119 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Senior Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise, and we booked for 2 weeks to celebrate our honeymoon. We are 26 and 33. When we booked the trip, we didn't realize that Holland America was geared towards a mature crowd (50+). We are not big drinkers or ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and we booked for 2 weeks to celebrate our honeymoon. We are 26 and 33. When we booked the trip, we didn't realize that Holland America was geared towards a mature crowd (50+). We are not big drinkers or gamblers, so we were looking for a more relaxing experience with some adventure, not a party scene. Overall, the cruise was excellent. We did the Ultimate Snorkelling in Grand Turk, the Amazing Secret River in Cozumel, and the Champagne Sail in St. Thomas. All excursions were amazing and worth every penny. The food on the ship was all very good with lots of different options. The atmosphere of the ship was very clean and elegant. The only downfall was that the majority of the actives were geared towards an older crowd, such as anti aging seminars, acupuncture, and learn Windows 10, just to name a few. Thankfully, we only had 4 at sea days so the majority of our time was spent in Port, but it would have been nice to have a few more ship activities that would have interested us. Service was top notch and any issues we had were resolved immediately. For our next cruise, I would like to try another line more geared towards our age group, but I will definitely sail with Holland again. It was a wonderful vacation all around. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was my first solo cruise after losing my husband. We had sailed on NA in 2012 and I welcomed sailing on a familiar ship. I had booked a guarantee obstructed ocean view and was assigned exactly that. The day before I left home my TA ... Read More
This was my first solo cruise after losing my husband. We had sailed on NA in 2012 and I welcomed sailing on a familiar ship. I had booked a guarantee obstructed ocean view and was assigned exactly that. The day before I left home my TA got an email from HAL to upgrade to a balcony for a minimal amount which I did. My cabin was 6134, port side and fairly close to the elevator, a definite plus for me. The cabin was as I remembered. There was plenty of storage space for me, didn't need to use all of it, in fact. As this was a very port intensive cruise (5 ports in 7 days) I didn't get to take advantage of the balcony as much as I do on a Caribbean cruise. The cabin steward was pleasant, but seemed to have more cabins assigned to him as he was not as visible as I remember from previous cruises. In fact, all of the crew were very pleasant and always a greeting in passing in corridor, etc. I had opted for 8pm dinner and was assigned to a table for 6, but actually only 3 attended dinner. My dinner companions who knew each other helped to make my solo cruising experience wonderful. They were very friendly and welcoming. I looked forward to meeting up with them and conversing during dinner. One of them was Ruth and I recognized her from her picture on the Cruise Critic Message Boards! I ate in the dining room all except 1 night when I went to the Pinnacle Grill with a group of folks that I had booked two private excursions with. I found something on each night's menu that I liked and was satisfied with my choices. I did notice that there were far less choices than previous. I liked the cold fruit soups, prime rib, roast turkey, sautéed sole and the fruit crisps. I went on 2 HAL excursions: "Shopping in Sorrento": only 1 hr and 40 min free time in Sorrento after drive there (lots of traffic) and stopping at cameo factory and wood inlay demo. "Old Town Nice and Eze: I felt this was much better value, we walked around Old Town with guide and then had over an hour of free time at Flower Market. Then we boarded bus and went to Eze, a hilltop town. When I saw the walk up the mountain, I chose to remain at the bottom and walked around a small outdoor market was some food and some jewelry. The other 3 excursions were privately arranged by members of the Roll Call. I enjoyed them. Embarkation: I am not sure if it was HAL or the Italian Port who handled this but it was sort of chaotic. When I walked into the building, I was handed a form to fill out by one person. I sat down to fill it out and 10 min later another person came up to the door and was handing out numbers which turned out to be the group number to board. They didn't seem to be coordinated in this process, people were not going by the numbers called, etc. Entertainment: I very much enjoyed Damian in the Piano Bar. However the rest left something to be desired.... I sat through the show with the female singer, I heard complaints from others that they left because she was too loud. I left the comedian show as well as the variety show. There is definitely room for improvement in this area! The reason I titled this "Rome to Barcelona: 7 Nights plus 1!" is that we were unable to dock in Barcelona on Nov.2nd as planned due to bad weather. This resulted in an extra day on the ship! It didn't impact me in the way that it did others as I was going to remain in Barcelona for 3 days....so I lost one of those and was charged for my hotel. HAL handled the situation very well I thought. They helped those who needed to change air reservations contact airlines, gave us free internet to contact and a form to fill out and send with receipts for charges like my hotel room. I was sorry to lose a day in Barcelona, but being on the ship one more day was a nice way to relax before Barcelona. All in all, I had a wonderful time and would definitely cruise HAL and solo again! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We got a deal on a Pinnacle suite and were very surprised at how nice it was. Disappointed that the only amenity was free laundry. Free water and free internet would have been nice. The staff was friendly and accommodating. Breakfast ... Read More
We got a deal on a Pinnacle suite and were very surprised at how nice it was. Disappointed that the only amenity was free laundry. Free water and free internet would have been nice. The staff was friendly and accommodating. Breakfast and dinner were great. Lunch was so so. The ship looked new. Nightly shows could have been better, as compared to other cruise lines. Over all we were very satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We're around 70, have lived abroad, and use cruises primarily to visit interesting ports and meet interesting people. We have no interest in the shows on board and avoid the casino and pools. We chose the HAL cruise from Venice to ... Read More
We're around 70, have lived abroad, and use cruises primarily to visit interesting ports and meet interesting people. We have no interest in the shows on board and avoid the casino and pools. We chose the HAL cruise from Venice to Barcelona for some new ports and the chance to revisit familiar ones. Unfortunately, the Med in October had other plans. Port calls for Kotor, Corfu, and Livorno were all canceled on account of storms. We knew there would be three sea days on this cruise, but six were too many. We did get to see a lot of the Adriatic and the coast of Corsica! And HAL offered a discount on a future cruise for the missed ports. We prefer smaller ships. The 'Nieuw Amsterdam' isn't ridiculously large, but it feels like a Signature-class HAL ship with an extra hundred or so cabins tacked on. This means serious crowding at breakfast in the Lido and on-again, off-again service elsewhere. Our obstructed-view cabin on deck 4 was large enough for two, comfortable, and actually had a decent view around a tender. In the Adriatic when we had winds up to 93 knots, it banged and crashed most of the night, probably a result of its pre-fab construction. We traveled on an S-class ship several years ago and wished we were doing so again. The interior decor on the 'NA' is dull and uninviting with the New York theme unimaginatively carried out. Art work generally seemed a weak imitation of Celebrity's. Not much glitz and no canned music everywhere, but do the cabin corridors have to be painted prison gray/green and the Lido cafe feel like a coffee shop at Port Authority? Signage is very poor, especially for passengers with visual impairment. Surely HAL could put up signs pointing towards the bow and stern at the elevators. The library/crow's nest is too small for the passenger load; seats in public areas are often uncomfortable. On the other hand, the ship was steady in storms, has a good walk-around deck, and offers good places to dine outside. Computer classes were excellent. In sum, it's not an unpleasant ship, just mediocre. For the most part, service was fine. As usual on HAL, the cabin stewards were friendly, helpful, and very hard working. Choices at meals were somewhat repetitious (HAL must have cornered the market on pork belly) but adequate. The in-cabin Bento Box meals from Tamarind were excellent. Our dinner at Tamarind was pleasant but not special. It seemed to us that the ingredients in the food were of lower quality than in the past. Coffee varied from good to sludge; decent choice of teas. And afternoon tea in the MDR was very nice. Of the ports where we did land, Dubrovnik was delightful; we just walked around on our own. Took the ferry from Salerno to Amalfi. We had an excellent private tour from Civitavecchia to Orvieto, a beautiful town, instead of braving Rome for the umpteenth time. Monaco was boring and hard to navigate. Pretty St. Tropez was pleasant with nothing much to see. Embarkation in Venice was OK; disembarkation in Barcelona very efficient. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
A slightly larger ship than we were used to, but plenty of room everywhere. The ship itself was modern but not too glitzy. A shame we never saw the officers, even a photo of them would have been nice. The show singers and dancers ... Read More
A slightly larger ship than we were used to, but plenty of room everywhere. The ship itself was modern but not too glitzy. A shame we never saw the officers, even a photo of them would have been nice. The show singers and dancers weren't very good neither the choreography or their voices. The girls were especially raucous. The crew were good however. The itinerary was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My wife and me sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam from May 4th to May 16th 2015. We went from Venice to Istambul and back to Venice. The ship was absolutly perfect. Very comfortable and we specially appreciated that there was lot of space ... Read More
My wife and me sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam from May 4th to May 16th 2015. We went from Venice to Istambul and back to Venice. The ship was absolutly perfect. Very comfortable and we specially appreciated that there was lot of space everywhere on the ship (ex: hot tubs, pools, restaurants. The food was very, very good at buffet, at dining room and specially at Pinnacle Grill. 2 nights with Turkish BBQ at the lido pool and again, it was perfect. Service was impeccable any where on the ship but we specially enjoyed having our first morning coffey at the Explorations Café on deck 11. In overall, the cruise was way above our expectations. We were looking for a cruise not too crowdy and we were absolutely enchanted by truise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The GOOD: My sincere compliments to all the staff on this voyage. Everyone had a smile on his or her face at all times. All were most congenial. Our room attendants "bent over backwards" to help us in any way. For this I an ... Read More
The GOOD: My sincere compliments to all the staff on this voyage. Everyone had a smile on his or her face at all times. All were most congenial. Our room attendants "bent over backwards" to help us in any way. For this I an truly thankful. The security was tight and for that I am thankful. Also thankful for the cold drinking water supplied on the dock when we returned from our wonderful shore excursions hot and tired. The BAD: The cuisine was less that expected. Having taken a Princess Cruise in 2001 and experiencing it's top notch cuisine, I was extremely disappointed in the quality of the foods used on the Nieew Amsterdam: mushy tomatoes, almost flavorless ice milk instead of quality ice cream, etc. etc.I could go on and on. The preparation of the food left so much to be desired (little if any taste to most everything I tried). This was true for the cafeteria as well as the non-pay dining rooms. I ended up creating my own meals from what I could find at the salad bar. Oh, yes I could have what was apparently considered more gourmet food by paying extra for every lunch and dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and the other one or two "gourmet" type restaurants. But that would be very pricy, would it not? Better for Holland America but not for me. Not at all what I signed up for. On the special La Cirque dining night we paid the extra $49 a piece to have dinner in the arguably "gourmet" Pinnacle Grill. The food was prepared somewhat better, but was still not worth $45 a piece. I couldn't bring myself to eat some of it. Save your money. There was nothing special about this night accept for maybe the white coverings on the chairs! The only dinners that were enjoyable were the nights they served authentic Greek food out on the Lido Deck. To add to this frustration, at most of the food stations you are not allowed to serve yourself. You have to ask for what you want and then after the server puts a small amount on your plate, he'll ask whether you want more or not. This gets to be quite frustrating after about the first week. I have to say that I was not the only one in my party that felt the cuisine was substandard. My husband, who will usually eat about anything, and my brother generally felt as I did. I qualify what I am writing here by saying that I live in an area (Napa County, California) that is well known for its many gourmet restaurants. I am fortunate enough to be able to visit some of these restaurants from time to time. I believe I have some, although it may be small, experience in dining at quality restaurants. The UGLY: If you are prone to catching a sore throat, cold and chest congestion from being constantly exposed to a forced air cooling system, BEWARE! You cannot get away from it on this ship. Cold air is blowing from vents everywhere on ship. You can not turn it off in your room.You can only make it warmer if you desire.The rules are to keep your balcony doors closed so as to facilitate the air conditioning. We found this impossible. We had to get fresh air in our room somehow. One of the two vents in our room was blowing onto my bed day and night. After about three days both my daughter and I came down with a sore throat and chest congestion. I missed out on seeing Kotor because I was so ill. We finally asked to have the air somehow restricted in the vent over my bed. When the maintenance staff member removed the vent cover we could see black mold that had accumulated inside the pipe. It was the same way inside the other vent also. He quickly wiped it away with a rag, not protecting my bed, him or us from the mold spores. It made for being uncomfortable for the remainder of the trip knowing that there were very likely many other pipes in the system around the ship with mold being spewed out on unsuspecting people. Plus the fact that the air was still constantly blowing in my room, my only sanctuary away from others. Ugly also stands for the drab decor of the Nieew Amsterdam. The hallways resemble old dormitory hallways. The rooms, at least our room and most of the ones I could see were drab. Now if you like black, brown and orange-red then you should be all right with it. RESULT: I do not think I will ever go on another cruise. For certain i will never go on another Holland America cruise. Nor will I recommend this cruise line to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had a great time. There were amazingly calm seas. The dining room experience was good - they accommodated special (low sodium) diet issues and that was excellent. But the main dining room was often slow. So dinner took a couple of ... Read More
We had a great time. There were amazingly calm seas. The dining room experience was good - they accommodated special (low sodium) diet issues and that was excellent. But the main dining room was often slow. So dinner took a couple of hours. The room stewards were wonderful. The room was always made up before we came back from breakfast. The Lido was great. My husband fell in love with the omelette lady - who prepared his omelettes perfectly and in an innovative way each day. We enjoyed the lectures. I loved changing times in the middle of the day, my husband didn't. He felt it cut too much out of the day and he would have preferred it at night. I liked the sleep. Embarkation and disembarkation was as smooth as I've ever seen it. We noticed that the cabins were smaller than we were used to. Also there wasn't enough room in the movie theater or the digital workshop to accommodate people who wanted to be there. Great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Was somewhat reluctant to take a transatlantic cruise due to my bouts with seasickness in the past. No issues on this cruise whatsoever, the seas were as smooth as silk. The food in the main dining room was excellent. The menu options ... Read More
Was somewhat reluctant to take a transatlantic cruise due to my bouts with seasickness in the past. No issues on this cruise whatsoever, the seas were as smooth as silk. The food in the main dining room was excellent. The menu options were somewhat more limited than usual, but the food was better than we have ever had on any cruise ship. We opted for anytime dining and was assigned a great table (129). The waiters were exceptional as was our views of numerous sunsets. Embarkation was a breeze. There were no lines or delays at all. The cruise director was so energetic and fun. He was the best director ever. Afternoon trivia was great, and we met some really nice people. The ship had just returned from dry dock. It was in superb condition. However, the new carpet need a little attention to remove the fuzz, but after a few days it looked just fine. There were some issues with television reception, but after all you don't take a cruise to watch television. This issue was resolved too. We loved the ports of Gibraltar, Malaga, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona. Horta, Azores was okay, but the weather was bad and we didn't really explore. All and all everything was great and we would definitely recommend the ship and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Let me preface my remarks by saying we have taken one to two cruises per year from 2006 to the present. We’ve been on at least a dozen different ships and NEVER experienced anything like this. I booked fifty (50) nights on the Nieuw ... Read More
Let me preface my remarks by saying we have taken one to two cruises per year from 2006 to the present. We’ve been on at least a dozen different ships and NEVER experienced anything like this. I booked fifty (50) nights on the Nieuw Amsterdam (April 8 thru May 28) based on the reputation they have enjoyed through the years. I can not begin to tell you how disappointed we are with Holland America. If not for their wonderful staff, their “service” would be without any redeeming value. For years I looked forward to cruising to interesting destinations and enjoying a more refined class of service with Holland America Lines. The reality has been a bitter disappointment. I understand that the Nieuw Amsterdam was in dry dock right before our cruise began. As a retired Corporate C.E.O. I’m well aware of the cost of doing business. I understand that each day in dry dock has two costs (the expense of the dry dock itself, and the loss of revenue for each of those days not sailed). It is, however, a false economy to rush the return of the ship to service BEFORE THE WORK IS COMPLETED AND TESTED. I DID NOT PAY TO GO ON A “SHAKEDOWN CRUISE” to help find incomplete and improperly performed repairs and/or upgrades. (See list of problems below) They have sacrificed the long term financial rewards of gaining satisfied repeat customers for some short term savings. A very short sighted, foolish trade. List of Problems: Constant, ship wide, vibration which caused our cabin to have a chorus of squeaks, chirps, and ticking sounds. (Vibration was caused by an engine problem which was to be remedied in dry dock and was not due to rushing the ship back into service) I had to put cardboard between the top of the wall and the ceiling panels to quiet them; a face cloth between the wall and the TV to stop the chirping; and cardboard between the closet door and the mirror to stop the ticking. Fruit Flies? / Drain Flies? in most cabins. Some cabins without A/C. Our corridor, toilets not working. Several episodes during trip. T.V. that vacillated between not working, and working, and all shades in between. Faded and stained carpet in cabin. Two power outages The Lido & Manhattan Dining Rooms had new carpets which were still shedding and making lint balls / dust bunnies SIX weeks on. We were unimpressed with the limited and repetitive nature of the menu and the incompetent way my needs for a gluten and lactose free diet were so poorly met. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was the best cruise we've ever taken. Compared to Carnival and Roysl Caribbean, Holland America is a grown-up cruise line. Everything is understated and beautiful. The Nieuw Amsterdam was the smallest ship we had ever been on, ... Read More
This was the best cruise we've ever taken. Compared to Carnival and Roysl Caribbean, Holland America is a grown-up cruise line. Everything is understated and beautiful. The Nieuw Amsterdam was the smallest ship we had ever been on, but our stateroom was much larger than any other we had ever had before. The "oceanview" however, wasn't. We had the view of a lifeboat. Period. That was the fault of vacationstogo.com, however, so I don't fault HAL. The bathroom was large and had a bathtub! Great room stewards, I swear they cleaned our room every time we left :) The entertainment on the ship was the main reason we'll be back again and again. Although there was little to do during the day, at night there was a violin and piano classical duet that played each evening that were very good, very relaxing. Almost every evening there was a show in the showroom - the first week a comedian had two shows and he was hilarious. The musical shows were probably the best we'd ever seen on any cruise ships, too. In addition, HAL has a Dancing With the Stars program where the passengers get to compete for the actual show - they were very entertaining and we enjoyed it a lot. But the best part for us was the BB King Blues Club - there were two or three shows almost every night, and I think we were there for almost every show. We didn't do any excursions during this cruise, preferring to just relax. We did get off at several ports and walk around and shop. San Juan was the best port for us, as we jumped on a mini tour and saw the old and new town as well as one of the forts without having to walk much. Key West was fun as usual, and we stopped in for a beer and a sloppy Joe sandwich at Sloppy Joe's. The food was excellent both in the Lido and the Manhattan Dining Room. We enjoyed the teas every afternoon at 3:00 in the MDR. We were pleasantly surprised by the 24-hour room service which included a full breakfast every morning, something we haven't been offered before. And the chocolate cake on the room service was to die for! I had it every night :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of ... Read More
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of turbulence made the flight uncomfortable, we made it to Miami. As the ESTA system was supposed to make life easier for tourists I don’t know what went wrong there but it took us over two hours to get through immigration. If we ever go on a Caribbean cruise again it will not be through the USA. We spent one night in the Sonesta hotel in Fort Lauderdale then boarded our ship. There was some problem at the boarding stage so it took over two hours to get through the system. We were in an inside cabin 7105 and it was quite comfortable. The air conditioning worked reasonably well but was slow to react when changing the dial, the bed was comfortable and the shower was very good. There was only one chair so being in the cabin wasn’t that comfortable. The first week we sailed the Eastern Caribbean to Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St Thomas and we were supposed to stop at Half Moon Cay but the weather dictated we didn’t so we had an extra day at sea. It was cold in the evening on that part of the cruise and seemed to rain every night. The second week we sailed to Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West. The weather was warmer for this week. We paid $45 each for a trip on Grand Turk and it was money wasted. There is very little to see there. On Tuesday January 27th we booked a trip for the following day on Puerto Rico at a cost of over $100 for two. I became ill the following morning so couldn’t go on the trip and my wife didn’t want to leave me. I spent two days in my cabin, missing Puerto Rico and St Thomas, and when my wife went to see the Shore Excursions team they said that we would have to cancel the excursion on the Monday, the day before we booked it, to get a refund. That made me mad. They have no idea of customer service so that makes me think I shall never use them again. We did several other trips with the ship and in the main they were ok, especially the one in Cozumel where we went to see the ruins at San Gervasio. However, on Key West we took an elongated trolley trip but there is very little to see outside of the main town. I had been led to believe that the USA was cheap but Key West is certainly not. The food on the ship was quite good with breakfast and lunch in the Lido being very good. However in the evening there was little on offer and I can only assume the management are of the opinion most people would eat in the main restaurants, which is not the case. We only eat in the main restaurant twice during our cruise. The first time it took two and a half hours and although the second time it only took an hour, we had a table for two, the restaurant was freezing so we were glad to get out of there. The entertainment was pretty good with the star of the cruise being a Steel Band from Trinidad called Island Magic. The BB King Blues Band are very good. Overall the Nieuw Amsterdam is a cold ship with air conditioning making many of the public rooms feeling inhospitable and on several occasions we had to leave an event because it was just too cold. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We are 3 star Mariners with HAL so have cruised with them many times over the past 15 years and have experienced their smaller ships e.g. Veendam and similar, and now the Noordam several times and this latest cruise on N.A. We are active ... Read More
We are 3 star Mariners with HAL so have cruised with them many times over the past 15 years and have experienced their smaller ships e.g. Veendam and similar, and now the Noordam several times and this latest cruise on N.A. We are active retired seniors and find that HAL offers what seems perfect for us-very good dining opportunities, wine service at varied levels and cost, varied entertainment,caring, efficient and pleasant crew, ships which are not "mega", therefore calmer, and with good traffic flow on board. We prefer the N.A. over the Noordam- food was better and the ship felt much newer. Having said that we would not hesitate to sail on Noordam again depending on itinerary. The ship is elegant yet soothing and is well maintained as evidenced by sightings of cleaners et al. HAL seems to be evolving and we saw evidence of new procedures, I think, mostly aimed at increased efficiency and ceasing of unecessary things like a fresh fruit bowl in the cabins which I think were mostly wasted. There is now a charge to eat in Canaletto and the second drink at happy hour is $1- all to maximize the bottom line while still delivering customer satisfaction, which every business must do. The basic cruise price is VERY reasonable and it's then up to the guest to decide what they wish to spend as extras on board. There are MANY ways to do that and the cruise line is always supremely active at pointing out those opportunities. Embarkation was flawless- we were on board 20 minutes after arriving in the terminal-our cabin was ready to occupy at noon and we were enjoying our first sip of white wine and Mariners' lunch at 15 minutes after 12. Disembarkation was equally efficient as were all of the "On and Off" the ship at the ports of call. Well done HAL. CABIN We were on deck 8 aft right below the aft pool. This had good and not so good consequences. On the first morning we were woken at 5am by the scraping and moving of furniture. After bringing this to the attention of the crew this did not happen again. The positive of this location was the proximity to the Lido to bring food and drinks into our cabin for eating on our verandah as opposed to cruising to and fro in the Lido trying to find a table. At peak times it's very busy. The other positive is being close to the aft elevators which are never busy. The bathroom has been improved-good storage- and had a bath giving much more space for shower use. The king size bed and pillows were very comfortable, the love seat was much used although not very soft. The verandah was 54 s.ft- quite adequate for 2 with an easy chair, dining chair and low stool which became a stool or table. The only 2 drawers were at each bed side and, in fact, inadequate. On all our 20 some cruises the Noordam and .N.A. were the only 2 lacking drawer space. Maybe this can be adressed on future builds. The door to the balcony was one side that opened and a fixed pane. I think sliding doors would work much better and not take up valuable space when opened. Overall the cabin was very comfortable and we did not hear any noise whatsover from adjoining cabins-the soundproofing must be good To avoid the overcrowded Lido, we ordered room service every morning for breakfast which was delivered on time and by a crew member full of smiles. What a great way to start the day. DINING We are quiet people and always request a table for 2 - fixed dining, late seating and have always been accommodated. The MDR is a lovely 2 storey venue and we were lucky enough to get a table for 2 along the area overlooking the lower part. The table layout on both levels is good and you do not get a feeling of being crowded in as we have experience on one of the newer Celebrity ships. Food in the MDR is the best we have had on any of our cruises including any or the other HAL ships. There seems to have been a big improvement in the vegetable choice and quality. Each night we ordered extra veg as they were so good. The menus are varied enough to suit any taste, portions are certainly adequate and we seldom got through every course. The outstanding meals were the lobster tail- the best I have eaten anywhere on the planet, and the rack of lamb,lamb chops and lamb shank were outstanding ! As cheese lovers we enjoyed the cheese plate offered , a selection of 4 cheeses which varied each night. As often as the MDR was open at lunch we ate there and enjoyed the relaxation, good service and food. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill once-bone-in rib-eye--excellent as was the slow, attentive and relaxed service and every course. I would say, worth the extra cost. We did not eat at the Tamarind or Canaletto. One because we found the MDR service and food to be very good and because the Canaletto was just part of the Lido and not really a "specialty" venue. Neither did we try the grill at the pool of the pizza t the aft pool. That kind of food can be had at a local fast food outlet anywhere. BAR SERVICES We found the bar service to be good and particularly a certain steward Walter, in the Ocean Bar which we frequented each evening before dinner and often at happy hour. At busy times the servers were "flying" and doing a good job of providing prompt service. We did not drink at any of the other bars. ENTERTAINMENT-Main Theatre This is a wonderful venue with good sight lines everywhere. Shows were staged at 8 and 10pm each evening. The first night was a showcasing of the entertainers on board and introduction of the Location team- typical of what most cruise lines offer on the first night. Second night- stand up comedian who did improv, jokes and involved the audience. This was good but not outstanding but seemed well-received by most. Third night- a production show called IT TAKES 2- a tribute to the best duets over the decades-good but very loud Fourth night- a quartet of steel drum players called ISLAND MAGIC. I wondered how they would present enough interest for one hour, but they did. They started by explaining the history of the instrument and what the different size drum did in terms of sound. They played everything but "Island" music and superbly, with interesting harmonies and arrangements. A superb and new show for us. Fifth night- a production show called GARAGE BAND- a tribute to the rock music from the 60's. Enjoyable and entertaining but the volume extremely high- just like being at a rock concert- too much for us. Sixth night- no regular show as there was a Mexican Fiesta outdoors at the pool as we were moored in San Juan until 10.30pm. The pool was transformed into a fiesta site and a local Mariachi band and dancers came to entertain. The atmosphere was great, as was the entertainment and the weather balmy and warm- a touch of paradise. Seventh night- what a disappointment after yesterday. The show today was DANCING WITH THE STARS F INALE- where guests danced with an officer or crew member and were rated by a panel of 3. In our opinion this was a poor and cheap way to fill in a night's entertainment. We were apalled that HAL would think this appropriate but I have to say it was better attended than most of the other shows and well-received too. I guess it was just not to our taste. Eigth night- as this was a back-to-back cruise the same introductory show was offered as last week. Ninth night- a production show called NYC- a musical journey around New York City. Again good with very talented and hard-working performers but oh so loud. Tenth night-RECYCLED PERCUSSION- billed as follows:- Les Vegas Headliners and stars of "America's Got Talent" bring their unique, high energy show exclusively to HAL. We were warned ahead of time that this was EXTREMELY loud and we were provided with EAR PLUGS to wear during the show. A group of performers banged, and made all kinds of noises with various metal and other objects. The audience was divided into 4 groups and you had to make noise with objects given to you as you entered. The end result was a cacophany of deafening noises. Even the earplugs were insufficient to bring the sound down to a tolerable level so we left. Most of the audience got into this so the decision to stage this was a reasonable one. Eleventh night- a female singer with a magnificent voice and personality- Tricia Kelly- see her if you can. She was able to sing in many different styles and impersonated Janis Joplin and many others including Louis Armstrong! A great show and great talent. Twelfth night- a stand up comic who had been around on many TV shows.-very good. Thirteenth night- CANTARE- featured 4 of the cast singers- 4 male singers who sang in harmony and in solo performance- superb-great voices. Thirteenth night- a repeat of DANCING WITH THE START AT SEA FINALE- as stated earlier we did not like this at all of think it was appropriate for the main evening show. A matinee slot is where it should be along with The marriage game and it's ilk. Overall the shows were good ,some outstanding, and we realize that HAL is trying to cater to varied tastes so we do not expect to rave about every one. EXPLORERS LOUNGE.- this peaceful venue offered a piano/violin duo each and for several hours each night with some breaks. They were 2 youthful girls from Ukraine with great talent. They deserve to do well. They had a loyal audience each night as I saw the same guests there often. The music was light classical and baroque, pleasant but not too heavy. OCEAN BAR- The Halcats played here each night at some point and were good with a bluesy singer sometimes. The dance floor was enjoyed by many good dancers and the bar stretched right across the width of the ship making for a quieter area away from the band. This is a lovely and relaxing place to enjoy a drink and the "nibblies" and the complimentary hors d'oevres they serve. CROW'S NEST- this is the bar at the front and top of the ship.We tried it once but found the guitarist';s music was far too loud to allow for conversation. B.B.BLUES CLUB- this is a wonderful locale with a great band but too loud that we could not stay or enjoy it. However, many people did so thee you go. PIANO BAR-small bar with piano right in the centre.We did not enjoy Jeremy as much as players on previous cruises and again the volume was just too loud. However, again I must say it was crowded on many evenings depending on the theme which changed each day. NORTHERN LIGHTS- the disco and night club which we did not use. We did not use the spa and casino so cannot comment on those. SERVICE- overall the crew is to be congratulated for their efficiency, dedication and sheer pleasure to be around. This makes a huge difference to a cruise experience and this crew seem to be one of the best. CONCLUSION- This was one of the best cruises we have taken, despite the fact that we had visited all of the ports of call several times. For us, it's about the cruise experience on board if we visit the Caribbean Islands. The outstanding points were the food, crew, and superb organization. HAL offers a great product at a reasonable price. There is a different atmosphere and activity opportunities on a one week cruise as opposed to a longer one, especially a re-positioning one. We missed the interesting lectures and others activities which can be offered on a longer sail. Several days at sea can sometimes be the best part of a cruise vacation. Although we rate this cruise and HAL highly there are a few issues which could be addressed. The major one is the extremely loud volume in the theatre. We brought this to their attention several times but there was no resolution. For the past year they have adopted a different serving procedure in the MDR. There are now RUNNERS who assist the waiter and assistant waiter by bringing the trays of ordered food to the serving stations. At the same time the number of tables that each team serves has increased significantly. We did not notice any degradation of service, although I think the servers probably experience extra stress. The vast area that each wine waiter is expected to service seems far too large. They cannot possibly serve every table at the start of dinner in an immediate fashion. However, they work diligently and with grace. The Lido does not seem to be large enough to accomodate the crowds at peak times and one must wait until 1.45pm(15 minutes before lunch closes) to experience a calm lunch. We assume HAL will keep evolving and are looking forward to many future cruises with them Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We board the elegant Nieuw Amsterdam in Barcelona for a 13 night Trans Atlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale. We are impressed with the ship - It does exude elegance. The public on Decks 2 and 3 are nicely designed to serve as multipurpose ... Read More
We board the elegant Nieuw Amsterdam in Barcelona for a 13 night Trans Atlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale. We are impressed with the ship - It does exude elegance. The public on Decks 2 and 3 are nicely designed to serve as multipurpose rooms. The furniture is comfortable - the spaces open and airy feeling and the three story atirum has a beautiful glass staircase and a frosted chandelier depicting Nieuw Amsterdam ( NYC skyline). It's not difficult to acclimate to this ship. Deck 1 has comfortable seating and offers guest services, an excursion desk, future cruise booking and the "on location" Advisor desk. Decks 2 and 3 have bars, shops, restaurants, photography studio, card rooms, show rooms and a movie theatre. Decks 10 and 11 have pools, jaccuzzis, sports courts, buffet and specialty restaurants, spa and fitness center and the Crow's Nest that serves as internet cafe, library, coffee shop bar and dance floor - all with a panoramic oceanview. Rooms are more spacious than other ships that we've recently sailed. Our balcony cabin had a tub which is unusual and much to my liking. Storage was more than adequate with luggage fitting easily under the bed. Ice was not automatically replenished twice daily - but once we made our needs known to our room attendant it was provided. The Nieuw Amsterdam - launched in 2010 - accommodates 2,100 passengers and 900 crew (Indonesian and Phillipino - all extremely friendly and competent). Passengers on this cruise are older than on many other sailing, but are still very active - walking, exercising and dancing. Mainly Americans, Germans and Canadian - seasoned cruisers - many staying on for more than one voyage. Food - a very subjective topic - is very upscale - lots of variety and well prepared with great sauces. Different themes are offered at all meals - American, German, Thai, Greek, Asian, Dutch, Italian, French etc. We also found a larger than variety than usual of salad ingredients, fruit and cheeses. Deserts were plentiful and offered in small portions. I did find that gelatin was used for almost all of them including mousse, creme brulee and even tiramisu. My downfall though is their signature Raisin Bread Pudding with Rum Vanilla Creme Anglaise.....on offered at lunch - but it is there every day. Lectures are offered on sea days - this cruise focused on planets and comets in the skies to animals in the Sea. Internet classes sponsored by Microsoft are complimentary but do fill up quickly. Many lectures on Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Cosmetics weight loss,and Beauty enhancing products and procedures. There were many art auction and most served a glass of champagne. Entertainment is plentiful and varied, dance bands, combos, piano player, guitarist, classical music all evening long - the disco was probably the least attended - due to the type of passengers but the music did sound good and the venue was inviting. Drinks were reasonable - $6.75 for drink of the day - $8.00 for martinis and more for top shelf drinks. Happy hour every day in two different bars with buy one get one for $1 - but it was at 5PM. On sea days informal card playing was organized, crochet, knitting and needlework groups met, trivia was always well attended and many also liked Bingo. Holland America is known for their cooking demonstrations and quite a few were offered - even competition between the chefs. Overall this was a very enjoyable cruise - we did find that workers were very busy - especially in the dining rooms and bars during happy hour. Although the service was still good, you could sense that there had been a reduction in staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I just returned from 7 days aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was a breeze. The Holland America crew really know how to keep a line moving. Our 1st port was Grand Turk. Had a pleasurable visit to Jacks Shack on the ... Read More
I just returned from 7 days aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was a breeze. The Holland America crew really know how to keep a line moving. Our 1st port was Grand Turk. Had a pleasurable visit to Jacks Shack on the beach and enjoyed the local beer and jerk chicken. Next was San Juan, my fav ! Love that island, so many things to see and do. Visited El Jibarito restaurant for their pasteles (seasonal dish) usually Christmas and Mothers Day, along with their awesome mofongo. In port until 11pm which was very nice. On to St Thomas, we were docked in Crown Bay which is nice. Took the tram to Paradise Point for photos and drinks ! Great place ! The next stop was Half Moon Cay, rented a clamshell for the day and soaked up the warm temperature. Holland America has a magnificent BBQ on the beach and the food and drinks were delicious. I cannot say enough good things about the ship and her crew. They work together like a well oiled machine. We lacked for nothing on our voyage. No hassles, The entertainment was a pleasure, the musicians were easy on the ears and a lot of fun. There are many nooks inside the ship where one can go to enjoy quiet moments, I really enjoyed that. The gym was well equipped to work off all that fabulous food they prepared. It was all very fresh and tasty. I did not have a bad meal. The sushi was superb ! With all that said.....I had a wonderful cruise experience and cannot wait to sail on HAL again !!! I give the Nieuw Amsterdam 5 stars !!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We booked this cruise last minute and actually, because it was a New Year's cruise, I was expecting many families with kids running amok. Yes, there were many children but they were very well behaved and we did not have any run ins. ... Read More
We booked this cruise last minute and actually, because it was a New Year's cruise, I was expecting many families with kids running amok. Yes, there were many children but they were very well behaved and we did not have any run ins. Embarkation was very smooth as we had Express booking and waltzed right through without a hitch. Our ocean view cabin was perfectly situated mid-ship and we never had to walk far to anything. The cabin layout was good with a large draw under the foot of the bed for clothing. Our room steward was Kamal and he was not satisfactory. Dirty wine glasses stood in our room for 2 days, we waited 45 mins. for fresh ice and he never replenished even the basics like soap. By the end of the cruise, hubby and I were sharing a sliver of soap. Finally, I figured out if I communicated through notes, I got the what we needed. The shower toiletries were Elemis although I never used them. DINING: We did not eat at any specialty restaurants but the Lido for breakfast & lunch provided a good selection and plentiful food. The dinner chef had a heavy hand with salt (which I loved!) so expect to return home retaining a lot of water. Our waiter was Yopi and he was very good assisted by Sapu, who was also good but not remarkably so. They all learn your first name and say it like you're their buddy for the remainder of the cruise. Our sommelier was Marcy and she was the best. She really knew her wines and was always at hand to pour and serve. GYM: The gym is pathetically small and people fight for space. They should repossess the unused rooms from the spa and make the gym larger. The elliptical machines and treadmills were good but don't forget your earbuds since there are TVs attached for watching while you walk. SHIP FLICKS - a GREAT idea! They give you a book with over 1,000 DVDs that can be borrowed from the ship to watch a movie. If you want the movie right away, be prepared to run down to the front desk. I used it twice in the afternoons to compliments my naps. ENTERTAINMENT: Worst dance troupe on the seas but fortunately they broke it up with a funny comedienne (Julie Barr), the 4 tenors and a steel drum band that was marvelous! Last night they adapted Dancing with the Stars to the ship and that was entertaining as well. New Year's Eve party was great as we danced, blew horns and celebrated into the New Year. At just before midnight, they cut into the action at Times Square and we all watched the ball drop.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are seniors who winter in Florida. This was our 10th Cruise since February 2010 and our first with Holland America. We were hoping that the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam would be “the one” and it did not disappoint. It was a two hour drive ... Read More
We are seniors who winter in Florida. This was our 10th Cruise since February 2010 and our first with Holland America. We were hoping that the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam would be “the one” and it did not disappoint. It was a two hour drive to Ft. Lauderdale. The Park and Go Parking Lot is secure and reasonable at $61.29 for 7 days parking. (You can get a Frequent Parker card.) We arrived at 10;30 am and the shuttle was ready to take us to the pier. We never touched our luggage – they handled it all. The return trip was just as easy. Embarkation was a breeze. We were onboard before noon. The Holland American staff, with crisp uniforms and white gloves, ushered us to the correct elevator and to our room. Very impressive. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas and Catholic Mass was offered every day. There was a nice mix of ages and even several well-behaved children aboard. It’s not just an “old folks” cruise line, as we had once thought. We had a balcony on the 5th deck, mid ship. Our room had lots of storage, a bathtub/shower combo and a small dressing table. The loveseat/couch was a bit too cozy for 2 people and so I brought a chair in from the balcony. The bed was very, very comfortable! We had the air conditioning on all week as it was very hot and humid. Service on board was excellent. The staff was always smiling and friendly. Room service was exceptional. The cheese and cracker plate was our favorite with a nice variety of imported cheeses. We had 5:30 pm dining on the upper (3rd) level. Our table mates were a joy, as were so many others that we met during our trip. The food was very good. The lobster was not dried out (hooray!), the shrimp was tasty and the beef was tender. We didn’t eat at any of the Specialty restaurants, but will try the Pinnacle next time. (I hear the price just went up!) We ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room when available. The Lido: It looks very nice, has comfortable chairs and real orchids on the tables. BUT …the long lines for food are not for me. Royal Caribbean has a much better design for its buffet. We had pizza once. RCI wins on that one too. On Board Ship: We went to most of the theater shows and would rate them mediocre. The enrichment programs were wonderful. Flower arranging, cooking and the Microsoft Digital were just what I was looking for. I love to learn! Excursions: We joined Crystal’s group and had the BEST day ever at the private Oasis on Half Moon Cay. Wonderful food, open bar, hot tub, floating in the ocean – a perfect day. In Cozumel, we had lunch at Poncho’s Backyard. We also bought Voltaren gel for our aches and pains at the Mexican pharmacy. In Key West,we took the trolley ride but should have signed up for the one through the ship, instead of on our own. We had several crying infants from the Disney Magic on our trolley and we couldn’t hear the narrator. We got off, waited half an hour and got on another trolley – still the same problem. Also, if it’s nice weather, I would suggest the train ride tour as it’s more open and much better for taking photos. One negative is that sometimes the ship had a terrible vibration. I hope they get it fixed! In summation, we rate this ship and cruise ELEGANT AND EXCELLENT!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Up until this point, we have travelled with our children on the mega ships, which seemed to have been the right choice for us at that time. However, on the occasion of our 30th anniversary we chose to do it a little more low-key and ... Read More
Up until this point, we have travelled with our children on the mega ships, which seemed to have been the right choice for us at that time. However, on the occasion of our 30th anniversary we chose to do it a little more low-key and upscale. We were not disappointed. It is a beautiful ship, elegantly decorated, intimately designed , with smaller gathering rooms;, where you can sit and enjoy a violinist and pianist playing beautiful classic music or a piano bar where everyone is singing along to classic pop hits. Many evenings we would have an evening drink on lido deck, after a fabulous dinner in one of the specialty restaurants. We would definitely take another cruise on the Holland America Niuew Amsterdam. Just a few things that could use improvement. All of the evening shows were pretty awful Except The Improv comediennes who were hilarious and the Cruise ship band. 5 stars for them!. Staff in main dining room seemed stressed and anxious to get us out of the dining room. The opposite was true of the specialty restaurants. Staff promptly knew our likes and catered to us without becoming annoying. Dinners in the main dining rooms were definitely better at the beginning of the cruise and not so much afterward. I would do the specialty restaurant toward the end of the cruise next time. Overall, this is an elegant ship that caters to a more mature crowd. It was a perfect choice for us!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Too many glitches from worn and dirty cabin carpeting in a suite, to poor attitude in the Maitre'd's staff in paying attention to what was happening in the dining rooms, no smiles, just uniform ho-hum services. We booked a suite ... Read More
Too many glitches from worn and dirty cabin carpeting in a suite, to poor attitude in the Maitre'd's staff in paying attention to what was happening in the dining rooms, no smiles, just uniform ho-hum services. We booked a suite on this cruise, and upon entering the room, we were impressed with the marvelous bathroom, and the size of the suite itself, but looked out onto a veranda that was about 4' wide, and stacked with furniture that you could not possibly use. Two relaxing chairs with a low table, and one straight backed chair with 3 footstools that could not be possible be fitted in front of the chairs. We had requested a table for 6 or 8 and got a table in the far back of deck 3, and a four seater. Dining companions were nice, but they never returned. When we saw them on a and tour, they had moved their meals to the Lido deck. I previously had called the maitre'd and asked if we could be reassigned to a larger table - because a good part of cruising is meeting your cruise-mates, and his blunt answer was "there is nothing I can do". I had tipped our room attendant in advance and asked that we have ice every afternoon about 4, and that request was usually filled. But wen we needed something else, or on the day the ice was forgotten, i called guest services, and got a recording (also several other times) that said all attendants were busy and they would get to us as soon as possible - which was usually 30 minutes. For a suite on a 4.5 star line - I think not. We are elite with another line, and usually have the direct phone and a business card for a cabin attendant, so this was a disappointing experience. The only time we saw a bard was the last night - looking for tips or high marks? The good marks - the Pinacle Grill was outstanding, MDR food was good and reasonably well presented. Embarkation and Disembarkation were performed flawlessly, but the arrival in Key West was at the Navy Docks, and no information was given guests before leaving the ship and standing in the sun for a half hour waiting for the jitney train with only one loading area to arrive. Poorly planned and executed. The pattern on the carpeting was worn to to the point of not being visible, and vacuum cleaners sightings were a rare occurrence. our cabin was not vacuumed for the first three days. Marginal - room service breakfast, which we always prefer, was always cold and the toast was stale. The only way around it was to have muffins and order an item which had to be cooked to order   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
What a wonderful ship. My husband and I, joined by another couple, completely enjoyed everything about this ship. Being the newest in HAL's line we found it in excellent condition, from the comfortable cabin with balcony, and full ... Read More
What a wonderful ship. My husband and I, joined by another couple, completely enjoyed everything about this ship. Being the newest in HAL's line we found it in excellent condition, from the comfortable cabin with balcony, and full sized tub/shower, to the wonderful dining experiences we had! Service was terrific, crew was friendly and attentive. We had the same dining table through the cruise though we had signed up for As You Wish dining option the maitre'd saved our favorite table (at the very rear of the ship next to the windows) for us each night. The LeCirque dinner at the Pinnacle Grill is well worth the extra $39 charge, as we still talk about this great dinner to date. But we found each and every night that the food was interesting and quite good. We ordered early morning coffee/rolls/fruit room service, then later morning breakfast in the dining room. We found the Lido Buffet so good all the time that some days we skipped the main dining room altogether. We also had a fabulous meal at their Pacific fusion restaurant, Tamarind. We only saw 2 shows in the Showroom but they were fun and entertaining. Our only complaint is that their movie theater is extremely small so at the showing of the newest Bond movie they could not accommodate the crowd, maybe only 40-50 seats. One night they had a showing of "Lincoln", that had just been released, so they ran the movie in the larger Showroom at Sea, and after that night it was shown on your in-cabin tv. Our itinerary was revised as our Captain decided not to land in Grand Turk due to an increase in gastrointestinal cases on all ships that had been stopping there. That was disappointing but overall glad not to come down with that virus! Old San Juan is very historic and interesting, and in St. Maarten we had signed up for the America's Cup regatta, which I was disappointed in as we only sailed around Phillipsburg harbor for about 1 hour. Not worth it to me. Their private island beach is gorgeous and the ship put on a delightful barbecue on the beach. We love HAL and are saving our pennies for hopefully one of their Panama Canal excursions in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We are a retired couple and live in Palm City FL. We are just back from the December 16 2012 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam- our third cruise with HAL. Wanted to share out experiences and thoughts. We started cruising together in 1987. ... Read More
We are a retired couple and live in Palm City FL. We are just back from the December 16 2012 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam- our third cruise with HAL. Wanted to share out experiences and thoughts. We started cruising together in 1987. Ships were smaller then -- there were no ships with balconies -- and there were no alternative restaurants -- only fixed dining. We are originally from Chicago, lived in Naples from 1994 to 2004, moved back to Chicago and then back to Florida in 2009. We have experienced flying to cruise ports, driving to cruise ports and taking the cruise bus to cruise ports. This was our 36th cruise. We love to cruise this time of year and decided to go with HAL because of the itinerary. Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten, and Half Moon Cay. We booked the cruise the end of September and booked an inside guarantee cabin. I saw that the price went down, called HAL and they upgraded us to an HH obstructed guarantee. When we finally got a cabin number we were in a D outside cabin. A few days before the cruise, we got an e-mail offering us a verandah V cabin for $29/person and we took it. We ended up in cabin 8101. This was a great location, starboard side of the vessel between the mid-ships and aft elevators and one deck down from Lido deck. It proved very nice. Prior to this cruise we always took the Cruise Connection bus to the port. They went out of business earlier in the year and then when they re-started the business they didn't stop anywhere south of Fort Pierce-so we had to look for an alternative. We ended up driving to the port and parking in the Park-N-Fly lot close to the port. It was so easy and inexpensive that we will do that from now on. We left our home at 10am and were on the ship and in our stateroom by a little after 12 Noon. The embarkation process was excellent. We met our room steward and then went to the dining room for lunch -- this is a nice perk for Mariner guests-those who have cruised with HAL before. Our lunch also was excellent and a good start to the cruise. We then explored the ship since we were not familiar with this ship -- it was well laid out and easy to navigate. The ship holds 2106 passengers-I don't believe it was sold out completely. The ship is a really nice size and looks like a ship should look -- very traditional. I'll break this down into four parts -- Ship, Food, Ports, and Personal Observations. Ship-beautifully done, very clean, laid out well. There are 11 decks and three sets of elevators and stairs-forward, mid-ships, and aft. We used to climb the stairs -- no longer climb -- use them going down, not up. The elevators were fast, and available-hardly ever had to wait. The mid-ships elevators were interior and also had two elevators running up each side of the ship. There were areas that you could only reach using the forward elevators or the mid-ship elevators. The Crows Nest-which houses the bar, dance floor, observation area and the coffee bar and the library was only accessible from the forward elevators. Tamarind and the Silk Den -the alternative Asian restaurant and lounge -was only accessible from the mid-ship elevators. The Lido was on deck 9 aft and all the other public areas were on decks 1,2,3. There was plenty of outside deck space -- the aft deck and pool is adults only and didn't have a huge amount of shady space -- but a good amount of lounging space and also covered space to sit at tables and chairs and eat outside. The Lido pool area has a dome and that was nice-there were times it was closed and times it was open-we found some very comfortable chairs at that pool area and enjoyed sitting there reading. Hal has decided to put about 6 Cabanas on the starboard side of the Lido deck-curtaining them off-and taking up valuable deck space. There are other Cabanas that are out of the way of the public decks and we thought these to be a waste of space on the Lido deck. The gym was well equipped -- I used it very early morning for my own stretching and yoga before 7 am. Did not use the spa services so I cannot speak to them. FOOD- food is a very subjective topic. We enjoyed the food -- but it wasn't stellar. We could always find something on the menu to order. We used the dining room for all but two meals and enjoyed it. Breakfast was excellent -- quite a variety and everything we tasted was quite good -- try the Belgian Waffles -- they are so good. Service at breakfast was also excellent. It is so much nicer being served in the dining room than having to navigate the Lido just after getting up in the morning -- just my opinion. Lunch was also good -- portions nice and service good. Dinner -the food was good -- at least the choices we made -- I concentrated on fish and also had the rack of lamb-everything I tried was nicely made and tasty. We don't eat a lot of beef so I can't speak to that -- my husband did try the prime rib and wasn't happy with it. The service was extremely slow in the evening -- we had fixed dining at 8pm and a table for two. The location was excellent and we enjoyed that. The dining room staff-waiters and asst. waiters -- were all very friendly and welcoming -- I just think that there were too few of them for dinner and there seemed to be little supervision. The same was true of the lack of supervision in the Lido at lunchtime -- tables weren't being cleared and reset in a timely fashion and coffee, tea and other beverages weren't being refilled quickly. The food selection was good-but we only ate two meals there. We didn't go to any alternative restaurants -- we were going to try Tamarind -- but couldn't get a reservation -- friends did and said the food and service was excellent -- we talked to people who had gone to The Pinnacle and loved it as well as LeCirque. We were able to have room service the last morning on the ship before debarking and that was a real plus-it was delivered on time and was quite good. I would always recommend doing this so you don't have to fight the Lido on the last morning. Makes debarking that much easier. PORTS-The itinerary was Sea Day (Formal night), Grand Turk, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Sea Day(Formal night), and Half Moon Cay. Of course, we enjoyed the days at sea -- we cruise for relaxation, the ship, and the food -- I read three books on this cruise -- so it was definitely relaxing. Grand Turk is mostly a beach day-the Carnival Breeze was in port with us -- we walked into the port, and took a look around -- have been there many times -- so just went back to the ship. There is a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville with a huge pool there as well as some shops and lots of beach area -- the water is beautiful. The beach, when you enter the water, tends to be a lot of large rocks, good to wear water shoes there. We were there from 8am to 2:30pm and left at 3pm. San Juan was a 1pm arrival and 8pm departure. If you have never been there there are many historic sites to see and Old San Juan is fun to explore. The ship also offers a number of tours -- we have been to San Juan many times and did not get off the ship. The 1pm arrival left lots of daylight to explore and we enjoyed the ship while others were exploring. There was one other ship in port with us -- a Disney ship. St. Maarten is one of our favorite ports in the Caribbean -- we arrived at 8am and left at 3pm -- the first time we have departed that port before 5pm -- it is actually two countries and they meld well -- the Dutch side is excellent for shopping and the beach and boardwalk are lovely. The French side is equally lovely with many beautiful beaches -- shopping and eating there are more expensive. We took the water taxi around 10am into Phillipsburg, took our time perusing Front Street and enjoyed the day -- took the water taxi back around 2pm. There were two other ships in port with us- Celebrity Summit and RCL Freedom of the Seas- so the town wasn't extremely crowded. It was a beautiful arrival and departure -- very enjoyable. A word to the wise, if you are going to explore the French side of the island, do it early in the morning and come back to Phillipsburg after that-traffic can be heavy in the afternoon and you want to be sure to allow enough time to return to the ship. Half Moon Cay is HAL's private island in the Bahamas -- it is a beautiful place. When I got up that morning the temperature outside was in the high 60's -- a definite chill in the air. It did warm up, but stayed somewhat