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

Best HAL Cruise Ever!

Veendam Cruise Review by scpd1856

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Mar 2020
  • Destination: the Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom

This was our 38th cruise sailing with many different cruise lines and it was are 5th cruise on HAL. This cruise on HAL was one of the best cruises we have ever taken and by far the best ever on HAL. From start to finish everything was 5 star. We used Park N Go and after being dropped off at the ship we checked in and were in our room in less than 15 minutes. We only ate in the main dining twice, both times it was Gala Night. We preferred the Lido Buffet which had most of the main dining room menu but the real reason was one of the servers, Ariel. Ariel was the most upbeat, funny and hard-working server, aka chef, we have ever seen. Example: Ask for the carrots and he would say, "There from the Bugs Bunny Farm, What's up Doc?" Every day was a different show and they were all funny and entertaining. After a day or two he know our names, Sir Gary & Miss Dolly, and I told him that Dolly's birthday was the nest day. He advised that he would have something special for her on her birthday. Next night he surprised her with a small birthday cake and sang happy birthday to her.

OK, back to the review of the ship.

SHIP - Ship was kept spotless, no signs of wear and tear, no rust anywhere. Lots of lounge chairs, no trash left on tables. Just a pretty ship.

EXCURSIONS - Since we had sailed numerous times in the Caribbean we didn't book any excursions, we did visit Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Resort on Grand Turk and had a great time there. They had free umbrellas and lounge chairs and a huge freshwater pool. ( Great Margarita's too). On San Juan and St. Thomas we just did a little shopping and spent most of the time back on board.

CABIN - Oceanview cabin #625 was mid-ship, main deck. Lots of storage, comfortable queen bed, nice linens, lots of towels. The room was kept spotless by our stewards Sapta and Salmen.

DINING- Food in both the Lido and Main Dining was excellent, on par with Oceania Cruise Line. By far, the best food we have ever had on a HAL cruise. Breakfast, with Ariel at the omelet station, lunch and dinner in the Lido were exceptional. Taco bar by the pool was really good too.

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES - We only made one show and that was Chris Pendleton. She was funny, a good singer and put on a great show along with her daughter Zoe. At the piano bar, Stryker put on a great show every time I stopped there. As for activities I have to be honest and advise that we booked this cruise due to special pricing from the casino. It was $99 each, total pricing with taxes and port charges was $544.00!! Miss Dolly is the gambler and she did very well on the slots. The casino, after a few days of Miss Dolly on the slots, sent chocolate-covered strawberries for her and on the last night of the cruise offered her $1,000.00 casino credit on her next cruise with HAL! Nice.

SERVICE - Overall the entire crew was great. Always smiling, saying hello and just so friendly. Special notice for the following: Stewards Sapta & Salmen, bartenders John & Arniel, guest relations Maria and Edward and of course Ariel.

SIDE NOTE - We sailed just as the Corona Virus was gaining momentum. There were lots of hand sanitizing stations throughout the ship and a handwashing machine, you placed both your hands inside this thing and the water circled your hands with warm soapy water. as you entered the Lido Restaurant. We've been home now for 7 days and have no symptoms of the virus.

OVERALL - On some of our previous sailing on HAL we were somewhat disappointed but not on this trip. Everything was just great from the pricing, the food, the service, and the ship. Can't wait to book another cruise so Miss Dolly can gamble with House Money!!

scpd1856's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom

Nice sized room, large windows, huge amount of shortage, nice bathroom with tub and shower.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

If you're driving, use Park N Go. It's right near the ship, you drive in, they take your luggage, drop you off right by the porters. On return, there is shuttle always waiting to take you back to your car. They stop right in front of your car, unload your bags and off you go. They charge about $8 a day.

Grand Turk

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville is right there as you dock. Nice pool, lots of bars and free lounge chairs and umbrella if you get there early.

San Juan

Been there, done that. Just did a little shopping.

St. Thomas

Rainy off and on day. Shopped for booze at Majestic Jewelers in the Havensight Mall, bays C,D,E & F. Best prices on liquor, nice owner, Litul Gondalia.

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