Veendam may not offer as extensive a selection of cabin types as larger Holland America ships, but its 2009 refurbishment added several new cabin categories to help round out the selection. In addition, new decor, carpeting and soft goods give the cabins a more modern feel, with dark browns, reds and earth tones replacing the old bright red and blue cabin color schemes.
Veendam has 138 standard inside cabins, measuring 182 square feet each, and 306 outside cabins at 197 square feet. Beds can be arranged as two singles or one queen. Each cabin features a love seat with table and extra chair; small vanity/desk with flat-screen TV, DVD player and makeup mirror; bathrobes hanging on wall hooks; and a closet with a punch-code safe and a hair dryer. A nice touch is that closets have fold-down shelves and can be configured to have more room for hanging clothes or folded items, as you wish. An oddity is that, instead of a mini-bar, sodas and waters for sale are placed on the desk, taking up much-needed space. The stool at the desk/vanity is hollow for extra storage, though drawers under the bed are already filled with extra linens.
Of the 537 cabins with windows, 43 percent (that's 231 cabins) have balconies. Of those, 164 are verandah suites, each measuring 238 square feet with a 54-square-foot balcony. The decor and amenities are similar to those in standard cabins, just with larger desk areas. Balconies are furnished with wicker loungers and chairs, each with a padded cushion, and small tables. New aft balcony cabins have larger-than-average verandahs that look out over the ship's wake.
Two new cabin categories feature interesting modifications to the basic inside, outside and verandah cabins. Twelve cabins near the spa have received new balconies and, along with three inside cabins, form a group of spa cabins. These cabins have a lighter decor than the standard staterooms, with more beige, olive green and light blue colors. They also come with extra amenities, such as priority spa bookings on embarkation day, spa concierge service, turn-down gifts each evening, an enhanced mini-bar setup (Vitamin Water and Voss, rather than Evian and Coke), organic bathrobes and slippers, a "distinctive shower head," wooden bathmats, iPod docking stations, water features, yoga mats, pedometers and fitness DVDs. In addition, spa cabin guests can book Spa Stateroom Rituals, spa treatments exclusive to these passengers. A spa breakfast menu is a healthier take on the typical room service menu, offering items like healthy cereals (no Frosted Flakes), egg selections made with egg beaters or egg whites, and fresh-fruit smoothies.
In addition, former outside cabins and offices on Deck 6 have been transformed into 38 lanai cabins. These cabins have the same decor as spa cabins (minus all the extra amenities) and are the same size as standard outsides. The difference is that, instead of an outer wall with a picture window, each has floor-to-ceiling windows with a sliding glass door leading to the Promenade Deck. Two deck chairs outside are reserved per cabin, though signage on my trip was not clear, and often I'd find other people sitting in my chairs. The back door is opened from the inside with a push button; to get back, you must swipe a special key against a pad to unlock the door. It would be more useful if your cruise card had that functionality so you didn't have to remember two cards. Also, in order to have access out the sliding door, the cabin furniture is arranged like a balcony cabin, but as there's not as much floor space, and the desks in lanai cabins are smaller than in other cabins and have no drawers. All cabins on the Promenade Decks (both outside and lanai cabins) have special glass, so the interiors of the staterooms cannot be seen by day from deck. (At night, draw the curtains.)
The lanai cabins are great for people who want easy access to the outdoors and the wraparound Promenade Deck -- I found this particularly useful in Alaska. Whale sighting? You can be outside in two ticks. But, having access to a public deck is nothing like having your own balcony -- no place for al fresco breakfasts in your PJ's, no private space to relax and gaze at sea. A lanai cabin should not be equated to a balcony cabin when choosing which stateroom to book.
Editor's note: Lanai windows are washed at 5:30 a.m. each morning. Be prepared -- it could wake you up.
Bathrooms in all of the aforementioned cabin categories have tubs with curtains (except for shower-only inside cabins). They come with individual travel-size bottles of Elemis shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion, as well as two types of soap. Storage space by the sink is limited to two small glass shelves – there's no mirror that opens up to reveal a vanity cabinet.
For a splurge, Veendam offers two deluxe suite categories. The 28 Deluxe Verandah Suites measure 376 square feet with 180-square-foot balconies and are each essentially one enormous room with a king-size bed, large sitting area with two chairs and a sofa bed that sleeps two, a large drawer unit, a bathroom with a separate dressing room, a bar area with fridge, floor-to-ceiling windows and a verandah big enough to hold two lounge chairs and an outdoor dining table with four chairs. The king of cabins, one 979-square-foot Penthouse Verandah Suite has a bedroom with a king-size bed, living room with a sofa bed that sleeps two, a dining room that seats eight, its own kitchen (with a fridge and microwave), a master bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower, a guest toilet, dressing area with vault-like walk-in closet and a desk that looks out on the 180-square-foot verandah. The decor is palatial with antiques for decoration.
Deluxe and Penthouse Suite guests have exclusive access to the Neptune Lounge on Deck 10 and its concierge services. In addition, passengers booked in these suites get special perks, such as complimentary laundry service, binoculars to use during the cruise, priority tendering and exclusive cocktail parties and lunches.