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Fredric22

Just off Nieuw Statendam - 4/7/19 Cruise

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We just returned from a great week on board the Nieuw Statendam.  The cruise was excellent and I think Holland America has a great new ship with a great on board product. 

 

The ship

She is elegant and beautiful.  The artwork around the ship is really something special.  I loved the look of the lounges and the public areas.  The design is elegant yet very comfortable.  I think it really is the perfect amount of glitz and comfort. 

 

The food

Pinnacle Grill - Excellent.  My 16oz dry aged Delmonico was exceptional.  Food and service were both very good. 

Rudi's - A must do!  The Dover Sole was spectacular.  The quality of the fish was probably some of the best we have ever had on land or sea.

Canaletto- I was a bit hesitant at first, but it ended up being one of our favorite dinners! Once again, food and service were top notch.  I could have easily eaten here 2 or 3 times. 

Tamarind- I think I enjoyed the old menu a bit more, but it was still a very nice dining experience.  We found the raw sushi to have an odd consistency so I would stick with the cooked selections. The lobster tempura roll was literally enough food for an entire meal! 

Dining room- Only ate there for one dinner, and it was good.  But, with only being there for one dinner I don't think I can properly rate it.  

Buffet- The food quality was very good.  I prefer to serve myself, but Holland America has done away with most of that so I learned to adapt.  Went to the buffet for dinner one night and I was very impressed with the offerings. 

 

Entertainment

Lounge performances - These were excellent.  Rolling Stone Rock Room, BB Kings, Lincoln Center, and Billboard were all very good.  It is obviously that Holland America is now focusing on bringing in top level talent and it showed.  The venues were packed every night of the cruise.  If you are expecting a cruise where everyone is in bed by 10pm, you will certianly be mistaken on this ship.  On some nights, the lounges were still packed even for the 11pm performances! 

Showroom entertainment- Let me start by saying that there are still 2 production shows.  Now, the type of show has certainly changed.  Gone are the typical singer/dancer cruise ship show.  What has replaced it is a troupe of top quality, professional dancers, who put on an amazing 45 minute show in a beautiful theater.  The first show was spectacular.  The dancers integrated the technology seamlessly and it really was a special and unique performance.  The second show was a bit less impressive because the large screens in the World Stage only served as a backdrop.  I would like to see those screens used a bit more in the second show.  As far as the other main showroom acts, they were just your typical comedian/magician type shows.  They weren't terrible and they weren't great either.  I think HAL could step up some of that talent just a bit.  However, the lounge performances really did make up for any shortcomings in the main theater.  

 

Cabin

We were assigned a standard ocean view cabin (1098) on deck 1.  The cabin itself was very nice with plenty of storage.  The shower was quite big which I appreciated.  However, when we came back to the cabin on the first night around 11:15pm, it sounded as if we were sleeping under a night club.  After a quick glance at the deck plans, we in fact were. BB King's was directly above us.  Each night, the music didn't end until 1am or later (BB Kings turns into the main dance club after the performances).  I had several calls to guest services and they did their bets to get the DJ to lower the bass.  On the second to last night, they offered us another cabin to move to but by then we did not feel like re-packing with less than 2 days left.  Our family was staying on deck 4 above BB Kings and had the same problem.  Clearly, there is a bit of a design problem on this ship.  I would recommend staying clear of deck 2 or deck 4 midship. 

 

Retreat Cabana

This is probably the best $399 we can ever spend.  We spent all of our days up there and it was peaceful and relaxing.  The service by the cabana attendants is great and the addition of the hot tub to the area really makes it the perfect place to spend the day.  I hope this area continues to be expanded on the future ships. 

 

Casino

It is a bit small for the size of the ship and also the smoking really did get annoying.  Unfortunately, the smoking side of the casino had all of the machines I was interested in.  There were 2 nights when the casino was non-smoking and it was a big relief.  I really hope HAL eliminates smoking in the casino all together.  Or, perhaps they can make an enclosed space for smoking with some slot machines.  

 

Drink Package

We had the signature beverage package and it was a bit of a mess.  For some reason, HAL has not really 100% embraced the beverage packages.  For example, on the first day we were informed that the limit for wines is now $11 (instead of $9).  However, the glass of wine we ordered (below $11) ended up on our bill.  Of course, guest services had no record of the increase in allowance and they were talking to me as if I were making it up.  I insisted she call the beverage manager, which she did, and was then informed of the change.  She was not happy with the beverage manager saying "You should have told us."  Anyway, this happened a few more times throughout the cruise, so it was annoying to have to go to guest services each time.  The next example is for the first 2 days of the cruise we were ordering Grey Goose martinis with no issues.  On the 3rd day, a bar tender informed us these were not included in the package.  He said "I will have to charge you for 2 drinks."  So, a shot of Grey Goose is included, but the martini isn't.  How confusing is that?  Tittos was no problem though, so we just started ordering Tittos martinis.  Lastly, one day I asked for just a little extra soda water because I like to add it to my drink (it was strong).  The bar tender said, "I'm sorry but I can't give you 2 drinks at once."  After spending $700 on the beverage package, these things seem SO PETTY!  We were also told non-alcoholic drinks count towards the 15 drinks which makes no sense to me considering you can get unlimited soft drinks with the soda package.  HAL, please get your act together.  Either offer a beverage package or don't.  I didn't like having to feel like a criminal every time I ordered a drink. 

 

Club Orange

I was interested in Club Orange but decided not to go through with purchasing it.  I am glad I did not.  We walked by every night and it was virtually empty.  By 9:00pm, the restaurant was empty and they were already setting up for breakfast.  It was really depressing looking.  My recommendation to HAL is to change the furniture and decor and make it look special and upscale.  Then, use the kitchen and create a specialized menu for Club Orange desks that is cooked on site.  Perhaps even let diners get involved in some of their own food preparation (maybe offer some classes to Club Orange guests during sea days).  I think there are many ways you can make this a unique and worthwhile concept.  However, what they have now seems to be a big dud. 

 

Aside from these few complaints, the cruise was really great.  This was a very relaxing week and I would not hesitate to sail on the Nieuw Statendam again.   If you have any questions, let me know!

 

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Thank you for your review, we have booked the NS for March 2021 after sailing on the Koningsdam this past March, we loved the ship and hoping for a similar experience.

 

As far as cabin locations go I always try to sandwich myself between decks so I have cabins above me and cabins below, so far I have always had a quiet cabin....................HAL should fix this design AND the smoking in the casino before they go too far on the Ryndam.............

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2 minutes ago, cat shepard said:

What a super review! Thank you. Which ports did you visit? 

 

 

Western Caribbean (Half Moon Cay,  Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman [missed due to swells], and Cozumel). 

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2 minutes ago, Fredric22 said:

Western Caribbean (Half Moon Cay,  Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman [missed due to swells], and Cozumel). 

Thank you. Your review was really well-balanced with some great suggestions.

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Forgot to mention 2 other things... 

 

De Librije night at Pinnacle - To me, it was not worth it.  The presentation was beautiful but the flavors were not to my liking.  For example, the fish had a sweet crust (almost sugar crusted).  It was quite off-putting.  I don't think it was worth the extra $69.  Next time, I would prefer another dinner with the Pinnacle menu. 

 

Grand Dutch Cafe - What a treat!!! The food there is excellent.  Make sure you try the veal croquette sandwich and the french fries with peanut sauce!

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Thank you for your review.

 

Glad you enjoyed your cruise in spite of the noisy cabin and troubles with the Signature Beverage Package.

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Thank you for your review.  I did the same cruise on the same ship.  I purchased CLUB ORANGE and found the food to be very good.  However I agree on the furniture.  It was like eating in the kitchen.  Other perks made it worth while. 

I am sorry you missed Grand Cayman.  I love this stop. I heard that the cruise before mine had to skip for the same reason your voyage missed Grand Cayman,  

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Great review...leaving on her on Sunday on a Transatlantic to Amsterdam

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good review. Also, good note on the non-alcholic drinks counting towards 15 drink limit on beverage package - based on what we read here, we were not sure how they were handled. We too learned that they counted towards the 15 drink limit. We were also confused by our son's unlimited soda package - when he ordered soda at dinner, he was charged by the can as his soda package didnt apply to dining rooms??  

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I enjoyed reading your review since we were on the same cruise. The ship is very comfortable and the entertainment was great. We attended more performances than we have in years on any ship.

 

But I disagree with your comments about Club Orange being virtually empty. The operating hours were the same as the MDR open seating, 5 to 9 p.m. We were in a NS, and ate there nightly around 6. The room was about 3/4 full every night, and the excellent staff was re-setting tables after the early diners left, to seat new arrivals. Service was very efficient, although we never felt rushed.

Breakfast was also full every day. 

 

The chef in the open kitchen prepared a nightly special - we especially liked a shrimp dish with fresh pasta one night. It was also great to have waffles, eggs, and toast cooked there and arrive hot to our table.

