7 Night Glacier Discovery Southbound (Seward To Vancouver) Sail Date: June 18, 2006 Cabin Type: Oceanview Traveled As: Family (older children) Reviewed: 11 years ago
The Veendam is a beautiful ship filled with staff who worked extremely hard to make our trip as wonderful as possible. It's true that we couldn't get as close to glaciers as small ships, but the ship was moved as close as possible and stopped at scenic highlights while the naturalist told us all about what we were seeing. The experience of crusing on the Veendam could be as relaxing or as filled with activity as anyone would like; we took advantage of a lot of things, but still were totally relaxed by the end of the cruise. We were felt well informed of everything we needed to know from schedules to the virus and sanitation efforts that it reqired.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
The food, particularly in the Rotterdam (main) dining room, is very nice, but it can't escape the fact that meals are being prepared for over a thousand people at a time. There is almost no time that you cannot get food. The appetizers in the Crow's Nest before dinner were particularly nice, and the afternoon teas were lovely, too. The children particularly liked the availability of food and desserts in the Lido all afternoon. Unfortunately, the Pinnacle was particularly disappointing because although the lava (volcano?) cake, the signature dessert we had seen demonstrated by the head chef, was very badly prepared - overcooked with no lava, nothing was ever done to make sure we could have it correctly prepared. The head chef of the Pinnacle knew, and we should have been offered the opportunity to drop by for dessert or have it delivered to us elsewhere.
5 out of 5
We enjoyed the activities, especially the Indonesian staff show. The arrangement of the main auditorium keeps the feel of the crowd quite intimate, so you never feel like a sardine.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Staff were always smiling and offering anything they could think of to please, but they were never in the way. Our Rotterdam steward went to all kinds of trouble to appeal to my picky daughter, and he also made her origami animals. The towel animals in the cabin were a lot of fun for all our multi-generational family. Even the staff we didn't meet often were very attentive to any sign we might need help.
5 out of 5
The ship is beyond neat and clean - it is sparkling. We particularly enjoyed the walk-around lower promenade, but had the most fun exploring all the different nooks and crannies around the ship. The ship is arranged so that other than at meal times and when disembarking on tenders (only at Sitka), it never feels like you're on a ship with so many people.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
The cabins and bathrooms are large and have lots of closet space. The beds are very comfortable, and the cabins are kept very neat by the stewards. I think all cabins should have mini refrigerators; even inexpensive hotels have that these days. Unfortunately, we didn't book our cruise in time to get verandah cabins; we won't make that mistake again.
We didn't actually see Haines; we saw Sitka, but Sitka wasn't offered as a review item. Sitka is interesting, and we enjoyed the semi-submersible view of the underwater world, but it's really very touristy. All the shops seem alike after a bit.
We found Ketchikan the most charming port we visited. Within a very short walk, the shops are very individualized, which was quite different from Sitka and Juneau. We very much enjoyed a two hour city tour which we picked up on the dock.
The helicopter trip and walk on the glacier was one of the most amazing things about our trip, but Juneau, like Sitka, is very touristy around the pier. You need to get going as soon as possible if you want to get beyond the pier area to see anything besides your main excursion activity.
Don't Miss: *Do* take a helicopter ride to the glacier; I recommend as long a ride as possible.
Pros: attentive staff, cabin size and closets, all the amazing spaces in the ship, beautiful Alaska
Cons: long lines at breakfast was a con, but room service took care of that. Pinnacle should have been better
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