Worst Cruise Ever!: Veendam Cruise Review by neverhollandamericaagain

Veendam 1
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

Worst Cruise Ever!

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We went on a May 1 cruise to the Panama Canal. The problems started before we even left. We were herded from one building to another in extreme heat. Finally we boarded only to find our room with suitcases, shoes and many personal items in it. Thinking they had given us the wrong room we went back to where they were checking us in.  They told us it was a workmen's room and just remove the stuff.  After 3 hours waiting in heat, it was a little surprising. The problems were just beginning. I asked for them to change the bed but no one ever came.  We weren't sure if they were clean or not. One person passed out in the safety drill.  None of us had eaten or had much to drink all day and it was hot.Is this a holidsay?  The problems just went on and on.  There were rooms flooded.  People would wake up to ankle deep water and they would take forever to come. My sister's room didn't have a working toilet for 2 days and smelt like sewage.  The toilet More leaked throughout the whole trip.  They had to run up a floor or down a floor and use a public washroom. It was awful to shower in it as it smelled like sewage. Pretty funny when they were putting on formal nights and they couldn't even shower. Two days into the cruise both engines quit. After leaving late and floating with no power for a few hours we lost our stop in Costa Rica which is why most of us picked that cruise. Of course they didn't tell us that as everyone was already mad by then so they told us bad news a bit at a time. We figured out a day before it was announced we weren't going to Costa Rica.  Mexico was already cancelled so they put Nicaragua and Guatemala in instead. They had some stupid reason they would arrive in Costa Rica at night even though we went through the canal at the exact same time we were supposed to, just a day later due to all their problems.  Nicaragua seemed a little unsafe as their were wires hanging in random places. Our bus hit a power line backing up and they unloaded us, live wires hanging beside us and all.
In Guatemala the librarian from our ship came along and acted as an authority(a stupid one,mind you),  but we were to meet after lunch at 1 pm to go through the museum and walk to a market and pick up our bus.  She and two other people weren't at the exit of the museum with our real guide when we got there.  He had to run all the way back and it took 20 minutes. So we didn't get to go to the market as promised due to a typical Holland America employee. It was good I shopped at the museum as I would have not had any souveniers to take home as the stops were few. 

This boat was half Canadian and half American but they had a huge farewell in San Diego and nothing in Vancouver except leave the ship quickly as they have a quick turn around. I am thinking Holland America has never been to San Diego as we all signed up for a tour and behold the night before we got a letter saying customs was coming aboard and our excursion was cancelled. They didn't know this when they printed their excursion book thatr customs comes on board????  So 600 of us lined up in a room that holds 100 and we moved up row by row.  The lineup outside went half the way around the ship. You couldn't even get on the elevator and it was up the stairs. Of course the Americans who were leaving got to go to the much larger showroom and there weren't many of them.  The employee in the theatre answered all our questions with "I don't know", as did all the staff on the whole boat.  It was front office's fault.  If you approached them, it was the captain's fault.  If you approached him, it was Seattle's fault and of course you couldn't get ahold of them.

I got stuck in the elevator  -  car # 9.  None of the buttons would light up, the doors wouldn't open and there it sat.  I opened the emergency phone and IT WAS AN EMPTY BOX!!!  All of a sudden it went from 4th floor to the 11th and thank god the doors opened there.  I ran down and reported it to the desk and THEY WROTE IT IN A BOOK!  Two days later people were still getting stuck in the elevator and front office were still writing it in a book. I talked to one person who had been taken down to the engine room.

Then came a virus so we went from self serve to no service.  You stood in lineups forever. Some bright person got the idea we shouldn't have trays.  A cafeteria with no trays.  You got your meal and if you wanted salt and pepper you then had to stand in the coffee lineup for it.  Sometimes that lineup took 10-15 minutes.  They had one person and he poured each cup individually as you asked instead of having one person pouring and another handing it out or at least pour a few cups of coffee at one time. If you just wanted salt and pepper they would ignore you until you got in the coffee lineup and waited 10 minutes.  The cafeteria bosses wandered around in white uniforms doing nothing. We all started eating salad instead of hot food that was as cold as salad by the time you got to eat it. They treated us like little children squirting our hands with sanitizer before you went in the dining room.What was really funny was that the waiter would take everyon's dirty dishes and sort them all.  Then they would sort the dirty cutlery and then they would bring us the dessert menu and cups of tea and coffee.  There was no hand washing or sanitizing going on with the staff. No wonder it spread. It was so disgusting to watch and so annoying for them to pretend they were using sanitary methods.
They had the band leader, the guy from the gym (he was pretty useless there anyways) and all the staff doing double duty serving food.  They all were exhausted with no days off and 18 hour double duty days.

Now I will have to take another trip to see what I thought I was going to see on this trip. It won't be with Holland America again.  On top of a terrible holiday, I didn't feel safe or felt that they cared if we were safe.

The only thing that kept most of us sane was the computer classes and the techspert Ryan.  Way to go Ryan! Less

Published 05/30/09

Cabin review:

Worker's suitcases and personal items in our cabin on arrival. Asked to move the stuff ourselves as they were busy checking people in.  Not sure if our bed was changed but no one came when we asked for it to be changed.  The bathroom sure wasn't clean. Got tired of being woken up by staff washing the deck with a hose at 6 am. Not their fault. Getting hoses out makes a lot of noise and pressure washing a deck does also. I don't think it needed washing every day. 

Port and Shore Excursions

Good disembarkation. Good offshore excursion.

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