3 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Mediterranean

We're around 70, have lived abroad, and use cruises primarily to visit interesting ports and meet interesting people. We have no interest in the shows on board and avoid the casino and pools. We chose the HAL cruise from Venice to ... Read More
We're around 70, have lived abroad, and use cruises primarily to visit interesting ports and meet interesting people. We have no interest in the shows on board and avoid the casino and pools. We chose the HAL cruise from Venice to Barcelona for some new ports and the chance to revisit familiar ones. Unfortunately, the Med in October had other plans. Port calls for Kotor, Corfu, and Livorno were all canceled on account of storms. We knew there would be three sea days on this cruise, but six were too many. We did get to see a lot of the Adriatic and the coast of Corsica! And HAL offered a discount on a future cruise for the missed ports. We prefer smaller ships. The 'Nieuw Amsterdam' isn't ridiculously large, but it feels like a Signature-class HAL ship with an extra hundred or so cabins tacked on. This means serious crowding at breakfast in the Lido and on-again, off-again service elsewhere. Our obstructed-view cabin on deck 4 was large enough for two, comfortable, and actually had a decent view around a tender. In the Adriatic when we had winds up to 93 knots, it banged and crashed most of the night, probably a result of its pre-fab construction. We traveled on an S-class ship several years ago and wished we were doing so again. The interior decor on the 'NA' is dull and uninviting with the New York theme unimaginatively carried out. Art work generally seemed a weak imitation of Celebrity's. Not much glitz and no canned music everywhere, but do the cabin corridors have to be painted prison gray/green and the Lido cafe feel like a coffee shop at Port Authority? Signage is very poor, especially for passengers with visual impairment. Surely HAL could put up signs pointing towards the bow and stern at the elevators. The library/crow's nest is too small for the passenger load; seats in public areas are often uncomfortable. On the other hand, the ship was steady in storms, has a good walk-around deck, and offers good places to dine outside. Computer classes were excellent. In sum, it's not an unpleasant ship, just mediocre. For the most part, service was fine. As usual on HAL, the cabin stewards were friendly, helpful, and very hard working. Choices at meals were somewhat repetitious (HAL must have cornered the market on pork belly) but adequate. The in-cabin Bento Box meals from Tamarind were excellent. Our dinner at Tamarind was pleasant but not special. It seemed to us that the ingredients in the food were of lower quality than in the past. Coffee varied from good to sludge; decent choice of teas. And afternoon tea in the MDR was very nice. Of the ports where we did land, Dubrovnik was delightful; we just walked around on our own. Took the ferry from Salerno to Amalfi. We had an excellent private tour from Civitavecchia to Orvieto, a beautiful town, instead of braving Rome for the umpteenth time. Monaco was boring and hard to navigate. Pretty St. Tropez was pleasant with nothing much to see. Embarkation in Venice was OK; disembarkation in Barcelona very efficient. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The GOOD: My sincere compliments to all the staff on this voyage. Everyone had a smile on his or her face at all times. All were most congenial. Our room attendants "bent over backwards" to help us in any way. For this I an ... Read More
The GOOD: My sincere compliments to all the staff on this voyage. Everyone had a smile on his or her face at all times. All were most congenial. Our room attendants "bent over backwards" to help us in any way. For this I an truly thankful. The security was tight and for that I am thankful. Also thankful for the cold drinking water supplied on the dock when we returned from our wonderful shore excursions hot and tired. The BAD: The cuisine was less that expected. Having taken a Princess Cruise in 2001 and experiencing it's top notch cuisine, I was extremely disappointed in the quality of the foods used on the Nieew Amsterdam: mushy tomatoes, almost flavorless ice milk instead of quality ice cream, etc. etc.I could go on and on. The preparation of the food left so much to be desired (little if any taste to most everything I tried). This was true for the cafeteria as well as the non-pay dining rooms. I ended up creating my own meals from what I could find at the salad bar. Oh, yes I could have what was apparently considered more gourmet food by paying extra for every lunch and dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and the other one or two "gourmet" type restaurants. But that would be very pricy, would it not? Better for Holland America but not for me. Not at all what I signed up for. On the special La Cirque dining night we paid the extra $49 a piece to have dinner in the arguably "gourmet" Pinnacle Grill. The food was prepared somewhat better, but was still not worth $45 a piece. I couldn't bring myself to eat some of it. Save your money. There was nothing special about this night accept for maybe the white coverings on the chairs! The only dinners that were enjoyable were the nights they served authentic Greek food out on the Lido Deck. To add to this frustration, at