Too Hot to Handle: Cruise Ship Air-Conditioning Controversy

August 12, 2010

(7:15 p.m. EDT) -- Imagine cruising to the islands in summer only to find the air-conditioning busted in your cabin. Stifling, hot staterooms do not necessarily make for great vacations -- and that's just what some Holland America passengers are complaining about.

"I'm breaking my silence about the A/C problems on Veendam," posted karenj4546 on Cruise Critic's message boards on August 7. "Stay away from cabins 406, 408, 410 and 416. None have any a/c or air movement (until they put a fan in your room)."

And she's not alone. Multiple threads and multiple postings speak to ongoing air flow problems in Veendam's cabins, dating back as far as 2007. Passengers with upcoming cruises booked on the ship are getting worried, as the ship is currently sailing cruises to balmy Bermuda from New York. Helenp2 writes, "YIKES!!!!! We are leaving on 9/12 and have friends who are booked on the Lower Prom deck mid-ship. I have been watching and reading about all of these A/C problems and I am more than concerned."

However, the problems do not seem to be consistent. Some people experience them, while others report perfect temperature control.

"We just got off the Veendam on Sunday, 8/1/10 & the air conditioning problems still exist in many areas of the ship," says many cruises. "We were on Deck 5 & had no air conditioning until we switched cabins and then the air in the new cabin died on us until it was fixed later in the week. There were other cabins on our deck & other decks who were experiencing the same issues." Yet NordicPrince posts, "DW and I were on 6-20 cruise and Sis and BIL on 7-18 cruise. We all stayed on the Lower Promenade, one in a Lanai and one in H/AC cabin and had no problems."

Earlier this week, we contacted Holland America to ask whether the ship's staff had identified a problem. Today, we received this statement: "All air-conditioning systems on the Veendam are functioning properly. Following a small number of guest comments on a recent sailing in very hot weather, the system was checked and adjustments were made to ensure the continued comfort of our guests onboard."

Have you experienced problems with air-conditioning on a cruise? If so, how was the issue resolved? Join the discussion here.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor