1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
The Veendam offers a somewhat pleasant get-a-way as long as you understand what your getting. The Veendam is a rather small older ship compleatly lacking in any of the modern features offered on newer larger vessels. This is a good fit for ... Read More
The Veendam offers a somewhat pleasant get-a-way as long as you understand what your getting. The Veendam is a rather small older ship compleatly lacking in any of the modern features offered on newer larger vessels. This is a good fit for the crowd it attracts which averages at least retirement age. Enjoy a nice quite experience at Sea this is your ship. Want some excitement and new experiences find another cruise. Ship was clean and mostly well maintained but still had the elevator issues others have mentioned. Food and Service was good overall. At times the selections offered on the Dining Room Menu where a bit strange. However, a quick request to the waiter and a nice steak was quickly served. The buffet again had a good selection but the layout was very confusing with the start of the line often in the center of the buffet with no clue it it went right or left. The Eastern Caribbean Itinerary included some limited times in port and it is clear that many of the ports are really not yet ready for tourist to return especially if they expect the same choice of activities offered before the storms. Biggest pleasant surprise was the Entertainment. Singers and Dancers put on two excellent shows plus two excellent guest entertainers. Much improved over previous Cruise on the same ship. Again if you are at least not actively planning your retirement you can do much better for just a little more. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Ms. Veendam is an older, smaller ship. The smallest I have ever sailed on. The ship is well maintained. We went with an ocean view room for this last minute trip. The room was fine. I did miss having a balcony. I enjoy sitting out there in ... Read More
Ms. Veendam is an older, smaller ship. The smallest I have ever sailed on. The ship is well maintained. We went with an ocean view room for this last minute trip. The room was fine. I did miss having a balcony. I enjoy sitting out there in the morning. The food on the ship in the main dining room was excellent as well as the service we received. We only ate breakfast in the Lido buffet. It had your typical fare. The late food service in the Lido was so so. Not a lot of choices, not that great. It was served between 10:30-11:30 pm. Room service is available 24/7. We ordered breakfast a couple times, it was good. They had upgrade items on menu but we didn't try any. Our favorite part of the trip was the Super Bowl party. We purchased the VIP Experience which was held in the showroom. We received front row comfortable seats, all you could drink, all food and snacks along with butler service. It was priced @ $69.99 per person. The staff was friendly and attentive throughout. We only went to one show, the comedian. He was funny. The rest of the nights were billed as singing and dancing shows, not our cup of tea. All in all we enjoyed the cruise very much and would sail with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Boarding the Veendam was fairly quick and easy. Perhaps a 15 minute wait to be called. Went directly to stateroom and then lunch at the Lido. The buffet was fresh and tasty – a huge assortment of food to eat. Dinner first night ... Read More
Boarding the Veendam was fairly quick and easy. Perhaps a 15 minute wait to be called. Went directly to stateroom and then lunch at the Lido. The buffet was fresh and tasty – a huge assortment of food to eat. Dinner first night was prime rib medium rare and it was excellent. We had open seating but called for reservations – times available seemed to correspond to either the early or late seating in the assigned dining option. Key West was first stop. Took free tram to town, walked around, ate lunch at Sloppy Joe’s and then did hop on hop off bus tour. Lots of charm to buildings in Key West. So tired after all the walking in Key West, we ate dinner at the Lido buffet. Lots of options including same ones as main dining room menu. I had the weiner schnitzel – not particularly good. Next was day at sea where I discovered the Digital Workshops. Attended 2 and learned so much about photo editing with Windows 10 and then making a movie/slide show. First gala night, I had the rack of lamb which was tasty and perfectly cooked to my medium rare. Day 3 (Saturday) was to be a stop at Porta Maya but unfortunately gale winds and rough surf did not allow us to dock. Very disappointing but glad the captain is cautious. Attended more digital workshops. Day 4 (Sunday) docked at Cozumel early. Left ship about 10 and took cab to Westin to use beach for the afternoon. First stopped at Intercontinental but they did not give day passes. When we went to the Westin on the far north, they did not require a day pass – just walked onto the beach. Attendant brought us towels. Attendants on beach were very nice. Had pina coladas and a club sandwich for lunch – both very good! Beach is small but not crowded, lounges were comfortable and water was so clear and blue! Second gala night – surf and turf was on menu – I had 2 surf and no turf – It was good but not great lobster tails. A bit softer than when you have Maine lobster in Maine! Monday about 1:30, we began entry to Havana. You have to wait at entry for other ship to leave the port and then the pilot takes