Veendam Cruise Review by JoJo1973: Awesome Antarctica
Overall Member Rating
Destination: South America
Embarkation: Santiago (Valparaiso)
This was my first cruise ever and it couldn't have been better. I traveled with my mid-70s parents and they loved it too.
We really lucked out weather-wise and made all of the ports of call. I particularly liked Puerto Montt and Stanley, Falkland Islands. Puerto Chacubuco was good only because we had an awesome shore excursion (En Patagonia). Other people didn't particualarly like this stop. The itinerary was great, how they brought us to a beautiful glacier on Christmas morning so we could have a "white christmas". Antarctica was spectacular - could have used another day there since a couple spots were fogged out. I had considered one of those national geographic expedition-type trips that are big $ and get to step foot on Antarctica, but I really don't feel like I missed much, especially since we got to see penguins up close and personal in Punta Arenas and Falklands. Picking up scientists in Palmer station was also a fun and interesting thing to do. Our captain did an More amazing job helping us to see some of the real highlights of antarctica, especially navigating down the Lemaire Channel where the other ships didn't dare to go.
The sea days were almost as fun as the shore and antarctica days. Lots of fun activities, speakers, trivia, movies, bridge, etc. The shows were mostly good - I liked the variety of the people brought on for one night's show only (Daniel Bouchet, Fabio Zini, Juan Carlos) I liked reading the daily newspaper and getting the sudoku every day. Good selection of news and movie channels on the TV, plus ability to see reruns of ship speakers that were missed.
The staff was all good - captain, cruise director Patti, our steward Sam, etc.
Our room was OK and on the Main Deck. No issues with room temperature.
The food, especially the desserts and prepared salads in the Lido were great. Lots of variety. Nice touch when they served special treats (gingerbread & hot chocolate at the christmas shows, finger food for the bowl games on Jan 1, snacks at midnight on new years eve)
I have only a few minor complaints. The ship's shore excursions are too expensive. They seem to cost about double what it might cost if booked independantly. The tendering process at Puerto Montt took 2 hours before any independant travelers could get off. A few food items were bad (I couldn't even look at the lobster thermidor). I was sleeping in the sofa sleeper and the sheets were clean but old (permanent stains and holes). I only called room service a couple times, but it was sometimes slow (for example, took an hour to get ice delivered). I loved the Crows Nest but it got way too smoky in the Antarctic. Due to regulations, people couldn't smoke outside or on their balcony so the only smoking areas were the casino & crows nest.
Overall great trip and good value. I would recommend this cruise to others. Less
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