166 Holland America Nieuw Statendam Cruise Reviews

At the port we were greeted very nicely and had a gentlemen that did our paperwork that was very nice and patient. The embarkation went smoothly got our stateroom cards then hop on the ship! We had a guaranteed partial view balcony and it ... Read More
At the port we were greeted very nicely and had a gentlemen that did our paperwork that was very nice and patient. The embarkation went smoothly got our stateroom cards then hop on the ship! We had a guaranteed partial view balcony and it was ok. Next time I will prefer a full view balcony but the price was right. There is a lot of storage space everything was well appointed. I found that the toilet in the bathroom was set in a awkward manner since it's on an angle. The shower though was large and loved the glass door. We then met our stewarts that were going out of their way to help us. We then headed to the Ocean Bar for a glass of champagne. We had the elite beverage package and found that for us it was worth its price. Jose the bartender at the Ocean Bar is fantastic. All of the cocktails were made with attention and were very good. Then off to the adult pool and the pool bar and there we started our voyage. There was a very good vibe there also. Then off the Main Dining Room. All of our servers were excellent all through the week. The food at the Main Dining Room was very very good all the time. We did go to the Specialty restaurants Canalletto and found that it was not worth the extra money spent. I also have the same opinion with Tamarin but it was better. On our voyage the seas were rough but the captain travelled behind the Bahamas and could not stop at Half Moon Key. Captain O'Driscoll is Excellent very prudent and was out on the pier in Grand Turk to salute all the guess. The Music scene is great. BB King Blues Band was excellent, Billboard on Board, Rolling Stone Rock were awesome, I was impressed. We also had good times in the Crows Nest with EXP and the vision was beautiful. We did take an excursion of the ship and it was very nice. (Puerto Plata and Cabarete Beach). The Dutch Café was my morning RDV, Andre and Kessidy were always very nice and enjoyable to start the morning. Sunshines! Where there was some downfalls in my personnal opinion was how short the time lap was for having breakfast and Lunch at the MDR. I was turned away a few times. It is more quiet during the afternoon not as much entertainment. The theatre is a bit small for the amount of people on the ship. Service was sometimes a bit slow at the Aft Pool Bar. We attented the dance shows at the Theatre and they were beautiful. By the way we had a slowed disembarkation because of the testing on one individual by the government of Florida but that was beautifully taken care of. All in All a great cruise with many many great Qualities and some small downfalls. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Chose the new ship based on previous excellent experience with HA on Veendam. Sevice and food (a particularly big concern as wife has extreme allergies) always met or exceeded expectations. Staff throughout couldn't have been better. ... Read More
Chose the new ship based on previous excellent experience with HA on Veendam. Sevice and food (a particularly big concern as wife has extreme allergies) always met or exceeded expectations. Staff throughout couldn't have been better. The ship itself, though, was a major disappointment. It appeared as though everything was primed, but no finish color was added... anywhere. Just a relentless barrage of white, beige and sometimes a splash of yellow. There isn't a single venue on the ship that delivers a "Wow" response when you see it. The Dining Room is especially bewildering... 2 stories of NOTHING. An endless sea of white and beige, sort of like a high end nursing home. The Atrium is just a 2 story swirl of some metal. It sure looks like every possible expense was cut in putting the decor together. Saved millions, no doubt. Only experienced Classical Quintet and BB King's Band, which were both terrific. Rock Band was generic and we fled quickly. Never saw or heard of the Dueling Pianos. Grand Dutch Cafe had nothing of interest. Lido food was a big upgrade over any other ship we've been on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are seniors and prefer smaller ships that have a reputation for traditional cruise experiences with fine food & service but without the theme park hype of RCCL. Although we are Diamond members of RCCL, we decided that we needed a ... Read More
We are seniors and prefer smaller ships that have a reputation for traditional cruise experiences with fine food & service but without the theme park hype of RCCL. Although we are Diamond members of RCCL, we decided that we needed a break from the behemoths of the seas Oasis class ships. Although the Oasis class is fine to experience a time or two , it is not for us. You almost need a GPS to navigate the ships and we are NOT rock wall climbers, surf riders or zip liners. If we want a theme park experience, we will go directly to Disney World. We have cruised over 30 times that included all the popular lines, such as Carnival, Norwegian, RCCL, Celebrity & HAL, so I'm in a position to evaluate reasonably objectively. The food & service was definitely a cut above at the main dining room & buffet. We did not eat at the extra cost, (specialty) dining rooms but reports suggest they are also very good. Breakfast buffet was very good. Wide choice of fresh fruits and baked goods. Of note are the sticky buns which are at least as good if not better than the famous Celebrity sticky buns. Moreover, they were available every day. Eggs could be ordered any way you like them, Omelets, scrambled, Benedict, or over east medium etc. and the lines were NOT excessively long. Lunch & dinner often included N. Y. strip steaks grilled to your perfection. Service in the main dining room was good. We chose anytime dining for 2 and were always accommodated in a reasonable short time. The food & food selection was good. But with 2 exceptions. The Tiramisu desert was totally lacking in presentation & taste. It was served on a tasteless cracker & NO Kalua. The shrimp cocktail is served with a version of tarter sauce. After the 1st night I wised up and specifically asked for regular cocktail sauce. No problem!. ENTERTAINMENT. The main theatre entertainment consisted of a comedian, John Wing, & he was excellent & kept you in stiches. The illusionist that they called a magician was barley OK. His name is J. P. Parent and did almost all card tricks. I prefer an illusionist that makes things disappear/appear & appears to cut people in half. And it helps if he has a scantily clad assistant. The special musical production by Step One Dance Company was called "HUMANITY" We did not care for it. It was loud, mostly loud drum beat and bass noise that some call music. It was freestyle dance with a touch of cirque du solei. The other theatre production was "Holland America Story, First 150 years." An interesting history of the company. Found it very interesting & entertaining. It traced the genesis & growth of the company from its beginning thru the war years to the present. The other film was. The other film/documentary was a nature film about life in the deep ocean. Again very interesting, especially since both were shown in the theater in the round concept. Screens that surrounded you approximately 180 degrees. Other entertainment venues: Much has been written about the Rolling Stone Rock Room and BB King's Blues Club & billboard on board. First, the Rolling Stone Rock Room Band was the WORST band I have heard in a long time. IT was TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE music for a mature passenger clientele. It was mostly hip hop & rap, with a generous amount of horrible heavy metal thrown in. It was ear drum splitting loud and in the open so it was hard to get away from. NO one danced to the music. What does that tell you? The other venue "billboard onboard" was good. It featured two pianists playing oldies rock type music by such well know & popular artists such as, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Glenn Campbell, Tom Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, & yes Dolly Parton & of course Elvis. This venue always drew a standing room only crowd & the performers encouraged sing along. One problem was that there was hardly any real dance venue or music. The ship was kept exceptionally clean & easy to navigate. It had 2 main pools an outdoor pool deck 9 in front & the Lido enclosed pool deck 9. We hung out primarily in the Lido deck enclosed pool. It had a retractable roof and we expected this pool to remain mostly enclosed. Unfortunately they opened the roof as early as & 7:30 AM even on windy & cloudy days which made it too chilly for most . Also they played loud recorded music , hard rock that was much too annoying for an enclosed pool that was supposed to be relaxing. I would have given this ship a solid 4.5 rating except for the loud rock music in the Lido enclosed pool and the totally inappropriate Rolling Stone Rock room heavy metal band. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The FOOD: Dinning room above average variety and tase. Lido Buffet, way above average as each station has an active attendant that will prepare to order and/or place food on your plate. Passengers do not need to use tongs and get ... Read More
The FOOD: Dinning room above average variety and tase. Lido Buffet, way above average as each station has an active attendant that will prepare to order and/or place food on your plate. Passengers do not need to use tongs and get what they want instead simply ask and the attendant will place on a plate and give it to you. This resulted in food being fresh and at correct tempture and not over cooked.. The only negative was that no food outlets were closed by 11 so must return to state room and use room service. The SERVICE: At dining room, above average, quick, attentive, and pleasant. At lido buffet, service above average, attentive, and pleasant Drink service. A bit above average as there were servers who were around and would occassionaly ask if you would like a drink. At a level where you were not being asked every 5 minutes. The ENTERTAINMENT: Severly lacking. 3 Primary venues - Billboard(piano bar) - Very Very lackluster. Low energy. There were two pianos. Each attended by a capable piano player but not by piano entertainers. At no point was the joint a rocking. Instead I felt like I was in venue were most in attendance were semi awake as the MUZAC played soft rock. Very little entegy or audience engagement demonstrated by the players(not entertainers).... a big difference. So lame 1 piano would hav sufficed. Closed by 11 most nights - Rolling Stone Live 4 piece band Bands were decent. But only did 2 45 minutes sets per night. Closed by 11 most nights - BB King blues Good muscians and vocalist provided energized show. Closed by 11 most nights After midnight all bars were closed and all entertainment ended - Main stage Comedian - 2 shows by himself. Funny but not haliarious Magician - 2 shows by himself which consissted primarily of jokes and a view average card tricks. Dance shows - 2 shows 1 was good with lighting and stage affects. The other was more free form which I left early. NO DISCO or any VENU/BAR where one may be a night owl. By the stroke of midnight the ship referts to a floating hotel offering NO LATE NIGHT THINGS TO DO. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We choose this cruise because I took my mother and she loves Holland America and I needed a real relaxing vacation not a huge party on the ocean with 5000 of my closest friends. The demographic is mostly retired older people. It was nice ... Read More
