Veendam Cruise Review by sdlenter: South America - BA to Santiago
Member Since 2005
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South America - BA to Santiago
This was our first cruise with HAL and probably the last one. We've cruised with other companies before and HAL is not our favorite. The reason we choice this cruise was the destination, the specific week(s), and the last-minute awesome deal. We were traveling with 2 children.
The embarkation in Buenos Aires was not the best one we've seen. Thousands of people stuck in one building waiting for their turn to embark (3 ships embarking on that day).
The cabin was pretty good size, 2 beds, upper berth, couch. Bathroom amenities were good: shampoo, conditioner, and bath gel dispensers in the shower. The shower cabin had standing water - about 2 inches - after each shower taking. so we used our towels to put on the floor in the bathroom so the water doesn't leak into the room. We told the front desk, but nothing was done about this. Towel animals were made each night - nice touch. No refrigerator in the cabin. Plenty of hangers available (upon request) and plenty of More closet space, even drawers under the bed. Great bath robes, but no slippers. The towels were very old and HAL needs to buy some new ones. They were OK to put on the floor but not use on one's body :).
The food - Very disappointing. The food taste and presentation were way better on Princess and Celebrity. My favorite here - escargot, lamb chops, herring. HAL has the worst pizza ever, I wouldn't call it pizza, some dry bread with barely any cheese. Worst hot dogs ever! No fresh berries at all, the only fruit available: apples, pears, plums (for 1 day), bananas (for 1 day), grapes (1 day), that is it! Unacceptable! Cream brulee was only available for one night, cheesecake - 1 night, the worst cheesecake. The buffet food is not even worth mentioning! The room service was punctual, but the food is just OK. And what is up with all the restaurants being closed from 8pm until 11pm. The only food one can get during those hours is from the room service and that is VERY limited. The midnight chocolate buffet was so so, the best thing was watermelon slices. The German night buffet was OK, good desert and sausages.
The entertainment - well, it's not a big ship, so no production shows here. Our favorite were the violinist, the Spanish singer and that is it. One comedian and he wasn't very funny, just running around the stage, seemed to be high on something :). The ship entertainers - not worth watching. As far as the entertainment goes - boring.
The photography by the way is very overpriced. $20 for 8 by 10 picture, $25 for a portrait the same size.
The excursions - way overpriced, would never spend a penny on these.
The staff - all the staff in dining areas are from Indonesia or Philippines, awful service and language barrier. Didn't even know who our ma'tre d was and we didn't care either.
The ship overall - needs refurbishment, and some younger crowd. The nightclub and the library was full of sleeping retirees.
The best thing about the cruise - the kids club. The kids loved it!!! Less
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