Sail Date: September 2015
This was our 1st Holland America Cruise. The Nieuw Amsterdam was a very nice ship and not too glitzy. The communal rooms and bars were all very nice but in general walking around the ship was cold and we required a sweater or cardigan. ... Read More
This was our 1st Holland America Cruise. The Nieuw Amsterdam was a very nice ship and not too glitzy. The communal rooms and bars were all very nice but in general walking around the ship was cold and we required a sweater or cardigan. The stateroom was a reasonable size, plenty of storage with extra drawers under the bottom of the bed and plenty of room for the suitcases under there too. It was great having a bath and overhead shower and if I could take that and put it in a Princess Cruise ship that would be perfect. We missed having the small café area where at lunchtime you could have a filled croissant or a small sandwich plus a nice cake. There were some available at the Library but on a much smaller scale. Our stateroom overlooked the top of the lifeboats and I would avoid the 5th floor verandah deck midship because of that. The service was good and the staff extremely mannerly and friendly, always a "Good Morning" etc as they passed you. The entertainment programme was poor compared to Princess with only a three individual entertainers during the 12 days we went to see, and had it not been for Jeremy in the piano bar most nights would have been dull. The ships entertainment team were very loud and not suitable for the majority of guests. Embarkation/disembarkation was straightforward. The food in the Manhattan dining room was very good most of the time, not always as hot as it should have been but well cooked and presented. We used the Lido self service at lunchtime and there was always a good selection of salads and hot meals etc. We did not go to any speciality restaurants as they cost extra as did most things onboard. ie A tour of the ship was $119 dollars which was extortionate. That was a complaint among many guests we dined with that everything additional was very expensive. We did enjoy the cruise but to date Princess Cruises offer better value for money. We only booked one shore excursion with HAL as they are very expensive and hop-off,hop-on buses in Athens and Istanbul were more suitable, allowing you to get off and on as you pleased. The main reason we would not choose HAL in future is their SMOKING POLICY. GUESTS ARE ALLOWED TO SMOKE ON THEIR STATEROOM VERANDAH. Not good if you happen to be sitting out at the same time and totally dislike the smell of smoke. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
I was led to believe I was going on a 5* ship so was hugely disappointed when I boarded. Our Signature Suite was nothing more than a very large cabin with no proper seating area. In order to watch TV one had to perch on the bed as the ... Read More
I was led to believe I was going on a 5* ship so was hugely disappointed when I boarded. Our Signature Suite was nothing more than a very large cabin with no proper seating area. In order to watch TV one had to perch on the bed as the giant screen was on the wall above the sofa. It was drab - everything was brown or beige, no flowers or bottle of wine to welcome us as we've had on other lines. It was very informal which may suit some people but not us, we like a bit of formality and do not like being addressed by our first names by the staff. Formal nights need to be abolished. only a very few men wore DJ's, some wore a jacket and tie, the rest very casual, some in jeans and T shirt. The food was pretty awful and the entertainment poor. Daytime activities seemed to revolve around the spa, the computer workshop and the gym or Bridge organised by the passengers themselves. I have taken over 30 cruises usually with P&O or Cunard and I thought it would be nice to try something new. No, I'll stick to my old favourites in future Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
Our group of four (two in their 50's/two in 80's) travelled to Venice to start our cruise. Everything was smooth from the start. Weather was beautiful. We enjoyed dinner most nights with second seating service provided by Gred ... Read More
Our group of four (two in their 50's/two in 80's) travelled to Venice to start our cruise. Everything was smooth from the start. Weather was beautiful. We enjoyed dinner most nights with second seating service provided by Gred and Erwin , both professional and very personable stewards. We also enjoyed the one night at each of the specialty restaurants. (Pinnacle/Tamarindo) I forget the names of the staff but all provided exceptional service and the food was excellent. We did our own things at most stops. Excursion are over priced for what you get. Our favorite stops were Istanbul and Santorini. One note for those readers looking for more of night life , this ship is pretty quiet after 11pm with this demographic . Overall we enjoy a relaxing cruise with our expectations being met and exceeded on most points. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Having only cruised with Celebrity Cruise Line before we were a little apprehensive sailing with Holland America. We needn't have worried. Overall I would say that I just about preferred it to Celebrity but accept this may in some ... Read More
Having only cruised with Celebrity Cruise Line before we were a little apprehensive sailing with Holland America. We needn't have worried. Overall I would say that I just about preferred it to Celebrity but accept this may in some way be due to the fact that having sailed on the same class of ship for four years perhaps I'm just a bit bored with the same look, style etc. The ship was smart and well maintained, embarkation and debarkation both went well. The food, in my opinion, was slightly better on the HAL although I would have liked to have seen more variety. There didn't appear to be as much selection at breakfast than you get on the Celebrity but it was still more than adequate. Some reviewers have complained that as you cannot help yourself that the portions you get served are small. This is true however I found that you just ask for more and they give it to you so it really isn't a problem. One other area where Celebrity are better is that they have a coffee bar that serves different types of coffee in proper cups and glasses right up to midnight. I used this facility at the end of virtually every night. HAL have a bar that sells coffee in paper cups but only until 10pm which means if you want a coffee before going to bed you had to go back to your room and order room service. Stateroom was good with plenty of storage and the stateroom attendant was like a Ninja. If you left the room, walked to the lift, realised you had forgotten something and returned to the room, it had been cleaned !!!!! Demographic was a bit old but that may have been due to the time of year, we have never been on holiday at the end of September before. It wasn't exactly like "The march of the living dead", in fact most were quite spritely however I'm 54 which, let's face it, isn't young but I felt like a teenager compared to most of the other passengers. The overall age group on board may also have been the reason why in the evening the main bars were empty and laking in any atmosphere at all. It was as if we were the only people on board at times. There were exceptions however. The BB King Bar was great, fantastic music and singers, my favourite bar. The piano bar also had some good nights as well. Entertainment was poor. On introducing the comedian they mentioned that he had written for the BBC, I think they meant to say that he had written TO the BBC. He was poor unless you like material from the 70's. The only funny jokes we're recycled Tommy Cooper classics. But like the dancers and singers in the shows you can understand why they are working on cruise ships. But good luck to them, they are making a living. The quality of the tours were the same as on the Celebrity, probably because they all use the same shore organisations. What I didn't like about HAL is that if you cancelled your tour you were charged a 10% cancellation fee however if you cancelled less than three days in advance you had a 100% cancellation fee. On Celebrity you could cancel without charge unto 24 hours before the tour. Drinks package is not worth it. This was the first time we didn't take it and we saved money and still had a drink when ever we wanted. Transfers if your port is Venice - DON'T BUY THE HAL TRANSFERS. The transfers cost £126 per person, so £252. We bought them as we were told that this was "door to door" - yer right !! When we arrived in Venice we had to walk with our cases for about 15 minutes to reach the coach. We later found out that a taxi would have cost 45 Euro total each way, a saving of around £180 probably. Despite any negative comments I have made above, we did enjoy the cruise and overall I would say that our experience was just slightly better than that we have had on the Celebrity Line but only by the smallest of margins, not a lot in it at all. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Not a cruise line I would recommend. We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. But once on board were informed that two ports we had booked to berth in had been change to tender ashore. Two of these ports were cancelled because ... Read More
Not a cruise line I would recommend. We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. But once on board were informed that two ports we had booked to berth in had been change to tender ashore. Two of these ports were cancelled because of "rough weather", some experienced cruiser said it was absolute rubbish, compensation, 1 hour free drinks with 2000+ passengers. The third port to be tendered ashore was the port with the shortest stay, time to get ashore, a cup of coffee then queue up to tender back to the ship. Cabin cleaning was very superficial, no clean linen. Meals did not vary much with only fair quality. As for entertainment, you're better off to read a book. BEWARE compulsory tipping is deducted from you account daily, it is up to you to alter this if you are not happy with the service. Overall this equates to a budget line without the budget price. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
We have travelled on a variety of cruise lines Ncl, Princess, Rcl and P&O and thought we would try a new line. We were very excited to be travelling on a 5 star line...what a disappointment! The good Large inside cabin, ports of ... Read More
