1st Time Crusing Chose HAL to Bermuda for Our Wedding: Veendam Cruise Review by TwoTimer81
Overall Member Rating
1st Time Crusing Chose HAL to Bermuda for Our Wedding
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
My husband has been on several cruises in the past but this was my 1st cruise ever... overall my experience was good because I did a lot of research prior to sailing and all things (good & bad) turned out as expected. We didn't eat in the MDR all cruise long, it was Pinnacle Grill and Lido.
Embarkation was a breeze in NY, from check-in to on the ship in a little more than an hour.
The room was decent, although the lifeboat was overhead it did not disrupt the view. There was some weird noises at night that made sleep uncomfortable all cruise long. Enough storage even for our extra wedding-related gear. HAL's policy on wine is excellent, and we brought two bottles on board for room consumption. Be More aware: do not bring any wine that is carbonated, as the port handlers are rather rough. Some of the wine leaked through the cap and onto our clothes. The bathroom had a small tub, which is rare for ocean view class cabins on mainstream lines. Also, my wife did notice some brown water emerging from faucets in the bathroom while we were docked in Hamilton, as well as dirty pillows and on a night or two.
Dining in the Pinnacle Grill most of the at-sea evenings was great. The service was relaxed at least, if not a bit slow. We can't compare anything to the MDR, but our friends and family who ate in the MDR complained of very slow service, they were in there 2 to 2 1/2 hours for dinner. They did like how their food tasted, although some entrees came out lukewarm. Also, the Pinnacle Grill menu didn't change all cruise long, which was somewhat of a disappointment being that most selections in the Lido and MDR varied comfortably. The Lido buffet was average, they burned a couple of dishes and service was spotty. The food was not that tasty, either. To ward off food-borne illnesses, HAL does not allow you to serve yourself the first two days of your voyage. We are foodies, used to high-end food in NYC and elsewhere, therefore the food on the ship may bother us more than others.
As far as the major negatives My wife did get sick during the cruise (which led to a lightning quick disembarkation), she did have some food that looked like it wasn't properly heated and had flies nearby. We also saw fans out on the Verandah and Navigation decks, which we didn't book because of other less than worthy reviews here (thank you CC!). We also sailed through the remnants of Alberto, which swirled its way between Bermuda and the lower 48 on our return trip, and it provided stiff winds and medium to high seas. Most of the really interesting enrichment activities were for-fee and provided by the Steiner spa, which always has a sales pitch at the end. We may sail on HAL again, but it certainly won't be near the lifeboats. Less