Sail Date: August 2019
Took full advantage of wheelchair assistance and porter, made it a lot easier – on both of us. Delivered to stateroom door at embarkation. Quality of food varied, meat generally overcooked on the Lido, meat and seafood tough in the ... Read More
Took full advantage of wheelchair assistance and porter, made it a lot easier – on both of us. Delivered to stateroom door at embarkation. Quality of food varied, meat generally overcooked on the Lido, meat and seafood tough in the Canaletto and beautiful and tasty in the Tamarind. Lack of consistency across the board. Why should we have to pay extra to have a great experience. Tamarind was the best part of the cruise. Five courses for $25 each [4-star discount] Apple, Utra, Dhana provided gracious service, even getting us a second anniversary cake, as we were too full the first night, so we returned. Not only was the food presented in a beautiful manner, the taste was exquisite.Frustrating to come onboard mid-afternoon after excursion, Lido closing despite people in-line. Only dining option salads or Dive In. Miss the bands in the lounges. Stefanie Bolton of the BB King All-Star band was the highlight every evening. Juneau rained all day, but were forewarned so brought warmer clothing. Took the ship’s excursion for Whale watching and wildlife quest. Enthusiastic wildlife specialist gave us all sorts of information on wildlife we encountered. Particularly interesting was learning the returning whales have been given names, made the sightings more meaningful. Enjoyed various nibbles throughout the cruise, smoked salmon and kelp pickles at the end of course were the best. And just at the end we found the whales! In Skagway walked off the ship, and found the street car tour. Could use our ship’s card to pay for it, so made it very convenient . Driver was dressed in frontier dress, bit eccentric, as she swerved all over the road to avoid hitting the caterpillars? Would have preferred her narration vice recorded version, so could have a more personalized experience. In Ketchikan, berthed directly in the middle of town. Easy access to Visitor Information and shops; picked up discounted? Ketchikan Wildlife Tour. Last of the day, no other passengers so it became a private tour for the two of us. Sonia took personal delight in sharing her town with us. Because DH couldn’t walk far, we didn’t go to the Totem poles. Instead of the Dolly House which didn’t interest us, she graciously took us directly back to the ship. Medevac of patient occurred last day in Inside Passage, skillfully handled, kept low key. Only thing Captain had to cancel his “Questions” session, and wasn’t able to present the Mariner rewards. Two hour delay did not affect the schedule, kept up the slow cruising of the Inside Passage and made up time during the night Discouraged by the impoliteness of fellow guests, barging into the elevator before passengers disembark, blocking the way of a wheelchair bound passenger’s assisted departure of the tour boat. All going to the same place at the same time. Verbal+Finger salute from obviously a disgruntled passenger as she went the entire length of the luggage room on disembarkation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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: March 2019
Ship is very pretty & clean. Lovely decor and artwork. Our cabin 5090 had plenty of storage, and a bathtub! Bring a bar of your own soap if you don't like the liquid soap dispenser on the shower wall. There were inconsistencies ... Read More
Ship is very pretty & clean. Lovely decor and artwork. Our cabin 5090 had plenty of storage, and a bathtub! Bring a bar of your own soap if you don't like the liquid soap dispenser on the shower wall. There were inconsistencies between our cabin and our friends next door. We had a mag makeup mirror and a small note pad on the night table (which I used a lot). Our friends didn't have these things. We had the open dining and because of the great dining room hostess, had the same wait staff each night, whom we loved. Dining room food was usually ok. There was a meal or two we traded in, the red snapper being one. Great presentation, small quantity. We were disappointed that we were on one of 4 HAL ships in an experimental dining mode, charging $10 for a second entree. I hope this initiative fails as trying different foods is one of the best parts of cruising. We did the buffet twice for breakfast and a few times at around 3pm for a snack. We are never fans of the buffet. This one wasn't too bad though. TAMARIND is by far the best dining experience on the ship. Try it early on and go often. So pretty up there too, at the bar. Weak entertainment, disappointed at how poor most of it was. There were three nights of 14 in which we thought the Main Stage entertainment was up to cruise ship standards. BBKing All Stars consistently great in the BB King lounge. Gets people up and moving and happy. More activity choices needed, especially on sea days. America's Test Kitchen could be better with another cook/demonstrator. Same with the EXE talks by Jeanette, boring. Cruise director Nick also lackluster. This may all be by design as the clientele, at least on this cruise, much older. Many over 80. At 58 I was definitely in a minority decade represented by the guests. All services were *impeccable* EXCEPT for room service and the wait staff at both Canneletto and Pinnicle Grill restaurants. In fact room service breakfast on port days was as if it was the first day they ever offered room service breakfast on a port day. Many complaining. We had a snafu where we never did get any breakfast on a port day waiting for pre ordered room service which never arrived. I must mention they did make it up to us with hand written notes, a bottle of wine, follow up phone calls and priority delivery of room service breakfast the second (and last) time we ordered it. Loved the unlimited laundry service and they did a superb job. Passing through the Panama canal was wonderful, being served the Panama rolls and coffee throughout the early morning hours. I recommend you don't miss the early up at 5:30am to experience the canal at the beginning. I was going to skip it, BUT am so very glad I decided to get up for this once in a lifetime experience. We headed to the back of the ship on deck 9 by the pool as we left the first set of locks. Nice perspective, and not many thought of doing this. Central America hot & humid . Costa Rica our best day using a private tour company call Thumbs Up tours, their 10 in 1 day tour.Ten folks in a nice, cool van. Perfect. We loved our day at Huatulco, MX with the sandy beach and restaurants right off the ship. Great swimming cove. We did enjoy all ports. Did not do a tour in Guatemala, only walked around the "faux" town just off the ship. But with food, bars, entertainment and shopping, we had a great time there. This was my 5th cruise. Probably would use another line (Royal Caribbean again maybe) for our next one in a year or two. HAL was very good, but just a bit too low key for us. I would suggest another itinerary which may cater to younger guests or maybe not choosing HAL at all if under 45. Research it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Cruising through the Panama Canal was on the bucket list. HAL cruised all the way through which was the high point of the 14 day cruise. The ship was beautiful and the service overall was good, but the spa staff was highly aggressive and ... Read More
Cruising through the Panama Canal was on the bucket list. HAL cruised all the way through which was the high point of the 14 day cruise. The ship was beautiful and the service overall was good, but the spa staff was highly aggressive and treatments way too expensive. Watch your bill - we had multiple charges for other people's alcohol and for things that were included in our beverage package. They did reverse the charges, but it took time away from our cruise to get the items corrected. The cabin was comfortable and clean and the cabin stewards were wonderful. We were on the 8th deck near the bridge and had no issues with rolling seas or noise from any of the entertainment. We did have to walk through the spa area every time we went to higher decks - odd set up. We are 60 and felt like we were the babes on this cruise. This appeared to be an older group that was in bed by 9PM. The first night at sea we expected to be wowed by the entertainment. Instead we got a movie on the main stage and the sound system was not good. We saw perhaps 3-4 entertainers that were good, but this was highly disappointing for a 14 day cruise. We arranged our excursions a month or so before cruising. The descriptions were somewhat misleading - "a motorized catamaran" was actually a booze cruise with 150 other passengers - not what we pictured. We thought we were going to a nice cove to swim where we could snorkel and see the native fish. After cruising with everyone else drinking we got perhaps 30 minutes in the water with no fish at all (didn't need to bring our snorkeling equipment or the rolls we took from breakfast to feed the fish). We did sign up for one excursion on the ship and then chose not to go because we were not feeling well. HAL has a 14 day refund policy - not very accommodating on a 14 day cruise. We couldn't get a refund but could trade to a lesser priced excursion, but still lost the money. We did have a wonderful time with our dinner table - table for 8 at the 8PM seating. Overall we did enjoy our cruise. We chose the itinerary for this cruise and not the cruise line. For a number of reasons we perhaps will not cruise with HAL again. They are way too focused of making a buck. For example - every cruise we've been on before with other lines we've been able to use all of the spa facilities on the day we had a treatment. Not on HAL. Everything had a separate price tag. As a last thought - we completed HAL's online survey after our cruise and indicated that they could contact us for clarification or comments. It's been a month and there's been no attempt on their behalf to follow through. Aside from the on board cruise staff, HAL needs a lesson in customer service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We have only sailed on Celebrity ships before; enough to rise to the elite level which also entitles us to several perks. So why sail on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam? We wanted to do the ocean to ocean Panama Canal itinerary in the ... Read More
