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SJSULIBRARIAN

Aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam March 17 - 24

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Posted (edited)

This is my second time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, the last time being in 2010, the year it was launched. The ship was in pristine condition and per usual, was constantly being cleaned by the fabulous crew. I always try to tell the cleaning crew how much I appreciate what they are doing.

 

Having done this itinerary multiple times with my husband, who can no longer travel, I did not intend to leave the ship and I stuck with that scenario.

 

I flew in the day before for two reasons: Southwest’s continuing negotiations with mechanics and the 737 MAX issue which was solved before I left. An hour flight from Tucson sure beats the all day flying to Florida. I stayed at the new Springfield Suites right across from the pier and was able to walk over in 5 minutes. Can’t beat that. I thought the hotel was brand new but was told by the staff that the hotel is 3 years old. I highly recommend it; nicely designed and appointed rooms and a very good complimentary hot breakfast.

 

Some brief comments:

Cabin: Neptune Suite next to the center elevators – no noise. Smaller size than on R and S class ships. Overheard a crew member say to another passenger that the larger the ship, the smaller the cabin size for both passengers and crew.

 

Dining: Did not eat in the MDR instead I ate dinner twice in the Pinnacle Grill and 5 times in the Tamarind. The introduction of the new PG menu was on the first night of this cruise for the ship and the service was a tad disjointed. But by my second visit, things at settled down.

The Tamarind was fabulous and I tried to have something different every night. The service by the women was excellent. Everything came in minimal time. This menu is going to change soon. The new menu may be already on the Konigsdam and Nieuw Statendam. All I was told was that there would not be lobster by itself but as part of a kind of surf and turf.

Lido for breakfast and lunch was very good. A few times in Pinnacle Grill for breakfast also very good.

 

As has been stated before, there is a $10.00 charge for an extra entrée in the MDR;  also a $10.00 charge for an extra entrée in the Tamarind and a $15.00 charge for an extra entrée in the Pinnacle Grill. I did not see an extra charge on the Canaletto menu when viewed online. The print is very small on the menus describing  the extra charge.

 

Nightly entertainment: As previously reported by others the HAL singers and dancers and the orchestra/band were gone. The first night Bohemian Rhapsody was shown on the Main Stage. The second night the Piano Man, Brett Cave performed after the Captain’s Toast. Captain informed us there were 2260 of us on board plus a crew of about 850. Other entertainers were a Magician with a dog, a  comedian, the Indonesian Cruise Show, and a dance group Step One: Humanity, a loud light show with dancing.

 

The Lincoln Center Stage group consisted on 5 young string musicians from the Ukraine and they were excellent.

 

There were many enrichment activities including the America’s Test Kitchen, the EXC Guide, a Naturalist, the Mexican Ambassadors, who gave talks about various aspects of Mexico as well as performances at the Seaview Pool of singers and dancers. A mariachi band performed the evening in Puerto Vallarta.

 

I was prepared to totally dislike the EXC/Crow’s Nest Area. I think way too much space is allocated to those large exhibit tables with itinerary stuff (can’t remember what they are called), the book cubicles contain mainly reference books, and there can be issues with the sound system. I like the idea of the “classroom” on the port side where Naturalist and other talks were given. It is problematic when a talk is going on in the classroom, and another activity is going on in the main Crow’s Nest and only one microphone can be used, so the second speaker is shouting and then there is the background noise of the various coffees being made. My conclusion is there is advantages to this space but I don’t think it has been totally thought out on how best to use it.

 

Being spring break (which seems to last two months in the U.S.), there were more variant ages than I have experienced on most other HAL cruises. There were infants to at least one man 85 years – perhaps others older. There were families with children, teenagers, grandparents, college kids, young adults and those of us in the aging generation. All seemed to enjoy themselves and it appeared HAL was selling a lot of “adult beverages” and the casino was busy whenever it was open.

 

Embarkation and debarkation were very smooth. All in all, it was very enjoyable and I returned home rested. I would like to see at least one or two enrichment activities on port days as I observed many people did not leave the ship. And a better assortment of books in the Crow’s Nest would be nice.

Barbara

Edited by SJSULIBRARIAN

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Thank you so much for your review! Love this ship! Did her inaugural in 2010! We have done 3 cruises on her to the Med. I’m on my next favorite ship her older sister right now The Eurodam Hawaii/Tahiti! We’re in a NS also! Surprised I have WiFi right now on board! Terrible! 

Im glad you had a good cruise!

Denise😊

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Thanks for your detailed review!  We will be on the NA next month in a Neptune suite and looking forward to it.

 

Glad to hear you liked the hotel too, we may have to check that one out for a change next time-we usually stay at the Wyndham.

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I'll be on her on April 7th....I love this ship.   I only eat in the Specialty dining areas as well.  How did you like the new PG menu?  My mom is currently on the Eurodam and she really liked it.

 

Hope Spring Break is over by the 7th :classic_tongue:

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Great review!  Thanks for taking the time to share with us 🙂 

 

And welcome home 😄 

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Thank you for taking the time to write your review.

 

We have been on the Nieuw Amsterdam several times.  She is one of our favorite ships.

 

Do agree that the Tamarind is the place to enjoy a great dinner with those wonderful ladies taking care of you.

 

Thanks for all the prices for the extra entrees.  Interesting that the Pinnacle Grill will now charge $15 for an extra entree.

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9 hours ago, cruzin4us said:

I'll be on her on April 7th....I love this ship.   I only eat in the Specialty dining areas as well.  How did you like the new PG menu?  My mom is currently on the Eurodam and she really liked it.

 

Hope Spring Break is over by the 7th :classic_tongue:

 

To be honest, I really did not notice too much difference with the new menu because I had in my mind, I would order certain entrees that were also on the old menu.

 

My recollections of portion size may be wrong but the shrimp cocktail is 3 shrimp and I had thought there were 4 in the past. There is a different presentation - on a plate rather than around a pedestal dish.  There were two lamb chops whereas in the past, I remember 3. But I might be remembering other restaurants so I could be wrong here.

 

Also I was told the Caesar salad is no longer made tableside. I think they tried this in the past but returned to tableside after an outcry.

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Thanks for the review- we will be boarding her April 28 for 2 weeks.  Did you happen to notice the name of the PG Manager?

We eat every night in PG and are hoping to run into a few familiar faces from other cruises.  Haven't seen or old friend Clifford for a few years.

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1 hour ago, SJSULIBRARIAN said:

 

To be honest, I really did not notice too much difference with the new menu because I had in my mind, I would order certain entrees that were also on the old menu.

 

My recollections of portion size may be wrong but the shrimp cocktail is 3 shrimp and I had thought there were 4 in the past. There is a different presentation - on a plate rather than around a pedestal dish.  There were two lamb chops whereas in the past, I remember 3. But I might be remembering other restaurants so I could be wrong here.

 

Also I was told the Caesar salad is no longer made tableside. I think they tried this in the past but returned to tableside after an outcry.

 

I have a couple of pics from Oct. 2017 showing the shrimp cocktail and the lamb chops.   I think my DH ate 2 of the shrimp before I snapped the pic.  If memory serves me correctly (which I have a 50/50 chance of being right), there were 3 very large shrimp.  There were 3 lamb chops, but they were pretty thick/big....not like the MDR's.

 

I hope they bring the table side  Caesar back...that makes this a Specialty dining experience and not a massed produced thing.

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2 minutes ago, cruzin4us said:

 

I have a couple of pics from Oct. 2017 showing the shrimp cocktail and the lamb chops.   I think my DH ate 2 of the shrimp before I snapped the pic.  If memory serves me correctly (which I have a 50/50 chance of being right), there were 3 very large shrimp.  There were 3 lamb chops, but they were pretty thick/big....not like the MDR's.

 

I hope they bring the table side  Caesar back...that makes this a Specialty dining experience and not a massed produced thing.

IMG_8924.JPG

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IMG_9120.JPG

OK- now I am hungry 🙂

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3 hours ago, frankc98376 said:

Thanks for the review- we will be boarding her April 28 for 2 weeks.  Did you happen to notice the name of the PG Manager?

We eat every night in PG and are hoping to run into a few familiar faces from other cruises.  Haven't seen or old friend Clifford for a few years.

 

The PG Manager was a woman whose name I never saw. The Maitre d' was Arya (sp?) who I knew from the MDR on the Amsterdam several years ago.

 

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 Thank you so very much for your review.   I will be selling her in 11 days, April 7.   Due to my husband‘s passing I will also be traveling solo. Llike you I’ve done these ports  many times so I have no interest to really get off the ship.  This is also a new ship for me so any suggestions, ideas you wanna pass on would be greatly appreciated.

 Thank you again 

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Thanks for sharing. We just booked this ship for 2020. It's our first on HAL. I have a few questions.

 

First, do they assign you an arrival appointment time on embarkation day? Can we select that time somehow? If not, what's the earliest we can arrive? 

 

How far in advance do you need to make Pinnacle and Tamarind reservations? Can it be done on the ship and day of? Or should I do before the cruise? 

 

Do you know if the drink package, which is for drinks up to $8, will allow us to get a drink over that cost and pay the difference (ie: like a glass of wine for $13, we just pay $5)? 

 

Do you know how the sports bar is? Does it show many channels?

 

Cabins...do the have hairdryers and mini fridges? 

 

Thank you! 

 

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11 hours ago, laumicmah said:

First, do they assign you an arrival appointment time on embarkation day? Can we select that time somehow? If not, what's the earliest we can arrive? 

 

There will be an arrival time on your documents that you will be able to print closer to the trip.  I believe it is tied to your deck and cabin category.  So far, HAL has not enforced this time.  The intent is to spread out the arrival of passengers so that the whole ship doesn't show up at one time.  The ship usually opens for boarding by 11:30.  If you arrive earlier, you will wait in the terminal to board.  Some people like to arrive an hour or half hour early to hand over their luggage and get through security.  Much earlier than that and you may have to wait outside the terminal.  You don't say what port, so that could change some of the advice.

 

11 hours ago, laumicmah said:

How far in advance do you need to make Pinnacle and Tamarind reservations? Can it be done on the ship and day of? Or should I do before the cruise? 

 

If you get a dinner as part of a package or from a TA, you currently have to wait until on the ship to book a time.  You may actually find an assigned day & time waiting for you on a card in your room and then you can call to change to a different day/time if that doesn't work.  If you buy a dinner through the website, you can select the day & time in advance. 

 

11 hours ago, laumicmah said:

Do you know if the drink package, which is for drinks up to $8, will allow us to get a drink over that cost and pay the difference (ie: like a glass of wine for $13, we just pay $5)?  

 

You currently pay for the whole cost of the drink and not the difference.

 

I have to run to a meeting so someone else will have to weigh in on the other two questions.

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