1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because of two ports in Cuba little did we know one port was cancelled at last minute, captain said it was because of strong winds and could not get into channel using safety for the passengers. This as we watched ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of two ports in Cuba little did we know one port was cancelled at last minute, captain said it was because of strong winds and could not get into channel using safety for the passengers. This as we watched another cruise ship go down channel without any issues, it was a nice sunny day no white caps on ocean although we were told the white caps were further in channel. The cruise was a once in a lifetime traveling with wife and mother in law. We got a suite which was real roomy but smelled and plumbing backed up during cruise 3 times. Food was terrible. There was little to do on ship during trip with no live music by pool. We were abandoned in Cuba on our excursion and had to hook up with another group to get back to ship. When 2nd port was cancelled we were told crew had to scramble to get us things to do and what a job they did, they offered the passengers a glass of wine in the afternoon for our troubles. This is the only cruise ship I have ever been on that sells depends diapers which tells you how old the passengers were. Horrible Horrible Horrible experience would not cruise Holland ever again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our 5th Holland America cruise. We wanted to visit Cuba and selected this itinerary because it made two stops on Cuba. As is typical of HAL, the ship was fine and we prefer the smaller size. Our cabin was a 'lanai' ... Read More
This was our 5th Holland America cruise. We wanted to visit Cuba and selected this itinerary because it made two stops on Cuba. As is typical of HAL, the ship was fine and we prefer the smaller size. Our cabin was a 'lanai' which opened on the promenade deck. While the cabin wasn't huge, having the deck helped. Food was plentiful and good with many options. The entertainment was fine-we enjoyed the classical duo almost every night along with the solo piano player. Our biggest disappointment was the cancellation of the 2nd port in Cuba. Due to winds/tides and a very narrow channel the captain tried twice but decided it was not safe to make any more tries. He explained in detail and with maps/slides during another presentation and clearly he made the correct choice. A major disappointment but necessary to avoid grounding the ship. HAL was quick to refund all costs of their shore excursions. They also changed everyone's "CUC"s back to US dollars which was a huge plus. Most people had exchanged dollars (or other currencies) in Havana when we got off the ship; we expected to use them again in Cienfuegos and exchange any remaining so most people had CUCs leftover and the currency is useless except as a tourist. We did use any other HAL shore excursions-we had a private guide for Havana (Tours by Locals-HIGHLY recommend). We did Key West and Grand Caymans ourselves. If you like water sports and shopping, then this is the cruise for you. Aside from Havana, that's what there was to do. We would take another HAL cruise but not to the Caribbean. The sea days were a bit boring although there were activities-America's Test Kitchen, digital classes, etc. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise as a great way to visit two ports in Cuba, Havana and Cienfuegos. I will address this first as it's my one complaint, although a big one. We paid more for the itinerary than sailings that visited Havana alone. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a great way to visit two ports in Cuba, Havana and Cienfuegos. I will address this first as it's my one complaint, although a big one. We paid more for the itinerary than sailings that visited Havana alone. Holland America does not tell you that Cienfuegos is dicey to get into, and you may or may not make it. We were told the reason we could not get into the port was wind. My husband and I were standing on the promenade deck during the announcement with no white caps and several fishing boats in the distance sitting calmly on the water. Hmmm... If what we experienced was too windy to get into Cienfuegos, it's a wonder the ship ever gets in. We also checked weather.com around the time we'd have left port and the winds were only 11 mph. I have contacted HAL, but so far their response is "we're sorry you were disappointed". The cruise staff did add activities and made it a nice day at sea, and the weather was lovely. But an extra day at sea is not why we booked this particular itinerary nor what we paid for. HAL buyers beware. On to the more positive aspects of this cruise... Hotel: The night before the cruise, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Las Olas. Great location, nice hotel, friendly staff. Highly recommend OB-House for breakfast. It's a bit of a hike from the Hampton Inn, but certainly doable. We took the shuttle to the port. They also picked us up after the cruise for a nominal fee, stored our luggage for several hours back at the Hampton Inn while we bummed around Las Olas again, and took us to the airport for our later-day flight. Wonderful service. Embarkation and Disembarkation: Quick and easy. Short lines, helpful people. The Veendam: The ship is older so I was surprised what nice shape it's in, and we are pretty picky. The crew was cleaning the carpets, wiping down and polishing banisters, cleaning glass, etc. on a daily basis. The ship did not show it's age. Deck chairs and loungers were decent, same for the tables in the eating venues. Very nice ship, liked the size. Just fyi, if you like to walk, as we do, four times around on the promenade deck equals a mile. Our Cabin: Cabins are maybe a bit smaller than on newer ships, but really fine. The bathroom was small with a shower and curtain alone. The only issue is there was one plug in the entire cabin and that includes the bathroom. This is important to know and easily addressed. Bring a power strip so you can plug in all your devices. And if it's important to you to have your phone or a clock on the nightstand, bring a long extension cord. The plug is at the vanity. There are both US and Euro outlets, so if you have an adapter, you could plug in two devices or, better yet, two power strips. Dining: We had early seating at a table for six. Loved our tablemates. Each evening with them was fun. HAL food is quite good and the Veendam is no exception. Great selection. We are "vegetarish", not vegetarians but prefer meat infrequently. We had lots of great options. Food selections in the Lido were particularly excellent. The past two HAL cruises have included many Asian options and that's one of our preferred food types. Everything fresh and delish. Loved the salads at lunch. I'd start with the "salad of the day" and customize from there. Extra good. And the ice cream area was well patronized for good reason. Yum. Entertainment and Activities: The production shows were quite good, especially the last one which centered on dancing. The dancers were here and there around the ship, very friendly. The guest pianist Juan Pablo was excellent and very funny. Don't miss him if he's performing. There was also a magician heralded as winning some contest in New York. We watch America's Got Talent in the summer. Let's just say this guy would not make the semi finals. Our dining tablemates were big into trivia, so we did this with them alot in the evenings. Fun. We also learned to play a Cuban version of dominoes and a dice poker game called Cubilete. The cruise staff was excellent, particularly Misha and Cisco. America's Test Kitchen was new to us and a fab addition to HAL ships. Very well attended. We like to cook and the demos gave great tips for both ingredients, cooking techniques, and equipment. They don't sell anything, so no pressure. We have since joined America's Test Kitchen and now have the app on our phones. Greatly enjoyed this. Service: Both our cabin and dining stewards could not have been nicer or more efficient. Same goes for the Front Desk staff and Activity Directors. Ports: First was Key West. Hadn't been there for several years. We'd forgotten how much we like it. We had lunch at Pepe's. It's the oldest restaurant in Key West. Funky with great food. They sometimes have plates of jumbo shrimp with wonderful homemade sauce. It's not on the menu, so we asked and were in luck. Yum. In the past, we've done the hop-on / hop-off bus which I highly recommend. Gets you around and provides good info. My brother-in-law suggested we visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. It was very interesting and well worth spending time there. Havana was next and the highlight of the cruise. We did a private tour through Havana Journeys. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Read their reviews and you'll see why. We paid extra for our tour to be in a convertible rather than a hardtop. Well worth the extra money. If you want Cuban cigars and rum, best to buy them in Cuba and not elsewhere in the Caribbean. Much better pricing in Cuba. The dancers on the ship told us Cuba's National Ballet was performing the evening we were in port. But they also said it's very difficult to get tickets, as they sell out quickly. Our guide took us to the Gran Teatro (gorgeous gorgeous building) box office just in case, and we were able to get tickets, as did our guide. So we met her and her boyfriend at the ballet that night and saw a performance of Giselle. Absolutely wonderful. Yes, many dancers and cruise staff from the ship were there also. Glad all were able to enjoy this beautiful and unique event. Cienfuegos was the next port, but as I mentioned earlier, even with the lovely weather, it was deemed to windy for the ship to enter the port. Grand Cayman was our last port. Another place we've been to several times, and a fun place. We went snuba diving, sort of a cross between scuba and snorkeling. Instead of being on your back, the tank floats above you on a raft. A ~20' hose connects the tank to your regulator. But my #1 recommendation, if you've never done it, is Stingray City. A 'do not miss' on Grand Cayman, imo. I'd have given this cruise four stars had it not been for the missed port with only a "tough luck" from HAL when they clearly knew this could be an issue and chose to not inform us ahead of booking. Other aspects of the cruise were great and we had a very nice time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We like Holland America but would advise you to check how often they make both Havana and Cienfuegos in their Cuba cruise. Cienfuegos was cancelled due to weather and I understand it is a very tight port. The staff advised that this has ... Read More
We like Holland America but would advise you to check how often they make both Havana and Cienfuegos in their Cuba cruise. Cienfuegos was cancelled due to weather and I understand it is a very tight port. The staff advised that this has happened before so unless this is the only other port Holland America can travel to (Havana and Cienfuegos) I would not do this trip again. The other stops were Key West and Cayman Islands so boring trip except for Havana. Unfortunately, we had a horrible excursion in Havana and Holland America has removed it. Holland America removed the excursion that was cancelled and give a large discount on the Culinary excursion in Havana. The cabin staff was great, dining room very good. Loved the food and Happy Hour now buy one get the second for $2 while our last Holland America (Alaska) was buy one get one free. Loved the piano player by the casino and the entertainment - pianist and magician. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Embarkation/disembarkation - both very smooth, arrived 1130 and onboard and eating at 1230 with bags dropped off in cabin. Did self-walkoff with luggage, have global entry so was at curbside at 0800. Ship - small, dated, old but ... Read More
Embarkation/disembarkation - both very smooth, arrived 1130 and onboard and eating at 1230 with bags dropped off in cabin. Did self-walkoff with luggage, have global entry so was at curbside at 0800. Ship - small, dated, old but well maintained. Easy to navigate. Cabin- Lanai 344, loved it - quiet, central, would get it again. Dining - early seating in MDR which worked out well for us, shared a window table with another couple and enjoyed their company. Did not do the buffet but offerings looked good. Did the Dive-in by the pool several times, good burgers and fries! Food is subjective, but for myself and hubby, found some meals lacking in the MDR [food served too cold for my taste, steaks not great], just very average compared to other cruises. But I did love! their duck dishes. Entertainment - smaller ship so less activities and entertainment options but we picked this cruise for the itinerary knowing this was a vacation to explore and relax. Went to a few shows in the evening [good for small ensemble], enjoyed the America's Kitchen offerings on sea days, and the Band in the Crow's Nest in the evenings [after 9 pm]. And we loved happy hour in the Crow's nest too! Skipped the art auctions, bingo, and casino. Service- Very good, have never had issues with service on board, great crew. Ports - Key West, did our own thing as very walkable. Used the Duval Loop free bus to get around to see the sights and do a little shopping and hubby got his stone crab fix. Havana - did a private excursion through Blexie Havana tours, WOW, he was great! Used to be an English teacher and became a guide to make more money. Met him in the square across from the cruise terminal and walked through all of old Havana for 2.5 hours and learned so much! Then met up with his driver who drove us around Havana to see more sights for the next 5 hours in a blue and white 57 Ford hardtop, plus lunch in a private home. Don't let the cruise lines intimidate you into taking only ship excursions, do your research here, and plan it out and enjoy Havana! Cienfuegos - Only let down on this cruise, were unable to get into Cienfuegos through the very small channel due to winds. After attending the captains' talk later in the day after the port was cancelled, I think this port is "marginal" for a ship this size unless the weather/tides are perfect. So a little upset after picking this cruise mostly for the 2 Cuba ports to have one cancelled, I don't fault the captains decision for safety, I fault HAL's choice as a port stop, will be interesting how many times it gets cancelled. Grand Cayman - Did the Atlantis sub and enjoyed that, saw a lot of fish, then did some shopping, then back to the ship early for some relaxing. Summary - the good - got to see Havana, weather was fantastic, very good service on board, a fun vacation. The not so good - having Cienfuegos cancelled, food was just "ok" for us, and painting that the crew did on the promenade deck on and off the whole week and paint fumes made it difficult at times to enjoy that space. The good far out weighed the bad!. Would I sail on Veendam again? Yes, but it really boils down to itinerary for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
We choose this cruise specifically for the opportunity to visit more than one stop in Cuba. As a frequent cruise vacationer (this being my 6th cruise, but first with Holland) I was less than impressed with the cruise overall. Ship was ... Read More
We choose this cruise specifically for the opportunity to visit more than one stop in Cuba. As a frequent cruise vacationer (this being my 6th cruise, but first with Holland) I was less than impressed with the cruise overall. Ship was old and showed her years. Most staff were not exactly friendly and only occasionally interacted with our party. Food was bland and occasionally cold. The Lido Buffet it seemed was understaffed and lines were delayed. Due to unforeseen weather conditions the Captain was forced to cancel our second stop in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Very disappointing to everyone I spoke with on the ship! Apparently very few cruise ship are small enough to transit this port past the sea wall. Shallow entry with sand bars and any winds (which are frequent to this port) and the ship cannot dock safely to tender guests to shore. The Captain opted to drift with the current 100 miles south of Cuba and parked the ship with a light breeze across the bow. Back up plans were weak and activities doubled to keep the passengers entertained. I am an avid scuba diver so I did enjoy the ship arranged dive excursion. We selected a different People to People tour for our interaction with the Cuban people and Yosel Vazquez with I Love Cuba Photo Tours was absolutely Fantastic!!! Wonderful stops, photo memories of our journey, great food and transportation! He was the best part of our trip! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was so disappointed in this 7 day Authentic Cuba cruise with Holland America. I have always considered Holland America to be a cut above but this cruise definitely dropped them down considerably. The ship was little more than a rust ... Read More
