9 New York (Manhattan) Expedition Cruise Reviews

We had looked forward to sailing on Norwegian's Breakaway since last year. New ship, new feature and it offered so much promise. Sadly, the hype doesn't live up to the reality. Food was mediocre at best. Never heard or ... Read More
We had looked forward to sailing on Norwegian's Breakaway since last year. New ship, new feature and it offered so much promise. Sadly, the hype doesn't live up to the reality. Food was mediocre at best. Never heard or experienced lobster night not being served in main dining but as part of the buffet. Saw our cabin steward when we first went in to cabin then not again for 3 days. No turn down service on first night, ice bucket never filled more than 1/4 way even after leaving a note asking. The only decent place to get a steak cooked medium was Le Bistro. Everywhere else, was browned or bloodied. room service menu very limited and you get charged for late night service. Your healthy options are non-existent. You will load up on carbs and sweets so you will easily put on the 8-10 lbs. they seem to take pride in. Burgers are good, yet sausage, bratwurst and links are under cooked. Don.t eat at La Cucina. You will get better Italian food anywhere else. Informed a day prior about a low sodium request. Their solution was to serve it dry, no sauce at all. Nothing Italian about it". In the 24 hours, prior, no attempt to make a Marsala sauce with a bit less salt? Shows are limited. Theater is small so u need to book reservations. Same shows as well. Burn the floor well done...Rock of Ages...lacked energy and a plot. ..Comedian Michael Finney was very good. second City was fine. Captain was very impersonal. Posed for pics one day for a total of 15minutes...barely spoke at Latitudes gathering and lacked enthusiasm when he did. We are used to crews also initiating "hello", not the case here. When one did ask about things which were you experienced on past cruises and enjoyed, standard answer "This is the Breakaway"..... Which I determined, forget the niceties, we do things our own way, when we want to and forget the cruise experience you used to enjoy. Water slides are fun and obstacles course was a blast. Liked the adult only Spice H2O. Next cruises...smaller ship with more better food and service ratings. Read the reviews and trust the poor to middle. They are more accurate. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
It was apparent from the start that Carnival is trying to enhance their bottom line, often at the expense of their "guests". The so-called "shows" were pathetic...almost all dancing, and even that not well done. The ... Read More
It was apparent from the start that Carnival is trying to enhance their bottom line, often at the expense of their "guests". The so-called "shows" were pathetic...almost all dancing, and even that not well done. The costumes were second rate as well. Our room was a nice size (mini-suite), but the decor was in bad taste. It had a "glitzy" feeling....oranges, golds, pinks, etc. Around the fifth day, someone came in and installed some more granite in the bathtub area....but, they left the drain and four screws out....it was not not possisble to get the water to the shower position w/o getting soaked in the process. We did have a good cabin attendent, but we tipped him every night to encourage the service. The martini's were good, and were filled to the brim by freindly bartenders (one of the better parts of the trip) Unfortunately, the food was pathetic. We ate in the dining room one night; that was enough to convince us not to come back. We ate one dinner in the Steak House (extra charge) that was very good. The rest of the time we ate at the buffet, which was fair to medium...not on par with buffet's on other ships we've been on. I have sailed on Holland America, Princess and Celebrity in the past, and I can truthfuly say Carnival is nowhere near the caliber of service offered by these lines. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We boarded the ship in NY and were impressed with the embarkation process. We had an opportunity to have access to our room and were very impressed with the size of the Princess Grill room. The room was big and gave us room to walk ... Read More
We boarded the ship in NY and were impressed with the embarkation process. We had an opportunity to have access to our room and were very impressed with the size of the Princess Grill room. The room was big and gave us room to walk around without bumping into each other. The additional closet space was a gift with all the clothes we had packed. Our room steward, Rommel, was very helpful and kept our room spotless. The ship as a whole was impressive and very regal. Does not have the glitz and glamor of other cruise ships. It has lot's of wood railings and paneling. The ship was constantly being cleaned. I found the ship's staff very personable. Always wishing us a good day. The food in all areas was very good. We had moments when we didn't feel like getting dressed formally and enjoyed the option of having a meal as we desired in the buffet. We also enjoyed the Todd English restaurant. Very good and the service was exceptional. Our service in the Princess Grill was very memorable. The whole restaurant staff were very personable and we were greeted at all meals with a smile. Our staff included Robert, Gordon, RoseMarie and Sanntosh. Our sommelier, Silvanna was very knowledgeable and gave us exceptional service. Patou and Yonell....... our Maitre D's were proper and meticulous. We enjoyed coming for our meals and having the exceptional service we expected at that level. The shore excursions were wonderful. The only caveat may be the cigarette smoking. As a non smoker...... it was not comfortable to have your next door neighbor smoking on his deck. We would have to close our deck door for a while. And parts of the interior had a smoky aroma. We have taken a few cruises and know there are glitches. We accept those as part of traveling. We have met so many new friends that we keep in contact today on previous cruises and this cruise is no exception. I was involved with an informal aviation group meeting on sea days and enjoyed the impromptu discussions. The disembarkation was easy and orderly. Our concierge finalized our arrival and made the journey a wonderful memory for my beautiful wife and our 25th anniversary. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Just returned this afternoon from a 10 day New England/Canada cruise with MSC: The ship is beautiful & clean, the food was good. This was only our second cruise but the comparisons between Princess and MSC were glaring. #1] This ... Read More
Just returned this afternoon from a 10 day New England/Canada cruise with MSC: The ship is beautiful & clean, the food was good. This was only our second cruise but the comparisons between Princess and MSC were glaring. #1] This was a European line, each time an announcement was made it was made in 5 different languages (tedious to say the least) #2] In ten days we (party of 4) did not speak with one staff person who had English as their first language. It was almost comical in the dining room. #3] Breakfast in the dining room was awful and we ended up eating at the buffet each morning (Breakfast in the Princess dining room was luxurious). #4] Upon leaving our 3rd port (Quebec) we ran into an awful storm in the North Atlantic and our Halifax stop was cancelled. Okay you can't control the weather we understood this, though very disappointed, but there was NOT one concession made for that part of our itinerary being missed. NOTHING. How about a complimentary glass of wine that night? They had our $$$, we were very disappointed. Due to this storm we sailed from Monday night to Friday morning with no stops and no extra activities were offered. Really?. Tedious. #5] Cabins were nice, smaller than Princess, the pillows were awful I have stayed in Motel 8's where I've had better pillows. They were made from chunks of foam rubber stuck in a case. #6] Embarkation for excursions were so disorganized it was a wonder anyone got to where they wanted. Poor communication. Hurry up and wait. #7] Our cabin was kept spotless. Kudo's to the room stewards. #8] Guides on our port excursions were wonderful. #9] Final embarkation in NYC was so disorganized and folks so on edge we saw two fights!!! We picked this cruise because it went round trip started in NYC ended in NYC and this meant we didn't have to fly. Sorry MSC probably will not be cruising with you again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was a lovely cruise from NYC to Bermuda. My tips are: Not every extra fee restaurant was better than the free dining options but at the same time I was not ONCE disappointed or regretful I spent the extra couple of bucks. Well ... Read More
This was a lovely cruise from NYC to Bermuda. My tips are: Not every extra fee restaurant was better than the free dining options but at the same time I was not ONCE disappointed or regretful I spent the extra couple of bucks. Well worth the money was Cagney's Steak House, Sushi, the French place. Check the wine list then decide whether or not to bring your own at a $15 per bottle fee. Example...This cruise had Paraduxx for $96. I can buy Paraduxx for $40 + $15 to bring it on the ship for a total of $55 AKA a savings of $41. Don't be enticed by a "free" bottle as some reward unless you know what it is. Friends had a free bottle for booking with some agency and the free bottle was straight up gross. If you're going to get a balcony you can take pieces from the sofa that rolls out into a bed and make a nest outside. HOWEVER - be aware they spray down the windows when docked and if your neighbor spill something next door your nest might get wet too. Also be aware there may be a person in the maintenance rover that runs along the ship. If you're shy you may want to close the drapes before getting naked in your room - of if your like me you'll wait until you hear the guy outside and throw it open. Luckily the people in the maintenance rover are strapped right too it so they don't fall too far. If you can reach behind the lowest drawer in the closet unit sometimes you can find treasure from the previous guests - or as in my case a pair of granny panties and a lady's shirt. We had a bonus sock under our bed too and we were not billed for any of those items - BONUS! See the Man from Mars act - he's hot and his lady assistant is hot too. And they do all sorts of flexible sexy maneuvers that would be cool even if they were not hot. The drink is always better when you tell the bartender what kind of alcohol you want in it and "house" won't get you the best drink. Spend a minute cleaning your windows or ask some one to do it for you on the first day. When they hose them down they don't dry them so you get water spots and it can be distracting. Overall, I loved my vacation on the Gem. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We Arrived in New York 21st overnighted then Boarded next day Saturday. No Luggage labbles available/supplied until the Bus has arrived at the dock & we had waited over 20 minutes. Boarded the Poesia & escorted to our Cabin on ... Read More
We Arrived in New York 21st overnighted then Boarded next day Saturday. No Luggage labbles available/supplied until the Bus has arrived at the dock & we had waited over 20 minutes. Boarded the Poesia & escorted to our Cabin on Deck 12 (Balcony). First couple of days experience "passable" but the continual 5 languages begun to annoy. ENGLISH (1748 english speaking passengers)LATIN(OK it is a Latin Ship) GERMAN ( I know that most Greman schools teach German as a second language)FRENCH & SPANISH. The Impression we obtained (along with numerous other passengers was that ANNA (Cruise Director) liked the sound of her voice & desired to show how clever she is. Food, passable but SO REPERTICOUS absoluteley no variation to Breakfast & lunch in the Buffett Diner poorly cooked presented & the variety appalling. Crusie Shows NO LIVE BAND IN THE THRETER; no intrduction of the EXCELLENT PERFORMERS. On the final night supposed to be HIGHTLIGHTS OF THE CRUISE not one singer no dancing no crowd involvement ect ect ect. Tours good but very much over priced $98 each to see the town & canal we did it by Taxi $25 each WHY THE ENNORMOUS PRICE HIKE. Staff distant did NOT show ANY Hospitality to Passengers & seemed to be allocated one task,ie pick up dirty plates that is ALL I DO do not suggest I should pick up dirty glasses. Service Charge "NOT NEGOTIABLE" $12/day/passenger. If Passengers chose to "tip" individual Staff can"happen" but the service charge WILL NOT BE REMOVED UNTIL AFTER CLOSE OF BUSINESS LAST NIGHT. 0545 morning of arrival over 250 lined up trying to sort out Service Charge ect. Why can not the accounts be closed say 8.00pm last night & the ability be given to sort out questions during the last night. MANY OTHER CRUISE LINES OPERATE THIS WAY; no it seems to be TOOO HARD FOR MSC besides THIS IS THE WAY MSC OPERATES PASSENGERS DO AS WE SAY. It almost seems in good Faulty Towers style: MSC would run a very happy contented problem free cruise if it was PASSENGER FREE. & believe me my family will contribute to making MSC PASSENGER FREE. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
A review of the Carnival Glory sailing from New York City on August 22 to St. John and Halifax, Canada. This was our tenth cruise on Carnival and the start of our status a Platinum Members. Embarkation: We arrived at 11:30 a.m. and ... Read More
A review of the Carnival Glory sailing from New York City on August 22 to St. John and Halifax, Canada. This was our tenth cruise on Carnival and the start of our status a Platinum Members. Embarkation: We arrived at 11:30 a.m. and already found that a line had formed for check-in even though that did not officially open until noon. Plenty of porters were on hand to handle the luggage. We quickly passed through security and found the VIP line for Platinum members. Because of that, we were checked-in very quickly. We were then taken to the VIP lounge where other Platinum members were waiting. We were told we would be taken on board first and that a representative would come get us very shortly. Half an hour later, we were still there. After hearing three groups being called to board, a fellow passenger pointed out that the VIP room was still waiting to board. Apparently, someone forgot about us in there. Carnival's customer relations supervisor showed up and took us on board after apologizing for the slip up. I noticed huge general check-in lines that did not seem to move very fast. Thank God we have Platinum status now. Grade: B- Stateroom/Steward Service: We had a balcony stateroom on deck 8 Verandah. Our cabin was very clean and in excellent shape. The bathroom was showing a