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  1. Some are still expecting to park at the Black Falcon terminal next Sat. The garage is not open to cruise passengers! Both Westerdam and Veendam will be leaving at same time during Sail Boston tall ship parade. Traffic and congestion will abound at the seaport from early in the day. HAL notified the passengers?
  2. I was reading an article that stated on a Canadian cruise breakfast and lunch was only served in the lido is that right? I enjoy having breakfast and lunch in the dining room I am not fond of eating at the lido I prefer to sit down in the restaurant. Can anyone confirm if this is true?
  3. Just received my Cruise Industry News and found this dated today: QUOTE: "Holland America Receives Rescue at Sea Award October 24, 2016 The captain and crew of Holland America Line’s ms Veendam were honored recently by the Association for Rescue at Sea with a AFRAS AMVER Award for the 2015 rescue of a pilot who ditched his aircraft in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. (.....Joanie's Note: MORE at Link Below)" UNQUOTE Full article here: http://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/15922-holland-america-receives-rescue-at-sea-award.html Congratulations to all involved!! Joanie
  4. Hope DarkCrystal also shows up to help highlight the port activities we each chose on our recent Veendam run from Montreal to San Diego Oct-Nov 2016; DH and I took all shore excursions in most ports and enjoyed them all - even though we had been to many of these ports in the past: QUEBEC - on our own - walked around the city and up to the Plains of Abraham. Easy access from the ship. Long lines at the elevator to the upper town so we just slowly walked up the winding street to reach it by foot. Loved the Poutine at Chez Ashton and had crepes by the steps from the ship level plaza to the upper town. PRINCE EDWARDS ISLAND: Did the Green Gables tour that had plenty of time to wander around the grounds and view places that were featured in the story. Idyllic setting - just a serene and quiet place to be. Had time to also wander around the small port town with the giant fiddle port side honoring their unique music traditions in this province SYDNEY - the wow haunting excursion for us was the restored French fort town of Louisburg - elaborate French architecture perfectly restored with living exhibits (more limited at this time of the year) in a lonely setting that let you feel what it must have been like to be all alone out here in this "new world" yet pack as many of one's expected French comforts along as well. Time enough later to also walk around the town and get our first of several lobster rolls. This is the town where Canada became Canada, so it is an important stop to see the elegant buildings where it all began.. HALIFAX - all day trip to UNESCO "German town" of Luneberg - lovely, preserved wooden homes of wealthy but now long past fish merchants. Full lobster dinner here at a local waterside cafe. The surprise was their fishery museum in some old wooden ware houses - very nice museum for this small town. BAR HARBOR - tried to find the Loop Trail that led out of town and found it took us to an old cemetery, but also offered an interesting look at the town itself, well away from the tourist area near the tender dock. Later took the afternoon Acadia - Cadillac Mountain tour which was very rewarding for both views and fall colors since we had a perfectly clear weather day. Managed to fit in some clam chowder, a lobster roll and blueberry pie in-between our events. BOSTON: just started walking from the port to see what we could find on our own because we had a later afternoon Lexington Concord tour. Lo and behold we found ourselves after about a mile walk through the port area and past the convention center at the Tea Party site and had tea and scones at the Dolly Madison Tea Room and spent time in their gift shop looking at Revolutionary War memorabilia. Lexington Concord Tour was lovely and pinched myself I was finally seeing these historic sites - again the little green town squares, tall spired white churches and the fall colors were all I expected it to be. Also a quick pass through the Harvard Quad. We will be back in Boston next year for the RT Voyage of the Vikings so we will leave the more extensive city sights to that time. Walden Pond was just over the hill and around the corner ....noooo, it really was real after all? The British troops marched all the way along that path from Lexington to Concord and the whole affair started on that exact same bridge. (No comment if they could see what their noble venture they were willing to shed their own blood for ended up today, on the eve of the craziest election season we have ever seen in the US.) NYC: took the HAL-Gray Line Hop on Hop Off bus option and did the up town tour first since I had never seen Harlem or Grant's Tomb. Took too long so we could not also take the Lower Manhatten loop too but ran into a couple that did manage to get both done in the allotted time - they started the lower city tour first and then sprinted to catch the next uptown bus that was leaving a few blocks from where the first lower city HOHO left them off. Instead we sauntered around the midtown area - saw all the icons - Rockefeller Plaza, Times Square, Madison Ave, and Grand Central Station. Had time to go to Carnegie Deli since it would soon be closing down but there was a long line in front so we went across the street for a Reuben Sandwich and a slice of cheesecake and felt we had paid homage to NYC. The passage both in and out of NYC - the skyline and the statue of Liberty were the real treats - esp coming in early in the morning with the skies were dark but the lights in the buildings and Lady Liberty were shining brightly in contrast. CHARLESTON: walked to Fort Sumpter from the ship but found we could not get the ferry out to the island and get back in time to make our afternoon excursion to Magnolia Gardens. Museum was very interesting and we could see Fort Sumpter on the horizon. Wandered around town viewing houses, gardens and cemeteries until it was time to take the HAL excursion to Magnolia Gardens - which was everything one expects the 'Old South to look like - just gorgeous - walks through lush gardens and trolly ride around the full plantation which was equally lush. FORT LAUDERDALE -what do you do on a mid trip stop here - we had already done all the offered shore excursions on prior passes through FLL. So we applied our travel rule "There is no uninteresting street in India" and just struck out to see what the port area had to offer and indeed it did offer some unexpected surprises - mainly seeing one of those luxury yacht transport ships loaded to the gills with a lot of expensive toys on their way to their owners next playground. Plus time to visit the "Seaman's Association" store and welcome facility - fun to poke around all the items they carry to make life comfortable for at sea maritime workers. Interesting international food items and familiar brands of soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, sundries and underwear. Okay, that was the first half of our trip - then on to the second half across the Caribbean to Panama and up Central America to San Diego.
  5. Howdy - my wife and I took the Veendam several months back, and I've been so busy with life since that I really haven't gotten a chance to attend to anything related to that trip on Cruisecritic. I hadn't even gotten a Flickr gallery up until September. It was that kinda summer. This was one of the cruises to the Central America region, with stops in Key West, Trujillo in Honduras, Santo Tomas De Castillo in Guatemala, and Costa Maya in Mexico. All 4 ports were new for me, and 3 were new for my wife. Anyways, I'm finally making some headway with my long form pieces about it, and while it isn't the most timely of items ever, I invite anyone to read it. I've got a placeholder page on my blog, and as I get done writing something, a new page will go up. I'm about halfway through right now, and will be getting through the Guatemala portion next (it'll be the longest, I'm sure): https://realtalkguidetoawesome.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/2016-veendam-cruise-trip-report-series/ I know that the boat is derided online, but we loved the smaller ship. Of course, we were lucky enough to have working A/C the whole time, and the water system issues on the ship, while annoying, were dealt with in such a manner that we really weren't that badly affected by it. After our prior cruise together with Royal Caribbean out of Singapore, the difference in food quality was night and day. In fact, we agreed it was the best we'd had from a big boat line, and that's with having taken all the ones noted in my signature line. I loved it, and I'm excited to give them another shot on something like a Panama Canal itinerary in the future.
