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About Jennifire7

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  1. We cruised in March 2019 on Nieuw Statendam with our twins, who are 6. They ABSOLUTELY loved Club HAL and are begging us to go back on another Holland America Cruise.
  2. Looking in to a cruise over Christmas week, and have a few questions about how Aruba would be on Christmas Day. We would be at port 1pm-11pm and didn’t know if there would be anything to do due to the holiday. Also, for those of you who have cruised over the holidays, is it worth the extra cost?
  3. Aw thanks! We’ve been bringing them to nice restaurants since they were babies, so they are used to it. My boys would have LOVED to be in an elevator with you 😉
  4. I think the mid ship balconies are the way to go, we were towards the front before it juts out and could see in to the corner balcony. We really enjoyed the ship and the captain handled our engine problem flawlessly (constantly keeping us updated).
  5. The played movies that were all available on demand in the cabin, but we had Second Act, Greenbook, Bohemian Rhapsody, Crazy Rich Asians, First Man and I don’t recall the others. We only watched Bohemian Rhapsody. The pool is closed and they add pillows to the loungers. I think there is popcorn and snacks served at NY Pizza.
  6. Yes, unfortunately. There was one night that was smoke free, but you can still smell it. They also allow smoking in the area around the adult pool and it was pretty smoky out there.
  7. People loosened up by the end of the week, I wouldn’t worry about it. Have the best time, the ship was beautiful and the service was great. Enjoy!
  8. There weren't many negative people, but there were a few. Honestly, it was what I was most worried about when choosing this cruise line. "The kids should be on leashes" This one completely took me aback, it was during muster and the kids were attached to our hips and not running around. My husband had a comment to him that the kids shouldn't press the up or down elevator buttons to call for the elevator. I'm not really sure why they didn't want them pressing the buttons, because they were with us and not pressing the incorrect button or doing something they weren't supposed it. The understood the layout of the ship very quickly and knew were everything was and where we were headed each time we rode the elevator. At the Grand Dutch Cafe, the kids were sitting at a table while we were in line ordering food, they weren't being loud or doing anything disruptive, but I guess could have appeared to be unsupervised. We got some dirty looks and you could tell they were talking about us, but also, by the end of our time at the table we had 2 separate older couples comment on how well behaved they were. We both had overheard people saying that they would never book another "spring break cruise" since there were too many kids (about 350 total kids were on board). The comedian also had several jokes about children on the boat, but it seem like he was just playing to the audience of the ship. I think you shouldn't be concerned, it wasn't anything that would prevent me from booking with HAL again. The kids club was above and beyond and the families that were on board were so friendly. I hope by the end of the week those who had made comments or gave us dirty looks saw how well behaved the kids were.
  9. The hostess at most places asked as we were leaving, but it felt strange that the servers never really were "engaged". It wasn't a big deal, we still enjoyed all of the specialty dining options.
  10. We just returned from St Thomas and chartered a catamaran. Hands down the best money I have ever spend on an excursion.
  11. I am just returning from a cruise on the Nieuw Statendam, my SIL and brother had the Explorer 4 SBP and my sister (over 21) in the same stateroom did not have the package. Nothing was said to them and my sister just ordered drinks whenever she wanted one, as she is not a big drinker.
  12. I just returned from a Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Statendam and wanted to share our thoughts on this ship, as I have benefited from many reviews posted here from you all. A little background about us, I am 41 years old and my husband is 37 years old, we have twin boys who are 6 years old. We have previously cruised on Royal Caribbean, but were looking for something "classier" with better food and drink options, so we tried out Holland America's newest boat. We also had my parents, his mom, my siblings (late 30s, married, no children and a single sister in her late 30s) and his aunt (late 50s) in our group. Everyone in our group had balcony rooms, non obstructed. Embarkation We arrived to the port around 10:45am, the process was super easy. We brought on board 2 bottles of wine and a case of water, noone said anything about it. We were on board in less than 45 minutes and it was very smooth. Our Cabin We had a VA Cabin 6055. It was smaller than the cabin on Royal Caribbean, but adequate. The balcony was very tiny and a few cabins over we could see in to their balcony. We "upgraded" from a VC to a VA, and in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have done this. The rest of our group had VC cabins and no other balconies were visable from their balconies. The shower was AMAZING and there was plenty of storage for all of our stuff. We ended up not having to use the pullman bed since the sofa bed was closer to a full size vs the twin that they said it was. The boys never complained about the size or the comfort level. Our bed was excellent and we slept awesome the whole vacation. Food We only ate in the main dining room the first night, it was just ok. I know food is subjective, and we are probably pickier than most when it comes to restaurants. We did not buy any specialty dining packages, but if i was to do it again, I would have just eaten in specialty restaurants the entire time. We tried Tamarind twice, the first time was fantastic, the second time was just ok, but I think we just ordered the wrong items. We ate in Canaletto, with the kids, and it was good. The vibe was a bit strange being in the Lido Restaurant, but the view was nice. We also did Pinnacle Grill (excellent) and Rudi's Sel De Mer (the one I was least excited about, that ended up being our favorite meal). For lunches, we ate at Dive In and NY Pizza (which were ok) and the Grand Dutch Cafe (that was better). Breakfasts we enjoyed room service, but truthfully, we mainly just got dry cereal and coffee as we are not big breakfast eaters. Service was a bit strange in the specialty restaurants as they never really came over to ask how things were or at the end of the meal. It always felt awkward at the end just leaving the table. Drinks The wine offerings on board seemed slim and the pricing was all over the place. Some wines that are definitely less expensive were offered at higher prices than others that are more expensive at lower prices. I work in the wine industry, so maybe I'm just nitpicking here. We ordered a few bottles on board, but mainly drank cocktails since the offerings weren't what we were looking for. We did not buy a drink package, and I think it was the right decision as we came nowhere close to the price it would have cost us for it (and we drank every day and never limited ourselves). In the future, if I was to cruise again with HAL, I would bring more bottles on board and just pay the $18/per bottle and corkage. Club HAL I cannot say enough positive things about Club HAL. They were AMAZING and my kids never wanted to leave (they went every single day). My one complaint was that the hours were not posted on the dailies and you had to find the hours on the TV. Activities We went to a few shows, America's Test Kitchen, Rolling Stone Rock Room, BB Kings and watched a movie under the stars. The daytime activities were LIGHT at best. Without many things to do, most people are around the two VERY small pools on board. We still felt that the pools were nice and the drink service was excellent. Our fellow Cruisers We did have a few "comments" about the kids. Most people commented on how well behaved the boys were and how lucky they were to be on a cruise, but we did have some comments that were just odd and rude for no reason at all. Overall We were very happy and will most likely consider HAL in the future. We want to do Alaska next and are considering the Nieuw Statendam sister ship, Koningsdam. Hope this helps and I'm happy to answer any questions.
  13. We were on the cruise. We received port charges back and $50 per person. It never felt unsafe and the Captain updated us frequently with what was happening.
  14. Hello! I have called ship services and they weren't able to answer my question. For those of you who have sailed on the Nieuw Statendam or Koningsdam, are they able to accommodate 11 people in the main dining room or in a specialty dining restaurant? Ship services said no to the main dining room, but they were unsure of any specialty restaurants. We are looking to keep our group together for the first night and the remainder of the cruise, everyone will pretty much do their own thing. Thanks!
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