With Oprah Winfrey as a godmother Nieuw Statendam, the latest ship from Holland America is an irresistible, glamorous triumph, says Liz Jarvis
Harps, the enormous stainless steel sculpture that wraps the three deck-high atrium on board Nieuw Statendam, sets the right note for a ship with the grace and class of an ultra-stylish luxury hotel. The second vessel in the cruise line’s Pinnacle Class, a sister ship to Koningsdam, it features the same architecture inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments, and designed by the legendary Adam Tihany and his team.
The difference is in the detail, and on this ship the artwork, mainly by emerging artists, is themed around fashion and music. Some of it is staggering, such as the 19ft-tall paper sculpture intended to represent sound waves; some of it slightly whimsical, such as a surfboard painted in the style of Raphael; a collage of ‘cassette tapes’; a 6ft clear resin copy of Michaelangelo’s David clutching a smart phone; or the giant model of a Samurai on the sports deck. Decks are named after composers: Beethoven, Gershwin, Mozart and so on.
The Sea View Pool area at the rear of the ship has the ambience of a French Riviera resort, with a wonderfully spacious pool, loungers and bar; on a warm day this is one of the best hangouts on the ship, and at night, when it’s illuminated, it’s spectacular.
Favourite areas include the Lido pool, with its hot tubs, cabana style loungers and retractable glass ceiling, and the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, a stunning retreat with a Thermal Suite including a large hydrotherapy pool, ceramic loungers, steamroom and sauna, and a spa menu offering Elemis treatments.
Staterooms (there are nearly 1,400 of them, with capacity for 2,600) are elegantly appointed with HAL’s signature queen-sized Mariner’s Dream Bed with Euro-Top mattress, which makes them difficult to leave. Décor is bright and contemporary with accents of Dutch orange (of course), charcoal, grey and mauve. There are Elemis products in the bathrooms, sofa-beds, heaps of storage and enormous TVs. 70 per cent of the staterooms have balconies, and these are large; other categories include Ocean View staterooms – no balcony, but capacity for four, and Family Ocean View staterooms, which can sleep five and have two bathrooms including one with a bath. Suites are as plush and glossy as you might expect from a premium cruise line, with four categories.
The dining venues are of all of the same high standard; the main dining room, with its splendid red, yellow and clear glass chandeliers and elegant co ordinating chairs has a glitzy feel, making every meal an occasion, while the Lido Market buffet is bright and airy and easily accessed from the Lido pool.
In French restaurant Rudi’s Sel De Mer, the ambience evokes a Parisian bistro with a contemporary, experiential twist. Highlights include the spectacularly presented Fruits de Mer, lobster tail and coq au vin.
Classic HAL favourites include Tamarind, which has views of the Seaview pool, stunning at night and is well worth the $25 cover charge for the beautifully presented pan-Asian cuisine; other restaurants include the Italian, Canaletto ($15 cover charge; Nami Sushi ($25 cover charge); and the Pinnacle Grill ($35 cover charge). For a quick lunch or pick up after an excursion the charming Grand Dutch Café serves an array of freshly prepared sandwiches, delicious gateaux and warm sugary doughnuts, while the New York Deli located on the upper deck of the Lido offers tasty American fare.
Nieuw Statendam’s enormous Observation Lounge features the shore excursion desk, a bar and library; as well as a comprehensive programme of excursions there are daily enriching onboard activities and BBC Earth Experiences, onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops. The new Music Walk features three venues, including the Lincoln Center Stage; the soul and blues performances in the BB King’s Blues Club and the Rolling Stone Rock Room, with acts selected by the famed magazine, are outstanding.
Sophisticated but never stuffy, Nieuw Statendam is an irresistible, glamorous triumph, and will appeal to those interested in culture, cuisine and exploration at sea.
Getting there: Nieuw Statendam’s 10-day Mediterranean Mosaic round-trip cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome) departing September 27, 2019, starts from £1,810pp (based on two sharing). Ports of call include Dubrovnik; Kotor; Corfu; Katakolon; Athens (Piraeus); Santorini; and Naples (Holland America).