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Cruising is one of my favorite vacations and with sailing paused for over a year, I was so excited to finally be back at sea! My first cruise in 2021 was aboard Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam and it was a great sailing. Our itinerary was a seven night cruise, round trip out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Nieuw Amsterdam is a beautiful ship, and Holland America is a fantastic cruise line. I know you will love sailing with HAL and I am so excited to share my full Nieuw Amsterdam Review with you!
I was invited to sail on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam with a group of agents to learn more about the brand and the healthy return to sea. As always, all opinions are my own.
Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam – Full Ship Review
Holland America is a fabulous cruise line that sails to the Caribbean, and is one of the best lines on which to sail Alaska. This was actually my second time sailing on HAL, my family did a Caribbean cruise on the msVeendam back in 2018.
Holland America guests skew towards the more sophisticated adult although there are amenities for kids on board. My mid-November sailing was adults only (because everyone on board had to be vaccinated), but when we voyaged for spring break in 2018, there were over 100 kids on board.
Our seven night voyage on the Nieuw Amsterdam started and ended in Fort Lauderdale and we visited Nassau, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, and Holland America’s private island, Half Moon Cay.
The Nieuw Amsterdam was refurbished in 2017, and in 2022, the Nieuw Amsterdam will be sailing the Caribbean and Alaska.
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Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam Deck Plan
The Nieuw Amsterdam is an easy to navigate ship. The deck plan is easy to figure out – and the boat is small enough you can get from your cabin to restaurants, entertainment, the pools very easily.
Deck 1 is mostly cabins, along with an atrium and this is where you will find guest services. Decks 2 and 3 are where the main indoor stuff is located – casino, entertainment and dining.
Decks 4 -8 are where most cabins are located. Deck 4 is home to the lifeboats, so cabins on Decks 4 and 5 might have lifeboat views – so book higher like decks 6, 7 or 8!
Deck 9 is home to the buffet, two pools, the spa and fitness center. Deck 10 overlooks the pool – there is some sports stuff and the Retreat cabanas.
Lastly, deck 11 is split, there is an 11th floor aft which is where Tamarind is, and a Deck 11 forward where the Explorer’s Lounge is. You can’t walk from one side of deck 11 to the other without going back down to deck 10.
Cabins on the Nieuw Amsterdam
Our stateroom, 8111 was a beautiful balcony cabin. The balcony itself was large, with two chairs each with an ottoman, and a small table. We loved sitting out there, watching the ocean go by!
Inside our room, we had a small couch, desk, flat screen TV, and fridge -which was stocked with mini bar items- but I used it to chill my wine. The room has either one king or two twins (you can have them configure it any way you would like). There was also plenty of storage in the cabin – three closets in fact, and a small bathroom with a small tub, shower, toilet, and sink.
I also loved the soft robes in the room – I totally forgot to get a picture of them!
On the Nieuw Amsterdam there are also interior rooms, ocean view cabins, and suites – something for every traveler and every budget.
Dining on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam
Let’s face it, one of the best things about cruising is the food! And the food on Holland America is notoriously amazing.
There are so many great places to eat throughout the day – you will never go hungry and Holland offers great variety each day.
The eateries onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam include:
Lido Buffet on Deck 9 – This is more of a food hall or food stations then buffet. They serve you and there are pasta stations, omelet stations, salad bar, deli, and options that rotate throughout the week. The Lido is open most of the day so you can head there for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.
Dive In – I love the Dive-In. This eatery by the main pool is open during the day for lunch or an early dinner. The Dive-In serves burgers, portobello sandwiches, hot dogs, and fries. There are milkshakes available for a small charge.
New York Pizzeria – Located by the back pool, and open during the day and into the evening, New York Pizzeria serves made to order personal pizzas, salads and some desserts. I love that you can customize your pizza with whatever toppings you want! I had a quick dinner one night at NY Pizzeria and it was lovely to sit out under the stars and enjoy a hot pizza all to myself. It was pretty good – I can be skeptical about “NY Pizza” but I enjoyed this.
Main Dining Room – The main dining room is located on decks 2 and 3. The main dining room is open for breakfast and lunch, check your navigator app for times. I did love having breakfast down at the dining room one day.
For dinner, the dining room is open for set time and any time dining. The menu changes each night, but remember you can order as much as you would like. One night I did order two entrees, and a few nights we all ordered multiple appetizers.
Holland America Room Service – I love that most room service is included on a Holland America cruise. You can pre-order breakfast by putting the card on your door the night before or call down to order a meal or snack. If you want food delivered from the Dive-In or Tamarind, there is a small fee, but otherwise, just tip your server a few bucks.
You might also like: Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady Ship Tour
Specialty Dining on the Nieuw Amsterdam
Holland America offers a few specialty dining options on the Nieuw Amsterdam. You can make reservations for specialty dining right on your Navigator app.
The steakhouse, Pinnacle Grill has a coverage charge of $39 per person, and all of my friends who dined here loved it. They all agreed Pinnacle Grille was well worth the fee.
