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Saphire

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  1. I have sailed both and loved both. For me, the benefits of Nieuw Amsterdam are: wiser spa layout and nicer hydrotherapy pool, smaller more intimate ship, beautiful wide promenade deck, glass elevators in the center (we always used these), Silk Den next to Tamarind (quiet, peaceful place for a drink), less cramped feeling around sea view pool. Things I liked better on the Nieuw Statendam: additional venues like the Grand Dutch Cafe and NY Deli, more music choices with better seating and stage area, beautiful layout of the Signature Suite including awesome shower, new ship so everything felt fresh. Both ships are great, have fun deciding!
  2. Enjoying your review, we were on the same cruise. Wasn't the weather perfect? You have a lovely family!
  3. We discovered this martini last month, it was SO good! Especially sitting in the ocean bar by the window watching the ocean swells roll by. Enjoy. 🙂
  4. Here are some pictures of the beautiful Signature Suite of Nieuw Stantendam.
  5. This a tough subject. My husband and I are early to the pool and find a spot in the first row by 8 a.m. There are often chairs 'saved' by that time, people come by and drop a few items, then leave. The problem is, often they are gone for hours! Signage says they may be saved for only 30 minutes. I found it frustrating watching people come by early looking for a chair, knowing 'saved' chairs had been vacant much longer than 30 minutes. By the time we leave around 11:00 a.m., we would always find someone in search of a spot and our places were scooped up quickly. I know the 'chair hogs' don't admit who they are, but I find it so impolite and selfish to drop a book and a towel first thing in the morning and not return for hours. And, where are you? Did you go back to bed? Rude!
  6. Hi kaiiak, The walk to Governor's beach is easy, about 15 minutes from the pier. It is to the left of the ship one you disembark. You can either walk down the beach and cut through to the main road, or walk to the main road from the pier, either way it is direct to the beach and once there you can see your ship. There are no facilities except for one bathroom. But the beach is quiet, pristine and peaceful. This year there were a few more people there, we chatted with them along the road and learned they had read about it on Cruise Critic. Other years, we have been the only ones. If you like a more secluded experience vs. the pandemonium of Margaritaville, this is for you. I did not see a day pass offered on our cruise as I have other years, but I suspect it depends on the sales of the weekly pass. I did see a few offers for "Lady's Day/Night Out" which included a pass for the afternoon/evening, bundled with a few other services. If you decide on the weekly pass, there are few tile loungers against a wall with a reading light attached, and I determined these were the best as they were up against a wall, therefore blocking some of the noise from the other rooms. Have fun and enjoy your cruise!!!
  7. Hello Joyce, I know the Lido is very accommodating to cruisers needing assistance, there are many staff nearby to help. The 'anytime' dining room does have chairs around the corner of the elevators if you need to wait for a table. I am unsure of the arrangement up stairs in the 'fixed' dining area. Enjoy your cruise!
  8. We just returned from a wonderful 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. This was our 12th HAL cruise but first on the Pinnacle class.. We had a VB booked, and 4 days before, got an email for an upsell to a Vista Suite for 399 pp. We passed on that. Two days before, we got an upsell offer to a Signature Suite for 499 pp. We jumped on that one, and we were so happy we did, because this suite was A-MAZING! Great central location, beautiful, functional layout and the bathroom was wonderful. I literally jumped up and down after examining the suite saying..."I love this room!" I continued to say it all week long. I decided I liked it even more than Neptune Suites. The shower was luxurious. The lighting in the room and bathroom was gorgeous, and in fact the lighting throughout the ship was equally as nice. Our stewards Kadek and Komang were unobtrusive and proficient. Laundry service was fast and professional. We were going to upgrade to the Elite Beverage Package once on-board, but decided to stay with the Signature Package since we splurged on the suite. They removed some selections from a year ago, so there were only a few choices. We managed with what they offered and it was adequate. At least you could still get nice cocktails with the Signature Package, my favorite was the Tanqueray 0010 Martini. There are so many options for dining and we tried nearly all of them. The best by far was the Tamarind. We were so impressed, we went back three times. Barbara and Nila were very gracious and warm, and so attentive. We had lamb, tenderloin, duck, chicken curry, shrimp and lobster dishes and all were superb. The manager was also a very gracious man and he was out on the floor at all times, assisting servers as needed as well as talking to customers. All of this was in stark contrast to our most disappointing meal, in the Pinnacle. I am not sure we will ever make a late reservation (8:00) again. They seemed completely backed up. The service was rushed and we waited a great deal. No bread was served until the dinner arrived, even though she promised it to us twice. The salad I had was not good, the bacon didn't taste real. The baked potato was completely dried out. The beets seemed over done. The filet mignon however, was perfect. My husband got the "hashed potatoes with blue cheese aioli", but they looked and tasted like they came out of a frozen food bag. But the service was just not there at all, nothing compared to meals in the past. Was it just because we arrived late? We canceled a second reservation and went to the Tamarind instead. We did however return for lunch, and that was so much better. The Lido, if you can navigate the crowds, is incredible. So many choices and all done well. We ate in the Canaletto twice and you can't beat the view and the quieter atmosphere. The servings are smaller this year and that is just fine with me, as I often found it to be too much food served in the past. The MDR is beautiful and the lighting is so pretty, we enjoyed one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner here. The chairs are very comfortable and the place settings so elegant. We bought a spa pass and I was disappointed with a few things, mostly in the design. The hydro-pool was splashy, the tile loungers were in the same space as all the other saunas, steam rooms and showers so it was loud. Not relaxing at all. One of my best memories is from the Westerdam and my first time on those loungers. Ambient music, the sound of water hitting rocks, the view out to sea. On this ship, there is a view, but you can't hear the music because there is way too much going on right behind you. And the doors slamming, yikes. If we go on another Pinnacle class ship, we won't purchase the pass. The ports were great and the weather perfect. We spent so much time in the water. Grand Turk, we walked to Governor's Beach and spent a quiet morning enjoying the turquoise waters, how beautiful! St. Thomas,we took a catamaran tour to St. John to snorkel off Honeymoon beach. Great snorkeling here, saw lots of fun things including sea turtles. Half Moon Cay is our favorite stop and it was a great day and so hard to leave. I prefer not sharing the island with another ship as it made things congested, especially when leaving, it felt we were in Disney with the queues to get on the tenders. Our favorite spot at night was at BB King. This band was great! Each and every musician was so very talented. The dance floor and seating and stage are a great design on this ship, much improved over the older ships. The Rolling Stone Rock Room did not play rock and roll, at least not for the somewhat limited time we saw them. The Eagles and Neil Diamond are not rock. The band was talented, but their song selections were tame. The world stage is beautiful but yes it is small for such a big ship. I really liked the comedian Ken Boyd, he was very funny, mostly doing improv. This cruise had some hits and misses but we had a great time and feel so very grateful to be able to cruise (thus far) once a year. I would sail on the Pinnacle class again and would feel better prepared to enjoy it even more. I am happy to answer any questions!
  9. Our cruise is just around the corner and we have the Explore 4 promotion which includes the Signature Beverage Package. After reading that there are fewer eligible wines, we would like to upgrade to the Elite package. I am unsure if we can do it. Has anyone had success with this? Thanks!
  10. Does anyone know where I can find the layout for the dining room of NS? If not, do you know if it is the same (with same table numbers) as the Koningsdam? Thank you.
  11. Thank you for the info and great pictures, bbw187. When you stopped to swim and snorkel, did they require life vests? I like to swim free and really dislike the vests so I am hoping there is no requirement. Thanks again.
  12. 888-628-8107 or 206-626-7381. Good Luck!
  13. I would also like know, as we have booked this excursion on our upcoming cruise. Thanks.
  14. Do you mean the Boatyard? Yes, we have been there and it is a great spot! Thanks for your comments on Kelly's.
  15. Each winter we like to try a different restaurant in FLL before our cruise. This year I have narrowed it down to Kelly's or Southport (we will walk from the Marriott Renaissance). Both get good reviews. Do you prefer one over the other? Any opinions would be welcome, and thanks!
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