3 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Singles Cruise Reviews

I can't compare HAL to any other line as it's the only one I've cruised on. However, my Mother was on almost every line available in the US and Europe. After she tried HAL she stayed with them and became a 4 star mariner ... Read More
I can't compare HAL to any other line as it's the only one I've cruised on. However, my Mother was on almost every line available in the US and Europe. After she tried HAL she stayed with them and became a 4 star mariner until her passing. She introduced me to HAL in 2010 and I was hooked. Since then, I've introduced cruising to my 3 grown daughters. This was my 6th cruise and my daughters 2nd with HAL. If you're looking for glitz/glamor, brass and glass, rock climbing or water slides, this is not the line for you. But if you want elegance, fine dining, and total pampering then Holland America is a must try. My middle daughter JN and I just got back from the Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam (April 3-10th). We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and have not one complaint. Our embarkation was without issue and our cabin was clean and ready. We found the ship's staff extremely welcoming and helpful. We ate at the MDR, Lido, Pinnacle, Drive In, NY Pizza and Tamarind. All meals were exceptional. The only disappointment was room service for breakfast on disembarkation day. Our order was incomplete. Totally understandable as the staff is under pressure to prepare for the new passengers boarding. My daughter took advantage of the gym several times. She has a gym membership at home and was pleased with the amount of and condition of the equipment aboard a ship. We went to the casino, she found a quiet spot she liked (Silk Den), she went to the BB King show and had a great experience. My entertainment/destination is the balcony with a glass of wine and my feet up. For me, it doesn't get any better than that. We both absolutely love Half Moon Cay. Clean, everything accessible and the beach was our favorite. The lunch BBQ was very good. My youngest daughter is considering renewing her vows on Half Moon Cay's chapel in 2017. We checked out the chapel and it was ideal. Getting the clam shell on Half Moon was worth every penny and I'll rent one again next cruise. We booked an excursion to Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. I was disappointed in the beach but, I'm spoiled by Half Moon. I found the beach to be very narrow and uneven. Hard to walk. The water there was clean and clear but you really need swim shoes due to the coral and rocks. In summary, I enjoyed the cruise and the Nieuw Amsterdam was all that I expected and more. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
12-night Mediterranean Empires cruise  May 2, 2014 – May 14, 2014 Depart: Venice, Italy (round-trip) Cabin / Suite: 7031 (category PS) Itinerary: Venice, Italy; at sea; Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Istanbul, ... Read More
12-night Mediterranean Empires cruise  May 2, 2014 – May 14, 2014 Depart: Venice, Italy (round-trip) Cabin / Suite: 7031 (category PS) Itinerary: Venice, Italy; at sea; Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Istanbul, Turkey (overnight); Mitilini, Lesbos, Greece; Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Santorini, Greece; Argostoli, Cephalonia, Greece; at sea; Venice, Italy (overnight) Introduction This 12-night “Mediterranean Empires” cruise aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam was my 34th cruise, but my first to Europe. I have previously sailed Carnival 23 times, Holland America and Royal Caribbean three times each, and once each on Celebrity, Princess, Majesty, and Premier. I consider myself pretty well-versed and experienced in cruises, but I hadn’t taken a cruise in over two years before my trip on the Nieuw Amsterdam, and I hadn’t taken a cruise as long as this one. My last cruise was a New Years’ trip to the Western Caribbean aboard the Carnival Legend, and my last cruise with Holland America was in July, 2008 to Alaska on the Oosterdam. I had never cruised in a suite on a cruise except for one trip on Carnival’s Imagination back in 2005, so I especially looked forward to this cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. This review will cover the various aspects of life onboard the ship since I’ve already provided a port-by-port account of this cruise in previous posts. We traveled in the Pinnacle Suite (PS) #7031 on Rotterdam Deck, and I also posted on that earlier. In Summary… This was easily my most memorable cruise for many reasons. First of all, we were traveling in the largest suite on the ship — the Pinnacle Suite thanks to the generous invitation from my Aunt and Uncle. Since I’m accustomed to standard staterooms, this was a real treat and a definite outlier from my “typical” cruise experience. Secondly, the fact that this cruise allowed us to visit so many destinations to which I had not previously traveled made it an especially memorable experience. Finally, the company with whom I traveled — my Aunt, Uncle, and girlfriend all added to this cruise. I’m not sure if it was because we were suite