It has been more than a month since I stepped off of Holland America Line’s newest ship, Nieuw Statendam. I had fun on the ship, and as time passes it is clear that there are certain things from the voyage that I will never forget.
My time spent dancing at B.B. King’s Blues Club was so much fun – in fact, I channeled a few of my moves from the ship at a local dance club just a few nights ago. I remember sitting in my room on the first day looking at our daily activities and thinking, “What are we going to do tonight?” But we always found something, and more often than not – it was dancing.
The ship is ideal not only for people who like to relax in a quiet space – there were not many children and the aft pool was relatively quiet – but also for people who are willing to let loose and boogie down on the dance floor. Nieuw Statendam features many music venues: Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard, and B.B. King’s Blues Club.
If you’ve read my other stories, it is obvious that B.B. King’s was my favorite. I even mentioned it first thing in this review. That isn’t to say that the other venues weren’t entertaining, simply that B.B. King’s is what I enjoyed the most. B.B. King’s featured many different styles of music, from The Beatles to Aretha Franklin – but they were all done in a consistent blues style that encouraged the older couples (and me) to get onto the dance floor.
Rolling Stone Rock Room played classic rock songs that were fun to listen to, but I had a hard time getting on my feet to bust a move. The music in Rolling Stone was also loud – so loud in fact that it was impossible to have a conversation with the people you were with unless it was between songs.
The experience at Billboard was completely different. Billboard is a piano bar that features two pianists playing duets and singing. If you are looking to hang out with nice music in the background, this would be the place to go to sit in a corner. Couples slow-danced and those who wanted to focus on the music sat at the bar that wrapped around the pianos. Self-serve snacks were also provided.
There were not many teens or children onboard so I can’t say that this ship would be for everyone. I didn’t get a glimpse into any of the children’s activities or programs, but from my time sailing with Holland America Line as a child, I remember them being fun and engaging.
Throughout the sailing, I dined at three specialty restaurants for dinner. On the first night, I dined in the main dining room, which was good but I wasn’t stunned. I ordered pea soup as an appetizer – one of my favorite meals. I was disappointed when my soup arrived lukewarm, but I also understand that in the main dining room food is made ahead of time and brought out as it is ordered. The rest of the dinner was good, but nothing to write home about. I ate liver and creme brulee.
I had access to Holland America Line’s Club Orange perk. There were a few benefits of the program including a tote bag, a dedicated priority concierge line, and a bathrobe for use in the stateroom – but the best benefit of all was access to the Club Orange restaurant where guests are able to dine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Club Orange featured the same menu as the main dining room with a couple of additional options, and also included free mimosas at breakfast. Club Orange costs US$50/per guest, per day.
I dined at Club Orange for breakfast twice, the first time I had a breakfast scramble – eggs with salsa, sour cream, and more, over brown rice. The second time I dined at Club Orange I had spinach and egg whites over sweet potatoes. Both options were relatively healthy and delicious. The breakfast was a great way to start my day, and the restaurant never seemed crowded, which also helped me start my day off right.
The real gems on the ship were in the specialty restaurants, though. Although slightly annoying to have to pay more for these restaurants, it was worth it. Each dinner at the specialty restaurants was almost as good as the next. If you were to only try two of these, I would recommend Canaletto and Rudi’s Sel de Mar.
These two venues stuck out to me because of the level of service that was provided. The wait staff at all of the restaurants was attentive and helpful, but at these two restaurants, in particular, I received a level of service that I would expect from a luxury cruise company. The wait staff was so helpful in giving recommendations, and they were consistently checking on our tables to make sure that we had everything that we needed.
My main take away from the trip? There are things to do aboard that are not centered around music or shows, but more often than not the scheduled activities involve one or both of those elements. While that is typical for some ships, the Music Walk on Nieuw Statendam makes it clear that music is a central focus. Although there is not a music-theme to the ship, it is music-centric.
The food on the ship was great in the specialty restaurants, and good in the Main Dining room. Eating at the Main Dining room may surprise you, though. My dining partners didn’t seem to have any trouble with their dishes. However, if you are able to, springing for the extra cost of the specialty restaurants is worth it.
The service on the ship was standard; however, there were a few players that stood above and beyond. Holland America Line also added buttons on the Lido and Panorama Decks by the pool that allow guests to call an attendant over. This is a great feature because it allows you to get service when you need it, and leaves your relaxation unbothered if you don’t.
With all of that said, would I go again? Absolutely, I had a blast. Would you go if you had the chance?
Read all of my voyage reports from my time aboard Nieuw Statendam: