March 9, 2008
Here is a copy of a letter we sent to Holland America about the horrible experience we had in March 2008 on the Veendam. This letter only discusses the ship. It does not discuss the horrible experience we had in Cozumel. We asked that we be compensated for at least half of the $1,784.76 we paid in advance and in good faith. We did hear back from Holland America and they offered us an upgrade if we buy another trip. How gracious! Not!
When we embarked on our cruise on March 9, we were shocked to find our room filthy and in a state of total disrepair. When we booked our cruise in January, we initially wanted to be on a higher deck but were told that none of the rooms were available. We agreed to a room on the lowest level because the Holland America agent assured us it would be just as nice as any other, and we would be able to have a double bed, and that the room would be located in the middle of the ship. Based upon the company's reputation and the website, we believed we had little to be concerned about.
We entered the room, which was located at the farthest end of the ship (the second room from the end) to discover two single beds, sticky goo on the nightstand and dresser surfaces, dirty walls, a sticky/dirty temperature control knob, stained and dirty carpet, and a dirty bathroom counter, mirror, and medicine cabinet. It took two different trips and a telephone call to the front desk for the room to be properly cleaned and the beds put together. We resigned ourselves to the room's location.
We sent Holland America photographs, which showed the condition of the furniture -— it was so bad it would not be accepted for donation by a charitable organization. It is inexcusable to ask your guests to spend a week in a room with chipped furniture, scratched walls with holes in them, and stained carpets. The temperature in the room was hard to control and fluctuated from being too hot to being too cold.
With the exception of our hard-working and attentive cabin steward, none of the ship's executive staff bothered to follow up and assure that our grievances had been resolved.
Nowhere in the literature we reviewed about the cruise line or on the website did it say we would have to endure such a nightmare. Your promotional materials assure quite the opposite. Holland America honored none of the promises made by the agent who sold us the trip, the promotional materials, or the contract.
The condition of our room made what should have been a relaxing and enjoyable holiday a very stressful experience that we would have done anything to avoid. Like so many others, we had a choice of which cruise line to sail and based upon positive comments at some of the travel websites we chose Holland America.