If you like seafood, head to Rudy’s, which is only offered one night during your cruise, for a charge of $49 per person.
For an Italian dinner, you can dine at Canaletto, which is offered at $19 per person.
Tamarind, the Southeast Asian restaurant is $29 per person for a cover charge. A cover charge meaning you can pay to dine there but can order whatever you would like, verses Nami which is the ala carte sushi restaurant (you just pay for what you order).
Even if you don’t dine at Tamarind, be sure to head up there for a drink – the lounge/bar area is so beautiful.
Lastly, if you are a coffee lover, head up to the Explorer’s Café on deck 11. Here you will find all sorts of specialty coffees for small charge. This is also a great place to hang out day or night – lots of seating and you can see for miles out the front of the ship.
Nieuw Amsterdam Pools and Spa
The Nieuw Amsterdam has eleven decks, and holds just over 2000 passengers, so it is a smaller ship. But the Nieuw Amsterdam has everything you need for an awesome cruise!
On Deck 9 there are two pools. One that can be covered in bad weather, and one on the back of the ship (that is for adults only). Both pools have several hot tubs around and there are lots of chairs for sunbathing and relaxing.
Up on Deck 9 you can also find the gym (which is pretty large), the spa/salon, and the hydro therapy area. Some of my friends purchased the week long hydro therapy package and really loved relaxing in there. Seriously they spent hours in the spa!
Nieuw Amsterdam Entertainment
If you love music, you will love sailing on Holland America Line. There are so many great places to see live music – from the Mainstage with the large production show, to Billboards with dueling pianos, to BB Kings for music all night.
There is also the Lincoln Center Stage on board where beautiful instrumental music is played.
On our sailing, there were several comedians on board and nightly comedy shows. Our group also loved some of the games hosted by our cruise director – such as trivia, Majority Rules and Pictionary! Just check your Navigator app to find out what is happening on board.
On the Nieuw Amsterdam, there is also a good size casino, open when the boat is sailing. The evenings offered lots to do on board.
Tips for sailing on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam
If you are looking for a relaxing cruise, with great ports, and great service, you will for sure have a great time sailing on Holland America Line and the Nieuw Amsterdam ship.
When you book your cruise with me, I send you lots of pre-departure information and make sure you have everything you need for a great cruise. But here are some tips I can share to maximize your time on board the Nieuw Amsterdam.
Book the Have it all package – this will give you unlimited drinks, Wi-Fi, one night of specialty dining and one shore excursion.
Download the HAL app, called the Navigator. This app is free to use even if you do not pay for the upgraded Wi-Fi. You can use the app to make reservations, look at menus, and see what is happening around the ship. You can set it up before you depart, but then you must sign back on when you connect to the ship’s Wi-Fi.
Try stuff on board! I did the mixology class – but there was also wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, movies, fitness classes, literally so much to do!
Remember to budget for service gratuities. On my November 2021 sailing these were $15.50 per person, per day.
Relax. I loved that there are lots of bars and nooks on board to relax.
Consider booking a spot in The Retreat. This is an upgraded cabana area. A private oasis with a chair and tables, day bed, service, and privacy curtains, it’s the ultimate way to relax without having to fight for chairs on board!
Purchase the hydrotherapy pass – like most cruise add-ons its less expensive if you purchase it before you sail, and my agent friends raved about the spa.
Always deposit on your next cruise while you are on board your current cruise. You will get some on board booking bonus’ and great prices. You can also stick with your amazing travel agent to service your reservation even when you book on board.
Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam Review
I had a great time on board the Nieuw Amsterdam. This ship offers both lots to do, and the opportunity to relax and unwind.
I loved that this ship felt like a luxury cruise liner very Love Boat-esque. This is not the ship if you want to forget you are on a ship. This is a cruisers cruise for sure.
The food was excellent and the service even better. All of the masking, social distancing and health/safety protocols were in place and I felt totally fine sailing.
The private island stop at Half Moon Cay was a 2021 vacation highlight for sure – the beach is gorgeous and it’s so nice to spend a day in this private oasis in paradise.
I only had two “complaints” about my sailing – the first being that the WIFI (we had the surf package) sucked. It was dial-up speed and you could only use it for a few apps, email and web browsing. But with that said, I was on a work trip and had to spend most of the sea days in front of my computer. If you are on vacation, you will be fine, but something to consider if you are trying to do a workcation at sea.
Lastly, it had been a while since I cruised (my last cruise before this was on the Disney Wonder in February 2020) I forgot how many upcharges you can have on a cruise. It’s really not even close to an all-inclusive experience, especially since I did not have the HAVE IT ALL package.
But with all that, I am seriously considering Holland America for our family’s Alaska cruise (which we need to rebook from 2020) and I cannot wait to continue to book you all on HAL’s amazing ships, including the Nieuw Amsterdam.
Have you sailed on Holland America Line? Have you been on the Nieuw Amsterdam? Tell me about it in the comments –