8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, with Holland America, so I have no comparison to make with other cruise lines. It is obvious during the embarkation, that this is not “their first go-round”. Moving 2000+ people onto the floating hotel is no mean feat. Add to the fact there’s another cruise ship, different line, loading for the same departure time. These folks do a marvelous job, the Port of Vancouver is a great place to depart from. I am totally amazed by the comments of folks doing reviews for Cruise Critic. Fortunately you can read all the comments, and sometimes wonder “did these folks travel on the same ship?” How can one person be so positive and another negative. Well that’s the way it is, we are all different and we all see things through different eyes. But with the Cruise Critics’ review, you can at least sort out the wheat from the chaff. every review was negative, then the cruise line has a problem - a mixture gives each line a chance to iron out the negatives. Our fifth cruise, this time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, went without a hitch. Embarkation was as smooth as the previous four trips. Our cabin was ready and we met our cabin stewards. Now, these folks meet several people each trip, how do they remember our names? Holland America trains these stewards to do their job, and part of that is getting to know your clients (and that’s what we are). Our Veranda stateroom was everything we’d expected. There is plenty of room for two and the outside deck is an added benefit. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, wandering around you get to appreciate the effort in making this ship. If your only efforts take you from your stateroom to the Lido or Main Dining Room, you are wasting your travel time. In many reviews I have read that critics have said the trip is boring, there’s nothing to do. HAL regularly prints daily schedules of activities and events. Should you chose to ignore those, then yes, you will have a boring do nothing cruise. Food, does that interest anyone - the Nieuw Amsterdam has every type of venue available, and I had to say they are all top notch. From the Dive In and Pizza place to the Main Dining Room and the pay extra dining. You can have whatever you may wish, you will not be disappointed. On this trip at each stop, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan there were three other cruise ships, all arriving and departing at similar times. That’s somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 cruisers joining the locals. And yet it doesn’t seem excessive. There was a little sea movement between Ketchikan and the northern Vancouver Island, this was to be expected, but had very little effect on us. Weather forecasting sometimes is misleading. If we’d planned our trips on two-week forecasts, we’d never travel. On the week 18-25 May 2019, the weather gods blessed us. Arriving back in Vancouver, our disembarkation was as smooth and our embarkation Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to see Alaska and Glacier Bey, So HA cruise line was one of the lines that goes there and we where advised by our travel agent as well. Ship had good rooms and great stuff. Everything else didn't meet our expectations. Of 7 ... Read More
We wanted to see Alaska and Glacier Bey, So HA cruise line was one of the lines that goes there and we where advised by our travel agent as well. Ship had good rooms and great stuff. Everything else didn't meet our expectations. Of 7 days there where just 5 days of shows on mane stage and most of them where low class performances (other two days they showed a movie). On other stages performances where the same each nice so after first day nothing new. They had just two ping pong tables that where very popular because there wasn't anything else to do. Pool aerie was closed way to early at 9pm and we literally where kick out when we where there at 9pm. Just two activities where organized just last day in a ship but very poor and short (ping pong tournament and song trivia). Buffet food was okay but dining room food was almost as buffet food, not so much special taste food. We knew that HA cruise to Alaska will be quieter experience but it was just bad organized and low quality with a little that they had. And at each corner they tried to sell us something, like creams at spa, good feet at gym, bear at buffet, meal to buy at dinning and so on. We for sure will try another cruise lines but wont suggest anyone HA line. Also we spoke with other travelers that used that line before and they tolled that this year they really very poor organized compare to before. Also we heard from our travel agent that other people where complaining withe their line too. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for a quick break to Alaska. We live close to Vancouver so with no flights it is an easy holiday. We have been doing this twice a year and have enjoyed everything. However, this time there was a a significant ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a quick break to Alaska. We live close to Vancouver so with no flights it is an easy holiday. We have been doing this twice a year and have enjoyed everything. However, this time there was a a significant decline in the entertainment. HA have introduced a new Step 1 dance company which didn't appeal to us. They were 6 dancers, with no singers, no band, and a poor sound system. This is no doubt another effort to reduce costs but not for us. We used to recommend HA to friends, but not now with this decline. Other on stage performances were an illusionist and a comedian which were both good. The BB King band on board was absolutely fantastic - this is what will bring us back to HA. Cherise and Steven were the vocalists and were terrific, and so were the other band members. The "Cruise Director" was very sweet, but not the ever present role of the previous CDs. There was no activities staff, no dance lessons, so Celebrity is way ahead in this area. HA claim the best perks at sea, but we dispute that as we get much better perks on Princess and Celebrity where we have similar status. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I'll sum the whole experience up this way: it was marvelous! Service great, stateroom with balcony was fantastic with ample verandah room with two chairs and two stools plus a small side table, ship was well maintained, overall ... Read More
I'll sum the whole experience up this way: it was marvelous! Service great, stateroom with balcony was fantastic with ample verandah room with two chairs and two stools plus a small side table, ship was well maintained, overall good entertainment and food delicious. We're both vegetarians and had no difficulty finding choices that met our dietary requirements including on the menus and at Canaletto. Minor issues: Embarkation - HAL's portion of the process was excellent but the security/US customs process at Canada Place in Vancouver took way too long....more than 2 hours and it felt like musical chairs. Disembarkation was a breeze as we carried our own bags off to catch the Skytrain to the airport. Some of the Mainstage entertainment could use improvement (illusionists and comedians are not our thing) but we loved BB Kings and the Lincoln Stage Centre musicians so overall the cruise was a great experience! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
