13 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Spring Break Cruise Reviews

We have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were ... Read More
We have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were wonderfully smooth and a brilliant blue. The Retreat cabana was a perfect retreat and the service in was fantastic. My only complaint was the food in the main dining room was salty and bland thankfully we spent the rest of the cruise eating in the specialty restaurants. The entertainment is exceptional and we went to the main stage every night for the late show. We'd cap off the night with a visit to the BB's Blues Club. The musicians were amazing and we enjoyed watching them. Finally, the private island, Half Moon Cay was perfect. We loved being alone on the island and had private bike/hike tour along with a relaxing day at the beach. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
A bit of a belated review of our cruise. This was posted on my travel blog Please see the link in my signature if you would like to read more about our cruise and view the pictures and the Ports we visited!!! This was our first time ... Read More
A bit of a belated review of our cruise. This was posted on my travel blog Please see the link in my signature if you would like to read more about our cruise and view the pictures and the Ports we visited!!! This was our first time sailing on Holland and I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. I had expected the demographics to skew much higher in age. I don’t know whether or not it was because it was Easter that were far more children aboard than expected. It seemed as though there were many family groups and not nearly as many older people on this trip. Despite being platinum on Carnival, I was not happy with how the dining experienced has been cheapened on that line. I love the white tablecloths, charger plates, extra services etc and that does not happen on Carnival any longer. I was feeling like I was eating at Chili’s or someplace similar. That is not the experience I want on my vacation. I want that ‘extra’. Carnival has also increased the number of cabins a steward has to clean and the last cruise we were on, we were asked to choose either morning or evening cabin service and Ice is now a special request. So, we were searching for a line that still provides the level of service we want on our vacation. Cabins: We had two inside cabins, aft on Deck 6. I would highly recommend this location. Three floors up to the Lido and three down for dinner. I didn’t notice excessive movement in this area but then I don’t notice it unless it’s really bad. The cabins themselves were nicely appointed. Large bed, 2 nightstands, a desk/dressing area with chair, the mini bar to the right of the desk area—built in and a small table. Closet space was ample and I loved the fold-down shelves in the closets! I also loved that there were USB ports on either side of the beds! No need to fight over outlets on the desk. The bathroom was a standard cruise ship design—our rooms had a shower and no tub. The shower was equipped with Spa shampoo, conditioner and body wash and also had 2 grab bars. The sink was wide and had glass shelves on the right side. One thing I noticed in all the hallways were the bars on one side of the hallways to the cabins. These would come in handy for those not so steady on their feet. The Lido Market We ate here many times and enjoyed the variety of food that was served. The thing I liked the most is EVERYTHING was served by employees. That appeals greatly to my germophobic personality and has got to cut down on the spread of Noro-Virus. There are also hand sanitizer placed in the entrances. Back to the food though. We loved the cooked to order eggs station. It was very organized and the line moved quickly. You could also get bacon, turkey bacon, sausages, hash browns, bagels and toast here. Depending on the day, they also served pancakes or French Toast too. There were self-serve plated items on chill trays such as Yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals & milk. Lunch In my opinion, lunch was the best meal. Again the Lido deck had such variety. They had one station completed devoted to fresh fruit and another making these huge fresh salads to order. They had sandwiches made up and wrapped with varied ingredients too. They had a made to order Thai food area as well as made to order pasta. The Thai food was wonderful and I ate there twice. The pasta bar should have been wonderful as well, but I found the sauces very bland despite having them add lots of garlic and some other seasoning. I think that was really the only “miss” we had. We ate at the Burger Joint and the Pizza place a few times and enjoyed the food. The French Fries were a huge hit. The Ice Cream station was also a huge hit (and this is also where you can find Bread Pudding!) They serve regular ice cream and soft serve in waffle cones or bowls. Toppings can also be added. They did have varying flavors or regular ice cream too. Late Night Snacks The Lido also provided a surprising amount of food between 10:30pm and 11:30pm. You could get an entire meal if you wanted to. Mostly my companions hit it up for the French fries! Dinner-Main Dining Room- late seating We ate in the main dining room 5 of the 7 days and most everything we ordered was good—but nothing over the top. We did not go hungry by any means, but I felt most of the food was just average. The only below average item I had was the French Onion Soup. The broth tasted like dishwater. On another night, all the croutons in the Caesar Salad were soft. Blah. The group at the table next to ours did mention this to their water and one of the Chefs came out to apologize. The one standout for me was the Lobster Tail. It was cooked perfectly and very tasty. The steak that was served with it was “meh”. I think I just prefer things a bit more seasoned. Regarding desserts—the items we chose were good, but I have to say I miss the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake on Carnival’s dessert menu every night! Pinnacle We ate here the last night and the food was amazing. Between the 3 of us we got: Filet Mignon, King Crab Legs and Halibut with Shrimp Scampi. Each main dish was excellent. The portion of Crab legs was enormous—far more than one person could eat. The sides were very good, beginning with a Caesar Salad mixed at the table. Shareable sides included mashed potatoes and asparagus. I ordered a baked potato. For dessert, the Molten Lava Chocolate cake with a side of