Changes in Clientele onboard Nieuw Statendam

The clientele onboard ship changed in Rotterdam.  When we docked in Rotterdam, we were at the end of our first two-week cruise.  Tom and I are on the ship for two months, so technically we are doing four back-to-back cruises.  But each of the two weeks has a distinct itinerary, so it seems right that the clientele onboard Nieuw Statendam would change.  A cruise, in some ways, has a personality of its own.

Our first two weeks onboard, the clientele were mostly from the United States and Canada.  We have certain social mores in both those countries that are very similar.  We hold doors open for each other.  We pay attention to lines.  And, especially since Covid, we give each other a little extra space.  When we docked in Rotterdam, about half the ship’s passengers got off and another 1,400 got on to take their places.

Rotterdam skyline

The country of origin makeup is different for this second group of clientele.  About 1/3 of the passengers are still from the United States or Canada.  About 1/3 of the passengers on this two-week segment are Dutch.  And the other 1/3 are a mix of European countries including France and Germany.  These different countries have different social habits.

One example is waiting in line.  When we eat at the Lido Market (almost every meal for us), we are supposed to line up at the menu sign.  The first two weeks, the servers would mention it, so we got in the habit of standing at the menu until it was our turn to order food.  The Dutch do not queue up this way.  I can be waiting in line for my turn and they just jump in front of me.  The other day I mentioned to a man who cut in line that I was next, and acted like he didn’t hear me or he didn’t speak English.  Then he let two of his friends go before I could be served.

The server should have told them about the start of the line because there were some people behind me.  But I’ve seen the poor servers struggle to understand the European clientele who don’t speak English.  I certainly don’t expect everyone to speak English, or be polite about taking their turn.  When someone cuts in front of me, I just remind myself that I am not in a hurry.

Another difference is the attendance at the evening entertainment.  The first two weeks you had to be in line by 7 p.m. if you wanted a seat at the 7:30 show.  Tom and I got in the habit of going to supper at 6 p.m., then going to stand in line as soon as we were done.  Standing in line can be fun because you get to meet your fellow passengers.  During this segment, you don’t have to stand in line at all to get a seat at the “early” show.  Most of the Europeans are going to dinner at 7:30 and will catch the later show.

The Captain of the ship makes all his announcements in English and Dutch on this segment of the cruise.  He only made the announcements in English during the first two weeks.  Many of senior staff on the ship are Dutch, which is appropriate since this is Holland America.

Original Holland America corporate office in Rotterdam. Opened 150 years ago.

We are enjoying our cruise and looking forward to four days in a row in ports.  I am also enjoying the more diverse clientele on this cruise.  It is interesting to meet people from all over the world and see how their customs and habits are different.