Wednesday, September 13, 2023

HAL Nieuw Statendam Part 2

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 5pm every night at Table 36 and our servers were Joko and Adi. Our cabin was 4105 and our cabin stewards were Hery and Wira.

Click here to see pictures aboard the ship.

Day 15: Copenhagen 8/23/23

We watched new passengers come aboard. What a different atmosphere with this new group of people. There were a lot more children and the passengers seemed more aggressive. Elevators were more crowded, and people forced themselves onto the full elevators. At dinner, we had the same table, but we had different servers. The man behind me (he was here the last 2 weeks also) said that we almost didn’t get into Lerwick because our Covid numbers were so high (20%). We didn’t go to the show since it was the same as the last 2 weeks.

Day 16: Sea Day 8/24/23

After breakfast, we sat on the deck above the pool for an hour. I’m surprised how many people were in the pool and laying out as if they were in the southern Caribbean! Don tried to walk on the outside deck, but it was so cold that he had to put on his wool cap! I went to the Cruise Critic meet and greet and met some nice people. Michelle, the woman who organized it thanked me for sharing info about the train in Copenhagen. I’m glad she found the information useful. After that, Don and I walked around while our cabin was cleaned. We’ve been having trouble with the TV, so the cabin steward had to reset it for us when we got back. After lunch we watched TV and I napped, then we left for dinner, the TV went out again. The cabin steward told us he had to call for a technician. Around 6:45, I called guest services to complain that the technician still hadn’t come, and then suddenly the TV started working. At about 7:15, the technicians showed up and when the channel was changed, the TV wouldn’t work again. They had to take the TV off and do some stuff with wires. They got it going again.

Day 17: S. Queensferry 8/25/23

Click here for pictures of S. Queensferry.

At 7:45, we had to do face-to-face immigration in the theater. After putting away our passports, we got right on the tender. We were on the land by 8:30. Then we walked along the shore road to the Port Edgar Marina. Next, we walked to the Tesco Supermarket but stopped at the Coop to see what they had. We didn’t see anything we wanted so we kept walking uphill to Tesco. We decided to have a couple of diet cokes before leaving. Then we bought some snacks and an eight-pack of Diet Pepsi. It started raining on and off as we walked around town. We got back to the ship around 12:30. After lunch, we watched movies until dinner time. We decided to skip the show and went back to the cabin to finish watching movies.

Day 18: Lerwick 8/26/23

Click here for pictures of Lerwick.

We arrived in Lerwick around 10 a.m. It was a cloudy day but eventually got sunny. We decided to stay on the ship and relax since we had just visited here on Monday. Of course, the TV didn’t work, and we had to call for them to send the TV technician. When we arrived, we saw two ships in port where the tenders arrived. They were the MV Hebridean Princess and the Statsraad Lehmkuhl. We had lunch and watched TV until dinner. After dinner, we returned to the cabin to watch more movies. The show was Lincoln Stage Classical Music so we decided to skip it. At dinner on the Lido deck, we met Franci and Bill from Missouri who told us about a guy at the Excursions desk this evening screaming his head off yelling that he couldn’t believe they sold that excursion to him because his wife could have died! After dinner, we watched movies in our cabin.

Day 19: Sea Day 8/27/23

In the morning, our TV didn’t work again, so they sent the TV technician. Then we went to the session on Cruises for Your Bucket List. Next was the talk about Marconi -The Wizard of the Wireless. After lunch, we went to the port to talk about Akureyri and Isafjordur. It was very informative. We watched movies until dinner and then watched more after dinner.

Day 20: Akureyri 8/28/23

Click here for pictures of Akureyri

At 9:30 a.m., there was a talk from the Crow’s Nest that could be heard on the Bow camera channel. Unfortunately, our TV was working again (the 7th day in a row) so we had to call for the TV technician again. It was 43F when we arrived in port. We docked at 11am but we had lunch before we got off the ship. When we got off the ship, we walked towards the botanical gardens. We were told that the Hop On Hop Off Bus makes 11 stops and costs about $40 per person which is pretty expensive so we decided not to do that. We walked to the Botanical Gardens which was free and only open from June through September. On the way, we found a yarn store, but I didn’t buy any yarn. Then we saw the Akureyri Lutheran Church which was very pretty but they charged 5 euros to go inside so we just admired the outside. Next, we went to the Botanical Gardens, and they were lovely! There were more flowers blooming than I expected to see. After that, we went into town and looked through souvenir shops. Next, we walked to the mall and found a grocery store (Netto). We bought a couple of Pepsi Max (181 IK each) so I could get change back in coins. Then we went back to a couple of shops to buy a magnet and some postcards. On the way back to the ship, we stopped at a little gift shop that had a local magnet. He also let us in to see the indoor skateboard park. Then we got back to the ship before dinner. When we got back to the cabin, the bathroom floor was flooded, and we had to call guest services to send a plumber. After dinner, we came back and watched movies.

Day 21: Isafjordur 8/29/23

Click here for pictures of Isafjordur

We arrived in port at 8 a.m. This was supposed to be a tender port but instead, we were able to dock. We let the big crowds go first since we didn’t have any plans. We were off the ship by 8:40 and walked around town. Most places were closed. So, we walked around the harbor to the other side where we saw some hiking trails. We walked a couple of them, and the trail was mostly loose rock. We went to the steep hike but stopped at the base of the steep stairs. The views were beautiful. Then we wandered back to town. First, we stopped at Netto, the supermarket. Then we found the post office where Don bought some collector stamps. We stopped at a yarn store, but the owner wasn’t overly friendly, and the yarn was expensive, so we left. We ended up back at the ship in time for lunch. After lunch, we returned to our cabin for a rest. We didn’t have any movies or internet in this port because the system was down.

Day 22: Grundarfjordur 8/30/23

Click here for pictures of Grundarfjordur.

We got on the tender around 8 a.m. Sam and Patty joined us so we could all get on the tender early. Then we took a left and walked all the way to Gundarfoss (a waterfall). We walked through a sheep pasture to get to it. When we got there, we also saw another waterfall to the right. Then we walked back to town and continued to the other waterfall, Kirkjufellsfoss. Across from that was another beautiful waterfall. Then we decided to take a side trail up towards the back of the town and found two more waterfalls. We followed the trail back to town and checked out some souvenir shops. I went into 2 stores where the owners were knitting. We were back on the ship for lunch and while we were there, a man fell and had a seizure. When he came out of it, he was very agitated and started getting aggressive with the people trying to help him. Then we relaxed in our cabin until dinner. The TV wouldn’t turn on so I unplugged it and replugged it which helped it restart. Guest services called to see if our TV and bathroom was working, and I didn’t mention that I fixed it myself. It was a dressy night, and we went to the dining room for dinner (jumbo shrimp for me, escargot for Don, filet mignon, and crème brulee for both of us).

Day 23: Reykjavik 8/31/23

Click here for pictures of Reykjavik.

We arrived in Reykjavik around 7:30 am. There was a complimentary shuttle to take us to the City Center so we were downtown by 8am. We passed the Hodi House which is where Reagan and Gorbachev had their summit meeting in 1986. We walked around town and found all the places we wanted to see when they opened. We also walked to the Lutheran Church which is the tallest building in Iceland. It was hard to find a public bathroom but I finally went into a hotel and used one. Then we bought magnets at Hard Rock Café. I also bought some yarn at the Handknitting Association of Iceland. We also went to the Iceland Phallological Museum and bought a lot of souvenirs. Then we got the bus back to the ship and had lunch. After lunch, we just relaxed around the ship until dinner. After dinner, the Captain announced that there was a change in our itinerary. Due to the approaching storm, he canceled our stops in Djupivogur (Iceland) and Runavik (Faroe Islands). Instead, we are heading to Norway and will stop in Stavanger and Leirvik.

Day 23: At Sea 9/1/23

After breakfast, we sat out by the pool until it was time to go to the session on Ask the Captain. While we were relaxing, they called for first responders to a fire on Deck 1. Apparently, there was an electrical fire in cabin 1043 which they put out and there was smoke. Then they had to evacuate cabins 1021- 1063 until they could get rid of the smoke. The captain talked about the change in the itinerary and how we were trying to outrun the storm. He also talked about the fire. After lunch, we went to a session on The Act of Happiness which was interesting. We called guest services 3 times to reset the TV by this time. After dinner, we came back to the room to plug things up and the TV was out again, so I had to call guest services. We went to the show to see the illusionist, Gaston Quieto and when we got back to the room, the TV was even worse than before. Guest services said that they would send the cabin steward and then the IT person was called. The cabin steward said that the IT person just left. Guest services called back and said IT was working on it and I asked if they could call me and let me know if the IT people say they got it working. It didn’t get fixed. I called guest services and asked if we could have an appointment with the hotel director and we were told we needed to talk to the guest services manager first, so we had an appointment to talk to Hugo at 9 a.m.

Day 24: At Sea 9/2/23

After breakfast, we had an appointment with Hugo, the guest relations manager to tell him how frustrated we were with our TV repairs (which have been daily since we got on the ship on Aug. 9). If we were at home, a TV repairman would not come to my house every day to fix it or I wouldn’t pay him! The manager was under the impression it was fixed so there was a lot of misinformation going around. Of course, they fixed it before lunch but when we got back to our cabin after lunch (to watch TV - aka take a nap LOL), they were in there fixing it again! We ended up going to the World Stage Theater to hang out because it was too windy and wet to walk outside (they roped off the doors to the outside). We met Genero, the light technician, and had a nice conversation with him. At 3 p.m., we went to the Port talks to hear about the 3 ports in Norway we were going to visit (Stavanger, Leirvik, and Kristiansand). When we got back to the room, we watched TV while it was working. To apologize for the inconvenience, the manager called to give us a complimentary dinner at a specialty restaurant, Canaletto ($30 pp) which was nice. I insisted that he didn’t have to do that, but we ended up accepting it. The food was VERY good! After dinner, we went to the show to see Anil Desai, who did impressions of famous people. Some of them were pretty good. Then when we went back to our cabin at 8:30pm, the TV wasn’t working again. Guest Services reset it but the TV tech showed up at our cabin at 9pm and said it wasn’t reset right and he ended up fixing it. Hopefully, it is really fixed now….

Day 25: Stavanger, Norway 9/3/23

Click here for pictures of Stavanger.

We got off the ship at 8:30 and walked around town until noon. It was a pretty town, but everything was closed because it was Sunday. We had lunch on the ship and then watched TV in our cabin. Of course, we had to ask Guest Services to reset the TV again. Guest services sent us chocolate-covered strawberries as an apology for the TV. After dinner, we came back to the cabin and watched movies until bedtime. We went to bed early since we had to get up early.

Day 26: Leirvik, Norway 9/4/23

Click here for pictures of Leirvik.

This is a new port for this ship and we had to tender to shore. We arrived at 7 a.m. but we didn’t get off the ship until 7:45. Most things didn’t even open until 8 a.m. The first thing we did was look for the grocery store. We found it in the mall (3-story mall) and the post office was in the grocery store. Don bought stamps there. Then we found the library and movie theater. For the next few hours, we just walked around town. We found a yarn store (in the building that said Trio) where I bought 2 skeins of Alpaca yarn for 30 NK each. Then we found another big yarn store next to an Asian market and I bought 2 skeins of Camel yarn for 20 NK each. Around noon, we went back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we went back to the cabin to relax. I started doing a little packing too. After dinner, we came back to the cabin to watch movies.

Day 27: Kristiansand, Norway 9/5/23

Click here for pictures of Kristiansand.

We arrived in Kristiansand and got off the ship at 7 a.m. We walked around town until noon. The post office opened at 9 and we also saw the Extra grocery store. It was a very pretty town. After lunch, we packed. I checked in for our flight and it let me check in for the first leg but said the other legs were unavailable. It kind of freaked me out. I texted our neighbors Molly and Trevor, and Trevor said we would be okay since we checked in at the first leg. After dinner at the Lido deck, we put out our bags in the hallway and relaxed.

Day 28: Disembarkation

Click here for pictures of flying home.

We were scheduled to get off the ship at 7:30 because we bought transfers to the Airport ($38 each). The bags were near the buses and when we got off the ship at 7:30, we found our bags easily and got them on the bus. One lady got on the bus and said that her husband left a bag in the cabin. He had to go get it and would take a later bus. We arrived at the airport at 8:40. 

Then we had to stand in line at the British Airways counter to check our bags. We finally checked our bags in around 9:15 and then had to go through security. Don had 2 bottles of unopened sodas that he forgot to toss so he had to get rid of them. We finally got to our gate around 10am and then we boarded at 10:20. The flight to Heathrow was not bad but it was a full plane. We got to Heathrow, and it was overcrowded with planes so we had to get off the plane on the tarmac and they bused us to the terminal. Then we had to find what terminal to go to and get on a bus for that terminal. We finally got to that terminal and then had to go through immigration to show our passports. Next, we had to go through security and I had a bottle of water that I had filled up at the airport in Copenhagen and had to toss it. We finally found our gate within 5 min. to spare before boarding the plane. This was the long flight to DFW and there were 3 seats in our grouping, but the plane wasn’t full. The person in the window seat never showed up so we had the 3 seats for the 2 of us. It was a nice flight and we got dinner (chicken and rice and a chocolate coconut cake for dessert). The nice flight attendant was an older man and he had a great sense of humor. When I told him that the dessert was great, he brought me 2 more! Later they came around with ice cream which was good too (or I was hungry). Before we landed, we had a cold chicken wrap which was delicious. I watched some movies on the flight, but it was dark and I didn’t get as much knitting done as I had hoped. When we got to DFW, we had to go through Customs and then get our bags from baggage claim. It seemed like we just moved our bags from one huge room to another room where we checked them back in again. Then we had to go through security again and this time, Don had a water bottle he filled up at Heathrow that he had to toss. 

We finally got to GSP around 11:30pm and it seemed to take forever to get our bags. We finally got them around midnight and Dyanna and Earl were waiting for us outside the baggage claim area. 

Things I’ve Learned:
  • Even though we stayed on the same ship, a new group of passengers can really change the atmosphere of the ship.
  • The captain is repeating the same sea trivia that he used the first two weeks.
  • We didn’t need to get off the ship in Lerwick since we had just been there a few days before.
  • Iceland money- 132 Icelandic Krona to $1 USD
  • You can take a public bus to Godafoss waterfalls in Akureyri (but we didn’t).
  • Our friends went to the Natural Baths in Akureyri and wished they brought their robes from the ship to keep them warm as they walked to the baths.
  • Isafjordur has a smaller population (2600) than the people on our ship.
  • There are several hiking trails in Isafjordur.
  • It was about 2.5 miles to Grundarfoss and the same to Kirkjufellsfoss.
  • A bus would take you to Kirkjufellsfoss for 10 euros.
  • I was disappointed to miss the Faroe Islands but I'm glad the Captain outran the storm. 
  • The Rotterdam was caught in the storm and faced 26 ft. waves and hurricane-force winds. 
  • Norway was nice.
  • 1 USD = 11 Norwegian Krone
Original photo by Pat Hensley

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