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  1. Just off what a great trip food was fabulous booked another on this ship for next year yes there were some hiccups but overall a fantastic cruise any questions i would be happy to answer ps one thing our last stop was cozumel they never told us to wait to buy jewelry till mexico which they should have cause you get 8.9 % back from the mexican goverment sadly we bought in the cayman islands
  2. What are the perks of a spa room ?
  3. Cruising next month on our 5th HAL cruise, 14 days B2B Caribbean. Question for those who have already been on the new ship since christening last month. What is the status of the electrical outlets beside the bed? Are there USB ports bedside for phone/tablet charging? I have a new CPAP that will require a plug in reasonable proximity to the bed. Do I need to bring an extension cord or are there close outlets that will suffice? Any input will be much appreciated. Thanks.
  4. I Have benefited from numerous reviews so I thought it was time I returned the favor. Here is my review of the 2/24-3/3 Western Caribbean itinerary on the Nieuw Statendam. There were four of us – DH, DS and DD. We had two cabins. DH and I were in a Neptune Suite and our adult children were in a veranda room 7134. Nice size veranda but the smallest bathroom I have ever seen. Embarkation – easy we arrived at the cruise terminal around 11 and were on board by 12 noon and both rooms were ready. FYI – there were seven cruise ships in port that day. Several of them seemed to follow us all week. There has been a lot of chatter on CC regarding Club Orange. Since Club Orange is included in a NS I purchased the upgrade for our children so they could embark with us and join us for dinner and breakfast. I loved Club Orange. I did not feel like I was in a fishbowl or on display in any way. I appreciated the quiet attentive service, the soft jazz music playing in the background that added the perfect touch of ambiance without being intrusive. The staff is top notch and they got to know our family quite well. We dined there for dinner four times and breakfast twice. It never seemed too busy and that’s the point. I liked the calm quiet atmosphere. I am not sure how many extra passes were sold. I would be interested to know. I think there are 20 NS on this ship. The food is the same as in the main dining room with an extra entre offered each night. Most of the meal is prepared in the kitchen within CO. As I mentioned, I feel CO is a wonderful benefit for NS guests. However, I don’t think I would purchase it separately if I were in a different room. Because it is expensive. Retreat area – We purchased two retreat cabanas for the trip. The family cabana is not big enough for four people and I did not want to break the rules and try to stuff four into a standard cabana. It was hot up there but we had shade and a private hot tub which was really nice. There were three stewards taking care of the guests all week. Jeff, Gerald and Alwine. Great guys, helpful and accommodating. You can order lunch and drinks. The area is open 9-5 each day. This was my happy place for the week. Ports – Truth be told we do a Caribbean cruise to relax not necessary to get off the ship. However, we did do an excursion on HMC the ECO Bike and Kayak. DS, DD and I were the only three on the excursion which took us around parts of the island – stables, stingray cove and to the Bone Fish Lagoon where we kayaked. This was a fun way to spend the morning away from the crowds and to see parts of the island I had not seen before. And there were crowds the Koningsdam was also in port that day. I have never seen so many people on HMC in the four times I have been there. We left early to go back to the ship. We don’t like the BBQ lunch so the Lido Deck was calling. Ocho Rios – Reynolds Pier - WHAT A DUMP. Holland America should be embarrassed to dock at this pier. It looks like abandoned industrial pier. It is a good half mile from the shopping area in the main cruise port and from fellow passengers told me who attempted to walk it, not an easy walk or pleasant. You walk on the side of a busy road around construction while local children try to sell you trinkets. My DS and DD did do a ship tour the Tranopy & Bobsled tour and enjoyed the experience. Georgetown, Grand Cayman – Knowing there were seven ships in port that day so we arranged a private catamaran tour on Sail with Friends. We took a taxi to the Cayman Island Yacht Club, easy and Alice from Sale with Friends called head for a taxi to meet us when we got back. It was a great day and a highlight of our trip. Cozumel – We only got off the ship to have a drink at Margaretville. Dining: We ate once in the main dining room which was a disappointment. That night the menu was not that good. We ate twice in the Pinnacle Grill which was delicious both times. We each had something different each night and never had an issue with the quality of the food. Lido Market was really good, we ate B/L there most days. The Dive In is wonderful. The NYC deli sandwiches are good according to DH and DS. Entertainment: we listed to the BB King band – good; the classical music group each night – very nice and the dueling piano players once – just okay IMO. The in room movie selection is great and there is a different movie in the Lido pool area each night. Disembarkation - Again easy we took the Holland America bus transfer tot he airport. The ship is beautiful and the staff is amazing. We had a wonderful time. If anyone has any questions I will be happy to try to answer them. Bon Voyage!
  5. We are used to the venue on another cruise line that has a pretty extensive offering of specialty coffee drinks. I liked having that fancy Vanilla Latte every morning. Can you all tell me what HAL has to offer, and where one would go for these specialty coffees? Thanks!!!
