Review of ms Nieuw Amsterdam deck 11 (Observation-Cabins-Sports-Crows Nest)
Explorations Central & Cafe groups Crow's Nest (165 seats) and Explorations Cafe (113 seats). This is a fore-located/bow-facing indoor observation lounge with panoramic windows (270-degree views), its own bar and a large dance floor. The lounge is also used for pre-scheduled events by the Holland America Line's enrichment program, which includes daily dance classes, trivia games, card playing, karaoke, HAL Cats (8-piece party band) performances, live grand piano performances (in the afternoons and evenings). The lounge becomes a disco/dance club at night, with live DJ music and dance contests. The bar lounge Explorations Central additionally offers multimedia series of interactive videos and guides related to the visited destinations part of the ship's current cruise itinerary program. Explorations Central (abbrev EXC) provides digital media (videos, ebooks, maps) accessed via Wi-Fi during the current voyage, but also online (before and after the voyage). At Explorations Central, there are also paperback books and paper maps for the visited regions/destinations and ports of call.
Explorations Cafe (patisserie and specialty coffee bar) also functions as the ship's Library (with 1000+ volumes, resident librarian, guest lecturers, board games, book discussions) and Online Centre (Internet computers room/via partnership with "The New York Times").
The Retreat is the adults-only sundeck/relaxation zone with 14 private cabanas available for hire. Cabanas rates are per day, with different prices depending on the ship's itinerary and current location (portday or seaday). Daily rent prices are inclusive of 1 massage tent, lunch and concierge service.
Tamarind Restaurant (capacity 142 seats) is a reservation-only Asian specialty restaurant with panoramic views (portside and starboard). Tamarind's menu includes Chinese, Japanese, Thai and other Asian cuisine specialties. The restaurant is open for complimentary lunch, while dinner is surcharged per person. The venue is served with beverages by the Tamarind Bar.
Tamarind Restaurant's section Nami Sushi is a Japanese seafood bar with a menu created by celebrity chef Andy Matsuda and also serves popular Asian spirits. Nami Sushi (capacity 7 seats) is open for lunch and dinner but both are at surcharge PP.
Tamarind Bar (fka Silk Den Lounge/50 seats) has panoramic floor-ceiling windows and serves the signature drink Saketini (sake with martini).
The aft-located sports complex has two sports courts - one for playing basketball, and the other one is multi-sports (for playing volleyball/football/basketball/tennis). Since 2023, all HAL ships have pickleball courts (installed on the top deck) operated via an exclusive partnership with PPA-Professional Pickleball Association. HAL also offers complimentary beginner lessons (led by onboard instructors), sells branded pickleball starter kits (at the ship's retail shops) and Play Pickleball tutorial videos are included in the cabin TV programming.
Observation Deck also has Spa cruise cabins from VT11001 to VT11010, all of which are fore-located Veranda Spa staterooms in the category VT-French Balcony (with floor-ceiling opening windows).
Along with all dining and relaxation options, Observation Deck is the ship’s top deck providing some of the best vantage points to make photos and enjoy the port- and sea views along the voyage.