We choose this cruise because I took my mother and she loves Holland America and I needed a real relaxing vacation not a huge party on the ocean with 5000 of my closest friends. The demographic is mostly retired older people. It was nice and relaxing. There were a few things you could do during the day other than lay by the pool such as trivia, bingo, bridge, lectures or go up to the Explorers lounge and play other games. It was a good way to meet people. The ports of call were good. Nothing I had not seen before but again I wanted to relax. The food was amazing. We never ate in the dining room because there were so many choices on the Lido Buffet. Most nights they had the some of the same food you would get in the dining room but you were on your own schedule and didn't have to take two hours out of your night to eat dinner. The nightly entertainment was great. There might not have been anything exciting to do during the day but you were only at sea two days. The other days you were in port. But at night I had too much to choose from and sometimes had to eliminate something I wanted to do. We saw every concert at the Lincoln Center Stage. Then it changed into the Blues Club and some nights they had an hour or two of ballroom dancing. The Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard on Board were great venues. The music was really good and had a wide variety so there was bound to be a night or two that had something you would like. The two shows on the main stage with the dancers were really good. I only went to one comedian show and he was very funny. Room was spotless. You are still on a ship so space is tight. We had a veranda and moved the coffee table outside for more floor space. There was plenty of storage. Our cabin stewards knew our name the first day and great us using our names every time they saw us. The staff was great from everyone in the Lido Buffet to the bartenders and servers. I was always greeted in the hallway when they passed me. Already looking to book next April on same ship. I know I am leaving something out but we both had a great time One more thing. We took off our own luggage and we were off the ship at 0730 through US Customs and at our car at 0748. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
HAL WITH KIDS FOR DUMMIES - Our cruise aboard the Niew Statendam We are a family of 4, including 2 young children, and we just returned from a cruise aboard the Niew Statendam. It is because Holland America may not be the first cruise ... Read More
HAL WITH KIDS FOR DUMMIES - Our cruise aboard the Niew Statendam We are a family of 4, including 2 young children, and we just returned from a cruise aboard the Niew Statendam. It is because Holland America may not be the first cruise line that families with young children would consider for a cruise vacation the main reason why I wish to share our experience. When I was researching this cruise, it was at times a bit hard to find information that pertained to kids, so I hope that this thread is helpful to other families who may be considering a cruise on Holland America. BACKGROUND I'll start by giving a bit of information about us, simply to provide some perspective. Mom and Dad are in our 40’s and our kids are 8 and 10 year old. We got our kids (addicted to) cruising when they were still toddlers. Our daughter’s first cruise was actually on Holland America when she was 15 months old. Since then, they’ve cruise 11 times across 5 different cruise lines, from Alaska, to Cuba, to the Mediterranean, and to places in between. Raising a young family, we’ve sailed mostly on family friendly cruise lines like Disney, Royal Caribbean, MSC and Carnival. We’ve tremendously enjoyed every cruise we’ve taken. Needless to say, those cruise lines cater heavily to an energetic, younger crowd, with tons of activities for children, even late into the evening. But when it was time to plan our next cruise during our kid’s mid-winter break, I came across this itinerary on Holland America and it automatically caught my attention. First, I’d be visiting three ports that I hadn’t been to before; Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Amber Cove, in addition to Key West (which I love). Second, this itinerary was aboard a brand new ship (which I’m a fool for). Third, it had a “kids sail free” promotion. After comparing pricing with other cruise lines, even more budget minded ones, we learned that cruising on the Niew Statendam would cost at least $1,000 less than the closest competitor. Even though I was a bit hesitant about sailing on a cruise line that’s not traditionally considered family friendly, I decided to book it and hope for the best. PRE-CRUISE We flew to Florida the afternoon before our cruise. After comparing airfare between FLL, MIA, and PBI, we realized that we could save considerably (both on airfare and hotel) by flying into PBI, so that was our choice. It was actually nice to fly into a fairly small and uncrowded airport, at least compared to the other 2 options. We spent the night at the Embassy Suites by the airport and then took the Brightline (soon to be Virgin) train down to Fort Lauderdale the following morning, which was an absolutely wonderful decision. Not only was it fun, but it took us 37 minutes to get there. From the moment you arrive at the train station, the entire experience is sleek and modern. A great way to begin our vacation. CHECK IN Our ship was docked at Terminal 26 in Port Everglades, and we planned our arrival to coincide with the recommended time printed on our paperwork, which was 1:00pm. When we got there, the line was out the door, and once inside, it looked like a line at a Disney ride, exactly the type of experience we were trying to avoid by sailing on HAL! But the line moved very quickly, and within a few minutes we were at the front of the line. I did notice that we were the last people standing in line at that particular time, so it seems like we just happened to have bad timing with our arrival time within this batch of passengers. But overall, no complaints with the check in process. Everything went smoothly and efficiently at the hands of very courteous port employees. Our kids were given bright orange plastic wristbands with their muster stations printed on them. THE SHIP Niew Statendam is indisputably a beautiful, tasteful, and well planned ship! I had read several reviews from many HAL loyal customers who didn’t like the direction that HAL has taken with the Pinnacle class of ships, but I personally considered it to be perfectly executed. It had the feel of a modern ship, while still maintaining HAL’s more traditional feel and ambiance. I considered this ship the perfect way to tie the HAL of the past with the HAL of the future, opening the door to a new generation of HAL cruisers like us. We loved the music theme throughout the ship, reflected in the various pieces of art. Contrary to our previous HAL cruise on the Westerdam, which we found gloomy, with garish art that left us scratching our heads, the Niew Statendam felt airy and tasteful, with cohesive and pleasing music themed art. STATEROOM After a lot of consideration weighing the pros and cons, we booked stateroom 4135; a VH category obstructed view verandah stateroom on Beethoven deck. The pros? It was $800 cheaper than a fully unobstructed verandah. Because it was the first VH balcony on that section, we had a decent not fully obstructed view, the balcony was considerably larger and angled, and we had a midship location fairly close to elevators. The cons? It still had a partially blocked view, it had a connecting door (which means you can sometimes hear your neighbors) and the stateroom was located above public venues. But all the pros definitely outweighed the cons (some which turned out to be non-issues), so we were very satisfied with our decision. We didn’t have any noise issues (very quiet and well insulated), and even when the seas got a bit choppy, our midship location on a lower deck provided a smooth ride. We loved the larger, angled balcony which we used considerably, and we were still able to enjoy the views even with the partial obstruction. We considered our stateroom a hidden, more affordable gem. Compared to other cruise lines we’ve sailed on, this balcony stateroom was small for a family of 4. With the upper bunk (over the bed) down, and the single sleeper sofa open, it was tight. My wife hit her head with the bunk getting up from the bed one morning which brought her to tears. But it was a beautiful, tastefully appointed stateroom. Large wall mounted flat screen TV, plenty of storage, and a bathroom with one of the best, most spacious and powerful showers I’ve had on any cruise. We just had to be very disciplined about keeping things stowed and tidy to avoid feeling too cluttered. Elemis toiletries were provided which smelled wonderfully. The interactive TV packed a lot of content. Free movies (including a selection for kids), live TV, information about dining venues including menus, daily programming for Club HAL, port information, and the ability to check our onboard statement. NAVIGATOR APP We downloaded the navigator app on our phones, which basically replaces the paper When & Where. It was neat to click on favorites and have a condensed list of activities only containing our favorites. It was also neat to look ahead and basically plan all activities for the entire week. We liked getting alerts a few minutes prior to selected favorite activities. We also liked the chat function which works like texting and which allowed family members to keep in touch. Only drawback is that it doesn’t give you any type of alert when you’ve received a message, so you have to periodically check your phone. The lack of alerts is not something that’s specific to HAL. That’s how the system works on all cruise lines we’ve sailed on with this feature. Main difference is that the chat is free on HAL, while other cruise lines charge you for its use. A DIFFERENT SAIL AWAY When we’ve sailed on other cruise lines, we are usually out on deck during sail away. It’s usually loud, with thumping music, the entertainment team with microphones, urging everyone to dance, there’s some sort of performance on stage, sometimes with the cruise line’s mascot or characters, and waiters are handing out “drink of the day on souvenir cups” to unsuspecting passengers who grab them before realizing that they are not free. It’s not the same on Holland America. The main pool deck was, most of the time, blissfully quiet and serene. So on this particular sailing, we did something quite different. We learned that religious services (Catholic mass) would be performed by the onboard priest right at 5:00pm on this Sunday. So that’s what we did during sail away. We were at mass as the ship started moving, and it felt right to begin the cruise this way. It set the tone for the rest of the week. A second non-denominational service was performed following mass. CLUB HAL AND OTHER KID FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES After sail away, we decided to check out the Club HAL facilites, and figure out once and for all what our children could truly expect. On this ship, there wouldn’t be water slides, surf simulators, children’s pools, cartoon characters doing meet and greets, children parades throughout the ship, children themed stage entertainment, character breakfasts, or children facilities spanning half the length of the ship. What we encountered were modern, nicely appointed and welcoming facilities tucked away on deck 10, with large TV’s, gaming consoles, and foosball tables. Needless to say, the facilities were considerably smaller than on other cruise lines, but for the number of children that sail on Holland America, they were more than adequate. Hours varied slightly from port days and sea days, but typically they’d be open from 8:00am to 11:30am, then from 1:00pm to 4:00pm and finally between 7:00pm to 11:00pm. Hours and activities for each day could be accessed from the interactive TV in our stateroom. Even though the club closed at 11:00pm, counselors encouraged us to pick our kids up by 10:00pm, as the last hour was usually more of a “wind down, quiet” hour. Quite different from previous cruises like Disney, where you could go to the kids club at midnight and the club would still be jam packed with kids completely wired. Check in is done “the old fashioned” way, by signing them in and out on a piece of paper. No computerized systems or wristband tracking devices like on other lines. There were 3 counselors staffing the kids club. From them, we learned that on our particular sailing, there were only 110 passsengers aged 3-17 onboard (out of 2,600 passengers). We also learned that this number was actually high, and that there are weeks when the number of kids onboard is in the single digits (depending on itinerary, time of year, and if kids are out of school). Our kids were in the 7-12 age group, and it seemed to be the group with the “most” kids in attendance. We never saw any teens 13-17 use the adjoining teen facilities. Every night, the same 15-20 kids in the 7-12 age group would be at the club, which meant that all of them became fast friends. This turned out to be an unexpected plus, and a definite advantage over other cruise lines. Normally, on lines like Disney, Royal and Carnival, there are SO many kids onboard (sometimes measured in the thousands), that it makes it chaotic, overcrowded, as well as harder to make friends when there are so many kids congregated in these facilities. On a particular sailing on Carnival during a school break that we cruised on, there were so many kids onboard that they had to use conference rooms as overflow space, and even then, they were tightly packed. Not remotely the case on this HAL cruise! On the Niew Statendam, our kids begged to go to the club every night specifically because they wanted to hang out with their new friends. They created their own play dates, agreed on meeting times, they’d run into each other ashore and get excited, and at the end of the cruise, they hugged and exchanged information with promises to stay in touch. That alone was more valuable than anything that an oversized kid program could ever provide. They had a chance to make real friends. One observation that my wife and I made is that overall, children on this sailing were considerably better behaved, educated, and well mannered than what we’ve encountered on other cruise lines, when sometimes it’s a free for all, with hordes of children roaming the ship unattended and terrorizing other passengers. On this sailing, we never saw children unattended, and most seemed to be traveling with parents and grandparents, all adjusting well to the more adult atmosphere. Outside of the kids club, there weren’t many (if any) activities that were children specific. But that didn’t mean that children didn’t have anything to do. The sports court on deck 11 was a second favorite place for them to frequent, and this is where we saw some of the teenagers, playing an impromptu game of basketball. The main pool with a retractable roof and three large hot tubs was also popular with families onboard, but the only time when I found it to be truly crowded was during prime hours on our 2 sea days. We also took our children to a few performances at Lincoln Center Stage during the day which they enjoyed more than I expected, and which piqued their interest in classical music and even raised the possibility of learning to play a music instrument. In our stateroom, we had a large selection of free movies, including a children’s movie category. Normally we wouldn’t spend much time in our stateroom, but without feeling the pressure of too many activities, we actually spent some afternoons just watching a movie as a family and relaxing, which felt amazing. STAGE ENTERTAINMENT The main theatre on this ship is The World Stage; an interesting, high-tech semi-circular theatre with floor to ceiling LED screens covering 270 degrees of the theatre, and with excellent acoustics. It’s not what people who prefer a traditional theatre setting would like, but I personally loved it. Unfortunately, I found the actual entertainment lacking. I may have become biased in favor of far more elaborate, mesmerizing, professional, and high tech performances now found on cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and MSC which include aquatic and ice shows, partnerships with companies like Cirque du Soleil, and full Broadway productions. On the Niew Statendam, the main entertainment on 3 nights consisted of either a (rather bland) magic show, a comedy show, or a combination of both. On other nights, the main show was simply a BBC Planet Earth movie (which was impressive when played on the LED screens, but it was not a live performance show). A woman in front of me exited the theatre irate, huffing and complaining to her husband that she couldn’t believe that the show for the night was a 30 minute movie about sea animals. That left 2 nights for performances by the Step One Dance Company, one called Humanity and one called Resonance. The group consisted of 6 contemporary dancers, performing assisted by multi-media, high tech LED screens and recorded music. We first saw Humanity, which my wife and I attended while the kids were at the kids club. We actually LOVED this show. The dancing was good, but when combined with the upbeat music and mind boggling visuals, it created an amazing show. It showcased the strengths of the World Stage. It was good enough for a standing ovation from the packed theatre, something that I don’t see too often after a cruise ship performance. We enjoyed it so much that we took our kids to see the second show that same night after we picked them up from the kids club, and they loved it as well. Unfortunately, the second show, Resonance, wasn’t nearly as good. In fact, it was painful to watch. At some point, we noticed that people were actually getting up and leaving the theatre. We tried to finish watching the entire show, hoping that it would get better, but we gave up as well. We quietly exited the theatre in between songs. Thankfully we were seated towards the back. OTHER ENTERTAINMENT The main source of entertainment on this ship outside of the Word Stage is located along Music Walk, with various types of music. Lincoln Center Stage, BB Kings Blues, Rolling Stones Rock Room, and Billboard. As mentioned before, we attended several Lincoln Center Stage performances and they were absolutely phenomenal. Unfortunately, we only enjoyed the music at the others venues in passing, but what we witnessed was great as well. The Rolling Stones Rock room seemed to attract the largest crowds. There’s also a smallish casino, which allows smoking. We didn’t use it, but we didn’t find the smoke smell to be too overpowering when we had to cross through it to get to the World Stage. We also attended an “Ask the Captain” meet at the World Stage which we thoroughly enjoyed. Captain Neil O’Driscoll narrated while he played a slide show on the LED screens of various behind the scenes aspects of this ship. I must say that he’s one of the most charismatic and well spoken Captains I’ve ever encountered. The presentation was very enjoyable, and when the time came for actual questions, he truly engaged with each person, paying special attention to the children who asked rather intelligent and well thought out questions. GREENHOUSE SPA We purchased a week pass for the Greenhouse Spa which gave us access to the Thalassotherapy pool, relaxation area with heated tile loungers, and various thermal rooms. We paid $219 for a couples pass by purchasing it online before the cruise, which was the right choice because it was being sold onboard for $299. We thoroughly enjoyed these facilities. They were never too crowded, and we could always find an open tiled lounger. The previous time that we had access to a thermal area was the previous year aboard the MSC Meraviglia which had wonderful facilities at their Aurea Spa, but which was way too crowded most of the time, hindering our enjoyment when we couldn’t even find where to sit. Not the case on the Niew Statendam. At certain times during the day we had the place all to ourselves. It was truly relaxing to spend some time there, specially after a long day ashore. DINING Overall, we considered the cuisine on this ship to be far superior to the cuisine on any other cruise line that we’ve recently sailed on. Very little to complain about, and we never encountered anything that we didn’t like. HAL’s Culinary Council of renowned chefs definitely delivered. We ate at the Dining Room on 3 nights, including the Gala Night. In addition to the food, we found this restaurant to be very eye pleasing and classy. We had open time dining, and upon learning that reservations were recommended, we figured out too late that our only options were either 5:00pm or 8:30pm. We just went as early as possible and were accommodated right away at a table for 4. For breakfast and lunch, we ate mostly at the Lido buffet. Normally we are not big fans of buffets, partly because the food tends to be mediocre and partly because we hate the chaos, with passengers (some with questionable hygiene practices) touching all the serving utensils, but on the Niew Statendam, we found the lido food to be very enjoyable. We were also pleased to see that most food is served by the lido staff, rather than having passengers self-serve which was not only more hygienic, but it also controlled the amount of food served, which many times ends up wasted when people over serve themselves. We also purchased a dinner package which included Canaletto and Pinnacle Grill. We brought the kids with us to Canaletto as a special treat since it was my daughter’s birthday. Our daughter ordered from the kids menu which is free, and our son ordered from the regular menu, which we were told would cost 1/2 the adult price, but they never charged us for his meal. We had an enjoyable dinner, although the service was a bit lacking. My main complaint about Canaletto was its location. It shares space with the lido buffet, which makes it feel less special, and it’s also loud with people entering and exiting the area, as well as clanging metal from kitchen equipment nearby. One night we decided to have dinner at the New York Deli and Pizza. We ordered Caesar salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. Everything is made to order so they give you a pager while you wait. We truly enjoyed having a super casual evening sitting at our table overlooking the pool area. Very relaxing. For our last night onboard, my wife and I attended the Pinnacle Grill. This meal was, without a doubt, the highlight of the cruise, and the perfect way to finish our vacation. The ambiance was perfect, our waiter was very attentive, and the food was superb. Both of us ordered the 10oz filet mignon, paired with bernaise sauce, and it was truly one of the best, most succulent steaks I’ve enjoyed in recent memory. We both had the key lime pie for dessert, and we both agreed that it was the best dessert we had all week. PORTS OF CALL As mentioned at the beginning of this review, a big deciding factor to take this cruise was the itinerary. We’d never visited 3 out of the 4 ports visited, so here’s what we did: - Half Moon Cay: We’d read many times that this port of call has one of the most beautiful beaches of all the private islands in the Bahamas, and it truly lived up to the hype. Not only was it beautiful, but it was unspoiled and uncrowded. People do tend to congregate closer to the beginning of the strip, but by walking a couple extra hundred feet, we had the beach to ourselves. We rented a clamshell but I think we would’ve been OK without it. There was enough shade. We had some drinks at the pirate ship shaped bar which also had great views from its upper deck. We decided not to eat at the buffet provided ashore so I can’t comment on that. Overall, we had a relaxing and blissful day at Half Moon Cay. - Grand Turk: I looked hard at excursions and what to do in Grand Turk, and I just couldn’t find anything that truly appealed to me, so we decided to reserve a Margaritaville pool cabana for the day and just relax at the Welcome Center. It was nice to have a place where to be, and to have food and drinks delivered to us while the kids enjoyed the pool. Overall, the entire welcome center and pool area didn’t look or feel crowded. It was pretty relaxed, and only 3 pool cabanas had been rented out. Our waiter was very courteous, attentive and friendly, and since he attended to us all day, after a while we started chatting about our personal lives and life in Grand Turk in general. I asked him how different this place was with one Holland America ship visiting vs when there are multiple ships from other cruise lines. He said that it’s a completely different experience, and that we should be glad that we got to experience Grand Turk the way we did, aboard Holland America. Not surprisingly, he said that when they have two ships (from more family friendly lines) visiting at the same time, the welcome center is absolutely insane. The pool is packed, and the atmosphere is chaotic and raucous. So I’m glad that I had the opportunity to experience this place the way we did. They also had a Flowrider (surf simulator), and our son begged to participate. For $39, he could get a 90 minute shared session with 6 participants. When I realized that most of the other people who had signed up for a session were the friends he’d met at Club HAL, I felt that the right thing to do was to let him join in the fun. He thoroughly enjoyed it, and watching these kids cheer each other on as each one took his turn was worth every single dollar . - Amber Cove: We were in port with the Carnival Conquest this day. Similar to Grand Turk, Amber Cove has a welcome center, but the list of activities and excursions in the area is considerably more extensive. We decided to book a 2 hour Panoramic Puerto Plata excursion that would be easy for the children. It was indeed a very easy excursion. As we drove to the city of Puerto Plata, our tour guide provided tidbits of information about life in the Dominican Republic. Our first stop was the city’s town square, where the San Felipe Cathedral is located. We were funneled with other tours into a souvenir store for about 20 minutes, and then we walked around the town square and proceeded inside the Cathedral afterwards. We then boarded the bus and drove along the beach. Even by the driver’s own admission, it wasn’t the prettiest beach, but then he announced that we would be making another “photo” stop there. When the bus stopped, we realized that we were about to be dropped off at a bunch of tables along the beach, selling more of the same souvenirs that we’d seen before, so nobody got off the bus. It was actually a bit comical. We kept going to our final stop, the San Felipe Fortress, for a quick photo op. The Fort wasn’t very large or impressive (at least compared to Spanish fortifications at other locations like San Juan), but it was still much more interesting than the souvenir stops. I just wish that they’d given us a bit more than 10 minutes to explore rather than wasting time trying to sell us souvenirs prior to this stop. But overall, it was an enjoyable tour and it fulfilled its intended purpose. We were back at the Amber Cove welcome center by 11:00am. We returned to the ship to have lunch, and then my wife and daughter decided to stay on the ship to rest while my son and I ventured back out to explore the welcome center. With two ships in town, it was pretty packed, and it had the chaotic “tourist trap” feel that our waiter at Grand Turk had described to us the day before. We went down the water slides a few times and then returned to the ship. - Our final stop was Key West, which I have visited many times and which I truly enjoy. We were in port with two other ships, the Viking Sky and the Norwegian Sky. In addition to that, there was a festival happening on this day, so it was pretty crowded. We didn’t plan a thing for Key West, and decided to go with the flow. We docked at the Navy Pier, so we were bussed into town. Once there, we had lunch at El Meson de Pepe which is my “go to” restaurant for Cuban food when I’m in Key West for work. After that, I took the kids to the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum, while my wife did a little bit of window shopping. We made a stop at Crocs for new shoes, we then had some ice cream, and returned to the ship. DEBARKATION Our return flight was at 12:30pm from FLL, so we weren’t in much of a rush to get off the ship. We enjoyed breakfast one final time at the lido buffet and then walked off the ship at 9:00am. Unlike other cruise lines where they literally force you out of your room before 8:00am and then you have to wait in a public area, on this cruise we were told that we could wait in our stateroom until our luggage color was called. This made for a much more leisurely and enjoyable last morning onboard. One thing that helped expedite debarkation was the fact that we had gone through US customs the day before in Key West. Everybody was required to proceed to the World Stage with their passports before proceeding ashore in Key West. Cards were scanned and then a hole was punched in them after meeting with US Customs. When we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the next morning, US Customs agents were present, but they just waved everybody through as we exited the terminal. No need for additional screening. We took an Uber to the airport ($14), and we were through security and at our gate with over 2 hours to spare. CONCLUSION Our cruise aboard the Niew Statendam was absolutely wonderful. Not only did it meet expectations, but it far exceeded them. None of my concerns about bringing small children became a reality. If anything, we learned that Holland America provided a much more enjoyable cruise for our family than what we’ve experienced on family-friendly cruise lines. We learned that we don’t need Disney characters jumping up and down on stage, or elaborate kids clubs, or incessant kids music, or Dr. Seuss parades through the ship to keep our children entertained. They truly loved the experience on the Niew Statendam. I asked my 10 year old son to rank the 11 cruises that he’s been on, and he placed the Niew Statendam second (first place went to the MSC Meraviglia in the Mediterranean which was rightfully a wonderful cruise, and also one of my personal favorites). With that said, I know that Holland America may not be a good choice for many families that do enjoy that kind of energetic experience that family friendly cruise lines provide. So I’d be careful about blindly recommending Holland America to any family. I believe that you must be someone who does appreciate the more relaxed and upscale type of experience that Holland America provides in order to enjoy sailing on this cruise line. For example, we have friends who exclusively sail on Disney (they actually sailed aboard Disney Magic the same week we sailed on Niew Statendam). When we came home, we compared notes, and they said that they would’ve been miserable on our cruise (but probably not as miserable as we would’ve been on theirs!) We went on the Niew Statendam looking for relaxation and a nicer experience, and Holland America definitely delivered! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Embarkation was smooth, uncrowded and uneventful. Escorted to 4 & 5 Star Mariner Lounge and boarded promptly at 11:30am. Carried all of our luggage as carry-ons and we were unpacked by 1205pm. For lunch we went to the MDR and were ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth, uncrowded and uneventful. Escorted to 4 & 5 Star Mariner Lounge and boarded promptly at 11:30am. Carried all of our luggage as carry-ons and we were unpacked by 1205pm. For lunch we went to the MDR and were seated at a table for 2. Everyone (ships staff) along the way greeted us with "welcome on board" , "hope you have a nice cruise" with sincere smiles of welcome. Thus is what we love about Holland America! We were finished by 1:15pm and sat in one if the lounges for our next event which was the Welcome Back Mariners Cocktail Party at 2:00pm which was hosted by the Hotel Manager Errol Nelson. We said hello to him and he greeted us with a familiar hello. We knew him from the Nieuw Amsterdam in November 2019. Food: Excellent food in Main Dining room, Pinnacle Grill and Lido Market Buffet. Entertaiment BB King All Star Band was excellent. Plenty of dancing. Holland America also started ballroom dancing in the early evening which also plays Latin music. Enjoyed Lincoln Center stage classical music each day. Enjoyed Rolling Rock band which was packed every night. Also enjoyed the Greenhouse Spa with its thermal rooms as a couples package for the week. Buy online for $219 vs $279 if you buy onboard. Ship Quality Ship is beautiful and new like condition from top to bottom. Service staff always cleaning and polishing and repairing. Debarkation was WoW FAST and smooth. They started self-assist debarkation at 0710 am and I was on the curb waiting for a taxi at 0725 am. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I booked this cruise later than I usually do, about three months out, so I didn't get any "freebies" but the price wasn't to bad for a new ship. The New Statendam is the largest, newest ship I've ever travelled on ... Read More
I booked this cruise later than I usually do, about three months out, so I didn't get any "freebies" but the price wasn't to bad for a new ship. The New Statendam is the largest, newest ship I've ever travelled on and there were lots of pros and a few cons. First of all, the ship is absolutely gorgeous, the service and food were outstanding. My cabin stewards were some of the friendliest and hardworking I've had in nine cruises. The evening music entertainment was great, something for everyone - classical, BB Kings, rock bank and dueling pianos were all wonderful. The first dance show "Humanity" was amazing with the 270 LED panels that were as much a part of the show as the dancers. The second dance show was also good, but I don't think it was good as the first show. There was a comedian that was somewhat funny, a magician that I didn't see and a BBC Earth movie (no live musical accompany). I had anytime dining for dinner and I only went to the dining room three times, food was very good and service was sometimes a bit slow. The lido was great with tons of options and great food ( the only thing I missed was a taco bar as the last two HAL ships had one at lunch). Dive In was wonderful as always I still don't love the pizza at New York (bagels in the morning were very good) Now for the cons- for some dumb reason, HAL has not renewed their contract with America's Test Kitchen - so no live cooking demos and no ATK shows on the TV. We were very lucky that Rudy Sodoman was on board and did a live cooking class in the main stage that was fantastic. Other than trivia (which was great), and overpriced Bingo there wasn't much to do during the day. HAL isn't known for constant activities, but there seems to be less and less free things to do during sea days. I was travelling solo, so I booked an inside room. The room was spotless, but tiny, mostly bed. The bathroom was also very small but the shower was awesome. It was fine for one person, but I think it would be tight for two people, although storage was good. The ship was pretty easy to get around, but the number of people meant sometimes a wait for the elevators and the lido could get pretty crowded at peak times. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because the price seemed a bargain and we were interested in trying another cruise line. Before sailing we had read reviews, a lot of them mentioning that Holland America has dropped the ball when it comes to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the price seemed a bargain and we were interested in trying another cruise line. Before sailing we had read reviews, a lot of them mentioning that Holland America has dropped the ball when it comes to providing interesting day and evening activities. The writers mentioned that they had boring times on board. We decided that we would try the cruise line and go with an open mind. Sadly, however, we found the negative reviews to be mainly spot on. We are a couple in our late 60’s and early 70’s and have been on 30 cruises. We’ve sailed Celebrity, Princess, Azamara and Royal Caribbean and can say that we were never bored on any of them. This cruise had music venues but this type of entertainment on the other lines is side entertainment, not the main attraction. The theatre, which by the way lacked in interesting and attractive decor, was under used. There were two dance shows with projected images on the walls and then three comedians. The other times the theatre was used for an evening movie and a lecture read from a script with a slide show behind. Again, these activities would not be the main featured entertainment on other cruise ship lines. There were very few day activities, mostly either scheduled sales pitches and notices as to when certain desks were open such as for excursions and future cruise sign up. We were disappointed to see the list each day of the very few of activities run by the cruise activity staff ( the director and his only one assistant). On all of the other lines that we have cruised, we always have a difficult time trying to squeeze in all of the events that happen each day. It would have been nice to have things to do to get interaction with other passengers and the cruise staff. On the positive side, the cabin was nice with good service from our cabin steward. Upon entering the cabin, there are a lot of doors in the entrance area. There is the bathroom door across from closet doors that open out so you have to be careful not to get hit by any when two people are in that area. The buffet was a problem getting food unless you didn‘t mind at most times having to wait in long lines to be served food by the staff. It was strange that the staff served some foods but other foods you served yourself. The hours that the buffet was open, were not always convenient and didn‘t make sense. We were with 12 other friends on this cruise and sadly, the consensus of everyone was that this was a disappointing cruise. No one is planning on sailing with Holland America again. Our future bookings will be with other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Been on 25 cruise this my 9th on Holland America. This is by far the most boring ever on. No main show, buffet and most bars close at 8pm. They have some music shows but after first time enough. No dance DJ music at night. Really not ... Read More
Been on 25 cruise this my 9th on Holland America. This is by far the most boring ever on. No main show, buffet and most bars close at 8pm. They have some music shows but after first time enough. No dance DJ music at night. Really not much at all to do in evenings or really during the day. No band by the pool, most of fellow cruisers playing cards, checkers during day. Relaxing but not a lot of fun. Thank goodness the kids didnt come on this cruise. Service is great and food good but as for activities and excitement it's a dud. Will be sticking to Celebrity or Princess in future. Always liked Holland America and I guess if we were 75 would be fine but prefer shows and activities. If you have teens as kids take them on other line. As bored as we were teens would go crazy with nothing to do Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The lido market was like golden corral. Dining room had serious lag between courses and slightly better food. Pay extra restaurants were not worth the money. Overall very disappointed in food and lack of activities. Most activities were ... Read More
The lido market was like golden corral. Dining room had serious lag between courses and slightly better food. Pay extra restaurants were not worth the money. Overall very disappointed in food and lack of activities. Most activities were centered around getting you to spend more money on something. Not even dance dg in evenings. Clean cabin and friendly shore excursions. We would not go again on this ship even though our cabin stewards were great. They anticipated our needs, leaving umbrellas on days rain was expected for shore days, binoculars, extra towels, etc. Difficult to get snacks after 10pm, we had to get room service and pay extra for soda even with drink plan. Good thing they had movies for our room because there isn't much else to do. Events at world stage filled up 1\2 hour before show. They needed more shows and dg dance clubs, even for us old folks. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Exceptional entry for me to travel since my loss. Welcomed warmly om board. Almost instantly met a wonderful group of seniors from St Augustine and we all learned about one another. Each day a group religious service was on ( I needed ... Read More
Exceptional entry for me to travel since my loss. Welcomed warmly om board. Almost instantly met a wonderful group of seniors from St Augustine and we all learned about one another. Each day a group religious service was on ( I needed that) and wasn't practicing for many years). The public areas were kept exceptionally clean and the staff tended to your EVERY need. While many cruise and report this and that wasn't right. Not in hindsight I am sure 100% they were pre COVID 19 and unhappy people finding a reason /season to be vocal. The activities were interesting for all walks of life (socio-economic, education level, Culture, Age) I was surprised to see people bringing children ono HAL. There are many cruise lines that cater to the little ones and HAL is known for their "quiet, laid back, no noise" rapport. One parent reported " there are less families and then my kids can be catered to" I guess it makes sense. They do have an alcove for activities for them. Food selections, dietary restriction and presentation were all A+. Room service afforded us those early morning tea/coffee when we didn't want to go tot he buffet area. Dinners were filled with entertaining waiters, hosts and lead waitstaff. The baked Alaska parade was 80% reduced with lighting, fun, music, celebration. Pools were ample. open. clean and there was a female bartender who was exceptionally professional, engaging to her passengers and genuinely cared about your drink satisfaction. Always delivered each cocktail with a bright cheery smile by the pool area. I left here with peace, relaxation, time to think, a bunch of friends and most importantly a cruise to have memories of a lifetime. There was a "new" show of a Brooklyn production company that were exquisite. The gals dad who ran the show ensured to communicate with many passengers "how this is the next big thing on the seas" and it was/ Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Chose this cruise for Pickleball and music theme. Ship was very classy and the music venues were great. Especially enjoyed the Billboards venue where two artists on two grand piaoes played nightly with a range of songs from the sixties ... Read More
Chose this cruise for Pickleball and music theme. Ship was very classy and the music venues were great. Especially enjoyed the Billboards venue where two artists on two grand piaoes played nightly with a range of songs from the sixties thru the present. Embarking and dis embarking was a breeze. Food was very good in all areas, like the hand washing stations in the Lido common area. Food and service in main dining area better than my last cruise on Celebrity! Now where the cruise fell a bit short. The sport court. Where we would play Pickleball had no equipment on first couple of days. There doesn’t appear to have an activities director. There was no meet and greet announcement in the daily newspaper nor any time mentioned in the daily things to do pamphlets. When I asked if a time could be put in they said they were made up in advance and couldn’t be added? Fortunately six people eventually showed up and we enjoyed excellent games for remainder of cruise. We just scheduled ourselves. Same goes for card playing which was listed at 10am and 2pm in the main dining room. No staff to coordinate though and no cards! Had to bring our own. These were not major problems and everything worked out fine. Weather was perfect and their private island was beautiful with some of the nicest powdery sand I’ve seen. Would definitely sail with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We wanted a winter break and chose this cruise because it was a newer ship and much cheaper than Celebrity’s Edge. We also were interested in the new music walk area of the ship as we are music lovers. Embarkation was a breeze ... Read More
We wanted a winter break and chose this cruise because it was a newer ship and much cheaper than Celebrity’s Edge. We also were interested in the new music walk area of the ship as we are music lovers. Embarkation was a breeze although traffic into Port Everglades was very heavy. Our room was ready and very nice. Veranda on deck 7 with a great port side view and close to the aft elevator. The veranda was awesome for morning coffee! Bed was very comfy and the bathroom tight but the shower was very spacious. Our only complaint about the room was the doors slamming every morning at sunrise. I wish people would be a little more aware of the noise they are making and that not everyone wants to be awake at 630 am on vacation! Dining was good overall. The MDR generally good, not great. Very long wait on Gala nights! Pinnacle grill was okay, nothing special. Steak well cooked but bland. Rudi’s was great. Very attentive service and delicious French cuisine. Tamarind was amazing with its food and beautiful aft view! We did not spend much time in the Lido buffet...typical crowded cruise cafeteria really. Entertainment was great fun. Loved the Rock Room and BB Kings. Loud music and lots of dancing with a fun crowd! Not sold on the Billboard pianos. Just meh. We only went to the stage shows twice. The comedian was just okay. The dance group was excellent! Spa was very nice although the massage was only average, I thought. Fitness area was great with a large room, lots of equipment and free weights. The pool areas were very nice. The Lido pool roof was open so it was very comfortable. Always room in the multiple hot tubs. Good service from the bars! We also enjoyed the Explorations cafe. A nice quiet bar area with amazing forward views. Books and games are available there as well as the EXC area for excursion planning. Disembarkation was fairly efficient but getting thousands of people out of the terminal on Sunday morning is going to be a challenge for anyone. Overall, we loved our time on the Nieuw Statendam and would definitely recommend it. It is a very traditional ship but with lots of modern art and great musical entertainment to make it fun! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We cruised on this ship when it was brand new for two weeks in March 2019 and decided to book one week, this year (Jan 2020) when we got a terrific deal on a balcony cabin. We re-booked cabin 4017, forward which has a very large balcony, ... Read More
We cruised on this ship when it was brand new for two weeks in March 2019 and decided to book one week, this year (Jan 2020) when we got a terrific deal on a balcony cabin. We re-booked cabin 4017, forward which has a very large balcony, and no obstruction below ( life boats ), as do deck four mid-ship. The food and entertainment was terrific. We ate in most venues, Dining Room, Lido for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Dive In burgers right by the Lido indoor pool, and the Pizza/sandwich spot on deck 10 overlooking the mid Lido deck pool. The hand made individual pizzas which can be customized are terrific. Lunch at Lido has so many choices, it is almost hard to not want to sample everything. Main dining room had many upscale meals, Rack of Lamb, Rack of Veal, Steaks, Lobster, Escargot, Shrimp Cocktail. With the exception of wonderful Napoleons served at lunchtime at the Lido one day, overall, desserts could use a slight improvement. The Lido offers ice cream during lunch every day with waffle cones. We dined twice at Pinnacle restaurant deck two as they have King Crab as a main dish without an up charge. No other ship that we have been on ever served Alaskan King Crab as a main dish. In fact Pinnacle also  offers enormous steaks for no up-charge. Where ever you eat on this ship, the food is a high point. So much so, we compared it to a 16 day trip we took on Crystal Serenity in December 2019, where the food was terrible. We paid nearly three times the price for a week on Crystal and realized when we came back on board Niew Statendam (NS), that the food by comparison on NS was superb. The other main feature on this ship is its entertainment. No other ship offers so many entertainment choices. First, the theater in the round concept, supported by almost 360 degree floor to ceiling digital graphics is quite spectacular on this ship. While there were only two main shows during the seven  days, there are so many other entertainment venues that you forgive the fact that there are not more main shows.  Many "pure musical" venues, which alternate on most evenings are 1. Lincoln Center - quintet ( Violins, Viola, Cello and Piano) playing music from the Masters to Show tunes to Latin ( Tango Music), etc.  Note Lincoln Center also offers many afternoon concerts. These young musicians were terrific. 2. BB King's, a feature on many HAL ships, had a great "Soul" group .... terrific singers, back up band. 3. Rock and Roll Venue was also very good 4. Billboard top requests - singer/pianist playing requests. All of these venues are mid to forward deck two, and become the mainstay of evening entertainment. On deck nine each afternoon and evening, there are movies, which can also be seen in your cabin. Fairly recent feature movies can be watched as you lay on lounge chairs by the indoor pool. They even serve popcorn and fresh baked pretzels for the evening shows ( available at the Pizza restaurant). Embarkation and Disembarkation were very smooth and easy, another high point of the ship. There are two pools in this ship with the outdoor pool (aft) deck 9,relegated to adults, offering canopies from the Sun, a bar, and easy access to Lido for breakfast or lunch. The mid ship pool has a retractable cover for inclement weather. If there is anything lacking, or needing improvement it is the need for more wait staff in the Lido. There was just too few staff to keep tables cleared and serve beverages at breakfast and lunch. The other notable need for improvement is a change of menu for the "Welcome back Mariners lunch" on the second sea day. Again this year, it was a Caribbean mish mash of dishes that just did not work. We remembered it was the same menu as the year before, and not very inviting. Truly, repeat customers could do with a better quality meal. This was cruise number 49 for us and we think HAL got most everything right on this ship. We will cruise Niew Statendam again someday.... Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The cruise was paid for by my father in law, so we had no choice, but we were pleased with the entire experience. We arrived around 11:30 am and very little waiting was required at Port Everglades, although the check in staff inside ... Read More
The cruise was paid for by my father in law, so we had no choice, but we were pleased with the entire experience. We arrived around 11:30 am and very little waiting was required at Port Everglades, although the check in staff inside the terminal subcontracted out were a bit rude/brusque. The ship was spacious and clean. I was a bit concerned that one of the adipose rear propellers wasn't working, but the captain was reassuring that the chances of us getting stranded at sea were very remote, and that there were emergency plans in place if that unlikely event were to occur. Unfortunately, I didn't get the information from the captain until much later in the cruise. The captain's message would be better to get on the second or third day, I think. Our cabin was able to sleep comfortably my husband, I and my teen. It had a remarkable sleeper sofa that turned into a bed without taking up floor area. The dining options were superb. We had a couple of nights where we splurged on the restaurants that charge extra. In the future, I would be very satisfied with just the standard dining room seating without paying the extra money. The entertainment was professional and very classy. Something for any sophisticated taste: classical, blues band, piano bar, modern dance. I didn't participate in many activities. I took the cocktail mixing classes, which were a lot of fun. The couples massage was a rip-off: $355! I thought it was $170 for 2! All of our sense of relaxation was erased when they tried to upsell us on skin products and booking for additional appointments. because I was part of a family reunion and had enough things to do between my books, puzzles, family and excursions. The service never disappointed us, except I would have appreciated a little salsa or hot sauce with the room service omelette which was a little bland. I went on the Damajagua Falls excursion in the Dominican Republic, which was fantastic! The water wasn't too cold and the scenery was beautiful. Both my husband and teen daughter did all the high jumps and slides, whereas I, suffering from a fear of heights took the sturdy ladders down (the "chicken" routes). Part of the issue was I was feeling fragile since I sprained my ankle on the last step of the new concrete bridge that you walk across before the beginning of the hike. Our snorkel excursion on Grands Turks/Caicos was cancelled due to heavy seas. We were refunded our money promptly. The tender to Half Moon Cay really freaked me out, because the rough waves splashed onto the lower deck, and the ferry was so full of people. Fortunately, the trip was short. Our family of 14 shared a villa at Half Moon Cay, which was a very nice experience. Although, I used the included snorkel equipment, I didn't see any fish in the swimming area in front of the villa (the fish were probably scared of the humans). The villa had a small refrigerator filled with shrimp cocktails (but no spicy red sauce), fresh fruit, drinks and chips, a kitchen sink, large table set with tablecloths, napkins, etc, plenty of seating, plenty of foam floating lounge/rafts, a Jacuzzi that could comfortably contain 6 people. Getting off the tender back onto the boat freaked me out more, because the boat was moving up and down so much. Trying to get back on the large boat from the tender was like being in a video game--you had to time it, crouch down and run fast so you wouldn't knock your head. We traveled with our teen, who went up to the teen room a couple of times, but nobody was there/it was not open. She didn't complain about the cruise despite its lack of activities specifically for teens, because we bought her the internet package which kept her happy, except for the last sea day before disembarkation when the internet wasn't working properly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
