Nieuw Amsterdam
Holland America Line
At a Glance
By the Numbers
  • Lifestyle: Premium
  • Tonnage: 86,700
  • Launched: July 2010
  • Passengers: 2,106
  • Crew: 929
  • Passenger Space Ratio: 41.1
Take a Bow (What to Like)
Pain in the Aft (What to Dislike)
  • Best Dining in Premium Category
  • Tamarind Restaurant and Silk Den
  • Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Programming
  • Decor Still Leans Towards the Old-Fashioned
  • Cabin Closet Lighting and Faucet Placement
Overall Ship Score
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Design
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Accommodations
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Activities
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Dining
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Entertainment
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Service
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Who Should Book
  • Relaxed middle-aged couples and muti-generational families seeking traditional activities and fine dining.
Who Should Skip
  • Active families looking to enjoy water slides, rock climbing walls and ropes courses.

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Design
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Loosely inspired by New York, the Nieuw Amsterdam is Holland America Line’s second Signature-class ship and is essentially a natural evolution of the preceding Vista-class vessels. The overall dimensions and layout remain nearly the same as her predecessors, but many dividers and partitions have now been removed to create a newfound openness throughout. Traditional red and gold hues make way for more modern purples and silvers, but the décor still leans towards the old-fashioned.


Atrium with NYC Skyline Centerpiece
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

One deck has also been added which introduces new space for spa category staterooms and the private Cabana Club behind them. As a result, the wonderful Crow’s Nest observation lounge has been raised above one level. At midship, the new deck is home to the new Tamarind Asian restaurant and Silk Den, a secondary observation lounge and the quietest and most pleasant space for relaxation during the day.


Silk Den Observation Lounge
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

Accommodations
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Staterooms onboard are comfortable with plush bedding and nice seating. Storage is plentiful, and lighting is pleasant overall. Posable reading lights over the bed are great touches. Only at the closet do open doors block usable illumination. This is a common problem on most cruise ships, but here, closest to the entry door, the inside of the closet is particularly hard to see.


Verandah Stateroom
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

Most outside-view cabin bathrooms feature tub/shower combos, but some, for variety, include showers alone, and the square-shaped pan makes it easier to maneuver when bathing. The tub/shower combos are even larger. The offset faucet would be better with a single top-handle valve as one of the two knobs is rather cramped against the backsplash.


Bathroom
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

Activities
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The newest set of programming to be excited about on all Holland America Line ships at least through the end of 2014 is Dancing with the Stars: At Sea. Join in the fun of complimentary dance classes and a guest competition on every qualifying voyage for the chance to win a free cruise and even a genuine mirror ball trophy. Specific theme cruises even bring some of the pro dancers and celebrities from the hit TV show onboard.


Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Guest Competition
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

Otherwise, activities are mostly limited to casino, shopping and spa venues and classic diversions like art auctions and trivia. The Queen’s Lounge and Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine is particularly impressive with its full demonstration kitchen and available cooking classes. Kids facilities are smaller but playfully themed to New York with a full-sized taxi cab and hot dog stand to enjoy. The ship also sports two pools and volleyball and basketball courts.


NYC Taxicab at Club HAL
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

Dining
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As it is, Holland America Line offers one of the best values at sea. Add in the line’s exquisite cuisine, and that becomes far more true. Even in the main Manhattan Dining Room, dishes often match the flavor of those found on luxury cruise lines. Selections are abundant, and quality is consistent, from the Lido Restaurant buffet to the excellent specialty restaurants.


Pork Buco at the Manhattan Dining Room
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

Although only a dressed up section of the lido seating, Canaletto Restaurant offers fine Italian food. Both the daily menu and specialty Le Cirque dining experience found at Pinnacle Grill are fantastic. Here, you’ll find some of the best steaks at sea, including a massive porterhouse. Plus, the Signature-Class ships introduce the new Tamarind Restaurant for a tempting array of Asian cuisine that is top notch.


Porterhouse at Pinnacle Grill
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

Entertainment
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Following the new Dancing with the Stars: At Sea programming are select theme cruises that raise the bar even further in regards to onboard entertainment. When pro dancers and celebrities step aboard, a spectacular fashion show and production show are also on the menu. Dresses straight from the TV show are paraded around one of the ship’s pools, and the stars take to the stage to show off their signature dance moves in a remarkable performance.


Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Review Video
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

Other shipboard entertainment is also very good with talented singers and dancers headlining production shows and welcome live music permeating the halls. Fun haunts include the piano bar and The Northern Lights nightclub. Ace cruise directors always add to the enjoyment, and Eric Dowis, in particular, is a hoot and a holler who deserves his own standup routine onboard. Jason Venner is also an expert host of the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea theme cruises.


Other Live Entertainment
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

Service
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Holland America Line hires its staff independently, and it shows. The crew onboard, from the room stewards to the cruise director, are exceptional in their friendliness and attentiveness. They always seem to be smiling and are quick to greet guests. It’s always a pleasant surprise to be served bonus canapés in the Crow’s Nest and Silk Den observation lounges. Passenger service can often get lost in the shuffle on larger ships, but here the level most closely approaches that found on smaller vessels.


Video of Hilarious Cruise Director Eric Dowis
(Copyright © Jason Leppert)

For more information about the Nieuw Amsterdam, visit Holland America Line‘s website here.

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HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: JASON LEPPERT

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