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thirtythirtywin

MS Veendam status? Plumbing and air conditioning?

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How is the HAL MS Veendam doing these days? Some of the recent reviews from early 2017 are not positive. I'm considering the July 22nd 7-day cruise from Boston. Problems I've read about are:

 

- plumbing issues, toilets and showers not working. Rooms flooding.

- Air conditioning not working in rooms.

- Food quality has been lower than what many cruisers are used to from HAL. This surprises me, as the HAL ships I've been on before had excellent food.

 

The Veendam is an older ship. In service since 1996. Refit in 2009 and 2012. I'm hesitant to cruise on a ship this old, especially if people are having the same issues on multiple cruises.

 

Any stories from recent cruises on the Veendam, good or bad?

 

Edited to add: Also several positive reviews from early 2017 cruises! Many positive reviews, but a few trends in the negative reviews I wanted to find out about.

Edited by thirtythirtywin
update

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I'm interested in these issues as well. My wife and I are booked on the Veendam for a December 2017 cruise.

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I just did the 48 day South American Explorer on the vintage Veendam and overall found the old girl still doing pretty good. AC worked well even in the heat of Brazil. Yes, there are always some toilet issues, but some caused by our fellow guests tossing regular kleenex,etc, in them (only toilet tissue, please). Dining room food and service were generally 5* for us.

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We were on the Veendam two years ago Boston/Canada RT. This is one really old ship. We had a large aft window cabin. Much to my surprise there was no refrigerator. The whole ship looks like it was in an old 40s movie. The show lounge was tiny with limited sitting. The performers were the same 4-6 staff each time.

I wouldn't do it again.

 

 

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We'll be on her next week, and I'll try to come back here and report on her condition. If she's anywhere near as nice as her older sister, the Maasdam, we will love her.

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We have done several long cruises on the Veendam -both including Panama Canal transits -one as recently as last Fall starting in New England and ending in San Diego. I kept a temperature log every single day that also included the cabin humidity. Only once did our cabin exceed the upper HAL comfort range of 75 so we called the front desk and they sent up a technician who made adjustments and it never exceeded 75 again.

 

Now the trick is 75 degree cabin temperature felt much hotter in the tropics and with higher humidity than it did in more chilly New England. The hotel manager did comment they do not keep cabins at what he thinks Americans consider normal indoor termperatures when it gets hot outdoors - 68 degrees.

 

Most of the complaints about the A/C come when transiting into the tropic zones or when the sun comes blasting in on one's side of the cabin in the late afternoons. We did keep our drapes closed during the day in the afternoons when were were in port to take the stress off the system. And in a few days we had moved on and out of the hottest part of our trip.

 

My feeling is I chose to go to the tropics so I should expect to experience the tropics to some reasonable degree. And not expect a ship to cruise through them super-chilled to US standards. Though ironically the A/C in some of the public rooms can super-chill. So take this in stride if you can, and if you can't then do think about another ship.

 

We had no toilet problems - and if there was an occasionally "delayed flush" problem I don't remember this because I do not call this a "non-working toilet." But others do, so that has to be kept in mind when hearing other reports. Plus virtually every ship will have plumbing problems when people insist on putting things down the toilet that clearly do not belong. Then it ruins things for everyone on the system until the clog can be found. So there can always be reports about clogs and floods, but you also hear reports of rapid response and quick cleanups.

 

This is a closed system enviornment that requires everyone sticks to accommodation of these rules - keep the balcony doors closed so one does not disrupt the A/C in other cabins on the same ventilation system, and don't put anything down the toilet that does not belong - they have signs in the cabins warning about both these critical passenger expectations.

 

But no one can guarantee someone will not get the message and problems for others can ensue. So for our Veendam experience now on two long cruises over the past several years- she was fine and we had great trips both times. I have no hesitation sailing her again. She still has many of the old traditional features we like about HAL ships, regardless of their misguided attempts to give her a new rear end and lanai makeover. They left most basics untouched and the public rooms as gracious as ever. Food was fine and upper dining room late fixed dining was elegant and efficient.

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We chose HAL because of the itinerary and the wonderful experience we had last August on the Maasdam. I agree with Olssalt. We can't expect a perfect cruise regardless of the cruise line.

 

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Don't book it, there are so many choices. Look beyond HAL.

 

 

We chose HAL for our upcoming cruise because of the itinerary and the wonderful experience we had last August on the Maasdam. I agree with Olssalt. We can't expect a perfect cruise regardless of the cruise line.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Forums mobile app

 

 

 

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We've cruised on the Maasdam four times, did a thirty-five day cruise on her earlier this year and had a wonderful time, now we have a cruise booked on the Veendam and I'm beginning to wonder if we've made a mistake...

 

 

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I just got off the Veendam 9 days ago after a 19 day Panama Canal transit from San Diego to Boston.

To answer the questions.

Plumbing. No flooding in the room. One day the toilet did not flush - told the room steward, it was "corrected" immediately. There was a problem (that didn't bother me) with the bathtub faucet leaking. It was also taken care of (although it took 2 tries).

Air conditioning worked just fine (from start to finish).

Food quality. This is really too subjective a subject for me to comment on other than to say I never went hungry the entire cruise. Also there was enough variety that I was able to maintain my weight (well + 2lbs).

I will say this. The Veendam is one of the oldest ships in the mainstream lines fleets. However, she wears her age quite well. Without being sexist, I would equate her to a middle aged woman. There may be some flaws, a few sags, etc., but over the years she has been maintained quite well and is still a beautiful lady.

There was a mechanical problem that did affect the cruise. See

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2488508

 

But read the whole thread including my response.

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I just did the 48 day South American Explorer on the vintage Veendam and overall found the old girl still doing pretty good. AC worked well even in the heat of Brazil. Yes, there are always some toilet issues, but some caused by our fellow guests tossing regular kleenex,etc, in them (only toilet tissue, please). Dining room food and service were generally 5* for us.

We were on this cruise too and agree with poster. Our room was a bit warm but was taken care of quickly. Loved the Veendam - would sail on her again any time!

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It's reassuring to read so many positive responses. My wife and I are looking forward to being on this ship in December. It will be our second HAL cruise and I think it will be an enjoyable experience.

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I agree with you Jim. I am reassured after reading the experiences in this thread. I have faith in HAL, and am really looking forward to this trip. I'm booked!

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I too am feeling much better having read these positive feedbacks! I think we'll just relax and look forward to our next cruise on HAL... after all, they've never let us down yet!

 

 

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Just got off verndam today. Lovely smaller ship. We saw no signs of poor maintenance onboard. Staterooms, venues impeccable, and we had no issues with temperature, bathrooms etc. Occasionally a public rest room would appear closed, presumably for cleaning?, but certainly NOT a big deal.

Lovely ship.

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I was the Veendam for 48 days Amazon this year in a group of Ten friends, all very experienced cruisers, we loved it god food, fantastic staff, and the best Captain ever!Yes she is older but very comfortable.

Yes some issues with aircon, toilets, but no dramas and fixed quickly!

 

 

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As a 4 star Mariner, I Say, Book HAL again and again. If you don't like a certain ship, book one that you do like.

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Just completed the 15-day Ft. Lauderdale to Montreal itinerary. Cold. Foggy. Wet. Good cruise.

 

We like HAL for the itineraries and the ship sizes. Veendam is a good fit for us due to its size. One cannot get lost.

 

My comments about temperatures might be taken the wrong way, but I will put them out there. Our cabin temp controls worked. It was cool in the main dining room; the entire voyage, not just those days in the Maritimes when the sun was not helping. For unknown reasons, it was cold in the area of the Lido Pool. According to my souvenir Cruise Log, it was 50 degrees mid-day in Quebec City on Thursday May 4, yet someone authorized the opening of the dome above the pool. Windy and down-right chilly. Not conducive to lazing by the pool.

 

We did have one issue with the toilet in our cabin. The water would not quit after a flush, it overflowed. Fortunately, I quickly flushed it again and all was OK. However, the cabin steward had lots of saturated towels to deal with. Unique to Veendam? Hardly - it could happen anywhere.

 

My biggest complaint (again) is the lack of organization by ship's stores personnel. We ran out of lemonade. Think about how much room is taken on a ship with lemonade. A quality run operation should never run out of an item such as that. (Once, Maasdam ran out of dry cereal. They had to go to a warehouse-type store at our next port of call and buy those big boxes, no more individual boxes.) They even ran out of at least one red wine from the Navigator package! What? You should never, ever run out of a product that generates money. And, to my wife's chagrin, repeated requests for goldfish during hours spent in The Ocean Bar were denied. Supposedly, they didn't have any until the last night of the cruise! (She will bring her own on our Amsterdam cruise that begins May 22.)

 

Cruise for the itinerary. Cruise for the price. Cruise for the ship. In that order.

 

Jim

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