4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches ... Read More
We wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites. There were no glitches on embarkation and disembarkation. The lectures were informative and pleasing; the Kitchen at Sea was great as was the entertainment. We were the first passengers to enjoy the new carpets and the new chairs and the number of renovations on this ship! There will always be a place for these smaller ships in the industry. (1200 Passengers, but about 1000 on our crossing) the captain was all around the ship, available for questions, and very informative about the nuts and bolts of the ship and the navigaion. He was from Scotland and had the sense of humor, understated, and excellent rapport with his staff and of course the passengers! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Love Holland America and wanted to experience an 11 day cruise with lots of stops. Embarkation went very well. Disembarkation could have been less crowded. Only three custom officers on duty. Love the Lanai Ocean view room. Walked ... Read More
Love Holland America and wanted to experience an 11 day cruise with lots of stops. Embarkation went very well. Disembarkation could have been less crowded. Only three custom officers on duty. Love the Lanai Ocean view room. Walked everyday around the ship and it was enjoyable. Sat in our reserved chairs, for relaxation time, that are provided for us just outside our sliding glass door. Dinning was very good. We did open seating and requested our favorite wait staff's table which was open to us several evenings. Food was well prepared and tasty, The service excellent and everyone was concerned with meeting our dinner expectations. Entertainment was very good with the energetic piano man Martin Kaye. The piano bar was hoping each night with Don at the keys. Veendam dancers were satisfactory. The service on Holland America was exceptional. We had positive interactions with Customer Service and Shore Excursions. The ship was going into dry dock after this cruise so the maintenance staff was very busy replacing carpeting and general up keep of the ship. The Captain's message each night regarding the sea and the next day's port was very informative. Seven ports in 11 days was nice. Did some excursions and sometimes just walked around the port stores. Did one private tour in Roatan named AJ's Monkeys and Sloth. Very fun. I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We have cruised with HAL for 10 years and are 4 star mariners, did 2 cruises on Veendam starting March 3 to April 6th 2019. Embarkation long, tedious and very hot no assistance from HAL some very sick elderly people made to stand in heat ... Read More
We have cruised with HAL for 10 years and are 4 star mariners, did 2 cruises on Veendam starting March 3 to April 6th 2019. Embarkation long, tedious and very hot no assistance from HAL some very sick elderly people made to stand in heat for hours. Cabins poorly serviced, beds lumpy and hard. Advised of food allergy well in advance of cruise very poor choices, all meals and menu in Dining poor, meals served Luke warm to cold and not together with partner. Veendam Singers and Dancers excellent other entertainment poor to average. Ports good Shore Excursions ok. Disembarkation disgusting, had tour and airport booked, colour and number we were due to leave at 8.00 am, but kept telling us, no bus hasn’t arrived, 3-1/2 hours later we were all still waiting told tour was cancelled Staff member in charge returned to ship and left us all outside some sitting on limited seating the rest standing waiting for a bus to maybe come for us. Hoping HAL has the common decency to take care of airport transfer for all disappointed passengers looking forward to tour, we of FLL Everglades which we will now never see. Lastly emphasise Kitchen staff and Head Chef Orly, who should be responsible, all the time have let the Company down inexcusably Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I found this trip as a special in January and booked it true HAL, I'm so glad I did it was amazing. From the captain down the crew was outstanding, one of my best cruises yet. Fun facts of the day were my highlights, captain and ... Read More
I found this trip as a special in January and booked it true HAL, I'm so glad I did it was amazing. From the captain down the crew was outstanding, one of my best cruises yet. Fun facts of the day were my highlights, captain and staff captain very friendly and eat meals in the Lido. From the cabin stewards to the dinning room stewards it was excellent, off course on a long cruise you get to know the crew. Only the ports of call in Brazil I did not feel safe. The ship shows it age a bit with no HD tv or other fancy things but then I don't spend much time in the cabin. My reason to use Holland America is that I like the mature crowd and love the small ship feel. The next cruise is on another HAL ship the new Statendam. Look forward to a new ship even she is a lot bigger. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I booked this cruise due to its itinerary. However, it appears to us that HAL is relying on its past reputation with older cruise passengers and not putting much effort into providing a new shipboard experience. For example, ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise due to its itinerary. However, it appears to us that HAL is relying on its past reputation with older cruise passengers and not putting much effort into providing a new shipboard experience. For example, the Canaletto and Pinnacle restaurant menus have not changed in at least 10 years. Boarding in Fort Lauderdale was quick and easy. A dedicated ‘Mariner 4 and 5 Star’ line combined with a priority boarding card meant we were on board by midday. Our verandah suite towards the rear of deck 9 was not quite ready but we were able to leave our carry-on luggage in it while we went for lunch. At 12.45 pm they conducted a 3, 4 & 5 star Mariners welcome drinks in the Crows Nest. The compulsory lifeboat drill was on the open deck 6 at 3.15 pm on time for our departure at 4.15 pm. The young captain was very visible throughout the ship and was very approachable, spending time talking to passengers. He and the officers ate mainly in the Lido. The captain was also compassionate – he had no hesitation in turning the ship around and heading full-speed for Rio as a passenger required immediate medical attention not available on the ship. Well done. Two of the four front elevators were out-of-action for most of the 50 days, which meant a slow ride when the gangway and tender platforms were forward. On the second day of the cruise we noticed that HAL had garnashied (a “credit hold”) our Mastercard to the amount of US3k (=$30 each x 50 days). The front desk explained that the “may” in the fine print actually meant “will”. This was an unnecessary intrusion. The ship’s internet was fast and reliable. We purchased it for the second half of the trip, at $199.99 for 21 days. On this trip, talks in the auditorium mainly centred around World War II sea battles, which were irrelevant. However, an excellent idea was a “Beginner’s Guide to Portuguese” (the language of Brazil) session in the showroom on the day after Devils Island. The HAL shops are a waste of space. They need to visit Princess and Royal Caribbean to learn how to sell goods to cruise ship passengers. The only ones we saw liberally using the perfumes were the staff as they came into work each day. Yves St Laurent men’s eau de toilette was $122 on the ship, $79 at Key West. My wife went to the poorly advertised “Shops Farewell Party” on the last night – 12 people turned up and they had to draw the raffle 8 times before a winner was found. The prize consisted of two t-shirts from a previous cruise to places we had not been plus a hat (11 people were glad they hadn’t won!). Daily ‘Trivia’ on the ship was basically a mess. Initially they concentrated on American sports and after complaints decided that “trivia” actually meant “obscure” (like ‘how many stomachs does a cockroach have’) and their fact sheets were out-of-date, to the extent that some of their answers were categorically wrong. Daily ‘Trivia’ was really a frustrating and annoying waste of time, which was a pity as we have enjoyed it on every one of our previous cruises. After leaving Key West, the last American port, they announced there would be no currency exchange with Brazilian Real on board and suggested trying to exchange at upcoming Ports’ banks. They also stated that all currency exchanges in Rio would be closed during carnival. This should have been advised well prior to the cruise starting. After some complaints, they later announced that on board currency exchange would be available in Salvador, our third Brazilian port. The ‘Captain’s Toast’ on the evening of the third day was held in the auditorium on decks 7 and 8, but drinks to toast by were only available on Deck 7. The Port talks by the “Exc” person and Port expert were excellent – well worth attending. Also excellent were the constant reminders in the ‘Where & When’ daily newssheet to be very careful when in port in regard to personal safety. We learned from taking to tourists on shore that other cruise ships did not provide this advice. There were warnings about not to wear any jewellery whatsoever, keep cameras and phones hidden and only to take off cash or cards you would need for the day. As it was, we heard of one fellow losing, from a Velcro flapped pants pocket, his credit card, drivers licence and $200 cash (in Rio), a lady and a man who each had a necklace ripped off from around their necks (in Recife) and a lady on a walker who was pushed over and her purse stolen (in Manaus). No doubt there were others. Food on the ship was “the usual”, except for the very good Pizza Bar manned by James and Ronald. They remembered our order from the first night, even though we did not eat there very often. At Port-of-Spain the captain announced he was cancelling Vitoria and replacing it with Buzios, due to a low bridge and tides. As it happened this was an excellent decision! We had one fellow on the first half of the trip who only wore his HAL-logoed bathrobe and flip-flops – on the ship, to meals, walking around the ports and into the towns. HAL said they could not prevent it as how he dressed was his decision. This should save me a lot of packing for our next cruise! Passports and Brazil visas were collected a few days out from Brazil and were returned after we had left Brazil. At Recife, our first major Brazil port, passengers from 3 cabins were not allowed off the ship due to not having correct documentation (presumable the Brazilian Visa). There were rumours that the laundry service would be cut in the Amazon due to the brown muddy water but a response by the passengers to the captain’s plea to save water meant that this did not eventuate and the service continued as normal. Disembarkation at Fort Lauderdale was quick and efficient, although we were glad we were not in the “US citizens” line which snaked around like waiting for a ride at Disneyland. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We selected this Authentic Cuba cruise in order to visit Cuba and have an “authentic” experience. If you wish to have that I suggest you visit Havana, not Cienfuegos. The men in our group were hoping to see the 50’s cars that have ... Read More
