My husband and I took this cruise with his parents. His mother was in a wheelchair. Embarkation in Montreal was fast and simple. We were relatively late (2:30pm arrival with 3:00pm all aboard) and were the only people in line. There were 1,341 passengers on our cruise. The ms Veendam was clean and the crew were always friendly and accommodating. The ship was easy to navigate and offered many places to sit and relax. We particularly enjoyed sitting in the Crow's Nest on Deck 12 to converse as a family. I spent a few nights sitting in The Mix on Deck 8 on the comfortable seats and couches listening to the wonderful pianist. There were very few children and teens on our cruise (about 20-30). They were bored and often causing trouble on the Lido Deck 11. A majority of the passengers were retirees. The dining options were great, especially for those who love formal dining and relaxing during a long dinner. We ate at the Rotterdam Dining room once and it was very good, but not our style of dining. We did not participate in either of the Gala nights, but many of our cruise mates were dressed to the nines in beautiful clothes and jewelry on both formal evenings. We chose to eat at the Lido for casual breakfast, lunch and dinner most of the time. They often served some of the formal options as part of the casual menu. We also loved The Dive by the pool; the hot dogs, fries and hamburgers were excellent. The pizza station Slice was good at the beginning of the week, but towards the end we think they ran out of dough and started using a sub-par dough because it got worse as the week went on. Ice cream and desserts were almost always available in the Lido Market and never disappointed. The room service menu was decent, and both times we ordered they arrived right on time with hot food. Sodas and tea are not included on this cruise. A 12 ounce can of Coke was $2.59 each including mandatory 15% service charge, and the only place to get a cold can was at the Explorations Cafe on Deck 8. All other places served warm cans with a glass of ice. The snack time from 10:30pm-11:30pm in the Lido Market offered a good selection of entrees, cheeses, meats and desserts to satisfy late night cravings. We went back every night. It's not possible to go hungry on this cruise, even for picky eaters like me. Entertainment on the ms Veendam was somewhat limited. We saw the 8:00PM show every night in the Showroom at Sea. Most of them were pretty good. The very first show is a little bit of everything to help you learn more about the week to come, so it's a great orientation to entertainment on board. We experienced shows with a comedian ventriloquist, singers and dancers, a juggler, a comedic pianist, and a Cirque du Soleil-inspired stage production called Droom. The wide variety made the shows appeal to a wide range of people. I enjoyed all of them, but our parents could take them or leave them most nights. Other ship activities were somewhat generic, including the requisite Port Shopping Experiences, Art Auctions, Towel Animal Folding, Name That Tune, Team Trivia, Bingo, etc. Two unique things we saw were a Floral Arrangement demonstration, and a guest celebrity chef showed us how to cook and prepare lobster rolls. Overall I felt the entertainment was good for the size of the ship and the audience. The service on the ship was very good. Our statement attendant was always smiling and welcoming us back to our room, saying good morning and good evening. He kept our room sparkling every day, making the bed, turning it down with chocolates and a towel animal, cleaning the bathroom and toilet, refreshing towels, and evening leaving fresh ice and fresh fruit daily. The Rotterdam Dining Room staff were the least friendly and accommodating of all the crew we encountered. They couldn't find our table upon entering the first night. Once they did, we were seated but our waiter seemed rushed to take our order for our 7:45PM timed seating. He took my room card for a soda purchase at the beginning of the meal, and I had to track him down to get it back when we were finished. The cruise director, Christina, was fabulous. She was always friendly and helpful, cheerful with her greetings, and dressed beautifully. She did a great job explaining what was coming up for the evening and during the next day in port each night before the show. The staff at the Explorations Cafe, in the Lido Market, at The Dive, Slices and in the Crow's Nest were all very nice and attentive. The ports were all very different from one another. Many shore excursions were offered at each port. However, traveling with a wheelchair proved to be nearly impossible for Mom. She had a long wait for the elevators every time she wanted to go somewhere around the ship. Most of the ports she really couldn't leave the boat because there wasn't any way for them to get her down the ramp or onto the tender. Once in port on the excursions, most of the buses did not offer handicap accommodations. If you couldn't walk up the stairs and sit down, you were out of luck. I would not recommend this cruise for people with serious mobility problems. In Quebec City, there are multiple places the ship can dock along the port. The cruise before ours docked right by the Chateau Frantenac, but ours docked one mile further down port. That meant in order to get into the town of Quebec City we had to walk an extra mile each way. A shuttle bus was offered but we did not take it. Many shore excursions were offered but we chose to explore on our own. In Charlottetown on PEI, many excursions were offered. We took the Lighthouse and Wine Cellar tour, while most people chose one with the Anne of Green Gables house. Our tour took us to two lighthouses and a winery for five samples of local wines. It was three hours in total and I would recommend it if you want something different than Anne. In Sydney, a couple of excursions were offered but we chose to explore on our own. Sydney is easy to get around in, and quite small. There isn't much to the town at all. In Halifax, several options are available to choose from for excursions. We chose to go to Peggy's Cove which is a 60-minute drive each way by bus. It was very, very busy with about 10 tour buses all crammed into a tiny parking lot by the lighthouse. There were people everywhere and big lines for the cramped bathrooms. We only had 40 minutes to explore because the ship docked late and we had to get back for the next tour time. We were 15 minutes late leaving because one of our bus mates was missing, so they waited for him to show up. The whole bus was upset. Back at the port in Halifax, two of the tour buses came back late to the port and the ship had to wait about 30 minutes for them. If you were on a non-HAL booked excursion, the ship would not have waited, so in this case it really paid to book through HAL. In Bar Harbor, lots of excursions were available. We chose the Acadia National Park and Lobster Bake which was an exceptional tour. Prior to tendering to Bar Harbor, everyone on the ship was required to go through US Customs. Instructions were provided and the process was relatively painless. Once tendered ashore, the bus took us all to way up to the Cadillac Summit in Acadia and we had 25 minutes to walk around and take pictures. We were the only tour bus up there, so we had the summit to ourselves. There were only 16 people on our tour. Upon return to Bar Harbor, we were taken to Bar Harbor Club for a lobster bake. We each received a platter with a whole soft-shell lobster, new potatoes, corn on the cob, and four mussels. The staff offered to assist anyone who didn't want to tear apart the lobster. One gentleman kindly got all of my lobster meat out in about 20 seconds flat, while my husband floundered with his for a good five minutes. The meal was excellent, and it was topped off with a fabulous blueberry crumble for dessert. Disembarkation was a breeze. Luggage had to be tagged and out in the hallway by midnight the night before. We were allowed to stay in our state rooms until it was time to disembark. Once our number and color were called, we proceeded to Deck 6 and walked right off the ship. We quickly found our luggage in the Boston Seaport, and headed outside to the taxi stand.

