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Nieuw Amsterdam: A Luxury Resort Ship of Love and Romance, or How to Cruise on "HAL"

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Treatment Rooms

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The key feature of the Spa on the Nieuw Amsterdam is the Thermal Suite (about $250.00 per couple for 7 days, unlimited) that includes the hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms, sauna (it's a separate feature and is free to use), heated tile beds, and a relaxation room.

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Hydrotherapy Pool

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Steam Rooms

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Heated Tile Beds

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Relaxation Room

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Two saunas (free to use)

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What is a "proper spa" and why does the Nieuw Amsterdam take the first line?

This video will explain it all:

 

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You've seen it all.

This is hands down most comfortable resort cruise ship ever built.

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Entertainment

 

Technically the Theater is able to host any of the top-of-the-top shows one can see on any other ship from Burn the Floor on NCL to Mamma Mia on RCI.

 

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The Captain's Welcome Toast is now a solo performance.

The Captain welcomes you from the stage (no other officers), while other officers and crew members greet you here and there in various places throughout the ship.

 

Captain's Toast in the Theater (now called "The Main Stage")

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The best show IMO was the BBC Earth footage accompanied by a live orchestra.

Some may or may not like the concept, but this was without a doubt a very well done professional performance.

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The production show performed by the resident troupe (canned music) was entertaining and full of energy but … it did not "Burn the Floor", let me word it that way.

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You see a big team of entertainers in these pictures.

Add to this BB King's musicians and the dueling pianos.

All together it's a very solid team.

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There was a little concern of how the "O" factor would affect our cruising experience. It turned out to be well localized. It was absolutely harmless, easy to avoid.

The chamber music concerts were very popular.

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So were BB King's performances

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Let's mention the cooking classes:

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We respectfully skipped guest performers.

Overall: the Nieuw Amsterdam was well packed with entertainment.

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Luxury Cruise = Luxury Ship + Luxury Itinerary

 

None of the 7-day itineraries in the Caribbean compares to this cruise to Paradise.

 

Your target is the "full itinerary" that MUST include:

Grand Turk

San Juan

St. Thomas

Half Moon Key

 

No exceptions, no replacements.

Of course, I can dream about a replacement like Tortola instead of San Juan, or two days in any of the three ports other than San Juan...

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You may see Amber Cove to replace Grand Turk in some itineraries. It does not compare. Skip it and look for a different date.

 

 

Grand Turk

This is Carnival Corp."private reservation".

The ship is docked a few steps froma beautiful beach.

 

The adjacent area is a network of pools, bars, cabanas, even a flowrider is available.

 

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The beach is better here, as you walk some 1000-1200 ft away from the pier.

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San Juan

 

The ship will dock right in the heart of the old San Juan.

The city is full of character, with some interesting places to explore.

The approaching and entering the port is a spectacular performance. Don't miss it.

 

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St. Thomas

 

This is a fantastic place.

Try the Skyride to Paradise Point (Havensight) to see probably the most impressive scenery in the Caribbean.

 

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In most cases the Nieuw Amsterdam docks in the Crown Bay, if you are lucky, the ship will be right at the base station of the Skyride cable car (picture above).

Do it first (while the position of the sun is favorable), then take a taxi to the beautiful Magens Bay.

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MS Nieuw Amsterdam at St.Thomas

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Coming next: Half Moon Key

Edited by ronbe65

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Half Moon Cay (HMC) - private island (Little San Salvador, Bahamas)

 

We often call it "Key" (to Paradise), so it escapes from time to time.

 

Yes, this is what Paradise may look like.

Are you interested? Just come and enjoy every moment there.

 

This is a tender "port", no pier.

 

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While on the island, a tropical variation of buffet lunch is served (no extra charge).

 

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A tender boat is taking Nieiw Amsterdam passenges back to the ship...

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I am sure many of them would echo this:

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My random cruise tips for the Nieuw Amsterdam newbies (they are subjective ... but let me suggest that you listen...):)

 

Believe me or not, manycruisers still don’t know… how to cruise!

More specifically: how to getthe best of the ship.

Take time to study the wholeship and identify the best features for you to enjoy.

Don’t go where and when mostpeople go.

Life at sea is different.Leave your habits on land. You’ll go back to the boredom of them in a week ortwo.

A cruise ship is not afloating hotel. Don’t book a cruise if you want to stay in a hotel.

Start you day early. Morningis the most valuable time on a cruise. See how the sea and the sun wake up.Enjoy your early breakfast in the buffet while everything is for you only.

The single most importantthing on a cruise ship (after hand wash): the buffet. Sometimes you can havebetter food than in the Main Dining Room – right from the stove.

Eggs Benedict with crab meat– try MDR breakfast one time (two times max).

You don’t have to have fulldinner in the MDR every day. Be flexible. Save time. Combine MDR and thebuffet. Walk!

The Nieuw Amsterdam (anylarge ship) is a ship for active cruisers. You didn’t know that? Wow!

Don’t miss Gala dinners inMDR (have a great workout first!).

Not sure what to order? Ordertwo (three, four) main courses, two (three starters) “to share”, “to try”. Yourwaiter will be happy to bring you whatever you ask for.

Don’t hesitate to ask ifsomething not listed in the menu is available.

For example, a light eatercan request just a plate of berries…

Have a dinner at Tamarind – amust. Try wasabi crusted filet mignon.

Check out the buffet dailyfor lunch and dinner. They change menus every day. You are going to findsomething you will like.

Ask if lobsters will beavailable in the buffet on Gala night.

Best Thermal Suite at sea –book for the duration of the cruise as soon as you get on board.

Need a table for the party ofone or two? Contact cruise line in advance, and see Maitre D as soon as you geton board.

“Any time dining” is a goodway to get a table you want for the time you want. Be quick.

You prefer “early seating”,but it’s not available by the time you book your cruise? Ask for “any time”option, then once on the ship, request a table to be reserved for you for threedays for the earliest time.

What is the single mostspecial place on a ship that is found nowhere else but on a cruise ship?Promenade deck – this is where you start your day. Yes you do.

Do all cruise ships havepromenade decks? No. It’s a luxury feature.

Don’t forget about the gym.

Why order room service. Foodin the buffet is much better

Is it a good idea to book aninside cabin? Yes, the best. Book an inside and save money for the spa if youcruise on a budget.

Is a beverage package wasteof money? Yes.

Came across something tasty?Grab it and save for later in the fridge. The food will not be waiting for youto come back.

Don’t forget that you arecruising on a romantic ship. Check out the very top private sun decks forwardand midship.

Don’t forget that the NieuwAmsterdam has a large sports court.

A charming place – go to theSilk Den Lounge (now called Tamarind bar?)

The Nieuw Amsterdam is not aship where sun lounges have to be placed in rows “cheek to cheek”. Take anadvantage of this. You are on the most spacious cruise ship at sea!

The ship will supply sun decktowels –unlimited. Your part is to bring clips to fix them on the loungers.Mark you packing list.

Enjoy the NieuwAmsterdam my friend!

 

 

The Nieuw Amsterdam will do only 6 "proper" Eastern itineraries in 2018/2019 season in the Caribbean.

Just 6!

Of which four cruises fall into the winter months.

It's so unfortunate that Holland America does not allow us to enjoy their best cruise ship in March-April.

On the positive side: HAL improved the Western itinerary for the Nieuw Amsterdam.

This is a very solid resort itinerary as well: FLL - HMC - Ocho Rios - Cayman - Cozumel - FLL.

 

Seven days is never enough. You'll begin to feel the taste on the third day, not sooner. And you cruise will end in 3 days!! What a disaster.

There is the only remedy for this: take two cruises.

Start with the Western itinerary and leave the Eastern for dessert.

 

What if not the Nieuw Amsterdam?

The cruise line effectively reduced the level of their mission in the Mediterranean: neither Oosterdam, nor Koningsdam/Nieuw Statendam compare with the Nieuw Amsterdam or Eurodam.

In Europe we can do a land trip instead.

But the loss more painful in the Caribbean (March - April 2019).

 

The two cruise lines that deliver comparable (slightly below Nieuw Amsterdam) level of product are Viking and TUI. The only problem with those two: Nieuw Amsterdam value for money is incomparably higher.

However, if you can afford Viking or TUI - try it.

Another option could be NCL Getaway/Bliss. (Yes!)With a very different character overall, they give you a chance to carve a really good cruise vacation from what they have to offer.

The darker side: their most comparable with the NA option ("Haven") delivers relatively low value for money, and their itineraries leave much to be desired.

 

We'll see...

Sooner or later we'll come back to Escape Completely on the Luxury Cruise Ship of Love and Romance That Has Left the Future Behind...

 

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Edited by ronbe65

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ronbe65- thank you a thousand times for this wonderful review. Those pictures are amazing. Since I am on board NA in December this thread is especially great for me.

 

Thank you all for reading and comments.

 

Germancruiser, you are a thousand times welcome!

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On 6/7/2018 at 5:45 AM, RandyinDEN said:

I think this is someone's senior project for school.

 

*Sigh*

Is there no end to these snarky, unkind, useless and silly comments? I love this thread and wish all of you with distracting and unappreciative comments would just move on to other threads and stop polluting this one.

 

And ronbe65 -- THANK YOU for all the time and energy you spent creating this. This will be my first HAL cruise (June 2019) and only my 4th cruise ever. I am finding this incredibly useful, informative and quite entertaining. 

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40 minutes ago, zentraveler said:

 

*Sigh*

Is there no end to these snarky, unkind, useless and silly comments? I love this thread and wish all of you with distracting and unappreciative comments would just move on to other threads and stop polluting this one.

 

And ronbe65 -- THANK YOU for all the time and energy you spent creating this. This will be my first HAL cruise (June 2019) and only my 4th cruise ever. I am finding this incredibly useful, informative and quite entertaining. 

 

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Well said! It is sad that people have nothing better to do than criticize the clientele who enjoy Holland America. If you don’t like the clientele, then skip these posts and play with your own age group on the party lines. 

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