I chose this cruise because of interesting itinerary, timing, and cost. This one just jumped out at me as a cruise my husband and I would enjoy. We had been cruising with HAL before and enjoyed the experience so much we thought it would be our new favorite cruise line. Unfortunately, this one didn't measure up. The ship is old, had numerous maintenence problems, and service and food was not even close to our other experiences with HAL.
The size of the Veendam was great. Easy to get around on and not too crowded. The crew for the most part was very efficient and polite. The main dining room food was mostly good but nothing special (but don't order the strip steak. it is tough and just awful). The service in the main dining room was spotty and on the slow side. Some of the waiters made an unforgivable gaffe in the service: They took my used fork and knife which I'd placed across my plate for removal with that course, and placed them back on the table for reuse. I had to use the same utensils for all three courses. They usually served the coffee after the dessert was consumed and half the table had left. The food in the Lido area was quite good and there was always a nice variety. Service was also better on the Lido. We tried breakfast in the MDR and it was a complete disaster, with incorrect orders, no pastries served. It took over 2 hours to get through breakfast. Too long.
The main showroom was ok on the lower level but the seating on the upper level was very uncomfortable. The seats were worn out and very hard to sit on plus the backs are very short and hit you in a very uncomfortable place. The ships singers and dancers were very good. Sets and costumes on smaller ships are less extravagant, but still excellent. All the acts in the Showroom were entertaining. I enjoyed all of the music venues. I learned a The size of the Veendam was great. Easy to get around on and not too crowded. The ship does show it's age. The crew for the most part was very efficient and polite. The head office staff not always so, more on that later. The main dining room food was good but nothing special. They stressed presentation. The service in the main dining room was spotty and on the slow side. The food in the casual dining area was quite good and there was always a nice variety.
Fairly good sized. Adequate closet space for 14 day cruise. All requests were fulfilled promptly. Be aware that certain staterooms do not have mini refrigerators. My husband is diabetic and his insulin needs refrigeration. Last cruise with HAL we stored the insulin in the medical facility. but that was inconvenient due to limited hours of operation of the facility. Our remedy this time was to place his insulin next to the ice bucket and hope that would suffice. It seemed to work OK. Any physicians reading this will probably be cringing. Bathroom adequate for normal sized adults. Would be tight space for larger persons, especially the shower. Amenities consisted of the usual shower goo, a bar of soap for the sink, a small bottle of body lotion, and a plastic shower cap. The room was kept clean in all the visible areas. I looked under the bed and the couch trying to find a missing earring and saw a lot of dust, so they don't have time to move furniture/beds and clean underneath. The earring did appear on the vanity eventually, so I guess the cabin steward did find it. We had trouble with our thermostat the first day and that was fixed to our satisfaction. Also there was an annoying noise in the bathroom vent, which was temporarily fixed by removing a part from the vent and covering it with a towel and duct tape. It fixed the noise problem, but from then on, the vent didn't work and we had to shower with the door open.
A little disappointed in this port. We took an independent tour of the area. It was OK.
Terrible port. Got off the ship and started walking toward the shopping area. Didn't feel safe at all. Turned around and went back to the ship.
This may have been the most pleasurable port on the cruise. The sand (imported) was so soft and clean. The water was so clear, you could just walk in up to your waist and see the fish swimming by. There were plenty of beach lounge chairs available and some natural shade. There were clamshell easy-ups available for rent and also covered patio buildings for shade and comfort. The food was pretty good, too. Like a picnic BBQ.