12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We have cruised with HAL for 10 years and are 4 star mariners, did 2 cruises on Veendam starting March 3 to April 6th 2019. Embarkation long, tedious and very hot no assistance from HAL some very sick elderly people made to stand in heat ... Read More
We have cruised with HAL for 10 years and are 4 star mariners, did 2 cruises on Veendam starting March 3 to April 6th 2019. Embarkation long, tedious and very hot no assistance from HAL some very sick elderly people made to stand in heat for hours. Cabins poorly serviced, beds lumpy and hard. Advised of food allergy well in advance of cruise very poor choices, all meals and menu in Dining poor, meals served Luke warm to cold and not together with partner. Veendam Singers and Dancers excellent other entertainment poor to average. Ports good Shore Excursions ok. Disembarkation disgusting, had tour and airport booked, colour and number we were due to leave at 8.00 am, but kept telling us, no bus hasn’t arrived, 3-1/2 hours later we were all still waiting told tour was cancelled Staff member in charge returned to ship and left us all outside some sitting on limited seating the rest standing waiting for a bus to maybe come for us. Hoping HAL has the common decency to take care of airport transfer for all disappointed passengers looking forward to tour, we of FLL Everglades which we will now never see. Lastly emphasise Kitchen staff and Head Chef Orly, who should be responsible, all the time have let the Company down inexcusably Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose this cruise for ports of call and schedule. Except for the quality of the food, the cruise was a disappointment. The ship was worn and tired. Booked a Neptune suite and there was wallpaper falling off the wall and rusty areas on the ... Read More
Chose this cruise for ports of call and schedule. Except for the quality of the food, the cruise was a disappointment. The ship was worn and tired. Booked a Neptune suite and there was wallpaper falling off the wall and rusty areas on the balcony. The carpets are stained throughout. Many small things added up: missing bathroom fixtures, a towel hangar that was replaced with a simple screw in the wall. The Neptune/Pinnacle suites are supposedly the nicest aboard -- if that is true, then I feel badly for those in lesser cabins. The service was also poor, but I consider this a reflection of how the crew is treated by their employer. Most crew members seemed disinterested in being helpful, and some where downright rude. More often than not, I was getting my own drinks in the Lido restaurant. In the dining room, we gave our order and the waiter confirmed it, only to bring the wrong thing. I would describe most of the crew as aloof. HAL supposedly provides a premium experience, but this was far from it. Would recommend you cruise with someone else. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife Carol and I were very interested in learning more about Cuba so we chose the cruise called: "The Cuban Explorer." There were supposed to be two cuban ports. The other destinations on the cruise did not interest us much. ... Read More
My wife Carol and I were very interested in learning more about Cuba so we chose the cruise called: "The Cuban Explorer." There were supposed to be two cuban ports. The other destinations on the cruise did not interest us much. We went to Key West, Florida. I would describe this as a once nice little town that has become an empty tourist trap. Next, we went to Havana after a day at sea. Having sailed mostly the North Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, we found the days at sea rather dull since there was nothing that was very interesting to do on board nor was the sea anything special. (I have been in two spectacular storms on other ships.) My wife who is Canadian Chinese, a seasoned traveller experienced two incidents of nasty behaviour by co travellers who felt they had a right to scream at fellow passengers to move aside. Described in the past as the "ugly American". In fact being an American I was shocked maybe at their attitude and outright prejudice. We complained to the front desk there should be a code of behaviour for passengers. A total put off given the number of diverse tourists traveling today. Shame on their backward rude behaviour- and the fact they thought they could get away with it. Carol is recovering from cancer and this trip was a rest for us both. However, compared to John Cleese on the Queen Mary, the speakers we heard on the Veendam were informative but little else. We watched a couple of movies on the tv in our cabin and attended two talks/demos by an America's Test Kitchen chef. Carol, who is really at a chef level herself (she was a judge in the International Chocolate Competition in Toronto), though not professionally, enjoyed these demonstration/talks quite a bit. The ship, though old (built 1993), is superbly maintained by an excellent and conscientious crew. But the quality of the maintenance apparently did not extend to the mechanicals of the ship which I believe was the reason we could not stop at Cienfuegos. Missing this port is the main reason I have downgraded the cruise. The captain