Our experience on the Nieuw Statendam was generally good, but the cost-cutting by Carnival Corporate has proved to diminish the HAL brand. HAL caters to an older and likely more affluent clientele who, like us, are repeat customers with expectations that HAL will provide that added something that makes us, as adults, want to return again.
We are 4-star Mariners as of this cruise; our 12th on HAL over past years. We booked this cruise to Norway two years ago on the Volendam and it was cancelled in May 2022, replaced with the Rotterdam in June that year; we were unable to sail those dates. We finally made it in 2023 on the Nieuw Statendam. This is a newer and much larger ship so the experience was different from other cruises and in some ways better and some ways not so!
While the HAL itineraries are a decent value for the experience that is offered, the deterioration in service, food, and ship maintenance is obvious. The fleet has smaller but older ships and attracts an older crowd without a lot of children on most itineraries. There are no rock climbing walls or water slides which is a benefit as we cruise for the adult experience.
We were in interior cabin which was said to be accessible for mobility impaired but not wheelchairs. It was a very tight fit even for a folding walker. Bathroom had handicapped shower but there was a 2 inch step to access the bathroom. Also the bathroom was smaller and for a large person would be extremely uncomfortable. On older HAL ships there are 3 closets; on this one there were more drawer space but less hanging room or space to store larger items.