This was our sixth cruise with Holland America and our second cruise aboard the Statendam & first cruise to the Mexican Riviera. The cruise director, Susan Wood, was outstanding and the entertainment excellent. Our accommodations, category "D" (outside cabin with full bath/shower) were midship and also excellent.
I do have some observations to offer. The printed port information handed out really only focuses on shopping and the recommended shops. Information about places to walk to from the pier or sights to see isn't provided. The only way to attempt to find out what is worth seeing is by looking at the shore excursions sign-up flyers. The shore excursions are very pricey and from past experience one can do far better by getting off the ship & going with a local driver. The ship spent two long days at Acapulco & Puerto Vallarta, two of the worst ports to visit, in my opinion. We only had three hours in Zihuatenjo, one of the most delightful ports of call. Sailing past Cabo San Lucas was memorable, but the windows in the public rooms were so dirty that one had difficulty seeing through them. The ship had just returned from a 15-day cruise to Hawaii and the seas, I understand, were quite rough - no doubt contributing to the salt spray on the windows.
The food was very good and the menus generally featured a variety of appealing dishes. Dinner service is very efficient, but breakfast service during the open seating in the Rotterdam Dining Room is a frustrating experience. Most mornings, breakfast orders didn't arrive as requested, items were forgotten and the servers who were supposed to pour coffee were very inattentive.
Ice cream is available, but never immediately after the show for the first sitting. If your show ends at 9:30 p.m., be prepared to wait until 11:15 p.m. for the ice cream bar to open. On prior cruises, the ice cream bar featured some excellent fresh berries to garnish one's ice cream. Now the toppings are all the standard syrups, etc., but the fresh berries were no where to be found.
The cost of wine is very high ($5 bottles of wine sold at a substantial triple cost mark-up. A six-bottle package for a 10-day cruise costs $115, with more expensive wines available for a higher package amount -- $159. Beverages, both alcoholic & mocktails, are at least $3.75 per drink.
On prior cruises with Holland America, we were able to get espresso by ourselves 24-hours a day. Now a member of the bar staff (still not charge) operates the espresso/Cappuccino machines but only available during limited daytime hours in the Java Cafe near the movie theater.
The ship's photographers were not as intrusive as on prior cruises and graciously took "no" for an answer. The price of photos has escalated to outrageous prices - e.g., $19.95 for one photo. Now they even sell a video of "your" cruise for $34.95.
We went to several movies shown at varying times and some were very poor choices indeed (including a Kung Foo type film, "The One," & "Zoolander" selected for showing on days at sea). Whoever plans the films and selects when they will be shown is clueless about what mature audiences enjoy seeing. There were fewer than 10 children on this cruise, which was fully booked.
On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this cruise an 8!