Nieuw Statendam represents the latest offering from a more modern and engaging Holland America. The line's largest ship to date cements its Pinnacle Class, which debuted in 2016 with Koningsdam, as the future of a brand that has been sailing for nearly 150 years.
Many of the same features from the first Pinnacle-class ship have been carried over to Nieuw Statendam, including the World Stage theater, a two-tier Lido Deck with movie screen, a wine-making venue called Blend, the Music Walk, Rudi's Sel de Mer and solo cabins. Other elements have been tweaked based on customer feedback -- moving the Lincoln Center Stage venue away from the noise of the casino, expanding the ship's suites as well as rearranging family cabins and adding call buttons to tables on the Lido. Also new is a pay-for-perks program called Club Orange that allows passengers to purchase access to priority embarkation and debarkation, a concierge, dedicated help desks, priority restaurant reservations and a dedicated restaurant. We weren't sold on the program, and think the cost (currently $35 per person, per day) is a bit steep for what you get (even including the free tote bag and one free glass of wine).
Even the music theme carries over from Koningsdam, with extraordinary design elements and of course, performances, that hit all the right notes. The onboard art collection is completely unique and is the largest collection of any ship in the fleet with an impressive variety of more than 2,000 works.
More than ever, Holland America's choice of partners shine on Nieuw Statendam; Rolling Stone Rock Room, created in partnership with Rolling Stone Magazine, offers an outlet for passengers looking for an edgier evening experience. A linkup with Fujifilm brings the onboard photo experience into the 21st century with an interactive photo and souvenir studio called Wonder Photo. And, of course, the line's partnership with Oprah Magazine (Oprah Winfrey is also the godmother of Nieuw Statendam) is evident in the onboard programming -- meditation, book clubs and workshops.
Nieuw Statendam strikes a tricky balance as a ship that can be calm without being boring and geared toward adults without isolating families. There are plenty of quiet spaces that come alive at night and all the live performances prove more engaging than sleepy sets from a single band in the atrium. Kids and families will have fun travelling and exploring together even without water slides and roller coasters. Most importantly, for fans of the cruise line, Holland America hasn't abandoned its traditional roots to segue into modern times; it's embraced and evolved them.
Daytime: During the day, resort casual attire is the norm.
Evening: Gala Nights are Holland America's version of a formal night, and invoke a dress-to-impress atmosphere with at minimum, collared shirts and slacks or skirts/blouses or dresses expected in all speciality restaurants as well as the main dining room.
Not permitted: Shorts, bathing suits, cover-ups, tank tops for men and distressed jeans are discouraged during the evening, especially at dinner.
The World Stage, on Decks 2 and 3 forward, is the main performance space onboard; it's an innovative theatre in the round, which debuted on sister ship Koningsdam. The venue accommodates 650 passengers at one time with unobstructed views and standout 270-degree screens that are used during performances. A highlight of any sailing is a specially produced short film from BBC's Planet Earth series, accompanied by a live orchestra.
Guest performers, including opera singers, take the stage on intermittent nights; other nights you'll find more traditional song-and-dance production shows.
During the day, the World Stage hosts port talks and other enrichment lectures. It's commonly the meeting place for shore excursions before you head out to meet your group.
A day indoors onboard a Holland America ship promises enrichment opportunities, music, relaxation and, of course, a variety of libations and tastings. Nieuw Statendam is no exception.
The Microsoft Studio, on Deck 2, offers complimentary sessions on Microsoft software -- from creative applications to storage -- taught by a specialist. The room contains dozens of computers for passengers to practice on their own, or under the one-on-one supervision of the staff.
Up in the Crow's Nest, at Explorations Central, passengers will find books, puzzles and board games to pass the time, as well as occasionally hosted trivia. (BBC-themed trivia using video clips and music trivia are sometimes held in Billboard Onboard and other venues.) Your EXC guides will also lead informative port talks in the theatre, and guest speakers are invited to lecture on art and culture, usually tied to your itinerary.
Be sure to read the latest pick from Oprah's Book Club and join a meetup onboard to discuss. However, you might need to check with your travel agent or the cruise line to find out what the latest pick is as they're not listed on the website.
For the culinary-minded, America's Test Kitchen hosts themed demos, typically held in the Queen's Lounge. More intimate classes might also be available, but for a fee. Also for an extra cost ($99 per couple or $79 per person), you're able to make your own red wine blend from five varietals, guided by an onboard wine expert at Blend on Deck 2. The program, created in partnership with Washington-based winery Chateau Ste. Michelle, is educational, plus you get to label and bottle your blend to take home with you (or drink on the cabin balcony). Wine tastings and happy hours are also held here -- and elsewhere -- throughout your sailing.
Beer-lovers will find tastings on select afternoons for about $15. Amateur mixologists will enjoy themed cocktail-making classes, including the drinks of cruise line mixologist Dale DeGroff, held at the Ocean Bar for $15.
We're told an artist-in-residence program, hosted by the ArtLink Gallery, will be starting soon; it will bring local artists onboard to display their art, give talks or teach classes.
For those seeking more active pursuits, tournaments on the Sports Court, games of bridge, dance classes, behind-the-scenes tours of the ship and flower arranging are all activities you might see listed in your When & Where program on any given day. Complimentary gaming lessons are also held in the casino on select afternoons.
Lincoln Center Stage is likely to hold performances not only in the evening (5:30 or 6:30) but also in the middle of the afternoon. As the classical musicians share the Queen's Lounge performance venue with the B.B. King's blues band, they are more likely to get a few sessions in during the day.
Music is the main event on Nieuw Statendam, with up to a dozen sets held nightly, and Music Walk is the centre of most of the action.
Music Walk is a cleverly designed pathway on Deck 2 that takes cruisers through classical, rock, blues and even samba and other musical styles. Beginning at the back of the ship, cruisers start with the sparkling Queen's Lounge, home to the B.B. King's blues band and Lincoln Center Stage musicians -- both absurdly talented. Further down the pathway you'll find yourself with Billboard Onboard to your left and Rolling Stone Rock Room to your right.
The partnership with Rolling Stone Magazine is new to Holland America, and it brings even more dimension to the nightly lineup as rock 'n' roll musicians do their best covers of classic rock hits. When the rock 'n' rollers aren't shredding it, the piano players (there are two who play face to face) take over at Billboard Onboard and most nights it's a free-for-all sing-along to chart-toppers from across the decades.
End your walk at the World Stage, which also hosts special musical guests and other performances each night. Along the way you might even run into a soloist at the Ocean Bar or a Latin band in another venue. A short flight of stairs away from Rolling Stone Rock Room or Billboard Onboard is the casino, which heats up at night, lined wall to wall with hypnotizing slot machines and table games. Tournaments like Texas Hold'em and lotto drawings are held regularly.
Whiskey tastings at Notes are typically reserved for evenings, and price varies by the daily selection.
An onboard bar hop is held once per sailing; check your cruise program for time and location.
Families will enjoy the latest films shown on the Lido Deck big screen at 7 and again at 10.
On Nieuw Statendam, the bars and lounges are thoughtfully placed in scenic or high-trafficked areas of the ship intended to be convenient and comfortable. That's not to say that there isn't an element of design; one of our favorite finds, the bar tucked inside Tamarind, feels more like a secret upscale city lounge than a bar servicing a cruise ship restaurant.
Notes (Deck 2): Nestled between the Billboard Onboard Lounge and the Rolling Stone Rock Room, Notes offers passengers interested in whiskey-tasting the chance to sample a number of fine varieties from more than 100 bottles. Guided tastings can be booked for a fee, and shots of certain whiskies can range in the hundreds of dollars.
Ocean Bar (Deck 2): If wine-blending at Blend has inspired you to drink more wine, head next door to the Ocean Bar, overlooking the atrium. It's a main thoroughfare for pedestrian traffic, meaning it's a great place for people-watching or grabbing a drink before your dinner across the way at the Pinnacle Grill. On the other side is a quiet lounge set off on its own, featuring a variety of comfy chairs and couches and a small stage with a grand piano that's tickled occasionally by a soloist at night.
Rolling Stone Rock Room (Deck 2): The newest venue on the Music Walk plays it cool with red leather-like chairs and finishings painted black -- the Rolling Stones would approve. The bar in the back serves the space while patrons groove to rock tunes; there is a dedicated menu but the drinks are mostly classic cocktails or specialities from around the ship, nothing exclusive. Servers all sport band T-shirts, from the Ramones to Pink Floyd, which is a cool touch.
Queen's Lounge (Deck 2): The area where B.B. King's and the Lincoln Center Stage musicians both play is a beautiful space designed to look like the inside of a violin. A large stage is flanked by plush, dark chairs on either side. There is a seating area one deck above that serves as a sort of mezzanine, and it gets used -- especially at night -- as many times performances of the B.B. King's band become standing room only. The glittering light fixtures above make a stunning chandelier that resembles a cluster of starbursts. Bar service is available during performances. Be sure to look for the house specials; if you can grab a few friends, order the Boom Boom Punch (more elegant than it sounds), which serves four to six people and includes ingredients like lavender syrup and prosecco. Other activities, like the America's Test Kitchen Demos, might be held here during your sailing.
Billboard Onboard (Deck 2): Home to the piano players of pop hits, the lounge that houses Billboard Onboard is massive -- there's seating near the windows, at the bar, along the pianos and even a dance floor. A semicircular bar serves the sing-along venue. Daytime events here include the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet, cocktails for loyalty members and other similar events.
Casino Bar (Deck 3): This is a dedicated bar that keeps the casino crowd lubricated, with a few stools and TVs for catching the game.
Neptune Lounge (Deck 7): Sporting a refreshed design, the expanded Neptune Lounge is a keycard-access-only space for guests staying in Neptune or Pinnacle Suites. It's tucked in the middle of a deck that otherwise contains passenger cabins. Suite guests will find a TV, reading materials, plenty of comfortable lounge space, a concierge desk and small kitchen with complimentary refreshments.
Sea View Bar (Deck 9): As the name suggests, the Sea View Bar is located near the Sea View pool, but views of the ocean are hard to come by at the actual bar, which is closer to the buffet than the sea. Still, this spot hydrates the sunbathers at the aft pool or diners from the Lido Marketplace who have wandered out to eat in the fresh air. There are eight wooden stools at the bar featuring a nautical flag design, and a cozy nook with a wraparound couch and chairs for convening in the shade.
Lido Bar (Deck 9): Blenders whir and ice is shaken daily over at the bar that serves the main pool. A new feature on the Lido Deck are buttons placed on tables so that passengers can easily summon a server when they are looking for another daiquiri.
Panorama Bar (Deck 10): The Panorama Bar is perched above the Lido Deck, allowing patrons to take in the bustle below while sipping a cold beer. White cushioned seats beckon you to stay awhile. This bar also services the upper level of the pool deck.
Tamarind Bar (Deck 10): The bar inside Tamarind, the ship's speciality pan-Asian restaurant, isn't advertised, which makes it something of a hidden gem. Head all the way to the left when you walk in for not just a bar but a small lounge with intimate tables for two and a secluded spot to lounge with friends. A custom cocktail menu offers a sake list and plenty of concoctions featuring sake, like the Sake Cruz (we thought it tasted like a pink Starburst). The Shiso Sour also got high marks for presentation and inventiveness. The best part is that unlike sky-high pricing at exclusive cocktail bars in major cities, these drinks came in just under $10 including gratuity -- a value that might not stay secret for long.
Sun Bar (Deck 11): More of a sunset bar than a Sun Bar, this location is perfect for a late afternoon or evening tipple overlooking the ocean at the back of the ship. There are only a few wooden stools here, but there is a full bar and plenty of space to roam around while snapping sunset shots or spacing out in a lounger watching the wake.
Crow's Nest (Deck 12): If a library had a bar and hosted occasional events like trivia and board games, you'd get the Crow's Nest. Floor-to-ceiling windows surround this top-deck perch (pun intended). Since it faces forward, plenty of warm sunshine floods in. Ample, cozy seating fills up surprisingly fast as passengers read with a scotch in hand or do a crossword with the help of some cabernet. There are plenty of refreshing and nonalcoholic beverages on hand, as well. This roomy lounge and bar is one of the most popular hangouts on the ship during the morning and afternoon, especially on a sea day.
There are two primary pools on Nieuw Statendam, both located on Deck 9: the Lido Pool midship and the Sea View pool toward the aft. There are no dedicated pools or splash areas for children, but potty-trained kids are welcome to swim around the Lido pool; the Sea View pool attempts an adults-only vibe, but unofficially.
We love the two-tier Lido Deck design of the Pinnacle Class, and it shines on Nieuw Statendam. You have it all here: plenty of tan padded loungers with colourful towels, three hot tubs, semiprivate cabanas and chic white sofas (some with tables) overlooking the pool on Deck 10; plus the whole area is surrounded by bars and restaurants if you're feeling snacky.
A giant movie screenplays first-run features at night (popcorn and snacks are available at the New York Deli), and a glass magrodome roof can retract over the entire two-deck space, depending on the weather. A row of colourful closets line the wall behind the movie screen on Deck 10; these are changing rooms.
The Sea View pool deck is open to the elements with beautiful views, two hot tubs and a wooden bench surrounding the entire pool with a number of slate gray loungers also flanking the space.
The Sports Court is located on Deck 11 and is where Nieuw Statendam's outdoor recreation facilities are. A netted basketball court doubles as a soccer court. The jogging track is also located here; 12 laps equals a mile. Futuristic-looking outdoor fitness equipment surrounds the deck, and lets you stretch and swing in the fresh air. Shuffleboard courts are also painted on the deck.
A Ping-Pong table can be found on either side of Deck 10, near the pool.
The Promenade Deck (Deck 3) features a sheltered walking track.
Space to sunbathe is plentiful on Nieuw Statendam. Apart from the two pool areas you'll find tons of open deck on Deck 11, appropriately named the Sun Deck.
At the front of the ship, on Deck 12, you will find Holland America's private reservations-only sun deck called The Retreat; here you'll find a hot tub, as well as extra-fee cabanas. For about $75 a day ($45 on a port day; $299 for a week), the private cabana comes with sparkling wine and complimentary drinks and snacks.
There might also be a few loungers available at the very top, forward on Deck 14 (Sky Deck), but space is limited here, and might be restricted due to high winds or other weather.
Deck 1 is where you'll find the Internet Center, including a small computer room with machines available to use. A desk is staffed during posted hours to help passengers troubleshoot their tech problems. Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship and can be purchased in package form starting at $14.99 per day for social media sites and up to $29.99 per day for the inclusion of streaming services. Holland America offers a complimentary app called the Navigator that offers the onboard schedule, deck plans and other useful features.
The Stuyvesant, Half Moon and Hudson meeting rooms are also on Deck 1. This is often where games of "Party Bridge" take place during the day or where religious services are held.
Onboard shopping, in the Merabella Shops, begins on Deck 2 with stores like The Vault featuring jewellery, duty-free liquor and other luxury gift items. Logowear and Holland America-branded souvenirs are concentrated in the shops on Deck 3.
Surrounding the atrium on Deck 3 is where you will find guest services and the desk of the onboard future cruise consultant. Also on Deck 3, near the other shops, is the onboard art gallery. Unlike the long hallways of auction art on other ships, the gallery on Nieuw Statendam is a curated collection of young and emerging artists from the destinations that the ship visits. All art, managed by ArtLink Galleries, is for sale and intended to be affordable.
Toward the back of the ship on Deck 3 you will find Wonder Photo, a new photography concept offered in partnership with Fujifilm. Rather than browse through hundreds of wasteful printed photographs, guests are encouraged to log on to digital stations to browse portraits taken onboard or even plug in their own devices and upload personal images to print -- though packages are still pricy and start at about $90. The fun and interactive part of these photo kiosks are the possibilities for what and how to print; choose from mugs, coasters, T-shirts, tin boxes -- you name it. Most customized items will be shipped to passengers' homes. A selection of cameras and other photo gear is sold here, as well.
On Deck 12, you will find Explorations Central (EXC) at the Crow's Nest, a lounge space that also doubles as a hub for destination immersion and port planning. The shore excursions desk is here, with office hours throughout your sailing.
Holland America is doing away with traditional libraries and as such, there is only a limited selection of books and research materials available to browse and borrow, displayed on shelves around the Crow's Nest or in the area surrounding Explorations Central.
There are no self-service laundry rooms onboard Nieuw Statendam. Bags of laundry as well as dry cleaning can be done onboard by request, for a fee.
There are limited smoking sections onboard, including port side on Deck 9 by the Sea View Bar as well as the Sun Bar and designated areas of the casino. Select nights are smoke-free in the casino.
The Greenhouse Spa & Salon spans the very front of Deck 9 and a chunk of Deck 10. The complex is low-lit and calming with dark wood and touches of jade green; walking in from the Lido, heading forward, you will pass the hydrotherapy pool enclosed in glass. This round pool with therapeutic jets is part of the ship's impressive thermal suite, which includes access to multiple saunas, a steam room, aromatherapy room, relaxation room with heated ceramic loungers and other shower rooms for a daily fee (about $40, but ask once you're onboard) or with a pass for the length of your cruise. If there are two of you interested, ask for couple's pricing. Given the variety of rooms to unwind in, chances for crowding are reduced.
Treatments onboard are provided using Elemis brand products. Choose from face, massage or body therapies (ranging from $119 for a 50-minute reflexology massage) or opt for an acupuncture session or a medi-spa cosmetic service such as Botox, dermal fillers or teeth-whitening.
A dedicated salon offers hair, nail and men's services (like a hot shave); a deluxe pedicure or hair colouring is a fraction of the cost of a massage or facial (about $70).
Look for discounts throughout your cruise that reduce pricing on port days or bundle services at a lower rate.
Nieuw Statendam's fitness centre is on Deck 9, inside of the spa, and it's a respectable size featuring rows of state-of-the-art machines, mainly from Precor. Passengers looking to get their heart rate going will find stationary bikes, rowing machines, ellipticals and weight machines, plus treadmills that face floor-to-ceiling windows over the ocean. There is a studio providing dedicated space for spin classes and another studio that hosts classes like yoga or TRX training; we think the private rooms are a nice touch, especially for meditative exercises, rather than fighting for floor space in a crowded gym. Plus, both studios feature walls of windows. Stretching and abs classes are complimentary, but most other classes range from $12 to $20 per session; personal training is available, but significantly more expensive.
Complimentary fitness seminars are held throughout the cruise, and you can meet with fellow passengers who want to walk a mile by finding the time and place in your When & Where program.
There's no question that Holland America is dedicated to its dining. Fleetwide programs like the Culinary Council, a team of seven accomplished chefs who help develop and influence onboard menus, demonstrate an emphasis on quality cuisine.
The great news is you don't have to pay extra for the best food onboard. The seafood we got at lunch in the main dining room was every bit as good as the dishes served at Rudi's Sel de Mer, the $100/couple speciality restaurant. Considering just how good the food was in the main restaurant, we're not sure why anyone would actually pay such a high surcharge. Even across speciality restaurants, you'll save $30 per couple over Rudi's if you dine on the selection of seafood at the steakhouse, Pinnacle Grill (and it's not shabby; think halibut and Alaskan king crab legs). At Tamarind, the pan-Asian restaurant, two can dine for the price of one Rudi's cover charge -- and Tamarind was unanimously our group's favourite meal of the entire cruise.
But whether you're indulging in speciality dining or enjoying the included options, Nieuw Statendam offers dining around the clock, and provides it in impeccable surroundings. Main meals served in the designer dining room or light-filled Lido Marketplace are complemented by pastries in the scenic Crow's Nest lounge or a bite at the stylish Dutch cafe. Even shameless late-night snackers can order burgers and bento boxes to their cabins to nosh. You certainly won't go hungry onboard.
The Dining Room (Decks 2 and 3): Due in large part to the dazzling decor of master designer Adam. D. Tihany, a meal in Nieuw Statendam's main dining room feels more like an occasion and less like a default dining option. (Look for the two-deck paper sculpture -- made from Belgian linen and designed to mimic sound and ocean waves -- to the left of the entry. It was created by an artist who has exhibited in the Louvre.) Breakfast and dinner are served here daily, while lunch and afternoon tea are included on sea days. Lunch service is noon to 1 p.m. while afternoon tea is held at 3. Breakfast opens at 7:30 a.m. on port days and 8 a.m. on sea days, spanning 90 minutes. Dinner is held from about 5 to 9 p.m. each evening.
