WJ Tested: Holland America Line Nieuw Statendam Review

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WJ Tested: Holland America Line Nieuw Statendam Review

WJ Tested: Holland America Line Nieuw Statendam Review

WJ Tested: Holland America Line Nieuw Statendam Review

By WAVEJourney

Holland America Line Nieuw Statendam Eastern Caribbean Cruise & What it’s like to cruise the Caribbean on Holland America’s newest ship!

 

WAVEJourney has just completed a 7-night Caribbean cruise on Holland America Line’s newest ship, Nieuw Statendam. So far we have more days spent cruising with Holland America than any other cruise line, and Nieuw Statendam is the fifth ship in the fleet we’ve experienced. The itinerary was a nice mix of ports and cruising, that wasn’t too hectic for just a one-week cruise – we typically prefer much longer cruises, but this particular sailing fit perfectly into our travel plans around the time. WJ spent the week in an unobstructed oceanview family stateroom – 1167 – which was spacious, well laid out, quiet and could sleep up to five (take a look at our short video tour of the cabin here)

Nieuw Statendam is a wonderful mid-size ship well-suited to music lovers and foodies wanting to cruise in style.

ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS

DAY 1 – FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
Tonight’s Dress: Smart Casual
All Aboard: 4 PM
This Eastern Caribbean cruise was roundtrip Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida, with a 4:30 PM sail away party starting at the Sea View Pool.
Mandatory Passenger Emergency Muster Drill at 3:45 PM – all guests must participate to sail.
The highlight of the menu in the Lido Market was Steak Dinner. The poolside movie was Bohemian Rhapsody and World Stage show was Welcome to the Caribbean and Discovering the Local Flavors.

DAY 2 – AT SEA
Tonight’s Dress: Gala Attire
Today was spent cruising 584 miles towards Grand Turk. Passengers could take a Kitchen Tour in the morning, attend a presentation by EXC Guide, Lance, in the World Stage about Discovering Grand Turk, San Juan and St. Thomas in the afternoon. America’s Test Kitchen presentation in the World Stage was The Flavors of the Mediterranean. The first Gala Night dinner was held, and the World Stage performance was StepOne Dance Company’s Humanity.

Day 3 – GRAND TURK, TURKS & CAICOS
Tonight’s Dress: Smart Casual
Arrival: 8 AM
All Aboard: 2:30 PM
The island of Grand Turk (capital island) is part of Turks & Caicos and Nieuw Statendam was docked from 8 AM to 3 PM – plenty of time to enjoy the small island, walk on the white sand beach, and take a dip in the clear turquoise ocean. Snorkeling is a favorite excursion to discover the reefs and abundant marine life, and US dollars are the local currency.

At 4 PM in the World Stage was an EXC Talk – The Real Pirates of the Caribbean. The World Stage performance was the Magic of Joseph Reohm, and poolside move was Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grendelwald.

Day 4 – SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
Tonight’s Dress: Smart Casual
Arrival: 1 PM
All Aboard: 10:30 PM
The morning was spent cruising towards San Juan, Puerto Rico – 350 miles from Grand Turk – with On Deck For A Cause (walk to raise money to cure cancer) starting at 10 AM. Nieuw Statendam arrived in San Juan about 1 PM and was cleared shortly for passengers to go ashore. With an all aboard of 10:30 PM, there was plenty of time to explore the city and surrounding areas.

WJ took an EXC Tour for a few hours in the afternoon, and dined al fresco at Tamarind in the evening as the sun was setting over Old Town San Juan – a perfect way to enjoy one of our favorite specialty restaurants. A Caribbean Buffet Dinner was the highlight of the Lido Market menu, Pinnacle Grill was serving the special Librije Dinner instead of their regular dinner menu, the poolside movie playing was Second Act, and the evening’s main entertainment was Call My Bluff Gameshow, held in B.B. King’s Blues Club.

Day 5 – CHARLOTTE AMALIE, ST. THOMAS, USVI
Tonight’s Dress: Smart Casual
Arrival: 8 AM
All Aboard: 4:30 PM
St. Thomas is only a short cruise (77 miles) from San Juan so our arrival in port at 8 AM had the ship cleared quickly for passengers to go ashore. WJ toured St. Thomas only a year ago, but didn’t have time to actually go into town, so this visit was a walk along the waterfront to the touristy town that’s packed with shopping opportunities. The evening’s World Stage performance was the comedy of Ken Boyd (10 minutes opening with fart jokes was just too much), and the poolside movie was First Man.

