53 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October ... Read More
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October 2019, from Vancouver BC to Ft Lauderdale FL. We enjoyed a few days visiting Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship. Embarkation/disembarkation was fast and smooth. If there were children aboard, we never saw them (ok by us!)...what we DID see was more folks using power chairs and walkers than on any previous cruise! OVERALL RATING: 3.5 stars. As always, the HAL cusine and service staff were WONDERFUL, abosolutey 5 stars. What made this overall experience score a mere 3.5 for us? I've detailed a number of "hits" and "misses" below. ACTIVITES: Woefully inadequate, e.g., TOO FEW trivia offerings (and those offered frequently conflicted with mealtimes). Also, holding the trivia games in the Billboard Lounge--immediately across from the Casino--is HORRIBLE! Noise conflict/intrusion=totally unacceptable. All the fun we used to have singing karaoke and playing trivia in the Crow's Nest aboard other HAL ships: gone. And for goodness' sake, STOP the money-grubbing, pushy Spa/Shops "activities," e.g., the "Foot Analysis" (do you really think cruisers are too dumb to recognize that these offerings are merely poorly-disguised sales pitches?). Why charge $15 for riding a bicycle in the workout room? Please! Suggestions: offer stretching/yoga/etc., at later times in the morning (for those who don't rise at the crack of dawn every day). ADD more fun + games, especially in the morning...DON'T schedule pickleball during the hottest hours of the day...add INSTRUCTORS for bridge, mah jong, shuffleball, other games. And make sure everyone who wants to play card games are accommodated: every time we went, foursomes were already set, denying us a chance to play. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian Jim Short was super, as always, but we didn't care for the younger comedian (the one whose first joke involved a fart. The dance act was OK. Lincoln Center players, as always, were absolutely FABULOUS...most of their classical music offerings were standing-room-only. B. B. King band was very good. We missed having the small jazz trio for listening/dancing we'd enjoyed on previous cruises. SUGGESTION: why not have one of the pianists lead a passenger "Glee Club"? Not everyone enjoys singing, but for those of us who do, it surely would be WONDERFUL to have had the opportunity (as we did aboard another cruise)...plus, it's a super, fun, healthful activity in which older, less physically active passengers can participate. AMERICA'S TEST KITCEN: Unlike the previous cruise when we enjoyed the same ATK instructor, this time, she always looked at the camera, vs. the audience members. As she was less engaged with the audience, it made the experience less fun. Also, there used to be an opportunity to TASTE the dish that had been prepared, which was fun: we missed being able to do that. LECTURER: merely OK. He needs to listen to a recording of himself talking...he has an irritating/distracting vocal tic (a tongue-smack, like a tsk-tsk sound). COMPUTER: The Microsoft Studio person was of great help: solved a Windows 10 issue we'd been having. EXCURSIONS: The Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive beach resort opportunity was lovely, but too short. We got there too late for breakfast, and left too soon for lunch. Having all-you-can-drink between 9 and 11 a.m. is great if you're an alcoholic. The best part of this excursion was the water aerobics in the pool with one of the hotel's staff (a very cute & vivacious senorita). Nobody cared that she didn't speak English!--the acitivity was fabulous, and made us wonder why a water aerobics workout isn't offered on the ship! The Aruba Public Beach Bus excursion was SORELY lacking. The beach was great, but HOW COME NOBODY TOLD US in advance that we would need TEN DOLLARS to rent a lawn chair? We ABSULOUTELY should have been told in advance, or better, include the lawn chair rental in the cost of the excursion (which, all tolled, was basically just the bus ride). Also, to use a bathroom/cold shower involved walking 100 yards and cost another dollar...give me a break! SHOPPING: why so little reasonably-priced/cute women's clothing? Why no sparkly "bling" lanyards this cruise? The orange cloth lanyards were totally blah...I definitely would have bought an orange BLING version! Forget the high-end jewelry boutique (never saw a soul in there). PHOTOGRAPHERS were more pushy/annoying on than on our previous HAL cruises. Plus, if their photos were more affordable (e.g., $5 instead of $50 each), they would sell a lot more, plus avoid being stuck with thousands of prints that end up as trash. PANAMA CANAL: Experiencing the Panama Canal--the whole reason we went on this cruise--was a real treat, although less joyful that I'd hoped. Because I use a walker and fellow passengers were insensitive, I could never get close enough to the ship's edge to see from that vantage point (husband shot the photos with this review). Also, in plain view of the passengers, the cruise director and other staff enjoyed the view from the deck immediately below us: very frustrating, since passengers were not allowed access to that deck. I finally gave up and watched most of the crossing on the TV in our stateroom (very fuzzy camera reception). Later, I realized: AH HA!--it's another chance for the photographers to make money! Their marvelously clear video souvenier was exhorbitantly-priced. DINING: As ever, HAL dining was overall marvelous. Lido is consistently GREAT. Noticing the lovely fresh flowers on our Pinnacle Grill table reminded us of when you used to have fresh flower vases on every table in the LIDO! Pinnacle Grill dining was lovely, but we weren't convinced it was worth the extra money, especially for the Rudy's Sel de Mer nights. New York pizzas could've been better: most were underdone. Burgers were great. BEVERAGES: The biggest hit: at-sea days Mixology classes--FABULOUS fun!! Bartenders Jonathan (Ocean Bar) and Michael (Pinnacle Bar) are amazing! Not so great: the Dale deGroff cocktail selections...many were very weird, and tooooo sweet (Mixology classmates /daily Happy Hour friends agreed): bring back the standard cocktail menu!! SERVERS/STAFF SUPERSTARS: Besides Bartenders Michael and Jonathan, waitress Catherine; Sommolier Alex; and our excellent cabin stewards, Bayu and Andreas. Cruise Director (forgot her name) was pleasant, but nowhere near as engaged and fun a Cruise Director as we've experienced on previous HAL cruises. Would we go again? Maybe for the cruise itinerary, but NOT aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. That's all! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was a cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. The embarkation went very smoothly. I had to fly into Vancouver the day before and there was a shuttle back to the airport, which then took us to the port. It ... Read More
This was a cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. The embarkation went very smoothly. I had to fly into Vancouver the day before and there was a shuttle back to the airport, which then took us to the port. It took very little time for embarkation, and I was directed every stage of the way. My room was ready as soon as I boarded the ship, which was very convenient. My cabin was on the 4th deck at the very front of the ship, and even though the Pacific Ocean was fairly choppy, I had no issues. I found the aft of the ship as choppy as I found the forward. I actually had a great view from my balcony while going through the Panama Canal. The cabin was kept spotless, the 2 cabin stewards were professional and friendly, knew I was traveling on my own and always had a pleasant conversation with me. It was important to me to feel "safe" as I was traveling solo, and I did feel very safe on this ship. The Lido dining area was actually my favorite because I was traveling on my own and could take my food to the aft pool area and have my dinner in the sunshine! I enjoyed the Pizza on the Lido deck and the serving staff on the Lido deck was professional and friendly. The quality of the food was very good, and I really liked the fact that it was not a buffet, but that there were servers who handled your plate and the food. There were tongs for items such as bread, buns. However I did not like to use them because I know there is a lack of handwashing by many people. My one complaint was that the purell stations were "voluntary" and most passengers would walk past them. So I would use a disposable napkin when I had to use the tongs. I did go to the main dining room for some of the dinners, but found that I was wasting time waiting for my food, while I could have been enjoying the sun and the pool. It is also very different traveling on one's own, then on other cruises where I have been with a family member and the dining experience is more comfortable, as I would have to introduce myself, etc., and make small talk with people who I would never see again. However, overall the food was good, the wait staff were very polite and they work hard. I like the music venues very much...enjoyed the BIllboard pianos, BB Kings, the Lincoln Stage, and attended a few shows, I do not gamble or play bingo, or use the spa services, so have no opinions on that. I also did not go to specialty restaurants. The guest services staff were very pleasant any time I had interactions with the. I did have room service on the mornings I did a tour, which was very convenient, and the food was hot and a good start for the day. We were unable to disembark due to weather or waves, and tours I had booked through the cruise line were reimbursed on my Navigator account within the day. Because I was solo, I booked the excursions through the cruise line, and was not disappointed. Don't forget, one does not have to buy anything at any one of the stores or markets that are included in the tour. I went to see the culture, the scenery, and get a taste of the life of other cultures. I did not buy any food on the tours because I had paid for my food on the cruise. I also took my water from the ship, so beyond a tip to the tour guide, if it was a good tour, my days were very economical. I felt safe having booked through the cruise line that I would get back to the ship. The only place I did not book a tour was Aruba, and went on a local bus, knowing I could get back to the ship on time, as the Island is very small and there seemed to be a lot of taxis about. The disembarkation could have been handled somewhat better, but the process was beyond the Holland America Line because it involved American Customs who only had 2 agents on for the international visitors, who made up the majority of the cruise line passengers. So that really slowed things down. But once the Americans made their way through, the customs opened all the lanes for everyone else. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
THE FOOD Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind are amazing, both in quality of food and service. Main dining room and buffet also had great service, but the food was hit or miss (which is to be expected for mass production). Also to be ... Read More
THE FOOD Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind are amazing, both in quality of food and service. Main dining room and buffet also had great service, but the food was hit or miss (which is to be expected for mass production). Also to be expected: the buffet area can be a madhouse at times and finding a table for larger groups can be a challenge. The main dining room was just the opposite: most table around ours were empty on the two nights we ate there. ENTERTAINMENT Billboard Onboard was great fun, especially the request shows later in the evening. It was great to see everyone sing along and have a great time with the two performers. Only caught the illusionist on the Mainstage and was surprised at how great his show was. Didn't spend time at BB King, America's Test Kitchen, or Lincoln Center Stage, but did walk by during performances and all appeared to have standing-room only (Lincoln Center Stage sounded incredible, so sorry to have missed that performance). GREENHOUSE SPA Like any cruise, spa treatments on board aren't cheap, even when they offer special discounts. What's worse is the up-sell on products after every spa appointment. However, we did make great use of the "discounted" spa pass that allowed daily access into hydro-pool, saunas, and ceramic-heated loungers (for $149 per cabin with two passengers). Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Convenient as if departed from Vancouver, about 1 hour from home. Good price as is with most repositioning cruises. Love Florida. Ports were poor. A morning in the industrial section of Seattle was not impressive. Several central American ... Read More
