Length: 780 ft
Passengers (all berths): 1,380
A sister ship to the Rotterdam, one of the older, but not oldest class of Holland America shipsBest For People Who Want
A dignified cruise experience in elegant, flower-bedecked surroundings, fewer children than on other mass-market lines; the best dedicated crossword puzzle area at sea.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Many dining options, Holand's famous movie theaters, a mega-resort ship experiences with tons of activites.Onboard Experience
Amsterdam is not only a sister ship to the Rotterdam, she also shares the status of "flagship" with her, making Holland America the only cruise line to have two flagships. Obviously, they liked them both so much they just couldn't make up their minds. But if you look at the subtle differences in the slightly larger Amsterdam, she just might win you over because of her extra suites comprising an all-suite "Concierge Deck." This version of Amsterdam is the third ship named for the capitol of Holland. Like the Rotterdam, she has twin smokestacks, but she is the first Holland America ship with Azipod propulsion, giving her a top-speed of 22.5 knots.
Designed for extended voyages, including an annual world cruise, she offers the best of both contemporary and transatlantic liner-style cruising, tasteful elegance without pomposity. As flagship, she offers the most gracious and polished service of all the HAL ships, exemplary cuisine, and a gorgeous alternative restaurant.
Amsterdam is fully subscribed to Holland America's "Signature of Excellence" program, with enhancements to nearly every area of the ship. Staterooms now offer the best mattresses and duvets sold in Europe, flat screen TVs, and DVD players. There's early boarding and a choice of four dinner seatings. New service amenities include a new Culinary Arts Program with a demonstration kitchen for instructional cooking classes, expanded spa and fitness facilities, tableside waiter service at dinner in the Lido, new shore excursions and upgraded Club HAL Kids Centers. The Explorations Cafe is a combination reading and listening library, Internet center, and sidewalk cafe.
Returning passengers will see some of their favorite Holland America traditions remain - free appetizers at cocktail hour, abundant fresh flowers throughout the ship, and chilled beer glasses.Decor
Contemporary, with a tastefully understated yet elegant decor, this gorgeous ship features Holland America memorabilia throughout the ship in addition to a $2 million collection of European and Asian art. Some of the most striking pieces are the "Terra Cotta Warriors," life-size human and equine terra cotta figures, reproductions of the ancient statues unearthed in Xian, China. Adjacent to the Explorer's Lounge, an enormous mural depicts the original Amsterdam built in the 17th century while the main dining room features a huge circular panel resembling stained glass.Public Rooms
The layout of the Amsterdam is not much different from the rest of the Holland America fleet. The differences are mostly in the decor. With most inside public areas concentrated on two decks, few passengers have trouble finding their way around.
Boarding visitors are greeted by the nearly 30-foot tall Astrolabe clock tower at the foot of a three-deck high stairway. The main public areas feature mostly warmly colored upholstery and leathers, damask fabrics, mahogany tones, and gold accents, the ship feels at times like an elegant old hotel. The gorgeous two-level Queen's Lounge, more a nightclub than a theater, presents Amsterdam's lavish floorshows. Head for the banquettes for the best sight lines. The Explorer's Lounge offers cognac, cigars, delectable chef-designed chocolates and a string quartet at night. The Explorations Cafe (and Hudson Room within it) would seem more intimate if there weren't so many passengers passing through it all the time. The Crow's Nest, atop the ship, is an observation lounge by day and a disco after dark. Fresh hot popcorn is always available in the Wajang Movie Theater, where a selection of near first-run movies will be presented throughout the cruise (be sure to check the entire schedule, your favorite feature may or may not play more than once). The beautiful wood-paneled Erasmus library is almost as large as the casino. Three boutiques complete the public area. The popular Ocean Bar offers sea views.
Near the entrance to Amsterdam's Crows Nest, be sure to admire the Four Seasons sculptures originally created for the old Nieuw Amsterdam in 1938, and purchased back from a private collector.Cuisine
The main dining room, La Fontaine offers an attractive balance of contemporary cuisine and more traditional fare. While the menu always features something a bit bolder, such traditional favorites as grilled salmon and prime rib remain on offer, along with lighter and vegetarian cuisine.
The menu at The Pinnacle Grill at the Odyssey Restaurant is innovatively Italian, with a wine list offering several more excellent Italian choices than La Fontaine. The casual Lido will make you the best omelet you've ever tasted in the morning and occasionally offers Indonesian 'rice tables' or Indian curry stations at lunchtime.
Holland America's Lido buffets have always been among the best at sea, with a variety of salads, breads, hot entrees and sumptuous desserts.Restaurants
In the elegant two-level La Fontaine Dining Room, enormous glass windows overlook the stern, providing dramatic sea views. Most tables seat four, six, eight and ten. There are four dinner seatings at 5:45 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Evocative of a medieval Venetian palace, with candelabras, hand-painted murals, and romantic muted lighting, Amsterdam's 88-seat Odyssey was Holland America's original alternative restaurant. Now called The Pinnacle Grill at the Odyssey, it features Pacific Northwest cuisine and wines, and levies a $20 service charge.
Casual breakfast and luncheon buffet are served in the Lido restaurant, adjacent to the pool. A bright, cheerful place with separate salad, drink, deli, dessert, and stir-fry stations. You seldom have to wait, even during days at sea. Hamburgers and hotdogs are served poolside until 4:00 p.m.Service
Holland America's Indonesian and Filipino crew is warm and gracious, though not always as fluent in English as American and British passengers might prefer. Speak slowly and make sure they understand what you need, because they can be to polite to ask you to repeat yourself.Tipping
For years Holland America was known for its no-tipping policy, intended to make passengers believe that staff were doing it for love, rather than money. Now, gratuities of $10.00 per person (including children) are automatically added daily to the shipboard account for dining and stateroom service. Visit the front desk to adjust that amount. A 15 percent service is automatically added to bar bills.Entertainment
The Queen's Show Lounge's floorshows usually include an accomplished concert pianists of some renown, a comedian and one other act (magician, juggler, singer). Broadway style productions created by Anita Mann have gotten much better at Holland America the last few years, featuring enthusiastic choreography, singing and state-of-the-art special effects. The highlights of the shows on Holland America are usually the lavish costumes.Cabins
Abandoning the bland beigeness of the older Statendam-class ships, the cabin decors features a much livelier palette of colors, including corals, mangoes, blues, and white. Holland America built Amsterdam VI with yearly world cruises in mind, which mindset is reflected in the most spacious cabins in the mid-price range, regardless of category. Amsterdam has four categories of staterooms: inside (192 square feet), outside (201 square feet), mini suites (229 square feet with 59 sq.ft. private verandah), 36 suites (393 square feet with 189 sq.ft. private verandah) and four penthouse suites (937 sq.ft. with 189 sq.ft. private verandah). The 120 Verandah Suites (230 square feet, excluding verandah) offer particularly good value.
All cabins have two single or one queen-sized bed, abundant closet and drawer space, and safes. The remote-controlled color TV's show closed circuit movies as well as CNN International. There is a small dressing table, couch and armchair. The bathrooms have hair dryers and lovely toiletry; only outside cabins have both bathtubs and showers. Some cabins have connecting doors for families preferring two cabins.
Suites and minisuites come with many perks -- large balconies, marble bath with whirlpool, TV/VCR, terry cloth bathrobes, personalized, stationery, complimentary laundry, high tea served in suite, free videos, cocktail party with the captain, feather pillows and special disembarkation privileges. All suite guests may avail themselves of a concierge staff who remain stationed inside the concierge-class lounge on the same deck. This lounge features DVDs, books and tempting snacks available to suite passengers. The concierge will assist passengers in booking shore excursion reservations, alternative dining reservations and any other matters that would ordinarily involve standing in a slow-moving line.
There are four self-service launderettes (a wash and dry cost $2 including detergent) featuring ironing board/iron and folding tableFitness/Spa
There is a full-service Ocean Spa (run by Steiner's LTD) comprising a hair salon and massage and facial facilities. The bright Center features modern exercise machines, free weights, a sauna and steam room and a juice bar. classes ranging from yoga to aerobics are offered several times a day. Some of the classes carry a fee that tends to be rather expensive. There are two swimming pools, one with a retractable dome, and four Jacuzzis. The tennis courts double as volleyball courts. Joggers and speed walkers can do their morning constitutional on the terrific wraparound Promenade Deck, also lined with wooden deck chairs for a wonderful spot for reading, daydreaming, or even snoozing in the grand style of the cruisers of decades long past.Attire
Slightly dressier on formal nights than other Holland America ships, especially on extended voyages, many men wear tuxes though a dark suit is certainly acceptable; daytime attire is casual, but jeans and a tee-shirt will appear a little under-dressed.
The next morning we got up and went to the airport and boarded the Planet Air plane. They served breakfast during the two and one half hour flight. We arrived in Liberia, Costa Rica, and got on a bus for the two and one half hour trip to the ship. The bus was not very comfortable. The seats were too close together so there was no room for my knees.
It was a very long and tiring two days of travel for us. We were lucky we were not delayed by weather as many of the other passengers were. We spent a lot of time in the "hurry up and wait" mode. I do not know how HAL could have done better as they had so many passengers to deal with. We were glad we did the difficult portion of the traveling before the cruise as we had the cruise to look forward to. We knew we could recover on board.
The ship was a welcome sight. She is beautiful and classy. The port, Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, is nothing but a dock and a warehouse. It remindedme of the port in Seward, Alaska.
When our luggage arrived in our stateroom we noticed that two of the padlocks were missing. When we opened up the suitcases we knew someone had gone through them. They had opened up a carton of cigarettes and taken two packs. They put a big greasy hand print on one of my white tops. I haven't been able to get it out yet. We had brought eight little boxes of chocolate for Christmas gifts. They unwrapped one of them and left it.
Although this was an annoyance I was glad we heeded the warning to carry your medicine and your jewelry with you. At least one lady was not as lucky. She was filling out a claim form at the front office for jewelry that was stolen.
