6 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

My wife and me sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam from May 4th to May 16th 2015. We went from Venice to Istambul and back to Venice. The ship was absolutly perfect. Very comfortable and we specially appreciated that there was lot of space ... Read More
My wife and me sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam from May 4th to May 16th 2015. We went from Venice to Istambul and back to Venice. The ship was absolutly perfect. Very comfortable and we specially appreciated that there was lot of space everywhere on the ship (ex: hot tubs, pools, restaurants. The food was very, very good at buffet, at dining room and specially at Pinnacle Grill. 2 nights with Turkish BBQ at the lido pool and again, it was perfect. Service was impeccable any where on the ship but we specially enjoyed having our first morning coffey at the Explorations Café on deck 11. In overall, the cruise was way above our expectations. We were looking for a cruise not too crowdy and we were absolutely enchanted by truise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Total disappointment. We read reviews for this cruise and were aware that rating for this ship is not too great, only fair. But this was the first Mediterranean cruise of the year and we took the risk. First and foremost I want to ... Read More
Total disappointment. We read reviews for this cruise and were aware that rating for this ship is not too great, only fair. But this was the first Mediterranean cruise of the year and we took the risk. First and foremost I want to outline the pros: Our stateroom attendant was great! Room was always perfectly cleaned, bedding was always sparkling clean and every evening we got those adorable towel pets which were the highlight of my evening entertainment. Dining room food was acceptable. Adequate portions. Head waiter came to the table every day for a chat. We had lobster dishes 2 formal nights and crab legs 1 night. Crab legs were pretty good and we asked we will have it again. Were told there is no plan to serve crab legs again, but if we ask for it, he will prepare it for us on request. And we got crab legs again, as promised. What made dinner extra special are the people at our table. We asked to be sited at table for 6 and had delightful company, lot's of laughs. I have to say special thanks to the desert chefs. That was the best desert we ever had on the cruise. Every night different, very delicious pastries of top quality. And special chocolate night was magnificent. Great variety! Lunch menu in the buffet was very good. Salads, very good selection of meets prepared differently. Great idea was to have different oriental variety every day. Pizza was fantastic all day long. Ice creams with different toppings. Specialty restaurant we only visited twice. First time we really enjoyed the food and the service. Yuri, our waitress was a delight. She was friendly and allot of fun. Food was ok. Sushi were not really good and they served 4 very thin slices and you could not get seconds. Second night my husband ordered Vietnamese lamb but meet was very tough and he got a replacement dish. However, the chocolate filled fortune cookie was something awesome! From entertainers want to mention Jenny and the HALcats. Jenny is a great singer and has wonderful personality. That is where pros of this cruise end. Cons: This cruise was designed for people over 85. Even thought there were allot of older folks we know people of all ages like to have fun. Shows were extremely boring. Low quality entertainers. Ship performers(singers and dancers) only performed couple of times in production numbers which again lacked quality. Since HALcats were the only band and performed in the shows as well as wit Jenny, dancing was nonexistent as the band was busy with the shows every night. So Jenny performed perhaps 2-3 times during entire cruise. There was another sort of jazz band that were suppose to play from 5:30PM to 6:30PM the dance favorites/ballroom type songs. Whoever planned the timeslot for this band forgot that first dinner sitting starts at 5:45PM and can go on well until 8PM. Since we are passionate ballroom fans we skipped dinner one evening to catch some dancing. That was terrible!!!! They mostly played foxtrot and took several 5 minute breaks(which lasted up to 20 minutes) every 15 minutes. In other words really bad for those of us who can still move. DJ Mario was allot of fun during some of the game shows. But his disco was at 11PM when most people are in bed considering that every shore excursion would start between 8 and 9 AM. One night we decided to stay up and go to the Latin night. All he played was Merengue, after half and hour we gave up. Game shows were a joke. Deal or no deal....1 person calls the rest are sitting doing nothing for an hour, what is the point? 1 show was sort of fun "majority rules" where all the players were involved. Is it so hard to find more games where all attendants would participate? There was no on-deck entertainment at all. Deck area could not accommodate all the guests and it was impossible to find free lounge chair next to the pool. At this time I should mention that dining room was terribly understaffed and waiter service that cruises are so famous for was not there. But there were plenty of waiters bugging every 5 minutes offering a drink from a poolside bar, dance floor bar, theater bar and so on. However wants a drink will get a drink, but no matter how many people will bug me to buy a drink I will not since I don't drink alcohol. So few less bar waiters and few more dining room waiters would have been great. Getting a table at the buffet dining room was a challenge, especially for breakfast. Getting food at the buffet was a challenge...First few days all the food were being served which created 30 minutes lines. 