 

I’d like to see Club Orange have more comfortable chairs and carpeting. But our regular table was far more quiet than a MDR corner table where we sat for the Mariner Luncheon. There is a nice sea view through the knife & fork-frosted glass wall, the staff was terrific, and the cheerful atmosphere of the room grew on me. 

 

 

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Thanks for your interesting review.  Since you said that you were assigned an outside cabin, I assume you had a Guarantee category booking.  The location of where your cabin is assigned can be the disadvantage of such a booking.  While you did not care for the music noise above you, you probably did save some money by booking the guarantee.  

 

Dover sole at Sel de Mar was what I ordered and it was a winner!  That restaurant provided the best dining experience I had on Nieuw Statendam.

 

Your comment about the second main performance in the World Stage mirrors mine.  I missed the first performance during my cruise, but heard  raves about it.  I was expecting so much more when I attended the second performance than what I witnessed!

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1 hour ago, rkacruiser said:

Thanks for your interesting review.  Since you said that you were assigned an outside cabin, I assume you had a Guarantee category booking.  The location of where your cabin is assigned can be the disadvantage of such a booking.  While you did not care for the music noise above you, you probably did save some money by booking the guarantee.  

 

Dover sole at Sel de Mar was what I ordered and it was a winner!  That restaurant provided the best dining experience I had on Nieuw Statendam.

 

Your comment about the second main performance in the World Stage mirrors mine.  I missed the first performance during my cruise, but heard  raves about it.  I was expecting so much more when I attended the second performance than what I witnessed!

Yes you are correct in that the guarantee did save us some money.  However, the category we received was actually higher than the category we paid for.  This means that if someone were actually booking this ocean-view, mid-ship room, they would be paying a premium on it over the other ocean view categories.  To me, it is just not acceptable to have music form a lounge enter the cabin area so much.  I can see if the music ended at a reasonable time, but 1-1:30am every night is not reasonable to me.  

5 hours ago, Caribbean Chris said:

I enjoyed reading your review since we were on the same cruise. The ship is very comfortable and the entertainment was great. We attended more performances than we have in years on any ship.

 

But I disagree with your comments about Club Orange being virtually empty. The operating hours were the same as the MDR open seating, 5 to 9 p.m. We were in a NS, and ate there nightly around 6. The room was about 3/4 full every night, and the excellent staff was re-setting tables after the early diners left, to seat new arrivals. Service was very efficient, although we never felt rushed.

Breakfast was also full every day. 

 

The chef in the open kitchen prepared a nightly special - we especially liked a shrimp dish with fresh pasta one night. It was also great to have waffles, eggs, and toast cooked there and arrive hot to our table.

 

I’d like to see Club Orange have more comfortable chairs and carpeting. But our regular table was far more quiet than a MDR corner table where we sat for the Mariner Luncheon. There is a nice sea view through the knife & fork-frosted glass wall, the staff was terrific, and the cheerful atmosphere of the room grew on me. 

 

 

I am glad to hear that at least they are cooking some of the food in Club Orange and offering a special menu item.  In my opinion, most of the menu should be prepared in this way.  I did make it a point to walk by Club Orange at some differing times and every time I looked in, I saw at maximum 10 tables full.  Perhaps there were some peak times that I did not see.  But in general, I can make the assumption that the venue is not being utilized at its full potential. 

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10 hours ago, Fredric22 said:

 I did make it a point to walk by Club Orange at some differing times and every time I looked in, I saw at maximum 10 tables full.  Perhaps there were some peak times that I did not see.  But in general, I can make the assumption that the venue is not being utilized at its full potential. 

 

I agree that it hasn’t yet reached its full potential. We never saw some of the Neptune Lounge passengers in the restaurant, for some reason. People who did try Club Orange were satisfied regulars - we saw the same people every day.

 

We’ve cruised frequently in Celebrity Sky Suites since Luminae dining room was added, and were just as happy with the food and excellent service in Club Orange. After having 13 meals in the CO restaurant last week, I have to say that “Virtually empty,” “depressing looking,” and “a big dud” did not in any way match our experience. 

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I was on the 3/24/19 sailing and had a similar experience using the drink pkg.  I upgraded to elite.  When I asked for upgraded vodka in a drink, I was told it would count as 2 drinks to the daily 15 drink limit.  This happened more than once.  I never came close to the 15 drinks per day and one day didn't drink anything.  I was told that is the way the computer sees the entry.  Say I ordered a Tuscan martini and wanted Belvedere vodka.  They have to first order the drink and then the upgraded vodka, so the system sees it as 2 drinks.