guests, but the service aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam was exceptional in all aspects. Pretty much everyone we came in contact with went above and beyond throughout the cruise. Just as exceptional was the food. I found the cuisine all over this ship to be some of the best I’ve had on any cruise. The ship itself was beautiful and filled with art, and it had more than adequate facilities for the guests. Entertainment was for the most part pretty good, but considering the port intensive itinerary, it was not a priority for our party during this trip. As mentioned before, the itinerary was sensational, as we visited eight ports during the twelve nights. All in all, this cruise was fantastic and probably my best cruise to date. Food Since this was, after all a cruise, there was naturally food available whenever you wanted. On the Nieuw Amsterdam, there were two primary food venues — The Manhattan Dining Room and the Lido Restaurant. In addition to these two venues were four specialty restaurants — The Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, Canaletto, and the Dive-In Burger Shack. An extensive room service menu was also available, and for suite guests – snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and canapés were available daily in the Neptune Lounge (concierge lounge). Manhattan Dining Room We enjoyed dinner most of the nights in the Manhattan Dining Room. As the main dining room on the ship, the Manhattan offered open seating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as two assigned seatings on the upper level for dinner. We chose the late seating dinner and enjoyed a table for six by a window in the aft section of the upper level of the dining room at table #57. Our waiter team led by Slamet and Ming provided impeccable service throughout the week. By the second night, they knew our preferences, and accommodated special requests without hesitation. The Assistant Dining Room Manager, Megan paid us special attention and ensured that our every wish was granted. Starting the second night, we enjoyed most of our dinners with the ship’s doctor Richard and his wife Michelle — they were such nice people, and we enjoyed spending the evening with them on a regular basis. The food served in the Manhattan Dining Room was fantastic. It was a definite notch above the dinners I typically receive in the main dining room on cruise ships. The steaks were cooked properly, the fish and pork dishes were fantastic, and the appetizers and soups were plentiful and tasty. We found the menus each night to be varied and relevant, as fresh, local ingredients were used on regional specialties throughout the cruise. All in all, dinner in the Manhattan Dining Room was a really special experience, and we looked forward to dining there throughout the cruise. As I previously stated, the food was a cut above normal “cruise food” and seemed to be prepared for a much smaller group rather than a ship full of 1,800 guests. Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind On the formal nights, we dined in two of the three specialty restaurants. The first formal night, we chose to eat in the Pinnacle Grill. The Pinnacle Grill is the upscale steakhouse aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Though it carries a $29 cover fee, it is well worth it. The menu features an impressive selection of steaks and seafood. I ordered the rib eye, which was excellent, and my girlfriend had the filet mignon. The filet literally melted in your mouth, and was one of the better tasting filets I’ve enjoyed anywhere. We also had the opportunity to have lunch in the Pinnacle Grill on the last day of the cruise ($10) where I had a fantastic shrimp cocktail and a delicious Wagyu beef burger. The last two formal nights, we dined in the ship’s Asian-Fusion restaurant, Tamarind ($20). The food here was simply exquisite. The appetizers and soups were extremely good. On various occasions, we enjoyed the mixed satays, potstickers, pho, tempura fried shrimp, and spring rolls for appetizers. The first trip there, I ordered the excellent Penang Red Currty Coconut Chicken, and the second time I had the Wasabi and Soy Crusted Beef Tenderloin. For desert, the tempura fried ice cream is not to be missed! The tenderloin, along with the appetizers and aforementioned fried ice cream was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life – anywhere, and certainly the best I’ve had on a ship. The day we arrived in Argostoli, my girlfriend and I enjoyed a dim sum lunch in Tamarind, and it was also exceptional. The Lido Restaurant The other main food venue on the Nieuw Amsterdam was the Lido Restaurant. This was the ship’s buffet area, and it was split into several distinct food serving sections. For breakfast, the had a fantastic eggs benedict bar, where one could choose from eight types of eggs benedict; a fresh eggs / omelet bar; several traditional breakfast buffet lines; a fresh Belgian waffle line, and a continental breakfast area complete with every bread, pastry, and fruit one could imagine. I especially enjoyed the eggs benedict bar along with the waffles. For lunch, the area changed with choices for a varying “Taste of Nations” line, two traditional lunch lines, two salad bars lines, an Italian / Mexican line, and of course pizza. Though we only had lunch in Lido a few times (we were in port during lunch on most days), I really enjoyed the Taste of Nations — particularly their Asian specialties. Overall, the food in the Lido was varied, fresh, and delicious. The presentation in the buffet lines was clean and appetizing — it was an extremely good option for a meal onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Canaletto and Dive In We did not try the ship’s specialty Italian restaurant, Canaletto simply because we found it pointless to eat Italian food on a ship full of so many different options, on a cruise that started and ended… in Italy. On the other hand, we did eat at the “Dive-In” Burger Bar on a few occasions and found them to prepare a very tasty burger. They utilize a pager operation at “Dive-In” which allows one to go relax at their table until the food is ready. Room Service We utilized room service for the majority of our breakfasts, as we enjoyed having coffee and a light breakfast in our suite or on the balcony. Breakfast always arrived on time, though they did have problems grasping the concept of leaving the food in the butler’s pantry instead of coming through the main door, waking everyone up. We also arranged for room service to provide appetizers on several occasions prior to dinner. One one evening, we even ordered some appetizers from Tamarind and Pinnacle, and they were delicious (there was obviously a cost for this). They really did their best to satisfy our requests throughout the week, as we had some pretty abnormal requests, such as a plate of nachos! As previously mentioned, the food on this ship was probably the best I’ve had on any cruise. It certainly was better than the food we had on my last Holland America cruise, and blows away the notion that cruise food is relatively bland since it’s mass-produced. We found the cuisine onboard to be consistently excellent. Service Service aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam truly was top-notch. From our room stewards, to the concierge team, to the dining room waiters, to the dining room managers, to the bartenders and cocktail waiters — the service was simply spectacular. Our two room stewards, Mugi and Daniel kept our large suite spotless. They were friendly and accommodated all of our special requests. The concierge team of Chris and Nickolai were fantastic. Again, they went out of their way to ensure that all of our needs were met. One of them was always available in the Neptune Lounge, and they arranged for everything from dinner reservations to spa treatments to in-room dining. As previously mentioned, the dining room service was impeccable. The Assistant Dining Room Manager, Megan literally couldn’t do enough for us. He personally delivered a plate of fresh asparagus and spinach to the table nightly with a smile, since we’d asked for it on one occasion. He also arranged for a private tour of the kitchen, led by Petr, the Executive Chef. I know this was likely because we were guests in the Pinnacle Suite, but it was really appreciated and special, nonetheless. The same sort of friendly service was found from all the bartenders and cocktail waiters. They went out of their way to get to know us during the cruise. Our favorite cocktail waiters, Roland and Fritz greeted us with smiles and conversation on a daily basis. Again, the service aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam was consistently excellent for the entire cruise. Entertainment We really didn’t partake in too much of the entertainment on board, simply because we enjoyed very long dinners and we were dead tired and ready to go to bed on almost a nightly basis. However, one of the highlights onboard was the Piano Bar, where we enjoyed a drink on several different occasions. We did see one of the production shows, and it was pretty good — my girlfriend especially enjoyed it. One evening, we stopped in to see the comedian, but he wasn’t all that great. On most evenings, we’d have a post-dinner drink in one of the many bars onboard, but usually we ended up in the Piano Bar as previously mentioned. I did enjoy the casino on a couple of the nights — it wasn’t that large, but plenty big for the ship. We did partake in one of the “pub crawls” and had a great time despite the paltry attendance of only six guests! All in all, I’d rate the entertainment on the Nieuw Amsterdam as adequate. While the entertainment is nowhere near the elaborate shows and non-stop energy found on Royal Caribbean and Carnival, it was certainly plenty for this itinerary and clientele. Gym / Spa The Greenhouse Spa and fitness center is located on Lido deck forward, with large windows and a wrap-around view off the front of the ship. I used the fitness center three times on the trip and found it adequate. I primarily use dumbbells, and they had weights up to 75 pounds, though the lifting area was very small. This wasn’t too much of a problem since I seemed to be the only person in the area. Treadmills were plentiful, though they seemed to be almost always occupied by people walking slowly — isn’t that what the wrap around