34 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

We chose this sailing and ship because of good reviews. Big mistake. We also paid more for Club Orange and the Signature Suite. These are both a waste of your hard earned money, no priority or extra services as promised. Once boarded, ... Read More
We chose this sailing and ship because of good reviews. Big mistake. We also paid more for Club Orange and the Signature Suite. These are both a waste of your hard earned money, no priority or extra services as promised. Once boarded, we were informed the ship was sailing with only one engine/propeller, and this caused a change in the itinerary because the ship would be moving slow. Holland America was aware of this weeks prior however there was no communication to the guests. The Islands and excursions were why we chose this sailing. Big disappointment. While there was many issues beyond the control of the crew, i.e.- earthquake in Puerto Rico- no electricity/constant rain in Turks\nothing to do in St Croix due to short visit/no stop in Halfmoon Cay due to high seas and a medical evacuation ..there were many hospitality issues. Crew was ESL and needed more English classes. Overall cleanliness in Lido Buffet and comman areas- sticky tables/dishes trash, empty Lysol wipes in gym, .. the crew on the last day became overly friendly that my granddaughter asked why are they suddenly so nice? Can you say gratis? Also the Captain asked that no one go to the guest service desk as there was nothing they could do. The line was long and guests were constantly complaining. I was told "no" by several of the crew, even asking for soft bread at dinner was a no? No special orders, no remembering our names, no extra towels and a general feeling of inconveniencing the crew for anything. We traveled with our teen granddaughter, lacking teen activities, mostly a senior cruise. I work in hospitality and know what great service is and is expected. As you can read, I was not satisfied or feel this cruise was worth the money or the time. Reconsider if you have booked. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We choose this cruise because it was going to Turks and Caicos one of favorite stops! Also a sponsored cruise by our community so many neighbors on board! We did do Rudi's Sel De Mer and for the extra charge this is well worth it! We ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was going to Turks and Caicos one of favorite stops! Also a sponsored cruise by our community so many neighbors on board! We did do Rudi's Sel De Mer and for the extra charge this is well worth it! We also did another night at the Pinnacle Grill along with the Canaletto Italian fare included by VacationsToGo. I do need to say we enjoyed the Canaletto the best maybe because we are partial to the food! My wife had the Veal Scallopini and I the Lobster Ravioli. The Langoustine-Tomato Soup is the best we ever had! Entertainment: The dance crew were excellent and we really enjoyed (the comedy) Mike the ventriloquist with Terrance his Figure! Terrance kept picking on this loser in the first row who didn't understand the humor as Terrance kept saying "What A Loser"! In Gran Turk we did the Grand Turk Exclusive Supreme Snorkeling Tour almost 4 hrs. Snorkeled the wall first and then some shallow reefs. Tasting the fresh conch was excellent and conch salad even better! The Stingray back massage was a kodak moment to be captured and remembered! Thank you Capt Gary and First Mate Marshall for a trip to be remembered! These guys need a big tip also! Nieuw Amsterdam azipod thruster malfunction forced a change in Itinerary from stopping at Saint Martin and sailing to St Croux instead! This was a welcome change and we had the best weather day at this stop! Don't miss a small bar on the nearby beach run by Shelly and Big Sexy what a hoot that was! Best drinks better than the ship and best jerk chicken! Stop in Old San Juan just after first earthquake not so great with most stores closed due to power outage! We did not make the Half Moon Kay private island stop due to high winds and poor weather! Best Martini's on the ship are made my Michael in the Pinnacle Bar midships! Give Michael a big TIP!!! Just one note on our room we had Cabin #8147 STBD side just under the Lido Deck Sea View Pool area. You will be awoken by the movement of chairs and tables every morning between 6 and 6:30 am. Noise also goes to 11pm at night depending on the weather. Do not recommend staying on deck 8 aft unless you are a heavy sleeper! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise to see what Holland America has to offer versus other cruise lines. Long story short, we will never sail with HAL again. We are a retired couple in our late 60's, We had heard that HAL was for the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see what Holland America has to offer versus other cruise lines. Long story short, we will never sail with HAL again. We are a retired couple in our late 60's, We had heard that HAL was for the "older" crowd and we figured we would fit right in. If you want to spend your cruise knitting or gazing at the ocean, it is a nice, clean ship. If you are looking for some music, some activity and a younger-at-heart crowd, this boat is not for you. Embarkation was quick. Our balcony cabin was a good size with lots of storage space. The bathroom was an adequate size and included a bath tub. The room was attended to twice daily and kept immaculate. The buffet restaurant was crowded and sometimes difficult to find a seat. The buffet items are not labeled so we didn't know what a lot of items were and when we asked, the servers would point to a sign showing what was on the menu for the day. That didn't help a bit. The buffet had wo sides and often there were different items on each side. Many times one side would be closed while the other was open so it was a guess to figure out which side to walk to. The food was just okay but often there were meals that had nothing appealing to us. Pizza on the pool deck was not bad but not great either. I guess we were comparing to other ships we had eaten pizza on (i.e.RCI, Norwegian) Ice cream was served daily and mostly chocolate, vanilla and strawberry with the soft serve machine being empty every time I wanted some. Entertainment: TERRIBLE! Some nights there was NOTHING in the form of entertainment. We saw a comedian that was anything but funny. The illusionist was pretty good but the show was too short for him to perform anything spectacular. The one show they had was a contemporary dance group. The dancers and special effects were good but again, nothing spectacular. BB King Lounge was crowded at night with a Blues group that played the same music and a dance floor that not many danced on. The band had zero personality...very boring. During the day the activities consisted of things such as "losing ten pounds" (like I am interested in my diet on a cruise), how to whiten your teeth, how to cook (in their "test kitchen") and Microsoft classes. We opted for the Microsoft classes which were actually quite informative but not what I had planned to do on a cruise. I felt like I was on a senior citizen cruise with the average age about 70. Think twice about choosing HAL if you are at all active and looking for some fun. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find ... Read More
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find enough to keep them entertained in casino & on New Years Eve. The ship was clean and nicely furnished but nothing that really awed me. Food was average, but like most lines, the food has gone down in quality since catering to pay for dining rooms. Room service was good. Service was very good & staff was friendly. I found it more difficult to get port information as I could not make their info session on stage. Most ships I have been on have a TV channel devoted to ports of call, but i couldn't locate one on this ship. In room movie selection was very good. We loved the piano bar & it's proximity to the casino. I did find the atmosphere on the ship relaxing. I have been on 5 other HAL cruises & think they are a good value but not a lot of bells & whistles, especially on the pool decks like many of the other lines. I like the size of their ships. Boarding was easy, but Ft. Lauderdale port is rather chaotic, especially with 7 other ships there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
When we were looking to book a cruise, the review of between 4 and 4.5 attracted our attention, we also liked the displayed itinerary Holland American listed. We had a well maintained and spacious suite, access to the Neptune lounge was ... Read More
When we were looking to book a cruise, the review of between 4 and 4.5 attracted our attention, we also liked the displayed itinerary Holland American listed. We had a well maintained and spacious suite, access to the Neptune lounge was convenience, the fitness center though small but well kept with decent equipment. I just didn't like the limit selection and quality of their seafood (baby shrimp and tiny scallops). Some parts of the entertainment are good (BB King, comedy, 1000 step and other dancing shows), the timing were often conflicted with dinner time. The support staff comprised mainly of Filipino and Thai, while majority are great and so pleasant to converse with, we encountered a couple that were rude and condescending. We were unable to go to the last port at Half Moon Cay due to high waves, we agree that safety is important but feel that the company should at least try to compensate their clients for that portion. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop ... Read More
Good price,good timing for a getaway,previous good experiences with Holland America. Food and service is always good. BB Kings blues band plays in a lounge most nights 8 pc band always exceptional not just blues but 60’s Motown,and pop .Next to the casino is billboard 2 pianos and vocalists playing requests, old hits , some sing along.Casino is friendly not bad for a cruise ship. Lincoln Center on stage is the place for classical music. Cello violin and such.The main stage has a different act every night, although this is where HAL needs the most improvement The ships singers and dancers and show just ok. Acts such as comedian and or magician not very good. Four ports of call not bad for a seven day cruise. On this particular cruise we were unable to tender to their private island because of rough seas, but we have been there before it’s a great beach day with free bbq. Private beach set up really nice. They also have beach houses for rent which I never thought would be worth it for a half day outing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Positives: Service was excellent!! We arrived on the ship at 2pm, no lines and very smooth check in process. My husband and I loved our cabin, and our steward was exceptional. BB King's show was fabulous. The band and singers were ... Read More
Positives: Service was excellent!! We arrived on the ship at 2pm, no lines and very smooth check in process. My husband and I loved our cabin, and our steward was exceptional. BB King's show was fabulous. The band and singers were great. Danced to great Soul and Jazz numbers each night. Comedy show had us laughing out loud. Very, very funny! Plyed to the age group in the audience. This was an "Oprah Cruise". It was fun meeting the author of the latest book club entry, "An American Marriage". (Good book!) Negatives: Through no fault of the Captain's, we were unable to port in Amber Cove due to rough seas. We did have a nice day at sea though. The Billboard Bar is situated right next to the casino, we found it distracting as we listened to the piano players (who were very, very good). Food at the buffet was fine, nothing special. We ate in the dining room each night, this is where some improvement is needed in our opinion. Pasta choices were bland - steak was tough and left a lot to be desired. Other dishes were just so-so. Disembarking: We had a flight at 10:30am out of FLL - we were a little worried as they do not suggest you book a flight before 11:00am. We asked for "expedited" disembarking. Carried off our own luggage (kept in our room the night before), were off the ship by 7:45 grabbed a taxi (many waiting as we were one of the first off), 15 min ride to the airport. Fare was $17,00. We arrived at our gate at 8;30- 90 minutes before our flight began boarding at 10am. Plenty of time for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Because it fit in with a followup to our WONDERFUL ROYAL CARIBBEAN HARMONY OF THE SEAS the prior week! --1st big thing is 900 gospel singers on the ship that they couldn't totally fill leaving people like us as LEFTOVERS. They got ... Read More
Because it fit in with a followup to our WONDERFUL ROYAL CARIBBEAN HARMONY OF THE SEAS the prior week! --1st big thing is 900 gospel singers on the ship that they couldn't totally fill leaving people like us as LEFTOVERS. They got early entertainment, ours was 9:00 p.m. We were not told this was the scenario when we booked directly with them. I asked the front desk on the 1st day WHY we were not told! NO ANSWER! --Ship stores closed for renovation & improvements. Even when they reopened they were not much to look at. --Ports were 3 beach type ports: Coco Cay, Labadee, Amber Cove (closed that day due to waves) and Cozumel. Coco Cay was fabulous! Cozumel mediocre. Labadee, been before, but okay for a beach day. Really wanted to see the new Amber Cove development, but no go. --Food was poor in dining room compared to Harmony. One day there was nothing on the main menu we would eat so opted for a 3rd day of salmon. The best thing there was our table partners whom we had just met. --Lunch and Breakfast Buffet upstairs okay, but not the best and many repeat items. Service for meals mostly good. --Ship full of old people. I am old too, but not decrepit. Not a young person's cruise. --Entertainment couldn't touch Royal Caribbean performances. Offers after dinner were cheesy games in the lounges, guy and girl singer that couldn't sing the greatest, a nature movie, dancing on the stage, a gal that impersonated other singers was not bad, but did it 2 nights, dance routine we skipped. Just wasn't worth it. Been on 20+cruises mostly with Royal Caribbean and this one line will never be on my list again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Nieuw Amsterdam – 10 Days December 20, 2017 We boarded Nieuw Amsterdam fresh out of dry dock. A comfortable size ship of about 2,000 passengers, just about right for our needs. I've never cared for the monster ships ... Read More
Nieuw Amsterdam – 10 Days December 20, 2017 We boarded Nieuw Amsterdam fresh out of dry dock. A comfortable size ship of about 2,000 passengers, just about right for our needs. I've never cared for the monster ships accommodating 5,000 passenger that have become the norm of late. This was a 17-day cruise, with multiple length cruises all rolled into 17 days. Some disembarked after 3 days, ours was a 10 day, and after the initial 3 days many people boarded for 7 days, while some stayed for the full 17 days. Boarding was fairly smooth, and we were in our stateroom about 30 minutes after arrival at the pier. The stateroom was comfortable and well laid out, making efficient use of all available space. The staff were, as is usual on Holland America, (and most other cruise lines), courteous, friendly and ever helpful. Every request was met with cheerful compliance. We ate most of our dinners in the main dining room. The food selection and quality was very good and the waiters, like everyone else on board, were eager to ensure that the we had just about everything we asked for. However, the designers of this public space need a little help in their chosen profession. This is the first cruise ship dining room where it was impossible to carry on a normal conversation with anyone at the same table. One had to literally shout to be heard by the person sitting beside you. Ambiance rating; "0". The food and service in the buffet restaurant were more than satisfactory, and something a little different, we were served at each food station. There was very little self-service. We tried the hot dogs and hamburgs served outside on deck 9. The only thing I really cared for were the fries. They were served hot and crisp. The hot dogs and hamburgs served to me, (despite being advertised as made to order), were barely warm with a cold slice of cheese on my cheeseburger. Even MacDonald’s manages to serve their fast food hot. The entertainment in the main theater was a mixed bag, some excellent, some good, and the Holland America singers and dancers seemed unable to connect with their audience much of the time. The starting times for these shows were inconsistent, sometimes beginning at 8:00 P.M. and sometimes at 9:00 or 9:30 P.M. SOME NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT: The first 4 days aboard, our toilet malfunctioned about half the time. Finally, after leaving a lengthy note with Guest Relations, describing the symptoms, the third attempt at repairs was successful. I usually monitor my on-board account, and it’s a good thing or we would have paid over $100. more than we owed. To give just one example, at the same time we were having lunch aboard Nieuw Amsterdam, we were simultaneously consuming three beers on Half Moon Cay. Just a word to the wise; Monitor your on-board charges or you may be making a donation to your favorite cruise line. In fairness to Nieuw Amsterdam, Guest Relations did send us a nice bottle of wine to help ease the troubles of having to visit them multiple times to resolve our toilet and accounting issues. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was our first cruise with Holland America. We had cabin 5089, our first time with a balcony. The cabin was nice, lots of storage and plenty of room to hang clothes. We were located midship, so it was very convenient getting around. ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Holland America. We had cabin 5089, our first time with a balcony. The cabin was nice, lots of storage and plenty of room to hang clothes. We were located midship, so it was very convenient getting around. The ship was done in mostly earth tones, nothing garish. We liked the size of the ship, very easy to manage, and no huge crowds. We arrived at the port at about 1:30, and we just walked in, no lines! Definitely happy we arrived a bit later and saved us from long lines. Parking was a bit of a walk to the ship. We were unfamiliar with Port Everglades, but in the future will do more research on parking. When we reached the ship, we saw a parking garage right by the ship. I don't know why the parking booth person didn't tell us about it, sending us instead to a lot with a big walk to the ship. We had requested 2nd seating at dinner and a table for 2, and we were given our choices. There were quite a few two-top tables in the dining room. Our table was on the upper level dining room. We were a little disappointed with the food. My husband's strip steak was well done instead of the medium he requested. My rib roast was medium rare instead of the rare I requested. Portions were a bit small. The soups were delicious! Appetizers were delicious, though small. I am gluten-free, and my waiter made sure my selections were agreeable. Entertainment was ok, nothing special. I enjoyed the husband and wife team who did a show on Beatles music. They knew every song the Beatles recorded. The comedian on another night was great, laughed so hard at his jokes. The other two nights were not our taste. We left one show with singers and dancers from the ship. The last night we just went to our cabin to pack. I really enjoyed America's Test Kitchen. I've been a fan of the program, and they didn't disappoint on the ship. Interesting presentations. We didn't take any shore excursions, having been to Nassau a few times already. We don't drink, so we didn't go to any of the bars. My husband enjoyed a pizza for lunch one day. The gluten-free selections in the Lido buffet were ok. I enjoyed having afternoon tea, and although I couldn't enjoy most of the offerings, the waiters made sure I had a couple of gluten-free selections. Service was okay, nothing outstanding. We've had better food and service on other cruise lines. Since we drove to the port, we waited for a later disembark time. There was a lot of confusion in trying to leave the parking lot. A booth had a green light, but no attendant. We and another passenger called the posted phone number, and were told a person would be there in five minutes. It took about 15--20 minutes. On the whole, we enjoyed the cruise, it was not rowdy and it was relaxing. We would not take Holland America again, as we thought Holland America didn't "wow" us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We were on the Oosterdam March 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise so we chose Holland America again. We had all of our meals at the Lido Buffet and the food was repetitious and sometimes limited selections i.e. one evening the ... Read More
We were on the Oosterdam March 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise so we chose Holland America again. We had all of our meals at the Lido Buffet and the food was repetitious and sometimes limited selections i.e. one evening the vegetables were pureed parsnips or Brussel sprouts. More often or not the baked potatoes were very dry as though they were leftovers from the previous night with different a topping added. The beautiful floral arrangements and the live orchids that were on the Oosterdam (which we enjoyed and appreciated very much) were absent on the Nieuw Amsterdam. There were orchids on the tables but a third of them were wilted and sparse of blooms. The ceiling of the Lido buffet leaked causing the staff to mop and vacuum and place caution wet floor sighs around. There were posted pool rules, no infants in diapers, no jumping or diving from the sides of the pools but these were not enforced, besides the children jumping in there was also an adult mother and there was an infant clearly in diapers in the pool several times. The handrails were extremely worn in some areas. The staff did their best to keep things looking as well as they could. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We always take a holiday cruise and this fit our schedule. This is our 6th cruise on Holland America and our 25th overall. Nobody beats them for Pizza and Hamburgers and HotDogs on the Lido deck. Fresh and made to order. The BB King All ... Read More
We always take a holiday cruise and this fit our schedule. This is our 6th cruise on Holland America and our 25th overall. Nobody beats them for Pizza and Hamburgers and HotDogs on the Lido deck. Fresh and made to order. The BB King All Stars make the trip worthwhile even if you saw nothing else. The Production show, however, leaves a lot to be desired and they could certainly use some enrichment lectures during the day, or some other activities. We were pleased with both embarkation and debarkation. Fast, efficient and the cabins were ready when we got aboard rather than waiting on the Lido deck as we have done with other cruise lines. Since this was a Christmas cruise, I thought there could have been more emphasis on the season, such as a production show with a Christmas theme. Instead they gave us 2 viewings of White Christmas, which has to be at least 50 years old. Never the less, the cruise was enjoyable and of good value. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I like Holland more now that I am older. We have cruised over 40 times and this is our 4th Holland cruise. The quieter, more refined atmosphere is a pleasure now. The decorations, fresh flowers, and classical music was a nice alternative ... Read More
I like Holland more now that I am older. We have cruised over 40 times and this is our 4th Holland cruise. The quieter, more refined atmosphere is a pleasure now. The decorations, fresh flowers, and classical music was a nice alternative to some other lines. I wish the Carnival Family of Cruise lines would give credit for overall cruises the way that Royal Caribbean and Celebrity does, We have cruised extensively on Carnival as well as Costa, Holland, and Princess but we get more perks on RC and Celebrity. MSC even matches you highest level from any other cruise line! These perks do make a difference to the passenger and costs the cruise lines very little. The staff was the most impressive asset. They have always been excellent. I do miss their countries on their name tags. My biggest disappointment was in the cost of excursions as well as the limited number of easy excursions for those who are older and physically challenged. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The cruise was reasonably priced and we wanted to get away to some warm weather. Overall the cruise was excellent, staff were very polite and accommodating, food was superb, ports of call were mostly those we had previously visited. ... Read More
The cruise was reasonably priced and we wanted to get away to some warm weather. Overall the cruise was excellent, staff were very polite and accommodating, food was superb, ports of call were mostly those we had previously visited. Overall we found the entertainment to be average. We were delayed getting to San Juan as we had a medical emergency on board at Turks and Caicos. When we booked the trip, Tortola was a port of call; but for some unexplained reason this port of call was cancelled. This was a back to back cruise out of Port Everglades. We cannot understand why a cruise line would go down to the Caribbean for a week and then turn around back to Port Everglades and go right back down. We knew this at the time of the booking so our comments are more of an observation rather than a criticism. This was our third cruise with Holland America, the others were five weeks to the South Pacific and one week to Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
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
Three friends from childhood who graduated high school together in 1971 decided to take a girlfriend getaway on the beautiful Nieuw Amsterdam. I, a seasoned cruiser of 25--Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, Oceania, and ... Read More
Three friends from childhood who graduated high school together in 1971 decided to take a girlfriend getaway on the beautiful Nieuw Amsterdam. I, a seasoned cruiser of 25--Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, Oceania, and Cunard--will tell the tale as I have something to compare it with. Stayed at the Comfort Suites near the port and enjoyed the transportation both from the airport and to Port Everglades. We arrived quite early to the port and walked right up to check-in. Of course, it meant sitting in the terminal for a couple of hours, but that was kind of fun as we watched hundreds of passengers standing in the line and getting checked in. Excitement for all! Overall impression of the ship: Just the right size, spotlessly clean, elegant understated décor. We were in a triple occupancy balcony cabin and once we found a spot for all our "stuff" (which was kind of a daunting task), we didn't feel crowded at all. Plenty of drawer space and closets. and don't forget HA provides drawers under the bed, too. Loved the bathroom with a tub, which made showering much more enjoyable than the typical tiny cruise ship showers. We dined most nights in the main dining room, and one night at Canaletto (Italian) and one night at the Pinnacle Grill. Well worth the upcharge! Service was slow in the dining room and perfect at the Pinnacle. Entertainment: up and down. We LOVED the B.B.King All Stars group, but did not care for the piano bar guy or the band in the atrium. We especially loved the "Dancing with the Stars" events. We enjoyed each port and booked some excursion in some. Grand Turk we went to Margaritaville (fun), they have a giant swimming pool, beach, and even a flowrider! Loved the way the beach is right next to the ship...no need to book an excursion at this port. San Juan we did the hike thru the rain forest, and believe me when I say, it was RAINING! Come prepared, or buy an overpriced poncho! Also, it is pretty strenuous climbing and hiking, especially over wet rocks. Still, very interesting. At St. Thomas, we went on the Kon Tiki, which is basically a party boat with rum punch flowing like water, and dancing the limbo. They did take us to a beach for an hour or so. The other two did the horseback riding excursion at Half Moon Cay, and felt it was a money making opportunity for the photographer, with little time actually riding the horses. Overall, I would recommend this ship to anyone who is looking for a relaxing time with some fun thrown in here and there. Not for you, if you want rock climbing walls, water slides, etc and a lot of activities for young kids. 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
Had a good cruise but not as good and the old ship built in1937. Nobody showed up for the Cruise Critic on the Monday as planned except another couple and my self. Where was everybody? Cabin was fine and food good. Met some nice people ... Read More
Had a good cruise but not as good and the old ship built in1937. Nobody showed up for the Cruise Critic on the Monday as planned except another couple and my self. Where was everybody? Cabin was fine and food good. Met some nice people too. Traveling alone. Only one good show at night on board. I was on the Eastern cruise. Some did a back to back. Dining room service was very poor.They were very slow in getting our dinner to us. I drove down from Cape Canaveral. Got on the ship a good time.Did my own parking at Embassy Suites and got the shuttle to the ship. Dining was fair as there but there a long wait for dinner. The day we left the ship I had the shuttle back to my car. Ship was clean all the time . I was a bit disappointed with Holland America compared to other ships I have sailed on. I thought I had a better cruise ship when I sailed on Princess. I am a single senior and have been on many cruises of different lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was the best cruise we've ever taken. Compared to Carnival and Roysl Caribbean, Holland America is a grown-up cruise line. Everything is understated and beautiful. The Nieuw Amsterdam was the smallest ship we had ever been on, ... Read More
This was the best cruise we've ever taken. Compared to Carnival and Roysl Caribbean, Holland America is a grown-up cruise line. Everything is understated and beautiful. The Nieuw Amsterdam was the smallest ship we had ever been on, but our stateroom was much larger than any other we had ever had before. The "oceanview" however, wasn't. We had the view of a lifeboat. Period. That was the fault of vacationstogo.com, however, so I don't fault HAL. The bathroom was large and had a bathtub! Great room stewards, I swear they cleaned our room every time we left :) The entertainment on the ship was the main reason we'll be back again and again. Although there was little to do during the day, at night there was a violin and piano classical duet that played each evening that were very good, very relaxing. Almost every evening there was a show in the showroom - the first week a comedian had two shows and he was hilarious. The musical shows were probably the best we'd ever seen on any cruise ships, too. In addition, HAL has a Dancing With the Stars program where the passengers get to compete for the actual show - they were very entertaining and we enjoyed it a lot. But the best part for us was the BB King Blues Club - there were two or three shows almost every night, and I think we were there for almost every show. We didn't do any excursions during this cruise, preferring to just relax. We did get off at several ports and walk around and shop. San Juan was the best port for us, as we jumped on a mini tour and saw the old and new town as well as one of the forts without having to walk much. Key West was fun as usual, and we stopped in for a beer and a sloppy Joe sandwich at Sloppy Joe's. The food was excellent both in the Lido and the Manhattan Dining Room. We enjoyed the teas every afternoon at 3:00 in the MDR. We were pleasantly surprised by the 24-hour room service which included a full breakfast every morning, something we haven't been offered before. And the chocolate cake on the room service was to die for! I had it every night :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of ... Read More