I was so disappointed in this 7 day Authentic Cuba cruise with Holland America. I have always considered Holland America to be a cut above but this cruise definitely dropped them down considerably. The ship was little more than a rust bucket. We had some kind of "technical difficulty" in the engine room (which sounded like an explosion to us) and had us thinking that we should have taken the evacuation drill a lot more seriously. We were 2 hours behind schedule as we limped into Costa Maya which caused our shore excursion to be backed up. We went to Kahunlich Mayan Ruins and the tour was excellent and we were not rushed because we were late. However this made us late getting back to the ship and we were late for dinner. We rushed right to the dining room but were turned away because my husband had shorts on! I found this the epitome of poor guest service seeing the delay was their fault. We had a wonderful room steward who was always there when we had all kinds of problems with our rooms but he was the best of the guest services. We went to Shore Excursions right after we got on the ship only to find that all the shore excursions in Cuba were booked except for 3 and we had to settle for a lesser tour than what we had wanted - another disappointment. We wound up on Easy Havana and spent 3 hours driving around a very rundown Havana. Oh and did I mention that we never got into Cuba until 4:00? Ours was the last tour to go out and we spent half of it touring in the dark. Definitely not worth it especially when you consider that you have to pay for a $75 visa just to go into Cuba. We spent $150 for a 3 hour tour half of which was in the dark. The shows on the ship were good but one of them had to be postponed because there was a bad leak on the stage that would interfere with the lighting. Another example of the rust bucket affectionately known as "Damveen". So if you're looking for a cruise on an inferior ship, with poor guest service, a very cold captain and where you can feel pretty ripped off, this is the trip for you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because it went to Cuba and we were interested in visiting the island. We took three ship tours: Havana, Tropical Nightclub and Cienfuegos. All were good and gave us a nice overview of the cities and an idea of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to Cuba and we were interested in visiting the island. We took three ship tours: Havana, Tropical Nightclub and Cienfuegos. All were good and gave us a nice overview of the cities and an idea of the way the Cubans live. Apparently, the tours are required to fulfill the "People to People" criteria set forth by our government in order to visit the island. The cruise lines make a lot of money on these tours! The ship was clean, service was good and food and entertainment were up to par with what we would expect. Everything was well organized. The two ship production shows we saw, put on by the singers and dancers, was excellent; as was the concert pianist who also sang, danced, etc. We would recommend this trip to anyone interested in seeing Cuba and the peoples' way of life. Especially noteworthy is the large 50's cars used for taxis. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
The cruise itinerary was was wonderful. We had a great time in all ports as well as an education. The food and service on the cruise was great. The shows were excellent. We put together a group of 11 people with 6 cabins. Guests ... Read More
The cruise itinerary was was wonderful. We had a great time in all ports as well as an education. The food and service on the cruise was great. The shows were excellent. We put together a group of 11 people with 6 cabins. Guests experienced problems with 3 cabins. Two of the cabins, 042 and 832 were very hot; one guest's makeup melted. The fix was to put a portable fan in those cabins. Our cabin, 836, was extremely hot on the last day and we had no hot water the first two days.. Our disembarkation experience was horrible, disappointing, and embarrassing! It started our normal until HAL employees scanned our room card. We were told, very curtly, to move to the right and asked to hand over our passports. No one would answer questions as to what the problem was. One of the employees marched us through the baggage area. The only word used to answer a question by this person was "routine." We were handed over to four different employees before being taken to Customs and Border Patrol. At CBP our luggage was x-rayed, our passports were returned without comment, and we were told to exit through the door in front of us without explanation. The taking of one's passport is effectively an arrest and is illegal unless performed by law enforcement. The way they treated us made me wonder when the handcuffs were coming out. We were afraid that someone did something to our luggage when it was in the hallway. The situation could have been handled much better. All they had to say was that Customs routinely flagged our cabin and that they needed to inspect our baggage. Guest relations stated that A/C problems on a few ships in many rooms and that the employees act that way because people don't like to be spot checked. We have be offered a 3 category upgrade on a future cruise of 7 to 10 days that is good for three years. This seems like a joke and I don't believe that is the way to treat customers that have cruised with them approximately 9 times. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise to "see all of the old cars" as my husband put it, to buy cigars and to drink Cuban rum. All points were covered and we really enjoyed it. Plus we met some of the most amazing Cubans at every corner. They are ... Read More
We chose this cruise to "see all of the old cars" as my husband put it, to buy cigars and to drink Cuban rum. All points were covered and we really enjoyed it. Plus we met some of the most amazing Cubans at every corner. They are warm, intelligent and third world (mostly because of the 50 year rift between our two governments), but they harbored no ill will and were very welcoming to their country, Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at 1 and went straight to our cabin. I was surprised that the SS or Vista 065 was so small. It's hardly bigger than an upper level balcony cabin on Carnival.Yes it has a tub, but it's more like a short deep pasta bowl or banana split container. It was really narrow and short and then you have the extra height of stepping over the tub to shower. I'm 5'7" and it was not even something I would use. So if that is a plus to paying for a suite - don't. I was disappointed that the daily When and Where was not in the cabin. We had to get it from guest services to get one. That should be in the cabin when we arrive along with ice because travelers are thirsty. All other days they were in the cabin at turn down. Yes the ship is really small compared to others, but the 1200+ passengers makes eating, tours, unloading at ports, etc really uncrowded which is definitely a plus for the ship over megaships. Dining was good. Really like the buffet because of the service at night, but we still don't like that service ends at 8 pm. Limited options are available at 10 or 10:30 or you can get room service or eat in the formal dining room til 9 pm. I would like extended dining options in a restaurant for those of us who aren't 75 years old and chose to eat at 5:30 or 6 pm. Yes there are alot of older folks, but there are also alot of us in our 60's who have active lifestyles where we don't eat early. Bar service was good for all times. Entertainment is difficult to