18 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Senior Cruise Reviews

THE SHIP: A medium sized ship (2106 guests), the architecture is probably the least impressive of the 6 cruise ships (on 5 lines) that I have been on. The atrium area is small, and there is no grand open promenade. The décor is heavy ... Read More
THE SHIP: A medium sized ship (2106 guests), the architecture is probably the least impressive of the 6 cruise ships (on 5 lines) that I have been on. The atrium area is small, and there is no grand open promenade. The décor is heavy on old New York City scenes (reflecting the name of the ship). The main dining room is functional but not grand; the prettiest décor is at the Pinnacle Grill. The Italian specialty restaurant, Canaletto, is simply a section of the buffet area that was “roped off” to become a paying restaurant. There are two pools; the largest one, which is adults-only, has NO shade except in the smoking area. The mid-ship one is much nicer but also much smaller. It has tables and chairs in addition to the lounge chairs, which is a nice feature, and plenty of room in the shade. The ship is not really geared towards families, as the passengers are mostly over 50; I may have seen a dozen children among the 2000 passengers. The main lounge area, the Crow's Nest, is on the 11th deck and difficult to access if your cabin is at the rear of the ship. The library is there, and consists of coffee table travel books that are meant to be read in that room. The ship has three sets of elevators, and we seldom had to wait long for one. The casino is tucked away on the 2nd deck, so you don't have to encounter it if you don't want to – a nice feature. A note about which is the best side of the ship for ports of call, if you have a verandah stateroom and like a view while docked: The starboard side has the best views of Key West and the Dominican Republic, but not of Half Moon Cay. Not sure about Grand Turk, since we never docked there due to high winds. DINING: We only used the main dining room for Afternoon Tea, eating mostly at the Lido Market Buffet. Food there was good but not terribly varied; breakfast had the same items every day. A major difference from other cruise lines is that for the most part passengers do not serve themselves; you tell the crew member what you want and they put it on a plate. This cuts down on germ-spreading but also slows the line, and you have limited control on how big a portion you get. There is an Italian and Asian food area at one end of the buffet. Desserts were good but again not exceptional; for a cruise line known for its food, I expected more variety. The dessert crepes (at the end of the Italian food area) were the best. For breakfast, the eggs benedict were excellent; they are at the end of the line with the English Breakfast items. Drinks were brought to you, although there is also a serve-yourself area. ENTERTAINMENT: This was the most disappointing aspect of the cruise. It cannot compare with other week-long cruises we have been on (Royal Caribbean, Princess,and Celebrity). On the main stage, there are two shows by six dancers, and two comics. That's it for the week. This is comparable to what we had on a four day Bahamas cruise by Carnival, and can't hold a candle to the Broadway style shows on RC. The first show by the dancers was excellent, the second almost boring. We did not attend the comic shows, but other passengers said one was good, one not so much. There are several (loud) music venues with limited seating on the 2nd deck. Daily activities on board are also less interesting than other lines; many of them seem geared toward selling you things. Overall, you get a LOT more for your money on other cruise lines when it comes to entertainment. SERVICE: Top-notch. The crew is the friendliest and most helpful I have seen on any cruise. The waitress at Caneletto even remembered my name when I saw her on the ship the day after we ate there. PORTS of CALL KEY WEST Our ship was the first in port that day, and therefore got the better dock: the one with the easy walk into town (less than a block). Note that if you get stuck docking at the Navy pier, you have to take a trolley into town. I don't know if our ship always gets the “good berth” but I am glad we did this time! We had visited Key West before, so we did not take a guided tour. We did go to Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum, which is an easy walk from the ship. Admission is $15 but the exhibits are interesting and well-done. Be sure to take the time to wander a bit out of the tourist area, down one of the residential streets, to get a feel for the graceful Southern air the town has. Also look for the free-roaming roosters around the historic marina ! GRAND TURK The ship was unable to dock there due to high winds. Apparently this happens frequently, so I would advise NOT booking any shore excursion here that could be done on another island (such as snorkeling). Based on what we could see from our verandah, the island is windswept and not especially scenic or even tropical-looking. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Amber Cove) My favorite port ! The ship docks at Amber Cove, which is a “village” created for the cruise line. It is lovely and well-maintained, with lots of shopping. We took the Ocean World Day Pass excursion, and it was wonderful ! The staff there was friendly and very helpful to my husband, who has mobility issues. We didn't realize that the park is built on the side of a hill, so the walking was difficult for him. They not only loaned him a wheelchair for free, the staff pushed it for him. The park itself has great animal shows (approved by the Humane Society and World Wildlife Fund). Don't miss the dolphin show ! The seal show is excellent also, as is the parrot show. The only mild disappointment was the Shark Encounter, which is not really a show at all; you simply watch other tourists pet the sharks. We ate at their restaurant, from the menu, and the food was good and reasonably priced. The gift shop is nice as well. One thing to be aware of is that you cannot wear eyeglasses if you do the Dolphin Encounter (for the safety of the dolphins). So if you have poor eyesight and no contact lenses, you may see “fuzzy” dolphins ! HALF MOON CAY I had read so many good reviews of this private island in the Bahamas that perhaps I was bound to be disappointed by aspects of it. The site itself is very