We selected this Authentic Cuba cruise in order to visit Cuba and have an “authentic” experience. If you wish to have that I suggest you visit Havana, not Cienfuegos. The men in our group were hoping to see the 50’s cars that have been maintained, none in Cienfuegos! The Botanical Garden tour was also disappointing, the motor coach was in very good condition and the guide was excellent. However, this was NOT a Botanical Garden, more of a arboretum in poor condition. This portion of the tour was too long including the drive there and back; this left very little time to walk around the city. On a positive note, the chamber music type concert was excellent as was the lunch, although the hotelmwas not ready for us and this 15 minute delay took away even more time from city exploration. The Veendam is in dire need of refurbishment, it is scheduled for April. The suite was shabby and the tub was extremely slow to drain; only one electrical outlet in the entire suite. The crew is excellent, friendly and helpful. Food quality overall was very good but inconsistent. The Lido cafe is understaffed considering they serve all of the food, it is not an open buffet. Although this was a disappointing first experience with Holland America, overall we had a fun trip. The entertaiment ramged from very good to a excellents. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Excellent embarkation, and oddly, they seem to have dispensed with the silly health declaration. The nature of the muster drill has changed. One must not leave the cabin at the first alarm, but wait for the third or be told off by Miss ... Read More
Excellent embarkation, and oddly, they seem to have dispensed with the silly health declaration. The nature of the muster drill has changed. One must not leave the cabin at the first alarm, but wait for the third or be told off by Miss Trunchbull, who now works for HAL. Shades of Costa Concordia telling the English speakers to jolly well stay in their cabins as the ship went down is what this brought to mind for me, but ‘whatever’. We booked this one knowing that the lanais would mean very few non - reserved deck chairs on the walking deck. Initially we were pleased to see that there were plenty of deck chairs but then we noticed that they were almost all where the steel side went up to the railing, so no sea view. As the cruise went on, our fellow cruisers took to “reserving” the very few good loungers with towels. This is not the cruise for anyone who loves sitting on the boat deck. HAL also removed the cushions every night at 5:30! (Nobody on the cruise was quite THAT old.) We note that some passengers seem to have adopted a “Manifest Destiny” attitude on the walking deck, and will bark out “Coming through!” Or an imperative “Excuse me!” (As opposed to a polite one) and then expect you to clear the entire path for them instead of merely passing by. There were a few odd ducks on this cruise, but more on that later. Food in the MDR was disappointing compared to previous HAL cruises, as well as every other line, except MSC. The portions are beginning to be skimpy, even for a small adult. This is not really a problem, you just order more courses. The real problem was the menus. The regional menus were invariably Cuban. This cruise didn’t even have Cuba as a stop and Cuban food is famous, in Canada, at least, for not being very good. (My apologies to any genuine Cubans, who doubtless know where to get the good stuff.) The addition of paid menu items drastically reduced the variety offered without extra charge. Service in the MDR was spotty and slow until we finally met Agus and his sidekick Bonbon. The good news about food on this cruise is that the Lido had some much better food than the MDR. The salad bar was better than any salad ever seen in the MDR and by getting a slice of meat off the joint, you can get just what you want. The Asian is generally good, and the pizza and Dive In are good, too. Breakfast was always excellent, but you must specially ask, and wait three minutes, if you want a hot, crisp waffle. (You DO!!). The baked goods at breakfast were good except for the croissants. Drink service, at least for the non alcoholic choices, was spotty, but we found that staffers didn’t mind in the least if you just poured your own when they left their pitchers at their stations. Desserts were generally disappointing on Veendam, including, alas, the macaroons in the Library which we enjoyed vastly on Noordam last year. (A pitiful collection of books, as well. Definitely bring lots of your own reading material.) For all that, the Explorer’s Lounge in the library is your best chance for a decent, small, dessert. Watermelon was just slightly rotten from the start to the finish of the cruise. In a strange way, this is almost impressive. On a happier note, the milk was fresh right to the end, and milk is often not worth drinking after the first week or so. Others have complained about AC problems on Veendam; ours was fine. Plumbing, often HAL’s Achille’s heel, generally worked, though there were a few leaks in the atrium and once walking past a cabin with an open door, we heard a staffer say, “that is NOT normal!” .......So naturally we looked in ...... to see water pouring from the ceiling. As reviewers have reported for some months past, there were only five of eight elevators working, which was sometimes very inconvenient. Midway through the cruise a little miracle happened and a sixth elevator came back to life. This made for four at the rear and still just two at the front. Those who don’t like stairs might do well to choose the aft of the ship till this is fixed. There are some wonderful things about these old ships that old age doesn’t damage (and the Veendam is definitely due for either a massive refit or a transfer to a lesser line). The laundry rooms are a boon to those who travel light, even when all the machines don’t work. They even provide free detergent. The old fashioned walk around deck is a glorious way to get exercise. The cabins have massive amounts of storage. On HAL everyone gets a bath tub in outside, balcony and suites cabins, which is also wonderful. There is a vague sort of dignity to Veendam that is rather loveable. There are fundamentally no hard sells. The photographer was never once a pest, nor was the cruise director annoying. They didn’t seem desperate to close down dining venues on port days. They even offered a pretty decent tea (scones and jam were both blueberry for some reason, and cream was skimpy and not clotted). Nevertheless service was good in the MDR at tea time and they didn’t try to herd you into a tiny corner of the room as some ships do, even letting you choose your own table, which we appreciated. One lovely thing about this cruise was the utter and complete absence of terrible bands playing on the pool deck. Music of any sort was rare in public areas, though they did have a pianist in the bars sometimes, and some noisy music on the back deck of the Lido. They also don’t subject you to the choice of boiling under a duvet or freezing without one, opting for the old fashioned luxury of triple sheets. Very civilized. Possibly the walls are paper thin in the cabins, but I think it much more likely that the old dude travelling solo in the next cabin was either terribly inconsiderate blasting his tv for hours, or (let’s be more charitable) he may have been deaf. Another unusual cruiser was the fellow who turned down a table at a breakfast where tables were rare, pointing at the ceiling. Sure enough, there really was a camera up there, but I can’t imagine it mattering (what does one DO at breakfast in public that couldn’t be caught on camera? Perhaps I lack imagination.) More to the point, who the heck checks out their environment that carefully on vacation? Spies? Criminals on the run? The fellow who wore the Betty Boop bandana tied around his head for formal night (and a different bandana under a giant top hat with a very wide red sash on the second formal night) did rather catch the eye. Recovering from brain surgery? Winning a bet? Or just giving the rest of us a chuckle? May he recover fully, or win his bet as the case may be, and keep making formal nights fun. Some things about the Veendam itself are odd. The cabin numbering system on Veendam is chaotic, but this is more than made up for by the fact that the beds and pillows are both pretty comfortable, which is also a little odd for cruises in general. For some unknown reason, they sprinkle cinnamon on the cottage cheese in the Lido. This is merely an eccentricity, but I still wish they wouldn’t. The Crows’ Nest is strangely democratic. There are just a few recliners facing the front, and they are off to one side, but there is a padded bench all the way along the front windows. So everyone gets a window seat, though few get the view. We missed Half Moon Cay, nothing strange about that, we find that about half the time, the waves are “too high” to tender. (Makes you wonder how those lifeboat tenders would fare in a bad storm at sea, doesn’t it?) The part I liked about this time is that the captain actually added the real reason, which was that the supplies and staff hadn’t gotten there. On the second formal night, when they finally produced a first rate dinner in the MDR, one steak seemed to have been boiled, which is odd as steak is usually the last thing that Cruise dining rooms would ever go wrong on. Oh, well, the flourless chocolate cake was even better than what we make at home (many things on this cruise were not) and they had added berries, which idea we liked enough that we will copy it. There wasn’t anything seriously wrong with this cruise, but not a lot was terribly good. The ship itself and the service have both just come down far enough for us to think that we will definitely revert to Celebrity, our other favourite, for our next cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We like Holland America for the smaller ships, the excellent food, and their willingness to treat older travelers with care and respect. We've sailed on multiple other lines, but now prefer HAL as we get older. The Veendam is ... Read More
