The Amsterdam

Holland America’s Flagship

            I cannot say enough good things about the service and the facilities of this ship and the staff.   They worked extremely hard to satisfy our needs and to ensure that our time on board was both enjoyable and exciting.   Their interest in the passengers and their sense of purpose is primary in making the trip successful.    As there are always some issues that arise that we could improve on, I will not spend time or elaborate on any of these only to say that I would have absolutely no reservation about returning for another cruise on a Holland America ship.

            Upon boarding the ship, we were directed to our stateroom …a full suite with concierge service in a lounge adjacent to our stateroom.   The concierge in the lounge was there to respond to all our needs and was our personal representative to the front desk.    Also provided in the lounge were hor’s d’oerves, continental breakfast, cappuccino, coffee and other drinks and current copies of newspapers.  It was a central gathering place for suite residents.   There was also a complete selection of movies to borrow for use in our stateroom.   Upon request, the concierge would order snacks and hor’s d’oerves to be delivered to our stateroom…..a lifestyle that we readily enjoyed before having to return to the real world.

            Internet service via wireless hot spots was available throughout the atrium area of the ship and was extremely effective throughout the cruise.   Using my laptop I was able to gather email, surf the web and access my checking and charge card accounts.  


Bedroom Area Sitting and Desk Area

As part of our stateroom amenities we had unlimited dry cleaning and laundry service….I was sorry that I did not bring all my clothes as their attention to detail was far better than anything we do at home.   The ship’s staff was very attentive to the suite owners and had planned various events to allow us to get together and meet each other as well as meet the ship’s officers and senior members.  

            Meals, shows, lectures and other guest programs were excellent and were specifically related to the ports we were to visit or the sights we were to experience.   For example, a series of eight lectures were provided about the history of South America.   These lectures were wonderfully entertaining, educational and added another full dimension of understanding for this trip….such lecture series would certainly influence my choice of future sailing venues. 

            A most interesting fact about the guests on this cruise was the extremely wide variety of countries that they represented.   Most often there was a predominance of American guests on such trips and a smattering of Canadians and British guests.   But this time I met people from Mexico, Israel, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, France, Norway, Sweden, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, etc.   The guest list provided an interesting and eclectic group of people that lead to our having great discussions and meeting pleasant friends.  


Cruise Itinerary

            Our cruise itinerary aboard the Amsterdam was as follows:


1.      Rio de Janeiro where we embarked our cruise ship after our pre cruise excursion to Iguassu Falls.

2.      Montevideo, Uruguay

3.      Buenos Aires, Argentina

4.      Port Stanly, Falkland Islands was cancelled due to weather problems

5.      Sailing around Cape Horn

6.      Ushuaia, Argentina

7.      Sailing the Beagle Channel and the Straights of Magellan

8.      Punta Arenas, Chile

9.      Scenic cruising of the Chilean Fiords

10. Puerto Montt, Chile

11. Valparaiso, Chile where we disembarked the ship

12. Post cruise stay in Santiago, Chile


Bridge Visit

             I was surprised to discover the level of automation that has been designed into these newer surface ships.   The Amsterdam was built in Italy in the year 2000 and has the most current technology that is available today.


            The following is a summary of some of the features that are incorporated into the bridge operations:


(1)   With regard to ship operations, the officer on the bridge is trained to also be the engineer and the communications officer, performing all functions directly from the bridge.

(2)   The Officer on duty can turn on and operate all engines from the bridge as well as communicate with other ships and shore facilities.

(3)   The engine propellers are in housings that completely rotate negating the need for rudders and can thus provide universal control. 

(4)   There is a single side thruster designed into the forward section of the hull that propels the boat in either direction with a pitch change of the blade.

(5)   The boat can be moved in any direction through the use of a joy stick without changing the heading of the ship.  This is essential when docking and leaving the pier.

(6)   The ship operates under automatic control, self checking its course and heading based on GPS and self corrects heading and speed to reach successive way points.

(7)   Ship security is fully monitored and necessary action can be taken from the bridge.