little wear and tear but was very clean. Our steward was excellent and always asked us if we needed anything especially since we were Platinum guests. The daily laundry service for Platinum guests was great and clothes given to them in the morning was returned to us washed and folded by 6:00 that evening. Our steward asked our dining time on embarkation day so he could service our room after we left for dinner so we were not disturbed. We got the usual towel animals every evening which are always fun to look at. As Platinum guests, we received a gift and occasional treats left in our room. Grade: A Food Service: Sadly, one of the most important areas of a cruise ship was the biggest disappointment. My apologies in advance to Carnival and its fans who may be reading this as I will get rather critical here. Let's start with the dinner service in the main dining room. Dinner here can be described in one word: S-L-O-W. Not once did we have our main course before the wait staff either sang or danced for us at show time. On all of my previous cruises with this line, I had either finished or was finishing desert at that time. On formal night, our main courses of lobster and shrimp arrived cold. The maitre d' was nearby and was called over for assistance. He apologized and told our wait staff to remove the plates and get us new dishes. When they arrived, the plates and the food were red hot. We suspected right away that the food was placed in a microwave or an oven and reheated. Unfortunately, this dried out the lobster tail and the shrimp. I ordered the warm chocolate melting cake for desert. However, it had so much chocolate in it that it resembled soup. We left dinner very disappointed after having what was, without a doubt, our worst dinner service ever on ten cruises with Carnival. Our head waiter apologized for the slow food service and said that there were issues with getting the food from the kitchen. His assistant, who would get the food, said that the pick-up area resembled a war zone with wait staff yelling for their food orders from cooks who were way too slow to meet the demand. Other passengers we met had similar complaints about the slow service. On the final night, we had dinner in the buffet as we were fed up with waiting for main courses. I now wish I had gone to the steak house as everyone who went told me it was wonderful. Sometimes the food at dinner was good and sometimes just fair. We did find it ridiculous that our appetizer and salad plates sat in front of us for nearly 20 minutes every night until someone finally showed up to take them. We could tell that the wait staff was very frustrated with the kitchen delays. Breakfast and lunch visits here were a bit better but the dining room was not nearly as busy either. At one breakfast visit, we were seated at a larger table and the waitress seemed overwhelmed. The dining room is a good choice for those wanting a relaxing a peaceful breakfast or lunch as compared to the sometimes chaotic Lido deck. The buffet lines were your standard breakfast fare and lunch foods varied by day. The quality of the food was generally good. The buffet was kept well stocked and was exceptionally clean. Be prepared for long lines during peak times. The deli and burrito stations were fine as was the grill and the 24 hour pizza. These also can have long wait lines as the staffs in these areas are small. We found that the table service in Lido was a bit slow when it came to removing trays and cleaning up tables. It seemed to me that there was less staff than usual. The Mongolian Grill was outstanding. The problem was the one hour wait to get through the line. We discovered when reaching the front that there were two cooks at this station to stir fry the food. No wonder! Previous Carnival cruises had four or five cooks on this station so the line moved. It's also curiously stationed at a smaller food service area by the pool area on Lido deck. This led to a line that was right by one of the swimming pools. The fish and chips station was very good. It's located upstairs from the Lido buffet but there was never a line when I went there. Perhaps its location has something to do with that. Room service had quality food but slow service. It took them two hours one day to deliver cold sandwiches and coffee. I usually ordered a pot of coffee from them each morning and that was delivered within an hour. Clearly, there were some staffing issues that caused issues with the normally good food service. I don't know if it was just too many passengers and not enough staff. Hard to say but clearly, the crew was overwhelmed at times. Hopefully, this problem was limited to this ship and is not a fleet wide issue. Grade: C Crew Members/Officers/Cruise Director: Most crew members we encountered were professional, polite and helpful. All said hello or good morning to us when we saw them. Our wait staff in the dining room was not very personable and said little to us other then when apologizing for delays with the food. This sort of compounded the dining room issues for us. The cruise director, Josh, we had before and enjoyed having him again. He is genuinely funny and enjoys his job. Guest services were very helpful with a few minor questions. The separate line for Platinum guests was great as there were sometimes huge lines there. Grade: B Ports of Call/Excursions: Ports of call were in St. John and in Halifax. Carnival provided a wide variety of excursions to choose from. St. John: We took the day trip to the Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy. This is great trip that will show you a lot of unusual scenery as well as great view of the tides of the Bay of Fundy. The trip will take up most of the time in port but is well worth it. Halifax: We took the trip to Peggy's Cove. This is a beautiful fishing village that has some very scenic views. The weather was perfect making this trip even better. It's only three hours and allows you time to walk around Halifax on your own after you get back. Thanks to two people who apparently ignored numerous requests to see Canadian immigration, disembarking was delayed in St. John. The excursions desk did a very smart thing. Anyone with a long excursion, as we did, was literally seated near the ship's exit so we could get off first once the ship was cleared. This turned out to be a very smart move. Grade: A Entertainment/Shows: The two musical shows put on were very good but we had seen them before on previous cruises. It would be nice to see some newer and different productions. The show "Just an Illusion" was the best we had ever seen on Carnival. The comedians were very funny but get there early as the comedy clubs fill up fast. We didn't and had to stand in the back. The disco was fine but was not too crowded and was rather empty. The piano bar was pretty full on a nightly basis and the pianist was great. Grade: A- Shopping: The duty free shop had their usual sales of watches, watch sets and jewelry. My wife found some good jewelry buys as she always does on Carnival. The other store had duty free liquor, cigarettes and general souvenirs were basically the same old stuff. It would be nice to see Carnival add a few more shops to its ships at some port instead of the usual two. The staff in the stores was friendly and knowledgeable. The photo shop was fine but, personally, I think way too many pictures get taken of the passengers and we declined to have our picture taken most of the time when they asked. We have enough of them already! I did manage a great deal on a digital camera I had been looking at prior to this vacation so that was a nice find. Grade: B+ Ship's Condition: The Glory is starting to show some wear and tear but is still a fine ship. Crew members were always cleaning, shining and polishing to keep her in good shape. No noticeable damage in the common areas was ever seen and the ship as a whole was well maintained. Grade: A Debarkation: As we headed south back to New York, Hurricane Irene headed north for the same city. As a result, Carnival moved up the arrival time by two hours so all passengers could get off the ship early. This was an outstanding move as New York was preparing to be hit by the hurricane and had announced shut downs of mass transit and the airports as of that afternoon. Kudos to Carnival for allowing passengers to use their cabin phones to call home without charge so as to make or confirm their pick-up arrangements. The captain also kept us posted as to the storm's progress. We were off the ship early and home in New Jersey with time to spare to prepare for the impending storm. Grade: A. Summary: Our first time as Carnival Platinum guests was a bit disappointing mostly due to the issues with the food service which is normally one of Carnival's strengths. However, we did not let that ruin what was otherwise a good vacation. Many passengers thought that five days was too short of a cruise and I would tend to agree. Carnival runs seven day cruises to Canada and New England in the fall but not during the summer months. Perhaps they should consider doing it. For example, stops in Maine and Boston after Canada would have been nice. This was not the best cruise we have ever been on but it wasn't our worst either. However, Carnival is capable of better. We sail on Carnival in January and April of 2012 so we will be hoping that our experiences are better than this one. Final Overall Grade: B. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
B A C K G R O U N D When I learnt that I had to go to the United States this Summer, I had already booked our annual family holiday- it was to be a 7 night cruise in the Western Mediterranean on the Seabourn Spirit. Upon realizing that ... Read More
