The Veendam is a mid sized ship that we have sailed twice. The upgrades and remodel were a success and will be appreciated. You can read the professional opinions of the ship, form a guest perspective we were impressed. The food was is restaurant quality, it is not a 5 star dining experience, but our goal was to travel first and dine to eat. You won't be disappointed, we looked forward to each nights dining.
Our cruise was a repositioning of the Veendam from New England to South America. We took this cruise with two objectives, first to sail through the Panama Canal and see the west coast of South America. This cruise is one of the few that will accomplish both. The northern half of South America is not tourist pretty, but is worth seeing. Equador is dry and poor, but has a rain forest and the port of Manta of interest. Peru coastal towns are not the highlight of the country. They are of interest, we saw Trujillo and used Patrica Valenzula through Viatour for our guide which I would highly recommend. We choose not to use Holland America tours for two reasons: our tours were less expensive and we traveled in groups of 6 or smaller. Some people from the ship chose to travel to Macha Pichu, having been there it is worth traveling on a separate trip to experience it, I would recommend Amazonia Expeditions for this adventure. We next docked at Callao, Peru which is the port to Lima. Take a Tour of the city, but make sure you include the Magic Fountains of Lima, you will really enjoy it. The cabs are just outside the port gate, they are safe just make sure you negotiate the price before you get in and include the return trip if the price is right to Miraflores. We took the free shuttle to Miraflores and went to the Marriott taxi stand to get our return trip to the ship. There are several tour companies that will meet you in Maraflores for a city tour. Now you get into the tourist pretty part of South America and the reason you brought a camera.
The southern part of South America from Valparasio to Buenos Aires is the reason the Veendam travels back and forth around the cape. It is a beautiful as Europe or Alaska. The southern climates at the beginning of their summer are temperate and a great time to go. The glaciers are a numerous as Alaska and fjords are more numerous than Norway. This is not the cruise I would recommend for first timers, the water can be a little challenging but the beauty of this exotic area will make you want to come back and explore the interior of Peru, Chile, Argentina and Patagonia.