ice cream and raspberry cheesecake. Both were delicious but we couldn’t finish them—we were too full. I felt it was worth the money and normally would tip here. However, our waiter was not the caliber we expected. Not once, did he notice our water glasses needed to be filled. And we had to ask him more than once for more water. He did not check back with us regarding our entries to see if everything was good. He just acted like he didn’t want to be there and that we were disturbing him with our requests. We did not let that stop us from enjoying the meal—we all loved it and would go back there again. Shows The only show we managed to see was the BB King Tribute. The performers were so talented and the show seemed to be full always. We enjoyed the set and at only about 45 minutes to an hour long, it was just the perfect length. Piano Bar They relocated the Piano bar and increased the space to allow more people to attend. For us, and others on the cruise, the fact that they moved it to an area directly across from the casino was rather painful. Had the dueling piano players been talented, I’m sure it would have been entertaining. However, I think I can speak for the majority of people on the cruise and report that they were AWFUL. The dealers were grimacing at the off-tone, voice cracking noises and we actually heard more than one person say they were leaving the casino because they couldn’t stand it any longer. Not good news for the casino. Casino The casino is quite small on the ship but does have a nice selection of slots. The table game area is small and they only had 1 3-Card Poker table. Most nights it was challenging to get a seat. They did not increase the number of tables yet Black Jack table were idle. Not sure about the purpose—but I did manage to spend some time at 3 Card Poker-with decent results I might add. Seaview Pool and bar area We spent most of our time in this area. The pool was a decent size and over seven feet deep. Plenty of loungers were set out each day but during peak hours you had to watch and wait for a chair. (The chair hogs were out in force as they are on every line) There was no policing by any staff that I saw despite the notice about the 30 minute rule. The pool itself is supposed to be for adults only and, again, that was not being enforced. I know the Lido pool was closed one day for cleaning due to someone vomiting in the pool so all the kids were allowed. However, on days when the Lido pool was open, I still saw children in and out of the Seaview pool all day. The starboard side of the bar area is the only place to smoke on the entire ship. (The info in the room stated the Casino would allow smoking on certain nights. However, they did not allow smoking there at all as far as I know. There were quite a few smokers onboard and, at times, it was challenging to find a spot to sit. I understand the non-smoker’s point of view, but smoking is LEGAL and they should have more than one spot for smokers to congregate. Shops There was a small area of shops on the ship but the biggest surprise for me—and others: They did not have cartons of cigarettes for sale, and their liquor selection tended toward the very high end stuff and was quite small. They did have a shop with all the cruise wear you expect, a perfume cosmetics area and several higher end jewelry stores. Ship Décor I absolutely loved how this ship was decorated. You could spend hours just wandering around looking at all the interesting art. The NYC skyline piece hanging in the atrium was gorgeous. The walls in the passenger cabin hallways were filled with black and white photos of people and places in NYC ‘back in the day’. There were comfy seating areas scattered all over the ship making it very easy to rest your tired self. The Crow’s nest area, we only visited once but it was also very nice and ‘user friendly’. There was a bar up there and lots of seating, including tables where folks could play cards or boards game or just sit and look at the ocean. Lovely area. Bars/Drinks We did not have a drink package but did indulge in 3-4 adult beverages most days. They had a nice variety of alcohol and I thought the drinks were very good. I heard people complaining about the prices, but I think $10 including a tip is about the norm on any ship. There are an adequate number of bars on the ship for the size. Service The service was excellent (with the exception of Sterling!) Most of the staff went out of their way to make sure you were comfortable and had what you needed. For example, one morning I stumbled up to the Lido deck to wake up a bit before breakfast and right there was our favorite waiter, Noel, asking if he could bring me a coffee. Ice water, iced tea or lemonade was served to you in the Lido seating area. Our cabin stewards were like genies, popping in and out of our cabins and leaving them made up beautifully even if we were only gone for 15 minutes or so. I would put this service on-par with what I experienced on the Pacific Princess 2 years ago. Conclusion The size of the ship is great. I think it’s about 2000 guests. Perfect size. The mega-ships are not for me and I’m glad Holland still has a variety of smaller ships to choose from. Overall, I felt the ship is very elegant and one I am looking forward to sailing on again. Our vacation was perfect and just what we all needed. For details on the ports, please see the lin Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the ... Read More
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the service is good. We are 55 & 52 and seasoned cruisers mostly on Celebrity & RCCL. This was our first HAL experience and we were looking forward to it after several months of anticipation. Our overall impressions of HAL and the Nieuw Amsterdam was favorable however we will not be sailing on her or HAL again. I will attempt to highlight the various aspects of our experience. Dining: We enjoy a variety of fine dining when we cruise and the food in the specialty dining areas are exceptional with the exception of Tamarind. The Tamarind service is forced, rushed and the food quality is mediocre. Pinnacle Grille was the saving grace for our cruise. We dined early in the cruise & went back for Rudi’s Sel De Mer pop up and also for lunch. It was without question the shining part of our cruise. The MDR was also very good even though they screwed up our anytime dining reservations which they would not correct - we did end up getting our originally requested time but had to sit with others. They turned out to be great folks. We also chose MDR for breakfast - fantastic service, selection and taste. We chose this option due to the buffet being the worst of any of the 14 cruises we have experienced. The design is awful, and the selection is extremely limited. Since they serve everyone individually the lines are long for a very limited selection of poor quality items. The MDR is recommended for breakfast & lunch - avoid the buffet at all costs. Even the cookies in the afternoons (cut from a log and not homemade) are limited and the “extra” desserts after dinner have one or two selections at most. I did not try Dive In (though I hear the fries are very good) or the pizza since the lines were very long and the pizza joint was located by the adult pool adjacent to the smoking area which made that entire pool deck undesirable at times depending on the wind direction. If the wind direction is towards the inner doors to the back of the buffet, it also fills with cigarette smoke. Canaletto was very nice and there are several options to share - nice option for an inexpensive specialty spot. Stateroom. We had a Signature Suite and it was just refurbished in Dec. Nice Job HAL! It was an amazing room with excellent technology and appointments. The cabin stewards were exceptional. The very large flat screen TV had many free movie options and it was an excellent add. The bathroom was very large with both a bath with shower and a separate shower adjacent. The standing shower however is not for anyone over 5’10”. The balcony is quite large and allowed for very comfortable room service breakfast options in order to avoid the buffet. Entertainment: the production shows use great video visuals however the main vocalist was not to our liking and had a very loud brash voice. We did not stay long at the two we attempted. The BBC World w/ live music concert was exceptional due to the pairing of musicians from Lincoln Center Stage. The LCS intimate venue is a brilliant add to HAL. These young musicians are outstanding, and we visited almost every performance. BRAVO! The guest vocalist impressionist was also very good however the comedian was not. We visited the guest vocalist encore performance that same evening. BB Kings had some very good acts, but it can get a bit loud and crowded. Very good though! A new addition of the Billboard on Board sounds like it would be a good fit, but it is directly across from the open casino and the slots overpower and confuse the music coming from the dual pianos. They will fix that someday, I’m sure. I did do two America’s Test Kitchen presentations and they were very informative and well done - a really cool idea on a cruise ship. The Music Walk is a winner. There is very little other music in lounges or public areas other than these 3 venues. I think this is a big miss from HAL which Celebrity excels in. Activities: this ship is just boring. I know HAL is for the older crowd but give us something to do! Each engagement segment of interest lasts only about 30 minutes and then you wait 3 hours until something else meets your interest. The pool decks are very uninteresting and open. The family pool area has a retractable roof which they do open and close appropriately. The adult pool area at the aft is very uninteresting and as mentioned prior, has the smoking area attached with detracts from its appeal. The pool decks are plain with no real activities noticed. They gym on board has ample equipment and is not too crowed based upon the older demographic of the fellow passengers. We were able to work out easily for 5 of our 7 days onboard. We did not use the spa and the excessive up-charge to the vitality pool was a turn off. Bars: This is something that I found absolutely ridiculous, in that very few bars are open during the day other than the pool bars. The mid ship lower level bars are attached to specialty dining and once dining reservations are over or not operational, these locations are not open. What a waste of income possibilities! The ship closes down at 9:30 except for B.B. Kings. Do not pay full price for the drink package since BOTH parties in the stateroom must purchase if the other wants one. We are not heavy drinkers, but it is nice to have a glass of wine and not have to search it out. Happy hours begin at 4:00 and is decent with a $2 second cocktail which they deliver together. As a side note, we did find that the Gallery Bar beside the casino was attended most days and had sports on the TV within a very nicely decorated side room - not one you would expect sports to be shown.... Go Cubs opening day! Service: Our stateroom attendant was excellent and left us alone for the most part and made the room while we were either at the gym or at breakfast most mornings. The overall feeling though from most of the crew and service people is that they just are not happy. They seldom had a smile on their face until interaction with a passenger and most of the wait staff, servers, bar tenders, and even officers looked tired. We thought that this might be the end of a contract period and they were looking forward to a break. I have never noticed this before on any of our other cruises. Another very peculiar item was that they do not push the hand sanitizer at all and many of the dispensers were empty. Maybe since they only let the staff serve the food at the buffet, that may counter this. It was a disappointment hearing so much about the HAL service. Overall: Due to the buffet design and quality, lack of activities, and missing supplemental live music options outside of the main venues, we have crossed off HAL for any future cruises. We also were very disappointed in the level of engagement from the staff and a ship with little to offer before dinner, or even on a sea day. We met many HAL loyalists and understand that not all lines are for everyone. We thought we would enjoy the traditional cursing style of HAL but we are looking forward to returning to Celebrity next March on the new Celebrity Edge. I hope this is a helpful review. If you are a MDR type for breakfast and lunch and enjoy sitting in quiet reading a book or playing games or cards with others, this is your cruise line! We enjoy a bit more action. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
7 days were all we had for a cruise. We love Holland America so this cruise fit the bill. The itinerary really didn’t have anything to do with the decision. Embarkation was quick and efficient. Our room was ready when we arrived at ... Read More
7 days were all we had for a cruise. We love Holland America so this cruise fit the bill. The itinerary really didn’t have anything to do with the decision. Embarkation was quick and efficient. Our room was ready when we arrived at 11:30. We were able to drop our carry ons and get the cruise started with a nice lunch in the dining room. Sail Away was nice with lots of waiters to take drink orders and pass hors d’oeuvres. Unfortunately there were not many places to sit so it was a lot of standing. We were three adults in a cabin and it worked surprisingly well. There was enough space for our clothing and the cabin steward was quick to bring extra hangers. The pull out bed was comfortable. The only downside to using the pullout was that it blocked the balcony door. We ate dinners in the main dining room with the exception of one meal in the Pinnacle Grill. All of the food and service were excellent. Portion sizes have gotten a bit smaller over the years and we really prefer that. Since you can order as much as you want, you will never go hungry, but with reasonable portion sizes you don’t need to feel stuffed or leave food on the plates to go to waste. The entertainment was very good. HAL has gotten much better in this department over the years. The doors to the stage venue didn’t open until a half hour before the show and there was always a line to get in. This was only a real issue on the two nights that they had only one show. The new music walk offers music for everyone. The ports were fine (Key West, Grand Turk, and Half Moon Cay). We missed Amber Cove due to bad weather conditions. Half Moon Cay with its beautiful blue waters and soft white sand was a highlight. The ship was great, service was excellent, and food outstanding, however, we would not choose a seven day cruise nor a Caribbean cruise again due to personal preference. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We heard great things about Holland America but unfortunately for us, none of it was true. Service was horrible in all areas , from the cabin to the pool bar. We had the drink package and didn't have more than 4-5 drinks a day. ... Read More
We heard great things about Holland America but unfortunately for us, none of it was true. Service was horrible in all areas , from the cabin to the pool bar. We had the drink package and didn't have more than 4-5 drinks a day. At times, no one would wait on us. The ship itself was beautiful but service is more important to us. I had an appointment for accupuncture and when i got there, my name wasnt even listed. If this was the first cruise we went on, we would never cruise again. Going through immigration in Key West was painful. I have mobility issues and we kept being redirected in circles . No one would help us walk to where we were going or find a place for me to sit. It was a horrible week and we have already decided that we will never do HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My family and I went on our first Holland America Cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam for the 4/2/17-4/9/17 Western Caribbean cruise. We were booked in a Neptune Suite. Check in went smoothly with a slight delay on boarding due to a large ... Read More
My family and I went on our first Holland America Cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam for the 4/2/17-4/9/17 Western Caribbean cruise. We were booked in a Neptune Suite. Check in went smoothly with a slight delay on boarding due to a large amount of cruisers who stayed on board from the previous cruise needing to be cleared by customs. Our room was ready when we boarded and we found the room was great, with lots of space for our family of four and a spacious balcony to enjoy. We found all the workers to be great, friendly and helpful. We had reserved a cabana on the Lido Pool deck and it was perfect to have our own space while the kids swam, and the cabana service was top notch. Food was good in the dining room, lido, and we enjoyed Tamarind and the Pinnacle Grill, both were excellent. We booked all of our excursions though Holland America prior to the cruise. On Half Moon Cay we booked a cabana and cabana service, again excellent service by our server Daniel. On Grand Cayman we did a trolley ride around the Island and enjoyed that as well. Everything had been great up to this point. For Cozumel we booked an excursion through Holland America called La Casa en la Playa: A Special Retreat. My family (My husband and two children)and I were placed into a Taxi Van with 2 other couples from our ship to be taken over for our excursion. This taxi only had a few working seat belts and car batteries and other debris all throughout. We were driving down the highway when we were involved in a significant car accident. This is where our trip went down hill. The injuries from the accident ruined the rest of our trip. We were seen by medical on board, but I feel like the staff were only looking out for Holland America's protection instead of my best interest and care as their patient. We were sent flowers by Holland America Guest Relations manager Melanie, and assured SEVERAL times that we were under Holland America's care and insurance at the time of the accident since it was their excursion, and not to worry that all my medical bills post cruise would be covered. Not only did this turn out to be false, but we have felt ignored and dismissed since we disembarked. It took almost 6 weeks for someone to even respond to our inquiry on who to speak with in regards to our medical bills, and then we were told it was not Holland America's responsibility at all, that it would be the excursion companies responsibility. To say that I'm disappointed by the lack of customer service or concern during all this is an understatement. Prior to this incident I was ready to book another cruise on the spot with Holland America, but now I'm so disappointed in their lack of concern or care for their customer's, that I will not be sailing with them again. Our once a year family vacation was ruined, and we are not only out the money we spent on the cruise that we didn't get to enjoy, but we are also out the money we spent on the drink packages that went unused after the wreck, and out a ton of money in medical bills, with no one taking responsibility. We would say cruising with them is fine, but we would say avoid booking excursions directly through them and don't expect much in the form of customer service from them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We like to go as a family on a cruise during this week because it is our Spring Break back home and all of us are off work and school for the week. This was our 7th cruise on Holland America and our 30th overall. We have also sailed on ... Read More
