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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
2 Helpful Votes
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. There ... 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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 served ... 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
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, ... 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
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 ... 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
4 Helpful Votes
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
9 Helpful Votes
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 entertainment ... 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
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