Holland America Line ms Nieuw Amsterdam Review
The first Nieuw Amsterdam was launched in 1906. This “nieuwest” version is the largest ship in Holland America’s fleet.
Launched in 2010, this is the fourth Holland America ship to be sailing with this name, and perhaps the most elegant. While the original Nieuw Amsterdam was a sail and steam ship launched in 1906, this “nieuwest” version is an 86,000-ton vessel that represents the largest ship in Holland America’s fleet, the second in the Signature class line.
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 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.
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