119 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Senior Cruise Reviews

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
Excellent accommodations in Neptune Suite 8162 (aft). Room stewards Agus and Putu were awesome! Concierge perks with Neptune level accommodation worth the extra money. Main dining room food was excellent. Dined at a table of 6 with ... Read More
Excellent accommodations in Neptune Suite 8162 (aft). Room stewards Agus and Putu were awesome! Concierge perks with Neptune level accommodation worth the extra money. Main dining room food was excellent. Dined at a table of 6 with great tablemates from Canada and Louisiana. Don't ask for a table for two. The experience of meeting other passengers is worth breaking out of your comfort zone for. Servers Libra and Hendri were also excellent. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The filet mignon was perfect. Worth the extra surcharge for dinner. We chose Holland America Line for the classic cruise line atmosphere and adult settings. Ambiance was great with the decor and art pieces throughout the ship. Don't miss the BBC Planet Earth live performance accompanied by the Lincoln Center Stage musical performers. Wish it was more than once. Took advantage of breakfast room service on the veranda every morning before shore excursions. No searching for a table in the Lido Market during peak hours. Seas were too choppy to take the tender boats to Half Moon Cay, so that was the only dissapointment of the trip. We had heard so many good things about the island and were looking forward to the excursion. Looking forward to future cruises on HAL exploring other itenieries. Signed, Future 5 Star Mariner Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Positives: Service was excellent!! We arrived on the ship at 2pm, no lines and very smooth check in process. My husband and I loved our cabin, and our steward was exceptional. BB King's show was fabulous. The band and singers were ... Read More
Positives: Service was excellent!! We arrived on the ship at 2pm, no lines and very smooth check in process. My husband and I loved our cabin, and our steward was exceptional. BB King's show was fabulous. The band and singers were great. Danced to great Soul and Jazz numbers each night. Comedy show had us laughing out loud. Very, very funny! Plyed to the age group in the audience. This was an "Oprah Cruise". It was fun meeting the author of the latest book club entry, "An American Marriage". (Good book!) Negatives: Through no fault of the Captain's, we were unable to port in Amber Cove due to rough seas. We did have a nice day at sea though. The Billboard Bar is situated right next to the casino, we found it distracting as we listened to the piano players (who were very, very good). Food at the buffet was fine, nothing special. We ate in the dining room each night, this is where some improvement is needed in our opinion. Pasta choices were bland - steak was tough and left a lot to be desired. Other dishes were just so-so. Disembarking: We had a flight at 10:30am out of FLL - we were a little worried as they do not suggest you book a flight before 11:00am. We asked for "expedited" disembarking. Carried off our own luggage (kept in our room the night before), were off the ship by 7:45 grabbed a taxi (many waiting as we were one of the first off), 15 min ride to the airport. Fare was $17,00. We arrived at our gate at 8;30- 90 minutes before our flight began boarding at 10am. Plenty of time for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We cruised the Western Carib. on the NA from 2/24/18 - 3/3/18. This was our second cruise with HA and our first time to the Carib. The entire ship must have been updated recently because all the carpeting looked fresh, the decor was ... Read More
We cruised the Western Carib. on the NA from 2/24/18 - 3/3/18. This was our second cruise with HA and our first time to the Carib. The entire ship must have been updated recently because all the carpeting looked fresh, the decor was modern and appealing and all public restrooms very nicely updated. The ship has a very Classic look. On our cruise I had heard that it was not sold out and I believe I heard there were around 2200 cruisers on board and 865 crew members. We visited the Crows nest frequently when at sea and loved the very comfortable lounge chairs provided for viewing the sea. There is a Starbucks in the lounge as well as EXC tours. We dined mostly in the main dining room and Lido area but did do the Pinnacle Grill once. Generally the food was very good but towards the end we agreed that the Lido was probably using up whatever they had. We did not attend the 2 Gala dinners (on sea days) because it seemed too formal for us. Many people wore gowns and suits and we were simply on vacation and dressed casual. We did not attend any of the stage shows but did attend some of the classical music shows held in some of the small venues. We also missed BB King's. The casino is small and smoke free. We felt that the overall service provided by the crew members was very good. They were attentive, courteous and did their best. I did observe several passengers complain to crew members because they had to wait in line to obtain tender tickets. WOW!!! these ugly passengers couldn't wait in a line for 10 minutes???? I actually apologized for how rude these overweight bullies acted. I also overheard a lady passenger rudely comment to our PG waiter when she was placing her order on how they needed to be served immediately and how she felt that HA needed to bring on more help so that service would be prompt. I couldn't tell what nationality she was but it sure was not necessary to complain. I highly recommend HA as it fits our age and budget categories. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Because it fit in with a followup to our WONDERFUL ROYAL CARIBBEAN HARMONY OF THE SEAS the prior week! --1st big thing is 900 gospel singers on the ship that they couldn't totally fill leaving people like us as LEFTOVERS. They got ... Read More
Because it fit in with a followup to our WONDERFUL ROYAL CARIBBEAN HARMONY OF THE SEAS the prior week! --1st big thing is 900 gospel singers on the ship that they couldn't totally fill leaving people like us as LEFTOVERS. They got early entertainment, ours was 9:00 p.m. We were not told this was the scenario when we booked directly with them. I asked the front desk on the 1st day WHY we were not told! NO ANSWER! --Ship stores closed for renovation & improvements. Even when they reopened they were not much to look at. --Ports were 3 beach type ports: Coco Cay, Labadee, Amber Cove (closed that day due to waves) and Cozumel. Coco Cay was fabulous! Cozumel mediocre. Labadee, been before, but okay for a beach day. Really wanted to see the new Amber Cove development, but no go. --Food was poor in dining room compared to Harmony. One day there was nothing on the main menu we would eat so opted for a 3rd day of salmon. The best thing there was our table partners whom we had just met. --Lunch and Breakfast Buffet upstairs okay, but not the best and many repeat items. Service for meals mostly good. --Ship full of old people. I am old too, but not decrepit. Not a young person's cruise. --Entertainment couldn't touch Royal Caribbean performances. Offers after dinner were cheesy games in the lounges, guy and girl singer that couldn't sing the greatest, a nature movie, dancing on the stage, a gal that impersonated other singers was not bad, but did it 2 nights, dance routine we skipped. Just wasn't worth it. Been on 20+cruises mostly with Royal Caribbean and this one line will never be on my list again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Nieuw Amsterdam – 10 Days December 20, 2017 We boarded Nieuw Amsterdam fresh out of dry dock. A comfortable size ship of about 2,000 passengers, just about right for our needs. I've never cared for the monster ships ... Read More
Nieuw Amsterdam – 10 Days December 20, 2017 We boarded Nieuw Amsterdam fresh out of dry dock. A comfortable size ship of about 2,000 passengers, just about right for our needs. I've never cared for the monster ships accommodating 5,000 passenger that have become the norm of late. This was a 17-day cruise, with multiple length cruises all rolled into 17 days. Some disembarked after 3 days, ours was a 10 day, and after the initial 3 days many people boarded for 7 days, while some stayed for the full 17 days. Boarding was fairly smooth, and we were in our stateroom about 30 minutes after arrival at the pier. The stateroom was comfortable and well laid out, making efficient use of all available space. The staff were, as is usual on Holland America, (and most other cruise lines), courteous, friendly and ever helpful. Every request was met with cheerful compliance. We ate most of our dinners in the main dining room. The food selection and quality was very good and the waiters, like everyone else on board, were eager to ensure that the we had just about everything we asked for. However, the designers of this public space need a little help in their chosen profession. This is the first cruise ship dining room where it was impossible to carry on a normal conversation with anyone at the same table. One had to literally shout to be heard by the person sitting beside you. Ambiance rating; "0". The food and service in the buffet restaurant were more than satisfactory, and something a little different, we were served at each food station. There was very little self-service. We tried the hot dogs and hamburgs served outside on deck 9. The only thing I really cared for were the fries. They were served hot and crisp. The hot dogs and hamburgs served to me, (despite being advertised as made to order), were barely warm with a cold slice of cheese on my cheeseburger. Even MacDonald’s manages to serve their fast food hot. The entertainment in the main theater was a mixed bag, some excellent, some good, and the Holland America singers and dancers seemed unable to connect with their audience much of the time. The starting times for these shows were inconsistent, sometimes beginning at 8:00 P.M. and sometimes at 9:00 or 9:30 P.M. SOME NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT: The first 4 days aboard, our toilet malfunctioned about half the time. Finally, after leaving a lengthy note with Guest Relations, describing the symptoms, the third attempt at repairs was successful. I usually monitor my on-board account, and it’s a good thing or we would have paid over $100. more than we owed. To give just one example, at the same time we were having lunch aboard Nieuw Amsterdam, we were simultaneously consuming three beers on Half Moon Cay. Just a word to the wise; Monitor your on-board charges or you may be making a donation to your favorite cruise line. In fairness to Nieuw Amsterdam, Guest Relations did send us a nice bottle of wine to help ease the troubles of having to visit them multiple times to resolve our toilet and accounting issues. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was our first cruise with Holland America. We had cabin 5089, our first time with a balcony. The cabin was nice, lots of storage and plenty of room to hang clothes. We were located midship, so it was very convenient getting around. ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Holland America. We had cabin 5089, our first time with a balcony. The cabin was nice, lots of storage and plenty of room to hang clothes. We were located midship, so it was very convenient getting around. The ship was done in mostly earth tones, nothing garish. We liked the size of the ship, very easy to manage, and no huge crowds. We arrived at the port at about 1:30, and we just walked in, no lines! Definitely happy we arrived a bit later and saved us from long lines. Parking was a bit of a walk to the ship. We were unfamiliar with Port Everglades, but in the future will do more research on parking. When we reached the ship, we saw a parking garage right by the ship. I don't know why the parking booth person didn't tell us about it, sending us instead to a lot with a big walk to the ship. We had requested 2nd seating at dinner and a table for 2, and we were given our choices. There were quite a few two-top tables in the dining room. Our table was on the upper level dining room. We were a little disappointed with the food. My husband's strip steak was well done instead of the medium he requested. My rib roast was medium rare instead of the rare I requested. Portions were a bit small. The soups were delicious! Appetizers were delicious, though small. I am gluten-free, and my waiter made sure my selections were agreeable. Entertainment was ok, nothing special. I enjoyed the husband and wife team who did a show on Beatles music. They knew every song the Beatles recorded. The comedian on another night was great, laughed so hard at his jokes. The other two nights were not our taste. We left one show with singers and dancers from the ship. The last night we just went to our cabin to pack. I really enjoyed America's Test Kitchen. I've been a fan of the program, and they didn't disappoint on the ship. Interesting presentations. We didn't take any shore excursions, having been to Nassau a few times already. We don't drink, so we didn't go to any of the bars. My husband enjoyed a pizza for lunch one day. The gluten-free selections in the Lido buffet were ok. I enjoyed having afternoon tea, and although I couldn't enjoy most of the offerings, the waiters made sure I had a couple of gluten-free selections. Service was okay, nothing outstanding. We've had better food and service on other cruise lines. Since we drove to the port, we waited for a later disembark time. There was a lot of confusion in trying to leave the parking lot. A booth had a green light, but no attendant. We and another passenger called the posted phone number, and were told a person would be there in five minutes. It took about 15--20 minutes. On the whole, we enjoyed the cruise, it was not rowdy and it was relaxing. We would not take Holland America again, as we thought Holland America didn't "wow" us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We were on the Oosterdam March 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise so we chose Holland America again. We had all of our meals at the Lido Buffet and the food was repetitious and sometimes limited selections i.e. one evening the ... Read More
We were on the Oosterdam March 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise so we chose Holland America again. We had all of our meals at the Lido Buffet and the food was repetitious and sometimes limited selections i.e. one evening the vegetables were pureed parsnips or Brussel sprouts. More often or not the baked potatoes were very dry as though they were leftovers from the previous night with different a topping added. The beautiful floral arrangements and the live orchids that were on the Oosterdam (which we enjoyed and appreciated very much) were absent on the Nieuw Amsterdam. There were orchids on the tables but a third of them were wilted and sparse of blooms. The ceiling of the Lido buffet leaked causing the staff to mop and vacuum and place caution wet floor sighs around. There were posted pool rules, no infants in diapers, no jumping or diving from the sides of the pools but these were not enforced, besides the children jumping in there was also an adult mother and there was an infant clearly in diapers in the pool several times. The handrails were extremely worn in some areas. The staff did their best to keep things looking as well as they could. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
General Please see my thorough review of the 9/23/2017 Niew Amsterdam 7 day Alaska cruise, right before this 5 day Repositioning cruise, for review comments relating to Enrichment Activities, Embarkation, Public Rooms, Service, Dining, ... Read More
General Please see my thorough review of the 9/23/2017 Niew Amsterdam 7 day Alaska cruise, right before this 5 day Repositioning cruise, for review comments relating to Enrichment Activities, Embarkation, Public Rooms, Service, Dining, Entertainment, and Onboard Experience which were identical for both cruises. This review will mainly concern the differences between the two cruises, comments related to the Verandah cabin (vs the Signature Suite we had on the Alaska portion) and the shore excursions. This cruise followed the last Alaska cruise of the season for Niew Amsterdam, which is the cruise we really wanted. This repositioning cruise was in lieu of flying home to Southern California. We cruised to San Diego and then we rented a car at the airport in San Diego and did a 1 ½ hour drive home to Orange County and turned the car in at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana. The 7 day Alaska portion of our cruise was in a Signature Suite. We switched to a Verandah for the second 5 day repositioning cruise, which was serious cheap ($499), so got a back-to-back Suite vs Verandah comparison on HAL. Embarkation Embarkation at Vancouver was very smooth for the repositioning cruise, but it had been an unmitigated disaster for the Alaska cruise before it. This was because three ships embarked Vancouver the day of the Alaska cruise, but only our ship for the Repositioning cruise. Please see my thorough review of the 9/23/2017 Niew Amsterdam 7 day Alaska cruise for details and tips on the Embarkation process in Vancouver. Value for Money The repositioning cruise was very inexpensive, $499 each for 5 days. Overall value for money was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Long Review 5 Day Vancouver-San Diego Nieuw Amsterdam Cabin Category VF GTY Assigned cabin 4173 (Starboard Aft) Embarkation in Vancouver ***** Easy We flew into YVR Vancouver International and took the SkyTrain ... Read More
Long Review 5 Day Vancouver-San Diego Nieuw Amsterdam Cabin Category VF GTY Assigned cabin 4173 (Starboard Aft) Embarkation in Vancouver ***** Easy We flew into YVR Vancouver International and took the SkyTrain “Waterfront” line to downtown Vancouver. $15 CAN approx for 2. Very easy way to get to Canada Place. A short 2 block walk to the cruise ship terminal - passing right by a handy wine shop to purchase our carry on wine allowance. Arriving in the terminal we proceeded through the maze of security and documentation checks with ease. We arrived around 12:30 pm and were onboard in less than 20 minutes. One of the first things we noticed upon boarding was that the staff onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam was noticeably more welcoming than the last cruise we took on NCL. Even more so than our last Holland America cruise a few years ago on this very same ship. You will never pass a crew member of HAL of any ranking anywhere in the ship without them greeting you with a good morning or evening. Cabin 4173 - This was our first guaranty cabin experience. We had no choice in matter. The 5 day segment did not offer specific cabin assignment at the time of booking. Our cabin was assigned approximately 1 week before sailing. We did write to HAL immediately after receiving our assigned cabin requesting a cabin on the starboard side and we were fortunate to receive a confirmation the next day that our cabin was changed. I’m sure this is not always possible, but we were happy to be moved from a port forward cabin to an aft starboard cabin heading Southbound to be able to enjoy the sunsets from our balcony. Cabin 4173 is almost at the aft end of the ship, but it’s close to an elevator and while not overly spacious and lacking HAL’s signature little bath/shower combination in this category - we just had a shower - it was more than adequate for our needs over 5 days. Cabin Attendent Our cabin attendent “Novi” found us wandering down the hall toward our cabin and quickly informed us that he would be putting our beds into the proper configuation after we put our bags away and headed out for lunch on the Lido deck. First Meal HAL Tradition After unloading our bags in our cabin we headed up the Lido deck for a bite to eat. One of HAL’s best quick lunches is the “Dive-In” located aft. Order your burger, they hand you a pager and a few minutes later you are enjoying a delicious burger, chicken sandwich or gourmet dog. This is becoming our ritual on HAL on embarkation day. Mandatory Emergency Drill Nothing to be alarmed about - unless you have sensitive ears. The blasts in the event of an emergency could wake a hibernating bear on another continent! Mustering was done quickly and efficiently and we were not required to bring our life jackets to the drill. Sail Away It was raining in Vancouver so we gathered near the pool area of the Lido deck and partook in a sail away margarita in the souvenir glass...