I wanted to experience once again the smiling and friendly service staff of a HAL ship in a reasonably sized vessel. The Veendam was the perfect choice for us.
I cruised with my 86 year old father who has some stamina issues affecting his mobility so a mega ship full of kids and action was not in the equation. Veendam provided the perfect setting for a relaxing and pleasant week among "friends".
The ship is older but still kept in very good condition. Cleaning and maintenance were on going all week long. Out suite was in good shape, showing some age spots but with everything operational and comfy. Our toilet has some flushing issues on two morning but repairs happened quickly and effectively.
The entertainment was good, but the show room productions lacked an upbeat energy and so, to my taste, were boring. The music was obscure but the singing and dancing were strong. The comedian and ventriloquist were skilled and entertaining. The lounge entertainers were serviceable except for the piano bar guy, Stryker, who was fantastic.
Food was ranged from good to great. Nothing really bad except for the tough Veal (twice in two different venues). There was little that was fantastic and memorable. I did enjoy the DIVE in burgers and dogs. I found the baked good and pies a let down.
The biggest disappointment was in cruise staff who were nearly invisible. The CD seemed dropped the ball at least twice. First in not staffing or providing refreshments for the Veterans meeting. Second for a lack of shown support and encouragement for the "On Deck for a Cause" event.
I also must note that the bridge and operational officers should really, at the very least, nod and acknowledge guests when the pass them in the Hallways.
As always the highlight of any HAL cruise is the fantastic, smiling and patient service staff. They strive remember names and preferences from the very first meeting. My comment card was filled with names of those who we interacted with the most.
Very roomy, very comfortable, Loved the veranda and the newer large screen flat panel TV. The suite shows some age but was well maintained. Water temp and pressure were great. We had an issue with the toilet flushing but the repair came quickly and effectively.