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  1. Fellow cruisers, I booked a cruise on the Nieuw Statendam (NS) in December. My new girlfriend and I are in our early 50s. This is her first cruise, my sixth. When I booked the trip, I reasoned the NS is a new ship and assumed it must be an improvement over other Holland America ships. I like Holland America for being classy but not arrogant, offering a calmer, quieter experience. My last cruise on the somewhat smaller Nieuw Amsterdam (NA) was very good. The atmosphere on the NA was subdued and I felt the ship needed a slight "party buzz" (just a little, nothing Carnival like) and also felt what the ship offered in entertainment was just enough. The NA's elegance and other elements of the cruise made up for that slight gap in entertainment. Overall, I love the NA and would cruise again in an instant! However, since I made the booking on the NS, I read reviews that were not quite as praising of the ship. In particular, passengers said entertainment was lacking, and some said it was less than that on the NA. The following four criticisms from experienced cruisers caught my eye: - One said Holland America did away with Broadway-like shows, and whatever they replaced them with was sub-par: not enough and not quite entertaining. - Another wrote there were not enough music venues. The two main venues -- the BB King and the Rolling Stones -- were crowded since many passengers would tend to congregate there, thus lessening the experience. - A third complained about the music played in the back of the ship, or anywhere else for that matter, as not being lively. - A fourth complained the NS felt too "plain" (I guess he meant lacking in elegance) and worse, there was practically nothing to do on ship. This is a long way of saying I am concerned. I want to give the NS a fair chance, but must admit the reviews have made me nervous. I suppose I can enjoy a beautiful ship even if there is nothing to do on it, but I am coming with a new girlfriend and hope for at least some "buzz." Can anyone please share their experiences with respect to entertainment on the NS? Thanks in advance.
  2. We are considering sailing on the Statendam in 2020, but given the gross tonnage and number of passengers it appears to have less space per passenger than Zuiderdam. Any thoughts? any areas that seem crowded? Theatre, Restaurants? Hopefully HAL will change the smoking policy before the fall of 2020.
  3. Nieuw Statendam 3/17-3/24 Pre Cruise Hotel: Ramada by wyndham fort lauderdale airport/cruise port We drove to Fort Lauderdale the day before we left and stayed at Ramada. It was ok. It was dated in the bathroom and a bit dirty for my liking. It was a quick drive to the port, so that is a plus. I will be looking for a different place to stay for the next cruise. Port drop off and parking We drove to the port with my parents. We left at 10:20 and for to port 4 and arrived at 10:45. We dropped of my parents and luggage to check in. We parked and they went in to check in. Found a spot quickly and took the stairs to check in. Check-in We had a small suitcase and a carry-on bag with 2 bottles of wine. Everything went through without a problem. We got in line to check-in. While standing in line we were given a number (16) to board. With a quick check in, no need for new pictures, we were off to sit and wait for our number to be called. Getting on Board Boarding went by quickly and we were on our way to deck 6. We took the stairs and got to our room quickly. The room was ready when we arrived. Room 6161 We noticed that it was smaller than our room on Nieuw Amsterdam. It was clean and neat. Overall the room was fine, and we learned how to move around without getting in each other’s way. We had the mini (smaller than Nieuw Amsterdam) fridge clear out. It could easily fit two bottles of wine, a liter of water and a shelf to fit desserts. I liked the balcony and the chairs reclined some and had a foot stool. The bathroom was just fine. I felt there was plenty of room to store items. I did notice in my parent’s room that could be shared with the room next to it was louder than our room. Retreat I learned of the Retreat from this board. I don’t think I would like to cruise if I didn’t know about the Retreat. We booked two, 13 and 14, because we had four people and the family one was booked. After seeing the family one, I am glad we got two. They family one is smaller than Nieuw Amsterdam. We went up to the Retreat and they had us in one cabana. I had the printed reservation and the email to show the guys. After much discussion we were able to have our two cabanas. There some other issues that followed by others, but things worked out. Now my complaint about the Retreat. One cabana had 4 to 7 people in it every day. They would close the curtain when they were all in there. They would spread out to the loungers, even one day drying their underwear on them. I thought each cabana would only hold two people and that is why we booked two. Food We mostly ate at the Lido. Everything was fine, we found something to eat. We at the Pinnacle for lunch. We had a free meal there. The reservation card was in our free tote for the first night on board but didn’t see it until the next day. We went to change the dinner to a lunch and the hostess said that she needed a manager’s approval and stop back later. We stopped back later and were told we didn’t need a reservation. Later to find out we needed one (my dad helped us with this). I called to see what the dress code for men at lunch and were told pants and a white undershirt. The food was fine. Billboard Onboard We went here for the pianos. The guys were great. The schedule was set up so you could hear and or see (depending on your seat) into the Rolling Stones Room. I didn’t notice smoke form the casino. If you want a straw for your drink you need to ask for one. Also, some nights they had some appetizers sent up in the corner around 7. Casino I like casinos. We go to Vegas once a year and have a large casino near home. This casino is small. Yes, there is smoking, but I understand that I am in a casino. We broke even with slots and tables. Ports The ports were great, even though we didn’t get to HMC. My favorite was St. Thomas. Disembark We were in group 2 pink. It was quick and got us through fast. There was a shuttle to take us back to port 4 where we parked. The shuttle didn’t wait for it to be filled to take us to the lot. We took the stairs to the car and left to go home.
