6 family members were traveling to celebrate my parents 62 anniversary. We were very excited and expected a very pleasurable experience. Naturally, a lot of planning went into coordinating the trip since we all live in different parts of the USA.
The Veendam was chosen for its size and the destination of Bermuda seemed perfect.
Embarkation was easy, however once we arrived on the Lido for lunch thing broke down. Yes, we got lunch but the lines were long and there was little organization to things. Tables were left with dirty dishes and everyone was scrambling for something to eat. Our bags arrived in our room shortly and we unpacked. We had plenty of room for our clothes. We enjoyed touring the ship and the scenery as we left NY.
Dinner was disappointing. When we arrived at the dining room for the early seating we chatted with other guests who were as surprised as we were that the time has been moved to earlier than we had been told. All of sudden the doors opened and one of the staff yelled "Odds over on this side and evens over here." Everyone was left to find their own table that had been indicated on their ship card. No one showed you to your table. On the rest of the evenings we were to find our own way as well unless you failed to check in with the guy at the podium with your room number. In that case he yelled after you or chased you down. In general the food was OK, not great. The service was OK but few of the waitstaff spoke English very well and they had 6-8 tables to wait on. Rarely was the food delivered to the table at once. There was usually a 1/2 hour between some of us getting our meal and others getting it. When we ordered champagne one evening the cold bottle was placed on the table and it was at least 20 minutes before it was put on ice by our waiter who repeatedly told us it was not his job (It wasn't!). When we asked for more cream for the coffee we were told that some still remained in the pitcher. We commented that we felt we always had to fight to get what we needed. One night we ate at the Pinnacle Grill for the upcharge and it was nice but not great either because the waitstaff were again spread way too thin.
There were limited activities on the ship and you had to pay for them all so be sure to budget for this. There is very little to do that doesn't cost extra.
We enjoyed the entertainment in the lounges and the waitstaff in the Ocean Grille were excellent. The one pool was crowded and they were often trying to sell you upgraded drinks, bottles of wine, or take your picture. The shows were enjoyable but we often had to rush to get to them because dinner took so long.
Our rooms were what you would expect and our room steward was quite helpful. He too seemed overworked an often our room would not be made up until 2-3 in the afternoon. He had something like 36 rooms to handle. We found several bottles of water under our bed and there was a used container of milk on our table when we first entered the room-YUK!
We had planned 3 shore excursions. The Island tour was great. We were informed that our glass bottom boat ride was canceled because they did not have 20 people so they rebooked us at the same time we were scheduled for another activity. I canceled that and tried to find a private tour when we got off the ship. At the pier I was told at the Visitor's Desk that I had to go through our ship's tour people. After a bit of conversation I was directed down the street to another Visitor's Information Desk at the ferry. The woman was great and for $20 less a person we showed up the next day and took the same boat ride we would have had through the ship. There were 9 of us and we enjoyed it a lot.
My Dad (who paid for this trip) had to cancel and stay on the boat because he was having trouble walking up and down the steep ramps set up to get on and off the boat. We asked if we could borrow the wheelchair that was sitting there and return it once he was delivered to flat ground. We were told we could not. The only thing we could do was rent a wheelchair for $140. Since it was our last day in port this seemed excessive.
Bermuda was lovely but unfortunately Front St.is not as I remembered it from a previous trip. Many of the lovely shops have closed but you can get all the tee shirts you want.
My parents, who have taken somewhere around 50 cruises, were very disappointed with the whole experience and won't book on Holland again. They had hoped for all of us to be inspired to enjoy cruising as much as they have. They wanted us to be excited about future cruises. This certainly did not happen.