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majn

Should I book the Veendam??

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Hi all. I was hoping some of you can answer some questions for us. We absolutely LOVE cruising and have been doing so for over 45 years all in Caribbean but we have never sailed on Holland America and are looking at the VEENDAM. I am interested in December 28th sailing. But the reviews I am reading are so disappointing. Also does anyone have any reviews specifically on lower promenade H or HH? I know they say fully obstructed or partial obstructed but was hoping someone stayed in one and got a glimpse of the water.

Thanks all in advance for your help!!!

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Posted (edited)

Lots of people have lots of opinions of her.  As you are aware, she’s one of the older ships, and she doesn’t hide the fact she is a ship. Don’t expect bling, glitz, or a Pottery Barn/Starbucks interior. Personally I love her. She has lots of outdoor spaces to “tuck away” in and enjoy, and a lovely promenade deck. 

 

I would caution you you to take a good look at what is over you in the H HH cabins. Several aft are below the galley. There are a few that are below the dining room (which should be okay for noise.) Note that HALs galleys on the S and R class go entirely across the beam. (The deck plan show the white space but only label half of it as galley.) I can tell you from first hand experience cabin 390 is under the dishwashing station, and the dishwashers put in late hours.🙁 You might want to check out HAL Facts dot com.

 

Around a decade ago HAL removed her aft pool and added cabins below, and there were numerous problems with leaks, and IIRC, some other performance / balance issue with the bridge changes that took time and effort to sort out. She had a truly egregious CDC inspection about August 2012. That was reportedly followed by a whole new set of leaders replacing those who had been in charge. Somewhere (I think a few months before) she hit a crane in Buenos Aires.

 

Others will I’ll be along to share their experiences.

Edited by TiogaCruiser

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Thank you so much

i am specifically looking at HH385/H387. I can’t afford more than that and need connecting. Just so confusing but I appreciate your comments. One post cautioned that being across from the laundry was very loud. There is a room across from HH385 but I’m not sure what that is.

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Just now, majn said:

Thank you so much

i am specifically looking at HH385/H387. I can’t afford more than that and need connecting. Just so confusing but I appreciate your comments. One post cautioned that being across from the laundry was very loud. There is a room across from HH385 but I’m not sure what that is.

The laundry is now gone.

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Depends on your preferences.  We would never book Veendoom.

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We were on her in February and would gladly book her again.  Cannot help with the cabin selection.

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No reason not to book, so long as the ship is going where you want to go, and you don't mind that there is no aft pool.
As to cabin, however, I would rather be in an inside on Lower Promenade than an outside cabin. The insides are much larger, and have a lot more storage space. If I wanted an outside cabin, I would drop down a deck or two.

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Ruth is correct (once again). Look at the itinerary for when you want to go. Then consider pricing. That aft pool thing was goofy at the time, but it works now. There is water, about 3" deep with loungers there.

We have been on Veendam a couple of times and enjoy the smaller ship feel that one gets on that class of ships. You don't wear yourself out getting from one end of the ship to the other. Nice library with a great coffee bar experience.

Jim

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Thank you so much!

i love all the responses.

I got a little ahead of myself and put deposits down in two cabins. They’re only $25 pp right now so I figured I still had time to research. We have been on NCL over 20 times but I don’t like the newer bigger ships. We’ve sailed RCL about four times but like NCL better. Disney was amazing but kids are grown and not for us anymore. We just did carnival for first time in January on the fascination and enjoyed the itinerary but not much in entertainment. Hoping the New Year’s Eve party is lively. Lol. 

 

 

 

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According to our Future Cruise Consultant here on the Amsterdam, Veendam is to be the new Prinsendam.  She will be taking over most of the Elegant Explorer’s itineraries, except she can’t do the Kiel Canal.  I’m not sure if she will be doing any “Grands”.  

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1 hour ago, Vict0riann said:

According to our Future Cruise Consultant here on the Amsterdam, Veendam is to be the new Prinsendam.  She will be taking over most of the Elegant Explorer’s itineraries, except she can’t do the Kiel Canal.

Harrumph. There's a lot more places the Prinsendam went to that the Veendam can't than just the Kiel Canal.
HAL lost a lot of ports when the Prinsendam left the fleet. By no stretch of the imagination can the Veendam be called the 'new Prinsendam'.

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We just got off a 12 day cruise on the Veendam.........Of all of the HAL ships we've been on, this is the one that we liked the LEAST and our plan is to never cruise on her again. 

 

We find the dead end hallways caused by the galley to be very annoying.  The elevators are too few & too slow.  The Lido is small, chaotic, and generally more "cafeteria-oid" than any other Lido we've experienced.  Aft cabins as far up as the 6th floor [that we experienced] are horridly noisy during docking and experience awful odor from the smokestack should the wind be blowing at the back of the ship. 

 

On this voyage, menus seemed limited and uninspired.  Lido food for lunch was repetitive and very meh.

 

The captain & EXC guide were wonderful, the cruise director was just OK.  Production shows were the same 3 we've seen for TWO YEARS.  Same BBC movie, too.  Single night entertainers were great [and new].

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Veendam was in Dry Dock in April. Did you see any changes?

I liked the Veendam when on her a few years ago   

 

When you booked you didn't see the ship was smaller and elevators were only at the front and back.

No middle ones. Lido is small but fine, I like the Dive-In.  All cruise lines have their Production Shows running for years.

 

I'm glad you liked some things on your cruise.

 

 

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Well, when booking, I don't generally look at elevator layouts, nor do I go floor by floor looking for dead ends.........my bad, I guess.

As a 4* Mariner, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect on a HAL ship, and the Veendam falls seriously short of the 8+ others that I've sailed on.

Changes since the drydock.........well, they took out a ton of the computer stations in the Explorers Lounge and replaced them with the most uncomfortable chairs and sofas that I've ever experienced. 

They added removable black bolsters in the showroom that actually  lead to fewer seats if they are left in place and become tripping hazards when put on the floor in a dark room. 

The new chairs in the Lido have WHITE seats....another really brilliant move--NOT.  There were also fewer servers in the Lido and English command by them and the line staff was much less than I've ever experienced.

A strong odor of mold at the forward elevators near the theater was new, I guess.

Same hot incandescent bulbs in the elevators, too. 

In room breakfasts are winnowed down to very few main offerings and no substitutions.  If I never see a McDonald-oid triangle of hash browns again it'll be too soon.  A breakfast entree that I got without an upcharge on the Prinsendam in May---steak & eggs with breakfast potatoes--was $9.50.............Main dining room breakfast was also very limited and had the same lazy potato patty on the plate..............

Our stateroom clearly did NOT benefit from the drydock.........a TV from the early 2000s--small with lots of horizontal lines when it had reception, no additional outlets or USB connections, a worn down & rock hard sofa, and an industrial screw used as a replacement for the handle on the shower control.

 

I did like some of the cruise........the Captain, the ports, and the fact that the HVAC in the cabin and ship kept up well with the heat & humidity.  The ship, however, really does leave a lot to be desired.

 

 

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I cannot imagine paying top dollar for a ship that is well past it’s sell by date when there are so many other great choices out there.  HAL and other cruise lines.

 

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We have traditionally sailed on the Veendam from Boston to Bermuda (that has been dropped so we missed it this year) and a couple of Caribbean trips.  Actually the small ship appeals to us because it has maintained some of the old style charm.  Yes, its an oldie but a goodie!  In Dec. we will be doing another E. Caribbean but for the first time in a Lanai cabin. We are 4* but were never sure about that style room.  It’ll be interesting and hopefully a good choice.  What could go wrong????  Hmmmm.....

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6 minutes ago, iancal said:

I cannot imagine paying top dollar for a ship that is well past it’s sell by date when there are so many other great choices out there.  HAL and other cruise lines.

 

 

Will be sailing on the Veendam for the first time in November. I have some qualms about it after reading these posts. The good news is we are NOT paying top dollar (in fact I would consider our fare to be bottom dollar!) so if the ship stays afloat we will enjoy a cheap fall getaway. 

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OHCruiser ..It's sad that so many things weren't up to par especially coming out of dry dock.

On her a few years ago and really liked her. Going in Nov, for 14 days again. Like AryMay didn't

pay much and will just go with the flow. Do what I like, eat what I like and find the right chairs.

Like they still have the Explorations and the Crows Nest.

 

Besides less food at breakfast, how was the food in the dining room and the Lido?

You said they had fewer computers but do they still have lots of books?  Is the Crows Nest the same with

lots of chairs and tables? Heard the entertainment wasn't as good as the past. Is that true?

 

Know I'll have a good time, like the smaller ship for a change since the day I board the Veendam that

same day I get off a 3000 plus ship to get on her.

 

Thank You for the review and for any question you might answer.

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2 hours ago, Sea Belle said:

We have traditionally sailed on the Veendam from Boston to Bermuda (that has been dropped so we missed it this year) and a couple of Caribbean trips.  Actually the small ship appeals to us because it has maintained some of the old style charm.  Yes, its an oldie but a goodie!  In Dec. we will be doing another E. Caribbean but for the first time in a Lanai cabin. We are 4* but were never sure about that style room.  It’ll be interesting and hopefully a good choice.  What could go wrong????  Hmmmm.....

Maybe we'll be on the same cruise.  Those rooms look really cozy.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.  Reviews still aren't great but appreciate the honesty. 

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On 8/21/2019 at 12:11 PM, Gail & Marty sailing away said:

We booked 90 days on her for 2020

Wow.  You either must have sailed with them before or know something that no one else knows because the majority of all the reviews are not great.  We are not retired yet but that sounds like a nice vacation.  Hope the reviews that are negative are not true.  Hope you have a great time.  Thank for your help.

Our last cruise was a few months ago, first Carnival cruise.  We were so apprehensive because of Carnival's reputation but the ports were great and the price was right.  We had an amazing time.  Not the same great food we normally enjoy but so what, didn't have to cook, got to be with my family for 7 straight days, didn't have to go to work and I saved a bunch of money.  It was well worth it.  Good luck on yours. 

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18 hours ago, Belle said:

OHCruiser ..It's sad that so many things weren't up to par especially coming out of dry dock.

On her a few years ago and really liked her. Going in Nov, for 14 days again. Like AryMay didn't

pay much and will just go with the flow. Do what I like, eat what I like and find the right chairs.

Like they still have the Explorations and the Crows Nest.

 

Besides less food at breakfast, how was the food in the dining room and the Lido?

You said they had fewer computers but do they still have lots of books?  Is the Crows Nest the same with

lots of chairs and tables? Heard the entertainment wasn't as good as the past. Is that true?

 

Know I'll have a good time, like the smaller ship for a change since the day I board the Veendam that

same day I get off a 3000 plus ship to get on her.

 

Thank You for the review and for any question you might answer.

We got a great $ deal on our cruise, too.  We booked an inside aft cabin--and we knew what we getting, for the most part.  We did, however, hope that the drydock would bring some improvements--even in the lower cost cabins.  Please note that most of my comments refer to the ship & food in general.

 

We didn't eat any dinners in the dining room.  We'd had a weeklong land trip ahead of the cruise and really just wanted to relax after long day tours from the ship.  Eating when we pleased was part of that plan, and the Lido fits the bill for that.

As I said, the Lido food was repetitive--lamb one way or the other for sometimes both lunch & dinner on the same day.  I love lamb, but...........One hot soup, same appetizer of those teeny shrimp every night.  Half an hour into service, a cleaned turkey carcass with no replacement.  Want steak & eggs at breakfast?  Wait 10 minutes for the steak to be cooked.  Really sad desserts.  

The best night in the Lido was the final gala night.  They did serve the surf & turf like the Main Dining Room.  The tenderloin was excellent, the lobster tails large & sweet, but half an hour into service the "jumbo shrimp cocktail" had been replaced by a mussel and some greens........

 

The library is pretty much lining the walls of the Explorers Lounge.  While not huge, there is definitely a selection of books.  No sign out or sign in for books--just take & return to the same spot.

 

The Crow's Nest has chair groupings of different types and small tables.  Most looked very new, some are more comfortable than others.

 

The production shows had a brand new cast.  The singers and dancers were very good.  Added entertainment included a Freddy Mercury impersonator [funny & very good], a comedian who was also good, and a magician from a TV competition [very familiar tricks--I wasn't impressed], and the BBC film with live music from the HAL band [I'd seen it before & it's wonderful].  The shows are short--35 to 45 minutes--and the music very familiar.

 

For me, cruises are what my husband and I make of them.  Yes, the ship does matter to some degree, but for us, it's itinerary first, cost second, cruise line/ship third.  We are pretty loyal to HAL--they get 80% of our business--so maybe we expect more of a ship. 

 

I'm sure that you'll have a wonderful time.

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Posted (edited)

We will be on the Veendam this fall, our first cruise on HAL...we are frequent princess/celebrity cruisers but the itinerary is unique and $1000 or so less than Princess, so we're giving HAL a try.  Not sure what to expect, so going with an open mind.  We like smaller ships, so that's a positive....we like well prepared food (seasoned, etc) and I admit to being a bit apprehensive but no one has ever starved on a cruise ship.  Shows don't really matter....we're used to Celebrity where we intentionally miss all the shows by the ships performers.  We live in FL, so we do our sitting by the pool at home....we tend to hang out on our balcony or at a bar.  We've booked a category B cabin....I don't really understand all the categories on HAL so I took my best shot.

 

Hopefully, we'll have a memorable trip.....and one hopes that it's a positive one 🙂

Edited by ghstudio

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I booked for December 2019 with a non refundable deposit and got even braver and booked the airlines Round trip. I’m a bit nervous after all the reviews but I’m also excited. Hope you have a marvelous time. Fingers crossed!!

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