critique. The only musical entertainment we listened to was "The Band" which played a variety - very little if any country, And the guest pianist who was good and funny. Service every where was excellent. Not as many wait staff in pool and theater areas, but overall acceptable. It was kinda like Cheers and Norm - everybody knows your name. The Classic Car/Havana tour was excellent! The main problem was that we were told to pick any car and that we would be changing cars at every stop. Didn't happen. I understand that would not be a good idea because each driver would make sure his passengers were accounted for. Where changing drivers, somebody could get left. The rest of the tour for whatever reason was behind. We were suppose to see a local production, but arrived at it after it started and we were either going to have to wait 1.5 hours or go to lunch and come back for it. After lunch we only had about an hour left and so our group decided to go shopping and skip the production. But I'm sure we paid for it. After that, the other problem I had was the "shuffle". The streets are cobblestone and I think I might have gotten 10000 steps, but because of the group we were with, I got more than 10,000 shuffles. It wore on me. I don;'t know if it is feasible, but if two tours are offered on the same excursion, it would be great if they were broken down by abilities. Of course you will still have the older cruisers who think they can do everything even it they are on a walker. Cienfuegos is not the pearl it is described. It is still a run down Havana with few classic cars and rundown UNESCO buildings. But the people and their attitudes are so sweet. On a Sunday after church the no cars streets were filled with folks and even though crowded, the locals were very polite and tolerant of lines of cruise passengers taking up their space. Coffee, rum and cigars was a GREAT tour. The bar was fantastic and the entertainment amazing. Folks dressed as statutes, the singing, the bar staff, the price of cigars ... Belinda in containers are $3 a piece. Not much to say about Grand Cayman - been there. I would hope we can put pressure on the US government to stop this fool hardy embargo on such a poor country so close to our border that we can have a mutually beneficial relationship. Cuba is getting help from Canada, China and formerly Russia. But we can't and won't help them. I'm thinking this is another Vietnam, where the current party won't admit to years and years of policy that doesn't work, but they don't want to be the party who admits we've made years of mistakes. Obviously, the embargo doesn't work - so get rid of it and let's start helping a country within miles of us and stop supporting governments who HATE us. Pay attention in Cuba. The people are wonderful and i think we should embrace them and help them. Although, we need to get the USVI and Puerto Rico back in shape first. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our first cruise and Holland America came recommended. I was not disappointed. From the moment we embarked we were made to feel welcome. The staff couldn’t do enough for you. As soon as we booked our cruise all the necessary ... Read More
This was our first cruise and Holland America came recommended. I was not disappointed. From the moment we embarked we were made to feel welcome. The staff couldn’t do enough for you. As soon as we booked our cruise all the necessary information and documentation etc came through promptly. Embarking at the port was so smooth and well run. I was concerned about this but I had no cause to worry. I just had a couple of minor issues which were promptly dealt with. The staff giving details about disembarkation for trips were telling you one thing and the security staff overseeing disembarking said another. This was very confusing. We did have a query with our final bill,but it was resolved The quality of food, service and wine was excellent. The two staff looking after the cabins were very professional, always helpful and nothing was to much trouble. One small thing which I reallly appreciated was the offer of drinks when embarking after your trips. I will definitely be booking another holiday with them Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We were initially booked on the Eurodam for our annual New Year's cruise but my husband was scheduled for a medical procedure at the same time. So, I searched for a cruise to replace the New Year's cruise. We have wanted to see ... Read More
We were initially booked on the Eurodam for our annual New Year's cruise but my husband was scheduled for a medical procedure at the same time. So, I searched for a cruise to replace the New Year's cruise. We have wanted to see Cuba and I noted that the Veendam had a February 7th sailing. HAL allowed me to transfer the cruise without penalty (we are 3 Star Mariners and we booked the New Year's cruise only days before). I initially booked a Lanai verandah guarantee but hoped that either a Verandah or Vista Suite would be offered at a discount. Sure enough, about 3-weeks prior to sailing, I received a great offer on a Vista Suite for only $300 per person and I snatched it up immediately. Embarkation was fairly easy. We arrived to the port around 12:15 p.m. and there were a lot of passengers in line. HAL collected the Cuba Visa applications from everyone prior to getting into line to check in. We then proceeded to check-in. All in all, we were through the check-in process in less than :30 minutes and our room was ready. We went to the MDR for lunch to avoid the crowds at the Lido buffet. Regarding meals, we pre-booked at the Pinnacle for every dinner. We love the Pinnacle and enjoy the fine dininig options and great service there. The Veendam did not disappoint. We had fabulous meals there with great service and the Cellar Master, Neil, and our wine steward, Jason were always accommodating. Regarding the ship itself, the Veendam is the smallest HAL ship that we sailed but we like it very much. The main decks with the things that we needed were all from the 7th - 11th floors and our cabin 156 was on Deck 9 so we simply used the stairs for everything with no need to wait for elevator service. I loved that convenience. The ship is in decent shape. I do like the larger HAL ships and the décor on the newer ships is more attractive, but this ship was very comfortable and clean. Also, our Vista Suite was very comfortable and quiet. Our room stewards did an amazing job and left us some of the best towel animals I've ever seen on a cruise. The ports were great ones. Havana was a "Must See". We took an 8-hour land tour throughout both Old and New Havana and it was fascinating. I must say that Cuba's infrastructure has not been touched since 1959 and it shows, but it was also evident that Havana it its heyday must have been fabulous. With that being said, the buildings looked like they were in complete disrepair and paint must not be available. Roads have potholes galore. It was easy and fast to get through the streets of Havana because there aren't many cars there so we were able to see almost all of it. The classic cars there are used as private taxis. Some of them are in incredible shape and it's a large part of the culture. The restaurants are actually in people's homes. We had a meal at one in Havana and the food was very good. Our guide also brought us to a good cigar store so that the guys were able to purchase their Cuban cigars. You are allowed 100 cigars per person per U.S. Customs laws now. You are able to change American money to Cuba "CUCs" right at the terminal when you get off of the ship. It was quick and easy. You also can change the money back in the terminal before you re-board if you wish. Cienguegos is located on the southern central part of the island and it has much natural beauty. It's truly a shame that the country is so poor because this part of Cuba could be a stunning resort area with proper development. The bay in Cienfuegos is beautiful as is the countryside. It was a lovely port to visit. We've been to Montego Bay and Grand Cayman many times in the past and love those two ports. We climbed Dunn River Falls in Ocho Rios and we went on a great private boat tour of Stingray City, snorkeling and a small beach with many starfish in Grand Cayman. All were fun and the weather was great throughout our cruise. I would recommend both the Veendam and the Cuban itinerary to travelers. This was truly a memorable vacation for us and we met a couple who became great friends of ours that we plan on traveling with again soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise for our anniversary and to see Cuba. We booked before the rules were toughened and were allowed to tour independently no through a mandatory ship tour. We booked with Havana Vintage Car tours and were not disappointed. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our anniversary and to see Cuba. We booked before the rules were toughened and were allowed to tour independently no through a mandatory ship tour. We booked with Havana Vintage Car tours and were not disappointed. It was far less than the ship's similar tour and gave you more. They substituted a synagogue tour for the church tour at our request. They also went to a car repair garage and a private home to fulfill the person to person touring requirement. The ship is a bit old, but typical Holland America. we like it because it is laid back without a lot of "in your face" sales or shipboard activities. Some passengers found that a shortcoming. Food was well prepared and presented, however some meals lacked any fancy or pricey type choices, offering options like turkey, cod, or pot roast. Formal night brought out filet and lobster. The cast show was above average especially for a small ensable. Service was excellent throughout the ship and the salad bar (not self service) was the best I have seen with options like blackened tuna to top the generous selection of veggies. We (6 of us) had a great time. The roll call for this cruise was very small. If you go, try to get foreign currency to exchange as there is a 10% tax on US dollars. Do not exchange much more than you need as the exchange rate back to dollars is not good. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We decided on this cruise because it visited two ports in Cuba. We have previously sailed on Holland America and have been pleased. The Veendam, though an older vessel, was well kept and we had a marvelous time. We were upgraded, with ... Read More
We decided on this cruise because it visited two ports in Cuba. We have previously sailed on Holland America and have been pleased. The Veendam, though an older vessel, was well kept and we had a marvelous time. We were upgraded, with an additional payment, to a verandah room, and thoroughly enjoyed the balcony views. The excursions were well managed, the food in the main dining room was very good and all the employees were very helpful and friendly. There was absolutely nothing to complain about. During our port stop in Jamaica, we wanted to have a beach experience, which HAL did not offer, so we booked on Resortforaday.com and went to the all inclusive Hilton Rose Hall Resort and had a great time. There was plenty of on board activities to keep us busy. They had two cooking shows on the days at sea, and the musical/dancing reviews were excellent. One of the best troupes we have seen on board ships. I did not care much for the magician and the Pianist was entertaining. We did have to tender for two of the ports, which I do not like, but not much you can do about that issue. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports in Cuba. We booked the end of May, so things went smoothly for us. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We especially like the option of putting our luggage out ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports in Cuba. We booked the end of May, so things went smoothly for us. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We especially like the option of putting our luggage out the night before and it's taken to the airport for us and we pick it up at our final destination. The only problem was they charged us for an extra piece of luggage saying we only get 1 free piece per person on the airline, when in fact, we get to check 2 pieces of luggage free per person. We waiting to see if this over charge has been worked out. Over all, I thought the Veendam was in great shape. It's a small ship, but that's fine with us. I thought all areas of the ship were clean and in good repair. We always saw crew/staff out cleaning/polishing up everything. Our cabin was in good repair, with everything in good working order. The fabric on the sofa and chairs was in good repair, as were the linens. Our bed was very comfortable. The cabin (a Vista suite) was smaller than we usually like, and not sure why it's called a "suite", but it was good. Our room stewards were very attentive. The furnishings are a bit out of date but still in good shape. Dining in the MDR for dinner was excellent. Our wait staff was superb and the food was very good to excellent. We had breakfast in the MDR a few times, and service then was very slow, so we often went up to the Lido for faster service. The Entertainment was OK, with a few of the acts being excellent. The duo "Adagio" was excellent every evening in the Lounge. Service, as always was excellent. I really liked the EXC staff - Misha and Cisco. They were very helpful when we had questions about the ports as they related to non-ship shore excursions. I wouldn't hesitate to go on the Veendam again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
The Veendam offers a somewhat pleasant get-a-way as long as you understand what your getting. The Veendam is a rather small older ship compleatly lacking in any of the modern features offered on newer larger vessels. This is a good fit for ... Read More
The Veendam offers a somewhat pleasant get-a-way as long as you understand what your getting. The Veendam is a rather small older ship compleatly lacking in any of the modern features offered on newer larger vessels. This is a good fit for the crowd it attracts which averages at least retirement age. Enjoy a nice quite experience at Sea this is your ship. Want some excitement and new experiences find another cruise. Ship was clean and mostly well maintained but still had the elevator issues others have mentioned. Food and Service was good overall. At times the selections offered on the Dining Room Menu where a bit strange. However, a quick request to the waiter and a nice steak was quickly served. The buffet again had a good selection but the layout was very confusing with the start of the line often in the center of the buffet with no clue it it went right or left. The Eastern Caribbean Itinerary included some limited times in port and it is clear that many of the ports are really not yet ready for tourist to return especially if they expect the same choice of activities offered before the storms. Biggest pleasant surprise was the Entertainment. Singers and Dancers put on two excellent shows plus two excellent guest entertainers. Much improved over previous Cruise on the same ship. Again if you are at least not actively planning your retirement you can do much better for just a little more. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Ms. Veendam is an older, smaller ship. The smallest I have ever sailed on. The ship is well maintained. We went with an ocean view room for this last minute trip. The room was fine. I did miss having a balcony. I enjoy sitting out there in ... Read More
Ms. Veendam is an older, smaller ship. The smallest I have ever sailed on. The ship is well maintained. We went with an ocean view room for this last minute trip. The room was fine. I did miss having a balcony. I enjoy sitting out there in the morning. The food on the ship in the main dining room was excellent as well as the service we received. We only ate breakfast in the Lido buffet. It had your typical fare. The late food service in the Lido was so so. Not a lot of choices, not that great. It was served between 10:30-11:30 pm. Room service is available 24/7. We ordered breakfast a couple times, it was good. They had upgrade items on menu but we didn't try any. Our favorite part of the trip was the Super Bowl party. We purchased the VIP Experience which was held in the showroom. We received front row comfortable seats, all you could drink, all food and snacks along with butler service. It was priced @ $69.99 per person. The staff was friendly and attentive throughout. We only went to one show, the comedian. He was funny. The rest of the nights were billed as singing and dancing shows, not our cup of tea. All in all we enjoyed the cruise very much and would sail with them again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Boarding the Veendam was fairly quick and easy. Perhaps a 15 minute wait to be called. Went directly to stateroom and then lunch at the Lido. The buffet was fresh and tasty – a huge assortment of food to eat. Dinner first night was ... Read More
