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Found 611 results

  1. We were on NA in April of 2017, and the casino was non-smoking after renovations to the piano bar area across the way... I had assumed it would remain non-smoking, but the HAL website - supposedly updated to June 2019 - does NOT list Nieuw Amsterdam as one of the completely non-smoking casinos. Can someone who has sailed recently tell me whether HAL has reverted to smoking in the NA casino? Our booking depends on the answer... Many thanks!
  2. Hello, Does HAL usually have any kind of Halloween night party or event on Nieuw Amsterdam? We will be sailing on 10/31/19 and am wondering if we should bring even the simplest of costumes to make it more festive. Thanks!
  3. Hi! It's been ages since I've been on a cruise but my 10 year old son and I are looking at the summer ones out of Boston or Montreal and choosing between these two ships. I know HAL not usually "kid friendly" but he grew up in NYC, knows how to behave and doesn't need a lot of hoopla. Just wondering what might be a better ship for us! We are all about relaxation! 😉
  4. Happy 1st Birthday December 5th. It’s hard to believe it’s a year ago that I boarded for the crossing.
  5. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. Weather is back to normal in Juneau - rain is predicted for each day this week - there is even a flood warning for part of Monday. The high temperature will be 65F/18C and the low 54F/12C. Sunrise is at 4:15 am and sunset at 9:51 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  6. Unfortunately, due to rough seas, ms Nieuw Amsterdam was not able to safely deploy tenders to visit Cayman/George Town. The captain tried for over an hour, re-positioning the ship, but was not satisfied that the ships tenders could be used safely. The other ships visiting used the ports larger tenders, similar to the ones at Half Moon Cay. I'm not sure why this was not an option (too expensive or not enough at the port?). So we have an extra sea day. Hopefully we will get the port fees refunded soon. We also received certain free drinks at select bars between 1pm and 2pm. Extra entertainment has also been laid one too.
  7. This picture was in my email today from Pinterest of former Nieuw Amsterdam in Alang. So sad to see her like this- I have many great memories on that ship. Anyone that posts about vibration on the current Nieuw Amsterdam should have sailed on her predecessor. She gave a new meaning to vibrating- in some places a drink would vibrate off of the table. One of the former CD's called her the "Magic Fingers ship" after the units motels used to have next to the beds. She was a beautiful ship with all of her flaws and lived through many challenges. She will be missed.
  8. We are sailing Oct 29 and have veranda cabin 6114 which is by the elevator. Has anyone had a problem with traffic on this area?
  9. A full house in Juneau with five cruise ships on Monday. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Seabourn Sojourn tendering from 0700-2300, Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215, and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. The first half of the week has nice weather forecast (the end of the week is looking rainy). Monday is supposed to be partly cloudy with a high of 78F/26C and a low of 58F/14C. Sunrise is at 4:05 am and sunset at 10:00 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  10. After reading so many threads, I've now lost the thread where it discussed the hidden spots (gems) on Nieuw Amsterdam to lounge outside and inside as well as hidden gems of treats. For example, I remember reading a post about emergency exit doors that are not really emergency exit doors and take you to a quieter outdoor deck area. Or one that stated how to get to the Crows Nest. Also, any other hidden gems like the Tea Time (that too looked fun). Thanks!
  11. Here’s a link to my review of our President’s week Western Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam: http://click.email.cruisecritic.com/?qs=f0cf51dc77b0e9829b7afbfc0adfcb76d0a8bb5e9f2605b28a6393dd2e43fd3dae9a5fd61820deb2751e544dfc4da1b600581223c4a05de1 Two aspects that I forgot to mention in this review were the dress code and the population. Attire: There were two formal nights and I had brought some simple maxi dresses and gold accessories. I have to say that many of the ladies on this ship put me to shame with fancy cocktail dresses and beautiful wraps and jewelry. If you like evening wear, you don’t have to worry about being overdressed on the Nieuw Amsterdam. People put in the effort to look gorgeous. Only some of the men bothered with tuxes, but formal nights saw many suits and jackets. For ladies, if you don’t like getting dressed up, a simple black dress that’s been dressed up or black pants and a sequined top or otherwise embellished top will suffice, but I wouldn’t treat formal night in the dining room like any other night. Population: I know, I know...Holland America is the cruise line for seniors, except this week when it wasn’t. I’m not saying that there weren’t still a fair number of retirees on our sailing, but because it was President’s week, there were certainly many families with children. We met several younger families with small kids on our day at HMC. What I found more surprising was the number of 20-somethings that we saw drinking and dancing and generally enjoying themselves every night at BB King’s. These young ladies and their boyfriends were very well-dresssed and very enthusiastic about dancing to the BB King All-Stars. While I would not say that RCL or Carnival have to worry about HAL stealing this demographic from them, there were definitely more people under 30 than I have seen on past HAL cruises.
  12. Y4L – Alaska, Yukon, Double Denali May 27 – June 8, 2019 Nieuw Amsterdam Ship May 26 - Anchorage Arrived in Anchorage a day before our trip began. It was around 7:00 when we arrived and the Westmark is an easy cab ride from the airport. We checked in and headed across the street to the Glacier Brewhouse for a beer and a small bite before turning in for the evening. May 27 - Anchorage We woke up early as we were still on east coast time. We walked a few blocks to the Snow City Café as we read they had great breakfast food. Arrived ahead of the crowd and had a delicious breakfast served by a very pleasant waitress. We came back to our hotel and walked over to the visitor center. The combination of early season plus Memorial Day meant that there was not an early shuttle to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Instead, we walked a few blocks to the Anchorage Museum and waited for them to open. It was a great way to spend the morning. We learned about the native Alaskans at the Smithsonian exhibit – crafts, life stories, every day items, etc. The art gallery wing was also wonderful with some beautiful oils of Denali. In the afternoon we took the Flattop Mountain Shuttle from Downtown Bicycle Rental. Pete gave us a narrated tour of Anchorage as he drove us to the mountain. We had 3 hours to hike Flattop Mountain which is the most hiked trail in Alaska. Still some snow on parts of the trail and the last 20 feet at the steep summit. Wonderful views of the city and Chugach Mountains. Highly recommend even if you don’t go all the way to the top. Not too crowded in late May but still lots of people and dogs. After our hike we returned to our hotel to meet our Journey Host Kaylyn. She gave us packets with information for the next day, had us take care of some paperwork and we were on our own until the next morning. We left the hotel and took a short walk along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail before dinner. Lots of bikes, walkers, skateboarders, families and leashed dogs. Pretty views and an easy way to get some exercise. Lots of bike rental shops in Anchorage if you prefer biking. A very nice meal at Orso which was across the street from the hotel. Same owners as Glacier Brewhouse. Recommend both. Had read some negative reviews about the hotel. A little old fashioned but the room was comfortable and clean. What more can you ask for? Tuesday May 28 - Anchorage to Denali Bags were out early and we met at 8:15 to transfer to the Alaska Railroad. Our trip to Denali was as pleasant as any 8 hour train trip could be. Comfortable seats, big windows, and the opportunity to move around. We had decided in advance that we would eat both breakfast and lunch on the train as it would give us an opportunity to leave our seats. Meal seating is in shifts in the bottom level and viewing and general travel in the top of the glass domed car. Both breakfast and lunch were quite good. The scenery in the beginning of the trip as we left Anchorage was interesting. In the middle hours there was not as much to see and the trip was starting to feel long BUT then we arrived at Hurricane Gulch and the views became more and more interesting and made the entire trip worthwhile. We were enchanted all the way to Denali. We were picked up at the Denali Train Depot and on the way to our hotel a moose decided to slowly cross the road in front of our bus and linger to munch grass at the side of the road. It was a prime picture taking opportunity and the perfect welcome to Denali. We checked in at our lodge and were out the door to grab a quick meal before heading out almost immediately to our shuttle to visit the Husky Homestead. As we got off the shuttle, we were handed two-week old puppies! Who on earth can resist such sweetness. We learned a lot about raising and training dogs, and preparing them to race. Jeff King was even more engaging then his staff and told us all about the Iditarod and his experiences with the dogs. It was a very interesting and fun evening. Denali was off to a great start! Wednesday May 29 - Denali TWT Wilderness Tour #9 with Glenn at approximately 8:30. Glenn was a wonderful engaging driver who shared lots of information about the park. We went to mile 53 at Toklat before turning around. Seven hours in the bus was plenty for us. We saw Denali from multiple locations and got some beautiful pictures. We also saw moose, bear, caribou and Dall sheep. As we started our tour, the driver realized the bus camera was not working, but it did not matter. The scenery in the park changes at every turn. It was just magnificent. After our tour we asked to be dropped off at the Visitors Center where we picked up the trail to Mt. Healy. We were worried about making the last shuttle back to our hotel but no need to have worried. We were up and down the mountain in about 2:40 which left us plenty of time to get back to our cabin. Great views. Nice hike. We had dinner (and breakfast both days) at Karstens on the property. Food was good and reasonably priced. Our room at Denali was M106. It was a two-story townhouse. We were on the first floor. We had a small bedroom and sitting area. Nice bathroom. Only issue, and one we could live with, was foot noise from upstairs and the whosh of the flush but honestly, location, cleanliness, décor was all good. I note this because I’ve noticed lots of complaints about hotels on land. Nothing to complain about. Would stay here again. Thursday May 30 - Denali to Fairbanks Woke up and said goodbye to Denali. It would have been nice to have an extra day for another hike or two. Boarded the bus for the 3 hour ride to Fairbanks. We did have a rest stop with a gift shop on the way. This was our first bus ride. Our driver not only transported us safely, he gave us information about the places we passed and about Alaska in general. Little did we know that every bus ride would provide learning opportunities to find out about where