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  1. It is another full house in Port Everglades with eight cruise ships in port. Eurodam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She will be doing a 7-day Tropical Caribbean Holiday Cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (29 Dec 0800-1700); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (31 Dec 0800-1700); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (01 Jan 0800-1700); Nassau, Bahamas (03 Jan 0800-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (04 Jan a0700) Nieuw Amsterdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0645-1700. She is headed off on a 7-day Western Caribbean Holiday Cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (29 Dec 0800-1600); Falmouth, Jamaica (31 Dec 0800-1700); George Town, Grand Cayman (01 Jan 0800-1600); Cozumel, Mexico (02 Jan 1100-2300); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (04 Jan a0700) Veendam will be at pier 19 (port to) from 0545-1700. She is doing an 11-day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer Holiday Cruise. Nassau, Bahamas (29 Dec 0800-1400); San Juan, Puerto Rico (31 Dec 1100-1800); Basseterre, St. Kitts (01 Jan 1000-1800); St Johns, Antigua (02 Jan 0800-1700); Philipsburg, St. Maarten (03 Jan 0800-2300); Tortola, British Virgin Islands (04 Jan 0700-1600); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (06 Jan 0800-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (08 Jan a0700) Also in port are Carnival Sunrise at pier 4 from 0400-1600, Celebrity Equinox at pier 25 from 0600-1530, Independence OTS at pier 29 from 0430-1630, Majesty OTS at pier 18 from 0615-1600, and Sky Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Next up: Nieuw Statendam on Sunday, 29 December.
  2. What did HAL learn from the Koningsdam that they have changed on the Nieuw Statendam?
  3. The musical program attracted me to HAL but I have seen several reviews of how loud it is... I stayed on a lower deck on our last cruise and liked it (quiet, didn’t get motion sickness/very stable, and disembarkation on shore days was super easy as it was one level down) but the configuration of NS is very different. I was at first excited to see that the Plaza Level and entertainment options (and MDR) are just one level up but now I am afraid of the noise. Would love opinions/thoughts from those who have cruised on NS, esp those who stayed on Main Deck. It is the only remaining question I have before confirming the trip. Thanks!!!
  4. This was our first HAL cruise and our 7th overall. DW and I had wanted to try HAL for a few years and this was a great deal on the last minute sale. We booked a verandah guarantee about 3 weeks out, and about a week before sailing, were offered an upsell to a Signature Suite for just a few dollars more. We snapped that up and looked forward to getting on the Nieuw Amsterdam. EMBARKATION We had flown into Fort Lauderdale the day before, so were able to take an early shuttle to Port Everglades and be in line early. The terminal was opened up around 10:30 and we were checked in a few minutes later. We had to wait until 11:30 before boarding so used that time to visit with others in the waiting area. ON THE SHIP Nieuw Amsterdam was clean and elegant without the flash of some ships on other lines we had sailed. We were told our cabin was ready, but we wanted to make our Pinnacle Grill booking first. That was done with ease at the podium on Deck 1. CABIN We got up to Deck 5 and our Signature Suite, SS 5091. It was well appointed with plenty of room for the two of us. The bathroom had dual sinks as well as a jetted tub with shower and a separate shower stall. DW appreciated the bathroom size and comforts! Bed was very comfortable. The balcony for SS cabins on Deck 5 is not as deep as others due to the lifeboats immediately below, but with some organization we could arrange the chairs and stools to be able to stretch out. There was also a table of reasonable size. Met Darma and Tri, our stewards for the week and they kept the cabin spotless throughout. FOOD We were on As You Wish dining, which was new for us and I think we both still prefer the set seating, however we can see the benefits of being able to go anytime. Food is subjective so others may have different views, but we found the meals in the MDR very good, and for the most part, service was attentive. We ate in the MDR every night except for the Pinnacle Grill. The Pinnacle Grill did not disappoint. Excellent steaks, and the sides were pretty amazing. We did order the Clothesline Candy Bacon and it was very tasty. We also had these tater tot like things as a side with a blue cheese aioli dip. THAT was delicious and when I mentioned this to the chef who came out to see how the meal was, he asked if I wanted the recipe. He had that delivered to the cabin the following day! Will definitely book in Pinnacle again our next cruise. Food at the Lido was decent overall, we generally ate breakfast there and the egg dishes were always hot and tasty. We also ate lunch at Dive-In on a couple of occasions. Those were some of the best burgers and fries we’ve ever had!. ENTERTAINMENT As has been discussed on the Holland America boards, this was an area we felt could use improvement. The comedians were alright. The dancers good but certainly could have used live singers to make the performance more enjoyable. BB Kings was the best entertainment on the ship without question! Very talented performers and we would listen to them for hours. Billboard Onboard was a letdown. Like food, music is subjective. We sat down to listen to the piano players do a county set and DW, who is a country fan, wanted to leave after 2 songs. They pretty much butchered those and we just didn’t enjoy any of their other music, so never went back. PORTS We stopped in Key West and just wondered around on our own. We were supposed to make a stop in Grand Turk, but after a couple of tries at docking, the Captain came on and said it was well above the wind threshold for the ship, so sadly we had to just wave at the island. Port fees were refunded and the bars were opened up to free beer and wine for an hour that afternoon. Our next port was Amber Cove and we booked the Monkeyland excursion through the ship. We both enjoyed the little squirrel monkey’s more than we thought we would. Half Moon Cay was outstanding as our final stop. Silky smooth sand, and lots of room as we were the only ship there. DISEMBARKATION Sometime between Half Moon Cay and getting close to Port Everglades, Nieuw Amsterdam apparently developed steering issues with one of the azipods. I say apparently because there were no announcements on-board saying there was an issue. A lot of us figured out something was wrong when they used tugs to get us turned around and docked. The only announcements we heard were “we are delayed and expect to be docked soon”. It was later on, reading cruise critic boards we learned of the reason. We docked about an hour after scheduled time and it was about 30 minutes after that before the first passengers were allowed off the ship, us included in that group. While we made our 10:50 flight with plenty of time to spare, there were a lot of upset and angry passengers waiting in the line. I’m betting if there had been better communication from the bridge and cruise/travel director, it may have calmed some of the people a little bit. SUMMARY Despite the issue with disembarkation, we both thoroughly enjoyed our first Holland America Cruise. We purchased 2 Future Cruise Deposits on-board so we will be sailing with them again. Yes, the entertainment could use a big overhaul and perhaps add a singer or two in a couple of the lounges to help out. Neither of us has to be entertained 24/7, we just would have preferred a couple more options. Our cruise “needs” of clean ship, friendly and attentive staff, and good food were met. Warren
  5. I have not seen any posts about the status of Nieuw Amsterdam's broken azipod other than that she got back to Port Everglades today and has left for the new cruise. I asked on FB if anyone knew if they actually fixed the azipod and someone pointed me at a post from HAL earlier in the week which said "The ship has been cleared as safe to sail by several regulatory authorities and meets all international safety standards." Between that and the previously announced plan to return an hour late to Port Everglades next Saturday, I wonder if she isn't running on one azipod and got approval to operate that way. After all, why would they say what they did if the ship was running under normal power? Or maybe I'll just suspicious. I have not seen any posts here or on FB from anyone currently on the ship.
  6. Everyone is "getting out of Dodge" for the holidays - there are eight ships in port! For those of you who are up very early, there will be non-stop sail-ins for about two hours. Koningsdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0530-1700. She is doing an 11-day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer Holiday cruise. Philipsburg, St. Maarten (25 Dec 0800-1700); Fort de France, Martinique (26 Dec 0800-1700); Bridgetown, Barbados (27 Dec 0800-1700); St Vincent, St Vincent and the Grenadines (28 Dec 0800-1700); Roseau, Dominica (29 Dec 0800-1600); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (30 Dec 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (01 Jan 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (02 Jan a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0515-1700. She is headed out on a 7-day Southern Caribbean Holiday cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (23 Dec 0800-1500); Oranjestad, Aruba (25 Dec 1300-2300); Willemstad, Curacao (26 Dec 0800-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (29 Dec a0700) Also in port are Allure OTS at pier 18 from 0500-1630, Celebrity Edge at pier 25 from 0545-1530, Celebrity Silhouette at pier 29 from 0430-1600, Costa Luminosa at pier 19 from 0415-2300, Pacific Princess at pier 4 from 0345-1600, and Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0445-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ and https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/. Also, Nieuw Amsterdam will be in Nassau from 0800-1700. https://www.portnassauwebcam.com/ For the Addicts: Lots of webcam activity - On 24 December Volendam (0800-1700) and Zuiderdam (0800-1500) along with four other ships (!) will be in St. Maarten. https://www.portstmaartenwebcam.com/ On 25 December Koningsdam will be in St.Maarten from 0800-1700 https://www.portstmaartenwebcam.com/ and Nieuw Statendam will be in Aruba from 1300-2300 https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ On 26 December Rotterdam will be in Aruba from 0800-1800. https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ Next up: Zuiderdam on 27 December. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to you all!
  7. Eurodam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0515-1700. She is going on a 7-day Western Caribbean Holiday cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (22 Dec 0800-1600); Falmouth, Jamaica (24 Dec 0800-1700); George Town, Grand Cayman (25 Dec 0800-1600); Cozumel, Mexico (26 Dec 1100-2300); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (28 Dec a0700) Nieuw Amsterdam will be at pier 19 (starboard to) until 1700. She arrived on the 20th at about 8 pm and hopefully she is all fixed. She is headed out on a 7-day Tropical Caribbean Holiday. cruise. Nassau, Bahamas (22 Dec 0800-1700); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (24 Dec 0800-1700); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (25 Dec 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (27 Dec 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (28 Dec a0700) Rotterdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0530-1700. She will be doing a 17-day Panama Canal Holiday cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (22 Dec 0800-1700); Willemstad, Curacao (25 Dec 0800-2300); Oranjestad, Aruba (26 Dec 0800-1800); Panama Canal (Cruising Canal) (28 Dec 0500-0500); Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica (30 Dec 0700-1700); Corinto, Nicaragua (31 Dec 0900-1700); Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala (01 Jan 0700-1700); Huatulco, Mexico (02 Jan 1300-1900); Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (04 Jan 1000-2000); San Diego, California (07 Jan a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 18 from 0600-1730, Carnival Magic at pier 4 from 0430-1600, Celebrity Equinox at pier 25 from 0545-1530, and Sky Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Also Nieuw Statendam will be in Key West from 0800-1700. https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam on Sunday, 22 December.
  8. All, we had a fantastic Thanksgiving cruise on the Nieuw Statendam, and I meant to write a nice little trip report as soon as we got home, but sickness, school, and parenting a five year old got in the way— please excuse my tardiness and please take this little review at its value! Overall we had a fabulous trip! I’ve attempted a photo upload— just a few pictures; I hope it works as planned. We flew to FLL a day early, and spent the night in Dania Beach at the Hilton Home2Suites. We like Home2 as a nice alternative to other Hilton properties— room layout is good for family travel, large rooms, nice shower in the bathroom, and free breakfast. There is a complimentary airport shuttle between 5am and midnight, and a shuttle to Port Everglades is available, $20 per person round trip from hotel-PE-airport. Day1– Our son was bouncing off the walls ready to get on the ship! He was so excited to go back to Club HAL, and enjoy HAL pizza... easy shuttle ride to the ship, and we arrived at the terminal around noon. Our boarding docs gave us an arrival time of 1:30, but there was no way we could entertain ourselves or the kid until then— so we arrived early, waited in line for 25 minutes then boarded! As stated so frequently here, NS is really beautiful. Modern design, muted colors with little pops of brighter colors made for a really Impressive design scheme, in my opinion. Our room, deck five, cabin 5046, even though it was right by the stairwell/elevator lobby, was very quiet. I felt like it was a little small. The bathroom was really nice. We had early fixed dining (5pm!) which worked out great, because By the time we finished eating each night, our son was ready to attend Club HAL, which opened each evening at 7. Day2– Half Moon Cay is always gorgeous! One of our favorite places. We walked down the beach past the pirate ship bar and found some loungers in the shade. We just enjoyed a lazy beach day. Glorious! Day3– At sea. Really fun day on board— I enjoyed geeking out at the Origins film presented by the cruise director, which told the history of HAL. I thought it was interesting and informative. My son joined me at flower arranging, and then the highlight of his cruise was at lunch, when the bartender made him his first Shirley Temple! Club HAL sea day hours were 9-11:30am, then 1-4pm, and then 7-11pm. Dinner tonight was a Gala night, and it was interesting— our first experience observing folks being turned away for improper dress on the MDR (in this case, those on shorts were asked to change clothes). We enjoyed music each night in the Music Walk- this is really fabulous and the quality of the performances is outstanding. Day4– Turks and Caicos. For us, another beach day. We walked off the ship and found surf side loungers— we went further down the beach so we ended up paying $20, which was totally fine. We like Grand Turk as the beach is so pretty— this was our second time here, and the water is so pretty! Day5– In Amber Cove, we did an independent excursion through Marysol Tours— horseback riding and beach day. It was so much fun. Our son loved it, and our guide was wonderful with him. Afterward we shopped for a little in the port area. I thought it was a really nice port— we’ve been to Punta Cana before, and think the DR is really a gorgeous country, and Amber Cove