Opt for set dining times (one early, one late) or select As You Wish dining, an open-seating, no set time choice. With open seating, you can make dinner reservations for any time during your cruise up to 4 p.m. the night of, or simply walk up anytime during dining hours (but be aware that lines do form).
Dinner consists of starters/soups/salads and then entrees and desserts. Dishes are labeled on the menu with dietary information and Culinary Council designations, but let your waiter know of any food intolerances prior to ordering and they will be accommodated.
Expect to start with items like a crispy crab roll, andouille and Swiss chard soup or fig, feta and arugula salad before moving on to the mains. An "always available" menu consists of grilled salmon, broiled chicken and New York strip loin, while specials fill the rest of the page and often pull ingredients from ports visited (in Spain, for example, you might see Iberico ham and manchego cheese used liberally). On Gala Night, expect a vamped-up five-course menu with way more featured dishes from your Culinary Council chefs.
A new partnership with renowned wine critic James Suckling has brought curated wine menus into the dining room, adding to the specialty cocktails you will find from the line's existing partnership with master mixologist Dale DeGroff.
While all the stops are pulled for dinner service, we felt lunch in the dining room also deserves a nod. Menus are more limited, but include tasty picks like roasted Roma tomato soup with a basil foam, gnocchi with Gruyere, and a chocolate-peanut tart topped with rum raisin ice cream. It's a nice alternative for days at sea, rather than simply grabbing a burger by the pool.
Breakfast is divided into sections like "Something Simple" for yoghurt and cereal; "Breakfast Classics," which includes Benedicts, English breakfasts and Asian breakfast platters; omelettes, skillets, pastries and "Hot Off the Griddle," which denotes waffles, French toast and pancake varieties; and finally, "Light Selections," which are picked by the health-conscious chef Elizabeth Faulkner. Note that it's not your grandma's health food: Selections include a quinoa parfait with coconut milk yogurt, raspberries, bananas, avocado, maple syrup and Brazil nuts.
Grand Dutch Cafe (Deck 3): If there's one public space that sums up a Holland America ship, it might be the Grand Dutch Cafe, with a menu inspired by the brand's Dutch heritage. The European cafe concept complements the top deck of the atrium, as passengers pass through to grab a latte, sit to rest or dig into a Dutch specialty. The space is gorgeous on Nieuw Statendam; navy blues trimmed with white, mirrors that reflect various angles and quaint tables accompanied by an adjacent seating area with natural light and countertops that contain miniature Dutch villages framed in glass.
A dozen food items, from soups and sandwiches to Dutch-style fries and pancakes, are available from 11:30 a.m. until 8 p.m., free of charge. Three additional snacks -- including bitterballen (a Dutch meat-based snack) -- are added to the menu from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Pastries and ham and cheese sandwiches are available all day (7 a.m. to 10 p.m.) from the bake case. Coffee, tea, espresso drinks, beer on tap or by the bottle and about nine Dutch liqueurs are on hand to sip (for a fee). Wrapped Dutch cookies and candies are displayed in jars near the register, for a small charge.
If you order a hot beverage to stay, it arrives on a silver platter with a small glass of water and a cookie, as it would in Europe. It's such a satisfying way to savor a caffeine fix.
Lido Market (Deck 9): So many things have been done at sea in recent years to shy away from the perception of a crowded free-for-all buffet, and the Lido Market -- serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily -- is a perfect example of how it's working. For starters, the space is stunning. Tons of natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows flood light and airy seating areas with a white and grass-green color scheme. It feels fresh and the space feels open. Two-tops can be found alongside tables for four and up to eight. It's a modern take on mass dining.
Rather than an endless, winding hallway of food, the Lido Market fully embraces the station concept. Not only does this aid with navigation, but also sanitation: No passenger actually helps themselves at the buffet; everything is served from behind a glass panel.
Stations are: Homestead, where you'll find classic comfort food; Distant Lands, for international cuisine; Wild Harvest is a deluxe salad station; and the Breadboard offers sandwiches, to name a few. (The omelet station is usually set up at Distant Lands, for breakfast.)
Expect classic American cuisine at each mealtime, accompanied by an impressive amount of other ethnic dishes, from Indian to Italian. Options rotate daily.
A Beer on Tap table is located by one of the entrances to the Lido Market, and for a fee you can pull your own pint of Heineken, Newcastle or Strongbow cider.
The Lido Market opens as early as 6:30 a.m. for light breakfast items and as late as 11:30 p.m. for late-night snacks. Lunch is typically 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., while dinner is from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Select stations are open for an afternoon snack from 2 to 4 p.m.
Dive In (Deck 9): Holland America has struck crispy, fried gold with Dive In, its poolside burger and hot dog counter. Choose from seven specialty burgers or create your own; there are also three ways to have your Nathan's hot dog and four ways to enjoy the French fries (special sauce, anyone?). Buzzers are handed out and let you know when your order is ready, to avoid crowding. Milkshakes are available (coming from the nearby gelato shop), but cost extra.
New York Deli & Pizza (Deck 10): Overlooking the pool deck, you can grab a bite inspired by the Empire State until midnight at the onboard deli and pizza shop. Choose from six specialty pies -- including one from chef Ethan Stowell -- or build your own. There are also salads, classic deli sandwiches like corned beef or pastrami, and desserts. Get here early (it opens at 7:30 a.m.) and avoid the buffet crowds for breakfast; bagels and spreads including lox, breakfast sandwiches, fresh fruit and pastries -- and most importantly coffee -- are on hand.
Perhaps the best part of this included venue are the movie-night snacks: Choose from sweet and savory pretzel flavours, popcorn, chips, nachos, fries and even short rib sliders and Korean fried chicken.
Explorations Cafe (Deck 12): This cafe serves Explorations Central at the Crow's Nest and sates visitors with complimentary sandwiches, cookies and other pastries to accompany coffee and tea drinks that carry a charge. Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Club Orange (Deck 2): The new restaurant for Neptune and Pinnacle Suite guests and Club Orange members debuts on Nieuw Statendam as an attractive space serving breakfast and dinner, with an open kitchen and touches of HAL's signature orange thrown into the decor for good measure.
The design and privacy of the Club Orange restaurant is enticing, but unless you're already booked in a suite, it's not enough to warrant the per diem required to access the Club Orange pass in our opinion. This is mainly because the menus are virtually the same as you would find in the main dining room. From what we were told, breakfast is the exact same menu, and dinner adds one addition that is the Club Orange special, which changes daily.
Room Service: Holland America offers a complimentary all-day room service menu, with a few exceptions. Certain items on the breakfast menu, such as steak and eggs, carry a charge. For a fee you can order items from the onboard speciality restaurants like a bento box from Tamarind ($10) or a late-night burger from the Dive In ($5). Alcohol and other non-included drinks will always carry a charge, unless you have a drink package. Your breakfast menu will be listed on a door tag, but the rest of it can be found on your in-cabin TV.
Rudi's Sel de Mer (Deck 2); $50 per person: Holland America's executive culinary director, Rudi Sodamin, takes the French seafood brasserie concept and adds his own touches at Sel de Mer. On Nieuw Statendam, the price is a standard cover rather than the a la carte model on Koningsdam, where it first debuted. However, certain items still retain a significant upcharge (on top of the cover charge), which we felt was a bit gouging.
The atmosphere is quirky but elegant, with rich red carpeting, dark wood and a mural that takes over the entire right wall depicting what could either be flowers or sea life, at first glance. Tables are set with Sodamin's signature "food faces" plates, which depict playful creations using vegetables or seafood in the shape of a face. The mood is set with soft music, featuring a variety of French chanteuses, in the background.
The menu is heavy on seafood, which is to be expected, with no formal options available for vegetarians on our sailing. (Vegetarians are simply offered a plate of sides). Meat-lovers can choose from steak frites, a rack of lamb or duck, with specials du jour that range from veal and beef to coq au vin.
The star here is intended to be the seafood, and our table had no serious complaints from an expertly de-boned branzino to the catch of the day in lemon and butter, but we wondered if the experience should have been more standout in some way, given the price. We heard a few complain about the size and quality of the lobster tail, though our tablemate found it agreeable.
Fine touches included an amuse-bouche from the chef with a cracker shaped like a little fish and filled with a salmon mousse. After dinner, regardless of whether you order dessert, a tower of truffles and chocolate-covered strawberries finds its way to your table, which makes an indulgent end to the meal. If you don't opt for the shareable chocolate souffle, consider the food face dessert made from chocolate and fruit for a unique photo.
Sel de Mer is open for dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m. -- just a touch later than any of the other restaurants onboard.
Pinnacle Grill (Deck 2); $35: Many past Holland America cruisers say you can't go wrong with Holland America's steakhouse, and it continues to be a refined space serving high-quality steaks, chops and seafood at dinnertime (and for lunch on sea days) on Nieuw Statendam.
There are about nine starters, including classics such as lobster bisque, steak tartare, shrimp cocktail and Caesar salad, as well as Dungeness crab cakes. Entrees are all about the meat, though there are two vegetarian options. Choose from New York strip, a rib eye or filet mignon -- or, go all-out on the President's Cut, a $75 steak extravaganza hand-picked by the cruise line's CEO Orlando Ashford.
Seafood is also available from salmon and halibut to king crab legs, though a lobster tail will incur an upcharge. Pork, chicken and fried rice all make appearances on the menu and there are plenty of sides to fill your plate, including shoestring fries with truffle aioli. The dessert to get is the "Not-So-Classic Baked Alaska."
De Librije (Deck 2, Pinnacle Grill); $69 or $89: If you want to make your evening out even more of a special occasion, the Pinnacle Grill hosts pop-up De Librije dinners from time to time. It's inspired by the land-based De Librije, a Dutch restaurant with two Michelin stars that's regularly listed as one of the best restaurants in the world. For $69 per person, a wine tasting (four 2 oz. pours) is included with your meal. A wine pairing (four 5 oz. pours) is also available for an additional $20 per person.
Canaletto (Deck 9); $15: Holland America's popular, dinner-only Italian venue received an upgrade in the building of Nieuw Statendam. While still a standalone restaurant created by cordoning off part of the Lido Buffet, the decor is decidedly more refined and less casual than on other ships. The menu is about the same, divided into small plates, large plates, desserts and daily specials. Food can either be ordered family-style or as individual portions.
Begin with grilled calamari, an Italian seafood soup or the Canaletto salad (radicchio, endive, arugula, avocado, olives and Parmesan crisps) and then continue on with a choice of 12 large plates; about half are pasta dishes including lobster and shrimp ravioli, but fish, veal, a brick-grilled chicken and steak are also on the extensive menu. Eight dessert options don't help the indecisive. A custom Italian cocktail menu rounds out the offerings, and on our visit the trendy Aperol Spritz was being pushed.
G Gelato (Deck 9); a la carte: You might have to pay for your frozen desserts on Nieuw Statendam, but it's so worth it. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. get your licks with $2 cones, Popsicles and 4 oz. cups (8 oz. is only $2.75), as well as milkshakes for about $5. Plus, two toppings are included with all gelato orders -- we like the fresh berries and Dutch wafer options. There are a dozen gelato flavors on any given day, from strawberry to stracciatella (Italian chocolate chip). We were surprised to find a peach yogurt pop flecked with gold leaf -- you can't beat that kind of presentation.
Tamarind (Deck 10); $25: For our money, it's Tamarind every time. An exciting addition on Nieuw Statendam is the alfresco seating, guarded by a mosaic "terra cotta warrior" on either side, overlooking the Sea View pool below.
The menu here is truly pan-Asian, with flavors from Thailand, China, Japan and Malaysia, and dishes are executed with flair. We sat dumbfounded while we tried to decide between the satay sampler, the crispy duck bao bun, the sweet and sour coconut chicken soup or the Thai scallops -- and those are just a fraction of the appetizers. Entrees entice with Mongolian barbecue lamb chops, wasabi and soy-encrusted beef tenderloin, fire prawns and wok-seared lobster and shrimp. We delighted in our clay pot filled with hamachi fish in broth with chili, green onion, coconut and -- tamarind. There are also noodles and curries that the vegetarian crowd will love. Crab fried rice is a great side.
As much as we love the matcha, mango and yuzu ingredients, we would say this is a restaurant where you're fine filling up on dinner and skipping dessert. Plus, the excellent house cocktails list has enough saccharine options to do the trick.
Decor evokes those same Asian cultures; there are gongs in the lobby and beautiful wallpaper with silver leafing throughout the restaurant. But more so than the decor, the dinner service has an Asian flavour, beginning with hot tea and a tiny towel to wipe your hands. (Beware: The way it was presented led more than one fellow diner to believe the towel was an exotic appetizer.)
Tamarind is open for dinner only.
Nami Sushi (Deck 10); a la carte: Culinary Council member chef Andy Matsuda has created a standalone sushi venue on Nieuw Statendam; though its located inside of Tamarind, it has its own unique menu. In Japanese, "nami" means wave, and the name pays homage to the ocean views enjoyed while you dine.
Starters range from $3 to $6 and include tuna poke, vegetable tempura, roasted shishito peppers and a hamachi, scallop and salmon ceviche. Sushi and sashimi comes two pieces to an order, and costs $3. Six classic rolls like California and spicy tuna are available for about $5. The highlight are the seven rolls (which all include seafood) specially created by chef Matsuda. Try fried soft-shell crab for $6.50, spicy scallops for $6 or crispy lobster tempura for $7.50. Five of Tamarind's entrees can be ordered at the sushi bar, as well as three desserts, but trendy mochi ice cream is only listed at Nami.
Nieuw Statendam has 1,339 cabins -- eight more than sister ship Koningsdam (five ocean view and three interior) -- including 174 suites. Suites were given additional attention in the design of Nieuw Statendam with more square footage and redesigned bathrooms featuring walk-in showers favoured over bathtubs.
There are 300 connecting staterooms on Nieuw Statendam, as well as 32 dedicated family cabins, 12 single-occupancy rooms and 27 accessible cabins in a variety of categories. Additionally, 53 cabins located near the Greenhouse Spa on Decks 10 and 11 are designated as spa cabins; rooms come with complimentary Vitamin Water, pedometers, yoga mats and a Bluetooth speaker for use during the voyage.
Calming colour palettes and minimalist design touches throughout cabin categories make staterooms feel more like a hotel room rather than a traditional cruise cabin. Rooms in all categories feel spacious, with an intelligent use of space. The layout of the closets and drawers doesn't take living space away from the seating and desk areas or from around the bed, which makes it much easier to manoeuvre.
Storage shouldn't be a problem with at least two closets (one with room to hang longer garments) with three large drawers and three shelves where you will find luxe cotton robes and slippers for in-cabin use in every stateroom. Hooks are plentiful with black hooks that swing out from closet doors for bags and hooks on cabin walls to hang robes or jackets. Diagonal from the closet space in standard rooms is a cabinet with wine glasses, a silver platter with water glasses and bottled water for purchase, and an additional shelf below where you might want to display your towel animal from the night before.
There are also two drawers in a nightstand and three more by the desk. An overhead cabinet (above the sofa if you have one) contains lifejackets and extra blankets. There's room under the bed to store suitcases. Rooms come with two twin beds that can be converted into a queen, and all come with a plush mattress topper.
