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David

Age: 69

Occupation:Consultant

Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Nieuw Amsterdam

Sailing Date: 2013-05-15

Itinerary: Barcelona to Venice

I tend to like smaller ships but the Nieuw Amsterdam (2000+ passengers) was well organized and comfortable. The ship is relatively new and beautiful, and the service is very good.

Overall we were very satisfied and will continue to use Holland America

We thought the food was great. In particular the specialty restaurants Le Cirque, Tamerand , and the Pinnacle were first class. I actually think the food has improved in the past few years and I appreciate the slightly smaller portions.

As the ships get bigger the staterooms seem to be getting smaller. We always have a verandah and this too was smaller. This was probably as small as I could enjoy.

Usually we get involved in on-board activities but with many day long excursions and only one day at sea we just had no time. We were disappointed that the piano bar only opens a 9PM. we used to like to go before dinner. The entertainment at the Showroom at Sea just didn't interest us --- a step down from previous cruises

I was disappointed in several shore excursions on this trip. I would plan several of my own if I were doing this cruise over. Got a bit tired of the tour bus lunches --- bland /boring.

Some of our best visits to ports were done on our own --- certainly the best lunches and wines

I was particularly annoyed that the Shore Excursion Desk would tell us that there would be no shuttle buses available to get from the port to the city / town so that we would buy an Excursion, then the night before announce there would be a shuttle when it was too late to cancel our Excursion. Shuttles were typically 12-14 Euros, a lot less than excursions

The trip from Barcelona to Venice was great but unfortunately several of these ports (particularly Florence and Dubrovnik, Venice) are overrun by tourists (6+ large ships in port at a time).

If I return to Europe (been in various parts 10 times already) I will focus on cities that are not reachable by cruise ships

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