4 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Caribbean - Western

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
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
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date January 2015
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 December 2013
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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