CruiseCompete: Easily Compare Multiple Offers from Cruise Experts
Compare offers from multiple travel agencies
Find your cruise
& request quotes
Compare members only prices,
upgrades, cabin credits & more!
Contact your preferred agent
for questions or to book your cruise
Over 1 million members
Join CruiseCompete for free
Home   How it works   Search Cruises   Ships   Reviews   Shore Excursions   Cruise Specials
  Cruise Ship Reviews : Holland America Line (HAL) Reviews

HAL Veendam reviews

HAL Veendam reviews

Average customer rating:
    3.71 / 5

Average Rating based on 5 Reviews:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 3.753.75
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 3.403.40
EntertainmentEntertainment = 3.003.00
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 3.673.67
Food QualityFood Quality = 3.803.80
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 3.403.40
SpaSpa = 4.004.00
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 5.005.00
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 4.204.20

HAL Veendam itineraries and information

Smope saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 33
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 11
EntertainmentEntertainment = 22
Food QualityFood Quality = 11
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 22
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 55
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 33
HAL needs some help on the Veendam!, December 10, 2016
Reviewer: Smope

Pros: Pinnacle Grill was wonderful, cabin stewards and Lido and bar servers excellent.

Cons: Dining room service and food was worst ever experienced on a cruise ship

Date of cruise: November 20, 2018

Departure port: Ft Lauderdale

Region visited: Panama Canal

Cabin category: Inside

Cabin number: 108

Veendam looks as though she may need a facelift. Cabin was very cramped and decor dated. Often an unpleasant smell on board, especially strong in public restroom areas. Frequently public rest spots were out of service, often on the same floor. Not good!

Activities very lean for a 15-day cruise, and often close together, so running from one to the other was common. The cruise activities staff seemed to be pretty sparse, no doubt due to the small ship, but the lack of a variety of activities made for some long days at sea. Evening shows started out fine, but as the cruise progressed seemed to dwindle away to repeat appearances by previously seen talent.

Main dining room service and food were a bitter disappointment. Service was painfully slow, and food lukewarm. For all services. More Lido buffet meals on this cruise than on any other cruise that we have taken. Lido buffet food and service were very good, but it is the fining dining that draws me to a cruise in the first place. My meals at the specialty restaurant, Pinnacle Grill, were exceptional as expected.

Our reason for taking the cruise was to see the Panama Canal. Our voyage through the Canal was interesting, and the onboard expert offered very interesting commentary throughout the journey.

I expect HAL to be a cut above many cruise lines. This time they disappointed.

Bob Bone saw things this way:
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 44
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 55
Specialty RestaurantSpecialty Restaurant = 55
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 44
An excellent cruise during the South America summer., January 11, 2013
Reviewer: Bob Bone

Pros: Learning about a seldom visited corner of the world

Cons: None

Date of cruise: November 15, 2018

Departure port: Valparaiso

Region visited: South America

Cabin category: Outside

Today's modern cruise ships safely explore this historically dangerous route between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans via Cape Horn. This is especially true during the southern hemisphere spring and summer, from about November through April. So I had no hesitation in climbing aboard Holland America's ship, the MS Veendam for a two-week passage from Valparaiso, Chile, to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A century ago, Valparaiso was one of the wealthiest cities in South America. With its steep hills, it was often called "Little San Francisco." Many neighborhoods are still reached by cable cars and funicular railways.

The Veendam is one of the older and smaller ships in HAL's fleet. It carries about 1,300 passengers as compared to newer 21st-century ships which max out at more than twice that number. The size was a good fit for me. The ship would not be crowded, and I figured that many of my fellow cruisers would be sophisticated travelers.

The Veendam offered all the main attractions of modern cruise ships, with one exception. It was originally built before the advent of private balconies, which have become popular in recent years. In a recent refurbishment, it was found that only a very few of these could be added. Instead, an unusual improvement was added to about 40 staterooms - sliding doors that opened directly on the Lower Promenade Deck. I had one of these cabins and found it convenient for stepping out for a morning constitutional.

The doors to these Lanai Cabins are one-way mirrors so that I could have some privacy, at least during the day. At night, it was advisable to pull the curtains since interior lights just might be revealing even through that special glass.

