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Sail Date: January 2015

We recently completed a 15 day cruise to the Panama Canal on the Statendam. We travelled with another couple and our experience was very positive. We had a Verandah Suite and found it very spacious. The bathroom showed it's age but a ... Read More

We recently completed a 15 day cruise to the Panama Canal on the Statendam. We travelled with another couple and our experience was very positive. We had a Verandah Suite and found it very spacious. The bathroom showed it's age but a real treat to have a bath-tub. The service was excellent and the staff extremely courteous and friendly at all times. We ate in the dining room, the waiters and wine steward made our vacation. The food in the dining room was varied and very good. Buffet dining in the Lido had ample selection, although we would like to have seen a larger selection of fruit.

We found plenty of activities to fill our day and particularly enjoyed the Café and again the great service. We took two of the Holland America shore excursions and they were not our highlight.

The entertainment was exceptional and we really enjoyed the cruise director. The Hal Cats (Statendam band) along with the singers and dancers was first class. Embarkation and Disembarkation was seamless, the only hold-up was customs in Fort Lauderdale but that was not the fault of Holland America.

Would not necessarily recommend this cruise line for younger folk as there is no doubt the average age is over 75. In summary, would highly recommend Holland America and it was a truly enjoyable 2 weeks.

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Sail Date: January 2015

Our expectations were low for the soon-to-be sold, frequently disrespected Statendam, but this was a very pleasant 15-day sailing through the Panama Canal. We’ve been on a cruise hiatus for six years, seven since our last HAL ... Read More

Our expectations were low for the soon-to-be sold, frequently disrespected Statendam, but this was a very pleasant 15-day sailing through the Panama Canal. We’ve been on a cruise hiatus for six years, seven since our last HAL booking.

We had a concern about possible service lapses and deteriorating conditions on a ship about to be removed from Holland service. The worry was unfounded.

The ship: Recent reviews have cited justifiable flaws. Many, such as shabby linens or worn carpet, seem to have been addressed. To be honest, I found the Statendam to be in about the same shape as her sister, the Maasdam, when we sailed on that ship in 2002.

This is a comfy, tidy vessel. To check, I reached up and ran my fingers over a ceiling light fixture in the atrium – no dust. We love the compact size and the generous space devoted to public areas. Walking the wraparound teak deck is a joy that could disappear from Holland in the next decade. We also enjoy the large library and the Explorations Café. There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy days at sea. Code orange was not invoked automatically at boarding.

Stateroom: We had a large outside cabin on the lower promenade deck, located just off the atrium. It was a great location with easy walking access to activity decks. We were apprehensive about a window on the busy promenade, but no one can see in during the day (unless they press their face against the window, and then it would be a shadowy peep at best). Our attendant Ludfi introduced himself, always greeted us and fulfilled several requests without a problem. After our last cruise on another line, we thought this kind of steward had become extinct. The room was clean. The thermostat worked and there were no odors, which have been problems on these ships in the past. The tub drain was slow, but we didn’t bother to report it.

Dining: We were assigned open seating in the Rotterdam Dining Room. Upon boarding, we sought a table for two reserved every night. To do this, you can go to the reservation station in the Lido upon boarding, but I misunderstood and wound up having the front desk do it on the second day, and that worked. Some people have reported staffing cutbacks, but our servers, Widi and assistant Ade, couldn’t served us as if we were their only two passengers. Water glasses were constantly refilled, every course was checked for satisfaction and we had time for chitchat with them. They were indeed whirlwinds, though. The tables were set elegantly and the bread basket was like a Christmas stocking. The menu was varied with excellent choices. The quality of the meat may be down slightly from years ago. The special international menu on the last night was the best. We ate in the Pinnacle twice. The quality was better than the dining room, but, truthfully, it wasn’t an Oz-like experience for me, and the service seemed slow. \

How about the rest? Well, we don’t use room service. At breakfast, we ate early in the Lido, usually just simple stuff, but I noticed good, efficient service whenever we did get eggs or something special. At lunch, we usually stick to salads. The salad bar was smaller than in the past, but it was good quality and more than enough. In fact, this helped speed up the line. Trays are gone and instead of one long universal line there are specialty stations. This is faster and cuts food waste. I thought there were lots of good selections and prompt service. I like the ice cream, and it was available all afternoon. We used the Dive-In for hamburgers twice, and they were great, with terrific fries. The wait can be 20 minutes or so at busy times although they give you a handheld buzzer to let you know when it’s ready. Some people gave up, and slammed the buzzer down after 10 minutes. They probably ought to warn you of the current wait time.

Only on a few days did it take effort to find Lido seating. On short port days especially, people would return hungry from tours all at once. On embarkation day, we went to the Rotterdam for lunch, and it was excellent.

There were only three formal nights, including one after a long port day in Costa Rica, which seemed odd. Passengers were generally well-dressed every night. On one formal night, I noticed a man without a jacket being turned away. In the Pinnacle, there were lots of jackets or suits even on casual nights.

Drink servers still were quiet and polite, not intrusive as on some lines.

Entertainment and activities: The headline talent was the best we’ve had on any cruise: Magician, soloists, comedian, ventriloquist. We didn’t attend cast shows. Guitar soloist Ben, the Adagio duo, Jennie and HALcats and David Anthony, all were good. We like Adagio and were concerned it’s a duo and not trio, but it makes sense with the downsized venue.

Location guide Wallis gave great port previews and would answer questions at her lobby desk or on the dock. Cruise director Rick Barnes was extremely good. We went to a very good culinary arts presentation. Both protestant and Catholic clergy were aboard, instead of just one, with many services. The Techspert lectures always had a line, although we didn’t attend. Future cruise consultant Shelly was helpful. The barista at Explorations was cheerful even if you weren’t buying. The librarian was also very helpful. That’s all we can give firsthand comments on.

Passengers: This was a very nice, polite, classy group, the majority, of course, being seniors. Only two or three children were aboard with zero teens seen. Lots of German, Canadian and British passengers, but U.S. was majority. Our Cruise Critic members were extremely pleasant and we shared quite a few tours. A gathering took place the second day in the Crow’s Nest. HAL provided cookies and beverages, but did not send a representative.

Ports: We flew in four days early to visit our family in San Diego.

Embarkation: We dropped our car off at the airport Avis at 10:40 a.m. You can leave your bags in the car and ask them to drive you to the port if they’re not busy. It’s only a mile or two to the terminal, where we were greeted by a porter, who took our bags. You go through security, then can register any carry-on wine and finally fill out the medical questionnaire. To get your cabin cards, you enter a long line, but it moved quickly and within 20 minutes we were directed to some seats to await boarding, maybe another 25 minutes. There might have been 400 waiting and we had been assigned boarding groups, which they began calling at about noon, and zipped along. If you hit the terminal shortly after noon, you probably would whip through the whole process, but it was pretty painless for us. We went to the Mariner’s luncheon in the main dining room. Before we left port, there was a life boat drill, no lifejacket required, but they are militant about your attendance.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: We did not book a tour. We thought we’d just sightsee. Thanks to misreading the map, we took a 5-mile hike (not recommended) past the resort hotels to the Malecon, the Oceanside concrete boardwalk with shops, sculptures, artists and vendors. Interesting, but just OK. We took a local bus back for 10 pesos each. In San Diego, we had picked up $100 U.S. in pesos from our bank. Except for the bus, our credit card would have worked for everything we did. We had a bumpy bus ride with a close look at local streets. Near the cruise port, there is a Walmart and a big mall, where we went to Starbucks and used the internet. You can see the mall from the ship, but it’s at least a half-mile walk. There are a few shops near the gangway, too.

Hutaluco, Mexico: This is a picturesque fishing village. We docked beside a U.S. Coast Guard vessel. Before our HAL sailboat tour, we visited the shopping area then joined our group for a stroll to the marina. We cruised along the rocky coast, visiting a number of bays, stopping at a national park for a dip. You had to swim to the beach. The water was warm. About half the small group stayed aboard. There were plenty of drinks and the guide was good. This is the only port where you could walk off the ship to a beach, but I’m glad we took the tour.

Puerto Chiapas: Beautiful docking area with huge thatched visitor center, including about a dozen shops, a pool and landscaped grounds. It is small and isolated, however. You would need a tour or local transportation to the nearest town, which didn’t draw any raves in our research. We enjoyed a sunny day by the ship’s pool.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala: An industrial container port, but with a cruise dock and a long ramp to a visitor’s center, surrounded by scores of neat stalls with local vendors. We took the HAL coffee estate and Antigua tour. Being at the end of the tour line meant we got on the small but cushy van instead of the large bus. We navigated heavy container traffic, and then saw cane fields and volcanoes during our 90-minute ride to Antigua. We visited the Filadelfia coffee plantation, which met Disney standards, for a very good tour and the best meal of our two weeks. We visited the Jade museum, commercial but good, and then had time to explore the market square, where there are swarms of persistent vendors. You can shoo them or bargain, but you might do just as well to get the same trinkets back at the dock.

Corinto, Nicaragua: Our Cruise Critic group booked an independent tour to Leon with Julio. This is a container port with no cruise facilities. We had an hour-plus ride in another small van, with a stop to view the volcano. In Leon, grittier and poorer than Antigua, we visited a huge, enclosed market, a hectic, jammed place with hundreds of merchants, which makes you appreciate North American hygiene. We rode tricycle taxis to the historical Cathedral and square, where the vendors were not so pesky. Due to a shortened call, our group nixed a trip to the art museum, opting for lunch and local beer a very nice hotel restaurant.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica: Another Cruise Critic tour with Odyssey and guide Exon in a nice van for a busy day. We stopped to see monkeys, visited a fruit stand for drinks, traveled up a mountain, took a boat ride on a river teeming with birds and crocs, stopped to see wild scarlet macaws, ate a delicious restaurant lunch, shopped at a modern market for local crafts and then motored around Puntarenas. Whew. Everything was included. This is a cruise port where you could walk around town, but you should get out and see the many sights.

