Niew Statendam in Flam Norway

Eat Your Way Through Norwegian Fjords on a Holland America Norway Cruise

In Cruises, Norway by Daryl & Mindi HirschLeave a Comment

Visiting Norway was a fantasy until we explored the Scandinavian country’s fjords and cuisine during a week-long Holland America Norway cruise on the Nieuw Statendam ship. Read on to see what we did and ate during this epic maritime adventure.

Niew Statendam in Flam Norway

Norway may be the ultimate cruise destination for a summer cruise. Sound crazy? Hear us out.

First and foremost, the scenery on a Norwegian cruise is jaw-droppingly amazing. When you cruise through Norwegian fjords, the views don’t stop for hours, and the days last even longer. Norway is the land of the midnight sun after all.

Norway’s fjords are the stuff of legend, Nordic legend, to be exact. Seeing rocky-faced fjords that practically explode from Scandinavian waterways is the main reason that there are so many cruises around Norway.

Fjords on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

We woke up at the crack of dawn to get a front-row view of these Norwegian fjords. It was worth it.

Vikings originally coined the word fjord to describe 1,000+ glacially-formed inlets that strikingly define Norway’s coastline. Other parts of the world have similar geographic formations, but Norway’s fjords are particularly striking.

Taking a Norwegian Fjords Cruise is the ideal way to experience Norway’s landscape in all its glory. During our week-long Vikings Saga cruise, we sailed through the Oslo Fjord and then hit the motherlode when we traversed Sognefjord, Norway’s longest fjord, to reach the tiny village of Flåm. Many travelers consider Sognesfjord to be one of the best fjords in Norway.

Beer at Grand Dutch Cafe on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Could there be a more enjoyable way to view fjords than with a Belgian ale in hand?

Beyond viewing fjords, there’s the cost factor.

In 2015, The World Economic Forum ranked Norway as the 5th most expensive country to visit in the entire world. Exploring Norway on a cruise is a cost-effective way to experience this pricey country without paying for pesky items like hotels, gasoline and restaurant dinners.

To put expenses into perspective, a single serving of fish soup cost us the equivalent of $23 during a port stop in Oslo. While many travelers can afford those prices, a trip through Norway can be a budget-buster for others.

Rudis Sel de Mer Face Plate

Although Holland America takes its culinary program seriously, the global cruise line makes dining fun. Pictured here is an edible face plate dessert served during our dinner at Rudi’s Sel de Mer.

Norwegian Fjord cruises are so popular that multiple cruise companies offer cruises in Norway. Despite Norway’s numerous cruising options, the window is relatively limited for travelers who want to take advantage of optimal Norway weather during the summer months.

We opted to sail through Norway with Holland America on a week that straddled the end of July and the beginning of August. Based on our previous Asia cruise with the cruise line, we knew we would travel in comfort and eat great food – two important components for these two culinary adventurers.

Our Holland America Norway Cruise Experience

Flam Selfie

Taking the scenic train in Flåm was a cruise highlight as evidenced by our smiling faces.

Starting in Amsterdam, our week-long Viking Saga cruise whisked us to four exciting Norwegian port cities – Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Flåm. These cities were awesome to visit, but our time on the Nieuw Statendam was equally satisfying.

Now that we’ve embraced our inner cruise selves, we deeply appreciate sea days that allow us to linger over breakfast in bed while we gaze at views that literally take our breath away. These leisurely days force us to relax, gearing up our energy for intense port days.

Wine at De Librije on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Cheers to Holland America for serving great food during our cruise.

In many ways, spending a week on a floating hotel can either be heaven or hell. We choose to spend our time in the former, preferably with excellent food and beverage service. As we detail later in this article, our Norwegian cruise with Holland America did not disappoint in this regard.

The Ship

Nieuw Statendam in Stavanger Norway

The Nieuw Statendam stands regally in the Stavanger harbor.

With a capacity of 2,666 guests and a length of 975 feet, the Nieuw Statendam is an impressive addition to Holland America’s fleet. The ship first sailed in December 2018 and was officially christened by its godmother, Oprah Winfrey, the following month. (As an aside, it’s great fun to watch a special video of Oprah exclaiming “Niew Statendaaaaaaaaam!” as she christened the new HAL ship.)

