The cruise was of New England and Canada and commenced on September 27th 2001 from Boston. It was originally scheduled to start from New York but due to the September 11th disaster New York was closed to Cruise vessels.
We were flown to New York on the 26th and put up at the New York Sheraton for one night and bussed up to Boston the next morning. As far as we are aware there were only six Brits on this cruise.
Embarkation in Boston was very swift and smooth and we were soon in our cabin. This time we had booked a mini suite which we found very nice and comfortable with lots of stowage space. We also had a veranda, an added bonus.
Our cabin steward was quiet and unobtrusive but efficient and helpful and he looked after us very well.
Our first port of call was Gloucester which was only 24 miles from Boston and as we left at 7pm and arrived early next morning we were amused to note that the average speed on the passage was 1.5 knots.
The Amsterdam was then only just about one year old and is a very fine ship in the typical style it seems of Holland America Line with lots of fine paintings, models and antiques in the public areas. Once again we found her very well run and very clean and tidy
The food whilst good was not we thought quite as good as on the Westerdam. Once again we only ate in the main dining room in the evenings, taking breakfast and lunch in the Lido Restaurant.
The staff were really excellent, helpful, cheerful and friendly and ready for a joke. Carrying my wife's tray and serving her coffee and clearing the tray from the tables with a smile.
Our waiter and the Wine waiter in the main dining room were great fun as was the supervisor for our area.
The Cruise director was an English girl from Newcastle on Tyne named Susan Wood and the social hostess was a Dutch girl named Appolonia. They were both very charming and full of fun.
The ship's entertainers were really very talented and put on shows that a lot of the American passengers rated as good as many Las Vegas shows. There were also several artistes who visited the ship from port to port for the shows who were very good.
Apart from Gloucester we visited Portland, Maine; Bar Harbour; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Sydney Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Quebec (for two days) and finally Montreal where we disembarked.
All were interesting. Portland, Bar Harbour and Charlottetown were very attractive and Quebec is very impressive.
The excursions we went on were good but not really fantastic but we tended to pick the half day trips so maybe the all day trips were better.
The ports where we anchored off and went ashore by tender were well organised and helped by the Amsterdam having fast catamaran type tenders which double as lifeboats.
The cabins on the Amsterdam were very quiet compared to the Westerdam. The ship is well equipped with smooth silent lifts and there are plenty of quiet spots to sit and relax around the ship. Once again we found the staff really excellent.
We found it interesting that there were a great number of passengers who had cruised with Holland America previously, some ten or more times.
Our only minor criticism is the slow, tedious disembarkation process but as we were almost the last called off perhaps we were unlucky.