4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We have been looking forward to this cruise for some time. At two weeks, it was the longest cruise we've been on. We had been on the Veendam about 7 years ago and liked it. However, since then we have been on the larger ships of HAL ... Read More
We have been looking forward to this cruise for some time. At two weeks, it was the longest cruise we've been on. We had been on the Veendam about 7 years ago and liked it. However, since then we have been on the larger ships of HAL (Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Eurodam) and so the Veendam felt very small to us. But we quickly got used to the smallness of the ship. We picked this particular cruise because of the itinerary and the ports did not disappoint. We loved all of them. Things that we really liked: First, the food was great! Really very good. The only downside to that is that variety is not big in the Lido. Service was exceptional. I really have to give a shout out to the guys in the main dining room because they were just awesome. I enjoyed the entertainment very much and we did manage to go to most shows. Things that we didn't like: First, the variety in the daily activities was very limited. It was really just the same schedule of activities every day for two weeks. I found this very boring and disappointing. Thank goodness for my kindle! I also thought that the hot tubs could use a good scrubbing. Replacing the aft pool with hot tubs was not a smart move on HAL's part and even though there always seemed to be some sand in the tubs, we did not find them crowded and were able to enjoy them. Overall, this was a great cruise and the passengers were all so nice. Every day, folks would tell us that we look too young to be on this cruise--I guess because there was a lot of older folks and my husband and I are in our early 40s, but that what we liked about it. Everyone was kind, and calm and respectful. Loved it and love HAL Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
1st - No airports, no re-packing for 50 days, 13,000 miles roundtrip, transatlantic x 2, spanned the length of the Med, and included Casablanca and 3 Portugese islands. 2nd- Served the best tasting HAL food in Lido and main dining ... Read More
1st - No airports, no re-packing for 50 days, 13,000 miles roundtrip, transatlantic x 2, spanned the length of the Med, and included Casablanca and 3 Portugese islands. 2nd- Served the best tasting HAL food in Lido and main dining room compared to last 4 HAL cruises. No complaint about our Veranda deck Vista suite cabin. Brought a room thermometer which showed between 68 and 72 degrees daily. This voyage visited Mediterrean countries during the month of November when the temps dipped to the 50's at night. Some public rooms occasionally were cold. 3rd - The ports were fantastic and 95 percent of time we had the closest berth to town when other ships were present. When shuttles were arranged, some ports' buses were $6 + per person roundtrip from ship to town, be aware 4th - The captain, officers and crew were fantastic. 6 stars. 5th - Would love to cruise these ports again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
I choose this cruise because of the ports. I was on the Atlantic Adventure in 2011 and 2013 on the Maasdam. The Maasdam was much better. This cruise had no activities around the pool. No music,no BBQ S,boring. The cruise director was ... Read More
I choose this cruise because of the ports. I was on the Atlantic Adventure in 2011 and 2013 on the Maasdam. The Maasdam was much better. This cruise had no activities around the pool. No music,no BBQ S,boring. The cruise director was terrible. The shows were just ok. Nothing great. The singers and dancers only had a few shows do do in 49 days. They could have put on more shows then they did. They were also repeats. The pool water was freezing even though it was a heated pool. After repeated attempts at the front desk to turn the heater on I contacted head office in Seattle. Did it help? No. They sent me chocolate covered cherries and a bottle of wine. I just wanted a warm pool. Also we were charged for shuttles to take us out of the port to the town center. When we complained they told us it was the port that charged us, wrong. It shows up on our statement as excursion. We heard that this is the last cruise going to these ports. That is probably why they did not care if we liked it or not. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Enjoyed the destinations thoroughly but wished the ship was in better condition. The food was OK and once in a while excellent in the dining room. The food overall contained too much salt, but you could request a no sodium menu if you ... Read More
Enjoyed the destinations thoroughly but wished the ship was in better condition. The food was OK and once in a while excellent in the dining room. The food overall contained too much salt, but you could request a no sodium menu if you wanted. The best dining was in the Pinnacle Grill - the staff worked very hard to ensure we were satisfied. We dined there at least five times :D! Unfortunately, the norovirus affected our ship but at the height of its outbreak, there were just 24 or so passengers (including 2 crew members) who were stricken. Procedures over a ten day period (my estimate) to combat its spread included monitoring passengers' washing of hands & taking away access to the beverage & buffet station. Kudos to the Captain who was communicative, up front, informative and kept us in the loop with everything going on (good or bad!). The crew was great as well. We heard a lot of grumbling about the boring activities (or lack thereof) for a cruise of this duration with its amount of sea days (7 after embarkation and 7 sea days returning). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We were so looking forward to this trip, great itinerary. But Veendam's age issues was more than we want to ever put up with again. Cabin 754, Deck 4, OV midship/forward port side - has a short couch and an end-table; 6 drawers in ... Read More
