Holland America MS Nieuw Amsterdam Review
I recently returned from a 12 night Mediterranean Romance cruise with Holland America on board their elegant ship MS Nieuw Amsterdam.
The ship is currently the second largest in Holland America’s fleet and holds a little more than 2,100 passengers and more than 900 crew members.
We joined the ship in the beautiful city of Venice, a place that I absolutely adore. When we arrived to embark the ship there was no queue and we were checked in and on board within just 5 minutes. Perfect!
We immediately went to explore the ship and I found myself loving the New York influences dotted around the ship. New York’s roots go back to 1624 when it was founded by colonists of the Dutch Republic and named the New Amsterdam.
The illuminated silhouette of the New York skyline that is suspended in the atrium is a perfect nod to the big apple and looks great as it gradually changes through the colour spectrum.
We opted for an inside cabin on this trip as we had so many different ports of call throughout the cruise that we knew we’d hardly be in our stateroom other than sleeping and getting ready. We were pleasantly surprised at just how large the inside stateroom was (stateroom 1018) and it was by far the largest inside stateroom I’ve ever experienced.
The bed was big and comfortable and there were two wardrobes and plenty of other space for our luggage. The couch in the room was comfortable and plenty big enough for the two of us and the bathroom was a good size.
Our stateroom was kept perfectly clean by our fabulous stateroom attendant who couldn’t have been more helpful. He was great at getting us more towels and a bucket of ice when I had a bad reaction to some insect bites and was told to stay in my room and ice it one evening. He couldn’t have been better.
We also had a new towel fold animal to come home to each evening. We had everything from a little bear to a hanging monkey but I adored this little elephant. Cute!
MS Nieuw Amsterdam has two different swimming pools on board, one in the middle of the ship (with a handy retractable roof if the weather isn’t playing ball) and one at the rear of the ship.
The pool at the rear of the ship is an adults only pool which would be great on a sailing where there are a lot of children however, on our cruise there was only 2 or 3 kids in the kids pool at anytime so it wasn’t an issue for us.
My favourite was definitely the one in the middle of the ship and this is where we spent most of our time on board. There are three Jacuzzi’s at this pool area too and there’s nothing better than a little soak in the Jacuzzi after a long day sightseeing in a new port of call.
The main dining restaurant, The Manhattan, is spread over two levels at the rear of the ship and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We had chosen the open dining option for the first time as we had a very port heavy cruise and wanted some flexibility with our dining times at night. It worked out perfectly for us and we really enjoyed the freedom it gave us. My only recommendation would be to make sure you book a table on formal nights as it gets very busy and there’s often a queue.
We tried out Canaletto whilst we were on board, an Italian themed restaurant that is open every evening in the Lido buffet area with a cover charge of $10 per person. It is contained within one area of the buffet and there are some partitions and dividers up, designed to give a little privacy.
We found the food to be nice in Canaletto however, it was not anything special and the menu choice was fairly limited. For this reason we only dined there once and would not choose to return if we sailed on a Holland America ship in future that had a Canaletto restaurant.
The Pinnacle Grill is another of the specialty restaurants on board and is currently charged at $29 per person. The Pinnacle Grill is a dining option on all of the Holland America ships and I previously loved the experience on the MS Ryndam a couple of years ago so I was very much looking forward to it. I was not disappointed.
The Pinnacle Grill sits at the heart of the ship in the atrium area and has the Pinnacle Bar next to it where you can enjoy pre or post-dinner drinks. Pinnacle Grill itself is large and well decorated with white linen tablecloths, decorative chandeliers and Bvlgari china.
The food in Pinnacle Grill is delicious and it’s the perfect spot on board if you’re celebrating a special occasion during your trip. The menu is extensive and features all different cuts of steak as well as some seafood dishes. Everything we ordered was perfect and my partner managed to polish off a MASSIVE Porterhouse steak, deeming it to be the best steak he’s ever had!
Our favourite restaurant on board was Tamarind, a Pan-Asian restaurant located on deck 11 with gorgeous views out over the sea. We ate here 3 times during our 12 night cruise because it was just that good and reasonably priced at only $20 per head.
The service in Tamarind couldn’t be faulted and the staff were friendly and attentive and remembered you after just one visit. It’s little touches like this that can really make the difference.
There’s a huge choice of food in Tamarind and I adored the Chicken Pho, Satay Sampler and Red Penang Curry. I highly recommend all of them!
One thing I really liked about Tamarind (other than the food!) was the Asian bar next door, the Silk Den. It meant you could enjoy a little pre-dinner cocktail next door and made the whole evening more of an experience, rather than just simply going for dinner. There are some different cocktails on offer in Silk Den and Tamarind than on the rest of the ship and I absolutely loved the Flirtini…
Bars and Lounges
There’s a number of bars on board MS Nieuw Amsterdam for passengers to choose from. There’s the Casino Bar, Crows Nest, Explorer’s Lounge, Lido Bar, Silk Den, Pinnacle Bar, Ocean Bar, Piano Bar, Northern Lights, Queen’s Lounge and Sea View Bar.
The drinks we were served in all of the bars were good quality and there’s a great choice of cocktails, spirits, beers, wines and everything else. Whatever your favourite drink is, they probably have it!
We loved the Pinnacle Bar, Silk Den, Northern Lights, Queen’s Lounge and, of course, the bar by the pool. I loved the large choice of different bars to enjoy a pre or post-dinner drinks in and this was one of the features I really enjoyed about sailing on one of the larger ships in the market. I liked being able to pick from a selection of bars and lounges depending on my mood and what kind of music I wanted to listen to.
I also really liked that the nightclub, Northern Lights, felt like a nightclub rather than just another lounge as nightclubs on ships tend to feel. This one was in the middle of the ship, next to the casino and had no windows, private booths, disco lights and a funky bar making it feel very much like a regular club, albeit a rather small one. It was a great place to go late evening and enjoy a little dance and a drink.
My hands down favourite entertainment on board MS Nieuw Amsterdam was the BB King’s Blues Lounge that transformed the Queen’s Lounge most evenings. The BB Kings Allstars band were absolutely fantastic and played great songs that got everyone up dancing and having fun. They were the best live band I’ve ever encountered on any of my previous 17 cruises!
There was a fantastic violinist and pianist duo in the Ocean Bar that were very good. Relaxing music and perfect for elegant formal evenings.
The pianist in the piano bar was a fabulous pianist however, his voice wasn’t up to the job. Sadly this has been the case on all but one of my 18 cruises and seems to be the norm.
Due to our love of the BB Kings Allstars we didn’t actually attend any of the evening shows in the theatre although we did hear some mixed reviews from fellow passengers.
We had an absolutely fantastic time sailing on MS Nieuw Amsterdam and loved both the ship and the Holland America experience and would certainly like to sail with them again in future.
The ship was spotlessly clean throughout, the staff were friendly and helpful, all of the meals we had were delicious and we loved the range of different restaurants there were to choose from, the ship was well laid out and feels very spacious and modern. Although the ability to hold more than 2,100 passengers makes MS Nieuw Amsterdam rather a large ship I certainly didn’t feel at any point like the ship was too busy or too crowded and I think that’s thanks to the clever layout and amount of open space on board.
I think Holland America are a great cruise line and I love all the little touches that set them apart from other companies at a similar price point. I also like that in the last few years they’ve been trying to cater to a younger market and on my cruise there seemed to be quite a number of young couples like my partner and I which was refreshing to see.
Have you cruised with Holland America before? Have you been on board MS Nieuw Amsterdam? Let me know in the comments below!