Veendam Cruise Review by Parker1
- Sail Date: May 2015
- Destination: Bermuda
Embarkation was a disaster, although it was more a problem with the Black Falcon Terminal than with HAL. We had requested wheelchair assistance, but none were to be found. A HAL agent got us to the front of the check-in line and did everything she could, but DH still had to wait in a rather long line to board and walk halfway onto the ship before we spotted, and grabbed a wheelchair leaving the ship. Luckily DH can stand and walk, but with constant pain. We've had worse problems in airports. We're new to the disabled group and next time we'll have the scooter delivered to our hotel and avoid this issue. Live and learn!
The ship was beautiful and I was amazed at all the comfortable places to sit throughout the ship. Nothing was crowded although I can see why all the reserved deck chairs on the wrap around deck could be annoying. We didn't mind someone else using ours when we weren't and it wasn't an issue.... until we got to Bermuda.
This was only our 3rd cruise, but we understand the constant maintenance that is needed to keep the ship in good condition. But for the two full days we were docked in Bermuda, the Lower Prom deck was closed off outside our cabin as they scrapped one day and painted the next. The first day,we had booked a a 5-hour accessible van tour so it wasn't a problem. The driver knew just where to go to optimize seeing the island for the disabled and, although island history wasn't her strong suit, we were able to see St. Georges, get to some beaches the lighthouse and easily see the sights. Expensive, but money well spent. We didn't find any of the HAL excursions workable for DH.
The second day the maintenance wouldn't have been an issue for me, I could easily go somewhere else. For DH the door to the hall was too much to handle without my help and he planned to use the automatic door from our cabin out to the deck and enjoy the lanai while I walked to BUEI and took the ferry to the dockyard. Instead he came with me to the dockyard and work was still going on when we got back in late afternoon. Monica, the front desk manager was great and we did get a credit to our ship board account for the inconvenience, but we would have preferred to have access to the lanai we had paid for. If HAL had worked on a smaller area, I think it could have been done in one day.
The MDR was a disappointment. We had anytime dining and had no problem being seated, but service was slow between courses and the food, while acceptable, was just that. Nothing special. The Pinnacle Grill was fantastic and the Cannellato, while better than the MDR, was disappointing. We were surprised at how good the Lido was and ate there more than we would have liked. I got DH's food, then went back for mine. We did see Lido staff helping other passengers but we never asked for their assistance. Again, the staff was fantastic. Room service was always right on time and food was served hot. The hot dogs and hamburgers at Dive were good.
We didn't do any HAL excursions as they all required too much walking for DH. Instead we booked a 5-hour private island tour in a wheelchair accessible van. No need to take the scooter apart and put it in the trunk!
We found our cabin so comfortable that at night we enjoyed the DVD player and the movies available for guests. The lanai and DVD player were our evening's entertainment for the most part. We did go to the Showroom at Sea the first night for the intro to the entertainers on board. Seas were rough on the way to Bermuda which affected DH. That night, I spent a little time enjoying the entertainment in the Ocean Lounge and Mix.
We took a cooking class on our last full sea day and there was a counter height chair made available for DH so he could enjoy and class and sit when he needed to. It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed the included lunch, with wine, in the Pinnacle Grill. I love to cook and, at 68, learned how to make a chocolate souffle! We both enjoyed the computer classes. I participated on the "On Deck for a Cause" 5K walk to support cancer research.
Disembarkation in Boston was much better. HAL seemed to have all those needing assistance assembled in the Ocean Lounge. All the ship wheelchairs were ready and waiting. Some passengers took the chairs before their disembarkation number was called, but HAL crew were on top of it and asked them to allow others to use the chairs, assuring them that the chair would be available for them when their group was called.
We made the mistake of taking the ship's transfer at the end of the cruise. The motorcoach was too tall to fit under the overhang at the United terminal's departure area. The driver had to let us off at arrivals, where there was no signage for where the airlines were located. The driver was great and did all he could to help his disabled passengers (there was another couple needing a wheelchair). He got off the bus with us and asked an airline person to call for wheelchairs. Unfortunately, we ended up walking upstairs to departures to get a wheelchair, which meant a lot of painful walking for DH.
Overall it was a lovely cruise and we both enjoyed the Veendam.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BostonThis was the second time we've been to Boston without seeing anything. We flew in the day before but the logistics of handling our luggage (DH can't) and trying to sightsee made us decide that we'll plan a future vacation just to see Boston.View All 667 Boston Cruise Port Reviews
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HamiltonIt was great to be able to walk off the ship and be right in town. We arrived too soon for Harbor Night in Hamilton, but were surprised to find they closed off the parking lot in front of the ship and did a "mini" version, with craft booths and Gumbay dancers. Since we were on the Starboard side our lanai gave DH a front row seat. Sidewalks were narrow and DH opted to go no father into town than the ferry dock. I walked to Fort Hamilton and BUEI. Neither would have been accessible in a scooter.View All 200 Hamilton Cruise Port Reviews
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