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MS Statendam: Panama Canal
One of the best things about this trip is the Statendam herself. She was built in 1993 and while her profile is a bit clunky, her interior and overall atmosphere is more similar to the classic liners of the past than the floating hotels of the present. In fact, boarding the Statendam is like stepping back in time to the days when ships looked like ships, and wood, brass, and friendly service were common place. The Statendam has one of the finest promenades around and real wooden deck chairs really add a nice touch.
This trip on the Statendam is a great way to relax and also take in a bit of history. Probably the biggest factor in deciding whether to take this trip Westbound or Eastbound is the distance from the end point to your home.
Westbound trips leave from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and transfers from the airport are included in your fare. Eastbound trips leave from Acapulco and if you have the time it is worth arriving a day or two early to see the city and sights.
Statendam is 720 feet long and carries 1,266 passengers. She is the fifth Holland America ship to bear the name. Currently, she spends her summers in Alaska, and alternates between Hawaii and Mexico the rest of the year.
During the trip you have 4 days at sea and 6
days in port. During the days at sea there are a number of lectures about the upcoming ports and there is usually a professor or some other wildlife authority onboard to answer questions. The van Gogh Lounge is as beautiful a room you will find at sea and is a great place to listen to music or dance after dinner. There is also a theater, a well stocked library, fitness center and two pools aboard, one large enough to get a few laps in.
If you take the Westbound trip, you are going
to stop in Grand Cayman, Cartagena, transit the Canal, Puerto Caldera, Acapulco and depending on which trip, maybe Cabo San Lucas or Mazatalan. Grand Cayman is small and your best bet is to take a taxi to 7 Mile Beach and get some sun. Cartagena, Columbia has both a new and old section. The best way to see the city is to hire a taxi. Make sure you negotiate with the taxi drivers who approach you on the pier. Also, you may want to inspect the taxi before agreeing to a price since many do not have air conditioning or seatbelts. Most of the time the taxi driver will ask you to visit shops because he gets paid for bringing people to the shops. If you have the time go along with this - you don't have to buy anything, it makes for a more friendly ride, and you get to
step out of the heat into the air conditioning. The old town is interesting and you should stop by the Cathedral and the fortress San Felipe. In Puerta Caldera, you are a good 2 hour car/bus ride from San Jose but that's about the only thing to see on this stop. If you don't feel like making the trip consider staying on board and see what it's like having a 700+ foot yacht to yourself. If you have time to stay in Acapulco, make sure you visit one of the beaches and see the cliff divers (it's a bit touristy but hey, you are a tourist - and it
make for good pictures).
Dinner in the dining room is a bit more formal than most cruise ships and you will find quite a number of people wearing tuxedos on the two formal nights. There are a number of bars and lounges on board, and the Ocean Bar on the Upper Promenade Deck is a great place to visit before dinner because the bartenders are always ready to put on a show for the crowd. The quality of meals on board is very good although service can be inconsistent since a lot of the new employees are trained on Statendam. Although HAL has a "no tipping required" policy we find that most passengers do tip. It varies more than on other lines but the average is $3.00 per passenger per waiter and steward per
Statendam has a nice gymnasium with a great ocean view although there are no real weight machines. It is approximately 5.5 laps around the promenade to the mile. As we mentioned earlier, there are also two swimming pools one of which you can actually swim laps in (short laps).
There is usually a counselor on board for children
over 5 years old. Baby sitting can be arranged with off-duty staff for the evenings.
The main dining room on the Statendam can seat over 600 passengers at each sitting. Located on Promenade and Upper Promenade Decks, the Rotterdam Dining Room seats passengers on two levels which are connected by a pair of curved staircases. A music ledge on Upper Promenade overlooks the main floor. Windows on three sides provide nice sea views during the day. There are two private dining areas adjacent to the upper dining room-- the King's Room and the Queen's Room -- each seating 44.
We like the late seating because it gives you more time in town when you are in port. There are 5 bars and lounges, of which our favorite are the Ocean Bar and the more intimate Crow's Nest Lounge overlooking the bow. Click here for more details about Statendam.
Stateroom prices range from $2,500 per person to $4,441 per person for a 12 day trip depending on season. All of her cabins are fairly spacious, especially the twenty-eight 563-square foot suites which have wide, long balconies. These prices are brochure prices and you can always get some type of discount off these numbers. Booking early is one way but speak to your travel agent about other ways to save money. Airfare to and from the cruise are not included in these prices.
For additional information contact the TravelPage.com Cruise Desk at 888.700.TRIP
or make a request online using Cruise Quote .
Holland America's address is:Holland America Line
300 Elliott Avenue West
Seattle, Washington 98119
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