2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My wife, her sister and husband and I spent 12 days on the Veendam stopping at 10 ports in route from Venice to Barcelona. This was our second cruise on the Veendam, and our 13th cruise across five different cruise lines. We had an ocean ... Read More
My wife, her sister and husband and I spent 12 days on the Veendam stopping at 10 ports in route from Venice to Barcelona. This was our second cruise on the Veendam, and our 13th cruise across five different cruise lines. We had an ocean view cabin on deck six. This deck had the walk around encircling the boat, and our cabin was the last cabin at the aft end with a door to the outside deck just around the corner. Great for walking and lunging right outside our cabin. Our window was exposed to the deck outside, however the reflective glass prevented anyone from looking in. Things we enjoyed: the Lido buffet now has about eight hand washing stations. Stick your hands in and about 15 seconds later they’re washed! Outstanding library. Great gym. Pastries and breads were always wonderful. The main dining room consistently had very tasty meals, especially the fish. Things that were a bit disappointing: ice tea and lemonade were no longer dispensed from machines. Instead they were served from pitchers, a little different but we got used to it. Seems that the fresh squeezed OJ machine is a thing of the past. OJ was inconsistent from overly sweet to diluted. No fridge in the cabin. The HA website states that the Veendam is one of three HA ships to have self serve laundry. But the washers/dryers were removed some time ago. So our plan to bring limited changes of clothing resulted in numerous hand washing in the sink. Ports: three lousy ports - Sarende, Toulon and Sete. Great ports were Venice, Dubrovnik, Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Entertainment: was so so. Wonderful pianist (Naomi Edemariam) and Irish flutist. Ok illusionist. No comedians! Very odd. Veendam singers and dancers were OK. Still a five star cruise it’s the positives far outweighing the negatives. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our second cruise on the Veendam. Our last one was two years ago, and the decor was looking old and worn out. I was pleasantly surprised when we boarded this time and everything was shiny and new. Holland America has really ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Veendam. Our last one was two years ago, and the decor was looking old and worn out. I was pleasantly surprised when we boarded this time and everything was shiny and new. Holland America has really stepped up their evening entertainment. Their in-house singers, dancers and band were fantastic. The music and choreography was beautiful, very professionally done, and at times breath-taking. The performers actually looked like they enjoyed what they were doing (unusual for cruise ship entertainers). One evening the show was a BBC Earth presentation with live music - also wonderful. Other favorite activities of ours were trivia and the piano bar. Majority Rules trivia-type game is one you don't want to miss - very funny. Barry from Boston in the piano bar is amazing. I also liked the flower arranging demonstration by the on-board flower guy. We loved the food in both the lido deck buffet and the dining room. Holland America never disappoints there. Our cabin was good, except the toilet had a nasty outhouse smell every time you flushed it. The only other thing I did not like on the cruise was the spa - they tried to pressure me to buy more and made me feel guilty that I only wanted one treatment. As for excursions, we never buy the cruise excursions. We always research and reserve our own ahead of time. We loved the S-Bikes downhill bike tour in Corfu, and the Montenegro Plus kayaking tour of the blue caves from Kotor. Overall, it was a great cruise, and it exceeded our expectations. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Had never been to this area before and wanted to see it. Lovely views, scenery was great. Dropped our car in Boston and flew to Montreal to catch ship. Boarding was straight forward and done in no time. We rented a car for the day and the ... Read More
Had never been to this area before and wanted to see it. Lovely views, scenery was great. Dropped our car in Boston and flew to Montreal to catch ship. Boarding was straight forward and done in no time. We rented a car for the day and the process was easy. Pickup at airport, returned downtown; Enterprise took us to cruise port. Ship was smallest that we have ever sailed on. We liked it. Room 1844 was nice size with plenty of storage. Perfect location for getting on and off ship at ports. Food was good at all restaraunts, but selection did not appeal to all of us. Entire staff that we dealt with were friendly and helpful. We love HAL and were not dissapointed at all on this cruise. Entertainment was just a tad off, we blame content not cast. Disembarking was the easiest ever experienced. Right off and out. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and were not disappointed in any way. The refurbished ship is beautiful, clean, and everything looks brand new. The staff were all friendly and helpful, and the food in the MDR was very good. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and were not disappointed in any way. The refurbished ship is beautiful, clean, and everything looks brand new. The staff were all friendly and helpful, and the food in the MDR was very good. We ate in the Pinnacle once; it was OK but we enjoyed the MDR more. Entertainment was good if not excellent; there were some but not many activities during the day, but most everyone was off the ship anyway, as we only had one day at sea, and on that day there were many activities at all times. Embarkation was easy, as was disembarkation at the end of the trip. The Veendam is a small ship, so the staff/guest ration is much better than on the larger ships. It is comfortable, and we much prefer the smaller ships for this reason. Sailing up the Adriatic into Venice was an amazing and beautiful ending to our voyage. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this trip because of the itinerary. There was only one sea day and the port days were long so you didn’t feel rushed. It wasn’t a “relaxing” tour because we wanted to see everything, and we did. We figured we walked over ... Read More
We chose this trip because of the itinerary. There was only one sea day and the port days were long so you didn’t feel rushed. It wasn’t a “relaxing” tour because we wanted to see everything, and we did. We figured we walked over 100 miles all total, and many of our shipmates did more. Just lots to see! Embarkation was a little confusing if you were on your own getting to the port, but not bad at all. It was very quick. Of course, it was raining so the picture was taken looking like drowned rat! Disembarkation was a breeze. The Veendam is an older, small ship so the entertainment is lacking. We aren’t big at doing the shows and stuff, but if you are keep that in mind. We love trivia and it was there. The pool was never crowded. We didn’t eat in MDR, we did the Lido and the food was very good. The service was a little lacking everywhere, they seemed to need more servers everywhere. The people we encountered were all wonderful. Guest services was always helpful. The cruise director and the EXC director were great. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches ... Read More
We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches on embarkation and disembarkation. The lectures were informative and pleasing; the Kitchen at Sea was great as was the entertainment. We were the first passengers to enjoy the new carpets and the new chairs and the number of renovations on this ship! There will always be a place for these smaller ships in the industry. (1200 Passengers, but about 1000 on our crossing) the captain was all around the ship, available for questions, and very informative about the nuts and bolts of the ship and the navigaion. He was from Scotland and had the sense of humor, understated, and excellent rapport with his staff and of course the passengers! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Love Holland America and wanted to experience an 11 day cruise with lots of stops. Embarkation went very well. Disembarkation could have been less crowded. Only three custom officers on duty. Love the Lanai Ocean view room. Walked ... Read More
Love Holland America and wanted to experience an 11 day cruise with lots of stops. Embarkation went very well. Disembarkation could have been less crowded. Only three custom officers on duty. Love the Lanai Ocean view room. Walked everyday around the ship and it was enjoyable. Sat in our reserved chairs, for relaxation time, that are provided for us just outside our sliding glass door. Dinning was very good. We did open seating and requested our favorite wait staff's table which was open to us several evenings. Food was well prepared and tasty, The service excellent and everyone was concerned with meeting our dinner expectations. Entertainment was very good with the energetic piano man Martin Kaye. The piano bar was hoping each night with Don at the keys. Veendam dancers were satisfactory. The service on Holland America was exceptional. We had positive interactions with Customer Service and Shore Excursions. The ship was going into dry dock after this cruise so the maintenance staff was very busy replacing carpeting and general up keep of the ship. The Captain's message each night regarding the sea and the next day's port was very informative. Seven ports in 11 days was nice. Did some excursions and sometimes just walked around the port stores. Did one private tour in Roatan named AJ's Monkeys and Sloth. Very fun. I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I found this trip as a special in January and booked it true HAL, I'm so glad I did it was amazing. From the captain down the crew was outstanding, one of my best cruises yet. Fun facts of the day were my highlights, captain and ... Read More
