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514 Veendam Reviews

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4.0

ms. Veendam Ship Tour & Lunch by glomarrone

Sail date: / Traveled as: Large Group
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Canada, New England, New York

This Saturday I was invited to a Ship Tour & Lunch for Travel Agents aboard Holland America's  ms. Veendam.  The ship holds 1,350 passengers.  Before the tour, I read the many reviews on this Website.  They were quite mixed so I wasn't sure what to expect. 

 

We arrived at the port at 9:30 am and were directed to the day parking lot 5.  We never did find it.  How strange since the three of us in our car are all locals who use the port frequently.  We finally parked in Lot 6, also complimentary for day visitors and  employees only.  It was not easy walking to the terminal from there as there aren't many sidewalks or a direct route.  The entrance to the terminal is not easily recognizable, either. 

 

On arrival, we filled out a health form, received our badges and went through security.  Our tour began as soon as everyone checked in.  Lori Taylor, Business Development Manager for Holland America, addressed our group of 40; I was with a smaller group of seven.  Since we were all such a large group, Lori suggested that we do our own tour and meet for lunch in the MDR upper level at 11:45 AM.  We received deck plans and a overview of the ship for background information. 

 

First, we headed up to the Lido Deck to see the outdoor pool area with it's two whirlpools, giant chess set, Dive In Eatery, Lido Bar and inside self-serve buffet restaurant. This ship does not have a water park.  How wonderful that it does have a retractable roof that closes for windy or rainy weather!   Those few passengers not on shore excursions were enjoying the pool & spas. 

 

From the there, we walked up to Deck 12, the Sports Deck.  There were shuffleboard, basketball, & volleyball courts & an outside walking promenade.  Since there was a safety drill for the crew about to start in a few minutes, we were only able  to look into several cabins as they were being cleaned.  They all looked basically the same, with pleasing contemporary decors.  We were able to spend some time in the one of the two Pinnacle Suites on deck 7 (Navigation Deck)  Suite, PS7001.  It was quite lovely and I took several photos of the interior. Since I know that I will never stay in such a luxurious suite, it was fun to explore this one.  A champagne bottle sat chilling in a bucket and on the huge dining room table were several covered snack plates, fresh fruit and a floral centerpiece.   

 

Later, we visited the Neptune Lounge opened only for passengers in Pinnacle & Neptune Suites.  We did see the newer balcony cabins added on the back of the ship in 2009 as well as the new Lanai cabins with their sliding-glass doors that open to the teak Promenade Deck. The new Spa Cabin have a slightly different - more muted color scheme than other staterooms. 

 

We had time to see just about every public area on the ship including the two-level classy Showroom at Sea, the three-level central Atrium with it's glittery glass Jacob's Ladder sculpture, the expansive Explorer's Lounge, Explorations (coffee shop,) Library with Internet Stations, Digital Workshop, Martini Bar, Spirits & Ale Bar and the Champagne Bar, (Mix Bar ) the new Canaletto Italian Restaurant, $15 extra charge,  The Pinnacle Grill Specialty Restaurants and the Casino.  Before lunch, we also visited the Photo Gallery, Art Gallery, Wine Shop area, Wajang Theater (Culinary Arts Demonstrations,) Hudson Room and the Ocean Bar with Dance Floor.  The shops were closed since the ship was in port but we did peek into them through the glass exteriors.  Although small, the lovely Merabella Shop is the perfect size for one-on-one consultations when purchasing expensive jewelry. 

 

The highlight of our day, of course,  was our lunch in the comfortable two-deck Rotterdam Main Dining Room.  We had a special menu.  For my appetizer, I made the excellent choice of  Poached Salmon.  It was by far, truly, the best Salmon that I have ever tasted.  Only one member of our group chose an alternate of Pea Soup and thought that it was excellent, too.  For my main course, I had Sea Scallops, served with lobster sauce, creamy rice and asparagus.  The entree was as delicious as the Salmon .  Other members of our group chose the Beef entree which was quite tender.  We had a chocolate mousse type mini cake with whipped cream on top - again, so delicious.  Petite Fours were also brought to the table along with coffee.  Wine flowed freely and service was attentive and well timed.  Chef Jeremy and Annette from America's Test Kitchens addressed our group and we were given a sample copy of Cook's Magazine printed just for Holland America passenger with a deep discounted subscription offer.  Lori also told us about future cruises. 

 

 After lunch, we visited the beautiful Crow's Nest with it's terrific views of the port.  Then it was off to The Retreat, adults-only area, aft on the Lido Deck with its whirlpools and shallow pools, giant LED Screen, bar & New York Pizza eatery.  Later, we stopped on Deck 11 to visit the Greenhouse Spa with its thermal suite, whirlpool and ceramic chairs, steam room and sauna.  The Fitness Room and the Salon are also here.  All too soon it was time to leave.

 

My overall impressions were that although this in an older ship - 21 years old, in fact,  she is well maintained and upgraded.  I did not see any frayed materials, stained or worn  rugs, chipped or cracked furniture or other signs of wear.  Everywhere we went it was clean, polished and shined. There is no neon anywhere.  Her decor is contemporary, classic and subdued.   Even the public bathrooms were well maintained.  Crew members that we encountered were helpful and courteous.  We had a wonderful experience and I would not hesitate to take a cruise on this ship in the future.  The Veendam departed from Fort Lauderdale and was heading up the East Coast into Canada.  From our balcony back home, we watched her depart the port on her northbound journey. 

 

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4.3

Fabulous cruise to the Southern Caribbean by LaCastillo

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Caribbean - Southern

I've been planning this cruise for months, and it didn't disappoint. These were the best ports we've visited on any of our cruises. The food was great. Service was great. We loved everything about this cruise. It was a wonderful two weeks. I can't wait to sail again!

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4.0

7 Night Mexican Riviera Cruise by GTVCRUISER

Sail date: / Traveled as: Singles/Friends
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Mexico

The Veendam cruised out of San Diego on March 16th 2014 , are first stop was Cabo San Lucas , 4 ships in Cabo that day and it was spring break so it was very crowded , next stop Mazatlan , a nice warm day . The last port of call was Puerto Vallarta , my favorite port , then back to San Diego my hometown.

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4.3

Vegan Vacation at Sea with Vegan Cruise Planners by szcondon1

Sail date: / Traveled as: Singles/Friends
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Canada, New England, New York

I liked the idea of cruising and being able to stop into different ports and explore the various provinces of Canada. I was very unhappy with how my food was prepared after being very clear with our cruise director, the waiters and with the chef. If I had known, I wouldn't have taken the cruise and done my own vacation. I had already spent a week in Montreal and I could've stayed a few more days and then gone onto Quebec City. I'm very clear on how my body best responds to food and the less salt, oil and sugar, the better for me. I will do another vegan cruise but this time with Holistic Holidays at Sea or with a different vegan cruise company.

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4.8

Mediterranean cruise on the Veendam by LSV

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam

This cruise will be hard to top. There is so much history to see and take in. It’s amazing how buildings have survived over all these years. Hats off to the archeologists for all their work in brining these sites to life for us !

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4.6

Holland America Mediterranean Tapestry 💕 by GrammaJammah

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam

This 12-day Tapestry Cruise was incredible! We were able to see seven beautiful countries in 12 days and loved every minute!

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3.6

Enjoyed our cruise but could have been better by hmorganbts

Sail date: / Traveled as: Family (older children)
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Canada, New England, New York

My daughter and I wanted to do a trip together to Nova Scotia and Canada when we discovered this cruise. Since she lives in NYC it was an easy flight to Boston to board the cruise ship. We had a wonderful time but knew the crowd would be 70 plus on board. We did this trip in mid-Sept. so that also lended itself to an older crowd. Everyone was super friendly and nice. We explored most of the ports on our own without taking any excursions and rented cars in both Halifax and Sydney to explore more in-depth on our own time. We felt like we had ample time to see the ports with time to spare. We researched ahead of time to know exactly what we wanted to do and see at each port. The weather was beautiful for the entire cruise so we were lucky with that. The favorite ports were Bar Harbor and Quebec City. Be prepared to walk hard and long in Quebec City but it is beautiful! If you are in Bar Harbor be sure to have lobster of Gaylns. The best lobster I have ever had! Very sweet and melts in your mouth! So good. Also in Bar Harbor be sure to have Blueberry Beer. It's amazing! We took the free shuttle in Bar Harbor to Acadia which is super easy to do and did the beach hike. Make sure you have the shuttle schedule and research the hike you want to do beforehand. The is an office where you get the shuttle that you can ask a ranger any questions. We had plenty of time to hike the Acadia trail we choose and explore the town. Being our very first cruise we loved the ease of being able to go from port to port and come back to the ship to sleep. We will definitely cruise again but probably not on the Veendam.

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1.0

Nightmare ship with dirty water and running out of water. Broken Elevators and dirty linens. by mikefaris

Sail date: / Traveled as: Family (older children)
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Bermuda

to make negative things staff customer service no where to be found just like deck blankets and no clean blankets only wet ones. 4 adults.

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2.0

Cruises just aren't the same anymore by simplemantx

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Canada, New England, New York

This is our second cruise this year.  We can comfortably comment on the cruise because it's not our 1st or even 5th cruise.  We have sailed on at least 5 different cruise lines in the past 17 years.  That being said, this last cruise with Holland is a reminder of what I feel are the dramitic changes that have occured in the past 3 years.  Without wasting too much time let me point out these changes or differences as I have noted them.

A)  The quality of the food has detiorated dramatically

B)  Instead of being brought water or tea or having adequate staff in the Lido dining area to service the customer, it appears many of the staff are walking around trying to sell Coke or Beer, of course this is an upcharge from which they profit

C)  The shows and entertainment (professional quality) has all but gone away.  There are some shows but they are not of the quality that had been the norm during previous years of cruising.

 

The most important thing I would like to note is the rediculous toilet flush location these ships have.  You have to touch the toilet seat each time to either lift it or lower it in order to flush the toilet.  The reason for this is obvious, they do not want you to flush the vacumn toilet with the seat cover up, however, touching the seat in order to flush and then prior to using each time puts your hands in contact with many potential germs.  No wonder the noro virus has become so prevalent.   The first cruise we took this year on a Princess ship our of Galveston experienced a large number of the passengers and crew coming down with the virus.  During our most recent cruise we were cautious of everying, handrails, door handles, elevator buttons, toilets, etc.   It is not pleasant thinking of all the germs, the fact that in order to maintain profitability the cleaning the rooms from one guest to another has to happen within hours does not allow enought time to clean each cabin properly.  The first thing my wife saw on this past cruise was pubic hair from the prior guest in the bathtub.  Not the way you want to start your cruise for sure.

 

 

 

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4.8

Fantastic Canada/New England cruise! by dejagirl

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Canada, New England, New York

This was a fantastic vacation! Loved our ports, the people we met and the time we spent together. I think the smaller ship was a perfect pairing with the itinerary and the staff and crew were warm and attentive. Well done Holland America!

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The only ship that can still dock in Hamilton, Bermuda by 19Years