  4. I've never been on Holland America. We'll be in a Signature Suite for our upcoming voyage. Will there be many differences between the Signature Suite experience versus the experience in a regular balcony cabin? Thanks in advance for any information you can provide. 🙂
  5. Hi. We are leaving on our first HAL cruise this Sunday on the NA. My wife always brings her own hairdryer. Not having much hair, I don't. She would like to not pack hers but is always worried about the quality of the in-cabin dryers. I would appreciate any comments on the quality of HAL's dryers? Thanks and Cheers
  6. can anyone tell me if there is any self-serve laundry facilities (washers, dryers) on the Statendam? also, are irons readily available? thanks.
  7. can anyone tell me if there is any self-serve laundry facilities on the Statendam? also, are irons readily available? thanks.
  8. Just returned from a 7-night cruise on NS. This is a brief review. It is my opinion and reflection, and I won't take any offense to anyone who disagrees (especially if it is based on their personal experience). Background My wife and are in our lat(er) 40's, with no kids. We were traveling with another couple (and their two boys, 11 & 15). This is our 4th HAL cruise, but we've mostly been on Celebrity the past decade. We live in South Florida. The Ship Very nice. Elegant without being stuffy. Lots of places to sit and chat, read, drink, or play games. Artwork that seemed appropriate (although I liked some of the creative music-themed items and not others; but that's art!) The Clientele This cruise was over the spring break (week off) for local schools. We had about 275 children aboard, according to the Kids Club manager. Adult passengers ran the full gamut, from honeymooners to "experienced retirees". A really nice mix. We chatted with folks from South Florida, Virginia, Idaho, Holland, Belgium, UK, Germany... at least those are the places we remember. I would "guess" that the average age was 3-5 years older than Celebrity on this particular cruise/week. The Cabin We were in a standard veranda (category V). It was very similar to the Soltice-class ships on Celebrity. Perhaps a bit more storage space. I also like the shower on the NS better (better water pressure and larger). The two down sides in comparison to Celebrity -- the balcony doors open out (instead of sliding) and the table is tiiiiiiiiiny. Bed was comfortable. The Main Dining Room VERY pleasantly surprised. We ate in the MDR on 6 nights. The food ranged from good to very good. Our first night, however, was a service disaster. They seated us on a table where my wife was hit in the head twice as waiters walked by with trays. It was also too loud to talk to eachother, as the waiters were talking loudly. On the way out, I spoke with the Matre'D and calmly explained that it was not a good experience. The remainder of the time, he seated us in a table in the middle with an outstanding waiter (Budi). It made a huuuuuge difference in our enjoyment. The food quality was good (as always, it is subjective), and most of the dishes we ordered were nicely seasoned and cooked to our requests. We did have a gluten free diner with us, and Budi gave her the next night's menu so she should order and they would make hers without any gluten. To keep up with the "extra charge" discussion, we were not charged extra for multiple entrees. The boys generally ordered two entrees and two appetizer/salad/soups each. With the exception of a soup they didn't like the taste of (and two asparagus spears that one didn't like), there was no waste. The adults generally ordered 2-4 appetizer/salad/soups each, and one entree. Plus an extra 1-2 entrees for all of us to try (ex: guinea fowl --- winner! and asian duck --- loser!) Specialty Dining We ate two lunches in Pinnacle. Excellent. The cheese board by itself was worth it. The ambiance, service, and the food all made it a special, very enjoyable meal. Definitely would do this again. We ate dinner in Tamarind. We went because so many people loved it. It was, by far, the worst meal we had on the ship. The service was odd -- lots of people stopping by, but not clear roles. We were asked the same thing multiple times by different people (specifically ordering food and water; one even asked us if we were ready to order -- AFTER our menus were taken away???). We have a good, authentic Thai restaurant at home. The food at Tamarind was ok. The appetizers were certainly edible, but not well executed. The "seared scallop" was either steamed or prepared by someone who doesn't know how to sear a scallop. The seasonings were muddled. It also felt like a fast food restaurant in that there was no pacing of the meal. My wife and I ate (4 appetizers, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts) in 47 minutes. Maybe everything is pre-prepared. Anyway, OUR experience was quite disappointing. So we won't be going back to that restaurant! The Music In a word... excellent!!! I'm not a music person. Just not my thing, except for classical (and Billy Joel / Elton John). However, the BB King group and the Lincoln Center Stage group -- wow! Great performances. Really, really nice. The rock group was also good.... the dueling pianos weren't really dueling. They were working together, so it kind of lost some of the energy in my book. Enjoyable, but not on the level of the BB King / LCS groups. Those were A/A+. The Service Typical HAL quality. The room steward (Asis) kept the room very tidy and our ice bucket filled. Any question we had, he answered. Always with a smile and remembering our names. The accommodation by the Matre'D (whose name I don't remember because it was very long and I'm terrible with names), the food service by Budi, the wine service by Rex.... all reasons why HAL's service seems above our experience on Celebrity. Random Notes - Blend happy hour was 9-10 most nights. No one was there, and you had to ask at Club Orange for the "wine guy" to come out. It was BOGO on $17 glasses. Very enjoyable wines (both Cabs & Merlots; didn't try the others) - Formal nights were nights after visiting HMC and after visiting Grand Cayman - Chocolate croissants should be illegal because they tasted so good - Key cards were excellent (the RFIDs worked flawlessly and we didn't spend a minute each time trying to insert the key card and pull it out just at the right speed for the lock) - Lots of "buzzers" were around for obtaining drink service - Mixed drinks were the smallest pours I've ever seen on a ship - Dive In burgers were well executed as was the NY Deli & Pizza (pagers were very nice -- no standing around waiting for your food; when it vibrates, come back and pick up hot food) The Suggestions Not everything was perfect. 1. The "price matching" in the on-board liquor stores took 40 minutes because no one could find the manager and he was the only one who could approve. If you advertise this in multiple places, it should be a standard process that works whenever the shops are open. 2. No Dam merchandise. We really wanted some Dam shirts. And there were no prizes for trivia (like Dam mugs or Dam shirts). Those were really fun things!!! 3. But the big thing.... the SMOKING IN THE CASINO!!! We didn't play any craps or blackjack (first time in a while). The combination of the smoking and the lack of a high-quality filtration system really made it difficult to walk through, let alone play. Also, the smoke wafts down into the music rooms below. The smoking thing is a biggie. As much as we loved this cruise (and we did!!!) we aren't sure we'll book another HAL cruise on a ship that allows indoor smoking. And I love a cigar on a cruise, I really do. But never inside where the smell just lingers. Overall, a really fun cruise. Very pleased with this HAL product as we experienced it. If there are any questions I can answer, I'll try.
  9. Our family of five, grandparents (60s) in a balcony cabin, and us (2x early 40s, 1x age 9) in a Neptune Suite Aft Corner (Port side, deck 6, 6164). This was the grandparents first cruise - we have done several over a decade or two and achieved two-star mariner status on this cruise. We have previously cruised HAL, Norwegian, and Celebrity - our favorite is Celebrity. We chose this cruise because it left out of San Diego (our home) and matched up exactly with our spring break from school. We booked after final payment (which is our MO) so only had a month or two to plan. We have done Mexican Riviera before, several times - it is an inexpensive getaway from San Diego. Embarcation in San Diego was smooth - we arrived around 11 - there was a monster line to enter the terminal but it moved very quickly. Once past security, there was virtually no line for Neptune guests (this was our first Neptune cruise!) and in fact my parents who were in a regular VA also had no line. They had just announced general boarding (around 11:30) and suites were ready as soon as we were aboard. We dropped carry-on luggage in the room and proceeded directly to the lido. The lido was (as expected) chaotic on the first day - we ate at the Dive In burger restaurant, poolside, and found the service speedy and efficient. The burgers were amazing, easily 8 out of 10 as far as the best burgers I've ever had. The burger was easily the best thing we ate all week in taste, efficiency, and presentation. Our Neptune suite was very nice, spacious, and worth the cost upgrade. The corner aft balcony is our favorite. This corner aft is much smaller than those we've experienced in the past. We later noted that the corner aft on decks 5 and 4 is notably larger (though 4 has the window washing equipment, which I'm not sure is that much of a problem). Still though, plenty of room on the balcony for 5 people to hang out, sit, stretch, chat, eat, and never have to "squeeze past" each other - just walk around effortlessly. Inside, the room is spacious and the living room gives room for 5 to sit, though more than 5 would be a little cramped. The Bose speaker provided in the room was surprisingly useful. It delivered great sound and we used it a lot. The TV also had great sound and was a good size for the room. The bathroom was huge by cruise ship standards and with the tub/shower combo we often utilized the dual-shower combo to get two people ready at once. The stand up shower is just the least bit cramped and tends to get water everywhere, though if you mind it, you can control it pretty well. The makeup room between the bathroom and the livingroom served well as an office for a few conference calls I had to take but went largely unused otherwise. The couch was comfy and the room steward switched it back and forth from bed to couch daily. The room was serviced twice daily although we seemed to be at the end of the list for morning service, often it didn't occur until past noon. The suite comes with fruit delivered daily and we partook in this regularly. Our steward must have noticed that we were eating a lot of grapes, as each day the pile of grapes atop the fruit basket would be larger, until 3 or 4 days into the cruise a separate fruit basket appeared that contained nothing but grapes, piled so high they nearly wouldn't fit. We laughed, and of course, gorged ourselves on grapes. This was the only noticeable sign of our room steward (other than, of course, the twice daily bed making and the fresh towels) - we've noticed over the years that some stewards you don't see much of, and some, by the end of a week or two, you're lifelong friends. This particular team would always greet us in the hallway but was overall pretty invisible and unassuming. Neptune Lounge, we didn't expect to use much, but we did - a lot. The coffee machine in there is really great, the teas are better than those offered elsewhere, the snacks are a little more refined than lido food, and the concierge - which I wasn't sure what on Earth I would use them for - we used them a lot. Re-make a lost key card, make a dinner reservation, find something out, etc - they would do just about anything you asked. We really enjoyed this amenity and we'd have a hard time going without it in the future. I got the unlimited internet package for the cruise and it worked as expected - slowly, but without issue. We paid for the 7-day pass in the thermal suite for two - generally didn't have a problem finding a hot chair and used them daily. The lido food was good - service is mostly handled by the lido attendants - there is not a lot of serving yourself. This really seemed to help our perception of hygiene (so many fewer dirty hands everywhere) but generally slowed down service and made lines longer. My standard breakfast is a DIY breakfast sandwich - get two pieces of bread toasted, put a piece or two of cheese on them, get two eggs over medium, slide them onto the bread, then bacon or sausage on top. I don't really know how to say this, but I feel like my *perception* is that lines were longer (because of the full-service handling), but in reality I don't feel like it took me any longer to get my regular breakfast than usual. The lido seemed more crowded than past experiences but even though it was generally packed, I didn't have a single instance of not being able to find a table - it was full, but turnover was quick and cleanup was efficient and even when you'd look up to see every table taken, by the time you got your food you could always find a place to sit. Similarly, it seemed like every station had a line but you never seemed to wait for more than 3-4 people to clear and it never took more than a minute or two. We had pinnacle for breakfast once, and were turned away on a second attempt later in the week because we'd taken my parents and it's suite guests only. We retreated to the regular restaurant to find the identical breakfast menu there. I feel like I try sit-down breakfast once or twice each cruise and always find I like the lido better. We returned to the lido after that. The sit-down restaurant food seems to have taken a significant decline in recent years - the china they used to use is now relegated to the Neptune Lounge, and they just use regular dishes in the dining room. The food was good (though uninspired). They did seem to be enforcing the "2nd entree $10" rule, but I am not a two entree guy, so it didn't bother me. I did order an appetizer, a soup, a salad, an entree, and a desert every night without issue. I did turn away a main dish one night (wasn't to my liking) and had it replaced with something else without question or charge. The lighting in the dining room (I'm sorry to nitpick something so basic, but it really is a core thing) was downright bad. The fluorescent lighting makes it look like the inside of a k-mart and only accentuates the declining food presentation. Our stewards were pretty good and quite friendly. "Smart casual" is now basically "don't wear flip flops", there are lots of jeans, t-shirts, etc. "Gala night" is now "anything with a collar" and cargo pants and a polo shirt was not uncommon... for *gala* night. Those of you who've followed my reviews for a decade (I assume you're a small crowd) will now have witnessed my full transit from "why do I have to bring a tuxedo" in my 20s, to "seriously, cargo pants and a polo shirt on gala night?" in my 40s. It's a spring break cruise and there were 300+ kids on board. There are a LOT of kids and a LOT of families and it showed. Kids club sometimes feels like it has a lot of individual attention, but this cruise it felt like they were trying to just keep it all under control. There were regularly 20-40 kids in the tween club - three sessions per day. Again, sometimes it feels like the kids club staff and I become family by the end of a cruise, but generally speaking this time around, I hardly knew their names, they hardly knew mine. My daughter seemed to enjoy it and kept going back, so there's that! There was room to spare at the string quintet performances but the magic show was standing room only. The America's Test Kitchen was packed every performance (and I really enjoyed it). BB King's Lounge was hopping - there was a male lead vocalist who ROCKED the house. The dueling piano bar seemed to satisfy the older crowd with standards but had a hard time getting a vibe going. Trivia was offered a couple times a day but you grade your own paper and it just didn't feel very competitive. None of the bars were really very full and they didn't develop that "regular crowd" feeling that some cruises have. Mexican Riviera hasn't changed in 20 years. Cabo still has the glass bottom boats and they're still $10/head. We got a good one and had a great tour. Mazatlan we took a taxi into the historic district and walked around. Puerto Vallarta we took a taxi to the Malecon and walked around. It was nice being in Puerto Vallarta until late (11pm). HAL was my first cruise line and for many years was my favorite, until we found X. We still enjoy HAL but as an upper-crust line it seems to be slipping. We would happily cruise HAL again if our dates lines up, but we wouldn't seek them out. 7/10 overall.
  10. We're going to be on NS April 7-14. Just wondering if past passengers might offer any food or dining tips - you know - "be sure to try this" or "go here". ....menu hidden gems...anything that really caught your taste buds or whatever...🤗 Don't want to miss anything good! FYI - just talking about within the "included" dining options here, not interested in the extra-charge or specialty dining. Anyone care to share?
  11. we're going to be on NS April 7-14. Just wondering if past passengers might offer any food or dining tips - you know - "be sure to try this" or "go here". ....menu hidden gems...anything that really caught your taste buds or whatever...🤗 Don't want to miss anything good! FYI - just talking about within the "included" dining options here, not interested in the extra-charge or specialty dining. Anyone care to share?
  12. Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 from 0530-1700. She is headed out on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (02 Apr 0800-1500); San Juan, Puerto Rico (03 Apr 1300-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (04 Apr 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (06 Apr 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (07 Apr a0700) Zuiderdam will be at pier 21 from 0545-1700. She is doing a 10-night Panama Canal Seafarer cruise. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (01 Apr 0800-1500); Oranjestad, Aruba (03 Apr 1300-2300); Willemstad, Curacao (04 Apr 0800-1600); Panama Canal (Cruising Canal) (06 Apr 0500-0500); Colon, Panama (06 Apr 1500-2000); Puerto Limon, Costa Rica (07 Apr 0630-1600); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (10 Apr a0700) Also in port are Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600, and Celebrity Edge (I haven't missed seeing her😒) at pier 25 from 0600-1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/ Rotterdam will be in Tampa from 0700-1700. She is headed out on a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise. Key West, Florida (01 Apr 1100-1800); Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala (03 Apr 0800-1800); Roatan, Honduras (04 Apr 0800-1700); Costa Maya, Mexico (05 Apr 0800-1700); Tampa, Florida (07 Apr a0700) Also in port are Carnival Miracle (departs at 1600) and Norwegian Pearl leaving at 1530 on a Melissa Etheridge cruise. The Tampa PTZtv webcam can be found at http:// https://www.porttampawebcam.com/. Nieuw Amsterdam will be leaving on a 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise at 1700 local time from San Diego. She Is the only ship in port. I cannot get the San Diego webcam anymore. When you click on the link (sundiegolive.com) it sends you to a slightly altered address (http://ww1.sundiegolive.com/) which appears to have no relation to San Diego and has strange ads. Has this been discussed previously? Here is another webcam I found but not sure if it covers the area we are interested in but it does have a nice clear picture and does not jump from place to place like the other one - https://www.skylinewebcams.com/en/webcam/united-states/california/san-diego/san-diego.html For the Addicts: Rotterdam in Key West from 1100-1800 on April 1 (https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/) Volendam will be in San Diego departing at 1700 on April 3 Zuiderdam will be in Aruba from 1300-2300 on April 3 (https://www.portarubawebcam.com/) Next up: As the Port Everglades season winds down, we will not have another sail-away until Saturday, April 6.
  13. Hello all, I am relatively new (only two in the past 20 years) to cruising, but have two cruises booked for this year😁. One is RCI and the other is HAL. I had OBC and used it for a beverage package on Harmony of the Seas, easy peasy. I called Big box yesterday and they they said the OBC from both Big box and HAL would not be usable until on ship.🤨 I was going to order a few things and the Big box rep called HAL and they said no. The Big box rep told me to call back, maybe they would change their policy. The OBC is almost 500$! Thoughts?
  14. We were ensconced in one of 11 Signature Suites. Noordam had over 40 Must attend Muster Drill put 2900 tired pax on deck 2-3 at 3:45. Elevators tied up well past 5pm Lido tables have a button you press to summon a drink steward Portions of Lido buffet has tiles and heavy chair scaping was very loud Some window seats in Lido look down onto portions of deck 8 balconies Aft lido pool deck smaller than Vista class but lots of chaise loungers up on deck 10-11 Crow's Nest café opens at 8am not 7 Happy hour is way down on deck 2, Crow's Nest was a like a morgue...sigh Main stage show was packed at 7pm, selection was poor. Music venues were well attended in the eve as well Our suite had no night light in bathroom Cotton balls and q tips on counter in bathroom Large shower with wand, side jets, a seat and shower head No CNN on tv Balcony had lots of seating and a table high enough to have a meal Some room service breakfast items cost ie...smoothie, $5 or Steak and eggs $9 Library had a few new books with HAL stickers inside cover..bring a book, leave a book 13,000 sweaty sailors meandering the cobblestone streets of San Juan Hope HAL bans spray sunscreen cans as some wait til on crowded aft deck to anoint everyone downwind with heady fumes!! Bath robes around your bathrooms please not in Lido