promenade deck is for? My girlfriend had two treatments at the Greenhouse spa, and seemed to enjoy both of them. On the first day at sea, she enjoyed a massage, which was preceded by an hour or so in the impressive Thelassotherapy pool and steam room. On the day we arrived in Istanbul, she got a manicure, and seemed to like that too. The only negative she mentioned was the price of the manicure seemed to be a bit exorbitant, which can be expected on a cruise ship. Ship The four-year old Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship. At 935 feet long and 86,700 gross registered tons, she is by no means a small cruise ship, but at the same time, she’s nowhere near being as large as most of the ships our there these days. This mid-sized ship and relatively low passenger count (1,800 on this cruise) made for a ship that really never felt crowded. Not once did I wait in line onboard, nor did I have to wait for an elevator. The Lido Restaurant never had lines except for the first day after embarkation when everyone seems to head straight to the Lido for lunch. The size of this ship is really just perfect. The Nieuw Amsterdam is filled with an impressive art collection. Rich with art at seemingly every turn, one could really pass time checking out the various paintings and pictures that adorned the walls of hallways and public spaces. Since it is, after all, the namesake of the Nieuw Amsterdam, New York City is the over-arching theme of the ship. The atrium is adorned with a crystal, icicle-like sculpture of the Manhattan skyline, and the Explorers Lounge is adorned with a huge mural of the New York skyline in the 1930s. The colors on the ship are very nautical and earthy — certainly the antithesis to the Joe Farcus-designed interiors of Carnival. The interior of the Nieuw Amsterdam had a very classic and elegant feel — I really enjoyed my time onboard this beautiful vessel. Of its twelve bars onboard, my favorite was the Silk Den. Located on deck 11, it features panoramic, 180-degree views of the ocean on either side of the ship, and the pool deck. It is decorated in an Asian theme, and we found it to be relatively empty all week with fantastic waiters. This was our go-to spot for pre-dinner drinks. I do love the Crow’s Nest Lounge as well, but it seemed to be the most crowded lounge on the entire ship. We also really enjoyed the enclosed Lido Pool area. Since the weather was somewhat chilly (60-degrees) for a large part of the cruise, the retractable roof was closed atop the mid-ship pool. This created a nice, relaxing, and open space where we enjoyed a few lunches and beers. One of the great features aboard Holland America ships is the wrap around promenade deck that fully encircles the ship. It’s a great deck on which to take an evening stroll as the world goes by. Since this was, of course, Holland America, the average age of fellow guests onboard was rather… seasoned. My girlfriend and I were pretty clearly the youngest couple onboard. Though there were a few families with children, probably 90% of the passengers onboard were over the age of 60. In its entirety, the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very manageable ship — it’s not too big, and not too small. It’s an extremely pretty ship inside and out. I wouldn’t hesitate to cruise her again in the future! Overall The whole experience was fantastic. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a really special ship with a very warm, attentive, and amazing crew. The service and cuisine were equality excellent, as was the incredible 12-night itinerary. Holland America excels at providing a traditional cruise experience with superior service, food, and onboard experience, and the Nieuw Amsterdam certainly lived up to — and exceeded that standard of excellence. I cannot recommend this ship and cruise enough! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Having been thoroughly impressed by HAL and the Noordam in December I decided it would be fun to try our their newest ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam. The 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise has once again exceeded my high expectations to the point ... Read More
Having been thoroughly impressed by HAL and the Noordam in December I decided it would be fun to try our their newest ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam. The 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise has once again exceeded my high expectations to the point that I will most definately be back for more. Embarkation at Port Everglades was simple and efficient with ground staff Elena remembering me from my previous cruise and expediting my check in. I was onboard the ship within about 50 minutes of arriving at the terminal and was immediately impressed by how stunningly beautiful the Nieue Amsterdam is. Previous cruisers with Holland America are invited to take a leisurely lunch in the MDR where the food is excellent. After a very pleasant 4 course meal followed by coffee I headed for my stateroom where the bag had duly arrived and got settled in. The safety drill is taken extremely seriously as you would expect and does not start until every single stateroom and