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garydm

Long mini-review of Statendam Hawaii February 19-March 6

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I posted information during our cruise on this site, so if you are bothered by redundancy, please stop reading and go on to something else.

 

Frame of reference: We have been on 6 HAL cruises in the last 3 years and have also cruised Residensea, Crystal, and SilverSea during this time. I am 60 and my wife is 59.

 

Embarkation/Disembarkation: The best. At least in San Diego, they have this down to a science and far superior to Silversea. From dropping off our bags curbside to beginning lunch in the Lido the elapsed time was less than 15 minutes. There were no long lines, no crowd situations or confusion. Very professional. Disembarkation was delayed a bit due to some non-U.S. citizens failure to go through immigration as directed. Even with the delay, we easily made a 10:15 am air departure from San Diego.

 

Cabin: Immaculate and in good condition given the age of the ship (see below). We were in a B Vernandah and it was roomy enough for us. We have been in an S suite, K inside, and D outside on this ship and the B seems to make the most sense from a value and noise perspective. The cabins are not under the Lido Deck so you do not get the noise some of us find problematic in the S suites. Plenty of closet and drawer space-more than we needed.

 

Condition of Ship: Like the cabin, the ship was spotless and seemed outwardly to be in good repair. However, the signs of aging are becoming evident mechanically it would seem. Two days out to sea, one of the diesel generators went out, which slowed the ship, resulting in the cancellation of our call in Hilo. On day 3 our toilet stopped working for about 7 hours and it took a note to the hotel manager to get it fixed-no, nothing was flushed that should not have been flushed. The next day we had no air conditioning for about 14 hours but it was finally repaired or turned back on depending on the version you received. A few nights later there was a fire in the port boiler room which caused some a bit of anxiety. On the last night of the cruise a corroded bolt fell out of our toilet into the bowl. I asked the cabin steward to remove it or have it removed and this did not happen, so I used an always handy plastic bag to put over my hand and retrieved the errant part. There seemed to be alot of hammers being used in the central area of the ship and perhaps they were making preparations for dry dock in Victoria in about a month.

 

Gym: I think the equipment must be OEM-came with the ship. It is mostly old stuff and a couple of the cardio machines were out of commission for most of the trip. They have enough room but could use some new treadmills, ellipticals, and some recumbent bicycles. This is a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade their facilities and one would hope they would do this as part of the upcoming changes.

 

Ship Staff: 99% are incredible. They are extremely helpful and always offer a greeting. The two exceptions I found were the front office supervisor who did not like to make eye contact with anyone out of concern she would actually have to solve a problem, and the cook/server at the burger bar who always acted like he was doing you a favor to heat up a burger for you. The rest were wonderful. Our cabin steward always had our cabin in great condition, with fresh ice and fruit. And, he was handling 14 cabins. I met the steward next to our area, Alus, who has been mentioned on this board and I told him so. What a hard working guy-he was there all the time it seemed. Our dinner waiter Aliyanto and his assistant Putra were the best we have had on any cruise line. Both were very fluent in English and provided incredible service and sound advice. Supirda, the wine steward, was also great-never had to look for him, he was always there providing great service. There were many staff helping folks in the Lido and this was good as many of the passengers were quite senior and many had mobility issues, which coupled with our rough seas, could have been problematic.

 

Food/Dining Room: Excellent. We did not have a bad meal and the hot stuff was always hot and the cold stuff, cold. This was certainly a step above banquet food. The baked goods were particularly good. The food and service equaled or exceeded what we experienced on Crystal and Silversea.

 

Food/Lido: We did the salad bar most days, but also used the sandwich bar and had pizza. The food was very good and the service was good as well. The ice cream bar was great as always and they did not run out of waffle cones this time, although I tried.

 

Food/Pinnacle: The food was good but no better than in the main dining room. The service was not as good as in the dining room and we waited about 50 minutes for a waiter at one point. Zolt, the manager, seemed more interested in chatting on and on with the couple at another table (who were video taping each other eating) than in managing the waiters.

 

Hawaiian Itinerary: This trip contained 10 sea days and that was a bit much for us. This was one more than planned due to our engine and weather problems. The stay in Honolulu was about 16 hours and I am not a Honolulu fan-just another big city. Our stay on Kauai was only 6 hours and this was disappointing as this is a beautiful area and island. The time for Maui and Kona was adequate. I like sea days but I don't think I would sign on for 10 again.

 

Internet: I still work so the internet facility and connection speeds are important to me. Unfortunately, the speed was about that of a dial up connection. I don't know if they intentionally dumb these things down so as to require use of additional time, as I have experienced much faster connections on other ships. I understand there are geographic differences that may impact speed but this was pretty slow. I think they underestimate the value of providing good quality net services at a reasonable price.