(plastic nowadays). No live music - just canned tunes and a little too loud for our taste, but apparently loud music makes people order more drinks! Dining Reservations and Beverage Packages Prior to sailing we made (and paid for) reservations at Tamarind one evening. Once onboard we made another reservation for the Pinnacle Grill on the one Gala night. We also prepaid for a wine package. We chose the 3 bottle Admiral wine package for our sailing. We did not buy the all-inclusive beverage package for this short cruise. We just signed by the drink. Our bar bill (apart from the 3 bottle wine package we prepaid) was $261 - that breaks down to $26 per person per day. The cost of the beverage package is approx $50 per person per day and both have to have it -so in this instance we did better on our own. We had a few welcome aboard cocktails, usually a cocktail in the evening and occasionally a cocktail at a show or a Bloody Mary in the morning. Another thing is that this cruise was not a warm weather cruise with many sea days laying by the pool all day, which tends to jack up the amount of libation we would do. Entertainment around the ship Normally we love the Adagio duos. This sailing had a pair of handsome gentlemen vs the gorgeous ladies playing the piano and violin classical “hits” and favorites. This duo played without any connection to the music to each other or to the audience. The second night I jokingly asked them to “smile” and the one on violin obliged me with a smirk, then went back to looking like secret service agents. Maybe I have been watching too many American talent shows, but I think you have to do some degree of selling the audience by connecting to them or to your music. Cheers to the bartenders! From the margarita to the sidecar to the gin and tonic and vodka martini ... I think HAL does a good job of making their drinks worth the price. Comedian Mark Pitta Our first show in the theatre was stand up. An unknown to us. We went to the late show and I think the theatre was about 2/3 full. Some jokes were good and stuck with you. Nothing offensive, but nothing that knocked me off my chair either. Enjoyable. 1000 Steps Our second show in the theatre on Gala night. A song and dance show featuring some great dancing with enjoyable choreography, talented dancers and good singers. Not HAL’s strongest suit, but enjoyable nevertheless. Piano Bar Always lively and full no matter what sailing or demographic is on board! The singer this week was not our favorite, but did the job he was paid to do... keep the place full! Dining: Main dining room. Without a reservation it can be up to a 20 minute wait with a pager during peak times. The main dining room menu is adequate and had some variety, but nothing really special. Service was good but rushed as always. The wine stewards are very rushed in their order taking and delivery of the wine. Lack of personal attention when you don’t have a set dining time and have the same waiter all week. We had the Admiral wine package and the wines were ordinary. I think next time we will opt to bring on our own wine for a corkage fee or purchase wine by the bottle off the wine list (different from that of the package). Lido. Buffet. Great for breakfast and lunch. I love the Congee porridge in the morning or having an omelette made to order. For lunch there is great Asian food and a wonderful salad bar - most items served by the staff to reduce the chance of a norovirus outbreak. There were many types of other foods hot and cold available here - I only mentioned what I tried. The ice cream was not very good. PIzza. Aft deck Did not try Pinnacle Grill & Gala Night $35 upcharge. Dined here one evening on Gala night, however not many people were dressed for a gala! I’m seeing fewer and fewer tuxedos and evening wear. I love dressing up on cruises, but I have to say my husband was thrilled to just bring a dress shirt and sports coat this trip vs penguin attire.. shoes, cumber bun, tie, cuff links, etc. We boarded with only a carry on this trip! ..Back to the Pinnacle food and serivce. Far exceeds the food and service of the main dining room and there is no rush in the service. If you want a great steak, a slower meal this is the place. Sel de Mar (Pinnacle restaurant changes over 2 nights a week to this French Seafood dining experience for a hefty $49 per person charge) We did not dine here Tamarind My birthday dinner was here. Our second experience at the Tamarind on this ship. I found my first experience to be better, I think because it was less crowded and earlier the last time on a previous sailing. We did not get a good explanation of how the menu works this time. Last time we got hot towels before dinner. Our servers were adorable and attentive. The food in here is amazing - just be prepared to think outside the box and try new things. I think that is a safe statement on dining everywhere on the ship. Most of us, as a rule do not dine with menus as elegant as even the main dining room at home. But the dainty little portions and tidbits of appetizers take some getting used to in order to really savor the delicacy of them all. Lastly - our server forgot to recognize my birthday as my husband had requested so he told the maitre’d on the way out. But 30 minutes later back at our cabin - both our servers showed up knocking at the door with a birthday cake singing to me, asking to come in to give me a hug .. I was already in bed! Canaletto Italian fare in a cordoned off section off the Lido buffet area. I don’t like the location of this venue. It’s only a $15 upcharge but the location is a turn off to me. Didn’t dine here, but the menu looks good and we had it on our last cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. America’s Test Kitchen Something new on HAL. A cooking demonstration like the TV show with great tips and recipes. Only drawback is no tasting - the HAL exhibit kitchen is apparently not up to FDA standard of safety to pass out samples! BBQ Lounge (America’s Test Kitchen by day) Hands down this is HAL’s best entertainment on the ship. Great music for dancing and a stroll down memory lane of R and B music. The band: drums, keyboard, bass, guitar, trumpet, trombone and vocalists are amazing and entertaining and true musicians who often are strangers to each other until just before sailing and put together a repertoire of party hits. Al Green, Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye .. and of course BB King. Bravo HAL. Ports Astoria: First time here. Walk a few clicks to the Maritime Museum and found a pub for beer, chowder and free wifi access! San Francisco: My birth city. Got up early to see the arrival in the dark. Took a bus to the textile district to try and buy a mattress at Tuft and Needle (seriously!) .. then a cable car ride from Powell and Market to the Hyde Street turnaround and had world famous Irish Coffee’s at the Buena Vista bar - then back to the ship for happy hour in the crows nest and sail away under the Golden Gate Bridge. Priceless experience. Avalon: Quaint little seaside town on the island of Catalina (once owned by Wrigley) off Southern California. We had a surprise visit from family who live in Longbeach, CA. They took the Catalina Express over to meet us and we saw the island in a 4 person gas powered golf cart, followed by some shopping on the wharf. The old “casino” (dance hall) was closed for the day by the time we got back so we did not get to visit inside. Fun day - only port we had to tender to. Exceptional Service: Diane at the reception desk. We had no plans to race off the ship for a tender as we were in dock from 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm. After we anchored, my husband turned on his cell phone to see if there was any reception. There was a voice mail from his brother who said “I’m here.. we took the ferry over and we are waiting for you on the island”. So my husband went down to get a tender ticket and found out we could not get off the ship until 4:50 pm. All the early tender tickets were gone. That would have been too late for us to meet our relatives because they had to be on the ferry home shortly after that. “Diane” at the reception desk realized our plight and was able to squeeze us onto an early tender. She escorted us down to the gangway and we cannot thank her enough for making our day. Lesson learned. Always get your tender tickets early. Novi our cabin steward in 4173 Novi from Indonesia found us on arrival day. Introduced himself and made sure our cabin was in order each and every day. By the time we returned from breakfast each day our cabin was immaculately tidy and ready for another day of fun. I realize this is their job, but some do it better than others. We felt compelled to leave him a little “extra” at the end. Chef at the Lido who took the time to write out a recipe for me for Bee Hoon Fish Soup. Gym: adequate and busier than expected. Saw grey whales on the elliptical trainer! Thermal Suites: did not participate this time. $109 per person for 5 days. Massage: Prepaid for a couples 50 minute massage. Very nice. This was one of our favorite cruises to date. We love HAL. Terima kasih 1st night: Main Dining Room No reservations - approx 7:30 pm - Embarkation from Vancouver There was a heavy line of approx 15 to put your name in - You are given a pager and we waited approx 15-20 minutes. We were escorted upstairs to the top floor because the restaurant was so busy. Normally the top floor are for those who make dinner reservations or who have assigned dining times. Our dining companions Ron and Ako were from England. We enjoyed hearing their cruise stories. They take about 5-6 long cruises a year. Food choices were adequate and while portions were small, they were more than enough to keep us happy. 2nd night: Main Dining Room No reservations - approx 7:30 pm - Astoria A shorter line than the first night and only a 5-10 minute wait for a table. Our dining companions were from Germany. We never learned their names, but they taught me how to say “have a nice evening” in German. (I think!) I cannot properly write it, but phoenetically it’s “eye-nin schroo-nen hav-en” while communication was not easy we had a enjoyable dinner. 3rd night: Pinnacle Grill Gala night - reservations 6:30 - Sea day 4th night: Tamarind Reservations 7:30 - San Francisco 5th night: Main Dining Room Final night Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We wanted a short break so sailed from Vancouver to San Diego. We arrived into the bus-train station and used the nearby Skytrain to get to Canada Place, which was very easy to use and inexpensive. We checked in at 1:00 and had no wait ... Read More
We wanted a short break so sailed from Vancouver to San Diego. We arrived into the bus-train station and used the nearby Skytrain to get to Canada Place, which was very easy to use and inexpensive. We checked in at 1:00 and had no wait to check in or go through customs although the NA was the only ship in port that day. We enjoyed the small port of Astoria, where we used the antique tram. In San Fransisco we took the HAL Hop On-Off excursion that included the boat trip around Alcatraz. The tour was fine, but took most of our in port time so we didn't get to explore. We really wish HAL would do overnights in the main ports. Tendered into Avalon next. Very small place with nice beach, restaurants and not much else (wish we'd just stayed another day in S.F.) Arrived into San Diego and walked right off at our allotted disembarkation time. The food was the best we ever had and that's high praise as we cruise once or twice a year. We'll be on the Veendam next year so hope to have another great experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
General I do my own cruise planning and read a lot of reviews of that specific cruise on that specific ship before purchasing a cruise. I observed that Niew Amsterdam and HAL in general get very mixed reviews. Some people loved it, some ... Read More
General I do my own cruise planning and read a lot of reviews of that specific cruise on that specific ship before purchasing a cruise. I observed that Niew Amsterdam and HAL in general get very mixed reviews. Some people loved it, some did not for various reasons. It is my opinion that a lot of complaints are probably from people who didn’t do their homework and perhaps booked the wrong cruise for their tastes. This is often on them, not necessarily on the cruise line. Every new customer should know HAL is known as the “senior citizen” line and be OK with being left alone to read a book or entertain yourself at least a little bit. If you need someone else to entertain you constantly, pick another cruise line. My wife and I have done ten cruises on five different cruise lines (Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Holland America). This was our first cruise on HAL. I have never not enjoyed a cruise, even the worst one. Full disclosure: I am not a complainer, generally. I don’t expect everything to be perfectly to my liking anywhere where 2,100 passengers are being served. If I complain, it is going to be a legitimate complaint, not a small annoyance that passes. It is imperative to have a good time and complaining detracts from my own experience. Ratings are as much about expectations as they are about the actual experience, just like a marriage. This cruise was the last Alaska cruise of the season for Niew Amsterdam. I chose that one so we could stay on the ship for its next cruise, a 5 day repositioning cruise from Vancouver to San Diego, avoiding a flight. Then we rented a car at the airport and did a 1 ½ hour drive home to Orange County and turned the car in at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana. The Signature Suite price was not all that much more than a Verandah on this last cruise of the season, so for the first time we booked a Suite. We switched to a Verandah for the second repositioning cruise, which was serious cheap ($499), so got a back-to-back Suite vs Verandah comparison on HAL. See my review of Sept 30, 2017 repositioning cruise to San Diego for the cabin comparison. Enrichment Activities We engaged in these sparingly. Went to a BBC screening that was interesting. Went to two of the Americas Test Kitchen live classes on “Meatless Mondays” and on different ways to prepare salmon which my wife was interested in. There were a lot of Microsoft Windows 10 classes. I went to the one on Windows “One Drive” and would have gone to more but was doing other things at the time. These were good to fill in those occasional gaps in the schedule when we had some spare time. Because these offerings were available I didn’t make any progress on the book I was reading on my Kindle, like I thought I would. Embarkation This was an unmitigated disaster! It was because 3 ships departed the same afternoon (about 10,000 passengers) and US customs was swamped. This inconvenience was not HAL fault, but US Customs and Vancouver facility limitations. However, HAL instructions were to “please arrive at least 3 hours prior to the ship’s departure time.” That would be 1:45 for 4:45 departure. That would put you in the heart of the customs logjam. Bad advice. On page 1 of the boarding pass document they said the embarkation process starts at noon. Since they gave us that instruction, we assumed it was not possible to arrive sooner, perhaps the HAL check-in desks might not yet be open and the ship had not yet been cleaned and prepped and we might have a long wait to get started (this happened to us in San Francisco once with a different cruise line). More bad advice. So we left our hotel around 11:30 for what the hotel clerk said should be about a 25 minute cab ride (the clerk used to work for a cruise line). Guess again, we arrived at 12:45 into a sea of humanity. A porter took our suitcases. We got on the ship at 4:00, over 3 hours not including the cab ride. Be sure to bring water. We were exhausted. We had a similar experience in 2012 when 3 ships were departing Vancouver. They have made one significant improvement since then. They have added three large seating areas so that when you have a very long wait, you are issued a sequence number and at least you can wait in a padded seat with a restroom nearby until your group number is called. Not so in 2012. First line was security check of all carry-on items, second line was HAL check-in, and third line was for US Customs. Customs was the problem. We talked to passengers onboard who arrived around 10AM and breezed through in an hour or so. Wish we had ignored HAL instructions and done that. But it would have been a risk as HAL check-in might not be open. If I ever cruise out of Vancouver again I will check how many ships are departing the same day and never again book a cruise with 3 ships departing the same afternoon. Or else arrive at 10AM. Might consider Seattle or another port. On the second leg of this trip, the repositioning cruise to San Diego, we were the only ship in port in Vancouver this time and customs clearance was a breeze. Yes, they made us get off the boat and go back through customs to re-board, but they escorted us with a crew member pass so it was pretty quick. They left our bags on the ship. Public Rooms The ship was nice and in good condition. Public rooms were nicely appointed. Cabin Our first suite experience (SS-6087) was appreciated. We loved the extra space and we filled it up easily. The bed was the best we have had on a cruise. We both have achy hips and a hard or bad mattress causes us to wake up repeatedly during the night to turn over to relieve hip pain. If an old person has to take Advil because of a mattress, that is a bad mattress. No Advil required. I’m not saying it was great, definitely not as good as our sleep number bed with a pillow top at home, but acceptable and the best on a cruise ship we have experienced. Normally when we first get to a room we look for the cabin attendant and request an egg crate foam layer be placed on top of the mattress as a pillow top. This is the first time we didn’t think that was necessary. Often the ships keep some of these egg crate foam pads and give them to the complainers, but they run out so it is imperative to complain early. The leather couch (sleeper) is the most uncomfortable piece of furniture I have ever sat on. Too deep and back straight up. It was necessary to pile pillows a certain way to be able to sit on it. Our biggest complaint about our Signature Suite is that the couch was right under the large wall mounted flat screen TV, so you could not watch TV from a comfortable (or uncomfortable) seating position. Only from bed or a desk chair just like an interior room. Lots of closet space. The bathroom had 2 sinks, a full size tub with Jacuzzi jets and shower head, and a separate shower stall. Suite! Service Generally service was very good. There was only a couple of times when someone told me I couldn’t do what I want and delivered the message a little tersely, forgetting their training. Most went out of their way to be polite and friendly. Many of this ships employees were from Indonesia. The gals in the Tamarind were especially friendly. I think the dining room servers are friendlier for the fixed dining when you get the same servers every night and a mini-bond is formed. No bond with the server of the day. Value for Money Being the last Alaska cruise of the season the price was significantly lower than midsummer and the Signature Suite was not that much more than a Verandah on this cruise, which is why we went for it. We payed $2099 each for the 7 day cruise which is the most we have ever payed for 7 days, but we got to try a suite to see how the other half lives. Cruising in the fall is our secret for