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Djptcp

Loved the Veendam!

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DH and I just sailed on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Veendam and absolutely loved the ship. It was our 54th cruise, 10th on Holland America, and 1st time on the Veendam. We sailed on the Koningsdam last month and enjoyed the Veendam so much more. We loved the small ship. It was in excellent condition, very elegant, wonderful food in the Lido buffet and the Canaletto (ate there twice), enjoyed the NY Pizza venue, although not impressed with the MDR menus and slow service (only ate there once). Room service was prompt and the small menu was a good one.

 

The two shows with the singers and dancers were fabulous and we hadn't seen shows like those in years. There were two shows with comedians that were also good. The Koningsdam music venues were so loud we just didn't enjoy them at all. There was a huge library on the Veendam, so many places to sit and enjoy the cruise. The casino was small and people didn't seem to be winning much, but had a friendly staff and I won a huge slot jackpot one morning.

 

Passengers were in our older demographic, there were a couple of kids (mostly pre-school), and people were friendly for the most part. 

 

The Captain is only 38 years old and was such a presence all week - we saw him at breakfasts in the Lido, he always stopped to talk to passengers, and we had a chance to speak with him at the Mariners Luncheon, which by the way, had an impressive menu.

 

The ship was easy to navigate. Both embarkation and debarkation were a breeze and we were in our car and on our way home by 8:30am. DH and I live less than an hour from Tampa and are already booked on the Veendam when it moves to Tampa this Fall.

 

We had a Vista Suite on Deck 9 not far from the aft elevators and it was the perfect location for us. The cabin was spacious, had a great balcony, and our room steward did a great job in keeping it clean and tidy.

 

The only sad thing was a passenger was taken off the ship and into an ambulance just as we were leaving St. Thomas. DH and I were sitting on our balcony and the gangway had been taken up. It was lowered and soon afterwards the ambulance arrived. Another passenger (spouse?) accompanied the stretcher into the ambulance and their luggage was loaded into someone's car. Don't know the outcome and hope for the best.

 

Didn't take any excursions as we'd been to Grand Turk, San Juan, and St. Thomas many times over the years. Half Moon Cay had been cancelled awhile ago for "operational reasons" and we had received $200 in on board credit because of it. Wouldn't have gotten off anyway so we weren't disappointed.

 

We are so glad we tried the Veendam and it's our new favorite ship!

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Thanks for your review! I thought at first you might have been on our cruise (Jan 28-Feb 5), but I'm expecting you were on the cruise after us. We, too, had a ambulance come for a passenger, but it was in San Juan. No further news, hope the poor person has recovered and returned home.

 

Our stops were Nassau, San Juan, St. Thomas (our first visit there) and HMC, which we DID get to visit.

 

We were in a lanai, our first time in a lanai, and we enjoyed it. Enjoyed the ship, too, and really loved Canaletto and the Pinnacle Grill for dining.

 

Thanks for your review, sounds like you had a really nice time. 

Best wishes!

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Does anyone remember the Captain’s name

Glad you enjoyed the Veendam. We did a 14 day on her in November and thoroughly enjoyed the ship. It was our 30th HAL cruise, but first on the Veendam

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Thank you for sharing your experience.  Glad you enjoyed the Veendam.

Wishing a speedy recovery to the passenger taken away in an ambulance.

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Glad you enjoyed your Veendam cruise and have booked another cruise on her.

 

Do you remember what the menu was for the Mariner's lunch?

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The Captain was probably Steven MacBeath, as he joined the ship as one of the captains last summer.  As the OP said he is out and about and very friendly.  
 

The Veendam is our favorite ship also.

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We like this ship, a lot.  We spent 49 days on her transatlantic 2 years ago, and we will be sailing again with her on the Baltic transatlantic this spring.  That is a 31 day cruise.  We get lanai cabins for these trips and it works out well.  Now that we have had complimentary laundry for a while, there's no need to overpack.  Glad you enjoyed the Veendam! I look forward to another wonderful journey this spring.

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Wow, the Veendam has had so many negative reviews over the years, it is nice to read your positive one.

 

Having cruised 76 days in total on the Veendam, I can honestly say she is in many ways a sweet ship, size wise and features.  

Is it my favorite, no, but especially for a port intensive itinerary , Veendam is nice.

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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We've sailed on the Veendam 4 times in our 22 cruises with HAL but not since the the larger Eurodam and her mates came on the scene. We also sailed on the Ryndam 4 times and always like that size ship until the larger ships were added, our  favorites are now the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, they are just the right size and offer a little more than the Statendam class ships. We've been on some pretty big ships with other lines with as many as 4,500 passengers and unless we get a great deal we will avoid them in the future. I still would like to try the Koningsdam and her sister, the Nieuw Statendam. 

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Just off the Koningsdam for 11 nights in the Caribbean. I think the Pinnacle class is the perfect size ship, large enough to offer a very nice main pool area and an aft pool with generous sitting area and 4 music venues and a nice size Lido Market. We had an inside cabin on the 7th deck and although it was not extremely large (it had no chairs in the cabin) the cabin is extremely well organized with plenty of closet and storage space. The bathroom is very good with a beautiful walk-in shower. 

I mentioned this in other posts but I have to disagree about the music being "too loud". Not counting the World Stage there are 4 music venues. One is Lincoln Center Stage which is classical music (strings and piano). Definitely not loud. Billboard which is 2 pianos (definitely not loud). There is BB Kings Blues. Now this is supposed to be lively but it's not sitting in a library music after all. Horns, drums, organ, guitars, singers. If you don't like it then it's not your thing. The Rock Room is loud but rock music is loud, why should this be a surprise. So to characterize the music as all too loud would not be accurate.

We were on Veendam in 2011 and 2012 going to Bermuda and we had a Lanai cabin which we very much enjoyed. The interior of the ship features more wood and art but is not as clean and modern as the Pinnacle class. It has no aft pool and a very small main pool in comparison. Compared to other larger ships on other lines the shows were pitiable. The ship was having A/C problems when we were on it. The service and food were very good.

All in all after going on other cruise lines with bigger ships (Celebrity S-class) and the Pinnacle class there is no way DW and I would be happy going on the Veendam for a longer cruise. Nice ship for its time, not today.

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Glad someone else is in the Veendam fan club!   We've spent 90 days onboard and have 37 more booked.  

I love the size of the ship, the crew, and the itineraries.

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7 hours ago, Quartzsite Cruiser said:

The Captain was probably Steven MacBeath, as he joined the ship as one of the captains last summer.  As the OP said he is out and about and very friendly.  
 

The Veendam is our favorite ship also.

It was Captain MacBeath (he was great).  He boarded Feb 5, relieving Captain Marek Zoll.

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7 hours ago, woodworker&knitter said:

We had Captain Marek November 20- Dec 4. He was always out and about and talking to passengers. Was just wondering if that was him.

Captain Marek is the other new captain on the Veendam.  He was her Staff Captain until he became the fleet’s newest captain last April. While he is a younger captain, Captain Steve is really young (37) and looks younger.  Both captains were out and about during the 67 days we were on the Veendam last summer, and both are very friendly.

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It was Captain MacBeath and he was terrific and always visible.

 

The Mariner's Luncheon menu was warm rolls/butter, a seafood salad with shrimp/scallops, a soup (DH had it so I don't recall what it was, but he liked it), two entree choices which escape me at the moment but both delicious, and a coconut pie with a cheesecake texture, also delicious. Each passenger had a glass of champagne waiting on the table and waiters circulated offering more.

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Just got off the KONINGSDAM on Wed...first time ever on such a large ship. Many positive features, but, we are uncertain about whether or not to go on a Pinnacle class again...too large for us. We are booked on the VEENDAM later this year...have not been on it before and are looking forward to it. We have a lanai booked and will be travelling with some friends.  

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21 hours ago, Quartzsite Cruiser said:

Both captains were out and about during the 67 days we were on the Veendam last summer, and both are very friendly.

 

It's very important for the guest experience when the crew see the senior management "out and about".  It sends a "message" to the crew that guest interaction is important.
 

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3 hours ago, Djptcp said:

The Mariner's Luncheon menu was warm rolls/butter, a seafood salad with shrimp/scallops, a soup (DH had it so I don't recall what it was, but he liked it), two entree choices which escape me at the moment but both delicious, and a coconut pie with a cheesecake texture, also delicious. Each passenger had a glass of champagne waiting on the table and waiters circulated offering more.

 

My recent Mariner Luncheon experiences:  the menu selections and the preparation have improved.  Whether one gets more than one glass of champagne or not differs from ship to ship. 

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1 hour ago, Broon said:

Just got off the KONINGSDAM on Wed...first time ever on such a large ship. Many positive features, but, we are uncertain about whether or not to go on a Pinnacle class again...too large for us.  

If you have trouble with the Koningsdam and other Pinnacle class ships because of size, number one it is not a Large ship it is only a Medium ship by today;s standards and number two you

are going to have trouble with any new Holland America ships going forward because they cannot make money on new ships smaller than the Pinnacles. The newest Celebrity ships are 25 to 30 percent bigger than the Pinnacles and the Princess new builds 40 percent larger. Royal Caribbean ships are even bigger in a league of their own. You should be glad Holland America is holding down the size of their ships at all.

DW and I thought that Koningsdam was just a perfect compromise size.

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