Background

As a way of introduction, Nieuw Statendam is one of three Pinnacle class ships (the others are Koningsdam and Rotterdam). She was launched in 2018, weighing in at 99,902 GT with a maximum guest capacity of 2,666 and a crew of 1,036.

We booked a category VH obstructed view verandah cabin, 4099 mid-ship starboard side.  In the rest of this review, I will refer to Holland America as HAL.

This review is divided into several sections.

Pre-voyage preparations

  • Pre-cruise stay in Reykjavik
  • Checking in at Reykjavik and boarding Nieuw Statendam
  • Stateroom 4099, category VF, deck 4
  • Navigator App/Onboard Wi-Fi
  • Safety/Muster Drill
  • Dining
  • Entertainment
  • Bars/Lounges
  • Activities/Fitness
  • Services/Shopping
  • Outdoor spaces
  • Disembarkation
  • Post Cruise stay in Copenhagen
  • Summary and conclusions

The cruise was a 7-night Islands of Iceland and Scotland UK sailing, departing from Reykjavik on 8th June and terminating in Copenhagen, Denmark on 15th June.The itinerary was;

  • Day 1 – Embarkation at Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Day 2 – Heimaey, Westman Islands, Iceland
  • Day 3 – Djupivogur, Iceland (cancelled due to weather)
  • Day 4 – Sea Day
  • Day 5 – Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland, UK
  • Day 6 – Invergordon, Scotland, UK
  • Day 7 – Sea DayDay 8 – Copenhagen, Denmark

We stayed overnight on 15th June at the Radisson Royal Collection hotel in Copenhagen (I  used to stay there on a regular basis whilst working in Copenhagen at least 14 years ago).

We flew back to Manchester on 16th June on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).

There were several pre-cruise preparations that were needed, and one included the  downloading and installing of the HAL Navigator app which enabled us to enter a lot of pre cruise information which helped with the check in process.

Once onboard more facilities become available once connected the ship Wi-Fi for no fee, such  as your onboard account, booking activities such as booking a table for dining at a venue of  choice.

This booking included the ‘Have it all’ option which included Wi-fi (surf option), Signature  Beverage Package, Shore Excursion credit ($100 pp), 1 Speciality Dining reservation, Pre-Paid gratuities and $100 per person onboard credit.

We pre-booked a speciality restaurant dinner at the Pinnacle Grill and a shore excursion in  Invergordon pre cruise as this was possible using the ‘Manage My Cruise’ option on the HAL  website.

The Signature beverage package covered any drink up to $11 value and allowed for 15 drinks  per day (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

Pre-cruise stay in Reykjavik

From Manchester, UK, we flew direct to Reykjavik on 6th June with easyJet on a 06:25 am flight and booked a two-night stay at the Skuggi Hotel.

https://www.keahotels.is/skuggi-hotel

We booked an airport transfer as taxis are extremely expensive from the airport.

All transfers terminate at a central terminal as large coaches/buses are not allowed in the city centre. So, for a small add on you can book a ‘Smart Bus’ transfer to a designated bus stop near to  your hotel (ours was bus stop 9). www.airportdirect.is 

The airport transfers run at set times and ours was 09:15 am from the airport and it took approximately 45 mins to the central terminal where we  boarded a small minivan and arrived at the designated bus stop around 10:30.

Obviously, our room was not available and could only be guaranteed at 3pm. The only way to  ensure the room was available upon an early morning arrival would have been to book for  the previous night, but that cost on top of a 2 nights was prohibitive. So, we left our bags and  headed out to explore Reykjavik which is very compact city and easy to explore on foot. We  had some lunch and headed back to the hotel where our room was ready at around 2pm. Although the skies were clear and blue, there was a strong breeze making it feel quite cold.

We had dinner later and few drinks and then returned to the hotel as by now we were  extremely tired following such an early start from Manchester, leaving home at 3:30 am for  that 06:25 am flight!

We also had an early start the next day for our ‘Golden Circle’ tour as we had to be at the  central bus terminal at 9:45 am at the latest and it was a 25 min walk from the hotel.

You must make sure you have the black out blinds drawn as sunset on 6th June was not until  11:47 pm on 6th and sunrise on the 7th was 03:06 am! Only 3 hours and 19 minutes of  darkness.