nice overall, but was not built with older guests in mind, especially those with mobility issues. The map shows there is a tram to take people to the lunch buffet hidden behind the shops, but we did not see any sign for it while we were there. When I asked an employee about the buffet, she said it was a “five minute walk” down the path, with no mention of a tram. As for the beach, the sand and water are beautiful, as is the architecture along the beach. There is a cute children's play area (which went unused while we were there, with so few children on the voyage). It was high tide, and the beach was very narrow - in fact, the first two rows of lounge chairs were literally in the water! Perhaps the beach was eroded by Hurricane Dorian, but it was way too narrow for so many guests at once. The only chairs available on the beach (without renting an expensive cabana) are lounge chairs, which are nearly impossible for someone with mobility issues to get in and out of. Another surprise: If you want a bottle of water, it costs $4.50 ! So be sure to bring your own water bottle from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Positives:inside cabin on navigation deck was spacious and a comfortable bed,with excellent cabin stewards.(wawan & wayan) pleasant bar staff ( Louis & Freddie)in the lido bar was excellent.waiteresses was pleasant.food was very ... Read More
Positives:inside cabin on navigation deck was spacious and a comfortable bed,with excellent cabin stewards.(wawan & wayan) pleasant bar staff ( Louis & Freddie)in the lido bar was excellent.waiteresses was pleasant.food was very good most days,excellent selection of premium alcoholic drinks. Negatives:the ocean bar lacked atmosphere in the early evening,perhaps some sought of entertainment would not go a miss! My wife is a big lover for ‘shrimps’on some occasions there where ‘shrimps’on the menu in the lido restaurant when it first opened in the evening but by 7.00pm when we ready to eat there was none to be had!was told by the servers you would have to wait 15 minutes,but this turned out to be not true on several occasions!what a con. We visited a beautiful island called ‘half moon cay’which they provided a bbq,you only had water,but we bought a drinks package which if you wanted a beer you had to pay for it!. However had a enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Food was awesome. Shows were good but only 5 and one was a sorta redo with same comedians different material. They did two “Taks” to replace shows. Although the talks were interesting they should have had them for the afternoon of Sea ... Read More
Food was awesome. Shows were good but only 5 and one was a sorta redo with same comedians different material. They did two “Taks” to replace shows. Although the talks were interesting they should have had them for the afternoon of Sea days , where there was only two things to do . Either sit by the pool or a gamble. Very few trivia contests. No scavenger hunt, no Newlywed game. They did have two great pianists but you couldn’t get a seat unless you arrived a half hour before showtime. The same was true of the Soul Music show and the Violinists. Never enough seating. If ships are going to accommodate thousands of guests they need thousands of seats. Casino small but non smoking. On the first evening we heard a sound like a barking dog. We called the front desk and they sent someone up to the hallway to check. They called me and they said there is no barking dog and I told them that it sounded like a barking dog , that I doubt it it was actually a dog on the ship. The following day I called again and reported the same issue. This time they actually sent someone up to my state room and I took them out to the deck so that they could hear the barking dog sound loud and clear . It turned out to be the door between the balconies was vibrating and sounded like a barking dog. They repaired it and we slept in quiet the following evenings. I wish they had believed me the first evening it would’ve been Nice to get a good night of rest on the first evening of the cruise. On the next to The last day of the cruise everyone had to go down to Deck three and present their passport at different times. Our groups time was 830. We normally went to breakfast in the dining room at 8:30 so we thought it would be good to go after the passport presentation. We went and found the dining room was closed. We were told the only breakfast available was at the buffet. Apparently thousands of other passengers were told the same. We walked around the buffet for 20 minutes before finding a table. The table was on a level with a step. Thanks to that step my sister-in-law fell and broke her shoulder bone. There should not be steps on a ship that caters to the elderly, they should be ramps. After the accident , my wife and her sister spent six hours in the hospital. The reason the time was so lengthy is because the x-rays they took on the ship were faulty. That was due to the fact that the doctor gave them the wrong x-rays with the wrong person‘s name on the x-rays. So the hospital had to take new x-rays to confirm that my sister-in-law in fact did have a broken shoulder. Thank the Lord, this all happened early in the day , due to the fact the ship was departing the Port at 4:30 and my wife and both her sisters did not return to the ship until 330. Bring your own soda . I called to order two diet cokes and they advised they would deliver Wednesday. Disembarked Saturday still no Diet Coke in stateroom. Needless to say, I will never take another Holland America cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October ... Read More
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October 2019, from Vancouver BC to Ft Lauderdale FL. We enjoyed a few days visiting Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship. Embarkation/disembarkation was fast and smooth. If there were children aboard, we never saw them (ok by us!)...what we DID see was more folks using power chairs and walkers than on any previous cruise! OVERALL RATING: 3.5 stars. As always, the HAL cusine and service staff were WONDERFUL, abosolutey 5 stars. What made this overall experience score a mere 3.5 for us? I've detailed a number of "hits" and "misses" below. ACTIVITES: Woefully inadequate, e.g., TOO FEW trivia offerings (and those offered frequently conflicted with mealtimes). Also, holding the trivia games in the Billboard Lounge--immediately across from the Casino--is HORRIBLE! Noise conflict/intrusion=totally unacceptable. All the fun we used to have singing karaoke and playing trivia in the Crow's Nest aboard other HAL ships: gone. And for goodness' sake, STOP the money-grubbing, pushy Spa/Shops "activities," e.g., the "Foot Analysis" (do you really think cruisers are too dumb to recognize that these offerings are merely poorly-disguised sales pitches?). Why charge $15 for riding a bicycle in the workout room? Please! Suggestions: offer stretching/yoga/etc., at later times in the morning (for those who don't rise at the crack of dawn every day). ADD more fun + games, especially in the morning...DON'T schedule pickleball during the hottest hours of the day...add INSTRUCTORS for bridge, mah jong, shuffleball, other games. And make sure everyone who wants to play card games are accommodated: every time we went, foursomes were already set, denying us a chance to play. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian Jim Short was super, as always, but we didn't care for the younger comedian (the one whose first joke involved a fart. The dance act was OK. Lincoln Center players, as always, were absolutely FABULOUS...most of their classical music offerings were standing-room-only. B. B. King band was very good. We missed having the small jazz trio for listening/dancing we'd enjoyed on previous cruises. SUGGESTION: why not have one of the pianists lead a passenger "Glee Club"? Not everyone enjoys singing, but for those of us who do, it surely would be WONDERFUL to have had the opportunity (as we did aboard another cruise)...plus, it's a super, fun, healthful activity in which older, less physically active passengers can participate. AMERICA'S TEST KITCEN: Unlike the previous cruise when we enjoyed the same ATK instructor, this time, she always looked at the camera, vs. the audience members. As she was less engaged with the audience, it made the experience less fun. Also, there used to be an opportunity to TASTE the dish that had been prepared, which was fun: we missed being able to do that. LECTURER: merely OK. He needs to listen to a recording of himself talking...he has an irritating/distracting vocal tic (a tongue-smack, like a tsk-tsk sound). COMPUTER: The Microsoft Studio person was of great help: solved a Windows 10 issue we'd been having. EXCURSIONS: The Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive beach resort opportunity was lovely, but too short. We got there too late for breakfast, and left too soon for lunch. Having all-you-can-drink between 9 and 11 a.m. is great if you're an alcoholic. The best part of this excursion was the water aerobics in the pool with one of the hotel's staff (a very cute & vivacious senorita). Nobody cared that she didn't speak English!--the acitivity was fabulous, and made us wonder why a water aerobics workout isn't offered on the ship! The Aruba Public Beach Bus excursion was SORELY lacking. The beach was great, but HOW COME NOBODY TOLD US in advance that we would need TEN DOLLARS to rent a lawn chair? We ABSULOUTELY should have been told in advance, or better, include the lawn chair rental in the cost of the excursion (which, all tolled, was basically just the bus ride). Also, to use a bathroom/cold shower involved walking 100 yards and cost another dollar...give me a break! SHOPPING: why so little reasonably-priced/cute women's clothing? Why no sparkly "bling" lanyards this cruise? The orange cloth lanyards were totally blah...I definitely would have bought an orange BLING version! Forget the high-end jewelry boutique (never saw a soul in there). PHOTOGRAPHERS were more pushy/annoying on than on our previous HAL cruises. Plus, if their photos were more affordable (e.g., $5 instead of $50 each), they would sell a lot more, plus avoid being stuck with thousands of prints that end up as trash. PANAMA CANAL: Experiencing the Panama Canal--the whole reason we went on this cruise--was a real treat, although less joyful that I'd hoped. Because I use a walker and fellow passengers were insensitive, I could never get close enough to the ship's edge to see from that vantage point (husband shot the photos with this review). Also, in plain view of the passengers, the cruise director and other staff enjoyed the view from the deck immediately below us: very frustrating, since passengers were not allowed access to that deck. I finally gave up and watched most of the crossing on the TV in our stateroom (very fuzzy camera reception). Later, I realized: AH HA!--it's another chance for the photographers to make money! Their marvelously clear video souvenier was exhorbitantly-priced. DINING: As ever, HAL dining was overall marvelous. Lido is consistently GREAT. Noticing the lovely fresh flowers on our Pinnacle Grill table reminded us of when you used to have fresh flower vases on every table in the LIDO! Pinnacle Grill dining was lovely, but we weren't convinced it was worth the extra money, especially for the Rudy's Sel de Mer nights. New York pizzas could've been better: most were underdone. Burgers were great. BEVERAGES: The biggest hit: at-sea days Mixology classes--FABULOUS fun!! Bartenders Jonathan (Ocean Bar) and Michael (Pinnacle Bar) are amazing! Not so great: the Dale deGroff cocktail selections...many were very weird, and tooooo sweet (Mixology classmates /daily Happy Hour friends agreed): bring back the standard cocktail menu!! SERVERS/STAFF SUPERSTARS: Besides Bartenders Michael and Jonathan, waitress Catherine; Sommolier Alex; and our excellent cabin stewards, Bayu and Andreas. Cruise Director (forgot her name) was pleasant, but nowhere near as engaged and fun a Cruise Director as we've experienced on previous HAL cruises. Would we go again? Maybe for the cruise itinerary, but NOT aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. That's all! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
When we were looking to book a cruise, the review of between 4 and 4.5 attracted our attention, we also liked the displayed itinerary Holland American listed. We had a well maintained and spacious suite, access to the Neptune lounge was ... Read More
When we were looking to book a cruise, the review of between 4 and 4.5 attracted our attention, we also liked the displayed itinerary Holland American listed. We had a well maintained and spacious suite, access to the Neptune lounge was convenience, the fitness center though small but well kept with decent equipment. I just didn't like the limit selection and quality of their seafood (baby shrimp and tiny scallops). Some parts of the entertainment are good (BB King, comedy, 1000 step and other dancing shows), the timing were often conflicted with dinner time. The support staff comprised mainly of Filipino and Thai, while majority are great and so pleasant to converse with, we encountered a couple that were rude and condescending. We were unable to go to the last port at Half Moon Cay due to high waves, we agree that safety is important but feel that the company should at least try to compensate their clients for that portion. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Holland America Line - Nieuw Amsterdam Sept-Oct 2018 I thought to myself what a great way to arrive in San Diego from Vancouver for those who don't care to fly, and quite reasonable especially if your prime goal was just ... Read More
Holland America Line - Nieuw Amsterdam Sept-Oct 2018 I thought to myself what a great way to arrive in San Diego from Vancouver for those who don't care to fly, and quite reasonable especially if your prime goal was just transportation with no frills attached. I had high expectations for this 4 day repositioning cruise which continued on from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale which for some I believe was a total of 23 days. My high expectations were due to this ship being newly refurbished in 2017 and we've sailed on HAL before many years ago and it was by far at the top of our list for favorites. I recall the food being exceptional ( before the days of specialty restaurants) and the entertainment stellar. So how did it fare this time around?... Embarkation: Vancouver BC Terminal This was SUPERB! HAL does it right. Your informed of the time you should arrive. Don't come earlier, you won't get any further ahead. Check in was a breeze due to the set time for arrival. We had no line ups whatsoever. After we checked in we were seated in a waiting area for about 10-15 min before we boarded. Once onboard we weren't bombarded with staff promoting dining, activities etc. While waiting for the "Cabin ready" announcement we went to the dining reservations desk to pre book our MDR reservations. Our cabin was ready in about 10 minutes after we boarded. I rate this Embarkation 9/10 Sail Away: That's it folks...we just sailed away. No live band, NO MUSIC WHATSOEVER! No countdown when going under the Lions Gate Bridge. NOTHING! On the Lido Deck they set up 2 tables with black spandex coverings which became a 'pop up bar' in addition to the existing bar. They also set up 2 cocktail tables! Two for 2500 + passengers? They stacked the lounge chairs and tucked them aside so no place to sit except for a handful of scattered chairs and the existing bar stools. I don't know why they had to stack them...It wasn't a rainy day, just overcast but still fairly warm. There was no build up of excitement, the Lido Deck was a bland, boring space. This was sooo disappointing. I hoped when we sailed away in Seattle perhaps it would improve...nope we just sailed away. For this sail away I'm rating it 1/10 Main Dining Room: For being a ship that just went through a refurbishment I expected the main dining room to have all the glitz and glamour that most shipboard dining rooms have. I was quite disappointed with the decor of the MDR. It was definitely stuck in the 70's ( no appearance of refurbishment here) with the orangey red laminate divider walls and serving stations. Our first night we were seated directly across from one of the many open, unsightly, very noisy server stations. We were seated so close to it that the waiters butts were almost touching our table when facing the serving station. Not a pretty site! Also the fluorescent office type lighting above was very dated and bright overhead so I learnt to ask to be seated in a dimly lit area of the dining room, which had a much nicer and calming appearance as you would be seated closer to the windows and it was also much quieter. What we thought was really strange was there was no music, none, nothing even piped thru a speaker system, odd to say the least. We had anytime dining and made reservations as soon as we got onboard for our preferred time. There was one evening we had no reservations and only waited a few minutes before being seated. The food was actually quite tasty and we did enjoy most meals. Always enjoyed my breakfast here especially the Lox...so fresh and superb quality. I rate the MDR 6/10 Specialty Restaurants: Tamarind- This is the only restaurant we dined in while onboard and for the $25.p/person charge was worth it. If you book onboard and dine on embarkation day they do offer a discount. The ambiance was relaxing and peaceful just what is needed after dining in the noisy MDR for 3 nights straight. I ordered the Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon. This was a full size filet, not the tiny piece of meat you get in the MDR, it was cooked perfectly as requested and the flavor was delicious. My husband ordered the Lobster Tempura main entree, where they cut the lobster meat, tempura it and stuff it back into the lobster shell beautifully prepared. The lobster was fresh, tender and not rubbery. There was only one item I didn't care for on the shared appy plate, but that could be based on personal preference, otherwise everything else we enjoyed immensely which made our last evening on board our favorite. Service by the all female wait staff was attentive and courteous. We wanted to tip our waitress but no 'tip option' on the receipt so we had to tip with cash. I rate Tamarind 9.5/10 Dive-In- no fee This grill on the Lido deck served the most delicious burgers and fries. We ordered the Cannonball burger, very yummy. The wall-mount menu has milkshakes listed on it, however you have to go across the deck to actually order them from the bar. Definitely worth it. Rating 9/10 Pizza- no fee Good pizza here, wait time was a bit long over 1/2 hr but they were lined up before we ordered. While we were waiting we could smell cigarette smoke drifting our way so the smoking area is nearby by the bar. Rating 7/10 Tea is Served 3p.m.- Allocated in the MDR where your usually able to order all kinds of beverages. Don't expect to be able to order any other beverage. I love having an afternoon cup of tea, my husband does not ever drink tea so he asked if he could at least order a beer. "NO! This is TEA,TEA,TEA! NO BEER!" was the response. Ok we get that but we also understand that cruise lines will 'bend over backwards' to please you within reason and I don't think it was too much to ask for one beer as a beverage preference. Also a kinder response would of been appreciated. The Buffet: Nothing much to write about this was your average nice buffet, not as big of a selection that we enjoyed on Celebrity but you still get a fairly decent selection. The behind the counter servers plate your choice of items for you which I really appreciated instead of everyone touching everything with self serve buffets. We really liked the salad bar where there's an array of salad items you choose and the 'salad chef' tosses it altogether for you with your choice of dressing in these large salad bowls. The oriental dressing was my favorite. Rating: 8/10 Entertainment: On the Mainstage over the 4 nights there were 2 magic shows-Magic Rocks, a musical production-One World and a comedian-Frances Dilorinzo. We didn't go to the magic shows, the musical production was boring also the young performers timing was off on the dance moves. It was like they were dancing just to get it over with. I thought I was watching a high school performance, it was so bad we left. I was now skeptical about going to see the comedian but she was fantastic. The theatre itself is large and even though it appeared a bit dated it's still beautiful. There was plenty of room and a seat could be found easily on any level. The cup holders are hidden in the chairs arms, but some were a bit rusty and difficult to pull out to open. BB King's All Stars: Fantastic! The music, singers and instrumentalists were all top notch! Three performances per evening all different sets except we noticed on the 4th night they started over again with the same show and music we saw on the first night which isn't so bad unless you were staying onboard for the entire 23 day cruise. Billboard Onboard: The When & Where daily newsletter would just print Billboard Onboard 1970's. So what does that mean? There was no explanation of what type of entertainment this was. We weren't even sure if it was live entertainment. It was right in the casino where we never ventured except to purchase a used casino deck of cards at the lottery booth for only $1. We discovered it after exiting the Mainstage show one evening and this ended up being our favorite night time place to go for drinks and fabulous music. This is the venue to be at to enjoy 2 pianists dueling out tunes from the 60's, 70's and All Requests later in the evening. Now that should of been the newsletter write up. We absolutely loved it! Lincoln Center stage: This was a small group of young Performing Arts graduates playing stringed instruments with a pianist performing Beethoven to Buble. We never saw a full performance but stopped for a bit to hear them play one afternoon and they were a fantastic, extremely talented group of musicians. Overall Evening Entertainment rating 8/10 Drink Package: ( make sure you continually check your onboard account for accuracy) You would think that your drink package regulations, rules, and restrictions should be basic knowledge by onboard staff especially by those who work behind the customer service desk. To me it's fairly simple....we purchased a basic alcoholic beverage package online which included gratuities ($206. ea USD for 4 night cruise) which allowed us to have ANY drink on the menu valued at $9 or less. Anything over $9 we would have to pay the full price for, not the difference in price like you're able to do on Celebrity & NCL. There was no shortage of drinks (except wine-very few at $9/glass) that fell within this price range which was excellent. So did this end up being so straightforward? Oh no, why would it? After signing into the free onboard Navigator App ( which is excellent by the way) to view our shipboard expense account I noticed we've been charged the full price for every drink with an added gratuity! At first I thought they're just listing every drink we've ordered and it will be reconciled later. So off to the customer service desk to double check. " NO" says the young man at customer service. "You have to pay full price for all those drinks". " You see because you ordered a drink for $9 you have to mentally calculate what the gratuity will be, which now brings the drink total to $10.28 which exceeds your $9 package allotment, so really you should be ordering drinks at about $7.75." WHAT??? First of all there are no drinks on the menu for that price and second it's not my responsibility to mentally calculate the gratuity which by the way I already paid for. Then I mentioned that I specifically asked the bartender if one of the drinks I ordered was included, and she said it was. He asked me what her name is so she can be reprimanded for giving out the wrong advice! He then gave us a printout of the drink package policy and told us we obviously need to pay heed to the 'fine print'. His co-worker also peered at our account and said "yeah that's how it works". Frustrated and not wanting to waste anymore time there we questioned a few bartenders about the policy and told them our predicament. They told us exactly what we thought... that we're entitled to ANY drink on ANY menu that's $9 or less which is exactly what the policy states. No gratuity should be added as it's already been calculated into the package price. The next morning back to the service desk we go ( not how I want to be spending this short cruise). Thankfully the other person there spoke to the bar manager, reversed all our charges and apologized for the inconvenience, and thankfully we checked our shipboard account on a regular basis which I advise everyone to do. My advice to HAL is coach your staff so they at least understand and are on the same page for your basic policies especially on something so simple like the beverage packages. Overall: A beautiful boat, but nothing grandeur. Aside from the evening entertainment we found this to be a bit of a boring cruise. Few were under the age of 70 so there was no shortage of canes, walkers and scooters. Kindness and patience is a must. I personally don't want to fill my days with acupuncture appointments, reflexology, and how to reduce swollen ankles and then pay a bomb for their so called remedies. Overall we found the daytime activities quite boring...I love cards but don't play bridge, however we did enjoy Americas Test Kitchen in the afternoons. Earlier I mentioned that there was no music piped into the MDR at any time. Actually it was nowhere during the day anywhere...not in the observation lounge while enjoying a coffee, not in the buffet having a meal, not in the atrium area waiting in line at the customer service desk...nope I listened for it but no daytime music whatsoever except at 2pm for a Lincoln Stage performance which was live. Overall if you want a completely relaxing do nothing cruise this is for you, if you want excitement and a more youthful variety of things to do cruise on another line. Overall rating 7/10 Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
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
Friends liked the itenary and chose the 21day package as they were interested in the ports, we joined them for the last 10 days. Cabin and cabin staff good. Ship and washrooms clean. Loved it when the captain announced a whale sighting. ... Read More
Friends liked the itenary and chose the 21day package as they were interested in the ports, we joined them for the last 10 days. Cabin and cabin staff good. Ship and washrooms clean. Loved it when the captain announced a whale sighting. Dining room short staffed, so food seldom hot when served - tasty, but only warm. Entertainment in Oceans Bar awful - the musicians were clearly bored and thought if they played really loud you wouldn't hear their off key notes. Didn't ask for requests and didn't seen to know what to play next. When they got more than one or two couples dancing, they either stalled until they sat down or played something to make them sit down. Piano bar also too loud. If I was looking for a loud ship, I would sail with Carnival. Holland America needs to decide who their target clientele is and cater to them. Offering 10, 11 and 21 day cruises limits their market to people with time to cruise. There is a strong market of retired people who enjoy either listening to music or dancing AND being able to chat at a table but they just don't get it or care. I'm sure if the Market (buffet) staff acted as bored and served food as poorly as the HAL Cats did their brand of music they would be shipped home. BB King music was also too loud to enjoy. Because guests are older and hearing not as good as it was, many wear hearing aides, making the blaring music painful and sound is muffled when so loud. A prime example was on the final sea day the Ocean Bar was full of people enjoying each other's company. Their voices filled the area with an inviting humm. At one time someone was playing background music. Then the band returned, many Ocean Bar guests left. Sales staff in the shops are bored and follow you with offers. The Digital Workshop with Windows 10 was well handled and busy. Classical music well attended and performed, guest performers on stage good, production number loud and we left after about 5-10 minutes. To top this not so great trip, we had to be shuttleted to the port parking garage. We were dropped as close as the shuttle driver could get us I guess. We were given two different directions on where to haul our luggage only to find out the elevator didn't work and we had to carry our bags up to our floor. Thanks parking services. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We like HA line as the other guests seem to be somewhat in our age group (over 65). We chose this cruise because it docked at ports we hadn't visited before and it was a good get away from the cold. We booked a Neptune suite which was ... Read More
We like HA line as the other guests seem to be somewhat in our age group (over 65). We chose this cruise because it docked at ports we hadn't visited before and it was a good get away from the cold. We booked a Neptune suite which was very nice and didn't disappoint. We were disappointed that the activities on board appeared to be somewhat minimal. Also, there were no enrichment programs like we'd come to expect on HAL-I hope that isn't changing fleet wide. There was one program called "Pirates of the Caribbean" which was a disappointment in content and speaker. The cruise director gave talks about ports but those were disappointing as well. Service, entertainment and food was very good. Library could use more books. Lots of people coughing even when we came onboard and of course that spreads quite rapidly. Wish people would stay home if they're sick! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We sailed on the January 10, 2016 Dancing With the Stars Championship Finals Cruise. We booked Signature Suite 6056. We had previously sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam two years ago; and although the public areas have since been ... Read More
We sailed on the January 10, 2016 Dancing With the Stars Championship Finals Cruise. We booked Signature Suite 6056. We had previously sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam two years ago; and although the public areas have since been refurbished, the cabins and hallways leading to the cabins have not. In fact, other than a 55" wall mounted TV our cabin was exactly the same as it was two yars ago, albiet a bit more dated and worn. The wood legs on the chairs was scratched and dented, the veranda chairs and cushhions, worn out, the carpet on the floor of the suite was literally threadbare. HAL badly needs to refurbish the cabins o the Nieuw Amsterdam! FOOD - Food in the main dining roon was not up to HAl's previous standard. Portiion sizes continue to shrink. Our seervice was quite slow, not becuse our waiter and his assistant didn't work hard, but because they had 22 people to serve and on two nights they added a table of 8 more of the oper seating folks. We mentionerd it to the dining room manaer, he just shrugged. Some of the dishes were just weird. The buffet in the LIDo was decent, the room service breakfasts werre quite good, delibvered on time and correct. DNTERTAINMENT- The entertaianment was not so hot. The HAl singers and dancers are very talented but their material was not good. Few in the audience had ever even heard of some of the songs they attempted. The Dancing With the Stars shows were entertianing, however Carson Kressley was just plain disgusting. He should not be allowed to get into his sexually suggestive rants on gay sex with kids in the audience. Florence Henderson was likewise not very entertaining, why she was sselected a a judge is anyon'e guess. Previous year's DWTS at Sea Finals have featured Sabrina Bryan, Derek Hough, andf other far better personalities thatn Carson and Florence. The steel band Island Magic was outstanding, they received several standing ovatons. EXCURSIONS - We did not take any of HAL's offerings. We have found over the years that they are too pricey, not very good. We did take an independent tour to the Bacardi Distillary in San Juan, PR, it was great. Likewise in St. Maarten we took and independent tour of the island for half of the HAl cost and it lasted half an hour longer. HAL's private island, Half Moon Cay is nice but your on board beverage card will not work on the island even though HAL runs it. Go figure. Nice beach, however having to take a tender to getr to it is a pain. All in all, the cruise was pleasant for the most part. The service was good everywhre except the LIDo where the passengers lliteerally have to dodge the staff who are everywhere waling in the aisles and they don't pay one bit of attention to the paying passengers. The LIDO staff as a whole are not friendly. I do thinnk HAL needs to update its ships and its entertainment could use improvement also. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I must state my point of view. As a "platnium" NCL Cruiser I've read all the glowing CC reviews of HAL & so had my expectations raised pretty high. We booked a 20 day Panama Canal trip with HAL & then decided that ... Read More
I must state my point of view. As a "platnium" NCL Cruiser I've read all the glowing CC reviews of HAL & so had my expectations raised pretty high. We booked a 20 day Panama Canal trip with HAL & then decided that if we took a 7 day Caribbean cruise on the same ship we'd have some familiarity for our longer cruise. My sister-in-law joined us for this cruise & we all shared the same cabin. Fastest & most efficent embarkation ever. Our Fwd veranda stateroom was ready upon boarding @ 11:15! Stateroom was smaller than I expected & the balcony was tiny. Freshened up & headed to the Manhattan DR. (Ashore a HAL employee told me the MDR would not be open but I had read that the MDR was no longer restricted to Star Mariners, so I went to check it out.). Sure enough we were seated at a nice table at the stern, by the window...lovely. Another couple sat at our table & we chatted away. As we placed our orders a single lady was brought to our table & so we were 6. The orders came & the other couple immediately complained that their orders were wrong. The soup was now a salad & the tea was coffee, the dressing on the other salad was creamy instead of balsamic vinegar. This was straightened out & then the main course came & well done was bloody. This couple were on the second half of a 14 day cruise, b2b, & commented that the Nieuw Amsterdam was not up to the usual high HAL standards. They were 3* Mariners, this trip would make them 4*, & they were disappointed in the quality of food & the poor diningroom service. As it turned out...we ate lunch, if not ashore, & dinner in the Manhattan DR every day. I found "Dine as you wish" is actually Dine when we tell you". Your choice is before 5:15 or after 8:00. No other times were available although I asked about today? tomorrow? how about 3 days from now...7,7:15,7:30,7:45,NO! 8:00? O.K. Every meal we joined others, or others joined us for dinner. The single lady joined us for all but one dinner. Every meal there was a problem was someones order, or it just didn't come at all. Many a HAL fan who joined us commented that they found the service lacking & not up to the usual high HAL standards. The food was good, not gormet, but about the same quality as any local restaurant. It's unfair to compare HAL's enertainment with the high quality of great entertainment you find on NCL. BUT, this had to be a new low. The only real quality entertainment was in the Piano Bar with the "Piano Man". The rest was really amateurish or just plain poor. The daily program was not delivered to our cabin on the first 2 days, showed up for 3 days & then forgotten about. Everything was alright, but not real good. "Not up to the (described) HAL stardards. I hope it improves for our Panama cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
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
After sailing the Zuiderdam earlier in the year, we just had to try a newer version of the C Class. Liked the ship and artworks altho is was much scaled down compared to previous cruises we have taken with HAL. I thought the atrium ran ... Read More
After sailing the Zuiderdam earlier in the year, we just had to try a newer version of the C Class. Liked the ship and artworks altho is was much scaled down compared to previous cruises we have taken with HAL. I thought the atrium ran up to the Observation deck, but was mistaken. Apparently, only Royal Carib has this feature. One which we really admire. Enfin, sailed with Capt. van Zanne before on the Amsterdam. He was very cordial and approachable, something we think is very important. The Tamarind restaurant, and silk room, midship were a favorite with us. For the price, service, ambiance, you get 5 stars. Take note, only the N. Amsterdam and the Eurodam have this service. General dining was so so at best, service at times slow and the food did not live up to our expectations. Lido food, not exceptional. There was always space and staff right on the ball. I dont see the necessity for the 48 hour rule with the latex gloves to serve foods as I observed those gloves making "the rounds" regardless. Change rooms by the spa and gym are always a bonus on these ships, however, I think most people believe they come at a cost, which is not so. Crafts were a limited commodity, and should be revived on sea days. Dance classes by staff were done way to fast for enthusiastic beginners. In fact, for those dancers on board, this cruise was terrible, dance floors were very small and the music was mediocre at best. Stage productions were some of the lousiest I have seen yet, the upside was that there were always seats available. My advice, if you want some peace and quiet, never cruise over the holiday season, leave that for family time and kids. Ports of call, warm sunny, cozumel, Mahogany Bay, Cayman, Tortola, St. Maarten, San Juan, Grand Turk, and enough time to stroll around and do whatever. If you decide to take this cruise, choose a cabin on the starboard side if you like afternoon sun and sunsets. She is a new ship and nicely appointed, but check out my observations before plunking down your deposit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My wife and I were on the July 15 sailing from Barcelona. The pick up from the airport was normal with no issues. After that it was up and down. As stated in other reviews the serving size in the buffet was small, however the staff freely ... Read More
