We've generally had good cruising experiences on HAL. Our first cruise with the line was more than 10 years ago on the Eurodam, which we sailed on again more recently after its refurbishment. We've sailed the Koningsdam, Westerdam and others as well. Overall, each provided us a solid, enjoyable experience that kept us wanting to stay with Holland. This cruise experiences on the Nieuw Statendam was different... some good, some not so good.
THE GOOD: As expected, the ship was beautiful. It's new, so - as expected - public areas and the cabins were clean, fresh and sparkling.
HAL's newly expanded music theme was evident in its interesting hallway art and with its new Rolling Stones venue. BB King Blues band rocked the house. Good, energetic vibes.
The overall demographic was much different too. Not sure if it's because it was Spring Break, or because of expanded music entertainment choices, but there was a different (and, IMO, better) "population" mix on this cruise. The passengers on most previous HAL's we've been on seemed quite old/elderly. No so at all on this cruise.
THE BAD: Service on the Lido Deck has slipped noticeably. We often had to track down staff to get: tables cleared, silverware, coffee, water, etc. Not good.
The food on Lido seemed to decline in quality too. Glad I like Asian/Indonesian food because that became my "go-to" choice pretty much every day. Desserts looked pretty, but weren't all that tasty (except in the Dutch Cafe - mmmm).
Another oddity: the ship was full, yet invariably food in Lido was only available on one side. The other side was closed completely. Led to long lines on occasion.
Also, it seemed odd to us that a Lido would close entirely after lunch until dinner. I believe HAL used to offer at least fruit and small sandwiches for those wanting a mid afternoon snack. No longer!
Cocktails in the BB King Blues Club were a joke. We ordered a drink ONCE because the quantity of liquid in our drinks barely coated the bottom.of the glasses.
We had a cabin with a balcony. It was nice, though it sermed smaller than the same class of cabins we've had before on Holland.
We had to walk through the Casino to get to various places on the ship and the smell of cigarettes was nasty. I thought that Holland was a non-smoking line. Wrong.
OK, typical. Only problem was its proximity to a hall laundry closet. Very noisy in the evening due to staff hauling and dumping dirty linens there. I would not book this room again.