51 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Senior Cruise Reviews

This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no mean feat. Add to the fact there’s another cruise ship, different line, loading for the same departure time. These folks do a marvelous job, the Port of Vancouver is a great place to depart from. I am totally amazed by the comments of folks doing reviews for Cruise Critic. Fortunately you can read all the comments, and sometimes wonder “did these folks travel on the same ship?” How can one person be so positive and another negative. Well that’s the way it is, we are all different and we all see things through different eyes. But with the Cruise Critics’ review, you can at least sort out the wheat from the chaff. every review was negative, then the cruise line has a problem - a mixture gives each line a chance to iron out the negatives. Our fifth cruise, this time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, went without a hitch. Embarkation was as smooth as the previous four trips. Our cabin was ready and we met our cabin stewards. Now, these folks meet several people each trip, how do they remember our names? Holland America trains these stewards to do their job, and part of that is getting to know your clients (and that’s what we are). Our Veranda stateroom was everything we’d expected. There is plenty of room for two and the outside deck is an added benefit. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, wandering around you get to appreciate the effort in making this ship. If your only efforts take you from your stateroom to the Lido or Main Dining Room, you are wasting your travel time. In many reviews I have read that critics have said the trip is boring, there’s nothing to do. HAL regularly prints daily schedules of activities and events. Should you chose to ignore those, then yes, you will have a boring do nothing cruise. Food, does that interest anyone - the Nieuw Amsterdam has every type of venue available, and I had to say they are all top notch. From the Dive In and Pizza place to the Main Dining Room and the pay extra dining. You can have whatever you may wish, you will not be disappointed. On this trip at each stop, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan there were three other cruise ships, all arriving and departing at similar times. That’s somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 cruisers joining the locals. And yet it doesn’t seem excessive. There was a little sea movement between Ketchikan and the northern Vancouver Island, this was to be expected, but had very little effect on us. Weather forecasting sometimes is misleading. If we’d planned our trips on two-week forecasts, we’d never travel. On the week 18-25 May 2019, the weather gods blessed us. Arriving back in Vancouver, our disembarkation was as smooth and our embarkation Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to see Panama Canal, particularly the old part of it. I have done one passing in my previous career at sea more than 30 years ago, on a freighter. Since HAL had a good itinerary suiting the best for our schedule and that ... Read More
We wanted to see Panama Canal, particularly the old part of it. I have done one passing in my previous career at sea more than 30 years ago, on a freighter. Since HAL had a good itinerary suiting the best for our schedule and that there was so good ratings with HAL with travelers with similar preferences we did not hesitate to book this trip, our first on HAL. Our preferences were quite traditional: Piece and quietness, well mannered co-passengers, dining experiences with lots of choices and styles, civilized onboard activitities and entertainment, interesting excursions, kind and friendly staff and responsible shipowners with competent crew. Particularly we were not after activities some other latest cruise ships may offer for families and younger clientele, We tried to avoid cruse lines with all-day partying and noisy teens and kids around. As a summary HAL offered all this in very sophisticated way. Onboard staff exceeded any of our previous experiences. Based on recommendations on the CC HAL group, before boarding we visited at the Total Wine iand picked up a 6 bottle box of selected wines based on their recommendation of "a taste of America". However, after the trip found that the selections onboard was perfectly adequate, if not US-centric. Check-In Fort Lauderdale was done in breeze by very helpful officer, particularly noticing we were not that experienced cruisers on HAL. We boarded soon before noon and had a wonderful lunch served in the MDR after settling in to our cabin. The VD Class cabin was on the 7th deck with a veranda. It was not a suite, but spacious enough for two of us. For our surprise, there was enough storage space even for a much longer trip. There was absolutely no noise from neighboring cabins or from the corridors. Completely quiet, apart quiet hum from the AC. We found ship interiors very nicely designed and we felt being at home soon after boarding. Most of the fellow passengers were naturally from US and Canada, also quite big part, probably a few hundred passengers from Europe and from South America and Far East.. Based on the Skipper's, Jeroen van Donselaar's note, there were some 2100+ passengers and 800+ crew members onboard, so the ship was practically fully booked. Cruise itself offered everything and beyond we expected. For our surprise the seadays were anything but boring. The days were full of activities, e.g. starting from presentation of the ports we were going to call, Digital Workshops, recitals on the Lincoln Center, stand up shows and other performances after dinner at the Main Stage ending upto enjoying the B.B. King's Club. BTW, they played really well. About dining experience, we had dinners in all the restaurants, twice in the Pinnacle Grill, once in Rudy's, once in Tamarind, once in Canaletto and Lido, rest in the MDR. In general, we were fully content with the MDR, but Pinnacle offered us the something to remember for long time. My personal favorite was the Sole Meunier at the MDR, but it was available only once soon after departure, Based on our experience it's difficult to fully understand those who in CC HAL Forum have complained MDR being not upto their standards. Dover Sole in Rudy's; the Maine Lobster, Tartar Steak and Filet Mignon at the Pinnacle. Tamarind was excellent, but as have traveled lots in the far east, we found it a (little bit) too westernized. Sushi was available daily at the Lido. And now we still miss Hamburgers in the Dive In. They were special. Really. Shore excursions we pre-booked, were mostly as expected: In Cartagena the old town was really nice and worthwhile to visit, could have spend a lots of more in the town. Passing Panama Canal was a really highlight of the day. For an ex Sailor (Master Mariner), like me, this was a really meaningful event. We passed the Canal through the old locks, far more interesting than the new ones, which were apparently not that busy on our day of passing. In Costa Rica we chose an Exc to flower gardens up to the mountain having a magnificent view over to the Pacific. We managed to see a pair of macaws not too far away in the garden and a number of crocodiles on the way. It was most beautiful landscape. Time to visit there was far too short, again. In Nicaragua we had a trip to a banana plantation owned by a local prominent family, supplying their products to major brands. Lots of manual, minimally paid work needed before products can be shipped. Highlight of that trip was to see the landscape with active volcanoes on the way. Local people were extremely friendly with us. Really difficult to figure out how they manage to struggle with the average salaries paid in that country. We hope they will manage with their struggle with economy, e.g. expanding from agriculture to tourism. In Guatemala we had another trip to a Coffee Plantation and a small city on the mountain area. Was really beautiful, again. There were also two Mexican ports, Huatulco and Puerto Vallarta on the way. Enjoyed both excursions to the country side. Street vendors in Cartagena and Guatemala were some degree of nuisance, but nothing unexceptional for 'seasoned travelers'. Before the trip we had concerns, e.g. how to cope potential 'cultural differences' during the two weeks with the fellow passengers mostly from US and Canada since we are not that extrovert. That proved to be a non-issue. With all people we spoke with were most friendly curious and knowledgeable what's going outside US. Quite a number of them had visited even to our home country, Finland, on their previous cruises or careers. So overall, would wholeheartedly recommend Panama Cruise with HAL anyone expecting a classy experience to pass the Canal, see beautiful countries with friendly people of Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico, spend time with fellow most nice passengers on a well maintained ship with a stellar crew. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Our trip consisted of a group of 8, all arriving from different destinations across Canada. We had a house rented in Fort Lauderdale for 3 days before the cruise, a lovely home within walking distance to the beach. Good thing we had 3 ... Read More
