Compared to Holland America’s more traditional ships, like local favourite Noordam, which sails in Australia and New Zealand, Nieuw Statendam is virtually unrecognisable. Instead of old-world décor and classic Dutch paintings hanging on the walls, we discovered light and airy public spaces filled with contemporary art, such as a transparent Statue of David holding an iPhone mid-selfie. Holland America Line’s latest ship is delighting regular cruisers and gaining a new legion of fans who love the line’s modern look.
Nieuw Statendam is similar to its sister ship, the 2,666-passenger Koningsdam, but also has some new features that have been gaining plenty of attention. One of the most highly anticipated has been the Rolling Stone Rock Room, a partnership with Rolling Stone magazine, which brings classic rock to the high seas. This new venue proved to be a hit on our sailing.
The Rolling Stone Rock Room band had a driving rhythm that got passengers of all ages dancing. On the stage in the adjoining room, a piano quintet performed classical favourites along with a few surprises, like a blistering version of ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Twin pianos in Billboard Onboard and Holland America favourites, the B.B. Kings Blues Band, added to the mix.
Nieuw Statendam’s entertainment was superb with something to please every guest. Apart from the expanded Music Walk with its different bands and musical offerings, there was also the World Stage, which skips traditional Broadway-style theatre shows in favour of high-tech sound and light presentations featuring a troupe of talented dancers. On other nights the World Stage plays host to guest performers such as a magician, flautist and an acapella group, with enrichment speakers delivering lectures on sea days.
Our days onboard settled into a comfortable rhythm, with breakfast in the light and airy buffet followed by lunch on deck and a swim. Relaxing sea days slipped into evenings that usually began in Explorations Central on Deck 12 where wraparound windows provided 180-degree ocean views to accompany our sunset drinks, followed by dinner in one of the ship’s specialty restaurants.
These ranged from hearty Italian fare at Canaletto and Asian fusion at Tamarind to the French-inspired Rudi’s Sel de Mer, which features quirky ‘Food Faces’ plates that are guaranteed to raise a smile. The excellent lobster at this elegant restaurant also had us smiling.
For cruisers who prefer to stick to the complimentary dining options, there are plenty of choices, such as the spacious main dining room with its sparkling two-storey wine tower or the casual Dive In burger bar near the pool. With the sun shining overhead and a cocktail in hand, this is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy lunch on a deck chair while you watch the ocean.
We also discovered one more new feature on Nieuw Statendam. On nights the B.B. Kings All Stars took a well-earned break, their venue was taken over by The Tiny Little Big Band, a hip swing band from the Netherlands where Holland America Line was born. Having an additional band onboard is also being trialled on Nieuw Statendam. Yet another reason to book a cruise on this beautiful new ship.
Disclosure: The writer sailed as a guest of Holland America Line.
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