March 2016 - Veendam to Caribbean - Western
Holland America is one of the few cruise lines that has not done major cutbacks on food, service, and amenities. I am a new cruiser to HA. I was formerly a dedicated Celebrity guest, but their cutbacks are very noticeable and the food is horrible so this converted me to HA. The Veendam is very similar in decor and feel to the former Ryndam. The ship was very well maintained. I love the old nautical woods and artwork throughout the vessel. The staff were tip-tops in attention to detail and making every guest feel special. The entertainment was great, especially the Larry King Jazz Trio and the man playing steel drums. I love that HA continues daily themed afternoon formal teas. The only negative is that the chefs continue to use a lot of salt in their recipes causing swollen ankles. I noticed almost everyone had swollen ankles during the cruise. I did mention this post cruise to HA and I hope they consider my concerns and change the recipes. I think the chefs can still make great food without using all of that salt. Of note: I thought the Canneletto Restaurant was much better than the Pinnacle. My experience on this cruise and a prior HA cruise was the same in that the food is very heavily salted in the Pinnacle so much that you can actual taste it. I ordered different entrees on both HA cruises and had the same experience. I read reviews about air conditioning problems and water leaks in cabins. I had a Verandah Spa suite. Initially, I did encounter that the cabin was warm. I called Guest Services, a technician was sent, and the problem was quickly remedied. I did not encounter any other problems with the cabin. Holland America and the Veendam is a very relaxing cruising experience. On shorter cruises the passengers are all ages. I think the longer cruises attract a much older demographic. I would highly recommend HA as I have been on 65 cruises so I think I know what I am talking about.