• Large Ocean-view Staterooms

  • Drinks Overview

  • Lido Pool, Bar and Terrace Grill

  • Sea View Pool, Bar and Slice

  • Explorations Café and Library

  • Atrium

  • The Neptune Lounge

  • Club HAL and The Loft

  • Art Gallery

  • Screening Room

  • King’s Room

  • Meeting Rooms

  • Green House Spa and Salon

  • Deck 10 – Panorama

  • Green House Spa and Salon

  • Shops

  • Photo Gallery

  • Art Gallery

  • Pinnacle Grill

  • Club HAL and The Loft

  • Shops

  • Photo Gallery

  • Art Gallery

  • Screening Room

  • King’s Room

  • Queen’s Lounge and Culinary Art Center

  • Showroom at Sea

  • Showroom at Sea

  • Casino and Casino Bar

  • Drinks

  • Lido Pool, Bar and Terrace Grill

  • Sea View Pool, Bar and Slice

  • Lido Pool, Bar and Terrace Grill

  • Sea View Pool, Bar and Slice

  • Promenade Deck

  • Cabana Club

  • Deck 10 – Panorama

  • Deck 12 – Observation

  • Sports Court – Deck 11

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Some of Nieuw Amsterdam’s features will be familiar from older Holland America ships, like the outside-view glass elevators, the Explorations Café, Pinnacle Grill and Bar, and the Culinary Arts Center where guests can embark on cooking journeys in state-of-the-art show kitchens. Some updates include Holland America’s largest fitness center, the teens-only Loft, Spa Staterooms, the specialty restaurant Tamarind and Silk Den lounge—a pan-Asian venue—and the new Master Chef’s Room, with seven-course set menus prepared in a private room within the Pinnacle Grill. If all you want to do is lay in the sun or take in the view, join active shore excursions, or take advantage of all the (mostly complimentary) activities, you are unlikely to get bored. And between the innovative drinks and delicious dining options, you won’t go hungry or thirsty either.
There are four basic stateroom categories, but sizes vary substantially within the individual categories and priced accordingly.


Nieuw Amsterdam has 1,053 cabins, one more than sister ship Eurodam, allowing more than 2,100 passengers, the largest capacity in Holland America’s fleet. There are four main types of rooms: Interior, Ocean-view, Verandah and Suite, with variations in size, view, amenities and pricing within each type.

Interior cabins range between “standard” (141 square feet) and “large” (284 square feet)—some of these can accommodate four passengers. But more than 80 percent of the accommodations on Nieuw Amsterdam are Ocean-view cabins, most of them with verandah—these start at 169 square feet and run as large as 379 square feet for Deluxe Ocean-view Staterooms. Three different types of suites are also available.

Standard features throughout all cabins are terry cloth bathrobes for use on-board, flat-screen TV and DVD player, complimentary fresh fruit on request and two lower beds that can be converted into one queen-size bed (in Deluxe Verandah and Penthouse suites, the bed is king-size).

There is also a series of Spa Suites on the tenth and eleventh decks—both within the Interior and Ocean-view categories—with added amenities including yoga mats, an iPod docking station and a different room service menu featuring healthier options.


This cabin was small but comfortable.

This standard interior cabin is the least expensive category available on Nieuw Amsterdam, and ours was positioned near the aft. Being an inside room, there was no porthole in this small room, only a curtain above the bed where a window might be. On entry, the bathroom door was on the right, with closets on the left. On nights when the ship would rock the room sounded unstable.

The sleeping arrangements included two twin beds that can be converted to a queen on request. The mattress and bedding was very comfy. Directional reading lights were positioned on either side of the bed.

The bathroom was tiny, and there was minimal storage space. A trio of small shelves to one side next to the mirror were each barely large enough for a typical travel kit; there was a little shelf for toiletries inside the shower. The diminutive shower (no tub) had a massaging showerhead, but the curtains were a bit icky. Holland America promises a “salon-quality hairdryer” in all cabins, but there wasn’t one in ours. Amenities included Egyptian cotton towels and bath products from Elemis Aromapure (shower gel, shampoo and conditioner via shower dispensers).
Our room key turned on the electricity in the cabin. Opposite the beds was a desk and vanity with a big mirror as well as a magnifying make-up mirror at waist level. The TV was on a shelf above the desk; the DVD player was mounted underneath. The desk chair was useless because the space under the desk was occupied by a small square ottoman; handily, by flipping over the top of the ottoman it converted to a coffee table, but this got in the way.

The two bigger closets both had hangers and fold out shelves, while a smaller closet had shelves only. Two nightstands had some storage space and a bible; a fruit basket could be filled on request with bananas, apples, pears and oranges. The fridge was stocked with water, soft drinks, beer, wine, champagne, small bottles of liquor and mixers.
We did not stay in the rest of these cabins, but we have summaries here provided by Holland America Line. Note that any photos on this page may be provided directly by the cruise line and not our reviewer.

Large Ocean-view Staterooms

Two lower beds convertible to one queen-size bed, bathtub, shower. All G-category staterooms have partial sea views.
 Approximately 169–267 sq. ft. Stateroom amenities include:

• Our signature Mariner’s Dream™ bed featuring finely woven cotton linens
• Deluxe waffle weave and terry cloth bathrobes for use during your voyage
• 100% Egyptian cotton towels
• Premium massage showerheads
• 5X magnifying make-up mirrors and salon-quality hair dryers
• Fragrant soaps, lotions, shampoo and other bath amenities from Elemis
• Aromapure
• Complimentary fresh fruit on request
• Elegant ice bucket and serving tray for in-stateroom beverages
• Flat-panel TV and DVD player
• Ice service, shoeshine service and nightly turndown service


Two lower beds convertible to one queen-size bed, bathtub, shower, sitting area, private verandah, floor-to-ceiling windows.
 Approximately 213–379 sq. ft. including verandah. Stateroom amenities include:

• Our signature Mariner's Dream™ bed featuring finely woven cotton linens
• Luxurious bathrobes for use during your voyage
• 100% Egyptian cotton towels
• Premium massage showerhead
• 5x magnifying lighted make-up mirror and salon-quality hair dryer
• Fragrant soaps, lotions, shampoo and other bath amenities from Elemis Aromapure
• Complimentary fresh fruit on request
• Elegant ice bucket and serving tray for in-stateroom beverages
• Flat-panel TV and DVD player
• Ice service, shoeshine service and nightly turndown service


Two lower beds convertible to one queen-size bed, bathroom with dual sink vanity, full-size whirlpool bath, shower and additional shower stall, large sitting area, private verandah, one sofa bed for one person, floor-to-ceiling windows.
 Approximately 273–456 sq. ft. including verandah. Include all the stateroom amenities, plus:

• A variety of firm, medium and soft pillow
• No-host mini-bar for easy entertainin
• Personalized cruise stationery
• Oversized bath towels
• One-touch telephone concierge service
• Fresh flowers
• Complimentary DVD library


Two lower beds convertible to one king-size bed, bathroom with dual sink vanity, full-size whirlpool bath, shower and additional shower stall, large sitting area, dressing room, private verandah, one sofa bed for two persons, floor-to-ceiling windows. Approximately 506–590 sq. ft. including verandah. Suite amenities include:

• Complimentary laundry, pressing and dry cleaning throughout your cruise
• Premium duvet, oversize bath towels and soft, cotton bathrobes and slipper
• Gorgeous corsages and boutonnieres for the first formal night
• Hors d'oeuvres served before dinner each evening on request
• Binoculars and umbrellas for your use on the cruise
• Cocktail party with ship officers
• Priority boarding for tender ports of call
• Special disembarkation service
• Priority dining and seating requests
• Exclusive daily breakfast service for suite guests only
• High tea service in suite on request
• A special Suite guest lunch event on cruises over 7 days in length

A very special amenity exclusively for guests cruising in a Deluxe Verandah Suite or Penthouse Verandah Suite, the industry-leading Neptune Lounge features a private place to relax, socialize with other suite guests and enjoy the personalized service of a concierge. The fleet-wide lounges provide worktables, large screen television, library, sofas and chairs, refreshments throughout the day and WiFi for a small charge. One-Touch 24-hour Concierge Service is available when the Neptune Lounge is closed.


