Holland America’s newest ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam, one policy I especially appreciated was the effort to get me onto the vessel as soon as possible on getaway day and not to rush me off the ship at the end of my cruise.
The key was the ship's attitude toward passenger comfort during the hectic Sunday turn-around. Once a week through March, the Nieuw Amsterdam dumped off 2,100 passengers in Fort Lauderdale after breakfast and picked up a different 2,100 for lunch – not an easy task.
On some ships, cruise passengers feel delayed on the inbound day, rushed on the outbound. But despite the size of the ship, the crew on Nieuw Amsterdam did a terrific job. Some passengers on my cruise boarded as early as 11:30 a.m., and most cabins were ready by 1 p.m. A week later, at journey’s end, a few passengers were still hanging around, chatting and drinking coffee at 9 a.m. That’s an impressive turn-around for a major cruise ship.
During a week’s cruise in the Caribbean in January, I found Nieuw Amsterdam to be a warm, comfortable and friendly ship that speaks to Holland America’s steady and subtle climb in style and substance during the past half dozen years.
Cruisers looking for a familiar Holland America experience – a traditional vacation at sea with such standards as two dress-up nights per week in the main dining room, fancy afternoon teas and evening dancing to a string quartet – will have their expectations met. The Nieuw Amsterdam will spend the summer in Europe.
For more of my ship review for Cruise Critic, click on Nieuw Amsterdam.
David Molyneaux is editor of TheTravelMavens.com