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Saphire

Discovering Nieuw Statendam: March 31 - April 7

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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!
 

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Saphire, thank you for your review. My adult daughter and I sail this same route on Sunday. I am mobility challenged and would like to know if there are chairs outside the dining room where I could sit if there is a wait. Does anyone working in the Lido offer to assist handicapped cruisers to carry their plates?  Again, thank you for taking the time to write this review. Joyce

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Hello Joyce, I know the Lido is very accommodating to cruisers needing assistance, there are many staff nearby to help. The 'anytime' dining room does have chairs around the corner of the elevators if you need to wait for a table. I am unsure of the arrangement up stairs in the 'fixed' dining area. Enjoy your cruise!

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Great review! I was on the week before you - and had the same kind of Pinnacle experience.  So much so that I complained at Customer Service over it.  We had an early seating but the service was atrocious. I am not sure what's going on there.  The Tamarind was a total delight. I wish we had booked another night there.  Something to look forward to for next time!!

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Sorry to hear about the service in the Pinnacle.  My wife and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary on this ship in June and have booked the Pinnacle for this special day. I hope they get it together! 

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Thank you for your review.

 

Glad you enjoyed your cruise in spite of the service and food in the Pinnacle Grill.

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My sister in law are going on the Nieuw Statendam in November.  I hope they offer the signature suite to us, I will snap it up if we do!  Thanks for the review!😀🚢

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good review! We were there with you - I'm sure we crossed paths!

 

We too were unimpressed with Pinnacle. Our food was good but service was slooowww.

 

It was our first time at Half Moon Cay - the process of getting back to the ship & the long food/bar queues soured our experience. I've since learned that having to ships in port is not typical - I'm sure it would be better if it was just one.

 

 

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Thank you for your review!  Sorry to hear about the Pinnacle Grill dinner -- good to hear that lunch was better -- we've always loved lunch in the Pinnacle.  We'll be aboard the NS for 40 days this fall.  I guess we'll try dinner in the Pinnacle early on so we'll know whether or not to book again!  Thanks again.

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Thank you for your review. I ate in the  Pinnacle on this ship six weeks ago and had a wonderful steak and great service.

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On 4/9/2019 at 3:11 PM, Saphire said:
On 4/9/2019 at 3:11 PM, Saphire said:

 

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.
 
 
 
 

 

Thanks for your review.  We are sailing the same itinerary this Sunday. In Grand Turk how long of a walk is it to Gov Beach? Is it more secluded? I have only seen the videos of the beach at Margaritaville online and it looks a bit chaotic to me. GT is the only port we have no excursions booked.  Also, were they selling day passes to the spa area or only weekly passes? I was looking forward to relaxing and reading a book almost daily on those cozy, heated chairs.... but if it is loud I may change my mind.

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Hi kaiiak, 

 

The walk to Governor's beach is easy, about 15 minutes from the pier. It is to the left of the ship one you disembark. You can either walk down the beach and cut through to the main road, or walk to the main road from the pier, either way it is direct to the beach and once there you can see your ship. There are no facilities except for one bathroom. But the beach is quiet, pristine and peaceful. This year there were a few more people there, we chatted with them along the road and learned they had read about it on Cruise Critic. Other years, we have been the only ones. If you like a more secluded experience vs. the pandemonium of Margaritaville, this is for you.
 
I did not see a day pass offered on our cruise as I have other years, but I suspect it depends on the sales of the weekly pass. I did see a few offers for "Lady's Day/Night Out" which included a pass for the afternoon/evening, bundled with a few other services. If you decide on the weekly pass, there are few tile loungers against a wall with a reading light attached, and I determined these were the best as they were up against a wall, therefore blocking some of the noise from the other rooms.
 
Have fun and enjoy your cruise!!!

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22 hours ago, Saphire said:

 

 

Hi kaiiak, 

 

The walk to Governor's beach is easy, about 15 minutes from the pier. It is to the left of the ship one you disembark. You can either walk down the beach and cut through to the main road, or walk to the main road from the pier, either way it is direct to the beach and once there you can see your ship. There are no facilities except for one bathroom. But the beach is quiet, pristine and peaceful. This year there were a few more people there, we chatted with them along the road and learned they had read about it on Cruise Critic. Other years, we have been the only ones. If you like a more secluded experience vs. the pandemonium of Margaritaville, this is for you.
 
I did not see a day pass offered on our cruise as I have other years, but I suspect it depends on the sales of the weekly pass. I did see a few offers for "Lady's Day/Night Out" which included a pass for the afternoon/evening, bundled with a few other services. If you decide on the weekly pass, there are few tile loungers against a wall with a reading light attached, and I determined these were the best as they were up against a wall, therefore blocking some of the noise from the other rooms.
 
Have fun and enjoy your cruise!!!

Gov Beach sounds perfect. Thanks for all your info. The ladies night may be perfect for the spa area if they offer it.

 

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We were also on the NS for the March 31st cruise.  I agree with everything Saphire said. We may have been at the Pinnacle the same night as you.  Service was unbelievably slow. For some reason our server came and prepared our Caesar salad table side but realized we hadn't received our appetizers yet, and brought the cart with our salads back to the kitchen. It took another 15 minutes to get our appetizers, after which we finally got our salads (presumably the ones prepared table side about 1/2 hour earlier). Overall the dinner took well more than 2 hours.  We weren't really that hungry for our main course and didn't have dessert.

 

Outside of that, everything on the NS was tremendous.  Our Veranda cabin, the food (Lido and MDR), the service, it was all top notch!  The dinners at Canaletto and Tamarind were great as was the service!  We loved the islands, especially Half Moon Cay. 

 

We enjoyed the band in the Rolling Stone rock room and BB King's. I agree that both of those venues and the World Stage Stage need to be larger to accommodate the crowds.

 

We would go on the Nieuw Statendam again without hesitation!

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Here are some pictures of the beautiful Signature Suite of Nieuw Stantendam.

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