Veendam was dammed: Veendam Cruise Review by streakmarin
Overall Member Rating
Veendam was dammed
Destination: South America
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
It did not start well, as they were jackhammering the poolette, due to leaks over our room on the fantail for 3 days until 7 pm every night.
The air conditioning was very cool, but we were outside on the deck alot during the warm tropical ports, not realizing it was completely uncontrollable. After many attempts to get it corrected to no avail, our lovely room was changed to a forward creaking and groaning room forward, and we had hit a bad patch of seas with only one stabilizer working. They then told us we has to go back to our original room by Valparaiso as the had fixed the problem. Ha, Ha, Ha. We has to change rooms again after it sounded like a jet engine was spewing 60 degree air into our cabin.
The public areas were also very cold. Passengers getting on in Valparaiso were jealous that we all were wearing heavy Alpaca sweaters indoors that everyone purchased in Peru. The rooms More for bridge were so cold the pipes froze and flooded the room so they had to close them for the second half of the trip, forcing off the bridge director and then we had to try and play on tiny tables in the cocktail lounge with polar fleece on!
Port problems were numerous. They were mostly dreary industrial ports, where we had to pay HAL to get off the dock as there was little infrastructure if you were not on the ship's very overpriced excursions. The weather didn't help, as it was raining most days. We had gale for 7 winds around Cape Horn, again with only one stabilizer working. My SO is handicapped. and one day was so bad we had to have room service for all meals. There are quite a few tenders and with the strong winds, rain and even snow it was difficult so we missed a few ports We were able to catch a few local vans for $25-$30 vs $129 ships prices, but I was very disappointed I was not able to see but 1 penguin on the Falklands, as the we mating and in their burrows. A few that took the $220 4wd tour saw more on the other side of the island. Our most interesting experience was in Santa Marta, Columbia. It was a Sunday and misty, an my SO has a scooter so we ventured out on a bus to the port, then found out their pre columbian gold museum was open specially for the cruise ( Of course the port talk never mentioned it) The museum was only 4 blks away and we wanted to walk, which consternated the tourist police, so they provided us with an armed guard, which was very nice as we went all over the town and he knew the cut sidewalks and alleys that didn't have cobblestones to make it easy for us and I got to practice my Spanish, and he his English and he wouldn't even accept a tip at the end.
Now the POOLS. They finally finished re-tiling the poolette, what a waste that whole ares is. While it was being worked on they put up plastic and people were smoking up a storm and it was quite smelling and the piazza oven was out of commission for a wk or more too. The regular pool, had a handicap lift, that didn't work for weeks and then it was cold and the water wasn't heated and then it was and it was warmer than the hot tubs. The just could regulate anything with temps on this ship it seemed.
Then the dinning staff wrecked our scooter 1/2 the way thru and they couldn't even get us a screw driver so I could open it up and see if it could be fixed. Needless to say the whole trip was ruined. After moving 4 times, and not getting the nice room we paid for,we finally said we would not get off the ship until we got an adjustment and it was given the morning of disembarkation.
What was good? The food, and we really liked the Italian restaurant and if you go after 8 pm we never needed a reservation, however the menu never changed the whole 35 days, but the best wine prices there are and they will get them for you in the regular dining room. As the cruise progressed they started running out of fresh fruit, yogurt and breakfast cereals, and didn't let you know so one morning my breakfast order for room service was not filled at all!
Also, ordering a side of sauteed garlic perked up the most bland grilled foods.
All in all a sad ship and a sad cruise Less