  6. This was a great break! Here are my observations for the inquiring minds. More details can be found in the Feliz Navidad thread I started. Overall observations: DD thinks this is the most comfortable and easy way to travel. I have to agree. I would enjoy more time in ports but I don't imagine that is affordable with port fees and ship business lost to the destinations. I see more cruises in our future. She did find a small ship a bit boring for the lack of activities. I did hear a young man grumble about the same thing. I hope the Eurodam has more to offer since our frequent travellers on this site say there are fewer kids on the longer trips. I am quite fine with the lazier pace. Was there any trouble with the plumbing? Not for us. Occasionally the toilet emitted odd smells (and not form us!) but the shower ran hot with great pressure. There were occasional bouts of sewage smells in the halls at about midship but they were not stop strong and did not seem to last. Air conditioning: the temperature seemed very well regulated through the wall controls. We didn't prop our door open or crank the temperature too far up or down. We had a bit of a problem when I got sunburned and felt chilly but DD went a lovely tan colour and was perfectly comfortable... That's a human conflict, though! Storage: we had lots of room to put whatever we needed into drawers and cupboards and our rigid cases fit easily under the beds. The closets offered plenty in the way of hangers, shelves and drawers. Beds: I found the beds narrow and almost too firm. However, I slept well and woke rested so this is really an observation rather than a complaint. Was there noro? Oh yes! It started pretty much on the first day at sea and built til the 24th. From day one, we saw staff washing walls and rails; dispensers cranked and groaned all day; staff encouraged hand washing and disinfecting and we were asked to clear our surfaces to allow for counter washing. Even still, it spread. By day three, the Lido was no longer self serve. We never got it, happily. Too much OCD in our family. Everyone was most pleased with the sharp decline in cases on Xmas eve though. Shows: I don't know how anyone has time for these. I felt like the days ripped by and I was pleasantly exhausted enough at the end that I just wanted to read and relax on the deck. I'm sure they were good though. I caught the strings in the explorer lounge area, the piano guy and the guitar guy. They were all talented and enjoyable. Room service: I doubt I'll stop using it because I just don't care to bound out of bed, shower and traipse off to have breakfast with the masses. I love morning relaxation and the luxury of having breakfast brought to me. However, having hot food brought in great volumes through the ship really seems to detract from its quality. Trade offs... Signature beverage package: we got these with a really good deal. I wouldn't get them without, though. We didn't come close to fifteen drinks a day. DD had probably four to five including her virgin daiquiris, her latte and occasional water. I would have done better if I hadn't pre ordered the gin and tonic for the room, but I averaged five drinks a day including my latte. I think that about covers it! We had a great time and we are looking forward to our Mediterranean cruise in July!
  7. I am thinking about the collectors cruise June of 2016 on the Veendam- Canada New England and Bermuda. Does anyone know what the entertainment is at this time? ( dancing with the stars does not interest me) Thanks!
  8. Okay, so I just talked to HAL agent who wrote: "I am fairly certain that the public computers are free for use. I think all computers are capable of handling USB. Wireless service is available in most public lounges around the ship. Service is also available in guest staterooms. There will be a one time $3.95 set up fee and then pricing as below: PRICING: Time Plan #1: 1000 Minutes for $250.00 Time Plan #3: 250 Minutes for $100.00 Time Plan #2: 500 Minutes for $175.00 Time Plan #4: 100 Minutes for $ 55.00 *PRICING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE My question is for anyone who has actually been on the ship. For Explorations Café, do I have to purchase a package and start up fee to use the public computers? And is there a USB port?
  9. After all of the information I acquired from this board I wanted to give pay it forward to someone else who may be new to HAL. Our cruise history had only been with NCL. We just came home yesterday from the Veendam in Boston. We left on July 4th. As far as embarkation procedures, we were a little confused as to where to go at the terminal. We did not know there were two ships sailing that day, and the outside terminal staff were a little confused directing people. But, we ended up where we need to go, and had to wait an hour before we were let in-we went early as we did not know what to expect with the holiday traffic. Even as we were directed into the terminal, the terminal staff were still a little confused as to where and what to do. Once we met up with an HAL staffer at the desk, the quality of service instantly picked up. As a first timer on HAL, I would have liked a little more direction as to how the card system works. We were used to using our keycard for everything on NCL. On HAL, we found that when we bought the $50 card for soda and beverage purposes, you get a separate card for these. In addition, we went to use them in the dining room, and we could not- number one we had to activate the cards at the beverage director's office, and number two you can only use them in the bars and not in the dining areas. It would have been helpful to know this prior to boarding. Our oceanview cabin was ready almost immediately, and this being our first experience without a balcony we did not know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised to find the room quite spacious for the two of us and more than enough storage and closet space fro the two of us. Our cabin steward Aryata was attentive and efficient. It was a little warm for us even with the thermostat all the way down, so we basically had the curtains closed for the majority of the sun hours, and I did peek into an inside room and the layout was exactly the same, including the bathroom. We found the food to be quite delicious in the Main Dining room. We had bought a night in each of the two specialty dining rooms. The Caneletto was very good, but was quite warm with the sun coming in- so if we ever were to go again we would go after sundown. The Pinnacle Grille was outstanding- wonderful for a very special celebration. This was an exceptional dinner. However, we both decided that if one was watching their budget, we found the food in the Main Dining Room to be pleasurable to dine for the entire cruise, and we would not feel we would be missing the specialty restaurants. To note, the lobster tail was delicious and truly a New England type we are used to compared to NCL's lobster tail which was very tiny. The Indonesian afternoon tea was also something to experience, staff in their cultural garb serving specialties from their homeland. The service was outstanding in every way. Entertainment was very good. Favorites to note was the cooking presentations, the Bob Mackie show, Bard Upton comedian, and we enjoyed the Neptunes Trio EVERY night. My DH loved them so much we bought their CD! My biggest worry prior to Boarding was the dress code on HAL vs. the freestyle cruising we were used to on NCL. I found that I overpacked in preparation for this worry. For myself, a dressy top with nice pants, modest sundress, and for formal night a nice dress was fine. I wore open toed sandals on my feet- no problem. My DH wore a nice polo with dockers, and on formal night a suit, or a jacket with dress slacks and dress shirt and tie. Some people were turned away if they did not have a jacket. There was a wide range of dress for formal nights- up to tuxedos and gowns. It was nice to see everyone including children dressed for the evening. Now that I mentioned children, there was IMO a very small amount on the ship, and we never saw any children who were misbehaving. Parents watched their children on this cruise, compared to some of the children I have seen on prior cruises. The overall population of the passengers IMO was a majority of age 40yrs and older, and very respectful of each others cruise experience. No loud mouths, rudeness or drinking incidents that we could see. We have four grown kids and one grandchild, and love kids, but we are at the stage where whining, screaming or parents who don't watch their kids are not really our cup of tea anymore. A favorite spot for us was the Crow's Nest Lounge for trivia and overall viewing as we entered Bermuda. In conclusion, we found the service to be outstanding the ship cultured and refined and a cruise that restful and fun. We would book again with Holland America in a heartbeat!
  10. Just how noisy is this cabin? The booking site says it may get quite noisy in the day. I am thinking of booking it for DD and me at Christmas. I have seen lots of threads about up sells but don't see any comments about noise (in case I don't get an upsell!).
  11. Same Itinerary, which would you choose and why?
  12. Just found out on the HAL website that Veendam will now be in the Med for 2019 and will be including Venice as an embarkation/disembarkation port. Itineraries are what you would expect and the prices are pretty decent. This is why Veendam has been pulled from Bermuda in 2019.
  13. We're a family of 4 (two teens) and we're about to finalize a May 5th Sailing on the Veendam - Montreal to Boston. We haven't been on the Veendam in about 20 years, and never in a cooler weather itinerary - always Caribbean. I have a few questions: 1. Is the Lido pool roof generally closed in cooler weather, pool heated etc? 2. Has anyone parked at the Port of Montreal lately? We're looking to park there for the week. 3. Is the best side port or stern for viewing - and can you see much land when travelling from port to port? I have on hold a port side cabin, which will be wonderful while cruising to Quebec City, but wondered if I'd be looking at plain ocean once we go around the Gaspe Penninsula. Any and all tips and advice for us are appreciated. We're seasoned cruisers - Caribbean only, but this good deal popped up and we've always wanted to do this itinerary. P.S. We're from Ontario, so we know what the weather will be like.
