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Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions

Age: 66


Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Nieuw Amsterdam

Sailing Date: 2014-01-7

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Excellent cruise: Weather, ship, food, service all wonderful. Precruise stay in Ft. Lauderdale at the Hyatt, 17th st. location. Embarkation was easy, made it to our stateroom by 12:15, then had a Mariner status lunch in Manhattan dining room. Our room was a small suite (SS class) with a jetted tub, separate shower, and double sink with undersink shelf for storage in addition to corner glass shelves. Room was perfect for us, AND the balcony was over 90 sq. ft.(7 X 13) with table and four chairs, two for lounging with foot stools. Plenty of storage and room service was only 1 button away.

Food was outstanding in all venues, especially the specialty restaurants, Pinnacle and Tamarind. Had cooked-to-order breakfasts every day in the Lido buffet--just couldn't bypass the Eggs Benedict (they actually could prepare 7 different types of this specialty) Our New York Strip and Filet Steaks in Pinnacle were perfectly cooked for each of us, tender and moist--just delicious! Only ate twice in the main dining room (for dinner) and food and service were top-notch for us. We don't drink, so the drink cards were not important to us.

Stateroom was a small suite (SS) and perfect for us. Check carefully and read thoroughly about accommodations before booking. We certainly enjoyed our large balcony. One thought I had was that a couple could choose a less-expensive cabin and rent a pool cabana for a few days for a great outdoors experience while on the ship.

Didn't participate except for two outstanding shows: Recycled Percussion (from America's Got Talent and Las Vegas) and Cantare, a male quartet with great voices singing songs for us Senior Citizens. Also enjoyed several of the Microsoft presentations, because they dealt largely with Windows 8 and presenter was good.

Since I had sailed once before on HAL with a special science group and had visited the private island where I rode horses and jet skiied, my wife and I just went ashore there and enjoyed the ambiance and the barbecue. We took no HAL excursions, preferring instead to make our own arrangements. Just do your homework on each port and pre-plan accordingly. On Grand Cayman we took a taxi to 7-mile beach and enjoyed chips and dip at the Marriott outdoor cafe while enjoying the beach and view. We also preplanned a jet ski trip in Key West: Had a blast!

Absolutely loved it! My wife and I are experienced travelers, but we had thought previously that we just didn't want to cruise. This trip, however, changed our mind. Holland America Lines has a demographic of seniors 55 and older and plays to that group. Were there minor glitches and problems here and there. Yes, but we handled them as we always do: Deal with it and move on. Just don't understand how some travelers can be so illogically ticked off about so many things. Hints: Plan thoroughly-- there's an enormous amount of information about travel and cruises available. Prior planning prevents perturbed persons... Shame on you if you spend large monies and get poor results. Seems that some of the negative comments say as much about the customers as about the ship and cruise. The Nieuw Amsterdam provided us a great cruise experience.

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