All Aboard the Nieuw Statendam

Tom and I boarded our ship, Nieuw Statendam, on Sunday.  After all the preparation, the planning, the paying off of the trip, we were super excited that the day had finally arrived.  Our four month adventure to Europe begins!

Everything went very smoothly on Sunday.  Holland America makes the boarding process a breeze.  Although our instructions were to board between noon and 1:30, we had to turn in our rental car at 9 a.m.  Because the Enterprise rental place was only a couple of miles from the pier where we would board, we decided to just head on to the pier.  We caught a taxi, which was easier than we expected because lots of taxis were dropping cruise passengers off at Enterprise.  Within 10 minutes we were at Pier 26, our boarding location.  Our taxi driver was great.  He zipped in and out of traffic and definitely took us the quickest way to the pier.  Lots more cruise passengers were standing in a queue waiting for taxis so he was going to have a busy morning.

Waiting in the boarding area

Once we got to Pier 26, we stood outside for just a few minutes before they opened the doors to begin the boarding process.  It was only 10 a.m., but we buzzed right through the all the steps in the process.  We soon found ourselves in a large waiting room where we found a seat and chatted with our neighbors until noon.  When they called for groups to begin boarding, we were in the first group.  We boarded the ship and started checking out the public areas.

The Nieuw Statendam is like any good-sized cruise ship.  It takes a while to learn the layout.  We are going to be in the same stateroom on the Nieuw Statendam until May 30, so we should know everything about it by then.  Our cabin is in the front/middle of the ship on the first deck.  We have an unobstructed window cabin.  It is small, but has about as much room as our RV.  The bathroom is bigger than the one in the RV.  We have a steward, Handa, and an assistant steward, Eko.  Both of them work extremely hard, being on call 24 hours a day.  They are in each of their assigned staterooms an average of twice a day.  They clean up in the morning and do turn-down service at night.  In addition they answer questions and take care of special requests.

Our stateroom

Our stateroom is on the first deck, which is ideal for minimizing the motion of the ship.  A ship has six different kinds of movement:  heave, sway, surge, roll, pitch, and yaw.

  1. Pitch describes the up and down motion of a vessel. This is characterized by the rising and falling of the bow and stern in much the same way as a teeter-totter moves up and down.
  2. Roll is the tilting motion of the ship from side to side. Wind and waves push against the ship and cause it to rock back and forth.
  3. Yaw spins the ship on an invisible middle line similar to swiveling on a chair. This can be caused by waves moving in perpendicular to the motion of the ship and can change its heading, or direction.
  4. Heave defines the up and down motion of a ship as large swells heave the ship vertically on the crests and troughs of waves.
  5. Sway is the sliding motion that occurs when the hull of a ship is pushed by the wind or current.
  6. Surge occurs when the ship is being followed by larger swells, which can push the vessel forward and impact the front to back motion of the ship.

You can watch an excellent video on these motions by clicking on this link.  All of these motions are lessened, the farther down in the ship you go.  When you are high in the ship, like on Deck 12, you can really feel the ship moving.  So far we have had moderate seas, which means swells of 3 to 9 meters.  When we sailed to Hawaii, we had several days of heavy seas, which was swells of 10 to 12 meters.

Both pools are on the Lido deck

The Nieuw Statendam has 2,666 passengers and 1,000 crew.  This means some areas get crowded at times.  For instance, the theatre hosts two shows each evening.  But the theatre only seats 750 people, so not everyone can see every show.  The Lido deck can be crowded at meal times.  It is like a food court, where each station has different food, some prepared right before your eyes.  I will be talking more about the food tomorrow.

Tom and I got settled into our stateroom and unpacked our luggage which was delivered without any mishaps.  About 3 p.m. we went up on deck to watch our disembarkation.  It was especially interesting because there were so many cruise ships moving out of the pier area.  They were lined up like airplanes on the runway, awaiting takeoff.  We continued watching as we moved through the canal until we were out of site of land.  The European adventure begins!