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Found 190 results

  1. Has anyone played pickle ball on the Nieuw Statendam? Do they provide the paddles & balls? Has their been a good response to the games?
  2. So confused on Holland America's inside cabin differences. Cannot find anywhere what the actually cabin size is, most sites say so and so sq ft up to 225 sq ft for an inside. I did read there are certain inside cabins that have a convertible sofa bed available. Does anyone know which ones or a good site to figure out the size of the rooms?
  3. I think the answer is no but I want to make sure. Looking to book a spa cabin but thinking it is not worth the extra price if it does not include spa pass. Other spa cabins on other lines we have booked do include spa pass but I am having a hard time figuring it out on Holland.
  4. Can anyone help out with a pictures or describtion of this particular cabin- as far as I know it is a different layout then other balcony cabins. Thanks so much!
  5. Have just booked this cabin for the Norwegian Fjords & Baltic Jewels in August 2020. Can anyone let me know what is in the area between this cabin and cabin 4156? Any pictures of the cabin & larger deck?
  6. Planning a 14 night to Caribbean in November on either of these ships - similar prices - suggestions one over the other?
  7. Has anyone done Blend on Nieuw Statendam? Did you enjoy it? Is it worth the extra cost?
  8. Anyone else sailing on NS for the New Year Eve cruise -Dec 29? I didn't see a roll call for it. Our first time on HAL, have sailed many other cruise lines. Wondering if they will do something special for New Years Eve?
  9. Hello fellow cruisers! We recently returned from a 7-night voyage on the Nieuw Statendam, and I thought I would try and write a little photo review to share with you! Just testing this photo...More to come!
  10. NIEUW STATENDAM – February 24, 2019. 7-Day Western Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale I’ll start off by confessing I’m not a fan of Holland America, well at least not of their older and smaller ships. I know that is quite contradictory to the legions of diehard HAL fans that love their smaller and more traditional ships. I’m just the opposite. My last cruise on HAL was almost ten years ago on NIEUW AMSTERDAM when she was brand new. It was an ok cruise, but we found nothing truly exceptional and other lines were better suited for us. In fact for this cruise we were originally booked on CELEBRITY EDGE but had to cancel due to some family obligations. As it turns out we had the week free after all, but EDGE was way overpriced so we settled on a last minute booking on NIEUW STATENDAM. I’m really glad it worked out that way as we had a fantastic time on NS and it was refreshing to revisit HAL after so many years. This cruise was also a great value and I feel we received a truly wonderful experience on a brand new ship at a relatively bargain price. I still want to sail on EDGE and it will happen, but not just yet. Rather than write a formal review I’m going to touch on aspects of the HAL experience I really enjoyed, and those that perhaps fell a little short. Overall I loved NIEUW STATENDAM and would sail on her again in a heartbeat. I’m a big fan of Cunard and their new ship will be built off the same platform as NS (with modifications of course), and I feel I got a little preview of what to expect at least with the hardware. I’m generally a fan of technology and I embrace it, but frankly I wasn’t expecting much with regards to HAL. I was wrong. HAL has really stepped up its game regarding technology and I was impressed. Some examples are a great new app that was easy to use and worked like charm, interactive TV (with free movies), call button on various tables (inside and out) to order drinks. Yes it works! Fantastic always connected internet for $99. Freestyle Coke machine. Beer dispensers that are key card activated, and most surprisingly waiters in the dining room using hand held devices. We had as-you-wish dining and upon entry to the dining room they ask for your cabin number and assign you a table. I was surprised that our waiters would call us by name since we had never seen them before. One showed me that our names and pictures appeared on his hand held device when we were assigned a table in his section. Very impressive! Another aspect of the experience where I feel HAL has stepped up its game is cuisine. We purchased a dining package that included 5 different speciality restaurants. We enjoyed them all. My partner loved Nami Sushi the best, and my favorite was Rudi’s Sel de Mer. All were excellent though, and although we only dined in the main dining room twice, it was also very good. Special mention must be made of the burgers at Dive-In up by the midship pool. These are the best burgers I’ve had at sea (sorry to Guy’s on Carnival), made to order and very fresh. You receive a pager which notifies you when your order is ready, and it’s well worth the wait. Best of all there is no surcharge for these gourmet style burgers. There would be on many other cruise lines. The Lido Market had a great variety of options and was well laid out, and we never had a problem finding a table. We had lunch there almost every day. One afternoon we tried the pizza at New York Deli and quite enjoyed it. Princess Cruises likes to brag that it has the best pizza at sea, but I think this eclipsed that. One afternoon I enjoyed crepes at the Grand Dutch Cafe and that was a nice treat. Overall I enjoyed having so many dining options and truly noticed an upgrade in quality, variety, presentation, and taste from past HAL cruises. In fact a big improvement. Service was also elevated, and everyone from bar waiters to our cabin steward could not have been more professional and friendly. Entertainment, music, and nightlife are aspects that never impressed on past HAL cruises. In fact I remember the ship being a dead zone at 10pm. This is probably why I have avoided HAL more than any other reason. While I’m no spring chicken, I’m not over the hill just yet either. I still enjoy an evening out socializing and listening to music, dancing, or watching a show. It’s no secret that HAL has a reputation of catering to a more senior crowd, putting that as politely as possible, and the lack of the ship feeling alive really disappointed me on past HAL cruises. Not the case on this one! While the crowd was generally still senior, it was more mixed and diverse. Add to that a new emphasis on music with Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard, BB King’s Blues Club, and the Rolling Stone Rock Room and now you have a ship that is alive and filled with music! I enjoyed them all but the dueling piano players in Billboard Onboard were my favorite. They were excellent and had different themes each night like 80’s, Hot 100, or all request. Another pleasant surprise was the production shows. The showroom is now in-the-round, and very high-tech with a giant video wall all around the back and sides. Gone are the traditional cast of 4 singers and 8 dancers with mediocre talent. In their place are a cast of truly professional dancers. No singers. The show that really impressed me was called Humanity. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen on a ship before and was quite refreshing. The production made excellent use of the video wall incorporating it into the show, but not having it take center stage or become the main attraction. The dancers were truly the stars. The second show was called Stages. It was also good but lacked the originality of the first show. There were also comedians and probably a magician but they are not my thing. The Cruise Director is not someone I usually pay attention to and they don’t have much impact on my enjoyment, but I thought the CD on NS was exceptional. Maybe because he was so easy on the eyes, but also because he was very low-key. Instead of the in your face used car salesman type from Vegas, he was from South Africa and very restrained. A class act. NIEUW STATENDAM is a Pinnacle-Class ship, the second in the fleet following KONINGSDAM. These ships share many attributes with the older Vista and Signature Class ships and offer a similar layout. What impressed me with NS was how much more open it felt. The ship was bright, spacious, and open with many two level spaces. I felt the older Vistas and Signature Class felt much more dark and closed in. The theme of NS is “music” and most of the art work is music related. I loved it. Many art pieces are really clever and deserve a second or third look. I enjoyed just walking around looking at all the art. With the more modern art, as well as brighter and more vibrant carpet and fabric choices, the ship feels so much more alive, contemporary, and relevant than her older fleet-mates. Sometimes I wondered if I was on an HAL ship, and for me that was a good thing! Being so new the ship really had that new car smell which I loved. One tradition that was retained is fresh flowers, and they are everywhere. Some of the arrangements are quite large and spectacular. I’m glad HAL has retained this tradition and I know it comes at a substantial cost. One tradition that didn’t make the cut is a large, unobstructed promenade deck. Like many new ships, the lifeboats now sit directly on the deck instead of above it, with just a narrow and obstructed walkway behind the boats. At least on NS it’s a full wrap-around deck even if there are no views on most of it. With two pools (one with magradome) and lots of deck space, this sun worshiper never had an issue finding a deck chair. I love an aft deck with pool and NS did not disappoint in this regard. I also enjoyed a spa pass for the week, and again the spa on NS is a big improvement over the Vista/Signature Class ships. The spa pool is round and larger in size, plus it’s connected to the thermal suite which is a far superior layout. There is also a very nice ocean facing free sauna located in a men’s changing area, and I’m glad HAL still offers this complimentary option to all passengers. Forward is the gym which is well equipped and with great views. I was quite pleased overall with the ship itself, from décor to layout and amenities. Our balcony cabin (6199) was especially comfortable and well laid out, with a modern bathroom (no dreaded shower curtain), interactive TV, USB ports bedside, and lots of other thoughtful touches. There was plenty of storage space, even two drawers under the bed. I liked that the TV was built into a wall unit instead of just hanging on the wall and sticking out. The bed was ultra-comfortable and being so new, everything worked great and was fresh and new. I’m a strong believer in attention to detail, and perhaps this is what impressed me most with HAL. So much attention to detail and some very nice premium touches at a great value. Some examples are free on demand movies; chocolates each evening at turndown; free room service; hot room service breakfast items; daily fresh fruit delivered to the cabin; the best shower head and water pressure I’ve experienced at sea; unlimited pool towels; logo china/silverware in the dining room; make up mirror in the cabin; HAL logo blanket for use in the cabin/balcony; fresh flowers everywhere; extra thick and soft cotton bath towels; linen towels in the public restrooms; souvenir log of the cruise; ship tile for Mariner Club members; Mariner Club luncheon. These small touches really make a difference, and they are even more impressive at the price point HAL charges. So what fell short? Not too much actually and nothing I would consider major. Funny enough I missed a morning TV program by the Cruise Director. Most cruise lines have this and for some reason watching it has become a tradition for me. Along those lines I wasn’t a fan of the “When & Where” daily program. I get that HAL is probably trying the streamline and modernize the daily program, but I didn’t like the layout or how condensed it is, especially the dining times. It just doesn’t flow well IMO. There is no signing of checks on NS. This is good and bad. Good because there is less paper use, but bad if you like to keep track of receipts. Using the app solved this problem for me, and I could see our charges instantly. Club Orange. What a failure. It’s the one specialty restaurant we didn’t try. It has absolutely no atmosphere and is the least attractive space on the ship. Honestly it looks like a cheap cafeteria and to think it’s meant for suite passengers. You can tell it was originally designed as a demonstration kitchen and perhaps it should have been left as that. It was empty every time we passed by. Although there was a ton of music along the three venues of the Music Walk, what was missing was light cocktail music. A solo pianist or a solo guitar player. Two perfect spots for this would have been the Ocean Bar (which even had a small dance floor) and the Crow’s Nest (Explorations Cafe). Both these lovely venues were void of any music at night, so they were pretty much empty. That is a shame as it would have been nice to sip cocktails in both venues with some nice cocktail music playing. Lastly I’ll mention the HAL Mariner’s Club. I think it’s probably the worst past passenger club in the industry. I sail on most all cruise lines and I’m at the top level of several, and the benefits can be quite impressive, but not the case with HAL. I’m only a two star Mariner (I’ll be 3 stars after the next HAL cruise), and the benefits are fairly non-existent. The Mariner Lunch is nice but it costs HAL nothing. I prefer more tangible benefits like free internet, free speciality dining with a complimentary bottle of wine, free cocktails each evening, free mini-bar set up, etc. I’m not one to sail on a line just because of past passenger benefits, but in the case of HAL there is absolutely no incentive to move up to higher levels. I know not everyone will agree but that is my opinion. Lastly you might wonder where we sailed to? Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, and Half Moon Cay. I’ve been to the Caribbean so many times that ports were insignificant. It was all about the ship. One exception is Half Moon Cay. It’s a delight and very well executed. Probably my favorite of all the private out islands next to Disney’s Castaway Cay. Bringing this all to life are 575 photos covering all venues of the ship, and one video of a horn exchange between NS and KONINGSDAM as we departed Half Moon Cay. I’ve also included some menus and all the daily programs plus some general ship information. I hope you enjoy! https://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/albums/72157706810856841
  11. Just back from the last Caribbean cruise of the season on the Nieuw Statendam! We are a family of four with an adult child in his 20s and a 10 year old so my review is based more on those demographics. We have not cruised in 11 years and a lot has changed such as the way they do muster drills, the availability of internet onboard, and the navigator app to name a few. The Ship: Beautiful and elegant, with lots of spaces to hide out in and just relax. I particularly enjoyed all the music related artwork all over the ship. We stayed in a verandah on Deck 5. It was tight for 4 people, but still doable. I loved all the drawers and there was space for all of us once we unpacked. My favorite spots onboard were the Crow’s Nest and my in room balcony. Entertainment & Activities: I loved having all of the various music venues onboard. There is something for everyone. We enjoyed the Lincoln Center classical pianist and Latina Musica, the rock room band, and BB King band. The mentalist was interesting. Movies by the pool were OK. They would have been better but the volume is just not loud enough to really hear properly. Club HAL was enjoyable and my son went a few times for an hour or so. Mixology class was entertaining for my son. Trivia was fun but I wish they had prizes for the winners, even just some HAL pens/pencils/notepads etc. Food: The Main Dining Room: food choices were great and I particularly enjoyed the beef stroganoff and roasted chicken. Service was a tad bit slow for us (a little over 1.5 hours). We had a fixed late seating (8pm) which was fine because we are coming from the West Coast and still not starved by then. Only negative was it seemed very noisy every time we ate there. Pinnacle Grill: excellent dinner here and a much more relaxing atmosphere. While not the best filet I have had it was very good. Tamarind: was much better than we expected it to be! I liked how the dishes felt light because often Asian food can feel heavy. All of our dishes were tasty and good portion size (not too big). De Librije: My son had the pop up in the Pinnacle. He enjoyed it immensely with the included 2oz wine pours. Daily Tea Service in MDR: Loved it. Service was white glove and delivered to the table (not buffet style). Sandwiches were tasty and just the right amount for an afternoon pick me up. Plus the dining room is quite pretty during the day. Dive In: Excellent burger and chicken sandwiches! NY Deli: Good for breakfast bagel sandwiches. Salads were great. Pizzas were just OK. Dutch Café: Excellent lattes! Never got the hot food because they didn’t serve it when we went before 11am. Lido: Breakfast was good with so many options! The crepe and omelette stations were always busy with a long wait. Dinner was OK but the times were so limited! I felt like every time we wanted to go they are almost closing or had just closed. Casino: Seemed a bit small and the table games were really squished together. No Texas Hold ‘Em Table (except the heads up game) or poker tournaments which was a bummer for my husband. I did not notice the smoke in the public areas and there was a day or two where the casino was nonsmoking. Only one night my husband said the smoke was strong. Ports: Grand Turk visited Governor’s Beach – amazing and quiet! Worth the $4 per person taxi ride. St Thomas Magen’s Beach was a bit more crowded but still very nice with chairs, food and beverage service for purchase. We purchased through HAL and the guide who drove us was great and stopped a few times for pictures etc. Puerto Rico we visited the Fort by taxi and later my husband and son went on the bioluminescent kayak tour. They really enjoyed it. Unfortunately Half Moon Cay was canceled due to weather. We were so bummed!!! Negatives for me (far and few): There needs to be more options besides in room dining later at night. Some nights the lido closed at 8pm leaving you waiting til their late night snack hour. The room service and lido coffee is terrible! But I did love my lattes at the Dutch Café. Laundry kept charging us even though we purchased unlimited. Spoke to guest services twice and ended up leaving the ship with it still on my bill. The weekly spa pass I bought was not worth it to me. I only went once and found it to be loud and not very relaxing. Next time I will save my money on that or maybe do a day pass instead. Overall we had an amazing time and are now hooked on cruising again. We had waited years to cruise because our 10 year old is autistic and we were not sure if he would do well onboard. Well apparently he is a natural born cruiser because he loved it and says the next trip he wants to do 10 days! I would sail on this ship again because I still did not get to try everything onboard.
  12. Two more of our HAL ships head off for the summer season in Europe. These two will be in port together May 3, 4, and 5. Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1600. She is headed out for a 14-day Azores and Normandy Expedition repositioning cruise. We will be waving goodbye to our fellow sail-away addict, Roy. Praia Da Vitoria, Azores (28 Apr 1000-1800); Ponta Delgada, Azores (29 Apr 0800-1800); Cherbourg, France (03 May 0700-1900); Zeebrugge (Bruges), Belgium (04 May 1000-1900); Amsterdam, Holland (05 May a0800) Zuiderdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0545-1600. Her 16-day repositioning cruise is also called the Azores and Normandy Expedition. Kings Wharf, Bermuda (24 Apr 0800-1700); Praia Da Vitoria, Azores (29 Apr 0800-1800); Cherbourg, France (03 May 0700-1900); Zeebrugge (Bruges), Belgium (04 May 1000-1900); Amsterdam, Holland (05 May 0800-1800); Copenhagen, Denmark (07 May a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 (0430-1730), Carnival Conquest at pier 19 (0400-1600), Celebrity Edge at pier 25 (0600-1600), and Harmony OTS at pier 18 (0515-1630). Doubtless there will be some delays with four ships scheduled to leave at 1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Next up: Zaandam on April 24.
  13. I will be flying to Fort Lauderdale Good Friday to board the Nieuw Statendam on Easter Sunday. Two weeks later the Nieuw Statendam will have her first visit to her home country and I will be on board. Sadly, that will be a bittersweet moment for me as I will both enjoy the moment but also the sadness of disembarking. Come along with me on this journey. It will be typical of my cruise reports and I’ll have menus and When and Where posted as well as likely additional photos on my companion blog: http://getawaysfrom21044.wordpress.com. While I do fly I don’t like it. Cunard’s next transatlantic is some time after my arrival in Amsterdam so I’ll be extending my time with them for a few days before returning home. I have 2 days in Amsterdam and another 2 in Kiel before boarding Queen Victoria for a short 3-day cruise to Southampton (port:Skagen). Next is a 5-day getaway on QM2 (2nd call to Zebrugge plus St. Peter Port) before my transatlantic starts (May 17-24). When on a multi-line itinerary I tend to report the entire journey on a neutral forum but this time that will be on the Cunard forum as the Nieuw Statendam will be a sister to Cunard’s newest vessel. That thread is: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2655034-qvqm2-kiel-to-new-york-with-a-holland-america-prelude/ Luggage Forward already has one of my bags at their Florida office. Roy
  14. We just returned from a great week on board the Nieuw Statendam. The cruise was excellent and I think Holland America has a great new ship with a great on board product. The ship She is elegant and beautiful. The artwork around the ship is really something special. I loved the look of the lounges and the public areas. The design is elegant yet very comfortable. I think it really is the perfect amount of glitz and comfort. The food Pinnacle Grill - Excellent. My 16oz dry aged Delmonico was exceptional. Food and service were both very good. Rudi's - A must do! The Dover Sole was spectacular. The quality of the fish was probably some of the best we have ever had on land or sea. Canaletto- I was a bit hesitant at first, but it ended up being one of our favorite dinners! Once again, food and service were top notch. I could have easily eaten here 2 or 3 times. Tamarind- I think I enjoyed the old menu a bit more, but it was still a very nice dining experience. We found the raw sushi to have an odd consistency so I would stick with the cooked selections. The lobster tempura roll was literally enough food for an entire meal! Dining room- Only ate there for one dinner, and it was good. But, with only being there for one dinner I don't think I can properly rate it. Buffet- The food quality was very good. I prefer to serve myself, but Holland America has done away with most of that so I learned to adapt. Went to the buffet for dinner one night and I was very impressed with the offerings. Entertainment Lounge performances - These were excellent. Rolling Stone Rock Room, BB Kings, Lincoln Center, and Billboard were all very good. It is obviously that Holland America is now focusing on bringing in top level talent and it showed. The venues were packed every night of the cruise. If you are expecting a cruise where everyone is in bed by 10pm, you will certianly be mistaken on this ship. On some nights, the lounges were still packed even for the 11pm performances! Showroom entertainment- Let me start by saying that there are still 2 production shows. Now, the type of show has certainly changed. Gone are the typical singer/dancer cruise ship show. What has replaced it is a troupe of top quality, professional dancers, who put on an amazing 45 minute show in a beautiful theater. The first show was spectacular. The dancers integrated the technology seamlessly and it really was a special and unique performance. The second show was a bit less impressive because the large screens in the World Stage only served as a backdrop. I would like to see those screens used a bit more in the second show. As far as the other main showroom acts, they were just your typical comedian/magician type shows. They weren't terrible and they weren't great either. I think HAL could step up some of that talent just a bit. However, the lounge performances really did make up for any shortcomings in the main theater. Cabin We were assigned a standard ocean view cabin (1098) on deck 1. The cabin itself was very nice with plenty of storage. The shower was quite big which I appreciated. However, when we came back to the cabin on the first night around 11:15pm, it sounded as if we were sleeping under a night club. After a quick glance at the deck plans, we in fact were. BB King's was directly above us. Each night, the music didn't end until 1am or later (BB Kings turns into the main dance club after the performances). I had several calls to guest services and they did their bets to get the DJ to lower the bass. On the second to last night, they offered us another cabin to move to but by then we did not feel like re-packing with less than 2 days left. Our family was staying on deck 4 above BB Kings and had the same problem. Clearly, there is a bit of a design problem on this ship. I would recommend staying clear of deck 2 or deck 4 midship. Retreat Cabana This is probably the best $399 we can ever spend. We spent all of our days up there and it was peaceful and relaxing. The service by the cabana attendants is great and the addition of the