Cartagena, Colombia: Be sure to be on deck for the ship’s circuitous approach to this city of gleaming skyscrapers. We docked at another container port, but there was a nice welcome center with a department-store quality shop and vest-pocket zoo. Here our Cruise Critic group booked with Dora for another van tour. This may have been the most prosperous location we called, but with the wildest traffic. We visited many sights, each time encountering scores of fellow passengers on large bus tours.

Tour and port overview: In some of these places, you’ll see terrible poverty and iron bars on all windows. That said, we never felt unsafe on any tour or walk. Puerto Vallarta and Puntarenas were probably the only places you could walk to see much of anything. You could have wandered around all of Huatulco in a few minutes, and it was the only good, close beach. This is the first time we booked independent tours. On the plus side, we enjoyed spending time with the same Cruise Critic crowd, probably saw more and saved a little. On the other hand, it took effort confirming the tours ahead of time, then dealing with last-minute changes to our arrival times. In Costa Rica, the ship delayed departure for an hour waiting for a HAL tour delayed by an accident. Don’t know if they’d hold for an independent tour. On the whole, the itinerary did not seem promising or exciting, but it turned out to be quite enjoyable. On port days, there was never a difficult crush to get off the ship. Only in Corinto was there a lineup on the stairway, but it moved rapidly.

Panama Canal: Now, I’m glad we did a full transit from the Pacific rather than enter from the Atlantic for a full transit or the peek-a-boo visit. It is spectacular to approach Panama City at dawn, another gleaming metropolis, glide past scores of waiting cargo ships and then pass through the different sets of locks and cruise under two bridges. We awoke at 5 a.m. and were on the Lido deck in front of the gym at 5:30. It was a good location, shaded from the sun and catching a nice breeze. It was difficult, however, to always hear the excellent narration over the loudspeaker. The rails along the forward decks filled up just before 8 a.m. The ship followed the published schedule almost to the minute. After clearing the San Miguel locks, we went to a table by the Lido pool, where we could get a good view of the construction for the new canal. After 11, we went to the Crow’s Nest for a comfortable vista of our sail through the Culebra cut and across the lake. When we got to the Gatun locks, we went down to the lower promenade deck, and it was fascinating to be so close to the trains and workers. You really should move all around the ship.

Sea Days: We enjoy being out on deck. On this cruise, only the first day was uncomfortably windy. By the time we neared Panama, the sun became pretty intense. Even with an older crowd aboard, deck chairs hard to find between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. a lot of days. Aft on deck 9 has room for a dozen chairs where you are protected and unbothered, so we sat there a lot. It seems the more we cruise, the more we enjoy just reading or walking the promenade, appreciating the ocean. So, that’s why I can’t report on team trivia, Dancing with the Stars or other activities. From the deck, there were lots of birds, dolphins and whales to see.

Disembark: We arrived on time in Fort Lauderdale. We were off in the third group by 8:45. We exited customs in about half an hour, but it might have taken a little longer for those behind us. We took a taxi to the airport, for our 12:55 p.m. flight.

Summary: Of 11 cruises, including five on HAL, this was our favorite, particularly for entertainment, quality of ship and service. It will be sad not to have another chance to sail on the Statendam.

 

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Sail Date: January 2015

On this cruise, the captain first came on the loudspeaker and his every mention of the Statendam was “the elegant Statendam,” which we thought was amusing.

We’re in our 60s and most of the 1,211 passengers ... Read More

On this cruise, the captain first came on the loudspeaker and his every mention of the Statendam was “the elegant Statendam,” which we thought was amusing.

We’re in our 60s and most of the 1,211 passengers could have been our parents, so this 15-day trip may not be for anyone younger than the 24-year-old ship. But it was a five-star experience all around. The 719-foot-long Statendam was nearly pristine and the staff members, from servers to officers, were universally efficient and smiling.

We booked this cruise mainly to visit the Panama Canal, thinking the trade-off would be lackluster ports in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Colombia. While we did see poverty, there was a good variety of fascinating experiences. I would recommend booking a lot of tours, though. Despite no tendering, many places had unkind sidewalks. We booked HAL and independent tours and all were very good. The Cruise Critic roll call was very helpful.

For breakfast and lunch, we ate in the Lido, which had plenty of choices, quality and good service. Dinner was always open-seating in the Rotterdam, with a varied menu and surprisingly attentive waitstaff. The burgers at the Dive In station by the pool are top-notch.