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of turbulence made the flight uncomfortable, we made it to Miami. As the ESTA system was supposed to make life easier for tourists I don’t know what went wrong there but it took us over two hours to get through immigration. If we ever go on a Caribbean cruise again it will not be through the USA. We spent one night in the Sonesta hotel in Fort Lauderdale then boarded our ship. There was some problem at the boarding stage so it took over two hours to get through the system. We were in an inside cabin 7105 and it was quite comfortable. The air conditioning worked reasonably well but was slow to react when changing the dial, the bed was comfortable and the shower was very good. There was only one chair so being in the cabin wasn’t that comfortable. The first week we sailed the Eastern Caribbean to Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St Thomas and we were supposed to stop at Half Moon Cay but the weather dictated we didn’t so we had an extra day at sea. It was cold in the evening on that part of the cruise and seemed to rain every night. The second week we sailed to Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West. The weather was warmer for this week. We paid $45 each for a trip on Grand Turk and it was money wasted. There is very little to see there. On Tuesday January 27th we booked a trip for the following day on Puerto Rico at a cost of over $100 for two. I became ill the following morning so couldn’t go on the trip and my wife didn’t want to leave me. I spent two days in my cabin, missing Puerto Rico and St Thomas, and when my wife went to see the Shore Excursions team they said that we would have to cancel the excursion on the Monday, the day before we booked it, to get a refund. That made me mad. They have no idea of customer service so that makes me think I shall never use them again. We did several other trips with the ship and in the main they were ok, especially the one in Cozumel where we went to see the ruins at San Gervasio. However, on Key West we took an elongated trolley trip but there is very little to see outside of the main town. I had been led to believe that the USA was cheap but Key West is certainly not. The food on the ship was quite good with breakfast and lunch in the Lido being very good. However in the evening there was little on offer and I can only assume the management are of the opinion most people would eat in the main restaurants, which is not the case. We only eat in the main restaurant twice during our cruise. The first time it took two and a half hours and although the second time it only took an hour, we had a table for two, the restaurant was freezing so we were glad to get out of there. The entertainment was pretty good with the star of the cruise being a Steel Band from Trinidad called Island Magic. The BB King Blues Band are very good. Overall the Nieuw Amsterdam is a cold ship with air conditioning making many of the public rooms feeling inhospitable and on several occasions we had to leave an event because it was just too cold. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We are 3 star Mariners with HAL so have cruised with them many times over the past 15 years and have experienced their smaller ships e.g. Veendam and similar, and now the Noordam several times and this latest cruise on N.A. We are active ... Read More
We are 3 star Mariners with HAL so have cruised with them many times over the past 15 years and have experienced their smaller ships e.g. Veendam and similar, and now the Noordam several times and this latest cruise on N.A. We are active retired seniors and find that HAL offers what seems perfect for us-very good dining opportunities, wine service at varied levels and cost, varied entertainment,caring, efficient and pleasant crew, ships which are not "mega", therefore calmer, and with good traffic flow on board. We prefer the N.A. over the Noordam- food was better and the ship felt much newer. Having said that we would not hesitate to sail on Noordam again depending on itinerary. The ship is elegant yet soothing and is well maintained as evidenced by sightings of cleaners et al. HAL seems to be evolving and we saw evidence of new procedures, I think, mostly aimed at increased efficiency and ceasing of unecessary things like a fresh fruit bowl in the cabins which I think were mostly wasted. There is now a charge to eat in Canaletto and the second drink at happy hour is $1- all to maximize the bottom line while still delivering customer satisfaction, which every business must do. The basic cruise price is VERY reasonable and it's then up to the guest to decide what they wish to spend as extras on board. There are MANY ways to do that and the cruise line is always supremely active at pointing out those opportunities. Embarkation was flawless- we were on board 20 minutes after arriving in the terminal-our cabin was ready to occupy at noon and we were enjoying our first sip of white wine and Mariners' lunch at 15 minutes after 12. Disembarkation was equally efficient as were all of the "On and Off" the ship at the ports of call. Well done HAL. CABIN We were on deck 8 aft right below the aft pool. This had good and not so good consequences. On the first morning we were woken at 5am by the scraping and moving of furniture. After bringing this to the attention of the crew this did not happen again. The positive of this location was the proximity to the Lido to bring food and drinks into our cabin for eating on our verandah as opposed to cruising to and fro in the Lido trying to find a table. At peak times it's very busy. The other positive is being close to the aft elevators which are never busy. The bathroom has been improved-good storage- and had a bath giving much more space for shower use. The king size bed and pillows were very comfortable, the love seat was much used although not very soft. The verandah was 54 s.ft- quite adequate for 2 with an easy chair, dining chair and low stool which became a stool or table. The only 2 drawers were at each bed side and, in fact, inadequate. On all our 20 some cruises the Noordam and .N.A. were the only 2 lacking drawer space. Maybe this can be adressed on future builds. The door to the balcony was one side that opened and a fixed pane. I think sliding doors would work much better and not take up valuable space when opened. Overall the cabin was very comfortable and we did not hear any noise whatsover from adjoining cabins-the soundproofing must be good To avoid the overcrowded Lido, we ordered room service every morning for breakfast which was delivered on time and by a crew member full of smiles. What a great way to start the day. DINING We are quiet people and always request a table for 2 - fixed dining, late seating and have always been accommodated. The MDR is a lovely 2 storey venue and we were lucky enough to get a table for 2 along the area overlooking the lower part. The table layout on both levels is good and you do not get a feeling of being crowded in as we have experience on one of the newer Celebrity ships. Food in the MDR is the best we have had on any of our cruises including any or the other HAL ships. There seems to have been a big improvement in the vegetable choice and quality. Each night we ordered extra veg as they were so good. The menus are varied enough to suit any taste, portions are certainly adequate and we seldom got through every course. The outstanding meals were the lobster tail- the best I have eaten anywhere on the planet, and the rack of lamb,lamb chops and lamb shank were outstanding ! As cheese lovers we enjoyed the cheese plate offered , a selection of 4 cheeses which varied each night. As often as the MDR was open at lunch we ate there and enjoyed the relaxation, good service and food. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill once-bone-in rib-eye--excellent as was the slow, attentive and relaxed service and every course. I would say, worth the extra cost. We did not eat at the Tamarind or Canaletto. One because we found the MDR service and food to be very good and because the Canaletto was just part of the Lido and not really a "specialty" venue. Neither did we try the grill at the pool of the pizza t the aft pool. That kind of food can be had at a local fast food outlet anywhere. BAR SERVICES We found the bar service to be good and particularly a certain steward Walter, in the Ocean Bar which we frequented each evening before dinner and often at happy hour. At busy times the servers were "flying" and doing a good job of providing prompt service. We did not drink at any of the other bars. ENTERTAINMENT-Main Theatre This is a wonderful venue with good sight lines everywhere. Shows were staged at 8 and 10pm each evening. The first night was a showcasing of the entertainers on board and introduction of the Location team- typical of what most cruise lines offer on the first night. Second night- stand up comedian who did improv, jokes and involved the audience. This was good but not outstanding but seemed well-received by most. Third night- a production show called IT TAKES 2- a tribute to the best duets over the decades-good but very loud Fourth night- a quartet of steel drum players called ISLAND MAGIC. I wondered how they would present enough interest for one hour, but they did. They started by explaining the history of the instrument and what the different size drum did in terms of sound. They played everything but "Island" music and superbly, with interesting harmonies and arrangements. A superb and new show for us. Fifth night- a production show called GARAGE BAND- a tribute to the rock music from the 60's. Enjoyable and entertaining but the volume extremely high- just like being at a rock concert- too much for us. Sixth night- no regular show as there was a Mexican Fiesta outdoors at the pool as we were moored in San Juan until 10.30pm. The pool was transformed into a fiesta site and a local Mariachi band and dancers came to entertain. The atmosphere was great, as was the entertainment and the weather balmy and warm- a touch of paradise. Seventh night- what a disappointment after yesterday. The show today was DANCING WITH THE STARS F INALE- where guests danced with an officer or crew member and were rated by a panel of 3. In our opinion this was a poor and cheap way to fill in a night's entertainment. We were apalled that HAL would think this appropriate but I have to say it was better attended than most of the other shows and well-received too. I guess it was just not to our taste. Eigth night- as this was a back-to-back cruise the same introductory show was offered as last week. Ninth night- a production show called NYC- a musical journey around New York City. Again good with very talented and hard-working performers but oh so loud. Tenth night-RECYCLED PERCUSSION- billed as follows:- Les Vegas Headliners and stars of "America's Got Talent" bring their unique, high energy show exclusively to HAL. We were warned ahead of time that this was EXTREMELY loud and we were provided with EAR PLUGS to wear during the show. A group of performers banged, and made all kinds of noises with various metal and other objects. The audience was divided into 4 groups and you had to make noise with objects given to you as you entered. The end result was a cacophany of deafening noises. Even the earplugs were insufficient to bring the sound down to a tolerable level so we left. Most of the audience got into this so the decision to stage this was a reasonable one. Eleventh night- a female singer with a magnificent voice and personality- Tricia Kelly- see her if you can. She was able to sing in many different styles and impersonated Janis Joplin and many others including Louis Armstrong! A great show and great talent. Twelfth night- a stand up comic who had been around on many TV shows.-very good. Thirteenth night- CANTARE- featured 4 of the cast singers- 4 male singers who sang in harmony and in solo performance- superb-great voices. Thirteenth night- a repeat of DANCING WITH THE START AT SEA FINALE- as stated earlier we did not like this at all of think it was appropriate for the main evening show. A matinee slot is where it should be along with The marriage game and it's ilk. Overall the shows were good ,some outstanding, and we realize that HAL is trying to cater to varied tastes so we do not expect to rave about every one. EXPLORERS LOUNGE.- this peaceful venue offered a piano/violin duo each and for several hours each night with some breaks. They were 2 youthful girls from Ukraine with great talent. They deserve to do well. They had a loyal audience each night as I saw the same guests there often. The music was light classical and baroque, pleasant but not too heavy. OCEAN BAR- The Halcats played here each night at some point and were good with a bluesy singer sometimes. The dance floor was enjoyed by many good dancers and the bar stretched right across the width of the ship making for a quieter area away from the band. This is a lovely and relaxing place to enjoy a drink and the "nibblies" and the complimentary hors d'oevres they serve. CROW'S NEST- this is the bar at the front and top of the ship.We tried it once but found the guitarist';s music was far too loud to allow for conversation. B.B.BLUES CLUB- this is a wonderful locale with a great band but too loud that we could not stay or enjoy it. However, many people did so thee you go. PIANO BAR-small bar with piano right in the centre.We did not enjoy Jeremy as much as players on previous cruises and again the volume was just too loud. However, again I must say it was crowded on many evenings depending on the theme which changed each day. NORTHERN LIGHTS- the disco and night club which we did not use. We did not use the spa and casino so cannot comment on those. SERVICE- overall the crew is to be congratulated for their efficiency, dedication and sheer pleasure to be around. This makes a huge difference to a cruise experience and this crew seem to be one of the best. CONCLUSION- This was one of the best cruises we have taken, despite the fact that we had visited all of the ports of call several times. For us, it's about the cruise experience on board if we visit the Caribbean Islands. The outstanding points were the food, crew, and superb organization. HAL offers a great product at a reasonable price. There is a different atmosphere and activity opportunities on a one week cruise as opposed to a longer one, especially a re-positioning one. We missed the interesting lectures and others activities which can be offered on a longer sail. Several days at sea can sometimes be the best part of a cruise vacation. Although we rate this cruise and HAL highly there are a few issues which could be addressed. The major one is the extremely loud volume in the theatre. We brought this to their attention several times but there was no resolution. For the past year they have adopted a different serving procedure in the MDR. There are now RUNNERS who assist the waiter and assistant waiter by bringing the trays of ordered food to the serving stations. At the same time the number of tables that each team serves has increased significantly. We did not notice any degradation of service, although I think the servers probably experience extra stress. The vast area that each wine waiter is expected to service seems far too large. They cannot possibly serve every table at the start of dinner in an immediate fashion. However, they work diligently and with grace. The Lido does not seem to be large enough to accomodate the crowds at peak times and one must wait until 1.45pm(15 minutes before lunch closes) to experience a calm lunch. We assume HAL will keep evolving and are looking forward to many future cruises with them Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I just returned from 7 days aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was a breeze. The Holland America crew really know how to keep a line moving. Our 1st port was Grand Turk. Had a pleasurable visit to Jacks Shack on the ... Read More
I just returned from 7 days aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Embarkation from Ft Lauderdale was a breeze. The Holland America crew really know how to keep a line moving. Our 1st port was Grand Turk. Had a pleasurable visit to Jacks Shack on the beach and enjoyed the local beer and jerk chicken. Next was San Juan, my fav ! Love that island, so many things to see and do. Visited El Jibarito restaurant for their pasteles (seasonal dish) usually Christmas and Mothers Day, along with their awesome mofongo. In port until 11pm which was very nice. On to St Thomas, we were docked in Crown Bay which is nice. Took the tram to Paradise Point for photos and drinks ! Great place ! The next stop was Half Moon Cay, rented a clamshell for the day and soaked up the warm temperature. Holland America has a magnificent BBQ on the beach and the food and drinks were delicious. I cannot say enough good things about the ship and her crew. They work together like a well oiled machine. We lacked for nothing on our voyage. No hassles, The entertainment was a pleasure, the musicians were easy on the ears and a lot of fun. There are many nooks inside the ship where one can go to enjoy quiet moments, I really enjoyed that. The gym was well equipped to work off all that fabulous food they prepared. It was all very fresh and tasty. I did not have a bad meal. The sushi was superb ! With all that said.....I had a wonderful cruise experience and cannot wait to sail on HAL again !!! I give the Nieuw Amsterdam 5 stars !!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Up until this point, we have travelled with our children on the mega ships, which seemed to have been the right choice for us at that time. However, on the occasion of our 30th anniversary we chose to do it a little more low-key and ... Read More
Up until this point, we have travelled with our children on the mega ships, which seemed to have been the right choice for us at that time. However, on the occasion of our 30th anniversary we chose to do it a little more low-key and upscale. We were not disappointed. It is a beautiful ship, elegantly decorated, intimately designed , with smaller gathering rooms;, where you can sit and enjoy a violinist and pianist playing beautiful classic music or a piano bar where everyone is singing along to classic pop hits. Many evenings we would have an evening drink on lido deck, after a fabulous dinner in one of the specialty restaurants. We would definitely take another cruise on the Holland America Niuew Amsterdam. Just a few things that could use improvement. All of the evening shows were pretty awful Except The Improv comediennes who were hilarious and the Cruise ship band. 5 stars for them!. Staff in main dining room seemed stressed and anxious to get us out of the dining room. The opposite was true of the specialty restaurants. Staff promptly knew our likes and catered to us without becoming annoying. Dinners in the main dining rooms were definitely better at the beginning of the cruise and not so much afterward. I would do the specialty restaurant toward the end of the cruise next time. Overall, this is an elegant ship that caters to a more mature crowd. It was a perfect choice for us!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
What a wonderful ship. My husband and I, joined by another couple, completely enjoyed everything about this ship. Being the newest in HAL's line we found it in excellent condition, from the comfortable cabin with balcony, and full ... Read More
What a wonderful ship. My husband and I, joined by another couple, completely enjoyed everything about this ship. Being the newest in HAL's line we found it in excellent condition, from the comfortable cabin with balcony, and full sized tub/shower, to the wonderful dining experiences we had! Service was terrific, crew was friendly and attentive. We had the same dining table through the cruise though we had signed up for As You Wish dining option the maitre'd saved our favorite table (at the very rear of the ship next to the windows) for us each night. The LeCirque dinner at the Pinnacle Grill is well worth the extra $39 charge, as we still talk about this great dinner to date. But we found each and every night that the food was interesting and quite good. We ordered early morning coffee/rolls/fruit room service, then later morning breakfast in the dining room. We found the Lido Buffet so good all the time that some days we skipped the main dining room altogether. We also had a fabulous meal at their Pacific fusion restaurant, Tamarind. We only saw 2 shows in the Showroom but they were fun and entertaining. Our only complaint is that their movie theater is extremely small so at the showing of the newest Bond movie they could not accommodate the crowd, maybe only 40-50 seats. One night they had a showing of "Lincoln", that had just been released, so they ran the movie in the larger Showroom at Sea, and after that night it was shown on your in-cabin tv. Our itinerary was revised as our Captain decided not to land in Grand Turk due to an increase in gastrointestinal cases on all ships that had been stopping there. That was disappointing but overall glad not to come down with that virus! Old San Juan is very historic and interesting, and in St. Maarten we had signed up for the America's Cup regatta, which I was disappointed in as we only sailed around Phillipsburg harbor for about 1 hour. Not worth it to me. Their private island beach is gorgeous and the ship put on a delightful barbecue on the beach. We love HAL and are saving our pennies for hopefully one of their Panama Canal excursions in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We are a retired couple and live in Palm City FL. We are just back from the December 16 2012 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam- our third cruise with HAL. Wanted to share out experiences and thoughts. We started cruising together in 1987. ... Read More
We are a retired couple and live in Palm City FL. We are just back from the December 16 2012 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam- our third cruise with HAL. Wanted to share out experiences and thoughts. We started cruising together in 1987. Ships were smaller then -- there were no ships with balconies -- and there were no alternative restaurants -- only fixed dining. We are originally from Chicago, lived in Naples from 1994 to 2004, moved back to Chicago and then back to Florida in 2009. We have experienced flying to cruise ports, driving to cruise ports and taking the cruise bus to cruise ports. This was our 36th cruise. We love to cruise this time of year and decided to go with HAL because of the itinerary. Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten, and Half Moon Cay. We booked the cruise the end of September and booked an inside guarantee cabin. I saw that the price went down, called HAL and they upgraded us to an HH obstructed guarantee. When we finally got a cabin number we were in a D outside cabin. A few days before the cruise, we got an e-mail offering us a verandah V cabin for $29/person and we took it. We ended up in cabin 8101. This was a great location, starboard side of the vessel between the mid-ships and aft elevators and one deck down from Lido deck. It proved very nice. Prior to this cruise we always took the Cruise Connection bus to the port. They went out of business earlier in the year and then when they re-started the business they didn't stop anywhere south of Fort Pierce-so we had to look for an alternative. We ended up driving to the port and parking in the Park-N-Fly lot close to the port. It was so easy and inexpensive that we will do that from now on. We left our home at 10am and were on the ship and in our stateroom by a little after 12 Noon. The embarkation process was excellent. We met our room steward and then went to the dining room for lunch -- this is a nice perk for Mariner guests-those who have cruised with HAL before. Our lunch also was excellent and a good start to the cruise. We then explored the ship since we were not familiar with this ship -- it was well laid out and easy to navigate. The ship holds 2106 passengers-I don't believe it was sold out completely. The ship is a really nice size and looks like a ship should look -- very traditional. I'll break this down into four parts -- Ship, Food, Ports, and Personal Observations. Ship-beautifully done, very clean, laid out well. There are 11 decks and three