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Found 277 results

  1. Just off NA and took photos of the bar menus which are the same through out the ship. The SBP limit was increased to $11 but still found the wine choices lacking.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. We loved the Taco Bar on the Zuiderdam last month. Is it on the Oosterdam and/or the Nieuw Amsterdam?
  5. 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.
  6. 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! 🙂
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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. 🙂
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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?
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. We are looking to book a scooter accessible cabin on NA. Seems there are no fully accessible cabins available, but 5001 shows up as partially accessible. I've tried searching for pictures or descriptions but found nothing. Has anyone been in 5001? Would it be suitable for someone with a scooter? Thanks for any feedback.
  17. 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!!
  18. Hi, could someone tell me how many electric plugs in the NA verandah cabins and where they’re located? Thanks!
  19. Is the Nieuw Amsterdam charted the week of 1/19-1/26/2020?
  20. We cruised on Veendam last summer and I loved the taco bar next to the Dive In. We are now booked on the Nieuw Amsterdam, but I haven't seen a similar taco bar in any of the photos. Does the NA have one?
  21. What are the prices right now. We leave in a month.
  22. Good morning, Can any recommend a quiet table number for 2 in main dining room on the Nieuw Amsterdam. I excluded the dining room map. Thanks a lot NADM.pdf
  23. Hi, I have booked a July sailing on this ship. Have only been on the Westerdam years ago. How does this ship differ from the Westerdam? Is there a therapy pool on here and if so does anyone know the charges. Also how are the specialty restaurants? Opinions of this ship for the Alaska itinerary? Do they have onboard lecturers, etc. Also is the MDR food good. The staterooms as well opinions. Thank you
  24. We are booked on HAL Nieuw Amsterdam Alaska Inside Passage, RT Vancouver August 3, 2019. We are waitlisted for 8:00 pm dinner seating. My question is how difficult is it for a group of 6 to just show up at the later seating and wait for a table. Has anyone experienced this before? What would other options be?
  25. Starting a roll call for Nieuw Amsterdam, Alaska Inside Passage, 7 night, RT from Vancouver August 3, 2019. Taking our two 20-something kids (plus their significant other/friend) for a family trip. First time on HAL, first time to Alaska, and very excited!
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