Our trip consisted of a group of 8, all arriving from different destinations across Canada. We had a house rented in Fort Lauderdale for 3 days before the cruise, a lovely home within walking distance to the beach. Good thing we had 3 days, because of weather we where delayed by over 24 hours. We embarked the ship in groups and met up in the buffet for lunch. Our bags arrived quicker than expected, so we sorted ourselves out, then went for a group party in one stateroom. We where on decks 4, 6,8. And we where very happy on deck 4. Turns out to be a good location to scoot out for the safety drill, a nice walk around deck 3, and also easy to run up to deck 3 if there was something to grab a photo of. We kept the tv on in our room when we where there, tuned to the forward cameras. Loved the option of viewing the Canal crossing on the TV, that was a long hot day. Every morning we enjoyed the buffet. You can’t go wrong, everything you can imagine plus some extra surprises. Lunch was by the pool at the burger place, or pizza. We only attended tea in the afternoon one day, but it was a very nice treat. Dinner we had a group table in the dining room for 8. We didn’t dine there every night, but made sure we all attended the gala nights. Other times we tried some of the different specialty restaurants available. The Pinnacle was a dinner that made you feel like you won the lotto. But our true favourite was the Tamarind. The staff made the dinner fun, and you felt truly welcomed. Plus the exceptional food, and presentation, made it a feast for the eyes. Most days, pre dinner, we attended the martini tasting, or the happy hour in the various bars. But be pre warned, the happy hour bars get full fast. We had beverage cards, so we didn’t worry about happy hour pricing. And I am glad we did, the cards where good for everything we wanted to drink, from sparkling water, to special coffees ,and drinks all around. Every day we had wonderful coffees made in the exploration area, the staff there knew your name and coffee within days. Days we didn’t go on excursions, we spent at the pool, loved the unobtrusive music. But there does need to be more shady areas. We found often people pulling chairs into doorways for shade, but that made it very inconvenient for others. Our group had all been at most of the locations on this cruise, so we didn’t depart at every port. But we really enjoyed the small markets they set up by the ship, for those who just want to purchase a souvenir. The casino was very quiet the entire trip, we did go to the bar there and lost some money at the machines. They did have some very nice piano players there as well . After dinner, it was usually a walk around deck 3 , before seeing what was on the show that night. Most nights we didn’t stay, we all found the entertainment to be lacking, the jazz band was not a group to dance to, so most just sat and listened. We all loved the national Geographic show, with the live performance. Disembarkation was a slow process, they called groups by colour, and there was even colours called that were not on the list, we where close to last. The whole finding your suitcase thing and getting in line , seemed confusing for some. Enjoyed a lovely night in San Diego before flying home. Staff who made this trip memorable: Jerry and Jenny in the martini bar. Janny in the exportation cafe. My perfect mocha. Abdul and Made who made our cabin home. Miguel and Joel who had the wine knowledge. Wayo, Davee, who served table 91 with grace. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Having cruised three times prior to this trip, we were aware of what to expect. Holland America had no surprises, other that the fact they upgraded us two days before departure. The Alaska cruise is so good because it is so close for ... Read More
Having cruised three times prior to this trip, we were aware of what to expect. Holland America had no surprises, other that the fact they upgraded us two days before departure. The Alaska cruise is so good because it is so close for us. A four-five our drive to Vancouver and leaving our car in the Cruise Ship parking, the price is very reasonable, if you pre-book. Both embarkation and disembarkation we very smooth, as in the past, these folks know how to handle large crowds. Prior to booking I had investigated the trip, with my travel agent's assistance the trip planning was a snap. Our three previous cruises where with the HAL Volendam, which we were thrilled with. We actually found that the food provided on the Nieuw Amsterdam was good, we felt it was a step below that offered on the Volendam. In particular the Pinnacle has never changed its menu over the past three years, and the quality was below that of the Volendam. The night shows in the theatre were as expected, the magician and comedian were OK. The crew singers and dancers were outstanding - they had a very professional show. Crew members throughout the ship were ready to give a greeting and smile if you make eye contact. I understand this is a problem with some people - to them I say "get a life!" The dining room servers were above standard and exceeded our expectations. From UCi to Adi to Edgar, thanks you for making our travels a pure joy, even though we didn't find the food level to be as good as the Volendam. That is not to say the food was not good, just a bit lower in our estimation for quality. Would I take this cruise again - in a heartbeat - we love the program. Holland America has made us cruisers. We have people who have travelled throughout the world, and always by air travel. As two seniors, we've slowed down and cruising allows us to see those places we've not seen before, or in case of Alaska cruises, something we can do time and again. Thanks HAL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
After three cruises on the HAL Volendam we decided to change ships and booked our 4th Alaska cruise on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam. We had booked an Oceanview cabin but two days before our sailing, we were informed by email from HAL that we ... Read More
After three cruises on the HAL Volendam we decided to change ships and booked our 4th Alaska cruise on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam. We had booked an Oceanview cabin but two days before our sailing, we were informed by email from HAL that we had a change in cabin. When I went to the Check-in page I noticed that our cabin had been changed from the Main Deck to the 8th and our cabin changed to a Balcony Cabin. When I contacted our tour agent she told us we’d been granted a no cost to us upgrade, and that we’d retain all of our benefits. This cruise included a drink package, which allowed us up to fifteen drinks per day with a limit of $9.00 a drink. As this was a free package even if we did not use the full number of drinks per day, it was a wonderful addition because all beverages, were included. Even a bottle of water would constitute one drink. In addition a dinner for two was included in the package in the Pinnacle Grill Embarkation was an easy exercise, after dropping off our luggage we parked in the Cruise Ship parking area. Booking the parking ahead of arrival is a money saver. Keeping track of the parking stall is a very important fact of life. There is a period of line-ups but these folks have been doing this for some time, and the whole operation moves very quickly. We noticed that the Nieuw Amsterdam was larger than the Volendam, our favourite watering hole was the Ocean Bar, which on the Volendam was more intimate. However that did not detract from the Ocean Bar, it was larger but had the same feel and we thoroughly enjoyed our visits. We found the bar staff in all the bars very attentive and pleasant. Throughout the ship we found the crew to be very friendly, they were quick with a greeting and smile. Our cabin stewards, Dang & Ang always greeted us by our names which we found amazing knowing how many different people they must serve in each week. We also found our MDR Waiters (Uci and Adi) and Wine Steward (Edgar) made our meal times memorable. If we had a disappointment it was that we found the meals in the MDR not of the quality that we had come to expect from our cruises in the Volendam. The food was good, but just not quite up to the level of the Volendam. The same was true of our visit to the Pinnacle Grill. It has not changed its menu in three years, and again not to the standard we were used to from the Volendam. While we didn’t partake of the buffet much, we noticed a better selection of food than we remember from the Volendam. The dining area was larger and there did not seem to be the crowding we had observed previously. We did use the Dive in which again provided excellent hamburgers and hot dogs. New to us was the Pizza Bar, it was truly a great addition to the Lido Deck eating establishments. Located on the Seaview deck we had a wonderful lunch. Both the Dive in and Pizza Bar give you a buzzer that alerts you when you order is ready. We will not discuss the shore excursions, we came for the cruise and that’s what we budgeted for. In that consideration our cruise was a success, would we do it again on a HAL cruise ship, in a heartbeat. Thank you Holland American for again exceeding out expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because it was HAL and all at sea, no land. We had done the land and sea Alaska cruise a year ago with HAL. Didn't like it. Too much land. Embarkation and debarkation were fast and easy. Neptune suite ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was HAL and all at sea, no land. We had done the land and sea Alaska cruise a year ago with HAL. Didn't like it. Too much land. Embarkation and debarkation were fast and easy. Neptune suite cruisers get a little extra attention. Vancouver customs was GNARLY!. Only 2 agents for a couple of thousand cruisers. Computers were down. Should have gone out of Seattle and not Vancouver to avoid customs. Main dining room food was excellent. Our waiters, Agung and Edi were two of the best waiters we have ever had with HAL. Tamarind was my wife's choice and she managed somehow to drag me with her. Food was wonderful. Neat dining experience. I recommend it. Best excursion was Tracy Arm Fijord and Glaciers. Boarded a head boat directly off the Nieu Amsterdam. Lots of icebergs. We got close to Swayer and South Sawyer Glaciers. On the way back to Juneau a pod of Orcas swam next to the boat. Two swam under the boat. Glacier Bay was also wonderful Ship managed to get real close for about an hour. No big bergs blocking our way. Weather cooperated for most of the trip. Only one rainy day which happened to be a sea day. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were on a 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Vancouver Alaska cruise. I guess we hit the jackpot with the weather...most days in the 70's This was our first cruise so we chose to book a inside room, as a couple we were Pleased ... Read More
We were on a 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Vancouver Alaska cruise. I guess we hit the jackpot with the weather...most days in the 70's This was our first cruise so we chose to book a inside room, as a couple we were Pleased with it, room , storage, bath etc were very good. The steward service was excellent. Food service was great , only complaint was no service from approx. midnight till 6.00 a.m., only room service. The ship had about 2,000 passengers on board never seemed to be over crowded. Would highly recommend this ship, for a first time cruise or other. The room we selected was because we were first time cruisers, we were concerned About sea sickness which we didn' experience, but. The weather was good. Cabin was very quiet, close to rear elevators which were fast. The ship had many viewing points either covered or open deck. Decor was top notch been done over a year ago. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We arrived in Vancouver a couple of days before commencing our cruise, what a fabulous city . Easy to get round by their Hop On/ Hop Off buses, people very friendly and helpful. Visited Victoria and the Butchart Gardens which are well ... Read More
We arrived in Vancouver a couple of days before commencing our cruise, what a fabulous city . Easy to get round by their Hop On/ Hop Off buses, people very friendly and helpful. Visited Victoria and the Butchart Gardens which are well worth a trip Arrived at the embarkation point by cab from our centrally positioned hotel and we just followed the directions given by the staff, a very smooth operation to board the ship. The ship was very impressive , never having cruised before we did not know what to expecthowever it was a great experience . The cabin was very comfortable, we ate in the main dining room , the food on board was excellent, our waiter on table 313 Tom was excellent and Edgar the wine waiter also . There were so many activities going on and the port excursions were very well organised. The service from the staff was faultless they were so friendly and helpful There were several options for entertainment and some very interesting talks .The scenery on the way to Alaska and return journey was superb and we were very lucky with good weather .Disembarkation was also easy and we were soon on our way to another part of our tripacross Canada Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Saw this cruise on a tv show with Jane McDonald and thought it looked very good. Decided to do it so booked it and also had 3 nights in Vancouver to get over jetlag and make Vancouver part of the holiday ... Read More
Saw this cruise on a tv show with Jane McDonald and thought it looked very good. Decided to do it so booked it and also had 3 nights in Vancouver to get over jetlag and make Vancouver part of the holiday .We never did any of the excursions offered as we found them to be a little too expensive so did our own thing when in port and still saw a lot .Highlight was Glacier bay it was awesome and seeing a glacier calving was a special treat.The crew were very efficient and polite and the cabin attendant made us very welcome and each day we had a different towel animal .The best was the towel monkey which he put on a hanger and hung it just inside the doorway for us to get a surprise when we went to our cabin .Food was excellent and we only used the buffet for main meals and breakfast .we used the burger bar a few times and the pizza made to order .We had stateroom on deck 5 at the rear of the ship which we found preferable to a side cabin for views .we would go on this ship again anytime there was enough to see and do during our time onboard and the theatre entertainment was very good . Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Excellent accommodations in Neptune Suite 8162 (aft). Room stewards Agus and Putu were awesome! Concierge perks with Neptune level accommodation worth the extra money. Main dining room food was excellent. Dined at a table of 6 with ... Read More
Excellent accommodations in Neptune Suite 8162 (aft). Room stewards Agus and Putu were awesome! Concierge perks with Neptune level accommodation worth the extra money. Main dining room food was excellent. Dined at a table of 6 with great tablemates from Canada and Louisiana. Don't ask for a table for two. The experience of meeting other passengers is worth breaking out of your comfort zone for. Servers Libra and Hendri were also excellent. The Pinnacle Grill was great! The filet mignon was perfect. Worth the extra surcharge for dinner. We chose Holland America Line for the classic cruise line atmosphere and adult settings. Ambiance was great with the decor and art pieces throughout the ship. Don't miss the BBC Planet Earth live performance accompanied by the Lincoln Center Stage musical performers. Wish it was more than once. Took advantage of breakfast room service on the veranda every morning before shore excursions. No searching for a table in the Lido Market during peak hours. Seas were too choppy to take the tender boats to Half Moon Cay, so that was the only dissapointment of the trip. We had heard so many good things about the island and were looking forward to the excursion. Looking forward to future cruises on HAL exploring other itenieries. Signed, Future 5 Star Mariner Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We cruised the Western Carib. on the NA from 2/24/18 - 3/3/18. This was our second cruise with HA and our first time to the Carib. The entire ship must have been updated recently because all the carpeting looked fresh, the decor was ... Read More
We cruised the Western Carib. on the NA from 2/24/18 - 3/3/18. This was our second cruise with HA and our first time to the Carib. The entire ship must have been updated recently because all the carpeting looked fresh, the decor was modern and appealing and all public restrooms very nicely updated. The ship has a very Classic look. On our cruise I had heard that it was not sold out and I believe I heard there were around 2200 cruisers on board and 865 crew members. We visited the Crows nest frequently when at sea and loved the very comfortable lounge chairs provided for viewing the sea. There is a Starbucks in the lounge as well as EXC tours. We dined mostly in the main dining room and Lido area but did do the Pinnacle Grill once. Generally the food was very good but towards the end we agreed that the Lido was probably using up whatever they had. We did not attend the 2 Gala dinners (on sea days) because it seemed too formal for us. Many people wore gowns and suits and we were simply on vacation and dressed casual. We did not attend any of the stage shows but did attend some of the classical music shows held in some of the small venues. We also missed BB King's. The casino is small and smoke free. We felt that the overall service provided by the crew members was very good. They were attentive, courteous and did their best. I did observe several passengers complain to crew members because they had to wait in line to obtain tender tickets. WOW!!! these ugly passengers couldn't wait in a line for 10 minutes???? I actually apologized for how rude these overweight bullies acted. I also overheard a lady passenger rudely comment to our PG waiter when she was placing her order on how they needed to be served immediately and how she felt that HA needed to bring on more help so that service would be prompt. I couldn't tell what nationality she was but it sure was not necessary to complain. I highly recommend HA as it fits our age and budget categories. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Long Review 5 Day Vancouver-San Diego Nieuw Amsterdam Cabin Category VF GTY Assigned cabin 4173 (Starboard Aft) Embarkation in Vancouver ***** Easy We flew into YVR Vancouver International and took the SkyTrain ... Read More
