Holland America owes an apology and refund for our South American cruise on November 20, 2012. This was the worse cruise I have heard of or been on.
Missed three ports due to incompetent planning. Holland America should have had an alternate plan for port excursions. Holland America cancelled the Falkland Islands before the ship sailed. Holland America knows weather is always like this at this time of year in this region and has sailed this area many times. We could not enter Strait of Magellan, missed Punta Arenas then we should have sailed to Cape Horn, then Ushuaia, then to Punta Areanas, and then on through the channels. The captain would not stop at Puerto Montt. Water and winds were not that dangerous and others that have had many cruises agreed. Captain should have known in advance and Holland America should have had backup ports to explore. Main reason for trip was to see Penguins and the countries, thanks to Holland America we saw no penguins and missed many excursions. We should be offered compensation. I think Holland America overreacted and was way too anxious to cancel ports with no alternate plan or consideration for passengers. What happened to visiting Falkland Islands that was listed when we signed up?
In general, service was bad. Most support staff not good at all. It must have been a training cruise and first time for most staff or terrible management or both. Showed a lack of professionalism. Most areas not well organized or helpful. Cruise director Kelsey was ingenious and insincere. She was constantly telling how great crew is, how great ship is, how great staff is. Never apologized for problems. Many of staff were standing around talking to each other when people were waiting. At dinner in the Rotterdam dining room we were not served what we ordered several times. The shore excursion desk they could not answer many of our questions. The spa and exercise area did not keep appointments. The Jacuzzis on deck were not kept hot. I took a class on Windows 8 and they didn't even have a Windows 8 computer, they showed slides. Paid for internet service that stalled much of the time. TV reception failed about half the time and many of the channels on promoting Holland America.
I was told Holland America had great food, maybe some ships do but Veendam did not have great food and little variety. Have had better food on other cruise lines. Most entertainment was not good. Justin Miller, Kenny Smiles, Devlin were very good and Jamm was good. Other events and entertainment was not good except for Benjamin.
Holland America has offered this cruise many times and should have provided a much better cruise and should have informed all passengers ahead of time of potential cancellations and lack of service.
We passengers spent several thousand dollars in flights and cruise and did not receive what we paid for.