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About Mtn2Sea

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  1. Muster drill has been completed and was pretty effortless compared to some. Still waiting for four large suitcases to be delivered - don’t know where all of our stuff is going!
  2. Bon Voyage! Enjoy your cruise.
  3. Mtn2Sea

    To Cuba or not to Cuba in 2020?

    We went to Cuba on the Veendam (11 day cruise) two months ago, which included stops in Cienfuegos and Havana. For our Cienfuegos stop, we took a ship excursion to Trinidad and found the bus trip more interesting than our destination. The thing I remember most about Trinidad is the poverty. In Havana we also took a ship excursion that involved visiting a neighborhood art center and touring around the city. That evening we experienced the Tropicana show. Our day in Havana was the highlight of our cruise. We have some friends who went to Cuba on NCL the week prior to our cruise, visiting only Havana. They had a totally negative reaction in contrast to ours. I don’t know if NCL is different or our friends just ignored the people to people requirement (they seemed surprised when I explained it), but they simply walked off the ship and wandered around Havana. Their reaction to their visit was “never again,” so it’s a little strange when we encourage others to go to Cuba and our friends say don’t bother. IMHO, if you only like to visit nice resorts on vacation, consider a different cruise, but if you like to explore the world, go for it. We found the Veendam was fine except for one thing. The same two elevators (the ship has a total of eight) were out of commission for the entire cruise and other comments I’ve read on CC indicate this isn’t an isolated issue. We had no problems with our balcony cabin and I thought the food was very good. The ship is definitely smaller than the Koningsdam and doesn’t have the more contemporary feel about it like the K; however, we like that.
  4. Mtn2Sea


    Thanks for the comparison. How did you like Havana?
  5. Mtn2Sea

    Cruise Documents

    Yesterday I completed the check-in on my iPad for our cruise later this month and everything went fine until it was time to print the boarding pass. The box you click on to print was absent. Knowing HAL’s website has some kinks, I went to my laptop (Windows Exployer) and had no problem printing the pass.
  6. I have a relative who was able to get a passport very quickly, just costs a lot of $$$.
  7. Looking forward to your review. Have a great time!
  8. Safe travels home! I really enjoyed reading your reports. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
  9. Looks like you’ve done a lot of planning, which I’m sure will make your reports even more fantastic. Have a great time on your cruise!
  10. We were on the Veendam for the cruise just prior to the OP’s cruise and had a great time. Having said that, we did have one ship issue that affected us each and every day. Each of the banks of elevators had one elevator (same two elevators) non operational for the entire 11 day cruise. That means 25 percent of the elevators did not work. I don’t mind using the stairs, but DW has a hip issue. After a show or at the end of a tendering day, the buildup of people waiting for an elevator was definitely out of the ordinary. What was even more frustrating was when we watched two or three elevators pass by our floor without stopping (maybe the elevator was smart enough to know it couldn’t take on any more weight since they were always pretty full during busy times). We didn’t use the pool, spa or smoking area, so I can’t comment on those items. Personally, I don’t care if the Captain is at a Mariner event, but I know some people do. The only other “issue” we had was the toilet, but once we learned the “secret”, everything was fine. For the first day or so, we often had to press the button 2-4 times before the toilet flushed. By luck, I learned if you press the button very quickly, from start to finish, the toilet flushed every time. We’ve never had to do that in our other HAL cruises (we’ll become Five Star on our next cruise, so we have some experience with flushing HAL toilets). If it’s any consolation to the OP, we found our time in Havana 100 times better than our stop in Cienfuegos (our excursion went to Trinidad). Nevertheless, I would be a bit unhappy if the ship missed a port due to mechanical reasons, as opposed to weather conditions.
  11. Love your photos of Cartagena - reminds me of our visit a few years ago.
  12. Mtn2Sea

    Veendam have Adagio?

    We are currently on the Veendam and have listened to Adagio several evenings. They generally begin at 15 minutes after the hour in the evenings. They have also performed on some days at 3:30 and at 5:00. The Veendam has not converted to the Lincoln Center style.
  13. Mtn2Sea


    The Veendam is one of HAL’S older ships and some of the decor reflects that. We like the older ships because of their size and I like the more traditional look as compared to the more contemporary look of the newest ships. We’ve had no problems with the plumbing, a/c, service, etc. The only issue we’ll note in our survey relates to the elevators. Unlike most of HAL’S ships, the Veendam does not have a mid-ship bank of elevators, which really isn’t a problem for us but for one thing. At both the forward and aft elevators, only three of the four elevators are working. This has been the case for the entire cruise and we’ve seen no effort to make repairs. Additionally, after waiting a couple of minutes, we’ve seen elevators by-pass our floor and no, another elevator did not stop shortly thereafter. After a show or after a tender has arrived is the most frustrating time. Otherwise, our Veendam experience has been great.
  14. Mtn2Sea


    We went to Trinidad yesterday on a ship’s tour and, for the most part, enjoyed our visit. The bus was comfortable, unlike the school bus we had in Belize. On the first leg of the trip, I sat in the aisle seat and DW sat next to the window on the second row. Turned out I had the better seat because I could see what was coming up, such as when the bus had to stop to allow a herd of cattle with cowboys go down the road. We saw very little of Cienfuegos, but the 90 minute drive to Trinidad was interesting. We were told to meet in the theater at 7:30 with a departure time of 7:45. The ship was delayed in getting cleared, supposedly because a Viking ship was also in port. We were one of the first off the tender and cleared immigration quickly. Numerous money exchange booths were open, allowing me to quickly convert $50. I got 43.45 in tourist pesos. Our bus left the port area around 8:40. Right outside the port gate were numerous taxis. They were bright yellow and some of the newest vehicles we saw all day. Trinidad, which has an approximate population of 72,000, is very, very poor looking. Virtually every building needs attention. Some places the sidewalk, although narrow, is in good shape, but then suddenly it is all broken up. All the streets we walked down were very rough. We had one person who had crutches and she managed, but I’m sure it was tough. You have to be conscious of where you’re walking, or else you could trip. I didn’t have a problem, but DW almost tripped over a small piped that crossed the sidewalk. Our first stop was a house museum. You could tell it was quite a house in its day. We then walked to a nearby square, which has been kept up pretty well. A short walk away was a bar where we were given a drink. Due to the large number of people from others buses from our ship as well as the other ship, I think I would have preferred to skip this experience. We then took the bus to a hotel for lunch. As soon as you walk in, you think you’re in a different country. The hotel is very nice. We did, however, have a long line for the buffet. Most items are served by the staff, with a few self serve items. A nice band played while we ate. After finishing lunch, we went to a potter’s house/studio. We then drove back to the ship, arriving a few minutes after the previously announced last tender time of 3:30. For those who are planning a private tour, I do want to point out a notice we received that stated those passengers not on a ship tour were to go to the Ocean Bar at 9:00 to get a tender ticket. Some photos from our time in Trinidad.