“Bermuda on the Veendam”
Cruise review of Holland America Veendam

chiapet Veendam 5 Bermuda on the Veendam
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Great family vacation from NYC to beautiful Bermuda on the classic Veendam with impeccable food and service! BACKGROUND * DH, DW, 2 DS (13 & 9) from South Jersey * lots of previous cruise experience EMBARKATION Pier 90 at Manhattan Cruise Terminal (55th St & 12th Ave entrance) * drove 2 hrs from South Jersey arrived ~11:30am * parked @ Pier 90 rooftop for $245/week (Visa & MC accepted) + easy luggage drop off with porters at roof parking lot + NO wait at x-rays or check-in + seated waiting area with water & lemonade offered + waited only ~15min. until boarding #27 called & onboard by noon ~ be prepared to complete the medical statement prior to entering x-ray/check-in area CABIN Oceanview 694 (cat. E) -- Main Deck (5) Aft Portside + cabin was ready immediately upon boarding + luggage was in our cabin right after lunch ~2pm + great location 2nd from end with access to aft open area + portside cabin with beautiful view of harbor while docked in Hamilton + lots of storage with 6 drawers and 2 large closets + additional 2 large, deep drawers under bed + 2 night stands with 2 drawers each also + 2 twin beds (may be pushed together), 1 sofa bed, and 1 trundle bunk above twin + small round stool seating with storage inside + lots of fluffy pillows & comfortable bedding + bath tub with shower in bathroom + in-cabin full-sized hair dryer with 220V plug + desk-top cosmetic mirror with hinged arm pull-out + ordered ahead refrigerator plugged in under counter with additional 220V power strip + AC worked very well after we learned how to use the thermostat :) ~ turn thermostat clockwise=warmer and counter-clockwise=cooler even though the dial numbers seem counter-intuitive to that ~ only 2 outlets on counter: one European-style 220V outlet & 1 American-style 110V outlet RESTAURANTS MARINERS EMBARKATION LUNCH + 12-1:30pm Rotterdam Dining Room -- deck 7 aft + no wait to be seated and food served promptly ~ very limited menu ROTTERDAM MAIN DINING ROOM + 5:15pm & 8pm Fixed Seating -- deck 8 aft + 5pm-9pm Open Seating -- deck 7 aft + open seating reservations could be made up to 3 days in advance + rotating menu choices were pretty good + all food was excellent quality and presented very well + requests for multiple dishes and even entrees as apps were graciously accommodated + formal nights Monday Captain's Gala Dinner & Friday Farewell Dinner Surf-n-Turf + our walk-in wait averaged 20-30 min. + given pager and flute of champagne for your wait + complimentary cappuccino and espresso with dinner but sometimes very weak and flavorless ~ open seating reservations are for 5:15, 5:30, 8:00 times only ~ must make open seating reservations by 4pm ~ open seating walk-in long lines between 6:30-8pm ~ much longer wait if requesting table to yourselves ~ pager had no reception in cabins and other parts of ship ~ slow getting food at peak times LIDO BUFFET + food was adequate + lots of ice cream/sorbet flavors with toppings too + also had soft-serve in addition to hard ice cream + Eggs Benedict station had numerous options ~ options differed slightly on both sides ~ required cover-up and footwear ~ check daily menu as food not always presented well and/or could not be seen easily ~ food served for first few days then became self-serve ~ beginning/end of lines were not always apparent so many people came from both directions TERRACE GRILL + great location for access while at mid-ship pool + self-serve taco and condiments bar on many days during lunch ~ sometimes long lines waiting MARINERS BRUNCH + invitation-only to 2 possible times at 11:00am or 1:30pm on last sea day + Rotterdam Dining Room -- deck 7 aft + free champagne and gift tile ~ very limited menu ~ food service very slow ENTERTAINMENT SHOWROOM AT SEA + Sunday - Listen to the Music (9:30pm) + Monday - Bob Mackie's Broadway (7:30pm and 10pm) + Tuesday - Comedian John Joseph (7:30pm and 10pm) ... funny + Wednesday - Indonesian Crew Show (11pm) + Thursday - Street Corner Symphony (7:30pm and 10pm) + Friday - Encore Musical Classics (7:30pm and 10pm) + Saturday - Comedian Kevin Jordan (7:30pm and 10pm) ... funny ~ children should not seated in first few rows ~ cabaret-style table and chair seating in front of stage OCEAN BAR + Cocktails and Dancing with The Neptunes (6:30 -11:30pm) ~ spacious lounge area with small dance floor near Atrium EXPLORER'S LOUNGE + Classical with Adagio Strings (7-11:30pm) ~ intimate lounge next to Pinnacle Grill MIX + Solo Guitarist Darrel (5-9pm) + Piano Man Wil Key (9pm-close) ~ separated into 2 spaces as a piano bar and a pub-like bar CROW'S NEST + various entertainment and dancing ~ very large with almost 3 distinct areas: quiet portside, nice TV-viewing starboard, and DJ dance floor aft ~ DJ/music ended usually ~1am OTHER + various times for BINGO + Pub Trivia every night @ 6pm Mixx pub + Name That Tune trivia on various nights @ 8:30pm Crows Nest + Big Screen Movie everyday Wajang Theater with free popcorn + Wine Tastings ($7.50-15.00) and Mixology ($12.50) classes + lots of great technology classes in hi-tech Digital Workshop + daily Tai Chi (8am & 5pm) ACTIVITIES LIDO POOL + cushioned loungers around pool area were very comfortable + shaded tables around perimeter with easy access to Lido Buffet and Terrace Grill + Lido Bar with sofa-type seating under umbrellas ~ very limited seating esp. shaded loungers ~ pool is very small and sometimes full of kids ~ sometimes a little smoky with BBQ THE RETREAT (for all ages) + aft of ship behind the Lido Buffet + lots of loungers and some tables in shade + jacuzzi spas in raised area in the middle + pizza available here ~ could get windy on sea days ~ no real pool HAL KIDS CLUB + easy sign-up on embarkation day + nice outdoor Oasis and indoor Loft for Teens + smaller indoor area for younger Kids(3-7) and Tweens(8-12) + sea days: 9-11:30am, 1-4pm, 7-10pm + port days: 8-4pm, 7-10pm + great Xbox game room and FREE Xbox game rental ~ activities for Teens over 13 were more unstructured and come-as-you-please ~ Tweens could sign themselves out (if parents allowed) FITNESS CENTER + small but plenty of equipment with TVs too + daily FREE Sunrise Stretch (30min) @ 7am + daily FREE Abs, Conditioning, Aerobics, Boxercise classes (30min) @ 7:30am & 5pm + Spinning (8am MTWRS), Yoga (9am MW, 4pm S) & Pilates (9am RS, 4pm M) $12/class or $50 for 5 + cold washcloths were available and refreshing ~ spinning bikes were antiquated and limited to 6 participants SPORTS COURTS + small-sized tennis court on deck 12 aft portside + small-sized basketball court on deck 12 aft starboard + entrances near Club HAL at deck 12 aft ~ only half of basketball court usable since other hoop hung down ~ netting around courts did not always keep balls in ~ bouncing could be heard as bangs in Lido Buffet below OTHER ACTIVITIES + chess/crossword tables in Explorations Cafe + extensive self check-out book library in Exploration's Cafe + daily Sudoku, Trivia and Crosswords in Exploration's Cafe + 2 ping pong tables near Lido pool deck 11 portside + large deck-sized chess/checkers near Lido pool deck 11 portside CRUISE DIRECTOR & EXPLORATIONS STAFF + CD Gene Young was very personable and was always seen everywhere doing a lot of the activities himself + DJ Styles, Lifestylist Thomas, Party Planner Sydney, Travel Guide Monique, Techspert Trevor, and Librarian Erika were all friendly and wonderful BERMUDA * purchased a 3-day bus/ferry pass for $28 adult - $14 children HORSESHOE BAY + 40min. ride from Hamilton on #7 bus + beautiful wide beach with lots of space + water was spectacular and crystal clear + nice walk along beaches + restrooms and showers were available ~ $11 rental beach chairs/umbrellas each