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Holland America Line

Nieuw Amsterdam - Cruise Ship Review - Passenger Reviews

Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam naming ceremony Holland America Line's largest and newest ships, the 2,104-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam debuted in 2010, two years after sister Eurodam. Both are able, just barely, to transit the Panama Canal.

Public Rooms & Activities On Nieuw Amsterdam
Entertainment venues include a three-deck showroom, plus a disco, casino, sports bar and Ocean bar at the top level of the three-deck atrium. The piano bar is one of the most popular night spots and options also include the mellow Explorer’s Lounge for drinks or coffees. There’s a dedicated movie theater complete with popcorn and comfy leather seats, and the Crow’s Nest lounge at the top of the ship is a night club with live music at night. By day the Crow’s Nest opens up to the adjacent Explorations Café, where you can savor panoramic views from the Internet stations while sipping a cappuccino and nibbling on a cupcake or other pastries.

Staying on top of another trend — quiet adults-focused patch of sundeck — The Retreat sunning and relaxation area is located a deck above the activity of the main pool area. Aside from the standard chaise lounges for sunbathers, there are also 14 tented cabanas (plus 8 more by the Lido pool) for rent. The semi-private hideaways are equipped with iPods, Evian water, chilled grapes, fruit trays, champagne, and chocolate; plus light breakfasts and lunches are also provided for renters. In Retreat, there’s also a large new LED movie screen adjacent to the pool bar and pizzeria.

The Nieuw Amsterdam's Greenhouse Spa is well equipped and offers a hydrotherapy pool and thermal suite, while the fitness center is also state-of-the-art. Active types can play some basketball or volleyball up on the sports deck or exercise with a walk around the one-third-mile-long panoramic Promenade Deck.

Dining On Nieuw Amsterdam
Eight different places to eat include three new venues: the Pan-Asian Tamarind (where you can dig into delish dishes like wasabi-soy-crusted beef tenderloin and roasted Peking duck), the family Italian Canaletto (dinner only), and the 24-hour Slice pizzeria, adjacent to the Sea View pool aft of the Lido. Besides the grand main restaurant, there’s also the Pinnacle Grill and Lido buffet venue.

Verandah cabin on the Nieuw AmsterdamStaterooms & Suites On Nieuw Amsterdam
The first of the fleet’s Signature-class vessels, Holland America Line put cabins on upper decks for the first time and introduced a collection of spa staterooms with special amenities, including aromatherapy bath salts, yoga mats, pedometers and a special healthy room-service menu with fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, egg white omelets and other items.

As on the rest of the fleet, standard outside cabins are a roomy 185 square feet and décor marries organic colors with wood veneers, nickel and stainless steel touches to create a modern look. All categories boast the line’s Signature of Excellence features, from Euro-top beds to Egyptian cotton towels, flatscreen TVs and DVD players, massaging shower heads, mini fridges, and Elemis toiletries.

Ship Information
Nieuw Amsterdam belongs to Holland America Line's Signature Class of cruise ships. These elegant and spacious ships feature some of the largest private balconies found at sea. Perhaps that is why Holland America likes to refer to its balconies as Verandahs.

Holland America Line's ships are characterized by lots of space, and many lounges - quiet as well as lively ones. With the "Signature of Excellence" initiative Holland America ships now include a Culinary Arts center presented by Food & Wine magazine (it's like being in the studio of a TV cooking show), the Explorations Cafe powered by the New York Times, and cabin amenities such as perhaps the best beds in the cruise industry - the Mariner's Dream Beds. Signature class ships also feature a new topside Pan-Asian restaurant, glass elevators on the outside of the ship, more than 700 balcony cabins, plus dozens of dining and entertainment options.

Ship Facts
Year Built 2010 ♦ Ship's Class: Signature Class ♦ Country of Registry Netherlands ♦ Tonnage 87,000 ♦ Length 936 ft - 280 m ♦ Cruising Speed 23 knots ♦ Passenger Capacity (double occupancy) 2,106 ♦ Passenger Capacity (incl. upper beds) 2,673 ♦ Passenger Decks 11 ♦ Officers and Crew 929 ♦ Officer's Nationality International ♦ Crew and Hotel Staff Nationality International

Total 1,052 ♦ Suites with Balcony 112 ♦ Oceanview with Balcony 596 ♦ Oceanview without Balcony 189 ♦ Inside 156 ♦ Accessible Cabins (all categories) 30 ♦ Holland America Line's cabins are among the best one can find, with spacious, thoughtful and comfortable design. Amenties in all cabins include luxury bedding, refrigerator, extensive satellite TV programming, and complimentary room service.

Cabin Amenities
TV with music channels ♦ In-Cabin Movies ♦ In-Cabin Internet Access ♦ Private Safe ♦ Minibar ♦ Hair Dryer

Traditional 1st and 2nd Sitting Assigned Table Seating ♦ Optional Open Seating - "As You Wish Dining" lets you choose the venues and style that suit you ♦ Formal Nights ♦ Specialty Restaurants: Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto, Tamarind ♦ Specialty Coffee Bar: Explorations Cafe powered by New York Times ♦ 24 Hour Room Service Available

The Tamarind restaurantPublic Rooms
Bars and Lounges ♦ Library ♦ Internet Center

Showlounge ♦ Casino ♦ Disco/Nightclub ♦ Card Room/Game Room ♦ Video Games Arcade

Sports and Activities
Outdoor Pools ♦ Sports Court ♦ Fitness Center ♦ Jogging Track ♦ Promenade Deck wraps around the ship

Spa and Wellness
Full Service Spa ♦ MedSpa Services ♦ Sauna or Steam Room ♦ Beauty Salon ♦ Yoga ♦ Pilates ♦ Fitness Assessment ♦ Health and Nutrition Evaluation

Children and Teens
Family Cabins ♦ Organized Age Specific Activities ♦ Children's Pool ♦ Outdoor Children's Play Area ♦ Youth Staff ♦ Dedicated Teen Center ♦ Teen Programs ♦ Teen Staff ♦ Group Babysitting Services

Other Facilities and Services
Duty Free Shops and Boutiques ♦ Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service ♦ Business Center Services ♦ Medical Center

On Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam, Deck By Deck

by Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.

Stepping aboard Nieuw Amsterdam last week in Venice felt much like stepping aboard Eurodam two years ago in Rotterdam. Even the events were familiar. In both cases, the inaugural ceremonies fell over America’s Independence Day, and in both cases, royalty from the Netherlands named the ships.

Princess Maxima of the Netherlands named Nieuw Amsterdam, following in the footsteps of Dutch royalty who have named HAL ships over the decades.

With deck plans from either ship, you could easily find your way around the other. Indeed, during an age when other companies are introducing ships with headline-grabbing innovations — grass lawns and restaurant complexes on Celebrity, entertainment megaplexes on Oasis and Epic — Holland America Line continues to steer the course with its Signature-class ships — traditional mid-size vessels with a mix of the tried-and-true. HAL President and CEO Stein Kruse calls it “part of the beauty of Holland America Line, consistency as we build classes of ships.”

The key difference between Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam is largely in the decor. Through art, craftwork and photos, Nieuw Amsterdam reflects the history and spirit of New York City (known, of course, as Nieuw Amsterdam to its Dutch founders.) There’s even a New York City Checker Cab and a hot dog stand (nonfunctioning) in Club HAL.

That’s not to say there is nothing new on the 2,106-guest Nieuw Amsterdam, the fourth vessel to carry the name for the line. Nieuw Amsterdam debuts a new wine pairing dinner called the Master Chef’s Table. The special evening in a semi-private room in the Pinnacle Grill features seven courses served on signature Versace plates. Cost: $89 per person, with a maximum of 18 people.

Princess Maxima of the Netherlands named Nieuw Amsterdam, following in the footsteps of Dutch royalty who have named HAL ships over the decades.Holland America Line executives emphasized the company’s continued investment in its fleet and the exceptional value of a “premium category” cruise on board HAL ships. “After being on this ship for the last week, what I’ve continued to see and experience is that the premium category is where the whole value relationship continues to be extremely strong,” said Rick Meadows, Holland America Line’s Executive Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Guest Programs. “I look at this ship and reflect back on all the other ships in the fleet. The on-board product and service delivery is just so solid and so strong. In this economy, one would think that the tendency would be to pull back, and that’s just not happening.”

With deck plans from Holland America Line’s Eurodam, you could easily find your way around Nieuw Amsterdam.

Oslo-based designer Bjørn Storbraaten says he created the "bar of his dreams" in the Silk Den. "Normally, the bar would be against the wall. You would sit there staring at bottles of whiskey. But with this bar and its window wall, you're looking out on a beautiful view."

Deck 11 features Silk Den, a bar and lounge; Tamarind, serving Pan Asian (for $15 per person for dinner and no charge for lunch); and the Cabana Club, an exclusive retreat where guests can reserve tented cabanas by the day or for an entire voyage. There are additional cabanas around the mid-ship Lido pool area. Also on Deck 11 is Explorations Café, a coffee bistro featuring a large library, Internet terminals, international newspapers, arm chairs and sofas.

Nieuw Amsterdam also offers a second collection of Cabanas lining Nieuw Amsterdam’s mid-ship Lido pool area. Equipped with chaises, ottomans and upholstered settees, the Cabanas feature bathrobes and towels, refreshments ranging from iced fruit skewers and frozen grapes to chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne, and iPods uploaded with a choice of music.

Nieuw Amsterdam Verandah CabinThe Crow’s Nest lounge, which completes Deck 11′s public areas, overlooks Nieuw Amsterdam’s bow and features a collection of Nieuw Amsterdam memorabilia dating back to the original ship’s 1906 launch and the heyday of Nieuw Amsterdam II, which carried the cream of international society between New York and Rotterdam in the post World War II era. A plush and quiet vantage point by day, the room transforms into a stylish dance club in the evening.

Deck 10 features Club HAL, the dedicated youth facilities and activities center offering supervised, age-appropriate programming for kids 3 to 12. The Loft, a lounge where teenagers can meet, is equipped with comfortable chairs and sofas, games and a new video editing facility, and is decorated as a typical New York street design of large murals featuring creations by top New York City graffiti artists, crosswalk, street signs, a real New York yellow cab and old-fashioned hot dog stand.

Deck 9 features a fully equipped Fitness Center, with Holland America Line’s largest gymnasium. Also on Deck 9 is the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, providing beauty and wellness treatments. The Greenhouse Spa’s Thermal Suites offer private settings for detoxifying and relaxing therapy. A Hydrotherapy Pool and Sauna complete the Greenhouse Spa facilities.

Lido Deck (9) also has the ship’s largest pool, the Lido Pool, with three Jacuzzis flanked by cabanas. The entire area is covered by a retractable magradome. Guests can stop by the nearby Lido Bar and Terrace Grill for burgers, fries and other grilled items.

The nearby Lido Restaurant features a wide variety of cuisine with individual stations offering specialized ethnic and regional dishes. The Sea View Pool, on Deck 9 aft, offers views of the ocean and ship’s wake, as well as the Sea View Bar.

Deck 3 features the Half Moon, Hudson and Stuyvesant meeting rooms. Nearby is the Screening Room, a 36-seat movie theater screening first-run films and special presentations. Deck 3 also features the Signature Shops, an upscale shopping area headlined by Merabella, a boutique offering high-end designer jewelry. The Ocean Bar, centrally located on Promenade Deck in the ship’s atrium, provides a stylish vantage point from which to enjoy pre- or after-dinner drinks.

Culinary Arts Center on Holland America LineThe Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, situated on Deck 2, is state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen featuring gourmet cooking lessons from Holland America Line master chefs and celebrity guest chefs.

When not used for cooking demonstrations, the room becomes the Queen’s Lounge, an upscale performance venue. Night club Northern Lights, adjacent to the Queen’s Lounge and Casino, offers guests a venue for late evening dancing.

The Casino has slots, blackjack, roulette, craps and a variety of poker games, as well as Casino Bar featuring a display of large-format contemporary and classic photographs of New York City.

A nearby Piano Bar features live keyboard music. Nieuw Amsterdam’s Atrium is highlighted by a telescoping chandelier designed to honor New York City’s iconic skyline. The LED-equipped chandelier is lit in a spectrum of colors. The Deck 2 Pinnacle Bar is a wine lounge in a glamorous setting. The Showroom at Sea, spanning Decks 2 and 3, offers production shows and headline entertainment.

The Explorer’s Lounge, located on the Lower Promenade Deck 2, continues Nieuw Amsterdam’s New York theme with wall-to-wall mixed media collage of the 17th Century New York City skyline by Dutch artist Harald Vlugt. The room also features sculpture and decorative accessories from New York’s early Native American and European inhabitants. Nearby is the Digital Workshop powered by Microsoft Windows, an interactive design studio featuring free workshops led by Microsoft-trained “techsperts.”

The Pinnacle Grill on Nieuw AmsterdamThe Pinnacle Grill, specializing in steaks and seafood, offers a fine dining experience for a $10 per person for lunch and $20 for dinner.

Staterooms on the 11-deck Nieuw Amsterdam include 60 deluxe verandah suites and 50 superior verandah suites that emphasize rich walnut wood and powder blue and champagne-colored fabrics, along with contemporary leather furniture and brushed nickel finishes. Deluxe verandah suites display reproductions of original Matisse and Picasso drawings, along with colorful Tuscany landscapes created from original woodcuts.

Nieuw Amsterdam’s 558 deluxe verandah ocean-view and 175 ocean-view staterooms are decorated in coffee, burgundy and sandstone tones in window coverings, bedding and fabrics, plus rich wood and metal accessories alongside custom furniture. Artwork features reproductions of surrealist oil paintings and contemporary photography. The ship’s 152 interior staterooms switch color schemes to light maple wood, bedding and fabric in slate and sky blue with tangerine accents. Stateroom art is highlighted by reproductions of surrealist oil paintings.

The ship also features 56 luxury spa staterooms, including 46 deluxe verandah ocean-view, four ocean-view, four interior and two exclusive spa deluxe verandah suites located on the ship’s two highest decks, Panorama and Observation, near the Greenhouse Spa. Spa staterooms offer special in-room amenities such as yoga mats and an iPod docking station, and are decorated in a naturalist theme, with furnishings, bedding and window treatments finished in soft earth tones with bright aqua blue and charcoal accents.

Staterooms will offer Signature of Excellence amenities, such as Mariner’s Dream beds, deluxe waffle/terry cloth robes, Egyptian cotton towels, flat panel televisions, DVD players, make-up mirrors with halo lighting, massage shower heads, professional-grade hair dryers, fresh flowers and complimentary baskets with guests’ personal fruit choices and Elemis bath amenities. To conserve power, all staterooms have keycard slots to turn on room lighting and power.

Nieuw Amsterdam’s main restaurant, the two-level Manhattan Dining Room, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner for guests looking for a more formal dining venue. Guests can get a classic Italian dinner with casual tableside service at Canaletto, located adjacent to the Lido Restaurant dining area, for no extra charge. The ocean-view Lido Restaurant offers guests breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets in a casual setting. The Terrace Grill is a casual poolside eatery serving burgers and fries, as well as healthier choices like wraps, paninis and pita sandwiches. Slice pizzeria serves whole pies and slices to order. The ship also offers complimentary in-stateroom dining service 24 hours a day at no extra charge.