The Panama Canal transit was the highlight of this trip, it is an amazing experience to be able to see for yourself a wonderful piece of engineering built over 100 years ago - unbelievable. The ports of call were well thought out along that part of the Pacific Coast and there were quite a number of sea days which is enjoyable and relaxing. The shore excursions on this particular cruise are quite cultural so anyone just wanting glitzy shops etc. to visit on shore will be disappointed, this cruise is all about seeing and experiencing parts of Central America that are not the 'usual touristy' places; there are hawkers, as there are in all ports of call elsewhere in the world, just trying to make a living but a polite refusal is usually enough to deter them. A fantastic trip and an experience of a lifetime - definitely one to tick off your 'bucket list'.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
The food on board is of a very good quality and choices to suit every diet possible. The Lido Buffet restaurant is open for most of the day only closing for an hour or so between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tea, coffee and iced water is available at all times in the Lido Buffet Restaurant
5 out of 5
A well varied programme of onboard activities is available every day, even on days in port.
5 out of 5
Excellent entertainment in the Showroom at Sea. HAL's own singers and dancers were awesom, and the guest acts were of the same high standard.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The staff are very friendly and accommodating. Our stateroom attendant was excellent.
3 out of 5
The Veendam is looking a little tired in places but it is very clean, comfortable and is easy to navigate yourself around the ship as it is not a giant of a ship
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
I prefer a cabin in the very centre of the ship and selected 589 as that was precisely where it was. There was some inclement weather in the Pacific Ocean whereby very strong winds had the ship rolling (access to outdoor deck areas was forbidden on a couple of days due to these strong winds) but in cabin 589 I didn't experience any problem with this and slept through all night.
The cabin was very clean, quite spacious, plenty of storage space, very comfortable bed, spacious bathroom for a cruise ship which was well fitted.
The Veendam is a little tired in places, but it is one of the smaller HAL ships, so is suitable for the Panama Canal transit. But everywhere is clean; the furniture in communal areas is of decent quality, the sunloungers are of a good quality. Don't expect glitz and glamour but it is comfortable
Take the old trolley bus town tour, great to see San Diego and get on and off where you like. The old historic town is a good place to go, and Seaport Village is nice with lovely little shops and eateries
Do-it-yourself visit to centre of Puerto Vallarta, from dock by taxi - nice walk along the Malacon (boardwalk) in the town and then get on a local bus back - get off at Walmart which is opposite the dock - an experience
Take a shore excursion here as it is quite a run down place. We visited the Central Valley where all the coffee plantations are and the scenery changes to one that is very lush and green -coffee plantation tour was very interesting. Also visited village where the vibrantly decorated oxcarts are made
Lovely island for a relaxing end to a wonderful trip - beautiful beach, free sunloungers, clear turqoise water where we spotted angel fish, stingrays, needle fish and others; water sports, miniature train ride - great
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