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  1. We enjoyed our stateroom, 6051, on HAL's Nieuw Amsterdam recently during our first Alaskan cruise from May 11th to May 18th, 2019. The category V stateroom on Deck 6 is a balcony stateroom and is adjacent to an accessible stateroom with the larger angled balcony. I made a video about this stateroom for future guests and it's now available on YouTube along with other videos about our cruise. Enjoy! Scott
  2. Good evening: A question for those of you familiar with this ship. There is a gray area down from where the Atrium is shown. I am guessing, since this is a bottom level deck, that this might be some mechanical area. It is also where more ocean view cabins show up as available! If this is true, what is the noise factor for the cabins in this part of the ship? Thanks in advance
  3. Is "HAL" demographics right for me? It has been asked 1000 times. The clear meaning is: "I've heard that “HAL” clients are very old and tend to travel with their parents". Well, it's a really important question if you are going to look for a fiancée on a cruise ship. Is there anything else that may draw your attention? Let’s say, such small things like a beautiful ship, good food, amazing itinerary? How old is the Caribbean Sea? Not too old for you? Maybe you need to look for a newer, more ”technologically advanced” sea? Unfortunately the sea is very old. It’s even older than the sandy beaches on paradise islands. And the Caribbean sun? The sun is terribly old. Now let’s be seriuos and discard that garbage about “HAL” clients. Have you been (like us) tired of the hustle and bustle of your work, lectures, exams, driving, phone calls, company’s reports? Yes? Then be my guest. I will show you how to ‘dam it! So.... Before I share with you my short review of the wonderful 7-nt cruise of love and romance on the #1 luxury cruise ship at sea, let's bear in mind something important about "HAL". First of all, never, never, say "HAL", say what ship. Of course, if you want to confuse someone, or be confused – say “HAL” and ask about “HAL” on cruise forums. Lack of information feeds stereotypes. The sleep of reason produces monsters. One of a few most reputable brands in maritime history (from 1873), Holland America Line is now a cruise line that actually operates four different groups of ships - more different than some cruise lines differ from each other! What is different: size, amenities & comfort, atmosphere, dining options, itineraries, clientele, cruise length, prices, etc. The whole experience is different. Please note that saying"I have cruised on HAL", "I decided to try HAL", “HAL vs whatever cruise line” means nothing really unless you say what ship. Let’s see my photos... 1. Holland America's Top League - Luxury resort cruise ships. Most advanced cruise ships for self-sufficient cruisers of all ages. MS Nieiuw Amsterdam (2010) MS Eurodam (2008) Both ships have tonnage about 87,000 GT and carry about 2,100 passengers. Nieuw Amsterdam Eurodam 2. HAL workhorses AKA Vista-class ships (four close sister ships: mid-size, mid-age) Who is it for: mature clientele get quality product for reasonablemoney. Zuiderdam 2002 Oosterdam 2003 Westerdam 2004 Noordam 2006 All four ships are near 83,000 GT and carry about 1,900 passengers Zuiderdam Oosterdam Westerdam Noordam
  4. NIEUW STATENDAM – February 24, 2019. 7-Day Western Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale I’ll start off by confessing I’m not a fan of Holland America, well at least not of their older and smaller ships. I know that is quite contradictory to the legions of diehard HAL fans that love their smaller and more traditional ships. I’m just the opposite. My last cruise on HAL was almost ten years ago on NIEUW AMSTERDAM when she was brand new. It was an ok cruise, but we found nothing truly exceptional and other lines were better suited for us. In fact for this cruise we were originally booked on CELEBRITY EDGE but had to cancel due to some family obligations. As it turns out we had the week free after all, but EDGE was way overpriced so we settled on a last minute booking on NIEUW STATENDAM. I’m really glad it worked out that way as we had a fantastic time on NS and it was refreshing to revisit HAL after so many years. This cruise was also a great value and I feel we received a truly wonderful experience on a brand new ship at a relatively bargain price. I still want to sail on EDGE and it will happen, but not just yet. Rather than write a formal review I’m going to touch on aspects of the HAL experience I really enjoyed, and those that perhaps fell a little short. Overall I loved NIEUW STATENDAM and would sail on her again in a heartbeat. I’m a big fan of Cunard and their new ship will be built off the same platform as NS (with modifications of course), and I feel I got a little preview of what to expect at least with the hardware. I’m generally a fan of technology and I embrace it, but frankly I wasn’t expecting much with regards to HAL. I was wrong. HAL has really stepped up its game regarding technology and I was impressed. Some examples are a great new app that was easy to use and worked like charm, interactive TV (with free movies), call button on various tables (inside and out) to order drinks. Yes it works! Fantastic always connected internet for $99. Freestyle Coke machine. Beer dispensers that are key card activated, and most surprisingly waiters in the dining room using hand