Nieuw Statendam Cruise Review by KMR1225
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
Embarkation in Ft Lauderdale: Stayed at Four Points by Sheraton Fort Lauderdale and took advantage of their port transfer kiosk in the lobby. We also liked their on-site bar and restaurant. On our sailing day, we chose to ignore our assigned boarding time (1:30) and went to the port a couple hours early. Practically walked right on to the ship!
The ship is absolutely beautiful! The décor, the art, and the music theme all played well together. The Lido pool area (with the retractable roof) was very thoughtfully done with different seating and lounging options. Stateroom 4070 was fine and the storage was more than adequate. At night you could hear the music from the venues below but we were not bothered by it. We had the twin bed configuration but I don't think the beds are regulation twin sized -- narrower. The bathroom had a walk-in shower, which was great but the toilet was placed at an odd angle and it never really "felt" right. Storage in the bathroom is lacking -- only one bank of shelves instead of the customary two. That meant using the shelf under the sink for what you could and storing other toiletries elsewhere in the cabin which wasn't really very convenient.
Food in the Lido Market Buffet was presented well, and the very few times we ate there, we enjoyed the food and the service. I do appreciate that it is not self serve - and perhaps very related -- we had no illness breakout either. Ordered room service breakfast most days and, except for the day we got double of everything we ordered, we were happy with the quality and temperature of the food. Main Dining Room for dinner was fine -- food was sometimes great and sometimes not. Some days the menu offerings were not very cohesive and we laughed that they must be cleaning out the fridge. For lunch we alternated between the salad bar in the buffet, The Dive In for burgers/hotdogs etc., and The New York Deli and Pizza -- all were very good.
The specialty restaurants really shine on the Nieuw Statendam! We went to the special De Librije Dinner with wine pairings presented in the Pinnacle Grill and it was fantastic and well worth the price. Ate two other times at the Pinnacle Grill steak house and both times were marvelous. The Sel de Mer, the French seafood restaurant, was exceptional and we would have eaten there more than once but we could not get in again. Tamarind, the Asian restaurant, was just delightful and I think you need to go more than once, as we did, to really experience the diversity of the menu. Canaletto, the Italian restaurant, was just okay -- not nearly as stellar as the other restaurants. We did not experience the Grand Dutch Café but others told us how much they enjoyed the coffees, sweets and other offerings there. Also, we did not eat at the Mami Sushi Bar. There was another restaurant, The Culinary Arts Center, which they closed down prior to our sailing. They replaced it with Club Orange, which was a dining venue for suite guests and others who were willing to pay an additional $50 per person, per day fee -- we were not willing.
Entertainment: The BB King Blues Club was considerably larger than I have seen on other HAL ships, and with the wonderful band they had there, you still had some trouble finding a seat -- They should offer that band a life time contract! In the Rolling Stone Rock bar there was a live band but they just seemed loud to me. I certainly recognized all the music they played, they just didn't play it, or sing it, all that well. And then there is the Billboard Onboard which featured dueling pianos. One of the artists played well but all of his vocals sounded like Elton John was singing (even if it wasn't an Elton John song). The other male artist played well but did not sing very well -- his renditions of female vocalists was just sad. I think hiring male vs female dueling piano artists would be better.
We never managed to time going to the World Stage for shows very well -- always packed. Lincoln Center Stage artist performed early evening and were delightful. We went to bingo once, enjoyed the daily trivia games and even worked on a couple of jigsaw puzzles on cooler at-sea days. The casino was extremely tight.
Miscellaneous: There are many bars on this ship and, because we bought the beverage packages, we sampled a little something at all of them! The beverage package works for us but it may not work for you -- do the math. WiFi charges continue to be outrageous on this ship, and on all cruise lines -- shameful. Best deal? Unlimited laundry! The cost is per stateroom, not per person, and knowing you can have things washed, pressed and hung up, really changes how you pack for a cruise.
Shore Excursions: We only had 4 ports of call on this trip - two port stops in the Azores, one in Cherbourg France, and a stop for a visit to Bruges in Belgium. Weather wasn't our friend on this trip and it was rather windy and cold at a couple of stops.. We reserved ONE HAL shore excursion, and it was dreadful. A total waste of too much money. HAL has to stop gouging people on excursion prices.
Service: Everyone aboard the Nieuw Statendam was friendly, helpful, and I can not think of even one negative thing to say about my interactions or the service.
Disembarkation in Amsterdam: I knew the smoothness of this trip was too good to be true -- disembarkation was a cold, long mess. Honestly, I don't think it was the fault of HAL. I don't think they had enough personnel at the EU entry point and the line to get there moved glacially. Used Rudy's Taxi Company for port to hotel and hotel to airport transfers -- excellent. Stayed one night in Amsterdam at the Hotel Estherea (great location if a bit pricy) and flew home the next day.
Would I like to cruise on the Nieuw Statendam again? Absolutely!
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Brugge (Bruges)Arranged a transfer from the port to Bruges on with Viator. They were not very organized and the entire process took much to much time (cheap price though). Bruges is a magical town and though it was cold, we enjoyed our visit thoroughly. Negotiated a cab ride from the Market Suqare back to the ship. Best decision of the day.View All 355 Brugge (Bruges) Cruise Port Reviews
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