First time on a Holland America cruise. Was very impressed with the ship(new), the crew members service and the food at all venues. The music themed art work was very nice. I read another review that entertainment and daytime ... Read More
First time on a Holland America cruise. Was very impressed with the ship(new), the crew members service and the food at all venues. The music themed art work was very nice. I read another review that entertainment and daytime activities was for the senior, senior crowd and very boring for "younger" people. Well, I am a senior and agree with them. No excitement at the pools, no upbeat activities during the day, anywhere. The evening entertainment at B.B. Kings, the Rolling Stones club and dueling pianos was fun and well done. The World Stage offers Holland America so much opportunity with technology not available on other ships but was disappointed with the lack of entertainment using it. Overall, the entertainment at the World Stage was mediocre at best with the dance troup being the only exception. If you are looking for a beautiful ship with great food, superb service, clean and well laid out suites the nieuw Statendam is for you. If high spirited activities and entertainment is your interests, you might be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have been cruising for many years, and this was our 8th HAL cruise with our sons. We started cruising ten years ago with our children as 3rd and 4th passengers in a Neptune suite. They are now teenagers and are in their own inside ... Read More
We have been cruising for many years, and this was our 8th HAL cruise with our sons. We started cruising ten years ago with our children as 3rd and 4th passengers in a Neptune suite. They are now teenagers and are in their own inside cabin. Beware, when you make this switch, your children will lose their Neptune Suite benefits, even if you continue to book a Neptune Suite. This was our first holiday cruise, and we already booked a holiday cruise for next year. It was that great!!! The ship was new, spotless and beautiful. The Christmas decorations were beautiful, and the staff was amazing. In addition, the atmosphere on the ship was very festive. People aren't always happy on vacation, but there was something special about a Christmas Cruise. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits, and lots of families were traveling together. We saw lots of groups of kids (likely cousins) traveling around the ship and having a great time. HAL provides a Catholic priest on board for mass, which we really appreciated. Club Hal: Over the last 10 years, our children have experienced all three age levels of Club HAL, and it has been an absolute highlight for them. This was our first year where our 19-year-old son, has aged out and we were worried about him finding things to do, as he is too old for kid stuff and too young for the bar scene. We should not have worried. He met lots of other older teens and spent time playing cards and games in the Explorations Café, visiting the music venues, and shows. Dinning: We appreciated the new dining venues on the ship as well. We at breakfast as the Dutch Café once and enjoyed it. We also ate lunch once at the New York Pizza Deli. My husband is from New York and was not impressed by the pizza. I enjoyed being able to grab a quick salad, but the sandwiches were not very good. They were all bread and little meat. We ate in The Pinnacle Grill once for dinner Christmas Eve and 3 times for lunch on sea days. It was excellent (but not quick) as usual. We also tried out Tamirand; it was good, but not great, and our waitress was not very friendly. We ate dinner once in Canaletto. On this ship, it truly seems like a seperate restaurant, not part of Lido. The food was excellent, and the service was great, but beware where you sit. We were seated directly across from the door to the Lido kitchen, and when Lido closed, the banging and crashing, etc. of all the evening’s dishes being washed was really loud – like can’t hold a conversation loud. Entertainment: We enjoyed the new Rock and Roll venue, and the dueling pianos were much better than in past years. They had an interesting system going where one show would end, and you could walk directly across to the other venue and they would start playing within about 10 minutes. We enjoyed the magician on the main stage, but the comedian was so bad, that my husband and I both fell asleep. That has never happened to us at a comedy show before. Even people in the first row were getting up and leaving. Fitness Center: My son used the treadmills in the fitness center. The fitness center is new and beautiful. I took a Pilates class. The class was fine, but we were at sea in high winds, so the instructor probably should have modified his routine to take out at least some of the balance moves, as they were pretty impossible with the ship rocking so much. Ports/Shore Excursions: We booked jet skiing and a shade cover and chairs on Half Moon Kay, but that port was cancelled due to high winds, so we can’t review those. Our next stop was Aruba. Because we didn’t get to jet ski in the Bahamas, we called Delphi Watersports Aruba (https://www.delphiwatersports.com/), as soon as we arrived in Aruba (4 hours earlier than originally scheduled). It was Christmas day, but they were open. We booked 4 jet skies for 30 minutes at a very reasonable price and had a great time. We then took a HAL shore excursion in the afternoon sailing and snorkeling. We had a great time. We didn’t like any of the ship’s offerings in Curacao, so we booked a private horseback riding excursion with Criadero Babetti (https://www.criaderobabetti.com/). It was absolutely amazing. They picked us up at the Starbucks outside the terminal and we visited an aloe farm and ostrich farm on horseback (tied the horses up in the parking lots), and then rode to the bay to take the horses in swimming. It was a highlight of our trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My grown daughter and I went on this cruise to spend some time together and have fun. Our veranda room was nice and our porter provided excellent service. We dined in the Main Dining Room a couple of times but the timing in between courses ... Read More
My grown daughter and I went on this cruise to spend some time together and have fun. Our veranda room was nice and our porter provided excellent service. We dined in the Main Dining Room a couple of times but the timing in between courses was excessive and the meal time seemed to go on forever. We opted to dine at the Lido buffet as a result. The food at the Lido was ok. Overall, the cruise was boring and pretty low energy. There really wasn’t much going on most of the time. We were on a Caribbean cruise and there was no playing or performing of reggae music or music influenced by the region we were visiting. The pools were nice as were the loungers but there wasn’t much activity on the deck in the day. I didn’t go to the wine tasting or the classical music performance. At times there were performances on the music walk but it was difficult to get a seat and the songs were repeated. There a few shows in the World Theater. They were ok. Most of the time I felt as though the cruise was catering to its predominately senior citizen passengers. I noticed it around the ship, in the music played, and in the activities offered. Thankfully, there was a pretty good selection of movies available on the tv in my stateroom. On this cruise I did something I very seldom do. I watched tv daily. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Newest ship liked the ports The best Rock and roll band ever. Trying to find out there fb names so I can follow them on next ship Beautiful ship . Great food didn't care for handicap accessible room. They had a very big step ... Read More
Newest ship liked the ports The best Rock and roll band ever. Trying to find out there fb names so I can follow them on next ship Beautiful ship . Great food didn't care for handicap accessible room. They had a very big step up into the bathroom. Was very hard to get up and down. We were on 11 floor felt a vibration every night. We will be getting room on lower floor from now on. We missed key West cause of bad weather that was disappointing but will cruise again to there someday .Half moon cay was excellent! Grand Turk we didn't like it there and probably never go back . Amber cove was awesome will deff go back there . Just to let you know everything is very expensive at all of these ports. T-shirts souvenirs outrageous. We were planning on buying Xmas presents but way to much for tshirts and Nick nacks.But will do cruise again best bang for your money Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I want to open this negative review with a disclaimer that I am of a minority that this cruise line caters to. We went on this cruise with 2 adults and 3 children (4, 8, 10). This is not the "target audience," so our experience ... Read More
I want to open this negative review with a disclaimer that I am of a minority that this cruise line caters to. We went on this cruise with 2 adults and 3 children (4, 8, 10). This is not the "target audience," so our experience will inevitably vary wildly from, say, a 50+ couple or a solo traveler. I am writing this for the people like us whose intention is a family vacation. With the above said, if you: - Are 50+ - Enjoy fancy specialty dining and wine-drinking - Like live music but don't care for other types of entertainment - Don't spend a lot of time in your room ...then this is the cruise for you. HAL focuses tremendously on high-end up-charge activities such as one the half dozen specialty restaurants and wine-tasting seminars Rather than going into explicit detail about what I didn't like (which will go on and on), I will err on the side of brevity with bullet points: - The room is too small for 5 people. With 5 of us the room was literally just beds with a 1.5' walking space. - There's nothing to do on the boat if you don't want to see live music. - Activities on the daily itinerary have no description and are misleading. For example, one event called "A Night at the Ballet" was not a ballet at all but a violin player. How were we supposed to know that? - HAL Kids Club is essentially a room for kids, with riveting "activities" such as "draw a picture" planned. Essentially they want to be able to say they have a kids club, but don't actually put any effort into it. - Food was mediocre across the board. - Wildly varying and inconsistent food times. - Constantly told they were "out" of a certain food item like chocolate milk but then it would suddenly appear the next day. - Incessant sighing an eye-rolling on Lido deck. - Charged $6.33 for a mini-bar bottle of water that we DID NOT TOUCH. Had to talk to 4 different people before it was removed and even then I was told it was a "one time exception." - Cancelled Key West port of call. - Lido buffet 'stations' is an awful way of setting things up. They say it's so that you don't have to wait in a long line but the tradeoff is you now have to wait in MULTIPLE medium-sized lines to get the things you want. - There are no drink stations on Lido. You sit at a table and a server is supposed to come to you. Good luck with that. We had a server come maybe 10% of the time and the little button on the table to purportedly summon them was practically a placebo and did nothing. - The Coke Freestyle machine was clearly and evidently broken but they refused to put up a sign. I had to fight to get a refund on my purchase. - Dinner in main dining room took 2+ hours each time. Food was incredibly slow. - No soft serve ice scream dispensers open 24/7. You had to go to the Sweet Spot on Lido and wait in a line to get scoops of ice cream, and he was only open for a few hours each day. Overall just an awful experience. We couldn't wait to get off. We are NOT the party crowd that goes to Carnival, but we are also not the pinky-raising tea-sippers that this cruise clearly caters to. The only thing positive I have to say is the cabin steward was excellent and the ship didn't have the obnoxious party atmosphere nor the screaming-at-you Cruise Directors Carnival has. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I went on this cruise because some of our friends picked the cruise. This was one of the best cruises I have been on. Now it's Holland American so there's no hairy legs contests at the pool or goofy game shows like on some ... Read More
I went on this cruise because some of our friends picked the cruise. This was one of the best cruises I have been on. Now it's Holland American so there's no hairy legs contests at the pool or goofy game shows like on some other brands. Quite frankly these are not missed. This ship features a two level indoor outdoor pool area so it was fairly easy to get a chair around the pool and I really like the closable roof so you can use the pool whatever the weather. This area also has the "outdoor" theatre and the staff sets up the chairs to see the screen when they are doing movies. They have moved the BBC Earth series to here. Thank goodness. BBC Earth is not something featured on the main stage. The main stage is a theatre in the round with 270 degrees of floor to ceiling LCD screens. It's unique. Although the entertainment was good it was not up the level of Norwegian and you could see that they did everything they could to skimp. For example the dance company which is normally 12 people is 6 on this ship. They did uniquely use the LCD Screens in the productions. One show they used the screens to show an elevator. The actors backed up "into the elevator" and they gave the illusion of going up the doors open and then this was another dance venue. Unique and entertaining. The ship features Music Row with Billboard Onboard the dueling pianos, the Rock BAnd Area and BB Kings Blues Club along with Lincoln Center stage. BB Kings and Lincoln center were great Billboard had a little feeling of a high school production. Not bad but this is not New York level entertainment. On the plus side they did try to play music to the older crowd which Holland caters to. They had several informative programs in the main stage which I attended and was interesting. One in particular was the history of Holland America lines which I enjoyed a lot. The service onboard was excellent in every area. There were a few problems but they didn't detract from the cruise. One of Holland's ship broke down and so they moved 100 passengers to our ship completely filling it and they had to delay departure for this. Due to a heavy storm the Key West stop was cancelled and we had an extra day at sea, but the ship stabilizers worked great and there was almost no swaying. Vince the cruise director was also outstanding. I'd highly recommend the ship and crew. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
1. Cabin had some nasty stuff on the walls - looked like semen - grossed me out when I accidentally touched it. Had the cabin staff clean it out and they had to come back a second to get spots they missed. The hotel director was advised ... Read More
1. Cabin had some nasty stuff on the walls - looked like semen - grossed me out when I accidentally touched it. Had the cabin staff clean it out and they had to come back a second to get spots they missed. The hotel director was advised but made no attempt to apologize. Sent a supervisor on the last day of our cruise to check on something that occurred on the first day of the cruise 2. Greenhouse Spa allows people to get into the hydro-pool with water shoes - people wear them all around the ship and land, then get into the pool. Spa also does not have a sign to ask people to shower before getting into the hydro-pool. When recommendations were made to the spa, they said they did not want to offend guests. Spa maintenance was conducted while the paying guests were still on board the ship. 3. Overall customer service is very poor in the dining the areas. 4. Entertain is limited and has repeated performances - not all nights have performances on the world stage either, 5. Fitness activities that used to be free on HA, now have an additional charge. 6. Mariner perks are non existent.HA used to have welcome stuff for mariners but any more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My family has traveled with Holland America many times in the past and was a little concerned about how the unique style and sophistication of the line would translate in a 2,000 + passenger configuration. The truth is that it translated ... Read More
My family has traveled with Holland America many times in the past and was a little concerned about how the unique style and sophistication of the line would translate in a 2,000 + passenger configuration. The truth is that it translated well. You never felt crowded and you were never confronted with endless lines. The size provided for more options of things to do, more options of places to eat and places to just relax and find quite. We loved some of the new features like the Grand Dutch Cafe, the music walk (Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard, BB King All Stars and the Rolling Stone lounge), Microsoft Studio as well as the tried and true standards. All of these venues dblended perfectly. The music venues were a hit and even our grandsons enjoyed the music and entertainment. But the real hit for these two kids was the Club HAL program. They could not wait to get back to the Kids Klub as they called it. The facilities are incedible with seperate areas for different age/interest groups and the staff was a real hit, caring and responsible. Just proves that you don't need a floating amusment park to satisfy your youngest travelers. The itinerary was perfect. We started with a call at Holland America's private island, Half Moon Cay. Which we made even better by arranging for a cabana to give our group a focal point. Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel were all casual and beach centric. While the free dining areas were excellent, the specialty restaurants were stand outs. From the Pinnacle Grill to Rudy's to the Tamarind and Canalettos they all addressed a specific cuisine and provided a incredible experience. My only wish is that they open the Sushi restaurant for lunch during the days at sea. All in all we had a very diverse group on board. My wife and I were celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary, our kids, young lovers and our two grandsons all found the experience to be exceptional. They are already talking about a return engagement. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Wanted a trip with the parents. Had to leave on a Sunday. Got a good price on this cruise. So off we went. Flew into MIA the day before, and spent the night at the Hampton Inn Airport South, Blue Lagoon. Metro shuttle eventually ... Read More
Wanted a trip with the parents. Had to leave on a Sunday. Got a good price on this cruise. So off we went. Flew into MIA the day before, and spent the night at the Hampton Inn Airport South, Blue Lagoon. Metro shuttle eventually arrived to take us to Port Everglades the next morning. Got to the pier around 12 and pretty much walked right on. Never got the day's schedule at check in like we were supposed to. Had to go to the purser's desk to get it. Cabin was ready so we dropped off our carry ons and went to the dining room for lunch. Limited selection, not tasty, and slow service. A trend that would haunt the rest of the cruise. For the most part the food was average at best, and the service (while friendly) was slow. However, there were some very good dishes. One major complaint was the lack of food between 9 and 10. It would be nice to have food at the Grand Dutch Cafe until it closes, or to have one side of the lido open until they change over to the late night offerings. Tamarind was very good as well. Entertainment, of the stage show variety, is lacking. Two dance productions, with only six dancers and prerecorded music, a magician, and a comedian. The first dance show made great use of the features of the world stage and was enjoyable. The second one was a sleeper. The magician was pretty bad. The comedian made us laugh, but required the help of audience members. The Greenhouse was OK, We felt that Princess' version was much superior. We took a bike tour on Half Moon Cay. While it was fun, the equipment needs to be replaced. We took private tours at Falmouth and Cozumel. At Falmouth we took the food tour with Jamaica Culinary Tours. At Cozumel with took a food tour with Cozumel Chef. Both were excellent - highly recommended. Just walked around Georgetown and brought rum cake. Disembarkation was a breeze. It was actually running 45 minutes ahead of schedule. Metro shuttle kind of was a mess on the way back. There was a lot of miscommunication on where to meet. Maybe because we didn't dock at our original pier. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Nieuw Statendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.3
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Value For Money 4.5 4.0

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