5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I read the poor reviews on this cruise but my rep assured me that the activities changed a lot on the ship and they cater to children. They don't even appeal to adults. This is what I sent to the guest relations and all they are going to ... Read More
I read the poor reviews on this cruise but my rep assured me that the activities changed a lot on the ship and they cater to children. They don't even appeal to adults. This is what I sent to the guest relations and all they are going to give me for my grief is a measly $50 onboard credit on my next Holland America cruise, like i really am looking forward to going on another Holland America cruise. My dad spent about $30k for 9 cabins too. these are my complaints... AND NEVER HOLLAND AMERICA again! they dont care about customer service and took 2 months to answer my complaint. 1. Cruise activities were repetitve and uninteresting. They should have a variety of programs for all ages. The cruise director mentioned about having to work within the budget and I'm thinking the budget must be very tiny. You already know about the basketball and tennis balls, and I want to thank you for getting those balls for us. However, we couldn't use the tennis balls because they were only available to us on our last day and we were in Quebec City between 2 -5 pm. 2. Club Hal kicked me out of the room when I was talking to my nieces and nephew for a few minutes. My sister was also told that she couldn't take pictures of her daughter in Club Hal. Is that really the policy? We were disappointed that there was no cooking classes for the kids. Unfortunately, a few of my nieces, who are almost teenagers, wanted to go home by mid-week. 3. Fitness instructor is obviously not interested in teaching anything but stretches. I went to a 5:30 total body conditioning class and at 5:30pm, there was no class. At 5:35 pm, I approached a man who was sitting on the exercise floor creating some sort of a sign. He says I was the only one who was interested and I could come to his 7 am stretching class. If i wanted to do the stretching, I would be there at 7 am and not at 5:30. I went to the lady at the front desk and she talked to the man and his answer was the same... that I was only one person. Another lady came by and asked about the class and later says she was interested. So I say "ok, now there are two". He finally stood up in the front and two others joined us. Now there was four. In the first 10 minutes, he did stretches. I left the class and resumed doing my own exercises and 5:50 pm, when I turned around, there was no more class. The class was supposed to be for 30 minutes. The cruise hired the wrong person to do the fitness classes. I also heard the same man ignored my nephew and my sister when doing the foot analysis. His focus was only on an elderly woman trying to sell her orthodics. 4. One should be more careful in charging the right amount for one massage. My sister had to correct a mistake with customer service. She bought several massages even though I told her that massages are cheaper in her neighborhood. 5. The ship charges $20 for a picture with a background but charges $40 for doing my group pic at the staircase. Why is there such a huge difference? Other cruiselines charge just $20. I also do not appreciate Ralph, who is the photo manager, addressing me as "milady" as if he was being condescending. That was my feeling. I especially do not appreciate Ralph for not delivering the photos as he had promised so that my family had to come looking for him and the photos on the day of disembarkation. They also did not have the cruiseline and the date imprinted on the photos as they said they would. 6. My brother says there was a chemical smell, albeit temporary, in his cabin and I also saw that he had rust spots around the metal handle and spouts in his shower. 7. It was either an icebox or a sauna in some of cabins and I was told the thermostat was broken. Someone came out to fix it though it wasn't still working very well. 8. On Level 6, the engine thrusters woke me up early around 5:45 am, on the last two nights when I really needed my sleep. I thought we were given quiet rooms. 9. Never had the pool been closed while we were on a cruise. The last day, the pool was closed for cleaning. I'm not sure if that's a regular thing for Holland America or maybe someone had an accident in it? Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I was a little hesitant just before leaving due to some of the recent reviews of this very cruise. Yes, the ship is a little tired in places. Seating cushions in public areas need to be replaced, along with the deck chairs on lower ... Read More
I was a little hesitant just before leaving due to some of the recent reviews of this very cruise. Yes, the ship is a little tired in places. Seating cushions in public areas need to be replaced, along with the deck chairs on lower promenade, etc. The 'hot tub' area aft seemed rather worthless. However, the ship is clean. The service and food were very good. I was impressed with the Lido restaurant. Happy to see the buffet has been done away with and the food and food utensils are not handled by guests. There were hand washing stations everywhere. The ship is smaller than many of the mega ships I've been on and this was a big plus given I was traveling with two individuals who use walkers. The ports of call I liked best were Bar Harbor and Quebec. Sydney didn't seem worthwhile. We dined at both of the 'specialty' restaurants. The Italian one was good, but they kept pushing the family style option and we all just wanted our own dish. It was fine, but seemed a little over the top. The Pinnacle was a real disappointment. We had much better service in the dining room. I had to ask for a finger bowl or something to wipe my hands with after my King Crab. We had to track down the waiter(s) a few times. Just didn't do a good job of reading the table in my opinion. Souffle for dessert was a real disappointment. Entertainment was OK. Comedian was very good. Piano man was awful, yet popular. Didn't understand that at all. Singers and dancers on board were acceptable, but we only went once. Spa was pretty good as far as packages available, but wait a few days as the prices go down and specials come available. Hot tub within the spa is worthless. No jets. Cabins are OK, tight as you expect. Bathroom was decent size and we had a tub. We were on lower promenade deck. Nice to be able to walk right out and it was mid ship and close to the gangways when we docked. Overall good value for the money and we enjoyed our week. I think the ship is worth a trip into dry dock to update her. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this cruise, because sailing out of Montreal meant we could easily drive to the port (being from Ottawa), allowing us to do the 2 week itinerary. Some of the negative reviews we read before hand, were a bit worrisome, but we had ... Read More
We chose this cruise, because sailing out of Montreal meant we could easily drive to the port (being from Ottawa), allowing us to do the 2 week itinerary. Some of the negative reviews we read before hand, were a bit worrisome, but we had a very pleasant experience. It is, what you make of it. Embarkation was very smooth and quick, and our cabin was ready when we boarded! We were unpacked and settled in by muster drill! The ship is smaller than most we have been on lately, but seemed well maintained, and we enjoyed the more intimate feel of the smaller ship, while still having lots to do. Our cabin was very clean. This was our first time in an inside cabin, and although I still prefer a balcony, we were in an excellent location. Deck 6, aft, which was an easy walk out to the Lower Promenade deck which allowed you to walk the full loop of the ship, and kind of felt like our own balcony during sail aways! Dining was good, though Lido deck food sometimes had been "on the heat rack" a little too long. Buffet is also not entirely self serve, which is different than most, and probably saves in wasted food, however, sometimes it was a bit difficult to get what you wanted, and lines seemed to come in from both sides, to a station. Main Dining room was lovely and presentation of food was lovely. Pinnacle Grill was an awesome venue - we went twice - and we very much enjoyed everything about it. Well worth the extra fee to go at least once, in my opinion. Shows we saw were very enjoyable. Service was awesome. Everyone was smiling and friendly with only a couple of exceptions. The Canada - New England Itinerary was wonderful. Being Canadian was a bonus for us as most ports were in Canada so we didn't have to worry about exchange rates! The Shore excursions we did seemed well run. Pool area was good and we were able to get deck chairs with no problem. Even the weather co-operated and was beautiful all but 2 of the 14 days! All in all, a very pleasant vacation. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Having read previous reviews of the Veendam our expectations were not that high but we were very pleasantly surprised and well pleased by the crew of the Veendam. Yes she is an older ship, elevators might be a bit slow and a few other ... Read More
Having read previous reviews of the Veendam our expectations were not that high but we were very pleasantly surprised and well pleased by the crew of the Veendam. Yes she is an older ship, elevators might be a bit slow and a few other things might need to be fixed next dry dock but overall it was wonderful experience. We had chosen HAL because the Veendam, docked in Hamilton (right on Front Street) as opposed to the Dockyards which are requires bus/ferry to any of the sights. As well we had sailed on HAL two other times recently and liked the service. Unfortunately our cruise was the last HAL cruise of the season to Hamilton. PRE CRUISE We drove from the Toronto area the day before and stayed at a wonderful Hampton Inn in Westborough on Friday evening which meant a 45 minute drive to the cruise port on Saturday morning (with little Boston traffic!). We parked at the parking garage at 12 Drydock Avenue for $20 per day and pulled our bags over to the cruise port. It is also easy to drop people/baggage off and then park - it is very close. CREW The crew for the most part were younger especially in the Lido and the dining room. They were always trying to please and we have on,y good things to say about them FOOD Yes the Lido can be crowded at times and the selection might be a little limited but we enjoyed the overall quality and service at the Lido. They even offer a late night snack at 1030 PM. We had anytime dining in the Rotterdam but usually ended up eating around 6PM. While we like anytime dining unfortunately you don't build the same rapport with your wait staff as you have different servers every night. ENTERTAINMENT We thoroughly enjoyed the singers and dancers - they seemed to put a lot of effort into their performances and one of their singers Nick had a marvellous voice. We also went to the piano bar several nights to listen to Stryker who was amazing in being able to play so many songs without reading music. EXCURSIONS We did a walking tour in St