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Holland America Line: Nieuw Amsterdam

  • Holland America Line
  • Holland America Line
  • Holland America Line

Nieuw Amsterdam Review

Insider Take

Best For People Who Want

The modern day version of the more traditional cruise experience; sophisticated, elegant surroundings and design; large staterooms, with several alternate dining options.

Onboard Experience

Holland America's newest ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, is the second of the line's new "Signature-class" of vessels and with a few exceptions, aside from interior décor, is identical to her sister, the Eurodam.

For repeat HAL cruiser's, as you walk around the ship, though the spaces have been expanded due to the larger spaces available, with the layout of the public rooms everything will seem to be very familiar. The stretch through from the Queen's Lounge, the Northern Light's Disco, casino bar, casino, and piano bar is almost identical in locations to the Vista Class ships; as are the Ocean Bar and Explorations lounges.

While Holland America's older Vista Class ships have been updated to reflect Holland America's "Signatures of Excellence" upgrades, Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam were built to the "Signatures of Excellence" standards. This includes a Culinary Arts Program with a show kitchen for demonstrations and classes, located in the Queen's Lounge, presented by Food & Wine magazine.

When not in use for the Culinary Arts Program the Queen‘s Lounge serves as the ship's movie theatre with a large screen, for showing fairly recent movie releases as well as major sporting events, if they were to occur during your cruise.

A very popular feature is the dedicated area for the "Digital Workshop powered by Microsoft"; where Microsoft trained staff teach digital photography, video editing, blogging, and web skills, all at no cost.

Located forward on Deck 11, next to the Crow's Nest Lounge, is The Explorations Cafe powered by the New York Times. Here you'll find the book and DVD library, Internet center, and music listening area, as well as a kiosk featuring specialty coffees available for purchase. With panoramic views, and comfortable furniture, it's a wonderful spot to relax with a good book, or check in, via email, with family at home.

The ship has a large casino, with plenty of table games, slot machines, craps, and a Texas Hold Em table readily accepting your donations. Unlike many cruise ship casinos, the décor here is very sophisticated; more like Monte Carlo than Las Vegas. The staff were incredibly friendly, and helpful; enhancing the gaming entertainment.

New on Nieuw Amsterdam, and Eurodam, are private cabanas holding lush Balinese lounge chairs big enough for two people are available in two different areas of the ship. The "Lido Cabanas" are in the deck area of the main pool inside the magrodome. The other area is "The Retreat," high atop deck 11 forward, but facing astern. The Lido cabanas can be leased for $30 on port days and $50 on sea days. Retreat cabanas are $45 (port days) and $75 (sea days). Both come with flavored mineral waters, chilled fruit, Evian spritzes and champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries served in the late afternoon. A masseuse can be summoned for a private massage for the same fee as in the Spa.

One of my favourite things about this ship is the numerous table and chair set-ups, both by the mid-ship, Lido Pool, and the aft, SeaView Pool (some in the shade, some in the shade). I truly enjoy having breakfast and lunches, and even dinners, on a beautiful evening, al fresco; with plenty of seating available it's much easier to do on Nieuw Amsterdam than many other cruise lines.

Cuisine

In the ship's main restaurant, the Manhattan Dining Room, HAL has improved the food in recent years as a result of more contemporary menu selections. The continental cuisine offers a broad selection each evening, beautifully plated.

The alternative (extra cost $20 pp at dinner, $10 pp for lunch) Pinnacle Grille on the Nieuw Amsterdam showcases "Sterling Silver" beef, and well as chops and fresh seafood, with world class wines available. On this ship the Pinnacle stands out from the same restaurant on other HAL ships, with it's roomier feel and gorgeous design.

Tamarind is a new alternative (extra cost $15 pp for dinner, complimentary for lunch) restaurant on Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, where the cuisine is Pan-Asian.

Canaletto is a complimentary Italian dining restaurant, transformed in the evenings within the Lido Deck buffet seating area. Full restaurant service is offered from the Italian menu, and reservations are highly recommended.

One unique thing about Canaletto is, aside from the other desserts offered, a large plate of fluffy candy floss is delivered to the table once you finish with your entrees.

Tipping

For years Holland America was known for its no-tipping required policy, but it has fallen in line with other cruise lines automatically charging gratuities of $10.00 per person (including children) to the shipboard accounts for dining and stateroom service. Though the option to remove that gratuity is available by visiting Guest Relations. There is also a 15 percent service charge automatically added to bar bills.

