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Veendam - Specific Questions

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All:

 

Devoted Celebrity cruiser taking the August 25th sailing Canada/New England on Veendam. First cruise on HAL. This trip I'm taking my Mom (83) and my niece (9) - I'm 45 and leaving DH at home for a girls' trip. We're in a Neptune Suite.

 

Questions:

  • My niece (an experience cruiser herself) has told me "no way is she going to the kid's club". That's fine as I wouldn't expect it to be very busy for this sailing. However, she would like to visit the arcade. I can't tell from the deck plans - is the arcade in the kid's club? Can I actually accompany her? I don't want to let her out of my sight if I can help it.
  • Are formal nights still in fashion on Holland America? This is a 7 night out of Montreal and the packing will be a bit of a challenge with the variable weather. Formal attire will just make it more of a challenge.
  • What's the best thing about the Veendam?
  • What's the worst?
  • How's the food in Cannaletto? I reserved this for us for one night.

Thanks for answers and any other thoughts.

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Haven’t sailed this ship in a while but it is old and dated. Not many bells whistles. I never saw an arcade but I didn't have kids with me. I wouldn’t take kids on this ship but you are booked. Keep busy with ports.

Doubt many kids will be on board. Many regions are back in school by this date.

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We were on the ship in April and it did not seem old and dated to me. Maybe not a lot of bells and whistles but I would not go so far as to say old and dated!

 

The only question I can specifically answer for you is that the food in Canaletto was top notch.

 

As for the nine-year-old saying she absolutely won’t go to the kids club, it might very well be her loss!

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It's a great ship, but not necessarily for a child. To the best of my knowledge, there is no arcade unless they have added one recently.

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Thanks. We booked this for the itinerary; my mom has always wanted to go to Nova Scotia and PEI and we live in the Boston area so we only have one short flight to Montreal which is convenient (the cruise ends in Boston). My niece is an older soul and I've booked some excursions that are especially for her. She'll be happy reading and playing board games with us.

 

I'm just not all that familiar with HAL and the website is a bit difficult to navigate. Features vary ship to ship - trying to learn more about Veendam.

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Formal nights are gone on HAL.

They are now called Gala nights and the majority of the people do not dress up.

Nice slacks and tops, dresses, or skirts and blouses will be fine.

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Sorry you are having trouble with the new HAL website -so are a lot of people, even long time cruisers. There is a lot of basic info lacking so glad you came here with your questions. There is no "arcade" entertainment venue, but there are shops but of very limited value for young people (or older people and people inbetween for that matter). They have recently installed a shop called 'Oprah's Favorite Things" which are some items from her online sales enterprise I gather.

 

However, you hit a home run when you said your 9 year old niece likes to read and play board games - the Library area on the Veendam remains one of the best - two large, lovely rooms with deep seating and lined with books and cabinets with board games and playing tables as well as usually a few puzzle tables set up too. It is a "quiet" zone so keep that in mind - play the games either there quietly or take them to the cabin or some other more public and noisier place. There are sports activity decks, ping pong tables and a large outdoor chess set that a lot of young people often play.

 

The ship is small enough that young people seem to find themselves even if they do not attend the young people programs officially. Gala remains a fun night to dress up a little bit and one nicely packable sparkle type top will not take up much room if you want to join in the festive feeling for these few evenings.

 

Because the ship is smaller it is easy to get from one point to the other - the main central pool has a covered glass dome in cool weather so that is a main gathering spot throughout the day. The aft deck pool is now only a few loungers and some deep wide rectangular hot tubs but the views are great and near the pizza station - which have prepared salads too. Be sure to try the vegetarian burger at the pool side "Dive-In" - it was great and a taste surprise.

 

The Neptune Suite is large and lovely we always enjoy the variety of snacks available self-serve in the Neptune Lounge - makes a good place to hang out too if anyone wants some more private time. Or a place to wait while they make up the room in the mornings. The verandah space is huge for these cabins so I hope the weather makes their full use very enjoyable. You will love the free laundry and dry-cleaning that comes with the Neptune package too.

 

We have many days on the Veendam and like these older smaller, ships a lot (We are also part of HAL's "older demographics however) - The Veendam is one of the oldest HAL ships now, so there are not a lot of added on frills. Just basic traditional ship design - easy to get a feeling for in a few days - food in the back - entertainment in the front. The full 360 degree teak promenade deck is wonderful. Food is good and varied. Canaletto is meant for sharing so going with a group makes it fun to sample a little bit of everything.

 

The only worst thing about the ship is the fact its A/C system gets stressed when it hits the tropics and crosses near the equator - it still works because it keeps the cabin cooler than what is outdoors but that is where you will hear the most complaints about this ship. Since you are staying well north of the equator, this will not be a problem.

 

We did this route on the Veendam a few years ago and loved it. If you have problems with cabin temperature be sure to report them to the front desk and a technician may be able to make adjustments to the vents to help either get it warmer or cooler. We also took her across the Panama Canal on our way home from the New England trip so we experienced her across all temperature demands.

 

By all means take some sort of excursion to the Anne of Green Gables House when in PEI - the whole island is storybook gorgeous. Track down poutine in Quebec at Chez Ashton where they do it the best with real fresh cheese curds. While the tours are pricey in Sydney, either the coal mine tour or the Fort Louisburg tours are pretty fantastic and I think enjoyable for all ages.

 

You picked a good ship, a terrific cabin and a great itinerary. I hope you don't miss the whistles and bells that other larger ships now offer as standard. Enjoy where you are going first and the rest will fall in place.

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I totally get that your niece is a "young adult" and isn't interested in Club HAL, but it may be worth a visit.

 

There could be some nice games there that intrigue her (or they may not). there isn't an arcade per se, but there are various computer games, etc in the Club HAL's I have seen (haven't been on this ship).

 

Worth a "let's go explore the ship" and just drop b.

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Best things about Veendam: New York Pizza (outside by the aft hot tub area) soooo good, way better than Dive In. Big beautiful promenade deck (Deck 6 as I recall). I love the Sky Deck which is the very top of the ship (above the Crow's Nest, which is also nice). There is absolutely nothing up there except wide open views of the sea or whatever. Small size of ship. Not crowded at all. Great staff. Still has a nice library with books and games and comfy places to sit or play.

 

Worst things about Veendam: that aft hot tub area ruins the views that you would've had from the pool area that it replaced (and also if you want to swim, there's only one pool). Lacks many of the amenities of the newer/larger ships (specialty restaurants, music/entertainment options, etc.).

 

Having said that, your cruise is short and port-intensive so I'm not sure that any shortcomings will be a huge deal. Enjoy your trip!

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we are on the same sailing, it will be our return as we booked two 7 day cruises on the Veendam. This is a new experience for us, we have sailed on NCL and Carnival but wanted to try this, we are cruising with our Moms who are 83 and 91... - we are closer to the "demographic" of the ship but forget that we are over 60 most of the time. I am sure the ship will be good, its a cruise, what could not be good - if you see someone knitting its probably me - can't wait for PEI and have done Sydney and Halifax before we enjoy Canada.

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You'll love it. We did this itinerary last yr, our first HAL cruise. It's elegant and lovely. Diff than the RCCL and Norwegian cruises we'd done with our kids. No booming constant reminders broadcast into hallways. Ports are great. Enjoy travelling with the generations!

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WOW! Thanks everyone for such helpful and detailed responses. Really appreciate that you all took the time to answer. One more question: are there DVD players in the Neptune Suites on Veendam and, if so, are they Blue Ray?

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I think all the cabins have DVD players but I am guessing you should call to see if they are blue ray - guessing not but that's just because I think the equipment is not the newest

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Disembarked August 4 from the same cruise. There is a DVD player in every cabin and over 1000 movies and tv series that can be ordered from the front desk.

Loved the ship because it was small. We selected the cruise for the scenery and the ports and were not disappointed.

Favorite place to whale watch was the Crows Nest because it was windy on the deck.

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