My wife and I were advised by E-Mail two days before our cruise that our ship, The Veendam, was delayed in drydock and would not be ready until 5/2/11 instead of the scheduled departure of 5/1/11. As a result, we were offered one of two options. Either we could receive a hotel room in Manhattan at the Sheration on 7th avenue and 53rd street or be given a $150.00 credit per person..
Many of the 1250 guests were already in transit to the cruise berths and never received this communication or were shut out of available rooms at the Sheraton. We were then provided a room after a very long wait and could not get into our room until after 4 pm.
The transfer on Monday, 5/2/11 was chaotic at best with 28 buses, which were delayed additional from the apponited departure time, transporting a variety of guests, many with physical disabilities. Lunch on board was minimal and many guests had not even boarded the ship when a boat drill was held at 4:15pm. Most of us were dog tired by this time and would have preferred to take a nap. The decks were totally empty as we sailed away from the dock.
The food and the service was inconsistent for the entire week. Truly not up to Holland America standards. Even the announcements were both brief and ambiguous as was the lack of good taste by the Cruise Director, Eric.
The transfer service by ferry in St George was disgraceful as 600 passengers
boarded and took nearly an hour to load and a 30 minute trip into St. George from where we were anchored.
There was several injuries onboard during the week by handicapped guests that had little or no assistance from the very untrained crew.
I could go on and on about the many problems incurred on this cruise. The only bright spot was the two very professional shows viewed aboard this week.
The tenor, Christopher Lowe was brilliant.
Even the exit from the ship on 5/8/11 was sloppy with over an hour delay for initial disembarkation.
Overall this was probably a "1" on a scale of "1" to "9". We were told they don't use a "10" because there was always room for improvement. This certainly was an understatement about this particular cruise.
And, a 25% discount for a future cruise aboard a Holland America cruise is an insult since many guests said they probably would not cruise Holland America ever again.