Cruise Good, Statendam is not the best HAL ship: Statendam Cruise Review by ABC Toronto

Statendam 4
ABC Toronto
Member Since 2010
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Cruise Good, Statendam is not the best HAL ship

Sail Date: January 2011
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: San Diego
This was our second time through the Panama Canal with Holland America. Last year we did the same cruise(on the Maasdam) but from East to West. The Statendam experience was not quite as good as the Maasdam experience. Many of the reviews I had read before the cruise mentioned the ongoing problem with the air conditioning. They were right. We had the AC unit turned down as low as it would go. While the temperature was adequate during the day, during the night we found it way too warm as we prefer to sleep in a cooler room. We noticed that the people across the hall from us had a fan going in their room, so they too had problems. Neighbours on one side of us told us that they had had to call maintenance to have them look at their system several times as it was too warm. So obviously the Statendam has problems. I would not let it stop me from traveling on this ship again, but if I had a choice of ship, doing the same route, the Statendam would not be my ship of choice!!

On the More Maasdam, we had lots of lounge chairs out on deck 12 and there were lounge chairs all the way around the outside of Deck 6. Not on the Statendam!! There were only 5 chairs on each side of the Sports Deck and only one small stretch of the Promenade Deck has chairs. I know of 4 people who independently went to complain at the front desk about the lack of chairs, and who were told that more would be put out, yet the number of deck chairs did not change. Again, this would not be a deal breaker for me, but I did miss the outside loungers!!!

Those two complaints I mentioned were the only things that were not wonderful about the ship. The staff was amazing. The entertainment was fantastic, from the nightly shows, to the piano bar to the guitar lounge to the string quartet. I would have to say that HAL excels at selecting good entertainment. The room stewards were the most attentive we have ever had. The food was great as always. This ship even had fat free french dressing, which I have not seen on a HAL ship before!! We found that a lot of people were like us and preferred to eat on the Lido deck rather than in the formal dining room. Some days it was difficult to get a table. Yet one side of the Lido was closed to guests as it was reserved for officers and staff. Yet we often only saw about 6 people there. On days when the guest side is full, perhaps they should allow people to sit at one end on the staff side.

We LOVED the new HAL policy of allowing you to go directly to your cabin upon embarkation. It was so nice not to have to carry your bags around with you until the call comes to go to your cabin. The disembarkation process went equally smoothly.

We enjoyed the cruise very much. However, our recommendation is that you take the East to West cruise, rather than the West to East cruise through the canal. We just found the ports to be more interesting on the E to W cruise. The two weeks went by really quickly. The libraries on HAL ships are awesome and I read a LOT of books on this trip. The ship's gym was amazing. I found it crowded for the first few days. But after that, it cleared out and it was not difficult to get a machine in the morning. We are planning to travel again next year, and it will likely be on a HAL ship due to the entertainment and food.

A few of our ports are not listed in the Port section, so I'll briefly comment on them here instead.

Huatulco, Mexico.

Since we had toured the city last year, we took a taxi (10 dollars for 4 people) to the resort area. We toured a couple of the all inclusive resorts, then went swimming at the public beach access. It was amazing. Nice waves, clean, warm water. We just took turns guarding our belongings. Beach vendors were very good at accepting no. There was no internet cafe at the dock, but if you had a laptop, there was a cafe that let you use it for as long as you liked as long as you bought something. So that was great!!

Puerto Chiapas, Mexico

We did a city tour of Tapachula and a visit to Izapa ruins. We did not overly enjoy this tour. Neither the city or the ruins is anything special. We found the street vendors to be annoying. Next time we would likely stay at the port where they had a fabulous pool area!!

Peurto Quetzel, Guatemala

We did the Antigua on Your Own tour which was a shuttle to Antigua then 3 hours to wander around. Again, too many persistent vendors who spoiled things for us. Many did not want to accept no!! It was interesting to see the place though. Once you got off the main streets, the number of vendors decreased. But once was enough for us. The drive (1 1/2 hour)each way to Antigua was the best part of the tour. It is fascinating to see the countryside. Less

Published 03/07/11

Cabin review: J614 Large Interior Stateroom

614 Statendam Very quiet, great location, AC adequate but not cool enough.

Read All Large Interior Stateroom (J) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We really enjoyed Cartagena. We took a taxi from the port to the Old City (20 dollars US). The taxi driver (limited English) was insistent that he would wait for us to bring us back. He even wanted to give us a tour. It was difficult to get him to accept a no. We ended up paying him for the outward trip. but saying we would look for him on the way back. He waited for the 3 1/2 hours we looked around. We found out later that they pay a large amount of money to be allowed to pick up passengers at the dock area. If they drop you off, then they would have to pay again to go back and get another fare. So they hope they can take you both ways. It was worth it to him to pay someone to watch his cab for the time while he kept a watch out for us. No doubt we could have flagged down a taxi to take us back to the ship for significantly less than the 20 dollars we paid him, but we felt like we were helping the local economy. And since there were 4 of us, it is not as easy to find a larger taxi. If there are only 2 or 3 of you, you could easily walk out of the port area and get a cheap, smaller taxi. We found Cartagena to be very clean, colourful and interesting. Yes, it was hot and humid. 3 to 4 hours would likely be enough for most people. There were a lot of street vendors, but at least they accepted a no, unlike many of the vendors in other cities!! We went to the Museum of Inquisition. They have tour guides who meet you at the entrance and offer to give you a guided tour in English for 15 dollars for 4 people. We did this, but are not sure how worth while it was. Two of us thought it was worth it, 2 were not sure. The museum is not as large as you think. Our guide took us off site at the end to a jewelry shop and tried to get us to buy their jewelry!! But I noticed a few other guides around who did not do this. We just wandered around inside the walled city and walked on the walls (a highlight as there are great views from there). On another trip, I would visit the fort or the beach. It was our favourite port on the Panama Canal cruise. There was no place at the dock to use a computer. However, if you have a laptop, one of the bars at the dock had WiFi and for 1 dollar you could have 15 min of internet time (although it was Very Slow).

Puerto Vallarta would not be our favourite port on our cruise. We found that while walking around you had to look at your feet all the time due to the condition of the sidewalks. We took a local bus into the town, which was an experience in itself. The Malacon was nice to wander along and we enjoyed seeing the sand sculptures and the aerial fliers. But it was not the type of beach that you would want to swim in. I guess you have to go further out of town to get the swimming beaches. After wandering for a few hours, we were glad to return to the ship. We passed a few shops downtown that had vanilla at a terrific price. Too bad we did not pick them up as we never saw it as cheaply at any of our other ports!! There was a good place at the cruise dock to use the internet. They had WiFi and computers both, at a good price. There is a Walmart across the street from the cruise dock, so it is perfect for picking up anything you forgot to pack!!

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ABC Toronto
Member Since 2010
10 Forum Posts
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