Back To Line

Holland America Line: Amsterdam

  • Holland America Line

Amsterdam Review

Insider Take

Best For People Who Want

A dignified cruise experience in elegant, flower-bedecked surroundings, fewer children than on other mass-market lines; the best dedicated crossword puzzle area at sea.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Many dining options, Holland's famous movie theaters, a mega-resort ship experiences with tons of activities.

Decor

Contemporary, with a tastefully understated yet elegant decor, this gorgeous ship features Holland America memorabilia throughout the ship in addition to a $2 million collection of European and Asian art. Some of the most striking pieces are the "Terracotta Warriors," life-size human and equine terra cotta figures, reproductions of the ancient statues unearthed in Xian, China. Adjacent to the Explorer's Lounge, an enormous mural depicts the original Amsterdam built in the 17th century while the main dining room features a huge circular panel resembling stained glass.

Public Rooms

The layout of the Amsterdam is not much different from the rest of the Holland America fleet. The differences are mostly in the decor. With most inside public areas concentrated on two decks, few passengers have trouble finding their way around.

Boarding visitors are greeted by the nearly 30-foot tall Astrolabe clock tower at the foot of a three-deck high stairway. The main public areas feature mostly warmly colored upholstery and leathers, damask fabrics, mahogany tones, and gold accents, the ship feels at times like an elegant old hotel. The gorgeous two-level Queen's Lounge, more a nightclub than a theater, presents Amsterdam's lavish floorshows. Head for the banquettes for the best sight lines. The Explorer's Lounge offers cognac, cigars, delectable chef-designed chocolates and a string quartet at night. The Explorations Cafe (and Hudson Room within it) would seem more intimate if there weren't so many passengers passing through it all the time. The Crow's Nest, atop the ship, is an observation lounge by day and a disco after dark. Fresh hot popcorn is always available in the Wajang Movie Theater, where a selection of near first-run movies will be presented throughout the cruise (be sure to check the entire schedule, your favorite feature may or may not play more than once). The beautiful wood-paneled Erasmus library is almost as large as the casino. Three boutiques complete the public area. The popular Ocean Bar offers sea views.

Near the entrance to Amsterdam's Crows Nest, be sure to admire the Four Seasons sculptures originally created for the old Nieuw Amsterdam in 1938, and purchased back from a private collector.

Cuisine

The main dining room, La Fontaine offers an attractive balance of contemporary cuisine and more traditional fare. While the menu always features something a bit bolder, such traditional favorites as grilled salmon and prime rib remain on offer, along with lighter and vegetarian cuisine.

The menu at The Pinnacle Grill at the Odyssey Restaurant is innovatively Italian, with a wine list offering several more excellent Italian choices than La Fontaine. The casual Lido will make you the best omelet you've ever tasted in the morning and occasionally offers Indonesian 'rice tables' or Indian curry stations at lunchtime.

Holland America's Lido buffets have always been among the best at sea, with a variety of salads, breads, hot entrees and sumptuous desserts.

Restaurants

In the elegant two-level La Fontaine Dining Room, enormous glass windows overlook the stern, providing dramatic sea views. Most tables seat four, six, eight and ten. There are four dinner seatings at 5:45 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Evocative of a medieval Venetian palace, with candelabras, hand-painted murals, and romantic muted lighting, Amsterdam's 88-seat Odyssey was Holland America's original alternative restaurant. Now called The Pinnacle Grill at the Odyssey, it features Pacific Northwest cuisine and wines, and levies a $20 service charge.

Casual breakfast and luncheon buffet are served in the Lido restaurant, adjacent to the pool. A bright, cheerful place with separate salad, drink, deli, dessert, and stir-fry stations. You seldom have to wait, even during days at sea. Hamburgers and hotdogs are served poolside until 4:00 p.m.

Entertainment

The Queen's Show Lounge's floor shows usually include an accomplished concert pianists of some renown, a comedian and one other act (magician, juggler, singer). Broadway style productions created by Anita Mann have gotten much better at Holland America the last few years, featuring enthusiastic choreography, singing and state-of-the-art special effects. The highlights of the shows on Holland America are usually the lavish costumes.

Fitness/Spa

There is a full-service Ocean Spa (run by Steiner's LTD) comprising a hair salon and massage and facial facilities. The bright Center features modern exercise machines, free weights, a sauna and steam room and a juice bar. classes ranging from yoga to aerobics are offered several times a day. Some of the classes carry a fee that tends to be rather expensive. There are two swimming pools, one with a retractable dome, and four Jacuzzis. The tennis courts double as volleyball courts. Joggers and speed walkers can do their morning constitutional on the terrific wraparound Promenade Deck, also lined with wooden deck chairs for a wonderful spot for reading, daydreaming, or even snoozing in the grand style of the cruisers of decades long past.

Attire

Slightly dressier on formal nights than other Holland America ships, especially on extended voyages, many men wear tuxes though a dark suit is certainly acceptable; daytime attire is casual, but jeans and a tee-shirt will appear a little underdressed.

Overview

A sister ship to the Rotterdam, one of the older, but not oldest class of Holland America ships.

Onboard Experience

Amsterdam is not only a sister ship to the Rotterdam, she also shares the status of "flagship" with her, making Holland America the only cruise line to have two flagships. Obviously, they liked them both so much they just couldn't make up their minds. But if you look at the subtle differences in the slightly larger Amsterdam, she just might win you over because of her extra suites comprising an all-suite "Concierge Deck." This version of Amsterdam is the third ship named for the capital of Holland. Like the Rotterdam, she has twin smokestacks, but she is the first Holland America ship with Azipod propulsion, giving her a top-speed of 22.5 knots.

Designed for extended voyages, including an annual world cruise, she offers the best of both contemporary and transatlantic liner-style cruising, tasteful elegance without pomposity. As flagship, she offers the most gracious and polished service of all the HAL ships, exemplary cuisine, and a gorgeous alternative restaurant.

Amsterdam is fully subscribed to Holland America's "Signature of Excellence" program, with enhancements to nearly every area of the ship. Staterooms now offer the best mattresses and duvets sold in Europe, flat screen TVs, and DVD players. There's early boarding and a choice of four dinner seatings. New service amenities include a new Culinary Arts Program with a demonstration kitchen for instructional cooking classes, expanded spa and fitness facilities, tableside waiter service at dinner in the Lido, new shore excursions and upgraded Club HAL Kids Centers. The Explorations Cafe is a combination reading and listening library, Internet center, and sidewalk cafe.

Returning passengers will see some of their favorite Holland America traditions remain - free appetizers at cocktail hour, abundant fresh flowers throughout the ship, and chilled beer glasses.

Service

Holland America's Indonesian and Filipino crew is warm and gracious, though not always as fluent in English as American and British passengers might prefer. Speak slowly and make sure they understand what you need, because they can be too polite to ask you to repeat yourself.

Tipping

For years Holland America was known for its no-tipping policy, intended to make passengers believe that staff were doing it for love, rather than money. Now, gratuities of $10.00 per person (including children) are automatically added daily to the shipboard account for dining and stateroom service. Visit the front desk to adjust that amount. A 15 percent service is automatically added to bar bills.

Cabins

Abandoning the bland beigeness of the older Statendam-class ships, the cabin decors features a much livelier palette of colors, including corals, mangoes, blues, and white. Holland America built Amsterdam VI with yearly world cruises in mind, which mindset is reflected in the most spacious cabins in the mid-price range, regardless of category. Amsterdam has four categories of staterooms: inside (192 square feet), outside (201 square feet), mini suites (229 square feet with 59 sq.ft. private verandah), 36 suites (393 square feet with 189 sq.ft. private verandah) and four penthouse suites (937 sq.ft. with 189 sq.ft. private verandah). The 120 Verandah Suites (230 square feet, excluding verandah) offer particularly good value.

All cabins have two single or one queen-sized bed, abundant closet and drawer space, and safes. The remote-controlled color TV's show closed circuit movies as well as CNN International. There is a small dressing table, couch and armchair. The bathrooms have hair dryers and lovely toiletry; only outside cabins have both bathtubs and showers. Some cabins have connecting doors for families preferring two cabins.

Suites and minisuites come with many perks - large balconies, marble bath with whirlpool, TV/VCR, terry cloth bathrobes, personalized, stationery, complimentary laundry, high tea served in suite, free videos, cocktail party with the captain, feather pillows and special disembarkation privileges. All suite guests may avail themselves of a concierge staff who remain stationed inside the concierge-class lounge on the same deck. This lounge features DVDs, books and tempting snacks available to suite passengers. The concierge will assist passengers in booking shore excursion reservations, alternative dining reservations and any other matters that would ordinarily involve standing in a slow-moving line.

There are four self-service launderettes (a wash and dry cost $2 including detergent) featuring ironing board/iron and folding table.




Ship Overview

The third ship to bear the name of the Dutch capital in Holland America Line's history and sister ship of Rotterdam, the Amsterdam was launched in 2000. At the heart of the ship’s atrium is the Planeto Astrolabium, a commissioned signature sculpture that is functional—the Astrolabe tracks constellations, the planets, world time, and ship time. Displayed throughout the ship are original art deco pieces that once graced the Nieuw Amsterdam of 1938.

The most traditional ships in the fleet, the interiors of sister ships Amsterdam and Rotterdam display abundant wood appointments in the public areas on promenade and lower promenade decks and priceless works of art throughout.

The Ocean Bar, Explorer's Lounge, Wajang Theater, and Crow's Nest are familiar lounges to longtime Holland American passengers. Newer additions include the spa's thermal suite, a culinary-arts demonstration center in the theater, Explorations Café, and expansive areas for children and teens. Multimillion-dollar collections of art and artifacts are showcased throughout both vessels. In addition to works commissioned specifically for each ship, Holland America Line celebrates its heritage by featuring antiques and artworks that reflect the theme of worldwide Dutch seafaring history.

Holland America Line has enjoyed a distinguished record of traditional cruises, world exploration, and transatlantic crossings since 1873—all facets of its history that are reflected in the fleet's multimillion-dollar shipboard art and antiques collections. Even the ships' names follow a pattern set long ago: all end in the suffix dam and are either derived from the names of various dams that cross Holland's rivers, important Dutch landmarks, or points of the compass. The names are even recycled when vessels are retired, and some are in their fifth and sixth generation of use.

Noted for focusing on passenger comfort, Holland America Line cruises are classic in design and style, and with an infusion of younger adults and families onboard, they remain refined without being stuffy or stodgy. Following a basic design theme, returning passengers feel as at home on the newest Holland America vessels as they do on older ones.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • Rotterdam has the Retreat, a resort-style pool on the aft Lido deck
  • As the line’s flagships,Rotterdam and Amsterdam have the fleet’s most elegant interior decor
  • Realistic landscapes with surreal touches accent walls in Amsterdam’s Pinnacle Grill

Cons

  • One-way window glass in outside cabins on lower promenade deck does not offer occupants complete privacy
  • There is little shipboard nightlife more than an hour after dinner
  • Despite excellent facilities designed for kids and teens, family cabins are limited
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 615
  • Entered Service 2000
  • Gross Tons 61,859, 62,735
  • Length 780 feet
  • Number of Cabins 690
  • Passenger Capacity 1,380
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Jun 9, 2015

Alaska

I have been on six cruises, and this by far one of the best. From the embarkation, to the ship, food, shows , staff, everything was spectular. You could tell everyone that worked on the ship was happy. Even departing the ship, which I hated doing, was an excellent experience. As you can tell I cannot say enough god things abut this cruise! Five star plus food. The cabin was excellent. I loved the entertainment, it was truly great.

We didn't do any shore excursions. SIX star plus trip. Alaska was beautiful.

Read More
  • New

Jul 25, 2013

Alaska

This was a 3 day cruise from Vancouver to Skagway and 12 day land tour thru Alaska. Everything was okay except for the train trip from Denali to Anchorage. It was on the McKinley Explorer train and Hollands individual cars where the problem arose. The air conditioning didn't work from the time we got on the train till 5 hours later when Holland finally decided to reuse us by disembarking off the train to waiting buses to take us the rest of the

way to Anchorage. The conditions on the train were unbearable; 100% temperatures, high humidity and the sun beaming thru the skycar. It was like being locked in a hot house with full sun and no place escape from the conditions. I complained to Holland and requested a refund for the day but they ignored my request and blamed it on the weather! They refused to take any responsibility for the air conditioning being broken or why they boarded us, knowing the conditions and took 5 hours to rescue us after the crew and travel guides finally convinced them the this was an emergency. My Wife and I were on the verge of heat stroke along with the other passengers and crew members. Holland doesn't care about the passengers or crew only with the maximizing their income. I highly discourage you from using Holland!

Read More

By Nora_CR

  • New

Jan 7, 2013

Caribbean

This was a bad cruise! Cabin 1804 and 3388 noisy and uncomfortable. Entertainment very bad and no guest lectures. Staff great and food OK. It was good but could have been a little more creative. First room 1804 was handicapped (not what we asked for) dark (two portholes recessed) and noisy (pod thrusters and anchor). After 4 days moved to 3388 which was noisy as it is under the galley and I think directly under the dishwasher. Another

couple could not stand the noise in 3388 so they moved. Noise from 5:00am to 11:30pm....one night we called the front desk at 12:30am as there was still loud noises and banging. Very Poor...no guest lectures etc. 3rd and last sailing on Holland America. Much prefer Celebrity. Staff on ship was great and food was nice but the entertainment was very bad and no perks like on Celebrity.

Read More
  • New

Dec 14, 2012

Mediterranean

This was our first cruise, and it was wonderful. We are a senior couple, but the ship was a mix of people of all ages. We enjoyed the company of several other couples. Our cabin (we had a veranda) was very nice. The food was excellent! The crew was very friendly and helpful. The ship itself was beautiful. I recommend this ship with no reservations. The food was excellent. We ate mostly in the dining room, where the service was very

good, The menu was great and different each evening. There were always several items to choose from for each meal, ranging from healthy to indulgent. People told us the food would great, and it was. The main dining room was at the stern of the ship, and on several occasions we had a table with a view of the water as the ship was underway; just beautiful! We also liked having the option of eating alone or with a group of two three other couples. If we were in a hurry or just wanted a snack, we would go to the cafeteria which was also very good, and the lines were not long at all. I just wish they had a greater selection of different ice cream flavors to choice from. Our room was clean, and nicely appointed, nicer than most motels. The balcony was great. We had several lovely evenings sitting out there at dusk as the ship sailed to our next destination. It was just so quiet and peaceful. You could barely tell the ship was moving. Every day we returned from our adventures to find our room spotlessly clean and a new towel creation placed on our bed by our stewards. We didn't participate much in directed activities aboard the ship. We would take walks around the outside promenade deck. The library was small but adequate. The two pools on board were nice but pretty crowded. The shows were fair, not quite Broadway quality. We never used the casino. I took a guided tour of the ships galley, and enjoyed it. There were a few lounges where you could sit, have a drink, and enjoy the entertainment. We only took one excursion, and it was just fair. We preferred to just take the transport offered (at an extra cost of course) to our destination, and go our own way from there. We really got a lot of good advice from Rick Steve's book on Mediterranean cruises. I would really recommend that for anyone planning a Mediterranean cruise. Our trip was a beautiful and romantic adventure for a couple of retired teachers. We would get off the ship early each morning, get to our destination, explore as much as we could in the time allowed, get back to the ship, crash for a short time , recover, shower, and go to dinner, and then just enjoy the evening aboard the ship. All the things we were concerned about before the trip just didn't happen, or just didn't turn out to matter. The weather was hot, but we dressed appropriately, and it was fine. We ran into a few language problems when off the ship, but they worked out OK. Yes, we would have liked to have had more time to spend at some of the ports, but we'll just save those for another trip. The cruise just left us wanting to go back and do it all over again, just a little better prepared next time.

Read More
  • New

Dec 14, 2012

Mediterranean

This was our first cruise, and it was wonderful. We are a senior couple, but the ship was a mix of people of all ages. We enjoyed the company of several other couples. Our cabin (we had a veranda) was very nice. The food was excellent! The crew was very friendly and helpful. The ship itself was beautiful. I recommend this ship with no reservations. The food was excellent. We ate mostly in the dining room, where the service was very

good, The menu was great and different each evening. There were always several items to choose from for each meal, ranging from healthy to indulgent. People told us the food would great, and it was. The main dining room was at the stern of the ship, and on several occasions we had a table with a view of the water as the ship was underway; just beautiful! We also liked having the option of eating alone or with a group of two three other couples. If we were in a hurry or just wanted a snack, we would go to the cafeteria which was also very good, and the lines were not long at all. I just wish they had a greater selection of different ice cream flavors to choice from. Our room was clean, and nicely appointed, nicer than most motels. The balcony was great. We had several lovely evenings sitting out there at dusk as the ship sailed to our next destination. It was just so quiet and peaceful. You could barely tell the ship was moving. Every day we returned from our adventures to find our room spotlessly clean and a new towel creation placed on our bed by our stewards. We didn't participate much in directed activities aboard the ship. We would take walks around the outside promenade deck. The library was small but adequate. The two pools on board were nice but pretty crowded. The shows were fair, not quite Broadway quality. We never used the casino. I took a guided tour of the ships galley, and enjoyed it. There were a few lounges where you could sit, have a drink, and enjoy the entertainment. We only took one excursion, and it was just fair. We preferred to just take the transport offered (at an extra cost of course) to our destination, and go our own way from there. We really got a lot of good advice from Rick Steve's book on Mediterranean cruises. I would really recommend that for anyone planning a Mediterranean cruise. Our trip was a beautiful and romantic adventure for a couple of retired teachers. We would get off the ship early each morning, get to our destination, explore as much as we could in the time allowed, get back to the ship, crash for a short time , recover, shower, and go to dinner, and then just enjoy the evening aboard the ship. All the things we were concerned about before the trip just didn't happen, or just didn't turn out to matter. The weather was hot, but we dressed appropriately, and it was fine. We ran into a few language problems when off the ship, but they worked out OK. Yes, we would have liked to have had more time to spend at some of the ports, but we'll just save those for another trip. The cruise just left us wanting to go back and do it all over again, just a little better prepared next time.

Read More

Cruise Forums

Have a cruising question? Ask our Fodorite community.

Cruise News

Read our latest news about cruises.

Store

Shop our travel guides on European, Caribbean, and Alaskan cruises.

Back To Top
Subscribe to Newsletter
Sign up for Travel Tips & News
I want emails from Fodor's Travel with travel information and promotions. I can unsubscribe any time using the unsubscribe link at the end of all emails.

Thank you for your interest!

Look out for our newsletters with travel tips and special offers.