Veendam Review

Veendam
Veendam
2019 Best for Dining
2019 Best for Embarkation
2019 Best for Service

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4.0 / 5.0
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Erica Silverstein
Cruise Critic Senior Editor

Veendam Overview

The last of Holland America's Statendam-class ships, Veendam blends a modicum of hipness with the strong traditional flavor that HAL's known for. The 57,092-ton, 1,350-passenger ship went under the knife in 2009, gaining new lanai and spa cabin categories, a more contemporary look in public areas and cabins, additional dining options and a revamped theater experience.

Here's what was added in 2009:

Cabins: Balcony cabins have been added to the back of the ship, some with larger aft-facing verandahs -- a welcome addition to a ship built before balconies became a must-have. Lanai cabins, with sliding-glass doors that lead to the outdoor promenade deck, are an innovative way to give additional cabins access to fresh air and outdoor spaces. Other new additions are the spa cabins (picking up on the wellness trend), which offer a more earthy decor, as well as spa privileges and amenities. And, in all staterooms, fresh color schemes and soft goods offer a more contemporary look.

Dining: Two new dining venues have been added. The Canaletto Restaurant takes over a section of the Lido Restaurant each night to offer an intimate, alternative Italian dining experience -- with a $15 extra charge. And the Slice pizza parlor is great for a quick lunch or midday snack, especially when lines get long in the Lido buffet.

Relaxing: The Deck 10 aft pool has been replaced with cabins, and now Deck 11 is home to the Retreat, a resort-style pool area. In addition to Slices and a bar, this deck area features a hot tub, lounge chairs arranged in a wading pool of water and a large screen for showing movies and nature films. It's already a popular spot for al fresco dining, laying out in the sun and gazing at the passing scenery.

Entertainment: Veendam's show lounge has been transformed into the "Showroom at Sea," which aims to create a more intimate theater experience with simpler shows that highlight talented performers fresh from Broadway. The Deck 8 entertainment area has also been opened up (walls have literally been knocked down) to create a better flow between shops, bars and the casino. In addition, two distinct bars have been combined to create Mix, sporting adjoining bar sections and trendy decor.

The look and flow of the ship may now be changed, but Veendam still retains its traditional strengths. Veendam's signature has been its intimate atmosphere and multitude of retreats, where passengers can enjoy a quiet moment or a book. You can still carve out a private space -- whether in one of the blissfully comfortable window-facing lounge chairs in the Explorations Cafe, a corner of the Crow's Nest or Explorer's Lounge, a padded deck chair on the Deck 6 promenade or one of the many slices of outer decks stepped up the bow of the ship. The only time you really feel the crowds is when you are queuing up for dinner in the Rotterdam Dining Room or the Lido Restaurant.

The ship's $2 million art collection keeps the overall feel elegant and traditional with magnificent antique Delft, marble busts, armor and paintings of old Holland America ships on display. Even nightlife -- one of Holland America's weak points -- has been improved by the refurb; the open plan of Deck 8 creates a better vibe in the evenings when the energy of the casino spills over into the bar areas, and shoppers in the boutiques get lured across the walkway to the piano bar when they hear a favorite tune.

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About Holland America Veendam


Pro

Lanai cabins provide direct access to outdoor deck areas

Con

Service can feel snail-paced at times

Bottom Line

A "no bells and whistles ship," ideal for relaxing


Fellow Passengers

There is a good sprinkling of international passengers from Latin America, Asia, Australia and Europe, but the overwhelming majority is North American. Many guests are retirees, with younger travelers often part of multi-generational groups, and the ship's programming is definitely geared to baby boomers and older travelers.


Holland America Veendam Dress Code

Evening dress is either formal or smart casual. Formal attire is technically a jacket and tie, dark suit or tuxedo for men and dress suit, cocktail dress or gown for women. Most men stick to suits, though I saw a smattering of tuxes and even a kilt on formal night. There are typically two formal nights per week. On casual nights, the range of acceptable attire is quite large -- anything from casual pants (like khakis) with a shirt or sweater to sundresses and skirts for ladies and button-down shirts for men. On my Alaska cruise, I saw many guests wearing jeans in the dining room; bending dress-code rules is more tolerated in this casual destination but may be less appropriate in other cruise regions.


Holland America Veendam Gratuity

The automatic tip for passengers staying in interior, oceanview and verandah cabins is $14.50 per person, per day. Passengers in suites will be charged $16 per person, per day.


Holland America Veendam Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2019 Best for Dining
2019 Best for Embarkation
2019 Best for Service
2018 Best for Embarkation
2017 Best for Embarkation
2017 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2016 Best for Cabins
2016 Best for Entertainment
2016 Best for Public Rooms
2016 Best for Service
2015 Best for Cabins
2015 Best for Embarkation
2015 Best for Entertainment
2015 Best for Value
2013 Best for Cabins
2013 Best for Embarkation
2013 Best for Value

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Deck:
A Deck
Main Deck
Lower Promenade Deck
Promenade Deck
Upper Promenade Deck
Verandah Deck
Navigation Deck
Lido Deck
Sports Deck
Sky Deck

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Holland America Veendam Member Reviews

zma
Sail Date: Jun 2019
activities at all times. Embarkation was easy, as was disembarkation at the end of the trip. The Veendam is a small ship, so the staff/guest ration is much better than on the larger ships. It is comfortable...Read More
mseiferth
Sail Date: May 2019
sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, and Holland America had two choices. We have always liked the Veendam because of its classic design and the quality of the service and the size of the Neptune Suites....Read More
ljgordon54
Sail Date: May 2019
raining so the picture was taken looking like drowned rat! Disembarkation was a breeze. The Veendam is an older, small ship so the entertainment is lacking. We aren’t big at doing the shows and stuff...Read More
Recpop
Sail Date: Jul 2019
After that, the choices went downhill. We had problems picking out what to eat for dinner. The Veendam didn't have Rudi's restaurant so they pick one night to have that menu in the Pinnacle Restaurant...Read More

Holland America Line Fleet