The Nieuw Amsterdam was the Netherlands' "ship of state", just as the Normandie was France's, the Queen Mary was Britain's and United States was the United States', and numerous Dutch artists vied for the honor of creating some part of the ship.
Their creation emerged in the spring of 1938, a light-colored and very spacious ship throughout, and although she had spacious public rooms, the colour scheme used gave her an even larger feel. Modern in every way, her owners proclaimed her "the ship of tomorrow". She followed the Art Deco trend of the day in both interior decorations and exterior design. The interiors were distinguished by fluorescent lighting, aluminum motifs, and gentle pastels throughout the ship that created an understated elegance that would make the liner a favorite among seasoned transatlantic passengers.
One of the ship's centerpieces was the first class restaurant, having a Moroccan leather ceiling which was adorned by numerous Murano glass light fixtures, and columns covered in gold leaf. Tinted mirrors, ivory walls and satinwood furniture all contributed to create the luxurious atmosphere. The restaurant had no portholes or windows facing the open sea, making it depend solely on artificial illumination, a feature it shared with the first class restaurant on board the Normandie of 1935. There also were two swimming pools on board, one outdoor and the other indoors on E-deck, featuring expensive Delft tiling.
The Nieuw Amsterdam was the second ship in the world after the Normandie to boast a theater, a feature the larger and faster Queen Mary did not initially have. The deeply cushioned seats commanded an unobstructed view of the stage, and the egg-shaped contour of the auditorium took advantage of the latest in scientific sound-proofing materials and amplifying equipment to ensure perfect acoustics for concerts, dramatic performances and pre-release motion pictures. Found at the front end of the Theatre was a striking mural in red, black and gold by Reyer Stolk.
A favorite rendezvous of many Nieuw Amsterdam passengers was the handsome First Class Smoking Room with its rich Circassian walnut paneling and deep, luxurious armchairs and settees. Flanked by two enclosed sun verandas extending to the sides of the ship, the Smoking Room had its own modern bar stocked with a connoisseur choice of fine liquors.
First Class staterooms on the Nieuw Amsterdam were unusually attractive, ranging in size from cozy single person cabins to elaborate cabins-de-luxe. The handsome and modern decorative scheme made the cabins comfortable spots for daytime and evening relaxation. All First Class cabins on Nieuw Amsterdam had a private bathroom, a unique feature which no previous liner could boast.