we were and where we would go. Arrived in Fairbanks at noon. Most of our group took their hour to eat lunch but we walked to the Fairbanks Visitor Center. To our surprise, it had a little museum like area that was extremely interesting and we spent 45 minutes there. We learned our planned walk at Creamer Fields was about 2 miles from our hotel and found information on how to travel there. We met up with the group and were off to Gold Dredge 8. It was a planned group excursion and was much more fun than we expected. First, we had a view of, and short talk about the Alaska pipeline. Then we got on a small train that took us to the area where we would pan for gold. But first, as we traveled by train, we learned about how gold was mined in Fairbanks. My bag of dirt yielded $24 of gold and my husband got $6 in gold flakes. Yes, we succumbed and bought a charm to put the gold flakes in as a memento of our visit. Too much shopping time at the mine for us, although many of our companions did a fair amount of shopping and seemed to enjoy the stop before we headed to our hotel. We checked into the Westmark Room 632 which was a very nice clean, modern room with a kitchen area. We were off to visit a local art gallery a few blocks from the hotel and then found a local distillery where we had a vodka cocktail before heading back to the hotel. We were feeling lazy so we had dinner at the Red Lantern restaurant at the hotel. It was just ok but no complaints as we were ready to turn in early. Friday May 31 – Fairbanks to Dawson City Had time for a nice breakfast before heading on our bus to the airport and on to Dawson City on an 11:00 a.m. flight. The airport in Dawson recently had its runway paved which was big news. Smooth flight and we were at our hotel early afternoon. We were on our own. There were some sprinkles and it was cloudy so we changed our plans to hike the Midnight Dome and instead walked the 9th Avenue trail which went around the city and continued around the water. There are a number of other trails in this area. An easy walk and fun way to stretch our legs. We went to the Visitors Center as well to get maps, schedules, and walked around town peering visiting some of the shops. Dinner at the Drunken Goat Taverna. Food was excellent. Laid back place. Highly recommend. After dinner we caught the show at Diamond Tooth Gerties. Your $15 season pass is good all year. They have 3 shows an evening with singing and dancing. Shows were excellent. There is also food and gambling. A number of our group left after the first show and went to The Downtown Hotel and became members of the Sour Toe Cocktail Club by drinking a shot with a preserved toe that touched their lips. A good time was had by all. Then the partying group was back to Gerties for the remaining 2 shows and last call. Saturday June 1 – Dawson City Woke up and it was still a light rain but we weren’t going to let that get us down. We had breakfast at the hotel and were off to explore. We found out that the Robert Service cabin would not have a presentation that day as the town folk and visitors were invited to the Commissioner’s Tea from 2:00 – 4:00. This is an annual event that we did attend. Late morning, we went to the Jack London cabin and were treated to an excellent hour-long presentation about Jack London that included his time in Alaska and Dawson City and how that time influenced his writing. Highly recommend. With the rain starting to come down harder, we went to the Dawson City Museum and learned more about the local gold rush and the city of Dawson before heading to tea. Our Klondike Spirit Cruise had been moved to 6:00 p.m. so we grabbed a delicious sandwich in the hotel pub before heading to the boat. The delayed start time for the boat worked in our favor as the skies cleared and we had beautiful weather for our ride. Once again, we learned more about Dawson City and the First Nation inhabitants of the Yukon so it was more than just a ride around the river. We found the Westmark in Dawson City to be charming. Rooms were clean and comfortable. Wifi only in the lobby and not in your room. We did not use our phones in the Yukon and I could live for 2 days without wifi. Sunday June 2 – Dawson City to Whitehorse This was a full day on the motor coach. We had a number of opportunities to stop and stretch our legs and see a few historic sites. Lunch was provided – the only land day this happened – in Minto. It was a simple and delicious lunch of soup, salad and homemade bread in a nice clean lodge. After lunch we were back on the bus to Whitehorse until our arrival at approximately 5:00 p.m. Our driver Trevor was amazing. No other word. For the entire trip he gave us Gold Rush History, and information about the glaciers and the valleys they formed. He told us about the white river ash from a long ago volcanic eruption and even recited some Robert Service poetry as he drove. The hours flew by. Scenery was beautiful. When we arrived in Whitehorse I told our Journey Host that it could be viewed in two ways. HAL could have you fly straight from Dawson to Whitehorse and get you to Skagway in a day. It took us 8 hours to travel the road but it made us better appreciate the journeys of the men (and women) that got themselves and their provisions over the Chilkoot Trail and then had to build a boat and ferry themselves down an unforgiving river to get to Dawson. I am glad I was able to experience that journey. The unspoiled landscape was pretty special too. After leaving our bags at the Westmark Whitehorse (the only hotel we felt was not satisfactory) we took a walk with some of our new friends on the Millenium Trail, a 5km paved trail that loops around the water in downtown Whitehorse. It was a very pleasant way to get some exercise before a fantastic dinner at Klondike Kate’s. Restaurant was across the street from our hotel so could not have been more convenient. Clearly popular and crowded so we put our