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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was a trip to a bucket list area of the world, and the Nieuw Statendam did not disappoint. The staff were courteous, friendly and obliging (thank you Iman and Izee and others in the main dining room, and stewards Petrus and Joko ... Read More
This was a trip to a bucket list area of the world, and the Nieuw Statendam did not disappoint. The staff were courteous, friendly and obliging (thank you Iman and Izee and others in the main dining room, and stewards Petrus and Joko who made everything work so smoothly for us and for whom nothing was ever too much trouble). I'll not repeat here the many positive comments made by other reviewers, save to say that I am in agreement with most of them. The food was excellent with sufficient variety, and the public areas were amazing. The only thing I would add some constructive criticism about is the level of on board entertainment provided. The musicians were talented, and from what I observed there was a "BB King" group, a classical music group, a rock and roll music group and a couple of pianists who played and sang together. There was also a small support orchestra for the theatre acts. I don't go to theatre performances at home, and avoid them on TV, so I am not in a position to offer any critique. The dancers could have included Michael Flatley and I still wouldn't have bothered attending. Chacun a son gout, but at least they were not the same entertainers every night. The other venues were a different story. Same players, same venue, same music style, same time, Every night, The day time daily activity program needn't have been published. It was invariably a rehash of the day before, and a copy could just as conveniently have been permanently affixed in each cabin. And some (most) of the "activities" being advertised? Friends of Bill W meet. Evening Mass (each evening). Mahjong players meet. Ping Pong players meet. Basketball players meet. Shuffleboard players meet. Bridge players meet. Pickleball players meet (yes, really). Shops are open with amazing deals (yeah right, I cruise to shop). There must have been a lot of deeply religious, card and board game playing sports fanatics on this cruise, although funnily enough I never came across any actual tournaments being conducted. Trivia was also there, And, apart from the bars, (and perhaps the casino for those so inclined) you would be hard pressed to find any other activity with general appeal. Seriously,I appreciate the age demographic of the HAL pool, and the fact that there were few sea days on this particular cruise, but I did expect a little more creativity. The ports of call were wonderful. If the ship excursions on offer matched those I privately arranged (and I believe they did) they would have been very much enjoyed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My 19 yr old daughter and I were late additions to a large group of family and friends on a cruise from Amsterdam to the Norwegian fjords. This was our first cruise on HAL and our first in this part of the world. We very much enjoyed our ... Read More
My 19 yr old daughter and I were late additions to a large group of family and friends on a cruise from Amsterdam to the Norwegian fjords. This was our first cruise on HAL and our first in this part of the world. We very much enjoyed our spontaneous vacation. Embarkation was simple, our cabins were ready as soon as we boarded. There are no flashy waterslides or shopping atriums etc - two nice pool areas, one with a retractable roof (very useful in Norway) and a giant movie screen on the upper decks. Clientele was on the older side. Our group was half 40-50ish and half 17-23ish in age and we felt younger than many. Most of us were in balcony cabins or suites on deck 10, which were lovely spaces and provided us gathering room. My daughter and I were in a standard interior cabin on deck 4. It was extremely comfortable - beds were fluffy, TV was large, storage was plentiful, bathroom spacious and nicer than I imagined it would be. We mostly ate in the main dining room for dinner and the Lido cafe for breakfast and lunch. Food was great for all. We did one night at Rudy's Sel de Mer, which was special but probably not worth the upcharge. We enjoyed high tea in the main dining room on a few days :-) There are many evening entertainment venues on the 2nd deck, lots of music in a variety of styles. The biggest downside for us is that our last minute cabin was interior on deck 4 and we could hear it all from there. We played a "guess the song" game which could have developed into something fun with some planning (we would have had to station a few people on the stairs to verify our guesses.) In port, we booked one kayak trip on our own in Flam and bought an OsloPass in Oslo which allowed us many museums and transportation. The one HAL adventure we bought was to climb Pulpit Rock outside Stavenger - it was the number one thing we wanted to do in Norway but could not find an outside vendor who could do it on our timetable. HAL did a great job - it was definitely a disciplined march to make sure we accomplished the goal - but they had buses, guides, and got us back to the ship in time with no stress other than physical trauma from climbing up a mountain. Several of us also went on the "behind the scenes" excursion on our last sea day which was highly interesting. Our main complaint is about itinerary. We have been to Alaska where the "scenic cruising" part is when people are actually watching the scenery. This trip along the fjords involved scenic cruising after leaving port until sunset. We traveled the length of the Sognefjord - the "King of Fjords" and the longest/deepest fjord in Norway twice (once to get to Flam, situated at the end, and once to leave.) We cruised to the end in the middle of the night. We left while everyone was eating dinner and it was dark before we reached the ocean again. I abandoned food et al in order to see the fjord and capture photos. Granted that I will not starve on a cruise but the scenery is supposed to be a highlight. Similarly, the onboard entertainment is not in synch with the dinner seating times in the MDR. The MDR takes too long to make the World Stage shows, you have to leave early. I also think the stage shows were poorly promoted. We are huge fans of Postmodern Jukebox, who performed two nights. The theater wasn't even half full. There's no nightly standard show. Final complaint: Amid the many pieces of paper selling jewelry or future cruises that arrived at our door each day, I completely missed the one saying that we would not be arriving back in the center of Amsterdam where we left. Missed the deadline for the bus back to the departure point and had to pay 50E for a cab. This detail may have warranted a little extra attention. In summary: I would absolutely go again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this crew because of the itinerary and we wanted to try Holland America.. Embarkation (Amsterdam) was the best of any cruise we have been on (4 previous cruises). Disembarkation (also Amsterdam) was also the better than any of ... Read More
We chose this crew because of the itinerary and we wanted to try Holland America.. Embarkation (Amsterdam) was the best of any cruise we have been on (4 previous cruises). Disembarkation (also Amsterdam) was also the better than any of our previous cruises. Ship is big, new, and beautiful... Great layout and we never felt too crowded. Cabin was spacious with good amount of storage for suitcases and ample closet space. I would say dining was above average but we did not dine at any of the specialty restaurants. We "tried" to attend a few of the shows but never stayed for the duration they were just too boring. Service was outstanding throughout the ship for the duration. Ports were all good but we did not book any excursions through HAL as they were too expensive. We booked through a third party for much less and they were basically the same tours. Shops were somewhat limited but all the staff were friendly. Casino was sufficient (also a great staff) but I would have liked for them to have a Texas hold'em table. Overall a good cruise and we would probably give HAL another try possibly Antarctica. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Chose this cruise because we wanted to go to Iceland. The itinerary was not disappointing and our veranda cabin was excellent, with more than adequate storage. The ship is new, beautiful, and well laid out (except for the Casino’s ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to go to Iceland. The itinerary was not disappointing and our veranda cabin was excellent, with more than adequate storage. The ship is new, beautiful, and well laid out (except for the Casino’s proximity to other public venues). My wife fell in Amsterdam (before the cruise) and broke her arm. The HAL crew were extremely accommodating, from embarkation through disembarkation. The entertainment was a mixed bag. The musical venues were outstanding, especially the Lincoln Center and the Rock ‘N Roll. The main stage entertainment was spotty and evidenced what can only be described as budgetary cuts. The food was certainly adequate; however, in the MDR the food was basic. One had to go to the optional venues (at additional expense) for top quality meals. The overall dining room service ranged from mediocre to good. Perhaps this was due to the newness of the ship, which may still have been in a training state. This was especially evident in the MDR. We are currently deciding whether to continue cruising with HAL, as opposed to one of its competitors. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Chose this cruise because we wanted to go to Iceland. The itinerary was not disappointing and our veranda cabin was excellent, with more than adequate storage. The ship is new, beautiful, and well laid out (except for the Casino’s ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to go to Iceland. The itinerary was not disappointing and our veranda cabin was excellent, with more than adequate storage. The ship is new, beautiful, and well laid out (except for the Casino’s proximity to other public venues). My wife fell in Amsterdam (before the cruise) and broke her arm. The HAL crew were extremely accommodating, from embarkation through disembarkation. The entertainment was a mixed bag. The musical venues were outstanding, especially the Lincoln Center and the Rock ‘N Roll. The main stage entertainment was spotty and evidenced what can only be described as budgetary cuts. The food was certainly adequate; however, in the MDR the food was basic. One had to go to the optional venues (at additional expense) for top quality meals. The overall dining room service ranged from mediocre to good. Perhaps this was due to the newness of the ship, which may still have been in a training state. This was especially evident in the MDR. We are currently deciding whether to continue cruising with HAL, as opposed to one of its competitors. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Retired active senior couple desires to leave sunny, humid Florida Summer for two weeks. Have sailed several times on Holland America. This ship and its sister ship Nieu Kolingdon (which we sailed on last December) are HAL newest. About ... Read More
