Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Search the Community

Showing results for 'nieuw statendam' in content posted in Holland America Line.

  • Search By Author

Content Type


Cruise Critic Community

  • Categories
    • Forum Assistance
    • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
    • New Cruisers
    • Cruise Lines “A – O”
    • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
    • River Cruising
    • ROLL CALLS
    • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
    • Member Cruise Reviews
    • Special Interest Cruising
    • Cruise Discussion Topics
    • UK Cruising
    • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
    • North American Homeports
    • Ports of Call
    • Cruise Conversations

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Location


Interests


Zip Code


Favorite Cruise Line(s)


Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call


If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

Found 511 results

  1. I thought I’d jot down some thoughts on our recent cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam to the Mexican Riviera sailing out of San Diego. This was our first time sailing on Holland America and our first cruise out of San Diego. We’ve cruised on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess prior to this cruise. I’d originally booked a balcony cabin, category VD, through a travel agent. She included $75 OBC and was able to offer a very good rate. Two weeks before sail date she contacted me with an upgrade offer from HAL for a Neptune Suite which I accepted. We’ve never sailed in a full suite, opting for a junior suite on other lines when the mood strikes. Embarkation: We’d spent the night in Point Loma and drove to the San Diego Airport Parking location where we parked the car for the week (at $71, a bargain) and took the SDAP shuttle to the pier. The shuttle dropped us off at around 11:00. The Disney Wonder was also in port so the pier was very busy. We were directed through security then through check-in before settling in to wait until being called to board at around 12:00. We boarded with the first groups due to our having a Neptune suite and were tucking into lunch at the lido by 12:15. The announcement that all staterooms were ready came before we finished eating. Cabin: We had Neptune suite 7051, which was directly across from the Neptune Lounge. I wondered if there would be noise from passengers congregating outside the lounge, but I needn’t have worried. Our cabin was very quite and very, very wonderful. Not only was there fresh flowers, a fruit bowl and coffee maker, there was also a bottle of sparkling wine waiting on ice. I wish I could have snapped a photo of my husband’s face when he saw that wine. He loved those perks and the attention to detail this type of cabin category provides. The refrigerator had soft drinks, mixers, Red Bulls, spirits, beer and wine available for purchase, which we never used. Binoculars and an umbrella were there for our use as well as 6 pillows, soft, medium and firm, for our use. My husband prefers a soft pillow, so he was quite happy. There are his and hers closets, or at least that’s what I’m calling them, with a large number of hangers available. Robes, slippers, beach towels, a safe, laundry bag and shoe shine basket were also in the closets. We utilized the free laundry once during the cruise, which was wonderful. I requested the laundry on hangers and I loved how it all came back. Undergarments and other items that are normally folded were presented wrapped in tissue and presented in a wicker basket. I don’t know how big the wall mounted TV was, but it’s huge with a wonderful selection of on demand movies. The live channels available were MSNBC, FOX, BBC, Prime, HGTV and I think that’s it. There are also some other shows available, but they seemed to be tied in to the cross-branding that happens on the ship: America’s Test Kitchen and HGTV. My husband and I watched a whole lot of movies from the comfort of the couch or chairs in the room. The bathroom was large with two sinks, a shower, a separate tub with jets, and an offering of soaps, lotions, potions and so forth for our use. Just outside the bathroom was a vanity with a magnifying mirror and a hair dryer that doesn’t have the button that needs to be held down. Any other cruise ship I’ve been on has always had the hair dryer that requires me to hold the button down and isn’t all that powerful. The balcony was large with a table and 4 chairs, two padded, reclining deck chairs with ottomans. and a small table in between them. I was very impressed with the cleanliness of the balcony. On my last cruise in February on Carnival, it seems the balcony wasn’t touched and had a lot of debris on the deck. It’s nice to have a clean balcony, one that I don’t feel I have to grab a wet washcloth and wipe everything down myself. Passenger mix: I’d heard there were 425 children on this cruise. The kids were noisiest in the pool, playing water tag, splashing, throwing a football and generally being kids. I didn’t notice the tykes taking over the hot tubs except for the first sea day. Outside of the pool deck, the kids were very well behaved and mindful of their parents. I did hear running of kids outside our cabin on two occasions, but that’s it. The adult population was quiet and considerate. Lots of chair hogging, but I think that’s a product of all mass market cruises. HAL places rolled up towels on all the loungers. Perhaps some were vacating their loungers without removing the towels, making others think the chairs were taken. People were always dressed appropriately, though I did notice a couple of teens with very short dresses (one with a slit so high it showed her black panties). I saw no robes at the buffet or women at breakfast with curlers in their hair, something I’ve always seen on our Carnival cruises. No drunks, loud talkers, foul mouthed Neanderthals or obnoxious