9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Our cruise on the VeenDam was not a pleasant one. The food was terrible and the ship was dirty. We had dinner at our assigned table only 3-4 times. We just could not tolerate the food. After finding a hair in my salad we didn’t go back ... Read More
Our cruise on the VeenDam was not a pleasant one. The food was terrible and the ship was dirty. We had dinner at our assigned table only 3-4 times. We just could not tolerate the food. After finding a hair in my salad we didn’t go back to the dinning room. Janet almost threw up when I found the hair. One morning we were having an omelets and I discovered a hair in my omelet. (picture attached) Another morning I grabbed a fruit cup and was eating the fruit when I looked down and saw a filthy glass the fruit was in. I took my finger nail and scratched the crud. This was disgusting. I took the cup to the front desk and heard crickets. (picture attached) After this incident we lived on scrambled eggs, yogurt, fruit, salad and pizza for the majority of the cruise. Anything that was prepacked or would be killed in high heat. The fruit juices were watered down just like their cocktail drinks. We went one evening to the Crow’s Nest for happy hour. The Holland America app said happy hour was from 4:00-4:30. This crated a lot of confusion with the bartender. The guy in front of me had a discussion with the bartender about the time. I showed the bartender the H.A. app which clearly said 4:00, but the bartender insisted it was 4:30 as printed in the daily ships guide. The bartender eventually gave the guy his drinks at first one at regular price and the 2nd for $2.00. When it came my turn, he said I had to pay full price or wait until 4:30. I told him this was discrimination and the people behind me agreed. It is obvious some of the ships personnel need to be retrained. It gets more interesting. Every evening at happy hour there was trivia. The cruise director Tom Webber was great as was Eileya who did the trivia in the evening. One evening we ordered Mojitos. The bartender never mulled the lime and mint together, so on this evening I discovered a bug in my drink. (picture attached) There was dust everywhere. No one ever dusted the bases of the fixed table.(picture attached) I called for a meeting and Mr. Bashir met with me in the lobby, outside of the customer service desk. I went through my list of issues and was told “there are 1,350 on board the ship. “We are trying to make everyone happy”. You are the only complaint”, which is a lie. We did excursion with many people who complained about the services and quality aboard the ship. I showed Mr. Bashir my pictures and he didn’t believe me. I told him “I bet you that spinach is still on the wall”. He said “they clean every day”. I took Mr. Bashir up to the Lido deck and showed him the spinach on the wall. He too was unhappy about the quality of the food. I was at breakfast one morning, before I met him, and he was complaining about how his food was cooked. We did a lot of excursion. One had only one excursion that was not good and that was the trip to Corfu. The WORST excursion we EVER had. I complained about this excursion, as did others. We did not get a refund, only crickets. As for Holland America, I will not cruise with them. This was our 3rd cruise. This was our gift to each other for our 45th anniversary. Not a glass of wine, not a glass of Champaign nothing! Holland America’s was all about separating you from you money and if you didn’t like what you got, well that was just too bad. See you later sucker, they just didn’t care because they had their money. We paid high dollar for a low budget, low quality return. Read Less
5 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise solely because of the Cuba stops. It was advertised and sold as the 10 Day Cuban Explorer. After a wonderful day and evening in Havana we were advised our second Cuba stop in Cienfuegos was being cancelled because of ... Read More
We chose this cruise solely because of the Cuba stops. It was advertised and sold as the 10 Day Cuban Explorer. After a wonderful day and evening in Havana we were advised our second Cuba stop in Cienfuegos was being cancelled because of ship mechanical problems. In addition we we told the remaining ports were being moved up a day which totally disrupted advance plans we had made in those stops. We were given an insulting $100 ship credi for our “inconvenience” The Captain was unapologetic and admonished us not to feel the cruise had been ruined. We found out from the crew this was not the first time the Veendam had cancelled Cienfuegos. We regret booking this cruise with Holland America. On a positive note the crew was wonderful. Food was average and actually poor one of the two nights we ate in the Pinnicle Grill. Food and service in the Canaletto restaurant was very good. Ship interiors were very well done considering the age of the ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Veendam 1.) The Captain may not take you to all of the ports on the itinerary. Our second stop in Cuba (the main reason for the cruise), Cienfuegos, was cancelled. A $50.00 per passenger shipboard credit was the purported compensation ... Read More
Veendam 1.) The Captain may not take you to all of the ports on the itinerary. Our second stop in Cuba (the main reason for the cruise), Cienfuegos, was cancelled. A $50.00 per passenger shipboard credit was the purported compensation for the port cancellation. So many passengers complained that the Captain opened the Lido bar for 2.5 hours of free cocktails. There was no additional compensation for passengers that purchased a beverage package either before or during the cruise. Free cocktails means absolutely nothing to those who have already paid good money up front for a signature or elite beverage package. We were given a case number by our fabulous Neptune Lounge concierge. Case #364388. Waiting to hear back from corporate. 2.) The hot tub in the Greenhouse spa was either luke warm or not functioning for the entire cruise. Really annoying to buy a greenhouse pass and not be able to use/enjoy the hot tub at all. 3.) The Captains cocktail party for 3,4 and 5 star Mariners. I guess he was too embarrassed, nervous or just plain sick of listening to any more complaints because he only attended the event for 15 minutes. 4.) The plumbing on the ship leaves a lot to be desired. The toilets in the Spa and the gym were overflowing and inoperable on several occasions. The toilet in the men’s locker room was out of order for the entire cruise. Maintenance was constantly working on pipes around the ship. Promenade deck would be wet and slippery. Maintenance was working on the plumbing/pipes on the Navigation deck right outside of our Neptune suite for an entire afternoon while at sea. Tap, tap, tap, bang, bang, bang all afternoon. Then comes the telephone call that they need access to our suite. So much for resting and relaxing in our suite, let alone an afternoon nap. 5.) The internet is slow, which I understand but having hours of it being inoperable after you have paid to use it is annoying to say the least. 