Retired active senior couple desires to leave sunny, humid Florida Summer for two weeks. Have sailed several times on Holland America. This ship and its sister ship Nieu Kolingdon (which we sailed on last December) are HAL newest. About 2,600 passengers...larger than the rest of their fleet. The food, the service and the ships themselves are 5 star. The main shows in the evenings in the main large theater are soso which can be expected on a ship this size. This cruise was about 60% Scandinavian, 30% US/English and 10% Asian with not many children. Vista Suite (4110) was on deck 4 midship and was small but had great storage and a first class cabin attendant. We ate in 2 specialty restaurants ($35pp) (Pinnacle-steak and Calenture-Italian) and came to the conclusion that the food in the main dining room was as good if not better. The made to order pizza and ceasar salads in the New York Deli for lunch are terrific. The highlight for us were the daily classical concerts in the Lincoln Center which consisted of a talented ensemble of piano, cello, base and 2 violins. They also had a blues band in the BBK Room and a R & R band in the Rolling Stone Room which were OK. A hint on the drinks. Different bars have different Happy Hour times which gives you a cocktail at regular price and a second for $2.00 more. Another nice thing about HAL is that you can buy a 5th of vodka or others for about $40 bucks for your cabin which lets you have a nip on the veranda before the evening festivities. Excursions: Bergen was the best. The other tours were soso. I guess after you see a few fiords and cute little colored cottages it becomes redundant. The truth be known,,,,our numerous national parks in the good old USA are the truly spectacular sights! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This was a 10-day cruise that they stretched into 20 days. They lure you in with pictures of polar bears and puffins and whales. Not one single person on the ship saw any of those animals. Fortunately, most of the excursions were already ... Read More
This was a 10-day cruise that they stretched into 20 days. They lure you in with pictures of polar bears and puffins and whales. Not one single person on the ship saw any of those animals. Fortunately, most of the excursions were already booked by the time I got on board so I missed out on paying $180 and $200 for excursions to NOT see polar bears and puffins and whales. There were many, many sea days with absolutely nothing to do.... except hit the casino. I mean, they had the usual trivia and bingo and towel folding demos, but no lectures to tell us about the different places we were to visit, except talks about the excursions. It was a long, long trip. There were four stops in Iceland. There are not four things to see in all of Iceland, but they managed to find four ports where people could get off and not see puffins or whales. The stop at Inverness, Scotland was wonderful. Grass and flowers and trees with leaves on them. And as a bonus there were deep-water oil platforms parked in the harbor right outside our cabin. Having been an engineer in a previous life I think those platforms are the most beautiful man-made thing on the face of the earth. They were there to be disassembled, but they were still fully intact and beautiful at night all light up. This was my 23rd cruise and my room (3366) is the best room I've ever had. It was a lanai room (not a balcony) and so convenient. I could walk right out the sliding glass doors on to the promenade deck and walk all around the ship. From now on any cruise I take I will look for these lanai rooms. I've always said I've never had a bad meal on a ship, but this time some of the entrees were a little dry. As if they had been sitting under a heat lamp for too long. Bonus: The performances in the Lincoln Center Stage room were worth the price of the cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Not everything about this cruise was abjectly awful. The food and service in Pinnacle Grill was good. Annette, who led the America's Test Kitchen demos, was very good. The itinerary was fairly rare. But a lot of stuff went wrong. ... Read More
Not everything about this cruise was abjectly awful. The food and service in Pinnacle Grill was good. Annette, who led the America's Test Kitchen demos, was very good. The itinerary was fairly rare. But a lot of stuff went wrong. Aside from Pinnacle Grill, the food was fit for a King. As in "Here King! Here boy! Good boy!" Food is subjective but food temperature and consistency are not. And they couldn't get the basics right on temperature and consistency. In eight dining room appearances, my wife never got what she ordered on the first try once. The Lanai room was clean, but the good points stopped there. The Lanai door did not work and was propped open or closed with wood. We could not control the stateroom temperature. This could not be fixed. The toilet clogged frequently. Passenger internet was knocked out for a week in/around Spitsbergen. Some internet worked of course, as the daily mini-newspapers kept appearing, just not for pax. A $50 credit was belatedly offered...a decent deal for those who bought the cheaper packages, but cold comfort to those who bought the more expensive/multi-device ones. The itinerary was clumsy, with too little time in too many ports. Putting Heimaey on the list of ports was ridiculous: at the best of times, the ship cannot approach the shallow harbour so it's a 35-minute tender ride to shore. These were not the best of times: It was not safe to put the tenders out so we skipped it, burning a day we could have been elsewhere. This was supposed to be an EXC cruise and after reading about the biologists and geologists brought on for the Southerly cruises we expected a treat. Instead our "expert" was a drowsy Aussie who had never been to this part of the world. His "expertise" was reading us Wikipedia. Easy enough to skip his talks, but his mumblings were blared on the outside decks, likely scaring away what little wildlife there was. They ran out of 2/3 of the wines in our package (Cellar #2). Servers eager/kind but hopelessly overworked The thermal package bought pre cruise was a grimy hot tub, grimy sauna, and six heated loungers. Layout unsuitable for this wheelchair user. Guest Services to their credit cheerfully gave Day 1 refund. We would only travel HAL again if, factoring in price, it was still a good deal after factoring in the $39pp it costs to eat in Pinnacle Grill nightly in a full balcony with working balcony door. The auto-itinerary says we were on a 34 day cruise but it was 20 days only, disembarking Aug 4. Mostly Spitsbergen and Iceland, with a stop in Norway Proper and Scotland bookending. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because of its unique itinerary which went to Svalbard and then south to Iceland. We booked the original cruise which was to be on the Prinsendam, but this was changed to the Rotterdam. We were therefore on a cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its unique itinerary which went to Svalbard and then south to Iceland. We booked the original cruise which was to be on the Prinsendam, but this was changed to the Rotterdam. We were therefore on a cruise that was designed for a smaller ship and I think that detracted from the experience as we did not seem to get as close to the glaciers and polar ice cap as the smaller ship would. As a result we saw very little wildlife compared to the same cruise in previous years. The crew were good and the outside cabin was roomy, But I may as well have had an inside cabin because the windows were really dirty. In fact, for a cruise that 'featured' so much scenic cruising the windows were disgustingly dirty - particularly in the main dining room and lounge areas. At least some attention there would make it look like someone cared. The food in the MDR was good to very good and the wait staff were very attentive and helpful. We ate at one of the speciality restaurants and whilst this was very good, would not be value for money other than for the occasional treat. The entertainment was very hit and miss. Enjoyed the female singer and the modern dance troupe, but the rest of it was just strange. An Australian singer/guitarist playing old American country music in a fake American accent was weird. Post Modern Jukebox band and singers were great, but some modern music is really good and shouldn't be retro'd into big band music. The holographic dancer and video segways to the franchise owner made it just look cheap. The entertainment timing was also odd. The movies clashed with the stage shows and it was really difficult to get to dinner, movie and show in one night. The day time entertainment usually consisted of someone trying to sell you something. A matinee movie would have been great. And talking of movies - they were repeating them on a 20 day cruise! Again, very cheap. Would have thought they may have packed some more. The American Test Kitchen was great. Annette was an excellent presenter and I really enjoyed her sessions. We paid a lot of money for this cruise because we booked early to get a place on this unique itinerary on a small ship. It was therefore a bit galling to hear about how cheaply this cruise was discounted after the change of ship. I feel pretty ripped off that having paid this money we still couldn't look out a clean window. This was our first cruise on HAL. Can't imagine coming back to it unless things improve. The feature was the itinerary, but the ship just met (average) expectations. It was OK but certainly no wow factor, and not enough to make me recommend it to my friends. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this cruise to go to Svalbard, pure and simple. Was not disappointed. Been to Iceland a couple of times before but still found things to see. Ship board life was fine by me. Did a few shore excursions organized by Holland, all OK ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go to Svalbard, pure and simple. Was not disappointed. Been to Iceland a couple of times before but still found things to see. Ship board life was fine by me. Did a few shore excursions organized by Holland, all OK but a tad expensive I thought. I deliberately sail on smaller ships where I can and Rotterdam is about as large as I want to go. Still had a feeling of smallness about it, and able to meet others passengers several times, creating a more intimate feel. My biggest upset, while not Hollands fault but something I will try and check on in any future sailings, was the arrival of a behemoth carrying 4500 passengers in the same small ports as us. 3 times. Imagine our 1400 passengers and 4500 off the other ship arriving in a port with a population of about 2000 people. Most unpleasant for me who lives in a small town with a total population less than the mob on the Preziosa. I like to feel a ship move and it took a storm with wild seas to make this happen. It appears a very stable ship. Cant have been too bad as we have just booked a cruise on a sister ship, this time to go to the bottom of the world. The review here by cancruise2 indicates to me he/she would be better of staying at home. One small complaint. I paid extra to have an ocean view. It is pointless to do this if you cant see through the dirty window. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
In the end we got more than we paid for. They slashed the rates because they sold the Prinsendam and replaced her with the bigger Rotterdam at unbelievable rates for this great itinerary covering the north coast of Svlbard (and btw. about ... Read More
In the end we got more than we paid for. They slashed the rates because they sold the Prinsendam and replaced her with the bigger Rotterdam at unbelievable rates for this great itinerary covering the north coast of Svlbard (and btw. about 10K km). So this was great. What was not great was that the Rotterdam continued her bad reputation für port changes / cancellations. Even before we sailed, they cancelled Edinburgh for Invergordon. "Port reasons" - no compensation not even the port charges. Then they cancelled Haemey - a discussable decision - but you do not want to discuss this with the captain after having read the reviews here and the threat of applying maritime law. Captain was on the tough side - he left 3 ladies in Reykjavik because they were 30mins late - not to announce two days later on short notice (in the morning) in Invergordon that we would leave 30 mins earlier…. But quod liced Jovi, non licet bovi.... Food average. Excellent cheese and cold cuts, very good salads with fresh broiled tuna in the Lido. Pool grill run out of the good HAL fries after a week. Hot dogs good, hamburgers not. Pizza ok. MDR not so good, excellent front desk, but arrogant sommeliers, other service good, food average - surf and turf for Gala night - badly overcooked. No fresh juices on board. Mocktails removed from menu, but still available. Great experience in the Explorations Cafe - thank you so much for coffee & brownies! Entertainment partly disgusting (Michelle Montouri and her bad, bad vulgar "jokes"), the piano player Patrick singing about mouth and hand jobs with a kid sitting around his piano (she was 12 years or younger, because she had to wear her security bracelet) - unbelievable.) The EXC guide was a bad joke - just reciting Wikipedia word by word and other websites word by word. Putting draaaaamaaaa iiiin everyyyything heee saaaaid iiin aaa deeeeep voice. Aaaaanddd nature alwayyyyss winns. Much better the nice Australian singer and the saxophone player from Holland and the PMJ. And all the nice Dutch onboard - we loved dutch trivia!! Very (!!!) nice crowd in general. Would definitively cruise with all of you again :-) Excursions overpriced, EXC-Team acting like local police in Ny-Alesund - but you did not want to mess with them - you know the captain…. Ship in general not well maintained. Cracked windows in the MDR. So no five star experience as promised - but we never expected that from a mainstream cruise line - for a very nice rate. So: the value for money - still excellent. And: dresscodes have been lifted finally. Formal night: slacks and collared shirt (no jacket, no tie required for men) matched the actual code (so we dressed accordingly) - but even T-shirts and jeans and - that was our favourite - : a tracksuit with polo shirt and sneakers (he) and a t-shirt and very tight and very short shorts (she, showing her lower back tattoo) was admitted - and sat next to a table in black tie… We loved this - as we are on holidays - Live and let live. Baseline: for this price we would come back. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first cruise ever and we didn’t quite know what to expect. We chose it because we wanted to reach beyond the Arctic Circle and into the Midnight Sun, and had a limited time availability. We stayed into a Neptune Suite - ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and we didn’t quite know what to expect. We chose it because we wanted to reach beyond the Arctic Circle and into the Midnight Sun, and had a limited time availability. We stayed into a Neptune Suite - Mozart deck, Aft corner. We absolutely loved the suite. Top of the line, modern and elegant dual sink bath with oversized shower, all in travertine. Ultra large screen TV, and lovely wrap around balcony. King bed was best ever. The personnel was without reproche. All were just trying to go beyond the call of duty. We went to the restaurants - Tamarind was our favorite, with the Mango Posset desert being a killer. Rudy’s is also very good. Great atmosphere. Sophisticated food. The Orange Club was a very convenient way to have a more intimate environment for dining, and Neptune Lounge handy and well stuffed. The World State venue is just extraordinary. Music program onboard video was diverse and we could find our preferred tunes with Hyperion Knight piano, Dual piano performance, blues and rock bands. Shore trips - did do the job. We enjoyed them and used them to the fullest. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Nieuw Statendam Review, Land of the Midnight Sun, Departure on 7/7/19 For a little bit of background, we are mid-40’s cruisers that have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Disney with almost 20 ... Read More
Nieuw Statendam Review, Land of the Midnight Sun, Departure on 7/7/19 For a little bit of background, we are mid-40’s cruisers that have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Disney with almost 20 cruises under our belt. This was our first Holland America experience and we chose this cruise due to the itinerary to the Artic Circle. We left a few days early so we could have time to enjoy a little bit of Amsterdam before the cruise on Sunday. We arrived into Amsterdam early afternoon and took a cab to our hotel, the Kimpton Dewitt as we did not want to transport our luggage by public transportation. We stayed at this location due to free points, but I highly recommend it as it was a short walk to all of the major sites in the city. A colleague recommended that we take the hop on/hop off on tour. I do not recommend this as it was a big waste of time and the tour highlights were not that great. We did download the Rick Steves audio tour on my Iphone, and we did two of his free walking tours and learned a lot from this and highly recommend this way to tour the city. On the Saturday before the cruise, we took the Old Holland Tour that provides public transportation by bus for 20 euros pp and it took you to Zaanse Schans, Edam and Volendam. We had a great time and they also have a walking tour that we used walking around the windmills.  On Sunday, we headed to the port around noon and were on the ship by 12:30. We were really excited to be on this trip and to experience all that we could see on Norway. We were even more ecstatic because a couple of weeks before we decided to upgrade to a Neptune Suite. We have never stayed in a suite, but we pulled the plug because the cabin was an aft corner with the 2 balconies, and we wanted to be able to see as much as we could of all of the scenery both in the fjords and the Artic. One benefit that we truly enjoyed as a result of the suite was Club Orange. We had amazing food and service in this venue at both breakfast and dinner. I have a gluten allergy and they truly catered to me and I was able to have souffle and many other dishes that I have never been able to have on other cruise lines. Ports: Eidfjord. We scheduled an independent excursion through Go Fjord to see the Vøringfossen waterfall. On the way to the waterfalls, we stopped a nature exhibit. This was truly a waste of time, but this was the cheapest and easiest way to see the waterfall. The excursion limited the time at the waterfall, so I highly recommend going to the furthest platform viewing first and working your way back as it had the best views of the falls.  Bergen: We first got on the hop on/hop off bus and do not recommend. The city is not that big and pretty walkable. We then walked around and stopped at the Hanseatic Museum and Bryggen. I highly recommend the museum and they have regular tours for English speakers. We did not buy tickets in advance of the funicular because I was concerned about weather. However, the weather turned out beautiful so on our walk to the funicular I bought tickets on their app and was able to avoid the huge lines waiting to buy tickets. We then had a hearty traditional Norwegian lunch at Bryggeloftet & Stuene. We then headed to the Fish Market as my husband loves all kinds of dried and canned fish. I bought some sausage (later learned you can’t bring back to USA ☹). Alesund: We took the independent excursion through Norway Excursions, Alesund from Fjords to Trolls. Our tour guide Anita was amazing. I learned so much from her about the history of Norway and their culture. This was by far the best tour with amazing scenery on the Troll Road with its 11 hairpin turns. This Florida girl was glad she was not driving. The tour also allowed several stops and photo stops which was really nice. Trondheim: We found a walking tour from Frommers that we used to tour the city. This was also another very walkable city and Nidaros Cathedral was amazingly beautiful. We also walked over the Old Town Bridge with the historic wharves up to Kristiansten Fortress which provided a beautiful view of the city. Afterwards we headed to Baklandet Skydsstation for lunch which was nice little café with outside seating and very yummy food. We then finished our walking tour and headed back to the ship. The weather was again beautiful, and we had a great day in this city. North Cape/Honningsvag: We decided to rent a car. I was a little nervous about driving and renting especially when the rental company said make sure you shut your door at the cape because she had a rental last week lose the door to the wind when he left it open! However, we had no problems driving. We headed first to the North Cape and walked around and checked out all of the exhibits. Then we drove to Skarsvag and checked out the village. We wanted hike to the Arch, but I was worried about time, so we decided to skip that. Then we drove to Gjesvaer, a little fishing town. We had a great day driving around and this allowed for us to make photo stops when we wanted to. We also brought lunch for ourselves and had a little picnic at one of the pullouts overlooking the water. A gas station was right by the cruise terminal, so we had no problems filling up. Also, as a FYI, you fill the tank up first and then pay! Hellesylt: This port was a bit of a bummer because we did not cruise all the way to Geiranger. As a result, we booked the cruise excursion that provided the bus tour and then a cruise down the Geraingerfjord. There was little opportunity for independent excursions in Hellesylt and the excursion we went on was just okay. We drove by a bunch of beautiful things but did not really stop and a tour guide was decent but not amazing. Flam: Because we were in port from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., we did the Norway in a Nutshell tour on our own. This allowed us to take the Flam train up to Myrdal, then a train to Voss, then a bus to Gudvangen and then the boat down the Nærøyfjord. We would highly recommend it. We met another couple from the boat also doing this tour and was able to eat lunch with them in Voss at Tre Broer Cafe and Bar. It was really a great day. Haugesund: We decided to rent a car because there were several little things that we wanted to do and decided it was easier and cheaper to do on our own. We rented from Sixt and the representative was waiting outside for us when we arrived making it very efficient for us to get on the road. We made the following stops: Haraldshaugen (Norwegian National Monument), Steinsfjellet (panoramic viewpoint of city), Avaldsnes: Nordvegen History Centre and Viking Settlement, Skudeneshavn (fishing village) and Åkrasanden (beaches). Unfortunately, at the Viking Settlement, most of it was closed due restoration; however, the history center was really interesting. Thoughts on Holland America/Nieuw Statendam The good: The ship is new and beautiful. The food and service was amazing at Club Orange, Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind. My husband enjoyed the sushi at the buffet. We loved all of the musical acts at Lincoln Center, B.B. Kings and Rolling Stone and the themed artwork that went along with it. We enjoyed the BillBoard Bar and Ocean Bar and had really good service and drinks at those locations. We also loved the Dutch Café with its coffees and snacks. We also loved all of the free movies you could get in the room. We also attended the America’s Test Kitchen demonstrations but wished it was more interactive. We also appreciated the covered pool area especially on chilly days at sea. The so so: On sea days, the public spaces were extremely full, and it was sometimes hard to find a place to lay down and sleep or read a book especially around the pool. The EXC talks were just okay. We felt that she found the information off google and turned it into a speech. I would have preferred someone from Norway that could provide more history and culture about the areas we visited. The bad: We felt that there was a huge lack of activities on sea days or at night other than the musical acts. The ship also repeated some of the same entertainers for the nightly shows at the main stage. We also had difficulty communicating with some of the staff due to language barriers; this was not a big deal but sometimes it was hard to convey what you needed as far as drinks or food in the buffet. The drinks at the remaining bar locations other than the ones mentioned above were terrible and the service was not great. My gluten free options due to my allergy were also limited and even though I was told they have gluten free pizza crusts at New York Pizza, they said they ran out after only 2 days on the ship. We also had problems due to the lack of receipts given because we were charged for items when we had the beverage package and we wanted to have the option to provide additional gratuities for the servers in Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind. Overall Thoughts: We went on the ship for the itinerary and had an amazing time because of it. We thought the food was top notch and we loved our aft Neptune Suite. However, I don’t believe that we are the normal demographic for Holland America, and I think we would be truly bored if this had been a Caribbean sailing due to the lack of activities and interactive cruise activities that we love on other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
The cruise was chosen because of the itinerary. This was our third Holland America Cruise. It was a Baltic Sea cruise with an itinerary that included 9-10 ports in 7 countries in 14 days. We didn't believe the food in the ... Read More
The cruise was chosen because of the itinerary. This was our third Holland America Cruise. It was a Baltic Sea cruise with an itinerary that included 9-10 ports in 7 countries in 14 days. We didn't believe the food in the Pinnacle Grill (with an upcharge of $39 per person) was any better than the food in the main dining room (where there was generally a better selection, too). The entertainment in the main show room was okay, some evenings better than other. None of it was spectacular. The comedian was fresh and funny. Entertainment at the piano bar was okay. The pianist had a good repertoire and played well, but didn't have a voice to match. I have more comments in the cabin review. Ports seemed to be well chosen and excursions were generally good. We had an issue in St. Petersburg, Russia, where arrangements to visit the Hermitage were not well handled. After waiting for an hour to gain entrance, and about time for the museum to close, the tour operator rushed us through a single exhibit (spent maybe 20 minutes) rather than canceling and refunding. Traffic conditions that day were atrocious, and we were delivered back to the ship an hour after it should have sailed. Fortunately, since the excursion was sold by the cruise line, the ship waited for us. We all received an apology from HAL and a 25% rebate on the cost of the excursion. We took an optional excursion via bullet train to Moscow from St. Petersburg (offered by HAL), and believe it was an exceptional experience that anyone with an opportunity should try. Spent a day in Red Square and the Kremlin. The ride was itself a neat experience. The only poor experience we had on any other excursion was a weather-related disaster in Arhus, Denmark, where we thought it would be neat to attend a July 4 celebration. The weather that day was cold and wet and windy. Since most will not have an opportunity to be in Arhus, Denmark, on July 4, it is not likely that this note will matter to many of who read it. We returned to Denmark about a week later (Copenhagen), and the weather and the excursion (mostly in Tivoli Gardens) was wonderful. We thought the best part of the time in Stockholm was actually on the ship as we sailed past great vistas of large and small islands, some with a single home, some with several, some with none. Where there was a home, there was a boat that was necessary to get off the island. We spent a some time in the old town of Talinn in Estonia. Old town means really old. There is a pharmacy that is and claims to have been in business since 1492. Yes, 1492. These are some of the highlights. With as many as two excursions each day and 10 ports, it is impossible to review all of them, but I will be happy to answer any questions directed my way. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the new ship really appealed. We weren't disappointed - had a fabulous time. Embarkation was so easy - well organised, quick and no stress at all. We stayed the night before in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the new ship really appealed. We weren't disappointed - had a fabulous time. Embarkation was so easy - well organised, quick and no stress at all. We stayed the night before in Roommate Aitana hotel in Amsterdam which was about 20 mins walk away and highly recommended. Our luggage arrived at our room promptly after boarding. Ship - the ship was beautiful and well maintained. The Crows Nest is a beautiful space, peaceful for games of chess and board games. The Lido pool area is good because the retractable roof makes it pleasant in hot and cold weather - ideal for this itinerary. The sports court and the area around were pleasant spaces - with outdoor gym equipment and a running track too. I would say that the ship felt slightly overcrowded from time to time - mainly in the buffet. We enjoyed the international mix on the ship - most passengers seemed to be from US or Netherlands with some from UK and also further afield too. Ages were a mix too with the biggest majority probably being active couples around retirement age, although there were also young families and a whole range of ages ! Cabin - our cabins were really good. We had an aft balcony cabin and an inside cabin in our group. I was very pleasantly surprised by the size of the inside cabin. The aft balcony was lovely and sheltered and didn't feel overlooked. The bathroom was also a pleasant surprise - with a proper , walk in shower and clever layout. The cabins were beautifully clean and the cabin staff were friendly and did their jobs really well. Dining - we mainly ate in the Lido buffet. I was impressed with the quality of the food and the fact that the food is served rather than open to collect. There was a lot of variety overall but with vegetarian and vegan requirements I felt these could have been better catered for, especially vegan options. Small changes could have made so many more of the options suitable for all - for example changing the noodles to wholewheat or udon from egg noodles would allow the stir fry counter to be suitable for vegans, making the vegetable soups with coconut cream rather than dairy cream etc. There were no vegan desserts available for our whole trip ! Minor changes to some of the existing options would make the whole menu far more accessible for all requirements. The ship does also have a special menu for vegetarian and vegan customers and I discovered half way through that they would serve that in the buffet on request too - that was much appreciated and one of the staff in the buffet was a huge help in getting that organised. However it is necessary to place any orders from that menu a day in advance , whether for dining room or buffet, which is not ideal and definitely not keeping up with the times - vegetarian and vegan diets are no longer unusual. The other issue with the buffet was that there simply isn't enough space - it could get very crowded and difficult to find a seat. The pizza at the pool was excellent and highly recommended. We didn't get a chance to eat at the Dutch Cafe as it was always very busy and rather crowded. We didn't try any of the speciality restaurants as none had much for vegetarians or vegans. Entertainment and Activities - there didn't seem to be loads of organised day time activities , but that was fine for us as we used the gym, spa etc. We did attend a couple of lectures which we enjoyed. In the evening BB Kings was the standout venue - excellent and really good fun ! The Lincoln stage looked good but the times were early and we were always dining then.... The Rock room was lacklustre compared to BB Kings although the idea of having two options was good and it did always seem busy. The gym and spa were very good and the decks had a range of things to do - table tennis , shuffleboard etc. I don't see the point of all ships having so much space set aside for a casino - and never saw it busy so maybe we aren't alone in that ! Service was faultless from the staff. Never saw much of the officers. The itinerary was good and we enjoyed all the ports. Since they dock so close to the town for each port it was easy to come and go from the ship and see the local sights. Disembarkation was also very easy - only a bit of queuing and luggage already available to collect. Wifi was very expensive ! We would definitely sail with HAL again and had a great trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Just a qualifier to start ... this is my first cruise, so I write this review lacking other benchmarks. I'm essentially rating and evaluating this cruise relative to other vacation experiences and the expectations from reading prior ... Read More
Just a qualifier to start ... this is my first cruise, so I write this review lacking other benchmarks. I'm essentially rating and evaluating this cruise relative to other vacation experiences and the expectations from reading prior reviews. That said, I don't see how this experience could have been much better than it was. Here are some highlights. Dining with dietary needs: One of my sons was gluten-free and dairy free. We found the main dining room and the specialty restaurants (Canelatto, Pinnacle Grill) to be particularly confidence building in terms of how they handle allergies. This was true for both dinner and breakfast (we never happened to eat lunch in the MDR). My son generally pre-orded his dinner for the next day at a current days dinner and the chefs were able to prepare it according to his needs. Dive In and the NY Deli also handled special dietary needs well. The Lido Buffet was a little more chancy as nothing was labeled, so we rarely ate there. Dining quality and experience: I don't see how it could be much better. Food was delicious and served at appropriate temperature. Range of choices in MDR and specialty restaurants was excellent. Service was phenomenal. Ambiance in the 2nd floor MDR was solid -- even better at times when we got a seat by the window. One observation was that one needs to allow about 1 hour for breakfast and 1.5-2 hours for dinner. In other words, it's European dining speed. That was quite acceptable. I loved the fact that you could get food until midnight. Evening entertainment: The Music Walk (BB King, Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard Onboard) totally exceeded expectations. The Rock Room cover band was very good as was BB King (the bass player was phenomenal) and they hide quite a bit of variation from show to show and night to night. But the two pianists in Billboard Onboard stole the show. They were engaging, exceptionally talented, and quite entertaining. We chose Nieuw Statendam for their emphasis on music so we had high expectations. This surpassed them. Only nit might be that many shows were very crowded, but if you were willing to stand, you never missed a beat. Other observations: -- The appearance of the boat was spectacular. It still had that "new boat" smell. :-) -- I personally liked the walking path around the exterior of the boat on deck 3. One of my sons really liked the basketball court on deck 11. -- I liked the fact that the hot tubs were kept at about 100F. That means that you could relax and not have to worry about leaving and 15-20 minutes. -- They seemed to have very good judgment as to when to close the roof on the Lido pool and when to keep it open. -- Entry and exit on the boat at port was well organized. Some minor nits: -- Sometimes the wait at the Guest Services desk could be a bit long -- up to 15 minutes. -- I had a few times where I was trying to get information and got different answers from different people. For instance, I could never figure out what time the pool closed. -- The Navigator app was OK ... but it did not consistently notify me when I received a chat message. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
If your primary interest in cruising is to make short visits to a variety of sites without having to unpack or worry about checking in/out, arrange transport between cities, etc. , then the Nieuw Statendam is the ship for you. If you also ... Read More
If your primary interest in cruising is to make short visits to a variety of sites without having to unpack or worry about checking in/out, arrange transport between cities, etc. , then the Nieuw Statendam is the ship for you. If you also see cruising to foreign lands as an opportunity to learn through onboard lectures and enjoy yourself, then this is not the ship for you. We did a 14-day cruise to Norway that included five sea days. I anticipated having presentations by speakers who might discuss the local traditions, legends, politics, or other potential Nordic topics. Not so on this ship. The EXC guide presented memorized generic lectures with photos on each port and very few other topics. Most lectures were 30 - 40 minutes in length and usually covered two ports at a time. The EXC guide arrived and started promptly on time and as soon as she finished went into hiding in the crew spaces, i.e., no deviation from the script, no questions, etc. Other than the three music venues, HAL has done away with all entertainment other than a few guest artists (singers, comics, etc.). In the first seven days, we had a great opera singer who performed two evenings, one comedian who performed once, one adequate guitarist who performed once and one evening when the guitarist and comedian shared the stage. The first night, there was an EXC lecture and one night there was no entertainment, not even a movie in the mainstage. There were movies each evening poolside. We were fortunate to obtain a reasonably priced upgrade to a Neptune Suite which made the cruise much more comfortable. The room, although not as large as on older HAL ships was very well laid out with a great bathroom. There were at least six electrical outlets with North American 110 and USB jacks in each. The Neptune Lounge concierges, Paulo and Kirsten, provided great service when requested. Club Orange is HAL’s effort to catch up with the completion in providing a distinctive suite experience. It is a somewhat feeble attempt in that the menu is identical to the MDR with an additional item on some days. Our original excellent chef was moved to Sel de Mer near the end of the cruise and his loss was obvious to the tenor of the restaurant. Not only was he a wonderful and meticulous chef, he also took time to come out and talk with the clientele when time permitted. The new chef maintained a low profile. Service by the staff onboard was typical of HAL and other lines - excellent with a smiling and helpful team. Navigation officers must have been present since we travelled safely between ports, but were invisible, only to be seen when tendering. With the exception of the friendly and visible chief security officer, hotel officers remained behind the scenes unless they were hurriedly going from one place to another trying to avoid interaction with guests. Rust. I mention this since some reviewers believe it is an indication of ship condition. We noted rust in several places on our veranda and other locations, so those who don’t like rust should avoid this eight month old ship. To us, the ship was quite well maintained with many subtle front-facing and behind the scenes improvements from the Koningsdam on which we cruised eight months ago. We will likely return to HAL for a great itinerary, but can’t imagine any other reason. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I joined this HAL-branded cruise for 2 reasons. Firstly, to sightsee and enjoy the Norwegian Fjords and its culture. I am happy to achieve what I wish for and rated it a 9 out of 10. Secondly, the HAL experience onboard Nieuw Statendam ... Read More
I joined this HAL-branded cruise for 2 reasons. Firstly, to sightsee and enjoy the Norwegian Fjords and its culture. I am happy to achieve what I wish for and rated it a 9 out of 10. Secondly, the HAL experience onboard Nieuw Statendam (prior, I cruised with Zuiderdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Koningsdam). This is the worst programming/events I encountered. The quality of the World Stage performance was below par (apart from renowned pianist Zhang and One-Step light & dance performance). There were 2 nights without performance. I was disappointed that the ship didn't engaged any local Nowergian performer throughout the 14 nights. t) Sea day has 1 track event rather than 2, on most ship. As such, sea-day was boring and subdued. I would like more enrichment programs on sea day. Like painting appreciation, pottery making, knitting, play a simple norwegian musical instrument Lido Market food quality and quantity were excellent BUT lack variety. Serving the same food 14 days in a row. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because of where it was going. Have not ocean cruised for over 10 years. The ship is lovely & new. We thought the staff was great. The emphasis was on music and we enjoyed the Lincoln Center stage concerts so very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of where it was going. Have not ocean cruised for over 10 years. The ship is lovely & new. We thought the staff was great. The emphasis was on music and we enjoyed the Lincoln Center stage concerts so very much! The World Stage was a mixed bag for us. The acts varied from classical vocals, to comedy, to dance. For this stage I would have liked to see group scenes, comedians that work together. One guy is not to energetic. We did not attend all of those. BB King was terrific as well. Food.. we did not take advantage of the specialty restaurants. Another way tp pick our pockets. The Lido breakfasts were great! Lunches were fine too. The main dining room was very hit or miss. I was looking forward to fish but each of the 3 entrees I tried were not well prepared. My husband tried more and had some good results. The Norwegian salmon was the best. The servings of vegetables were very, very small. Sauces were tasteless and often smeared on plate for effect, not enough to enjoy. I had salmon with one asparagus spear! Often the potatoes were just 2 bites worth. Over all, choices were varied and so were the results. I had a couple pasta dishes that were terrific. The curry one night was superb. Excursions...so outrageously over priced that we didn’t even consider. Did a couple private ones that were great and much cheaper. The thermal spa was nice...we did spring for this, but felt like it was not worth the charge. Wine overpriced and why no local Norwegian craft beers not available? The port talks were fun, but honestly of little help. Neither were the port maps or info helpful at all. We came to see Norway and did...on our own. Hiked most of the time while off the boat. The fitness area was excellent and we took full advantage of this area. But really...$20 for spin class? The stretch classes looked too crowded so again, did our own thing. Over 50% of the passengers were Dutch, there were a lot of Chinese as well. Our assigned table mates were just awful so we went rogue and came in as our music scheduled allowed. Overall, the charges for drinks, excursions, WIFI, classes etc were too highpriced , but we enjoyed the music and the movies. The 5 sea days were lovely and relaxing. Each stop was interesting. We were blessed with many good days of weather. The laundry service was excellent and the embarkation as well as debarkation was well done. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise had an amazing itinerary--the wonders of the Norwegian fjords, charming little ports, the Arctic with its eerie light, and the fascinating little medieval stave church at Urnes. We loved all the sights, were very lucky with the ... Read More
This cruise had an amazing itinerary--the wonders of the Norwegian fjords, charming little ports, the Arctic with its eerie light, and the fascinating little medieval stave church at Urnes. We loved all the sights, were very lucky with the weather (just missing the weeks and weeks of rain), and enjoyed experiencing Holland America's newest ship. The Nieuw Statendam is stunning. We thought our Vista Suite cabin was the most thoughtfully-designed cabin ever (especially the easy walk-in glass shower), loved the glorious fresh flowers and the interesting art in the public spaces, and especially enjoyed the serene Retreat of the Explorations Lounge on Deck 12 where there was always excellent coffee (though not free), stylish coffee table books to browse, and a few shelves of briskly traded cruisers' fiction paperbacks. And definitely the most relaxing music on the ship. Only the garish decoration of the main dining room seemed out of place (a kind of interior design fail of a bold burgundy and orangey-yellow modern carpet underneath lipstick red and metallic red ceiling fixtures. And for some reason truly terrible pop music. It's a loud place, both literally and metaphorically.). The Step One Dance Company's performance, which we'd already seen twice on the Eurodam, we loved all over again, but all the rest of the entertainment was C, not B, list. No one, however, probably chooses Holland America for the shows. It's the music venues that are the real entertainment--especially the lively BB King Blues Club band. Lots of dancers on this cruise: The Americans all danced as they did in high school, the Asians did ballroom dancing moves with dramatic arm and hand gestures, and the Dutch and the Norwegians took it all in with anthropological interest. :) The food in the dining room was always good and the presentations were lovely. The soups weren't as good as the soups I had admired so much on the Eurodam, perhaps, but oh my the salmon! Tamarind was the only supplemental charge restaurant we know to try--though after the astonishingly good Indonesian restaurants we'd sampled in Amsterdam, we were disappointed in the Tamarind's Indonesian night. Everywhere we ate, there was attentive and professional service, though the staff didn't make the effort to be friendly or to remember names in the way the staff on the Eurodam had done on our cruise to Hawaii in February. There didn't really seem to be much of a sense of esprit de corps among the staff, perhaps because the Captain seemed humorless and even a little dour--or maybe the ship is just too new to have developed a sense of community yet. The one thing that I always winced at was the tendency of the wait staff to announce that it was "Yummy, Yummy Time!" when the dessert menu came around. Oh, please. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Holland America is going bigger and that means selling their small ship, the Prinsendam. This is our 5th trip and small ships are more rewarding for us. This is the most popular Holland America ship and there are no plans to replace her. ... Read More
Holland America is going bigger and that means selling their small ship, the Prinsendam. This is our 5th trip and small ships are more rewarding for us. This is the most popular Holland America ship and there are no plans to replace her. Competition from Viking Ocean Cruises and others will take many loyal travelers which is what we heard on board.We agree as we did Viking and their new ships are great. As usual our only issue with the cruise is that it costs extra for Wifi, water for shore trips, more for the specialty dining, more for wine and beer at lunch and dinner, etc The staff was excellent and couldn't do enough for us. The shore trips continue to be excellent. Our only complaint was that the shore excursion staff was not well informed about the ports and couldn't answer basic questions. They were put off when asked a sensible question. We did our homework before we went so we were well prepared. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most ... Read More
I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most recently from 2 June to 23 June the Norwegian fjords on the Nieuw Statendam. My purpose in this review is not to deal with every aspect of the cruise on NS, as most topics are well covered in the many reviews published since its launch. It suffices to say she is a beautiful ship, well designed in all respects (other than the closed in effect of the Promenade Deck), and is tastefully finished in its furnishing and art works. She is operated like a well- oiled machine. Her Officers and crew do an amazing job. Rather my purpose is to give my opinion on a few issues, with which some may disagree, but in relation to which, if there are enough others who agree, may give HAL cause to make some changes which I think could alter the experience of future passengers on the NS very much for the better. For me the problem with the NS does not lie in any way with the ship or its crew. The problem is with the passengers. Those we came in contact with were very nice people – it is just there were too many of them. In the first 7 day leg of the cruise they had not learned how to spread more evenly between the many venues. Everywhere seemed crowded. During the second 14 day leg passengers were definitely better distributed but it was still not easy to find a table in the Lido during peak periods (we were in a party of 4 which probably made it a little more difficult) and there were still queues waiting to be allocated tables in the Main Dining Room. We also found during both parts of the cruise that it was difficult to find a quiet place to play cards or just to relax and enjoy the quiet of ocean travel. The effect for me, compared to previous cruises on the Eurodam, Noordam and Volendam, was a sense that the somewhat illusory feeling of a degree of some exclusivity which HAL managed to create on those ships, had been lost. There are a few things which could be done to address some of these issues. Our observation was that the covered front pool area was much underutilized except during meal hours. The reason for this was noise. Documentaries were often shown on the large screen during various times of the day. Very few people seemed interested in them but everyone had to deal with the blaring sound which made conversation difficult. Other than meal times this large seating area was virtually deserted. At night when movies were shown there was often no more than 4 or 5 people watching. On previous cruises we would often sit in this area and just enjoy the world going by. I would suggest that the large screen and sound system not be used at all during the day. This will take pressure off other areas. Thought might be given to whether there is any benefit in showing films at night on cruises to colder areas or whether some better use could be made of the area. During the day we also experienced that talks were given in public lounge areas. On one occasion a talk was being given using a public address system which was so loud you could not hear yourself think in the adjoining lounge area. We and others got up and vacated the lounge. This could be easily avoided by ensuring any talks are conducted in isolated areas or closed rooms. Although we had an overall very enjoyable cruise I personally will be unlikely to cruise again on the NS or the Koningsdam because of the sense of loss of exclusivity to which I have referred. I query whether cruise lines have made the right decisions in the move to bigger and bigger ships. It is now well known that Amsterdam has concerns about the flood of tourists associated with cruise ships and that Venice is concerned about the effect of cruise ships. Bergen now intends to place limits on the number of tourists which may visit that city. I love cruising and will remain loyal to HAL for as long as possible because I think it is a very well- run company, which trains its staff to serve its clients well and which in my experience has always been responsive to any concerns raised. But for now my future cruising will be restricted to HAL’s smaller ships. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our adventure started with our first visit to the city of Amsterdam. We enjoyed a two day sojourn there packed full of things to do and see on both days starting on the afternoon of our arrival with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum. (See the ... Read More
Our adventure started with our first visit to the city of Amsterdam. We enjoyed a two day sojourn there packed full of things to do and see on both days starting on the afternoon of our arrival with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum. (See the heading below for full details on Amsterdam, though it is not part of the Cruise it really deserves our comments.) Itinerary Excellent, learning experience for the Norwegian coastal cities of Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Flam. Cabin - Vista Suite 6135 Well designed, lots of storage with wall hooks that are lacking on most cruise ships. Bathroom is small but large shower stall; only room short on storage capacity. Large and deep balcony furnished with two comfortable lounge chairs with separate foot rests and a small round table; a very enjoyable area. Balcony access door swings rather than the customary slider and is easier to operate. One of the shelf guide wires on the wall below the TV set was damaged when I tripped on the bed spread and its connection and part of the wooden wall were pulled apart. This was repaired the next day so well that one would not know the wall had been severely damaged. Very, very impressive. Storage space is plentiful and includes two wooden boxes placed underneath each bed but not very easy to pull out. (Warning! When packing on the last day do not forget to check those under bed drawers because we were so very close to forgetting a lot of used clothes we put there during the cruise). Eating in the cabin is not a comfortable experience due to the too small provided table; breakfast (only!) was quite a feat. Regardless you are paying the same amount in gratuities ($16.- pp/per day) as the Signature and above suites, you do not get the same amenities as they do, e.g. welcome bottle of bubbly or wine, a serving of canapes, etc. It’s a suite but without the butler service. After so many cruises with a butler, this was the first time without; though they can be very helpful many times they can be intrusive and knowing when you are in, when you are out, when you get up, what you eat and drink etc. In one word there is a complete lack of privacy. So this time without one, it was quite enjoyable. Cruise line staff Excellent all over the ship; Lido staff it seems have learnt more English and they were very polite and helpful, the staff serve the buffet food, a very important detail to avoid any kind of infection. The Front Desk or Guest Services, were on a par with Viking and much more efficient and polite than most other cruise lines. All issues were handled and solution at once and in a very good manner. Food Only disappointment was with the Lido buffet. Not really impressed with the offerings. Desserts were below par and repetitive. Tables were not cleared up quickly and wine service was slow regardless the “service button” that each table had. Restaurants The restaurant menus, presentation and temperature of meals were always right on. No complaints with any meal. Specialty restaurants were worth the price, in fact Tamarind was so good it almost demanded a higher fare to give it the recognition it deserves and been on Aft Deck 10 the views are great; I imagine on a sunny day having al fresco lunch or dinner there; but unfortunately the weather was quite unpredictable during the whole cruise. Pinnacle was superb and on sea days the $10 noon fare was well worth it if not just for the luxury and peaceful surroundings and the very attentive staff. Canaletto was good too, food and staff but being part of the Lido buffet during the day (as a matter of fact we were having some of our breakfast there) this takes away that sense of been “Italian”. There are other places where to have a snack or even lunch. For a light lunch or a snack, the Grand Dutch Café (Deck 3) many items free of charge like coffee, pastries and ham and cheese sandwiches. Tranquil atmosphere but could be very busy on sea days. The other place to have a good light lunch is the pool side Dive-in from seven specialty burghers (or create your own), three ways to have great hot dogs and four ways to enjoy the best French Fries on the ship. Buzzers are handed out so you will be called when the order is ready. And last but not least, the New York Deli & Pizza in Deck 10, overlooking the pool deck. Open at 7 a.m. and stays open till midnight. The pizzas are out of this world, they have six specialty ones or you can build your own, you also can get salads, classic deli sandwiches (pastrami or corned beef) and if you get there early enough avoiding the buffet crowds for breakfast you get bagels, sandwiches, fresh fruit, pastries and coffee! It is very clear that on board the Nieuw Statendam you will not go hungry! But for sure you will gain lots of pounds if you are not careful. Formal or Gala Nights? Biggest let down of the cruise. The tuxedo rental service worked well, good fit and housekeeping redid pressing of the garments free of charge. We showed up at our reservation time (8PM) and realized right away that the dress code was non-existent. Much less than 10% of men wore tuxedos and the majority of guests were in LESS than resort casual clothing. We saw short sleeve shirts, jeans, running shoes, teenagers and grownups in t-shirts etc.; the only thing missing were shorts! We really felt foolish wearing tuxedos and will not go to the trouble again. We were very lucky with the young waiter at table (#115), his name was Cahadi and thanks to his good humour and doing his best for us to have a good time we were able to ignore our surroundings. When we complained to the Maître’d (Martin) his explanations were inadequate and groundless- clearly and visibly he was not a strong manager and lost control of his restaurant. The “gala” had been advertised as a 5 course meal but only 3 were offered. That happened on the first gala night, on the second one things were a bit better, we cannot explain why; maybe our complaints? At any rate, gala or formal in the way the people were dressed it was unacceptable and was the first time we experienced such a thing on any of our previous cruises on many different cruise lines. Excursions - please see below Amsterdam Our hotel was in the museum quarter, as a matter of fact its name is NH Museum Quarter (nhmuseumquarter@nh-hotels.com). It was in a very good location facing a canal with very helpful staff; we could have purchased museums tickets through them, the best method if you only wished a general visit but remember you’re taking your chances, that the day and time you want, may not be available, that’s why and wanting to take advantage of every minute in Amsterdam we did pre-cruise museum tickets for Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum, a City tour plus a Canal cruise, all done through the internet and it worked out well, unfortunately we missed the Hermitage Museum! God willing next time! By the way, at the hotel you also can acquire bus, tram and metro “day pass tickets” for about 16 euros. In general, we were disappointed with the organization of the museum tours, regardless the electronic guide that’s provided as it was not user friendly and trying to quickly find various famous paintings of interest among so many people, many of them spending a long time in front of every painting proved difficult. Regardless, the paintings were superb, many of them unknown to us and some of the Van Gogh’s were a real discovery. We had no idea how prolific he was over such a short time span. At the Rijks the Rembrandts were featured in a special showing of many unknown ones but also there were an enormous number of his sketches - interesting but boring unless you were there to match the sketches with the final painting. The City tour (by bus) was a good learning experience. The modern architecture is outstanding in its variety, especially the use of new materials and colours. It was very refreshing compared to the repetitive high rises that are being built in North America. So the bus tour is worthwhile but we don’t recommend the Canal cruise; the boat was a glass box that on a hot day and that one was, makes you feel you’re in a sauna and no water was available on board. It wasn’t a very nice feeling going along those narrow canals and having to look up at the buildings that from that vantage point says very little (regardless whatever you hear from the loudspeaker) those were the same older buildings we had seen during the City tour but the message got thru mainly because there was a tour guide to whom you were able to ask any question which was then answered very clearly but the ship megaphones were deaf! In case you would like a canal cruise take it at night and I am sure the light show will be stunning, Amsterdam was a city full of surprises! Never imagined there was a subway and a brand new, modern one at that, very wide avenues lined with cafes and sidewalk patio restaurants and many expansive parks and green spaces around every corner. Having the opportunity to go there again now that we know our way around, we would jump at the chance! And then, a visit to the Hermitage (Amsterdam) will be our number one priority for sure! Closing statements Since the day we arrived in Amsterdam we were on the go! We made the mistake of choosing a 7 day cruise that visited completely new places and to make things more demanding, on a new, big and beautiful ship! This cruise was also a kind of a shock because our previous one was an 18 day Atlantic Ocean crossing from Europe to South America, our second one that long and our last! For us spending too much time on a ship becomes repetitive (in all the areas) and boring! Regardless we enjoyed everything to the fullest during this short cruise, we do not plan a repeat such a combination: that is, new places-new ship-7 day cruise….never again! Perhaps it was that there were too many “FIRSTS”: first time with Holland America, first time on the Nieuw Statendam first time in Amsterdam, first time in Oslo and all the other beautiful cities of Norway, so it is very easy for you to imagine how elated we were with this cruise, so happy and elated that we booked another one - more days and going to well-known places. As it was not possible on the Statendam because of a clash of dates, it will be on her older sister’s ship, the Koningsdam and again another first! We have to emphasize that there are many factors why we will sail again with Holland primarily because of the excellent staff but also for the superior food and wait staff being a very close second. Really, we hope you found our review helpful and interesting, so till next time, wishing you very happy sailing days! To our fellow Canadians, being today July 1st. Happy Canada Day! Cheers!!!! Ps. Photos soon to follow this review Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Prinsendam is going out of Holland America Service on July 1. I wondered if I should write these reviews, but since Veendam is taking over some of the Prinsendam itineraries in 2020 I’ve decided this might still help future cruisers. ... Read More
Prinsendam is going out of Holland America Service on July 1. I wondered if I should write these reviews, but since Veendam is taking over some of the Prinsendam itineraries in 2020 I’ve decided this might still help future cruisers. We took two back to back itineraries, Celtic Explorer and Norwegian Fjords Explorer on the MS Prinsendam. The 14 day Norwegian Fjords Explorer started with a sea day before arriving in Oslo. In Oslo the ship docked at someplace other than where the EXC Guide told us we would be. It was not on the map that HAL provides for each port. We were told that there would people with maps and a currency exchange, there was none of that, only a couple of cabs and a hop on hop off bus. The map for the Ho-Ho did not have our dock marked. It was a “special stop.” There was one sign pointing to downtown but no indication on how far a walk it was. I understand that sometimes things change. But when they do HAL has the responsibility to make an announcement of the different docking venue. We took the Ho-Ho. It was fine for getting us where we wanted to go but terrible for sightseeing. They had decals across the front window on the upper deck and blocking the windows on the bottom deck. The bus stopped running before we ran out of Oslo so we took a cab from Central Station to the ship, more than $30. This was Prinsendam’s first, and last, call at Arendal, a charming town. We were greeted by a dance troupe who performed on the walkway climbing up from the dock. We walked through the town, spent time in the old town hall, a classic old, large wooden building. At a café we had some local pastries and coffee. A man sat next to us, his brother joined us, and we had a conversation about their grandfather who immigrated to America and made enough money to come back and buy a fishing boat. It changed the family’s life, giving them cash and status. Sailing into Eidsfjord includes a trip through Hardanger Fjord, worth getting up early to watch. In Eidsfjord we took a HAL tour to the highlands, a lake, waterfall and the alpine tundra. The guide was a farmer who raised a traditional breed of sheep. He is also a snow plow driver full of stories about sheep, farming, and rescues on mountain roads. The next stop was Flam. We took the HAL tour on the train. We should have just gotten off the boat and gotten our own tickets. It would have cost us half the money and we would have been on a less crowded coach. Having said that, it was worth the trip. There is a nice railway museum. We needed the sea day that followed Flam because after there were 6 ports in six days. Trondheim was a walking day. We went to the cathedral, which was beautiful. Unfortunately, photos aren’t allowed although you couldn’t tell by the number of people whipping out iPhones. The crown jewels were a disappointment. After paying the admission fee to the museum they told us that because of concerns over security the exhibit was not open. We could stand at the door to the room where the jewels are displayed and look through the iron bars. They had tied a pair of binoculars to the bars for us to get a better look. The resistance museum next door is worth your time. The old wooden houses in Trondheim create nice neighborhoods to walk through. Rockheim, the Norse Rock and Roll Museum, is right where the ship docks. Ålesund burned down in the early 20th century and was rebuilt in Art Nouveau style. We walked through the town, stopping at both the Art Nouveau and Modern Art museums. Both were well done. The Modern Art exhibitions were expressions of people’s relationship with the sea. We took a cab to the lookout for a great view of the city. It was worth the NOK 300 ($33.00) Geiranger is approached through a long series of fjords. It’s worth getting up early for the sail in. In town we took the Hop-On, Hop-Off. It stopped at an overlook, a mountain farm and the Fjord Center. From the Fjord Center you can walk down more than 300 steps, along a waterfall, to town. It always rains in Bergen, like my hometown Sitka, Alaska. We wanted to go to the Hanseatic League Museum but last October they discovered it was sinking, it’s 300-year-old pilings were having problems, so it’s closed. The museum shop and some exhibits are spread around Bryggen, the old section of Bergen. The Bryggen Museum was also closed for renovation. It may be open by the time you read this. There’s a free shuttle bus between Bryggen and the Fisherman’s Museum. Living in a fishing town I found comparisons interesting. The docents are more than willing to talk fish. Stavanger was the next stop. The ship docked right at the old wooden residential section with its white buildings. It was a short walk to the commercial district, also made up of wooden buildings and beyond to the petroleum museum, which does a good job of discussing the importance of the oil industry to Norway’s economy while also discussing the ramifications of oil on climate change. It raises a lot of questions and leaves you thinking about the answers. The final port of call was Esbjerg, Denmark. Because of tides the ship has to time its approach to hit an hour and a half window to make it into port. Sailing through the sand banks we pass by offshore wind farms. Docking was difficult because of winds and currents. Prinsendam had to hold steady while a second tug came alongside to help her dock. In Esbjerg we spent the day with friends visiting Tirpitz, a museum made from an old German bunker with a lot more. It talks about WWII, the occupation, fortifications and other seafront topics like fishing and amber. HAL’s tours miss the most interesting stuff, Tirpitz and the original Legoland, located near the Lego factory. If you stop at Esbjerg consider these alternatives. When we got off the ship in Amsterdam from the Celtic Explorer, they did not stamp our passport because we were going back on the ship. When we got off after the Norwegian Fjords Explorer there was no one to stamp our passport because everyone had gotten on in Amsterdam. As a result We were detained at the airport leaving Amsterdam because we did not have a proper entry stamp. The immigration people were polite and helpful, there was no problem there, but it was time consuming. Had we not arrived at the airport three and a half hours before the flight, instead of the recommended two we would have missed our flight. We finally got to the plane at the tail end of boarding. Part of the problem was the 30-minute walk from immigration to the gate. Be prepared if you fly out of AMS. Here are a couple of other notes. Because of the small number of sea days there was no outside lecturer on board. We missed this but Brett, the EXC Guide gave good port talks and a lecture on Norway and one on the Vikings that we enjoyed. May was a good time to cruise. We had unusually good weather and the ship was not nearly full. Prinsendam has a capacity of 835. On the Norwegian Fjords Explorer there were 665 on board, short lines for dinner, an uncrowded lido and lots of seats in the Showroom at Sea. I’m sorry to see Prinsendam go out of Holland America service. We’ve enjoyed Prinsendam in the past. She’s an older ship but we like her size, her aft saltwater pool good for swimming laps, her classic but understated appointments, her generous cabins and her walk-in closets. We’ve been on other HAL ships and enjoyed ourselves, but not as much as on Prinsendam. We will still cruise on HAL but we will be reading Cruise Critic reviews, looking for smaller ships that match our lifestyle and budget. Read Less
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