  14. We will be taking a Bermuda cruise in June. Are long pants for men a requirement? Will Bermuda shorts be okay? Are jackets required? Last went on Celebrity in November and dress shorts were fine at dinner.
  15. I just disembarked this morning from the Veendam's sailing to Bermuda and wanted to post a quick review. I had heard a lot of negativity about the Veendam before sailing so I thought I would set the record straight; she is a lovely ship with a WONDERFUL crew and I would not hesitate to sail on her [or on any HAL ship] again! I realize that many things like food and entertainment are subjective so please take my opinions for what they are worth; I am simply sharing my own views and likes/dislikes. Also, to all those lovely CC members that I met at the Meet&Greet, it was lovely to meet you all [and thanks to Sheila and Lauri for organizing!]. FOOD: I found the food on Veendam to be of really high quality overall. I would say that I found the entrees on Princess to have a slight edge [maybe one point above on a scale of 1-10] and the desserts on HAL to have the slight edge over Princess [again, one point above]. The menu on HAL did not seem to be as varied as on Princess but the pastries/breads/desserts really blew me away on HAL! Both lines are a notch above Carnival and totally blow Norwegian's included food out of the water! Another thing I really enjoyed was the Indonesian/Filipino buffet for dinner one night. I NEVER eat in the Lido for dinner on any cruise and this night was the only exception I've ever made [and glad I did!]; the menu was incredible and you could see the pride the crew had in sharing their culture with us. Granted, I like both Indonesian and Filipino food anyway so it was not much of a stretch for my taste buds but I truly would advise everyone to try this uniquely HAL feature. The room service [only ordered for breakfasts] always arrived hot and beautifully presented on real china with fresh flowers...a really nice touch that I have yet to see on any other line. The only complaint I had about the dining room was the lack of cream [or half & half] with the coffee service; they always brought normal milk rather than cream which is unusual to me. IMO cream goes with coffee although some may disagree. A few times I was told they didn't even have cream in the MDR during that time and they would have to get from another dining venue [i declined as it seemed too much work to put them through for something so minor]. The afternoon tea service was nice [the Indonesian day had especially cool selections] but I preferred it on Princess as HAL gives you the tea bags rather than pouring already brewed tea for you; the result is similar but it seems a bit less elegant. SERVICE Absolutely wonderful all around! The crew on the Veendam was amazing; everyone from the stewards to the waiters to the deck hands outside cleaning had a smile on their face and always greeted [or at least made eye contact with a nod] the passengers as they passed. The best of the best had to be Putra, the dining room greeter. This young man always had the most infectious smile on his face every time I saw him and was always dashing in his red HAL livery. It was such a treat to see happy crew members who took pride in their jobs. HAL really knows what they are doing in this area. ENTERTAINMENT Our sailing featured the Indonesian crew show which was a lot of fun. Again, it is nice that HAL promotes the culture of the crew through events like this. It gives passengers a chance to experience aspects of different cultures that they may not get to experience otherwise. The Adiago violin/piano due was also very good and added a nice sense of refinement to the onboard entertainment. The main theatre could have had other production shows of better quality though. Evening entertainment does not seem to be HAL's strongest point; although the Veendam singers had some great voices, the production quality and set designs were fairly mediocre. I knew going in not to expect Broadway caliber shows though so I was not too disappointed. There was plenty to do on the ship and this was not a huge deal for me. THE SHIP Veendam gets a lot of bad press on CC and I feel she is vastly underrated. I found her to be a lovely ship with lots of elegant art work and well utilized spaces. The lowest level of the atrium on deck 6 is one exception to the previous statement as it was rather empty and I feel they could do more with such a central space. She is an older lady [in terms of ship years] but she retains an elegant sophistication that many newer/larger ships lack. Her size is perfect and the wraparound promenade deck is an HAL feature that all other lines should follow; what a wonderful way to get some exercise in whilst enjoying the ocean like on the liners of yesteryear. I also quite enjoyed the retreat area and spent a good amount of time there. I know some miss the aft pool but, for me, hot tubs are much more appealing as you cannot really "swim" in most ships' pools anyway. The interior stateroom was quite large and it was such a nice feature to have a sofa [many lines don't have sofas until you get to at least a balcony stateroom...sometimes you even need a suite to get one]. The stateroom was tastefully decorated and the one-off artwork for each cabin is really a nice touch. ITINERARY Nothing bad can be said about Bermuda IMO; to me it is one of the best warm weather destinations in the western hemisphere. It's a beautiful place with friendly citizens that I feel I could never tire off. This was my second trip to the island and I know there will be many more. Docking in Hamilton was an especially nice treat. I just wish HAL had more Bermuda sailings [only 6 this year and 4 in 2016]. Overall this was a wonderful cruise and HAL has become one of my favorite lines after only one sailing. The understated elegance of their ships and service are amazing; one really feels spoiled on an HAL voyage. I can't wait to try some more ships in the fleet!
  16. So, email in my email box from HAL about a paid upgrade (or as CC members say, an upsell). The Lanai cabin we reserved cost 1399 per person. The upsell is for a Vista suite, but at 299 per a person extra, it is the same price as what is on the HAL site. Going to let this one go and see if they can do better. Otherwise, the Lanai will do just fine.
  17. Hello all, We're on the Veendam to Bermuda on 5/30 - I've been searching around the web for the daily program but all I've found are from 2012 or earlier. Anyone know of more recent copies posted anywhere? Also - does HAL offer any discounts on Spa services during the cruise? Thanks in advance.
  18. This was our second sailing on the Veendam and our first time going to Bermuda. The Cabin - We took advantage of a last minute up sell to a Neptune suite. We got cabin 023. At first the cabin seemed wonderful. It is very spacious and located across from the entrance to the Neptune Lounge. The balcony was fantastic. It had two lounge chairs and a table with four chairs. We did have a nice, although chilly, sail away on May 2nd with some friends. The weather got a bit rough sailing to Bermuda and all sorts of things were either banging or creaking in the middle of the night. Additionally you do get a fair amount of noise from the lido deck directly above and when there was a late night event bedtime was delayed. The plumbing and air conditioning worked correctly. If I get the chance to sail on the Veendam again I would pass on this cabin. The Food - We were on board the ship in plenty of time to take advantage of the embarkation lunch. Food and service were great. We did try the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast two times. The first time service was spot on and the food was good. The second time it took over 40 minutes to get food and when we ordered mimosas no one knew if a bar was open for this option. Eventually the drinks came after we got our meals. Later we did try the PG for dinner with some friends and the steaks were the best I have had in awhile. The baked potato was a bit cold when served. Dessert was fantastic; chocolate lava cake. The rest of our meals were in the lido and the food there was good but not great, except for Indonesian night, that night the food was excellent; best of the cruise. The one other time we ate in the MDR was for the Mariner lunch. The food was good. The service was disjointed at best. One person got champagne, the rest of the table eventually got theirs. Then they took one persons menu away before taking our orders. When it came time for the toast none of the ship crew had champagne and it took 10 to 15 minutes until they had something to toast with in their hands. Very odd meal. The Entertainment - We sat through "Bob Mackie's Broadway" again. It was no better or worse than the previous versions. "Street Singin'" featured the male talent and while different seemed all too familiar. It was only bearable thanks to performances by Ernie. Maria Walsh was the comedian one night and she started out very weak, had a few good jokes and then ended poorly. We did try to sit through a session with the Hal Cats. They included the guitar man from the MIX and he was most definitely out of his element. At one point he said to abort a song and they didn't. We left shortly after that. The Ship - The Veendam itself seemed to be in good shape. The crew took full advantage of the days in Bermuda and did some work around the ship. From painting, to varnishing and even carpet repair. The Crew - The crew were fantastic with very few exceptions. It was nice to run into two guys from last summers Maasdam voyage. They both helped to make it an enjoyable vacation. The Captain was Chris Norman; Hotel Director was Hendrick Hoekstra; Cruise Director was Christina Purcell. Signature Beverage Package - On this booking we did receive the Signature Beverage package included in our fare with no increased cost to us. It was nice to have and did save us some money on our final bill. Room key cards had an orange sticker on them to indicate the promotion. An interim bill showed all the bar charges with an immediate credit. What was not know to me until disembarkation day was that on the ship our accounts were marked as Explore 4 promotions. My trip to the Pinnacle was at no charge causing me to have a credit balance at the end of the cruise that could not be refunded. The concierge quickly had our accounts joined so that my husband could get the $50+ credit on his bill. Our paper work made no mention of the E4 promotion and we were not give reservations to the Pinnacle when we boarded. My advice to anyone with the Signature package would be to check the on board account and see if the PG is included. Final Thoughts - I would say that we had a wonderful cruise to a new destination. Would we sail on the Veendam again? Yes if the itinerary is something that we want to do. We do seem to like the Vista and Signature class ships a bit more as there is more options to keep busy. In the end we are blessed to be able to sail on any "dam" ship and feel lucky to have made some nice friends while doing so.
  19. We're booked on the Veendam November 5th Mexican Riveria cruise and I was wondering if a Vista Suite is considered a real suite and qualifies for double Mariner days. Thanks for the help!
  20. In checking on the Veendam's Voyage of the Viking returning to the US, noticed the Maasdam was right behind her on the way to Bar Harbor. This will bring the two "surviving S class" together in port tomorrow. I hope someone will post a picture of them together. With the Statendam headed to Singapore next month (looks like her final cruise is sold out) and the Ryndam also via the Suez to the same place for drydock and conversion to their new company, the two in Bar Harbor will be it. When you look at brochures and nearly everything HAL has printed or posted the last 20 years, you will see one of the "S class" ships! They were well done and will be missed by many of us.
  21. Are there mini-refrigerators in Lanai staterooms on the Veendam? Thank you for your replies?
  22. I did the B2B Boston-Bermuda-Boston-Quebec on the Veendam from 4 July. It was great to be able to self-serve at the lido from embarkation and not have to wait 2 days. There were a few minor cutbacks from my previous HAL cruises, chiefly the evening meal in the MDR is now 3 courses instead of 4. While no-one will ever be short of food on a cruise, this did slightly reduced the choices available, but overall it was another great trip, with the usual terrific service. The only real issue I had was that there is now no aft pool (removed to install extra staterooms). The obvious consequence is that the lido pool (and area) was often very crowded, and now there is a rule that no more than 17 persons may be in the pool at any one time. The poor man trying to enforce this had no chance on the hottest days. It was physically impossible to prevent people going in, and once in no way of getting them out. I counted 40 in there at one time. The next day the Captain was on the tannoy saying that if the rule was not observed the pH of the water could get dangerous and the pool would have to be closed until it was corrected. Just a single pool for 1200+ passengers is not enough and if I cruise again with HAL it will only be on ships with 2 pools. And of course there was nowhere to escape the splash and noise from the children who do not understand what 'No Diving' means. All the best, Tony
  23. Just jumped on a second round offer moving from Vista Gty to Neptune. Couldn't pass it up. I get there's a room size difference, what else makes a Neptune special?
  24. First timer on HAL. We're booked in a lanai and they are offering Vista suite for $299 pp. Other than a private verandah and a bit extra space, anything special about this room?
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