6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because of where it was going. Have not ocean cruised for over 10 years. The ship is lovely & new. We thought the staff was great. The emphasis was on music and we enjoyed the Lincoln Center stage concerts so very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of where it was going. Have not ocean cruised for over 10 years. The ship is lovely & new. We thought the staff was great. The emphasis was on music and we enjoyed the Lincoln Center stage concerts so very much! The World Stage was a mixed bag for us. The acts varied from classical vocals, to comedy, to dance. For this stage I would have liked to see group scenes, comedians that work together. One guy is not to energetic. We did not attend all of those. BB King was terrific as well. Food.. we did not take advantage of the specialty restaurants. Another way tp pick our pockets. The Lido breakfasts were great! Lunches were fine too. The main dining room was very hit or miss. I was looking forward to fish but each of the 3 entrees I tried were not well prepared. My husband tried more and had some good results. The Norwegian salmon was the best. The servings of vegetables were very, very small. Sauces were tasteless and often smeared on plate for effect, not enough to enjoy. I had salmon with one asparagus spear! Often the potatoes were just 2 bites worth. Over all, choices were varied and so were the results. I had a couple pasta dishes that were terrific. The curry one night was superb. Excursions...so outrageously over priced that we didn’t even consider. Did a couple private ones that were great and much cheaper. The thermal spa was nice...we did spring for this, but felt like it was not worth the charge. Wine overpriced and why no local Norwegian craft beers not available? The port talks were fun, but honestly of little help. Neither were the port maps or info helpful at all. We came to see Norway and did...on our own. Hiked most of the time while off the boat. The fitness area was excellent and we took full advantage of this area. But really...$20 for spin class? The stretch classes looked too crowded so again, did our own thing. Over 50% of the passengers were Dutch, there were a lot of Chinese as well. Our assigned table mates were just awful so we went rogue and came in as our music scheduled allowed. Overall, the charges for drinks, excursions, WIFI, classes etc were too highpriced , but we enjoyed the music and the movies. The 5 sea days were lovely and relaxing. Each stop was interesting. We were blessed with many good days of weather. The laundry service was excellent and the embarkation as well as debarkation was well done. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most ... Read More
I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most recently from 2 June to 23 June the Norwegian fjords on the Nieuw Statendam. My purpose in this review is not to deal with every aspect of the cruise on NS, as most topics are well covered in the many reviews published since its launch. It suffices to say she is a beautiful ship, well designed in all respects (other than the closed in effect of the Promenade Deck), and is tastefully finished in its furnishing and art works. She is operated like a well- oiled machine. Her Officers and crew do an amazing job. Rather my purpose is to give my opinion on a few issues, with which some may disagree, but in relation to which, if there are enough others who agree, may give HAL cause to make some changes which I think could alter the experience of future passengers on the NS very much for the better. For me the problem with the NS does not lie in any way with the ship or its crew. The problem is with the passengers. Those we came in contact with were very nice people – it is just there were too many of them. In the first 7 day leg of the cruise they had not learned how to spread more evenly between the many venues. Everywhere seemed crowded. During the second 14 day leg passengers were definitely better distributed but it was still not easy to find a table in the Lido during peak periods (we were in a party of 4 which probably made it a little more difficult) and there were still queues waiting to be allocated tables in the Main Dining Room. We also found during both parts of the cruise that it was difficult to find a quiet place to play cards or just to relax and enjoy the quiet of ocean travel. The effect for me, compared to previous cruises on the Eurodam, Noordam and Volendam, was a sense that the somewhat illusory feeling of a degree of some exclusivity which HAL managed to create on those ships, had been lost. There are a few things which could be done to address some of these issues. Our observation was that the covered front pool area was much underutilized except during meal hours. The reason for this was noise. Documentaries were often shown on the large screen during various times of the day. Very few people seemed interested in them but everyone had to deal with the blaring sound which made conversation difficult. Other than meal times this large seating area was virtually deserted. At night when movies were shown there was often no more than 4 or 5 people watching. On previous cruises we would often sit in this area and just enjoy the world going by. I would suggest that the large screen and sound system not be used at all during the day. This will take pressure off other areas. Thought might be given to whether there is any benefit in showing films at night on cruises to colder areas or whether some better use could be made of the area. During the day we also experienced that talks were given in public lounge areas. On one occasion a talk was being given using a public address system which was so loud you could not hear yourself think in the adjoining lounge area. We and others got up and vacated the lounge. This could be easily avoided by ensuring any talks are conducted in isolated areas or closed rooms. Although we had an overall very enjoyable cruise I personally will be unlikely to cruise again on the NS or the Koningsdam because of the sense of loss of exclusivity to which I have referred. I query whether cruise lines have made the right decisions in the move to bigger and bigger ships. It is now well known that Amsterdam has concerns about the flood of tourists associated with cruise ships and that Venice is concerned about the effect of cruise ships. Bergen now intends to place limits on the number of tourists which may visit that city. I love cruising and will remain loyal to HAL for as long as possible because I think it is a very well- run company, which trains its staff to serve its clients well and which in my experience has always been responsive to any concerns raised. But for now my future cruising will be restricted to HAL’s smaller ships. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This ship is the latest in the Pinnacle class for Holland America. I wanted to sail on the new ship, even as I read reviews from veteran HAL cruisers warning about elimination of some of the charm of the older ships. I agree with those ... Read More
This ship is the latest in the Pinnacle class for Holland America. I wanted to sail on the new ship, even as I read reviews from veteran HAL cruisers warning about elimination of some of the charm of the older ships. I agree with those reviews; the ship seems very crowded in the Lido cafe during rush times; the World Theater can get too crowded. The promenade deck has been cut down and there are none of the wooden deck lounges which allow you to sit out on deck and enjoy the sea views and air. Do not get me wrong - the ship is beautifully appointed, the staff service is excellent. I found the Main dining room choices rather limited and enjoyed dinner in the Canaletto and Nami Sushi restaurants much more. We stayed in a Vista Balcony suite which made excellent use of storage space and had numerous USB outlets for charging devices. Beds are very comfortable and the shower is excellent. But, as another reviewer has said, it now feels like we are nickel and dimed on board. The shore excursion prices are exorbitant (especially in Saint Petersburg---I opted for a local travel group TJ Travel that provided an excellent, small group tour in a van as oppposed to 50 on a bus for $100 less than HAL). Sea day activities were meh.... I did very much enjoy the Music Walk performances of the BB King Blues Theater, Billboard performances, and the Rock and Roll band. The Lincoln Center quartet was also very nice. This was my 5th cruise with HAL - if I were to sail again, I would seek out the smaller refurbished ships. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had never cruised on Holland America but chose this one as a new ship with a great transatlantic itinerary including Azores, Normandy, Brugge and ending in Amsterdam in time to still see the tulips in Keukenhof. Our cabin was a ... Read More
We had never cruised on Holland America but chose this one as a new ship with a great transatlantic itinerary including Azores, Normandy, Brugge and ending in Amsterdam in time to still see the tulips in Keukenhof. Our cabin was a corner balcony on the 7th deck and was very nice. Not that big but laid out well including the bathroom with a nice large shower. We chose any time Dining and found the choices in the main Dining room good and service pretty good although don't get a table for 10 as can be very slow. We also loved the Pinnacle Grill and also went to the Italian restaurant as well.We also enjoyed the Dutch cafe in which the food is complimentary. Entertainment at night was good as saw great dancers (One Step) who used the 180 degree screen which incorporated a very high tech show.We also enjoyed the music venues especially BB King Blues Club. There wasn't that much to do on sea days if you didn't go to the lectures or the Test Kitchen shows. They have a great sports court when not too windy was able to play Pickleball on one of the 2 courts on most sea days. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My last Translatlantic being five years ago, I decided to one again. The previous one was to Rome, which is a far better route. By heading for a Mediterrranean final destination you stay in the good weather zone. After Ponta Delgado we ... Read More
My last Translatlantic being five years ago, I decided to one again. The previous one was to Rome, which is a far better route. By heading for a Mediterrranean final destination you stay in the good weather zone. After Ponta Delgado we have increasing cold with a hail storm in Brugges in a freezing cold city. HAL better go to Rome or Barcelona first, do some cruises in that part of the world and than do a one way to Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Copenhagen. I found the quality of the service at all levels and in any place outstanding. Very friendly, helpful dedicated staff that seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Excellent team spirit, The interior is beautiful. Nothing garrish, instead everywhere subtle hints to the musical theme. And no faux paintings, but modern interesting art pieces. Cabin is slightly smaller than on other HAL ships. A wardrobe has gone missing. Instead there is an air vent there, which is a good idea. As single traveller I do not need all that space, but I can imagine that others will miss that wardrobe. Well there is always your suitcase under your bed. After all it all fitted in there, didn't it? I never visit shows, as I prefer MDR late dining. MDR has good seating procedures. Never had to wait for more than a couple of minutes. Very unlikely the other HAL ships who seem to have problems seating a single person. Food in MDR is very good. The occasional glitch, but I love the quality of the meat and the service is impeccable. Lido food is excellent and of enormous variation. Tamarind has raised the price and changed the formula slightly. Less choice for more money. Crow's Nest has been butchered up in a community room in a day care centre. The view given by the curved windows in the centre has been blocked by two huge screens showing cruise information. Which idiot is responsible for that? The bar has been reduced to 5 stools and closes at 9 pm. So no more long evening drinking at the bar in the crow's nest, which as far as I can remember has been a main feature of taking a cruise. There is always a late bar for that very specific set of people. Not so on Nieuw Statendam which becomes a dry county after 11.30 pm. Finally, the prices of alcholic beverages is ridiculously inflated. 11 US dollars for a glass of white wine coming from a screwcap bottle is prohibitive on the consumption of drinks. HAL happily distributes drinks packages for free, and you see the difference between the passengers who do and the ones who do not have a package. Everything is duty free and bought in massive quantities. So why so expensive? Fewer flower arrangements, no chocolate party, no baked Alaska, but wonderful movie selection in cabin. You win some, you loose some. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and ... Read More
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and beautiful new ship. The food was probably the most consistently delicious throughout the vacation. We dined in the main dining room, the lido cafe, Tamarind and experienced the food from the Pinnacle Grill. Everything was delicious. The drinks from the bar were excellent and the bar staff were knowledgeable and interactive. We took in shows from the piano quintet and from the main stage such as the mentalist and the comedian. All shows were entertaining and engaging. I have two critiques to share. Our first stop was in Turks in which we encountered some delays in approval for disembarking. For some reason, the crew only opened 1 exit at the front of the ship which made getting off a nightmare. My wife and I waited an hour to get off the ship waiting in the stairwell with literally thousands of other passengers all trying to get out single file as well. Fortunately we were the only ship in port at the time and although we booked our shore excursion through a different company than the cruise ship, they waited as our ship was there only business. It is my understanding that others were not as lucky and missed their tours. Something to be said about booking through the cruise company. This came to in handy as the weather was rough for our stop at Half Moon and we couldn't get off the ship. This time we had booked through the cruise ship and got our shore excursions refunded as they were unable to ferry us to the island. Another issue was the pre-purchase of the cellar master package. There was much confusion between us and the ship about which package was purchased. Unfortunately this came to a head on the 6th night of our cruise which was our anniversary during out dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. So much so that we ended up leaving the restaurant prior to enjoying our meal. The staff rectified the situation, but the event was really unfortunate. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw ... Read More
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. Embarkation and Disembarkation: Flawless, speedy and very well organized. The Ship: Fabulous is the first word that comes to our minds. It is well laid out, lots of space to sit and chat. Plenty of places to find food and drinks. Servers everywhere and they even have call buttons on the tables for ordering drinks. The ship was very smooth during sailing even in inclement weather - never really felt any vibration due to her advanced operating systems. Cabin: Vista Suite with Veranda - outstanding is the first word that comes to mind. Lots of storage, elegant, both 110/220 volt outlets, large shower, lots of in-room comforting accoutrements, and a really great selection of current movies. The cabin attendants knew your name from the minute you got on the ship and they get a 100% TOP score for doing such a great job - children loved the different daily towel animals!!! Food: Main dinning room - no table reservations before 8.00 p.m. this we found to be not good especially when you have children. Service was fabulous but food delivery was very slow. Food choices are varied on the menu each night with fixed options each night (steak, chicken, etc) in case you did not like daily menu. Lido Cafe - it was without doubt always a choice for any meal of the day with something to suit any taste or desire. The Dive In - although little in space they pushed orders out very fast and this was outstanding food. The New York Deli - was also good with great sandwiches although, some of the pizza toppings ran out. Dutch Cafe- great coffee and sweets! We did not like the fact that we had to pay for the Gelato Ice cream. Drink Package: We chose the Signature Drink Package which allowed us all types of drinks under $10. This proved to be sufficient for us, unless you are a "high-end top shelf drinker" most people would be fine with this package. We did not like the 1 drink order limit restriction. Children's Activities: ZERO here because anything outside the kids play room was non-existent. Prior to the cruise we read lots of "chat" about HAL being a "retired persons cruise line". Although many people had written that HAL changed its mentality and was gearing more towards families rather than older crowds - this was not the case on our cruise - children were bored due to the lack of "kids activities and amenities". Pools: The mid ship pool is very small and the rear pool had an adults only restriction on it. OK, we get this, but then why were all the adults gathered at the mid-ship pool. So, this meant that the kids had to share the only pool with the adults - but the adult pool did not share with the kids - this was absolutely unfair in our opinion. While the children frolicked in the pool - "adults" complained about being splashed - sorry, then move your old butt to the adult pool! The Crew: Tip-Top perfect service by the crew in all areas of the ship !!! Entertainment: Yes they offered 4 types of music, but after a week of the same 4 types of music and nothing new, it gets old. Crows Nest: Great place to chill out and watch the surroundings. Bad part is all the "retired folks" hogged up the loungers at the big front overlooking windows and then fell asleep for hours. That was a bit unfair for those of us who actually wanted to sit there for their intended purpose because these seats had the best view on the entire ship. Activities: We found the "ship info, kitchen tour & the captain's talk" the best part of the activities offered. These three activities were very informative and really great leaning for all. The Captain was fantastic, and very friendly. Besides that, it really seemed like the same entertainment and activities each day. For families it was a bit boring in our opinion. OK, you had basketball, shuffleboard, ping-pong, card games, and swimming, but with short ports of call, and 2 days at sea - it got a little boring after a few days with only the same options. The cruise director could have offered much more as we have seen from our prior cruises with other companies. Overall Cleanliness: Extremely clean ship - we loved having a place to wash your hands at all the entrances at the Lido Cafe. Great job by the service crew to keep the ship in such a clean and fresh environment. Public Toilets: absolutely perfectly clean all the time. Casino: Lots of play choice - although smoking permitted - 1 day at sea was no smoking allowed - that was refreshing! America's Test Kitchen: Sorry, only one word to say here - Boring! No participation allowed just watching someone cook. Port of Calls: Found them all to be well organized, and very quick to get everyone on and off the ship. The Security team did a great job to ensure our safety, kudos to them for all they did for us! Recommendations to HAL: Offer daily info sessions about the specific ports of call. Make an area on the ship where you play some Caribbean / local music rather than the same stuff we hear at home. The weather did not permit us to make one port of call, therefore we found that we had to entertain ourselves because the Cruise Director came up with card games, and other non-fun things for us to do as a family - when you cannot make a port of call then you should be prepared ahead of time to entertain the passengers to off-set the disappoint of missing out on a port of call. Lastly, please think of ways to entertain children a little more - and I do not mean like Disney or Carnival -- we purposely do not travel on these lines because the adults need to have fun also. A big thanks to the HAL Captain and his fabulous team for a very wonderful vacation! Signed, 7 HAL passengers (mixed USA & Europe) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This new ship is gorgeous! The staff is uniformly marvelous. The choices on the Lido were more than adequate. My problem with the ship had to do with my cabin #1006. I decided to save money by getting a "guaranteed" fare for an ... Read More
This new ship is gorgeous! The staff is uniformly marvelous. The choices on the Lido were more than adequate. My problem with the ship had to do with my cabin #1006. I decided to save money by getting a "guaranteed" fare for an inside cabin. Being such a new ship, I erroneously thought that all the cabins would be fine. I was upgraded to an ocean view that had a nice large window. Turns out it is a "single" cabin. Being tiny was not the problem. Being in that location was a HUGE problem. When the stabilizers were on the noise was horrendous. They were on all day every port day that we had to be positioned off shore for the tenders to operate. It was too noisy to read, nap, or even to watch TV. The other problem with this location was the loud and very forceful banging from the waves as we traveled. It would feel like a huge weight was hitting the cabin and especially the bed...all...night...long! I don't feel that the cabin is at all suitable for human habitation. Th music was mostly raucous to my ears. The dueling pianos were absurdly bad. Not at all a matched set of artists. I don't care for outdoor movies, but was very pleased with the variety on the TV in the cabin. The activity I was interested in, the singles get-togethers, was non-existent except for one announcement for trivia. The Lido does not have a menu listing on the TV, or on a wall. Service on the Lido was very nice. my only comment was the people in the kitchen and serving area that yelled at each other. Not lending to a lovely experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the food was excellent in taste, quality and variety we experienced before on Holland America. The ship was extremely clean in the well appointed cabin as well as all the common areas. Staff, crew and officers were so very friendly, courteous and helpful. The entertainment in BB King's lounge and the Rolling Stones lounge were very good but so disappointed in the piano lounge duo who sang off key and their voices did not compliment each other. We saw such a better duo on the Koningsdam last year. We enjoyed the entertainment in the main theatre but it would have been so much better if there had been more use of the theatre throughout the week. The movies under the stars and in the staterooms were recent and a good variety but there really wasn't a lot doing after 10:45 pm unless you went to the Casino, which we did not. We were disappointed in the embarkation procedure in the terminal waiting room, which appeared to be quite chaotic with older staff not knowing what to do and not agreeing with other staff. Even though Holland America has a very good product, we have decided that we will probably not be sailing with them again as we found the cruise to be too boring for us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are a 30-40 year old couple celebrating his birthday. I love music and food. He loves computers and movies. This boat (ship) featured cooking classes, Microsoft computer application classes, a live rock band, a live blues band, a string ... Read More
We are a 30-40 year old couple celebrating his birthday. I love music and food. He loves computers and movies. This boat (ship) featured cooking classes, Microsoft computer application classes, a live rock band, a live blues band, a string quartet, and a dance troupe. It was a perfect fit for us. We experienced an interior cabin. Our voyage visited the western caribbean: Jamaica, Grad Cayman, Cancun, etc. It rained at the private island. We selected the anytime dining. We did not make reservations. We simply showed up at our desired time and checked in with the hostess who then had a staffer take us to a table. 10 minutes was the longest wait we experienced. We generally dine early. The pacing of the meals varied each night. After one delayed dining experience, we simply warned the future servers of our plans or asked if we would be able to make it to the 7 pm show and then we had no problems getting in and out of the dining room. The food was of high quality. Being new to the Paleo / Lectin-free diet I was concerned about my dining options. Luckily the buffet salad bar has a variety of toppings and proteins. I thoroughly enjoyed my daily salads made from a variety of my selected greens. Most of the buffet stations were staffed by servers and limited contamination by guests. I loved the daily pavlovas. The ice cream station was popular with guests. We fell in love with the daily tea parties that were offered for no additional fee. I wish a variety of teas were available. Some guests desired coffee. I enjoyed the variety of scones and toppings and sandwiches and dessert. High tea was offered twice on our 7 day cruise. That was where a variety of desserts and sandwiches were placed on our table and not served by rotating servers offering their items. Embarkation was a breeze. I have never checked in so fast. This was our first time traveling with this cruise line so we did not have any special status. We just got in line showed our passports, took out ship ID card photos and waited for our boarding groups. The process was much smoother than on other cruise lines I have sailed with multiple times. The pool area closed early at about 9 or 10 each day. Movies were shown in the pool area nightly. The nighttime food bar featured a variety of food items such as pizzas, salads, popcorn, and wings. The library was a nice area to lounge in. Books were available as well as games and puzzles. The full pane windows made the library a prime area for ocean or port viewing. The art gallery showcase a variety of photography. Nightly entertainment in the theater included a dance troupe, a comedian, and an illusionist. The ship also offered wine tasting classes and enrichment sessions about many of the ports and sailing. We took the galley tour of the kitchen for no additional cost. We did not take the chance to try any of the specialty dining. The majority of cruises were of the retirement age. Some families cruised due to the spring break timing, but there were not many kids aboard during my voyage. The ship seemed to cater to a senior crowd, which is great for relaxation. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We loved the music venues at night! We loved the ship! It was beautiful, our balcony room was amazing on the 11th floor. The showers with glass doors are revolutionary..mostly we loved the lido market! We NEVER usually eat in the buffet ... Read More
We loved the music venues at night! We loved the ship! It was beautiful, our balcony room was amazing on the 11th floor. The showers with glass doors are revolutionary..mostly we loved the lido market! We NEVER usually eat in the buffet on cruises but we ate there very often ! We actually enjoyed the food choices there more than the dining room..... which means I think they need to work on the menu in the dining room. The boat was very quite ... everything started early and ended pretty early. We would’ve liked a little bit more excitement on the boat but they cater to an older clientele. I have to say it was the most well run for getting on and off the boat ! Absolutely no lineups at any of our ports ... in hindsight we wondered if the majority of the cruisers didn’t get off the boat. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We sailed back-to-back on Nieuw Statendam , March 2019 Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, which we booked a year in advance as a balcony guarantee. We were assigned a VF cabin, 4017 in the front of ship which had an expanded balcony. ... Read More
We sailed back-to-back on Nieuw Statendam , March 2019 Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, which we booked a year in advance as a balcony guarantee. We were assigned a VF cabin, 4017 in the front of ship which had an expanded balcony. The ship is beautiful, very easy to get around and the cabins are light bright, well appointed with enough closet and drawer space. For news hounds MSNBC and FOX news are shown as well as BBC news. Also, a lot of "free ", latest movies, are offered on TV and poolside in the evenings. Bathroom shower is enclosed and quite large. Beware, it has slate floors which can be slippery ... bring a rubber bath mat or throw down a towel when you shower to avoid falls. At the end of this review I will include a short summary of Celebrity Edge which we went on directly after this cruise.Both ships were anchored right next to each other and we walked off one, right onto the other. All food venues ( and there are many) are located mid to back of the ship and all entertainment venues from mid-ship, forward. Either way you are in for a lot of walking. The main dining rooms are on decks 2 and 3. Except for breakfast, and the second dress-up night when they served 5 oz lobster tails/filet, we were disappointed with the menu selections in the main dining room, although the food was well prepared. Better fare is at Deck 9 Lido for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Large variety of foods, prime rib and other roasted meats daily, terrific breads and baked goods, fairly good desserts, ice cream/cones. What is special on this ship is  the smaller dining venues which do not charge for food: Dive-In burgers, dogs, made to order burgers/great coated fries (Deck 9 just outside the Lido); NY Deli/PIzza Deck 10, just above the Lido pool. Great custom made personnel pizzas and very nice grilled sandwiches. Do not miss the Dutch Cafe deck 3 mid, with a wonderful personal 6" quiche/mescaline salad, pea soup, terrific apple pie, enormous "round" eclairs,  and many other free items that they serve until 8:30 pm. They charge for coffee and other drinks. The second week we bought a five pack of restaurants for $95. It includes Pinnacle Grill , Tamarind, Canaletto which have open menus and Rudi's Sel De Mer and Nami Sushi which are ala carte and are limited to $30 and $15 pp credit. We had a lot of trouble in the last two restaurants as they do something that is not logical .... they charge your account  for the whole meal ( not just over and above thementioned credit limit limit) and tell you they will give you a credit back. THEY DO NOT. I had to fight with customer service to get the credit applied and ended up requesting a meeting with the hotel director because it was not happening. I read about this from other cruise critic writers and sure enough it was true. That said, the specialty restaurants are quite good, especially Pinnacle ( don't miss the broiled Alaskan King Crab [ a full pound], or the 18 oz Rib eye or 23 oz Porterhouse. Unfortunately our sever Rimco gave us terrible service at Pinnacle. Tamarind was the least of the restaurants, with so-so oriental ... food. Canaletto was surprisingly good, great service from Astrid. Rudi's 12 oz lobster tail ( @ $32) is pretty good. At Nami, since we are not sushi lovers we had a great Miso soup and a wonderful tenderloin entree with fried rice, great sauteed mushrooms. It was superb. Overall, given all the venues and surprise foods at many ( bavarian pretzels, carmel pretzels, popcorn) for the movies below in the evenings at NY Deli/Pizza) you will not be disappointed. There are just not enough major shows on this ship.There are only two major shows: Humanity and Step Dance Show. Humanity was superb - dancing, costumes, terrific graphics that encircle the whole stage. It was so good we saw it twice. The other show was just not as good. The only other shows are a magician - Kid Ace very good and a Comedian. First week Rodney Johnson was very, very funny. Not so the second week. But there is a saving grace. The alternative entertainment are 4 music venues on deck 2, all near each other. BB Kings ... blues and soul which HA has on every ship  is always excellent. A Rock n' Roll venue, Billboard 100 hits and Lincoln Center classical combo ... also very good. The latter does classical concerts in the afternoons, which were lovely.. As is the case with many ships the pools, Lido (mid) and Sea View, (rear) on deck 9 are too small. Kids take over the Lido pool and it is almost impossible to swim. No supervision by HA at all, especially when parents are remiss in letting their kids splash everyone. Seaview pool out in the open in the back of the ship is always breezy ( under the canopy ) and has NO KIDS. Just big crowds. HA has relatively good computer connectivity, a very diligent computer manager on duty and  a small, but well appointed computer room with five computers for people like me without smart phone or IPads. It also has free printing. Computer usage for two weeks including email was $160. Not a bad price.  We noticed that HA ships are no longer geriatric as they had been years ago. The age is quite mixed and yes, there were children aboard. Comparison to Celebrity Edge: Edge also came out in December 2018 as did Nieuw Statendam. But the ships are very different in design, feel. We paid more for one week on Edge than we did for two weeks on HA NS. However, Celebrity bundles in a lot of amenities .... for which you end up paying. On Edge we booked one of the new, state of the art "Infinity Balconies", where the glass bi-fold doors can stay open and the balcony is part of your room, giving the feel of a longer, bigger room. The balcony has a panoramic double hung motorized window which goes half-way down. As you look out, you see nothing but the sea. We liked it. We did not dine at any of the specialty restaurants, since they were $55 pp and up which we thought was ridiculous. We ate in the four, included dining rooms which have the same menus, but also have regional specialties: French, Italian, Mediterranean, Cosmopolitan. All were very good with excellent service. The Windows Cafe (buffet) on Edge was a major disappointment for breakfast and lunch. There were only a few shows and comedians .... a deficit for this ship. In fact there is not enough to do in the daytime, given the 3000 passengers. The overall decor/art work  in Nieuw Statendam was much nicer. Edge is very modern, almost industrial looking. It is not a pretty ship. Overall we preferred Nieuw Statendam, hands down, although we were glad we tried Edge. Word of caution about Edge. There are indeed way too many steps, and many of the venues are located a half a floor up or down. What were the designers thinking? Very difficult for Seniors. Even the main pool on deck 14, required everyone to go up 8 steps to reach it. Why??? One thing that was out there on Edge is "Eden ( multi-floor entertainment venue) that has jugglers, "fairies": acrobatics, aerialists and generally many "odd" entertainers walking around in what seems like a "daze". It's different and should be experienced at least once in your life. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Holland America corrected some of their missteps on the Konigsdam with this new ship, which carries on many HAL traditions while introducing some new ones. They have preserved the superb cabin and dining room service and the generally ... Read More
Holland America corrected some of their missteps on the Konigsdam with this new ship, which carries on many HAL traditions while introducing some new ones. They have preserved the superb cabin and dining room service and the generally dignified atmosphere. The balcony level of the pool area is an attractive addition. Tamarind is lovely and has very good food and service. I could get used to the whale-skeleton look of the Main Dining Room decor, but really don't like the yellow walls and chairs. I was surprised that the MDR was not open for lunch on sea days. Club Orange is a mystery to me; that restaurant is an interior space with a long glass wall along the main corridor that makes it look like a fishbowl. The furnishings look low-end rather than luxurious; the chairs don't even have upholstered backs. Why anyone would want to spend $50 a day for the privilege of eating there is beyond me.The Lido Market was OK, but the layout is not nearly as inviting as the buffet on the Celebrity Edge. Seats in the Lido were often hard to find. The Pizza place and deli have been combined on the deck above the Lido. The pizzas were excellent. The waits for hamburgers at Dive In seemed longer than I remember from other ships. I did not try Sel de Mer. I hope the idea of ship restaurants with a la carte prices doesn't catch on. I miss the dedicated theater with popcorn, although even the most recent films were available free on TV in your cabin. (On my recent cruise on the Celebrity Edge, they charged $13 for them.) Lincoln Center Stage is a very welcome addition. It's the prettiest room on the ship. A string quartet plus a pianist played a variety of classical and pop programs. B,B, King's, Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard Online all seemed well-attended. The World Stage is a mixed bag. It is totally devoid of decoration except for the upholstered seats (which have no drink holders). The circular thrust stage brings the performers close to the audience. The walls are used for high-tech projections. In the case of the first dance show "Humanity," the projections were quite artistically coordinated with the choreography. It was one of the best shows I have seen on a ship. The other dance show was good, but not as impressive. There was a comedian and an illusionist who, in addition to their own shows, encored on the final night. I was surprised that the World Stage was dark for two nights. The atrium is a disappointment. Unlike other recent ships, it provides no sense of occasion and is useless as a focal point for passengers to gather. The wait for an elevator was often long. I am sorry that the shops are still permitted to clutter the passageways with racks and tables for bargain sales. (The Celebrity Edge eliminated this entirely.) I miss people-watching from a deck chair on the Promenade Deck. That's my biggest complaint about all the new ships. I was disappointed that HAL dropped the Indonesian/Filippino crew show, which I always enjoyed. The cabin was well laid out and the bed was very comfortable. The bathroom is a bit small. I was pleasantly surprised that I heard nothing from the cabin on either side. The itinerary wasn't very exciting for experienced cruisers. HAL should really try harder to come up with new excursions for repeat travelers. Transfers from FLL airport to the ship were a mess. I had to wait over an hour for a bus and there were others who had waited even longer. The return transfer was timely. The main negative was that the ship lost power on the next-to-last night and we had to skip Half Moon Cay to assure a timely arrival back at Port Everglades. It was nice of HAL to offer a $50 shipboard credit, but it is still a bit alarming that a brand-new ship would mysteriously lose power. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This review is intended primarily for those who dance and have cruised before, especially on HAL in previous years, in order to provide information we wished we had had prior to our cruise on the Nieuw Statendam in the spring of 2019. We ... Read More
