Veendam Cruise Review by gdaddytobermuda: Overall a good trip
Overall Member Rating
Overall a good trip
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
My family of four (kids aged 9 and 7) splurged on a deluxe verandah suite on the final Veendam voyage to Bermuda. The suite is fantastic, with plenty of room and a huge balcony. The perks are great as well - having a concierge handle your reservations and answer your questions was great, we ordered hor dourves three days for the four of us which we enjoyed before dinner and enjoyed breakfast in the Pinnacle each morning. The room steward and concierge were all fantastic. No one made a stink when my daughter accidentally yanked a cabinet door out of its particleboard wall. The pessimist in me anticipated a hefty charge for the damage - instead they called in maintenance and fixed it!
We ate in Rotterdam every night except for the "Bermuda" night in the Rotterdam when the selections did not excite us. Our early seating dinners lasted around 90 minutes each night, which worked fine for us. Overall the Rotterdam food was good, chicken, veal and steak dishes stood out above More all fish dishes, which were sometimes dry. Service could be spotty - our waiter and his assistant seemed to have a lot to do, but they were very pleasant. The wine steward was also very helpful. Canelleto was fine - my daughter loved the meatballs.
Our nine year old did not like the "tween" program - the counselors seemed worn out and often disinterested. Further they did not keep to their schedule, causing some problem when we tried to come and go for select activities. In contrast, the program for 3-7 year olds was run by a wonderful young lady. Our 7 year old is severely developmentally disabled and therefore could not participate in the 3-7 program, but we meet her when we signed our son up for the tweens the first day and she treated our daughter exceptionally well. For the rest of the cruise that counselor made it a point to interact with our daughter whenever she saw us and made our daughter feel special.
Bermuda is a wonderful destination for a cruise. The people are great and we used taxis to the beaches (highly recommended even though you will spend $40 round trip from Hamilton to the South Shore beaches) and the zoo. We were disappointed that there was no carriage rides at night, which had been one of the highlights of our pre-kids cruise 10 years ago. Its too bad that HAL is leaving Hamilton. As the Veendam pulled out of the pier, a local man yelled a long and involved thank you and good bye which was really awesome, even the line to "bring money" when we return.The entertainment needed more variety. We knew that HAL caters to retirees, but all but one night was a show with singers. Most of the singers were good, though. The comedian was decent, but his show lasted just 45 minutes. The piano player in MIX was fantastic. Bingo was fun, especially when the DJ who runs it opened up the floor to questions in the final Bingo and had to field questions like "do I have to pay taxes if I win (the unwinnable) 100k bonus bingo?" Less
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