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JenniferHT

Alaska - Nieuw Amsterdam or Volendam

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I have narrowed our options down to these two ships for our family (2 adults & 2 kids - 8 & 11) for summer 2019. Any suggestion on which of these ships to choose? The itinerary is the same, just different departure dates (Wed vs. Sat). Volendam is slightly more expensive. We would want a Neptune Suite if that makes any difference.

 

Also, if one of us drinks alcohol and the other prefers soft drinks, does it still make sense to book using the Explore 4 promotion? Cost is about $850 more (offset by OBC for suite), but includes Pinnacle Grill, etc. Sorry if this is an obvious questions, but I'm a first time cruiser.

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I would take the Wednesday sailing...generally less crowded ports, as vast majority of cruise sail weekend to weekend. You would be on the "opposite" schedule.

 

The two ships are pretty different. One (Volendam) is older and smaller, one is newer, bigger, with a few more options.

 

Doesn't sound like the Explore4 would work for you. The suite offset is only $200, IIRC, so that doesn't really cover it. Just do a night in the Pinnacle independently. Worth it.

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Welcome to Cruise Critic.

JMO -- go with the Nieuw Amsterdam. She also has the Tamarind Restaurant -- excellent food. Better Club HAL for the children.

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By the way, when you go to the Pinnacle, go hungry. It can be a very big meal.

 

And yes, if you go on N. Amsterdam, the Tamarind is very good.

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Definitely, choose the Wednesday departure on the Volendam for a number of reasons:

 

  • Airline flights are much cheaper during the week to cities with cruise ports.
  • Hotels near the cruise ports are much cheaper during the week.
  • The smaller ship uses a single gangway just like the larger Nieuw Amsterdam, so getting off the ship in port is much easier.
  • Smaller ships have less competition for Lido Market (buffet) tables.
  • Smaller ships have less walking to public venues

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I have sailed on both and much preferred the Volendam (which we took on the 7-day Vancouver RT in 2016). We had eight total on the Lower Promenade and while we weren't attached at the hip, it was usually possible to find a least some of the gang -- yet we did not get bored with the venues.

 

That's my opinion; dr'spin probably would say the Nieuw Amsterdam (on which we sailed a transatlantic+Mediterranean) is his favorite ship. He likes the new and shiny! I blew out my knee half-way through Europe and getting around that enormous ship was a particular problem.

 

ETA: also mid-week fares are usually a bit cheaper...

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I'd say a lot depends on your family. If a slightly more low key environment, on a smaller ship with more public space per guest where you can spend time together in easy conversation is ideal then the Volendam would be a great fit. If having more varied, more energetic nightlife is more important then Niew Amsterdam will be the better fit. Nieuw Amsterdam will attract a slightly younger demographic, and more families due to the weekend departure and her additional offerings, thusly more kids - albeit far fewer than most other cruiselines.

 

Nieuw Amsterdam's Neptune Suites have larger bathrooms with a separate tub and shower and two sinks. Volendam's Neptunes have a tub/shower combo only and a single sink. Both will have a double sofa bed for the kids. Nieuw Amsterdam is a much newer ship (built in 2010) with a more contemporary decor by far. Volendam is a little older (built in 1999) with a more classic design, a few funky touches and may show her years a bit more. Both have been refurbished in the last 12 months.

Edited by AtlantaCruiser72

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There have been a lot of good reasons for choosing the Volendam, and I concur. There is one more reason I will add: the Neptune Suite on the Volendam is larger than the one on the Nieuw Amsterdam. If four people are going to share that space, then they will need all the space they can get.

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