Tuesday, September 12, 2023

HAL Nieuw Statendam Part 1

The ship can hold 2666 passengers and 1036 crew. Our captain was Eric Barhors (from the UK), the hotel director was Rene Tuinman, the Food and Beverage Director was Cliff Strerath, and our Cruise and Travel director was Clare Adams. We had dinner at 5 pm every night at Table 36 and our servers were Eko and Ikram. Elena was the assistant maitre'd who was amazing! Our cabin was 4105 and our cabin stewards were Hery and Wira.

Click here for pictures from the ship.

Day 1: Embarkation 8/9/23

We got to the port by 10am, checked our bags in, and went straight through security. We boarded the ship by 11am. Even though our cabin wasn’t ready, we were able to put stuff in the safe and store our packs in the closet. Then we went to the Lido deck for lunch. After lunch we walked around the ship until our luggage arrived. After unpacking, we had the safety drill at 2:30 pm where we had to go to our muster station and check in. Then we had to watch the TV safety information (which we did while unpacking).

After the safety drill, we walked around until it was time to go to dinner. I made a reservation for 5 for a table for 2. When we got to dinner, she told me that if we liked it, we could tell her and have that table every night. Dinner was nice and we were done early enough to get a seat for the show, Musicology. After that, we returned to the cabin to watch TV.

Day 2: Sea Day 8/10/23

I was up by 5 and sat on the Lido deck to play on my computer. Don joined me around 8am. After breakfast, he went to the shore excursion talk while I went to the Cruise Critic meet-up. Then we met on the Lido deck across from the pasta bar. Linda and her husband, Steve (Minnesota) joined us for lunch and we had a nice visit. After that we went to the 2pm, Port Talk. We went to tea at 3pm and sat with Cathy and Paul (Wisconsin). We enjoyed visiting with them too! By then it was time to change and get ready for dinner. Dinner service was great, and we were able to go back to the cabin and relax before the show. We watched the British comedian, Chas Burnett who was pretty funny! Then we went back to the cabin and watched the movie Lightyear before going to bed. We had to turn our clocks back an hour before going to bed.

Day 3: Sea Day 8/11/23

I was up at 4:15 and went to the Lido deck to drink some tea and play on my computer. Don eventually showed up for breakfast. At 10am, we went to the Seabourne presentation. Then we had lunch at 11:30 and Don had to go back to the cabin to prepare for his board meeting. It lasted almost 90 minutes and we rushed to hear the end of the port talks, but it was about over when we got there. At 3pm, we had afternoon tea again and met a nice couple from Missouri. Don walked about an hour before dinner, and I relaxed and watched The Princess Diaries in the cabin. Dinner was wonderful! We had crab cakes, prime rib, and a chocolate puff pastry. Kathy and Paul ended up getting the table beside us so we ended up talking for 2 hours before heading to the show. The show was Humanity and after 2 dance scenes, they had to cancel the show due to technical difficulties. Then we went back to the cabin and watched A Man Called Otto.

Day 4: Liverpool 8/12/23

Click here for pictures of Liverpool.

We didn’t arrive until 10am but we were supposed to go through Immigration at 10:30. They gave each deck a specific time to go through Immigration in the theater. We didn’t get to go through Immigration until 11:30 and surrendered our passports for Ireland after that. Some people were upset because this affected their private tours that they arranged Since it was 12pm, we decided to eat lunch before getting off the ship. Some people were upset because this affected their private tours that they arranged. Once we walked off the ship, we went to the Beatles statues, but they were jammed up with people. Next, we walked to the Eleanor Rigby statue which was cute. We kept walking uphill through all the stores and people. It was a lot of fun to people watch! We ended up at the Liverpool Cathedral, the longest cathedral in the world and the fifth largest cathedral in the world. It was a beautiful cathedral and was damaged during World War II because Liverpool was considered an important port during this time. Then we went to the Metropolitan Cathedral, a Catholic church. Finally, we ended up back at the Royal Albert Dock. We went to the Museum of Liverpool but decided to save that for another visit. We were back on the ship by 5:10 and we were pretty tired. Since we missed our dinner reservation, we ate dinner on the Lido deck and then went back to our cabin to watch movies.

Day 5: Dun Laoghaire 8/13/23

Click here of pictures of Dun Laoghaire.

We got on the tender and were ashore by 8:30. We walked around town, and nothing was open yet (especially since it was Sunday). We walked down to the park where they were setting up for the Sunday market. Then we walked along the coast and even saw people swimming in the water. Around 11:30 we found a Tesco supermarket across from St. Michael’s Hospital. We bought 2 Cokes (1L bottles), 3 bags of chips, and a plastic shopping bag for a total of 7.75 euros. Then we walked the whole route again now that places were open. The market was busy, but everything looked great. We also stopped at the library where there were a lot of food vendors in the square. We also walked to the Royal Marine Hotel. We also found the train stations and thought next time we might take the train to visit our friend, Marie who lives in Edenderry. We got back to the ship by 2pm and had sandwiches at the Deli. Our toilet was acting up and had to get the cabin steward to call the plumber. It made a super loud screeching noise when you flushed it! At 5pm we went to dinner, but we skipped the 7:30 show. We put out a bag of laundry and was told it takes 48 hours to get it back. We watched the movie Ambulance until we went to bed. At one point, the ship wasn’t moving so we went up to the Lido deck to see if anything was being said about why we weren’t moving but while we were up there, we started moving again.

Day 6: Douglas, Isle of Man 8/14/23

Click here for pictures of Douglas.

This was another tender port. We got on the tender at 7:45 and it was about a 10-minute tender ride to shore. Then we went to the Welcome Center in the Sea Terminal to buy our steam train ticket. It was 18 pounds round trip, or we could buy an unlimited pass for 19 pounds per person which we did. This gave us access to the trains, buses, and the horse tram. We walked 10 minutes along the ocean quay to the train station. The train was scheduled to leave at 9:50 but we boarded the train around 9:15 and I’m glad we did. The train filled up fast. The first 2 cars were reserved for the cruise ship tours. They were 30 minutes late and the train waited for them. We took the train all the way to Port Erin (about an hour) so we arrived at 11:15. We walked towards the coast (5 min. walk) and took pictures and then returned to the train which was scheduled to leave at noon. The train arrived back at Douglas around 1:30pm. Right outside the train station was a Tesco supermarket where we bought snacks (2 cokes, 4 bags of chips, and 3 large candy bars) for 10 pounds. Luckily, I carried the Tesco bag that we bought yesterday and carried it all in that bag. Then we found the yarn store (Bon Fabric) where I saw Lucy Neatby and asked if I could take a photo with her. I bought 4 skeins of local yarn (6.50 pounds each) made with fiber from local sheep (a rare breed found on Isle of Man). Close by was the Post Office where Don bought some stamps for his collection. Next, we walked to the waterfront and took pictures before heading to the Manx Museum. There was a big postal exhibit there and Don was happy to see that. By then it was 3:30pm and we headed back to the sea terminal to get the tender back to the ship. We got back in time for dinner and then the show. At dinner, the captain apologized for the delays in the tender due to rough water (it must have been after we got to the shore). He also announced that we were only 60 nautical miles from our next port, Holyhead, Wales so we wouldn’t pull up anchor until 8pm. The show was changed from the dancers to the comedian, Chas Burnett. He was very funny, and we enjoyed his show. After the show, we returned to the cabin and watched John Wick 4.

Day 7: Holyhead, Wales 8/15/23

Click here for pictures of Holyhead.

Port Authority wouldn’t let us walk off the ship and we had to get tickets for the free shuttle to take us from the ship to the terminal. There were no priority arrangements for 4- and 5-star Mariners. We were group 2 and got off the ship by 8:30 and took the 5-minute shuttle to the terminal. It was a 5-minute walk to town across a pedestrian bridge. We walked around town and was back on the ship by 10:30 (even though they said we couldn’t return to the ship until 11am). We were back in time for lunch and then watched movies in our cabin until dinner. Right before dinner, the captain announced that it was a good thing that we were so close to this port because we were supposed to lift anchor at 8:30 but the anchor got tangled in a large cable and we didn’t leave until 10:30pm last night. After dinner we went to the show and watched the Step One dancers and singers in the show Timeless. They brought the black singer from BB King showroom to sing part of Whitney Huston’s song, but she wasn’t very good.

Day 9: Greenock, Scotland 8/16/23

Click here for pictures of Greenock.

We walked off the ship at 7:15 am. Then we walked around town. We walked towards the back and climbed about 6 flights of stairs. We ended up at this beautiful park at the top of the stairs. Then we walked around the streets in a residential area. We eventually walked back towards the main part of town. We saw a Lidl store but walked into Aldi and got a diet coke. Then we walked around and saw some yarn stores that wasn’t open yet. We found a mall where there were public bathrooms. Then we went back to the yarn store. I met several people who were knitting in the back, and I was invited in to have a cup of tea and knit with them. Instead, I bought two skeins of yarn, one from Greenock and one from Glasgow. Then we went to Tesco and bought a 8 pack of diet Pepsi, and more chips for Don (less than 10 pounds) We returned to the ship around noon and had lunch. After lunch we relaxed in the cabin and watched movies. Right before we left, they announced that we were missing a crew member but eventually we left without him. It was fun watching the scenery from our balcony. Attire was dressy night and dinner was very good. Don had escargot and I had filet mignon. We both had Crème Brule for dessert. We decided to skip the show after dinner.

Day 8: Portree, Isle of Skye 8/17/23

Click here for pictures of Portree.

We really enjoyed this port. We got off the 8am tender and walked around town. We started by walking up 2 flights of stairs to the upper main part of town. After walking around town, we stopped at the Visitor Information. I found out that we can get on the bus at 10:10 and ride it for 2 hours round trip (8.70 pounds per person). It was a wonderful trip! We went all the way around a peninsula to Flodigarry and back. We saw lots of sheep, a castle, a waterfall, and the Old Man of Storr. We got back around 12:15 and walked around town some more. Don went to a craft store and bought 4 postcards framed in glass (5 pounds). Then we went to another craft store where he bought 3 bird paintings (15 pounds) Then we returned back to the ship by 2pm. After lunch we went to the talk about S. Queensferry, Invergordon, and Lerwick. We relaxed until dinner and after dinner we went to hear the comedian, Chas Burnett again.

Day 9: S. Queensferry 8/18/23

Click here for pictures of S. Queensferry and Edinburgh.

We got on the tender at 1:35p (they said we weren’t starting tendering until 2 but they start earlier than they say). We got ashore by 1:50 and walked to the Dalmeny train station. It was down the street to the left and down another side street. Then we had a huge set of stairs to climb which would take us to the level of the red bridge we saw from the ship. It was a very steep climb and and then a very deserted path along the top to the train station. I worried about coming back in the dark and in the rain. We finally got to the top and I said it would have been worth taking the X99 bus (12 pounds per person) right there as we go ashore so we wouldn’t have to climb those darn stairs!!! It was 2:10 by the time we go to the train station. The tickets (round trip) for the train was 5.30 pounds per person. We took the 2:20 train to Waverly station in Edinburgh and the trip was around 15 – 20 minutes. . The train was very crowded, so I sat with a nice group of locals and Don stood. Luckily Waverly was the last stop because Don had to go out one door and I had to get off from another. When we got out of the station, I asked someone how to get to the Royal Mile and of course he pointed to another steep flight of stairs! We walked along the Royal Mile and saw a lot of street performers because the Fringe Festival was going on. We walked to the Edinburgh Castle, but it was closed unless you had tickets for the Tattoo. We found the Hard Rock Café (in New Edinburgh) and I used the bathroom (which was up a flight of stairs!). Then we walked to the train station around 5:45 but found out that we had Off-Peak return tickets and couldn’t get on until after 6:30. So, we left and had dinner at McDonalds. We got back to the train station and took the 6:54 train back to Dalmeny. Then we had to walk that isolated path and back down the steps which was a little creepy at that time of day, but we got back to the port safely. If we go back, we will take the bus next time because it wasn’t that much more in cost, and we didn’t have that long stair climb and walk to the station. Plus, the bus lets you off at the same place where the train station was located. They put us on a tour boat that was being used as a tender and the water was rough going back so we were glad we weren’t on those little ship tenders. I talked to a man who took the bus, and he said it took about 40 minutes to get to Edinburgh due to the heavy traffic (last time it only took us 30 minutes on the bus because there wasn’t any special events going on). We went up to the Lido deck and had some dessert because they stayed open until 9pm instead of closing at 8 like expected. We stayed overnight in this port because many people went to the Military Tattoo event that happens once a year here. The shore excursion was $599 per person and sold out so we didn’t go to it. Some people went to the later show at 9:30 and stayed in Edinburgh overnight. The tenders ran until 2am for people returning from the show.

Day 10: S. Queensferry 8/19/23

We ate a leisurely breakfast and decided to into Edinburgh today. We got on the tender around 8:45 and was ashore by 9. We got to the station at 9:15 and was able to board the train for Edinburgh. We walked around and had a beautiful day. We got back on the train around 12:15 and headed back to Dalmeny station. From there, we walked along Station Road and headed to the Tesco Supermarket (about 1 mile from the station). Then we walked back to the pier which was another pier. Then we got on the tender and back on the ship around 2:30 and had lunch. Since we ate a late lunch, we had dinner on the Lido deck.

Day 11: Invergordon 8/20/23

Click here for pictures of Invergordon.

We got off the ship around 9am and walked about 5 min. into town. Since it was Sunday, not many people were around. We walked around town and found the Co-Op supermarket. We also found a souvenir shop where we bought some souvenirs. Then we walked to the train station and to the church. It was interesting to see the community come out to weed the flowerpots and clear the drains of weeds. We were back on the ship for lunch and then relaxed until dinner. After dinner we went to the show that featured the Scottish singer, Hannah Howie.

Day 12: Lerwick, Shetland Islands 8/21/2023

Click here for pictures of Lerwick.

We took the tender to Lerwick, and it was a short ride. The weather was warm and beautiful! We walked to Jamieson and Smith Wool Shop but got there around 10 minutes too early. We saw some men though going through huge bags of fleeces and putting them in bins. When the store opened, there were several others who arrived by taxi. I bought 8 skeins of yarn and a large ball of fiber (400 g. of 100% Shetland). Then we walked around town and bought a magnet. It was a very up-and-down kind of town also which involved stairs. (I think Scottish people really like their stairs!). They also announced that there were some people who tested positive for COVID-19 and that masks were encouraged in crowded areas. Masks were put in our rooms in case we wanted to use them.

Day 13: Sea Day 8/22/23

We were lazy all day and mainly stayed in our cabin and watched movies. Most people still not wearing masks.

Day 14: Copenhagen 8/23/23

We arrived early and watched people get ready to leave. Some were cranky! It’s always a fun day for people-watching, especially since we didn’t have to get off the ship.

Things I’ve Learned:
  • Making a reservation at dinner every night doesn’t guarantee you the same table every night. I had to ask if we could get the same table.
  • We had to go through Immigration when we arrived in Liverpool.
  • We had to surrender our passports when we went to Ireland.
  • Liverpool was a fun city to walk around.
  • We would go back to Dun Laoghaire and ride the train to Dublin. It was only 5 euros each way and the train station was right by the port.
  • Isle of Man was a nice port, and we would go there again. Next time we would like to ride the electric train north, but we didn’t have enough time to do both in one day this time.
  • We should bring a snack and a drink for the train ride. The round trip took 4 hours (without getting off and spending much time at any stops).
  • Bring an extra-large plastic bag to use if you go grocery shopping.
  • We weren’t impressed with Holyhead, Wales.
  • Greenock had a great yarn store – Wee Crafty Owl.
  • Portree was a wonderful port, and we would go there again! The bus ride was amazing!
  • Always bring a bottle of water when you get off the ship (we pack an empty bottle from home).
  • Bring an extra bag in case you buy snacks at a grocery store. They don’t bag them for you.
  • I was glad I downloaded maps of different ports and places on my phone to use offline.
Original photo by Pat Hensley

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