Entertainment

The "Mainstage" showroom is the best yet on a Holland America ship, with state-of-the-art theatrical stage effects like video screens and laser lights. In this showroom, Holland America has replaced the bench and coffee-table seating with true theater-style seating. The sight lines in the balcony are greatly improved over previous Holland America ships by replacing the brass and glass safety railings with deep but lower buttresses where one can easily see over the top.

On my inaugural voyage I was unfortunately late leaving the dining room or restaurant each evening, and didn't get a personal look at the entertainment.

Holland America normally features "typical" cruise ship musical revues, with a talented cast, as well as several feature performers during a regular sailing. On this sailing, I heard rave reviews from those who saw the act called "Fear No Ice", which was two men doing miraculous ice carvings, using chain saws to create them.

Nieuw Amsterdam has a sing-along piano bar, a sports bar (with several flat-screen TV monitors connected to satellite feeds), a karaoke bar and of course an expansive casino.

The new Culinary Arts Center, with overhead video monitors for those seated far from the action, is set up very much like a TV Food Channel set, and must be adjudged a marvelous addition. A number of demonstration classes are offered at no charge. Hands-on classes, limited to about a dozen students, charge modestly. As these classes are very popular, be sure to sign up early.

Cabins

On Nieuw Amsterdam the first thing you'll notice is that one must slip their "room key" into a slot by the doorway before the lights will come on. This is an energy saver recently introduced on several other new ships.

On one hand, it's also handy because you always know where your key is. On the other (and I speak from experience) it's easy to forget, and walk out of your cabin with the key still in it's slot, as the cabin door closes.

The cabins are just as enticing as the rest of this beautiful ship, with complimentary bathrobes, Elemis bath products (in in-tub/shower) dispensers, flat-screen televisions, and DVD players with movies available in the extensive Explorations Café, described earlier.

Sizes vary from smaller inside cabins to expansive suites. All feature the line's "Signature of Excellence" enhancements such as extra-plush mattresses, Egyptian cotton towels, make-up mirrors, massage showers, fresh flowers and complimentary fruit.

Passenger staterooms include two Penthouse verandah suites of 1,000 sq. ft. and 318 sq. ft. verandahs. Deluxe suites vary from 380 to 570 sq. ft. A standard verandah suite is a very generous 300 sq. ft (at least one-third larger than the average cruise ship cabin). There are some larger than average inside staterooms of 255 sq. ft. as well as the standard 175 sq. ft.

Those occupants of SV category suites and above get exclusive access to the private Neptune's Lounge, which offers free coffee, pastries, DVD movies (for in-suite viewing) and concierge services such as making shore excursion and restaurant reservations for the guest.

On the top deck near the Retreat and the Greenhouse Spa are 56 luxury verandah Spa Suites. These suites are smaller than the average verandah stateroom, with smaller balconies as well, but they feature organic bathrobes, a selection of flavored mineral waters, a constantly flowing water fountain and a Bose docking station for playing music from an iPod. There is a special breakfast spa menu with fresh-squeezed juices and organic muffins. Special night-time chocolates are infused with relaxing herbs.

There's no self-service laundry on this ship, although several laundry packages are available through your room steward.

Fitness/Spa

The Greenhouse Spa offers the usual assortment of massages and facials, and it has a thermal suite where guests can indulge in essential oil infused steam baths, relax in a massage thelassotheray pool and relax on heated ceramic lounge chairs until the warmth envelopes your body. Pricing for the thermal suite is $25/day per person, or $150 per person per cruise for the first person and $100 for each additional person per cabin.

A nice alternative to a massage is a day pass to either the thelasotherapy pool with extremely strong water jets to soothe your muscles ($20/day), or you can go to the steam and aromatherapy center and relax on heated loungers and take steam baths infused with essential oils. Day passes to this are also $20/day. Or you can buy a weekly pass to both for $250 unlimited.

There are two outdoor swimming pools, one with a Magrodome roof that can be closed in case of inclement weather. There are also several hot tubs available at no charge. The large gym has state-of-the-art strengthening and aerobic equipment, and there's a jogging track on one of the upper decks. There's a nominal charge for some of the exercise classes.

Public Rooms

As mentioned earlier, the public room layouts were designed to provide familiarity , and most of the standard Holland America public rooms are also on Nieuw Amsterdam. The Crow's Nest, situated with a commanding view from the forward top deck of the ship, seats 165 people and has a row of chairs looking forward through angled glass windows.

The Ocean Bar features classical music nightly along with brandies and other sipping beverages. The Piano Bar is the traditional sing-along forum with a talented and comedic keyboard host playing requests, punctuated by barroom jokes, on his barstool surrounded baby grand. Northern Lights, the Disco/Karaoke bar is tastefully hidden away so the music and atmosphere can get busy inside without interrupting the relative calm of the rest of the ship.

Restaurants

The regular dining room, the Manhattan Restaurant, is two decks high and features tables for two to ten people. The "Manhattan theme" is carried boldly in this restaurant, with a bit of a art-deco touch. The room offers both traditional cruise dining with early and late seating and pre-assigned tables and servers, on the top floor. Or guests can opt for anytime "As You Wish" dining where you eat when and with whom you choose, on the lower level of the dining room. Reservations are accepted for As You Wish dining. Breakfast and lunch are served here, using open seating.

The newest alternative dining venue, a first for Holland America on the Eurodam, and now on Nieuw Amsterdam, is the Tamarind Restaurant featuring Asian fusion cuisine. The cover charge is $15 per person for dinner, but it is free for lunch serving dim sum. The nighttime choices include Asian-inspired entrees such as sea bass with hoisin-lime glaze, wasabi-soy-encrusted beef , steamed lobster with garlic, or shrimp Szechwan with basil. Also on tap are Peking duck and Asian curry dishes.

Located next to Tamarind is a beautiful cocktail lounge called the "Silk Den" featuring "Saketinis," or martini-like beverages similar to martinis but based on sake. Silk Den is designed with an area cabana-like seating, with intimate seating groupings, separated from each other by flowing curtains.

The top alternative dining venue is the Pinnacle Grill, now on every ship in the Holland America fleet. This restaurant features Seattle-style Pacific Northwest cuisine, such as steaks, chops, and fresh seafood.

Canaletto is an Italian-theme venue created nightly in a section of the Lido restaurant. There is no cover charge for this restaurant, which features waiters and tables set in the dining room style to offer table-side Italian service of veal, fish, and several different pasta dishes.

Located mid-ship next to the Lido Pool is the Terrace Grill, and here the varied selection will surprise those expecting the normal hamburger and hot dog choices. The menu at the Terrace Grill also offers turkey or lamb burgers, Croque Monsieur, as well as pita pockets.

By the SeaView Pool, aft, is Slice. As you'd likely guess, this is where fresh and very tasty pizzas are served.

The Lido Restaurant,, has a separate salad bar, several carving stations, and the infamous HAL ice cream and hot cookies, always free of charge, and available after lunch and throughout the day. They are several flavors of ice cream and toppings available.

Many new ships on other cruise lines have moved to a design using separate "action stations" spread around the Lido restaurant. Other than the salad bar, HAL continues to use a straight line buffet counter design, yet they have tried to separate different specialty areas within the line. One can get their salad and then move to a specific part of the counter for their next selection. You just have to home the other passengers have it figured out as well, and don't just think you're "cutting into the line".

Room service is offered 24 hours a day at no additional charge, with hang cards for pre-ordering breakfast the night before. The breakfast selection is quite broad, and not limited to simple continental breakfasts like many other lines.

Dining Room menu choices are available en-suite during dinner restaurant hours. The regular en-suite dining menu is limited and varies by breakfast, noon to 10:00 p.m., and after-hours dining choices.

Service

Holland America is known for it's gracious, ever-attentive staff, that are some of the best at sea in the premium class due to the line's most organized system of grooming crewmembers. With schools in Indonesia and the Philippines feeding the crew for the fleet. The service staff are consistently friendly, and most often will remember your name by the second day of your cruise.

I was on a short (4 night) inaugural sailing, and I found confusion reigned amongst the restaurant staff, as well as the room steward. Though, I think that much of that was caused by the every present "new ship glitches", and I have little doubt that by the time this is printed everything will be as one would expect on a Holland America ship.

Attire

HAL continues the more traditional dress codes with two formal nights on a seven night cruise. Chances are you'll find half the men opting for a dark suit rather than bringing, or renting a tuxedo. Casual on these ships means comfortable, but T-shirts, jeans, swimsuits, tank tops and shorts are all forbidden in the dining rooms and public areas. It isn't allowed, but also not unusual for people to change back to casual after dinner on formal nights. As long as you stick to the deck areas or casino, no one will frown at you.




Ship Overview

The second Signature-class ship, Nieuw Amsterdam launched in 2010, celebrates the history of New York City with its Big Apple-inspired interior decor and art collection. Following Holland America Line’s tradition of recycling ship names, she is the fourth ship in the line with this name.

Signature-class vessels were so named because they are the first ships in the fleet to be launched with all the so-called Signature of Excellence features fully integrated into them. Larger than the other midsize ships in the fleet, they are pure Holland America, with all the traditional amenities and services plus some added bonuses. You’ll find familiar public spaces as well as a second specialty restaurant and adjacent lounge, a new bar that anchors the Explorer's Lounge, and an Italian eatery tucked into a corner of the Lido.

No-smoking Spa staterooms near the Greenhouse Spa feature Asian-inspired decor and spa amenities. Poolside are private, draped cabanas, and one deck up the tented Retreat cabanas are filled with amenities that include the use of handheld fans, an Evian spray mister, iPods with music preloaded, and chilled water. You can look forward to icy refreshments and afternoon champagne. Cabanas are reserved by the day or by the cruise (for an extra fee).

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 on board, 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

  • Spa staterooms and suites can be completely no-smoking
  • With sea views and intimate seating alcoves, the Silk Den Lounge is one of the prettiest in the fleet
  • Guests love culinary presentations in the state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen

Cons

  • Shelves are okay, but drawer space is inadequate in standard accommodations
  • Some spa staterooms offer unusable Juliet balconies
  • Teens are somewhat slighted here compared to other Holland America ships
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 929
  • Entered Service 2010
  • Gross Tons 86,700
  • Length 936 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,053
  • Passenger Capacity 2,106
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Mar 6, 2017

I Want A Refund

On an Eastern Caribbean 7-day cruise that ended March 5th, my wife and I signed up for the "open dining" option. The cruise line, however, booked a 900 passenger group who were assigned reserved dining at 7:00PM. That meant the rest of the passengers could only eat between 5:00-6:00PM, much earlier than we preferred, especially after shore excursions. The food was served in very small portions, with little variation to the menu day-to-day. The food

was just okay. Also, the day before we were to stop at the cruise line's private island, the crew was aware there were storms approaching. Nevertheless, we sailed to the island, where the captain told us it was unsafe to disembark, and the island's workers had been unable to reach the island from their residences nearby. Common sense would have told him to try to sail toward better weather; instead we spent 7 hours (the time we were scheduled to be ashore) sailing in apparent circles in rough seas before finally heading home. Unlike other cruise lines, Holland charges each guest $12.50/day for gratuities for room stewards and back stage personnel. Beverage servers and upscale restaurant servers automatically receive a 15% tip. The result is a mixed bag of service quality throughout. Some are friendly; others impertinent.

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  • New

Aug 6, 2016

Alaska

Worse cruise ever!!! Cabin had fingerprints all over wood paneling in stateroom. Dirty rug and chesterfield. Became extremely ill after three days with terrible cold. Two others in our group of four came down with the same illness - diagnosed as influenza A . Coughed continually. One woman was hospitalized after returning home with pneumonia. She was readmitted yesterday (still ill after being home 2weeks after cruise) I ended up with severe

laryngitis which is still a problem. Never again will I cruise with this cruise line. Also observed cleaner in dining room clean off chair seat and then with the same cloth wipe off the table. Disgusting,,,

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  • New

Jan 7, 2014

Western Caribbean

Excellent cruise: Weather, ship, food, service all wonderful. Precruise stay in Ft. Lauderdale at the Hyatt, 17th st. location. Embarkation was easy, made it to our stateroom by 12:15, then had a Mariner status lunch in Manhattan dining room. Our room was a small suite (SS class) with a jetted tub, separate shower, and double sink with undersink shelf for storage in addition to corner glass shelves. Room was perfect for us, AND the balcony was