This review is intended primarily for those who dance and have cruised before, especially on HAL in previous years, in order to provide information we wished we had had prior to our cruise on the Nieuw Statendam in the spring of 2019. We had read a good many other reviews of the ship prior to booking as well as reviews of her sister ship the Konigsdam to try to get a feel for the musical entertainment and dancing opportunities on board. A couple of these expressed disappointment that dance opportunities to which previous HAL cruisers had become accustomed were substantially curtailed. These were quite accurate. In virtually every other respect we were very pleased with the ship, but more of this later. The new Pinnacle class ships center their entertainment on “Music Walk,” the deck-two (and partially three-deck) venue for the BB King Blues Club, the Rolling Stone Rock Room, and Billboard Onboard. Each of these venues have dance floors. BB King shares its two-story venue with Lincoln Center on Stage essentially replacing the Queens Lounges on other vessels. The stage is larger, the dance floor smaller by about 30% and rectangular rather than semi-circular. The floor itself appears to be padded hardwood that is perfect for dancing. Patrons who dance with drinks in their hands often slosh onto the floor, but waiters, when asked will come out and wipe up spills. The need to clean the floor with some frequency leaves it sometimes dry and unwaxed and thus difficult for smooth dancing. The main problem for more serious dancers is that the music in so monotonous (constant fast tempo east coast swing and blues suitable for west coast with only the occasional cha cha or rumba 3-4 times per evening. The genre of music attracts many 60s-free-style dancers (who have every right to the floor), making it very crowded and sometimes frustrating to dance anything other than what they are doing. There are typically three sets per night and one night off for the band per week. Exercise care leaving the dance floor; it is one step up to the exit and it is easy to fall. Billboard on Board is the latest incarnation of the dueling piano bar. The venue is larger than before and quite open to the hallway so as readily to attract passersby. There is a small circular dance floor (approximately 15ft) at one end of the room well away and facing the other direction from the pianists. This floor is rarely used. Dancing here is a challenge because there is no percussion and the tempos often syncopated. Of course, a piano bar is designed for something other than dancing, and it serves this purpose well, but it is possible to dance some of the time, though not much. The Rolling Stone Rock Room is aptly named. A band plays cover several times each night, but the repertoire is limited and somewhat repetitive after a night or two. The dance floor, a rounded off rectangle of about 15 feet or so, is off to the side of the main stage and very near the entrance, which allows dancing without obstructing the view of other patrons—a nice innovation. The venue is directly across the hall from Billboard On Board and also open. These venues did not compete with each other as there were typically performances on only one side of the hall at a time, providing supplemental listening space. The music and singing was from our experience exclusively fast-tempo hard rock as the name implies. We were surprised that the fast pace was so relentless however. We heard not one ballad all week. Dancing will be essentially limited to swing, very fast rumba, and the occasional cha cha and nothing else. The Ocean Bar, which previous passengers will recollect as a venue on other HAL ships at which a combo often played danceable music before and after dinner, still exists but no longer has a combo. There is a small stage with a grand piano, but no one played it at any time while we were on board. The dance floor is embarrassingly small—circular and only 10 feet in diameter. It could accommodate two couples at best, if the venue were ever used, and they would have to watch out for each other. We stopped by night after night hoping to hear at least some danceable muiszac-style elevator music. There was none and the venue was usually dark. Each time we walked past (right outside the fishbowl called Club Orange) it was empty and asilent a reminder of all that is missing on this ship. We contacted HALkat band members from a previous cuise on another ship, and they report that this is part of a general curtailment of dancing that is creeping into HAL. This is quite sad and disappointing on a cruise line that just a couple of years ago was marketing Dancing with the Stars. There is a potentially magnificent dance floor in the Crow’s Nest, but in contrast to other HAL ships it is not used for this purpose. The CN is now the center for booking excursions, a coffee bar, library, and extremely pleasant vantage point; it is no longer a dance venue. We have been told that as other ships are refitted, they will follow this model. Another element pertaining to dancing that surprised us, especially for a cruise leaving from South Florida, was the complete and total lack of latin music or dance, except perhaps for the few opportunities to cha cha mentioned above; nary a mambo, salsa, bolero, bachata, merengue, or tango was heard all week. As for other genres, I think we heard two recorded fox trots during intermissions in various venues and two waltzes and even one Viennese, also recorded during intermissions. We met a very nice Canadian couple on the dance floor and the gentleman showed us his new dance shoes and remarked, “I bought these for this cruise, and there is no dancing.” We knew what he meant. Most troubling is the dismissive attitude that the cruise line takes to the narrowness of the dance music offerings. We suggested that some recorded dance music could be played in unutilized venues over the course of the week, especially on nights when live musicians have the day off. There was none. We asked the cruise director, Jairo Lobo, if some additional dance opportunies could be provided; he brushed us off with,” But I like the music.” We are glad he does since he is stuck there every night, but his willingness to oblige was as limited as his musical appreciation. We turned in a polite and constructive suggestion card at the desk; it was never acknowledged. A cruise line executive told us that HAL had been concerned with the unevenness of the musicians before; they now approach musical entertainment as a matter of corporate partnerships, relying on brands rather than musical directors. This shows, for it seems only the corporate brands of music are available now. We suggested that their program could be enhanced by widening the genre of offerings, and these could be marketed in ways making them attractive to a wider audience of non-dancers. A single “Sinatra night,” for example, even a recorded one in an otherwise unused venue, would be one approach, costing the cruise line little to nothing. For now, branding seems to matter more than patrons. Branding is not all bad, however. The line’s partnership with Step One dance company provides performances on the 270 degree World Stage that are indeed world class and genuinely superlative. These performances go well beyond musical theatre on cruise ships by an order of magnitude. This makes the narrowness of dance opportunities for passengers all the more ironic. The Nieuw Statendam is an absolutely beautiful ship, which is well designed and in many respects state of the art. The staterooms make some of the best use of space we have seen on several cruise lines. The crew is well-trained, attentive, competent, and friendly, so the standard of service is just as high or higher than you may remember. The décor is light and modern with clean lines and open spaces. The art work, which has been a signature element of HAL, is fascinating, compelling, and effectively placed. The cuisine is also up to the usual standard and elegantly presented, which is significant in an environment in which other lines are obviously cutting corners. If the dance opportunities were not so narrow and the line so deaf to these limitations, we would rave about the ship. But, if dancing is important to you, this may not be the ship for you. Clearly the company is trying to alter its reputation as a line for older patrons. Music Walk is marketed as the core of the ship’s entertainment offerings, and it is. But those with any interest or experience in dancing, other than 1960s free-style, will find Music Walk perhaps too pedestrian. On balance we would still recommend the Nieuw Statenam, and there is some glimmer of hope, given recent correspondence with corporate management, that they are at least developing an awareness of the shortcomings described here. We think they would like to be more accommodating but are somewhat boxed in by branding, the centrality of the Music Walk concept, a desire to shed some of their traditional image, and hardnosed business decisions about what the crowd wants or will appreciate. We know they are running a business and not a social club. But surely, if classes in towel folding are deemed attractive, a wider range of musical offerings must be as well. Our purpose here is to provide some of the particular information we wished had been available to us earlier on. Cruise on! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We were looking for a holiday away from strollers and screaming kids... and Holland America seemed to fit the bill. Catering to an older crowd is their forte. But this was significantly older than I was prepared for!! One of the things we ... Read More
We were looking for a holiday away from strollers and screaming kids... and Holland America seemed to fit the bill. Catering to an older crowd is their forte. But this was significantly older than I was prepared for!! One of the things we have long associated with cruising was incredible entertainment. This ship had little of that. And what they had did not coordinate well with the dinner seating times in the main dining room. With the late (read 8pm) dinner seating, our only option was to go to the “show” at 7... which meant you needed to arrive by 6:30 to get a seat... which meant you needed to be back in your room by 5:00 in order to shower and dress... Not exactly the relaxing dinner I was hoping for. We thought that choosing a regular dinner time and an assigned table would give us an opportunity to meet fellow passengers and enjoy some lively conversation but that was not our experience. Dinner companions with respiratory illness should eat in their cabin!!! Dinner service was decent but there were significant delays between courses. The food was flavourful and the menu varied. Overall the food was what I expected. And way better than any all inclusive resort I have ever been to. Our cabin steward was friendly and eager to please but not the best at cleaning... oh well. The ship is new. And looks it. But I was expecting more luxurious appointments throughout. New will only last so long and then there will be little to recommend. The three main “lounges” where there was live entertainment every night are all adjacent. This has both pros and cons... if you don’t like one, it is a short walk to the next but the music from one “bleeds” into the next. Sitting in the back of one room often meant you could hear what they were playing next door through the walls. Overall, we had a pleasurable holiday. No one wants to complain too loudly about their cruise. Did HAL blow my socks off? No. Will I sail with them again? Maybe... when I’m 80. And I too may bring my walker. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
