This was our 8th Holland America cruise and by far the worst. Maybe we're jaded, but the Statendam has definitely seen better days. It seemed like everyone we met had at least one thing go wrong in their cabin. We experienced a few things...we called down three times to get a shelf fixed and it remained broken the whole trip...we also reported air conditioning not working, bathtub draining very slowly, and water in the shower alternating hot to cold and back again...and nothing was ever fixed.
By far the worst experience was the tendering. Unfortunately most ports on this itinerary had to be accessed by tenders...definitely not the cruise ship's fault. But...at some ports you had to wait 90 minutes to board a tender...and the ship was only in port for 6 - 9 hours. They have two tender docks on the Statendam but they only used one of them. This was the number one complaint that we heard from other passengers.
There were less activities during the day than we have experienced on previous cruises. And although the prizes given out have never been too exciting...hats, mugs, umbrellas, etc. this time they have sunk to an all-time low with most of the prizes being Holland America pins...you can only use so many decorative pins with Holland America written on them.
The captain was an ego-centric man who made unnecessary announcements at 8:45 a.m. when we were out at sea. Now, I know we're not the only people who like to sleep in, so why he felt it necessary to wake people up every morning was a mystery to us. I finally wrote a complaint, and I presume it was one of many because he finally stopped.
The cruise director was also annoying. Very full of himself...constantly singing and telling not funny jokes...at which time he would laugh. 28 days was way too long to have to put up with him. He ran the pub trivia and ruined it by making the questions so difficult some days the winners scored 8 points out of a possible 18. Also...by singing a lot of the questions...sigh...Pub trivia is supposed to be fun...it wasn't.
The Team Trivia run by Greg up in the Crow's Nest was very good. He had great questions, delivered them well, and made the whole experience very enjoyable. If only he'd been the cruise director.
The ports of call were also disappointing. Very hot and very humid!! I really think to get any benefit from this cruise it would be better to book shore excursions. Being independent travellers, there wasn't a lot to see in and around the ports. As usual the shore excursions were expensive, but it you've gone to the expense of the cruise you might as well spend the extra as they are not the sort of places you tend to come back to again and again.
The ship provides almost no information on the ports as they want you to book their excursions. On this cruise I would definitely recommend doing a lot of research on the ports that you are visiting before you leave home so that you know enough about them to make alternate arrangements if you don't take a shore excursion.
All of the Indonesian and Phillipine crew members were helpful and friendly.
The food was mostly good. A couple of less than enjoyable meals, but out of 28 days we thought that was pretty good. Nice selection in the dining room at supper time.
The ship's entertainers were terrible...fairly standard. But most of the acts that they brought on board were good. And luckily the ship's entertainers only did a few shows.
We will probably sail with Holland America again, but definitely not on the Statendam.