We had an absolutely delightful cruise and would not hesitate to take the beautiful Statendam again. This is our second time sailing her to Hawaii, once before her restoration and once after. HAL did a terrific job enhancing this ship, including a major overhaul to the ship's spa and exercise area, major work on air-conditioning, adding an expanded coffee bar area (rivaling, or even better than Starbucks), putting flat-screen tvs, luxurious pillowtop mattresses and DVD players in every single room (insides included).
Embarkation was smooth and flawless, even though we arrived very early (11:00am). We were among the third group to board the ship. However, plumbing was being worked on and no one could go to their cabins until around 3:30pm. Minor inconvenience.
We booked an inside cabin on the Main deck up in the very front. Exceptionally dark rooms and great for sleeping on this itinerary.
We had been confirmed at early seating but when we got to our cabin, we were informed that we had late seating. I thought this would ruin my entire trip since we don't like eating late, but upon talking to the maitre d', we were moved to an earlier seating. Not as early as I had wanted but certainly workable. Their dining room staff will bend over backwards to accommodate you. There was one lady (young and immature) who was thoroughly disgusted with the maitre d' and upon her appointment with him--loudly proclaimed to the waiting room "don't bother waiting. They have no early tables and are not willing to help you. This would NEVER happen on Royal Caribbean". To this last reply, apparently the entire waiting room said in unison "no, that's not true".
People should understand that Holland America tends to cater to an older crowd. We are in our 40's and 50's and we were among the youngest on the ship. Only 2 children were counted.
This was a Hawaiian itinerary and the ports were Hilo, Nauwiliwili, Honolulu, Maui and Kona. We took no excursions and preferred enjoying the shopping, food, scenery and drink available. Sometimes cheaper, sometimes not.
The food was extremely good and we had no complaints. We had a beautiful table for 4 by the window. Our waiter and ass't waiter were, in our opinion, the best. They were Made and June. I had to order room-service dinner one evening and it was certainly adequate. They even scrounged up a sugar-free Jello for me which was not on the menu. Lido cafe had nice variety for breakfast and lunch. Fresh oj in the mornings. Pleasant morning staff.
The Royal Dutch High Tea is worth going to and only happened twice while cruising. This is not the daily High Tea.
Do not miss the Pinnacle Grille on this ship. It is their alternative restaurant and it is excellent. If you enjoy a top notch steak or seafood meal which would regularly be over $100 for two people on shore, you can get this same quality meal for only $20 pp. And don't miss the chocolate lava cake with orange whipped cream. Be prepared for European-style service. It's not Burger King style where they rush you in and out---but it is designed to let you relax and enjoy your dinner. Many Americans aren't use to this.
Their new coffee area is fantastic, combining the library, game room and internet cafe. You will not miss your morning Starbucks here. It is professional and precise (not the imposters of just 3 years ago), and with each drink ($) you get 2 out-of-this-world cookies. Cinn-a-bon (type) cinnamon rolls and gelato are also here ($). Costs are reasonable.
Lido pool area (mid ship) was always full. However the back pool deck on Navigation always had room for sunbathers. Pool is small but adequate and water temps are 'refreshing'. Bar service is good here. Ping pong in the back area.
Entertainment was fine. We did not go to any cast shows but did see the comedian (very good), piano player (Marty Henney, very entertaining), Harpist (very good), and John Smitherson (tenor, fantastic).
We took advantage of the spa/exercise area this time and even spent time in the sauna. Highly recommended, but if you want treatments, book early. If you are more interested in bargains, wait for the daily "paper" to come to your room and book on in-port days. Don't forget the "Frangiaponi" which is a $29 scalp, neck and shoulder massage. It is affordable and relaxing, and gives you a chance to take advantage of the spa area.
Disembarkation was a little slow (because there were 3 ships in port) but the great benefit is that you can now wait in your room until your number is called. The Lido serves breakfast until 8:30am on this morning so there is no need to rush if you do not want to.
We would absolutely sail the Statendam again.