You’ll be eating here more than once, but a long list of options is available to diners at this satisfying restaurant.
This is Nieuw Amsterdam’s main restaurant, a huge venue spread over two levels, one for traditional seatings at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m., one for open dining till 9:00 p.m. Trimmed with bouquets of fresh flowers, the restaurant has a sophisticated red and white decor, and chairs are robed in white covers for formal nights (typically occurring twice in a seven-day cruise). Located on decks 2 and 3 aft, a staircase in the middle connects the two levels; midway up is a terrace with a few tables that provide a unique vantage point. The dinner menu changes daily and offers some healthier choices, both meat and vegetarian.
Breakfast is offered daily and starts with simpler dishes like fruits, cold cuts, yogurts, cold and hot cereals, egg and cheese sandwiches, bagel and lox. But many choices are available, ranging from traditional classics like Belgian waffle, pancakes and tasty cinnamon-sugar French toast, to three-egg omelets, eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine, kippered herring.
International fare includes the Japanese breakfast (miso soup, white rice, tamagoyaki and broiled salmon), the full English breakfast (scrambled eggs, English banger sausage, bacon, baked beans, hash browns, grilled half tomato), the Scandinavian breakfast (smoked salmon, pickled herring, hard boiled egg, dark rye bread) and, of course—because we’re aboard Holland America—the Dutch breakfast: Uitsmijter is a classic open-face sandwich with thick white bread, ham, aged Gouda, and two eggs sunny side up.
On sea days, the restaurant is open for lunch and the selection covers comfort foods like burgers, pasta and sandwiches (tuna melt, turkey sandwich).
Each evening, the menu goes classy, usually starting with fruit appetizer and a choice of soups (bacon cheddar cheese, gazpacho, spicy two-bean and cream of four mushrooms) and salads (Niçoise, Caprese, Thai papaya, chilled lychees with kiwi wedges). Other appetizers included jumbo shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels and clams in white wine, duck pâte, prosciutto ham with melon, cheese soufflé, scallops cocktail, carpaccio, mushroom crostini, escargots and baked brie.
Entrées included linguini with scallops and shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, a surf and turf offering (called “Land and Sea” here), rack of lamb, pheasant breast in sage walnut sauce, baked and stuffed eggplant, seared Cajun tuna steak, veal chop with creamy porcini sauce, filet of cobia (black salmon) with lobster dumplings, mushroom ravioli, rainbow trout with crawfish beurre blanc, osso buco, duck a l’orange, filet mignon, strip loin steak, turkey, prime rib, short ribs. Ten options in all are usually available. Good ideas for vegetarians include vegetarian meatloaf on asiago polenta with artichokes, mushrooms and carrots, mushroom risotto, and pumpkin ravioli.
The ambiance is sophisticated, especially on formal nights when crab legs and lobster come out (the crab legs were delicious, and being halved the meat popped out easily). Dinner on the last night was salmon tartar, lobster bisque and duck a l’orange—the best dinner we had in the Manhattan Dining Room.
Daily desserts included a chocolate brownie stack, fruit crisps of the day, fruit plate, cheese plate, and ice cream. Other offerings included brioche with caramelized apricots, caramelized pear crêpe, tiramisu, balsamic strawberries, Viennese apple strudel, cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and baked Alaska. A chocolate platter with crispy chocolate cornflakes, white chocolate mousse and a slice of bitter-sweet chocolate cake was triple delicious.
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