Served it's purpose but some disappointments: Veendam Cruise Review by qatluvr
Overall Member Rating
Served it's purpose but some disappointments
Destination: Canada & New England
The ship was quite clean, how much of this was due to the sanitation process ordered by the CDC right before our sailing is unknown, but I was pleased (and I am finicky)
The food overall was good, and some was very good. The service in the main dining room was not great as they were very understaffed and undertrained. The people working in the food areas worked very hard, but servers had to bus the tables and fill the water glasses as well as take orders and serve. Past cruises (on other cruise lines) have had personnel for each of these tasks. Just seems like the parent company (Carnival) is trying to cut costs at the expense of the passengers' comfort.
The entertainment was fine although not spectacular.
The housekeeping staff was quite attentive.
The personnel at the "information" center were More terribly and continuously uninformed and not knowledgeable. At one point when we inquired as to a time zone change, we were misinformed. Luckily, we called back to confirm the information we were given, and at that point were given the correct time zone info. Perhaps, this seems like a small issue, however, the reason we inquired was that we had a shore excursion departing 7:30 the next morning. It WAS an issue for us.
Shore excursions were enjoyable overall, however, we booked the cruise early in the season, and some of the destinations had not opened for the season. The venues opened only for the cruise ship passengers on a limited basis. I was made aware of one of these situations (Acadia National Park) when booking online, and this was fine. However, a second excursion (Louisbourg Fortress in Sydney) was also only partially open for the season, and we were not informed of this prior to purchasing the excursion...and this excursion was booked at the counter on the ship!! The "specialist" should have explained we would only be seeing a small part of the Fortress before taking our money. Very bad way to treat your passengers. That said, I would encourage future passengers to take the Fortress excursion during the open season as it appeared to be quite interesting had it been open.
Finally, one major complaint that may or may not affect other passengers, but one of our suitcases was cut open and the zipper destroyed somewhere between giving it to the porter at the dock prior to embarkation and arriving in our cabin. We immediately reported it to the "information" counter. They attempted to have their upholsterer repair the damage so that it was at least usable, however that person could not repair it. "Information" asked us what the purchase price of the piece was and when it was purchased. We gave them the info, and they indicated they would credit us (on our ship account) for the suitcase. What we didn't know was that the value would be depreciated, and we would be left on our own to search out a store to purchase a new suitcase so we could have something to carry our belongings off the ship. HAL would not reimburse us for the full replacement value, the cab drive to and from Sears in Charlottetown to get the suitcase, and no compensation for the 2 hours of shoretime lost trying to locate a suitcase. The line did as little as they could to remedy the situation. I don't advocate lying, but had we known then what we know now, we would have inflated the cost of that piece of luggage destroyed to cover the remainder of costs incurred due to HAL's negligence.
Again, the cruise served it's purpose for us which was primarily as a form of transportation. While I can't say I would never sail HAL again, I have definitely been on better cruise lines. Don't be ticky-tacky with your passengers' comfort and money HAL. Less