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Just back from statendam Dec21-Jan5 REVIEW


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Hi all, as I sit here eating my macadamian nuts, I wonder how I will get it all down for you. First a little history, this was my very first cruise ever, I am a 39 year old woman and traveled with my 15 year old son. These views are mine and I hope I will be helpful to any other cruiser out there for the first time.

We arrived at San Diego right at 11:00 I could feel the excitment, nervousness, and wonder taking ahold on me. I kissed my hubby goodbye and went through the door to enter the dream of a life time. It went as smooth as butter!! There were people everywhere instructing where to go, which Put me at ease real fast. I went in the line for documents filled out on-line and with-in 5 min. I was checking in. ( Info time for 1st time crusier that is a single mother traveling with your child) I was told to have a letter from his father giving me permission to take my son.) NOWAY!! so I had to notorize letters stateing I was the sole provider. I was also told they usually don't ask for them but have everything just in case your the one they pick to ask. Guess What?? the 3rd question was Is his father here?? So I pulled out all my documentation and moved right along. check in took maybe 5 min. and on the ship 5 min.after that. Wow!!! awsome. We felt our hearts racing and wanted to take it all in so fast. We walked up to the lido to have lunch and couldn't believe all the beauty of the inside of this ship. We sat and ate looking at each other in laughter trying to believe we were really in the midst of all this.

Exsacly as you all said promptly at 1:00 we could go to our state rooms. We had a mini-suite 157 on the veranduh deck. It was roomy enough for the 2 of us, and loved the couch and the balcony. What a treat. We immeditally met our stewart His name was Alus, and he was the bomb!! very friendly, efficent, and took care of my every wish!! We then romed around and explored, All the Christmas decorations were beautiful, along with the art work. We set sail a little after 5:00. oh our luggage arrived to our room within 2 hours and their were plenty of hangers and drawer space, closet space for 2 people Now I had Two Large suitcases and 2 dresscases and all 4 fit under the beds no problem. We had fridge and safe. I feel the safes are toooo small. But O-well, I put the jewerly and cash in and that was it. Now I must admit reading everything written about the mattresses I thought my god a mattress is a mattress, But I was WRONG I woke up for the first time in 15 years with out pain for 2 weeks!! those mattress are a dream. I will be trying to get one just like it no matter the cost.

Now the food- Again my opinion only. All the food I ate was very good, but the portions were small, even in the lido if you asked for sausage they would put 1 on your plate. I learned real quick to quote the amount of everything I wanted. 2-eggs,4 sausage etc. If you have Children that are very picky eaters (as mine) you will have a problem. Even though there is a hamberger- hot dog stand that gets old in a two week period. They do also serve pizza but if your kids like just cheese or pep, It goes so fast it is hard to get it. We didn't eat in the Dinning room to much, again everything was too to fancy. The pinnicle was fabulous. We of course asked for no sauce on our porterhouse and just a plain potato. What ever happen to buffalo wings or mozzeralla sticks for an appatizer. We never had any of those either. The Ice cream bar was to die for. Many different flavors. (Remember) quote how many scoops. Oh and the bread pudding was just as wonderful as you all said it would be. Room service was very good but just not enough selection.

Oh I forgot to mention with-in the first hour of being on ship we were offered a soda card ( after I was told by hal they discontinued them.) I was excited and bought 2. they were 52.50 each for 2 weeks. Way to go Hal!! We looked around the shops which I immeditaly found that ring that is calling you, shinning through the glass, but your kinda afraid to ask how much because you don't want to hear that figure that you know you shoulden't spend. It was a mystical fire topaz in 24k white gold. OMG I stared at it as if I was a child eyeballing the perfect piece of candy in a store window. I told myself to sleep on it. it's only the first day. All of the shops have nice things, I would just prefer bigger shops with a little more selection.

The seas were good through the hole trip. I was nervous about that factor so started the ginger tablets 3 days before departing and the bonine the night before. and had the sea bands in my carry-on never needed those. Didnt get sick at all. Many people were at the front desk asking for pills, I was sailing along (excuse the expression) Now we were at sea for 4 days. and I feel Hal does not have enough activites going on. for 39 year olds and teenagers. They had a club hal for all the age groups but need to work on the 15-18 activites. Their were seminars about many different things throughout everyday, but I am not interested in feeling like I am taking college courses while on vacation. I wanted more active things I guess than movies,seminars,and reading books. I coulden't believe how much reading everyone was doing all the time. Bingo was fun, and the game show games were a blast. The Comedian was a man and his duck, Very good. Also the staff shows were very nice, .glitzy. The slot tournaments and black Jack torunaments were going on all the time, I learned the first slot tourney, to stay away I was a crazed woman at the mercy of a machine that woulden't give me enough points. I kept re-intering thinking this machine will hit something good this time. 160.00 later I didn't even win a lousy tee-shirt. needless to say I only gambled a little more, towards the end of the cruise for something to do. well......... enough for now will continue tomarrow. Christine

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temple10, I really enjoyed reading your review. Such excitment in your voice and I could almost taste your macadamia nuts:D . I want to hear more. What did you think of the Islands? We love Hawaii, been there more times than I can count but have never cruised there. I would love to be able to do that but just can't take that much time off work at one time.


Would love to hear more.



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My head is spinning with things that keep popping in to remember to mention. The first thing the air conditioning in our cabin and throughout the room was fine, it was always working and a nice cool temp. to sleep. There was many older people complaining it was too cold in the Van Gough lounge but it really wasn't, you just have to move around the ship a bit more to keep the blood moving and they then had it set perfectly. Also plumming- now here there was a problem on our deck but with-in 2 days the smell was gone and I heard they moved 1 family to another cabin so it must have been just in that one cabin. My tolet stopped working twice, but called down and with-in an hour it was repaired. so all was well.

Our first stop was Hilo- I scheduled the botanical gardens. when we disembarked it was pouring! and didn't stop the entire day. But hey were in hawii and we new we would get wet in the gardens anyway. so we could care less. I recommend the botanical gardens, It was beautiful, waterfalls,many flowers you would never see at home. birds it was all so magnificent. The experience you knew would stay with you forever. Now it was time to shop I had went to the 1 seminar with Joanne the shopping specilast, so I knew where to go,how to get there, and and insight on what jewerly stores to trust. Now she made a funny about people paying thousands of dollars and traveling thousands of miles and they would all get on the wal-mart shuttle, I laughed so hard but after shopping in just Hilo at the end of the day I realized how will I get all this home, and there is still 4 Islands to go. You won't believe what I had to do on our next port.

Well now we are in Oahu, here I went on my own and booked the doldhin adventure, HAL was only offering the Dolphin encounter, and we wanted to actually swim with the dolphins. I was nervous going out by ourselves but it turned out to be fine. again the rain was coming down all day!! but again we laughed were getting wet with the dolphins anyway. This was thee experience of a life time. It was located where the filmed 50 first dates, and the dolphins were the ones from the movie. I wanted there autograph but there still learning to write. lol lol this was a very moving experience and I new this was a highlight of our lives. I recommend this one highly!! it is worth all the expence. ( taxi-60.00) Not many people can say they held on to a dolphin and went swimming. again time to go shopping. we went to hilo-hatties( best gift shop on all the Islands), a couple malls, and boutiques. well guess what I realized I better take care of my problem of I have bought soooooo much I have to go bye another suitcase. so off to walmart we go, we then realized it was the day after x-mas sale. So all the chocolate covered macadamias were 2.00 a box, great gifts. and on the ship and other gifts shops they were 2 for 15.00 so here goes my walmart cart packed to the hilt!! I ended up with another JUMBO suitcase and 2 duffle bags along with my 4 suitcases back in the cabin. These Isalands are beautiful, and the people are always smiling. Never stressed.

On to Kauai- This was our very favorite Island. It was a small town feeling, cobblestone roads and shops right as you get off the ship as far as the eye could see. We booked The submarine dive and I am sorry to say I do not reccommend this one. very disapointing. We thought we were going to see turtles, beautiful coral, pretty plants etc.etc. well all that there was were fish!! not even exotic fish just fish. and an old anchor on the bottom. But hey 2 out of 3 so far that's good, so we were happy to say we went 150 feet under the ocean. and now shopping!! If you like to shop as I do be prepared. there are so many unique things. all different at every Island. we shopped until we couldn't carry no more. Oh I forgot to mention the weather was wonderful. about 80. Here the beach was right there!! people were getting off the ship and right into the beach. I was so overwhelmed with the beautiful beaches and breath taking scenery!! (aww need more film I have gone through 10 rolls already. We'll have to go to walmart again.)

Ok guys have to go to work, will finish tonight next stop maui :) Christine

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You got me pinned Dave!! Im addicted, I think in about 2 years. I'm not sure where or what cruise line. ( I will do more homework this time to find the cruise line that fits my son and I better.)

Thank you all for your compliments I wasen't sure I would be good at writting a reveiw, that would be as enjoyable as all yours and helpful. so thank will finish tonight.:) Christine

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Christine: It is great fun reading your review. Thanks so much. I hope you know how very much you have done to enrich your son's life with this wonderful experience. He is a lucky lad. You have given him something no one can take away from him....wonderful memories which will last a lifetime.


I started traveling with my son when he was 5. He is now 30 and a very successful young man. It makes me feel so good when I hear him tell others how much traveling has brought into his life.


My hat's off to you.

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Thanks for writing your wonderful review. My husband and I were on the cruise right before yours. We had a wonderful time. We also found Hawaii to be amazingly fantastic and can't wait to go back. Please tell us the rest of your story.



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Christine-Thanks for the great information. We will be down the hall from your cabin in February. Question-On Kauai you mentioned a beach right there when you get off the ship. Was this a swimming beach and open to the public, any facilities, etc. Thanks.



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DFDI -- Thank you, I felt the same way, That I wanted to give my son a dream of a life time. Knowing he was old enough to always remember it. and treasure things that only a very few in the world actually get to cherish.


garydm-- Yes as you disembark and you head for the end of the dock or I guess it would be the beginning of the Dock there is a small beach right there!! it will be to your left. It is open to the public,and It is a swimming beach. I also saw some snorkling, and people would get on canoes there too. It was just perfect. It couldent of been more convient or easy if we tryed!! you will love it. I hope you have alus as your stewart he really was very good, and pleasant to talk with and friendly. you would enjoy him.:) Christine

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Hi guys here we go, We arrived in Maui, the weather was perfect and the green beautiful Island surrounded us. We tendered on in- I should mention for first time cruiser"s I was worried about this not really understanding how to get from the Ship to the life boat in the middle of the ocean. In my head I pictured one guy holding the life boat close to the ship and I would be hopping over. Well mind put at ease again, you walk down a plank and the door to the life boat lines up perfectly. no jumping, lol lol and of course men there to help you step on. Now this is the port you will want to catch the free shuttle to the Whalers Village. Lots of little shops and A nice restarant you can order a banana daquari and sit on the patio watching the surfers. GARYDM--- if you go to Whalers Villiage go behind the shops by this restarant and there is a walk way to a bigger beach this time. real close!! and very nice. there is grass at the top you can sit on looking down on the beach also.Again all free open to the public. My son enjoyed his virgin banana Daquari here with me. We did not have any excursions booked at this Island so we had more time to slow down. And in doing so realizing again as we laughed can you believe we are drinking a drink sitting here watching surfers on a beautiful beach in hawaii?? my son was really just in ahh.. I enjoyed watching his amazement and appreciation of this entire experience.

On to Kona-- This was our least favorite port. But it was still fun There were shops lined up on the street right as you got off the pier. we didn't book any excursions,This would be the stop I would recomend booking something to do. the scenery was wonderful and heck we were still in Hawaii.

Well back on the ship we go, knowing this was the end of the Islands we felt alittle sad. nothing a little Jewerly won't cure. Espeshally Tax and duty free. I went back and inquired about my ring, which the stone looked even bigger. it was $250.00 well I am woman, I am on Vacation, I have already shopped liked it's my last days on earth. wrap that baby I'm taking her home. I felt my self excited as if I were getting my first car. I went back to my cabin and placed it on my finger and gasped as if It was someones elses and I wished I had one. And it was mine!! I took it into my jeweler today and he kept it for about an hour, and on my lunch break ran over to see if HAL's garentee held true. and guess what?? it was appraised at $475-$500. I was told I got a really good deal. So ladies the jewerly on board is true it's word. buy,buy, buy. lol lol lol. I also bought some gold by the inch, a couple gold chains and braclets. and some silver as it is cheaper on ship.Well I know I have forgotten so much, but will fill in when I remember if I think it will be helpful. I also would be happy to answer any questions. Thank you for all your kind words.:) Christine

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Christine, Did you get to see the Lava flow into the ocean on the Big Island? Usually they try to go by it at night I think. That is something I would realy like to see. That is too bad you did not care for Kona. That is my favorite place in all of the Hawaiin Islands. But then everyone is different and that is what makes life FUN. I would hate it if everyone loved Kona then it would get to populated. I guess the same goes with cruise ships:)


I am really glad you did this review, it does sound like you had a lot of fun. It is so fun to hear it from a First Timer.



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Lisa, yes we did go by the volcano during the night on our way back from Kona. Wow what a sight!! you could see all the lava coming down the side of the mountain. We also took a seenic by another Island that you could only get to by helicopter or ship. I truely cannot remember the name of it. BUT IT WAS the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It is unenhabited, and the fog was low the rain was light and it had 2 or 3 waterfalls from top to bottom. ( I am screaming at myself trying to remember the name of it!!) It gave you a feeling of solitude and peacefullness as if you were in a world of beauty and calm. Almost heavenly to me. Sorry I can't remember.

As you all know the Tsunami hit why I was on board. It was announced that some staff had lost family, and donations were being accepted to send to the Inndonastion (spelling) red cross. And holland America had send thousands in memory of their families.

Will talk to you all soon, thank you again:) Christine

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