This cruise was planned about 1 year ago. I travelled with a family that I met on a previous Holland America cruise. This cruise is was a 7 day cruise out of New York on the Ms Veendam to Bermuda. The last time I was in Bermuda was approx. 19 years ago on the old Nieuw Amsterdam. I don't remember Bermuda that well because I was young. So this was almost a totally new experience for me.
Embarkation I live on Long Island so it was a short 30 minute drive to the New York Passenger Terminal at Pier 90. I car pooled with my friends to the pier. When we arrived we noticed that most of the parking was already taken. We arrived around 9:30AM. The security personnel at the parking lot directed us to Pier 88. This Pier had the parking for our ship and the Norwegian Dawn. It seems that because all of the ship using the New York Piers this summer is causing a shortage of parking spots. Before we got to the parking spot we dropped our bags off with some bag handlers. The room tags were already attached. Because we arrived before the other cruise was totally off we had to wait a few minutes until we could go through the X-ray machines and security check point. When we did go through it we were asked for our express boarding pass so they could check it agains our picture id. After proceeding through the check point the next area was the check in counter. The family I was traveling was in a suite, but these counters didn't have any attendants and they were forced to check in with the rest of passenger. Once our cards were given to us we were directed to the general waiting area. The husband asked about a suite waiting area and know one new about it. Few minutes passed and someone came and got them and directed them to the suite area. By 11:30 we were on board the Veendam and by 1:30 we were in our rooms.
Stateroom My room was on A Deck and was an outside with a large window. When I arrived it was very clean with my luggage in my room. Bathroom supplies, like shampoo, conditioner, soap were in the bathroom. During the cruise the room stewards kept great care to keep it well stocked and clean. Unlike the Vista class ship this room didn't have a refrigerator. Two cans of coke, diet coke and sprite were kept on the desk with an ice bucket. You had a fruit basket and a paper there asking what type of fruit interested you. This saves on the amount of fruit that is wasted because no one eats it. A complaint people had about this ship is that the A/C wasn't working. However, I found the A/C in this room to work well and it was very comfortable to sleep.
Dinning Except for the last day of the cruise we ate together in the Main Dinning Room (MDR). We had a table for 4 on the Starboard Side in the upper level. The stewards here were very attentive and by the second night knew what we liked for different parts of our meal. We were very upset when we had to say good by to them. On the last night of the cruise we ate in the speciality restaurant. The Pinnacle Grille was great as always. I had a Filet Mignon and it was cooked to my directions and tasted extremely well. Even the food in the MDR was well cooked and tasted well. However, I recommend that if you want a certain temperature of you steak in the MDR I would go one cooler. An example of this would be if I wanted medium rare. I would older rare and so on.
Ship's Condition I had a hard time giving a correct rating to different parts of the ship. The public rooms and cabins were very well kept. It didn't show much wear or tear. Most of the lounges look very nice. The colors were bright and nice. However, there are two areas that I would like to talk about. First, it seems that the elevators need a good servicing. Most of them are showing wear an tear. The boarders on the doors are riveted together. It doesn't look like the rivets and screw belong. These doors close extremely slow. One even alarmed because of the slow closing. Another would close, open, close, open before it would complete close. There were no report of stranded passenger but I bet some were scared. The other area is that the outside of the ship is showing some wear. I believe this is because of the new sanctions in ports pertaining to painting and cleaning. Some of the windows were dirty and rust was showing. A good rain storm and some paint would go a long way. The major problem was the Retreat. I think this is a major eye sore and a waist of space. The idea was great but doesn't work. Tiles are falling off everywhere. Water splashes all over and not a lot of people use this area. I think Holland America shouldn't add these areas to any more of the ships but the big Movie Screen should be added. It is great to watch Movies Under the Stars when in the Caribbean and in good weather.
Disembarkation Very smooth. We did expedited disembarkation and was off the ship by 7:45 in the car in a few minutes after and on our way home.
The voyage was great. I would recommend this cruise to anyone. From what I felt and saw the A/C worked fine. Maybe it was a little cooler in areas but I love that compared to being too hot.