24 hours. We embarked the ship in groups and met up in the buffet for lunch. Our bags arrived quicker than expected, so we sorted ourselves out, then went for a group party in one stateroom. We where on decks 4, 6,8. And we where very happy on deck 4. Turns out to be a good location to scoot out for the safety drill, a nice walk around deck 3, and also easy to run up to deck 3 if there was something to grab a photo of. We kept the tv on in our room when we where there, tuned to the forward cameras. Loved the option of viewing the Canal crossing on the TV, that was a long hot day. Every morning we enjoyed the buffet. You can’t go wrong, everything you can imagine plus some extra surprises. Lunch was by the pool at the burger place, or pizza. We only attended tea in the afternoon one day, but it was a very nice treat. Dinner we had a group table in the dining room for 8. We didn’t dine there every night, but made sure we all attended the gala nights. Other times we tried some of the different specialty restaurants available. The Pinnacle was a dinner that made you feel like you won the lotto. But our true favourite was the Tamarind. The staff made the dinner fun, and you felt truly welcomed. Plus the exceptional food, and presentation, made it a feast for the eyes. Most days, pre dinner, we attended the martini tasting, or the happy hour in the various bars. But be pre warned, the happy hour bars get full fast. We had beverage cards, so we didn’t worry about happy hour pricing. And I am glad we did, the cards where good for everything we wanted to drink, from sparkling water, to special coffees ,and drinks all around. Every day we had wonderful coffees made in the exploration area, the staff there knew your name and coffee within days. Days we didn’t go on excursions, we spent at the pool, loved the unobtrusive music. But there does need to be more shady areas. We found often people pulling chairs into doorways for shade, but that made it very inconvenient for others. Our group had all been at most of the locations on this cruise, so we didn’t depart at every port. But we really enjoyed the small markets they set up by the ship, for those who just want to purchase a souvenir. The casino was very quiet the entire trip, we did go to the bar there and lost some money at the machines. They did have some very nice piano players there as well . After dinner, it was usually a walk around deck 3 , before seeing what was on the show that night. Most nights we didn’t stay, we all found the entertainment to be lacking, the jazz band was not a group to dance to, so most just sat and listened. We all loved the national Geographic show, with the live performance. Disembarkation was a slow process, they called groups by colour, and there was even colours called that were not on the list, we where close to last. The whole finding your suitcase thing and getting in line , seemed confusing for some. Enjoyed a lovely night in San Diego before flying home. Staff who made this trip memorable: Jerry and Jenny in the martini bar. Janny in the exportation cafe. My perfect mocha. Abdul and Made who made our cabin home. Miguel and Joel who had the wine knowledge. Wayo, Davee, who served table 91 with grace. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked this cruise because we were joining fellow submarine veterans for our annual convention. The check-in and embarkation was very well handled. We were told that our cabin was not ready and that we should have lunch in the Lido. ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we were joining fellow submarine veterans for our annual convention. The check-in and embarkation was very well handled. We were told that our cabin was not ready and that we should have lunch in the Lido. The dining room was not open. The lunch was mediocre. No. 1: Sunday, October 21, we moved into our cabin, 8026, at 12:30 and it was warm. I turned the warmer/cooler gauge to the coolest setting but not much happened. I called Guest Services at 1:30 and someone came about an hour later with a temperature sensor. She stated that the temperature was 75°F, and “that’s cool”. I have asthma and keep my house at 66°F so I don’t consider 75°F cool. It was still warm all night and I didn’t sleep at all. I called again on Monday and someone came but nothing really happened until late that afternoon. On and off, the cabin was overly warm during the cruise. On a previous HAL cruise on the Köingsdam I could actually set the temperature to 66°F. No. 2: Sunday, October 21, when I went into the bathroom to use the toilet and opened the lid, the stench was that of the dirty men’s room in a run down gas station. Before I had an opportunity to call Guest Services, our cabin steward delivered our luggage and I asked him to clean the toilet. I could tell that he didn’t believe me when I said it stank, until he opened the lid. He made a face so I know he thought it was bad. No. 3: While the steward was cleaning the toilet, I noticed that a crew was chipping paint above our veranda. I looked out and saw that the chairs, the deck and the railings were covered in debris. I asked the steward to please clean the veranda. I could tell he wasn’t pleased to see how dirty it was. This is a classic example of the maintenance supervisor not talking to the housekeeping supervisor. If they did speak with each other, maintenance would have told housekeeping that the verandas would need cleaning. I spoke with my neighbors when out on the veranda the next morning and their verandas were filthy; I told them about the chipping and that they should ask to have them cleaned. No. 4: The grout lines in the shower area of the bathroom were covered in mildew. I ran my fingernail on one of them and was able to remove some mildew; however, most was completely ingrained in the grout. I didn’t bother to ask that it be cleaned because it will take hours to properly clean it. No. 5: The plastic cover on the shower seat was badly cracked and the plastic was rather sharp. There does not appear to be anyone who actually inspects the cabins and the stewards certainly don’t have time. No. 6: The hem of the shower curtain was filthy; obviously it is not washed between passengers. Again, attention to detail is lacking. No. 7: The first morning when I used the hair dryer it caught fire. I called Guest Services to report it and request another and was asked “did you unplug it?” Of course I unplugged it as soon as it started burning, I am not stupid. The hair dryer catching fire is not what I am unhappy about, it was the suggestion that I was so stupid that I would not know to unplug a burning hair dryer. No. 8: There are only 2 outlets in the cabin and none by the bedsides. I have a CPAP machine so I had to request an extension cord. I was given a heavy duty yellow one to run under the bed from the desk. More than 2 outlets should be available and they should be on the bedsides. No. 9: The TV is hung to the left of the bed so that the person on the far side has to get a crick in their neck if they want to watch. It wouldn’t be so bad if it could be swiveled out to face the bed. But really, why would they hang a picture in the center of the wall at the foot of the bed and the TV off to the left side? Do they think that we want to line up the 2 chairs by the desk to watch? No. 10: Robe hooks should be either on the inside of the closet doors or high enough on the bathroom door to hang a robe. Because we had a handicap shower, someone thought that the hooks should be only waist high. This is of no use to anyone, including someone in a wheelchair because you cannot hang up the robes in the bathroom unless you want 3 feet of them dragging the floor. I would think that the chances of having both occupants of the cabin in a wheelchair are rather slim. The non-wheelchair bound passenger can hang the robes for both. Also, at their current height, the hooks easily catch you on the arm when going in or out of the bathroom. I did more than once. No. 11: Accumulated dust and debris in most corners and around most baseboards throughout the ship. I was an officer in the US Navy and they trained us to look high and look low because those are the areas that most don’t see. Old habits never die; I still look high and low everywhere I go. The Navy takes cleanliness very seriously because of the threat of seaborne illnesses. I don’t think the ship is staffed to actually keep the ship as clean as it should be and the turnover time between cruises is insufficient to for the cabin stewards to properly clean the cabins. I know that port costs are high and they want the ship at sea as quickly as possible. However, if passengers were told that they would embark, that the ship would get underway and that they would eat lunch before they could get into their cabins in order for them to be thoroughly cleaned, I think that most would appreciate that their cabins were actually clean when they moved in. There are plenty of public spaces and lunch could be served in the dining room as well as the Lido to keep everyone comfortable while they waited for their cabins. I am glad I brought sanitizing wipes to go over every surface in the cabin. No. 12: The food served in the dining room was merely OK. I would rate the food to that of a chain restaurant. The desserts were especially disappointing. The service in the dining room was generally very good, however, the timing of courses was off; we finished our coffee before dessert arrived or finished our dessert before the coffee arrived, it was never the same 2 nights in a row. The Lido is nothing more than a cafeteria and I only eat there when forced; unfortunately this was every lunch when in port. No. 13: I am allergic to capsaicin, the chemical that makes all chilies hot. I have sailed with HAL before and recorded my allergy when I checked in on-line and not had a problem. I informed our waiter the first time we ate in the dining room. Most evenings I asked what had chilies in it and was steered away, it was never volunteered. At one meal every menu item had some sort of chili in it. I was given a piece of fish that was prepared without the chilies, or much taste and it was overcooked. On the final night I ordered the seafood deviled eggs as my first course. I was not warned away from them. After I had eaten both eggs I felt a slight tingling in my mouth, the signal that capsaicin was present. At this point, it is too late to stop the reaction; I had sores in my mouth and down my throat for the next week. When a member of the culinary staff stopped by the table I mentioned that I did not appreciate getting something with chilies in it, and I said that I thought it was cayenne in the eggs. He did report my unhappiness to the supervisor who came over and said that they didn’t realize that cayenne was a chili! She also said I should have been given the menu the night before (which did happen on the Köingsdam) but that was not offered during this cruise. I am not sure what culinary training the kitchen staff receives, but I would think that they should know what is and what isn’t a chili. I also believe that the use of chilies is overdone these days, especially if catering to an older crowd who may have dietary restrictions and problems, but that, of coarse, is just my opinion. No. 14: No specialty coffee card; just a very expensive $60+ per day per person in the cabin beverage packages. We don’t drink much alcohol and might have 1 bottle of wine and a couple of drinks during the entire cruise. We also don’t ever drink sodas and would never buy bottled water and only want 1 latte a day. We certainly could not possibly drink $120+ in one day to make the beverage package worth while. Sell a speciality card with a price break like Princess Cruises. And, sell specialty coffee in more than the Crow’s Nest. It is quite the trek to get one if you happen to be aft when the urge strikes. No. 15 Previously we sailed the Köingsdam from Ft. Lauderdale through the Mediterranean and the afternoon tea was a very different and more enjoyable experience than on the nieuw Amsterdam. There we were served in one of the lounges and had individual tea pots and the sandwiches and sweets were very nice. On the nieuw Amsterdam it was held in the dining room and we were served tasteless/watery tea by a waiter and had to beg for a second cup. The sandwiches were rather stale as were the sweets. We felt very rushed and were even told we needed to leave so that they could set up for dinner. We decided to avoid any future afternoon teas since we thought that we could make our own “tea” by going to the Crow’s Nest and getting some tea sandwiches and sweets as we could on the Köingsdam, but no, there are no tea sandwiches served in the Crow’s Nest on the nieuw Amsterdam. We did without. As I said, we were part of a large group and the ship did their best to take care of the large meetings. We just did not think it was the advertised 5 star experience. More 2 stars. Read Less
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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I am currently 39 and was definitely one of the youngest people on board. I enjoy people who are older than me, but it seems that HAL really caters to the more mature clientele in the music, food, and activities. I am all for being classy ... Read More
I am currently 39 and was definitely one of the youngest people on board. I enjoy people who are older than me, but it seems that HAL really caters to the more mature clientele in the music, food, and activities. I am all for being classy and having standards, but you can do both without being stuffy or boring. The ship is beautiful, and the size of it is great. Our verandah cabin was 11002, which is the highest deck with cabins. I loved the location, because the view was great, and it was next door to the Crow's Nest (coffee shop/bar). The balcony was very small, but that was not a problem for us. I found the Main Dining Room to be a bit mediocre. The food was just not impressive, and I would have hoped for more seafood selections. The buffet was generally very good, especially for breakfast and lunch. The salads and Asian food were particularly good at lunch. We at at Pinnacle Grill ($35 surcharge) and Tamarind ($25 surcharge), and both were absolutely fantastic. I just wish the quality of the Dining Room food (included) didn't force us to want to eat at specialty restaurants. The entertainment onboard was all quite good. Mainstage and Lincoln Center Stage productions were both very good, although some of the mainstage selections were a bit dated. The singers and dancers were great, though. BB King Blues Club was a highlight almost every night. America's Test Kitchen was also a nice feature. I wish there had been more activities on board that were pure fun, such as games on the lido deck. You don't have to have a sexy legs competition, but something that livens things up a bit would have been nice. Also, the music on the lido deck could really use some work. I heard so much about how good the service would be on HAL, and I was not overly impressed. It was no better than service on NCL. This is one area where I think HAL really caters to senior citizens. My cabin was always clean, but I only saw my cabin steward once the entire week. The ports were good, but one (Amber Cove, Dominican Republic) was canceled due to rough waters, which was a huge disappointment. They added some onboard activities that day, but the general mood of the ship was definitely down on that extra sea day. Key West and Half Moon Cay were great days! Embarkation and Disembarkation were very quick and easy--no complaints at all. As they say, there is no such thing as a bad cruise. However, this is my least favorite cruise. I was booked on a NCL cruise but changed to HAL because the O (Oprah) Magazine "Adventure of Your LIfe" cruise appealed to the friend with whom I was traveling. The O Magazine experiences were very good and certainly made the cruise better for both of us. However, I think I will stick with NCL in the future and possibly explore Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I am a travel agent and I led a group of 25 on a Holland America cruise tour to Alaska and the Yukon. I chose this tour because it was a 3 night cruise and 6 night land tour and HAL is the only major cruise line which has a less than 7 ... Read More
I am a travel agent and I led a group of 25 on a Holland America cruise tour to Alaska and the Yukon. I chose this tour because it was a 3 night cruise and 6 night land tour and HAL is the only major cruise line which has a less than 7 night cruise. I have been on this ship to the Caribbean in the past and enjoyed it very much. This time it was different. There weren't very many activities on board and we were on the ship with a very large group from a major company. That caused problems at dinnertime. Although all of us chose open dining, we were told that the earliest we could dine in the main dining room was 7:30PM because this other group had earlier dining and took all the tables. Most of us wanted an earlier time so that we could see the early show. When I complained and asked how come we were not notified in advance all they did was apologize and they didn't have a good answer. After much pleading and talking to several supervisors, we were finally given an earlier time slot on the 3rd night but we were told about this at 5:15 PM and our slot was at 5:30PM. I was unable to reach many people in my group and therefore most people were not notified in time to take advantage of the earlier time slot. The next upsetting thing was that one couple paid extra for a suite and I was told by 3 different reservationists that during the land portion of our tour the "suite" guests would receive an upgraded room in the hotels if they were available. That did not happen. Another couple who did not pay for a suite received a suite in 2 hotels. By the time I found out about it and notified our tour Director, she said she had never been notified that my "suite" guests were supposed to receive a suite in the hotels which had suites. When I complained to HAL they told me that the guests were supposed to request a suite. That is not the way it should work. Guests should receive what they paid for without making their own special request. HAL dropped the ball. After several phone calls and 2 emails to customer relations all I have gotten is an apology and a reply that it was up to us to make the request. I am not done yet advocating for my clients, but I am done referring people to HAL. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My family and I went on our first Holland America Cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam for the 4/2/17-4/9/17 Western Caribbean cruise. We were booked in a Neptune Suite. Check in went smoothly with a slight delay on boarding due to a large ... Read More
My family and I went on our first Holland America Cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam for the 4/2/17-4/9/17 Western Caribbean cruise. We were booked in a Neptune Suite. Check in went smoothly with a slight delay on boarding due to a large amount of cruisers who stayed on board from the previous cruise needing to be cleared by customs. Our room was ready when we boarded and we found the room was great, with lots of space for our family of four and a spacious balcony to enjoy. We found all the workers to be great, friendly and helpful. We had reserved a cabana on the Lido Pool deck and it was perfect to have our own space while the kids swam, and the cabana service was top notch. Food was good in the dining room, lido, and we enjoyed Tamarind and the Pinnacle Grill, both were excellent. We booked all of our excursions though Holland America prior to the cruise. On Half Moon Cay we booked a cabana and cabana service, again excellent service by our server Daniel. On Grand Cayman we did a trolley ride around the Island and enjoyed that as well. Everything had been great up to this point. For Cozumel we booked an excursion through Holland America called La Casa en la Playa: A Special Retreat. My family (My husband and two children)and I were placed into a Taxi Van with 2 other couples from our ship to be taken over for our excursion. This taxi only had a few working seat belts and car batteries and other debris all throughout. We were driving down the highway when we were involved in a significant car accident. This is where our trip went down hill. The injuries from the accident ruined the rest of our trip. We were seen by medical on board, but I feel like the staff were only looking out for Holland America's protection instead of my best interest and care as their patient. We were sent flowers by Holland America Guest Relations manager Melanie, and assured SEVERAL times that we were under Holland America's care and insurance at the time of the accident since it was their excursion, and not to worry that all my medical bills post cruise would be covered. Not only did this turn out to be false, but we have felt ignored and dismissed since we disembarked. It took almost 6 weeks for someone to even respond to our inquiry on who to speak with in regards to our medical bills, and then we were told it was not Holland America's responsibility at all, that it would be the excursion companies responsibility. To say that I'm disappointed by the lack of customer service or concern during all this is an understatement. Prior to this incident I was ready to book another cruise on the spot with Holland America, but now I'm so disappointed in their lack of concern or care for their customer's, that I will not be sailing with them again. Our once a year family vacation was ruined, and we are not only out the money we spent on the cruise that we didn't get to enjoy, but we are also out the money we spent on the drink packages that went unused after the wreck, and out a ton of money in medical bills, with no one taking responsibility. We would say cruising with them is fine, but we would say avoid booking excursions directly through them and don't expect much in the form of customer service from them. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
What an experience = met some of the past winners of the show and three of the juniors all of whom were very friendly and spent a lot of time talking with guests. The food was beyond excellent. The main dining room offered some of the ... Read More
What an experience = met some of the past winners of the show and three of the juniors all of whom were very friendly and spent a lot of time talking with guests. The food was beyond excellent. The main dining room offered some of the master chef choices to passengers not on the Master Chef portion of the cruise, it was nice for them to get a chance to enjoy the treats. We had a nice balcony cabin with great room stewards, they took care of our every need. We were unable to dock at Grand Turk due to high seas and wind, but we never felt it on the ship. We were always comfortable although it was a bit rock and roll sometimes when we were walking. All in all a great ship, wonderful crew. The mid size is also very nice, no long lines for the main dining room. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Overall it was a great cruise, probably the worst weather we have ever had on a cruise but we are not beach people so additional days at sea was fine. We missed Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay due to high seas and winds. The service, ... Read More
Overall it was a great cruise, probably the worst weather we have ever had on a cruise but we are not beach people so additional days at sea was fine. We missed Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay due to high seas and winds. The service, food, ship was top notch, as we expect from HAL. My DH said entertainment was good even though he only went to 2 shows. I loved the casino and saw some old faces from pass cruises. Embarkation and disembarkation was slow which was not typical for HAL but when there are mechanical failures you can't fault the staff. They quickly repaired and we moved through as usual. Dining room service seemed slower than usual but we were with a group of 26 people and staff served us all at one time. Pinnacle and Canaletto was excellent, will do them again. Our only concern was I misplaced my sunglasses in the cabin and never found them. I reported it to Guest Services and the room Steward. I have read on CC boards that other guests had items missing from their cabins, this is cause for alarm and needs to be addressed by HAL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
This was my fourth cruise on Holland America and second on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The rooms were very clean and comfortable, the service staff was outstanding, the entertainment in the lounges very enjoyable, the fitness center ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise on Holland America and second on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The rooms were very clean and comfortable, the service staff was outstanding, the entertainment in the lounges very enjoyable, the fitness center well-equipped, the food was mostly good (see comment below). I wish there was a separate room for the yoga classes (additional charge!) instead of having what is really a stretch class using yoga poses in the very noisy fitness center. My partner and I were both disappointed at the bad fish dishes that were served in the Manhattan Dining Room. We both had overcooked fish (snapper, cod, trout) that just didn't taste right on three separate occasions. Because we don't like to eat red meat, this was a problem for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Review Blues Cruise January 18 – 25 Nieuw Amsterdam This was our 6th Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. 2 on the Eurodam, 3 on the Nieuw Amsterdam, 1 on the NCL Sun. The cruise is fully chartered. This cruise is sold out every year, ... Read More
Review Blues Cruise January 18 – 25 Nieuw Amsterdam This was our 6th Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. 2 on the Eurodam, 3 on the Nieuw Amsterdam, 1 on the NCL Sun. The cruise is fully chartered. This cruise is sold out every year, and it is sold out for January 2016. Cabins do come up if someone cancels. These ships sails very full as many of the 3rd and 4th bunks are occupied. Many folks will share with strangers just to get on board. I was not able to find out the exact number of people on this cruise. It was not listed on the cruise log given out at the end. The ships senior officers were none too friendly and seemed to huddle together and not mingle (which was a bit odd, the usually do), so I wasn’t able to ask anyone. I was particularly unimpressed with Basheer the Beverage Manager, who actually did his very best to ignore hubby and I in an elevator. He seemed to be running away from folks all week. More on that later. The Blues cruise is quite a bit different from a regular snooze cruise. Essentially, we take over the ship and venues are tailored for music. The timing of dining venues is changed to be presumably more suitable for the hours of the music for the week. The onboard entertainment is suspended, and those folks are given the option on whether or not to stay on board. The spa and salon run pretty much business as usual. The week before the blues cruise the Nieuw Amsterdam lost power in one of the engines. I am not sure, but that may have been the cause of a few wonky power supply issues for the first day of the cruise. Our sail away party, which is a huge party that almost everyone attends, is a BBQ and has a one of the headliners playing. This year it was to be Charlie Musslewhite. The BBQ was put out but no music. HAL cuts back on dining room hours during the blues cruise. They aren’t open for breakfast or lunch and have open seating for dinner. The cafeteria is open much longer hours and stays open til something like 3am, the pizza place stays open til about 4am. There is self-serve and salt and pepper shakers all week, no restrictions. We have had the same cabin (8157) for three years in a row. 2013 we experienced the toilet not working most of the week and a grubby cabin. 2014, everything seemed ok. We had good cabin stewards, so the cabin was cleaner. 2015…sigh….toilet troubles, this time just a day, but we had A/C issues. It didn’t work for hours at a time for several days. The sewage smell in the deck 8 starboard aft hallway was horrible off and on for the whole week. There were several maintenance workers up and down the hall all week. The retractable roof was not properly operational. It clunked and screeched every time they tried to use it. The last day they opened and closed it about 15 times. We were stuck waiting to get off the ship, so it was annoying! On January 22nd it was a sea day. We did not move one inch. We sat in the water until the evening. I assumed that they were doing repairs on the engine. Late in the afternoon there were puffs of dark brown exhaust coming out of one stack. It wasn’t much and didn’t bother anyone, I guessed they were testing the engine. The broken engine didn’t affect the actual sailing or port time. Funny thing, most folks didn’t even notice we weren’t moving. There was so much going on with the music. The music starts about noon and carries on til the morning. The jams went on til 7am this year, Mr. Sipp and Tab Benoit saw to that! The music was great, so many talented musicians! To see line ups for the LRBC you can check the website bluescruise.com. The list is just too long! This cruise, we ate with friends in the MDR twice, which is very unusual for us. We only eat in the specialty restaurants, all ships, all lines. Oh dear. The food was horrible in the MDR. Awful. Blech. The first time I played it safe, I ordered a Caesar salad and a strip loin. I got wet lettuce, no dressing, and some kind of soggy grated cheese product. The strip loin was ¼” thick. I kid you not. It was laughable. I asked for a potato, it was cold. The next time I ordered a chicken breast. It was a tiny chicken supreme, covered in a really salty sauce. It came with really salty vegetables. I just couldn’t bear going back, so it was Tamarind three nights and one night at the Pinnacle. The food at the BBQ sailaway was awful as well. Wafer thin chicken pieces and some yucky butt rubbed meat with yucky butt rubbed potato salad. A comment about the Tamarind and the Pinnacle. We have eaten in both places many, many times, usually three nights in one, four nights in the other. Rarely have we gone into Canaletto. It drives me nuts that HAL does not staff the Tamarind or Pinnacle properly. I have been told this flat out by the restaurant managers. They don’t have the staff to run a full restaurant. One night at the Tamarind, we got there early at 6pm (we time dinner for when the musicians eat and not play) not one single person was in the restaurant. The manager told us he couldn’t seat us. He didn’t know how the evening was shaping up. Seriously. He told us to come back at 7pm. We did. The place was half full. They seated us, but it made no sense. They don’t have enough staff. HAL needs a kick in the butt to learn how to run specialty restaurants properly. I know much has been mentioned about staffing levels. I did notice a difference. HAL does not seem to have enough staff to clean. The cabin stewards are definitely stretched too thin. Ferry and Novy, our stewards just seemed to be overworked. From what I gather, I think HAL stewards have more cabins to clean than on other lines. They don’t seem to get much of a break during the day. It used to be late afternoon, there were no carts, it was quiet in the halls. Not now. Even with the odd hours folks keep on the blues cruise, this year it really seemed the stewards had too many cabins. There was minimal cleaning of public areas like stairways. The ship is looking grubby, it has been like that for the past two cruises, but now, some of the carpets are just disgusting. The carpets were dirty on deck 8 aft, but when I took a jaunt down to deck 4 aft, to see our friends, that carpet there is revolting. The ship needs to go to dry-dock. The white (cough cough) leather chairs in the crow’s nest should be pushed to the curb. They are disgusting. I definitely would not sit in one. Ewwwww. The crew worked their butts off. As per usual, there were requests to work the Blues cruise. Walter, drink server extraordinaire, was supposed to start vacation the week of the Blues cruise, but he requested to stay on for the week! Walter was everywhere! He got this huge glow in the dark skull necklace from somewhere, so you could see him coming from way off! Abel and Karen, other bar staff took little dancing breaks when they could. They have done three blues cruises and really seem to enjoy the music, hard work and great money they make for the week. I noticed lots of young officers on this cruise. Like 22 year olds. They were out in full force at night on their time off (judging by the beer and wine consumed!) dancing and having fun. The shoppies and the steiner girls were on the dance floor(s) after their shifts. The senior officers, were a little different story. On several cruises the senior officers come out to dance, have drinks, party and chat. Not so much this time. Yes, they were there on deck, with beers, but they seemed to be in a huddle, off to one side. It was odd. No friendly hellos. Or “are you having a good time”. It was very strange. As I mentioned before, Basheer seemed to run past people, not making eye contact, going out of his way to avoid guests. Yes, the food is pretty bad, but he didn’t need to run away. No one was blaming him. I have to admit, I am tired of the line ups in the cafeteria, since they won’t open the dining rooms during the day, tired of the greasy burgers and cardboard pizza. The ship is just not as well maintained as it should be for a newer ship. After the fall blues cruise on NCL where the senior officers really care and take an interest in their guests, it is disheartening to come back to HAL and the officers don’t even bother to say hi to anyone. I know after the fall cruise, a senior officer on NCL told me the reason HAL gets the blues cruise is they underbid other lines, that no one could match the cheap price of HAL. It shows. So many things just don’t happen on this charter. No fruit in the cabins (the bowl gets removed), no mariner perks (this time they relented on one or two things after they were called out by 4*mariners on board), no breakfast or lunch in the dining room, the cafeteria does not open both lines even with hundreds of people milling about, not enough crew cleaning or serving in the dining venues. I doubt the LRBC will change lines if HAL is so cheap. We are thinking of not going next January. I think we need a break from HAL. We absolutely had a blast on the blues cruise overall. It was wonderful to see friends, listen to music and dance the days and nights away! The weather was really good all week, just cloudy and windy the last sea day, so everything booked on the pool deck got moved inside. The musicians were fabulous. The actors in the Bessie Smith story were wonderful. The music, voice, songwriters workshops are great, something for everyone.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
I had always wanted to do a cruise, but couldn't find a partner in crime with whom to travel. I started dating a gentleman who was able to go, so after just a few short months of dating, we booked the cruise. I figured it would be ... Read More
I had always wanted to do a cruise, but couldn't find a partner in crime with whom to travel. I started dating a gentleman who was able to go, so after just a few short months of dating, we booked the cruise. I figured it would be an easy way to figure out if he and I were going to make the long haul (spoiler alert: we did not, but I'm glad). The embarkation was easy, though we had upgraded to a balcony after an offer and upon registration, they attempted to give us badges for the couple who had previously reserved the cabin. We were on the ship before we realized it, so we had to trek back. We got it squared away. That was really the only hiccup. The smaller ship was great. If you've never been on a cruise ship at all, even this mid-size ship is big. The stewards were great, the captain was calm and reassuring and the cruise director goofy, but in a fun way. The ports were Charlotte Amalie, Grand Turk, San Juan and the small cruiseline owned island. San Juan was gorgeous, but the time allotted there was short. The cruise itself was great, though I will agree that the clientele on Holland is slightly older. We were among the younger crowd, but still had a great time. There was a storm and large swells so a couple of dinner times were quite iffy for the older folks walking around to get to their tables. My date was seasick for two days, also. The ship and crew itself were really great; we enjoyed the room service several times. They even have a seasick menu to choose from, and that was very helpful for the sick one. I'd definitely cruise with Holland again. I can't imagine a larger ship with that many more people. OH, it was a Dancing with the Stars cruise!! I completely forgot. Now THOSE were excellent shows and I loved seeing Carson Kressley and Kym Johnson nearly every day on ship. They were a hoot. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
The charter I give 5 stars, the ship 3 stars. It was a wonderful week on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise! Review Nieuw Amsterdam Jan 19-26/14 Blues Cruise It was a gorgeous day to embark on our 4th Legendary Rhythm & Blues ... Read More
The charter I give 5 stars, the ship 3 stars. It was a wonderful week on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise! Review Nieuw Amsterdam Jan 19-26/14 Blues Cruise It was a gorgeous day to embark on our 4th Legendary Rhythm & Blues cruise. The party starts at the embarkation area at the pier – lots of talking and laughing and everyone is geared up to go on board! When we boarded, the crews were working hard getting the stage set up at the pool deck and pulling our several rows of chairs at the Showroom in order to put down the huge dance floor. The extras bars were being set up on the pool deck and showroom. Prep was soon underway to get the sail away BBQ started. Within a few hours the ship was transformed to party boat central! Some of the lineup this year: Taj Mahal, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Curtis Salgado, Chris Cain, Debbie Davis, Otis Clay, Sista Monica Parker, Marquis Knox, Trampled Under Foot, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Southern Hospitality with JP Soars, Victor Wainwright and Damon Fowler. Denise LaSalle, Super Chikan, John Hammond, Ana Popovic and her big band, Eden Brent, Paddy Milner and Marcus Bonfanti, Tab Benoit, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Theodis Ealey, Corey Ledet Zydeco, Selwyn Birchwood, James Hunter Six just to name a few. A stellar line up! Right after the rowdy and raucous life boat drill we all headed up to the pool deck for the sail away party with the supremely talented Curtis Salgado. The bar staff (and any other member of the serving staff from all venues) were working flat out serving drinks. It was like a giant house party! There are a huge number of repeat offenders (70%? more?) and the rest were virgins  A good number of the staff and crew were repeat offenders and some had requested specifically to be working for this cruise. It seems we have a bit of a reputation as a fun and crazy bunch with the staff and crew. 48 hour rule: didn’t exist on this cruise. The sail away BBQ had self-serve food. Salt and pepper grinders were in the cafeteria from day one. No noro on this cruise thank goodness. We are a pretty healthy bunch overall, I only heard of a couple of folks with head colds after the cruise. The ports: St. Martin, with an excursion to Anguilla. 330 of us went by chartered ferry to Anguilla to Bankie Banx Preserve. The fabulous IBC winners Marquis Knox (2012) and Selwyn Birchwood (2013) played while we enjoyed the sun, sand and sea on this idyllic little Caribbean island. St. Thomas, Mitch Woods was playing at a small place not far from the docks, but we wanted a beach day. We went to the Ritz-Carlton Resort and hung out on the beach, had lunch and yummy cocktails. Grand Turk – Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials were set up at Margeritaville, steps from the ship. The beach isn’t great there, but the party with Lil Ed was great! We donned our fezzes and danced to the music. I don’t think the folks from the Carnival ship knew what hit them there. They thought they were the fun ship! They have nothin’ on us blues cruisers! The ship: cleaner than last year, but could be better. The seriously stained carpets had been cleaned or replaced by the aft lido area. The stairs could still do with a good going over with the vacuum. I still don’t think they have enough crew to do the routine stuff around the ship. The public washrooms, oh dear. Not good. So many washrooms were out of service at any given time. At one point, every woman’s washroom on the Lido deck was out of service. Every one. Upon checking out every washroom, finding them all out of service, there was another woman who made the same rounds. I told her we could hightail it down to my cabin on deck 8 and use the loo. So we sprinted down to my cabin. What a fun way to meet someone! We had a good laugh . But the issue with the public washrooms being out of service happened everywhere on the ship. From the loos by the Tamarind to the loos by the showroom. The stalls had to be checked every time to see if it was usable. Some never seemed to get fixed the whole week. The loungers by the Lido pool had been switched from the brown woven resin loungers to the metal/mesh loungers. They relocated the resin loungers to the forward upper deck. They looked really ratty. Since the pool deck is taken over with the stage and there is only chairs to sit on, it makes sense that the loungers were moved to the lido pool. Some of the furniture is looking very tired and dirty. The worst were the white leather chairs in the crow’s nest. They need a good clean and some need repairing. Other couches and chairs need a good clean. Lots of stains on the soft furnishings. The cabin: we were in 8157, same as last year. This year no plumbing issues – yay! Again, the carpets and soft furnishings are stained and worn looking. Time for some deep cleaning or replacements. Our cabin stewards, Made and Ketut worked their butts off this week. My friend and I gave them extra work to do one day  It involved Bloody Caesars on a wobbly tray. Don’t ask. Suffice to say, we tipped Made and Ketut quite a bit extra (each of us) for the mess. They thought it was funny! Canadians losing bloody Caesars is tragic! ;) Crew and staff: everywhere to be seen. If you needed a senior officer of any sort – just hang out by the pool deck. There was often a sea of white shirts with epaulets with bars. The one tall, lanky officer (I don’t remember his name) has been on several blues cruises, he is a real fan. He has his favourite bands and makes a point to see them during the week. It is quite normal to see maintenance guys in the brown boiler suits, guys in blue uniforms (who are these guys? Anyone know?), all the spa girls, all the entertainment staff, the pinnacle grill folks in white jackets etc. at the various venues drinking and dancing in their off time. Apparently the entertainment staff was given the option of not staying on board for this cruise, but clearly they all stayed – and partied up a storm! A former ship’s doctor (he worked a few blues cruises) is now a several time repeat offender on da boat. Smoking: there aren’t too many smokers on board. However – smoking rules are sadly not enforced on the pool deck. I had to ask one the organizers to tell a particular fellow not to smoke in front of the stage. It is very crowded and he has burned me in the past. He wasn’t sober, so I personally didn’t want to confront him. He was very mellow about moving, so it was ok. The sports bar by the casino reeked. The casino reeked, even though there were very few people gambling. The smoke drifts into the piano bar, so unfortunately I can’t spend a lot of time there. That is a shame, because great jams go on in there til the very wee hours of the morning. The last day Tab Benoit, Tasha Taylor and a few others were still singing and playing at 8am when the ship was in Fort Lauderdale. Food: We ate in the MDR a couple of times, we normally never do, but we had friends with us and they wanted to try it. Well, I still don’t like the MDR. The menus were not great, the food wasn’t very good. Soggy Caesar salad. Lukewarm soup. Either chemically or mechanically tenderized meat- the always available strip loin tasted odd and had inconsistent colour throughout. Many other cruisers complained they thought the food was super salty. The sauces definitely were very salty. We went to the cafeteria for lunch a couple of times. Not good at all. Cold food. Always cold food . The taco/nacho stuff was not only cold, but needed some spices. There was only one thing that was hot. Corn fritters. They just took them out of the deep fryer, they could be better with some jalapenos in them. The cook put them as the last thing at the end of the line, I don’t know what they should have accompanied. They just put them out randomly. I got one, and was so happy to get something hot, my hubby went back and got more. The lido guy gave him the evil eye. Probably because they were so popular he had to make more! We went to the Tamarind – always great  We went to Pinnacle (only once this time, we usually eat there 