We recently had the opportunity to be on the first cruise on the Nieuw Statendam starting in Rome with our charter client for final preparations prior to their charter. This is the second ship in Holland America’s new Pinnacle Class with 2,566 guests. In my personal opinion it boasts one of the best interior decors HAL has come up with to date.
The theme of this ship revolves around music and you can see it in the design of various rooms, deck names and art throughout the ship. The ship has a light and bright feel and a nice contemporarily elegant finish to her. This ship doesn’t rely on gimmicks but the history of a proud cruise line delivering a solid cruise with fine service, excellent food and good enjoyable entertainment. This cruise line doesn’t pretend to be everything to everybody but it is ideal for many groups and charters.
Keep in mind that HAL’S ship that are typically 2,000 to 2,600 passengers are very popular in the charter market. The cabins are very well appointed and slightly larger than most cruise lines in the contemporary and premium market. With a true separate sofa area for desk space and TV viewing it has ample room. The veranda is deeper than most so can relax and catch some sun or have breakfast on the balcony. Sadly the bathrooms are a bit small for this size cabin.
We are told that HAL is throwing more money into their dining budget and it shows. Fine quality and more variety in most venues. The ship offers a total of 10 options; 5 are complimentary and 5 have an extra charge. The comp Dive-In and New York Deli & Pizza are pool deck venues that offer surprising good burgers and pizza, like really good! The Grand Dutch Café is going to be the heart of this ship. A very popular coffee and beer stop offering a changing menu of lite bits depending on the time of day.
Tamarind and Nami Sushi are two Asian inspired venues sharing a large room. Tamarind is a long time HAL favorite that now has a vibrant Sushi dining area headed by Master Sushi Chef Andy Matsuda. New on this is ship are two outdoor dining wings off each restaurant. This will be a hit as it is at the top of the ship and the views in the Caribbean will be as good as the food.
Rudi’s Sel De Mer is Master Chef Head Corporate Chef Rudi Sodamin’s dream restaurant. It is decorated from head to toe in a total fantasy from and by the Chef. You have to check out the plates even if you don’t dine here. This is an intimate French seafood Brasserie straight from the south of France. Real fresh seafood, real good selections at ala carte pricing.
Rounding out the dining selections are Canaletto, an Italian standard with HAL, as is the Pacific Steak and Seafood Pinnacle Grill. The two level main dining room overs a choice of either fixed dining or open seating. The Lido Market, the buffet restaurant, offers a large variety of options for breakfast, lunch and dining many of which are prepared as you wait. Several theme nights are also featured depending upon ship location. All in all, food is very good to excellent and service has always been a strong point for Holland America.
Holland America has never really been known for its entertainment, but this ship is a game changer. Deck 2 holds 4 entertainment venues. Afternoon classical music in Lincoln Center Stage and evening entertainment in B.B. King’s Blues Club. Dueling pianos in Billboard Onboard with late night DJ and the new Rolling Stone Rock Room. The Rock Room is brand new and a real hit if this cruise was any indication. Great classic rock performed by an excellent rock band. B.B. Kings Blues Club is the real deal with a 7 piece excellent band as well. The Live Music rotated non-stop from these 3 venues from 8 pm to midnight with the DJ taking over for the late night.
Regretfully we did have a chance to catch any of the production shows as the 3 music acts were too good to pass up on our short cruise. But the room is a theater in the round with high tech video walls surrounding the room.
The ship has the covered pool mid ship, as do all HAL ships, and the open aft deck pool ideal in the Caribbean not so much in the MED in Dec. The ship has 2 dedicated meeting rooms plus the main showroom of course for meetings.
We highly recommend this and other HAL ships. They are great value for money with Award Winning Service that is well deserved, great food and variety. The ships feel elegant and have that timeless feel versus the flavor of the day. The art and flowers onboard surpass everybody else. Now the entertainment is perfectly geared to the 40+ market.
For charters and groups you have to consider this ship. Not for everyone but for the more experienced incentive groups.
This report was prepared by Steve Bloss on December 1, 2018. The views expressed as solely those of the author and not necessarily those of WWTCA.