The cruise director had TV-host polish. The featured entertainers were all mind-blowing talented, plus all the musicians in the Ocean Bar, Explore’s Lounge and such were uncommonly good. It was like being in the middle of the old Ed Sullivan show for two weeks.

We had plenty of sunny sea days. The ship hugs the Mexican coast, providing beautiful views of the mountains and frequent whale sightings. For the canal, a guide provides excellent narration of the transit all day. (My advice for a canal cruise: Choose winter’s dry and whale-migration season, do a full transit, enter from the Pacific, move around the ship all day and don’t necessarily upgrade to a veranda unless you normally prefer that.) Considering the older passenger mix, we found the gym busy and the deck chairs often at a premium, but not a real problem.

Embarkation and debarkation were smooth. In ports, no hassels.

We were pleasantly surprised at all the nice touches: Fresh flowers, a spotless cabin, replenished fruit basket, exquisite table settings, wonderful common areas and a wraparound hardwood deck. We had wondered if we could stand this length of cruise, but we could have stayed aboard another two weeks. It was elegant.

 

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Sail Date: December 2014

This is my third hal cruise and first on the Statendan ( sea of cortez cruise) and based on this cruise I would not sail HAL again.

First the positives : the staff were overall exceedingly nice,in particular some of the cocktail ... Read More

This is my third hal cruise and first on the Statendan ( sea of cortez cruise) and based on this cruise I would not sail HAL again.

First the positives : the staff were overall exceedingly nice,in particular some of the cocktail servers and bar staff. The food in the main dining room ( dinner) was very good- though service was way too slow at the beginning of the cruise but improved over the days. Embarkation and disembarkation was very good. Disembarkation being exceptionally good , unlike the mass chaos of the Oosterdam, last time we sailed it in 2010.

The Statendam negatives: the food in the lido at dinner was mediocre at best - think Denny's quality, and that is probably being unfair to Denny's . Plus there are no longer trays in the lido,so if you want an appetizer and Main course, you'll have to forgo a beverage unless you have 3 hands . The on shore expert who was supposed to give a talk on the history of the area in the showroom , talked down to us like we were 10 year olds and covered very little history, mostly tips on getting off the ship. We only went once as a result,, . But the overall worst thing was the complete lack of daytime activities on sea days - ring toss and napkin folding being the highlights, .granted most people on the Statendam appear to be 75-90 years old ( we are in our late 50s) but even still, I think you could find more interesting activities in an assisted living facility. Hal is not known for its entertainment or daily activities in general - and on this ship they were really pinching pennies,in the extreme - very unimpressed with the daytime activities as well as the limited entertainment , and with 4 sea days - this was totally unacceptable. Would not sail HAL again anytime soon as a result of this issue,

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014

Because my husband and I live in Southern California the 31 day Incan Empires cruise round trip from San Diego appealed to us. This was our 20th cruise with Holland America and first on the Statendam.

We drove to San Diego and ... Read More

Because my husband and I live in Southern California the 31 day Incan Empires cruise round trip from San Diego appealed to us. This was our 20th cruise with Holland America and first on the Statendam.

We drove to San Diego and stayed overnight at the Best Western Yacht Harbor. Through our travel agent we booked a "Cruise Send Off Package" that included the room, shuttle to and from the pier and 14 days of parking. Additional parking days were $5. Parking was in an underground garage. The hotel staff was friendly and helpful. The room, while somewhat dated, was clean, quiet and comfortable. The included breakfast was good. We ate dinner in a restaurant down the street. The appeal of this property was the covered garage for the car during the long cruise. On embarkation day the shuttle drove right onto the pier, our luggage was taken immediately by the longshoremen and we walked right in to the embarkation hall.

We had been advised by Holland America that the health form would be more specific due to Ebola concerns, but it was not a problem. We had 4 Star Mariner expedited check in, and were onboard in no time. We dropped our carry-on bags in the room and went to the Lido for lunch. I also filled out the shore excursion paper for shore excursions we had not pre-booked.

Ship Internet was dismally slow and a waste of money...20 minutes to send an email. We purchased cellular service for our iPad from ATT and had great service in every port. No service at sea, though we did get service off the coast of Mexico.

Our dining choice was Open Seating. We request a table for two, and if we like it we keep it for the duration of the cruise. We had table 120, slightly separated from another table for two in the corner by the aft windows. Our dining stewards Ngakan and his assistant, Ade, were exceptionally competent and kept our dining time to under an hour. As to the cuisine: my husband was not always happy with the choices, I, on the other hand, almost always ordered fish and was very pleased! I love the chilled soups, and overall had no complaints. Most often for dessert we had ice cream, and Ngakan would order it as a "sundae" for us. Twice I tried the gourmet vegetarian entrées and thought they were excellent. I also ordered a wine package. We used room service for breakfast each day, and I have to say it was the best we have had on any ship! The Terrace Grill was a lunch favorite, now transformed into Dive In Burgers and Dogs. It was surprisingly good! Lido lunches were fine as well. Finding a place to sit at lunch around the pool was a challenge, as many passengers took over the tables to play cards.

