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  1. This picture was in my email today from Pinterest of former Nieuw Amsterdam in Alang. So sad to see her like this- I have many great memories on that ship. Anyone that posts about vibration on the current Nieuw Amsterdam should have sailed on her predecessor. She gave a new meaning to vibrating- in some places a drink would vibrate off of the table. One of the former CD's called her the "Magic Fingers ship" after the units motels used to have next to the beds. She was a beautiful ship with all of her flaws and lived through many challenges. She will be missed.
  2. Eurodam will be at the AS dock from 1300-2300 and Nieuw Amsterdam at the CT dock from 1300-2200. Also in port are Ruby Princess at the FKL dock from 1100-2215 and Solstice at the AJ dock from 1330-2200. The nice weather continues with only a 20% chance of rain and a high of 66F/19C and a low of 49F/9C. Sunrise is at 3:52 am and sunset at 10:09 pm. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.juneauharborwebcam.com/. Next up: Oosterdam on Tuesday.
  3. We have a spring break cruise in 2020 book for the Nieuw Statendam booked, and as excited as I am, curious to hear about how many kids and any reports from Club HAL - so far, not a lot of family reviews. We originally had a Disney 4 day booked, but at almost 2k less and 3 more days, this was a easy choice, buuut, I'd feel better knowing that our 8 and 13 year old are going to have fun too:)
  4. We just returned from a great week on board the Nieuw Statendam. The cruise was excellent and I think Holland America has a great new ship with a great on board product. The ship She is elegant and beautiful. The artwork around the ship is really something special. I loved the look of the lounges and the public areas. The design is elegant yet very comfortable. I think it really is the perfect amount of glitz and comfort. The food Pinnacle Grill - Excellent. My 16oz dry aged Delmonico was exceptional. Food and service were both very good. Rudi's - A must do! The Dover Sole was spectacular. The quality of the fish was probably some of the best we have ever had on land or sea. Canaletto- I was a bit hesitant at first, but it ended up being one of our favorite dinners! Once again, food and service were top notch. I could have easily eaten here 2 or 3 times. Tamarind- I think I enjoyed the old menu a bit more, but it was still a very nice dining experience. We found the raw sushi to have an odd consistency so I would stick with the cooked selections. The lobster tempura roll was literally enough food for an entire meal! Dining room- Only ate there for one dinner, and it was good. But, with only being there for one dinner I don't think I can properly rate it. Buffet- The food quality was very good. I prefer to serve myself, but Holland America has done away with most of that so I learned to adapt. Went to the buffet for dinner one night and I was very impressed with the offerings. Entertainment Lounge performances - These were excellent. Rolling Stone Rock Room, BB Kings, Lincoln Center, and Billboard were all very good. It is obviously that Holland America is now focusing on bringing in top level talent and it showed. The venues were packed every night of the cruise. If you are expecting a cruise where everyone is in bed by 10pm, you will certianly be mistaken on this ship. On some nights, the lounges were still packed even for the 11pm performances! Showroom entertainment- Let me start by saying that there are still 2 production shows. Now, the type of show has certainly changed. Gone are the typical singer/dancer cruise ship show. What has replaced it is a troupe of top quality, professional dancers, who put on an amazing 45 minute show in a beautiful theater. The first show was spectacular. The dancers integrated the technology seamlessly and it really was a special and unique performance. The second show was a bit less impressive because the large screens in the World Stage only served as a backdrop. I would like to see those screens used a bit more in the second show. As far as the other main showroom acts, they were just your typical comedian/magician type shows. They weren't terrible and they weren't great either. I think HAL could step up some of that talent just a bit. However, the lounge performances really did make up for any shortcomings in the main theater. Cabin We were assigned a standard ocean view cabin (1098) on deck 1. The cabin itself was very nice with plenty of storage. The shower was quite big which I appreciated. However, when we came back to the cabin on the first night around 11:15pm, it sounded as if we were sleeping under a night club. After a quick glance at the deck plans, we in fact were. BB King's was directly above us. Each night, the music didn't end until 1am or later (BB Kings turns into the main dance club after the performances). I had several calls to guest services and they did their bets to get the DJ to lower the bass. On the second to last night, they offered us another cabin to move to but by then we did not feel like re-packing with less than 2 days left. Our family was staying on deck 4 above BB Kings and had the same problem. Clearly, there is a bit of a design problem on this ship. I would recommend staying clear of deck 2 or deck 4 midship. Retreat Cabana This is probably the best $399 we can ever spend. We spent all of our days up there and it was peaceful and relaxing. The service by the cabana attendants is great and the addition of the hot tub to the area really makes it the perfect place to spend the day. I hope this area continues to be expanded on the future ships. Casino It is a bit small for the size of the ship and also the smoking really did get annoying. Unfortunately, the smoking side of the casino had all of the machines I was interested in. There were 2 nights when the casino was non-smoking and it was a big relief. I really hope HAL eliminates smoking in the casino all together. Or, perhaps they can make an enclosed space for smoking with some slot machines. Drink Package We had the signature beverage package and it was a bit of a mess. For some reason, HAL has not really 100% embraced the beverage packages. For example, on the first day we were informed that the limit for wines is now $11 (instead of $9). However, the glass of wine we ordered (below $11) ended up on our bill. Of course, guest services had no record of the increase in allowance and they were talking to me as if I were making it up. I insisted she call the beverage manager, which she did, and was then informed of the change. She was not happy with the beverage manager saying "You should have told us." Anyway, this happened a few more times throughout the cruise, so it was annoying to have to go to guest services each time. The next example is for the first 2 days of the cruise we were ordering Grey Goose martinis with no issues. On the 3rd day, a bar tender informed us these were not included in the package. He said "I will have to charge you for 2 drinks." So, a shot of Grey Goose is included, but the martini isn't. How confusing is that? Tittos was no problem though, so we just started ordering Tittos martinis. Lastly, one day I asked for just a little extra soda water because I like to add it to my drink (it was strong). The bar tender said, "I'm sorry but I can't give you 2 drinks at once." After spending $700 on the beverage package, these things seem SO PETTY! We were also told non-alcoholic drinks count towards the 15 drinks which makes no sense to me considering you can get unlimited soft drinks with the soda package. HAL, please get your act together. Either offer a beverage package or don't. I didn't like having to feel like a criminal every time I ordered a drink. Club Orange I was interested in Club Orange but decided not to go through with purchasing it. I am glad I did not. We walked by every night and it was virtually empty. By 9:00pm, the restaurant was empty and they were already setting up for breakfast. It was really depressing looking. My recommendation to HAL is to change the furniture and decor and make it look special and upscale. Then, use the kitchen and create a specialized menu for Club Orange desks that is cooked on site. Perhaps even let diners get involved in some of their own food preparation (maybe offer some classes to Club Orange guests during sea days). I think there are many ways you can make this a unique and worthwhile concept. However, what they have now seems to be a big dud. Aside from these few complaints, the cruise was really great. This was a very relaxing week and I would not hesitate to sail on the Nieuw Statendam again. If you have any questions, let me know!
