Veendam Cruise Review by CJSANDFS: An exciting cruise!
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An exciting cruise!
This was a great cruise. I was really interested in the scenic cruising aspect and it did not disappoint. Loved the Veendam, much better atmosphere than the Eurodam which was my first HAL experience.My lanai cabin was an excellent alternative for a single who did not want to pay for a balcony.
We hit an amazing storm after we left the Falklands. The Captain, Rik Krombeen, kept us informed of what was going on, so it was not at all frightening.Communication was so important to keep everyone calm after he requested that we stay in our cabins.
The next day the Captain announced that we had had winds that were one and a half times hurricane speed, that is over 100 mph on deck.The forecast had been for 55mph winds and he said it was the worst storm he had ever been in, in 31 years of sailing.
Waves were 35 feet and were hitting the very top deck. People in the lower decks had shutters fitted to their windows.
We lost a whole day and I would have been More happy to miss Punta Arenas but it is where the $3399 day in the Antarctic excursion leaves from, a good little
Holland America money spinner. We missed Puerto Montt instead. I was very happy with the way this cruise went but I can understand that those who were seasick found it a nightmare. It certainly gave everyone something to talk about and we were well informed. I was amazed at the people who had very tight connections in Valparaiso, one of whom publicly abused the captain.
We got a very generous cruise credit for something that was not HAL's fault.
Please read my port reviews for further details. Less
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Cabin review: CA361
Just loved Lanai cabin 361. This is great idea for singles, but may have been a bit small for 2.Good alternative to a balcony and good price. Being able to open my door and get straight out onto the promenade deck was wonderful.
Port and Shore Excursions
After Punta Arenas we headed for the the Brunjo Glacier. Magnificent. Got within 1 mile. Seems the Amalia Glacier has retreated 4 miles since 1950 so that part of the fjord is not mapped. The surrounding hills etc looked like 'Stollen', dusted with fresh snow. I went out on the bow while at glacier and saw the damage to the ship which showed just how powerful the storm was.
I set foot on the Falklands. Literally got off the tender, took a few photos and scuttled back to the comfort of the Veendam. As I wasn’t on a tour it took forever to get a tender but I am so glad I came back when I did. We were warned about the changeable weather and they were so right. It went from sunny to cloudy to wet to hail in less than 20 minutes. Not somewhere I want to stay. Very barren and no trees.
We waited ages for the tenders to come back and be winched up. Two of them were hanging around for nearly an hour, unable to get close enough to the ship to get the passengers back on. Very rough and windy.
I didn't booked anything. One lady told me that the only worthwhile thing was the chocolate shop in the main street so I skipped the penguins and the sea lions. Did some good shopping and I think the leather was even better than in Buenos Aires.Chocolate was great!
Before Ushuaia we got one of the real Cape Horn nightmare storms, waves over 35 feet and winds up to 90 knots. Just incredible.
The next morning was calmer but we still had 30 - 40 knot winds. The Captain,[Rik Krombeen] did not leave the bridge and was very, very good about updates. We were only doing 3 knots and he kept turning to try and get away from the wind. Then he would have to pump water into the stabiliser to right whichever side was listing. Everything in my cabin went flying so I ended up stashing glasses and just everything on the dresser into drawers buffered by undies. Water came in under my sliding door and I closed the curtains as it was so cold.
We ended up doing an overnight in Ushuaia. One of our anchors went and they had evidently had 1000 metres of chain hanging off the back of the ship on the portside.
Thanks be that I am a good sailor. Most the day was spent in our cabins, Captain's request. I had lots of books and I quite like just watching the sea. I had a light lunch before it got really bad and ordered a sandwich after my spa visit.It took 2 hours to arrive. Eventually they sent crew around to take orders as the dining rooms and, I suppose the kitchens, were closed. I'm quite happy as the 'rounding the Horn' experience was what I was after, not penguin viewing in port. The Clelia II was docked next to us. It is the one that had to be towed in. It made the news.