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Nervous First Time Cruisers! Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam

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Hi All!


My husband and I are going on our first cruise ever for anniversary this up coming October.

We will be sailing with Holland America Line on a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise!


Although we are incredibly excited we are also incredibly nervous.


We are literally looking for every piece of advice from what to pack, Gala nights, and what to expect for the weather.


Please help this clueless couple!

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Welcome to Cruise Critic.

Do come over to the HAL section on CC.

We have sailed quite a few times on the Nieuw Amsterdam and love the ship. Hope you will like it as well.

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The weather in the Caribbean will be quite nice. Warm to hot...summer all year round! Pack shorts/swimsuits for days. Long pants/collared shirts (men) for dinner...women have more leeway..capris, slacks, skirt, etc...are fine. If you want to get dolled up for "gala" nights, a cocktail dress for you, suit for hubby is fine!!

Just remember, this is a vacation...no "right or wrong" way to do it!!

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We travel with carry-ons only...not particularly important, but with that in mind....when we board a ship that is new to us we take our bags to our room...take time to unpack and put things away.


Then we go get a bite to eat...the buffet will be open on the Lido Deck. After that we explore the ship...where is the mainstage theater, how to we get to the Crows Nest, where is Passenger Services (purser), which dining room are we in?..how do we get there? Where is the excercise venue, the swimming pools, hot tubs, bars, ice cream bar, specialty restaurants, music venues, casino....etc, etc. (can't forget the wife...she needs to know where the shops are!)


We always go to the topmost deck on the ship and take photos before sailaway.


If the muster drill interrupts our exploration we simply finish it later.

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My best suggestion is to study the ship's deck plan prior to boarding so that you have some idea of where your cabin is located in relation to where you will board. That reduces the sense of being overwhelmed in such a new environment. If you want to go to your cabin first and it is in the forward part of the ship, go in that direction and ignore the attempts to get you to take the central foyer elevator. Same advice applies if the cabin is towards the aft. The elevators, both aft and forward, will be less busy than those mid-ships. (However, you may find one/two elevators out of service in those areas due to baggage handling requirements. Still, there will be at least one or two available for guest use.)


Once in your cabin, unpacking your carry-on luggage at that time is a good idea after taking the time to read the daily program. Next up: if you have special reservations for spa, specialty dining, shore excursions. etc. that you want to make, do it then. Then, have lunch in the Lido Restaurant or at the Dive-in. If you are dining at the Lido Restaurant, visit each side of the Restaurant before you start getting food because some of the items are not repeated on each side, i.e. the Asian Corner, the Italian area. There is a counter aft of the central elevator/stairwell foyer that probably will have some different items as compared to the counter that is forward of the rear central elevator/stairwell foyer.


I hope my information will be helpful to you. Enjoy your first cruise on my favorite of the two Signature Class vessels of HAL.

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October is in the high season for hurricanes, but they'll make sure you have a nice week whether at your scheduled ports, or some different ports, or additional sea days. Just relax and remember you're on holiday.

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