We like Holland America for the smaller ships, the excellent food, and their willingness to treat older travelers with care and respect. We've sailed on multiple other lines, but now prefer HAL as we get older. The Veendam is showing her age. Several of the elevators didn't work on a regular basis resulting in long waits or lots of stair climbing. The machines in the passenger laundromat on our deck were out of order after the first day. BUT on the plus side:....the staff was extraordinarly helpful and accommodating. The cabins, even our inside, were good sized and had LOTS of storage. The food in both the main dining room and the buffets was tasty, well prepared, visually attractive, and had good portion sizes. So many food choices....so little time. The variety of foods was amazing. The made to order crepes, omelets, and salads on the Lido were so good! And for really good fries, check out the "Dive-In" near the "indoor" pool. Their hot dogs and hamburgers are huge and tasty as well. The only food items that I found less than top quality were the breads and rolls. Those on Princess and Royal Caribbean are better. The stops on this particular eastern Caribbean cruise were interesting and all but one were at docks which we prefer over having to take tenders. We took a water taxi to the shopping area on St. Maarten but otherwise were able to walk to what we wanted to see from the ship at the other ports. We had to skip Half Moon Cay because of large waves-couldn't launch the tenders safely. The ship sponsored tours tend to be quite expensive for what you get, but it depends on what a person wants. We're not into beaches or shopping. We were able to walk around the cities at the stops and see quite a bit. The information for each town could use updating. For example, the map and information for St. John's Antigua, were not accurate at all and we ended up walking long distances to places that weren't where they were supposed to be and were in really bad condition. On the other hand, Castries on St. Lucia and Fort-De-France on Martinique were very enjoyably walkable, and we saw a lot. As is true for every cruise we've ever been on, drinks are very expensive and the pricing isn't always clear. We were charged almost $12 for souvenir drink glasses from the sail-away departure "party" - glasses that we weren't able to keep. They came around and collected them! We will sail on Holland American again, and if the itinerary were the right one, we would go on the Veendam again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Attracted to cruise because it visited Cuba - first time on Holland America after approximately thirty prior cruises - Ship was in total disrepair - Booked four cabins near elevator bank to accommodate ninety year old birthday celebrant - ... Read More
Attracted to cruise because it visited Cuba - first time on Holland America after approximately thirty prior cruises - Ship was in total disrepair - Booked four cabins near elevator bank to accommodate ninety year old birthday celebrant - By end of ten days only one elevator cab was running for passengers resulting in extremely long waits to move around ships - Crew has to use one elevator as theirs were out of order - One day elevator opened and we saw crew member with carts of filthy linens! We were told they were waiting for parts - Public bathrooms on pool deck 11 were out of service from first day until last day - waiting for parts. We were directed to use facilities on same deck at rear of ship through buffet area - One stall only - filthy - no towels to wipe hands - Complained but to no avail - Leaking safety sprinkler valve on 12th deck down onto pool deck for entire length of cruise - Pool deck was always wet and slippery - Cone saying “caution wet floor” with no attempt to repair - Food was inedible with exception of breakfast - Too little personnel - family style trays of food were not refilled when empty - Italian specialty restaurant was disgusting at best - Entertainment crew shows would have been okay as high school productions - Cruise director wore same decrepit suit and dirty shoes nightly - Commented it was a uniform! Sent complaint letter to President and CEO of Holland America about all occurrences - Received response from customer service (not from Pres. or CEO) - Surprise! She claimed all issues were related to awaiting spare parts - Offered $100.00 discount per person on future cruise - Insulting at best - As repeat cruiser on Oceania they offer 10% discount on cabin which works out to hundreds of dollars and well worth every penny - Will never sail with Holland America ever again and neither should you Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose this cruise for ports of call and schedule. Except for the quality of the food, the cruise was a disappointment. The ship was worn and tired. Booked a Neptune suite and there was wallpaper falling off the wall and rusty areas on the ... Read More
Chose this cruise for ports of call and schedule. Except for the quality of the food, the cruise was a disappointment. The ship was worn and tired. Booked a Neptune suite and there was wallpaper falling off the wall and rusty areas on the balcony. The carpets are stained throughout. Many small things added up: missing bathroom fixtures, a towel hangar that was replaced with a simple screw in the wall. The Neptune/Pinnacle suites are supposedly the nicest aboard -- if that is true, then I feel badly for those in lesser cabins. The service was also poor, but I consider this a reflection of how the crew is treated by their employer. Most crew members seemed disinterested in being helpful, and some where downright rude. More often than not, I was getting my own drinks in the Lido restaurant. In the dining room, we gave our order and the waiter confirmed it, only to bring the wrong thing. I would describe most of the crew as aloof. HAL supposedly provides a premium experience, but this was far from it. Would recommend you cruise with someone else. Read Less
Veendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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