Convenient as if departed from Vancouver, about 1 hour from home. Good price as is with most repositioning cruises. Love Florida. Ports were poor. A morning in the industrial section of Seattle was not impressive. Several central American ports were industrial and not worth stopping at. Huatulca was the best. We missed two ports because the captain chose not to enter because of swells. Received compensation. The ship is beautiful and we appreciate Lincoln Center with classical music evenings and afternoons. One gripe is that nearly every room and hallway has piped in music. I fell like I'm in Wal-Mar. After 22 days one gets pretty sick of the same castratos wailing about love and romance and everything wonderful and hot, hot, hot. Good variety of entertainment but quality, as on most cruise ships, wasn't there. Missed having a dedicated movie theatre. A movie in the afternoon doesn't cut it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Holland America Line - Nieuw Amsterdam Sept-Oct 2018 I thought to myself what a great way to arrive in San Diego from Vancouver for those who don't care to fly, and quite reasonable especially if your prime goal was just ... Read More
Holland America Line - Nieuw Amsterdam Sept-Oct 2018 I thought to myself what a great way to arrive in San Diego from Vancouver for those who don't care to fly, and quite reasonable especially if your prime goal was just transportation with no frills attached. I had high expectations for this 4 day repositioning cruise which continued on from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale which for some I believe was a total of 23 days. My high expectations were due to this ship being newly refurbished in 2017 and we've sailed on HAL before many years ago and it was by far at the top of our list for favorites. I recall the food being exceptional ( before the days of specialty restaurants) and the entertainment stellar. So how did it fare this time around?... Embarkation: Vancouver BC Terminal This was SUPERB! HAL does it right. Your informed of the time you should arrive. Don't come earlier, you won't get any further ahead. Check in was a breeze due to the set time for arrival. We had no line ups whatsoever. After we checked in we were seated in a waiting area for about 10-15 min before we boarded. Once onboard we weren't bombarded with staff promoting dining, activities etc. While waiting for the "Cabin ready" announcement we went to the dining reservations desk to pre book our MDR reservations. Our cabin was ready in about 10 minutes after we boarded. I rate this Embarkation 9/10 Sail Away: That's it folks...we just sailed away. No live band, NO MUSIC WHATSOEVER! No countdown when going under the Lions Gate Bridge. NOTHING! On the Lido Deck they set up 2 tables with black spandex coverings which became a 'pop up bar' in addition to the existing bar. They also set up 2 cocktail tables! Two for 2500 + passengers? They stacked the lounge chairs and tucked them aside so no place to sit except for a handful of scattered chairs and the existing bar stools. I don't know why they had to stack them...It wasn't a rainy day, just overcast but still fairly warm. There was no build up of excitement, the Lido Deck was a bland, boring space. This was sooo disappointing. I hoped when we sailed away in Seattle perhaps it would improve...nope we just sailed away. For this sail away I'm rating it 1/10 Main Dining Room: For being a ship that just went through a refurbishment I expected the main dining room to have all the glitz and glamour that most shipboard dining rooms have. I was quite disappointed with the decor of the MDR. It was definitely stuck in the 70's ( no appearance of refurbishment here) with the orangey red laminate divider walls and serving stations. Our first night we were seated directly across from one of the many open, unsightly, very noisy server stations. We were seated so close to it that the waiters butts were almost touching our table when facing the serving station. Not a pretty site! Also the fluorescent office type lighting above was very dated and bright overhead so I learnt to ask to be seated in a dimly lit area of the dining room, which had a much nicer and calming appearance as you would be seated closer to the windows and it was also much quieter. What we thought was really strange was there was no music, none, nothing even piped thru a speaker system, odd to say the least. We had anytime dining and made reservations as soon as we got onboard for our preferred time. There was one evening we had no reservations and only waited a few minutes before being seated. The food was actually quite tasty and we did enjoy most meals. Always enjoyed my breakfast here especially the Lox...so fresh and superb quality. I rate the MDR 6/10 Specialty Restaurants: Tamarind- This is the only restaurant we dined in while onboard and for the $25.p/person charge was worth it. If you book onboard and dine on embarkation day they do offer a discount. The ambiance was relaxing and peaceful just what is needed after dining in the noisy MDR for 3 nights straight. I ordered the Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon. This was a full size filet, not the tiny piece of meat you get in the MDR, it was cooked perfectly as requested and the flavor was delicious. My husband ordered the Lobster Tempura main entree, where they cut the lobster meat, tempura it and stuff it back into the lobster shell beautifully prepared. The lobster was fresh, tender and not rubbery. There was only one item I didn't care for on the shared appy plate, but that could be based on personal preference, otherwise everything else we enjoyed immensely which made our last evening on board our favorite. Service by the all female wait staff was attentive and courteous. We wanted to tip our waitress but no 'tip option' on the receipt so we had to tip with cash. I rate Tamarind 9.5/10 Dive-In- no fee This grill on the Lido deck served the most delicious burgers and fries. We ordered the Cannonball burger, very yummy. The wall-mount menu has milkshakes listed on it, however you have to go across the deck to actually order them from the bar. Definitely worth it. Rating 9/10 Pizza- no fee Good pizza here, wait time was a bit long over 1/2 hr but they were lined up before we ordered. While we were waiting we could smell cigarette smoke drifting our way so the smoking area is nearby by the bar. Rating 7/10 Tea is Served 3p.m.- Allocated in the MDR where your usually able to order all kinds of beverages. Don't expect to be able to order any other beverage. I love having an afternoon cup of tea, my husband does not ever drink tea so he asked if he could at least order a beer. "NO! This is TEA,TEA,TEA! NO BEER!" was the response. Ok we get that but we also understand that cruise lines will 'bend over backwards' to please you within reason and I don't think it was too much to ask for one beer as a beverage preference. Also a kinder response would of been appreciated. The Buffet: Nothing much to write about this was your average nice buffet, not as big of a selection that we enjoyed on Celebrity but you still get a fairly decent selection. The behind the counter servers plate your choice of items for you which I really appreciated instead of everyone touching everything with self serve buffets. We really liked the salad bar where there's an array of salad items you choose and the 'salad chef' tosses it altogether for you with your choice of dressing in these large salad bowls. The oriental dressing was my favorite. Rating: 8/10 Entertainment: On the Mainstage over the 4 nights there were 2 magic shows-Magic Rocks, a musical production-One World and a comedian-Frances Dilorinzo. We didn't go to the magic shows, the musical production was boring also the young performers timing was off on the dance moves. It was like they were dancing just to get it over with. I thought I was watching a high school performance, it was so bad we left. I was now skeptical about going to see the comedian but she was fantastic. The theatre itself is large and even though it appeared a bit dated it's still beautiful. There was plenty of room and a seat could be found easily on any level. The cup holders are hidden in the chairs arms, but some were a bit rusty and difficult to pull out to open. BB King's All Stars: Fantastic! The music, singers and instrumentalists were all top notch! Three performances per evening all different sets except we noticed on the 4th night they started over again with the same show and music we saw on the first night which isn't so bad unless you were staying onboard for the entire 23 day cruise. Billboard Onboard: The When & Where daily newsletter would just print Billboard Onboard 1970's. So what does that mean? There was no explanation of what type of entertainment this was. We weren't even sure if it was live entertainment. It was right in the casino where we never ventured except to purchase a used casino deck of cards at the lottery booth for only $1. We discovered it after exiting the Mainstage show one evening and this ended up being our favorite night time place to go for drinks and fabulous music. This is the venue to be at to enjoy 2 pianists dueling out tunes from the 60's, 70's and All Requests later in the evening. Now that should of been the newsletter write up. We absolutely loved it! Lincoln Center stage: This was a small group of young Performing Arts graduates playing stringed instruments with a pianist performing Beethoven to Buble. We never saw a full performance but stopped for a bit to hear them play one afternoon and they were a fantastic, extremely talented group of musicians. Overall Evening Entertainment rating 8/10 Drink Package: ( make sure you continually check your onboard account for accuracy) You would think that your drink package regulations, rules, and restrictions should be basic knowledge by onboard staff especially by those who work behind the customer service desk. To me it's fairly simple....we purchased a basic alcoholic beverage package online which included gratuities ($206. ea USD for 4 night cruise) which allowed us to have ANY drink on the menu valued at $9 or less. Anything over $9 we would have to pay the full price for, not the difference in price like you're able to do on Celebrity & NCL. There was no shortage of drinks (except wine-very few at $9/glass) that fell within this price range which was excellent. So did this end up being so straightforward? Oh no, why would it? After signing into the free onboard Navigator App ( which is excellent by the way) to view our shipboard expense account I noticed we've been charged the full price for every drink with an added gratuity! At first I thought they're just listing every drink we've ordered and it will be reconciled later. So off to the customer service desk to double check. " NO" says the young man at customer service. "You have to pay full price for all those drinks". " You see because you ordered a drink for $9 you have to mentally calculate what the gratuity will be, which now brings the drink total to $10.28 which exceeds your $9 package allotment, so really you should be ordering drinks at about $7.75." WHAT??? First of all there are no drinks on the menu for that price and second it's not my responsibility to mentally calculate the gratuity which by the way I already paid for. Then I mentioned that I specifically asked the bartender if one of the drinks I ordered was included, and she said it was. He asked me what her name is so she can be reprimanded for giving out the wrong advice! He then gave us a printout of the drink package policy and told us we obviously need to pay heed to the 'fine print'. His co-worker also peered at our account and said "yeah that's how it works". Frustrated and not wanting to waste anymore time there we questioned a few bartenders about the policy and told them our predicament. They told us exactly what we thought... that we're entitled to ANY drink on ANY menu that's $9 or less which is exactly what the policy states. No gratuity should be added as it's already been calculated into the package price. The next morning back to the service desk we go ( not how I want to be spending this short cruise). Thankfully the other person there spoke to the bar manager, reversed all our charges and apologized for the inconvenience, and thankfully we checked our shipboard account on a regular basis which I advise everyone to do. My advice to HAL is coach your staff so they at least understand and are on the same page for your basic policies especially on something so simple like the beverage packages. Overall: A beautiful boat, but nothing grandeur. Aside from the evening entertainment we found this to be a bit of a boring cruise. Few were under the age of 70 so there was no shortage of canes, walkers and scooters. Kindness and patience is a must. I personally don't want to fill my days with acupuncture appointments, reflexology, and how to reduce swollen ankles and then pay a bomb for their so called remedies. Overall we found the daytime activities quite boring...I love cards but don't play bridge, however we did enjoy Americas Test Kitchen in the afternoons. Earlier I mentioned that there was no music piped into the MDR at any time. Actually it was nowhere during the day anywhere...not in the observation lounge while enjoying a coffee, not in the buffet having a meal, not in the atrium area waiting in line at the customer service desk...nope I listened for it but no daytime music whatsoever except at 2pm for a Lincoln Stage performance which was live. Overall if you want a completely relaxing do nothing cruise this is for you, if you want excitement and a more youthful variety of things to do cruise on another line. Overall rating 7/10 Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We always cruise with HAL as our experience has always been very good. The Nieuw Amsterdam is well appointed, tastefully decorated with plenty of public rooms. We especially enjoyed the Explorers Lounge on deck 11, the baristas make a ... Read More
We always cruise with HAL as our experience has always been very good. The Nieuw Amsterdam is well appointed, tastefully decorated with plenty of public rooms. We especially enjoyed the Explorers Lounge on deck 11, the baristas make a great vanilla latte. There was also a great selection of puzzles, board games and books in this lounge which was well used by the guests. The crew on the ship are very professional and extremely approachable. The cabins are clean, comfortable with lots of storage, and the new flat screen TVS are great with excellent reception and lots of choices of current movies and four news stations. The food in the MDR was less stellar than on previous voyages and although we tend to stay clear of the Lido other than an occasional breakfast, however, this time we discovered that the lunch and dinner selections seemed more varied. The tray of various pastries was a pleasant treat in the Hudson Room (card tables set up). The PA announcements were limited which was pleasant. We absolutely loved the Billboard on Board Piano bar, Andy and Polina were excellent. Also the music in the BB King Lounge was well attended. We caught most of the main stage shows and the majority were good. We are HAL devotees. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We spent approximately 2100.00 $ for two to experience shore excursions. What was stated online was not what we received for most of our excursions. We felt lied to. By day 3 we complained and it fell on deaf ears. By week 2 we ... Read More
We spent approximately 2100.00 $ for two to experience shore excursions. What was stated online was not what we received for most of our excursions. We felt lied to. By day 3 we complained and it fell on deaf ears. By week 2 we complained again....and it fell on deaf ears. We weren't the only ones upset, as others on our excursions also complained. When Guest Services attempted to set up an appointment with Shore Excursions we were told it was not possible because they were inundated with complaints. Also, before we booked with Cruiseplus.ca, I asked the agent if this cruise line was popular with very senior guests. We did not want a disabled cruise, nor a senior cruise. I was told that it wasn't known for this. Not true! There were so many with walkers, scooters and canes. I am quite mobile, and felt that many of the excursions were likely geared for this clientele group. The evening entertainment was not even close to what I have experienced with Celebrity. We have been told that since Carnival bought out Holland America, Princess and I'm sure there are more.....that it hasn't been the same. Disembarkation was also a problem. Our agent had told us to take a shuttle, because then if we were late for our flight then the Cruise Line would have to look after this. The gal at guest services stated that we couldn't take the shuttle as our flight was for 12:05 and the shuttle could only be used by those with 12:30 or thereafter. She then told me to put our luggage out in the hall the night before and pick it up at the terminal in the morning. I knew that this couldn't be correct, as we wouldn't be able to disembark early in the morning, retrieve our luggage...get a taxi (which become hard to obtain when 2,000 people are disembarking), and get to the airport 2-3 hours before our flight. We likely wouldn't make it on time....and then of course the cruise line wouldn't be responsible. The girl behind the counter stated with attitude, "Mam, I'm trying to explain to you!". I gathered my papers and went upstairs to alert my husband that he was needed. We went back to Guest Services and were told by a different employee that we should select Early Disembarkation (Expedited), and bring all of our luggage with us. She agreed that retrieving our luggage at a later time from the terminal likely would have made us late for our return home flight. There were other rude employees, but most were very nice. Sad that one remembers the rude ones though. Costa Rica was a terrible excursion due to about a dozen of us not being able to locate the driver, tour guide for at least 3/4 of an hour. And once again it was an excursion that did not meet up with what was outlined...it was a huge lie. Regarding TIPS! Why would I want to give a gratuity to those that are rude, or to parts of the ship that I don't partake....such as drinking and gambling. Yet when one wants to say no from the start....you are made to feel guilty .... and you are still given a bill at the end of the trip with this included. The night before disembarkation we had to visit Guest Services again to have this removed. We couldn't. They have your credit card....so you feel that this hangs over your head the entire trip. The morning of disembarkation we finally had it removed and I rushed around with envelopes of money to give to those who deserved a tip! Went beyond the call of duty. Whether our stateroom attendants received this money.....I will never know. They had to disembark the ship and go through customs. I had to leave their envelopes in our room. SAD!!! We were extremely disappointed with this 21 day trip! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
21 days - Price was right Very good Ports of Call. The staff were very warm friendly and welcoming and could not do enough to make my stay a very pleasant one. The Cruise Director Andy and the Shore Excursions lady Jessica Potter ... Read More
21 days - Price was right Very good Ports of Call. The staff were very warm friendly and welcoming and could not do enough to make my stay a very pleasant one. The Cruise Director Andy and the Shore Excursions lady Jessica Potter were so helpful - I would really like to thank them for making my lst Cruise a huge success. The quality of shows was very good. with a good variety Plenty of activities I was very busy for the whole trip. Actually I would have loved to have had MORE SEA days. The food was well presented, and good portions not too sweet, healthy.May be more Veggies, but there was always salads The Lido for Breakfast with Salmon and bagels or Omelet - well prepared by Mary and Noel were delicious. Waiters for Orange juice and coffee were very attentive Cabin Staff very friendly and extremely attentive to details. Front Desk, very efficient and warm and friendly. Excursions very good and reasonably priced.Transportation excellent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Long Review 5 Day Vancouver-San Diego Nieuw Amsterdam Cabin Category VF GTY Assigned cabin 4173 (Starboard Aft) Embarkation in Vancouver ***** Easy We flew into YVR Vancouver International and took the SkyTrain ... Read More
Long Review 5 Day Vancouver-San Diego Nieuw Amsterdam Cabin Category VF GTY Assigned cabin 4173 (Starboard Aft) Embarkation in Vancouver ***** Easy We flew into YVR Vancouver International and took the SkyTrain “Waterfront” line to downtown Vancouver. $15 CAN approx for 2. Very easy way to get to Canada Place. A short 2 block walk to the cruise ship terminal - passing right by a handy wine shop to purchase our carry on wine allowance. Arriving in the terminal we proceeded through the maze of security and documentation checks with ease. We arrived around 12:30 pm and were onboard in less than 20 minutes. One of the first things we noticed upon boarding was that the staff onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam was noticeably more welcoming than the last cruise we took on NCL. Even more so than our last Holland America cruise a few years ago on this very same ship. You will never pass a crew member of HAL of any ranking anywhere in the ship without them greeting you with a good morning or evening. Cabin 4173 - This was our first guaranty cabin experience. We had no choice in matter. The 5 day segment did not offer specific cabin assignment at the time of booking. Our cabin was assigned approximately 1 week before sailing. We did write to HAL immediately after receiving our assigned cabin requesting a cabin on the starboard side and we were fortunate to receive a confirmation the next day that our cabin was changed. I’m sure this is not always possible, but we were happy to be moved from a port forward cabin to an aft starboard cabin heading Southbound to be able to enjoy the sunsets from our balcony. Cabin 4173 is almost at the aft end of the ship, but it’s close to an elevator and while not overly spacious and lacking HAL’s signature little bath/shower combination in this category - we just had a shower - it was more than adequate for our needs over 5 days. Cabin Attendent Our cabin attendent “Novi” found us wandering down the hall toward our cabin and quickly informed us that he would be putting our beds into the proper configuation after we put our bags away and headed out for lunch on the Lido deck. First Meal HAL Tradition After unloading our bags in our cabin we headed up the Lido deck for a bite to eat. One of HAL’s best quick lunches is the “Dive-In” located aft. Order your burger, they hand you a pager and a few minutes later you are enjoying a delicious burger, chicken sandwich or gourmet dog. This is becoming our ritual on HAL on embarkation day. Mandatory Emergency Drill Nothing to be alarmed about - unless you have sensitive ears. The blasts in the event of an emergency could wake a hibernating bear on another continent! Mustering was done quickly and efficiently and we were not required to bring our life jackets to the drill. Sail Away It was raining in Vancouver so we gathered near the pool area of the Lido deck and partook in a sail away margarita in the souvenir glass...(plastic nowadays). No live music - just canned tunes and a little too loud for our taste, but apparently loud music makes people order more drinks! Dining Reservations and Beverage Packages Prior to sailing we made (and paid for) reservations at Tamarind one evening. Once onboard we made another reservation for the Pinnacle Grill on the one Gala night. We also prepaid for a wine package. We chose the 3 bottle Admiral wine package for our sailing. We did not buy the all-inclusive beverage package for this short cruise. We just signed by the drink. Our bar bill (apart from the 3 bottle wine package we prepaid) was $261 - that breaks down to $26 per person per day. The cost of the beverage package is approx $50 per person per day and both have to have it -so in this instance we did better on our own. We had a few welcome aboard cocktails, usually a cocktail in the evening and occasionally a cocktail at a show or a Bloody Mary in the morning. Another thing is that this cruise was not a warm weather cruise with many sea days laying by the pool all day, which tends to jack up the amount of libation we would do. Entertainment around the ship Normally we love the Adagio duos. This sailing had a pair of handsome gentlemen vs the gorgeous ladies playing the piano and violin classical “hits” and favorites. This duo played without any connection to the music to each other or to the audience. The second night I jokingly asked them to “smile” and the one on violin obliged me with a smirk, then went back to looking like secret service agents. Maybe I have been watching too many American talent shows, but I think you have to do some degree of selling the audience by connecting to them or to your music. Cheers to the bartenders! From the margarita to the sidecar to the gin and tonic and vodka martini ... I think HAL does a good job of making their drinks worth the price. Comedian Mark Pitta Our first show in the theatre was stand up. An unknown to us. We went to the late show and I think the theatre was about 2/3 full. Some jokes were good and stuck with you. Nothing offensive, but nothing that knocked me off my chair either. Enjoyable. 