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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw ... Read More
We booked this ship because it was brand new and we wanted to see the Eastern Caribbean islands. Our research revealed that HAL had a great reputation. The following is our own personal opinion after a 1 week cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. Embarkation and Disembarkation: Flawless, speedy and very well organized. The Ship: Fabulous is the first word that comes to our minds. It is well laid out, lots of space to sit and chat. Plenty of places to find food and drinks. Servers everywhere and they even have call buttons on the tables for ordering drinks. The ship was very smooth during sailing even in inclement weather - never really felt any vibration due to her advanced operating systems. Cabin: Vista Suite with Veranda - outstanding is the first word that comes to mind. Lots of storage, elegant, both 110/220 volt outlets, large shower, lots of in-room comforting accoutrements, and a really great selection of current movies. The cabin attendants knew your name from the minute you got on the ship and they get a 100% TOP score for doing such a great job - children loved the different daily towel animals!!! Food: Main dinning room - no table reservations before 8.00 p.m. this we found to be not good especially when you have children. Service was fabulous but food delivery was very slow. Food choices are varied on the menu each night with fixed options each night (steak, chicken, etc) in case you did not like daily menu. Lido Cafe - it was without doubt always a choice for any meal of the day with something to suit any taste or desire. The Dive In - although little in space they pushed orders out very fast and this was outstanding food. The New York Deli - was also good with great sandwiches although, some of the pizza toppings ran out. Dutch Cafe- great coffee and sweets! We did not like the fact that we had to pay for the Gelato Ice cream. Drink Package: We chose the Signature Drink Package which allowed us all types of drinks under $10. This proved to be sufficient for us, unless you are a "high-end top shelf drinker" most people would be fine with this package. We did not like the 1 drink order limit restriction. Children's Activities: ZERO here because anything outside the kids play room was non-existent. Prior to the cruise we read lots of "chat" about HAL being a "retired persons cruise line". Although many people had written that HAL changed its mentality and was gearing more towards families rather than older crowds - this was not the case on our cruise - children were bored due to the lack of "kids activities and amenities". Pools: The mid ship pool is very small and the rear pool had an adults only restriction on it. OK, we get this, but then why were all the adults gathered at the mid-ship pool. So, this meant that the kids had to share the only pool with the adults - but the adult pool did not share with the kids - this was absolutely unfair in our opinion. While the children frolicked in the pool - "adults" complained about being splashed - sorry, then move your old butt to the adult pool! The Crew: Tip-Top perfect service by the crew in all areas of the ship !!! Entertainment: Yes they offered 4 types of music, but after a week of the same 4 types of music and nothing new, it gets old. Crows Nest: Great place to chill out and watch the surroundings. Bad part is all the "retired folks" hogged up the loungers at the big front overlooking windows and then fell asleep for hours. That was a bit unfair for those of us who actually wanted to sit there for their intended purpose because these seats had the best view on the entire ship. Activities: We found the "ship info, kitchen tour & the captain's talk" the best part of the activities offered. These three activities were very informative and really great leaning for all. The Captain was fantastic, and very friendly. Besides that, it really seemed like the same entertainment and activities each day. For families it was a bit boring in our opinion. OK, you had basketball, shuffleboard, ping-pong, card games, and swimming, but with short ports of call, and 2 days at sea - it got a little boring after a few days with only the same options. The cruise director could have offered much more as we have seen from our prior cruises with other companies. Overall Cleanliness: Extremely clean ship - we loved having a place to wash your hands at all the entrances at the Lido Cafe. Great job by the service crew to keep the ship in such a clean and fresh environment. Public Toilets: absolutely perfectly clean all the time. Casino: Lots of play choice - although smoking permitted - 1 day at sea was no smoking allowed - that was refreshing! America's Test Kitchen: Sorry, only one word to say here - Boring! No participation allowed just watching someone cook. Port of Calls: Found them all to be well organized, and very quick to get everyone on and off the ship. The Security team did a great job to ensure our safety, kudos to them for all they did for us! Recommendations to HAL: Offer daily info sessions about the specific ports of call. Make an area on the ship where you play some Caribbean / local music rather than the same stuff we hear at home. The weather did not permit us to make one port of call, therefore we found that we had to entertain ourselves because the Cruise Director came up with card games, and other non-fun things for us to do as a family - when you cannot make a port of call then you should be prepared ahead of time to entertain the passengers to off-set the disappoint of missing out on a port of call. Lastly, please think of ways to entertain children a little more - and I do not mean like Disney or Carnival -- we purposely do not travel on these lines because the adults need to have fun also. A big thanks to the HAL Captain and his fabulous team for a very wonderful vacation! Signed, 7 HAL passengers (mixed USA & Europe) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and ... Read More
We primarily took this cruise for 2 reasons. First we wanted to stop at Turks & Caicos and second we wanted to sail on a new ship and it happened to be our anniversary as well. Neither of these let us down. Great shore stops and beautiful new ship. The food was probably the most consistently delicious throughout the vacation. We dined in the main dining room, the lido cafe, Tamarind and experienced the food from the Pinnacle Grill. Everything was delicious. The drinks from the bar were excellent and the bar staff were knowledgeable and interactive. We took in shows from the piano quintet and from the main stage such as the mentalist and the comedian. All shows were entertaining and engaging. I have two critiques to share. Our first stop was in Turks in which we encountered some delays in approval for disembarking. For some reason, the crew only opened 1 exit at the front of the ship which made getting off a nightmare. My wife and I waited an hour to get off the ship waiting in the stairwell with literally thousands of other passengers all trying to get out single file as well. Fortunately we were the only ship in port at the time and although we booked our shore excursion through a different company than the cruise ship, they waited as our ship was there only business. It is my understanding that others were not as lucky and missed their tours. Something to be said about booking through the cruise company. This came to in handy as the weather was rough for our stop at Half Moon and we couldn't get off the ship. This time we had booked through the cruise ship and got our shore excursions refunded as they were unable to ferry us to the island. Another issue was the pre-purchase of the cellar master package. There was much confusion between us and the ship about which package was purchased. Unfortunately this came to a head on the 6th night of our cruise which was our anniversary during out dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. So much so that we ended up leaving the restaurant prior to enjoying our meal. The staff rectified the situation, but the event was really unfortunate. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key ... Read More
It has been several years, cruises and cruise lines since we were on board a HAL ship, 2016 to be exact. We chose this trip primarily because of the time frame, pricing and lazy itinerary. Had not been on the Oosterdam, and it did have Key West in the itinerary, always a favorite stop for us. We departed from Port Everglades, utilizing a nearby parking lot not directly on port property to save a few bucks, and I have to say, the embarkation process was one of the fastest and smoothest of our 20+ cruises. No issues, we walked right on board are were able to go directly to our cabin without any wait at all. And, after the cruise, disembarkation was also a really quick and painless process. We were permitted to remain in our cabins or any of the public areas, and we got off right on time in a logical and unhurried but steady manner. What a treat! We selected a forward balcony cabin on the Observation Deck (10010) and found it to be smaller than expected. The balcony was apparently an afterthought add-on and was extremely narrow in both depth and width. The 2 chairs had to be placed just so before the door could be opened and unless you sat far left you had to get up to let a second person out of the door. Room for more than 2 not possible. Disappointing, but spent many hours enjoying the views, and the weather was great for our 7 days. Had excellent port views from here also. Cabin location suited us well. We do not suffer from any sea sickness issues and actually love it when there some rocking. While others might complain, we have never had a "too rough" cruise. Guess we have good sea legs. It was very quiet with only 25 cabins and getting an elevator never seemed to take long. We were told the ship was full, but it sure didn't seem like it, except on the Lido Deck at key dining times. The only other public area on our deck was the EXC/Excursion Desk/Observation Deck/Crow's Nest that housed a library, meeting room, coffee shop / bar and wonderful comfortable chairs to read and watch the sea from. Our cabin did have great shower pressure, plenty of hot water, great bed, and an air conditioner that actually worked really well to keep us comfortable. The ship itself, together with our cabin and balcony, were immaculate. Our room steward did a wonderful job for us and also kept us fully stocked with ice at all times. He was a joy and very unobstusive, popping in and out while we were out and about. Clearly an older ship, she was in good repair and literally sparkled. Rugs in public areas were clean and some parts of public areas were shampooed every day, especially port days. I had read criticism of her fittings being old and decrepit. Perhaps given my age, early 60s, I felt more at home than younger counterparts, but it felt warm, comfortable and a bit homey to me. I prefer the smaller ships to the new, slick & glitzy mega liners as they are easier for older legs to navigate and miss none of the action. Except....there wasn't much action. Oh, there were activities, but not much that we found suited our taste. We don't gamble, play trivia, bingo, board games, Bridge, Mahjong or assemble puzzles. We don't like Blues or jazz music much either. So that left us longing for more classical, piano, or some soft rock (nope, none of that). We liked the Test Kitchen seminars, and wished they would let us sample some of the things made, but they said they "could not for health reasons"? Made no sense. We also thoroughly enjoyed the BBC Planet Earth offerings and the live orchestral performance with one of the movies was delightful. The main stage entertainment was OK, nothing special, with the usual comic, magician and one musical dancing/singing show. Meh, the movie offerings were better than the live performances for us. The shore excursions we took were fine, and we have no complaints of the city tours taken. The food was the biggest disappointment of all. Everything looked yummy, but was lacking in taste and seasonings. Very bland. Rubbery chicken, tough steaks (even in the famed extra-cost Pinnacle Grill the Tenderloin just wasn't), the fish was fish-y tasting. Nothing was served hot, just lukewarm at best. HAL of old dining is no more. The lone exception seemed to be the breads and rolls and cookies. Coffee was plentiful and nicely stronger than average. The chocolate extravaganza looked so enticing but the reality was there was not much taste to any of it. Too many corners cut I guess. Lido Deck breakfast offerings and sandwiches and salads kept us the happiest, but only if we waited until the crowds died down. Very disappointed in the food offerings, for sure. The very best thing about this sailing was the crew and staff. Every single person we encountered seemed genuinely happy to be aboard and strived to please. That part was just remarkable! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on Holland America a few times. The last two were to the Caribbean although our previous trip was on a different ship. This cruise was wonderful. We loved the ports, the excursions, the crew, the other passengers, and the relaxing atmosphere. We remember the food being much tastier and more exotic in the past. This cruise had good food, but not fantastic food which is usually a large topic of our conversation when we come home. The souvenir glasses we received with the cordials (very tasty!!) offered in the dining room were high quality and the perfect size keepsake! We have never seen this option before and we loved it! The Oosterdam is on the older side as ships go and had areas of sewerage smell. Our room, thankfully, wasn't in those areas. The only thing we didn't like about our Verandah room was that the pillows really smelled. I slept with towels wrapped around mine. Other than that the rooms were great. The movie options on the television were top notch! Loved that option. During our visit to Holland America's island in the Bahama's we visited their bar only to be told that our drink package didn't include drinks on the island. We were very flabbergasted as this is Holland America's property. That was very disappointing and we left without purchasing a drink. I visited the spa and purchased "The Perfect Day" package which included a facial and massage. The facial was merely a face wash and mask. The massage focused mostly on the back and head. I was told afterward that my shoulders needed a lot of attention and I should book another appointment. Also, there was a lot of pushing of product. Not sure I would pay for that again. I've enjoyed massages at other locations during vacations that were far better. Onboarding was quick and easy. Disembarkment was easy, but the line through customs was extraordinarily long. For us it was no problem, but for anyone who has difficultly standing that long or someone who has to be somewhere quick, this is not ideal. All in all we enjoyed the cruise and would definitely sail with HA again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it worked out as a back to back cruise after we got off the Regal Princess at the same port. Also, we were on the Koningsdam (sister ship) last year and we liked the ports it was going to. As always, the food was excellent in taste, quality and variety we experienced before on Holland America. The ship was extremely clean in the well appointed cabin as well as all the common areas. Staff, crew and officers were so very friendly, courteous and helpful. The entertainment in BB King's lounge and the Rolling Stones lounge were very good but so disappointed in the piano lounge duo who sang off key and their voices did not compliment each other. We saw such a better duo on the Koningsdam last year. We enjoyed the entertainment in the main theatre but it would have been so much better if there had been more use of the theatre throughout the week. The movies under the stars and in the staterooms were recent and a good variety but there really wasn't a lot doing after 10:45 pm unless you went to the Casino, which we did not. We were disappointed in the embarkation procedure in the terminal waiting room, which appeared to be quite chaotic with older staff not knowing what to do and not agreeing with other staff. Even though Holland America has a very good product, we have decided that we will probably not be sailing with them again as we found the cruise to be too boring for us. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary fit our spring break schedule. The ship was very nice and well maintained. Customer service was excellent. The food was very good and dining staff were excellent! The waiter was very accommodating to our 8 year old grandson and even made him an origami animal each night, showed him magic tricks and made sure he had something to eat from the kids menu that he liked at each meal. Our grandson adored him! The ventriloquist and comedy shows were very good and we enjoyed the Discovery Earth production (warning - if you don't like snakes, don't watch the first segment - could be scary for young children - our grandson did not attend). My husband enjoyed the Lincoln Center performances. The other music shows were fair - we passed on the second performance. BB King's nightclub and performances were very enjoyable. The "chocolate surprise" evening was very disappointing. It lasted about 3 minutes and if you were not in the right place at the right time you didn't get anything! Club Hal for children was fair - there were games and arts and crafts. There were video games available and my grandson enjoyed that. He attended about 3 times but quickly became bored and stayed with us the rest of the time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our ... Read More
Our family (children and grandchildren) & friends eagerly anticipated HAL with its elegant charm and service for us oldies. HAL did extremely well on service, food, cabins, and efficiency on board. Our group enjoyed the cruise and our expectations were exceeded. We had a wonderful table and staff on Deck3 and Rudy's Fish premium dining to celebrate our 52 Wedding Anniversary. Compared to Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Viking it was at least equal. Our balcony suite on Deck8 was larger than expected. The cabin steward was very friendly but unobtrusive, keeping our cabin spotlessly clean every day. We had our breakfast served in our cabin each day at no extra cost so we could eat in our pajamas and avoid the crowds in Lido. All this would have earned a 5*. Now the negatives. Poor communication between Call Center staff on shore and ship staff resulted in our group of 6 being split up for dinner if I had not escalated it, and then we got a nice table together. Poor organization resulted in a very late start of our Cozumel shore excursion and then we were rushed through the Chocolate, Glass bottom boat and Rum part of the tour. We had wonderful fellow passengers except for a couple of weird ones who showed up 20 mins late for a shore excursion and then demanded their money back when the only seats left were in the back of the bus. Another situation was when a family with 5 children considered it OK to let their kids aged 3 - 6 monopolize the BB King dance floor at 9 pm. preventing adults from dancing. They said there were no signs that said no kids! Another family seated their 3 young kids in the first row at the Comedienne show when they knew she would be telling adult jokes. There is no accounting for poor taste and lack of common sense. Apart from these examples, the fellow passengers were very urbane and cultured. In general the shows were OK - not as good as Norwegian. But I guess the bigger ships can afford higher quality/cost entertainers. I have yet to see any shows like "burn the floor" The Jersey Boys, Beatles, etc that we saw on Norwegian. But we prefer the quieter and more cozy atmosphere of smaller ships. So bottom line, a 4* experience! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Holland America corrected some of their missteps on the Konigsdam with this new ship, which carries on many HAL traditions while introducing some new ones. They have preserved the superb cabin and dining room service and the generally ... Read More