bullies, either. I only saw one instance of seat saving and that was in the Blues club with one woman saving an entire front row. Nobody showed up to claim her seats during the first set. I almost wished someone would’ve come by and challenged her. We saw all ages, from infants to octogenarians, and most all were polite and thoughtful. This seemed more of a white collar/professional crowd and it was a welcome change from what I’ve seen lately on other lines. Food: DH and I are not foodies. We are willing to try new things, but feel most comfortable eating pedestrian meals. We both found the food on HAL to be quite good. Here are some of the things that impressed me about the lido deck food: Freshly made waffles, crepes and eggs Benedict for breakfast; freshly made waffle cones at the ice cream station; a whole roasted suckling pig. I’ve never seen this before and it was amazing! There was a vast assortment of fresh fruit, a daily variety of twice baked potatoes and I particularly liked the one with brie cheese. Small plates with cheeses, fruits, salads and so forth were also available. I found something each day to enjoy. Although we could eat breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, we only did this one time. The made-to-order items at the Lido Marketplace trumped the PG. Tried the afternoon tea and I enjoyed both the food and the service. I’d have gone back at least one more time, but DH isn’t a fan. The pizza didn’t look appealing, so I never bothered with it. DH tried it once and said it was OK. He liked the Dive In burgers and fries. I tried one of the hot dogs and it seemed over-steamed with a real soft consistency. I didn’t finish it. I loved the ice cream and enjoyed a couple of waffle cones with a scoop of strawberry goodness topped with sprinkles. I didn’t try this until the last couple days of the cruise and I’m glad. I’d have eaten an ice cream cone a couple times a day every day. Not good for the waistline! We had open dining and ate at the MDR on 5 of the 7 nights. We opted to share a table each time and met some lovely people who we kept running into all through the cruise. The food was nice, but nothing was really memorable, except maybe for the Gala night lobster, which was cooked perfectly. I’ve been trying to lose a few pounds so there were nights when I skipped both the appetizer and dessert. Perhaps I missed something marvelous, but I have a feeling we’ll be back so I can try some new menu items. The service was wonderful and the dining room decor lovely. There was never a wait and we usually ate anywhere from 5:00 to 6:30, depending on what was going on that day. Although we could have made reservations, we preferred to simply show up when we were hungry. I’m not a drinker, but my husband enjoys the occasional cocktail. We never had a problem finding a server by the pool or at any of the bars. I tried a couple of the mock cocktails listed in the menu and mostly liked them. DH loves his Maker’s Mark and ginger ale, so he stuck with that. At Canaletto’s, which we booked on a whim when a nice young lady approached us advertising the restaurant, I started with the Antipasto and it was very tasty. For a main course I had the Spaghetti Alle Vongole Veraci E Gamberi. I certainly couldn’t pronounce it, so had to simply point at my menu. It was very good, even though I’m not a huge fan of steamed clams. For dessert I had the lemon tart, which was just awful. The waitress had warned me that it was dry, but I thought I’d take my chances. She offered to bring an alternate selection, but by then I was full enough. Canaletto’s being a part of the lido buffet is a bit odd to me, but the glass partitions at least give you a bit of quiet from the hubbub of the buffet crowd. Although we enjoyed our dinner and the service, I doubt we’ll do this again. Ship The Neiuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship. We discovered the EXC area (aka Crow’s Nest?) and spent some time there relaxing, watching the view and enjoying a specialty coffee from the coffee bar. We went back up there on the last sea day and it was packed, so didn’t stay long. The lay out of the ship is nice and easy to navigate. The promenade is a great feature, but I’m embarrassed to say we didn’t make daily visits to get our walks in. We spent some time at both the Ocean Bar and the Sea View bar and enjoyed the atmosphere and great service. The ship wasn’t too big or too small. In my mind, it was just right. Entertainment I’m admitting here that we spent more time in our cabin than on any other cruise. The suite was so comfortable and the balcony so large that we found the room to be a destination in itself. As a result, we didn’t go to as many of the entertainment venues and we normally would have. We never made it to the ATK demonstrations or Billboard Onboard. We only saw the performances at Lincoln Center Stage and BB King’s Blue Club one time. Both were good. We watched the performance of Humanity at the MainStage theater. I’m not a big fan of these shows, though my husband is. Although the dancers were all talented, I felt the costuming was uninspired and the show as a whole a little bit underwhelming. I guess I’m just a tough critic. We went back the following night to see comedienne Chris Pendleton. I thought she was hysterical and my husband thought she was just so-so. Her humor leaned toward that which women would understand, so maybe that explains we he and I responded differently to her performance. The CD was named Nick and he’s the kind of cruise director I like: the quiet kind. He’d make announcements, but they weren’t long or often. Our favorite entertainment was our cabin and the gazillion on demand movies. I know….why go on a cruise to watch movies? Who knows? What I do know is we had a wonderful time and my husband says he’s ready to book another HAL cruise soon. And this coming from a die hard Carnival lover! Disembarkation: Because we were in a suite we got priority disembarkation. We