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Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids activities and hanging out at the pool. My husband and I like to have a good time too, and the quality of food and service is important to us. Our HAL experiences are generally a win win for all four of us. While the Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship, it is quite apparent that HAL is reducing staffing levels. For example: For the whole of embarkation day, it was nearly impossible to get a drink on the pool deck. Instead of smiling servers attending to our needs, we had to stand in line at the bar for every drink. For the remainder of the cruise, tables in these areas were equipped with a service button to call a server over to you table. Let's just say our bar bill was higher on previous cruises. The dining room staff at our assigned table were very pleasant and really made an effort but the service was not nearly as good as previous cruises. It is obvious that they are understaffed to maintain the wonderful dinner service that we have come to appreciate. We dined with friends in open seating a couple of times and the service was really frustrating. I'm not sure why that is but, after raving to them about the food and service on HAL, we were embarrassed. The real failure of this cruise was the last day of the cruise on Half Moon Cay. We have been there before and loved it. This time, HAL booked the two largest ships in the line in and out of the Cay at the same time, totally overwhelming the island. There was a long wait for the tender ride to shore. Once ashore, there was absolutely nowhere to sit or shade to be found. The shade we had booked in advance was oversold and we had to stand in line back on board later for a refund. The beautiful beach was absolutely packed and the lines for the lunch buffet were unreasonable. We just didn't eat. When some angry cruisers gave up their shade chairs, we simply took their spot. We got in line about an hour ahead of departure to return to the ship. The shaded tender lines were assigned to returning passengers for the other ship, and we had to stand in line in the blazing sun for over an hour, to then sit atop a crowded tender back to the ship. Not once were we offered shade, water, cold towels or sunscreen. We were all sunburnt from the experience and no one was happy. It was a horrible experience on what should have a been a beautiful final cruise day. With few, exceptions, the food on the Nieuw Statendam is wonderful and keeping to the high HAL standard. Our cabin was lovely and the cabin staff did a great job. The entertainment was very good as well. We will likely cruise HAL again but hope this and other feedback encourages them to restore elegant service and experience that we so enjoy. * Note to family cruisers * On HAL spring break cruises there are plenty of kids for your kids to befriend and interact with, but not so many as to overwhelm (or annoy) the adults.

Family Spring Break - Beautiful Ship but less elegant service

Nieuw Statendam Cruise Review by sharonmkelley

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Oceanview Stateroom
Our family has cruised with HAL a couple of times before and really loved our experiences. Our two daughters are now between eight and eleven, and love formal nights, fine dining and afternoon tea. They also love the traditional kids activities and hanging out at the pool. My husband and I like to have a good time too, and the quality of food and service is important to us. Our HAL experiences are generally a win win for all four of us.

While the Nieuw Statendam is a beautiful ship, it is quite apparent that HAL is reducing staffing levels. For example:

For the whole of embarkation day, it was nearly impossible to get a drink on the pool deck. Instead of smiling servers attending to our needs, we had to stand in line at the bar for every drink. For the remainder of the cruise, tables in these areas were equipped with a service button to call a server over to you table. Let's just say our bar bill was higher on previous cruises.

The dining room staff at our assigned table were very pleasant and really made an effort but the service was not nearly as good as previous cruises. It is obvious that they are understaffed to maintain the wonderful dinner service that we have come to appreciate. We dined with friends in open seating a couple of times and the service was really frustrating. I'm not sure why that is but, after raving to them about the food and service on HAL, we were embarrassed.

The real failure of this cruise was the last day of the cruise on Half Moon Cay. We have been there before and loved it. This time, HAL booked the two largest ships in the line in and out of the Cay at the same time, totally overwhelming the island. There was a long wait for the tender ride to shore. Once ashore, there was absolutely nowhere to sit or shade to be found. The shade we had booked in advance was oversold and we had to stand in line back on board later for a refund. The beautiful beach was absolutely packed and the lines for the lunch buffet were unreasonable. We just didn't eat. When some angry cruisers gave up their shade chairs, we simply took their spot. We got in line about an hour ahead of departure to return to the ship. The shaded tender lines were assigned to returning passengers for the other ship, and we had to stand in line in the blazing sun for over an hour, to then sit atop a crowded tender back to the ship. Not once were we offered shade, water, cold towels or sunscreen. We were all sunburnt from the experience and no one was happy. It was a horrible experience on what should have a been a beautiful final cruise day.

With few, exceptions, the food on the Nieuw Statendam is wonderful and keeping to the high HAL standard. Our cabin was lovely and the cabin staff did a great job. The entertainment was very good as well. We will likely cruise HAL again but hope this and other feedback encourages them to restore elegant service and experience that we so enjoy.

* Note to family cruisers * On HAL spring break cruises there are plenty of kids for your kids to befriend and interact with, but not so many as to overwhelm (or annoy) the adults.
sharonmkelley’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Family Oceanview Stateroom
Cabin FA
Excellent layout for families and the pullman was not over the master!
Main Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins