We brought my parents on a Panama Canal Cruise to Celebrate their 60th Anniversary and ended up bringing their best friends who were celebrating their 61st Anniversary. Getting on the ship was pretty easy since we had the Marriott guys (SpringHill Suites San Diego) to help bring our 12 bags to the dock!! Overall the Cruise was good. We had a few issues. The ship is old so there were quite a few mechanical problems. Plumbing seemed to be a huge issue on and off through the entire 16 day cruise!! The smell in some of the hallways was intensely horrible!! Many times the public bathrooms were closed due to problems. Not a huge issue for us but an issue when older folk who have issues walking have to scout out a working toilet. The Lido Deck Buffet had issues with the ceiling leaking water. Sometimes water would drop on your head, arm or actually into your food. Not sure I'd want to eat food that has ceiling water dripped into it... but the food was good. I also LOVE the fact they do not allow people to serve themselves at the Buffet. Admit it, we've ALL seen people who have NO IDEA that others eat from the Buffet too. I see people licking their fingers and then grabbing spoons to serve themselves. Just gross. The main Dining Room had great food but the service was HORRIBLY SLOW. We'd have to plan dinner over 2 hours prior to a Show to make sure we wouldn't miss it. My Time or Any Time Dining doesn't work on this ship. It would take 1-2 hours to be seated unless you arrived about 30 minutes before the dining room opened. LOVED the Piano Guy Tom Wolf. He made our vacation quite memorable!! The Veendam Dancers and Singers were quite talented and we really enjoyed their shows too. The only complaints I heard around me was at times the music was so loud it was actually not pleasant and the room was like a refrigerator!! By the end of the cruise, many people were coming in with pool towels to use as blankets. I think our biggest disappointment happened at the end of the cruise. We lost an engine so it took 21 Hours to get from the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale. We arrived safely so that wasn't an issue and the captain kept us up to date... but disembarkation WAS an issue. Once we discovered we'd be arriving so late, they opened the front desk to assist passengers with travel issues. This was poorly handled, with lines wrapped all around the 7th Deck and people waiting for HOURS to be helped. As you'd assume, arriving 6-7 hours late, most people had missed their flights home. We travel a LOT and we planned our flights for as late as possible. But, once we arrived, they still refused to let us off the ship!!! Now, a TON of people had already missed their flights, so WHY would they keep people who COULD make their flights, stay on the ship. I would think THEY would become priority. This issue was Holland America's fault so they were responsible for rescheduling missed flights and for putting people up in hotels for a night if flights weren't rescheduled for the same day. I waited as long as possible before going to the Front Desk and DEMANDING to be let off the ship. They finally gave us new numbers and we were able to get all 6 of us off the boat and JUST made it to the gate prior to our flight!! We enjoyed the fact that this cruise line caters to an older crowd. My husband and I LOVE children, we have 4, plus 6 grandkids and have had 14 foster babies... but sometimes we like to just get away from a bunch of running and screaming kids!!! (which is now the new normal because parents today don't seem to think their children should behave when on vacation) We only did one excursion since they were so pricey but enjoyed ALL of our stops. They made getting on and off the ship pretty painless. All in All we had a nice time but with just a few tweaks, it could have been a FABULOUS experience!!

Nice but could have been better

Veendam Cruise Review by lmz2005

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We brought my parents on a Panama Canal Cruise to Celebrate their 60th Anniversary and ended up bringing their best friends who were celebrating their 61st Anniversary. Getting on the ship was pretty easy since we had the Marriott guys (SpringHill Suites San Diego) to help bring our 12 bags to the dock!! Overall the Cruise was good. We had a few issues. The ship is old so there were quite a few mechanical problems. Plumbing seemed to be a huge issue on and off through the entire 16 day cruise!! The smell in some of the hallways was intensely horrible!! Many times the public bathrooms were closed due to problems. Not a huge issue for us but an issue when older folk who have issues walking have to scout out a working toilet.

The Lido Deck Buffet had issues with the ceiling leaking water. Sometimes water would drop on your head, arm or actually into your food. Not sure I'd want to eat food that has ceiling water dripped into it... but the food was good. I also LOVE the fact they do not allow people to serve themselves at the Buffet. Admit it, we've ALL seen people who have NO IDEA that others eat from the Buffet too. I see people licking their fingers and then grabbing spoons to serve themselves. Just gross. The main Dining Room had great food but the service was HORRIBLY SLOW. We'd have to plan dinner over 2 hours prior to a Show to make sure we wouldn't miss it. My Time or Any Time Dining doesn't work on this ship. It would take 1-2 hours to be seated unless you arrived about 30 minutes before the dining room opened.

LOVED the Piano Guy Tom Wolf. He made our vacation quite memorable!! The Veendam Dancers and Singers were quite talented and we really enjoyed their shows too. The only complaints I heard around me was at times the music was so loud it was actually not pleasant and the room was like a refrigerator!! By the end of the cruise, many people were coming in with pool towels to use as blankets.

I think our biggest disappointment happened at the end of the cruise. We lost an engine so it took 21 Hours to get from the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale. We arrived safely so that wasn't an issue and the captain kept us up to date... but disembarkation WAS an issue. Once we discovered we'd be arriving so late, they opened the front desk to assist passengers with travel issues. This was poorly handled, with lines wrapped all around the 7th Deck and people waiting for HOURS to be helped. As you'd assume, arriving 6-7 hours late, most people had missed their flights home. We travel a LOT and we planned our flights for as late as possible. But, once we arrived, they still refused to let us off the ship!!! Now, a TON of people had already missed their flights, so WHY would they keep people who COULD make their flights, stay on the ship. I would think THEY would become priority. This issue was Holland America's fault so they were responsible for rescheduling missed flights and for putting people up in hotels for a night if flights weren't rescheduled for the same day. I waited as long as possible before going to the Front Desk and DEMANDING to be let off the ship. They finally gave us new numbers and we were able to get all 6 of us off the boat and JUST made it to the gate prior to our flight!!

We enjoyed the fact that this cruise line caters to an older crowd. My husband and I LOVE children, we have 4, plus 6 grandkids and have had 14 foster babies... but sometimes we like to just get away from a bunch of running and screaming kids!!! (which is now the new normal because parents today don't seem to think their children should behave when on vacation)

We only did one excursion since they were so pricey but enjoyed ALL of our stops. They made getting on and off the ship pretty painless. All in All we had a nice time but with just a few tweaks, it could have been a FABULOUS experience!!
lmz2005’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin G 508
The cabin was okay... it's a bit smaller than other cabins due to the curve of the ship. Rooms are not as deep in the front of the boat. We were also told that we had a Large Ocean View Window.... but we ended up with 2 small portholes instead. We like being in the front of the ship. We have very few people walking by our room and less Door Slamming!! We found the ship to have more "Odors" and "Noise" in the middle of the ship.
Main Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins