6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
The embarkation process was smooth. The ship is very run down and in need of serious refurbishing. Had problems with the HVAC the entire cruise. The food was mediocre, limited in choices and rarely hot. There was little enrichment on ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth. The ship is very run down and in need of serious refurbishing. Had problems with the HVAC the entire cruise. The food was mediocre, limited in choices and rarely hot. There was little enrichment on sea days unless you consider a sales pitch as enrichment. America's Test Kitchen was like a 7th grade home ec class. There was a very old demographic. The decor in some of the public areas was distasteful. Some of the entertainment was terrific...the comedian and the BBC presentation were wonderful. Entertainment on the lounges was good, not great. The staff was great and always upbeat and helpful!! We did private tours rather than the ship's tours....more economical and we could decide exactly what we wanted. The Canadian ports were very good except for Sydney, NS where there was not much to see or do. Disembarkation was very fast and went well. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our 3rd cruise to the maritime provinces, we booked this on a last minute fare. HAL clearly appeals to a senior clientele and we now meet that criterion. The Veendam is a small ship (1300 pass) but it just felt nice. This was one of our ... Read More
Our 3rd cruise to the maritime provinces, we booked this on a last minute fare. HAL clearly appeals to a senior clientele and we now meet that criterion. The Veendam is a small ship (1300 pass) but it just felt nice. This was one of our favorites in 20 + cruises. The senior vibe means quieter and more relaxed (no constant calypso music), but for a small ship the food was excellent and the entertainment surprisingly good. Crew excellent all around. The Lido cafeteria had an excellent selection and the Pinnacle Grille ($$) was also very good but I'd skip the ($) Italian specialty restaurant if I go on HAL again. Regular dining was surprisingly good, particularly after out recent disappointments on RCCL and Norwegian. The thing that to us makes this special is that the ports are all are all nice, clean and visitor friendly, with mostly nice fall weather (not much color, though,) . A trip to Peggy's Cove (out of Halifax) was unique and a must for those who don't live near the ocean, and Quebec City is a nice bit of Europe unmatched by any port in the US. Not much in Sydney,; Bar Harbor feels nice. Had to skip Charlottetown due to weather, but have been there before and it too is special. Next to Alaska - which has similar unique ports,- these are just great. Highly recommended for those looking for something different in the fall. , Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The plan to see three US states and leave from and return to Boston (Globus from Boston to Montreal) with an opportunity for Fall foliage and a 7-day three province cruise on the ms Veedam made it an exceptional offering. The support ... Read More
The plan to see three US states and leave from and return to Boston (Globus from Boston to Montreal) with an opportunity for Fall foliage and a 7-day three province cruise on the ms Veedam made it an exceptional offering. The support of the Excursion people was excellent even when that support was helping with another providers excursion, The entertainers were very talented although very few. The food was good (cruise ship average), the cabin was small but acceptable, and the room steward was exceptional. The Dining Room was very slow. The help in the Lido Market were English challenged and occasionally seemed rude, but it may have been inability to understand. The issues arose when anything unusual occurred. A delay on leaving one port put us late into the next which required many of the tours to be adjusted, and the staff became abrupt to the point of rudeness when questions were asked. But, things were going to get worse because we were reentering the US the next morning requiring us to pass through customs. We received two OR three written communications (the variance occurred even when two cabins were doing identical activities the following day). Announcements were frequent throughout, but basically they said follow your final written communications precisely. Our final written communications were WRONG. No one cared about the instructions we were trying to follow. Each rude staff member we encountered was herding us like recalcitrant sheep as per their orders. When this process concluded we (about 40 of us at the time) found ourselves in the Showroom where NO ANNOUNCEMENTS COULD BE HEARD and NO MEMBER OF STAFF OR CREW WAS PRESENT. As things became slowly and painfully corrected I was left to wonder, "HOW HORRIBLE WOULD IT HAVE BEEN IN A REAL EMERGENCY?" Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Honestly I was quite worry about the possible maintenance issue and quality of food before boarding this ship, especially reading some negative reviews about how old this ship is and unsatisfied customers...well, all that went out the ... Read More
Honestly I was quite worry about the possible maintenance issue and quality of food before boarding this ship, especially reading some negative reviews about how old this ship is and unsatisfied customers...well, all that went out the window started with smooth embarking process and greetings from friendly staff... We were able to eat nice lunch even before ship leaves... Room was nice, hot shower with clean towels, I mean I can't expected it to be like five star hotel, we are on a ship with thousand of other people....we enjoyed all entertainment including magic show, BBC earth concert, American test kitchen host and other programs kept us busy, even the casino has updated machines, We booked tours ahead of time and enjoyed every Port. There was even wellness lectures and I was enlightened. Foods were good and we were well fed. We even stay in Boston one night to visit Quincy market and some local must sees... Overall, I had great time, pardon me, awesome time, I supposed everyone has different taste and style in traveling preferences....my style is to stay at nice hotel, wake up to nice hearty breakfast, fun things to do while visiting a new city, at same time some quiet lounge available for personal reflection....this cruise provided all my needs... Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Entertainment is for 90 yo people mostly. I think we are not the target demographic for this cruise ( mid 30s ). There was nothing to do after 9 PM. "Music Hits" in the bar were 1910's hits lol. Spectacular ... Read More
Entertainment is for 90 yo people mostly. I think we are not the target demographic for this cruise ( mid 30s ). There was nothing to do after 9 PM. "Music Hits" in the bar were 1910's hits lol. Spectacular scenery, really beautiful ports ( even with the tendering process which is a pain), amazing service. It is just that the entertainment, shows and bars were really weak ( or not made for my age group). Some examples of entertainment: - Learn to use windows (???) - cookie baking (really?) - how to use cortana ( OMG, kill meeeee) It seems my grandma would have a great time with the entertainment, not for me. Dining in the MDR was awesome, but too slow to my taste, budget at least 2 hours for dining in the MDR. Lido buffet was okay, quick and easy, but okay in terms of food quality ( its buffet food after all ). The hamburguer joint by the pool was nice, I had a few "cannonballs" in there. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Travelled from Montreal to Boston as part of an APT tour. The ship is quite old and the fit out a bit sad. We experienced a number of maintenance issues, particularly our toilet which malfunctioned on 5 of the seven days. Also areas of ... Read More
Travelled from Montreal to Boston as part of an APT tour. The ship is quite old and the fit out a bit sad. We experienced a number of maintenance issues, particularly our toilet which malfunctioned on 5 of the seven days. Also areas of the boat had some bad odours, some of cigarettes. The entertainment was poor, the food just ok except for the Pinnacle Grill which was excellent. The staff were good and on board announcements worked well. We travelled with a wheelchair which worked out pretty well. The embarkation and disembarkation were very good. The tours were ok but we had a major and dangerous incident on our tour from Sydney where our bus driver lost control of the bus for an instant that put us all in a life threatening situation. The driver was a very unhealthy looking man and had us all concerned from the start. The incident was reported to HA and needs to be thoroughly investigated. We separately reported this to APT who are investigating. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Veendam Sept. 8-15, 2018 Montreal to Boston My experience is about a dozen+ cruises on HAL, Princess, RC, Carnival, Disney. I've done this route 4 times now, previous 3 on the Maasdam. I am 62 and was with my 27 year old ... Read More
Veendam Sept. 8-15, 2018 Montreal to Boston My experience is about a dozen+ cruises on HAL, Princess, RC, Carnival, Disney. I've done this route 4 times now, previous 3 on the Maasdam. I am 62 and was with my 27 year old daughter. Embarkation: quick and easy. Go visit the old Notre Dame church while you are in that part of Montreal. Room: We had an inside room. It was very quiet, clean, plenty of storage for two people, my rather fat rolling suitcase is 11" thick, and when tucked under the bed probably had an inch to spare overhead. There are lots of drawers, and a 4 digit code safe. On the St. Lawrence the ship is so stable and quiet, the first two nights I couldn't tell I was on a moving ship. No vibration or noise, and our room was low in the bow. We did hear the anchor drop the one time they use it in Bar Harbor, but what do you expect? Only one electrical outlet over the desk (and one for a shaver in the bathroom in the light fixture over the mirror). I use a cpap and of course have phone, camera chargers so I bring a multi-outlet adapter with usb outputs and a small extension cord for the cpap. So plan on the one outlet in the room. (There must be another behind the tv?). Lots of lights, a digital thermostat that worked fine, although response is slow. Two wall hooks for hanging your bags, etc. and curtains to separate the room for dressing. The shower was pretty good really, bathroom fixtures spotless. Our stewards were as always eager to please and helpful. I tip more than the standard, they work hard. Probably should do that the first day and not the last huh? Food: Awesome. Might be the best part of the trip for me. Ports: In Quebec City we went to Montmorency Waterfall, there is a direct bus that leaves from up across from the Frontenac nearly hourly. About 15" trip. Huge waterfall. We got wet. Charlottetown: We did the HAL "Fun with Falcons" excursion. A unique experience, really interesting and I can now say I've held, fed, tossed a falcon. The proprietor is a great guy, loves his work. Sydney: This town gets dissed, but while there is not a lot to visit by walking off the ship, there are several reasons I like this port too. The sail in and out is pretty neat, they have to back the ship in! Big harbor, large ferries that travel to Newfoundland are in view. In the past we did the excursion to the historic Fortress of Louisbourg, it is enormous and the history fascinating. That is a good day all by itself. Another visit we did the Coal Miner Museum, again real interesting. Once you go underground and see what it was like to be a turn of the century coal miner, you'll never complain about your job again. And your tour guide is a retired, colorful coal miner. This visit we did the HAL bus "Baddeck On Your Own", and spent our time at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. Again, really surprising and interesting. You know him for inventing the telephone but he was really involved in early flight, hydrofoils (there are some immense hydrofoils on display, the size of airliners), other means of flight like tetrahedral wings and kites (wtf?), means of communication for the deaf, you need more than a day there. And the drive there is really high and scenic in spots. Halifax: we went to the beautiful public gardens, about a mile walk from the pier. But past visits I'd recommend the Maritime Museum, you can walk that one too. There are quite a few choices in Halifax and area. Bar Harbor: you can do a whale watch tour, or kayak tour, or a bus ride through Arcadia park and see the view from the top of the mountain. HAL handled this tender port well. Boston: disembarkation was quick, easy. We used Uber to take us to the rental car place. Do what you want there, it's freakin Boston! I like the Science Museum, the MIT museum, Faneuil Hall, the Aquarium, the Constitution, whatever your interest is. Entertainment: most evenings we went and listened to either the jazz trio, or the violin/piano duo. Both low key, pleasant. Then we'd run out to catch the sunset (it was a really good week for sunsets), then dinner, then most nights the main show. That was enough for me. My daughter would go to the dancing for a little while some nights. Crew: no complaints, all good. In fact, very good. Ship: I think it's in great shape. You'd never know it was old. I've got a car, bicycle and a lawn mower older than the Veendam for that matter. I did have one complaint, a lot of overhead lights were out, and I mentioned it a couple of times to crew, but only the last night did one explain to me about the power surge they had a week or two before, that blew out a lot of circuits and they were still fixing them. I probably would have put a little note in the daily flyer or something because I was thinking it a poor reflection that there were burned out lights all over the place. Made me wonder if other things were being neglected. But now I know it was a recent problem still being worked. I didn't use their paid wifi or app, except to use the free wifi will let you read the NY Times, that was a nice freeby they didn't have before. Best parts? The food. The singers were really good this cruise too. Our room was super quiet. I really like a ship this size. Oh, I like going on the bow. These HAL ships are the only ones I've been on where you can do that. It's usually not windy up there, try it! I like the older crowd, most were from all over but especially Australia and NZ this cruise. The older folks are polite, interesting, good neighbors. I like the traffic and twists and turns of the St Lawrence, way more interesting than out in the ocean. Going under the bridges and power lines always gets your attention. I like being in port nearly every day. Or stay on board and treat it like a sea day. Critique?: Last time there was a solo guitar player each evening too, not this cruise. Also, some past times there has been a pop tunes band in the Crow's Nest and poolside at times, they were also absent. Maybe September is a slower month and they cut back on entertainment or maybe just this cruise. There was a problem on our HAL shore excursion to Baddeck. The driver kept hitting the rumble strips, finally even went into the oncoming lane, so a wise and decisive fellow passenger (not the tour guide) made him pull over and we all got off and requested another driver be sent. An ambulance did come and check him out and he left with them. He was not in any obvious distress, but he was not able to drive safely. Hopefully he's ok. It really is the wild west when you book excursions, even through the cruise line. They are all local operators and there is enough legal jargon in your cruise contract that don't think for a second your excursion is with HAL, it's between little 'ol you and someone with a bus. They did send another driver after an hour and we were on our way and on time for the ship. We live an hour drive from Montreal so this has become my default vacation. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Last minute get away to Canada. We didn't have a lot of choices but really enjoyed this ship. We had good meals. One night in Pinnacle Grill but wasn't that impressed to repeat the experience. Food was consistently good every ... Read More
