Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids activities and hanging out at the pool. My husband and I like to have a good time too, and the quality of food and service is important to us. Our HAL experiences are generally a win win for all four of us.
While the Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship, it is quite apparent that HAL is reducing staffing levels. For example:
For the whole of embarkation day, it was nearly impossible to get a drink on the pool deck. Instead of smiling servers attending to our needs, we had to stand in line at the bar for every drink. For the remainder of the cruise, tables in these areas were equipped with a service button to call a server over to you table. Let's just say our bar bill was higher on previous cruises.