Great laid back cruise for seniors and couples who love to dine

Veendam Cruise Review by sundevil99

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My husband and I took this cruise with his parents. His mother was in a wheelchair. Embarkation in Montreal was fast and simple. We were relatively late (2:30pm arrival with 3:00pm all aboard) and were the only people in line. There were 1,341 passengers on our cruise.

The ms Veendam was clean and the crew were always friendly and accommodating. The ship was easy to navigate and offered many places to sit and relax. We particularly enjoyed sitting in the Crow's Nest on Deck 12 to converse as a family. I spent a few nights sitting in The Mix on Deck 8 on the comfortable seats and couches listening to the wonderful pianist. There were very few children and teens on our cruise (about 20-30). They were bored and often causing trouble on the Lido Deck 11. A majority of the passengers were retirees.

The dining options were great, especially for those who love formal dining and relaxing during a long dinner. We ate at the Rotterdam Dining room once and it was very good, but not our style of dining. We did not participate in either of the Gala nights, but many of our cruise mates were dressed to the nines in beautiful clothes and jewelry on both formal evenings. We chose to eat at the Lido for casual breakfast, lunch and dinner most of the time. They often served some of the formal options as part of the casual menu. We also loved The Dive by the pool; the hot dogs, fries and hamburgers were excellent. The pizza station Slice was good at the beginning of the week, but towards the end we think they ran out of dough and started using a sub-par dough because it got worse as the week went on. Ice cream and desserts were almost always available in the Lido Market and never disappointed. The room service menu was decent, and both times we ordered they arrived right on time with hot food. Sodas and tea are not included on this cruise. A 12 ounce can of Coke was $2.59 each including mandatory 15% service charge, and the only place to get a cold can was at the Explorations Cafe on Deck 8. All other places served warm cans with a glass of ice. The snack time from 10:30pm-11:30pm in the Lido Market offered a good selection of entrees, cheeses, meats and desserts to satisfy late night cravings. We went back every night. It's not possible to go hungry on this cruise, even for picky eaters like me.

Entertainment on the ms Veendam was somewhat limited. We saw the 8:00PM show every night in the Showroom at Sea. Most of them were pretty good. The very first show is a little bit of everything to help you learn more about the week to come, so it's a great orientation to entertainment on board. We experienced shows with a comedian ventriloquist, singers and dancers, a juggler, a comedic pianist, and a Cirque du Soleil-inspired stage production called Droom. The wide variety made the shows appeal to a wide range of people. I enjoyed all of them, but our parents could take them or leave them most nights. Other ship activities were somewhat generic, including the requisite Port Shopping Experiences, Art Auctions, Towel Animal Folding, Name That Tune, Team Trivia, Bingo, etc. Two unique things we saw were a Floral Arrangement demonstration, and a guest celebrity chef showed us how to cook and prepare lobster rolls. Overall I felt the entertainment was good for the size of the ship and the audience.

The service on the ship was very good. Our statement attendant was always smiling and welcoming us back to our room, saying good morning and good evening. He kept our room sparkling every day, making the bed, turning it down with chocolates and a towel animal, cleaning the bathroom and toilet, refreshing towels, and evening leaving fresh ice and fresh fruit daily. The Rotterdam Dining Room staff were the least friendly and accommodating of all the crew we encountered. They couldn't find our table upon entering the first night. Once they did, we were seated but our waiter seemed rushed to take our order for our 7:45PM timed seating. He took my room card for a soda purchase at the beginning of the meal, and I had to track him down to get it back when we were finished. The cruise director, Christina, was fabulous. She was always friendly and helpful, cheerful with her greetings, and dressed beautifully. She did a great job explaining what was coming up for the evening and during the next day in port each night before the show. The staff at the Explorations Cafe, in the Lido Market, at The Dive, Slices and in the Crow's Nest were all very nice and attentive.

The ports were all very different from one another. Many shore excursions were offered at each port. However, traveling with a wheelchair proved to be nearly impossible for Mom. She had a long wait for the elevators every time she wanted to go somewhere around the ship. Most of the ports she really couldn't leave the boat because there wasn't any way for them to get her down the ramp or onto the tender. Once in port on the excursions, most of the buses did not offer handicap accommodations. If you couldn't walk up the stairs and sit down, you were out of luck. I would not recommend this cruise for people with serious mobility problems.

In Quebec City, there are multiple places the ship can dock along the port. The cruise before ours docked right by the Chateau Frantenac, but ours docked one mile further down port. That meant in order to get into the town of Quebec City we had to walk an extra mile each way. A shuttle bus was offered but we did not take it. Many shore excursions were offered but we chose to explore on our own.

In Charlottetown on PEI, many excursions were offered. We took the Lighthouse and Wine Cellar tour, while most people chose one with the Anne of Green Gables house. Our tour took us to two lighthouses and a winery for five samples of local wines. It was three hours in total and I would recommend it if you want something different than Anne.

In Sydney, a couple of excursions were offered but we chose to explore on our own. Sydney is easy to get around in, and quite small. There isn't much to the town at all.

In Halifax, several options are available to choose from for excursions. We chose to go to Peggy's Cove which is a 60-minute drive each way by bus. It was very, very busy with about 10 tour buses all crammed into a tiny parking lot by the lighthouse. There were people everywhere and big lines for the cramped bathrooms. We only had 40 minutes to explore because the ship docked late and we had to get back for the next tour time. We were 15 minutes late leaving because one of our bus mates was missing, so they waited for him to show up. The whole bus was upset. Back at the port in Halifax, two of the tour buses came back late to the port and the ship had to wait about 30 minutes for them. If you were on a non-HAL booked excursion, the ship would not have waited, so in this case it really paid to book through HAL.

In Bar Harbor, lots of excursions were available. We chose the Acadia National Park and Lobster Bake which was an exceptional tour. Prior to tendering to Bar Harbor, everyone on the ship was required to go through US Customs. Instructions were provided and the process was relatively painless. Once tendered ashore, the bus took us all to way up to the Cadillac Summit in Acadia and we had 25 minutes to walk around and take pictures. We were the only tour bus up there, so we had the summit to ourselves. There were only 16 people on our tour. Upon return to Bar Harbor, we were taken to Bar Harbor Club for a lobster bake. We each received a platter with a whole soft-shell lobster, new potatoes, corn on the cob, and four mussels. The staff offered to assist anyone who didn't want to tear apart the lobster. One gentleman kindly got all of my lobster meat out in about 20 seconds flat, while my husband floundered with his for a good five minutes. The meal was excellent, and it was topped off with a fabulous blueberry crumble for dessert.

Disembarkation was a breeze. Luggage had to be tagged and out in the hallway by midnight the night before. We were allowed to stay in our state rooms until it was time to disembark. Once our number and color were called, we proceeded to Deck 6 and walked right off the ship. We quickly found our luggage in the Boston Seaport, and headed outside to the taxi stand.
sundevil99’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Holland America Veendam price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Large Interior Stateroom
Cabin K 537
Our stateroom 537 was relatively large for an interior class stateroom. It featured a large king bed with nightstands on either side, a two-person love seat with a moveable coffee table, a small chair, and a large dresser area. There were six drawers in the dresser, two drawers under the king bed, and three tall cabinets. The bathroom sink was nice and big, with two glass shelves to store toiletries and a shelf underneath. The shower was a bit small. All four of us are either tall or wide and we all struggled with the size of the showers on board. The temperature in the room was relatively cold throughout the entire cruise, even though we set our thermostat to "warm." While it didn't bother me, my Mom was freezing the whole time and had to sleep with extra blankets (which are stocked in the cabinets). Our cabin only had one neighbor on the right side. The left side and rear were backed up to the crew hallways, which made for a very noisy day. They were moving vacuums and carts and bags of things up and down the stairwell for crew, which often sounded like a bowling ball being thrown down metal stairs. Sleeping during the day was a challenge because of the extra noise. They also had some kind of trash compactor or machine which clanked loudly and had a big buzzer sound when it finished. We did not hear any noise at night, just during the daytime. Overall our room was clean, comfortable, roomy, and centrally located.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Acadia National Park
    In Bar Harbor, lots of excursions were available. We chose the Acadia National Park and Lobster Bake which was an exceptional tour. Prior to tendering to Bar Harbor, everyone on the ship was required to go through US Customs. Instructions were provided and the process was relatively painless. Once tendered ashore, the bus took us all to way up to the Cadillac Summit in Acadia and we had 25 minutes to walk around and take pictures. We were the only tour bus up there, so we had the summit to ourselves. There were only 16 people on our tour. Upon return to Bar Harbor, we were taken to Bar Harbor Club for a lobster bake. We each received a platter with a whole soft-shell lobster, new potatoes, corn on the cob, and four mussels. The staff offered to assist anyone who didn't want to tear apart the lobster. One gentleman kindly got all of my lobster meat out in about 20 seconds flat, while my husband floundered with his for a good five minutes. The meal was excellent, and it was topped off with a fabulous blueberry crumble for dessert.
    View All 205 Acadia National Park Reviews
  • Culinary Tour
    In Charlottetown on PEI, many excursions were offered. We took the Lighthouse and Wine Cellar tour, while most people chose one with the Anne of Green Gables house. Our tour took us to two lighthouses (Point Prim and Wood Islands) and a winery (Rossignol) for five samples of local wines. It was four hours in total and I would recommend it if you want something different than Anne.
    View All 9 Culinary Tour Reviews
  • Peggy's Cove
    In Halifax, several options are available to choose from for excursions. We chose to go to Peggy's Cove which is a 60-minute drive each way by bus. It was very, very busy with about 10 tour buses all crammed into a tiny parking lot by the lighthouse. There were people everywhere and big lines for the cramped bathrooms. We only had 40 minutes to explore because the ship docked late and we had to get back for the next tour time. We were 15 minutes late leaving because one of our bus mates was missing, so they waited for him to show up. The whole bus was upset. Back at the port in Halifax, two of the tour buses came back late to the port and the ship had to wait about 30 minutes for them. If you were on a non-HAL booked excursion, the ship would not have waited, so in this case it really paid to book through HAL.
    View All 212 Peggy's Cove Reviews
  • Quebec City
    There are many things to do in Quebec City. We spent most of our time around the Chateau Frantenac and its surrounding streets. The city is difficult to navigate for those with mobility problems as it has many hills and stairs to climb. We walked 16,000 steps and climbed 23 flights of stairs in five hours around Quebec City.
    View All 301 Quebec City Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Quebec City Cruise Port Review
  • Sydney (Nova Scotia)
    In Sydney, a couple of excursions were offered but we chose to explore on our own. Sydney is easy to get around in, and quite small. There isn't much to the town at all.
    View All 176 Sydney (Nova Scotia) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Sydney (Nova Scotia) Cruise Port Review