115 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Senior Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise to see what Holland America has to offer versus other cruise lines. Long story short, we will never sail with HAL again. We are a retired couple in our late 60's, We had heard that HAL was for the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see what Holland America has to offer versus other cruise lines. Long story short, we will never sail with HAL again. We are a retired couple in our late 60's, We had heard that HAL was for the "older" crowd and we figured we would fit right in. If you want to spend your cruise knitting or gazing at the ocean, it is a nice, clean ship. If you are looking for some music, some activity and a younger-at-heart crowd, this boat is not for you. Embarkation was quick. Our balcony cabin was a good size with lots of storage space. The bathroom was an adequate size and included a bath tub. The room was attended to twice daily and kept immaculate. The buffet restaurant was crowded and sometimes difficult to find a seat. The buffet items are not labeled so we didn't know what a lot of items were and when we asked, the servers would point to a sign showing what was on the menu for the day. That didn't help a bit. The buffet had wo sides and often there were different items on each side. Many times one side would be closed while the other was open so it was a guess to figure out which side to walk to. The food was just okay but often there were meals that had nothing appealing to us. Pizza on the pool deck was not bad but not great either. I guess we were comparing to other ships we had eaten pizza on (i.e.RCI, Norwegian) Ice cream was served daily and mostly chocolate, vanilla and strawberry with the soft serve machine being empty every time I wanted some. Entertainment: TERRIBLE! Some nights there was NOTHING in the form of entertainment. We saw a comedian that was anything but funny. The illusionist was pretty good but the show was too short for him to perform anything spectacular. The one show they had was a contemporary dance group. The dancers and special effects were good but again, nothing spectacular. BB King Lounge was crowded at night with a Blues group that played the same music and a dance floor that not many danced on. The band had zero personality...very boring. During the day the activities consisted of things such as "losing ten pounds" (like I am interested in my diet on a cruise), how to whiten your teeth, how to cook (in their "test kitchen") and Microsoft classes. We opted for the Microsoft classes which were actually quite informative but not what I had planned to do on a cruise. I felt like I was on a senior citizen cruise with the average age about 70. Think twice about choosing HAL if you are at all active and looking for some fun. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Positives:inside cabin on navigation deck was spacious and a comfortable bed,with excellent cabin stewards.(wawan & wayan) pleasant bar staff ( Louis & Freddie)in the lido bar was excellent.waiteresses was pleasant.food was very ... Read More
Positives:inside cabin on navigation deck was spacious and a comfortable bed,with excellent cabin stewards.(wawan & wayan) pleasant bar staff ( Louis & Freddie)in the lido bar was excellent.waiteresses was pleasant.food was very good most days,excellent selection of premium alcoholic drinks. Negatives:the ocean bar lacked atmosphere in the early evening,perhaps some sought of entertainment would not go a miss! My wife is a big lover for ‘shrimps’on some occasions there where ‘shrimps’on the menu in the lido restaurant when it first opened in the evening but by 7.00pm when we ready to eat there was none to be had!was told by the servers you would have to wait 15 minutes,but this turned out to be not true on several occasions!what a con. We visited a beautiful island called ‘half moon cay’which they provided a bbq,you only had water,but we bought a drinks package which if you wanted a beer you had to pay for it!. However had a enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We thought this would be a step up for RCL and NCL. Disappointed. It took two hours to eat in the dining room, which meant you missed two of the possible shows to see. Mainstage was not that good - dancers and comedian. Lincoln Center ... Read More
We thought this would be a step up for RCL and NCL. Disappointed. It took two hours to eat in the dining room, which meant you missed two of the possible shows to see. Mainstage was not that good - dancers and comedian. Lincoln Center stage and Billboard was the only good entertainment - no dancing. BBKing was just a performer who screams a lot - no dancing music. Food was good, if you waited long enough. Our balcony was covered in chips from scraping being done when we boarded. I asked room steward twice for a second wine glass and to clean up the balcony. Finally cleaned it myself and left a note on the dirty towel. Every activity was too crowded; have to get there 1/2 hour before to get a seat or place for fitness activities. poor planning. Entertainment was scheduled too close together, back to back and impossible to finish a two hour dinner and make it to a 7:00 show. It got better, too many people complaining, but the only nice dinner was in Pinnacle the last night. Excursions were boring and not as billed - Cabarete beach was not calm and nothing to see in ride around Domiican. Calypso tram tour was okay for two hours but rushed when we finally got to see the donkeys, pay $3 to use bathroom and hurry up back on tram. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Food was awesome. Shows were good but only 5 and one was a sorta redo with same comedians different material. They did two “Taks” to replace shows. Although the talks were interesting they should have had them for the afternoon of Sea ... Read More
Food was awesome. Shows were good but only 5 and one was a sorta redo with same comedians different material. They did two “Taks” to replace shows. Although the talks were interesting they should have had them for the afternoon of Sea days , where there was only two things to do . Either sit by the pool or a gamble. Very few trivia contests. No scavenger hunt, no Newlywed game. They did have two great pianists but you couldn’t get a seat unless you arrived a half hour before showtime. The same was true of the Soul Music show and the Violinists. Never enough seating. If ships are going to accommodate thousands of guests they need thousands of seats. Casino small but non smoking. On the first evening we heard a sound like a barking dog. We called the front desk and they sent someone up to the hallway to check. They called me and they said there is no barking dog and I told them that it sounded like a barking dog , that I doubt it it was actually a dog on the ship. The following day I called again and reported the same issue. This time they actually sent someone up to my state room and I took them out to the deck so that they could hear the barking dog sound loud and clear . It turned out to be the door between the balconies was vibrating and sounded like a barking dog. They repaired it and we slept in quiet the following evenings. I wish they had believed me the first evening it would’ve been Nice to get a good night of rest on the first evening of the cruise. On the next to The last day of the cruise everyone had to go down to Deck three and present their passport at different times. Our groups time was 830. We normally went to breakfast in the dining room at 8:30 so we thought it would be good to go after the passport presentation. We went and found the dining room was closed. We were told the only breakfast available was at the buffet. Apparently thousands of other passengers were told the same. We walked around the buffet for 20 minutes before finding a table. The table was on a level with a step. Thanks to that step my sister-in-law fell and broke her shoulder bone. There should not be steps on a ship that caters to the elderly, they should be ramps. After the accident , my wife and her sister spent six hours in the hospital. The reason the time was so lengthy is because the x-rays they took on the ship were faulty. That was due to the fact that the doctor gave them the wrong x-rays with the wrong person‘s name on the x-rays. So the hospital had to take new x-rays to confirm that my sister-in-law in fact did have a broken shoulder. Thank the Lord, this all happened early in the day , due to the fact the ship was departing the Port at 4:30 and my wife and both her sisters did not return to the ship until 330. Bring your own soda . I called to order two diet cokes and they advised they would deliver Wednesday. Disembarked Saturday still no Diet Coke in stateroom. Needless to say, I will never take another Holland America cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October ... Read More