We have only sailed on Celebrity ships before; enough to rise to the elite level which also entitles us to several perks. So why sail on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam? We wanted to do the ocean to ocean Panama Canal itinerary in the late winter or early spring when it was cold in the Washington, DC area. Celebrity no longer offered this cruise during this time of the year. So, we reviewed the ships that sailed during this time and decided that the Nieuw Amsterdam would be our choice. (Note: We did compare the Nieuw Amsterdam to the other Holland America ships that provided this itinerary. The Nieuw Amsterdam was reviewed best by Cruise Critic.) How did we like the cruise? Staff. The service staff in all areas of the ship were wonderful, especially their personalities and how they strove to accommodate all requests. Of course, we would only politely ask for something that our experience indicated was reasonable and also within the prevue of a particular service person. We particularly were impressed with the towel creatures left on our beds at night and learned onboard about how they were created and surprisingly how little time each one takes to create. Stateroom. We thought the stateroom size, bathroom (with tub), balcony, comfort of the bed, sitting area, and storage areas were all quite nice---certainly not to be outdone by the Celebrity Infinity which was their ship sailing this itinerary. The stateroom attendants kept the cabin clean and neat daily and were very responsive to requests; although, we had few. Dining. We were pleased with the breakfast and lunch buffets in the Lido; although, we thought the choices and quality of the food were good, but not exceptional–choices and quality for breakfast better than for lunch. The poolside hotdog/hamburger and pizza options helped to make some of our lunches enjoyable. We were not so satisfied with the Lido evening dining because of the limited selection and quality of the food the one night we dined there. Of course, the staff was attentive and friendly. Our regular evening meals were in the Dining Room on deck 3. We thoroughly enjoyed the staff. However, there were only a few dishes that we truly enjoyed eating. We found most of the food unappealing, often inadequately prepared, and providing unsatisfying pleasure. The wienerschnitzel and the surf and turf were the two entrée selections that we found quite appealing. We particularly enjoyed the desserts which had plentiful choices and were mostly prepared well and quite tasty. The entrees we selected in the Pinnacle Restaurant, particularly the Alaska King Crab, was by far the best entrée enjoyed during the cruise. We would have expected that the regular Dining Room would have provided more of this level of quality. Entertainment. The performers in the Mainstage theater were just ok, especially in comparison to our Celebrity experiences. That said, the comic John Wing and the English piano player/comic, Brett Cave, were quite enjoyable. We wouldn’t want to see any of the other acts twice. The cruise’s backup band and the classical quintet were superb. Playing together on the Mainstage to provide the musical background for the featured nature film was a great way to highlight their talents. A particular performance highlight was the Columbian Ambassadors who provided a show on the Mainstage one afternoon. In our opinion, they provided the best performance of the entire cruise and should have had more exposure--perhaps an evening performance. Finally, we thoroughly enjoyed the performance featuring members of the wonderful Filipino staff performing with great enthusiasm. Shore Excursions. We enjoyed the excursions we selected which included city highlights, horseback riding, rafting, snorkeling, zip lining, nature watching on a river, and an equestrian show. The only excursion we were quite disappointed with was the Lake Atitlan full day excursion which required a 2 ½ hour, extremely bumpy bus trip followed by a 45 minute boat ride across an average-looking lake to an unexceptional resort for a basically enjoyable lunch followed by a 45 minute return boat ride exactly the same as the first one, followed by a 2 hour return bus ride exactly the same as the first one, but a half-hour shorter because of driving downhill, and less bumpy apparently due to the lighter loads of trucks going toward the port. All in all, this excursion included too much traveling with very minimal enjoyment for the effort. We also noticed that the Holland America written descriptions of the shore excursions that we took were often not truly reflective of the actual experiences. That said, it was still only the one excursion mentioned above that was disappointing and perhaps a more accurate description of the excursion would have helped us to make a better decision. Informational and Cultural Lectures. In particular, the Shore Excursion informational leader, Jeanette, was superb. Her presentation describing the next day’s experience of sailing through the Panama Canal was clear and comprehensive, allowing an enjoyable understanding of the next day’s experience. Additionally, Jeanette’s other presentations providing information of what we’d see upon arriving in other destinations was thoroughly well done and appreciated. Holland America Onboard Internet. The Holland America onboard internet that provided information about daily activities and dining menus, person-to-person onboard texting, and enabled us to keep track of our own cruise itineraries was extremely effective, reliable and useful. That said, access from our cell phones were not up to the exemplary level of the in-cabin TV access and the technical staff should strive to make both access pathways equally effective. In Conclusion. The purpose of the trip was to enjoy the ocean to ocean Panama Canal itinerary during the late winter or early spring. Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam provided the desired itinerary. The stateroom, the Lido breakfast and lunch buffet along with the hotdog/hamburger and pizza poolside options, the shore excursions, the informational/cultural lectures, the Pinnacle specialty restaurant, and the entire staff were, in our opinion, quite good. The entertainment and the evening dining were, in our opinion, just average. Will we sail with Holland America in the future? Probably not, particularly because the entertainment and evening dining we’ve experienced on Celebrity ships—which we consider to be extremely important parts of the cruising experience—are much better. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
WE sailed the Feb 24 sailing. We had sailed this ship in 2016 in Alaska and were pleased. This ship has since been thru a refurb and I noticed all new carpet, they reconfigured a few areas but basically seemed the same. We basically ... Read More
WE sailed the Feb 24 sailing. We had sailed this ship in 2016 in Alaska and were pleased. This ship has since been thru a refurb and I noticed all new carpet, they reconfigured a few areas but basically seemed the same. We basically were looking for the least expensive balcony cabin during Feb and came across this one and chose it. The weather the week we went was fantastic. What we noticed was an older crowd which we were expecting. WE are 62 and 67 so not teenagers but we seemed ALOT younger than most of the passengers. Everyone we encountered were friendly passengers and crew. We ate dinner in the Main Dining room. WE found the portions to be smaller than we remembered and you cannot order 2 entrees without an additonal $10 upcharge. THis is fine with me as I dont think anyone will go hungry on a cruise! 3 people at our table one night all had to send back the red snapper as it was literally like a piece of rubber and we could not even cut it. THe deserts were average. The entertainment was sub par in the main theatre but the BBKing band saved the cruise for us. They were fantastic. They announced this was their first week together so I can only imagine how they will evolve over time. WE found no music by the pools not even any piped in which made for a very "non festive" atmosphere. We were happy to get out of the Midwest for a week but will probably not sail Holland America again unless there is a deal we cannot resist. This was our 17th cruise and we find pros and cons on all the lines we have been on. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We were terribly disappointed with the entertainment. The worst in all the cruises I have taken. This was our first with Holland American and never again. This was a cruise suitable for very old people. The best entertainment was the ... Read More
