Holland America Nieuw Statendam surprises and delights

By Diane Tierney

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam is a classic case of how you shouldn’t judge a new cruise ship (or book) by its cover. While Statendam is conservative on the outside with its boxy aft and dark blue hull, the new Pinnacle-class ship is unexpectedly glamorous and fun on the inside.

The ship decor features the cruise line’s renowned classic elegance of navy, beige and warm woods, but the Statendam is delightfully bright and fresh with royal purples, regal reds and sparkling chandeliers.

Outdoors there are also bright pops of colours such as turquoise, orange and lime green beach towels, cushions and planters. Modern, curved, white leather couches and double-lounger wicker beds divided by sheer white curtains are unexpectedly hip.

When you’re cruising on the 2,666-passenger Statendam you can expect a triple layer of treats: great music, gorgeous art and gourmet food.

The Music Walk is an area that practically tilts the ship with popularity due to four exciting venues along the path. The Rolling Stone Rock Room has bands playing rock and roll hits. B.B. Kings brings the best of Memphis blues music. Billboard Onboard has duelling pianists playing chart-topping hits and Lincoln Center Stage features glorious classical music.

These venues have cruise passengers dancing and singing until midnight — later than the typical Holland America passengers once did. With more than 70 musicians scheduled to perform on board during its first year, the music focus is expected to attract a slightly younger crowd.

Echoing the cruise ship’s focus on music, the decor is enhanced by more than 1,950 exquisite artworks, many focusing on music such as portraits of famous musicians and a giant guitar sculpture. A self-guided tour of the multi-million dollar collection is downloadable to an iPod and each piece has an interesting story.

Gourmet food is paramount to pleasing the discerning Holland America cruise passenger and the Statendam doesn’t disappoint. There are a dozen dining venues and the specialty restaurants are impressive.

Rudi’s Sel de Mer, developed by the renowned chef Rudi Sodamin, serves French seafood dishes with a contemporary twist. Dine on broiled lobster, Dover sole meunière, clams au beurre, duck cassoulet, and soufflé au fromage. Desserts are irresistible such as crêpes Suzette, applet tarte tatin, profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce, and Rudi’s famous enormous soufflé. The Statendam predicts it will serve 42,000 pounds of lobster in its first year.

The Tamarind and Nami Sushi feature an outdoor dining area so you can enjoy the Pan-Asian cuisine including wok-seared lobster, barramundi sea bass in banana leaves, sushi and sake, as well as the gentle sea breezes.

The Pinnacle Grill will serve about 600 pounds of high-grade beef every week to steak lovers. Canaletto has family-style Italian dining where 200 pounds of pasta will be prepared weekly. Club Orange is a private restaurant for passengers who pay a $50/day per person premium for access to it and receive many other special Club Orange benefits and amenities.

Additional restaurants that don’t have a cover charge include the gorgeous red, white and yellow main dining room that has a variety of international options. Beside the pool, the Dive-In grill serves about 3,000 gourmet burgers each week. The New York Deli & Pizza offers made-to-order sandwiches and pies. Lido Market is a huge buffet area with themed serving stations ranging from sushi to hand-carved roasts. Grand Dutch Cafe features traditional Dutch coffee, treats and about 1,250 beers per week.

There’s also an onboard cooking demonstration show where chefs trained by America’s Test Kitchen experts provide workshops. About 260 live shows will be performed during Statendam’s first year.

The service on board is excellent especially since there are call buttons on many of the tables — you’ll wish you could take these home! There is always someone happy to serve you and answer any questions. The ship’s crew represent more than 30 countries.

Considered a mid-size cruise ship at 983 feet long and about 99,000 tonnes, the Statendam has a main pool area with a retractable dome and three modern, oversized hot tubs.

The aft sea view pool is also ample in size, bordered by warm teak benching, two hot tubs and plenty of space for lounger chairs for those who like to watch the wake while cruising away. The upper deck has wicker sectional couches and chairs offering a peaceful cozy atmosphere. Gorgeous lanterns light all the pool decks in the evenings.

A private, adults-only, outdoor sanctuary called the Retreat has upscale white cabanas, white leather loungers and a hot tub. It’s ideal for peace and quiet, plus a premium service of food and beverages.

Beyond the entertainment at the bars and lounges, the World Stage is the ship’s semi-circular main theatre that has 270-degrees of LED screens for spectacular backdrops to the live Las Vegas-style shows.

When you need to burn calories or for relaxation, head to the Greenhouse spa, salon and fitness centre for dozens of exercise machines and fitness classes, as well as to enjoy saunas, massage rooms, thermal suites, an enormous hydro-therapy pool, steam and aromatic rooms and heated ceramic lounges.

Stateroom options are plentiful. There are 13 different styles ranging from solo cabins of 127 square feet to the grand 1,357-square-feet Pinnacle Suite.

The cruise line’s award-winning EXC shore excursions are designed to help you connect more deeply with the people and places you visit. You’ll receive indispensable tips from location experts who can help you choose cultural encounters to make your cruise even more meaningful.

Statendam will be officially christened in February 2019 by Oprah Winfrey. As godmother she brings her passion for ‘Travel that Transforms’ which is so fitting to the line’s focus on immersive shore excursions and a diversity of music, art and cuisine.

If the Statendam was actually a book, it would likely be high on Oprah’s famous Book Club list for the great read that it is.

For more information on cruises on the Nieuw Statendam contact HollandAmerica.com or call 855-932-1711. To follow Diane Tierney on her cruise adventures, visit Officialcruiseguru.com.