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Found 517 results

  1. Has anyone been in this cabin? Photos? Was the cabin larger than normal verandas? Any reviews?
  2. We're considering a 14 day Alaskan cruise on the HAL Amsterdam. Does anyone know if the bathrooms in the oceanview cabins have been renovated, and if so, which ones? We did this cruise on the Amsterdam many years ago, and felt the cabin (that we had) was in dire need of renovation. We aren't booked yet, so if anyone has photos of the bathrooms and specific cabin numbers, we would appreciate it.
  3. 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.
  4. We've sailed in a Signature Suite on the Westerdam and there was a large, wall mounted TV opposite the bed. Can anyone tell me if the Nieuw Amsterdam Signature and Neptune suites have this feature as well? I looked, but I can't find any info. Thanks!
  5. Just off NA and took photos of the bar menus which are the same through out the ship. The SBP limit was increased to $11 but still found the wine choices lacking.
  6. 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.
  7. We will be boarding in Amsterdam in August for a 14-day NS British Isles cruise. We would like to take beyond our 2-wine bottle limit onboard and pay the $18 corkage fee per bottle in order to get the varieties we like (specifically good Cabs) rather than take our chances with the ship's wine packages (not interested in bev packages). Having never been to Amsterdam, it is doable to shop for good selections of wine before boarding? We will be in Amsterdam for 2 days before the ship departs so we have time. In addition, we could add bottles with stops in Edinburgh, etc. but we don't want to spend too much time wine shopping vs. sightseeing. Thanks for advice.
  8. I can't find it but I thought I saw a chain of posts where people post the room number and reviews of that room for a specific cruise ship, such as Nieuw Amsterdam. Does anyone know the link to that? Maybe it's a different web site.
  9. 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
  10. Never been on Holland America before and plan on taking an Eastern Caribbean cruise and choose a balcony for the first time (we've ONLY ever booked inside cabins). We've been quoted a Verandah Stateroom (VF) and I think the only available ones are on the 4th or 8th deck and I think the front or back of the ship (sorry not the correct terms). I always like to prefer to be lower in the ship (like 8th deck) as it tends to be less movement than upper but is there any benefit to be up higher instead from a balcony view perspective? Thanks!
  11. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. As I had trouble finding update menus for this cruise I going to try to post them as we go along. I'm also including in this post the menu available every evening. Tonight we actually eat at Pinnacle Grill.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. We are thinking of doing a New England/Canada cruise next summer (2020). We are a family of 4 with a then 6 and 7 year old. My parents want to do this cruise and would like us to join them. Any preference between the Amsterdam or Vaandam? We have cruised before, but on Royal Caribbean, MSC and Disney (will do NCL this summer in Alaska). We have always been in a balcony room, but it looks like these ships do not have balcony rooms that sleep 4 unless you get a Neptune suite. It’s a little over $5000 for 4 in an ocean view and over $10,000 for 4 in a Neptune Suite! Are these normal prices for this itinerary? Are there any arcades on either ship? Thanks in advance!
  17. 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.
  18. After 5 years, this week I received a personal message from a saved refugee, whose resecue operation we watched while were cruised on the Nieuw Amsterdam/Oct 20 in 2014. Amidst our wonderful Mediterrean cruise, the captain made an at ful sea an emergency stop in the very early morning alongside a little boat filled up with around 50 Syrian refugees. On that morning I made some footage and placed it on Youtube when I was contacted by the saved refugee this week. This person named Khaldoun, has been rescued by the authorities and therefore very grateful to the captain & crew to notify them on their behalf. He is living currently in Norway and is asking me if there are more photos available. Please spread the message and kindly upload your photos, so I can share them again with Khaldoun. Thank you! Short impression of the rescue operation
  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. We just got off the NA in San Diego and had a very nice cruise. As usual, the service was outstanding. Embarkation in San Diego was a breeze and the terminal is small and basic. Our signature suite was well appointed and the cabin stewards Sandri and Heru were awesome. The adult seaview pool turned into the kids pool. I heard there were 400 kids onboard, way more than we’ve ever witnessed onboard a HAL ship but it is Spring Break. There simply was not enough room in the Lido Pool to handle the volume of kids. Unfortunately, that made the aft pool kind of crazy and not very adult friendly. It seems like very few people realized the aft pool is for the adults and there is less signage than in the past. We decided to stay onboard the ship in Mazatlan and had a great relaxing day at the Seaview pool as most got off the ship. We had three dinners at Tamarind, three at Pinnacle Grill and one on our balcony. Tamarind was excellent as always but the Pinnacle was well below expectations on all three dinners. We’ve always been fans of PG and typically eat there multiple times on every cruise. I’ve always regarded them as on par with our top steakhouses in Seattle. Our first two dinners the quality of the beef was really not good. Grainy filets and grisly Rib-eye and Porterhouse. Decided to try seafood on last night and that was an even bigger disappointment. My wife’s Halibut was dry and not flavorful. My Scallops were cold and bland. I would have expected better in the MDR. I let the Maitre D’ aware of our overall experiences after our third underwhelming meal. He was apologetic and offered new meals that we declined. I brought this up as we prefer HAL for their fine dining as well as we are stockholders. I’m hoping this was simply an anomaly but three dinners in a row is not a coincidence. Hopefully they can get this corrected soon. This is our third HAL cruise in the past 12 months and we had nothing but good experiences in the Pinnacle in the two prior cruises (Oosterdam and Eurodam). Disembarkation went smoothly and was well organized. Overall this was a good cruise that could have been much better. Our allegiance to HAL may have taken a little hit even though we just got to 3 star Mariner status. I would be interested to know other people’s opinion on Pinnacle Grill. Anybody else see a decline in quality or did we just catch them on an off week?
  25. I know that Nieuw Amsterdam is in San Diego today along with a Disney Ship. Webcam is very blurry this morning but looks like one of them is at the Broadway Pier- looks too far apart to be at the main terminal. Anyone know?
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