  15. I just returned from a Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Statendam and wanted to share our thoughts on this ship, as I have benefited from many reviews posted here from you all. A little background about us, I am 41 years old and my husband is 37 years old, we have twin boys who are 6 years old. We have previously cruised on Royal Caribbean, but were looking for something "classier" with better food and drink options, so we tried out Holland America's newest boat. We also had my parents, his mom, my siblings (late 30s, married, no children and a single sister in her late 30s) and his aunt (late 50s) in our group. Everyone in our group had balcony rooms, non obstructed. Embarkation We arrived to the port around 10:45am, the process was super easy. We brought on board 2 bottles of wine and a case of water, noone said anything about it. We were on board in less than 45 minutes and it was very smooth. Our Cabin We had a VA Cabin 6055. It was smaller than the cabin on Royal Caribbean, but adequate. The balcony was very tiny and a few cabins over we could see in to their balcony. We "upgraded" from a VC to a VA, and in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have done this. The rest of our group had VC cabins and no other balconies were visable from their balconies. The shower was AMAZING and there was plenty of storage for all of our stuff. We ended up not having to use the pullman bed since the sofa bed was closer to a full size vs the twin that they said it was. The boys never complained about the size or the comfort level. Our bed was excellent and we slept awesome the whole vacation. Food We only ate in the main dining room the first night, it was just ok. I know food is subjective, and we are probably pickier than most when it comes to restaurants. We did not buy any specialty dining packages, but if i was to do it again, I would have just eaten in specialty restaurants the entire time. We tried Tamarind twice, the first time was fantastic, the second time was just ok, but I think we just ordered the wrong items. We ate in Canaletto, with the kids, and it was good. The vibe was a bit strange being in the Lido Restaurant, but the view was nice. We also did Pinnacle Grill (excellent) and Rudi's Sel De Mer (the one I was least excited about, that ended up being our favorite meal). For lunches, we ate at Dive In and NY Pizza (which were ok) and the Grand Dutch Cafe (that was better). Breakfasts we enjoyed room service, but truthfully, we mainly just got dry cereal and coffee as we are not big breakfast eaters. Service was a bit strange in the specialty restaurants as they never really came over to ask how things were or at the end of the meal. It always felt awkward at the end just leaving the table. Drinks The wine offerings on board seemed slim and the pricing was all over the place. Some wines that are definitely less expensive were offered at higher prices than others that are more expensive at lower prices. I work in the wine industry, so maybe I'm just nitpicking here. We ordered a few bottles on board, but mainly drank cocktails since the offerings weren't what we were looking for. We did not buy a drink package, and I think it was the right decision as we came nowhere close to the price it would have cost us for it (and we drank every day and never limited ourselves). In the future, if I was to cruise again with HAL, I would bring more bottles on board and just pay the $18/per bottle and corkage. Club HAL I cannot say enough positive things about Club HAL. They were AMAZING and my kids never wanted to leave (they went every single day). My one complaint was that the hours were not posted on the dailies and you had to find the hours on the TV. Activities We went to a few shows, America's Test Kitchen, Rolling Stone Rock Room, BB Kings and watched a movie under the stars. The daytime activities were LIGHT at best. Without many things to do, most people are around the two VERY small pools on board. We still felt that the pools were nice and the drink service was excellent. Our fellow Cruisers We did have a few "comments" about the kids. Most people commented on how well behaved the boys were and how lucky they were to be on a cruise, but we did have some comments that were just odd and rude for no reason at all. Overall We were very happy and will most likely consider HAL in the future. We want to do Alaska next and are considering the Nieuw Statendam sister ship, Koningsdam. Hope this helps and I'm happy to answer any questions.
  16. Am looking at a 14 day norway cruise. Bith ships have basically the same itenerary. Staatendam is about $500 more per person. Is it worth it?
  17. We will be sailing on the The Nieuw Statemdam on Sunday. Can anyone comment on the closest garage. As usual I’ve packed to many bags! Many thanks!
  18. Am looking at a 14 day norway cruise. Bith ships have basically the same itenerary. Staatendam is about $500 more per person. Is it worth it?
  19. Hello, I have a question about the position of the sofabed. Because of the lifeboats i prefer to have first the bed and the sofa by the window. I am looking for Cabin 4123. Does somebody knows where the sofa is? I found picture of 4115 and the 4117 and they have both the bed by the window. Other question about the noise. Below of the cabin('s) is the photo gallery. What do you think about the noise level? Thanks a lot
  20. The insurance through Holland America seems expensive. Has anyone bought trip insurance from someone other than a Holland America? If so who? Thanks. Too old to go without but retired & watching my money.
