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  1. We just got off the NA in San Diego and had a very nice cruise. As usual, the service was outstanding. Embarkation in San Diego was a breeze and the terminal is small and basic. Our signature suite was well appointed and the cabin stewards Sandri and Heru were awesome. The adult seaview pool turned into the kids pool. I heard there were 400 kids onboard, way more than we’ve ever witnessed onboard a HAL ship but it is Spring Break. There simply was not enough room in the Lido Pool to handle the volume of kids. Unfortunately, that made the aft pool kind of crazy and not very adult friendly. It seems like very few people realized the aft pool is for the adults and there is less signage than in the past. We decided to stay onboard the ship in Mazatlan and had a great relaxing day at the Seaview pool as most got off the ship. We had three dinners at Tamarind, three at Pinnacle Grill and one on our balcony. Tamarind was excellent as always but the Pinnacle was well below expectations on all three dinners. We’ve always been fans of PG and typically eat there multiple times on every cruise. I’ve always regarded them as on par with our top steakhouses in Seattle. Our first two dinners the quality of the beef was really not good. Grainy filets and grisly Rib-eye and Porterhouse. Decided to try seafood on last night and that was an even bigger disappointment. My wife’s Halibut was dry and not flavorful. My Scallops were cold and bland. I would have expected better in the MDR. I let the Maitre D’ aware of our overall experiences after our third underwhelming meal. He was apologetic and offered new meals that we declined. I brought this up as we prefer HAL for their fine dining as well as we are stockholders. I’m hoping this was simply an anomaly but three dinners in a row is not a coincidence. Hopefully they can get this corrected soon. This is our third HAL cruise in the past 12 months and we had nothing but good experiences in the Pinnacle in the two prior cruises (Oosterdam and Eurodam). Disembarkation went smoothly and was well organized. Overall this was a good cruise that could have been much better. Our allegiance to HAL may have taken a little hit even though we just got to 3 star Mariner status. I would be interested to know other people’s opinion on Pinnacle Grill. Anybody else see a decline in quality or did we just catch them on an off week?
  2. Hi. We are leaving on our first HAL cruise this Sunday on the NA. My wife always brings her own hairdryer. Not having much hair, I don't. She would like to not pack hers but is always worried about the quality of the in-cabin dryers. I would appreciate any comments on the quality of HAL's dryers? Thanks and Cheers
  3. I have been considering continuing the process from the last two weeks with a continuing discussion. So here it is! This morning I was on Nieuw Statendam as we arrived in Fort Lauderdale. This afternoon I am on Nieuw Amsterdam getting ready to head on on pretty much the same itinerary as last week. Why? Because I can and because I haven't been on Nieuw Amsterdam yet. Additionally, it just worked out. Nieuw Amsterdam was booked several months ago. Contrary to my recent history, this was booked as a guarantee cabin like I did to begin with. I received a cabin assignment about 10 days ago getting a reasonable ocean view cabin. Last Friday I received an email from HAL advising me that my cabin had changed. That is why I am now sitting in a Verandah Stateroom on the Nieuw Amsterdam. For the record it is cabin 5100, pictures already provided to HALfacts. Because of several factors, this is not going to be an "apples to apples" comparison. The biggest reason is solo cabin on NS to Verandah on NA. I have much more room this week and a good location. This cabin is right next to the outside glass elevators on deck 5. This makes it very convenient to the Lido for meals, and equally accessible to the MDR and Showroom. The cabin is very nice, the stewards have introduced themselves and it is almost time for the muster drill. Since these cruises are a week apart, it will be easy to compare entertainment. NA has had the upgrade to the Music Walk, so the offerings should be similar. As I did for the last two weeks, the dinner menus for tonight are attached. Feb24LIdodinner.pdf Feb24dinner.pdf
  4. I can't find it but I thought I saw a chain of posts where people post the room number and reviews of that room for a specific cruise ship, such as Nieuw Amsterdam. Does anyone know the link to that? Maybe it's a different web site.
  5. I know that Nieuw Amsterdam is in San Diego today along with a Disney Ship. Webcam is very blurry this morning but looks like one of them is at the Broadway Pier- looks too far apart to be at the main terminal. Anyone know?
  6. I've never been on Holland America. We'll be in a Signature Suite for our upcoming voyage. Will there be many differences between the Signature Suite experience versus the experience in a regular balcony cabin? Thanks in advance for any information you can provide. 🙂
  7. Can someone tell me does the NA still have a Library. And does it have Lincoln Center and Tamarind ? OP thinking of taking the cross Atlantic.
