This past October I had the chance to go on my first charter as the newest member of the Worldwide team. We sailed on the Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam for a 7 night Caribbean cruise with ports of call in Curacao and Aruba. The ship has under gone a partial remodel and is scheduled to go to dry dock to finish her updates at the end of the season.
We stayed in one of the veranda rooms which was nice although standard. Beds were comfortable, size of room and bathroom were adequate for our needs of 2 adults. Work space, and the amenities were nice (beach towels in the room, mini bar, toiletries, etc.). Décor is traditional; dark woods, darker colors, Dutch art. We had a chance to see some of the larger suites and they were similar in style and very spacious. All the suite level guests have access to the Neptune Lounge which is a small space to grab a complimentary specialty coffee or light snack. They have the news playing on the TV and a few newspapers as well, great place to catch up in the morning.
We made a point to try all the different dining options available so we would have a well-rounded experience. My absolute favorite was Sel de Mer, which on this particular ship was only offered one night in the Pinnacle Grill. The salt crusted baked branzinno was by far the best thing I ate on the 7 days. The service was fantastic, food delicious, and setting was elegant and private. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking to have a dining experience to impress.
The Pinnacle Grill is used to serve breakfast and lunch daily to Pinnacle Suite guests. Breakfast was the traditional fare of eggs benedict, pancakes, omelets, etc. with option for specialty coffees. Staff was fantastic! On this particular cruise we had supplied a specialty hot sauce that we requested on day one, as well as another specialty condiment. From day 2 forward they were all on our table waiting for us at our breakfast meeting as well as our favorite coffee that we drank every day. It really is the small details that shows how great they are at what they do. At dinner time it turns into a steak house that will not disappoint. Fantastic traditional dishes include steak tartar, caeser salad, a range of steaks and sides, and desserts to die for.
The Tamarind is an Asian restaurant that serves dishes from Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. I wish we would have had more time to eat here more than once as I loved the food, ambience, and service. We shared this meal with someone who works for Holland America and she recommended her favorites, we shared multiple dishes between the three of us and I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite. Right across from the restaurant is a small lounge that carries over the Asian vibe and has funky seating areas sure to please your guests who like some privacy and a unique feel.
Canaletto’s is an Italian bistro tucked away in the corner of the lido market. I have to admit I was skeptical at first because of its location but it was really enjoyable. We ordered an assortment of dishes for us to try. Everything was delicious and my personal favorite was the tiramisu. At only $15 per person it really is a great deal.
The Dive In is HAL’s poolside burger joint. They have a handful of specialty burgers that will rival your favorite burger joint for juicy yummy cheesy deliciousness. They also have hot dogs and great fries. A must pool side lunch on a relaxing day.
On the aft deck pool area there is New York Pizza which serves personal thin crust pizza. Because of the use of this deck as a concert venue on our cruise, we didn’t get to really try this and just grabbed a quick slice of what was already made as we walked by. It tasted good enough for me to make sure I try it again the next time I go on a HAL ship. Stay tuned for an updated review on their pizza!
The Lido Market was surprisingly good. I am not a huge buffet person as a general but I voluntarily ate lunch here most days. They have a salad bar, home style food area, pasta station, sushi bar, desserts, and my personal favorite, an Asian station that served dishes from different regions each day.
The main dining room had a good selection each night with vibrant modern décor. Although slightly under seasoned for my personal taste, it seemed to be a big hit with the passengers as it experienced more traffic than this particular cruise would typically have generated in the past.
They have several different spaces that could be used for private events or meetings. The standard conference rooms with an assortment of AV equipment, multiple lounges ranging in size, two outdoor pool decks, and the main show lounge.
As always, the Holland America staff went above and beyond for our client to ensure the entire guest experience was out of this world.
All in all, my first charter experience was a huge success and I look forward to many more with the Worldwide family.