3 or 4 times in the week) and were not happy with the new menu. It seems to be a big step down from the previous menu. No steak Diane, no table side Caesar salad, the substitute isn’t great. My steak was seriously overcooked for my liking, but from experience, I just used extra béarnaise sauce to make it edible. I didn’t want to send it back and not get my meal until everyone was finished. My hubby was not happy with his rib eye. We used to really enjoy dinner there. Sad that they have downgraded the meals at the Pinnacle. Our waiter Claudio was brand new to HAL, but clearly and experienced server. I don’t remember the other fellow’s name, but he was quite good. Claudio happily spoke French at our table and had a nice chat with us. He is a huge blues fan and was thrilled to see some of his favourite bands playing. We went back to the Canaletto after giving it a miss for a couple of years. We thought we would give the new menu a shot. There is no way I would personally eat here with less than four people. I don’t eat fish/shellfish/pork and lamb. The menu is limited for me. My friend and I shared a salad, the ricotta pasta and the veal piccata. The lads had the pate, mussels, clam something, the sausage rigatoni and the chicken cacciatore. The meals were pretty good, a bit salty. We brought a bottle of our own wine, and our wine attendant (Marcy) forgot all about us. I had to call over the manager to ask him if we could order another bottle of wine, since we were ignored. Canaletto was not busy, so I don’t know what was going on. I would only go again with a group. If it was just hubby and I, we would have ordered completely different things and there would have been a lot of waste. Pizza – horrible!!! So awful in fact, a whole pool deck full of people who are partying, hardly a soul will touch it. Now, that’s saying something. Burgers – they only had a limited selection of stuff. No real hot dogs, only turkey dogs all week and other stuff they didn’t get. We did have a couple of burgers, but they are unseasoned meat, so kinda boring. The hamburger guy was very pleasant though! Lunch time pinnacle and tamarind. We never go there are it is prime time for music. ***Some of you may remember there were some serious issues on my last blues cruise on the NA. A non-functioning toilet for most of the week. Bug bites at the Pinnacle. Finally, after ONE YEAR HAL responded to my complaint. I got a call from Bilal (I believe that was his name) from the front desk office. It was kind of an odd conversation. He apologized that no one responded about the issues on board last year. He implied that there were some real troubles with his predecessor and that there had been a “change” of management on board. Not like “the contract ended” kind of change, but some sort of major change. I can’t really think of the exact words, but from what he said I think there were lots of things not addressed and he knew there were unhappy customers out there. So goodness knows what else went on. Anyway….he was apologetic and offered us a dinner at the Tamarind and a bottle of wine. He also gave us an OBC. Certainly it was a nice gesture, but last year I wanted someone to make sure the toilet would work all the time and acknowledge the issue with the Pinnacle. And for goodness sake find out if the insects were in the linens or carpet and clean the darn place. I still can’t get over the fact it took a whole year to respond.*** Overall it was a fantastic week with fabulous musicians on board. It is a wonderful time to see so many folks that we know and partay ;) We have pre-booked the next two LRBC, October cruise from LA on the NCL Sun and next January back on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Our virgin friends will become repeat offenders next January as they had such a great time on this cruise :)   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
The good: 1) A lot of public room to move around in. Even in the bars/lounges things weren't squashed together, everything always felt roomy, even on sea days. Found several remote places with loungers and no one else around, some on ... Read More
The good: 1) A lot of public room to move around in. Even in the bars/lounges things weren't squashed together, everything always felt roomy, even on sea days. Found several remote places with loungers and no one else around, some on very high levels you could only take stairs to reach. 2) Food quality was pretty high. 3) Room stewards were good and friendly. The bad 1) Embarkation. Showed at 11:15, boarded a bit before 1. Long wait, quick once my number was called. After dumping bags in room, went to MDR for lunch to avoid the melee the buffet is on embark day, showed at 1:05 and was refused seating at MDR (stopped at 1). they should extend seating to 2. Entering the scrum of buffet for embark lunch really started cruise off poorly for me. 2) Dining/waiter service. Some decent, some poor. Got really annoyed that waiters generally messed up my breakfast orders which weren't too difficult. I think language barrier was main issue. Refills were often late on water, coffee, and pina colodas at unlimited pina colda event (at the beginning we had to flag waiters down, and they weren't busy, after things settled, they kept us nice). MDR management was good at being friendly, but service should have and could have been better. 3) Limited food availability. Buffet had short hours, MDR had short seating hours for breakfast/lunch. Limited room service 24/7 doesn't replace an open buffet for a quick bite in off hours. Lunch menu at MDR was very limited. Wish I knew/things to know 1) 2 3 prong 110 volt outlets by desk (also 2 euro outlets), 1 shaver outlet in bathroom. Taking room card out of electric input slot kills outlet juice (like charging your phone), bring some other worthless plastic card to use there instead of room card. 2) Went with drinkers who got drink packages, they drink a lot, did not get value IMO. Skip unlimited, buy as you like, probably better deal. Oh, and unlimited ship drinks do not extend to private island they own and run, which offended those who bought. Stay on the ship and drink free from package, or go to beach and pay HAL more for drinks. Bad policy by HAL. 3) MNF, TNF and SNF and one game for each Sunday time slot were shown in rooms and at sports/casino bar. Summary Nice cruise, the overwhelmingly good service I expected existed with buffet servers and room stewards, lacked in most other dining service though. Limited food availability was a negative. Language barrier existed very strongly, worst of all cruises I have been on by far. Lots of room to move around and enjoy on ship. Probably nice for transatlantic interior cabins, with all that public space. I would cruise the NA again, and HAL, knowing the issues, for the right itinerary/value, but not an overwhelming favorite. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I have to start by saying it makes me so angry when I read reviews about ships that I have personally sailed on and worked on most people need to get their facts straight before writing these reviews if you have nothing nice to say ... Read More
I have to start by saying it makes me so angry when I read reviews about ships that I have personally sailed on and worked on most people need to get their facts straight before writing these reviews if you have nothing nice to say don't say it at all. If anyone ever says that Carnival Corporation has had an influence on Holland America line I promise you now it is sheer fabrication this Cruise line was purchased by Carnival Corporation nearly 25 years ago in 1989 it was only recently the industry as a whole has changed it has nothing to do with Carnival corporation, Carnival Cruise Lines is very much a separate entity from all of the cruise lines Carnival Corporation holds This was a very affordable Cruise I have absolutely no complaints although there are some things I admit have changed over the years but it wasn't enough to even make a comment on board. The embarkation process was extremely smooth it was fast and all representatives in the cruise terminal were extremely friendly and helpful. I do not understand how Holland America is able to pull off the logistical nightmare that it must be to have every single state room ready upon embarkation. As promised my room was ready it was spotless regardless of what other Cruise critic reviewer say the staff works extremely hard to make sure every detail is taken care of. I was in a category VA a verandah stateroom on deck seven aft cabin number 7092 an absolutely perfect location near the elevators only two decks down from the Lido easy walking distance to absolutely everything my cabin attendant was always very very friendly the room was always very very clean and yes they do have a lot of state rooms to clean however I do notice they do seem rushed and small details are missed, however the state room was always clean. If you ever complain about the food on Holland America line you you must be very spoiled in your regular life. The food was always piping hot service was extremely fast in all of the venues especially the main dining room I will admit the presentation of the food did seem generic but that certainly did not sacrifice the quality or taste of the food. The absolute highlight of the dining experience on this cruise was the tamarind restaurant on deck 11 midship with amazing ocean views very friendly fast service and probably the best meal and especially the desert that I have had in a very long time worth every penny please note as of January the cost of this restaurant is going up to $20. We also experienced the pinnacle grill on the first formal night of the cruise here the food again was absolutely flawless however the steak was not prepared the way we ordered but again not enough to warrant to comments on board the one huge disappointment I saw in the pinnacle grill was on a formal night they allowed guests to Bc Ted wearing Jean jackets Jean shorts and Hawaiian shirts this was appalling and the staff claim no matter what they say the guests will complain and get the staff in trouble, the hotel manager on this ship needs to take notes very quickly you may upset one or two guests not in formalwear but you are upsetting the entire restaurant when the dress code is not enforced. The ports of call were all amazing half-moon cay of course flawless beaches perfect sunshine and the friendliness of the ship staff were there to serve you for lunch and in many of the bars. Grand Cayman our second tender port again we had flawless weather enjoyed beach time on 7 mile Beach a quick five dollars taxi ride each way per person will take you there drop you off near one of the bars and restaurants so you can have a quick lunch and grab a drink while enjoying your time on the beach if you prefer a less crowded and more secluded beach you can simply hire the driver and he will find the perfect spot for you. Cozumel Mexico of course one of my favorite ports we arrived at 11 AM sailed at 11 PM here the ships do not adjust to local time so the best piece of advice I can give is where a watch or do not change the phone all time on your cell phone to ensure you arrived back to the ship on time, so much shopping amazing restaurants and secluded beaches nearby I highly recommend any cruise with this port of call. Our final port of call was Key West Florida we docked at the Navy pier here pedestrians are not allowed to cross