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#1
Somerville, MA
223 Posts
Joined May 2001
I just returned from a week on the Veendam. I was cruising with my parents, a friend and her mom. We were also part of a larger group of about 200 Star Trek fans, on board for a convention.

We flew in a day early from Boston and stayed at the Tampa Marriott Waterside. The hotel was beautiful. It is also home to residents from a near by nursing home which was damaged in the storm. Therefore it appeared to be booked to capacity.

After breakfast the next morning we took a cab to the pier 6 where the Veendam was docked. As my friends mother needed a wheel chair, we were checked in and among the first group to board the ship. The process was painless. The rooms were not yet ready, so we headed to the Lido deck for lunch.

The ship is beautiful, with fresh flowers in all the public rooms. Our room was very comfortable, and was equipped with the new linens and towels in the upgrade program.

Cabin Steward

While our cabin steward was very nice, he was also very slow. We would return to the room 5/6 hours later and it still wouldn't be made up. While he kept the room clean, it was not the amazing job we have seen on other cruises. He would forget to empty a barrell, or fail to resupply soap or bottled water that we had used.

Dining Room Service

This is my fourth cruise on Holland America, and in the past I had been very disappointed in the service in the dining room. I never felt it was on the same level with cruises I had taken on other lines (including Celebrity & Royal Carribbean). This cruise was definately the best service I had ever had on a Holland America ship. I still don't feel it was the best ever, Celebrity & Royal Carribbean still hold that distinction. However, it was a pleasant surprise, our waiter was quick & efficient, our orders were always correct. My only complaint would be that he seemed to be rushing us out the door. We were unfortunate enough to be assigned the 8:30 seating. (The entire group we were with was assigned this seating, and due to some of our activities we could not change the seating time.) By 9:30, we were leaving the dining room. In fact on the evening of the Baked Alaska parade, we waited almost 25 minutes after our entree, before the parade and dessert. The table next to us hadn't even received their entrees. This time issue wasn't due to what we were ordering as most nights someone ordered from each course.

However, compared to the service this past July on the Maasdam, the service was leaps and bounds better on the Veendam.

The Head waiter never came to our table throughout the week, I wouldn't know what he looked like.

Overall Service


I found the Wait staff on the Lido deck and in the various bars to efficient and fun. Quick to help with a tray and provide coffee/ waiter refills. Or quick bar service.

The ships staff were very accomodating to our group, and my family and I had a great time.

If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to try and answer.

Linda
#2
Northern California
7,075 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Linda-

Glad to hear you had a nice cruise. Funny to hear that you were actually rushed through dinner, that is a new one for sure. Thanks for your report!
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#3
obetz oh usa
2,517 Posts
Joined May 2000
Thanks for the review, so glad you enjoyed the Veendam, one of my favorite ships. We have always had excellent service on this ship and I know of several stewards who will only work on this ship. Is Capt. Russell-Dunford still Mastering the ship?....jean
#4
Somerville, MA
223 Posts
Joined May 2001
My mind is still foggy from the travel days and the back to work list of phone calls. I don't remember the name of the Captain. I had other activities planned during the welcome aboard party, but I am sure I have it in some of the literature I took off the ship. I will confirm it for you. I will say that one morning while waiting in line for a photo shoot with the Star Trek cast one of the ships officers asked me to identify the actors for him. The gentleman was very nice and interested. I later found out that he was the Captain. I felt a little silly for not realizing it while I was speaking with him.


Linda
#6
Somerville, MA
223 Posts
Joined May 2001
It struck me a little funny, how we were always the first table out of the dining room. But we never had to rush to get to the theatre for the show. As soon as we finished a course, sometimes while the last bite was still being enjoyed, the next course would be presented. Of all the problems that could happen in the dining room, this is certainly not the worst.

I believe it may be that because of the later seating our particular waiter did not have all his seats filled. There were two tables nearby of 6/8 that never had moret than four people.
#7
Salt Lake City, UT
30 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
I have a question, how do you find about these Star Trek cruises as I would surely be interested?? Were any of the actors on the cruise with you? Sounds like a great time to me.

Thanks
Barb
#8
83,074 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by elmorejj
Thanks for the review, so glad you enjoyed the Veendam, one of my favorite ships. We have always had excellent service on this ship and I know of several stewards who will only work on this ship. Is Capt. Russell-Dunford still Mastering the ship?....jean
Captain Russell-Dunford was aboard but I think he may have just left (or will be soon) and Captain Schoonderbeck will be coming aboard. We cruised with Captain Russell-Dunford on Ryndam his very first cruise as Master w/ HAL and enjoyed a wonderful Captain's Table with him.
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#9
83,074 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Lindacat...


Thank you for your review. I enjoyed reading it. We're looking forward to returning to Veendam after a number of years away from her. We sailed her about 5-6 times years ago but when she repositioned to Tampa, we didn't want to board there. The 12 day cruise on her sounds great and we have dear friends aboard Veendam that we are eager, eager, eager to see.

The irony is we will probably return in late March or early April to see another friend we care about alot who will be boarding just before that.
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#10
Colorful Colorado
7,035 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Linda-

Glad you had a great time, DH loves the Veendam too. It is his favorite.

Welcome home!
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#11
Warwick, R.I. , USA
38,425 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Thanks for the report. Since you offered additional info let me ask about the entertainment---

Who were the featured entertainers in the show lounge, and what did you think of them?
Also, who was playing in the various lounges and would you recommend them to others? Was there a good crowd in the Piano Bar?

Thanks again.
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#12
Somerville, MA
223 Posts
Joined May 2001
Thanks, this was truly my favorite HAL cruise. I first cruised on HAL because the cruise trek group I belong to favours HAL ships. In fact of the 4 HAL cruises I have been on three were "Star Trek" Cruises.

As far as how to get information, I had stumbled across an ad for a Star Trek themed cruises in 1994 in a magazine. I put myself on their mailing list. This particular group sponsors a Star Trek themed cruise each year. There are always actors/actresses from the show on board as well as some behind the scenes guests. There are usually about 200 fans booked although the number has been as low as 100 and as high as 800.

Each year they select a different itenerary and ship for the cruise. The guest list of actors isn't announced until shortly before sail date. Next years cruise is the "Baltic Blast" a 10 day cruise on HAL. Information about their upcoming cruises can be found on their web site. (www.cruisetrek.com)

If I am not supposed to post that, I am sorry, but they are not a traditional travel agent. They only sponsor this one themed cruise a year. If you want further information, you can E-mail me. [email protected]

Linda
#13
Somerville, MA
223 Posts
Joined May 2001
As far as the ship entertainment, there were two performers who stood out. On the first evening there was a ventriloquist, he was incredibly funny. I have his name at home, ( I am at my mothers right now.) One one of the other evenings Jim Curry did a tribute to John Denver. He was wonderful. The two cast shows were O.K., I enjoyed the 50/60 review more than the alternative broadway show. I skipped the night with the magician so I can't really comment on him, although others said he was very good.

As far as the various lounges, I am afraid that I did not spend much time with them. There was a duet who played in the Crows nest that did not appeal to me at all. The strings group was excellent. Everytime I went to the piano bar it was very quiet. Sorry I can't be more help. There were many more star trek activities that I attended.
#14
South Carolina
29,069 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
lindacat .... Thanks for your review! We are on Veendam January 15th for a 14-Day Southern so always anxious to get new information on this ship.

Rushed at the 8:30 Seating! One of the reasons we picked the late-late seating was NOT to be rushed. Oh, Well!

Did you have a favorite Bar/Lounge on the ship?

Thanks again! Happy Sailing! OCruisers
#16
Tampa, FL
42 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
lindacat,

I will be on Veendam 12/11, first time on HAL. I usually cruise Celebrity. How was the DR food and did you visit Pinnacle? If so, how was it?

Melissa
#17
Somerville, MA
223 Posts
Joined May 2001
Gizmo

Klingons, Cardassians. Romulans, Borg & Talaxians were all represented.



Lissa

THe food on this cruise was better than any previous HAL cruise. However, I have always enjoyed the food on Celebrity much more than the food on HAL and this year is no exception. I did not try the Pinnacle Grill, so I can't helpout there.
#19
14 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Thanks for all the positives about the Veedam. We will be on the Dec. 11th cruise, and I really didn't know that much about the ship. But after reading your post, I feel alot better about this cruise.