Shipyard Tour of the New Nieuw Statendam

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It is always impressive to see a massive cruise ship up close.  But even more jaw-dropping to tour it at the shipyard where it is being completed and where the mind-boggling scope of work comes clearly into focus.

So it was a thrill for ilovecruising.com correspondent Martha Chapman to be the sole Canadian member of a team of journalists from Europe and the US to visit Holland America Line’s latest “baby” at the Fincantieri shipyard, near Venice, Italy last month.

The ship was at 85% completion at the time and was a beehive of workers, machinery and noise as the journalists donned hard hats, steel-toed boots and workers’ overalls for the tour.  And talk about a labour of love:  there have been as many as 4,000 workers at one time on board.

The ship is the second of Holland America’s Pinnacle Class ships and will be almost identical to its sister ship the Koningsdam.  It will accommodate 2,666 guests (including) and 1,000 crew. There will be 32 family suites accommodating up to five guests and 12 solo travellers in specially-designed outside cabins. Over $4 million US in art will enhance the vessel.

Passengers won’t go hungry – or thirsty – with 12 restaurants/cafes, seven bars and seven entertainment centres and 139 whiskies to choose from in their own tasting bar.

A new “Club Orange”, available for a surcharge, will feature its own restaurant, concierge hotline and priority shore transfers when you travel in a suite.

The first passenger sailing is a 14 day transatlantic crossing December 5, and then the Nieuw Statendam will sail the Caribbean in winter and Northern Europe in summer.

And it will boast a godmother which many consider a fairy godmother:  Oprah Winfrey will christen the ship in February next year and will escort a three day girls’ getaway cruise.  Apologies if you’d like to be a part of that:  that sailing sold out months ago, within 24 hours.

The Nieuw Statendam carries an investment of over $900 million Canadian, we have no doubt it will succeed with grace and panache.