  5. Anybody out there on this cruise that can offer a report?
  6. Hi All, This forum has been very informative and I wanted to share my experience with you all on my recent cruise. Background: This was our first cruise so it was a learning experience figuring everything out. We booked our trip through Costco Travel. Getting There: We had a 6 am flight from SFO to Vancouver. We took a taxi from the airport to 999 Canada Place. It was $35 flat rate for 4 people. The taxis up to 4 people in addition to the driver and have a pretty large trunk that can fit 3-4 large suitcases. Definitely recommend this for larger groups since the cost relatively to public transit will be roughly the same. We got to the cruise terminal at around 10. Checking in and customs took a while. On our departure date there was one other cruise ship at the terminal. We were able to board around 11:30 at which time lunch was being served. Where were went: June 8th 2019 - Vancouver June 9th 2019 - Inside Passage June 10th 2019 - Juneau June 11th 2019 - Skagway June 12th 2019 - Glacier Bay June 13th 2019 - Ketchikan June 14th 2019 - Inside Passage June 15th 2019 - Disembark Rooms: Our group was 4 people in two rooms. 1) Balcony (parents/boomers) - This was mid ship on 5th floor. The view out of the balcony was beautiful and unobstructed. We notice this room was had much less motion than the other room we had. If you think you may get seasick definitely get a room lower down mid ship. 2) Oceanview (Sister and I/millennial) - This was on the 10th floor at the very front of the boat. This room was all the way up front and had a great view of exactly where the ship was heading. This room was much bigger than the other stateroom. But motion was definitely more noticeable even when the seas appear relatively calm. Excursions: We took two excisions on are cruise which were: 1) The Grand Tour of Juneau bus tour. This took us to Glacier Gardens park, a Salmon hatchery, and Mendenhall Glacier. We had a great guide (Bryan Wilson) who was both entertaining and very informative. The Salmon hatchery was slightly disappointing because the only salmon we saw were little hatchlings in holding tanks from a distance. 2) White Pass Summit Railroad in Skagway. This was by far my favorite thing whole trip. Very scenic and great photo ops. This was 2.75hrs round trip. Our guide Tyler was very informative and pointed out all the highlights so we could have our cameras ready. Entertainment: 1) Live music: The options were very good. They cover many genres. The Billboard Onboard in particular had good audience engagement. 2) In suite entertainment: -TV: There were only a few channels but had most based covered (Fox, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, ESPN) Got lots of coverage on NBA finals even though my local team the Warriors lost.... -Movies: The movie selection was very good. It had a lot of the newer Marvel movies including Captain Marvel, which was just very recently released on digital release/Blu-ray. Food: - Lido: We ate all our breakfast, lunch, and some dinners here. Breakfast being my least favorite since selection was limited and pretty much the same every day. Best described as a continental breakfast I found a lot of the items particularly the meats to be excessively oily. The lunch and dinner menu were also roughly the same through the entire trip with minor variations throughout. Overall food quality and selection was good but not great. - Main Dining: Had 3 dinners here including a gala night that had the surf and turf. For the most part the menu is not that different from the Lido Market. Service was good and friendly but a bit slow. I felt they were slightly pushy about upselling bottle water, alcohol, and other drinks. - NY Pizza: You could select a pizza (various ones named after NY boroughs) or build your own. You could also get them box so you could bring it back to your room or wherever else to eat. Pretty quality was okay. Pizzas are only one size (roughly a small) - Dive In: Good burgers here. I particularly liked the hotdogs. Hours were a bit limited I think 11:30 - 5:30 most days. The fries and dipping sauce were also very good. Fitness: - The fitness room is a good sized. It has free weights, weight machines, and cardio machines. The free weight section is limited to dumbbells and I think they maxed out at 70lbs. Machine selection is good you can get a good upper body and lower body workout. I normally went in the evening around 8pm (it closes at 9pm) so it was never packed. I assume its busier during the day but on random times I stopped by it was never crowded. Overall I'm very pleased with the cruise and look forward to doing it again some day. If you were on my cruise hit your boy and exchange pictures/stories! Also feel free to ask if you have any questions I can help answer about your cruise.
  7. Here are my impressions of our fabulous time onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam this past week. I will try to add photos as my slow internet allows. We , DH and myself, booked this cruise last year after doing this same exact ship/cruise last May. And the second time around did not disappoint. We live in WA close to the border so AK cruises are easier for us and we normally book late May or June due to work schedules. We have done most of our AK cruises on NCL, Celebrity, and most recently HAL. We have found HAL is a good fit for us - itinerary, price, staff, and food and entertainment. Last year I booked last minute and lucked into an aft cabin and for this cruise booked far out so we could enjoy an aft cabin again. About 6 weeks out after monitoring price drops, I saw an aft corner Neptune suite was available. I called big box TA and did the upgrade for $400 for both of us and got cabin 6164. And I kept it as a secret from DH until we checked IN! That was fun! I have done a suite once before on NCL, and HAL suite amenities are not quite at their level, but I really wanted this cabin for the balcony and space and location. It turned out to be perfect for Glacier Bay viewing and I am so happy I did it. Will take break and review embarkation/disembarking, dining and entertainment, and then ports and excursions.
