This is a review of Veendam. We came on board in Seward after a pleasant transfer from Anchorage on Alaska Trasportation Company. They picked us (my wife and I) up at Anchorage Airport right outside the Penair luggage area (we were in Aleknagik Alaska visiting our son and daughter in law for a week)(great view of Mt Redoubt volcano) and transported us to Seward in about 3 hours. Arrived at ship at about 1:30 PM and walked into the check-in line - wonder of wonders we were the only ones to be checking in. On board ship in 10 minutes with our luggage - cabins were ready - our room steward was there, greeted us by name, showed us about the cabin (inside - main deck - 5) and left us to our unpacking. Cabin very adequate - 3 closets - wonderful lighting - huge bed - large couch - flat screen tv probably 19 in with about 12 channels. At night we kept it on channel 44 which is the bow camera - kinda like having an outside cabin. At least we knew when it was light outside - which was most of the time.. Went to the Lido Cafe on Deck 11 for much needed FOOD. Selection was great with something for everyone's taste. Service was good and not crowded. For most of the trip Lido was busy but long liones were non existant. Delays were caused by those guests that had decision making disorders. Kinda just stand there and gawk at the food. I think the thing that irratates me most about cruises is the lack of consideration towards others by guests on board. Staff is great and helpful but some guests suffer from IDD (intelligence deficit disorder). It really got busy on board as the HAL train and busses started arriving about the same time. Convinced me not to go that way. Muster drill just prior to sailing - usual madhouse. Now here we see some difficulty. I am 65 yrs and still get around pretty well and I feel for the aged on board who really had a difficult time moving about. There was one lady - had to be in her 80's that just plain got stuck in the middle of the Promenade, was confused and just froze - blocked everything and did not comprehend what was required of her. About 10 minute delay is getting lifeboat drill underway. Felt confident in the staff handling mass confusion. Sailed on time - scenery beautiful.Spent time with sweetheart checking out the ship before dinner was curious about the Retreat. I kinda liked it - wading pool and all. Lots of deck space and deck chairs and was lightly used on this trip. Might be busier in warmer climates. We spent a lot of time there - sheltered - cool but warm sunshine. Not a lot of children on this trip - maybe a couple of dozen.1st day at sea and weather clear with 50 degree temps - cruised College Fjord - great vistas. First Formal NIght - had open seating at Rotterdam Restrauant - worked perfectly - no waiting - went when we were ready - food excellent - staff great. Never had a wait for open seating and I will stay with that in the future. Works for us.Day 2  Visited Glacier Bay and had a beautiful but cloudy misty day at the Glaciers. Got withing 150 - 200 yards of Margery Glacier WOW glacier calving sounds and splashes. Park Rangers did a great job telling us all about the park. Day 3 Haines Alaska - a quaint little town with a lot of history. One can take the fast ferry up to Skagway for all the tours that origionate there or stay close. We opted to stay close and get to know the locals and their concerns and lifestyle, HAL is the one line didicated to Haines. Princess will only stop 3 times this year. Too bad,, the people of Haines are great and there is a free shuttle service to take you about town. The locals really appreciate the business HAL brings to town. Check out the Art History Museum about two blocks away from the pier where master carvers are working on a 35 foot totem pole that will cost the new owner 3000 bucks a foot to create. BTW sunshine - no rain. Temps low 50's.Day 4 Juneau We were one of 5 ships in that day. The smaller HAL ship dock closest to central "downtown". We did a lot of walking about and took the Mt Robert's tram. In the morning it had been cloudy and misty but cleared in the afternoon. Great vista and the Eagle Sanctuary and native show are well worth seeing. Temps in 50's. Second formal night - just as the first - walk up to the entrance and were seated immediately. Food still excellent and service superb - no waiting. Please forget the jeans and shorts - not pleasant to see. Puts the crew in a bad place.Day 5 Ketchikan  OMG, then weather when we awoke was major UGH - cloudy, rainy and windy. Well, we had been lucky so far so I guess we were due. More wind and rain as we got closer. By the time we docked where the Westerdam had been (about 1 PM), it was partly cloudy and no rain and so it stayed. We again did our walk about and shopped for our kids and grandkids ( and ourselves) and met a young gentleman selling tours for Sourdough Tours and after a bit decided that a 2 1/2 tour with 6 others for 35 dollars pp was pretty good and off we went. We were really impressed with the knowledge our guide, Marie, had with the area. Saw a lot a she took the time when required to explain the different foods and critters about. She even stopped the van in the middle of the road to let us hop out and take pics of a Bald Eagle atop a telephone pole not 75 - 100 feet away from us. His huge nest was just across from him, on our side of the street. Very neat stuff. BTW 6 ships in with us this day.Day 6  At sea and the wind down begins -  little bit of rocking back and forth but fun to watch the wave action in the Retreat wading pool. Every now and then the rocking of the ship would cause wave action to slosh over the side of the pool and onto the deck surprising the unsuspecting guests. Great fun. Saw two Celebrity liners heading to Ketchikan in a two mile trail formation. No wildlife to be seen too choppy and windy. We were doing about 18 knots and the wind was 20 knots from the stern making it calm on deck. The Celebrity gang was getting 40 knots on deck - ewwww.That evening, in the narrows, Norwegian Sun caught up to us and followed about 2 miles behind great pic of her - the mountains and sunset behind. She passed us about 2 AM Another liner passed going north all lit up - pretty sight. Day 7 Arrival in Vancouver up early Celebrity ship and Norwegian Sun ahead of us. Passing under Lion's Gate beautiful. Docked at Canada PLace very efficient and quick disembark, through customs fast went over to Avis and checked in and was told our shuttle to the AVIS RAC would pick us up "over there". That must be a favorite expression in Vancouver as when we got to what was designated over there we were told that over there was "over there". Well, there seems to be about 150 yards of "over there" So eventually after several false starts and through devine providence, we finally found the correct "over there" with the red van to take us to our car. We got our car and proceeded to drive to SEA-TAC. Gorgeous drive and made it to the plane with 7 minutes to spare. Not great for the blood pressure.Bottom line I enjoyed the trip and would sail HAL again. My concern is the age demographic. The line currently seems to appeal to an older to much older client base. It seemed that about 60% of the ship was 70 and older or they behaved that way. Not active and a kinda dour group - not a lot of smiles and "happy". The conversation seemed to center on telling each other grand tales of their travels. I think that is why Carnival Corp is trying to make changes that will encourage a younger affluent client base and following the current trend, the traditional HAL client base is getting decidedly smaller. I don't know about the group's spending habits, but it seemed they did not do much of anything.Entertainment - what we saw was good to very good with few exceptions but then again, we all have different tastes.Food very good to excellent - did not do the alternative cover charge sites but they had lots of activity. Don't forget the ice cream bar high quality and dilightfully yummy.Service excellent but more low key and serious as compared to NCLwhere the crew was more fun and lighthearted. The crew here seemed to be mostly Indonesian and there was a little difficulty with language at times. On NCL, the crew was more diverse and the Jamaicans much more fun. Cudos to "Lu" our room steward.Ship very nice but of an older design and getting about can pose problems. She shows her age but the maintenance is good and the crew tries hard to keep her ship shape. Looking at Mercury and a Princess ship, they too looked a little worse for wear. Other than the minor stuff, I like the intimacy of the smaller ship - we never felt crowded. It was efficient although I prefer the layout of the Norwegian Spirit better but all in all I would do this all over again.

Veendam - Reconfigured - My impressions

Veendam Cruise Review by alderaniandad

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2009
  • Destination: Alaska
This is a review of Veendam. We came on board in Seward after a pleasant transfer from Anchorage on Alaska Trasportation Company. They picked us (my wife and I) up at Anchorage Airport right outside the Penair luggage area (we were in Aleknagik Alaska visiting our son and daughter in law for a week)(great view of Mt Redoubt volcano) and transported us to Seward in about 3 hours. Arrived at ship at about 1:30 PM and walked into the check-in line - wonder of wonders we were the only ones to be checking in. On board ship in 10 minutes with our luggage - cabins were ready - our room steward was there, greeted us by name, showed us about the cabin (inside - main deck - 5) and left us to our unpacking. Cabin very adequate - 3 closets - wonderful lighting - huge bed - large couch - flat screen tv probably 19 in with about 12 channels. At night we kept it on channel 44 which is the bow camera - kinda like having an outside cabin. At least we knew when it was light outside - which was most of the time.. Went to the Lido Cafe on Deck 11 for much needed FOOD. Selection was great with something for everyone's taste. Service was good and not crowded. For most of the trip Lido was busy but long liones were non existant. Delays were caused by those guests that had decision making disorders. Kinda just stand there and gawk at the food. I think the thing that irratates me most about cruises is the lack of consideration towards others by guests on board. Staff is great and helpful but some guests suffer from IDD (intelligence deficit disorder). It really got busy on board as the HAL train and busses started arriving about the same time. Convinced me not to go that way. Muster drill just prior to sailing - usual madhouse. Now here we see some difficulty. I am 65 yrs and still get around pretty well and I feel for the aged on board who really had a difficult time moving about. There was one lady - had to be in her 80's that just plain got stuck in the middle of the Promenade, was confused and just froze - blocked everything and did not comprehend what was required of her. About 10 minute delay is getting lifeboat drill underway. Felt confident in the staff handling mass confusion. Sailed on time - scenery beautiful.Spent time with sweetheart checking out the ship before dinner was curious about the Retreat. I kinda liked it - wading pool and all. Lots of deck space and deck chairs and was lightly used on this trip. Might be busier in warmer climates. We spent a lot of time there - sheltered - cool but warm sunshine. Not a lot of children on this trip - maybe a couple of dozen.1st day at sea and weather clear with 50 degree temps - cruised College Fjord - great vistas. First Formal NIght - had open seating at Rotterdam Restrauant - worked perfectly - no waiting - went when we were ready - food excellent - staff great. Never had a wait for open seating and I will stay with that in the future. Works for us.Day 2  Visited Glacier Bay and had a beautiful but cloudy misty day at the Glaciers. Got withing 150 - 200 yards of Margery Glacier WOW glacier calving sounds and splashes. Park Rangers did a great job telling us all about the park.
Day 3 Haines Alaska - a quaint little town with a lot of history. One can take the fast ferry up to Skagway for all the tours that origionate there or stay close. We opted to stay close and get to know the locals and their concerns and lifestyle, HAL is the one line didicated to Haines. Princess will only stop 3 times this year. Too bad,, the people of Haines are great and there is a free shuttle service to take you about town. The locals really appreciate the business HAL brings to town. Check out the Art History Museum about two blocks away from the pier where master carvers are working on a 35 foot totem pole that will cost the new owner 3000 bucks a foot to create. BTW sunshine - no rain. Temps low 50's.Day 4 Juneau We were one of 5 ships in that day. The smaller HAL ship dock closest to central "downtown". We did a lot of walking about and took the Mt Robert's tram. In the morning it had been cloudy and misty but cleared in the afternoon. Great vista and the Eagle Sanctuary and native show are well worth seeing. Temps in 50's. Second formal night - just as the first - walk up to the entrance and were seated immediately. Food still excellent and service superb - no waiting. Please forget the jeans and shorts - not pleasant to see. Puts the crew in a bad place.Day 5 Ketchikan  OMG, then weather when we awoke was major UGH - cloudy, rainy and windy. Well, we had been lucky so far so I guess we were due. More wind and rain as we got closer. By the time we docked where the Westerdam had been (about 1 PM), it was partly cloudy and no rain and so it stayed. We again did our walk about and shopped for our kids and grandkids ( and ourselves) and met a young gentleman selling tours for Sourdough Tours and after a bit decided that a 2 1/2 tour with 6 others for 35 dollars pp was pretty good and off we went. We were really impressed with the knowledge our guide, Marie, had with the area. Saw a lot a she took the time when required to explain the different foods and critters about. She even stopped the van in the middle of the road to let us hop out and take pics of a Bald Eagle atop a telephone pole not 75 - 100 feet away from us. His huge nest was just across from him, on our side of the street. Very neat stuff. BTW 6 ships in with us this day.Day 6  At sea and the wind down begins -  little bit of rocking back and forth but fun to watch the wave action in the Retreat wading pool. Every now and then the rocking of the ship would cause wave action to slosh over the side of the pool and onto the deck surprising the unsuspecting guests. Great fun. Saw two Celebrity liners heading to Ketchikan in a two mile trail formation. No wildlife to be seen too choppy and windy. We were doing about 18 knots and the wind was 20 knots from the stern making it calm on deck. The Celebrity gang was getting 40 knots on deck - ewwww.That evening, in the narrows, Norwegian Sun caught up to us and followed about 2 miles behind great pic of her - the mountains and sunset behind. She passed us about 2 AM Another liner passed going north all lit up - pretty sight. Day 7 Arrival in Vancouver up early Celebrity ship and Norwegian Sun ahead of us. Passing under Lion's Gate beautiful. Docked at Canada PLace very efficient and quick disembark, through customs fast went over to Avis and checked in and was told our shuttle to the AVIS RAC would pick us up "over there". That must be a favorite expression in Vancouver as when we got to what was designated over there we were told that over there was "over there". Well, there seems to be about 150 yards of "over there" So eventually after several false starts and through devine providence, we finally found the correct "over there" with the red van to take us to our car. We got our car and proceeded to drive to SEA-TAC. Gorgeous drive and made it to the plane with 7 minutes to spare. Not great for the blood pressure.Bottom line I enjoyed the trip and would sail HAL again. My concern is the age demographic. The line currently seems to appeal to an older to much older client base. It seemed that about 60% of the ship was 70 and older or they behaved that way. Not active and a kinda dour group - not a lot of smiles and "happy". The conversation seemed to center on telling each other grand tales of their travels. I think that is why Carnival Corp is trying to make changes that will encourage a younger affluent client base and following the current trend, the traditional HAL client base is getting decidedly smaller. I don't know about the group's spending habits, but it seemed they did not do much of anything.Entertainment - what we saw was good to very good with few exceptions but then again, we all have different tastes.Food very good to excellent - did not do the alternative cover charge sites but they had lots of activity. Don't forget the ice cream bar high quality and dilightfully yummy.Service excellent but more low key and serious as compared to NCLwhere the crew was more fun and lighthearted. The crew here seemed to be mostly Indonesian and there was a little difficulty with language at times. On NCL, the crew was more diverse and the Jamaicans much more fun. Cudos to "Lu" our room steward.Ship very nice but of an older design and getting about can pose problems. She shows her age but the maintenance is good and the crew tries hard to keep her ship shape. Looking at Mercury and a Princess ship, they too looked a little worse for wear. Other than the minor stuff, I like the intimacy of the smaller ship - we never felt crowded. It was efficient although I prefer the layout of the Norwegian Spirit better but all in all I would do this all over again.
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