success. Few kids, lower prices, cooler weather and with HAL you avoid the frat party crowd puking over the balcony railing like they do on Carnival. We live in a desert so we have no aversion to foggy drizzly weather. Value for money was OK. Dining Main Dining Room We requested fixed early dining which has always been our preference, but were wait listed and assigned open dining instead. On this cruise we started to like the open dining because of the flexibility, and we could still request to sit at a table for 6 to meet other passengers. They would accept reservations one day ahead, so we learned to figure out our evening itinerary, browse the menus, and book a reservation a day ahead. Then the wait to get seated was minimal. We figured if something came up and we didn’t show up it wouldn’t matter anyway, but that never happened. The food was generally good. Not the best we’ve experienced (Celebrity), but not the worst (Norwegian). Good, but no wow factor. The first night the meat was tough and I thought Oh Oh. But it was a one-off and the prime rib later in the cruise was surprisingly tender and juicy and things got better. Lido Buffet We had lunch and dinner here occasionally, never breakfast. Again, good. Not everything was great, but there was enough variety that if one was picky you could choose the dish you like and pass on the others. Keep pecking and you will find gold. Tip: The menu in all restaurants is shown on the TV daily, so we learned to see what was being served in the dining room and the Lido and then make a choice. Room Service We only used room service for breakfast, but just a continental breakfast to get us started mornings. Just coffee and toast, and occasionally danish or fruit or yogurt. The full breakfast is not the way to go on room service unless you like overcooked scrambled eggs, which is the only way they serve them (true for every cruise we have been on). The breakfast was much better in the dining room; eggs cooked to order, pancakes & waffles etc. Much better for big breakfast eaters. Of course room service was no extra charge. Dive-In Poolside burgers, dogs and chicken sandwiches. I liked them, my wife was less enthusiastic. New York Pizza Back of the boat on the Lido deck. They will make your pizza to order and have a couple of decent salads. Covered outdoor seating next to a bar. If you want to take it to your room they will put it in a pizza box, just like delivery at home except the delivery boy is you. The pizza was – you guessed it – good. Tamarind Specialty Asian dining for $25 extra fee. The Indonesian servers were quite good and friendly. The food was good with some creative and unusual selections. For me it was not an extra $25 better than the main dining room so we didn’t return on the second cruise. Pinnacle Grill I had high expectations because of the $35 extra fee. Our experience was OK, it was a good meal but not worth the extra fee so we wouldn’t have considered going back. Entertainment I knew from pre-cruise reviews that this is where HAL and Niew Amsterdam get panned a lot. Accordingly we went in eyes wide open with low expectations in this area. There was good entertainment available at times, but I have to admit that compared to the other cruises we have done it didn’t measure up. But since this was not a priority for us we didn’t care that much. There were a couple of main stage shows that were enjoyable. The impressionist Tyler Bryce was extremely talented and funny and this was the best stage show. The comedian Mark Pitta was OK. Both were relatively clean, thankfully. There were no musical headliners like we had on almost every other cruise, so the other main stage shows were production number stuff. The performers sang and danced their hearts out for us but it’s a little underwhelming. In the lounges, BB King’s Blues Club were the only exceptional performances and this saved Niew Amsterdam’s entertainment rating as far as we were concerned. We went there about 7 out of the 12 nights (2 cruises back-to-back) to the point that I was actually getting tired of an exceptional group. It was the same group on both cruises. To their credit, each night they had new material and only started repeating numbers late in the cruise. The other lounge acts were just OK. Here is the skinny on in-room TV. There is a wide selection of on-demand movies. You can start anytime, pause, rewind, etc. The only live TV channels were BBC World News, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, ESPN and ESPN 2. Tip: If you put the TV on the front facing ship’s camera (up on the bridge) you can hear the ship’s announcements clearly on TV. Otherwise you can’t hear announcements with your cabin door shut. Shore Excursions Juneau - we went to our old haunt, Tracy’s Crab Shack and gorged on king crab legs fresh out of the Bering Sea, washed down with a cold Alaskan beer. We consider this pilgrimage as a shore excursion, making the $122 price tag for two seem cheap! The bucket was 3 ½ pounds of legs. Tracy’s has been in a different location the three times we have partaken, now it is front and center near the cruise terminal, seen easily from the ship. Souvenir shops in town discounted 50% because this was their final week of the season. Skagway – We did an 8 hour tour that started in a big comfortable bus with a toilet in the rear. It drove us on a very scenic trip through wilderness across the border into Canada, the Yukon. We stopped for a nice BBQ chicken lunch with fresh made donuts and visited a sled dog operation. Some people took a sled dog ride using a sled with wheels, since there was no snow yet. We petted the little sled dog puppies. Then we drove back to a train station and boarded the White Pass Railway for a winding trip back to Skagway. Very nice scenery, and we enjoyed the day. Ketchikan - We did an internet search a couple of months before the cruise and found a local that does private SUV tours. She is a native, born and raised in Ketchikan. She will drive you around town to see whatever is there to see at that time. We told her we were most interested in wildlife, spawning salmon and bears if available, not so much totem poles, log rolling lumberjacks or museums. We had her for about 3 hours, and she delivered on the spawning salmon and we saw a bear come out of the woods, snatch a salmon and haul it back into the woods. Late September is late season for the spawning salmon so we saw them at the end of their long journey, beat up, dying, and dead. It was $240, so cheaper than any shore excursion and it was flexible to current conditions. We’re glad we did it that way this time. Onboard Experience Our overall experience was good. We may do HAL again, if we are looking for a relaxing, rather quiet cruise, not lusting after the Wow factor, and we are very enthusiastic about the ports visited. On these types of cruises we can get more into the shore activities than some of the more active glitzy cruise lines where there is more excitement onboard. Sometimes you need a rest after a day on shore, and sometimes you need to get off the boat to rest, but not on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We loved everything about this cruise from start to finish. The staff are amazing, so friendly, happy and always ready to help. Special mentions go to Ronaldo in the Crowsnest bar, our cabin attendants Frans and Ichcan, and Hayu & Heni ... Read More
We loved everything about this cruise from start to finish. The staff are amazing, so friendly, happy and always ready to help. Special mentions go to Ronaldo in the Crowsnest bar, our cabin attendants Frans and Ichcan, and Hayu & Heni & Noel in the Lido. Infact all the staff deserve a mention. Well done to all. The food was plentiful, well presented and great variety and excellent quality. There was always something to do on days of sailing, lots of activities and entertainment. The ship was spotlessly clean and in excellent order Alaska is an amazing place, the senery is unbelievable, each port was beautiful, with numerous excursions available. We were very lucky with great weather in most ports. Great shopping was on offer in the ports again with very friendlg staff Embarkation and disembarking was seamless. We would definately choose Holland America again. I cant speak highly enough of our wondeful cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
It was a large family getaway. 12 adults and 7 kids and pretty much a complete disappointment. The ship's refit was incomplete. Nice bathrooms but old bedroom furnishings. The type of food offering was decent but the preparation ... Read More
It was a large family getaway. 12 adults and 7 kids and pretty much a complete disappointment. The ship's refit was incomplete. Nice bathrooms but old bedroom furnishings. The type of food offering was decent but the preparation was lacking, so don't expect 5 star; maybe 2 star at best. As for the "shows", they managed to coerce the crew to perform on stage. They may be good their jobs, but singing and dancing was not part of it. There was no entertainment to speak of, unless you consider the crew performing entertaining. There were very few activities available for people that were not casino bound. If you're already spending this kind of money, spend it on a real cruise line like Celebrity, Royal Caribbean or Princess. At least with these cruise ships going into Alaska, you will be entertained, fed well and at least feel that your money was well spent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My husband and I did a 7 days Alaskan cruise in May 2017. The weather in Alaska was fantastic for the most part. It rained only 3 days one was on port day. Rest of the days were sunny and warm except when out to sea which was cool. We ... Read More
My husband and I did a 7 days Alaskan cruise in May 2017. The weather in Alaska was fantastic for the most part. It rained only 3 days one was on port day. Rest of the days were sunny and warm except when out to sea which was cool. We choose a Cabin with a balcony (cabin 7114) Queen size bed with a couch, writing deck/vanity with a really good makeup mirror. We choose this room because it is not situated below any high traffic area such as pool or restaurant. It was very quiet did not hear any disruptive sounds. Only down side was that the toilet had a constant Urine smell. The Lido buffet for lunch and Dinner had a variety of food. Always packed especially for breakfast (awesome breakfast)...although much of the lunch and dinner food was salty it was still enjoyable plus there was late night buffet fewer chooses in food but still good. The manhattan which is the preset time dining. Portion was small but filling quality better than Lido buffet. This is where Gala night was held. People got dressed up..I was disappointed as I expected It would be like when they would have captain night back in the days (no dancing just get dressed up for an upgraded Menu) The only change from any other night was that the menu chooses were upgraded..so they would have foods like lobster tails. Some people wore tuxedos and gowns but not necessary. A suit without tie or slacks and dress shirt for men and skirt and slacks and nice blouse for women would do. Pinnacle grill which is the premium dinning (extra cost) was waaaay better than all of the other foods we had on the ship. Service was excellent. There is a pizza bar by one of the pools and a burger and fries spot by the other pool. No shortage of where or what to eat on this ship. We didn't go to much of the entertainment that was offered..only to the live band that played all of the nights. They were just fantastic they had the crowd dancing. Overall the service on this ship was just phenomenal. Everywhere we went on the ship the staffs remembered our names. When the boat docked in Glacier bay we rented an Inside Cabana it cost US$50. We were treated like royalty by the attendant and we got great views of the glaciers. On port days we did only one excursion which was in Skagway..took a 3 hours tour over to the Yukon. Not to mislead but the tour bus stopped right at the welcome sign in the Yukon..so we were about an hour into the Yukon. There are a lot of bars on this boat..the bartenders do not cheapen out on the alcohol. They had happy hour at each bar and free snacks to go with your drinks during that time. We bought the Signature Beverage package which was 15 drinks per day per person, any drinks $9 and under. Drinks included alcoholic beverages, speciality coffees, water and sodas. We never went over our max. drinks..we had an average of 6 drinks per day (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) We never had room service as many of the items had surcharges not worth it. One mishap on our cruise that was annoying happened on the first day and took the entire 7 days to sort out. We took the ironing package. Which was US$28.75. Unlimited pressing for both myself and my husband. They ruined by husband's suit (pressed it with high heat) and ruined my linen blouse. We were reimbursed $50 only. They told us we have to contact Holland America's Head Office. My advice give them instructions on how to iron your garments. The gym was well equipped we worked out three of the days..we went early in the morning which left enough to time to go for breakfast at the Lido afterward. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was my third Holland America cruise though it has been a number of years since I last sailed HA. I am an experienced cruiser having sailed with several other lines and ships over the past 30 years. I chose this cruise for a quick ... Read More
This was my third Holland America cruise though it has been a number of years since I last sailed HA. I am an experienced cruiser having sailed with several other lines and ships over the past 30 years. I chose this cruise for a quick getaway with my mother. We had adjoining inside staterooms on deck 6. Rooms were fine, ship was clean and service from all staff I encountered was very good. The ship was very underwhelming in decor and facilities. There was very little to do on sea days. Movies on the "big screen" were the same as those played on tv in the stateroom. This was an Alaska cruise and the only adult hot tubs were outdoors, unless you wanted to pay US $199 to use the thermal spa. Food was the biggest disappointment on this ship. It was dreadful. There was not one memorable meal in the main dining room where we ate every night of the seven day cruise. In fact, there were several dishes we couldn't eat. The salmon was overlooked and dried out, the lamb was tough, the soups were inedible. Potato and shrimp soup? Please! And. Have never ever been served soup where the protein is placed in the bowl and the soup broth poured over it at the table! It was appalling. The lido food was worse than the dining room. There was food odour constantly which was not helped by the overuse of garlic. Sushi was the worst I have ever tasted. About the only thing worth eating was the bread. The room service breakfast menu was scant to say the least. The fruit plate consisted of a thin slice of watermelon or other rock hard melon, two blueberries (I kid you not) and a slice of orange. The stateroom fruit basket had unripened fruit. The only decent entertainment was in the piano bar. A great pianist and entertainer there. We went every night. The main entertainment venue was brutal. We had a third rate magician and ditto the comedian both from Australia. The Holland America singers and dancers were worse than a high school production. I'm afraid it will take a lot for me to book another cruise with HA. My travel agent feels it may be the particular ship but why would you risk ruining another vacation after this ordeal. I've already booked a Holy Land cruise with Celebrity for next year and plan to take a 20 day Mediterranean cruise with my husband in 2019. I'm afraid it won't be on board HA. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We picked a deal from Claire Newell's Travel Best Bets. Excellent service and direction from the customer service department. This was our first cruise. We took the Sea Bus from North Vancouver, a very easy walk to the terminal. ... Read More
We picked a deal from Claire Newell's Travel Best Bets. Excellent service and direction from the customer service department. This was our first cruise. We took the Sea Bus from North Vancouver, a very easy walk to the terminal. Loading was well organized given that three ships were in port and departing at the same time. Appreciated chairs in the two halls. Just be prepared for a wait, take a book, maybe a snack. Water and washrooms available. We arrived at noon and were on board at 3.The energy is good and people excited. We had an outside room next to a lifeboat. Not a bad view at all. We slept with the curtains open and could take in the view. Just be prepared as crew members do appear on the walkway outside the window at various times! Excellent king size bed, good linens, excellent closet and storage space for two adults, adequate bathroom with tub. Great room attendants kept the room spotless and tidy. It takes awhile to get oriented to the ship's layout. The outside glass elevators are a must. Used the stairs a lot to keep limber!Very few smokers in one or two areas. We didn't use the casino. Enjoyed the BB King venue several times, but busy could never get a seat. The bartender was very entertaining.The show room was comfortable; enjoyed the Beatles review. Took one of the digital workshops; would prefer working computers. Found the Wi-Fi slow but understood that was due to satellite service - never hurts to unplug! Really enjoyed the forward lounges and service there. Games and books available. The outside decks are good in all kinds of weather. We didn't use the pools or hot tubs. We thought the spa services were pricey but offered a variety. We did enjoy the wine tastings. The food was good; excellent at times; too busy most of the time for us. 2100 passengers and over 700 crew members! Reserve spots in the restaurants. Share tables, excellent way to meet people. We didn't do any paid dining. The burger joint was very good, the attendant there very engaging. The drinks were good to excellent but thought there would be better pricing although there are versions of happy hour. Buy wine by the bottle and take it by the glass wherever you want, stewards will deliver the bottle to your table when you like. Disappointed not more BC wines available. We used the breakfast room service several times just for coffee and a pastry to get going. Great as one can book a time. For the two Gala nights one could dress up or just be casual - khakis/golf shirt, blouses/slacks - find your own comfort zone. No shorts in the dining rooms. The crew were all friendly and capable; most were engaging and helpful. We did not tip as we were charged a U.S.$13.50 a day tip, each, and alcohol was a 15% tip automatically. The shore excursions were fantastic (biking, canoeing, train) but we learned it might be cheaper to book and tour on your own. We went for offered tours but later found there were better extensions of them available. Be prepared for an onslaught of gaudy, touristy shops full of imported jewelry unless you are looking for Tanzanite in Alaska! Same stuff is on the ship - way too much of it! Go further into the towns if looking for authentic goods and local fare. The area of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchican is a rain forest not the frozen north of imagination. We were fortunate to encounter good days at all three ports. Glacier Bay is a must. Wear layers. We took tons of our own pictures so didn't use the ship photos at all - again another charge. Back in Vancouver the disembarkation was simple and fast. We booked for the latest time. Grabbed our bags and walked out to the Sea Bus. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I can only extend my personal thoughts about each cruise I take. I have been on 26 cruises, 5 to Alaska and 4 on Holland. Overall, the passengers averaged about 75 yrs old with a third Australian, a third Canadian and the rest Asians ... Read More