We were terribly disappointed with the entertainment. The worst in all the cruises I have taken. This was our first with Holland American and never again. This was a cruise suitable for very old people. The best entertainment was the Filipino cruise members show. They put up a voluntary show. I must also mention one of Lido restaurant staff Amelia, she was helpful and very nice. She also did a great show. There was a lack of entertainment for younger people. We never met a single young person from the entertainment team beside the cruise director. All in all not a happy experience. The staff in our allocated dining area were absolutely wonderful and helpful. I found quite disrespectful to be called by my Cristian name by the cabin steward. In Europe we are not used to that or at least I am not. Not very good room service at all Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have been on HAL several times and have always in enjoyed ourselves as have the other two couples we traveled with. This was our first time on Nieuw Amsterdam. The cabin on deck 7 aft was great, good location for getting to elevators ... Read More
We have been on HAL several times and have always in enjoyed ourselves as have the other two couples we traveled with. This was our first time on Nieuw Amsterdam. The cabin on deck 7 aft was great, good location for getting to elevators and only two decks from the buffet and pool area. The cabin stewards were excellent and the cabin was always clean with fresh ice. The service in the MDR was poor, extremely slow and one of the orders was never delivered. The staff seemed to be overworked or short handed. The service in the buffet and pool deck was slow, tables were left unbussed for a long time and bar service was almost non existent on one occasion, HAL really seems to be sailing with minimal staffing. We loved the Dive In and pizza, but other food seemed to be reworked leftovers. The Asian station was excellent however. The super bowl was broadcast in the main theatre and was popular and HAL was serving some finger foods complimentary. Very good selection of movies on the in cabin entertainment but the dedicated movie theatre on deck 3 is gone. We did not do any shore excursions. The comedian and magic act were great both nights. The fitness center has added more equipment and I used it every day. Overall we had a good time but HAL is slipping. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were so excited to be back on a Holland America Line (HAL) ship after a few cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We missed the classic European charm of HAL. The little Dutch/European touches -- fine dining at breakfast -- ... Read More
We were so excited to be back on a Holland America Line (HAL) ship after a few cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We missed the classic European charm of HAL. The little Dutch/European touches -- fine dining at breakfast -- with classic European or Asian breakfasts, the ginger served after dinner, escargot on formal nights etc. Oh, we were so disappointed. We were 11 people on the cruise and each of us felt the food was sorely lacking. Marinara sauces watered down so that it was like adding thick pink water to your pasta. It was absolutely flavorless. Granted I am vegetarian and so assumed it was just me. So, when my carnivore son also complained about the food -- I knew the problem was real. Even the cappuccinos and lattes that cost $5+ each -- tasted of weak poor quality coffee. I spent so much time hungry on this cruise -- literally hungry. The salad bar was a good solid bet. The poached egg station in the morning was nice. The oatmeal was made palatable by adding nuts from near the yogurt station. Each meal on the Lido deck was a matter of hunt and gather -- hunt for the base of your meal -- then gather items to make it flavorful and tasty. Actually felt hunger pangs on the cruise and left the ship on Sunday ravenous. Body was literally craving nutrition. I will applaud almost every member of the crew. They never failed to smile or greet you. The only one who seemed apathetic was the girl not excited about making our pasta with extra spinach or gluten free -- even though we fetched the spinach from the salad station ourselves. We have truly enjoyed the elegance and high standards on HAL prior to this cruise and selected it because an elderly family member was traveling with us. As a large group, we felt it was the best cruise line to get a quality experience. Sorely disappointed on so many fronts but mainly the food front. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is just our second cruise so we are by no means any experts so read this review with that in mind. Check in was smooth and easy we were a bit late from delayed flight so we checked in around 2:00PM and it was not that busy. We ... Read More
This is just our second cruise so we are by no means any experts so read this review with that in mind. Check in was smooth and easy we were a bit late from delayed flight so we checked in around 2:00PM and it was not that busy. We also were able to access our cabin right away. Went to the LIDO for lunch and it was not so busy which we found out later in the cruise was not the norm. If you went at the peak times it was often very hard to find a seat. Cabin on the smallish side Suite 10033 but we chose the option where they choose the cabin for you so I guess we were lucky to have a view! No problem storing our stuff plenty of room for everything. Balcony was Ok met our needs, bed was comfortable. Room attendant Ron was very attentive and kept everything as we asked, was tipped well accordingly. Speaking of tipping one thing that really you need to watch is that they charged $ 14.50 person per day for what they call a hotel service fee. I found out later is a tip for all the crew! Not sure if this is mandatory or optional but it was on our card when we left, still waiting for an answer from Holland on that. Check the charges on your bill. Not crazy about spreading tips amongst all crew as some of them were not that friendly or helpful. Dining, LIDO was always crowded during peak periods if you went later, they started closing stations before the advertised time. We were waiting in line for a waffle one morning when the server left said he would back in a minute then never returned. We were them told 5 minutes later by another employee that the station was closed! A few unhappy people in line! Also got some cold eggs for breakfast that same trip. The food was average. A couple of times they had a special Prime rib, or oriental fare which was of a bit better quality. The Pinnacle steak house and the Italian dining options were very good, better food and service although wife was not happy about having to pay extra for sparkling water when you already pay $ 35 each to dine there! The MDR we only ate their once and was OK we tried a second time but was too busy and we doid not have a reservation. The hamburger joint `Dive IN` was good but busy! New York pizza was Ok. The service at the dining locations was hit and miss sometimes good other times not so much. The entertainment not much to comment we saw one show a magician show Freddie Fusion and he was funny; the show was good. Other then that only heard a few songs at BB Kings and they were quite good, couldn`t get a seat though the bar is quite popular and gets filled up fast. We did attend a America Test Kitchen session which was quite informative. Excursions - Turks and Caicos, Hummer ride was a lot of fun and the guides were quite good this was worth the experience. San Juan - Walking tour very interesting you see a lot of Old San Juan and the guide was very enthusiastic and fun. The dining experience at then end was OK, small portions and plastic knives and forks. St. Thomas, champagne cruise and snorkeling was good, the snorkelling was a bit disappointing but the cruise back and forth was quite fun especially when the champagne starts running! Half Moon Bay, We didn’t stop due to safety concerns about high waves as they tender you to Half Moon Bay All and all a cruise is what you make of it and realise everyone is trying to sell you something from the room attendant to the bar servers! Even in the gym they tried to sell shoe inserts! From our experience overall at vacation resorts and our only one other cruise this we consider an average experience, nothing WOWED us and we encountered the normal service issues. The mandatory tipping issue was a downer also. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
When we were looking to book a cruise, the review of between 4 and 4.5 attracted our attention, we also liked the displayed itinerary Holland American listed. We had a well maintained and spacious suite, access to the Neptune lounge was ... Read More
When we were looking to book a cruise, the review of between 4 and 4.5 attracted our attention, we also liked the displayed itinerary Holland American listed. We had a well maintained and spacious suite, access to the Neptune lounge was convenience, the fitness center though small but well kept with decent equipment. I just didn't like the limit selection and quality of their seafood (baby shrimp and tiny scallops). Some parts of the entertainment are good (BB King, comedy, 1000 step and other dancing shows), the timing were often conflicted with dinner time. The support staff comprised mainly of Filipino and Thai, while majority are great and so pleasant to converse with, we encountered a couple that were rude and condescending. We were unable to go to the last port at Half Moon Cay due to high waves, we agree that safety is important but feel that the company should at least try to compensate their clients for that portion. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked this cruise because we were joining fellow submarine veterans for our annual convention. The check-in and embarkation was very well handled. We were told that our cabin was not ready and that we should have lunch in the Lido. ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we were joining fellow submarine veterans for our annual convention. The check-in and embarkation was very well handled. We were told that our cabin was not ready and that we should have lunch in the Lido. The dining room was not open. The lunch was mediocre. No. 1: Sunday, October 21, we moved into our cabin, 8026, at 12:30 and it was warm. I turned the warmer/cooler gauge to the coolest setting but not much happened. I called Guest Services at 1:30 and someone came about an hour later with a temperature sensor. She stated that the temperature was 75°F, and “that’s cool”. I have asthma and keep my house at 66°F so I don’t consider 75°F cool. It was still warm all night and I didn’t sleep at all. I called again on Monday and someone came but nothing really happened until late that afternoon. On and off, the cabin was overly warm during the cruise. On a previous HAL cruise on the Köingsdam I could actually set the temperature to 66°F. No. 2: Sunday, October 21, when I went into the bathroom to use the toilet and opened the lid, the stench was that of the dirty men’s room in a run down gas station. Before I had an opportunity to call Guest Services, our cabin steward delivered our luggage and I asked him to clean the toilet. I could tell that he didn’t believe me when I said it stank, until he opened the lid. He made a face so I know he thought it was bad. No. 3: While the steward was cleaning the toilet, I noticed that a crew was chipping paint above our veranda. I looked out and saw that the chairs, the deck and the railings were covered in debris. I asked the steward to please clean the veranda. I could tell he wasn’t pleased to see how dirty it was. This is a classic example of the maintenance supervisor not talking to the housekeeping supervisor. If they did speak with each other, maintenance would have told housekeeping that the verandas would need cleaning. I spoke with my neighbors when out on the veranda the next morning and their verandas were filthy; I told them about the chipping and that they should ask to have them cleaned. No. 4: The grout lines in the shower area of the bathroom were covered in mildew. I ran my fingernail on one of them and was able to remove some mildew; however, most was completely ingrained in the grout. I didn’t bother to ask that it be cleaned because it will take hours to properly clean it. No. 5: The plastic cover on the shower seat was badly cracked and the plastic was rather sharp. There does not appear to be anyone who actually inspects the cabins and the stewards certainly don’t have time. No. 6: The hem of the shower curtain was filthy; obviously it is not washed between passengers. Again, attention to detail is lacking. No. 7: The first morning when I used the hair dryer it caught fire. I called Guest Services to report it and request another and was asked “did you unplug it?” Of course I unplugged it as soon as it started burning, I am not stupid. The hair dryer catching fire is not what I am unhappy about, it was the suggestion that I was so stupid that I would not know to unplug a burning hair dryer. No. 8: There are only 2 outlets in the cabin and none by the bedsides. I have a CPAP machine so I had to request an extension cord. I was given a heavy duty yellow one to run under the bed from the desk. More than 2 outlets should be available and they should be on the bedsides. No. 9: The TV is hung to the left of the bed so that the person on the far side has to get a crick in their neck if they want to watch. It wouldn’t be so bad if it could be swiveled out to face the bed. But really, why would they hang a picture in the center of the wall at the foot of the bed and the TV off to the left side? Do they think that we want to line up the 2 chairs by the desk to watch? No. 10: Robe hooks should be either on the inside of the closet doors or high enough on the bathroom door to hang a robe. Because we had a handicap shower, someone thought that the hooks should be only waist high. This is of no use to anyone, including someone in a wheelchair because you cannot hang up the robes in the bathroom unless you want 3 feet of them dragging the floor. I would think that the chances of having both occupants of the cabin in a wheelchair are rather slim. The non-wheelchair bound passenger can hang the robes for both. Also, at their current height, the hooks easily catch you on the arm when going in or out of the bathroom. I did more than once. No. 11: Accumulated dust and debris in most corners and around most baseboards throughout the ship. I was an officer in the US Navy and they trained us to look high and look low because those are the areas that most don’t see. Old habits never die; I still look high and low everywhere I go. The Navy takes cleanliness very seriously because of the threat of seaborne illnesses. I don’t think the ship is staffed to actually keep the ship as clean as it should be and the turnover time between cruises is insufficient to for the cabin stewards to properly clean the cabins. I know that port costs are high and they want the ship at sea as quickly as possible. However, if passengers were told that they would embark, that the ship would get underway and that they would eat lunch before they could get into their cabins in order for them to be thoroughly cleaned, I think that most would appreciate that their cabins were actually clean when they moved in. There are plenty of public spaces and lunch could be served in the dining room as well as the Lido to keep everyone comfortable while they waited for their cabins. I am glad I brought sanitizing wipes to go over every surface in the cabin. No. 12: The food served in the dining room was merely OK. I would rate the food to that of a chain restaurant. The desserts were especially disappointing. The service in the dining room was generally very good, however, the timing of courses was off; we finished our coffee before dessert arrived or finished our dessert before the coffee arrived, it was never the same 2 nights in a row. The Lido is nothing more than a cafeteria and I only eat there when forced; unfortunately this was every lunch when in port. No. 13: I am allergic to capsaicin, the chemical that makes all chilies hot. I have sailed with HAL before and recorded my allergy when I checked in on-line and not had a problem. I informed our waiter the first time we ate in the dining room. Most evenings I asked what had chilies in it and was steered away, it was never volunteered. At one meal every menu item had some sort of chili in it. I was given a piece of fish that was prepared without the chilies, or much taste and it was overcooked. On the final night I ordered the seafood deviled eggs as my first course. I was not warned away from them. After I had eaten both eggs I felt a slight tingling in my mouth, the signal that capsaicin was present. At this point, it is too late to stop the reaction; I had sores in my mouth and down my throat for the next week. When a member of the culinary staff stopped by the table I mentioned that I did not appreciate getting something with chilies in it, and I said that I thought it was cayenne in the eggs. He did report my unhappiness to the supervisor who came over and said that they didn’t realize that cayenne was a chili! She also said I should have been given the menu the night before (which did happen on the Köingsdam) but that was not offered during this cruise. I am not sure what culinary training the kitchen staff receives, but I would think that they should know what is and what isn’t a chili. I also believe that the use of chilies is overdone these days, especially if catering to an older crowd who may have dietary restrictions and problems, but that, of coarse, is just my opinion. No. 14: No specialty coffee card; just a very expensive $60+ per day per person in the cabin beverage packages. We don’t drink much alcohol and might have 1 bottle of wine and a couple of drinks during the entire cruise. We also don’t ever drink sodas and would never buy bottled water and only want 1 latte a day. We certainly could not possibly drink $120+ in one day to make the beverage package worth while. Sell a speciality card with a price break like Princess Cruises. And, sell specialty coffee in more than the Crow’s Nest. It is quite the trek to get one if you happen to be aft when the urge strikes. No. 15 Previously we sailed the Köingsdam from Ft. Lauderdale through the Mediterranean and the afternoon tea was a very different and more enjoyable experience than on the nieuw Amsterdam. There we were served in one of the lounges and had individual tea pots and the sandwiches and sweets were very nice. On the nieuw Amsterdam it was held in the dining room and we were served tasteless/watery tea by a waiter and had to beg for a second cup. The sandwiches were rather stale as were the sweets. We felt very rushed and were even told we needed to leave so that they could set up for dinner. We decided to avoid any future afternoon teas since we thought that we could make our own “tea” by going to the Crow’s Nest and getting some tea sandwiches and sweets as we could on the Köingsdam, but no, there are no tea sandwiches served in the Crow’s Nest on the nieuw Amsterdam. We did without. As I said, we were part of a large group and the ship did their best to take care of the large meetings. We just did not think it was the advertised 5 star experience. More 2 stars. 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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This cruise was an option on an Insight Gold Tour and overall it was acceptable but not that exciting and the three stops were a somewhat welcome relief from being confined on the ship. Embarkation and disembarkation was not a problem ... Read More