  8. Can anyone tell me how to search the forums? It used to be so easy. I was able to search for things within specific categories, ie: Holland America: Nieuw Amsterdam spa pass. Now, I don't see that option. Anyhow, does anyone know how much the Spa access pass on the Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day cruise is? Is there a special on board on specific days? We like to use the thalassotherapy (hydrospa pool) daily. Thank you.😊
  9. What are the prices right now. We leave in a month.
  10. Is the Nieuw Amsterdam charted the week of 1/19-1/26/2020?
  11. We just returned from our first Holland America cruise on the Nieuw Statendam (LOVED it!!!), and are in the process of booking a July 2020 cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We typically stay in ocean view cabins (though we have also done inside and verandahs over the years), but I really like the size and layout of the inside J rooms, especially as there will be 4 of us in the cabin for 12 nights! However, I see that there are a few potential noisemakers on the deck above - BB King, the casino, etc. Any suggestions for particular J category staterooms that are quiet? Thank you!
  12. A short review of our 7-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Embarkation: We normally aim for an 11:00AM arrival at the port, but for a variety of reasons didn’t get there until 1:00PM. Coincidentally, this was the assigned time on our Cruise Docs, and based on the line spilling out of the terminal and snaking along the sidewalk, I’m convinced that a great Manu others were given this time slot. Nevertheless, things moved quickly and from drop off at the terminal till dropping off our bags in the cabin was under 45 minutes. The only mildly negative comment I have to offer on the entire embarkation process is that the setting on the security walk through metal detector must have been set to its most sensitive level. I’d twice passed through airport security with the same clothing with nary a beep, but I set this one off, then heard it go off over and over and over again as other passengers went through the same detector. Oh, I also missed my glass of bubbly that Celebrity offers upon embarkation. On the other hand, having immediate access to our cabin is a fair trade for the bubbly. Stateroom: We were in VC 8171 on the Navigation Deck, an aft cabin immediately below the Lido Deck. Although we prefer the bed by the balcony, we were very comfortable in this well appointed cabin with lots of closet space and adequate shelf space. We missed the overhead cupboards, but found a place for for everything nonetheless. The bathroom, still with a tub, is small and inefficient compared to what we find in Celebrity cabins in the same general category but was adequate for our needs. While the bathroom may be smaller, HAL’s cabin space is greater and we are quite happy with the trade off. Cruise ship refrigerators are typically cool rather than cold, so we were very pleasantly surprised to find ours was truly cold. We had purchased a bottle of vodka and kept it and our mix in the refrigerator and we could have had our drinks without ice had we ever run out. We had read conflicting information about noise overhead from the Lido Deck, in particular the noise of the loungers being put out in the wee hours of the morning. Ours was a last minute, spur of the moment booking after final payment, and we were quick to jump on the aft cabin, always our favourite, noise or no noise. As it turned out, there were a couple of mornings when I heard the loungers being moved, but I’m a light sleeper. Besides, it was barely perceptible and only lasted for a couple of minutes, so I was able to roll over and quickly go back to sleep. I’d never reject this cabin because of it. Aft cabins sometimes experience a bit of vibration when the ship is entering or exiting a port, but in 8171 it was minimal. Again, nothing that would dissuade us from taking this cabin in future. The balcony is quite large and has footstools for both chairs, an arrangement I prefer to a lounger. Unfortunately, as is the case on most HAL balconies today, there is no decent sized table at which to eat breakfast. The teeny table they provide has room for a couple of drinks and very little else. I’ve never understood HAL’s rationale for the dramatic downsizing of the tables. Cabin Stewards: Excellent, as has always been the case on HAL in our experience, and I was happy to see that they haven’t reduced the staff to a single steward as is frequently the case elsewhere. Mind you, they seem to have a greater number of cabins to care for, but their standard of service remains impeccable. Dining: We first discovered Tamarind aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam a few years ago. We had made a reservation in advance of the cruise, but enjoyed it so much that we booked a second dinner during that cruise. We now book two Tamarind dinners for all of our cruises on ships having this restaurant. We weren’t disappointed this time around, and these were by far our best two meals during the cruise. The service was every bit as good as the excellent food! Rudi’s Sel de Mer, on the other hand, was a bit of a disappointment. While the bouillabaisse was excellent, we were put off a bit by how it was served. The waiter brought his cart to our table with two empty soup dished and two plastic bags full of soup. He then proceeded to place the bags in the bowls (where had the bags been previously???) and to cut them open with a pair of scissors, dumping the contents into the bowls before pulling out the bags. Other than the fact that this whole service schtick was rather off putting, it raised the question of whether the soup is made, bagged and frozen, then microwaved before serving. Maybe we’re old fashioned, but hot bouillabaisse brought from the kitchen already in bowls is our preference. My wife’s rack of lamb was passable, but not as good as the same dish served in the MDR a couple of nights previously. It was just lacking in flavour according to her. My Dover sole meunière was so-so. We cook a lot of fresh fish at home and this barely passed muster. The saving grace was dessert, the profiteroles as good as any I’ve eaten in France. Overall, a disappointment, particularly given the fee charged. Mind you, we received our loyalty discount without even having to ask, something I was unsure of given the recent thread here. Our meals in the MDR were good. Perhaps not the same as a number of years ago, but still good, and we never had trouble finding something appealing on the menu. Gala night offerings were no better than on other nights in our opinion, however, and we can understand why some passengers question why they should make an effort to make this a Gala evening when HAL no longer does so. On the question of dress, the vast majority of men wore a jacket and/or tie on Gala Night, but I didn’t observe any tuxes. At the other end of the scale, a gentleman attempting to enter the dining room just in front of us on the first Gala Night wearing slacks and a nice but collarless shirt was intercepted and told that he would not be allowed in unless he changed. Good to see. We had most of our breakfasts in the Lido Market, enjoying a variety of offerings. What struck us this time around was the level of service, with ongoing offers for juice, coffee, or to clear plates. Finding a table was never a problem, either for breakfast or lunch. My only complaint about the Lido relates to the number of passengers who are completely clueless when it comes to touching the food in the buffet. I was shocked to see a woman take one of the bagged, pre-made sandwiches and pull it our of the bag, check the filling and return it to the bag before putting it back on the counter. When I pointed out that, having handled the sandwich, she should take it, she was totally oblivious to the hygiene issues and said that it just didn’t look as tasty as it sounded in the description. I decided that pursuing the issue would simply be a waste of time, so instead I asked one of the servers to throw it away. We only used room service once, for breakfast, and our food and coffee arrived nice and hot. With a decent sized table on the balcony, we would have ordered room service more often. For all dining venues, we were disappointed to find that wine prices have gone up while the pour size has gone down. We will need to rethink our approach, including bringing onboard multiple bottles and paying the corkage fee. We sail this summer out of Amsterdam, and will have to research purchasing wine there for our Voyage of the Midnight Sun. Guest Services: Our few visits to Guest Services were handled promptly and efficiently, with one unfortunate exception. On the final full day, I went to withdraw $120 in refundable OBC, rather than have it credited to my credit card. Slips were signed, I was handed the $120 and off I went. Later that day, I turned on the cabin TV to check my account and discovered that the withdrawal had been input as a deposit. I returned to Guest Services, explained the issue and they called the woman with whom I had dealt to come to the front desk. She was so thankful that I had noticed the mistake and had come to have it corrected. Shore Excursions: As is our wont, we enjoyed DIY time ashore. This was our first visit to San Juan, we walked along the shore path out to the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, then wandered back through Old San Juan in the general direction of the port. When the rain started, we hopped one of the free buses back to the terminal. We’d like to see much more of San Juan and Puerto Rico, so we’re starting to take a look at cruises from the island. Explorations Café / Crow’s Nest: Most mornings we would have a coffee and enjoy the view from the Crow’s Nest, and on sea days or when arriving in port only in the afternoon, we’d sit for hours and read, along with the occasional game of backgammon. We rather like the new configuration, but can understand those who miss having a library. Gym: I worked out daily, usually in the late afternoon, and I was impressed with the equipment. It looks to be quite new and in good condition. It could do with stronger air conditioning, but otherwise is a good little gym. I was amused to see signs on all of the treadmills limiting running speed to 3.5 MPH during the times that the officers and crew on the bridge, immediately underneath, were taking the ship into or out of port. Entertainment: For this cruise, we didn’t take in any of the shows, other than in the Lincoln Centre Stage performances, which we enjoyed. The configuration of this long, narrow venue isn’t ideal acoustically, but the quintet played to enthusiastic, appreciative audiences.
