My DH and I drove from New Jersey to the Port in New York. We parked in the port long term parking. We arrived at the Port at approximately 11:30 AM and made our way onto the ship immediately by approximately 11:45AM. We went immediately to the Dining Room expecting to attend an Mariners Embarkation Luncheon. The dining room was empty and none of the staff appeared to be aware of an Mariners Embarkation luncheon. We then made our way to the Lido and had Lunch. We had no problem finding a table and enjoyed a relaxing lunch. We remained at the table until it was announced that our rooms were ready (around 1:30PM).
We went to our room and absolutely loved it except for the fact that we had twin beds when we requested a queen. We had fresh flowers and a fruit bowl with a check list as to what kinds of fruit we would prefer. We checked our preferences and our fruit & Ice was replenished regularly. While we were unpacking our room stewards Teguh & Anis came to introduce themselves and stated that they would fix our bed during dinner. During the Lifeboat drill we needed only to step out of our Lanai door. Upon returning from the lifeboat drill we found that our bed had been converted to a queen bed. We loved our reserved loungers and sat in them daily while reading or relaxing and taking in the views. We actually never occupied loungers elsewhere on the ship. We had a few incidences of people sitting on our loungers but immediately moved if we came outside with no problem and a pleasant attitude. My attitude was that if I was not sitting in it I didn't have a problem with someone else sitting there. We did find out that you can see in from the deck if you cup your hands around your eyes and press your nose up against the door. You can also see inside if the sun goes down and the lights are on inside. The first thing we did every morning was open our curtains and enjoy the floor to ceiling view. I enjoyed the Lanai so much more than my past verandas as we were able to have be social, relax, read and view the sights all from one location and all at one time. Hors d'oeuvres were also delivered to our stateroom upon arrival and also prior to our vows renewal. I'm not sure if this was an unadvertised part of the vow renewal package. We also receive a Holland American canvas bag as a gift which was left on our bed with a card on day 2.
The ship was perfect. It was sold out but you would not have thought so as it was always so peaceful, quiet, no congestion, no crowds. I love the feel and size of the Veendam. Beautiful & classy with out being gaudy.
We ordered room service twice for breakfast and found the food to be very good, hot and delivered at the time that we requested. Most of our meals took place in the Lido where the food was excellent, no rudeness, no long lines and Indra (wait staff)was amazing with how he remember our names every day. We ate in the Pinnacle twice, Tuesday & Saturday (one meal was included in the renewal of vows package) where the food & service was very good however I felt that the food in the dining room surpassed that of the Pinnacle. We ate in the Dining room the last two days. We had open seating it was a breeze. We did not make reservations, we just showed up when we were ready and were seated immediate every time. Dinner was always served promptly and we were never late to or misses a show. We were always at least a half hour early for the shows. We also received an invitation to attend a Mediterranean and Seafood Lovers Lunch in the Rotterdam Dining Room to enjoy as we were sailing from Bermuda.
The shows were amazing. Every seat is a great seat. They were entertaining, classy and there was something to suit all tastes. I must say that I have been on a number of cruises and these shows were a welcome change from all of the Las Vegas Style shows that I am used to seeing.
Our Renewal of Vows was perfect. We received an invitation from the Captain to arrive at the Crows Nest at 7:15 PM on Friday. Upon arriving we were greeted by Rasheida the Party Planner who was very vibrant and friendly. There was one other couple who was also renewing their vows. There was a beautiful floral arrangement and a beautiful cake. Champagne was available (MY DH & I don't drink alcoholic beverages so were were given Ginger Ale)and hors d'oeuvres. The captain arrived soon and chatted with us for about 20 - 30 minutes (give or take) and them proceeded with the ceremony. A photographer took pictures of us with the Captain and alone as well as cutting the cake. A beautiful album with the pictures was delivered to our cabin, and a copy of the toast & vows the following day.
There were 2 formal nights where we dressed the part, ate at the Pinnacle and took pictures with each photographer stationed. We actually purchased some from each sitting. Never ran into the fashion police, didn't notice anyone eyeballing anyone else, didn't overhear anyone taking about anyone else. Didn't run into one rude person.
DH enjoyed spinning a few days in the gym and a Fire & Ice pedicure while I enjoyed a manicure. The spa services were done very professionally and DH can't wait for his next. I was no attempts to sell me anything from the spa, however my DH did come away with some body oil at the price of $ 55.
Disembarkation was smooth. From the time we were called, we were off the ship and in our car in 15 - 20 minutes.