  8. Is there any place other than the one forward on Deck 11 where I can get a Cappuccino in the morning. Or can I order it from Room Service? I am on oxygen and that's a long way to go from my cabin on deck 4. I will have the Drinks package, is a cappuccino included in that?
  9. Two more of our HAL ships head off for the summer season in Europe. These two will be in port together May 3, 4, and 5. Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1600. She is headed out for a 14-day Azores and Normandy Expedition repositioning cruise. We will be waving goodbye to our fellow sail-away addict, Roy. Praia Da Vitoria, Azores (28 Apr 1000-1800); Ponta Delgada, Azores (29 Apr 0800-1800); Cherbourg, France (03 May 0700-1900); Zeebrugge (Bruges), Belgium (04 May 1000-1900); Amsterdam, Holland (05 May a0800) Zuiderdam will be at pier 21 (starboard to) from 0545-1600. Her 16-day repositioning cruise is also called the Azores and Normandy Expedition. Kings Wharf, Bermuda (24 Apr 0800-1700); Praia Da Vitoria, Azores (29 Apr 0800-1800); Cherbourg, France (03 May 0700-1900); Zeebrugge (Bruges), Belgium (04 May 1000-1900); Amsterdam, Holland (05 May 0800-1800); Copenhagen, Denmark (07 May a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 (0430-1730), Carnival Conquest at pier 19 (0400-1600), Celebrity Edge at pier 25 (0600-1600), and Harmony OTS at pier 18 (0515-1630). Doubtless there will be some delays with four ships scheduled to leave at 1600. The PTZtv webcams can be found at https://www.portevergladeswebcam.com/ and https://www.ftlauderdalewebcam.com/. Next up: Zaandam on April 24.
  10. Here’s a link to my review of our President’s week Western Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam: http://click.email.cruisecritic.com/?qs=f0cf51dc77b0e9829b7afbfc0adfcb76d0a8bb5e9f2605b28a6393dd2e43fd3dae9a5fd61820deb2751e544dfc4da1b600581223c4a05de1 Two aspects that I forgot to mention in this review were the dress code and the population. Attire: There were two formal nights and I had brought some simple maxi dresses and gold accessories. I have to say that many of the ladies on this ship put me to shame with fancy cocktail dresses and beautiful wraps and jewelry. If you like evening wear, you don’t have to worry about being overdressed on the Nieuw Amsterdam. People put in the effort to look gorgeous. Only some of the men bothered with tuxes, but formal nights saw many suits and jackets. For ladies, if you don’t like getting dressed up, a simple black dress that’s been dressed up or black pants and a sequined top or otherwise embellished top will suffice, but I wouldn’t treat formal night in the dining room like any other night. Population: I know, I know...Holland America is the cruise line for seniors, except this week when it wasn’t. I’m not saying that there weren’t still a fair number of retirees on our sailing, but because it was President’s week, there were certainly many families with children. We met several younger families with small kids on our day at HMC. What I found more surprising was the number of 20-somethings that we saw drinking and dancing and generally enjoying themselves every night at BB King’s. These young ladies and their boyfriends were very well-dresssed and very enthusiastic about dancing to the BB King All-Stars. While I would not say that RCL or Carnival have to worry about HAL stealing this demographic from them, there were definitely more people under 30 than I have seen on past HAL cruises.
  11. Here’s our review of our 17th March Eastern Caribbean sailing aboard Nieuw Statendam. This was our first time on HAL. Having booked through a UK travel agent, we flew directly to Fort Lauderdale from London (very convenient, though Norwegian does not the most comfortable long haul product!). We arrived the night before embarkation, and stayed in the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. This is a great location for the airport and port, but it is sadly a rather dated Hilton property. We were quite lucky with the beautiful room we were assigned, but the public areas seemed as though they needed some attention. As this hotel is so close to the port, on a busy embarkation day it is absolute mayhem - suitcases everywhere with people arriving and departing. As a result we chose to eat breakfast out, and checkout as late as possible. Via our travel agent we had received an embarkation time of 2pm. Due to the situation at the hotel, we made the decision to go directly to the terminal at 11:30 (it seems like the entire ship had also done the same). They were already on embarkation group 25+, and actually stopped using numbered groups when we got to check in. From arrival at the terminal to embarking the ship was under 30 mins. As has been well documented, the ship itself is beautiful and has that wonderful new smell (sadly mixed with cigarette smoke if you go anywhere in the vicinity of the casino). We had a VD grade balcony cabin which was beautiful - though perhaps a little smaller than the similar grade cabin I had on Queen Victoria last year. The bathroom is wonderful though - definitely the nicest I’ve had on a ship. The balcony has ample space, and the ottomans make it perfect to sit and relax. Our first night we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, which I had pre-booked as a celebratory meal beforehand online. Incidentally, we overhead other passengers being told on the first night that the Pinnacle was fully booked for dinner for the entire cruise. Our meal was outstanding - the service was so so personal and caring it really made it for us. The portions were huge, and we were unable to finish most of our food (the king crab legs were particularly large!) The live music on the ship is outstanding - in particular, we really enjoyed Billboard Onboard, which we tried to catch most evenings. It was nice to see that there were certain ‘regulars’ who also enjoyed particular music venues. Coming from the British market where kettles in the cabin are commonplace, I did find it a little annoying that you had to order from room service or go to the lido if you wanted a tea or coffee. Room service were always very helpful and friendly but often took about one hour to arrive. We did not purchase a beverage package, and found this to suit our needs well as although we might have a couple of drinks a day, this did not warrant the high cost. In our opinion, spirits and cocktails were reasonably priced (certainly cheaper than here in London, and cheaper than other lines I have sailed on). However, any kind of wine just seems to be disproportionately expensive in comparison to spirits. We took the sommelier’s advice a couple of times at dinner, and greatly enjoyed his suggestions but in reality felt cocktails or other drinks to be far better value for money. Additionally, we actually found the coffee available in the lido surprisingly nice - there’s a good selection of dairy alternatives too if you need. We enjoyed the lido for breakfast most days, though as with most ships it does get rather crowded. everything is super fresh, and we were really pleased by the policy of the crew serving you your food. This makes a good difference in hygiene. Dinner always looked very nice at the lido, though we didn’t try it ourselves. There are just two brief things to mention here: 1) the hours of the lido are a bit strange and truncated. Whereas on other ships it might be open consistently throughout the day, we found that there was a mid-late afternoon period and a post 8pm period which would have been nice to have the lido open for a snack, or if you were returning late from an excursion and wanted something more casual to eat. 2) the only time I ever felt encroached upon in terms of up selling was in the lido - there was a near constant pressure to look at the Canaletto menu and make a reservation, which we didn’t experience any other time and which was a little annoying. Dive-in and New York Deli and Pizza often had huge queues and waiting times, but dive-in in particular was worth the wait. It’s good to note that you can customise any of the burgers from toppings to cooking times. New York deli also has constantly replenished jugs of iced water, iced tea and lemonade so this is a good place to grab a complimentary drink. This cruise took place during the US spring break season - as a result there was a great age range on this sailing, including others like us in our twenties. However, it did mean that the lido pool wasn’t almost unusable for anyone other than families which is to be expected. For some reason, even on warm, perfect days, they would leave the retractable roof only semi open, and this caused a great degree of echo within the pool area which is not very relaxing. Aside from our first night, we ate in the MDR every evening. Our first experience was the first Gala Night which was, in all honesty, utter chaos. We had a reservation for 20:30, but it was nearly 9pm by the time we were seated. We felt like we received little care or attention, and the service felt extremely rushed (no doubt due to the waitstaff being rushed of their feet). Things improved however on subsequent evenings, and we felt that (apart from all the clearing up going on around you) these later dining times tended to work best. One evening we were seated upstairs where the set dining is, and the service we received there was much better which seems rather telling. We had selected anytime dining to better our chances at securing a table for two. However, we think that next time we would probably go for the late sitting set dining as our experience of the service there was much better and far less rushed, and the upper level had a much quieter and more sophisticated atmosphere. In truth, we also missed the opportunity to get to know our waiters. Our first port of call was Amber Cove. We had pre-booked the Dominican Coffee excursion. We enjoyed the excursion, though it involved nearly three hours round trip of travel and was probably not worth the money charged. However, it was a nice opportunity to support a local project, and enjoy a local meal. In San Juan we chose to make our own plans, and went to the Bacardi factory the other side of the bay. This is fairly accessible by Uber in about 25 mins. Again, being spring break, this was quite a rowdy afternoon, but it was fun to learn about the Bacardi brand and taste some of their trademark cocktails. This was our first time in PR, and we would probably not suggest this tour to first timers as we would have liked to have had more time to explore old San Juan in hindsight, and travelling to and from Bacardi sterilised the rest of the day. There are plenty of nice places to wander within walking distance of the ship - we enjoyed finding a nice bar and just sitting and talking with a drink or an ice cream. Our next stop was Charlotte Amalie. We had prepaid for the Kayak, Snorkel and Trek at Cas Cay excursion and this was 200% worth it, and the highlight of our cruise. The guide was extremely knowledgeable, and whilst a little strenuous if you are not used to exercise, it was accessible to all. The ‘hike’ portion is really just a twenty minute walk, on which you get to see some hermit crabs and a blow hole. As it turned out, Charlotte Amalie would be our last port of call as at about 6am on the morning we were due to call at Half Moon Cay, the Captain informed us that the ship had lost power and was drifting. After around 30 mins or so, they did manage to restore partial power, but the Captain eventually decided that he did not feel able to call at Half Moon Cay for a number of reasons. He handled this very well, but I think it is rather disconcerting that a brand new ship can lose all four generators at once, and only be able to get half back up and running within a reasonable time period. This was a great shame as we were really looking forward to Half Moon Cay. We received $50 credit and port taxes back as compensation. Our overall impression was great - we felt that the Nieuw Statendam was a good medium between the tradition of lines like Cunard, and the night life of lines like Celebrity. I would certainly love to travel onboard again though unfortunately I will say that the only negative thing I can really say is the smoking situation in the Casino - I know this is a bit of a chestnut in these forums, but I do find it extremely uncomfortable, and somewhat bizarre that in a brand new ship the design is such that whilst there is a beautiful staircase at the casino, the smoke is able to easily transfer to other public areas.
  12. Hi, Is it normal for HAL to switch a cruise by weeks? Our cruise switched from April 15th to April 4th. It's a TA from Florida to Barcelona
  13. We are on the Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day Alaska out of Vancouver at the end of June. A short 2 weeks from now 😎! It is our first HAL cruise. so of course, I am spending time reading up on all the wisdom from the pros here. Is the coffee on these ships really that bad? And does it matter which boat you are on, or is this system wide? I realize I keep stumbling into many comments here and there in more general HAL reviews about how bad the coffee is. My experience is that coffee quality has a decent margin or error (i.e. most people not big connoisseurs and are fine with mostly what they get), which makes me think that it must be bad enough to stick in people's minds. Or HAL cruisers are real coffee connoisseurs. Since I appreciate my 1-2 cups in the morning a lot should I be prepared to switch to tea? Are there better places than others on NA to get a good early morning coffee? (since I am paying for the food/beverage part of the trip would prefer not to have to buy it, but also fine) I also often travel with mini-moos because I truly hate artificial coffee "whitener" or coffee-mate. (I buy them for $10 for 128 through a big box retailer and they are truly handy for traveling.) Do I need to bring a few of those?
  14. Lots for the sail-away addicts to watch today! Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She will be doing her last 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise before leaving for Europe next week. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos (16 Apr 0800-1500); San Juan, Puerto Rico (17 Apr 1300-2300); St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (18 Apr 0800-1700); Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (20 Apr 0800-1500); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (21 Apr a0700) http:// Veendam will be at pier 19 (starboard to) from 0430-1700. She is heading across the pond on a 14-day Passage to Rome repositioning cruise. Ponta Delgada, Azores (22 Apr 0800-1700); Malaga, Spain (25 Apr 0700-1700); Cartagena, Spain (26 Apr 0700-1300); Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy (28 Apr a0700) Also in port are Celebrity Silhouette at pier 29 from 0445-1630, Regal Princess at pier 2 from 0500-1600, Harmony OTS at pier 18 from 0515-1630 , and Celebrity Edge 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 leaving Tampa for the last time as she, too, heads to Europe. She will be in port from 0700-1700. She is doing a 15-day Azores and Normandy Expedition cruise. Kings Wharf, Bermuda (18 Apr 0800-1700); Ponta Delgada, Azores (23 Apr 0800-1700); Brest, France (26 Apr 0800-1700); Cherbourg, France (27 Apr 0700-1700); Zeebrugge (Bruges), Belgium (28 Apr 0800-1800); Rotterdam (Amsterdam), Holland (29 Apr a0700) Also in port is Carnival Miracle. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.porttampawebcam.com/. Nieuw Amsterdam is in San Diego heading out on a 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise.http://sundiegolive.com/ Next up: Volendam on April 18.
  15. Looking to book a category FA (family cabin) as a party of five. It is very important to me that the pull down bunk be over the sofa rather than the bed. Does anyone know which FA staterooms have the bed over the couch? Holland America doesn't seem to know when asked over the phone. I was thinking that perhaps people who have been on the ship will have some insight.
  16. 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.
  17. I just boarded the Nieuw Statendam today. Observations are based on cabin 1012, a single oceanview cabin. I will start by answering some common questions about the "in cabin" experience. The TV is large, wall mounted at the foot of the bed. It is mounted such that any access to any ports is difficult. It has been suggested that cabin stewards may be able to help you if you want/need to access these ports. I have attached an image showing the 9 "live" tv channels available. There are approximately 144 movies available for viewing. You may select them by seeing categories, or one listing of all movies. The navigation around the TV menu is different than Koningsdam as of last November. Other observations. I have been on Koningsdam twice, leaving last on November 11th last year. So far the Nieuw Statendam seems very familiar. It helps that I have the same cabin I have had on Koningsdam. Muster drill will be happening shortly, and then we will see how similar they are.
  18. 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.
  19. We are booking a cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam and have a cabin question. Does the cabin VB4143 (or VB4145 or VB4149) have a sofa? Any pictures would be appreciated!
  20. Y4L – Alaska, Yukon, Double Denali May 27 – June 8, 2019 Nieuw Amsterdam Ship May 26 - Anchorage Arrived in Anchorage a day before our trip began. It was around 7:00 when we arrived and the Westmark is an easy cab ride from the airport. We checked in and headed across the street to the Glacier Brewhouse for a beer and a small bite before turning in for the evening. May 27 - Anchorage We woke up early as we were still on east coast time. We walked a few blocks to the Snow City Café as we read they had great breakfast food. Arrived ahead of the crowd and had a delicious breakfast served by a very pleasant waitress. We came back to our hotel and walked over to the visitor center. The combination of early season plus Memorial Day meant that there was not an early shuttle to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Instead, we walked a few blocks to the Anchorage Museum and waited for them to open. It was a great way to spend the morning. We learned about the native Alaskans at the Smithsonian exhibit – crafts, life stories, every day items, etc. The art gallery wing was also wonderful with some beautiful oils of Denali. In the afternoon we took the Flattop Mountain Shuttle from Downtown Bicycle Rental. Pete gave us a narrated tour of Anchorage as he drove us to the mountain. We had 3 hours to hike Flattop Mountain which is the most hiked trail in Alaska. Still some snow on parts of the trail and the last 20 feet at the steep summit. Wonderful views of the city and Chugach Mountains. Highly recommend even if you don’t go all the way to the top. Not too crowded in late May but still lots of people and dogs. After our hike we returned to our hotel to meet our Journey Host Kaylyn. She gave us packets with information for the next day, had us take care of some paperwork and we were on our own until the next morning. We left the hotel and took a short walk along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail before dinner. Lots of bikes, walkers, skateboarders, families and leashed dogs. Pretty views and an easy way to get some exercise. Lots of bike rental shops in Anchorage if you prefer biking. A very nice meal at Orso which was across the street from the hotel. Same owners as Glacier Brewhouse. Recommend both. Had read some negative reviews about the hotel. A little old fashioned but the room was comfortable and clean. What more can you ask for? Tuesday May 28 - Anchorage to Denali Bags were out early and we met at 8:15 to transfer to the Alaska Railroad. Our trip to Denali was as pleasant as any 8 hour train trip could be. Comfortable seats, big windows, and the opportunity to move around. We had decided in advance that we would eat both breakfast and lunch on the train as it would give us an opportunity to leave our seats. Meal seating is in shifts in the bottom level and viewing and general travel in the top of the glass domed car. Both breakfast and lunch were quite good. The scenery in the beginning of the trip as we left Anchorage was interesting. In the middle hours there was not as much to see and the trip was starting to feel long BUT then we arrived at Hurricane Gulch and the views became more and more interesting and made the entire trip worthwhile. We were enchanted all the way to Denali. We were picked up at the Denali Train Depot and on the way to our hotel a moose decided to slowly cross the road in front of our bus and linger to munch grass at the side of the road. It was a prime picture taking opportunity and the perfect welcome to Denali. We checked in at our lodge and were out the door to grab a quick meal before heading out almost immediately to our shuttle to visit the Husky Homestead. As we got off the shuttle, we were handed two-week old puppies! Who on earth can resist such sweetness. We learned a lot about raising and training dogs, and preparing them to race. Jeff King was even more engaging then his staff and told us all about the Iditarod and his experiences with the dogs. It was a very interesting and fun evening. Denali was off to a great start! Wednesday May 29 - Denali TWT Wilderness Tour #9 with Glenn at approximately 8:30. Glenn was a wonderful engaging driver who shared lots of information about the park. We went to mile 53 at Toklat before turning around. Seven hours in the bus was plenty for us. We saw Denali from multiple locations and got some beautiful pictures. We also saw moose, bear, caribou and Dall sheep. As we started our tour, the driver realized the bus camera was not working, but it did not matter. The scenery in the park changes at every turn. It was just magnificent. After our tour we asked to be dropped off at the Visitors Center where we picked up the trail to Mt. Healy. We were worried about making the last shuttle back to our hotel but no need to have worried. We were up and down the mountain in about 2:40 which left us plenty of time to get back to our cabin. Great views. Nice hike. We had dinner (and breakfast both days) at Karstens on the property. Food was good and reasonably priced. Our room at Denali was M106. It was a two-story townhouse. We were on the first floor. We had a small bedroom and sitting area. Nice bathroom. Only issue, and one we could live with, was foot noise from upstairs and the whosh of the flush but honestly, location, cleanliness, décor was all good. I note this because I’ve noticed lots of complaints about hotels on land. Nothing to complain about. Would stay here again. Thursday May 30 - Denali to Fairbanks Woke up and said goodbye to Denali. It would have been nice to have an extra day for another hike or two. Boarded the bus for the 3 hour ride to Fairbanks. We did have a rest stop with a gift shop on the way. This was our first bus ride. Our driver not only transported us safely, he gave us information about the places we passed and about Alaska in general. Little did we know that every bus ride would provide learning opportunities to find out about where we were and where we would go. Arrived in Fairbanks at noon. Most of our group took their hour to eat lunch but we walked to the Fairbanks Visitor Center. To our surprise, it had a little museum like area that was extremely interesting and we spent 45 minutes there. We learned our planned walk at Creamer Fields was about 2 miles from our hotel and found information on how to travel there. We met up with the group and were off to Gold Dredge 8. It was a planned group excursion and was much more fun than we expected. First, we had a view of, and short talk about the Alaska pipeline. Then we got on a small train that took us to the area where we would pan for gold. But first, as we traveled by train, we learned about how gold was mined in Fairbanks. My bag of dirt yielded $24 of gold and my husband got $6 in gold flakes. Yes, we succumbed and bought a charm to put the gold flakes in as a memento of our visit. Too much shopping time at the mine for us, although many of our companions did a fair amount of shopping and seemed to enjoy the stop before we headed to our hotel. We checked into the Westmark Room 632 which was a very nice clean, modern room with a kitchen area. We were off to visit a local art gallery a few blocks from the hotel and then found a local distillery where we had a vodka cocktail before heading back to the hotel. We were feeling lazy so we had dinner at the Red Lantern restaurant at the hotel. It was just ok but no complaints as we were ready to turn in early. Friday May 31 – Fairbanks to Dawson City Had time for a nice breakfast before heading on our bus to the airport and on to Dawson City on an 11:00 a.m. flight. The airport in Dawson recently had its runway paved which was big news. Smooth flight and we were at our hotel early afternoon. We were on our own. There were some sprinkles and it was cloudy so we changed our plans to hike the Midnight Dome and instead walked the 9th Avenue trail which went around the city and continued around the water. There are a number of other trails in this area. An easy walk and fun way to stretch our legs. We went to the Visitors Center as well to get maps, schedules, and walked around town peering visiting some of the shops. Dinner at the Drunken Goat Taverna. Food was excellent. Laid back place. Highly recommend. After dinner we caught the show at Diamond Tooth Gerties. Your $15 season pass is good all year. They have 3 shows an evening with singing and dancing. Shows were excellent. There is also food and gambling. A number of our group left after the first show and went to The Downtown Hotel and became members of the Sour Toe Cocktail Club by drinking a shot with a preserved toe that touched their lips. A good time was had by all. Then the partying group was back to Gerties for the remaining 2 shows and last call. Saturday June 1 – Dawson City Woke up and it was still a light rain but we weren’t going to let that get us down. We had breakfast at the hotel and were off to explore. We found out that the Robert Service cabin would not have a presentation that day as the town folk and visitors were invited to the Commissioner’s Tea from 2:00 – 4:00. This is an annual event that we did attend. Late morning, we went to the Jack London cabin and were treated to an excellent hour-long presentation about Jack London that included his time in Alaska and Dawson City and how that time influenced his writing. Highly recommend. With the rain starting to come down harder, we went to the Dawson City Museum and learned more about the local gold rush and the city of Dawson before heading to tea. Our Klondike Spirit Cruise had been moved to 6:00 p.m. so we grabbed a delicious sandwich in the hotel pub before heading to the boat. The delayed start time for the boat worked in our favor as the skies cleared and we had beautiful weather for our ride. Once again, we learned more about Dawson City and the First Nation inhabitants of the Yukon so it was more than just a ride around the river. We found the Westmark in Dawson City to be charming. Rooms were clean and comfortable. Wifi only in the lobby and not in your room. We did not use our phones in the Yukon and I could live for 2 days without wifi. Sunday June 2 – Dawson City to Whitehorse This was a full day on the motor coach. We had a number of opportunities to stop and stretch our legs and see a few historic sites. Lunch was provided – the only land day this happened – in Minto. It was a simple and delicious lunch of soup, salad and homemade bread in a nice clean lodge. After lunch we were back on the bus to Whitehorse until our arrival at approximately 5:00 p.m. Our driver Trevor was amazing. No other word. For the entire trip he gave us Gold Rush History, and information about the glaciers and the valleys they formed. He told us about the white river ash from a long ago volcanic eruption and even recited some Robert Service poetry as he drove. The hours flew by. Scenery was beautiful. When we arrived in Whitehorse I told our Journey Host that it could be viewed in two ways. HAL could have you fly straight from Dawson to Whitehorse and get you to Skagway in a day. It took us 8 hours to travel the road but it made us better appreciate the journeys of the men (and women) that got themselves and their provisions over the Chilkoot Trail and then had to build a boat and ferry themselves down an unforgiving river to get to Dawson. I am glad I was able to experience that journey. The unspoiled landscape was pretty special too. After leaving our bags at the Westmark Whitehorse (the only hotel we felt was not satisfactory) we took a walk with some of our new friends on the Millenium Trail, a 5km paved trail that loops around the water in downtown Whitehorse. It was a very pleasant way to get some exercise before a fantastic dinner at Klondike Kate’s. Restaurant was across the street from our hotel so could not have been more convenient. Clearly popular and crowded so we put our name in ahead of our walk and our table was ready when we returned. Food and atmosphere were fantastic. Highly recommend if you stop in Whitehorse. Monday June 3 – Whitehorse to Skagway Breakfast at the hotel and then we were back on the bus with Trevor who showed us Miles Canyon, Emerald Lake, Carcross Desert and Carcross as we journeyed to Fraser to board the Whitepass Rail that would take us to Skagway. All interesting stops that we were grateful to see along the way. Our train journey was interesting as we thought about those that had braved the mountains by foot (before the train was constructed) as they dreamt of the gold waiting for them in Dawson City. The mountains had some sad tales to tell, but it was a lovely way to return to Alaska with some magnificent views along the way. Once we arrived at the train station, we went to our hotel and grabbed an extra jacket before heading off to hike Upper Dewey Lake at around 2:00p.m. There were excursions offered by HAL and a lovely town to walk around, but we wanted to hike. We passed the Lower Dewey Lake trail in favor of the 6 mile roundtrip steady climb – vertical rise was 3000 feet in 3 miles – to Upper Dewey Lake. We were not disappointed. The lake was beautiful and the views as we headed back down were spectacular as well. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. Trail information says roundtrip takes about 6 hours but we were able to do it in around 5. We were motivated to be down before it got to be too late! Dinner at the Skagway Brewing Company was adequate but I wish we had stuck with our plans to go to the Red Onion Saloon – a former brothel. We heard food was good and atmosphere was great. Our room in Skagway was clean and comfortable and right in the middle of everything. In the morning we had breakfast at the hotel and were able to shop before transferring to the ship. We liked the town but were ready to get on and stay on the boat by late morning. Hated to say goodbye to our Journey Host Kaylyn. She kept us organized, gave us tips on where to visit and eat. She went above and beyond every minute of every day and we are convinced that is one reason our trip was so wonderful. A Few Thoughts I felt compelled to comment on the hotels. With the exception of Whitehorse we had no complaints. They were all clean and the staff was helpful and cheerful wherever we were. So many negative comments on line that it made me wonder what to expect. If you are expecting the Westin downtown you may be disappointed, but the hotels were in character with their location. Perhaps if we had come off the ship we might have found the transition jarring but we would stay at any of the locations again. We chose to eat a number of meals – all but one breakfast and a few dinners on hotel property out of convenience. There were many choices in each location. We had a couple pricier dinners but found the food to be fairly priced (this is Alaska) and for the most part quite good. Our fellow travelers were all very nice and we got to know many of them on land and some even better on our sea days. Everyone was happy to be on the trip and the people we spent the most time with were also beyond impressed with our Journey Host. We all hated to say goodbye to her when we boarded the ship. Nieuw Amsterdam – June 4 to June 8 This was our first cruise. We had an opportunity to upgrade to a Signature Suite from a Veranda and glad we did. This put us in room 6072 in the middle of the ship. We had a larger bathroom and room to spread out. The veranda was a wonderful place to view the glaciers on our day in Glacier Bay. We ate at the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch all days. It was easy to go at any time and there was a huge variety of food choices. I particularly liked the omelet station for breakfast. Easy to be healthy and easy to indulge for all meals. We had dinner at the Dining Room. We had open seating and for 3 of our 4 nights were seated with other people. Again, we found the food to be delicious with plenty of choices. One evening my husband asked for extra steak when he ordered and they were more than happy to oblige. We were there for a Gala Night and we dressed up and enjoyed a special dinner. Service was great. Entertainment on the boat was outstanding. We went to BB Kings every night, the Billboard pianists were fabulous, and we went to an afternoon performance at Lincoln Center Stage. Very talented musicians who worked hard to entertain the crowd. We did not see any of the stage shows in the evening. We were too busy enjoying the music! We also used the health club. Plenty of treadmills, bikes, ergs and machines. Some free weights too. It was not crowded and we were able to use the equipment we wanted. The treadmills were placed at the windows in the bow which my husband enjoyed. I liked working out without looking out to sea so something for everyone. Our third day on the boat we stopped at Ketchican. We planned to hike Deer Mountain at this stop and since the weather was good we stuck with our plan. We grabbed a cab when we came off the ship that took us to the trailhead. Glad we did. It was an uphill walk and the cab knew exactly where we were going. We walked back into town after the hike and had some time to poke into the shops before boarding the ship. By our last day we felt we knew our way around. There is a daily schedule of activities so always something going on if you were looking for something to do. A little sad to say goodbye but the four days on the ship were a great way to relax after the busier pace on land. It was an older crowd for the most part on land and on the ship. We had a couple on their honeymoon on the land tour and there were some young families on the ship. If you are looking for the big shows and non-stop entertainment this might not be your cruise/cruisetour but it was just perfect for us. Been back for 2 days and already thinking about going back to Alaska!
  21. I realize this is a long shot because it is about specific cabins on Nieuw Statendam, but I'm hoping someone may have an answer for me. On the deck plans on the HAL website, on deck 7 there is no line separating the balconies for cabins 7144 & 7146. I initially thought that it could simply be a mistake on the graphic, but then I noticed that the line is also missing on deck 8 for cabins 8146 & 8148, which are directly above the other two. This made me wonder if there is something at that spot on the ship that makes it impossible to separate the balconies. This seems like a small thing, but I am going to be in 7144 in June and I really enjoy a private balcony. If anyone has been in or is currently in one of these four room, could you please let me know what the balconies are like? Thanks very much.
  22. We are sailing at the end of June and we deliberately did something we have never done - booked an inside room. Ordinarily we book verandas, but at that time of the year it is light almost all night and we wanted a dark room for sleep. This means I will be spending more time outside our cabin reading or just watching the scenery. Where is your favorite spot to sit and quietly read? Is there a library or place to lounge that is relatively quiet. I am usually up early and go read the paper and have coffee until my spouse gets up. Have never been on this ship and it is a short cruise (7 days) and I thought I could ask this experienced crowd so I don't find some great spot on the last day :-).
