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Just Got Off the Veendam . . .

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I wrote a little about this in another thread, but thought I'd go into more detail. We just got home from the 3/26 sailing of the Veendam. Overall, it was a great trip. We ate wonderful food, had good luck in the casino and had nice weather most days. The best part was the food (as glutenous as this sounds). It was all excellent -- lots of variety and great quality. Service was a little scattered in the dining room. The ship was very full and all the service seemed just a little bit off (except for our cabin steward who was superb). Our veranda cabin was spacious and comfortable, though there was no DVD player as promised. Our cabin steward actually lent us his for the week -- so sweet of him.


Now for some of the negatives. Embarkation was a nightmare. The ship was six hours late getting into Tampa due to fog. I know you can't control the weather, but they seemed to have no contingency plans. It was complete mayhem. It was very hot and humid and they didn't even offer anyone water -- in my opinion that's the least they could have done. There were vending machines, but they emptied out quickly. I guess they shuttled some people who arrived early to a shopping area so that helped a little. We were being dropped off and were told to leave and come back. We got on the ship at around 7p.m. They had six hours to come up with a plan and failed to do so. At least they gave us each $10 ship board credit for the inconvenience.


Another weather related incident was we couldn't dock at Costa Maya -- too windy. The captain tried and couldn't do it and then they were going to try to go to Cozumel but there were too many ships and tendering would have been too risky due to weather. So, we had three sea days in a row. Oh well -- I can think of a lot worse places to be for three days.


We were on the same ship a year ago and I remember enjoying the singers and dancers. Well, not this time. They were very amateurish -- we didn't even go to the second and third show. My daughter did and she said it wasn't much better. I'm pretty easily entertained, so it must have been bad. The magician was good and a comedian was funny. There was a soloist who I can't even describe. He sounded like a singer from Disney films, which is o.k. for movies, but not a featured spot on a cruise ship.


I know I'm sounding negative, but I really did enjoy the cruise. Bingo was fun. The lounges were nice. We had good friends with us so that helped. There were lots of kids on board and I liked that -- lots of families. Oh, we tried the Pinnacle Grill for lunch one day ($10 per person) and it was excellent.


If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

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I have a couple of questions.

You said the magician was good and the comedian funny. Could you give their names? That way if I see them on a cruise I'll at least have one recommendation to go by. Same for the soloist.

Also, who was playing in the various lounges? Did you enjoy their music? Especially, who was playing in the Piano Bar, and could you make any comments on the entertainment there? Good crowd? Sound like a fun time?

Thanks. And glad you can say you enjoyed the cruise in spite of the fact it wasn't perfect.

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I'll throw in my 2 cents and say the shows were fairly well done for a small ship. Excellent dancing, OK singing, very energetic band playing along with the 'sweetening track'.

The comedian was Victor J. (lots of audience and 'bald guy' humor), The magicians were DV8 Reality Magic (standard tricks, good audience rapport), and the smarmy lounge singer was Marcus Collins (soap opera performer, but a decent light tenor).

The lounges had The Rosario Strings for classical (excellent), The Manila Quartet for oldies dance music (great players, not much at singing), the duo So Much for cocktail music (very good girl singer and a keyboardist), and Rhonda Cryan singing and playing the piano (not a sing along type).

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Welcome home Rudydog ! Thanks for sharing your cruise with us! Glad you were able to still enjoy your cruise with all the hiccups you had! :)


What cabin were you in ???? That was really really nice of your cabin steward! Do you remember his name ????

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I have always enjoyed cruises on the Veendam. It is a nice ship. Three days at Sea would NEVER bother me. Sorry about the problem but the captain is not going to put the PAX at risk.



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rudydog, your account is accurate but you left off the 15'-20' "rollers" we encountered off the coast of Mexico. I thought it added to the adventure of the trip but I did see the "chuck bags" come out near the elevators that day, we knew a few of the pax who weren't feeling too well that day.


Your account of the embarkation was accurate, how the heck can HAL not have a contingency plan for something like that??? Not to have water there and not to prioritize the elderly pax to board 1st was a sin. That would be my worst complaint of the trip. There was a total lack of leadership by HAL during the whole period!


270 kids on board during the cruise, not really a problem they had plenty to do to stay busy.


the late departure from Tampa also shortened our stay in G. Cayman by about 4 hours, we didn't get off the ship until 11 am because it took so long to tender everyone in, still enjoyed the day, weather was great and snokeling was fantastic!


same with the "Veendam players" went to the 1st show and avoided the rest, better acting and singing at the movies which had "the incredibles" playing!:)


I'll write more later but we are still enjoying the Florida sunshine for another week.


My dw and I did have a wonderful time, we enjoyed the 3 days at sea, nothing to do but eat, drink and soak up the sunshine and RELAX!!!

(too bad more pax didn't think this way, we saw a few miserable people who complained about everything!)

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I didn't mention that we went to Sunset Beach Resort in Montego Bay and really enjoyed that. Beautiful beach, refreshing pools, kayak, paddle boat, towels, drinks and food -- all for $20 per person. Next time I'd skip the shopping and stay at the resort longer.

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