  13. Hi, could someone tell me how many electric plugs in the NA verandah cabins and where they’re located? Thanks!
  14. This is my second time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, the last time being in 2010, the year it was launched. The ship was in pristine condition and per usual, was constantly being cleaned by the fabulous crew. I always try to tell the cleaning crew how much I appreciate what they are doing. Having done this itinerary multiple times with my husband, who can no longer travel, I did not intend to leave the ship and I stuck with that scenario. I flew in the day before for two reasons: Southwest’s continuing negotiations with mechanics and the 737 MAX issue which was solved before I left. An hour flight from Tucson sure beats the all day flying to Florida. I stayed at the new Springfield Suites right across from the pier and was able to walk over in 5 minutes. Can’t beat that. I thought the hotel was brand new but was told by the staff that the hotel is 3 years old. I highly recommend it; nicely designed and appointed rooms and a very good complimentary hot breakfast. Some brief comments: Cabin: Neptune Suite next to the center elevators – no noise. Smaller size than on R and S class ships. Overheard a crew member say to another passenger that the larger the ship, the smaller the cabin size for both passengers and crew. Dining: Did not eat in the MDR instead I ate dinner twice in the Pinnacle Grill and 5 times in the Tamarind. The introduction of the new PG menu was on the first night of this cruise for the ship and the service was a tad disjointed. But by my second visit, things at settled down. The Tamarind was fabulous and I tried to have something different every night. The service by the women was excellent. Everything came in minimal time. This menu is going to change soon. The new menu may be already on the Konigsdam and Nieuw Statendam. All I was told was that there would not be lobster by itself but as part of a kind of surf and turf. Lido for breakfast and lunch was very good. A few times in Pinnacle Grill for breakfast also very good. As has been stated before, there is a $10.00 charge for an extra entrée in the MDR; also a $10.00 charge for an extra entrée in the Tamarind and a $15.00 charge for an extra entrée in the Pinnacle Grill. I did not see an extra charge on the Canaletto menu when viewed online. The print is very small on the menus describing the extra charge. Nightly entertainment: As previously reported by others the HAL singers and dancers and the orchestra/band were gone. The first night Bohemian Rhapsody was shown on the Main Stage. The second night the Piano Man, Brett Cave performed after the Captain’s Toast. Captain informed us there were 2260 of us on board plus a crew of about 850. Other entertainers were a Magician with a dog, a comedian, the Indonesian Cruise Show, and a dance group Step One: Humanity, a loud light show with dancing. The Lincoln Center Stage group consisted on 5 young string musicians from the Ukraine and they were excellent. There were many enrichment activities including the America’s Test Kitchen, the EXC Guide, a Naturalist, the Mexican Ambassadors, who gave talks about various aspects of Mexico as well as performances at the Seaview Pool of singers and dancers. A mariachi band performed the evening in Puerto Vallarta. I was prepared to totally dislike the EXC/Crow’s Nest Area. I think way too much space is allocated to those large exhibit tables with itinerary stuff (can’t remember what they are called), the book cubicles contain mainly reference books, and there can be issues with the sound system. I like the idea of the “classroom” on the port side where Naturalist and other talks were given. It is problematic when a talk is going on in the classroom, and another activity is going on in the main Crow’s Nest and only one microphone can be used, so the second speaker is shouting and then there is the background noise of the various coffees being made. My conclusion is there is advantages to this space but I don’t think it has been totally thought out on how best to use it. Being spring break (which seems to last two months in the U.S.), there were more variant ages than I have experienced on most other HAL cruises. There were infants to at least one man 85 years – perhaps others older. There were families with children, teenagers, grandparents, college kids, young adults and those of us in the aging generation. All seemed to enjoy themselves and it appeared HAL was selling a lot of “adult beverages” and the casino was busy whenever it was open. Embarkation and debarkation were very smooth. All in all, it was very enjoyable and I returned home rested. I would like to see at least one or two enrichment activities on port days as I observed many people did not leave the ship. And a better assortment of books in the Crow’s Nest would be nice. Barbara
  15. Hello, I have a question about the position of the sofabed. Because of the lifeboats i prefer to have first the bed and the sofa by the window. I am looking for Cabin 4123. Does somebody knows where the sofa is? I found picture of 4115 and the 4117 and they have both the bed by the window. Other question about the noise. Below of the cabin('s) is the photo gallery. What do you think about the noise level? Thanks a lot
  16. We are our cruise in June - 7 day Alaska Inside Passage on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Can anyone give me some idea of how long it is likely to take to disembark in Vancouver? We arrive in Vancouver at 7am on 29/6. Is there some system they use for disembarking? Thanks
  17. Aloha Fellow Cruise Critics, My wife and I are contemplating a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam, I'd like a Signature suite but all that is left is an adjoining SS cabin or one next to the elevator. Does anyone have any insight to the pros and cons; an adjoining cabin with extra noise or an elevator that is next to our balcony. Thank you