Last minute get away to Canada. We didn't have a lot of choices but really enjoyed this ship. We had good meals. One night in Pinnacle Grill but wasn't that impressed to repeat the experience. Food was consistently good every meal. We could always fin something w liked. desserts an appetizers were really good. Our cabin was great in terms of size and storage. Didn't care for the bathtub. The TV was very small and not a clear picture. We like to watch movies at night {and they do have over 1000 videos to choose from} but the screen was super small! They need to update with larger flat screens. Some rusty hardware and chipped paint in cabin but it didn't interfere with our overall cruise experience. Loved the low key feeling of the ship. Felt like a vacation. Much nicer than the hype and hustle of a mega ship. Entertainment was enjoyable. Great singers for the classical night. They had lots of variety in their programs. Fabulous service. Always took great care in every detail and was consistent. Ports were great, but would have liked to skip Sydney and spend more time in Halifax, NS. We didn't attend very many activities on board because we went to a port everyday except one. We went to a test kitchen demonstration and got some good cooking ideas. Never felt crowded on the ship, had lovely conversations with a variety of people in anytime dining. Overall, this is a very nice cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked four weeks before embarkation. We were looking for a week away without having to fly and we were attracted by the last minute price. First time on Holland America after about 20 cruises. As we live not far from Albany, NY, we ... Read More
We booked four weeks before embarkation. We were looking for a week away without having to fly and we were attracted by the last minute price. First time on Holland America after about 20 cruises. As we live not far from Albany, NY, we parked our car there the morning of the cruise and took a bus to Boston and then an Uber to the pier. We arrived around 12:30 and were safely aboard and checking out our room fifteen minutes later. We booked a 10th deck large interior cabin amidships and were very impressed with its size and layout. Our stewards greeted us and took very good care of us the whole week. Fresh fruit and ice cubes were a constant. Shoes were shined the first day. Towels refreshed twice a day. Room was made up within a half hour of our putting out the please service sign. The only problem was a delay in the toilet flush on a couple of occasions and only one outlet at the desk so bring an extension cord. We tend to eat all our meals in the dining room, including breakfast and dinner. Lunch was not available in the dining room, but we were ashore most lunch times anyway. The menus were extensive. We especially liked the duck and prime rib offerings which were offered twice each. Then there was a filet minion and lobster tail on the last formal night. On the one night the menu had nothing interesting, there was always the salmon, steak and Caesar salad on the anytime menu. We bought the 4 wine option the day we boarded and were able to store the bottle for a second night if we didn't finish. Our wine steward Antonio took great care of us, The entertainment was good, not great. Not much different than what we have experienced on much larger ships. The comedian and illusionist did a nice job and the stage shows were accompanied by the on board musicians, not the canned theme stuff you get used to on cruise ships. The show room layout was very annoying. Instead of a theater type arrangement, there were sofas and soft chairs arranged around tables,, wasting a lot of room. The early show was always packed with latecomers not being able to find seats. And there was not enough tilt from back to front so from half way back you couldn't see the front of the stage or had to look between the heads in front of you. The balcony had the same problem so you couldn't see the front of the stage. The lounge entertainment wasn't much. The piano player did a nice job with his theme nights. The ship itself was clean although a little dated. The entertainment and the dining were clustered on one deck and one bar drifted into the other. Small fitness room but it was never crowded. The Crow's nest on the top deck was a circular shaped entertainment venue where half of the seats couldn't see what was going on in the other half of the room. The pool areas were never crowded, the best spot being the hot tubs on the stern. We had surprisingly good weather for Canada in September. The ports were quite enjoyable. We had done this itinerary twice before so other than Halifax and Sydney, we stayed around the port, gorging on chowders, lobster, mussels and oysters along with the local brew at most ports. We did the ship's excursion in Halifax to Peggy's cove, Lunenberg and Mahone Bay, a very relaxing day. We got an hour in each place, the only rush being to get lunch in Luneneberg. We did a private tour in Sydney to Baddeck and the Alexander Graham Bell museum, the only criticism being our tour guide rushed us a little to make sure we got back to the ship an hour and a half before all aboard. We could have taken a little extra time to enjoy lunch in Baddeck. We disembarked in Monteal at 8 am and were at the train station to board our 10 am Amtrak departure in plenty of time. The train ride back was about 8 hours but it was not crowded and we could spread out and relax, taking in the beautiful scenery. All in all, a very relaxing 7 days. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Our adult kids chose this cruise - we had a great time! Had not cruised with HAL before - definitely an older crowd, but great ports of call and comfortable ship. Really like HAL's carry aboard wine policy - happy to pay $18 corkage ... Read More
Our adult kids chose this cruise - we had a great time! Had not cruised with HAL before - definitely an older crowd, but great ports of call and comfortable ship. Really like HAL's carry aboard wine policy - happy to pay $18 corkage for better wine - we brought a case aboard and really enjoyed our dinners. Entertainment was ok - not great. Dancers and singers were good - enjoyed their performances. Would have liked more dancing for cruisers. Food was good and dining room staff was attentive and friendly. We managed to eat multiple entrees and appetizers but didnt really gain weight because we hiked aggressively in the ports of call. Quebec was our favorite port - beautiful city, will return someday. Officers were present and approachable. This was the first time we have had cruise ships run late to schedule - although not extremely, Had a good time and strongly recommend Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because it involved two ports in Cuba-Havana and Cietrefugo. The ship is very small and had almost no entertainment until the trumped up Happy hour, which charged a very high charge for every drink and for only $2 ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it involved two ports in Cuba-Havana and Cietrefugo. The ship is very small and had almost no entertainment until the trumped up Happy hour, which charged a very high charge for every drink and for only $2 more for the second drink. Music was a piano player for and hour. The food was just fair and the beef quality got worse as the cruise went along. So we stopped ordering all beef dishes. The evening entertainment was a trio playing Frank Sinatra era music. The main show was supported by a quartet which was inadequate for decent musical backup for visiting performers. Basically nothing going on all day long. The service was ok . Ports other than Cuba were not very good-- Grand Camen on a Sunday is useless as it is closed for business. We will never travel on Holland American again!!!!!!!!!! No entertainment. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose the 2-week cruise from Boston to the Caribbean and back in August because the summer was when we could take vacation and we liked the days at sea from Boston before arriving in the Caribbean and afterward. We were excited ... Read More
