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215 Holland America Bermuda Cruise Reviews

We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches ... Read More
We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches on embarkation and disembarkation. The lectures were informative and pleasing; the Kitchen at Sea was great as was the entertainment. We were the first passengers to enjoy the new carpets and the new chairs and the number of renovations on this ship! There will always be a place for these smaller ships in the industry. (1200 Passengers, but about 1000 on our crossing) the captain was all around the ship, available for questions, and very informative about the nuts and bolts of the ship and the navigaion. He was from Scotland and had the sense of humor, understated, and excellent rapport with his staff and of course the passengers! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I picked this cruise because it docked in Hamilton and spent three nights in Bermuda rather than the usual two. I always thought HAL was a great cruise line but was so disappointed in this cruise, our first, and last on HAL. Positives: ... Read More
I picked this cruise because it docked in Hamilton and spent three nights in Bermuda rather than the usual two. I always thought HAL was a great cruise line but was so disappointed in this cruise, our first, and last on HAL. Positives: Embarking and disembarking in Boston was a breeze. The salads in the buffet were very good, I feel the best of the free food on the ship. The desserts (cream puffs and ice cream) at the buffet were good. They only served soft serve ice cream during lunch, but the hard ice cream throughout the end of the serving time - makes no sense. Negatives - Food would run out at buffet starting an hour before the service ended. The buffet was closed at 8 p.m. then opened for one hour later, I think 10:30 - 11:30. SOME bartenders would always suggest doubles on the drinks. Once a bartender poured a double glass of wine and stated that after giving it to my husband, and charged double! Unethical! Heineken was no longer available three days before the end of the cruise. The last night inventory was done and some alcohol was taken away from the bar before closing, so was unavailable. We had a drink plan and only 15 drinks were available per day. That is not a lot if you order sodas, bottled water, or special coffee. We had to go to the desk to see how many drinks we had per day as bartenders had no way of telling how many you had. Many times no receipts were given at the bars. Food was very poor quality. The best things were the Nathan hot dogs (the Dive-In closed at 5 p.m.) and salads at the buffet. The pizza (which closed at 8 p.m.), buffet and main dining room were not good at all. The Pinnacle Restaurant was excellent, but you should not have to pay extra to get edible food. We ate there once and other than that, the restaurant was full and no reservations could be made. There was a huge lack of staff to wait on people by the pool and in all areas of the ship. We would have to walk to the bar to get service. The bartender would sometimes say they would send someone over with the drink, but then the server had no idea who the drink was for, I saw this happen several times and actually pointed out to the server where the person who wanted the drink was. Waitstaff at the buffet was not sufficient. I often brought up my dirty dishes as they were not picked up. If you ate on a chair by the pool drink glasses and plates were not picked up. There was a lack of staff to pick up dirty tables and re-set. Many ship higher level employees were often eating at the buffet and seemed to get preferential treatment. They would get their sodas from the bartender who appeared to wait on the staff first. I feel sorry for the lower lever employees (bar staff, room stewards and so on). They are understaffed and work long hours while the higher level spends much time eating and walking around the ship. Another thing, the windows on the ship were FILTHY! This includes room windows as well as dining room windows. Initially when cruise started, they kept announcing to wash hands and if you feel, or see someone sick to notify staff but...to get in and out of the buffet you have to push or pull open a door, they should be sliding doors. One exit did have the sliding doors, but that was it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We live in RI & had not yet visited Bermuda. I had been watching HLAV “deals” out of Boston, published by HLA, in the past and then heard the ship would be changing their IT BOS-Bermuda out of Hamilton. We grabbed the last sail ... Read More
We live in RI & had not yet visited Bermuda. I had been watching HLAV “deals” out of Boston, published by HLA, in the past and then heard the ship would be changing their IT BOS-Bermuda out of Hamilton. We grabbed the last sail & spent a wonderful 3 full days, 3 nights on this lovely island. The Bermudians are kind & friendly, Hamilton is near center of either end for convenience & the Veendam has wonderful staff, clean & well maintained, nice variety of entertainment throughout the evening (DJ in Crowsnest late night, classical in Explorer lounge day & evening, jazz in the Ocean lounge and popular/sing along in another. The shows in the comfortable, soft seating theater were very well done & included fantastic magician, comedian, singing & dance broadway caliber which I did not expect for a smaller ship. We dined on the main dining room every night and always had a very good dinner with extensive variety to choose from. Everyone at the table seemed pleased with their order. The Lido Market buffet is served by servers and there was very little wait to get anything in any amount you desired. I feel strongly that the buffet servering keeps ships illness down. The buffet has plexiglass in front of the food choices so that passengers do not handle or breath on the food. Great way to do it. Hand sanitizing dispensers all around the ship! Our inside cabin was quiet & plenty of room for 2. We did not have food down beds on the walls so that opens it up. Shower was fine with shampoo, conditioner & body wash on the wall. Upon arrival the phone in the cabin was on the blink & was changed out. There was plenty of lighting, a TV with a few news channels, ship’s related channels, movie channels, etc.. A book in the room listed 200+ Popular movies you could plug into the DVD player. You got your next days ship’s IT nightly (with a little chocolate & animal towel design). Wonderful robes ready to use, plenty of closet space and I brought a combo of at least 25 outfits! Not that you need it but was not sure about the weather & wanted to be comfortable on ship’s promenade deck where we lounged on the traditional teak chairs (which could use thicker cushions). We did 1 excursion & toured Bermuda & beaches by bus. Embark & disembark well organized. Captain very personable. Fitness room state of the art, programs free & interesting. Veendam has a dedicated card table room for bridge & other table games which I have not seen on larger ships. I was very happy my husband could find a few bridge games. There is also a large open room dedicated to games, puzzles & CHESS already set up 4 chess tables not to mention a GIANT CHESS game set up in the large pool area! An adult hot tub area is on ship’s AFT as well with a bar, seating & handmade NY style thin crust pizza! Delicious! Given it’s an older ship, it is well maintained, great size to navigate around and stylish. Ready to go with you to Venice Italy when you get there! Veendam has all the small ship personality you could hope for plus big ship activities & entertainment. It’s a classy operation & the passengers love Holland. No, We so not work for or with them, yes We paid for my trip and absolutely gave our fabulous stewards a healthy tip (on top of the mandated ship’s tips) because they were in that cabin 2-3 times a day making the cruise a very special experience! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My wife and I traveled with my brother and his wife June 9, 2018 from Boston to Bermuda. The cruise itself was fine, but the food was not very good both in the dining room and the buffet. We had to send back our Lamb chops that were so ... Read More