We like to go as a family on a cruise during this week because it is our Spring Break back home and all of us are off work and school for the week. This was our 7th cruise on Holland America and our 30th overall. We have also sailed on (Carnival, Princess, RCI, MSC and Costa.) This cruise sailed to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay. This cruise had a mixture of passengers of all ages. This probably had something do to with the fact that Canada and some states in the US have spring break during the dates we sailed. Embarkation – Quick and easy. We were onboard by 12:00 and our room was ready shortly after. Ship – The ship is pretty and classy. The ship was clean and well-maintained for its age. Cabin – We were in an obstructed view cabin. The lifeboat did not block the whole window, so we could still see the ocean and get some light. We had a shower/bath tub which is nice compared to the small stand-up shower other cruise lines have. I liked the TV mounted to the wall with a selection of newer movies and tv-shows. The pull -out couch was surprisingly comfortable. Our room stewards, Rudy and Bong, were very attentive and were always able to meet our needs. Entertainment – I absolutely loved the BB Kings Club and I really enjoyed listening to the music. One of our travel companions never missed a show. We listened to Adagio one night waiting for dinner, it was also good. The singer at the Piano Bar was good too. Dining Room – Overall, the food in the Manhattan Dining Room was nicely done. We did not eat at the specialty dining restaurants. We had Anytime Dining. Service was slow the first night but got better on the second night. I enjoyed everything that I ordered and I thought the desserts were all good. I would like to mention Winda who worked at the front of the dining room each night. I think she was an Assistant Matrie‘d. She arranged for our family to sit together with the time that we wanted every night. She always greeted us with a smile and made sure we were taken care of. The waiters were pleasant and were willing to accommodate any requests we had. We also went to the Mariner Lunch on the first day and enjoyed it. I would recommend the peanut butter pie for dessert, it was to die for. Lido – The Lido Buffet had a great breakfast selection. Eggs benedict, omelets, bacon and sticky buns was my breakfast of champions. LOL. Coffee was alright. I enjoyed the “Make your own” Pasta at lunch time. The hamburgers and cheese fries at the Dive-In were awesome and well-worth the wait. I personally prefer being served instead of touching the tongs and serving myself. I think Holland is the only line that does this still. Some people don’t wash their hands and then touch the tongs or avoid using the tongs at all and pick out cookies with their hands. If I need to wait a few extra minutes in line to stay healthy, I am ok with that. Fitness Centre – I used the gym frequently throughout the cruise. It was not busy so I didn’t need to wait to use any of the equipment. The built-in TV’s were a cool feature. Ports – We have been to all 4 ports before. Grand Turk was beautiful as always. We relaxed by the Margaritaville pool and went snorkeling in the ocean. In San Juan, we went to the Big Fort and toured around the city. In St. Maarten, we went to the beach close to where the water taxi docks, which is always a good beach spot. In Half Moon Cay, we sat at the beach and just relaxed. We had beautiful sunny days for all our port stops and we all came back with nice tans. Bad NO DECK PARTY! I was bummed there was no deck party. That is one of my favorite parts on every cruise. On the 5th day of the cruise, the toilet in our room would not flush. We called to ask for an attendant to come look at it and he told us the whole floor was having toilet problems and it will hopefully be fixed soon. The problem was fixed by the time we got back from port, however, parts of the hallway smelled like a sewer for the remainder of the week. Activities during the day were non-existent on this ship. Lots of name that tune, bingo and trivia during the sea days but not much by the pool. They seemed to have lots of activities for kids during the day from what I heard though. I personally was not that impressed with the entertainment in the Showroom at Sea. I have seen some phenomenal shows on past cruises (Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival etc.) but the production shows on this ship were just ok. The days in ports were not long enough. We are used to 8 AM – 5 PM port days so we ended up getting close to being “pier runners” on more than one occasion. Most of the lunch stations at the buffet were closed by 2:30 PM which was a bit inconvenient, unless you want to shorten your day to make the buffet before it closes. The only stations open were pasta, desserts, pizza and Dive In. Staff cut-backs in the public areas was noticeable especially in the Lido. Ugly This by far was the “ugly” part of my cruise experience. After our day in Grand Turk, we went to the Tea in the Ocean Bar. We had our travel companions with us. The tea used to be in the dining room but now it is in a bar, meaning limited seating. An older lady and her husband were sitting at the back of the bar. I am not sure when they arrived. The tea started at 3:00 so most of the food was picked over by the time they got there I am assuming. A server walked up to them and offered her what was left on the tray which made her stand up and start yelling at the poor server. She started yelling louder and louder and got in the server’s personal space. Everyone was turned around looking at her. She was swearing at the server and told him she was disgusted "they missed her table." What disgusted me the most was this other lady who thought this outburst was acceptable, made a nasty comment out loud about the service/staff and then applauded her behavior by clapping. The supervisor apologized and came back a few minutes later with a brand-new tray of cupcakes and I think that might have diffused the situation. I applaud the supervisor for trying to satisfy the passenger even though desserts identical to the ones served at the tea were just an elevator ride away to deck 9. Overall, We enjoyed our cruise but felt that Holland has cut-back since our last voyage with them. My favorite parts of the cruise were the BB Kings Club, the food and the ports of call. :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I chose this cruise as a present for my husband, he really wanted to visit Key West. The first week was ok. not quite what we expected with regard to entertainment. The second week was a disaster a large group of 100.000 people boarded ... Read More
