The following account represents my opinion of our experience on the Statendam. We have just disembarked in Fort Lauderdale this week. If you’re booked on this ship, or you’re considering booking, you should read this carefully, and make an informed decision. This ship in my opinion does not conform to the reputation nor standards held by Holland America. If they continue to use this thing and not address the serious issues, they risk losing repeat business. A senior staff commented the problem is the continued sailing schedule. There really isn’t enough time to address major issues, because they have just hours in any port. Those who are on board know they have real problems.
We embarked in San Diego Jan 15/14. I had booked through the accommodations department, as we have a diabetic. I stated clearly, he was on insulin and would require accommodation. There is no fridge in any cabin except balcony cabins. This was a surprise. I called and stated our issue, as the insulin had to be refrigerated. Their solution was to rent one for $2.00 per day. So diabetics are not provided with requirements unless they pay extra. We opted to use the medical center fridge instead for the extra supply, as his daily needle could be unrefrigerated. We had an inside mid-ship cabin on Deck 5. Please note we encountered dozens of passengers on 4, 5 and 6 stating similar complaints. The cabin was far too warm for our liking. We immediately called Guest Services, and they said they would send someone in the morning. In the meantime, a 4’ high, oscillating fan was delivered. As the night went on the temperature rose higher and higher until it reached 26.5 deg Celsius, which converts to a whopping 79 degrees. So do a visual, you have about a 165 sq ft cabin with a fan on high blowing all night, all paper had to be secured. Now in contrast, there were passengers telling us they were freezing in their cabins trying to keep warm, there thermostats set to maximum heat (not just elderly that were sensitive to air conditioning). We called every single day for 11 days. I think the most shocking comment was from a guest who had sailed 12 times on HAL, and stated she was so furious, over the condition of the ship, and the heat in her cabin, she would not be returning to any Holland America Ship ever. (Keep in mind we're stuck on this thing for 2 full weeks)That statement really deserves merit. I have pictures of our thermostat, because you better believe their hearing from me next week. Daytime cabin temps were about 22.5 deg Celsius or 72.5 deg, which was warmer than our taste, but I would deem acceptable. You could set your watch, by 9 pm, it started to climb and would not taper off until about 8 or 9 am. We slept little most nights. But oh, how wonderful the excursion buses were to sleep in. I missed Huatulco, Mexico, sleeping for most of the tour, the road trip to Antigua, Guatemala, Leon Nicaragua, and yes, the entire transit after the second locks in the Panama Canal because we were so dead tired and the room was cool in the day so we slept. I fell asleep in any cool lounge I sat in. We insisted from the get-go, fix it, move us, or fly us back to Fort Lauderdale, because this was unacceptable. This is not considered a holiday under these conditions.They apologized profusely, and the guest services rep who would attend daily to monitor temperature, would state it was unfortunate they had no other cabins anywhere, and had shuffled what they had after a water problem on 10. (it's my belief that was sewage) . There was a pungent smell in all bathrooms. Not raw sewage, but sort of an outhouse odor. They had water supply pipes burst in more than one location in the ship within cabins if you can only imagine. Carpet was quickly replaced but do a visual of water streaming at full pressure over your things. Again, staff did their best to appease the guests. Finally in Cartagena Columbia (3 days before our return), they did a major maintenance on the air installing a booster, only to blow a power breaker that evening, and all air, tv’s and our fan blew out, along with several midship cabins on 5. The booster after it was reset kept the overnight temperature at 76 deg (still far too warm).
This ship was built in 1992, and refurbished in 2010. If nothing else I have learned, new carpet and vanity’s in a refurbish, does not make for an updated ship when it comes to the bones. Oh, and I need to note, it’s my belief the refurb may have included these bathtubs in all outside cabins. They have the highest tub wall I’ve ever seen on a ship. If you book an outside cabin you get a tub/shower. Anyone with mobility issues whether it be new knees, or hip issues they will have issues getting their leg over that tub wall. A gentlemen with no issue even commented he was nervous trying to get in and out of the thing. One woman with a new hip was showering in the spa because she couldn’t get in her own tub. I am flabbergasted they used these on a line that caters primarily to the older crowd. The air conditioning was so inconsistent throughout the entire ship, it was ridiculous. Deck 8 (the library, computer, casino, upper dining room, etc etc), was all over the board. Deck 11 (Lido), cool in the aft of the dining room, and sauna in the front of the eating area. Deck 12 Navigators lounge, you had better have a jacket it was very cold. Deck 7 Rotterdam Dining, was cool and comfortable, Deck 8 Rotterdam, hot and undesirable. The water issue was not just pipes bursting. Hot water was absent from a number of cabins, and they did a major maintenance in Costa Rica shutting all ship water off for a few hours to repair pipes and deal with the lack of hot water. We personally had no issue with that.
As we all know, a cruise should be a wonderful relaxing experience while on board. The port days are always tiring, but we are there to see as much as we can in a short time frame. We should not be sleeping all day, to regain lost sleep because of unacceptable accommodation, let alone, sleeping on our tours. We saw minimal of any of the ports if they were driving us somewhere.
I received what I consider a minimal ship board credit to which was applied to our bill. It basically represented 15% of my cost for this trip.
The food was fine. It would be in my opinion similar to our experience in 2009 on the Ryndam. The staff as usual cannot do enough to cater to the guests, but that would be considered the norm, industry wide. The entertainment was ok. Not the standard we have experienced in the past years, but that seems to be something all lines have cut back on. I will say HAL's policy of serving everything for 3 days in the Lido to avoid norwalk spread was smart. You could not even touch a glass at the drink dispenser, you were handed what you wanted. Sanitizer was seen everywhere which I am a great advocate of.
Think carefully folks.