  6. Can anyone post a copy of the daily cruise planner from the Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Statendam? Just want to see a typical day of activities onboard the ship. Thank you.
  7. We sailed on the Nieuw Statendam 1/6-20/29 for a 14-day collectors cruise to the Western (week one) and Eastern (week two) Caribbean. Mitzi caught a head cold on the flight from MSP and did not feel great for a couple of days in week one. I caught something on board and felt icky for part of week two. There was definitely something going around the ship, even our assistant table steward missed a few days due to illness. We had a very nice cruise, but we are growing a bit tired of this itinerary. Here are some of our observations about the ship and ports. I didn't really notice any major problems related to this being an early cruise on a new ship. I am sure there are things I am forgetting to mention. If you have any questions, I would be happy to try to answer them! Embarkation- HAL sent instructions saying to arrive 1:30 (deck 8 & 11 boarding). But we were at the mercy of the Ramada Inn shuttle schedule which left at 11:45 am. We arrived a little after noon. The right side of the wickets had a fairly long line, the left side line, where we were supposed to go, was very short (even number decks I think). We were whisked around to the empty 4-5*/Neptune line and got our key cards very quickly. We were on board and to our room before 1:00. Our luggage arrived within an hour or two. We were unpacked long before muster drill time and set out exploring the ship and taking pictures. Muster drill was by the front desk for our group and was mostly painless. Our Room- Our Vista Suite 8090 was a very nice room. The bed is by the verandah and the desk/sitting area is by the bathroom and room entry. The room felt larger than the VF verandah we had on the Koningsdam, but it was hard to tell by how much since the layout was much different. There seemed to be more storage space than in a VF. Way more than enough for the two of us (but we have learned to pack fairly lightly). The loveseat was in a corner with an end cushion that made it a bit like a fainting couch – quite comfortable. There was a nice upholstered chair for the desk. The bathroom was the same as our Koningsdam VF, but somehow the angle of the toilet did not seem as objectionable. In comparing our pictures from this cruise and last year’s Koningsdam cruise, it is clear that they changed the angle of the toilet wall so that the throne is not point as directly towards the shower stall. A minor change that made a big difference! The Ship- It really did have a “new car smell” when we first boarded. It is very much like the Koningsdam in colors, layout, and artwork (quite modern, traditionalists might not be impressed). The big change is the creation of the Rolling Stone Rock Room and moving the Lincoln Center Stage to the “Queen’s Lounge” area which they now share with BB King. They also moved the appetizer bar in the Billboard bar into a corner from its original location in the middle of the room on the K. This worked much better IMO and allowed for a small dance floor area in the Billboard bar. The Crows Nest bar has changed and now incorporates the coffee bar. The old Explorations Café coffee bar area has been taken over by the EXC excursion desk. This seemed to work OK IMO. The Crows Nest still has lots of comfy seating, puzzle tables, and a reasonable number of books (cannot comment on the quality, we brought our own reading material). It remains a nice quiet spot to sit during the day. I do not know if it was used much in the evenings. I did not head up there for drinks since they did not have a Crow’s Nest happy hour. The room on the port side of the Crow’s Nest (I had heard it referred to as the Captain’s Corner) now has rows of upholstered chairs facing a flat panel display. It was used for some EXC presentations but it seemed empty most of the times I wandered by. The ship can handle about 2700 passengers and I believe we were pretty full for week one. It never felt crowded anywhere on the ship. The MDR- The room was bright and pleasant IMO and very much like the K. We had late (8:00 pm) fixed dining (nice table for two by a window, but it was dark and you could not see anything). The dining room did not seem overly noisy to me. The first week seemed to have more tables occupied than the second week. There was no sign of the Yum Yum Man or his cart of goodies; hopefully it will show up eventually. The food was of the same high quality (IMO) that we have come to expect. My biggest complaint was that the menu for week two seemed identical to week one. I do not recall so much repetition from our previous 14-day collector’s cruises. Also, there were no chilled soups! Oh wailly-wailly (to quote Terry Pratchett)!! The staff was excellent as always. The Lido- We only had occasional breakfast and lunch bites in the Lido. It was laid out much like the K but had sinks for hand washing instead of the whirligigs you stick your hands into. The food was fine and it did not seem too crowded, but maybe my timing was just fortunate. It did not seem that hard to find tables, but many people went out by either pool with their food. There were sushi (rolls) and sashimi at lunch, but not a huge selection. We did not try any of the late-night offerings. And I did not see any bathrobes in the Lido! The Tamarind- We ate there once and it lived up to its billing as our favorite HAL restaurant. The room seemed bigger and they do use some outdoor seating (at least when in port). The deck plans for the K and NS seem to show they have identical square footage, so the apparent size difference may be due to the different layout for Nami Sushi and the Tamarind bar (we did not try either). The Pinnacle, Canaletto, and Sel De Mer- We skipped these this cruise. I have avoided Sel de Mer because the idea of an a la carte restaurant on a cruise ship bugs me. However, a new acquaintance on this cruise (Sir Robert) went and said his bill (including 5* discounts) was only about $20. I might have to get off my high horse and give it a try! The Dive-In- Same menu as on other ships and the burgers, dogs, & fries are delicious as always. But now they have milkshakes! We did not try them since we were already eating too much. I think they were around $5. The New York Deli- Again, same good quality as on other ships. We had pizza a couple of times but did not get any deli sandwiches this cruise. We also did not get around to trying the late-night snacks (too much food, groan!) although they sounded good. I found the NY Deli to be a great “secret” breakfast spot. They were never that busy when I stopped by, there were plenty of tables available, and pitchers of orange juice and coffee carafes that were self-serve. They have a good bagel selection, including a breakfast bagel with egg, cheese, and ham. The new treat was Breakfast Pizza! They had about 4 different choices. I tried one with cheese, bacon, and two sunny side up eggs which was very good. It was really enough for two people, but I managed conquer it eventually. The Dutch Café- This is a very pleasant spot for a snack. We only stopped once after a shore excursion and had pea soup, grilled ham & cheese sandwich, and fries – pretty good stuff. I kept meaning to stop for bitterballen, but never quite made it. Something to try on the next cruise! The Happy hours- The main Happy Hour was in the Billboard and Rock Room bars from 4-5 pm. Standard buy one get one for $2. It could get quite busy, but cleared out by 5:30. The self-serve appetizers (hot and cold) in the Billboard were usually pretty good and, for the most part, they kept appetizer bar stocked. We developed a small group of 3-7 people that would get together during happy hour for conversation. There was some kind of happy hour at the Blend at 9:00 pm. I never stopped by. It seemed like it was wine only and we always had enough wine with dinner. Club Orange- My travels around the ship did not take me by Club Orange very often. The few times I went by at breakfast or dinner, it did not seem very active. They did seem like they were using the kitchen area, but I could not tell if it was for food prep or plating-up. I actually like the room as a restaurant venue – I am not sure Club Orange is the best use for the space. America’s Test Kitchen- They had new recipes and the presentations were nicely done. The problem, IMO, was that the World Stage was not a good venue for it. You were far from the cooking area and they did not have good enough camera angles and close-up to allow you to see the details of the food preparation. Billboard Onboard- The piano duo of Debby and Nate (or was it Nat?) were very good, probably the best I have seen on HAL. The pianos were real! With strings!! They played very enthusiastically (and skillfully) and their singing was quite good. They usually drew a big crowd. As soon as their 45-minute set was done the Rolling Stone rockers started up. They switched on and off throughout the evening (three sets each). Rolling Stone Rock Room- This is a brand-new idea and probably needs some work to hit its stride. There were five guys (no fries) – two guitars, one bass, drummer, and keyboards. I enjoyed them but Mitzi was unimpressed – she did not like their versions of rock classics. Musically, I thought they were fine and talented. The vocals seemed like the weakness (not bad, just could stand improvement). I am not sure how extensive the playlist is, but I did not hear any duplications (but I was not there 14 nights straight!). It is loud, so I would not sit too close to the front. I definitely enjoyed it, but then I like hearing covers of songs that do not sound identical to the originals. Lincoln Center Stage- The five ladies were excellent musicians. I did not go too often, but was impressed when I did. The “Queen’s Lounge” area is a much better spot for them than where they were on the K (now the RSRR). Their performances were usually well attended. BB King- This iteration of BB King had a really nice sound. I did not recognize any of them from prior cruises. I also did not go often enough to tell if they suffered from the same problem I have seen with other BB Kings. That being a too small play list so that they seemed to be playing the same stuff over and over. They did play some of the same songs I have heard on other cruises, but they sounded great doing it! The Shops- The selection seemed minimal, but the quality seemed improved. Some prices seemed awfully high. I did buy a NS inaugural season Christmas ornament for next year’s tree