you into the channel. We were told the Italian ship leaving was often late and sure enough, they were. Our excursions were set for 3:00 but we did not get out of the port until about 4:30. Many people upset because HAL apparently knew this, but set up excursions anyway that they knew we would not start on time. Ours still ended at 7:00 and the order of the excursion was actually the opposite of the description. We did an Afternoon Stroll through old Havana, which was to be a walking tour, then a dance performance, followed by a light dinner at a local restaurant. Instead, we were taken by bus directly to the Original Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where we were served a Cubano sandwich and coke, then taken back to port by bus. Then we walked to dance studio for performance and finally began walking tour in the dark. Much is made about the required people to people interaction, but we didn’t actually have the opportunity for interaction with the locals. Our guide was a young girl who walked very quickly and would begin talking even before everyone had arrived. Tuesday morning we were in port until 11:30. We went outside on our own about 8:30 (no lines or problem) and flagged down a classic car to take an hour ride around Havana. The cost was $60 USD which we split with another couple. We were in a 55 Buick convertible and our driver Victor spoke excellent English. He had been a mechanical engineering teacher, but he quit to drive tourists because he made more money. This was a perfect morning – he showed us many sites, spoke with us at length – a true people to people interaction. Then he dropped us at an indoor shopping market (which you would never have guessed was a market from the outside – it was a former train station. Rows and rows of tourist/souvenir type objects – many identical to others. We then walked back to the ship. What I wish I had known in advance about visiting Cuba: 1. Ship provides Visa for $75 on ship 2. Ship’s excursions are pricey and probably not necessary. US regs require a people to people exchange which supposedly the ship’s excursion qualifies for. But no one actually ever asked us what we did in Cuba. We are supposed to keep receipts for 5 years in case Big Brother ever decides down the road to ask us what we did – really??? 3. It’s not necessary to change money – the US dollar is accepted at a value of $.87. The stall keepers in the market even had calculators! If you do change money, do in small amount. 4. You can set up your own site seeing by simply flagging a taxi (classic car, regular taxi, horse drawn carriage or 3 wheeled bicycle carriage) outside of the terminal for much less than the ship’s tour prices. Dinner was prime rib again and it was cooked perfectly. Overall, food on HAL was quite good. Ate breakfast both at Lido buffet and in main dining room. Huge selection in Lido with many offerings cooked to order. While menus in main dining room, waiters were very accommodating to basically whatever you wanted to have. Lunches also included a great selection. Especially liked the salad bar. Burgers and fries at dive-in were hot, tasty, fresh. At dinner each night, I had a small Caesar salad whether it was on the menu or not – no problem. Breakfast was available morning of disembarkation both in Lido and MDR at the same standards as the entire week. Disembarkation was smooth, easy, no problems at all. It was easy to get a taxi ourselves to Fort Lauderdale airport for about $14. We had a 12:30 flight and no issues at Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Our second time on Veendam. It is just the right size for oldsters. The ship is immaculate,everyone of the staff is friendly, the food is very good. The Lido buffet has the kitchen staff putting food on the plates, so there is minimum ... Read More
Our second time on Veendam. It is just the right size for oldsters. The ship is immaculate,everyone of the staff is friendly, the food is very good. The Lido buffet has the kitchen staff putting food on the plates, so there is minimum chance of contamination by passengers hands. We enjoyed the Pinnacle and the Caneletto restaurant and really enjoyed them. Our cabin was the typical balcony cabin with a chaise lounge and 2 chairs. It was kept excellently by the stewards. It was midship, but next time I would get a cabin closer to the elevators, to avoid the long walk We stopped at Key West, Cozulem and Cuba. Costa Maya was too rough and windy to dock so we missed it. Cuba Is a newer port for HAL, so there are a few kinks. It get dark at 6pm and there are very few street lights so it is pitch black. Our 4 hour tour started late at 4pm and we went to an OK restaurant from 4to 6. Then in the darkness we went on a panoramic ride to an artist establishment. It was disappointing trying to enjoy this in the darkness. But Cuba was an experience I'm glad I had. Every college student should see how communism works. Getting on and off the ship went smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
I sailed in 2015 on the Maasdam, the only surviving Statendam class ship besides the Veendam. I hadn't much enjoyed that voyage because I'd recently sailed on the Vista-class Westerdam, and thought the service and layout was much superior. ... Read More
I sailed in 2015 on the Maasdam, the only surviving Statendam class ship besides the Veendam. I hadn't much enjoyed that voyage because I'd recently sailed on the Vista-class Westerdam, and thought the service and layout was much superior. However, in between now and back then, HAL butchered the Westerdam by eliminating the library other than for a small number of destination-related books, did away with the designated puzzle table, forced the bar to take over the functions of the coffee café (and in the process ruining the view from the bar seats), and replaced the piano bar we so enjoyed with dueling pianists (which we did not). So I was very happy that so far, the Veendam still has its library, its Crow's Nest, and its piano bar, along with things I did like about the Maasdam such as the MIX bar and self-service laundries. Also I found the crew of the Veendam as excellent as that on the Westerdam, and very much enjoyed our ports of call in Key West and Cozumel. My main problem with the cruise was with the inability to spend any meaningful time in Cuba. I was on the 7-day Authentic Cuba portion of the 14-day tour; my reason for picking this particular cruise was to visit Cuba for the first time. However, the problems started even before the cruise, when it became clear that (1) I would need to take a shore excursion just to be allowed off the ship, and (2) all the shore excursions were sold out. My travel agent managed to get me on a 4-hour one (Panoramic Highlights of Havana). I was also interested in doing the Tropicana night club, but was told by the EXC staff when I inquired about it that if there was delay in our getting into port (as had occurred), we wouldn't be able to do that tour--and because HAL had to purchase the tickets, we would lose our money. As it turned out, I could have made that tour--but only because my 4-hour tour was cut short to make sure the people who had signed up for it made it back in time. My travel agent waitlisted me for other tours, including ones the next day, but I was never told I cleared the list, and we were given conflicting information about whether we could leave the ship the next day other than on an organized tour, so my grand time in Cuba was less than 4 hours, some of which was spent going through customs. The tour itself was fine, although of the three stops, two were done after night had fallen, and walking was tricky. We were encouraged to go through the currency exchange--but except for a small gift shop at the dance company we went to, there was nothing to buy, and by the time the tour ended, all stores were closed. We were told by our guide that we'd have a chance to take photos of the Classic Cars at Revolutionary Square, but they were gone before we got there, and because of the darkness, we wouldn't have been able to get much anyway. Our guide spoke excellent English and was very informative, so I'm glad I did get to go on the tour, but would have preferred to have spent at least 8 hours in the country, get something to eat/drink there, and be able to spend the money I obtained (which was the only souvenir of Cuba I was able to bring back). Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I chose this cruise relatively close in to sail date because I had never been to Cuba and price was a Top 10 Deal. Have been cruising HAL for 20 years so am used to seeing service levels and amenities decline every year. However, unless ... Read More
I chose this cruise relatively close in to sail date because I had never been to Cuba and price was a Top 10 Deal. Have been cruising HAL for 20 years so am used to seeing service levels and amenities decline every year. However, unless HAL improve the boarding, administration, and in-PORT experience, they will not be able to continue filling these cruises. On the plus side: 1. The entertainment was the best I have experienced on HAL - enjoyed every night in the Queen's Lounge (or whatever they call it these days). 2. Staff, while being forced to do more and more each cruise are still pleasant - but far fewer are on repeat contracts. 5 - 10 years ago, I would see the same staff, cruise after cruise, but did not recognize any on this one. 3. Cleanliness. Well kept. 4. Captain. A real Irish joker who ran a tight ship. 5. BBC Earth. 6. Adagio Day 1 - Boarding: Easy and quick, but not provided with 4 Star pre-Boarding card - told to sit in waiting area, and only realized that the ship was actually ready to board for 4 Stars when I noticed other people going straight from check-in desk to gangway, bypassing holding area. On-Board Account. As usual, no shareholder credit appeared, even though I had specifically asked for and received confirmation of such credit from my travel agent. Had to have that email photographed for front desk to "send to Seatlle for confirmation" before S/H credit appeared. Why can they not get this right? Sets a bad mood for beginning of cruise. Day 2 - Key West. Arrived at Military Pier, a 30 minute tram ride to downtown. WHY? Cost cutting? NCL was at main town dock. Had to leave by 4pm. WHY? We only sailed at 12kts for next 2 days. Day 3. At Sea. Rough, but it's January so no complaints, other than public rooms on ship were kept at ice cold temperatures inside. I became quite ill by end of cruise. Day 4. Costa Maya - Did not dock. Winds gusting to 50kts. Why sail 120 miles south of Cozumel and then 120 miles back (at 6kts for 20 hours) when winds have been at gale force all previous day? Why not simply have an extra day at Cozumel? And why did Captain wait until 30 minutes AFTER we had performed a U-Turn at Costa Maya to explain? Day 5 - Cozumel. I like Cozumel, rented a car as always, and went to San Gervasio ruins and the east coast beaches. Disappointed that as it was Sunday, the Eco-Park at the south end was closed. But have noticed on last three HAL cruises that many ports are docked at on national or religious holidays. Why? Are dock charges less? Also note that ship docks about 3 miles south of town, at a purpose built shopping center, where prices of Mexican souvenirs are five times the price that the local artisans charge in the downtown Mercado. Day 6 - Havana. Well, only half a day. Good tour of Hemingway's home and fishing village followed by night walk in old town. Fortunately we had a very well educated and interesting guide. But ship arrived an hour late thanks to late departure of an MSC ship in the dock we needed, and immigration, currency and bus boarding procedures took another hour. NOTE - US Dollars (cash, all denominations) are widely accepted in Havana despite the EXC director telling everyone to line up (and waste time) to exchange $100 to Pesos. Day 7 - Havana (a couple of hours). Appallingly disorganized walking tour of approximately 12 blocks by an anti-Trump guide, who spent all his "P2P time" berating US policy instead of describing the buildings. I left after the second (of the four squares we were supposed to see) because it was quite clear that this idiot had no intention of taking the group to the remaining two squares or to the park where most of the shiny 1950s American cars were available. I filed an official complaint with the Shorex desk but as of today, have not received an apology or a refund. NOTE - you do NOT need to do HAL Shorex's and old Havana is safe, clean and walkable. If you go, take one of their expansive bus tours on day one to acclimate to the country and then do your own city walking tour on day 2. By getting off the ship yourself at daybreak, you might get 4 hours of sightseeing (embarkation was 1130). Day 8. Disembarkation/FLL. Disappointing taste in mouth because they charged me for Crows Nest cocktail the night before even though I had presented a $25 beverage card. When wasting 15 mins to get it rectified at front desk, was told "Oh the charge did not go through on the gift card, so we billed your account". If I had not opened the final statement and seen this, I would have been out the money, because the gift cards are cruise specific, and the remaining balance would not have been valid on my next cruise. Customs a breeze because I always choose self-offloading. But as usual, crooked taxi driver attempted the $20 scenic dock tour instead of the $11 direct to airport route. This time, I was wise to it, and told him to go the correct way. He feigned ignorance, and could hardly speak English, but as this is the second time in two cruises they have pulled this trick, be aware and ready for an argument, or call an Uber, where you know the fare in advance. Overall, ship and staff were good, but administration (4 star boarding, two accounting mistakes) needs attention. Biggest change must be to increase time in port. Need at least 2 more hours in Key West and Cozumel, and some way to get more time in Havana - maybe a second overnight so that the entire town can be explored. We were constantly reminded that the Cuban way is to not start the day til 10 am, and then do very little. So why depart at 1130? Costa Maya is just an artificial shopping center and small village, so dropping this port and adding an overnight in Havana would be much more valuable. As I have been to over 100 ports with HAL, my future focus now is hours in port, and I'm no longer interested in a mere six hours, as traffic everywhere has curtailed the ability to see as much as ten years ago. HAL should compensate for this by INCREASING time in port. Otherwise, with limited new destinations to see, I will be less inclined to do a repeat itinerary, if I know i will be seeing less than on previous cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Really enjoyed the Trip. Although a little aged, the ship is very easy get around and to feel comfortable. The deck 8 renovations have opened up the space but you can still find a quiet corner to relax or have a cocktail. Food was ... Read More
Really enjoyed the Trip. Although a little aged, the ship is very easy get around and to feel comfortable. The deck 8 renovations have opened up the space but you can still find a quiet corner to relax or have a cocktail. Food was better than expected both in the restaurants and lido cafe. My only complaint was I booked an ocean view cabin 337 on lower promenade (deck 6) knowing it’s location etc,. Unfortunately it was the only cabin on this deck that didn’t have the reflective glass to prevent passerby’s from seeing into the cabin when the lights were on and even the sheer drapes were not totally effective in blocking viewing into the cabin. When I complained about this they apologized and offered another cabin on a lower deck because unfortunately they did not have any reflective film to correct the problem. Because I specifically chose the location and was traveling with other friends in nearby launi cabins I opted not to move to the cabin offered but kept the drapes closed more time then I would have liked. The women at the front desk knew exactly which cabin I was in as soon as I mentioned the problem. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
My wife and I (as well as most others) was to visit Cuba. The other ports, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Because we had been to the three ports, we didn't spend much time in the ports. Here is a recap to the cruise: ... Read More
My wife and I (as well as most others) was to visit Cuba. The other ports, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Because we had been to the three ports, we didn't spend much time in the ports. Here is a recap to the cruise: Embarkation - We took the air program thru HAL. Best move we could have made. We left Hartford in snow - on time. Our connection was in Charlotte where it was also snowing, Things looked good until we got out of the terminal. It took over 2 hours to de-ice our plane, needless to say we are now on borrowed time to get to the ship. We got to the ship 5 minutes before it left. HAL's shore people were outstanding. They waited for us at the airport, had a bus waiting and got us to the pier with no time to spare. Cruise personnel were waiting and rushed us on the ship. Rating: A+ Entertainment - Spotty at best. We usually go to the evening shows but I think we made 2, the others seemed to just kill time. Rating: C- Food - Dining room food was good, the servers seemed to be spread thin, we never got a chance to get to know them. We ate at the Pinnacle and the Italian restaurant, Both were very good. The Lido's choices were limited, unless you liked pork. No real food lines. Rating: B- Room: We had a balcony. Everything worked and the staff were excellent. Rating: A Excursions: Only tours taken where in Havana. The car tour was just fair, drove around 2 hrs with a driver who spoke no English. We did a p to p stop both days which were very interesting. The next morning we took the walk around Old Havana. Fair, some people walked around on their own which would have been better. A lot of people were unhappy because HAL never notified anyone that they added tours later in the year. Therefore they didn't get to see much of Havana. Rating: C+ Debarkation: Excellent. Rating A+ All in all, glad we went but next time will go for a longer period and go on a cruise that had a lot more to do. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We were in a Neptune suite thanks to an amazing last-minute offer of an upgrade. Given my husband and I must do some work while away, this was welcome, with room to stretch, great lounge, amazing staff. We visited Cuba, the highlight of ... Read More
We were in a Neptune suite thanks to an amazing last-minute offer of an upgrade. Given my husband and I must do some work while away, this was welcome, with room to stretch, great lounge, amazing staff. We visited Cuba, the highlight of the trip. We dined nearly every morning in the Pinacle Grill, an option available for suite customers. Honestly, this alone was nearly worth the cost of the upgrade to suite level. The demographics of the cruisers was typical of Holland America, mostly older adults, but also believe this was in part due to the time of year when no one is off from school, etc. While that might bother some, this did not bother us, though we were among the younger couples on board. (And we are not that young!) We are not gamblers, nor do we care for the big production entertainment, cannot really comment on casino, theater, but really enjoyed the violin and piano duo, jazz trio, etc. We have committed to another HAL cruise next spring. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
I choose this cruise because it went to Cuba - overnight. I travelled solo. The first night they had a solo travel meet-up in the bar and it was empty. And they never did again like on other ships. My room was great -632. And the two ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it went to Cuba - overnight. I travelled solo. The first night they had a solo travel meet-up in the bar and it was empty. And they never did again like on other ships. My room was great -632. And the two stewards were fabulous. I was so disappointed in the Lido Cafe. They are only open certain hours. And they close completely between 8-10:30. And then reopen with a “fast food” type of buffet for an hour except the last two nights - it was 11-1. I asked the supervisors why isn’t it open on one side until 12. Like most ships and he responded the crew needs to prepare and they need their breaks! Sorry not my problem. I probably would avoid the Veendam for this . Also i saw a supervisor reprimand two hard working servers in the Lido Cafe the last morning in front of me. I felt so bad I tipped the server. The information about CUBA was so misunderstood. Just for instance the instructions on the paper they give us says not to smile when taking the picture in immigration - that is incorrect. And they told us American $$ can NOT be used in CUBA. So untrue. I bought things and tipped in dollars. The people were happy. Also the second day I didn’t take the people to people and got off the boat with hundreds of other people. No one checked. And the Cubans were so gracious in immigration and Customs. - The boat is old and needs renovation. There were several plumbing problems on my floor But the gym was fabulous. On the 11th floor - with a view. - all new equipment and a great staff! Great spa also. The entertainment was great ! I would like to go again on a similar cruise but would think twice about the way the Lido schedule is and the attitude of the management staff - not the workers. They are fine I also liked the excursions and the staff! But no music around the ship. Most ships have entertainment around the pool. There was no vacation mood around the ship! Also the room had no mini fridge. And no one told me until the last day that you can rent one! Bad marketing Read Less
Veendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 3.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Veendam Cruise