We were so looking forward to this trip, great itinerary. But Veendam's age issues was more than we want to ever put up with again. Cabin 754, Deck 4, OV midship/forward port side - has a short couch and an end-table; 6 drawers in the vanity, shower/tub combo. Room temperature was not controllable, everything from 66 - 82F. We did have a fan, as requested, and it saved us a bit while trying to sleep in the overheated room. Front desk sent maintenance who reset the thermostat but it really was so slow recovering, about 1-2 days, that the real recovery occurred only when we were no longer in warm places or on the sunny side of the ship. Elevators are a constant frustration, especially when you live on deck 4; Veendam only has 2 elevator banks, forward and aft; each bank has 4 cars but in each bank only 3 worked throughout the cruise, 2 cars were totally out of commission throughout the cruise, waiting for parts to be fabricated. And oftentimes there were fewer than 6 operating cars, plus they'd get stuck occasionally. Living on deck 4 meant that many times the elevator wouldn't come to that level having filled up at higher decks. So the advantages of a small ship for getting around has to be balanced by where you are and where you usually want to go. Otherwise the ship was as expected, old but nice. The hot tubs didin't always work or were cold, but not uncommon on HAL. At least there were more hot tubs to choose from. Another disadvantage of this small ship was that we didin't have enough power to dock in Corfu with winds gusting to 40 knot, although a larger ship was able to dock that day as we were deciding to leave. Dining: As expected, good to very good with occasionally an excellent experience. There was prime rib on the menu every few nights, but only sometimes was it very good, other times it was too tough to bother with, so the variability led to disappointment. Lido breakfasts had a huge selection. MDR had a huge selection, but very slow. Lido lunch had a good selection and Lido dinner had a poor selection. We ate nearly all our dinners in the MDR and were satisfied, Had one Pinnacle dinner, always good if you like their menu offerings. New York Pizzas are too big for most people so there is a lot of waste there; they are good and made to order but they are not New York pizza. The Dive In burgers, dogs and fries are very good, but I only allowed myself one lunch there and loved every bite. The Taco Bar can be a good place to add to a lunch or snack, but it closed for about 2-3 weeks due to norovirus, so don't depend on it. There were several locale-themed Lido dinners which I checked out, but I found that the special desserts were the best part of those meals (I speculate from some of the local wrappers that they are brought on board from specialty shops on shore, a nice touch.) Room service menus are more streamlined than they used to be but wonderful to have and very prompt. Entertainment and Activities: As expected, mostly mediocre with a few highlights, more movies than there used to be, more BBC activities, fewer cruise director staff on board now so no more crafts, deck games, marriage game even Karaoke. We did have 2 lecturers on board at any given time, 2 eastbound, 2 others westbound. In my opinion for each leg we had one very goo lecturer and one lesser speaker. But kudos to HAL for having the enrichment opportunities. There were talks on the ports by both the shore excursion staff and then by the port guides. The port guides had desk hours for 2 hrs in the afternoon but sometimes one person would take a half hour so it was frustrating to have to go back and wait the next day... if there wasn't a conflict with a talk or other activity you wanted to go to. So it's much better to do your research ahead of time. There were 4 talks by ship officers including 2 Q&A sessions by Captain Noel O'Driscoll. Service was better than most HAL ships I've been on, maybe because the ship was not full at 1200 and 1250 passengers (eastbound/westbound legs). Ports: Great ports and wonderful to have 3 overnights in great places to visit - Lisbon, Barcelona and Valletta. One downside of the port visits was that we had to pay for many port shuttle, some very expensive such as Dubrovnik which was $16pp R/T. The hardest part of this trip for us was that we were sick for at least half the trip. We picked up mild colds in the first half, then noro, then my husband developed bacterial pneumonia, something he's never had and he is not a smoker... then m cold rebounded much worse. So having to combat illness and face the possibility of being put off the ship (Ship doctor who diagnosed the pneumonia prescribed antibiotics but said if they didin't work we'd have to go to a hospital) we hunkered down to survive and missed out on a lot of the second half of the itinerary. There were medical cases put off at nearly all of the 20+ ports of call, plus 2 extra stops. I'm wondering if HAL is being ultra conservative putting people off. I met at least 2 passengers who were put off but did return to the ship after several days and very convoluted and expensive travels to get back on board.... not what any of us want our vacation to include. Also, while struggling against colds we didn't use the stairs as much, so the elevator problems were even more frustrating. I will say that the most common conversation was, Are you feeling better? Oh your cough is much worse! We missed you at dinner/ shore trip/ trivia... etc. People all over the ship were struggling with colds, coughs, bronchitis and worse. Not the vacation I would want to repeat but I realize that catching colds is not uncommon, it's just that this time it scared us more. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I write my review with a small tear in my eye as we just disembarked yesterday from the Atlantic Adventure Cruise to the Mediterranean. Where shall I start? Embarking, HAL has the system down! We were settled into our stateroom ... Read More
I write my review with a small tear in my eye as we just disembarked yesterday from the Atlantic Adventure Cruise to the Mediterranean. Where shall I start? Embarking, HAL has the system down! We were settled into our stateroom with very little trouble, from the port to the ship they had things moving along. Our cabin, deck 10, #076 was wonderful! Love the nice large verandah on the aft with a nice 180 degreee view. Cabin was comfortable (couch was a bit uncomfortable but not truly an issue). Only issue was deck above was “the Retreat” and staff setting out loungers at 6 a.m. was a rude awakening! Cabin stewards were wonderful, each time we visited they asked if there was anything they could do to make our stay more comfortable! Common areas were clean and well maintained, staff were visible cleaning and polishing and picking up after guests. Were there areas that needed repair, sure there were! It is an older ship and the salty seas are hard on it as are the thousands of passengers who sail on it each year! Dining was great, good choices in Dining Room and on the Lido. The Pinnacle and Canelletto were suburb each time we dined there. Staff was wonderful. HAL has a great reputation for service and this ship is no exception. From “salad girls” on the Lido to Dining Room Managers and Wine Stewards they were all willing to go the extra mile to be certain your trip was perfect. Shore excursions were top notch. A bit spendy and several other passengers had made other arrangements. Perhaps HAL might want to reevaluate their tours if they are losing business to others. Entertainment was spotty. I have been on other HAL cruises and seen better. But you can’t please everyone and others seemed to enjoy most of the shows. All in all HAL offers a great cruise, a quiet ship and wonderful service, you can’t ask for more! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Europe is always a winner. I love the excitement of crossing the Atlantic and visiting foreign ports, meeting people and learning about their culture. The Veendam is an old ship but is well maintained. The crew was wonderful. The ... Read More
Europe is always a winner. I love the excitement of crossing the Atlantic and visiting foreign ports, meeting people and learning about their culture. The Veendam is an old ship but is well maintained. The crew was wonderful. The entertainment sucked which seems to be the norm on HAL lately. Their new Explorations program is super, this was the best entertainment on the ship from my perspective. My biggest disappointment was the presence of Norovirus. It was quite widespread, as well as a very serious sore throat/cough thing. I put this down to the Hotel Manager not paying attention and doing his job. I did this cruise in 2015 and to the best of my knowledge we had no serious virus issues. The ship was the Maasdam and for the first few days of the cruise we were not allowed to handle food and the crew were present at all entries to the food area insisting we cleanse our hands.This was not the case on this trip and was enforced only after the virus was widespread. I often saw guests taking bread and fruit with their hands. I also noticed the dishes in the Lido were not always clean and guests were refilling their used cups from the coffee machine. Another issue was the shuttle fees which were very pricey. In one case we were charged $8 each way and very little option to pay it as it was too far to walk. Despite these criticisms, if they offer this trip again I would take it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We took this cruise, offered once a year, in 2014 and 2015. We love the crossing both before and after the port intensive Mediterranean. It also stopped at the amazing Azore and Madera Islands. Additionally, the ports in the ... Read More
We took this cruise, offered once a year, in 2014 and 2015. We love the crossing both before and after the port intensive Mediterranean. It also stopped at the amazing Azore and Madera Islands. Additionally, the ports in the Mediterranean offer endless possibilities of wonderful historic and cultural excursions. Many of us on the cruise were disappointed to learn that HAL is not offering it in 2018 as we are ready to take the same cruise again next year. We hope that HAL will bring it back in 2019. The Veendam Dining served wonderful dinners. We never tired of fantastic menus, tasty food, and attractive deserts. The entertainment could have been better and the enrichment talks were not always on subjects that captured our interest. However, many of them were very good and informative. My only complain were the elevators. One our of four were out of order. I have knee and heart problems so it was difficult for me, along with many other fellow cruisers on this 7 week voyage. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
The cruise was great overall. The weather did not cooperative at times. I had a bad start to the cruise as I lost my wallet. It was however found and returned to me by the front desk. Having a tour guide is a great addition to services ... Read More
The cruise was great overall. The weather did not cooperative at times. I had a bad start to the cruise as I lost my wallet. It was however found and returned to me by the front desk. Having a tour guide is a great addition to services for passengers. I ate mostly at the Lideo buffet as open seating is not to my liking. I can only hope that Holland America adds the cruise back as soon as they can. It is presently not offered for the next two years. I got upgraded to a Veranda Suite that means a cabin with a balcony. Having Happy Hour in the Crowsnest twice a night was great. Keep having Happy Hours!! I was dressed as Santa for five different occasions. One was for the Cruise Critics lunch. Having Cruise Critics is a good way to find out about your fellow passengers. It is also a great way to find out about ports of call and the ship before the cruise. Having meetings on the ship by Cruise Critics is great. Having some one volunteer to set up a spread sheet with information on fellow passengers, private tours that fellow passengers have scheduled including with whom and if additional seats are available for that tour. 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

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