I found this trip as a special in January and booked it true HAL, I'm so glad I did it was amazing. From the captain down the crew was outstanding, one of my best cruises yet. Fun facts of the day were my highlights, captain and staff captain very friendly and eat meals in the Lido. From the cabin stewards to the dinning room stewards it was excellent, off course on a long cruise you get to know the crew. Only the ports of call in Brazil I did not feel safe. The ship shows it age a bit with no HD tv or other fancy things but then I don't spend much time in the cabin. My reason to use Holland America is that I like the mature crowd and love the small ship feel. The next cruise is on another HAL ship the new Statendam. Look forward to a new ship even she is a lot bigger. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoyed this cruise. We missed Roatan due to high winds. We ate in the Pinnacle one time on opening night when they offered a 25% discount. They combined it with our 15% discount we get for being 3 start mariners. Pinnacle on ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise. We missed Roatan due to high winds. We ate in the Pinnacle one time on opening night when they offered a 25% discount. They combined it with our 15% discount we get for being 3 start mariners. Pinnacle on this ship has windows so you can have ocean-side dining. The restaurant was also good. My only comment would be that we have gone from formal night to gala night to come as you are. Old t-shirts and flip flops should not be part of gala night. Room service breakfast was excellent, always on time. Holland offered water color classes but they cancelled them as the person was transferred to Rotterdam. My understanding is that she will offer them there and if they concept takes off, it will go to other ships. I am told that the Ocean Trio is going away from this ship come mid-year. Adagio was also quite good. Stewards did a great keeping our cabin up, they are assigned around 30 to keep up with. Gym opened at 6 AM every day and they kept the music down, much appreciated. Captain was excellent and dealt with a couple of weather systems very professionally. Cuba Form - If you say you are going ashore Holland gives you a Cuban visa (tourist card) when you get on to fill out. It costs $75. Don't lose it or you will be charged $75 to replace it. Cienfuegos - I found the information provided in the Cuba orientations and lectures on board to be very biased. The usual phrases such as "100% literacy" without telling you that Cubans do not have free access to information or "free health care" without telling you that they don't even have Advil. Very disappointing. Sailing In - The approach is interesting, try to be out on deck to catch it. This is a tender port for Holland. It is a 15 minute ride in, two Holland tenders and one Cuban boat. Brochure time for the visit is 8 AM to 5 PM. We got there at 8 AM. People were able to go ashore without a tour. Holland typically was giving tender tickets when we cleared. For this port they did not give out tickets until 9 AM (this did not apply to the 4 and 5 star mariners.) The last tender for independent travelers was at 3:30 PM. I thought I could take a shorter tour and then have time to wander around. The ship's shorter tours left later in the morning (around 10 AM.) Irrespective of the ship tour, most did not have time to wander around outside of the tour. They might have some time to shop in Jose Marti Square in Cienfuegos at the end of the tour, but that was it. Our tour (Santa Clara) returned straight to the dock at which point where we were strongly urged to return to the ship. In my view there are a number of constraints that limit one's time here. The Cuban government says the ship can only clear the narrow part of the channel in day light. In mid-December that about 5:30 PM. The ship can't afford to be running late. The dock is a choke point as everyone has to go through Cuban immigration and customs coming and going. The officials were friendly and efficient, money-changing was quick, too, but they can only handle so many people at a time. They did not take our picture. Money - Change some and get some change. This is one of those places in which some of the rest rooms have an attendant you need to tip. Also some small bills for tipping guide and driver. Shopping - I am not much of one, but some folks were quite pleased with some of the hand crafted items they bought. Leather purses, wood domino sets, etc. But I also saw a lot of folks changing money back at the end of the day. Tours - The Cubans had new buses. Good ride, a/c, had bathroom inside. The guide spoke good English. The driver was good and careful. Roads are ok, not much traffic. Santa Clara Tour - The order may be reversed and if time is limited one won't do everything on the tour. Between the ride in and out of Cienfuegos, we saw the main square and the Passo del Prado. We did not drive through Punta Gorda. We stopped in the main square of Santa Clara and walked about a block to a new restroom facility they have built. They on about another block to "Grandparents Party." A senior center with folks who danced and shared their stories. They also had crafts for sale. I chose to go out on the street and look around. Next to the Armored Train, an event from the Cuban Revolution. More time to take in the street scene. Then a buffet-lunch at a hotel outside town. Not bad, like the Lido honestly. The last stop was Che Guevara's mausoleum. It wasn't listed, but it was worth seeing. The tour listed seeing a monument to John Paul II, but we didn't see that. Then back to the ship. Santa Clara is about an hour a way. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was our first Holland America cruise. It was an 11-night Caribbean cruise departing on November 19th with stops at Cozumel, Belize City, Mahogany Bay, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos, and Havana that we booked primarily for the Cuban ports. ... Read More
