To claim that the Statendam is "the ultimate onboard experience" and that it has "state-of-the-art amenities and sophisticated ambiance" is ridiculous. The ship was run-down, filthy and poorly run. The ambience was that of stained carpets, mold, general disrepair and dirty and un-attended common areas. Most of the staff did not understand a word of English, and it seemed that it was their very first time on the boat. They were friendly, but completely unhelpful an ill-equipped to assist in any way. We ordered a movie to our room on the first night at 7pm. After waiting an hour, I called to say we wouldn't need it after all. I was awakened at 12:30am by someone pounding on the door, yelling "Housekeeping!" over and over again. When I opened the door, the man proudly handed me the DVD! Furthermore, my husband is allergic to dust mites, and would have an attack every time we stepped into our room.
The food was inedible for the first three days, and after that only got marginally better. When my Mom mentioned to a manager-type person that the food and service were unacceptable, he replied, "I know. Yesterday very, very bad. Today very bad too. Maybe tomorrow just bad." In the buffet restaurant, the plates were never bussed and clean silverware was hard to come by. There were always large open slop buckets with cleaning solution and rags in the dining area. In the fancier restaurants, the service and food was passable at best, and we were consistently being encouraged to buy books, upcharge drinks (including coffee at the Explorers Cafe!), raffle tickets, etc. during our meals. Not my idea of sophisticated.
The Showroom at Sea is billed as "a glamorous nightclub venue for world class entertainment." The shows were so embarrassingly awful, people walked out in disbelief. I have actually seen far better High School performances.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. To make matters worse, we were hit with a nearly four hundred dollar bill at the end of the trip just for service fees. I know this is standard, but considering the lack of service we got, it added insult to a several thousand dollar injury. When we did the math, we figured we could have stayed in nicer hotels and hired bi-planes to take us everywhere for the same price or less. The passengers we spoke with all agreed that this cruise was an outrage and a rip-off.
I have created travel programs and have traveled extensively personally as well. I think my expectations and understanding of high-end travel are realistic. For that matter, I have a very realistic expectation of budget travel as well. I am saddened to have had such an unsatisfactory experience with Holland America and urge you to think twice before booking a cruise on The Statendam.