As the Hotel Manager of Nieuw Amsterdam, Mark Zeller's
responsibilities include the ship's dining operation. I asked him to
briefly outline the various dining options that are available to guests on
The two level Manhattan dining room is Nieuw Amsterdam's
traditional main dining room. It is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon
tea and for dinner.
All of the meals except dinner are open seating. For dinner, "one
part, the upper level, is fixed seating. We have two dining times - - 5:45
and 8:00 o'clock. Then the lower level is the open seating where you can
come any time between 5:15 and 9 o'clock. You can make a reservation
beforehand or you can just show up at the time you are ready to go for
dinner, be seated and enjoy a four course or five course meal."
For more casual dining, "we have our Lido Restaurant, buffet
restaurant, which is open breakfast lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and
then late snack." Located on Deck 9 near the top of the ship, there
are spectacular views through the floor-to-ceiling windows which bound
this restaurant's seating areas. In the center area, the Lido has lines on
either side with stations that offer Asian dishes, Italian cuisine,
sandwiches, salads, desserts ad other items. Like the main dining room,
it is complimentary.
"In the evening a section of the Lido is transformed into the Italian
dining restaurant, Canaletto." Although this venue is within the buffet
restaurant, "it is a sit down dinner where you are being served. Tables
are set up, tablecloths candles."
The meals are "prepared in the galley right across from [Canaletto]
in the Lido itself. So everything is prepared ala minute, fresh. It is a
completely separate menu from the buffet dinner menu that we have. It is
a separate dining experience."
This is an informal restaurant. It cannot de defined by labels such as
Northern Italian or Southern Italian cuisine. Rather, it features popular
Italian favorites. "It is American Italian." Zeller laughs. "For example,
one of the courses that we have is spaghetti and meatballs, which you
will never find in Italy. It is more American Italian."
Canaletto is complimentary as well.
The Specialty Restaurants
Nieuw Amsterdam's more formal specialty restaurant is the Pinnacle
Grill. "It is a Northwestern cuisine, more like a steakhouse-type
restaurant but very upscale. The quality of the beef, Sterling Silver, is
very, very good quality. That is a charge restaurant where dinner is
$20." It is also open for lunch with a different menu. The cover charge
for lunch is $10.
The Pinnacle Grill is also the location for special dining events, such
as Le Cirque Evening. . "Le Cirque Evening is from Le Cirque restaurant
in New York. We are working together with the owner of Le Cirque,
Sirio Maccioni He is very familiar in Manhattan, New York and
worldwide. He has many awards and is very famous."
"One evening in the Pinnacle, we just transform the menu, transform
the setting to this Le Cirque. We are doing his menu - - it is more of a set
menu with just a choice in the main course. We follow their recipes, their
preparation, their presentation as well. It is different china, a little bit
different décor. It is very nice."
"We started it [in November 2010] and it is something we will be
doing fleet-wide for the next two years. It is $39 and if you want to
include wine, it is $59. It is very popular with the guests. We get a lot of
good feedback about it." (See review)
Another special dining event that "we have on this ship is the Master
Chef Tasting Room. It is one night only, 18 guests for $79. They have a
seven course menu including wine and that is prepared by our Master
Chef Rudi Sodamin. That is a completely different menu to what we are
serving on our regular Pinnacle menu."
Nieuw Amsterdam like her sister ship Eurodam, also has the
Tamarind Restaurant, which features "pan Asian cuisine. It is a mix of
different areas - - Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese. That is probably
our highest rated outlet. The service, the quality of the food, it is really
excellent. That is also a cover charge. It is $15"
"They are also open for lunch and for lunch it is Dim Sum menu.
That is free."
Guests sometimes ask why there is a separate charge for some dining
venues? One reason is the cost of providing such upscale dining venues.
"For example, in the Pinnacle, one porterhouse costs us $18. We are
charging $20 [for the entire meal]." Thus, the charge helps to defray the
additional cost of providing guests with such a dining option.
If the guests who actually use these venue did not contribute toward
the additional cost, it would have to be borne by all of the guests in the
form of higher cruise fares. That would not be fair because "there is no
way we could accommodate everyone in those venues because they are
just too small."
. In contrast, the charges for these venues are quite reasonable. "On
land in any restaurant, for the quality of the food we are serving and of
course, the quality of the service, you will be paying $60 or $70 easily.
I think personally that the charges that we have $15 for the Tamarind and
$20 for the Pinnacle, considering what you get for it, is nothing."
For those times when the guest does not want to go out to eat, Nieuw
Amsterdam has complimentary room service. " Compared to other
cruise lines, I think our menu is quite more extensive than you will see
In addition to the dining venues discussed above, Nieuw Amsterdam
has the Slice Pizzeria and the Terrace Grill, which offers hamburgers and
light fare poolside. Both of those venues are complimentary.
Above: A table for two in the Pinnacle Grill.
Below: A main course from lunch in the
Above: A table for two in the Tamarind
Cruise ship dining guide - Holland America Line - Nieuw Amsterdam - Hotel Manager - Mark Zeller
Above: The Manhattan Dining Room.
Below: A display in the Lido Restaurant.
An inside guide with
Richard H. Wagner