by John Brophy
November 4, 2007
Our third Southern Caribbean cruise with Holland America. The first was in '05 on Veendam (see review '05), second on Ryndam in '06 and this cruise again on Veendam. Tampa departure, S category cabin -- same as other cruises. Veendam is showing her age now. Little things: carpeting needs replacing, rust showing through the hundreds of coats of paint here and there, bright work not so bright, etc.
On our first cruise on Veendam a complimentary private cocktail party along with a sit-down formal dinner for S & P category guests. This time a buffet luncheon. The Captain did personally greet the S & P guests but everyone had to line up in the hallway. Rather strange.
Terrible odors (sewage, fuel?) occasionally in the cabin and hallways. Totally unacceptable!
Rotterdam dining room food good, but not outstanding. Pinnacle Grill was superior, and all service was excellent as usual.
Renewal of Vows package handled very well with a very nice souvenir album included, but the photographs were sub-par.
Arrived in San Juan late (engine problem?). Could not launch tenders at Grand Cayman, rough waters. Good decision by Captain, but disappointment for passengers.
No sickness on board. Much emphasis was placed on hand washing and using sanitizers placed about the ship.
HAL is obviously still the seniors' choice for cruising. You will not find rock climbing, ice skating, etc. here.
It appears HAL is dumbing down its dress code. Now just two categories, smart casual and formal, with one less formal night than usual. So much for cruising elegance.
We will still continue to cruise with HAL unless things really deteriorate. We'll see.