We have travelled on a variety of cruise lines Ncl, Princess, Rcl and P&O and thought we would try a new line. We were very excited to be travelling on a 5 star line...what a disappointment! The good Large inside cabin, ports of call and the length of the stops. BB Blues singers and musicians were magnificient high energy and talented. Formula one tour was good. Drink prices were average and take advantage of the happy hours. Very efficient boarding and disembarkation. Arrived and departed ports on time and a smooth sail for the duration of the cruise. The bad Terrible food cold, under or overcooked and repetitive. Buffet serving areas were closed before the listed times. if you came back to the ship around 3pm following a day ashore or wanted a late night snack after 11pm the only thing to eat was room service or tortillas, burger or pizza every day this becomes very repetitive and unhealthy. Definitely not a five star experience. Entertainment does not compare with any other ship we have travelled on. Dire with the exception of the afore mentioned musicians. Most guest acts were 20 years out of date in particular the comedian. Very little entertainment activities during the day. The port shuttles offered by the ship were overpriced at 16 dollars for a 10-15 min journey. I wouldn't recommend this ship to travellers under the age of 55 as very little to do thank goodness we could spend most the time off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We had not been on HAL since 2008 and this cruise exceeded our expectations. Most of our comments are based on comparison with a number of recent RCL cruises. Booked this cruise because it hit a number of ports we had not visited. Pre ... Read More
We had not been on HAL since 2008 and this cruise exceeded our expectations. Most of our comments are based on comparison with a number of recent RCL cruises. Booked this cruise because it hit a number of ports we had not visited. Pre cruise stayed at the Westin Europa & Regina, Venice (see review on tripadvisor) HAL has an older demographic of passengers although there were some young European families on board that seemed to be enjoying themselves. The Good: Arriving at the ship in a water taxi Very friendly crew, always greeted with a smile. Buffet, we liked the fact that you are served at the buffet. Buffet food generally good selection. Dive in Burger Bar GREAT burgers, hot dogs and fries (no extra charge....are you listening RCL) Dinning Room open sitting well organized very little wait for table. Guest Entertainer Toni Warne Adagio, a 2 piece classical music group BB King Blues Club Ocean View cabin was spotless and cabin steward very attentive. Very little nickel and dimeing like on some other lines. Priest onboard Ports of call Very Clean Ship Did we mention Dive in Burger Bar GREAT burgers, hot dogs and fries (it is that good, no extra charge....are you listening RCL) The Average: Dining room food selection. Food was good but a couple of the menus selection were not to our taste. Appetizer portions were sometimes more like canapes. Shows Cruise Director Could be improved: Poor white wine selection (under $40) for our taste Orange juice and coffee service was poor on back deck of ship at breakfast Slow cleaning of tables on back deck As usual shore excursions very expensive(we booked our own tours, see reviews Rome and Florence on tripadvisor) Based on this cruise we will be back on HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We started this trip with 3 days on our own in Venice staying at the beautiful Hotel Palazzo Stern on the Grand Canal. We took a water taxi to the port and experienced an organized, uncomplicated embarkation. This was our 4th Holland ... Read More
We started this trip with 3 days on our own in Venice staying at the beautiful Hotel Palazzo Stern on the Grand Canal. We took a water taxi to the port and experienced an organized, uncomplicated embarkation. This was our 4th Holland American cruise and quite different than the others we have taken, as there was quite a number of families with children of all ages and young couples, rather than the octagenarian set. We had a verandah cabin that was modern and efficient but not glitzy, which is how I would describe the rest of the ship. The itinerary was great including Athens, some Greek islands, including the beautiful Santorini, Istanbul and Kusadasi. We took 5 shore excursions off the ship and 1 privately arranged tour in Athens. We enjoyed them all. We ate all of our breakfasts and most of our lunches on the Lido deck and have no complaints, Dinner was in the Manhattan Dining Room, the early seating. Initially we were alone at our table for 6 but then we were switched to a table in front of a window with a great view with another couple who we found very compatible. As usual for HAL, the food was excellent and the dining room service outstanding. The evening entertainment varied from okay (the dancers and singers), to better (a humorous magician, a good comedian and an energetic piano player). We also enjoyed Jeremy who holds sing-alongs in the piano bar. There were activities for the days at seas on board but I did not find any of them particularly enticing. Our biggest compaint was that it appeared too cold in the public rooms in the evening. The strength of this trip was the excellent service throughout the ship, organization of the embarkation and debarkation, the food quality and itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
Embarkation was very muddled . The standard of food was extremely poor, portion size small. Often food was cold and under cooked or over cooked. the overall appearance was that a cost reduction exercise was taking place. The service ... Read More
Embarkation was very muddled . The standard of food was extremely poor, portion size small. Often food was cold and under cooked or over cooked. the overall appearance was that a cost reduction exercise was taking place. The service from the reception desk was outstanding. The staff were generally very good with the exception of the self service restaurant who often were reticent in increasing the portion size. Gluten and dairy free was difficult to obtain or non existent. Entertainment was generally ok but I have experienced better on other lines. Excursions were good . I would not prioritise this company for future cruises . The hotel (2 Days) at the end of the cruise was very good and the location excellent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Mediterranean Cruise, Holland America I wanted to share this review for other travelers. It is a long review and I will try to include details that may or may not be important to others. We stayed two nights at the Colon Hotel. The ... Read More
Mediterranean Cruise, Holland America I wanted to share this review for other travelers. It is a long review and I will try to include details that may or may not be important to others. We stayed two nights at the Colon Hotel. The hotel staff was friendly. We arrived around 12:00 p.m. and our room was ready. We had a superior room for three. There is a coffeemaker and small mini bar in the room. The water pressure is good, and the beds are comfortable. We did not eat at the hotel. There is a Carefour supermarket that is walkable from the hotel heading towards the train station, a bank directly across from the front door of the hotel (the atm did run out of Euros the last day), and a Starbucks across the street. The Carefour supermarket has wine, water and also prepared foods. I could not find something I liked in the wine selection so I purchased at the port but did purchase our soda and water for the ship. The hotel will hold your luggage in a room in the lobby if you want to tour before boarding or checking in. The pool is too small. We wanted to see the view at sunset from the roof, but were not able to make it. We purchased the 10 ticket package at the train station and used this to travel to the FCB Camp Nou Soccer Stadium, Park Guell and back from Sagrada Familia. Place the ticket through the ticketholder and remove and the gate will open. One person passes through and then each time for the amount of people using the ticket. There is a discount for students at FCB Camp Nou of 5.00 euros. I think the train stop is Les Corts. We purchased two tickets online and bought my son’s tickets when we arrived at FCB. My son and husband enjoyed the museum. The next day we visited Sagrada Familia. I was thinking we were close to the Sagrada Familia but that was not the case. It was around 7 Euros by cab to the Cathedral. I bought the tickets to Sagrada Familia with the tower access online. We were late due to a time difference and had to buy new tickets which were only available at 7:00 p.m. and no tower access. At least we were able to book tickets for entry. Looking back we should have just entered for the tower access because we were not late for that entry time for the tower but didn’t think to ask. The original tickets will be refunded because we bought new tickets. They will give you the email address and save the new and old ticket numbers. You do get a student or under 18 years old discount. I forget which one it is. We always brought the student id with us and a copy of my son’s passport. We only had a choice of audio with the new tickets and my son and I found it confusing when they said you can go in any direction not in order. Go in order if you can. We had visited Barcelona 8 years ago and was not able to visit the tower during that time.. I guess we will have to visit Barcelona again some day. Since we had to come back at 7:00, we decided to go Park Guell. We got off at the second train stop that takes you there. Park Guell is in the middle of two train stops. Lessops is the first stop and the walk is harder on the second stop and more uphill. There are some escalators, but if you get off at the first stop it seems to be easier. There was no entry to Park Guell until 5:30, and we didn’t want to miss the 7:00 La Strada entrance so we decided to leave, and come later after our tour. The Park is free after 9:30, but it does start to get dark around 9:00. We ate at two restaurants close to the hotel during our stay. The first restaurant Nuria which we enjoyed. The Sangria was great, service friendly and good food. The second restaurant which was very close to the hotel one block up was Estruch. We sat outside, and there was too much smoke. The inside customers come out and smoke, so at least ask for a table closer to the entertainment in front of the cathedral. I thought the food was not that good and the staff not friendly. I would not visit again. We wished we went back to the first restaurant. We did not have any problem with pickpockets in Barcelona. We were careful. A cab to the port should be inexpensive but we left around 12:30. It was bumper to bumper in the port and cost around 28.00 euros. Check-in was not too bad. The line moved quickly. We arrived between 1:30-2:00. The water was expensive at the port so purchase it if you can before you arrive. I asked the woman in the store at the port which wine was similar to a Pinot Noir and she recommended a few. The price range was between 7.00-10.00. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the two I purchased but I did. You can go back out and reenter up until I think it was 3:00. We did go back and take our picture. I think we were one of the last ones on the ship. The picture background was really strange but we we usually purchase the boarding picture for a souvenir. We dropped our bags in our room, and went upstairs to the lido to grab a quick bite before the muster drill. They do take attendance at the muster drill. The ship: There were pros and cons to the ship (which there are with every cruise line). I wish I could take all the pros and make one favorite cruise line. I think if I could combine the entertainment and gym of RCL with the pools, restaurant atmosphere and food of Princess and the beds, port information and pricing from HAL. I would have the perfect cruise (Princess and Hal both have laundry options). The pros for HAL are: towels, food, Tamarind, laundry package, in room movies, storage space, the bed, BB King blues, covered pool, Port advisor available to answer questions, no announcements in rooms, no long lines like larger ships, relaxed atmosphere, great captains party. The towels were available at the pool. You do not have to sign for them. Also beach towels are in your drawer under your bed. It is easier not having worry about turning them in and watching them on the lounger by the pool. The food (sometimes small portions) was good and is always cooked how ordered. If you wanted more, just ask. I felt like the menu has gotten smaller but I ordered what I wanted and was happy. There was only a few nights that I wished there was more variety but I ordered an appetizer as a main meal if I couldn’t find something I liked on the main courses. We had great waiters. We were always the last table to leave the dining room at night. My son made a great friend and they hung around the entire cruises. If you can get Ferry and Ade you can’t go wrong. My husband asked for mint and rosemary, and they delivered it. Also I loved the lamb and they ordered it for me another night. The lobster was real lobster but it was salty. Not sure if it was the butter. We loved visiting the yum yum man after dinner if he was still there. We did want a picture with our tablemates but for some reason the professional picture did not come out. We looked on the computer for it but the photographers could not find it. We didn’t get to take another pictures because our table mates were not able to make the last night because we were overnight in Venice and they had plans. I cannot comment on all the specialty restaurants because we only went to the Tamarind. The food was really good. They give you the options so I don’t think you can order everything off the menu but you can make some changes. We were stuffed when we left. The laundry is a good deal especially if you traveled before the cruise like we did. We filled our bag and left it in the basket the first day. We were not given another bag and had to call the front desk several times to have a bag delivered to our cabin. Also the first few laundry deliveries came back really wrinkled. I went down to the front desk and straightened out that we purchased the packaged and then the pressing was included. We did lose some laundry items but they were found before the end of the cruise. We filled two bags and only one sheet so keep track of your laundry items. If laundry is busy, the clothes will be delivered a few days later. Whites are not returned white and may be because there is no bleach. In room movies are a good selection, there was enough storage space with three large closets. We didn’t use the storage drawers under the bed because the towels and bedding was stored in there. Our luggage fit under the bed. The bed was comfortable but not the pillows. BB King Blues band was great and got people dancing. Also some of the shows were better than expected. If the weather was bad the main pool was covered. The port adviser was available 2 hours in the evening before the port and 2 hours in the morning for questions. We only asked once while in Marseilles but this is very helpful especially to the older crowds. Also the front desk will assist with information. You don’t find this on other lines. Our table mates also found his information very helpful. We did go to the pool several times and managed to get a seat. I think because of the ship size, the pool, the gym, tendering and boarding never seemed to be overcrowded. There was one boy who hurt himself diving in the childrens pool. Staff tries to enforce but are not watching all the time. The library is fully stocked with games and books. Front desk is always friendly, polite and helpful. The ship seemed very relaxed and sometimes there were families having fun in the disco dancing. The Captains Party was relaxed and less formal which I enjoyed. The captain introduced himself and some of the staff in the showroom. Drinks were offered, champagne, red or white wine and orange juice. I appreciated the wine because I do not drink champagne and other lines do not always offer wine. The cons are: cabin lighting, pillows, the steam room, the treadmills, the breakfast, lack of food choices after dinner, some shows are performed during late seating, drinks, no access to account online, Teen activities, the internet, no nightly mariner party (only a brunch), getting in touch with cabin steward and room service. The lighting in the cabin was terrible. There was a magnifying mirror with a light but it was very hard when not using this to see unless you go into the bathroom when doing hair or makeup. The pillows were hard, and maybe looking back I should have changed them. I did not sleep well but we were getting up early the first few days for tours and then by the time I thought to do something we were half way through the cruise. There is no access to the steam room unless you buy the package, which I wouldn’t use that much on a European cruise. The sauna is near the pool and not in the spa or gym. I really enjoy going to the steam room after the gym and was disappointed that there is not a public steam room and only the package for 299 per a couple. We did go for one hour free with our coupon book and glad I didn’t buy it because I wouldn’t have spent that much time in there. A big negative is use of the treadmills. The treadmills did have the tv’s on them (unlike princess) but there was restricted time of use. One hour before leaving port and one hour after due to navigational issues was posted on the treadmills. The times we wanted to workout was before dinner, and there was no access to treadmills. This was a concern because I really only exercise with a treadmill. Other people also seemed upset. Lido time changed periodically. Full breakfast was until 10:30 and then some days it was until 10:00, which is too early. I felt like every time I was in the lido they were pulling down the shade and closing. I don’t mind them serving the food it was more organized. By the time you get your food and found a place, the food is cold. The stations are mixed up and I can’t describe it, but I didn’t have this much trouble with breakfast on other lines. The first day they had two people behind the egg station. One was taking your order for toast while you stand there. After ordering your toast, your eggs are ordered and you wait. After you get your egg, pancake order, you are asked if you want additional items (bacon, sausage, oatmeal). It makes no sense to have one person taking egg orders and trying to also complete your order. If they would switch the toast to guy it would be a little faster. I did notice after I said I can’t believe there is only one person here taking egg or pancake orders next to staff member, that they had two people making eggs the next morning and complete orders. I feel like breakfast was chaos and it shouldn’t be that unorganized. Cups would not be clean and coffee wouldn’t be brewed. You couldn’t find ketchup or if you couldn’t hold your eggs, and wanted oatmeal, you had to wait in line again. Not relaxing for a vacation. At night the only access to food after the lido closed was pizza. They would tell you to order room service but there was limited room service menu. We found ourselves hungry around 12:00 with no choices. Some of the shows like the marriage game, etc were performed at 9:00 during late seating. After dinner and the show (some really good and some not so good) the choices were the disco, the piano and BB blues. During the end of the cruise we found ourselves wanting something else to do. The silk den bar was terrible. When we made reservations we were invited for a happy hour before or after our dinner. I ordered the Mai Tai which was just juice. There was nothing in it. I wouldn’t go there again. Also the happy hour choices are limited for wine. I ordered a Pinot Noir one night during happy hour, and was told because it was $9.00 it wasn’t part of happy hour. The only way to check your account is at the front desk. The teen activities were listed and delivered to the cabin every three days but my son said they were performed randomly. Sometimes there would be an activity and sometimes there wouldn’t be one even though they were listed and they showed up. Don’t count on the internet. It barely functions. One time it took me almost 20 minutes just to load and open an email. If there is a blackout, which there was twice, the email will stop working. I did go to the front desk and they credited me minutes from the blackout. Someone told my son that the internet is faster at sea than in port. The least expensive package is 19.99 for 30 minutes, and if you are a Mariner you can add 15 minutes to any package with the coupon book. I was disappointed that there was no Mariner Party at night. I enjoy the party usually more than the captain’s party because it isn’t as crowded. They do have a brunch, but with so little time to enjoy the ship. We usually don’t do a big lunch we didn’t attend. I did have a few problems with obc, but they were corrected. I did have backup email documentation. Also only one coupon book was delivered to our stateroom. I went to the front desk and received another book for my husband. Not sure if my son would have gotten one if I asked since he is also Mariner. We did bring an extension cord but probably didn’t need it because there are three outlets. The flat screen does not move. It was the first sailing with the new tv’s and it was not positioned that great with the inside large connecting J room but it was okay. Looking back on the