My husband and I have cruised on many different lines, going to Alaska, Mediterranean, Baltics and several caribbean trips. This one was a unique "adventure". I'm not going to give a day by day description, just some observations.
The Veendam is the smallest ship that we have been on and it was quite nice. It was easy to get your bearings and know you're way around. There were plenty of open, public areas and it never felt crowded. We got to the pier about 11:30 and it looked like everyone else was already there! Took a while to get onboard, but the room was ready. Luggage arrived not too long after. We were in an inside cabin, mid-ship, on the main deck, 5. This turned out to be a blessing.
As we left New York a big storm was coming towards us. As the other posters have said, it was something. Unlike the other poster, though, the seas were not 25-30 ft.! The Captain was very good to keep us informed every couple of hours over the next day and a half; he said that our seas were 14 ft., if we hadn't changed course and gone the regular route the seas would have been 25 ft. Still, the boat was really rocking. During the first night it rolled a lot, but our cabin being where it was, it really just kind of lulled us to sleep. The next day, Monday, was a challenge. Just walking was difficult, you had to keep grabbing hold of things. Going up and down the stairs was kind of scary.
We are in our early fifties. I think a huge majority of the people on the ship were 70+. Most of them did not leave their rooms on Monday. Its probably best because there could have been major accidents. There were barf bags stationed everywhere. The first formal night had the dining room not even a third full. We heard one woman berating her poor room attendant because she couldn't get her room moved. She said that everyone around her was getting sick and she didn't want to catch it! It finally calmed down by Tuesday morning but we lost a day in port.
Bermuda is beautiful and the people incredibly friendly. Its clean, safe and the weather was great. You don't need to do any shore excursions; the bus and ferry system is really easy, it goes everywhere, and you get to interact with the Bermudians. We spend every day just picking where we wanted to go and set off. We went to two of the shows but left before they ended.
The food on the ship was okay. The buffet in the Lido deck got rather boring after a few days; all the same food over and over. Also, the fact that you couldn't serve yourself was frustrating. You had to stand in one line for a piece of toast, another line for eggs, another for fruit, another for a glass of water, etc. Also, they don't use trays so you have to keep going back and forth to your table before you can get everything. We ate at Canalleto's one night; I had lasagna and my husband some fish. It was just okay but the service was really good. Probably because there were only five tables of diners. The food in the main dining room was good but the service spotty. We sat for twenty minutes one night before anyone even came to the table. The Terrace Grill had good hamburgers. Don't even bother with the pizza, it tasted like day-old frozen pizza. We did eat at the Pinnacle Grill and I probably had the best steak I have ever eaten. I had the petite filet and the seasoning was delicious. Husband had really good salmon.
All in all, it was a pretty good cruise. All the ship's staff were friendly, polite, and helpful. Until the end. We had been having issues with the water in our room. Showers where you had lukewarm water for about two minutes (just time to soap your hair) and then it turned frigid. We found that if we waited until the afternoon it lasted a little longer. Well, the next to last day we had no water at all! Guy eventually came to fix it, took the shower apart, and then left! No water, no toilet, nothing. At least the weather was good and we stayed out of the room. We kept calling and going to the front desk, but nobody would tell us anything. That was the night we were going to the Pinnacle and we wanted showers. Finally, about 7pm (reservation at 8)our room steward came and gave us a key to another room and said we had to move. So we shoved everything into suitcases and went to our new room. Not good. It was in the bottom of the boat. We knew we had a problem when we walked in and saw fans pointed towards the bed. The air was on the coldest setting and the room was stifling hot. Walking barefoot you could feel heat on your feet. Also, there was a used bathrobe hanging on the hook so apparently whoever was in that room before had complained about the heat. The engine noise was close to deafening. We were told there were no other empty rooms. We did not get compensated in any way for the downgrade in the cabin. It was not a good way to end our experience.
Disembarkation was chaos. We were in the group off first, with our luggage. There was a woman who repeated over and over that only people with all of their luggage would be allowed off. Of course, tons of people who had no luggage tried to leave. We got off about 8:30 and were at LaGuardia by 9:30.
Did we like this cruise? Yes, parts of it were good. Will we be on another Holland America cruise? Very doubtful.