My wife and I traveled with my brother and his wife June 9, 2018 from Boston to Bermuda. The cruise itself was fine, but the food was not very good both in the dining room and the buffet. We had to send back our Lamb chops that were so tough we could not eat. The waiter was helpful and suggested bringing out something else which we did. In the buffet we found that the meats were very dry as if it was prepared way in advance. Our room was a balcony and was clean but very dated and worn. The balcony needed painting due to the rust. The bottom sheet was patched with a blue patch. The toliet had a odor and the carpet was very worn. We ordered a water (8) package weeks in advance online but we only got (4) after we checked in. The guy stated he would deliver the balance later. I told 2 of our room stewards we had not gotten our balance of water but nothing happened. I went to guest services and they got it delivered in a few hours. The entertainment was not very good. We have sailed on over 20 trips with several cruise lines including Holland and have not had this poor level overall. Seems like not just one thing but many thing were not up to our expectations. Our room was #111 and my brothers room was 109. This ship really needs to be in dry dock and refurbished. Our stay in Bermuda was ok. We took a 5 hour mini bus tour and was very good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our ninth Holland America cruise but the first one where we overnighted in the same port. That, and the chance to sail on another S-Class (Statendam Class) HAL ship, are what attracted us to this particular sailing. As always, ... Read More
This was our ninth Holland America cruise but the first one where we overnighted in the same port. That, and the chance to sail on another S-Class (Statendam Class) HAL ship, are what attracted us to this particular sailing. As always, the crew was more than accommodating. For example, on the first morning I stopped at the Front Desk to check on the newspapers. On all subsequent days the gentleman at the Front Desk had the English-language papers ready for me to pick up. In addition, with special dietary requirements, the dining stewards brought out menus for the following day so that accomotative dinners could be pre-ordered. Souvenir shopping on the Veendam (and on the former Ryndam) is quite limited compared to HAL's Vista class and larger ships that we have sailed on. Most people do this ashore so it is not a major concern. On the other hand, with only 1300 or so on board we developed some commeraderie with other passengers that is sometimes lacking on ships with 2000 or more passengers. We did discover that Bermuda is only marginally handicap accessible. Shopping venues, restuarants and bars in Hamilton often had steps that could not be navigated by a wheelchair or walker. Cars were also often parked in such a way as to block the sidewalk. Accessibility at the Royal Naval Dockyard where the larger ships are located was even worse. In our case it was possible to get out of the wheelchair while it was lifted over curbs. For those who are unable to stand or people with power chairs it would be a difficult outing in either location. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Being from Boston, we chose this particular cruise for we didn't have to fly to get to the departure point. Also booked at last minute and got a real quality vacation value for our 7 days. Met so many interesting people and were ... Read More
Being from Boston, we chose this particular cruise for we didn't have to fly to get to the departure point. Also booked at last minute and got a real quality vacation value for our 7 days. Met so many interesting people and were able to share other travel experiences and fun stories with them. Departing from Boston is now what we look for in cruise planning. Holland America is one of our favorite cruise lines and the Veendam cruises to Bermuda only a few times a year during the summer months. The ship could use a little maintenance, especially the elevators. It's overlooked by the exceptional service by the staff and quality of product received by HAL. We even had an unofficial Meet & Greet in the Crow's Nest on Day 2. Nice to meet other cruisers and share valuable info. We were so fortunate to be invited by a couple we met on Day 1 to their Vow Renewal Ceremony. It was done up so beautiful and the Captain and Cruise Director couldn't have been nicer to us all. Even the rain and showers didn't get us down, for we were in beautiful Bermuda. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Fantastic cruise the service on the ship was as usual on Holland America great. The people, weather "oh " and did I mention the beaches were just lovely. The water color was unbelievable. and the temperature so warm. We went ... Read More
Fantastic cruise the service on the ship was as usual on Holland America great. The people, weather "oh " and did I mention the beaches were just lovely. The water color was unbelievable. and the temperature so warm. We went swimming and brought some bread with us...... oh my, the fish swarmed around us trying to get the bread, we threw it farther away and they chased it then came swarming back. We had great fun. The ship was just the right size, we kept meeting people we had dined with, sang with, met with at the meet and greet and toured with. We had a balcony suite and used to our full advantage, we had breakfast there, read there, relaxed there I even painted a watercolor there. Over all we were very pleased with the entire cruise. We would highly recommend this Veendam cruise, to Bermuda, to our family and friends Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was my first cruise, so I have nothing to compare too. Having never really wanted to go on a cruise, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I'd feel cooped up on the ship and in the room, but didn't feel that way at all. ... Read More
This was my first cruise, so I have nothing to compare too. Having never really wanted to go on a cruise, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I'd feel cooped up on the ship and in the room, but didn't feel that way at all. There were 4 of us. All women, ages 58 to 78. We cruised from Montreal to Boston, but the ship continued on to Bermuda. Here are some of my thoughts. The ship, I'm told, is smaller than the new mega ships. I found it easy to get around once I got my directions straight. We did still walk a lot while on board, but I understand you walk a lot more on the mega ships. I enjoyed going to the top outside deck (12th floor) to take sunset pictures. I thought the decor of the ship was a little dated, but that might appeal to most of the older crowd. However, even if dated it was well kept. There was one elevator that acted up the entire trip. I didn't worry about getting stuck in it. The biggest problem was it wouldn't go anywhere. It became a big joke among the passengers and caused a lot of laughter among strangers. Our cabins were 794 and 796 situated roughly mid ship on Deck 4. They have a window with a full view. They were relativity quiet. No noise from other areas, except the occasional noise of closing doors of the staffs work room across the hall from us. Very minor! No noise from below or above. Our room staff was awesome. Very friendly. Eddie even called us by our names. If we need anything we got it within 10 minutes of asking. Our rooms were straightened up by the cabin staff twice a day. Service: The onboard Wifi was spotty and while there is an app (free) that you can use on-board to 'chat' with each other, we found the chat function somewhat useless because of the Wifi connection. As far as paying for Wifi, we cancelled the package because if was so spotty and slow. Room service was excellent. We ordered hot water every evening for the next morning and it was always there on time. Dining: We ate dinner in the Rottendam most evening. Our wait staff was excellent. The food was great, especially the desserts. We had dinner one night in the Pinnacle. It was excellent. Highly recommend eating there at least once. The Lido was good at all times and had an excellent selection. The burgers near the pool were excellent as well. The only thing I ate that I thought wasn't great was the pizza from the pizza bar. Entertainment: We went to a show most night. The entertainment was good. The is a We didn't do many of the other activities like the casino or America's test kitchen. Did enjoy the 'ask Captain questions'. The on-board shops had Cuban themed shops which I thought was strange for a Canada to Bermuda trip. I'm guessing the ship had gone to Cuba over the winter and they just hadn't changed out the shop yet. Excursions: We did shore excursions most days (didn't do Sidney). Some were though HAL and some though other companies. The HAL excursions were good. The scenery was beautiful! I highly recommend getting out and seeing Quebec, Halifax, Prince Edward Island, and Bar Harbor! I heard Sidney excursions were beautiful as well. General: There were very few children on board. Most people were in our age range. Disembarkation and Embarkment: Both went very smoothly and quickly each time. I enjoyed the cruise and would definitely take another one. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Did not want to go to the Caribbean or overseas and I wanted to sightsee with my daughter. This was perfect. We flew in to Montreal on Friday so we had a little time to sightsee on Sat. We stayed in Old Montreal right on the edge of ... Read More
Did not want to go to the Caribbean or overseas and I wanted to sightsee with my daughter. This was perfect. We flew in to Montreal on Friday so we had a little time to sightsee on Sat. We stayed in Old Montreal right on the edge of Chinatown within walking distance to the Basilica. You could actually walk to the cruise ship port EXCEPT there is a huge hill going down to the port. Embarkation was so easy then once we checked out the room we went for lunch to the Lido. We would have breakfast in the Lido - loved all choices and service, food very good. A few mornings we had room service which always arrived on time, piping hot, and our orders were correct. One morning we had bkfst in the main DR which was nice just more formal of course. Lunch we were always off the ship except the day in Sydney. It was cold and rainy and not much to do in port. Take an excursion. The one day at Sea we did the Americas Test Kitchen Cooking show which was good. Then Bingo. That was fun. We did the As you Wish seating at Dinner which we really liked- always meeting new and interesting people. I did the Tea once when we were at sea. Very good. The DR food was very good, some courses better than others. The rack of lamb was delicious I wish I had ordered 2. We rarely waited for a table, the srevice wax great. Nightly entertainment was not always well attended - these cruisers went to bed early! We really liked the Oceans Trio best- Harvey can really play the piano and he jokes along so it is a very entertaining show. The shows at night were pretty good I think we saw 3. Pool area is nice and well managed with the Dive in (great hamburgers, hotdogs, and a taco bar). All of the bartenders and staff were great & very courteous. We liked going uo to the Crows Nest when the ship was leaving port. There are sailaway drink specials which is nice . Drinks were good, one time we caught Trivia with the cruise ship director which we enjoyed. We are considering a cruise in Feb on the Nieu Amsterdam, I have read they changed the Crows Nest on that ship to a different venue which I am sorry to hear. We did eat in the Canelleto one night. The food was ok, saw a beautiful sunset cruising on the river. Also we ate in the Pinnacle Grill the night that it was Rudys Sel de Mer. That was a delicious meal with superb service. Quite a bit of food. The bouillibaise was superb. As you can tell I really enjoyed this trip. No, I have not been on many cruises but this was pretty perfect in my book. The husbands were sorry they didnt go. Debarkation was a little confusing. We did the HAL bus ride to the airport. They get the luugage on then realize that the people getting off 1st that their luggage should be on top. Anyway it all worked out. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose the Veendam cruise to Hamilton Bermuda because it had a 3 night stay in Hamilton. Many cruise lines traveling to Bermuda dock at the Naval Dock Yard, and have a shorter stay. Hamilton is an excellent place to dock, within reach ... Read More
We chose the Veendam cruise to Hamilton Bermuda because it had a 3 night stay in Hamilton. Many cruise lines traveling to Bermuda dock at the Naval Dock Yard, and have a shorter stay. Hamilton is an excellent place to dock, within reach of many attractions and beaches.We used the local bus service an economical way to get around the island. The Veendam is a beautiful ship, well maintained,clean and tidy.We had a window cabin,the cabin was a good size for 2 people, decor was good,bed comfortable , plenty of closet space,air conditioning worked well Room stewards were friendly and worked very efficiently. We used the main dining room for breakfasts and evening meals, food was good and well presented.We also used the Lido buffet , food and service was good . Evening entertainment in the main theater was good, the German Skinny Guy show was very good,the movies offered were also entertaining.The America's test kitchen was a good experience, with lots of useful tips and a cooking demonstration. We used the pool and hot tubs on the sea days, not many people were using them, as the sea was a little rough on those days. Overall an excellent relaxing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Because two years before this cruise was wonderful and the Veendam is the only cruise boat currently cruising to Bermuda that stays 3 full days along side Front Street in Hamilton. That's why we took this cruise again. The food ... Read More
Because two years before this cruise was wonderful and the Veendam is the only cruise boat currently cruising to Bermuda that stays 3 full days along side Front Street in Hamilton. That's why we took this cruise again. The food served in the dining room was almost always lukewarm or cold because of the method of serving. At one breakfast our asst. manager ZEN graciously moved us away from people who were hacking coughing like a TB ward. One of us was not able to use the stairways because of a walker and he noticed that he used the elevator in either of the elevator banks, for or after, there always seemed to be 2 of the 4 cars in either bank out of service .i.e. not moving. Coffee shop was great as usual. Servers and cabin attendants were very helpful. Casino was much too smoky and should have smokers isolated. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We took this cruise because the ship docked in Hamilton - the old cruise port - and not the Dockyards, the new one, at the far end of the island. The MS Veendam is considered a small ship by many these days; so it was (just) able to berth ... Read More
We took this cruise because the ship docked in Hamilton - the old cruise port - and not the Dockyards, the new one, at the far end of the island. The MS Veendam is considered a small ship by many these days; so it was (just) able to berth there. As a small ship and having a commensurate entertainment budget, they do very well providing a variety of shows nightly. Some folks were disappointed but we've encountered that on much larger ships as well. We do not travel for the shows; so this was not high on our list. High on our list is the service received and the attitudes encountered. Once again we were pleased by the HAL dining staff, who went out of their way to make sure we had everything we wanted when needed; but the food was only average to good. The cabin stewards were exceptional as was the other wait staff, front desk, lounge etc. all were what we have come to expect from HAL. Hamilton is a great port very convenient to the island transportation system and, of course, you are directly downtown at this port. As frequent Bermuda travelers (until now, never by ship) we used the buses and ate off the ship several times, enjoying Bermuda as we always do. We did have one excursion from the ship, a harbor cruise concentrating on the history and families of the island and their homes, very interesting and enjoyable. We noted that the ship is aging but well maintained; all of the mechanical systems worked without flaw (heating, cooling, light, plumbing, etc) including the too few sockets to charge personal electronics in the cabin, the biggest negative. Also, the décor is dated, but again well maintained, and nostalgic HAL which is always fun; they still have a real library aboard, and a funky atrium! All told, we enjoyed the cruise greatly, would go again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
It’s been a while since we sailed on the Veendam and we didn’t know what to expect having read some of the negative reviews lately. People make it sound like an old rust bucket, and it isn’t. You get what you pay for, and we were ... Read More
