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Found 392 results

  1. Does anyone know from sailing on this ship if there is a happy hour in the Crow's Nest or any bar? If so what are the times and particulars. Thank you.
  2. Nieuw Statendam Review, Land of the Midnight Sun, Departure on 7/7/19 For a little bit of background, we are mid-40’s cruisers that have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Disney with almost 20 cruises under our belt. This was our first Holland America experience and we chose this cruise due to the itinerary to the Artic Circle. We left a few days early so we could have time to enjoy a little bit of Amsterdam before the cruise on Sunday. We arrived into Amsterdam early afternoon and took a cab to our hotel, the Kimpton Dewitt as we did not want to transport our luggage by public transportation. We stayed at this location due to free points, but I highly recommend it as it was a short walk to all of the major sites in the city. A colleague recommended that we take the hop on/hop off on tour. I do not recommend this as it was a big waste of time and the tour highlights were not that great. We did download the Rick Steves audio tour on my Iphone, and we did two of his free walking tours and learned a lot from this and highly recommend this way to tour the city. On the Saturday before the cruise, we took the Old Holland Tour that provides public transportation by bus for 20 euros pp and it took you to Zaanse Schans, Edam and Volendam. We had a great time and they also have a walking tour that we used walking around the windmills. On Sunday, we headed to the port around noon and were on the ship by 12:30. We were really excited to be on this trip and to experience all that we could see on Norway. We were even more ecstatic because a couple of weeks before we decided to upgrade to a Neptune Suite. We have never stayed in a suite, but we pulled the plug because the cabin was an aft corner with the 2 balconies, and we wanted to be able to see as much as we could of all of the scenery both in the fjords and the Artic. One benefit that we truly enjoyed as a result of the suite was Club Orange. We had amazing food and service in this venue at both breakfast and dinner. I have a gluten allergy and they truly catered to me and I was able to have souffle and many other dishes that I have never been able to have on other cruise lines. Ports: Eidfjord. We scheduled an independent excursion through Go Fjord to see the Vøringfossen waterfall. On the way to the waterfalls, we stopped a nature exhibit. This was truly a waste of time, but this was the cheapest and easiest way to see the waterfall. The excursion limited the time at the waterfall, so I highly recommend going to the furthest platform viewing first and working your way back as it had the best views of the falls. Bergen: We first got on the hop on/hop off bus and do not recommend. The city is not that big and pretty walkable. We then walked around and stopped at the Hanseatic Museum and Bryggen. I highly recommend the museum and they have regular tours for English speakers. We did not buy tickets in advance of the funicular because I was concerned about weather. However, the weather turned out beautiful so on our walk to the funicular I bought tickets on their app and was able to avoid the huge lines waiting to buy tickets. We then had a hearty traditional Norwegian lunch at Bryggeloftet & Stuene. We then headed to the Fish Market as my husband loves all kinds of dried and canned fish. I bought some sausage (later learned you can’t bring back to USA ☹). Alesund: We took the independent excursion through Norway Excursions, Alesund from Fjords to Trolls. Our tour guide Anita was amazing. I learned so much from her about the history of Norway and their culture. This was by far the best tour with amazing scenery on the Troll Road with its 11 hairpin turns. This Florida girl was glad she was not driving. The tour also allowed several stops and photo stops which was really nice. Trondheim: We found a walking tour from Frommers that we used to tour the city. This was also another very walkable city and Nidaros Cathedral was amazingly beautiful. We also walked over the Old Town Bridge with the historic wharves up to Kristiansten Fortress which provided a beautiful view of the city. Afterwards we headed to Baklandet Skydsstation for lunch which was nice little café with outside seating and very yummy food. We then finished our walking tour and headed back to the ship. The weather was again beautiful, and we had a great day in this city. North Cape/Honningsvag: We decided to rent a car. I was a little nervous about driving and renting especially when the rental company said make sure you shut your door at the cape because she had a rental last week lose the door to the wind when he left it open! However, we had no problems driving. We headed first to the North Cape and walked around and checked out all of the exhibits. Then we drove to Skarsvag and checked out the village. We wanted hike to the Arch, but I was worried about time, so we decided to skip that. Then we drove to Gjesvaer, a little fishing town. We had a great day driving around and this allowed for us to make photo stops when we wanted to. We also brought lunch for ourselves and had a little picnic at one of the pullouts overlooking the water. A gas station was right by the cruise terminal, so we had no problems filling up. Also, as a FYI, you fill the tank up first and then pay! Hellesylt: This port was a bit of a bummer because we did not cruise all the way to Geiranger. As a result, we booked the cruise excursion that provided the bus tour and then a cruise down the Geraingerfjord. There was little opportunity for independent excursions in Hellesylt and the excursion we went on was just okay. We drove by a bunch of beautiful things but did not really stop and a tour guide was decent but not amazing. Flam: Because we were in port from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., we did the Norway in a Nutshell tour on our own. This allowed us to take the Flam train up to Myrdal, then a train to Voss, then a bus to Gudvangen and then the boat down the Nærøyfjord. We would highly recommend it. We met another couple from the boat also doing this tour and was able to eat lunch with them in Voss at Tre Broer Cafe and Bar. It was really a great day. Haugesund: We decided to rent a car because there were several little things that we wanted to do and decided it was easier and cheaper to do on our own. We rented from Sixt and the representative was waiting outside for us when we arrived making it very efficient for us to get on the road. We made the following stops: Haraldshaugen (Norwegian National Monument), Steinsfjellet (panoramic viewpoint of city), Avaldsnes: Nordvegen History Centre and Viking Settlement, Skudeneshavn (fishing village) and Åkrasanden (beaches). Unfortunately, at the Viking Settlement, most of it was closed due restoration; however, the history center was really interesting. Thoughts on Holland America/Nieuw Statendam The good: The ship is new and beautiful. The food and service was amazing at Club Orange, Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind. My husband enjoyed the sushi at the buffet. We loved all of the musical acts at Lincoln Center, B.B. Kings and Rolling Stone and the themed artwork that went along with it. We enjoyed the BillBoard Bar and Ocean Bar and had really good service and drinks at those locations. We also loved the Dutch Café with its coffees and snacks. We also loved all of the free movies you could get in the room. We also attended the America’s Test Kitchen demonstrations but wished it was more interactive. We also appreciated the covered pool area especially on chilly days at sea. The so so: On sea days, the public spaces were extremely full, and it was sometimes hard to find a place to lay down and sleep or read a book especially around the pool. The EXC talks were just okay. We felt that she found the information off google and turned it into a speech. I would have preferred someone from Norway that could provide more history and culture about the areas we visited. The bad: We felt that there was a huge lack of activities on sea days or at night other than the musical acts. The ship also repeated some of the same entertainers for the nightly shows at the main stage. We also had difficulty communicating with some of the staff due to language barriers; this was not a big deal but sometimes it was hard to convey what you needed as far as drinks or food in the buffet. The drinks at the remaining bar locations other than the ones mentioned above were terrible and the service was not great. My gluten free options due to my allergy were also limited and even though I was told they have gluten free pizza crusts at New York Pizza, they said they ran out after only 2 days on the ship. We also had problems due to the lack of receipts given because we were charged for items when we had the beverage package and we wanted to have the option to provide additional gratuities for the servers in Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind. Overall Thoughts: We went on the ship for the itinerary and had an amazing time because of it. We thought the food was top notch and we loved our aft Neptune Suite. However, I don’t believe that we are the normal demographic for Holland America, and I think we would be truly bored if this had been a Caribbean sailing due to the lack of activities and interactive cruise activities that we love on other cruise lines.
