Here is a summary of our impressions of the Veendam and our cruise to Bermuda from NYC on August 29. The ship size seemed fine for the passenger load it carries, the Lido, pool areas and the theater appeared small but the crowds fit. The theater allowed guests to sit quite close to the stage. We usually sat in the last row but that was the equivalent of sitting eight or ten rows back on most ships. The food in the main dining room was quite good and a couple of times great, particularly the desserts. Some passengers mentioned that the lobster on the final formal night was unevenly cooked, too well done for some and grayish and undercooked for others. Mine looked fine but just as it was put in front of me the stern make a big lurch and I had to bolt for the cabin, too darn bad. When DW returned from the lobster dinner the room steward told here that "her son" was in the cabin. That cheered me up but I wound up getting "the look" from my bride who is actually four years younger than I. HA.
Frankly, the pool area was kind of beat up with missing tiles etc. and the A/C in our cabin had to be set at maximum cool to keep things comfortable but they were comfortable. The A/C in the main dining room on one night in BDA was too warm and the diners across the table complained.
The captain left BDA six hours early to trail one hurricane by 100 miles or so and stay ahead of the next one to let us arrive in NYC on schedule and keep the speed low enough so that things weren't too rough, 12 - 16 foot seas. He mentioned that NCL Dawn which left BDA on time and was 70 miles behind us was "getting hammered" and expressed confidence in his decision. Its been my experience that no officer ever expresses a lack of confidence in a previous decision, but given the variables and the major problems for him if he was late starting the next cruise he made a good call.
We did not tender at St. George and everyone we spoke with was very glad about that because the BDA tender is too big, and runs too seldom. When we returned to the ship in Hamilton a steward passed out cold wash clothes on the gangway and that was very refreshing and a classy touch.
The lower promenade deck was the only area to walk laps of the ship and the teak surface is a nice old fashioned touch. However, the people renting the lanai cabins there had the deck chairs reserved for their use, which we understood but the area was narrow so that when they took cabin furniture like chairs and footstools out on deck we felt we were cutting through their dens at home. The lanai people we spoke with at dinner said they were very happy with those cabins however.
The entertainment by the singers and dancers was exceptional and everyone agreed about that. The lead male singer, Josh Hamilton was a good looking young man with a very strong and operatic voice. With all of these qualities we were not surprised to learn that he is an Ohioan. In fact, in a conversation with us after the last performance we discovered that he was raised about three miles from our house. It really is a small world. The comedian made most of the usual fear of flying remarks and the corny plumbing jokes but the audience seemed to like him.
The cruise director Simon, was low key but professional. On other cruises the CD reappears on the stage after the performances and highlights activities for the evening but ours did not. He did stand near the exits and interacted with the guests which was nice.
Midwesterners might find this cruise a bit of a cultural shock but for East coasters it should be comfortable.