The ship offered the usual activities if you wished to participate: Trivia, Digital Workshop, and deck games. Enrichment lectures were very good and well attended. The shows were varied and some of surprisingly high quality. Rick Barnes, the Cruise Director, was the most dynamic I have ever seen on any ship. I attended a few of his "coffee chats" in the Crows Nest and they were very informative. The captain gave him the opportunity to try different ideas as far as on deck entertainment….all were well received. We enjoyed a King Neptune Ceremony. There was a Catholic Priest on board for daily Mass, as well as a non denominational minister. Jewish services were led by passengers. We had two great Cruise Critic Meet & Greets with ship staff in attendance.

Most of our shore excursions were booked through the cruise line. Especially good were Panama: Monkey Watch and Canal Nature Cruise…an opportunity to go through the canal in a speed boat! Also in Panama, there was a City Sightseeing Company offering Hop On Hop Off bus tours. Salaverry, Peru: Archaeological Trujillo, visiting three important archaeological sites, amazing! I took the Tikal, Maya City of Voices excursion and was very pleased. In Lima we used the tour company "Lima Mentor" for two full days of touring. Our guide, Sandra Vargas, was outstanding as was Lucio, the driver. The program Lima Mentor put together for my interests was perfect. I would hesitate to recommend the company, though. Emailed questions were not answered, or I just did not get information I wanted after advance payment. I sent a follow up email to say how exceptional the guide was, and I never got a reply. Shore Ex. offered a shuttle in Salaverry, Peru for $20 round trip; a shuttle to the shopping area at the end of the pier in Manta, Ecuador; a shuttle to shopping at the end of the pier in Puntarenus , Costa Rica…lots of shops there; half and full day trips to the Historical Center of Lima for $29.95 each day, and Lima Shopping Indian Market, 4 hours day 1 for $39.95. There was a Peruvian Handicraft Market & WiFi next to the ship with lots to offer. The ship docks in an industrial area and you must take a shuttle to the main gate. A large shuttle bus and smaller mini vans ran continuously, so getting to the Port Entrance was easy. There were vendors at the gate offering tours as well as taxis. I plan to review our excursions at the HAL website using my cruise critic name.

Disembarkation in San Diego was delayed when international passengers failed to show up for customs. When we disembarked (in pouring rain) we decided to take a taxi back to the Best Western Yacht Harbor. Taxis lined up right outside the terminal, and though it appeared chaotic, we were told to line up in several places as cabs pulled up. We were quickly on our way….the cost was about $17 plus tip, and the car started right away!

Overall, this was an interesting cruise to very different ports. The Statendam is looking a little worn, but still an elegant lady. I hope I have provided helpful information!

 

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014

We found the cruise director and 31 days of entertainment to be excellent. Our ocean view room was very comfortable. However we were on the promenade deck and had to keep our drapes closed. Our cabin steward and waiters were excellent. ... Read More

We found the cruise director and 31 days of entertainment to be excellent. Our ocean view room was very comfortable. However we were on the promenade deck and had to keep our drapes closed. Our cabin steward and waiters were excellent. We were satisfied with the tours we took.

This was our 15th cruise on Holland America Line. We don't plan to sail with them again in the near future. The food was the worst we've ever had on any cruise line. The meats were tough. The Thanksgiving meal was a farce. The desserts weren't worth eating. We lived on the popcorn from the movie theatre. The Lido deck was the worst ever. Many on the ship came down with a bronchial condition. I believe this tied into the unsanitary conditions for obtaining beverages on the Lido deck. Since the ship is going to be gutted and redone in Oct. the main areas are clean, but not being maintained & serviced properly.

The reward program is ridiculous on this line. The most you get for 4 star Mariner is free laundry. Wifi would be much more appreciated. Everyone ran off the ship to look for a wifi connection to check on family and friends.

 

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Sail Date: November 2014

Holland America Statendam

“Our First and Last Cruise with Holland America”

The Good:

Love the showers; the whirlpool tub would work well for my eight year old grandson, but way too small for me. ... Read More

Holland America Statendam

“Our First and Last Cruise with Holland America”

The Good:

Love the showers; the whirlpool tub would work well for my eight year old grandson, but way too small for me. Everything is kept very clean and that is good.

The public areas are very nice and our room has plenty of storage for our clothes; about 50% more than the other ships we have sailed.

The Mediocre:

The food is OK not great, but not bad (when I started writing this). All cruise lines appear to have moved away from “Choice Beef” based on our recent experiences on both the Celebrity Millennium and this ship. NY Steaks are tough and too thin; that is my conclusion, based on a comparison to Costco steaks. I spoke with several guests about the food; several thought it was good and that surprised me. Yes, the food was better than a fast food restaurant, but not what I have experienced on other cruise lines in the past. Also the average age on this cruise appears to be in the mid-seventies and their taste buds may not be that sharp.

The Bad:

One of the ways the cruise lines have reduced costs is to cut the staff that provide services that do not generate income. The waiters that used to bring you water, coffee, and ice tea in the Lido Café no longer exist. They have been replaced by Beverage Hawkers pushing beer and other beverages that get added to your ship-board account with a 15% gratuity. That may work on Carnival Cruises, but 70 year olds do not start their day with Bloody Mary’s.

The seven bottle “Wine Package” we purchased at $200 plus the $30 gratuity (Do the math; approximately $33 / bottle) had one red wine that was older than 2013 (2012) and they ran out of that wine after six days into a thirty-one day cruise.

The ports visited left much to be desired. The ship docked at locations that either had “nothing to visit” or were too dangerous to venture out on your own. The ship provided shuttles service to a nearby town for an outrageous price.

The Ugly:

It just got worse; Salaverry, Peru was the port for the Mumbai, India like town of Trujillo. We had to pay $20 per person for a round-trip from the port to this town; about 1.5 hours. We did not even get off the bus; we had seen all we needed to see on the way to the town square. Our four hour tour to the “High lights of Lima” was only three hours. We stopped in two “parks” for about ten minutes each. There were 38 people on the tour at $50 each. Doing the math that is over $600 per hour for the bus ride and a tour guide.

The food got worse; the formal night where we had our choice of Prime Rib and Lobster Tail, I had both. The prime rib was almost too tough to eat with no real flavor. The lobster was worse, it was mushy.

The more time we spent on the cruise the more obvious it became that this was all about the money; how much money they could extract from us for the lowest cost to Holland America.

Our final experience with the Disembarkation sealed the decision to NEVER sail Holland America again. I believe it started with getting to the port at the last minute, followed by a failure to properly deal with Customs requirements that caused delays, and then a total lack of communications. A couple from our dinner table said they had the same experience two years earlier.

Summary:

We complained to the Tour Desk about the two tours and receive NO Satisfaction! This ship is due to be transferred to another cruise line owned by Carnival in the near future and it appears that management and crew are not really concerned about the ship’s reputation.

Well why not elaborate on one thing that just kept getting worse; the food. If a cruise line is going to serve ethnic food, they should have staff that knows how to cook that food. Also, the ship had a maximum speed of 21 Knots, but most of the time we were traveling at 16 knots or less. Doing a little math I figured if we had left out the slum ports and cruised at 18 to 19 knots we would have had a good 21 day cruise.

Prior to our trip we had heard mixed reviews on Holland America Cruise Lines and unfortunately the bad reviews have proven to be correct. Our 31 day cruise had 12 days to go when this was started. When was the last time you took a cruise and were looking forward to the end of the cruise? That says everything that needs to be said.

 

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Sail Date: November 2014

The Statendam has only 2 more cruises before it is heading to its new owners who hopefully will re-do the entire ship, but somehow be able to keep the beautiful teak decks. There is much character for this ship, but the older things ... Read More

The Statendam has only 2 more cruises before it is heading to its new owners who hopefully will re-do the entire ship, but somehow be able to keep the beautiful teak decks. There is much character for this ship, but the older things like 3 story fountains no longer work. There are places where buckets must catch the water that comes from somewhere. For now it is paint and patch. The crew works hard at holding it together. There are creaks and groans from the walls, and odd noises, but we adjusted. If you need quiet at night to sleep, bring a white noise machine.

The following are things that you should bring along no matter what room you are booking.

• Extra water bottles (for going off shore) with a carrying belt or something. We also had one camelback water holder which worked quite well for long days.

• Frebrez 2oz+ spray for ordor. The ship has quite a musty smell but you quickly get use to it. Using the Frebrez in the bathroom helps.

• A multi electrical outlet plug. Since there is only one outlet, and many things to charge. (Remember the size of your chargers so check if they will fit side by side in the actual outlets.) You probably won’t need to charge everything all at once.

• A makeup mirror (the one they have has long since be able to give off any amount of light, although it came on.) I had both a small mirror and a portable lighted one that I kept under the sink.

• Extra hangers, plastic work well for hanging wet things and just for extra hangers in the closet.

• Plug in electric clock. Ours was small, and easy to set, since there were many time changes this proved handy. Also had a alarm for early outing days, or naps so you wouldn’t miss dinner.

It would be nice to have a nightlight in the bath room. You can leave your drapes cracked open and light comes from under the door to the hall, but the bathroom itself is dark. A small battery powered light would work well, like one of those stick on kinds they sell and you push the center for a circle of LED's.

