“Nightmare at Sea”
Cruise review of Holland America Veendam

tazmi2 Veendam 1 Nightmare at Sea
Member Since 2003
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Embarkation:  SanDiego: 
*Disorganized and no restroom/had to use a port a potty in the parking lot
*Issued a letter by a HAL greeter stating that there had been an outbreak of NorVirus and offered to give us a full refund if we would not like to cruise. O'h how we wish we would have opted for this.....................but we thought, How bad can it be?

They blamed all the issues on the virus................however this has been going on for months on the Veendam, according to staff and previous reviews.

*Thermostat in our cabin was broken/no heat upon arrival and we spent the first day trying to resolve this issue.
*Day two, after engineering fixed heat............it got like a sauna and we had to leave the cabin door to the hall open to get any air.
*Water in the shower did not drain.  We had to stand in ankle deep water in order to shower.
*Long lines in the lido due to the "code red" which we see by other reviews has been an ongoing issue on this ship and seems to be more common on HAL than anyone else we have sailed.
*The ship was full of angry and hostile passengers who had sailed the panama canal since the ship came out of dry dock and the issues were endless. Their experiences were unimaginable!!!!
*Dining room issues were unbelieveable:  cold food, poor service, no one in charge, staff were rude (especially Michael, assistant MatreD)  Employees seemed to lack training and our breakfast was not only cold, no one at our table received the correct order.  After 45 minutes,I wandered through the dining room trying to get another cup of coffee and was scolded and told to SIT DOWN!! No water refills.  I asked for hot water to add to my coffee and the waiter said, hmm, maybe later.  One couple walked out because they were so disgusted with everything and did not eat breakfast.
*Piano player doubled as the fruit server in the morning and casino staff worked as food servers.
*Pool area was freezing cold as was most of the public rooms (exceptionally cold) making it impossible to enjoy the indoor solarium
*Cabin steward told us he had 38 cabins to clean.  Our room didn't get done until late afternoon.  He worked so hard and did a pretty poor job as you can imagine.  One day, I got my own dry clean towels from the housekeeping closet and made our own bed.  It was appauling that he was expected to do so many rooms.

Arrival in VanCouver:  Cruise director Johnny actually announced that they had a quick turn around here and to please exit the ship as quickly as possible........really made us feel welcome.  We were told we couldn't have a passenger comment card because we had only come on board in SanDiego.

Senior staff just kept passing the buck.  They know things are bad.  We were denied an appt with the hotel manager and told he was in meetings.  We were willing to meet at any time.  They refused.

This ship needs more than overhaul in dry dock.  The physical changes are beautiful but the service and attitude of the staff are by far the industry WORST!!!  We are still in shock that HAL has allowed this deplorable situation to continue.  Surely someone at HAL is interested in return business..............but we consider our vacation dollars and time wasted.  We have in excess of 50 cruise experiences to compare.................SAVE YOUR MONEY AND GO WITH ANOTHER OPTION.............THIS SHIP AND HAL HAS CRITICAL ISSUES TO RESOLVE............


Veendam Cruises to British Columbia
  • Sail Date: May 2009
  • Destination: Other
  • Embarkation: San Diego
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Cabin review: Large Interior Stateroom

Published 05/23/09
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