4 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date October 2018
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
Sail Date June 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 April 2017
I've been on HAL before and had high expectations for this adventure. They failed miserably in several categories. First off...the food. We were part of a large group so I can tell you it was not just me personally with this ... Read More
I've been on HAL before and had high expectations for this adventure. They failed miserably in several categories. First off...the food. We were part of a large group so I can tell you it was not just me personally with this experience. In the dining room, I received over cooked meat constantly. From the duck, to the osso bucco, and even steaks. We also received items that were simply not fresh, like cheese and sushi items. HAL talks about having Celebrity Chefs do their menu, but I doubt Charlie Trotter would have been happy about the temperature of those steaks. My next gripe has to do with staffing. We never saw the captain. He didn't bother to show up for the farewell crew show at the end of the cruise. Nor did I ever run into him aboard ship. Also, it's high season and there were a ton of kids/teenagers on board (I think I heard 450). HAL should have been prepared with staff monitoring and policing the pool and common areas. They used to be very strict about this stuff. HAL did finally send out a letter half way through the cruise reminding us parents to watch our kids, but those were just idol threats. They did nothing to kick the kids from the front 2 rows of the theater. I felt sorry for the entertainers. (And keep in mind that our group was traveling with 3 kids.) Or to keep the teenagers from rough housing at the pool. The cruise director, Dave, gave a half-hearted plea to keep mind of your kids and explain that they simply have more kids this time of year. MY RESPONSE..."Well then plan ahead for it. Don't let 25 kids and obnoxious teenagers ruin a cruise for everybody else." Our cabin stewards rarely remembered to fill our ice bucket or give us fresh towels after a couple of days. We are in the Med. It's hot and nothing dries. The wine steward did something that no high end restaurant would ever do. He tried to switch champagnes on my Dad to a far inferior brand. After presenting the inferior bottle, he then told my Dad that they were out of what my Dad requested. I've waited tables before and you should return with the wine menu and ASK what to do or offer another selection as a replacement (And not one that costs $25 less.) Last gripe, they charge ridiculous prices for everything now. The photo department wanted $40 for a formal night pic and you were forced to buy an 8x10, a 5x7, and 2 wallets. We had several great pictures taken during the cruise, but you no longer get to pick a size or package. It's $40 for formal night and $20 for other. The HAL tour prices are ludicrous, especially the ROME transfer. I expect this up sale on Carnival.NOW FOR A FEW POSITIVES...the Nieuw Amsterdam is a lovely ship, although the layout is odd. The entertainers brought on board for the showroom were all fantastic...From the concert pianist, to the GRACE trio, to the wonderful comedian Scotty. And if you do go, please go up and listen to Chris Toler is the Crow's Nest. He is a rare talent with his mash-ups and not to mention, very personable. Lastly, I want to give a huge thanks to Club HAL. My son and his cousins loved their enthusiasm and activities. He rarely wanted to hang out with us. They are really great and tried to keep the kids happy with a wide array of things to do. Kudos to them. This might be my last HAL experience. I really missed the higher end touches that once made HAL my favorite cruise line. If I pay more for a cruise, I don't want to be nickel and dimed. I want more interesting food and more importantly, well cooked food. It was under average most nights. HAL didn't do theme nights where everybody dressed up. I missed having Dutch night with the fun hats and Dutch food. We talked to cruisers with more than 200 days on HAL and they too were disappointed. There used to be this air about HAL that they were the best and knew it. No more. The lack of discipline comes from the top. The staff seemed ill-equipped to deal with the simplest of problems that arose...from my problem with a bar drink, to issues around the pool area, to problems with something in the lido ding room. I hope they get their act together. This was not the HAL of old. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
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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