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Nieuw Statendam Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
165 Reviews

Thanksgiving week cruise = lots of kids; Love the Spa

Nieuw Statendam Cruise Review by SnowbirdWannaB

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2019
  • Destination: the Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Spa Stateroom

We booked this cruise when the price dropped during hurricane season. This was our second HAL cruise; our first was on Zuiderdam. We like Holland America specifically because there are not usually a lot of children on board. Of course we expected there to be more kids during Thanksgiving vacation week, but even so I was surprised how many families with young kids chose this cruise line and this ship. It's good to see that HAL is shaking off its reputation as a cruise line for old farts. There was definitely a broader range of ages on this cruise.

We live in Maine, so we always fly in the day before in case of travel delays. Lately I've been using hotels.com to book one of the hotels in the North Beach Village Resort collection. These are fun, small, quirky, "boutique" hotels, right in Fort Lauderdale village, walking distance to the beach and great restaurants. This time we stayed at The Winterset for $141. It had everything we needed, but there are no elevators so keep that in mind if you have heavy luggage.

We took a Lyft to Port Everglades. Embarkation was fine, and we were allowed to go right up to our cabin. (See more about our cabin, below.)

After a stressful couple of months at work I really needed this cruise, so I indulged in spa treatments like I never have before. I got a hot stone massage, seaweed wrap, and "just to try" acupuncture. All of the treatments were wonderful, but if I had to pick one to do again, it would be the hot stone massage. We also got the couples pass for the thermal spa. Any time we wanted to go in the pool we used the thermal pool instead of the outside pools, which tended to have a lot of kids in them.

We purchased the Specialty Dining package for Tamarind, Canaletto, and Pinnacle Grill. Tamarind was far and away our favorite, with the best service and the best food. Canaletto food was very good, but the timing of the meal delivery and the drinks was off (our wine came at nearly the end of our meal), which made for a lackluster experience. Pinnacle Grill was also very good food-wise, but the venue itself is dimmer and less "sparkly" on N. Statendam than it is on Zuiderdam. Main Dining Room and Lido Market were always good, and of course the burgers and fries from Dine-In hit the spot at lunchtime.

Our favorite place on HAL ships is the Crow's Nest. We enjoyed many hours of playing games and drinking G&T or coffee drinks from the bar there. I sincerely wish they had a better selection of modern games to play, e.g.Settlers of Catan. Some people, like us, bring our own games or cards to play.

On N. Statendam the entertainment is all about the music venues. I was really looking forward to this, but in the end we didn't spend as much time in the various music bars as we thought we would (our choice). We did rock out in the Rolling Stones Rock Room a few nights; their cover band is excellent. We went to the Step One Dance Company show in the World Stage, which was pretty cool. There are screens almost all the way around, and they project images onto them that go along with the show. It definitely adds to the magic of the experience.

We had bad luck with our shore excursions. We had booked SNuba for Grand Turk, and it was cancelled due to poor visibility. We then signed up for the Grand Turk "Safari" tour, which was, I'm sorry to say, an over-priced disappointment. It amounted to bus drive around the island, with short stops at two tourist traps and a beach. Grand Turk has been hit by two major hurricanes, and they are still very much rebuilding.

We decided not to book any more excursions, so in Amber Cove we just went to the cruise port pool, which was actually quite fun. The swim-up bar was all we needed to enjoy ourselves. There are also two excellent water slides that are worth a try.

Our last stop was Key West. We were inconvenienced by ICE, which required every single person on the ship to show their passport and ship ID to an ICE agent before they would allow anyone to depart the ship. The line was very long, but it moved fairly quickly BUT! It did mean that at disembarkation the next day in Fort Lauderdale we didn't have to show our passports to exit the terminal.

Overall, while there was nothing specifically objectionable about the cruise, I was a little underwhelmed by this new ship, and probably won't go out of my way to sail on it again. We liked the Zuiderdam much more than Nieuw Statendam.


SnowbirdWannaB's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Verandah Spa Stateroom

Our cabin was a Verandah Spa Stateroom #11023 VQ. The VQ "spa" designation supposedly means the shower head is a little nicer (it was quite nice, actually), and you get 3 bottles of vitamin water, and in-room yoga mats. As far as I can tell, that's it. You do not get discounts at the spa, FYI. Honestly, I would not have booked a VQ room, but we were lucky to get a "free" upgrade. The reservation agent was great for putting us in a room close to the inside spiral staircase that takes you right down to the spa, so you don't have to walk through the ship in your robe and slippers if you use the spa a lot (which we did!).


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

We live in Maine, so we always fly in the day before in case of travel delays. Lately I've been using hotels.com to book one of the hotels in the North Beach Village Resort collection. These are fun, small, quirky, "boutique" hotels, right in Fort Lauderdale village, walking distance to the beach and great restaurants. This time we stayed at The Winterset for $141. It had everything we needed, but there are no elevators so keep that in mind if you have heavy luggage.

Half Moon Cay

We LOVE Half Moon Cay. This time we rented a clamshell for about $40. I highly recommend renting one if you plan to stay on the beach all day. It gives you a nice covered spot to put your stuff, out of the way of the beach traffic.

Island Tour

We had bad luck with our shore excursions. We had booked SNUBA for Grand Turk, and it was cancelled due to poor visibility. We then signed up for the Grand Turk "Safari" tour, which was, I'm sorry to say, an over-priced disappointment. It amounted to bus drive around the island, with short stops at two tourist traps and a beach. Grand Turk has been hit by two major hurricanes, and they are still very much rebuilding.

View All 116 Island Tour Reviews
Amber Cove (Puerto Plata)

In Amber Cove we just went to the cruise port pool, which was actually quite fun. The swim-up bar was all we needed to enjoy ourselves. There are also two excellent water slides that are worth a try.

Key West

Key West is wonderful just for walking around and taking in the sites. We have been before, so we knew that we wanted to see the Hemingway House again; I love the gardens and of course the cats there. We did a little shopping there and at the Audubon House gift shop. Unfortunately I fell down on their very uneven sidewalks, so I was shaken up and had a skinned knee, which cut our fun short.


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SnowbirdWannaB
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