I read many negative reviews of the Veendam but I took a chance because of the itinerary. I was pleasantly surprised. This is one of the most pleasant cruises I've ever taken. Yes the ship is old but it was refurbished six years ago. I had an Oceanview state room that had a full sofa in it. With the foam mattress topper, the bed was more comfortable than my bed at home. I had no problems with the cabin, 540, The only other HAL ship I have been on is the Eurodam. I like the layout of the ship much better. I loved the Explorations Cafe. The leather chairs were all comfortable. The view was great. The library was incredibly well stocked and there was always a chair to be had. I love the size of the ship. All of the crew were incredibly Nice. I read that the food was not as good on the ship as other HAL ships. I have not one bad experience. In fact, the food was better than any cruise ship I have been on including the Queen Mary 2. If you don't like a few scuffs and scratches and prefer shiny new ships, don't take this one. But if instead you want a comfortable, relaxing cruise with great food, by all means choose the Veendam. The itinerary was great. I loved being docked right in Hamilton. Bermuda is worth a visit for anyone who loves islands.
The Caribbean Princess is not up to the standards of the Royal and the Regal Princesses. However, I like the outdoor pool/deck areas better on this ship. The service wasn't up to the standard I have come to expect on Princess. And there aren't enough public areas or they are too small. There isn't much comfortable seating onboard. The itinerary was good. I liked being in 2 ports after dark. I really enjoyed Bonaire.
I love the Queen Mary 2. I enjoy sea days on cruises and the 6 days crossing the Atlantic are chocked full of interesting things to do. I love their lecture series. The guest lecturers are very informative with interesting topics. There is enough public space that I never felt crowded. I love the library and bookstore. The afternoon tea is not to be missed. Unfortunately, this trip I found that the bookstore has changed vendors. Gone are all of the Cunard memorbilia. On a previous crossing I bought a small World Atlas with Cunard emblazoned on the cover. The library and the Commidore Club offer seats facing large windows at the front of the ship. These were my favorite places to sit and relax.
I love the restaurants on the Getaway. The food and service are extremely good. The Park West Art Gallery is the best one I have encountered on a ship. The public areas are too scarce on this ship. Most of the public areas have been taken up with restaurants including dining on the decks. I didn't find a single place to sit outside other than the sun lounging area. The 2 pools are very small and overly crowded. If you're looking for a relaxing cruise, I advise choosing another ship. If you are looking for a family vacation with lots to do for children, this is your ship. I do like the library onboard. It's enclosed and fairly spacious; however, it's next to the main Atrium area and can be noisy depending on what's going on at the big screen next to it.