by Jane Archer, The Telegraph,May 31, 2019
Music is the lifeblood of Nieuw Statendam, a mid-size ship with a gentle American accent, plenty of places to eat and drink, and an exceptional entertainment roster.
Style & character 8/10
There’s music, art and often a blend of the two all around the ship. A stroll through the Music Walk takes you from live rock and pop bands to classical recitals and rhythm and blues, a spectacular 7.5-ton harp sculpture fills the atrium, walls are hung with paintings imitating Dutch masters and a "melting" electric guitar adorns one stairwell. It adds a modern twist to the ship, which is too big to exude luxury but has a classy feel to it. Expect a majority of American passengers and clubs for children and teenagers.
Passengers splashing out on the top Pinnacle or Neptune Suites have access to an exclusive lounge with comfy chairs, TVs and snacks and Club Orange, an intimate dining venue open for breakfast and dinner. Family cabins hold up to five people and there are 12 single rooms for solo travellers.
Other accommodation ranges from inside rooms with no window to cabins with balconies. Cabins have US and European sockets and USB slots. Ensuite facilities have shower cabinets and Elemis toiletry dispensers.
Food & drink 8/10
The stand-out restaurant is Sel de Mer, which sounds very fishy but is actually an authentic French brasserie with the likes of foie gras, cassoulet and steak frites on the menu alongside the bouillabaisse fish stew and seafood platters. The Asian cuisine in Tamarind also impressed but if neither appeals there is Italian Canaletto’s and a steakhouse. These all cost extra.
The main dining room and self-service, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a Dutch Café – a nod to the Holland part of the cruise line’s roots – are complimentary. The Lido was popular for daytime drinks and made-to-order pizzas by the pool. Come evening, the bars in the Music Walk were the place to be.
Friendly but very slow. Exceptions were the Lido, where call buttons on the tables ensured an efficient bar service, and the quietly professional staff in Tamarind.
Life on Nieuw Statendam is none too taxing. You can mix wine in Blend ($79 per person, including a bottle of your own blend to take away), sign up for Microsoft software classes, watch live cooking shows, splash out on massages, facials and medi-treatments in the spa and sample whiskey in Tastes (from $17). Explorations Central has guest speakers and interactive maps to suggest what to see and do in the ports you’ll be visiting.
Entertainment & excursions 8/10
The Music Walk features venues and performers approved by New York’s Lincoln Centre, Billboard, BB King and Rolling Stone Magazine.
Theatre acts vary from guest singers and musicians to excerpts from the BBC’s Planet Earth 2 series set to classical music performed live by the Lincoln Centre Stage musicians.
Excursions include everything from sightseeing tours and museum trips to guided cycle rides and 4x4 outings.
Value for money 7/10
Prices include meals in the self-service, main dining room and poolside grills. Speciality restaurant prices start from a very reasonable $15 per person. Sel de Mer prices are à la carte and average $20-$25 for a main course. Tips of $14.50 ($16 for suites) per person per day are charged to all accounts, but can be removed upon request. Wi-Fi costs from $14.99 per day.