over 90 sq. ft.(7 X 13) with table and four chairs, two for lounging with foot stools. Plenty of storage and room service was only 1 button away. Food was outstanding in all venues, especially the specialty restaurants, Pinnacle and Tamarind. Had cooked-to-order breakfasts every day in the Lido buffet--just couldn't bypass the Eggs Benedict (they actually could prepare 7 different types of this specialty) Our New York Strip and Filet Steaks in Pinnacle were perfectly cooked for each of us, tender and moist--just delicious! Only ate twice in the main dining room (for dinner) and food and service were top-notch for us. We don't drink, so the drink cards were not important to us. Stateroom was a small suite (SS) and perfect for us. Check carefully and read thoroughly about accommodations before booking. We certainly enjoyed our large balcony. One thought I had was that a couple could choose a less-expensive cabin and rent a pool cabana for a few days for a great outdoors experience while on the ship. Didn't participate except for two outstanding shows: Recycled Percussion (from America's Got Talent and Las Vegas) and Cantare, a male quartet with great voices singing songs for us Senior Citizens. Also enjoyed several of the Microsoft presentations, because they dealt largely with Windows 8 and presenter was good. Since I had sailed once before on HAL with a special science group and had visited the private island where I rode horses and jet skiied, my wife and I just went ashore there and enjoyed the ambiance and the barbecue. We took no HAL excursions, preferring instead to make our own arrangements. Just do your homework on each port and pre-plan accordingly. On Grand Cayman we took a taxi to 7-mile beach and enjoyed chips and dip at the Marriott outdoor cafe while enjoying the beach and view. We also preplanned a jet ski trip in Key West: Had a blast! Absolutely loved it! My wife and I are experienced travelers, but we had thought previously that we just didn't want to cruise. This trip, however, changed our mind. Holland America Lines has a demographic of seniors 55 and older and plays to that group. Were there minor glitches and problems here and there. Yes, but we handled them as we always do: Deal with it and move on. Just don't understand how some travelers can be so illogically ticked off about so many things. Hints: Plan thoroughly-- there's an enormous amount of information about travel and cruises available. Prior planning prevents perturbed persons... Shame on you if you spend large monies and get poor results. Seems that some of the negative comments say as much about the customers as about the ship and cruise. The Nieuw Amsterdam provided us a great cruise experience.

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By Rick_CR

  • New

Dec 3, 2013

West Caribbean

We had paid for 2 weeks of cruising, but left the ship after one week, forfeiting nearly $4000 rather than remaining on board for another week. We had previously cruised with Holland America & were satisfied, but it appears that the purchase of this line by Carnival has ruined it. Food was just plain bad; service was slow; cabins were not clean. One positive, the king sized bed was comfortable. Bland, tasteless, unimaginative food at lunch

& dinner, however breakfast was passable. We had a Veranda Suite; spacious, but not as clean as we expected. Bed was comfortable, but all other furniture in the suite was uncomfortable. What little entertainment there was... boring. My wife did enjoy one of the culinary classes, but left because families with children were allowed to be noisy and distracting. Look up Grand Turk. We are still wondering why any ship would stop there. We have cruised the Caribbean three times before and never stopped at Grand Turk, aka the armpit of ports. Even the staff were making jokes about this place as a waste of time. As noted above, although we had pre-paid for 2 weeks, we left after the first week to avoid enduring what was our absolute worst cruise experience. We've enjoyed all other cruises with one exception.

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  • New

Jun 1, 2013

Barcelona to Venice

I tend to like smaller ships but the Nieuw Amsterdam (2000+ passengers) was well organized and comfortable. The ship is relatively new and beautiful, and the service is very good. Overall we were very satisfied and will continue to use Holland America We thought the food was great. In particular the specialty restaurants Le Cirque, Tamerand , and the Pinnacle were first class. I actually think the food has improved in the past few years

and I appreciate the slightly smaller portions. As the ships get bigger the staterooms seem to be getting smaller. We always have a verandah and this too was smaller. This was probably as small as I could enjoy. Usually we get involved in on-board activities but with many day long excursions and only one day at sea we just had no time. We were disappointed that the piano bar only opens a 9PM. we used to like to go before dinner. The entertainment at the Showroom at Sea just didn't interest us --- a step down from previous cruises I was disappointed in several shore excursions on this trip. I would plan several of my own if I were doing this cruise over. Got a bit tired of the tour bus lunches --- bland /boring. Some of our best visits to ports were done on our own --- certainly the best lunches and wines I was particularly annoyed that the Shore Excursion Desk would tell us that there would be no shuttle buses available to get from the port to the city / town so that we would buy an Excursion, then the night before announce there would be a shuttle when it was too late to cancel our Excursion. Shuttles were typically 12-14 Euros, a lot less than excursions The trip from Barcelona to Venice was great but unfortunately several of these ports (particularly Florence and Dubrovnik, Venice) are overrun by tourists (6+ large ships in port at a time). If I return to Europe (been in various parts 10 times already) I will focus on cities that are not reachable by cruise ships

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