most of the food stations you are not allowed to serve yourself. You have to ask for what you want and then after the server puts a small amount on your plate, he'll ask whether you want more or not. This gets to be quite frustrating after about the first week. I have to say that I was not the only one in my party that felt the cuisine was substandard. My husband, who will usually eat about anything, and my brother generally felt as I did. I qualify what I am writing here by saying that I live in an area (Napa County, California) that is well known for its many gourmet restaurants. I am fortunate enough to be able to visit some of these restaurants from time to time. I believe I have some, although it may be small, experience in dining at quality restaurants. The UGLY: If you are prone to catching a sore throat, cold and chest congestion from being constantly exposed to a forced air cooling system, BEWARE! You cannot get away from it on this ship. Cold air is blowing from vents everywhere on ship. You can not turn it off in your room.You can only make it warmer if you desire.The rules are to keep your balcony doors closed so as to facilitate the air conditioning. We found this impossible. We had to get fresh air in our room somehow. One of the two vents in our room was blowing onto my bed day and night. After about three days both my daughter and I came down with a sore throat and chest congestion. I missed out on seeing Kotor because I was so ill. We finally asked to have the air somehow restricted in the vent over my bed. When the maintenance staff member removed the vent cover we could see black mold that had accumulated inside the pipe. It was the same way inside the other vent also. He quickly wiped it away with a rag, not protecting my bed, him or us from the mold spores. It made for being uncomfortable for the remainder of the trip knowing that there were very likely many other pipes in the system around the ship with mold being spewed out on unsuspecting people. Plus the fact that the air was still constantly blowing in my room, my only sanctuary away from others. Ugly also stands for the drab decor of the Nieew Amsterdam. The hallways resemble old dormitory hallways. The rooms, at least our room and most of the ones I could see were drab. Now if you like black, brown and orange-red then you should be all right with it. RESULT: I do not think I will ever go on another cruise. For certain i will never go on another Holland America cruise. Nor will I recommend this cruise line to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Let me preface my remarks by saying we have taken one to two cruises per year from 2006 to the present. We’ve been on at least a dozen different ships and NEVER experienced anything like this. I booked fifty (50) nights on the Nieuw ... Read More
Let me preface my remarks by saying we have taken one to two cruises per year from 2006 to the present. We’ve been on at least a dozen different ships and NEVER experienced anything like this. I booked fifty (50) nights on the Nieuw Amsterdam (April 8 thru May 28) based on the reputation they have enjoyed through the years. I can not begin to tell you how disappointed we are with Holland America. If not for their wonderful staff, their “service” would be without any redeeming value. For years I looked forward to cruising to interesting destinations and enjoying a more refined class of service with Holland America Lines. The reality has been a bitter disappointment. I understand that the Nieuw Amsterdam was in dry dock right before our cruise began. As a retired Corporate C.E.O. I’m well aware of the cost of doing business. I understand that each day in dry dock has two costs (the expense of the dry dock itself, and the loss of revenue for each of those days not sailed). It is, however, a false economy to rush the return of the ship to service BEFORE THE WORK IS COMPLETED AND TESTED. I DID NOT PAY TO GO ON A “SHAKEDOWN CRUISE” to help find incomplete and improperly performed repairs and/or upgrades. (See list of problems below) They have sacrificed the long term financial rewards of gaining satisfied repeat customers for some short term savings. A very short sighted, foolish trade. List of Problems: Constant, ship wide, vibration which caused our cabin to have a chorus of squeaks, chirps, and ticking sounds. (Vibration was caused by an engine problem which was to be remedied in dry dock and was not due to rushing the ship back into service) I had to put cardboard between the top of the wall and the ceiling panels to quiet them; a face cloth between the wall and the TV to stop the chirping; and cardboard between the closet door and the mirror to stop the ticking. Fruit Flies? / Drain Flies? in most cabins. Some cabins without A/C. Our corridor, toilets not working. Several episodes during trip. T.V. that vacillated between not working, and working, and all shades in between. Faded and stained carpet in cabin. Two power outages The Lido & Manhattan Dining Rooms had new carpets which were still shedding and making lint balls / dust bunnies SIX weeks on. We were unimpressed with the limited and repetitive nature of the menu and the incompetent way my needs for a gluten and lactose free diet were so poorly met. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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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