This cruise was an option on an Insight Gold Tour and overall it was acceptable but not that exciting and the three stops were a somewhat welcome relief from being confined on the ship. Embarkation and disembarkation was not a problem though the lines for embarkation were longer that we would have expected. Dining room food was of a very high quality as was the service and there was very little need to venture to the "special" restaurants which we did on only one occasion. Our cabin was on deck 8 with a veranda which we thought would be great - BIG MISTAKE. Whilst on the surface the ship appeared to be well maintained we soon discovered that our cabin was below the Lido market (food area) and every night and morning - late at night (around midnight) and early in the morning (before 5:00 AM) we were subjected to noise from trolleys on the floor above which awakened us from our sleep - So much for a relaxing cruise. A little bit of attention to detail may have solved this problem with additional soundproofing in the ceiling or softer rubber wheels on the trolleys. To make things worse on the second last day of the cruise our plumbing backed up and we needed the plumber to clear the drainage pipes- not sure that it was successful and on the last day before we disembarked to toilets on deck 8 stopped working. I contacted the assistance line at about 4.00 am only to be told they would need to contact/wake up the plumber - YES!!! Repeated calls over the next hour or so gave us little or no feedback and was most annoying. NO toilet and a suspect shower - we we told to use pulic rest rooms - in our pyjamas!!! Customer service was hopeless though I have to say that staff in the dining rooms were great. Paid excursions were very good however the whale watching one was a waste of time and certainly not one that we would recommend. Would I travel on this cruise line again - Maybe NOT Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Cruise booked to follow on from a Calgary to Vancouver self drive holiday. The scenery in British Columbia was fantastic. Anyway, I was not intending to post until I saw a customer had a similar issue with HA regarding their gluten free ... Read More
Cruise booked to follow on from a Calgary to Vancouver self drive holiday. The scenery in British Columbia was fantastic. Anyway, I was not intending to post until I saw a customer had a similar issue with HA regarding their gluten free offerings also during May. (Ours 19th to 26th). I am coeliac so have to be gluten free. HA were pre advised. The problems I experienced came twofold. Firstly the level of education amongst staff was poor, particularly in the Lido where conflicting advice was given and I was glutened after being assured the sausage was gluten free. It wasn't as subsequently confirmed by the kitchen staff. Similar experience with gravy and one or two other items by which time I had asked about foods to hear the response but had no intention of having unless I was sure. The Dining Manager spoke to us at length and endeavoured to look after us for the remainder of the cruise but did admit that they had a problem with training and knowledge. One of the chefs we approached after listening to our experience said "so what is your point?" which rather says it all. The small assortment of sealed breads and muffins was only replenished once a day so when it had gone, usually towards the end of the Lido breakfast service, that was it till the next day. In the MDR the service was very good and I was able to trust the food served. The problem here was that the food was unexciting with little or no attempt to produce GF food. For example, the cheesecake came with out any base, only the filling. the Tarts were filling only, no pastry. Other sweets were generally ice cream or fruit. No effort to make anything like sponge, pastry or cake mixes. My baked alaska was ice cream with squirty cream piped on top!! My only other cruise experience since diagnosis was with Costa Cruises. They were superb. The menu was posted to my room the day before and I could choose at the table same time as the other guests, with HA I had to choose 24 hours before. With Costa I had a specialist waiter who ensured no cross contamination and the food was excellent with GF alternatives produced for all the things I list above that HA did not do. All this information was passed to HA for their future consideration. The cruise otherwise was fine. Glad we booked the whale watching from Juneau directly with an operator as the HA excursions were cancelled as a bit choppy. The ship was okay but disappointed to see a lot of maintenance and cleaning work going on in public areas during peak hours, early evening. On Costa did not see any of that. Bar prices were decent. The entertainment was fine, BB Kings excellent and main stage shows reasonable, the two male singers good, the female vocalist no so. Administration was very good and no hassle boarding or getting off the ship. Now we have been to Alaska unlikely to use HA again. Cabin was good and staff very good. Captain was completely invisible and did not make an appearance at anytime across the seven days. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were ... Read More
We have previously sailed on Oceania and Crystal and choose HAL as an alternative to the luxury lines we've sailed on previously. We loved the newly updated ship and the size of the Neptune Suite. The Caribbean waters were wonderfully smooth and a brilliant blue. The Retreat cabana was a perfect retreat and the service in was fantastic. My only complaint was the food in the main dining room was salty and bland thankfully we spent the rest of the cruise eating in the specialty restaurants. The entertainment is exceptional and we went to the main stage every night for the late show. We'd cap off the night with a visit to the BB's Blues Club. The musicians were amazing and we enjoyed watching them. Finally, the private island, Half Moon Cay was perfect. We loved being alone on the island and had private bike/hike tour along with a relaxing day at the beach. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
For my wife and me, this was our 24th cruise (8th on a Holland America ship). BE FOREWARNED --- if internet access is important to you, you need to choose another cruise line or be prepared to deal with HORRIBLE (virtually non-existent) ... Read More
For my wife and me, this was our 24th cruise (8th on a Holland America ship). BE FOREWARNED --- if internet access is important to you, you need to choose another cruise line or be prepared to deal with HORRIBLE (virtually non-existent) Wi-Fi service. We had also been on the Nieuw Amsterdam several years ago, and the internet access was much better even back then. Every other cruise line used by us (e.g. Royal Caribbean and Princess) has been far better at providing Wi-Fi Service. The only other practical option for internet access on this ship was to wait for a port call and go to places there that offer Wi-Fi service. In some ports you can use the $10 per day cellular service international packages (e.g. Verizon and AT&T), and get good internet access that way, and also then make any desired telephone calls. But, don’t count on anything in this regard on this ship. Since we highly rely upon internet access, we will not be cruising with Holland America again until they get this problem solved. The people at guest services were nice, and they admitted the problem. But, they said that they were unable to do anything about it. We left about 600 unused minutes (for which we prepaid and were not reimbursed) because lack of service made that available internet time totally useless. ALSO, the ship only had two computers for use by passengers --- and these are buried down across from guest services on Deck 1. Previously, the ship had a number of computers up in the Explorations Café. Those are no longer there. This factor (combined with the poor internet service) resulted in lines at those two computers the day before return as many passengers needed to print out boarding passes for their flights back home. Otherwise, our cruise was a positive experience. The ship was renovated over the winter, and this