We were on the Veendam with Jay and Lynda (hi guys!) but didn't get to meet them. In my opinion the best thing about this ship was our verendah mini-suite. Since there was a definite shortage of pool chairs, we spent a lot of time on our private balcony, with cold drinks on hand thanks to the convenient mini-bar! The rest of cruise was all that was promised - good food, friendly folks, and excellent service. The snow is pounding once again in NJ, but I still have a little color from the 7 straight days of perfect weather (not to mention a little extra flab, but that's not from the weather!!) If you can swing it definitely go for the mini-suite. It was worth the extra cost (and we only paid $599 for that).