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kcscrapper

New Amsterdam out of Barcelona

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I've completed a search with little results -- so I'm posing the question to the community

 

We are looking at HAL New Amsterdam out of Barcelona in April 2020.  We'd like to get information about that itinerary --11 Day Ancient Treasures (Barcelona, Sete, Monte Carlo, Florence, Rome, Naples, Tunis & Carthage, Valetta) -- and about HAL in Europe generally

 

Can anyone provide some information - or direct me to where the info might be located?   

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HAL has sailed variations of that route for many years. Sete is pretty new, but the other ports are very common...we did many of them in 2010 on Noordam. We are booked on Nieuw Amsterdam about a month after you for 24 days, eastern Med. We have sailed on her twice before...we like her.

 

Do you have specific questions? For port activities, your excursions should be available...what interests you? Check the Ports boards...many can be done on your own, or with private vendors for better experiences.

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Thank you, CruiserBruce, for your kind attention.

I was looking for more "general" impressions of the itinerary.  The ship will be new to us, but we've cruised with HAL previously. We've been to Rome and Venice, but Naples will be new.  So we have some general experience, just looking (at this time) for overall impressions of HAL "doing"  Western Europe.  

I've looked at the Roll Call board - seems thin for the 4-17 itinerary (where the 4-28 itinerary has 3 pages, but seems confused as to embarkation points and sometimes even debarkation point - I think it is a one-way Barcelona to Venice - but can't be sure).

 

Also - I read that the New Amsterdam will just be out of dry dock - then read a retraction of that information. On another thread, there was discussion as to "just out of dry dock".  We had a very POOR experience on the Zuiderdam just out of dry dock previously and really don't want to repeat that experience!

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The HAL website has N. Amsterdam sailing from Ft Lauderdale April 4th, and at least from March 14 through the month to April 4th in the Caribbean, so it will be at least 30 days out of drydock when you board.

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We sailed this ship out of Barcelona for a 24-day Med cruise in 2015.  I researched the ports for at lease six-eight months prior to sailing.  We booked most of our excursions privately (small groups of six or less) and spent about $4,000.  We spent an additional $3,000 with HAL excursions when I felt their excursions were better than what we could get privately, for example, a tour of a historical villa followed by a lunch at a vineyard on one of the Greek Isles.  There were 12 others on that excursion, and HAL did a fabulous job.  Our guide was marvelous, and the vineyard owner was a friend of hers.  It was a unique excursion.

 

I suggest you research on your own and match your tastes to the excursions.  Don't depend on roll call members.  If you want to share the cost of a private tour, you can post on your roll call.  We went on three excursions with other roll call members and had a wonderful time.  We joined three of their excursions with another couple from Colorado.  We three couples got along well, thankfully, and made some nice memories.  In Athens, my husband and I pre-booked a private tour where we not only got to see everything on our list, but the driver suggested more sites where he gladly took us.

 

You can also check Trip Advisor for recommendations.

 

You will find, with this port-intensive itinerary, that you return to the ship exhausted.  We would order room service most nights and flop into bed afterward.  We saved our energy for the tours.

 

Your itinerary is a little difference from ours in that we didn't go to Sete or those last three ports.  We did fly into Barcelona three days early, so we could tour that city, as we disembarked from Venice.  It was our only chance to explore Barcelona.  Make certain you have purchased all tickets to major attractions (in all the ports where you're guiding yourself) prior to leaving home.  We never waited in a single line and had immediate access to the sites.  With the limited time frame, this can save you the disappointment of not seeing an attraction at all.  Don't forget to try the tapas!

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In my opinion HAL does a good job in Europe. Check port times for all of your ports -- several years ago I noticed HAL had some shorter port times compared with other lines but that seems to have largely gone away -- at least in Europe.

 

The itinerary sounds like an interesting one to me. Be aware that with the situation in Tunis, there may be a cancellation/substitution if anything kicks up there -- cruise lines seem especially nervous about that port, particularly after the tourists were killed at the Bardo museum a few years ago. However, it's a very interesting port and I wouldn't hesitate to tour there.

 

In Naples you are spoiled for choice of things to do, either on your own or on a ship tour. Only one thing I will warn is that if you want to do the iconic Amalfi Coast drive, it is better arranged privately. The large tour buses cannot get down into Positano, for example, so you'd only get a photo op from above...

 

Valletta is wonderful (especially the sail in/out) and quite easy to do on your own.

 

Be advised that Florence itself is about a 90-minute drive from the port (Livorno). There is not much to do in Livorno per se, but Pisa is much closer than Florence, as is Lucca, a wonderful town with well preserved medieval walls.

 

If you want port info in particular, the forums here on CC for Europe are pretty good with providing details, suggestions, help with logistics, etc.

 

 

Edited by cruisemom42

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2 hours ago, kcscrapper said:

(where the 4-28 itinerary has 3 pages, but seems confused as to embarkation points and sometimes even debarkation point - I think it is a one-way Barcelona to Venice - but can't be sure).

 

The 4/28 sailing can be booked as a 12-nt ending in Venice or a 24-nt ending in Civitavecchia. 

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