for $7.99. Wine list/packages- The same basic Cellar 1, 2, and 3 wine packages were available and the wines offered were essentially identical to last year. Mariner discounts were applied. The regular wine list looked to be brand new with lots of more expensive choices. I wanted to get photos, but kept forgetting my camera or phone. I will try again this March. There were still some $35-45 per bottle choices, but they seemed scarcer. The Ports- Half Moon Cay – We did our usual clamshell and laid about on the beach and swam to cool off. The Island BBQ was the same as always - OK, not great. But laying out in the sun wears you down and one needs to refuel! We shared the island with the Zuiderdam. Montego Bay, Jamaica – None of the tours appealed to us and we were docked too far away from town to walk. So, we stayed on board to explore the new ship. Georgetown, Cayman Islands – There were at least six ships in port so we thought the town would be very crowded. The last tender from the island was around 3:30. It did not seem worth the tender ride in for a short, crowded visit to the various shops. Cozumel, Mexico – Mitzi was not feeling well so we abandoned our plans to stroll through town. Nassau, Bahamas – We went to the Ardastra Gardens after a small bus tour through town. It was a zoo getting off the ship and to the buses as there were 4-5 ships in port. The gardens were OK and the marching flamingos were amusing. I am glad we went once, but I will not be in a hurry to return. We had a picture taking stop at Fort Charlotte on the way back to the pier. There was not enough time to go into the fort and the entry fee ($5-6) was not included in the tour. San Juan, Puerto Rico – It was Calle San Sebastian festival day when we were in port (along with a Carnival ship). Even though the festival did not start until around 7:00 pm, the preparations had everything in a state of chaos. Our tour was to go to the two forts followed by shopping in Plaza Colon. The police would not let our bus drive to El Morro (the fort guarding the harbor) so we went to San Cristobal (the fort guarding the land-side of the city) first while our tour company tried to sort things out. San Cristobal is well worth seeing (2nd time for me) and was enjoyable again. When we got back to the bus, our guide said his boss talked with the police chief and we now had permission to head to El Morro (I am sure no money changed hands). The bus got as close as possible, but it was still a fair walk to the fort. The setting is beautiful, but there were a lot of festival preparations going on. The fort is older than San Cristobal and rather different in construction and purpose. It was well worth the visit and long walk. After the forts we did walk around Plaza Colon for a few minutes, but we were hungry for a Dive-In burger so we headed back to the ship. St. Thomas, USVI – We were docked in Havensight along with a Viking cruise ship. We did the St. Thomas Island Drive which took us to Mountain Top. There are impressive views once you get through the huge gift shop (in their defense, the prices and selection were OK). We were then supposed to go to Drake’s Seat, but the Viking guys had the parking area filled up. So, we went to the “Valdemar A. Hill, Sr. Drive Scenic Overlook” instead. There were impressive views of the Havensight pier, downtown, and Crowns Bay. You could also see Saint Croix in the distance. There was the option of being dropped off in town, but no one was interested. I did wander about the Havensight Mall before going back to the ship. Half Moon Cay – Another clamshell day. I also tried to lay in the sun to try to bake away my head cold (while trying to avoid sunburn). We shared the Island with the Volendam.
  8. How many specialty Restaurants are there on Nieuw Statendam ,what do they serve & what are the cover charges ? Which one is your favorite & why ? TIA
  9. Has anyone stayed in this cabin? Looks like a larger obstructive balcony with some ocean view.
  10. Hi ... first time cruiser bringing two of my sons (age 24 and 21) with me. We're American and it's our first trip overseas for all of us. I'm looking at the Norse Legends tour on the Nieuw Statendam. Ship specific activities that are particularly important to them are food, the pool, and music (where they all have pretty eclectic tastes). I'm trying to figure if this would be a good fit as several people have told me that HAL is too "old." However, these folks are more familiar with HAL's smaller ships, like the Rotterdam. Would appreciate some input from those who have been on HAL's larger ships. What times do activities "shut down" on the Nieuw Statendam? The pools on the pictures look a bit small and rather pedestrian. How large are these? I'm considering one of the VH, partially obstructed balconies on the 4th level. Is that a mistake? Any other things I should consider? Thanks! Stuart
  11. I am on a 7 day cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. Will be posting videos from time to time. My website has the first one up and running. A video tour of our Verandah Cabin Video Tour for Cabin 7143
  12. Is there a hot tub in the Retreat area on Nieuw Statendam?
  13. Is there any special or sale on internet pricing on the NS? Does HAL give out coupon books onboard? If so, how do I obtain one? Thank you.
  14. Didn't see a sail away for today's Nieuw Statendam cruise. It's just a short sweet 3 day event, but I'm guessing it will be fun. https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/
  15. Arriving at the pier around 11:15, there was already a good sized line waiting to start the check-in process, but the line moved quickly and the check-in process was efficient and quick. I was done by 11:30, but the cabins were not ready. At check-in we were given boarding group numbers (Mariner Star status did not seem to matter), and at 11:45 the embarkation began. Numbers were called steadily and I was on board shortly after Noon. The Shore Staff did an excellent job in handling the embarkation. After leaving my carry-on in my stateroom, I began my "must do items" soon after embarkation. A visit to the Spa to get my daily pass for the Hydrothermal Pool and Thermal Suite was first on the agenda. A visit to the Ocean Bar to get the once offered $50-$100-$250 beverage card. No longer available, I was told by the bartender. "Buy the Signature Beverage Package instead. That is what they want you to do." No thanks: Disappointment #1. Embarkation Lunch in the MDR followed and was seated with very pleasant folks whom I kept running into during the cruise. The service and food were excellent. Returning to the stateroom, one piece of luggage arrived and I started to unpack for the 2 weeks. During that time, my Stewards Abe and Ratno introduced themselves. Throughout the cruise, they were pleasant and did an excellent job. Dinner time arrived after pre-dinner drinks at the Ocean Bar. 2nd Seating, at a rectangular table for 6 (I prefer a round table for 6 and did obtain that at the start of the 1/13/19 segment of my itinerary), 4 other very pleasant and good conversationalists joined me with one gentleman starting his first cruise. (That was fun because the rest of us were experienced cruisers and, I hope, were helpful in introducing him to cruising.) Stewards Gete A. K. and Putu were proficient in their jobs. (And, they were still my Stewards for the 2nd segment since my table was near the original one.) The first Wine Steward left a bit to be desired, I thought, but Edgardo was my 2nd Wine Steward and deserved the additional gratuity that I provided to him. It was an excellent start and really special to be a guest on one of the ship's initial cruises for the season. Public Rooms: The news of the demise/disappointment of the Crow's Nest has been overdone, I think. It's there, yes with the former Exploration's Cafe coffee bar. That Bar also is a full Bar, something that I determined after lunch. Plenty of comfortable seating with lots of room for more, a library area with many reference books, many empty shelves, and a very few of paperbacks that I think previous guests left. A digital display connected to the Bridge in the front of the room drew alot of interest. (I was expecting a display of the Bridge's location map that the Amsterdam had, but was not available.) The EXC office and their inter-active displays took up some room, but not a significant amount. Surprisingly, a non-carpeted dance floor type had been installed in the middle of the room, aft of the Bridge digital display. Why? This makes me think that the new concept of the Crow's Nest is still a work in progress. Happy Hours could be held there, if HAL should choose, and reduce the overload in the two lounges that have them. There are lots of empty shelves for books if HAL would choose to provide them. Billboard on Board, with the two pianolists, across the hall from The Rolling Stone Rock Room was were Happy Hour was held and both rooms were very busy. The Bar Manager was behind the Bar once to help the bartenders; the servers were "stretched" and some seemed to be still learning on how to order drinks on the Ipads. The evening entertainment in Billboard was great. The Rock Room's band was loud, the performers were good, I thought, but the songs didn't change nightly and only one, in 2 weeks, was one that I knew. People were using the dance floor in that Lounge. Aft of that area was what had been called on the Koningsdam the Queen's Lounge, the BB King's Blues Club that was also the site of Lincoln Center Live with a string quintet. Both groups were very good, playing a variety of music. The dance floor there was filled when the BB King group was on stage. Obvious to me, that HAL is putting much money into this Music Walk concept. Maybe suffering, as a result, are the nightly programming at the World Stage. The 270 degree video wall was poorly used, in my opinion. The individual performers were enjoyable to OK. The main shows consisted of a modern dance company. I attended the first and did not attend the others. The ship's main orchestra were excellent. No BBC Earth presentations and I heard other guests expressing their unhappiness to the CD about this. The most innovative programming that I experienced was "Officers on Deck" during a Gala Night around the mid-ship's pool. Deck chairs had been cleared, tall tables erected with a beverage area at the forward area of the deck. Many of the ship's Officers, from the Captain on down, were present and could be approached in an informal manner if one wished to do so. MDR: Breakfasts and lunches were consistently excellent. My dinner experience was mixed. The first 7 days seemed better than the last 7 days. Being a b2b, this was a 2 week experience in the MDR when the menu was exactly repeated, day by day. For a Collector's Cruise, this is not acceptable. I wrote this off as a sole example of being on an early cruise for the ship. (Really, no other "teething" issues appeared for me.) Lots of emphasis on presentation of the food, I think. Recipes have been tweaked for some items, i.e. Escargots, since January, 2018 on the Zaandam. And the tweaking was not to my liking. A new executive in Seattle in charge of the beverage--maybe the food area as well--department thought the wine list needed to be improved. What improvement that I saw was the elimination of my favorite wine that was replaced by a wine that cost $29/bottle more. The Grand Dutch Cafe: a winner and a venue staffed by Dutch personnel. Only complaint: Bitterballen was only available 4:30 P. M. The venue is on Deck 3 when the HH venues are on Deck 2. Making this Dutch snack available earlier would prevent one from having to go to Deck 3 to get the snack and then return to HH. Dinner at Sel de Mar was the most excellent dinner I had aboard. Service, food, ambiance: all excellent. I ordered Escargots (a different recipe from the MDR's, but still needed more garlic), Dover Sole, and Crepes Suzette. With my Mariner discount, the cost for such a dinner was a bargain. Tamarind was good. Pinnacle Grill The first visit I ordered lamb chops. No lamb taste. The second visit I ordered the Rib Eye. This will be the last piece of beef I will ever order at the PG. Having just come from a cruise on Royal Princess where their Crown Grill still uses Sterling Silver Beef that HAL once used in the PG, I was disappointed once again in the PG's beef. There is simply no beef taste. My previous 3 up-scale restaurant visits before this visit to PG, I ordered a Rib Eye. PG's ranked #4 of the four restaurants (two locally as well as Crown Grill). Service at both visits was by the same waitress and she deserved the gratuity that left for her. Because my part-of-package wine had been transferred to the PG, the Wine Steward's indifferent service mirrored what I have had in most PGs on other ships. The Lido Restaurant is laid out as the other Marketplace concepts are on the other ships. Easy to use without the chaos that I experienced on Royal Princess with their Horizon Court/Bistro concept. The New York Deli as well as the Dive-in were excellent choices when one did not want much to eat. The sandwiches at the Deli were excellent and it was a thoughtful touch that Iced Tea, Lemonade, and water were available, self-serve. The pizza I ordered for one lunch was just the right size and the Panna Cotta with fruit for dessert was very good. Room Service for Breakfast was usually on time or just before the time requested. Only once, the tray had been set up for a minimal order from me with no silver ware or napkin. I became creative and found that a croissant can be buttered with a spoon if there is no knife. (But, I did have two coffee cups/spoons for an order for one.) Breads and baked goods were excellent wherever I enjoyed one. The interactive TV worked well once I figured out how to use it. I enjoy the option having a variety of entertainment choices available and surely enjoyed the music channels. In my opinion, two venues need to be re-worked in Pinnacle #3. Club Orange: Canaletto would be a better place for this dining facility. When one dines at Canaletto, one is still dining in the Lido Restaurant. Make Canaletto more special. The Ocean Bar is no longer the prime bar on a HAL ship. The Bar seating is too small for so many guests and with most of the seating out in the corridor passing the bar, I avoided it. The room is divided into half and that causes the ambiance as well as whatever music is available to be enjoyed. And, whomever thought that the Stewards and bartenders should wear hats during the evening should be given a different responsibility for making such decisions. The ship is beautiful. The art work is modern and many pieces makes one wonder what was the intention of the artist. It is not crowded for the number of guests present. The crew were as expected with their service and friendliness. Most, if not all, were involved in Venice in bringing this ship to life. (And, I pity the poor crewmen who had to carry the chairs destined for Billboard on board. I can guarantee you, those chairs are so heavy to move that in any heavy sea, if everything else is moving: they won't be!) They are proud of the Nieuw Statendam as they should be. The handling of 538 b2b guests in Fort Lauderdale by the HAL Shore Staff needs to be recognized for their efforts. Jeff kept us informed very well during the process and the procedure went well. (As always, there was one "gentleman" who was tardy in disembarking and clearing ICE so that the ship could be declared zero down allowing the rest of us standing in long lines waiting to be re-embarked. Such is life.) Disembarkation on 1/20/19 took longer than expected because the ship needed to have its position at the pier slightly moved twice due to the strong winds from the East. Also, the terminal had an electrical failure for awhile during this time. But, when I disembarked, all was normal and I was was on my way quickly. Did I enjoy my cruise? Yes, I did and did truly enjoy meeting the folks that I did. I'd be glad to sail with these good people again!
  16. Have been planning an anniversary trip to one of the ABC islands for snorkeling and was having a hard time choosing and spending so much $$ to go to one place, not knowing if I would like it. Decided to check on taking a cruise and ran across the Nieuw Statendam 10 day cruise that visits all three islands for much less than spending a week on one island. I have not cruised HAL, but have cruised Carnival, NCL and RCL on family cruises. I am happy to leave the water slides and rollerblading behind for sure. Is there anything I need to be aware of by booking something so close to the departure date? Cabins choices are not great. I am choosing between guarantee or a aft cabin on deck 5 (choices are 5011, 5012 and 5014) Only incentive is prepaid tips by online agency. The price, $2500 seems okay for a 10 day cruise, but I am not sure. Thank you in advance for any advice you may have.
  17. I have been considering continuing the process from the last two weeks with a continuing discussion. So here it is! This morning I was on Nieuw Statendam as we arrived in Fort Lauderdale. This afternoon I am on Nieuw Amsterdam getting ready to head on on pretty much the same itinerary as last week. Why? Because I can and because I haven't been on Nieuw Amsterdam yet. Additionally, it just worked out. Nieuw Amsterdam was booked several months ago. Contrary to my recent history, this was booked as a guarantee cabin like I did to begin with. I received a cabin assignment about 10 days ago getting a reasonable ocean view cabin. Last Friday I received an email from HAL advising me that my cabin had changed. That is why I am now sitting in a Verandah Stateroom on the Nieuw Amsterdam. For the record it is cabin 5100, pictures already provided to HALfacts. Because of several factors, this is not going to be an "apples to apples" comparison. The biggest reason is solo cabin on NS to Verandah on NA. I have much more room this week and a good location. This cabin is right next to the outside glass elevators on deck 5. This makes it very convenient to the Lido for meals, and equally accessible to the MDR and Showroom. The cabin is very nice, the stewards have introduced themselves and it is almost time for the muster drill. Since these cruises are a week apart, it will be easy to compare entertainment. NA has had the upgrade to the Music Walk, so the offerings should be similar. As I did for the last two weeks, the dinner menus for tonight are attached. Feb24LIdodinner.pdf Feb24dinner.pdf
  18. My husband and I are planning a April 2019 cruise. We just randomly came across this ship and it being new and beautiful intrigued us. We have been on Carnival and RC and enjoy the laid back nature of these lines, entertainment, nightlight, and food. We are mid 30s and no kids. Would we enjoy this ship and cruise as well? I dont like feeling overly stuffy atmospheres or having to be dressed up at all times. We enjoy being entertained and some drinks. Both itenteriaries offered in April for this ship were good also with some ports we have not yet been to.
  19. Same itinerary, same price. Which one would you pick? One thing I know is Nieuw Amsterdam has a nice big promenade, right?
  20. It will be another busy day in Port Everglades. And we have 2 of our newer blue hulled beauties set to sail for this one. Nieuw Amsterdam is scheduled to leave from pier 19 and leave at 5:00 PM. She is doing the 10 day Southern Caribbean. She is also scheduled to do a 13 day cruise which doesn’t show on itineraries, basically returning back to HMC. Here are her itineraries: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (20 Jan d1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (21 Jan 0800-1500); Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (22 Jan 1100-1800); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (23 Jan 0800-1800); Kralendijk, Bonaire (25 Jan 0800-1800); Willemstad, Curacao (26 Jan 0700-2300); Oranjestad, Aruba (27 Jan 0700-1700); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (30 Jan a0700) Nieuw Statendam is scheduled to leave be at pier 26 and leave at 4:00 PM. She is doing a 7 day Soul Train Charter. No map for this one, but here is her itinerary: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (20 Jan d1600); Amber Cove, Dominican Republic (22 Jan 1000-1800); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (26 Jan 0800-1600); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (27 Jan a0700 Also in port is: the the Celebrity Edge at pier 25, Celebrity Silhouette at pier 29, Harmony of the Seas at pier 18 and Royal Princess at pier 02 The websites to see the sail a ways are located at https://www.porteverlades.com and https://www.ftlauderdale.com For those that like to check out San Diego, the Eurodam is leaving from there for her Mexican Rivera cruise. Here is the link - http://www.sandiegolive.com And, for the Addicts - the Koningsdam is in Aruba https://www.portarubawebcam.com Next up - January 22nd, the Amsterdam as she and all her lucky passengers set sail on their WORLD cruise.
  21. We'll be sailing on the inaugural voyage of the Nieuw Statendam beginning December 5, 2018. I'll be doing a daily written blog which can be found at http://www.timmer2018europe2.blogspot.com. The blog will become active in the next day or two as we fly to Rome tomorrow. The blog won't have many pictures (generally one or two per day), although there will be lots on the other thread https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2611060-live-from-nieuw-statendam-premier-voyage-december-2018/ and I'll post a few in this thread. As background, we sailed on the last voyage of the old Statendam from Seattle to Singapore and when the name of the new ship was announced we decided to sail the first voyage of the new ship. We also were fortunate to sail on the inaugural (Christening) voyage of the Koningsdam so it will be interesting to compare the two ships. This will also be our first voyage as 5 star Mariners.
  22. Can any one give me advice on where to purchase wine upon boarding a HAL cruise aboard the Nieuw Statendam Sept 2020 from Amsterdam I am contemplating buying wine before we embark and paying the $18 corkage Is there a good wine shop close to port? Perhaps like Barcelona there is a wine shop after you have passed thru check in and security? I am thinking this might be more economical than the wine packages offered on HAL? Would appreciate any input many thanks
  23. Can any one give me advice on where to purchase wine upon boarding a HAL cruise aboard the Nieuw Statendam Sept 2020 from Amsterdam I am contemplating buying wine before we embark and paying the $18 corkage Is there a good wine shop close to port? Perhaps like Barcelona there is a wine shop after you have passed thru check in and security? I am thinking this might be more economical than the wine packages offered on HAL? Would appreciate any input many thanks
  24. Can any one give me advice on where to purchase wine upon boarding a HAL cruise aboard the Nieuw Statendam Sept 2020 from Amsterdam I am contemplating buying wine before we embark and paying the $18 corkage Is there a good wine shop close to port? Perhaps like Barcelona there is a wine shop after you have passed thru check in and security? I am thinking this might be more economical than the wine packages offered on HAL? Would appreciate any input many thanks
  25. My husband and I just got back from our first-ever cruise together on the second sailing of the Nieuw Statendam. We chose HAL, a 4-night itinerary and this ship as a "test cruise" to see if we would like cruising as an alternative to a beach resort vacation. We booked a Vista suite on Deck 5. We later got an email with the Club Orange offer which we signed up for. A few days before the cruise, we got an upgrade offer for a Neptune suite which after subtracting what we paid for Club Orange would have been a great deal, but we waited too long to call and they sold out. Boarding Boarding went fine but the communication was a bit of a mess on this as to what time our ship would depart and what time to be there. Despite being told the week before that priority boarding would begin at 2pm, it started an hour or so earlier. No big deal, we got there in plenty of time and had a minimal wait in line. Seems like communication could be better - I would love an option to receive updates on boarding and departure via text rather than email. The Stateroom The Vista Suites are only a slight bit bigger than the balcony rooms. Very nicely laid out but small. If we spent any time in the room we were tripping over each other. Our bed was comfortable and television worked fine. The bathroom was pretty amazing for such a tiny space. High quality