5 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We've been on 30-plus cruises and this one was wonderful. We were very fortunate to have perfect weather at ALL the ports. Glacier Bay was the clearest we have ever seen it ... you could see sites we've never seen before. ... Read More
We've been on 30-plus cruises and this one was wonderful. We were very fortunate to have perfect weather at ALL the ports. Glacier Bay was the clearest we have ever seen it ... you could see sites we've never seen before. Absolutely gorgeous. In Skagway, we rented a jeep and drove up to the Yukon. Wonderful drive with many picturesque stops! Much better than I an anticipated. We drove all the way to Emerald Lake, which was simply gorgeous. In Juneau, we hired a driver who took us to many spots the cruise ship passengers don't see. We stopped at Auke Lake, which was beautiful. He drove all over Juneau and our driver was very knowledgeable and worth the money. We just walked around town in Ketchikan. Best boarding ever ... walked right on the ship. Although we are suite/4-star Mariners, everyone walked right on. This could have changed later in the day. Food: We ate every meal, breakfast and dinner, in the Pinnacle except for one night in the Tamarind. The Pinnacle was fabulous, as usual, and we had exceptional service. We also did the Sel De Mer pop-up restaurant which was great. Cabin: We always get an aft corner suite ... perfect for photos of Alaska! Wonderful room, away from everything and so quiet. You have a bacony that wraps around the corner so you can get wonderful photos. Only complaint would be seating at the buffet on sea days ... couldn't find a seat and ended up by the pool. The cooking demonstrations were great! We also loved the classical music venue. Overall, wonderful cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Waited over 3 hours to get on ship because of US customs. Waited 45 mins to get off ship at first port of call and everyone was late for their trips. Queued to get back on ship. This was our first cruise and probably our last. Trip ... Read More
Waited over 3 hours to get on ship because of US customs. Waited 45 mins to get off ship at first port of call and everyone was late for their trips. Queued to get back on ship. This was our first cruise and probably our last. Trip to travel on river from Haines was rubbish , mainly because tide was out!!! The trip said , River teaming with salmon so we could see bears, eagles wolves etc , can salmon swim up mud.. no they cannot, so no salmon, no other wildlife. We went on two other trips neither of which was memorable. The balcony cabin we had was great, staff were great. The entertainment was not to our taste but we did enjoy the jazz group, staff again were great. It was dufficult to find a seat for breakfast on several,occasions, very pushy to buy a la carte extras in the Fine Dining section and lastly DO NOT PURCHASE SOPHIE FfIORE jewellery on board. I did complain but my emails did not get a reply for 5 weeks, that was bad..... Sophie Fiori however, was a joke, purchased something in the sale , had it valued when I got back and it was not worth half what I paid. It is buy and no return so be careful. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After three cruises on the HAL Volendam we decided to change ships and booked our 4th Alaska cruise on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam. We had booked an Oceanview cabin but two days before our sailing, we were informed by email from HAL that we ... Read More
After three cruises on the HAL Volendam we decided to change ships and booked our 4th Alaska cruise on the HAL Nieuw Amsterdam. We had booked an Oceanview cabin but two days before our sailing, we were informed by email from HAL that we had a change in cabin. When I went to the Check-in page I noticed that our cabin had been changed from the Main Deck to the 8th and our cabin changed to a Balcony Cabin. When I contacted our tour agent she told us we’d been granted a no cost to us upgrade, and that we’d retain all of our benefits. This cruise included a drink package, which allowed us up to fifteen drinks per day with a limit of $9.00 a drink. As this was a free package even if we did not use the full number of drinks per day, it was a wonderful addition because all beverages, were included. Even a bottle of water would constitute one drink. In addition a dinner for two was included in the package in the Pinnacle Grill Embarkation was an easy exercise, after dropping off our luggage we parked in the Cruise Ship parking area. Booking the parking ahead of arrival is a money saver. Keeping track of the parking stall is a very important fact of life. There is a period of line-ups but these folks have been doing this for some time, and the whole operation moves very quickly. We noticed that the Nieuw Amsterdam was larger than the Volendam, our favourite watering hole was the Ocean Bar, which on the Volendam was more intimate. However that did not detract from the Ocean Bar, it was larger but had the same feel and we thoroughly enjoyed our visits. We found the bar staff in all the bars very attentive and pleasant. Throughout the ship we found the crew to be very friendly, they were quick with a greeting and smile. Our cabin stewards, Dang & Ang always greeted us by our names which we found amazing knowing how many different people they must serve in each week. We also found our MDR Waiters (Uci and Adi) and Wine Steward (Edgar) made our meal times memorable. If we had a disappointment it was that we found the meals in the MDR not of the quality that we had come to expect from our cruises in the Volendam. The food was good, but just not quite up to the level of the Volendam. The same was true of our visit to the Pinnacle Grill. It has not changed its menu in three years, and again not to the standard we were used to from the Volendam. While we didn’t partake of the buffet much, we noticed a better selection of food than we remember from the Volendam. The dining area was larger and there did not seem to be the crowding we had observed previously. We did use the Dive in which again provided excellent hamburgers and hot dogs. New to us was the Pizza Bar, it was truly a great addition to the Lido Deck eating establishments. Located on the Seaview deck we had a wonderful lunch. Both the Dive in and Pizza Bar give you a buzzer that alerts you when you order is ready. We will not discuss the shore excursions, we came for the cruise and that’s what we budgeted for. In that consideration our cruise was a success, would we do it again on a HAL cruise ship, in a heartbeat. Thank you Holland American for again exceeding out expectations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Having cruised three times prior to this trip, we were aware of what to expect. Holland America had no surprises, other that the fact they upgraded us two days before departure. The Alaska cruise is so good because it is so close for ... Read More
Having cruised three times prior to this trip, we were aware of what to expect. Holland America had no surprises, other that the fact they upgraded us two days before departure. The Alaska cruise is so good because it is so close for us. A four-five our drive to Vancouver and leaving our car in the Cruise Ship parking, the price is very reasonable, if you pre-book. Both embarkation and disembarkation we very smooth, as in the past, these folks know how to handle large crowds. Prior to booking I had investigated the trip, with my travel agent's assistance the trip planning was a snap. Our three previous cruises where with the HAL Volendam, which we were thrilled with. We actually found that the food provided on the Nieuw Amsterdam was good, we felt it was a step below that offered on the Volendam. In particular the Pinnacle has never changed its menu over the past three years, and the quality was below that of the Volendam. The night shows in the theatre were as expected, the magician and comedian were OK. The crew singers and dancers were outstanding - they had a very professional show. Crew members throughout the ship were ready to give a greeting and smile if you make eye contact. I understand this is a problem with some people - to them I say "get a life!" The dining room servers were above standard and exceeded our expectations. From UCi to Adi to Edgar, thanks you for making our travels a pure joy, even though we didn't find the food level to be as good as the Volendam. That is not to say the food was not good, just a bit lower in our estimation for quality. Would I take this cruise again - in a heartbeat - we love the program. Holland America has made us cruisers. We have people who have travelled throughout the world, and always by air travel. As two seniors, we've slowed down and cruising allows us to see those places we've not seen before, or in case of Alaska cruises, something we can do time and again. Thanks HAL. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise due to the date (over Labor Day), itinerary (Glacier Bay and Inside Passage), smaller ship with lots of outdoor space and enclosed pool, and cost. We were able to get the Pinnace suite for less than what a NCL Haven ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the date (over Labor Day), itinerary (Glacier Bay and Inside Passage), smaller ship with lots of outdoor space and enclosed pool, and cost. We were able to get the Pinnace suite for less than what a NCL Haven suite on the Bliss would have cost. This was an amazing cruise from the beginning. I rate the service we received on the NA as A++ top notch! The concierge met us at port and walked us up to the Neptune Lounge and our cabin. The ship's hotel and service staff met us in our cabin to explain how to get the most out of our cruise. In addition, the concierge arranged for a behind-the-scenes tour for us! Amazing! BTW - all of the soda and mixers in the large fridge were FREE. We ate in the Pinnacle Grill (my fav), Canaletto, Tamarind and the main dining room. All were good to great. Breakfast in the PG was our favorite. We also had access to a Lido Cabana which was wonderful. We ate lunch there on most sea days. Great service! We had fabulous weather and great excursions. Unfortunately, the ship had to divert to a different port on the way to Juneau because a passenger had a medical emergency. Despite trying hard to make up the time, the captain did not get us to Juneau in time for our excursion to the glacier - helicopter with 2 glacier stops. Our concierge was able to book us on another helicopter glacier tour which was just as good. We also did the Grizzly falls zip line tour in which was loads of fun, and the dog sled camp in Skagway which was fun and scenic. We saw salmon and eagles on our way to the tours, and even visited the Red Onion brothel tour. In Ketchikan we enjoyed the float plane and crab feast. The crab was the best we have ever had! Fresh and delish! We saw whales, white mountain goats and eagles on our way too. Our favorite was cruising Glacier Bay. It was sunny and beautiful. We were able to enjoy the views from our lovely balcony as well as on the wide open decks. We saw and heard the calving because the ship was able to get up close and quiet the engines. NICE! Alaska is very beautiful and this cruise allowed us to fully enjoy it. Our cabin - Pinnacle Suite #7036. There is a large master bedroom with flat screen TV, large desk with storage area, dressing table, king size bed, large bathroom with walk-in closet area, separate room with toilet, sink and bidet, large Jacuzzi tub and separate shower with multi-jets and rain head shower fixtures. The dining area features a large table that seats up to 6, large bar, crystal stemware and floor to ceiling double sliding doors leading to the teak deck/balcony. The balcony features a hot tub, loungers, 2 couches and several chairs. It is huge! There is also a large living room with sectional sofa, chairs, table, flat screen TV and a queen size Murphy bed. A kitchen with microwave, large refrigerator, sink, toaster and coffee maker is located near the front door. Opposite the kitchen is a second half bath with separate toilet area. We will definitely book another HA cruise - hopefully in the PS! The only down side to this cruise was the lack of night time activities. I wish they had a dance club. The only "club" was BB Kings which we went to almost every night. Good band, but it gets old after a few times. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because it was HAL and all at sea, no land. We had done the land and sea Alaska cruise a year ago with HAL. Didn't like it. Too much land. Embarkation and debarkation were fast and easy. Neptune suite ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was HAL and all at sea, no land. We had done the land and sea Alaska cruise a year ago with HAL. Didn't like it. Too much land. Embarkation and debarkation were fast and easy. Neptune suite cruisers get a little extra attention. Vancouver customs was GNARLY!. Only 2 agents for a couple of thousand cruisers. Computers were down. Should have gone out of Seattle and not Vancouver to avoid customs. Main dining room food was excellent. Our waiters, Agung and Edi were two of the best waiters we have ever had with HAL. Tamarind was my wife's choice and she managed somehow to drag me with her. Food was wonderful. Neat dining experience. I recommend it. Best excursion was Tracy Arm Fijord and Glaciers. Boarded a head boat directly off the Nieu Amsterdam. Lots of icebergs. We got close to Swayer and South Sawyer Glaciers. On the way back to Juneau a pod of Orcas swam next to the boat. Two swam under the boat. Glacier Bay was also wonderful Ship managed to get real close for about an hour. No big bergs blocking our way. Weather cooperated for most of the trip. Only one rainy day which happened to be a sea day. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
As first time cruisers we have nothing to compare against but we were very impressed by the ship and service received. We had a stateroom with balcony on deck 10 which was spacious and comfortable and offered great views from the ... Read More
As first time cruisers we have nothing to compare against but we were very impressed by the ship and service received. We had a stateroom with balcony on deck 10 which was spacious and comfortable and offered great views from the balcony. Our steward took good care of us without being invasive. We quickly decided the buffet wasn’t really for us but we were impressed by the meals and service in the main dining room for breakfast and dinner. If we wanted an extra snack during the day we opted for afternoon tea in the dining room or a burger or pizza on the lido deck which were excellent. We also opted for the elite drinks package which allowed us to choose some rather fine wines etc. Without worrying about our bill. Entertainment wise we were blown away by the musicians in B.B. Kings blues club and spent most evenings there. Entertainment elsewhere ok but couldn’t compete with B.B. Kings in our opinion. We didn’t opt for any excursions through the ship so can’t comment on those. We were blessed with good weather which allowed us to enjoy the days at sea relaxing. Overall the service received from the crew was exceptional and we were greeted with friendly smiling faces at all turns. So we thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise experience. I just wonder if I would have enjoyed it quite as much had the weather not been so good or had we not found B.B. Kings! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I traveled with my husband, my mother & her 65 year old friend.. My husband and me are in are early 40’s and my is in her mid 70’s. I purposely picked Holland America because I wanted to cruise with older people. The staff were ... Read More
I traveled with my husband, my mother & her 65 year old friend.. My husband and me are in are early 40’s and my is in her mid 70’s. I purposely picked Holland America because I wanted to cruise with older people. The staff were wonderful always helpful & pleasant. The ship was lovely. There was a leak in the ceiling near one of bars that maintenance handled professionally. I was disappointed that there was not an adult only pool. The pools were on the small side. The hot tubs were very small & only hold 3 people. The computers on the US customs side went down for 15 minutes so that slowed down the embarkation process. Outside of that it went smoothly. Disembarkment was smooth. I loved that the ship was small because I never felt over crowded. Entertainment: The Illusionist show was fantastic. I enjoyed the America’s test kitchen demonstration. BB King show was fun. Outside out that I was bored. My mom said some of the shows at night were good. There was nothing to do during the day. My mom was bored. Companion thought the orchestra was great everyone else in our party was not impressed. Food: I was so happy that HaL has a menu that has vegan options in the MDR. You must put in your order the night before. The food was really good. The veggie loaf was yummy. I found great options on the Lido buffet. The chef at Pinnacle Grill made me a fantastic eggplant dish. My omnivores companions also thought the food was really good. There were a few misses at the MDR so they would switch out a dish for something else. HAL price for WIFI is ridiculous. $30 for 500mb/day. They call this there premium package so you can stream shows. I can’t stream anything with little amount of data. I am sailing with HAL next year to the Caribbean. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Meals were good, although some of the restaurants were extra, but we weren't told until the end when they asked for the room card. Poor communication. We don't mind paying for drinks (alcohol), but coffee? Daily hotel ... Read More
Meals were good, although some of the restaurants were extra, but we weren't told until the end when they asked for the room card. Poor communication. We don't mind paying for drinks (alcohol), but coffee? Daily hotel charge (tip fee) seemed high at $13.50US per day per person. Pay the staff more! Have it included in the price of the cruise. We always tip the staff and we did this trip, only to discover at the end that we were charged the above amount daily. This cruise is all about shopping and buying, which we were not interested in doing. The uniformed woman who is in charge of the diningroom staff referred to them as her children, which we found rather demeaning as these men and women are adults often with families. She is not their momma as she stated. This is our first and last Holland American cruise. We do not mind paying for an all inclusive cruise, just don't nickle and dime us for little extras! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I chose this sailing for our family because I was looking for a roundtrip sailing from Vancouver, through the Inside Passage. We traveled as a family of three: 1 adult with 2 kids ages 12 and 14. I chose Holland America's ... Read More
I chose this sailing for our family because I was looking for a roundtrip sailing from Vancouver, through the Inside Passage. We traveled as a family of three: 1 adult with 2 kids ages 12 and 14. I chose Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam mostly for the itinerary, but also because it was one of the only round-trip options from Vancouver. Embarkation was a breeze! We stayed in the Pan Pacific Hotel, so we rolled our luggage (we only travel with carry-on luggage) downstairs at around 10:15. We went through the embarkation process and sat for about 5-10 minutes before being called to board the ship. We were on the ship before 11:15, and at around 11:30am the announcement was made that our staterooms were ready. Our stateroom was clean, and only toward the end of the week did I notice a mildew smell from the bathroom. Traveling with two kids, if that's the worst thing that happens in the bathroom I am OK with it! Our Room Stewards were very friendly, and left us towel animals nightly. We left them candy a couple of times, and they seemed to love that. We only attended one show, which was the BIllboard show. It was great, and I wished I had seen more shows, if that's what they are like. We dined in the Main Dining Room each night, and we had excellent service. One of my children has food allergies, so while I had made note in our reservation we also spoke to the servers on our first night. They gave us a menu for the next night's dinner every night so we could order safe food. We were allowed to make substitutions if we wanted something different with our meal. Our wine steward recommended some fun non-alcoholic drinks for the kids and they really enjoyed them. The kids went to the Tween and Teen club every day and enjoyed it very much! They both agree that the clubs were much better than the ones on our previous cruises (with another cruise line that is famous for catering to kids). We used the Holland America online chat service, which is free of charge. This service also had an itinerary feature that could be customized by adding or removing events, which was nice. I do wish the service had push notifications so I didn't have to check it to see if one of the kids was texting me. It also would have been nice to have notifications for events in the itinerary, and I wish they had included the Kids Club hours and events in the service as well. The excursions we booked were mostly great. We went whale watching in Juneau and saw several whales and seals, despite horrible rain and cold wind. We did the Yukon bus and train excursion in Skagway which would have been better if there hadn't been a clearly "bad" side for both the train and bus, and no option to switch seats which meant you had to stand over strangers to take photos. I wish there were stadium seating, or perhaps the out and back trip would have been better so the people on the "bad" side would have had the "good" side on the way back. The highlight of the trip for the kids was the Bering Sea Fisherman (Deadliest Catch) excursion in Ketchikan. They LOVED everything about this! I don't want to spoil it by telling the stories, but they loved holding the crabs and prawns, watching the fishermen work the machinery, and hearing the stories. We also loved watching them feed the eagles, who swooped down and picked up the fish. So cool! We also stopped in Glacier Bay, which was breathtaking. The scenery was surreal. Photos do not do justice to this amazing place! Overall this was a great experience and we can't wait to go back again some day! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
