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Nieuw Amsterdam
The "Nieuw-est"
in Holland America Line's
Signature-class Excellence

by Linda Coffman

February 2011: For nearly a century and a half, Holland American Line has carried passengers to destinations worldwide; first in traditional "crossing" style and, in modern times, in cruising mode. Although the ships each give more than a nod to their maritime past, Nieuw Amsterdam offers homage to another bit of history. Quite simply, Holland America Line named their newest ship for the city of Nieuw Amsterdam in North America. Founded by the Dutch, it is, of course, now known as New York City.

Following on the heels of sister-ship Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam represents the next step in the evolution of the line's ongoing "Signature of Excellence" program. With an emphasis on fine craftsmanship and innovative features, Nieuw Amsterdam incorporates all the the "Signature" features introduced to the Holland America Line fleet of ships in recent years.

Introducing Nieuw Amsterdam
At 86,273 tons, Nieuw Amsterdam is of a size that has generally been considered within the range of larger cruise ships. When compared to her other Holland American Line fleetmates—the S-class ships weigh in at 55,451 to 55,819 tons, R-class from 59,855 to 61,396, and Vista-class at 82,000 tons—Nieuw Amsterdam (and Signature-class Eurodam) is larger. However, she’s far from huge. These days, it’s more relevant to compare all cruise ships afloat when thinking in terms of size. With “mega” ships at 160,000 tons and more, Nieuw Amsterdam can indeed be considered a medium-size ship.

More significantly, Nieuw Amsterdam isn’t too large to provide the premium experience that is Holland America Line’s signature—one that includes thoughtful features like homey and comfortable accommodations, intimate spaces to share conversation and a cocktail, and sincere, natural service by an outstanding crew.

On board Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America regulars will recognize the traditional touches they are fond of—late evening hot canapés; chimes to announce meals; attentive, courteous service by the Filipino and Indonesian crew; and signature spaces, including the Crow's Nest, Explorer's Lounge, and Ocean Bar. Hallmarks of Holland America Line's 135 year history abound—lovely flower arrangements, priceless artwork and antiques, and a full wrap-around teak promenade deck with padded deck chairs. Fresh popcorn is available to movie-goers, afternoon tea is a treasured institution, and silver trays of mints, figs, and candied ginger are present at the dining room entrances.

A warm neutral palette of blues, browns, grey, and gold with splashes of red and bronze accentuates the extensive use of crystal, marble, inlaid woods, brass and other metals. Nieuw Amsterdam is a creative blend of traditional charm and high tech, affording all passengers the comfort and convenience they expect on a premium class cruise liner. While the Signature-class ship has 63 more staterooms than her smaller Vista-class sisters, she carries less than 100 more passengers in spacious comfort.

Intimate Dining in the Pinnacle Grill

Cruise passengers expect outstanding dining experiences and delicious choices await them on an Eurodam cruise.

  • Manhattan Dining Room—The main dining room, featuring extensive menu selections and expansive views of the sea beyond floor-to-ceiling windows. While preserving the option of two set seatings, “As You Wish” dining is also available to guests who prefer open seating.
  • Pinnacle Grill—The specialty restaurant and adjoining bar serving Pacific Northwest specialties, with a signature steak and seafood menu ($20 per person cover charge for dinner; $10 for lunch).
  • Tamarind—The pan Asian specialty restaurant serving a variety of authentic and Asian-inspired dishes ($15 per person cover charge for dinner; complimentary for lunch).
  • Canaletto—A section of the Lido Restaurant that is transformed into a complimentary authentic Italian bistro each evening.
  • Lido Restaurant—Traditional daytime shipboard buffet dining with a twist: food stations replace long lines. At night, the Lido Restaurant offers a sit-down dinner in a casual setting.
  • Terrace Grill—Poolside casual eatery featuring grilled burgers, hot dogs, and all the fixings.

A particular fleet-wide favorite, dinner in the Pinnacle Grill is always a sublime treat and popular for romantic dinner. The beautifully redesigned room on Nieuw Amsterdam includes intimate draped alcoves lit by crystal chandeliers. Atop crisp Frette linens, Riedel stemware gleams beside Bvlgari china by Rosenthal. Fresh flowers are just the right adornment. To accompany meals, the wine list includes selections from distinguished Pacific Northwest vineyards. Also served in Pinnacle Grill are the Le Cirque dining experience ($39) and the Master Chef's dinner ($89 with wine pairings).

Guests with special dietary concerns will find tasty low sodium, diabetic, vegetarian, and fat free/low cholesterol offerings and health conscious Spa Cuisine.

Late afternoon snack cravings can be satisfied in the Lido Restaurant by pizza from Slice or at an ice cream bar with all the toppings necessary for a supreme sundae. Even later hunger pangs are quelled from an extensive 24-hour room service menu and traditional late-night buffets in the Lido Restaurant.

Penthouse Verandah  Suite Living Room
Penthouse Verandah Suite: Outdoor Living
Deluxe Stateroom With Verandah

Expect a soothing, and decidedly sophisticated decor in Nieuw Amsterdamdam's accommodations.

Warm wood tones, burnished nickel fixtures, and punches of color complement the drapery, carpeting, and bedspreads in all categories. There are basically six types of staterooms: standard inside, standard ocean view, deluxe verandah outside, superior verandah suites, deluxe verandah suites, and two penthouse verandah suites. Eighty-five percent have an ocean view and a whopping 79% of outside staterooms and suites offer a private verandah with attractive wicker-look furnishings.

Suite occupants enjoy sumptuous quarters and the private Neptune Lounge with personal concierge service. Penthouse suites are the ultimate in luxury with separate living room, dining room, and bedroom areas. A verandah with hot tub, huge walk-in closets, bathroom highlighted with whirlpool tub, double sinks, separate guest powder room, and a butler's pantry round out a perfect home at sea. Offering similar amenities, Deluxe and Superior Verandah Suites include large verandahs, dressing areas, and generous sitting areas. The full suite bathrooms also provide many of the conveniences of the penthouses, including double sinks, a whirlpool tub, and separate shower.

Deluxe Verandah Outside staterooms are similar in design to outside standards, including most bathrooms with tubs, but the verandahs add real usable space. Furnished with two wicker-style chairs and a table, there is still plenty of room to move about; verandahs on Deck 4 are deeper than those on higher decks. Standard staterooms, either inside or outside are functional and comfortable. For budget accommodations with a bit more room, book an inside on Main Deck.

All categories are outfitted with "Signature of Excellence" amenities that include the plush Euro-top Mariner's Dream Bed, deluxe waffle weave/terry cloth robes, Egyptian cotton towels, flat panel televisions, DVD players, lighted make-up mirrors, hand held hairdryers, massaging shower heads, personal safes, refrigerators, and closets configured for hanging and/or drop down shelves.

In a nod to the popularity of "spa accommodations" at sea, 56 Spa Staterooms are located in close proximity to the ship's Greenhouse Spa on decks 10 and 11 (Deck 10 Spa Staterooms are connected to the spa on Deck 9 via a private spiral staircase). Decorated in soothing earth tones, added amenities include organic cotton bathrobes and slippers, a teak bath mat, invigorating showerhead, a body buff loofah mitt, and aromatherapy bath salts. An iPod docking station, tranquil water feature, yoga mat, and pedometer for use while on board are extra touches. A spa concierge is on hand to assist with booking treatments and Greenhouse Spa selections are available from the room service menu. Ten Spa Staterooms on Deck 10 have Juliet-style balconies that allow fresh sea breezes to enter when the door is open. Sadly, there is no room to actually sit outside on the tiny, scalloped balconies.

Oddly, drawers in standard accommodations are only found in the tiny bedside tables; all other storage space is shelving. For two people on a short cruise, this arrangement is acceptable, but storage for longer cruises and in accommodations that sleep three or four could be tight. Parents with more than one small child might consider adjoining staterooms for additional storage and a second bathroom. Thirty staterooms in a variety of categories are wheelchair accessible.

Go to -->  Nieuw Amsterdam Preview, Part 2

Photos ©

Follow Cruise Diva's Blog day-by-day on a recent Nieuw Amsterdam cruise:

  • Aboard Nieuw Amsterdam
  • Nieuw Amsterdam at Half Moon Cay
  • Nieuw Amsterdam at Sea
  • Learn New Skills Aboard Nieuw Amsterdam
  • Dine Aboard Nieuw Amsterdam
  • The Art of a Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise

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