Holland America Line, founded in 1873, has an excellent maritime pedigree evolving from Dutch shipping and transportation services to up-scale global cruising. As one of the leading premium cruise lines, Holland America Line has stayed true to the traditions and elegance of cruising but also embraced the adventure, culinary interests and cultural stimulation expected from modern sophisticated travellers.
Their fleet of 15 ships (soon to be 14 when the much-loved Prinsendam retires in Summer 2019) vary in size and age, with the latest being the stunning Nieuw Statendam. This is the second Pinnacle-class vessel in the fleet, following in the wake of sister ship Koningsdam, and the sixth in Holland America Line’s history to bear the name Statendam.
Designed by the respected maritime architect, Bjorn Storbraaten, the ship was built by Fincanteri in Italy and dedicated by Godmother, Oprah Winfrey, in February 2019.
What size is it?
The Nieuw Statendam weighs 99,902 tons, has a length of 975ft and is 114.8ft wide, placing it in the medium-size cruise ship category. A maximum of 2666 guests are accommodated in 1377cabins. Even on sea days the ship isn’t overcrowded, with plenty of public spaces and lots of activities spread out over the 12 decks.
Will I like the vibe?
If you want to relax, listen to great music, explore interesting places and eat amazing food … this cruise ship is a perfect fit.
Renowned designer Adam D. Tihany created the interior to reflect the fluidity of music, incorporating stylish curves and easy movement within the space. The bright and airy feel is modern, without being glitzy, bringing together gorgeous features like the three-storey atrium made of gleaming stainless-steel ‘harp-strings’. In keeping with the history of the company, the traditional promenade deck and elegant nautical lines of the ship are key elements and a welcome backdrop to more contemporary features. Murano glass bubbles hang in pops of bejewelled colour from the Main Dining Room ceiling, sheer white fabrics sway gently beside serene day beds and the clubby violin-shaped Queens Lounge draws on the familiar motif of musical instruments.
Holland America Line guests are discerning travellers, seeking high quality experiences. There is no Laser Tag here, or Go-Karts or water slides. Instead, a $4 million art collection is peppered throughout the ship, unravelling and revealing itself in hidden spaces and interesting corners throughout the many decks.
These touches are indicative of the curious, at-ease and educated customers who book with this cruise line.
What about entertainment?
There is so much to do on the Nieuw Statendam; even a two week cruise won’t be long enough to experience everything.
The Music Walk is firmly at the centre of Holland America Line’s concept, gathering together an inspired collaboration of leading partners from the musical world to offer an incredible range of performances. Billboard Onboard, with duelling pianos, plays sing-along tunes, while the Lincoln Centre Stage offers classical recitals. As the night moves on, so does the tempo, with the brand new Rolling Stone Rock Room belting out rock classics and B.B. King’s Blues Club bringing Memphis to the ocean with their soulful sounds. Definitely remember your dancing shoes!
Many a pleasant hour can be spent in the Greenhouse Spa; with thermal area, heated loungers and whirlpools. This is especially popular on sea days, as is The Retreat, which has private cabanas for rent. For sporty types, the Fitness Centre Spin Studio looks out over the water and an open-air basketball court is perched on the very top of the ship to shoot some (maybe quite bracing and vertiginous) hoops.
In another exciting partnership, O The Oprah Magazine has curated a range of activities, like daily meditation and a well-stocked reading room, which are intended to combine travel with wellness and personal growth. The America Test Kitchen has hands-on cookery workshops and BLEND, partnered with Chateau Ste. Michelle, teaches you to blend your own wine, which you can drink during your cruise.
But perhaps the best entertainment on the ship, and maybe all you will want to do for the entire duration of the cruise, can be found in the Exploration Lounge on Deck 12. Simply reclining on a sumptuous daybed, maybe with a coffee or a cocktail, perhaps reading the newspaper or a good book, as the ever-changing oceanic landscape passes by, is surely the best seat in the house …
Is the food good?
Quite frankly, the food is outstanding. Holland America Line have made a concerted effort in recent years to cultivate their brand as one of the leading cruise lines for culinary excellence. Food is overseen by leading chef, Rudi Sodamin, along with a Culinary Council of other top chefs; covering all the main eateries, special dining restaurants, room service and culinary activities.
The wonderful double-height Main Dining Room has two fixed sittings plus a popular Anytime Dining arrangement. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served here, with all the old favourites on the menu along with dishes that reflect local areas visited on the cruise. You could happily eat here every night but the speciality (and chargeable) dining options are magnificent and worth the small extra cost. Sel de Mer, which debuted on Koningsdam, is an alluring and intimate seafood restaurant which contrasts well with the Pan-Asian Tamarind, focusing on fresh fusion flavours with a separate sushi bar. Canaletto, located in a corner of the Lido at night, serves Italian-influenced dishes. In keeping with its name, the Pinnacle Grill, towers above all others as the ever-popular steak and seafood restaurant. Wine is abundant and expertly chosen by highly-qualified sommeliers in all restaurants.
The Grand Dutch Cafe is unique to the Holland America Line and no other cruise ship cafe can match it. Serving fantastic coffee and Dutch beers (which are chargeable) there is also a range of light Dutch classic dishes. Dive In is a fabulous American joint, where a legendary ‘special sauce’ adds an extra dimension to the ubiquitous burger. The immensely popular Lido buffet is a collection of abundant and diverse food stations, and the place where many people choose to have all their meals. It can be busy. Needless to say, the delicious Gelato ice-cream parlour is one of the busiest spots on the ship.
Where does it cruise to?
In summer, Nieuw Statendam is based in Northern Europe with itineraries travelling to Norway, Scotland, Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia. The ship then heads across the Atlantic for a winter season in the Caribbean. Half Moon Cay is Holland America Line’s award-winning private island in the Bahamas and a popular stop on these winter cruises. Whether in Europe or the Caribbean, shore excursions are carefully curated to provide the best experience for guests. During the cruise, special interactive screens and specially trained crew are on-hand to help with booking.
Will I sleep well?
All staterooms have the Holland America Line signature Mariner’s Dream bed with super-comfortable Euro-Top mattress, massage shower head, glass shower enclosure (no sticky curtains), bathrobes and lovely Elemis products. The decor is modern, decorated in neutral tones, with lots of storage, handy USB sockets, interactive television and free movies. Standard staterooms range in size; from Inside to Ocean View and Verandah. All are spacious and comfortable, with family rooms sleeping five people. Spa versions of staterooms include a yoga mat, iPod station and spa treatments. Signature and Vista suites are larger and have associated benefits, like access to Club Orange. Neptune suites also give access to the Neptune Lounge and a concierge service. Pinnacle, as the name suggests, are the ultimate living spaces with all the other suite benefits plus a separate lounge, dining room, pantry, stereo system and outdoor whirlpool.
Can I go solo? Yes, there are 12 solo rooms and plenty of activities organised with single travellers in mind.