Day 6 – AT SEA
Tonight’s Dress: Gala Attire
The main activity in the morning was Ask the Captain at 10 AM in the World Stage. The America’s Test Kitchen presentation in the World Stage was Dinner Classics for Two. The second Gala Night Dinner was held, followed by a World Stage performance with StepOne Dance Company’s Stages. The Chocolate Surprise on deck 2 at 10:15 PM was a hit with all that needed a late-evening chocolate treat.

Day 7 – HALF MOON CAY, BAHAMAS
Tonight’s Dress: Smart Casual
Arrival: 8 AM
All Aboard: 2:30 PM last tender
Holland America Line’s private island in the Bahamas is Half Moon Cay. Located 731 miles from St. Thomas, this is a slice of paradise that WJ never tires of. The silky white sand beach and clear turquoise water is one of the most idyllic beach locations we’ve experienced anywhere. Tender tickets were available shortly after arrival for those wanting to go ashore to pick up. At 10 AM we took a yoga on the beach class ($12) with Ivan, personal trainer from South Africa – highly recommend this activity. The included Tropical Island BBQ was open to passengers from 11 AM to 1 PM. Sister ship Koningsdam was at Half Moon Cay at the same time, so it was a busy day on the small island, but still very enjoyable.

Back on Nieuw Statendam the EXC Game – Where in the World Trivia was played in Encounters Lounge on deck 12 at 6 PM. The final World Stage performance of the cruise was an encore with magician Joseph Reohm and comedian Ken Boyd.

Day 8 – DISEMBARKATION IN FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
The 269 mile cruise from Half Moon Cay back to Port Everglades was smooth sailing. Now it’s time for more travel adventures until our next Holland America Line cruise.

NIEUW STATENDAM CRUISE & SHIP FACTS

Launched – December 2018
Godmother – Oprah Winfrey
Captain – Noel O’Driscoll from Ireland
Cruise Director – Jairo Lobo from The Netherlands
Hotel Director – Errol Nelson from Panama
Staff Captain – Andrew Barker from England
Executive Chef – Vijay Jeevanandam from India
Environmental Officer – Diana Mihalache
Chief Engineer – Bonifacius Galama
Officers & Crew – 992
Nationalities of Crew – 43
Average Speed – 16.12 knots
Miles Travelled – 2,013 miles
Fuel Used – 428.44 metric tons
Gross Tonnage: 99,902
Passengers: 2,666
Staterooms: 1,377

 

FUN FACT

33,800 eggs were consumed during this 7-night cruise!

Read more information and 30 fun facts about Nieuw Statendam

DINING INCLUDED IN CRUISE FARE

LIDO MARKET

– Serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, dinner and late-night snacks are available in the Lido Market on deck 9. WJ enjoyed many meals here as the variety and quality of food was excellent and we could adjust our dining times depending on our own schedule of activities.

THE DINING ROOM

– Included in your cruise fare, the dining room offers table service at breakfast, lunch and dinner (depending on the day/port schedule). WJ enjoyed a delicious lunch and dinner with excellent service in the dining room during our cruise. The space is light, bright and inviting. Don’t think our lack of dining in this venue reflects upon the restaurant – it doesn’t. We just prefer the flexibility dining in the Lido Market provides us.

GRAND DUTCH CAFE

– All food items at the Grand Dutch Cafe are available at no charge. Specialty coffee and tea beverages, plus alcoholic drinks are available at an additional fee. WJ tried the herring (no charge), Dutch-style pancakes (no charge) and a Rotterdam 1873 cappuccino ($4.03 incl. service charge) – each of the menu items were delicious. Be sure to stop by the Grand Dutch Cafe during your cruise and enjoy the typical Dutch fare.

EXPLORATIONS CAFE

– In the Explorations Lounge on deck 12, beverages are available for a fee, but food items (cookies, muffins, croissants, biscotti, sweet treats) are included in the cruise fare.

NEW YORK DELI & PIZZA

– WJ enjoyed dining here for breakfast – bagels with lox, egg breakfast bagels, yogurt and pastries – with tables on the upper tier (deck 10) overlooking the Lido pool. In the afternoon we’d grab a deli sandwich (pastrami and corned beef were yummy) or salad with pizza. Open from 7:30 AM to midnight, it’s a terrific alternative for dining.

DIVE IN

– The best burgers, fries and hot dogs at sea? You be the judge of that, but we think they’re delish! Included in the cruise fare and open for lunch and until 6 PM.

ROOM SERVICE

– A limited breakfast and all-day menu is available at no charge, while items such as burgers from Dive In and Bento boxes from Tamarind are available for a fee.

SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS

RUDI’S SEL DE MER

– A la Carte pricing. WJ has dined at the Rudi’s pop-up restaurants on Noordam and Eurodam ($49 per person surcharge) and found them excellent value and selection. The a la carte pricing on Nieuw Statendam in the dedicated Rudi’s French brasserie seafood restaurant (a lovely venue with top-notch service) would have made the meal more expensive if we’d ordered the exact same items as our previous meals.

Starters of Foie Gras Torchon ($14) and Smoked Scottish Salmon ($8) were divine, but unfortunately, the Marinated Lobster was tasteless ($16). For main courses we had the Whole Dover Sole Meuniere ($25) – perfectly deboned tableside – and 12 oz Broiled Maine Lobster Tail ($32), which were both beautifully prepared and menu items we would order again. A side dish of Haricot Vert (green beans for $4) was a nice accompaniment. To complete our meal we shared the Artisanal French Cheeses ($7) – five cheeses accompanied by dried fruit and crackers.

Will we dine at Rudi’s again with the a la carte menu? Yes, but only if the prices do not increase.

TAMARIND

– This Pan-Asian restaurant is definitely WJ’s favorite specialty restaurant on Holland America’s ships that offer this option. The $25 per person fee is well-worth the cost, and the food and service is always exceptional. The menu at Tamarind on Nieuw Statendam was not as extensive as we’ve experienced in the past (this might be a menu change across the fleet), but we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were able to dine al fresco the evening the ship was docked late in San Juan, Puerto Rico – definitely ask if al fresco dining is available on one evening during your sailing.

NAMI SUSHI

– Inside Tamarind, the sushi bar showcases the innovative recipes of Master Sushi Chef Andy Matsuda. A la carte pricing applies.

PINNACLE GRILL

– The steak and seafood house is an additional set charge per person. WJ did not dine at PG during this cruise, but have always enjoyed our meals at the restaurant on our other Holland America cruises and find it worth the surcharge.

CANALETTO

– The Italian restaurant on Nieuw Statendam is in a separate area on the Lido Market deck. Typical evening dining is $15 per person at Canaletto. During our cruise, WJ attended a special 5-Course Chateau St. Michelle Wine Pairing Dinner at Canaletto ($89 per person) which was excellent. Linda Chauncey from Chateau St. Michelle was the hostess for the dinner and did a fantastic job of presenting the wines and menu. The set menu started with a shrimp, scallop and langoustine salad with salsa salmoriglio and was paired with Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut. The second course was a parmesan and eggplant caramelle pasta with pine nuts, capers and micro basil – perfectly paired with Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling. The next course was branzino with tomato aioli, grilled celery, crispy zucchini flowers and bottarga that was paired with Linda’s BLEND, Chateau Ste. Michelle. The main course was a roasted beef tenderloin with black truffle reduction, spinach puree and souffle potatoes. Unfortunately, this was the only course that had a misstep – the beef was super tough (not the chef’s preparation – just turned out to be a very tough cut of meat). The Borne of Fire Cabernet Sauvignon was a superb pairing. Dessert of grilled figs and honey perfumed mascarpone cream paired with Eugenio Collavini Coro di Rosazzo from Italy was a lovely way to complete the meal.

CLUB ORANGE

– Included for Neptune and Pinnacle Suite guests. But, there is an additional fee per person for other passengers to upgrade and dine at Club Orange for the duration of your cruise. Check what the availability and charge is for your cruising.

BLEND

– Partnering with Chateau St. Michelle, Holland America has a wine blending session where passengers can become their own winemaker by sampling five wines, learning to recognize their structure and blending their own personal wine. ($47 for singles or $59 for couples)

G GELATO

– Ice cream on Holland America ships is included in the Lido Market and other dining venues, but the gelato at G is superb and worth the small additional fee ($2 for 2 scoops). They also serve milkshakes and ice cream bars (additional fees apply).You’ll find it on Lido deck 9 near the pool.

MUSIC WALK

If you’re a fan of music, Holland America’s Music Walk has something to suit every taste. There are four main styles of live music entertainment at various times throughout the day and evening – depending if it’s a port or sea day.

LINCOLN CENTER STAGE

– Playing… From Piaf to Peanuts, All American, Masterworks by Schumann, Women in Music, Classics Favorites, La Musica Latina, Masterworks by Dvorak, Movie Classics, Bernstein to Buble, A Night at the Ballet.

BILLBOARD ONBOARD

– Playing… Hot Country, Great Standards, The 1980s, British Invasion, Hot R&B, Icons, The 1970s, Piano Celebration, Hot 100s, The 1960s.

B.B. KING’S BLUES CLUB

– Motown hits are hot to trot with incredible live performances at B.B. King’s Blues Club. This is the fourth ship WJ has experienced this venue, and the performers are always brilliant. Great place to sing along to the tunes, and dance the night away.

ROLLING STONE ROCK ROOM

– Classic rock spanning four decades is the highlight of music genres performed live at Rolling Stone Rock Room by a five-piece band.

SHORE EXCURSIONS

WJ has taken quite a few EXC Tours on Holland America cruises over the years, and generally find them to be good value. Caribbean ports are ideal to either do your own thing, take a tour directly with a local operator, or for most ease and convenience, book a Holland America EXC Tour. This cruise, we only took one shore excursion, and that was a Holland America EXC Tour in San Juan, Puerto Rico which was very good and great value.

FITNESS

Nieuw Statendam has a beautiful and well-equipped fitness center open daily from 6 AM to 9 PM. Each day a variety of classes with personal trainers Ivan and Florin were available. WJ found Ivan to be excellent to take a class with as he was personable, caring, tuned in to class attendees, took pride in his classes and engaged with passengers.

Included classes at the fitness center were: Just Breathe; Stretch and Release; Evening Stretch; Total Body Conditioning.
Classes for an additional fee included: Pathway to Yoga ($12); Trilogy Exercise Synergy ($20); RYDE Indoor Cycling ($20); Pure Form Pilates ($12); Guided Meditation ($12); TRX Suspension Training ($20); Yoga on the Beach ($12).
Seminars to attend included: Detox for Health and Weight Loss; Improve Your Posture; How to Increase Your Metabolism; Relieving Back Pain; Secrets to a Flatter Stomach; Burn Fat Faster.

For those not interested in fitness classes, the fitness center has plenty of equipment for working out on your own. Stationary bikes, elliptical machines, treadmills, free weights and every kind of isolating weight machine is available free of charge for all passengers to use.

EMBARKATION

The embarkation process was somewhat slow and disorganized – which in our past experience is not typical for Holland America or Port Everglades. But, we were on the ship within an hour of arriving at the cruise terminal and having lunch in the Dining Room at 1:30 (just made it before they closed seating). Our stateroom was ready and available for us to access when we boarded at 12:30 PM, and our stateroom attendants made sure to say hello as soon as possible.

DISEMBARKATION

Our past disembarkation procedures on Holland America ships has gone smoothly. Unfortunately, this was not the case with disembarking Nieuw Statendam at Port Everglades. During the cruise a letter had been provided to indicate our required disembarkation time and what we would do afterwards (transfer to the airport right away/not in a rush/take an excursion/etc.). We needed the very first time slot available for disembarkation due to tight travel plans, and indicated that on our form and when we handed it into guest services (they agreed at that time we’d be allowed off as soon as the ship was cleared upon return to Port Everglades. That didn’t happen. We ended up with a time slot mid-way through the disembarkation times – which meant there was no way we’d make it for our planned event that morning. Short story… the disembarkation was awful for all guests trying to leave as soon as customs and immigration cleared the ship. We did make our event by the skin of our teeth, but it was a super stressful morning and getting up at 5 AM to start lining up by 6:15 AM to eventually leave the ship just before 8 AM was dreadful. Not a fun way for anyone (there were over one hundred passengers needing to leave the ship immediately upon it being cleared) to end their vacation.

WIFI & INTERNET

Connecting to WiFi and the internet on a cruise ship is available for those that need to stay connected. As our Caribbean itinerary had only a couple of days where we would not be able to connect to WiFi from our mobile’s Global SIM card or Roaming Man Global 4G hotspot, we decided not to get a WiFi package for this cruise. But, for those that did need to stay connected, these packages were available:
PREMIUM – From email to streaming = $29.99/per day or $139.99/7-days.
SURF – Email, news, social media = $24.99/per day or $99.99/7-days.
SOCIAL – Social media sites and apps = $14.99/per day or $69.99/7-days.

VALUE

WJ finds that Nieuw Statendam provides excellent value and sails a wide variety of cruise itineraries.

PROS

Excellent Fitness Center Equipment
Modern and well-equipped staterooms
Lido deck movie screen
Spacious family cabins
Over 2000 works of art

CONS

Casino allows smoking on certain days

BOTTOM LINE

Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam is a wonderful mid-size ship, with a spacious layout. The two-tier Lido pool area provides more room for passengers to relax and find a space to chill out. The included dining is plentiful, excellent quality, and offers a wide variety of menu items. Specialty dining is at a reasonable fee and gives passengers the opportunity to enjoy more intimate and upscale restaurant experiences. This modern cruise ship is an excellent option for those that enjoy music, gastronomy and exploring the world.

P.S. Photos to be added soon!

NOTE: WAVEJourney were guests aboard Holland America Line Nieuw Statendam from March 31 to April 7, 2018.

 

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