the base so the cruise line offers a complimentary shuttle to Mallory Square near the other cruise ship. Virtually everything is within walking distance in this port of call we paid for the $20 hop on hop off trolley tour I feel we could have walked the same distance for free. As for the entertainment Holland America usually locks in this department however I must say they have made vast improvements in the entertainment on board the production show was better than most I have seen on Holland America line ships granted it is still not the same caliber you will expect on other cruise lines the featured show was Recycled Percussion of America's got talent fame third runner-up on this show I was unsure how the typical Holland America guest would react to this show but this group of guys really knew how to play to their audience a wonderful addition to the fleet I look forward to seeing them on future cruises other fine entertainment on board I have to say was the piano bar, Greg was probably the best piano entertainer I have seen on any cruiseship, always willing to stay late play music and tell stories he was the reason we returned every night, I look forward to seeing him on other ships. Another feat that Holland America seems to pull off is allowing guests to remain in their room on the final day of the cruise yet still have state rooms ready when guests embark the ship I do not know how they do this but it certainly made the embarkation and disembarkation process much more comfortable than other cruise lines. Overall I will highly recommend Holland America line especially the Nieuw Amsterdam regardless of what others say the service was fantastic of course it was not perfect but you get what you pay for.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
I will start out by saying I give the LRBC charter 5 starts. I will give the ship 2 1/2 stars. Blues cruise review Nieuw Amsterdam Jan 20 -27/13 The air was fragrant; the Jolly Roger was flying so it must be the annual LRBC in the ... Read More
I will start out by saying I give the LRBC charter 5 starts. I will give the ship 2 1/2 stars. Blues cruise review Nieuw Amsterdam Jan 20 -27/13 The air was fragrant; the Jolly Roger was flying so it must be the annual LRBC in the Caribbean in January! The LRBC and ship's crew were working hard to get the stages and sound equipment up and running as quickly as possible upon boarding. The pool deck was turned into a mini festival area minus the mud and porta potties! The extra bar was set up to service the thirsty masses; extra servers were on deck working hard filling our drinks. The Crow's Nest is turned into the jamming area for the professional and amateur musicians would play there every day til the wee hours of the morning or sunrise, whichever came first! The Queen's lounge would be taken over by fabulous bands for the week, with a brief cooking demo by the Grammy Award winning Zydeco artist Terrance Simien. The ship is a full charter so many of the ships normal activities and routines are gone for the week. No HAL cats, no cheesy production numbers, no captain's cocktail party. Which for our blues cruisers is a huge improvement! We get a week of top notch blues and roots musicians. Jams that go on day and night. Opportunities for musicians to meet up and record with others that they may never get to do so with their touring schedules. Just a few of the headliners include Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band, Elvin Bishop and Mickey Thomas, Mavis Staples, Tab Benoit, Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, Big Head Todd and the Monsters & the Mile High Horns (with Ronnie Baker Brooks sitting in), Monkeyjunk, Tommy Castro & the painkillers, John Primer Band, Kelly Hunt, the Voodoo women impromptu band with Samantha Fish, Debbie Davis, Mavis Staples, Kelly Hunt, Danielle Schenbelen, Eden Brent and Tony Braunagel (the token male from the Phantom blues band) and many more... All in all a fabulous line up. The music starts at about noon and goes on til 5am or later. Lots of energy drinks being consumed this week! For those of you who wonder what happens on a full charter here is some information. On this particular charter the pool deck sees the addition of large stage, a huge extra bar area, the hot tubs are covered over to make extra seating, the lounge chairs are removed and more chairs and small tables are on deck. The lido pool has no private cabana areas, just seating and loungers. The pool and hot tubs are fully operational in this area. The spa seems to run business as usual, many folks will go there before the music starts. As an FYI, there were no chair hogs, folks just come and go. By noon the loungers emptied out. The shops are dead dead dead. There is a Legendary shop set up in one of the conference rooms where blues cruise clothing and CDs are sold. The theater is the silent auction room where on this cruise paintings, memorabilia and guitars from Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and ZZ Top were auctioned off (over $220K was raised for charity this cruise!). The ocean bar became a small jam area for whomever wanted to play. The explorer's lounge was empty. The diehard smokers were in the sports bar. A few gamblers in the casino. The piano bar was turned into a rockin' place by Eden Brent, Barrel House Chuck and Steve Willis. Many pro musicians turn up and jam there til 5am. The showroom has a little transformation -- rows of seats are removed and plywood is put down to make a large dance floor, extra bars are set up for the thirsty bunch. The pool deck can easily have 1000 people or more there at any given time. The Showroom can be filled to the rafters. The Queen's lounge will be at full capacity with people filling the dance floor and every seat and aisle filled with people. The bar is hopping there too! The cabin stewards do the best they can with some folks not even getting to bed til 6am. I don't think a lot of folks get their room cleaned during the day, only at turn down service. The dining room rarely is full. There are many folks who will eat in the buffet or grab a pizza slice. As an FYI the buffet and pizza on this cruise is open til 4am. The pizza guy and the assistant F&B manager were dancing up a storm at wee hours of the morning. Most, if not all of the staff will be hanging out listening and dancing to the music. Some staff and crew request to be on this charter every year. I did hear from one staffer that this is a $10 million dollar cruise, which far surpasses any other 7 day cruise HAL does, even other charters. Hence why they let the Jolly Roger fly and let us make ourselves at home. Apparently the Blues cruise charter will drink more in 2 days than on a good week of a 7 day cruise. As far as I know, no one removes the tips either and most will tip over and above. The bar staff can make quite a few bucks on this cruise. I saw the cruise director once and he said the staff and crew were thrilled for us to be there as we were "a breath of fresh air" and hinting that on this cruise the average age was a few decades younger than usual. Very few complaints from the cruisers in general. Our complaints were that the food in the buffet area is downright awful, the pizza was terrible, room service breakfast was really bad and not once was our order correct, but the reality was we were there for the music. It was more a shrug of the shoulders, that's not why we were on board. Hubby and I eat in the Pinnacle or Tamarind every night, so no comments on the dining room, only from a friend who said the service was too slow to get back on deck and listen to the next band. It is a shame that we pay so much for this cruise and HAL can't step up their game in the food department. We always get a balcony cabin and this year we chose to go right under the stage at the pool deck (8157) which was a great choice for us. The cabin was quite small. If we had to nip back to the cabin we could open the door and hear the music perfectly, the vibrations from the speakers were very intense (I swear you could see the ceiling move!) and was loud. It worked out great! The jams on the pool deck would go on up until about 4:30am. I will be our preferred area for next year as well. The "mole people" tend to choose the lower deck inside cabins so they can sleep for a few hours in the morning. Something for everyone! Since this is a charter we get our own itinerary. The first stop was Half Moon Cay, which at the Stay Here Forever bar got a stage and Southern Hospitality (JP Soars, Damon Fowler and Victor Wainwright) played for a while the Lee Boys came on! It was fantastic! Smokin' Joe Kubick and the B'Nois King played acoustic guitars at the Pirate ship. I think many didn't even knew there was a BBQ happening. Drinks, music and beach were the order of the day. There was a wedding on HMC -- a lovely young couple enjoying the Lee Boys after their nuptials. We then had a sea day (all music til all hours) then Tortola where several of the local bars set up with local bands and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience played at Myette's. The beach was crowded with blues cruisers, there was a Costa ship in port I am sure they were wondering what the heck was going on. The next day was St. Kitts where may did excursions and checked out the island. We headed for Brimstone Hill and enjoyed touring the fort. The next two days were sea days, so all music all the time! The LRBC tends to favour HAL as the staff and crew know the routine of the set up and type of cruisers and the expectations. The past October Cruise was on Celebrity Summit and there were many complaints of overzealous security. Yes we will bring on a case of wine, smuggle some booze but most will still rack up hefty charges in the week. We spent $1,200 even with our own wine and rum runners. The HAL ships really offer no bells and whistles and are very basic ships. But for this type of cruise it works in our favour. To be able to turn the showroom, pool deck etc. in to usable spaces for stages and huge sound equipment it makes it a great spot for the bands. One thing I noticed that the cabana's on HMC HAL jacked up the price, I think there was only one booked while we were there. Such a rip off. I noticed on the Carnival site that they charge $250 and HAL charges $399. So not worth it. The drinks package was upped $20 per day to $60 a day on this cruise. A little too expensive for us. The biggest complaint I had on board where the bug bites I got (and others as well) at the Pinnacle grill on the first evening of the sea day. I was told to bring this up with the Guest Services Manager, but was pretty much ignored by the front desk clerk. I doubt they ever looked into this situation. It was appalling that the GSM did not follow up on this serious complaint. I have had other issues with other HAL ships in the past (particularly the Zaandam -- no a/c in our cabin and Maasdam -- disgusting and unsafe conditions in the pool areas) and the staff ignored those issues as well, so I can only conclude that HAL has the worst staff at sea. The ship was quite grubby all week, I did not see anyone cleaning or polishing common areas. Our toilet was not working for a couple of nights, I called the front desk at 5am (we just got in the cabin) and the silly nitwit at the front desk was going to call the cabin steward to wake him up to come to our cabin. I had to tell her that a plumber was needed, not the cabin steward. The plumber was doing his fixes from the hallway, I could hear the water running in the walls. I would never set foot on a HAL ship unless it was the LRBC charter. This ship sails at close to full capacity of 2500, many of the quad cabins are filled. Folks will room with strangers just to get on the boat. The October 18-25th cruise on the Maasdam is now sold out. It is sold out for next January as well. LRBC office loves it and I am sure HAL is thrilled that it is guaranteed money for them in the future. It was a great week and I look forward to the Legendary Rhythm and Blues cruise next year! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