72 hours later they opened some stations for self service but meat and oriental section was still served and there was always long lines. So it was impossible to plan any activities around lunch time as we never new how long we might have to stay in line. I don't understand what was achieved by having food served. Poor employees don't get any rest at all, they work 12 hours shifts 10 months straight. And guests have to stay in line indefinitely to get the food. Port of calls were not too exciting and shore excursions were not the best quality. For example our guide in Pisa was terrible, we got no useful information at all, the headphones were terrible quality and most of the time all we heard was noise. In Luca we had wonderful guide. I have to say that unfortunately cruising is not what it used to be. Would I ever cruise with HA? Not unless they fix all the problems. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My wife and I were on the July 15 sailing from Barcelona. The pick up from the airport was normal with no issues. After that it was up and down. As stated in other reviews the serving size in the buffet was small, however the staff freely ... Read More
My wife and I were on the July 15 sailing from Barcelona. The pick up from the airport was normal with no issues. After that it was up and down. As stated in other reviews the serving size in the buffet was small, however the staff freely added more when requested. In fact there was one young lady at breakfast that just put extra on after the first couple of days of seeing me. I was extremely disappointed with table service in the buffet. I have never been on a cruise where the staff had to be told to pick up used plates. It appears that management was more concerned with selling bottled water than keeping tables clean and available. Service in the main dining room was spotty as best. We had open seating and only had one waiter that performed as expected. We had to ask for refills on ice tea and water. I had a steak on surf & turf night that they got right, but they never got the steak right on the three nights my wife ordered. What they did to fish can't even be described. Other ship have venues where food is available 24/7 with out having to call room service. I was surprised that there was no available food service during all the daylight hours. Service in the dining areas can be easily improved with better training and raising expectations. Hopefully they really read the on-board reviews from the passengers. Our cabin steward was excellent, we gave him a little extra at the end of the trip. The transfer to the Venice airport was relatively smooth I felt ripped off by the price when I saw how close it was. No tips to the driver at those prices. The ship it self was nicely laid out and my wife really liked the decor. Will I sail Holland again? Not sure. I will absolutely pay closer attention to passenger reviews. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We thoroughly enjoyed our NA/Eastern Med cruise which started in Venice 28th July 2011. We were an Australian couple in our 60s with no connection to other guests. We did not reserve any dinner sittings and discovered that as a ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our NA/Eastern Med cruise which started in Venice 28th July 2011. We were an Australian couple in our 60s with no connection to other guests. We did not reserve any dinner sittings and discovered that as a "2" you were seated almost immediately if you were happy to sit with other people. The one time we requested separate seating, it took 10 minutes. When we used the dining room for lunch, we were seated immediately. But note that we were "2" and not "4". The "600" group were in set seating in the top half of the restaurant and had no obvious effect. We also received 3 special invitations to brunch/lunch etc meals - as a return Mariner, as a member of the (British) Commonwealth and as an Aussie/Kiwi. We normally ordered breakfast in the room. It always arrived on time and carried on the HAL tradition of never being quite as we ordered! The main course was right but a juice/toast was almost always left out/doubled up. We actually consider this idiosyncrasy a cruise plus! Differently to "LilyBob", we used a mix of independent and HAL touring. We arrived in Venice a day early and so showed up to board (dragging luggage) at 11:30am. We could see the ship, but had 2 attempts at finding the luggage checkin (Venice 117 is not set up as well as 107). In the ports where we did not take tours, we depended on some previous research, but foolishly relied on the last minute advice and map presented by the ship's Tour Consultant. At 3 key places the map was wrong, the advice was partial or wrong - or some mix. I have a gripe that HAL tends to treat those who don't book HAL excursions, a bit like "lepers". Ot the "saved" and the others. Once our consultant had eventually stopped selling the HAL tours, he provided some info on getting around in say, Athens, Istanbul or Santorini by yourself. There was a taxi strike in Greece. The ship docked in Piraeus for Athens. He said that it was about half an hour's walk to the station/metro and that the stop in Athens to alight at was "Monst.....akos" and that the fare was several Euros. The walk in blistering heat to the station (very hard to find - no signs) took an hour. The train did NOT stop at the Athens station - that platform/track was being rebuilt (for several months past and future) and it shot through to the next - which was not on the HAL supplied map! We missed the announcements in Greek and Gr/English. We survived, found the Acropolis, got to it in spite of it's custodians, took our pictures, descended, ate, shopped and returned to Piraeus, where we just managed to trudge back to the ship. Key incorrect information (and not recent changes) and the need for the ship to organize transport - even with charge - to/from Piraeus station to ship. We expected something similar in Istanbul. Here there was a ship to centre shuttle, but a key site - the underground cisterns - were incorrectly labelled on the ship's map - we never found them. Istanbul really needs more visit time. It does not help that its Tourism authority need a shake up with signage - including translation - some Turkish names can be deduced but the one for "underground cisterns" cannot. Even the name used for Topkapi palace outside of Haghia Sophia - does not include word Topkapi. The other frustration was that the New Palace (D....) was in sight but no information or even tour was supplied. Finally in Santorini, all the horror stories of the cable car being jammed up were repeated. It was then hinted that there would be less ships but when we arrived, we were the ONLY larges ship that day. The cable car was freely available and Thera was uncrowded. This section on the NA (HAL?) needs a shake up. But none of these tour hassles effected our cruise enjoyment to any real extent. We would thoroughly recommend this trip on HAL to all. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We boarded the Nieuw Amsterdam in Venice for a one-night port stay, which turned into two nights. Venice streets were basically under water from the high fall tides and nobody wanted to go back into the streets again so most just stayed ... Read More
We boarded the Nieuw Amsterdam in Venice for a one-night port stay, which turned into two nights. Venice streets were basically under water from the high fall tides and nobody wanted to go back into the streets again so most just stayed on-board the extra night. The Captain announced at our sail-away party that a navigation circuit board had failed and since they cost $15,000 each they are not on-the-shelf. A German company vendor was contacted to make a new one and fly an engineer to Venice with the board. By now, all the passengers were making book on whether we would sail at all. Others were reviewing their cruise insurance documents. The board was delivered, installed and tested and we left - however the Captain said we would have to miss our first port of call - Spilt, Croatia. However he rewarded us with one glass of free wine and our account would be credited with the unspent port tax - $5.50 per person. An important, and well anticipated port, should have valued much more than a glass of wine. The rest of the cruise was lovely. Lots of great late summer weather and calm seas. The new ship is lovely and the service superb. The beds were new and we slept like logs. We ate in the Manhatten Dining room most of the time. It was our 45th Anniversary celebration with another couple from Wisconsin. We wanted to try the specialy resturants, but wanted to view them before making reservations. In each case - Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, Canaletto - the maitre d'hotel graciously and with all smiles reported that the tables were all booked. We tried phone reservations but all we could get was a voice message saying they were busy with other customers. We finally got a reservation at the Pinnacle Grill for the last night of the cruise. We overheard the next table commenting that they had eaten in the Pinnacle 6 times. We kept going to the Tamarind reservations desk and finally got in at a 9:30 pm reservation. When we got there half the resturant was empty. Both restaurants were excellent and well appreciated. But we could never get into the Caneletto the entire 12 days. I suppose we could have booked prior to the cruise on the internet but until we saw the restaurant we hesitated. I have a feeling most of the reservations that were made prior to the cruise never showed up at dinner and thus the empty tables. A ship-wide reservation system needs to be put in place. During the cruise - about day 6, a number of people were experiencing some sort of sickness. We heard over 40 were sickened from something and the ship quickly put a sick alert system in place. Every available waiter was stationed at every doorway into a food serving area and squirted Purell alcohol solutions on everyone. All food had to be handled by the waiter. No more china salt and pepper shakers - only paper packets on request. No more butter dishes on the table or sauce bottles. No more bread baskets to pass. 'Everything was handled by a server. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We flew over from West Palm Beach to Barcelona and just missed a hurricane enroute. Luckily we got the to board the ship on the first day of 2 days in the port. I really like it when a cruise starts with 2 days in a port to make up for ... Read More
We flew over from West Palm Beach to Barcelona and just missed a hurricane enroute. Luckily we got the to board the ship on the first day of 2 days in the port. I really like it when a cruise starts with 2 days in a port to make up for travel problems. The ship itself is very plain and very basic. Holland is not sparing any money on glitz, but they keep adding cabins to the same size series of ships. We got a very nice upgrade that placed us on the 12th floor in the rear of the ship. This was the first time and we loved it as got a bigger stateroom and was able to see action on both sides of the ship. The room was the best part of the cruise as the food was not up to the usual Holland American standards. I believe this is due to Carnavel's cost cutting which taking all the grandeur and enjoyment of cruising. We had some very tough and fatty filet minion's on formal nights which unacceptable. I also missed having tapioca, rice pudding, and banana bread. The entertainment was good, but not great. All of these ships are now having their production shows lip sinked so only the dancing is live performance. The service was good, but the ship was under staffed! We always had to get our own drinks when in the buffet and their was never enough staff around for refills. The Ports are all getting much to crowded in the summer for our taste, but thankfully we had been to each one previously. I will skip Rome, Venice, and Dubrovnik in the future as just not enough room to enjoy oneself. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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