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.