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sailawaybellaluna

Photo Review of our Spring Break Aboard the Nieuw Statendam!

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Hello fellow cruisers! We recently returned from a 7-night voyage on the Nieuw Statendam, and I thought I would try and write a little photo review to share with you!

 

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Just testing this photo...More to come!

 

 

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Last year our family went on the Rotterdam during the first week of April for our family's Spring Break, and we absolutely loved it! (Review in signature).

 

As soon as we returned, I caught wind that Holland America was building a new ship - the Nieuw Statendam. I looked into the itineraries for our 2019 Spring Break, and found an amazing deal, so I booked it! We reserved roughly 11 months out...

 

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A little about us: my husband and I are in our late 30's with two kids (ages 3 and 9). This was my 26th cruise, my husband's 17th (he had never been on a cruise until meeting me 🙂 ), my son's 12th and my daughter's 6th! We also traveled along with my mom and dad, who loved cruising!

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We set out of LA super early the day before our cruise. We flew non-stop to Fort Lauderdale, arriving around 3:30pm in the afternoon.

 

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Upon arrival we grabbed an UberXL to the Embassy Suites on 17th Street. I had read a lot about this hotel on CC and Tripadvisor, and thought it looked decent. It had free breakfast, free happy hour and what appeared to be a nice pool, so we went for it! Now the Saturday just before Spring Break (where most of the country is traveling!), the hotel prices were astronomical! I spent months tracking them on various websites, so we bit the bullet and just booked the Embassy. My parents' room cost $323 (!) and we had Hilton points we used for our room.

 

It was a quick drive both to the port and from the airport, but I wouldn't stay there again...more about that below.

 

When we went to check in, we were given keys to our rooms and immediately headed up to the 9th floor. Only to find one room completely dirty, and housekeeping just beginning to work in the other one. Typically that wouldn't be a huge deal, but it was nearing 4:30pm, so we certainly weren't trying to check-in early. We'd also been up since 3am, and our kids had traveled all day, so we were looking forward to changing out of our airplane clothes and settling in.  After heading up and down a few times to speak with the front desk, the rooms were finally ready. The gal at the front desk was quite frustrated and gave me $50 in restaurant vouchers to make up for the inconvenience. I appreciated that and thought it was a nice gesture.

 

Now the rooms...I'm not sure if it was just the floor we were on, but they were very dated and felt quite dirty. 😞 In fact, I made the kids wear flip flops and not walk on the carpet barefoot. Ugh. Our room was very humid and musty smelling with a lot of peeling paint and mold in the bathroom. On the plus side, they were extremely spacious, and it was nice having a "living room" area for the kids to play and watch tv!

 

After freshening up, we headed down to the pool area. Unfortunately it had become pretty overcast, so we didn't swim. The pool area is pretty, with a little koi pond nearby. Although you're surrounded my streets and parking lots (not ocean views), it was serene. 

 

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I believe it was at 5 or 5:30pm that the manager's reception / happy hour started. There was immediately a huge queue for drinks, and a little food table which had typical bar snacks. Potato chips, popcorn, cucumbers, a bean salad, and some crudites with dressing.

 

We had a few snacks and sat in the restaurant to order dinner. After all, we had $50 in vouchers to use up! We were pretty tired, and since the weather had turned, we decided not to venture out to the 15th Street Fisheries as originally planned...

 

More to come...

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Thanks for the heads up on the hotel, we were going to book this hotel for our NS March 2021 cruise as I liked the pool as well, but I think we will be re-thinking this.........................looking forward to the rest of your review......

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We stayed at the Embassy Suites once and also are a family of 4.  I remember the bathroom being small but no mold.  The elevators were slow but breakfast had a good selection and there was a lot we could walk to for lunch and dinner.  We usually skip manager receptions since I hate crowds,

 

looking forward to your review,

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Looking forward to the rest of your review!

Your thoughts about Embassy Suites mirrors our experience a few years ago. Apparently things have not improved and we will never stay there again.  The first room they gave us reeked of smoke, the second room had tiny bugs all over the inside of the windows, it wasn't very clean, and fixtures were literally falling off the bathroom walls.  We didn't even get an apology much less any meal credit. No responses to Trip Advisor reviews either.  

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Posted (edited)

So happy to see your new review thread!!

We too were very disappointed in the Embassy Suites this last trip in Feb. We had stayed there several times before without issue.This time we arrived well before 4pm check in and our room still wasn't ready until 5pm and we didn't even get an apology. The room was dated and musty and not worth the near $400 we spent. The morning of checkout was sheer madness. Too few elevators (2 were out oforder) and they were so small. My mil who was with us has some mobility issues and those elevators were a nightmare. We will not be staying there again either. We will spend less elsewhere and rent a car for the convenience. 

Edited by fatcat04

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The next morning I was up bright and early because I was so excited to get onboard!

 

We headed down to breakfast, and oh my goodness, it was packed! The line for the hot food (eggs / bacon / sausage and omelettes) was enormous! Probably 40 people long by the time we hopped into it at 8:15am, but it did move rather quickly. I'm not a buffet person anyway - I find with young kids, it's actually more difficult to balance the plates and everyone always wants something different. But this breakfast was so chaotic! On one side were the cereals/milk and juices. But unfortunately, they had run out of bowls and spoons. So you constantly had people jumping into the hot food line to ask or search for these items. I'm sure on a Tuesday or Wednesday when they're not dealing with TONS of ships in port, the breakfast is probably a great experience! But for us, it was a little stressful. Once we got our food, tables were sparse and it wasn't easy to find a place to sit all together!

 

After eating and running up to finish getting packed and ready, we checked out at 11am to head to the ship.  As soon as we descended into the lobby with our luggage, it was a madhouse! Not an empty chair anywhere, and no space to maneuver our luggage around! I didn't realize the Embassy Suites would be so hoppin'! 🙂 The last time I cruised out of Fort Lauderdale in 2017, I stayed at the Hilton FL Marina, and I would choose that again in a heartbeat over the Embassy Suites!

 

Anyhow, we checked out, made it to the curb, and our two Ubers quickly arrived to take us to the port.

 

Now the port is just a short distance away, but unfortunately, our Uber driver got lost taking us there! Upon arriving at the port, he wouldn't show his waybill or license (he didn't seem to be understanding what was being requested), so the port authority tried turning us around and refusing us entry! Gah. Luckily she took pity on us and tried helping him. My husband also tried speaking to him in his native language, and I believe he understood what was required so we could finally get in. I'm not sure he'd ever taken passengers to the port before! Perhaps he's a new Uber driver?!

 

Anyhow, despite all the chaos, we arrived and I was so excited!!! We quickly gave all of our luggage to the porters, and got in line with our passports, water and wine.

 

The check-in process was very smooth and efficient! One surprise I did find was that my key card showed dinner at 5pm! That seemed awfully early to me, and I had just called and HAL had confirmed that we had early dining at 6pm, but that the dining room would open at 5:45pm. I had also called to see if I could get my parents in early dining with us (they had anytime), but was told it wasn't possible. To our surprise, they ended up with 5pm dining printed on their cards as well! 🙂 Upon getting onboard, I did speak with the dining staff and was told they would hold our table until 5:30pm each evening. That worked out perfectly for us! 5pm would have been just a tad too early on port days!

 

Anyhow, more to come as we find our cabin and explore the ship!!

 

 

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When I booked this cruise last year, I got a steal on the VH category balcony cabin. It was "partially obstructed". I had spent quite a bit of time looking at the deck plans and similar cabins on the Konningsdam (sister ship). I chose 4052. 

 

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To be honest, upon entering the room I felt a little disappointed at just how obstructed this view was!  Now this is no one's fault except my own! I'd never taken the risk with an obstructed cabin, but for the price, I thought I'd try it! We actually really enjoy sitting on the balcony early in the morning and late at night after our kids go to sleep, so for us, it wasn't worth the discounted price. I don't think I'd choose this category again. Also, nearly every day there was work happening out there. One morning all the ropes were being soaked in something. Another morning I was out there in my robe and hot rollers, only to find men hopping in each of the life boats and running the engines for 10 minutes or so each, checking things. 🙂 Another day we had returned from port and I was out there in my swimsuit, only to look directly in front of me and have a conversation with a nice gentleman painting the white metal work. Haha. I appreciate that they were keeping everything so beautifully maintained, but it's a no from me on the VH category in the future!!!

 

The cabins were simply decorated and felt immaculate and well maintained! I liked the sleek decor, and thought the bathroom was just beautiful! Yay for no shower curtains!

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Now I will say, this cabin was SMALL. Extremely small. Much smaller than the cabin we had on the Rotterdam. Like I mentioned, we've cruised a lot with our kids, but this may be the smallest cabin we've ever had. It was TIGHT!

 

We had requested a portable crib for our daughter, but honestly, we didn't have a place to open it and set it up! We had the small twin sofa bed, and the pull down. Unfortunately, the pull down is directly over the king bed. Since I suffered a concussion last year, I was REALLY nervous about this! Especially if I needed to get up during the night and potentially forgot it was there. Typically I've seen the pull down over the couch in the sitting area. So, the room configuration was a bit different and not ideal for 4 passengers...

 

When the couch was open into a bed, you could not access the balcony or the vanity area. You really couldn't walk anywhere! It was a little frustrating. I would have preferred the king bed flush against the window/balcony and the couch near the bar/fridge area with the pull down above it. As it was, we were constantly jumping on beds to move around...

 

This didn't ruin our cruise by any means, but just something to think about if you have a larger family or do require a crib!

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Yes, the 3rd and 4th bed configuration in HAL balcony rooms makes no sense to me either. I have never understood why they didn't place the queen bed near the balcony doors and a flip over sofa bed (like in SS cabins on the Vista ships) and pull down  bunk nearer the bath. That worked better for us on our Carnival cruise. 

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I am enjoying your review.

 

We have stayed at the Embassy Suites both pre and post cruise many times for years and years.  I am surprised to learn that it has gone downhill.

 

 

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Loved your last year's review - looking forward to your account as the trip went on.  Hope things got better as the trip went on.

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7 hours ago, 1of4 said:

We stayed at the Embassy Suites once and also are a family of 4.  I remember the bathroom being small but no mold.  The elevators were slow but breakfast had a good selection and there was a lot we could walk to for lunch and dinner.  We usually skip manager receptions since I hate crowds,

 

looking forward to your review,

Good call skipping the manager receiption! I'm not a fan of crowds either. Perhaps if the weather had been a bit better, people would have spread out a little more, sitting outside and such!

 

And yes, the elevators got us ready for being on board a ship! Slow!

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7 hours ago, doone said:

Thanks for the heads up on the hotel, we were going to book this hotel for our NS March 2021 cruise as I liked the pool as well, but I think we will be re-thinking this.........................looking forward to the rest of your review......

Depending on when you're going in March, hopefully prices will be a bit more reasonable and you'll have some additional options. The last week of March is hard!

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4 hours ago, fatcat04 said:

Yes, the 3rd and 4th bed configuration in HAL balcony rooms makes no sense to me either. I have never understood why they didn't place the queen bed near the balcony doors and a flip over sofa bed (like in SS cabins on the Vista ships) and pull down  bunk nearer the bath. That worked better for us on our Carnival cruise. 

Agree with you completely! While I love so much of the HAL cruising experience compared to Carnival, Carnival's cabins and layout are so spacious and convenient on most all the ships I've been on!

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37 minutes ago, ottahand7 said:

Loved your last year's review - looking forward to your account as the trip went on.  Hope things got better as the trip went on.

Thanks so much! 

 

I just reread my entries above, and I do sound like a negative Nellie! 🙂

 

It was a great trip overall! More to come...

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Yep.  HAL just doesn’t get quad cabin design in veranda cabins.  Why they don’t use the flip over sofa mattresses that are used in ocean view and insides is beyond me with the Pullman over the sofa like on Princess and Disney.  If the sofa bed was closer to the bathroom then it would  block bathroom access at night.  Just nuts.

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11 minutes ago, 1of4 said:

Yep.  HAL just doesn’t get quad cabin design in veranda cabins.  Why they don’t use the flip over sofa mattresses that are used in ocean view and insides is beyond me with the Pullman over the sofa like on Princess and Disney.  If the sofa bed was closer to the bathroom then it would  block bathroom access at night.  Just nuts.

And I think in Vista Suites on the Pinnacle ships they chose that configuration with the pull out sofa... so again, blocked and stumbling over a mattress to get to the bath. And they still put the pullman over the main bed. Whoever designs this stuff should have to live in it for a week with three other people as a trial run.

If Carnival gets triple and quad configuration so well, why doesn't HAL? 

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One thing I loved about this sailing is that we were onboard so quickly, and our cabin was ready for us! It couldn't have been past noon! I was so happy about this. It was great to drop off our bags, bottled water and wine!

 

We went to explore the ship and find some food for lunch! On this particular day, we grabbed salads and pasta in the Lido and ate outside at the aft of the ship. I always love peeking at the other ships in port! That's the Celebrity Edge we're looking at directly behind us, with the orange restaurant that goes up and down!

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The ship was just gorgeous! It was pristine and everything was beautiful! I noticed the large fresh floral arrangements in many of the common areas, which were really stunning!

 

Grand Dutch Cafe: lovely little cafe with free snacks/sandwiches/soups and beers and espresso drinks for charge.

 

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BB King's Music Venue: Amazing music here every night, alternating between blues and classical music from Lincoln Center!

 

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The Atrium:

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And, my welcome aboard glass of chardonnay!

 

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More to come...

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As we continued exploring, one area I really loved was the cafe & Explorations Central area on Deck 12! There were board games, puzzles, books, etc up there and the views were stunning! The coffee up there was also delicious and very well made!

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After relaxing up there for a bit, we had to take a stroll and check out the casino! My dad and I enjoy losing $ on the slot machines when we cruise together. 😉

 

This is the staircase leading from the casino down to Billboard Onboard and the Rolling Stone Rock Room musical venues.

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More to come...

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I am enjoying your review. I had a room on Deck 8 in late February.

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Enjoying your reports, thanks for sharing your photos.

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I loved your trip review you did last year— it was very helpful to us as we took our (then 4 year old!) son on his first HAL cruise last November. Seeing your pictures and reading all the details was so helpful to me before— thank you!!! AND we are booked on Nieuw Statendam for Thanksgiving this year!!! So I’m loving your NS review! Thank you so much for posting— I especially love all of your remarks geared towards what works with children/families on HAL. Super helpful! 👍 

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19 hours ago, sailawaybellaluna said:

When I booked this cruise last year, I got a steal on the VH category balcony cabin. It was "partially obstructed". I had spent quite a bit of time looking at the deck plans and similar cabins on the Konningsdam (sister ship). I chose 4052. 

 

enhance

 

To be honest, upon entering the room I felt a little disappointed at just how obstructed this view was!  Now this is no one's fault except my own! I'd never taken the risk with an obstructed cabin, but for the price, I thought I'd try it! We actually really enjoy sitting on the balcony early in the morning and late at night after our kids go to sleep, so for us, it wasn't worth the discounted price. I don't think I'd choose this category again. Also, nearly every day there was work happening out there. One morning all the ropes were being soaked in something. Another morning I was out there in my robe and hot rollers, only to find men hopping in each of the life boats and running the engines for 10 minutes or so each, checking things. 🙂 Another day we had returned from port and I was out there in my swimsuit, only to look directly in front of me and have a conversation with a nice gentleman painting the white metal work. Haha. I appreciate that they were keeping everything so beautifully maintained, but it's a no from me on the VH category in the future!!!

 

The cabins were simply decorated and felt immaculate and well maintained! I liked the sleek decor, and thought the bathroom was just beautiful! Yay for no shower curtains!

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Now I will say, this cabin was SMALL. Extremely small. Much smaller than the cabin we had on the Rotterdam. Like I mentioned, we've cruised a lot with our kids, but this may be the smallest cabin we've ever had. It was TIGHT!

 

We had requested a portable crib for our daughter, but honestly, we didn't have a place to open it and set it up! We had the small twin sofa bed, and the pull down. Unfortunately, the pull down is directly over the king bed. Since I suffered a concussion last year, I was REALLY nervous about this! Especially if I needed to get up during the night and potentially forgot it was there. Typically I've seen the pull down over the couch in the sitting area. So, the room configuration was a bit different and not ideal for 4 passengers...

 

When the couch was open into a bed, you could not access the balcony or the vanity area. You really couldn't walk anywhere! It was a little frustrating. I would have preferred the king bed flush against the window/balcony and the couch near the bar/fridge area with the pull down above it. As it was, we were constantly jumping on beds to move around...

 

This didn't ruin our cruise by any means, but just something to think about if you have a larger family or do require a crib!

Nice report and photos. That cabin looks positively spacious compared to the balcony cabins on Princess' ships. At least there is a place to sit! 
We'll be on NS next year for a transatlantic, so your photos and reports are quite useful. Thank you!

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