7 day Eastern Caribbean in a Signature Suite -Lido has both carpet and tile floor and very heavy chairs. Lots of scraping from tile area must be heard on deck 8. You can order drinks in Lido by pushing a button on your table!! ... Read More
7 day Eastern Caribbean in a Signature Suite -Lido has both carpet and tile floor and very heavy chairs. Lots of scraping from tile area must be heard on deck 8. You can order drinks in Lido by pushing a button on your table!! Portions of balconies on deck 8 are visible from window tables in some sections of Lido Muster drill at 3:45 on first day forced 2900 pax to interior stations on deck 2 and 3. The 12 elevators were packed at the conclusion for well over an hour Happy hour was only on deck 2, Crow's Nest was quiet as a morgue First 3 days martinis had large olives stuffed with blue cheese Crow's Nest coffee Bar opened at 8 am not 7 Signature suite closets are lit when the their door is openned Room fridge is covered by solid door causing quite a bit of heat between fridge and door Delivered room breakfast have new costs for...Steak&Eggs,$9.50, Kick Start, $4.95 and Smoked Salmon Benedict, $7.50 Room shower has wand, rain forest head and side jets. No night light in bath room. Qtips and cotton balls in jar between sinkRound ship's clock on wall by bed that was adjusted by room steward We ate 33,921 eggs while travelling 2013 miles Please if you bring a book leave a book Enjoy Bob Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the NS because it was the inaugural year of it's launch and we always sailed on the smaller ships. A larger ship would be a new experience for us. The ship was beautiful however the promenade deck is a disappointment to us. ... Read More
We chose the NS because it was the inaugural year of it's launch and we always sailed on the smaller ships. A larger ship would be a new experience for us. The ship was beautiful however the promenade deck is a disappointment to us. We are walkers and like to do so early in the morning. We found the promenade on the NS to have mostly obstructed views, sections of the deck to be very narrow and usually lots of crew members washing the deck. Also there are no lounge chairs on the promenade. Our cabin was an aft verandah on the 7th deck (Schubert). It seemed smaller than our last year cruise on the NA,...but maybe that is just our imagination. There was a shower in our cabin and it was nicely decorated however the sink area was very small. We are smaller people in comparison to many onboard. I don't know how a larger person could be comfortable. We split our dinner options mostly between the Lido buffet and the Main dining room. We also tried the Dive-In and Dutch cafes. We ate all our breakfasts and lunches in the Lido. The food was very good in both areas and the Dutch Cafe had great coffees and wonderful deserts. The pea soup is wonderful although the did add a slice of what seemed to be raw bacon on a cracker as a side.The Dive-In got our orders screwed up adding options to tour burgers that they thought we would enjoy. Entertainment was the typical HA experience. No Broadway show types, 2 comics (Fred Klett was a riot), a string quartet with piano and a dance company. There is also BB Kings, Billboard and Rolling Stone areas that have decent performers. Service provided was outstanding. The crew members hustle, are always polite and smiling, and really do a great job of keeping passengers happy. The shore excursions do seem a bit pricey for what you get but they make the cruise experience seem like you are learning about different areas of the world. Of course Half-Moon Cay is our favorite stop and could spend the entire cruise right there. Embarking was sort of a painful wait. They send you an email to tell you what time you embark but I doubt many really follow that recommendation. They give you a group number when you enter the building but we saw people with number 16 entering with people having number 8. Dis-embarking was a mess. Our assigned time of leaving was 9:00 am but we manged to only leave at 10:30. It messed up our travel arrangements as we had someone waiting for us. We realize port authority has something to do with that but that needs to be rethought. We would probably do other cruises with HA but I think the smaller ships are a bit more intimate and to our liking. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We always sail HAL. We've done excursions before, so we cruise HAL for two weeks in the winter to (a) escape the cold Toronto weather, and (b) enjoy superior dining and service. WAY superior to other lines, in our opinion. So the ... Read More
We always sail HAL. We've done excursions before, so we cruise HAL for two weeks in the winter to (a) escape the cold Toronto weather, and (b) enjoy superior dining and service. WAY superior to other lines, in our opinion. So the ship is the destination. We were excited to be on their newest ship - Nieuw Statendam. As usual, wonderful dining in MDR, Tamarind, Dive-In Burger, and Lido. Great service by MDR, Tamarind and Lido staff. Equally great service by stateroom staff. Kudos to Dewa, Adi, Arn, Gena, Dadang, Deni, and everyone in the Lido! And the Lincoln Center Stage was wonderful, as always. BUT - a number of concerns: 1) Smoking in the casino: We're not gamblers, so we avoid the casino wherever possible. But when you leave the World Stage at the upper exit after a performance, you're hit in the face by the smoke in the casino. You can even detect it on deck 2! A MAJOR step backward for HAL. 2) Freezing: Too cold in many common rooms - World Stage, BB King Blues Club, etc. 3) Sea View Pool: I could always brag to my friends that I never had a problem getting a deck chair near the adult pool on deck 9 aft. Not the case on this ship. It isn't just the extra 600 passengers - it's also the new (Nieuw?) configuration. Yes, there's now a second level of chairs, where you can bake in the sun until fried, if that's your thing. But if I wanted that, I'd sail Princess. 4) Photos: I know the world's gone digital, but part of the fun for us is to look at the photos taken by the ship's staff (including the embarkation pic) and purchase the ones we like. The N-S system is to sell you the digitized copy ($20), or offer to print it for you for another $10. A cost increase of 50% over the previous system. Not classy. On nine previous HAL cruises, I have always graded them with five stars each time. Sorry HAL, this is a four - still a high rating, but certain things need attending to. For instance: (1) in the face of considerable input from passengers, you banned smoking on the balconies. Here's your chance to do so in the Nieuw Statendam casino. (2) Please turn down the temperatures in the common rooms! (3) The chairs reserved by the boorish "chair hogs" at the Sea View area have to be better policed. Please get those towels out of there after 30 minutes - just like the sign says. (4) Please reconsider the photo system! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I travelled with our son and daughter in law the cruise of there choice. We choose to fly independently the day before we sail and stop in a hotel close to the cruise terminal so it is only a short taxi ride . Having ... Read More
My wife and I travelled with our son and daughter in law the cruise of there choice. We choose to fly independently the day before we sail and stop in a hotel close to the cruise terminal so it is only a short taxi ride . Having arrived at the terminal at about 11am we checked in was given our boarding number and was in our cabin no 5158 with balcony by 12 noon ,The room was clean and spotless and remained the same throughout the cruise thanks to our two room attendants, there was plenty of storage space. The shower and toilet area were clean and adequate well kept and clean. We are lunch at the Lido outside deck daily mostly with excellent food with plenty of choice with the exception of twice having a burger and chips from the Dive Inn . We had any time seating in the dining room and chose to eat at 7pm with our son and daughter in law we had the same table with the same waiters through our apart from one evening when we eat at the Pinnacle Grill in both cases the food and service was second to none excellent. We had a drinks package called xplore4 but did find you could not drink the allocation on that package unless you wanted to be bloto every day as you were on the package it did allow you to have bottled water specialist coffees which did not form part of the package. The ports of call were all ok ,we did not to the organised trips but did our own thing as we like to find a beach and swim which we did. We did not take part in any on board activates so cannot comment but there was plenty to do. We did not do the entertainment as there was nothing that interested us only the dancing which was good Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have sailed with Holland America previously and were not disappointed so we decided to give their newest ship, Nieuw Stantendam, a try. The ship is beautiful, larger than the other ships we have been on in the Holland America Fleet but ... Read More
We have sailed with Holland America previously and were not disappointed so we decided to give their newest ship, Nieuw Stantendam, a try. The ship is beautiful, larger than the other ships we have been on in the Holland America Fleet but still very similar in design and overall feel and concept. We had a Vista suite and it was well appointed and roomy considered it wasn’t the largest suite available. While the bath was small, the shower was nice and there was a roomy sitting area to use since the restroom vanity would not hold many essentials. We had a queen bed which was relatively comfy. Nice balcony. Service was terrific. The only drawback of the room was that the climate was controlled and I found it warm very often and would have preferred a cooler temperature. We ate in the dining room once and the dinner was very good as well as the service. I am not a sea food fan so we ended up eating at the Lido Deck which was amazing! Service was friendly and such a wide variety for picky eaters!!! We did purchase the spa package for the pool and beds which we did enjoy. We also purchased the 10/20/30 spa special where we purchased two massages and a facial. They were all amazing. The only negative thing I have to say is that during my facial the specialist was way too pushy about selling products and trying to get me to see their on-site skin rejuvenation specialist even when I repeatedly said no. I did not appreciate the pressure when I am paying for a service. Embarkation was easy and was cleared we were able to go to our state rooms. They did take the majority of our bags the night before which was nice and made disembarkation easy. The most difficult part wasn’t a Holland America issue but was attempting to get a taxi. If you do this expect a wait!!! We tried Uber but it seemed there was a bit of confusion so we just went to the taxi line. There are two pools on this ship. One is an adult only pool. On this cruise, it seemed to cater to an older age group (we are in our 40’s) so there we not many children. Entertainment on the ship, what they offered was good. I felt they did lack in this area especially at night. Overall a very nice cruise to awesome destinations!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This is a review of a recent trip on the new Holland America Line (HAL) ship Nieuw Statendam (a Pinnacle Class ship). Our trip was not a typical HAL cruise, but rather a week-long musical event that happened to take place on a cruise ... Read More
This is a review of a recent trip on the new Holland America Line (HAL) ship Nieuw Statendam (a Pinnacle Class ship). Our trip was not a typical HAL cruise, but rather a week-long musical event that happened to take place on a cruise ship. It was the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise (LRBC) #32, a celebration of several related musical styles (boogie-woogie, blues, zydeco, etc.). If you are not a fan of these types of music, this trip is definitely NOT for you. NOTE: Our overall rating does not reflect our true opinion of the ship, because we travelled under completely different conditions than we would expect to experience on a typical HAL cruise, and some of the facilities were not available (for example, Lido Pool aft). Consequently, although we would have expected to award maximum points for a trip on a ship that has been in service barely 8 weeks we believe we would be disingenuous if we did so. We are NOT going to review the LRBC; we will just mention some of our observations, where appropriate. Embarkation Very smooth and efficient. We were asked to sign a release form allowing the LRBC organisation to use any images that included us as part of their activities during and after the cruise. Not a big deal really. The Ship Nieuw Statendam is the most recent addition to the HAL fleet (first cruise Dec 18, 2018). It is a large ship, possibly the largest in the fleet, and obviously everything onboard is new. We were disappointed to discover a change in the SOLAS Drill procedure. Having praised previous HAL ships for conducting (in our opinion) a proper drill in which passengers must report to their muster stations on the promenade deck, we were not impressed to be shepherded into the Main Stage theatre and sent to our allocated sections where we sat for 30 minutes until all of the designated passengers had arrived. We have criticised another line for this method of conducting the drill, because at the end of it we still didn’t know which lifeboat we should use in an emergency. HAL lost some credibility for this change. Deck 3 is a full promenade deck, and you can walk all the way around the ship. However, the lifeboats are not suspended overhead here, but occupy a substantial amount of deck space. This reduces the available walking area considerably, and explains (we believe) the changed SOLAS procedure. It may also explain why there are no Titanic style deckchairs on the Promenade Deck (it would get uncomfortably crowded). For exercise enthusiasts one lap of the promenade is about 1/3 of a mile. Public washrooms are not always easy to find, often being hidden very discretely in out-of-the-way places around corners, in cul-de-sacs, and at the end of short corridors, and there seems to be little if any logic to their locations. In some locations the Ladies and Gents are side-by-side, in others the Ladies might be located on one side of the ship, while the Gents is on the other! Décor Art works are everywhere, mainly emphasising music (our hallway carpet featured a musical instrument pattern). Every landing displays something that catches the eye, although none of the pieces is labelled yet. TIP: you can learn more about the artwork by joining an interesting tour led by the Art Curator, or pick up a collection of explanatory notes from Guest Services. The well-chosen selections for sale in the Art Gallery are also a step up from the pieces normally seen on cruise ships and are worth a close look. The Crew Cheerful and friendly crews seem to be a feature of HAL ships. Many people from Indonesia (which used to be the Dutch East Indies, but also crew members from Europe, the Philippines, and from India. Food We found no reasons to complain about the food in any of the restaurants onboard the Zaandam. The Lido Market serves a range of interesting dishes from all over the world including Asia and Italy. It tends to get a bit hectic at times, especially when people are lining up to get served at the buffet stations. We usually ate dinner in the Main Dining Room and never regretted any of our menu choices. One menu featured calves’ liver and when it arrived it was cooked to perfection (grilled outside, pink inside). Unless cooked properly, liver can easily become leather, which is probably the reason most people tend to shun it. The menu is always very inventive, and every day it lists some dishes that you might call standards for the less-adventurous diners (for example, salmon and strip-loin steak). The normal 1st and 2nd seating arrangements were suspended for this trip, so everybody was considered to be an open-seating diner. TIP: you will enjoy faster service if you can avoid sharing a table with a large group. Dutch Café We enjoyed an excellent brunch of Dutch pancakes here. The venue was quiet when we visited, and our food was prepared very quickly. Pinnacle Grill We were offered a lunch special deal of $10.00 pp in the grill, so we decided to take up the offer. The food, service and presentation were all first class, and we were amazed to be offered such an excellent deal. Fellow Passengers A much younger demographic (our opinion) than those we have met on other HAL voyages. The number of passengers using walking frames, wheelchairs, scooters, or sticks was minimal. Most passengers seemed to be experienced LRBC patrons. Perhaps not surprisingly, the largest group of travellers came from America. Most passengers seemed to represent the Baby Boom generation; some appeared to have just returned from Woodstock. Smoking HAL has decided to allow people to use electronic cigarettes (vaping) in cabins. Some passengers must have misinterpreted this to mean smoking was also OK, as our hallway reeked of cannabis. There was generally no enforcement of rules for this particular cruise. We wish at least one cruise line would introduce a No Smoking At ALL Anywhere On Board policy – we’d be loyal supporters! TIP: smoking is NOT allowed in the casino, which means you can walk through to get to the Main Stage Theatre without getting gassed. Entertainment Venues Entertainment was almost continuous during this trip and many of the usual facilities were converted into musical venues. There are several notable areas: Main Stage This is very different from the Main Stages we've experienced on other ships. It is a large, open, ‘theatre-in-the-round’ design where (our opinion) every seat is a good seat (because it is not obstructed by a pillar). There are six huge pillars, but all are located in such a way that they do not obstruct the sightlines. Seats are organised into upper and lower areas, (decks 3 and 2 respectively) but without the typical balcony seating that overhangs the lower rows. In this respect in resembles the arrangements of a Roman amphitheatre. B. B. King’s Blue Club Compared to its equivalent found on the Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam, this is a much enlarged venue that now occupies 2 decks (2 and 3). It has more seating, better acoustics and better lighting. Billboard Onboard A very intimate venue where the audience can get close to the performers. Rollingstone Rock Room See comments for Billboard. Elevators The frequent movement of passengers from one music venue to the next may have been a factor on this particular cruise, but elevator capacity and speed seemed markedly lower than on other HAL ships and was a constant annoyance. The cars felt smaller and the doors took ages to close unless done manually. People must have been pushing call buttons, giving up waiting and taking the stairs as there was frequently no one there when it stopped on a floor. There are no glass elevators mid-ships. Disembarkation Smooth and very efficient, as we have come to expect from HAL. Would We Sail the Nieuw Statendam Again? Possibly. We still want to get an impression of the ship under typical HAL conditions, so we can report on its more typical routines. Of course, much will depend on its itinerary – we really don’t need to see the Eastern Caribbean again for a while. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We were eager to experience this new build after sailing on the first Holland America Pinnacle class ship, the Koningsdam, the previous year. The Nieuw Statendam (NS) is nearly identical to the K’dam and we had a wonderful, relaxing ... Read More
