So much time; so many islands!

Amsterdam Cruise Review to South Pacific

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 13
Helpful Votes: 159

Overall rating:

3.6 out of 5
Amsterdam

51 Night Tales Of The South Pacific (San Diego Roundtrip)

Sail date: October 28, 2019

Ship: Amsterdam

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 6112

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

The ship is aging gracefully. The staff is the friendliest and most helpful I've met outside of the Disney Cruise Line. I didn't meet one staff member I wished to avoid and several I would have hired. The most interesting aspect of this cruise was seeing the Polynesian and Melanesian island cultures. All are basically "stone age" cultures -- I say this not as an insult but by noting that the islands have no metals, thus no progression through the tin, bronze, and iron ages. Clearly a common background, each island has their own unique take and their culture. All have added some western tools and traditions, most notably Christianity, but these are still clearly overlays not fully integrated into their way of life. As a westerner, I certainly couldn't long stand living there, but for those not accustomed to, or not appreciative of, modern life, I can see it would be very attractive.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
San Diego has a very well-run port.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Food was good, and better than I expected from my one previous Holland America cruise. Very good service, with several outstanding servers.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
About all I did was jigsaw puzzles (a passion of mine I don't have room for at home), but the lighting was bad.

Entertainment

3 out of 5
A few guest performers were terrific. Others were embarrassingly bad. Experience kept us away from the ship's performers, as did comments from other guests.

Wajang Theater

5 out of 5

Used both for films and for cooking demonstrations. We liked the staff chef's presentations better than the guest chefs.

Art Gallery

1 out of 5

There is no art, this program appears to have been discontinued.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Really outstanding service and attitude. We had a number of small problems, all of which were addressed promptly, courteously, and with a smile. I'd hire most of them!

Ship Quality

2 out of 5
Layout and Design were poor. The dining room was isolated from the rest of that deck by the galley, so one had to go up and down a deck to get there. Theming was non-existant (the main dining room was called "Dining Room", etc.). Common areas were quite clean and generally well maintained. That said, the ship is 20 years old, and that's starting to show in a few areas, as one would expect.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Larger than average, with above average amounts of storage space. The closets are a bit too narrow to hang things up, but that's design.

Ports of call

San Diego, California

5 out of 5
A wonderful city. Balboa Park alone is worth three days, and that's not counting their world-class zoo.

Honolulu, Oahu

3 out of 5
Big busy city, and far from most attractions.

Lahaina, Maui

4 out of 5
A small town in great contrast to Honolulu, but not a lot going on. Whale watching is a popular excursion here, but I've had just as good a view from the ship.

Nawiliwili, Kauai

4 out of 5
Nice, but not memorable.

Hilo, Hawaii

3 out of 5
Pretty urban, with limited shopping options.

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

4 out of 5

Pago Pago, American Samoa

3 out of 5
I was interested to compare the two Samoas. American Samoa is more western in outlook and lifestyle, and thus less interesting.

Apia, Samoa

4 out of 5
The more attractive of the two Samoas, with most residnets living closer to the traditional culture. Limited excursions once you get introduced to the culture.

Savusavu, Fiji

3 out of 5

Suva, Fiji

3 out of 5

Dravuni Island, Fiji

3 out of 5

Lautoka, Fiji Islands

3 out of 5

Luganville, Vanuatu

4 out of 5

Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu

3 out of 5

Nuku'Alofa, Tonga Islands

4 out of 5
Tonga felt like another Samoa, but different. Interesting to see how one basic culture is interpreted differently on the various islands.

Vava'U, Tonga Islands

3 out of 5

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

3 out of 5

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

2 out of 5
Pretty much taken over by very expensive hotels.

Raiatea, French Polynesia

3 out of 5

Papeete, Tahiti

3 out of 5

Rangiroa, French Polynesia

3 out of 5

Fakarava, Tuamotu Archipelago

3 out of 5

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

3 out of 5

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
Don't take the ship's shuttle to the airport. It's a short cab ride that costs 1/3 of the shuttle tickets. I waited over an hour to board the bus.
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