The air was fragrant; the Jolly Roger was flying so it must be the annual LRBC in the Caribbean in January! The LRBC and ship's crew were working hard to get the stages and sound equipment up and running as quickly as possible upon ... Read More
The air was fragrant; the Jolly Roger was flying so it must be the annual LRBC in the Caribbean in January! The LRBC and ship's crew were working hard to get the stages and sound equipment up and running as quickly as possible upon boarding. The pool deck was turned into a mini festival area minus the mud and porta potties! The extra bar was set up to service the thirsty masses; extra servers were on deck working hard filling our drinks. The Crow's Nest is turned into the jamming area for the professional and amateur musicians would play there every day til the wee hours of the morning or sunrise, whichever came first! The Queen's lounge would be taken over by fabulous bands for the week, with a brief cooking demo by the Grammy Award winning Zydeco artist Terrance Simien. The ship is a full charter so many of the ships normal activities and routines are gone for the week. No HAL cats, no cheesy production numbers, no captain's cocktail party. Which for our blues cruisers is a huge improvement! We get a week of top notch blues and roots musicians. Jams that go on day and night. Opportunities for musicians to meet up and record with others that they may never get to do so with their touring schedules. Just a few of the headliners include Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band, Elvin Bishop and Mickey Thomas, Mavis Staples, Tab Benoit, Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, Big Head Todd and the Monsters & the Mile High Horns (with Ronnie Baker Brooks sitting in), Monkeyjunk, Tommy Castro & the painkillers, John Primer Band, Kelly Hunt, the Voodoo women impromptu band with Samantha Fish, Debbie Davis, Mavis Staples, Kelly Hunt, Danielle Schenbelen, Eden Brent and Tony Braunagel (the token male from the Phantom blues band) and many more... All in all a fabulous line up. The music starts at about noon and goes on til 5am or later. Lots of energy drinks being consumed this week! For those of you who wonder what happens on a full charter here is some information. On this particular charter the pool deck sees the addition of large stage, a huge extra bar area, the hot tubs are covered over to make extra seating, the lounge chairs are removed and more chairs and small tables are on deck. The lido pool has no private cabana areas, just seating and loungers. The pool and hot tubs are fully operational in this area. The spa seems to run business as usual, many folks will go there before the music starts. As an FYI, there were no chair hogs, folks just come and go. By noon the loungers emptied out. The shops are dead dead dead. There is a Legendary shop set up in one of the conference rooms where blues cruise clothing and CDs are sold. The theater is the silent auction room where on this cruise paintings, memorabilia and guitars from Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and ZZ Top were auctioned off (over $220K was raised for charity this cruise!). The ocean bar became a small jam area for whomever wanted to play. The explorer's lounge was empty. The diehard smokers were in the sports bar. A few gamblers in the casino. The piano bar was turned into a rockin' place by Eden Brent, Barrel House Chuck and Steve Willis. Many pro musicians turn up and jam there til 5am. The showroom has a little transformation -- rows of seats are removed and plywood is put down to make a large dance floor, extra bars are set up for the thirsty bunch. The pool deck can easily have 1000 people or more there at any given time. The Showroom can be filled to the rafters. The Queen's lounge will be at full capacity with people filling the dance floor and every seat and aisle filled with people. The bar is hopping there too! The cabin stewards do the best they can with some folks not even getting to bed til 6am. I don't think a lot of folks get their room cleaned during the day, only at turn down service. The dining room rarely is full. There are many folks who will eat in the buffet or grab a pizza slice. As an FYI the buffet and pizza on this cruise is open til 4am. The pizza guy and the assistant F&B manager were dancing up a storm at wee hours of the morning. Most, if not all of the staff will be hanging out listening and dancing to the music. Some staff and crew request to be on this charter every year. I did hear from one staffer that this is a $10 million dollar cruise, which far surpasses any other 7 day cruise HAL does, even other charters. Hence why they let the Jolly Roger fly and let us make ourselves at home. Apparently the Blues cruise charter will drink more in 2 days than on a good week of a 7 day cruise. As far as I know, no one removes the tips either and most will tip over and above. The bar staff can make a few bucks on this cruise ? I saw the cruise director once and he said the staff and crew were thrilled for us to be there as we were "a breath of fresh air" and hinting that on this cruise the average age was a few decades younger than usual. I didn't hear anyone complain about, well, anything. Our complaints were that the food isn't very good, the pizza was terrible, room service breakfast was bad, but the reality was we were there for the music. It was more a shrug of the shoulders, that's not why we were on board. Hubby and I eat in the Pinnacle or Tamarind every night, so no comments on the dining room, only from a friend who said the service was too slow to get back on deck and listen to the next band. We always get a balcony cabin and this year we chose to go right under the stage at the pool deck (8157) which was a great choice for us. If we had to nip back to the cabin we could open the door and hear the music perfectly, the vibrations from the speakers were very intense (I swear you could see the ceiling move!) and was loud. It worked out great! The jams on the pool deck would go on up until about 4:30am. I will be our preferred area for next year as well. The "mole people" tend to choose the lower deck inside cabins so they can sleep for a few hours in the morning. Something for everyone! Since this is a charter we get our own itinerary. The first stop was Half Moon Cay, which at the Stay Here Forever bar got a stage and Southern Hospitality (JP Soars, Damon Fowler and Victor Wainwright) played for a while the Lee Boys came on! It was fantastic! Smokin' Joe Kubick and the B'Nois King played acoustic guitars at the Pirate ship. I think many didn't even knew there was a BBQ happening. Drinks, music and beach were the order of the day. There was a wedding on HMC -- a lovely young couple enjoying the Lee Boys after their nuptials. We then had a sea day (all music til all hours) then Tortola where several of the local bars set up with local bands and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience played at Myette's. The beach was crowded with blues cruisers, there was a Costa ship in port I am sure they were wondering what the heck was going on. The next day was St. Kitts where may did excursions and checked out the island. We headed for Brimstone Hill and enjoyed touring the fort. The next two days were sea days, so all music all the time! The LRBC tends to favour HAL as the staff and crew know the routine of the set up and type of cruisers and the expectations. The past October Cruise was on Celebrity Summit and there were many complaints of overzealous security. Yes we will bring on a case of wine, smuggle some booze but most will still rack up hefty charges in the week. We spent $1,200 even with our own wine and rum runners. The HAL ships really offer no bells and whistles and are very basic. But for this type of cruise it works in our favour. To be able to turn the showroom, pool deck etc. in to usable spaces for stages and huge sound equipment it makes it a great spot for the bands. One thing I noticed that that cabana's on HMC HAL jacked up the price, I think there was only one booked while we were there. Such a rip off. I noticed on the Carnival site that they charge $250 and HAL charges $399. So not worth it. The drinks package was upped $20 per day to $60 a day on this cruise. A little too expensive for us. The biggest complaint I had on board where the bug bites I got (and others as well) at the Pinnacle grill on the first evening of the sea day. I was told to bring this up with the Guest Services Manager, but was pretty much ignored by the front desk clerk. I doubt they ever looked into this situation. This ship sails at close to full capacity of 2500, many of the quad cabins are filled. Folks will room with strangers just to get on the boat. The October 18-25th cruise on the Maasdam is now sold out. It is sold out for next January as well. LRBC office loves it and I am sure HAL is thrilled that it is guaranteed money for them in the future. It was a great week and I look forward to the Legendary Rhythm and Blues cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
I've been on HAL before and had high expectations for this adventure. They failed miserably in several categories. First off...the food. We were part of a large group so I can tell you it was not just me personally with this ... Read More
