Holland America's Nieuw Statendam ship tour
Holland America cruise ships don’t come to the UK very often so when their newest ship, the Nieuw Statendam, visited Newcastle on its maiden call, we couldn’t resist making the 6 hour journey from the south of England to spend a day on board. Travelling up the day before the planned visit we eventually arrived at Newcastle early evening having booked a nights stay in the Gateshead Hilton. This is beautifully situated just south of the river Tyne with lovely views over the Tyne bridge. We enjoyed a drink on the verandah and a meal in the contemporary and airy restaurant before making our way up to bed.
The next morning we were up early to make sure we had enough time to enjoy a hearty breakfast before setting off for the Port of Tyne. We arrived at the port and waited eagerly to board the ship. Within half an hour we were on board and had a couple of hours free time to wander round and take in all she had to offer, before enjoying a three course lunch in the main dining room. We decided to make our way to the top of the ship and tour her from the top down.
Deck 12, Observation deck. Right at the top and front of the ship is the lofty Exploration cafe and Crows nest. This is a multi function room with a central coffee/drinks bar and panoramic views from the floor to ceiling windows. There are a variety of seating options from tables and chairs, corner sofas and individual lounge chairs. We particularly liked the look of the brown leather lounge chairs with accompanying footstools which had pride of place looking our over the bow of the ship. On one side of this room is a small meeting/lecture room and over the other side are a few games tables and the shore excursions desk, boasting three interactive tables for guests to do their own research prior to visiting a port.
Leaving the cafe to go out onto the open decks you will find the supplementary area, the Retreat. This is situated behind the cafe overlooking the main pool area in the centre of the ship. Here guests can hire private cabanas and make use of a hot tub and small private area for retreat guests only.
Deck 11, Sun deck. Situated below the cafe and Retreat area at the front of the ship are a variety of cabins, including veranda, ocean view and inside cabins. Behind these is an open deck with a jogging track flanking the retractable roof of the pool deck below. This deck also houses a large sport court and sun deck at the aft of the ship.
Deck 10, Panorama deck. Again, the front section of the ship is occupied by cabins which lead into the mezzanine deck overlooking the main Lido pool. This upper pool deck is beautifully appointed with padded loungers looking out to sea and large sofas overlooking the pool. At one end of the pool is the Panorama bar and the New York deli and pizza bar, serving snacks, salads and freshly made pizzas.
Conveniently adjacent to this area, the hub of the ship, is the kids clubs, Club Hal. Moving through to the aft of the ship is the first of many speciality restaurants, Tamarind and Nami Sushi serving a variety of Asian cuisine and sushi. There is also a lovely al fresco dining area overlooking the aft pool, for those warmer itineraries.
Deck 9, Lido deck. This deck houses the Greenhouse spa and salon, situated right at the front of the ship. This boasts a large and very well equipped gym with large panoramic windows so guests can take in the sea views whilst exercising. There are plenty of treatment rooms and a supplementary spa area available on a whole voyage basis. This is a beautifully serene area with a large room housing a number of heated stone beds overlooking the sea; a horizontal shower; a dry sauna; and a large steam room with a floor to ceiling window. There is also a large hydro pool with daybeds placed around it and a large rainfall shower. When we were on her, the Statendam was on its way to Iceland, a perfect itinerary for enjoying this area.
For those guests who don’t wish to pay the supplement, adjacent to the spa is the main pool area, the Lido pool. This really has the wow factor, with three large hot tubs looming over the pool which is flanked by comfortable looking sun beds and a retractable roof to ensure it can be used whatever the weather or itinerary. At one end of the pool there is the Lido bar, an ice cream station and the Dive-in food bar, serving delicious burgers, hots dogs and fries.
If pizza or burgers don’t take your fancy you simply have to walk through to the adjacent Lido market buffet to find something to satiate your appetite. This is one of the most varied and delicious looking buffets we have seen on any ship, with separate food stations conveniently branded so you can head straight to whatever type of food you desire. There is a large bread station serving a variety of freshly baked breads, a sushi bar, a salad bar, a hot food station, a roast station, a sandwich and snack bar, and a large sweet treats station, as well as conveniently placed drinks stations and a full bar. If nothing else the buffet food was tempting us to book a voyage on the Statendam already!
Situated at one end of the Lido market and sectioned off from the buffet area, is another speciality restaurant, Canaletto, a traditional Italian restaurant serving authentic pasta and Italian classics. Leaving the Lido market and out the aft of the ship we found the smaller sea view pool which is flanked by semi-circular upper terraces and has a slightly more grown up and serene feel to it than the main pool.
Decks 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8. These are the main accommodation decks offering a variety of rooms from interior staterooms to the larger Neptune and Pinnacle suites. Since the ship was mid voyage and sailing almost full we only had access to an obstructed verandah and an interior stateroom. The interior stateroom was quite cosy but beautifully appointed with a large flatscreen TV and a wonderful bathroom housing an amazingly large shower for a cruise ship, thankfully equipped with a proper shower door rather than a curtain. The balcony room was larger overall allowing for a sitting area complete with a comfortable love seat style chair and a reasonable large balcony. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see a suite but guests staying in a suite also have access to a private lounge on deck 7, aptly called the Neptune Lounge.
Deck 3, Promenade deck. We were delighted to find that there is a proper wraparound promenade deck! We love a promenade deck, ideal for getting some fresh air on those inclement sea days or for an after dinner stroll. Talking of food, the double storey main dining room is situated at the aft of the ship, spanning decks tow and three. Again, this really has the wow factor, reminding us in the way it is set out of the dining rooms on the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria but so completely different to these traditional dining rooms. The decor is light and airy with the white walls and tables offset with gold seat pads, a bold red and gold carpet and stunning red and white contemporary chandeliers. And we can confirm that this restaurant is definitely not all show! We were treated to a three course lunch with wine whilst on board and it was truly delicious. Much like the buffet restaurant, if this is the standard of food on board we can’t wait to sail on her, even if our waist lines might not feel so excited by the prospect of spending more than one day on her!
Leaving the main dining room on deck three guests are funnelled through the digital photo shop corridor into the upper tier of main atrium where the Grand Dutch cafe and guest services can be found. The Grand Dutch cafe is slightly more retro than the more contemporary areas of the ship, decorated in a traditional Dutch style, but looked like a very welcoming place to enjoy a morning coffee and snack and perfect for people watching.
Moving towards the front of the ship takes you through a variety of shops, the art gallery and the casino. Although the art gallery was quite small compared to some ships, a special mention has to made to the amazing artwork and floral displays throughout the ship. Seemingly every corner is adorned with sculptures and pictures, many of them making a nod to the significant musical influence on the ship, and all of them intriguing. We’re pretty sure we could spend a whole day on board wandering round and admiring the diversity of artwork in the public areas.
Right at the front of the ship is the equally unusual double storey theatre. This is unlike any other theatre we have seen on a ship, somehow designed in a circular fashion with seats radiating in a circle from the round stage at the front. The stage is backed by wraparound 270-degree LED screens used to enhance the spectator experience during live shows. We particularly loved the double seats situated at the back of the theatre with a lofty view over the entire room.
Deck 2, Plaza deck. In the area below the casino there are two live venue bars, the Rolling Stone rock room and the Billboard onboard, boasting two side by side grand pianos. The intentional inclusion of a variety of styles of live music venues seems to be an area where Holland America are trying to make their mark and mould their identity. We must admit that we are intrigued. We love live music, enjoying a variety of styles from jazz and classical through to heavier rock music. Listening to live music whilst enjoying a cocktail or two would probably rank highly as perfect evening entertainment for us and we could imagine spending many an evening in either these or B.B. Kings blues club. And if this wasn’t enough, this area also houses a whiskey tasing bar called Notes, perfect!
B.B. Kings blues club and the Lincoln Centre Stage are situated next door to these bars and are used for a range of musical performances from classical afternoon recitals to contemporary music and performance from the 8-piece rhythm and blues band in the evening. We loved the more traditional feel of this venue and particular note has to made of the stunning chandeliers decorating the room. Opposite this entertainment venue are a few more shops, including the jewellery shop.
Moving towards the central atrium we found two more specialty restaurants, the more traditional Pinnacle grill, a traditional American steakhouse serving steak and seafood, and Rudi’s Sel de Mer, a funky French brasserie type seafood restaurant. Alongside both these venues is the Ocean bar with seating perfectly placed for guests to take in the sea view whilst enjoying a pre or post dinner drink.
The last speciality restaurant is Club Orange which is for the use of Neptune and Pinnacle suite guests and those signing up for the Club Orange program, an additional charge programme allowing guests to take advantage of additional benefits and privileges. Next door to this is the Blend, another additional charge room, offering wine lovers the chance to sample a range of specially chosen wines around the intimate tasting table, before blending their own red wine from the selection of single vineyard barrels.
Deck 1, Main deck. This is largely another accommodation deck with ocean view and inside staterooms. There are a few meeting/conference rooms situated around the lower level of the main atrium which is a piece of art in itself.
Overall, we were incredibly impressed by this ship and definitely enticed to try out a full voyage on her. Being very familiar with the similar size Cunard ships we loved the size and design of her. She is a mid size ship, offering for us that sweet point of being large enough to offer a variety of public areas and entertainment without feeling so large it takes an hour to walk from one end of the ship to another. She has managed to maintain a classic, elegant style but in a funky and contemporary way. We loved the art work, the decor and live venues on offer. From the small sample of food we were able to try in the short time we were on board, the cuisine looked pretty impressive, with a nice range of alternative dining venues to try. And whilst we were not on board for very long we were made to feel very welcome with all of the crew and staff taking time to say hello and stop for a chat. Although she doesn’t come to the UK often, she does sail some interesting itineraries and we can’t wait to make the effort to join her elsewhere in the world.
Thank you to Holland America cruise lines for inviting us on board for the day and delighting us with a delicious three course lunch.
If you enjoyed this ship tour and would like to read about other ship tours, why not take a look at the Azamara Pursuit ship tour.