Here's a tour of Holland America's MS Amsterdam from our 2016 seven-night cruise to Alaska. The pictures were taken over the course of the entire trip, so in some cases, there are multiple shots of the same location taken on different days. You'll notice this with the main pool, which is shown both with the retractable roof open and closed.
The MS Amsterdam is considered a medium-sized cruise ship, with just 1380 passengers. Since we managed to get the last available room on the ship, I'm assuming that we sailed close to or at maximum capacity. The public spaces were never crowded, we could relax in a lounge chair on the deck and not see anyone else for long stretches of time.
Holland America attracts an older crowd and although we are middle-aged ( late 30's/early 40's), we were definitely among the youngest passengers on this cruise. It was late May and most schools were still in session, so only a few children were on our cruise. However, based on the vibe of Holland America and ship's offerings, I would bet that this isn't a first pick for families. We are traveling to Alaska with my step-kids this coming summer and we opted for Princess Cruise Lines.
Here are outside deck shots. Notice how few people were on the decks? It was like this for most of the trip.
On the first day of our cruise, we ran around and snapped shots of the interior, including many of the night clubs and lounges. As I mentioned, the ship skewed older, which was reflected in the evening entertainment. It was more low-key than other cruise lines that I've vacationed with; on the MS Amsterdam, the musical entertainment that we experienced included a trio playing jazz standards, early evening classical music, and popular music prior to 1990-ish. All of it was very good, but it was definitely geared toward an older crowd. The ship was very quiet after eleven pm. This is not a party cruise!
Here is a picture of the main show room. We met here prior to all of our excursions. We also saw an evening show that included a stand-up comedian. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name, but he was funny. It was clean comedy and I remember him having a patriotic bent, including sharing his memories of entertaining the troops during a USO tour.
We spent a couple of nights in the casino, where Dan had a run of luck at the roulette table. He had a big win with our lucky number 7 and became a mini-celebrity with other passengers who saw the win.
A unique feature on Holland America is their Culinary Arts Studio presented by Food and Wine Magazine. The Culinary Arts Studio features cooking demonstrations by one of the head chefs on the ship and after each demonstration, they provide recipe cards. I'm not huge into cooking, but I enjoyed the presentation enough to go on two different days. One featured appetizers, like crab cakes and the other was all about desserts. Truthfully, I just went for the food samples!
The MS Amsterdam has two pool areas. On the first day of the cruise, we experienced the "Sail-Away" from Seattle with Mai Tais at the adult-only pool.
Here are pictures of the main pool, which has a retractable roof. It was chilly during our cruise to Alaska and only a few brave people went swimming. We didn't swim, but we did enjoy the great poolside burgers at Dive-In. I also love the bear statue!
Hands down, my favorite part of the ship was the Explorations Cafe. Explorations Cafe has enormous coffee cups, excellent lattes, and delicious cakes. It was easy to make this our afternoon snack spot.
The cafe is located in the library, which was well-stocked with books and comfy chairs. This may be surprising, but the MS Amsterdam is the first cruise ship that I've been on that has had a magnificent library. A fabulous library should be mandatory on all cruise ships! I have to compare this to my experience on two different Royal Caribbean ships, which had maybe fifty books and lots of empty shelves. The Royal Caribbean libraries were used as a place for teens to hang out. On one Carnival Cruise, the library had books (old, dusty books), but it was located next to a noisy night club! Luckily, Holland America has done it right and I'm officially dubbing it the cruise line for book lovers.
In addition, they had tables with New York Times crossword puzzles, that could be wiped for the next player and the puzzles were refreshed every day. The games cabinet was well-stocked and we had highly competitive games of Battleship.
Coming next, port and excursion reports.