I've been on HAL before and had high expectations for this adventure. They failed miserably in several categories. First off...the food. We were part of a large group so I can tell you it was not just me personally with this experience. In the dining room, I received over cooked meat constantly. From the duck, to the osso bucco, and even steaks. We also received items that were simply not fresh, like cheese and sushi items. HAL talks about having Celebrity Chefs do their menu, but I doubt Charlie Trotter would have been happy about the temperature of those steaks. My next gripe has to do with staffing. We never saw the captain. He didn't bother to show up for the farewell crew show at the end of the cruise. Nor did I ever run into him aboard ship. Also, it's high season and there were a ton of kids/teenagers on board (I think I heard 450). HAL should have been prepared with staff monitoring and policing the pool and common areas. They used to be very strict about this stuff. HAL did finally send out a letter half way through the cruise reminding us parents to watch our kids, but those were just idol threats. They did nothing to kick the kids from the front 2 rows of the theater. I felt sorry for the entertainers. (And keep in mind that our group was traveling with 3 kids.) Or to keep the teenagers from rough housing at the pool. The cruise director, Dave, gave a half-hearted plea to keep mind of your kids and explain that they simply have more kids this time of year. MY RESPONSE..."Well then plan ahead for it. Don't let 25 kids and obnoxious teenagers ruin a cruise for everybody else." Our cabin stewards rarely remembered to fill our ice bucket or give us fresh towels after a couple of days. We are in the Med. It's hot and nothing dries. The wine steward did something that no high end restaurant would ever do. He tried to switch champagnes on my Dad to a far inferior brand. After presenting the inferior bottle, he then told my Dad that they were out of what my Dad requested. I've waited tables before and you should return with the wine menu and ASK what to do or offer another selection as a replacement (And not one that costs $25 less.) Last gripe, they charge ridiculous prices for everything now. The photo department wanted $40 for a formal night pic and you were forced to buy an 8x10, a 5x7, and 2 wallets. We had several great pictures taken during the cruise, but you no longer get to pick a size or package. It's $40 for formal night and $20 for other. The HAL tour prices are ludicrous, especially the ROME transfer. I expect this up sale on Carnival.NOW FOR A FEW POSITIVES...the Nieuw Amsterdam is a lovely ship, although the layout is odd. The entertainers brought on board for the showroom were all fantastic...From the concert pianist, to the GRACE trio, to the wonderful comedian Scotty. And if you do go, please go up and listen to Chris Toler is the Crow's Nest. He is a rare talent with his mash-ups and not to mention, very personable. Lastly, I want to give a huge thanks to Club HAL. My son and his cousins loved their enthusiasm and activities. He rarely wanted to hang out with us. They are really great and tried to keep the kids happy with a wide array of things to do. Kudos to them. This might be my last HAL experience. I really missed the higher end touches that once made HAL my favorite cruise line. If I pay more for a cruise, I don't want to be nickel and dimed. I want more interesting food and more importantly, well cooked food. It was under average most nights. HAL didn't do theme nights where everybody dressed up. I missed having Dutch night with the fun hats and Dutch food. We talked to cruisers with more than 200 days on HAL and they too were disappointed. There used to be this air about HAL that they were the best and knew it. No more. The lack of discipline comes from the top. The staff seemed ill-equipped to deal with the simplest of problems that arose...from my problem with a bar drink, to issues around the pool area, to problems with something in the lido ding room. I hope they get their act together. This was not the HAL of old. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We recently returned from the eastern Caribbean cruise aboard HAL's Nieuw Amsterdam which sailed from Ft. Lauderdale January 23rd for seven nights. I would like to offer my comments about this vacation trip. For the record; we have ... Read More
We recently returned from the eastern Caribbean cruise aboard HAL's Nieuw Amsterdam which sailed from Ft. Lauderdale January 23rd for seven nights. I would like to offer my comments about this vacation trip. For the record; we have cruised approximately 14 times in the past on several cruise lines, mostly on medium sized ships such as the Nieuw Amsterdam. These cruises have included various destinations around the world, including a transatlantic trip. We had sailed once before with HAL on the Noordam in 2010 and loved it. We have always elected a verandah stateroom or mini suite as our accommodation, and spend a lot of time on the verandah for activities such as coffee and juice early in the A.M., reading, relaxing, socializing with the group that we generally cruise with, and taking photographs of scenery, ports etc. (I consider myself an advanced amateur photographer.) Just to be fair to HAL, we had originally booked a 14 night back to back cruise departing earlier in January, but reduced it to a seven day cruise to be in synch with our cruising group, who booked the seven night cruise. We had changed these accommodations at least five months before the cruise, and were assured that we would receive the same cabin class (superior verandah) that we had originally booked. I began to get suspicious when we were not given a room assignment until around 2 weeks before embarkation. Our travel agent had been checking with HAL and assured us that there would be no problem. Finally, we received an email from HAL allocating us a VQ stateroom on Deck 11. On the internet, it appeared to be a Spa stateroom with a verandah, but I called HAL just to confirm, because Deck 11 was a little isolated with only 10 similar rooms on that deck. The first person we talked to said that the verandahs on deck 11 were only "viewing verandahs" and didn't have room for seating etc. When I called our travel agent to complain, she also called HAL and was told that on the Nieuw Amsterdam, the Spa VQ verandahs were standard size, and not to worry! I also called and was told the same when I gave the agent our cabin number. She even asked me to hold while she confirmed that fact with her supervisor, who did indeed confirm a "regular" verandah. When we finally boarded, we found the VQ room to be fine, but the verandah on deck 11 was much smaller that other verandahs on the ship, or the VD cabin we had originally booked. Our cruise mates who were in VD rooms confirmed this observation. The two small chairs and tiny table barely fit. If you sat in a chair facing the water, your feet were practically in the drain gutter at the front of the verandah. Needless to say, we did not spend a great deal of time on our verandah and missed out on one of the prime reasons we cruise. When we registered a complaint at customer service, we were told that "you got what you paid for" and the ship was full. Technically, the service representative was legally correct, as with all the legal disclaimers in the contract, we probably could have been put up in a storage bin! My beef with HAL is that even after inquiring, we were misled about the balcony, and we could have been told when we changed our arrangements months before that we could wind up in such a cabin. I would caution anyone getting a cabin on Deck 11 to check with HAL about the verandah size before accepting a reservation there. Deck 11 otherwise is a neat location, being somewhat isolated but containing the Explorers Cafe and Crows Nest, one of our favorite places on the ship. Having been rather critical so far, I think in fairness to HAL (I wish they were as fair to me,) I should state that: The entire crew and staff including those in the cabin areas, food locations, venues etc. were all above excellent and helpful. The food and service in the main dining hall and Pinacle Grill was excellent. The food in the buffet areas was quite satisfactory. The ship itself was very elegant and ergonomically laid out. If it weren't for our verandah issue, we would have had a great time. Unfortunately, the cruise left us with memories of a poor experience, and a negative opinion about HAL. We did mention these complaints in out exiting comments document, but we have yet to hear from HAL. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
The purpose of the cruise appeared to be selling everything: alcohol, jewelry, clothing, dining rooms, cabanas, art, and casinos. Free services such as the library kept very limited hours even on the "at sea" days when it would ... Read More
The purpose of the cruise appeared to be selling everything: alcohol, jewelry, clothing, dining rooms, cabanas, art, and casinos. Free services such as the library kept very limited hours even on the "at sea" days when it would have been convenient to use them. The ship has an extensive and interesting art collection, and I would have loved to have taken the iPod tour but could never make it to the library to check it out. The ship's public areas were kept clean, and I swear that I heard a vacuum cleaner in our hallway at 3:30 am! The staff "simonized" (their word) the handrails on the stairs frequently so that the railings were either wet or left a sticky residue on one's hands. The fitness center had broken equipment which should have been repaired. All the personnel were very pleasant and helpful. It was reassuring to see the assistance available to those with mobility impairments. Walkers, electric scooters and wheelchairs were common sights as were manual wheelchairs assited by staff. We were notified that a GI virus had affected both guests and crew. Purell dispensers were all around the ship staffed by crew to make sure that we used them. Each guest room also had a bottle of Purell. I heard from guests who had been ill that they had received wonderful care from the medical staff. Food service was generally very good. The main dining room, The Manhattan, was very large, noisy, and very bright and glitzy; conversation was difficult. The menu selections were excellent with two vegetarian and one fish option as well as red meat and poultry; although the beef was the least well-prepared item, often dry and tasteless. The main buffet in The Lido often ran out of popular items: broccoli at lunch on the first day and bread pudding for dessert almost every day. The two sides of the buffet offered differing items under the same general headings so one had circle the dining room before making a selection. Several other dining rooms were available at an extra charge of $20-$30 per person. In-room dining offered a more restricted menu but was adequate and came at the requested times. Two formal dinners seemed excessive especially since the menu was no different than on other nights and the service was slower and less efficient due to the number of diners in the main dining room that night. Our cabin was adequate but not roomy. It provided enough storage space with plenty of hangers and excellent lighting. The bathroom had additional shelf space as well as a retractable clothesline which we appreciated. The towels were extra large and fluffy, but we had to request clean towels each time as there was really nowhere to hang the bath towels to dry between uses. Even though the ship was only 6 months old, there were small details that hadn't been attended to. The sink drain did not work. The cabin steward attempted to fix it by tying it to the lever arm so that it didn't open or close. The front desk had to be contacted to get a better repair. The tub didn't drain when showering, and one showered in water up to the ankles. We were told this was because of the motion of the ship. There was also a hint of mold where the walls met the tub, evidence of not-too thorough cleaning. Shore excursions were purchased through HAL since we had never been to this region before. We wanted to learn about the area, culture, and history, and they did provide that. Some drivers were more knowledgeable than others. On all of the excursions the drivers served as the tour guides, having to focus their attention on the roads as well as the sites. We felt that the HAL website and phone center staff did not provide as much information as they could have to help first time ocean cruisers such as us. I understand that the ship has a tight turn-around time at the end of the cruise. They gave us a late disembarkation time and then proceeded to make up the room while we were still packing up, just moved our stuff out of their way! 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

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