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Review of 2/23 E. Caribbean on Nieuw Statendam

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My wife and I recently disembarked from the above cruise.  In short – and to save you the trouble of reading what follows, we will state that the cruise was absolutely wonderful, and we would have to search for any negative points.

 

The Ship.  We had reservations about cruising on a ship as large as Nieuw Statendam, having in the past experienced Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, and Zuiderdam.  Quite frankly, those concerns were completely unjustified.  We simply loved this ship – its décor, cleanliness, “newness,” the extra venues, and the fact that at no time did it seem crowded.  Rather, the public spaces seem wider and brighter, and we felt much less confined than on the smaller ships.  It will be difficult for us to sail on anything other than a Pinnacle Class ship in the future.

 

Reservations.  We used the services of our HAL PCC, and found that she did a creditable and knowledgeable job as have her predecessors with Holland America.  We also made various reservations online, and had no trouble doing so.  Finally, we dealt with other agents by telephone in reserving a cabana and purchasing an “upsell,” and both were pleasant and patient.

 

Embarkation/Disembarkation.  We experienced no trouble with respect to checking in and leaving the ship at the end of the cruise (sad though that was!).   The ease with which we did so was undoubtedly aided by our having opted for a Neptune suite.   It is also worth noting that we used the Luggage Direct program and found it to be wonderful as has always been the case in the past. 

 

Accommodations.  We had initially booked a midship veranda cabin, but wasted no time in accepting an upsell to a Neptune when it was offered via email a week or so before the cruise.  We opted for one of the two available – an aft cabin with a wraparound balcony.   We had enjoyed this cabin location in the past and loved it.  Although the ship’s movement was a bit more apparent at this location, the veranda was wonderful, as was the room itself.  

 

Club Orange.  We initially purchased Club Orange, because we had not used it in the past and wanted to sample it on a Pinnacle-class ship.  Fortunately, the cost of Club Orange was deducted from the additional price charged for the Neptune when we opted for the upgrade.  In any event, we enjoyed Club Orange thoroughly, although I am not sure that it is truly worth the price.  The staff was wonderful,  the food was well prepared and beautifully presented, and I enjoyed watching the chef handling the preparation of breakfast and final touches as to dinner.   Still, the main dining room has always worked well for us and we will probably not opt for Club Orange in the future unless it is offered along with some other upsell.  

 

Lido, etc.  We liked the bright appearance and roominess of the Lido, and found the food to be very good for its kind.  We always look forward to Dive-In burgers, and ordered those immediately upon boarding the ship.  The pizza was also decent.  The Reuben from the deli was good, but would have been much better had it been heated.  Oddly enough, the same cold Reuben was my very first lunch on Holland America in 2012 – it was cold then too!

 

Sel de Mer.  We skipped Pinnacle and Tamarind in favor of a more expensive blowout at Sel de Mer.  We have dined there on three prior occasions.  The first trip was wonderful, and the second was frankly pretty poor – so much so that we debated whether to spend the money on this trip.  We decided to do so, and I am pleased to report that the ambiance, food, and service were all outstanding.  

 

Grand Dutch Café.  This was a wonderful addition, although we attempted to avoid it whenever possible because of the calories inherent in the dishes offered!

 

Retreat Cabana and Thermal Suite.  We purchased both of these amenities before the cruise.  The cabana was beautiful, as was the service and willingness to procure drinks and food.  I also enjoyed the thermal suite.  However, the fact that the cabana was on deck 12 and the thermal suite on deck 9 meant that I didn’t use it as frequently as I had the lido cabanas and thermal suite on the Eurodamand Nieuw Amsterdam.  Frankly, the need to travel up and down 3 flights was just not worth the trouble.  Although most would disagree, I will also confess to missing the hustle and bustle of the lido cabana on the pool deck.

 

Signature Beverage Package.  We do not consume enough beverages to warrant this purchase, but I nonetheless like it because there is no need to worry about unpleasant surprises at the end of the trip when the bar and wine bill is received.  While the wine on the SBP is probably not terribly sophisticated, the bourbon selection was excellent, as were the mixed drinks preferred by my wife.

 

Bars.  We exclusively patronized the Ocean Bar for pre- and post-dinner cocktails.  This was a wonderfully comfortable area, and we enjoyed joking around with the staff as they managed to keep the throng happy headed to and from dinner.  

 

Shops.  Frankly, we saw little in the shops of interest, beyond buying a couple of Nieuw Statendam commemorative glasses that were on sale.

 

Neptune Lounge.  We have used and enjoyed this area in the past, but on this occasion visited only once or twice because of the distance between our cabin and the lounge.  We did receive a couple of calls from the concierges in the lounge, which were appreciated.

 

Itinerary/Excursions.  We have sailed this itinerary several times in the past, and took no ship’s excursions.  Frankly, we preferred the ambience of the ship to any activities onshore, and thus went ashore only at the Amber Cove and ssSt. Thomas stop.  

 

Entertainment.  We went to virtually nothing on the Main Stage, with the exception of the “Origins,” which I very much enjoyed.  The history of Holland America is not only interesting but also important, and I am glad that an effort has made to offer this as a program.  Otherwise, we thoroughly enjoyed the Lincoln Stage performances.  

 

Overall, this may have been our most enjoyable cruise ever:  the ship itself was magnificent, the accommodations wonderful, the food outstanding, and, most importantly, the staff was truly wonderful.  We are looking forward to going again.

 

By way of personal information, I will note that my wife and I are in our “early” 70’s, and consider ourselves to be active and still in possession of most of our faculties.  Our first Holland America cruise was in 2012 (this same itinerary), and we have cruised at least once annually ever since.  With the exception of a circumnavigation of the Hawaiian Islands on another line, we have never been interested in experiencing any other ships or companies.  This loyalty on our part has led us to bring along various family members over the years, on one occasion including 14 children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.  We are currently three-star mariners, and emerged from this trip only 5 credits shy of attain four-star status.  We look forward to attaining that next goal.

 

 

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Thank you for your detailed review!  So glad you enjoyed the ship-we are booked on her later this year.  We have been on the Kongingsdam several times and loved the ship.

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for the review. Very good info. We are booked on NS next year and looking forwards to cruising on her for the first time.

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Thank you for your review.  After spending 39 glorious days on the NS last fall that ship is my favorite ship.  

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What a glorious review and similar to my thoughts exactly last year about the Koningsdam.  I truly thought I'd never find a better HAL ship than the Volendam which was my favorite for years.  So when my family wanted to sail on the Koningsdam I truly thought this would be my first and last time on a Pinnacle ship.......oh my was I wrong, I LOVED the Koningsdam so much we booked the Nieuw Statendam while onboard for their 10-day cruise March 2021.  We are all so excited, we talk about this cruise at every family gathering, thus we have more people joining us next year.  So happy to hear you enjoyed the NS, we can't wait to sail her next year..............

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Thank you for your review.  I've been interested in Amber Cove for the future so glad to know you enjoyed that port.

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I appreciate the comments.  What we feared (disliking a "large" ship) turned out to be the best ever.  Undoubtedly, this was partly due to the fact that the ship is fairly new, and partly (well, more than partly) to our getting a good upsell to a Neptune, but mainly to the fact that the larger ship brought with it more venues and a more spacious feel in public areas.  

 

As to Amber Cove:  we walked around the port area and returned.  A taxi ride or tour is required to visit the nearest town, and from photos and other reports it appeared to us that Puerto Plata was much like other colonial Caribbean towns.  We may have missed an opportunity by not going, in hindsight.  

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