First of all, the Holland-America Line specializes in smaller ships, and the Statendam is its smallest, with "only" about 1200 passengers on board. The larger HAL ships can carry up to 2,000 passengers, which is still half of what many other cruise ships carry.
Along with smaller ships, HAL seems to cater to the older folks, rather than families with lots of kids. This is a good thing. While there were some families on board, there were lots of golden oldies, and the ships amenities and activities were geared toward them..
We spent a lot of time not doing things on the ship. There were so many choices, that just selecting where not to go took up a lot of time between meals.
To give you an idea how busy we were, let me tell you just some of the shipboard places we chose not to attend. We did not going swimming, use the hot tub, or visit the spa. We did not go to the piano bar or any of the several cocktail lounges. We also did not go to the casino - who has gambling money after paying for a cruise? Not retired teachers!
Well if we didn't go to the casino, it's a good bet we also did not stop by the duty-free jewelry and watch store or the diamond shop. And of course, we also did not attend the art auction. I am sure there were several others that we somehow missed (the gourmet cooking classes come to mind), but we were plenty busy.
So what did we do? There were nine decks to explore, and we did manage to get to all but one (just staterooms) of them. In our travels we actually found the bow of the ship (through the glass door and up two flights of steps), but it was too darn cold and wet for us to do the standing-on-the-railing thing that Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet did in Titanic.
Several times we visited the ship's theater, The Showroom at Sea, for presentations, but we never seemed to get to the musical review that was presented nightly. I used the work-out center three times. We visited the library (free), and tried to use the absolutely lousy Internet service (not free). We also ate.
Food, Glorious Food
We really enjoyed our time onboard the ship. The time went by surprisingly fast and just seem to slide easily from one meal to the next. That's not really such a bad thing when you have good food available.
The Lido was our restaurant of choice. It was a "come as you are," serve-yourself affair - just perfect for us. The food here was also wonderful with a wide variety of entrees always available. The Lido was on the next to the highest deck, and there were always great views out its windows. And since the walls were almost completely glass, there were plenty of window seats.
One thing it is easy to do onboard ship is lose track of time. It becomes even more confusing as you move further north into the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Time itself isn't all that important, but knowing what day it is can be. After all, our shore excursions are scheduled for particular days. This problem is compounded by the number of old people (others) and young retirees (Linda and I) who really do not pay much attention to calendars and clocks.
The Statendam crew helps us out by changing the mats in the elevators daily. All you have to do is look down at your feet (old folks tend to do this a lot) when you are going up to breakfast. Voila! You know what day it is. Absolute genius.
We were very pleasantly surprised with our room. Since we're used to traveling in the RV (the old one), we were quite prepared for living in small, cramped quarters. But that was not the case. The room was much larger than either of us thought it would be and had great storage for our clothes.
Linda really enjoyed looking out the window and seeing the seals and sea otters. The window in our room gave her a close-up look as it was nearer to the water than the public decks up above.
Linda had a great time following the route we were taking with the GPS that was broadcast on our television. When we're using the Garmin in the car or RV, she rarely agrees with its route.
True to form, several times she commented, "Hmm. Why is the captain going this way? I thought he would take a different route." Apparently the book she read about a guy who sailed the Inside Passage made her a bit of an expert.
Deck 6 was the walk-around deck with one lap around being a quarter of a mile. And remember, this is considered a "small" ship.
Since temperatures were always in the low to mid-fifties while at sea, it really was not where you wanted to sit out for a nice, long, book reading session.