I Have benefited from numerous reviews so I thought it was time I returned the favor. Here is my review of the 2/24-3/3 Western Caribbean itinerary on the Nieuw Statendam.
There were four of us – DH, DS and DD. We had two cabins. DH and I were in a Neptune Suite and our adult children were in a veranda room 7134. Nice size veranda but the smallest bathroom I have ever seen.
Embarkation – easy we arrived at the cruise terminal around 11 and were on board by 12 noon and both rooms were ready. FYI – there were seven cruise ships in port that day. Several of them seemed to follow us all week.
There has been a lot of chatter on CC regarding Club Orange. Since Club Orange is included in a NS I purchased the upgrade for our children so they could embark with us and join us for dinner and breakfast. I loved Club Orange. I did not feel like I was in a fishbowl or on display in any way. I appreciated the quiet attentive service, the soft jazz music playing in the background that added the perfect touch of ambiance without being intrusive. The staff is top notch and they got to know our family quite well. We dined there for dinner four times and breakfast twice. It never seemed too busy and that’s the point. I liked the calm quiet atmosphere. I am not sure how many extra passes were sold. I would be interested to know. I think there are 20 NS on this ship.
The food is the same as in the main dining room with an extra entre offered each night. Most of the meal is prepared in the kitchen within CO.
As I mentioned, I feel CO is a wonderful benefit for NS guests. However, I don’t think I would purchase it separately if I were in a different room. Because it is expensive.
Retreat area – We purchased two retreat cabanas for the trip. The family cabana is not big enough for four people and I did not want to break the rules and try to stuff four into a standard cabana. It was hot up there but we had shade and a private hot tub which was really nice. There were three stewards taking care of the guests all week. Jeff, Gerald and Alwine. Great guys, helpful and accommodating. You can order lunch and drinks. The area is open 9-5 each day. This was my happy place for the week.
Ports – Truth be told we do a Caribbean cruise to relax not necessary to get off the ship. However, we did do an excursion on HMC the ECO Bike and Kayak. DS, DD and I were the only three on the excursion which took us around parts of the island – stables, stingray cove and to the Bone Fish Lagoon where we kayaked. This was a fun way to spend the morning away from the crowds and to see parts of the island I had not seen before. And there were crowds the Koningsdam was also in port that day. I have never seen so many people on HMC in the four times I have been there. We left early to go back to the ship. We don’t like the BBQ lunch so the Lido Deck was calling.
Ocho Rios – Reynolds Pier - WHAT A DUMP. Holland America should be embarrassed to dock at this pier. It looks like abandoned industrial pier. It is a good half mile from the shopping area in the main cruise port and from fellow passengers told me who attempted to walk it, not an easy walk or pleasant. You walk on the side of a busy road around construction while local children try to sell you trinkets.
My DS and DD did do a ship tour the Tranopy & Bobsled tour and enjoyed the experience.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman – Knowing there were seven ships in port that day so we arranged a private catamaran tour on Sail with Friends. We took a taxi to the Cayman Island Yacht Club, easy and Alice from Sale with Friends called head for a taxi to meet us when we got back. It was a great day and a highlight of our trip.
Cozumel – We only got off the ship to have a drink at Margaretville.
Dining: We ate once in the main dining room which was a disappointment. That night the menu was not that good. We ate twice in the Pinnacle Grill which was delicious both times. We each had something different each night and never had an issue with the quality of the food. Lido Market was really good, we ate B/L there most days. The Dive In is wonderful. The NYC deli sandwiches are good according to DH and DS.
Entertainment: we listed to the BB King band – good; the classical music group each night – very nice and the dueling piano players once – just okay IMO. The in room movie selection is great and there is a different movie in the Lido pool area each night.
Disembarkation - Again easy we took the Holland America bus transfer tot he airport.
The ship is beautiful and the staff is amazing. We had a wonderful time. If anyone has any questions I will be happy to try to answer them.