Fine dining, an art and antique collection worth $2 million and refined, sophisticated décor cement Veendam as the epitome of classic cruising. Effortlessly blending this designation with state-of-the-art innovation, vibrant and exciting venues and top-class entertainment, Veendam gives traditional cruising a contemporary twist and brings it elegantly into the modern day for a voyage that is simultaneously abounding with life, brimming with possibilities and – most importantly of all - steeped in ultimate, unsurpassed luxury.
Carrying 1,350 passengers and measuring 719 feet in length, the grandeur of MS Veendam’s proportions is matched only by the lavishness of her interiors, the luxury of her wide-ranging amenities and the quality of the entertainment onboard. Furnished with everything from swimming pools and spas to libraries and cinemas, specialty bars and Broadway singers to teen-friendly hangouts and enrichment classes, this is a magnificent ship that truly has everything for the holiday of a lifetime.
Staterooms and suites aboard the Veendam are consistently spacious, generously-appointed and decorated in soothing earthy tones for a relaxed and inviting ambiance. Beautifully furnished with luxurious beds, finely-woven cotton linens, cosy bathrobes, Egyptian cotton towels, premium massage showerheads and high-end bath and body products, they promise an unparalleled night’s slumber and an indulgent bathing experience to greet the day feeling refreshed and rejuvenated – while state-of-the-art amenities such as flat-screen TV, salon-quality hairdryers and a DVD player mean that no creature comfort must be foregone as you cruise along the sublime ocean waters.
The new, innovatively-designed Lanai Staterooms are fitted with sliding glass doors which lead directly to the teak Lower Promenade deck, meaning that you can step straight into the invigorating sea air from your very sleeping quarters – a dream for early risers, or those who simply live for the dramatic seascapes. Another recent addition to the Veendam decks are the Spa Staterooms. Strategically placed close to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, these cabins offer special spa amenities such as yoga mats, iPod docking stations and access to exclusive spa treatments.
Those wishing to truly spoil themselves for a voyage of unsurpassed luxury should consider indulging in a suite reservation. Vista Suites include such enhanced amenities as a whirlpool bath and shower, floor-to-ceiling windows, binoculars, a menu of pillow choices, personalised cruise stationery, fresh flowers and a private verandah, while the Neptune and Pinnacle Suites go one step further with complimentary mimosas at breakfast, an in-suite coffee machine, priority dining and complimentary sparkling wine to get the voyage off to a truly decadent start. Neptune and Pinnacle suite reservations also grant passengers access to the exclusive Neptune Lounge, a private setting simply oozing luxury with its large screen television, library and refreshments throughout the day.
Veendam is abounding with cuisine options, offering something to suit every taste, mood and time of day. The main port of call as far as dining is concerned is the Rotterdam Dining Room, a lavish space sumptuously decorated with rich reds, glittering golds and brilliant whites for an atmosphere of lush glamour. Sculpted blossoms peer down from the ceiling and the exquisite flower arrangements for which Holland America Line is famous explode into colour on the sidelines; meticulous attention to detail as far as the room setup is concerned unveils itself at every opportunity. Cuisine in the Rotterdam is varied and of a delectable quality, offering international favourites and the occasional regional-inspired delicacy. You can pick up the buffet-style breakfast and lunch both here and in the alternative Lido restaurant, offering a wide range of hot and cold choices sure to tempt any palate.
Should you fancy something a little different for dinner, look no further than Canaletto: a clandestine Italian restaurant tucked away in the corner of the Lido. Serving Italian gourmet dishes such as pastas, antipasti and deli meats, it offers a more intimate, boutique setting in which to dine on truly outstanding cuisine.
In the daytime, should you feel like a more informal lunch as you lounge by the pool, meander down to the Terrace Grill to sample its hamburgers, grilled chicken, hot dogs and other all-American favourites – or head to the station opposite for Mexican and Indonesian cuisine, or even a slice of pizza to go.