guest is accounted for as being present and correct. We departed on time as part of a procession of ships leaving on Sunday afternoon, including the Celebrity Solstice, the Allure of the Seas, HALs Westerdam and a Carnival ship. I have an inside cabin for the first time in my 4 cruises to date and was a little concerned I would feel cramped. In fact quite the opposite, as a single traveler a queen size bed with bathroom and shower is more than adequate and on Holland America, quite comfortable. The beds are excellent and storage space more than sufficient. I have taken to using their laundry option where they will do a bag of washing for 20USD a time or 49USD for the week. Given the 24 hour service where everything comes back clean and folded to me this is a no brainer. It also means I dont need to take a large suitcase full of clothes. During the 7 days I ate twice, the 2 formal nights in the Pinnacle Grill, run by my favorite Maitre D on the seas - Sam. This is a truly professional operation with superb meat and I have a personal favorite of the bone in rib eye steak. One evening meal in the Tamarind Grill which sits on the 11th floor mid ships with big window views out to sea. Again culinary perfection and staffed by an outstanding team. Both these restaurants have a supplement of 25 and 15 dollars respectively and are worth every penny in my book. Food and service in the main dining room throughout was of a very high quality, where I had breakfast and lunch on most days. I know Holland America have had a reputation of catering to an older group of passengers. I found a great cross section of folks on this cruise and families with well behaved children and while a mainly US/Canadian based passenger make up, also quite a few Europeans, including myself from the UK. To me that slightly older group equates to a more civilized environment. I am 49 and cruise to relax and get away from a hectic business life. HAL fits that need just about perfectly in my case. Our stops were Grand Turk which I love, parked alongside the Costa Atlantica I knew which ship I wanted to be on of the 2. A great beach and I didnt leave the cruise port terminal, but shopped and sat listening to music and reading a good book. On the apporach to San Juan, the Nieuw Amsterdam crew open access to the bow of the ship on deck 5 which is a first for me I which I truly enjoyed as we sailed into the port and docked. From San Juan onwards to St Maarten where we are parked next to the Allure of the Seas and the Norwegian Dawn, as you can tell I love seeing ships. I took the two flags tour of the island where they take you across to Marigot on the French side of the island. Our last stop was at Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas which I have been to three previous times but where we were unable to tender because of the height of the swells. This time we were lucky and the island is a great place to stop, with a great beach and views back to our own ship and the Maasdam. I saw three of the shows, the comedian who I enjoyed very much, a group of 4 guys who sing and the New York show, which was one of the best productions I have yet seen at sea. All good entertainment. I enjoyed coffees in the Crows Nest each morning and has been mentioned before, the Filipino bar staff run an excellent operation throughout the ship, special kudos to Agustin in the Ocean Bar who was good company. I dont buy art on cruise ships or have a particular interest in the cruise lines photography department, being an avid photographer myself I like to take my own pictures but always found the staff to be friendly and not pushy. I think special mention of the cabin attendants is always appropriate, what these guys do twice a day is something of a miracle in my book. They know what time you get up, go out, come back and juggle a large number of rooms and leave you a towel animal on the bed every evening which made me smile each time. The same can be said of many of the departments that you never meet, including the laundry folks. I found the cruise director JC to be amuzing and entertaining and the ships officers always friendly and willing to talk. Its fair to say that this whole crew onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam seem to work well together and are happy. That reflects well on how they treat us, the paying passenger. It is always good to see many members of the crew take a bow at the end of this presentation the day before debarkation. As was explained in the debarkation talk, HAL have removed the 10 as a mark for each of the elements on the passneger survey, on the grounds that everything can be improved. The maximum mark is a 9. When I look back at this particular trip and wonder what they could have done better, the answer that I find is just about nothing. Getting off the ship was a breeze and they give you a time and stick to it. When they call your number I was off the ship within 5 minutes and directed to where my bag was. Using the ships arranged transport back to Miami airport also simplifies the transport options. Read Less
Sail Date March 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

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