Veendam Review May 29, 2011
First I want to say please ignore typos, fragmented sentences, grammar errors and other things I know someone will find in this review. Thanks! Sue
I'm going to start with the embarkation process, which for us was seamless.
We arrived at the New York terminal at 11:00 AM, and were greeted as soon as we arrived by a HAL rep. We were then handed some paper work to fill in and sent to a sitting area to fill this in and were handed out numbers. Be sure to get a number theyare needed to go to the next step, which is lining up for your boarding passes, etc. That line was a bit long, but went fast. After that we sat and waited to board, by number.
They started that around 11:30 and we were on the ship and in our room by 12:00.
Okay, we are on the ship! Down to our cabin we go, we had an outside cabin on the main deck. The room was spotless and there was no trace of smoke or any type of odor.
We thought the cabin was a very nice size, plenty of room for the two of us. We met our cabin steward, who seemed overworked and exhausted. We asked for wine glasses and extra ice and they were in our room in 10 minutes. So in spite of his being tired, he took
care of us right away. And this treatment continued the entire time we were on the ship.
So we were very pleased with the cabin and service there.
Okay on to the Lido deck, here is the one place I found the most to complain about.
The service was slow, sloppy and painful at times. The staff was always polite and
I do believe tried but they were understaffed and had too few doing too much. Thefood at the outside grill was overdone and dry. One day my husband ordered a cheeseburger and was handed the burger and a slice of cheese still in the plastic wrap. No lie! He then asked the server about the cheese and the server asked if he needed help unwrapping it, he told him no he would like it melted on the burger. The funny thing was the two guys behind him made sure they told them to put their cheese on the burger also. Never had dinner there just breakfast 2 days and lunch 2 days.
The dining room was lovely and we had wonderful service at dinner every day.
Breakfast however was painfully slow each time we ate there. The food was good, it was just the slow service that kept us from going there every day. We had breakfast in our cabin 2 days and that worked out really well. We did get coffee in our cabin each morning, the room service staff was great. We did the afternoon teas twice and it was a nice break after running around each morning.
Entertainment was a bit disappointing. We know the ship catered to an older crowd, my DH and I are in our early 50's, but one show with a bit more contemporary music would have been fun. My DH, who loves oldies, was even bored. They really need to revamp it a little bit to appeal to everyone. The casino was small, but only crowded on one night. There was always a place to play if you wanted to do so. We went to karaoke night and that was fun, we enjoyed the people who performed. Both the good and the not so good.
The pool was very small and I do mean very small. There were not enough lounge chairs around for the amount of people who wanted them. There were plenty of tables and chairs if you just wanted to sit at a table. My husband and spent a day just reading at a table and that was okay. On the Retreat deck where the hot tubs now reside there were more lounge chairs but on the first day at sea they were all saved by 11:00 AM. This is a problem on all ships so we were not surprised. We did keep walking and found 2 chairs in an hour or so. People do come and go at least and chairs do open up. There were also chairs located in other places on the ship, but on that first day at sea everything was packed.
For the smokers there were plenty of tables and chairs in the Retreat area on the bar side.
I do not smoke but my DH has and outdoor cigar on occasion so he was happy to find others who would not be giving him the evil eye. So if smoking is something you enjoy you can do that there or on any outside deck where there are ashtrays. There are at least two floors to smoke outside; the 6th and the Retreat area have ashtrays. There may be more I did not really notice.
Disembarkation was a bit tiring; we arrived with another large ship so it got a bit crazy.
The second day of our trip we received a form to fill in regarding the time we would like to disembark, we chose 9-9:30 AM. The day before we were to disembark we received a letter telling us our time had been changed to 8:15-8:30 since there were three ships that would be in port. No problem for us we are early risers. When our number was called we went to disembark and found the other ship had started to disembark also so we had to wait. People were stuck on stairways and in the hallway for up to half an hour. That was painful. After that it did get a bit smoother, we got our luggage and got though customs in 20 minutes tops.
Bermuda itself was beautiful and we enjoyed every minute there. The buses were great, the taxis also terrific. We did a 5 mile Railway Trail walk which was also lots of fun, a little hot but fun. Shopping was a bit disappointing, but I really wasn't there to shop.
If you have your laptop and want free WiFi head for the public library, you can use your laptop outside or inside not problem. We stopped by twice to keep tabs on someone who was sick at home.
I am sure I am leaving out so very much but I have to stop at one point. I hope this helped. I would do this trip again in a heartbeat!