name in ahead of our walk and our table was ready when we returned. Food and atmosphere were fantastic. Highly recommend if you stop in Whitehorse. Monday June 3 – Whitehorse to Skagway Breakfast at the hotel and then we were back on the bus with Trevor who showed us Miles Canyon, Emerald Lake, Carcross Desert and Carcross as we journeyed to Fraser to board the Whitepass Rail that would take us to Skagway. All interesting stops that we were grateful to see along the way. Our train journey was interesting as we thought about those that had braved the mountains by foot (before the train was constructed) as they dreamt of the gold waiting for them in Dawson City. The mountains had some sad tales to tell, but it was a lovely way to return to Alaska with some magnificent views along the way. Once we arrived at the train station, we went to our hotel and grabbed an extra jacket before heading off to hike Upper Dewey Lake at around 2:00p.m. There were excursions offered by HAL and a lovely town to walk around, but we wanted to hike. We passed the Lower Dewey Lake trail in favor of the 6 mile roundtrip steady climb – vertical rise was 3000 feet in 3 miles – to Upper Dewey Lake. We were not disappointed. The lake was beautiful and the views as we headed back down were spectacular as well. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. Trail information says roundtrip takes about 6 hours but we were able to do it in around 5. We were motivated to be down before it got to be too late! Dinner at the Skagway Brewing Company was adequate but I wish we had stuck with our plans to go to the Red Onion Saloon – a former brothel. We heard food was good and atmosphere was great. Our room in Skagway was clean and comfortable and right in the middle of everything. In the morning we had breakfast at the hotel and were able to shop before transferring to the ship. We liked the town but were ready to get on and stay on the boat by late morning. Hated to say goodbye to our Journey Host Kaylyn. She kept us organized, gave us tips on where to visit and eat. She went above and beyond every minute of every day and we are convinced that is one reason our trip was so wonderful. A Few Thoughts I felt compelled to comment on the hotels. With the exception of Whitehorse we had no complaints. They were all clean and the staff was helpful and cheerful wherever we were. So many negative comments on line that it made me wonder what to expect. If you are expecting the Westin downtown you may be disappointed, but the hotels were in character with their location. Perhaps if we had come off the ship we might have found the transition jarring but we would stay at any of the locations again. We chose to eat a number of meals – all but one breakfast and a few dinners on hotel property out of convenience. There were many choices in each location. We had a couple pricier dinners but found the food to be fairly priced (this is Alaska) and for the most part quite good. Our fellow travelers were all very nice and we got to know many of them on land and some even better on our sea days. Everyone was happy to be on the trip and the people we spent the most time with were also beyond impressed with our Journey Host. We all hated to say goodbye to her when we boarded the ship. Nieuw Amsterdam – June 4 to June 8 This was our first cruise. We had an opportunity to upgrade to a Signature Suite from a Veranda and glad we did. This put us in room 6072 in the middle of the ship. We had a larger bathroom and room to spread out. The veranda was a wonderful place to view the glaciers on our day in Glacier Bay. We ate at the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch all days. It was easy to go at any time and there was a huge variety of food choices. I particularly liked the omelet station for breakfast. Easy to be healthy and easy to indulge for all meals. We had dinner at the Dining Room. We had open seating and for 3 of our 4 nights were seated with other people. Again, we found the food to be delicious with plenty of choices. One evening my husband asked for extra steak when he ordered and they were more than happy to oblige. We were there for a Gala Night and we dressed up and enjoyed a special dinner. Service was great. Entertainment on the boat was outstanding. We went to BB Kings every night, the Billboard pianists were fabulous, and we went to an afternoon performance at Lincoln Center Stage. Very talented musicians who worked hard to entertain the crowd. We did not see any of the stage shows in the evening. We were too busy enjoying the music! We also used the health club. Plenty of treadmills, bikes, ergs and machines. Some free weights too. It was not crowded and we were able to use the equipment we wanted. The treadmills were placed at the windows in the bow which my husband enjoyed. I liked working out without looking out to sea so something for everyone. Our third day on the boat we stopped at Ketchican. We planned to hike Deer Mountain at this stop and since the weather was good we stuck with our plan. We grabbed a cab when we came off the ship that took us to the trailhead. Glad we did. It was an uphill walk and the cab knew exactly where we were going. We walked back into town after the hike and had some time to poke into the shops before boarding the ship. By our last day we felt we knew our way around. There is a daily schedule of activities so always something going on if you were looking for something to do. A little sad to say goodbye but the four days on the ship were a great way to relax after the busier pace on land. It was an older crowd for the most part on land and on the ship. We had a couple on their honeymoon on the land tour and there were some young families on the ship. If you are looking for the big shows and non-stop entertainment this might not be your cruise/cruisetour but it was just perfect for us. Been back for 2 days and already thinking about going back to Alaska!