We chose the 2-week cruise from Boston to the Caribbean and back in August because the summer was when we could take vacation and we liked the days at sea from Boston before arriving in the Caribbean and afterward. We were excited especially to see Cuba. What we learned from this cruise: 1) Do not vacation in the tropics in summer unless you enjoy walking around in what feels like someone's mouth, with sweat dripping down your face every second you're outside; 2) The excursions were boring at best, sometimes very disorganized, and downright terrible at worst. The excursion to Havana should be criminalized, it was that depressing. The Havana they presented was a complete dump, with buildings falling down, most others that looked like they should be torn down, and garbage and poverty everywhere. No real sights to see except Christ of Havana Bay! It also reeked like a sewer; 3) The ship dining room food was FABULOUS, while the in-room dining was just OK; 4) The staff are AWESOME, so patient, kind, and upbeat; 5) Ship was clean and comfortable even though it's definitely showing signs of age / need of updating, especially in the suites. The TV was pretty pathetic. 5) We're sorry that we didn't take time to spend a few days in Boston to sightsee. I'd say definitely give this cruise a pass. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We are a family of four from Montreal, Canada, with two teenaged children. This was our 21st cruise, so we are moderately cruise-experienced, on a variety of cruise lines. This was our first experience with Holland America Line. We did our ... Read More
We are a family of four from Montreal, Canada, with two teenaged children. This was our 21st cruise, so we are moderately cruise-experienced, on a variety of cruise lines. This was our first experience with Holland America Line. We did our homework prior to sailing, and came with lowered expectations. Boy! Were we surprised! We sailed on the Veendam on July 28th for a 7-day cruise from Montreal to Boston. Port stops included Quebec City, Charlottetown PEI, Sydney Nova Scotia, Halifax Nova Scotia, and Bar Harbor Maine. We had a large outside cabin, Category FF #0721. Embarkation in Old Port of Montreal was quick and painless. Arrived at 11am and were on the ship at 11:30. Cabin 721 was ready for us, and was quite large compared to other cruises we’ve been on. Everything was as expected and working. The bathtub drain clogged up, but removing the plug solved the problem. We rented a mini-fridge for this voyage for $2 a day (as categories lower than balcony cabins do not have one) and it worked perfectly. A small bother on Veendam is that cabin 721 is NOT on deck 7, as one would logically expect. In fact, the higher the cabin number, the LOWER you are located on this ship. (We adapted) The ship: Yes it’s small. Not much going on… but enough that we weren’t bored silly. Elevators were slow, but that is typical of ALL cruise ships. The Veendam was very stable, not much in the way of rocking or pitching; just some occasional slow, smooth rolling. We didn’t encounter any storms or rough weather/seas on this sailing. This being a small ship, everything was close at hand. Not a ton of walking, like on the mega-ships. The Food: We found the food quality to be excellent in the main dining room and the buffet. Buffet selection was, at times, limited, or half closed. They did not keep stations open past their scheduled closing times (like we’ve seen on other lines) when the area was still busy. They also followed food themes in the buffet (Indonesian, Filipino, etc.) a bit too much for the size of the buffet… a bit less theme and a little more general variety would have been nice. Buffet breakfast was pretty much the same every day, but lots to choose from. There was a lot to choose from in the main dining room menu most nights, as well. The Dive-In Burger grill was good (they give you a pager). The pizza was awful. We also tried the chicken wings from the casino bar, which were dry and not very tasty. We didn’t order room service (Didn’t need to). Drinks were excellent and properly mixed. Service: The staff on this ship were, in one word “Amazing”! Always smiling, always attentive, and eager to please. Sometimes there was a language barrier (usually at the buffet) but they were never rude, with one exception: The cook at the Dive-In Burger counter. I arrived one day at 4:45pm and it was closed. The schedule said 5pm. I pointed this out to him and he proceeded to strongly argue with me that it was after 5pm. Every clock on the ship said otherwise. I had time to wait for an elevator, go downstairs, wait again in line at Guest Services, make a complaint, and it still wasn’t 5pm. But this was an aberration. I guess he was having a bad day. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t the only food option available at that time. (I’m diabetic and need to eat when my glucose is low) Entertainment: Not much. Just OK. Shows were average. Dancers lacked precision at times. Singers were passable. The comedians put me to sleep, literally. We did not attend the final show, billed as the ship’s band playing to a nature video presentation. There were a couple of other combos playing in the lounges, more old-style lounge music, not our thing. Hannah was the DJ in the disco. She “lacked skillz”, but played ok music, one song at a time… not many people in attendance most nights. Our kids did not go to the teenager hangout, which was deserted. Only the animator was there, sitting on her phone. There were teenagers on the ship: they were all just too cool to attend, ours included. Internet: We tried the HAL Navigator App. This needs to be put out of its misery! What a useless piece of junk. The ONLY thing it was good for was the menus in the dining room. Problem was, it was never updated. It showed the same menu every night, until the last night, when somebody decided to fix it. There was no information about shows or entertainment, couldn’t book anything on it like dining reservations, complete garbage. Internet packages were expensive, and other passengers said the service was unreliable. We used our cell phones in port and when the ship was in range of a tower. Conclusion: This was one of our better cruises, having just come off a miserable sailing on the brand-new MSC Seaside in March. The quiet atmosphere on Veendam made for a very relaxing experience. HAL could create little more atmosphere at the pool decks; some lively music or something would be nice. It doesn’t need to be loud. No pool games or wild animators are necessary. The muzak that was playing was too boring, though. The Indonesian and Filipino crew literally made this trip for us. They were awesome. Every crew member we passed greeted us, and many remembered our names. Even in port. And they work HARD. Very attentive, and if I even looked unhappy with something, they fell over themselves to make sure I was taken care of. I just can’t say enough. Thank you to the crew and staff of this fine ship! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise (from Boston to Montreal) in July as it was one of the only ones leaving from Boston. While the staff was stellar, the ship had seen better days. Built in 1996 with '80s technology, our Neptune Class Suite had one ... Read More
We chose this cruise (from Boston to Montreal) in July as it was one of the only ones leaving from Boston. While the staff was stellar, the ship had seen better days. Built in 1996 with '80s technology, our Neptune Class Suite had one outlet, no USB ports and a 13" TV. The AC systems made some cabins frigid while the room next door was like a sauna. Ours was the latter. No amount of cajoling or escalating could get it working right so we were miserable most of the cruise. Many of the systems seemed to be held together with bailing wire and prayers and the staff admitted privately that they were in constant need of repair. One of the elevators (I quipped it was haunted) creaked and moaned and the floor annunciator sounded possessed. Lighting systems were still fluorescent which mean they didn't come on right away. The toilet sometimes flushed, and the bathtub drain acted like it was full of something indescribable. None of these issues could be fixed. They did a major overhaul of the AC in my daughter's cabin at 9:30 at night where they found a horrible mess of dirt, dust, and lint that had accumulated for a decade. It did make it somewhat better. Several windows were broken (one was repaired in Toronto) but all of them were filthy. The Neptune Concierge lounge was a lifesaver. They tried to deal with most of these problems--always with a smile. We also found human hair in our bread on several occasions. Lots of apologies but it kept happening. So no, we won't be back on HA. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I recently sailed on the Veendam on the New England & Canada tour. I found it to be a very enjoyable experience. This was my 16th cruise, sailing with 4 different cruise lines. I loved the size of this ship. The mega ships can be ... Read More