I can only extend my personal thoughts about each cruise I take. I have been on 26 cruises, 5 to Alaska and 4 on Holland. Overall, the passengers averaged about 75 yrs old with a third Australian, a third Canadian and the rest Asians and Americans. There were only 4 kids on the ship. FOOD The food was good, always hot and portions have been scaled back compared to previous cruises. The new 70 yr anniversary menu was minimal in choices and no great changes. Lido buffet serves you and they had a scaled back offering as well. They do set tables and bring drinks. Pizza was good but very slow service. Dining room breakfast was over an hour wait to get food after ordering. Waiters were slow but I think they have cut down on staff. ROOM We stayed in an inside cabin, very small but very clean with plenty of storage for the two of us, Only saw our steward the first and last day but they did come by twice a day and the room was clean. CASINO The staff was friendly but it is a smaller casino and payoffs were not so many. After all it is a casino and its all chance ACTIVITIES The digital workshops did not happen and the cruise director we only saw introducing performers or on announcements telling us what a great time we are having. There were not many activities listed in the daily bulletin. 75 % of the passengers seemed to go to bed by 9 pm. Americas test kitchen was ok but most of it is on their website. ENTERTAINMENT Out of 26 cruises this has to be the worst offering I have ever witnessed. The comedian was not at all funny and a true waste of time. The illusionist was worse than the comedian and we could see all his illusions before he shared them, no magic at all. The last night he and the comedian shared a variety show which was 25 minutes of no comedy and 25 minutes of the illusionist trying to put one audience member in a trance. The 3 singing and dance troupe equalled that of a high school production at best. The band they used was live and they did ok. The only night program worth seeing was the bbc documentary on Alaska with live music. The scenes were breathtaking. It is worth seeing. BBKing played music nightly and they seemed quite good but by the size of the non crowds there, it was not the choice for aging passengers. FRONT DESK I had one issue and the clerk was rather rude to the point I had to address with her supervisor. Comments from other guests we met had similar comments. EMBARKATION We received an email saying to be at the ship between 930 and 1100 or have long waits. We took the Skytrain (which is great and empty and cheap on a Sat morning.) We arrived about 9 and were directed to 5 different places and given 5 different answers before we stumbled upon a security guard who let us into assigned seats by rows. It was 9am and we were the first ones to arrive. At 1010 they sent us to check in and reseated. About 1030 we went to customs and then security. We then went to another room where we were seated in order again and had to go down a very steep cement set of 20 steps to go to the ship. We were onboard about 1130. I guess this is the new security but those needing an elevator had to walk a bit further. They did have coffee, lemonade and water while waiting. DISEMBARKATION They called by luggage tag color and we were last to leave at about 10am. We handed our slips to a lady and went through a customs line. We took the skytrain to the airport for 2.25 american and the sky train is a 7 minute walk from the pier. The pier is right in town. OVERALL 25 years ago I made my first Alaska cruise and over the course of each cruise there the glaciers have almost gone away. I guess in 3 yrs they will change the itinerary. We did see lots of whales while on the ship, only 2 bears on the inside passage, lots of mountain goats and plenty of bald eagles. The ports still seem to be the same and the 5 free tours in Skagway through the rangers were great and kept us busy there for 6 hours. I give details of cruise ports in my trip advisor report. This will probably be my last Holland cruise as I think the other lines have surpassed them in service and quality. Feel free to ask questions if I can help. Hope you have a great cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our 8th cruise and our second with HAL. We had sailed to Alaska with Royal Caribbean three years ago for 14 days. Since we live in Vancouver, we love the cruises that depart from and return to Vancouver. All the staff on the ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise and our second with HAL. We had sailed to Alaska with Royal Caribbean three years ago for 14 days. Since we live in Vancouver, we love the cruises that depart from and return to Vancouver. All the staff on the Nieuw Amsterdam were excellent. Low key - but very attentive and very personable. Always a smile and a wave. The ship is a bit old - but it is quite beautiful and elegant. It is also very well kept up. The food was consistently excellent. The main dining rooms had great menus. The Lido buffet was great - particularly for breakfasts. But it's a bit hard to find a table between 8-9 am. We particularly loved The Tamarind restaurant. Wow! The service and the food were absolutely exceptional. We thought the liquor prices were quite reasonable for a cruise (even more so during the Happy Hours). We very much appreciated the fact that we felt no pressure at any time throughout the cruise to buy anything (ie: art, photos, jewelry, etc). We want to highlight the band in the BB King Blues Club. They were unbelievably good! We made sure to drop by every evening they played . Another big highlight was the 3 1/2 hour excursion we took in Ketchikan aboard the Aleutian Ballad (one of the ships from Season 2 of TV's Deadliest Catch). We went crabbing and shrimping, watched magnificent bald eagles diving for fish, saw Killer Whales, giant octopuses, and listened to riveting/fascinating/terrifying stories of fishing for King Crabs on the high seas in the Bering Sea. This is not to be missed. We have been on about 7 cruises to date, and one previous with HAL. We would happily cruise with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Part of a 18 day package tour which was fantastic up to when we arrived at Vancouver to embark Nieuw Amsterdam. We took nearly two hours to get on the ship due to US customs going painfully slow and then Holland America staff going even ... Read More
Part of a 18 day package tour which was fantastic up to when we arrived at Vancouver to embark Nieuw Amsterdam. We took nearly two hours to get on the ship due to US customs going painfully slow and then Holland America staff going even slower! When we eventually embarked we arrived at our room to find one of our suitcases was badly damaged. We reported it immediately and we thought that they would compensate as. We visited the front desk every day of our trip to Alaska and got it resolved on the sixth day of the cruise. We got 150 dollars plus the poor girl who admitted that they would replace both Was made to pay 50 dollars making 200 dollars in all, not good enough as we bought two replacements in Ketchican that cost us 298 dollars which made us 98 dollars out of pocket. We got very annoyed at a male who seemed to be in charge and he said let's deal with this professionally, what an insult and how unprofessional as he did not listen to anything we said. The cabin was ok and the ship very good the ports of call excellent and the whale watching And the Whitesmith and Yukon rail excursion fantastic. The price of drinks is well over the top and we did enjoy the ship and especially the views of the glaciers. Our cabin steward was fantastic as was our table server both of whom we tipped. We were so incensed with the damage caused to our cases and the lack of care and concern by Holland America that on day 6 we deducted the 13dollar 50cent per person service charge. I would not have done this if I had been treated respectfully. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have never cruised on Holland America before so I thought I would give them a try. We have been on NCL, Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and MSC over the last ten years. We left Halifax on April 1 for a direct flight ... Read More
We have never cruised on Holland America before so I thought I would give them a try. We have been on NCL, Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and MSC over the last ten years. We left Halifax on April 1 for a direct flight to Fort Lauderdale on Air Transat. The flight was on time and as uncomfortable as expected. We had booked La Quinta Inn and Suites for the night before the cruise. Nice hotel but I was not impressed with their free breakfast compared to other hotels we have used. We booked a shuttle to get to the port and arrived at the ship around 10:15 AM. Now the problems began. Their sign in the waiting room said that boarding would start at 10:30. We were in group two so I expected to be on the ship by 11 AM. Instead they announced that there were still over 200 passengers still onboard. In the end we did not get aboard until 12:30. The ship was very nice. The décor of the ship was neutral and pleasant. I also liked that it was quiet on the ship without the normal music blasting out in every bar. The staff everywhere were excellent; friendly, prompt and helpful. Our room steward, Adi, was great and took care of every request we made. Our cabins were ready when we boarded the ship which wasn’t surprising considering how late it was. We were able to drop off our bags before going to lunch in the Lido Restaurant. We were in cabin 8144 at the aft of the ship. It was a regular balcony cabin and mostly the same as any other balcony on the ships. There were three closets and two of them had shelves so there was plenty of storage. On top of that were drawers in the night stands and two large drawers under the bed. The bathroom was small but it did have a full bathtub which is part of the reason we booked this room. Don’t expect to stretch out though as it is only about four feet long. I should mention that this turned out to be a NOISY cabin. We were on deck eight which is directly below the aft pool on deck nine. So at 10:30 at night and at 5:30 AM we had the