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October 2019, from Vancouver BC to Ft Lauderdale FL. We enjoyed a few days visiting Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship. Embarkation/disembarkation was fast and smooth. If there were children aboard, we never saw them (ok by us!)...what we DID see was more folks using power chairs and walkers than on any previous cruise! OVERALL RATING: 3.5 stars. As always, the HAL cusine and service staff were WONDERFUL, abosolutey 5 stars. What made this overall experience score a mere 3.5 for us? I've detailed a number of "hits" and "misses" below. ACTIVITES: Woefully inadequate, e.g., TOO FEW trivia offerings (and those offered frequently conflicted with mealtimes). Also, holding the trivia games in the Billboard Lounge--immediately across from the Casino--is HORRIBLE! Noise conflict/intrusion=totally unacceptable. All the fun we used to have singing karaoke and playing trivia in the Crow's Nest aboard other HAL ships: gone. And for goodness' sake, STOP the money-grubbing, pushy Spa/Shops "activities," e.g., the "Foot Analysis" (do you really think cruisers are too dumb to recognize that these offerings are merely poorly-disguised sales pitches?). Why charge $15 for riding a bicycle in the workout room? Please! Suggestions: offer stretching/yoga/etc., at later times in the morning (for those who don't rise at the crack of dawn every day). ADD more fun + games, especially in the morning...DON'T schedule pickleball during the hottest hours of the day...add INSTRUCTORS for bridge, mah jong, shuffleball, other games. And make sure everyone who wants to play card games are accommodated: every time we went, foursomes were already set, denying us a chance to play. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian Jim Short was super, as always, but we didn't care for the younger comedian (the one whose first joke involved a fart. The dance act was OK. Lincoln Center players, as always, were absolutely FABULOUS...most of their classical music offerings were standing-room-only. B. B. King band was very good. We missed having the small jazz trio for listening/dancing we'd enjoyed on previous cruises. SUGGESTION: why not have one of the pianists lead a passenger "Glee Club"? Not everyone enjoys singing, but for those of us who do, it surely would be WONDERFUL to have had the opportunity (as we did aboard another cruise)...plus, it's a super, fun, healthful activity in which older, less physically active passengers can participate. AMERICA'S TEST KITCEN: Unlike the previous cruise when we enjoyed the same ATK instructor, this time, she always looked at the camera, vs. the audience members. As she was less engaged with the audience, it made the experience less fun. Also, there used to be an opportunity to TASTE the dish that had been prepared, which was fun: we missed being able to do that. LECTURER: merely OK. He needs to listen to a recording of himself talking...he has an irritating/distracting vocal tic (a tongue-smack, like a tsk-tsk sound). COMPUTER: The Microsoft Studio person was of great help: solved a Windows 10 issue we'd been having. EXCURSIONS: The Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive beach resort opportunity was lovely, but too short. We got there too late for breakfast, and left too soon for lunch. Having all-you-can-drink between 9 and 11 a.m. is great if you're an alcoholic. The best part of this excursion was the water aerobics in the pool with one of the hotel's staff (a very cute & vivacious senorita). Nobody cared that she didn't speak English!--the acitivity was fabulous, and made us wonder why a water aerobics workout isn't offered on the ship! The Aruba Public Beach Bus excursion was SORELY lacking. The beach was great, but HOW COME NOBODY TOLD US in advance that we would need TEN DOLLARS to rent a lawn chair? We ABSULOUTELY should have been told in advance, or better, include the lawn chair rental in the cost of the excursion (which, all tolled, was basically just the bus ride). Also, to use a bathroom/cold shower involved walking 100 yards and cost another dollar...give me a break! SHOPPING: why so little reasonably-priced/cute women's clothing? Why no sparkly "bling" lanyards this cruise? The orange cloth lanyards were totally blah...I definitely would have bought an orange BLING version! Forget the high-end jewelry boutique (never saw a soul in there). PHOTOGRAPHERS were more pushy/annoying on than on our previous HAL cruises. Plus, if their photos were more affordable (e.g., $5 instead of $50 each), they would sell a lot more, plus avoid being stuck with thousands of prints that end up as trash. PANAMA CANAL: Experiencing the Panama Canal--the whole reason we went on this cruise--was a real treat, although less joyful that I'd hoped. Because I use a walker and fellow passengers were insensitive, I could never get close enough to the ship's edge to see from that vantage point (husband shot the photos with this review). Also, in plain view of the passengers, the cruise director and other staff enjoyed the view from the deck immediately below us: very frustrating, since passengers were not allowed access to that deck. I finally gave up and watched most of the crossing on the TV in our stateroom (very fuzzy camera reception). Later, I realized: AH HA!--it's another chance for the photographers to make money! Their marvelously clear video souvenier was exhorbitantly-priced. DINING: As ever, HAL dining was overall marvelous. Lido is consistently GREAT. Noticing the lovely fresh flowers on our Pinnacle Grill table reminded us of when you used to have fresh flower vases on every table in the LIDO! Pinnacle Grill dining was lovely, but we weren't convinced it was worth the extra money, especially for the Rudy's Sel de Mer nights. New York pizzas could've been better: most were underdone. Burgers were great. BEVERAGES: The biggest hit: at-sea days Mixology classes--FABULOUS fun!! Bartenders Jonathan (Ocean Bar) and Michael (Pinnacle Bar) are amazing! Not so great: the Dale deGroff cocktail selections...many were very weird, and tooooo sweet (Mixology classmates /daily Happy Hour friends agreed): bring back the standard cocktail menu!! SERVERS/STAFF SUPERSTARS: Besides Bartenders Michael and Jonathan, waitress Catherine; Sommolier Alex; and our excellent cabin stewards, Bayu and Andreas. Cruise Director (forgot her name) was pleasant, but nowhere near as engaged and fun a Cruise Director as we've experienced on previous HAL cruises. Would we go again? Maybe for the cruise itinerary, but NOT aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. That's all! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship ... Read More
Holland America's cruise from Skagway to Vancouver was wonderful. That is, if you were healthy enough to enjoy it. Once we were done with the aggressive land travel portion, their bus delivered us and many others to the ship coughing, sneezing, congested and worn out. Long land transports were ideal pathogen breeding grounds, and HAL was invisible with any contagion prevention. RCL does a much better job in this regard. Also, stayed in a real dive along the way. If you're lucky enough to be healthy at ship embarkation, you will see some gorgeous scenery, and, hopefully, some wildlife. But, wildlife viewing was sporadic at best. Other aspects of the cruise were about what you'd expect: very attentive service by stewards/waiters, good food (but specialty restaurants had the really good food), good entertainment, some good excursions/some to be avoided. If you can afford it, get a room with a veranda. The extra space and additional viewing area was great for relaxing and taking in the scenery. We had to have the steward fix a squeaky door leading out to the veranda, but he was very accomodating and got it done right away (along with fixing a slow drain in the bathtub). We usually dined with the other people in our 16-person group. The wait staff quickly became familiar with our group. We celebrated a couple of birthdays during the trip, and the staff entertained us with some birthday cakes and renditions of Happy Birthday. Food was good but did not blow us away. The ship was an enjoyable size--not so large that it took a long time to get from one end to the other and not too small as to be lacking in venues. Hot tubs were actually hot and not too crowded. Didn't get a chance to use any of the several pools but those that did looked like they were enjoying it. Overall, we were a little underwhelmed by the land portion of this tour. Didn't see much wildlife, smoke was everywhere due to the forest fires, and we're still trying to get better two weeks later. So, avoid that leg of the tour, stick to the cruise and you'll enjoy it more. Don't bank on Alaska being the "trip of a lifetime". It certainly isn't--especially the way HAL operates. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship ... Read More
