The Veendam is ending the cruise to Bermuda in early September (2012). Too bad. I enjoyed the itinerary which allowed 3 full days in Bermuda as well as the pleasure of sailing out of New York, passing the statue and watching the skyline recede.
Previous cruises include 3 Carnival trips: larger ships, more neon, water slides and more kids, more activities and a generally more pronounced 'Let's Party' feel.
The Veendam passengers were a different lot. Most over 40, not a lot of kids. A generally more low-key experience. More art, fewer ads.
The food was very good and the service attentive.Fresh-squeezed OJ, lox and bagels, fresh baked goods... Eat in the dining room, get a burger by the pool or shame yourself at the buffet. Your choice.
I didn't go to the shows but I did use the sauna every day. Excellent and open to all but usually vacant. We also bought a 'Thermal Suite' membership for $75 each which provided a quiet space with a hot tub, a steam bath and an ocean view. My only complaint was that they were having problems with the showers. No hot water, sometimes.
The Veendam is a smaller ship and it was a little more difficult to get away as the common areas seemed to be well-populated. Oddly, the Crow's Nest Bar which looked out over the ocean at the top deck-above the bow, was usually empty. A great place to read and enjoy a drink before dinner.
I didn't do the casino. There were no craps tables and I didn't like the odds on the other games. Slot machines, Blackjack, Roulette, poker....
The ocean view stateroom was pretty generic. It served its purpose as a place to sleep. Not a criticism. You get what you pay for but why spend time in your cabin?
The 'Formal Nights' required nothing more than a jacket and a tie. No big deal.
I didn't see many tuxedos or splashy diamond arrays.
The cruise ship is definitely the way to do Bermuda. Everything in Bermuda is about 50% more than you would pay at home. Dine on the boat and go to the beach.
Do not book shore excursions on-board. See what the weather is and deal with the local outfits.
If you have a connection to catch, carry your own bags and get off first. I left the Vendam at 8:00 am and made a 9:00 am train to Boston at Penn Station ($17.00 cab ride with tip included)