favorably shows. Virtually everything looks new. Compared to our last cruise on this ship, it seems like the crew had been given a “pep-talk” about being nicer to passengers. Every member of the crew/staff was friendly and engaging --- and they always did their utmost to assist. Here are some specifics that might be helpful: 1. Cabin --- Consider a Signature Suite. In our view, these are a bargain. There is plenty of room (with a large balcony) and the bathroom has two sinks with a whirlpool tub and separate shower. There are multiple electrical outlets with multiple separate USB ports for charging portable IT devices. There are two desk areas (one that I used as an “office” and the other that my wife used as a “vanity/make-up area”). There is so much available storage that about half of it we did not even use. The large wall-mounted LED TV screen is great compared to the desk top TV’s previously provided. We were impressed with the soundproofing of the cabin. Little, if anything, could ever be heard from other cabins (adjoining, above or below). In the past, we have had to wait until mid-afternoon to get access to our cabins. More recently, cruise lines have been providing immediate access upon boarding (which is nice). We boarded around noon, and our room was immediately available for us, with our luggage getting to our room within an hour after that. 2. Pools --- There are fresh water rather than salt water (which is a major plus in our opinion). The main pool has a retractable roof. If it is raining or too cold, the roof can be entirely or partially closed. So, the main pool is usable at just about all times. One problem concerns the deck at the main pool. It is brown vinyl that burns bare feet when the hot sun is shining on it. There were plenty of available towels on deck (without any special check out process). We really did not have much of a problem finding available lounges. However, passengers seem to be adopting a new approach to things. If someone has not used a lounge for a while, a passenger “in need” just uses it anyway and prepares himself or herself to apologetically move if the original “stakeout” user returns (which often is many hours later). The ship now has drape-surrounded “cabanas” on the main pool deck on one side of the pool, which cabana areas are rented out for a reasonable daily charge. If you have a family that wants something like that as a “home base” then those can be useful. But, there is not much ventilation in these cabanas, so they can get too hot/uncomfortable to use. Attendants did provide fans to set up in the cabanas to help make things more comfortable for those using them. 3. Dining --- We had, and like, fixed time dining at an assigned table. Being served by (and getting to better know) the same waiters prompts those waiters to do a “little more” for you. On a couple of evenings, we mixed things up and dined (later than our fixed dining time) at two of the specialty restaurants. Each (the Pinnacle Grill for steaks and Canelleto’s for Italian) were outstanding. Overall, we find that the food on Holland America ships are the best (as compared to other cruise lines that we have used). The breakfast buffet on the Lido Deck has most of the usual food choices, but also adds special stations for preparation (while you watch) of: i) omelets and eggs to order; and ii) pancakes, crepes or Belgian waffles. We never found ourselves waiting in a line of more than a few people, which is one of the special values of a mid-size ship (with less passengers) as opposed to the mega-ships. 4. Ports of Call --- Both San Juan (Puerto Rico) and St. Thomas appear to have recovered pretty well from the hurricanes of last fall. We had been to both ports on previous cruises, and we really did not notice much difference from those previous times. We like the wide array of shopping and restaurants closely available in each of these ports, as opposed to ports at smaller places. Half Moon Cay is the best private island facility of all of the cruise lines that we have used (great beach). There really is no meaningful shopping there. This cruise did not give sufficient time to really enjoy this stop. This is especially the case since the tendering process from ship to shore takes a fair amount of time. Since we had to be back on board by 2:30 p.m., most passengers were returning shortly after the lunch barbeque. Put another way, a good sunny “beach day” was wasted. At Turks and Caicos, the Margaritaville near the pier there is great (nice pool --- much bigger than the one in Falmouth, Jamaica which is also near the pier there). 5. Excursions --- We had (multiple times) previously been to each of the ports of call. There was hardly any offered shore excursion that we had not done in the past. Any of them (depending upon a person’s special interest) we could recommend. So, under the circumstances, we just went into town and casually walked/shopped, and stopped at some interesting cafes or restaurants for a drink and a snack (AND TO USE WIFI THAT WAS HORRIBLE ON THE SHIP). This made this cruise actually one of the more relaxing ones that we have had. Simply put, we did very little and enjoyed it. 6. Spa --- My wife and her sister (who accompanied us on this cruise with her husband) especially enjoyed the spa. For a reasonable weekly charge they had access to all of the facilities there (e.g. heated ceramic lounges, saunas and a hydra pool), and they used them often. Each booked a couple of treatments (for which there were special discounts), and they were pleased with them. 7. Miscellaneous ---- Walkie-talkies. As mentioned above, we had others that accompanied us on this cruise. To communicate with each other, we used small hand held walkie-talkies and found them to be quite helpful. Good ones (e.g. with better than a 10 mile point-to-point range) worked to and from just about any point on the ship, in spite of all of the metal and walls. While the ship was anchored off of Half Moon Cay, those of us on shore could easily communicate that way with others that had stayed on the ship. Hotel shuttles. If you stay at a nearby hotel the night before embarking, we would encourage you to avoid using their hotel shuttle services. First, we are finding that the hotels now use a service that charges for that service in an amount that is almost as much as taking Uber or a taxi. Second, with these outside services, you can often end up in a large van or bus like we did this time. We were the only two people going to our ship and were the last one’s off of the bus. We had to wait and wait as each other ship terminal preceded our drop off. It took us over an hour to go from the hotel to our ship terminal. Others that chose to take Uber or cabs paid only $5 to $10 more than we did, and it took them around only 10 minutes to get to the terminal. So, use Uber or a taxi rather than the companies that provide shuttle service for the hotels. Formal nights. When we started “cruising” years ago, many people dressed in tuxedos/cocktail dresses for the formal nights. That is seldom done any more. Some people wore sport coats/dresses. But, the vast majority just wore what I would label as sport casual. So, nowadays, we would suggest that you save luggage space and leave your formal attire at home. Direct Luggage. At Port Everglades (for certain participating airlines), passengers are offered the ability (at $25 per person) to have their luggage “checked-in” on the ship. After attaching certain special “tagging”, you leave your luggage outside of your cabin the night before return --- the same way as everybody else does this. But, after that, you do not see your luggage again until you pick it up from the baggage claim at your final point of destination. It is nice to not have to mess with luggage through customs or at check in at the airport. We have used this service on several cruises now, and we have been pleased with it. Mobile Passport App. Port Everglades provides for the use of the Mobile Passport App on your smart phone for going through customs. This really speeds the process at disembarkation, and passengers should download this app and use it where available. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the ... Read More
I will say that the Nieuw Amsterdam is a very well kept and a beautiful ship. Being recently out of dry dock, you can tell that they spent great energy in designing the new appointments. The staff is friendly for the most part and the service is good. We are 55 & 52 and seasoned cruisers mostly on Celebrity & RCCL. This was our first HAL experience and we were looking forward to it after several months of anticipation. Our overall impressions of HAL and the Nieuw Amsterdam was favorable however we will not be sailing on her or HAL again. I will attempt to highlight the various aspects of our experience. Dining: We enjoy a variety of fine dining when we cruise and the food in the specialty dining areas are exceptional with the exception of Tamarind. The Tamarind service is forced, rushed and the food quality is mediocre. Pinnacle Grille was the saving grace for our cruise. We dined early in the cruise & went back for Rudi’s Sel De Mer pop up and also for lunch. It was without question the shining part of our cruise. The MDR was also very good even though they screwed up our anytime dining reservations which they would not correct - we did end up getting our originally requested time but had to sit with others. They turned out to be great folks. We also chose MDR for breakfast - fantastic service, selection and taste. We chose this option due to the buffet being the worst of any of the 14 cruises we have experienced. The design is awful, and the selection is extremely limited. Since they serve everyone individually the lines are long for a very limited selection of poor quality items. The MDR is recommended for breakfast & lunch - avoid the buffet at all costs. Even the cookies in the afternoons (cut from a log and not homemade) are limited and the “extra” desserts after dinner have one or two selections at most. I did not try Dive In (though I hear the fries are very good) or the pizza since the lines were very long and the pizza joint was located by the adult pool adjacent to the smoking area which made that entire pool deck undesirable at times depending on the wind direction. If the wind direction is towards the inner doors to the back of the buffet, it also fills with cigarette smoke. Canaletto was very nice and there are several options to share - nice option for an inexpensive specialty spot. Stateroom. We had a Signature Suite and it was just refurbished in Dec. Nice Job HAL! It was an amazing room with excellent technology and appointments. The cabin stewards were exceptional. The very large flat screen TV had many free movie options and it was an excellent add. The bathroom was very large with both a bath with shower and a separate shower adjacent. The standing shower however is not for anyone over 5’10”. The balcony is quite large and allowed for very comfortable room service breakfast options in order to avoid the buffet. Entertainment: the production shows use great video visuals however the main vocalist was not to our liking and had a very loud brash voice. We did not stay long at the two we attempted. The BBC World w/ live music concert was exceptional due to the pairing of musicians from Lincoln Center Stage. The LCS intimate venue is a brilliant add to HAL. These young musicians are outstanding, and we visited almost every performance. BRAVO! The guest vocalist impressionist was also very good however the comedian was not. We visited the guest vocalist encore performance that same evening. BB Kings had some very good acts, but it can get a bit loud and crowded. Very good though! A new addition of the Billboard on Board sounds like it would be a good fit, but it is directly across from the open casino and the slots overpower and confuse the music coming from the dual pianos. They will fix that someday, I’m sure. I did do two America’s Test Kitchen presentations and they were very informative and well done - a really cool idea on a cruise ship. The Music Walk is a winner. There is very little other music in lounges or public areas other than these 3 venues. I think this is a big miss from HAL which Celebrity excels in. Activities: this ship is just boring. I know HAL is for the older crowd but give us something to do! Each engagement segment of interest lasts only about 30 minutes and then you wait 3 hours until something else meets your interest. The pool decks are very uninteresting and open. The family pool area has a retractable roof which they do open and close appropriately. The adult pool area at the aft is very uninteresting and as mentioned prior, has the smoking area attached with detracts from its appeal. The pool decks are plain with no real activities noticed. They gym on board has ample equipment and is not too crowed based upon the older demographic of the fellow passengers. We were able to work out easily for 5 of our 7 days onboard. We did not use the spa and the excessive up-charge to the vitality pool was a turn off. Bars: This is something that I found absolutely ridiculous, in that very few bars are open during the day other than the pool bars. The mid ship lower level bars are attached to specialty dining and once dining reservations are over or not operational, these locations are not open. What a waste of income possibilities! The ship closes down at 9:30 except for B.B. Kings. Do not pay full price for the drink package since BOTH parties in the stateroom must purchase if the other wants one. We are not heavy drinkers, but it is nice to have a glass of wine and not have to search it out. Happy hours begin at 4:00 and is decent with a $2 second cocktail which they deliver together. As a side note, we did find that the Gallery Bar beside the casino was attended most days and had sports on the TV within a very nicely decorated side room - not one you would expect sports to be shown.... Go Cubs opening day! Service: Our stateroom attendant was excellent and left us alone for the most part and made the room while we were either at the gym or at breakfast most mornings. The overall feeling though from most of the crew and service people is that they just are not happy. They seldom had a smile on their face until interaction with a passenger and most of the wait staff, servers, bar tenders, and even officers looked tired. We thought that this might be the end of a contract period and they were looking forward to a break. I have never noticed this before on any of our other cruises. Another very peculiar item was that they do not push the hand sanitizer at all and many of the dispensers were empty. Maybe since they only let the staff serve the food at the buffet, that may counter this. It was a disappointment hearing so much about the HAL service. Overall: Due to the buffet design and quality, lack of activities, and missing supplemental live music options outside of the main venues, we have crossed off HAL for any future cruises. We also were very disappointed in the level of engagement from the staff and a ship with little to offer before dinner, or even on a sea day. We met many HAL loyalists and understand that not all lines are for everyone. We thought we would enjoy the traditional cursing style of HAL but we are looking forward to returning to Celebrity next March on the new Celebrity Edge. I hope this is a helpful review. If you are a MDR type for breakfast and lunch and enjoy sitting in quiet reading a book or playing games or cards with others, this is your cruise line! We enjoy a bit more action. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Main dining room service was as bad as we've had in seventeen cruises.The ship is nice and the entertainment was good. Our stateroom steward was great. Food was just so so except good in Pinnacle grill. Did not get to dock at ... Read More
Main dining room service was as bad as we've had in seventeen cruises.The ship is nice and the entertainment was good. Our stateroom steward was great. Food was just so so except good in Pinnacle grill. Did not get to dock at Dominican Republic due to high winds and seas. Snorkeling at Turks and Caicos was nice. Good clear water with nice fish. We had invited some friends who had never sailed on Holland before and will probably never will again due to poor service in dining room by waiters and wine stewards. They usually travel on Princess and said they will probably stay with them. My wife and I were embarrassed and disappointed. The last night our friends weren't even served their meal while everyone else had theirs. They had to go asks for theirs and of course by then it was cold so they had to wait until another one could be brought up from the kitchen. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
This is a nice cruise with a good itinerary. Food was very good and the service was excellent. It is geared to an older crowd however. My 20 yr old daughter came with us and there were no activities that were suited for the younger ... Read More
This is a nice cruise with a good itinerary. Food was very good and the service was excellent. It is geared to an older crowd however. My 20 yr old daughter came with us and there were no activities that were suited for the younger crowd. No movie theater, no activities by the pool. We went to a few of the enrichment activities but they always led into a sales pitch for orthotics, spa services etc. The evening shows were very disappointing. Luckily we found the piano bar and spent some fun time there! I tried to write an excursion review on their website and was unable to figure out how to do it. I sent an email and was told that the EXC staff goes on the trips to ensure the excursions were being run properly. I emailed again and instead of telling me how to review an excursion they refunded half of my money from an excursion. They knew I wasn't going to give a good review so I guess they just didn't want me to write one. So on that note, I would be hesitant to rely on the reviews they post on their EXC site regarding excursions. The excursion was a kayak trip to the bio luminescent bay in Puerto Rico. I booked this trip months before and when we got our tickets I noticed the time was 3:00. Since this was a trip that needs it to be dark in order to see the bio-luminescence I went to the EXC desk to inquire. I did not have a choice of time when I booked but they told me that another tour had been added at 6:00. I asked to be switched but was told it was full and that all of the people that had booked originally were put on the 3:00 time. He ensured me that the tour guides know what they are doing and it would be fine. We paddled out and tooled around the water waiting for it to start getting dark. As the sun started to go down they made us line up our kayaks and they threw a tarp over our heads and told us to splash the water. We tried this three times, waiting a while between each as it wasn't dark enough.Finally we had a small spark in the water and then we had to leave.As we were going back the second group was just coming and I am sure they had a wonderful experience. When I complained about this they told me that it doesn't matter if it is light or dark which is completely not true! I understand that the amount of bio-luminescence changes day to day but going out so early was clearly the wrong thing. I did also check that the moon was small before I booked as this can also make it difficult to see.This was very disappointing!! The added trip should have been the earlier one with an acknowledgment that it may be too light out to see well. The private island is wonderful. Beautiful sand and water. Would have loved to have stayed there for a few days! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our 6th HAL cruise. The ship is beautiful and well laid out. It was in dry dock in December and it shows. The food was excellent in the MDR and the Lido. The staff was wonderful. The hard working men and women who leave their ... Read More
