Iíve had a philosophy since 1995, when I sailed on the second ever sailing of the Celebrity Century; do not cruise a new ship until itís 3-6 months old. New ship glitches do happen more often than not, and it generally requires a shake down period for new ships to smooth out the glitches, and the crew, though often chosen from experienced crew from other ships, to adapt entirely to the ships.
That philosophy seems to be proven reliable with the Nieuw Amsterdam. This is one truly gorgeous ship! However, thereís lots of ďlittle issuesĒ being reported with some things not performing as they should.
This is especially true now, as today the first paying passengers boarded the ship in Venice, and talking to more people Iím hearing stories of loss of electrical power in some cabins, water pressure and temperature problems in others, and as in the case of my cabin, air-conditioning barely cooling. Actually the interior temperature on the ship is warm in most public areas as well.
With the ship sailing full today for the first time, the lines were long for the Manhattan Dining Room, and service time was incredibly slow.
I have no doubt that in a relatively short period of time all of these issues will be resolved, and those booked on future cruises will have little or nothing to worry about and love the ship. Itís a bit of an oddity than many passengers are often even willing to pay a premium to sail on Inaugural voyages, when Iíve always thought they should be offered at a discount, because the first passengers are often guinea pigs.
At 10:00 P.M. tonight there was a deck party pool-side to celebrate July 4. We left the dining room at 10:30, immediately after our entrees, to go up top to see the goings on. There was a huge turnout, and though I didnít sample anything all the pastries looked fabulous. I noted there was a huge selection of ďno sugar addedĒ selection as well.
After checking out the Lido Deck party, I stopped in at the casino. The casino is huge and, like the rest of the ship, quite beautiful. I managed to spend a couple of hours without looking for a loans officer, and the staff were amazingly fun and friendly. All very upbeat, and they were telling me the crew facilities on the ship are just as great as the public areas. They said the crew bar is as nice as any of the lounges on the ship, and all seemed very happy to be on the Nieuw Amsterdam.
Tomorrow we are in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Itís a port of call I have never visited. We were supposed to stop there several years back while on a cruise, but had to leave the ship mid-voyage. So, Iím really looking forward to see what Iím told by everyone is a beautiful port of call.