held devices. We had as-you-wish dining and upon entry to the dining room they ask for your cabin number and assign you a table. I was surprised that our waiters would call us by name since we had never seen them before. One showed me that our names and pictures appeared on his hand held device when we were assigned a table in his section. Very impressive! Another aspect of the experience where I feel HAL has stepped up its game is cuisine. We purchased a dining package that included 5 different speciality restaurants. We enjoyed them all. My partner loved Nami Sushi the best, and my favorite was Rudi’s Sel de Mer. All were excellent though, and although we only dined in the main dining room twice, it was also very good. Special mention must be made of the burgers at Dive-In up by the midship pool. These are the best burgers I’ve had at sea (sorry to Guy’s on Carnival), made to order and very fresh. You receive a pager which notifies you when your order is ready, and it’s well worth the wait. Best of all there is no surcharge for these gourmet style burgers. There would be on many other cruise lines. The Lido Market had a great variety of options and was well laid out, and we never had a problem finding a table. We had lunch there almost every day. One afternoon we tried the pizza at New York Deli and quite enjoyed it. Princess Cruises likes to brag that it has the best pizza at sea, but I think this eclipsed that. One afternoon I enjoyed crepes at the Grand Dutch Cafe and that was a nice treat. Overall I enjoyed having so many dining options and truly noticed an upgrade in quality, variety, presentation, and taste from past HAL cruises. In fact a big improvement. Service was also elevated, and everyone from bar waiters to our cabin steward could not have been more professional and friendly. Entertainment, music, and nightlife are aspects that never impressed on past HAL cruises. In fact I remember the ship being a dead zone at 10pm. This is probably why I have avoided HAL more than any other reason. While I’m no spring chicken, I’m not over the hill just yet either. I still enjoy an evening out socializing and listening to music, dancing, or watching a show. It’s no secret that HAL has a reputation of catering to a more senior crowd, putting that as politely as possible, and the lack of the ship feeling alive really disappointed me on past HAL cruises. Not the case on this one! While the crowd was generally still senior, it was more mixed and diverse. Add to that a new emphasis on music with Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard, BB King’s Blues Club, and the Rolling Stone Rock Room and now you have a ship that is alive and filled with music! I enjoyed them all but the dueling piano players in Billboard Onboard were my favorite. They were excellent and had different themes each night like 80’s, Hot 100, or all request. Another pleasant surprise was the production shows. The showroom is now in-the-round, and very high-tech with a giant video wall all around the back and sides. Gone are the traditional cast of 4 singers and 8 dancers with mediocre talent. In their place are a cast of truly professional dancers. No singers. The show that really impressed me was called Humanity. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen on a ship before and was quite refreshing. The production made excellent use of the video wall incorporating it into the show, but not having it take center stage or become the main attraction. The dancers were truly the stars. The second show was called Stages. It was also good but lacked the originality of the first show. There were also comedians and probably a magician but they are not my thing. The Cruise Director is not someone I usually pay attention to and they don’t have much impact on my enjoyment, but I thought the CD on NS was exceptional. Maybe because he was so easy on the eyes, but also because he was very low-key. Instead of the in your face used car salesman type from Vegas, he was from South Africa and very restrained. A class act. NIEUW STATENDAM is a Pinnacle-Class ship, the second in the fleet following KONINGSDAM. These ships share many attributes with the older Vista and Signature Class ships and offer a similar layout. What impressed me with NS was how much more open it felt. The ship was bright, spacious, and open with many two level spaces. I felt the older Vistas and Signature Class felt much more dark and closed in. The theme of NS is “music” and most of the art work is music related. I loved it. Many art pieces are really clever and deserve a second or third look. I enjoyed just walking around looking at all the art. With the more modern art, as well as brighter and more vibrant carpet and fabric choices, the ship feels so much more alive, contemporary, and relevant than her older fleet-mates. Sometimes I wondered if I was on an HAL ship, and for me that was a good thing! Being so new the ship really had that new car smell which I loved. One tradition that was retained is fresh flowers, and they are everywhere. Some of the arrangements are quite large and spectacular. I’m glad HAL has retained this tradition and I know it comes at a substantial cost. One tradition that didn’t make the cut is a large, unobstructed promenade deck. Like many new ships, the lifeboats now sit directly on the deck instead of above it, with just a narrow and obstructed walkway behind the boats. At least on NS it’s a full wrap-around deck even if there are no views on most of it. With two pools (one with magradome) and lots of deck space, this sun worshiper never had an issue finding a deck chair. I love an aft deck with pool and NS did not disappoint in this regard. I also enjoyed a spa pass for the week, and again the spa on NS is a big improvement over the Vista/Signature Class ships. The spa pool is round and larger in size, plus it’s connected to the thermal suite which is a far superior layout. There is also a very nice ocean facing free sauna located in a men’s changing area, and I’m glad HAL still offers this complimentary option to all passengers. Forward is the gym which is well equipped and with great views. I was quite pleased overall with the ship itself, from décor to layout and amenities. Our balcony cabin (6199) was especially comfortable and well laid out, with a modern bathroom (no dreaded shower curtain), interactive TV, USB ports bedside, and lots of other thoughtful touches. There was plenty of storage space, even two drawers under the bed. I liked that the TV was built into a wall unit instead of just hanging on the wall and sticking out. The bed was ultra-comfortable and being so new, everything worked great and was fresh and new. I’m a strong believer in attention to detail, and perhaps this is what impressed me most with HAL. So much attention to detail and some very nice premium touches at a great value. Some examples are free on demand movies; chocolates each evening at turndown; free room service; hot room service breakfast items; daily fresh fruit delivered to the cabin; the best shower head and water pressure I’ve experienced at sea; unlimited pool towels; logo china/silverware in the dining room; make up mirror in the cabin; HAL logo blanket for use in the cabin/balcony; fresh flowers everywhere; extra thick and soft cotton bath towels; linen towels in the public restrooms; souvenir log of the cruise; ship tile for Mariner Club members; Mariner Club luncheon. These small touches really make a difference, and they are even more impressive at the price point HAL charges. So what fell short? Not too much actually and nothing I would consider major. Funny enough I missed a morning TV program by the Cruise Director. Most cruise lines have this and for some reason watching it has become a tradition for me. Along those lines I wasn’t a fan of the “When & Where” daily program. I get that HAL is probably trying the streamline and modernize the daily program, but I didn’t like the layout or how condensed it is, especially the dining times. It just doesn’t flow well IMO. There is no signing of checks on NS. This is good and bad. Good because there is less paper use, but bad if you like to keep track of receipts. Using the app solved this problem for me, and I could see our charges instantly. Club Orange. What a failure. It’s the one specialty restaurant we didn’t try. It has absolutely no atmosphere and is the least attractive space on the ship. Honestly it looks like a cheap cafeteria and to think it’s meant for suite passengers. You can tell it was originally designed as a demonstration kitchen and perhaps it should have been left as that. It was empty every time we passed by. Although there was a ton of music along the three venues of the Music Walk, what was missing was light cocktail music. A solo pianist or a solo guitar player. Two perfect spots for this would have been the Ocean Bar (which even had a small dance floor) and the Crow’s Nest (Explorations Cafe). Both these lovely venues were void of any music at night, so they were pretty much empty. That is a shame as it would have been nice to sip cocktails in both venues with some nice cocktail music playing. Lastly I’ll mention the HAL Mariner’s Club. I think it’s probably the worst past passenger club in the industry. I sail on most all cruise lines and I’m at the top level of several, and the benefits can be quite impressive, but not the case with HAL. I’m only a two star Mariner (I’ll be 3 stars after the next HAL cruise), and the benefits are fairly non-existent. The Mariner Lunch is nice but it costs HAL nothing. I prefer more tangible benefits like free internet, free speciality dining with a complimentary bottle of wine, free cocktails each evening, free mini-bar set up, etc. I’m not one to sail on a line just because of past passenger benefits, but in the case of HAL there is absolutely no incentive to move up to higher levels. I know not everyone will agree but that is my opinion. Lastly you might wonder where we sailed to? Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, and Half Moon Cay. I’ve been to the Caribbean so many times that ports were insignificant. It was all about the ship. One exception is Half Moon Cay. It’s a delight and very well executed. Probably my favorite of all the private out islands next to Disney’s Castaway Cay. Bringing this all to life are 575 photos covering all venues of the ship, and one video of a horn exchange between NS and KONINGSDAM as we departed Half Moon Cay. I’ve also included some menus and all the daily programs plus some general ship information. I hope you enjoy! https://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/albums/72157706810856841
  5. I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most recently from 2 June to 23 June the Norwegian fjords on the Nieuw Statendam. My purpose in this review is not to deal with every aspect of the cruise on NS, as most topics are well covered in the many reviews published since its launch. It suffices to say she is a beautiful ship, well designed in all respects (other than the closed in effect of the Promenade Deck), and is tastefully finished in its furnishing and art works. She is operated like a well- oiled machine. Her Officers and crew do an amazing job. Rather my purpose is to give my opinion on a few issues, with which some may disagree, but in relation to which, if there are enough others who agree, may give HAL cause to make some changes which I think could alter the experience of future passengers on the NS very much for the better. For me the problem with the NS does not lie in any way with the ship or its crew. The problem is with the passengers. Those we came in contact with were very nice people – it is just there were too many of them. In the first 7 day leg of the cruise they had not learned how to spread more evenly between the many venues. Everywhere seemed crowded. During the second 14 day leg passengers were definitely better distributed but it was still not easy to find a table in the Lido during peak periods (we were in a party of 4 which probably made it a little more difficult) and there were still queues waiting to be allocated tables in the Main Dining Room. We also found during both parts of the cruise that it was difficult to find a quiet place to play cards or just to relax and enjoy the quiet of ocean travel. The effect for me, compared to previous cruises on the Eurodam, Noordam and Volendam, was a sense that the somewhat illusory feeling of a degree of some exclusivity which HAL managed to create on those ships, had been lost. There are a few things which could be done to address some of these issues. Our observation was that the covered front pool area was much underutilized except during meal hours. The reason for this was noise. Documentaries were often shown on the large screen during various times of the day. Very few people seemed interested in them but everyone had to deal with the blaring sound which made conversation difficult. Other than meal times this large seating area was virtually deserted. At night when movies were shown there was often no more than 4 or 5 people watching. On previous cruises we would often sit in this area and just enjoy the world going by. I would suggest that the large screen and sound system not be used at all during the day. This will take pressure off other areas. Thought might be given to whether there is any benefit in showing films at night on cruises to colder areas or whether some better use could be made of the area. During the day we also experienced that talks were given in public lounge areas. On one occasion a talk was being given using a public address system which was so loud you could not hear yourself think in the adjoining lounge area. We and others got up and vacated the lounge. This could be easily avoided by ensuring any talks are conducted in isolated areas or closed rooms. Although we had an overall very enjoyable cruise I personally will be unlikely to cruise again on the NS or the Koningsdam because of the sense of loss of exclusivity to which I have referred. I query whether cruise lines have made the right decisions in the move to bigger and bigger ships. It is now well known that Amsterdam has concerns about the flood of tourists associated with cruise ships and that Venice is concerned about the effect of cruise ships. Bergen now intends to place limits on the number of tourists which may visit that city. I love cruising and will remain loyal to HAL for as long as possible because I think it is a very well- run company, which trains its staff to serve its clients well and which in my experience has always been responsive to any concerns raised. But for now my future cruising will be restricted to HAL’s smaller ships.
  6. The Signature Sisters will be spending Memorial Day in Juneau. Nieuw Amsterdam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2200 and Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. Here's a forecast that you don't hear for Juneau very often -- "mostly sunny". The high will be 71F/22C (!) and the low 51F/10C. Sunrise is at 4:10 am and sunset at 9:39 pm. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  7. Once again I call on fellow cruisers for help ! Does anyone know the cell voice service/ texting rates (sending and receiving ) while onboard Nieuw Amsterdam when the ship is not in port ?
  8. I am struggling with the search feature for this topic. We are trying to decide if we want to purchase the wine package or just wing it on board. Does anyone have a recent wine/beverage list from the NA they could share? Thanks in advance. Kathy
  9. Does anyone have recent experiences in the hair salon on the Amsterdam to share? How are they at hair-cutting, color, highlights, anything you've had done? Prices? Recommended stylist?
  10. It's nice to have two HAL ships in port but, unfortunately, we will only get glimpses of them because of their docks. Westerdam will be at the CT dock from 0800-1800 and Amsterdam at the FKL dock from 1400-2300. Also in port are Norwegian Jewel at the AJ dock from 0700-1315 and Eclipse at the AS dock from 0730-2000. The forecast is for "considerable cloudiness with occasional showers" (60% chance of rain). High will be 65F/18C and the low 55F/13C. Sunrise is at 4:09 am and sunset at 9:57 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Volendam on Friday.