  13. Hereby my review of our 8-day cruise to Norway with Holland America's Nieuw Statendam. With lots of help from Cruise Critic members and by reading lots of post we decided a few months ago to go for a cruise to Norway, the 8 days (7 nights) Vikings Saga. Because it was our first cruise we decided to start and end in Amsterdam (capital of our home country) and just for a week to see cruising was something for us. If you have any question after reading this review please let me know! I have posted a selection of photos but if you want to see something, you’re missing please let me know. I also brought a lot of documentation from the ship like When and Where. Please like my post! If you liked it of course... Booking the cruise: We booked directly with HAL in the Netherlands. There was an offer with free Signature beverage package and 10% discount on excursion booked before a certain date. Al the Dutch travel agency who also offered this same trip (with the same benefits) were almost $ 150, - more expensive than HAL so for us the best deal was to book directly with HAL… Day 1: Embarkation day! Today, Sunday the 18th of August 2019 we finally started our cruise on the Statendam! We arrived early by train in Amsterdam Central station. We walked from the station to the terminal (PTA Amsterdam) in 15 minutes. Dropped of the baggage at the designated drop-off point. We entered the cue for checking in and our first thought was that the cue was long… But there where I think 12 or more desks where they checked in passengers. It was a 5-minute wait. After getting the first information about activities onboard (When and Where) and our personal spending card/room key we walked to the security check and after that entered to a waiting room where we received a card with a group number, in our case number 13. When we found a seat in the crowded waiting room, they called out group 10 and after I think 5 minutes our group was called to enter the ship! In the gangway they scanned our card an told us the rooms where ready. First, we went to our room to check it out and that explored the ship! At 0430PM we went to the Lido deck where we drank champagne and sail away from Amsterdam! Rest of the evening we walked on the outside deck to see the sail away trough the channel to the locks of Ijmuiden. We had dinner in the MDR. Day 2: At sea Like the first day we explored the ship even more. Due the fact it was a sea day we just relaxed a lot by the swimming pool, and I made some recordings with my GoPro around the ship. Nice spot we sit this day was in the Exploration café on deck 12. You need to be on time, most people stay here for a few hours, especially on the nice seats by the windows. Breakfast and Lunch in the Lido, diner in the MDR. Day 3: Fläm In Fläm we went out of bet early 05:30AM to go to the bow they opened for the scenic cruising in the Sognefjord and the last part to Fläm in the Aurlandsfjord. It’s was very nice to stand here and watch the beautiful Norwegian nature! 0700AM we docked in Fläm and went for breakfast to the Lido. In Fläm we did a hike to the Brekkefossen waterfall. It was hike from the boot to the starting point of the trail to the waterfall and back down, a little further into the valley, back to Fläm port and walk around the port a 14km hike for 4 hours. The hike is very nice but the trail from the rood up to the waterfall is with bad weather very slippery… For lunch (Lido) we went back to the ship and relaxed the rest of the day. Dinner in the Lido. Day 4: Stavanger Stavanger was a nice town to walk around, we first went to the street with the wooden houses (Gamle/Old Stavanger) that was across the street where the ship was docked. After that we walked to the Dom Church and the Breiavatnet lake behind the church. 5 hours walk, 14KM. For lunch we went back to the ship and grabbed a pizza at New York Deli! Great Pizza! Dinner in the MDR. Day 5: Kristiansand A lot of rain this day, we walked from the cruise terminal to the fish market and after that to the Dom Church of Kristiansand. We grabbed a cup of coffee and a donut a walked around the city to do some shopping. Due the bad weather my wife we went back to the ship to put on dry clothing and I walked around the Odderøya headland, beautiful nature reserve and in the meantime the weather had also improved so I could make some images with my GoPro. Walked for 4 hours,10KM. After I went back to the ship and put on dry clothing as well, we went for lunch to the Dive-In. Great burgers with chips!! Kristiansand is a very nice city but this day the weather wat to bad to explore everything we wanted to do. Day 6: Oslo Oslo! Nice weather and our last stop in Norway with this beautifully cruise! Oslo is a nice city with a beautifully harbor with new buildings in old style. Lots of old buildings in the city. They had on different places in the city live music. At the royal palace the members of the government arrived, don’t know them but it was fun to see, lots of armed guards and police. Again, we did some shopping and went to the Akershus fort. The ship was in front of the fort so had a nice opportunity to make some nice pictures of the ship. We went back on the ship and put on swim clothing and had lunch at the Lido outside pool. Walked in Oslo for 5 hours, 12KM. After lunch we went in the Jacuzzi and swimming pool and enjoyed the sunshine! We went for a shower ant went back out to be on time to grab a chair on deck 10 aft for the sail out from Oslo. Great views! Dinner in the Lido. Day 7: At sea Last full day on the Nieuw Statendam… I miss it already…. Went out early to make some shots with camera and GoPro without people on the background. Breakfast we had in the Lido. This day I had a Behind the Scenes tour