Statendam Cruise Review by ramidon1: In one word: Disappointed
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In one word: Disappointed
Background: Family of 4 traveling for a summer family vacation; stumbled on a great cruise price & was able to use miles to fly to/from, so we booked it. This was my 9th cruise (priors with Carnival, Costa, Royal Carribbean, Norwegian, Windjammer), 1st with Holland America, 1st outside of the Carribbean. Kids ages 19 & 16.
Vancouver: Loved, loved, loved the city. Clean, active, lots to offer by way of shopping, dining & activities. More homeless than I expected to see in such a beautiful & well done city--did not harrass us though. Stayed at The Fairmont Vancouver 3 nights pre-cruise--it was decent, but dated & glad we had points to use for this too. Restaurants throughout Vancouver were pricey. Loved Gastown & Granville Island. Didn't realy like Chinatown.
Embarkation: Simple, well organized. Arrived at port 11 ish. Onboard by Noon. Cabins ready promptly by 2pm even though we were warned about possible delays due to ship's late arrival to More port that morning.
Cabin: We booked the least expensive quad inside cabin available in order to snag a bargain price. We were pleasantly surprised with the size & amount of storage space--we each had a closet of our own & 1.5 drawers--some we didn't even use & left empty. Bathroom was very modern, clean & functional--shower only. We had a King bed, a pull down single bed from above (that was not in the way) & a single bed that served as a daytime sofa. All furnishings were brand new since drydock & very nicely done. Steward was good & took care of all requests promptly (i.e. wine glasses). There were no odors in our hallway or cabin (as some reviewers have complained). BTW, we were in cabin 504 which was absolutely the most forward inside cabin our Deck 5. I thought the motion in the cabin was not that bad but it was noisy when coming into a port at 5am....tons of banging from below.
Ocean Motion: I felt more motion on this cruise than ever before--not sure if it was the lack of stabilizers on Statendam or just the Alaskan itinerary, but it was the 1st time I ever took meds on a cruise to calm my stomach. It only bothered me 1x & it was the day after leaving Vancouver sitting by the Lido Pool watching the water slosh in & out of the pool--not a good idea! I got some meds from the front desk & it helped alot.
Dining: Ate most meals in MDR--thought it was good to very good--only a couple instances of so-so. Ate buffets for breakfast & lunch; I thought they were good to excellent. Tons of variety & fresh fruits & salads. Did not try Pinnacle as it just did not look that "special". The captain announced on the 1st day that buffets would be served by crew for the 1st few days as a precaution (as is standard now, I hear--others say it was never announced.
Alcohol: We like wine. We tracked down some wine in Vancouver to bring on the ship--it was much more expensive than in the U.S. We lugged 3 bottles back to hotel, through security at port, & on board. Once on board, we read the wine list/packages & found we only saved a few dollars by dragging our own onboard. (literally $3-5/bottle was the savings). I thought the ships pricing was very reasonable--not bad for drinks & beer too. I think a Martini was $6.50? Next time, I wouldn't bother bringing anything on board but I am glad they allow it--btw, we are not wine snobs & really are not hung up on certain labels--maybe others would have issue with what's offered but it was fine for us.
Public rooms/Ships general condition: Overall, just got a feeling of being in an outdated space with lots of things "out of order". No, it was not a surprise...I read the reviews & I know we did not spend top dollar for this cruise. I'm not really "complaining"...just commenting so that others hear it from someone else. Elevators were often malfunctioning or not working at all. There were some odd odors here & there but not a big issue for us--I read someone say that the Lido buffet area smelled but I never experienced this. Lots of rust & chipped paint on windows, particularly in the exterior stairways (i.e. to the bow). Laundry room on Deck 5 was a mess & mostly out of order the week we were there. All fountains were not working--I hate to see that--its depressing. MDR was really outdated--very 80's feel--lighting was REALLY dated. Steamroom in spa only worked 1x during our week--it was hot, just no steam. No jets working in the tub in the thermal spa. Didn't notice any issues with toilets or bathrooms being closed. Did notice lots of leaking going on--saw buckets collecting dripping water in some cabins. There were lots of those carpet dryer units running in the hallways--I think there was some serious leaking going on.
Entertainment: Saw 3 shows; thought they were good--I've seen better & worse on other ships. Casino was small & not that active but staff was great & the casino was "friendly" to us! Bingo was cheaper than I've experienced on other ships. We enjoyed the winetasting given by the sommelier (sp?) but he really was very unpersonable & it cost $15/pp. Our 16 y/o enjoyed the teen activities. Our 19 y/o kind of fell in the gap--too old for teen stuff but not old enough for adult stuff. Didn't do many other activities.
Passengers: The crowd was even older than I expected. Being summer & the week prior to the 4th of July, thought it would be lots of families but majority of folks were seniors. Definitely some were "annoyed" at teenagers being around.
Staff/Crew: They were really outstanding & did their best to work with the condition of the ship. They were super friendly & nearly every staff member spoke when passing in a hallway. They were really on top of their game--I still don't know how they remember passengers' names with the amount of people coming & going every week--amazing!
Excursions: Booked everything on our own--but actually I don't think the ships prices were that bad. See Port Reviews for specifics--
Glacier Bay: This was awesome & much more beautiful than I imagined! Teaming with wildlife--saw moose, bears, tons of whales & otters....birds, birds, birds! We stayed near the park ranger on the bow for quite a while & it was really helpful to hear him point out things...he said we were lucky & had tons of sightings...
College Fjords--It was nice but we arrived early evening & it was hard to appreciate it because it was dinner time--wish we could have spent the entire afternoon there...
Anchorage: It was difficult to get a cab from train station at 10:15 at night...not sure why more don't hang out there when they know the trains a comin'! People were actually verbally fighting over cabs! Stayed at Sheraton Anchorage which was newly renovated but in a seedy part of town. View was depressing but watching the police activity proved interesting at times--glad we still had the binocs handy! We were completely ready to fly home but we stayed the night, strolled around the shopping area the following day which was decent & finally had a 7:30 flight out that night. We probably could have done some sightseeing in or around Anchorage but we were tired, cold & had seen our fill of wildlife & mountains.
Overall: I just don't enjoy cruising in cold weather where it is literally uncomfortable to be out on deck or walking around. I actually found it kind of depressing. You could not use the outdoor pool at all & the one with the cover was still cold for me. I thought the towns in Alaska were all dismal & I really didn't enjoy any of them. I am used to cold weather & small towns as I was born & raised in northern New England but I guess I just don't see the appeal that other people rave about...maybe I missed something? I really did enjoy the natural beauty of Alaska & I am glad I saw it but I think once will do it for me. I think Holland America is a fine cruiseline. I would not hesitate to try them again & I would even go on the Statendam again if the price was right. They definitely still have issues that people need to take into consideration when booking this ship. Less
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Cabin review: M504
Great amount of Storage (4 closets) & tons of drawers--for 4 people, we still had empty space. Lots of noise when coming into port--banging from below--otherwise very quiet cabin.
Port and Shore Excursions
After cruise, we took train to Anchorage (Goldstar for a splurge--not sure it was really worth it tho). Saw more moose & wildlife--scenery was good.
Town was depressing (again with the diamond stores...). Stopped at the Red Onion Saloon--didn't like it as much as the Red Dog in Juneau. But it was ok. Tried to find another crab place like the one in Juneau but no luck...