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21 Cool Things on Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam (You Won’t Want To Miss)

21 Cool Things on Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam (You Won’t Want To Miss)

My last cruise with Holland America was aboard my favorite ship, the Nieuw Statendam. This floating hotel, built in 2018 as part of their pinnacle-class premium cruise ships, is the sister to the MS Koningsdam. Here are 21 cool things you won’t want to miss while cruising on this lovely Holland America vessel.


I’m a cruise fanatic—one who took one cruise long ago and knew immediately it was my preferred way to travel to have a sampling of beautiful locations around the world and a floating hotel with tons of things to do.

Holland America is one of my favorite cruise lines. Between the excellent itineraries, great food, the abundance of activities, and comfortable staterooms, it checks all the boxes I look for while cruising.

1. A Relaxing Solarium

I’ll admit. One of the things I look forward to most while cruising is taking advantage of a first-class spa and the services offered. The ship gets even higher praise from me when they have a solarium or a thermal suite that allows for greater levels of pampering and relaxation.

The Nieuw Statendam had a fantastic hydrotherapy pool, with an area in the middle for holding on while the invigorating water thrusts caress your body. Twinkling lights dangle from the ceiling and whisk you away with the sounds of the pulsating water and the warmth of the thermal suite air.

Indulge with a week-long pass, or buy a day pass.


2. Tremendous Food

Holland America has delicious food. I’ve found the food to vary from location to location (New England vs. Caribbean, etc.), but it has been some of the best cruise line food I’ve tried in over 50 cruises.

Expect carefully created menus to enhance the area’s local seafood or food style, decadent pasta dishes, and the best beef creations of all.

Whether you dine in the main dining room, the specialty restaurants, room service, or the buffet, you are sure to find something to please your palate and write home about.


If you are new to cruising, get excited for Surf & Turf night, any carpaccio appetizer, daily Eggs Benedict, the goat cheese appetizer (it may be named something different on each cruise), and Fish & Chips.

For dessert, watch for Floating Clouds (meringues in a yummy vanilla sauce) or Baked Alaska, the two that top my list.


3. Gorgeous Pools

The swimming pool on a cruise ship (or the multiple ones) is generally where much of the action lies. It’s a fun place for meeting other cruisers, cooling off, hanging out in the sun, or watching the entertainment.

As an over-50-year-old, I appreciate the quieter pool areas that are for adults only or allow me to enjoy a less-crowded space. Search the cruise ship before sailing or after you get on to see which pool is most appealing.

You may need to get there early to ensure a good seat.


Holland America’s Zaandam cruise ship is quite extraordinary, too. You can read more about it here. 

4. Excellent Live Music Options

Holland America is top-notch in my book for the live music options at sea—the Nieuw Statendam, especially. There is a long corridor that has venue after venue, with different bars and lounges offering music nightly.

Lincoln Center Stage had more refined classic music and incredibly talented musicians. Our cruise was over Christmas, so the decor was dazzling. You can also view it from the second-story balcony.


Rolling Stone’s Rock Room was where we saw great rock bands doing excellent cover tunes from our favorite hits.

The dueling piano bar was the best at sea, with two freakishly good pianists and entertainers battling each other for the most applause. Crowds really get into this music scene; jump right in with them.

Our music venue of choice was B.B. King’s Blues Club, with a band that had us singing and dancing every night. Wow, they were good. Read more about that below.

Also, don’t miss BBC Earth in Concert any chance you get.


5. Grand Dutch Cafe

A specialty option with Holland America is the Grand Dutch Cafe. This stylish restaurant, right off the atrium area, has terrific ocean views, counter seating, and a wide variety of tables and seating arrangements. 

Food is complimentary, but there is a small surcharge for some beverages, like Genever, Advocaat, and Dutch or Belgian beer.

The Grand Dutch Cafe’s quiche is excellent and comes with a small garden salad. The complimentary chocolate-covered creampuff (Bossche bol) is the most popular item and is big enough for sharing. My husband couldn’t stay away from the fries, and my mouth waters thinking about the Dutch apple pancakes.

The process is to order at the counter and a server will bring your food to you. Rotterdam and Koningsdam also have the Grand Dutch Cafe.


6. Tasteful Decor

Cruise ship decor has improved dramatically over the last 25 years. Some ships are very busy, and some are very plain, but Holland America is in the middle somewhere. The main dining room is slightly busy, with hundreds of colorful glass domes hanging in sections, but the low-lighting and spacious floor plans work with it.


The Nieuw Statendam has many lounges, each more beautiful than the last. I’m constantly amazed by how the cruise lines stay on top of the entire ship, looking lovely and brand new year after year.

I also love the look of the Nieuw Statendam staterooms. Subtle and elegant, they appeal to this cruiser.


7. An Inviting Bourbon Tasting

I found a little dose of Kentucky while on the Nieuw Statendam cruise ship. My husband was thrilled to try an inviting bourbon tasting for a few dollars. Notes is where you’ll do the tasting with a qualified guide leading the experience. 


The tasting included explanations of the bourbons, how they were created, what to look for in the taste, and how to sample and drink quality bourbon properly.

One of the samples included a pricy bottle of Macallan, which did not hurt my hubby’s feelings.


8. Functional Staterooms

My room on the Nieuw Statendam was one of the smallest I’ve ever had, or at least in the last dozen years or more. Seeing that we sailed for only a few hundred bucks each, with a last-minute sailing and saving, it was fine.

The room was very functional, and though it didn’t have as much square footage as I was used to, the functionality made up for it.

Across from our bed was a flat-screen tv that made it easy to watch tv in bed. Corner cabinets and counters allowed us to store our ice bucket, camera, and necessities. Wall hangers allowed for swimsuits, my purse, and a tote bag for heading to the pool.


There was enough room underneath the bed for our suitcases, and we also had plenty of room to unpack our clothes and store things in the closet.

Nieuw Statendam’s bathroom had plenty of shelves for us to share for toiletries (leave your soap, shampoo, and conditioner at home—it’s furnished onboard) and products. Big shout out to Holland America for using my favorite brand of toiletries, Elemis, and also the spa’s product line.


9. Similarities to Other Holland America Ships

Not all cruisers would agree with this statement, but I love it when I sail with the same cruise line multiple times, and the restaurants, shops, and bars have the same name. Ditto when they have a similar floor plan.

Holland America (and Princess!) both use the same names for many of their spaces, making it much easier to find my way around. I also like getting more from my vacation because I don’t have to run around figuring out my whereabouts.

Thanks, Holland America.


10. Entertaining Gambling Options

The Nieuw Statendam had typical gambling options in a larger-than-normal casino space. The games were up to date, and we saw plenty of people winning. Having been a winner on cruise line slot machines in the past, I can attest that they do and have paid out on my cruises.

If you are into bingo, it is a big cruise ship draw. Watch for the dates and times in your newsletter, or browse the Holland America Navigator App for this info.


11. Informative Talks and Lectures

Expect educational opportunities aboard Holland America ships. I love this option. Whether it is learning about cruise routes around the world, cultures of areas around the world, birds native to a country you are visiting, or even social media tips and tricks, you get these perks free of charge.

Holland America does a nice job of finding field experts to discuss the specific topics and answer questions from the audience.


12. Lovely Afternoon Teas

As I mentioned above, the spa is one of my favorite things about cruising. Still, afternoon tea is even higher up than that. Daily afternoon tea is free, yes, you read that right, and it’s not stuffy or formal, but an all-around great time.

Tea time sometimes features a three-tiered tray with goodies (finger sandwiches, scones and cream, and mini-pastries) or a single plate of yummy delights, with some items passed.

You can request a private table or be at a communal table to mingle with the guests. I like a little of both.


The tea is of good quality, but you can also drink water or iced tea to enjoy the experience. Often live musicians are part of the afternoon tea service, adding a touch of elegance.

If you’ve never tried scones with clotted cream and jam, by all means, this is your chance. While they aren’t quite as good as English scones, they are still tasty. The finger sandwiches are tasty, and the mini-pastries are as pretty to photograph as they are enjoyable to munch on.


13. High-End Cocktail Bars

The Nieuw Statendam has some really nice cocktail bars. In Such bars, you can experience hand-crafted cocktails with all the latest bells and whistles. You’ll find a pre-lit menu at one bar with cool creations, while at another, you’ll find rock & roll themed drinks with old and new liquors and affordable prices.

Try new things while cruising; this is your chance.


14. Plenty of Trivia

If I had to pick my favorite cruise activity, it would be trivia. Holland America makes me happy with multiple trivia sessions daily. Whether it be general trivia, music, movies, geography, food, or whatever category they throw out there, I will show up unless it interferes with cruise excursions.

What to expect at trivia? Pair up with fellow passengers for up to six persons per team, or play solo or with your smaller group. Grab a paper and pencil from the trivia host and then wait for the questions.

Once all the questions have been asked, you will grade your papers or trade with a neighbor. The team with the most correct answers wins.

Don’t bother cheating, the prizes aren’t that great, but for avid cruisers like myself, it is a cut-throat contest to be the best…the whole cruise long. Find your people, as I did in the photo below.


15. Attractive Artwork

Art at sea has always been a thing since I cruised in the 1990s. Whether you are on board to bid on artwork or not, you can still admire it and learn from it. I always enjoy browsing the art gallery area and special sections where the pieces are set up for display.

Give it a shot if the ship has an art lecture or lesson. I’ve learned so much about art through cruising that I’m starting to be interested in it on all of my travels.


16. Impressive Wine Selections

While some may think cruising is just a booze cruise, guess again. Cruising caters to so many walks of life, and those with a more refined palate certainly won’t be lacking.


Cruise lines have impressive wine selections; you can even buy a package if you plan to drink throughout the journey, which may save you money.

Below is a look at some of the wine choices on the Nieuw Statendam, but I’ve seen super high-end wines in the specialty restaurants, such as Silver Oak and Opus One. We even took a wine class where we sampled a dozen or more wines and bottled our own with custom labels.


17. Holiday Offerings

I’ve cruised over the holidays for nine years. It is sublime!

Cruise lines do unique things over the holidays, and Holland America does them well. My favorite thing on the Nieuw Statendam was the gingerbread house display, which smelled as good as it looked. The decor certainly put me in a holiday mood.


18. Great Specialty Dining

The Nieuw Statendam has quite a few specialty dining offerings, which means there is an additional fee for eating there. I don’t have a problem with the price because the experience is always sensational. Amongst the onboard restaurants that fit this category are the Pinnacle Grill (steakhouse with Prime meats), Canaletto (authentic Italian cuisine), Nami Sushi, and Rudi’s Sel De Mer.

Master Chef Rudi Sodamin’s at-sea award-winning gem has French classics but with a twist. Seafood is the star of the menu, as well as the bacon clothesline. Other menu highlights include:

  • Steak Frites.
  • Duck À L’Orange.
  • A whole rack of lamb.
  • White Dover sole meunière. 

And we must mention Rudi’s Fruits De Mer seafood appetizer tower, with jumbo shrimp, clams, oysters, mussels, crab claws, and King crab legs, which feeds two (or more). This dish has an additional $25 price tag.

Save room for the Crêpes Suzette, but please start with the Soufflé Au Fromage; it is mind-blowing.

There is also a gelato shop with a small upcharge and the infamous Club Orange. This high-end Holland America designation includes premium in-room breakfast, expanded menus, and loads of other amenities.


19. Dress Up Opportunities

Bring your best get-up with you or totally skip out on the dress-up nights onboard Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam. You be the judge of whether you want to or not.

For us, this was always a chore, flying to the cruise ship with a fancy dress, special shoes, jewelry, a purse, and the list goes on and on. For men, packing a suit or tuxedo and huge men’s shoes needs nearly another whole suitcase. So we skipped it most years.

When we moved to Florida, driving to the cruise port made it much easier to pack the necessities for a special evening, threads included. You’ll see all walks of life onboard the cruise ship, from super casual to overly dressed and ready for the White House.

Be you; anything goes. 


20. Awesome Port of Calls

The Nieuw Statendam resides in the Caribbean. You can’t go wrong with this itinerary’s beautiful ports of call. The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) are delightful, with stunning scenery and wild horses. 

Ocho Rio (Jamaica), Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands), and Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos) are cruisers’ favorites, with a laid-back vibe and sensational beaches.


I’m a big fan of Amber Cove. This multi-million dollar cruise port is relaxing enough to chill and hang out for the day without spending additional money. 

Cozumel, Mexico, is another cruise favorite, with every water sport you can imagine, incredible food, and rich culture.


21. B.B. King’s Blues Club

The coolest place to hang out at nighttime on the Nieuw Statendam is B.B. King’s Blues Club. There was never a dull moment in this lively venue. As it turns out, a killer band from Mississippi (B.B. King’s All-Star Band) was performing during our cruise, and we went to see them as often as we could. 

Who would have thought Beale Street, Memphis, could be brought to sea? Well done, Holland America.


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