6.) One of the elevators was out of service for the entire cruise. 7.) The all day in room dining menu is a joke. There are a half dozen items and then sandwiches. The all day menu was not available at all on the 8th day of the cruise. 8.) Two points on the pool. Safety regulation are not enforced. They allow small children and not so small children to jump, dive, splash as long as they want to, which ended up being most of the day on several days. Obnoxious to say the least. When reported to the Officers, nothing was done. In fact, on one occasion two officers were present at the pool while the jumping, splashing and diving was happening and they looked the other way. Second point, the retractable dome was not opened on completely sunny days. This made the pool bar and dining area feel like Viet Nam in the summer. Not comfortable at all. 9.) The aft bar and the entire aft seating area on Lido was closed on 11/9 at 5pm for the remainder of the day. This is one of only 2 smoking areas available on the ship. The other area is the casino (on smoking days) where there is a table in the rear of the casino with 8 ashtrays on it and no chairs. No place to sit. Stand and smoke and get out. 10.) Fairly amusing is the fact that one very small, postcard sized critique card is handed out on the first day of the cruise. Gee, I wonder why????? The good part is that the crew are FABULOUS! The food in the Pinnacle (where we enjoyed dinner most of the time), dining room and Lido buffet is always extremely good and an interesting variety is offered. The crew and the food are the only reason to take a cruise on this ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
That's what the staff keep telling us when the A/C did not work for 10 days. They claim it takes 3 days to investigate the problem then they discovered it was an old ship Then you get the flu They are right the tv in the cabin ... Read More
That's what the staff keep telling us when the A/C did not work for 10 days. They claim it takes 3 days to investigate the problem then they discovered it was an old ship Then you get the flu They are right the tv in the cabin was like 20 inches had a DVD player screwed to bottom that never worked 2 movies channels that lope 2 movies all day, had Amazon on another but the picture was so bad you could not watch The carpeting the room was just nasty The shows were so so at best, the singers were awful No vent in the bathroom so it smelled all the time If you like to sweat in your cabin book here But they give you a small desk fan to make up for the problem If you get sick which we did no the last day the demand to stay in your room, OK I understand that but they charge you $6 for 3 pills and $3 for a can of Sprite Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
So my wife and I were super excited to get this 11 cruise that included 2 ports in Cuba and had an ADA room available at a decent price. Little did we know it would be the cruise from Hell. Background - My wife has MS and is in a ... Read More
So my wife and I were super excited to get this 11 cruise that included 2 ports in Cuba and had an ADA room available at a decent price. Little did we know it would be the cruise from Hell. Background - My wife has MS and is in a wheelchair full time. We are 4 star Holland America members and have cruised for the last 30 years. We had five ports on this cruise: Cozumel, Belize, Cuba (2 ports) and the private island. We were denied access in Belize and Cienfuegos in Cuba because there were stairs to the tender and the CAPTAIN (yes - the CAPTAIN - not a staff member) refused to allow personnel to assist me in getting my wife down the 16 steps to the tender. NEVER have we had ship personnel not help us. Note: They helped the 91 year old lady down the steps but because my wife can not lift her feet they wouldn't help us. Note: We have been the China, South America, Europe, etc. so having to use steps is not a new experience for us. It just takes awhile. We need someone to move her feet to each step. Its really not that hard. Our daughter normally does it but she was at school. When we went to book shore excursions in Cuba we were initially told that there were no ADA tours available. So Holland sold a cruise with an ADA room and you have no ADA tours????? After much discussions (hours) with the Hotel Manager and the Shore Excursion supervisor we were able to get a tour in Havana for a reasonable price. I asked Holland America for a refund based on only having 2 ports out of 5. Initial response was NO! My response was that was not satisfactory and after more time and effort (cause that is what you always want to do on a cruise) we got 350 dollars and dinner at the Pinnacle Grill one night. I will give credit to the Hotel Director and the Shore Excursion Supervisor for getting us a tour in Havana but I had to make it happen. If I had been passive we would of gotten nothing. These 2 ladies were the only ones that were helpful and without them we would of not been able to see Cuba. Note: As a USA citizen we had to take a tour not explore on our own. So in summary - Don't expect Holland America to help you. Don't expect Holland America to try to make you whole if you have problems (I don't consider the compensation received to be even close to fair for the money, time and effort spent on what was suppose to be a vacation. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because it involved two ports in Cuba-Havana and Cietrefugo. The ship is very small and had almost no entertainment until the trumped up Happy hour, which charged a very high charge for every drink and for only $2 ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it involved two ports in Cuba-Havana and Cietrefugo. The ship is very small and had almost no entertainment until the trumped up Happy hour, which charged a very high charge for every drink and for only $2 more for the second drink. Music was a piano player for and hour. The food was just fair and the beef quality got worse as the cruise went along. So we stopped ordering all beef dishes. The evening entertainment was a trio playing Frank Sinatra era music. The main show was supported by a quartet which was inadequate for decent musical backup for visiting performers. Basically nothing going on all day long. The service was ok . Ports other than Cuba were not very good-- Grand Camen on a Sunday is useless as it is closed for business. We will never travel on Holland American again!!!!!!!!!! No entertainment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Be VERY leary. DO NOT GO. I have the CDC Vessel Sanitazion Program (CDC) on this one. Disgusting, filthy toilets and “sanitation”. I walked into my cabin when it was announced that cabins were clean and ready, and I went into my ... Read More
Be VERY leary. DO NOT GO. I have the CDC Vessel Sanitazion Program (CDC) on this one. Disgusting, filthy toilets and “sanitation”. I walked into my cabin when it was announced that cabins were clean and ready, and I went into my bathroom and the toilet was over flooded with filthy water and human fecal matter! The public bathrooms were almost always filthy; I never saw anyone clean a public toilet all the days. The HVAC (heating and cooling) was constantly not working.....everyone complaining....even “Guest Relations” told me to be glad my room wasn’t almost 80 degrees like others and that I had SOME air. I couldn’t believe that! When the air was on, there was an exhaust smelll (others complaining as well)and a strong odor that I have never smelled but it smelled like rotting fruit. Several times thru out the cruise, toilets backed up, and there was no running water....one day I had no hot water for 20 hours and guest relations did nothing and I finally approached a navigation officer, who handled it. Communication was almost non existent between Departments was very poor...., for example, it was in their daily program that card players meet in a certain room each a.m., and the room was not set up 1/2 the time, and passengers were getting and setting up tables and chairs. We were promised water and coffee in that room, and only received one day, even after repeated calls. Customer Service was so poor it was almost comical.....but it wasn’t, but I could see why. I was so upset and frustrated one night when I had to WALK TO GUEST RELATIONS IN MY PJs, as no one would answer the phone, and I was crying and the Hotel Director was by my elevator and I implored him for help and he actually said “Not my job” and left we standing there! Employee relations was very inconsistent; some crew (like my cabin attendant in 598) actually walked away while I was talking! The Ship is very very run down, stains, boards missing or damaged under floors, for example I reported repeatedly that on the floor adjacent to Table 63, main dining, had some serious problems with the floor, as everytime a wait staff would walk by, the floor would sink in and bother my back. I was told they could do nothing until next dry dock!! Although the food was quite good, I did have a health issue. I have serious celiac disease and must be gluetin free, and in the buffet, the room service, and only once in main dining....they tried to serve me food with gluten. I stopped using room service as almost daily, it was not on time, missing items, coffee cold, etc. The promenade deck had hard wooden loungers with slats and NO COVERS....unusable! Photo below. I had to RENT a refrigerator for my medicines and special diet food and it was delivered in filthy condition! When I arrived in my cabin, it was not properly cleaned....hair everywhere, sticky remote control, dirty clothes in the drawers, badly stained and ripped sheets! The bathroom floors had the same shoe stain for two days. The charges for HALs excursions were 50% to 1400% (YES! 1400%] higher than one could find outside. The 4th of July party and BarBQue promised on their private island was not done because “thunderstorms were predicted”.....we checked the weather on line and we saw no such prediction and it was a beautiful day. The furniture in the showroom was uncomfortable and the onboard singers and dancers and their shows were so bad....people were calling it “dancing by numbers”. The outside entertainers were just okay, not bad. Often, it would take so long for someone at the front desk to answer phone, I waited up to an hour and walked down in my PJs. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to Cuba, Key West, and Grand Cayman. Unfortunately, the Veendam is in terrible shape. The air conditioning does not work. There are parts of the ship that are blazing hot while other parts ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary to Cuba, Key West, and Grand Cayman. Unfortunately, the Veendam is in terrible shape. The air conditioning does not work. There are parts of the ship that are blazing hot while other parts are freezing. Plus, in our cabin, there was rust on the shower ceiling, dings in the walls, stains on the duvet, and a strong urine smell in the bathroom at all times. We had friends who had to change cabins three times during the cruise due to problems (including flooding) in their cabin. In addition, there were very few activities on the ship, especially on sea days. It felt like the ship shut down by 8:00 p.m. For example, there were no guest lecturers, no house band or DJ, or no local groups brought on for musical performances. While we enjoyed the ports, the overall Holland America experience was awful. We are avid cruisers, and this was our first and last experience with this cruise line. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Do not book a cruise with Holland America!! This was my 36th cruise and I have never before had a complaint. Air conditioning did not work in our cabin and customer service was full of lies about it. Lots of aft cabins had air ... Read More
Do not book a cruise with Holland America!! This was my 36th cruise and I have never before had a complaint. Air conditioning did not work in our cabin and customer service was full of lies about it. Lots of aft cabins had air conditioning problems and dealing with Holland America was a nightmare! For 3 days they kept telling us they were working on adjusting the airflow while we sweltered and were unable to sleep at night. Finally on the 4th day we were offered a box fan which did help a little. After that we had a nice suite that we could not use without stepping over cord to the only outlet in the cabin and maneuvering around the fan. SAFETY HAZARD!! Veendam is way overdue for a refurbish. Things are very tired, dirty, and nasty. I enjoy the smaller ships but this was not cruise worthy. Have no complaints about the service except for the front desk. Lies, lies, and more lies!! We heard from other passengers that they had the same problems on the previous cruise. Holland America knew there was a problem and we feel that we should have been notified at the beginning of the cruise. My daughter traipsed down to the front desk every day to negotiate with them to no avail. She finally got them to admit that on the last day that it could not be fixed and we were given a 25% refund. We don't feel that was sufficient but would have been given nothing without her efforts. Dining room service was very good. Waiters were attentive and fun. Staff on board was always friendly and helpful. Cuba was wonderful!! The shore excursion was great, our tour guide Guillermo was excellent and the Cuban people were very friendly and welcoming. You should definitely book a cruise or trip to Cuba but not through Holland America!! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We thought we'd done all the right research prior to booking our cruise, obviously not. The only thing that didn't make this a completely miserable experience was the Ports and the company we traveled with. We ar grieved a little ... Read More
We thought we'd done all the right research prior to booking our cruise, obviously not. The only thing that didn't make this a completely miserable experience was the Ports and the company we traveled with. We ar grieved a little early on embarking day, no big deal to sit and wait but we waited and waited and waited...the ship wasn't ready so we waited ... 4 hours. Once onboard we made our way to the Lido deck because our lunch this far had been from vending machines at the port. I don't mind being served food, I find it safer than a bunch of people reaching in a buffet, but you had to ask 2-3 times for "more" than 10 pieces of lettuce, etc. The. To the room, it was as expected as an overview if only you could see the ocean given the dirty window! I'm not talking about some salt water, it was completely filthy. The room itself was clean, old and one power outlet (we asked for a power strip) but bed was comfortable and room stewards were great- they were the ONLY great thing about this cruise!! We were detoured prior to departure to Amber Cove vs. Cap Cana...that was fine as well, because we were getting such a late start. Amber Cove was very nice and a lot of fun actually, just no beach or any excursions to be offered. Have a drink and sit by the pool. Now, back to the ship...nothing to do, NOTHING...unless you enjoy playing chess in the library or reading a book in the corner this is not for you. There were six of us, all early Fortys and we literally went to bed at nine every night because of boredom. You can only go to the casino so many times and heaven forbid you'd want to eat past seven....they shut food stations down early every single day. So off to the room to order room service and wait an hour. Oh, and pay for food from the Dive In because it's after their hours. Can't get a drink at any of the ship bars because there's no one working. Literally NOONE WORKING during daytime hours! So be prepared to go to the crows nest in the front of the ship after four for drinks, otherwise good luck! I'm not a fan of Holland as you can tell. This was our third cruise and I've never been more disappointed. First and last time sailing with Holland! Wish I had something good to say, but I don't. If you don't want activities and like to sit in your room, book on this ship. The people and ship are all miserable. Read Less
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The ship had no A/C in main dining room or in my cabin. The solution was a noisy box fan. Not much cooler with the fan. Two days the room had a strong oil smell. No solution to that problem. The smell was extremely strong at night when ... Read More
The ship had no A/C in main dining room or in my cabin. The solution was a noisy box fan. Not much cooler with the fan. Two days the room had a strong oil smell. No solution to that problem. The smell was extremely strong at night when trying to sleep. Hard to get a drink with breakfast when you are not a tea or coffee drinker. San Pelligrino or soda can't be ordered before 7:30AM. Waiters are hard to find in the morning in the Lido Market. The Front Desk staff refused to get a supervisor to speak with my daughter and I. Stay away from Holland America. I know we will in the future. They tell travel agents one thing and have something different in the Shore Excursion bulletin. You can't hear announcements when in your stateroom with the door closed. This isn't good if there is an emergency. Unless you are into fitness or want to know about all the applications available on Windows 10, there is NOTHING TO DO ON SHIP. Bermuda was beautiful and most of the shore excursions were good. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Wanted to visit both Montreal and Boston. Paid for a mini suite but it is a balcony room with a mini suite price. Room was dirty, trash found upon entering.Toilet bowl was a disgrace. shower did not work on day #2 Cabin attendants have 30 ... Read More
Wanted to visit both Montreal and Boston. Paid for a mini suite but it is a balcony room with a mini suite price. Room was dirty, trash found upon entering.Toilet bowl was a disgrace. shower did not work on day #2 Cabin attendants have 30 rooms to take care of and can't get the job done.Room had warped draws and cabinets,dirty carpeting, piece of molding missing from inside bathroom door.Hallways smelled from sewage.Meals were not good. No festivities for either Canada Da 150 th anniversary or for July 4th. Specialty Italian restaurant an extension of top floor buffet. cancel our reservation.Entertainment was awful. Specialty restaurants no bargain.Sent food back because it was over cooked. This ship needs a major overhaul.Depressing and dark throughout the ship.Service desk gives you lip service. Have taken 9 cruises on Princess,several on Norwegian lines and one on Royal Carib. This was the worst ship we have ever been on. A rip off for the price. We will never go on Holland America again. Our travel agent contacted them for some credit or reduction and Holland America did nothing. You go on a cruise for entertainment,relaxation and good food.You want to be pampered not aggravated and upset Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My wife and I took the 11-day cruise from Boston to Montreal on Veendam. We have been on about a dozen cruises in the past using Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity, and have enjoyed them all up to now. This was the first time we have ... Read More
My wife and I took the 11-day cruise from Boston to Montreal on Veendam. We have been on about a dozen cruises in the past using Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity, and have enjoyed them all up to now. This was the first time we have used Holland America Line, and it will probably be the last time. To start on a positive note, our cabin attendant was very nice, and tried to help as much as he could. Also, getting on the ship was smooth with no problems. It's all downhill from there. The ship seemed to be in a constant state of maintenance throughout the cruise. Sections of the ship had very strong (nauseating) smell of paint and/or varnish. This included the main dining room as well. A couple of times we were seated in a section of the dining room with heavy chemical smells that made eating impossible. When we complained about the smell and asked for a table in a different section of the dining room, staff acted like we were making a big deal out of nothing. This was not our only inconvenience due to maintenance. We had paid extra to have a room with a balcony, and guess what? Balconies were under maintenance too. When the ship docks, they repair and paint the balconies. Some days we would wake up to find two guys in a hoist working on our balcony, which meant 1) the balcony we paid for was not available for our use, and 2) we had no privacy in our cabin unless we kept our curtains closed. On one instance they started at around 8:00 o'clock, and worked until 2:30. To make matters worse, once in a while additional maintenance staff would knock on our door and ask if they could come into the room to talk to the two guys working on the balcony. Imagine having 4 guys (two in a hoist and two in the cabin) having shop talk for half an hour while you try to use the cabin you paid for. When we complained to the front desk, they seemed helpless. Their advice was for us to be patient and it would be over soon. Food is another matter. Most of the food is just ok, in a "meh" kind of way, nothing special, and nothing stands out. Some of it is just bad. The so called "steaks" taste like they have been cooked at some point in the last 12 hours or so, and reheated in a microwave just before service. The filet mignon was a joke, and so was the ribeye. The customary lobster tail they served was way overcooked and very very very salty, as though someone dropped the salt shaker into the pot. It was simply inedible; we both sent it back. An interesting phenomenon is that, when you send a dish back literally without touching it, waiters don't ask any questions. They don't ask what was wrong with it or if you'd like something else instead. They just take your plate and carry on. It just made me wonder if they are specifically instructed to act that way. Activities on the ship were very limited compared to previous cruises we took. On other cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Princess or Celebrity, we'd often have a hard time choosing between multiple things to do in a given time period. On Holland America, most of the time there is nothing going on, even on sea days. I guess some people prefer that, but it wasn't for us. The theater shows are so-so in quality, and they rehash them to utilize the few performers they have to maximum effect. There are a few lounges on deck 8 where same performers play every evening. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Let me preface this review by saying that I have been on most of the other Holland America ships - and that, until this cruise, Holland America has been my favorite cruise line. It was an extremely disappointing cruise. The quality of ... Read More
Let me preface this review by saying that I have been on most of the other Holland America ships - and that, until this cruise, Holland America has been my favorite cruise line. It was an extremely disappointing cruise. The quality of the cruise offered on the Veendam was substantially LOWER than any other Holland America cruise I have ever taken. I found it hard to believe that the Veendam was a Holland America ship. The ship was badly worn and in very poor condition. Our cruise started late because the ship was over five hours late in getting into port due to mechanical problems. We were late in leaving one of our ports again because of mechanical problems. Holland America prides itself in a "fine tradition" but on this ship they have gutted ALL of the things passengers like about Holland America. This is particularly evident when it comes to the cuisine. For some silly reason, the Administrators think Holland America passengers want "painfully trendy" menu items. We were served things like a garbanzo bean smoothie flavored with mint, and lentils with pink grapefuit. It was some of the WORST food I have been served on any cruise line. And, there were incredibly annoying little flourishes on the cruise --- like NO TRAYS in the buffet. Holland America passengers tend to be old and many of us have problems walking. Without trays to set our meals upon, everyone had to make several trips back and forth each and every meal. On our cruise we were asked to celebrate the birthday of the King of Holland. This was incredibly silly considering that Holland America is an AMERICAN company based in Seattle ... a part of the Carnival cruise Lines. And, after beiung specifically asked to celebrate this Birthday there was NO FOLLOW UP... The ship did absolutely nothing:festive" on this day. There are some serious issues with the Shore Excursion Department on this ship. There were OUTRAGEOUS mark ups on the shore excursions the ship offered. For example, in Quebec City a "Countryside Tour" cost $99.00 if you bought the tour on the ship. The exact same tour bought on shore was $34.00. Our Shore excursion "Tour of Boston and Cambridge" was held on a huge over sized BUS. This was insane. The historic areas of Boston are very cramped -- the historic streets will NOT accommodate an over sized bus. The tour of Boston depended on where the BUS could stop -- not where anything even remotely interesting could be seen. We spent over an our of our four hour tour standing outside in the rain in "Harvard Yard". We were not allowed to actually go into any of the buildings. Another 45 minutes was spend driving in circles around the MIT campus. Loyal Holland America passengers will be disappointed to find that many of the special things which Holland America offered are simply missing. There was no freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning. The "Benedict Station" in the buffet was missing. In our fifteen day cruise there was no "Chocolate Buffet". This is one of the smallest ships still sailing for any major America Cruise lines. It took an exceptionally LONG time for disembarkation. We opted for a self disembarkation. The ship docked at 7:00 am. suite passengers and passengers who had bought a shore excursion of Montreal were given priority to leave the ship. We were schedule to leave at 8:00am. And, for whatever reason, there was a delay of an HOUR .. so we did not get off the hip until about NINE am. (Bear in mind, there were no customs formalities to deal with, it was a simple matter of picking up your suitcase and walking off the ship -- but it took until NINE am.) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
Where to begin? We had no hot water on three occasions. One afternoon toilets would not flush. The dancing did not begin most nights until 11:30 PM despite the fact that most of the persons on board were well over 75 years old. The ... Read More
Where to begin? We had no hot water on three occasions. One afternoon toilets would not flush. The dancing did not begin most nights until 11:30 PM despite the fact that most of the persons on board were well over 75 years old. The shore excursion choices were limited, and for the most part not of high quality. The fitness center was adequate, but it was kept too warm for exercise, and there were no cups for water. There were a few free classes, but a charge for most. The excursion staff on board were rude and uninformed. Some of the ports we visited were not interesting and there was nothing to do but look at cheap souvenirs. The entertainment was mediocre. My thoughts on the cruise were similar to many others that I spoke with. Quite a few had cruised with Holland America had cruised with them on numerous occasions. They all concurred that this was the worst cruise ever and described the ship as "tired" in comparison to other HA ships. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Our holiday cruise with family, aboard the Hell-ship Veendam Maru, from 20 Dec 2016 - 4 Jan 2017, was truly a cruise from hell. It was marked by a series of unfortunate events day after day, that began with two USCG helicopter medical ... Read More
Our holiday cruise with family, aboard the Hell-ship Veendam Maru, from 20 Dec 2016 - 4 Jan 2017, was truly a cruise from hell. It was marked by a series of unfortunate events day after day, that began with two USCG helicopter medical evacuations of crewmembers (one from Half Moon Cay on 21 Dec and another plucked from the Veendam at sea on 22 Dec). (The ship reportedly sailed from Ft Lauderdale short approximately 40 crewmembers to begin with!)(Service in all departments suffered accordingly!) The following day, black water suddenly began pouring from many stateroom bathroom sink faucets and bathtubs, forcing us to use bottled water for a couple days. On 24 Dec, while our kids were touring Cartagena, their Lanai Stateroom #344 was flooded by water from a neighboring cabin and were relocated to an inside room for two days! (My son and daughter-in-law are both active duty US Army and were on their honeymoon!!) I was forced to make repeated trips to the guest relations front desk over the next few days to twist arms & ensure our kids would be compensated for the interruption of their vacation!!! When that problem was resolved, I began another series of visits to guest relations to resolve our HVAC issues in Lanai Stateroom #350. Bottom line: We prefer that our room feels borderline meat locker!! However, since day one, our cabin was never comfortable enough for human habitation. It felt like we were living in a Navajo Sweat Lodge or Tropical Rain Forest!! My wife's makeup began melting almost as soon as she applied it, and we often slept under just a sheet. We've now sailed on 12 HAL voyages & have never had a problem staying comfortable with our cabin thermostat set at the lowest possible point. Per Veendam's guest relations staff, who were in and out of our room several times per day throughout the cruise recording the temp, the temp was always 22-23 C which equates to 73-74 F! Several days into this process of dueling with the guest relations staff (again), and with no prospect of resolution favorable to our cause in sight, I finally took some direct action & personally handed the captain himself a note at the Mariner's Luncheon, demanding his staff of crack engineers fix our cabin HVAC system to our satisfaction!! However, our room remained forever overheated!! By the end of the voyage, Veendam staffers had proved that HVAC was indeed rocket science, as far as HAL was concerned. On the final night of the voyage I was granted a face-to-face meeting with the Veendam's Guest Relations Mgr. When I asked her for some form of compensation for our 15 days of extreme personal discomfort in cabin #350, I was told there would be none, but that I could take it up with the home office!! When I demanded a copy of her staff's temperature readings for my room, I was stonewalled once again!!! The final indignity: on the last night of the cruise after dining in the Rotterdam Dining Room, my daughter in law and I both suffered bouts of food posioning which made for a very uncomfortable disembarkation day and flight home!! The Veendam is a very old ship, a Jonah, and has a lot of problems!!! Considering the condition of its HVAC system, perhaps the Veendam should avoid the tropics and concentrate on sailings to ALASKA & N Europe!! HAL Cruises - Never Again, Baby!!! Very poor customer relations!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was my third Holland America cruise, and the Veendam is a huge dissapointment. The ship has numerous infrastructure issues. The climate control system is a serious problem Our cabin was very hot at the beginnin of the cruise. It ... Read More
This was my third Holland America cruise, and the Veendam is a huge dissapointment. The ship has numerous infrastructure issues. The climate control system is a serious problem Our cabin was very hot at the beginnin of the cruise. It took 4 days to get someone to look at the air conditioning and the best that could be done was to increase the air flow. The thermostate dial does not work. On the final leg of the cruise the air continued at the same rate. We went from a cabin temperature of 80F to 60F. Almost every guest we spoke with was haveing the same issues. Another serious issue was the floors. There are large gaps between the carpet and the actual floor, which is a serious issue with so many seniors on board. At least 4 of the public men's rooms had urinals marked "out of order." On the final morning there were no announcements being made to help co-ordinate disembarkation. Passengers finally started to converge on the gang way and it was chaotic and tense. As I understand it the Veendam is being retired in 2018. Apparently Holland America has elected to patch problems rather than do anything to maintain the ship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We were so excited about this cruise. Planned it for a long time. This was our 29th anniversary. The scenery and excursions were great, except tour in New York didn't include the 911 Museum. This was our 3rd HAL cruise. ... Read More
We were so excited about this cruise. Planned it for a long time. This was our 29th anniversary. The scenery and excursions were great, except tour in New York didn't include the 911 Museum. This was our 3rd HAL cruise. Alaska and Panama Canal were flawless. The Veendam was a smaller ship than expected. The shops were small. The "blowout" sales were the same price as they were the beginning of the cruise. Service was slow as if understaffed. Shows were mediocre except for the ships' singers. The worst was the food. Everything in the main dining room was far too upscale. I can see having a few dishes for a more sophisticated palette, but all the dishes were like that. I ended up eating French onion soup every night and the daily roasted chicken most of the time. The desserts were a joke. Everything was fluff. Nothing like it sounded it would be. So I ate fruit for dessert. This is the 1st cruise I've actually lost weight on. The Lido deck food had a good variety, but the best dish on the whole trip was the spaghetti and meat sauce, which I ate almost every day. Their desserts were also tasteless, except for the cookies and ice cream. Need to go for less quantity and more quality. Also, the heritage night food was very good. One evening they had a black and white night in the crows nest - supposedly by invitation of the crew. Thought there would be at least a free drink and hor' dervs. Instead, the crew was segregated from the passengers until they had their drinks, etc. Then they mingled for a short time. It was written up and n the daily schedule that it was one of the crews favorite events. Another joke. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
Picked this cruise because of the itinerary. One major huge complaint. The Lido buffet is not a serve yourself buffet. They expect you to stand in a line and be served by a server who will give you a small portion of what you ask for. ... Read More
Picked this cruise because of the itinerary. One major huge complaint. The Lido buffet is not a serve yourself buffet. They expect you to stand in a line and be served by a server who will give you a small portion of what you ask for. The lines are long and you are expected to repeat this procedure for all food items (Salad. Main Meal, Dessert) without a tray to hold the plates, utensils and drink. It was a joke! Only did this one time. If you enjoy a buffet meal when you are on a cruise, then this cruise line is not for you. I will not choose Holland America again. Other passengers told me they were surprised by the management of the Lido buffet. They also had decided to stay out of the Lido buffet and try and not let it completely ruin the cruise. The itinerary was good and kept the cruise from being a complete waste of time and money. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was not our first cruise but it was our first with Holland America and we will never go back. The ship is very old and in need of repair. Our cabin was nice and the level of service was great in our cabin. Dining was a a different ... Read More
This was not our first cruise but it was our first with Holland America and we will never go back. The ship is very old and in need of repair. Our cabin was nice and the level of service was great in our cabin. Dining was a a different story very slow and rude. We sat with a table of six and the food took forever. When I said something to the server the server went to check and came back and told the whole table that it was because I had ordered the steak. The meal took over two hours by the time we got our meals most of the dinning room was empty. Most of the rest of our meals turned out the same way with long wait times. On a few nights we had to ask to maybe get a drink from the bar? One staff member told us that the ship was under staffed ( not my problem ). The ship closed the pizza bar and the burger bar and the snack bar by 5:00 every night? That is the time that guests are back on the ship from the excursions what is up with that. There are no activities unless one would think that a back rub may be an would fall into activities. We only seen the director five times and only one time not on the stage ( last day as she said good by as guests were leaving the ship ). Entertainment was fair at best right down to late night dance to records or cd's. A late night band that could not remember the words to the songs ( the hell cats ). You can fill in the rest of this storry but I would suggest that one would want to stay away from this cruise line or this ship. I have also complained to Holland and have had a return from them as well. You make up your mind. Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We chose this cruise because it was only a few hours' drive to the port of Boston and we did not have to fly. Plus, Bermuda was an attractive port of call. I have been on 10 cruises now and have enjoyed each and every one. My ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was only a few hours' drive to the port of Boston and we did not have to fly. Plus, Bermuda was an attractive port of call. I have been on 10 cruises now and have enjoyed each and every one. My significant other had yet to go on a cruise and we took this cruise to celebrate many accomplishments in our lives this past year, as well as my birthday, which was during the cruise. The first night of the cruise all we could hear in our cabin (324) was a noise as if someone were dropping a bowling ball over and over above us. The entire cabin would shake and even if we were able to fall asleep, we would be jolted awake by the noise all night, or afternoon if we were trying to take a nap. We thought maybe it was the rougher seas we were experiencing the first and second days on our way to Bermuda. But, we could not take it anymore when we were STILL experiencing the noise Monday afternoon when we reached Bermuda and were docked until Thursday. Monday, June 20th, My boyfriend went to complain at guest services and they said they would look into it. Another woman in a cabin near us was also complaining about the same noise. Guest services attributed it to a "loose door" that was slamming. They called us the following day (June 21st) and said they fixed it and sent us a bottle of wine as some form of severance pay. My boyfriend does not drink and this was not an acceptable apology for the magnitude of the issue. The noise persisted over and over the rest of the week. We got absolutely NO rest on this vacation. This put a huge damper on us enjoying any bit of Bermuda or our celebrations during the week. My boyfriend and I complained 4 more times throughout the week. We returned the wine and the guest services employee said it was not an attempt to appease us, even when there was a note written "our sincerest apologies" on it. We then received a note that our ship account would be credited $100, which was a nice gesture, but no accommodation for us not sleeping and being able to relax for an entire week. I finally asked Friday evening if we could possibly be moved to an alternate cabin to at least get 2 nights of sleep that were left. The employee gave us a room that she said another guest had moved out of because of a loud creaking noise and that this was all they had available. That night, my boyfriend and I had enough of the bowling ball shaking sound in our cabin (324) so we went down to the other, 342 I believe. This room's creaking noise was awful, there were stains on the sheets, and the air control did not work and we were sweating. Again, we got zero sleep. All guest services told us was "sorry." And they also mentioned they would have moved us earlier in the week, which we were upset about that they never even gave us that option before. I had to plead to get another room 2 days before the cruise was over. The way guest services dealt with this issue is entirely unacceptable. The couple we dined with reported they took a tour Friday (June 24th) of the ship and realized that deck 6 is right underneath the major and very large kitchen of Veendam. What really irks me is that guest services continuously said they had no idea what could be causing the noise when they very well knew the layout of the ship and that the main and busy kitchen was right over us. Putting passenger cabins, especially more pricey oceanview cabins, right below a busy and noisy kitchen makes no sense to me. Then, to act like they had no idea where the noise was coming from is inadmissible. Also, I was quite upset realizing our oceanview cabin was on the walkaround deck with people constantly walking by, which was not specified during the time I booked the cruise. Guests should be made entirely aware of the fact that these rooms are located there because I would have never booked that particular room if I knew of its location on the walkaround deck. This was extremely misleading when booking and I tried to overlook it, but the noise and shaking only exacerbated my disappointment in the room I booked. Also, I understand the cabin stewards work extremely hard and were very pleasant to guests, but they would vacuum at 6am. I presume most guests are sleeping then (although we certainly weren't, but not by choice) and do not want to be woken up by vacuum and cleaning noises right outside their cabins. In addition, my boyfriend ordered room service (or attempted to) and was told it would take 45 minutes for an uncooked salad one evening. He also called at 11p.m. two nights with nobody picking up, when there was a 24-hour menu. Room service has also been great on other cruise lines, so this was yet another disappointment with Holland America. As much as my first experience on Holland America, and my boyfriend's first ever cruise experience, was a severe disappointment, I do want to raise a few positives. Zarr, our main server in the dining room at table 83 was wonderful. He went above and beyond to ensure our dining experience was exceptional. I have yet to have a server who strives so hard at his job and who is extremely personable. I hope Zarr is compensated well for his work- he is a standout employee of yours and deserves the best treatment. Also, even though it was randomly arranged, we very much enjoyed the other couple we dined with, which is usually not the case. So, I appreciated the dining room experience. However, with that being said, the dining experience being exceptional does not make up for our lack of sleep and how we were treated by guest services who handled the situation very poorly. I am infuriated that we were not able to rest or relax and have a fun time together on a much needed break this year. For other aspects of the ship, the fitness room was mediocre, the showroom's programming and performers were very mediocre, with some being pretty terrible (off-step and off-key), the pizza place was poor (it seemed like the crust was frozen and thawed, not fresh as they advertise), the limited onboard activities mainly included the casino and art auctions, which not everyone enjoys, there were no USA primetime channels (i.e. NBC, ABC), no way of knowing which movies were playing throughout the day in the cabin, the lido deck restaurant had the shortest operating hours of any cruise I have been on, there were stains on the bedsheets numerous times, and service overall was very poor as attested to earlier in this review. However, Bermuda was a gorgeous port of call and our 2 shore excursions through Holland America were decent, and embarkation and disembarkation were smooth. Yet, I am certain after this experience I will never cruise with Holland America again. My boyfriend says he would have rather stayed home and worked because it would have been less stressful than our experience on the cruise. That, in my book, is very sad and deeply angers me. For how hard he works, he deserved the vacation of a lifetime, not coming home even more stressed than when we left. One of the guest service employees asked how they could make it up to us and my response was, "I really don't think anything can make up for our overall very poor and negative first experience on Holland America". Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We went on the Veendam to New England and Canada. This was our first trip with Holland-America. We previously had excellent experiences with Norwegian. We went with my parents who are long term HAL "mariners." We had horrible ... Read More
We went on the Veendam to New England and Canada. This was our first trip with Holland-America. We previously had excellent experiences with Norwegian. We went with my parents who are long term HAL "mariners." We had horrible room experiences (more below) and had to change rooms twice. Both times we were moved to an inferior cabin than the first - i.e., what we had booked! Disappointing seeing as the last minute fares were less than what we paid. We missed most of the entertainment due to changing rooms and spending our evenings at Guest Services. The specialty restaurants were excellent and the service very good. The regular dining room service is not up to par with other lines, but the food is very good. If you like vegetables, though, the vegetable portions were minuscule in the dining room. The buffet was disappointing. The vegetables were horribly over-cooked, the selection limited compared to other cruise lines, and the food generally lacking in flavor. The hours need to be expanded as they are ridiculously limited (includes breakfast dining room, buffet, other food options). We really enjoyed the ports though, and had a great time ashore. The ship shows signs of neglect and needs refurbishing. For example some elevators were missing railings and others had very loose railings. This is a safety hazard. The first room window was also hard to see through, but they washed the other side, so we had a clean window when we were moved to the other side. Changing rooms twice and being afraid to use the cabin facilities does not make for a good cruise. I contacted Holland America and twice they promised that they would follow up, but I never got a response. I have given them several months to do something in the hopes of posting a positive outcome. We can only conclude that this is not unusual and that they really do not care about customer satisfaction. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This cruise started off pretty normal we have been Holland America cruisers for awhile. We took this cruise just to relax after the Holidays and do nothing but relax. What I would like to in include in this review is my Holland America ... Read More
This cruise started off pretty normal we have been Holland America cruisers for awhile. We took this cruise just to relax after the Holidays and do nothing but relax. What I would like to in include in this review is my Holland America Satisfaction survey but it appears that I cannot easily import it. So: We left Tampa fro KeyWest. after leaving Key west we smelled sewage in our hall way and the temperature was very warm. We informed the front desk and the temperature was fixed. The odor remained. The was no odor in our cabin. The following morning we were in a sea day and upon returning from breakfast we saw our neighbors moving out. Thats when the issues started. They explained that during the night gray water sewage was streaming into their cabin soaking carpets and everything. That was the smell. We were in the cabin next door. So the ship started rebuilding the cabin. This went on until the last day of our cruise. Numerous calls to the front desk to different people who did not talk with each other discussions with the people doing the work in the room like pulling out the old carpet and furniture. cleaning, fans running etc. Everyone was polite but no satisfaction. We were offered another room for ONE night at 9PM but did not want to move at that hour. We told our travel agent and contacted HAL customer support who sent me a copy of my survey. We then were going to explain our situation to the president of HAL but then found out that Connor in Customer service worked for the president. So I really don't know what will happen as a result of my review. Other issues: Like I said above, we have cruised HAL before and every time the service gets worse. Cold food long lines at Open seating. A lot of this poor service is expected just like on Airlines which is how much can we make per passenger. I wish there was a way to expand on this but we were not really happy. We ate 4 times in the main dining room. During two of these services our middle course was forgotten. WE were asked for our dessert order when our main order was taken and the waiter never came back to our table to see if everything was OK. The other times we decided why wait for 20 min for open seating when we could just go to the Lido for food. There they had very few minimal staff so the best thing is move to a clean table between courses and you do not need to worry about getting your old plates removed. We have also cruised on Oceana. I remembered them being a lot better. 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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