The entry sign to the Manhattan Dining Room on MS Nieuw Amsterdam.

Even if you’re loyal to a particular cruise brand, it can be advantageous to cruise on as many different ships within that brand as you can, as each one has its own unique personality and can provide a different type of holiday, regardless of what part of the world you’re cruising.

Holland America Line is one such brand which strongly exudes this mantra, and does so in a number of ways. The central atrium on each HAL ship features a different centrepiece artwork ranging from bright green crystal chandeliers (MS Maasdam) to a giant working astrolabe (MS Amsterdam). But this culture of subtle differences extends to the main dining room, which is often decorated with themes such as dark velvet red to tropical or something else in line with their own names.

The decoration of the Manhattan Dining Room on MS Nieuw Amsterdam.
Manhattan Dining Room

The Manhattan Dining Room on MS Nieuw Amsterdam is no exception to this rule and is decorated in a rather unique way, with different shades of red employed throughout. Perhaps the simplest way to describe it is a mixture between classy, upmarket New York for diners while wait stations reflect something of a more casual city diner. Around the room you’ll find black and white images of the “city that never sleeps” and its neighbouring boroughs, all of which would look right at home in a Woody Allen movie.

Lighting is perhaps better in the centre of the room where natural light is supplemented with ship lights. During the day, the outer edges of the room are illuminated naturally, which on overcast days can lead to something of a darker dining experience, even if the curtains are fully open.

A special set menu has been put together for our visit, taking items from the more expansive everyday menu and putting them together to form a snapshot of what cruisers can enjoy during their voyage. To start with, on arrival our table has already been laid out with the opening entree of grilled scallops in ginger soy glaze, served with a sesame ginger aioli. Of course, those who have pre-advised their distaste for seafood are served an alternative.

Our set appetiser of grilled scallops in ginger soy glaze at the Manhattan Dining Room on MS Nieuw Amsterdam.
Our set appetiser of grilled scallops in ginger soy glaze.

At the same time as being provided with our appetiser, we make our selections for the main course. Our selections are an olive-oil poached Pacific Halibut fillet, with vegetable salad and balsamic vinaigrette or alternatively, an oven-baked rack of lamb with pepper puree, Mediterranean vegetables and a rosemary garlic demi-glace. For vegetarians, their selection was a mix of Button, Shitake, Oyster and Enoki mushrooms served between potato wafers.

Main course of Pacific Halibut at the Manhattan Dining Room on MS Nieuw Amsterdam.
Main course of Pacific Halibut was very tender, helped along with our preference of plenty of lemon.

Not that there’s any reason for them to be anything otherwise, mains were in fact larger than the photos indicate and provided a hearty level of sustenance. Then, once that had settled, we were presented with the final dish, that being dessert – a crispy tartlet filled with creamy chocolate ganache, with a white chocolate lattice resting on top.

Our meal on MS Nieuw Amsterdam was rounded out by a chocolate tartlet and berries.
Our meal on MS Nieuw Amsterdam was rounded out by a chocolate tartlet and berries.

Like other Holland America Line ships, the two-storey dining room sees those opting for fixed dining times of either 5:15pm or 8pm seated on the lower floor while guests choosing for the alternative ‘As You Wish’ dining are welcomed on the top level between 5:15pm – 9pm. Whatever time you visit, each meal is sure to be as memorable as any which precede it.

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