The World Stage, on Decks 2 and 3 forward, is the main performance space onboard; it's an innovative theater in the round, which debuted on sister ship Koningsdam. The venue accommodates 650 passengers at one time with unobstructed views and standout 270-degree screens that are used during performances. A highlight of any sailing is a specially produced short film from BBC's Planet Earth series, accompanied by a live orchestra.
Guest performers, including opera singers, take the stage on intermittent nights; other nights you'll find more traditional song-and-dance production shows.
* May require additional fees
During the day, the World Stage hosts port talks and other enrichment lectures. It's commonly the meeting place for shore excursions before you head out to meet your group.
A day indoors onboard a Holland America ship promises enrichment opportunities, music, relaxation and, of course, a variety of libations and tastings. Nieuw Statendam is no exception.
The Microsoft Studio, on Deck 2, offers complimentary sessions on Microsoft software -- from creative applications to storage -- taught by a specialist. The room contains dozens of computers for passengers to practice on their own, or under the one-on-one supervision of the staff.
Up in the Crow's Nest, at Explorations Central, passengers will find books, puzzles and board games to pass the time, as well as occasional hosted trivia. (BBC-themed trivia using video clips and music trivia are sometimes held in Billboard Onboard and other venues.) Your EXC guides will also lead informative port talks in the theater, and guest speakers are invited to lecture on art and culture, usually tied to your itinerary.
Be sure to read the latest pick from Oprah's Book Club and join a meetup onboard to discuss. However, you might need to check with your travel agent or the cruise line to find out what the latest pick is as they're not listed on the website.
For the culinary minded, America's Test Kitchen hosts themed demos, typically held in the Queen's Lounge. More intimate classes might also be available, but for a fee. Also for an extra cost ($99 per couple or $79 per person), you're able to make your own red wine blend from five varietals, guided by an onboard wine expert at Blend on Deck 2. The program, created in partnership with Washington-based winery Chateau Ste. Michelle, is educational, plus you get to label and bottle your blend to take home with you (or drink on the cabin balcony). Wine tastings and happy hours are also held here -- and elsewhere -- throughout your sailing.
Beer-lovers will find tastings on select afternoons for about $15. Amateur mixologists will enjoy themed cocktail-making classes, including the drinks of cruise line mixologist Dale DeGroff, held at the Ocean Bar for $15.
We're told an artist-in-residence program, hosted by the ArtLink Gallery, will be starting soon; it will bring local artists onboard to display their art, give talks or teach classes.
For those seeking more active pursuits, tournaments on the Sports Court, games of bridge, dance classes, behind-the-scenes tours of the ship and flower arranging are all activities you might see listed in your When & Where program on any given day. Complimentary gaming lessons are also held in the casino on select afternoons.
Lincoln Center Stage is likely to hold performances not only in the evening (5:30 or 6:30) but also in the middle of the afternoon. As the classical musicians share the Queen's Lounge performance venue with the B.B. King's blues band, they are more likely to get a few sessions in during the day.
Music is the main event on Nieuw Statendam, with up to a dozen sets held nightly, and Music Walk is the center of most of the action.
Music Walk is a cleverly designed pathway on Deck 2 that takes cruisers through classical, rock, blues and even samba and other musical styles. Beginning at the back of the ship, cruisers start with the sparkling Queen's Lounge, home to the B.B. King's blues band and Lincoln Center Stage musicians -- both absurdly talented. Further down the pathway you'll find yourself with Billboard Onboard to your left and Rolling Stone Rock Room to your right.
The partnership with Rolling Stone Magazine is new to Holland America, and it brings even more dimension to the nightly lineup as rock 'n' roll musicians do their best covers of classic rock hits. When the rock 'n' rollers aren't shredding it, the piano players (there are two who play face to face) take over at Billboard Onboard and most nights it's a free-for-all sing-along to chart-toppers from across the decades.
End your walk at the World Stage, which also hosts special musical guests and other performances each night. Along the way you might even run into a soloist at the Ocean Bar or a Latin band in another venue. A short flight of stairs away from Rolling Stone Rock Room or Billboard Onboard is the casino, which heats up at night, lined wall to wall with hypnotizing slot machines and table games. Tournaments like Texas Hold'em and lotto drawings are held regularly.
Whiskey tastings at Notes are typically reserved for evenings, and price varies by the daily selection.
An onboard bar hop is held once per sailing; check your cruise program for time and location.
Families will enjoy the latest films shown on the Lido Deck big screen at 7 and again at 10.
On Nieuw Statendam, the bars and lounges are thoughtfully placed in scenic or high-trafficked areas of the ship intended to be convenient and comfortable. That's not to say that there isn't an element of design; one of our favorite finds, the bar tucked inside Tamarind, feels more like a secret upscale city lounge than a bar servicing a cruise ship restaurant.
