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nw gardener

Short Nieuw Amsterdam review 5/25/19

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Here are my impressions of our fabulous time onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam this past week. I will try to add photos as my slow internet allows.  We , DH and myself,  booked this cruise last year after doing this same exact ship/cruise last May.  And the second time around did not disappoint.  

 

We live in WA close to the border so AK cruises are easier for us and we normally book late May or June due to work schedules.   We have done most of our AK cruises on NCL, Celebrity,  and most recently HAL.  We have found HAL is a good fit for us - itinerary,  price,  staff, and  food and entertainment.  Last year I booked last minute and lucked into an aft cabin and for this cruise booked far out so we could enjoy an aft cabin again.  About 6 weeks out after monitoring price drops,  I  saw an aft corner Neptune suite was available.   I  called big box TA  and did the upgrade for $400 for both of us and got cabin 6164. And I kept it as a secret from DH until we checked IN!  That was fun! 

 

I  have done a suite once before on NCL, and HAL suite amenities are not quite at their level,  but I really wanted this cabin for the balcony and space and location. It turned out to be perfect for Glacier Bay viewing and I am so happy I did it.  Will take break  and review embarkation/disembarking,  dining and entertainment,  and then ports and excursions.

 

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The picture of the aft was taken in Ketchikan,  and besides showing the corner aft cabins,  it also shows the repaired deck 4 cabins damaged by the Oopsterdam a few weeks ago.  The captain advised they had just put back onto service for this cruise as some balcony parts had to come from the shipyard in Italy. 

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35 minutes ago, nw gardener said:

The picture of the aft was taken in Ketchikan,  and besides showing the corner aft cabins,  it also shows the repaired deck 4 cabins damaged by the Oopsterdam a few weeks ago.  The captain advised they had just put back onto service for this cruise as some balcony parts had to come from the shipyard in Italy. 

 

Thank you for posting the picture! I was wondering about this. Wow, so these aft-cabins have been out of service for a few weeks then! :classic_ohmy:

 

We'll be on Nieuw Amsterdam later this summer. Looking forward to reading the rest of your review!

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Looking forward to installments; we will be on this ship 6/29 on your deck,  mid-ship.  Our upsell opportunity was not anything we wanted and would love to know at some point how you "saw" that a particular cabin was available (but later is fine). Enjoy your trip!

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Thanks for posting looking forward to reading the rest of your review.

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Looking forward to the rest of your review.

 

Many of us wondered about those aft cabins that the Oosterdam hit their railings.  Thanks for the report and pictures.

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Embarkation- We drove to Canada Place and parked there for the week.  We got to the border at 9:30 and were on board at 1:15. Traffic was a mess at the border ( slightly over an hour there) and traffic was a mess for the last 3 blocks to get into Canada Place ( another hour there). In the past it has averaged one hour between house and parking.  No porters in the parking area of Canada place as there has been in the past,  although there was for the Princess ship.  So took the bags inside to check in.  The 4/5 star mariner line and the suite/handicapped line had few  people in them. The standard line was long!!  I  got into the suite line, also marked handicapped,  and this is when I sprung the cabin change surprise.  DH looks at the sign and asks  " Why are we in the handicapped line?"  And the check in agent says I hope you enjoy your suite!  After that,  just walked through the process of Canada place,  always pack your patience there and comfortable  shoes  as there is some walking.  Dropped off the bags,  then security ( not a long line and it moved smoothly) , then last was US customs ( global entry,  it was a snap). Then got on the ship and headed straight for the cabin to drop off the carry on and admire the balcony.   We stopped at the Neptune lounge to make a couple of dinner reservations,  grabbed a cup of coffee,  then up to the dive in for a late lunch. 

 

Disembarking- This ended up being the opposite of our embarkation.  Walked off with our luggage,  Canada customs line was short and sweet,  hopped in the car,  used Nexus line at the border,  home in an hour.

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Leaving Vancouver,  the only rainy day we encountered. A few clouds and sprinkles in Skagway in the early morning which turned into a beautiful day. Perfect weather and smooth sailing all week.

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Cabin 6164 pics. Room stewards were wonderful,  and it was a great splurge.  Will be hard going back to balconies and oceanview!

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Dining- sorry no food pics.   We ate at the Dive in,  lido for a couple of breakfasts and lunches, the Pinnacle grill for most of our breakfasts,  the MDR for a couple of lunches and dinners,  the Tamarind and Canaletto for one dinner each. Tamarind was our favorite,  enjoyed the Canaletto and the  MDR. The lido, as most buffets, can get very crowded and we only ate there early before an excursions.  The Pinnacle grill was very enjoyable space for breakfast  ( open for suite guests) with fast service and complimentary mimosas.  We depended on the coffee maker in the cabin and the Neptune lounge for decent coffee.  Coffee in the Pinnacle grill and MDR is just as we remembered it from last year, not very good.  We always found something on the menu we enjoyed,  a few misses but on the whole,  very good. 

 

Entertainment- having been on many AK cruises,  we forgo the EXC talks.  We also didn't see any shows,  either due to timing,  late excursions and dining,  and the fact that most of our evenings were spent enjoying the BB Kings. They were great.  We do like to relax and unplug on vacation so we tend to spend time on the balcony just enjoying the views when not in port.  I  enjoy walking the promenade as well.  I did save the dailies if anyone has any questions and I will try to answer them for you.

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Ports and excursions- this is why we keep coming back to AK.

 

Tracy Arm excursion- highly recommended if you can swing it and it is offered on your cruise.  Allen Marine has contracts with cruise lines to do this and it's well run. The Nieuw Amsterdam meets the tour boat near the entrance to Tracy Arm and you transfer directly onto the small boat (150 people,  fast diesel catamaran hull). After pulling away we had a couple of humpback whales and dalls porpoise close in. Then up Tracy Arm we went and got close,  lots of seals with pups.  Gorgeous scenery and perfect weather,  lots of pics,  then on to Juneau where we transferred back onto the Nieuw Amsterdam at the dock at about 3:30.

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A couple of more Tracy Arm pictures.  After getting back to the ship,  grabbed a quick snack and then headed out to a couple of our favorite stores. Came back to the ship for a late dinner,  then DH grabbed his cigar that he brought back from Havana and we spent sail away by the aft pool with drinks in hand and toasted Juneau.

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Thanks so much nw gardener! Were there gala nights on the cruise? If so am assuming the the night (or two) that were sea days? 

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2 gala nights,  1st one was on Sunday,  1st sea day and the second one was Wednesday,  Glacier Bay.  Wide range of clothing styles from just barely making that collared shirt requirement ( flannel shirt with collar) to a couple of tuxes,  mostly suit and ties and women in dresses or nice pants with dressy tops. But I don't want to start another dress code discussion,  the gala nights are always fun for us. I loved the duck breast served on the first gala night, perfect. If you Google Roger Jett's photos and check out his website.  He has all the menus posted , besides all of his great pictures!

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Skagway- We booked a van tour with Dyea Dave up to Emerald Lake and back. Tour bus holds 28 but there were only 18 of us. Tour guide was Rose, great guide,  beautiful drive up and back. Lots of stops for pictures,  stop at a dog musher camp to pet puppies,  saw 2 bears munching on new grass along the roadway,  lunch at Carcross,  then back into town, about 8 hours. Walked around town and did some shopping before heading to the ship for a late dinner,  then sat out the evening listening to the BB Kings.

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2 hours ago, nw gardener said:

2 gala nights,  1st one was on Sunday,  1st sea day and the second one was Wednesday,  Glacier Bay.  Wide range of clothing styles from just barely making that collared shirt requirement ( flannel shirt with collar) to a couple of tuxes,  mostly suit and ties and women in dresses or nice pants with dressy tops. But I don't want to start another dress code discussion,  the gala nights are always fun for us. I loved the duck breast served on the first gala night, perfect. If you Google Roger Jett's photos and check out his website.  He has all the menus posted , besides all of his great pictures!

 

Thank you very much nw gardener. [And lord, or whomever, spare us from yet another dress code discussion] . Helpful for planning. Everyone raves about Tamarind and I did not want to plan it on a gala night. And the Tracy Arm trip looks like something to look into. And hope you enjoyed your location on deck 6. We are in the low rent district on the same deck (but dark for sleeping)  😊

Edited by zentraveler

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We have done low rent, and the next one will be low rent too 😊, just boils down to the itinerary and budget,  thankfully (sort of), lots of OT opportunities at work helped this splurge!

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20 hours ago, zentraveler said:

Looking forward to installments; we will be on this ship 6/29 on your deck,  mid-ship.  Our upsell opportunity was not anything we wanted and would love to know at some point how you "saw" that a particular cabin was available (but later is fine). Enjoy your trip!

Sorry,  missed your earlier question.  I  monitor prices after final payment via the big box TA I normally use ( think my home state of WA), and if I see a significant price drop will take a look at available cabins on their website to decide if I want to try to upgrade or upsell.  Quite a few cruise lines seem to be moving to a bidding system which takes this out of the equation,  and most of the time I am usually content with what I have booked to start with.

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Glacier Bay,  perfect weather for pictures.  Tip, bring a good pair of binoculars,  wear warm clothes and get outside and listen to nature.  If you want to be in the Crows Nest for viewing,  the best chairs are taken by 7:30. The Glacier Bay park rangers and a Tlingit speaker come on board around 0700, and leave around 3:30. They are in the Crows Nest until the ship leaves Marjorie Glacier and then give a talk in the theater . Other good viewing areas are the promenade deck and the Tamarind bar. The first picture has the Ruby Princess in it to help you with the scope of this beautiful place. We saw 2 brown bears,  numerous sea otters,  mountain goats, seals,  humpback whales and killer whales ( lower part near the entrance).

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The ship spends about an hour in front of Marjorie Glacier and the captain turns the ship so everyone gets a good view, and every cabin gets a Glacier Bay map/pamphlet.  Last pictures are of the park rangers coming alongside and the Fairweather mountains after leaving the entrance.

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