We chose the HAL Veendam cruise specifically for the Cuba stops and our good experience with HAL. We believe that this itinerary originally included Bonaire and Curacao which were eliminated for some reason and Ochjo Rios and the Caymans added. For a ten day cruise, it included four days at sea. Marginal ports and really too much time at sea for a smaller ship with limited on board activities. After we left Havana it was announced that we would skip the second Cuban port, Cienfeugos because of mechanical issues that prevented our ship from handling a relative small port. So that created five days at sea as no attempt was made to go to another Cuban port and we sailed around in circles to eat up the time. In all, very disappointing as Cuba was the draw, and the other ports were not that great and the ship lacked activities needed for five cruising days.( We met some people in Ocho Rios on a different cruise line whose decided not to stop at Cienfeugos and diverted to another Cuban port. HAL gave each passenger a $50.00 credit because we missed the second Cuban port which most people considered an insult!!). This ship is one of HAL's smaller ones and older. We had sailed on her when she was new. They have made obvious attempts to refurbish most areas with nice results. However, the aging is showing; one toilet on deck 8 and one bank of elevators at each end of the ship was closed the entire cruise. The dancing and singing troupe does a nice job on three nights with ventriculist and harpest on others, A good trio in one bar area, BUT, that is it. If you want to just lounge around and go to bed at 10:00, this cruise would be OK. But, with five days of cruising around in circles, this was not one of our most memorable cruises.

Very disappointing Cuba cruise

Veendam Cruise Review by bullseye2

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2018
  • Destination: Cuba
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Suite with Verandah
We chose the HAL Veendam cruise specifically for the Cuba stops and our good experience with HAL. We believe that this itinerary originally included Bonaire and Curacao which were eliminated for some reason and Ochjo Rios and the Caymans added. For a ten day cruise, it included four days at sea. Marginal ports and really too much time at sea for a smaller ship with limited on board activities. After we left Havana it was announced that we would skip the second Cuban port, Cienfeugos because of mechanical issues that prevented our ship from handling a relative small port. So that created five days at sea as no attempt was made to go to another Cuban port and we sailed around in circles to eat up the time. In all, very disappointing as Cuba was the draw, and the other ports were not that great and the ship lacked activities needed for five cruising days.( We met some people in Ocho Rios on a different cruise line whose decided not to stop at Cienfeugos and diverted to another Cuban port. HAL gave each passenger a $50.00 credit because we missed the second Cuban port which most people considered an insult!!). This ship is one of HAL's smaller ones and older. We had sailed on her when she was new. They have made obvious attempts to refurbish most areas with nice results. However, the aging is showing; one toilet on deck 8 and one bank of elevators at each end of the ship was closed the entire cruise. The dancing and singing troupe does a nice job on three nights with ventriculist and harpest on others, A good trio in one bar area, BUT, that is it. If you want to just lounge around and go to bed at 10:00, this cruise would be OK. But, with five days of cruising around in circles, this was not one of our most memorable cruises.
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Cabin Review

Neptune Suite with Verandah
Cabin SA 010
Despite what we had heard the cabin was very nice and showed signs of having some refurbishing recently. Had a very small TV which was replaced with a larger one in mid cruise. (We had not complained). Also. only one electrical output for charging phones. As on most HAL ships, all announcements are made on speakers in the hallways and can only be heard by opening the cabin doors. Did not have a separate shower stall which should have been available at this level of accomodation.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews