Just back from the last Caribbean cruise of the season on the Nieuw Statendam! We are a family of four with an adult child in his 20s and a 10 year old so my review is based more on those demographics. We have not cruised in 11 years and a lot has changed such as the way they do muster drills, the availability of internet onboard, and the navigator app to name a few.
The Ship: Beautiful and elegant, with lots of spaces to hide out in and just relax. I particularly enjoyed all the music related artwork all over the ship. We stayed in a verandah on Deck 5. It was tight for 4 people, but still doable. I loved all the drawers and there was space for all of us once we unpacked. My favorite spots onboard were the Crow’s Nest and my in room balcony.
Entertainment & Activities: I loved having all of the various music venues onboard. There is something for everyone. We enjoyed the Lincoln Center classical pianist and Latina Musica, the rock room band, and BB King band. The mentalist was interesting. Movies by the pool were OK. They would have been better but the volume is just not loud enough to really hear properly. Club HAL was enjoyable and my son went a few times for an hour or so. Mixology class was entertaining for my son. Trivia was fun but I wish they had prizes for the winners, even just some HAL pens/pencils/notepads etc.
Food: The Main Dining Room: food choices were great and I particularly enjoyed the beef stroganoff and roasted chicken. Service was a tad bit slow for us (a little over 1.5 hours). We had a fixed late seating (8pm) which was fine because we are coming from the West Coast and still not starved by then. Only negative was it seemed very noisy every time we ate there.
Pinnacle Grill: excellent dinner here and a much more relaxing atmosphere. While not the best filet I have had it was very good.
Tamarind: was much better than we expected it to be! I liked how the dishes felt light because often Asian food can feel heavy. All of our dishes were tasty and good portion size (not too big).
De Librije: My son had the pop up in the Pinnacle. He enjoyed it immensely with the included 2oz wine pours.
Daily Tea Service in MDR: Loved it. Service was white glove and delivered to the table (not buffet style). Sandwiches were tasty and just the right amount for an afternoon pick me up. Plus the dining room is quite pretty during the day.
Dive In: Excellent burger and chicken sandwiches!
NY Deli: Good for breakfast bagel sandwiches. Salads were great. Pizzas were just OK.
Dutch Café: Excellent lattes! Never got the hot food because they didn’t serve it when we went before 11am.
Lido: Breakfast was good with so many options! The crepe and omelette stations were always busy with a long wait. Dinner was OK but the times were so limited! I felt like every time we wanted to go they are almost closing or had just closed.
Casino: Seemed a bit small and the table games were really squished together. No Texas Hold ‘Em Table (except the heads up game) or poker tournaments which was a bummer for my husband. I did not notice the smoke in the public areas and there was a day or two where the casino was nonsmoking. Only one night my husband said the smoke was strong.
Ports: Grand Turk visited Governor’s Beach – amazing and quiet! Worth the $4 per person taxi ride. St Thomas Magen’s Beach was a bit more crowded but still very nice with chairs, food and beverage service for purchase. We purchased through HAL and the guide who drove us was great and stopped a few times for pictures etc. Puerto Rico we visited the Fort by taxi and later my husband and son went on the bioluminescent kayak tour. They really enjoyed it. Unfortunately Half Moon Cay was canceled due to weather. We were so bummed!!!
Negatives for me (far and few):
There needs to be more options besides in room dining later at night. Some nights the lido closed at 8pm leaving you waiting til their late night snack hour.
The room service and lido coffee is terrible! But I did love my lattes at the Dutch Café.
Laundry kept charging us even though we purchased unlimited. Spoke to guest services twice and ended up leaving the ship with it still on my bill.
The weekly spa pass I bought was not worth it to me. I only went once and found it to be loud and not very relaxing. Next time I will save my money on that or maybe do a day pass instead.
Overall we had an amazing time and are now hooked on cruising again. We had waited years to cruise because our 10 year old is autistic and we were not sure if he would do well onboard. Well apparently he is a natural born cruiser because he loved it and says the next trip he wants to do 10 days! I would sail on this ship again because I still did not get to try everything onboard.