normally do self-assist, but none of the disembarkation literature we received in our cabin mentioned this as an option. After a final breakfast at the Lido Marketplace we waited in the BB King Blues Club lounge. We couldn’t help noticing the number of passengers loitering with their suitcases and realized we could have joined them if we wanted to get off the ship earlier. Disembarkation started at 8:00 and for the next 30 minutes the self-assist passengers filed past the Club. Our group was called at 8:30 and we had to line jump since the self-assist passengers were still filing past with no end in sight. It seemed like half the ship wheeled off their own luggage! We were off the ship and on our parking lot shuttle by 9:00. The Disney Wonder was disembarking with us so you can imagine how crowded the pier was. Final Thoughts: We enjoyed this cruise immensely mostly because of the service, the food, the beautiful ship and the mix of passengers. The service was fantastic, though there was one hiccup. My husband was nursing that bottle of sparkling wine we had in our suite. He’d come back from dinner and pour a glass, then stopper the bottle and place it back on ice. The stewardess for some reason pulled that bottle before it was empty and disposed of it. We’d come back to the room after dinner for the purpose of him pouring one of the last glasses in the bottle and found the bottle gone. I approached the concierge and explained what had happened and how disappointed my husband was that this complimentary beverage was disposed of before he’d had a chance to finish it. The concierge worked her magic and a new bottle appeared the next day. We’ll be back on HAL. I’d love to sail this line to Alaska, New England or Europe. I’d rate HAL above the other three lines we’ve sailed, though Royal really is a fun line. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
  2. Could someone please explain the difference between a V and a VD cabin. Many thanks
  3. Does anyone know if the televisions on Nieuw Amsterdam and closed captions on most, or all channels? Thanks.
  4. We've sailed in a Signature Suite on the Westerdam and there was a large, wall mounted TV opposite the bed. Can anyone tell me if the Nieuw Amsterdam Signature and Neptune suites have this feature as well? I looked, but I can't find any info. Thanks!
  5. I haven't seen a roll call for the Ft Lauderdale to Barcelona cruise, April 15-28, 2020, so here we go!
  6. Can anyone tell me how to search the forums? It used to be so easy. I was able to search for things within specific categories, ie: Holland America: Nieuw Amsterdam spa pass. Now, I don't see that option. Anyhow, does anyone know how much the Spa access pass on the Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day cruise is? Is there a special on board on specific days? We like to use the thalassotherapy (hydrospa pool) daily. Thank you.😊
  7. I can't find it but I thought I saw a chain of posts where people post the room number and reviews of that room for a specific cruise ship, such as Nieuw Amsterdam. Does anyone know the link to that? Maybe it's a different web site.
  8. 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.
  9. Could anyone tell me what nights are the formal nights on the current Eastern Caribbean sailings. Thanks.
  10. On NA now. Oosterdam hit our stern this morning while she was docking. All appear to be OK. Looks like damage is mostly deck 4 verandas Will post more as we hear updates. I have a feeling we may be late sailing for Alaska today
  11. After 5 years, this week I received a personal message from a saved refugee, whose resecue operation we watched while were cruised on the Nieuw Amsterdam/Oct 20 in 2014. Amidst our wonderful Mediterrean cruise, the captain made an at ful sea an emergency stop in the very early morning alongside a little boat filled up with around 50 Syrian refugees. On that morning I made some footage and placed it on Youtube when I was contacted by the saved refugee this week. This person named Khaldoun, has been rescued by the authorities and therefore very grateful to the captain & crew to notify them on their behalf. He is living currently in Norway and is asking me if there are more photos available. Please spread the message and kindly upload your photos, so I can share them again with Khaldoun. Thank you! Short impression of the rescue operation
  12. I know that Nieuw Amsterdam is in San Diego today along with a Disney Ship. Webcam is very blurry this morning but looks like one of them is at the Broadway Pier- looks too far apart to be at the main terminal. Anyone know?
  13. We will be sailing on the The Nieuw Statemdam on Sunday. Can anyone comment on the closest garage. As usual I’ve packed to many bags! Many thanks!
  14. Never been on Holland America before and plan on taking an Eastern Caribbean cruise and choose a balcony for the first time (we've ONLY ever booked inside cabins). We've been quoted a Verandah Stateroom (VF) and I think the only available ones are on the 4th or 8th deck and I think the front or back of the ship (sorry not the correct terms). I always like to prefer to be lower in the ship (like 8th deck) as it tends to be less movement than upper but is there any benefit to be up higher instead from a balcony view perspective? Thanks!
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. We loved the Taco Bar on the Zuiderdam last month. Is it on the Oosterdam and/or the Nieuw Amsterdam?
  18. 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?
  19. 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.
  20. So, Wikipedia lists Nieuw Ryndam as the name of the third Pinnacle class ship. Rumor or fact? It's on the internet, it must be true!
  21. 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! 🙂
  22. 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?
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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.
×
×
  • Create New...