I chose this cruise as a present for my husband, he really wanted to visit Key West. The first week was ok. not quite what we expected with regard to entertainment. The second week was a disaster a large group of 100.000 people boarded in Ft Lauderdale and completely took over the ship in more ways than one. We lost our freedom dining option that we had booked last August with no warning. We arrived at the dining room on the Sunday evening at our usual time of 6.45 to be told that we could not eat and to go to the Buffet, and that for the rest of the week we would be able to eat at 5pm. in the Manhatten. We went directly to the reception to complain but were fobbed off by the staff who seemed to have no idea of what was going on, a request to speak to an officer was not successful we were told that they were all busy. After several days of complaining we were eventually allocated a table in the Manhatten Resturant at 8pm not particularly what we wanted , but the real problem for us was that we really look forward to joining other guests around the table in the evening who usually come from all around the world, having a great conversation and enjoy having waiter service with a well presented meal, which definitely does not happen in the buffet. Added to the eating problem, the shows in the theatre were all starting later, and the whole ambience of the ship was spoilt. We really think that a) we should have been informed by HAL and given the opportunity to change our booking and b) If a group of this size requests a booking they should have to charter the whole ship. We were not offered an apology of any description for the complete ruining of our holiday, being told that this group had paid a premium to be on board by an officer did not go down well, as it made us feel like second class citizens, Needless to say we will never travel with HAL again and never recommend them to our friends. PS We are seasoned cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it exceeded our expectations. The cruise departed from our own city, for a good price so we booked it a month prior to the sailing. Our stateroom 5127 had a verandah and we would recommend booking one. We really enjoyed a glass of wine when the weather permitted watching the incredible scenery go by. The room was quiet and central, docking twice while we were still in bed and had not realized we were in port until we opened the curtains. Cleaned twice a day by the hard working crew. The water pressure in the shower was great with hot water immediately. Elemis products were of good quality, beds and pillows comfortable. Plenty of hangers in the closet. We had two meals in Tamarind, excellent, all but the desserts that we didn't finish. The cocktails in the Silk Lounge are interesting and very good with the bonus of a lovely view and quiet escape before dining in Tamarind. Pinnacle dining room for lunch at $10 a good value, try the Crab Cakes and the Sable Fish sandwich. Pinnacle for dinner is good but we think Tamarind a more interesting menu for the price if you are just choosing one. Canaletto was good too, however, the atmosphere isn't the same as the other two specialty restaurants but at only an additional $10 well worth it. We were quite surprised that none of the specialty restaurants were near to capacity on the four occasions we dined in them. Did happy hour from 4-5 in the Crow's nest a couple of days and the best time to have a drink as only $1 more for a second cocktail or beverage. Enjoyed the coffee bar in the Explorers lounge too as hubby a bit of a coffee snob. We carried on 6 bottles of wine. Two corkage free as they were consumed in our stateroom. The other 4 bottles incurred a corkage fee of $18 each. We saw this as an opportunity to enjoy quality wine we had been cellaring for many years with a chef prepared meal. It was easily done as the four bottles were stickered and corkage charged to our room as we embarked in Vancouver. We had a cloth wine bag that we transported the wine in to and from restaurants. We had open dining in the MDR. We made reservations usually the day before for 8:00. We never waited for more than 5-10 minutes before getting a table. Service and food there was good too. The ship is tasteful with plenty of art to discover. The ship was sold out but the only time it felt crowded was in the Lido, the rest of the time it was hard to believe it was at full capacity. If you are sailing out of Vancouver on the Nieuw Amsterdam and are interested in bringing on some of your own wine there is a BC Government Liquor store within four blocks of the ship. One of us shopped as the other sat with the luggage at the Pan Pacific Hotel. We arrived at 12:30 to embark in Vancouver and were aboard by 1:30. We understand that this was not everyone's experience so we would suggest allowing yourself ample time. Disembarkation for us was 15 minutes, long lines but it went smoothly for us. We had 3.5 days of rain and 3.5 of better and some excellent weather. The scenery on sunny days blew us away, spectacular. Absolutely recommend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I am a teacher so I am used to the crowds, the children and the craziness when traveling at Spring Break. My husband and I selected this cruise because of the ease of getting from the Ft. Lauderdale airport to the port and because ... Read More
I am a teacher so I am used to the crowds, the children and the craziness when traveling at Spring Break. My husband and I selected this cruise because of the ease of getting from the Ft. Lauderdale airport to the port and because generally, there are fewer children and a more mature crowd on Holland America. We made the right decision. We arrive at FLL at 9; while claiming our bags some Holland America greeters advised us to remain at the airport until 10 because we wouldn't be allowed n the terminal until 10:30. We decided to take their advice and relaxed at the bar with a drink. We took a taxi to the port ($20 for two instead of $19 pp through HA shuttle) and immediately went through the security scanners. We were carrying all of our luggage. They took my husband's leatherman multi-tool; he was very irritated but was told it would be return to him at the end of the cruise and it was. There was no line to check in; we waited in the terminal until boarding stated at 11:30. As soon as we got to our cabin, we quickly unpacked and went to eat in the main dining room where we were served complimentary champagne. It was our first aft cabin, room number 4187. We really liked being able to see both sides of the ship and will book one again. The cabin was a standard size and arrangement. I liked the Elements shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the shower. We enjoyed the on demand movies in the room. I ordered room service for breakfast every morning and it arrived on time and exactly as I asked for it. I even wrote a few things on the printed menu like smoked salmon and it was always delivered. The stewards kept the cabin clean and provided us with the extra pillows and towels we requested. My husband ate French toast in the Lido every morning and enjoyed his coffee there while allowing me to sleep in. We ate four lunches at the Lido "buffet" I like the salad bar where you selected from a plethora of ingredients; I particularly liked the grilled ahi tuna on my salads. I also enjoyed several Asian dishes which changed every day. My husband liked the homestyle entrees. Two bars have happy hour from 4-5; we preferred the Crows Nest and went every evening before dinner.We ate in the Main Dining Room every night. After being seated the first night at a table with 4 people with which we had nothing in common, we decided to asked the dining room manager for a table for two. Although, the only reservation we could get for the entire week was at 5:30, we were happy to be sitting at the same table with the same waiter every night. We could always find something we liked on the menu. When my husband was unsure about ordering the lamb shank the waiter assured him that if he didn't like it he would bring him something else. I don't eat red meat so on surf and turf night there were two lobster tails on my plate. Desserts were particularly good. The beach at Half Moon Cay is beautiful with plenty of chairs, hammocks in the trees and calm water. My husband tried snorkeling but said he only saw one fish. We took a walk around the island. The buffet was adequate. The port at Grand Turk was very busy. We quickly got in a taxi and had a fabulous snorkeling trip with 6 other people through Blue Water Divers, a $5/5 minute cab ride away. I wanted to walk through Margaritaville when we returned but it was so crowded around the pool we decided to just go back to the ship. Amber Cay in the Dominican Republic is still finding its way. The pool is nice and people seemed to be enjoying the zip line and the slide. There is a bar on the top of the hill with an excellent view where we had a drink but they could do so much more with it. I wanted to go to 27 waterfalls but couldn't tolerate the haggling with the cabbies so we changed our mind and went back to the ship. The wind began to blow that afternoon and the captain told us we would be unable to leave the port. They were able to open the shops and casino so life went on. Many people were complaining but having been on a ship when the wind was blowing 30 knots, I'm glad we remained in port. Unfortunately, this caused us to miss our stop in Key West. My three sea days were spent at the pool in the back of the ship where children are not allowed and the rule is actually enforced. There were plenty of chars , towels and friendly people to talk to when I got tired of reading my book. This was my entertainment. My husband and I did not attend any of the shows or activities organized by the ship. We carried our bags off the ship at 9, went through customs, got a taxi and were at FLL before 10. An enjoyable and relaxing Spring Break trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was the third cruise for both my wife and me. All three have been on Holland America ships. Embarkation: The process went smoothly as expected. We had one hiccup somewhat of our own doing where our two children, 9 and 11, both ... Read More
This was the third cruise for both my wife and me. All three have been on Holland America ships. Embarkation: The process went smoothly as expected. We had one hiccup somewhat of our own doing where our two children, 9 and 11, both had low grade fevers. It took about 20-30 minutes to get a ships doctor into the processing area to evaluate our kids before boarding, but we'd probably wait that long in a typical clinic. Once we were cleared to board, our room was ready and clean. Service: I need to qualify that we made a number of requests that go beyond the ordinary for a cruise crew to accommodate. Our son has numerous food allergies. On the first day or two, they struggled to come up with food that avoided his allergens that he would eat. After they got the hang of it, though, they came up with numerous options, even desserts that he could have. They made sure we had the menu for the next day and could preorder. The wine steward had a new puzzle for the kids to figure out every night which made them feel special among a typically older clientele. Beverage service by the pool took a bit longer than we remembered from our previous cruise aboard the Eurodam. Requests for extra towels were answered in just a few minutes. One evening, our son got sick in the room and the room stewards were there within 5 minutes to clean up. In room dining orders were on-time. A request for an extension cord for my CPAP was fulfilled almost immediately. The barista at the Explorer's Cafe could remember both our names and our "usual" within a couple of days. When she'd see us in other areas of the ship, she knew our names. One of the dining officers not only got us into the upscale Pinnacle Grille (after being told they were booked), but was able to make arrangements so our kids could eat with us, stating "it's the least we can do". We had a few billing issues that needed to be disputed after the trip and a dress my wife sent off for cleaning had to be sent back. Otherwise, we felt the service was up to HAL par. The shows we attended were all great, from the "On Tour" group to the juggling comedian...or comedic juggler if you prefer. Half Moon Cay was again our favorite stop and all aspects went according to plan including our clamshell rentals, food and beverage. Grand Turk was the least favorite of our stops which also included Amber Cove in the Dominican (our stop in Key West was canceled due to a weather related situation). Amber Cove is beautiful and our excursion to Ocean World is one we will always remember. Communication was stellar. We never felt like we didn't know what was going on and the captain and cruise director went into technical detail as to why we could not leave Amber Cove until about 13 hours after our scheduled departure due to gale force winds perpendicular to the ship, which exceeded the ships crosswind maneuvering component. We had a beverage package included in our trip and never did see an unexpected charge for a beverage. I read another review about the fitness center being just a set of non-adjustable Precor machines. The fitness center had everything my fitness center at home has...free weights, treadmills, steps, floor mats and more than enough machines for a full workout. All-in-all, it was an excellent cruise with only a few things that prevent me from a full 5-star rating. Multiple HAL employees felt compelled to assist with our son's food allergy situation and our ad hoc requests were all taken care of. We felt very "at home" as repeat HAL cruisers and we put a deposit down for our next HAL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I wear an activity tracker and I don't take it off for vacations. Many of the HAL ships provide what I like to have in a cruise vacation, especially when I'm using an inside cabin, and that's the ability to walk decks ... Read More
I wear an activity tracker and I don't take it off for vacations. Many of the HAL ships provide what I like to have in a cruise vacation, especially when I'm using an inside cabin, and that's the ability to walk decks in sunlight without being in a cloud of cigarette/cigar smoke. The Nieuw Amsterdam has a promenade deck, and an observation deck, and a fitness center. I didn't use the fitness center treadmills because the deck space was generous, which is a perk since treadmilling while at sea makes me motion sick, while walking the deck does not. The layout of the ship is fairly basic or predictable--shops, casino, diningroom, theatre, library, meeting rooms, and snugs. The Greenhouse Spa has both the heated lounges (my favorite cruise ship feature) and the thermal pool--if you like hot tubs, this is the way to go, since the public hot tubs weren't hot. Cost was $249/couple this trip, for the week. I didn't find it crowded, the heated lounges were absolutely toasty, and the aromatherapy sauna stayed fragrant. We did first seating dinner. I think the ship had just taken on new staff, as the first night dinner was glacially slow, soup was cold, and we saw the staff consulting dining room maps. The timing improved every night, no more cold food, and the staff remembered our preferences! Also I am dairyfree, and as often encountered, the chefs accommodated my dietary needs quite well. The cruise director Ross, and the entertainment director Eric, both did trivia during most days, afternoon and evening. I like how Ross prowls the room to make sure people aren't cheating, in this internet age. I only went to one show, Island Magic steel pan, which was a great performance. I participated in the On Deck for a Cause 5K, which was well attended. I think it's a great use of deck space, and a good way to be active while on vacation. The route was enjoyable--I like visiting Grand Turk, it's low key in a way I enjoy. We did a taxi tour; not cheap at $35/person, but it was at our pace, had a stop for browsing for souvenirs and to go to the ATM, and Mr. Huntley was a great guide. I'd do it again. San Juan in the daylight was enjoyable, I think I'll have to plan a Puerto Rico vacation one day. St. Thomas was my favorite stop, as I did the Eco-Tour kayak, hike, snorkel excursion. It was well worth my money. The guides gave us chocolate to get the salt out of our mouths, nice touch. I need to write a review just for this excursion. Anyway, Halfmoon Cay was the only mediocre stop, and that was because it was a the end, not the beginning. Typical private island experience, plenty of bars and beach loungers, but no hammocks, so we didn't stay for lunch. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The room was a good size, we had a window stateroom on deck 1 (room 1083) but almost every morning, for hours, there was pounding and an angle grinder being used. Not relaxing or able to sleep in on days we wanted to. Food was better than ... Read More
The room was a good size, we had a window stateroom on deck 1 (room 1083) but almost every morning, for hours, there was pounding and an angle grinder being used. Not relaxing or able to sleep in on days we wanted to. Food was better than other ships we'd been on, but the assigned dining was a joke. Rude service, took 10 mins for the hostest to find our table location and she walked us out into the middle of the dining area, and would look around and look at her map and then ask someone and continue with us barely moving across the floor. It was unprofessional and uncomfortable, I could have found our table faster than she did and I don't even know the floor plan. The staff slowly gets more rude as you get to the last couple days, it was as if they figured they had done their part and didn't need to finish out the cruise. It was to the point where we didn't want to ask any questions or even order dinner because eye rolling became part of the routine from them. We did have some food staff that was excellent, and continued to use that line instead. The queens lounge, the waitress was horrible, never had such rude remarks made before. They gave me the wrong drink but insisted it was right. When I brought it out in the light and showed them that it was the wrong color (ordered a blue drink) very obvious that it was not it, she told me that it was watered down and when she snatched it from my hands after arguing with me her and the bartender riled their eyes and spoke about me right in front of my husband and I. The next night she was passing through a crowd of people (as the show is already playing) saying excuse me with a tray. When an elderly lady did not hear her over the show (and probably bc she was old...) the waitress continued with a louder "....ummm hello!" In an extremely snobby and disrespectful tone. Besides the staff and the room noise our tv in our room had blown speakers so announcements couldn't even be heard well. Sheets had stains, some pillow cases were yellowish. Excursions were not always described accurately. Comedy show was decent, singing and dancing show was horrible, the jazz club and piano man were awesome! But not much else going on besides that Read Less
Sail Date March 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 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
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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