11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed on the Nieuw Statendam 1/6-20/29 for a 14-day collectors cruise to the Western (week one) and Eastern (week two) Caribbean. Mitzi caught a head cold on the flight from MSP and did not feel great for a couple of days in week one. ... Read More
We sailed on the Nieuw Statendam 1/6-20/29 for a 14-day collectors cruise to the Western (week one) and Eastern (week two) Caribbean. Mitzi caught a head cold on the flight from MSP and did not feel great for a couple of days in week one. I caught something on board and felt icky for part of week two. There was definitely something going around the ship, even our assistant table steward missed a few days due to illness. We had a very nice cruise, but we are growing a bit tired of this itinerary. Here are some of our observations about the ship and ports. I didn't really notice any major problems related to this being an early cruise in the life of a new ship. Embarkation- HAL sent instructions saying to arrive 1:30 (deck 8 & 11 boarding). But we were at the mercy of the Ramada Inn shuttle schedule which left at 11:45 am. We arrived a little after noon. The right side of the wickets had a fairly long line, the left side line, where we were supposed to go, was very short (even number decks I think). We were whisked around to the empty 4-5*/Neptune line and got our key cards very quickly. We were on board and to our room before 1:00. Our luggage arrived within an hour or two. We were unpacked long before muster drill time and set out exploring the ship and taking pictures. Muster drill was by the front desk for our group and was mostly painless. The Ship- It really did have a “new car smell” when we first boarded. It is very much like the Koningsdam in colors, layout, and artwork (quite modern, traditionalists might not be impressed). The big change is the creation of the Rolling Stone Rock Room and moving the Lincoln Center Stage to the “Queen’s Lounge” area which they now share with BB King. They also moved the appetizer bar in the Billboard bar into a corner from its original location in the middle of the room on the K. This worked much better IMO and allowed for a small dance floor area in the Billboard bar. The Crows Nest bar has changed and now incorporates the coffee bar. The old Explorations Café coffee bar area has been taken over by the EXC excursion desk. This seemed to work OK IMO. The Crows Nest still has lots of comfy seating, puzzle tables, and a reasonable number of books (cannot comment on the quality, we brought our own reading material). It remains a nice quiet spot to sit during the day. I do not know if it was used much in the evenings. I did not head up there for drinks since they did not have a Crow’s Nest happy hour. The room on the port side of the Crow’s Nest (I had heard it referred to as the Captain’s Corner) now has rows of upholstered chairs facing a flat panel display. It was used for some EXC presentations but it seemed empty most of the times I wandered by. The ship can handle about 2700 passengers and I believe we were pretty full for week one. It never felt crowded anywhere on the ship. The MDR- The room was bright and pleasant IMO and very much like the K. We had late (8:00 pm) fixed dining (nice table for two by a window, but it was dark and you could not see anything). The dining room did not seem overly noisy to me. The first week seemed to have more tables occupied than the second week. There was no sign of the Yum Yum Man or his cart of goodies; hopefully it will show up eventually. The food was of the same high quality (IMO) that we have come to expect. My biggest complaint was that the menu for week two seemed identical to week one. I do not recall so much repetition from our previous 14-day collector’s cruises. Also, there were no chilled soups! The Lido- We only had occasional breakfast and lunch bites in the Lido. It was laid out much like the K but had sinks for hand washing instead of the whirligigs you stick your hands into. The food was fine and it did not seem too crowded, but maybe my timing was just fortunate. It did not seem that hard to find tables, but many people went out by either pool with their food. There were sushi (rolls) and sashimi at lunch, but not a huge selection. We did not try any of the late-night offerings. And I did not see any bathrobes in the Lido! The Tamarind- We ate there once and it lived up to its billing as our favorite HAL restaurant. The room seemed bigger and they do use some outdoor seating (at least when in port). The deck plans for the K and NS seem to show they have identical square footage, so the apparent size difference may be due to the different layout for Nami Sushi and the Tamarind bar (we did not try either). The Pinnacle, Canaletto, and Sel De Mer- We skipped these this cruise. I have avoided Sel de Mer because the idea of an a la carte restaurant on a cruise ship bugs me. However, a new acquaintance on this cruise (Sir Robert) went and said his bill (including 5* discounts) was only about $20. I might have to give it a try! The Dive-In- Same menu as on other ships and the burgers, dogs, & fries are delicious as always. But now they have milkshakes! We did not try them since we were already eating too much. I think they were around $5. The New York Deli- Again, same good quality as on other ships. We had pizza a couple of times but did not get any deli sandwiches this cruise. We also did not get around to trying the late-night snacks (too much food, groan!) although they sounded good. I found the NY Deli to be a great “secret” breakfast spot. They were never that busy when I stopped by, there were plenty of tables available, and pitchers of orange juice and coffee carafes that were self-serve. They have a good bagel selection, including a breakfast bagel with egg, cheese, and ham. The new treat was Breakfast Pizza! They had about 4 different choices. I tried one with cheese, bacon, and two sunny side up eggs which was very good. It was really enough for two people. The Dutch Café- This is a very pleasant spot for a snack. We only stopped once after a shore excursion and had pea soup, grilled ham & cheese sandwich, and fries – pretty good stuff. I kept meaning to stop for bitterballen, but never quite made it. Something to try on the next cruise! The Happy hours- The main Happy Hour was in the Billboard and Rock Room bars from 4-5 pm. Standard buy one get one for $2. It could get quite busy, but cleared out by 5:30. The self-serve appetizers (hot and cold) in the Billboard were usually pretty good and, for the most part, they kept appetizer bar stocked. We developed a small group of 3-7 people that would get together during happy hour for conversation. There was some kind of happy hour at the Blend at 9:00 pm. I never stopped by. It seemed like it was wine only and we always had enough wine with dinner. Club Orange- My travels around the ship did not take me by Club Orange very often. The few times I went by at breakfast or dinner, it did not seem very active. They did seem like they were using the kitchen area, but I could not tell if it was for food prep or plating-up. I actually like the room as a restaurant venue – I am not sure Club Orange is the best use for the space. America’s Test Kitchen- They had new recipes and the presentations were nicely done. The problem, IMO, was that the World Stage was not a good venue for it. You were far from the cooking area and they did not have good enough camera angles and close-up to allow you to see the details of the food preparation. Billboard Onboard- The piano duo of Debby and Nate (or was it Nat?) were very good, probably the best I have seen on HAL. The pianos were real! With strings!! They played very enthusiastically (and skillfully) and their singing was quite good. They usually drew a big crowd. As soon as their 45-minute set was done the Rolling Stone rockers started up. They switched on and off throughout the evening (three sets each). Rolling Stone Rock Room- This is a brand-new idea and probably needs some work to hit its stride. There were five guys (no fries) – two guitars, one bass, drummer, and keyboards. I enjoyed them but Mitzi was unimpressed – she did not like their versions of rock classics. Musically, I thought they were fine and talented. The vocals seemed like the weakness (not bad, just could stand improvement). I am not sure how extensive the playlist is, but I did not hear any duplications (but I was not there 14 nights straight!). It is loud, so I would not sit too close to the front. I definitely enjoyed it, but then I like hearing covers of songs that do not sound identical to the originals. Lincoln Center Stage- The five ladies were excellent musicians. I did not go too often, but was impressed when I did. The “Queen’s Lounge” area is a much better spot for them than where they were on the K (now the RSRR). Their performances were usually well attended. BB King- This iteration of BB King had a really nice sound. I did not recognize any of them from prior cruises. I also did not go often enough to tell if they suffered from the same problem I have seen with other BB Kings. That being a too small play list so that they seemed to be playing the same stuff over and over. They did play some of the same songs I have heard on other cruises, but they sounded great doing it! The Shops- The selection seemed minimal, but the quality seemed improved. Some prices seemed awfully high. I did buy a NS inaugural season Christmas ornament for next year’s tree for $7.99. Wine list/packages- The same basic Cellar 1, 2, and 3 wine packages were available and the wines offered were essentially identical to last year. Mariner discounts were applied. The regular wine list looked to be brand new with lots of more expensive choices. I wanted to get photos, but kept forgetting my camera or phone. I will try again this March. There were still some $35-45 per bottle choices, but they seemed scarcer. The Ports- Half Moon Cay – We did our usual clamshell and laid about on the beach and swam to cool off. The Island BBQ was the same as always - OK, not great. But laying out in the sun wears you down and one needs to refuel! We shared the island with the Zuiderdam. Montego Bay, Jamaica – None of the tours appealed to us and we were docked too far away from town to walk. So, we stayed on board to explore the new ship. Georgetown, Cayman Islands – There were at least six ships in port so we thought the town would be very crowded. The last tender from the island was around 3:30. It did not seem worth the tender ride in for a short, crowded visit to the various shops. Cozumel, Mexico – Mitzi was not feeling well so we abandoned our plans to stroll through town. Nassau, Bahamas – We went to the Ardastra Gardens after a small bus tour through town. It was a zoo getting off the ship and to the buses as there were 4-5 ships in port. The gardens were OK and the marching flamingos were amusing. I am glad we went once, but I will not be in a hurry to return. We had a picture taking stop at Fort Charlotte on the way back to the pier. There was not enough time to go into the fort and the entry fee ($5-6) was not included in the tour. San Juan, Puerto Rico – It was Calle San Sebastian festival day when we were in port (along with a Carnival ship). Even though the festival did not start until around 7:00 pm, the preparations had everything in a state of chaos. Our tour was to go to the two forts followed by shopping in Plaza Colon. The police would not let our bus drive to El Morro (the fort guarding the harbor) so we went to San Cristobal (the fort guarding the land-side of the city) first while our tour company tried to sort things out. San Cristobal is well worth seeing (2nd time for me) and was enjoyable again. When we got back to the bus, our guide said his boss talked with the police chief and we now had permission to head to El Morro (I am sure no money changed hands). The bus got as close as possible, but it was still a fair walk to the fort. The setting is beautiful, but there were a lot of festival preparations going on. The fort is older than San Cristobal and rather different in construction and purpose. It was well worth the visit and long walk. After the forts we did walk around Plaza Colon for a few minutes, but we were hungry for a Dive-In burger so we headed back to the ship. St. Thomas, USVI – We were docked in Havensight along with a Viking cruise ship. We did the St. Thomas Island Drive which took us to Mountain Top. There are impressive views once you get through the huge gift shop (in their defense, the prices and selection were OK). We were then supposed to go to Drake’s Seat, but the Viking guys had the parking area filled up. So, we went to the “Valdemar A. Hill, Sr. Drive Scenic Overlook” instead. There were impressive views of the Havensight pier, downtown, and Crowns Bay. You could also see Saint Croix in the distance. There was the option of being dropped off in town, but no one was interested. I did wander about the Havensight Mall before going back to the ship. Half Moon Cay – Another clamshell day. I also tried to lay in the sun to try to bake away my head cold (while trying to avoid sunburn). We shared the Island with the Volendam. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We did the first 7 days of the first 14 day Caribbean cruise ever on the Nieuw Statendam. She is without doubt the most beautiful ship on the high seas (at least amongst the main-line carriers). Overall we had a great experience on the ... Read More
We did the first 7 days of the first 14 day Caribbean cruise ever on the Nieuw Statendam. She is without doubt the most beautiful ship on the high seas (at least amongst the main-line carriers). Overall we had a great experience on the Statendam and there were no "dress rehearsal" elements to be seen on board. It was operating as it was meant to, and the service crew were in top form. We booked this cruise last minute when we saw a good price pop up, and realized it would be nice to take part in the 'maiden' month of the new vessel. We booked a quad veranda on the 5th deck and a few weeks later booked another veranda on the 8th deck for Grandma and sister. Both rooms were Forward, convenient to the elevators and access to the Gym, crows nest and World Stage. The rooms were nicely designed, with a great shower. Flat panel tv was huge and there were usb power ports all over. You do not need to bring a power bar on board, in fact they will confiscate I think. We also had the drop down bed for one of our kids to sleep in. Great bed for her, but it did encroach on the king size bed a little. Perhaps it would have been better placed elsewhere. The cruise started out with a bit of rough sea out of Lauderdale, but then calmed right down for the rest of the Cruise. This was our first Western cruise and the weather was outstanding. Also, the wind was non-existent on our patio compared with the 5 other eastern cruises we did. You could sit out there all day, it was fantastic. The music walk was a hit with the passengers, we especially enjoyed the Billboard duelling pianos and the Lincoln centre stage performances. The StepOne dance troupe is especially good in their Tuesday performance as well. A better stage show than you'll be used to at sea. The stops on this western tour were pretty decent, though I prefer the eastern ports. Half moon was great as usual, I liked how they added the splash pad area for the kids. Jamaica was a bit of a miss, the cruise ships dump you off at a port where a bunch of sharks soak you to get to the nearest beach. Next time I would just book an excursion with HAL. Will prob cost the same and be much more pleasant. Caymen was great, though the tenders got a little rough. Cozumel was the highlight stop, great shops right off the dock. Cool community, glad we stayed there for 12 hours. Finally the food, HAL did not disappoint. With their Chef's Council designing most menus, this cruise will delight all the foodies out there. We tried to hit the main dining room most nights and had a great dinner each night. The Lido was also outstanding with an incredible variety for each meal. Holland is still near the top on food, almost tied with Celebrity. A couple of footnotes: - The art on board is incredible. My daughter and I did the complete art tour (her idea) and it was worth it. -Club Hal hours were not too convenient and seem to be closed over dinner a lot. Hopefully that changes. -The Grand Dutch cafe is the best part of the cruise. Everything on the menu is crazy good. We lived there. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We had already been on the Koningsdam and we liked the NS. The RS Rock room and BB Kings gave new variety to the cruise. The Ship is beautiful and targets the younger boomers and gen xers imo. Embarkation was a mess as it was on ... Read More
We had already been on the Koningsdam and we liked the NS. The RS Rock room and BB Kings gave new variety to the cruise. The Ship is beautiful and targets the younger boomers and gen xers imo. Embarkation was a mess as it was on Oosterdam last month. They packed everyone in the lounge gave boarding cards by number. We were on by 1pm. Pinnacle was very good this trip after having been there several times now. They have some new menu items and we made sure to try them. The service led by the big boss Denise was 5 star! Our server handled a table of 12 plus the two of us with great ease. I kept thinking in the States this would have bombed. Very impressive! MDR was decent enough but service was very slow at lunch on embarkation day but was much better at dinner. Lido service was not up to the speed on the Oosterdam last month. HAL I guess has abandoned the staff serving food on the first day. We used to really respect they did that but we see it has been cut. They just have one maybe two people at each station and it is help yourself the entire cruise. There was nobody from HAL doing the hand sanitizer so many guests I would imagine would just walk in. HAL used to enforce this for the safety of the guests. This is a mistake to abandon this imo. Disembarkation had the longest Customs lines I have seen on the 20 cruises we have been on. I have no idea why but when we exited the ship we got in a line of 300 people long. For that many people they moved it the best they could. The Pinnacle class ships are a big change for HAL but they seem to be pulling it off. The overall staff at some times seemed to be learning about their new home as well. I was told for food the NS is intended to have enough for a 7 day cruise so on the previous TA they were stuffed with minimal space to accommodate everything for that long of a voyage. We had some rough seas so they did not go to the private island but I was very impressed at how smooth the ship handled itself. I could look out a window or look out from my balcony and see how rough the seas were but felt nothing on the ship! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have taken more than a dozen HAL cruises, and this 4 night pre-Christmas Bahamas trip was attractively priced. The new ship is gorgeous, and has great music and entertainment options. The cabins are fresh and new, with big flat TVs ... Read More
We have taken more than a dozen HAL cruises, and this 4 night pre-Christmas Bahamas trip was attractively priced. The new ship is gorgeous, and has great music and entertainment options. The cabins are fresh and new, with big flat TVs and excellent showers (no tub in our room - which was good for us, but may be an issue for older travelers or families). The mid-ships music venues were outstanding. BB King has a feature spot and were great, and the Rock and Roll venue was suitably loud. But the real stars were Nate and Deb on the dueling pianos. WOW! This husband wife team have energy and chemistry that is truly world class and should not be missed. We were disappointed with the main dining room, where the food was average, and 'as you wish' dining arrangements were clunky and we never got to dine when we wished. The Canaletto, however, was outstanding. Food in the Lido was excellent, as was the service. For us the smiling and attentive crew always make a HAL cruise a delight, and this was no exception. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I traveled alone for our 30th Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. We booked a veranda cabin on the Navigation deck via Holland and not a travel agent. Embarkation was very easy. Although the woman taking care of us ... Read More
My husband and I traveled alone for our 30th Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. We booked a veranda cabin on the Navigation deck via Holland and not a travel agent. Embarkation was very easy. Although the woman taking care of us had to be reminded by us on the procedure!! She was also lacking in English communication skills! The wait time to board the ship was longer than usual since this was the first time Nieuw Statendam had entered an American Port so she had a lengthy inspection by the Coast Guard. Understandable. No worries! The Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship. It’s very well thought out in its design. You notice this as you walk around the decks, small things like handwashing stations in the Lido...Great idea!! I like how you are served your food in the Lido by the staff and not self service. This kept the germs down and the floors cleaner! The food was protected from the passengers behind a glass partition. We never had to touch a serving spoon or wait to be served. The selections in the Lido did not taste like cafeteria food. It had more of a gourmet flair to it! I Will say that the only item that was lacking on the ship was the self serve ice machine in the Lido. If it worked it all, the best you could hope for was a slow drip of watery slush! The no touch sensor on this ice machine didn’t work properly and I saw passengers putting their hands and used glasses all over the dispenser area trying to get it to work. This was not sanitary! The servers had good ice available in their pitchers, so ask for it instead. The food was excellent everywhere we ate on the ship! Our night in the Pinnacle was enjoyable with amazing meal selections. Our evening at Canaletto was a bit of a disappointment. An area of the Lido is transformed into Canaletto for the evening. The same staff that serves you in the morning and daytime in Lido are also serving you in the evening at Canaletto. I just didn’t feel like I was in a special venue. There wasn’t a feel of specialty dining that one would be willing to pay extra for. The food was good (not excellent) but timeliness of delivery was lacking. We had a late reservation which we will not do again anywhere on any ship! It wasn’t the service of the waitstaff that caused an issue but there appeared to be a back up in the kitchen that caused our entrées to be served over one hour behind our appetizer. Gala night in The Main Diningroom should not be missed! Service was outstanding as was the food. As always with Hollard America the main dining room is something to behold. Our favorite dinner while onboard was in Tamarind. This venue has the best view for dining and ambience on the ship! The half round booth facing aft is by far THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE! I recommend an early reservation for this venue. We watched the sun set and saw the venue lighting change to a soft romantic tone. There was a WOW factor here! Service was amazing!! Be aware when purchasing ahead of time the Signature Dining Package that only two of the five specialty restaurants are included.....The Pinnacle and Canaletto. I made the mistake of assuming all specialty restaurants were available for selection. This is not the case! FYI...Rudi’s Sel de Mer is al la carte pricing. All menu selections are priced separately. The entertainment on board the ship was outstanding. Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard and the Rolling Stone venues. Our favorite was The BB Kings Allstars direct from Beale Street at BB Kings (the club venue that was transformed from Lincoln Center Stage after 9pm) with lots of fun dancing! This band Rocked! The veranda cabin we had #8022 was comfortable with 2 cabin steward‘s Wenjoldy and George that were always available to us with smiles! Service was impeccable! There were 6 electrical and USB outlets. We took a ships approved multi outlet with us and didn’t need it! There is plenty of good lighting in the cabin with reading lights and electrical outlets of each side off the bed. The cabin door is metal but if you want to decorate it, heavy duty magnets need to be used! The bathroom was very well laid out with a large full shower and glass door. The Bollini Bath Fixtures were easy to use and quite beautiful to say the least. There are handholds and a foot rail in the shower that were strategically placed for safety. One thing that was new to us was having to put your cabin key card in a slot by the door inside your cabin to activate the interior lighting. A couple of times I was caught in the bathroom and my husband went for coffee with his card and 30 seconds later the lights went out on me! Something we had to figure out on our own if someone stays behind in the cabin. Beds were comfortable. There was a large hanging closet with plenty of room and a huge television at the foot of our bed. I highly recommend loading the NAVIGATOR program onto your phone, laptop or iPad once you’re on the ship. This program is for your easiest way of getting in touch with Guest Services if you have a problem. It’s much easier than making a phone call, telling your Cabin Stewards or being on hold forever or standing in line at guest services on the third floor. Your problem will be handled in a timely manner. This program also gives you up-to-date information on entertainment food venues, making reservations and many other necessities while on the ship . You do not need to have a purchased the ships wi fi to activate this. There are directions in a bifold paper on the desk when you arrive in your cabin on how to access the NAVIGATOR. But remember, this cannot be accessed until you are on the ship. The price for BLEND the wine blending and tasting venue is $79.00 a person or $99.00 a couple. We did not partake! There was a self service beer and soft drink dispenser that you paid for by the ounce near the indoor Lido Pool Bar. No waiting! At NOTES, the brown liquor tasting venue, one can have a shot of the overly rated 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle for up to $207.00. OR the 12 year old Pappy for $109.00 a shot! There are other brands available more moderately priced. I did not visit the spa on this trip. Our cruise just was not long enough! If shopping for Liquor aboard the ship, the prices are not posted on the bottles. You get the price list from the shop attendant. The ships artwork had a modern feel to it which was very interesting. Every elevator lobby had some sort of avant-garde art piece which was worth seeking out on a self guided art crawl. Our Captain Sybe de Boer was professional, personable and approachable. Our safety and comfort was his NUMBER ONE concern! Our Cruise Director Ross McTaggart was easy to understand and always ready to give information. The Hotel Director Don Habets saw that the few issues we had on the ship were IMMEDIATELY taken care of. Thank you Don!! Adriana Strugala in Guest Services is the person to reach if you have a complicated situation to address! Thank you Adriana. Disembarkation was very easy for us since we brought only carry on luggage for this short voyage. We were given a color coded departure tag to exit the ship when called. In spite of the fact of the Government shutdown, there were a few TSA Supervisors working to assure entry. I (we) would recommend this ship and its crew for future voyages. I would like to be on a longer one next time. Read Less
Nieuw Statendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 4.5 4.4
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Value For Money 4.5 4.2

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