definitely is surrounded by some beautiful scenery! Today was Thanksgiving Day, and the menu was lovely— ham, turkey, beef— best part is that I didn’t have to cook or clean, and my son got to eat another pizza, lol! Day6– Sea day. Tonight we ate at Tamarind. We love Tamarind— definitely our favorite restaurant at sea. Our sweet server brought our son a pizza! I got to enjoy a spa day— Swedish massage and mani/pedi. Very nice facilities. Day 7– Key West was amazing. We have been before but in our opinion, cruising into Key West was more fun than driving! We went through passport control on the ship here— a little bit of a nightmare lining everyone up, but generally it was okay, and even nicer once we realized there’d be no customs in FLL upon arrival! We walked on our own in Key West— super easy for us, visiting the Truman White House, the Hemingway House, Southernmost point, followed by lunch at El Siboney Cuban restaurant, and then a walk up Duval St to Mallory Square. My husband had to watch the Iron Bowl on the iPad so getting back to homebase at kickoff was critical. Thankfully Auburn won... We flew home a day after our cruise ended, choosing to visit my husband’s grandmother in Naples. In Summary— Another wonderful HAL cruise. We enjoy the family atmosphere, and son enjoys Club HAL. We are paying careful attention to the proposed changes to Club/High Score. Service was outstanding— our cabin attendants and MDR attendants anticipated our desires and went above and beyond to cater to our little one. We loved the World Stage— really technologically impressive! I wish the standard verandah cabins were larger and the first fixed dining seating was just 30 minutes later. I loved that the Lido Pool actually had a staircase rather than just ladders. In hindsight I would’ve booked an aft cabin rather than a forward cabin, my mistake. Thanks for reading along!
  9. Would love some information about how you found Club HAL on the Nieuw Statendam. Our grandkids loved it on the New Amsterdam, but it looks like it's a lot smaller on the NS. Kids will be 8, 14, 16 at the time of sailing. I know the older ones can do what they want, but the younger one will need some HAL activity perhaps.
  10. Presumably repaired, Nieuw Amsterdam is under way and headed for Port Everglades
  11. Looking at these aft cabins on the NS and they are all available for a cruise...is there something wrong with them? Would love comments from anyone who has been in them. We're looking at taking our family (11) on a Caribbean cruise next year...these "sound nice". but concerned so many are available.
  12. We will be on the New Year's sailing on the NA in a signature suite. My husband uses a CPAP so I'm wondering if there are any outlets next to the bed or whether I need to request an extension cord. Thanks
  13. We are currently on the Nieuw Amsterdam that is stranded in Port Everglades due to machanical issues. Cabin has strong mildew/musty odors and we didn't have a response for 4 hours after reporting the issue to shipboard services. When we didn't get a response from shipboard services within a couple hours I called HAL directly and finally got our stewards to show up to check out the odor issue (4 hours after reporting it). We're from Florida so we can stay in a hotel in Lauderdale any time we like which essentially is what we are doing now. Surprisingly several bars are out of certain spirits and supplies as well (even though we are still in port where they have access to everything). Since we are stuck in port the casino and many services are suspended as well. Any suggestions on how to get resolution on any of this? Ideally I'd like them to provide a refund and let us off the ship but I know that is unlikely. Unfortunately we sprung for an SS Suite this time too so our out of pocket is significant ☹️. Earliest possible departure time is AM on 12/15. Thanks for any suggestions.
  14. Koningsdam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0545-1700. She will be leaving for a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (17 Dec 0800-1500); San Juan, Puerto Rico (18 Dec 1300-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (19 Dec 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (21 Dec 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (22 Dec a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 19 (starboard to) from 0400-1700. She is doing a 7-day Tropical Caribbean cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (16 Dec 0800-1700); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (18 Dec 0800-1700); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (19 Dec 0800-1700); Key West, Florida (21 Dec 0800-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (22 Dec a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 from 0430-1730, Allure OTS will be at pier 18 from 0515-1630, Carnival Magic will be at pier 4 from 0445-1600, Celebrity Edge will be at pier 25 from 0600-1530, and Regal Princess will be at pier 2 from 0530-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Also, Zuiderdam will be in Aruba from 0800-2300. https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ Next up: Veendam on Wednesday, 18 December.
