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Recently off the Nieuw Amsterdam - A quick review with my views!


sayvan
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While your inside room was very nice, were you aware some of the insides on the main deck are huge!

Even have a fairly large couch.  If you sail on the Nieuw Amsterdam or Eurodam again, you should have a look.

Enjoying your review!

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39 minutes ago, sayvan said:

 I recall they had different "happy hour" events at different bars and although I did not attend I did hear that they had some finger foods/snacks around. I also recall on sea days they had the afternoon tea as well. 

 

 

Okay perfect, thank you. 🙂 Yes, the snacks or fingerfood I also recall, aside the buffet with fingerfood. 🙂 The afternoon tea is served every day, apart from embarkation day.

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6 hours ago, Cuttersmom said:

We were on the same week and had an amazing time. I agree with the HMC and HIA beverage nonsense but I would venture to guess because HMC is used by both HAL and Carnival they’d have to figure out a way to merge the POS system for it to work for both companies. Just spitballing. We rented the Private Oasis for our group of 10 and it was fabulous! We only ate in the MDR once for breakfast and it was atrocious-food and service both. Waited forever and didn’t get half of what we ordered. We chose to do Lido or specialty for dinner to avoid that mess. I will also say I saw people (men) in shorts in the specialty restaurants. Except of course when my son walked in his shorts because he forgot (he’s 22 and has a memory as long as his arm!), he was sent back to change. 

We met by the sea view bar on that cruise. I remember we talked about the private oasis. Glad you had a great cruise. 

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We are on the Dec. 4 sailing and are unable to obtain main seating (our usual) and have been assigned any time dining. Can you tell me approximately what times you would go to the MDR each evening? Thanks so much.

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18 hours ago, Sherry H said:

While your inside room was very nice, were you aware some of the insides on the main deck are huge!

Even have a fairly large couch.  If you sail on the Nieuw Amsterdam or Eurodam again, you should have a look.

Enjoying your review!

Yes we were aware of that but we booked pretty much last minute and those rooms were already booked.  That being said, we do prefer to be mid floors on a ship.  We find it easier with only a few floors up to the lido or outside decks and a couple of floors down to all the indoor activities it helps to keep us away from the elevators. Easier to walk up or down a few flights of stairs  instead of 10 or 11 flights from the main deck.  But yes the larger rooms would have been good.  I see some are even setup sideways rather than straight in.  

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9 hours ago, CHIEFWINEMAKER said:

Great review! Do they still present America’s Test Kitchen on the NA ? 

I do not recall seeing this on the cruise 

 

35 minutes ago, Stx3me said:

We are on the Dec. 4 sailing and are unable to obtain main seating (our usual) and have been assigned any time dining. Can you tell me approximately what times you would go to the MDR each evening? Thanks so much.

Ever since Cruising started with the anytime dining we have opted for that.  If memory serves me correct NCL only ever offered that style.  We like it because of the flexibility. We used to get the late seating and often found it was a night killer because you would be so full by the time dinner was done and you were coming onto 9:30-9:45 pm… and we like the nightlife on a ship.  So to answer your question we would usually head to the dining room between 6-6:30 each night.  I think we only had to wait on one night. Within 5 minutes on average of arriving we would be headed to our table.   We were usually out of the dining room by 7-7:30 give or take and depending on time we arrived.  Even on nights where there was a bit of a line, the line moved quickly.  If you’re willing to sit with others you get in even faster. There was also a priority line for those in the Orange status etc.  

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Our next and last port of call was Cozumel. Cozumel is a place we have been at least a dozen times if not more. It is also one of my favourite spots because it has so much to offer and do. If you do not want to go far from the port there are many shops and restaurants/bars close by to simply enjoy the day. The waters are also the bluest of blue. 

 

We wanted to do something different and with our HIA package we still had to use the excursion credit so we decided that we would head on out on the Passion Island cruise excursion. This excursion did not disappoint and if you have never been I would highly recommend. We arrived in Cozumel around 10:00 am and we would be in port until 12:00 am.  I had never been in Cozumel that late so it was also nice to see the island at night. 

 

Our excursion meeting place would be at 11 am. Again, a smooth process. When you left the ship you walked into the main area of the port and there were signs all over indicating which meeting place was for which excursion. We found ours within 5 minutes and using the ship app were easily checked in for the excursion. There were no excursion tickets. everything is on the app. I suppose for those who are not familiar with the app technology this could be an issue but it really is a simple way to do things. 

 

We waited in Señor Frogs (I think it was Señor Frogs) for about 10 minutes then our tour guide led everyone to a boat where we would embark on the 45 minute journey to Passion Island.  

The boat cruised along the coast of Cozumel, giving you some great views of the shoreline and different resorts along the way. The shallow waters of Cozumel were crystal clear as we travelled along and you could see many Star fish and a few Stingray's scurrying about.

 

When we arrived at the island we had about 3.5 hours to do as we pleased. The excursion was an all inclusive excursion which included a Mexican Buffet lunch and all the beer and cocktails you wanted including soft drinks as well. The beach was gorgeous with the whitest powder sand. There were also ample chairs to lounge around in including umbrellas and a water play area that had lots of different slides, climbers and a few trampoline. They were also swings and hammocks out in the water.  

 

This was a perfect way to end the last port. As I said, we used our HIA shore excursion for this but I believe the price for the excursion $79.99 and it lasted about 5.5 hours give or take. 

 

A few pictures from this day... 

 

IMG_3765.thumb.jpg.8d6fda5efd44674fb8a503ec3e00ee2b.jpg

 

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Nieuw Amsterdam 

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Allure of the Seas and Celebrity Beyond 

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Vanda taking a turn as Captain! 

IMG_3771.thumb.jpg.093722afd5ba764f01b03c4fa784c630.jpg

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Some more from Passion Island 

 

IMG_3792.thumb.jpg.3da32e3bcdeb7f171a8127ec301198f9.jpg

 

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Some other ships in Port.. NCL Sky and MSC Seashore IMG_3823.thumb.jpg.7fc625093122bfd773572c1f5e649623.jpg

 

Next up my thoughts on the ship overall and the entertainment! 

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Thank you for your review and pictures.  I will be on the NA on Dec 4 for 2 weeks. Hopefully, my experience will be as good as yours.  This is my first cruise since Dec 2019 (also on the NA) and I am really looking forward to it.

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I have really enjoyed reading this thread. It has been fair and balanced. It gives me hope that my wife and I will enjoy our first ever HAL cruise on Zaandam for a New England/ East coast Canada next summer. There seems to be so many threads complaining about this that and the next thing isn't what it used to be. WE don't know what used to be so we hope we like what it is. We look forward to the next post from @sayvan with their thoughts on the ship and entertainment.

Edited by Blackduck59
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On 11/27/2022 at 5:16 PM, Blackduck59 said:

I have really enjoyed reading this thread. It has been fair and balanced. It gives me hope that my wife and I will enjoy our first ever HAL cruise on Zaandam for a New England/ East coast Canada next summer. There seems to be so many threads complaining about this that and the next thing isn't what it used to be. WE don't know what used to be so we hope we like what it is. We look forward to the next post from @sayvan with their thoughts on the ship and entertainment.

I agree there seems to be a lot more “keyboard warriors” out there these days… no different than anything in life, it will be what you make it out to be… there is a reason negativity follows one around! I’m sure you will fully enjoy your adventure on Zaandam. Ive never been on a cruise where I needed to complain… 
 

I’ll get back to finishing this off tomorrow… it’s been a busy last few days so I’ve not got around to sharing the rest… 

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On 11/27/2022 at 4:16 PM, Blackduck59 said:

I have really enjoyed reading this thread. It has been fair and balanced. It gives me hope that my wife and I will enjoy our first ever HAL cruise on Zaandam for a New England/ East coast Canada next summer. There seems to be so many threads complaining about this that and the next thing isn't what it used to be. WE don't know what used to be so we hope we like what it is. We look forward to the next post from @sayvan with their thoughts on the ship and entertainment.

I’ve done the Zaandam Canada/NE cruise twice and have really loved it. Great ports, great little ship. It’s small enough that it can go all the way to Montreal. It will be a great first cruise for you!

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2 hours ago, Navybikermom said:

I’ve done the Zaandam Canada/NE cruise twice and have really loved it. Great ports, great little ship. It’s small enough that it can go all the way to Montreal. It will be a great first cruise for you!

 

Thanks for the encouragement. It's not our first cruise, it's our first cruise with HAL. We like Celebrity but their East coast cruise doesn't have as good of an itinerary. I like that this is a one way itinerary. I think for us it's a bonus that we don't know what HAL "was" like so we can't be disappointed by some perceived short coming from what used to be.

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1 hour ago, Blackduck59 said:

 

Thanks for the encouragement. It's not our first cruise, it's our first cruise with HAL. We like Celebrity but their East coast cruise doesn't have as good of an itinerary. I like that this is a one way itinerary. I think for us it's a bonus that we don't know what HAL "was" like so we can't be disappointed by some perceived short coming from what used to be.

You'll enjoy it. And try not to compare to Celebrity and complain. 🤣 if you like the smaller ships (we do) and being able to just relax and meet new friends, it's a great ship and itinerary. 

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Ok... I will try and rap this one up for now... unfortunately I did not take that many pictures inside.. (not sure why I usually do) however I did take some video and once I get that all set up Ill come back and post the links to my YouTube channel for that. 

 

Anyhow... Ive taken you all through most of the cruise so I'll turn my attention to ship as a whole and some thoughts on the entertainment. On that note, I will say that we are not really ones to attend the theatre shows unless it's something that really catches our attention. For the most part,  I find cruise ship theatre productions to be just that..cruise ship theatre productions... although on occasion they do impress. Ive heard on the newer ships there are some top notch productions... I'll come back to that after I spend some time this winter on some of the industry newer ships... Our preference really is to find a nice bar and enjoy some time there and listen to some music etc. or smaller venue on ship. 

 

Once again I digress... overall impressions and thoughts:

 

Dining:

I've absolutely no complaints. The food on the Lido was superb and there were many choices. They had a wide range of selection. Kudo's to the Sandwich Bar HAL has. Other cruise lines could take a lesson from that.  I mentioned earlier about the wait times for a burger but where else was I to go really.. The main dining room... the set up is very nice and decor was fresh and clean. Service was beyond perfect and yes we did have to wait a bit on occasion but overall these folks work hard to give me something I don't have at home and that's good enough for me... they owe me nothing yet they provided an excellent experience. 

The specialty restaurants were amazing. Again this can be very subjective but even tho I had the experience as part of my HIA package, I would not hesitate to pay some extra 

 

Outside Decks: 

 

One of the things I remembered about HAL from the very first cruise (and only) we did with them back in 2007 was the deck on the 4th floor that wraps all around the ship. It has a historic feel to it with the wood loungers all along the deck and the beautiful views of the port or ocean as you are sailing along. A nice quiet spot to relax, read or just gaze off into the distance.  I wish more ships in the industry had this. 

 

We spent most of our outdoor time on Deck 9 at the Seaview Pool.  A great area... lots of seating, the Lido buffet is on same floor and the there was music playing throughout the day. No live band tho or a DJ which was a bit disappointment, especially during a sail-away. There are also two pools on the ship with the other around mid deck 9 and that one also has the sliding dome roof. 

 

A couple of things to note. The Seaview pool is at the back of the ship so you get some great views of the wake as the ship cruises along. There is an also a bar that seemed pretty busy  most of the time but there were waiters all over so it really wasn't that hard to get a drink when you wanted one. Now on this cruise the pool water was probably the coldest I've ever experienced. Once in it was ok but it was a bit of polar dip when first getting in.  Another little tip is if you plan to hang out around the decking area of the pool I would recommend that you take a towel to sit on. The pool as I mentioned is at the back and so too are the ships smoke stacks.  Although the area is very clean looking we did get some soot on our bathing suits the first day... I noticed others had a similar issue. One morning, I went out to the area very early and they had yet to clean the area up and there was soot all over the deck and chairs. Once we started to use a towel around the area we had no more issues. 

 

Lounges and Entertainment:

 

Now as I mentioned above, we did not go to any of the theatre shows. So I can't really say how they were. What I can say tho is that I did notice the theatre was often very crowded when we popped in to see what was happening... So I suppose you could take that for what it was. I also found that often there were conflicting or competing venues happening at the same time so you had to make a quick decision on which you would go to.  If I was to grade the entertainment I'm thinking this is an area HAL could work on. At least on this ship. There were times where we found there wasn't much to do in the evening. there often seemed to be some lag between venues. Now that being said, I do have to say on this ship the Music Trivia was the best. The host (Thomas) was absolutely brilliant in how he presented this trivia and it was more often than not standing room only and by the end of the trivia the event would become a sing along with hundreds of passengers singing and dancing to the songs on the trivia list. He did a smashing job! 

 

Now decks 2 and 3 are where most of the action was at night. We spent most of our time going between BB Kings Blues Club and Billboard Onboard then the Casino.  I think they referred to this as Music row on the ship. These are very nice bars but if I had to choose I did like Billboard Onbard a tad better than BB Kings. I loved the concept of BB Kings. I also love the Blues. However, on this ship I found the venue they host BB Kings in was not the greatest. It may have been because it wasn't what I was expecting. I was hoping for more of a lounge type setting and Bar atmosphere while this was more of a small theatre type venue with row seating. I see why they set it up that way (so more people can get it I am sure) but I found it actually was more like watching a performance then being a part of a performance as you sit and converse. I also found that the sound of the band was too loud for the venue. The band was sensational and put on a great show but again with a full band with horns etc I feel like a better set up may have given a little better ambiance and feel. To be clear this is not a criticism of the band. They were superb. 

 

This brings us to BillBoard Onboard. A great bar and setting. This is the area with the two pianos. Again, maybe I misread or misunderstood but I was somewhat disappointed in what I expected and what it actually was. If you have ever been on a Royal Caribbean ship or some of the Carnival ships you will know what I am referring to regarding their Piano bars. These are lounges that are audience participation situations and an overall good time. Now, just as I mentioned regarding BB Kings performers this is in no way a knock against the entertainers. They were very talented and very good. However, at least on this cruise, the performance was basically two piano players, each taking turns singing a song... with some banter in between each song....they also had themes for the music which was more than fine (70's, 80's etc etc). No requests or at least very few and I think I was actually expecting more of a duelling piano situation which this clearly was not. If you've ever seen duelling piano bars they are a blast! Did it take away from the enjoyment? No but the enjoyment would have been even more had it been what I expected. 

 

I was also surprised to see that the only theme party (which was a lot of fun was the Orange Night party. That was fun. However, there were no outdoor parties or deck parties at all. Even a Silent Disco night would have been good (is that a comparison?). 

 

So from a Shipboard Entertainment score I am giving this cruise a 6/10.  Did it take way from our enjoyment of the cruise? Absolutely not. Could it have made this cruise even more epic? Definitely!

 

So that about wraps up my review of our 7 days on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The big question is after returning to Holland America (our very first cruise ever back in 2007) following close to 40 cruises on other lines (mostly Celebrity) would we wait another 15 years before trying again? 

 

The answer.... See you on the Rotterdam in February for 21 days! We will be back... I may even try and do a live review when the time comes.... thanks for joining in and the nice comments. If anyone has any questions feel free to let me know. I may or may not have an answer. 

 

Next up for us we will be leaving in January for our first Disney Cruise on the Wish, followed by the Celebrity Edge, HAL Rotterdam and then Royal Caribbean (forget which ship). January until the end of March cruising... I am sure I'll have something to say during all of that! 

 

Here are a few pics from around the ship and Cheers everyone! 

 

 

 

 

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Great review! I think you will enjoy the Rotterdam. The BB King setup is much nicer on the Pinnacle Class ship, as well as the addition of the Rolling Stone Rock lounge.

 

Trenton, the male singer/piano player at Billboard Onboard on the Nieuw Amsterdam, is from my hometown and I know him well. I'm glad to see him with this opportunity. He has such a great voice!

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1 hour ago, sayvan said:

... See you on the Rotterdam in February for 21 days! We will be back... I may even try and do a live review when the time comes.... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We look forward to seeing your next review and how you compare the Rotterdam. 

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Thank you for the comprehensive writeup about your cruise. The Rotterdam 21-day cruise is a 11-day and 10-day back-to-back so you may see a few repeat entertainment activities. The bands will likely play the same songs after day 4-5. But the Southern Caribbean ports are very interesting and hopefully you will be worn out after doing active excursions in the islands of the cruise. If you have the budget, highly recommend springing for the thermal suite pass. It's even nicer than the one on the NA. I envy you getting to dine for 21 days onboard the Rotterdam. Its crew was top-notch back in June and I doubt that will change!

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