Our adventure started with our first visit to the city of Amsterdam. We enjoyed a two day sojourn there packed full of things to do and see on both days starting on the afternoon of our arrival with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum. (See the ... Read More
Our adventure started with our first visit to the city of Amsterdam. We enjoyed a two day sojourn there packed full of things to do and see on both days starting on the afternoon of our arrival with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum. (See the heading below for full details on Amsterdam, though it is not part of the Cruise it really deserves our comments.)
Excellent, learning experience for the Norwegian coastal cities of Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Flam.
Cabin - Vista Suite 6135
Well designed, lots of storage with wall hooks that are lacking on most cruise ships. Bathroom is small but large shower stall; only room short on storage capacity. Large and deep balcony furnished with two comfortable lounge chairs with separate foot rests and a small round table; a very enjoyable area. Balcony access door swings rather than the customary slider and is easier to operate. One of the shelf guide wires on the wall below the TV set was damaged when I tripped on the bed spread and its connection and part of the wooden wall were pulled apart. This was repaired the next day so well that one would not know the wall had been severely damaged. Very, very impressive. Storage space is plentiful and includes two wooden boxes placed underneath each bed but not very easy to pull out. (Warning! When packing on the last day do not forget to check those under bed drawers because we were so very close to forgetting a lot of used clothes we put there during the cruise). Eating in the cabin is not a comfortable experience due to the too small provided table; breakfast (only!) was quite a feat. Regardless you are paying the same amount in gratuities ($16.- pp/per day) as the Signature and above suites, you do not get the same amenities as they do, e.g. welcome bottle of bubbly or wine, a serving of canapes, etc. It’s a suite but without the butler service. After so many cruises with a butler, this was the first time without; though they can be very helpful many times they can be intrusive and knowing when you are in, when you are out, when you get up, what you eat and drink etc. In one word there is a complete lack of privacy. So this time without one, it was quite enjoyable.
Cruise line staff
Excellent all over the ship; Lido staff it seems have learnt more English and they were very polite and helpful, the staff serve the buffet food, a very important detail to avoid any kind of infection. The Front Desk or Guest Services, were on a par with Viking and much more efficient and polite than most other cruise lines. All issues were handled and solution at once and in a very good manner.
Only disappointment was with the Lido buffet. Not really impressed with the offerings. Desserts were below par and repetitive. Tables were not cleared up quickly and wine service was slow regardless the “service button” that each table had.
The restaurant menus, presentation and temperature of meals were always right on. No complaints with any meal. Specialty restaurants were worth the price, in fact Tamarind was so good it almost demanded a higher fare to give it the recognition it deserves and been on Aft Deck 10 the views are great; I imagine on a sunny day having al fresco lunch or dinner there; but unfortunately the weather was quite unpredictable during the whole cruise. Pinnacle was superb and on sea days the $10 noon fare was well worth it if not just for the luxury and peaceful surroundings and the very attentive staff. Canaletto was good too, food and staff but being part of the Lido buffet during the day (as a matter of fact we were having some of our breakfast there) this takes away that sense of been “Italian”.
There are other places where to have a snack or even lunch. For a light lunch or a snack, the Grand Dutch Café (Deck 3) many items free of charge like coffee, pastries and ham and cheese sandwiches. Tranquil atmosphere but could be very busy on sea days. The other place to have a good light lunch is the pool side Dive-in from seven specialty burghers (or create your own), three ways to have great hot dogs and four ways to enjoy the best French Fries on the ship. Buzzers are handed out so you will be called when the order is ready. And last but not least, the New York Deli & Pizza in Deck 10, overlooking the pool deck. Open at 7 a.m. and stays open till midnight. The pizzas are out of this world, they have six specialty ones or you can build your own, you also can get salads, classic deli sandwiches (pastrami or corned beef) and if you get there early enough avoiding the buffet crowds for breakfast you get bagels, sandwiches, fresh fruit, pastries and coffee!
It is very clear that on board the Nieuw Statendam you will not go hungry! But for sure you will gain lots of pounds if you are not careful.
Formal or Gala Nights?
Biggest let down of the cruise. The tuxedo rental service worked well, good fit and housekeeping redid pressing of the garments free of charge. We showed up at our reservation time (8PM) and realized right away that the dress code was non-existent. Much less than 10% of men wore tuxedos and the majority of guests were in LESS than resort casual clothing. We saw short sleeve shirts, jeans, running shoes, teenagers and grownups in t-shirts etc.; the only thing missing were shorts! We really felt foolish wearing tuxedos and will not go to the trouble again. We were very lucky with the young waiter at table (#115), his name was Cahadi and thanks to his good humour and doing his best for us to have a good time we were able to ignore our surroundings.
When we complained to the Maître’d (Martin) his explanations were inadequate and groundless- clearly and visibly he was not a strong manager and lost control of his restaurant. The “gala” had been advertised as a 5 course meal but only 3 were offered. That happened on the first gala night, on the second one things were a bit better, we cannot explain why; maybe our complaints? At any rate, gala or formal in the way the people were dressed it was unacceptable and was the first time we experienced such a thing on any of our previous cruises on many different cruise lines.
Excursions - please see below
Our hotel was in the museum quarter, as a matter of fact its name is NH Museum Quarter (email@example.com). It was in a very good location facing a canal with very helpful staff; we could have purchased museums tickets through them, the best method if you only wished a general visit but remember you’re taking your chances, that the day and time you want, may not be available, that’s why and wanting to take advantage of every minute in Amsterdam we did pre-cruise museum tickets for Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum, a City tour plus a Canal cruise, all done through the internet and it worked out well, unfortunately we missed the Hermitage Museum! God willing next time! By the way, at the hotel you also can acquire bus, tram and metro “day pass tickets” for about 16 euros.
In general, we were disappointed with the organization of the museum tours, regardless the electronic guide that’s provided as it was not user friendly and trying to quickly find various famous paintings of interest among so many people, many of them spending a long time in front of every painting proved difficult. Regardless, the paintings were superb, many of them unknown to us and some of the Van Gogh’s were a real discovery. We had no idea how prolific he was over such a short time span. At the Rijks the Rembrandts were featured in a special showing of many unknown ones but also there were an enormous number of his sketches - interesting but boring unless you were there to match the sketches with the final painting. The City tour (by bus) was a good learning experience. The modern architecture is outstanding in its variety, especially the use of new materials and colours. It was very refreshing compared to the repetitive high rises that are being built in North America. So the bus tour is worthwhile but we don’t recommend the Canal cruise; the boat was a glass box that on a hot day and that one was, makes you feel you’re in a sauna and no water was available on board. It wasn’t a very nice feeling going along those narrow canals and having to look up at the buildings that from that vantage point says very little (regardless whatever you hear from the loudspeaker) those were the same older buildings we had seen during the City tour but the message got thru mainly because there was a tour guide to whom you were able to ask any question which was then answered very clearly but the ship megaphones were deaf! In case you would like a canal cruise take it at night and I am sure the light show will be stunning,
Amsterdam was a city full of surprises! Never imagined there was a subway and a brand new, modern one at that, very wide avenues lined with cafes and sidewalk patio restaurants and many expansive parks and green spaces around every corner. Having the opportunity to go there again now that we know our way around, we would jump at the chance! And then, a visit to the Hermitage (Amsterdam) will be our number one priority for sure!
Since the day we arrived in Amsterdam we were on the go! We made the mistake of choosing a 7 day cruise that visited completely new places and to make things more demanding, on a new, big and beautiful ship! This cruise was also a kind of a shock because our previous one was an 18 day Atlantic Ocean crossing from Europe to South America, our second one that long and our last! For us spending too much time on a ship becomes repetitive (in all the areas) and boring! Regardless we enjoyed everything to the fullest during this short cruise, we do not plan a repeat such a combination: that is, new places-new ship-7 day cruise….never again! Perhaps it was that there were too many “FIRSTS”: first time with Holland America, first time on the Nieuw Statendam first time in Amsterdam, first time in Oslo and all the other beautiful cities of Norway, so it is very easy for you to imagine how elated we were with this cruise, so happy and elated that we booked another one - more days and going to well-known places. As it was not possible on the Statendam because of a clash of dates, it will be on her older sister’s ship, the Koningsdam and again another first! We have to emphasize that there are many factors why we will sail again with Holland primarily because of the excellent staff but also for the superior food and wait staff being a very close second.
Really, we hope you found our review helpful and interesting, so till next time, wishing you very happy sailing days! To our fellow Canadians, being today July 1st. Happy Canada Day! Cheers!!!!
Ps. Photos soon to follow this review Read Less