cloudy with a good wind. Since we live in Florida, we can go to the beach anytime, so we stayed on the ship and enjoyed it. We arrived here at 8am and left at 3pm. The sea days that we had offered many things to do or not depending on what you wanted. The fact that the Lido pool has a dome is so nice since even in cooler and windier weather, it can be closed and the pool can be enjoyed as well as the deck space there. OBSERVATIONS Having cruised on many different lines(Commodore, NCL, RCCL, Carnival, Princess, Premier, Costa, MSC, Celebrity and HAL), it is always hard not to compare. Many things HAL does very well for our taste. The embarkation and debarkation are excellent. The outdoor spaces were to our liking as were many of the lounges. The stateroom was so nice -- great having a tub -- more room for showering. Plenty of closet space and storage space. Easy to get around the ship. After observing the way many people dressed for "formal" nights, I think the time has come to only have one "formal" night on a 7 day cruise or maybe do away with them. We love dressing up -- but it was apparent that very many people do not any more. We saw everything in the way of dress on these nights from very formal to extreme casualness. No one was turned away from the dining room as far as I could see. The Mariners luncheon for repeaters was just that -- a luncheon -- maybe they had something else for those who have cruised with HAL more than we have (3 cruises including this one). But there were no awards presented and they gave no information of plans HAL has in the future -- the Captains Welcome Aboard was in the Showroom with a glass of champagne just prior to the show that night -- very quick and to the point-he did introduce the heads of departments. There was a nice mix of passengers age wise. Not a lot of children. All in all it was a very nice cruise. Having said that, we will choose Princess or Celebrity before HAL in the future. I did take pictures of the cabin 8101 if anyone is interested, please e-mail me at melkaz1758@gmail.com. I would be happy to answer any questions about this cruise or any others we have taken. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We were already on the ship when it arrived in Barcelona. We disembarked early and got on a hop-on hop-off bus. We had already seen much of the city during other cruises. We had been to Monserratt, Park Guell and the Sagrada. My DH ... Read More
We were already on the ship when it arrived in Barcelona. We disembarked early and got on a hop-on hop-off bus. We had already seen much of the city during other cruises. We had been to Monserratt, Park Guell and the Sagrada. My DH convinced me I did not need a heavy jacket - but since I was on top of the HO-HO bus with my camera, I was very cold and had to get off and buy a jacket. Over 800 of us stayed on the ship. It is my estimate that the ship (holding approximately 2000) was not totally filled but I estimate 1000+ boarded the ship - just to sail across the Atlantic - I cannot imagine why anyone would do this - except for the fact that it is cheap and they love to eat! But to each his own. I did describe the ship in my earlier reviews because the Eastern & Western Med parts were port intensive. But I decided to keep busy on the TA. We did not eat often in the Main Dining Room, on the 1st two legs. But we did on this leg. I rather like the decor in the dining room - red is a bold color and I love it. We had anytime dining and sat at large table. We continued to enjoy our Lido breakfasts and lunches. We participated in the sail-aways by the Sea View Pool. We went to several shows, and thought the singers and dancers to be outstanding. We also enjoyed a comedian/magic show. There is a small piano bar and an outstanding player - but the room is small and it was always full. There were coffee meetings in the AM with the important officers. I asked the Captain when he slept - he told me NEVER - but I do think the ship was onauto pilot most of the time crossing the Atlantic. I enjoyed the Chefs Wars in the Culinary Arts Center. It was lots of fun. The Captain even showed up on one of the days. I signed up for a hands-on cooking class, which they had to cancel because of insufficient participation - I thought it was worth the $$$. On the evening of the 1st sea day we went to the introduction to the Captain and his team. He implored us to WASH OUR HANDS. But unfortunately, there was a problem. HAL does everything possible - including a paper-towel dispenser by the door in each public rest-room - asking to use the paper towel to open the doors and then toss the towel in the basket. There were no announcements but during the last few days all the hot-tubs were closed. We enjoyed our balcony during this leg. After a rough night leaving Madiera, the Atlantic was like a lake - gently rolling seas and several nights of putting the clock back. I have few complaints about our time on the Nieuw Amsterdam. I thought there were too many formal nights. And we had to leave the ship in FLL. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
My earlier review was the Eastern Med leg of this long cruise. We had done the western Med twice before, so some of the ports were familiar to us. In addition, we had spent a month touring Italy on our own. This leg and the prior one were ... Read More
My earlier review was the Eastern Med leg of this long cruise. We had done the western Med twice before, so some of the ports were familiar to us. In addition, we had spent a month touring Italy on our own. This leg and the prior one were very port intensive, so we did not spend a lot of time on the ship. We ate breakfast in the Lido. The Lido on the HAL ships is far superior to Princess. Both side were busy - one side had any kind of poached egg you could imagine - with ham, spinach, even smoked salmon. There was a crepe station where you could get a variety of fillings and toppings. It was our favorite meal of the day. When tired after a long day at port, there were often buffets by the Sea View pool, which featured cuisine of the country we visited. Im a NYC native - I loved the mid-ship setting. We were impressed with the efficiency of the ship. We did not have to re-embark in Venice, since we were already on the ship. We did the city on our own, the day we arrived. Though disappointed that the St Marks area was flooded, we still enjoyed riding the vaporetto and the Rialto bridge area. Most of all we loved sailing out of the city. Our cabin was on the starboard side, so we had a great view of the city. We missed the port of Lavorno. We have been to Florence many times, so that was not on our agenda. But the captain got on the TV and explained the reason for the decision. Everyone was so impressed by his thorough explanation of the situation.That the weather report by the captain - Vincent Smitt - became a regular feature of the Good Morning show. The cruise director was excellent and Tom - the port expert was extremely helpful. I have an allergy to flowers. It took a while to get them to understand how difficult it was to sit at a table with orchids. But by this leg, they knew to move them away from me. We are not big eaters, so we did not go to any specialty restaurants. The ports are described below - we went to the Island of Kefalonia - the port is Argostoli - CC does not have it listed - when we missed Lavorno, we went to the Island of Sardinia - port Cagliari -also not listed on CC - nor is the port of Catania where went to Taormina Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Total disappointment. We read reviews for this cruise and were aware that rating for this ship is not too great, only fair. But this was the first Mediterranean cruise of the year and we took the risk. First and foremost I want to ... Read More
Total disappointment. We read reviews for this cruise and were aware that rating for this ship is not too great, only fair. But this was the first Mediterranean cruise of the year and we took the risk. First and foremost I want to outline the pros: Our stateroom attendant was great! Room was always perfectly cleaned, bedding was always sparkling clean and every evening we got those adorable towel pets which were the highlight of my evening entertainment. Dining room food was acceptable. Adequate portions. Head waiter came to the table every day for a chat. We had lobster dishes 2 formal nights and crab legs 1 night. Crab legs were pretty good and we asked we will have it again. Were told there is no plan to serve crab legs again, but if we ask for it, he will prepare it for us on request. And we got crab legs again, as promised. What made dinner extra special are the people at our table. We asked to be sited at table for 6 and had delightful company, lot's of laughs. I have to say special thanks to the desert chefs. That was the best desert we ever had on the cruise. Every night different, very delicious pastries of top quality. And special chocolate night was magnificent. Great variety! Lunch menu in the buffet was very good. Salads, very good selection of meets prepared differently. Great idea was to have different oriental variety every day. Pizza was fantastic all day long. Ice creams with different toppings. Specialty restaurant we only visited twice. First time we really enjoyed the food and the service. Yuri, our waitress was a delight. She was friendly and allot of fun. Food was ok. Sushi were not really good and they served 4 very thin slices and you could not get seconds. Second night my husband ordered Vietnamese lamb but meet was very tough and he got a replacement dish. However, the chocolate filled fortune cookie was something awesome! From entertainers want to mention Jenny and the HALcats. Jenny is a great singer and has wonderful personality. That is where pros of this cruise end. Cons: This cruise was designed for people over 85. Even thought there were allot of older folks we know people of all ages like to have fun. Shows were extremely boring. Low quality entertainers. Ship performers(singers and dancers) only performed couple of times in production numbers which again lacked quality. Since HALcats were the only band and performed in the shows as well as wit Jenny, dancing was nonexistent as the band was busy with the shows every night. So Jenny performed perhaps 2-3 times during entire cruise. There was another sort of jazz band that were suppose to play from 5:30PM to 6:30PM the dance favorites/ballroom type songs. Whoever planned the timeslot for this band forgot that first dinner sitting starts at 5:45PM and can go on well until 8PM. Since we are passionate ballroom fans we skipped dinner one evening to catch some dancing. That was terrible!!!! They mostly played foxtrot and took several 5 minute breaks(which lasted up to 20 minutes) every 15 minutes. In other words really bad for those of us who can still move. DJ Mario was allot of fun during some of the game shows. But his disco was at 11PM when most people are in bed considering that every shore excursion would start between 8 and 9 AM. One night we decided to stay up and go to the Latin night. All he played was Merengue, after half and hour we gave up. Game shows were a joke. Deal or no deal....1 person calls the rest are sitting doing nothing for an hour, what is the point? 