Boarding the Veendam was fairly quick and easy. Perhaps a 15 minute wait to be called. Went directly to stateroom and then lunch at the Lido. The buffet was fresh and tasty – a huge assortment of food to eat. Dinner first night was prime rib medium rare and it was excellent. We had open seating but called for reservations – times available seemed to correspond to either the early or late seating in the assigned dining option. Key West was first stop. Took free tram to town, walked around, ate lunch at Sloppy Joe’s and then did hop on hop off bus tour. Lots of charm to buildings in Key West. So tired after all the walking in Key West, we ate dinner at the Lido buffet. Lots of options including same ones as main dining room menu. I had the weiner schnitzel – not particularly good. Next was day at sea where I discovered the Digital Workshops. Attended 2 and learned so much about photo editing with Windows 10 and then making a movie/slide show. First gala night, I had the rack of lamb which was tasty and perfectly cooked to my medium rare. Day 3 (Saturday) was to be a stop at Porta Maya but unfortunately gale winds and rough surf did not allow us to dock. Very disappointing but glad the captain is cautious. Attended more digital workshops. Day 4 (Sunday) docked at Cozumel early. Left ship about 10 and took cab to Westin to use beach for the afternoon. First stopped at Intercontinental but they did not give day passes. When we went to the Westin on the far north, they did not require a day pass – just walked onto the beach. Attendant brought us towels. Attendants on beach were very nice. Had pina coladas and a club sandwich for lunch – both very good! Beach is small but not crowded, lounges were comfortable and water was so clear and blue! Second gala night – surf and turf was on menu – I had 2 surf and no turf – It was good but not great lobster tails. A bit softer than when you have Maine lobster in Maine! Monday about 1:30, we began entry to Havana. You have to wait at entry for other ship to leave the port and then the pilot takes you into the channel. We were told the Italian ship leaving was often late and sure enough, they were. Our excursions were set for 3:00 but we did not get out of the port until about 4:30. Many people upset because HAL apparently knew this, but set up excursions anyway that they knew we would not start on time. Ours still ended at 7:00 and the order of the excursion was actually the opposite of the description. We did an Afternoon Stroll through old Havana, which was to be a walking tour, then a dance performance, followed by a light dinner at a local restaurant. Instead, we were taken by bus directly to the Original Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where we were served a Cubano sandwich and coke, then taken back to port by bus. Then we walked to dance studio for performance and finally began walking tour in the dark. Much is made about the required people to people interaction, but we didn’t actually have the opportunity for interaction with the locals. Our guide was a young girl who walked very quickly and would begin talking even before everyone had arrived. Tuesday morning we were in port until 11:30. We went outside on our own about 8:30 (no lines or problem) and flagged down a classic car to take an hour ride around Havana. The cost was $60 USD which we split with another couple. We were in a 55 Buick convertible and our driver Victor spoke excellent English. He had been a mechanical engineering teacher, but he quit to drive tourists because he made more money. This was a perfect morning – he showed us many sites, spoke with us at length – a true people to people interaction. Then he dropped us at an indoor shopping market (which you would never have guessed was a market from the outside – it was a former train station. Rows and rows of tourist/souvenir type objects – many identical to others. We then walked back to the ship. What I wish I had known in advance about visiting Cuba: 1. Ship provides Visa for $75 on ship 2. Ship’s excursions are pricey and probably not necessary. US regs require a people to people exchange which supposedly the ship’s excursion qualifies for. But no one actually ever asked us what we did in Cuba. We are supposed to keep receipts for 5 years in case Big Brother ever decides down the road to ask us what we did – really??? 3. It’s not necessary to change money – the US dollar is accepted at a value of $.87. The stall keepers in the market even had calculators! If you do change money, do in small amount. 4. You can set up your own site seeing by simply flagging a taxi (classic car, regular taxi, horse drawn carriage or 3 wheeled bicycle carriage) outside of the terminal for much less than the ship’s tour prices. Dinner was prime rib again and it was cooked perfectly. Overall, food on HAL was quite good. Ate breakfast both at Lido buffet and in main dining room. Huge selection in Lido with many offerings cooked to order. While menus in main dining room, waiters were very accommodating to basically whatever you wanted to have. Lunches also included a great selection. Especially liked the salad bar. Burgers and fries at dive-in were hot, tasty, fresh. At dinner each night, I had a small Caesar salad whether it was on the menu or not – no problem. Breakfast was available morning of disembarkation both in Lido and MDR at the same standards as the entire week. Disembarkation was smooth, easy, no problems at all. It was easy to get a taxi ourselves to Fort Lauderdale airport for about $14. We had a 12:30 flight and no issues at Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Our second time on Veendam. It is just the right size for oldsters. The ship is immaculate,everyone of the staff is friendly, the food is very good. The Lido buffet has the kitchen staff putting food on the plates, so there is minimum ... Read More
Our second time on Veendam. It is just the right size for oldsters. The ship is immaculate,everyone of the staff is friendly, the food is very good. The Lido buffet has the kitchen staff putting food on the plates, so there is minimum chance of contamination by passengers hands. We enjoyed the Pinnacle and the Caneletto restaurant and really enjoyed them. Our cabin was the typical balcony cabin with a chaise lounge and 2 chairs. It was kept excellently by the stewards. It was midship, but next time I would get a cabin closer to the elevators, to avoid the long walk We stopped at Key West, Cozulem and Cuba. Costa Maya was too rough and windy to dock so we missed it. Cuba Is a newer port for HAL, so there are a few kinks. It get dark at 6pm and there are very few street lights so it is pitch black. Our 4 hour tour started late at 4pm and we went to an OK restaurant from 4to 6. Then in the darkness we went on a panoramic ride to an artist establishment. It was disappointing trying to enjoy this in the darkness. But Cuba was an experience I'm glad I had. Every college student should see how communism works. Getting on and off the ship went smoothly. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I sailed in 2015 on the Maasdam, the only surviving Statendam class ship besides the Veendam. I hadn't much enjoyed that voyage because I'd recently sailed on the Vista-class Westerdam, and thought the service and layout was much ... Read More
I sailed in 2015 on the Maasdam, the only surviving Statendam class ship besides the Veendam. I hadn't much enjoyed that voyage because I'd recently sailed on the Vista-class Westerdam, and thought the service and layout was much superior. However, in between now and back then, HAL butchered the Westerdam by eliminating the library other than for a small number of destination-related books, did away with the designated puzzle table, forced the bar to take over the functions of the coffee café (and in the process ruining the view from the bar seats), and replaced the piano bar we so enjoyed with dueling pianists (which we did not). So I was very happy that so far, the Veendam still has its library, its Crow's Nest, and its piano bar, along with things I did like about the Maasdam such as the MIX bar and self-service laundries. Also I found the crew of the Veendam as excellent as that on the Westerdam, and very much enjoyed our ports of call in Key West and Cozumel. My main problem with the cruise was with the inability to spend any meaningful time in Cuba. I was on the 7-day Authentic Cuba portion of the 14-day tour; my reason for picking this particular cruise was to visit Cuba for the first time. However, the problems started even before the cruise, when it became clear that (1) I would need to take a shore excursion just to be allowed off the ship, and (2) all the shore excursions were sold out. My travel agent managed to get me on a 4-hour one (Panoramic Highlights of Havana). I was also interested in doing the Tropicana night club, but was told by the EXC staff when I inquired about it that if there was delay in our getting into port (as had occurred), we wouldn't be able to do that tour--and because HAL had to purchase the tickets, we would lose our money. As it turned out, I could have made that tour--but only because my 4-hour tour was cut short to make sure the people who had signed up for it made it back in time. My travel agent waitlisted me for other tours, including ones the next day, but I was never told I cleared the list, and we were given conflicting information about whether we could leave the ship the next day other than on an organized tour, so my grand time in Cuba was less than 4 hours, some of which was spent going through customs. The tour itself was fine, although of the three stops, two were done after night had fallen, and walking was tricky. We were encouraged to go through the currency exchange--but except for a small gift shop at the dance company we went to, there was nothing to buy, and by the time the tour ended, all stores were closed. We were told by our guide that we'd have a chance to take photos of the Classic Cars at Revolutionary Square, but they were gone before we got there, and because of the darkness, we wouldn't have been able to get much anyway. Our guide spoke excellent English and was very informative, so I'm glad I did get to go on the tour, but would have preferred to have spent at least 8 hours in the country, get something to eat/drink there, and be able to spend the money I obtained (which was the only souvenir of Cuba I was able to bring back). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I chose this cruise relatively close in to sail date because I had never been to Cuba and price was a Top 10 Deal. Have been cruising HAL for 20 years so am used to seeing service levels and amenities decline every year. However, unless ... Read More
I chose this cruise relatively close in to sail date because I had never been to Cuba and price was a Top 10 Deal. Have been cruising HAL for 20 years so am used to seeing service levels and amenities decline every year. However, unless HAL improve the boarding, administration, and in-PORT experience, they will not be able to continue filling these cruises. On the plus side: 1. The entertainment was the best I have experienced on HAL - enjoyed every night in the Queen's Lounge (or whatever they call it these days). 2. Staff, while being forced to do more and more each cruise are still pleasant - but far fewer are on repeat contracts. 5 - 10 years ago, I would see the same staff, cruise after cruise, but did not recognize any on this one. 3. Cleanliness. Well kept. 4. Captain. A real Irish joker who ran a tight ship. 5. BBC Earth. 6. Adagio Day 1 - Boarding: Easy and quick, but not provided with 4 Star pre-Boarding card - told to sit in waiting area, and only realized that the ship was actually ready to board for 4 Stars when I noticed other people going straight from check-in desk to gangway, bypassing holding area. On-Board Account. As usual, no shareholder credit appeared, even though I had specifically asked for and received confirmation of such credit from my travel agent. Had to have that email photographed for front desk to "send to Seatlle for confirmation" before S/H credit appeared. Why can they not get this right? Sets a bad mood for beginning of cruise. Day 2 - Key West. Arrived at Military Pier, a 30 minute tram ride to downtown. WHY? Cost cutting? NCL was at main town dock. Had to leave by 4pm. WHY? We only sailed at 12kts for next 2 days. Day 3. At Sea. Rough, but it's January so no complaints, other than public rooms on ship were kept at ice cold temperatures inside. I became quite ill by end of cruise. Day 4. Costa Maya - Did not dock. Winds gusting to 50kts. Why sail 120 miles south of Cozumel and then 120 miles back (at 6kts for 20 hours) when winds have been at gale force all previous day? Why not simply have an extra day at Cozumel? And why did Captain wait until 30 minutes AFTER we had performed a U-Turn at Costa Maya to explain? Day 5 - Cozumel. I like Cozumel, rented a car as always, and went to San Gervasio ruins and the east coast beaches. Disappointed that as it was Sunday, the Eco-Park at the south end was closed. But have noticed on last three HAL cruises that many ports are docked at on national or religious holidays. Why? Are dock charges less? Also note that ship docks about 3 miles south of town, at a purpose built shopping center, where prices of Mexican souvenirs are five times the price that the local artisans charge in the downtown Mercado. Day 6 - Havana. Well, only half a day. Good tour of Hemingway's home and fishing village followed by night walk in old town. Fortunately we had a very well educated and interesting guide. But ship arrived an hour late thanks to late departure of an MSC ship in the dock we needed, and immigration, currency and bus boarding procedures took another hour. NOTE - US Dollars (cash, all denominations) are widely accepted in Havana despite the EXC director telling everyone to line up (and waste time) to exchange $100 to Pesos. Day 7 - Havana (a couple of hours). Appallingly disorganized walking tour of approximately 12 blocks by an anti-Trump guide, who spent all his "P2P time" berating US policy instead of describing the buildings. I left after the second (of the four squares we were supposed to see) because it was quite clear that this idiot had no intention of taking the group to the remaining two squares or to the park where most of the shiny 1950s American cars were available. I filed an official complaint with the Shorex desk but as of today, have not received an apology or a refund. NOTE - you do NOT need to do HAL Shorex's and old Havana is safe, clean and walkable. If you go, take one of their expansive bus tours on day one to acclimate to the country and then do your own city walking tour on day 2. By getting off the ship yourself at daybreak, you might get 4 hours of sightseeing (embarkation was 1130). Day 8. Disembarkation/FLL. Disappointing taste in mouth because they charged me for Crows Nest cocktail the night before even though I had presented a $25 beverage card. When wasting 15 mins to get it rectified at front desk, was told "Oh the charge did not go through on the gift card, so we billed your account". If I had not opened the final statement and seen this, I would have been out the money, because the gift cards are cruise specific, and the remaining balance would not have been valid on my next cruise. Customs a breeze because I always choose self-offloading. But as usual, crooked taxi driver attempted the $20 scenic dock tour instead of the $11 direct to airport route. This time, I was wise to it, and told him to go the correct way. He feigned ignorance, and could hardly speak English, but as this is the second time in two cruises they have pulled this trick, be aware and ready for an argument, or call an Uber, where you know the fare in advance. Overall, ship and staff were good, but administration (4 star boarding, two accounting mistakes) needs attention. Biggest change must be to increase time in port. Need at least 2 more hours in Key West and Cozumel, and some way to get more time in Havana - maybe a second overnight so that the entire town can be explored. We were constantly reminded that the Cuban way is to not start the day til 10 am, and then do very little. So why depart at 1130? Costa Maya is just an artificial shopping center and small village, so dropping this port and adding an overnight in Havana would be much more valuable. As I have been to over 100 ports with HAL, my future focus now is hours in port, and I'm no longer interested in a mere six hours, as traffic everywhere has curtailed the ability to see as much as ten years ago. HAL should compensate for this by INCREASING time in port. Otherwise, with limited new destinations to see, I will be less inclined to do a repeat itinerary, if I know i will be seeing less than on previous cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Really enjoyed the Trip. Although a little aged, the ship is very easy get around and to feel comfortable. The deck 8 renovations have opened up the space but you can still find a quiet corner to relax or have a cocktail. Food was ... Read More
Really enjoyed the Trip. Although a little aged, the ship is very easy get around and to feel comfortable. The deck 8 renovations have opened up the space but you can still find a quiet corner to relax or have a cocktail. Food was better than expected both in the restaurants and lido cafe. My only complaint was I booked an ocean view cabin 337 on lower promenade (deck 6) knowing it’s location etc,. Unfortunately it was the only cabin on this deck that didn’t have the reflective glass to prevent passerby’s from seeing into the cabin when the lights were on and even the sheer drapes were not totally effective in blocking viewing into the cabin. When I complained about this they apologized and offered another cabin on a lower deck because unfortunately they did not have any reflective film to correct the problem. Because I specifically chose the location and was traveling with other friends in nearby launi cabins I opted not to move to the cabin offered but kept the drapes closed more time then I would have liked. The women at the front desk knew exactly which cabin I was in as soon as I mentioned the problem. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
My wife and I (as well as most others) was to visit Cuba. The other ports, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Because we had been to the three ports, we didn't spend much time in the ports. Here is a recap to the cruise: ... Read More
My wife and I (as well as most others) was to visit Cuba. The other ports, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Because we had been to the three ports, we didn't spend much time in the ports. Here is a recap to the cruise: Embarkation - We took the air program thru HAL. Best move we could have made. We left Hartford in snow - on time. Our connection was in Charlotte where it was also snowing, Things looked good until we got out of the terminal. It took over 2 hours to de-ice our plane, needless to say we are now on borrowed time to get to the ship. We got to the ship 5 minutes before it left. HAL's shore people were outstanding. They waited for us at the airport, had a bus waiting and got us to the pier with no time to spare. Cruise personnel were waiting and rushed us on the ship. Rating: A+ Entertainment - Spotty at best. We usually go to the evening shows but I think we made 2, the others seemed to just kill time. Rating: C- Food - Dining room food was good, the servers seemed to be spread thin, we never got a chance to get to know them. We ate at the Pinnacle and the Italian restaurant, Both were very good. The Lido's choices were limited, unless you liked pork. No real food lines. Rating: B- Room: We had a balcony. Everything worked and the staff were excellent. Rating: A Excursions: Only tours taken where in Havana. The car tour was just fair, drove around 2 hrs with a driver who spoke no English. We did a p to p stop both days which were very interesting. The next morning we took the walk around Old Havana. Fair, some people walked around on their own which would have been better. A lot of people were unhappy because HAL never notified anyone that they added tours later in the year. Therefore they didn't get to see much of Havana. Rating: C+ Debarkation: Excellent. Rating A+ All in all, glad we went but next time will go for a longer period and go on a cruise that had a lot more to do. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We were in a Neptune suite thanks to an amazing last-minute offer of an upgrade. Given my husband and I must do some work while away, this was welcome, with room to stretch, great lounge, amazing staff. We visited Cuba, the highlight of ... Read More
We were in a Neptune suite thanks to an amazing last-minute offer of an upgrade. Given my husband and I must do some work while away, this was welcome, with room to stretch, great lounge, amazing staff. We visited Cuba, the highlight of the trip. We dined nearly every morning in the Pinacle Grill, an option available for suite customers. Honestly, this alone was nearly worth the cost of the upgrade to suite level. The demographics of the cruisers was typical of Holland America, mostly older adults, but also believe this was in part due to the time of year when no one is off from school, etc. While that might bother some, this did not bother us, though we were among the younger couples on board. (And we are not that young!) We are not gamblers, nor do we care for the big production entertainment, cannot really comment on casino, theater, but really enjoyed the violin and piano duo, jazz trio, etc. We have committed to another HAL cruise next spring. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
I choose this cruise because it went to Cuba - overnight. I travelled solo. The first night they had a solo travel meet-up in the bar and it was empty. And they never did again like on other ships. My room was great -632. And the two ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it went to Cuba - overnight. I travelled solo. The first night they had a solo travel meet-up in the bar and it was empty. And they never did again like on other ships. My room was great -632. And the two stewards were fabulous. I was so disappointed in the Lido Cafe. They are only open certain hours. And they close completely between 8-10:30. And then reopen with a “fast food” type of buffet for an hour except the last two nights - it was 11-1. I asked the supervisors why isn’t it open on one side until 12. Like most ships and he responded the crew needs to prepare and they need their breaks! Sorry not my problem. I probably would avoid the Veendam for this . Also i saw a supervisor reprimand two hard working servers in the Lido Cafe the last morning in front of me. I felt so bad I tipped the server. The information about CUBA was so misunderstood. Just for instance the instructions on the paper they give us says not to smile when taking the picture in immigration - that is incorrect. And they told us American $$ can NOT be used in CUBA. So untrue. I bought things and tipped in dollars. The people were happy. Also the second day I didn’t take the people to people and got off the boat with hundreds of other people. No one checked. And the Cubans were so gracious in immigration and Customs. - The boat is old and needs renovation. There were several plumbing problems on my floor But the gym was fabulous. On the 11th floor - with a view. - all new equipment and a great staff! Great spa also. The entertainment was great ! I would like to go again on a similar cruise but would think twice about the way the Lido schedule is and the attitude of the management staff - not the workers. They are fine I also liked the excursions and the staff! But no music around the ship. Most ships have entertainment around the pool. There was no vacation mood around the ship! Also the room had no mini fridge. And no one told me until the last day that you can rent one! Bad marketing Read Less
Veendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 3.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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