  23. We just returned from a wonderful 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. This was our 12th HAL cruise but first on the Pinnacle class.. We had a VB booked, and 4 days before, got an email for an upsell to a Vista Suite for 399 pp. We passed on that. Two days before, we got an upsell offer to a Signature Suite for 499 pp. We jumped on that one, and we were so happy we did, because this suite was A-MAZING! Great central location, beautiful, functional layout and the bathroom was wonderful. I literally jumped up and down after examining the suite saying..."I love this room!" I continued to say it all week long. I decided I liked it even more than Neptune Suites. The shower was luxurious. The lighting in the room and bathroom was gorgeous, and in fact the lighting throughout the ship was equally as nice. Our stewards Kadek and Komang were unobtrusive and proficient. Laundry service was fast and professional. We were going to upgrade to the Elite Beverage Package once on-board, but decided to stay with the Signature Package since we splurged on the suite. They removed some selections from a year ago, so there were only a few choices. We managed with what they offered and it was adequate. At least you could still get nice cocktails with the Signature Package, my favorite was the Tanqueray 0010 Martini. There are so many options for dining and we tried nearly all of them. The best by far was the Tamarind. We were so impressed, we went back three times. Barbara and Nila were very gracious and warm, and so attentive. We had lamb, tenderloin, duck, chicken curry, shrimp and lobster dishes and all were superb. The manager was also a very gracious man and he was out on the floor at all times, assisting servers as needed as well as talking to customers. All of this was in stark contrast to our most disappointing meal, in the Pinnacle. I am not sure we will ever make a late reservation (8:00) again. They seemed completely backed up. The service was rushed and we waited a great deal. No bread was served until the dinner arrived, even though she promised it to us twice. The salad I had was not good, the bacon didn't taste real. The baked potato was completely dried out. The beets seemed over done. The filet mignon however, was perfect. My husband got the "hashed potatoes with blue cheese aioli", but they looked and tasted like they came out of a frozen food bag. But the service was just not there at all, nothing compared to meals in the past. Was it just because we arrived late? We canceled a second reservation and went to the Tamarind instead. We did however return for lunch, and that was so much better. The Lido, if you can navigate the crowds, is incredible. So many choices and all done well. We ate in the Canaletto twice and you can't beat the view and the quieter atmosphere. The servings are smaller this year and that is just fine with me, as I often found it to be too much food served in the past. The MDR is beautiful and the lighting is so pretty, we enjoyed one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner here. The chairs are very comfortable and the place settings so elegant. We bought a spa pass and I was disappointed with a few things, mostly in the design. The hydro-pool was splashy, the tile loungers were in the same space as all the other saunas, steam rooms and showers so it was loud. Not relaxing at all. One of my best memories is from the Westerdam and my first time on those loungers. Ambient music, the sound of water hitting rocks, the view out to sea. On this ship, there is a view, but you can't hear the music because there is way too much going on right behind you. And the doors slamming, yikes. If we go on another Pinnacle class ship, we won't purchase the pass. The ports were great and the weather perfect. We spent so much time in the water. Grand Turk, we walked to Governor's Beach and spent a quiet morning enjoying the turquoise waters, how beautiful! St. Thomas,we took a catamaran tour to St. John to snorkel off Honeymoon beach. Great snorkeling here, saw lots of fun things including sea turtles. Half Moon Cay is our favorite stop and it was a great day and so hard to leave. I prefer not sharing the island with another ship as it made things congested, especially when leaving, it felt we were in Disney with the queues to get on the tenders. Our favorite spot at night was at BB King. This band was great! Each and every musician was so very talented. The dance floor and seating and stage are a great design on this ship, much improved over the older ships. The Rolling Stone Rock Room did not play rock and roll, at least not for the somewhat limited time we saw them. The Eagles and Neil Diamond are not rock. The band was talented, but their song selections were tame. The world stage is beautiful but yes it is small for such a big ship. I really liked the comedian Ken Boyd, he was very funny, mostly doing improv. This cruise had some hits and misses but we had a great time and feel so very grateful to be able to cruise (thus far) once a year. I would sail on the Pinnacle class again and would feel better prepared to enjoy it even more. I am happy to answer any questions!
  24. It is a busy, busy day in Port Everglades! Koningsdam will be at pier 26 (port to) from 0530-1700. She is heading across the pond on her 13-day Passage to Rome transatlantic. Ponta Delgada, Azores (14 Apr 1100-1800); Malaga, Spain (17 Apr 0800-1800); Cartagena, Spain (18 Apr 0700-1600); Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy (20 Apr a0700) Nieuw Statendam will be at pier 21(starboard to) from 0615-1700. She is leaving on a 7-day Western Caribbean itinerary. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (08 Apr 0800-1600); Ocho Rios, Jamaica (10 Apr 0800-1700); George Town, Grand Cayman (11 Apr 0800-1600); Cozumel, Mexico (12 Apr 1100-2300); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (14 Apr a0700) Also in port are Adventure OTS at pier 29 (0430-1730), Carnival Conquest at pier 4 (0415-1600, Celebrity Edge at pier 25 (0600-1600), Harmony OTS at pier 18 (0515-1630), Regal Princess at pier 2 (0500-1600), and Pearl Mist at pier 19 (1245-1800). 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 doing a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise. Key West, Florida (08 Apr 1100-1800); Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala (10 Apr 0800-1800); Roatan, Honduras (11 Apr 0800-1700); Costa Maya, Mexico (12 Apr 0800-1700); Tampa, Florida (14 Apr a0700) Also in port is Norwegian Pearl. The PTZtv webcam can be found at https://www.porttampawebcam.com/ Nieuw Amsterdam is in San Diego from 0700-1700 doing a 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise. The webcam is now on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/SanDiegoWebCam. Oosterdam is in Key West from 0800-1600. https://www.keywestharborwebcam.com/ For the addicts: Rotterdam will be in Key West from 1100-1800 on April 8. Next up: Zuiderdam on April 10.
  25. Does anyone know if the Televisions on the Nieuw Statendam have either a bluetooth connection or a jack for headphones?
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