Bedroom with one king-size bed, oversize whirlpool bath & shower & additional shower stall, living room, dining room, dressing room, private verandah with whirlpool, pantry, one sofa bed for two persons, microwave, refrigerator, guest toilet, private stereo system, floor-to-ceiling windows. 
Approximately 1357 sq. ft. including verandah. Include all the suite amenities, plus:

A very special amenity exclusively for guests cruising in a Deluxe Verandah Suite or Penthouse Verandah Suite, the industry-leading Neptune Lounge features a private place to relax, socialize with other suite guests and enjoy the personalized service of a concierge. The fleet-wide lounges provide worktables, large screen television, library, sofas and chairs, refreshments throughout the day and wi-fi for a small charge. One-Touch 24-hour Concierge Service is available when the Neptune Lounge is closed.


Standard cabins come with basic amenities, the Spa Staterooms add in a few extras.

Two plugs at the desk handled 110 and 220 volt; there was also a plug in the bathroom for a shaver. The WiFi signal in this cabin wasn’t strong. A flat screen TV and DVD player was above the desk (movie loaned at the front desk). In addition to major stations accessed on satellite, there were a few movie channels (one shows the movie played in the screening room the day previous). There was a safe in the closet and a mini bar stocked with soda, liquors and beer; bottled water was $3. The ice bucket was filled every morning. A bathrobe was provided for use during the cruise that could be purchased as a memento for $49.


Room service food was delivered promptly and it tasted pretty good, too.

In addition to a 24-hour menu, room service offers a breakfast menu available until 10:00 a.m. and a selection available between noon and 10:00 p.m. When placing our order the phone was answered soon, and the wait for delivery was not long. Breakfast can also be ordered with the door tag (left out by 2 a.m.), designating the desired time of delivery. We found the food to be pretty good for room service, and it did not take very long to be delivered. There was no charge for room service.
Everything comes on a tray with flowers, every plate has a lid, soups and cereals are covered with plastic wrap.

The breakfast menu offered a choice of juices, fresh fruits, low fat yogurt, breads, preserves, cereals, eggs and meats, as well as hot and cold beverages.

Highlights from the 24-hour menu included smoked Atlantic salmon, mixed garden greens, a triple-decker club sandwich (which we found quite tasty), all-American hamburger, an open-faced omelet, and a selection of cheeses.

A four-course meal could be ordered from the regular menu (available between noon and 10:00 p.m.), which included a nice selection of appetizers like a bay shrimp cocktail, French onion soup, smoked Atlantic salmon and mixed-green and Caesar salads. Entrées included a seared salmon steak, penne primavera, as well as sandwiches and burgers including the triple-decker club, California chicken sandwich, grilled tuna melt, steak sandwich, hamburger and a Thai vegetarian wrap.

Desserts included apple tart, chocolate cake with raspberry sauce, vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, fruit salad, and assorted cheeses.

The menu also has helpful suggestions for passages when the ship is in rocky waters. To soothe anxious stomachs, recommendations included beef broth and crackers, broiled chicken breast and rice, green apples and crackers, and hot tea.

Airline-size liquor bottles were $4.95, and also available were domestic and international beers, wine, sparkling wine, water, soft drinks, energy drinks and bloody mary mix ($2.45 each). A 15-percent service charge was automatically added to drink prices.
There are more dining choices here than on Holland America’s other mid-sized ships.


Among the seven options for dinner, the Manhattan Dining Room is the primary restaurant, and spread over two floors. The upper level offers traditional, fixed seatings at 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and the lower level offers open dining between 5:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Breakfast and dinner are daily, with lunch on sea days and days where you arrive at a port late.

There are two specialty restaurants requiring a surcharge. Pinnacle Grill is a steakhouse with solid preparations and upscale appointments and a fine wine list. Tamarind is an Asian fusion venue with delicious Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese dishes, including a long list of dim sum offerings. While the add-on is not significant ($15) Tamarind is also open for lunch on sea days, with no supplement (reservations still mandatory).

Each night creations by one of Holland America’s Culinary Council are featured, including Master Chef Rudi Sodamin. Other chefs affiliated with the line include David Burke (of the David Burke Townhouse in New York City), Marcus Samuelsson (a guest chef at the White House), Jonnie Boer (Michelin Star-winning head chef at De Librije in Holland), and Jacques Torres (one of the world’s top chocolatiers and pastry chefs).

There are two special dining events that foodies will want to try when sailing on Nieuw Amsterdam. One night a week the Pinnacle Grill tributes the Le Cirque restaurant in New York, with a set menu and wine pairings. Also be sure to check out the Master Chef's Room, held in the Pinnacle Grill on select nights. Exclusive to Nieuw Amsterdam, the Master Chef's Room is Holland America’s premiere dining experience—a seven-course feast with premium wines.

The more casual Lido Restaurant is a buffet on deck 9. Each day brings a different menu focused on international cuisine. At the sea view pool is Slices, an outdoor pizza place; on the other side at the Lido Pool is the Terrace Grill serving burgers and hot dogs.


There was no shortage of inventive cocktails and quality wine and beer available.

Drinks Overview

Twelve bars and lounges provide a venue that’s right for just about any cruiser. A “drink of the day” is offered daily, at a discount off the regular price.

Beverage tasting events provided an opportunity to try new wines, beers and mixed cocktails and are offered throughout the voyage. The Signature of Excellence Mixology Classes were $12.50 each, or $30 for all three different sessions. The International Beer Tasting session was $15.

Bottles of wine and champagne may be brought on board by guests; an $18 corkage fee is applied for bottles brought to the ship’s restaurants or bars. Other alcoholic beverages—those carried on board or purchased in the shops—cannot be consumed on the ship. Bottles are collected and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of the voyage.

All drinks are charged in U.S. dollars. Holland America’s drinking age is 21, regardless of port regulations.
The extensive wine selection is augmented by a longer list from the ship’s sommelier, with bottles from all over the world. Wines by the glass include White Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, at prices starting from $5.50. Champagnes by the glass include Domaine Chandon Brut and Veuve Clicquot ($9.50 and $14.50, respectively). Wines by the bottle start at $25 for a California Pinot Grigio and range up to $108 for a Banfi from Italy.

There is a long list of domestic and international beers.

All the classics are available along with signature drinks, created by Holland America. Lime margarita, spiced daiquiri, tropical cable car, citrus cosmopolitan, Tuscan lemon drop and a Fashionista were among the signature cocktails, all of which were $6.75. The cocktails of the day included fresh mojito, skinny berry citrus rita, pomegranate ginger drop and were priced $5.75. The Silk Room has a different drink menu, with Asian themed cocktails at similar prices.

Beverage cards avail a 5- to 50-percent savings off menu prices, and soda, non-alcoholic, and alcoholic beverage cards are available. The gin and tonic package—a bottle of Beefeater Gin and 3 cans of tonic—was $32. The beer package was a bucket of five beers, the mix and match domestic selection was $19, imported $21.

Wine packages come at two levels of quality, Navigator and Admirals Choice, with three options at each level. Additionally, you can purchase a package of three, five or seven bottles, starting at $89 ranging up to $269. All the major varietals are represented, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Malbec, Zinfandel, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon.

All bars and sommeliers on board can sell the drink packages.

Coffee, tea, juices and tap water are free of charge. Bottled water was $2.95.

There is also an afternoon tea service, with three different styles (schedule varies by cruise): casual tea, Royal Dutch High Tea, or Indonesian Afternoon Tea. Desserts and sweets accompany teas each afternoon.
Nieuw Amsterdam holds the Holland America Line’s largest fitness center.


For a mid-sized ship there are ample activities for guests to enjoy, and most of it is free of charge. Of special note are the hands-on cooking demonstrations held in the Queen’s Lounge in an elaborate show kitchen. These are free, though wine tastings and cocktail mixing lessons carry an add-on charge.

Although Holland America doesn’t cater specifically to the family audience, there are two dedicated areas for kids—one for teens the other for pre-teens.

Activities, classes and fitness sessions are detailed in the ship’s daily newsletter.
There are several cafés where passengers can grab a quick bite to eat outside of the main restaurants. Many of these places serve specialty coffee where you can get fancy lattes and other espresso drinks.


Lido Pool, Bar and Terrace Grill

Located in the center of the ship on the Lido Deck, this pool features a retractable roof—a welcome feature when sailing in cooler climes. There are two hot tubs on either end of the pool and a fountain feature. Around the pool are cushioned loungers as well as tables and chairs to sit down.

To one side of the pool are a series of small alcoves with big loungers. These spaces can be rented for $30 per day, and the fee includes a welcome glass of champagne, concierge service and lunch delivery.

Food

At the Terrace Grill a selection of burgers is available: cheeseburger, salmon filet, turkey, vegetarian and a selection of the day (like Mediterranean lamb burger) plus hot dogs, turkey dogs and fries. All are cooked to order and you’ll stack the trimmings yourself.

Drink

With bar stools shaped like a fish tail, the Lido Bar offers the same drinks as the ship’s other bars, along with a selection of iced drinks such as pina coladas and daiquiris. Drink service from the bar is available throughout the pool area.

Sea View Pool, Bar and Slice

The second pool is designated adults-only and has two hot tubs, and a shallow area of the pool to just sit and cool down. Loungers don’t have cushions, but there are a lot more than found in the Lido Pool area. A few chairs and tables allow you to enjoy food or drink from the Lido restaurant or from Slices.

Food

Slice is a small counter serving pizza through the day—common were Margherita, primavera and pepperoni.

Drink

The Sea View Bar has the same selection as the Lido Bar, including a complement of iced drinks such as pina coladas and daiquiris.

Explorations Café and Library

Explorations is three services in one: a specialty coffee house, the ship library and the internet station. The café opens at 7 a.m. and there were armchairs and sofas for enjoying the Deck 11 views or reading the day’s New York Times. In addition to computer stations, board games are available. A librarian and an Internet technician are usually present to assist. Immediately next door is the Crow’s Nest bar.

Drink

This is a Starbucks-style coffee shop with small and large specialty drinks—latte, cappuccino, mocha, cold and hot tea, etc.—as well as pastries. Prices start at $1.20 for a shot of espresso ranging up to $4.45 for the daily special in a large size.

There are a few non-food, non-drink oriented, public spaces on ship.


We found a few lounges on board that made for excellent quiet spaces, places to read, to relax away from the crowd, or to have a quiet conversation without the someone always asking if you would like to order something.

Atrium

Located between the guest services and shore excursion desks, the three-story Atrium is the hub of the ship. The design is modern with lots of chrome, white and dark purple, a comfortable place to sit when waiting for the desks to open. It’s also a nice backdrop for photos.

The Neptune Lounge

This is a private room set aside for guests staying in Deluxe Verandah or Penthouse suites, the Neptune Lounge offers concierge services. But as we weren’t in these rooms we didn’t tour the lounge, which is only accessible with designated key cards.

Holland America says the lounge has worktables, a large-screen television, library, sofas and chairs, refreshments, and WiFi for a small charge.

Club HAL and The Loft

For kids age 3 to 12, Club HAL offers supervised activities and diversions. Some of the activities included pirate treasure hunts, hands-on pizza making, storytelling, craft making, ice cream sundae parties and a farewell pajama party for small kids. Xbox and Wii tournaments were scheduled along with relay races, scavenger hunts, foosball, karaoke disco parties

Teenagers can hang out in the adjoining Loft and participate in supervised “mocktail” mixology classes, late night sporting competitions, yoga, hip hop classes. Adults are not permitted.

Nieuw Amsterdam has a small art gallery with contemporary art pieces for sale.

Other Activities

The Holland America Line is noted for its quality collection of antique and contemporary art displayed on-board, and this is especially true of the Nieuw Amsterdam, with a collection that showcases the historic connections between New York and Amsterdam. A vast mural by Harald Vlugt dipicts the historical links between New York and Amsterdam and there are works by Andy Warhol, Richard Estes and Roy Lichstenstein, plus photographs of celebrities taken by paparazzo Ron Galella. Also noteworthy is the chandelier hanging in the Atrium, creating an abstract vision of Manhattan’s skyline.

Screening Room

The 36-seat screening room plays recently released movies on DVD and offers free popcorn. Additionally, Ship Flicks has a huge catalog of movies for delivery and in-room viewing.

King’s Room

This small room on Deck 2 is full of PCs for digital workshops, all of which are free to guests. Classes include photo editing and posting, blog production, videos, scrapbooks, PC safety and maintenance and staying connected (through instant messaging and webcams). The 60-minute classes are oriented to those who are fairly new to computing. Reservations are taken on-board.

Meeting Rooms

Three small meeting rooms are found on Deck 3: Hudson, Half Moon and Stuyvesant. The walls of the rooms slide out to create one large venue. Otherwise, the Hudson Room is used primarily for religious services (Christian and ecumenical services).

This is a smallish spa with a thermal pool, hair and beauty salon, and a gym.


Green House Spa and Salon

The Green House Spa is an attractive facility with lots of light, comforting colors. In keeping with Nieuw Amsterdam’s modern trappings, the reception desk is stylish with a red counter, limited seating in something like metal garden chairs, and a few statues. Behind reception is the hair and beauty salon, which has its own relaxation and waiting area.

Treatment rooms are either interior or ocean-view, some have showers (for mud therapies) and others are set up for hydrotherapies, including massage rooms designated for couples treatments.

HAL encourages to book spa appointments in advance, but also offers specials during the cruise.

Additional Details

Some treatments include facial therapies, massages with fragrant oils, therapeutic water treatments, steam and herbal baths. You can partake in hot stone massages, pedicures, facials, hair styling, and acupuncture; just about everything you can imagine for beauty and relaxation.

Massage therapy comes inspired from cultures around the world, from Hawaiian Lomi Lomi to Chinese Tui Na.

Treatment prices start at $109 for sunless tanning, $125 for a tri-enzyme facial, $149 for a 50-minute aroma stone massage, and go up to $265 for an absolute spa ritual that includes both a facial and a massage.

In the hair and beauty salon, you can get extensive hair styling from $35, to a jewel foot ritual with pedicure for $70, to tooth whitening for $149. They also have treatments specifically for the men-folk.
A full fitness center, some outdoor sports, a few table games, and some extras make up the fitness regimen on the ship.


Deck 10 – Panorama

Deck 10 wraps around most of the ship. There are tables and loungers aft, starboard and port. At mid-ship are Club HAL and The Loft, areas devoted to kids and teens.

Sports and Fitness

Table tennis is found near the kids areas.

Green House Spa and Salon

The Green House Spa is an attractive facility with lots of light, comforting colors. In keeping with Nieuw Amsterdam’s modern trappings, the reception desk is stylish with a red counter, limited seating in something like metal garden chairs, and a few statues. Behind reception is the hair and beauty salon, which has its own relaxation and waiting area.

Treatment rooms are either interior or ocean-view, some have showers (for mud therapies) and others are set up for hydrotherapies, including massage rooms designated for couples treatments.

HAL encourages to book spa appointments in advance, but also offers specials during the cruise.

Sports and Fitness

A fully equipped, moderate size Fitness Center is located in back of the spa, with treadmills, stationary bikes, stair climbers, rowing machines, weights and weight machines. Most of the treadmills have a sea view over the bow of the ship. Fitness classes include yoga, pilates, indoor cycling and Cardio Ki-Bo Circuit Training, all supervised by trained instructors. Classes are $12 each ($40 for four); personal trainers are also available—$85 for one session or $209 for three.

The minimum age for guests to use the fitness center is 16 years. A hydrotherapy bubbling pool with warm, therapeutic seawater is also available, for a fee.

Additional Details

Some treatments include facial therapies, massages with fragrant oils, therapeutic water treatments, steam and herbal baths. You can partake in hot stone massages, pedicures, facials, hair styling, and acupuncture; just about everything you can imagine for beauty and relaxation.

Massage therapy comes inspired from cultures around the world, from Hawaiian Lomi Lomi to Chinese Tui Na.

Treatment prices start at $109 for sunless tanning, $125 for a tri-enzyme facial, $149 for a 50-minute aroma stone massage, and go up to $265 for an absolute spa ritual that includes both a facial and a massage.

In the hair and beauty salon, you can get extensive hair styling from $35, to a jewel foot ritual with pedicure for $70, to tooth whitening for $149. They also have treatments specifically for the men-folk.
The shops offer luxury on a variety of goods.


Shops

Holland America’s Signature Shops offer a range of fine, designer jewelry, watches, fragrances, premium liquor, and Holland America souvenirs. All purchases are tax and duty free. The Merabella Luxury Collection is a jewelry boutique featuring Le Vian, Chimento, Haytayan and Tara and Sons.

During the cruise, professional photographers were busy snapping photos of guests in different settings. At the gallery these pictures start to multiply after the first day on board, and guests can purchase the images to take home. Cameras and equipment are sold here, along with DVDs of the voyage and destinations.

Nieuw Amsterdam has a small art gallery with contemporary art pieces for sale.

There are movies, lectures, and more on the ms Nieuw Amsterdam .


