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Dulciana8

Nieuw Statendam, Thanksgiving, and cruising with a five year old— a belated review

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All, we had a fantastic Thanksgiving cruise on the Nieuw Statendam, and I meant to write a nice little trip report as soon as we got home, but sickness, school, and parenting a five year old got in the way— please excuse my tardiness and please take this little review at its value! Overall we had a fabulous trip! I’ve attempted a photo upload— just a few pictures; I hope it works as planned. 
 

We flew to FLL a day early, and spent the night in Dania Beach at the Hilton Home2Suites. We like Home2 as a nice alternative to other Hilton properties— room layout is good for family travel, large rooms, nice shower in the bathroom, and free breakfast. There is a complimentary airport shuttle between 5am and midnight, and a shuttle to Port Everglades is available, $20 per person round trip from hotel-PE-airport. 
 

Day1– Our son was bouncing off the walls ready to get on the ship! He was so excited to go back to Club HAL, and enjoy HAL pizza... easy shuttle ride to the ship, and we arrived at the terminal around noon. Our boarding docs gave us an arrival time of 1:30, but there was no way we could entertain ourselves or the kid until then— so we arrived early, waited in line for 25 minutes then boarded! 
 

As stated so frequently here, NS is really beautiful. Modern design, muted colors with little pops of brighter colors made for a really Impressive design scheme, in my opinion. Our room, deck five, cabin 5046, even though it was right by the stairwell/elevator lobby, was very quiet. I felt like it was a little small. The bathroom was really nice. 
 

We had early fixed dining (5pm!) which worked out great, because By the time we finished eating each night, our son was ready to attend Club HAL, which opened each evening at 7. 
 

Day2– Half Moon Cay is always gorgeous! One of our favorite places. We walked down the beach past the pirate ship bar and found some loungers in the shade. We just enjoyed a lazy beach day. Glorious!

 

Day3– At sea. Really fun day on board— I enjoyed geeking out at the Origins film presented by the cruise director, which told the history of HAL. I thought it was interesting and informative. My son joined me at flower arranging, and then the highlight of his cruise was at lunch, when the bartender made him his first Shirley Temple! Club HAL sea day hours were 9-11:30am, then 1-4pm, and then 7-11pm. Dinner tonight was a Gala night, and it was interesting— our first experience observing folks being turned away for improper dress on the MDR (in this case, those on shorts were asked to change clothes). We enjoyed music each night in the Music Walk- this is really fabulous and the quality of the performances is outstanding. 
 

Day4– Turks and Caicos. For us, another beach day. We walked off the ship and found surf side loungers— we went further down the beach so we ended up paying $20, which was totally fine. We like Grand Turk as the beach is so pretty— this was our second time here, and the water is so pretty! 
 

Day5– In Amber Cove, we did an independent excursion through Marysol Tours— horseback riding and beach day. It was so much fun. Our son loved it, and our guide was wonderful with him. Afterward we shopped for a little in the port area. I thought it was a really nice port— we’ve been to Punta Cana before, and think the DR is really a gorgeous country, and Amber Cove definitely is surrounded by some beautiful scenery! Today was Thanksgiving Day, and the menu was lovely— ham, turkey, beef— best part is that I didn’t have to cook or clean, and my son got to eat another pizza, lol! 
 

Day6– Sea day. Tonight we ate at Tamarind. We love Tamarind— definitely our favorite restaurant at sea. Our sweet server brought our son a pizza! I got to enjoy a spa day— Swedish massage and mani/pedi. Very nice facilities. 
 

Day 7– Key West was amazing. We have been before but in our opinion, cruising into Key West was more fun than driving! We went through passport control on the ship here— a little bit of a nightmare lining everyone up, but generally it was okay, and even nicer once we realized there’d be no customs in FLL upon arrival! We walked on our own in Key West— super easy for us, visiting the Truman White House, the Hemingway House, Southernmost point, followed by lunch at El Siboney Cuban restaurant, and then a walk up Duval St to Mallory Square. My husband had to watch the Iron Bowl on the iPad so getting back to homebase at kickoff was critical. Thankfully Auburn won... 
 

We flew home a day after our cruise ended, choosing to visit my husband’s grandmother in Naples. 
 

In Summary— Another wonderful HAL cruise. We enjoy the family atmosphere, and son enjoys Club HAL. We are paying careful attention to the proposed changes to Club/High Score. Service was outstanding— our cabin attendants and MDR attendants anticipated our desires and went above and beyond to cater to our little one. We loved the World Stage— really technologically impressive! I wish the standard verandah cabins were larger and the first fixed dining seating was just 30 minutes later. I loved that the Lido Pool actually had a staircase rather than just ladders. In hindsight I would’ve booked an aft cabin rather than a forward cabin, my mistake. 
 

Thanks for reading along! 
 

 

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Edited by Dulciana8

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Thank you for sharing your experiences & pics!  I would have had a difficult time choosing from that Thanksgiving menus- except for the chocolate pecan pie! 😎

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Appreciate you taking the time to write the review. It is really nice to see that kids can still enjoy HAL.

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15 hours ago, cat shepard said:

Thank you for sharing your experiences & pics!  I would have had a difficult time choosing from that Thanksgiving menus- except for the chocolate pecan pie! 😎

The desserts were delicious as always! 

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12 minutes ago, vicd1969 said:

Appreciate you taking the time to write the review. It is really nice to see that kids can still enjoy HAL.

Yes definitely! The staff, crew, everyone working on board was so genuinely helpful to us with our son— and our son, who is a seasoned cruiser (this was his fifth cruise), and we travel regularly, totes the line pretty well with how to act in public, can turn on the charm himself. Plus Club HAL is a great distraction for him when he wants to get away from mom and dad and have some fun on his own with kids his own age! 

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Nice review and photos!   Sounds like a great time for all of you-each getting to relax and enjoy life as it should be.  Glad to hear your son enjoyed Club HAL.  We will be watching closely what happens in future as I’m sure we will want to take our little granddaughter on a cruise in a couple of years.  

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Nice review.  Glad your son had a good experience in Club HAL.  I just booked a cruise for 2021 on the Nieuw Statendam.  Can't wait!

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Thank you for taking the time to write your review and include a few pictures.

 

Glad you all had a wonderful time and your son enjoyed Club HAL -- while it was still around.

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Thanks for the review, glad to hear that they turned away people not properly dressed for the MDR. We're taking our 10 yr. old great grand daughter on the NS in July, we're also in a deck 5 cabin.

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Great review and thanks for sharing.....

 

We still have withdrawal pains from our NS TA cruise that ended in early November.....she is an awesome ship with a great staff.

 

We've cruised Thanksgiving before when the kids were that age....good times....And the MDR on Thanksgiving night always threw the crew off as all us American's were forgoing steak and lobster for Turkey!

 

Thanks for writing the review.....

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7 hours ago, canadianbear said:

Nice review and photos!   Sounds like a great time for all of you-each getting to relax and enjoy life as it should be.  Glad to hear your son enjoyed Club HAL.  We will be watching closely what happens in future as I’m sure we will want to take our little granddaughter on a cruise in a couple of years.  

We are also paying close attention to any changes to Club HAL— our son just turned 6 so we only have one more year under the “old” system before anything would change with the High Score programming! 

 

6 hours ago, ski ww said:

Thanks for the review, glad to hear that they turned away people not properly dressed for the MDR. We're taking our 10 yr. old great grand daughter on the NS in July, we're also in a deck 5 cabin.

This was the first time I’d ever seen folks turned away for improper dress in a ship’s MDR across four cruise lines— and this was our fourth HAL cruise. The hostess was polite but she meant business! Hope y’all enjoy your cruise in July with your ggd— deck five was really quiet, and if you’ve got a verandah the view is nice looking straight out; can’t see anything looking down bc of the lifeboats. I do think the NS verandah rooms are smaller than our other verandah rooms on either Oosterdam or Eurodam (our only other HAL ships we’ve sailed for comparison), so three people in the room was a little tight, especially with all of our stuff!

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Thanks for posting the review!  

 

Also appreciate the insights regarding an FLL pre/post-cruise hotel suggestion!

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Glad you posted about the people in shorts being turned away.  I've seen it on a few cruises and people don't want to believe that it happens.  Yes, sometimes someone "gets away with it", but it's a pain to be sent away.

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Thanks for the great review and information.

 

Surprised to hear that early dining was 5 pm.   I can understand why you would prefer the 5:30 pm time.

 

 

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On 12/21/2019 at 9:58 PM, jb008 said:

Thanks for posting the review!  

 

Also appreciate the insights regarding an FLL pre/post-cruise hotel suggestion!

Sure— folks on CC like to stay at Embassy Suites, but we find them a little dated. Home2 is a nice, newer alternative— a bit modern perhaps, but a good option for family travel. And easier on the points bank when we try to travel on Hilton Honors points, lol!

10 hours ago, ithaca gal said:

Glad you posted about the people in shorts being turned away.  I've seen it on a few cruises and people don't want to believe that it happens.  Yes, sometimes someone "gets away with it", but it's a pain to be sent away.

Our table was right at the entrance to the MDR so we could see everything— the hostess was apparently very polite but firm about asking folks (interestingly in our view, the offenders were all men in shorts/ Plastic flip flops) and the guests all returned in pants and different shoes!

 

2 hours ago, kazu said:

Thanks for the great review and information.

 

Surprised to hear that early dining was 5 pm.   I can understand why you would prefer the 5:30 pm time.

 

 

5:30 would’ve been so much easier for us, to dress and relax after a day in port— in our experience with cruising we’ve not come across a dining time this early before! 

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Great review!  We just got off the ship yesterday 12/22 and I'll write a review soon.  We're late 40's without kids and noticed all the kids onboard were very well behaved.  Once we joined a hot tub with two boys, since we didn't want to crowd in the other one with three adults.  My husband put his watch on the side of the tub after the boys left.  Later, it was gone and we thought it fell over the edge.  So we looked but couldn't see it.  Anyway, one of the boys walked by later and it must have slid a couple feet away and they came up to us to ask if it was ours.  I thought that was so sweet of them and they didn't have to! 

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