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  1. Life happens and we had to cancel plans for an October P&O Ventura Cruise. Things have stabilized and we were able to book this last minute cruise of 2 weeks on Nieuw Statendam. This is our First Holland America cruise and from what we’ve experienced in the first week it won’t be our last. We have really enjoyed the NS. Last week we visited Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. This week it will be Half Moon Cay again, then Falmouth Jamaica, Georgetown Grand Cayman and Cozumel Mexico. Boarding last week was smooth (brief hiccup I explain below) I believe we were onboard around 11:30AM. We knew when had Priority Boarding with Club Orange but had to explain to the person allowing guests in the Priority line that we were allowed to be in that line. The sign said Club Orange and our Boarding Passes said Priority, she finally allowed us to check in. Quick checkin and we were escorted to where the Club Orange guests wait for boarding, they had water/coffee and sweet treats available for us. Once onboard our room was ready (loved this), we are in a Balcony Cabin 4025, this cabin has a larger balcony and we love the cabin and location. Room Steward has been excellent. We have Club Orange dining and I’m so glad we made that purchase (for us it was $15 pp/pd). Our servers in Club Orange are fantastic and we love everything about it. We like a table for two and enjoy chatting with everyone around us and for us the intimacy of club orange is perfect. I have noticed that not everything in Club Orange dining is made by the chef in CO, some food comes from the main dining room kitchen. The breakfast is made fresh at the CO kitchen and we have really enjoyed the breakfast offerings. We had lunch at Pinnacle Grill once and loved it, we may go back this week. Not sure about other specialty dining for dinner we’ll see what this week brings. Seating around the Lido pool is limited compared to other ships we’ve been on, and I’ve never seen the rooftop fully open yet, only half of it. It has very comfortable loungers though. We have spent some time at the seaview pool as well but again loungers on the pool level are limited and sometimes hard to come by. All service has been great and our favorite area has to be the music walk, love the Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard onboard and BB Kings blues club, we enjoy bouncing around to each venue nighty. I do wish they had more Main Theater production shows. they have only 2 dance shows and 2 guest entertainers (a magician and a comedian). I believe the comedian is back this week not sure about the magician, would be nice to have different options but if not we’ll enjoy some movies on the lido deck in the evening. Turn around Details for Today December 8th, 2019. Yesterday we were giving a letter stating we must meet in the World Stage Theater at 10AM. Once everyone is there we would be escorted off the ship back into the Terminal and through Immigration CBP check. This process went fairly smooth as you can image there are always those people who choose to play by there own rules so we had to wait in the terminal luggage collection area until they could find and clear 6 missing guests. I’ll attached the letter for you to read the full details. We arrived in the theater 10-15 minutes early so the entire process for us was about 1 hour, we were back onboard around 10:45AM. Also if you are interested here is a link to all our photos from last week. Main photo link to all galleries Link to just Nieuw Statendam ship Photos Link to all our Food Photos (more photos to come this week) Link to our Balcony cabin 4025 Photos Behind the Scenes Culinary Tour (for CO guests) If anyone is interested I will also attached the When and Where’s from last week and CO Menu’s Note: I'm still on vacation so I may not be available to answer all questions, but I may check in from time to time. Will give a final update Next week after the cruise. In Transit Nieuw Statendam Dec 8, 2019.pdf day 1 when and where.pdf day 2 when and where.pdf day 3 when and where.pdf day 4 when and where.pdf day 5 when and where.pdf day 6 when and where.pdf day 7 when and where.pdf day 8 when and where.pdf Day 1 Dinner Menu.pdf Day 2 Dinner Menu.pdf Day 3 Dinner Menu.pdf Day 4 Dinner Menu.pdf Day 5 Dinner Menu.pdf Day 6 Dinner Menu.pdf Day 7 Dinner Menu.pdf Club Orange Breakfast Menu.pdf
  2. Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She is doing a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (09 Dec 0800-1600); Falmouth, Jamaica (11 Dec 0800-1700); George Town, Grand Cayman (12 Dec 0800-1600); Cozumel, Mexico (13 Dec 1100-2300); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (15 Dec a0700 Also in port are Allure OTS at pier 18 from 0515-1630, Celebrity Edge at pier 25 from 0600-1530, and Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Also, Nieuw Amsterdam will be in Key West frim 0800-1730. https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/ Next up: Zuiderdam on Tuesday, 10 December.
  3. This thread will cover my two-week B2B aboard the Nieuw Statendam (NS) and provide answers to the recurring questions asked by CC members: ships officers, ship condition, check-in procedures, Customs/Immigration, electrical outlets, cooking demos, beverage packages, smoking in the Casino, EXC, what's for dinner, new High Score, B2B in-transit procedures, extra charges for entrees, Specialty Restaurant menu changes, what's new, internet speed and multiple-device connections, gala attire, Club Orange, etc. I will include my experiences and observations that may be useful to subsequent cruisers on the NS. As is my norm, I will be scanning every menu and brochure that I encounter. Feel free to post questions and I will do my best to find answers. For Judy, who will be in the same stateroom in a later cruise, I will be emailing lots of photos. My boarding tomorrow will be a test of the assigned-by-deck boarding process. More tomorrow.
  4. Greetings! We just got home from our Thanksgiving week voyage on the Nieuw Statendam, and wanted to do a little write up on our experiences. This was our first HAL cruise, and our second cruise ever (first was earlier this spring on the Celebrity Equinox), so we are still relatively new to cruising as a whole. Before I start, a quick preface to my upcoming wall of text. We tried very hard to not directly compare this experience with our first experience on Equinox, because different ships, different lines, different expectations. That said, sometimes it proved difficult to not say, "well, this thing was much better on this ship". I just want to make it clear that despite any negative aspect I may talk about, we still had an incredible experience and we would still sail on HAL again. As someone else has said, one has to try VERY hard to not have a good time on a cruise. The Stateroom: We had an inside cabin near the aft elevator banks on deck 6. Aft elevators are very convenient for access to the Dining room, the Lido buffet, and the aft pool area, as well as the Sun deck for great views. We felt very little in the way of vibration or noise, and although we encountered some choppy waters occasionally, not really much movement. What little there was just made for a good night's sleep. Our room stewards were almost always visible and their work was excellent. I had only one complaint about our room location, but I'll detail that in this next section. The Ship: Nieuw Statendam was utterly gorgeous with very classic lines. The ship is filled with museum quality artwork almost everywhere. Almost all of the artwork on-board is themed to tie into music and performance. I loved the amount of open deck space, as we frequently like walk around the ship, especially in the evening. For the most part I think they layout of the public rooms were well designed and flowed naturally. My one single gripe about the design, tied into our room location, was the frequent necessity to have to travel either through cabin corridors or to traverse multiple elevator banks/stairwells to access other public spaces or open decks. To go from our room to the the crow's nest or sky deck we either had to go down to deck 2 or 3, then walk all the way forward, then take another elevator up, OR go up to deck 11, walk past the sports court area, then enter more cabin corridors to access the forward elevator bank. I didn't like having to enter cabin corridors from public areas just to access public areas. Also, while beautiful and well designed, the Lido pool area was almost always oppressively hot and humid with little breeze despite a partially open roof. Some of the public rooms also seemed to struggle with adequate cooling. The Entertainment: This was the absolute highlight for us, and was completely unexpected. We knew going in about the music walk, and was anticipating enjoying the offering, but we were not prepared for how it turned into a must-attend affair each evening. On any given evening, we went from enjoying a classical string quintet playing various selections, then traipsing over the the rock room to enjoy some really good classic rock tunes, then moving over to Billboard for the dual pianos (and the two artists here, Colin and Rachel, were AMAZING), and then finishing up with some blues and jazz at BB Kings. At one point I think I muttered that this was like being at a floating music festival. Elsewhere, in the theatre, we got a high-tech experience with several offerings that delighted us. The use of the 270 degrees of screen was well utilized with the BBC oceans presentation, as well as the dance troupe that used the screens and projectors as an interactive aspect. We also attended a few of the new EXC presentations and these also used the screens and projectors and were both informative and entertaining. Before I go on, I want to inject a quick note here. I've heard and read some complaints about the lack of production shows on HAL. I get it, big shows are what some people prefer. But I think this is good for both HAL and the cruise industry in general. HAL is doing something different and innovative by offering something others don't. And if/when we cruise with HAL again, this is going to be a huge part of why. The Food: Our single biggest disappointment. Not because of quality; everything was cooked and presented perfectly. It was the taste. Almost everything in the Dining room and Lido was bland. We are not people who frequently add salt to food, but we found ourselves adding salt and pepper to our dishes, more often than not. Deserts tended to be boring and slightly tasteless, and simple-to-make foods like eggs tended to be watery and rubbery. The exceptions were specialty dining; we ate at Tamarind, Nami Sushi, and Canaletto (couldn't get Pinnacle sadly) and all were on par for what we expected the food to taste like. Also the Deli and Dive-in were excellent. Service: For the most part, service met or exceeded our expectation, with a handful of exceptions. Service was a mess in the dining room (and lido) for the first 3 days, and it was bad enough that a table next to us actually got up and left with frustration. We had breakfast on day 2 in the dining room, and people were waiting upwards of 20 minutes for their drink orders, or in one case, a person getting their food served, but not their dining partner. Then, magically, it was if a switch was flipped on Wednesday and everything was suddenly working, at least in the Dining Room (Lido was still hit or miss with drink service). We actually ended up speaking with a senior staff member about this on the last day of the cruise, and before we could tell them we noted the service level seemed to have reversed itself midway, they asked, "Did it seem to improve by day 3 or 4?". Turns out there was 3 major events that hit them simultaneously: the transition from European to American cruising (they had just completed their transatlantic crossing), Thanksgiving week, and most notably, quite a few new contracts had just started this week. It was just an unfortunate storm of timing, and as I noted above, almost everything was moving at or above expectations by mid-week (except Lido - man, at times that was an exercise in frustration). Ports: We aren't beach people, we're more into exploration and adventure into local culture and history. We didn't book any excursions for this as we were just looking for some relaxation and doing things on our own. That said, Half Moon Cay was a pleasant surprise. Clean, gorgeous, and well maintained, we had much more fun than I thought we would. The cookout was also very good. The other ports were Grand Turk, Amber Cove, and Key West. Grand Turk was...not a lot. There was some history to delve into, but the island is so depressed and poorly maintained. I understand there are some wonderful beach-y and water-y type things to do, but...yeah. Amber Cove was fantastic, and the area made for some fantastic panoramic pictures. Key West is Key West. Summary: We had high, but guarded, expectations. We came off an almost magical first experience with Celebrity Equinox, and we didn't want to try to project similar expectations onto this cruise. First cruise, that new car smell, etc, we understood nothing will probably beat that first impression and tried to not let us influence this experience. And I think we succeeded, for the most part. We ended up being pleasantly surprised by a few things, thoroughly enjoyed the ship, the staff, and the entertainment. Service was a disappointment at first, but that improved, and now having the knowledge of the why behind the first few days, we're at peace with that. I can only hope the food issues (blandness) was just an isolated incident and not indicative of food typically served on HAL. We look forward to sailing on Nieuw Statendam and with HAL again.
  5. My wife and I have not cruised on any of the HAL ships. We are about ready to book a holiday trip for this year. My question is...all things being equal with the exception of cabin selection, should we do an inside cabin on the Nieuw Statendam or a balcony on the Nieuw Amsterdam? The cost is roughly the same for the inside and balcony. The Nieuw Staendam is a relatively new ship, and the the Nieuw Amsterdam was recently refurbished in 2018. My thinking is since there is limited daylight hours to enjoy the balcony, perhaps the inside cabin on the newer ship is the way to go. But I would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions from folks who have cruised on either or both ships. Thanks so much! Mick
  6. Happy 1st Birthday December 5th. It’s hard to believe it’s a year ago that I boarded for the crossing.
  7. A very busy day in Port Everglades with eight cruise ships in port, one of which is making her first visit to FLL. Eurodam will be at pier 19 (port to) from 0515-1700 and then heading out on a 10-day Panama Canal Sunfarer cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (02 Dec 0800-1500); Oranjestad, Aruba (04 Dec 1300-2300); Willemstad, Curacao (05 Dec 0800-1600); Panama Canal (Cruising Canal) (07 Dec 0500-0500); Colon, Panama (07 Dec 1500-2000); Puerto Limon, Costa Rica (08 Dec 0730-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (11 Dec a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be pier 26 (starboard to) from 0545-1700. She is going on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (03 Dec 0800-1500); San Juan, Puerto Rico (04 Dec 1300-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (05 Dec 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (07 Dec 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (08 Dec a0700) Other ships in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 from 0445-1730, Allure OTS at pier 18 from 0500-1530, Carnival Magic at pier 4 from 0400-1600, Celebrity Edge at pier 25 from 0600-1530, and Regal Princess at pier 21 from 0530-1600. The eighth cruise ship is the very new Sky Princess at pier 2 from 0430-2200. She made her maiden voyage in October of this year and is arriving from Europe. I could not find whether she plays "The Love Boat" theme (and we likely will not find out with a 10 pm sailing) but the other "Royal" class ships (Regal, Royal, and Majestic) do. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Next up: Koningsdam and Veendam on Wednesday, 4 December.
  8. Happy Thanksgiving! What are the current shows on the main stage on the Nieuw Statendam? We’re sailing on her in a few weeks and am curious !
  9. Koningsdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0545-1700. She is going out on a 10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer cruise. Kralendijk, Bonaire (27 Nov 1100-2000); Willemstad, Curacao (28 Nov 0700-2300); Oranjestad, Aruba (29 Nov 0700-1700); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (01 Dec 0800-1700); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (02 Dec 0800-1400); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (03 Dec 0800-1600); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (04 Dec a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She is doing a 7-day Tropical Caribbean cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (25 Nov 0800-1700); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (27 Nov 0800-1700); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (28 Nov 0800-1700); Key West, Florida (30 Nov 0800-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (01 Dec a0700) Also in port are Allure OTS at pier 18 from 0445-1630, Celebrity Edge at pier 25 from 0600-1530, Crystal Serenity at pier 19 from 0515-1800, and Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Also for your dam viewing pleasure, Rotterdam will be in Aruba from 0800-1800 (https://www.portarubawebcam.com/) and Nieuw Amsterdam will be in Key West from 0800-1700 ( https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/). Next up: Veendam on Wednesday 27 November.
  10. I understand that what is left of the library is now in the Crow's Nest. Are there any computers that passengers can use?
  11. Taking the Thanksgiving cruise next week on the NS. I am also trying to get a little Christmas shopping done. If anyone has been on the NS recently, do you know if they sell Garmin or Fitbit fitness trackers in the watch shop, or other shop onboard? Any opinion as to whether they are any kind of a deal would also be appreciated. I know that it's probably same or cheaper to buy online, but if it's close and I can talk to a human, that's a benefit. Recent physical limitations prevent me from doing alot of brick and mortar shopping this year. Will appreciate it!
  12. Aft deck 8 cabins are available for a cruise we are interested in, but I am concerned about noise from the pool deck above. Has anyone stayed in VC8166 or VC8175 on the Nieuw Statendam? Thank you for your help!
  13. Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700, She will be doing a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (18 Nov 0800-1600); Falmouth, Jamaica (20 Nov 0800-1700); George Town, Grand Cayman (21 Nov 0800-1600); Cozumel, Mexico (22 Nov 1100-2300); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (24 Nov a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 from 0430-1730, Carnival Magic at pier 4 from 0445-1600, Crown Princess at pier 21 from 0600-1600, Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0515-1600, and Allure OTS at pier 18. The Port Everglades schedule shows her arriving at 0230 on Sunday and not leaving until 0200 on Monday. According to their roll call, they were notified on the 13th of the late departure. Nobody mentioned why this was taking place. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Next up: a HAL bonanza with four, count them four, of our ladies in port on Wednesday, 20 November.
  14. Had dinner with a group of five people at the Caneletto. 2 people were two stars. Two were 4 stars, and I am five stars. My four star friends paid the bill thinking it would be 9.50 pp. 50% discount from 19. Caneletto billed him the whole bill, but each meal was billed at the legitimate discount rate. Two at full price. Three at 50%. He was a little disappointed ,but I am glad they are checking. I have read posts where it was said who ever pays the bill gets their discount on the whole tab.
  15. Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0400-1700. She will be doing a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (12 Nov 1100-1800); San Juan, Puerto Rico (13 Nov 1100-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (14 Nov 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (16 Nov 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (17 Nov a0700) Zuiderdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0515-1700. She is setting out on a 10-day Panama Canal Sunfarer cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (11 Nov 0800-1500); Oranjestad, Aruba (13 Nov 1300-2300); Willemstad, Curacao (14 Nov 0800-1600); Panama Canal (Cruising Canal) (16 Nov 0500-0500); Colon, Panama (16 Nov 1500-2100); Puerto Limon, Costa Rica (17 Nov 0730-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (20 Nov a0700) Also in port are Allure OTS at pier 18 from 0515-1630 and Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ and https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/. With no Celebrity ship in port, we should have good viewing on the webcams. Next up: Volendam on Monday, 11 November.