with additional $5 deposit ~ long walk down/uphill to/from beach from bus stop ~ food and drinks were very expensive but available ST. GEORGE'S -- TOBACCO BAY + 1 hr ride from Hamilton on #1, 3, 10 or 11 bus + or take ferry from Hamilton to Dockyard then to St. George's + Wench Ducking MTWRS @ noon at King's Square + 15min. walk from St. George's to Tobacco Bay + walk up Duke of Kent St. passing Unfinished Church along the way + very large shallow swimming area great for snorkeling + restrooms were available ~ very small beach area ~ very rocky in water with lots of sharp coral ~ rent snorkeling equipment for $10 with additional deposit ~ rent 2 loungers & umbrella for $20 with additional deposit ~ umbrellas were limited and ran out quickly ~ food and drinks were very expensive but available HARBOR NIGHTS FESTIVAL + Wednesday night 7-10pm on Front Street + great location just in front of ship + ongoing music and dancing started at 7pm near stage area + lots of food and souvenir vendors everywhere + activities for kids also available for a fee ~ crowded near stage so get there early to get close for kids DISEMBARKATION Easy Walk-Off + woke up late & had a late buffet breakfast without feeling rushed + final statement delivered overnight and was fine + deck 5 forward starboard gangway + walk-off passengers called first without delay + waited in our cabin for our disembarkation color/# group + lines disembarking ship moved quickly + luggage was easily found in terminal ~ never received information for disembarkation breakfast times ~ disembarkation started late awaiting luggage setup in terminal ~ only 2 sets of 2 customs agents in terminal upon exiting ~ look for the other set of customs agents at the far side of terminal TIPS * daily program Explorer was delivered outside door on previous day in the late afternoon before dinner * bring unlimited wine & champagne onboard for in-cabin consumption * or even purchase wine/champagne in Bermuda to bring back onboard * no thru-access on deck 7 forward to aft * check out the Explorer for daily Happy Hour specials in many locations for buy-1-get-2nd-for $1 * get FREE movies to play in cabin DVD player from front desk (only 1 per cabin at a time) * some promenade deck loungers for general public available near doors * self-laundry facilities available on decks 5, 6 and 9 for $2 wash & $1 dry * aft "OSCAR" STAIRWAY (not on deck plans) runs from deck 11 down to deck 5 * large open area on deck 5 aft (not on deck plans) is great for wake watching but no seating * low starboard aft cabins had view blocked by pink Bermuda building at pier and others on lower decks may also have had a view of the concrete wall while docked in Hamilton port * please do the MANDATORY lifeboat drill @ 4:15pm embarkation day or else Captain calls your name while making EVERYONE wait on deck for your arrival * Digital Workshop is in the Queen's Room deck 8 aft portside * MIX had a few interactive touch-screen game table tops that were entertaining * don't sit in the front few rows during Comedian shows unless you want to be part of the show * Rum Swizzles were tasty and found best-priced 50oz for $18 across the ship on Front St. * go check out Cairo Nightclub (no cover) across from ship on Front St. after shipboard lounges close * ship time set forward then back 1 hour on the first and last sea days to match local Bermuda time * 30min. FREE computer internet access at Bermuda National Library on Queen Street * public bus/ferry transportation gets you everywhere and pick up the bus/ferry schedule with maps * MDR dinner menu items could be found in the Lido Buffet as well * use the hand sanitizer liquid or even the mechanical hand washers found near the Lido Buffet
Veendam Cruises to Bermuda
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Cabin review: Large Ocean-View Stateroom

Published 07/03/12
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