1 show was sort of fun "majority rules" where all the players were involved. Is it so hard to find more games where all attendants would participate? There was no on-deck entertainment at all. Deck area could not accommodate all the guests and it was impossible to find free lounge chair next to the pool. At this time I should mention that dining room was terribly understaffed and waiter service that cruises are so famous for was not there. But there were plenty of waiters bugging every 5 minutes offering a drink from a poolside bar, dance floor bar, theater bar and so on. However wants a drink will get a drink, but no matter how many people will bug me to buy a drink I will not since I don't drink alcohol. So few less bar waiters and few more dining room waiters would have been great. Getting a table at the buffet dining room was a challenge, especially for breakfast. Getting food at the buffet was a challenge...First few days all the food were being served which created 30 minutes lines. 72 hours later they opened some stations for self service but meat and oriental section was still served and there was always long lines. So it was impossible to plan any activities around lunch time as we never new how long we might have to stay in line. I don't understand what was achieved by having food served. Poor employees don't get any rest at all, they work 12 hours shifts 10 months straight. And guests have to stay in line indefinitely to get the food. Port of calls were not too exciting and shore excursions were not the best quality. For example our guide in Pisa was terrible, we got no useful information at all, the headphones were terrible quality and most of the time all we heard was noise. In Luca we had wonderful guide. I have to say that unfortunately cruising is not what it used to be. Would I ever cruise with HA? Not unless they fix all the problems. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Okay - so we went out for 7 nights, on the MS Niew Amsterdam on March 18, 2012. My wife and I are in our late 50's, and this is our 11th cruise overall. We have been on cruises as short as 3 nights, but mostly go for 7-nighters. ... Read More
Okay - so we went out for 7 nights, on the MS Niew Amsterdam on March 18, 2012. My wife and I are in our late 50's, and this is our 11th cruise overall. We have been on cruises as short as 3 nights, but mostly go for 7-nighters. Also, we have been on RC, Norwegian, Carnival and Holland America, so I would like to think our observations are accurate and that we have a good basis for comparison. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give this cruise high marks .... maybe an 8.5. If I had to describe the cruise in one word - I'd say "dignified." The ship is painted Navy Blue and white and gives the impression of being a "floating tuxedo." Well, maybe not quite that formal ....... but still, this is an older and much more restrained crowd than the other ships. We picked this ship partly because the price was right, but also because I wanted to get away from all the current mass-media "Lady Gaga / Hip-hop/ Techno-pop/ Rap music culture and hype. We wanted to get away to relax, enjoy, sight-see, read a little and of course to eat well! We are not gamblers, nor are we really night-life people. NOTE : this is an OLDER CROWD by and large, and the pace of the cruise reflects that reality. We still felt some connection to the attitudes and traditions of cruises from the past. ( Our first cruise was in fact, 1987 on the Niew Amsterdam (III) that preceded this ship ! ) No there were no gowns, no mink stoles, and no costume party .... but there was a certain dignity that was present in the ship's mood and attitude. Not the insanity and over-the-top partying you see on a couple of the other lines. FYI - there were a couple of reunions going on for WWII veterans taking place. These folks were up there in years, and they were certainly shown a great deal of respect over the week-long cruise. I think if this was Carnival or even RC, they would have been out of place and probably made uncomfortable by the typical passenger's behavior. Just my thoughts. For our mood at the time, this cruise was perfect for us. Rest and relaxation was our goal - and we got plenty of that ! The ship is very new, just having gone into service in 2010. Everything is fresh and shiny-looking, with the exception of some areas of the carpets in public areas. (Wine, beverage and food spills no doubt.) No scuffs on the walls, no peeling wall coverings. All painted areas are fresh and bright, but not garrish, like the crazy wild color combo's you see on Carnival. During the first 48 hours, it is not self-service in any areas -- they take this step to keep cleanliness and hygiene levels up ( to prevent any noro-virus problems.) One nice thing about this ship is, they don't bug you -- they seem to be more laid-back in regard to gambling, photos, shopping on board and so forth -- more than many other cruises. You get the feeling you're in more of a floating resort, and less of a shopping mall. We chose to use the pool in the Atrium area -- it's smaller but very nice. Also, they have a retractable roof, which came into play when it rained, or if the wind got to be too much at certain times. Something worth mentioning: it was sometimes difficult to get a lounge chair because the pool area is relatively small ( it's a smaller ship than many we have been on, and it is also a narrower ship ! ) And, there are private cabanas on that deck, as well as the spa entrance -- these all reduce the deck space available for poolsidelounge chairs. Entertainment provided is definitely for the older crowd -- music included 50's and 60's stuff -- and even the occasional big-band sounds of the 40's. The live entertainment shows were good to above average -- we had a comedian one night whose act and style reminded me of Paul Lynde from the old Hollywood Squares. They also had their four best males singers do a show similar to the Tenors often seen on PBS -- this was a series of songs where they highlighted the individual singers as well as the group. It was pretty decent, very good for cruise-ship entertainment. Something a little different, a little fresh as these kinds of shows go. The food : probably the best we've had on a cruise in the past 5 or 6 cruises. Great variety, high quality, and not just from meal to meal, but also from day to day. A lot of creativity here, especially with cold fruit soups, desserts, and a lot of the ethnic foods were offered as well. Since the wait staff, cooks and chefs are Phillipinos and Thai, those particular Asian foods were awesome. The service was always attentive and though not perfect, we give it very high marks. We only ate at one of the premium restaurants (with an up charge) - the Pinnacle Grill. They served a menu that was a product of Le Cirque in New York City. My wife had Chateau Briand and I had the rack of lamb ....... simply wonderful in both cases. Here was a downer of sorts: they tell you they offer wi-fi throughout the ship, even in your cabin. Yes, it's true - but the service is so slow, so poor, I could not get my relatively new Windows 7 laptop to go past the homepage, and just getting that to load took seemingly forever. I wasted $15 and was not able to get my emails in the cabin. I did NOT sign up for the minutes plan, suspecting the service might not be that good - but it was far worse than I ever expected. I asked for a refund, but the nice lady at the front desk pretty much blew me off, suggesting I use one of their computers in their internet cafe. I declined. The next day, I was able to catch free wi-fi on shore in Puerto Rico, so I got my emails. So, if you can avoid it, don't waste your money ..... or at least just use their computers, not the wi-fi in your cabin. You might have a more successful experience here. The excursions - my wife and I are on a somewhat tight budget. Also, we are not athletic or particularly active - so we chose accordingly. We only went on one -the riding tour to the Yunque Rain Forest. It is a beautiful place and worth seeing, especially if you've never been to a tropical forest or jungle-like area. The transportation to and from the ship though, about 1 hour each way - that "mini-bus" had awful suspension and the roads we took (regular city highways) were in pretty bad shape. So if you go, be prepared to be severely bounced and jostled. I came off the trip sore and tired, as did my wife. I was disappointed in the ride, not the destination.All things considered, it was a nice way to spend an afternoon in PR. One thing I will mention before I leave the topic of Puerto Rico -- the city, the roadsides were the dirtiest of the places we stopped at -- it resembled a drive through Queens NY. To be fair, San Juan is a city, not a tropical beach resort stop. But I think the people could do more to encourage tourism by cleaning up their city, the highways, etc. Just my 2-cents here. Turks and Caicos - pretty place! We went to the beach close to where the ship came into port. We went to a public (?) beach near the John Glenn exhibit and while the water was clean and the temperature was very nice the beach but !!! - shallow water areas are very tricky / dangerous to walk on. Rocks and deep potholes you cannot see in the first few feet from shore (despite the fact the water is crystal clear) make it very easy to slip, fall, or even twist an ankle. So, be forewarned. St. Maarten was clean, pretty - and we simply walked in town. We were totally comfortable in every way - security was good and the people were pleasant and friendly. I wish we had more time on this island. Then again, my wife and I have been to St. Maarten a couple of times before, so we were content just to walk around in town,having seen much of the island already. Many people did take and enjoy excursions but as I said earlier in this article, my wife and I took the lazy and easy route on this trip. We walked into town, visited shops along Front Street and took the water taxi back to the ship. Half Moon Cay was spotless, and getting on and off their privately-owned island was fast and efficient. They had a variety of amenities available, but we simply took our towels, found a couple of lounge chairs, swam a little and relaxed. It was a beautiful day for us in every way. There is a bar there called "I wish I could stay here forever." -- Yep, this was a little slice of paradise. No pan handlers, no hustlers, no one bothered you. The BBQ lunch that was provided was simple: ribs, burgers, hot dogs, etc.and safe to eat. Plenty of servers and plenty of places to find a seat at a table under shelter. I cannot think of anything negative to say here, unless you happen to be looking for a REAL local town, native people and so forth. For us, this was a very high quality relaxing experience. Getting off the ship -- very well organized ! -- no long lines that were unreasonable, and we were treated well at every step along the way. So -- there you have it -- a very excellent trip !! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
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

Find a Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click