If you can grab a place in the behind the scenes tour, I really would recommend it! It was very nice to see what’s going on below the passenger decks. They don’t advertise with it on our cruise, but I asked on the first day on the ship and it was planned for the last seaday. I was the 3rd on the list and they needed a minimum of 8 persons, maximum was 12. The duration was almost 3,5 hours and we went to the following departments: bridge, incident room, world stage, walked through the corridors where the crew sleeps (couldn’t see in the rooms), laundry, tailor shop, crew mess, recycling center, engine control room, storage rooms for the food (LOTS OF FOOD!) and the galley. After that we went with our cruise director who guided the tour back up to the Billboard on board to grab a drink and receive a goody bag form hall. Like is said, if you would like to see what’s happening behind the scenes, I really recommend it! It’s in this case worth the $ 150, - Day 8: Disembarkation day….. About our disembarkation, first disembark time was 0700AM and later we got an email with the announcement it changed to 0530AM. But thank god we didn’t have to get out that early! The Nieuw Statendam docked VCK Waterland Terminal at about 0530 AM and 0700AM they started disembarking passengers in groups. On day 2 in our cruise we got an envelope with disembarkation information and a form that we needed to fill in. There were a few options to choose from like a transfer to the City of Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport and Train Station Sloterdijk. We choose the last option because we needed to get on the train to our hometown. We could choose from 3 timeframes, 07:45/08:00, 08:15/08:30 and 08:45/09:00 am. We chose for the last one, so we had enough time onboard to get breakfast and relax a bit before leaving the ship. Breakfast time for our disembarkation day where from 06:00 till 09:00am in the Lido and in the MDR from 06:30 till 08:00am. They announced the group we were in (Black 3) at 09:05 and we went to the gangway and disembarked the ship for the last time…… In the hall on the dock our luggage was ready to pick up and we walked to the busses that drove us to the station. Everything was well organized by HAL! The Room: We had a Veranda room on deck 7, VE7186. What can I say? The room was small but big enough for a week for 2 persons and maybe for 2 adults and one minor. Not for 4 adults. The room is on the Shubert deck portside aft. It was a good choice in our case. We had no inconvenience from other guests or from the entertainment on board. The room has a good shower and in the shower is shampoo, conditioner and shower gel from Elemis. I liked it but as always tastes differ per person! On a next cruise I don’t take any shampoo or shower gel! My wife liked it to but preferred her own conditioner and shampoo for her curly hair. Our room steward was a nice guy cleaned our room twice a day and provided new towels. At night (second cleaning) he folded a nice towel animal every night. The safe is big enough for a 17inch laptop or tablet. The minibar is not included in the drink package! Read somewhere people asked the room steward to empty the minibar so that they can fill it themselves. What we did on some days is that we grabbed during the day beers or sprites and asked to not open it. We then put it in the minibar and drunk it when we wanted to sit on the balcony. But most of the time we where only on the room for sleeping. Food: The food was of a good quantity. We did not eat any paid restaurant like the Pinnacle Grill, we had the plans to do this but the food in the MDR was very good and Lido was for us extraordinarily good food for a buffet restaurant! Breakfast we did both in the Lido and MDR, if you want to start the day with not a lot noise and people around you go early to the MDR. I think a lot of food from the MDR and Lido are the same, especially in the morning. The only difference is that in the MDR they bring you the food! In the Lido at lunch time you can get Sushi at one of the stations, I asked if the also had it for dinner, but the answer was no…. Needed to come to the (paid) Shushi bar, I think it’s the same sushi so if you like sushi and don’t want the ambiance of a sushi bar take in as a lunch! Here a "few" food pics from MDR and Lido market. New York Deli Pizza we had an Pizza with tasted very good! Dive-in we eat both a burger with chips witch tasted very good! Tastes of course differ per person but people can’t say the food is bad!! And put on your plate what you can eat!!! If you don’t have enough go for a second or third time… I saw a lot of people putting their plates FULL and left the table with half a plate of food left….. During our behind the scenes tour they told us that food waste is a big problem which they try to prevent. I think some people are afraid that the food will run out soon? They walk around like headless chickens and if you are not careful, they will knock you over!! That’s what of the things I didn’t like of the Lido… (No, this is not me... 