1000 Steps Our second show in the theatre on Gala night. A song and dance show featuring some great dancing with enjoyable choreography, talented dancers and good singers. Not HAL’s strongest suit, but enjoyable nevertheless. Piano Bar Always lively and full no matter what sailing or demographic is on board! The singer this week was not our favorite, but did the job he was paid to do... keep the place full! Dining: Main dining room. Without a reservation it can be up to a 20 minute wait with a pager during peak times. The main dining room menu is adequate and had some variety, but nothing really special. Service was good but rushed as always. The wine stewards are very rushed in their order taking and delivery of the wine. Lack of personal attention when you don’t have a set dining time and have the same waiter all week. We had the Admiral wine package and the wines were ordinary. I think next time we will opt to bring on our own wine for a corkage fee or purchase wine by the bottle off the wine list (different from that of the package). Lido. Buffet. Great for breakfast and lunch. I love the Congee porridge in the morning or having an omelette made to order. For lunch there is great Asian food and a wonderful salad bar - most items served by the staff to reduce the chance of a norovirus outbreak. There were many types of other foods hot and cold available here - I only mentioned what I tried. The ice cream was not very good. PIzza. Aft deck Did not try Pinnacle Grill & Gala Night $35 upcharge. Dined here one evening on Gala night, however not many people were dressed for a gala! I’m seeing fewer and fewer tuxedos and evening wear. I love dressing up on cruises, but I have to say my husband was thrilled to just bring a dress shirt and sports coat this trip vs penguin attire.. shoes, cumber bun, tie, cuff links, etc. We boarded with only a carry on this trip! ..Back to the Pinnacle food and serivce. Far exceeds the food and service of the main dining room and there is no rush in the service. If you want a great steak, a slower meal this is the place. Sel de Mar (Pinnacle restaurant changes over 2 nights a week to this French Seafood dining experience for a hefty $49 per person charge) We did not dine here Tamarind My birthday dinner was here. Our second experience at the Tamarind on this ship. I found my first experience to be better, I think because it was less crowded and earlier the last time on a previous sailing. We did not get a good explanation of how the menu works this time. Last time we got hot towels before dinner. Our servers were adorable and attentive. The food in here is amazing - just be prepared to think outside the box and try new things. I think that is a safe statement on dining everywhere on the ship. Most of us, as a rule do not dine with menus as elegant as even the main dining room at home. But the dainty little portions and tidbits of appetizers take some getting used to in order to really savor the delicacy of them all. Lastly - our server forgot to recognize my birthday as my husband had requested so he told the maitre’d on the way out. But 30 minutes later back at our cabin - both our servers showed up knocking at the door with a birthday cake singing to me, asking to come in to give me a hug .. I was already in bed! Canaletto Italian fare in a cordoned off section off the Lido buffet area. I don’t like the location of this venue. It’s only a $15 upcharge but the location is a turn off to me. Didn’t dine here, but the menu looks good and we had it on our last cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. America’s Test Kitchen Something new on HAL. A cooking demonstration like the TV show with great tips and recipes. Only drawback is no tasting - the HAL exhibit kitchen is apparently not up to FDA standard of safety to pass out samples! BBQ Lounge (America’s Test Kitchen by day) Hands down this is HAL’s best entertainment on the ship. Great music for dancing and a stroll down memory lane of R and B music. The band: drums, keyboard, bass, guitar, trumpet, trombone and vocalists are amazing and entertaining and true musicians who often are strangers to each other until just before sailing and put together a repertoire of party hits. Al Green, Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye .. and of course BB King. Bravo HAL. Ports Astoria: First time here. Walk a few clicks to the Maritime Museum and found a pub for beer, chowder and free wifi access! San Francisco: My birth city. Got up early to see the arrival in the dark. Took a bus to the textile district to try and buy a mattress at Tuft and Needle (seriously!) .. then a cable car ride from Powell and Market to the Hyde Street turnaround and had world famous Irish Coffee’s at the Buena Vista bar - then back to the ship for happy hour in the crows nest and sail away under the Golden Gate Bridge. Priceless experience. Avalon: Quaint little seaside town on the island of Catalina (once owned by Wrigley) off Southern California. We had a surprise visit from family who live in Longbeach, CA. They took the Catalina Express over to meet us and we saw the island in a 4 person gas powered golf cart, followed by some shopping on the wharf. The old “casino” (dance hall) was closed for the day by the time we got back so we did not get to visit inside. Fun day - only port we had to tender to. Exceptional Service: Diane at the reception desk. We had no plans to race off the ship for a tender as we were in dock from 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm. After we anchored, my husband turned on his cell phone to see if there was any reception. There was a voice mail from his brother who said “I’m here.. we took the ferry over and we are waiting for you on the island”. So my husband went down to get a tender ticket and found out we could not get off the ship until 4:50 pm. All the early tender tickets were gone. That would have been too late for us to meet our relatives because they had to be on the ferry home shortly after that. “Diane” at the reception desk realized our plight and was able to squeeze us onto an early tender. She escorted us down to the gangway and we cannot thank her enough for making our day. Lesson learned. Always get your tender tickets early. Novi our cabin steward in 4173 Novi from Indonesia found us on arrival day. Introduced himself and made sure our cabin was in order each and every day. By the time we returned from breakfast each day our cabin was immaculately tidy and ready for another day of fun. I realize this is their job, but some do it better than others. We felt compelled to leave him a little “extra” at the end. Chef at the Lido who took the time to write out a recipe for me for Bee Hoon Fish Soup. Gym: adequate and busier than expected. Saw grey whales on the elliptical trainer! Thermal Suites: did not participate this time. $109 per person for 5 days. Massage: Prepaid for a couples 50 minute massage. Very nice. This was one of our favorite cruises to date. We love HAL. Terima kasih 1st night: Main Dining Room No reservations - approx 7:30 pm - Embarkation from Vancouver There was a heavy line of approx 15 to put your name in - You are given a pager and we waited approx 15-20 minutes. We were escorted upstairs to the top floor because the restaurant was so busy. Normally the top floor are for those who make dinner reservations or who have assigned dining times. Our dining companions Ron and Ako were from England. We enjoyed hearing their cruise stories. They take about 5-6 long cruises a year. Food choices were adequate and while portions were small, they were more than enough to keep us happy. 2nd night: Main Dining Room No reservations - approx 7:30 pm - Astoria A shorter line than the first night and only a 5-10 minute wait for a table. Our dining companions were from Germany. We never learned their names, but they taught me how to say “have a nice evening” in German. (I think!) I cannot properly write it, but phoenetically it’s “eye-nin schroo-nen hav-en” while communication was not easy we had a enjoyable dinner. 3rd night: Pinnacle Grill Gala night - reservations 6:30 - Sea day 4th night: Tamarind Reservations 7:30 - San Francisco 5th night: Main Dining Room Final night Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I chose this cruise as I've always wanted to go to the Panama Canal. I especially liked that it left from my home port. And, it was very close to a land mark birthday for me. Embarkation went well for one of my cabin mates and ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I've always wanted to go to the Panama Canal. I especially liked that it left from my home port. And, it was very close to a land mark birthday for me. Embarkation went well for one of my cabin mates and myself. My friend needs a walker so we were able to get through the lines quickly. The 3rd person in our room found the embarkation to go well too. Dining was wonderful. The food was great and there was a lot of variety on the menus. I liked how the selections reflected where we were-Mexican food while in that are and Caribbean food when we were in that area, One complaint was that certain items hadn't had enough purchased to last for a 3 week cruise. Wine was one of those things. My mom had purchased a specific wine package ahead of time as it was the only way to get her favorite wine. It came with 5 bottles of wine. By the time she was ready for her 4th bottle not only was she unable to get the 1 wine she wanted but 4 included in the package were also out. We had a super wine steward many nights. Another thing that ran out were the cordial glasses that went with a nightly liquor drink. By the last week of the cruise they'd run out of 2 of the designs-the only 2 I didn't have. Yet at the last deck sale there were boxes of all the glasses. Skim milk also ran out in the Lido at least several days before the end of the cruise. We enjoyed each of the 3 specialty restaurants. Our favourite was the Pinnacle where we had dinner twice and lunch once. Tamarind was also great. We went to the Lido market for most breakfasts and lunch as well as a couple times in the evening. There was a lot of variety in the foods. I would have liked more only semi spicy Asian foods to choose from. The Pizza place was also very good. Breakfasts in the Lido (in my opinion) were better than in the main dining room. I'd get a whole bunch of fruit on top of my waffles in the Lido and just got 2 strawberries and a little sauce in the Main Dining Room. Our group of 3 weren't that interested in the entertainment although we did go to a few things. We would have all been interested in listening to the Adagio strings but the lounge it was in was always very cold. I remembered that about the same area on other ships I'd been on. The Frozen Earth film with music was great. I also enjoyed the 2 films on the Panama Canal. The Filipino crew show was very good and it was nice it was earlier on in the cruise and during the afternoon rather than on one of the last nights of the cruise very late at night. Service was wonderful. Everyone was so helpful and caring. As it was a 3 week cruise there was more time to chat with some of the people who helped us and to learn more about them. There was one area of the Lido Market area that we knew we wouldn't get as much service as the rest. We just avoided that area. Internet service was horrible. I paid $175 for 500 minutes and used all but 14 minutes. Most of the time I used was spent either waiting for sites to load and to deal with being logged off in the middle of doing something. For the type of service that is able to be found on ships there should be no charge or a very little charge. Ports: Astoria; Hardly seemed worth the effort of docking there. Previously when I'd been there on a cruise there was a nice craft market right next to the dock. This time there wasn't. I didn't feel like walking into town for their Sunday Market so just went back on the ship. San Francisco: Nice stop. One passenger in our cabin went on a city hop on hop off bus tour and enjoyed that. The other 2 of us went to Pier 39. That was fun. It was nice to be able to walk along the pier. We were too tired to walk all the way to Ghiardellis. I liked having access to the bow on deck 5 to watch us leave port and sail under the Golden Gate bridge. Avalon: My mother and friend got off as they like Tenders. It was quite rough so I stayed on board. They didn't find much of any interest on shore. San Diego: Again, my friend did a hop on hop off shore based tour and enjoyed that. My mother and I went on the trolley and went shopping. We've been to San Diego before so weren't really interested in any of the ship based tours. Cabo San Lucas: This is where my friend and I went on a Dolphin excursion. It was wonderful. It's