Pinnacle Grill

One of two specialty restaurants on Nieuw Amsterdam, the 112-seat Pinnacle Grill is a steak- and seafood-house requiring a $25 surcharge for dinner. The décor is dark but elegant, with black and white walls, white Frette tablecloths, crystal chandeliers, Bulgari china and Riedel stemware. Once a week the Pinnacle Grill is transformed into “An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill,” a tribute to the famed Le Cirque restaurant in New York. On this evening guests will find a set menu with wine pairings, and reservation are necessary; there is a $39 supplement for this evening, still considerably less than dining at le real Cirque.

Other Activities

Exclusive to the Nieuw Amsterdam, on select nights a separate section of the Pinnacle Grill is devoted to the Master Chef’s Room. The evening is advertised as the ultimate dining experience designed by Holland America’s master chef Rudi Sodamin. The seven-course menu is paired with premium wines, served on awesome Versace china. Reservations are mandatory; the add-on is $89 per person, which includes wine pairings.

On the night we enjoyed the Master Chef’s Room the menu included goose liver with mâche, avocado and raspberry kaffir vinagrette; a frappe of lobster and porcini mushroom; sea bass with caviar; a lime and candied ginger granite; a duo of veal with black truffle, pearl onion and puréed artichokes; an assortment of artisan cheeses with honey comb and fruit compote; and a “dialogue” of chocolate seduction. Every dish was over-the-top in presentation, and the duo of veal with tender meat and a nice truffle taste was particularly delicious.

Wine pairings included Veuve Clicquot a Labouré-Roi Pommard, Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, and Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino. The selections proved to be perfect matches.

Note that the Master Chef’s Room is quite popular, with very limited seating—book it before you board.

Club HAL and The Loft

For kids age 3 to 12, Club HAL offers supervised activities and diversions. Some of the activities included pirate treasure hunts, hands-on pizza making, storytelling, craft making, ice cream sundae parties and a farewell pajama party for small kids. Xbox and Wii tournaments were scheduled along with relay races, scavenger hunts, foosball, karaoke disco parties

Teenagers can hang out in the adjoining Loft and participate in supervised “mocktail” mixology classes, late night sporting competitions, yoga, hip hop classes. Adults are not permitted.

Shops

Holland America’s Signature Shops offer a range of fine, designer jewelry, watches, fragrances, premium liquor, and Holland America souvenirs. All purchases are tax and duty free. The Merabella Luxury Collection is a jewelry boutique featuring Le Vian, Chimento, Haytayan and Tara and Sons.

During the cruise, professional photographers were busy snapping photos of guests in different settings. At the gallery these pictures start to multiply after the first day on board, and guests can purchase the images to take home. Cameras and equipment are sold here, along with DVDs of the voyage and destinations.

Nieuw Amsterdam has a small art gallery with contemporary art pieces for sale.

Other Activities

The Holland America Line is noted for its quality collection of antique and contemporary art displayed on-board, and this is especially true of the Nieuw Amsterdam, with a collection that showcases the historic connections between New York and Amsterdam. A vast mural by Harald Vlugt dipicts the historical links between New York and Amsterdam and there are works by Andy Warhol, Richard Estes and Roy Lichstenstein, plus photographs of celebrities taken by paparazzo Ron Galella. Also noteworthy is the chandelier hanging in the Atrium, creating an abstract vision of Manhattan’s skyline.

Screening Room

The 36-seat screening room plays recently released movies on DVD and offers free popcorn. Additionally, Ship Flicks has a huge catalog of movies for delivery and in-room viewing.

King’s Room

This small room on Deck 2 is full of PCs for digital workshops, all of which are free to guests. Classes include photo editing and posting, blog production, videos, scrapbooks, PC safety and maintenance and staying connected (through instant messaging and webcams). The 60-minute classes are oriented to those who are fairly new to computing. Reservations are taken on-board.

Queen’s Lounge and Culinary Art Center

A show kitchen at sea, this large venue is designed for hands-on cooking demonstrations. Two large plasma video screens project the goings-on at the cooking counter, hosted by the on-board party planner and guest chefs. The demonstrations and lessons range from seasonal and local cuisine to fruit- and vegetable-carving, special wine tastings and food pairing seminars, along with cookbook signings and Q&A sessions. One can also sign up for market tours in selected ports of call. Reserve classes on board.

Showroom at Sea

This state-of-the-art two-tiered theater has a huge stage and two shows nightly, timed for early and late dining. Offerings include concerts, musicals, illusionists and comedians.

There are a lot of shows on this ship. You can catch one every night with two performances for early and late audiences.


Showroom at Sea

This state-of-the-art two-tiered theater has a huge stage and two shows nightly, timed for early and late dining. Offerings include concerts, musicals, illusionists and comedians.

From a classical string quartet to a disco pounding out hits, there is something for most appetites.



Games of chance, mysterious women, risk, reward, adventure, and dry cocktail can all be found here.

Casino and Casino Bar

Games available on the ship included Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Three Card Poker, Texas Hold ‘Em, and there were slot machines (coinless) ranging from penny to $5 play, plus Video Poker. A lottery was held with a drawing for a seven-day cruise. Blackjack tournaments and gaming lessons were available.

Holland America also has a player’s club, Club 21, accessed using your key card. Guests under 18 are not allowed in the casino.

Drinks

The Casino Bar at the entrance of the casino is the only area inside the ship where smoking is permitted. The facility has a bar and stools, as well as chairs and sofas. It’s a small but open area, but a little loud when the slot machines are percolating.

Deck 9 is devoted to swimming and sunning.


The two pools are both found on Deck 9—the Lido pool at mid-ship and the Sea View pool aft, both accompanied by hot tubs. There is a lot of deck space for lounging but the pools can be busy on sea days, especially the Sea View, which is designated as an adults-only area.

Additional sunning areas are found on Deck 10, the Panorama Deck, with its loungers and tables; on Deck 12 forward, which a lot of people don’t seem to discover; and Deck 3, the Promenade Deck. The Cabana Club is a secluded area with nice little alcoves and a concierge service, but there’s a charge for using this area.
The main pool on the Lido Deck has a retractable roof for days when the weather doesn’t cooperate.


Lido Pool, Bar and Terrace Grill

Located in the center of the ship on the Lido Deck, this pool features a retractable roof—a welcome feature when sailing in cooler climes. There are two hot tubs on either end of the pool and a fountain feature. Around the pool are cushioned loungers as well as tables and chairs to sit down.

To one side of the pool are a series of small alcoves with big loungers. These spaces can be rented for $30 per day, and the fee includes a welcome glass of champagne, concierge service and lunch delivery.

Sea View Pool, Bar and Slice

The second pool is designated adults-only and has two hot tubs, and a shallow area of the pool to just sit and cool down. Loungers don’t have cushions, but there are a lot more than found in the Lido Pool area. A few chairs and tables allow you to enjoy food or drink from the Lido restaurant or from Slices.

Overall, there is ample space for lounging and sunning, though not always poolside.


Lido Pool, Bar and Terrace Grill

Located in the center of the ship on the Lido Deck, this pool features a retractable roof—a welcome feature when sailing in cooler climes. There are two hot tubs on either end of the pool and a fountain feature. Around the pool are cushioned loungers as well as tables and chairs to sit down.

To one side of the pool are a series of small alcoves with big loungers. These spaces can be rented for $30 per day, and the fee includes a welcome glass of champagne, concierge service and lunch delivery.

Sea View Pool, Bar and Slice

The second pool is designated adults-only and has two hot tubs, and a shallow area of the pool to just sit and cool down. Loungers don’t have cushions, but there are a lot more than found in the Lido Pool area. A few chairs and tables allow you to enjoy food or drink from the Lido restaurant or from Slices.

Promenade Deck

Deck 3 represents the Promenade Deck and wraps the entire ship. Thee laps around this deck represents a mile, but no jogging is allowed. There are some loungers and it’s a relatively quiet area to lay in the sun or shade and relax.

Cabana Club

On deck 11, the Cabana Club is a series of square, open-air tents furnished with comfy loungers and dining tables, available for a fee. In addition to producing a modicum of privacy and elbow room, the fee includes a small, delivered lunch, iPods, and concierge services. Corner units are biggest and offer panoramic views. The cabanas can be reserved, and they often book up before departure. A massage tent is also available for treatments, including couples massages.

Deck 10 – Panorama

Deck 10 wraps around most of the ship. There are tables and loungers aft, starboard and port. At mid-ship are Club HAL and The Loft, areas devoted to kids and teens.

Deck 12 – Observation

Just above Explorations Café and Crow’s Nest, this broad, open deck is a fine place to take in the view and soak in the sun and sea breeze. Chairs, loungers and tables are available, along with an outdoor shower for rinsing off.