We left about two hours later than scheduled as we had to wait for some passengers who were late. We picked up more passengers over the next two days. Many passengers had been delayed by winter storms. On day two, while we were cruising Golfo Dulce, a tender went to shore to pick up 19 passengers. We were wondering how they got out to where the ship could pick them up. Costa Rica does not have a lot of highways or public transportation that would get them to us.
The first day of the cruise we were in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Several tours were offered but each one required a one and one half hour bus ride to get to the place that is featured. After the long bus ride the day before, I was glad I did not take one of these tours.
We were in Cabin 6173 on the Verandah Deck. The cabin was the same as on the Ryndam except the panel under the railing on the verandah is made of Plexiglas. You can see out while sitting in your chair. There is more space between the rail and the divider so you can more easily talk to the people next to you when you are both hanging over the rail. You can take out the back half of the barrier that is between the cabins. This would be great if you have a friend in the next cabin and want to talk or go between cabins without going out into the hall.
The elevators on the ship have lots of mirrors. The first few days I would step back so the person in the elevator could get out. Then I realized that I was just seeing a reflection of myself in the mirrors. Once I got confident and walked right in I would run into someone coming out. Thank goodness they were not crowded very often.
Others have written reviews about the look of the ship so I will not go into that. If you do not take a tour of the ship you want to stop by each of the pieces of art and read the plaque. That will give you some idea of its importance. Also, be sure to look for the little bear playing with the stick in the area of the Lido pool.
We got up early to see the Panama Canal. They were serving "Panama rolls," coffee, and juice on the outside decks. They opened up the "crew only" area on the Promenade Deck. There was plenty of room for everyone to see the Canal. The Canal was as impressive as I thought it would be.
There were lots of families on board. The children dominated the pools and the Jacuzzis. There were 168 children during this Christmas cruise and only 8 children the week before. Overall the children were well behaved. Santa came Christmas morning. He did not seem to like children, but the children liked the presents he brought for them.
The Christmas dinner was good. I had the biggest lobster tail I have seen on any ship. My husband had the turkey dinner. He was disappointed as it did not taste like the traditional turkey, dressing, and gravy we get at home. We had dinner at the Odyssey Restaurant one night. We thought the food was better in the dining room. I had seen pictures of intimate tables for two nestled into a nook in the restaurant. The nook ended up being windows onto the inside hall. If you get one of those tables you also get everyone going by the restaurant stopping and checking out what you are eating.
There were very few lines. If there was a line, as in the Lido during meals, they moved fast. They have the food arranged so you can enter the line at several places depending on what you want to eat.
Our last stop was the private island, Half Moon Cay. It was beautiful. The water was too cold for us wimps from Tucson, but many people were swimming. We went on the Glass Bottom Boat tour and enjoyed it. They have some permanent buildings on the island such as a church, a bar, stores for souvenirs, Ben and Jerry Ice Cream, and a few others.
The only problem was that the Volendam was there the same time we were. The island is perfect for one ship but was very crowded with two. We went to get some lunch and the line was so long, we didn't even try to get anything. All the chairs on the beach were occupied. I feel that HAL should re-think having two ships there at the same time.
Overall, it was a wonderful cruise. I would highly recommend the itinerary and the ship.
My wife and I completed a cruise on Holland America's MS Amsterdam on 06/13/2009 and were very disappointed. The inattention by the crew/staff to the needs of the passengers was apalling.
We had previously cruised on the MS Westerdam, which was virtually ideal, so we opted to repeat the cruise because it was so enjoyable the first time. (Big Mistake.)
Upon embarkation in Seattle, we were told to watch a safety video on the T.V. Unfortuneately, there was no remote control to turn on the T.V. It took FOUR HOURS and numerous phone calls to get a replacement. Same scenario to get a ballpoint pen to fill out the complimentary postcards. Finally, we had a high intensity florescent ceiling light that became defective and cycled on and off at a frequency of once per second. There were three other lights on the same switch, so if you turned the switch off to correct the problem, you were sitting in the dark. It took THREE DAYS and innumerable phone calls before the light was finally replaced.
The food was good, but not great. The Asian food was excellent, (not surprising, given the makeup ofthe crew). The Italian food was bland to the point of being inedible. The steaks were well prepared, but were of an inferior cut, certainly not Choice or Grade A.
Overall, I would say we were quite disappointed in the cruise and in the crew/staff's tendency to ignore/minimize legitimate complaints with virtually no attempt at problem resolution. We will think long and hard before we cruise with HAL again.
I regret to report that Holland America continues to become less and less worthy of its high ratings. Except for the crew, which is outstanding, and the decor which is good, and the laundry service for the deluxe veranda suites, a host of little things were irritating.
The food, although plated well, is bland and meats are sometimes tough and not as warm as they should be.
Individual ship maps don't even note that there is a library or computer facility onboard, nor do the maps at each bank of elevators.
Saving money has resulted in 13 watt flourescent tubes in what are supposed to be cabin reading lights.
The TV in our suite wasn't connected and had only a single controller instead of the two needed for the TV and DVD.
The mini bar was only fully stocked two days; the other five days there were only a few items.
The telephone had no displayed way to contact housekeeping or the front desk.
Throughout the cruise the ship had a periodically annoying vibration (worse midships). The seas were very calm so the vibration wasn't weather-related.