  3. Who can remember or knows what penny slot machines are on Nieuw Statendam ...the more the merrier thank you
  4. Booked for a Nov 2020 10 day Nieuw Statendam cruise and after reviewing HAL's site, it sounds like the typical crew-performed main theater shows we're accustomed to on the Vista-class boats aren't what's going to be on-board the NS. Several things NOT mentioned on HAL's site are comedy, magic, and the Indonesian culture-themed crew shows. Site seems to emphasize only classical music and ballroom dancing type shows? Has anyone sailed her recently that could shed any light on this? I'm fine with classical music and ballroom dancing, but the DW is NOT going to be thrilled with that type of show. Need to find out, if possible, so I can plan other ways to entertain her. Thanks for any input you can offer.
  5. Hi all, We are currently booked on the Nieuw Statendam March 15, 2020 cruise. This will be our first time sailing with Holland America. I had been checking the Holland America website to see if there were any pricing changes. As of the beginning of last week, there were still a lot of cabins available, however, at the end of the week, there were no cabins available. The sailing has now been removed from their website. I called Holland America and was advised that it is not sold out, however, they are in process of modifying something. They weren’t able to say what but said it may be the itinerary or the pricing. This was a week ago. My reservation is still showing on line. I was wondering if anyone has had the same experience in the past. I am concerned that they may end up canceling it to charter it or do repairs etc as I have seen that happen with other cruise lines. Thank you very much.
  6. Hi all! I recently sailed the Nieuw Statendam for 21 nights from June 30th to July 21st on the Voyage of the Midnight Sun in Norway. I figured since I was on HAL's newest ship for a significant amount of time, I'd write up a review. Overall, it was a great experience, and I wouldn't hesitate to sail this ship again! Embarkation: Seriously the easiest embarkation I've ever had! From the time our cab dropped us off to the port until we were in our stateroom was under a half an hour. They've got it down pat at the Amsterdam Cruise Terminal! Food: Being on the ship for 21 days, we went to each specialty restaurant twice, with the exception of Pinnacle Grill, which we only went to once. Rudi's Sel de Mer was by far the best of the specialty restaurants. We all had the grilled seafood platter the first time, and then the second time, my mom and I had the seafood platter again, while my father had the bouillabaisse. Everything was cooked to perfection and flavored well. Canneletto was also very good. The first night we went, my father and I both had the daily special: Osso Bucco, while my mom had the Lasagne. All were excellent. When we went back, we did more of a family style where we got the Lasagne, Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli, and the Veal Saltimbocca. The veal and the lasagne were great, but the shrimp and lobster ravioli had a flavor that none of us cared for. There was nothing wrong with them, just not our personal preference. Tamarind - We went here for both a meal off of their regular menu and for the Indonesian Rjistafel. The food from their regular menu was very good. We had the eggplant massaman curry, the lamb chops, and the shrimp and lobster stir fry. The Rjistafel was where our opinions differed. I loved it, my father thought it was just ok, and my mom hated it. The spices and flavorings in Indonesian food are quite different than other Asian styles, so I think it's one of those things either you like it or you don't. Pinnacle was our least favorite, hence we only went once. We usually love Pinnacle, but the food there was just off on this trip. I had the crab legs, which were ok. My mom had the scallops, which were undercooked for her taste, and my dad had the lamb chops, which were huge, but he said were just ho-hum and he had had better. Main Dining Room: Fantastic to Good. I never had a bad meal. Some were better than others. The Weiner Schnitzel and Orange Duck were clear winners for me. I also had some great fish meals. Something to add since this was a back to back for us - the first cruise's Gala Night Surf and Turf included lobster. On the second cruise, lobster was not offered, and it was prawns with the filet. Grand Dutch Cafe: Nice selection of Dutch sandwiches and quick bites for free. They also have a great selection of Dutch beers and liquors for a fee. You can also get specialty coffees here. I especially enjoyed the Croquettes and the La Trappe Dubbel Beer. Dive In Burgers and Dogs - Another great venue on the ship for a quick service meal, by the Lido Pool. Burgers and Dogs were fantastic. New York Pizza and Deli - We only ate here once, and weren't impressed with the pizza. We've had this on the Rotterdam, and it was much better on that ship. The pizza lacked flavor. Lido Market: I love HAL's "buffet." They always have great, fresh selections. I love that you don't serve yourself, and that there are many stations to create your own pastas, Asian foods, and salads. ***Hidden Food Station*** At Billboard On Board, they have a selection of hot and cold snacks available from around 9pm until around 11pm. Great for post drink munchies! More to come!