I recently sailed on the Veendam on the New England & Canada tour. I found it to be a very enjoyable experience. This was my 16th cruise, sailing with 4 different cruise lines. I loved the size of this ship. The mega ships can be exhausting! I found the ship to be in very good condition. Holland America maintains a "classic " cruising ambiance, from the teak wood promenade deck with cushioned wood deck chairs to the antiques and art work throughout the ship. The fresh floral arrangements were beautiful. I found the food to be very good. I had dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto and the main dining room - all meals were excellent! The chocolate extravaganza on the second formal night was a real treat! The Lido restaurant was great for breakfast. The food selection was large and had many stations where you could have your selections freshly prepared. I enjoyed the entertainment in the lounges. I especially enjoyed Adagio, the pianist and violin duet. The evening entertainment was good, but don't expect that it will be like some of the productions they have on the mega ships. I found the crew on the ship to be very friendly and most accomodating. I will definitely sail with Holland America again! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The highlights of this cruise are absolutely the ports. Plan on lots of walking or touring. Each of the ports, Bar Harbor, Maine, Halifax, NS, Sydney, NS, Charlottestown, NS and Quebec, QC are amazing. When in Sydney, definitely do ... Read More
The highlights of this cruise are absolutely the ports. Plan on lots of walking or touring. Each of the ports, Bar Harbor, Maine, Halifax, NS, Sydney, NS, Charlottestown, NS and Quebec, QC are amazing. When in Sydney, definitely do Louisbourg Fort. The Fort employs people to reprise the jobs people had in the 1700's. We talked to a Cannonneer, a baker, a blacksmith, a musician and some household maids. Each was a unique and amazing experience. Bring a jacket. It is cold out there, no matter how warm it is in Sydney. When in Charlottestown, definitely look up Experience PEI and do their Heritage Quest. They give you an old style GPS (that tells you kind of where you are going), clues to PEI Heritage and a crossword puzzle to fill out after you find the clues. We love walking tours. This one was just amazing. We spent 4.5 hours doing an in-depth tour of the city and its long history. We got to see some amazing buildings, some little known sights and had amazing fun doing it. Best self-guided (kind of) walking tour ever. The crew on Veendam are wonderful. I added tips to our room stewards, our waiters, our wine steward and our Assistant Matre' De. Everyone working on the ship that we talked to was wonderful and genuinely interested as us as people (we reciprocated). The only downside to the cruise was a lack of live entertainment in the evenings. More bands would be nice. There was a great jazz trio, a piano bar guy and a violinist and pianist. Just not enough music. The DJ for the "Disco" was not skilled. We loved all of the bars - The staff were great and super friendly. Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
The first truth about Cuba: GO. It’s fun and wonderful. The people are great. You can and should book independent tours. Exploring on your own is NOT limited and is encouraged. The Paperwork There are two important pieces of ... Read More
The first truth about Cuba: GO. It’s fun and wonderful. The people are great. You can and should book independent tours. Exploring on your own is NOT limited and is encouraged. The Paperwork There are two important pieces of paperwork. The first and easiest ifs the Cuba tourist card. Cruise lines charge $75 for this, most if not all of which goes to Cuba. They give you the blank form at cruise check-in. You fill it out. Cuba checks it once. The second, more intimidating, piece of paper work is compliments of the US Government. It’s an affidavit that states why you’re going to Cuba. It’s an exercise in futility and keeping some bureaucrats’ job in DC. Because our government says we can’t go to Cuba for tourism, you have to indicate why you’re going. You have to select one of 12 reasons. NOBODY LOOKS. NOBODY CARES. NOBODY ENFORCES IT. Go and have a good time. The form is collected at check in for the cruise. You’ll never see or hear about the affidavit again. Most people select option 1 or 8 on the affidavit. But again, it’s a US Government waste of paper. Cuba and Cubans are glad that you’re there spending money. Ditto for the cruise line. Please complete this form but don’t think twice about it. You CAN go out and about in Cuba on your own without any limitations. You DO NOT need to book tours through the cruise line or any other company. These are huge myths that seem to stem from the lengthy, verboten affidavit. A sample copy of the affidavit is here, but you’ll probably want to get one with your cruise line’s logo: https://www.carnival.com/~/media/CCLUS/PDFs/OnlineCheckIn/Guest-Affidavit-0413%20pdf The Cuban Arrival Process Cuba is like any other Caribbean port with ONE exception: they check and stamp your passport. You can get off and wander around as you please. Cuban authorities check your passport and want to see that you paid the $75 for a visitor pass…but there are NO LIMITS as to getting off the ship without prepaid or prearranged tours. It’s like any other port. Don’t let anyone tell you have to book long, expensive tours through the cruise line, sanctioned company or government. It’s not true. We booked our Cuba tours online (but didn’t pay for them until after the tour). Our car, driver and guide were waiting for us as promised and were thrilled to see us. Some passengers had their Cuban tourist cards collected by the Cuban authorities. Others did not. This caused concern among those who wanted to get off again and didn’t have the visitor card. Again, it was a non-issue. They check to see that your passport was stamped and you’re free to go. The Money Changing money is Cuba is a necessary evil. The currency the tourists use is the CUC (pronounced “kook”). It is pegged to the US dollar, so the exchange rate is 1 to 1. All currencies have a 3% charge. US dollars have an additional 10% charge. Bring Canadian, British or European coins if you can to exchange to avoid the 10% charge. There are currency exchanges in the terminal. The line can be long but it moves quickly. You can also exchange money at banks or other currency exchanges. There is another currency used primarily by the Cubans for their personal needs. This is the CUP and the exchange rate is 25 CUPs to $1. There was no need for this currency, but make sure you don’t get change in CUPs when you’re paying with CUCs. The CUC bills have pictures of monuments of them. The CUP bills have pictures of people on them. If you end up with extra CUCs at the end of your trip, be sure to exchange them back while in Cuba, or save them for friends going to Cuba. And unlike many Caribbean ports, it’s difficult (perhaps illegal) to use US dollars in Cuba. Some vendors say you can pay in either US$ or CUCs. But all seem to prefer CUCs. Medical Insurance Another non-issue is the required Cuban medical insurance. Cruise lines include this insurance in their port taxes, which is very convenient. I don’t know how effective this insurance is, but it satisfies the requirement. If you search the cruise line’s FAQs, there’s usually a question addressing it Here is NCL’s Cuba page and their response (HAL’s is similar): https://www.ncl.com/cruise-faq/cuba-travel “Is medical insurance required? All travelers to Cuba must show proof of Cuba approved medical insurance. This medical insurance will be included in the price of your cruise fare.” Docking in Havana The approach into forbidden Cuba is scenic and very emotional for many. You’ll drift by many forts, the malecón, El Christo de la Havana and dock conveniently in Old Havana at the Sierra Maestra terminal. There are three terminals: two are falling apart, the one you dock at is in good shape. Walking out of the terminal and across the busy street is San Francisco square. An easy and fun walk through Old Havana takes you to the capital building that is under constant non-renovation. You’ll have a sense of déjà vu looking at it. If you’re looking for a vintage car tour, there are many waiting by the Russian church close by the terminal. The major shopping market in Havana is also close by the Russian church. It was closed when we were there because of an electrical fire, but it was supposed to re open quickly. Others seem to think nothing