We did a 7 day Carribean cruise with ports of call being, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Key West. Yes the Venndam is an older ship but I think it's in lovely condition. Being a smaller ship there isn't all the bells and whistles one might find on a larger ship which is one of the big reasons why we chose this cruise. The biggest selling point for us on HAL is the excellent service of the stewards, restaurant and concierge on the ship. These are the people you come in contact with most and all of them make it their mission to make sure you're vacation experience is top notch, and all done with a smile. My husband and I are 'foodies' and we found all our meals highly satisfactory expecially in the specialty restaurants as well as in the main dining room. As a part of trying to keep our calories, ahem, somewhat in check we did not partake of the Lido buffet during our cruise. Did a little gambling in the casino before dinner a couple of nights and although there is still smoking allowed, there is one night it is non-smoking, which was great. We enjoyed the America's Test Kitchen demonstrations as well. There are many activities on board during the day. You can be as active or vice-versa on this cruise. As far as excursions, we only booked 2. We did the Bamboo Club day at the beach in Ocho Rios which was...okay. Jamaica is a beautiful, rustic and earthy island. The beach we went to was small and definitely would recommend water shoes as there's a mix of sand and rocky soil. The brochure says it's a 30-40 drive but it's more like an hour. Our guides along the way were delightful but the beach experience itself was mixed. Some of the food was good, some, meh. The best was the seafood. The drinks they poured which were included in the price were limited in choice and of questionable quality. We also booked a food and wine tour in Key West but it was canceled. Did some shopping in Grand Cayman and dd not get off the boat in Cozumel. The most enjoyable port for us was Key West, hands down. Terrific food, fun bars and very walkable. There's a lot of history there such as the Truman White House and check out the Peace T-shirt store down the block from there. If there's one area of the ship that needs a redo I would say it's spa/gym area. There's a huge gym on board to the point of being under-utilized and in the same room is an exercise floor where yoga, pilates mat, and meditation classes are held which is not condusive to having cardio equipment in use 10 feet away from you. The women's room in the spa is more of a pass through and the warm service experienced everywere else on the ship seems to be lacking at the spa. There is a thermal room but the whirlpool is a 3 person pool but in reality either a one person hot tub or you and 2 of your closest friends you don't ming tangling your legs with because yes, it's that small. The thermal package is a 'must' for me but sadly the view from the ceramic tile beds is obstructed unlike other cruise lines I've sailed that have a clear view of the sea right in front of you. As you can probably deduce from this review, we were looking for a cruise to mainly just chill and relax with no firm agenda. This cruise fit us perfectly. Having read some of the negative reviews about their experience on the Veendam I feel I must say this: Sometimes our expectations can be a bit unrealistic which usually leads to disappointment. If you set your expectations to about 80 percent you're going to have an enjoyable and satisfactory trip and finding more than not your expectations will exceed the 80 percent. Actually the many of the negative comments written about were due, it seemed to me, as a result of not doing their homework before booking the cruise. Do your due dilligence in finding a cruise that that offers you the kind of activities and general vibe you're looking for. There are plenty of reviews these days that will help inform you to make the right choice. Here are a few things to consider before sailing on the Veendam: 1.The average age is most likely mid 60's although there were some young couples on the ship and there were children aboard but not many. 2. There is evening entertainment on board, we liked the comics and the Barry at the piano bar but if you're looking for Circ de soleil or Ice-skating extravaganze type shows,pass. 3. Do you want a disco and parties out on the Lido deck at night? Probably not your ship. 4. Do you want to unplug? Is one of your main goals for the day to look for a comfortable chair, cocktail in tow to read or rest? This is your ship. Although, if you want to be more social there are plenty of activities you can partake of as well. 5. If there would be one complaint I would say it was the lack of wine-by-the-glass choices with our signature beverage package. We aren't big drinkers, we never hit our daily limit, however, we do like wine with dinner and it felt like the red wine choices were so limited that in order to get a decent glass of red wine you'd have to pay extra for it and we personally felt we had already paid enough for the package. 6. Most reviewers suggest bringing a power strip for your phones, apple watch, etc. and they are right. There are a few outlets (we had a suite) in the room but not many and they are spread out. We had our phones, apple watches and kindles with us and the power strip came in handy big time as well as keeping all our electronic plug-in in one area of the room. We had a lovely time. I'd go back tomorrow if I could. Beautiful weather, calm seas, beautiful blue water, meals beautifully prepared for you and sleeping on a gently rolling seas. Heaven.

Every Day Was A Great Day

Veendam Cruise Review by Dancer61

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Suite with Verandah
We did a 7 day Carribean cruise with ports of call being, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Key West. Yes the Venndam is an older ship but I think it's in lovely condition. Being a smaller ship there isn't all the bells and whistles one might find on a larger ship which is one of the big reasons why we chose this cruise. The biggest selling point for us on HAL is the excellent service of the stewards, restaurant and concierge on the ship. These are the people you come in contact with most and all of them make it their mission to make sure you're vacation experience is top notch, and all done with a smile. My husband and I are 'foodies' and we found all our meals highly satisfactory expecially in the specialty restaurants as well as in the main dining room. As a part of trying to keep our calories, ahem, somewhat in check we did not partake of the Lido buffet during our cruise. Did a little gambling in the casino before dinner a couple of nights and although there is still smoking allowed, there is one night it is non-smoking, which was great. We enjoyed the America's Test Kitchen demonstrations as well. There are many activities on board during the day. You can be as active or vice-versa on this cruise.

As far as excursions, we only booked 2. We did the Bamboo Club day at the beach in Ocho Rios which was...okay. Jamaica is a beautiful, rustic and earthy island. The beach we went to was small and definitely would recommend water shoes as there's a mix of sand and rocky soil. The brochure says it's a 30-40 drive but it's more like an hour. Our guides along the way were delightful but the beach experience itself was mixed. Some of the food was good, some, meh. The best was the seafood. The drinks they poured which were included in the price were limited in choice and of questionable quality. We also booked a food and wine tour in Key West but it was canceled. Did some shopping in Grand Cayman and dd not get off the boat in Cozumel. The most enjoyable port for us was Key West, hands down. Terrific food, fun bars and very walkable. There's a lot of history there such as the Truman White House and check out the Peace T-shirt store down the block from there.

If there's one area of the ship that needs a redo I would say it's spa/gym area. There's a huge gym on board to the point of being under-utilized and in the same room is an exercise floor where yoga, pilates mat, and meditation classes are held which is not condusive to having cardio equipment in use 10 feet away from you. The women's room in the spa is more of a pass through and the warm service experienced everywere else on the ship seems to be lacking at the spa. There is a thermal room but the whirlpool is a 3 person pool but in reality either a one person hot tub or you and 2 of your closest friends you don't ming tangling your legs with because yes, it's that small. The thermal package is a 'must' for me but sadly the view from the ceramic tile beds is obstructed unlike other cruise lines I've sailed that have a clear view of the sea right in front of you. As you can probably deduce from this review, we were looking for a cruise to mainly just chill and relax with no firm agenda. This cruise fit us perfectly.

Having read some of the negative reviews about their experience on the Veendam I feel I must say this: Sometimes our expectations can be a bit unrealistic which usually leads to disappointment. If you set your expectations to about 80 percent you're going to have an enjoyable and satisfactory trip and finding more than not your expectations will exceed the 80 percent. Actually the many of the negative comments written about were due, it seemed to me, as a result of not doing their homework before booking the cruise. Do your due dilligence in finding a cruise that that offers you the kind of activities and general vibe you're looking for. There are plenty of reviews these days that will help inform you to make the right choice.

Here are a few things to consider before sailing on the Veendam:

1.The average age is most likely mid 60's although there were some young couples on the ship and there were children aboard but not many.

2. There is evening entertainment on board, we liked the comics and the Barry at the piano bar but if you're looking for Circ de soleil or Ice-skating extravaganze type shows,pass.

3. Do you want a disco and parties out on the Lido deck at night? Probably not your ship.

4. Do you want to unplug? Is one of your main goals for the day to look for a comfortable chair, cocktail in tow to read or rest? This is your ship. Although, if you want to be more social there are plenty of activities you can partake of as well.

5. If there would be one complaint I would say it was the lack of wine-by-the-glass choices with our signature beverage package. We aren't big drinkers, we never hit our daily limit, however, we do like wine with dinner and it felt like the red wine choices were so limited that in order to get a decent glass of red wine you'd have to pay extra for it and we personally felt we had already paid enough for the package.

6. Most reviewers suggest bringing a power strip for your phones, apple watch, etc. and they are right. There are a few outlets (we had a suite) in the room but not many and they are spread out. We had our phones, apple watches and kindles with us and the power strip came in handy big time as well as keeping all our electronic plug-in in one area of the room.

We had a lovely time. I'd go back tomorrow if I could. Beautiful weather, calm seas, beautiful blue water, meals beautifully prepared for you and sleeping on a gently rolling seas. Heaven.
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Cabin Review

Neptune Suite with Verandah
Cabin SA
Room to spread out. King size bed. Fresh fruit and an expresso maker in our room. Separate dressing room with vanity leading to the bathroom. We were right under the Lido deck but never heard anything from above us.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews