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charliemikeoh

HAL Veendam vs. Nieuw Amsterdam

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We just finished our first HAL cruise, a week on the Nieuw Amsterdam.  Already looking to book our next.  Because I work for a large university, we can only really travel from about 12/12/20 to 01/10/21.  We travel with four of our youngest children(ages 7-17)  and usually bring one or two extra with us, so cost is definitely a factor. We LOVED Half Moon Cay.  We don't like the itinerary on the Nieuw Amsterdam the week we are looking at (alas, no HMC!); none of us have ever been to any of the ports that the Veendam will sail to that week (Trujillo Honduras, Costa Maya Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize).  We prefer smaller, quieter, more intimate ships.  We don't smoke though and really appreciated not having to walk through a smoky casino on the HAL-NA.  Our children don't need any activities to be entertained.  Veendam has some very bad reviews.  That isn't always truth, so we're looking for feedback.  We just had four interior cabins on the Verandah deck of the Veendam held.  Not sure if that was a good plan or not; we have a day or two to decide...

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We are currently on the Veendam.  She’s definitely an older ship, but IMO is still a good ship if you like quieter venues.  We were on the Veendam last Thanksgiving and our only serious complaint was the broken elevators.  That seems to have been fixed during the last dry dock.  So far on this cruise, our only real complaint is the temperature within the ship - a number of public areas are too cold.  The food has been very good - better than last year and better than this year’s world cruise.  Of course that could change by next year when a different staff is onboard.  Both cabin and dining stewards have been top notch.  Currently there are about 200 kids of all ages aboard.  Since we don’t have kids, I’m not sure how well they are being entertained, but they all seem to be happy.

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IMO the NA has A LOT more to offer - more evening entertainment options, as well as the Tamarind restaurant.  It sounds like the itinerary is important to you, and you're calendar restricted, it sounds like the Veendam works best for you.

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We've never been on the NA, but after going on the Veendam to Bermuda, I immediately checked future cruises on that ship so I could book it again. Our second Veendam cruise, last May to the Greek Islands, was even  more enjoyable than the first. If the elevators are now all functional, that would eliminate my only quibble about the ship. We did not find smoke an issue. With the casino only on the port side of the ship, it was easy to avoid smoke by using the the corridor on the starboard side, which goes by the shops.  I wouldn't hesitate to book again on the Veendam because we prefer smaller, quieter ships. 

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With children 7-17, I don't know that a small quiet ship is going to fit the bill.

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5 hours ago, Roz said:

With children 7-17, I don't know that a small quiet ship is going to fit the bill.

I don't know about your children but MY children would be wholly content and delighted.  They started sailing with us when they 2-5 years old each.  First cruise with them was on the MSC Lirica, which is a little bigger than the Veendam.  It was our favorite experience thus far.  We live a very quiet, private life with no TV or electronics and enjoy each others' company.

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28 minutes ago, charliemikeoh said:

I don't know about your children but MY children would be wholly content and delighted.  They started sailing with us when they 2-5 years old each.  First cruise with them was on the MSC Lirica, which is a little bigger than the Veendam.  It was our favorite experience thus far.  We live a very quiet, private life with no TV or electronics and enjoy each others' company.

 

I have no children. 😁  Your children aren't typical, but it's nice that you're able to enjoy family time together without cell phones and video games. 

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9 hours ago, Mtn2Sea said:

We are currently on the Veendam.   .....

So far on this cruise, our only real complaint is the temperature within the ship - a number of public areas are too cold.  

That has been my experience on every cruise ship I've ever been on.  

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Was on Veendam years ago and would go back except I believe that its one of the ships that no longer has an actual pool by the stern. 

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We were on the Veendam and the NA last year.  Veendam has the Explorations Cafe next to the dining room.  We've never done inside staterooms on HAL, so can't comment to it much.  But someone in our knitters group preferred the inside staterooms on the Rotterdam because it had a shower stall, not a tub.     No Asian Specialty.  Just Pinnacle, don't remember about Canelleto.   Veendam has the smaller vista suites, while the Nieuw Amsterdam has the larger Signature Suites.  

 

Got to be careful on Veendam, some of the public lounges have podiums (low platforms) for the performers,   And DH tripped and fell over one.   I liked the decor.

 

When we cruised the Veendam last year, it still had a sizable library.   When we boarded in Montreal, we just walked across a short gangplank onto the ship.  The Veendam also has only two elevator banks.

 

Regarding the "pool" in the retreat.  I think it's more of a wading pool built into a raised platform.  I think both the Veendam and the Rotterdam removed the full pool, because they were making more room for inside staterooms on the deck below.

Edited by knittinggirl

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9 minutes ago, knittinggirl said:

 

Regarding the "pool" in the retreat.  I think it's more of a wading pool built into a raised platform. 

No, that was the first revision. The wading pool was replaced with a high platform that has four hot tubs in it. It blocks the view unless you are sitting near a railing. 

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9 hours ago, Roz said:

 

I have no children. 😁  Your children aren't typical, but it's nice that you're able to enjoy family time together without cell phones and video games. 

Roz, our children are definitely not typical of today's youth (sadly, for this country, though our country would be wildly overpopulated if more children were so enjoyable!).  I am a counselor; our family ministers to families who have adopted children with severe emotional and behavioral disturbances.  We take one child into care here at a time to try and salvage his or her adoption.  The biggest asset we have in ministry is our own healthy teenagers, who model respect for authority and responsibility with chores, for the child we take into care here.  We all work hard ... and we enjoy the peace, quiet, and REST when we are able to get it!  Three hot meals a day here around a dining room table, every board game made, and lots of laughter.  Tragic more families don't enjoy their children, too.  Be blessed!

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13 hours ago, RuthC said:

No, that was the first revision. The wading pool was replaced with a high platform that has four hot tubs in it. It blocks the view unless you are sitting near a railing. 

Thanks for clearing that up.  All I remember I wasn't impressed with what was in the retreat.

Edited by knittinggirl

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I was on the Veendam last Nov and just re-booked her for New Years. We like the smaller quieter ships. I am ecstatic she is coming to Tampa in fall 2020. We are 20 minutes from the port!! 

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Also on Veendam now. Elevators are an issue. One (at the aft) has been out of commission since the second day. The others seem to be very slow. Hasn’t been an issue for me, as I need the exercise to offset some of the food intake. 

 

I find the 200 kid count that the PP mention really high.  That would equate to about 15% of the passengers and I just don’t think there are that many. I have seen no more than 10 or 15 children aboard. 

 

I agree some areas (movie theater in particular) are chilly. Other spaces-the MDR are too warm for me. 

 

Food has ranged from exceptional (scallops at PG) to awful (halibut in the MDR last night which was very over cooked). After three days, the food is ranking slightly better than what we had on Norwegian but several steps below our food on X last September. The food might be ranked higher if it was served at a proper temperature. The only truly hot food we have had were the very tasty lamb chops this evening at the buffet (we asked for them directly from the flattop) and the burgers from the Dive In. We have been most impressed with the breads aboard-uniformly delicious!  

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9 hours ago, Clay Clayton said:

I find the 200 kid count that the PP mention really high.  That would equate to about 15% of the passengers and I just don’t think there are that many. I have seen no more than 10 or 15 children aboard. 

I was on last week’s cruise, which included Thanksgiving.  That week always has lots of kids and is not typical of most HAL cruises.  I agree the bread on the Veendam was very good.  Better than any other HAL cruise I’ve experienced.  I’m currently on the Koninsdam, where the bread is more typical.

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Ah, that makes more sense!   We were on a  Norwegian Thanksgiving cruise in 2010 and on a ship with 2200 double occupancy, there were over 3500 passengers of which 700 were under the age of 16.  It was awful!  The ship’s facilities nor crew were sized to handle that many people.  

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10 hours ago, Clay Clayton said:

Ah, that makes more sense!   We were on a  Norwegian Thanksgiving cruise in 2010 and on a ship with 2200 double occupancy, there were over 3500 passengers of which 700 were under the age of 16.  It was awful!  The ship’s facilities nor crew were sized to handle that many people.  

Sounds like the Radiance of the Seas during high summer in Alaska.  Kids everywhere.  And in the MDR, the tables were squeezed together so tightly, I had to ask a neighbor to more so I could get to the window seat.  We did something like five out of seven days in Specialty.  And that's very unusual for us.  Haven't booked a Royal Caribbean cruise since, but I've checked out their website.  If we can get a cheap fare, we'll just spend every night in specialty.  But specialty only does BOGO on night 1 and 2.

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