got on the PA a couple of time and told us that we couldn't go to Cienfuegos but he kept saying that there was no safety issue. If there was not a safety issue, why couldn't we go? If there was a safety issue, why were we cruising in this ship and why did it take on new passengers when we got back to Fort Lauderdale? As a very poor substitute for missing a key destination we were offered an afternoon of free booze. Again, of little interest to us. And it did not make up for not visiting one of the destinations we thought would be a highlight. The main plus for the cruise was the dining.The food was wonderful. Meat, vegetarian and non-gluten dishes were available. Brilliantly cooked and served. Dinner in the dining room was always a pleasure. For breakfast and lunch we went to the cafeteria style "Lido" deck. We were both surprised by the very high level of culinary artistry the staff exhibited. The one tour we took in Havana was abysmal. It was supposed to be a culinary tour. The guide certainly knew her stuff and was professional but the offerings were not worth the time or money. "Culinary" turned out to be going to a large hotel salon with a view in downtown Havana and being given a pretty lousy four hour meal with lots of booze served. The Cuban musicians were local and good.( I am a classically trained musician.) From there we were dragged off to some run down night club where we had loud Cuban music played at us while we were given rum, cigars and coffee to sample with no comments, explanations or any attempt to instruct. Neither my wife nor I smoke and there was no alternative of any kind offered. Our windowed cabin had no balcony but was adequate. The bathroom was nice because it was larger than the one on the Queen Mary 2. It had a full tiled bath. The gym was well equipped. I love my work out and this was important to me. The service in all respects was uniformly excellent. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise to not only visit Havana ( I had been there before)) but mainly Cienfuegos. There was an announcement the night before that due to irregularities with one of the 5 generators, we would not be stopping at Cienfuegos. I ... Read More
I chose this cruise to not only visit Havana ( I had been there before)) but mainly Cienfuegos. There was an announcement the night before that due to irregularities with one of the 5 generators, we would not be stopping at Cienfuegos. I had persuaded 7 other family members to go with me. Amazingly, Holland America did not substitute a port or extend our stay at one of the scheduled ports. Instead we had to endure anther day at sea. Their compensation was a $100 room credit and free drinks one of the afternoons. We were kept in the dark about details of the cancellation for about 2 days until the Capt gave his explanation over the public address system. The ship is very much in need of an overhaul. Our room phone quit working 3 times, the elevators are extremely slow (5 to 10 minute waits). One elevator was permanently out of service. Our room was showing signs of wear. There was only one electrical outlet for the entire room. There was not any outlet in the bathroom. We had to purchase extension cords in Key West. The internet plan we purchased went out for about 9 hours. I asked staff members if there would be any credit given towards a future cruise and the answer was No. That behind said, the dining room and house keeping staff were wonderful. My wife and I have cruised almost 30 times and the last show performance with the dancers and singers was the best we had ever heard on a ship. The Cruise Director was also excellent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
This is an old ship and should be retired. A generator broke causing us to miss one of the two Cuban cities of this Cuban cruise. Three public mens room were also broken. No service at the back adult pool area. You can only get warm soda ... Read More
This is an old ship and should be retired. A generator broke causing us to miss one of the two Cuban cities of this Cuban cruise. Three public mens room were also broken. No service at the back adult pool area. You can only get warm soda with a glass of ice and you have to pay 15% gratuity for that. I heard from other passengers that missing the Second City of Cuba has happened before. This all ship is not capable of getting to that Port easily. If going to Cuba is why you're taking this Cruise book another ship. The dining room staff or definitely overworked. It was beginning to feel like I was more at at an Olive Garden then on a cruise ship. The housekeeping staff is very friendly. Embarking and disembarking was very smooth. We always enjoyed High Tea. Breakfast buffet is awesome. They will make you fresh eggs, pancakes and waffles no need to go to the dining room. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
The shore excursions were mostly good, although I would have greatly preferred a sightseeing stop in The Bahamas rather than the day in Half Moon Cay. The ship, on the other hand, was very bad. They embarked with one generator not ... Read More
The shore excursions were mostly good, although I would have greatly preferred a sightseeing stop in The Bahamas rather than the day in Half Moon Cay. The ship, on the other hand, was very bad. They embarked with one generator not working and soon had problems with a second. As a result, we skipped Cienfuegos. Two of the mid-ship elevators were out the entire time, leading to lengthy waits. The outlet behind the TV in my cabin was European but the TV plug was North American. Rather than resolve this in a sensible way, they ran the cable down and across the mirror and desk to plug it into the one and only NA outlet there. They couldn't even be bothered to provide a power strip; I had to go ask -- twice -- for one so I could plug things in. One of the beside nightstands was badly warped so the drawer could not close properly. This all went into the feedback form, of course, and I never heard anything in response. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Friends were celebrating their 50th anniversary. They were a few cabins away from us. The ship is old and there were many, many problems. Clogged drains and toilets, the air conditioners were hit and miss, older decor and a layout ... Read More
Friends were celebrating their 50th anniversary. They were a few cabins away from us. The ship is old and there were many, many problems. Clogged drains and toilets, the air conditioners were hit and miss, older decor and a layout that lead to dead ends for the first couple of days were some of the problems. My wife wanted to use the Fitness area but the staff sprays the equipment, carpets and air with a scent that she was quite allergic to. One engine broke down and we were forced to miss the second Cuba port, for which we received $50 and $40 port taxes each. When the name of the cruise is "Cuban Experience", I don't feel that is a fair compensation. The staff tried their best to put a good spin on the problems but there was a sense of unrest with the passengers. On this ship the "Anytime" dining seemed to mean just that whereas on Princess it seems to mean you can come to either the first or second searing each night. All in all - disappointing Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Although I have cruised over 20 times, this was my first one on Holland America. I chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba (2 stops). I have already been to the other ports/islands on the itinerary. I consider their private island ... Read More
Although I have cruised over 20 times, this was my first one on Holland America. I chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba (2 stops). I have already been to the other ports/islands on the itinerary. I consider their private island an at sea day. The ship is old. The food and service were very good. The captain skipped one of the Cuba ports and did a at sea day instead. They bumped up the rest of the ports 1 day. Not sure why we could not go to another port or back to Havana. An at sea day provides them more money. They said the problem had to do with the generator. Could go to the other ports and stay out to see but could not go into the Cuba port. Doesn't seem right to me. As I mentioned, food and service was very good. Activities and entertainment, not so much. They had an activities director but not much of a staff. Other than line dancing, and activities where they made money (foot analyzes, art auction, etc.), the other activities were not structured. The best activity they had was America's Test Kitchen. I highly recommend going to that, although I thought they would let you taste the food afterward. The cabin was old and worn. Stains on the walls and rust in the bathroom. The rooms and bathroom were pretty spacious for a cruise ship. We had a picture window level room that had a full bath with shower. I would not recommend Holland America. Because we were going to Cuba, we paid more for the cruise. The went to 4 ports on a 11 day cruise. Way too much money to miss a port. Too many at sea days. They only refunded us $50 plus $38 in port fees for missing the port. I spoke with customer service at Holland America when I returned and was told the decision on the refund amount was made and was not going to be changed regardless of how many people expressed their concerns. I will never go on a Holland America cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose the HAL Veendam cruise specifically for the Cuba stops and our good experience with HAL. We believe that this itinerary originally included Bonaire and Curacao which were eliminated for some reason and Ochjo Rios and the Caymans ... Read More
