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11 Holland America Cuba Cruise Reviews

Attracted to cruise because it visited Cuba - first time on Holland America after approximately thirty prior cruises - Ship was in total disrepair - Booked four cabins near elevator bank to accommodate ninety year old birthday celebrant - ... Read More
Attracted to cruise because it visited Cuba - first time on Holland America after approximately thirty prior cruises - Ship was in total disrepair - Booked four cabins near elevator bank to accommodate ninety year old birthday celebrant - By end of ten days only one elevator cab was running for passengers resulting in extremely long waits to move around ships - Crew has to use one elevator as theirs were out of order - One day elevator opened and we saw crew member with carts of filthy linens! We were told they were waiting for parts - Public bathrooms on pool deck 11 were out of service from first day until last day - waiting for parts. We were directed to use facilities on same deck at rear of ship through buffet area - One stall only - filthy - no towels to wipe hands - Complained but to no avail - Leaking safety sprinkler valve on 12th deck down onto pool deck for entire length of cruise - Pool deck was always wet and slippery - Cone saying “caution wet floor” with no attempt to repair - Food was inedible with exception of breakfast - Too little personnel - family style trays of food were not refilled when empty - Italian specialty restaurant was disgusting at best - Entertainment crew shows would have been okay as high school productions - Cruise director wore same decrepit suit and dirty shoes nightly - Commented it was a uniform! Sent complaint letter to President and CEO of Holland America about all occurrences - Received response from customer service (not from Pres. or CEO) - Surprise! She claimed all issues were related to awaiting spare parts - Offered $100.00 discount per person on future cruise - Insulting at best - As repeat cruiser on Oceania they offer 10% discount on cabin which works out to hundreds of dollars and well worth every penny - Will never sail with Holland America ever again and neither should you Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Veendam 1.) The Captain may not take you to all of the ports on the itinerary. Our second stop in Cuba (the main reason for the cruise), Cienfuegos, was cancelled. A $50.00 per passenger shipboard credit was the purported compensation ... Read More
Veendam 1.) The Captain may not take you to all of the ports on the itinerary. Our second stop in Cuba (the main reason for the cruise), Cienfuegos, was cancelled. A $50.00 per passenger shipboard credit was the purported compensation for the port cancellation. So many passengers complained that the Captain opened the Lido bar for 2.5 hours of free cocktails. There was no additional compensation for passengers that purchased a beverage package either before or during the cruise. Free cocktails means absolutely nothing to those who have already paid good money up front for a signature or elite beverage package. We were given a case number by our fabulous Neptune Lounge concierge. Case #364388. Waiting to hear back from corporate. 2.) The hot tub in the Greenhouse spa was either luke warm or not functioning for the entire cruise. Really annoying to buy a greenhouse pass and not be able to use/enjoy the hot tub at all. 3.) The Captains cocktail party for 3,4 and 5 star Mariners. I guess he was too embarrassed, nervous or just plain sick of listening to any more complaints because he only attended the event for 15 minutes. 4.) The plumbing on the ship leaves a lot to be desired. The toilets in the Spa and the gym were overflowing and inoperable on several occasions. The toilet in the men’s locker room was out of order for the entire cruise. Maintenance was constantly working on pipes around the ship. Promenade deck would be wet and slippery. Maintenance was working on the plumbing/pipes on the Navigation deck right outside of our Neptune suite for an entire afternoon while at sea. Tap, tap, tap, bang, bang, bang all afternoon. Then comes the telephone call that they need access to our suite. So much for resting and relaxing in our suite, let alone an afternoon nap. 5.) The internet is slow, which I understand but having hours of it being inoperable after you have paid to use it is annoying to say the least. 6.) One of the elevators was out of service for the entire cruise. 7.) The all day in room dining menu is a joke. There are a half dozen items and then sandwiches. The all day menu was not available at all on the 8th day of the cruise. 8.) Two points on the pool. Safety regulation are not enforced. They allow small children and not so small children to jump, dive, splash as long as they want to, which ended up being most of the day on several days. Obnoxious to say the least. When reported to the Officers, nothing was done. In fact, on one occasion two officers were present at the pool while the jumping, splashing and diving was happening and they looked the other way. Second point, the retractable dome was not opened on completely sunny days. This made the pool bar and dining area feel like Viet Nam in the summer. Not comfortable at all. 9.) The aft bar and the entire aft seating area on Lido was closed on 11/9 at 5pm for the remainder of the day. This is one of only 2 smoking areas available on the ship. The other area is the casino (on smoking days) where there is a table in the rear of the casino with 8 ashtrays on it and no chairs. No place to sit. Stand and smoke and get out. 10.) Fairly amusing is the fact that one very small, postcard sized critique card is handed out on the first day of the cruise. Gee, I wonder why????? The good part is that the crew are FABULOUS! The food in the Pinnacle (where we enjoyed dinner most of the time), dining room and Lido buffet is always extremely good and an interesting variety is offered. The crew and the food are the only reason to take a cruise on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise solely because of the Cuba stops. It was advertised and sold as the 10 Day Cuban Explorer. After a wonderful day and evening in Havana we were advised our second Cuba stop in Cienfuegos was being cancelled because of ... Read More
We chose this cruise solely because of the Cuba stops. It was advertised and sold as the 10 Day Cuban Explorer. After a wonderful day and evening in Havana we were advised our second Cuba stop in Cienfuegos was being cancelled because of ship mechanical problems. In addition we we told the remaining ports were being moved up a day which totally disrupted advance plans we had made in those stops. We were given an insulting $100 ship credi for our “inconvenience” The Captain was unapologetic and admonished us not to feel the cruise had been ruined. We found out from the crew this was not the first time the Veendam had cancelled Cienfuegos. We regret booking this cruise with Holland America. On a positive note the crew was wonderful. Food was average and actually poor one of the two nights we ate in the Pinnicle Grill. Food and service in the Canaletto restaurant was very good. Ship interiors were very well done considering the age of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
That's what the staff keep telling us when the A/C did not work for 10 days. They claim it takes 3 days to investigate the problem then they discovered it was an old ship Then you get the flu They are right the tv in the cabin ... Read More
That's what the staff keep telling us when the A/C did not work for 10 days. They claim it takes 3 days to investigate the problem then they discovered it was an old ship Then you get the flu They are right the tv in the cabin was like 20 inches had a DVD player screwed to bottom that never worked 2 movies channels that lope 2 movies all day, had Amazon on another but the picture was so bad you could not watch The carpeting the room was just nasty The shows were so so at best, the singers were awful No vent in the bathroom so it smelled all the time If you like to sweat in your cabin book here But they give you a small desk fan to make up for the problem If you get sick which we did no the last day the demand to stay in your room, OK I understand that but they charge you $6 for 3 pills and $3 for a can of Sprite Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
So my wife and I were super excited to get this 11 cruise that included 2 ports in Cuba and had an ADA room available at a decent price. Little did we know it would be the cruise from Hell. Background - My wife has MS and is in a ... Read More
So my wife and I were super excited to get this 11 cruise that included 2 ports in Cuba and had an ADA room available at a decent price. Little did we know it would be the cruise from Hell. Background - My wife has MS and is in a wheelchair full time. We are 4 star Holland America members and have cruised for the last 30 years. We had five ports on this cruise: Cozumel, Belize, Cuba (2 ports) and the private island. We were denied access in Belize and Cienfuegos in Cuba because there were stairs to the tender and the CAPTAIN (yes - the CAPTAIN - not a staff member) refused to allow personnel to assist me in getting my wife down the 16 steps to the tender. NEVER have we had ship personnel not help us. Note: They helped the 91 year old lady down the steps but because my wife can not lift her feet they wouldn't help us. Note: We have been the China, South America, Europe, etc. so having to use steps is not a new experience for us. It just takes awhile. We need someone to move her feet to each step. Its really not that hard. Our daughter normally does it but she was at school. When we went to book shore excursions in Cuba we were initially told that there were no ADA tours available. So Holland sold a cruise with an ADA room and you have no ADA tours????? After much discussions (hours) with the Hotel Manager and the Shore Excursion supervisor we were able to get a tour in Havana for a reasonable price. I asked Holland America for a refund based on only having 2 ports out of 5. Initial response was NO! My response was that was not satisfactory and after more time and effort (cause that is what you always want to do on a cruise) we got 350 dollars and dinner at the Pinnacle Grill one night. I will give credit to the Hotel Director and the Shore Excursion Supervisor for getting us a tour in Havana but I had to make it happen. If I had been passive we would of gotten nothing. These 2 ladies were the only ones that were helpful and without them we would of not been able to see Cuba. Note: As a USA citizen we had to take a tour not explore on our own. So in summary - Don't expect Holland America to help you. Don't expect Holland America to try to make you whole if you have problems (I don't consider the compensation received to be even close to fair for the money, time and effort spent on what was suppose to be a vacation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because it involved two ports in Cuba-Havana and Cietrefugo. The ship is very small and had almost no entertainment until the trumped up Happy hour, which charged a very high charge for every drink and for only $2 ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it involved two ports in Cuba-Havana and Cietrefugo. The ship is very small and had almost no entertainment until the trumped up Happy hour, which charged a very high charge for every drink and for only $2 more for the second drink. Music was a piano player for and hour. The food was just fair and the beef quality got worse as the cruise went along. So we stopped ordering all beef dishes. The evening entertainment was a trio playing Frank Sinatra era music. The main show was supported by a quartet which was inadequate for decent musical backup for visiting performers. Basically nothing going on all day long. The service was ok . Ports other than Cuba were not very good-- Grand Camen on a Sunday is useless as it is closed for business. We will never travel on Holland American again!!!!!!!!!! No entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to Cuba, Key West, and Grand Cayman. Unfortunately, the Veendam is in terrible shape. The air conditioning does not work. There are parts of the ship that are blazing hot while other parts ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to Cuba, Key West, and Grand Cayman. Unfortunately, the Veendam is in terrible shape. The air conditioning does not work. There are parts of the ship that are blazing hot while other parts are freezing. Plus, in our cabin, there was rust on the shower ceiling, dings in the walls, stains on the duvet, and a strong urine smell in the bathroom at all times. We had friends who had to change cabins three times during the cruise due to problems (including flooding) in their cabin. In addition, there were very few activities on the ship, especially on sea days. It felt like the ship shut down by 8:00 p.m. For example, there were no guest lecturers, no house band or DJ, or no local groups brought on for musical performances. While we enjoyed the ports, the overall Holland America experience was awful. We are avid cruisers, and this was our first and last experience with this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Be VERY leary. DO NOT GO. I have the CDC Vessel Sanitazion Program (CDC) on this one. Disgusting, filthy toilets and “sanitation”. I walked into my cabin when it was announced that cabins were clean and ready, and I went into my ... Read More
Be VERY leary. DO NOT GO. I have the CDC Vessel Sanitazion Program (CDC) on this one. Disgusting, filthy toilets and “sanitation”. I walked into my cabin when it was announced that cabins were clean and ready, and I went into my bathroom and the toilet was over flooded with filthy water and human fecal matter! The public bathrooms were almost always filthy; I never saw anyone clean a public toilet all the days. The HVAC (heating and cooling) was constantly not working.....everyone complaining....even “Guest Relations” told me to be glad my room wasn’t almost 80 degrees like others and that I had SOME air. I couldn’t believe that! When the air was on, there was an exhaust smelll (others complaining as well)and a strong odor that I have never smelled but it smelled like rotting fruit. Several times thru out the cruise, toilets backed up, and there was no running water....one day I had no hot water for 20 hours and guest relations did nothing and I finally approached a navigation officer, who handled it. Communication was almost non existent between Departments was very poor...., for example, it was in their daily program that card players meet in a certain room each a.m., and the room was not set up 1/2 the time, and passengers were getting and setting up tables and chairs. We were promised water and coffee in that room, and only received one day, even after repeated calls. Customer Service was so poor it was almost comical.....but it wasn’t, but I could see why. I was so upset and frustrated one night when I had to WALK TO GUEST RELATIONS IN MY PJs, as no one would answer the phone, and I was crying and the Hotel Director was by my elevator and I implored him for help and he actually said “Not my job” and left we standing there! Employee relations was very inconsistent; some crew (like my cabin attendant in 598) actually walked away while I was talking! The Ship is very very run down, stains, boards missing or damaged under floors, for example I reported repeatedly that on the floor adjacent to Table 63, main dining, had some serious problems with the floor, as everytime a wait staff would walk by, the floor would sink in and bother my back. I was told they could do nothing until next dry dock!! Although the food was quite good, I did have a health issue. I have serious celiac disease and must be gluetin free, and in the buffet, the room service, and only once in main dining....they tried to serve me food with gluten. I stopped using room service as almost daily, it was not on time, missing items, coffee cold, etc. The promenade deck had hard wooden loungers with slats and NO COVERS....unusable! Photo below. I had to RENT a refrigerator for my medicines and special diet food and it was delivered in filthy condition! When I arrived in my cabin, it was not properly cleaned....hair everywhere, sticky remote control, dirty clothes in the drawers, badly stained and ripped sheets! The bathroom floors had the same shoe stain for two days. The charges for HALs excursions were 50% to 1400% (YES! 1400%] higher than one could find outside. The 4th of July party and BarBQue promised on their private island was not done because “thunderstorms were predicted”.....we checked the weather on line and we saw no such prediction and it was a beautiful day. The furniture in the showroom was uncomfortable and the onboard singers and dancers and their shows were so bad....people were calling it “dancing by numbers”. The outside entertainers were just okay, not bad. Often, it would take so long for someone at the front desk to answer phone, I waited up to an hour and walked down in my PJs. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Do not book a cruise with Holland America!! This was my 36th cruise and I have never before had a complaint. Air conditioning did not work in our cabin and customer service was full of lies about it. Lots of aft cabins had air ... Read More
Do not book a cruise with Holland America!! This was my 36th cruise and I have never before had a complaint. Air conditioning did not work in our cabin and customer service was full of lies about it. Lots of aft cabins had air conditioning problems and dealing with Holland America was a nightmare! For 3 days they kept telling us they were working on adjusting the airflow while we sweltered and were unable to sleep at night. Finally on the 4th day we were offered a box fan which did help a little. After that we had a nice suite that we could not use without stepping over cord to the only outlet in the cabin and maneuvering around the fan. SAFETY HAZARD!! Veendam is way overdue for a refurbish. Things are very tired, dirty, and nasty. I enjoy the smaller ships but this was not cruise worthy. Have no complaints about the service except for the front desk. Lies, lies, and more lies!! We heard from other passengers that they had the same problems on the previous cruise. Holland America knew there was a problem and we feel that we should have been notified at the beginning of the cruise. My daughter traipsed down to the front desk every day to negotiate with them to no avail. She finally got them to admit that on the last day that it could not be fixed and we were given a 25% refund. We don't feel that was sufficient but would have been given nothing without her efforts. Dining room service was very good. Waiters were attentive and fun. Staff on board was always friendly and helpful. Cuba was wonderful!! The shore excursion was great, our tour guide Guillermo was excellent and the Cuban people were very friendly and welcoming. You should definitely book a cruise or trip to Cuba but not through Holland America!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We thought we'd done all the right research prior to booking our cruise, obviously not. The only thing that didn't make this a completely miserable experience was the Ports and the company we traveled with. We ar grieved a little ... Read More
We thought we'd done all the right research prior to booking our cruise, obviously not. The only thing that didn't make this a completely miserable experience was the Ports and the company we traveled with. We ar grieved a little early on embarking day, no big deal to sit and wait but we waited and waited and waited...the ship wasn't ready so we waited ... 4 hours. Once onboard we made our way to the Lido deck because our lunch this far had been from vending machines at the port. I don't mind being served food, I find it safer than a bunch of people reaching in a buffet, but you had to ask 2-3 times for "more" than 10 pieces of lettuce, etc. The. To the room, it was as expected as an overview if only you could see the ocean given the dirty window! I'm not talking about some salt water, it was completely filthy. The room itself was clean, old and one power outlet (we asked for a power strip) but bed was comfortable and room stewards were great- they were the ONLY great thing about this cruise!! We were detoured prior to departure to Amber Cove vs. Cap Cana...that was fine as well, because we were getting such a late start. Amber Cove was very nice and a lot of fun actually, just no beach or any excursions to be offered. Have a drink and sit by the pool. Now, back to the ship...nothing to do, NOTHING...unless you enjoy playing chess in the library or reading a book in the corner this is not for you. There were six of us, all early Fortys and we literally went to bed at nine every night because of boredom. You can only go to the casino so many times and heaven forbid you'd want to eat past seven....they shut food stations down early every single day. So off to the room to order room service and wait an hour. Oh, and pay for food from the Dive In because it's after their hours. Can't get a drink at any of the ship bars because there's no one working. Literally NOONE WORKING during daytime hours! So be prepared to go to the crows nest in the front of the ship after four for drinks, otherwise good luck! I'm not a fan of Holland as you can tell. This was our third cruise and I've never been more disappointed. First and last time sailing with Holland! Wish I had something good to say, but I don't. If you don't want activities and like to sit in your room, book on this ship. The people and ship are all miserable. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise because of two ports in Cuba little did we know one port was cancelled at last minute, captain said it was because of strong winds and could not get into channel using safety for the passengers. This as we watched ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of two ports in Cuba little did we know one port was cancelled at last minute, captain said it was because of strong winds and could not get into channel using safety for the passengers. This as we watched another cruise ship go down channel without any issues, it was a nice sunny day no white caps on ocean although we were told the white caps were further in channel. The cruise was a once in a lifetime traveling with wife and mother in law. We got a suite which was real roomy but smelled and plumbing backed up during cruise 3 times. Food was terrible. There was little to do on ship during trip with no live music by pool. We were abandoned in Cuba on our excursion and had to hook up with another group to get back to ship. When 2nd port was cancelled we were told crew had to scramble to get us things to do and what a job they did, they offered the passengers a glass of wine in the afternoon for our troubles. This is the only cruise ship I have ever been on that sells depends diapers which tells you how old the passengers were. Horrible Horrible Horrible experience would not cruise Holland ever again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
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