 

Passengers: Being a longer cruise, one expected an older group of passengers and this was certainly the case. There was not one kid on the ship other than a couple of toddlers who were children of crew members who were making family vacations out of the trip. We had one horribly boorish man sitting at the table next to us for the entire cruise at dinner. He was very loud and opinionated and the dinners would have been so much nicer if he could have moderated his comments and volume. You run into people like him in other venues, but the difference is you only have it for an hour or two, not for a total of 25-30 hours when you are on a 15 night cruise. We could have requested another table, but we had exactly the one we had requested from Ship Services, with an outstanding waiter and assistant, with nice people as tablemates, so we were reluctant to do this. Anyone have suggestions on how to deal with someone like this-other than just listen to him for 15 nights??

 

Conclusion: This ship has a very welcoming feel to it and it is in immaculate condition with an outstanding crew. Would we do the Hawaii itinerary again-probably not. I understand that many people love this itinerary but at some point, relaxing approaches boring, particulary in bad weather. We have two more Crystal cruises booked for this year, but we would do HAL again, given an itinerary we liked and a reasonable price.

 

Gary

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garydm,

Thanks for sharing your review with us, and too for checking in with us during your cruise :) Sorry your ship had problems, I'm not sure I can handle that many sea days either :) Guess I will have to find out in 2006 when we go to Hawaii! :)

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Hi there,

 

Glad to hear you had a good time. Just one note though; just because you may not have flushed something down the toilet doesn't mean that someone else didn't; it could have been on a different deck and still affected your toilet. I'm not making excuses, but after years of being a Front Desk Supervisor for HAL, this is the cause 99% of the time. Hawaii was my first contract and I loved it!

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Thank you for the review. I have a stressful job and sit in a cubicle 8 hours a day. I look forward to sitting on a lounge chair for my days at sea reading book after book. My big fear is that the weather will be rainy and I can't bake myself on deck. We did a Panama cruise in December (12 nights) and we were not able to get off the ship in Jamaica due to choppy water. They wouldn't give up permission to tender in. This is my first time to Hawaii and I look forward to every day there. I look forward to not standing in line for 3 hours to embark. The posts reflect that the ship is classic and service is great. Thank you again for your post.

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garydm,

 

We are thinking of doing this cruise and wondered why you thought that 10 days at sea is too much. We thought it would be a great time to relax before Hawaii and after. Could you elaborate a little more? Thanks for the informative

review. Also can you tell me if it was choppy water and what was the average temp while at sea.. We like to lay out by the pool and want to know if it's hot enough. :)

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Glad you enjoyed your cruise. We were on the Oosterdam and folowed you out of the harbor. Your ship certainly looked beautiful that night as we separated to go in different directions.

 

I'd like to do Hawaii someday--when I retire.

Welcome home.

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Stanford's Girl-I like sea days but five each way was too many for us. I think one factor was the weather. The first 2+ days out of San Diego the weather was very bad. The ship was really rockin' and rollin' with warnings not to go out on open decks due to the strong winds and this limits activities. There were quite a few folks who just stayed in their cabins. The following two days were a bit calmer but still windy, which made walking on the Promendade Deck a problem. On the return, the travel was predominantly smoother, but still with some considerable wind and some rolling. So, had the weather been perfect, perhaps the sea days would have been more desirable.

 

Thanks to the sliding dome over the Lido Pool, even on fairly gloomy days you can lay by the pool and we did this alot. I read alot and listened to music with my headphones. I did not earlier mention three very interesting people who were out by the Lido pool each day. Because we did not have the pleasure to meet any of them, we developed names for each. Princess was a woman who had too much to stuff into her bathing suit and was always around the pool. She insisted that the staff open and continually adjust the opening of the mechanical cover over the pool so she had unfiltered sun. One day, the other folks had finally had enough and a chorus of "close it" went up due to the winds from having it open. If she wanted open air, why not just go to the Navigation Deck pool? Another interesting man (Jethro) was probably in his forties and was dressed each day from head to toe in camoflage (sp?). I kind of envied his easy choice of what to wear each day, although not enough to relive my Army days. When he would change to go in the pool, even his swimsuit was camoflage. Then there was an apparently very nice senior woman (Madam) who wore a swimsuit that was transparent when wet. Another woman went up to her after she was leaving the spa and asked if she knew that people could see right through her swimsuit, and she replied "if they did not want that to happen, they would not have made it that way." They all helped to make the cruise interesting and we probably would not have noticed them at all had we not had the 10 sea days.

 

Again, a wonderful ship and staff, and many interesting passengers.

 

Gary

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Gary,

 

Thanks for the update. I think of 5 days of rockin' and rollin' would get a little old real fast. Maybe a Caribbean B2B would be a better idea. I have to agree about loving to people watch. There are always one or two that make it an "interesting" cruise.;)

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