We normally sail with Royal Caribbean but this cruise opportunity came up at a thousand dollars less expensive for a similar itinerary so we gave HA a try. We were not disappointed. Nieuw Statendam is a brand new vessel which carries around 2700 passengers. There are not a lot of superfluous amenities (from a 60+ perspective) so mostly 50+ passengers. Our ocean view cabin was small but laid out such that nothing was in your way getting around. The bathroom/shower were surprisingly large with a glass walled shower with nice amenities (shampoo, conditioner and body wash). Our cabin was between midships and the bow and was very quiet with quick access to the theater and also to the fabulous Music Walk which included a Rock bar, a Blues bar and a double piano bar which alternated sets throughout the evening. The music was varied and outstanding. There were classical music show in the afternoons as well. The stage shows were new as the ship does not have a traditional stage with an orchestra pit. Only massive screens that surround the whole venue. The first dance show was cutting edge featuring six dancers with no singing in an elaborate presentation showcasing the dancers' talents as well as the advanced technology of the theater. It drew standing ovations from the attendees. The second show was less spectacular but enjoyable. An illusionist wowed the audience with his skills in another show and a comedian also performed.
Food was excellent at the general Lido buffet with numerous choices for all tastes. Some food kiosks prepared fresh hot food (Thai wok, omelets, pizza, hot dogs, deli sandwiches) for those willing to wait a bit. We dined only once in the main dining room and it was excellent. We did not try the specialty restaurants.
Shore excursions were well organized with departures from the ship well supervised by the crew/cruise director such that we always knew where to go and what to do for our excursion.
First visit was to the private beach leased by HA, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. A lovely spot with lots of beach chairs available. A complimentary buffet was offered to the passengers at the beach.
In Jamaica (Ocho Rios) we did river tubing which was excellent!
In George Town, Grand Cayman, we did a short trolley tour and then went to Seven Mile Beach using the local bus service which was reliable and inexpensive ($5 per person return). Lunch at a beachfront café was about $75 US but great view and WiFi.
Last stop was Cozumel. Just a beer and some shopping there.
Transfer from Port Everglades to FLL was well organized by HA and stress free.
We will definitely seek other occasions to sail on Nieuw Statendam again.
Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale can be harrowing given the traffic at cruise departure times especially if you're trying to return a rental car. Make sure you fill up well outside of downtown as getting to a gas station in the rush hour traffic could take an hour there and back.
Because Nieuw Statendam has a casino which allows smoking, the smell of smoke can permeate other public areas such as the Music Walk. Why the casino wasn't hermetically sealed and separately vented on this brand new ship is beyond me.
In a quiet area. Minimum of movement felt. Nicely appointed with generous storage. Surprisingly large bathroom with glass-walled large shower. Very attentive attendants (Bang Bang and Ahmad).
Lots of beach chairs available and good buffet lunch.View All 28 Beach Reviews
Great fun!View All 74 River Tubing Reviews
Short and sweet. Also took public transportation to Seven Mile Beach: worth a visit!View All 35 Trolley Roger Reviews