Long Review 5 Day Vancouver-San Diego Nieuw Amsterdam Cabin Category VF GTY Assigned cabin 4173 (Starboard Aft) Embarkation in Vancouver ***** Easy We flew into YVR Vancouver International and took the SkyTrain “Waterfront” line to downtown Vancouver. $15 CAN approx for 2. Very easy way to get to Canada Place. A short 2 block walk to the cruise ship terminal - passing right by a handy wine shop to purchase our carry on wine allowance. Arriving in the terminal we proceeded through the maze of security and documentation checks with ease. We arrived around 12:30 pm and were onboard in less than 20 minutes. One of the first things we noticed upon boarding was that the staff onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam was noticeably more welcoming than the last cruise we took on NCL. Even more so than our last Holland America cruise a few years ago on this very same ship. You will never pass a crew member of HAL of any ranking anywhere in the ship without them greeting you with a good morning or evening. Cabin 4173 - This was our first guaranty cabin experience. We had no choice in matter. The 5 day segment did not offer specific cabin assignment at the time of booking. Our cabin was assigned approximately 1 week before sailing. We did write to HAL immediately after receiving our assigned cabin requesting a cabin on the starboard side and we were fortunate to receive a confirmation the next day that our cabin was changed. I’m sure this is not always possible, but we were happy to be moved from a port forward cabin to an aft starboard cabin heading Southbound to be able to enjoy the sunsets from our balcony. Cabin 4173 is almost at the aft end of the ship, but it’s close to an elevator and while not overly spacious and lacking HAL’s signature little bath/shower combination in this category - we just had a shower - it was more than adequate for our needs over 5 days. Cabin Attendent Our cabin attendent “Novi” found us wandering down the hall toward our cabin and quickly informed us that he would be putting our beds into the proper configuation after we put our bags away and headed out for lunch on the Lido deck. First Meal HAL Tradition After unloading our bags in our cabin we headed up the Lido deck for a bite to eat. One of HAL’s best quick lunches is the “Dive-In” located aft. Order your burger, they hand you a pager and a few minutes later you are enjoying a delicious burger, chicken sandwich or gourmet dog. This is becoming our ritual on HAL on embarkation day. Mandatory Emergency Drill Nothing to be alarmed about - unless you have sensitive ears. The blasts in the event of an emergency could wake a hibernating bear on another continent! Mustering was done quickly and efficiently and we were not required to bring our life jackets to the drill. Sail Away It was raining in Vancouver so we gathered near the pool area of the Lido deck and partook in a sail away margarita in the souvenir glass...(plastic nowadays). No live music - just canned tunes and a little too loud for our taste, but apparently loud music makes people order more drinks! Dining Reservations and Beverage Packages Prior to sailing we made (and paid for) reservations at Tamarind one evening. Once onboard we made another reservation for the Pinnacle Grill on the one Gala night. We also prepaid for a wine package. We chose the 3 bottle Admiral wine package for our sailing. We did not buy the all-inclusive beverage package for this short cruise. We just signed by the drink. Our bar bill (apart from the 3 bottle wine package we prepaid) was $261 - that breaks down to $26 per person per day. The cost of the beverage package is approx $50 per person per day and both have to have it -so in this instance we did better on our own. We had a few welcome aboard cocktails, usually a cocktail in the evening and occasionally a cocktail at a show or a Bloody Mary in the morning. Another thing is that this cruise was not a warm weather cruise with many sea days laying by the pool all day, which tends to jack up the amount of libation we would do. Entertainment around the ship Normally we love the Adagio duos. This sailing had a pair of handsome gentlemen vs the gorgeous ladies playing the piano and violin classical “hits” and favorites. This duo played without any connection to the music to each other or to the audience. The second night I jokingly asked them to “smile” and the one on violin obliged me with a smirk, then went back to looking like secret service agents. Maybe I have been watching too many American talent shows, but I think you have to do some degree of selling the audience by connecting to them or to your music. Cheers to the bartenders! From the margarita to the sidecar to the gin and tonic and vodka martini ... I think HAL does a good job of making their drinks worth the price. Comedian Mark Pitta Our first show in the theatre was stand up. An unknown to us. We went to the late show and I think the theatre was about 2/3 full. Some jokes were good and stuck with you. Nothing offensive, but nothing that knocked me off my chair either. Enjoyable. 1000 Steps Our second show in the theatre on Gala night. A song and dance show featuring some great dancing with enjoyable choreography, talented dancers and good singers. Not HAL’s strongest suit, but enjoyable nevertheless. Piano Bar Always lively and full no matter what sailing or demographic is on board! The singer this week was not our favorite, but did the job he was paid to do... keep the place full! Dining: Main dining room. Without a reservation it can be up to a 20 minute wait with a pager during peak times. The main dining room menu is adequate and had some variety, but nothing really special. Service was good but rushed as always. The wine stewards are very rushed in their order taking and delivery of the wine. Lack of personal attention when you don’t have a set dining time and have the same waiter all week. We had the Admiral wine package and the wines were ordinary. I think next time we will opt to bring on our own wine for a corkage fee or purchase wine by the bottle off the wine list (different from that of the package). Lido. Buffet. Great for breakfast and lunch. I love the Congee porridge in the morning or having an omelette made to order. For lunch there is great Asian food and a wonderful salad bar - most items served by the staff to reduce the chance of a norovirus outbreak. There were many types of other foods hot and cold available here - I only mentioned what I tried. The ice cream was not very good. PIzza. Aft deck Did not try Pinnacle Grill & Gala Night $35 upcharge. Dined here one evening on Gala night, however not many people were dressed for a gala! I’m seeing fewer and fewer tuxedos and evening wear. I love dressing up on cruises, but I have to say my husband was thrilled to just bring a dress shirt and sports coat this trip vs penguin attire.. shoes, cumber bun, tie, cuff links, etc. We boarded with only a carry on this trip! ..Back to the Pinnacle food and serivce. Far exceeds the food and service of the main dining room and there is no rush in the service. If you want a great steak, a slower meal this is the place. Sel de Mar (Pinnacle restaurant changes over 2 nights a week to this French Seafood dining experience for a hefty $49 per person charge) We did not dine here Tamarind My birthday dinner was here. Our second experience at the Tamarind on this ship. I found my first experience to be better, I think because it was less crowded and earlier the last time on a previous sailing. We did not get a good explanation of how the menu works this time. Last time we got hot towels before dinner. Our servers were adorable and attentive. The food in here is amazing - just be prepared to think outside the box and try new things. I think that is a safe statement on dining everywhere on the ship. Most of us, as a rule do not dine with menus as elegant as even the main dining room at home. But the dainty little portions and tidbits of appetizers take some getting used to in order to really savor the delicacy of them all. Lastly - our server forgot to recognize my birthday as my husband had requested so he told the maitre’d on the way out. But 30 minutes later back at our cabin - both our servers showed up knocking at the door with a birthday cake singing to me, asking to come in to give me a hug .. I was already in bed! Canaletto Italian fare in a cordoned off section off the Lido buffet area. I don’t like the location of this venue. It’s only a $15 upcharge but the location is a turn off to me. Didn’t dine here, but the menu looks good and we had it on our last cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. America’s Test Kitchen Something new on HAL. A cooking demonstration like the TV show with great tips and recipes. Only drawback is no tasting - the HAL exhibit kitchen is apparently not up to FDA standard of safety to pass out samples! BBQ Lounge (America’s Test Kitchen by day) Hands down this is HAL’s best entertainment on the ship. Great music for dancing and a stroll down memory lane of R and B music. The band: drums, keyboard, bass, guitar, trumpet, trombone and vocalists are amazing and entertaining and true musicians who often are strangers to each other until just before sailing and put together a repertoire of party hits. Al Green, Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye .. and of course BB King. Bravo HAL. Ports Astoria: First time here. Walk a few clicks to the Maritime Museum and found a pub for beer, chowder and free wifi access! San Francisco: My birth city. Got up early to see the arrival in the dark. Took a bus to the textile district to try and buy a mattress at Tuft and Needle (seriously!) .. then a cable car ride from Powell and Market to the Hyde Street turnaround and had world famous Irish Coffee’s at the Buena Vista bar - then back to the ship for happy hour in the crows nest and sail away under the Golden Gate Bridge. Priceless experience. Avalon: Quaint little seaside town on the island of Catalina (once owned by Wrigley) off Southern California. We had a surprise visit from family who live in Longbeach, CA. They took the Catalina Express over to meet us and we saw the island in a 4 person gas powered golf cart, followed by some shopping on the wharf. The old “casino” (dance hall) was closed for the day by the time we got back so we did not get to visit inside. Fun day - only port we had to tender to. Exceptional Service: Diane at the reception desk. We had no plans to race off the ship for a tender as we were in dock from 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm. After we anchored, my husband turned on his cell phone to see if there was any reception. There was a voice mail from his brother who said “I’m here.. we took the ferry over and we are waiting for you on the island”. So my husband went down to get a tender ticket and found out we could not get off the ship until 4:50 pm. All the early tender tickets were gone. That would have been too late for us to meet our relatives because they had to be on the ferry home shortly after that. “Diane” at the reception desk realized our plight and was able to squeeze us onto an early tender. She escorted us down to the gangway and we cannot thank her enough for making our day. Lesson learned. Always get your tender tickets early. Novi our cabin steward in 4173 Novi from Indonesia found us on arrival day. Introduced himself and made sure our cabin was in order each and every day. By the time we returned from breakfast each day our cabin was immaculately tidy and ready for another day of fun. I realize this is their job, but some do it better than others. We felt compelled to leave him a little “extra” at the end. Chef at the Lido who took the time to write out a recipe for me for Bee Hoon Fish Soup. Gym: adequate and busier than expected. Saw grey whales on the elliptical trainer! Thermal Suites: did not participate this time. $109 per person for 5 days. Massage: Prepaid for a couples 50 minute massage. Very nice. This was one of our favorite cruises to date. We love HAL. Terima kasih 1st night: Main Dining Room No reservations - approx 7:30 pm - Embarkation from Vancouver There was a heavy line of approx 15 to put your name in - You are given a pager and we waited approx 15-20 minutes. We were escorted upstairs to the top floor because the restaurant was so busy. Normally the top floor are for those who make dinner reservations or who have assigned dining times. Our dining companions Ron and Ako were from England. We enjoyed hearing their cruise stories. They take about 5-6 long cruises a year. Food choices were adequate and while portions were small, they were more than enough to keep us happy. 2nd night: Main Dining Room No reservations - approx 7:30 pm - Astoria A shorter line than the first night and only a 5-10 minute wait for a table. Our dining companions were from Germany. We never learned their names, but they taught me how to say “have a nice evening” in German. (I think!) I cannot properly write it, but phoenetically it’s “eye-nin schroo-nen hav-en” while communication was not easy we had a enjoyable dinner. 3rd night: Pinnacle Grill Gala night - reservations 6:30 - Sea day 4th night: Tamarind Reservations 7:30 - San Francisco 5th night: Main Dining Room Final night Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We loved everything about this cruise from start to finish. The staff are amazing, so friendly, happy and always ready to help. Special mentions go to Ronaldo in the Crowsnest bar, our cabin attendants Frans and Ichcan, and Hayu & Heni ... Read More
We loved everything about this cruise from start to finish. The staff are amazing, so friendly, happy and always ready to help. Special mentions go to Ronaldo in the Crowsnest bar, our cabin attendants Frans and Ichcan, and Hayu & Heni & Noel in the Lido. Infact all the staff deserve a mention. Well done to all. The food was plentiful, well presented and great variety and excellent quality. There was always something to do on days of sailing, lots of activities and entertainment. The ship was spotlessly clean and in excellent order Alaska is an amazing place, the senery is unbelievable, each port was beautiful, with numerous excursions available. We were very lucky with great weather in most ports. Great shopping was on offer in the ports again with very friendlg staff Embarkation and disembarking was seamless. We would definately choose Holland America again. I cant speak highly enough of our wondeful cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My husband and I did a 7 days Alaskan cruise in May 2017. The weather in Alaska was fantastic for the most part. It rained only 3 days one was on port day. Rest of the days were sunny and warm except when out to sea which was cool. We ... Read More
My husband and I did a 7 days Alaskan cruise in May 2017. The weather in Alaska was fantastic for the most part. It rained only 3 days one was on port day. Rest of the days were sunny and warm except when out to sea which was cool. We choose a Cabin with a balcony (cabin 7114) Queen size bed with a couch, writing deck/vanity with a really good makeup mirror. We choose this room because it is not situated below any high traffic area such as pool or restaurant. It was very quiet did not hear any disruptive sounds. Only down side was that the toilet had a constant Urine smell. The Lido buffet for lunch and Dinner had a variety of food. Always packed especially for breakfast (awesome breakfast)...although much of the lunch and dinner food was salty it was still enjoyable plus there was late night buffet fewer chooses in food but still good. The manhattan which is the preset time dining. Portion was small but filling quality better than Lido buffet. This is where Gala night was held. People got dressed up..I was disappointed as I expected It would be like when they would have captain night back in the days (no dancing just get dressed up for an upgraded Menu) The only change from any other night was that the menu chooses were upgraded..so they would have foods like lobster tails. Some people wore tuxedos and gowns but not necessary. A suit without tie or slacks and dress shirt for men and skirt and slacks and nice blouse for women would do. Pinnacle grill which is the premium dinning (extra cost) was waaaay better than all of the other foods we had on the ship. Service was excellent. There is a pizza bar by one of the pools and a burger and fries spot by the other pool. No shortage of where or what to eat on this ship. We didn't go to much of the entertainment that was offered..only to the live band that played all of the nights. They were just fantastic they had the crowd dancing. Overall the service on this ship was just phenomenal. Everywhere we went on the ship the staffs remembered our names. When the boat docked in Glacier bay we rented an Inside Cabana it cost US$50. We were treated like royalty by the attendant and we got great views of the glaciers. On port days we did only one excursion which was in Skagway..took a 3 hours tour over to the Yukon. Not to mislead but the tour bus stopped right at the welcome sign in the Yukon..so we were about an hour into the Yukon. There are a lot of bars on this boat..the bartenders do not cheapen out on the alcohol. They had happy hour at each bar and free snacks to go with your drinks during that time. We bought the Signature Beverage package which was 15 drinks per day per person, any drinks $9 and under. Drinks included alcoholic beverages, speciality coffees, water and sodas. We never went over our max. drinks..we had an average of 6 drinks per day (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) We never had room service as many of the items had surcharges not worth it. One mishap on our cruise that was annoying happened on the first day and took the entire 7 days to sort out. We took the ironing package. Which was US$28.75. Unlimited pressing for both myself and my husband. They ruined by husband's suit (pressed it with high heat) and ruined my linen blouse. We were reimbursed $50 only. They told us we have to contact Holland America's Head Office. My advice give them instructions on how to iron your garments. The gym was well equipped we worked out three of the days..we went early in the morning which left enough to time to go for breakfast at the Lido afterward. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was our 8th cruise and our second with HAL. We had sailed to Alaska with Royal Caribbean three years ago for 14 days. Since we live in Vancouver, we love the cruises that depart from and return to Vancouver. All the staff on the ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise and our second with HAL. We had sailed to Alaska with Royal Caribbean three years ago for 14 days. Since we live in Vancouver, we love the cruises that depart from and return to Vancouver. All the staff on the Nieuw Amsterdam were excellent. Low key - but very attentive and very personable. Always a smile and a wave. The ship is a bit old - but it is quite beautiful and elegant. It is also very well kept up. The food was consistently excellent. The main dining rooms had great menus. The Lido buffet was great - particularly for breakfasts. But it's a bit hard to find a table between 8-9 am. We particularly loved The Tamarind restaurant. Wow! The service and the food were absolutely exceptional. We thought the liquor prices were quite reasonable for a cruise (even more so during the Happy Hours). We very much appreciated the fact that we felt no pressure at any time throughout the cruise to buy anything (ie: art, photos, jewelry, etc). We want to highlight the band in the BB King Blues Club. They were unbelievably good! We made sure to drop by every evening they played . Another big highlight was the 3 1/2 hour excursion we took in Ketchikan aboard the Aleutian Ballad (one of the ships from Season 2 of TV's Deadliest Catch). We went crabbing and shrimping, watched magnificent bald eagles diving for fish, saw Killer Whales, giant octopuses, and listened to riveting/fascinating/terrifying stories of fishing for King Crabs on the high seas in the Bering Sea. This is not to be missed. We have been on about 7 cruises to date, and one previous with HAL. We would happily cruise with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Our group of young adults (upper 20s) did a week long cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam with family and significant others, total of six of us. We chose this cruise because of the price, dates, itinerary and the fact that we had not yet been ... Read More
Our group of young adults (upper 20s) did a week long cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam with family and significant others, total of six of us. We chose this cruise because of the price, dates, itinerary and the fact that we had not yet been with Holland America. Having prepped by reading some reviews and general information, we knew that the ship would scale elderly. There is no getting around this fact and what it entails for the cruise experience. This was the oldest group of people I've ever seen on a cruise. As such, we were prepared for bland food, strange entertainment choices and some other inconveniences along with a slow paced cruise. We were very wrong about bland food. The food was a true delight and a highlight of the cruise. This is the best dining experience and best food taste, presentation and selection I've ever had, hands down, in comparison to Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. The range represented from upper-class wedding catering up to true-blue restaurant quality meals. The Buffet was phenomenal and open much more often than rivals' buffets. The ship ran like clockwork, and was already very accustomed to having an elderly set of passengers. It was very rare that our party was inconvenienced, although we did often feel very loud despite trying to remain as quiet as possible. Despite it being a relatively small ship, there were so many lounges and bars to hang out at, and each offered a different view or experience. As a bonus, the crew was great at handling the very elderly and I believe they would do very well with disable passengers. Drinks were inexpensive and of medium strength. Specialty drinks like espresso were fantastic and inexpensive. The only drinks that stood out as high priced were soda and beer. Tips were 15% automatic gratuity which was actually nice as the receipts did not have a tip line and we never felt pressured to give more. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the wait staff, some of the bar staff was unfriendly. While many were absolutely excellent, we had a number of unsatisfactory experiences with bar tenders that had us moving on to the next lounge. Entertainment was strange and extremely lackluster. Luckily for us, the majority of our party was not into Broadway style shows so we weren't disappointed by the shows in the main theater, although some of them were worth a laugh. We could tell we weren't the only one with this sentiment, as the theater did not reach over 50% capacity after the 2nd day. However, the BB Kings All Stars Band played for 3 hours almost every night and were the heart of nightlife on the ship. There was also a popular piano bar but it pandered heavily to the older audience and did not interest us much at all. As you might be able to guess, the night club was consistently dead and despite having a great setup never reached its potential. Our group brought our own entertainment. Our games and books were a life-saver, as the many lounges provided interesting new locals for us to socialize and play. The ship also has a ton of games on loan to borrow, and even a puzzle corner. But we were basically on our own: trivia lasted 10 minutes, with then nothing interesting going on for 3 hours, and the hokey cruise game shows were few and far between. Our cabin was satisfactory. The bathroom was wonderful: good water pressure, great soap, lots of space. The TV system was great, it had a built in on-demand system that had dozens of movies and tv shows ready to watch and access to live news. The ship was lacking in white noise (engine hum / wind / waves) that generally comes on a cruise ship - which made it a bit more difficult to sleep especially when we could hear crew moving large equipment down the hall. Other notes about the ship are mostly positive. The elevators were plentiful for a ship that size and always quick. The pools were great and never overcrowded, and there is an indoor pool and an outdoor pool and 4 small hot tubs. Room service had very limited menu but was good. Cabin stewards were like ninjas and did a great job cleaning up while we were out. They would fill a bowl with fruit and would keep ice in the ice bin which was very nice. Average dress wear was higher than Carnival or Norwegian, even on non-formal nights people were dressed well and there were very few t-shirts on board even just relaxing in the lounges and pool decks. Embarkation, debarkation, and each of the ports was a breeze. Due to weather, we were not able to go to our first stop at Half Moon Cay which was a huge bummer. The announcement said they were going to beef up the entertainment for the day to make up for it but it sure didn't seem like it. We also stopped at Grand Caymen, got a $5 ea taxi ride to the 7 Mile Beach, very nice but crowded, we walked a quarter mile and found just the right amount of people! Cozumel we took another $5 ea taxi to a private beach (Paradise Beach) which was fun and interesting. Our final stop was Key West where we had a very strange customs routine that everyone on board had to do - it was a huge waste of time and the timing forced everyone on board to wake up early which was unfortunate. In summary, this is a great laid back facility to use for your own entertainment. The food is wonderful and the staff is very friendly. The rooms are comfortable and the amenities are top-shelf. Don't expect to be wowed by the pre-packaged entertainment in terms of quality or quantity. For other young adults, don't expect to pick up any singles on the cruise. If you're bringing a S.O. or a group of buddies you should have a lovely time. Just make sure to bring some card games, a good book and a tablet or gameboy! Use the ports of call for your chance to party! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We choose this cruise for the timing, the price and the ports. We had not cruised Holland before and were very impressed. The crew is amazing, friendly, helpful and efficient. The food was delicious. The Pinnacle Grille, while ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the timing, the price and the ports. We had not cruised Holland before and were very impressed. The crew is amazing, friendly, helpful and efficient. The food was delicious. The Pinnacle Grille, while expensive option, was 5 star dining. We mostly ate at the buffet as we tend to eat light on vacation and this provided plenty of options, and was always fresh and good. Great Breakfast options. The entertainment was great. We had a couple of professionals (comedian and a juggler) that were very fun. There was also HAL crew shows. While acceptable and fun, not overly talented. Always plenty to do. This line is geared toward older adults, so most activities were subdued and more educational and information in nature. While we didn't attend most of these, some of our friends did and found the options perfect. The tender crew was amazing. We had very rough seas on the return from Grand Cayman, and the crew did great in just keeping us upright !. Some passengers got sick, thru no fault of HAL, but they were great in getting us back and on the ship safely. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our 3rd Holland American cruise, the second on this ship. We upgraded to a Signature Suite (room 6063), and loved it. We'd had a Neptune Suite once before, and felt this was more than enough room for two. A big plus was ... Read More
