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#1
1,290 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
We had a wonderful time on our cruisetour to Alaska and on the Veendam. Despite earlier propulsion problems, everything seemed to operate fine and our trip was surprisingly smooth and vibration free. The Veendam is a lovely ship and very well maintained and the crew, for the most part, very friendly. Our cabin steward, Ceang, was a joy and we managed to slip him a little extra money (we decided not to opt out of the automatic gratuity) and told him it was for him alone. We gave our waiter, Adi, a little extra too....he really deserved it. He had absolutely no help. He told us that the new HAL policies had resulted in the ship losing 5 of its 7 dining room wine stewards and some of the waiters. The drop in service was apparent. We also found the quality of food to be a bit less than what we experienced on the Rotterdam last Fall. However, the new Pinnacle was excellent. We had only two complaints...the wine service (the wine steward was apparently sent in from the dining room...after pouring our wine the first time we never saw him again) and the coffee service (when I asked for a refill on coffee I had to wait and wait...was finally told they had to go to the dining room to get a new cup of coffee...apparently the Pinnacle doesn't have its own coffee urn.) Was very glad to see that HAL hadn't removed the Java Cafe (one of my favorite places...the cookies are still really yummy!) but never saw the after dinner chocolates in the Explorer's Lounge (don't know if it is because they don't offer them any more, or they were all gone by the time we finished dinner...we were 8:30) Entertainment was middling to good...personally I don't see the attraction in listening to a banjo player, but a lot of fellow pax said they enjoyed the show. Production shows were fine as usual. Fritzie was new to the piano bar...her first cruise gig and it showed a bit. But by the end of the week she had a small group of devotees and I think, with a little more experience, she'll be a real asset. Alaska itself was awe-inspiring! That's it in a nutshell...if anyone wants more info on the land portion or excursions we took, let me know.
#2
Commerce, TX, USA
14,554 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Thank you for the report on the Veendam. Good to hear that they got the propulsion problems fixed!

He told us that the new HAL policies had resulted in the ship losing 5 of its 7 dining room wine stewards and some of the waiters.
OUCH! How can just 2 wine stewards manage the entire dining room AND the Pinnacle, too??? I sure hope that was an unintended blip, an oversight, or some such hiccup in the staffing rotations. I certianly HOPE that it's not intentional and fleet-wide!

NOTE TO SEATTLE: 2 Wine Stewards is insufficient for an S-class ship's dining room.
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Greg+
Days on HAL - 588
Nothing Currently Booked
#3
82,864 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Welcome back....glad to hear you had a good cruise.


Thanks for posting comments. I enjoyed reading them as we just booked a 12 day cruise on Veendam for January.
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[email protected]
Please put CruiseCritic in Subject Line
#4
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,182 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
I currently have this cruise on 24 hour hold, so would really appreciate anything you can share with me. This is a last minute cruise for myself, and don't plan to do alot of ships shore excursions, am going to watch my budget since I just got back from the Maasdam last weekend, so am definitely interested in your thoughts on this approach, and what you did in each port. Thank you.
Also, did you notice independent tour operators in each port.

Thanks again for taking the time to share with me.

Marie
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Marie
Upcoming cruises:
December 18, 2017 - Celebrity Reflection(Quick Christmas Getaway)
Jan 7, 2018 - Crown Princess
June 3, 2018 - HAL Noordam(ALASKA and DIY land)
#5
Syracuse, New York
50,542 Posts
Joined May 2000
My opinion only but in Alaska you need to budget fully for shore excursions. You get only half a trip without them. There are some tours available at the dock- but you need to do some homework and MAKE sure - bus trips are what you want??? Most anything else won't be available. I always recommend having plans and reservations in place before you leave. Don't waste a minute of your port time- deciding what to do. For more touring information- head to the Alaska board.
#6
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,182 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
BudgetQueen - After further research, I agree with you. I have decided to not take this particular cruise, and wait until my budget is not a concern.
I cruise again in Sept and Oct, so this would be pushing it. Thanks for your input. Thanks for your contribution on the boards. I value your input.

Marie
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Marie
Upcoming cruises:
December 18, 2017 - Celebrity Reflection(Quick Christmas Getaway)
Jan 7, 2018 - Crown Princess
June 3, 2018 - HAL Noordam(ALASKA and DIY land)
#7
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,182 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Bumping this up for Sean. BTW, new update, I am going! So far, I have 2 independent excursions booked, and waiting to hear back from Michele at Island Wings about another.

Marie
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Marie
Upcoming cruises:
December 18, 2017 - Celebrity Reflection(Quick Christmas Getaway)
Jan 7, 2018 - Crown Princess
June 3, 2018 - HAL Noordam(ALASKA and DIY land)
#8
Delaware
799 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Marie,
I am very excited for you. Having just got off the Veendam on Sunday, I wish I was going back with you. We had such a great time and loved the Veendam. I am currently working on the review and shoul dhave it posted by the end of the week.
Happy Sailing.
Mary
#9
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,182 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Thanks so much, Mary. I'll be watching out for it. I am happy to hear you had a wonderful time. My first HAL cruise was last month, and one of the reasons I am going back next month, is I enjoyed HAL so much.