my husband has been wanting to sail to Alaska for years and we have been on at least 15 cruises so I finally gave in and I'm glad I did. Alaska was amazing however I will never sail Holland American again. the service was horrible. ... Read More
my husband has been wanting to sail to Alaska for years and we have been on at least 15 cruises so I finally gave in and I'm glad I did. Alaska was amazing however I will never sail Holland American again. the service was horrible. the staff was so unhappy and they showed it, I did have e good dining room server and one server in the casino that was nice but honestly that was it. I was shocked because service makes or breaks your experience. you could tell they did not want to be there. the food was mediocre to say the least, buffet was the same things over and over, dining room options and quality below par. to top it off they try to save on entertainment and had a show one evening called the Filipino cast show, I felt so sorry for them it was a train wreck. we will return to Alaska on a cruise but not on Holland America nor will I recommend it, if this was someone's first cruise I bet they would never go on another. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Just returned from tour of Alaska/Yukon/Denali and it was wonderful. Variety of ages on the ship. Seemed to be very scooter and assistive device friendly. Yes the Lido is crowded and yes they did a good job keeping food sanitary and ... Read More
Just returned from tour of Alaska/Yukon/Denali and it was wonderful. Variety of ages on the ship. Seemed to be very scooter and assistive device friendly. Yes the Lido is crowded and yes they did a good job keeping food sanitary and moving people through. We had no issues there. Highly recommend Pinnacle Grill. There are other options like going to MDR. Flew up to Vancouver a day early and left from there. Stop in Juneau to use Library to catch up on emails. Glacier was an interesting side trip. We booked through the ship. Took train from Skegway to Foster then changed to a bus. Stopped in Carcross briefly and then on to Whitehorse. Whitehorse to Dawson City. Great time in Dawson City. Very walkable from Westmark and easy to navigate. Paddleboat tour is interesting. Also a free ferry that runs 24/7 that takes you over to area to hike. Museums are interesting. Cultural Center worth a stop. Flew from Dawson City to Fairbanks. Panned for gold which was so much fun and then onward to the Park. Wish we had 3 days in the park. Tundra wildnerness tour is great! You are picked up around 8am and you return around 5pm. 62 miles out and the scenery and wildlife are amazing. Train to Anchorage was fun and entertaining. Guides every step of the way were knowlegeable and helpful. Fly out early from Anchorage back to lower 48. Hated to see the trip end! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise as a family cruise with 6 of us going. Three of the six were siblings. Three were also first time cruisers. One couple had been on this particular ship previously and recommended it to the others. We looked for a ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a family cruise with 6 of us going. Three of the six were siblings. Three were also first time cruisers. One couple had been on this particular ship previously and recommended it to the others. We looked for a cruise in the summer as one cruiser will be going off to college in the fall. A 7 day Alaskan cruise fit the bill, in both timing and destination. We were not disappointed in our choice. Embarkation was smooth, as was disembarkation. We arrived by taxi and were dropped off underground, in a parking and loading area. When we disembarked we took a ship shuttle to the airport, getting us there at around 10:00am. The ship was in great shape. This is the second time we were on her since dry dock last year and she is all spruced up. Although it is one of HAL’s larger ships, it never seemed crowded or busy. Our cabin, a veranda for 3, was in great condition. The sofa bed seemed new. It was clean and spacious enough for 3 older adults. Our other family members were in a lovely suite and enjoyed their cabin, with the larger balcony, as well. We dined in the main dining room, early seating, most nights and enjoyed every meal. Some nights were quicker than others, due to later departures and having less patrons in the dining room, but we never had long waits. One night I had the Taste of Alaskan dinner special, for a 25.00 surcharge, and it was worth every cent. Lobster bisque, crab cakes (3) and King crab legs (8). Yum! We also picked up food in the Lido, the Dive In and the New York Pizza, all of which was tasty. We travelled with a vegetarian and she was given a menu in the dining room where she could preorder for the following evening. It worked very well for her. And if the daily menu had a meal she preferred, they had no problem changing her order. Our dining room steward was very accommodating. We also had dinner our final evening at the Tamarind, one of the reasons we love the 3 larger ships. Dinner was fantastic, as always. The service is always great and the food was delicious. Everyone had something different and we all shared with each other, commentimg on what we would order the next time. We each ordered a dessert and an extra 2 plates of mini doughnuts so we could taste everything. We booked Lido cabanas, side by side, and opened the curtain between them so we had a great place to meet up and enjoy the views while sailing the inside passage. We had 4 floor to ceiling windows and plenty of space. On sea and viewing days we would get lunch from the Lido and eat in the Cabana. We would also start the day there with coffee and juice before heading to the dining room for breakfast. We enjoyed 3 shows in the Main Stage, One World, BBC Planet and the illusionist. All 3 shows were entertaining and very well done. We also enjoyed the Billboard Onboard (having met both ladies as were were embarking we found out it was their first cruise contract). They sounded like thawed had played together for years. Although we usually stop in to listen to the B.B. Kings, we seemed too busy to fit them in this time. We could here them as we passed by and they sounded as good as any other time we have enjoyed them. There was so much to see and do on our cruise that we did not get to trivia or bingo but did manage to lose a few bucks in the casino. The service was, as always, perfect. The staff were pleasant and helpful, with only one exception. We went fir drinks in the Tamarind bar before our dinner the final evening and the server there seemed like he wanted to be anywhere but there serving passengers. We had that once before, in the Pinnacle dining room on another cruise, and found out it was his last day in board. I wondered if it was the same case this time as well. It just seemed liked he had already checked out. (That was the ONLY negative on our whole cruise so we certainly did not dwell on it.) Ports: Tracy Arm and Juneau - two of us did the Tracy Arm excursion and 3 did the Whale Watching excursion, both through HAL. Both were as promised and well worth the money. Everyone enjoyed their excursions. I did the Tracy Arm excursion. The catamaran picked us up alongside the ship and it was a smooth transfer. We then went up the fjord and saw the glaciers, as well as whales, seals, sea lions and eagles. The ride back to the ship was smooth and the guides gave us great commentary throughout. Skagway - all 6 of us took the White Pass rail excursion, starting with a coach trip north through British Columbia to the Yukon, (stopping at Canadian immigration) then taking the train south through the White Pass back to Skagway. This was the highlight of the cruise. We had a great guide/driver on the bus. He was very knowledgeable and gave us great info on the drive up. We stopped in Carcross, Yukon, for lunch, which was delicious, before heading to the train for our trip south. The commentary on the train was also well done. The scenery was breathtaking, both up on the highway and down on the train. Once we departed the train (after going through US immigration) the bus picked us up again to deposit us back at the ship, with a stop in town to drop off anyone wishing to walk around Skagway. Glacier Bay Scenic cruising - wow, you have to see it for yourself. It was a great day spent in the cabana and our balcony. The views were breathtaking. Ketchikan- no one had ship tours today. It was a walk off, stroll through the town day for all. This is where we did most of our shopping and souvenir buying. It was lovely. We would do this cruise again in a heartbeat. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
A Celebrity Cruiser tries Holland America to Alaska (warning this is long) We just returned from a seven day Alaskan Cruise (Vancouver return) on Holland American’s Nieuw Amsterdam. We were a group of 10 ranging in age from 50 to ... Read More
A Celebrity Cruiser tries Holland America to Alaska (warning this is long) We just returned from a seven day Alaskan Cruise (Vancouver return) on Holland American’s Nieuw Amsterdam. We were a group of 10 ranging in age from 50 to 90. We chose Holland America because they had the itinerary we liked the best with generous port times, particularly in Skagway, where we wanted to take the complete train trip to the Yukon. Pre-Cruise We flew Air Canada through Toronto to Vancouver. The Vancouver Airport is very nice and easy to navigate. We booked ground transportation through Perimeter Transportation who provided a Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van for our first two transports and a mini-bus for the final one. They were excellent to deal with and the rates were very reasonable and the drivers safe and friendly. We stayed two nights at the Sunset Inn and Suites. It is located is a nice part of downtown with lots of shops and restaurants and short walk to Granville Island. The rooms were large and well equipped with full kitchens. A complimentary continental breakfast was provided which we could enjoy in our rooms. Cruise Day 1 - Port of Vancouver Our Perimeter van picked us up on schedule and delivered us to Canada Place at the Port of Vancouver where a porter took our checked bags to the ship. The check in process was fast and friendly. US customs was also quick and straight forward. We arrived at the pier around 11 and were on board by 11:35. We enjoyed lunch in the Lido Buffet and were in our staterooms before 1pm. All of our bags were delivered by 1:30pm. This one of the best embarkation experiences I have ever had. Canada Place is tourist draw so there were lots of people waving to us as we departed at 4:30pm. It reminded me of the departing scenes from Love Boat without the streamers. The Princess Ship that departed after us had a huge waving had from one of the crew spots. It was a really fun departure. Main Dining Room We had a table for 10 in the main dining room. Our evening waiters were excellent and the food was good, although the steaks were only so so. On formal nights the menu was more limited, for some reason. The dining room was attractive but nothing like the beautiful Celebrity dining rooms with two story windows looking out the back. The Lido Buffet The Lido Buffet was fine when there were very few of us on board. All other days it was hard to find a seat and most items had to be served by staff. This meant long lineups. We were used to RCI and Celebrity having staff insisting people use Purell when entering the dining areas. While Purell was available, most people ignored it. If they had staff at the entrances with Purell pumps, they could have let guests serve themselves and sped up the whole process. The older members of our group quickly hated the buffet and chose the main dining room for breakfast and lunch whenever possible. The Celebrity and RCI buffets are better run and, I think, have better selections. The Pinnacle Grill Our travel agent surprised us with a free dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. The food was very good with huge portions. I’m not sure I would pay for it, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Day 2 - Cruising the Inside Passage We had a beautiful day at sea cruising the Inside Passage. Some of our group spotted whales and sea otters. We enjoyed afternoon tea in the main dining room and a lovely concert on the Lincoln Centre stage by a Quintet of violins, Cello and piano. The evening show was ear piercingly loud and most of us found it quite uncomfortable. The content was typical song and dance stuff with a weak story behind it. Not my cup of tea, but many seemed to enjoy it. Day 3 - Juneau Alaska Two of us did a tour for photographers that included whale watching and a small 1.5km hike to the local glacier. We saw a pod of Orca whales (only the 3rd siting this season) and some humpback whales. There were a lot of boats out chasing the whales. I would imagine it would be even more crowded with more ships in port. We had three of the maximum six. We’ve done lots of whale watching and it’s always a thrill, even though there are better places to see both of these kinds of whales. Our group was small, maybe 16 and our guide and professional photographer was excellent. Our tour then did a great short hike into see the Mendenhall Glacier. It was beautiful with some waterfalls enroute and great views of the glacier. The rest of our cruise group did a tour which took them to salmon hatchery, gardens and the glacier. They quite enjoyed it. Day 4 - Skagway, Alaska The whole reason I chose this cruise was so that we could do the full White Pass and Yukon Railway tour to Carcross, Yukon. Many cruise itineraries only offer a truncated tour of the line. It was the highlight of the cruise for all of us. The landscapes are stunning and the rail line is an impressive feat of engineering. We stopped for about an hour in Bennett, BC to tour this ghost town that is now a national park. Lunch was served after Bennett as the train travelled along the shore of Lake Bennett to Carcross in the Yukon. Bennett has an interesting Museum in the 1903 train station. We really got a good sense of what the Klondike gold rush prospectors went through before the railway was built. We had about 45 minutes in Carcross to buy some souvenirs before a bus took us back to Skagway. This tour leaves Skagway about 7:30am arriving in Carcross around 12:15pm and returning by bus to Skagway by about 3pm. We had lots of room in our rail car and we were even able to go out onto the platforms at the ends of the cars to take pictures. If you go, get seats on the left if you are going from Skagway or on the right if you are going from Carcross. The vast majority of cruisers choose a shorter rail excursion. I would do the full tour again in a heartbeat. We all agreed that we made the right choice choosing Holland America, if only to be able to do this tour. Day 5 - Glacier Bay This was the second highlight of the trip. Our starboard balconies were perfect for seeing the glaciers. It was chilly on the balcony and we were glad we had brought warm clothes including toques and gloves. We stayed outside for a few hours before going in to warm up. The onboard commentary was awful, but the park ranger presentation in the afternoon was excellent as was the cultural presentation that followed. Day 6 - Ketchican, Alaska This was a short port of call. We took the Misty Fjords and Wilderness Explorer Boat Trip. We saw eagles and humpback whales enroute the fjords. The fjords were beautiful with huge cliffs and some small waterfalls. The onboard commentary was very good and we were served some chowder or chilli. Other food could be purchased. Day 7 - Inside Passage, Vancouver Island. This was even better than day 2 as we missed much of the Vancouver Island inside passage overnight coming North. It was beautiful weather and beautiful vistas all day. Day 8 - Disembarkation We had an 11am flight out of the Vancouver Airport so we chose the option to take our own bags and depart as early as possible. Unlike US ports, where only US citizens can chose this option, there were no restrictions on who could disembark this way. We were off the ship and through Canada customs in minutes and were about 50 minutes early for our scheduled pick up with Perimeter Transportation. Thankfully they also arrived early and picked us up a few minutes after the dispatcher called them up. We were all really impressed with how efficiently the Port of Vancouver at Canada Place was run. Perimeter got us to the airport in good time and offered some interesting commentary enroute. The Good - On board announcements were kept to a minimum with one morning announcement from the cruise director and the traditional afternoon announcement from the captain with navigational and weather info. Celebrity could learn from Holland America in this area as Celebrity has moved to having too many announcements and having the captain trying to sell their crap. It’s one area where Holland America is way classier. - Having connecting balconies was wonderful. - The Lincoln Centre Stage Entertainment was excellent. - America’s Test Kitchen was very good. - Afternoon tea on sea days was really nice. - I was expecting an older crowd as I always thought of Holland America as the “geezer line.” There was actually a good cross section of people of all ages, including a fair number of children. The Bad - The quality of service (outside of stateroom attendants and evening waiters) was not up to what we enjoy on Celebrity - The food selection and quality is better on Celebrity. On formal nights there is quite limited menu and main dining room lunches often had very few options. Breakfast service in the main dining room was iffy...we waited 35 minutes one morning, and four requests just to get some milk for cereal and tea. - The Lido Buffet was awful. Not enough space to sit down and long lineups. - Only two computer terminals on the whole ship and the one printer ran out of toner on the final day when people were wanting to print airline boarding passes. - HAL needs to step up their game on hygiene for the guests. RCI, Celebrity and Disney all insist on people cleaning their hands when entering dining areas, or returning to ship. - The elevators at midship had three different button to press and one elevator was broken the whole trip. A minor detail, but it meant long wait times for elevators at busy times as people pressed three buttons for 5 elevators and they were not synced. - The ship had some elegant parts, but for the most part the design wasn’t that appealing. RCI’s Radiance Class is my favourite and I love the Centrum on RCI’s ships. The Verdict We all agreed that we made the right choice to go Holland America as they “own the Alaska cruise business.” They have they best port times which they share with other Carnival brands and the others get what is left over. They literally own the Whitepass and Yukon Railroad. Our next two cruises are booked with Celebrity and we will likely chose them going forward as Celebrity simply has better service, better food and better ships. If I were Holland America, I’d send some decision makers on some Celebrity cruises to see how it’s done. I think Holland America could be quite competitive if they worked on some of these things. In the meantime, I’ll likely not cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
My husband is recently retired and I will be in a few years. First cruise ever, but I would do this Alaska cruise again in a heartbeat. Spent a night in Vancouver, walked to the ship. The Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam. Very smooth ... Read More
My husband is recently retired and I will be in a few years. First cruise ever, but I would do this Alaska cruise again in a heartbeat. Spent a night in Vancouver, walked to the ship. The Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam. Very smooth embarkation, wasn't sure what to expect. We were only on the ship for 3 nights but the balcony room was beautiful, well worth the extra and the ship itself was clean and very nice. Food was very good in the buffet and there was a pizza place and a burger place that were very good, we ate at the burger place more than once. Everyone on board was friendly and helpful. We went into Juneau at the first port and went on a 7 hour hike to the Mendenhall glacier. It was strenuous but well worth the views and experience. We left the cruise on day 4 at Skagway and started the land part of our trip. We definitely would do the same cruise again but probably all cruise for 7 days, its extremely relaxing. I definitely have recommended Holland America for this Alaska cruise to my friends. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We were on the June 30, 2018 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam from Vancouver to the inside passage (including Glacier Bay). This was our third time on Holland America and our second Alaska cruise (the other in 2000 on Princess). Bottomline, ... Read More
We were on the June 30, 2018 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam from Vancouver to the inside passage (including Glacier Bay). This was our third time on Holland America and our second Alaska cruise (the other in 2000 on Princess). Bottomline, I wouldn't hesitate booking this ship/itinerary based on our experience. For the most part, it was all very good. We did our own air and stayed at the Auberge Vancouver both pre and post stay. I would recommend this hotel for this purpose. With four-wheel luggage, it was easy to walk from the hotel to the cruise check in - even in a slight misty rain. The hotel is in a tall mixed-use building that includes condos, retail, and the hotel. There is no room service, and the free breakfast offered is limited--but for cost/convenience it was the right choice for us. (The others being the far pricier Fairmont or Pan Pacific.) Front desk folks were very helpful. Embarkation was very confusing to get our luggage dropped off. Granted we tried to board early and the offloading was still going on. Based on what pier workers told us there isn't a set place for each ship/sailing to drop off luggage - which sounds crazy given this ship makes the same trip every week. But once we found the location to drop off the luggage the rest was pretty well managed by HA. Just bring your patience with you. We were onboard by 11:15a or so, and our cabin was ready before noon. Lunch in the main dining room was the way to go, as the Lido was a zoo. We rented two Lido Cabanas for this trip (two couples), which was a great choice. It gave us a place to hang out and our steward was excellent. Granted we tipped him well at the start and throughout the cruise, but he waited on us like kings. For Alaska, I would do this again in a heartbeat. (Cost $199 per cabana for the week.) I didn't see anyone in the Retreat Cabanas all week. Food in the main dining room was very good. We ate at the Tamarid the first night (catch the first night 'special' when you get onboard at 25% discount.) The Pinnacle was good, but not as good as our memory of the meal on the Eurodam a few years ago. The Pizza, burgers, and hot dogs all got good reviews from our group. I think the best options for Lido is to get a customized food (ommlete, salad, etc.) made to order. Otherwise, the food we had was just fair. Be sure to at least order coffee via room service, as it is so nice to sit outside sipping your coffee in the morning. (Room Service breakfast was very good too.) Entertainment: We only saw the Billboard night production, which was just OK - but less than you will see on most ships. We missed the illusionist and comedian, so can't comment on that. The orchestra played the score of an Alaska nature movie one night, and it was very good. BB Kings and the dueling pianos were both excellent. We went to the pianos (Billboard) every night. Lots of fun. I also loved America's Test Kitchen classes they had on sea days. The bar drinks were disappointing, and never found the bar or bartender that could whip up something great. Our best bar experience by far was in the Tamirid Bar--as far as quality of drinks - but it was also the worst service. We finally just started going to the bar ourselves rather than have the bar waiter take our order. The Tamirid Bar isn't crowded and has incredible views. The Crows Nest has been ruined with all the new junk they have up there. This space in the past was our 'go to spot' in the past, but not anymore. #fail Holland America. Drink specials were only in two bars at 4pm and 11:30pm - BOGO +$2. Why bother having one at 11:30p on a HA ship?? As many have commented, everything seemed to be a ploy to get you to spend more money--which I don't think is unique to Holland America. The info left in your rooms about buying jewelry was overwhelming and the only port info was a push to go to cruise stores in port. Sad it has come to that. Our shore excursions (not with the cruise line) were with Harv and Marv in Juneau in the 6 person boat. Excellent!! We did a taxi to Mendenhall in Juneau. Excellent!! We did the White Pass (one way to Frasier) in Skagway and stopped off at the Skagway Brewery for a post-excursion drink. Both were great. All that said, I would go again tomorrow -- and would recommend this ship and itinerary. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Dear all My room no. Is 8012 in ms nieuw amsterdam. 23rd June departure from vancouver There are several issues. Let me point out each one 1. I am pure Hindu vegetarian traveller. Before booking I had clearly asked that I need ... Read More
Dear all My room no. Is 8012 in ms nieuw amsterdam. 23rd June departure from vancouver There are several issues. Let me point out each one 1. I am pure Hindu vegetarian traveller. Before booking I had clearly asked that I need Indian vegetarian meal. I was clearly told yes Holland America is best vegetarian friendly. On coming the same turned to worst nightmare On first day of lunch it was told that there were less supply as new supply is being refilled and from tommorow you will get variety of food. Told ok no problem. Let's manage a day while all other had there full option to eat. From 2nd day the same is situation till day 6.either something is over or we will do tommorow but there is no tommorow than. Had Worst experience where I had taken a naan and just yogurt to each and tried to break naam with hand and in couldn't and than with teeth than too it was unbreakable. Given it to chef MR mani who told me this is hard one requested by guest but no guest request a UNBREAKABLE NAAN as it is to eat and not a sovenier at the room I was told daily to contact Mr mani and he will make seperate but my simple question is why we are not provided quality food and substandard is done between guest who complains and some they are normal and no complain gets the unbreakable naan. Matter reported to charnea guest manager at lido market. Most Indian on cruise if asked are satisfied than you can see the reply 15 are there in my group. The best person who eats in to most item in our group it wss also now fed up. There are no variety. I had complained on day 3rd breakfast where I had waited 1 hrs for a menu item before the steward came to me and told item is wrongly written and had complained to Denise who was manager for in room dining and she called chef Mr siva Kumar who says he is only one Indian chef and have 120 people to handle alone. There is no fault of him seems and so called Denise in front of Mr siva Kumar and told her what Mr siva said as this is fault of Holland America side that enough staff was not provided though clear booking was done with passport details nationality and even telling our food preference to booking agent. Even in Indian item. Name tags are not being put and the same counter is mixed with non vegetarian. 2nd greenhouse spa Offered hydro pool and thermal suite package at 219 per couple and was booked by me immediately on the day of embarkation and was told only last 4 space left 35 couple. 70 person is the max allowed. All good for 2 days and than came the day of skagway where board was kept for the same thing of 130 dollars which was only for skagway joining passengers but to my surprise they took booking from all the guests who boarded from Vancouver too and with bargained price of 90-100 dollars for couple. Right now there are much more than 70 persons and had told first day that I would only do it if the max cap of 70 is maintained. It is like public pool now and also with this bargain thing totally dissatisfied with working and demand a strong refund for the same. Also all general public is entering the hydro pool as the door is not kept closed 3rd room shower had fallen when it was turned on leg on first day of cruise which can't be allowed as it was not checked 4th room ac not working properly complained on first day is not resolved till date. 5th highly overcharged from exc tours. Don't buy they don't care for us Team to my surprise I found that white pass railway done by me through exc tours is also price higher than the price given on its official website Matter report to Mr lyron who was not ready to agree the fact first that it's overpriced. After giving him proof he have taken time and than comes with terms and conditions no where published. Mr lyron says this offer is only for online purchase and sent letter of terms which wasn't available online. no where that terms are published online Also if its for online only it should have been clearly written on main page This is program with Holland America that you try to earn 10 dollars more for anything and everything after normal profit and than just tell to read terms where nothing was told to us like this. Point 1 reported to Denise and charnea as well as guest manager Mr Jorn Point 2 reported to mr jorn who committed me to get back to me within next 24 hrs. Point 3 and 4 reported to housekeeping Point 5 reported to lyron exc manager on board Read Less
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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