• I brought handwashing soap. The laundries have the soap included if you want to use it. Also an iron and board for touchups in the laundry. Bring quarters, or get change at the desk.

• I also brought a small portable fan- about 10 inches square (fold up stand) and extra batteries. We did not need it, but there were other cabins whose air conditioning did not work.

The internet was satellite. It did not work well. Probably still best to buy a package and learn how to download quickly, compose off line, then go back on line to upload your email. I would not even try to send photos, although I was able to receive one. Many people said it took a VERY long time to upload. You also have to watch the time of day you use the internet. Late evenings and early mornings seem to work best, or days when many people are ashore on outings. iPhones and iPads, especially older ones, did not work well and kept dropping the signal. I did not try my Samsung android phone, but it seem to work better than iphones at different internet (wifi) restaurants others tried. Often these places were satellite and not very good, especially after leaving Mexico and heading south. Best to plan ”limited” access.

The food was excellent, the staff was outstanding, and everyone was very friendly. The total experience was wonderful for us. I think I would lean toward their newer ships in the future.

 

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Sail Date: September 2014

My wife and I took a triple Denali land and sea tour on the Statendam from Anchorage to Vancouver to celebrate my parents 50th anniversary. The first part was a night in Anchorage then onto Denali National Park via the dome top train. ... Read More

My wife and I took a triple Denali land and sea tour on the Statendam from Anchorage to Vancouver to celebrate my parents 50th anniversary. The first part was a night in Anchorage then onto Denali National Park via the dome top train. The first night was at the Westmark Anchorage hotel. My first impressions were underwhelming. The hotel has seen better days but it was clean and the beds were comfortable. Its location is on Fifth Ave and is not near any inexpensive restaurants. Alaska is generally expensive for everything but it is slightly offset by no sales tax. The train ride north was good but the 10 hour bus ride to the ship was arduous. I talked to some travelers that did the shortest tour and basically just rode the train up to the park, spent the evening at the McKinley Chalet Resort then rode the bus back. I highly recommend that you avoid this tour, the triple Denali tour is a minimum.

We arrived at the ship just before embarkation, there is no time to explore Seward but at least getting onboard was quick.

The Statendam is a small ship (not the smallest, that honour goes to the Princendam) so getting around is easy but lacks some of the amenities of the larger ships.

Our cabin was 560 on the Main deck (deck 5) which is quite low, but was near the forward elevators. The gangway was right next to the room which was good and bad, when the ship was in port getting off was easy but a queue would form in front of the room till the first passengers got off and would be little noisy around 7:30 for fifteen minutes or so.

The shows onboard are average cruise ship fair. The singers and dancers were decent and lively, the magician put on a pretty good show but it was full of the old standards. The last act was a ventriloquist and he was not too bad.

The onboard activities were ok but not great, the Culinary Arts centre had pretty good demonstrations but Chef Guru was sometimes hard to understand.

One thing that all the cruise lines seem to be doing is cutting back on amenities. From really cheap prizes for the trivia competitions to shutting down all services during certain times of the day. I wasn't planning on indulging (I am trying to not eat my weight in food on cruises anymore) but some like to have snacks after the show with a coffee or tea. The Statendam has exactly zero food available between 8 and 10pm in the buffet. A little cheese or cookies would have been nice. The free drinks available are sparse, unless you want water, unsweetened tea, coffee or hot tea you are out of luck. I have enjoyed some lemonade or other such beverages on other ships including other Holland America ships before but not on the Statendam. I have been on many cruises before (this was #15 for me and 17 for my wife) and it felt like the service has been pared back on this ship. Not as attentive to the customer's needs. Our stewards kept our room clean but kept barging into our cabin while we were in there. They would knock after opening the door and sticking their heads in. Twice they almost caught my wife in a compromising position. On all of the other cruises I have been on save for one, the stewards would learn when you left your room and do the work they needed to do then. I don't know if they had more responsibilities and didn't have as much time as before but they seemed that we were an imposition to them and not their source of salary. At dinner the waiters no longer addressed you by your sir name and really didn't make you feel special like I was use to. It felt like going to a chain restaurant where you were more of a bother so some of the servers. I left a little disappointed.

Our cruise had three ports of call and one day of cruising Glacier Bay National park. We were very lucky that on our cruise we were able to have perfect clear sunny weather when we arrived at the glaciers. We stopped at three glaciers on our cruise, one more than usual. Apparently the authorities just opened up a fjord that was closed all year the day we arrived so we were the first and last ship of the season to visit. definitely a bonus.