We were eager to experience this new build after sailing on the first Holland America Pinnacle class ship, the Koningsdam, the previous year. The Nieuw Statendam (NS) is nearly identical to the K’dam and we had a wonderful, relaxing cruise to the ABC islands of the Dutch Caribbean. The most noteworthy change for us over the K’dam was the reconfigured Crow’s Nest, where we spent many hours enjoying the views, reading in comfortable lounge chairs, playing Canasta, and drinking cappuccinos. HAL moved the shore excursions desk to the Crow’s Nest and added numerous interactive digital displays with large maps and photographs of destinations as well as information about the ship’s itinerary, location, speed, etc. There appears to be more seating in the Crow’s Nest than on the K’Dam, with more tables for playing cards and games and an overall roomier feel. There are also two large bookcases with a selection of illustrated “coffee table”-type books focusing on travel, music, fashion, and the arts, so the library that was missed by some on the K’dam has been restored to some extent. Even better, the NS has moved activities such as trivia challenges to Billboard Online so the Crow’s Next is nearly always available to those seeking a pleasant and serene environment to relax in. The other notable change is the area that housed Lincoln Center Stage on the K’Dam (which now shares the Queen’s Lounge area with the B.B. King Blues Band), is now the Rolling Stone Rock Room with a rock band. We enjoyed the classical quintet but otherwise found the entertainment unexceptional (as we do on most cruise lines so we are not singling out HAL or the NS). As usual, the food on HAL was the highlight and the service was satisfactory in all dining venues despite a significant language barrier with some of the staff in the Lido Market buffet. We ate all of our breakfasts and lunches in the Lido Market buffet except for one Mariner’s Society lunch in the main dining room (which, alas, wasn’t as special as one would expect for a luncheon honoring repeat customers). Tea was served daily at 3:00 pm in the main dining and was much better than the tea served on the K’dam the previous year in the Queen’s Lounge. We had five dinners in the main dining room and the food was quite good for the most part. But by the end of the cruise we opted for the comfort and convenience of dinner in the Lido Market. The best dinner in the main dining room was an unannounced special menu one night with each dish created by a member of HAL’s Culinary Council. We also ate once in Rudi’s Sel de Mer and once in the Pinnacle Grill. I have to agree with Cruise Critic’s official reviewer that the specialty restaurants are not worth the upcharge, but I could say the same about our other go-to cruise line, Celebrity. We ate in all the specialty restaurants on K’Dam the previous year and were disappointed by all of them. We decided to give Rudi’s Sel de Mer another chance because of our fondness for Parisian brasseries, but the food, while perfectly fine, is uninspired, about which the same can be said for the Pinnacle Grill. The best thing we had in Sel de Mer was the tarte tatin for dessert. Specialty restaurants are all about charging you extra for expensive proteins like lobster, Dover sole, caviar, and dry-aged steaks, but no protein will save a dish that lacks creativity and flavor. In an effort to appeal to everyone and offend no one, they play it too safe. We were hoping the addition of David Burke items on the new Pinnacle Grill would save that experience, but the tenderloin with lobster dumplings was an epic fail. I had to search with my fork to find the pea-size morsels of lobster in the Chinese-style dumplings. (I have to take their word for it that it was lobster as it lacked any flavor). Worse, the French fries we ordered as a side arrived cold, limp, and greasy. (The no-extra-charge French fries in the Dive-In Grill by the pool are awesome.) Immediately after dinner at the Pinnacle Grill we headed to Guest Services and canceled a second reservation we had made before sailing. We enjoyed our veranda stateroom and the superlative and friendly service provided by our attendants Dede and Sius. The pleasing décor is the same as on the K’dam and the room has ample storage for clothing and other items (though bathroom storage is minimal). There is a good-size television directly opposite the bed with an excellent selection of recent movies (some still in theaters) available at no additional charge. The bathroom seemed a bit smaller than on K’dam but I don’t know if that’s faulty memory on my part. Overall, we wouldn’t hesitate to sail again on this beautiful ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We went on the older Zuiderdam and were impressed. Food was great and the ship looked very nice, but some signs of age. We were looking forward to be on this newest Statendam. The new design of the ship, you'll love it or hate it. We ... Read More
We went on the older Zuiderdam and were impressed. Food was great and the ship looked very nice, but some signs of age. We were looking forward to be on this newest Statendam. The new design of the ship, you'll love it or hate it. We did not love the main restaurant that looked like Circus Circus with shiny fixtures and ugly carpet and lights. The food was clearly Carnavalised with penny savings here and there. Leaving from Florida, with not a single glas of orange juice, the cheapest tang-like watered drinks were served. This ship was build with the idea that it is better to invest a little one time instead of constant expenses and that shows in the theatre with surround screens. So the shows had no band or real singers, just six persons dancing around. One so-so comedian and one good one. Very far from our experiences with Celebrity. The Culinary Counsel is another example, some of the dishes made no sense, far fetched or simply not good. It never happened to me before but I had to send a dish back, simply not eatable smoked chicken soup, so spicy that I lost my speech for a while and I like spicy food! The cheap imitation wood in the cabin and the hallways, especially leading to the theatre was a big let down. Having said all that, the servers were great and the cabin was fine too. Some did not like the bathroom, seems little space but in fact the large shower takes up most of the room, which was fine with me. The last irritation was the constant selling of extra things, one morning we had 4 persons in a row offering to sell bottles of water. Really, too much Carnival on this New Statendam! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We have been loyal Oceania passengers for many years. We looked for a winter Caribbean cruise to our liking. We preferred a maximum of 10 nights, because after that the novelty starts to wear off. And we don't like to leave our pet ... Read More
We have been loyal Oceania passengers for many years. We looked for a winter Caribbean cruise to our liking. We preferred a maximum of 10 nights, because after that the novelty starts to wear off. And we don't like to leave our pet cat for extended periods of time. Oceania's winter trips were skewed towards longer voyages. Friends had recommended HAL, and this itinerary had a great balance of beautiful islands and the right number of sea days. (We sailed for 10 nights; the last 3 were a separate Oprah fan cruise.) We had followed the maiden voyage of this ship via the LIVE reports on Cruise Critic. The photos and narrative filled us with anticipation. We had not been on a "new" ship in many years. Once onboard, we were awed by the beautiful decor, furniture, and art. Usually I yawn when reading about onboard art, but we were impressed by many of the paintings and sculptures. The cabin was very comfortable and importantly, there was more than ample storage space. Our only complaint is that there was a charge for the bottled water replenished in the cabin, about $5.00 per bottle. And no pitchers of regular water was available. We ate most dinners in the MDR. (The menus of the specialty restaurants were not appealing to us.) The dinners were among the BEST in any MDR we experienced on any cruise line! And having 3 courses was just right. We were accustomed to 5 course Oceania meals, which sometimes seemed too much and too long. I liked that each dinner included a special regional entree, which I relished more than once. And it was a good sign that I never had the need to select from the 'everyday" menu. There was so many enticing dishes to choose from. When we are up early enough, it is always a pleasure to have breakfast in the MDR. And HAL had a wonderful selection of menu items. It was especially pleasing that there was more than one type of French Toast, and egg dished like huevos rancheros. My only negative is that the croissants were not as fluffy and delicate as the ones on Oceania. The outdoor NY Deli and Pizza served up tasty sandwiches and made to order pizzas. The system where you were given a pager for picking up your order was very efficient. The entertainment was a nice alternative to the production shows we were accustomed to on Oceania. All the venues were conveniently on the same deck in a central location. The Billboard club had a talented married piano player / singer duo, who told interesting anecdotes between songs. The B.B. King lounge had one of the most talented band with vocalists that I have heard on any ship. As a fan of classic rock, the Rolling Stone venue was pitch perfect, though I wish the volume was at a lower decibel level. There were also two shows with very funny comedians. No need to say much on the ports, as this was a beach vacation for us. Suffice to say we found many beautiful beaches to visit via taxi, with chairs and umbrellas available for rental. I would note a shortcoming in that we liked having a daily newsletter that listed public transportation availability, distance to points of interest, and estimated fares - which Oceania provided. One more point is that our last cruise was trying Viking Sea, which was more expensive and generally inferior to this HAL experience. All in all, we loved our HAL cruise and the many friendly passengers we met at our shared dinner tables. And we will be on this ship again in June, which we look forward to with great anticipation! Read Less
10 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
Nieuw Statendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.5 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0

Find a Nieuw Statendam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise