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  1. 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!
  2. First time on HAL. On other lines we have often eaten our evening meal at the buffet. Am I correct that the Lido does not serve in the evening.
  3. Background: Nearly 30 years cruising. Diamond on Royal Caribbean, variety of other colors and jewelry across NCL, Carnival, MSC. Couple near 40, son will be a bit under age 5 at proposed time of sailing. Feel service is declining on Royal Caribbean. Don't care for some of the rowdiness have found lately on NCL and Carnival. Looking for decent kids club and activities; nightly entertainment until 10-11pm is plenty for us really. Good included in fare food; whether this be lido, pool deck, or MDR we expect good quality. Want to try a somewhat quieter and less crowded ship than the mega ships we have been going on. Like the Key West/San Juan/Grand Turk itinerary which can do on either ship it looks like. Which ship would you recommend, and why, for a young active family but not looking for a sports bar party like Carnival or NCL. Expecting something distinctly cut above Royal Caribbean, not necessarily fancy. Does NA have a full walking track around ship? That is something to consider for us also.
  4. Amsterdam is making her first visit of the season to Juneau. She will be at the AS dock from 0800-2200. Volendam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Disney Wonder at the AJ dock from 0645-1645 and Azamara Quest will be at the FKL dock from 1000-2300. A very nice day (by Juneau standards) is predicted. The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and only a 20% chance of rain. High will be 65F/18C and the low 49F/9C. Sunrise is at 3:55 am and sunset at 9:59 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Nieuw Amsterdam, Eurodam AND Maasdam on Monday.
  5. 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.
  6. Hi all! We're going on a cruise to Norway on the Nieuw Statendam in late July. I love to get up early and swim before heading off for the day. Can anyone who has been on the NS or is on it now tell me when they open the Lido and Seaview pools in the morning? thank you!
  7. We have loved the Neptune Suites on the Amsterdam because I loved the little sink in the dressing area. As we left the ship after the 2018 World cruise they were ripping up the rugs and beginning the dry dock. We were told that they were replacing the bath tubs with walk in showers. We are now considering going on the 2021 HAL world cruise so I decided to look on line for pictures of the 'new' Neptune suite. All I can find show a bathtub still, just a new shower head and new wall tile and it appears they replaced the sink in the dressing room with a counter top and no sink. I am guessing this has been discussed on here before now, but this is the first time I looked for pictures. Is this right?
  8. I am considering a solo cruise on Nieuw Statendam. It will have to be an inside cabin due to budget constraints. Any suggestions as to more spacious inside cabins or cabins to avoid?
  9. We loved the Taco Bar on the Zuiderdam last month. Is it on the Oosterdam and/or the Nieuw Amsterdam?
  10. We will be sailing on the Amsterdam for an extended period of time. I am a very light sleeper and am disturbed by noise. i would appreciate any input on an Ocean View cabin on either Deck 1 (Dolphin) or Deck 2 (Main Deck) that is a quiet cabin; no engine, thruster, service areas, noise above or below the cabin. If you have a cabin that you would recommend, it would be very appreciative. Thank you.
  11. 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
  12. Our family of five, grandparents (60s) in a balcony cabin, and us (2x early 40s, 1x age 9) in a Neptune Suite Aft Corner (Port side, deck 6, 6164). This was the grandparents first cruise - we have done several over a decade or two and achieved two-star mariner status on this cruise. We have previously cruised HAL, Norwegian, and Celebrity - our favorite is Celebrity. We chose this cruise because it left out of San Diego (our home) and matched up exactly with our spring break from school. We booked after final payment (which is our MO) so only had a month or two to plan. We have done Mexican Riviera before, several times - it is an inexpensive getaway from San Diego. Embarcation in San Diego was smooth - we arrived around 11 - there was a monster line to enter the terminal but it moved very quickly. Once past security, there was virtually no line for Neptune guests (this was our first Neptune cruise!) and in fact my parents who were in a regular VA also had no line. They had just announced general boarding (around 11:30) and suites were ready as soon as we were aboard. We dropped carry-on luggage in the room and proceeded directly to the lido. The lido was (as expected) chaotic on the first day - we ate at the Dive In burger restaurant, poolside, and found the service speedy and efficient. The burgers were amazing, easily 8 out of 10 as far as the best burgers I've ever had. The burger was easily the best thing we ate all week in taste, efficiency, and presentation. Our Neptune suite was very nice, spacious, and worth the cost upgrade. The corner aft balcony is our favorite. This corner aft is much smaller than those we've experienced in the past. We later noted that the corner aft on decks 5 and 4 is notably larger (though 4 has the window washing equipment, which I'm not sure is that much of a problem). Still though, plenty of room on the balcony for 5 people to hang out, sit, stretch, chat, eat, and never have to "squeeze past" each other - just walk around effortlessly. Inside, the room is spacious and the living room gives room for 5 to sit, though more than 5 would be a little cramped. The Bose speaker provided in the room was surprisingly useful. It delivered great sound and we used it a lot. The TV also had great sound and was a good size for the room. The bathroom was huge by cruise ship standards and with the tub/shower combo we often utilized the dual-shower combo to get two people ready at once. The stand up shower is just the least bit cramped and tends to get water everywhere, though if you mind it, you can control it pretty well. The makeup room between the bathroom and the livingroom served well as an office for a few conference calls I had to take but went largely unused otherwise. The couch was comfy and the room steward switched it back and forth from bed to couch daily. The room was serviced twice daily although we seemed to be at the end of the list for morning service, often it didn't occur until past noon. The suite comes with fruit delivered daily and we partook in this regularly. Our steward must have noticed that we were eating a lot of grapes, as each day the pile of grapes atop the fruit basket would be larger, until 3 or 4 days into the cruise a separate fruit basket appeared that contained nothing but grapes, piled so high they nearly wouldn't fit. We laughed, and of course, gorged ourselves on grapes. This was the only noticeable sign of our room steward (other than, of course, the twice daily bed making and the fresh towels) - we've noticed over the years that some stewards you don't see much of, and some, by the end of a week or two, you're lifelong friends. This particular team would always greet us in the hallway but was overall pretty invisible and unassuming. Neptune Lounge, we didn't expect to use much, but we did - a lot. The coffee machine in there is really great, the teas are better than those offered elsewhere, the snacks are a little more refined than lido food, and the concierge - which I wasn't sure what on Earth I would use them for - we used them a lot. Re-make a lost key card, make a dinner reservation, find something out, etc - they would do just about anything you asked. We really enjoyed this amenity and we'd have a hard time going without it in the future. I got the unlimited internet package for the cruise and it worked as expected - slowly, but without issue. We paid for the 7-day pass in the thermal suite for two - generally didn't have a problem finding a hot chair and used them daily. The lido food was good - service is mostly handled by the lido attendants - there is not a lot of serving yourself. This really seemed to help our perception of hygiene (so many fewer dirty hands everywhere) but generally slowed down service and made lines longer. My standard breakfast is a DIY breakfast sandwich - get two pieces of bread toasted, put a piece or two of cheese on them, get two eggs over medium, slide them onto the bread, then bacon or sausage on top. I don't really know how to say this, but I feel like my *perception* is that lines were longer (because of the full-service handling), but in reality I don't feel like it took me any longer to get my regular breakfast than usual. The lido seemed more crowded than past experiences but even though it was generally packed, I didn't have a single instance of not being able to find a table - it was full, but turnover was quick and cleanup was efficient and even when you'd look up to see every table taken, by the time you got your food you could always find a place to sit. Similarly, it seemed like every station had a line but you never seemed to wait for more than 3-4 people to clear and it never took more than a minute or two. We had pinnacle for breakfast once, and were turned away on a second attempt later in the week because we'd taken my parents and it's suite guests only. We retreated to the regular restaurant to find the identical breakfast menu there. I feel like I try sit-down breakfast once or twice each cruise and always find I like the lido better. We returned to the lido after that. The sit-down restaurant food seems to have taken a significant decline in recent years - the china they used to use is now relegated to the Neptune Lounge, and they just use regular dishes in the dining room. The food was good (though uninspired). They did seem to be enforcing the "2nd entree $10" rule, but I am not a two entree guy, so it didn't bother me. I did order an appetizer, a soup, a salad, an entree, and a desert every night without issue. I did turn away a main dish one night (wasn't to my liking) and had it replaced with something else without question or charge. The lighting in the dining room (I'm sorry to nitpick something so basic, but it really is a core thing) was downright bad. The fluorescent lighting makes it look like the inside of a k-mart and only accentuates the declining food presentation. Our stewards were pretty good and quite friendly. "Smart casual" is now basically "don't wear flip flops", there are lots of jeans, t-shirts, etc. "Gala night" is now "anything with a collar" and cargo pants and a polo shirt was not uncommon... for *gala* night. Those of you who've followed my reviews for a decade (I assume you're a small crowd) will now have witnessed my full transit from "why do I have to bring a tuxedo" in my 20s, to "seriously, cargo pants and a polo shirt on gala night?" in my 40s. It's a spring break cruise and there were 300+ kids on board. There are a LOT of kids and a LOT of families and it showed. Kids club sometimes feels like it has a lot of individual attention, but this cruise it felt like they were trying to just keep it all under control. There were regularly 20-40 kids in the tween club - three sessions per day. Again, sometimes it feels like the kids club staff and I become family by the end of a cruise, but generally speaking this time around, I hardly knew their names, they hardly knew mine. My daughter seemed to enjoy it and kept going back, so there's that! There was room to spare at the string quintet performances but the magic show was standing room only. The America's Test Kitchen was packed every performance (and I really enjoyed it). BB King's Lounge was hopping - there was a male lead vocalist who ROCKED the house. The dueling piano bar seemed to satisfy the older crowd with standards but had a hard time getting a vibe going. Trivia was offered a couple times a day but you grade your own paper and it just didn't feel very competitive. None of the bars were really very full and they didn't develop that "regular crowd" feeling that some cruises have. Mexican Riviera hasn't changed in 20 years. Cabo still has the glass bottom boats and they're still $10/head. We got a good one and had a great tour. Mazatlan we took a taxi into the historic district and walked around. Puerto Vallarta we took a taxi to the Malecon and walked around. It was nice being in Puerto Vallarta until late (11pm). HAL was my first cruise line and for many years was my favorite, until we found X. We still enjoy HAL but as an upper-crust line it seems to be slipping. We would happily cruise HAL again if our dates lines up, but we wouldn't seek them out. 7/10 overall.
  13. 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. 🙂
  14. Overall, an excellent cruise. We have cruised Alaska twice previously, so our goals here were to see something beyond the standard ports of Juneau and Ketchikan. We have also seen Glacier Bay, so Tracy Arm , and a truly awesome time at Hubbard Glacier (our second visit, but the first paled next to this visit) more than compensated. The 14 day route was perfect, exactly was we were looking for. They are improving it next year, sailing from Vancouver for a true Inside Passage trip, but this trip was well worth the effort. The ship is in very good shape. Not perfect, but really very good shape. It is very well maintained, constantly. Probably the most annoying problem was the leaking megradome on the midship pool. It leaked in so many places. When we had some rain (not much), fog/drizzle (a couple days), or the standard cleaning (almost daily), there were steady drips of water in MANY places. There was always a crewmember or two trying to prevent slipping problems. We also had an issue with our cabin, but it was handled aggressively, rapidly and effectively by staff. The gym opened at 6am (YEA!!!), but equipment breakdowns became a problem. Overall, the ship gets a B plus for condition, or better. Staff was their typical wonderful selves, working hard and doing great jobs, always with a smile. Many were seeing their first glaciers and high snow covered peaks...it was fun seeing their excitement. A-plus here. Food was really good, with solid variety. Yes, the portions are a little smaller. I wish someone would tell my waist line. Pinnacle is still excellent. We had the Signature Beverage Package. There is a pretty good prosecco priced in the plan. Otherwise had no real issues getting our beverages. A-minus here. Entertainment was of the standard type with singers and dancers doing 4 shows, mostly oriented towards 60s to modern rock. Couple comedians...all pretty good. Beatles tribute performer that we have seen before, but enjoyed seeing again. BBC World II production that was good, but not as good as the first version. Movies every day. Adaigio (duo), didn't see. Trio in Ocean bar was not our type of music for the most part. We discovered the piano player in the Piano Bar a little late...he was pretty good. B-plus here. We only did one excursion (one additional got cancelled)- the 26 Glaciers cruise out of Whittier on the Anchorage day. Quite simply the most scenic excursion we have ever done (in 22 cruises). We had great weather almost the entire cruise...the day in Whittier was the best weather the entire cruise. This excursion is awesome...can't recommend it highly enough. Yes, it is longer (11 hours total), but totally worth it...every penny, every minute. A-plus, plus, plus, plus grade. We sat in front of Hubbard Glacier...maybe half a mile away, for about 90 minutes. The glacier calved about every 90 seconds...little ones, medium sized, and some big ones as well. It was truly incredible. Highly recommend this cruise, ship, and crew. Happy to answer any questions.
  15. Has anyone played pickle ball on the Nieuw Statendam? Do they provide the paddles & balls? Has their been a good response to the games?
  16. Our first time on a Holland America ship. We are in Main inside cabin 2527 and wondering how the room configuration compares with inside cabins on Princess ships that we have used on previous cruises. An excellent fare but wondering about being forward on this deck. Just the two of us and not sure if they will move us if they need a quad room. Thanks for your help
  17. 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
  18. Hello, all! We are sailing on the Nieuw Amsterdam in an SS Suite and have two questions about the sofa bed for the 3rd person: 1. Does anyone have any pictures of the sofa bed made into a bed? 2. Does anyone know how long the bed will be or the maximum recommended height of the person sleeping in it? This information would be helpful, as we are considering upgrading to a Neptune Suite, thinking the sofa bed might be a bit longer --- that might not be the case, though. Any insight would be appreciated! Thanks! 🙂
  19. Lots to see on our last sail-away of 2018! Nieuw Amsterdam will be at Pier 21 (starboard to) from 0545-1700. She is going on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean Holiday cruise. Fort Lauderdale, Florida (30 Dec d1600); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (01 Jan 0800-1500); San Juan, Puerto Rico (02 Jan 1300-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (03 Jan 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (05 Jan 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (06 Jan a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be at Pier 26 (port to - and hidden behind Edge😞) from 0530-1700. She is doing a 7-day Western Caribbean Holiday cruise. Fort Lauderdale, Florida (30 Dec d1600); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (31 Dec 0800-1600); Ocho Rios, Jamaica (02 Jan 0800-1700); George Town, Grand Cayman (03 Jan 0800-1600); Cozumel, Mexico (04 Jan 1100-2300); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (06 Jan a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 from 0430-1730, Carnival Conquest at pier 4 from 0400-1600, Celebrity Edge at pier 25 from 0600-1600, Harmony OTS at pier 18 from 0515-1630, Island Princess at pier 19 from 0445-1630, and Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ . Rotterdam will be in Tampa from 0700-1600 heading out on a 7-day Western Caribbean Holiday cruise. She is the only ship in port. The PTZtv webcam is at https://www.porttampawebcam.com/ . Tampa, Florida (30 Dec d1600); Key West, Florida (31 Dec 1100-1800); Trujillo, Honduras (02 Jan 0800-1700); Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala (03 Jan 0700-1700); Costa Maya, Mexico (04 Jan 0800-1700); Tampa, Florida (06 Jan a0700) Eurodam will be leaving from San Diego at 1700 for a 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise. She is the only ship in port. http://sundiegolive.com/ For the Addicts: Rotterdam will be in Key West on Monday 31 December from 1100-1800. https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/ Next up: Prinsendam, Veendam, and Koningsdam on Friday, 4 January. I want to really thank Jacqui (kazu) for volunteering to take over the sail-away threads while I am cruising. Happy New Year to all of the addicts!!!
  20. We have a choice between Dolphin 1838 and Main 2556. Which is the better, quieter cabin? We will be going on a long cruise and I am a light sleeper. Thank you.
  21. We are considering a cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We have sailed on the Vista class ships (Westerdam, Zuiderdam) but not on the Signature class. We really liked the aft balcony cabins on Deck 5 (like 5185) because of the extra long balcony with loungers as well as a table, chairs and footstool. We also liked the fact that these balconies are fully covered. Can someone tell me, are the aft balconies on NA similar? Does choosing an aft on deck 5 (like 5193) similar to those on Vista class, and do the balconies get smaller and more exposed as you go up? Also, does anyone know when Explore 4 usually starts? We are looking at cruising in Dec 2019 and can't decide whether to book now (and purchase drink package later) or wait for Explore 4. Thanks! Sharon
  22. Nieuw Amsterdam will be at Pier 21 (starboard to) from 0545-1700. She will be doing a 7-day Western Caribbean Holiday cruise. Sunday, December 23 Fort Lauderdale, FL Monday, December 24 Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Tuesday, December 25 At Sea Wednesday, December 26 Ocho Rios, Jamaica Thursday, December 27 Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Friday, December 28 Cozumel, Mexico Saturday December 29 At Sea Sunday, December 30 Fort Lauderdale, FL Nieuw Statendam will be at Pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She is going on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean Holiday cruise. Sunday, December 23 Fort Lauderdale, FL Monday, December 24 At Sea Tuesday, December 25 Amber Cove, Dominican Republic Wednesday, December 26 San Juan, Puerto Rico Thursday, December 27 St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands Friday, December 28 At Sea Saturday, December 29 Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Sunday, December 30 Fort Lauderdale, FL Other ships in port are Celebrity Edge at pier 25 (blocking our view) from 0600-1600, Harmony 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.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ . Rotterdam will be in Tampa from 0700-1600. She will be leaving for a 7-day Western Caribbean Holiday Cruise. December 23 Tampa, FL December 24 Key West, FL December 25 At Sea December 26 Trujillo, Honduras December 27 Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala December 28 Costa Maya, Mexico December 29 At Sea December 30 Tampa, FL Also in port are Carnival Miracle and Norwegian Pearl. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.porttampawebcam.com/ . Oosterdam will be in Key West from 0800-1600 (https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/ ). Zuiderdam will be in Aruba from 0700-1700 (https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ ). Eurodam will be in San Diego leaving on a 7-day Mexican Riviera Holiday cruise departing at 1700 (http://sundiegolive.com/ ). For the addicts: Rotterdam will be in Key West from 1100-1800 on 24 December (https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/ ). Next up: Zuiderdam on Boxing Day. Happy holidays to all my fellow sail-away addicts! I am still looking for someone to take over sail-away duties starting on January 6 and running through March 26. I can resume sail-aways from 27 March on.
  23. 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.
  24. So confused about HAL cruise offerings. I am between these two sailings on August 3 Nieuw Amersterdam Vancouver Roundtrip and August 4 Westerdam Southbound from Seward to Vancouver. We only have time to do the 7 day cruise, so no land addons. Which itinerary is overall better? Which ship? What sorts of things should I be considering?
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