sets of elevators and stairs-forward, mid-ships, and aft. We used to climb the stairs -- no longer climb -- use them going down, not up. The elevators were fast, and available-hardly ever had to wait. The mid-ships elevators were interior and also had two elevators running up each side of the ship. There were areas that you could only reach using the forward elevators or the mid-ship elevators. The Crows Nest-which houses the bar, dance floor, observation area and the coffee bar and the library was only accessible from the forward elevators. Tamarind and the Silk Den -the alternative Asian restaurant and lounge -was only accessible from the mid-ship elevators. The Lido was on deck 9 aft and all the other public areas were on decks 1,2,3. There was plenty of outside deck space -- the aft deck and pool is adults only and didn't have a huge amount of shady space -- but a good amount of lounging space and also covered space to sit at tables and chairs and eat outside. The Lido pool area has a dome and that was nice-there were times it was closed and times it was open-we found some very comfortable chairs at that pool area and enjoyed sitting there reading. Hal has decided to put about 6 Cabanas on the starboard side of the Lido deck-curtaining them off-and taking up valuable deck space. There are other Cabanas that are out of the way of the public decks and we thought these to be a waste of space on the Lido deck. The gym was well equipped -- I used it very early morning for my own stretching and yoga before 7 am. Did not use the spa services so I cannot speak to them. FOOD- food is a very subjective topic. We enjoyed the food -- but it wasn't stellar. We could always find something on the menu to order. We used the dining room for all but two meals and enjoyed it. Breakfast was excellent -- quite a variety and everything we tasted was quite good -- try the Belgian Waffles -- they are so good. Service at breakfast was also excellent. It is so much nicer being served in the dining room than having to navigate the Lido just after getting up in the morning -- just my opinion. Lunch was also good -- portions nice and service good. Dinner -the food was good -- at least the choices we made -- I concentrated on fish and also had the rack of lamb-everything I tried was nicely made and tasty. We don't eat a lot of beef so I can't speak to that -- my husband did try the prime rib and wasn't happy with it. The service was extremely slow in the evening -- we had fixed dining at 8pm and a table for two. The location was excellent and we enjoyed that. The dining room staff-waiters and asst. waiters -- were all very friendly and welcoming -- I just think that there were too few of them for dinner and there seemed to be little supervision. The same was true of the lack of supervision in the Lido at lunchtime -- tables weren't being cleared and reset in a timely fashion and coffee, tea and other beverages weren't being refilled quickly. The food selection was good-but we only ate two meals there. We didn't go to any alternative restaurants -- we were going to try Tamarind -- but couldn't get a reservation -- friends did and said the food and service was excellent -- we talked to people who had gone to The Pinnacle and loved it as well as LeCirque. We were able to have room service the last morning on the ship before debarking and that was a real plus-it was delivered on time and was quite good. I would always recommend doing this so you don't have to fight the Lido on the last morning. Makes debarking that much easier. PORTS-The itinerary was Sea Day (Formal night), Grand Turk, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Sea Day(Formal night), and Half Moon Cay. Of course, we enjoyed the days at sea -- we cruise for relaxation, the ship, and the food -- I read three books on this cruise -- so it was definitely relaxing. Grand Turk is mostly a beach day-the Carnival Breeze was in port with us -- we walked into the port, and took a look around -- have been there many times -- so just went back to the ship. There is a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville with a huge pool there as well as some shops and lots of beach area -- the water is beautiful. The beach, when you enter the water, tends to be a lot of large rocks, good to wear water shoes there. We were there from 8am to 2:30pm and left at 3pm. San Juan was a 1pm arrival and 8pm departure. If you have never been there there are many historic sites to see and Old San Juan is fun to explore. The ship also offers a number of tours -- we have been to San Juan many times and did not get off the ship. The 1pm arrival left lots of daylight to explore and we enjoyed the ship while others were exploring. There was one other ship in port with us -- a Disney ship. St. Maarten is one of our favorite ports in the Caribbean -- we arrived at 8am and left at 3pm -- the first time we have departed that port before 5pm -- it is actually two countries and they meld well -- the Dutch side is excellent for shopping and the beach and boardwalk are lovely. The French side is equally lovely with many beautiful beaches -- shopping and eating there are more expensive. We took the water taxi around 10am into Phillipsburg, took our time perusing Front Street and enjoyed the day -- took the water taxi back around 2pm. There were two other ships in port with us- Celebrity Summit and RCL Freedom of the Seas- so the town wasn't extremely crowded. It was a beautiful arrival and departure -- very enjoyable. A word to the wise, if you are going to explore the French side of the island, do it early in the morning and come back to Phillipsburg after that-traffic can be heavy in the afternoon and you want to be sure to allow enough time to return to the ship. Half Moon Cay is HAL's private island in the Bahamas -- it is a beautiful place. When I got up that morning the temperature outside was in the high 60's -- a definite chill in the air. It did warm up, but stayed somewhat cloudy with a good wind. Since we live in Florida, we can go to the beach anytime, so we stayed on the ship and enjoyed it. We arrived here at 8am and left at 3pm. The sea days that we had offered many things to do or not depending on what you wanted. The fact that the Lido pool has a dome is so nice since even in cooler and windier weather, it can be closed and the pool can be enjoyed as well as the deck space there. OBSERVATIONS Having cruised on many different lines(Commodore, NCL, RCCL, Carnival, Princess, Premier, Costa, MSC, Celebrity and HAL), it is always hard not to compare. Many things HAL does very well for our taste. The embarkation and debarkation are excellent. The outdoor spaces were to our liking as were many of the lounges. The stateroom was so nice -- great having a tub -- more room for showering. Plenty of closet space and storage space. Easy to get around the ship. After observing the way many people dressed for "formal" nights, I think the time has come to only have one "formal" night on a 7 day cruise or maybe do away with them. We love dressing up -- but it was apparent that very many people do not any more. We saw everything in the way of dress on these nights from very formal to extreme casualness. No one was turned away from the dining room as far as I could see. The Mariners luncheon for repeaters was just that -- a luncheon -- maybe they had something else for those who have cruised with HAL more than we have (3 cruises including this one). But there were no awards presented and they gave no information of plans HAL has in the future -- the Captains Welcome Aboard was in the Showroom with a glass of champagne just prior to the show that night -- very quick and to the point-he did introduce the heads of departments. There was a nice mix of passengers age wise. Not a lot of children. All in all it was a very nice cruise. Having said that, we will choose Princess or Celebrity before HAL in the future. I did take pictures of the cabin 8101 if anyone is interested, please e-mail me at melkaz1758@gmail.com. I would be happy to answer any questions about this cruise or any others we have taken. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click