  7. 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.
  8. So as I began contemplating a last minute Alaskan cruise this year, the limited selection (especially for cabins) at the last minute had me looking at cruises for next Summer. I was planning to take the Nieuw Amsterdam (as we did last year), BUT it is being replaced by the Koningsdam. Last year we had a Signature Suite on the Nieuw Amsterdam and, of course, I started by looking at those. As some other threads here on CC have pointed out there are VERY few Signature Suites on the Koningsdam, which was surprising to me. However, as I began to compare the online videos of the various Koningsdam suites I was surprised at the new layout for the Signature Suites. Indeed, I'm not a fan. More investigation shows that the even pricier Neptune suites on the Kdam are much closer equivalent to the Signature Suites in everything from layout to size to deck positioning and number of suites. Even then, you lose the extra little "make-up" desk on the Kdam (although Kdam's Neptune cabin is wider). One of the biggest disappointments of the Kdam's Signature suites, however, involves the size of the balcony - they are much more shallow than the equivalent NA/Eurodam SS balconies. The Neptune balconies on the Kdam are essentially the same depth as the SS on NA/Euro. At the end of the day, to get the same Nieuw Amsterdam "Signature Suite" experience on the Kdam, I feel like I would really have to "pay up" for the Neptune suite...bummer. Given how few signature suites there are, I'm not sure why HAL bothered with them on the Kdam. Definitely a bummer and a clear "revenue generation" move by HAL (not surprising of course - Corporate America FTW!). Has anyone else noticed this?
  9. We are traveling with carry-on luggage only. My suitcase is very lightweight nylon, with no structure to it. It is a carry over shoulder and convert to backback style (about 22 pounds). My question is: Can I carry it on? The bag would be squished if piled with other luggage on top of it. I have had my flatiron for my hair damaged before.
  10. Hello Everyone, sailing away today! Will try and post menus and other information. I plan to get internet for sea days and use my International calling plan in port. We boarded about 12 and were on quickly. Had a problem with my sisters drink package and was happy to stand in the Club Orange line (just one person ahead of me). Photo is drink events and cost.
  11. Thinking about a Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam this Spring. Family of 3, including a 14 year old. We would prefer mid-ship, lower and a nice balcony. I've read about the possible view of the tops of the lifeboats, I don't think we'd care about that, but we would want a good balcony and a quiet cabin. Suggestions? Thanks.
  12. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Eclipse at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. The lovely weather we have seen recently is going to slowly go back to the usual Juneau weather. Monday is supposed to be sunny with a high of 75F/24C and a low of 52F/11C. Sunrise is at 5:13 am and sunset at 8:51 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  13. Good morning, all! We are sailing on the Nieuw Statendam at the end of this month. We've cruised on a number of the HAL larger ships, but never on the largest Pinnacle class. We were just notified that there is an embarkation schedule that starts at the top deck and works down (Neptunes and 4&5* at any time, of course). Since we're on the Beethoven Deck (4) they want us to arrive at 3:30 for a 5:00 sailing. That seems really, really late to me. We usually like to board between noon and 1pm. Has anyone gone through this embarkation procedure, and if so, what was your experience? Thanks in advance -- I appreciate your thoughts.
  14. Quick question......I called Holland direct and received two different answers. We booked the Nieuw Statendam room 7107 balcony room. I know the balcony is larger. I can see from the deck plan it's true. Well another agent said the room was also a bit larger than a regular balcony room. Was wonder if anyone can confirm. The 1st agent said the room was NOT larger. Not sure who to believe. Thanks!
  15. Cannot find much information on Tamarind on the Nieuw Statendam. When the ship came out, Tamarind was supposed to have an outdoor eating area overlooking the Sea View pool area. Has anyone actually experienced this and how enjoyable (or not) was it?
  16. New to this both HAL, and cruising in general) and am unable to locate answers to a few questions on the HAL website. Hoping people here can help me out... We are booking a September Inside Passage cruise, roundtrip Vancouver. Does anyone know what time the HAL counter, for check-in, actually opens up (as opposed to the time it might state on the travel documents)? Have people had success with turning up much earlier and being able to get through before the crowds show up? We need to make arrangements far in advance for when to arrive at the port, so it'd be very helpful to know what the earliest time people have found they can check-in might be. The other question we have is whether or not we will be allowed to bring bottled water and cans of ginger ale with us, as either carry-on or checked baggage? Thanks!
  17. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam will be 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. Lovely weather with highs in the 70s is predicted for the whole week. Monday will have partly cloudy skies with a high of 73F/23C and a low of 55F/13C. Sunrise is at 4:57 am and sunset at 9:07 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  18. I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most recently from 2 June to 23 June the Norwegian fjords on the Nieuw Statendam. My purpose in this review is not to deal with every aspect of the cruise on NS, as most topics are well covered in the many reviews published since its launch. It suffices to say she is a beautiful ship, well designed in all respects (other than the closed in effect of the Promenade Deck), and is tastefully finished in its furnishing and art works. She is operated like a well- oiled machine. Her Officers and crew do an amazing job. Rather my purpose is to give my opinion on a few issues, with which some may disagree, but in relation to which, if there are enough others who agree, may give HAL cause to make some changes which I think could alter the experience of future passengers on the NS very much for the better. For me the problem with the NS does not lie in any way with the ship or its crew. The problem is with the passengers. Those we came in contact with were very nice people – it is just there were too many of them. In the first 7 day leg of the cruise they had not learned how to spread more evenly between the many venues. Everywhere seemed crowded. During the second 14 day leg passengers were definitely better distributed but it was still not easy to find a table in the Lido during peak periods (we were in a party of 4 which probably made it a little more difficult) and there were still queues waiting to be allocated tables in the Main Dining Room. We also found during both parts of the cruise that it was difficult to find a quiet place to play cards or just to relax and enjoy the quiet of ocean travel. The effect for me, compared to previous cruises on the Eurodam, Noordam and Volendam, was a sense that the somewhat illusory feeling of a degree of some exclusivity which HAL managed to create on those ships, had been lost. There are a few things which could be done to address some of these issues. Our observation was that the covered front pool area was much underutilized except during meal hours. The reason for this was noise. Documentaries were often shown on the large screen during various times of the day. Very few people seemed interested in them but everyone had to deal with the blaring sound which made conversation difficult. Other than meal times this large seating area was virtually deserted. At night when movies were shown there was often no more than 4 or 5 people watching. On previous cruises we would often sit in this area and just enjoy the world going by. I would suggest that the large screen and sound system not be used at all during the day. This will take pressure off other areas. Thought might be given to whether there is any benefit in showing films at night on cruises to colder areas or whether some better use could be made of the area. During the day we also experienced that talks were given in public lounge areas. On one occasion a talk was being given using a public address system which was so loud you could not hear yourself think in the adjoining lounge area. We and others got up and vacated the lounge. This could be easily avoided by ensuring any talks are conducted in isolated areas or closed rooms. Although we had an overall very enjoyable cruise I personally will be unlikely to cruise again on the NS or the Koningsdam because of the sense of loss of exclusivity to which I have referred. I query whether cruise lines have made the right decisions in the move to bigger and bigger ships. It is now well known that Amsterdam has concerns about the flood of tourists associated with cruise ships and that Venice is concerned about the effect of cruise ships. Bergen now intends to place limits on the number of tourists which may visit that city. I love cruising and will remain loyal to HAL for as long as possible because I think it is a very well- run company, which trains its staff to serve its clients well and which in my experience has always been responsive to any concerns raised. But for now my future cruising will be restricted to HAL’s smaller ships.
  19. NIEUW STATENDAM – February 24, 2019. 7-Day Western Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale I’ll start off by confessing I’m not a fan of Holland America, well at least not of their older and smaller ships. I know that is quite contradictory to the legions of diehard HAL fans that love their smaller and more traditional ships. I’m just the opposite. My last cruise on HAL was almost ten years ago on NIEUW AMSTERDAM when she was brand new. It was an ok cruise, but we found nothing truly exceptional and other lines were better suited for us. In fact for this cruise we were originally booked on CELEBRITY EDGE but had to cancel due to some family obligations. As it turns out we had the week free after all, but EDGE was way overpriced so we settled on a last minute booking on NIEUW STATENDAM. I’m really glad it worked out that way as we had a fantastic time on NS and it was refreshing to revisit HAL after so many years. This cruise was also a great value and I feel we received a truly wonderful experience on a brand new ship at a relatively bargain price. I still want to sail on EDGE and it will happen, but not just yet. Rather than write a formal review I’m going to touch on aspects of the HAL experience I really enjoyed, and those that perhaps fell a little short. Overall I loved NIEUW STATENDAM and would sail on her again in a heartbeat. I’m a big fan of Cunard and their new ship will be built off the same platform as NS (with modifications of course), and I feel I got a little preview of what to expect at least with the hardware. I’m generally a fan of technology and I embrace it, but frankly I wasn’t expecting much with regards to HAL. I was wrong. HAL has really stepped up its game regarding technology and I was impressed. Some examples are a great new app that was easy to use and worked like charm, interactive TV (with free movies), call button on various tables (inside and out) to order drinks. Yes it works! Fantastic always connected internet for $99. Freestyle Coke machine. Beer dispensers that are key card activated, and most surprisingly waiters in the dining room using hand held devices. We had as-you-wish dining and upon entry to the dining room they ask for your cabin number and assign you a table. I was surprised that our waiters would call us by name since we had never seen them before. One showed me that our names and pictures appeared on his hand held device when we were assigned a table in his section. Very impressive! Another aspect of the experience where I feel HAL has stepped up its game is cuisine. We purchased a dining package that included 5 different speciality restaurants. We enjoyed them all. My partner loved Nami Sushi the best, and my favorite was Rudi’s Sel de Mer. All were excellent though, and although we only dined in the main dining room twice, it was also very good. Special mention must be made of the burgers at Dive-In up by the midship pool. These are the best burgers I’ve had at sea (sorry to Guy’s on Carnival), made to order and very fresh. You receive a pager which notifies you when your order is ready, and it’s well worth the wait. Best of all there is no surcharge for these gourmet style burgers. There would be on many other cruise lines. The Lido Market had a great variety of options and was well laid out, and we never had a problem finding a table. We had lunch there almost every day. One afternoon we tried the pizza at New York Deli and quite enjoyed it. Princess Cruises likes to brag that it has the best pizza at sea, but I think this eclipsed that. One afternoon I enjoyed crepes at the Grand Dutch Cafe and that was a nice treat. Overall I enjoyed having so many dining options and truly noticed an upgrade in quality, variety, presentation, and taste from past HAL cruises. In fact a big improvement. Service was also elevated, and everyone from bar waiters to our cabin steward could not have been more professional and friendly. Entertainment, music, and nightlife are aspects that never impressed on past HAL cruises. In fact I remember the ship being a dead zone at 10pm. This is probably why I have avoided HAL more than any other reason. While I’m no spring chicken, I’m not over the hill just yet either. I still enjoy an evening out socializing and listening to music, dancing, or watching a show. It’s no secret that HAL has a reputation of catering to a more senior crowd, putting that as politely as possible, and the lack of the ship feeling alive really disappointed me on past HAL cruises. Not the case on this one! While the crowd was generally still senior, it was more mixed and diverse. Add to that a new emphasis on music with Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard, BB King’s Blues Club, and the Rolling Stone Rock Room and now you have a ship that is alive and filled with music! I enjoyed them all but the dueling piano players in Billboard Onboard were my favorite. They were excellent and had different themes each night like 80’s, Hot 100, or all request. Another pleasant surprise was the production shows. The showroom is now in-the-round, and very high-tech with a giant video wall all around the back and sides. Gone are the traditional cast of 4 singers and 8 dancers with mediocre talent. In their place are a cast of truly professional dancers. No singers. The show that really impressed me was called Humanity. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen on a ship before and was quite refreshing. The production made excellent use of the video wall incorporating it into the show, but not having it take center stage or become the main attraction. The dancers were truly the stars. The second show was called Stages. It was also good but lacked the originality of the first show. There were also comedians and probably a magician but they are not my thing. The Cruise Director is not someone I usually pay attention to and they don’t have much impact on my enjoyment, but I thought the CD on NS was exceptional. Maybe because he was so easy on the eyes, but also because he was very low-key. Instead of the in your face used car salesman type from Vegas, he was from South Africa and very restrained. A class act. NIEUW STATENDAM is a Pinnacle-Class ship, the second in the fleet following KONINGSDAM. These ships share many attributes with the older Vista and Signature Class ships and offer a similar layout. What impressed me with NS was how much more open it felt. The ship was bright, spacious, and open with many two level spaces. I felt the older Vistas and Signature Class felt much more dark and closed in. The theme of NS is “music” and most of the art work is music related. I loved it. Many art pieces are really clever and deserve a second or third look. I enjoyed just walking around looking at all the art. With the more modern art, as well as brighter and more vibrant carpet and fabric choices, the ship feels so much more alive, contemporary, and relevant than her older fleet-mates. Sometimes I wondered if I was on an HAL ship, and for me that was a good thing! Being so new the ship really had that new car smell which I loved. One tradition that was retained is fresh flowers, and they are everywhere. Some of the arrangements are quite large and spectacular. I’m glad HAL has retained this tradition and I know it comes at a substantial cost. One tradition that didn’t make the cut is a large, unobstructed promenade deck. Like many new ships, the lifeboats now sit directly on the deck instead of above it, with just a narrow and obstructed walkway behind the boats. At least on NS it’s a full wrap-around deck even if there are no views on most of it. With two pools (one with magradome) and lots of deck space, this sun worshiper never had an issue finding a deck chair. I love an aft deck with pool and NS did not disappoint in this regard. I also enjoyed a spa pass for the week, and again the spa on NS is a big improvement over the Vista/Signature Class ships. The spa pool is round and larger in size, plus it’s connected to the thermal suite which is a far superior layout. There is also a very nice ocean facing free sauna located in a men’s changing area, and I’m glad HAL still offers this complimentary option to all passengers. Forward is the gym which is well equipped and with great views. I was quite pleased overall with the ship itself, from décor to layout and amenities. Our balcony cabin (6199) was especially comfortable and well laid out, with a modern bathroom (no dreaded shower curtain), interactive TV, USB ports bedside, and lots of other thoughtful touches. There was plenty of storage space, even two drawers under the bed. I liked that the TV was built into a wall unit instead of just hanging on the wall and sticking out. The bed was ultra-comfortable and being so new, everything worked great and was fresh and new. I’m a strong believer in attention to detail, and perhaps this is what impressed me most with HAL. So much attention to detail and some very nice premium touches at a great value. Some examples are free on demand movies; chocolates each evening at turndown; free room service; hot room service breakfast items; daily fresh fruit delivered to the cabin; the best shower head and water pressure I’ve experienced at sea; unlimited pool towels; logo china/silverware in the dining room; make up mirror in the cabin; HAL logo blanket for use in the cabin/balcony; fresh flowers everywhere; extra thick and soft cotton bath towels; linen towels in the public restrooms; souvenir log of the cruise; ship tile for Mariner Club members; Mariner Club luncheon. These small touches really make a difference, and they are even more