Sports Court – Deck 11

Basketball, ping-pong, tennis, volleyball are available at the sports court on Deck 11.

Sometimes a bit slow, but always friendly and cheerful.


We found the staff to be wonderful people. They would help us whenever they could and were always cheerful about it. Service can be slow however. On such a big ship, this can be expected, but we have to call it like it is.
We offer some quick facts about the ship and detail the deck layouts.



We have an accounting of all the expected gratuities, and a detail of our opinion on the service.

Nieuw Amsterdam’s staff was friendly and attentive, although some dining room staff was very slow and sometimes their accents were hard to understand. One morning breakfast was so slow, we waited for 30 minutes and some people almost missed their shore excursion. Something was wrong in the kitchen, we were told.

Cabin stewards were kind of invisible, and the “please service” sign hung on our door didn’t always do the trick. We had prompter service when something broke.
A gratuity of $11.50 per day, per guest was charged to our shipboard account (the gratuity is $12 per day for those staying in suites). The gratuity is shared by room stewards and waiters. Additionally, a 15-percent gratuity was automatically added to all bar charges and to wine purchases in dining rooms.
On our seven-night cruise there were two formal nights with tuxedos or suits required for men and gowns/cocktail dresses for women. The rest of the cruise was a mix of smart casual and casual nights, but no jeans, shorts etc. were allowed after dark, except at the more casual Lido Restaurant.
Guests are automatically enrolled in Mariner Society membership after their first cruise with Holland America. Each day earns cruise day credits which can be accumulated; services purchased on-board—such as spa treatments, dining at specialty restaurants and taking shore excursions—also count. The credits can be used towards a gourmet dinner, massage, shore excursions, etc. on future cruses. The more cruise day credits cruisers accumulate, the higher their “star” level. The highest level—Four-Star Mariner—is attained after 200 cruise days.

Other perks of the Mariner Society, depending on star level, include:

• A collectible gift presented to you on board

• A 15 percent discount on Holland America’s merchandize

• A 50 percent discount on cruise fares for the third or fourth guests sharing your stateroom on certain sailings

• A waiver of air deviation fees

• Priority disembarkation, tender and check in

• Invitations to special sailings
This is mostly a smoke free ship. There is a medical center on board for emergencies.


There is a medical center located on Deck 1, open 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. There is a physician available for more serious issues; consultations are charged to the on-board account.
Most of the ship is designated as smoke-free. There are only a few places—like the casino bar and the Sea View Pool and Bar—that are designated as smoking areas.
The Queen Mary 2 is a huge ocean liner designed for Atlantic voyages, while Nieuw Amsterdam is somewhat less imposing.


Several aspects distinguish the experience of sailing on these two upscale ships, both of which are the largest for their respective lines.

Although Queen Mary 2 carries 2,620 passengers—less than half that of Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas—the QM2 is still a massive vessel. In gross tonnage it is the seventh-largest ship sailing today, and in length it ranks behind only the two Royal Caribbean mega-liners, taller than the Empire State Building. The QM2 was designed for big sea voyages in sometimes problematic conditions, making the ship ideal for its regularly scheduled trans-Atlantic crossings.

By contrast, Nieuw Amsterdam is about 200 feet shorter in length and carries 2,106 passengers. There are still plenty of restaurants, bars and activities aboard Nieuw Amsterdam, and the facilities are accessible to all. On the QM2, an elite class system is in effect—those staying in “Grill” class accommodations will find themselves separated (especially when dining) from the lowly masses staying in Britannia Class quarters.

Through its artwork and styling, crew and even tea services, Holland America’s Dutch roots accent a journey aboard Nieuw Amsterdam, whereas the QE2 keeps one foot firmly planted in its British maritime heritage. Both ships have an element of flash, if that’s your cup of tea, and both cater to a slightly older, more traditional crowd. Although Nieuw Amsterdam is a slightly newer ship (2010 vs. 2004) the QM2 received a renovation in late 2011 that brought the décor up-to-date.
Similar in size and capacity, Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam and the Celebrity Summit have distinct identities.


On the surface, Nieuw Amsterdam and Celebrity Summit seem almost identical in ways both grand and subtle. Both ships come in just under 1,000 feet in length and have about 1,000 cabins apiece. On both, many public areas are accented by fresh flowers and worthwhile artwork.

But there are important distinctions between the experiences guests have on the two ships. Celebrity Summit has a slightly more favorable staff-to-guest ratio. And Summit boasts more than 10 percent additional elbow-room per passenger compared to Nieuw Amsterdam (alas, most of that will be founding public areas, not in standard guest quarters, which are almost equally cramped on both ships).

Although Celebrity Summit was built in 2001, the ship emerged from a renovation in early 2012 that added dining options similar to those available on the newer Solstice-class ships. Celebrity Summit should have benefited from the freshening—a common complain was the ship was beginning to look a bit tired. Still, Nieuw Amsterdam debuted in 2010 so, for the immediate future, décor and upkeep should be ship-shape here, as well. It has a larger spa and fitness area, and a greater variety of dining options.

The ambiance on board the two ships is similar: Celebrity and Holland America cater to upper-middle-class travelers, not the mass-market crowd for the most part. You won’t find rock-climbing walls on either ship, the DJ doesn’t set the mood ship-wide, and formal nights are still a tradition. This lends a relative degree of sophistication to the experience on either ship, an element many repeat cruisers appreciate.
In most ways, there’s no comparison—but we’ll try anyway.


Carrying as many as 6,300 passengers and a crew of more than 2,000, Allure of the Seas (and sister ship Oasis of the Seas)—has 30 percent more capacity than the next largest ship in the ocean, the Norwegian Epic. As such, Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam—with just 1,053 cabins—looks a bit like a pip-squeak by comparison.

The two ships launched just months apart in 2010, and so both feature the latest technology both above and below deck. Interestingly, the passenger space ratio is almost the same, but Royal Caribbean has won kudos for designing an efficient flow that minimizes the kind of crowding one might expect. Still, by sheer numbers, Allure of the Seas beats Nieuw Amsterdam in pretty much every category, starting by offering more than double the dining options (more than one can sample in a week-long cruise). But while not as varied, the quality of food on the smaller ship is generally better. And Nieuw Amsterdam avails a more intimate and personalized experience; the kind where one can find quiet room for reading or reflection at almost any hour of the day.

David-and-Goliath comparisons aside it’s also worth noting that, currently, Allure of the Seas offers a very limited choice of itineraries—most Caribbean ports simply cannot handle a vessel of this size. But that’s probably okay for most of the passengers on board, many of whom could care less whether the port of call is Aruba, Bermuda or Cuba. On Allure of the Seas, the journey’s the thing, not the destination. By contrast, Holland America’s pride and joy can dock at most major ports in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, and Nieuw Amsterdam draws a crowd that’s as eager to see what’s off the boat as well as what’s afloat.
As a mid-size ship offering mid-priced itineraries, we found Nieuw Amsterdam provided a very enjoyable cruise experience.

Holland America’s penchant for quality artwork and classy design reaches its zenith on this attractive ship, and the Manhattan theme is carried through is ways both subtle and bold. We loved being on a ship lined with old photos and prints from New York, with a sprinkling of works by artists like Warhol and Lichtenstein. Although service was not always prompt, we enjoyed the upbeat crew, many of whom hailed from Indonesia (another former colony of Holland) who kept the Dutch connection alive in a roundabout way.

Our Interior cabin was tight, and for being a new ship, we found this room to be pretty loud—it sounded like it was falling apart on rough sea days. If cruising on this ship again and staying in an Interior cabin we would opt for one closer to mid-ship (or we’d spring for an Ocean-view cabin). There was a great library of DVDs to choose from but the TV was too small, and couldn’t be rotated for more comfortable viewing.

Fortunately there were enough diversions to not keep us chained to our cabin. Dining was above average and offered more variety than is found on most of Holland America’s fleet. The Pinnacle Grill is definitely worth an evening, but we enjoyed the Tamarind even more. Our experience at the Master Chef’s Room was memorable—fine food, the best wine pairings, and gorgeous trappings. This is definitely worth a splurge.

Signature drinks on board were mostly delicious. We found two of the bars to be little used on our cruise. The disco Northern Lights was often empty, which was hardly the right backdrop for the pumping music. And Silk Den was sometimes vacant, but it provides an awesome view and an expanded drink menu with an Asian twist. Entertainment options, concentrated on decks 2 and 3, were enjoyable. We found the adults-only Sea View Pool and Bar to be pretty crowded on sea days (it also has more loungers than the Lido Pool area).

The ship is well geared to couples, but with a slightly younger demographic present than on some Holland America ships, singles won’t be out of sorts. Although there is Club HAL for the children on board, Nieuw Amsterdam is not really designed for family vacations.

Aside from our clunky cabin, this ship was most enjoyable—not too big, not too small, with great food and a solid roster of activities.
You’ll be eating here more than once, but a long list of options is available to diners at this satisfying restaurant.


Overview

This is Nieuw Amsterdam’s main restaurant, a huge venue spread over two levels, one for traditional seatings at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m., one for open dining till 9:00 p.m. Trimmed with bouquets of fresh flowers, the restaurant has a sophisticated red and white decor, and chairs are robed in white covers for formal nights (typically occurring twice in a seven-day cruise). Located on decks 2 and 3 aft, a staircase in the middle connects the two levels; midway up is a terrace with a few tables that provide a unique vantage point. The dinner menu changes daily and offers some healthier choices, both meat and vegetarian.

Breakfast is offered daily and starts with simpler dishes like fruits, cold cuts, yogurts, cold and hot cereals, egg and cheese sandwiches, bagel and lox. But many choices are available, ranging from traditional classics like Belgian waffle, pancakes and tasty cinnamon-sugar French toast, to three-egg omelets, eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine, kippered herring.

International fare includes the Japanese breakfast (miso soup, white rice, tamagoyaki and broiled salmon), the full English breakfast (scrambled eggs, English banger sausage, bacon, baked beans, hash browns, grilled half tomato), the Scandinavian breakfast (smoked salmon, pickled herring, hard boiled egg, dark rye bread) and, of course—because we’re aboard Holland America—the Dutch breakfast: Uitsmijter is a classic open-face sandwich with thick white bread, ham, aged Gouda, and two eggs sunny side up.

On sea days, the restaurant is open for lunch and the selection covers comfort foods like burgers, pasta and sandwiches (tuna melt, turkey sandwich).

Each evening, the menu goes classy, usually starting with fruit appetizer and a choice of soups (bacon cheddar cheese, gazpacho, spicy two-bean and cream of four mushrooms) and salads (Niçoise, Caprese, Thai papaya, chilled lychees with kiwi wedges). Other appetizers included jumbo shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels and clams in white wine, duck pâte, prosciutto ham with melon, cheese soufflé, scallops cocktail, carpaccio, mushroom crostini, escargots and baked brie.

Entrées included linguini with scallops and shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, a surf and turf offering (called “Land and Sea” here), rack of lamb, pheasant breast in sage walnut sauce, baked and stuffed eggplant, seared Cajun tuna steak, veal chop with creamy porcini sauce, filet of cobia (black salmon) with lobster dumplings, mushroom ravioli, rainbow trout with crawfish beurre blanc, osso buco, duck a l’orange, filet mignon, strip loin steak, turkey, prime rib, short ribs. Ten options in all are usually available. Good ideas for vegetarians include vegetarian meatloaf on asiago polenta with artichokes, mushrooms and carrots, mushroom risotto, and pumpkin ravioli.

The ambiance is sophisticated, especially on formal nights when crab legs and lobster come out (the crab legs were delicious, and being halved the meat popped out easily). Dinner on the last night was salmon tartar, lobster bisque and duck a l'orange—the best dinner we had in the Manhattan Dining Room.

Daily desserts included a chocolate brownie stack, fruit crisps of the day, fruit plate, cheese plate, and ice cream. Other offerings included brioche with caramelized apricots, caramelized pear crêpe, tiramisu, balsamic strawberries, Viennese apple strudel, cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and baked Alaska. A chocolate platter with crispy chocolate cornflakes, white chocolate mousse and a slice of bitter-sweet chocolate cake was triple delicious.
Nieuw Amsterdam’s signature dining room is well worth signing up for on at least one night of your cruise.


Overview

One of two specialty restaurants on Nieuw Amsterdam, the 112-seat Pinnacle Grill is a steak- and seafood-house requiring a $25 surcharge for dinner. The décor is dark but elegant, with black and white walls, white Frette tablecloths, crystal chandeliers, Bulgari china and Riedel stemware. Once a week the Pinnacle Grill is transformed into “An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill,” a tribute to the famed Le Cirque restaurant in New York. On this evening guests will find a set menu with wine pairings, and reservation are necessary; there is a $39 supplement for this evening, still considerably less than dining at le real Cirque.

Starters include Dungeness crab cakes with shaved cucumber and sweet chili sauce, seared duck breast with pickled Walla Walla sweet onion and blackberry relish, a dish called Smoked Pleasures of the Sea featuring black cod, salmon and scallops with wasabi cream. The fish sliced for the Pinnacle seafood carpaccio were way too thick, but it was tasty and fresh anyway. Salads are prepared tableside: Seasonal greens with pear, pecan-crusted Oregon blue cheese, and cider-pear vinaigrette, or the Caesar with romaine tossed with Holland America’s dressing. As an amuse-bouche we were served mushroom cappuccino in an espresso cup, delicious with a truffle accent.

For entrées, the focus is on beef, and all the classics are covered—filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse and New York strip steak—each served with a choice of sauces like sun-dried tomato, béarnaise and horseradish-mustard. Other offerings include lamb rack chops with apple-spice chutney and mint sauce, quick-seared king salmon, served with lemon garlic herb slash or sesame soy Korean kalbi, and grilled diver scallops with wok-seared vegetables in a Thai green curry, with jasmine rice and sweet orange leek marmalade. Our porterhouse steak was almost as big as the plate, cooked to perfection and served with béarnaise. The cut had a lot of fat and sinews, but also ample meat; on the side, mushrooms and rice were good but nothing special, while the onions were overdone.

Desserts included a trio of creme brûlée (vanilla, coffee, chocolate) and one can have a soufflé, though it needs to be ordered with the main course.

On sea days, the Pinnacle Grill also hosts lunch, with a $10 surcharge. Pinnacle Grill is also open for breakfast, but only for guests staying in suites.

Exclusive to the Nieuw Amsterdam, on select nights a separate section of the Pinnacle Grill is devoted to the Master Chef’s Room. The evening is advertised as the ultimate dining experience designed by Holland America’s master chef Rudi Sodamin. The seven-course menu is paired with premium wines, served on awesome Versace china. Reservations are mandatory; the add-on is $89 per person, which includes wine pairings.

On the night we enjoyed the Master Chef’s Room the menu included goose liver with mâche, avocado and raspberry kaffir vinagrette; a frappe of lobster and porcini mushroom; sea bass with caviar; a lime and candied ginger granite; a duo of veal with black truffle, pearl onion and puréed artichokes; an assortment of artisan cheeses with honey comb and fruit compote; and a “dialogue” of chocolate seduction. Every dish was over-the-top in presentation, and the duo of veal with tender meat and a nice truffle taste was particularly delicious.

Wine pairings included Veuve Clicquot a Labouré-Roi Pommard, Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling, and Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino. The selections proved to be perfect matches.

Note that the Master Chef’s Room is quite popular, with very limited seating—book it before you board.
A pan-Asian menu highlights this top-deck dining room that reveals wonderful views.


Overview

Featuring a fusion of various Asian cuisines—Chinese, Thai, Japanese—Tamarind is attractively accented with rice paper lamps and dark bamboo furniture. Perched mid-ship on the top deck, the 144-seat venue also boasts panoramic views of the sea. When there’s nothing to see outside you can watch the chef prepare your sushi from the open kitchen. There is a $15 surcharge for dinner here, but lunch—a set menu of dim sum only—doesn’t require a supplement.

Lunch at Tamarind starts with a hot and sour soup, followed by an Asian herb Szechuan sesame salad sprinkled with shrimp chips. We found the salad boring—it tasted like nothing. But the traditional steamed dumplings were satisfying and included chicken, pork, vegetable, and shrimp shu mai. Dim sum from the wok included vegetable spring roll, shrimp won ton sticks, shrimp spring roll and spicy crab Rangoon—the latter was awesome. Four sauces were available to accompany these bites and we found them quite good and not too spicy.

Dinner starts with a traditional soup followed by shrimp chips with various sauces for dipping: hot, medium, sweet, soy sauce—delectable. Shrimp tempura was accompanied by a chili dip and green papaya salad. This papaya slaw was refreshing—acidic, not sweet. For sushi we enjoyed nigiri with tuna, salmon and halibut—these tasted just right. Our favorite was the pork dish with coconut. This delicious dish can be spiced as hot as you want (or not) and we really hit it. The accompanying bok choy with oyster sauce was lovely.

For dessert there was mango sorbet, coconut ice cream, an egg tart, and green tea tiramisu. We chose the vanilla soufflés with mango sauce and chunks of mango pieces (delightful) and loved the chocolate mousse with ginger, though it was a tad heavy.

In addition to Holland America’s signature drinks, Tamarind's bar is the adjoining Silk Room, which specializes in saketinis—drinks served in cocktail glasses using sake as a mixer and wearing names like Sake Tumi, Sweet Raspberry and Samurai Mojito.
The main buffet restaurant also features cooked-to-order items.


Overview

Occupying the center of the Lido Deck, the decor of this casual dining room is simple but elegant, with accents of dark wood, green and red. There is also an outdoor dining section, for days (or evenings) when the sea air proves irresistible. Lido provides a wide variety of international dishes—from sushi to Jamaican jerk chicken—and every day reveals new offerings.

During the first two days of a cruise, plates are served by the dining staff, a policy that Holland America says has greatly reduced the opportunity for contagious diseases to spread. On the third day of our cruise, Lido became self-service.

Continental breakfast started at 6 a.m. for early risers, and 30 minutes later the full, hot buffet emerged. On offer were pancakes and waffles, cold cuts, fresh fruits, breads, pastries, yogurts and cereals, along with a station preparing made-to-order omelets.

Lunch featured international cuisine, including an Asian stir-fry, pizzas, pastas, soups and sushi. There were lots of salads, fruits and other healthy pickings, but also a carving station, burgers and fresh sandwiches (you can even make your own grilled Panini). On the first day of the cruise, there was a barbecue on the Lido Deck.

For dinner, when passenger attention to shifts to some of the ship’s more refined offerings, half of the buffet is closed and choices aren’t as diverse as earlier in the day. The casual dinner changes nightly, but choices included wiener schnitzel, New York sirloin steak, Jamaican jerk chicken and seared beef tataki. There were lots of desserts on offer, many bite-sized or in small shot glasses—from cakes and brownies to healthier choices—and we loved the ice cream bar with all the fixings, including fresh cookies, for your own ice cream and sundaes.

Between 11 p.m. and midnight the Lido opens again for light meals—cold cuts, breads, etc.

Like magic, each evening one corner of the Lido Restaurant transforms into an Italian bistro.


Overview

Repurposing one corner of the Lido Restaurant, this dinner-only venue offers casual, a la carte Italian cuisine—salads and soups, pasta, meat, fish and poultry. White tablecloths, tableside service, and an Italian-heavy wine list distinguish Canaletto from the usual Lido ambience. There’s no surcharge for dining here, and it’s popular enough that reservations are recommended.

Olive bread and focaccia arrived first, followed by antipasti prepared for us at the table, with zucchini, olives, tomatoes, prosciutto and mozzarella. For soup there was minestrone and zuppa die pesce (seafood with vegetables)—the latter was hearty, with lots of vegetables, mussels and fish. Pastas included penne a la vodka, linguini frutti di mare and meat lasagna. For an entrée we enjoyed the marsala scaloppini, made with thinly sliced veal—the sauce was amazing.

The dessert choices properly reflected Italy’s sweet tooth, and included limoncello cream, a millefeuille of Madagascar chocolate, and various gelati. We chose the trio of tiramisu—the traditional espresso was properly delicious, and the amaretto interpretation was good, but the lemon disappointed.

The wine list at Canaletto focuses more on Italian bottles, but wines from the regular wine list are also available.

The main pool area has a bar and grill.


Overview

Located in the center of the ship on the Lido Deck, this pool features a retractable roof—a welcome feature when sailing in cooler climes. There are two hot tubs on either end of the pool and a fountain feature. Around the pool are cushioned loungers as well as tables and chairs to sit down.

To one side of the pool are a series of small alcoves with big loungers. These spaces can be rented for $30 per day, and the fee includes a welcome glass of champagne, concierge service and lunch delivery.

At the Terrace Grill a selection of burgers is available: cheeseburger, salmon filet, turkey, vegetarian and a selection of the day (like Mediterranean lamb burger) plus hot dogs, turkey dogs and fries. All are cooked to order and you’ll stack the trimmings yourself.

With bar stools shaped like a fish tail, the Lido Bar offers the same drinks as the ship’s other bars, along with a selection of iced drinks such as pina coladas and daiquiris. Drink service from the bar is available throughout the pool area.

No kids here and lots of loungers for relaxing.


Overview

The second pool is designated adults-only and has two hot tubs, and a shallow area of the pool to just sit and cool down. Loungers don’t have cushions, but there are a lot more than found in the Lido Pool area. A few chairs and tables allow you to enjoy food or drink from the Lido restaurant or from Slices.

Slice is a small counter serving pizza through the day—common were Margherita, primavera and pepperoni.

The Sea View Bar has the same selection as the Lido Bar, including a complement of iced drinks such as pina coladas and daiquiris.

Go for a stroll, but don’t break into a run to work off those extra calories.


Overview

Deck 3 represents the Promenade Deck and wraps the entire ship. Thee laps around this deck represents a mile, but no jogging is allowed. There are some loungers and it’s a relatively quiet area to lay in the sun or shade and relax.

What’s a cruise ship without cabanas?


Overview

On deck 11, the Cabana Club is a series of square, open-air tents furnished with comfy loungers and dining tables, available for a fee. In addition to producing a modicum of privacy and elbow room, the fee includes a small, delivered lunch, iPods, and concierge services. Corner units are biggest and offer panoramic views. The cabanas can be reserved, and they often book up before departure. A massage tent is also available for treatments, including couples massages.

This spans most of the ship.


Overview

Deck 10 wraps around most of the ship. There are tables and loungers aft, starboard and port. At mid-ship are Club HAL and The Loft, areas devoted to kids and teens.
Table tennis is found near the kids areas.

Work on your tan or muss your hair.


Overview

Just above Explorations Café and Crow’s Nest, this broad, open deck is a fine place to take in the view and soak in the sun and sea breeze. Chairs, loungers and tables are available, along with an outdoor shower for rinsing off.

The ship’s libarary.


Overview

Explorations is three services in one: a specialty coffee house, the ship library and the internet station. The café opens at 7 a.m. and there were armchairs and sofas for enjoying the Deck 11 views or reading the day’s New York Times. In addition to computer stations, board games are available. A librarian and an Internet technician are usually present to assist. Immediately next door is the Crow’s Nest bar.

This is a Starbucks-style coffee shop with small and large specialty drinks—latte, cappuccino, mocha, cold and hot tea, etc.—as well as pastries. Prices start at $1.20 for a shot of espresso ranging up to $4.45 for the daily special in a large size.

The grand lobby on the ms Nieuw Amsterdam .


Overview

Located between the guest services and shore excursion desks, the three-story Atrium is the hub of the ship. The design is modern with lots of chrome, white and dark purple, a comfortable place to sit when waiting for the desks to open. It’s also a nice backdrop for photos.

A lounge for deluxe level guests.


Overview

This is a private room set aside for guests staying in Deluxe Verandah or Penthouse suites, the Neptune Lounge offers concierge services. But as we weren’t in these rooms we didn’t tour the lounge, which is only accessible with designated key cards.

Holland America says the lounge has worktables, a large-screen television, library, sofas and chairs, refreshments, and WiFi for a small charge.

Holland America’s designated kids area is on Deck 10 and features a pair of side-by-side facilities based on age.


Overview

For kids age 3 to 12, Club HAL offers supervised activities and diversions. Some of the activities included pirate treasure hunts, hands-on pizza making, storytelling, craft making, ice cream sundae parties and a farewell pajama party for small kids. Xbox and Wii tournaments were scheduled along with relay races, scavenger hunts, foosball, karaoke disco parties

Teenagers can hang out in the adjoining Loft and participate in supervised “mocktail” mixology classes, late night sporting competitions, yoga, hip hop classes. Adults are not permitted.

This is a smallish spa with a thermal pool, hair and beauty salon, and a gym.


Overview

The Green House Spa is an attractive facility with lots of light, comforting colors. In keeping with Nieuw Amsterdam’s modern trappings, the reception desk is stylish with a red counter, limited seating in something like metal garden chairs, and a few statues. Behind reception is the hair and beauty salon, which has its own relaxation and waiting area.

Treatment rooms are either interior or ocean-view, some have showers (for mud therapies) and others are set up for hydrotherapies, including massage rooms designated for couples treatments.

HAL encourages to book spa appointments in advance, but also offers specials during the cruise.

A fully equipped, moderate size Fitness Center is located in back of the spa, with treadmills, stationary bikes, stair climbers, rowing machines, weights and weight machines. Most of the treadmills have a sea view over the bow of the ship. Fitness classes include yoga, pilates, indoor cycling and Cardio Ki-Bo Circuit Training, all supervised by trained instructors. Classes are $12 each ($40 for four); personal trainers are also available—$85 for one session or $209 for three.

The minimum age for guests to use the fitness center is 16 years. A hydrotherapy bubbling pool with warm, therapeutic seawater is also available, for a fee.

Some treatments include facial therapies, massages with fragrant oils, therapeutic water treatments, steam and herbal baths. You can partake in hot stone massages, pedicures, facials, hair styling, and acupuncture; just about everything you can imagine for beauty and relaxation.

Massage therapy comes inspired from cultures around the world, from Hawaiian Lomi Lomi to Chinese Tui Na.

Treatment prices start at $109 for sunless tanning, $125 for a tri-enzyme facial, $149 for a 50-minute aroma stone massage, and go up to $265 for an absolute spa ritual that includes both a facial and a massage.

In the hair and beauty salon, you can get extensive hair styling from $35, to a jewel foot ritual with pedicure for $70, to tooth whitening for $149. They also have treatments specifically for the men-folk.
Ping pong is a sport right?


Overview

Basketball, ping-pong, tennis, volleyball are available at the sports court on Deck 11.

The shops have luxury in common.


Overview

Holland America’s Signature Shops offer a range of fine, designer jewelry, watches, fragrances, premium liquor, and Holland America souvenirs. All purchases are tax and duty free. The Merabella Luxury Collection is a jewelry boutique featuring Le Vian, Chimento, Haytayan and Tara and Sons.

Pick up your photos at the photo gallery.


Overview

During the cruise, professional photographers were busy snapping photos of guests in different settings. At the gallery these pictures start to multiply after the first day on board, and guests can purchase the images to take home. Cameras and equipment are sold here, along with DVDs of the voyage and destinations.

Auctions and exhibits are on display at this art gallery.


Overview

Nieuw Amsterdam has a small art gallery with contemporary art pieces for sale.

The Holland America Line is noted for its quality collection of antique and contemporary art displayed on-board, and this is especially true of the Nieuw Amsterdam, with a collection that showcases the historic connections between New York and Amsterdam. A vast mural by Harald Vlugt dipicts the historical links between New York and Amsterdam and there are works by Andy Warhol, Richard Estes and Roy Lichstenstein, plus photographs of celebrities taken by paparazzo Ron Galella. Also noteworthy is the chandelier hanging in the Atrium, creating an abstract vision of Manhattan’s skyline.
Catch a movie at the Screening Room.


Overview

The 36-seat screening room plays recently released movies on DVD and offers free popcorn. Additionally, Ship Flicks has a huge catalog of movies for delivery and in-room viewing.

Stay connected at this computer lab.


Overview

This small room on Deck 2 is full of PCs for digital workshops, all of which are free to guests. Classes include photo editing and posting, blog production, videos, scrapbooks, PC safety and maintenance and staying connected (through instant messaging and webcams). The 60-minute classes are oriented to those who are fairly new to computing. Reservations are taken on-board.

Expect some expert cooking demonstrations here.


Overview

A show kitchen at sea, this large venue is designed for hands-on cooking demonstrations. Two large plasma video screens project the goings-on at the cooking counter, hosted by the on-board party planner and guest chefs. The demonstrations and lessons range from seasonal and local cuisine to fruit- and vegetable-carving, special wine tastings and food pairing seminars, along with cookbook signings and Q&A sessions. One can also sign up for market tours in selected ports of call. Reserve classes on board.

Queen’s Lounge doubles as the tender station and has a stage for karaoke, comedians etc. during the evening.
A small bar and lounge.


Overview

Located on Deck 2, just off the Manhattan Dining Room, this intimate lounge has big windows for taking in the waves by day, and during the evening a string quartet plays classical and contemporary music. The bar is on a dais and you can sit there, or at bar stools with attractive floral patterns, or in well-padded barrel chairs clustered around small tables.

The menu includes the usual array of Holland America’s signature drinks, including a long list of martinis (Flirtini, Tuscan lemon drop), as well as a selection of beers, wine and mocktails.
Live music by the ship’s string quartet most nights.
A bar and nightclub high atop the ship.


Overview

Perched on Deck 11, this is a huge room designed for enjoying the view, with an attractive blue and brown color scheme. There are chairs and sofas along the wall, and a row of high-back recliners lining the panoramic windows. There is a dance floor and a bandstand.

The menu includes the usual array of Holland America’s signature drinks, including a long list of martinis (Flirtini, Tuscan lemon drop), as well as a selection of beers, wine and mocktails.
During the day this venue is often used for trivia games, while dancing percolates through the evening with live music.
Music every night.


Overview

This stylish bar on Deck 2, right off the casino, is decked out in red chairs and sofas and purple carpet and walls. In the afternoon it is a good place to get away from the noise of the casino next door; at night is the ship’s sing-along piano bar where requests are taken (the pianist seemed to know most of the requests).

The menu includes the usual array of Holland America’s signature drinks, including a long list of martinis (Flirtini, Tuscan lemon drop), as well as a selection of beers, wine and mocktails.
An Asian inspired cocktail lounge.


Overview

Adjoining the Tamarind Restaurant, this seductive Asian inspired bar on Deck 11, offers wonderful views of both the sea and the Lido Pool area. There are chairs at cocktail tables for the view, or cute raised alcoves where four can congregate over drinks. This is a nice place to relax during the day though, being open only during Tamarind’s hours (lunch and dinner) it is often empty.

In addition to Holland America’s signature drinks, Silk Room specializes in saketinis—those would be drinks served in cocktail glasses using sake as a mixer and wearing names like Sake Tumi, Sweet Raspberry and Samurai Mojito.

A discotheque for you tonight?


Overview

Nieuw Amsterdam’s nightclub is located on Deck 2 next to the casino and sparkles with snow motifs. The bar looks like an ice bar (white back light and blue lights surrounding it), while the huge dance floor is surrounded by small niches with benches, tables and ottomans. It’s a suitably dark venue, as it should be.

The menu includes the usual array of Holland America’s signature drinks, including a long list of martinis (Flirtini, Tuscan lemon drop), as well as a selection of beers, wine and mocktails.
A bar for salty sea captains of yore.


Overview

Located mid-ship on Deck 3 this bar features lots of ship and navigational motifs, with dark brown and ochre tones dominating the chairs, sofas and tables. It’s a big space, with a dance floor and bandstand, and a huge bar with bar stools. A huge chandelier/sculpture of the New York skyline is suspended outside the bar, in the Atrium.

The menu includes the usual array of Holland America’s signature drinks, including a long list of martinis (Flirtini, Tuscan lemon drop), as well as a selection of beers, wine and mocktails.
Trivia contests are scheduled here, and dancing sometimes blossoms.
Games of chance, mysterious women, risk, reward, adventure, and dry cocktail can all be found here.


Overview

Games available on the ship included Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Three Card Poker, Texas Hold ‘Em, and there were slot machines (coinless) ranging from penny to $5 play, plus Video Poker. A lottery was held with a drawing for a seven-day cruise. Blackjack tournaments and gaming lessons were available.

Holland America also has a player’s club, Club 21, accessed using your key card. Guests under 18 are not allowed in the casino.

The Casino Bar at the entrance of the casino is the only area inside the ship where smoking is permitted. The facility has a bar and stools, as well as chairs and sofas. It’s a small but open area, but a little loud when the slot machines are percolating.

The performance center on the ms Nieuw Amsterdam .


Overview

This state-of-the-art two-tiered theater has a huge stage and two shows nightly, timed for early and late dining. Offerings include concerts, musicals, illusionists and comedians.

Business at sea can be held in these conference rooms.


Overview

Three small meeting rooms are found on Deck 3: Hudson, Half Moon and Stuyvesant. The walls of the rooms slide out to create one large venue. Otherwise, the Hudson Room is used primarily for religious services (Christian and ecumenical services).

A good place for a pre-dinner aperitif.


Overview

This elegant bar opposite the Pinnacle Grill is an inviting lounge to anticipate a big meal at the chophouse, or elsewhere. Hors d’oeuvres are usually available.

In addition to Holland America’s signature drinks, Pinnacle Grill (and restaurant) hoards the ship’s high-end wine selection, with cabinets storing the bottles lining each end of the room.

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