The 33,930 grt 1,350 passenger vessel was not considered small when built, but is dwarfed today by the megaships which have taken over the industry. Built at Chantiers de l'Atlantique in France, Nieuw Amsterdam entered service in July 1983. While many ships built in the early '80's looked ahead in their design, Holland America wanted the Nieuw Amsterdam to be traditional in style. Swimming pools were situated aft, on the navigation deck and lido; lifeboats were suspended away from the upper decks. The magnificent, full, teak promenade deck has always been a favorite with cruise aficionados. On board decor featured polished rosewood and teak with an absence of chrome, vinyl and plastic. Passengers enjoyed a comfortable cruise in elegant surroundings.
After being handed over to United States Lines, a major refit will take place at Cascade General in Portland, Oregon to turn the vessel into an educational ship for year round Hawaiian cruising. The casino will be replaced with a destination learning center; the Big Apple lounge with a family activities center while the card room, book chest and De Halve Maen will be converted into a conference and meeting center. Public rooms will be renamed to suit the United States Lines' Hawaiian experience, "Outrigger" replacing "lido" and HAL's signature, Crow's Nest (forward facing observation lounge) becoming the Eagle's Watch.
CruiseMates bids farewell to the classic Nieuw Amsterdam. "Tot siens" and thanks for the memories.