This was our 6th HAL cruise. The ship is beautiful and well laid out. It was in dry dock in December and it shows. The food was excellent in the MDR and the Lido. The staff was wonderful. The hard working men and women who leave their families for the better part of the year have all my respect. What could be wrong you ask? The internet. It was terrible. I did not need the internet to keep up with social media. I travel a lot, and need to work wherever I am. In December we were on Celebrity Summit for 10 days. I bought the 24/7 internet package for $199. There was a 30% discount because we are Elite level on Celebrity. I was able to work and print in the iLounge, and there was staff there with posted hours to help with any problems. HAL offers no 24/7 plan. 500 minutes was $275. I did not have much work to do, so I just got 250 minutes for $100. They have two public computers with one printer in the lobby near the main desk. There is piped in music and no privacy. My e-mail address is with Outlook.com. I was unable to access it. It would time out. On the couple of occasions it came up, a click on any e-mail left a blank screen and would not open. I was not able to get in to Log Me In, the remote access program I use to go to my client computers. I spoke to several desk staff, the Marketing Manager, and the teacher in the Windows Digital Workshop (which by the way has 24 computers that are locked away unless a class is being held). No one could help me resolve my problems getting into e-mail or Log Me In. As a result, I have been forced to cancel two HAL cruises. The first was the March 28 transatlantic, and I am told I will lose 50% of what I paid, which is terrible considering it is a problem with HAL that has caused this cancellation. The other is far enough out that I will get a refund of all I have paid. It never occurred to me that Holland America would have such terrible internet, such high costs, and so little tech support after my wonderful experience on Celebrity Summit. Until such time as they make major improvements, we will not cruise HAL again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I love Holland America, BUT, this is definitely not a ship that I would take again in their fleet. Pinnacle Restaurant: I had to ask for a second steak knife because the steak was so tough. It was not the knife. For the second time ... Read More
I love Holland America, BUT, this is definitely not a ship that I would take again in their fleet. Pinnacle Restaurant: I had to ask for a second steak knife because the steak was so tough. It was not the knife. For the second time in my life I sent a steak back. The restaurant was very busy and the service was extremely slow. Definitely NOT what I had in mind for wife and myself while on vacation. We had to abandon our room three times due to a smell that was like a lacquer thinner. They were never able to find the cause. The service in the main dining room was excellent and the food was good. We had a stain on the corner of our sheet and watched as the stain moved from foot of my side, then next day the foot of my wife's side and on the third day to the head of the bed on wife's side. We loved that they put grab bars in the shower/ tub. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
It seemed as though every square inch was occupied. The ship was probably over-capacity with family members jamming into staterooms. Of the 27 cruises we've sailed on eleven lines, this was by far the most crowded. At times it was ... Read More
It seemed as though every square inch was occupied. The ship was probably over-capacity with family members jamming into staterooms. Of the 27 cruises we've sailed on eleven lines, this was by far the most crowded. At times it was impossible to find a seat in the buffet area or some of the entertainment venues. Still, the ship was in excellent condition. Not pretty or grand in style, but in good condition. Among the positive features, the food was generally quite good. HAL seems to focus on the types of foods that Americans like to eat, and they do that well. This was some of best food we've had on a mass market line. Great fitness center with lots of useful equipment. Smooth embarkation, disembarkation, and handling of all ports. Unfortunately service was sketchy, at times very good, but at others completely missing the mark. Our small group had dinner orders mixed up twice in the main dining room. We did not meet our cabin steward until the end of the second day, and the cleaning team were seldom seen afterwards. They didn't replenish a couple of items, and unfortunately there was no way to call housekeeping directly. We had to go through the Neptune Lounge concierge for simple requests, which was not always successful, causing repeated requests before we got what we needed. I would like to explain "anytime dining," but I don't understand it, and it does not seem to work. The info in our suite indicated that one can either make reservations or just show up for a table. Unfortunately there were no reservations available for any night of our 7-day cruise (and the reservation operator often did not pick up the phone), and often if one just shows up, one has to wait in a long line. Finally by Day 4, we learned that the Neptune Lounge Concierge had a work-around available and was able to make reservations for our final 4 nights. Other than the band in BB King's, which was smokin' hot, the entertainment on board was boring standard cruise ship fare. Finally, we loved our Neptune Suite, which was comfortably designed. It was spacious so we spent a lot of time there avoiding the crowds outside. We have booked another HAL cruise for next spring, chosen because of the itinerary. I'm sure we will have an adequate experience, but out expectations are low. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My fiance and I had not been on a HAL cruise for 15 years and both had fond memories. This was quite different. Three nights round trip Ft. Lauderdale. Ports Nassau, and their private island Half Moon Cay. My suitcase luggage strap ... Read More
My fiance and I had not been on a HAL cruise for 15 years and both had fond memories. This was quite different. Three nights round trip Ft. Lauderdale. Ports Nassau, and their private island Half Moon Cay. My suitcase luggage strap vanished between the time handed to check in porter and my cabin, had my name on it, but was never located and returned to me. We were the shakedown cruise, the first day after an extensive refurbishment. New carpet smell, and things not totally put back together, cabin 6137, TV remote not work, and when tried to call housekeeping, no phone cord. But more then the easily remedied glitches, very strange choices made in refurb. No clock, in room, but time clock on phone too small to see. Dining room chairs had back seat cushions wide at bottom and tapered toward top so no back support. Our table complained of back aches after sitting for two hour dinner. No central atrium entertainment. New Music Walk with three venues, Lincoln Center Classical, BBKings Blues, and 2 piano bar. We saw the first show in the Lincoln Center, American music. Saw a show 2 nights later with a different title, but it repeated some of the selections.Same for BB King, similar blues music each night. No ballroom dancing, no romantic slow dancing. Even when the only dance floor stage, BB Kings was dark for 30 minutes between sets, not even dance music playing. The first night in the Main Theater was a Preview, but was just some dance routines from the second night Latin Dance show. Then on the second night, saw them again. Somewhat boring. The only Art Show was at 12:30 during the only lunch BBQ 11:30 to 1:00 on Half Moon Cay so did not see it. Afternoon tea was in the Oceans Bar, small cocktail tables, rushed, no music. I am not a fan of nature documentaries, so did not enjoy the enrichment activities. The library in the Exe lounge had a very nice selection of books. For a December 20-23 cruise, not much holiday activity. The movie was Dunkirk. We did enjoy being allowed to bring a bottle of wine each to drink on our veranda. 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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