  16. Greetings! My wife and I (mid-60's) are considering a Christmas cruise this year. Celebrity has always been our cruise line of choice but we thought about trying a HAL cruise this time. There are two cruises that fit our schedules and both seem to be very nice ships...The Eurodam and the Nieuw Statendam. We would try to secure an oceanview or verandah cabin. The ports of call are not that important to us on this trip. We would primarily like to enjoy the ship and all it has to offer (food, beverage, shows, meeting new people at dinner and around the ship). I guess we are looking for something laid-back, having some options for entertainment and having a great time on board the ship. We would appreciate any information regarding how these two ships compare and contrast, cabin options (ocean view vs verandah), and the best option for a first time HAL cruise. Also, does HAL compare favorably to Celebrity? Thanks so much. Mick
  17. Booking an Oceanview cabin on this transatlantic cruise. Some cabins are located on the Main Deck right below the Lower Promenade deck which has a lot of activity. Does the lower promenade activity disturb the cabins below it? We are light sleepers. Also, if we decide to go with a Balcony/Verandah cabin, are there any problems with smoking, vaping, or any other substance next door? I know that smoking is not allowed with exception of smoking areas. But, you know how people can be. Just need to know how well it is enforced on this ship? Thank you in advance for info provided. 🛳️
  18. I love Italian food more than any other cuisine. I visited Italy many times in each of the regions. My sister in law loves it too. I always said I wanted to eat my way through Italy! Anyone been there? Had a favorite dish?
  19. We usually sail during the Holiday season but this year are waiting until January 5th 2020. In seventeen cruises, we have never experienced a ship without Christmas decorations. Kinda looking forward to enjoying the Nieuw Statendam's elegant beauty without extra adornment. Can we expect that she will have been de-decorated by the time we board her?
  20. We have 4 couples traveling in January. Are there tables for 8 in the dining room?
  21. Holland America's newest and largest ship arrived here in Santorini this morning along with Celebrity's Edge, silver seas's wind and Crystal Serenity. Pretty rich company, but we are holding our heads high. Just finished the donkey trail walk to the top, so resting and posting.
  22. I am not a frequent HAL cruiser. Are the internet prices better once you are on board rather than on the HAL website in advance? I will be doing a 7 day Caribbean cruise from FLL.
  23. The Nieuw Statendam is such a beautiful, new cruise ship, and I took a ton of photos when I was on board. If you're planning to sail on this ship in the future and want a sneak peak, I've got a photo tour featuring my verandah cabin and all the public spaces on the ship! If you're missing the ship or counting down the days until your next cruise (aren't we all!), maybe this will help fuel your wanderlust for cruising and bring back some great memories! You can see my entire cruise ship photo tour here >> https://justinpluslauren.com/nieuw-statendam-cruise-ship-photo-tour/ Here are a few photos from the Nieuw Statendam! And feel free to ask me any questions!
  24. Haven’t been in HAL in many years and I’m looking to try again and would appreciate any feedback. Our one and only HAL cruise was 9 years ago on the Maasdam. 14 days with the most amazing Caribbean itinerary. But we were bored on the ship. Best entertainment was the crew show. We really enjoyed that. Rest of the entertainment was a xylophone player and a violinist. Not our cup of tea. We've mostly sailed Princess, but it seems that with the new ships, the ship is the destination, Not the itinerary. Don’t get me wrong, the ship is very important, as is the itinerary. Quite frankly we’re getting bored with Princess’ same Caribbean ports and we’re looking for a change. Last few cruises we didn’t bother to get off the ship. Now to my question, 2 ships, same itinerary. If you had to choose between the Nieuw Amsterdam and the Nieuw Statendam, which would you choose and why? We are in out early 70’s and fairly active. We only want to compare the ships, not the ports as we’ve been to them before, just not on the same cruise. The ports offered are the relaxing beach ports. Just what we need right now. Thanks in advance.
  25. Hello All, I'm back again for advice for those of you that know the Nieuw Statendam. I am currently booked in a Spa OV on a February trip to the Caribbean. I just noticed that the Save on Sunshine package for the month of October adds the SBP (although a non-refundable fare). The Spa OV cabins are sold out. Can you recommend OV cabins that you like? I would be most interested in not having a cabin above or below busy public spaces. Thank you, BaltimoreCruise
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