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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We sailed on this ship at the beginning of Nov., from Rome back to Ft. Lauderdale. That was 16 days (many of them sea days) so we really felt like we had a chance to get into the ocean voyage frame of mind. It was a totally pleasant, ... Read More
We sailed on this ship at the beginning of Nov., from Rome back to Ft. Lauderdale. That was 16 days (many of them sea days) so we really felt like we had a chance to get into the ocean voyage frame of mind. It was a totally pleasant, relaxing experience. The service was low-key and attentive. I would say that this is the ship for people who are looking for a little "old style" cruising. There were no "art" auctions, no overly enthusiastic blaring music on the Lido deck, no aggressive photo sales, no long lines, and no children running about. Just pleasant days doing what you want with discrete service offered. Yes, the ship is older (as were most of the travelers) and most people on board were cordial and happy to chat if you wanted. It didn't seem to matter that it was an older ship and lacked some of the bells and whistles. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
I choose this cruise because of the ports. I was on the Atlantic Adventure in 2011 and 2013 on the Maasdam. The Maasdam was much better. This cruise had no activities around the pool. No music,no BBQ S,boring. The cruise director was ... Read More
I choose this cruise because of the ports. I was on the Atlantic Adventure in 2011 and 2013 on the Maasdam. The Maasdam was much better. This cruise had no activities around the pool. No music,no BBQ S,boring. The cruise director was terrible. The shows were just ok. Nothing great. The singers and dancers only had a few shows do do in 49 days. They could have put on more shows then they did. They were also repeats. The pool water was freezing even though it was a heated pool. After repeated attempts at the front desk to turn the heater on I contacted head office in Seattle. Did it help? No. They sent me chocolate covered cherries and a bottle of wine. I just wanted a warm pool. Also we were charged for shuttles to take us out of the port to the town center. When we complained they told us it was the port that charged us, wrong. It shows up on our statement as excursion. We heard that this is the last cruise going to these ports. That is probably why they did not care if we liked it or not. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Enjoyed the destinations thoroughly but wished the ship was in better condition. The food was OK and once in a while excellent in the dining room. The food overall contained too much salt, but you could request a no sodium menu if you ... Read More
Enjoyed the destinations thoroughly but wished the ship was in better condition. The food was OK and once in a while excellent in the dining room. The food overall contained too much salt, but you could request a no sodium menu if you wanted. The best dining was in the Pinnacle Grill - the staff worked very hard to ensure we were satisfied. We dined there at least five times :D! Unfortunately, the norovirus affected our ship but at the height of its outbreak, there were just 24 or so passengers (including 2 crew members) who were stricken. Procedures over a ten day period (my estimate) to combat its spread included monitoring passengers' washing of hands & taking away access to the beverage & buffet station. Kudos to the Captain who was communicative, up front, informative and kept us in the loop with everything going on (good or bad!). The crew was great as well. We heard a lot of grumbling about the boring activities (or lack thereof) for a cruise of this duration with its amount of sea days (7 after embarkation and 7 sea days returning). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We were so looking forward to this trip, great itinerary. But Veendam's age issues was more than we want to ever put up with again. Cabin 754, Deck 4, OV midship/forward port side - has a short couch and an end-table; 6 drawers in ... Read More
We were so looking forward to this trip, great itinerary. But Veendam's age issues was more than we want to ever put up with again. Cabin 754, Deck 4, OV midship/forward port side - has a short couch and an end-table; 6 drawers in the vanity, shower/tub combo. Room temperature was not controllable, everything from 66 - 82F. We did have a fan, as requested, and it saved us a bit while trying to sleep in the overheated room. Front desk sent maintenance who reset the thermostat but it really was so slow recovering, about 1-2 days, that the real recovery occurred only when we were no longer in warm places or on the sunny side of the ship. Elevators are a constant frustration, especially when you live on deck 4; Veendam only has 2 elevator banks, forward and aft; each bank has 4 cars but in each bank only 3 worked throughout the cruise, 2 cars were totally out of commission throughout the cruise, waiting for parts to be fabricated. And oftentimes there were fewer than 6 operating cars, plus they'd get stuck occasionally. Living on deck 4 meant that many times the elevator wouldn't come to that level having filled up at higher decks. So the advantages of a small ship for getting around has to be balanced by where you are and where you usually want to go. Otherwise the ship was as expected, old but nice. The hot tubs didin't always work or were cold, but not uncommon on HAL. At least there were more hot tubs to choose from. Another disadvantage of this small ship was that we didin't have enough power to dock in Corfu with winds gusting to 40 knot, although a larger ship was able to dock that day as we were deciding to leave. Dining: As expected, good to very good with occasionally an excellent experience. There was prime rib on the menu every few nights, but only sometimes was it very good, other times it was too tough to bother with, so the variability led to disappointment. Lido breakfasts had a huge selection. MDR had a huge selection, but very slow. Lido lunch had a good selection and Lido dinner had a poor selection. We ate nearly all our dinners in the MDR and were satisfied, Had one Pinnacle dinner, always good if you like their menu offerings. New York Pizzas are too big for most people so there is a lot of waste there; they are good and made to order but they are not New York pizza. The Dive In burgers, dogs and fries are very good, but I only allowed myself one lunch there and loved every bite. The Taco Bar can be a good place to add to a lunch or snack, but it closed for about 2-3 weeks due to norovirus, so don't depend on it. There were several locale-themed Lido dinners which I checked out, but I found that the special desserts were the best part of those meals (I speculate from some of the local wrappers that they are brought on board from specialty shops on shore, a nice touch.) Room service menus are more streamlined than they used to be but wonderful to have and very prompt. Entertainment and Activities: As expected, mostly mediocre with a few highlights, more movies than there used to be, more BBC activities, fewer cruise director staff on board now so no more crafts, deck games, marriage game even Karaoke. We did have 2 lecturers on board at any given time, 2 eastbound, 2 others westbound. In my opinion for each leg we had one very goo lecturer and one lesser speaker. But kudos to HAL for having the enrichment opportunities. There were talks on the ports by both the shore excursion staff and then by the port guides. The port guides had desk hours for 2 hrs in the afternoon but sometimes one person would take a half hour so it was frustrating to have to go back and wait the next day... if there wasn't a conflict with a talk or other activity you wanted to go to. So it's much better to do your research ahead of time. There were 4 talks by ship officers including 2 Q&A sessions by Captain Noel O'Driscoll. Service was better than most HAL ships I've been on, maybe because the ship was not full at 1200 and 1250 passengers (eastbound/westbound legs). Ports: Great ports and wonderful to have 3 overnights in great places to visit - Lisbon, Barcelona and Valletta. One downside of the port visits was that we had to pay for many port shuttle, some very expensive such as Dubrovnik which was $16pp R/T. The hardest part of this trip for us was that we were sick for at least half the trip. We picked up mild colds in the first half, then noro, then my husband developed bacterial pneumonia, something he's never had and he is not a smoker... then m cold rebounded much worse. So having to combat illness and face the possibility of being put off the ship (Ship doctor who diagnosed the pneumonia prescribed antibiotics but said if they didin't work we'd have to go to a hospital) we hunkered down to survive and missed out on a lot of the second half of the itinerary. There were medical cases put off at nearly all of the 20+ ports of call, plus 2 extra stops. I'm wondering if HAL is being ultra conservative putting people off. I met at least 2 passengers who were put off but did return to the ship after several days and very convoluted and expensive travels to get back on board.... not what any of us want our vacation to include. Also, while struggling against colds we didn't use the stairs as much, so the elevator problems were even more frustrating. I will say that the most common conversation was, Are you feeling better? Oh your cough is much worse! We missed you at dinner/ shore trip/ trivia... etc. People all over the ship were struggling with colds, coughs, bronchitis and worse. Not the vacation I would want to repeat but I realize that catching colds is not uncommon, it's just that this time it scared us more. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I write my review with a small tear in my eye as we just disembarked yesterday from the Atlantic Adventure Cruise to the Mediterranean. Where shall I start? Embarking, HAL has the system down! We were settled into our stateroom ... Read More
I write my review with a small tear in my eye as we just disembarked yesterday from the Atlantic Adventure Cruise to the Mediterranean. Where shall I start? Embarking, HAL has the system down! We were settled into our stateroom with very little trouble, from the port to the ship they had things moving along. Our cabin, deck 10, #076 was wonderful! Love the nice large verandah on the aft with a nice 180 degreee view. Cabin was comfortable (couch was a bit uncomfortable but not truly an issue). Only issue was deck above was “the Retreat” and staff setting out loungers at 6 a.m. was a rude awakening! Cabin stewards were wonderful, each time we visited they asked if there was anything they could do to make our stay more comfortable! Common areas were clean and well maintained, staff were visible cleaning and polishing and picking up after guests. Were there areas that needed repair, sure there were! It is an older ship and the salty seas are hard on it as are the thousands of passengers who sail on it each year! Dining was great, good choices in Dining Room and on the Lido. The Pinnacle and Canelletto were suburb each time we dined there. Staff was wonderful. HAL has a great reputation for service and this ship is no exception. From “salad girls” on the Lido to Dining Room Managers and Wine Stewards they were all willing to go the extra mile to be certain your trip was perfect. Shore excursions were top notch. A bit spendy and several other passengers had made other arrangements. Perhaps HAL might want to reevaluate their tours if they are losing business to others. Entertainment was spotty. I have been on other HAL cruises and seen better. But you can’t please everyone and others seemed to enjoy most of the shows. All in all HAL offers a great cruise, a quiet ship and wonderful service, you can’t ask for more! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We took this cruise, offered once a year, in 2014 and 2015. We love the crossing both before and after the port intensive Mediterranean. It also stopped at the amazing Azore and Madera Islands. Additionally, the ports in the ... Read More
We took this cruise, offered once a year, in 2014 and 2015. We love the crossing both before and after the port intensive Mediterranean. It also stopped at the amazing Azore and Madera Islands. Additionally, the ports in the Mediterranean offer endless possibilities of wonderful historic and cultural excursions. Many of us on the cruise were disappointed to learn that HAL is not offering it in 2018 as we are ready to take the same cruise again next year. We hope that HAL will bring it back in 2019. The Veendam Dining served wonderful dinners. We never tired of fantastic menus, tasty food, and attractive deserts. The entertainment could have been better and the enrichment talks were not always on subjects that captured our interest. However, many of them were very good and informative. My only complain were the elevators. One our of four were out of order. I have knee and heart problems so it was difficult for me, along with many other fellow cruisers on this 7 week voyage. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
The cruise was great overall. The weather did not cooperative at times. I had a bad start to the cruise as I lost my wallet. It was however found and returned to me by the front desk. Having a tour guide is a great addition to services ... Read More
The cruise was great overall. The weather did not cooperative at times. I had a bad start to the cruise as I lost my wallet. It was however found and returned to me by the front desk. Having a tour guide is a great addition to services for passengers. I ate mostly at the Lideo buffet as open seating is not to my liking. I can only hope that Holland America adds the cruise back as soon as they can. It is presently not offered for the next two years. I got upgraded to a Veranda Suite that means a cabin with a balcony. Having Happy Hour in the Crowsnest twice a night was great. Keep having Happy Hours!! I was dressed as Santa for five different occasions. One was for the Cruise Critics lunch. Having Cruise Critics is a good way to find out about your fellow passengers. It is also a great way to find out about ports of call and the ship before the cruise. Having meetings on the ship by Cruise Critics is great. Having some one volunteer to set up a spread sheet with information on fellow passengers, private tours that fellow passengers have scheduled including with whom and if additional seats are available for that tour. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
I took a cruise on the Koningsdam to the Baltic in September as part of a NYTimes Journey tour group. I did not attend any of the on-board entertainment as our tour group had special meetings while at sea. The conference room HAL provided ... Read More
I took a cruise on the Koningsdam to the Baltic in September as part of a NYTimes Journey tour group. I did not attend any of the on-board entertainment as our tour group had special meetings while at sea. The conference room HAL provided was very comfortable. I thought the food in the dining room and lido were excellent. We also ate in the specialty restaurant Tammarind and it too was excellent. The only meal that was lacking was a beef stroganoff where spaghetti noodles were used. I joked around and said the laundry room had shrunk all my clothes. I had to clarify to another person that was a self-deprecating remark as I ate too much. Never went to the exercise room. Another guest in our group pointed out there should have been at least one dinner choice that reflected the port we were in. I'm not sure how much herring or borscht I'd wanted to have. I was totally happy with the choices. Cabin attendants were excellent, polite, friendly and efficient. Our cabin on the first floor was Large TV screen in the cabin I only wished I could have used my blue-tooth headset so as not to disturb my cabin mate as I would wake up at weird times and watch the news from the U.S. I will definitely look for more cruises with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Embarkation and Disembarkation ran very smoothly. We had a balcony cabin on the Gershwan Deck (Deck 5) which was very comfortable good size and faciliities were good, Be aware that Water in the cabin is charged out to you based on US$ ... Read More
Embarkation and Disembarkation ran very smoothly. We had a balcony cabin on the Gershwan Deck (Deck 5) which was very comfortable good size and faciliities were good, Be aware that Water in the cabin is charged out to you based on US$ plus tax. Cabin service was good. The Dining Room and the Buffet Eatery were good however at times seating was difficult. The Italian Restuarant was very good but had a menu that never changed. The coffee served on the ship was terrible, the only decent coffee was in the Crows Nest cafe which you have to pay for. Overall the service was good but no better than was expected. Entertainment and Activities were extremely Poor. Occasionally there was a good show but very short, very little variety. Bingo consisted of 4 sheets for US$35 only to play a corner or a line. It was a total RIPOFF. Activities were minimal. There were no quiet areas on the ship for reading and the library was non existent. Shore Excursions were well run and generally of good value and interesting. We did not travel with children although there was an area for kids over 3 yrs old. Be aware that gratuities are charged to your account daily at the rate of US$13.50 per person can be more if you have a suite. This is exceedingly expensive considering what you have already paid for the trip, a gratuity should be something you elect to pay and we felt like most passengers on board that they were interested only in recovering the costs for this ship in a short amount of time at the travellers expense. Would we travel again with Holland America unfortunately NOT. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We had a fairly fast check-in and started boarding the ship at noon from Amsterdam. Our rooms were ready as soon as we boarded. We were very pleased with our balcony room 6151: a good size, comfortable bed, good lighting in the room and ... Read More
We had a fairly fast check-in and started boarding the ship at noon from Amsterdam. Our rooms were ready as soon as we boarded. We were very pleased with our balcony room 6151: a good size, comfortable bed, good lighting in the room and bathroom, plenty of storage space. I thought we had a good-sized shower, but my tall husband found it a bit narrow. The shower head was excellent. I was glad to have a good makeup mirror. Balcony furniture was comfortable, and we used the balcony quite a bit. We had no problems with noise in our room. Our room steward did an excellent job of cleaning the room, working around our schedule. Ice was provided every day. The food was generally good. The Lido had excellent salads, and the other stations were good. We were sorry to see that they no longer offer an eggs Benedict station at breakfast. The omelet I got was oversalted. You are no longer allowed to serve yourself, which slows down the process. Often there were not enough servers to keep up with the demand. You can't even get your own beverage anymore, and it was usually difficult to find someone to get us iced tea. The problem with service was worse on at-sea days. The deli was so-so, but the Dive In served great hamburgers. Once we had dinner at the Lido and had very good steaks. We had early seating in the Dining Room. Appetizers, salads, and main courses were very good. Soups were meager. We had mixed results with desserts. Service was very slow. It usually took almost two hours to finish dinner, and we had to rush to get to the show or else arrive late. The servers were excellent, but they were all overworked. We were not thrilled about the onboard activities. I did learn some new things in the digital workshops, and we loved going to the afternoon teas. But we did not find much else of interest. We were very sorry to see that there is no longer a library, just a meager "book exchange." Entertainment was varied and very good. "Frozen Planet Live" was wonderful. We enjoyed a good comedian and a good illusionist. The dancers were excellent. The 8:30pm show tended to be overcrowded, so we tried to go earlier. We went on this cruise mainly to see the Norwegian fjords, so I recommend getting up early as the ship enters the fjords. It's still pretty dark, but it's worth it for the experience. Find a good spot to enjoy the cruising out of the fjords, as well. Having a balcony room saved us from the trouble of fighting for a space on the decks. Plus, I could go outside in my pajamas in the early morning and catch the view of the fjords. In Eidfjord we took a pleasant walk along the blue footpath, and then we took the shore excursion to Voringsfossen waterfall. Do not miss it! I just wish we had been allowed more time there. That excursion also included a boat ride on the fjord. In Alesund be sure to hike or ride up Mount Aksla for the fantastic view. Geiranger is the best port. Don't miss the Flydaljuvet viewpoint. We took the long hike up to it, but that requires being in good physical condition. However, the waterfalls along the way make it worth the effort. The Fjord Center is also very interesting. In Bergen we wandered through the city and most of the way up Mount Floyen for the view. Or just take the funicular. The Bryggen Old Quarter is worth seeing. We walked off the ship with our luggage and disembarked very quickly. The HAL bus took us to the Amsterdam airport. Overall this was a wonderful cruise. We tend to choose Holland America over other lines because of their food and service, so it is a bit disturbing to see some relaxation of their high standards. Read Less
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