For a truly high-end dining experience, a visit to the Pinnacle Grill is an absolute must. Drawing inspiration from the American Pacific Northwest, it is absolutely unparalleled in its quality of ingredients and rich flavours. Expect mouth-watering seafood and meat dishes complemented by traditional steakhouse sides for a really indulgent meal, followed by tempting chocolate-gorged desserts. Heavenly.
Head down to Veendam’s Showroom at Sea as night falls to catch the lavish shows and world-class performances that wow audiences night after night. Radiating an infectious atmosphere of glitz and glamour, the theatre is fitted out with tiered seating and decorative touches that give it a different theme according to each show, and proves a wildly good fun evening’s entertainment. Musicians and vocalists fresh from Broadway give top-class performances, while lively comedians, illusionists and magicians put on sensational shows for all ages. On a more understated night, guests can swoon in the dulcet tones of the Veendam orchestra as they play ballroom dance music and big-band favourites – or you may even catch a performance of traditional music and dance from the Indonesian crew members.
Head to the Ocean Bar to dance the night away to live music legends The Neptunes, or allow yourself to be enchanted by performances from the resident pianist in the Martini bar – although with cocktails flowing, it may transform into a lively piano-accompanied sing-along. Perhaps you would prefer to try your luck at the casino, or simply relax in the Champagne bar with a glass of bubbly, watching the world roll by and spending quality time with your fellow passengers. The Crow’s Nest observation deck is available with interactive games, karaoke and a DJ until deep into the night,
Allow yourself to be well and truly pampered with a visit to the Greenhouse Spa, offering a wide range of soothing spa treatments, massages and wraps to simply melt away any trace of tension or stress. Teeth whitening, manicures, hair styling, dry saunas, a salon/barber shop and a thermal suite are also available for unsurpassed indulgence; have a detox in the steam room, unwind with an aromatherapy session or simply relax in absolute bliss in the hot tub.
Sports facilities are varied and well-equipped; from taking a dip in the swimming pool, challenging a fellow passenger to a game of basketball or tennis on the courts and working out in the onboard gym to taking part in the group yoga, Tai Chi and aqua aerobics classes, there are plenty of opportunities to exercise and work off some steam. And why not pay a visit to the calming Retreat afterwards; full of loungers, a wading area and a hot tub, it is the perfect place to sit back and relax after a workout.
Veendam caters to youngsters of all ages, generally grouped into younger kids (3-7), tweens (8-12) and teenagers (13-17). Younger kids are enthralled and entertained at Club HAL with toys, arts and crafts, candy bar bingo and ice cream parties, while tweens can undertake dance lessons, do scavenger hunts or try their hand at karaoke. The teenager-friendly “The Loft” is furnished with a comfy seating area and gives access to “The Oasis”, a haven of hammocks, splash pools and waterfalls on a no-parents-allowed sun deck – to say nothing of the ever-popular video arcade, as loved by youths as it is by adults. Ping-pong contests, teen discos and video games – along with age-appropriate films and kid-friendly cooking classes for the younger age brackets – are sure to keep kids and young adults busy and entertained without impinging too much on the child-free cruisers or adult-only public spaces.
Veendam prides itself on its wide-ranging itinerary of enrichment programmes, designed to teach new skills, improve wellness and inform the mind as you cruise the oceans. The Culinary Arts Center, for example, invites professional chefs into a fully-equipped show kitchen, where passengers are treated to cooking demonstrations on regional culinary delights or the well-loved favourites served onboard at the Pinnacle Grill. Passengers may also enjoy lectures on the culture, wildlife and history of the surrounding geographic regions, delivered by a local expert, as well as classes on anything from foreign languages to the health benefits of tea.
A highly popular onboard activity is the Windows® Digital Workshops. Learn how to immortalise and share your precious holiday memories through the use of digital media with the help of Microsoft-trained “techsperts”. Starting at the very basics, these sessions work up towards photo editing, blogging, creating movies and Cloud storage to help passengers get the most out of their technology no matter what their level of expertise. One-on-one tutorials are also available.