George's which was $12 per person and departs from the Visitors Information Centre at 1030. Lots of historical info and very good. The tour ends back at 1215 just in time for a demonstration of the di king stool where a local woman in costue is dunked - with commentary by the town crier. I was asked to assist in the dunking which was a lot of laughs. We also went to the Crystal Caves which was quite enjoyable and unite different. On Wednesday we went on a free walking tour of Hamilton which departs only on Wednesdays from the Visitor Information Centre. Our guide was Winnie Smith who did a good job of explaining a lot of historical info and local info. We took the bus later on to Horseshoe Bay to go swimming. BUS TIP: don't necessarily just buy a bus/ferry pass - calculate how many times you will use the bus/ferry. For us it was much cheaper to buy 15 tickets and 4 tokens than buy the transit pass. Overall the Veendam delivered for us - great crew, great port and we will always remember sailing into out of Hamilton which is very scenic. Thank you Veendam and crew! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
If you're cruising to Bermuda , you can't do better then sailing on the Veendam . Berthing in Hamilton for 3 nights instead of at the Royal Dockyards is a real advantage . Veendam is old and small but the quality of food and entertainment ... Read More
If you're cruising to Bermuda , you can't do better then sailing on the Veendam . Berthing in Hamilton for 3 nights instead of at the Royal Dockyards is a real advantage . Veendam is old and small but the quality of food and entertainment was high and they do their best to keep the ship looking good . We booked a guaranteed suite and received a prime port side location Vista suite which looked out over the harbor . Ideal ! We arrived to torrential rain but a few hours later the rain stopped and the weather was great for the rest of our visit . I don't think I'd want to cruise on this ship for all itineraries but it was perfect for this one . Pre-cruise We booked a stayNpark deal at the Holiday Inn Express Saugus from Trinity Reservation the night before the cruise . The hotel is OK and includes a good breakfast and a free shuttle to the airport . Boston hotels are expensive . From there we got on a bus to the port . If you are in this area of Boston , I highly recommend Turner's Seafood Grill in nearby Melrose . Really fantastic food and ambiance . Better then my experiences at Legal Seafood . Embarkation We got to the port just after 11 . Truth is Bostons port is a dump but it works . We got through check in quickly but they didn't start boarding until just before noon which meant waiting for a half hour . There was another HAL ship in harbor at the same time . Our Cabin We received cabin 150 mid ship on the 9th Verandah deck . We were above the casino but heard and smelled nothing . This is decidedly a junior suite with no real suite amenities . The big bonus is a huge balcony with a lounge , 2 chairs and a table . Really nice ! There is a small flat screen with an attached DVD player . The fridge seemed to be colder then usual . The toilet has a deep bath/shower . It is a big step-over but there are grip bars . Overall the cabin is dated but well maintained . BUT.. we heard loud rattling sounds coming out of the walls and ceiling . They of course seem much louder at night . We mentioned it to our steward the next morning but it didn't seem like he was going to do anything about it . I went to guest services the next afternoon . Luckily the noise was quite loud when Carlo came with me to the cabin . I was told it was too late to do anything that night . The next morning after breakfast I came back in time to see 2 workman taking apart my cabin . I left . Whatever they did worked . We received a note offering us a free meal at the Pinnacle Grill . I thought that was appropriate although I didn't ask for anything . Later we received some OBC . Wow! That was more then appropriate . Our steward was satisfactory . Not warm but very efficient and really that's all I want . Food -MDR We booked Open Seating but ended up reserving the 7:45 standing reservation for our cruise . The food was good as was the service . My DW reminds me that half way though each cruise I tend to get impatient with the drawn out service . We asked for quicker service twice and that's what we got . In and out in about an hour . Remember to ask for your fish less cooked as the default is to my taste very overdone . The biggest complaint was a lack of crispness or crust to most of the dishes . An example was the spring rolls . They were hot but not crisp . I guess that's what you get when all food is brought to the MDR in food plate covers . Food - Other Since we cruised on the Veendam 2 years ago there has been a definite shift to more pre-plated and staff served foods at the buffet . There is less opportunity for the passengers to pollute the food . This is great! Occasionally it resulted in a few seconds more waiting but I was very impressed with the lack of lineups . Desserts are good . Interestingly the buffet mostly closes at 8 PM . It reopens at 10:30 for an hour often with some additional items . This seems to be done for the staff who are a big part of this late shift consumers . The Dive Bar is great and its burgers are fantastic as is the taco bar directly in front of it . Pizza is still poor . Desserts are still good . The coffee bar , Explorations was surprisingly quiet . Coffee was good as were the no-charge sweets offered there . Wish they offered a coffee card like Princess . Our Pinnacle Grill meal was a disappointment . It started with the MaitreD making a big deal out of allowing us the privilege of an 8 PM reservation . Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Let me begin by saying that we've cruised with Holland since 2005; certainly not as long as many of you, but long enough for us to be able to draw some comparisons. For reference, this is our 22nd cruise and our second time aboard the ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that we've cruised with Holland since 2005; certainly not as long as many of you, but long enough for us to be able to draw some comparisons. For reference, this is our 22nd cruise and our second time aboard the Veendam. For the first time, we were able to afford to upgrade to the Neptune Suites; something that we really looked forward to. I'll start off by listing the "Pros" and then I'll list the "needs improvement". Pros: 1. Absolutely the best service onboard any ship, at anytime on any of our cruises. The most memorable are: the pool bar and the Crows Nest staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome. By far and above the rest of the crowd were the Neptune Suite Concierge ladies - Danielle and Michaela. Those two ladies knew our name BEFORE we even got on the ship. When we first stepped into the Neptune Lounge, they immediately called us by name. (seems that they look at your picture as soon as it's snapped downstairs during boarding) Our room attendant - Dwi was outstanding. Always serving with a smile, he graciously cleaned our room SEVERAL times a day, replenishing the ice, picking up and delivering laundry and asking what else he could do to make our stay more enjoyable. 2. Neptune Suites - as I mentioned above, this is our first time in a Neptune Suite. I can honestly say that it will be hard to go back to a "non-Neptune Suite." I think they plan it that way. The room is large, well appointed and clean. The deck/balcony is VERY large compared to regular balcony cabins. As other reviewers have mentioned, there are some areas that show wear and tear, but overall, the ship is clean; something that my DW looks for. Large closets, smallish jet tub/shower, dressing room, full size couch. For the first time ever on a cruise, we found ourselves relaxing in our room more on days at sea than we have done on previous cruises. 3. Food - The food in the Pinnacle Grill is our favorite place to dine on this ship and it did not disappoint this time. We ate there twice and both times, the service and the food were outstanding. The filet mignon was worth ordering twice, so I did. The service in the Pinnacle Grill is equally as good. I highly recommend! We also ate in the Canaletto Italian restaurant twice which is actually part of the Lido. The food there is very good, not as good as a fine Italian restaurant on shore, but still very good! Cons: 1. The smells on deck 10 where the Neptune Suites and the Neptune Lounge are located. While we were docked in Bermuda, there was an OVERWHELMING smell of deodorized sewage for the first two days. When I mentioned it to Danielle, she too acknowledged the strong smell. During the third day that we were docked in Bermuda, the smell of sewage was replaced by an overpowering smell of crude oil. As an one who deals with asthma, that smell of crude oil would literally take my breath away. It obviously minimized our trips to/from our room on deck 10. 2. The air conditioning system in our room simply could not keep up with the heat in Bermuda. On two occasions, I spoke with Danielle about the room being hot and she called "technical" to take a look at it. Nothing ever really changed except that they graciously brought a new box fan to the room. But that didn't help lower the temperature either. It wasn't until we had left Bermuda and were on our way back to Boston that the temperature in the room was acceptable. Course by then the outside air temperature had dropped to the high 70's as well. 3. The food in the MDR and the Lido - let me say up front that i am NOT a foodie, a food critic nor am I a food snob. I ask for nothing more than good food and good service on any cruise and up to this cruise, Holland has provided that. Some examples: a) our first evening onboard in the MDR, I ordered prime rib cooked to medium. When it arrived, I could barely cut it with a steak knife, let alone chew it. VERY well overdone; cooked till it was tough, b) Lido buffet - for lunch on the second day, I had the Wiener Schnitzel. It was a VERY flat piece of meat that had been beaten into submission :-) and fried. Absolutely NO, ZERO taste. The gravy helped some but even then it was not palatable. Soup, something that I have ALWAYS enjoyed onboard HAL was not good. One quick example - I ordered the French Onion Soup in the MDR the first night onboard. When I tasted it, it had NO onions, onion slices or onion bits in it at all. It was nothing more than dark water with a toasted piece of bread with cheese on top. Very disappointing. For us, the food onboard this cruise was a HUGE decline in the quality of the food that my DW and I remember from previous HAL cruises. Sadly, if this is a "cost cutting" attempt by HAL and an attempt to "encourage" cruisers to go to the upscale restaurant, then shame on HAL!!! We absolutely love the small ship feel of the "S" class ships but after this second cruise onboard Veendam, I seriously doubt that we'll do another "S" class again. Finally, what made this cruise rate more than a "one" or "two" were the staff; they went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and cater to our needs. Well done! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We had never sailed out of Boston before, so since we live 20 miles north of the city we thought this would be so much more enjoyable than flying to Florida first. Very easy and fast embankment, just 1 hour from our house we were in our ... Read More
We had never sailed out of Boston before, so since we live 20 miles north of the city we thought this would be so much more enjoyable than flying to Florida first. Very easy and fast embankment, just 1 hour from our house we were in our Stateroom! We loved the cruise and cannot complain about anything with the Veendam. People complained about the ship being dated, and the food not being that good, but honestly we did not see anything wrong with any of it. Our inside room was exceptionally clean and a wonderful size. The bathroom was spacious, with plenty of hot water. The staff everywhere on board was so accommodating and very helpful. Docking on main street in Bermuda was perfect, easy to catch a Taxi, Water Ferry or just walk to shopping was so convenient. We would recommend this cruise to anyone! Would recommend this cruise to everyone! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I frequently cruise with Holland America. This Cruise to Bermuda was very enjoyable, but the ship itself needs some TLC. The A/C was a problem in many cabins, and public areas. I was traveling with two other couples, and their cabins ... Read More
I frequently cruise with Holland America. This Cruise to Bermuda was very enjoyable, but the ship itself needs some TLC. The A/C was a problem in many cabins, and public areas. I was traveling with two other couples, and their cabins wouldn't cool below 76 degrees. The entertainment was first rate, along with the food and service in the Dining room. Our Cabin was showing its age, but it was comfortable and clean. The reason we choice this cruise was primarily because of where this ship docks in Bermuda, Downtown with everything at your fingertips. This made it easy to travel with Senior family members. We have cruised before on other "S" Class ships and didn't notice their age, but this ship in particular needs to be dry docked, overhauled and given up-to-date features like the other ships in the fleet. Boston is a port that is not easy to drive to, but once you're there, the parking was extremely close and affordable Would we travel on this ship again....Yes Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
This was for a cruise from Boston to Bermuda, and being a smaller ship, it docked in downtown Hamilton, a delightful spot, as you could step off the ship and be right in town. As opposed to where the big ships docked which was in Port out ... Read More
This was for a cruise from Boston to Bermuda, and being a smaller ship, it docked in downtown Hamilton, a delightful spot, as you could step off the ship and be right in town. As opposed to where the big ships docked which was in Port out in the old Naval Shipyard, which is nothing but a tourist trap of shops, and not as nice. The Veendam is an older ship and it showed, the cabin and other areas were tired, well used, and in constant turnaround. We called this the ship that was held together with duct tape. As we waited to disembark, they were making up our room for the next guest, and you got to see some of what you missed when just walking in. like the yellow stains on the comforters under the duvet covers, that one never looks in. Next time I will if there is a next time! While the food was fine, it was not amazing, and service was fine, but by the middle of the cruise, it fell off from what it was when we started. Shopping - all those Shipboard credits have to be used up. The onboard shopping was pathetic, it looked like a street yard sale that had been picked over. I bought a watch, that when I returned home checked on, and in real $ would have been about $60 cheaper on Amazon. We struggled hard to spend our shipboard credits. The Internet service on board was expensive and terrible, but it is via a satellite so what can you expect. I have to say the best experience was the onboard Microsoft computer training. This was our first cruise experience, it did not WOW us, and we were with a seasoned cruiser who felt the same way. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The ship had no A/C in main dining room or in my cabin. The solution was a noisy box fan. Not much cooler with the fan. Two days the room had a strong oil smell. No solution to that problem. The smell was extremely strong at night when ... Read More
The ship had no A/C in main dining room or in my cabin. The solution was a noisy box fan. Not much cooler with the fan. Two days the room had a strong oil smell. No solution to that problem. The smell was extremely strong at night when trying to sleep. Hard to get a drink with breakfast when you are not a tea or coffee drinker. San Pelligrino or soda can't be ordered before 7:30AM. Waiters are hard to find in the morning in the Lido Market. The Front Desk staff refused to get a supervisor to speak with my daughter and I. Stay away from Holland America. I know we will in the future. They tell travel agents one thing and have something different in the Shore Excursion bulletin. You can't hear announcements when in your stateroom with the door closed. This isn't good if there is an emergency. Unless you are into fitness or want to know about all the applications available on Windows 10, there is NOTHING TO DO ON SHIP. Bermuda was beautiful and most of the shore excursions were good. 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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