I don't know if it was because I have cruised so many times before and experienced amazing cruise ships, this one was a very different experience, and I would not recommend for anyone else who had cruised with another cruise lines and ships.
However, if you never cruised before, you may enjoy it, we never know!
From the depart, on the check in process it was a mess. They asked for our passports, and told us that they need to make copies of them for immigration purposes in Canada.
We got inside the ship to our cabin and when I tried to put the TV off, the first surprise, it was so DIRTY, seriously it has "colonies of something living in each button" so I used the head clear plastic cap from the shower to cover it, so we could touch it until the end of the cruise.
The cabin was not bad, just the light in the ceiling above the bed had like a grilled part covering the lamp that also was very DIRTY completely black and cover with dust from at least 5 years. It was supposed to be gold, it looks like one day it has been, however now it is just disgusting. After the first night, we saw lots of brown small particles covering the TV desk right under the AC exit, so everyday I cleaned it in the morning, and every morning it was there, again.
On the other hand, it has one of the best bathroom from all cruises I ever saw. Big, with a tub, very nice shower, really great.
The ship is very simple, nothing really stands out, not well decorated, it looks like she is a very old ship.
For the shows very small presentation every night, in a small stage. The sits are not well placed and it is very uncomfortable to watch any of their shows.
For food, I don't know who is their chef, but everything was almost tasteless. Not a lot of options, and in most ships we can find a place to eat 24h a day. They close their self service buffet for 3 hours at time, and this cannot be called a real self-service. We have to wait in line for most plates and they serve you, the staff are good, but their communication skills are almost zero. You have to repeat several times what you want.
Their buffet works from 7-9 am, which for me it doesn't work. When I am on vacation I like to wake up when I wake up, so if we can have breakfast menu until 11 am would be perfect. So they close by 9 or I would say 10 min to 9 they were not serving and cleaning everything. Then they re-open from 11.30 to 2 pm for lunch, then 5-8 pm for dinner. Always closing 10 to 15 min prior the time they were supposed to close.
For drinks, they serve only, water, ice tea, coffee and tea, 24h, juices only in the morning. And in the 11th floor, the same kind of lighting they have in the bedrooms, are placed close to the windows, and are as dirty as in the others. Some lamps also close to the tables are missing its cover lids and it is very dusty.
In the main restaurant, they say that the open seating is from 5-9 pm however, if you come close to 9, they bring one dish after another and ask you to leave because they close at 9 pm.
So with every single food point, which are not many, they have strict rules and timing. Completely different from most of other cruises. Where vacation means freedom!!!
Another disturbing fact, it is a very noise ship. We can hear the TV from the next room and people talking. All conversations on the corridors. Lots of operational and mechanic noises. Very weird.
Then, we received a call to show in the information desk to provide our passport because they needed copies. Remember that they did it already in the check-in process. So, we went there and they made copies and send us a letter informing that Canada immigration wanted to see us prior to debarkation. We should be by 7:45 am in a specific place for this purpose. I hate to wake up early, but if it was the rule we had to do so. Next day, we showed in the place on the right time, and was told that we were not in their list, it has been a mistake. Other passengers had complained about the same problem, or even worse, they wanted to confiscate some passport from a Portuguese couple coming from Europe.
At the end, we had tried to do some adjustments of some charges that was charged in our card, and the receptionist was very rude...
So, I think that the same trip with the right ship could be much better. Again, I am not complaining about the company "Holland America" I ve never sailed with any of their other ships, my complaints are about this ship "Veendam" that it!
The most beautiful place we stopped in the 7 days cruise.
The other ports of calls was not really great.