This was a 48 day RT from Fort Lauderdale that included a few Caribbean isles, Brazil coastal ports including Rio at Carnaval and finally the Amazon to Manaus and back. The Amazon was always on our "someday" list, Rio and Carnaval were not, but this cruise came up at a good price and so we grabbed it on fairly short notice (almost too short given that the Brazil visas arrived only a few days prior to departure).
The Veendam is an older ship but it is kept in good condition and we had very minimal issues (temperature control in the room, a slow drain) which were promptly addressed by the staff. The staff, as we've always found on HAL, were friendly and service oriented. We had most meals in the Lido - where the soups and bread were my favorite supper with a larger meal at lunchtime. DH had multi course meals and often sampled two different meats/fish. By the end of the cruise we were tired of the options, but admit that compared to what we make at home the variety was impressive. The Asian and Pasta stations were always good. The specialty restaurants were excellent, and in 7 weeks we went at least 10 times.
We were in a Verandah stateroom on deck 10 near the aft elevators and we used the balcony a lot; enjoyed the pillow options of soft to firm; found the room adequately quiet and comfortable; and we were glad that we brought along a small tabletop fan (as we always do) as being in the tropics for 7 weeks with heat and humidity made it difficult to keep our room at the cool temperature we prefer. Many other areas of the ship were quite cool though - on lower decks the public spaces were several degrees cooler than our room or the Lido (which has constant traffic from the open deck where temperatures in the 80 with high humidity prevailed.
This cabin opens directly to the aft elevator/stairs landing and I expected it might be noisy, but was happily surprised that our fellow guests were nearly always silent between 9 PM and 9 AM. We could occasionally hear a little bit of TV from next door - but we had an electric fan and it provided both cooling breeze and sound masking. The corner of the Lido was directly above us and we did hear moving of chairs for very brief periods on occasion. The Lido overhang provided a bit of shade for our balcony, which at these temperatures and with heavy rains we actually appreciated. The self service laundry was one floor down and towards the front of the ship, so not readily convenient, but it worked out fine. The Lido restaurant was one flight up and the Explorations Cafe 2 flights down, so we had all of our food and early morning coffee needs covered easily.
Embarkation was very smooth.
A nice lunch was served - it's a gorgeous sandy beach. We had a cold drink and looked at the sea, but didn't really do much but walk around a bit.
A fun, laid back little town. Took the hop on hop off train and ate lunch at Blue Heaven (the special of the day was lobster grilled cheese sandwiches - lots of hearty chunks of lobster).