Marie
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Marie
Upcoming cruises:
December 18, 2017 - Celebrity Reflection(Quick Christmas Getaway)
Jan 7, 2018 - Crown Princess
June 3, 2018 - HAL Noordam(ALASKA and DIY land)
#10
Vero Beach, FL USA
3,455 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Marie,

I can't get over that you just returned from the Maasdam and immediately booked another cruise. That's three for this year and three for next. I'm jealous!!!
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Past Cruises
1/1990 - RCCL Song of America
4/13/2003 - Carnival Inspiration
10/30/2004 - HAL Maasdam
3/26/2005 - HAL Zuiderdam
12/2/2007 - Carnival Valor
12/14/2008 - NCL Pearl
3/7/2010 - Costa Fortuna
1/6/2013 - Norwegian Dawn
3/27/2014 - Norwegian Sun

Future Cruises
10/11/2014 - Norwegian Sun (Panama Canal)

Land Vacations
06/22/1998 - Sandals Negril, Jamaica
2/14/2005 - Sandals Negril, Jamaica
6/21/2006 - Barcelo Maya, Mexico
11/29/2006 - Sandals Negril, Jamaica
1/10/2009 - Coco View Roatan, Honduras - Scuba Diving
8/23/2009 - Grand Bahia Principe, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
11/14/2009 - Barracuda Hotel Cozumel, Mexico - Scuba Diving
5/8/2010 - Coco View Roatan, Honduras - Scuba Diving
11/30/2010 - Barcelo Maya, Mexico

Future Land Vacations
None Planned (yet)
#11
Vero Beach, FL USA
3,455 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Marie,

Oops. Just rechecked your signature. You haven't updated it yet. That's four this year. AARGHHHH.

Seriously, I'm real happy for you and thankful that I'll be going on two cruises in two years.

Marc
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Past Cruises
1/1990 - RCCL Song of America
4/13/2003 - Carnival Inspiration
10/30/2004 - HAL Maasdam
3/26/2005 - HAL Zuiderdam
12/2/2007 - Carnival Valor
12/14/2008 - NCL Pearl
3/7/2010 - Costa Fortuna
1/6/2013 - Norwegian Dawn
3/27/2014 - Norwegian Sun

Future Cruises
10/11/2014 - Norwegian Sun (Panama Canal)

Land Vacations
06/22/1998 - Sandals Negril, Jamaica
2/14/2005 - Sandals Negril, Jamaica
6/21/2006 - Barcelo Maya, Mexico
11/29/2006 - Sandals Negril, Jamaica
1/10/2009 - Coco View Roatan, Honduras - Scuba Diving
8/23/2009 - Grand Bahia Principe, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
11/14/2009 - Barracuda Hotel Cozumel, Mexico - Scuba Diving
5/8/2010 - Coco View Roatan, Honduras - Scuba Diving
11/30/2010 - Barcelo Maya, Mexico

Future Land Vacations
None Planned (yet)
#12
obetz oh usa
2,517 Posts
Joined May 2000
Thanks for the review. The Veendam is one of my favorite ships. On the Zaandam in April, we were also short on wine stewards. Each night one bartender and 2 servers from the Ocean bar went to the DR to help out with service. I really don`t think this is acceptable and stated so on my end of cruise comments. Sometimes we were already on our entree before a wine steward showed up...jean
#13
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,182 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Marc - It's absolutely RIDICULOUS. I think I need a support group, LOL, or something.

Where do you see my signature??? I don't see it in my posts?? I don't see anyone's signatures. I must not have something checked, lol. I'll have to try to figure it out .

Marie
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Marie
Upcoming cruises:
December 18, 2017 - Celebrity Reflection(Quick Christmas Getaway)
Jan 7, 2018 - Crown Princess
June 3, 2018 - HAL Noordam(ALASKA and DIY land)
#14
Vero Beach, FL USA
3,455 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Originally posted by ExaltHim
Marc - It's absolutely RIDICULOUS. I think I need a support group, LOL, or something.

Where do you see my signature??? I don't see it in my posts?? I don't see anyone's signatures. I must not have something checked, lol. I'll have to try to figure it out .

Marie
Marie,

Under the User CP (top left item in tool bar above) there is an EDIT OPTIONS tab. One of the options is to show signatures. You'll have to select this option and click SAVE on the bottom. Then you need to go to the EDIT SIGNATURE tab and update it with your new cruise.

Marc
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Past Cruises
1/1990 - RCCL Song of America
4/13/2003 - Carnival Inspiration
10/30/2004 - HAL Maasdam
3/26/2005 - HAL Zuiderdam
12/2/2007 - Carnival Valor
12/14/2008 - NCL Pearl
3/7/2010 - Costa Fortuna
1/6/2013 - Norwegian Dawn
3/27/2014 - Norwegian Sun

Future Cruises
10/11/2014 - Norwegian Sun (Panama Canal)

Land Vacations
06/22/1998 - Sandals Negril, Jamaica
2/14/2005 - Sandals Negril, Jamaica
6/21/2006 - Barcelo Maya, Mexico
11/29/2006 - Sandals Negril, Jamaica
1/10/2009 - Coco View Roatan, Honduras - Scuba Diving
8/23/2009 - Grand Bahia Principe, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
11/14/2009 - Barracuda Hotel Cozumel, Mexico - Scuba Diving
5/8/2010 - Coco View Roatan, Honduras - Scuba Diving
11/30/2010 - Barcelo Maya, Mexico

Future Land Vacations
None Planned (yet)
#15
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,182 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Thanks, Marc . You and DW are going to LOVE HAL!

Marie
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Marie
Upcoming cruises:
December 18, 2017 - Celebrity Reflection(Quick Christmas Getaway)
Jan 7, 2018 - Crown Princess
June 3, 2018 - HAL Noordam(ALASKA and DIY land)
#16
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,182 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Jean - I am very encouraged by knowing this is one of your favorite ships.
Your opinion is very valued by me .

Marie
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Marie
Upcoming cruises:
December 18, 2017 - Celebrity Reflection(Quick Christmas Getaway)
Jan 7, 2018 - Crown Princess
June 3, 2018 - HAL Noordam(ALASKA and DIY land)
#17
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
708 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Hi Mare,

Would you please give me more info on the land excursions. We are sailing soutbound on the Veendam Aug 21. Would appreciate knowing which sites and excursions you suggest. If you prefer you can e-mail me privately at [email protected] or to this list.

Your answer will be much appreciated.

Jocelyn ann 9aka jocelysue)


Originally posted by mare s.
We had a wonderful time on our cruisetour to Alaska and on the Veendam. Despite earlier propulsion problems, everything seemed to operate fine and our trip was surprisingly smooth and vibration free. The Veendam is a lovely ship and very well maintained and the crew, for the most part, very friendly. Our cabin steward, Ceang, was a joy and we managed to slip him a little extra money (we decided not to opt out of the automatic gratuity) and told him it was for him alone. We gave our waiter, Adi, a little extra too....he really deserved it. He had absolutely no help. He told us that the new HAL policies had resulted in the ship losing 5 of its 7 dining room wine stewards and some of the waiters. The drop in service was apparent. We also found the quality of food to be a bit less than what we experienced on the Rotterdam last Fall. However, the new Pinnacle was excellent. We had only two complaints...the wine service (the wine steward was apparently sent in from the dining room...after pouring our wine the first time we never saw him again) and the coffee service (when I asked for a refill on coffee I had to wait and wait...was finally told they had to go to the dining room to get a new cup of coffee...apparently the Pinnacle doesn't have its own coffee urn.) Was very glad to see that HAL hadn't removed the Java Cafe (one of my favorite places...the cookies are still really yummy!) but never saw the after dinner chocolates in the Explorer's Lounge (don't know if it is because they don't offer them any more, or they were all gone by the time we finished dinner...we were 8:30) Entertainment was middling to good...personally I don't see the attraction in listening to a banjo player, but a lot of fellow pax said they enjoyed the show. Production shows were fine as usual. Fritzie was new to the piano bar...her first cruise gig and it showed a bit. But by the end of the week she had a small group of devotees and I think, with a little more experience, she'll be a real asset. Alaska itself was awe-inspiring! That's it in a nutshell...if anyone wants more info on the land portion or excursions we took, let me know.
#18
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,182 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
I am traveling NORTHBOUND, on the Veendam, Aug 22...are you on my cruise???? I am confused as you mentioned you are sailing Southbound, Aug 21, Veendam. Oops, saw anothe post you are sailing on the 29th..oh too bad we are not on the same sailing.

I will email ya! .

Marie
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Marie
Upcoming cruises:
December 18, 2017 - Celebrity Reflection(Quick Christmas Getaway)
Jan 7, 2018 - Crown Princess
June 3, 2018 - HAL Noordam(ALASKA and DIY land)
#19
West Palm Beach, FL, United States
686 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Marie - I better hurry up and welcome you back. Because if I don't get it in soon,. It will be to late, and it'll be time to wish you bon voyage. You remind me of the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. Always going somewhere.
Welcome back Marie!
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Joe


#20
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,182 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Oh Joe, I am so pathetic, lol. My husband is a dear to let me spend the monthly retirement check on cruising, lol. Have you and dw been to Alaska?

Marie
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Marie
Upcoming cruises:
December 18, 2017 - Celebrity Reflection(Quick Christmas Getaway)
Jan 7, 2018 - Crown Princess
June 3, 2018 - HAL Noordam(ALASKA and DIY land)