To keep this brief, here are my takes on the good and not so good for this cruise:
Food in the Lido (breakfast and lunch) and Main Dining Room was very good for all meals--selection, variety, and taste. Did not try the Pinnacle Grille or Cannaletto.
The port of Bermuda is wonderful--clean, safe, great bus/ferry system, beautiful to behold, polite and friendly residents. There are plenty of things to do from forts and lighthouses to beaches and snorkeling (had wonderful snorkeling at Tobacco Bay). Lots of trash cans and clean public restrooms. It is great to not have to worry about getting back to the ship in time for departure for 3 days. Wish more ports had overnight stays.
Docking in Hamilton--very convenient, especially for Harbour Nights and Bermuda Day. Free Wi-fi at the library 24 hours a day.
Cabin 559: spacious and well located (and we got a great upgrade from H to DA!). No toilet issues, or lack of air conditioning. In fact, we could have been really cold. Beds were very comfortable. Cabin was ready when we got on the ship.
The Ship: Love the smaller size. Though older, the ship was well maintained and tastefully decorated. The sliding roof over the pool was a major plus when the weather was bad.
Departure port: Easy and inexpensive to reach from many east coast locations. Wonderful views of NYC going out and back in to port.
Service: Very good service from cabin stewards and most waiters--we did open seating dining so some were better than others.
Gym: Not too much in the way of weights, but all of the aerobic equipment was in good working order--all had nice TV's.
Things to do: Always something going on if you are looking for something to do.
Debarkation: Fast and easy--we walked across the lobby and off the ship, took a cab, and were on a bus before 8:30 am. Not sure how it went after that, but the numbers self-disembarking were manageable. We debarked with the Norwegian Star but there were plenty of Customs agents and the process was very efficient.
Loved the Adagio Strings. Did not love the rude guests who talked loudly near where they were performing.
Not so good:
It took quite awhile to get hot water for a shower every morning but there was plenty once it got started.
Weather--but no one can control that. First day at sea was pretty wild with all outdoor decks closed. While in port, we did manage to keep occasional showers from spoiling our fun. There was one day without rain:)
Cruise Director--could star in a parody of cruise directors.
The singers were probably the most talented I have seen on a cruise but the material they were asked to perform was not always suited to their talents. The speakers were overly loud in some locations.
The Retreat: As long as the weather was cool, the extra hot tubs in the back were a plus. But, at the end of the cruise when it got warmer, an extra pool would have been good since there were a lot of kids swimming. During the summer when it is hotter and there are more kids on board, there will be a real shortage of pool space for adults.
Embarkation: Slower than necessary. We arrived at 11:30 am and were in group 19. It took almost an hour to get on the ship even though boarding started shortly after we arrived. The guy calling group numbers waited forever between calling groups.
Bread and Rolls: Not as good as on many cruises. We loved the raisin rolls in the morning on the Oosterdam but the ones on the Veendam seemed dry.
Lido Service: To cut down on illness, everything is served the first 48 hours of the cruise which makes lines long in the Lido, especially at the Welcome Aboard lunch. Sometimes it was hard to tell where the lines began or ended. Even after self service was allowed, most selections still had to be served which made getting through the lines a bit slow at times.
We are so sorry the Veendam is no longer visiting Bermuda after this summer--we would go again given the opportunity since we still have plenty of things to do on our list. Being at the dockyard will be so much less desirable. And, we will miss being on a smaller ship.