  11. Anyone know who the Pinnacle Grill Manager is on the Nieuw Statendam? Did they transfer the manager from the Koningsdam?
  12. We will be sailing on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of the week. We know there are a bunch of movies that you can watch on the TV in your stateroom, but we like to go to the little movie theater to watch the movies. Anyone recently home (or on the sailing now) that can tell me what movies they are currently showing? Thanks!!
  13. Nieuw Amsterdam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. Although clouds are predicted and there is a 20% chance of rain the high temperature is going to be a whopping 69F/21C. Low will be 48F/9C. Sunrise is at 4:22 am and sunset at 9:26 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  14. How late could we disembark in Vancouver. We need to arrange transportation.
  15. Does anyone know if HAL provides binoculars on the Nieuw Amsterdam Inside Passage Cruise ?
  16. Hi. Can anyone tell me if the afts on deck 5 and 6 are covered or partially covered? Any reason to choose one deck over the other? Many thanks. Fran :)
  17. Any news on when Club Orange will be available on Nieuw Amsterdam? Cruise booked for Oct 2019.
  18. We will be staying in one of the rooms w/ an un-renovated bath and it appears they still have the wall mounted hoover style hairdryers. Do all cabins also have a handheld for use at desk, or only ones with renovated baths where the hoover style hairdryers have been removed? Me Mum does not want to bring her normal hairdryer if she doesn't need to for bag weight purposes - it is a rather large and heavy salon/professional grade handheld.
  19. Could someone please explain the difference between a V and a VD cabin. Many thanks
  20. Hi all! First time posting here on CC. My wife and I are sailing on the Nieuw Statendam this coming December with another couple and wondering if the family cabana in the Retreat is large enough for 4 adults and what the interior configuration is like. Are there 4 lounges inside? Thanks in advance for any info on this.
  21. Just looking for opinions from you all (southern a little) on whether or not you feel crowded on these ships. My DH and I have been on the Zaandam twice and the Nieuw Amsterdam once but that was only for 3 nights. Thanks
  22. Greetings....been awhile since we did a guarantee (after an awful experience) but we are seriously considering a long trip to/from San Diego. Our agent has contacted HAL and every cabin in every class is a GTY. We are worried even an EE oceanview could result in us being in the furthest aft reaches of the ship. Any thoughts about the situation (why all GTY, for example) most appreciated.
  23. Welcome to the new Alaska season! As usual, we can expect HAL ships in Juneau on Monday-Friday except for a couple of Sunday arrivals of Maasdam before she leaves for the far east and then Australia. Here is a map of the docks in Juneau. The best location for our viewing is the AS (Alaska Steamship) dock because that is closest to the PTZtv webcam which is located in the Hangar on the Wharf Restaurant. In most cases we tend to watch the sail-in rather than the sail-out because of the times when the ships usually leave (except for night owls like me or those of you on the west coast). Also, keep in mind that the ships often show up on the webcam much earlier than the time they are scheduled in port. For our first HAL sighting we will have the Signature Sisters - Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam. Both will be in port from 1300-2200. Nieuw Amsterdam will be at the CT dock and Eurodam at the AS dock. Also in port is Norwegian Joy at the AJ dock from 1430-2300. Unfortunately, the visitors are not going to have the nicest of days. The forecast is for periods of rain (90% chance) with a high of 47F/8C and a low of 43F/6C. Sunrise is at 4:53 am and sunset at 8:56pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. There are also various webcams of the Juneau area here. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday. Question for those with PTZ premium. Are you able to get any of the webcams? I get a message about joining although it already shows me logged in. I tried logging out and then logging back in but still no webcams.
  24. I haven't seen a roll call for the Ft Lauderdale to Barcelona cruise, April 15-28, 2020, so here we go!
  25. Our Signature Sisters are back in Juneau for their second visit of the season. Nieuw Amsterdam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2200 and Eurodam at the AS dock from 1300-2300. Other ships in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. Best HAL day in Juneau of the season so far. There is a 0% chance of rain and there might even be some sun peeking out of the clouds. High temperature will be 66F/19C and a low of 43F/6C. Sunrise is at 4:37 am and sunset at 9:11 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
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