Veendam Sept. 19 Alaska review

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#1
Phoenix,AZ
10,315 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
This may be in bits and pieces as thoughts come to me about the cruise.

This was my first solo cruise and I really would have liked someone to enjoy it with me. At the same time I was excited at the different experience it would present.

I spent the night before the cruise at The Victorian Hotel. A beautifully restored Hotel built in the 1890s. The bath was down the hall, but very nice. I had a room with a nice bay window and when I looked to the right, I could see the harbour.
I walked to the dock, only a couple of blocks away, sometime after 11 am.
I only brought a rolling carryon and a medium sized knapsack. There were 4 ships there and everything was pretty disorganized. While I was waiting in the long security line, someone from HAL said the Veendam was cleared and I should move to the head of the line. When I got up there, the plan was changed, but since I was already there, they said go on through.
Check-in went quickly, but there was a long wait for immigration to start.
Well atleast this gave me a chnce to meet a couple of my fellow passengers.
I think I was on the ship around 12:15.
We waited for the 1:00 announcement for our rooms to be ready, but I went down a little early and it was all set for me. It was a good thing I already knew exactly where it was, because an earlier pax had pried the number off the door along with the brail number next to it. It was not replaced while I was on board.
My cabin was 420 on the Lower Promenade deck. I loved it because there was a door to the outside deck next to my door. I also liked that the cabin was wider than normal so that the entry hall seemed spacious by the closets and the room seemed bigger overall. It was actually the same square feet overall being that it was also shorter than the others. The best part was the window faced out the back of the ship offering a great view.

To be continued.......
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Sean
#2
Warwick, R.I. , USA
38,421 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Thank you for what you've posted so far. I enjoyed reading it.

I have spent many happy days (and nights!) on the Veendam, and absolutely LOVE Alaska!

Looking for the next installment.
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#3
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,225 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Sean - Thanks so much for taking the time to post a review and share your thoughts....also looking forward to the next installment .

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)
#4
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,225 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
.

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
Phoenix,AZ
10,315 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Review continued....

I can't say enough about how comfortable the new bedding and sheets HAL uses now. Very comfy! A fruit bowel and and a soft fleece lined robe were provided.
I also noticed that HAL has switched from the cheap plastic ice buckets to nice chrome ones with a chrome tray and ice tongs. (Like you will find on Celebrity) They also provide a strong blowdryer that you can plug in at the dresser.

Due to a mix-up, I was put at a table for 2 by myself. I think it was because I originally was going to sail with a friend, but due to ill health he was unable to sail. Just before I left , my TA requested a large table. I think the FAXes got jumbled. By the second night, I was put with 6 others...all Canadians.
Judging by the number of people I met on this cruise, I would say half the ship were Canadians. They were all nice and good tablemates. One couple wasn't comfortable with the formality of the dining room and I would often talk them in the Lido at dinner time. I think they really enjoyed the great view from up there.

more later......please excuse the broken up review
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Sean
#6
Warwick, R.I. , USA
38,421 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Thanks for the on-going review. Take all the time necessary to finish it.

When you do write some more, though, would you include how it went traveling solo?
I started cruising as a solo, and now as a widow I do it that way again. It's always nice to read the experiences of others, too.
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Chocolate is to women what duct tape is to men.
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#7
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,225 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Originally posted by RuthC
Thanks for the on-going review. Take all the time necessary to finish it.

When you do write some more, though, would you include how it went traveling solo?
I started cruising as a solo, and now as a widow I do it that way again. It's always nice to read the experiences of others, too.
Yes, take your time...I was just ribbing you. Ruth, I consider Sean a friend, and I was just ribbing him, LOL. I too am interested in your point of view as a solo cruiser, as I have cruised solo twice with HAL. Both times, I was seated at dinner with other solo cruisers, and it greatly enhanced my trip.

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
Phoenix,AZ
10,315 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by ExaltHim
Yes, take your time...I was just ribbing you. Ruth, I consider Sean a friend, and I was just ribbing him, LOL. I too am interested in your point of view as a solo cruiser, as I have cruised solo twice with HAL. Both times, I was seated at dinner with other solo cruisers, and it greatly enhanced my trip.

Marie
Yeah.....and Marie is really PUSHY......lol (just kidding)
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Sean
#9
Phoenix,AZ
10,315 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by RuthC
Thanks for the on-going review. Take all the time necessary to finish it.

When you do write some more, though, would you include how it went traveling solo?
I started cruising as a solo, and now as a widow I do it that way again. It's always nice to read the experiences of others, too.
It wasn't too much different travelling alone, really just that you did what you wanted when you wanted. I think you also tend to talk to others more .
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Sean
#10
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,225 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Originally posted by Tinknock50
Yeah.....and Marie is really PUSHY......lol (just kidding)
I prefer to think of myself as VERY FRIENDLY, lol.

Oh, I love solo cruising. Love doing what I want, when I want...also having the room to myself. I cruised with my sis last week, and we had a ball, but boy did I miss having the room to myself, and doing what I want, when I want. Also, I think I have been very fortunate to have two outstanding solo cruisers, both meeting friends, in which I am still in touch with.

Although, I am cruising with dh next weekend, and am looking forward to sharing a room with him, of course .

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)
#11
Warwick, R.I. , USA
38,421 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Originally posted by Tinknock50
It wasn't too much different travelling alone, really just that you did what you wanted when you wanted. I think you also tend to talk to others more .
Oh, I agree! When I cruised with my husband we tended to lean on each other for company. By myself I have to be so much more outgoing if I want to spend time with others. I was a bit timid at first, but it has gotten so much easier over time.
Now I relish being able to do what I want when I want without consulting someone else, or compromising what I want to do!
I still miss my husband, but I've also certainly found the "up-side" to solo cruising.
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Chocolate is to women what duct tape is to men.
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#12
Phoenix,AZ
10,315 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
more.........


Everthing I had to eat on this cruise was very good. About the only thing that wasn't great was the creme brullet (spelling?). Instead of a light crusty topping it was a little hard and sticky.
The pizza was very good...had it for a late lunch a couple of times. Also took advantage of the good ice cream bar many times...
The beef was very good, although sometimes it was a little more rare than requested. I also liked the roasted potatoes a lot. The surf and turf was tender and delicious!

I packed light this trip, but the handy laundromat worked great for me and I actually went home with mostly clean clothes.

I met many nice people on this cruise. A lot of the people were first timers, and I enjoyed helping them with info about Alaska that I have collected from my many cruises there. For example, I told them about always spotting whales as you cruise toward Juneau and that outside of Glacier Bay is another great spot to see them.
I really love the size of the S class ships. I have been on bigger ships and you definitely get closer to things in this size ship. The wrap around promenade is a great asset and went around it many times and it was great to just pop into my convenient cabin if I got cold.



I saw many orcas on this trip.....but not so many humpbacks as I usually see. They were good about making announcements when whales were spotted...even if you didn't catch a glimpse, you knew they were in the area and you could be alert to looking for them.

Speaking of wildlife, one of the highlights of this trip was my only excursion...the Neets Bay bearwatching. I have tried on past trips to take something like this, but one thing or another got in the way of my plans.
I initially tried some private carriers to take me, but they all said it was too late in the season to see bears feeding on salmon. Plus, online posters said it was too late. So, I ended up booking one on the ship. I thought at least it would be cool plane trip (which it was!) and would gamble on seeing wildlife....no guarantee on these trips. The guy at the excusion desk said they saw 2 the week before. There were about nine passengers on our floatplane.
We saw 8 bears including a cub and mother, who caught a salmon with her claws as we watched....too cool! it was also fun to watch the cub scale a tree and then come back down. I still feel very fortunate that I finally got the chnace to do this.

Glacier Bay was a cloudy day, but no rain. The blue colors of the ice were amazing. We went to John Hopkins glacier this cruise which was a bonus for
me because I had only been there once before and not nearly as close to the glacier as this time. So close it seemed like we could reach out and touch it ( an illusion of course ). We saw some fantastic calving and I told the people around me that they were very fortunate, because it isn't always this good. As many times as I have been to Glacier Bay, I still loved going back (and want to go again!).

Overall, this trip had mainly light rain and generally overcast, but not enough to keep us from enjoying it.

Oh gee....I am beginning to ramble.....perhaps I will add more if I think of anything else and you are not already asleep.
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Sean
#13
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,225 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
I love hearing all about your trip, especially your bear excursion. I did not do it on the last trip(my first trip to Alaska), but have vowed to do it on my next trip.

I also enjoyed cruising College Fjord....did you?

I loved my room on the lower promenade too.....it is definitely my deck of choice now.

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
Phoenix,AZ
10,315 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by ExaltHim
I love hearing all about your trip, especially your bear excursion. I did not do it on the last trip(my first trip to Alaska), but have vowed to do it on my next trip.

I also enjoyed cruising College Fjord....did you?

I loved my room on the lower promenade too.....it is definitely my deck of choice now.

Marie
The Veendam was doing the roundtrip Vancouver when I was on her so we didn't go as far as College Fjord. But having seen it before, I agree it is beautiful. Especially on the Statendam, as it get very close to the Glaciers.
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Sean
#15
Phoenix,AZ
10,315 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Some more random thoughts......

I hope I don't get anyone in trouble for this, but when I asked about the non-working Steamroom, someone who would know said he had been bugging the main office for the go-ahead to repair it. It never came so he went ahead and took out all the old tile (it had been falling off, he said) and retiled it. It was completely retiled, but not open by the time I left the ship.

I went to one show early on in the cruise......a broadway review which I thought was very good.

They had a fantastic string trio called the Moonlight Strings. I was so relieved
that it wasn't the Champagne Strings as I had on other HAL ships because I didn't like them at all. The Moonlight Strings played a medley from Showboat and My Fair Lady which were wonderfully performed. My biggest regret was not getting a Dining Room table close enough to hear them at dinner time.
I believe they had just been hired , so you Veendam cruisers to come are in for a treat. I was about to think they had given up on the homemade chocolates that they generally serve in the Explorers Lounge. But I subsequently saw them bring out the tray on 2 occasions after that...MMMMM
I seem to recall on other HAL cruises that they used to leave the tray on a table and you could help yourself after she brought the tray around to everyone. This time, after she made the rounds, out of the room they went.

One more thought....I wish they would change the sheets midweek in the cruise. I put this on my comment card.

I think thats all. I guess I will never make a living writing reviews , will I?...lol
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Sean
#16
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,225 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Sean - I have really enjoyed your random thoughts. Thanks so much. Also, I was thrilled to hear you were happy with the String Trio, as I know you were very much looking forward to that aspect of the cruise.

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
UK
220 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Sean

You really should afford yourself more praise than you do for your reviews. They are very informative and friendly. I really enjoy reading your posts. I've not ventured up to Alaska as yet, however, it is certainly on my 'list'.
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Katie
#18
Phoenix,AZ
10,315 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by ExaltHim
Sean - I have really enjoyed your random thoughts. Thanks so much. Also, I was thrilled to hear you were happy with the String Trio, as I know you were very much looking forward to that aspect of the cruise.

Marie
Marie,
Yes, it is a very important part of the cruise experience for me.....feeling the ship move through the water while listening to beautiful music.

Speaking of ship movement.....we had 50 knot winds one evening making for fun walking...pick up your feet one side of the aisle and land on the otherside of the aisle. I loved it! But we did all kind of look like drunks.....lol
People on lower decks had water splash against their stateroom windows. Wish I could have seen that! On the promenade on my side there was a healthy amount of spray on deck.
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Sean
#19
Newaygo Michigan
28 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
They don't change the sheets?????

Sorry if I sound foolish, but i really thought the sheets would be changed daily.
Like a hotel. Silly Me !!

nancy
#20
Phoenix,AZ
10,315 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by KBC
Sean

You really should afford yourself more praise than you do for your reviews. They are very informative and friendly. I really enjoy reading your posts. I've not ventured up to Alaska as yet, however, it is certainly on my 'list'.
Thanks for the kind words ,Katie.
Say, why don't you come on the Zaandam September 10th?
I am looking into going solo on it now.
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Sean