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Veendam Cruise Review by chiapet

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Veendam
Veendam
Member Name: chiapet
Cruise Date: June 2012
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
Destination: Bermuda
Cabin Category: E
Cabin Number: 694
Booking Method: Local Travel Agency
See More About: Veendam Cruise Reviews | Bermuda Cruise Reviews | Holland America Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 5+
Public Rooms 5+
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 5.0
Spa & Fitness 5.0
Family & Children (By Age Group)
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 5.0
Rates 5.0
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Ship Facts: Veendam Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Veendam Deck Plans
Bermuda on the Veendam
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

Publication Date: 07/03/12
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