happens quickly in Cuba. Out and about in Cuba Out and about in Cuba is a lot of fun. Those that took the long “approved” cruises from this ship felt that they were not good value. We booked a vintage car, driver, and guide for $80 for two hours. It was PERFECT. We then wandered around old-town on our own, stopping frequently in the historic squares for drinks. We found the Cubans a very proud people who almost always spoke very highly of their country, especially those working in the tourist trade. But some we met on the streets were not so complimentary. The art of the networking payoff is alive, well and open in Cuba. Tour guides and people you meet on the street are happy to show you places for food, drink, cigars and rum. They expect and get a cut from these establishments. Most Cubans don’t have much; so there is a fair amount of begging in the streets, but none, thankfully, is too aggressive. Cuba is very safe; as there are severe penalties for messing with tourists. US Customs In coming back to the US from Cuba, it’s like any other cruise. Customs and Border Patrol DON’T CARE why or that you went to Cuba. They don’t care what you bought. You can bring back 100 cigars and a liter of alcohol—just like other ports. If you’re carrying a keg of rum off the ship they might question you, but otherwise it’s like any other cruise inspection: a non issue! The Ship It's older and smaller, but space is used wisely and comfortably on the public decks. Holland America has a sophisticated and wonderful daily activity program. The partnerships with America's Test Kitchen, BBC Earth and Microsoft make for a lot of fun and educational activities during the day. Their port talks are also good in that they don't just steer you to places to shop. Holland America's happy hours, where the second drink is only $2. add unusual value in the bar department. This is NOT a high-tech ship. The $160-$200 14 day internet option was fairly priced, but I was constantly disconnected. Many cruise lines offer their daily news letters and account information online complimentary through the ships wi-fi. Holland America's Explorer was the first that actually worked beautifully. There is also a free chat feature where you can text others on board (that actually worked). There's no setting I could find for an audio signal that I message was received though. Dining Dining was better than I remembered on Holland America in both the dining room and buffet. The quality AND variety was a notch above other mainline cruises. The salad bar and the Asian sections were my favorites in the buffet. The dining room menu was always varied and interesting. The wait staff was attentive. Most nights, the buffet menu was similar to the dining room menu. I found the wines too expensive for my taste. The two for-fee restaurants were only fair. The Italian restaurant is a partitioned off part of the buffet area. There wasn't much special about it. The steak house offered a good steak but little else. Service was good but not fabulous. The wine list was crazy expensive, and I got some attitude from the wine steward when I requested a wine not on the restaurant's wine list. The steak house turns into a seafood place occasionally, which I would have loved to try. Entertainment This is where Holland America sorely lacked. A couple of OK comedians. The ship's production numbers were just okay as well. The performers worked hard and did a decent job, but they weren't given a lot to work with. The ships orchestra was outstanding. The South American electric harpist was excellent, but I had already seen her on other cruise ships. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Be VERY leary. DO NOT GO. I have the CDC Vessel Sanitazion Program (CDC) on this one. Disgusting, filthy toilets and “sanitation”. I walked into my cabin when it was announced that cabins were clean and ready, and I went into my ... Read More
Be VERY leary. DO NOT GO. I have the CDC Vessel Sanitazion Program (CDC) on this one. Disgusting, filthy toilets and “sanitation”. I walked into my cabin when it was announced that cabins were clean and ready, and I went into my bathroom and the toilet was over flooded with filthy water and human fecal matter! The public bathrooms were almost always filthy; I never saw anyone clean a public toilet all the days. The HVAC (heating and cooling) was constantly not working.....everyone complaining....even “Guest Relations” told me to be glad my room wasn’t almost 80 degrees like others and that I had SOME air. I couldn’t believe that! When the air was on, there was an exhaust smelll (others complaining as well)and a strong odor that I have never smelled but it smelled like rotting fruit. Several times thru out the cruise, toilets backed up, and there was no running water....one day I had no hot water for 20 hours and guest relations did nothing and I finally approached a navigation officer, who handled it. Communication was almost non existent between Departments was very poor...., for example, it was in their daily program that card players meet in a certain room each a.m., and the room was not set up 1/2 the time, and passengers were getting and setting up tables and chairs. We were promised water and coffee in that room, and only received one day, even after repeated calls. Customer Service was so poor it was almost comical.....but it wasn’t, but I could see why. I was so upset and frustrated one night when I had to WALK TO GUEST RELATIONS IN MY PJs, as no one would answer the phone, and I was crying and the Hotel Director was by my elevator and I implored him for help and he actually said “Not my job” and left we standing there! Employee relations was very inconsistent; some crew (like my cabin attendant in 598) actually walked away while I was talking! The Ship is very very run down, stains, boards missing or damaged under floors, for example I reported repeatedly that on the floor adjacent to Table 63, main dining, had some serious problems with the floor, as everytime a wait staff would walk by, the floor would sink in and bother my back. I was told they could do nothing until next dry dock!! Although the food was quite good, I did have a health issue. I have serious celiac disease and must be gluetin free, and in the buffet, the room service, and only once in main dining....they tried to serve me food with gluten. I stopped using room service as almost daily, it was not on time, missing items, coffee cold, etc. The promenade deck had hard wooden loungers with slats and NO COVERS....unusable! Photo below. I had to RENT a refrigerator for my medicines and special diet food and it was delivered in filthy condition! When I arrived in my cabin, it was not properly cleaned....hair everywhere, sticky remote control, dirty clothes in the drawers, badly stained and ripped sheets! The bathroom floors had the same shoe stain for two days. The charges for HALs excursions were 50% to 1400% (YES! 1400%] higher than one could find outside. The 4th of July party and BarBQue promised on their private island was not done because “thunderstorms were predicted”.....we checked the weather on line and we saw no such prediction and it was a beautiful day. The furniture in the showroom was uncomfortable and the onboard singers and dancers and their shows were so bad....people were calling it “dancing by numbers”. The outside entertainers were just okay, not bad. Often, it would take so long for someone at the front desk to answer phone, I waited up to an hour and walked down in my PJs. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to Cuba, Key West, and Grand Cayman. Unfortunately, the Veendam is in terrible shape. The air conditioning does not work. There are parts of the ship that are blazing hot while other parts ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to Cuba, Key West, and Grand Cayman. Unfortunately, the Veendam is in terrible shape. The air conditioning does not work. There are parts of the ship that are blazing hot while other parts are freezing. Plus, in our cabin, there was rust on the shower ceiling, dings in the walls, stains on the duvet, and a strong urine smell in the bathroom at all times. We had friends who had to change cabins three times during the cruise due to problems (including flooding) in their cabin. In addition, there were very few activities on the ship, especially on sea days. It felt like the ship shut down by 8:00 p.m. For example, there were no guest lecturers, no house band or DJ, or no local groups brought on for musical performances. While we enjoyed the ports, the overall Holland America experience was awful. We are avid cruisers, and this was our first and last experience with this cruise line. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Great round-trip cruise from Boston to Cuba on the HAL Veendam. A lovely ship carrying around 1200 passengers for these two weeks on a relaxing itinerary with a number of sea days. The food was great and started off the first night with ... Read More
Great round-trip cruise from Boston to Cuba on the HAL Veendam. A lovely ship carrying around 1200 passengers for these two weeks on a relaxing itinerary with a number of sea days. The food was great and started off the first night with fresh haddock as a choice at dinner. We chose the early fixed seating as its great way to get to know to people and also the dining room stewards who took great care of us. HAL carries a Catholic priest chaplain on all its cruises so we had the option of Sunday and weekday Mass. We were scheduled for two Cuba stops, but the second one was cancelled by the port of Cienfuegos due to an fuel leak from another ship which blocked the pier there. So we had two full days in Havanna and a very interesting 8 hour HAL excursion named 'Best of Havanna ' visiting the major sites, mostly in the colonial part of the city. A wonderful meal in a local restaurant was included and surprisingly for me, an air conditioned coach took us around. We had the chance to interact with the locals who were most friendly and proud to show us their island. The other stops we had were Key West, Ocho Rios, Georgetown, and Half Moon Cay. As I work in Miami and know a number of Cuban foks there, I was glad to have this opportunity to experience some of their culture and history. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We live in RI & had not yet visited Bermuda. I had been watching HLAV “deals” out of Boston, published by HLA, in the past and then heard the ship would be changing their IT BOS-Bermuda out of Hamilton. We grabbed the last sail ... Read More
We live in RI & had not yet visited Bermuda. I had been watching HLAV “deals” out of Boston, published by HLA, in the past and then heard the ship would be changing their IT BOS-Bermuda out of Hamilton. We grabbed the last sail & spent a wonderful 3 full days, 3 nights on this lovely island. The Bermudians are kind & friendly, Hamilton is near center of either end for convenience & the Veendam has wonderful staff, clean & well maintained, nice variety of entertainment throughout the evening (DJ in Crowsnest late night, classical in Explorer lounge day & evening, jazz in the Ocean lounge and popular/sing along in another. The shows in the comfortable, soft seating theater were very well done & included fantastic magician, comedian, singing & dance broadway caliber which I did not expect for a smaller ship. We dined on the main dining room every night and always had a very good dinner with extensive variety to choose from. Everyone at the table seemed pleased with their order. The Lido Market buffet is served by servers and there was very little wait to get anything in any amount you desired. I feel strongly that the buffet servering keeps ships illness down. The buffet has plexiglass in front of the food choices so that passengers do not handle or breath on the food. Great way to do it. Hand sanitizing dispensers all around the ship! Our inside cabin was quiet & plenty of room for 2. We did not have food down beds on the walls so that opens it up. Shower was fine with shampoo, conditioner & body wash on the wall. Upon arrival the phone in the cabin was on the blink & was changed out. There was plenty of lighting, a TV with a few news channels, ship’s related channels, movie channels, etc.. A book in the room listed 200+ Popular movies you could plug into the DVD player. You got your next days ship’s IT nightly (with a little chocolate & animal towel design). Wonderful robes ready to use, plenty of closet space and I brought a combo of at least 25 outfits! Not that you need it but was not sure about the weather & wanted to be comfortable on ship’s promenade deck where we lounged on the traditional teak chairs (which could use thicker cushions). We did 1 excursion & toured Bermuda & beaches by bus. Embark & disembark well organized. Captain very personable. Fitness room state of the art, programs free & interesting. Veendam has a dedicated card table room for bridge & other table games which I have not seen on larger ships. I was very happy my husband could find a few bridge games. There is also a large open room dedicated to games, puzzles & CHESS already set up 4 chess tables not to mention a GIANT CHESS game set up in the large pool area! An adult hot tub area is on ship’s AFT as well with a bar, seating & handmade NY style thin crust pizza! Delicious! Given it’s an older ship, it is well maintained, great size to navigate around and stylish. Ready to go with you to Venice Italy when you get there! Veendam has all the small ship personality you could hope for plus big ship activities & entertainment. It’s a classy operation & the passengers love Holland. No, We so not work for or with them, yes We paid for my trip and absolutely gave our fabulous stewards a healthy tip (on top of the mandated ship’s tips) because they were in that cabin 2-3 times a day making the cruise a very special experience! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We selected the Veendam because of it's smaller size and lower key atmosphere. This was our first trip on the Veendam (but not our first cruise) and the ship was fabulous. She is well maintained. The staff ratio is excellent and ... Read More
We selected the Veendam because of it's smaller size and lower key atmosphere. This was our first trip on the Veendam (but not our first cruise) and the ship was fabulous. She is well maintained. The staff ratio is excellent and the food is the best we have experienced. Our children enjoyed the activities geared toward them. The shows were well produced. The room was well sized, the decor of the ship is tasteful. The main dining room food was extraordinary! The afternoon tea daily was something fun for mother/daughter/grandmother to do. We played tennis and enjoyed the pool. Several of the staff went above and beyond. The spa services were well priced and well done. The library was a good resource for family time. Overall, this was our best cruise out of the 4 we have taken. The island time was lovely, and disembarkation was well handled. We would do this one again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I picked this cruise because it docked in Hamilton and spent three nights in Bermuda rather than the usual two. I always thought HAL was a great cruise line but was so disappointed in this cruise, our first, and last on HAL. Positives: ... Read More
I picked this cruise because it docked in Hamilton and spent three nights in Bermuda rather than the usual two. I always thought HAL was a great cruise line but was so disappointed in this cruise, our first, and last on HAL. Positives: Embarking and disembarking in Boston was a breeze. The salads in the buffet were very good, I feel the best of the free food on the ship. The desserts (cream puffs and ice cream) at the buffet were good. They only served soft serve ice cream during lunch, but the hard ice cream throughout the end of the serving time - makes no sense. Negatives - Food would run out at buffet starting an hour before the service ended. The buffet was closed at 8 p.m. then opened for one hour later, I think 10:30 - 11:30. SOME bartenders would always suggest doubles on the drinks. Once a bartender poured a double glass of wine and stated that after giving it to my husband, and charged double! Unethical! Heineken was no longer available three days before the end of the cruise. The last night inventory was done and some alcohol was taken away from the bar before closing, so was unavailable. We had a drink plan and only 15 drinks were available per day. That is not a lot if you order sodas, bottled water, or special coffee. We had to go to the desk to see how many drinks we had per day as bartenders had no way of telling how many you had. Many times no receipts were given at the bars. Food was very poor quality. The best things were the Nathan hot dogs (the Dive-In closed at 5 p.m.) and salads at the buffet. The pizza (which closed at 8 p.m.), buffet and main dining room were not good at all. The Pinnacle Restaurant was excellent, but you should not have to pay extra to get edible food. We ate there once and other than that, the restaurant was full and no reservations could be made. There was a huge lack of staff to wait on people by the pool and in all areas of the ship. We would have to walk to the bar to get service. The bartender would sometimes say they would send someone over with the drink, but then the server had no idea who the drink was for, I saw this happen several times and actually pointed out to the server where the person who wanted the drink was. Waitstaff at the buffet was not sufficient. I often brought up my dirty dishes as they were not picked up. If you ate on a chair by the pool drink glasses and plates were not picked up. There was a lack of staff to pick up dirty tables and re-set. Many ship higher level employees were often eating at the buffet and seemed to get preferential treatment. They would get their sodas from the bartender who appeared to wait on the staff first. I feel sorry for the lower lever employees (bar staff, room stewards and so on). They are understaffed and work long hours while the higher level spends much time eating and walking around the ship. Another thing, the windows on the ship were FILTHY! This includes room windows as well as dining room windows. Initially when cruise started, they kept announcing to wash hands and if you feel, or see someone sick to notify staff but...to get in and out of the buffet you have to push or pull open a door, they should be sliding doors. One exit did have the sliding doors, but that was it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to be docked for a few days. Although we prefer suites,we decided to try a Lanai cabin. We are three star Mariners with HAL and received the Signature Beverage packages. This included all drinks ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to be docked for a few days. Although we prefer suites,we decided to try a Lanai cabin. We are three star Mariners with HAL and received the Signature Beverage packages. This included all drinks 9.50 and under. We also received a night in Pinnacle Grill. We arrived in Boston on Saturday and used the HAL ground transportation to get to the port. Everything was smooth and we waited perhaps 30 minutes before being allowed to board. Our cabin was ready and we explored the ship. I had read many negative reviews regarding Veendam and I was worried about the ship not being maintained well. It is obviously an older ship, but everything in our cabin (349) was in perfect working order. A lanai cabin is much smaller than a suite, obviously. But we did not miss the extra room much and we also did not miss the private balcony much. We had plenty of room for 7 days worth of clothing. We were ok with the very tiny pools at the retreat as we mostly are in our chairs and just dip our toes in periodically. Neither of us have ever used the hot tubs on a cruise ship. I do wish that the Lido pool was for children and the Retreat pool was adults only. There were more kids than normal when compared to our previous HAL cruises, but I realized that would be the case by taking a cruise in June. I did not find the children on the ship to be an issue after the first day. The first day, there were many children in the bars, dining room, pools, etc. But after that, they must have been utitilizing Club HAL. My biggest complaint though were the few kids that were almost always at the Retreat pool. Two of them belonged to a mom who would simply deposit them at the pool area and then move to another area to relax, not even leaving them in her site. I would guess they were 3 and 6. It was annoying and I feel, dangerous. But I have seen that on other cruises as well. We ate in the dining room twice and we have not been doing assigned seating lately. The service was excellent and the food was good. The Pinnacle service was excellent and the food not quite as good as previous visits, but it was fine. We felt the Lido offered a good variety and we received good service there. We ordered room service late a couple of nights and that was delicious and quick. We knew we would miss BB King and we did, but we managed to have fun by going to the Piano Bar. Barry from Boston was excellent as usual. We are 58 and there were many that age that were there each night and many much older. The crowd seemed to enjoy more of the show tune, older music. We know those songs, but it is not our cup of tea each night. He did do a Beatles night and some other themes we enjoyed. But the crowd that frequented the Piano Bar was just a bit old for our tastes. I am referring more to their attitudes than their actual ages. Again, Barry was excellent. We saw a magician one evening and he was pretty good and this was our only show. We loved Bermuda. The weather was around 80 each day and almost always sunny. We jogged each morning for an hour when we were docked and then went on long walks. On sea days we walked on deck 6 as no running is allowed. That is always a disappointment to us on HAL ships we have been on. We visited the park nearby, which was beautiful. We had drinks at two bars and met some great locals and also someone that was working on an RC ship. We shopped for maybe a half hour and purchased very reasonably priced t shirts. We also went to a pharmacy and picked up extra sunscreen and water. We visited Horseshoe Bay and found it beautiful. We rode the bus there and found it very easy and enjoyable. We also spent a day at Clearwater Beach and that was breathtaking. The bus home was a bit irritating as we had to transfer as we had on the way there, but due to some bus issues we had to wait over an hour. We did not make it to Crystal Caves, although we desperately wanted to go. Once we had our suits on and were on a beautiful beach with perfect weather, we could not tear ourselves away! We left the ship on our last day at 9:45 am. We handle all of our own luggage, so don’t have to worry about finding our luggage. All went smoothly and the lines were almost non existent to get off the ship. We found this to be one of our favorite cruises, even though it was only 7 days and even though we had a Lani cabin. It was an excellent value when we factored in the beverage packages. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our ninth Holland America cruise but the first one where we overnighted in the same port. That, and the chance to sail on another S-Class (Statendam Class) HAL ship, are what attracted us to this particular sailing. As always, ... Read More
This was our ninth Holland America cruise but the first one where we overnighted in the same port. That, and the chance to sail on another S-Class (Statendam Class) HAL ship, are what attracted us to this particular sailing. As always, the crew was more than accommodating. For example, on the first morning I stopped at the Front Desk to check on the newspapers. On all subsequent days the gentleman at the Front Desk had the English-language papers ready for me to pick up. In addition, with special dietary requirements, the dining stewards brought out menus for the following day so that accomotative dinners could be pre-ordered. Souvenir shopping on the Veendam (and on the former Ryndam) is quite limited compared to HAL's Vista class and larger ships that we have sailed on. Most people do this ashore so it is not a major concern. On the other hand, with only 1300 or so on board we developed some commeraderie with other passengers that is sometimes lacking on ships with 2000 or more passengers. We did discover that Bermuda is only marginally handicap accessible. Shopping venues, restuarants and bars in Hamilton often had steps that could not be navigated by a wheelchair or walker. Cars were also often parked in such a way as to block the sidewalk. Accessibility at the Royal Naval Dockyard where the larger ships are located was even worse. In our case it was possible to get out of the wheelchair while it was lifted over curbs. For those who are unable to stand or people with power chairs it would be a difficult outing in either location. 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 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
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

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise