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  1. I wanted to post a trip report on our recent HAL Nieuw Statendam sailing. The TL;DR version was that we enjoyed the cruise and purchased future cruise credits. As a bit of background, DW and I are both mid-30s and experienced cruisers with this being our 4th New Year's holiday sailing (RCL 12/08, PCL 12/17, HAL 12/18). I wouldn't describe us as food or entertainment "connoisseurs", but we've been to various broadway shows, eaten at a few fancy restaurant, and lived in the "big city" for a while. Embarkation went smoothly. I think we got to the port about 9:45 AM and waited outside in line for about 15 mins, then were allowed in to clear port security, get cruise cards, and then wait to board the ship. Boarding started right around 11:30 AM and we were in group 1, which boarded following handicap and "priority" boarding groups (e.g., suites and multi-star mariners). When they allowed us to board they said that rooms were already open for guests. We booked as a balcony guarantee and were assigned Cabin VD7049 about 3-4 days before embarkation. This was a forward cabin basically in line with the elevator hallway of the front elevators, it was also a "ambulatory accessible" room which had a shower (no tub) with fold down chair and some grab handles in the shower. The room was also a connecting room, meaning there was a door that could be opened to the adjacent stateroom (VD7051). I think the room size and layout was fine. The downsides to this cabin were that the door seemed less soundproof than a full wall (we could hear muffled phone calls and talking from our neighbors, but nothing too disruptive) and there is a butler closet opposite VD7047 so we got some noise from the stateroom attendants in the AM. We aren't normally trying to sleep in on a cruise so not a biggie for us, but could be a frustration for some people. This is very subjective, but I never got comfortable on the bed the entire cruise and felt like the mattress had an indent and already felt worn out - in contrast DW said she thought the bed was fine; as I said though this is a very subjective thing. Stateroom attendants were FANTASTIC, and they even did towel animals starting the 2nd day and onward. We did the fixed 8p seating for dinner and requested a table for 2. Our table request came through, but one thing to note was that the table was a 6-person table for the early seating and then they removed the table expander and got two 2-person tables at the same spot for the late seating. Food in the MDR was all tasty and well executed, I've got pictures/pdfs of the menus and will try to get those posted sometime soon. Breakfasts in Lido got repetitive, and it felt like it could be hard to find seating during busy periods. We ended up doing room service for breakfast 3 of the mornings. Dinners in Lido were good, some dishes overlapped with the MDR (although they suffered from being served buffet style versus plated for MDR service) but the menus were by no means identical. Service in the MDR was attentive with prompt delivery and clearing of plates, they also took care to remember food preferences and even seating. Service in the Lido was slower and not very impressive, but nothing overtly bad. Just slow and gave they impression that they weren't trying very hard there. We remarked that these were some of the best MDR dinners we remember having. The rollout of the "cruise and travel director" w/EXC talks is interesting. Our C(T)D did a good job delivering the EXC talks (e.g., history of HAL, and a couple nature themed talks, plus one on off-shore banking and cryptocurrency focusing on the Bahamas). But it felt like there was less offered during the day on the ship than previous years. I liked the talks and learned something from them... but also felt a little bored other parts of the sea days in particular. If you like reading it was fine, but if you like programmed activities you may find it a bit sparse. In contrast, I preferred where the CD did more programming and then a separate person did additional talks (we were lucky last year on Oosterdam and we had a naturalist on board who did some talks on marine biology and ecology). Naturalist in the Caribbean is unusual though, and for cost reasons I get how the new CTD role is a way to help reduce overhead. Nieuw Statendam has a nice sound and visual system integrated into the main theater. Instead of a live band/orchestra they used canned music and then had a dance troupe of 6 people called Step One. The first show, "Humanity", was more of a dance show and was great. The second show, "Stages", attempted to be more of a narrative show told through dance and was not at all engaging or entertaining (DW fell asleep, and I may have nodded off a few times). Talking to another couple the next day, they also thought it was a pretty lackluster show. Nit picky, but even the costuming was poorly thought out for stges as one of the guys was in a light gray suit that had horrible sweat marks all over by the end of the show. We skipped the magician and the other performance done by a musical duo, but chatter was that both were solid and the magician was especially entertaining/good. Being a holiday sailing I think the pax population skewed younger and more multi-generational than your average HAL sailing. I wouldn't hesitate to travel with kids during a holiday sailing, but I imagine kids might feel like a small minority outside of the traditional kid-heavy sailings like holidays and school breaks. We also had two affinity groups on board, Dancers at Sea who would take over Billboard Lounge to practice dancing during the day (and who displaced our Meet and Greet I might add), and a Baptist christian group called "Turning Point Ministries". TPM didn't displace any of the entertainment as far as I could tell, but I definitely heard some weird conversations in elevators and public spaces. I've always been taught that religion is not considered polite conversation in public, and hearing people randomly start pushing both religious and political views in the public spaces on a ship is not my cup of tea. I will actively try to avoid affinity groups like TPM moving forward. Helpfully, they all had distinctive cruise cards they wore on board and also often carried their TPM specific programs. Ports were Amber Cove, San Juan, St. Thomas, and HMC AC: we did the taste of Dominican tour through the ship which involved tasting coffee, rum, and chocolate across several different stops, as well as learning about cigars and how they're hand rolled. It also included a stop for lunch at a local "farm" (more of a touristy farm than actual farm imho) which consisted of rice over sancocho (a local meat and veggie stew). San Juan: We were there on New Years Day, so I think we had fewer tour options than other times of the year. Most stores and shops were open, but closed earlier due to the holiday. We just walked Old San Juan as we've been to SJU/OSJ several times including a long weekend visit there. El Morro is always a fun spot to visit, and OSJ is easy to tour on your own. We also hit up CVS for some small toiletries and gifts - CVS and Walgreens are both close to OSJ port with CVS prices running a little cheaper (but little further from the port). I picked up local PR coffee at the drug stores and it was cheaper than any of the coffee options at gift shops. St. Thomas: We just did a taxi independently to the beach, and then taxi back. Taxi prices are fixed, but you may end up waiting a bit if it's a bigger bus taxi as they'll try to find a few more pax before they head out, or try to add a few pax as they pass through town back to the ship. HMC: We were lucky and cleared to tender, the previous week they had to scrap this stop due to weather. We had two ships in port, so it was fairly crowded (although not terrible) and if you want more space just keep walking further down the beach. Our ship was first on site, so we had the pick of the chairs and clamshells. Clamshells were sold out by the time we embarked on the ship, so that's one I'd recommend pre-purchasing and especially if there's 2 ships visiting. The line for the tender at the end of the day was long and slow, we got in line at ~2:40 (last tender was posted as 3:30 for our ship) and I think we took a solid half hour to get loaded and actually leave the island. I think we'd have been better either leaving earlier, or just waiting to take the last tender at 3:30. New Years Eve: Surprisingly, NYE was not a gala night but instead was noted as "festive attire". They did a fancy gala-style dinner in the MDR that evening, complete with fancy menus (which did say Gala <shrug>). NYE dinner was also the lobster tail night, so what I would consider the fancier of the two gala night menus imho. The main event was a party on the pool deck that was scheduled to start at 10:45. They had reserved the couches on the deck overlooking the pool deck (not sure if it was held for suite guests or a separate "vip" pkg) and seating around the deck was pretty sparse. Entertainment was the BB King blues band and singers, and they may have been handing out some free beverages around midnight? As parties go, this was nothing close to what we experienced on Crown Princess a few years back - but I'd give it a solid 7/10. If you want a lively party with a DJ and dancing I'd look elsewhere though. Disembarkation was smooth, with no complaints. We did Luggage Direct, form was left in our door "mailbox" something like 2nd day and was due mid-week to guest services. Price is still $25/pp plus luggage fee and only certain airlines and flight times were eligible. I have a copy of the form if anyone needs more details. One thing to note is that Terminal 26 at Port Everglades does not support mobile passport, so clearing US CBP took about ~30 minutes and we were one of the earliest groups to disembark. I think from leaving our stateroom to being curbside at the FLL airport was less than 1 hour though. I hope the above was helpful. I saved the daily When & Wheres and have all the MDR dinner menus saved as either pics or PDFs and I'll try to get the menus uploaded over the next week or so. We had a great cruise, met some fun people (especially at trivia, shout out to afreudgirl and her traveling companions), and we are looking forward to sailing on Holland America Line again!
  2. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. The nice weather continues for a couple more days. Monday should be mostly sunny with a high of 70F/21C and a low of 47F/8C. Sunrise is at 6:14 am and sunset at 7:35 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  3. This thread will cover my two-week B2B aboard the Nieuw Statendam (NS) and provide answers to the recurring questions asked by CC members: ships officers, ship condition, check-in procedures, Customs/Immigration, electrical outlets, cooking demos, beverage packages, smoking in the Casino, EXC, what's for dinner, new High Score, B2B in-transit procedures, extra charges for entrees, Specialty Restaurant menu changes, what's new, internet speed and multiple-device connections, gala attire, Club Orange, etc. I will include my experiences and observations that may be useful to subsequent cruisers on the NS. As is my norm, I will be scanning every menu and brochure that I encounter. Feel free to post questions and I will do my best to find answers. For Judy, who will be in the same stateroom in a later cruise, I will be emailing lots of photos. My boarding tomorrow will be a test of the assigned-by-deck boarding process. More tomorrow.
  4. Anyone have hotel advice near the port??
  5. Has anyone used Uber to get to/from Keukenhof Gardens from central Amsterdam? For a party of 6 adults, I'm wondering if it is better to use Uber and create our own schedule vs. using still very good mass transit?
  6. I have searched high and low on the forums (I know it’s annoying to the regulars to answer questions over and over) and the HAL website. Cannot find the answer to this: Do Vista Suites on Nieuw Statendam receive early boarding/disembarkation privileges? I’ve read all about how little you gain from a Vista Suite, in comparison with other, higher ranking suites, but cannot find confirmation of what my travel agent told me about receiving those privileges. Thanks in advance!
  7. My wife and I and another couple will be in Amsterdam in September for a few days before leaving on an Avalon cruise. I'd like to visit some of the sites north of the city that relate to the Zuider Zee reclamation project, but I find that no organized group tours go to the sites I'd like to see. Has anyone had experience hiring a private car and driver for such a day trip out of Amsterdam? If so, I'd appreciate any recommendations. Thanks.
  8. Currently waitlisted for Early Dining (requested a table for 2) and I am not holding out much hope for getting early dining as booked this cruise very close to sailing date. Last time we sailed on the NA we had Anytime Dining and wanted a table for 2 and pretty much every night there was quite a long wait for seating. I guess we were “newbies” on HAL and didn’t know we should come at 5:50 😱 for dinner. So.... this time around I am trying to minimize the wait for dinner and was **considering** springing the $$ for Club Orange so that we could have dinner without a wait. Yes, I do understand that the NA does not have a dedicated restaurant like her larger sister ships and on the NA you just get a different menu for CO. But, I thought (????) if you purchased the CO deal, you would have preferred seating in the main dining room no matter what time you showed up such as between 6 and 7. When I spoke with my PCC he said that CO people have access to a concierge on board who would make these reservations for you. But I am not sure that is really the correct information that I have received. So, if there is anyone here on this board who has had experience on the NA with Club Orange, it would be great to hear from them regarding preferential or quick seating at the main dining room. Or their experience in general with Club Orange on the Niew Amsterdam. Of course, the other alternative for us is to just do specialty dining instead of CO. Anyway, just curious if there is someone who has experienced Club Orange on the Niew Amsterdam. Thanks in advance for any comments!
  9. Amsterdam passengers, on the World Cruise, got in to Easter Island on tenders. Many ships miss Easter Island, so passengers will be very happy.
  10. I have tried to locate more information on the cabanas by the pool on the Nieuw Statendam. Is the charge of the cabana per person in the cabin or just per cabin? We are in an inside cabin, so I thought this would be a nice way to enjoy being by the pool. Would it be worth it to by the cabana for the week or just a day or two? How do you book the cabanas before the cruise starts? Thanks for any help!
  11. Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She is doing a 7-day Legendary Rhythm and Blues charter. Costa Maya, Mexico (21 Jan 0900-1700); Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala (22 Jan 0800-1700); Roatan, Honduras (23 Jan 0800-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (26 Jan 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.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ and https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/. Also, Koningsdam (0700-1700) and Rotterdam (0800-2300) will be in Aruba. https://www.portarubawebcam.com/ Next up: Koningsdam and Veendam on Wednesday, 22 January.
  12. We will be on the February 23, 2020 sailing and looking forward to our first cruise with Holland America! I have a silly question- does this ship have self serve soft ice cream stations? We have watched a few videos and I didn’t see any. Seems silly but that is something I look forward to. Thank you in advance for your help!
  13. I understand that this is a "pop up" experience. But, where does it pop up? For those who have done this (and I know this is very subjective), is it work the $49 charge?
  14. Planning a 14 night to Caribbean in November on either of these ships - similar prices - suggestions one over the other?
  15. We have a delay getting off ship for some unknown reason. Walk off started at 8. It is now 8:25 and they have stopped people getting off. Just said bags have not been offloaded.
  16. Looking into possibly booking a cruise on the Amsterdam in 2021 from Montreal to Boston and considering the Lanai stateroom category. This would be our 1st Holland America sailing. Would appreciate pros/cons from those who have stayed in these cabins and on this ship in particular. TIA!
  17. Cruise December 2019 (Holiday/Christmas). Family of 6 - adults. This will be our 5th cruise w/ HAL, our first Holiday. To save some money we are considering flying "red eye" into FLL. We would land at 6:00 a.m. How early can we board ship? Should we go ahead and get hotel to get few hours sleep? Thanks in advance for guidance.
  18. The usual cast of characters will be in Juneau on Monday. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. Monday is forecast to be the worst of the week with rain chances lowering and temperatures rising as the week progresses. Monday has a 100% chance of rain and a high of 57F/14C and a low of 48F/9C. Sunrise is at 5:44am and sunset at 8:14 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  19. Cruise December 2019 Holiday. Family of 6. Fifth time on HAL, 1st Holiday trip. Does anyone know if HAL has a "special" night planned in the dining room for Christmas? We usually book one or two nights of our trip at one of the specialty restaurants while on board. Not sure how we should plan for the holiday this trip. Thanks much to all.
  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. 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!!!
  22. Hi all I did try hard to find the answer to this easy question. Which deck is set standard seating dining on deck 2 or 3?. Also is late seating still 8pm ?. Any thoughts on table choices for 2 - table 230,224 look good .
  23. Does the spa area have a thallosotherpy pool. If so how big is it? Is there an additional fee? Also is the spa included in the Neptune Suites and above? Any pictures would be helpful. Thanks
  24. Thinking about booking a connecting cabin on deck 6, ss category and would like to know if anyone can tell me where the connecting door is in the cabin? Thanks for your replies.
  25. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. Monday is looking to be the nicest day of the week with a 0% chance of rain and a high of 63F/17C but a chilly low of 44F/7C. Sunrise is at 5:28 am and sunset at 8:33 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
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