Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam launched in 2010 as the fourth ship to be given this illustrious name by the line — a tradition that goes back more than 100 years. The 2,106-passenger ship has a classic steamliner feel, and does sailings in the the Caribbean in cool months before repositioning to Alaska or the Mediterranean in warmer ones.
What We Love
Specialty Dining: The ship's three for-a-fee restaurants are all worth the extra charge. Pinnacle Grill serves up steak tartare, lamb chops, filet mignon, and other steakhouse standards, while the Italian Canaletto — a pop-up restaurant in the Lido dining room every night at dinner — has small plates and family-style dishes. But our favorite meal on board was at Tamarind. We suggest grabbing one of the creative cocktails from the Silk Den before sampling sushi, curries, and noodles at this Pan-Asian restaurant.
Explorations Café: This cozy space is ideal on a chilly day at sea — you can nibble on snacks from the coffee shop, log onto the Internet, and curl up with a good book from the library. The adjacent window-lined Crow's Nest is the best place on board for scenic viewing indoors.
The Lido Pool: This pool sits under a retractable roof, so kids and adults can still swim in any weather. Our advice: Don't miss the hamburgers and hotdogs at the Dive-In restaurant; they're some of the best at sea.
Best Known For
Alaskan Voyages: Nieuw Amsterdam spends a good part of the year cruising the 49th state's Inside Passage, roundtrip from Vancouver. The line brings local products on board during these sailings, including beers from the Alaskan Brewing Company and fresh salmon, which is grilled by the pool on the last sea day.
Wraparound Promenade: The covered teak walkway on deck three is great for sailings with multiple days at sea. It’s lovely to be able to take a leisurely stroll around the top deck or relax in a lounge chair with a good book.
The New York Theme: New York City was once known as New Amsterdam, and each Holland America ship bearing the name Nieuw Amsterdam has had decor inspired by the metropolis. You'll find historic paintings, murals, and photographs of the city throughout the ship, a crystal chandelier in the atrium shaped like the iconic skyline, and even a full-size yellow cab in the kids club.
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Who It's Best For
The Demographic Changes With the Location: While the line caters to an older clientele, multigenerational families are drawn to the Caribbean and Alaska sailings this ship offers. Both the covered pool and the Club HAL youth program will keep the kids occupied, while the grownups appreciate the adults-only outdoor pool on the back deck and nightly shows at B.B. King's Blues Club.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There Are No Launderettes: This ship doesn't have self-service washing machines or ironing. Be prepared to hand-wash a few items in your cabin, or pay the charges to send it out. Suite passenger-perks include free laundry and dry-cleaning services.
Not All Food is Created Equal: Dinners in the main Manhattan Dining room were less than memorable and, for the most part, disappointing.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.
Kristen Boatright is the New York City-based senior video editor of ShermansCruise.com.
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Nieuw Amsterdam at a Glance
- Line: Holland America Line
- Class: Signature
- Number of Passengers: 2106
- Ship Size: Large
- Launch Date: 2010
- Alaska - Glacier Bay
- Alaska - Inside Passage
- Columbia and Snake Rivers
- Hudson River
- Mississippi River
- New England and Canada
- Ohio and Tennessee Rivers
- Pacific Coast
- Repositioning Cruises