Holland America Line: Nieuw Statendam

UPDATE: For a full review of Nieuw Statendam, please click here.

With my tour of Nieuw Statendam coming shortly, here is a brief introduction to Holland America Line’s newest cruise ship. 

Nieuw Statendam Atrium The Atrium

Launched in December 2018, this sister to the Koningsdam is also a Pinnacle-class ship accommodating 2666 guests. Following a similar layout, the Nieuw Statendam has all the elegant nautical lines and traditions we’ve come to expect from this premium cruise line, as well as the beautiful Tihany interiors found throughout the fleet.

BB Kings HAL The Blues Club

Holland America Line is famous for its three-focused approach; art, food and music. The Nieuw Statendam incorporates all the popular stalwarts in these areas; a world-class art collection, the B.B. King’s Blues Club, speciality dining – from Tamarind to the Dutch Cafe – and the BBC Earth Experience, but also brings some new innovations. More on these after my ship tour … including the Rolling Stone Rock Room, which is a phenomenal new venue playing rock music and sounds fabulous!

Tamarind HAL Dinner at Tamarind

The Nieuw Statendam has a couple of itineraries bringing it to Scottish ports. In 2019 the ship embarks upon its Northern Isles adventure, which is a 14-day journey from Amsterdam to Scotland, Iceland and Norway. With an overnight stop in Edinburgh on the 7th August, visitors can sample the world-famous International Edinburgh Festival as well as the capital’s other fantastic attractions. The following year in 2020, the Nieuw Statendam adds Lerwick (Shetland) and Invergordon to the trip, as well as the Edinburgh overnight, which is again during the festival.

For more information visit Holland America Line


Around Scrabster: What to see and do

Scrabster is a working harbour on Scotland’s northern coast, skirting the wild waters of the Pentland Firth and best known as the gateway to the Orkney Islands.

Here are a few ideas if your cruise stops here:

John O’Groats

This is Scotland’s most northerly village. A passenger ferry travels from here to Orkney as well as being a base for wildlife boat trips. Beware of the weather – the Pentland Firth is a notoriously unsettled piece of water and not for the faint-hearted on a rough day! The village itself is small with a quaint harbour and great views towards Duncansby Head. Recent development isn’t very attractive with ‘pods’ scattered over fields and an eclectic range of touristy buildings. There are a few cafes and even Starbuck’s coffee (is this a good thing ….)

Dunnet Head

As the picture says, this is mainland Scotland’s most northerly point. The views across to Stroma and Orkney are fabulous and you can see all along the northern coastline too. The lighthouse is pretty and there are majestic (dangerous) cliffs which are home to many seabirds. Expect LOTS of wind!

Dunnet Beach

This stunning beach is an endless vista of sand and sea. Perfect to stretch your legs and get lots of fresh air. Fabulous views of Orkney and Dunnet Head. Toilets are provided and an information point in the area includes interesting notes on the once resident Vikings.


The main town in Caithness has a few shops and cafes and some surprisingly good restaurants. I like the tiny Pavilion, which looks over the beach and serves delicious seafood.

Contact me if you need any advice

Going Ashore: The Outlander Tour Shore Excursion

Characters from Netlfix
Netflix Outlander Characters

The success of Diana Gabaldon’s series of books, along with the hugely popular Netflix adaptation, has brought Outlander fans to Scotland in their droves.

Continue reading “Going Ashore: The Outlander Tour Shore Excursion”

Radar: Proposed New Port for Lothian Area

Cockenzie Power Station

Scotland is becoming a global hotspot in the cruise industry, being widely recognised as one of the fastest growing destinations in the world. Figures from trade body Cruise Scotland show a 16.75 per cent year-on-year rise in passenger numbers to 794,577, with an 8.4% increase in ships to 825.


To service this demand the former Cockenzie Power Station, which was decommissioned in March 2013, is being proposed as a new port by Prestonpans Community Council. Located on the 230-acre Preston Links site, owned by East Lothian Council, the site is intended to service the lucrative and popular Edinburgh cruise market. Current port facilities there are considered inadequate due to the Forth bridges and the small size of Leith docks. This new development offers a sheltered location amidst deep water, with the proposal including a finger pier similar to that found in Tallinn. A continental ferry port is also proposed at the site, along with turnaround faculties for cruise liners to enable vital re-stocking and crew changes.

Tallinn Finger Pier
Tallinn Finger Pier

Concerns over the extent of dredging required to create the port have been voiced by environmental groups.