4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
If your primary interest in cruising is to make short visits to a variety of sites without having to unpack or worry about checking in/out, arrange transport between cities, etc. , then the Nieuw Statendam is the ship for you. If you also ... Read More
If your primary interest in cruising is to make short visits to a variety of sites without having to unpack or worry about checking in/out, arrange transport between cities, etc. , then the Nieuw Statendam is the ship for you. If you also see cruising to foreign lands as an opportunity to learn through onboard lectures and enjoy yourself, then this is not the ship for you. We did a 14-day cruise to Norway that included five sea days. I anticipated having presentations by speakers who might discuss the local traditions, legends, politics, or other potential Nordic topics. Not so on this ship. The EXC guide presented memorized generic lectures with photos on each port and very few other topics. Most lectures were 30 - 40 minutes in length and usually covered two ports at a time. The EXC guide arrived and started promptly on time and as soon as she finished went into hiding in the crew spaces, i.e., no deviation from the script, no questions, etc. Other than the three music venues, HAL has done away with all entertainment other than a few guest artists (singers, comics, etc.). In the first seven days, we had a great opera singer who performed two evenings, one comedian who performed once, one adequate guitarist who performed once and one evening when the guitarist and comedian shared the stage. The first night, there was an EXC lecture and one night there was no entertainment, not even a movie in the mainstage. There were movies each evening poolside. We were fortunate to obtain a reasonably priced upgrade to a Neptune Suite which made the cruise much more comfortable. The room, although not as large as on older HAL ships was very well laid out with a great bathroom. There were at least six electrical outlets with North American 110 and USB jacks in each. The Neptune Lounge concierges, Paulo and Kirsten, provided great service when requested. Club Orange is HAL’s effort to catch up with the completion in providing a distinctive suite experience. It is a somewhat feeble attempt in that the menu is identical to the MDR with an additional item on some days. Our original excellent chef was moved to Sel de Mer near the end of the cruise and his loss was obvious to the tenor of the restaurant. Not only was he a wonderful and meticulous chef, he also took time to come out and talk with the clientele when time permitted. The new chef maintained a low profile. Service by the staff onboard was typical of HAL and other lines - excellent with a smiling and helpful team. Navigation officers must have been present since we travelled safely between ports, but were invisible, only to be seen when tendering. With the exception of the friendly and visible chief security officer, hotel officers remained behind the scenes unless they were hurriedly going from one place to another trying to avoid interaction with guests. Rust. I mention this since some reviewers believe it is an indication of ship condition. We noted rust in several places on our veranda and other locations, so those who don’t like rust should avoid this eight month old ship. To us, the ship was quite well maintained with many subtle front-facing and behind the scenes improvements from the Koningsdam on which we cruised eight months ago. We will likely return to HAL for a great itinerary, but can’t imagine any other reason. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I joined this HAL-branded cruise for 2 reasons. Firstly, to sightsee and enjoy the Norwegian Fjords and its culture. I am happy to achieve what I wish for and rated it a 9 out of 10. Secondly, the HAL experience onboard Nieuw Statendam ... Read More
I joined this HAL-branded cruise for 2 reasons. Firstly, to sightsee and enjoy the Norwegian Fjords and its culture. I am happy to achieve what I wish for and rated it a 9 out of 10. Secondly, the HAL experience onboard Nieuw Statendam (prior, I cruised with Zuiderdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Koningsdam). This is the worst programming/events I encountered. The quality of the World Stage performance was below par (apart from renowned pianist Zhang and One-Step light & dance performance). There were 2 nights without performance. I was disappointed that the ship didn't engaged any local Nowergian performer throughout the 14 nights. t) Sea day has 1 track event rather than 2, on most ship. As such, sea-day was boring and subdued. I would like more enrichment programs on sea day. Like painting appreciation, pottery making, knitting, play a simple norwegian musical instrument Lido Market food quality and quantity were excellent BUT lack variety. Serving the same food 14 days in a row. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I want to start off my saying the cruise wasn't bad. I met a few great people and had a good time. Did I like the new ship, Nieuw Statendam? Not really. I knew when I signed up for the cruise I just might find it too crowded, and I ... Read More
I want to start off my saying the cruise wasn't bad. I met a few great people and had a good time. Did I like the new ship, Nieuw Statendam? Not really. I knew when I signed up for the cruise I just might find it too crowded, and I did. We were a full transatlantic, which doesn't happen often. In 2014, my husband and I did the Nieuw Amsterdam transatlantic to Barcelona and loved it. I loved the ship and have been on her again and plan to go again next year. Our ship was probably at most half full, so that made it nice. One of the typical perks of a transatlantic. But a few weeks before sail date, there was an accident with the Oasis of the Seas in the Bahamas, and their transatlantic was canceled. So the ship went from being I will guess about 60% full to sold out overnight. It also gave us a bit of a different mix than normal. There were a lot of die hard Royal Caribbean fans, and those that like Oasis of the Seas aren't really the same people that love Holland America. Not sure if related, but it was the first time I actually saw three incidents on the ship. One could have been potentially bad. It started because the Lido closed at 8 and then reopened at 10:30. It seemed like a really dumb thing to me, but this guy in the Lido decided to take it out on the dining room staff. He screamed very loudly at one of the dining room female staff to get him food after the dining room closed. She said she couldn't. He began to scream very loudly at her, that she was the same girl that wouldn't help him the night before. She and her coworker, who looked nothing alike but were both from Indonesia, both shook their heads no. The other female said the night before, he had yelled at her. It got very heated as he continued to scream at both of the women. Then another passenger came over and started shaking his finger in the guy's face, so I went for the manager and he was able to cool down the situation. The staff and managers were all super nice and very good. I had no problem with the staff. The other two incidents were just loud, obnoxious people making a lot of rude comments etc. I have never experienced that on HAL before. The ship to me, as I said, felt very crowded. They have added 600 passengers with only 40 more feet in length and a few areas on the top. I really enjoy Holland's signature class ships (Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam) and the Vista class ships. They are the right size for me and the vista class has the most space per passenger of all HAL's ships. The cabins on NS (Nieuw Statendam) are much smaller than the ships I am used to going on. I ended up doing an upsell to a Vista Suite, which put me in a cabin the size of a typical balcony on most of the ships I favor. The cabins were very nice, except I was shocked to see so much wear on the loveseat in the cabin. The ship had only been sailing for four months at that time. I did mention it and the next day I had a new loveseat cushion. The lobby/atrium area has lost all the seating due to the Grand Dutch Cafe. We enjoy the famous Dutch pea soup and hot chocolate typically on the promenade deck, but now we have to sit inside. The Promenade deck has no loungers, as they now have the lifeboats on that deck that block the view. The walking the deck that was always my favorite past time was kind of ruined by the narrow pathways front and aft and the lifeboats. I still walked but it felt more like a chore than a pleasure. It was also a bit stressful as I am short and older, so I don't walk that fast. There are many areas that are so narrow, only one person can fit and I was constantly looking back to see if somebody was behind me. I was startled more than once. The lobby chandelier if you can call it that is this odd, metal thing that is just different. I did not feel any of the wow factor I felt when entering the Noordam or the Eurodam when new. There is a lot of modern, music themed art. Some of it is quite nice and a lot of is just seems inexpensive. The areas by the elevators is almost bare, no bench to sit at like before. But to me, the worst part was the overcrowding in many entertainment areas. The World Stage holds 800 people. We were 2,600 so with 2 shows, I guess one had to go at least an hour ahead to get a seat. We got a seat fo one performance by climbing over other passengers. The theater seats are so close to the ones in front, there is no other way to get by. The Rolling Stone Rock Room was always jammed. I never once found a seat at the Lincoln Center state performances. I stood for those. They were great, but it would have been very nice for what I paid for the cruise to have a seat at least once or twice. The transatlantic was 14 days. I felt like I did not get good value for my money, which was the first time in all my 16 cruises with Holland America. There were many poor choices, for example, the light color Lido carpeting that was always dirty. The manager told me they have to shampoo it once a week. The staff was great and I will travel with HAL again, just not on this size ship. The embarkation and disembarkation could not have gone better. The cabin was well laid out and nice. It was too cold and windy to use my balcony for most of the cruise, but our destination was Amsterdam. I did not like the main dining room on Deck 2, anytime dining. Tables very close together but the manager was kind enough to get me fixed seating on Deck 3 and it was wonderful. Overall, I had a great time and met new friends. But this ship and I assume the other Pinnacle class ships are just not for me and is not what I have come to expect on Holland America. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Having cruise with Holland America on a TransAtlantic cruise Fall 2018, we enjoyed so much the many and various ports-of-call, the food, the politeness of the crew members, the entertainment that we looked to cruise with Holland America ... Read More
Having cruise with Holland America on a TransAtlantic cruise Fall 2018, we enjoyed so much the many and various ports-of-call, the food, the politeness of the crew members, the entertainment that we looked to cruise with Holland America soonest. Let's start by saying that 90% of what we expected was met. The 10% that was not might look like it is not much but that 10% is worth way much, so much we are not considering cruising again with them, definitely not in a near future. Why: Because on 2 ports-of-call, a lot more was expected. In Ocho Rios, Jamaica, we docked in a very old factory facility: No port facility else the docking, no shops around, no transport to take passengers to center of Ocho Rios, very very sad situation. There was no glamour and the after taste is not too good. Next port of call: Grand Cayman. This is a tender island. Our ship, the only one out of 4 ships did not have the tender service from the Island but tried to tender using their own tenders. This was a complete disaster. Only one tender left the ship and we were 4 of the 30some unfortunates cruisers to board it. The boarding should have been enough to stop the operation right then as the tender was rocking as high and as low as 2 feet both ways and also separating itself from the ship dock by over a foot. Just plain dangerous. They sent us to the island but once there we were not allowed to leave the tender and after 15 minutes were ordered back to the ship, the Captain cancelling this port-of-call as the tendering was too dangerous. That was the right decision. while we were attached to the dock on the Island, the tender rocked so much that on 3 occasions, the fiberglass cracked producing loud noise doing so. Tender was definitely damaged. The off loading of the cruisers returning to the ship was even worse then the embarkation. In the end, Holland America gave a $50/pers OBC and reimbursed the taxes for that port-of-call: $14.60.... For the ones aboard that tender, not even an apology. As for the rest, like I wrote initially, ship, cabin, dining, service, kindness of the crew members, staff, all was close to perfection. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids ... Read More
Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids activities and hanging out at the pool. My husband and I like to have a good time too, and the quality of food and service is important to us. Our HAL experiences are generally a win win for all four of us. While the Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship, it is quite apparent that HAL is reducing staffing levels. For example: For the whole of embarkation day, it was nearly impossible to get a drink on the pool deck. Instead of smiling servers attending to our needs, we had to stand in line at the bar for every drink. For the remainder of the cruise, tables in these areas were equipped with a service button to call a server over to you table. Let's just say our bar bill was higher on previous cruises. The dining room staff at our assigned table were very pleasant and really made an effort but the service was not nearly as good as previous cruises. It is obvious that they are understaffed to maintain the wonderful dinner service that we have come to appreciate. We dined with friends in open seating a couple of times and the service was really frustrating. I'm not sure why that is but, after raving to them about the food and service on HAL, we were embarrassed. The real failure of this cruise was the last day of the cruise on Half Moon Cay. We have been there before and loved it. This time, HAL booked the two largest ships in the line in and out of the Cay at the same time, totally overwhelming the island. There was a long wait for the tender ride to shore. Once ashore, there was absolutely nowhere to sit or shade to be found. The shade we had booked in advance was oversold and we had to stand in line back on board later for a refund. The beautiful beach was absolutely packed and the lines for the lunch buffet were unreasonable. We just didn't eat. When some angry cruisers gave up their shade chairs, we simply took their spot. We got in line about an hour ahead of departure to return to the ship. The shaded tender lines were assigned to returning passengers for the other ship, and we had to stand in line in the blazing sun for over an hour, to then sit atop a crowded tender back to the ship. Not once were we offered shade, water, cold towels or sunscreen. We were all sunburnt from the experience and no one was happy. It was a horrible experience on what should have a been a beautiful final cruise day. With few, exceptions, the food on the Nieuw Statendam is wonderful and keeping to the high HAL standard. Our cabin was lovely and the cabin staff did a great job. The entertainment was very good as well. We will likely cruise HAL again but hope this and other feedback encourages them to restore elegant service and experience that we so enjoy. * Note to family cruisers * On HAL spring break cruises there are plenty of kids for your kids to befriend and interact with, but not so many as to overwhelm (or annoy) the adults. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my first time on Holland America and it will be my last. Not because of anything the cruise line did but because of the caliber of cruiser on board. If you are a senior citizen, you will love this cruise, it seems to be geared ... Read More
This was my first time on Holland America and it will be my last. Not because of anything the cruise line did but because of the caliber of cruiser on board. If you are a senior citizen, you will love this cruise, it seems to be geared more toward an older crowd. Shipboard activities leaned towards retirees I think. Games were bridge, majong and bingo. We played team trivia one day only to not play it again. The old crotchety lady who joined us and 2 other older cruisers, complained and shushed and berated us the whole time for being too loud and giving other teams the opportunity to hear our answers. And, she didn't contribute a single answer just bitched to us about,,"that's probably not right" Hello, our team got 12 out of 15 no thanks to her. The ship itself is absolutely beautiful, the artwork throughout the ship is sublime and we were always finding something new tucked away in another area of the ship. I am not sure if this is the norm for HAL but there were an awful lot of cruisers who were pushy, entitled, elitist and generally rude on our sailing. I saw several times where people with walkers or wheelchairs pushed there way into an already crowded elevator and push a floor several floors away so that the people already on the elevator had a difficult time getting off. When asked to let them through, the former, scoffed and got upset as though they were the only one on the elevator and it was for their own private use. I also witnessed at least once a day, someone berating or belittling the staff with very stupid and rude questions at the Lido Market. One lady got mad at the pasta server saying" Do you even know what your doing? You ARE going to cook that?!" Even the older gentleman in front of me rolled his eyes at the comment and said that "These are the things that give my wife and I comic relief over the next few months." The staff on board went above and beyond with their kindness and generosity and overall friendliness when ever you came across them. Half Moon Cay was gorgeous but...there were 2 HAL ships there on the same day and probably around 3000 people on the beach. Too overcrowded. If it hadn't been so overcrowded I would have spent the entire time on shore instead of just an hour. America's Test Kitchen was a fun experience and I wish they would would do it everyday instead of just twice during the cruise. Entertainment wise- the dance troupe I felt did a beautiful job, the magician was very funny and the comedian was not. I was disappointed with the Main Dining Room food. I felt that the 2 times I went there my seafood and poultry were both way overcooked and under seasoned. My creme brulee (my favorite) did not have a hard shell and barely any sugar to make it the hard shell. Tamarind is a must to anyone going on this ship. It was delicious and the servers and staff went above and beyond to make it the best dining experience we had the whole time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The Good: Room Steward did a great job. New ship. Clean and bright. Theatre: Dance group was very good, as well as the magician. America's Test Kitchen. Veteran get together. Nice Shower. The Average: New ... Read More
The Good: Room Steward did a great job. New ship. Clean and bright. Theatre: Dance group was very good, as well as the magician. America's Test Kitchen. Veteran get together. Nice Shower. The Average: New musical theme. Music piped in everywhere. Not a quiet public place on the ship as they don't have a dedicated library. If you like noise=great. No chairs on the promenade. The promenade is narrower, so it's walkable but no sitting area. Food: Nice presentation, but more of an Asian bent. If you're expecting a big steak or lobster you will be disappointed. Needs improving: Embarkation: SLOOOOOW. The excuse was the computers were slow. I booked a suite and there was no priority as promised. Disembarkation: The WORST. Ship arrival was late. People all standing around the single exit point. People cutting in line in front of the expedited group. Cruise director did nothing about it. CHAOS. Wine prices. Come on, 17 dollars a glass for Chateau St Michelle Cabernet? Daily Activities: Not a lot of organized activities. Comedian: How long can we make jokes about farts before it gets old. Private Island: 2 ships in at the same time. Crowded. Overall: I enjoyed the cruise, but it both started and ended on a sour note. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We've generally had good cruising experiences on HAL. Our first cruise with the line was more than 10 years ago on the Eurodam, which we sailed on again more recently after its refurbishment. We've sailed the Koningsdam, ... Read More
We've generally had good cruising experiences on HAL. Our first cruise with the line was more than 10 years ago on the Eurodam, which we sailed on again more recently after its refurbishment. We've sailed the Koningsdam, Westerdam and others as well. Overall, each provided us a solid, enjoyable experience that kept us wanting to stay with Holland. This cruise experiences on the Nieuw Statendam was different... some good, some not so good. THE GOOD: As expected, the ship was beautiful. It's new, so - as expected - public areas and the cabins were clean, fresh and sparkling. HAL's newly expanded music theme was evident in its interesting hallway art and with its new Rolling Stones venue. BB King Blues band rocked the house. Good, energetic vibes. The overall demographic was much different too. Not sure if it's because it was Spring Break, or because of expanded music entertainment choices, but there was a different (and, IMO, better) "population" mix on this cruise. The passengers on most previous HAL's we've been on seemed quite old/elderly. No so at all on this cruise. THE BAD: Service on the Lido Deck has slipped noticeably. We often had to track down staff to get: tables cleared, silverware, coffee, water, etc. Not good. The food on Lido seemed to decline in quality too. Glad I like Asian/Indonesian food because that became my "go-to" choice pretty much every day. Desserts looked pretty, but weren't all that tasty (except in the Dutch Cafe - mmmm). Another oddity: the ship was full, yet invariably food in Lido was only available on one side. The other side was closed completely. Led to long lines on occasion. Also, it seemed odd to us that a Lido would close entirely after lunch until dinner. I believe HAL used to offer at least fruit and small sandwiches for those wanting a mid afternoon snack. No longer! Cocktails in the BB King Blues Club were a joke. We ordered a drink ONCE because the quantity of liquid in our drinks barely coated the bottom.of the glasses. We had a cabin with a balcony. It was nice, though it sermed smaller than the same class of cabins we've had before on Holland. We had to walk through the Casino to get to various places on the ship and the smell of cigarettes was nasty. I thought that Holland was a non-smoking line. Wrong. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Profit hungry Head Office advertised this as a 14 day cruise (it's still shown that way in March 2020) as well as a 7 day east/7 day west. As mature, well traveled cruisers, we expected HAL to attract similar guests. Not at March ... Read More
Profit hungry Head Office advertised this as a 14 day cruise (it's still shown that way in March 2020) as well as a 7 day east/7 day west. As mature, well traveled cruisers, we expected HAL to attract similar guests. Not at March Break! With their "kids sale free" promotion. Our "neighbours" let their kids run circle through both their cabins, slamming both hall & balcony doors for 7 days, ignoring a written request from Guest Services to stop. Many adults belonged on the "party ship" cruise line, for 7 days, wondering where the Karaoke Bar or the Comedy Club were. We saw a couple more than once at the Lido Buffet in bathrobes, she was wearing a shower cap!! It was impossible to get near the mid ship pool for kids and the aft pool although adults only, permitted smoking,yuck. We were disgusted that they Casino allowed smoking most days, of course the smell lingered on non smoking days. The captain & his entire crew were professional, humorous & friendly, none of our complaints reflect on them. The food & our waiters in the MDR were excellent (breakfast & dinner). Lunch in the Lido was good. The Rolling Stone Rock Room band was great, The BB King band & especially the lead singer, were amazing. We enjoyed them every night. Enjoyed the EXC lectures too. Beware of the even # cabin corridor on deck 4 mid ship, the floor beneath the carpet has humps & dips, a definite tripping hazard. For the 4 of us in the future? It will be a long time before we sail HAL again, never in March & only for a true 14 day. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I am HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED in what I describe as a lack of concern in the area of customer care! I would like to review the excursions: Half Moon Cay: We had a blast. This was definitely one of our favorite spots. We chose to do the ... Read More
I am HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED in what I describe as a lack of concern in the area of customer care! I would like to review the excursions: Half Moon Cay: We had a blast. This was definitely one of our favorite spots. We chose to do the Jet Ski excursion (I believe it was called the Aqua Trax....). We were somewhat apprehensive since we had never been on a Jet Ski. The guides were incredible. Our daughter was much more apprehensive than even my wife and I; she moved very slowly, but one of the guides stayed with her for the entire hour!!! My wife and I were able to go at our speed, have a great time and not worry about our 19 year old daughter. Ocho Rios: We went on the Dunn Rivers Falls and Dolphin Encounter excursion. This was a blast!!! The Dolphin Encounter was so worth the money. The trainers and life guards were incredible. They made this a very memorable experience. The only thing I would caution against is the PRICE on pictures! We paid $200 for a group of 3 (aprox 197 pictures) that was on a disc. If we had it to do all over again, we WOULD NOT do the pictures...or we would have negotiated price (we heard some people negotiated). Dunn Rivers Falls was INCREDIBLE, however my wife and daughter did not climb the falls; they watched from observation decks. If you have physical limitations DO NOT climb the falls! Georgetown: We went on Land and Sea Excursion. This was very nice. Not the highlight of our cruise, but I would say it was worth it. The getting to see, hold and learn about the sea turtles was neat. My wife enjoyed the Submarine. This was our first cruise with Holland America. We chose to give the cruise line a try under the recommendations of friends who have cruised multiple times. I would say that overall we really enjoyed our trip; however there were a few things that left us with mixed feelings and reviews. The ship was beautiful and very easy to get around in. Our cruise was March 10-17, 2019. We were in a suite, Cabin 6119. Overall, we were satisfied with our cabin steward. He was very friendly and did a fairly good job (not the best...not the worst). We did notice that as the week progressed, it seemed that the quality of the cleanliness diminished. Although our cabin was extremely crowded when we let out the couch sofa for our daughter, the cabin was comfortable at other times. The restroom was great and the shower was excellent. The balcony was very nice and comfortable. A MAJOR concern pertaining to our cabin was that we had $400 go missing!!! This money was in the safe, but we are 99% certain that the money went missing from our cabin!!! We do not want to falsely accuse anyone, but we feel that this matter should be looked into; especially if other guest have reported similar concerns! Dinning: We chose to eat at the Lido Market; overall the food was very good. However, there was some things that disturbed us. We found it almost impossible to get service. We had to ask for drinks, ask for refills and many times never received what we asked for. We felt that the overall cleanliness was sub-par at times. Tables that had been cleaned were still dirty; in fact I took a few pictures of tables we sat down at; one actually had hair on the chair. It seemed that the chairs never were cleaned between guest. We were EXTREMELY troubled by the fact that the servers would take silverware and glass ware from tables that had not been cleaned off and give them to us to use. We watched several guest examine their silverware and glass ware for cleanliness. THIS IS AN AREA THAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT! Entertainment: We THOROUGHLY enjoyed the ship entertainment. The highlight of our cruise was the performances on the Lincoln Center Stage! We also enjoyed the BB King Blue's Club performances and the the performances on the World Stage. Guest services / Explorations Central: This was another area of concern for us; we felt that the ball was dropped. On the second day of our cruise, we went to Guest Services and expressed our concerns in the area of customer service (i.e. things mentioned already in this review); in the process I inquired about gratuities. I expressed that we did not feel that we were receiving the quality of service worthy of $45 a day in gratuities. After not receiving a satisfactory explanation from the agent at Guest Services, I requested that gratuities be removed from our bill. I explained to the agent that it was not my desire to not pay gratuities, I simply wanted some explanation. On the form that I filled out, I requested that someone contact me concerning the matter; unfortunately, I was never contacted. In an effort to ensure that I did the right thing, I did go back to Guest Services the day of disembarkation and added $350 gratuities to our bill. However, we still have a negative impression in this matter. I will say that we had other encounters with Guest Services and all of those encounters were very positive! Two different times we went to Explorations Central to inquire about shore excursions. Prior to our trip, we had purchased excursions in every port except Cozumel. We were having a hard time deciding about Cozumel. So both times we were inquiring about Cozumel excursions; we WANTED TO PURCHASE a Cozumel excursion! We felt that the agent (young lady with long blond hair) was less than helpful in this area. All that she did during both of our visits to Explorations Central was open a book and say here are the excursions. No recommendations, etc! Needless to say, Cozumel was our biggest disappointment when it came to ports. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Recently returned from a 2 week cruise for which I paid in excess of $13000 (excluding air fare) The Good Our Neptune Suite Our suite attendants The Neptune Lounge Club Orange Complimentary Laundry The Bad The ... Read More
Recently returned from a 2 week cruise for which I paid in excess of $13000 (excluding air fare) The Good Our Neptune Suite Our suite attendants The Neptune Lounge Club Orange Complimentary Laundry The Bad The fact that other than water/tea and coffee/cranberry no other complimentary beverage in the lounge Lack of shade on decks HAL too keen to charge extra for everything Tender loading took too long 40 minutes (especially when using the locals) for a 5 minute ride Private Island facilities too cramped and no shade Lines formed at the Lido at lunch time due to insufficient staff numbers The Ugly There is a dress code applied in the main dining room - in particular no shorts We went to Tamarind and Canaletto twice. On every occasion there were people wearing shorts. I find this offensive especially as one has to pay a premium to attend these establishments and their website classifies these as "Fine Dining" I discussed this with the Hotel Manager Errol who agreed with me. However it just endorses how keen HAL is to make the "extra buck" I expressed dissatisfaction with the dress code policy on the ship for which I requested a refund of $210 only to be offered $100 on board credit on a future cruise This I refused and then requested that they make a charitable donation instead which was also snubbed. Overall the ship is lovely but these little things require refining Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We have sailed on 9 HAL cruises over the last 5 years for a total of 103 days. This new ship was very disappointing for us. *The ship seems crowded all the time and there are lines for everything, food, ice cream, hamburger bar, ... Read More
We have sailed on 9 HAL cruises over the last 5 years for a total of 103 days. This new ship was very disappointing for us. *The ship seems crowded all the time and there are lines for everything, food, ice cream, hamburger bar, pizza bar and dining room. We waited a very long time for burgers at Dive In and for a reuben sandwich at the pizza bar. *The promenade deck was so disappointing. It is extremely narrow and sometimes its single file areas. There is no view of the sea as you walk because the lifeboats are hanging right next to the railing. We have never experienced this before. *Most of the servers and table assistance crew were not very helpful or friendly. There were a few exceptions of people that were happy everyday and greeted us. Mary and Herlina were exceptional. *Extremely hard to find a lounge chair at the pool or back of ship if you were not out there early reserving a seat which isn't allowed but happens. *It was very hard to find a quiet place to read or relax. The TV in stateroom was excellent as far as size and quality but hard to figure out how to find things to watch. There was not much navigational information as there has been in the past. It's nice to know how far to the next port and have better information provided. We won't sail on this ship again!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Being as this was my first ever cruise, I don't have much to compare it to, other than my expectations..... Embarkation: Slow. We had wine in our carry-on's so had to stop at the table to have them "reviewed" and ... Read More
Being as this was my first ever cruise, I don't have much to compare it to, other than my expectations..... Embarkation: Slow. We had wine in our carry-on's so had to stop at the table to have them "reviewed" and listed. Once through there we went into the check-in desk area. That took forever! We had 4 of us in a cabin with 1 person having made the reservation. For some reason they could not figure out how to separate our bills so that each of us were using our own credit card for on-board charges, etc. We checked in on-line two weeks prior to the cruise and gave our credit card info there. After spending 20 minutes working on this at the check in counter they STILL were charging the one girl's credit card for all of us in the cabin. Finally after two more visits to guest services on the ship, after our 4th day at sea, they figured it out and we were able to view our on-board spending on our own separate accounts. Whew! Cabin: For having 4 grown adults (women) in one cabin (ocean view), it was surprisingly un-crowded (is that a word?). Our cabin steward came in twice a day, cleaned, put the couch back in the morning and pulled down the upper bunk each evening. We did ask for extra blankets a couple times and both times they were provided. We had the room with the extra shower/sink area which was nice for when all of us were getting ready at the same time for dinner, etc. We were on Deck 1 so we did a lot of walking up stairs/elevator rides to get anywhere. Also, by the end of the week, there was a horrible sewage stench throughout our hallway. Tried to ignore it but it was bad. Food: We mostly ate on the Lido deck with the exception of two dinners in the MDR (both gala nights) and one dinner at the specialty Italian restaurant. The food in the Lido was okay, mostly ate there out of convenience. Personally I felt it was a bit bland and just didn't have a whole lot of flavor. I found myself using much more salt than I normally would. Breakfast was better than lunch or dinner there. Made-to-order omelettes and crepes were great and they did have a lot of variety. Service in the Lido was very good and the call buttons on the tables were nice. First dinner I had in the MDR was not to my liking (fish dish), second dinner was an Asian noodle dish which was very good. Service in my opinion was slow. We had to wait quite a while between courses. Waiters were all very friendly and attentive though and we never had to wait for a table (Anytime dining). Dinner at the Italian restaurant again was just "okay", nothing special. But for $15/person it was worth it and a nice change from the Lido food. Entertainment: OMG!! This is where I think my expectations may have ruined it for me. I always thought that cruises were supposed to be fun and everyone was happy and having a good time and there was so much to do on a ship, there wasn't enough time to do it all. Not this ship. There was literally nothing for us to do. To be fair, the only "show" we checked out was the comedian who end up being more of a magician (yawn). We tried so hard to find fun on this boat, it just wasn't there. The Billboard's music trivia was the only entertainment we found fun and that was only for a half hour each evening. Unless you wanted to take a Microsoft class or learn how to enhance your photos or play Bridge at 4:00 in the afternoon, there was nothing to do! I'm not kidding when I tell you this boat was filled with mostly 80 somethings (I'm a 40 something). We were playing "geriatric Bingo" to entertain ourselves. Spot a walker, check, spot an oxygen tank, check, spot a rascal (or 10), check. The aft pool on the Lido deck was labeled adult only, which made me laugh because really, there were about 10 kids on this entire boat. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone and all the kids had been removed from the planet. We would be in awe to spot a teenage girl and think "oh look, poor thing, she must be bored out of her gourd. And the hot tubs...well they were more like bathtubs. Personal hot tubs at home are bigger than these things! What were they thinking? We got in one with an 80+ year old couple and the woman gave us the dirtiest look and got up and left. We asked her husband, "was it something we said?", he replied, "no, more like what you did", then he got up and left....what? How rude! Not our fault these things are so small! Didn't know we were supposed to take a number. And unless you got up at the crack of dawn and put a towel on a chair by the pool to save it, you were screwed. To be fair, I've heard this happens on most cruise ships. Not cool! Excursions: These were our saving grace! HMC was the most beautiful place I've been to. Loved every bit of it. Did a kayak excursion around the lagoon, had a nice lunch provided by HAL and then enjoyed the beach. All of the chairs were taken by the time we got there but we didn't care. We grabbed a beer (or 2) at the bar and stood in the water the whole time. Ochos Rios, Jamaica was a blast too. We did the tram/bobsled/zip-line at Mystic Mountain. Fun!! First time on a zip-line. Scary but exhilarating! No excursion planned in Georgetown, Grand Cayman so took a taxi ($6/person) to 7 Mile Beach and parked ourselves there for the day. Nice beach, had lunch at the beach bar. Met a couple from the Carnival Vista who were having a riot on their boat. They told us all bout the hysterical comedians, table-top shuffle-boards, corn-hole, dance bars! We were telling them our experience, they were crying laughing. They felt bad for us, lol. At that moment I decided my next cruise will be a Carnival cruise. Just want to have fun!! We're booked on the Carnival Magic in December, woo-hoo! Disembarkment: They provided tags for all of us to put on our luggage, which we set out in the hallway the night before, and assigned us a time. Things must have been moving slow that morning as we didn't get called on-time, about a half hour late. Found our bags pretty quickly but waited in about a half hour line to go thru customs. All in all, not too terribly painful. Bottom line is the ship itself was nice. The one girl in our party who has cruised with ROI did remark a few times how closed off this ship felt to her, she was used to a much more open-airy feeling. The artwork was pretty cool and everything was brand new. The crew was amazing. Always friendly and smiling. I think I was just looking to have a lot more fun on the ship itself and was left very disappointed. The crowd was much older than I anticipated and quite frankly kinda stuffy. Just not for me. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The design of this new ship reflects troubling trends. Public areas are small. The grand foyer is not very grand, the entertainment venues are limited, the pools are small, and the cabins are small, even in the upgrades. There were about ... Read More
The design of this new ship reflects troubling trends. Public areas are small. The grand foyer is not very grand, the entertainment venues are limited, the pools are small, and the cabins are small, even in the upgrades. There were about 500 more passengers on this boat compared to older boats of similar size. One of our party was nearly 6’8” and had to duck under sprinklers in his cabin. (Can’t imagine the giant Dutch would fit very well.) Even the ceiling heights in the common areas are low. The level of finish is luxurious, the crew is good, the food is very good. The entertainment was not so good. Stage shows featured computer-generated scenery with a small company of dancers. A lone comedian and vocalist filled in on odd days. The blues and rock venues were good, but the bands repeated sets and had very little artistic freedom. They just played what they were told to play, and the choice of blues and rock seemed a little out of touch with the old clientele. There was a decent classical stage, however. Lectures were very limited and simply read by crew members not delivered by experts. There were also several bait-and-switch deals that went beyond what one would expect to find on a quality line. Teeth whitening for $100 sounded reasonable until you found out midway in the procedure that you had to buy a $400 kit to maintain your teeth. Similarly, the photo studio offered a “free” session with packages ranging in excess of $1000 for a handful of photos. One always sensed that someone had thought very hard about designing this new ship to maximize return per foot. The line spent a lot of money on brand tie-ins--Billboard, Lincoln Center, Oprah, Americas Test Kitchen --but they found ways to claw it back from the passengers, and all of those things felt kitschy and too pre-programed. What I am lamenting is the same kind of thing that ruins baseball stadiums, with stupid automated cheers and celebrity videos on the jumbotron. I was hoping for a little old-fashioned charm and instead felt like a spectator watching one of those Broadway runouts where there’s no live band and everyone just sings to tracks. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Embarkation was slow and if you are booked in a signature suite with less than a 4 star mariner you will wait in a long line like everyone else. The signature suite is a great size and the walk in shower with jets was great along with ... Read More
Embarkation was slow and if you are booked in a signature suite with less than a 4 star mariner you will wait in a long line like everyone else. The signature suite is a great size and the walk in shower with jets was great along with double sinks. There is plenty of storage. We found the balcony was too small though for the amount of furniture. The food in dining room was fair and service was lacking. We decided to eat at the Lido deck every night where the crew were friendly and you didn't have to wait so long just to receive the meal. Pool area was nice but the pool seemed small. Music was too loud at the pool playing really bad music if you sit in the upper deck area. Dutch cafe on deck 3 was great. Shore excursion desk crew were not knowledgeable about any of their shore excursions so don't go to them for suggestions. They will even add airport transfers on your account without asking. Check your account carefully. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 12th cruise, but our 1st with HAL. Although we were impressed by several things, we kept wishing that we were sailing with Princess again. First impressions are important, and ours was made at the wine check-in table at ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise, but our 1st with HAL. Although we were impressed by several things, we kept wishing that we were sailing with Princess again. First impressions are important, and ours was made at the wine check-in table at Port Everglades. Two employees were manning the table when we approached with 3 bottles of wine. The first young lady started filling out a claim check and said that I would get my wine after the cruise. She then asked for our cruise cards. She was absolutely confused when I explained that we didn't have our cards yet, they were checking in folks behind her. Her co-worker corrected her, but first asked me if the bottles were wine or booze. (lesson #1: don't put an employee at the wine check-in table when they can't even tell the difference between wine and liquor) We signed a check for our corkage fee ($18) and proceeded to check in. We waited 15 or 20 minutes before they started calling groups to board around 11:30. Just as we were called, a TV production team with all of their equipment showed up. Once were able to get around them, we headed upstairs and by-passed the photographers. The local agents, insisted that we walk the circumference of the room instead of directly to the gangway, even though there was nobody else in front or behind us. An exercise in futility. Once on board, you could tell you were on a new ship. It smells new, the surfaces are clean and not worn, and the outside paint was flawless. Our room was ready when we boarded, and the flowers I ordered were already there. Floral prices on HAL are much higher than on Princess, and the arrangements are smaller as well, a double-whammy. Our verandah cabin was on the port side, near the aft. The balcony was nice, bigger than I expected. The best part of the cabin was the shower. So much better than on Princess. It was large and had excellent water pressure. The Elemis bath products were excellent, but too expensive to buy on land. Prior to the cruise, I was promised a small amount of free play by the casino department. In the email they told me to simply give my name at the cage, and that they were expecting me. The casino had no record of anything, and I had to retrieve the email later that night in order to receive the promised comp. With a ship wired for internet, there is no reason why a bartender should say, "I don't know how to make that", but they did, and I'm not talking about anything complicated, we're talking about traditional Caribbean drinks, on a Caribbean cruise. Drink quality and ingredients varied each day. If I'm paying top dollar for a Planter's Punch, it should have Myer's Rum floated on top, that only happened once the entire week. We had dinner at the Pinnacle Grill the first night, and ended up cancelling our reservations for later that week. Firstly, the room is dark and bare, we much prefer Princess' Crown Grill. Our server had memorized the most ridiculous script about the meat quality, claiming that the meat is so tender because the cattle is fed wet corn instead of dry corn, making it the best beef to be found. In case you didn't know, cows were never meant to eat corn, they are natural grass eaters. The best beef comes from grass fed cows, but why let facts get in the way of a good story. With only 8-10 tables occupied, I couldn't believe that it took 20 minutes for my drink to arrive. I mentioned this to management when they check to see if we were enjoying our meal, (our server never asked) and was surprised when I was asked by an officer two days later about my experience. Although, I appreciate that management is communicating with each other about problems, the fact that my photo from my cruise card is included in the report is a bit unnerving. Make room for big brother at your table for two, he is watching you. One has to wonder if it's now noted on your account when you give your room number that you expect good service or are labeled a complainer. Service in the MDR was hit or miss.....I have no idea why they only use waiters in the MDR and not waitresses, this is 2019. I asked about this in my post cruise survey, but so far have not heard a peep. Menus were misprinted, as were note cards from management. At one point we received a card from guest services stating that they were trying to reach us in regards to our stateroom change. Initially, nobody at the desk knew what this was about. My wife was worried that we were going to have to pack our stuff and move to another room. It wasn't until later that day, that someone from guest services met with us. She looked at our note and said that this is not what she sent. We made reservations for Rudi's, and received yet another misprinted card with an incorrect reservation time. The meal was excellent, as was the service, thanks to the officer who checked on our previously bad services at Pinnacle. The TV went on the blink a few days into the cruise, automatically shutting off while trying to watch live tv. It took two calls over the course of the day to have someone finally come and reset the set. I heard others talk about the same problem. Programming was only so-so, and the fillers they used instead of commercials often interfered with the actual programming. Breaks would come mid-sentence, and when the show returned, it was now the next episode, or next show. The musicians on board were the best I've heard on any ship. BB Kings was excellent, as was the Lincoln Center string quartet. My wife preferred the coffees from Princess' International Cafe over the offerings at the Dutch Cafe. The photographers, were nice....never a line, but this is the first time we never bought even a single photo. Did we become so un-photogenic since our last cruise 6 months ago, or could they just not take a decent picture? Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The Good-The Ship is stunningly beautiful, the artwork, the cabins, the WALK IN SHOWER in every cabin! It's a stunner. The Crew is lovely but you could see cracks in their patience (see more in "The Bad"). Sadly our cabin ... Read More
The Good-The Ship is stunningly beautiful, the artwork, the cabins, the WALK IN SHOWER in every cabin! It's a stunner. The Crew is lovely but you could see cracks in their patience (see more in "The Bad"). Sadly our cabin is one I would not suggest as there is something in the Wall behind the bed making super loud noises ..so much so that we were moved to a "Sleeping Cabin" ( Kudos to Guest Services). The cabins are gorgeous and loving all the storage. (Don't miss the Drawers under the foot of the bed). The main dining room served the best Cruise Ship food I've ever had and in fact it was so good that the alternative restaurants which you pay for was a harder sell. Don't shy away from the main dining room as it really is spectacular. Like Sushi? for Sure the sushi bar is a hit- It was packed most nights and at about $5.50 a roll for huge 8 piece roll it's a solid winner. The not so Good- Service, Holland is using IPads for waiters of every type and the Drink servers are having a real hard time. So much so that they resorted to paper several times during the cruise and it was super hard to get drink service outside as it often took two or three minutes for the ipads to "update". Hey HAL, drop this system ASAP! Servers were super frustrated and the HAL "enthusiasm" that you normally see form the staff, seemed to be sucked out of these guys/gals. They seemed just exhausted. Also, be sure to buy the drink Package in advance as a standard cocktail hovered in the $10 Per drink Area- 5 drinks a day and you were well over the package cost. Wines were outrageously expensive. Woodbridge Cab for over $40 a bottle- What? As for Rolling Stone, it was hardly ever busy and the band was slightly better than a garage band. My guess is HAL will have this removed sooner than the first drydock. For New Years Eve they just sort of missed out (Where was the Cruise Director?) The Lido deck party they actually missed the countdown and midnight just sort of happened. In general the programming on board was the type you'd see on a typical 10 night Europe Cruise. In the Caribbean, people want to have a little fun and kick up their heels a bit- this was not the case and I felt that the Cruise Director could have done a much better job with on board programming. Also, what happened to the big BBC Earth promise-We saw a stunning show on the Koningsdam showing BBC Earth accompanied by a orchestra- Nada here. Seems like HAL has really cut back on the big shows. They have this STUNNING showroom and super thin productions. The cast is talented but very small and I was a bit disappointed. I realize it's only the 4th sailing of the vessel but I also sailed on the 4th sailing of the Koningsdam and it was a night and day experience. I wanted it to be great. It just wasn't. Dare I say I was a bit bored! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have cruised with several cruise lines in the past such as Royal Carribean, Disney, Carnival, and Princess. This is the first time we cruised with HAL. We wanted to celebrate Christmas and New Years with HAL. The main reason we chose ... Read More
We have cruised with several cruise lines in the past such as Royal Carribean, Disney, Carnival, and Princess. This is the first time we cruised with HAL. We wanted to celebrate Christmas and New Years with HAL. The main reason we chose HAL is because of its high ratings and the inaugural sailing in the Carribean. We experienced the 3rd and 4th sailing of Nieuw Statendam. We stayed at Cabin #4068, verandah room. We had positive and negative experiences with Nieuw Statendam. Negative Experiences: First, our balcony frame had a creaking noise. This noise was disturbing during the day but profoundly noticeable during the night. We requested to be upgraded, downgraded or moved to another stateroom the second day but the ship was fully booked. Nonetheless, our stateroom steward and guest services were attentive and prompt on attempting to address the issue when we brought up this predicament to them. Maintenance staff immediately responded to our complaint and attempted to resolve the noise by placing wood wedges around the metal balcony frame. The maintenance staff was able to significantly reduce the noise disturbance. Unfortunately, maintenance staff was unable to completely resolve the noise which led us not obtaining restful sleep some nights. We were on the waiting list to change staterooms. We were informed by guest services and several guests by speaking with several guest members that this is not an isolated issue. Secondly, Cabin # 4068 is situated above BB King Lounge. The music especially the bass resonates to our stateroom which does not allow us to sleep until the performance and the music of the band are over. Typically, BB King Lounge's music is not over until 1 am and some nights later such as holiday nights. For instance, BB King continues its loud music during New Year's Eve until 3 am. Thirdly, the satellite internet access of the ship can be tremendously slow especially during At Sea days. We had to do some business matters several times during our 14-day vacation. We noticed that accessing our personal computer appears to be faster access in comparison with the ship's internet area located at level 1. Fourthly, the entertainers on the ship were very talented. However, some of the entertainment repeated on the second week with sailed with HAL. Brad Trackman had a mediocre comical performance. He was not quite funny. Positive Experiences: Nevertheless, we enjoyed listening to the viola player, violinists, and pianist who performed at the Lincoln Stage. The Evasons who are mentalist couple offered great performance. Hilby who was juggler was hilarious and entertaining. Nate and Deb are a couple who performed at the Billboard Top hits area. Deb and Nate sing and have amazing voices. They sing requested songs and both play the piano. They both are knowledgeable in singing various genres. Step One had two great shows: Stages and Humanity. The LED lighting was innovative and stunning. HAL employed a mariachi band who played at the Lido deck during our Cozumel stay. HAL also employed a talented band that plays at the Rolling Stone stage. I feel that the positive experiences we had outweighed the negative experiences. We had a great time with HAL. First and foremost, all crew members were attentive to all the guests' requests and needs. The head chef at the Lido dining, Jundiel, prepared our table a special meal. All wait staff accommodated guests' food preferences and allergy restrictions. Dadan, Whayu and the rest of the staff were amazing. Bar staff was constantly providing beverages including water. Wait staff and bar staff appear to be working harmoniously on serving guests. Kumar and Yadi are our stateroom stewards, both of which have met our expectations. All staff were friendly, courteous, polite, professional and always serving guests with their smile considering working long hours almost every day of the week. Ross the cruise director walks throughout the ship and greeting guests. Ross updates guests concerning daily activities. A Few Recommendations: Amber Cove - Limited activities on shore. Great for relaxation on the ship or at the beach near the ship, about a mile walk from the ship. The ship docks at a resort that has several pools, restaurants, bars, zip lining, kayaking, and shopping. There is an option to rent a car for about $100.00. Ocho Rios - A lot of outdoor activities are available. We rented a car for $50.00 and spent about $20.00 in gas. We went to Martha Brae which has a bamboo rafting going down the river which lasted about 1.5 hours. The trip was about 1 hour each way. Expect to drive on the left-hand side of the road. We wanted to do the bobsled excursion at the Mystic Mountain. But the time we got to the place around 2 pm, bobsledding was already close to the public. Mystic Mountain and the Dunn River Falls is right next to the Ocho Rios pier. We recommend doing the nearby activities before venturing out. Cozumel - Offers daytime passes to all-inclusive resorts, which is all you can drink alcohol, liquor, entertainment, and food. Some facilities have snorkeling, kayaking, and floats. There is an extra cost for jet skiing, diving, and parasailing. The water was too murky to snorkel. Cozumel also offers sunset catamaran cruise which is also all-inclusive. The ship leaves around 10:30 pm which allows guests to do various activities. Half Moon Cay - This is HAL's private island. We got to experience Half Moon Cay twice, on two separate days. A tender takes you to the island. The island will be crowded if there are two ships. The beach offers clear blue water and paid activities such as a stingray experience and historic tour. In conclusion, we had great experiences with HAL with some drawbacks. Priceless memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. The positive experiences and memories we had outweighed the bad ones. I would want to try a different HAL ship in the future. 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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