Our first port of call was Haines. We arrived in port early in the morning and we walked to town. The town really doesn't open till around 11am so there was not much to see or do. Kind of strange for a place wanting to welcome cruise ship money. My wife and I decided to book passage on the fast ferry to go to Skagway. It is quite expensive ($70 return p.p.) but was much better than sitting around in Haines. Haines does have some quirky things to see such as the Hammer museum, a private museum dedicated to the love of hammers by its owner. In Skagway there is much more things to see and do, stopping at the visitor center is a must. The movie and free walking tour by the park rangers is a good way to learn about the town and the two years of the Klondike gold rush.

The next port of call was Juneau. The girls in our group liked the shopping and the boys liked the Red Dog Saloon.

Our last port of call was Ketchikan, the rainiest place in North America. While we were there the salmon were running and walking up to the Creek Street pathway was a highlight. It is incredible that all those fish make their way up that stream. The town is interesting and well worth walking around.

All in all the cruise satisfied our needs for this vacation but didn't exceed it.

 

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Sail Date: September 2014

This is our 4th Holland America cruise and I was pleasantly surprised to sail on the Statendam. I’ve read all the reviews for the past year so I was not expecting too much from this older vessel. To my surprise she is the sister ... Read More

This is our 4th Holland America cruise and I was pleasantly surprised to sail on the Statendam. I’ve read all the reviews for the past year so I was not expecting too much from this older vessel. To my surprise she is the sister ship of the Ryndam which we loved so the layout was great and familiar. She is in very good shape. We consistently saw workers painting and cleaning throughout our sailing.

We did a 5 night cruise which is our shortest HAL cruise and we just turned two star mariner which is exciting. I did not realize that on a 5 night cruise there was no welcome back party from the captain which I was looking forward to. However this was “Casual attire” cruise which is my first. Every night in the dining room the attire was casual which was nice and meant we didn’t have to pack suit jackets or dresses.

We sailed out of Vancouver Canada which is a beautiful city. We booked a pre-cruise hotel at the Pan Pacific thru HAL which was a bit pricey but well worth it. A stunning 5 Star hotel and you literally take the escalators down to the ship the following morning. We boarded the ship in no time we had cabin E810 on deck 4 which was a large Ocean View cabin. Exactly what I expected a good size room with a loveseat and table. Tub in the bathroom with plenty of shelf space in the bathroom for all your items. The bed was somewhat comfortable and the pillows were a little flat but again being an older ship I kind of expected it. The room was always clean, we never really met our room steward he did not introduce himself to us which was a first in all our cruises. He did his job in cleaning and providing towels without us seeing him during the 5 nights so that worked fine for us.

We ate dinner in the dining room every night and our waiters were superb. So friendly and attentive they were fabulous and the service was fast as we had first sit down seating. After dinner every night we enjoyed our little butter mints which is another little perk that HAL does that we love. The food on the ship I must rate as VERY GOOD. There was not one mediocre meal it was all very good. We did not have any crab/lobster due to the short nature of the cruise.

They had self-service laundry on the ship which was cheap at 2.00 to wash and 1.00 to dry. We did a quick load while on board which worked out perfectly. The port of calls were Seattle; Astoria and then two days at sea and then final stop San Diego. We enjoyed the coffee café in the mornings where you can purchase a large strong coffee for $2.00 and get our copy of the NY Times which we just love having to catch up on world events. That is one of the small little perks that we love about HAL getting our morning NY Times. We also spent time in the library and reading our books while at sea, as there are plenty of quite areas to read.

We were able to do afternoon tea twice on the ship there seemed to be some issues both times with the set up and planning. The first sea day the line was around the corner and out the door as they did not serve you they had the pastries and finger sandwiches right at the dining room door and there was so a hold up as passengers had no idea what to choose for food. By the time we got our little deserts and tea it was basically over. They ran out of whip cream for the crumpets and jam (not sure how that happens) but that was disappointing but we said we’d try it again the next day. Day 2 at sea, they had everyone sit down first then they came around to serve you. The issue this time was we asked for the crumpets and jam/whip cream and they kept telling us they will come around and 45 minutes later NOTHING….they kept bringing by the small sandwiches or cookies which we didn’t want. So tea time both days were disappointing.

We signed up for a wine tasting event it was only $15.00pp which was not bad considering we had 5 samplings of wine, 2 red and 3 whites. It was about 1.5hrs long and educational. The sales on the ship are always fun to see what kind of paraphernalia they will sell, to my surprise they had some really good sales such as nice T-shirts for $5.00 and lined rain coats for $15.00. Costume jewelry was buy 1 get 1 free and only $5.00 dollars so that was a steal.

There were plenty of activities to do on the ship during down times, we played Trivia for the first time and met two very nice couples so our team of 6 would play daily (be prepared the questions are not easy so study up)

Disembarkation was pretty good we signed up for expedited so we had our bags to walk off the ship and we were first in line. We really enjoy sailing HAL and will sail them again.

 

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Statendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 2.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.0

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