A pleasant surprise: Veendam Cruise Review by lovesfun

Veendam 5
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

A pleasant surprise

Sail Date: March 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa
We chose this cruise for the reasonable price, particularly for our college student travelers, as well as the sailing from Tampa, an easy drive for us. We were a little worried because we took the guarantee reservation, but were upgraded several levels and ended up with 4 cabins together. The HAL staff did a great job of getting our cabin assignments and ship cards straight, since we were traveling with 4 twenty year olds who could not book on their own. The cabins were spacious and in very good condition. I thought the whole ship was in great shape, not what I was expecting from some of the reviews and the upcoming drydock. We wanted late seating dining but could not get. We reserved the same table for 8:00p.m. every night and except for the people at the tables around us changing, we couldn't tell much difference. The service was great and the food was excellent. Actually, I thought the food was just as good, if not better, than Celebrity, usually our cruiseline of choice. More My only challenge related to the food was that there were no trays in the cafeteria and sometimes it was a challenge to juggle food and drink and get to a table. The entertainment was a mixed bag and has been addressed by another reviewer, so I won't go to much detail, but the opening "show" was not a great way to kick it off. Except for one bad experience in the bar at happy hour (my husband waited for a drink for an hour and even repeatedly asked the server for it!), the service was good and the crew very pleasant. We really enjoyed being able to the find deck chairs around the pools all of the time. The retractable roof on the pool area really came in handy on the windy days. Most of the passengers were older, but seemed to be fun loving and the ship had an energy to it. Daytime activities were slightly more limited than we were used to. I really enjoyed the fact that the ship was a manageable size. Everything seemed convenient. All in our group enjoyed, even the younger set. Less

Published 03/30/09

Cabin review:

Port and Shore Excursions

For the second time in 2 years, we booked a cave-tubing, zipline tour with Nacho and Cynthia, a local couple who provide an excellent experience. I learned of NCQAdventures from Cruise Critic. I found them on Google and communicated via email beforehand. He picked us up at the pier terminal and gave us an interesting ride to the Jaguar Paw resort. The zipline is really fun and Ronnie and the others staffing are very patient and competent. We then floated through 2 caves with a guide and ended with a wonderful lunch in the resort, which is a true jungle retreat. Afterward, we got a personal tour around the grounds. I've done this exact same tour twice and highly recommend Nacho and Cynthia and this tour!

We were anxious to see Costa Maya rebuilt and it looks very similar to it's previous form. We did a catamaran, snorkel tour on the Mayan Wind, booked as a ship's excursion. We had actually taken this same boat from another ship 4-5 years ago and it was the same crew. The crew and the equipment were excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed it again.
Read 1767 Costa Maya Reviews

We found our favorite Cuban restaurant for lunch - El Sibone, and just did some shopping. We've visited Key West several times and always enjoy it.
Read 1393 Key West Reviews

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Member Since 2009
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