During our mid-summer cruise, the ship was filled to capacity with a diverse collection of passengers in terms of both age and nationality. Ranging from toddlers to octogenarians, the crowd hailed from 52 countries with most from the Netherlands (34%), USA (27%), Belgium (13%) and Canada (4%).

Pool on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Cruise passengers enjoy the Nieuw Statendam’s facilities on a 24/7 basis.

Like most cruise ships, the Nieuw Statendam features pools and whirlpool jacuzzis in addition to a fitness center, spa and casino. But this Pinnacle-class ship shines when it comes to its stylish design and vast art collection.

With 12 decks, the ship has ample room to showcase diverse art that varies in style from classic to more avant-garde creations. We loved exploring this collection during our week-long cruise, often going out of our way in search of new pieces to admire.

Nieuw Statendam Art

By the end of the week, we felt a kinship to the artistic rendering of an earbud that graced the hallway near our stateroom.

Another differentiation is the ship’s culinary program which includes multiple specialty restaurants in addition to its formal dining room and more casual Lido market buffet. A week was just enough time for us to experience every restaurant on the ship, though we don’t blame passengers who found their favorite eateries and stuck with them.

Nieuw Statendam Dining Room

A striking work of architecture and design, the Nieuw Statendam’s dining room serves food to diners multiple times each day.

Club Orange

The Nieuw Statendam is one of the first Holland America ships to offer Club Orange to its guests. This premium program offers perks like a private dining room and priority access, both of which we highly appreciated during our cruise, as well as extras like special robes and tote bags. Participants also get extra room service choices for breakfast each morning.

At the time of our sailing, Club Orange cost $50 per person per day, capped at $100 per room per day. However, the value of skipping the lines for check-in and special onboard services was priceless.

Pro Tip: You must upgrade to Club Orange before the cruise. It cannot be added once the ship sets sail and must be used for the entire cruise.

Our Room

Nieuw Statendam Verandah Stateroom

Our verandah stateroom was comfortable and spacious.

Our home for the week was a spacious Verandah stateroom (#5061) on the ship’s fifth floor, otherwise known as the Gershwin deck. Designed with clean Scandinavian design elements, the room’s highlights included a comfortable double bed, cozy seating area, full en-suite bathroom, multiple electrical outlets and enough USB ports to charge our phones each night.

Not only did we have adequate space to unpack our clothes, but we also had areas to work and charge our electronics. And, as a bonus compared to previous cruises we’ve taken, the Wi-Fi worked well in our room. Winning!

Nieuw Statendam Hotel Room Selfie

Whoa! Our TV was a veritable entertainment system.

Our favorite feature inside the room had to be the HUGE television loaded with and even HUGER selection of channels and movies. When we weren’t watching live MSNBC feeds, we watched movies like Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians.

Seriously, if we had such an awesome TV in Lisbon, we might never leave the apartment. It would be a problem.

Pro Tip: Beyond watching movies on your TV on the Nieuw Statendam, you can also order room service with a few clicks on the remote control.

Coffee Close-Up on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Our coffee tasted better when we drank it on our private balcony.

However, our absolute favorite feature of the Verandah stateroom was an attached balcony that wasn’t technically inside the room. Yes, we loved the room’s private balcony most of all.

Accessed by glass doors, this balcony provided us with awesome views of fjords and sunsets. It was also the ideal spot to enjoy our first cups of coffee each morning.

Champagne on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Splurge for a balcony if you can afford it. You won’t regret the decision as you drift along Dutch waterways like the Noordseekanaal.

We weren’t fortunate enough to have a private balcony during our Asia cruise and we survived just fine. Though this perk is not critical to cruise enjoyment, having a balcony was a bit of a game-changer that ramped up our Norway fjords cruise experience to the next level. Nothing matched relaxing with a book and listening to music on a balcony just steps away from our comfy bed.

