When the staff came out on stage in the theater the last day of the cruise, they received a raucous 4-5 minute standing ovation from every single passenger in the packed theater. That says it all. The service is impeccable on the Statendam as reflected in the heartwarming passengers' enthusiastic ovation. The food in the elegant Rotterdam dining room is consistently of the highest quality. We were very surprised. Every night was like eating at a fine restaurant. The food was also very international, very fresh, and very well presented. And the service is near perfect. We do not like the cafeteria style and feel of the Lido so we avoided it. For some reason lots of people liked it. We had one dinner in the Pinnacle and the food was as good as it gets at top restaurants in New York City.
The drydock refurbishing in January put the ship in nearly new condition. We love having both a balcony for the fresh air and privacy and a nice cabin sitting area so the spacious and very elegant and comfortable Verandah Suites, while not cheap, were perfect for us. The twice a day room cleaning and turndown service was unobtrusive and done to perfection. The entertainment was far better and more varied than expected. Our favorite was a pianist and violinist duet from Russia who played beautiful and relaxing classical music before and after dinner in a living room type lounge. This was our 4th cruise and it was the first one to have impeccable service and food. We have previously had trouble with one or both. We are fussy high-travelers. We enthusiastically recommend Holland American in general and the Statendam in particular to any prospective cruisers and will choose them for our next cruise. As a footnote, to enjoy an Alaskan trip the most it is important to go when the weather is most likely to be the driest and it is critical to book the top shore excursions, even though they are very expensive.