After a day out of sea from Valparaiso, our first call was at Puerto Montt, a Chilean port guarded by two volcanoes. Founded by a German colony in the 19th century, the city is also known as the southern terminus of the Pan American Highway.

Continuing down the coast the following day, we paused for a few hours at Puerto Chacabuco, once an important center in the country's salmon fishing industry. I decided to explore the scenic village where I ran across the only English-speaking resident, an American from Massachusetts.

"Hi there! Where ya from," he called out in an unmistakable regional accent. He was Paul Dion, originally from Falmouth, Mass., a retired consultant to the salmon industry. In the summer, he and his dog, Meg, often greet passengers from cruise ships, he said, just so he can speak English now and then to someone

For the next two days we sailed through the Chilean fjords. We paused half a day to admire the large Brujo Glacier, a river of ice which comes right down to the water's edge. One of the ship’s tenders was dispatched to capture one of the small floating "berglets" so we could touch and admire it.

We also passed a shipwreck rusting away half exposed above the water. It was a former Grace Line vessel named the Santa Leonor. The Grace Line was one well known for its South American voyages from 1913 until 1970.

The seventh day of the cruise found us at Punta Arenas, a Chilean port on the Strait of Magellan. I chose a $150 excursion to the Magdelena Island penguin reserve. It took an hour and a half to get there (and another hour and a half back) on a ferry boat which was designed rather like a World War II invasion craft. The penguins were great and worth the time and outlay.

Our next stop was in Argentina, docking for the day in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. I chose a wildlife excursion in the Beagle Channel and enjoyed sea lions and thousands of cormorants and other creatures in the water and on land in the Tierra del Fuego National Park.

The following morning, at about 5:45 a.m. we were in cold weather and rather rough seas when the captain blew the ship's horn. Those of us who were awake stumbled out on the deck long enough to see the infamous island promontory of Cape Horn itself, after which we began our northward journey.

Our first port call on our way north was at Puerto Madryn, a seaside vacation community popular with Argentineans. Shore excursions featured more opportunities for wildlife tours.
Cruise ships used to skip this port in favor of including a call on the British-owned Falkland Islands. Unfortunately these have been suspended due to political pressure from the current Argentine government, which claims sovereignty over the islands.

That evening we enjoyed the production in the Veendam's showroom, an excellent tango show by a professional dance group who had boarded the ship in Puerto Madryn.

The penultimate port on our voyage was Montevideo, the seaside capital of the tiny country of Uruguay. It is one of those attractive cities that make me feel like returning some day to take up temporary residence.

For a shore excursion, I chose what I always call the "geezer bus," a $75 no-walking tour through the city. Pilar, our guide, was friendly and knowledgeable. This happy geezer now recommends it -- but perhaps only in Montevideo.

The cruise ended the following morning in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, and once one of the richest cities in South America. Many cruisers flew home later that day. I had visited BA before, but still took a hotel room overnight in order to become reacquainted with the city center.

As it happened, the native jacaranda trees were in full bloom, bringing a bright purple glow to the old capital, and providing a pleasant cap to the last stop on our Veendam voyage.

lcgnlevy saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 44
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 44
EntertainmentEntertainment = 11
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 55
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 44
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
Good, May 20, 2011
Reviewer: lcgnlevy

Pros: Food

Cons: Entertainment

Region visited: Bermuda

Cabin category: Outside

Cabin number: 739

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

Entertainment was mainly the ship cast doing Broadway songs and dances

arit saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 44
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 44
EntertainmentEntertainment = 55
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 44
Food QualityFood Quality = 44
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 22
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 55
The itinerary was the best thing about the cruise, November 27, 2010
Reviewer: arit

Pros: The itinerary

Cons: There was not the diversity of ages seen on other cruises- 65 was the average

Date of cruise: November 2, 2018

Departure port: Valparaiso

Region visited: South America

Cabin category: Balcony

Good for children: No

Good for teenagers: No

This was the South America cruise and the itinerary and shore trips did not disappoint. Great ports and sightseeing form the ship itself and the shore excursions though pricey were worth the money. The entertainment was excellent and better than other ships its size.
Since I cruise for the itinerary rather than the ships amenities I was only disappointed by the lack of diversity among the passengers. Since we are not yet retired we were among the minority. Pool was nice since it has a retractable roof which enabled me to swim when the weather got cold

brad saw things this way:
Value For MoneyValue For Money = 44
Cabin DesignCabin Design = 44
EntertainmentEntertainment = 44
Fitness CenterFitness Center = 33
Food QualityFood Quality = 55
Ship MaintenanceShip Maintenance = 44
SpaSpa = 44
Staff and ServiceStaff and Service = 44
Avoid crowds on this "medium" sized ship that can fit into ports big ones can't, September 8, 2010
Reviewer: brad

Pros: The ship is smaller than most, so there are less crowds

Cons: Older, smaller design is less luxurious than most other ships

Date of cruise: August 1, 2010

Departure port: New York City

Region visited: Bermuda

Cabin category: Outside

Cabin number: 640

Good for children: Yes

Good for teenagers: No

Holland America's Veendam was built in 1996 but was renovated in 2009 to modernize it a bit. While it's smaller than most other ships at only 720 feet in length, the ship has a more intimate, yet less crowded appeal.

While some of the mega-ships out there can hold nearly 4,000 passengers, the Veendam has a capacity of less than 1,400. Another benefit of the Veendam is that the ship docks right on Front Street in Hamilton in Bermuda while the ships of nearly every other cruise line can only dock at the Royal Naval Dockyard because they are too big to fit into the narrow gharbor passage.

The ship does show its age, however, and does not have the spacious public areas and high ceilings of the larger ships. The theater is small and a little cramped, and the casino leaves much to be desired, not even having a craps table.

As part of the 2009 renovation, the aft pool was removed and converted into a wading pool where lounge chairs are located in about 6" of water. Unlike most large ships, it was never difficult to find a deck chair, even in this wading pool area, which was a nice spot to relax and enjoy a cocktail while reading a book with your feet in the shallow water.

The positive elements of this ship outweigh the negative, making our experience on the Veedam unique and well worth it.

Your Account   Home   Search   Specials   Cruises   Shore Excursions   Group Cruises   About   FAQ  
River Cruises   International Cruisers Welcome   Weddings at Sea

Cruise Videos   Cruise Ship Reviews   Cruise Port Reviews  

Cruise departures:
 Anchorage   Baltimore   Boston   Calgary   Cape Liberty   Charleston   Chattanooga   Chicago   Churchill   Clarkston   Fairbanks   Fort Lauderdale   Galveston   Halifax   Honolulu   Jacksonville   Juneau   Los Angeles   Louisville   Memphis   Miami   Milwaukee   Minneapolis   Mobile   Molokai   Montreal   Nashville   New Orleans   New York   Nome   Norfolk   Oahu   Pearl Harbor   Philadelphia   Pittsburgh   Port Canaveral   Port Everglades   Portland   Providence   Quebec City   San Diego   San Francisco   Savannah   Seattle   Seward   Sitka   Spokane   St Louis   St Paul   Tampa   Toronto   Vancouver   Victoria 

Browse Cruise Ships and Cruise Lines
 Amadeus River Cruises   AmaWaterways   American Cruise Lines   American Queen Steamboat Company   Avalon Waterways   Azamara Club Cruises   Blount Small Ship Adventures   Carnival Cruise Lines   Celebrity Cruise Tours   Celebrity Cruises   Costa Cruise Lines   Crystal Cruises   Cunard Line   Disney Cruise Line   Emerald Waterways   Holland America Cruise Tours   Holland America Line (HAL)   Imperial River Cruises   MSC Cruises   Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)   Norwegian Cruise Tours   Oceania Cruises   Paul Gauguin Cruises   PONANT   Princess Cruise Tours   Princess Cruises   Regent Seven Seas Cruises   Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection   Royal Caribbean Cruise Tours   Royal Caribbean International (RCL)   Scenic   Seabourn   SeaDream Yacht Club   Silversea Cruises   Star Clippers   Tauck River Cruising   U by Uniworld   Un-Cruise Adventures   Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection   Variety Cruises   Viking Ocean Cruises   Viking River Cruises   Voyages to Antiquity   Windstar Cruises   Cruises by Region

Connecting cruisers with the best cruise prices on discount cruises since 2003. Privacy Policy

Cruise news from Cruise Compete, where you compare cruise prices to get the best cruise discounts and deals
Let our Virtual Cruise Advisor(TM) recommend the best cruises for you.