staff taking in and putting out the chairs, tables and loungers every day. Very annoying. The balcony was the normal size but we were not impressed with the chairs. There were two wicker chairs and a wicker footstool. One chair was larger and fairly comfortable but the other was a small chair with a low back. Basically only one of us could sit out and read or relax for any length of time. They really should have the high-backed, reclining chairs that other cruise lines use. Now for the services on the ship: FOOD – The overall food in the Lido and the main dining room was good, especially the lobster tails and filet mignon. The biggest complaint we had was that the Lido Restaurant which is always (on other ships) a buffet style was instead a cafeteria style where you had servers behind the counter dishing out the food. Neither of us liked this at all. The fruit selections were laid out on small plates with two small slices of melon, one partial slice of watermelon and half a strawberry. Some days it might be watermelon and half a slice of pineapple. I do not like melon and wanted three slices of watermelon. This was impossible unless I took three plates and dumped half the food. I normally like a small salad with my meals but on this ship with the staff serving you had your salad dished out in a bowl the size of a regular mixing bowl (huge). They had a separate place on the pool deck called the “Dive-In” where you could order hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries. This was a joke. There were three staff preparing the cooked food and another one putting together the orders as well as a person outside taking the orders. We ordered our meal at 11:45 which was only 15 minutes after they opened and before the lunch crowd arrived. They take your order and give you a pager to let you know when to come and pick it up. We waited THIRTY minutes before I took the pager back to them and told them to cancel the order. This was NOT gourmet food we were ordering and they had at least 20 hamburgers on the grill when I originally placed my order. POOLS – This ship has two nice sized pools. One has a retractable roof over it and the loungers in that area are padded with some shade places. Turns out that this pool is open to the children on board as are the hot tubs in that area The “adult” pool is at the aft of the ship and there is NO shade whatsoever and NO padded loungers. They really should put something out there for shade or switch the use so that the kids get the aft pool. ENTERTAINMENT - We can’t comment too much about this as we only went to one show and that was the musical magician. It was not impressive. ITINERARY - This was good. We stopped at Half Moon Cay (private island) and it was lovely. The beach barbeque was not very good as the hamburgers were premade with everything on them and the hotdogs were spread with mustard before you ordered them. The spare ribs had no bones and were just meat. We also stopped in Grand Cayman and Cozumel as well as Key West, Florida. Before we were cleared in Key West all the passengers had to go to an area on the ship to see the US Customs officers. This was something new for us but you had to go even if you did not get off the ship. There is a big fine for not showing up. DIS-EMBARKATION: Terrible. We were supposed to be off the ship at 8:45 – 9:15 and we were lucky that we left the ship before we were called. Otherwise we would have missed our flight at noon. This may not be the cruise lines’ fault because I do not believe they had enough Customs officers to handle the number of passengers. It took us over an hour of waiting in line with our luggage to get out of the terminal. There were only three Customs staff for over 2,000 passengers. This needs to be fixed. I think Holland America is probably a good cruise line for some people. It is just not what we are used to and we will not be sailing with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Our group of young adults (upper 20s) did a week long cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam with family and significant others, total of six of us. We chose this cruise because of the price, dates, itinerary and the fact that we had not yet been ... Read More
Our group of young adults (upper 20s) did a week long cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam with family and significant others, total of six of us. We chose this cruise because of the price, dates, itinerary and the fact that we had not yet been with Holland America. Having prepped by reading some reviews and general information, we knew that the ship would scale elderly. There is no getting around this fact and what it entails for the cruise experience. This was the oldest group of people I've ever seen on a cruise. As such, we were prepared for bland food, strange entertainment choices and some other inconveniences along with a slow paced cruise. We were very wrong about bland food. The food was a true delight and a highlight of the cruise. This is the best dining experience and best food taste, presentation and selection I've ever had, hands down, in comparison to Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. The range represented from upper-class wedding catering up to true-blue restaurant quality meals. The Buffet was phenomenal and open much more often than rivals' buffets. The ship ran like clockwork, and was already very accustomed to having an elderly set of passengers. It was very rare that our party was inconvenienced, although we did often feel very loud despite trying to remain as quiet as possible. Despite it being a relatively small ship, there were so many lounges and bars to hang out at, and each offered a different view or experience. As a bonus, the crew was great at handling the very elderly and I believe they would do very well with disable passengers. Drinks were inexpensive and of medium strength. Specialty drinks like espresso were fantastic and inexpensive. The only drinks that stood out as high priced were soda and beer. Tips were 15% automatic gratuity which was actually nice as the receipts did not have a tip line and we never felt pressured to give more. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the wait staff, some of the bar staff was unfriendly. While many were absolutely excellent, we had a number of unsatisfactory experiences with bar tenders that had us moving on to the next lounge. Entertainment was strange and extremely lackluster. Luckily for us, the majority of our party was not into Broadway style shows so we weren't disappointed by the shows in the main theater, although some of them were worth a laugh. We could tell we weren't the only one with this sentiment, as the theater did not reach over 50% capacity after the 2nd day. However, the BB Kings All Stars Band played for 3 hours almost every night and were the heart of nightlife on the ship. There was also a popular piano bar but it pandered heavily to the older audience and did not interest us much at all. As you might be able to guess, the night club was consistently dead and despite having a great setup never reached its potential. Our group brought our own entertainment. Our games and books were a life-saver, as the many lounges provided interesting new locals for us to socialize and play. The ship also has a ton of games on loan to borrow, and even a puzzle corner. But we were basically on our own: trivia lasted 10 minutes, with then nothing interesting going on for 3 hours, and the hokey cruise game shows were few and far between. Our cabin was satisfactory. The bathroom was wonderful: good water pressure, great soap, lots of space. The TV system was great, it had a built in on-demand system that had dozens of movies and tv shows ready to watch and access to live news. The ship was lacking in white noise (engine hum / wind / waves) that generally comes on a cruise ship - which made it a bit more difficult to sleep especially when we could hear crew moving large equipment down the hall. Other notes about the ship are mostly positive. The elevators were plentiful for a ship that size and always quick. The pools were great and never overcrowded, and there is an indoor pool and an outdoor pool and 4 small hot tubs. Room service had very limited menu but was good. Cabin stewards were like ninjas and did a great job cleaning up while we were out. They would fill a bowl with fruit and would keep ice in the ice bin which was very nice. Average dress wear was higher than Carnival or Norwegian, even on non-formal nights people were dressed well and there were very few t-shirts on board even just relaxing in the lounges and pool decks. Embarkation, debarkation, and each of the ports was a breeze. Due to weather, we were not able to go to our first stop at Half Moon Cay which was a huge bummer. The announcement said they were going to beef up the entertainment for the day to make up for it but it sure didn't seem like it. We also stopped at Grand Caymen, got a $5 ea taxi ride to the 7 Mile Beach, very nice but crowded, we walked a quarter mile and found just the right amount of people! Cozumel we took another $5 ea taxi to a private beach (Paradise Beach) which was fun and interesting. Our final stop was Key West where we had a very strange customs routine that everyone on board had to do - it was a huge waste of time and the timing forced everyone on board to wake up early which was unfortunate. In summary, this is a great laid back facility to use for your own entertainment. The food is wonderful and the staff is very friendly. The rooms are comfortable and the amenities are top-shelf. Don't expect to be wowed by the pre-packaged entertainment in terms of quality or quantity. For other young adults, don't expect to pick up any singles on the cruise. If you're bringing a S.O. or a group of buddies you should have a lovely time. Just make sure to bring some card games, a good book and a tablet or gameboy! Use the ports of call for your chance to party! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
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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