This was our 3rd Holland American cruise, the second on this ship. We upgraded to a Signature Suite (room 6063), and loved it. We'd had a Neptune Suite once before, and felt this was more than enough room for two. A big plus was the location on the ship. I hardly got lost, as it was very central. Embarkation was a breeze. We were group "A" to go on, and our room was ready. Our luggage was already in our room. No complaints with any of the ports. Out of 6 ports, we had only not been to 2 of them, so we were fine going off on our own and doing our own thing. We always take the 8 pm dinner and ask for a table of 6. We have never had a problem with our dinner mates, and this time, we had 4 wonderful people to sit with. We were almost the last table to leave the dining room each night, and I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. We truly enjoyed sitting down for a meal each night with these people and it really added to the enjoyment of our trip. While the food on board is very good, I think it may not be quite as good as other times. The hamburgers at the Dive In are EXCELLENT. Portion size isn't a problem. Had two visits to the Spa and thoroughly enjoyed each. I didn't get bombarded with sales pitches, which can be a problem in any spa. Only asked if I wanted to buy one product the one visit, nothing the first visit. We visited the casino a little too much, and had good and bad nights. That's to be expected, but overall, we didn't feel that we lost too much. My only complaint is the smoking in the casino. One person smoking can ruin it for many others. We left early many times over our 10 day cruise because of the smoking. Time for Holland America to say no smoking. The average age was a little older than other HA cruises we've been on, but we're retired so that wasn't a problem. We don't have children, so a cruise without many kids, for us, is a plus. I think I only saw two the whole cruise. One thing that Holland America excels at is their staff. Always a smile and polite word from each and every one of them. We had a fabulous time and next time we cruise, Holland America will certainly be the first cruise line we look at. We've become faithful to their brand. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was an excellent cruise with a very exciting places listed to visit the ship is modern very clean , and the stateroom we had was clean and well fitted. it was a veranda stateroom , the room staff really look after the rooms. ... Read More
This was an excellent cruise with a very exciting places listed to visit the ship is modern very clean , and the stateroom we had was clean and well fitted. it was a veranda stateroom , the room staff really look after the rooms. and each night do a towel welcome which are funny when you entre stateroom .cleaned each day food is excellent well presented and plenty of choice and staff fab shopping on board not overly impressed. you possibly would get same value in most cities , while they had end of season sales and there was a few bargains , overall shopping on board make up your mind on value against your own home prices entertainment was excellent , but we did not go to the b b show so cant comment on same front office staff very helpful and friendly . but would suggest you sign that you will settle your own gratuities. and don't want them added to your credit car keep an eye on these it may be best to book your off ship excursions with your travel agent , but do carefully look and pick same a very good one is the helicopter tour Juneau . and the local bus tour in Skagway is excellent of shore shopping is an experience , the cruise ship will be making suggestions re certain outlets and do tell you up front re commissions paid to ship, and that shops pay to be on programme again have your ideas in your own mind before you go so as to check for value we did acquire a watch at a store not mentioned by cruise liner at great value , so shop around , as the outlets told us they follow the cruise ships the experience of the glaciers is worth the cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My wife and I have had this trip on our bucket list for many years. We've always wanted to go to Alaska, though we have been a little leery of cruising. Our fear was that we'd feel cooped up on a cruise ship. Well Alaska was ... Read More
My wife and I have had this trip on our bucket list for many years. We've always wanted to go to Alaska, though we have been a little leery of cruising. Our fear was that we'd feel cooped up on a cruise ship. Well Alaska was everything we dreamed it would be, and cruising on the Nieuw Amsterdam was a marvelous experience. We flew into Vancouver the day before the cruise and frankly wish there would have been more time to explore the city. Vancouver is a beautiful city with very friendly people. We stayed at the Pan Pacific right on the water and conveniently located by the cruise dock. Great hotel! Embarkation was a fairly painless process, though there did seem to be an endless series of checkpoints for check in and customs. That being said, we were on the ship within 45 minutes of starting the process. No problem at all in my view. The important thing is that the process seemed organized. Once on board we explored the ship for awhile before sitting down to our first meal. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, and looks like it just came off the production line. I can see no signs of wear and tear, and clearly, the ship is well maintained. The thing that struck us from the time we stepped on the ship until we stepped off was how friendliness of the Indonesian crew. Everyone was helpful and very accommodating. We stayed in Neptune Suite, since it was our first and possibly only cruise, I wanted this trip to be special. And it really was. The level of service that you get as a suite passenger is extraordinary. Our stewards for room 7055 were the very best! The room was spacious, always kept clean, and very comfortable. The bed slept well, and we had plenty of storage space. As to the food on board we sample most of the restaurants. All was good, but our favorite was Tamarind. We felt that Tamarind is the real jewel on the ship. It's up on the 11th deck and off the beaten path, which may explain why it was never crowded while we were on the ship. If you cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam, make a point of eating in Tamarind. It is an Asian themed restaurant with superb food. As to the cruise itself, it would be really hard to ruin Alaska and it truly did not disappoint. Many whale sightings, a great hike to the Mendenhall Glacier, and so many other wonders. The cruise through Glacier Bay along was worth the trip. We saw a number of spectacular calving events. All of the ports offer a variety of excursions and shopping opportunities. Yes, there is some touristy stuff near all of the boat docks. Nothing surprising about that in my view, But get past those shops and there is so much to experience. I can recommend the White Pass Railway as a can't miss excursion, as well as the hike to Mendenhall Glacier. Entertainment on the ship was good. Nothing really stood out, but we enjoyed all of the shows and really enjoyed the BB King Blues Bar. Frankly, this was a bonus, as we really were on the ship to enjoy Alaska. Having some entertainment options was just a nice addition to the ship. We encountered some rough seas coming back to Vancouver but really didn't have much problem with it. Our cabin was mid ship, which certainly helps, but regardless of where we were on the ship it wasn't overly bothersome. Disembarkation was smooth and easy. We had a flight going out of Vancouver at 10:50 a.m. and knew that was cutting things close. But we were off the ship at 7:30 and on a shuttle bus to the airport. So it was handled superbly by Holland America. I guess it is easy to read this review and surmise that we had a really nice time. We did. It was our first cruise, and we were amazed by the experience. The crew of the Nieuw Amsterdam was just marvelous and Alaska was breathtaking. We will definitely cruise with Holland America again and will surely go back to Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I should start by putting my basis for this rating into perspective. Last summer we cruised on the Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) in the Mediterranean. You will not find a more modern ship with more amenities than Allure; however, I ... Read More
I should start by putting my basis for this rating into perspective. Last summer we cruised on the Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) in the Mediterranean. You will not find a more modern ship with more amenities than Allure; however, I can honestly say I enjoyed the Nieuw Amsterdam more. If it takes rock climbing walls, Johnny Rockets, zip lines, vintage cars in the Mall of America-esque promenade to entertain you then this isn't the ship for you. The mid-sized ship experience allows you to feel like you're part of a family. There are numerous activities that likely fit into one of your interests. We thoroughly enjoyed, for instance, the three wine tasting events; however, when one goes on a cruise sometimes it's the downtime that we seek. For an Alaskan cruise, simply looking out the window is the entertainment you desired. Fit a cocktail hour (or three) into your day; find a seat by a window and enjoy a little piece of heaven. Dinner time was a highlight of each day. As the father of two elementary aged children I don't have the luxury of becoming a high end restaurant critic so I can honestly say the food was better than 95% of most meals I eat. It wasn't the food that made the experience memorable, it was the service. Our waitstaff felt like part of our family by the end of the week. They did not only provide excellent service but took a genuine interest in our kids in particular but all three generations of our family in attendance. Find a set dinner time that works for you and go to the same table every night. You will not regret it. We clearly live in a age of one-upping and how to out-flash the competition. While Royal Caribbean does an excellent job of staying on top in that regard, Holland America quietly pays attention to what people truly want in a cruise. When people think about taking a cruise they don't immediately hope it has an ice show or Johnny Rockets. They want tasteful elegance and comfort that focusses their attention outward which is really why they came on the cruise in the first place. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We really enjoyed a glass of wine when the weather permitted watching the incredible scenery go by. The room was quiet and central, docking twice while we were still in bed and had not realized we were in port until we opened the curtains. Cleaned twice a day by the hard working crew. The water pressure in the shower was great with hot water immediately. Elemis products were of good quality, beds and pillows comfortable. Plenty of hangers in the closet. We had two meals in Tamarind, excellent, all but the desserts that we didn't finish. The cocktails in the Silk Lounge are interesting and very good with the bonus of a lovely view and quiet escape before dining in Tamarind. Pinnacle dining room for lunch at $10 a good value, try the Crab Cakes and the Sable Fish sandwich. Pinnacle for dinner is good but we think Tamarind a more interesting menu for the price if you are just choosing one. Canaletto was good too, however, the atmosphere isn't the same as the other two specialty restaurants but at only an additional $10 well worth it. We were quite surprised that none of the specialty restaurants were near to capacity on the four occasions we dined in them. Did happy hour from 4-5 in the Crow's nest a couple of days and the best time to have a drink as only $1 more for a second cocktail or beverage. Enjoyed the coffee bar in the Explorers lounge too as hubby a bit of a coffee snob. We carried on 6 bottles of wine. Two corkage free as they were consumed in our stateroom. The other 4 bottles incurred a corkage fee of $18 each. We saw this as an opportunity to enjoy quality wine we had been cellaring for many years with a chef prepared meal. It was easily done as the four bottles were stickered and corkage charged to our room as we embarked in Vancouver. We had a cloth wine bag that we transported the wine in to and from restaurants. We had open dining in the MDR. We made reservations usually the day before for 8:00. We never waited for more than 5-10 minutes before getting a table. Service and food there was good too. The ship is tasteful with plenty of art to discover. The ship was sold out but the only time it felt crowded was in the Lido, the rest of the time it was hard to believe it was at full capacity. If you are sailing out of Vancouver on the Nieuw Amsterdam and are interested in bringing on some of your own wine there is a BC Government Liquor store within four blocks of the ship. One of us shopped as the other sat with the luggage at the Pan Pacific Hotel. We arrived at 12:30 to embark in Vancouver and were aboard by 1:30. We understand that this was not everyone's experience so we would suggest allowing yourself ample time. Disembarkation for us was 15 minutes, long lines but it went smoothly for us. We had 3.5 days of rain and 3.5 of better and some excellent weather. The scenery on sunny days blew us away, spectacular. Absolutely recommend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I can't compare HAL to any other line as it's the only one I've cruised on. However, my Mother was on almost every line available in the US and Europe. After she tried HAL she stayed with them and became a 4 star mariner ... Read More
I can't compare HAL to any other line as it's the only one I've cruised on. However, my Mother was on almost every line available in the US and Europe. After she tried HAL she stayed with them and became a 4 star mariner until her passing. She introduced me to HAL in 2010 and I was hooked. Since then, I've introduced cruising to my 3 grown daughters. This was my 6th cruise and my daughters 2nd with HAL. If you're looking for glitz/glamor, brass and glass, rock climbing or water slides, this is not the line for you. But if you want elegance, fine dining, and total pampering then Holland America is a must try. My middle daughter JN and I just got back from the Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam (April 3-10th). We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and have not one complaint. Our embarkation was without issue and our cabin was clean and ready. We found the ship's staff extremely welcoming and helpful. We ate at the MDR, Lido, Pinnacle, Drive In, NY Pizza and Tamarind. All meals were exceptional. The only disappointment was room service for breakfast on disembarkation day. Our order was incomplete. Totally understandable as the staff is under pressure to prepare for the new passengers boarding. My daughter took advantage of the gym several times. She has a gym membership at home and was pleased with the amount of and condition of the equipment aboard a ship. We went to the casino, she found a quiet spot she liked (Silk Den), she went to the BB King show and had a great experience. My entertainment/destination is the balcony with a glass of wine and my feet up. For me, it doesn't get any better than that. We both absolutely love Half Moon Cay. Clean, everything accessible and the beach was our favorite. The lunch BBQ was very good. My youngest daughter is considering renewing her vows on Half Moon Cay's chapel in 2017. We checked out the chapel and it was ideal. Getting the clam shell on Half Moon was worth every penny and I'll rent one again next cruise. We booked an excursion to Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. I was disappointed in the beach but, I'm spoiled by Half Moon. I found the beach to be very narrow and uneven. Hard to walk. The water there was clean and clear but you really need swim shoes due to the coral and rocks. In summary, I enjoyed the cruise and the Nieuw Amsterdam was all that I expected and more. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was my first cruise and it was a great experience. Being claustrophobic, I was unsure of my reaction to being out on the water and not able to see land. But, there is so much activity on the ship to distract you from those thoughts. ... Read More
This was my first cruise and it was a great experience. Being claustrophobic, I was unsure of my reaction to being out on the water and not able to see land. But, there is so much activity on the ship to distract you from those thoughts. The ship was very clean and well kept. The food was excellent!!! You could eat at anytime on the ship. I enjoyed dinner in the dinning room and sitting with new people. The staff was friendly and very attentive. I loved our cruise director Hammish. He was quite charming. Most of the guests on the ship were over 50. This was a plus for me. I enjoyed time with the other passengers. The bed in our room was extremely comfortable. I slept very well during the cruise. I attended the Marque show performed by the staff in the Sea Room. It was very good. I was impressed! I also watched a comedian perform. He was not very good. The band in the BB King Blues Bar was excellent. I thought the Trivia and DJ efforts by Eric (I believe he was the ship activity person) was lacking. He did not have much of a personality. Half Moon Cay was our first port. The beach was beautiful and relaxing. It was a wonderful first stop of my vacation. On Cayman Island I visited Cayman Spirits Co. as part of the A Taste of Cayman excursion. We enjoyed the generous pours of favored Rum at the Cayman Spirits Co. Good thing we had a designated bus driver! On Cozumel we did the Spectacular Snorkel & Chankanaab National Park excursion. The Tripping Cool company ran this tour and guide was phenomenal. I would definitely recommend Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is our third cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam and our 7th on Holland America. We got a balcony spa stateroom on Deck 10, which is our favorite location. We decided not to go to the formal nights, as we wanted total relaxation and that ... Read More
This is our third cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam and our 7th on Holland America. We got a balcony spa stateroom on Deck 10, which is our favorite location. We decided not to go to the formal nights, as we wanted total relaxation and that is what we got! We always order room service for breakfast and it was served hot and on time. The buffet was great! A good selection of food. We had been on a Princess cruise that served leftovers from the dining room, and it was not appealing. The "On Tour" entertainment show was fine, and we watched the NCAA playoffs on our room TV. We also played some movies in our room. The pool was inviting and high tea was enjoyable, as always. We attended the champagne luncheon for past guests and got our collectible tiles. The stop in Cosumel was a blast. We ended up eating a Mexican lunch at Frogs, where they had a conga line, balloon animals, and many celebrating cruisers. We stopped at a jewelry store, and bought a beautiful cherry opal ring for our 25th anniversary (in October.) My husband has trouble walking, so we took the bicycle taxi back from the pier. The price was "for tips," so we gave the driver $5.00. There were plenty of souvenirs in the many shops. We signed up for a future cruise on the new Koningsdam in January. All in all, a wonderful week! Only thing we wish was faster was disembarkation, but that isn't HA's fault. Also, a notice said that a mini-massage was going to be given on deck, but the spa attendant there said she was alone and couldn't give it. She stood in front of a table of beauty products and then left. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
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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