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Kuki July 2nd, 2010 01:09 AM

July3to7 Daily Live Reports Nieuw Amsterdam's First Days
On Saturday morning, July 3 I am joining the new Nieuw Amsterdam in the shipyard, and sailing the ship out of yard and in to Venice just a head of her naming ceremonies on July 4.

Then we'll be off on a short 3 night sailing to Dubrovnik, Croatia, and back to Venice.

I'll be sharing the stories, pictures, and videos of all the action right here at CruiseMates. Hope you'll enjoy! And feel free to leave any questions, and I'll do my best to follow up to get answers.

CruisinK n J July 2nd, 2010 11:27 PM

July 3 to 7 Daily Live Reports Niew Amsterdam's First Days
Wow! Sounds like a magnificent adventure, Kuki? How come Geela isn't experiencing this with you? I told Keith that if he were going to Venice, there would be no way I wouldn't be following along!

Have a wonderful time, and I can't wait to read your daily diary!


Kuki July 3rd, 2010 08:08 AM

I don't think Nieuw Amsterdam is Quite Ready

Just Kidding!! ROFL I am in the shipyard and onboard Nieuw Amsterdam. The pic is a Costa ship under construction.

My flights here were without incident. (I know, I can hardly believe it myself).

The ship is a WOW.... just excudes sophistication at first glance. More later, as we're about to set sail for our entrance to Venice.

Kuki July 3rd, 2010 12:52 PM

She’s Not Christened Yet
We’re still VERY slowly making our way to Venice. Actually at the moment it doesn’t feel like we’re moving at all. Maybe we’re waiting for the berth to open up.
I had some time to wander the ship the ship this afternoon, and so far from everything I’ve seen the entire décor is understated elegance and sophistication. Gone are what some considered over-bright hues found on the Zuiderdam. That’s not to say there aren’t some very vibrant colors used in the décor, but they are used more for accents than to make any fashion design statements.
After spending the last week reading all about the “Epic bathrooms” I have to admit I was happy walking into a cabin with a “normal” bathroom set up. And I’m in the cabin by myself, so it should make absolutely no difference to me. We’re just creatures of habit I guess.
One interesting innovation on the Nieuw Amsterdam that I’ve noted; in the cabin, your room key/ sail & spend, must go into a slot by the doorway to turn on the lights. A resultant by-product is that there’s no hunting for the key when you go to leave. I’m always throwing mine on a counter, then it winds up under something, and there’s a 10 minute hunt. This is a thing of the past on this ship.
I don’t know the number, but I’m guessing there’s currently only a couple of hundred passengers on the ship at the moment, so there’s a bit of an eerie feeling as I’ve checked out various public rooms.
The Pinnacle Grille is visually stunning, and has to be my favorite spot. As I’m only onboard for 4 nights, I hope I get a chance to see if the taste is as good as the look.
Here’s some pictures to appreciate…

Kuki July 4th, 2010 06:25 AM

This morning, in 90 degree temperatures there was a pool-side party at 10:30 AM awaiting a flotilla of water taxis, each carrying the Captain of each of the other ships in the Holland America fleet; the first for this event at a dedication ceremony. pics later

Kuki July 4th, 2010 12:15 PM

Nieuw Amsterdam Pictures
Here's a link to my pictures gallery for Nieuw Amsterdam. I'll be adding daily as time and intenet allows. More text and conversation to come.

Kuki July 4th, 2010 08:01 PM

New Ship Glitches
I’ve had a philosophy since 1995, when I sailed on the second ever sailing of the Celebrity Century; do not cruise a new ship until it’s 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, there’s lots of “little issues” 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 I’m 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. It’s a bit of an oddity than many passengers are often even willing to pay a premium to sail on Inaugural voyages, when I’ve 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 didn’t sample anything all the pastries looked fabulous. I noted there was a huge selection of “no sugar added” 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. It’s 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, I’m really looking forward to see what I’m told by everyone is a beautiful port of call.

Kuki July 5th, 2010 04:52 AM

You Can’t Review A Ship From Just a Sneak Peek
After writing yesterday’s posting regarding “new ship glitches” I thought I should point out that I am not reviewing this ship. I think it’s impossible, and totally unfair to even attempt a real “review” of a ship from the experiences of a short 3 or 4 night sneak peek sailing.

I know some reviewers think they are experienced enough cruisers that they can draw on their experience to “fill in the blanks” to write a complete review. I just don’t see how a review of these short inaugural introductory cruises can possibly reflect accurately what prospective future cruisers on the ship will experience on later sailings.

Reviews written on these types of sailings supply are about as reliable as when a Travel Agent tells you they know a ship because they had lunch and a tour of it.

Sure, the physical design and plant can be accurately described, and doesn’t change, but most certainly the experience most often does. As the few negative glitches I described last night; I assume will be but a distant memory very shortly. As, with my cabin air-conditioning, which is working perfectly this morning.

Last night was my first late night on the ship. It wasn’t until after 2 A.M. that I returned to my cabin. Little did I know I was going to be shocked into consciousness this morning at 8:30 A.M., with a call to do the mandatory life boat drill.

I knew the ship wasn’t due in Dubrovnik until 10 A.M., and assumed I could just sleep late since I didn’t have a tour booked until the afternoon. That will teach me to read the ship’s daily!!! UGH. I definitely am in the look like a wash rag state.

I did give it a good try to go right back to sleep after the life boat drill, but of course that wasn’t going to happen.

Kuki July 5th, 2010 02:38 PM

In another thread I posted a bit about our stop in Dubrovnik, Croatia today. In case you missed it I want to include a link in this thread.

More on the rest of my day in Dubrovnik, and back onboard later.

Kuki July 5th, 2010 03:53 PM

With a short memory, when visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia it’s easy to not have in mind, less than 20 years ago the area was apart of the horrid atrocities of the Bosnia-Herzegovina war.

The tour I chose to do today was about the reclamation project of Old Town Dubrovnik, and we learned a lot about the continuous and indiscriminate bombing the Dubrovnik and it’s residents endured. It’s amazing the town has recovered as much as it has. And, unlike some areas of the world, Croatians like Americans (though I’m Canadian), because it was the United States who forced an end to the war.

Wandering through Old Town Dubrovnik today was in fact much like wandering around a city in the United States, in one way; every souvenir there was to buy was made in China.

Old Town is a walled city, and you can climb up and walk around the wall above. However, there is a charge to do so, and I told them for me to climb all those stairs, they’d have to pay me.

Upon getting back to the ship, I showered and cleaned up for my dinner reservation at Canaletto’s, the ships alternate (though cost included) Italian Restaurant on Lido Deck. I’d missed the restaurant in May, when I sailed on the Veendam, and was told I’d missed a fabulous meal. So, I had to make sure I was going to dine there. Frankly, I thought the meal was average; pasta overdone, and the veal was tough. The service was friendly and efficient, however.

My cabin service has sadly been less efficient. I’m only on the ship for 4 nights, so I haven’t bothered to talk to anyone about it, and there no question I’ll survive. I’m simply surprised because these people were apparently brought in to bring out the new ship on recommendations from superiors… so they should know the job better.

There’s nothing major, but little things. The first day I’d asked my steward to keep extra Diet Cokes in the mini-bar, and they only stocked it the one day, with the normal two cans. Since then I’ve just taken to calling room service and having a few cans delivered when needed. I know, I know… how tough life is! It can also take several hours, after I leave my cabin in the morning, for it to get done. Surely, they can’t be short handed now, so I’m not sure what the explanation is.
I say again… I LOVE the ship, but they do have some details to get worked out.

Last night I forgot to mention a mental note I’d made about the casino. I guess I don’t have a great “mental note pad” if I forgot it last night. It may be pertinent to casino players cruising the ship in Europe though; the last time I sailed in Europe (not just transatlantic crossings) I recalled the casinos using the Euro as the denomination of business in the casino. On the Nieuw Amsterdam, the casino play is based entirely on U.S. Dollars, on the tables and in the slot machines.

When playing the slot machines, while they will take cash going in, the rest of the system is cashless. If you put in cash, and happen to win, the winning just accumulate in your shipboard account, until you choose to cash it in.

If you use your “sail and spend” card to get credits in the slot machines, there is no service fee involved. However, if you use it for chips at the table games there is a 3% service fee.

Kuki July 6th, 2010 02:30 PM

15 HAL Captains at Dedication

I had posted this originally in a separate thread, but thought I should include a link in this thread, as it was QUITE the event.

PapaBear July 8th, 2010 08:35 PM

You mentioned that the room key card had to be placed in a slot near the door to turn on the lights. I first ran into this about 15-years ago, in European hotels. Good, because you cannot lay the key card down on a table, and cover it up.


dmzab July 10th, 2010 09:34 AM

We are interested in finding out what the private cabanas are like. We have reserved the Family (corner) cabanasas in the retreat area on a future cruise. Did you get to see them?

sail7seas July 10th, 2010 10:56 PM

I've read elsewhere the bathrooms on Nieuw Amsterdam (unlilke other HAL ships) have dispensers for shampoo, bath gel and soap in place of the lovely individual bottles they have always supplied on their ships.

Is this accurate?


Kuki July 11th, 2010 12:02 AM


Originally Posted by dmzab (Post 1302557)
We are interested in finding out what the private cabanas are like. We have reserved the Family (corner) cabanasas in the retreat area on a future cruise. Did you get to see them?

I think I do have a few pictures of the cabanas. I'll take a look and post them.

Kuki July 11th, 2010 12:04 AM


Originally Posted by sail7seas (Post 1302721)
I've read elsewhere the bathrooms on Nieuw Amsterdam (unlilke other HAL ships) have dispensers for shampoo, bath gel and soap in place of the lovely individual bottles they have always supplied on their ships.

Is this accurate?


Actually my cabin had both, the individual bottles and the dispensers. Think the dispensers were gel, shampoo, conditioner.

All were Elemis products.

DeeDee July 11th, 2010 08:46 AM


Originally Posted by Kuki (Post 1302726)
Actually my cabin had both, the individual bottles and the dispensers. Think the dispensers were gel, shampoo, conditioner.

All were Elemis products.

Were these dispensers in the shower stall and/or bathtub?

That would make it so much easier when you are washing your hair not to have to fumble around to open and then close one of those little bottles of shampoo & conditioner with water running down your face and into your eyes as you stand under the shower. :rolleyes:

Kuki July 11th, 2010 10:33 AM

The dispensers were in the shower/tub enclosure. Bar soaps and bottles were on the shelfs above the sink

sail7seas July 11th, 2010 09:11 PM

I imagine soon all the ships will soon have the dispensers.
That will save a lot of waste and certainly lots of plastic.
As long as HAL still provides Elemis, it's good. I really like the Elemis products.

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