This was our first Holland America cruise. It was an 11-night Caribbean cruise departing on November 19th with stops at Cozumel, Belize City, Mahogany Bay, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos, and Havana that we booked primarily for the Cuban ports. This was our 26th cruise – most of our previous cruises have been on Carnival & Princess. We arrived the evening before the cruise and rode in what is probably the dirtiest cab in Fort Lauderdale to our Hotel – The Marriott Renaissance which is directly across the street from the entrance to the cruise terminal. This is a full service hotel and arriving late in the evening were thankful it offered room service which was very good. The next morning I took a walk to the bridge East of the hotel which offered a view of the cruise ships and saw the new Celebrity Edge arriving in port. If we return to Fort Lauderdale we will stay at this hotel again. I believe HAL books many cruisers into this hotel. Our check-in time was 1pm but we spoke with the shuttle driver and he recommended we go earlier because he said the HAL terminal wasn’t crowded. The shuttle charges $6 per person for a ride from the Hotel to the Terminal. We also arranged for the shuttle (Quick & Safe I believe) to pick us up post-cruise at the terminal and take us to the airport. The charge was $10 per person. We arrived at the terminal about 12:15pm and the embarkation process went quickly - the HAL employees were pleasant and personable – we were on the ship in maybe 30 minutes. All 3 pieces of our luggage arrived shortly after boarding. We were very pleased with our cabin – it was a Vista Suite located around the corner from the AFT elevators on the verandah deck (Deck 9). It was very quiet, everything worked, the balcony had lots of room, and our cabin stewards (Gus & Teddi) were great. This cabin was conveniently located to nearly everything – our dining room on the 8th floor was one stair flight below and the Lido was two stair flights above. We used the stairs extensively except for when we returned from tours. As noted in other reviews, one of the four elevators was inoperative the entire cruise. The metal finish on the balcony exterior could have used some refinishing. The food and service in the main dining room, Lido, and room service was very good. The Lido staff are clearly overworked/understaffed and work very hard to clean tables, do set-ups, and provide drinks. We were always able to find a table – like other cruisers – sometimes we resorted to self-service for beverages. I believe the ice cream person is one of the busiest persons on the ship. The Lido closes for breakfast at 10am, lunch at 2pm, and dinner at 8pm. The burger place takes your order and then gives you a buzzer to alert you when your order is ready – very efficient. At Cozumel, we booked the tour to Chichen-Itza which lasted nearly nine hours. We spent an hour and twenty minutes at the actual site. The rest of the time consisted of ferry rides to and from Carmen De Playa and then a long bus ride to and from Chichen-Itza. The site itself is magnificent and it would have been great to have more time there but we have been trying to schedule this tour for 15 years and for one reason or another it was always cancelled – so we were thankful to finally make it there. Our tour guide was Jorge and he was very good. There was a very long line to enter the site so one of the benefits to a HAL tour is bypassing lines. At Belize City, we booked the tour to the Lamanai ruins with riverboat ride. This is one of our all-time favorite tours . . . Bernie, the tour guide was wonderful and kept everyone informed and taken care of. The ruins are in the jungle and require a walk of one and one-half to two miles but there are three large temples to see. Following the tour of the ruins, we were served a good lunch at the Ecco-Park on the river. A shipboard talk about the Chichen-Itza and Lamanai sites prior to the tours would have been helpful. We took no tours at Mahogany Bay or Grand Cayman. We booked the Santa Clara & Los Abuelos De Fiesta tour at Cienfuegos. This was an all day tour that featured an hour and one-half drive from Cienfuegos to Santa Clara which gave us a glimpse of rural Cuba and many small villages. When we arrived at Santa Clara we learned the museums we were scheduled to visit were closed on Monday. HAL refunded everyone 30% of the tour price. This was a good tour with an excellent lunch. We booked the Best of Havana tour. We met in the theater at 8am and sat there until 10am before leaving because only five buses at a time were allowed to come into the terminal. So this made an eight hour tour a ten hour tour. Our favorites were the fort overlooking Havana, El Malecon, the Revolution Plaza, and the four Plazas. If I were to do this over, I would hire one of the classic car taxi-cabs to show me Havana seeing the same things in less time. As it was, we enjoyed the tour and were served an excellent lunch. All these tours were long/all-day