B A C K G R O U N D When I learnt that I had to go to the United States this Summer, I had already booked our annual family holiday- it was to be a 7 night cruise in the Western Mediterranean on the Seabourn Spirit. Upon realizing that could no longer be, I cancelled with Seabourn and started looking for a cruise departing from the USA. Two things intrigued me about the Veendam's offering- one, was the size of the ship, as she is very much the last relatively small, 55,000 ton cruise ship deployed on one week 'Sun' cruises during the Summer ex. USA from a major cruise line. Second was the nature of her itinerary- she sailed the Bermuda run of 'old', visiting St. George prior to sailing for an hour or so into Hamilton, Bermuda, docking right on Front Street. This was the Bermuda voyage of old, the classical Bermudan cruise that took you right into the heart of the island, and didn't strew you on the Royal Navy Dockyard miles away from anything of interest. You saw Bermuda for what it really was, something that is rare on today's island cruises (i.e. St. Thomas, St. Martin). And so, I booked an outside cabin, class FF Number 716. The fare per person for this cruise was $1199. P R E- C R U I S E I arrived in New York one week prior to the departure of the cruise. I stayed in The Ritz-Carlton, New York Battery Park, which although not bad was very much over-priced and I would struggle to justify staying here again. It was not akin to all the other Ritz-Carlton hotels I have stayed in, and although being on Battery Park proved tranquil at night, it was a 40 minute subway ride to anyplace of interest besides Wall Street. Again, the hotel wasn't terrible by any stretch, but for the cut-throat market that New York City is, the Ritz left a lot to be desired. E M B A R K A T I O N This was a quick, sound embarkation. Upon arriving at the Manhattan docks, a porter took our luggage and we moved into the terminal. Upon completing the signing of the medical form, we arrived at the check in desk where we quickly completed the procedure before being handed our cruise card, clearing security and then boarding the beautiful M/S Veendam. 5+ stars, a great embarkation. T H E S H I P The Veendam was recently very extensively refurbished, even being partially re-built. This has created a cruise ship which is traditional in design, yet has all the modernity that one would expect from a vessel of this age. The Explorers Cafe, a library, coffee shop, lounge and internet cafe area seemed very much like the Seabourn Square, which is quite a compliment. It was a lovely area to have on the ship. The two tiered main dining room, with a string quartet playing every night was also reminiscent of dining being an event, not the mere consumption of food- the theater was a comfortable show lounge, although I would recommend going to a show early. The Lido was akin to that of any cruise ship, with enough tables. The stern pool with the movies under the stars screen was a great addition to the ship, as was the culinary arts center which doubled into quite a nice cinema. The fitness center was more than adequate, with commanding views of the bow. Through a little-known about corridor, which you can access either from the fitness center or the promenade, one can right onto the bow of the ship. The Veendam had a sophisticated ambiance about her, with all of the comforts, intimacy and familiarity you would expect from a smaller ship, coupled with most, if not all of the features one would find on the larger vessels. When all is said and done, she was a lovely measured balance. E N T E R T A I N T M E N T The entertainment aboard was plentiful and varied, if not a slight tad more sedate than that found on the larger vessels on this route. The evening shows all were great, as were the cabaret acts that really did make you roar in laughter. There were interesting dance classes, seminars, music all over the ship, pool games on deck, dancing on deck too, the disco at night, and so on. It was lively, fun, but not over-the-top or in your face. The Culinary Arts Center had a varied program which was great for foodies, and there was also a dedicated wine tasting area. The Arts Center coupled into a cinema, and HAL would keep a table of popcorn, etc. ready at the entrance. Julie, the Cruise Director did her job well. Overall a fine balance in the on board entertainment. P O R T S OF C A L L St. George, Bermuda- When we arrived at St. George we were informed that the port had been cancelled for all but excursion guests, as one of the two tenders had had an engine failure and was unable to sail that day. Holland America Line offered non-excursion passengers a free bus transfer from Hamilton to go back and see St. George (about 40 minutes drive) as compensation. As I had taken the Bermuda island tour, we were put on tenders to St. George- as soon as our tender left the Veendam raised her anchor and set out for the 1 hour cruise into Hamilton. Upon boarding the bus for out tour, we only spent minimum time in the parish, as we had a tour of the entire island coming up. Nonetheless, from what one saw St. George really is a beautiful part of Bermuda- think St. Martin prior to the cruise boom, when she was still as she used to be. Islands people living their lives, shops, etc. designed to cater to the Bermudan people, not tourists. One needs not speak about the beauty of Bermudan beeches, for they really are something else. Nothing can possibly compare (I, myself, live on an island, and the Bermudan beeches blew me away). Although the future Veendam cruises in 2012 will not include St. George, I would strongly recommend getting on a bus and spending some time there. Hamilton, Bermuda- As Bermuda is such a small island, our stay in Hamilton was very much a stay of every parish in the country, as our great excursion took us on a round trip of the entire island. As I have repeatedly said, outside of the Royal Navy Dockyard, Bermuda is very much an relatively untouched, not overtly touristy place, which makes it all the better. As the Veendam docks right on Front Street, she acts as your city center hotel- you get off the ship and voila, you are in the heart of Hamilton. The city itself is fully walk-able, and has some good shopping, quite comfortable surroundings as well as a colonial British flair that reminded me of my own country (itself a former British island colony). I took a diving excursion which was one of the best dives I have undertaken, and we dived a recent wreck of a ferry which was good in the sense that they had cleaned her out to make her accessible to non-wreck divers. The beeches in Bermuda, again, need no introduction as they are truly fabulous, especially if you go to anyone other than Horseshoe, which can get quite crowded. C A B I N- Our cabin, Class FF Number 716 on A Deck was very comfortable, and had as much space as I expected. Two twin beds as well as a sofa that extended into a third bed during the nights, and a sitting area in the morning/daytime hours. The toilet, although small, had enough space with a bathtub that coupled as a shower. I do believe, however, that although there was nothing outwardly wrong with the cabin, the toilet needs a freshening up. Nonetheless, overall, a comfortable place to dwell and sleep in, enough room, good storage space and a good sea-view from the picture window. We had air conditioning problems for the first two nights, but to be honest they were not too extreme. It was fixed after two nights, a letter of apology was sent to us, as well as a credit which was more than generous. S E R V I C E- The service on board was wonderful, and, as HAL markets itself, premium. The waiters were great, the room steward attentive and friendly, the excursion staff helpful, the cruise director approachable, and the bar staff were courteous. Everything was as needed to be. The reception helped a lot in many situations. The Captain, however, was far less visible than that of any master in a cruise I have previously taken. He did seem to live in his own cocoon and never mixed with passengers. Even when I sent him a letter about a wonderful experience, I received a message from the Guest Relations supervisor telling me that they were pleased- the Captain didn't do anything less than his duty, which although fine, isn't what I expected. Beside this, which I wouldn't even call a gripe, the service on board was truly great. F O O D This is where the Veendam really shone. When once considers this isn't a luxury cruise, the food was approaching luxury standards. Exciting menus, everything was cooked very well, tasted wonderful and dinner was something to look forward too every evening. The lido also had a wide variety of food, although lunch would end at 2:30 every day, which was about the time I'd come back aboard from touring Bermuda. They had nothing but very light snacks until dinner, which was a shame. Some days the burger joint and pizzeria would be open at this time, and in those situations there was no problem. I think it is vital for a cruise ship to have at least one eatery serving food during all daytime hours, other than room service. Other than that, the food was superb. C O N C L U S I O N Will I be returning to Bermuda in the future? Yes, yes and yes ! Will I be returning to HAL in the future? Three yeses. Both proved to be wonderful and replenishing. It is a shame that HAL are pulling this itinerary after 2012, so if I were you I'd do everything to experience it before then. This is the last remnant of 'classical' Bermudan cruising, of going to the islands through their real gateways, St. George and Hamilton, not the massive cruise port on the North of the island. When the Veendam departs Bermuda for the last time, an era in Bermudan cruising would be over. The Veendam is a delightful ship, that offers a premium experience with great value for money. This is a wonderful cruise vacation that was very much a 'premium' experience that I would full heartily recommend. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our second cruise on Silver Cloud. Boarding in New York was delayed due to the ship encountering bad weather but we were well looked after by the ground crew with drinks, nibbles and $US100 to make us feel better. The ship's ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Silver Cloud. Boarding in New York was delayed due to the ship encountering bad weather but we were well looked after by the ground crew with drinks, nibbles and $US100 to make us feel better. The ship's crew did a magnificent job of turning the ship around in a very short time and we were boarded very quickly and efficiently. Was actually a bonus as we sailed out of New York after dark and was quite splendid to see the city lit up. We had a mid Veranda cabin on deck 7, which as ever was spotlessly clean and tidy. Only complaint was that the 'double' bed did not have a double top over the two single beds and there was a ridge down the middle. The ship was in excellent condition with the staff constantly cleaning and painting. The food was as good as you could ever want and Saletta restaurant an absolute delight with the fantastic staff making it an experience to remember with the wine and food matching. The Italian restaurant was again staffed by exceptional personnel but perhaps a little more change in the menu would have been nice although the food could not be faulted and we dined there often. The main dining room was always excellent and the Maitre D was only too happy to organise any dish you had a craving for. The special Indian menus we were lucky to experience a few times, were probably the best Indian food I have ever eaten and I don't particularly like it, but it was great and the Chef, who was actually the pastry chef I understand, deserves to be cooking Indian food all the time. David the executive chef for part of our cruise really did add to our food knowledge with his sessions and ran his kitchen like a true master. He also had a great singing voice which was enjoyed by all who were lucky enough to hear him. The staff in all the restaurants were beautifully trained, attentive and very personable. Sonya the Wine specialist kept us entertained and educated with her wine tastings, we did not miss any of them, she was excellent and always recommended an extra good wine whenever we were having a special dinner. She never gave us a wine we didn't really enjoy. Sadly the quality of the wines served at meals has diminished a little, but then times are tough. Judy as ever was an excellent Cruise Director but sadly she left us after the Amazon where she did a wonderful job of commenting through the narrows, we did miss her and wondered how anyone could replace her. Glenn Younger came on board and did things quite differently and bought a new perspective to the cruise. She has such a bright bubbly personality, we all loved her too. She started a few different forms of entertainment and even gave us acting lessons which was so much fun but was sad most of our fellow passengers did not realise just how funny it was once you stopped feeling like an absolute idiot and got into her little skits, do hope she keeps this going when she is on the ships. The butler service was still getting ironed out and once the passengers can communicate directly with their butler life will go much more smoothly. Carlos the Hotel Manager did an excellent job, always there to smooth any little difficulties over and did so much to make us all comfortable and very happy. Our esteemed Captain gave us a wonderful gift of a sightsee along the beaches of Rio, a memory to treasure and he was a superb host to us all. The enrichment lectures were great, Chris the Marine Biologist gave wonderful talks on the marine life of the area and did hold us all spellbound. Wish he was with us to see the pink dolphins up the Amazon. John Harrison the Amazonian explorer had us enchanted with stories of his adventures together with his delightful wife Heather. We did not miss any of his talks and still giggle about his experiences he shared with us. Being on a small ship makes it easy to talk to these lecturers and we gained so much from a casual chat at the bar or over a meal with them. Do hope we are lucky enough to cruise with them again. Pete Neighbours the clarinetist was the very best of the entertainment a great performer and also a delightful fellow traveller. We asked him for some CD's and we do enjoy listening to his mellow music. We did three cruises back to back from New York to Bermuda, down through the Caribbean, up the Amazon and down to Rio. What a trip. Hot, yes, fascinating, yes, fun, too much of it but the staff more than anything else really made this a trip to remember, particularly the night they decorated our suite -these two oldies were on their honeymoon. We really are professional tourists and have cruised on many ships but we always come back to Silverseas as they are simply the very best. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009

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