Holland America used to be known as the cruise line where seniors would eat at 530 pm and be tucked away by nine. So not so anymore. My wife and I, veterans of more than thirty cruises took our first HAL cruise to Spain and Portugal in Sept 2018 and were knocked silly by the high level of food, service,and entertainment. What mainly blew us away was the virtuoso like quality of the musicians at their Lincoln center stage, billboard on board, and Bb king area, not to mention the world stage productions. So when we heard the Nieuw Statendam was having a four day cruise in December we jumped at the chance.let’s just say they changed their A game to their A plus game by adding their Rolling Stone Rock band, which would have easily fit into the main stage at the Fillmore East or any major concert venue . Such musical genius all around. On a cruise ship yet, who knew? We now have booked a cruise for Feb 2020 on the Nieuw Amsterdam which also has these musical offerings. At our age one island blends into the next: we are here for the bands. In addition the service was excellent: any request was handled quickly and efficiently, the staff crispy dressed in grey uniforms with Dutch orange trim. The dining rooms staffs were excellent as well, calling my wife “my lady” how cool is that?
I do have a small criticism: the pools are not their strongest point. While the covered pool and attached hot tubs are sufficient for the non holiday crowds, the Seaview pool and hot tubs were achingly small, with the hottubs sufficient for one person only.
But never mind. Go for the ship, food, and entertainment and oh by the way if you happen on a beach or two, that is fine as well.