🙂 ) Drinks: For the drinks we had both the Signature Beverage Package. We booked before a certain date an got this for free. Would I book it on a future cruise? If I see what we drink in this week I say yes, but normally on a holiday we don’t drink so much if we did on this cruise… Must say that most of our holidays we book villa’s and need to drive to town to go for dinner or drinks and then I can’t drink! On a cruise ship its different... You can relax and grab a beer or cocktail and don’t need to think “can’t drink too much because I need to drive”. I made a calculation from our consumption (beer, wine, cocktails, sprites and special coffees) this one week cruise and we saved out $ 258,- dollars with the two of us with this SBP. We had an average of 5 alcoholic beverage per person per day and 6 non alcoholic drinks. For me most Mojito, beer water and Coca Cola, my wife drunk wine, prosecco, water, cappuccino, smoothies and some sprites. The terms of the SBP are not always that clear, in particular in the Netherlands. If you read the Dutch FAQ they say; A maximum of 15 beverages (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) per day total with a maximum of $ 11,- (08/2019). The USA website FAQ says: A maximum of 15 alcoholic beverages a day and unlimited nonalcoholic beverages a day with a maximum of $ 11, - (08/2019). I got in touch with the Dutch customer service and they confirmed to me that the USA FAQ statement about the SBP is correct. Entertainment: World Stage: This is a great stage! 270-degree LED screens make it very nice to watch shows. On our cruise week we went to Iris Kroes, a Dutch singer/songwriter that’s playing on a harp, very good music especially because she sang a song in a language of our province (Frisian). And we went to an illusionist from the UK, Adam Heppenstall. Adam had some nice card tricks! Phenomenal. The last night we went to a combined show of Iris and Adam. This week the Postmodern Jukebox also preformed in the World Stage, we only listened to them during the show of Iris. Great band. B.B. Kings Blues Club and Lincoln stage center: B.B. King and Lincoln stage center is a combined stage, in daytime there is classical music where we have not been. At night the All Stars band played in the B.B. Kings Blues Club, this was our favorite band and music genre. We have been here all the nights the All Stars where playing. Billboard On Board: Nice music with the two guys on the Piano. Some nights they play numbers on request. Bin here a few times before/after dinner or a show in the World Stage. In the Billboard you can grab some snacks from a small buffet by the room. I think it opens 0600PM discovered by accident… They had just some cooked shrimps and meatballs, some toasted bread strips, egg salad and tomato with mozzarella. Nice before dinner snack with your beer or cocktail. Rolling Stone Rock Room: Good rock band but not our type of music. Bin here a few times before/after dinner or a show in the World Stage. Excursion: Due the fact we like to walk around our self, explore things and we find the prices of what HAL asks for excursions to high, we didn’t book anything with HAL, except the behind the scenes tour what only is possible to book with HAL. Talked with another passenger, he told me the TA he booked with advised him to NOT book excursions with HAL. Like the Flam railway he booked himself on the Saturday before embarkation. Till that day the train tickets were al sold out but that Saturday there were a lot of tickets available again (cruise lines give unsold tickets back to train company). He just paid $ 100, - for 2 persons (last minute price!) instead of $ 360, - with HAL, price difference of 260%!! But for that price difference you will get a waffle and coffee! 😊 Conclusion: Would I recommend HAL as a first-time cruiser? Yes, certainly! Perhaps there are cheaper cruise lines for the same voyages that provide this same good service, but I do not have that experience yet and I will investigate in the coming period. As said, this was our first cruise and certainly not the last!
  14. A busy start for the month of July with five ships in port. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Viking Orion tendering from 0800-1630, Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215, and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. The nice weather continues and the prediction is that it will last through the week. The afternoon should be mostly sunny with a high of 76F/24C and a low of 55F/13C. Sunrise is at 3:57 am and sunset at 10:06 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  15. The Nieuw Statendam is such a beautiful, new cruise ship, and I took a ton of photos when I was on board. If you're planning to sail on this ship in the future and want a sneak peak, I've got a photo tour featuring my verandah cabin and all the public spaces on the ship! If you're missing the ship or counting down the days until your next cruise (aren't we all!), maybe this will help fuel your wanderlust for cruising and bring back some great memories! You can see my entire cruise ship photo tour here >> https://justinpluslauren.com/nieuw-statendam-cruise-ship-photo-tour/ Here are a few photos from the Nieuw Statendam! And feel free to ask me any questions!
  16. Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0400-1700. She will be doing a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (12 Nov 1100-1800); San Juan, Puerto Rico (13 Nov 1100-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (14 Nov 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (16 Nov 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (17 Nov a0700) Zuiderdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0515-1700. She is setting out on a 10-day Panama Canal Sunfarer cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (11 Nov 0800-1500); Oranjestad, Aruba (13 Nov 1300-2300); Willemstad, Curacao (14 Nov 0800-1600); Panama Canal (Cruising Canal) (16 Nov 0500-0500); Colon, Panama (16 Nov 1500-2100); Puerto Limon, Costa Rica (17 Nov 0730-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (20 Nov a0700) Also in port are Allure OTS at pier 18 from 0515-1630 and Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ and https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/. With no Celebrity ship in port, we should have good viewing on the webcams. Next up: Volendam on Monday, 11 November.
  17. Greetings! My wife and I (mid-60's) are considering a Christmas cruise this year. Celebrity has always been our cruise line of choice but we thought about trying a HAL cruise this time. There are two cruises that fit our schedules and both seem to be very nice ships...The Eurodam and the Nieuw Statendam. We would try to secure an oceanview or verandah cabin. The ports of call are not that important to us on this trip. We would primarily like to enjoy the ship and all it has to offer (food, beverage, shows, meeting new people at dinner and around the ship). I guess we are looking for something laid-back, having some options for entertainment and having a great time on board the ship. We would appreciate any information regarding how these two ships compare and contrast, cabin options (ocean view vs verandah), and the best option for a first time HAL cruise. Also, does HAL compare favorably to Celebrity? Thanks so much. Mick
  18. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. The nice weather continues with only a 20% chance of rain and a high of 66F/19C and a low of 49F/9C. Sunrise is at 3:52 am and sunset at 10:09 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  19. Is there any special or sale on internet pricing on the NS? Does HAL give out coupon books onboard? If so, how do I obtain one? Thank you.
  20. Here are my impressions of our fabulous time onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam this past week. I will try to add photos as my slow internet allows. We , DH and myself, booked this cruise last year after doing this same exact ship/cruise last May. And the second time around did not disappoint. We live in WA close to the border so AK cruises are easier for us and we normally book late May or June due to work schedules. We have done most of our AK cruises on NCL, Celebrity, and most recently HAL. We have found HAL is a good fit for us - itinerary, price, staff, and food and entertainment. Last year I booked last minute and lucked into an aft cabin and for this cruise booked far out so we could enjoy an aft cabin again. About 6 weeks out after monitoring price drops, I saw an aft corner Neptune suite was available. I called big box TA and did the upgrade for $400 for both of us and got cabin 6164. And I kept it as a secret from DH until we checked IN! That was fun! I have done a suite once before on NCL, and HAL suite amenities are not quite at their level, but I really wanted this cabin for the balcony and space and location. It turned out to be perfect for Glacier Bay viewing and I am so happy I did it. Will take break and review embarkation/disembarking, dining and entertainment, and then ports and excursions.
  21. We are on the Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day Alaska out of Vancouver at the end of June. A short 2 weeks from now 😎! It is our first HAL cruise. so of course, I am spending time reading up on all the wisdom from the pros here. Is the coffee on these ships really that bad? And does it matter which boat you are on, or is this system wide? I realize I keep stumbling into many comments here and there in more general HAL reviews about how bad the coffee is. My experience is that coffee quality has a decent margin or error (i.e. most people not big connoisseurs and are fine with mostly what they get), which makes me think that it must be bad enough to stick in people's minds. Or HAL cruisers are real coffee connoisseurs. Since I appreciate my 1-2 cups in the morning a lot should I be prepared to switch to tea? Are there better places than others on NA to get a good early morning coffee? (since I am paying for the food/beverage part of the trip would prefer not to have to buy it, but also fine) I also often travel with mini-moos because I truly hate artificial coffee "whitener" or coffee-mate. (I buy them for $10 for 128 through a big box retailer and they are truly handy for traveling.) Do I need to bring a few of those?
  22. I understand that what is left of the library is now in the Crow's Nest. Are there any computers that passengers can use?
  23. We are booking a cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam and have a cabin question. Does the cabin VB4143 (or VB4145 or VB4149) have a sofa? Any pictures would be appreciated!
  24. It will be another busy day in Port Everglades. And we have 2 of our newer blue hulled beauties set to sail for this one. Nieuw Amsterdam is scheduled to leave from pier 19 and leave at 5:00 PM. She is doing the 10 day Southern Caribbean. She is also scheduled to do a 13 day cruise which doesn’t show on itineraries, basically returning back to HMC. Here are her itineraries: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (20 Jan d1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (21 Jan 0800-1500); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (22 Jan 1100-1800); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (23 Jan 0800-1800); Kralendijk, Bonaire (25 Jan 0800-1800); Willemstad, Curacao (26 Jan 0700-2300); Oranjestad, Aruba (27 Jan 0700-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (30 Jan a0700) Nieuw Statendam is scheduled to leave be at pier 26 and leave at 4:00 PM. She is doing a 7 day Soul Train Charter. No map for this one, but here is her itinerary: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (20 Jan d1600); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (22 Jan 1000-1800); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (26 Jan 0800-1600); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (27 Jan a0700 Also in port is: the the Celebrity Edge at pier 25, Celebrity Silhouette at pier 29, Harmony of the Seas at pier 18 and Royal Princess at pier 02 The websites to see the sail a ways are located at https://www.porteverlades.com and https://www.ftlauderdale.com For those that like to check out San Diego, the Eurodam is leaving from there for her Mexican Rivera cruise. Here is the link - http://www.sandiegolive.com And, for the Addicts - the Koningsdam is in Aruba https://www.portarubawebcam.com Next up - January 22nd, the Amsterdam as she and all her lucky passengers set sail on their WORLD cruise.
  25. Had dinner with a group of five people at the Caneletto. 2 people were two stars. Two were 4 stars, and I am five stars. My four star friends paid the bill thinking it would be 9.50 pp. 50% discount from 19. Caneletto billed him the whole bill, but each meal was billed at the legitimate discount rate. Two at full price. Three at 50%. He was a little disappointed ,but I am glad they are checking. I have read posts where it was said who ever pays the bill gets their discount on the whole tab.
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