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15 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
8 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
11 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
4 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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 boats ... 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
12 Helpful Votes
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 ... 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
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