Notes (Deck 2): Nestled between the Billboard Onboard Lounge and the Rolling Stone Rock Room, Notes offers passengers interested in whiskey-tasting the chance to sample a number of fine varieties from more than 100 bottles. Guided tastings can be booked for a fee, and shots of certain whiskies can range in the hundreds of dollars.
Ocean Bar (Deck 2): If wine-blending at Blend has inspired you to drink more wine, head next door to the Ocean Bar, overlooking the atrium. It's a main thoroughfare for pedestrian traffic, meaning it's a great place for people-watching or grabbing a drink before your dinner across the way at the Pinnacle Grill. On the other side is a quiet lounge set off on its own, featuring a variety of comfy chairs and couches and a small stage with a grand piano that's tickled occasionally by a soloist at night.
Rolling Stone Rock Room (Deck 2): The newest venue on the Music Walk plays it cool with red leather-like chairs and finishings painted black -- the Rolling Stones would approve. The bar in the back serves the space while patrons groove to rock tunes; there is a dedicated menu but the drinks are mostly classic cocktails or specialties from around the ship, nothing exclusive. Servers all sport band T-shirts, from the Ramones to Pink Floyd, which is a cool touch.
Queen's Lounge (Deck 2): The area where B.B. King's and the Lincoln Center Stage musicians both play is a beautiful space designed to look like the inside of a violin. A large stage is flanked by plush, dark chairs on either side. There is a seating area one deck above that serves as a sort of mezzanine, and it gets used -- especially at night -- as many times performances of the B.B. King's band become standing room only. The glittering light fixtures above make a stunning chandelier that resembles a cluster of starbursts. Bar service is available during performances. Be sure to look for the house specials; if you can grab a few friends, order the Boom Boom Punch (more elegant than it sounds), which serves four to six people and includes ingredients like lavender syrup and prosecco. Other activities, like the America's Test Kitchen Demos, might be held here during your sailing.
Billboard Onboard (Deck 2): Home to the piano players of pop hits, the lounge that houses Billboard Onboard is massive -- there's seating near the windows, at the bar, along the pianos and even a dance floor. A semicircular bar serves the sing-along venue. Daytime events here include the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet, cocktails for loyalty members and other similar events.
Casino Bar (Deck 3): This is a dedicated bar that keeps the casino crowd lubricated, with a few stools and TVs for catching the game.
Neptune Lounge (Deck 7): Sporting a refreshed design, the expanded Neptune Lounge is a keycard-access-only space for guests staying in Neptune or Pinnacle Suites. It's tucked in the middle of a deck that otherwise contains passenger cabins. Suite guests will find a TV, reading materials, plenty of comfortable lounge space, a concierge desk and small kitchen with complimentary refreshments.
Sea View Bar (Deck 9): As the name suggests, the Sea View Bar is located near the Sea View pool, but views of the ocean are hard to come by at the actual bar, which is closer to the buffet than the sea. Still, this spot hydrates the sunbathers at the aft pool or diners from the Lido Marketplace who have wandered out to eat in the fresh air. There are eight wooden stools at the bar featuring a nautical flag design, and a cozy nook with a wraparound couch and chairs for convening in the shade.
Lido Bar (Deck 9): Blenders whir and ice is shaken daily over at the bar that serves the main pool. A new feature on the Lido Deck are buttons placed on tables so that passengers can easily summon a server when they are looking for another daiquiri.
Panorama Bar (Deck 10): The Panorama Bar is perched above the Lido Deck, allowing patrons to take in the bustle below while sipping a cold beer. White cushioned seats beckon you to stay awhile. This bar also services the upper level of the pool deck.
Tamarind Bar (Deck 10): The bar inside Tamarind, the ship's specialty pan-Asian restaurant, isn't advertised, which makes it something of a hidden gem. Head all the way to the left when you walk in for not just a bar but a small lounge with intimate tables for two and a secluded spot to lounge with friends. A custom cocktail menu offers a sake list and plenty of concoctions featuring sake, like the Sake Cruz (we thought it tasted like a pink Starburst). The Shiso Sour also got high marks for presentation and inventiveness. The best part is that unlike sky-high pricing at exclusive cocktail bars in major cities, these drinks came in just under $10 including gratuity -- a value that might not stay secret for long.
Sun Bar (Deck 11): More of a sunset bar than a Sun Bar, this location is perfect for a late afternoon or evening tipple overlooking the ocean at the back of the ship. There are only a few wooden stools here, but there is a full bar and plenty of space to roam around while snapping sunset shots or spacing out in a lounger watching the wake.
Crow's Nest (Deck 12): If a library had a bar and hosted occasional events like trivia and board games, you'd get the Crow's Nest. Floor-to-ceiling windows surround this top-deck perch (pun intended). Since it faces forward, plenty of warm sunshine floods in. Ample, cozy seating fills up surprisingly fast as passengers read with a scotch in hand or do a crossword with the help of some cabernet. There are plenty of refreshing and nonalcoholic beverages on hand, as well. This roomy lounge and bar is one of the most popular hangouts on the ship during the morning and afternoon, especially on a sea day.
There are two primary pools on Nieuw Statendam, both located on Deck 9: the Lido Pool midship and the Sea View pool toward the aft. There are no dedicated pools or splash areas for children, but potty-trained kids are welcome to swim around the Lido pool; the Sea View pool attempts an adults-only vibe, but unofficially.
We love the two-tier Lido Deck design of the Pinnacle Class, and it shines on Nieuw Statendam. You have it all here: plenty of tan padded loungers with colorful towels, three hot tubs, semiprivate cabanas and chic white sofas (some with tables) overlooking the pool on Deck 10; plus the whole area is surrounded by bars and restaurants if you're feeling snacky.
A giant movie screen plays first-run features at night (popcorn and snacks are available at the New York Deli), and a glass magrodome roof can retract over the entire two-deck space, depending on the weather. A row of colorful closets line the wall behind the movie screen on Deck 10; these are changing rooms.
The Sea View pool deck is open to the elements with beautiful views, two hot tubs and a wooden bench surrounding the entire pool with a number of slate gray loungers also flanking the space.
The Sports Court is located on Deck 11 and is where Nieuw Statendam's outdoor recreation facilities are. A netted basketball court doubles as a soccer court. The jogging track is also located here; 12 laps equals a mile. Futuristic-looking outdoor fitness equipment surrounds the deck, and lets you stretch and swing in the fresh air. Shuffleboard courts are also painted on the deck.
A Ping-Pong table can be found on either side of Deck 10, near the pool.
The Promenade Deck (Deck 3) features a sheltered walking track.
Space to sunbathe is plentiful on Nieuw Statendam. Apart from the two pool areas you'll find tons of open deck on Deck 11, appropriately named the Sun Deck.
At the front of the ship, on Deck 12, you will find Holland America's private reservations-only sun deck called The Retreat; here you'll find a hot tub, as well as extra-fee cabanas. For about $75 a day ($45 on a port day; $299 for a week), the private cabana comes with sparkling wine and complimentary drinks and snacks.
There might be also be a few loungers available at the very top, forward on Deck 14 (Sky Deck), but space is limited here, and might be restricted due to high winds or other weather.
Deck 1 is where you'll find the Internet Center, including a small computer room with machines available to use. A desk is staffed during posted hours to help passengers troubleshoot their tech problems. Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship and can be purchased in package form starting at $14.99 per day for social media sites and up to $29.99 per day for the inclusion of streaming services. Holland America offers a complimentary app called the Navigator that offers the onboard schedule, deck plans and other useful features.
The Stuyvesant, Half Moon and Hudson meeting rooms are also on Deck 1. This is often where games of "Party Bridge" take place during the day or where religious services are held.
Onboard shopping, in the Merabella Shops, begins on Deck 2 with stores like The Vault featuring jewelry, duty-free liquor and other luxury gift items. Logowear and Holland America-branded souvenirs are concentrated in the shops on Deck 3.
Surrounding the atrium on Deck 3 is where you will find guest services and the desk of the onboard future cruise consultant. Also on Deck 3, near the other shops, is the onboard art gallery. Unlike the long hallways of auction art on other ships, the gallery on Nieuw Statendam is a curated collection of young and emerging artists from the destinations that the ship visits. All art, managed by ArtLink Galleries, is for sale and intended to be affordable.
Toward the back of the ship on Deck 3 you will find Wonder Photo, a new photography concept offered in partnership with Fujifilm. Rather than browse through hundreds of wasteful printed photographs, guests are encouraged to log on to digital stations to browse portraits taken onboard or even plug in their own devices and upload personal images to print -- though packages are still pricy and start at about $90. The fun and interactive part of these photo kiosks are the possibilities for what and how to print; choose from mugs, coasters, T-shirts, tin boxes -- you name it. Most customized items will be shipped to passengers' homes. A selection of cameras and other photo gear is sold here, as well.
On Deck 12, you will find Explorations Central (EXC) at the Crow's Nest, a lounge space that also doubles as a hub for destination immersion and port planning. The shore excursions desk is here, with office hours throughout your sailing.
Holland America is doing away with traditional libraries and as such, there is only a limited selection of books and research materials available to browse and borrow, displayed on shelves around the Crow's Nest or in the area surrounding Explorations Central.
There are no self-service laundry rooms onboard Nieuw Statendam. Bags of laundry as well as dry cleaning can be done onboard by request, for a fee.
There are limited smoking sections onboard, including port side on Deck 9 by the Sea View Bar as well as the Sun Bar and designated areas of the casino. Select nights are smoke-free in the casino.
The Greenhouse Spa & Salon spans the very front of Deck 9 and a chunk of Deck 10. The complex is low-lit and calming with dark wood and touches of jade green; walking in from the Lido, heading forward, you will pass the hydrotherapy pool enclosed in glass. This round pool with therapeutic jets is part of the ship's impressive thermal suite, which includes access to multiple saunas, a steam room, aromatherapy room, relaxation room with heated ceramic loungers and other shower rooms for a daily fee (about $40, but ask once you're onboard) or with a pass for the length of your cruise. If there are two of you interested, ask for couple's pricing. Given the variety of rooms to unwind in, chances for crowding are reduced.
Treatments onboard are provided using Elemis brand products. Choose from face, massage or body therapies (ranging from $119 for a 50-minute reflexology massage) or opt for an acupuncture session or a medi-spa cosmetic service such as Botox, dermal fillers or teeth-whitening.
A dedicated salon offers hair, nail and men's services (like a hot shave); a deluxe pedicure or hair coloring is a fraction of the cost of a massage or facial (about $70).
Look for discounts throughout your cruise that reduce pricing on port days or bundle services at a lower rate.
Nieuw Statendam's fitness center is on Deck 9, inside of the spa, and it's a respectable size featuring rows of state-of-the-art machines, mainly from Precor. Passengers looking to get their heart rate going will find stationary bikes, rowing machines, ellipticals and weight machines, plus treadmills that face floor-to-ceiling windows over the ocean. There is a studio providing dedicated space for spin classes and another studio that hosts classes like yoga or TRX training; we think the private rooms are a nice touch, especially for meditative exercises, rather than fighting for floor space in a crowded gym. Plus, both studios feature walls of windows. Stretching and abs classes are complimentary, but most other classes range from $12 to $20 per session; personal training is available, but significantly more expensive.
Complimentary fitness seminars are held throughout the cruise, and you can meet with fellow passengers who want to walk a mile by finding the time and place in your When & Where program.
Holland America might not strike many as a line for young families, but Nieuw Statendam offers gorgeous kid and teen club facilities on top of its specialty kids menus in the dining room and Lido Marketplace, as well as family accommodations and interconnecting cabins.
The minimum age to sail on Holland America is 6 months. There is no programming onboard for babies, but passengers can order high chairs, booster seats and cribs by requesting in advance -- baby food and diapers can be preordered for a fee.
Group babysitting services (children ages 3 to 12) are available from 10 p.m. until midnight for $5 per hour, per child at the Club HAL After Hours program. In-cabin babysitting can be arranged -- only for children under 5 -- on a limited basis during sea days for $10 per hour for the first child and $7 per hour for each additional child.
Club HAL, the space for kids ages 3 to 12 (kids must be potty-trained to join), is midship on Deck 10, just off the elevator banks. Everything about the club -- from natural lighting and the furniture to a wall of musical instruments and song books in various primary-colored cubes -- exudes an air of "cool."
Activities are divided into two age groups -- 3 to 6 and 7 to 12 -- and generally include arts and crafts, sports, outdoor activities on a dedicated playset and special events that change daily. The younger set is more likely to use the art tables, play kitchen and join sing-along story time while the others (categorized as tweens although it's a big age range) might be more interested in video game tournaments or foosball.
When the ship is in port, services are usually available while parents are ashore (from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and lunch is included. Activities on our sailing were hosted until as late as 11 p.m. On sea days, programming typically starts around 9 a.m., breaks for lunch at 11:30, starts up again from 1 to 4 p.m., and then pauses until 7 p.m. Children in both these age groups must be signed in and out of all activities by a parent or guardian.
The family can check out what's in store at Club HAL the following day by checking their in-cabin TV for details.
Teens 13 to 17 years old have their own hangout onboard called The Loft, which adjoins the main Club HAL reception area. This, too, is a bright space with plenty of hip furniture for hanging around and playing videogames or listening to music. We love the cushioned window seats that line the entire teen and kids clubs.
The Loft is more of a meetup spot for teens than an all-day destination, meaning they can come and go as they please -- even signing out an X-Box system for in-cabin use. However, staff makes an effort to organize movie nights, karaoke, and plenty of classes and sports tournaments that might appeal to your teen's desire to socialize or try something new.
There is a ton of musical programming on Nieuw Statendam, so if your teen appreciates a live band or orchestra, they might get a lot more out of the ship than you expect.