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Veendam Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
815 Reviews

High Expectations But A Huge Disappointment

Veendam Cruise Review by bobc1946

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2019
  • Destination: Canada & New England
  • Cabin Type: Verandah Suite

We had high expectations when we booked this cruise! Unfortunately, the cruise was a huge disappointment due to extremely poor management primarily from Guest Services on the ship.

First, let me inform you about the positive aspects on the cruise! Virtually all of the ship's staff that we encountered went above and beyond attempting to make the cruise enjoyable! In particular, our cabin attendants were excellent in attending to our needs the entire cruise! The staff in all the of the eating and dining areas of the ship were very good and all were very helpful and seemingly always had a smile on their face! Food was OK with the food in the dining area lacking but made up in the Lido Market by having a tasty variety of dishes and desserts. The on board entertainment was good with a couple of shows that were fun. We went on four shore excursions with the highlights being the Quebec and Charlottetown tours. We were thoroughly impressed with Charlottetown as it very much reminded us of Ireland! Absolutely the most enjoyable aspect of the entire cruise were the great people we met! We traveled with friends and we participated in a couple of events (Music Trivia and Team Pictionary) in the evening that turned out to be great fun! Also met a couple from Oregon that were lots of fun!

Unfortunately, all of the above positive aspects of the cruise were negated by the following debacle! Upon boarding the ship at 4:00 PM on Sept 21, we proceeded to our cabin. As soon as we entered the hallway we observed some type of machine down the hallway which was making quite a noise. As we approached our cabin, we realized this was a large blower that was right outside of our cabin door. Opening the door we were greeted by another of these large blowers in the entryway of the cabin. I quickly recognized the blower as a large industrial type used to dry out wet areas. The room was configured with two twins pushed together to make a queen size bed. On either side of the bed was suppose to be a night stand but the right side nightstand was removed and placed in front of the dresser on the other side of the room. This was necessary because the first 10 to 12 feet of cabin carpet was soaked in water. As we entered the room, water pushed up around our shoes.

I immediately went to Guest Services and was greeted by a long line of guests. Eventually, I was helped by a Guest Services individual named Caesar. As soon as I told him what the problem was he stated he was aware of the state of the carpet in the room and said it should be dried out quickly. I was informed that the bathtub had been allowed to overrun when it was being sanitized between cruises. It overflowed so badly that it soaked the carpet in the our cabin, the hallway outside the cabin, as well as the cabin next to us. I asked about moving to another cabin and was told the cruise was 100% booked and there was nowhere they could move us. I asked twice for clarification about cabins and was given the same answer again. He stated that they were extremely busy right then but would contact us after 6:00 PM. About 7:30, I again went to Guest Services and was told that they would send someone to check on the cabin. Approximately an hour later an individual from the ship's staff knocked on the door and checked the floor. He stated the machines would have to be left on to dry the carpet and left. The blower was so loud that we left the room and wandered around the ship just to escape the noise. After we returned I turned off the blower in the cabin so we could get some sleep. I turned it back on when we woke up the next morning. Upon returning from breakfast, we were greeted with a second machine which was a very large suction machine which made it impossible to get around the bed. We left very soon for a shore excursion and did not return until mid afternoon. Upon returning we noted someone had come in and moved both pieces of equipment to another spot. I went back to Guest Services and was again told they were working on the room and that we would receive compensation for our inconvenience. The representative stated she could not tell what this amount would be as management would decided the amount. Again was told there were no spare cabins. That night I again turned the machine off when we went to bed that evening. Carpet was drier but I could still mash water out of it. During the night a pillow fell off the bed and was dripping water when we picked it up in the morning. I turned the machine on again when we left for breakfast. We again went on and a shore excursion and returned to the machines. When we returned from dinner, the machines were finally gone. The smell in the room was terrible and reminded us of a wet dog. It stayed that way the entire cruise duration. Mind you this was day three of the cruise when the machines were removed. Consequently, the first three days of a seven day cruise was a disaster to us. On the night before the cruise ended, we returned from dinner and found a final bill statement on our door. After three days of putting up with a mess, Holland America offered us $300 in compensation. I went to Guest Services as was told by the rep that "this is the maximum compensation we can offer". After I stated that we put up with this mess for three days, I was told we were "only inconvenienced for two days" because the machines were taken out after two days. He quickly realized that was not true as my wife produced cell phone photos of our room with the equipment present. It was dated 17:02 23 Sept 2019 which was the evening of the third cruise day. He realized we were right and gave us no further argument about the fact. He went to the back and when he returned to the front desk he stated "they raised to compensation to $400". I was still unhappy about the offer but asked the rep if he could give me an updated statement. He again went to the back and upon returning he stated that the compensation was increased to $450. He offered no explanation for the increase. Realizing this was going no further, we left to pack for disembarkation the next morning.

As I stated initially, this cruise was a total letdown for us because of extremely poor management by Guest Services. We were given compensation (which I had to negotiate) that amounted to less than 10% of the amount we paid for the cruise. Probably more important was the fact that no one really seemed to care about our situation other than to state "we are working on it". My wife has a severely compromised immune system and we were very concerned about the possibility of mold or some other type of contamination being present in the room. I mentioned this to every single contact I had with Guest Services and not one person even acknowledged the fact I had brought it to their attention. We felt they did not care about our concerns.

This entire situation could have been avoided if we could have been moved into another cabin. To not have any available spare cabins is poor management at best. Actually, I find the fact they have no spare cabins very difficult to believe! When I brought up the issue of no spare cabins to the Guest Services gentlemen the last evening of the cruise he stated " Of course we had spare rooms but they were not of the size and comfort level of the cabin you were occupying".We had repeatedly been told that the ship was 100% booked and were now told they had spare rooms but not like ours! No one questioned us as to whether we would stay in a smaller room for a few days! Throughout this entire episode, we had to actively pursue resolution of our situation with Guest Services and they absolutely showed no concern for the condition of the cabin, our discomfort and inconvenience! We absolutely were not treated as valued customers! Additionally, we felt we were given the "run around" the entire cruise by Guest Services!

We certainly plan more cruises but it will not be with Holland America! Needless to say, our experience was unforgettable for the wrong reasons!

bobc1946's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Verandah Suite
Cabin BA A178

Except for the flooding issue, the cabin was OK but dated. We were on the Veranda Deck in a Vista Suite. The balcony was nice and offered very good views throughout the cruise. The bed was comfortable. Most of the room contained rather outdated furniture. Our dresser had a large burned spot from a cigarette. No attempt had been made to repair it. Also, the television was an antique with a sticker on the rear stating it had been manufactured in 2006. TV reception was also poor most of the time. Obviously the room seemed very bad from the wet carpet. It is difficult to be positive concerning a cabin that was wet from flooding.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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Nice tour with excellent guide!

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It was an interesting tour with beautiful gardens.

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Not much to see or do in Sydney. Went downtown but few shops. Nice coffee shop!

Best excursion of the cruise. Lovely town and a beautiful island. Extremely neat and clean and lots of sites to see. Excellent tour guide made things very interesting! Reminded us of Ireland!

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City Tour

Nice tour of the city.

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