826 Holland America Line Veendam Cruise Reviews

This was our 38th cruise sailing with many different cruise lines and it was are 5th cruise on HAL. This cruise on HAL was one of the best cruises we have ever taken and by far the best ever on HAL. From start to finish everything was 5 ... Read More
This was our 38th cruise sailing with many different cruise lines and it was are 5th cruise on HAL. This cruise on HAL was one of the best cruises we have ever taken and by far the best ever on HAL. From start to finish everything was 5 star. We used Park N Go and after being dropped off at the ship we checked in and were in our room in less than 15 minutes. We only ate in the main dining twice, both times it was Gala Night. We preferred the Lido Buffet which had most of the main dining room menu but the real reason was one of the servers, Ariel. Ariel was the most upbeat, funny and hard-working server, aka chef, we have ever seen. Example: Ask for the carrots and he would say, "There from the Bugs Bunny Farm, What's up Doc?" Every day was a different show and they were all funny and entertaining. After a day or two he know our names, Sir Gary & Miss Dolly, and I told him that Dolly's birthday was the nest day. He advised that he would have something special for her on her birthday. Next night he surprised her with a small birthday cake and sang happy birthday to her. OK, back to the review of the ship. SHIP - Ship was kept spotless, no signs of wear and tear, no rust anywhere. Lots of lounge chairs, no trash left on tables. Just a pretty ship. EXCURSIONS - Since we had sailed numerous times in the Caribbean we didn't book any excursions, we did visit Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Resort on Grand Turk and had a great time there. They had free umbrellas and lounge chairs and a huge freshwater pool. ( Great Margarita's too). On San Juan and St. Thomas we just did a little shopping and spent most of the time back on board. CABIN - Oceanview cabin #625 was mid-ship, main deck. Lots of storage, comfortable queen bed, nice linens, lots of towels. The room was kept spotless by our stewards Sapta and Salmen. DINING- Food in both the Lido and Main Dining was excellent, on par with Oceania Cruise Line. By far, the best food we have ever had on a HAL cruise. Breakfast, with Ariel at the omelet station, lunch and dinner in the Lido were exceptional. Taco bar by the pool was really good too. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES - We only made one show and that was Chris Pendleton. She was funny, a good singer and put on a great show along with her daughter Zoe. At the piano bar, Stryker put on a great show every time I stopped there. As for activities I have to be honest and advise that we booked this cruise due to special pricing from the casino. It was $99 each, total pricing with taxes and port charges was $544.00!! Miss Dolly is the gambler and she did very well on the slots. The casino, after a few days of Miss Dolly on the slots, sent chocolate-covered strawberries for her and on the last night of the cruise offered her $1,000.00 casino credit on her next cruise with HAL! Nice. SERVICE - Overall the entire crew was great. Always smiling, saying hello and just so friendly. Special notice for the following: Stewards Sapta & Salmen, bartenders John & Arniel, guest relations Maria and Edward and of course Ariel. SIDE NOTE - We sailed just as the Corona Virus was gaining momentum. There were lots of hand sanitizing stations throughout the ship and a handwashing machine, you placed both your hands inside this thing and the water circled your hands with warm soapy water. as you entered the Lido Restaurant. We've been home now for 7 days and have no symptoms of the virus. OVERALL - On some of our previous sailing on HAL we were somewhat disappointed but not on this trip. Everything was just great from the pricing, the food, the service, and the ship. Can't wait to book another cruise so Miss Dolly can gamble with House Money!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Wonderful ship that can handle the 1300 passengers well. Food was super and service staff is great. Ship is a little tired but well cared for. Only has one swimming pool that is quite small. Theatre is intimate and works for ... Read More
Wonderful ship that can handle the 1300 passengers well. Food was super and service staff is great. Ship is a little tired but well cared for. Only has one swimming pool that is quite small. Theatre is intimate and works for this ship. We were hoping for some test kitchen shows but apparently they are not doing those anymore. We booked guaranteed large inside cabin and got a dinky 130sf “spa inside” which was without doubt the worst cabin we have ever had. Front desk did not give two stumps about it. To add insult the cabin did not cool well so it was like sleeping in an easy bake oven each night. Again the front desk had no solution. We are unlikely to sail with HAL again soon. Highlight of the cruise was the pace and food. We especially enjoyed Half Moon Cay. It was a a beautiful day! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I choose this cruise because of the destinations. I did not know this was the ship for retirees. The majority of passengers were above the age of 70. EMBARKATION was smooth and luggage arrived at your door quick time. FOOD great. ... Read More
I choose this cruise because of the destinations. I did not know this was the ship for retirees. The majority of passengers were above the age of 70. EMBARKATION was smooth and luggage arrived at your door quick time. FOOD great. Very tasty. Ariel, the chef made us smile and laugh every day. He certainly made up for the countless other staff with serious faces. Most did not even offer "Good morning. How are you today?" (So unlike the friendly crews on Carnival.) STAFF not very friendly. Could be because of the language barrier. Hamda our room steward ALWAYS inquired if everything was OK with us. Cabin well cleaned. ENTERTAINMENT in the showroom was good. Other entertainment lacked variety. Same performers piano/singing/violin each night. ACTIVITIES were not numerous but I guess they were suitable for the senior clientele. The Explorer lounge took care of that because of the copious supply of games and puzzles available to pass the time. PORTS: I booked my own shore excursions at a much cheaper price. Key West was extremely interesting. I must return. Half Moon Cay was idyllic. Paradise. Oooo! I will not go with Veendam again. I want more onboard activities when I cruise. The pace on this ship was just too slow for me but I don’t know whether the other HA ships are different. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Bumpy, Bumpy, Bumpy! Very uncomfortable, there were people getting sick right and left, people falling and injuring themselves. We saw people who were in really bad shape from their injuries. And please keep in mind that their clientele is ... Read More
Bumpy, Bumpy, Bumpy! Very uncomfortable, there were people getting sick right and left, people falling and injuring themselves. We saw people who were in really bad shape from their injuries. And please keep in mind that their clientele is mostly elderly. The food was not that good, the wait staff was not that caring at all. It was an old rickety ship that should not still be in use. The stateroom bathroom was extremely horrible! It had a shower and a bath tub combo, the tub side was so high it was hard to get in and out of. You could tell they are only in business to take your money. It was totally evident that they did not care at all about their guests. The only good thing I have to say is that our stateroom attendants Muhammad and Putu did an excellent job! They looked after us very well. I really and truly would not recommend this ship to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because Holland American offered us an amazing, discounted price. The Veendam was by far the smallest ship we have been on so far, but because we have sailed Holland ships before, the general layout was similar. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because Holland American offered us an amazing, discounted price. The Veendam was by far the smallest ship we have been on so far, but because we have sailed Holland ships before, the general layout was similar. Really the only difference being that there were fewer ship levels and less length of the ship to walk. I did have to find the Explorations Cafe one morning, and it is on a different floor, which I knew from the signage by the elevators. What I didn't know, was that the floor was not contiguous. It took me a couple of tries to get to it, after going down to the level it was on and finding out that you couldn't get to it from the elevator lobby where I had descended to. So, then you have to walk up a level, walk over to the next set of stairs, and descend again back to level it is on. Not fun, when you are after your morning coffee. I really wish they would put this in a location on all ships more accessible. You have to pay for it, so why not promote it, where people can see it and opt up when they want? I was surprised with how great the limited entertainment was on The Veendam. We had two excellent, and very different comedians on this ship. I have usually been underwhelmed by the comedians on many different ships, but Brian Bradley and Mike Hamilton, delivered! I won't give away what they are good at ( you are welcome Mike), but believe me they are funny. Luckily for the cruisers, their approach to humor was radically different, which made both their shows special and unique. Get a good seat early for Mike's show. Just a head's up! And speaking of entertainment, I was so disappointed to find out on board that the B.B. King's Blues Club was not included on the ship, which I have thoroughly enjoyed on the others. I guess due to the smaller ship, there is not room. However, I discovered the piano singer, Stryker, who without a doubt, is the best piano singer/entertainer/comedian I have ever encountered on any ship (not just Holland ships). He truly can play that piano, sing, and work the crowd. I'm not really sure why he is on a cruise ship really with that talent, but I went to see him every night! I heard later that Holland is getting rid of the piano bars and putting in a rock and roll area to attract a younger demographic. I understand that, but I will definitely miss the sing alongs at the piano bar. And quite frankly, Stryker was so good, very few even wanted to sing along. He was that good! Most just wanted to listen and if you didn't get there early, you had to stand (which I did every night) gratefully! The accommodations were okay. The ship is older and in places looks like it, but as usual the staff made up for that. Our room was an ocean view and we opened up to a walking area on the deck with reserved chairs for us on the balcony. A nice perk when you have an ocean view. We usually have a balcony, so while it wasn't a private balcony it was right outside our sliding glass window. Actually, we loved it! The staff and crew of Veendam did not disappoint. Holland America's staff members are all well trained and friendly, courteous, many times funny, and are always what make the trip memorable for me. From our room steward, Sugi, to the Casino Host, Iggy, to the Beverage Host in Canaletto's, Noel (also our incredibly talented and funny Bar Crawl Host), to Henry and Rose, the servers at the Retreat Bar, they made the trip enjoyable, personable, and fun! Also ned to mention Rekki, the host at Canaletto's (which you have to try!) and Dewi and Phoebe, servers at Canaletto. They all went above and beyond for us, delivering our leftovers to the room for us on tow nights so we could get to the shows, and one night delivering an entire meal for us when my husband wasn't feeling well and we had to cancel our reservations. I didn't even ask. I was just walking down the lido Buffet alone, and it had closed, and Refki saw me, drew me in, and somehow managed to order me food from the Dining Room and get it it sent to my room! He was a hero that night because the time had changed and I was off an hour, salad had missed the Lido Hours! All in all, this cruise met our expectations. We had been to all the destinations before and were really just on a rest and relaxation cruise, both equipped with four books! I'm more of a night owl, so I did a lot of the entertainment on my own, which is one of the things i love about a cruise. As a woman, it's easy, safe, and no one looks at you like you are there for anything but the entertainment! The staff and meeting fellow cruisers has always been my favorite part of a cruise, and this cruise was the same. We had a fun, relaxing time, and applaud Holland for their incredible hardworking cruise staff. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I wanted to experience once again the smiling and friendly service staff of a HAL ship in a reasonably sized vessel. The Veendam was the perfect choice for us. I cruised with my 86 year old father who has some stamina issues affecting ... Read More
I wanted to experience once again the smiling and friendly service staff of a HAL ship in a reasonably sized vessel. The Veendam was the perfect choice for us. I cruised with my 86 year old father who has some stamina issues affecting his mobility so a mega ship full of kids and action was not in the equation. Veendam provided the perfect setting for a relaxing and pleasant week among "friends". The ship is older but still kept in very good condition. Cleaning and maintenance were on going all week long. Out suite was in good shape, showing some age spots but with everything operational and comfy. Our toilet has some flushing issues on two morning but repairs happened quickly and effectively. The entertainment was good, but the show room productions lacked an upbeat energy and so, to my taste, were boring. The music was obscure but the singing and dancing were strong. The comedian and ventriloquist were skilled and entertaining. The lounge entertainers were serviceable except for the piano bar guy, Stryker, who was fantastic. Food was ranged from good to great. Nothing really bad except for the tough Veal (twice in two different venues). There was little that was fantastic and memorable. I did enjoy the DIVE in burgers and dogs. I found the baked good and pies a let down. The biggest disappointment was in cruise staff who were nearly invisible. The CD seemed dropped the ball at least twice. First in not staffing or providing refreshments for the Veterans meeting. Second for a lack of shown support and encouragement for the "On Deck for a Cause" event. I also must note that the bridge and operational officers should really, at the very least, nod and acknowledge guests when the pass them in the Hallways. As always the highlight of any HAL cruise is the fantastic, smiling and patient service staff. They strive remember names and preferences from the very first meeting. My comment card was filled with names of those who we interacted with the most. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
HA is know for their service and excellent service is what we usually have experienced with HA. The Veendam wasn't bad, but felt disorganized, like perhaps half the staff were either new or burnt out. Our stewards were excellent ... Read More
HA is know for their service and excellent service is what we usually have experienced with HA. The Veendam wasn't bad, but felt disorganized, like perhaps half the staff were either new or burnt out. Our stewards were excellent attentive and friendly. Our room with just a window, midship, main deck was actually nice, well laid out and quite. However, we encountered many other aspects that were below HA standards: The meals in the main and Pinnacle dining rooms were nothing special - presentation, flavor (overcooked vegetables, etc.) and variety were lacking. The service in the Pinnacle was atrocious (basics like sitting 10+ minutes before wait staff said hi, water not being refilled, coffee never arriving with dessert). The main dining room service was hit and miss - some areas were well served, others slow and sloppy. The Cannaletto was good, slow but attentive. The Dive was improperly staffed - 35 minutes to get a burger when my ticket was only the 3rd in the que. The basketball court had useless basketballs (worn, ripped covers with the rubber sticking through) at the beginning and none once those were removed. Other than that, it was a nice cruise, just not to the usual HA standard. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I don't know what all the fuss is about, but I actually loved the Veendam. This was my 7th HAL cruise and the 1st on the Veendam. If you want a quiet relaxing cruise this is the one for you. I went with a group of elderly ... Read More
I don't know what all the fuss is about, but I actually loved the Veendam. This was my 7th HAL cruise and the 1st on the Veendam. If you want a quiet relaxing cruise this is the one for you. I went with a group of elderly gentlemen and had a fantastic time. Yes, there are not a lot of activities and the ship is older and smaller, but kept in immaculate condition. I had no problems on this cruise. I had a Vista suite, cabin B082 in the very aft of the ship in the corner. The cabin attendants (Indy & ?) were very attentive and kept the cabin in tip top shape. No problems with the heating or air conditioning. No clock, so bring one along, and only 1 electrical outlet but ask the cabin attendant for an extension cord or bring one along also. I found that the food was outstanding. I was a little hesitant on some of the beef dishes, but I needed not to be concerned as the beef tenderloins and short ribs were very tender. The dining room steward was friendly and attentive. Lunches were in the Lido room and a wide selection of dishes. This ship is mainly for the elderly, and the ship's personnel are geared to this age group. I was surprised on the amount of ship's personnel that were on board. Very few children on board. Did not attend any evening shows, preferring to spend my time with a good book. So if you want to get away, read some good books and just relax this is the ship for you. It's not a party ship, so don't be disappointed on the lack of activities. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Easy boarding. Small ship. Mid week sailing. I had been ill for the last 2 years and was thrilled to be able to take this cruise. Food was very good in the dining room. Best fries ever at the dive bar. Staff were very kind very ... Read More
Easy boarding. Small ship. Mid week sailing. I had been ill for the last 2 years and was thrilled to be able to take this cruise. Food was very good in the dining room. Best fries ever at the dive bar. Staff were very kind very accommodating. Couldn’t do enough for you. Always there in the lido with coffee which was surprisingly good. Horrible location very front of the ship. Won’t ever do that again. I had been to all the ports before so itinerary didn’t matter. Went because the piano player Barry from Boston is so so good. He was again terrific and made my whole cruise. The only other show I saw was a comedian who I did not enjoy and a ventriloquist with the Jamaican puppet Matilda who was terrific. Ship was in very good shape for being old and my friend was pleasantly surprised how nice the ship was. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We had understood that the ship had been renovated and that the food on HAL was good - neither are true. The buffet is monotonous and the specialty restaurants are not worth the high prices. Facilities are worn (cushions on outdoor ... Read More
We had understood that the ship had been renovated and that the food on HAL was good - neither are true. The buffet is monotonous and the specialty restaurants are not worth the high prices. Facilities are worn (cushions on outdoor chairs, chipped walls in our bathroom, lamp in our room). The service was ok but nothing special. Our room steward was very nice and helpful. The food was often Luke warm or lacking flavour. We opted for “anytime dining” which we thought meant we could make a reservation for anytime which is not true. You cannot make a reservation between 6pm and 8pm . You have to take a buzzer and come back (once nearly an hour later). No one could explain why we couldn’t make a reservation. It is completely misleading. Entertainment was ok.This was our First try with HAL - there might not be a second one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
If you are looking for a glitzy Las Vegas hotel on water, with countless shipboard activities, a booming disco, and an overactive cruise director shouting at you every 5 minutes - then this is NOT the cruise for you. We chose it because it ... Read More
If you are looking for a glitzy Las Vegas hotel on water, with countless shipboard activities, a booming disco, and an overactive cruise director shouting at you every 5 minutes - then this is NOT the cruise for you. We chose it because it was a well priced cruise on a smaller ship and we enjoyed the more mellow atmosphere and the feeling of actually being on a ship. The ship is older but the public areas are classy and the staterooms are spacious with comfortable beds, and bathtubs, but could use some styling. There was also a problem in our stateroom with a faint, stale smoke smell. They brought in a small machine 3 different times (while we were out) to freshen the air, and it helped a lot. We also appreciated the unexpected credit on our bill for the inconvenience of having to freshen up our room. The food on the ship varied from good to very good, the entertainment was surprisingly good considering the size of the ship (the dancers were better than many I have seen on larger ships) and there was a quartet performing live music in the Ocean Bar who were extraordinary. They were a jazz quartet with a talented, passionate singer and phenomenal pianist who were a joy to listen to and romantic to dance to. Unfortunately one of the passengers on the cruise complained because she wanted dance tunes that she and her girl friends could all get out and boogie to. So unfortunately, whoever was in charge asked the quartet to start doing pop tunes which was really a waste of their talent. Such a shame that the person in charge wanted to appease the complaining cruiser rather than allow the rest of us to enjoy the classy ambiance that this quartet was creating. And there was plenty of music to dance to after the quartet played - the entertainment staff would play whatever anyone requested over their sound system and you could dance as long as you wanted. Hope they figure out what a class act they have in Lila and her jazz quartet. The service on the ship was very good - personable, efficient, but not in your face. Holland America seems to attract an older crowd and I think there were only about 5 kids on this ship. Probably a little tame for the cruiser who wants to party, but lovely for those of us who don't really want to be at adult summer camp. The ports were typical Caribbean ports - gorgeous blue water, some lovely beaches, pretty good snorkeling. We felt a bit rushed with the time frame on some of them, but the itinerary was nice with all the active days at the beginning, so our 2 sea days at the end were a welcome relaxation time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Overall we had a wonderful time BUT only because we were together as a family. The cruise itself lacked a lot that we found with other cruises. Our dining waiter actually scolded our 20 year old daughter because she ordered a lemonade and ... Read More
Overall we had a wonderful time BUT only because we were together as a family. The cruise itself lacked a lot that we found with other cruises. Our dining waiter actually scolded our 20 year old daughter because she ordered a lemonade and he said he was too busy to get it. He did later apologize but vibe was definitely ruined. Also I had asked for birthday cakes for my family and they totally forgot to deliver them. They do not care at all. We have been on well over 30 cruises and this one truly was understaffed. There was not a lot to do on board. Nothing was ever planned. The entertainment on New Year's eve was terrible on the Lido Deck. Party was suppose to start at 1030pm. There was a lull when they did not even play music. Everyone was complaining and sweating. It was so hot. The singers that night were horrible. The islands were wonderful. But the cruise.....not so great. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I sailed with Holland America and I advise everybody to go with a different cruise line. During my ten day cruise, I daily saw passengers filing out incident/claim forms at customer service onboard. Two of the people I talked to had ... Read More
I sailed with Holland America and I advise everybody to go with a different cruise line. During my ten day cruise, I daily saw passengers filing out incident/claim forms at customer service onboard. Two of the people I talked to had things stolen from them, I had also chatted with a woman in the buffet who had her cell phone stolen. On the last day while disembarking, I waited until almost everyone had left the ship because I am disabled and walk very slowly. I took my bags and closed and locked my cabin door. The room stewards were working next door and were the only people there. When I left the ship, I realized I left my purse in my cabin. Now the nightmare begins. I tried to go back, they wouldn’t let me on the ship. A port security person called ship security who sent someone to the room and the purse was gone. All my money, ID, Cell phone, credit cards, medicine gone. I did a electronic tracking on my phone that showed it was still onboard. By now all passengers had left. That left only crew as suspects. I called Holland America, got an answering machine. I called the emergency number, got another answering machine. Several days later, I got the claims office on the phone and a very rude person told me “just call the local police.” I called guest relations and basically was told too bad. I tried to get a supervisor to have security review the security camera footage on my deck, they refused saying it’s not our problem. Holland America has the absolute WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE I have ever had on cruises. Holland America doesn’t care what happens to you on their ships as long as they got you money. BEWARE, don’t cruise with Holland America. And, especially don’t tale the Veendam, it’s an old ship sorely in need of repair. Do you think Holland America will respond to this? I’ll let you know. In fairness to this particular cruise, the food service staff was very good and attentive. The evening entertainment shows were so-so, a bit on the cheap side and not anything to go out of the way for. Onboard guest services (customer service) was constantly overwhelmed with passengers complaining about a variety of issues that mostly were solved by “we’ll look into it. Goodbye.” The ship itself was old and in need of some repair, for instance one or two of the elevators didn’t work, on evening before the floor show all the lights went out for about ten minutes causing a near panic. And of course, several thefts. The embarkation went smoothly, disembarking was a nightmare. Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Having booked this cruise on an exceptional deal around 6 months before sailing with a free drinks package for about £700 for 2 weeks, we jumped at the chance. However were very worried about the reviews as it got closer to sailing. We ... Read More
Having booked this cruise on an exceptional deal around 6 months before sailing with a free drinks package for about £700 for 2 weeks, we jumped at the chance. However were very worried about the reviews as it got closer to sailing. We needn't have worried. Boarding was quick, no champagne when embarking like Celebrity/Cunard/Silvesea etc, but no big deal..cabin was very large compared to Celebrity with the added benefit of a small tub. Ok the TV was old and the cabin dated along with a few areas of the ship (MDR dated, corridors etc) but kept clean - Celebrity Constellation was even more dated and dirtier when we sailed on her in 2017! Some public areas (Coffee Shop, Crows Nest etc) have had new chairs and carpets - very nice. Food was exceptional, love the made to order burgers, pizzas etc - everything is fresh, even good food in the lido where you don't help yourself but servers serve the food! MDR excellent most nights, one night a little off, but MD quickly sorted another dish out. Very impressed with the quality and service of HAL, shows were not great, only entertainment which was superb was Barry from Boston in the Piano Bar! Absolutely excellent, however I hear HAL are trying to get rid of the Piano Bar, such a shame! First time with HAL - very impressed, just for us, not much to do in the evening or on sea days and HAL are keen to upsell at every opportunity, however service and food couldn't fault. Didn't do any HAL excursions as they were expensive compared to Celeb etc and although we had a drinks package which we found was worth it - we couldn't use it on Half Moon Cay - we stopped there twice so took bottled beers and cans from the bar unopened to the island.... take a note from RCL and MSC who allow you to use the Drinks Package on their Bahamian Islands. Overall very good, will do HAL again at the right price so long as it includes drinks. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
While we were fortunate in getting a very good price for our cruise, as prior Holland America cruisers, and frequenters of the casino, this cruise was a let down. It started with checking in. They did not have out cabin keys, for some ... Read More
While we were fortunate in getting a very good price for our cruise, as prior Holland America cruisers, and frequenters of the casino, this cruise was a let down. It started with checking in. They did not have out cabin keys, for some reason and we stood around for a half hour waiting for them to be printed. A staff person tried to make up for it by letting us board with first group. Food was mediocre at best, ship furnishings outdated, only a handful of staff up to their usual warm and helpful standards. Casino was tiny and there was only 1 dealer who had any personality. Also, they didn't provide easy bar service. Loss of money on their part, as a result. There was only one blackjack table open most of the time. limited slot machines - no Wheel of Fortune! Our cabin stewards were good. Dining room waiters were overall mediocre - not attentive. One of the maitre de's - Adi - is a gem!! very helpful and went above and beyond to help me our first day on ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Received an inviting offer. We wanted to go on a relaxing cruise without making plans for excursions on a smaller ship. This was the perfect one. We did not wear ourselves out walking the ship. We did not have lines for the elevators, ... Read More
Received an inviting offer. We wanted to go on a relaxing cruise without making plans for excursions on a smaller ship. This was the perfect one. We did not wear ourselves out walking the ship. We did not have lines for the elevators, dining, shows, etc. It was so nice. We had an interior room (deck 6, Lower Promenade, 402, aft) that was convenient to the elevators and to the outer deck, which had lounge chairs. Also, straight up was the Rotterdam dining room, and on up, the Lido Market. Yes the rooms are small but did not bother us. We had the beds separated, with no problem. One suitcase fit under the bed. The other 2 in the closets. Also, we were close for the lifeboat drill. This was a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise but we never got off the ship (as we had been to most of the stops). Most of the people were older but a few with young children. I would not think the teens would enjoy this ship. They would consider it boring. The ship's entertainers were fairly good. The sound is very loud!. Chris Pendleton, comedian (singing and music) was excellent!! Such a talent! Forgotten the other comedian's name (so sorry) but he was very good with a puppet. Actually preferred the food more in the Lido Market than the dining room. But I think the food last year on the Rotterdam was better. Most of the desserts seemed on the bland side. (JMO). The service whether it was our room stewards, dining room, or Lido servers was excellent. I think Holland has some of the best servers. The ship was very clean. In the restrooms were cloth towels to dry your hands. Much nicer than paper towels. TV stations are not great so don't count on seeing a special show. But then again, we were not there to watch TV. Did not do the internet either. No cell phone. Just relaxing. Left a little money in the casino. Bar service was lacking in there. One of the best places to be for the daytime view, when docking or leaving a port is up in the Crow's Nest with windows all around. It is up top at the front. Again, let me say, just a nice, relaxing cruise for us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
If you are between 65-90 yrs old, then this slow paced ship is designed for you. It was super boring. Gym is spacious but outdated and needs to be renovated. Dining choices are very limited. Dining rooms are quite ordinary in that ... Read More
If you are between 65-90 yrs old, then this slow paced ship is designed for you. It was super boring. Gym is spacious but outdated and needs to be renovated. Dining choices are very limited. Dining rooms are quite ordinary in that menus were repetitive and not very exciting, and specialty restaurants are nothing special. I ordered steak one night and it was terrible. The shows offered at night were almost embarrassing to watch so I skipped most of them. Because of the lack of activities, most of the time, I just sat there and read...but I could do that in my own home. Overall we enjoyed our seven days because of the warm weather, but not nearly as much as cruises on other ships. We brought our son and he had a good time running around but I suspect that he will have a good time regardless since this is his first ship ever. Too bad that we couldn't find a Celebrity or Princess ship that departs around the same time so we had to go with this one but next time we will plan better. And like other reviews, bring an extension cord for your electronics. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We really enjoyed our cruise aboard the Veendam. The service was excellent and really made our vacation great. The cabin steward was fantastic, along with the dinning room staff. We traveled with children and the crew all went out of their ... Read More
We really enjoyed our cruise aboard the Veendam. The service was excellent and really made our vacation great. The cabin steward was fantastic, along with the dinning room staff. We traveled with children and the crew all went out of their way to know our names and be extra nice to the kids. If you need lots of excitement and constant activity, then this most likely is not the best ship for you. There is one pool and 4 hot tubs at the stern. The 2 days at sea had ping pong and pickle ball tournaments. We did enjoy the cooking shows, she did easy recipes but the interesting tidbits that she said during the show was what made it good. There was a Catholic priest onboard so there was daily Mass at 5 pm each day. We all loved the Dive In, the kids ordered cheeseburgers everyday. My favorite was the taco bar, nice and fresh to eat by the pool. I also enjoyed the frozen fruit snacks brought around to everyone sitting around pool and the cold washcloths to freshen up while sunbathing. There was a pianist and violinist playing classical pieces everyday in the lounge and they were wonderful along with the quartet playing more popular songs. The food was delicious and very good quality. It was a tough decision of what to eat because everything was so good. Make sure to attend afternoon tea at least once, they always have different food each day there and it’s also very good. We were disappointed with the shore excursions and staff, they were the only ones onboard that had bad attitudes. We did not book any shore excursions through the ship since we found better ones on our own prior to sailing. Beware if traveling with young children, most shore excursions have age restrictions and won’t allow children. The nightly entertainment in the showroom left a lot to be desired. The singers and dancers were not up to standard and I’ve seen high school shows that were better. There was a comedy fiddle show that was really good, don’t miss that along with the BBC nature show. Overall, if you’re looking for constant activities and excitement this would not be the right ship for you. A nice relaxing, traditional cruise is what it is. We sailed on another HAL ship and the Veendam is the best for service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We did a 7 day Carribean cruise with ports of call being, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Key West. Yes the Venndam is an older ship but I think it's in lovely condition. Being a smaller ship there isn't all the bells and ... Read More
We did a 7 day Carribean cruise with ports of call being, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Key West. Yes the Venndam is an older ship but I think it's in lovely condition. Being a smaller ship there isn't all the bells and whistles one might find on a larger ship which is one of the big reasons why we chose this cruise. The biggest selling point for us on HAL is the excellent service of the stewards, restaurant and concierge on the ship. These are the people you come in contact with most and all of them make it their mission to make sure you're vacation experience is top notch, and all done with a smile. My husband and I are 'foodies' and we found all our meals highly satisfactory expecially in the specialty restaurants as well as in the main dining room. As a part of trying to keep our calories, ahem, somewhat in check we did not partake of the Lido buffet during our cruise. Did a little gambling in the casino before dinner a couple of nights and although there is still smoking allowed, there is one night it is non-smoking, which was great. We enjoyed the America's Test Kitchen demonstrations as well. There are many activities on board during the day. You can be as active or vice-versa on this cruise. As far as excursions, we only booked 2. We did the Bamboo Club day at the beach in Ocho Rios which was...okay. Jamaica is a beautiful, rustic and earthy island. The beach we went to was small and definitely would recommend water shoes as there's a mix of sand and rocky soil. The brochure says it's a 30-40 drive but it's more like an hour. Our guides along the way were delightful but the beach experience itself was mixed. Some of the food was good, some, meh. The best was the seafood. The drinks they poured which were included in the price were limited in choice and of questionable quality. We also booked a food and wine tour in Key West but it was canceled. Did some shopping in Grand Cayman and dd not get off the boat in Cozumel. The most enjoyable port for us was Key West, hands down. Terrific food, fun bars and very walkable. There's a lot of history there such as the Truman White House and check out the Peace T-shirt store down the block from there. If there's one area of the ship that needs a redo I would say it's spa/gym area. There's a huge gym on board to the point of being under-utilized and in the same room is an exercise floor where yoga, pilates mat, and meditation classes are held which is not condusive to having cardio equipment in use 10 feet away from you. The women's room in the spa is more of a pass through and the warm service experienced everywere else on the ship seems to be lacking at the spa. There is a thermal room but the whirlpool is a 3 person pool but in reality either a one person hot tub or you and 2 of your closest friends you don't ming tangling your legs with because yes, it's that small. The thermal package is a 'must' for me but sadly the view from the ceramic tile beds is obstructed unlike other cruise lines I've sailed that have a clear view of the sea right in front of you. As you can probably deduce from this review, we were looking for a cruise to mainly just chill and relax with no firm agenda. This cruise fit us perfectly. Having read some of the negative reviews about their experience on the Veendam I feel I must say this: Sometimes our expectations can be a bit unrealistic which usually leads to disappointment. If you set your expectations to about 80 percent you're going to have an enjoyable and satisfactory trip and finding more than not your expectations will exceed the 80 percent. Actually the many of the negative comments written about were due, it seemed to me, as a result of not doing their homework before booking the cruise. Do your due dilligence in finding a cruise that that offers you the kind of activities and general vibe you're looking for. There are plenty of reviews these days that will help inform you to make the right choice. Here are a few things to consider before sailing on the Veendam: 1.The average age is most likely mid 60's although there were some young couples on the ship and there were children aboard but not many. 2. There is evening entertainment on board, we liked the comics and the Barry at the piano bar but if you're looking for Circ de soleil or Ice-skating extravaganze type shows,pass. 3. Do you want a disco and parties out on the Lido deck at night? Probably not your ship. 4. Do you want to unplug? Is one of your main goals for the day to look for a comfortable chair, cocktail in tow to read or rest? This is your ship. Although, if you want to be more social there are plenty of activities you can partake of as well. 5. If there would be one complaint I would say it was the lack of wine-by-the-glass choices with our signature beverage package. We aren't big drinkers, we never hit our daily limit, however, we do like wine with dinner and it felt like the red wine choices were so limited that in order to get a decent glass of red wine you'd have to pay extra for it and we personally felt we had already paid enough for the package. 6. Most reviewers suggest bringing a power strip for your phones, apple watch, etc. and they are right. There are a few outlets (we had a suite) in the room but not many and they are spread out. We had our phones, apple watches and kindles with us and the power strip came in handy big time as well as keeping all our electronic plug-in in one area of the room. We had a lovely time. I'd go back tomorrow if I could. Beautiful weather, calm seas, beautiful blue water, meals beautifully prepared for you and sleeping on a gently rolling seas. Heaven. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Tried HAL for the first time in January 2019 on the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal and enjoyed the cruise. Received an offer from HAL for discounted cruise rates and chose the Eastern Caribbean route. Small ship which was good for ... Read More
Tried HAL for the first time in January 2019 on the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal and enjoyed the cruise. Received an offer from HAL for discounted cruise rates and chose the Eastern Caribbean route. Small ship which was good for getting around but the entire ship seemed understaffed with the he exception of the Lido Buffet. Food b came monotonous and pretty boring. Older crowd and a lot of grumps on board. I do hav to hand it to some of the staff for some of the abuse they took from customers. Service was extremely slow and sometimes non existent in some of the bar areas. Entertainment was very weak and they had nothing going on during the sea days. Very disappointed and I doubt will be a good will use HAL again. Side note: Port Everglades was very easy to embark and disembark. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express which was only about a mile and a half from the port by shuttle van. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise based on price, date and mostly because we are frequent HA travelers and know what to expect - mature cruisers, good food, good entertainment, nice staterooms. While most of those criteria were met, this mid-week to ... Read More
I chose this cruise based on price, date and mostly because we are frequent HA travelers and know what to expect - mature cruisers, good food, good entertainment, nice staterooms. While most of those criteria were met, this mid-week to mid-week cruise brought out ALL the retirees! I'd guess 80% of the guests were > 65 On the bright side, i could count the kids on one hand (3 in the pool got very dirty looks!) My biggest gripe about this vacation was that it veered from relaxing to boring, based on the overall lack of quality entertainment. The comedian was just ok on his first show, and achingly bad on his reprieve on day 7. The vocal impersonator was not very good - I wouldn't know who he was imitating if he didn't say, plus he was kind of insulting to those he imitated (making fun of Tom Jones' moves, for example - looked silly). The HA singers and dancers are ok - they work hard but it's like a high school musical. Not my cup of tea. To top all this off, the showroom is poorly laid out and 2nd floor is uncomfortable with low back seating. Besides the nightly show, the only other entertainment was a very kitschy piano bar player. That got so crowded each night that cruisers set up chairs blocking the hallway near the stores. In room entertainment and movie theater were poor - Lion King, Spiderman and Titanic? Really? Food and service were good; Cannaleto was very good. This really soured me on HA...may need to move up to Princess to get a better vacation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Nice cruise with great food, entertainment and service encounter part of a nor'easter in Halifax, but we just stayed overnight so it wasn't a big deal. Overall we had lots of sunny days to see the colors. Missed Bar Harbor, but ... Read More
Nice cruise with great food, entertainment and service encounter part of a nor'easter in Halifax, but we just stayed overnight so it wasn't a big deal. Overall we had lots of sunny days to see the colors. Missed Bar Harbor, but it would have been raining. Weather this time of year isn't always great. We've been on about 20 cruises and the singers and dancers on this one were the best. Amazing talent. Veendam is in great shape after dry dock earlier this year. They haven't messed up the Crows Nest like on some of the newer ships - and there still is a library. And we like it's (relatively) small size. Only critisizm would be we'd like more noncommercial (IE pay) activities on sea days. Since we don't gamble, shop of go to the spa, activities were limited in choice. Not sure what Orange thing was - we just got a menu with a different cover at dinner. Same menu. And a guy with an orange tie showed us to our same table. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I'm always curious to see if my assessment of a cruise ship matches the typical review of it I read here on Cruise Critic. Reviewers correct on the food, entertainment and things to do ... mostly pretty mundane. But the ship itself ... Read More
I'm always curious to see if my assessment of a cruise ship matches the typical review of it I read here on Cruise Critic. Reviewers correct on the food, entertainment and things to do ... mostly pretty mundane. But the ship itself is in immaculate condition after a fall 2019 retrofit. And the crew was one of the sharpest and friendliest I have encountered on the high seas, except for a few letdowns in the dining room. Also love the size of the ship, easy to get around with a max of 1,400 passengers. Our New England and Canada fall colors cruise encountered some storms and we could not get in to Bar Harbor or get off the ship at Halifax. An extra wine tasting was added, and it's nice they do them, some lines don't, but HAL uses mostly cheap wines . One habit I find distasteful is their tendency during wine tastings and Lido food service to begin to shut things down too quickly. Other lines not so bad on that score. HAL loves these Microsoft classes but after a decade it's gotten old as people now focused more on cell phones than laptops. Our cabin with a small porthole was fine but several people related horror stories about plumbing problems and rude service at the front desk. HAL needs to revisit its offerings of things to do .. why not try some new, creative things instead of the same old same old you have run for decades! The food? In typical HAL fashion had some great lunches and dinners and a a couple that were flops. Soups not as good as they used to be on HAL ships. We don't even try the Pinnacle anymore because they just can't cook a steak right! The stops we made were fine ... loved Quebec City and the North End of Boston. Also enjoyed small towns Charlottetown and Sydney and their friendly people. Found the casino in Sydney and also their nice waterfront boardwalk. People complained that there is nothing at the pier at Port Canaveral. Overall glad we did the cruise and HAL is fine if you don't get thrown for a loop by a few things not to your liking. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our second cruise with Holland America. The first was June of this year on the Niew Amsterdam. It was superb, so we decided to stay with Holland America and book another for October. For both cruises we decided on the Neptune ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Holland America. The first was June of this year on the Niew Amsterdam. It was superb, so we decided to stay with Holland America and book another for October. For both cruises we decided on the Neptune Suite, thinking that Holland America would have the same quality on all their ships. Big mistake! Because we were flying 3000 miles to begin our cruise, we decided on paying for the pre night stay and transfer fee. We were told that given the fact we had suite status, we would be able to board as soon as the ship cleared customs. We were on bus 1 they said. Long story short...bus 1 was too small, bus 2 didn't arrive until 2 hrs later. We finally boarded the ship at 2 pm. No problem we thought, let's just get to our room and unpack and relax a bit. We looked forward to our suite. Another mistake. The room was old and worn. The sink was so badly chipped I thought at first it was debris not cleaned. The tub was also chipped. The bags had not arrived! When they weren't their by 3:45, we let our room steward know we would not be staying on the ship if they weren't there by 4:30. The ship was schedule to leave at 5 pm. Bless the room steward, I think he went and found them himself...they arrived at 4:15. Three days into the cruise we were informed they would be shampooing our carpet the next day! It was rainy and they expect it to dry? No problem, we let the concierge know to bypass our room for the entire cruise...but really? I should add there was not a clean window in any public area on the entire ship. I mean they were filthy, no crystal clear views to be had anywhere but in your stateroom. One day after walking most of the day, we came back around 3 pm, changed into robes and decided to relax on our verandah with a glass of wine. We hear a noise and up pops 2 guys on a scaffold...they are painting! We had to pull the curtains and sit in our room. Apparently they paint while in port. The next day we came back and the patio was covered in paint chips...they had scraped on the deck above us while we were gone. It never was swept. Except for the Pinnacle Grill, the food was mediocre. That didn't bother us too much given the fact we are not big eaters BUT we were told that on a smaller ship, the food is always better...definitely not the case on this ship. We ordered room service twice, both times order was incomplete, we gave up on ordering again. Nightly entertainment was definitely for older crowd and we are in our early 70's! No BB King on this cruise! The casino was small but adequate. We found the service employees on the ship very friendly. We always make a point to visit with our room steward, concierge, and dining personnel. They are friendly and each one has such an interesting life story. Port excursions were wonderful. This cruise is advertised a a "fall color" cruise. It is misleading not because catching the fall color at just the right time is iffy, it is because you are cruising at night in the dark passing the color. By the time the sun is up, you are in port, which ports have little fall color. They are ports after all. Instead it should be advertised by the richness of history in every port they visit. It was wonderful! Our cruise came to an end and our scheduled time was to disembark at 9:30 am. We were more than ready by 8 am but no problem, we walked to the concierge lounge, grabbed a a few snacks and brought them back to site on our verandah. We are sitting there and all of a sudden water comes shooting over the partition. This time we yelled, what are are you doing? The water ceased. Apparently they started hosing off decks without checking the departure time for each room. So, my advice to all of you, take a look at the age of your ship first of all, ask what you will see while cruising and don't be afraid to speak up. Cruising is not cheap and you are entitled to what was presented to you initially. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Holland America has some great ships and cruises. Unfortunately the Veendam cruise from Boston to Montreal is NOT one of them. The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned soon so it is in its lasts throws as a working Holland America cruise ... Read More
Holland America has some great ships and cruises. Unfortunately the Veendam cruise from Boston to Montreal is NOT one of them. The ship is scheduled to be decommissioned soon so it is in its lasts throws as a working Holland America cruise ship. Problems began on embarkation. Our fellow travelers were assigned to a Veranda deck state room next to ours and upon arrival found industrial strength air blowers trying to dry out their room(A178) which had been flooded by an overflowing tub being sanitized. Room A176 was also flooded as well as the hall way. The smell (like a wet dog) and damp carpets were present for the remainder of the seven day trip. Guest services said nothing more than trying to dry out the carpet could be done since all the cabins were full. When we first went down to Guest Services to complain, there was a long, long line of people trying to change rooms for various problems. Dining in the main dinging room was also a negative aspect of the cruise. On all of our previous cruises with Holland America, dining in one of the main dinging rooms was always special. The menus and meals on this particular cruise were so mundane that it seemed like a majority of dinners left of the Lido Market after two days of disappointment. The Veendam is old and pretty worn out and it shows in every room that we visited. Most of the crew tried to make up for the ships many faults with their service but there was just too much to overcome. The most dangerous moment occurred when we were tendering back from a day in Bar Harbor. Lack of seamanship left the tender too far from the Veendam's dock and a choppy sea resulted in the tender slamming violently into the side of the Veendam. A number of returning passengers were thrown into the floor of the tender and one woman appeared to be seriously injured. I have always praised Holland America but after this cruise, I would be more careful about reading current reviews. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Veendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 3.5 3.6
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 3.5 4.2
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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