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Nieuw Statendam – a beautiful ship but not necessarily better.


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I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most recently from 2 June to 23 June the Norwegian fjords on the Nieuw Statendam.

My purpose in this review is not to deal with every aspect of the cruise on NS, as most topics are well covered in the many reviews published since its launch. It suffices to say she is a beautiful ship, well designed in all respects (other than the closed in effect of the Promenade Deck), and is tastefully finished in its furnishing and art works. She is operated like a well- oiled machine. Her Officers and crew do an amazing job.

 Rather my purpose is to give my opinion on a few issues, with which some may disagree, but in relation to which, if there are enough others who agree, may give HAL cause to make some changes which I think could alter the experience of future passengers on the NS very much for the better.

For me the problem with the NS does not lie in any way with the ship or its crew. The problem is with the passengers. Those we came in contact with were very nice people – it is just there were too many of them. In the first 7 day leg of the cruise they had not learned how to spread more evenly between the many venues. Everywhere seemed crowded. During the second 14 day leg passengers were definitely better distributed but it was still not easy to find a table in the Lido during peak periods (we were in a party of 4 which probably made it a little more difficult) and there were still queues waiting to be allocated tables in the Main Dining Room. We also found during both parts of the cruise that it was difficult to find a quiet place to play cards or just to relax and enjoy the quiet of ocean travel. The effect for me, compared to previous cruises on the Eurodam, Noordam and Volendam, was a sense that the somewhat illusory feeling of a degree of some exclusivity which HAL managed to create on those ships, had been lost.

There are a few things which could be done to address some of these issues.

 Our observation was that the covered front pool area was much underutilized except during meal hours. The reason for this was noise. Documentaries were often shown on the large screen during various times of the day. Very few people seemed interested in them but everyone had to deal with the blaring sound which made conversation difficult. Other than meal times this large seating area was virtually deserted. At night when movies were shown there was often no more than 4 or 5 people watching. On previous cruises we would often sit in this area and just enjoy the world going by.

I would suggest that the large screen and sound system not be used at all during the day. This will take pressure off other areas. Thought might be given to whether there is any benefit in showing films at night on cruises to colder areas or whether some better use could be made of the area.

During the day we also experienced that talks were given in public lounge areas. On one occasion a talk was being given using a public address system which was so loud you could not hear yourself think in the adjoining lounge area. We and others got up and vacated the lounge. This could be easily avoided by ensuring any talks are conducted in isolated areas or closed rooms.

Although we had an overall very enjoyable cruise I personally will be unlikely to cruise again on the NS or the Koningsdam because of the sense of loss of exclusivity to which I have referred. I query whether cruise lines have made the right decisions in the move to bigger and bigger ships. It is now well known that Amsterdam has concerns about the flood of tourists associated with cruise ships and that Venice is concerned about the effect of cruise ships. Bergen now intends to place limits on the number of tourists which may visit that city. I love cruising and will remain loyal to HAL for as long as possible because I think it is a very well- run company, which trains its staff to serve its clients well and which in my experience has always been responsive to any concerns raised. But for now my future cruising will be restricted to HAL’s smaller ships.   

 

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We have been on the Koningsdam for a total of 35 days.  We too, felt that the large screen in the pool area was an intrusion to relaxing, reading and napping.  We said several times to each other that it was too bad that the sound couldn't be sent to ear buds or earphones.  The only time we really saw anyone watching the screen in the day time was when one of the BBC films was being shown and then it seemed there were less than two dozen people interested in watching.  We didn't go up to the pool area after dinner so can't comment on the viewership in the evenings.

 

Using audio systems in open areas does bleed into adjoining spaces and it effectively ties up both.  If the ship is running full, these things make a difference.  

 

The promenade deck was another place that one could relax, read, have conversation and nap.   It was an area close to the water where you could lose yourself in the sound of the water, the waves, the sunlight glistening on the water and watching  the arrival of your next port of call.   We feel the loss of that space each time we are on a ship that no longer has that available.  

 

We understand your observation and feel small changes could make a lot of difference.

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3 hours ago, Sailnsurf said:

I am a loyal HAL fan, not the most experienced cruiser, but have completed 3 back to back cruises and one re-positioning cruise, covering the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Western Europe, Baltic countries, Japan to Alaska and most recently from 2 June to 23 June the Norwegian fjords on the Nieuw Statendam.

 

My purpose in this review is not to deal with every aspect of the cruise on NS, as most topics are well covered in the many reviews published since its launch. It suffices to say she is a beautiful ship, well designed in all respects (other than the closed in effect of the Promenade Deck), and is tastefully finished in its furnishing and art works. She is operated like a well- oiled machine. Her Officers and crew do an amazing job.

 

 Rather my purpose is to give my opinion on a few issues, with which some may disagree, but in relation to which, if there are enough others who agree, may give HAL cause to make some changes which I think could alter the experience of future passengers on the NS very much for the better.

 

For me the problem with the NS does not lie in any way with the ship or its crew. The problem is with the passengers. Those we came in contact with were very nice people – it is just there were too many of them. In the first 7 day leg of the cruise they had not learned how to spread more evenly between the many venues. Everywhere seemed crowded. During the second 14 day leg passengers were definitely better distributed but it was still not easy to find a table in the Lido during peak periods (we were in a party of 4 which probably made it a little more difficult) and there were still queues waiting to be allocated tables in the Main Dining Room. We also found during both parts of the cruise that it was difficult to find a quiet place to play cards or just to relax and enjoy the quiet of ocean travel. The effect for me, compared to previous cruises on the Eurodam, Noordam and Volendam, was a sense that the somewhat illusory feeling of a degree of some exclusivity which HAL managed to create on those ships, had been lost.

 

There are a few things which could be done to address some of these issues.

 

 Our observation was that the covered front pool area was much underutilized except during meal hours. The reason for this was noise. Documentaries were often shown on the large screen during various times of the day. Very few people seemed interested in them but everyone had to deal with the blaring sound which made conversation difficult. Other than meal times this large seating area was virtually deserted. At night when movies were shown there was often no more than 4 or 5 people watching. On previous cruises we would often sit in this area and just enjoy the world going by.

 

I would suggest that the large screen and sound system not be used at all during the day. This will take pressure off other areas. Thought might be given to whether there is any benefit in showing films at night on cruises to colder areas or whether some better use could be made of the area.

 

During the day we also experienced that talks were given in public lounge areas. On one occasion a talk was being given using a public address system which was so loud you could not hear yourself think in the adjoining lounge area. We and others got up and vacated the lounge. This could be easily avoided by ensuring any talks are conducted in isolated areas or closed rooms.

 

Although we had an overall very enjoyable cruise I personally will be unlikely to cruise again on the NS or the Koningsdam because of the sense of loss of exclusivity to which I have referred. I query whether cruise lines have made the right decisions in the move to bigger and bigger ships. It is now well known that Amsterdam has concerns about the flood of tourists associated with cruise ships and that Venice is concerned about the effect of cruise ships. Bergen now intends to place limits on the number of tourists which may visit that city. I love cruising and will remain loyal to HAL for as long as possible because I think it is a very well- run company, which trains its staff to serve its clients well and which in my experience has always been responsive to any concerns raised. But for now my future cruising will be restricted to HAL’s smaller ships.   

 

 

 

 I have been sailing with HAL since November of 1996.  I have been on both the Koningsdam and the Nieuw Statendam and I would agree that the Pinnacle Class ships are different and am not that fond of these ships.  I much prefer the Signature, Vista and R Class ships.. The Pinnacle ships do not have the Holland America "feel".

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Thanks for your observations. DH and I will be sailing on the Nieuw Statendam in Dec., our first time on a Pinnacle Class HAL ship. We do not use the pool areas, so we'll avoid those issues. We eat breakfasts in our cabins and eat lunches at non-peak times to try to avoid Lido crowds. Hopefully, these things will work for us on the NS.

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🙄 OH MY! Doing a 24 day cruise on Koningsdam 2021! We love the smaller HAL ships so unfortunately the itinerary we wanted than was Koningsdam! We will enjoy our NS and probably be on balcony a lot! Will see. Not happy with the narrow promenade but who knows. 

Thank you for your honest review!

Denise😊

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I was on the 14 day segment of the same cruise. I personally prefer the pinnacle class ships as I find them just big enough for myself.  I particularly enjoy the evening movies on the big screen and watched them most evenings along with quite a few others. I never personally saw the pool area empty during the day but maybe we just passed at different times ... 

 

It’s a case of personal taste I guess and what you enjoy doing with your time at sea. I swim in the outdoor pool, gym, thermal suite, walkthe prom deck  and read on one of those big beds on the upper deck above the lido pool. I also found a lovely quiet spot to work on my own writing during the day and evening but I’m keeping that spot to myself 😉

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I was also on from June 9-23.  Had a fabulous time!

 

While we always were able to find seats during our meal times in the Lido or pool area (unlike other ships), I agree that sometimes the movie noise at the pool was blaringly loud.  We watched a couple, and enjoyed the seating areas very much.  Liked how the NY Deli had special movie snacks.  

 

We did find some quiet places and enjoyed them.

 

We would attend the 8pm Show.  I have never been on a cruise where if you weren’t 15-20 minutes early, you might not get a seat:). One night, although 15 minutes early, the CD was at the door telling guests to return at 10pm, as they were at maximum capacity.  The 10pm show got full, too.  

 

I did miss the old Promenade Decks.  We still were able to walk around, but I miss the teak chairs and unobstructed views.

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Well, I chose to book the 21-day combined Caribbean Wayfarer/Seafarer on the NS over the Zaandam doing the same itinerary, for us/mom/bro/SIL because my brother was seasick on the Zaandam in Gulf of Alaska. And because none of us have ever been on the Pinnacle class. We're in connecting Verandahs so at least we will have a quiet place to go!

 

But interesting to read others' experiences, thanks.

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We are booked on the Koningsdam for an 18 day cruise to Hawaii from San Diego in February of 2021. I have enjoyed smaller HAL ships and do have some concerns over how many passengers the new ships carry. That said, I think the additional music venues on the larger ships will be a plus. I did enjoy our time on the Nieuw Amsterdam in the evenings; especially BB Kings Lounge and Lincoln Center Stage. It sounds like the Koningsdam and the Nieuw Statendam will even have more music venues to choose from on the music walk.

I have seen a couple YouTube videos that take you all away around the promenade deck on the Koningsdam and the changes seem to be a toss-up for me. Since I generally used the promenade deck to walk and enjoy the scenery near the water, I won't miss the loungers, but I think I will miss the unobstructed views that are more prevalent on the smaller ships.

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5 minutes ago, HAL4NOW said:

 

I have seen a couple YouTube videos that take you all away around the promenade deck on the Koningsdam and the changes seem to be a toss-up for me. Since I generally used the promenade deck to walk and enjoy the scenery near the water, I won't miss the loungers, but I think I will miss the unobstructed views that are more prevalent on the smaller ships.

 

I have walked around that promenade deck on the Kdam a whole lot (enough to rack up 15,000 steps on sea days) and it was fine.  Yes, there are some narrow places and you have to sort of maneuver around people from time to time, and it's always nice when everyone walks in the same direction (!!), but you see plenty of ocean. 

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