  18. We loved the Taco Bar on the Zuiderdam last month. Is it on the Oosterdam and/or the Nieuw Amsterdam?
  19. Just off the Nieuw Amsterdam yesterday, a one week Eastern Caribbean itinerary as an anniversary getaway with my DW. Below is the review that I just posted, and happy to answer any questions. In short, we had a wonderful time - highlights were the onboard service, high tea, and Lincoln Center Stage. Lowlights were the embarkation process in Port Everglades, and service at Half Moon Cay. Begin review: The Nieuw Amsterdam to the Eastern Caribbean was an excellent choice for an anniversary getaway - we enjoyed exceptional service, good to very good food, a quiet stateroom with a spacious balcony, and extended time in the four ports of call. My wife an I are in our mid 40s, and found that we were definitely younger than the average age, there was a wide range of passengers from young to old on our mid-november sailing. Embarkation: from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale was organized, but slower than previous HAL cruises. We arrived at the port at 10:30, were fully checked in by 11, boarding began at 11:30, and we were finally onboard by 12:15. On previous cruises we were onboard by 11:30. Our cabin was ready when we boarded, however, and disembarkation was quick and efficient. The Ship: we have sailed on Holland America's R-class vessels previously; this was our first cruise on a larger Signature class ship. While we enjoyed the additional dining and entertainment options, and found the Nieuw Amsterdam to be very well maintained, the larger size and passenger numbers were noticeable at times. My wife and I prefer traditional, uncrowded ships -- and while we greatly enjoyed our cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam, we concluded the smaller ships are more to our liking. Cabin: We had a forward VE class balcony stateroom, 7013. The room was just right for two passengers, well appointed, very quiet, and with a wonderful balcony. We spent every evening and many hours of the day on the balcony, enjoying sound of the sea and the view of the water and stars. There were two reclinable chairs, separate footrests / ottomans, and a small table on the balcony. As there are staterooms above and below deck 7, we never heard noise from other areas of the ship. The interactive TV has 150+ movies on demand, the daily menus, five live TV channels (all news), and information about weather, ship position, and ports of call. The bathroom features a single sink, tub/shower combination, and Elemis toiletries. Service: Outstanding, as always for HAL. We were greeted by name by our cabin attendants, and everyone on the ship looked for opportunities to attend to and anticipate our needs. The one exception was staff onshore at HAL's private island, Half Moon Cay. Some of the Half Moon Cay staff were helpful, but several were brusque or rude when we asked questions or requested directions to places on the island. When a horseback riding shore excursion on Half Moon Cay ran long, we were dropped off at the island BBQ at 12:50, ahead of their 1 PM closing. Staff were already taking down the buffet, and refused to serve us lunch. As a result, we had to head back to the ship early for lunch rather than enjoying Half Moon Cay's beach. Dining: Food ranged from good to very good. As a foodie, none of the dishes were outstanding, but none of them were poor either. Dinner in the Tamarind restaurant was the best meal and dinner service we have experienced on a Holland America ship. Room service was efficient and complimentary - we enjoyed two dinners in our cabin, and had coffee and tea delivered to the room every morning. We also loved the high tea, served in the main dining room on fine china at 3 PM each afternoon. Entertainment: We loved Lincoln Center Stage - world class, classical chamber music performed in a dedicated concert venue - and attended their performances almost every night. BBC Earth, highlights from the series set to a live performance of the score, was wonderful. We also attended two enjoyable, if simple, America's Test Kitchen cooking demonstrations. HAL does not have the showy, nonstop entertainment offered by some other lines, and young children would find entertainment outside of the kids club to be limited to swimming in the pool, but we loved the more sophisticated approach to entertainment.
  20. We were told footprint wise they are bigger rooms is there a window room the same square footage ? Not counting the veranda or Suites?
  21. Have all of the suites on NA been updated with the new soft goods? If so, is this all suite levels? We’re in a Neptune Guarantee the end of February and a Signature the end of October and just wondering if they’ve all been updated. Thank you.
  22. I lined up the deck plans, do you think we will hear lots of noise from above us? We are don’t go to bed early, around midnight.
  23. We will be sailing on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of the month and are looking forward to catching up on our movies. We know there are a bunch of movies that you can watch on the TV in your stateroom, but we like to go to the little movie theater to watch the movies. Anyone recently home (or on the sailing now) that can tell me what movies they are currently showing? Thanks!!
  24. As I had trouble finding update menus for this cruise I going to try to post them as we go along. I'm also including in this post the menu available every evening. Tonight we actually eat at Pinnacle Grill.
  25. Never been on Holland America before and plan on taking an Eastern Caribbean cruise and choose a balcony for the first time (we've ONLY ever booked inside cabins). We've been quoted a Verandah Stateroom (VF) and I think the only available ones are on the 4th or 8th deck and I think the front or back of the ship (sorry not the correct terms). I always like to prefer to be lower in the ship (like 8th deck) as it tends to be less movement than upper but is there any benefit to be up higher instead from a balcony view perspective? Thanks!
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