rooms, I think we could have booked an outside and it would have been fine. I heard so much about the large J’s and since there was three of us I held on to it even with pricing changes. I looked in at the ocean views and there was the same amount of storage. Maybe the J had a little more standing room for getting dress but for the pricing difference and the bathtub I think next time I would have gone with the ocean view. Also we were on the Main deck and close to the front desk. If you are nearer to the showroom you will hear the music and BB King blues, but I think they end the show around 12:30. Our table mates commented on culinary demonstrations being over in 10 minutes. There seemed to be a lot of art auctions. We got invited to a VIP Mariners Party, which I thought was going to be similar to other cruise line loyalty parties. There was an art auction being cleaned up and no Party at 8:00 (which is our dinner late seating time). We waited around 10 minutes and decided to leave and go to dinner. The party was in a conference room and didn’t look that interesting. Advertised drinks and food, but we didn’t see either. We never saw our cabin steward which at times was annoying and probably one of the reasons we didn’t change our pillows. If we wanted to get the laundry bag we had to call the front desk. My son needed to ice his knee and we had to call the front desk. We would look in the corridor at various times, but never saw anyone only when we were going to dinner. My son ordered room service for breakfast and the bagel was hard as a rock. Marseille: We did go to the old town on our own. We took the free shuttle bus with no problem. If we did not take the shuttle bus, we would have taken a cab because it would have been cheaper than the ship shuttle for the three of us (8 per person). Coming back the free shuttle was crowded and no single line but we were able to get on. The shuttle lets you off not too far from the main part of the town. Walk straight down and you will come to it. Monaco: We visited the Exhibition of Prince Rainier III’s private collection of antique cars. Adults 6.50 and children 8-14 3 euros. We asked for a map at the front desk and asked direction at the information booth when we got of the ship. Shared Tours: We booked our tours with AP tours. I would highly recommend them. They arranged all requests and answered all our questions whenever asked. There was no only transfer to Rome tour on the website and Sarah created one. Also customized Naples with visiting Positano and not Sorrento which was a good choice due to high traffic that day. We booked them for Livorno, Rome and Positano. We wanted to have flex schedule with depart and arrival times. Livorno: Our driver Raphael was wonderful. We reserved the Accademia for 10:30. If you reserve over the phone, you give them the code and receive the tickets inside when paying. We were given free time in Florence to explore. We then drove to Pisa. We could not book the 3:30 tickets to climb the tower because they were already taken 20 days before when I signed on to purchase. Sarah let us book the 4:00 tickets. The tickets were scanned. Then we were charged on our credit card with the card that we used to reserve. You line up around 10 minutes before your entry time. There is a student discount for Accademia but not for Pisa Tower. You cannot visit the cathedral without the tower ticket. Rome: We purchased a shared tour transfer to Rome with AP Tours. I purchased the Museum Sistine Chapel tickets and the underground colosseum English spoken tours online. We could not understand our guide. Also the Sistine chapel/museum was so crowded. We had a 10:30 ticket entry time and actually had to leave the tour early at 12:30 to make our 1:20 tour for the underground colosseum tour. We wished we had more time to also visit the Vatican. Looking back we should have visited the Vatican earlier before the 10:30 tour. We jumped in a cab and I think it was 10.00 euros from the museum to the colosseum. The underground tour was amazing and I highly recommend it. We could understand the tour guide. Naples: We booked again with AP tours. We visited Pompeii in the morning and were able to avoid some of the heat. We had a great tour guide included with our tour. We did have to purchase the entry tickets which our tour guide Phina did for us. My son was free with id. Phina was our guide and we could understand her most of the time. Our driver suggested not driving to Positano because of traffic. There are three tunnels you need to drive through. Everyone in the car wanted to drive to Positano so we did. The driver was able to go around one tunnel and avoid some traffic. He joked about having to spend time with his mother for dinner. We were glad we decided to go to Positano. It is very crowded and hard to manage through the one road in and out. My son bought some lemon candy, and we tasted some local sandwiches. We also visited the beach, which is very hot and pebbly. It is amazing how they get the cars in and out of the garage, and parked so close together. Taormina: We loved Taormina. We got off the ship and asked someone if there was a bus to Taormina. They said no. There was a hop on hop off bus for $20.00 euro pp but I decided to cross the street and look at the bus schedule posted in a place that looked like a bus stop. It said Taormina so we waited for the bus. You can buy the tickets on the bus. They drop you at the bus stop at Taormina and we saw the hop off hop on tickets for 10.00 euro pp. There are a lot of shops to explore. I think this would be a great port to spend more time. There is a beach when you get off the ship but I wanted to see Taormina. Corfu: We did Corfu on our own. We took the bus to town and then I tried to use two atms which declined our transaction. We later used the atm at the port and it worked. I wished I used it first because I was little nervous with less cash. We found a taxi driver to take us to Glyfada beach. It was really nice. When they drop you off the chairs are 8.00 euros with umbrella. If you walk a little further in front of the hotel the price is $12.00 euros with umbrella. We arranged a time for the taxi to return. You pay half when they drop you and half when they return you to the ship. Croatia: The beginning of the day it rained which was a good thing because we were able to walk the wall without the heat when the rain let up. We finished walking the wall when the sun came out and it got really hot. We could barely get out of the entrance/exit when leaving. There were many people coming in and only one small line able to exit. The entrance to the wall is cash or credit card. Cash must be Kunas. Montenegro: We were tired of touring by this port and just walked around near the port. We stopped for wi-fi and bought a cappuccino. Venice: I purposely booked a hotel close to the people mover. When you get off the ship you can walk to the people mover. We purchased our people mover tickets the night before when it wasn’t busy. The tickets are not validated until you use them. They are 1.50. The people mover is one stop. You are let off near the taxi stand and train station. Walking towards the town there is a bridge that has a ramp to the left that is easier to go over than the first bridge you hit when leaving the taxi stand area. We didn’t know until we went over it later on the next day. We booked the Hotel Palazzo Odoni for two nights. The stairs a little tough with 6 pieces of luggage. The staff was very friendly and breakfast was very good. My only complaints were: the bed was a little hard and there were some mosquitoes in the room. For the price, breakfast and staff it was worth the stay. We found it easy to get around Venice. We bought a one day vaparetto ticket the second day. We visited Murano for the glass blowing demonstration. The cost was 5 euros and children are free. It did rain heavy the first night and we got stuck in the rain coming back from the square. There are people running around selling umbrellas for various prices. We did the gondola ride near the hotel the next night and it was so quiet and beautiful. He took us down the side canals and then to the main canal to drop us off. He recommended a restaurant Murao (I think that is the spelling) that my husband and son loved their pizza. I forget what I ordered but I know I didn’t like it and wished I stuck with the pizza. I hope my review and comments help. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We were on a 12 day cruise from Barcelona to Venice. This was our first experience with Holland America. Everything went really well. Loved our aft balcony cabin, nice full bath, plenty of closet space, and great service. The ship appears ... Read More
We were on a 12 day cruise from Barcelona to Venice. This was our first experience with Holland America. Everything went really well. Loved our aft balcony cabin, nice full bath, plenty of closet space, and great service. The ship appears to be in good condition, although not as glamorous looking atrium as Princess and not as beautiful as Royal Caribbean with the street, etc. This was a very port intensive itinerary, therefore, we didn't have too much time for onboard activities. Beautiful library, which could be nicely utilized if there would be many sea days. Embarkation and disembarkation was wonderful, much better than what we experienced in the past on other cruise lines. Loved Lido. Food quality, selection and service was very good. MDR menu was not always very exciting, but the food was good. MDR service was excellent. The specialty restaurants are great, especially the steak house. What we didn't like is that nobody supervised pool area. There were plenty of kids on board due to summer vacation and they were allowed to go to adult pool. Even though both pools have sign "no diving", people still did it and nobody stopped them. The other unfortunate thing was that only sauna was free and steam / hydro pool / thermal suite was very expensive. On other ships there is a women's / men's locker room with access to steam / sauna for free alongside with paid area. Here there was none. Overall, we had a great time and enjoyed this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
A slightly larger ship than we were used to, but plenty of room everywhere. The ship itself was modern but not too glitzy. A shame we never saw the officers, even a photo of them would have been nice. The show singers and dancers ... Read More
A slightly larger ship than we were used to, but plenty of room everywhere. The ship itself was modern but not too glitzy. A shame we never saw the officers, even a photo of them would have been nice. The show singers and dancers weren't very good neither the choreography or their voices. The girls were especially raucous. The crew were good however. The itinerary was excellent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
We did the 24 day East and west med cruise visiting 16 different ports. The ship was excellent, food was very good and excellent in the the three speciality restaurants. Especially the pinnacle. The tv system was the best we have had on ... Read More
We did the 24 day East and west med cruise visiting 16 different ports. The ship was excellent, food was very good and excellent in the the three speciality restaurants. Especially the pinnacle. The tv system was the best we have had on any cruise line with a 42 inch flat screen attached to the wall. Free movies and various TVs shows with 3 news channels. The cabin we had was excellent and very large compared to others we have had (10003). It was at the front of the ship overlooking the bow. There were a few niggles; no draught beer ! And at $6 per small can of Heineken it was expensive for a few drinks . Similarly with wine a bottle of penfolds koonoga hill which costs about $10 was selling for $40 and that was the cheapest. The my time dining just did not work with long queues every evening even if you had booked . We managed to get set time for the second 12 day leg. The main dining area - the lido - had great choices for breakfast and lunch but hardly any choice at all for evening dining. We only ate there twice and only because we were late back from trips. Finally , the service throughout the ship was the best we have experienced on any cruise. The staff were friendly and helpful. And I would not recommend travelling in the med during summer time as it is very very busy with loads of kids and teenagers on boad. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our first cruise with HAL and we were very impressed with their level of service and the standard of the ship. We have cruised many times with other companies with our last experience being a terrible cruise with Celebrity in ... Read More
This was our first cruise with HAL and we were very impressed with their level of service and the standard of the ship. We have cruised many times with other companies with our last experience being a terrible cruise with Celebrity in Australia. If that had been my first cruise experience it would have been my last but HAL has renewed my faith in cruising again! The staff were all exceptional bar one. The standard of service was very high and the staff all behaved as if they were happy to be of service to you and happy to be there. Check-in was a breeze. Our inside cabin was comfortable. Meals were good all over the ship - sometimes it felt like there could have been a few more choices but overall not bad for feeding that many people. I also approved of the fact that food was not available from the buffet 24 hours a day! The bar staff were friendly and the prices were not astronomical - use happy hours to your advantage! We took three shore excursions which were well managed and informative. We booked ours far ahead and enjoyed a 10% discount. A little more information could have been forthcoming about each port e.g. price of shuttles, need for shuttles, distance to town etc. I also suggest they play the recording of the destination specialist talking about each port in each stateroom. If you couldn't make the talk then you missed out on important info. Embarkation was also a breeze. Overall a wonderful holiday with memories to treasure. I ahve also discovered another cruise line which I will be sailing again! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
The good: - service was pleasing and top-notch throughout the ship, but I felt that pool staff was considerably slow in removing empty plates/glasses; some individuals were better than others, just like on any other cruise line; our ... Read More
The good: - service was pleasing and top-notch throughout the ship, but I felt that pool staff was considerably slow in removing empty plates/glasses; some individuals were better than others, just like on any other cruise line; our cabin stewards were superb, but this is always hit-or-miss; - food was well above average, but portions have been substantially downsized; some of the appetizers in the main dining room were almost laughable (two dime-sized scallops one evening); build-your-own pizza kitchen by the adults' pool was really excellent; - cleanliness throughout the ship, especially in public restrooms; unlike previous cruises, I never saw a single used room-service tray waiting to be picked up on hallways; - Spa was decent -- nothing fancy, but the thermal rooms were nice enough; - Jeremy, on-board pianist at the Piano Bar, is a truly gifted entertainer The bad and the ugly: - we've always read about the predominance of older passenges on HAL, but had never truly experienced this issue in our previous cruises; this was most definitely a problem this time around, in what appeared to be the 80-80 cruise (80% of passengers in the 80-year old range); by and large these elderly passengers have a distinct sense of entitlement, move slowly and occupy tons of space, cut in front of lines; - The so-called cruise director; one rarely comes across such a useless individual occupying this type of position; well, unless you count "learming to use your Microsoft Office calendar" and "Salsa with host Sabine" as interesting activities at sea; - tenders: one of the most irritating systems ever devised in a cruise ship; you line up like cattle in a looooong hallway, just to receive a numbered card; after that you take a seat at a dancing hall with zero amenities and wait for your number to be called; no priority for Mariner-status or suite-level cruisers, no way to reserve a time-slot in advance; this must have been the idea of a Soviet-era planner; - let me emphasize that Jeremy the piano man was the only exception -- entertainment on the Nieuw Amsterdam varies from pitiful to non-existent; what an eyesore it was to see a bunch of ladies "learning belly dancing" at the Crow's Nest on at least three occasions. I felt bad for the hapless barman watching the scene and hearing the dreadful soundtrack. At night, all bars on deck 3 looked like ghost towns after 9:00pm; not a single source of music (not even Muzak) was available to entertain us on deck 3 after dinner; on two occasions the ship's "major" attraction was a musical show featuring... the Philippino crew. Seriously, who comes up with something like this and chalks it up as entertainment?!? How to please an audience with tastes predominantly adapted to a nursing home routine; - shore excrusions: waaaaaay over-priced and most definitely underwhelming; the interests and peeves of the elderly passengers just made them worse; on board shopping: not sure if it's a matter of laughing or crying; maybe both, unless you reeeeeaaaally like "replica sunglasses" or the sort of tawdry items that Bijoux Terner sells at airports; - little things, like the fact that Nieuw Amsterdam consistently docked at the farthest possible pier, even when larger ships took prime spots at every single port we visited; I didn't even bother asking about this because there would surely be some kind of lame and murky excuse along the lines of "berth depth" or "operational reasons"; in Santorini HAL clearly gave us the short end of the stick, with a late arrival of 9:00am and early departure at 3:30pm, then shamelessly blaming this on "Greek authorities", which for some reason appeared to be much more flexible with other cruise ships visiting the island on that day; our Captain then generously apologized for this "minor inconvenience" by offering each adult guest... a free glass of sparkling wine at dinner. Wow, how generous...tsc, tsc, tsc. - scheduling: what kind of cruise line manages to bring its passangers to Santorini on a constrained schedule (9:00am - 3:30pm) on the same day when four other major ships are visiting the island?!? I checked port-of-call website and learned that there were 13,000 cruisers visiting Santorini on that day, so you can imagine what a nightmare the island was -- not to mention the cable car lines. On the following day just a single ship was going to visit the island. It begs the question of what kind of useless staffer creates and manages itineraries at HAL (which changed a couple of times after we purchased the cruise); last but not least: by far (and I really mean by far) the worst and most disorganized emergency drill we ever experienced on a cruise; cruise drills are naturally annoying but this went several notches above (or below, if you prefer); if drills are a reasonable measure of survival in case of a real emergency, our odds of survival would be marginal, at best; My biggest regret? Having chosen HAL over Celebrity for this particular cruise, only because HAL's itinerary featured one additional day (12 over Celebrity's 11). Celebrity is not perfect, but it would have certainly offered us a better ship and a more interesting crowd to travel with. Bottom line? I don't think HAL will see us on board its ships any time soon. Never say never, because one day we'll turn 70 and then match HAL's prevailing demographics. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
My husband and I and two of our friends recently cruised with Nieuw Amsterdam on the Mediterranean Tapestry cruise in May 2015. We are still talking about what a wonderful experience it was with their friendly, helpful crew and fantastic ... Read More
My husband and I and two of our friends recently cruised with Nieuw Amsterdam on the Mediterranean Tapestry cruise in May 2015. We are still talking about what a wonderful experience it was with their friendly, helpful crew and fantastic itinerary. Not only did we enjoy seeing all the exciting ports everyday, the staff made us feel special and pampered 24/7. This was our second cruise with HAL but it won't be the last. We are already looking at itineraries for next year and the year after. Thank you again to entire staff and for anyone looking for a marvelous cruise itinerary, this one from Barcelona to Venice would be hard to beat! Our favorite ports were: Barcelona, Taormina, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Kotor and Venice. The excursion to St. Paul De Vence (out of Monaco) and to Sorrento (out of Naples) provided wonderful photo ops. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our second HAL cruise, and the first one was nearly flawless. On this trip, our group really felt like we were being gauged for extras or being sold more services. This took away from the relaxation factor of the cruise and was a ... Read More
This was our second HAL cruise, and the first one was nearly flawless. On this trip, our group really felt like we were being gauged for extras or being sold more services. This took away from the relaxation factor of the cruise and was a sore spot with us, so I am downgrading to just very good. My basis for "very good" (instead of average rests on the great service from most of the staff. The Main Dining Room, Room Staff and Security Staff were excellent as usual, and in our opinion, are the feather in the cap of HAL. Just as kind and helpful as could be, as per usual. And on this trip, the Front Office Staff was also great, and I think they have one of the toughest jobs on the ship, judging from the cranky/rude customers they had to deal with on a daily basis. Never ceases to amaze me how nasty some people on vacation can be to the hardworking and low paid staff. I did also note that on this cruise, there were multiple folks who had nasty accidents (falls) while in different ports. Several actually left the ship with their injuries, and several had to seriously curtail their activities due to stitches, wounds, strains and bruises. Busted noses, busted knees, splinted arms.... I have to admit, my group was on high alert, as looking up at all the beautiful old sites while walking on old cobble stones and irregular steps is a bad combination. We all had some very close calls and stumbles in different cities, but I am happy to report that we all survived unscathed. If you are unsteady, I recommend a walking stick or cane, and a steady companion who can back you up. We also felt that younger people were generous in their description of "easy walk" or our favorite "only 5 minutes to get there". We found that "5 minutes" loosely translated, usually means 20 minutes, 200 uneven stairs, and 80 degree heat, all up hill. When selecting shore excursions, stick to the easy exertion levels if you are challenged. We heard many complaints from folks who could not keep up. One of our party cannot walk for long, and we were very sensitive to this issue. This is also another reason we prefer private excursion tours, as they can easily cater to any physical issues and usually get a lot closer parking than a tour bus. Well worth it in the end. Herma, Francis and Irfan in F/B were stellar in every way, as were our Room Staff, whose names escape us at this point. Also,we usually eat breakfast in our room, and almost everyday we received a call making sure that the breakfast met our needs. It arrived correctly and on time every single day! We found the embarkation and disembarkation nearly flawless on this trip, with no lines whatsoever on either end. We were amazed and pleased. We arrived at 2:15, with a 3:00pm deadline. On Disembarkation, we were in the 8:30-8:45am time slot. Half our group carried off our luggage, half did not, all did fine with the exception of a damaged wheel on a suitcase. We stayed in a Verandah Suite, 8008, on the Nav deck. Room was great. This room is directly across from a staff facility room, so the door opens and closes all night long, and some staff members are a little loud. Generally this did not bother us, but might bother some. This room is also directly under the Greenhouse Spa, generally not an issue unless they are rearranging things at closing time. Room as promised, clean, neat. Glad HAL does not allow smoking in cabins any more. (But some staff do smoke in some of the service rooms, which can't possibly be permissible.) My big room gripe? Cabin neighbors who smoke on their Verandahs and or those who don't understand the concept of closing a door softly. Ours let their balcony door slam every single time, or those who "drag" their balcony furniture around. Petty, I know,I know, but it makes me nuts. Getting off my soap box..... We did not personally partake in any entertainment, but 2 of our group did, and overall, they enjoyed it. Apparently, a few hits, a few misses, but overall good reviews. We did peek in on the BB King lounge, and it sounded great. Show cast seemed really sweet. I only used the gym once, but found it to be nice, with good options. I like to also walk the promenade deck. We only took 2 shore excursions, as we try hard to avoid them. Both were well organized and delivered as promised. Both were more of a scenic drive with brief stops where you could go it alone or stay with a guide. We did "Nice and EZE" tour and the Provence Les Maurers (?) tour. We would recommend both, and the price was good. Generally, we arrange our own private tours through local guides, as we can customize the itinerary as maximize the time in port, for less money. We also prefer to avoid standing around waiting for others to come back to the bus. We also get to avoid the "herd" experience. Again, I know it's my personal issue, but I find that some people on the excursions are beyond rude, and it makes me nuts. On the above mentioned excursions, one man and his wife felt the need to carry on loud independent group comments and conversations as the guide was trying to give us the history, all while they stood smack in the middle of the group. We all know how hard it is to hear the guides on a good day, especially for the folks who may be hard of hearing or more elderly. This same man felt the need to make several scathing remarks about how the French wouldn't be here without Americans, blah blah blah. My Vietnam Vet brother-in-law quickly shut him down. Okay...getting off my soap box..... We were in port with a "megaship" on a few occasions, and the crowds of shore excursions were unreal, they were all over, and there were a ton of them. This occurred in Naples/Pompeii/Amalfi on a national holiday in Italy, and traffic was a mess. As a result, 23 passengers on a non-HAL excursion did not make it back to our ship, which left without them. They did make it to the next port. Luckily we did a private tour, and our driver was constantly being updated on traffic, and devised an alternate route for us. Tender operations were very smooth, very well run, no issues at all. They did a great job of handing out numbers and getting everyone smoothly loaded in. Again, very well organized on this trip. Staff was great, Security was on task and efficient. They seemed very helpful to passengers needing additional assistance. I will say that our group felt that everything was a sales pitch, and this was a big negative for us. Art "auction", photos, behind the scenes tours, Thermal Spa, spa products, etc. On the barbecue night, drinks were offered up by waiters walking around with trays of pre-made cocktails. If you say yes, beware...because if it is in a swanky plastic HAL cup, that cup costs $3.95 MORE than the regular drink. They fail to mention this until the bill comes. Items of tchatkes and souvenirs are always being hawked on the ship. It never ends. Loved being able to take many sunset shots from the 10th/11th floor decks, while lounging in chairs, watching the sun go down. We did not partake in internet service packages. They are as slow as ever, and still expensive. I would like to see HAL upgrade this and follow the lead of hotels with free wi-fi. Or at least improve the quality of the service, if for a fee. We relied on free wi-fi on shore, which was usually available and fairly reliable. Venice was probably the most difficult place to find consistent free wi-fi. The barbecue night was good, but the seating was chaos. And getting non-alcoholic beverages served took forever, we made 3 requests, then finally got up and went in to the Lido restaurant and got our own. Food was good, lines were really long. (They close one of the Main Dining Room floors on this night). I would skip this next time, especially if traveling with older or less mobile friends. Great experience: We booked a Cabana Club corner cabana on our At Sea day, and it was well worth the $115, at least to us. Lovely, quiet, clean, comfortable. Plenty of room for all 4 of us. 2 big double loungers, and a dining table and chairs for 4. We were given fruit, water, and Evian mist. They took our lunch order (although a bit late, it was after 1), brought us food, served champagne and then chocolate covered strawberries in the afternoon. All this was included. A few points: information on the pricing and booking of the cabanas was sketchy online, and we could not book until we were on board. This is the first thing I did when I got on board. (I thought they would sell out quickly, but there were still empty cabanas on the At Sea day.) The flier provided at the front desk seemed old, as some of the items were not in evidence. It stated that we would actually have a food spread at the cabana club, which we did not. It stated that we would be served ice cream, we were not. It stated that we would receive some additional Greenhouse Spa discounts, but we did not. While these are certainly not deal breakers, I am just pointing out that it was not quite up to date. That being said, still great. And nothing prevents you from going down to Lido and getting food/snacks on your own, but again, they do take your order and deliver to your cabana for no additional charge. *Note, the Lido cabanas are much smaller, and sit on the Lido deck right next to the other diners. Different experience altogether, not private, not open to the ocean. Spend the extra money and get the Cabana Club size. There is also an open area among these larger cabanas to sit or lay in the sun as well. Great place to quietly lunch, read, relax, nap in the (fully shaded) gorgeous sea air. Worth it! HAL allowed 1 bottle of wine for each person at embarkation, but we only brought one, from Barcelona. For us, they used the honor system, and did not actually check our totes, but instead they just asked us if we had alcohol. We told them we had one bottle of wine, but they never even looked to see what we had. We also found that we could pre-order alcohol online from HAL for our room, and honestly, pricing was not that bad, and the bottles were huge, much larger than we anticipated. And easier than trying to "sneak" it on board. We did not come close to finishing our Skyy or Jack Daniels. We also inadvertently brought more alcohol on board during shore excursions. (Not thinking, we bought souvenirs of Limoncello and Sangria in silly little souvenir bottles, which sailed right through security without mention). Only later did we realize what we had done. We also had a small mini bottle of wine for our after-kayak trip, bought in town, that we never drank. This too was brought back on board and never discovered. We ended up giving away much of the alcohol we had purchased, but as a plus, also did not spend much money on onboard cocktails. The drink packages are also a good way to save on cocktails and soft drinks, if you will consume them. We loved our Main Dining Room experience. I have a food allergy, and they were great, giving me a custom menu to order from in advance. Consistent service, quality