Great Trip!: Veendam Cruise Review by cleanhands13

Veendam 5
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

Great Trip!

Sail Date: February 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
Our trip was great. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Tampa Airport. That was a great place to stay the night before. It was clean and they have a free happy hour and breakfast buffet (with made to order egg dishes). Shuttle to the cruise port was $10 a person.

Embarkation was okay. There was some trouble with the water on board, so we boarded late and left late. This ship is getting ready to go to drydock and this was the cause of the water issues.

Our room was fine (read below).

The food was good. It wasn't as good as Princess, but good. The buffet during the day has very limited hours and a limited selection. I didn't like the pizza or the taco bar (this was open the longest). The salad bar was always lovely. The deserts were lacking in flavor, but the ice cream was fantastic! We ate dinner in the dining room every night and had the As You Wish Dining. It was never a problem to make a reservation or just walk right up (we did both).

The nightly More entertainment wasn't as good as other cruise lines, but it was geared towards an older audience. We were the minority for sure. There were probably 100 people in their 30s, 50 children and the rest were 55+. We never went to the casino. The pool was clean and nice. We used the hot tubs nightly and there was rarely anyone else there.

We went to happy hours a few times. The drinks are half-priced, but so are the sizes of the drinks. Daily trivia was fun and we teamed with a couple who were HAL regulars, so we won every time.

Mama Lou was on this ship. She is a HAL icon and lives on these ships. We were told she's been living on HAL ships for about 10 years. She was great to see around the ship because it really highlighted the personal touches of the ship and crew.

The crew was friendly and awesome. I would go again on this line because of the crew, smaller size of the boat and the very few children on board. I would choose other lines for their food and activities for people my age.

This port is actually Santo de Tomas Castilla (this wasn't offered in the drop down menu). We did the "Go with Gus" tour. We got off the ship at 6:15am to make sure we had a spot. There was a lot of confusion about which tour we were going on. Everyone thought they were doing something different, getting back at different times, seeing different sites, eating, not eating, etc. We all ended up on the same tour with the fishing expedition as the exception. I'm not a fishing woman, but if you are expecting a large chartered boat then this wouldn't be for you. We got to see the 'fishing' boat. It was a very small boat that could hold about six people. We ended up on the humanitarian tour (which is what everyone else was on). It lasted all day. It was beautiful, but disorganized. It was $45 a person and $14 a person extra if you wanted to eat lunch at his hotel after. Five of us chose to not eat and he sent us back in a smaller boat than what the 25 of us were on all day. It was fine with me because as much as he said it was safe to eat and drink, I didn't want to be sick the rest of my trip. I would do this again and recommend it to others. There was a lot of crawling in and out of the boat, so this might not be a good excursion for anyone who has mobility issues. I'm in my early 30s. There were a few older people with us and the crew helped them a great deal. Less

Published 03/12/09

Cabin review: J606 Large Interior Stateroom

We were in room 606. It was an inside cabin larger than other staterooms on other cruise lines. The room seemed to have some air conditionin issues. Our thermostat was always set to the coldest setting and sometimes it was comfortable, sometimes a little chilly and sometimes hot (never too hot, but hotter than I would like). The room was always clean. Our cabin steward (Komarurin) was excellent. He knew our names by the first day and greeted us all day long. We asked for a large wine bucket and he kept our wine chilled every day. It was an okay location. It was in the middle of the boat and about the longest walk to any of the elevators or stairs.

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Port and Shore Excursions

At this port we did the snorkeling tour. This was the 3 1/2 hour tour with the free rum punch. We took our own snorkel gear (because we don't like using rented equipment). This is a tendered port, so we were picked up from the ship. Getting on the boat was easy. Snorkeling was okay. I've been to the Great Barrier Reef, so everything else doesn't compare. It also seemed as though it didn't last too long. Then we were taken to a private island. You can't drink the free rum on the island, so we stayed on the boat for a little bit (we're only there for one hour). We got off the boat to get Belize currency (my dad collects money from around the world). There was a volleyball game going. Kayaks are extra (even though it says free). Good trip, not sure if it's worth $80.

This was the worst of the ports. There wasn't much there. The tours offered on board didn't sound interesting. There is a pool in the little shopping area that is free to use, but we have a pool on the ship. We looked around and the stores are filled with the same junk as all the other ports. We spend the day on the ship by the pool.

Read 1762 Costa Maya Reviews

Key West is one of my favorite places to spend the day in port. It's always welcoming. This time we walked to the southern most point, had a drink on the on dock and then enjoyed all the food and drinks of Key West. We went to this little shop with homemade Key Lime Pie covered in chocolate on a stick (awesome!). Then we went to the Conch Republic Restaurant and had conch fritters and drinks. It's on the water and beautiful. We also stopped at several other bars to enjoy the weather and atmosphere. I don't like shopping to buy trinkets and souvenirs, so we skipped all that.

Read 1379 Key West Reviews

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