First Cruise! Some expectations not met, and some exceeded.

Veendam Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 29

Overall rating:

3.5 out of 5
Verified Review

7 Night Eastern Caribbean Holiday (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 28, 2018

Ship: Veendam

Cabin type: Oceanview

Cabin number: 648

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

This was our first cruise, and some things exceeded expectations, while others were a miss. I was worried the ship would be feel crowded, but it wasn't. There was plenty of space to escape, whether walking around the decks or sitting in the various lounge spaces. We actually enjoyed relaxing in our cabin! What missed expectations was the lack of any local cultures or food....that's the best part of travel. The cruise was just an extension of the USA on water. That said, once we relaxed into the pace, the cruise was very enjoyable for what it was.


4 out of 5
Longer lines than I expected (about 1 hr). Wondering if there is a way HAL can improve the process?

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
The food was good. I was never disappointed by the taste or quantity of options. I was, however, disappointed that there was not local cuisines offered related to the region we were travelling. They did serve Jerk Chicken once, but that was it. Some of the best way to experience local culture is through the food. There are amazing sauces in the islands that could be offered.....even just being able to pour some on eggs at breakfast would be a little culture.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
I liked that there were 4 or 5 hot tubs, so plenty of room. Fitness center was great. I enjoyed a lot of evenings at the poker table in the casino. The game room was great, too.


3 out of 5

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Great service and staff.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Layout was great and the ship was kept very clean, however, it was obviously and older ship. The decor was dated and there were plumbing issues. It needs an overhaul.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Size & comfort was great. Areas to improve are 1) Plumbing - the overhead shower would not stay on by itself, and 2) the TV was small and set back such that you can't change the channel or volume unless you get the remote within 4 feet of the TV and at a high angle to catch the sensor, so can't change channel from the bed, sofa or chair.

Ship tip

Don't do the 2nd dinner seating, as it conflicts with the evening shows/performances.

Ports of call

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

4 out of 5
Easy port from airport. We did not do an excursion.

Grand Turk Island

1 out of 5
This isn't the main island. Its only touristy stuff, nothing real.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

4 out of 5
Beautiful country. We went out of downtown to a former sugar cane plantation that is now a place to ride ATV's, zip lines, horses, etc. I'd be interested to return to experience some of the culture.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

2 out of 5
This is just a shopping stop, no real local culture.

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (Private Island) Did not visit port

We didn't bother to disembark, as we knew there would be no culture, so enjoyed the quiet ship to ourselves.


5 out of 5
So fast & easy!
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