Voyage Report – Nieuw Statendam, San Juan

Before boarding Nieuw Statendam, I didn’t know what to expect. The last time I went on a Holland America Line ship was about 15 years ago. What I did remember about that trip, though, was that I had the time of my life. Looking to Nieuw Statendam, I could only hope that the same would be true.

Natalie and I made a friend in Old San Juan. Nieuw Statendam behind us. © 2019 Britton Frost

I was fortunate enough to spend the four days I was on the ship with my best friend Natalie. We embarked in Puerto Rico, where we got on a bus with a few other journalists from the hotel to the ship. When we got to the terminal, we were alerted that Natalie was not on the lists of guests to embark.

After being asked to step to the side for only a few minutes, the woman at the terminal comes back apologizing profusely, “I am so sorry, Ms. Beach. You are on the list!” The only reason that I mention this is because the crew was so understanding and helpful in this situation. In fact – it caused them to know Natalie’s name throughout the trip.

Stepping onto a ship always feels like a bit of a homecoming for me. The layout can vary, but there are things on cruise ships that bring me back to my childhood. The staircases, for example – my brother and I used to jump off of them while holding onto the railings. Now, I am by no means suggesting that anyone do the same, but there is something about seeing those staircases that brings out joy in me.

But that is what cruising is about – the small details. When we got on Nieuw Statendam, we first went to guest services. Blue decor, carpet, and lighting welcomed us onto the ship. But nothing was more welcoming than the staff who greeted us at the front desk.

A beautiful blend of modern and traditional styling in our Verandah Stateroom aboard Nieuw Statendam. © 2019 Britton Frost

After receiving our keys and room assignments, we made our way to the stateroom. We were in a Verandah Stateroom, and I will say that for two adult women who packed a lot of clothes, the stateroom was very tight upon arrival. Once we were able to get everything put away, however, it did not feel crowded at all.

After getting to our room, I called guest services to notify them that we would need the sofa pulled out to make a bed for Natalie. Calling guest services was easy thanks to my status as a Club Orange member. Club Orange, which costs an extra US$50 per person, per day, grants guests with multiple perks, a dedicated guest service line being one of them.

Once the bed was pulled out, Natalie and I realized that this would cut off access to our balcony. It also cut a lot of extra space in the room, but the fact of the matter is that once our beds were turned down, we were only returning to our room to sleep. So, it was not an issue, and if you were traveling with a family it probably wouldn’t bother you.

Our double long, double wide balcony aboard Nieuw Statendam. © 2019 Britton Frost

Speaking of the balcony, I guess I ought to have bought a lottery ticket, because Natalie and I landed the most awesome balcony ever. Some of the balconies on the ship were double long, but ours happened to be double long and double wide. Looking at the floor plan, it looked like there were only a couple of balconies this size in the normal Verandah Stateroom, and one of them was next door to us. We spent a lot of time on that balcony throughout the trip, but we will get to that in another report.

That night we went to dinner at the Main Dining room, which I will speak more about when I do my food review for the ship. I enjoy eating in the Main Dining room, especially when I have the chance to eat with other guests. The menu was quite comprehensive, but some of us ended up ordering the same thing anyway.

We had a nice dinner with good service all around. The waiters and sommeliers were kind, attentive and knowledgable. This made our dining experience relaxing and easy.

The Rolling Stone Rock Room. © 2019 Britton Frost

After dinner, Natalie and I made our way to The Rolling Stone Rock Room, which ended up being one of our favorite venues on the ship. For some reason, the first night we were on board, there weren’t that many people in the lounge. Most nights, however, it was completely packed. The room features many tables and seats, and also has a dance floor in the middle.

There are three music venues all within a stone’s throw in what Holland America Line calls The Music Walk. Billboard, The Rolling Stone Rock Room, and B.B. King’s all feature live music at different times of the night. The nice thing about these shows is that they are staggered, which allows guests to go to multiple shows in the same night without missing much of each one.

B.B. King’s Blues Club ended up being our favorite venue on the ship. © 2019 Britton Frost

After Rolling Stone, we made our way to B.B. King’s Blues Club, which ended up being our favorite thing to do after dinner each night. The club was lively, and the dance floor was hopping. I even made my way out there a few times, but again, a story for another day.

After B.B. King’s, we made our way to bed. Although we got on the ship in the middle of the afternoon, there were so many things we felt that we needed to do. With our first long day over, we rested well and looked forward to the rest of the time we had to spend aboard this wonderful ship.

Where did we wake up? Come back next week to find out.

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