Our 28 day cruise on the Statendam in October, 2012, was very, very poor. The time in ports was much too short, the ship sometimes departed early from ports, resulting in a ridiculously short length of time in ports. The port presenter had difficulty with pronounciation, dispensed a lot of questionable American-biased information about ports and had subpar powerpoint photos that a school child could have prepared. She set the bar very low with regard to quality information about the ports. Our stateroom mailbox was inundated with jewellery sale flyers. PLEASE! Give it a rest. The "library" had a large collection but it had a coffee shop and internet center in the middle of it and the casino was right next door so the noise from the casino machines was very loud. It was not a quiet library ambience at all.
The food in the buffet was plentiful but of the cheapest quality. And there was NO flavour. The tables were seldom wiped so most unpleasant to sit down to dirty tables with stained chairs. The dining room waiters were not trained properly sand the service was amateur. Coupled with tasteless food, it was not a good situation.
The Statendam is a very old ship that shimmies and shakes constantly. Our stateroom had been refurbished and it was very comfortable with lovely Grohe bathroom fixtures. Our stateroom steward did an excellent job at keeping our room spotless at all times.
The average age on this cruise was very elderly. We noticed that dress codes were not enforced. On several occasions on formal evenings, we saw men being seated who were wearing khakis and short sleeve cotton shirts. No tie, no jacket, and no style. Sleeveless shirts commonly known as "wife beater" shirts were common in the buffet - eeeewwwww, as well as men wearing hats while they ate. To be fair to men, many women were wearing clothing that had seen better days. It just spoils it for everyone when people care so little about themselves and others - why would you wear "dawgs" as your footwear when the dress code specified smart casual??
The gym was very nice; the cruise director, Anthony, was charming and on point, and the Adagio String quartet was excellent. We cannot comment on the shows as we don't go to them.
There was only one guest presenter and she was really excellent. As an archaeologist and well known advocate for Guatemalan jade, she gave a great presentation on the Mayan calendar and dispelled the "Mayan end of the world" theory. Well done! But she was the only non-crew person to address the group in 28 days.....not good enough. Other than a jewellery "expert shopper" person constantly shilling for jewellery and the substandard port presenter, there was nothing else in terms of learning opportunities. We travel to learn about other cultures and that information was missing.
The Statendam needs a lot of upkeep; it is going into drydock in January so perhaps the rust, etc. will be painted, but it is the first cruise we have been on where no maintenance was being done. It is a tired old ship that shimmied and shock all of the time.
The captain gave an interesting talk each day about our progress and he gave an interesting presentation on the history of the Holland America Line. But why did he greet us at a formal luncheon in a short sleeve shirt that needed ironing?? A captain should be dressed smartly in a jacket, at least. His attire was an apt metaphor for the whole ship......sloppy.
We had very good weather and the port excursions, while overpriced, were all excellent. The tour guides were shocked at the short length of time that we had available. Several ports had only 4 hour stops. It is heartbreaking to leave a port at 3 pm or even 2:30 pm. And it is not about distance because the Statendam rarely approached its peak speed.
The Statendam was a huge disappointment...it is not a classy ship and the crew needs a lot more training. It was our first time on Holland America and it is definitely our last. When asking other passengers, several said they had been served much better food on other HAL ships. Perhaps it had to do with the very senior age of the passengers....nursing home style?
From January to April of this year, we were on a 76 day world cruise with the P&O line. We loved the Aurora and will go back to the P & O line where the standards are much higher. We have also enjoyed the Ocean Princess and the Ruby Princess, both of which have much higher standards.