On Board the Nieuw Statendam…it’s AWESOME!

Yesterday (it’s Monday right now and will probably be Tuesday before I finish this), we sailed on Holland America’s (HAL) Nieuw Statendam from Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Florida. After two really great nights in our FLL AirBnB we got to board in the first group. We had heard that HAL was being really being a stickler about boarding times due to the pandemic and we were no exception. Our time said noon and at 11:15 I dropped Kathleen, Steve and Jamie off at the port and took our rental car back to the airport. A quick cab ride back and we were ready to board right on time.

BTW: Before we went I did an early morning photowalk around Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk and here’s some pics from that morning. Don’t forget, if you click the first shot, you can then scroll through with your arrow keys or by swiping…and PLEASE…don’t look at my photography on a phone. Please…

Our home for the next 10 days

Check-in took less than 15 minutes and would have been faster if you took out all the COVID stuff. As soon as we got on board our rooms were available so we went to drop off our carry on luggage and to unpack those. I am not sure if I mentioned this but originally we had a verandah stateroom on deck six. About two weeks before the cruise we got an e-mail asking if we wanted to upgrade to a Neptune Suite. Neptune Suites are the second highest level of suites on the ship and the cost to upgrade was amazingly reasonable so we grabbed it. The suite is AMAZING! More than 350 square feet (which is big for a cruise ship stateroom, with a monster bathroom and a huge living space. Here’s some pics to show you what we are living in for the next ten (now nine) days and…don’t forget, if you click the first shot, you can then scroll through with your arrow keys or by swiping…and PLEASE…don’t look at my photography on a phone. Please…

You always hear folks say, “I don’t need big room or a verandah because I am never it in.” This is true until you get a stateroom/suite like this. Then you are in it because you have everything you need. And on this cruise (and others for awhile) this is the only place we can walk around without our masks on. And because it’s just awesome!

I will drop some photos in my next post of the rest of the ship. Here are some facts about this particular cruise. First, due to COVID there are fewer than 750 cruisers on board. This is on a ship built to hold 3,214 passengers when at full capacity so to say that things feel empty is an understatement. I will say that there are some events (the Blues Club we were in last night) that can get crowded but we are doing our best to stay in our little pod of four.

We were supposed to have six ports of call on this cruise but that got tossed out the window yesterday when we could not land at Half Moon Cay, (HAL’s private island). This was NOT due to COVID but to high winds. Half Moon Cay is a tender port (that means they drop life boats and ferry you in from the ship) and the winds and seas were just too high to put those in the water safely, so we skipped that port. I will give the activity staff high marks because they quickly adjusted and found lots of things for people to do. BTW: If you are a trivia buff, this cruise is for you. I think there is trivia scheduled about every three hours along with lots of other activities.

Still have five ports scheduled and as I type this we are tied up at the pier in Grand Turk. We (the four of us) are going off around noon to do a HAL shore excursion. We got two free with our cruise and this is one of those. Grand Turk will allow us to get off and just wander around.

Tomorrow we are in Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, then a sea day, then we hit Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba in that order, on successive days. Then it’s two sea days and we are back in Fort Lauderdale. So far, everything is going great. More on the ship, the activities and the food in my next post.

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.   —Dalai Lama

15 thoughts on “On Board the Nieuw Statendam…it’s AWESOME!

  1. Elbert Stockberger

    What a great write up and how very lucky to have only 750 passengers! This is an experience/opportunity that will be gone soon I am sure.

  2. carells

    Love your AM Fort Lauderdale pics… There’s something, perhaps the light or lack thereof, that really make them beautiful!
    Your suite looks like a great place to “live” for 10 days…Enjoy!

  3. Rebecca P Cherry

    Hello, Friend. So – our stop in Grand Turk was cancelled by Princess on our ‘Seminar At Sea’ sailing, i.e. never got to visit. However, Amber Cove was substituted. We booked an excursion to go work at the Chocolate Factory that’s owned and operated by all females. We were actually ‘worker bees’ for about 5 hours: sorting cocoa beans; grinding beans; filling molds with chocolate; packaging. If this excursion is offered by HAL, DO IT!! A fabulous day and great help to the locals. [I took the chocolate to Mexico so Elbert & Barry could taste.]

    1. HI Rebecca! We are doing a Food and Wine Magazine cooking demo tour tomorrow in Amber Cove with our buddy Seth Wayne (HAL’s Brand Ambassador) but the chocolate factory sounds great. I have visions in my head of you doing an I Love Lucy thing trying to get all the chocolates in a box on an assembly line. 😂

    1. As it turns out Ted we actually have close to 900. The info I got early on from HAL Brand Ambassador Seth Wayne was off because it only included the 750 or so who boarded when we did. There are almost 150 others who are on from a previous cruise. Rumor has it, it will stay this way for the next few cruises.

  4. Wow, your cabin is very impressive. Smart move upgrading to all that room. As others mentioned, your photos taken early morning in Ft. Lauderdale are something else. If I ever sail out of that port again, I will need to stay in your hotel. Enjoy the cruise and keep on posting.

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