I don't know what all the fuss is about, but I actually loved the Veendam. This was my 7th HAL cruise and the 1st on the Veendam. If you want a quiet relaxing cruise this is the one for you. I went with a group of elderly gentlemen and had a fantastic time.
Yes, there are not a lot of activities and the ship is older and smaller, but kept in immaculate condition. I had no problems on this cruise. I had a Vista suite, cabin B082 in the very aft of the ship in the corner. The cabin attendants (Indy & ?) were very attentive and kept the cabin in tip top shape. No problems with the heating or air conditioning. No clock, so bring one along, and only 1 electrical outlet but ask the cabin attendant for an extension cord or bring one along also.
I found that the food was outstanding. I was a little hesitant on some of the beef dishes, but I needed not to be concerned as the beef tenderloins and short ribs were very tender. The dining room steward was friendly and attentive. Lunches were in the Lido room and a wide selection of dishes.
Although not as large as the Neptune Suite, the Vista Suite is perfect for 1 person or 2 people at the max. Small deck. Only problem was only 1 electrical outlet. Check with the cabin steward for an extension cord.