We chose the HAL Veendam cruise specifically for the Cuba stops and our good experience with HAL. We believe that this itinerary originally included Bonaire and Curacao which were eliminated for some reason and Ochjo Rios and the Caymans added. For a ten day cruise, it included four days at sea. Marginal ports and really too much time at sea for a smaller ship with limited on board activities. After we left Havana it was announced that we would skip the second Cuban port, Cienfeugos because of mechanical issues that prevented our ship from handling a relative small port. So that created five days at sea as no attempt was made to go to another Cuban port and we sailed around in circles to eat up the time. In all, very disappointing as Cuba was the draw, and the other ports were not that great and the ship lacked activities needed for five cruising days.( We met some people in Ocho Rios on a different cruise line whose decided not to stop at Cienfeugos and diverted to another Cuban port. HAL gave each passenger a $50.00 credit because we missed the second Cuban port which most people considered an insult!!). This ship is one of HAL's smaller ones and older. We had sailed on her when she was new. They have made obvious attempts to refurbish most areas with nice results. However, the aging is showing; one toilet on deck 8 and one bank of elevators at each end of the ship was closed the entire cruise. The dancing and singing troupe does a nice job on three nights with ventriculist and harpest on others, A good trio in one bar area, BUT, that is it. If you want to just lounge around and go to bed at 10:00, this cruise would be OK. But, with five days of cruising around in circles, this was not one of our most memorable cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The worst cruise I’ve ever been on. The ship is very old. We had no air conditioning in our state room the first two nights. They thought they could solve the problem by rigging up a noisy fan, which did nothing. No compensation was ... Read More
The worst cruise I’ve ever been on. The ship is very old. We had no air conditioning in our state room the first two nights. They thought they could solve the problem by rigging up a noisy fan, which did nothing. No compensation was given for this, even though we did not sleep the first two nights. Food was mediocre, at best. Public toilets had buckets when there were leaks, which were frequent. Toilets smelled aweful. The ships decor was vintage 1960’s. Entertainment was just ok. Hot tubs were luke warm. The stewards and food staff were excellent, but they were working with antiquated tools. The one very bright spot in this cruise was the spa staff, particularly the acupuncturist and ionithermie therapist. When you approached this ship for boarding you couldn’t help but see substantial rust. Pricing of spa and activities were difficult to understand, and I am still reviewing our bill for inaccuracies. Cabin has only one outlet, so bring an extension cord. Internet very expensive and unreliable. Balcony furniture extremely old and dated. Sofa had paint droppings from when it was last painted, probably 30 years ago. Do not take this cruise. It was terrible. 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
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
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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My wife and I traveled with my brother and his wife June 9, 2018 from Boston to Bermuda. The cruise itself was fine, but the food was not very good both in the dining room and the buffet. We had to send back our Lamb chops that were so ... Read More
My wife and I traveled with my brother and his wife June 9, 2018 from Boston to Bermuda. The cruise itself was fine, but the food was not very good both in the dining room and the buffet. We had to send back our Lamb chops that were so tough we could not eat. The waiter was helpful and suggested bringing out something else which we did. In the buffet we found that the meats were very dry as if it was prepared way in advance. Our room was a balcony and was clean but very dated and worn. The balcony needed painting due to the rust. The bottom sheet was patched with a blue patch. The toliet had a odor and the carpet was very worn. We ordered a water (8) package weeks in advance online but we only got (4) after we checked in. The guy stated he would deliver the balance later. I told 2 of our room stewards we had not gotten our balance of water but nothing happened. I went to guest services and they got it delivered in a few hours. The entertainment was not very good. We have sailed on over 20 trips with several cruise lines including Holland and have not had this poor level overall. Seems like not just one thing but many thing were not up to our expectations. Our room was #111 and my brothers room was 109. This ship really needs to be in dry dock and refurbished. Our stay in Bermuda was ok. We took a 5 hour mini bus tour and was very good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Because two years before this cruise was wonderful and the Veendam is the only cruise boat currently cruising to Bermuda that stays 3 full days along side Front Street in Hamilton. That's why we took this cruise again. The food ... Read More
Because two years before this cruise was wonderful and the Veendam is the only cruise boat currently cruising to Bermuda that stays 3 full days along side Front Street in Hamilton. That's why we took this cruise again. The food served in the dining room was almost always lukewarm or cold because of the method of serving. At one breakfast our asst. manager ZEN graciously moved us away from people who were hacking coughing like a TB ward. One of us was not able to use the stairways because of a walker and he noticed that he used the elevator in either of the elevator banks, for or after, there always seemed to be 2 of the 4 cars in either bank out of service .i.e. not moving. Coffee shop was great as usual. Servers and cabin attendants were very helpful. Casino was much too smoky and should have smokers isolated. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