Friday, 7th June – Golden Circle Tour

We booked what is commonly known as the ‘Golden Circle Tour’ with Reykjavik Sightseeing

https://reykjaviksightseeing.is

This was a 7.5 hour tour visiting a lava canyon in Pingvellir, the  Gullfoss Waterfall and the erupting geysers at Geysir Hot Springs. This was a great experience  and a good way to see some of the sights of Iceland in a limited time.

Boarding Nieuw Statendam

As part of the online check in process we had already printed our luggage tags and around 14  days prior got our boarding passes with the required bar code for scanning at the terminal. These were also available to download to our Apple Wallet and were available in the  Navigator app.

2 weeks prior to boarding we were advised by email that the check in time for deck 4 was  3:30 pm. So, we explored more of Reykjavik after breakfast and ordered a cab for 2:30 pm.

On arriving at the terminal our bags were taken from us, we entered the terminal, and passed  through security scanning. We were directed to a podium to check in, all done by facial  recognition from a scan of our passports, security photo taken, and this process was painless  we headed straight on board! The whole process taking around 10 minutes from arrival.

Stateroom 4099, category VF, deck 4

Upon approach, our ID cards were in the letter rack in a sealed envelope and our bags had  already been delivered and placed on the bed!

You enter cabin via a corridor, 2 double closets to the left and the master light switch and  main power socket operated by entry of your ID card to the right. The door to the bathroom  was also on the right. Upon entry, the bathroom had the usual toilet with a huge full width  wall to wall enclosed shower cubicle, separate Elemis hair shampoo, conditioner and body  wash, clothesline, soap tray, grab rails and foot bar.

The wash hand basin area had 3 shelves on the wall, a large, illuminated mirror (prevented  steaming up), a shaver socket and separate Elemis body lotion and hand wash dispensers with  a tissue dispenser.

Towel rails held bath and hand towels, with face cloths and shower mat provided. Underneath  more shelving, and a rubbish bin are available.

The air conditioning control was on the wall around the corner from the bathroom where  there were 2 clothes hooks.

Back in the corridor, the closet to the left was a hanging robe (full length mirror on the inside  of the door) with hinged shelving below that could be raised up to provide full floor to ceiling  hanging space. Then there was another hanging rail and a set of shelves in the right-hand closet and beach towels. Next were 2 cupboards and 3 drawers. The top cupboard contained  the in-room safe with a shelf with bath robes above. The safe allowed the storing of many  items and would store a small laptop which gives the idea of size.

The 2nd cupboard below the safe contained a stocked mini bar with 3 drawers below.

Moving into the main living area, there was a corner unit that contain champagne and wine  glasses behind glass doors, a shelf area with more chargeable items such as red wine and  sparkling water, together with an ice bucket that was replenished daily without asking. Below was a cupboard containing blankets for the balcony chairs and complementary tote  bags.

Next was large, fixed TV with a rack below for storing daily planners, room service menus etc.

Opposite was the Queen-sized bed which we requested was divided into twin beds. Each had  a bed side cabinet with 2 drawers and storage below. Each bed also had a pull-out drawer  below for even more storage. The bedside lamps also had reading lights and a USB socket  next to the light switch.

Next was the 3-drawer desk area with an illuminated mirror above. The top draw contained  the hair dryer.

A chair was provided and above the desk were several power outlets. The 1st contained a USB  and US 110v outlet, then a European 220v round pin and another US outlet. Further along  was another European 220v round pin and another US outlet together with light switches for  the room and the balcony light.

Opposite was a 2-seat sofa with coffee table and 2 wall cupboards providing more storage,  including our life vests.

Floor to ceiling windows stretched across the whole width of the cabin with a hinged opening  door onto the balcony.

On stepping out onto the terrace, the furniture consisted of a small round table with 2  reclining chairs complete with foot stools.

Navigator App/Onboard Wi-Fi

Prior to boarding the Navigator app provided limited functionality, but once onboard when  you joined the ships Wi-Fi (no fee for app use) more functions became available, including  access to your onboard account and statement.

The app can also be used to check what activities are planned for the day.

The app is also used for several restaurants to book a table. The process is that you choose a  time from those available.

Safety/Muster Drill

At this point it is worth pointing out that not until you had watched the safety videos on the  TV and attended your muster station are you considered to have completed the drill.

The sign on the back of the door detailed which venue we had to visit. Ours was in the Plaza  on deck 2. Our ID cards were scanned, and we were allowed to leave.

Dining

Nieuw Statendam has several dining venues, from the Main Dining rooms spanning decks 2 &  3 aft, to several speciality restaurants and complimentary and casual venues located around  the ship. There are two ‘Dressy’ nights where people don their finery, and an Orange Party night when people are encouraged to wear anything orange. There is a Dutch-inspired menu in the dining rooms, followed by a raucous party in B.B. King’s Blues Club. All good fun.
Working our way down from deck 12, the various dining venues are detailed below.

Deck 12 – Observation deck

  • Crow’s Nest Cafe

Located within the Crow’s Nest Observation lounge, it offers beverages and snacks.

Deck 9 – Lido Deck

  • Gelato – ice cream and sorbet for a fee
  • Dive-In – complimentary burgers and hot dogs
  • Lido Market – complimentary, large casual venue on deck 9 towards the aft of the ship. Food was available to you at the many counters, and in most cases, you are served by staff as  there are very few self-service stations. Silverware and napkins are placed on clean tables together with glasses so it’s easy to see  those which are available. There are numerous areas providing a wide range of foods. Team members made their way  around offering tea/coffee/juices/beverages.
  • Canaletto – Italian themed speciality restaurant for a fee located in a dedicated area of the  Lido Market.

Deck 3 – Promenade deck

  • Grand Dutch Café – complimentary snacks, croissants, muffins, sandwiches available with  beverages for purchase
  • Dining Room – complimentary main dining room reserved for fixed time seating
  • Pinnacle Grill – signature steakhouse for a cover charge
  • Rudi’s Sel De Mer – signature seafood restaurant for a cover charge
  • Club Orange Dining Room – dedicated dining venue for Club Orange guests
  • Dining Room – complimentary dining room used for Breakfast, Brunch at Sea (no breakfast on this day but brunch menu from 9 am) and dinner for open seating guests where you can choose when to eat between the dining room opening times by either booking in advance  (by 4pm each day or in advance) of just turning up to the desk.

Entertainment

In terms of entertainment, the options are varied and there are many venues to be enjoyed.

Listed below are the venues where entertainment takes place with an example of the events taking place. It is important to check your planner daily to see what is happening around the ship. There are also several bars that offer live music whilst you are enjoying your favourite beverage.

Decks 2 & 3 – Plaza and Promenade decks

  • World Stage – production shows, lectures, game shows, quizzes, comedy shows with films  also shown during the day.

Deck 2 – Plaza Deck

  • Billboard Onboard – piano bar with live entertainment and resident pianist
  • Rolling Stone Lounge – resident rock band providing live performances
  • B.B. King’s Blues Club – resident blues band and dance club

In addition to the bars within venues such as the Billboard Online, Rolling Stone Lounge, B.B.  King’s Blues Club, Lido Market, & Dining rooms I counted an additional 9 bars.

Bars and Lounges

All had the normal beverages available with some speciality drinks and cocktails unique to  each bar.

Deck 2 – Plaza Deck

  • Ocean Bar
  • Taste – reserved for chargeable beverage tasting sessions

Deck 3 – Promenade Deck

  • Casino Bar
  • Grand Dutch Cafe

Deck 9 – Lido Deck

  • Lido Bar
  • Sea View Bar

Deck 10 – Panorama Deck

  • Panorama Bar
  • Tamarind Bar

Deck 12 – Observation Deck

  • Crow’s Nest Bar

Activities/Fitness

Deck 12 – Observation deck Games Room and Art Studio located in the Crow’s Nest together with the Shore Excursions  desk.

The ‘Retreat’ is also located on this deck and is furnished with a collection of cabanas for  rent.

Deck 11 – Sun Deck A sports court and jogging track are here, with exercise equipment. Twelve laps of the jogging track equal one mile.

Deck 10 – Panorama Deck The kid’s club is located on deck 10 with several areas reserved for different age groups.

Deck 9 – Lido deck There is a fully equipped fitness centre located forward complete with sea views and complementary separate male and female saunas.

Also here is the Greenhouse Spa and Salon with various treatments and rooms available for a  fee including a Hydro Pool.

The covered Lido pool is also located on this deck with a large movie screen.

Located aft is the heated Sea View pool with hot tubs.

Deck 2 – Plaza Deck – A big Library with a wide selection of books.

Services/Shopping

Deck 1 – Main Deck

The conference centre is on deck 1 with the Art Gallery on the same deck.

Decks 2 & 3 – Plaza & Promenade Decks Specialist jewellery shops are located on deck 2 and on deck 3 shops provide clothing,  souvenirs, jewellery, cosmetics, perfumes, any necessities you may have forgotten, snacks and duty-free sales.

The Future cruise sales, Guest Services and Photo Shop are also located on deck 3.

Outdoor Spaces

As well as the pool & sports decks, the other outdoor area is the promenade deck (3) which  allows you to walk around the whole ship or the aft, with great wake views. 3 laps = 1 mile.

Disembarkation

During the sailing you were invited to complete an online questionnaire to advise of your post  cruise travel arrangements. On the next to last day on board, a departure information sheet  was provided in your cabin together and you are requested to collect coloured luggage tags  from next to Guest Services, which were numbered, and these corresponded with your  chosen disembarkation time, the latest on this sailing was Green 3, with an indicated  departure time of 9:00 – 9:30 am.

If we had wanted for our luggage to be delivered to the terminal, then it had to be outside  our stateroom by midnight on the last evening.

Due to minimise crowds, instead of congregating in bars/lounges, guests were allowed to  remain in their staterooms until their tag number was called.

Breakfast was available in The Lido Market and the main dining room.

Accounts that were settled by credit card would receive a statement in the Navigator App.

Post Cruise Stay in Copenhagen

We were staying 1 night in Copenhagen as the only direct flight on the 15th was too early for  us to disembark and get to the airport.

Collection of our bags in the terminal was easy with no passport control required and the taxi  queue managed professionally and efficiently. Taxi cost to the centre was around 360 DKK  (Danish krone) approximately £40.

We headed to our hotel, the Radisson Royal Collection (https://www.radissonhotels.com/en us/hotels/radisson-collection-copenhagen) in the city centre located close to the main  railway station which made an easy and inexpensive transfer for us on the 16th to the airport. The hotel is also located opposite the famous Tivoli Gardens.

Summary & Conclusions

Positives

We found many little touches that are no longer provided as standard on our other ‘go-to’ lines. Beware, the list is quite long!

  1. Huge powerful shower with separate Elemis Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash
  2. Separate Elemis Body Lotion and Hand wash over wash hand basin
  3. Huge soft bath towels changed daily without asking
  4. 2 cabin services per day, morning and evening
  5. Chocolates
  6. Bath robes only available on other lines if high level loyalty members
  7. Beach towels in the cabin
  8. Chair blankets
  9. Complimentary Tote bag
  10. Glassware provided
  11. Ice bucket replenished daily not having to request
  12. Stocked mini bar
  13. Pen and notepad
  14. Under bed storage drawers
  15. Towels on sunbeds
  16. Individual hand towels in public bathroom
  17. Cutlery/Napkins and glasses placed on clean available tables in Lido Market
  18. Food served in buffet, very little self-service, not a temporary measure as food areas permanently  glass fronted
  19. Individual coffee pots in main dining rooms at breakfast on the table
  20. Large in room safe capable of taking a small laptop unlike tiny safes on other lines
  21. Adjustable chairs on balconies with footrests
  22. Wide range of complimentary snacks at Grand Dutch Café
  23. Baggage weighing scales on each cabin deck near the elevators
  24. Not being forced out of our cabin by 8:00 as on other lines.

The staff were engaging, friendly, professional, and provided fantastic service in all venues. I didn’t have to visit Guest Services which is always a positive indicator of a good cruise for  me. The ship is beautiful, clean, and well maintained with a good array of venues.

Food quality is very subjective, but we found it to be excellent in all venues, especially the  specialty restaurants Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind which are dining experiences with cover  charges far less than some other lines for a mediocre service and food quality.

We even received an unexpected tray of chocolates and we’ve never sailed with HAL before!

Negatives

Were there any negatives? These will vary depending on people’s tastes and expectations.

You are allowed to upgrade from the Signature to Elite beverage package for $10 per day plus  18% gratuity. The price limit is then $15 and allows for 15 alcoholic drinks per day plus  unlimited non-alcoholic drinks. However, one of the reasons we upgraded was to have access  to our more preferred wine, but the ship ran out of this after day 2!

Despite the best efforts of HAL, some guests still disregarded the suggested protocols in place  and the attention to personal hygiene when using the public bathrooms. These aren’t really  a negative against the cruise line, but the guests themselves and this did result in illness on  board so self-service of milk, cream and spoons at the Grand Dutch Café was removed from  around day 4.

Conclusion

After all this, would we cruise with HAL again – most definitely! I hope you found this useful. Any questions, just ask.

Please check out our social media channels below as the videos from this sailing will appear  there soon!

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