This cruise was our first opportunity to drive to a port, living just south of Boston. The drive in was typical Boston traffic but the parking was unusually easy and a quick walk across the street and we were at the cruise terminal.
Embarkation was easy and fairly quick. We made it to our rooms and then went to MDR for lunch. The food was very good and the service was quick. We then proceeded to walk about the ship and started to feel as though perhaps the ship was too small as we have become accustomed to the larger Holland ships. By the second day this feeling had passed. The only complaint that would be ship specific is the Retreat. Those hot tubs are not appealing when you have become used to the nice panoramic views on the other ships. This was a port intensive cruise so this problem was negligible.
The food on board was excellent. We ate in the Pinnacle Grill and had a wonderful meal. Our two MDR meals were excellent and the service was very good. Most of our meals were in the Lido and while the food was fine they could have used some more staff at breakfast. They did not have a person dedicated to the omelette station as is the norm. This person also had to make cooked egg orders and the wait was bearable until disembarkation day when herds of people were present all trying to get their last meal before leaving the ship.
The entertainment on ship during the Dancing With the Stars promotion has slipped badly and I did not expect much in this department. I did go to the first nights show and the talent of the performers was evident. Some of the selections left me wanting something different. They did have a comedian that was so good that I went back to the second show. A magician also made an appearance and was not impressive. I did try to sit through the Dancing with the Stars segment but left early as it was not all that entertaining. Hopefully when this relationship ends the shows will go back to something more interesting.
Overall I would give the crew high marks for the duration of the cruise. The staff in the Crows Nest made sure that we had our Happy Hour drinks and also let us know when other friends were present.
Perhaps the thing I enjoyed the most on this cruise was the bow. The captain allowed this to be open as we sailed into and out of all of our ports. The added views were priceless. I wish all of the ships would learn from this little tip as it adds so much for so little cost.
In the end I enjoyed my stay on the Veendam and would sail with her again if the itinerary was just right. We had considered her for a Hawaii cruise next year but decided that ten sea days with the Retreat would be too much. We did book the Maasdam for next year and look forward to that ship ship as they still have the pool in the back.