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18 minutes ago, Caribbean Chris said:

 

 

I agree that it hasn’t yet reached its full potential. We never saw some of the Neptune Lounge passengers in the restaurant, for some reason. People who did try Club Orange were satisfied regulars - we saw the same people every day.

 

We’ve cruised frequently in Celebrity Sky Suites since Luminae dining room was added, and were just as happy with the food and excellent service in Club Orange. After having 13 meals in the CO restaurant last week, I have to say that “Virtually empty,” “depressing looking,” and “a big dud” did not in any way match our experience. 

 

Well we can agree to disagree as to what constitutes "depressing looking."  To me, those horrible looking chair/tables as well as the fork, spoon, and knife window decor is truly ugly and does not match the concept.  Having just came off of the MSC Yacht Club experience, it was hard to compare the ambiance as well as the activity in the two private dining venues.  At 9pm, for the restaurant to be completely empty and void of any diners (and already set up for breakfast), would mean that there would be no one coming into the restaurant past about 7:30pm.  The Yacht Club restaurant would stay busy until at least 10-10:30pm every night.  Also, we have dined in Luminae, and you cannot even compare that in with Club Orange in terms of ambiance.  The reason I say it is a dud is that clearly some of those who have access to Club Orange are not using it. Also,  we received two separate e-mail offers to buy up to Club Orange before the cruise with the last one coming just a couple of days before departure.  I highly doubt that HAL sold all of the Club Orange passes that were available.  Once again, to me, that constitutes a dud. 

 

I am glad you had great food and service though!  That is certainly good to hear. 

 

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Thank You for a nice review.

Are Debbie and Nate still playing piano in Billboard? We heard them in January and they were wonderful.

Is the food in the Grand Dutch Cafe free?

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3 hours ago, harryw said:

Thank You for a nice review.

Are Debbie and Nate still playing piano in Billboard? We heard them in January and they were wonderful.

Is the food in the Grand Dutch Cafe free?

There were two men in the piano bar.  The volume was 10x too loud to actually enjoy the music. 

 

The food in the Grand Dutch is free.  Try the sunnyside up egg, ham, and cheese sandwich!  

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, keeponcruising said:

I was on the 3/24/19 sailing and had a similar experience using the drink pkg.  I upgraded to elite.  When I asked for upgraded vodka in a drink, I was told it would count as 2 drinks to the daily 15 drink limit.  This happened more than once.  I never came close to the 15 drinks per day and one day didn't drink anything.  I was told that is the way the computer sees the entry.  Say I ordered a Tuscan martini and wanted Belvedere vodka.  They have to first order the drink and then the upgraded vodka, so the system sees it as 2 drinks.

So my question is if someone orders these drinks without a package, are they charged for 2 drinks and not merely charged the traditional upcharge for a more upscale liquor (.50 or $1 extra)? If I read this right (and I might not be but..) THAT is essentially what they are doing to people who have the packages if what you say is now policy.

 

We had NONE of that on the Nieuw Amsterdam in Feb. In fact our Elite Beverage pkgs worked flawlessly. Non alcoholic drinks were not included in the 15 and upscale liquor charges were no different than if we were cash paying and not on a package. If the original price of the drink was $9 and the top shelf liquor option was $1 upcharge, the drink was $10 and not charged against our package as two drinks, simply as one.

 

This nonsense makes a drink package for a cocktail drinker who enjoys a top shelf liquor in their drink much less appealing. You essentially get half the value.

I wish HAL would get their beverage staff all on the same page. We passengers have no clue what to expect from one ship or even one bar to the next.

Edited by fatcat04

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14 hours ago, Fredric22 said:

The reason I say it is a dud is that clearly some of those who have access to Club Orange are not using it. Also,  we received two separate e-mail offers to buy up to Club Orange before the cruise with the last one coming just a couple of days before departure.  I highly doubt that HAL sold all of the Club Orange passes that were available.  Once again, to me, that constitutes a dud. 

 

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8 hours ago, fatcat04 said:

So my question is if someone orders these drinks without a package, are they charged for 2 drinks and not merely charged the traditional upcharge for a more upscale liquor (.50 or $1 extra)? If I read this right (and I might not be but..) THAT is essentially what they are doing to people who have the packages if what you say is now policy.

 

It's because of the upcharge that the computer sees the transaction as 2 drinks.  I was shown the screen and the bartender selects the desired drink and then selects the upscale liquor, so thus 2 drinks.  If you do not have the drink package, you would just pay the .50 or $1 upcharge.   I let the bartender know my displeasure with their system.  

 

 

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