The ms Nieuw Amsterdam and all her class are exemplary Holland America Line offerings that meet longtime customers’ standards while attracting a younger, more active cruise passenger. Her itineraries offer some high-energy shore excursions, plenty of culture on-ship and at port, and a nice balance of traditional programming and flexible innovations.
The ship’s collection of artwork is sprinkled with New York themed pieces in a testament to her name. It’s classic New York though: elegant and classic, not flashy.
With 65% balcony cabins, this ship offers comfortable accommodations that people can settle into for 14-day average cruise lengths to destinations like Alaska and the Panama Canal.
Holland America Line excels at fine dining, from cooking classes in the Culinary Arts Center to the seven-course degustation menu served at the Master Chef’s Table. This ship has all the fleet favorite restaurants and then some: specifically, pan-Asian specialty restaurant Tamarind is only on three ships and this is one of them. Dim sum lunch is no-fee, while dinner is a modest $20 per person.
On longer sailings of 12 days or more, guests may get a wonderful gastronomic treat when iconic New York restaurant Le Cirque takes over the Pinnacle Grill. This is a one-night-only popup when it happens (no guarantees); and reservations are required. Surcharge: $49 per person.
When not assuming other identities, Pinnacle Grill is HAL’s signature steakhouse, with internationally inspired appetizers and an extensive wine list. Open for lunch as well, albeit with a more casual menu. Surcharge at lunch is $10 per person, at dinner $29.
Canaletto is a standby that used to be complimentary, but switched to a $10 surcharge per person in 2014. The main change was a new small plate section that includes offerings like duck pate on toast and braised clams.
The main dining room on this ship is Manhattan Dining Room. It’s on decks 2 and 3, and typically runs flexible seating on one deck and traditional seating times on the other. While some cruise lines struggle to coordinate the kitchen and front-of-house logistics, cruiser feedback on the Nieuw Amsterdam MDR experience is generally quite positive.
Breakfast and lunch are open seating and will not necessarily always be in the Manhattan Room. Sometimes lunch is served in Pinnacle, or in both.
Lido Market is HAL’s buffet. On this ship, it’s located on Deck 9. Its super-late night spread is almost as sumptuous as its actual dinner, which is nice for any midnight snackers.
Explorations Café is often a hub of low-key activity. It sells coffee house treats, espresso drinks and Internet access.
Bars & Lounges
The watering holes on this ship are mostly traditional and tasteful. They’re all fleet-wide offerings, with one notable addition: the Silk Den, an exotic and sophisticated counterpart to Tamarind Restaurant.
Ocean Bar is the gathering place in the atrium; Crow’s Nest is the observation bar; Explorer’s Lounge is a clubby wine bar located mid-ship on Deck 2. The Queen’s Lounge is multi-purpose in that it hosts the Culinary Arts Center programming by day and B.B. King’s Blues Club by night. The sports bar is also the casino bar. There is a disco, Northern Lights, but it might see no action at all, depending on the crowd. The Piano Bar, by contrast, is generally a lively scene.
Full-scale production shows are presented in the impressive three-deck Showroom at Sea. HAL as a line hasn’t cut back on the scope or scale of its productions, and traditionalists will love the Broadway-style productions featuring a full chorus line.
While it doesn’t have its own dedicated venue on this ship yet, B.B. King’s Blues Club is definitely one of HAL’s big recent successes, and indeed kicked off the line’s new era of contemporary top-tier music programming. For now, the show takes place in the Queen’s Lounge five nights a week.
Nieuw Amsterdam is one of a handful of ships large enough to have a Screening Room, which seats 36 people and offers a totally different experience from the “other” theater—i.e., the giant outdoor screen at the Lido pool deck.
The casino is consistently busy, and the fact that the sports bar is also the casino bar lends a fun sports book-type of energy.
Much more cultural, and not at all bawdy, Holland America Line’s daytime activity programming definitely caters to mature crowd. Kids get their own space and their own activities, while adults can take enrichment courses, play classic games, or lounge in a cabana by the pool. These curtain-enclosed semi-private luxury tents can be rented by the day or week. The exclusive Cabana Club features majestic ocean views and larger, more richly furnished cabanas for a private oasis feeling at a nominal fee.
This ship extends its fine dining focus with the Culinary Arts Center—a program of cooking classes and demonstrations held in the Queens Lounge. Most of the offerings are no-fee (wine tastings excepted).
There are two pools, both on the Lido deck. The one on the aft of the ship is adults-only and has its own bar.
The kids’ area is called Club Hal, while the teens’ official gathering spot is The Loft. Both are on Deck 10. Volleyball and basketball courts, also popular with teens, are on Deck 11.
- No children’s splash play area or pool.
- Unlike her sisters, this ship does not have De Librije pop-up restaurant
- Will not have Music Walk and other upgrades till the end of 2017