varies a great deal from dish to dish, ranging from flavorless
to divinely prepared and cooked; desserts generally score well with
most people, while meat and fish may be over-cooked or arrive luke
warm. Some of the most interesting meals occur at the buffet, when
various ethnic cuisine is featured served. Watch for the seafood
buffet where you might find delicious crab claws available by the
There are tables for two, four, six and eight in the opulent
two-level Vista Dining Room, which benefits from sea views and a
romantically twinkling, fiber optics-lit ceiling, Rosenthal china,
sparkling crystal, and crisp linens. There are four dining seatings
- 5:45 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Casual breakfast,
lunch, dinner, and midnight buffets featuring ethnic cuisine are
served in the Lido restaurant adjacent to the pool.
The cozy, intimate Pinnacle Grill specializes in the ingredients
of the Pacific Northwest. Its dedicated galley includes 1600-degree
grill. Bulgari china, unique holloware and a dedicated service
staff enhance the elegant atmosphere, as too does the wine list,
which features several California and Washington vintages not
offered in the main dining room. Reservations are required and
there is a $20 service charge.
Twenty-four-hour room service is very efficient, and between
meals you can order from a large list of snacks, salads and
sandwiches. At mealtimes, you can order from the same menu those in
the dining room are perusing.
Holland America's Indonesian and Filipino crew is warm and
gracious, though not always as fluent in English as American and
British passengers might prefer. Speak slowly and make sure they
understand what you need, because they can be to polite to ask you
to repeat yourself.
For years Holland America was known for its no-tipping policy,
intended to make passengers believe that staff were doing it for
love, rather than money. (Yeah, right.) Nowadays, though,
gratuities of $10.00 per person (including children) are
automatically added daily to the shipboard account for dining and
stateroom service. Visit the front desk to adjust that amount. That
a 15 percent service is automatically added to bar bills should
surprise no one.
Aboard the Statendam you'll find some of the largest cabins
afloat, all beautifully appointed with handsome fabrics and
attractive art. Standard inside cabins are 182 sq. feet, while
outside staterooms are 197 sq. feet, with enough closet and drawer
space for the serious traveler. Balcony cabins offer considerably
more interior cabin space than you might expect. The Penthouse
suites with private verandahs are a huge 1,100 square feet, and
include wonderful amenities. The 563-square foot suites,
ultramodern with large private verandahs, are nearly as grand. The
120 deluxe category A and B cabins are 284 square feet (including
verandah), each with VCR, minibar, and sitting area. There are
whirlpool tubs in the bathrooms.
Stateroom amenities include bathrobes, a complimentary fresh
fruit basket on arrival, stainless steel ice buckets and serving
trays for use with in-cabin beverages and massage shower heads in
every bathroom. For Deluxe Verandah and Penthouse Suite passengers,
concierge service is available in the Neptune Lounge, a private
retreat where they can relax, read and socialize.
The outside cabins on the Lower Promenade Deck have pedestrian
walkways (and thus, at least intermittently, pedestrians) between
their occupants and the ocean. While special reflective glass
precludes said pedestrians from peeking in during the day, at night
you have to close your curtains.
These ships all have large spa and windowed Ocean Spa gyms
attractive enough to make even the most determinedly sedentary want
to come in. The sauna/steam rooms, segregated by gender, are
impossible to fault. Way up top is a jogging track, isolated from
cabins and other activities to spare non-joggers the sound of
thundering hooves. On the deck, comfortable striped cushions line a
large pool covered by a retractable dome on Lido Deck, just the
thing for rainy days in Alaska. The Dolphin Bar, with umbrellas and
wicker chairs, is an unbeatable spot for a late afternoon drink and
snack after a visit ashore.
On the two weekly formal nights, half the men opt for dark suit
rather than renting a tuxedo. Casual on these ships means
comfortable, but T-shirts, jeans, swimsuits, tank tops and shorts
are all forbidden in the dining rooms and public areas.
Best For People Who Want
A subdued classical style of cruising on a reasonable priced
mid-size ship; large cabins and staterooms with private verandas;
non-smoking dining areas; ample breakfast and luncheon buffets,
free ice cream salons with tasty toppings.
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
A high-energy ship; lots of singles looking to meet; single,
open seating dining.
As you board these ships, a beaming Indonesian or Filipino staff
member in white gloves greets you delightedly and then shows you to
your quarters. Many of the most fondly recalled elements of the
classical style of cruising are unmistakably alive and well here.
You'll find no feverish singles action here, and the casino closes
at an hour that will horrify some high-rolling insomniacs. What you
will find is a palpable reverence for culture, art, and antiques,
and lots of fresh flowers. If large cabins with private verandas,
ballroom dancing and bridge float your boat, these,
moderately-priced premium cruises may well be the boats to float
Statendam is fully subscribed to Holland America's "Signature of
Excellence" program of enhancements to nearly every area of the
ship. New features include tableside waiter service at dinner in
the Lido, a new Culinary Arts Program with show kitchen for
demonstrations and classes, expansion of spa and fitness
facilities, upgraded Club HAL Kids Centers, and new shore
excursions. The Explorations Cafe is a combination library,
Internet center, music listening area and sidewalk cafe. Staterooms
now offer the best mattresses and duvets sold in Europe, flat
screen TVs, and DVD players. There's early boarding and a choice of
four dinner seatings.
Warm colors graced by antiques and reproductions with subdued
lighting in cocktail lounges. Marble and luxurious fabrics are
Statendam may lack the breathtaking atria typical of other ships
built in the 1990s, but it is remarkably easy to find your way
around. The large Ocean Bar, with sea views by day and romantic
lighting at night, is the most popular spot for pre- and
post-dinner cocktails, though it gets serious competition from
another cozy lounge, the sing along piano bar. The 89-seat
Explorer's Lounge offers a string quartet or a harpist performing
light classical favorites in the evening.
The glamorous two-story main dining rooms, framed with
floor-to-ceiling windows, feature a dramatic staircase and a
classical trio holding forth demurely from a perch on the top
level. Just outside the second level, ladies will find a wonderful,
spacious powder room with ocean views.
The main show lounge has two floors and a wide stage, with
comfortable seating, though sight lines from the balcony are
partially obscured. There is a large dance floor in front of the
stage and the onboard 9-piece orchestra plays pre-dinner dance
music nightly. The Crows Nest observation lounge, with its
320-degree view, is the perfect place from which to watch your
departure from port; at night it becomes the shipboard "disco"
dance room. The beautiful wood-paneled library has etched glass
doors, comfortable chairs and ottomans, an inlaid marble table, and
excellent reference and travel book sections. The nearby card room
can simultaneously accommodate four dozen players.
One sour note: The library requires a $25 deposit of anyone
wishing to borrow a book.
The main lounge presents variety shows, a lavish Broadway-style
revue and an energizingly fervent dance production. There's a jazz
quartet in the Ocean Bar and fresh hot popcorn in the Wajang
Theater, where you can see first-run films every afternoon and
Younger passengers are kept diverted with supervised Club HAL
crafts, parties, and games for three age groups 5-8, 9-12 and
13-17, with the number of counselors allotted to each cruise
dependent on the number of younger voyagers. Many children find
Holland America's planned activities severely humdrum. The
restaurant offers a children's menu. Baby-sitting is available at
sea for $7.50 per child per hour.