Staff and Service

Nieuw Statendam Captain and Cruise Directo on Nieuw Statendam on Holland America Norway Cruise

Hotel Director Don Habets and Captain Noel O’Driscoll bring years of cruise leadership to the Nieuw Statendam.

Much of any cruise experience despends on staff and service. With a global team focused on hospitality, the Nieuw Statendam excelled in serving our various needs. We rarely had to ask for anything since the staff seamlessly executed the many functions that keep the floating hotel from sinking.

From a hotel perspective, we enjoyed daily room cleanings as well as nightly turndown service. Each evening, we returned to little chocolate treats and creative towel art creations. Our favorites awaited us on the cruise’s last night when we returned to find chocolate truffles on our bed and a terry cloth monkey handing above from a hanger.

Pro Tip: You can learn how to make your own towel art creations during a free Holland America class.

Head Chef on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Executive Chef Ash Duff runs a tight ship in the Nieuw Statendam’s massive kitchen, pun intended.

With 991 employees on the ship, it’s fair to say that a good portion keeps busy preparing and serving food. During a fascinating galley tour, we got a first-hand look at the ship’s super clean kitchen.

During this tour, we learned that the ship sources its beef from the US and much of its fish from Norway. We also learned that the ship serves lots of eggs – 36,132 during our cruise to be exact. That’s probably more eggs than could fit in the ships two swimming pools!

Onboard Entertainment

Lincoln Center Stage on the Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Young musicians captivated an early evening audience at the Lincoln Center Stage. The talented artists played Brahms masterworks at this particular performance.

We never got bored during our cruise. Not only did we keep busy during the day, but we also spent many evenings rocking out at the ships various entertainment venues.

We split our time at B.B. Kings Blues Club, Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard Onboard and Lincoln Center Stage. Though each venue offered different experiences during our cruise, the musicians were all pros.

Rolling Stone Rock Room on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

The music at the Rolling Stone Rock Room is more classic than classical.

Each venue offered a different style of entertainment. We experienced masterworks by Brahms in the Lincoln Center Stage and dueling pianos at Billboard Onboard, but Rolling Stone Rock Room and B.B. King’s Blues Club were where we rocked it out.

We weren’t alone. Passengers filled the ship’s Music Walk each night until the wee hours, singing and swaying to tunes from every decade.

The Food

Trio of Seafood Salad at Rudis Sel de Mer on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

The food at Rudi’s Sel de Mer is fishalicious. Pictured here is the Trio of Seafood Salad with king crab meat, bay shrimp and tuna.

The great part about eating on a big ship like the Nieuw Statendam is the variety of dining options. Some venues are ultra-casual. Others charge a fee and require advance reservations.

We made a concerted effort to dine at every single restaurant during the week. The various cruise food options delighted and, in some cases, impressed us during our Vikings Saga cruise.

Upscale Dining

Oysters on the Beach at De Librije on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Specialty dining elevated our Holland America Norway cruise experience. Pictured here is the Oysters on the Beach starter at the ship’s De Librije pop-up dinner.

With its Culinary Council leading the charge, Holland America has elevated the typical cruise food experience by offering a diverse selection of specialty dining options. These chef-driven restaurants offer higher-end dining experiences, each with a different theme and price point.

Eating at each Holland America specialty restaurant during our week-long Norway cruise gave us a chance to travel the world from a culinary perspective. We share the highlights below:

De Librije
Baked Pike Perch De Librije on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Not your typical fish dish, this Baked Pike Perch popped in flavor thanks to ingredients like pandan, cucumber, red onions and spicy zorri cress.

If you splurge on one meal during your Holland America cruise, do it at De Librije. Offered just one night during our cruise, this multi-course meal shocked us with its impeccable execution and extraordinary food.

Chef Jonnie Boer has created a floating three-star Michelin dining experience based on his De Librije restaurant in Zwolle, Netherlands. Though the cost may seem steep at $69 (or $89 with a wine pairing) at the time of our cruise, the value is excellent. As a comparison, the cost of dining at the chef’s land-locked Dutch restaurant can run around $200 per person or even more after ordering wine.

Bread Service at De Librije on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Don’t fill up on bread during your De Librije meal. You need to save room to savor every dish.

Our four-course meal was a whirlwind of memorable dishes, each served with panache and a story. Starting with Foie Gras Lollipops in our Amuse Bouche samplers, the hits kept coming to our table while we gazed at an ocean view and sipped California Chardonnay.

It’s a struggle to narrow down meal highlights. We’ll start with Oysters on the Beach served with a trompe l’oeil of silver-painted foie gras oysters, real oysters, Oloroso sherry foam, pickled ginger and sand made from crispy rice. Both a showstopper and a signature dish, this starter is an absolute must for food travelers who love creativity and the element of surprise.

Lobster Bisque at De Librije on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Poured tableside, this Lobster Bisque featured big chunks of Alaskan king crab and crispy brioche croutons.

Other memorable dishes included King Fish served with watermelon and avocado, Lobster Bisque poured over Alaskan king crab chunks, Crispy Pork Belly and Baked Pike Perch. We ended our meal on a sweet note with Deconstructed Apple Pie and Lemongrass Caramel desserts.

This thrilling meal rivaled meals we’ve eaten at three-star restaurants in the US and France. It exceeded our expectations and was a true cruise highlight.

In fact, we were shocked to eat food THIS good on a ship that feeds over 2,600 passengers each day. Bravo Holland America!!

Pro Tip: Make an advance reservation if you have a special occasion to celebrate on your Holland America Norway cruise. Make a reservation if don’t have a special occasion. In other words, make a reservation.

Rudi’s Sel de Mer
Tuna Salade Nicoise at Rudis Sel de Meron Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Technically served as a starter, this Tuna Salade Niçoise came loaded with seared tuna, tomato, Mediterranean olives, potatoes, green beans and onions.

No longer a pop-up like we experienced during our Asia cruise, Rudi’s Sel de Mer has its own dining room on the Nieuw Statendam. Helmed by Holland America’s Master Chef and Culinary Council Chairman Rudi Sodamin, Rudi’s Sel de Mer is a fish-forward restaurant reminiscent of bistros typically found in France’s Provence.

Bouillabaisse Marseillais at Rudis Sel de Mer on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Rudi Sel de Mer’s Bouillabaisse Marseillais is a meal on a plate. Ingredients include red mullet, lobster claw, sole, shrimp, snapper, clams, mussels, tomatoes, saffron, potato, fennel and orange zest.

We embraced the restaurant’s seafood theme and ordered dishes like Tuna Salade Niçoise, Bouillabaisse Marseillaise and the restaurant’s signature Whole Dover Sole Meunière. Though technically too full for dessert, we shared Rudi’s Face to Face chocolate fruit creation pictured above. What can we say? The smiling food face made us happy.

Pro Tip: Order your meal wisely. Rudi’s Sel de Mer serves its menu on an a la carte basis. At the time of our cruise, prices ranged from $4 for desserts like the Face Plate dessert to $49 for an extravagant Fruits de Mer starter for two.

Pinnacle Grill
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail at Pinnacle Grill on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Surprise! The Pinnacle Grill served our Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail on a plate instead of in a glass.

Norway is known for its seafood, but Holland America also offers meat options including US-sourced prime steak. True meat lovers can eat their weight in steak at Pinnacle Grill, celebrity Chef David Burke’s Pacific Northwest steakhouse, while sailing on the Nieuw Statendam.

Burke is yet another member of the cruise line’s Culinary Council. Additional members include chefs like Jacques Torres and Ethan Stowell.

This specialty restaurant sources its meat from Washington’s Double R Ranch and cooks it to juicy doneness. Steak options include Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Bone-In Rib Eye and Porterhouse.

Clothesline Candied Bacon at Pinnacle Grill on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

The closest we got to laundry during our Holland America Norway cruise was the Clothesline Candied Bacon starter we ate during our Pinnacle Grill dinner.

Pinnacle Grill serves more than steak. We also ate dishes like a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail served with brandy horseradish cocktail sauce and an Iceberg Wedge Salad with buttermilk dressing, gorgonzola, bacon, tomato, red onion, chives and toasted walnuts.

Adding some fun to our meal, we shared Burke’s unique Clothesline Candied Bacon starter with maple, black pepper and half-sour pickles. We also indulged in a few bites of the restaurant’s Not-So-Classic Baked Alaska with Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ic cream and bing cherries jubilee before we rolled back to our room.

Pro Tip: Expect to spend $35 for dinner or $10 for lunch when you dine at Pinnacle Grill. Additional costs apply to special items like the 16-oz. Dry-Aged Delmonico steak and the 5-oz. Lobster Tail.

Tamarind
Mongolian Barbecue Lamb Chops at Tamarind on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

We ate these Mongolian Barbecue Lamb Chops at Tamarind, one of Holland America’s specialty restaurants.

Chef Andy Matsuda, another Holland America Culinary Council member, developed the menu for Tamarind, the cruise line’s fusion Asian restaurant. Rather than showcasing one type of cuisine, Tamarind’s menu features food from Southeast Asia, China and Japan.

During our meal, we took a took our tastebuds on a trip down memory lane with dishes like Chinese Five Spice Baby Back Ribs and Tom Khakai, a Thai soup featuring coconut chicken and chili oil. Though not as spicy as food we’ve eaten in Asia, these dishes made for a fun dinner option. The surcharge for dining at Tamarind was $25 per person at the time of our cruise.

Nami Sushi
Seared Albacore Tuna at Nami Sushi on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

This plate of Hamachi Usuzukuri served with ponzu sauce was the highlight of our meal at Nami Sushi.

An over-achiever, Matsuda also developed the menu for Nami Sushi, a small sushi restaurant attached to Tamarind’s grand dining room. Menu options include Nigiri, Sashimi and Sushi Rolls as well as cooked options like Shrimp Tempura and Grilled Atlantic Crab. All dishes were priced on an A La Carte basis ranging from $3 to $7.50 at the time of our cruise.

We enjoyed sitting at the sushi bar while we dipped reasonably priced sushi into wasabi-laced soy sauce. In full disclosure, this sushi paled in comparison to the excellent raw fish we ate during our port stop in Stavanger (see below). But it was still a fun experience to eat sushi on the ship.

The Dining Room
High Tea on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

We indulged in Classic Afternoon Tea in the Dining Room during one of our two days at sea. The tea service included finger sandwiches and miniature desserts artfully served on a tiered stand.

The Nieuw Statendam’s Dining Room offers a refined dining experience in a stunning setting. Each member of HAL’s Culinary Council contributes dishes, with options for vegetarians, vegans and full-on carnivores. On gala nights, the Dining Room offers extra-special menus.

True Confession: The only meal we ate in the Dining Room was afternoon tea. We simply ran out of time in our quest to dine at the ship’s many specialty restaurants during our seven-day cruise.

This confession makes us sad. No, there was nothing wrong with the tea service. Rather, we have fond memories of our Dining Room meals during our Asia cruise and wish we had created new ones on our Norway cruise.

Pro Tip: You can eat as much as you want in the Dining Room without worrying about surcharges. Expect to pay extra for wine and other beverages.

Casual Dining

Cheeseburger at Dive-In on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

You gotta eat a burger at Holland America’s Dive-In when you take a Norway cruise. The fast food stand also serves veggie burgers and hot dogs.

As fun as it is to dress up and eat multi-course meals, casual dining can be awesome during a week-long cruise. We checked out the following casual dining options during our Nieuw Statendam cruise:

Club Orange
English Breakfast at Orange Club on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

This full English Breakfast included two jumbo eggs, fried bread, pork banger, English back bacon, baked beans, mushrooms and grilled tomato.

As the saying goes, membership has its privileges. In our opinion, one of the main reasons to join Club Orange is to dine in the private Club Orange dining room. This restaurant serves both breakfast and dinner daily.

Despite its exclusivity, the Club Orange restaurant is a casual space with big glass windows and an open kitchen. Not surprisingly, the decor includes some orange touches. Dishes are similar to those served at the ship’s Dining Room and Lido Market.

Pro Tip: If you opt to build your own omelet during breakfast, be sure to add smoked salmon, asparagus and goat cheese.

Lido Market & Canaletto
Lido Market on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

The food options are practically endless at the Nieuw Statendam’s Lido Market.

The Lido Market offers a fast-casual venue with dozens of themed stations serving sandwiches, salads, sushi and more. Not your stereotypical buffet, the popular Lido Market has healthy options as well as decadent desserts.

Available on a first-come-first-serve basis, many tables have sweeping ocean views. The Lido Market serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a late-night bonus meal.

Located right next to the Lido Market, Canaletto serves Italian food for a small surcharge ($15 at the time of our cruise) in a family-style setting. We ate Lasagna Bolognese and Spaghetti Alle Vongole Veraci E Gamberi during our Canaletto meal. Making it there just under the wire on the last night of the cruise, we didn’t have room for dessert after a week of eating cruise food.

Grand Dutch Cafe
Apple Pie at Grand Dutch Cafe on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

The Grand Dutch Cafe lives up to its name by serving traditional Dutch food favorites. We highly recommend the apple pie.

We’re not sure how it happened, but we didn’t eat at the Grand Dutch Cafe until the last day of our cruise. Perhaps we were burnt out on Dutch food after a week eating our way through Amsterdam. Either way, it was a mistake. A big mistake.

As it turns out, the Grand Dutch Cafe serves the best beer on the ship and banging apple pie. Between 4:30 and 8 pm, the popular cafe adds snacks like bitterballen (fried Dutch meatballs) to its menu. Food is complimentary at this venue and drinks are sold for a surcharge.

Pro Tip: You can order cappuccinos and lattes, each priced at $3.50 each at the time of our cruise. The cafe uses Rotterdam 1873 beans to brew its coffee beverages.

Dive-In
Hamburgers and Fries at Dive-In on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Nieuw Statendam passengers can either dive into the pool or eat hamburgers and fries at Dive-In. Pictured here is option number two.

The more we travel the world, the more we appreciate the simple things in life. And by simple, we mean hamburgers and french fries.

The Nieuw Statendam clearly gets us. Their Dive-In serves juicy burgers, crispy fries and Nathan’s hot dogs at a stand located next to the pool. Dive-In also serves sandwiches with chicken and portabella mushrooms if that’s your thing. As for us, our thing is burgers made with all-American ground beef. and topped with special sauce. Yum!

Pro Tip: Chill out by the pool after you place your order. Dive-In will buzz you when your food is ready.

New York Pizza & Deli
Primo Pizza at New York Pizza and Deli on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

We kicked off our Holland America Norway cruise with this Primo Pizza topped with salami, pickled peppers and red onion.

We love pizza so much that we spent a month eating Neapolitan pies in Naples. Needless to say, we were pleased to discover New York Pizza & Deli on the Nieuw Statendam.

This casual pizzeria serves a handful of specialty pizzas until midnight and also provides an option to build your own pie from a selection of sauces, meats and veggies. Other menu options include sandwiches, salads, desserts and movie night snacks – think popcorn and nachos.

Pro Tip: You can start your morning with a bagel and lox at NY Pizza & Deli. If you don’t like salmon, you can order a breakfast bagel with ham, cheese and a fried egg instead.

G Gelato
Gelato on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

We found our sweet spot with Amarena Cherry gelato at G Gelato.

Discovering G Gelato was dangerous considering our love for Italy’s creamy ice cream product. Somehow, we limited ourselves to just two visits during the week, perhaps because we kept ourselves busy eating all the other food on the ship.

Just like us, the G Gelato staff trained at Caripigiani Gelato University in Bologna. Beyond ice cream, Gelato serves gourmet popsicles and milkshakes for small surcharges ranging from $2 to $5 at the time of our cruise.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to order a topping or two. They’re included with each gelato order.

In-Room Dining

Breakfast in Bed on on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Breakfast in bed may be the best meal on the ship, especially when it comes with mimosas and a smoothie.

Despite the overwhelming number of dining options on the Nieuw Statendam, sometimes the best option is none of them. In other words… Room Service.

We loved having breakfast delivered to our room most mornings. It was as easy as choosing our options and leaving a marked-up menu outside our door. The cost was free but the reward was huge since we were able to enjoy breakfast in plush bathrobes and a view of Norwegian fjords.

Pro Tip: You can order room service on a 24/7 basis. Menus are listed on the TV and vary based on the time of day. Items are free unless otherwise noted.

Drinks

Notes Bar on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

We were never far from a bar on the Nieuw Statendam.

During our Norway fjords cruise, we enjoyed cocktails at the Ocean Bar and an international beer tasting at Billboard Onboard. We also sipped coffee at the Explorations Cafe.

Ironically, we found the ship’s best beer at the Grand Dutch Cafe (see above). Drinks are also available at the ship’s various entertainment venues.

Pro Tip: You can learn how to blend your own wine at the aptly named BLEND by Chateau St. Michelle. You can then drink your customized wine later at dinner or in your stateroom. Attending BLEND cost $47 at the time of our cruise.

Destinations

Clothesline Candied Bacon at Pinnacle Grill on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

With so much to do and eat on our Holland America Norway cruise, it’s a wonder we ever left the ship.

Our Holland America Norway cruise started and ended in Amsterdam before sailing to four unique ports in Norway. Cruising and eating our way through Norwegian Fjords was half the fun; visiting the following Norwegian cities was the other half:

Port 1 – Oslo

Oslo Port on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

There are plenty of things to do in Oslo on a rainy day.

Oslo provided us with a rainy introduction to Norway, but we didn’t let the rain slow us down or dampen our spirits. Instead, we had a great time taking a self-guided tour of Oslo with a focus on the city’s culinary delights. While in Oslo, we sampled traditional Norwegian food as well as hot dogs, specialty coffee and waffles.

As Norway’s capital city, Oslo has an abundance of culture including its Viking Ship Museum, Akershus Fortress and Royal Palace. We saved all of these destinations for our next visit to Oslo, though we took a few minutes to peek into the historically rich Oslo Cathedral between food stops.

Port 2 – Kristiansand

Kristiansand Port on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Kristiansand was the second stop on our cruise. Pictured here is the city’s gentrified wharf.

We never heard of Kristiansand until our Norway cruise. As it turns out, this charming port city is one of the most populous cities in all of Norway.

Rumor has it that Kristiansand is also one of Norway’s sunniest cities. Since it rained the day we docked in Kristiansand, we spent the day exploring a gentrified fish market at Fiskebrygga, drinking specialty coffee at Cuba Life and wandering around alleys filled with little white houses.

Port 3 – Stavanger

Stavanger Port on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Stavanger is our new favorite Norwegian city thanks to its world-class sushi and picturesque vistas.

Famous for petroleum oil and fish, Stavanger is Norway’s fourth-biggest city. Both quaint and cosmopolitan, Stavanger has plenty to do from museums to shops. We, however, focused our exploration to the city’s culinary offerings.

Stavanger has excellent specialty coffee shops, bakeries and sushi bars. We started our tasty day with excellent flat whites at Kokko Kaffebar, continued it with Norsk Kannelboller (Nordic cinnamon buns) at Renna Xpress and ended it with a bang with sushi at Sabi Sushi.

Port 4 – Flåm

Flam Port and Houses in Norway

Flåm, our final port, charmed us from the moment we pulled into its picture-perfect harbor.

With just 350 residents, Flåm attracts a lot of tourists due to its natural beauty and scenic train. While outdoor enthusiasts can explore the area by boat or bike, we opted to take the ride the Flåm Railway through waterfalls and mountains before eating waffles in Vatnahalsen.

We have no regrets with how we spent our day. The Flåm Railway lived up to its description as one of the world’s most beautiful journeys. We also spent some time walking around the Flåm harbor, an idyllic spot for both selfies and reflective moments.

Excursions

Flam Train Experience on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

The Flåm Railway is the tiny town’s top attraction.

During our cruise, Holland America offered dozens of shore excursions in all four port cities and Amsterdam. Since we love independently eating our way through cities, we ultimately decided to participate in just one excursion – the Flåm Railway.

We knew we had to take the Flåm Railway tour after we randomly met Lisa Ekhall Stentvedt, the blogger behind Fjords and Beaches, just a month before the cruise Originally from the tiny town of Flåm, Stentvedt easily convinced us that this train ride was not to be missed.

Flam Train Selfie

We’re on a train! And not just any train. The Flåm Railway provides one of the world’s most beautiful journeys.

We’re super glad that we did the Flåm Railway excursion. Priced at $179.95 per person, this excursion includes a roundtrip ride through 20 tunnels to Vatnahalsen with a stop at Kjosfossen, an epic waterfall. It also includes waffles served with sour cream and jam at Vatnahalsen Høyfjellshotell.

Though we would have been able to navigate the train on our own, taking the tour simplified our journey and ensured a comfortable return before the ship departed for Amsterdam. Plus, as previously noted, the excursion includes waffles. And who doesn’t love waffles?

What to Pack

Niew Statendam Ship in Amsterdam

Proper packing is essential during a Norway cruise.

Packing for a Holland America cruise is the opposite of stressful. If you forget something important, you can easily purchase it on the ship. Further, the dress code is flexible, with an emphasis on comfort, except for gala nights.

These are our suggestions for items that you’ll want to pack and others that you’re better off leaving at home:

Don’t Forget These Items

Port Selfie on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Norway weather is unpredictable. You’ll want to pack accordingly.

  • Clothing for All Types of Weather: Since Norway weather is volatile, you’ll need to be ready for both sunshine and rain as well as various temperatures. To be safe, pack short sleeves, long sleeves and jackets.
  • Gala Attire: Gala nights are the time to put on your fancy duds. We recommend suits, or at least a sports jacket, for men and cocktail dresses for women; however, you can go as fancy as you like.
  • Swimsuit: Bring a swimsuit regardless of the weather forecast. It will come in handy for both the pools and jacuzzi hot tubs.
  • Comfortable Shoes: Pack walking shoes for excursion and port visits. Also, don’t forget sneakers if you plan to work out at the ship’s fitness center.
  • Adaptors: Unless you’re based in Europe or the US, you’ll want to bring adaptors to plug your electronics into the electrical outlets. Our room had outlets that supported both European and US plugs.
  • WiFi Hot Spot: Holland America offers attractive internet packages. However, you may want to bring a hot spot if you’re an extra-heavy internet user.
  • Books or Kindle: Upload a book or two to your Kindle before the cruise. You’ll have time to read on the ship

Leave These Items at Home

Pool Towels on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Leave your beach towel at home when you sail with Holland America. Our Norway cruise included the colorful towel selection pictured here.

  • Towels: Holland America provides beach towels for the pools as well as bath towels in the staterooms.
  • Basic Toiletries: Holland America provides shampoo, conditioner and soap. However, you’ll want to pack personal items like sunscreen, shaving lotion and toothpaste.
  • Maps: The crew handles the ship’s logistics. However, you may want to bring maps to navigate your way around the port cities unless your phone has data coverage in Europe.

Final Thoughts on Our Holland America Norway Cruise

Sunset on Nieuw Statendam Holland America Norway Cruise

Sunsets start late and last for hours during the summer on a Norway cruise.

We’re fans after cruising twice with Holland America. Both cruises offered unique touring opportunities and outstanding food. We’re still shocked by the excellent meal we ate at De Librije – it was that good.

Now that we’ve experienced two cruises, we realize that we prefer a two-week cruise over a one-week cruise. We like having extra time to enjoy more activities, eat a wider variety of food and just relax at sea. However, we appreciate that not everybody has the means and/or time to travel for a fortnight.

Click here to research and book a vacation with Holland America that meets YOUR personal preferences and budget.


Hungry for more? Check out our new Norwegian Food favorites.


Pin It for Later

Norway Cruise Pin 1

We thank Holland America for hosting us to facilitate this article.

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About the Author

Saveur Magazine's BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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