It’s been a while since we sailed on the Veendam and we didn’t know what to expect having read some of the negative reviews lately. People make it sound like an old rust bucket, and it isn’t. You get what you pay for, and we were very pleased with our cabin, the ship overall, the staff and the food. Also the crew are very busy and take care of the ship when in port, weather permitting. The Veendam is a smaller, older ship so if you are looking for lots of fun activities with all the newest bells and whistles; this is not the ship for you. The majority of the passengers were seniors so things are pretty quiet and laid back. Embarkation was a breeze; the whole process took about 15 minutes. Our cabin was ready as soon as we arrived on board, so after dumping off our hand baggage we headed to the Lido Market for lunch. The selection was good and, yes, the staff does serve guests, but that wasn’t a problem. The majority of guests did not use the hand sanitizer that was available! Disembarkation was a bit chaotic as we arrived back in port late, and had to wait for the Homeland Security personnel to come on board. In the meantime people were assembling where they were told to assemble and it caused a bit of a back-up. Once off the ship our car was waiting to take us to the airport, however, for some unexplained reason we were held up a while. The driver said he was told he could not leave. Don’t bother bringing a travel iron with you; they cannot be used in the cabin or laundry room. There is an iron, with timer, available in the laundry room for ones use. Coin operated washing machines and dryers are available; the cost is $2 for washing and $1 for drying. Quarters are needed to operate the machines and if you don’t have any you can get change at guest services. A soap dispenser is attached to the washer and you have to use that. Our first night’s dinner was at the Pinnacle Grill; it was part off our package so the time and date were not an option. Food and service were excellent. The crab cakes are a must, the lobster bisque was a bit salty, the surf and turf was very good and the portion of halibut with the scampi was huge. If you want to try something decadent, order the soufflé for dessert! We had open seating dining, which worked out well for us. A couple of nights we had to wait about 30 minutes before we could get a table, but that wasn’t a problem. Some nights we ate on our own, others we shared, which was good as we met lots of interesting people. Most nights the menu had a good selection so there was always something to choose. There was a special menu for Mother’s Day and our departure from Bermuda had surf and turf on the menu. Staff were always busy, however, one night we found staff sorely lacking and we walked out without having coffee after dinner. It did seem that certain areas were lacking in staff; The Lido Market seemed to need a few more servers at the tables. We ate breakfast and lunch there. We didn’t go see any of the shows on this trip so can’t comment on them. The Casino is small and at the beginning of the cruise winning was OK, however, as the cruise progressed the chance of winning declined! The pool area was small and always crowded. On sea days the retractable roof was closed due to the weather, and it tended to be hot and humid because of this. There is an upper deck with two hot tubs and that was a nice area to relax in the sun, when weather permitted. We had issues setting up the Internet service, looked for help but found no Internet expertise on board. We had to go to the Guest Services desk for help and, even then, they didn’t really have the expertise to resolve the issue. We cancelled the plan. The staff overall were very friendly and helpful, however, they appear to be overworked some days. The captain was very informative and gave frequent updates on our sailing; lunch with the captain is always a nice touch on HAL ships. Our cabin steward, Sugi, was wonderful. Every night there was always a new towel critter in our cabin to great us after a long day. Shopping on board is limited; there is the usual jewellery, watches, liquor and clothing. On the last day at sea there is the $10 sale, but there isn’t much to buy. Some of the clothing items seemed overpriced. Apparently the MS Veendam is going in for a refit, so this year is the last year she will sail into Hamilton. Not sure if and when she will be back on the itinerary for Bermuda. Certainly going to miss the old girl. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We enjoyed a great cruise to Bermuda. Ship is older, but very well kept up and we had no concerns. Food and service by the wait staff is second to none - also the friendliest people were on this ship. Food is excellent - many choices ... Read More
We enjoyed a great cruise to Bermuda. Ship is older, but very well kept up and we had no concerns. Food and service by the wait staff is second to none - also the friendliest people were on this ship. Food is excellent - many choices in either upscale dining, Lido buffet, or even room service - everything is served with a smile. We enjoyed the entertainment - the shows, comedians and talented musicians, and participated in most of the trivia games, which were lots of fun. The captain was very informative and personable - seas were a bit rough on the way to Bermuda, but he kept us informed. We were also late in arriving due to a "whale watch" - again we were advised as to why and we received a small credit on our account. The cruise director was Becca, our first lady cruise director, and her assistant was Jordan - both were very pleasant and easy to joke around with and talk too. We are an older couple that have cruised on several lines and we find that Holland America never disappoints. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Let me begin by saying that we've cruised with Holland since 2005; certainly not as long as many of you, but long enough for us to be able to draw some comparisons. For reference, this is our 22nd cruise and our second time aboard ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that we've cruised with Holland since 2005; certainly not as long as many of you, but long enough for us to be able to draw some comparisons. For reference, this is our 22nd cruise and our second time aboard the Veendam. For the first time, we were able to afford to upgrade to the Neptune Suites; something that we really looked forward to. I'll start off by listing the "Pros" and then I'll list the "needs improvement". Pros: 1. Absolutely the best service onboard any ship, at anytime on any of our cruises. The most memorable are: the pool bar and the Crows Nest staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome. By far and above the rest of the crowd were the Neptune Suite Concierge ladies - Danielle and Michaela. Those two ladies knew our name BEFORE we even got on the ship. When we first stepped into the Neptune Lounge, they immediately called us by name. (seems that they look at your picture as soon as it's snapped downstairs during boarding) Our room attendant - Dwi was outstanding. Always serving with a smile, he graciously cleaned our room SEVERAL times a day, replenishing the ice, picking up and delivering laundry and asking what else he could do to make our stay more enjoyable. 2. Neptune Suites - as I mentioned above, this is our first time in a Neptune Suite. I can honestly say that it will be hard to go back to a "non-Neptune Suite." I think they plan it that way. The room is large, well appointed and clean. The deck/balcony is VERY large compared to regular balcony cabins. As other reviewers have mentioned, there are some areas that show wear and tear, but overall, the ship is clean; something that my DW looks for. Large closets, smallish jet tub/shower, dressing room, full size couch. For the first time ever on a cruise, we found ourselves relaxing in our room more on days at sea than we have done on previous cruises. 3. Food - The food in the Pinnacle Grill is our favorite place to dine on this ship and it did not disappoint this time. We ate there twice and both times, the service and the food were outstanding. The filet mignon was worth ordering twice, so I did. The service in the Pinnacle Grill is equally as good. I highly recommend! We also ate in the Canaletto Italian restaurant twice which is actually part of the Lido. The food there is very good, not as good as a fine Italian restaurant on shore, but still very good! Cons: 1. The smells on deck 10 where the Neptune Suites and the Neptune Lounge are located. While we were docked in Bermuda, there was an OVERWHELMING smell of deodorized sewage for the first two days. When I mentioned it to Danielle, she too acknowledged the strong smell. During the third day that we were docked in Bermuda, the smell of sewage was replaced by an overpowering smell of crude oil. As an one who deals with asthma, that smell of crude oil would literally take my breath away. It obviously minimized our trips to/from our room on deck 10. 2. The air conditioning system in our room simply could not keep up with the heat in Bermuda. On two occasions, I spoke with Danielle about the room being hot and she called "technical" to take a look at it. Nothing ever really changed except that they graciously brought a new box fan to the room. But that didn't help lower the temperature either. It wasn't until we had left Bermuda and were on our way back to Boston that the temperature in the room was acceptable. Course by then the outside air temperature had dropped to the high 70's as well. 3. The food in the MDR and the Lido - let me say up front that i am NOT a foodie, a food critic nor am I a food snob. I ask for nothing more than good food and good service on any cruise and up to this cruise, Holland has provided that. Some examples: a) our first evening onboard in the MDR, I ordered prime rib cooked to medium. When it arrived, I could barely cut it with a steak knife, let alone chew it. VERY well overdone; cooked till it was tough, b) Lido buffet - for lunch on the second day, I had the Wiener Schnitzel. It was a VERY flat piece of meat that had been beaten into submission :-) and fried. Absolutely NO, ZERO taste. The gravy helped some but even then it was not palatable. Soup, something that I have ALWAYS enjoyed onboard HAL was not good. One quick example - I ordered the French Onion Soup in the MDR the first night onboard. When I tasted it, it had NO onions, onion slices or onion bits in it at all. It was nothing more than dark water with a toasted piece of bread with cheese on top. Very disappointing. For us, the food onboard this cruise was a HUGE decline in the quality of the food that my DW and I remember from previous HAL cruises. Sadly, if this is a "cost cutting" attempt by HAL and an attempt to "encourage" cruisers to go to the upscale restaurant, then shame on HAL!!! We absolutely love the small ship feel of the "S" class ships but after this second cruise onboard Veendam, I seriously doubt that we'll do another "S" class again. Finally, what made this cruise rate more than a "one" or "two" were the staff; they went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and cater to our needs. Well done! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Having read previous reviews of the Veendam our expectations were not that high but we were very pleasantly surprised and well pleased by the crew of the Veendam. Yes she is an older ship, elevators might be a bit slow and a few other ... Read More
Having read previous reviews of the Veendam our expectations were not that high but we were very pleasantly surprised and well pleased by the crew of the Veendam. Yes she is an older ship, elevators might be a bit slow and a few other things might need to be fixed next dry dock but overall it was wonderful experience. We had chosen HAL because the Veendam, docked in Hamilton (right on Front Street) as opposed to the Dockyards which are requires bus/ferry to any of the sights. As well we had sailed on HAL two other times recently and liked the service. Unfortunately our cruise was the last HAL cruise of the season to Hamilton. PRE CRUISE We drove from the Toronto area the day before and stayed at a wonderful Hampton Inn in Westborough on Friday evening which meant a 45 minute drive to the cruise port on Saturday morning (with little Boston traffic!). We parked at the parking garage at 12 Drydock Avenue for $20 per day and pulled our bags over to the cruise port. It is also easy to drop people/baggage off and then park - it is very close. CREW The crew for the most part were younger especially in the Lido and the dining room. They were always trying to please and we have on,y good things to say about them FOOD Yes the Lido can be crowded at times and the selection might be a little limited but we enjoyed the overall quality and service at the Lido. They even offer a late night snack at 1030 PM. We had anytime dining in the Rotterdam but usually ended up eating around 6PM. While we like anytime dining unfortunately you don't build the same rapport with your wait staff as you have different servers every night. ENTERTAINMENT We thoroughly enjoyed the singers and dancers - they seemed to put a lot of effort into their performances and one of their singers Nick had a marvellous voice. We also went to the piano bar several nights to listen to Stryker who was amazing in being able to play so many songs without reading music. EXCURSIONS We did a walking tour in St George's which was $12 per person and departs from the Visitors Information Centre at 1030. Lots of historical info and very good. The tour ends back at 1215 just in time for a demonstration of the di king stool where a local woman in costue is dunked - with commentary by the town crier. I was asked to assist in the dunking which was a lot of laughs. We also went to the Crystal Caves which was quite enjoyable and unite different. On Wednesday we went on a free walking tour of Hamilton which departs only on Wednesdays from the Visitor Information Centre. Our guide was Winnie Smith who did a good job of explaining a lot of historical info and local info. We took the bus later on to Horseshoe Bay to go swimming. BUS TIP: don't necessarily just buy a bus/ferry pass - calculate how many times you will use the bus/ferry. For us it was much cheaper to buy 15 tickets and 4 tokens than buy the transit pass. Overall the Veendam delivered for us - great crew, great port and we will always remember sailing into out of Hamilton which is very scenic. Thank you Veendam and crew! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
If you're cruising to Bermuda , you can't do better then sailing on the Veendam . Berthing in Hamilton for 3 nights instead of at the Royal Dockyards is a real advantage . Veendam is old and small but the quality of food and ... Read More
If you're cruising to Bermuda , you can't do better then sailing on the Veendam . Berthing in Hamilton for 3 nights instead of at the Royal Dockyards is a real advantage . Veendam is old and small but the quality of food and entertainment was high and they do their best to keep the ship looking good . We booked a guaranteed suite and received a prime port side location Vista suite which looked out over the harbor . Ideal ! We arrived to torrential rain but a few hours later the rain stopped and the weather was great for the rest of our visit . I don't think I'd want to cruise on this ship for all itineraries but it was perfect for this one . Pre-cruise We booked a stayNpark deal at the Holiday Inn Express Saugus from Trinity Reservation the night before the cruise . The hotel is OK and includes a good breakfast and a free shuttle to the airport . Boston hotels are expensive . From there we got on a bus to the port . If you are in this area of Boston , I highly recommend Turner's Seafood Grill in nearby Melrose . Really fantastic food and ambiance . Better then my experiences at Legal Seafood . Embarkation We got to the port just after 11 . Truth is Bostons port is a dump but it works . We got through check in quickly but they didn't start boarding until just before noon which meant waiting for a half hour . There was another HAL ship in harbor at the same time . Our Cabin We received cabin 150 mid ship on the 9th Verandah deck . We were above the casino but heard and smelled nothing . This is decidedly a junior suite with no real suite amenities . The big bonus is a huge balcony with a lounge , 2 chairs and a table . Really nice ! There is a small flat screen with an attached DVD player . The fridge seemed to be colder then usual . The toilet has a deep bath/shower . It is a big step-over but there are grip bars . Overall the cabin is dated but well maintained . BUT.. we heard loud rattling sounds coming out of the walls and ceiling . They of course seem much louder at night . We mentioned it to our steward the next morning but it didn't seem like he was going to do anything about it . I went to guest services the next afternoon . Luckily the noise was quite loud when Carlo came with me to the cabin . I was told it was too late to do anything that night . The next morning after breakfast I came back in time to see 2 workman taking apart my cabin . I left . Whatever they did worked . We received a note offering us a free meal at the Pinnacle Grill . I thought that was appropriate although I didn't ask for anything . Later we received some OBC . Wow! That was more then appropriate . Our steward was satisfactory . Not warm but very efficient and really that's all I want . Food -MDR We booked Open Seating but ended up reserving the 7:45 standing reservation for our cruise . The food was good as was the service . My DW reminds me that half way though each cruise I tend to get impatient with the drawn out service . We asked for quicker service twice and that's what we got . In and out in about an hour . Remember to ask for your fish less cooked as the default is to my taste very overdone . The biggest complaint was a lack of crispness or crust to most of the dishes . An example was the spring rolls . They were hot but not crisp . I guess that's what you get when all food is brought to the MDR in food plate covers . Food - Other Since we cruised on the Veendam 2 years ago there has been a definite shift to more pre-plated and staff served foods at the buffet . There is less opportunity for the passengers to pollute the food . This is great! Occasionally it resulted in a few seconds more waiting but I was very impressed with the lack of lineups . Desserts are good . Interestingly the buffet mostly closes at 8 PM . It reopens at 10:30 for an hour often with some additional items . This seems to be done for the staff who are a big part of this late shift consumers . The Dive Bar is great and its burgers are fantastic as is the taco bar directly in front of it . Pizza is still poor . Desserts are still good . The coffee bar , Explorations was surprisingly quiet . Coffee was good as were the no-charge sweets offered there . Wish they offered a coffee card like Princess . Our Pinnacle Grill meal was a disappointment . It started with the MaitreD making a big deal out of allowing us the privilege of an 8 PM reservation . Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The ship had no A/C in main dining room or in my cabin. The solution was a noisy box fan. Not much cooler with the fan. Two days the room had a strong oil smell. No solution to that problem. The smell was extremely strong at night when ... Read More
The ship had no A/C in main dining room or in my cabin. The solution was a noisy box fan. Not much cooler with the fan. Two days the room had a strong oil smell. No solution to that problem. The smell was extremely strong at night when trying to sleep. Hard to get a drink with breakfast when you are not a tea or coffee drinker. San Pelligrino or soda can't be ordered before 7:30AM. Waiters are hard to find in the morning in the Lido Market. The Front Desk staff refused to get a supervisor to speak with my daughter and I. Stay away from Holland America. I know we will in the future. They tell travel agents one thing and have something different in the Shore Excursion bulletin. You can't hear announcements when in your stateroom with the door closed. This isn't good if there is an emergency. Unless you are into fitness or want to know about all the applications available on Windows 10, there is NOTHING TO DO ON SHIP. Bermuda was beautiful and most of the shore excursions were good. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was for a cruise from Boston to Bermuda, and being a smaller ship, it docked in downtown Hamilton, a delightful spot, as you could step off the ship and be right in town. As opposed to where the big ships docked which was in Port out ... Read More
This was for a cruise from Boston to Bermuda, and being a smaller ship, it docked in downtown Hamilton, a delightful spot, as you could step off the ship and be right in town. As opposed to where the big ships docked which was in Port out in the old Naval Shipyard, which is nothing but a tourist trap of shops, and not as nice. The Veendam is an older ship and it showed, the cabin and other areas were tired, well used, and in constant turnaround. We called this the ship that was held together with duct tape. As we waited to disembark, they were making up our room for the next guest, and you got to see some of what you missed when just walking in. like the yellow stains on the comforters under the duvet covers, that one never looks in. Next time I will if there is a next time! While the food was fine, it was not amazing, and service was fine, but by the middle of the cruise, it fell off from what it was when we started. Shopping - all those Shipboard credits have to be used up. The onboard shopping was pathetic, it looked like a street yard sale that had been picked over. I bought a watch, that when I returned home checked on, and in real $ would have been about $60 cheaper on Amazon. We struggled hard to spend our shipboard credits. The Internet service on board was expensive and terrible, but it is via a satellite so what can you expect. I have to say the best experience was the onboard Microsoft computer training. This was our first cruise experience, it did not WOW us, and we were with a seasoned cruiser who felt the same way. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I frequently cruise with Holland America. This Cruise to Bermuda was very enjoyable, but the ship itself needs some TLC. The A/C was a problem in many cabins, and public areas. I was traveling with two other couples, and their cabins ... Read More
I frequently cruise with Holland America. This Cruise to Bermuda was very enjoyable, but the ship itself needs some TLC. The A/C was a problem in many cabins, and public areas. I was traveling with two other couples, and their cabins wouldn't cool below 76 degrees. The entertainment was first rate, along with the food and service in the Dining room. Our Cabin was showing its age, but it was comfortable and clean. The reason we choice this cruise was primarily because of where this ship docks in Bermuda, Downtown with everything at your fingertips. This made it easy to travel with Senior family members. We have cruised before on other "S" Class ships and didn't notice their age, but this ship in particular needs to be dry docked, overhauled and given up-to-date features like the other ships in the fleet. Boston is a port that is not easy to drive to, but once you're there, the parking was extremely close and affordable Would we travel on this ship again....Yes Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We had never sailed out of Boston before, so since we live 20 miles north of the city we thought this would be so much more enjoyable than flying to Florida first. Very easy and fast embankment, just 1 hour from our house we were in our ... Read More
We had never sailed out of Boston before, so since we live 20 miles north of the city we thought this would be so much more enjoyable than flying to Florida first. Very easy and fast embankment, just 1 hour from our house we were in our Stateroom! We loved the cruise and cannot complain about anything with the Veendam. People complained about the ship being dated, and the food not being that good, but honestly we did not see anything wrong with any of it. Our inside room was exceptionally clean and a wonderful size. The bathroom was spacious, with plenty of hot water. The staff everywhere on board was so accommodating and very helpful. Docking on main street in Bermuda was perfect, easy to catch a Taxi, Water Ferry or just walk to shopping was so convenient. We would recommend this cruise to anyone! Would recommend this cruise to everyone! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
we chose this cruise because of the location in Hamilton, Bermuda. We loved being in the midst of things with the J Boats being docked nearby at the Princess Hotel and the ferry service over to the Dockyard where the America's Cup ... Read More
we chose this cruise because of the location in Hamilton, Bermuda. We loved being in the midst of things with the J Boats being docked nearby at the Princess Hotel and the ferry service over to the Dockyard where the America's Cup boats were sailing. Unfortunately, the Veendam has a lot of improvement to make before we would even consider sailing on her again. Food was just average, and certainly not memorable. The lack of fresh fruit and any change on the breakfast buffet was non-existent. Dinners in the Dining room were inconsistant, some OK and others a disaster. Many parts of the ship need repair, ceilings leaking in the Leido buffet, so much so that the staff had to put towels on trays to wipe up the condensation. the ship took advantage of the time in Hamilton to put a barge alongside and chip paint for two days, with plenty of noise to go with from 6:00 am til late afternoon. You could set your watch by it and there was no sleeping in on Deck 6. The staff were all very friendly and most helpful. The entertainment was below average and there was nothing to do if you were dining late as far as entertainment in the lounges except for the lounge with the classical music. The anytime dining was 5:00 pm or 8:00 pm nothing in between. Very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This is the second time on this ship. The first time was 4 years ago boy does it need some tender loving care the boat needs a good paint job rust is coming out everywhere. One of the things we notice there is no more animation team ... Read More
This is the second time on this ship. The first time was 4 years ago boy does it need some tender loving care the boat needs a good paint job rust is coming out everywhere. One of the things we notice there is no more animation team which makes for a boring cruise the assistant cruise director is replacing the dj. They cut corners on every thing. As for the service that has not changed. They are still great.My two stuarts where a bit hard of hearing having to ask for my beach towel every day, Bermuda is one of the nicest port we have been to and we been around the world this i would say is in my top 10 ports.We were docked in Hamilton which is nice and were there for 3 nights so you get to do alot of the islands. This would be a place to come on a cruise not really a resort it way to expensive. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
June 15-24, 2017 (For context: my wife and I are both in our late 60s. This was our 24th cruise since our honeymoon in 1977. We’ve ocean cruised on Eastern Seaboard Line (1), Holland America Line (aka “HAL”) (4), Royal Caribbean ... Read More
June 15-24, 2017 (For context: my wife and I are both in our late 60s. This was our 24th cruise since our honeymoon in 1977. We’ve ocean cruised on Eastern Seaboard Line (1), Holland America Line (aka “HAL”) (4), Royal Caribbean (7), Windstar (4), Oceania (1), and we’ve Europe river cruised on Uniworld (7). My review is of course subjective. As always, your mileage may vary). This cruise was our 40th wedding anniversary celebration, our third cruise to Bermuda (twice docked in Hamilton, once at Dockyard). We chose this specific itinerary because unlike other east coast departures this season that tie up at Dockyard or only spend one overnight at Dockyard, Veendam spent three nights in Hamilton. There were lots of things to like on this trip, but some not so terrific issues, too. It always seems to us, though, our lasting memory of every cruise is positive. Our HAL pre-cruise hotel was the Langham in the financial district. A very positive 4-star experience once we got there. (As seems to happen more often than not, the included HAL Logan airport-to-hotel transfer began with an hour-long standing wait for the SUV pickup (for only us) in the hot airport parking garage with the pleasant-enough HAL greeter. “It’ll be here any minute” became very tiresome. The Langham was well-located for walking to many of the tourist sites, interesting places to eat/drink, and a short walk to the waterfront where preparations were underway for the “Boston Sail 2017” international tall sailing ships parade on Saturday morning (also Veendam’s departure afternoon). Our hotel room on the sixth floor was well-appointed, with a comfortable king bed and capable air conditioner. The only non-4-star experience was the noticeable lack of servers/service during our tasty, separately purchased full breakfast on Friday morning in the hotel restaurant. Our Saturday morning breakfast came from Dunkin Donuts a block away. On embarkation/Saturday morning, the HAL transfer from the Langham to Veendam, docked at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, was organized and efficient even with the added chaos of the Boston Sail 2017 already well underway in the area. HAL’s Masdam was also on her turnaround day, tied up in front of Veendam. Security and check-in went well, and we walked aboard to find our cabin already available. Veendam does not show her age. For the whole cruise, we never saw a single indicator she was not lovingly maintained. The hull looked to be freshly/continuously painted. All of the public areas, passageways, outside teak decks, stairways, dining rooms, clubs, lounges, Lido pool and deck chairs, and 2-deck showroom looked like they were freshly painted/carpeted/furnished with not a single worn-out looking piece of furniture or fixture. That has to be quite a feat for a ship her age. Then there was our cabin. We were lucky enough to be able to afford a Neptune Suite, #009, for this cruise. It had lots of room, a king bed, a dressing area with mirrored vanity and sink, plenty of drawers/closets/storage, a minibar, a leather L-shape couch with side chairs and a glass-top sitting table, an (unusually small) flat screen TV with DVD player, a BOSE mini Bluetooth speaker, and a bathroom with tub. It had the largest balcony of any cabin we’ve ever had, long and deep enough to comfortably fit a round table and four side chairs, plus two large recliners and another small table. Overall, the cabin was quiet from all sides. Everything looked great. As we were soon to learn, though, not everything was as perfect as it seemed. The first thing we noticed was the noise coming from our cabin’s 3-foot by 3-foot ceiling grill over the couch, which appeared to house the heat, ventilation, and air conditioning (“HVAC”) system. Inside it we heard a random but almost-continuous annoying mechanical or electrical rattle. We reported this to the wonderful Neptune Lounge concierge, Dinelle, who said she’d report it to the “technical” department. The noise was minimized by the time we got back from supper that first evening, and eliminated early the next day. Also at bedtime the first evening one of the heavy mirrored sliding closet doors fell off its track as it was being opened, and luckily it missed my wife’s foot. Earlier in the day when we first got to our cabin we noticed several gashes on the adjacent wall, so this probably wasn’t the first time this door had come off its tracks. When we reported this to Dinelle, (we were sure by then she must’ve thought we were going to be troublemakers for the entire cruise), she had “carpentry” reattach the door the next morning. The worst issue, though, aside from the sometimes lukewarm-to-frigid showers, appeared during the afternoon of our second cruise day when the temperature and humidity in our cabin reached unbearable levels. Our guess was when “technical” fixed the ceiling noise, that also stopped the HVAC cooling. Of course, this same evening was also the cruise’s first “dress up” night, plus our actual wedding anniversary day. After we’d showered and dressed for the evening, we were both still uncomfortably hot and drenched as we left our cabin. So much for formal anniversary photos that evening. We had arranged for our anniversary celebration dinner in the Pinnacle Grill, which turned out to be a worthwhile extra-charge venue with excellent food and service. While we were at supper, the outstanding Dinelle (can you tell we were very impressed?) called upon “technical” again to try to fix the HVAC, and she also arranged for someone put a nice box fan in our cabin before we returned. The fan definitely helped, and although “technical” did come back several more times during the week, as did Dinelle during her breaks to check on our cabin’s temperature, our suite never did cool down during the cruise. We happened to overhear other passengers’ comments when we’d pass in the starboard passageway on our deck, and it turned out our cabin wasn’t the only one with uncomfortable temperature/humidity issues. Perhaps “technical” knew this was an ongoing issue in this aging ship, and there were already box fans at the ready for anyone who needed one? We also heard of a fifteen-minute power outage in one section of cabins during the week, but we didn’t experience that ourselves, and there apparently were frustrations with lights in cabins that didn’t work, and a TV remote without batteries. Attention to details issues. One usual cruise ship malfunction we thankfully didn't experience except for one hour on the last day of the cruise: Our cabin toilet flushed every single time we pushed the button. Outstanding! In addition to the very capable Concierge Dinelle and her coworker, Concierge Micaela, our cabin stewards, Dwi and Mas, were outstanding. They were cordial, seemingly happy, efficient, hardworking, and there wasn’t a single instance when we were lacking for anything. Dwi even placed a different towel figure every night on our bed before we returned for the evening. We ate almost all of our breakfasts and lunches in the Lido buffet on deck 11. The variety of offerings seemed adequate, the soups and baked goods we tried each day were excellent, and we enjoyed the custom-made omelets at breakfast. The Lido attendants delivering coffee/tea/drinks and setting/resetting tables were cordial and accommodating. The layout of the two identical service lines on each side of the Lido weren’t very well laid out, and passengers never seemed to figure out how to queue up at the different stations along the lines. It was pretty much a free-for-all. The main dining room menu variety seemed a bit less than we’ve experienced on other ships, but we always found something we liked, served hot when it needed to be, and cold when appropriate,… except for a warm, wilted, very tired “signature” Caesar salad (only selected once) that had probably sat on a galley staging table way too long. As in the Lido, the soups in the MDR were delicious. The waiters, assistants, and sommeliers seemed a bit overworked for the number of tables they were assigned, but they were always pleasant and helpful. Veendam has an actual “movie” theater on deck 7 which also doubles as the venue for the cooking presentations. There were several Windows 10 classes on different topics in the classroom every day. Also scheduled were the usual trivia games, wine tastings, shore-side shopping tips, casino events, napkin folding demonstrations, art auctions, and daily religious services. We only attended a few of the nightly events in the showroom,… an entertaining juggler one night, a funny ventriloquist another evening, a very good singer who worked with the showroom band one night, and a unique BBC video enhanced by the live showroom orchestra along with a violin and piano duet from one of the lounges. Due to the timing of our open seating suppers, we didn’t get to the showroom in time to get seats to watch the singers/dancers. After a very smooth day-and-a-half crossing from Boston, Veendam slowly sailed into Bermuda’s Great Sound, maneuvering through the narrow channel past the two larger cruise ships tied up at the Dockyard. We even had a chance to witness one of the underway Youth America’s Cup competitions close-up as they sailed past. Our docking location in the middle of Hamilton turned out to be very convenient. Shopping is along the main street in front of the cruise terminal. It was only a short walk to the ferry terminal, and to the adjacent tie-up for various boat water-related excursions. On Wednesday evenings during the summer the main street in Hamilton is closed off for a street festival for locals and tourists. We enjoyed a sunset sailing catamaran excursion with easy-flowing rum swizzles our first evening in Hamilton, while sailing quietly past all of the amazing multi-million-dollar huge motor and sailing yachts in Bermuda for the month of the America’s Cup races. We also went on a motoring catamaran water tour excursion to the other side of the Great Sound for swimming off the boat. We had all picture-perfect-weather days with blue skies and warm temperatures. As always, our time in Hamilton was much too short. As Veendam turned for home we passed through the Bermuda Great Sound again, and we got to see both the US and Kiwi varsity foiling catamarans out practicing for the weekend’s final races. Our crossing back to Boston was also smooth, although we had thirty-six hours of dense fog, requiring Veendam’s very loud, very piercing, deep-throated ship’s horn sounding 4-second blasts every three minutes around the clock as its foghorn until we were almost back to Boston. I suspect many cabins with a balcony like ours thought the ship’s horn sounded like it was inside the cabin. Not much sleep happening in our cabin that last night on board. Disembarkation went well, and except for several confused HAL shore-side greeters not knowing which bus/coach to direct passengers and their luggage to so they could get to their correct destinations, everything else (in the rain) seemed to proceed okay. Our HAL transfer to Logan was uneventful, especially since it was a Saturday morning. We’ll have lasting memories of this cruise. Veendam looked well cared for in most every respect except for maybe the aging HVAC, electrical, and plumbing issues. The staff everywhere aboard was as friendly, competent, and accommodating as any we’ve experienced anywhere. As usual, we’ll probably embellish both the good/fun times, and the hiccups along the way, when we tell our friends and family about our trip. But in the end we’ll be happy we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on a cruise to Bermuda. Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was a 7 day Bermuda cruise out of Boston, the main advantage of which is that this ship is berthed not at the remote Royal Naval Dockyard, but in downtown Hamilton alongside Front Street. Embarkation in Boston was easy even though ... Read More
This was a 7 day Bermuda cruise out of Boston, the main advantage of which is that this ship is berthed not at the remote Royal Naval Dockyard, but in downtown Hamilton alongside Front Street. Embarkation in Boston was easy even though traffic in the area was heavy due to the "Sail Boston" Tall Ships Visit and Parade. Luggage was swiftly delivered, and is HAL practice staterooms were available upon boarding and all "repeaters" were welcomed to a regular DR luncheon, rather than being shuffled off to a Lido Buffet upon boarding. Verandah room was fine, bath included a Jacuzzi Tub, good toiletries etc. Excellent room attendants who kept this room, and others, immaculate. Food I found to be quite good, and as a male with a "healthy" appetite cannot understand how other reviewers complained that portions were minuscule. Certainly my portions weren't, and so why do others complain especially as the staff would have cheerfully brought "seconds" if requested?. Only "bad meal" was the third night, first night in Bermuda where many agreed that food selection was poor. Waiters now have a "ugly" uniform for breakfast and lunch featuring orange belts and a single orange button on the collar. Significance is supposed to be to the Dutch Royal House of Orange, but the symbolism is "strained" to say the least. Entertainment has declined. There is now no "Show Orchestra" and thus most music during Production Shows is "canned". Another attempt to "save". Hot snacks during Cocktail Hour etc. are now fewer and harder to find. Each days program filled with "advertisements" to "come and spend"; however this is the case on most lines today. Senior Officers not seen "out and about". I always wonder how a senior can know what is going on, and thus respond, if he/she doesn't get out of the office and walk about observing!. Captain not seen - he did not even show up for a Cocktail Party held for 25 VIP's that he "hosted". Hotel Director greeted us at the door, and then disappeared without saying a word of welcome/thanks etc. Ship was full - 1410. This is a ship that was built for a double occupancy capacity of 1204, but, as is the case elsewhere, additional cabins have been crammed aboard stressing all facilities especially the DR, Lido, and deck space. Holland America is certainly a "mid level" line with better food, service etc. than less expensive lines. I found that my per diem foe $440 for a verandah however to be twice what I pay on RCI, and thus if I accept poorer RCI food and service, I can cruise twice as much - and I spend upwards of 6 mo a year "at sea". Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
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