My husband and I were very excited about the cruise: 20 days from Valparaiso to Rio over Christmas and New Years. Our cabin was just fine, and the ship was running smoothly. The first port, Puerto Montt, was interesting despite heavy rain. Then the Veendam headed out for two days at sea. Next stop: Punta Arenas. Unfortunately, the ship moved into code red with noro-virus. What my husband thought was noro-virus was really appendicitis. He was moved into the ship's medical facility until we could reach Punta Arenas. The medical staff on board was overwhelmed by the virus outbreak so, although they did all they could for my husband, he was filled with antibiotics and morphine, and we hoped we would reach port in time for surgery. Since the staff was overwhelmed, my husband was sent back to our cabin each night because there was no one in the medical facility who could be on call throughout the night. Fortunately, he survived, but we had to disembark from the cruise and spent the rest of the "vacation" in a hospital in Punta Arenas.
That said, our brief impression of the Veendam was positive. As I said earlier, the cabin was very comfortable. We chose late seating in the dining room, and the wait staff was attentive and polite. The food was attractive and very tasty, and the wines were fairly reasonable. Relatives traveling with us, who completed the cruise, reported that the boat's staff seemed to get more and more overwhelmed as the virus continued to spread. They said that toward the end of the cruise, even the members of the string quartet were serving passengers in the buffet area, since all self-serve lines were closed. But our relatives, too, praised the ship and loved the itinerary.
We were in cabin D417 on the Lower Promenade deck. I worried about privacy, since people on deck would be walking right past our window, but the tinting prevented anyone from seeing in during the day, and at night we closed the curtains. Although the promenade deck has lights on at night, they do not shine into the cabin. There was plenty of room in the cabin. The beds are very comfortable (we split them into two singles). And the bathroom is huge by cruise ship standards. It has a tub and a shower. On our last cruise, on RC Brilliance of the Seas, the shower was a tiny scrap of real estate in the corner of a small bathroom. Although we were in the rear of the ship, it was quiet.
Despite our bad luck, we would definitely cruise with Holland America again. But we also learned a hard, hard lesson: never travel outside the US without extra medical insurance. My husband has Medicare, which works only in America.