The Veendam is a 57,000-ton mid-sized cruise ship with a capacity of about 1,250 passengers and 560 crew. Holland America Line launched the Veendam in 1996, and it is a sister ship to the Maasdam. Its comfortable style and relaxing atmosphere make it a great choice for a cruise vacation.
I sailed the Veendam on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego via the Panama Canal. This 17-day cruise had 6 sea days, 9 ports of call, and a full-day transit of the Panama Canal. The ship visited ports of call in the Caribbean, South America, Central America, and Mexico.
This article provides information and links to details and photos of the cabins, dining options, interiors, bars and lounges, and outdoor deck areas of the Veendam.
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The Veendam sails to both warm and cool weather destinations. Its swimming pool with retractable roof and spacious common areas provide flexibility for many different itineraries.
In the cool weather, the Veendam homeports in Fort Lauderdale, sailing a variety of cruises to the Caribbean.
In the warn weather, the Veendam repositions to New England and Atlantic Canada, sailing a series of 7-day cruises between Boston and Quebec City. The ship also travels to Bermuda from Boston on 7-day cruises. These cruises can be combined into a 14-day trip that features both Bermuda and the St. Lawrence Waterway in Canada.
The ship also features several full transits of the Panama Canal like the Veendam cruise I did between Ft. Lauderdale and San Diego. The canal was 100 years old in 2014 and has been undergoing a significant expansion. Anyone who loves massive civil engineering projects should certainly add a full transit of the Canal to their bucket list, and the Veendam is a nice-sized ship for the... voyage.
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Veendam -- Cabins and Suites
Since the Veendam was launched in the last century, It doesn't have as many balcony cabins as newer ships do. However, the ship has many oceanview cabins, and it's not far to an outdoor deck since it carries only 1200 guests.
All the cabins are comfortable and have plenty of storage space. The most unusual staterooms are the Lanai cabins, which open onto the Promenade deck. Guests staying in those cabins have two nice wooden deck chairs reserved for their use, plus the quickest access on the ship to the marvelous wraparound teak promenade.
The Veendam also has some spa cabins and suites that provide special spa amenities and some suite accommodations, although most of the suites are smaller than found on newer ships.
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Veendam -- Dining and Cuisine
The Holland America Veendam has four main dining venues:
- Pinnacle Grill
- Lido Restaurant
- Canaletto Italian Restaurant
- Rotterdam Dining Room
The Lido Restaurant and Rotterdam Dining Room are included in the basic fare, and the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto have an extra surcharge.
The Lido is the ship's buffet, and the Rotterdam is the main dining room with a choice of either one of two fixed seatings or open seating at dinner. Both have a nice selection of a variety of dishes at mealtime. Canaletto is a casual Italian eatery and is only open at night. The Pinnacle Grill is the Veendam's premium restaurant, and is one of the best at sea. The Pinnacle dinners are very special, and the Le Cirque menu, which is offered at least once per cruise, is perfect for a memorable celebration.
The Veendam also has three take-away restaurants--the Terrace Grill next to the pool; Slice, a pizza restaurant aft of the Lido buffet; and the Explorations Cafe, a specialty coffee bar in the library.
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Veendam -- Interior Common Areas
The interiors of the Veendam are well laid out, and traffic flows very easily. Most of the indoor common area venues are on deck 7 and 8. The library is quite large and also houses the Internet/Computer Center and has some very comfortable seating.
The Atrium spans three decks and is surrounded by bars, shops, photo gallery, and art gallery. The Veendam has two large theaters--the Showroom at Sea features nightly entertainment and daytime lectures. The Wajang Theater was originally set up as a movie theater, but now also doubles as the Culinary Arts Center, with daily cooking demonstrations and tips on party planning.
The Greenhouse Spa and Salon offers all the standard treatments in a relaxing space. The gym is located forward of the spa on deck 11 and has modern equipment and daily exercise classes.
The Veendam has two areas dedicated to kids and teens on deck 12.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Veendam -- Bars and Lounges
The Veendam has six contemporary, comfortable indoor bars:
- Ocean Bar
- Crow's Nest
- Explorer's Lounge
- Martini Bar
- Piano Bar
Several of these bars feature live music in the evenings, and the Ocean Bar and Crow's Nest both have dance floors. The ship also has two outdoor bars--one by the swimming pool and another in The Retreat.
The nightly "happy hour" pricing at the Ocean Bar and Crow's Nest are a good deal for a before-dinner drink.
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The Veendam doesn't have the outdoor water parks found on newer ships that are more geared towards families with small children. It does have a swimming pool with a retractable roof, making it usable in both sunny and inclement or cooler weather. Deck 12 has two sports courts and a walking track for those seeking exercise rather than a lounge chair.
Adults will appreciate The Retreat, an adults-only area aft of the Lido Restaurant. The Retreat has a small pool, some hot tubs, a bar, and plenty of outdoor seating.
My favorite outdoor area on the Veendam is the Promenade Deck, a covered teak deck that wraps around deck 6. The walkaround deck is four laps to the mile and is very popular with walkers most of the day. The Lanai cabins open directly onto this deck.
The Veendam is a comfortable cruise ship, well-suited for long or short voyages and for adults who enjoy days at sea, but don't need to be constantly entertained. Those who enjoy lectures, reading, sitting on the deck, or playing games like bridge will appreciate life onboard the Veendam. Families will also enjoy the ship when the kids clubs are open or if their children don't require aqua parks to be happy. The Veendam is large enough to provide variety in dining and common areas, but small enough to allow guests to easily socialize and to move about the ship. Many guests on our cruise were frequent Holland America cruisers, and the Future Cruises Desk was almost always busy. That says it all--cruise travelers love this ship.
All Holland America Veendam photos shown in this article are licensed to About.com by Linda Garrison.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.