tours and it was very hot (except for Havana) so we used the sea days to rest and recuperate. I would recommend anyone taking this cruise rise early for the entrance into Havana – the only harbor entrance/departure more scenic that I can think of is Venice. Rather than leaving at 2am, we overnighted in Havana – leaving at 830am Thursday morning so we were able to view it once again. Arriving, the best view is from the starboard side. When converting your currency into CUC’s (Cuban Pesos for Tourists) remember to ask for “mas pequenos, por favor” because you will need smaller denominations and 1 CUC coins for tips – everyone wants a tip – even the dogs. We did not attend any of the shows in the theater - they were scheduled for 8pm while we were at dinner and if they had two shows the second show would be at 10pm which was our bedtime. We did enjoy the musical entertainment in the bars and Crow's nest which we attended every night before dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and purchased future cruise certificates while on board. It was nearly perfect. I have read many reviews critical of the ship’s appearance and condition but I thought the interior of the ship looked great – and the promenade deck which I walked on about two hours every day, the teak looked great. Our next cruise is a 10 Day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Grand Princess from San Francisco next October. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We have had Cuba on our wish list for some time and were looking to get away after my recent surgery. It was great to get away and have time to relax. The Veendam is an older ship and smaller than we are used to. We have sailed with many ... Read More
We have had Cuba on our wish list for some time and were looking to get away after my recent surgery. It was great to get away and have time to relax. The Veendam is an older ship and smaller than we are used to. We have sailed with many different cruise lines over the last twenty years and have never experienced a more friendly and helpful crew throughout the ship. Yes there are signs of wear and we had elevator problems, but the crew more than made up for that. Even the captain was very friendly and accessible. He set the tone for his ship. We were fortunate to have happened on a wonderful wait staff on anytime dining and we booked them for every night of our 11 day cruise. Kiki and Andrew made our dinners fun and something we looked forward to each evening. Even the people at the check in counter remembered our names and welcomed us every night. Even though there were fewer evening shows than on the big ships the evening shows were very good. This was our first cruise with Holland America, but it will not be our last. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because of the Cuba visits. We traveled with another couple. Our cabins were next to each other. From the beginning it was a great experience. The ship is smaller. Floor six was great for walking each day. 4Xs ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Cuba visits. We traveled with another couple. Our cabins were next to each other. From the beginning it was a great experience. The ship is smaller. Floor six was great for walking each day. 4Xs around was a mile. Nothing seemed rushed or crowded anywhere. The cabin, the buffet breakfasts, the dining room experience were all top notch. The entertainment was superb! The best we've experienced in 25 years of cruising. We enjoyed our visits at each stop. We didn't book any excursions from the cruise line. We selected a tour guide upon disembarkation at Belize. He was great and made our trip so memorable. In Cienfuegos we walked to the square. It was Sunday and all activity was there. We visited with people who took larger tours from the cruise line and they felt herded and had impersonal experiences. We booked a tour online for Havana. Havana Journeys was the company. We provided a credit card number about a month before we left the US. It included a guide, a 57 Chevy with air conditioning and about a 6 hour tour. Most importantly it provided us with a fabulous guide, Ada, whose English was perfect. She met us just a short walk to the Square from the ship. This tour qualified for the "People to People" experience required in Cuba. All in all the Veendam was a great experience for the four of us. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because it went to Cuba, and because, after visiting Cuba, we wanted to immerse ourselves in a selection of beaches. We stayed one night pre-cruise at the Rodeway Inn Airport/Cruise Port. A free shuttle picked us ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to Cuba, and because, after visiting Cuba, we wanted to immerse ourselves in a selection of beaches. We stayed one night pre-cruise at the Rodeway Inn Airport/Cruise Port. A free shuttle picked us up from the airport. The next morning the hotel provided a low-cost shuttle to the cruise port. I think we paid $2 each (maybe $3) for the 9 a.m. shuttle. There is a sports bar attached to the hotel where we ate dinner. It was good. A gift shop on the premises sells beach stuff, souvenirs and wine. They have a garden area and a pool. The room was clean and comfortable. I cruised with my husband. This was our 16th cruise, 14th with Holland America. We just made 4-Star Mariner status on our last cruise, mostly sailing in the Caribbean. My first impression of the Veendam was its cleanliness. I was impressed. The artwork is interesting, especially after I took a ship's tour of some of the art during one of the sea days and learned more about it. The elevators were not working so well. That's the only thing I noticed that was sub-par. Of the eight elevators (4 aft, 4 bow), six were working. The rest were very slow. I did a lot of walking up and down the staircases. Luckily Veendam is a small ship. Embarkation was smooth. Since we were new 4-Star's on this cruise, it was our first experience of being in the first group to board, definitely a plus! Disembarkation was equally smooth. As 4-Star's, we were given the option of getting off the ship whenever we wanted - up until 9:30 a.m. when everyone had to leave. When you get off that late, it's easy to find your bags. There aren't that many left to claim. We had open seating and ate in the dining room every night except one, when we were too tired and hungry to wait and went to the Lido. Everyone looks forward to Surf & Turf and Crab Legs on special dining room nights, but the best meal I had was beef stroganoff. Try it! Entertainment was mediocre. The Veendam singers and dancers are talented, I just don't enjoy those shows as much as the guest entertainers. There were only three guest entertainers. One I really liked, Tony Pace. He's a Vegas performer and does singing and comedy. Another comedian I don't remember very well and the third was a harp player. She was very talented, but I was bored. Just not my thing. Service was excellent everywhere on board, except for one bartender. Maybe he was having a bad couple of weeks. We came on this cruise for the Cuba ports. Before we left on the cruise, we were informed that any excursions had to be booked through Holland America because we had booked the cruise after June 2017. On board, we discovered that we could have also booked through third party excursion companies as long as they offered the People-To-People experience. However, some of our fellow cruisers did not book any excursions, they just went off on their own. And they seemed to have more People-To-People interactions than we did on our 8-hour (mostly) walking tour. Be aware, when you visit Cuba, that public restrooms are few and far between. And you are expected to tip the attendant. Bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. We walked around various town squares, saw lots of statues, went to a fort, and - the highlight - ate at an interesting restaurant, La Bodeguita Del Medio. The food was very good. Also went to a cultural center and saw a group of rappers (music). They were so entertaining, and they were all women aged in their 80s and 90s. I don't know what they were rapping, but they were certainly enjoying giving us a show. You will not be disappointed in seeing Cuba. The people were all very nice, they smile a lot, if you tell street performers and vendors "Gracious, no" they will leave you alone. The literacy rate in all of Cuba is 98%. They are intelligent people and talented. Every school child gets education in singing, dancing and music in addition to academics. And yes, there are a lot of classic American cars in use. Everywhere. The stop in Cienfuegos was a shorter day, and the excursions were only about 4-5 hours long. If you want to book a ship's excursion in Cienfuegos, book early before you leave home. HAL didn't have enough excursions for everyone on the ship to take one. We saw a lot on the island, and I am so glad I got to visit Cuba. We were in stateroom 648 on Main Deck, one deck below the walk-around deck. It is just off the aft elevators/staircase. It was very quiet except for every morning around 5 a.m. that I was awake, I could hear deck hands rinsing off the walk-around deck. If I wasn't awake, the sound didn't wake me, but if you're a light sleeper just be aware of that. Service was excellent throughout the ship. We loved Becca, the cruise director, and were really impressed with Captain Steve MacBeath. He's only 36 but has 20 years experience on the sea. The other ports: Georgetown, Grand Cayman: we walked to and from Seven-Mile Beach. Love the beach, but the walk seemed longer than last time we walked there. I guess we're older. Water was great! Ocho Rios, Jamaica: We took an excursion to Bamboo Beach Club. The water was more choppy here than at Grand Cayman with more shells and coral along the shore. Made it harder to enter and exit the water. Unlimited drinks and lots of appetizers were served. Grand Turk: went to the beach right next to the dock. Beautiful water, low waves, perfect! Amber Cove, Dominican Republic: A manufactured town with lots of amenities including free wi-fi. We took an excursion to Coconut Cove Beach. To get there its a 45-minute open-air bumpy ride on dusty dirt roads. But the beach is nice. Waves are strong, water not as clear as Grand Turk. Unlimited rum drinks and beer, very good lunch. Half Moon Cay, Bahamas: sheer perfection. 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
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
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
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
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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Fantastic cruise the service on the ship was as usual on Holland America great. The people, weather "oh " and did I mention the beaches were just lovely. The water color was unbelievable. and the temperature so warm. We went ... Read More
Fantastic cruise the service on the ship was as usual on Holland America great. The people, weather "oh " and did I mention the beaches were just lovely. The water color was unbelievable. and the temperature so warm. We went swimming and brought some bread with us...... oh my, the fish swarmed around us trying to get the bread, we threw it farther away and they chased it then came swarming back. We had great fun. The ship was just the right size, we kept meeting people we had dined with, sang with, met with at the meet and greet and toured with. We had a balcony suite and used to our full advantage, we had breakfast there, read there, relaxed there I even painted a watercolor there. Over all we were very pleased with the entire cruise. We would highly recommend this Veendam cruise, to Bermuda, to our family and friends Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Did not want to go to the Caribbean or overseas and I wanted to sightsee with my daughter. This was perfect. We flew in to Montreal on Friday so we had a little time to sightsee on Sat. We stayed in Old Montreal right on the edge of ... Read More
Did not want to go to the Caribbean or overseas and I wanted to sightsee with my daughter. This was perfect. We flew in to Montreal on Friday so we had a little time to sightsee on Sat. We stayed in Old Montreal right on the edge of Chinatown within walking distance to the Basilica. You could actually walk to the cruise ship port EXCEPT there is a huge hill going down to the port. Embarkation was so easy then once we checked out the room we went for lunch to the Lido. We would have breakfast in the Lido - loved all choices and service, food very good. A few mornings we had room service which always arrived on time, piping hot, and our orders were correct. One morning we had bkfst in the main DR which was nice just more formal of course. Lunch we were always off the ship except the day in Sydney. It was cold and rainy and not much to do in port. Take an excursion. The one day at Sea we did the Americas Test Kitchen Cooking show which was good. Then Bingo. That was fun. We did the As you Wish seating at Dinner which we really liked- always meeting new and interesting people. I did the Tea once when we were at sea. Very good. The DR food was very good, some courses better than others. The rack of lamb was delicious I wish I had ordered 2. We rarely waited for a table, the srevice wax great. Nightly entertainment was not always well attended - these cruisers went to bed early! We really liked the Oceans Trio best- Harvey can really play the piano and he jokes along so it is a very entertaining show. The shows at night were pretty good I think we saw 3. Pool area is nice and well managed with the Dive in (great hamburgers, hotdogs, and a taco bar). All of the bartenders and staff were great & very courteous. We liked going uo to the Crows Nest when the ship was leaving port. There are sailaway drink specials which is nice . Drinks were good, one time we caught Trivia with the cruise ship director which we enjoyed. We are considering a cruise in Feb on the Nieu Amsterdam, I have read they changed the Crows Nest on that ship to a different venue which I am sorry to hear. We did eat in the Canelleto one night. The food was ok, saw a beautiful sunset cruising on the river. Also we ate in the Pinnacle Grill the night that it was Rudys Sel de Mer. That was a delicious meal with superb service. Quite a bit of food. The bouillibaise was superb. As you can tell I really enjoyed this trip. No, I have not been on many cruises but this was pretty perfect in my book. The husbands were sorry they didnt go. Debarkation was a little confusing. We did the HAL bus ride to the airport. They get the luugage on then realize that the people getting off 1st that their luggage should be on top. Anyway it all worked out. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose the Veendam cruise to Hamilton Bermuda because it had a 3 night stay in Hamilton. Many cruise lines traveling to Bermuda dock at the Naval Dock Yard, and have a shorter stay. Hamilton is an excellent place to dock, within reach ... Read More
We chose the Veendam cruise to Hamilton Bermuda because it had a 3 night stay in Hamilton. Many cruise lines traveling to Bermuda dock at the Naval Dock Yard, and have a shorter stay. Hamilton is an excellent place to dock, within reach of many attractions and beaches.We used the local bus service an economical way to get around the island. The Veendam is a beautiful ship, well maintained,clean and tidy.We had a window cabin,the cabin was a good size for 2 people, decor was good,bed comfortable , plenty of closet space,air conditioning worked well Room stewards were friendly and worked very efficiently. We used the main dining room for breakfasts and evening meals, food was good and well presented.We also used the Lido buffet , food and service was good . Evening entertainment in the main theater was good, the German Skinny Guy show was very good,the movies offered were also entertaining.The America's test kitchen was a good experience, with lots of useful tips and a cooking demonstration. We used the pool and hot tubs on the sea days, not many people were using them, as the sea was a little rough on those days. Overall an excellent relaxing cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
It’s been a while since we sailed on the Veendam and we didn’t know what to expect having read some of the negative reviews lately. People make it sound like an old rust bucket, and it isn’t. You get what you pay for, and we were ... Read More
It’s been a while since we sailed on the Veendam and we didn’t know what to expect having read some of the negative reviews lately. People make it sound like an old rust bucket, and it isn’t. You get what you pay for, and we were very pleased with our cabin, the ship overall, the staff and the food. Also the crew are very busy and take care of the ship when in port, weather permitting. The Veendam is a smaller, older ship so if you are looking for lots of fun activities with all the newest bells and whistles; this is not the ship for you. The majority of the passengers were seniors so things are pretty quiet and laid back. Embarkation was a breeze; the whole process took about 15 minutes. Our cabin was ready as soon as we arrived on board, so after dumping off our hand baggage we headed to the Lido Market for lunch. The selection was good and, yes, the staff does serve guests, but that wasn’t a problem. The majority of guests did not use the hand sanitizer that was available! Disembarkation was a bit chaotic as we arrived back in port late, and had to wait for the Homeland Security personnel to come on board. In the meantime people were assembling where they were told to assemble and it caused a bit of a back-up. Once off the ship our car was waiting to take us to the airport, however, for some unexplained reason we were held up a while. The driver said he was told he could not leave. Don’t bother bringing a travel iron with you; they cannot be used in the cabin or laundry room. There is an iron, with timer, available in the laundry room for ones use. Coin operated washing machines and dryers are available; the cost is $2 for washing and $1 for drying. Quarters are needed to operate the machines and if you don’t have any you can get change at guest services. A soap dispenser is attached to the washer and you have to use that. Our first night’s dinner was at the Pinnacle Grill; it was part off our package so the time and date were not an option. Food and service were excellent. The crab cakes are a must, the lobster bisque was a bit salty, the surf and turf was very good and the portion of halibut with the scampi was huge. If you want to try something decadent, order the soufflé for dessert! We had open seating dining, which worked out well for us. A couple of nights we had to wait about 30 minutes before we could get a table, but that wasn’t a problem. Some nights we ate on our own, others we shared, which was good as we met lots of interesting people. Most nights the menu had a good selection so there was always something to choose. There was a special menu for Mother’s Day and our departure from Bermuda had surf and turf on the menu. Staff were always busy, however, one night we found staff sorely lacking and we walked out without having coffee after dinner. It did seem that certain areas were lacking in staff; The Lido Market seemed to need a few more servers at the tables. We ate breakfast and lunch there. We didn’t go see any of the shows on this trip so can’t comment on them. The Casino is small and at the beginning of the cruise winning was OK, however, as the cruise progressed the chance of winning declined! The pool area was small and always crowded. On sea days the retractable roof was closed due to the weather, and it tended to be hot and humid because of this. There is an upper deck with two hot tubs and that was a nice area to relax in the sun, when weather permitted. We had issues setting up the Internet service, looked for help but found no Internet expertise on board. We had to go to the Guest Services desk for help and, even then, they didn’t really have the expertise to resolve the issue. We cancelled the plan. The staff overall were very friendly and helpful, however, they appear to be overworked some days. The captain was very informative and gave frequent updates on our sailing; lunch with the captain is always a nice touch on HAL ships. Our cabin steward, Sugi, was wonderful. Every night there was always a new towel critter in our cabin to great us after a long day. Shopping on board is limited; there is the usual jewellery, watches, liquor and clothing. On the last day at sea there is the $10 sale, but there isn’t much to buy. Some of the clothing items seemed overpriced. Apparently the MS Veendam is going in for a refit, so this year is the last year she will sail into Hamilton. Not sure if and when she will be back on the itinerary for Bermuda. Certainly going to miss the old girl. 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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