impressive at the price point HAL charges. So what fell short? Not too much actually and nothing I would consider major. Funny enough I missed a morning TV program by the Cruise Director. Most cruise lines have this and for some reason watching it has become a tradition for me. Along those lines I wasn’t a fan of the “When & Where” daily program. I get that HAL is probably trying the streamline and modernize the daily program, but I didn’t like the layout or how condensed it is, especially the dining times. It just doesn’t flow well IMO. There is no signing of checks on NS. This is good and bad. Good because there is less paper use, but bad if you like to keep track of receipts. Using the app solved this problem for me, and I could see our charges instantly. Club Orange. What a failure. It’s the one specialty restaurant we didn’t try. It has absolutely no atmosphere and is the least attractive space on the ship. Honestly it looks like a cheap cafeteria and to think it’s meant for suite passengers. You can tell it was originally designed as a demonstration kitchen and perhaps it should have been left as that. It was empty every time we passed by. Although there was a ton of music along the three venues of the Music Walk, what was missing was light cocktail music. A solo pianist or a solo guitar player. Two perfect spots for this would have been the Ocean Bar (which even had a small dance floor) and the Crow’s Nest (Explorations Cafe). Both these lovely venues were void of any music at night, so they were pretty much empty. That is a shame as it would have been nice to sip cocktails in both venues with some nice cocktail music playing. Lastly I’ll mention the HAL Mariner’s Club. I think it’s probably the worst past passenger club in the industry. I sail on most all cruise lines and I’m at the top level of several, and the benefits can be quite impressive, but not the case with HAL. I’m only a two star Mariner (I’ll be 3 stars after the next HAL cruise), and the benefits are fairly non-existent. The Mariner Lunch is nice but it costs HAL nothing. I prefer more tangible benefits like free internet, free speciality dining with a complimentary bottle of wine, free cocktails each evening, free mini-bar set up, etc. I’m not one to sail on a line just because of past passenger benefits, but in the case of HAL there is absolutely no incentive to move up to higher levels. I know not everyone will agree but that is my opinion. Lastly you might wonder where we sailed to? Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, and Half Moon Cay. I’ve been to the Caribbean so many times that ports were insignificant. It was all about the ship. One exception is Half Moon Cay. It’s a delight and very well executed. Probably my favorite of all the private out islands next to Disney’s Castaway Cay. Bringing this all to life are 575 photos covering all venues of the ship, and one video of a horn exchange between NS and KONINGSDAM as we departed Half Moon Cay. I’ve also included some menus and all the daily programs plus some general ship information. I hope you enjoy! https://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/albums/72157706810856841
  20. Anyone know who the Pinnacle Grill Manager is on the Nieuw Statendam? Did they transfer the manager from the Koningsdam?
  21. Hi. Can anyone tell me if the afts on deck 5 and 6 are covered or partially covered? Any reason to choose one deck over the other? Many thanks. Fran :)
  22. Hi all! First time posting here on CC. My wife and I are sailing on the Nieuw Statendam this coming December with another couple and wondering if the family cabana in the Retreat is large enough for 4 adults and what the interior configuration is like. Are there 4 lounges inside? Thanks in advance for any info on this.
  23. Just looking for opinions from you all (southern a little) on whether or not you feel crowded on these ships. My DH and I have been on the Zaandam twice and the Nieuw Amsterdam once but that was only for 3 nights. Thanks
  24. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam will be at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215, Regatta will be tendering from 1300-2100, and Solstice will be at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. The weather continues to be rainy but there is some sun predicted during the week. There is a 60% chance of rain throughout the day with a high of only 58F/14C and a low of 47F/8C. Sunrise is at 4:42 am and sunset at 9:25 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  25. Can anyone please offer an opinion on whether port or starboard veranda would be better on this voyage? It starts in Amsterdam and heads southern around the coast of span, and then heads through the Mediterranean ending in Rome.
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