fixtures, good water temp and water pressure in the shower. Balcony was small but nice - it had two adjustable-back chairs (not loungers) and a little table to put drinks on. Our two stewards were great and they came in multiple times per day to tidy up. The Ship and Crew It is a beautiful new ship that is well laid out. Most of the time, we did not feel that there were thousands of people traveling with us. At times, we would be outside walking around and run into only one or two other people. The crew was very professional and helpful and went out of their way to greet people in passing. Restaurants and Food One of the reasons we chose HAL was food - we are foodies and wanted a cruise line that had more than buffets. We ate at the Lido a few times - once for breakfast and twice for lunch. Food ranged from ok to good - similar to a buffet at one of the nicer Las Vegas resorts. Very crowded though - many stations had lines and it could be hard to find a table to eat at. We also had burgers at Dive for lunch - good (not great) burgers and fries that took 20 minutes. Staff seemed overwhelmed by demand. One burger arrived undercooked. Another day I had a pizza at the New York Deli and it was excellent, but required a 25 minute wait. The issue at the Deli seemed to be more of an organizational issue with staff versus too many orders. Two of our dinners and two breakfasts were at Club Orange which we really enjoyed because of the intimate environment and excellent service. The food was consistently good, good enough that if we had a do-over, we would have skipped the gala night MDR meal and just eaten here. Yeah - I know some people on other threads think that it looks uncomfortable or not formal enough, etc. This may be a generational issue though. We are middle-aged, not-retired professionals and it worked for us, but we typically like non-chain, chef-owned small restaurants. The MDR was very pretty design-wise, but we did not enjoy our experience that much for the one dinner we ate. Our server was very nice, but service was uneven and our main course arrived after a lengthy wait and was not very hot. The food all tasted like it had sat for a while under the metal covers. We ordered glasses of wine and they arrived pre-poured. We skipped desert. The whole experience to us felt like the big company Christmas party or large wedding reception. Just not our thing. The Pinnacle Grill was a mixed experience. Our food was fantastic - the best of the cruise. The dining experience was not as good - despite the restaurant being only 3/4 full we were seated next to a large party with two over-tired crying toddlers. We asked to be re-seated and they stuck us next to the service gallery (punishment for asking?) although our server told us we were the 2nd couple next to the toddler table that had asked to be moved. The dinner service was uneven with long waits between some courses but not others. We were not crazy about the decor, it felt outdated - too dark and formal. It also had the smell of old restaurant and the ship is brand new which is just odd. Shows and Entertainment Lincoln Center and BB King Blues Club were our favorites. We went to multiple shows for each of these and the performers were amazing. Luckily for us, Lincoln Center is daytime and early evening and BB King was later evening so we could see multiple performances in one day. Having musical entertainment like this will make us choose HAL again for a cruise. We also went to a Rolling Stone Rock room performance which I enjoyed and my husband did not. I thought the band was good and he thought they were just ok and too loud. Your mileage may vary ... We saw the comic who pulled people out of the audience for more of an improv type show with nothing offensive or controversial. We did not see the first dance show Humanity but saw the later one Stages. It was fine, if you like interpretive dance. Despite what I read elsewhere there actually were not a lot of people walking out. I saw one or two elderly people and a few teenagers leave. I thought the older people were heading to bathroom/bed and the teens to the dance floor 😉 . Just like I left a Lincoln Center performance because I had a dinner reservation. Each performance on the ship was just 45 minutes - so even if you don't like it you're not giving up hours of time if you stay to be polite. Casino, Pools and Hot Tubs We only walked through the casino, but it was busy. Very smoky. We did not use the Lido pool and pool deck. Because of the holiday, the pool and hot tubs were overrun with kids who all looked like they were having a good time. We went to the pool bar on the Aft deck and used the hot tubs out there since it was pretty much adults only. One evening we had it to all to ourselves! Other Passengers Most of the folks we met were wonderful and luckily I saw no one in bathrobes except at the spa (which was fantastic for facials and massages). More puzzling to me was the number of people who announced their 4 or 5 star Mariner status as if it was supposed to mean anything to me. I was tempted to counter with my airline or hotel program status as a joke, but just let it go. Bottom Line Beautiful new ship with plenty to keep busy even if the weather outside is not sunny and tropical. We are thinking about another longer cruise next year and will likely book on HAL in a Neptune Suite to get a bit more room. We spent a little over ~3K total for our room, (including Club Orange), service fees, one specialty dinner, alcohol, lots of specialty coffees, 4 spa treatments, unlimited laundry service and internet and felt that it was worth it.
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