This was my second trip to Alaska and my first time on Holland America. I was really impressed with this beautiful ship. It looked fresh and felt luxurious. There were plenty of elevators and lots of quiet places throughout the ship where one could settle in with a good book. The only time it felt crowded was peak times in the buffet. I liked having breakfast and lunch in the dining room. They served steak and lobster on the 2nd gala night and it was very good. Other Dining Room menu items for dinner were hit and miss. The buffet was typical. I noticed they didn't have trays and the staff dished up most of the food for you, which I didn't really like but apparently it reduces the incidence of illness. Unlike some other cruise lines I've been on, there didn't seem to be any theme nights in the buffet. We dined in Canaletto, the Italian specialty restaurant, one night and the food and service were first rate. I liked the films and talks showcasing Alaska. There were none of those dreadful "Vegas type" shows. There was an illusionist one night and a comedian. There was a dance group but it didn't appeal to me and I left. I loved the Lincoln Centre Stage featuring a piano quintette from Hungary and also the B.B. King Blues club. We had lots of fun at Trivia and Music Trivia. The staff were helpful, friendly and service oriented although I found sometimes there was quite a wait to get a drink. Speaking of drinks, I discovered the Ginger Mule and will ask for that next time. I didn't get off the ship in Juneau but took the White Pass and Yukon trip in Skagway and the Wilderness Exploration and Crab Feast in Ketchikan. Both through the ship and both very expensive. Converted to Canadian funds the cost was around $500.00. Our party included a 12 year old and a 16 year old. The younger one had a blast but we worried there didn't seem to be much for the teen. However, she said at the end that she would love to do another cruise. I had wheelchair assistance embarking and disembarking as I am on supplemental oxygen and the batteries don't last too long. I really appreciated this service. Disembarking was really well organized, probably the best I've ever experienced. All in all, a lovely week with family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no mean feat. Add to the fact there’s another cruise ship, different line, loading for the same departure time. These folks do a marvelous job, the Port of Vancouver is a great place to depart from. I am totally amazed by the comments of folks doing reviews for Cruise Critic. Fortunately you can read all the comments, and sometimes wonder “did these folks travel on the same ship?” How can one person be so positive and another negative. Well that’s the way it is, we are all different and we all see things through different eyes. But with the Cruise Critics’ review, you can at least sort out the wheat from the chaff. every review was negative, then the cruise line has a problem - a mixture gives each line a chance to iron out the negatives. Our fifth cruise, this time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, went without a hitch. Embarkation was as smooth as the previous four trips. Our cabin was ready and we met our cabin stewards. Now, these folks meet several people each trip, how do they remember our names? Holland America trains these stewards to do their job, and part of that is getting to know your clients (and that’s what we are). Our Veranda stateroom was everything we’d expected. There is plenty of room for two and the outside deck is an added benefit. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, wandering around you get to appreciate the effort in making this ship. If your only efforts take you from your stateroom to the Lido or Main Dining Room, you are wasting your travel time. In many reviews I have read that critics have said the trip is boring, there’s nothing to do. HAL regularly prints daily schedules of activities and events. Should you chose to ignore those, then yes, you will have a boring do nothing cruise. Food, does that interest anyone - the Nieuw Amsterdam has every type of venue available, and I had to say they are all top notch. From the Dive In and Pizza place to the Main Dining Room and the pay extra dining. You can have whatever you may wish, you will not be disappointed. On this trip at each stop, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan there were three other cruise ships, all arriving and departing at similar times. That’s somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 cruisers joining the locals. And yet it doesn’t seem excessive. There was a little sea movement between Ketchikan and the northern Vancouver Island, this was to be expected, but had very little effect on us. Weather forecasting sometimes is misleading. If we’d planned our trips on two-week forecasts, we’d never travel. On the week 18-25 May 2019, the weather gods blessed us. Arriving back in Vancouver, our disembarkation was as smooth and our embarkation Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to see Panama Canal, particularly the old part of it. I have done one passing in my previous career at sea more than 30 years ago, on a freighter. Since HAL had a good itinerary suiting the best for our schedule and that ... Read More
We wanted to see Panama Canal, particularly the old part of it. I have done one passing in my previous career at sea more than 30 years ago, on a freighter. Since HAL had a good itinerary suiting the best for our schedule and that there was so good ratings with HAL with travelers with similar preferences we did not hesitate to book this trip, our first on HAL. Our preferences were quite traditional: Piece and quietness, well mannered co-passengers, dining experiences with lots of choices and styles, civilized onboard activitities and entertainment, interesting excursions, kind and friendly staff and responsible shipowners with competent crew. Particularly we were not after activities some other latest cruise ships may offer for families and younger clientele, We tried to avoid cruse lines with all-day partying and noisy teens and kids around. As a summary HAL offered all this in very sophisticated way. Onboard staff exceeded any of our previous experiences. Based on recommendations on the CC HAL group, before boarding we visited at the Total Wine iand picked up a 6 bottle box of selected wines based on their recommendation of "a taste of America". However, after the trip found that the selections onboard was perfectly adequate, if not US-centric. Check-In Fort Lauderdale was done in breeze by very helpful officer, particularly noticing we were not that experienced cruisers on HAL. We boarded soon before noon and had a wonderful lunch served in the MDR after settling in to our cabin. The VD Class cabin was on the 7th deck with a veranda. It was not a suite, but spacious enough for two of us. For our surprise, there was enough storage space even for a much longer trip. There was absolutely no noise from neighboring cabins or from the corridors. Completely quiet, apart quiet hum from the AC. We found ship interiors very nicely designed and we felt being at home soon after boarding. Most of the fellow passengers were naturally from US and Canada, also quite big part, probably a few hundred passengers from Europe and from South America and Far East.. Based on the Skipper's, Jeroen van Donselaar's note, there were some 2100+ passengers and 800+ crew members onboard, so the ship was practically fully booked. Cruise itself offered everything and beyond we expected. For our surprise the seadays were anything but boring. The days were full of activities, e.g. starting from presentation of the ports we were going to call, Digital Workshops, recitals on the Lincoln Center, stand up shows and other performances after dinner at the Main Stage ending upto enjoying the B.B. King's Club. BTW, they played really well. About dining experience, we had dinners in all the restaurants, twice in the Pinnacle Grill, once in Rudy's, once in Tamarind, once in Canaletto and Lido, rest in the MDR. In general, we were fully content with the MDR, but Pinnacle offered us the something to remember for long time. My personal favorite was the Sole Meunier at the MDR, but it was available only once soon after departure, Based on our experience it's difficult to fully understand those who in CC HAL Forum have complained MDR being not upto their standards. Dover Sole in Rudy's; the Maine Lobster, Tartar Steak and Filet Mignon at the Pinnacle. Tamarind was excellent, but as have traveled lots in the far east, we found it a (little bit) too westernized. Sushi was available daily at the Lido. And now we still miss Hamburgers in the Dive In. They were special. Really. Shore excursions we pre-booked, were mostly as expected: In Cartagena the old town was really nice and worthwhile to visit, could have spend a lots of more in the town. Passing Panama Canal was a really highlight of the day. For an ex Sailor (Master Mariner), like me, this was a really meaningful event. We passed the Canal through the old locks, far more interesting than the new ones, which were apparently not that busy on our day of passing. In Costa Rica we chose an Exc to flower gardens up to the mountain having a magnificent view over to the Pacific. We managed to see a pair of macaws not too far away in the garden and a number of crocodiles on the way. It was most beautiful landscape. Time to visit there was far too short, again. In Nicaragua we had a trip to a banana plantation owned by a local prominent family, supplying their products to major brands. Lots of manual, minimally paid work needed before products can be shipped. Highlight of that trip was to see the landscape with active volcanoes on the way. Local people were extremely friendly with us. Really difficult to figure out how they manage to struggle with the average salaries paid in that country. We hope they will manage with their struggle with economy, e.g. expanding from agriculture to tourism. In Guatemala we had another trip to a Coffee Plantation and a small city on the mountain area. Was really beautiful, again. There were also two Mexican ports, Huatulco and Puerto Vallarta on the way. Enjoyed both excursions to the country side. Street vendors in Cartagena and Guatemala were some degree of nuisance, but nothing unexceptional for 'seasoned travelers'. Before the trip we had concerns, e.g. how to cope potential 'cultural differences' during the two weeks with the fellow passengers mostly from US and Canada since we are not that extrovert. That proved to be a non-issue. With all people we spoke with were most friendly curious and knowledgeable what's going outside US. Quite a number of them had visited even to our home country, Finland, on their previous cruises or careers. So overall, would wholeheartedly recommend Panama Cruise with HAL anyone expecting a classy experience to pass the Canal, see beautiful countries with friendly people of Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico, spend time with fellow most nice passengers on a well maintained ship with a stellar crew. Read Less
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
Sail Date March 2019
Wanted to visit some of the Caribbean knowing it probably was quite different than other cruises we’ve done as in more focused on sun, beach and shopping. Not things that are high on our list but needing a warm winter break. It was as ... Read More
Wanted to visit some of the Caribbean knowing it probably was quite different than other cruises we’ve done as in more focused on sun, beach and shopping. Not things that are high on our list but needing a warm winter break. It was as we expected and we will do another cruise in this area (southern) but probably that would be all. For just a winter sunny break in future it would be easier and closer for us to do Mexico. We also should not have picked a back to back cruise as felt our return to Fort Lauderdale in the middle was a bit of a wasted day as we’d already spent 4 days there prior to the cruise. This is sounding a bit negative and don’t mean it to as we did enjoy ourselves. Enjoyed most ports of call but never want to go to Nassau again. Enjoyed Ocho Rios(Dunn’s river falls) Half Moon Cay would have been fine with just one visit. Did a basic bike and hike first time which was simple but enjoyable. Loved San Juan, especially the Fort. Loved Cozumel. St. Thomas was enjoyable with the views from the high point. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find ... Read More
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find enough to keep them entertained in casino & on New Years Eve. The ship was clean and nicely furnished but nothing that really awed me. Food was average, but like most lines, the food has gone down in quality since catering to pay for dining rooms. Room service was good. Service was very good & staff was friendly. I found it more difficult to get port information as I could not make their info session on stage. Most ships I have been on have a TV channel devoted to ports of call, but i couldn't locate one on this ship. In room movie selection was very good. We loved the piano bar & it's proximity to the casino. I did find the atmosphere on the ship relaxing. I have been on 5 other HAL cruises & think they are a good value but not a lot of bells & whistles, especially on the pool decks like many of the other lines. I like the size of their ships. Boarding was easy, but Ft. Lauderdale port is rather chaotic, especially with 7 other ships there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Got bitten by bedbugs on the first night all over upper body. Cruise medical center refused to address the problem on Christmas Eve, unless I paid $95 for consultation on a problem caused by poor health condition and lack of proper ... Read More
Got bitten by bedbugs on the first night all over upper body. Cruise medical center refused to address the problem on Christmas Eve, unless I paid $95 for consultation on a problem caused by poor health condition and lack of proper maintenance and examination of bedding. I inspected pillows and found badly stained pillows obscured by pillow covers. The next day after I suffered these horrible red itching bites, I decided to inspect mattress also and discovered a blanket insert that had three dried blood stains, which was also hidden with a zipped cover over the mattress. It was disgusting! Again, we requested replacements. The overall ship is nice but everything shuts down by 11pm. You can't even get a hot dog from the outside Lido since the pools and outside area is completely closed and dark. No Karaoke for us lovers of this fun activity. The ship catered to selling high priced jewelry, terribly overpriced, if you have any knowledge of the cost of fine jewelry, which I have had for over 40 years. The best parts of the ship was The Lincoln Stage Performances and The BB King's All Stars band. It is a ship for the elderly who have no interest but to sun bathe and view overpriced jewelry and art. The Art Gallery was quite nice but I didn't bother to ask about the price of any of the wonderful paintings since I was convinced it would be as ridiculous as the jewelry. The jewelry auction proved my point. No one bid over approximately $1100 for any of the jewelry that was auctioned. The jewelry indicated pieces worth at least $28,000, with bids starting at around $18,000. In fact I said nothing but the guy who purchased the pair of earrings for the nearly $1100 must not have known he was being overpriced. No one bothered to bid on the over 20 or more items since they too must have realized it was overpriced. The ports that sold jewelry I believe were also a rip-off. In Cozumel you could possibly get a decent pair of cowboy boots at a reasonable price if you negotiated with the seller for Roger's Boots. Ocho Rios was a rip-off since you had to take a bus to beach and be charged for everything connected to it. No free rides here. The 7-mile beach had bad large graveled sand. Not comfortable for bare feet! I wanted to use an Expedia $100 onboard credit to purchase and monogram robe, but the guest service person, an Indonesian clerk, lied to me and told me no new robes were available for sale that I could use the credit towards. This turned out to be a lie, since my husband was able to order one to be billed to our cabin, with three letter free monogram, which was personally delivered to our cabin: 10033, by an apologizing guest services person. I was never offered any assistance for the painful and annoying bedbug bites and had to purchase skin irritation and abrasion cream as well as spray from the gift shop. The gift shop was also overpriced with items that should have cost much less. We are upper middle class people and are by no means tightwads, but the prices we encountered on this trip were ridiculous, including the price of the cruise, which offered very limited activities. No Broadway or Las Vegas style shows will you see here, even though the main stage is beautiful. What a terrible waste? The Main Stage entertainment was less than mediocre and short on time. The food was not the best, but good none the less. The overall staff attendants were excellent! However, we did not need two attendants @$14.50 each to be assigned to our small cabin, with small balcony. The person in charge of inspection of housekeeping should be heavily reprimanded for not instructing cabin attendants to inspect bedding for cleanliness, wear and tear --BEDBUGS! Never expected this on a relatively new ship. Horrible! There is no excuse for the heavily stained pillows or blanket or any other unhealthy bedding that I did not discover. We have been on many cruises throughout the years, but will never go Holland America again. Even the teenagers on deck were bored to death. I found them one night sprawled out on the outside of their so-called lounge or club area laying on the floor or doing whatever they could to keep from falling to sleep at around 11pm. I would never book this cruise again, even if I'm 100 years old. It would still be too boring for me. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
When we were looking to book a cruise, the review of between 4 and 4.5 attracted our attention, we also liked the displayed itinerary Holland American listed. We had a well maintained and spacious suite, access to the Neptune lounge was ... Read More
When we were looking to book a cruise, the review of between 4 and 4.5 attracted our attention, we also liked the displayed itinerary Holland American listed. We had a well maintained and spacious suite, access to the Neptune lounge was convenience, the fitness center though small but well kept with decent equipment. I just didn't like the limit selection and quality of their seafood (baby shrimp and tiny scallops). Some parts of the entertainment are good (BB King, comedy, 1000 step and other dancing shows), the timing were often conflicted with dinner time. The support staff comprised mainly of Filipino and Thai, while majority are great and so pleasant to converse with, we encountered a couple that were rude and condescending. We were unable to go to the last port at Half Moon Cay due to high waves, we agree that safety is important but feel that the company should at least try to compensate their clients for that portion. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop ... Read More
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop .Next to the casino is billboard 2 pianos and vocalists playing requests, old hits , some sing along.Casino is friendly not bad for a cruise ship. Lincoln Center on stage is the place for classical music. Cello violin and such.The main stage has a different act every night, although this is where HAL needs the most improvement The ships singers and dancers and show just ok. Acts such as comedian and or magician not very good. Four ports of call not bad for a seven day cruise. On this particular cruise we were unable to tender to their private island because of rough seas, but we have been there before it’s a great beach day with free bbq. Private beach set up really nice. They also have beach houses for rent which I never thought would be worth it for a half day outing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Holland America Line - Nieuw Amsterdam Sept-Oct 2018 I thought to myself what a great way to arrive in San Diego from Vancouver for those who don't care to fly, and quite reasonable especially if your prime goal was just ... Read More
Holland America Line - Nieuw Amsterdam Sept-Oct 2018 I thought to myself what a great way to arrive in San Diego from Vancouver for those who don't care to fly, and quite reasonable especially if your prime goal was just transportation with no frills attached. I had high expectations for this 4 day repositioning cruise which continued on from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale which for some I believe was a total of 23 days. My high expectations were due to this ship being newly refurbished in 2017 and we've sailed on HAL before many years ago and it was by far at the top of our list for favorites. I recall the food being exceptional ( before the days of specialty restaurants) and the entertainment stellar. So how did it fare this time around?... Embarkation: Vancouver BC Terminal This was SUPERB! HAL does it right. Your informed of the time you should arrive. Don't come earlier, you won't get any further ahead. Check in was a breeze due to the set time for arrival. We had no line ups whatsoever. After we checked in we were seated in a waiting area for about 10-15 min before we boarded. Once onboard we weren't bombarded with staff promoting dining, activities etc. While waiting for the "Cabin ready" announcement we went to the dining reservations desk to pre book our MDR reservations. Our cabin was ready in about 10 minutes after we boarded. I rate this Embarkation 9/10 Sail Away: That's it folks...we just sailed away. No live band, NO MUSIC WHATSOEVER! No countdown when going under the Lions Gate Bridge. NOTHING! On the Lido Deck they set up 2 tables with black spandex coverings which became a 'pop up bar' in addition to the existing bar. They also set up 2 cocktail tables! Two for 2500 + passengers? They stacked the lounge chairs and tucked them aside so no place to sit except for a handful of scattered chairs and the existing bar stools. I don't know why they had to stack them...It wasn't a rainy day, just overcast but still fairly warm. There was no build up of excitement, the Lido Deck was a bland, boring space. This was sooo disappointing. I hoped when we sailed away in Seattle perhaps it would improve...nope we just sailed away. For this sail away I'm rating it 1/10 Main Dining Room: For being a ship that just went through a refurbishment I expected the main dining room to have all the glitz and glamour that most shipboard dining rooms have. I was quite disappointed with the decor of the MDR. It was definitely stuck in the 70's ( no appearance of refurbishment here) with the orangey red laminate divider walls and serving stations. Our first night we were seated directly across from one of the many open, unsightly, very noisy server stations. We were seated so close to it that the waiters butts were almost touching our table when facing the serving station. Not a pretty site! Also the fluorescent office type lighting above was very dated and bright overhead so I learnt to ask to be seated in a dimly lit area of the dining room, which had a much nicer and calming appearance as you would be seated closer to the windows and it was also much quieter. What we thought was really strange was there was no music, none, nothing even piped thru a speaker system, odd to say the least. We had anytime dining and made reservations as soon as we got onboard for our preferred time. There was one evening we had no reservations and only waited a few minutes before being seated. The food was actually quite tasty and we did enjoy most meals. Always enjoyed my breakfast here especially the Lox...so fresh and superb quality. I rate the MDR 6/10 Specialty Restaurants: Tamarind- This is the only restaurant we dined in while onboard and for the $25.p/person charge was worth it. If you book onboard and dine on embarkation day they do offer a discount. The ambiance was relaxing and peaceful just what is needed after dining in the noisy MDR for 3 nights straight. I ordered the Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon. This was a full size filet, not the tiny piece of meat you get in the MDR, it was cooked perfectly as requested and the flavor was delicious. My husband ordered the Lobster Tempura main entree, where they cut the lobster meat, tempura it and stuff it back into the lobster shell beautifully prepared. The lobster was fresh, tender and not rubbery. There was only one item I didn't care for on the shared appy plate, but that could be based on personal preference, otherwise everything else we enjoyed immensely which made our last evening on board our favorite. Service by the all female wait staff was attentive and courteous. We wanted to tip our waitress but no 'tip option' on the receipt so we had to tip with cash. I rate Tamarind 9.5/10 Dive-In- no fee This grill on the Lido deck served the most delicious burgers and fries. We ordered the Cannonball burger, very yummy. The wall-mount menu has milkshakes listed on it, however you have to go across the deck to actually order them from the bar. Definitely worth it. Rating 9/10 Pizza- no fee Good pizza here, wait time was a bit long over 1/2 hr but they were lined up before we ordered. While we were waiting we could smell cigarette smoke drifting our way so the smoking area is nearby by the bar. Rating 7/10 Tea is Served 3p.m.- Allocated in the MDR where your usually able to order all kinds of beverages. Don't expect to be able to order any other beverage. I love having an afternoon cup of tea, my husband does not ever drink tea so he asked if he could at least order a beer. "NO! This is TEA,TEA,TEA! NO BEER!" was the response. Ok we get that but we also understand that cruise lines will 'bend over backwards' to please you within reason and I don't think it was too much to ask for one beer as a beverage preference. Also a kinder response would of been appreciated. The Buffet: Nothing much to write about this was your average nice buffet, not as big of a selection that we enjoyed on Celebrity but you still get a fairly decent selection. The behind the counter servers plate your choice of items for you which I really appreciated instead of everyone touching everything with self serve buffets. We really liked the salad bar where there's an array of salad items you choose and the 'salad chef' tosses it altogether for you with your choice of dressing in these large salad bowls. The oriental dressing was my favorite. Rating: 8/10 Entertainment: On the Mainstage over the 4 nights there were 2 magic shows-Magic Rocks, a musical production-One World and a comedian-Frances Dilorinzo. We didn't go to the magic shows, the musical production was boring also the young performers timing was off on the dance moves. It was like they were dancing just to get it over with. I thought I was watching a high school performance, it was so bad we left. I was now skeptical about going to see the comedian but she was fantastic. The theatre itself is large and even though it appeared a bit dated it's still beautiful. There was plenty of room and a seat could be found easily on any level. The cup holders are hidden in the chairs arms, but some were a bit rusty and difficult to pull out to open. BB King's All Stars: Fantastic! The music, singers and instrumentalists were all top notch! Three performances per evening all different sets except we noticed on the 4th night they started over again with the same show and music we saw on the first night which isn't so bad unless you were staying onboard for the entire 23 day cruise. Billboard Onboard: The When & Where daily newsletter would just print Billboard Onboard 1970's. So what does that mean? There was no explanation of what type of entertainment this was. We weren't even sure if it was live entertainment. It was right in the casino where we never ventured except to purchase a used casino deck of cards at the lottery booth for only $1. We discovered it after exiting the Mainstage show one evening and this ended up being our favorite night time place to go for drinks and fabulous music. This is the venue to be at to enjoy 2 pianists dueling out tunes from the 60's, 70's and All Requests later in the evening. Now that should of been the newsletter write up. We absolutely loved it! Lincoln Center stage: This was a small group of young Performing Arts graduates playing stringed instruments with a pianist performing Beethoven to Buble. We never saw a full performance but stopped for a bit to hear them play one afternoon and they were a fantastic, extremely talented group of musicians. Overall Evening Entertainment rating 8/10 Drink Package: ( make sure you continually check your onboard account for accuracy) You would think that your drink package regulations, rules, and restrictions should be basic knowledge by onboard staff especially by those who work behind the customer service desk. To me it's fairly simple....we purchased a basic alcoholic beverage package online which included gratuities ($206. ea USD for 4 night cruise) which allowed us to have ANY drink on the menu valued at $9 or less. Anything over $9 we would have to pay the full price for, not the difference in price like you're able to do on Celebrity & NCL. There was no shortage of drinks (except wine-very few at $9/glass) that fell within this price range which was excellent. So did this end up being so straightforward? Oh no, why would it? After signing into the free onboard Navigator App ( which is excellent by the way) to view our shipboard expense account I noticed we've been charged the full price for every drink with an added gratuity! At first I thought they're just listing every drink we've ordered and it will be reconciled later. So off to the customer service desk to double check. " NO" says the young man at customer service. "You have to pay full price for all those drinks". " You see because you ordered a drink for $9 you have to mentally calculate what the gratuity will be, which now brings the drink total to $10.28 which exceeds your $9 package allotment, so really you should be ordering drinks at about $7.75." WHAT??? First of all there are no drinks on the menu for that price and second it's not my responsibility to mentally calculate the gratuity which by the way I already paid for. Then I mentioned that I specifically asked the bartender if one of the drinks I ordered was included, and she said it was. He asked me what her name is so she can be reprimanded for giving out the wrong advice! He then gave us a printout of the drink package policy and told us we obviously need to pay heed to the 'fine print'. His co-worker also peered at our account and said "yeah that's how it works". Frustrated and not wanting to waste anymore time there we questioned a few bartenders about the policy and told them our predicament. They told us exactly what we thought... that we're entitled to ANY drink on ANY menu that's $9 or less which is exactly what the policy states. No gratuity should be added as it's already been calculated into the package price. The next morning back to the service desk we go ( not how I want to be spending this short cruise). Thankfully the other person there spoke to the bar manager, reversed all our charges and apologized for the inconvenience, and thankfully we checked our shipboard account on a regular basis which I advise everyone to do. My advice to HAL is coach your staff so they at least understand and are on the same page for your basic policies especially on something so simple like the beverage packages. Overall: A beautiful boat, but nothing grandeur. Aside from the evening entertainment we found this to be a bit of a boring cruise. Few were under the age of 70 so there was no shortage of canes, walkers and scooters. Kindness and patience is a must. I personally don't want to fill my days with acupuncture appointments, reflexology, and how to reduce swollen ankles and then pay a bomb for their so called remedies. Overall we found the daytime activities quite boring...I love cards but don't play bridge, however we did enjoy Americas Test Kitchen in the afternoons. Earlier I mentioned that there was no music piped into the MDR at any time. Actually it was nowhere during the day anywhere...not in the observation lounge while enjoying a coffee, not in the buffet having a meal, not in the atrium area waiting in line at the customer service desk...nope I listened for it but no daytime music whatsoever except at 2pm for a Lincoln Stage performance which was live. Overall if you want a completely relaxing do nothing cruise this is for you, if you want excitement and a more youthful variety of things to do cruise on another line. Overall rating 7/10 Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Having cruised three times prior to this trip, we were aware of what to expect. Holland America had no surprises, other that the fact they upgraded us two days before departure. The Alaska cruise is so good because it is so close for ... Read More
Having cruised three times prior to this trip, we were aware of what to expect. Holland America had no surprises, other that the fact they upgraded us two days before departure. The Alaska cruise is so good because it is so close for us. A four-five our drive to Vancouver and leaving our car in the Cruise Ship parking, the price is very reasonable, if you pre-book. Both embarkation and disembarkation we very smooth, as in the past, these folks know how to handle large crowds. Prior to booking I had investigated the trip, with my travel agent's assistance the trip planning was a snap. Our three previous cruises where with the HAL Volendam, which we were thrilled with. We actually found that the food provided on the Nieuw Amsterdam was good, we felt it was a step below that offered on the Volendam. In particular the Pinnacle has never changed its menu over the past three years, and the quality was below that of the Volendam. The night shows in the theatre were as expected, the magician and comedian were OK. The crew singers and dancers were outstanding - they had a very professional show. Crew members throughout the ship were ready to give a greeting and smile if you make eye contact. I understand this is a problem with some people - to them I say "get a life!" The dining room servers were above standard and exceeded our expectations. From UCi to Adi to Edgar, thanks you for making our travels a pure joy, even though we didn't find the food level to be as good as the Volendam. That is not to say the food was not good, just a bit lower in our estimation for quality. Would I take this cruise again - in a heartbeat - we love the program. Holland America has made us cruisers. We have people who have travelled throughout the world, and always by air travel. As two seniors, we've slowed down and cruising allows us to see those places we've not seen before, or in case of Alaska cruises, something we can do time and again. Thanks HAL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
After three cruises on the HAL Volendam we decided to change ships and booked our 4th Alaska cruise on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam. We had booked an Oceanview cabin but two days before our sailing, we were informed by email from HAL that we ... Read More
After three cruises on the HAL Volendam we decided to change ships and booked our 4th Alaska cruise on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam. We had booked an Oceanview cabin but two days before our sailing, we were informed by email from HAL that we had a change in cabin. When I went to the Check-in page I noticed that our cabin had been changed from the Main Deck to the 8th and our cabin changed to a Balcony Cabin. When I contacted our tour agent she told us we’d been granted a no cost to us upgrade, and that we’d retain all of our benefits. This cruise included a drink package, which allowed us up to fifteen drinks per day with a limit of $9.00 a drink. As this was a free package even if we did not use the full number of drinks per day, it was a wonderful addition because all beverages, were included. Even a bottle of water would constitute one drink. In addition a dinner for two was included in the package in the Pinnacle Grill Embarkation was an easy exercise, after dropping off our luggage we parked in the Cruise Ship parking area. Booking the parking ahead of arrival is a money saver. Keeping track of the parking stall is a very important fact of life. There is a period of line-ups but these folks have been doing this for some time, and the whole operation moves very quickly. We noticed that the Nieuw Amsterdam was larger than the Volendam, our favourite watering hole was the Ocean Bar, which on the Volendam was more intimate. However that did not detract from the Ocean Bar, it was larger but had the same feel and we thoroughly enjoyed our visits. We found the bar staff in all the bars very attentive and pleasant. Throughout the ship we found the crew to be very friendly, they were quick with a greeting and smile. Our cabin stewards, Dang & Ang always greeted us by our names which we found amazing knowing how many different people they must serve in each week. We also found our MDR Waiters (Uci and Adi) and Wine Steward (Edgar) made our meal times memorable. If we had a disappointment it was that we found the meals in the MDR not of the quality that we had come to expect from our cruises in the Volendam. The food was good, but just not quite up to the level of the Volendam. The same was true of our visit to the Pinnacle Grill. It has not changed its menu in three years, and again not to the standard we were used to from the Volendam. While we didn’t partake of the buffet much, we noticed a better selection of food than we remember from the Volendam. The dining area was larger and there did not seem to be the crowding we had observed previously. We did use the Dive in which again provided excellent hamburgers and hot dogs. New to us was the Pizza Bar, it was truly a great addition to the Lido Deck eating establishments. Located on the Seaview deck we had a wonderful lunch. Both the Dive in and Pizza Bar give you a buzzer that alerts you when you order is ready. We will not discuss the shore excursions, we came for the cruise and that’s what we budgeted for. In that consideration our cruise was a success, would we do it again on a HAL cruise ship, in a heartbeat. Thank you Holland American for again exceeding out expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because it was HAL and all at sea, no land. We had done the land and sea Alaska cruise a year ago with HAL. Didn't like it. Too much land. Embarkation and debarkation were fast and easy. Neptune suite ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was HAL and all at sea, no land. We had done the land and sea Alaska cruise a year ago with HAL. Didn't like it. Too much land. Embarkation and debarkation were fast and easy. Neptune suite cruisers get a little extra attention. Vancouver customs was GNARLY!. Only 2 agents for a couple of thousand cruisers. Computers were down. Should have gone out of Seattle and not Vancouver to avoid customs. Main dining room food was excellent. Our waiters, Agung and Edi were two of the best waiters we have ever had with HAL. Tamarind was my wife's choice and she managed somehow to drag me with her. Food was wonderful. Neat dining experience. I recommend it. Best excursion was Tracy Arm Fijord and Glaciers. Boarded a head boat directly off the Nieu Amsterdam. Lots of icebergs. We got close to Swayer and South Sawyer Glaciers. On the way back to Juneau a pod of Orcas swam next to the boat. Two swam under the boat. Glacier Bay was also wonderful Ship managed to get real close for about an hour. No big bergs blocking our way. Weather cooperated for most of the trip. Only one rainy day which happened to be a sea day. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Meals were good, although some of the restaurants were extra, but we weren't told until the end when they asked for the room card. Poor communication. We don't mind paying for drinks (alcohol), but coffee? Daily hotel ... Read More
Meals were good, although some of the restaurants were extra, but we weren't told until the end when they asked for the room card. Poor communication. We don't mind paying for drinks (alcohol), but coffee? Daily hotel charge (tip fee) seemed high at $13.50US per day per person. Pay the staff more! Have it included in the price of the cruise. We always tip the staff and we did this trip, only to discover at the end that we were charged the above amount daily. This cruise is all about shopping and buying, which we were not interested in doing. The uniformed woman who is in charge of the diningroom staff referred to them as her children, which we found rather demeaning as these men and women are adults often with families. She is not their momma as she stated. This is our first and last Holland American cruise. We do not mind paying for an all inclusive cruise, just don't nickle and dime us for little extras! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were on the June 30, 2018 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam from Vancouver to the inside passage (including Glacier Bay). This was our third time on Holland America and our second Alaska cruise (the other in 2000 on Princess). Bottomline, ... Read More
We were on the June 30, 2018 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam from Vancouver to the inside passage (including Glacier Bay). This was our third time on Holland America and our second Alaska cruise (the other in 2000 on Princess). Bottomline, I wouldn't hesitate booking this ship/itinerary based on our experience. For the most part, it was all very good. We did our own air and stayed at the Auberge Vancouver both pre and post stay. I would recommend this hotel for this purpose. With four-wheel luggage, it was easy to walk from the hotel to the cruise check in - even in a slight misty rain. The hotel is in a tall mixed-use building that includes condos, retail, and the hotel. There is no room service, and the free breakfast offered is limited--but for cost/convenience it was the right choice for us. (The others being the far pricier Fairmont or Pan Pacific.) Front desk folks were very helpful. Embarkation was very confusing to get our luggage dropped off. Granted we tried to board early and the offloading was still going on. Based on what pier workers told us there isn't a set place for each ship/sailing to drop off luggage - which sounds crazy given this ship makes the same trip every week. But once we found the location to drop off the luggage the rest was pretty well managed by HA. Just bring your patience with you. We were onboard by 11:15a or so, and our cabin was ready before noon. Lunch in the main dining room was the way to go, as the Lido was a zoo. We rented two Lido Cabanas for this trip (two couples), which was a great choice. It gave us a place to hang out and our steward was excellent. Granted we tipped him well at the start and throughout the cruise, but he waited on us like kings. For Alaska, I would do this again in a heartbeat. (Cost $199 per cabana for the week.) I didn't see anyone in the Retreat Cabanas all week. Food in the main dining room was very good. We ate at the Tamarid the first night (catch the first night 'special' when you get onboard at 25% discount.) The Pinnacle was good, but not as good as our memory of the meal on the Eurodam a few years ago. The Pizza, burgers, and hot dogs all got good reviews from our group. I think the best options for Lido is to get a customized food (ommlete, salad, etc.) made to order. Otherwise, the food we had was just fair. Be sure to at least order coffee via room service, as it is so nice to sit outside sipping your coffee in the morning. (Room Service breakfast was very good too.) Entertainment: We only saw the Billboard night production, which was just OK - but less than you will see on most ships. We missed the illusionist and comedian, so can't comment on that. The orchestra played the score of an Alaska nature movie one night, and it was very good. BB Kings and the dueling pianos were both excellent. We went to the pianos (Billboard) every night. Lots of fun. I also loved America's Test Kitchen classes they had on sea days. The bar drinks were disappointing, and never found the bar or bartender that could whip up something great. Our best bar experience by far was in the Tamirid Bar--as far as quality of drinks - but it was also the worst service. We finally just started going to the bar ourselves rather than have the bar waiter take our order. The Tamirid Bar isn't crowded and has incredible views. The Crows Nest has been ruined with all the new junk they have up there. This space in the past was our 'go to spot' in the past, but not anymore. #fail Holland America. Drink specials were only in two bars at 4pm and 11:30pm - BOGO +$2. Why bother having one at 11:30p on a HA ship?? As many have commented, everything seemed to be a ploy to get you to spend more money--which I don't think is unique to Holland America. The info left in your rooms about buying jewelry was overwhelming and the only port info was a push to go to cruise stores in port. Sad it has come to that. Our shore excursions (not with the cruise line) were with Harv and Marv in Juneau in the 6 person boat. Excellent!! We did a taxi to Mendenhall in Juneau. Excellent!! We did the White Pass (one way to Frasier) in Skagway and stopped off at the Skagway Brewery for a post-excursion drink. Both were great. All that said, I would go again tomorrow -- and would recommend this ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We were on a 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Vancouver Alaska cruise. I guess we hit the jackpot with the weather...most days in the 70's This was our first cruise so we chose to book a inside room, as a couple we were Pleased ... Read More
We were on a 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Vancouver Alaska cruise. I guess we hit the jackpot with the weather...most days in the 70's This was our first cruise so we chose to book a inside room, as a couple we were Pleased with it, room , storage, bath etc were very good. The steward service was excellent. Food service was great , only complaint was no service from approx. midnight till 6.00 a.m., only room service. The ship had about 2,000 passengers on board never seemed to be over crowded. Would highly recommend this ship, for a first time cruise or other. The room we selected was because we were first time cruisers, we were concerned About sea sickness which we didn' experience, but. The weather was good. Cabin was very quiet, close to rear elevators which were fast. The ship had many viewing points either covered or open deck. Decor was top notch been done over a year ago. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We arrived in Vancouver a couple of days before commencing our cruise, what a fabulous city . Easy to get round by their Hop On/ Hop Off buses, people very friendly and helpful. Visited Victoria and the Butchart Gardens which are well ... Read More
We arrived in Vancouver a couple of days before commencing our cruise, what a fabulous city . Easy to get round by their Hop On/ Hop Off buses, people very friendly and helpful. Visited Victoria and the Butchart Gardens which are well worth a trip Arrived at the embarkation point by cab from our centrally positioned hotel and we just followed the directions given by the staff, a very smooth operation to board the ship. The ship was very impressive , never having cruised before we did not know what to expecthowever it was a great experience . The cabin was very comfortable, we ate in the main dining room , the food on board was excellent, our waiter on table 313 Tom was excellent and Edgar the wine waiter also . There were so many activities going on and the port excursions were very well organised. The service from the staff was faultless they were so friendly and helpful There were several options for entertainment and some very interesting talks .The scenery on the way to Alaska and return journey was superb and we were very lucky with good weather .Disembarkation was also easy and we were soon on our way to another part of our tripacross Canada Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Pre cruise. I flew to san diego on norwegian air and another sadly i did not know i had to pre book meals so all i9 had for 9 hrs was snacks! I stayed in a hostel to save money which was ok.i did maritime museum,san diego zoo and ... Read More
Pre cruise. I flew to san diego on norwegian air and another sadly i did not know i had to pre book meals so all i9 had for 9 hrs was snacks! I stayed in a hostel to save money which was ok.i did maritime museum,san diego zoo and midway. Embarkation. I left hostel 1000 and was surprised to go onboard by 1130 and cabin was ready and luch was in the dining room. Cabin. I originally had an out6side guarantee cabin then 1 day before cruise got a upgrade to balcony. A quuen bed was very comfortable. Shop. Very few models of NIEUW AMSTERDAM were left plus small ones but not much else Entertainment. Really good shows,a singer/comedian,singers ands dancers and a fiddle player/comedian were really good. Ports of call. Victoria(vancover island) did not book any excursions as very pricey onboard. I got theb shuttle bus into town and after finding bus trips were$50-$70 to get to the beuchart gardens i went there by local bus. Disembarkation. Pretty good did not have to wait long to get off ship. Post cruise. I stayed in a hostel in vancover much better than the 1st one and went a few places. All in all. Really good cruise as i always want to go on her. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Saw this cruise on a tv show with Jane McDonald and thought it looked very good. Decided to do it so booked it and also had 3 nights in Vancouver to get over jetlag and make Vancouver part of the holiday ... Read More
Saw this cruise on a tv show with Jane McDonald and thought it looked very good. Decided to do it so booked it and also had 3 nights in Vancouver to get over jetlag and make Vancouver part of the holiday .We never did any of the excursions offered as we found them to be a little too expensive so did our own thing when in port and still saw a lot .Highlight was Glacier bay it was awesome and seeing a glacier calving was a special treat.The crew were very efficient and polite and the cabin attendant made us very welcome and each day we had a different towel animal .The best was the towel monkey which he put on a hanger and hung it just inside the doorway for us to get a surprise when we went to our cabin .Food was excellent and we only used the buffet for main meals and breakfast .we used the burger bar a few times and the pizza made to order .We had stateroom on deck 5 at the rear of the ship which we found preferable to a side cabin for views .we would go on this ship again anytime there was enough to see and do during our time onboard and the theatre entertainment was very good . Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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