As 3 star mariners, we have enjoyed many previous HAL cruises. On April 7th we made a quick decision to take the Veendam leaving FLL 4 days later. This last minute booking was to be our escape from the dismal grey of a never ending ... Read More
As 3 star mariners, we have enjoyed many previous HAL cruises. On April 7th we made a quick decision to take the Veendam leaving FLL 4 days later. This last minute booking was to be our escape from the dismal grey of a never ending Toronto winter. The beautiful stops in the Caribbean fulfilled our desire for warm days and nights and the peaceful feeling that the colours of the islands brings. The cruise aboard the Veendam left us deciding to look to other cruise lines in the future. Embarkation in FLL was very smooth, allowing us to our Verandah cabin on deck 6 prior to noon, make our way to a quick lunch, followed by unpacking at 2pm. Our 1st night offered us very little sleep, as there was constant rolling and banging heard above us. Early the following morning we were informed by the front desk that the noise was from the galley above us on deck 7, as they prepared food for the following day. I voiced my upset that this information was not offered to us at the time of booking this room. I was then given the requisite line "sorry .... there are no other cabins available in your category or better" Holding my ground and my temper, and advising this front line HAL employee that I needed a manager to confirm that we would have no choice but to spend the next 6 nights in a sleepless stupor; we were miraculously shown to a lovely aft cabin and assisted in our move to said cabin. Life here was lovely..... blissful . Until the air conditioning died. Maintenance measured the room temperature at 26 C !! Assurances that the AC would be promptly repaired were blatantly false. I called no less than 5 times over the course of a day ( Our day. Our vacation day. A day we were paying HAL for) No air conditioning resulted. Yet .... we were assured the AC problem was solved. Finally at midnight, still waiting for AC to kick in, I approached the front desk in a somewhat less than amused state. At 30 minutes past midnight we were given a room for sleeping above the engines that had AC but was so noisy we slept little. LESSON .... On this cruise we were offered either comfortable temperature in an inferior room OR quiet in the category we paid for ..... but apparently the two could not coincide. Oh and the two final at sea days,( those days when lounging at the pool is the activity most coveted on board), offered a dry swimming pool. ( only one pool on this ship) Yes apparently someone unfortunately lost their lunch in the pool on day 5. The pool was drained and left dry until 3 pm on the day before disembarking. Dining at the Pinnacle was pleasant. Then we disembarked. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
I took this cruise with the sole purpose of going to Cuba. Embarkation was easy and well organized. We got to the port rather early and after we filled out the all the paper work for Cuba, we were able to check in and board within 45 ... Read More
I took this cruise with the sole purpose of going to Cuba. Embarkation was easy and well organized. We got to the port rather early and after we filled out the all the paper work for Cuba, we were able to check in and board within 45 minutes. Once onboard, we noticed that the ship was extremely dated, that many of the plaques that were on the staircases were either missing or broken. The rugs were worn and the public furniture looked like it was from a different era. The pool area, although very clean, showed its age. there were numerous broken tiles in the main pool. And the pool was "policed" by a few passengers who made it their mission to complain if anyone was trying to have a good time, however it was ok when they broke the pool rules. The main dining room desing was atrosious! It was this mauve/purple gold that went out of style in the 80's. They still seat you with other passangers, however will do their best to seat you at your own table, if available. The back of the upper deck held two hot tub with large beds for tanning, along with 50+ lounge chairs..We loved it back here as it was nice an relaxing. However, a little music would have been appreciated. The staff was amazing. the bartender knew our names and our preferred beverages we were always being catered to. Our cabin steward Leo was exceptional! he made sure we were taken care of . He noticed on day 2 that we were only eating the bananas in the fruit basket, he made sure we had extra banana's and ice everyday. The food was very good and we liked the fact that they still served lobster tail on gala night in the main dining room! My sister and I, whom are in out late 30's, mid 40's felt like we were the youngest persons on the ship. The average age had to be late 60's and the ship catered solely to that age group. There were limited activities during the day, the free exercises classes were more like "sit and be fit" and the shows were the old review shows. We went to the nightclub at 10pm and there was only 10 people there!!! We were bored out of our mind! All in all we had a relaxing time but I will not go back on the ship again as it was very outdated and very limited activities during the day. This ship needs to be sent to pasture and needs to be replaced with a new ship with updated features Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We like Holland America but would advise you to check how often they make both Havana and Cienfuegos in their Cuba cruise. Cienfuegos was cancelled due to weather and I understand it is a very tight port. The staff advised that this has ... Read More
We like Holland America but would advise you to check how often they make both Havana and Cienfuegos in their Cuba cruise. Cienfuegos was cancelled due to weather and I understand it is a very tight port. The staff advised that this has happened before so unless this is the only other port Holland America can travel to (Havana and Cienfuegos) I would not do this trip again. The other stops were Key West and Cayman Islands so boring trip except for Havana. Unfortunately, we had a horrible excursion in Havana and Holland America has removed it. Holland America removed the excursion that was cancelled and give a large discount on the Culinary excursion in Havana. The cabin staff was great, dining room very good. Loved the food and Happy Hour now buy one get the second for $2 while our last Holland America (Alaska) was buy one get one free. Loved the piano player by the casino and the entertainment - pianist and magician. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was so disappointed in this 7 day Authentic Cuba cruise with Holland America. I have always considered Holland America to be a cut above but this cruise definitely dropped them down considerably. The ship was little more than a rust ... Read More
I was so disappointed in this 7 day Authentic Cuba cruise with Holland America. I have always considered Holland America to be a cut above but this cruise definitely dropped them down considerably. The ship was little more than a rust bucket. We had some kind of "technical difficulty" in the engine room (which sounded like an explosion to us) and had us thinking that we should have taken the evacuation drill a lot more seriously. We were 2 hours behind schedule as we limped into Costa Maya which caused our shore excursion to be backed up. We went to Kahunlich Mayan Ruins and the tour was excellent and we were not rushed because we were late. However this made us late getting back to the ship and we were late for dinner. We rushed right to the dining room but were turned away because my husband had shorts on! I found this the epitome of poor guest service seeing the delay was their fault. We had a wonderful room steward who was always there when we had all kinds of problems with our rooms but he was the best of the guest services. We went to Shore Excursions right after we got on the ship only to find that all the shore excursions in Cuba were booked except for 3 and we had to settle for a lesser tour than what we had wanted - another disappointment. We wound up on Easy Havana and spent 3 hours driving around a very rundown Havana. Oh and did I mention that we never got into Cuba until 4:00? Ours was the last tour to go out and we spent half of it touring in the dark. Definitely not worth it especially when you consider that you have to pay for a $75 visa just to go into Cuba. We spent $150 for a 3 hour tour half of which was in the dark. The shows on the ship were good but one of them had to be postponed because there was a bad leak on the stage that would interfere with the lighting. Another example of the rust bucket affectionately known as "Damveen". So if you're looking for a cruise on an inferior ship, with poor guest service, a very cold captain and where you can feel pretty ripped off, this is the trip for you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
The cruise itinerary was was wonderful. We had a great time in all ports as well as an education. The food and service on the cruise was great. The shows were excellent. We put together a group of 11 people with 6 cabins. Guests ... Read More
The cruise itinerary was was wonderful. We had a great time in all ports as well as an education. The food and service on the cruise was great. The shows were excellent. We put together a group of 11 people with 6 cabins. Guests experienced problems with 3 cabins. Two of the cabins, 042 and 832 were very hot; one guest's makeup melted. The fix was to put a portable fan in those cabins. Our cabin, 836, was extremely hot on the last day and we had no hot water the first two days.. Our disembarkation experience was horrible, disappointing, and embarrassing! It started our normal until HAL employees scanned our room card. We were told, very curtly, to move to the right and asked to hand over our passports. No one would answer questions as to what the problem was. One of the employees marched us through the baggage area. The only word used to answer a question by this person was "routine." We were handed over to four different employees before being taken to Customs and Border Patrol. At CBP our luggage was x-rayed, our passports were returned without comment, and we were told to exit through the door in front of us without explanation. The taking of one's passport is effectively an arrest and is illegal unless performed by law enforcement. The way they treated us made me wonder when the handcuffs were coming out. We were afraid that someone did something to our luggage when it was in the hallway. The situation could have been handled much better. All they had to say was that Customs routinely flagged our cabin and that they needed to inspect our baggage. Guest relations stated that A/C problems on a few ships in many rooms and that the employees act that way because people don't like to be spot checked. We have be offered a 3 category upgrade on a future cruise of 7 to 10 days that is good for three years. This seems like a joke and I don't believe that is the way to treat customers that have cruised with them approximately 9 times. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Full disclosure, not really a cruise person. Booked this as a reasonable way to see cuba. HA didn't have sufficient 'approved' excursions. They added a bunch later on and for ours and at least one other group, they ... Read More
Full disclosure, not really a cruise person. Booked this as a reasonable way to see cuba. HA didn't have sufficient 'approved' excursions. They added a bunch later on and for ours and at least one other group, they simply doubled existing capacity. Our 'Cuban Cusine in Old Havanna' turned into a 70 person chicken dinner in a banquet hall in new Havanna, a guided walk in old Havanna in the near dark, and a 70 person mojito demo (no mojito, rather rum bloody mary and rum collins) in a bar meant to hold maybe 20 people. Best part was a walk to a nearby plaza with cuban music and beer AFTER the excursion was over! If you want to do cuba (fly from Canada!), set up your own tours or simply walk around yourself. Don't believe any of the fear mongering about having to have an approved P2P tour (but fill out your multipage, confusing form to indicate you do). There's no US enforcement in cuba and the cruise line does no verification of your activities. The rest of this is standard review stuff in no particular order. I've taken 2 other cruises on 2 other lines. HA had the best buffet food, cabin was fine, service started great but deteriorated as the trip progressed (but perhaps this was a reflection of my own attitude). Constant push by the staff to spend a little more. Good gym, horrible dance music. Some problem with the gang plank kept us in the holding area for maybe an hour. If you want premium booze or wine, skip the drink package. Everything beyond well-class is priced just over the $9 limit. Good selection of beers to my taste (anchor, lagunitas, some other smaller crafty stuff) plus the normal swill but the beer's cheap enough to simply buy outright. If you wait-list on an excursion and room becomes available, you're automatically booked and charged. Our understanding was that you were contacted if you made it and given an opportunity to cancel. This took us by surprise and cost us $120 since we didn't want a repeat of the night before. Cayman is tendered and there's not much to do or see. Costa Maya is specific built for cruise ship so if you're looking for something authentic, forget it. Nice beaches and beach clubs tho'. You need to transport from the port to the old(er) town. Ridiculous shuttle into town (no taxis to be found, hmmm) was $3pp, taxi back was only $2pp. Cozumel was docked $8 from Cozumel town. Enjoyed the America's Cup excursion. Our cruise was pretty much over the night before. You need to pack you stuff and get your luggage outside your door. No ice or fruit service that night. The breakfast closed at 9 the next morning (latest debark was 10). Long lines at customs (in Ft. Lauderdale). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I choose this cruise because of the ports. I was on the Atlantic Adventure in 2011 and 2013 on the Maasdam. The Maasdam was much better. This cruise had no activities around the pool. No music,no BBQ S,boring. The cruise director was ... Read More
I choose this cruise because of the ports. I was on the Atlantic Adventure in 2011 and 2013 on the Maasdam. The Maasdam was much better. This cruise had no activities around the pool. No music,no BBQ S,boring. The cruise director was terrible. The shows were just ok. Nothing great. The singers and dancers only had a few shows do do in 49 days. They could have put on more shows then they did. They were also repeats. The pool water was freezing even though it was a heated pool. After repeated attempts at the front desk to turn the heater on I contacted head office in Seattle. Did it help? No. They sent me chocolate covered cherries and a bottle of wine. I just wanted a warm pool. Also we were charged for shuttles to take us out of the port to the town center. When we complained they told us it was the port that charged us, wrong. It shows up on our statement as excursion. We heard that this is the last cruise going to these ports. That is probably why they did not care if we liked it or not. Read Less
9 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 ... 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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This is the second time we have cruised this same route, and were sorely disappointed this time. The route is still wonderful, but the poor old Veendam is showing its age and needs to be send back to the shipyards for a retrofit. During ... Read More
This is the second time we have cruised this same route, and were sorely disappointed this time. The route is still wonderful, but the poor old Veendam is showing its age and needs to be send back to the shipyards for a retrofit. During our cruise, the ship was visibly and noisily being worked on, and one of our dining companions related that she was dressing in her balcony suite with the curtains open when a workman suddenly rappelled down to her balcony, greeting her with a cheery "hello!" We paid $$$$ for a top-of-the-line vista suite, and what we got was a one-star cabin with a cracked sink in the bathroom; visible rust around the door frame, chipped paint on the TV stand, and no - repeat - no electrical outlets on the side of the cabin with the bed. Our cabin steward jerry-rigged a setup with two extension cords so that we could plug in a c-pap machine by the bed. Note: Holland America knew we were bringing a c-pap machine, but never mentioned there would be no place by the bed to plug it in. We spent the week in our "luxury" suite stepping over extension cords duct-taped to the carpet. We selected "as you wish dining," only to find that this meant standing in a line of 20 people to wait for a table for up to 20 minutes. and then being seated at large tables for 6 or 8, not what we wished. When we inquired about making reservations, we were told that reservations were only available at 5:30 or 7:45. Our table companions joined us in being furious about this, and we heard many people complaining to the maitre d', about this practice, which of course was a decision of the cruise line, not the hapless maitre d'. The dining room appeared to be understaffed - one gala evening, we had to wait an hour between ordering and receiving our food. I had arranged for a special celebration of my husband's birthday in the dining room to surprise him. I checked with the waiter discreetly; he assured me all was arranged. After dinner, we waited. And waited. And waited as the waiters hummed busily around us. Finally, embarrassed, I gave up and we left the dining room. A half hour later - a half hour! - they noticed our absence and phoned the room to ask us what we wanted done with my husband's birthday cake. Outrageous! To his credit, the dining room manager personally delivered the cake with a complimentary bottle of champagne, but the problem should never have occurred in the first place. He alluded to "problems" with dining room staff, but this didn't negate the fact that my husband's birthday surprise had been spoiled. Our shower then decided to go haywire, intermittently shutting off the cold water in the middle of a shower or refusing to turn it on at all. Granted, an intermittent problem is the hardest one to solve, but It took four calls to the desk to get someone to take us seriously. Finally, a plumber came and solved the problem, replacing a part on the shower. After three days of being scalded and being afraid to use the shower. Then it was the safe's turn to act up. On arrival in Bar Harbor, it malfunctioned, locking all our valuables, including my watch, which I had carefully set the night before when they announced the time change, inside. Wanting to go ashore without taking the time to call re the safe, we set my cell phone to the ship's time and went ashore, and we walked around until time for our whale watching tour. Unfortunately, my cell phone re-set itself to an hour earlier, and we missed the tour. Had I been able to get my cell phone out of the safe before we went ashore, this wouldn't have happened. I visited the Shore Excursion desk to inquire if I might have a credit toward a future cruise because of the circumstances. After a curt letter to our cabin that completely mis-represented what I had requested, and my polite explanation of what I did want, inaccurate, Holland agreed to give us what they said were passes for a whale-watching tour that would be good for three years. We were told we could pick them up at our bus after we disembarked. What we were given were two tickets for the whale watching tour we had missed on July 7. No where on the tickets was any language saying that they were good beyond the July 7 date. In addition, one of the tickets had its stub torn off. And of course, there was no way to go back on board and complain that these were not what we had been promised. We are Mariner Club members of long-standing and Holland is our first choice in cruise lines. But after these foul ups, we are considering another line for our next cruise. Which is a shame, because we really like Holland and don't want to switch. But given the amount of money we spend on balcony suite accommodations, we expect better than one-star hotel cracked sinks, rusting door frames, duct-taped extension cords, and being scalded in the shower. 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

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