hot tub to the area really makes it the perfect place to spend the day. I hope this area continues to be expanded on the future ships. Casino It is a bit small for the size of the ship and also the smoking really did get annoying. Unfortunately, the smoking side of the casino had all of the machines I was interested in. There were 2 nights when the casino was non-smoking and it was a big relief. I really hope HAL eliminates smoking in the casino all together. Or, perhaps they can make an enclosed space for smoking with some slot machines. Drink Package We had the signature beverage package and it was a bit of a mess. For some reason, HAL has not really 100% embraced the beverage packages. For example, on the first day we were informed that the limit for wines is now $11 (instead of $9). However, the glass of wine we ordered (below $11) ended up on our bill. Of course, guest services had no record of the increase in allowance and they were talking to me as if I were making it up. I insisted she call the beverage manager, which she did, and was then informed of the change. She was not happy with the beverage manager saying "You should have told us." Anyway, this happened a few more times throughout the cruise, so it was annoying to have to go to guest services each time. The next example is for the first 2 days of the cruise we were ordering Grey Goose martinis with no issues. On the 3rd day, a bar tender informed us these were not included in the package. He said "I will have to charge you for 2 drinks." So, a shot of Grey Goose is included, but the martini isn't. How confusing is that? Tittos was no problem though, so we just started ordering Tittos martinis. Lastly, one day I asked for just a little extra soda water because I like to add it to my drink (it was strong). The bar tender said, "I'm sorry but I can't give you 2 drinks at once." After spending $700 on the beverage package, these things seem SO PETTY! We were also told non-alcoholic drinks count towards the 15 drinks which makes no sense to me considering you can get unlimited soft drinks with the soda package. HAL, please get your act together. Either offer a beverage package or don't. I didn't like having to feel like a criminal every time I ordered a drink. Club Orange I was interested in Club Orange but decided not to go through with purchasing it. I am glad I did not. We walked by every night and it was virtually empty. By 9:00pm, the restaurant was empty and they were already setting up for breakfast. It was really depressing looking. My recommendation to HAL is to change the furniture and decor and make it look special and upscale. Then, use the kitchen and create a specialized menu for Club Orange desks that is cooked on site. Perhaps even let diners get involved in some of their own food preparation (maybe offer some classes to Club Orange guests during sea days). I think there are many ways you can make this a unique and worthwhile concept. However, what they have now seems to be a big dud. Aside from these few complaints, the cruise was really great. This was a very relaxing week and I would not hesitate to sail on the Nieuw Statendam again. If you have any questions, let me know!
  15. Took the red eye from Los Angeles to FLL. No sleep for 30+hours and hung out at FLL till boarded. Take a taxi for the 2 mile $15 ride to the terminal. Hint, have your photo ID handy at the terminal gate even if you are in a cab! the line up is at 10:15 bit they didn’t let us in to check in till 11:00. Was on the boat at noon. This ship hip has the best cruise ship bathroom ever! The solid glass door is so much cleaner and better than a vinyl curtain. It’s the worlds best shower because no matter how long you run the hot shower with the door closes the mirror does not fog up!!! the ship is a beauty and I live the music theme which includes names of decks,!music venues and artwork. The artwork and feel is fun and more like the Celebrity Reflection or a very toned down Carnival. The internet works and price $139 unlimited is fair. You can also use the same account in multiple devices just not at the same time. The menu looks improved over what I had on a Holland cruise two years ago. The grand cafe is a waste and is all pay extra. The pizza was amazing. The flourless chocolate cake flawless. The free ice cream in the Lido buffet is not made in board. Only the extra pay gelato is made here. The free waffle cone was delicious. The only complaint I have is the service in the main dining room tonight was very slow. I went 5:15 not busy when arrived but all courses were very slow. If that happens again I’ll need to say something. The new spa has a deal if $199 for one or $200 for two persons and up to 25 passes are sold for their spa sauna facilities. I was tempted bit passes. Maybe next time. Hopefully the poor MDR service was a one time event. But I really like this ship so far.
  16. Lots for the sail-away addicts to watch today! Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She will be doing her last 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise before leaving for Europe next week. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (16 Apr 0800-1500); San Juan, Puerto Rico (17 Apr 1300-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (18 Apr 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (20 Apr 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (21 Apr a0700) http:// Veendam will be at pier 19 (starboard to) from 0430-1700. She is heading across the pond on a 14-day Passage to Rome repositioning cruise. Ponta Delgada, Azores (22 Apr 0800-1700); Malaga, Spain (25 Apr 0700-1700); Cartagena, Spain (26 Apr 0700-1300); Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy (28 Apr a0700) Also in port are Celebrity Silhouette at pier 29 from 0445-1630, Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600, Harmony OTS at pier 18 from 0515-1630 , and Celebrity Edge at pier 25 from 0600-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Rotterdam will be leaving Tampa for the last time as she, too, heads to Europe. She will be in port from 0700-1700. She is doing a 15-day Azores and Normandy Expedition cruise. Kings Wharf, Bermuda (18 Apr 0800-1700); Ponta Delgada, Azores (23 Apr 0800-1700); Brest, France (26 Apr 0800-1700); Cherbourg, France (27 Apr 0700-1700); Zeebrugge (Bruges), Belgium (28 Apr 0800-1800); Rotterdam (Amsterdam), Holland (29 Apr a0700) Also in port is Carnival Miracle. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.porttampawebcam.com/. Nieuw Amsterdam is in San Diego heading out on a 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise.http://sundiegolive.com/ Next up: Volendam on April 18.
  17. I realize this is a long shot because it is about specific cabins on Nieuw Statendam, but I'm hoping someone may have an answer for me. On the deck plans on the HAL website, on deck 7 there is no line separating the balconies for cabins 7144 & 7146. I initially thought that it could simply be a mistake on the graphic, but then I noticed that the line is also missing on deck 8 for cabins 8146 & 8148, which are directly above the other two. This made me wonder if there is something at that spot on the ship that makes it impossible to separate the balconies. This seems like a small thing, but I am going to be in 7144 in June and I really enjoy a private balcony. If anyone has been in or is currently in one of these four room, could you please let me know what the balconies are like? Thanks very much.
  18. Here’s our review of our 17th March Eastern Caribbean sailing aboard Nieuw Statendam. This was our first time on HAL. Having booked through a UK travel agent, we flew directly to Fort Lauderdale from London (very convenient, though Norwegian does not the most comfortable long haul product!). We arrived the night before embarkation, and stayed in the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. This is a great location for the airport and port, but it is sadly a rather dated Hilton property. We were quite lucky with the beautiful room we were assigned, but the public areas seemed as though they needed some attention. As this hotel is so close to the port, on a busy embarkation day it is absolute mayhem - suitcases everywhere with people arriving and departing. As a result we chose to eat breakfast out, and checkout as late as possible. Via our travel agent we had received an embarkation time of 2pm. Due to the situation at the hotel, we made the decision to go directly to the terminal at 11:30 (it seems like the entire ship had also done the same). They were already on embarkation group 25+, and actually stopped using numbered groups when we got to check in. From arrival at the terminal to embarking the ship was under 30 mins. As has been well documented, the ship itself is beautiful and has that wonderful new smell (sadly mixed with cigarette smoke if you go anywhere in the vicinity of the casino). We had a VD grade balcony cabin which was beautiful - though perhaps a little smaller than the similar grade cabin I had on Queen Victoria last year. The bathroom is wonderful though - definitely the nicest I’ve had on a ship. The balcony has ample space, and the ottomans make it perfect to sit and relax. Our first night we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, which I had pre-booked as a celebratory meal beforehand online. Incidentally, we overhead other passengers being told on the first night that the Pinnacle was fully booked for dinner for the entire cruise. Our meal was outstanding - the service was so so personal and caring it really made it for us. The portions were huge, and we were unable to finish most of our food (the king crab legs were particularly large!) The live music on the ship is outstanding - in particular, we really enjoyed Billboard Onboard, which we tried to catch most evenings. It was nice to see that there were certain ‘regulars’ who also enjoyed particular music venues. Coming from the British market where kettles in the cabin are commonplace, I did find it a little annoying that you had to order from room service or go to the lido if you wanted a tea or coffee. Room service were always very helpful and friendly but often took about one hour to arrive. We did not purchase a beverage package, and found this to suit our needs well as although we might have a couple of drinks a day, this did not warrant the high cost. In our opinion, spirits and cocktails were reasonably priced (certainly cheaper than here in London, and cheaper than other lines I have sailed on). However, any kind of wine just seems to be disproportionately expensive in comparison to spirits. We took the sommelier’s advice a couple of times at dinner, and greatly enjoyed his suggestions but in reality felt cocktails or other drinks to be far better value for money. Additionally, we actually found the coffee available in the lido surprisingly nice - there’s a good selection of dairy alternatives too if you need. We enjoyed the lido for breakfast most days, though as with most ships it does get rather crowded. everything is super fresh, and we were really pleased by the policy of the crew serving you your food. This makes a good difference in hygiene. Dinner always looked very nice at the lido, though we didn’t try it ourselves. There are just two brief things to mention here: 1) the hours of the lido are a bit strange and truncated. Whereas on other ships it might be open consistently throughout the day, we found that there was a mid-late afternoon period and a post 8pm period which would have been nice to have the lido open for a snack, or if you were returning late from an excursion and wanted something more casual to eat. 2) the only time I ever felt encroached upon in terms of up selling was in the lido - there was a near constant pressure to look at the Canaletto menu and make a reservation, which we didn’t experience any other time and which was a little annoying. Dive-in and New York Deli and Pizza often had huge queues and waiting times, but dive-in in particular was worth the wait. It’s good to note that you can customise any of the burgers from toppings to cooking times. New York deli also has constantly replenished jugs of iced water, iced tea and lemonade so this is a good place to grab a complimentary drink. This cruise took place during the US spring break season - as a result there was a great age range on this sailing, including others like us in our twenties. However, it did mean that the lido pool wasn’t almost unusable for anyone other than families which is to be expected. For some reason, even on warm, perfect days, they would leave the retractable roof only semi open, and this caused a great degree of echo within the pool area which is not very relaxing. Aside from our first night, we ate in the MDR every evening. Our first experience was the first Gala Night which was, in all honesty, utter chaos. We had a reservation for 20:30, but it was nearly 9pm by the time we were seated. We felt like we received little care or attention, and the service felt extremely rushed (no doubt due to the waitstaff being rushed of their feet). Things improved however on subsequent evenings, and we felt that (apart from all the clearing up going on around you) these later dining times tended to work best. One evening we were seated upstairs where the set dining is, and the service we received there was much better which seems rather telling. We had selected anytime dining to better our chances at securing a table for two. However, we think that next time we would probably go for the late sitting set dining as our experience of the service there was much better and far less rushed, and the upper level had a much quieter and more sophisticated atmosphere. In truth, we also missed the opportunity to get to know our waiters. Our first port of call was Amber Cove. We had pre-booked the Dominican Coffee excursion. We enjoyed the excursion, though it involved nearly three hours round trip of travel and was probably not worth the money charged. However, it was a nice opportunity to support a local project, and enjoy a local meal. In San Juan we chose to make our own plans, and went to the Bacardi factory the other side of the bay. This is fairly accessible by Uber in about 25 mins. Again, being spring break, this was quite a rowdy afternoon, but it was fun to learn about the Bacardi brand and taste some of their trademark cocktails. This was our first time in PR, and we would probably not suggest this tour to first timers as we would have liked to have had more time to explore old San Juan in hindsight, and travelling to and from Bacardi sterilised the rest of the day. There are plenty of nice places to wander within walking distance of the ship - we enjoyed finding a nice bar and just sitting and talking with a drink or an ice cream. Our next stop was Charlotte Amalie. We had prepaid for the Kayak, Snorkel and Trek at Cas Cay excursion and this was 200% worth it, and the highlight of our cruise. The guide was extremely knowledgeable, and whilst a little strenuous if you are not used to exercise, it was accessible to all. The ‘hike’ portion is really just a twenty minute walk, on which you get to see some hermit crabs and a blow hole. As it turned out, Charlotte Amalie would be our last port of call as at about 6am on the morning we were due to call at Half Moon Cay, the Captain informed us that the ship had lost power and was drifting. After around 30 mins or so, they did manage to restore partial power, but the Captain eventually decided that he did not feel able to call at Half Moon Cay for a number of reasons. He handled this very well, but I think it is rather disconcerting that a brand new ship can lose all four generators at once, and only be able to get half back up and running within a reasonable time period. This was a great shame as we were really looking forward to Half Moon Cay. We received $50 credit and port taxes back as compensation. Our overall impression was great - we felt that the Nieuw Statendam was a good medium between the tradition of lines like Cunard, and the night life of lines like Celebrity. I would certainly love to travel onboard again though unfortunately I will say that the only negative thing I can really say is the smoking situation in the Casino - I know this is a bit of a chestnut in these forums, but I do find it extremely uncomfortable, and somewhat bizarre that in a brand new ship the design is such that whilst there is a beautiful staircase at the casino, the smoke is able to easily transfer to other public areas.
  19. No photos on Halfacts - looking at fully accessible V5055, 5057, or 5052, 5054 Has anyone any information on these? Thx 😊
  20. Currently on board. Lots of folks have given reviews of ship. She is nice and new! I will focus on ports of call. 1) Half Moon Cay - very nice. Easy tendering - no wait. We were the only ship there. :-) 2) Ocho Rios - ugly industrial port. 10 min walk to shops: restaurants. Be prepared to be bombarded by locals trying to get you to take tours. Most start by trying to shake your hand ( I don’t shake ANYONE’s hand-fist pump for me). They are offended if you refuse and call you racist. Then they start yelling at you. There is nothing within the industrial port so don’t bother to get off ship. Tomorrow is Cayman Islands. I will report back.
  21. I'm thinking of going on the 14 day Voyage of the Midnight Sun cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. I definitely want a verandah stateroom - and the obstructed verandah staterooms seem to be a good deal. However, the nonobstructed verandah staterooms don't seem to be that much more expensive. How obstructed are the views? Is it worth it to save a few hundred dollars on an obstructed verandah stateroom - or should I just bite the bullet and get a nonobstructed verandah stateroom? I'm leaning more towards the latter because I would make full use of a nonobstructed verandah stateroom on a Norway cruise as I can imagine the views will be spectacular.
  22. We just returned from a wonderful 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. This was our 12th HAL cruise but first on the Pinnacle class.. We had a VB booked, and 4 days before, got an email for an upsell to a Vista Suite for 399 pp. We passed on that. Two days before, we got an upsell offer to a Signature Suite for 499 pp. We jumped on that one, and we were so happy we did, because this suite was A-MAZING! Great central location, beautiful, functional layout and the bathroom was wonderful. I literally jumped up and down after examining the suite saying..."I love this room!" I continued to say it all week long. I decided I liked it even more than Neptune Suites. The shower was luxurious. The lighting in the room and bathroom was gorgeous, and in fact the lighting throughout the ship was equally as nice. Our stewards Kadek and Komang were unobtrusive and proficient. Laundry service was fast and professional. We were going to upgrade to the Elite Beverage Package once on-board, but decided to stay with the Signature Package since we splurged on the suite. They removed some selections from a year ago, so there were only a few choices. We managed with what they offered and it was adequate. At least you could still get nice cocktails with the Signature Package, my favorite was the Tanqueray 0010 Martini. There are so many options for dining and we tried nearly all of them. The best by far was the Tamarind. We were so impressed, we went back three times. Barbara and Nila were very gracious and warm, and so attentive. We had lamb, tenderloin, duck, chicken curry, shrimp and lobster dishes and all were superb. The manager was also a very gracious man and he was out on the floor at all times, assisting servers as needed as well as talking to customers. All of this was in stark contrast to our most disappointing meal, in the Pinnacle. I am not sure we will ever make a late reservation (8:00) again. They seemed completely backed up. The service was rushed and we waited a great deal. No bread was served until the dinner arrived, even though she promised it to us twice. The salad I had was not good, the bacon didn't taste real. The baked potato was completely dried out. The beets seemed over done. The filet mignon however, was perfect. My husband got the "hashed potatoes with blue cheese aioli", but they looked and tasted like they came out of a frozen food bag. But the service was just not there at all, nothing compared to meals in the past. Was it just because we arrived late? We canceled a second reservation and went to the Tamarind instead. We did however return for lunch, and that was so much better. The Lido, if you can navigate the crowds, is incredible. So many choices and all done well. We ate in the Canaletto twice and you can't beat the view and the quieter atmosphere. The servings are smaller this year and that is just fine with me, as I often found it to be too much food served in the past. The MDR is beautiful and the lighting is so pretty, we enjoyed one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner here. The chairs are very comfortable and the place settings so elegant. We bought a spa pass and I was disappointed with a few things, mostly in the design. The hydro-pool was splashy, the tile loungers were in the same space as all the other saunas, steam rooms and showers so it was loud. Not relaxing at all. One of my best memories is from the Westerdam and my first time on those loungers. Ambient music, the sound of water hitting rocks, the view out to sea. On this ship, there is a view, but you can't hear the music because there is way too much going on right behind you. And the doors slamming, yikes. If we go on another Pinnacle class ship, we won't purchase the pass. The ports were great and the weather perfect. We spent so much time in the water. Grand Turk, we walked to Governor's Beach and spent a quiet morning enjoying the turquoise waters, how beautiful! St. Thomas,we took a catamaran tour to St. John to snorkel off Honeymoon beach. Great snorkeling here, saw lots of fun things including sea turtles. Half Moon Cay is our favorite stop and it was a great day and so hard to leave. I prefer not sharing the island with another ship as it made things congested, especially when leaving, it felt we were in Disney with the queues to get on the tenders. Our favorite spot at night was at BB King. This band was great! Each and every musician was so very talented. The dance floor and seating and stage are a great design on this ship, much improved over the older ships. The Rolling Stone Rock Room did not play rock and roll, at least not for the somewhat limited time we saw them. The Eagles and Neil Diamond are not rock. The band was talented, but their song selections were tame. The world stage is beautiful but yes it is small for such a big ship. I really liked the comedian Ken Boyd, he was very funny, mostly doing improv. This cruise had some hits and misses but we had a great time and feel so very grateful to be able to cruise (thus far) once a year. I would sail on the Pinnacle class again and would feel better prepared to enjoy it even more. I am happy to answer any questions!
  23. Last night (Monday, April eighth) was the first gala night on a seven-day Western Caribbean on the new ship. We don’t often go to big theater’s shows any more for various reasons, but I wanted to see what the World Stage looked like in action. Good decision, because it was definitely one of the best shows I’ve ever seen on a ship (out of about 40 cruises). I wasn’t the only one - a long, standing ovation last night - and this morning’s Cruise Director Coffee Chat with the six performers saw a big, enthusiastic crowd. Even the coffee chat actually had a standing ovation, and comments from numerous people during the audience Q&A echoed my reaction. The show was called “Humanity.” The music was a mix of familiar and modern music (but never deafening, blaring, or annoying), and the room-surrounding projected lighting effects were truly impressive. For example, in one set, the dancers wore panters’ overalls and had paint cans - somehow, they “painted” colorful splashes on the floor, their clothes, and in sweeping arcs across entire walls of the stage. All done with lighting effects. In another set, they got into and out of a “glass elevator” made of lights, which went up or down because the “city” moved behind them, and in another they had umbrellas in a rainstorm with water and puddles underfoot. Hard to describe all the effects and how the performers interacted with the lighting backdrops, but really cool to watch. The show also had solo numbers which showcased their very strong skills as dancers. (They do not sing in the shows, but there is some recorded vocal music.) It was a great showcase for the World Stage capabilities. I think this group is still on N. Statendam next week, and they are eventually going to the K-dam.
  24. Does anyone know if the Televisions on the Nieuw Statendam have either a bluetooth connection or a jack for headphones?
  25. It is a busy, busy day in Port Everglades! Koningsdam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She is heading across the pond on her 13-day Passage to Rome transatlantic. Ponta Delgada, Azores (14 Apr 1100-1800); Malaga, Spain (17 Apr 0800-1800); Cartagena, Spain (18 Apr 0700-1600); Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy (20 Apr a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 21(starboard to) from 0615-1700. She is leaving on a 7-day Western Caribbean itinerary. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (08 Apr 0800-1600); Ocho Rios, Jamaica (10 Apr 0800-1700); George Town, Grand Cayman (11 Apr 0800-1600); Cozumel, Mexico (12 Apr 1100-2300); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (14 Apr a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 (0430-1730), Carnival Conquest at pier 4 (0415-1600, Celebrity Edge at pier 25 (0600-1600), Harmony OTS at pier 18 (0515-1630), Regal Princess at pier 2 (0500-1600), and Pearl Mist at pier 19 (1245-1800). The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ . Rotterdam will be in Tampa from 0700-1700. She is doing a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise. Key West, Florida (08 Apr 1100-1800); Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala (10 Apr 0800-1800); Roatan, Honduras (11 Apr 0800-1700); Costa Maya, Mexico (12 Apr 0800-1700); Tampa, Florida (14 Apr a0700) Also in port is Norwegian Pearl. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.porttampawebcam.com/ Nieuw Amsterdam is in San Diego from 0700-1700 doing a 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise. The webcam is now on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/SanDiegoWebCam. Oosterdam is in Key West from 0800-1600. https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/ For the addicts: Rotterdam will be in Key West from 1100-1800 on April 8. Next up: Zuiderdam on April 10.
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