The luxurious ship boasts a great art collection that connects the history of New York City (which the Dutch also called Nieuw Amsterdam once upon a time), and guests can embark on a complimentary self-guided iPod art tour.

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.

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 we found this room to be pretty loud—it sounded like it was falling apart on rough sea days.

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.

The disco Northern Lights was often empty, which was hardly the right backdrop for the pumping music.

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.
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.


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.
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 tastings are offered throughout the voyage, and mixology classes were available for $12.50 per session, or $30 for all three sessions.

Wine may be brought on board; an $18 corkage fee is applied if brought to restaurants or bars. Other alcoholic beverages—carried on board or purchased in the shops—cannot be consumed on the ship, and are delivered to your room at the end of the trip.

All drinks are charged in U.S. dollars. Holland America’s drinking age is 21, regardless of port regulations.

Beer & Wine

The extensive wine selection is augmented by a longer list from the ship’s sommelier, and there is a long list of domestic and international beers.

Mixed Drinks

All the classics are available along with signature drinks (for $6.75), and cocktails of the day ($5.75). The Silk Room has a different menu, with Asian-themed cocktails.

Drink Packages

Beverage cards give a 5- to 50-percent savings, and soda, non-alcoholic, and alcoholic beverage cards are available. The gin and tonic package was $32. The beer package was a bucket of five beers, domestic for $19, imported for $21.

Wine packages come in two levels, Navigator and Admirals Choice, with three options at each level. Additionally, you can purchase a package of three, five or seven bottles, ranging from $89 to $269.

Non-alcoholic Options

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.
The Green House Spa is an attractive facility with lots of light, comforting colors. In line with Nieuw Amsterdam’s modern trappings, the reception desk is stylish, with a red counter, limited seating in metal lawn chairs, and a few statues. Behind reception is the hair and beauty salon, with 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 booking appointments in advance, but also offers specials mid-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.

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.

Photo Gallery

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.

Art Gallery

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

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 fruit, yogurt, cereal, and bagels. But many choices are available, from Belgian waffles to kippered herring. Internationally themed breakfasts includesd Japanese, the full English, Scandinavian and—because we’re aboard Holland America—Dutch.

On sea days, the restaurant is open for lunch and the selection covers comfort foods like burgers, pasta and sandwiches.

At night the menu goes classy, usually starting with a fruit appetizer and a choice of soups and salads. Entrées fall across a wide range of seafood, poultry and meats, as well as vegetarian offerings, with ten options in all usually available.

The ambiance is sophisticated, especially on formal nights. Dinner on the last night was salmon tartar, lobster bisque and duck á l’orange—the best dinner we had in the Manhattan Dining Room.

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.

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.

Lido Pool

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

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.

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

Deluxe Verandah Ocean-view Staterooms


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

Superior Verandah Suites

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 pillows
* No-host mini-bar for easy entertaining
* Personalized cruise stationery
* Oversized bath towels
* One-touch telephone concierge service
* Fresh flowers
* Complimentary DVD library

Deluxe Verandah Suites

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 slippers
* 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.

Penthouse Verandah Suites

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.

Promenade Deck

Deck 3 represents the Promenade Deck and wraps the entire ship. Three 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.

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. Table tennis is found near the kids areas.

**Sports Court – Deck 11

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

Cabana Club

Also 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 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.

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, as well as a selection of beers, wine and mocktails.

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, fine linen tablecloths, crystal chandeliers, and fine china and stemware.

Once a week the Pinnacle Grill is transformed into “An Evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill,” a reservation-only evening (at a $39 surcharge) with a set menu with wine pairings. Exclusive to the Nieuw Amsterdam, on select nights part of the Pinnacle Grill is devoted to the Master Chef’s Room, billed as the ultimate dining experience. The seven-course menu is paired with premium wines (which proved perfect matches). Reservations are mandatory; the add-on is $89 per person, which includes wine.

For entrées, the focus is on beef, and all the classic cuts are covered. Other offerings include lamb, salmon, and scallops. Our porterhouse steak was almost as big as the plate, cooked to perfection and served with béarnaise.

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.

On the night we enjoyed the Master Chef’s Room, the menu included goose liver with mâche, avocado and raspberry kaffir vinagrette; sea bass with caviar; lime and candied ginger granite; duo of veal with black truffle, pearl onion and puréed artichoke; 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's tender meat and nice truffle taste was particularly delicious.

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

A fusion of various Asian cuisines—mainly Chinese, Thai, and Japanese—Tamarind is attractively accented with rice paper lamps and dark bamboo furniture. Sitting mid-ship on the top deck, the 144-seat venue boasts panoramic views of the sea. When there’s nothing to see outside, you can watch the chef prepare sushi in the open kitchen. A $15 surcharge applies for dinner, but not lunch (a set menu of dim sum only).

Lunch at Tamarind started with hot and sour soup, followed by a Szechuan sesame salad. We found the salad boring—it tasted like nothing. But the steamed dumplings were satisfying. Dim sum from the wok included spring rolls, shrimp won ton sticks, and spicy crab Rangoon—the latter was awesome. Four sauces accompanied these bites and we found them quite good and not too spicy.

Dinner started with soup, followed by shrimp chips with dipping sauces. Shrimp tempura was accompanied by a chili dip and green papaya salad. This papaya slaw was refreshing—acidic, not sweet. We enjoyed tuna, salmon and halibut nigiri—these tasted just right. Our favorite dish was the pork with coconut. This can be spiced as hot as you want, and we really hit it. The accompanying bok choy with oyster sauce was lovely.

For dessert, we chose the vanilla soufflé, served 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 base.

Staff

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, 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.

Tipping

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.

Dress Codes and Alcohol Policy

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.

Loyalty Programs

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
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.

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.

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

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.

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).

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, 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.

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).

Clinics

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.

Smoking Regulations

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.
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.

At the center of the Lido Deck, this casual dining room's decor is simple but elegant. There is also an outdoor dining section, for 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.

For the first two days, 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., 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 stir-fry, pizzas, pastas, soups and sushi. There were lots of salads, fruits and other healthy pickings, 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.

For dinner, when passenger attention to shifts to some of the ship’s more refined offerings, half of the buffet is closed and choices are less diverse. There were lots of desserts on offer, many bite-sized, and we loved the ice cream bar with all the fixings.

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

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 base and bearing names like Sake Tumi, Sweet Raspberry and Samurai Mojito.

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. For soup there was minestrone and zuppa die pesce—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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Trivia contests are scheduled here, and dancing sometimes blossoms.

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 Bar (and Grill) hoards the ship’s high-end wine selection, with cabinets storing the bottles lining each end of the room.

When placing our order, the phone was answered soon, and the wait for delivery was not long. Breakfast can also be ordered via 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 surcharge 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 salmon, mixed greens, a club sandwich (which we found quite tasty), hamburger, an open-faced omelet, and a selection of cheeses. In addition, a four-course meal could be ordered from the regular menu (between noon and 10:00 p.m.).

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. 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.

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.

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

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