My wife and I were on the July 15 sailing from Barcelona. The pick up from the airport was normal with no issues. After that it was up and down. As stated in other reviews the serving size in the buffet was small, however the staff freely added more when requested. In fact there was one young lady at breakfast that just put extra on after the first couple of days of seeing me. I was extremely disappointed with table service in the buffet. I have never been on a cruise where the staff had to be told to pick up used plates. It appears that management was more concerned with selling bottled water than keeping tables clean and available. Service in the main dining room was spotty as best. We had open seating and only had one waiter that performed as expected. We had to ask for refills on ice tea and water. I had a steak on surf & turf night that they got right, but they never got the steak right on the three nights my wife ordered. What they did to fish can't even be described. Other ship have venues where food is available 24/7 with out having to call room service. I was surprised that there was no available food service during all the daylight hours. Service in the dining areas can be easily improved with better training and raising expectations. Hopefully they really read the on-board reviews from the passengers. Our cabin steward was excellent, we gave him a little extra at the end of the trip. The transfer to the Venice airport was relatively smooth I felt ripped off by the price when I saw how close it was. No tips to the driver at those prices. The ship it self was nicely laid out and my wife really liked the decor. Will I sail Holland again? Not sure. I will absolutely pay closer attention to passenger reviews. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Disappointing might possibly be generous. We love HAL and have had only great experiences with the cruise line. This time however we may have taken a closer look at the cruise and ship and found that many things were wanting. HAL was only ... Read More
Disappointing might possibly be generous. We love HAL and have had only great experiences with the cruise line. This time however we may have taken a closer look at the cruise and ship and found that many things were wanting. HAL was only the 2nd cruise line we sailed on. Now that we have cruised on several others we became aware of , what we considered design flaws or someone did think it mattered things. In the Lido for example. The only way to know what was being offered was to walk completely around, sometimes more than once. Some items were only offered on one side and not the other. If you wanted a salad and a sandwich it was sometimes necessary to go to both sides of the buffet to get these items. They should have considered making the actual buffet into an efficient alcove area rather than jamming passengers trying to get something to eat and passengers transiting to and from the pool areas into a narrow walkway. The width of which is made even more confining by adding a dozen small tables outside of the normal dining area. Meals in the main dining room were no better than average and the selections far below those offered on other lines. HAL needs to get creative with their menus, it's not 1930 anymore. Our stateroom which was one of their deluxe suites did not even have a curtain to divide the sleeping area from the sitting area. I guess that's common on HAL ships but someone might have thought that small item would be important for additional privacy. The new ship's TV we had was nothing more than a disgrace. The cheapest remote, which never properly worked, we have ever seen. We have been led to believe that this will be the last HAL ship to be built for sometime. Hopefully, if they do build another they will enlist comments from real passengers and get some design ideas that would be practical and beneficial. Couldn't say anything but great to describe the crew and staff it really is the high point of the cruise line, probably the best we have had on any other. It's really a shame that the new ship didn't live up to our expectations Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We flew over from West Palm Beach to Barcelona and just missed a hurricane enroute. Luckily we got the to board the ship on the first day of 2 days in the port. I really like it when a cruise starts with 2 days in a port to make up for ... Read More
We flew over from West Palm Beach to Barcelona and just missed a hurricane enroute. Luckily we got the to board the ship on the first day of 2 days in the port. I really like it when a cruise starts with 2 days in a port to make up for travel problems. The ship itself is very plain and very basic. Holland is not sparing any money on glitz, but they keep adding cabins to the same size series of ships. We got a very nice upgrade that placed us on the 12th floor in the rear of the ship. This was the first time and we loved it as got a bigger stateroom and was able to see action on both sides of the ship. The room was the best part of the cruise as the food was not up to the usual Holland American standards. I believe this is due to Carnavel's cost cutting which taking all the grandeur and enjoyment of cruising. We had some very tough and fatty filet minion's on formal nights which unacceptable. I also missed having tapioca, rice pudding, and banana bread. The entertainment was good, but not great. All of these ships are now having their production shows lip sinked so only the dancing is live performance. The service was good, but the ship was under staffed! We always had to get our own drinks when in the buffet and their was never enough staff around for refills. The Ports are all getting much to crowded in the summer for our taste, but thankfully we had been to each one previously. I will skip Rome, Venice, and Dubrovnik in the future as just not enough room to enjoy oneself. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
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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