too bad that the pictures are so expensive and there aren't less expensive options. Also, it was stated in the information on the excursion that we would go into waist deep water to interact with the dolphins. It was way deeper than that and over most people's heads. I was able to interact with our dolphin on a ledge with shallow water. My mother stayed on board. It was a nice day so I didn't mind the tender too much. There was a small market area which I liked. Puerto Vallarta: Nice port. It was very convenient having the Walmart right across the street from where we docked. At the Walmart we were able to get the pictures on the CD we'd purchased with pictures from our dolphin excursion printed. There was a nice small market right next to the ship and we bought several items. One of the items I'd purchased was found to have holes in it (shirt). The lady I bought it from was very good about taking it back and giving me something else. None of us did any excursions. Huatulco: Where our sudden and unexpected event happened. This was the day where a sudden unexpected squall came up and the wind broke the ropes at the bow of the ship. As soon as possible after it happened the captain came on telling people what was happening and what they were doing to rectify the situation.My friend had stayed on board. My mother and I were on shore. My mother had gone on an excursion on a fishing boat. Once the squall hit (it hit them before it came onshore) they made the decision to come back to port right away. I had just finished shopping at the very nice shopping area and had dipped my feet in the water when a huge gust of wind and sideways rain hit. I was able to find shelter under an awning behind a small cantina. At some point during those first few minutes we heard a huge bang. One of the people sheltering with us worked for the ship and found out quickly that the rope had broken. The people at the cantina were very nice and had all of us come inside. We were able to see the ship from there and could see it was no longer at the dock. Once the rain lightened off I started going from area to area to see if I could find my mother. It was confusing at first as several men were telling us to go to a hotel with them to wait until we could get back on the ship. At first no one trusted them as we thought they were just trying to sell us something. But, finally several HAL staff told us it was ok and to go to the hotel where we could dry off and at least get some coffee. I found my mother on the way to the hotel. We found the staff with the ship were tremendous. They kept us apprised of their efforts at getting us back on the ship. We were told around 1 (storm had hit at 11) that they would be starting to take people back to the ship by tender around 2. Shortly after 2 we were tod that there were 2 tenders but as there were over 1200 people on shore it would take a long time to get everyone back. No one wanted to stay at the hotel and all went out to join the long line to get onto a tender. There was one man from the ship who went up and down the line telling everyone what was going on. He said there had been nothing on their radar or in weather reports that had predicted the story. One of the tenders broke down but everyone was quiet and patient. Finally around 3;30 we were told they had the gangway back up on the ship so we could go back that way. We all took off right away. Once we were on the ship we were told the Lido had been kept open so we were finally able to eat. I was very impressed how the captain and his crew handled this event. They made sure everyone knew what was going on. Before the storm I'd been shopping. There was a small market right near the dock and then another one a block or so away. I found the people outside of the stores to be quite annoying and persistent trying to get you to go to their stores, go on tours, etc. Puerto Chiapis: My friend and I went on the excursion to a cooperative Banana plantation. We also visited a school and got to visit the children and then watch them do several dances for us. Then our bus went to the banana plantation to see how things work.It was very interesting. Then we went to a local church where we were served a tamale for lunch. For me, this excursion was almost as good as the dolphin one. I loved being with the children. I was given pictures drawn by a couple of children. I will treasure them. We learned a lot about how the Mexican government encourages education. My mother stayed on board. There was a small indoor shopping area just outside the port. From what I can remember there was no bartering in those stores. Puerto Quetzal: We had to dock at a commercial section of the port that was further away from everything than had been planned. HAL put on several shuttle buses that took us to the market area. I think it was one of the best at any of our ports. It was quite large-circular so I got lost of course but it had lots of different things. Lots of bartering. We only stayed onshore for about an hour. It was too hot. Corinto: Again, we were at a very industrialized port. There was a small market a short way from where the ship was docked. It didn't have too much although both my friend and I found a couple of things to buy. It was kind of interesting as this seemed to be the town market with fruit and vegetables as well as used toys and clothes. Again, we only stayed on shore for a short time as it was too hot. Puntarenas: This was another difficult day for the Captain and passengers. We were warned ahead of time that it was a narrow dock with 2 ships tying up. We had planned on going on a train ride and boat ride but my mother was ill so we cancelled. It turned out that the people on that excursion were among the greatly delayed passengers and that as the excursion had left late much of where they went was dark by the time they got there. As we weren't among those who were on the excursions we can't really comment on how it was all handled. I know many were mad about various things including waiting a long time in the hot sun for their buses to arrive. At 8 pm we were told that we were still waiting for 260 passengers. The ship had been due to depart at 6:30, The last passengers arrived on board just after 10. There was a market just off the dock. It was a long dock. The market was ok, .but very crowded. There were 2 ships in port at the same time. If the aisle in the middle had been wider it would have been easier for people to get through and look at each of the stands. There was a beach right next to the dock so I managed to dip my feet in the water there too. Panama Canal: What an awesome experience. The day before we went through it 2 movies were shown about the making of the canal. These helped us understand more of what an amazing feat it had been to build this so long ago. The bow on 3 decks was opened at 6 am. It was very crowded though. There was coffee and "Panama rolls" and pastries available on outside decks. I found a number of different areas inside and out to watch our progress. The best was up in the Crows Nest lounge. I actually found a seat right at the front-as long as I stayed in between rows of seats. I was able to watch the ship ahead of us go through the locks. And, watched us go through each of the first set of locks. During that time there was a deck sale of items from Panama. I got some nice hand made cloth panels with bright pictures embroidered on. During the first lake in between locks there was time to relax and have lunch. It was so nice to see all the ships waiting to go in the opposite direction of us and on the new canal. There was something to see out the window and from our balcony all day. Finally in late afternoon we decided to just watch the ship go through the last set of locks on the tv in our room. It was captivating. All in all a tremendous experience. Aruba: Our last port. We were docked a little further away from the shopping area than originally planned so there were shuttle buses to take us there. It was so hot that even waiting a few minutes for the bus was difficult. There was a nice shopping area including regular stores like the bamboo clothing store my mother had been looking for. And there was a long row of craft stalls where bartering was standard. We were onshore about 2 hours. It was extra hot with being on the pavement for so long. I had seen another street of craft stalls so said the others could go back to the ship and I'd come later. My friend noticed that my face was bright red. She picked up that I was showing signs of heat exhaustion. So, we left our last port with stores still unchecked by me but that was ok. I was fairly sick for several hours in the afternoon until I'd cooled down. And, that was our trip. I loved it. Yes I would go again-preferably from the opposite direction. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We decided to take this cruise as we wanted to explore the west cost of North and Central America and to experience travelling through the Panama Canal. We had a wonderful trip and we're not disappointed. The food, service and ... Read More
We decided to take this cruise as we wanted to explore the west cost of North and Central America and to experience travelling through the Panama Canal. We had a wonderful trip and we're not disappointed. The food, service and entertainment were excellent. We enjoyed all our HAL tours as well as the walking ones we took on our own. The meals in the Canaletto, Tamarind, Main Dining Room and Lido Market were top notch. The usual entertainment on HAL was very good, especially the singers/dancers, Adagio and of course the BB Kings. We enjoyed the talks on the history of Central America, Mexico and the Panama Canal. The talks about the sea life in the Pacific. Also, the BBC films with music from the HAL band. They had a Mexican troupe that sang and did traditional dancing from each area of Mexico for about 4-5 days (they were excellent). Captain Albert (from Captain Albert's HAL blog) was on board and he gave a talk on the history of Holland America which was quite interesting. I must say I enjoyed sailing on the Pacific as we saw so much wildlife (birds, porpoises, flying fish, sea lions and even a sea turtle). All we can say is that we were spoiled for 21 days and who could complain about that. This was a fabulous cruise vacation (except the heat and humidity, but we survived). We find a cruise is what you make of it, and we have never in our 16 cruises with HAL ever been disappointed. If you are disappointed, shame on you as you only have yourselves to blame, because HAL sure looks after you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My husband and I did a 7 days Alaskan cruise in May 2017. The weather in Alaska was fantastic for the most part. It rained only 3 days one was on port day. Rest of the days were sunny and warm except when out to sea which was cool. We ... Read More
My husband and I did a 7 days Alaskan cruise in May 2017. The weather in Alaska was fantastic for the most part. It rained only 3 days one was on port day. Rest of the days were sunny and warm except when out to sea which was cool. We choose a Cabin with a balcony (cabin 7114) Queen size bed with a couch, writing deck/vanity with a really good makeup mirror. We choose this room because it is not situated below any high traffic area such as pool or restaurant. It was very quiet did not hear any disruptive sounds. Only down side was that the toilet had a constant Urine smell. The Lido buffet for lunch and Dinner had a variety of food. Always packed especially for breakfast (awesome breakfast)...although much of the lunch and dinner food was salty it was still enjoyable plus there was late night buffet fewer chooses in food but still good. The manhattan which is the preset time dining. Portion was small but filling quality better than Lido buffet. This is where Gala night was held. People got dressed up..I was disappointed as I expected It would be like when they would have captain night back in the days (no dancing just get dressed up for an upgraded Menu) The only change from any other night was that the menu chooses were upgraded..so they would have foods like lobster tails. Some people wore tuxedos and gowns but not necessary. A suit without tie or slacks and dress shirt for men and skirt and slacks and nice blouse for women would do. Pinnacle grill which is the premium dinning (extra cost) was waaaay better than all of the other foods we had on the ship. Service was excellent. There is a pizza bar by one of the pools and a burger and fries spot by the other pool. No shortage of where or what to eat on this ship. We didn't go to much of the entertainment that was offered..only to the live band that played all of the nights. They were just fantastic they had the crowd dancing. Overall the service on this ship was just phenomenal. Everywhere we went on the ship the staffs remembered our names. When the boat docked in Glacier bay we rented an Inside Cabana it cost US$50. We were treated like royalty by the attendant and we got great views of the glaciers. On port days we did only one excursion which was in Skagway..took a 3 hours tour over to the Yukon. Not to mislead but the tour bus stopped right at the welcome sign in the Yukon..so we were about an hour into the Yukon. There are a lot of bars on this boat..the bartenders do not cheapen out on the alcohol. They had happy hour at each bar and free snacks to go with your drinks during that time. We bought the Signature Beverage package which was 15 drinks per day per person, any drinks $9 and under. Drinks included alcoholic beverages, speciality coffees, water and sodas. We never went over our max. drinks..we had an average of 6 drinks per day (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) We never had room service as many of the items had surcharges not worth it. One mishap on our cruise that was annoying happened on the first day and took the entire 7 days to sort out. We took the ironing package. Which was US$28.75. Unlimited pressing for both myself and my husband. They ruined by husband's suit (pressed it with high heat) and ruined my linen blouse. We were reimbursed $50 only. They told us we have to contact Holland America's Head Office. My advice give them instructions on how to iron your garments. The gym was well equipped we worked out three of the days..we went early in the morning which left enough to time to go for breakfast at the Lido afterward. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
First, let me just say, Nieuw Amsterdam is our favorite ship now. We’ve sailed Eurodam, Oosterdam and Noordam. All great ships but this one is awesome! The artwork and décor is very nice. The ship is in fantastic shape and the crew ... Read More
First, let me just say, Nieuw Amsterdam is our favorite ship now. We’ve sailed Eurodam, Oosterdam and Noordam. All great ships but this one is awesome! The artwork and décor is very nice. The ship is in fantastic shape and the crew was wonderful. Take a close look at the large mural of New York that is outside the Manhattan dining room, (across from Adagio) you will notice something quite clever. Fort Lauderdale embarkation was slow but normal. The time we could board was pushed back from 11:15 to 11:45. I’m not sure why. The staff handling things were very nice and pleasant. There were no free refreshments that I noticed but there were vending machines in the waiting area. The seats were comfortable enough and the A/C was working well. We had used the VIP Bags-service. They picked up our luggage from the carousel at the airport and it was in our cabin when we got on board. I had never used this service before and was a little nervous but they were great! Communication is very good and it is a very reasonable price for the convenience you get. We had cabin 6053. It is a signature Suite. It is close to the forward elevators which makes getting to the Crow’s Nest and gym pretty easy. In the Signature Suites, the large screen TV on the wall behind the sofa is actually a plus in our book. Sure, you can't watch it from the sofa now but it frees up a lot of space on the counter top and where the DVD player used to fit, not to mention you now have two more power outlets available. On the minus side, we didn't get any personalized stationery this time. I don't know if it was just an oversight or a permanent cut-back. Everything else in the cabin was great. No plumbing issues. For some reason though,, one of the A/C vent covers was completely blanked off with packing tape on the inside. After I removed the cover and stripped off all the tape the room cooled right down which was a good thing because it was miserably hot outside. I never did notice anyone smoking anything on the verandas. For that matter, smoking wasn’t much of a problem on board. The sea view pool area was never really too packed and I don’t remember smoking in the casino being too much of a problem although you could smell it in there occasionally. The Lido was very good for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were many eggs benedict choices and the baked beans too every day. Plenty of juice choices and the coffee only ran out when too many people filled up their travel mugs at once. Lunch was good. You could still get custom made sandwiches and the pre-mades were very good and fresh. Dinner and desserts were quite good also. “The Lobster Fest” was good and the lobsters (I asked for two) were a pretty good size. I do feel like I kinda got snookered on the wine though. The wine steward came around while I was eating my lobster and suggested a glass of the wine he was holding (nothing unusual there) it was a Washington wine and he said it paired nicely with the lobster so I said sure. It was good but he failed to mention that it was $12.00 a glass! As opposed to the normal $8.00. I guess I should have asked. I bought an $18.00 glass of wine in the Pinnacle Grill because I didn’t have my glasses on and it looked like $8.00. And to tell you the truth, it wasn’t all that good. Food and service was very good though as usual. We also ate in the Tamarind and I have to say, that is probably the most exquisite service in a restaurant that I have ever received. Just spectacular! Entertainment on board was good. The singers and dancers do a great job and the comedian (John Joseph) was an absolute riot! Hamish the Cruise director is very nice and personable, he made things fun. Hammish even came to the vetrans meet to welcome us and say thanks for our service. That was a very nice touch. The Activities Director (not naming names) seemed a little lackluster and just going through the motions. He could have been much more “active” in my book. The Kid’s Club manager (Stephanie?)was always having fun with the kids. She did a great job. Andy form Scotland in the Piano Bar had ‘em packed in every night. He was a lot of fun too. In fact, all of the ships’ crew were fantastic. The front office even set up a “chess players meet” in the daily planner when they saw my note in the library looking for other players. How cool is that? The gym was very nice but the Captain likes to take most of the treadmills out of service at certain times for noise/navigation reasons so the wait can be awhile during those times. I've never seen that before. We went on three HAL sponsored tours. The aviary in Columbia was good, the aerial tram in Costa Rica was good, the “Mayan Ruins” in Puerta Chiappas Mexico was a complete waste of time and money. The tour guide told vulgar stories on the bus and then just took us to a shopping district (Said he wanted to “show us his city” where we were stuck in traffic for 45 minutes), then took us to a dilapidated old church where the ceiling was literally falling down on us and then finally took us out to see “the archeological site” which amounted to nothing more than a pile of rocks and some recreated building foundations. He tried to tell us that what we were seeing was 2,000 years old. Ya, right, they let kids climb all over them and chip off souvenirs to take home. What a gimmick. Disembarkation in San Diego was probably the easiest I have ever encountered. Customs literally just glanced at the outside of our passports and we were on our way. We were in the passenger pick up area on the pier and I asked my wife “Did we go through customs yet?” It was that quick and easy. This was another great Holland America Line cruise and we booked our next one while on board. We are doing the Voyage of the Vikings next. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We went with another couple (dear friends) who had never cruised before. I made all of the arrangements, and therefore, felt somewhat responsible for everything surrounding this Panama Canal cruise. The embarkation process, the ... Read More
We went with another couple (dear friends) who had never cruised before. I made all of the arrangements, and therefore, felt somewhat responsible for everything surrounding this Panama Canal cruise. The embarkation process, the friendliness of the staff, and the condition of the ship was exceptional. That's where it stopped! I think the entire experience was that of "cheapskate". 1. They didn't have enough dining room staff to service the number of guests. One night, our dining experience took 3 hours! 2. The food quality was so-so. 3. The offerings at the buffet was the same every day, and very limited. One line on both port and starboard sides. 4. The entertainment was average. About half the time, the shows were with the "singers and dancers" of the staff. How many ways can you make a ham sandwich? I must say, the entertainers brought on board were quite good. 5. There was not enough time in the ports of Cabo San Lucas and Cartegena to enjoy ourselves. 6. The major cheapskate was offering a Mexican Fiesta on the fantail to watch the sunset. They piped in Gypsy Kings music (old and from Spain) over the loud speakers,, when for a few pesos, could have tendered a Mariachi band in to do it right. 7. Getting tired...I could go on and on, however, I think you get the idea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I was lucky enough to be a guest of my parents for this lovely trip from San Francisco, down the Mexican Coast, through the amazing Panama Canal, and up through Caribbean waters to Ft. Lauderdale. First, I'm now a big fan of ... Read More
I was lucky enough to be a guest of my parents for this lovely trip from San Francisco, down the Mexican Coast, through the amazing Panama Canal, and up through Caribbean waters to Ft. Lauderdale. First, I'm now a big fan of reposition cruises as the itineraries are a bit varied. Second, know that this line is indeed for more sedate crowd. Although there were a few, "hipper" activities, don't go on this cruise for excitement and thrill seeking. No water slides or wave pools here, just lovely, nooks and crannies such as the Crow's Nest on 11 forward where an ocean bookstore environment can be found consisting of several computer terminals, vast lending library, specialty coffee bar (extra $) and comfy chairs surrounding the huge windows to laze the day away in. There is also a huge bar and many tables for games, puzzles or visiting. On excursion days, there might be either a guest lecture providing commentary on the wonders of the Panama Canal or the excursion lead providing insight on the town. Also on 11 forward are the private cabanas which I was lucky enough to enjoy throughout the voyage. Our cabana, the Costa Del Sol, was a femily cabin on corner, equipped with 2 large and comfy lounges, table and 4 chairs. Daily amenities were fresh fruit, chilled waters and chilled Evian mist bottles. Almost any food or beverage could be provided and afternoon brought champagne, chic strawberries and frozen grapes. Sprinkled in the day when hot, were chilled towels. Dedicated cabana servers were attentive and charming, anticipating every need and doing best to provide. Perfect spot to spend the day going through the canal. For those lucky enough to be in Neptune Suite, the Neptune Lounge is lovely- note- lounge is almost smack midship on deck 7 so if you want to be real close, book accordingly. Lounge is open 7 am to approx 8-9 pm. And has delightful self serve cappuccino/latte. No hot eggs, bacon etc, but great continental assortment and also meats cheeses a la European boast. And no pursers desk needed for you; the lovely concierges (shout out to Mimi) will care for every need. Our cruise was fortunate to have two great speakers, who provided daily lectures (on sea days) on relevant topics such as Panama Canal history. The other activity which was highly attended were the computer classes. Of course the usual shopping and art auctions were also included as were trivia, bingo, towel folding, various crafts and myriad of other activities. In short, great, relaxing cruise choice for those who wish a more sedate experience and not looking for a bar scene. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Absolutely fantastic!! We love HAL. Everything was exceptional - organized embarkation was very fast, ports of call were great, service was exceptional, all activities and meals were all fantastic, and we can't say enough great ... Read More
Absolutely fantastic!! We love HAL. Everything was exceptional - organized embarkation was very fast, ports of call were great, service was exceptional, all activities and meals were all fantastic, and we can't say enough great things about the exceptional staff. Can't think of enough stellar words to describe all the great things about HAL. Just booked our next cruise on HAL!! The staff on any HAL ship makes your cruise experience absolutely wonderful. No request is too small, no issue is too big to be handled immediately, The staff are always smiling and sometimes singing! The whole vibe of being on a HAL ship makes one feel relaxed and happy in one's soul. And THAT is what cruising is all about. Highly recommend anyone thinking about cruising to book on HAL. You'll be hooked! Have taken other cruises and all HAL cruises are comparable to the one Cunard voyage I took years ago. Truly can't think of another cruise line that offers the fantastic experience that HAL does. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We had a wonderful cruise. A Panama Canal transit was on our "bucket" list - we enjoyed every minute of our 19 day cruise. Dining: our booking included dinner in each of the 3 specialty restaurants. Tamarind was our ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise. A Panama Canal transit was on our "bucket" list - we enjoyed every minute of our 19 day cruise. Dining: our booking included dinner in each of the 3 specialty restaurants. Tamarind was our favorite of the 3. Canaletto was average, Pinnacle was good, but we felt the upcharges there were too steep. We loved the burger place on lido for lunch as well as the pizza. We had several breakfasts & dinners in the MDR. We felt service, quality & presentation were very good. Lido for breakfast or lunch was good, but at dinner the food looked over cooked and held in the warmers too long. Crew: every crew member we encountered was friendly, helpful & a pleasure to interact with. Even though the crew seemed over worked, they still did their duties with a smile & pleasant attitudes. Ship: she was clean & in good condition. We liked the décor and enjoyed the amenities. Ports: we loved them all. Laundry: we purchased the "unlimited" laundry pkg & felt it was well worth the money. Everything came back the next day neatly folded or on hangers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We just came off the Nieuw Amsterdam in Fort Lauderdale. The ship was lovely, the service was impeccable and the food was great. Onboard entertainment and activities need to be reenergized and reengineered though....The only activities ... Read More
We just came off the Nieuw Amsterdam in Fort Lauderdale. The ship was lovely, the service was impeccable and the food was great. Onboard entertainment and activities need to be reenergized and reengineered though....The only activities on the program were related to promotions of shops, Spa, bars and art auctions/lectures. Meaningful afternoon activities were almost non excitant. The ship caters to an older demographics (78 average on this voyage) and had 80% repeat passengers. Having such a high repeat passenger count may seem to be a blessing but it is a blessing in disguise...Passengers eat early and retire early and the only time you find anyone in the bars for cocktails would be from 4 to 5 pm in the afternoon. We were supposed to embark in Malaga on 4 November, only problem was that when we arrived in the port on embarkation day, the ship was not there! The ship was delayed in Barcelona and would arrive in Malaga 24 hours late - and no one had informed us! Due to the time difference, we were unable to talk to anyone in HAL, Customer Service, before late in the day and other than the usual "we are sorry", they were not very helpful. They acted more like "Gatekeepers" for senior management than problem solvers. When we finally embarked the following day, the embarkation was anything but smooth...No representatives from the ship on the dock, no porters and no one to assist - it took us almost 2 hours to embark. We were assured by HAL Customer Service in Seattle that all our out of pocket expenses would be reimbursed onboard. HAL, however, had standard tariffs for delayed embarkation and only part of our expenses ended up being refunded. While onboard we never received an apology for all the stress and problems we had experience, not a note, not a bottle of wine or a fruit basket in the cabin. Nothing at all. Although the Neiuw Amsterdam is a wonderful ship, we would be unlikely to sail with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Very disappointing . We have been on this very ship several times before. Things have changed. Very little entertainment and slow dining service. They seem to have reduced dining wait staff. For a transatlantic there was very little to do, ... Read More
Very disappointing . We have been on this very ship several times before. Things have changed. Very little entertainment and slow dining service. They seem to have reduced dining wait staff. For a transatlantic there was very little to do, limited music options. One piano player who started late every night. Poor production shows. Trying to but the BB King Blues show in the Queen's Lounge was a joke. No seats available and if you could get in the music was so loud you were better off sitting a 100ft down the corridor. A wise guy type of cruise director who was so self- promoting it was ridiculous. The lecturer could hardly be understood from a combination of bad microphone and strong accent. Food was good but selection greatly reduced. Ship is in excellent condition. No problem with room and staff. Embarkment was a circus due to weather. Ship did not arrive for scheduled departure and all passengers had to be packed up and put in hotels overnight. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I am a member of the Mariner Society and have sailed a number of times on Holland America. It had been a few years between sailings and this past cruise was a hugh disappointment in almost every respect. Only the Indonesian staff have ... Read More
I am a member of the Mariner Society and have sailed a number of times on Holland America. It had been a few years between sailings and this past cruise was a hugh disappointment in almost every respect. Only the Indonesian staff have keep the high quality. The food was sub-par. The selections were terrible. Lunch at the Lido was just a mad house of trolling plates and not enough seating. Almost no music for dancing. Dull dull dull in every respect and I am writing this as a senior citizen. The casino would put you to sleep--after you could not figure out the slot machines that is. The deck chairs (if you can fine one) just ache your back and are impossible to get of for senior citizens. The fire on board surely didn't win any positive points either! No more HAL for me. It is just not the same Line I once knew. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was a very lovely crossing. Many more pros than cons. To begin with, the sailing was delayed by a full day due to strong winds and high seas preventing the ship from getting into port. The overnight in Barcelona spent waiting for the ... Read More
This was a very lovely crossing. Many more pros than cons. To begin with, the sailing was delayed by a full day due to strong winds and high seas preventing the ship from getting into port. The overnight in Barcelona spent waiting for the ship was expertly and efficiently handled. Considering the number of passengers HAL had to suddenly and unexpectedly accommodate, this had to have been no easy feat. A sterling performance. Once on board we found the ship elegant, gracefully absorbing her 2000 passengers. The mostly Indonesian crew was nothing short of wonderful, friendly, kind and always happy to fulfill any request. Cabins were spacious, comfortable (we wanted to take our bed home!) and immaculate. Food, for the most part, was excellent. The specialty restaurants we tried, Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind, were superb. Sadly, due to the loss of a day, we forfeited the Azores as a port of call; that was unfortunate as many on board were looking forward to it. Many felt it would have been far better to have sacrificed the uninteresting Alicante. Our major grievance was the lack of quality entertainment on board which was, for the most part, embarrassing. This needs to be seriously rethought. Among the educational offerings, Vivienne Rowan and her series on Ancient Egypt was superb. If you are a night owl or looking for anything fun to do on board later in the evening, it will be a challenge. The movie theatre was always full, folks were always being turned away; reconfiguring the seating might help. And why was there no decent coffee anywhere except at a surcharge in the Explorations Cafe? Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My wife and I have over 120 days cruising on HAL ships and this latest cruise in the Mediterranean and TA was our longest cruise to date. We have been on the Eurodam on an East coast cruise from Quebec to Fort Lauderdale in 2010 and loved ... Read More
My wife and I have over 120 days cruising on HAL ships and this latest cruise in the Mediterranean and TA was our longest cruise to date. We have been on the Eurodam on an East coast cruise from Quebec to Fort Lauderdale in 2010 and loved it, so booking its newest sister ship was done without looking at many of the reviews on CC. I was interested in how HAL compared with Celebrity since we had done several X cruises in the interim and Celebrity had become our new favorite cruise line. I have waited a few weeks to post this review after our cruise to let the highs and lows mellow a bit and add better perspective than the initial off the ship impressions that are colored by the last 4 days on the ship and our experience with luggage as discussed later. We boarded in Civitecchia, Italy rather effortlessly but were a bit disappointed once we reached our verandah cabin on Deck 5 and realized that the lifeboats stick out so far in the entire middle of the ship as to fully obstruct any view of the water when looking down. Cabins either in front or back of the indent on this ship would be advisable if you would be bothered by this. Although this does not affect viewing straight out, viewing the top of the lifeboat is distracting and not expected when you book a the highest 1A category of verandah on this class of ship. The really good parts of the trip on this particular ship was the good attitude, friendliness, and exceptional service provided by the Indonesian and Filipino crew on the ship. Dining in the Lido was very good both in atmosphere of the surroundings and attentiveness from the crew who brought beverages and refills whenever needed. On Celebrity, it is much rarer to get such attention in the buffet. The crew also did a great job in keeping the ship spotless, rest rooms very clean and stocked and cabins done very well in addition. Shows on the ship were for the most part TOO LOUD and we often had to leave when our ears started ringing in protest to the assault from the production staff in particular. The best shows were done by the special entertainers, magician and comedians. The highly touted B.B. King Blues band was good but in the relatively small Queens Lounge, the amplified sound of the band could only be appreciated at 200-200 ft outside the room in the hallway. Personally we greatly enjoyed the cruise director Mario who had incredible energy and a good sense of humor that we appreciated but others have panned unjustly we feel. The string quartet that we remembered from the past has now been reduced to one violinist and a pianist and the former was adequate but not exceptional in any way. Others have commented on the lack of entertainment on the TA cruise we were on. Indeed, we also found it was strange how much of the entertainment was clustered at the same times rather than spaced throughout the day. There were stretches of many afternoons where there was little to do except read or nap. Food on this trip varied from very good to having to send meals back as inedible rather than just bad. Prime rib, lamb chops and salmon were consistently good. We remember the melt in your mouth short ribs on many previous HAL trips and this time they were dry and very tough. Lamb shanks are also a favorite and although good on the NA they must have come from some VERY small lambs compared to what we have seen in the past. Usually I order more than one lobster tail but this cruise had lobster that was only passable and had a chemically-treated flavor. Wife had a beef dinner one night similar to slices from a steamship round with vegetable and a Yorkshire pudding. The beef could not be cut with the knife provided, the vegetable were mushy and the gravy on the meat was extremely salty while the Yorkshire pudding could double as a hockey puck in consistency/toughness. This is the new HAL we have not encountered EVER in the past. GALA nights are a HORRIBLE idea and there is a very limited menu that does not list the "everyday" items of salmon, steak and chicken but apparently some could ask for these as special off the menu items totally depending on your waiter. On some of the GALA evenings, and when we had to send back our dinners, we would just go up and finish dinner in the Lido. We felt that the selection, quality and speed of service in the Lido far outstripped the dining experience particularly on the GALA nights. Fortunately I like chicken and oriental food and both were always good and plentiful in the Lido. We did eat one evening we were able to get into the Pinnacle and it was SUPERIOR. Lunches in the Pinnacle were also good depending on what you order but service is SLOW and asking it to be expedited just did not compute with the Pinnacle staff. Another distinct difference we noted between HAL and either RCI or Celebrity cruises was the lack of any food in the Lido for many parts of the day and evening after the dinner time interval from 8:30 until 10:30 when a late snack is offered too late for most people before bed. No cookies, snacks or ice cream in the Lido during this interval when the food lines closed at 8:30 (strange). The only snacks during these times were limited to what was available in the Crows nest at the top floor at the front of the ship. But maybe that was a good thing involving enforced exercise!! THE BAD: On the last 4 days of our TA crossing, the temperature in our cabin became uncontrollable and the room was very hot >80 F. Others on deck 5 we questioned also said their cabins were hot so we were not alone. Comments to our cabin attendant and calls to the front desk went unaddressed to fix the problem. On the evening prior to disembarkation in Fort Lauderdale I finally had to go down to the front desk and practically demand a fan to enable us to get through packing (we ran it all night). No one this entire time contacted us, explained why there was a problem or apologize for the inconvenience. REALLY BAD customer support we have never seen before from HAL. This is currently HAL's newest ship and we were using a fan! Disembarkation was a fiasco from the delays in getting off the ship, waiting in lines and general sense of confusion. Once off the ship and retrieving our luggage, we could not find one of my wife's bags.....although there was another one in another section that looked almost identical to hers. Long story short, another passenger took my wife's bag without looking at any of the tags and left hers that fortunately had her cell phone number on the tag. Although this is certainly out of HAL's control, they had ONE woman in the luggage area to help MANY passengers who were having luggage problems. When we finally got her attention she called the person whose name was on the tag and confirmed that she had told her husband to take the wrong bag and would be returning to the port area to swap. After more confusion caused by the person who was supposed to exchange the bags outside the immigration area, we finally got out of the port 1.5 hrs after we had exited the ship. There was a HUGE line at immigration that we were able to bypass with a porter because of the luggage snafu.............anyone who was on this cruise and in that immigration waiting line probably remembers me going up and down the waiting line looking at your bags looking for my wife's. Can't HAL do ANYTHING to convince immigration that they need more staff............and we and that other woman actually went through with someone else's bag...........so how effective is immigration security? MESSAGE HERE: CHECK YOUR TAGS CAREFULLY PLEASE......remember that old airport announcement about "Many bags look alike!" In conclusion, it is sad to see some of the changes on HAL since our glorious cruises on many HAL ships in earlier times. The consistent ignoring of requests to have a reasonable sound levels in entertainment venues still is a company preference after similar comments from our previous cruises. We might cruise on the HAL Eurodam or the new ship Konigsdam in the future, but for now we feel that Royal Caribbean and particularly Celebrity offer better cruise choices and demographics. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Having sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam before, I was so disappointed in the entertainment. One night there was no show at all! The music was mostly Motown, not my favorite. The HAL Cats were missing. The ballroom dancing was not available ... Read More
Having sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam before, I was so disappointed in the entertainment. One night there was no show at all! The music was mostly Motown, not my favorite. The HAL Cats were missing. The ballroom dancing was not available some nights and the band had never played together before this cruise so it took too long between songs and they did not play long enough. The staff were wonderful and the food was good but they took out the Deli! I liked the itinerary. We used Cruise Critic shore excursions which were great. Embarkation and disembarkation were very good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We took a 26 Days Transatlantic Cruise after being on 14 Holland American Cruises - but this one was a real problem - it had just come out of dry-dock and not ready when we embarked in Ft. Lauderdale - there were maintenance - ... Read More
We took a 26 Days Transatlantic Cruise after being on 14 Holland American Cruises - but this one was a real problem - it had just come out of dry-dock and not ready when we embarked in Ft. Lauderdale - there were maintenance - electrical - plumbing problems from the time we left Florida - they had installed new carpeting and the pile from this was everywhere - the strong odor from this was very strong - and was quite noticeable in the dining room -- there was no television reception for almost 3 days and some of the guests never got any for the length of their cruise -- the entertainment was not to Holland America standards -they had mechanical problems and had to cancel some of the shows--- being at sea for 5 days - you think this should have been resolved before departing Ft. Lauderdale.. we enjoyed the Flamingo Dancers - they brought on board from Alicante Spain ..the Pianoentertainer. the group fro Dubrovnik.. --- and the Band - that's it - the rest was below par... we really appreciated our room stewards and the dinning room staff - they were wonderful - there were noticeable cut-backs in dinning room menus - and staff - --- We are almost 4 stars Mariners but I will be thinking twice before booking another cruise . Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My wife and I did a 26 day cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam from Fort Lauderdale, Fl to Venice –- with 16 stops covering 7 countries. I have been on about 15 cruises covering many lines. EMBARKATION – Second time I’ve boarded a ... Read More
My wife and I did a 26 day cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam from Fort Lauderdale, Fl to Venice –- with 16 stops covering 7 countries. I have been on about 15 cruises covering many lines. EMBARKATION – Second time I’ve boarded a HAL ship in Fort Lauderdale and fairly long procedure both times. Very poor boarding process compared to Port Canaveral. Overall Embarkation Grade: D CONDITION OF THE SHIP – The ship had been in dry dock for 10 days and looked very good. The BIG problem was a terrible vibration from the engines that was so bad in many areas of the ship you took a risk putting a drink on a table near the pool. Vibration mostly solved but took 5 days! Overall Ship Condition Grade: B+ DINING – There were a fair number of people complaining about the food, but overall I thought it was a little above the average dining room fare found on most big ships. The food in the Lido was decent, too, most of the time. The pizza, though, was absolutely terrible! We had a major problem in the Pinnacle where my wife tried three times to get a medium rare filet mignon – at least something with a red center – and they couldn’t do it! She got up and left in frustration. My halibut was dry and salty. The appetizers, though, were excellent. All in all, HAL seems to have a lot of difficulty delivering meat the way people want to eat it. I don’t get it. My advice: stick to the chicken dishes, very good, and the fish, which was very average. Recognize that the days of getting shrimp cocktail at every meal are over. Make up for it by ordering two lobster tails on surf and turf night! The desserts and many appetizers were good, including the soups. We had Anytime Dining and that worked fine except it seemed they tried to punish you by always wanting you to walk up the steps to the 3rd floor. That’s tough for elderly people or for folks like my wife who had surgery not too long ago on her foot. Overall Dining Grade: B ENTERTAINMENT – The regular singers and dancers were mediocre but some of the guest entertainers were good. A sax player and a comedian were especially good. The Piano Bar guy Jeremy was terrible and a waste though he had a small, loyal following, and the Addagio duo of a piano player and violinist were mediocre. HAL used to have four musicians in their Addagio groups and all were good and it’s an obvious cost cutting move and the music quality has suffered. The one highlight was the BB King’s nightclub, where the musicians and singers were very good. The place was hopping most nights and itwas THE place to go for dancing. Nice addition on HAL ships. As for the Casino, what a ripoff! The machines are much tighter than what you find in most casinos in America and much tighter than the casino machines in Monaco we played during a stop on this cruise. You’d think HAL would want people to win a little money once in a while. I guess not, as the bean counters continue to rule HAL! The tight casinos ruined several evenings. Overall Entertainment Grade: D CREW – The cruise director Mario and port travel expert were very good. In fact, Mario is the best cruise director I’ve ever seen and many agreed with me. Some of the crew would smile and say hello, slightly above average vs. many other cruises. The room cabin crew never introduced themselves to me – the first time this has happened in about 10 or so years on a cruise. We asked them to have ice in our room every night and only got it two nights out of 25. Room was cleaned OK but that attitude of the cabin stewards was get in and get out as quick as we can. The Lido food station area staff was mostly excellent and attentive, in contrast to the main dining room staff which was mostly mediocre and disinterested. About one in three times I ordered ice tea it never came. One night my wife ordered medium rare prime rib, and sent it back, and one of the main dining room managers told her he went to the kitchen to get the best piece possible for her, which still wasn’t even pink! Fifteen minutes or so later when we got up to leave we noticed a couple across from us both had perfectly cooked medium rare prime rib and both of us were furious! We did see examples of good service at times and I liked some of the bartenders. Overall Crew Grade: C ACTIVITIES – HAL doesn’t have enough for people to do during the day. Many of the activities they do have are boring or limited in audience interest. I did enjoy the Microsoft digital workshops and the instructor was excellent for this older crowd. The lectures they had going across the Atlantic were mostly boring. This area needs an overhaul from HAL. Unlike most cruise lines, HAL does not have a kiosk near the elevators where you can check the daily itinerary. If you don’t have your daily printed schedule with you, you are out of luck. That’s poor. Overall Activities Grade: D ACCOMMODATIONS -- We had a standard Verandah room and it was fine. I enjoyed the balcony quite a bit, too. Grade: B+ EXCURSIONS -- HAL does an excellent job most of the time in selection of ports. Only two stops on this 16 stop tour were doggish – Horta, Azores and St. Tropaz, France. Excellent places to visit: Malaga, Alicante and Majorca, Spain; Florence/Pisa, Rome, Venice and Naples, Italy; Mount Etna, Sicily; Monaco; Corfu, Greece, Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Kitor, Montenegro. We had tender service in three ports and HAL handled it well. Let me add that doing a trans-Atlantic relocation cruise was excellent as the ocean was very calm and we sailed to the south and warm weather most of the trip across the pond. Grade: A EXAMPLES OF WHY HAL FRUSTRATES YOU -- Three days in a row I went to one Lido food station where ice cream was served and was told there was only one option for sugar free, mint chocolate chip. On the 4th day, I complained again as a lot of people try to watch their sugar levels and this new person said they have several sugar-free selections on the other side. Why wasn’t I told that on day one! Had several experienced like that. Why no olives and salami on a Med cruise until someone complained about it a bunch of days into the trip? Incredible. 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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