My family of three recently sailed on the Veendam from New-York to Bermuda. I have over 10 cruises under my belt and this was my first experience on a HAL ship. I have previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, RCL, NCL, Costa and Carnival cruise ships.
I chose this particular cruise at it docked in Hamilton and not further out in the Royal Dock Yards. This and the devotion of the crew were the only positive aspects of my cruise experience.
My main complaint is with HAL and its decision to change the original lay-out of the ship. There used to be two pools. HAL decided to add more staterooms at the expense of the pool which was located at the stern of the ship. Yes, HAL did add some small hot tubs but this is no substitute for a pool when cruising in warm climates.
The air conditioning in our stateroom was not up to par. I could well be wrong but I question whether by adding those extra staterooms and converting sea-view staterooms on the ship's lower promenade deck to balcony staterooms caused undue stress on the ship's original air conditioning system. The maintenance person who came to investigate suggested I keep the bathroom door closed as well as the curtain separating the closet area to the rest of the room. I did so with minimum effect.
My other complaint is the ugly net under the ceiling of the main dining room. Based on previous cruise critic messages the net has been in place for quite some time. From what I'm told, it's there to catch falling debris. Is it becoming a permanent fixture? I have an original suggestion: Fix the ceiling and get rid of the net!
Having only one pool was of particular note on this cruise. A passenger had a digestive issue in the pool. The pool had to be emptied and cleaned meaning the pool was not available, and this, on a sea day. Also, HAL should enforce its no diving rule.; with the pool as full as it was, there is an accident waiting to happen.
There is also a lack of deck chairs. More could be added on deck 12 as well as aft and at the bow of the lower promenade deck. Also, HAL should not allow passengers to reserve chairs and leave them unoccupied hours on end. Also HAL should enforce its no diving sign, there ia an accident waiting to happen
I paid a premium price for this cruise and I came back feeling I did not get value for my hard earned money.