Holland America corrected some of their missteps on the Konigsdam with this new ship, which carries on many HAL traditions while introducing some new ones. They have preserved the superb cabin and dining room service and the generally dignified atmosphere. The balcony level of the pool area is an attractive addition. Tamarind is lovely and has very good food and service. I could get used to the whale-skeleton look of the Main Dining Room decor, but really don't like the yellow walls and chairs. I was surprised that the MDR was not open for lunch on sea days. Club Orange is a mystery to me; that restaurant is an interior space with a long glass wall along the main corridor that makes it look like a fishbowl. The furnishings look low-end rather than luxurious; the chairs don't even have upholstered backs. Why anyone would want to spend $50 a day for the privilege of eating there is beyond me.The Lido Market was OK, but the layout is not nearly as inviting as the buffet on the Celebrity Edge. Seats in the Lido were often hard to find. The Pizza place and deli have been combined on the deck above the Lido. The pizzas were excellent. The waits for hamburgers at Dive In seemed longer than I remember from other ships. I did not try Sel de Mer. I hope the idea of ship restaurants with a la carte prices doesn't catch on. I miss the dedicated theater with popcorn, although even the most recent films were available free on TV in your cabin. (On my recent cruise on the Celebrity Edge, they charged $13 for them.) Lincoln Center Stage is a very welcome addition. It's the prettiest room on the ship. A string quartet plus a pianist played a variety of classical and pop programs. B,B, King's, Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard Online all seemed well-attended. The World Stage is a mixed bag. It is totally devoid of decoration except for the upholstered seats (which have no drink holders). The circular thrust stage brings the performers close to the audience. The walls are used for high-tech projections. In the case of the first dance show "Humanity," the projections were quite artistically coordinated with the choreography. It was one of the best shows I have seen on a ship. The other dance show was good, but not as impressive. There was a comedian and an illusionist who, in addition to their own shows, encored on the final night. I was surprised that the World Stage was dark for two nights. The atrium is a disappointment. Unlike other recent ships, it provides no sense of occasion and is useless as a focal point for passengers to gather. The wait for an elevator was often long. I am sorry that the shops are still permitted to clutter the passageways with racks and tables for bargain sales. (The Celebrity Edge eliminated this entirely.) I miss people-watching from a deck chair on the Promenade Deck. That's my biggest complaint about all the new ships. I was disappointed that HAL dropped the Indonesian/Filippino crew show, which I always enjoyed. The cabin was well laid out and the bed was very comfortable. The bathroom is a bit small. I was pleasantly surprised that I heard nothing from the cabin on either side. The itinerary wasn't very exciting for experienced cruisers. HAL should really try harder to come up with new excursions for repeat travelers. Transfers from FLL airport to the ship were a mess. I had to wait over an hour for a bus and there were others who had waited even longer. The return transfer was timely. The main negative was that the ship lost power on the next-to-last night and we had to skip Half Moon Cay to assure a timely arrival back at Port Everglades. It was nice of HAL to offer a $50 shipboard credit, but it is still a bit alarming that a brand-new ship would mysteriously lose power. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We sailed back-to-back on Nieuw Statendam , March 2019 Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, which we booked a year in advance as a balcony guarantee. We were assigned a VF cabin, 4017 in the front of ship which had an expanded balcony. ... Read More
We sailed back-to-back on Nieuw Statendam , March 2019 Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, which we booked a year in advance as a balcony guarantee. We were assigned a VF cabin, 4017 in the front of ship which had an expanded balcony. The ship is beautiful, very easy to get around and the cabins are light bright, well appointed with enough closet and drawer space. For news hounds MSNBC and FOX news are shown as well as BBC news. Also, a lot of "free ", latest movies, are offered on TV and poolside in the evenings. Bathroom shower is enclosed and quite large. Beware, it has slate floors which can be slippery ... bring a rubber bath mat or throw down a towel when you shower to avoid falls. At the end of this review I will include a short summary of Celebrity Edge which we went on directly after this cruise.Both ships were anchored right next to each other and we walked off one, right onto the other. All food venues ( and there are many) are located mid to back of the ship and all entertainment venues from mid-ship, forward. Either way you are in for a lot of walking. The main dining rooms are on decks 2 and 3. Except for breakfast, and the second dress-up night when they served 5 oz lobster tails/filet, we were disappointed with the menu selections in the main dining room, although the food was well prepared. Better fare is at Deck 9 Lido for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Large variety of foods, prime rib and other roasted meats daily, terrific breads and baked goods, fairly good desserts, ice cream/cones. What is special on this ship is  the smaller dining venues which do not charge for food: Dive-In burgers, dogs, made to order burgers/great coated fries (Deck 9 just outside the Lido); NY Deli/PIzza Deck 10, just above the Lido pool. Great custom made personnel pizzas and very nice grilled sandwiches. Do not miss the Dutch Cafe deck 3 mid, with a wonderful personal 6" quiche/mescaline salad, pea soup, terrific apple pie, enormous "round" eclairs,  and many other free items that they serve until 8:30 pm. They charge for coffee and other drinks. The second week we bought a five pack of restaurants for $95. It includes Pinnacle Grill , Tamarind, Canaletto which have open menus and Rudi's Sel De Mer and Nami Sushi which are ala carte and are limited to $30 and $15 pp credit. We had a lot of trouble in the last two restaurants as they do something that is not logical .... they charge your account  for the whole meal ( not just over and above thementioned credit limit limit) and tell you they will give you a credit back. THEY DO NOT. I had to fight with customer service to get the credit applied and ended up requesting a meeting with the hotel director because it was not happening. I read about this from other cruise critic writers and sure enough it was true. That said, the specialty restaurants are quite good, especially Pinnacle ( don't miss the broiled Alaskan King Crab [ a full pound], or the 18 oz Rib eye or 23 oz Porterhouse. Unfortunately our sever Rimco gave us terrible service at Pinnacle. Tamarind was the least of the restaurants, with so-so oriental ... food. Canaletto was surprisingly good, great service from Astrid. Rudi's 12 oz lobster tail ( @ $32) is pretty good. At Nami, since we are not sushi lovers we had a great Miso soup and a wonderful tenderloin entree with fried rice, great sauteed mushrooms. It was superb. Overall, given all the venues and surprise foods at many ( bavarian pretzels, carmel pretzels, popcorn) for the movies below in the evenings at NY Deli/Pizza) you will not be disappointed. There are just not enough major shows on this ship.There are only two major shows: Humanity and Step Dance Show. Humanity was superb - dancing, costumes, terrific graphics that encircle the whole stage. It was so good we saw it twice. The other show was just not as good. The only other shows are a magician - Kid Ace very good and a Comedian. First week Rodney Johnson was very, very funny. Not so the second week. But there is a saving grace. The alternative entertainment are 4 music venues on deck 2, all near each other. BB Kings ... blues and soul which HA has on every ship  is always excellent. A Rock n' Roll venue, Billboard 100 hits and Lincoln Center classical combo ... also very good. The latter does classical concerts in the afternoons, which were lovely.. As is the case with many ships the pools, Lido (mid) and Sea View, (rear) on deck 9 are too small. Kids take over the Lido pool and it is almost impossible to swim. No supervision by HA at all, especially when parents are remiss in letting their kids splash everyone. Seaview pool out in the open in the back of the ship is always breezy ( under the canopy ) and has NO KIDS. Just big crowds. HA has relatively good computer connectivity, a very diligent computer manager on duty and  a small, but well appointed computer room with five computers for people like me without smart phone or IPads. It also has free printing. Computer usage for two weeks including email was $160. Not a bad price.  We noticed that HA ships are no longer geriatric as they had been years ago. The age is quite mixed and yes, there were children aboard. Comparison to Celebrity Edge: Edge also came out in December 2018 as did Nieuw Statendam. But the ships are very different in design, feel. We paid more for one week on Edge than we did for two weeks on HA NS. However, Celebrity bundles in a lot of amenities .... for which you end up paying. On Edge we booked one of the new, state of the art "Infinity Balconies", where the glass bi-fold doors can stay open and the balcony is part of your room, giving the feel of a longer, bigger room. The balcony has a panoramic double hung motorized window which goes half-way down. As you look out, you see nothing but the sea. We liked it. We did not dine at any of the specialty restaurants, since they were $55 pp and up which we thought was ridiculous. We ate in the four, included dining rooms which have the same menus, but also have regional specialties: French, Italian, Mediterranean, Cosmopolitan. All were very good with excellent service. The Windows Cafe (buffet) on Edge was a major disappointment for breakfast and lunch. There were only a few shows and comedians .... a deficit for this ship. In fact there is not enough to do in the daytime, given the 3000 passengers. The overall decor/art work  in Nieuw Statendam was much nicer. Edge is very modern, almost industrial looking. It is not a pretty ship. Overall we preferred Nieuw Statendam, hands down, although we were glad we tried Edge. Word of caution about Edge. There are indeed way too many steps, and many of the venues are located a half a floor up or down. What were the designers thinking? Very difficult for Seniors. Even the main pool on deck 14, required everyone to go up 8 steps to reach it. Why??? One thing that was out there on Edge is "Eden ( multi-floor entertainment venue) that has jugglers, "fairies": acrobatics, aerialists and generally many "odd" entertainers walking around in what seems like a "daze". It's different and should be experienced at least once in your life. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This review is intended primarily for those who dance and have cruised before, especially on HAL in previous years, in order to provide information we wished we had had prior to our cruise on the Nieuw Statendam in the spring of 2019. We ... Read More
This review is intended primarily for those who dance and have cruised before, especially on HAL in previous years, in order to provide information we wished we had had prior to our cruise on the Nieuw Statendam in the spring of 2019. We had read a good many other reviews of the ship prior to booking as well as reviews of her sister ship the Konigsdam to try to get a feel for the musical entertainment and dancing opportunities on board. A couple of these expressed disappointment that dance opportunities to which previous HAL cruisers had become accustomed were substantially curtailed. These were quite accurate. In virtually every other respect we were very pleased with the ship, but more of this later. The new Pinnacle class ships center their entertainment on “Music Walk,” the deck-two (and partially three-deck) venue for the BB King Blues Club, the Rolling Stone Rock Room, and Billboard Onboard. Each of these venues have dance floors. BB King shares its two-story venue with Lincoln Center on Stage essentially replacing the Queens Lounges on other vessels. The stage is larger, the dance floor smaller by about 30% and rectangular rather than semi-circular. The floor itself appears to be padded hardwood that is perfect for dancing. Patrons who dance with drinks in their hands often slosh onto the floor, but waiters, when asked will come out and wipe up spills. The need to clean the floor with some frequency leaves it sometimes dry and unwaxed and thus difficult for smooth dancing. The main problem for more serious dancers is that the music in so monotonous (constant fast tempo east coast swing and blues suitable for west coast with only the occasional cha cha or rumba 3-4 times per evening. The genre of music attracts many 60s-free-style dancers (who have every right to the floor), making it very crowded and sometimes frustrating to dance anything other than what they are doing. There are typically three sets per night and one night off for the band per week. Exercise care leaving the dance floor; it is one step up to the exit and it is easy to fall. Billboard on Board is the latest incarnation of the dueling piano bar. The venue is larger than before and quite open to the hallway so as readily to attract passersby. There is a small circular dance floor (approximately 15ft) at one end of the room well away and facing the other direction from the pianists. This floor is rarely used. Dancing here is a challenge because there is no percussion and the tempos often syncopated. Of course, a piano bar is designed for something other than dancing, and it serves this purpose well, but it is possible to dance some of the time, though not much. The Rolling Stone Rock Room is aptly named. A band plays cover several times each night, but the repertoire is limited and somewhat repetitive after a night or two. The dance floor, a rounded off rectangle of about 15 feet or so, is off to the side of the main stage and very near the entrance, which allows dancing without obstructing the view of other patrons—a nice innovation. The venue is directly across the hall from Billboard On Board and also open. These venues did not compete with each other as there were typically performances on only one side of the hall at a time, providing supplemental listening space. The music and singing was from our experience exclusively fast-tempo hard rock as the name implies. We were surprised that the fast pace was so relentless however. We heard not one ballad all week. Dancing will be essentially limited to swing, very fast rumba, and the occasional cha cha and nothing else. The Ocean Bar, which previous passengers will recollect as a venue on other HAL ships at which a combo often played danceable music before and after dinner, still exists but no longer has a combo. There is a small stage with a grand piano, but no one played it at any time while we were on board. The dance floor is embarrassingly small—circular and only 10 feet in diameter. It could accommodate two couples at best, if the venue were ever used, and they would have to watch out for each other. We stopped by night after night hoping to hear at least some danceable muiszac-style elevator music. There was none and the venue was usually dark. Each time we walked past (right outside the fishbowl called Club Orange) it was empty and asilent a reminder of all that is missing on this ship. We contacted HALkat band members from a previous cuise on another ship, and they report that this is part of a general curtailment of dancing that is creeping into HAL. This is quite sad and disappointing on a cruise line that just a couple of years ago was marketing Dancing with the Stars. There is a potentially magnificent dance floor in the Crow’s Nest, but in contrast to other HAL ships it is not used for this purpose. The CN is now the center for booking excursions, a coffee bar, library, and extremely pleasant vantage point; it is no longer a dance venue. We have been told that as other ships are refitted, they will follow this model. Another element pertaining to dancing that surprised us, especially for a cruise leaving from South Florida, was the complete and total lack of latin music or dance, except perhaps for the few opportunities to cha cha mentioned above; nary a mambo, salsa, bolero, bachata, merengue, or tango was heard all week. As for other genres, I think we heard two recorded fox trots during intermissions in various venues and two waltzes and even one Viennese, also recorded during intermissions. We met a very nice Canadian couple on the dance floor and the gentleman showed us his new dance shoes and remarked, “I bought these for this cruise, and there is no dancing.” We knew what he meant. Most troubling is the dismissive attitude that the cruise line takes to the narrowness of the dance music offerings. We suggested that some recorded dance music could be played in unutilized venues over the course of the week, especially on nights when live musicians have the day off. There was none. We asked the cruise director, Jairo Lobo, if some additional dance opportunies could be provided; he brushed us off with,” But I like the music.” We are glad he does since he is stuck there every night, but his willingness to oblige was as limited as his musical appreciation. We turned in a polite and constructive suggestion card at the desk; it was never acknowledged. A cruise line executive told us that HAL had been concerned with the unevenness of the musicians before; they now approach musical entertainment as a matter of corporate partnerships, relying on brands rather than musical directors. This shows, for it seems only the corporate brands of music are available now. We suggested that their program could be enhanced by widening the genre of offerings, and these could be marketed in ways making them attractive to a wider audience of non-dancers. A single “Sinatra night,” for example, even a recorded one in an otherwise unused venue, would be one approach, costing the cruise line little to nothing. For now, branding seems to matter more than patrons. Branding is not all bad, however. The line’s partnership with Step One dance company provides performances on the 270 degree World Stage that are indeed world class and genuinely superlative. These performances go well beyond musical theatre on cruise ships by an order of magnitude. This makes the narrowness of dance opportunities for passengers all the more ironic. The Nieuw Statendam is an absolutely beautiful ship, which is well designed and in many respects state of the art. The staterooms make some of the best use of space we have seen on several cruise lines. The crew is well-trained, attentive, competent, and friendly, so the standard of service is just as high or higher than you may remember. The décor is light and modern with clean lines and open spaces. The art work, which has been a signature element of HAL, is fascinating, compelling, and effectively placed. The cuisine is also up to the usual standard and elegantly presented, which is significant in an environment in which other lines are obviously cutting corners. If the dance opportunities were not so narrow and the line so deaf to these limitations, we would rave about the ship. But, if dancing is important to you, this may not be the ship for you. Clearly the company is trying to alter its reputation as a line for older patrons. Music Walk is marketed as the core of the ship’s entertainment offerings, and it is. But those with any interest or experience in dancing, other than 1960s free-style, will find Music Walk perhaps too pedestrian. On balance we would still recommend the Nieuw Statenam, and there is some glimmer of hope, given recent correspondence with corporate management, that they are at least developing an awareness of the shortcomings described here. We think they would like to be more accommodating but are somewhat boxed in by branding, the centrality of the Music Walk concept, a desire to shed some of their traditional image, and hardnosed business decisions about what the crowd wants or will appreciate. We know they are running a business and not a social club. But surely, if classes in towel folding are deemed attractive, a wider range of musical offerings must be as well. Our purpose here is to provide some of the particular information we wished had been available to us earlier on. Cruise on! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Good value,beautiful ship, friendly and helpful staff . My room was cleaned twice a day. Dining room nicely decorated with fresh flowers. Need to improve: entertainment and activities on board.Food is delicious and nicely ... Read More
Good value,beautiful ship, friendly and helpful staff . My room was cleaned twice a day. Dining room nicely decorated with fresh flowers. Need to improve: entertainment and activities on board.Food is delicious and nicely presented. Excellent waiting staff. The newspaper excerpt (which is provided to guest every morning at the Lido deck ) is too leftist, I think if it is replaced by something more centrist,it will be better. As a Conservative, I do not need to read the news with criticism about the President every morning at breakfast ! Shore excursions are a little overpriced. We only book two tours but the one I was really excited about, Dolphin Encounter in Cayman Island was canceled because Cayman stop was canceled due to bad weather condition. At Ports of call, we mostly used taxi for sightseeing. On this cruise, we enjoyed mostly going to the beach and shopping, especially for exotic fashion. I think we will cruise with this company sometime in the future,when we get older. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We were looking for a holiday away from strollers and screaming kids... and Holland America seemed to fit the bill. Catering to an older crowd is their forte. But this was significantly older than I was prepared for!! One of the things we ... Read More
We were looking for a holiday away from strollers and screaming kids... and Holland America seemed to fit the bill. Catering to an older crowd is their forte. But this was significantly older than I was prepared for!! One of the things we have long associated with cruising was incredible entertainment. This ship had little of that. And what they had did not coordinate well with the dinner seating times in the main dining room. With the late (read 8pm) dinner seating, our only option was to go to the “show” at 7... which meant you needed to arrive by 6:30 to get a seat... which meant you needed to be back in your room by 5:00 in order to shower and dress... Not exactly the relaxing dinner I was hoping for. We thought that choosing a regular dinner time and an assigned table would give us an opportunity to meet fellow passengers and enjoy some lively conversation but that was not our experience. Dinner companions with respiratory illness should eat in their cabin!!! Dinner service was decent but there were significant delays between courses. The food was flavourful and the menu varied. Overall the food was what I expected. And way better than any all inclusive resort I have ever been to. Our cabin steward was friendly and eager to please but not the best at cleaning... oh well. The ship is new. And looks it. But I was expecting more luxurious appointments throughout. New will only last so long and then there will be little to recommend. The three main “lounges” where there was live entertainment every night are all adjacent. This has both pros and cons... if you don’t like one, it is a short walk to the next but the music from one “bleeds” into the next. Sitting in the back of one room often meant you could hear what they were playing next door through the walls. Overall, we had a pleasurable holiday. No one wants to complain too loudly about their cruise. Did HAL blow my socks off? No. Will I sail with them again? Maybe... when I’m 80. And I too may bring my walker. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
7 day Eastern Caribbean in a Signature Suite -Lido has both carpet and tile floor and very heavy chairs. Lots of scraping from tile area must be heard on deck 8. You can order drinks in Lido by pushing a button on your table!! ... Read More
7 day Eastern Caribbean in a Signature Suite -Lido has both carpet and tile floor and very heavy chairs. Lots of scraping from tile area must be heard on deck 8. You can order drinks in Lido by pushing a button on your table!! Portions of balconies on deck 8 are visible from window tables in some sections of Lido Muster drill at 3:45 on first day forced 2900 pax to interior stations on deck 2 and 3. The 12 elevators were packed at the conclusion for well over an hour Happy hour was only on deck 2, Crow's Nest was quiet as a morgue First 3 days martinis had large olives stuffed with blue cheese Crow's Nest coffee Bar opened at 8 am not 7 Signature suite closets are lit when the their door is openned Room fridge is covered by solid door causing quite a bit of heat between fridge and door Delivered room breakfast have new costs for...Steak&Eggs,$9.50, Kick Start, $4.95 and Smoked Salmon Benedict, $7.50 Room shower has wand, rain forest head and side jets. No night light in bath room. Qtips and cotton balls in jar between sinkRound ship's clock on wall by bed that was adjusted by room steward We ate 33,921 eggs while travelling 2013 miles Please if you bring a book leave a book Enjoy Bob Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the NS because it was the inaugural year of it's launch and we always sailed on the smaller ships. A larger ship would be a new experience for us. The ship was beautiful however the promenade deck is a disappointment to us. ... Read More
We chose the NS because it was the inaugural year of it's launch and we always sailed on the smaller ships. A larger ship would be a new experience for us. The ship was beautiful however the promenade deck is a disappointment to us. We are walkers and like to do so early in the morning. We found the promenade on the NS to have mostly obstructed views, sections of the deck to be very narrow and usually lots of crew members washing the deck. Also there are no lounge chairs on the promenade. Our cabin was an aft verandah on the 7th deck (Schubert). It seemed smaller than our last year cruise on the NA,...but maybe that is just our imagination. There was a shower in our cabin and it was nicely decorated however the sink area was very small. We are smaller people in comparison to many onboard. I don't know how a larger person could be comfortable. We split our dinner options mostly between the Lido buffet and the Main dining room. We also tried the Dive-In and Dutch cafes. We ate all our breakfasts and lunches in the Lido. The food was very good in both areas and the Dutch Cafe had great coffees and wonderful deserts. The pea soup is wonderful although the did add a slice of what seemed to be raw bacon on a cracker as a side.The Dive-In got our orders screwed up adding options to tour burgers that they thought we would enjoy. Entertainment was the typical HA experience. No Broadway show types, 2 comics (Fred Klett was a riot), a string quartet with piano and a dance company. There is also BB Kings, Billboard and Rolling Stone areas that have decent performers. Service provided was outstanding. The crew members hustle, are always polite and smiling, and really do a great job of keeping passengers happy. The shore excursions do seem a bit pricey for what you get but they make the cruise experience seem like you are learning about different areas of the world. Of course Half-Moon Cay is our favorite stop and could spend the entire cruise right there. Embarking was sort of a painful wait. They send you an email to tell you what time you embark but I doubt many really follow that recommendation. They give you a group number when you enter the building but we saw people with number 16 entering with people having number 8. Dis-embarking was a mess. Our assigned time of leaving was 9:00 am but we manged to only leave at 10:30. It messed up our travel arrangements as we had someone waiting for us. We realize port authority has something to do with that but that needs to be rethought. We would probably do other cruises with HA but I think the smaller ships are a bit more intimate and to our liking. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I just returned from a week long cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The rooms were rather small compared to what I have experienced on other cruise ships, such as the Konigsdam. The one big issue was that one entire wall had NO electrical ... Read More
I just returned from a week long cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. The rooms were rather small compared to what I have experienced on other cruise ships, such as the Konigsdam. The one big issue was that one entire wall had NO electrical outlets by the beds. My roommate has a CPAP machine and there was nowhere to plug it in by the beds. The steward had to bring us an extension cord which was about 20 ft. long and was thick enough to power a farm. This was not very convenient and was a tripping hazard. Apart from the bathroom, the living area had only the one outlet at the desk. This seems like a very major over sight. There was a sauna to use free of charge, but it was very small and not in the spa area. It held maybe 4 people comfortably and I often had to wait for people to leave before there would be enough room. There was not enough clothing hooks and there was only one shower. There are separate men's and women's sauna right off the main hallway on the Lido deck. The HAL website advertised a .750 liter bottle of Bacardi for $43 to be delivered to one's room the day of departure. They also advertised the same bottle with 3 cans of coke for $56. I bought the $43 bottle ahead of time on the website. However, when I got onboard, they were advertising the same bottle with 3 cans of coke for $43. I cancelled my original order and placed the order for the bottle and 3 cans of coke. When I got the bill, they had added a 15% gratuity fee and tax, which brought the price to just under $50. The original charge was just the $43, so I recommend buying BEFORE you get onboard. The food was good. Not excellent, but good. Self-service was limited, which is a good thing. It keeps from having hundreds of people from using their grubby hands to handle the utensils, bringing dirty plates to the buffet and putting food back when they change their minds. It also keeps people from overloading their plates with food they won't eat. Too many cruisers have eyes bigger than their stomachs and waste so much food. We never to wait more than 2-3 minutes to get into the main dining room on level 2. Main dining room service was spotty. A couple of times we had very fast service, other times it took us an hour and a half to eat as the various dishes took a long time to deliver. However, the food was always hot and correctly prepared. Wait staff were always very friendly and accommodating. One of my fellow travelers ordered the 36 ounce steak for an additional charge of $75. The steak, of which I was lucky enough to get a bite, was absolutely delicious and cooked to perfection, but it was a lot of steak for one person. I think that if you love a flavorful steak, that this cut could be shared by 2-4 people. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Our travel agent was arranging this cruise for her friends nd clients and asked us to sail with them. The price for our Signature Suite was very attractive and we have sailed HAL and enjoy their cruises. We found the Nieuw Amsterdam to ... Read More