  15. We are onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam for today’s sailing. The captain just announced that due to a technical issue we won’t be leaving on time. No ETA on sailing currently. Assuming worst case, what is the Standard Operating Procedure in this case?
  16. Nieuw Amsterdam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0630-1700. She will be doing a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (16 Dec 0800-1500); San Juan, Puerto Rico (17 Dec 1300-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (18 Dec 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (20 Dec 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (21 Dec a0700) Also in port are Carnival Sunrise at pier 4 from 0430-1600, Celebrity Equinox at pier 25 from 0600-1530, Independence OTS at pier 18 from 0615-1630, Majesty OTS at pier 19 from 1015 (???seems late since she is coming from Nassau)-1600, and Sky Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Also: Eurodam will be in Aruba from 1300-2300. https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ Next up: Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam on Sunday, 15 December.
  17. On other cruise lines, I've noticed that anytime dining in the MDR can be a problem on the first night out. Basically, the MDR gets slammed by everyone's arriving at almost the same time. I think that this happens because (a) the sequence of boarding, lifeboat drill, and sailing puts all passengers onto the same schedule, and (b) few people choose specialty dining on the first night. I'd expect that fixed-time dining isn't affected to the same extent. Does this happen on Holland America? On those other lines, I've started booking a specialty restaurant on the first night out. Would it be prudent to do this on the Nieuw Amsterdam next month?
  18. I attended several classes on my recent NA cruise. The classes were informative and I felt like they provided me with some much needed advice. The instructor told us he would email us all the information he shared, so I did not take notes. So far, no email and I did leave him my address. Does anyone have a link they would share or direct me as to how to get the information? Thanks
  19. Just a few words on our 11/30 cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Shipshape: Ship is 10 years old but in great shape. Cleanliness: Never been on a dirty HAL ship and the NA did not disappoint. Service: As always, excellent. Food MDR: Very good, no complaints, loved the Wienerschnitzel, the Ossobuco and the Sole. All the Pasta dishes were very good. Food in Lido Buffet. Again very good especially the soups. I don't eat much at lunch, just soup and a sandwich or a salad with soup. Entertainment: Excellent in BB Kings, Billboard Onboard and Lincoln Center. As far as the Mainstage, they had an excellent comedian on the second night, first night was a talk by Rachael our cruise director with some stories on the Caribbean. She was back on night 5 with a talk about the history of HAL. Both talks were very informative but this should have been held on sea days in the morning or afternoon, not a night when you expected to be entertained. On night 3 they had a dance show called Humanity, after 3 minutes we walked out. Very dark and boring. No entertainment in the Ocean bar which was packed every night for Happy Hour, how much would it cost to have a piano player at Cocktail times? Grand Cayman: Because of an undertow it was impossible to load passengers on to the tenders. The Captain tried everything he could do maneuvering the ship to other locations in harbor, no luck and and we spent the rest of the day at sea. Announcement was made that there would be open bars all over the ship with free Wine, Beer and Sodas from 1pm to 2pm, some took way too much advantage of the situation packing beer and soda into backpacks and saw one couple winding up with 8 glasses of wine each. Every passenger received a 50 dollar onboard credit and a 20 dollar refund for port charges, very fair but I'm sure some still complained. Only complaint was the thermostat in our cabin, way too cold at 70 degrees and when we tried to get it up to around 75, the heat would come on. Could not find a happy medium. Embarkation was very smooth and boarded the ship at 11:40, just in time for lunch in the Lido. We do the early walkoff (2nd couple off) and left the ship at 7:15 and were in our car in the garage by 7:30 for our 2.5 hour drive to home in Sebring Florida. Will be happy to try to answer any questions.
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Nieuw Amsterdam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She will be leaving on a 7-day Tropical Caribbean cruise. Key West, Florida (08 Dec 0800-1700); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (10 Dec 0800-1700); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (11 Dec 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (13 Dec 0700-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (14 Dec a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 from 0430-1730, Carnival Magic at pier 4 from 0400-1600, Celebrity Equinox at pier 25 from 0600-1530, Crown Princess at pier 21 from 0545-1600, and Sky Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Also Koningsdam will be in ST. Maarten from 0800-1700. Next up: Nieuw Statendam on 8 December.
  24. 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.
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