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Bermuda

With cruise ships growing to such enormous sizes, there are now many places that are inaccessible to all but the smaller ships. Hamilton, Bermuda is one of the most beautiful harbors in the world, and cruising in among all the islands that make up this archipelago takes well over an hour. We stood on the very top deck of the Veendam & enjoyed the most magnificent scenery, happily passing the giant ships that were parked way out on the northwest corner in the Dockyard. Those guests must purchase tickets to the water taxi, island transport buses or expensive private vans, while we could simply step off the gangway onto Front Street for shopping, dining & sightseeing.While in port, we took the Champagne Sunset Catamaran cruise, a must-do!!! The catamaran Rising Son is large & stable, with plenty of indoor seating as well as in the net hammock out front. They poured the champagne generously, & gave us a great tour of the gorgeous homes around the lagoon. The catamaran docks very close to the Veendam, so it was only a minute's walk to get there. We also visited the Crystal & Fantasy Caves, both beautiful and interesting. The steps down and back up are steep, though. Wear non-slip, comfortable shoes. They have free storage lockers to hold any bags you don't want to carry.The Shore Excursion package offers an air-conditioned bus to pick you up and drop you off, door-to-door. If you visit the caves on your own, there is quite a bit of walking; to the Hamilton bus station for tickets, then from the bus stop to the caves (1/3 mile?) and back again.The bus ride was about 40 minutes. On board ship, we highly recommend the Renewal of Vows ceremony! It was done by the Captain at sunset, overlooking Hamilton harbor from the Crow's Nest lounge. Gorgeous! We sat & enjoyed champagne & hors d'oeuvres for about a half hour, while getting a chance to visit with the Captain.  There were 3 couples, and each in turn stood before the Captain, repeating truly beautiful vows that he had prepared for us. A photographer shot photos during the 3 ceremonies, and we all shared cake and more champagne. Then each couple posed with the Captain, and went outside to take romantic photos on the top deck. On the final night, we were each given a lovely keepsake album (12"x12"?) with one 8x10" photo, a copy of our vows & the Captain's toast, and pages for more photos & mementos. We purchased one additional photo, & probably would have bought a few more of the poses if we hadn't already spent a lot on photos from the first (of two) formal nights. The Renewal of Vows package also included dinner in The Pinnacle Grill, which is by far the best restaurant on the Veendam. You need to make reservations as soon as possible once you board the ship. In addition to the Renewal package, we purchased the Cellar Master Wine package, which also included a dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, so we had two great dinners there. The steaks are outstanding there, particularly the filet and petite filet. We opted for the As You Wish, open dining plan rather than a reserved seating, and I would do that again. It gave us flexibility to eat where and when we wanted. We did have two dinners in the main (Rotterdam) dining room, but have to say that the food was disappointing there. We purchased one dinner in the Canaletto restaurant, billed as an Italian bistro specializing in small plates, but my half Italian husband would not recommend it. For breakfasts and lunches, we ate in the Lido, cafeteria-style. It was consistently very good, had lots of variety and excellent service. The coffee is very very good & always available, but if you want specialty coffees or iced coffee, you can purchase them in the Explorers Cafe, and they're reasonably priced. In July 2015, a large iced mocha coffee was just $2.00. The Explorers Cafe and Lounge areas quickly became our favorite spots to hang out. Huge windows, lots of comfortable seating (including faux Ames chairs), quiet spots to read, play chess & other games, or listen to live music (amazing violin & piano duo) make this a great retreat for anyone who prefers this kind of relaxation over the casino or hot tubs & pool.  One caveat: the satellite internet service is unreliable and expensive. I recommend not wasting your money on it. I purchased 100 minutes for $55 and was never able to do more than read and answer 2 emails. The clock starts ticking as soon as you log on to the ship's server, even though you are not yet connected to your email provider, which oftentimes just spins, never connecting. In my case, that was AOL, but other guests had the same complaints. My cellphone provider is AT&T, who has some sort of contract with Holland America and does not sell international roaming packages to you if you're on their ships. My advice is to plan ahead & tell people you'll be unavailable for 7 days. Once you are docked in Bermuda, there are lots of hotspots that you can use to check your email, but it didn't work onboard. Last bit of info on the Veendam: the bathrooms are roomy and come stocked with liquid body wash, shampoo and conditioner. There's also a small body lotion provided. The hairdryer is very good, but curling irons etc. are wasted because the two outlets are very tight to the corner of the wall and ceiling so you can't physically plug these other devices in. You will love the closet and drawer space! Everything in our 3 large bags and two large carryons fit, with room to spare. We will look forward to sailing on Holland America's Veendam again, most likely on the New England & Canada route.

 

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4.5

Our cruise on Holland America veendam by ChrisBeth

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam

We absolutely love to cruise, Holland has us as loyal customers, when we saw the Holland rep standing there at the airport we knew they thought we were important!

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4.9

Sailing Home from The Colonies by LordRob

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Canada, New England, New York

This is a trip for folks who want to experience the Maritime Provinces, Eastern Quebec, and North Eastern United States. Plenty of opportunity to learn abour commercial fishing and to taste fresh seafood. There is plenty of history in this part of North America.

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5.0

Chilly spring by amiller877

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Canada, New England, New York

This was our second cruise, the last being an Alaska cruise in 2001. We liked the cruise once we were situated in our cabin and we didn't have to worry about anything else. We ate when we were hungry, watched the shows every evening, and went on the tours when we were scheduled. We let the cruise line pick which balcony cabin we would get and the starboard rear corner couldn't have been much better -- out of the wind. Unfortunately the spring weather in Canada made the balcony pretty much unusable 95% of the time. We used open seating without reservations. The onboard food was good with speedy seating and food service except for one dinner where it seemed like they parked us in a corner and forgot us. We didn't try any of the specialty restaurants but did use the lido deck buffet for breakfasts and several dinners. Sometimes the lido had a better selection than the main restaurant (seafood).

The stops were all ok and the tours informative. We signed up for tours at every port except Montreal (arrived there 3 days early). One tour was cancelled (Halifax) but that was ok because we walked to the maritime museum and the fortress. Tours in Quebec, Charlottetown, Sydney, Bar Harbor, and Boston were all fine, although late getting starting at Bar Harbor (they held the ship but it would've been ok if they cancelled). The lobster museum had a real lobsterman giving the talk and they stayed open to wait for our late arrival.

There were 2 rough nights of rolling seas and minor queasiness. An effective drug was provided.

Our cabin attendant (Sugi) was on hand seemingly round-the-clock.

Check in and out were fairly smooth operations. One suggestion to the company: if there is a color-coded method of sorting the luggage, why not have big colored signs so the passengers don't have to walk up and down looking for their color.

All in all: we liked it -- maybe too much. Everything is provided. Too much time spent on board and they'd have to roll us off the ship.

 

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2.0

Holland America Veendam Cruise by GTVCRUISER

Sail date: / Traveled as: Singles/Friends
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Mexico

The ports were great , we stopped in Mazatlan , I had not been there for about 2 years , they had a lot of police and military around the port , I felt safe. The Veendam is a old ship and not very big ,it was clean and a good crew, the problem was that you could smell gas fumes all over the ship.

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4.0

Almost Great Caribbean Cruise by JCBakerNY

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Caribbean

Ship seems programmed for an older crowd. I'm 60 but wanted more like an outside live band and later activities. Ship was basically asleep around 11pm. An older crowd to cater and I wanted more.

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Sun, Sand and Sea by richardnorris16

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Caribbean - Eastern

Outside of not being able to stop at Half Moon Cay, due to mechanical issues to one of the generators, it was an excellent trip.

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3.5

Great Repositioning by MTLCruiseMan

Sail date: / Traveled as: Singles/Friends
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Canada, New England, New York

If you don't expect a revolution in cruising but rather a more classical experience, this intimidate older Lady is for you!

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5.0

Antarctica Amazing!! by Falcon10156

Sail date: / Traveled as: Singles/Friends
Ship: Veendam / Destination: South America

We had a Lanai room on this ship.  For this itinerary it was fabulous.

 

We boarded the ship in Valpariso.  Cruise was full of scenery.  Chilean fjords were beautiful.   It did get colder as we went down the coast.  When I first saw Antarctica it was breathtaking, penguins were amazing - just swimming beside the ship.We saw whales and sea lions as well. 

Amazingly we were able to get into Falkland Islands - best weather they had had in awhile.  We saw rockhopper penguins and they came so close to us (they were wild so we had to move slowly and not cross a rope that was down)

We were able to see Elephant seals and sealions on the Valdez peninsula in Argentina.  We also had a great day in Uruguay.

We did the post-cruise with Holland America and saw Iguazu falls and Buenos Aires - I highly recommend this option.

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Veendam Ship Outdated and In Need of Repair Destinations were Great by kmiller4

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Veendam / Destination: Cuba

I would not sail on the Veendam again. Too many issues with the ship. We had "dine as you wish" instead of a reserved time in the dining room and had to wait for seating. Very difficult to get timely reservations for dining room on "surf and turf" nights. Who wants to eat after 8pm? Food in buffet so-so. Entertainment so-so. Cabin I would rate poor due to multiple plumbing issues and being awakened early due to engine noise multiple times when docking. Mostly older people-- many with disabilities that needed lots of assistance from staff and that slowed everything down-- getting in and out of tenders, etc. Too much emphasis on buying overpriced goods on the ship and in every port. This was our second Holland American cruise-- would have to think long and hard before I would cruise with them again when there are so many cruise lines out there.

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