Our travel agent was arranging this cruise for her friends nd clients and asked us to sail with them. The price for our Signature Suite was very attractive and we have sailed HAL and enjoy their cruises. We found the Nieuw Amsterdam to be very, very crowded in the public areas. Our suite was spacious and very comfortable. We loved the Lincoln Center group and attended all their performances. Also enjoyed the other music venues, BB King and the dueling piano guys. Food in the dining room was quite good and we also enjoyed our meals in the Pinnacle Grill and Caneletto. Morning in room service for coffee was timely every day. We had reasonably nice weather so we were able to enjoy the aft pool area most days. We enjoyed swimming at the beach just off the ship at Grand Turk and our beach time at Half Moon Cay. What I didn’t like: ~the $30 pp per day ($60 for the cabin) “hold” that was placed on our credit card the minute we stepped on the ship. This is a new policy with HAL. ~the constant nickle and diming you ( servers selling $5 bottles of water in the dining room while I am eating breakfast, upcharges for lobster in the Pinnacle Grill where you have already paid a $35 pp charge just to dine there, etc.) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This is a review of a recent trip on the new Holland America Line (HAL) ship Nieuw Statendam (a Pinnacle Class ship). Our trip was not a typical HAL cruise, but rather a week-long musical event that happened to take place on a cruise ... Read More
This is a review of a recent trip on the new Holland America Line (HAL) ship Nieuw Statendam (a Pinnacle Class ship). Our trip was not a typical HAL cruise, but rather a week-long musical event that happened to take place on a cruise ship. It was the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise (LRBC) #32, a celebration of several related musical styles (boogie-woogie, blues, zydeco, etc.). If you are not a fan of these types of music, this trip is definitely NOT for you. NOTE: Our overall rating does not reflect our true opinion of the ship, because we travelled under completely different conditions than we would expect to experience on a typical HAL cruise, and some of the facilities were not available (for example, Lido Pool aft). Consequently, although we would have expected to award maximum points for a trip on a ship that has been in service barely 8 weeks we believe we would be disingenuous if we did so. We are NOT going to review the LRBC; we will just mention some of our observations, where appropriate. Embarkation Very smooth and efficient. We were asked to sign a release form allowing the LRBC organisation to use any images that included us as part of their activities during and after the cruise. Not a big deal really. The Ship Nieuw Statendam is the most recent addition to the HAL fleet (first cruise Dec 18, 2018). It is a large ship, possibly the largest in the fleet, and obviously everything onboard is new. We were disappointed to discover a change in the SOLAS Drill procedure. Having praised previous HAL ships for conducting (in our opinion) a proper drill in which passengers must report to their muster stations on the promenade deck, we were not impressed to be shepherded into the Main Stage theatre and sent to our allocated sections where we sat for 30 minutes until all of the designated passengers had arrived. We have criticised another line for this method of conducting the drill, because at the end of it we still didn’t know which lifeboat we should use in an emergency. HAL lost some credibility for this change. Deck 3 is a full promenade deck, and you can walk all the way around the ship. However, the lifeboats are not suspended overhead here, but occupy a substantial amount of deck space. This reduces the available walking area considerably, and explains (we believe) the changed SOLAS procedure. It may also explain why there are no Titanic style deckchairs on the Promenade Deck (it would get uncomfortably crowded). For exercise enthusiasts one lap of the promenade is about 1/3 of a mile. Public washrooms are not always easy to find, often being hidden very discretely in out-of-the-way places around corners, in cul-de-sacs, and at the end of short corridors, and there seems to be little if any logic to their locations. In some locations the Ladies and Gents are side-by-side, in others the Ladies might be located on one side of the ship, while the Gents is on the other! Décor Art works are everywhere, mainly emphasising music (our hallway carpet featured a musical instrument pattern). Every landing displays something that catches the eye, although none of the pieces is labelled yet. TIP: you can learn more about the artwork by joining an interesting tour led by the Art Curator, or pick up a collection of explanatory notes from Guest Services. The well-chosen selections for sale in the Art Gallery are also a step up from the pieces normally seen on cruise ships and are worth a close look. The Crew Cheerful and friendly crews seem to be a feature of HAL ships. Many people from Indonesia (which used to be the Dutch East Indies, but also crew members from Europe, the Philippines, and from India. Food We found no reasons to complain about the food in any of the restaurants onboard the Zaandam. The Lido Market serves a range of interesting dishes from all over the world including Asia and Italy. It tends to get a bit hectic at times, especially when people are lining up to get served at the buffet stations. We usually ate dinner in the Main Dining Room and never regretted any of our menu choices. One menu featured calves’ liver and when it arrived it was cooked to perfection (grilled outside, pink inside). Unless cooked properly, liver can easily become leather, which is probably the reason most people tend to shun it. The menu is always very inventive, and every day it lists some dishes that you might call standards for the less-adventurous diners (for example, salmon and strip-loin steak). The normal 1st and 2nd seating arrangements were suspended for this trip, so everybody was considered to be an open-seating diner. TIP: you will enjoy faster service if you can avoid sharing a table with a large group. Dutch Café We enjoyed an excellent brunch of Dutch pancakes here. The venue was quiet when we visited, and our food was prepared very quickly. Pinnacle Grill We were offered a lunch special deal of $10.00 pp in the grill, so we decided to take up the offer. The food, service and presentation were all first class, and we were amazed to be offered such an excellent deal. Fellow Passengers A much younger demographic (our opinion) than those we have met on other HAL voyages. The number of passengers using walking frames, wheelchairs, scooters, or sticks was minimal. Most passengers seemed to be experienced LRBC patrons. Perhaps not surprisingly, the largest group of travellers came from America. Most passengers seemed to represent the Baby Boom generation; some appeared to have just returned from Woodstock. Smoking HAL has decided to allow people to use electronic cigarettes (vaping) in cabins. Some passengers must have misinterpreted this to mean smoking was also OK, as our hallway reeked of cannabis. There was generally no enforcement of rules for this particular cruise. We wish at least one cruise line would introduce a No Smoking At ALL Anywhere On Board policy – we’d be loyal supporters! TIP: smoking is NOT allowed in the casino, which means you can walk through to get to the Main Stage Theatre without getting gassed. Entertainment Venues Entertainment was almost continuous during this trip and many of the usual facilities were converted into musical venues. There are several notable areas: Main Stage This is very different from the Main Stages we've experienced on other ships. It is a large, open, ‘theatre-in-the-round’ design where (our opinion) every seat is a good seat (because it is not obstructed by a pillar). There are six huge pillars, but all are located in such a way that they do not obstruct the sightlines. Seats are organised into upper and lower areas, (decks 3 and 2 respectively) but without the typical balcony seating that overhangs the lower rows. In this respect in resembles the arrangements of a Roman amphitheatre. B. B. King’s Blue Club Compared to its equivalent found on the Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam, this is a much enlarged venue that now occupies 2 decks (2 and 3). It has more seating, better acoustics and better lighting. Billboard Onboard A very intimate venue where the audience can get close to the performers. Rollingstone Rock Room See comments for Billboard. Elevators The frequent movement of passengers from one music venue to the next may have been a factor on this particular cruise, but elevator capacity and speed seemed markedly lower than on other HAL ships and was a constant annoyance. The cars felt smaller and the doors took ages to close unless done manually. People must have been pushing call buttons, giving up waiting and taking the stairs as there was frequently no one there when it stopped on a floor. There are no glass elevators mid-ships. Disembarkation Smooth and very efficient, as we have come to expect from HAL. Would We Sail the Nieuw Statendam Again? Possibly. We still want to get an impression of the ship under typical HAL conditions, so we can report on its more typical routines. Of course, much will depend on its itinerary – we really don’t need to see the Eastern Caribbean again for a while. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We like Holland America for the smaller ships, the excellent food, and their willingness to treat older travelers with care and respect. We've sailed on multiple other lines, but now prefer HAL as we get older. The Veendam is ... Read More
We like Holland America for the smaller ships, the excellent food, and their willingness to treat older travelers with care and respect. We've sailed on multiple other lines, but now prefer HAL as we get older. The Veendam is showing her age. Several of the elevators didn't work on a regular basis resulting in long waits or lots of stair climbing. The machines in the passenger laundromat on our deck were out of order after the first day. BUT on the plus side:....the staff was extraordinarly helpful and accommodating. The cabins, even our inside, were good sized and had LOTS of storage. The food in both the main dining room and the buffets was tasty, well prepared, visually attractive, and had good portion sizes. So many food choices....so little time. The variety of foods was amazing. The made to order crepes, omelets, and salads on the Lido were so good! And for really good fries, check out the "Dive-In" near the "indoor" pool. Their hot dogs and hamburgers are huge and tasty as well. The only food items that I found less than top quality were the breads and rolls. Those on Princess and Royal Caribbean are better. The stops on this particular eastern Caribbean cruise were interesting and all but one were at docks which we prefer over having to take tenders. We took a water taxi to the shopping area on St. Maarten but otherwise were able to walk to what we wanted to see from the ship at the other ports. We had to skip Half Moon Cay because of large waves-couldn't launch the tenders safely. The ship sponsored tours tend to be quite expensive for what you get, but it depends on what a person wants. We're not into beaches or shopping. We were able to walk around the cities at the stops and see quite a bit. The information for each town could use updating. For example, the map and information for St. John's Antigua, were not accurate at all and we ended up walking long distances to places that weren't where they were supposed to be and were in really bad condition. On the other hand, Castries on St. Lucia and Fort-De-France on Martinique were very enjoyably walkable, and we saw a lot. As is true for every cruise we've ever been on, drinks are very expensive and the pricing isn't always clear. We were charged almost $12 for souvenir drink glasses from the sail-away departure "party" - glasses that we weren't able to keep. They came around and collected them! We will sail on Holland American again, and if the itinerary were the right one, we would go on the Veendam again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We did the first 7 days of the first 14 day Caribbean cruise ever on the Nieuw Statendam. She is without doubt the most beautiful ship on the high seas (at least amongst the main-line carriers). Overall we had a great experience on the ... Read More
We did the first 7 days of the first 14 day Caribbean cruise ever on the Nieuw Statendam. She is without doubt the most beautiful ship on the high seas (at least amongst the main-line carriers). Overall we had a great experience on the Statendam and there were no "dress rehearsal" elements to be seen on board. It was operating as it was meant to, and the service crew were in top form. We booked this cruise last minute when we saw a good price pop up, and realized it would be nice to take part in the 'maiden' month of the new vessel. We booked a quad veranda on the 5th deck and a few weeks later booked another veranda on the 8th deck for Grandma and sister. Both rooms were Forward, convenient to the elevators and access to the Gym, crows nest and World Stage. The rooms were nicely designed, with a great shower. Flat panel tv was huge and there were usb power ports all over. You do not need to bring a power bar on board, in fact they will confiscate I think. We also had the drop down bed for one of our kids to sleep in. Great bed for her, but it did encroach on the king size bed a little. Perhaps it would have been better placed elsewhere. The cruise started out with a bit of rough sea out of Lauderdale, but then calmed right down for the rest of the Cruise. This was our first Western cruise and the weather was outstanding. Also, the wind was non-existent on our patio compared with the 5 other eastern cruises we did. You could sit out there all day, it was fantastic. The music walk was a hit with the passengers, we especially enjoyed the Billboard duelling pianos and the Lincoln centre stage performances. The StepOne dance troupe is especially good in their Tuesday performance as well. A better stage show than you'll be used to at sea. The stops on this western tour were pretty decent, though I prefer the eastern ports. Half moon was great as usual, I liked how they added the splash pad area for the kids. Jamaica was a bit of a miss, the cruise ships dump you off at a port where a bunch of sharks soak you to get to the nearest beach. Next time I would just book an excursion with HAL. Will prob cost the same and be much more pleasant. Caymen was great, though the tenders got a little rough. Cozumel was the highlight stop, great shops right off the dock. Cool community, glad we stayed there for 12 hours. Finally the food, HAL did not disappoint. With their Chef's Council designing most menus, this cruise will delight all the foodies out there. We tried to hit the main dining room most nights and had a great dinner each night. The Lido was also outstanding with an incredible variety for each meal. Holland is still near the top on food, almost tied with Celebrity. A couple of footnotes: - The art on board is incredible. My daughter and I did the complete art tour (her idea) and it was worth it. -Club Hal hours were not too convenient and seem to be closed over dinner a lot. Hopefully that changes. -The Grand Dutch cafe is the best part of the cruise. Everything on the menu is crazy good. We lived there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find ... Read More
Choose this cruise as a last minute, 7 day NYE getaway with family group. We knew HAL is reputed to cater to more mature cruisers so with that knowledge the young adult members of our group of 9 were not overly impressed. They did find enough to keep them entertained in casino & on New Years Eve. The ship was clean and nicely furnished but nothing that really awed me. Food was average, but like most lines, the food has gone down in quality since catering to pay for dining rooms. Room service was good. Service was very good & staff was friendly. I found it more difficult to get port information as I could not make their info session on stage. Most ships I have been on have a TV channel devoted to ports of call, but i couldn't locate one on this ship. In room movie selection was very good. We loved the piano bar & it's proximity to the casino. I did find the atmosphere on the ship relaxing. I have been on 5 other HAL cruises & think they are a good value but not a lot of bells & whistles, especially on the pool decks like many of the other lines. I like the size of their ships. Boarding was easy, but Ft. Lauderdale port is rather chaotic, especially with 7 other ships there. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were looking to get out of town (Ohio) for the Christmas Holiday. So why not go someplace tropical. We have been on 20+ cruises and chose this one for the cabin location and and Koningsdam. The ship turned out to be just what we had ... Read More
We were looking to get out of town (Ohio) for the Christmas Holiday. So why not go someplace tropical. We have been on 20+ cruises and chose this one for the cabin location and and Koningsdam. The ship turned out to be just what we had expected. It is a very beautifully appointed ship a little over 2 years old with lots of food and entertainment options from fancy to very casual. We fall more on the casual side and tend to not enjoy 2 hour dinners in the MDR. Being in a suite, you have access to the "Orange" restaurant for breakfast and dinner It is a little on the fancy side but faster with excellent service. Lido deck buffet has all kinds of options...it does get a little crowded at time and the only negatives I heard had to do with the fact that servers behind the glass serve the food. Personally I don't have a problem with that because they will give you exactly what you as for in the quantity you ask for. And I prefer my food to only be touched by one person as opposed to everyone on the ship. Cuts way down on the sickness factor for me. Dive In for hamburgers and a Gelato and pizza place are opened quit late. Room service was not up to par on Koningsdam compared to the other 6 HAL ships we have been on. Entertainment, there is a lot of it on board from Rock and Roll bands, BB King Band was outstanding and love the music every night, Lincoln Center performances for classical music and recorded music in several of the venues. Stage shows in the 270 degree two story theater and numerous lecture on different subjects. Casino was fun but if smoking bothers you there was only one night that was smoke-free....HAL needs to get on the ball and make their ships NON-SMOKING. Several pools on the ship that never seemed overcrowded and a movie under the stars ever night at 7 and 10. Santa came on Christmas Eve and they had a beautiful tree in the atrium. Being a Christmas cruise there were way more kids that you would expect on HAL but most were under control and if not several hundred Grand Parents were there to say something. Service on board was very good from a cheerful staff but the folks in Management staff could use a little Customer Service training as most seemed a tad on the aloof side. Ports were pretty standard for an Eastern Caribbean cruise. Turks and Caicos we took a two hour tour around the island on a tram open air bus. Interesting to see how they have mostly recovered from Irma and Maria hurricanes. San Juan, Puerto Rico a little shopping and back to our balcony. St Thomas, a little shopping and lunch at Gladys' restaurant in down town CA. Half Moon Cay spent most of the day on our balcony as we have been here many time. All in all this was a nice get away on a beautiful ship. I probably missed a number of thing and places on the ship but that will be for our next voyage...there is only so much time every day for eating, drinking, reading, relaxing and entertainment. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have taken more than a dozen HAL cruises, and this 4 night pre-Christmas Bahamas trip was attractively priced. The new ship is gorgeous, and has great music and entertainment options. The cabins are fresh and new, with big flat TVs ... Read More
We have taken more than a dozen HAL cruises, and this 4 night pre-Christmas Bahamas trip was attractively priced. The new ship is gorgeous, and has great music and entertainment options. The cabins are fresh and new, with big flat TVs and excellent showers (no tub in our room - which was good for us, but may be an issue for older travelers or families). The mid-ships music venues were outstanding. BB King has a feature spot and were great, and the Rock and Roll venue was suitably loud. But the real stars were Nate and Deb on the dueling pianos. WOW! This husband wife team have energy and chemistry that is truly world class and should not be missed. We were disappointed with the main dining room, where the food was average, and 'as you wish' dining arrangements were clunky and we never got to dine when we wished. The Canaletto, however, was outstanding. Food in the Lido was excellent, as was the service. For us the smiling and attentive crew always make a HAL cruise a delight, and this was no exception. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I traveled alone for our 30th Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. We booked a veranda cabin on the Navigation deck via Holland and not a travel agent. Embarkation was very easy. Although the woman taking care of us ... Read More
My husband and I traveled alone for our 30th Wedding Anniversary on this cruise. We booked a veranda cabin on the Navigation deck via Holland and not a travel agent. Embarkation was very easy. Although the woman taking care of us had to be reminded by us on the procedure!! She was also lacking in English communication skills! The wait time to board the ship was longer than usual since this was the first time Nieuw Statendam had entered an American Port so she had a lengthy inspection by the Coast Guard. Understandable. No worries! The Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship. It’s very well thought out in its design. You notice this as you walk around the decks, small things like handwashing stations in the Lido...Great idea!! I like how you are served your food in the Lido by the staff and not self service. This kept the germs down and the floors cleaner! The food was protected from the passengers behind a glass partition. We never had to touch a serving spoon or wait to be served. The selections in the Lido did not taste like cafeteria food. It had more of a gourmet flair to it! I Will say that the only item that was lacking on the ship was the self serve ice machine in the Lido. If it worked it all, the best you could hope for was a slow drip of watery slush! The no touch sensor on this ice machine didn’t work properly and I saw passengers putting their hands and used glasses all over the dispenser area trying to get it to work. This was not sanitary! The servers had good ice available in their pitchers, so ask for it instead. The food was excellent everywhere we ate on the ship! Our night in the Pinnacle was enjoyable with amazing meal selections. Our evening at Canaletto was a bit of a disappointment. An area of the Lido is transformed into Canaletto for the evening. The same staff that serves you in the morning and daytime in Lido are also serving you in the evening at Canaletto. I just didn’t feel like I was in a special venue. There wasn’t a feel of specialty dining that one would be willing to pay extra for. The food was good (not excellent) but timeliness of delivery was lacking. We had a late reservation which we will not do again anywhere on any ship! It wasn’t the service of the waitstaff that caused an issue but there appeared to be a back up in the kitchen that caused our entrées to be served over one hour behind our appetizer. Gala night in The Main Diningroom should not be missed! Service was outstanding as was the food. As always with Hollard America the main dining room is something to behold. Our favorite dinner while onboard was in Tamarind. This venue has the best view for dining and ambience on the ship! The half round booth facing aft is by far THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE! I recommend an early reservation for this venue. We watched the sun set and saw the venue lighting change to a soft romantic tone. There was a WOW factor here! Service was amazing!! Be aware when purchasing ahead of time the Signature Dining Package that only two of the five specialty restaurants are included.....The Pinnacle and Canaletto. I made the mistake of assuming all specialty restaurants were available for selection. This is not the case! FYI...Rudi’s Sel de Mer is al la carte pricing. All menu selections are priced separately. The entertainment on board the ship was outstanding. Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard and the Rolling Stone venues. Our favorite was The BB Kings Allstars direct from Beale Street at BB Kings (the club venue that was transformed from Lincoln Center Stage after 9pm) with lots of fun dancing! This band Rocked! The veranda cabin we had #8022 was comfortable with 2 cabin steward‘s Wenjoldy and George that were always available to us with smiles! Service was impeccable! There were 6 electrical and USB outlets. We took a ships approved multi outlet with us and didn’t need it! There is plenty of good lighting in the cabin with reading lights and electrical outlets of each side off the bed. The cabin door is metal but if you want to decorate it, heavy duty magnets need to be used! The bathroom was very well laid out with a large full shower and glass door. The Bollini Bath Fixtures were easy to use and quite beautiful to say the least. There are handholds and a foot rail in the shower that were strategically placed for safety. One thing that was new to us was having to put your cabin key card in a slot by the door inside your cabin to activate the interior lighting. A couple of times I was caught in the bathroom and my husband went for coffee with his card and 30 seconds later the lights went out on me! Something we had to figure out on our own if someone stays behind in the cabin. Beds were comfortable. There was a large hanging closet with plenty of room and a huge television at the foot of our bed. I highly recommend loading the NAVIGATOR program onto your phone, laptop or iPad once you’re on the ship. This program is for your easiest way of getting in touch with Guest Services if you have a problem. It’s much easier than making a phone call, telling your Cabin Stewards or being on hold forever or standing in line at guest services on the third floor. Your problem will be handled in a timely manner. This program also gives you up-to-date information on entertainment food venues, making reservations and many other necessities while on the ship . You do not need to have a purchased the ships wi fi to activate this. There are directions in a bifold paper on the desk when you arrive in your cabin on how to access the NAVIGATOR. But remember, this cannot be accessed until you are on the ship. The price for BLEND the wine blending and tasting venue is $79.00 a person or $99.00 a couple. We did not partake! There was a self service beer and soft drink dispenser that you paid for by the ounce near the indoor Lido Pool Bar. No waiting! At NOTES, the brown liquor tasting venue, one can have a shot of the overly rated 20 year old Pappy Van Winkle for up to $207.00. OR the 12 year old Pappy for $109.00 a shot! There are other brands available more moderately priced. I did not visit the spa on this trip. Our cruise just was not long enough! If shopping for Liquor aboard the ship, the prices are not posted on the bottles. You get the price list from the shop attendant. The ships artwork had a modern feel to it which was very interesting. Every elevator lobby had some sort of avant-garde art piece which was worth seeking out on a self guided art crawl. Our Captain Sybe de Boer was professional, personable and approachable. Our safety and comfort was his NUMBER ONE concern! Our Cruise Director Ross McTaggart was easy to understand and always ready to give information. The Hotel Director Don Habets saw that the few issues we had on the ship were IMMEDIATELY taken care of. Thank you Don!! Adriana Strugala in Guest Services is the person to reach if you have a complicated situation to address! Thank you Adriana. Disembarkation was very easy for us since we brought only carry on luggage for this short voyage. We were given a color coded departure tag to exit the ship when called. In spite of the fact of the Government shutdown, there were a few TSA Supervisors working to assure entry. I (we) would recommend this ship and its crew for future voyages. I would like to be on a longer one next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on ... Read More
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on the elevators , my cabin SY8081 was not accesible cabin and I found a lot of space for my scooter . I recommend it . Not many places to go at night , BB king, the piano guys and the main stage But for us is more than enough . I start to realize that mid size ships are the best . The cruise director Nathan dance amazing , he has such a lovely personality who light up the room and attract younger people . All the meals were fantastic no matter where it was The lido or the main dining room . Everything was amazing , the consistency , the flavour The quality of the food . It’s hard to describe everything . You need to try by yourself .. everything was perfect . They are detail oriented . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We stayed at the Renaissance in Fort Lauderdale the night prior to our cruise , and it was perfect for an overnight stay. We arrived late but were able to get good food right at the hotel. We wanted a longer cruise and felt a ... Read More
We stayed at the Renaissance in Fort Lauderdale the night prior to our cruise , and it was perfect for an overnight stay. We arrived late but were able to get good food right at the hotel. We wanted a longer cruise and felt a slightly larger ship would offer more choices in food , entertainment , and areas to relax ! This ship was perfect as it exceeded our expectations but was very easy to navigate , and I never felt worn out from walking . We already loved the other Holland ships , food , and wonderful TV in the room with free movies . Having tried most of the other lines , we found Holland was the best fit for us . We like the fact that they serve the food which is more sanitary and actually more efficient and faster service . We never saw long line ups except maybe for ice cream ! Also , pools are very important to me as I have arthritis and am a young senior . I like pools with stairs and railings down into the pool so I loved the pools on Koningsdam . (The smaller ships have ladders which are harder to use with age . ) The ship does a sail away in Saint Lucia right past the Twin Pitons and you can get amazing pictures from your balcony or deck. We paid $200 on another line to do a catamaran out to see them ! I love the way the captain sailed along the coast which was very beautiful and relaxing . In addition , Holland gives amazing service ! Although there were a few glitches as the ship had just come out of dry dock , we were so impressed with this ship and staff . The ship is far more beautiful than its pictures . Since I am not a fan of classic modern , I did not expect to love the decor but I did ! Of course , the ship is kept spotless ,and we usually had a window seat in the Lido and no fighting for a spot around the pool on this ship ! The divans and luxurious seating were everywhere , and I never saw so many people asleep out in public . The seating was so conducive to relaxing ! We only made it up to the Crow’s Nest at the end of the cruise, and it was so amazing with soft leather seating , We want to return to enjoy it more next time ! Finally , the entertainment around the ship is incredible ! The BB Blues and Jason and Mike were always the best ! There is live music for everyone’s taste ! We loved Helen Wilding , the singer who sang for the young Royals . Our only disappointment is the lack of bigger budget sets , costumes, singers, and dancers . That is the weak spot but overall there is just so much we love about Holland and this ship in particular ! Read Less
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