and experience every time. They even had the chef make me a special dessert based on one that I really liked on embarkation night. Really nice! They never disappointed us, really great. We are all carrying the extra weight to prove it. We dined at Pinnacle one time, and it was not up to the usual par. First, it is impossible to book reservations for more than 2 people at a time online. So, if you have a larger group, you need to re-arrange the reservation when you get on the ship to get all people in your party at the same table. When doing so, the Maitre D was very "put out" and stated that rearranging 3 separate tables for 4 people into one table for 4 was going to be "difficult". (Really?) Somehow, he managed to survive this hugely difficult chore, lol. He was honestly the only grouch we encountered among the staff on this ship and apparently other ship staff are aware of his reputation. Interesting to note that on the day we actually dined, the restaurant was half empty, and service was still slow. Our prior Pinnacle experience was awesome, (save for the fact that they fed me my food allergen after insisting it was fine) but not this one. They were slow, dishes sat on the table a long time, and quality was iffy. It took over an hour to get one iced tea, and we still never got the tea for 2 others at the table. Food was brought to the table lukewarm, and one party received a really salty entree. The waiter argued with us on all points, including the salty fish. He lectured our friend that if she could not eat salt, she should have told him up front. (She CAN eat salt, it's not her fault they over-salted the recipe) Only when the chef actually tasted the fish did they admit we were right, but the waiter never apologized. Well over an hour after sitting down they then offered a substitute for the fish. We had had enough at that point and were ready to leave. I actually timed the service issues on my phone, once service started going down hill. He argued with me about how long it took to get the tea. This was caused by his misunderstanding...he sent the wine steward to us for the tea. She was delayed, and when we told her we only wanted tea, she dropped the ball. Listen, we all have "off days", but being lectured and argued with at the table is not cool. They finally deducted two of the meals, but I had requested a refund on all four and did not get it. In retrospect, Tamarind was highly recommended, and I wish we had eaten there instead. In good faith, other cruisers we spoke to at at Pinnacle several times on this cruise, and did not have any issues. But I would be reluctant to eat here again. Main Dining Room was a great experience for us as usual, we will stick with them. We did not use the laundry service this time, although we have used it in the past and it is very good. We washed our own stuff in our room, as there is no laundromat on this ship. One of our group did use the bag service, $30 per bag, and he got his clothes back within 24 hours. Greenhouse Spa was good overall. I splurged big time and booked acupuncture, a pedicure, and a hot rock massage. The acupuncture doctor was really good, but came back in to the treatment room several times to pressure me to purchase $1000 more in treatments over the remaining days of the cruise. This completely ruined the "relaxation" treatment that I had requested. I work in the corporate world, so I am used to high pressure sales people, but this was way over the top. I had to literally stop her from "booking me in, just to save the appointment slot" on subsequent treatments. She literally had the port schedule in front of her, telling me when I would have "free time" to schedule these appointments. I should have actually requested a refund on this treatment, in retrospect, including the automatic tip. Additionally, the treatment room was right off the LIDO exit and elevators, being really busy and loud, and you could hear two separate PA/music systems being piped in. My pedicure was wonderful, thanks to Isabella. She was sweet, and the fire and ice hot rock pedi was delightful after all the walking around. I had mentioned the "hard sell" acupuncture appointment, so perhaps she laid off of selling anything. I highly recommend this, and Isabella was fabulous. My hot rock massage was EXCELLENT, and could not have been nicer. No sales pressure here, either. I highly recommend this treatment. *I booked all my spa treatments in advance online, because I wanted them to occur on At Sea days/mornings. Otherwise, I would recommend that you wait to book any spa services, because there are always discounts later in the cruise. Had I waited, I could have saved 20-30% for services, but again, I wanted very specific time spots. If you have more flexability, wait until you are onboard to book. My husband also had the hot rock massage, and loved it, but he was upsold on products, which he did not buy. I would have loved to experience the thermal room/spa/pool, but the pricing was exorbitant. Based on the spa service prices, HAL should allow you the use of the these features on the days that you purchase a full price spa treatment, just like every other spa in the world. $40 per day is ridiculous after spending $500 on spa services. Looked nice, but I was not going to pay for this. I recall that this did not used to be so expensive. Overall, a great trip, made so by the staff of HAL. Easy embarkation and disembarkation were a huge plus, very well organized. We really enjoy the size of the HAL ships, as it makes things more manageable and personal. We are averse to the megaships, just can't imagine being on a ship with 4000 passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I traveled on the Venice to Barcelona cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam on May 16th. This was our third cruise on Holland America and we expected a special cruise. Unfortunately it was a disappointment. The Nieuw Amsterdam ... Read More
My wife and I traveled on the Venice to Barcelona cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam on May 16th. This was our third cruise on Holland America and we expected a special cruise. Unfortunately it was a disappointment. The Nieuw Amsterdam was to have been their flagship but seemed no better than the other Holland Ships we have been on. Embarkation – the embarkation was relatively easy however our information indicated we needed to be on board by 3:00PM. After getting there by water taxi we learned that we did not need to be onboard until 7:00PM. As such we lost most of the day that could have been spent seeing Venice. Cabin Service- The service by our stateroom attendants was very good. The TV system left a lot to be desired and was out of service for two days. It also had no live shipboard channels covering activates on board and excursions. The TV on previous ships was much better. Food - The food was only marginal in the Main dining room and the Lido had many offerings that were much better. Shipboard Health - The first week into the cruise my wife began to come down with laryngitis and a severe cough. Later on as we spoke to many guests we were told that a quarter of the ship had this. Looking back we think the ship should have notified all guests of this and issued us medicine to counteract the virus. By the time we disembarked I had caught it as well and our extra days in Barcelona were limited as a result. Upon return home we learned we had an acute case of bronchitis with sinus and ear infections. Excursions – The excursions with the exception of the one led by a fine young gentlemen from Dubrovnik were really boring with long bus rides on narrow mountain roads. The guides spoke very poor English and were very hard to understand. We ended up cancelling the last three that were scheduled after being disappointed by the initial ones. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I are retired, seasoned travelers having experienced many land and cruise tours. For this cruise we arrived in Venice two days prior to disembarking for the Mediterranean. We spent two nites at the Rialto Hotel right at the ... Read More
My wife and I are retired, seasoned travelers having experienced many land and cruise tours. For this cruise we arrived in Venice two days prior to disembarking for the Mediterranean. We spent two nites at the Rialto Hotel right at the Rialto Bridge. Our travel agent made the reservation, she did a wonderful job of it. Our ship was the Nieuw Amsterdam. It was adequate not overwhelmingly beautiful. The food and dining was overall just average. For activities I attended several computer classes that were very helpful; we attended most of the tour lectures, did the galley tour that was very informative and used the gym several times. The staff and their services on board were terrific. The ship crew was attentive particularly regarding the lost luggage issue I mention below. They did all they could to help however the end result was unsatisfactory. Relaying on Rick Steve's tour books to guide us to many enjoyable shore tours, we purchased advance tickets for Rome and Florence. We did self guided tours in Dobrovnik, Kotor and Corfu. We steered clear of most HAL shore tours except the bus ride to Florence, the Pompei Tour out of Naples and a wine/historic city tour in St. Tropez. The Pompei tour you may be able to do on your own and the wine tour in St. Tropez was just so so however the small town on the hill behind St. Tropez was wonderful. The last day on the ship we were in port at Barcelona and disembarked for the day to walk the Las Ramblas. This was a wonderful experience people watching, eating and feeling the culture. After disembarking the last day on ship we spent one more night in a nice hotel just above Las Ramblas. We had reservations for Gaudi church and walked the city. However in summary the final purpose of this review is to expose the total lack of concern from the management of HAL regarding an issue they created. Upon embarking for this cruise, HAL lost my sister-in-law's and my luggage for a total of five days. Everyone I talk to regarding this asks what did they do? Initially nothing. As it turns out they sent our luggage on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship to Greece. Five days on this cruise without all our personal belongs amounts to 40% of the cruise. I have since written letters to five upper managers including CEO's, President, etc. They responded by offering my sister-in-law and I a $250 discount on the next HAL cruise. Recently HAL is offering massive perks; drink cards worth $1400 per room, upgraded suites, third person free, etc. etc. if you book before mid-October. All we received was a $100 ship board credit to buy clothing and necessities and there is not much you can buy in any of the shops for $100 when just a pkg of underwear and socks cost me $56.00. This is an insult to any passenger but especially loyal repeat passengers when you see the above perks to new customers . I refuse to use HAL or any of it's affiliates for any future cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
Great Cruise, much better than i expected. Wish more time was available in each port, that is the only drawback i found. Trying to see Rome in 11 hours is sub optimal. Kotor could easily be skipped, the old town smelled like an ... Read More
Great Cruise, much better than i expected. Wish more time was available in each port, that is the only drawback i found. Trying to see Rome in 11 hours is sub optimal. Kotor could easily be skipped, the old town smelled like an uncleaned kitty litter box. Stay on the ship if you must stop there. Dubrovnik old town was a real pleasant surprise. Corfu was ok. Naples was outstanding, especially the pizza @ Pizzeria Trianon and the Archaeological museum, Pizzeria Trianon is just a short walk from the port, maybe 15 minutes. You also must take at least one taxi ride in Naples, I've never experienced anything like that before. White knuckled ride. I wish I had arrived in Venice a week prior to the sailing, I have never had so much fun getting lost before. What an amazing place. Overall the ship was very clean and well kept, the staff was exceptionally nice. I would highly recommend the Neiuw Amsterdam to anyone I know. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and me sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam from May 4th to May 16th 2015. We went from Venice to Istambul and back to Venice. The ship was absolutly perfect. Very comfortable and we specially appreciated that there was lot of space ... Read More
My wife and me sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam from May 4th to May 16th 2015. We went from Venice to Istambul and back to Venice. The ship was absolutly perfect. Very comfortable and we specially appreciated that there was lot of space everywhere on the ship (ex: hot tubs, pools, restaurants. The food was very, very good at buffet, at dining room and specially at Pinnacle Grill. 2 nights with Turkish BBQ at the lido pool and again, it was perfect. Service was impeccable any where on the ship but we specially enjoyed having our first morning coffey at the Explorations Café on deck 11. In overall, the cruise was way above our expectations. We were looking for a cruise not too crowdy and we were absolutely enchanted by truise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
The GOOD: My sincere compliments to all the staff on this voyage. Everyone had a smile on his or her face at all times. All were most congenial. Our room attendants "bent over backwards" to help us in any way. For this I an ... Read More
The GOOD: My sincere compliments to all the staff on this voyage. Everyone had a smile on his or her face at all times. All were most congenial. Our room attendants "bent over backwards" to help us in any way. For this I an truly thankful. The security was tight and for that I am thankful. Also thankful for the cold drinking water supplied on the dock when we returned from our wonderful shore excursions hot and tired. The BAD: The cuisine was less that expected. Having taken a Princess Cruise in 2001 and experiencing it's top notch cuisine, I was extremely disappointed in the quality of the foods used on the Nieew Amsterdam: mushy tomatoes, almost flavorless ice milk instead of quality ice cream, etc. etc.I could go on and on. The preparation of the food left so much to be desired (little if any taste to most everything I tried). This was true for the cafeteria as well as the non-pay dining rooms. I ended up creating my own meals from what I could find at the salad bar. Oh, yes I could have what was apparently considered more gourmet food by paying extra for every lunch and dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and the other one or two "gourmet" type restaurants. But that would be very pricy, would it not? Better for Holland America but not for me. Not at all what I signed up for. On the special La Cirque dining night we paid the extra $49 a piece to have dinner in the arguably "gourmet" Pinnacle Grill. The food was prepared somewhat better, but was still not worth $45 a piece. I couldn't bring myself to eat some of it. Save your money. There was nothing special about this night accept for maybe the white coverings on the chairs! The only dinners that were enjoyable were the nights they served authentic Greek food out on the Lido Deck. To add to this frustration, at most of the food stations you are not allowed to serve yourself. You have to ask for what you want and then after the server puts a small amount on your plate, he'll ask whether you want more or not. This gets to be quite frustrating after about the first week. I have to say that I was not the only one in my party that felt the cuisine was substandard. My husband, who will usually eat about anything, and my brother generally felt as I did. I qualify what I am writing here by saying that I live in an area (Napa County, California) that is well known for its many gourmet restaurants. I am fortunate enough to be able to visit some of these restaurants from time to time. I believe I have some, although it may be small, experience in dining at quality restaurants. The UGLY: If you are prone to catching a sore throat, cold and chest congestion from being constantly exposed to a forced air cooling system, BEWARE! You cannot get away from it on this ship. Cold air is blowing from vents everywhere on ship. You can not turn it off in your room.You can only make it warmer if you desire.The rules are to keep your balcony doors closed so as to facilitate the air conditioning. We found this impossible. We had to get fresh air in our room somehow. One of the two vents in our room was blowing onto my bed day and night. After about three days both my daughter and I came down with a sore throat and chest congestion. I missed out on seeing Kotor because I was so ill. We finally asked to have the air somehow restricted in the vent over my bed. When the maintenance staff member removed the vent cover we could see black mold that had accumulated inside the pipe. It was the same way inside the other vent also. He quickly wiped it away with a rag, not protecting my bed, him or us from the mold spores. It made for being uncomfortable for the remainder of the trip knowing that there were very likely many other pipes in the system around the ship with mold being spewed out on unsuspecting people. Plus the fact that the air was still constantly blowing in my room, my only sanctuary away from others. Ugly also stands for the drab decor of the Nieew Amsterdam. The hallways resemble old dormitory hallways. The rooms, at least our room and most of the ones I could see were drab. Now if you like black, brown and orange-red then you should be all right with it. RESULT: I do not think I will ever go on another cruise. For certain i will never go on another Holland America cruise. Nor will I recommend this cruise line to anyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
As a seasoned cruiser, I have fairly high expectations of my cruise experiences, and the Nieuw Amrsterdam was outstanding. The food was exceptional (especially the specialty restaurants) and the staff always went above and beyond to ensure ... Read More
As a seasoned cruiser, I have fairly high expectations of my cruise experiences, and the Nieuw Amrsterdam was outstanding. The food was exceptional (especially the specialty restaurants) and the staff always went above and beyond to ensure all your needs were being met. And, it was always done with a smile. As has been mentioned before, if I had one recommendation, it would be to get the vibration problem fixed. My rating would have been excellent, but the vibration did get annoying after awhile. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
First time on Holland America after many Princess Europe and Caribbean cruises. Chose this cruise to travel before the heat of summer began. We usually get a mini-suite with Princess, so was concerned about booking a regular balcony ... Read More
First time on Holland America after many Princess Europe and Caribbean cruises. Chose this cruise to travel before the heat of summer began. We usually get a mini-suite with Princess, so was concerned about booking a regular balcony cabin. It was beyond expectations, had a rear facing balcony. Plenty of storage space, some we only discovered days later after we were already unpacked. Liked the fact that a regular room had a bathtub/shower combination. The chairs on our deck were better grade than Princess, we had wicker chairs with cushions. Really enjoyed to Lido food stations. We never ate in the main dining rooms, so will not comment on regular dining. Found the variety of food to be better than most cruises on Princess. When beef items were offered at the carving station, they were nicely medium rare, and could be cooked further on the grill if you asked. Always had nice moist fish entree's along with lots of Lamb that I enjoy. Had great salad bar area, Asian area, always had a freshly made pasta station where you tell them what you want, they cook it for you. Had pre-made grinder type sandwiches that were already wrapped to make it easy to take ashore the next day (as we did several times). We were fortunate enough to get the promotion that included a free drink package. Really enjoyed sampling the different drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Great specialty coffees in the Explorers lounge, both with and without liquor. Recently upgraded TV entertainment system was the best I've seen on a ship. Had access to many movies, TV programs, all on demand and free of charge. Covered pool area was very nice with cushioned lounge chairs, and the ability to use it even if not the best weather. They would open it up most days, but had the option of closing it in needed. Only food not better than Princess was the Pizza..still prefer Princess in that regard. Missed the large open atrium on Princess ships. Was excited to see 2 very nice ping pong tables in the cover pool area, but disappointed that HAL did nothing to get people together to play. Most cruise lines have a ping pong 'tournament' to get players together, HAL had no mention of it for the entire 12 day cruise. Not great on entertainment, but we have gotten to the point that we don't go to shows every night anyway. Will cruise again with HAL again. Read Less
Nieuw Amsterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.5 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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