We got home a little bit ago, unpacked, and thought I'd write a bit about our trip.
Sunday's departure went very smoothly. Embarkation started promptly at 11:30 AM. After a quick picture, we were on the ship. We went to our stateroom, an inside on deck 5, mid ship. We dropped off our carry ons, had lunch in the Lido, and spent the afternoon exploring the ship. The ship, the staff and the atmosphere aboard was great. Our sail away down the Hudson and out to sea was spectacular.
Monday was a sea day, and it was a bit rough. Lots of wind and 8-10 foot seas. The Veendam is a smaller ship, and does get bounced around a bit. Very relaxing day, all in all.
Tuesday we arrived in Hamilton, and were off the ship by 11:00am. We went directly to the bus station to buy a 3 day transit pass. This is probably the best value in Bermuda. Unlimited use of the busses and ferries that transport you from place to place. I recommend that anyone who wants a transit pass make the buss terminal your first stop. We were about 5th in line. By the time we got on the bus to St George, the line looked literally a few hours long. We explored St George most of the afternoon, and returned to the ship for dinner.
Wednesday we took the ferry to the Royal Dockyards. From there we took a 15 minute bus ride to Somerset Bridge Watersports for a jet ski tour. HIGHLY RECCOMENDED!!! We had a blast. This is a guided tour with lots of stops along the way, and lots of riding as well. Our group was one consisting of fairly experienced riders, so our guide did not waste any time getting from one stop to another. Nothing like riding a jet ski through the Bermuda Triangle!! Back to the ship for dinner and another night of great fun.
Thursday we went to Elbow beach for the day. Very beautiful beach. Get there early if you would like to rent an umbrella and some loungers. They were sold out by 11. Back to Hamilton for some window shopping, then back on the ship.
On Friday we departed around 12:45. All aboard was 12 noon, not 2:00 PM. Smooth sailing...... for most of the day.
Saturday morning we woke to a gale and pretty heavy seas. The highest wind speed I noted on the ship's TV channel was 64 MPH. Not a lot of people out and about. The crew also closed the outside decks for most of the day due to the weather. The weather did improve as the evening went on.
Sunday we arrived back into NY. Disembarkation was smooth, no problems. After a 3 1/2hr car ride, we're home.
Now, for the advice........
There were plumbing problems on the ship, and they did affect us. On the first evening, we were greeted by the maintenance staff in the hallway. They had the ceiling open, and were snaking the pipe trying to remove a clog. From what I heard, this was a fairly common occurrence around the ship. People, of course, blamed this on the ship. What people did not seem to understand is that a marine toilet IS NOT the same as a household toilet. It is a fairly unforgiving system. If you flush anything other than number 1, number 2 and toilet paper IT WILL LIKELY CLOG. There is a placard above the toilet informing you of this fact. I recommend that you read it and heed it. You see, some people "upstream" of us did not, and it affected us... so much so, that after 3 days of unclogging pipes, the front office staff offered us another cabin on deck 6. We took it, and had no other issues.
Front Office Staff
The air conditioning in the cabin was a bit warmer than we would have liked. I went to the front office and ASKED for a fan, which I did receive about an hour later. There were many people DEMANDING that something be done about this or that, rather than simply asking for a resolution to an issue. I actually heard one woman blaming the crew for the rough seas!! Another was complaining that the drain in the shower drained too slowly. Because of this, she demanded another cabin. Not sure how that one turned out. The people working the front office have the patience of saints.
I found that if you treated them like human beings, they were very accommodating.
We ate at the main dining room for the first formal night. The service and the food was great, but it was a bit slow. We decided that the Lido met all our needs, so that's were we had all of our meals. I've seen reviews that they seem understaffed, but we did not see this. The food lines moved well, the food was great, bar service was prompt, the tables were bussed quickly, and the staff was VERY FRIENDLY.
One final thought. Please remember that you are on vacation. There seemed to be ALOT of "finger snappers" on this voyage. Try to relax, ASK for what it is you want, and realize that there are 1400 other people on the boat, so it might take 5 minutes for your request to be acted upon. All I can say is that we booked the lowest cabin class, and we were treated like gold by EVERYONE we had contact with. We will definitely sail with HAL in the future.