  21. This is my second time on the Nieuw Amsterdam, the last time being in 2010, the year it was launched. The ship was in pristine condition and per usual, was constantly being cleaned by the fabulous crew. I always try to tell the cleaning crew how much I appreciate what they are doing. Having done this itinerary multiple times with my husband, who can no longer travel, I did not intend to leave the ship and I stuck with that scenario. I flew in the day before for two reasons: Southwest’s continuing negotiations with mechanics and the 737 MAX issue which was solved before I left. An hour flight from Tucson sure beats the all day flying to Florida. I stayed at the new Springfield Suites right across from the pier and was able to walk over in 5 minutes. Can’t beat that. I thought the hotel was brand new but was told by the staff that the hotel is 3 years old. I highly recommend it; nicely designed and appointed rooms and a very good complimentary hot breakfast. Some brief comments: Cabin: Neptune Suite next to the center elevators – no noise. Smaller size than on R and S class ships. Overheard a crew member say to another passenger that the larger the ship, the smaller the cabin size for both passengers and crew. Dining: Did not eat in the MDR instead I ate dinner twice in the Pinnacle Grill and 5 times in the Tamarind. The introduction of the new PG menu was on the first night of this cruise for the ship and the service was a tad disjointed. But by my second visit, things at settled down. The Tamarind was fabulous and I tried to have something different every night. The service by the women was excellent. Everything came in minimal time. This menu is going to change soon. The new menu may be already on the Konigsdam and Nieuw Statendam. All I was told was that there would not be lobster by itself but as part of a kind of surf and turf. Lido for breakfast and lunch was very good. A few times in Pinnacle Grill for breakfast also very good. As has been stated before, there is a $10.00 charge for an extra entrée in the MDR; also a $10.00 charge for an extra entrée in the Tamarind and a $15.00 charge for an extra entrée in the Pinnacle Grill. I did not see an extra charge on the Canaletto menu when viewed online. The print is very small on the menus describing the extra charge. Nightly entertainment: As previously reported by others the HAL singers and dancers and the orchestra/band were gone. The first night Bohemian Rhapsody was shown on the Main Stage. The second night the Piano Man, Brett Cave performed after the Captain’s Toast. Captain informed us there were 2260 of us on board plus a crew of about 850. Other entertainers were a Magician with a dog, a comedian, the Indonesian Cruise Show, and a dance group Step One: Humanity, a loud light show with dancing. The Lincoln Center Stage group consisted on 5 young string musicians from the Ukraine and they were excellent. There were many enrichment activities including the America’s Test Kitchen, the EXC Guide, a Naturalist, the Mexican Ambassadors, who gave talks about various aspects of Mexico as well as performances at the Seaview Pool of singers and dancers. A mariachi band performed the evening in Puerto Vallarta. I was prepared to totally dislike the EXC/Crow’s Nest Area. I think way too much space is allocated to those large exhibit tables with itinerary stuff (can’t remember what they are called), the book cubicles contain mainly reference books, and there can be issues with the sound system. I like the idea of the “classroom” on the port side where Naturalist and other talks were given. It is problematic when a talk is going on in the classroom, and another activity is going on in the main Crow’s Nest and only one microphone can be used, so the second speaker is shouting and then there is the background noise of the various coffees being made. My conclusion is there is advantages to this space but I don’t think it has been totally thought out on how best to use it. Being spring break (which seems to last two months in the U.S.), there were more variant ages than I have experienced on most other HAL cruises. There were infants to at least one man 85 years – perhaps others older. There were families with children, teenagers, grandparents, college kids, young adults and those of us in the aging generation. All seemed to enjoy themselves and it appeared HAL was selling a lot of “adult beverages” and the casino was busy whenever it was open. Embarkation and debarkation were very smooth. All in all, it was very enjoyable and I returned home rested. I would like to see at least one or two enrichment activities on port days as I observed many people did not leave the ship. And a better assortment of books in the Crow’s Nest would be nice. Barbara
  22. Looking to book on the Nieuw Statendam for January but not sure about going for the Aft Vista Suite, the SY at the way front of the ship, or an SS on the bump-out middle. I know these are three different "animals" with different prices. But looking for your opinions and experience(s) in any or all. Also, anyone been in the Cat. SY at the front of the ship? Trying to figure out the balcony, and if strangers can walk past the bow window, as I see on the deck plan there is outdoor space that appears to wrap around the entire bow on Deck 5. Thanks!
  23. Could anyone tell me what nights are the formal nights on the current Eastern Caribbean sailings. Thanks.
  24. We loved the Taco Bar on the Zuiderdam last month. Is it on the Oosterdam and/or the Nieuw Amsterdam?
  25. Looking at booking an aft Vista Suite on Nieuw Statendam for January. It is currently 1/2 the price of the Cat. SS! Any recommendations on which aft cabin? All on Deck 7 are available, and according to the deck plan, the middle cabin looks skinnier than the two at the side next to the Cat. SB wraparounds. Is the deck plan correct? Thanks for any info on these aft Vistas!!!
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