Amazing Antarctica: Veendam Cruise Review by Poppy11

Veendam 4
Member Since 2009
133 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Amazing Antarctica

Sail Date: December 2009
Destination: South America
Embarkation: Santiago (Valparaiso)
Had mixed feelings about embarking on this cruise because of concerns about seasickness and my fairly recent dependence on a wheel chair, but my husband and I had a wonderful time. My wrist bands worked extremely well and I had no nausea even over the Christmas period when the sea was extremely rough with lots of crockery crashes in the dining room.

An outbreak of Gastro Intestinal illness really tested the ship's crew but I thought it was handled very well. Hand sanitiser machines every where and constant reminders over PA system and on cabin TVs about hand washing. Many of the crew as well as passengers were sick , so there must have been a strain on the well ones to do extra duties but they were always cheerful and friendly. The GI did make dining in the Lido extremely challenging as only staff served the food, no trays were allowed and there were long queues. Very long lines just to get a cup of tea. It was all too hard for my husband having to check out what was on More offer, then queue for my meal, bring it to our table then rejoin another queue for his meal etc. Instead we had all our meals in the Rotterdam Dining Room where we were always made welcome, and food and service was first class at all times.

Antarctica was even more than we had hoped for. We had flown over it one New Year in a special flight from Melbourne so we now saw it from a completely different aspect. Excellent commentaries from the experts on board. We were so lucky in having wonderful weather. Negatives..... Our main complaint would be the elevators. A bank of 4, fore and aft of the ship and always at least 1 of each 4 out of action, sometimes 2 . Long waits for those of us unable to use the stairs. We were also disappointed in the advice from a shore excursion young lady . Two trips she assured us would be OK for a wheelchair were not. We also disliked the cigarette smoke in the casino which we went through on our way to theatre and dining room. No smoking is allowed in indoor public venues in Australia and I'm afraid we rather expect it to be the same elsewhere.

The evening entertainment in the Theatre was very wide ranging. The shows we chose to go to were of a high standard and most professional. Ventriloquists and stand up comics didn't appeal so we didn't go. I did think it disappointing that 2 films were repeated on 2 different days on the cruise. I also found the day time attractions less interesting than on a previous Holland America cruise. 4 different sessions of napkin folding????

Embarkation and disembarkation was handled very smoothly and efficiently. We look forward to further cruises with Holland America. Less

Published 01/21/10

Cabin review: dis390

Shower difficult to figure out but good water flow but water sometimes soaked the cabin carpet instead of draining away through the bathroom gratings Set up excellent for disabled with good grab rails. . Beds and mattresses very comfortable but bed too high for disabled. I found I needed help to get into it. Good storage. Quiet corridor

Port and Shore Excursions

Had arranged whole day trip privately via internet which allowed us time in the very large nature reserve close to the dock. Many many bird species seen and many quite unfazed by all the joggers and walkers using the park. Followed this by drive to La Boca and then through city's various quarters past notable buildings, Leisurely lunch in pleasant courtyard of cafe at Evita Museum. Finished up in Rose Garden with 12.000 rose bushes. Bit disappointed by Buenos Aires city. Looked very run down and so much graffiti everywhere

Tenders required to go ashore, and seas very rough. so long slow process. Shore excusion we had chosen was a washout, literally. A long bus trip in pouring rain with steamed up windows to Cascades that I found I couldn't get to in a wheelchair. Rain still bucketing down. Half hour stop in City of Roses which had such a pretty sounding name, but because of the rain we spent the time having a beer in a bar. Wouldn't bother to visit this port on a future cruise

Chose to do Otway Sound and Penguin Reserve. Interesting bus trip. Saw Rheas in a field and Condors in the sky on the way. Had been advised by ship's shore Excusion staff that there was a boardwalk all the way out to the penguins so easy for wheelchair. She was wrong, Loose Gravel in carpark and on sections of the way made it impossible for wheelchair. Fortunately 2 motorised scooters for hire at entrance and one still available. Fun experience for me and I got out to see the Magellanic penguins and got great sightings. Was accompanied all the way by young man obviously apprehensive of my driving skills and helped me avoid running down pedestrians. Scooter coped with gravel sections well and was a breeze on the boardwalk.

Trip to Sugar Loaf and Corcovada too challenging, but got up early for great views as ship came into port Both of us quite tired and chose to remain on the ship in the morning relaxing. However after lunch took advantage of Stern shuttle bus to their workshops and showroom. Good city tour there and back, passing Ipanema and Copacobana beaches. Fascinated by

Tendered into Port Stanley, Falkland Islands. Husband went on 3 and half hour Nature Trek. Participants booking this excursion were warned that this required a high degree of fitness but several had chosen to ignore this and slowed things down for others. Eventually split into 2 groups. Good bird sightings so husband happy. Didn't mind the rain. Falkland Islands fascinating place to visit. Regretfully short time spent here, only half a day. Would definitely like to return for longer

Read 95 Stanley Reviews

Interesting port would like to revisit. Chose to book Catamaran 6 hour round trip up Beagle Sound to see Sea Lions, Cormorants and Magellanic Penguin Rookery. Great sightings when we eventually got to the various islands, but time dragged on trip back.

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Member Since 2009
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