Rooms come with a safe, mini-bar, a hair dryer and makeup mirror (top left drawer of the desk) and a writing desk/vanity with chair. Rooms in categories above a solo or interior also feature sofas. Fresh fruit is always available by request. We like that either side of the bed has a nightstand with its own reading light along with an impressive amount of outlets: a USB port and U.S.-style socket on either side of the bed. Additional outlets (three U.S., two European sockets and another USB) can be found on the desk.
Rooms are energy-efficient and require keycards to turn on the overhead and bathroom lights.
A flat-screen TV doubles as entertainment (live TV or a selection of movies and shows) and information (explanatory videos about every aspect of the ship as well as a way to check your onboard statement). You are required to view a safety video before you're able to navigate to any other channels on television.
Bathrooms are glossy with tan marblesque tile, glass shelving and lit mirrors, and they are all about the same standard size until you move up to premium suites. Showers have massaging showerheads, frameless glass doors, a footrest for shaving legs and feature dispensers of Elemis-branded bath gel, shampoo and conditioner. The scent of the bath gel reminded of cheap men's cologne -- it wasn't for us.
Interior: There are 280 inside cabins on Nieuw Statendam and of those, 11 are considered spa staterooms. Inside rooms range in size from 143 to 225 square feet. A sofa bed is available in select rooms for a third passenger.
Oceanview: There are 99 standard cabins with ocean views (not including solo or family rooms) and four spa ocean-view rooms onboard. Ocean-view rooms range from 175 square feet to 228 square feet of space, can hold two to four people (depending on configuration) and have a coffee table, which inside rooms do not. While most rooms offer picture windows, some offer floor-to-ceiling windows.
Balcony: There are 748 veranda staterooms, 38 of which are in the spa category. You can also book an obstructed-view balcony (typically for less) or an aft-facing balcony for views of the wake (typically for more). Balcony rooms pick up where ocean-view rooms leave off at 228 square feet and can be as large as 420 square feet (including the balcony space), and can accommodate up to four people, depending on the configuration. Balcony furniture are two sleek gray loungers with wooden arms and footrests, and a small round wooden table. We're sure the tiny table is intended to maximize space, but we wish it had been a little bigger so that eating breakfast outside was easier.
Suite: Holland America's suite class underwent a few small changes on Nieuw Statendam, namely a redesign of the Pinnacle Suite, the largest and most deluxe cabin onboard. The suites on Nieuw Statendam also benefited from a slight redesign of the bathrooms, which shifted to a walk-in shower model rather than just a tub, which can be difficult for some cruisers to get in and out of. Suite passengers get access to the Neptune Lounge, which was also redesigned with modern furnishings in light wood and cream. New to the line is the addition of Club Orange, on Deck 2, a dedicated restaurant open to Pinnacle and Neptune Suite passengers (as well as anyone who purchases a pass).
Vista: The entry-level Vista Suites are 260 to 356 square feet. There are 104 of these rooms on the ship and they offer a similar experience to veranda cabins but with a teak-lined balcony and slightly different configuration. Vista Suites with aft views are available.
Signature: There are 14 Signature Suites, ranging from 393 square feet to 400 square feet. Beds are king-sized and a foldout bed is available for an additional person. Bathrooms in these cabins are much larger and feature dual sinks and vanities with additional shelving.
Neptune: The upper echelon of Holland America's suite class begins with its 45 Neptune Suites (two are designated as Spa). These rooms have large sitting areas and spacious bathrooms with the option for a shower only or a whirlpool bath/shower combo. Neptune Suites offer 465 to 855 square feet. Passengers staying at the Neptune and above suite level also benefit from a variety of perks that include use of the exclusive Neptune Lounge on Deck 7; Club Orange restaurant on Deck 2 and personal concierge service; complimentary sparkling wine served in the Neptune Lounge upon embarkation; complimentary bottled water provided in suite at embarkation; cocktail party with ship's officers; priority dining, tendering and disembarkation; breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill; complimentary laundry, pressing and dry cleaning; and exclusive full breakfast service in suite daily, among many other perks.
Pinnacle: There is only one of these 1,290-square-foot suites onboard Nieuw Statendam. It includes a living room and dining room redesigned to feature an open-concept layout; a pantry with microwave and refrigerator, and a large balcony with a whirlpool. The bedroom features a king-sized bed and the bathroom includes an oversize whirlpool bath and shower as well as an additional shower stall. There's also a sofa bed that can fit two people, and an additional toilet. Extra amenities include a private stereo system, custom furniture, a double-sided television and the same perks as in the Neptune Suites.
Family: These cabins offer 222 to 231 square feet of space for families up to five people. This stateroom category, reconfigured on Nieuw Statendam for more living space, includes two beds convertible to one queen-sized bed and one upper bed, as well as a sofa bed that fits two people and more closet space for all. There are two bathrooms: one with bathtub, shower, sink and toilet and one with shower and sink.
Solo: There are 12 ocean-view cabins for solo travellers; the only difference between these rooms and a standard ocean view is the single bed and the smaller size -- they start at 127 square feet and can reach up to 172 square feet. There are no inside or balcony solo cabins.
Accessible: These 40 rooms, spread among all categories, offer wider doorways (up to 32.5 inches wide), and roll-in showers with grab bars and shower seats, among other features to accommodate anyone with mobility issues.