This was our first cruise.
Embarkation relatively efficient -- grand total dock to Lido Deck -- about three hours. Upon arrival at departure terminal we were handed a letter advising us the "Norovirus" had been present on the Veendam's previous cruise and giving us the opportunity to cancel our cruise. It was too late -- we had just flown 1300 miles. We decided to take the chance. We won. We were not among the 300 passengers who ultimately became ill.
Cabin -- we found it to be more than adequate for our needs. Steward was excellent -- efficient, helpful and caring.
Dining -- overall dining was mediocre at best. The Rotterdam Dining Room was very attractive but the menu was very limited and the quality was average. The Lido Deck restaurant fare was at best average in selection, variety, quality and presentation. The Late Night Snack menus were very limited. The Late-Night Room service was far too restrictive. Pre-Order Room Service for breakfast was excellent, efficient and of good quality.
Entertainment -- we attended the Ruben's Lounge show every night. Some were excellent, some were very amateurish.
General comments -- in spite of the Norovirus, one of the five engines breaking down, the non-stop apologies of the Captain for not providing what should be provided, the cancellation of the last port of call, the return to Tampa twelve hours early, the constant complaining of many, many experienced cruisers, etc., etc. -- we still had a very enjoyable time. It was a disappointment for a first cruise but an enticement to keep on cruising. Most of the experienced cruisers I spoke to said the cruise was terrible -- we didn't know any better -- we just knew the cruise did not meet our expectations for Holland America Lines. I must say the Lines made a great deal of effort to make up for all the problems. We will have to think a great deal before deciding to cruise this line again before we try another line.