We were on the Veendam, May 13th embarkation. A friend drove us to the pier from New Jersey and we had no problems at all. We arrived about 11:30 am, pulled right up to the pier, luggage was tagged immediately and embarkation process took all about 20 minutes from entering the terminal to our stateroom, which was ready.
Had lunch at the Lido buffet and strolled around the ship getting familiar. It is a smaller ship than our 2 previous cruises. We loved everything about it. It was a perfect sunny day. The sail away was incredible, watching the NY skyline go by, Wall Street area, Statue of Liberty and Verranzano bridge.
Had dinner that night in the italian restaurant, Canneletto. Service was great and the food delicious. The rest of the week we ate in the Rotterdam dining room, except for the last night at the Pinnacle Dining Room. We chose open seeting because we wanted to take our time on Bermuda without having to be back for a timed seating. 3 of the nights we had reservations. We never had to wait more than 5 minutes to be seated for dinner. We had a table for 2 on 3 nights, the other nights we sat with other cruisers. The food is fantastic! All our meals were great, especially the formal nights, not one thing to complain about. We are in our early 60's, most of the passengers were 70's and up! I could count the families on 2 hands, most traveling with older passengers.
At first I thought it would be a dull cruise, but to the contrary, these cruisers were partying! The crew is mostly Indonisian and Phillipino, with some Ddtch and others. They are such humble nice people. Friendly and wanting to please you. Our room steward knew our names the first day and always addressed us as such. So did the maitre'd. The ship is clean and elegant. We took 2 excurions, one was ok (with the ship), the bike and kayaking trip the best (not with the ship). Do your homework and book excursions before you go. Bermuda people are very friendly and willing to help you with information about their home. The bus and ferry was a convienent way to see the island, the multi-day pass is the way to go. The best night for us was dinner at the Pinnacle Room. It is an upcharge restaurant, but so worth it. Service and food with a window table for 2, icing on the cake.
Would we travel with Holland America again, very definitely! Too bad this is their last year to Bermuda and out of NYC.