Welcome aboard the m/s Amsterdam! You were dragged on this cruise by your husband/wife/grandma/etc. Your idea of vacation is not being stuck on a ship with a bunch of people you don’t know. You think to yourself, “where can I just get some peace and quiet!” I can’t talk about every ship out there, but the majority of ships will have some quiet places onboard so that you can sit and read a book, enjoy the beauty of the ocean, and get away from those people (whomever they may be) that are driving you bonkers.
Today we are going to talk about my home away from home, the m/s Amsterdam, and the quiet places that I’ve found and enjoyed onboard.
To get you a bit familiar with this beautiful ship, she was built in 2000 at Fincantieri ship yard in Venice, Italy, with a passenger capacity of 1380 passengers, and an average of about 600 crew members. She is 781 feet long and 105.8’ wide. Overall there are technically 10 passenger decks, although the top passenger deck is just for sunbathing. As a side note: below that there are several crew decks, and even further below that to accommodate the engine and engine room needs.
I am going to give you the quick rundown of my favorite spots, and then a deck by deck rundown of pretty much everywhere on board. Please note: all areas that I reference are accessible for passengers. Some outside areas may on occasion not be available due to weather or sailing conditions.
- Best spot for sunbathing: Deck 9 aft and Deck 10 (above the Crow’s Nest)
- Best spot for looking out on the ocean with a lounge chair in the shade: Deck 3 outside
- Best spot for looking out on the ocean without a lot of people around (no lounge chair): outside the fitness center on Deck 8 forward, Deck 2 Aft, Deck 7 Aft, Deck 6 Forward
- Outside area that you can get closest to the water: Deck 2, Aft
- Best place for reading a book: Library/Explorations Café, Deck 5 aft
- Best bathroom on board: Women’s restroom, Deck 5 Aft, starboard side (you read that right, it is a haven of serenity.)
- Best place to play cards: Crow’s Nest, Deck 9.
Alright, now for the true Deck by Deck rundown. Decks 1 and 2 are nearly entirely staterooms with the exception that at the front of Deck 1 or Main Deck is the Medical Center. The other exception of this is Deck 2 Aft. At Deck 2 Aft there is a small area with lounge chairs. I find this to be a great area to go and stand and look out, if you are on the lounge chairs though you can’t quite see out to the water as the “railing” is the steel hull of the ship. This area can be a bit loud with the engines and azipods (propeller type things) below you, but especially if you are going through a scenic cruising area this is the closest that you can get to the water and it can really bring a different perspective to what you are seeing.
On Deck 3 or the Lower Promenade Deck you can walk all the way around the ship. With classic teak wood and wooden lounge chairs with nice cushions lining the deck, this feels like classic cruising. Some of these lounge chairs are reserved for Lanai cabins (cabins that do not have a private balcony, but have a door that opens up onto a public deck), there are a number of deck chairs that aren’t reserved though. These deck chairs are not all created equally though, some are set where they look through a railing – where you can see down to the water. Some are similar to those down at Deck 2 Aft though, where the railing is the solid steel part of the hull of the ship. Also on Deck 3 is the base floor of the Atrium. Most of the time this area is fairly quiet. It is used for some events, so you’ll want to check the When & Where (the daily run down of events and activities) to make sure if you are looking for quiet time it won’t be interrupted.
Up on Deck 4 there are a few places to find. Deck 4 is a bit funky as the galley for the kitchen is between the mid-ship and aft elevators. However, if you are by the mid-ship elevators, there is a small spot with a couple of comfy chairs The view isn’t the best, but as there are only two chairs it has some solitude. There are several chairs in the Atrium area of Deck 4, however these are adjacent to Guest Services and thus there is a pretty steady flow of passengers through this area making it not quite as relaxing.
On Upper Promenade Deck, or Deck 5 there are a number of places that are quiet at various parts of the day, but are also used for events, so once again it is worth checking the When and Where to see if there will be an event around the time you are looking to have some solitude. From the front of the ship back, the first area is the Ocean Bar, forward, starboard side. During the morning and mid afternoon, the Ocean Bar is pretty quiet, with comfy chairs and beautiful big windows looking out on the ocean. Also: if you want to relax and read a book with a glass of wine this is a great place to go! They have bartenders starting at about 11:00am on a typical day.
Directly across the Ocean Bar between the two shop areas is a small seating area. This is sometimes used for private functions for groups onboard, and sometimes to display additional merchandise for the shops. However, aside from those times it is really quiet with comfy chairs looking out over the ocean.
Heading towards the aft of the ship there is the Sports Bar. The Sports Bar has games on when there are BIG games on – but a lot of the time it’s kind of just a quiet little area. It is in the middle of the ship – so there aren’t great windows or anything. But, you could sit and read a book, and there is a bar there, so read that book and have a glass of wine!
Heading towards the aft of the ship, walking on the starboard side you will walk through the Piano Bar. Sometimes it is used for different seminars, so check your When and Where, and in the evenings there is a Piano Bar Entertainer, but during the day it is fairly quiet.
Further aft on Deck 5 is the Explorer’s Lounge on the starboard side. This is used for quite a few events during the day as well as where a piano/violin duo plays in the evening: however, the times when this is not used for an event this area is really lovely and relaxing. It has a nice seating area with a variety of chairs to relax in (squishy versus a more solid back) and EXCELLENT windows looking out over the ocean.
Across the ship from the Explorer’s Lounge on the port side is the Library. The library has a collection of books on the honor system. There are also several puzzle tables, and a few shelves of board games that you can borrow. In addition to this there are a number of reclining comfy chairs facing the water. On a busy sea day these get scooped up quickly, so if you are looking to find a spot for you and a friend, you’d need to snag these early in the day. If you are by yourself though with a little patience one of these prized chairs will open up on a pretty steady rotation. There are other couches and seating in this area in general, and overall it is pretty quiet here. This is also the home of the Explorations Café with cappuccino’s, latte’s, and some light snacks.
Okay, this is going to sound a bit silly… but on Deck 5 aft on the starboard side there is the BEST bathroom on the ship. It is beautiful. It is quiet and serene, with couches and windows looking out over the ocean. There are vanities to do your makeup, and the toilet and sink area is done in a nice granite. Anyways – it might seem silly to get so excited about a bathroom, but this one is beautiful.
Deck 6, Verandah Deck, and Deck 7, Navigation Deck are almost entirely staterooms; however, on both decks there are some off the beaten path outdoor deck areas that are open to all passengers. Also on the Navigation Deck there is the Neptune Lounge for suite guests. The Neptune Lounge features snacks throughout the day, a designated concierge, as well as a nice sitting area.
Moving up to the Lido Deck, or Deck 8 quiet places are slightly harder to find. This deck features the Lido Market which is the casual buffet style dining venue on board. There are also two pools, with lounge chairs around both pools, hot tubs, the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, fitness center, and the Italian dining venue Canaletto. While this deck tends to be pretty busy overall, I will say that there are some quiet places to find. The aft portion of this deck is outside deck, and both the port and starboard sides have tables set up to be able to sit and eat which is often a nice option to get away from the sometimes quite busy Lido market. Please note: the open deck by the aft pool seating area on the starboard side is one of the designated smoking areas on board. The port side is non-smoking and you very rarely ever get a whiff of the smoke on the non-smoking side.
One deck up is the Sports Deck, or Deck 9. On this deck you will find the two sports court, as well as the Crow’s Nest. The Crow’s Nest is at the forward portion of the ship and can be accessed by the front passenger elevators and staircase. This area during the day is wonderfully relaxed. On occasion it is used during the day for events, so it is certainly worth checking your When and Where to see if there are events happening. The incredibly comfy chairs that were mentioned down in the Library on Deck 5 make another appearance up here. They look out over the bow of the ship, have foot rests, and are a great place to go sit and read, write, or just relax. The Crow’s Nest does have a bar and there are bar staff available starting at about 11:00am daily.
The aft of Deck 9 also features ClubHAL, Holland America Line’s kids club. Just past that on the outside deck though there is a little nook on each side with just a few lounge chairs. I find this to be a great relaxing spot, because you can look out through the railing, relax, and enjoy fresh air without many people around.
If you are okay looking out through glass instead of looking out through a railing but would like fresh air with a bit more sunshine than down on the Lower Promenade Deck, it is worth going up to Deck 10. Above the Crow’s Nest there is a sun deck that is only available via stairs, but as it is off the beaten path it is very quiet!
Regardless of what ship you are going on – there will be some quiet places to find. You might have to look off the beaten path, and you might need to do a little extra exploring on your own – but they are there! Go out, explore, and find the place that speaks to you!
Lots of love from here on the Amsterdam.