The crew is not all Indonesian. The dining room staff and cabin steward are Indonesiam and the bar tenders/waiters are Filipino.
I am sorry you could not understand them, as we have never had any problem. Maybe they couldn't understand your requests.
We have always tipped on HAL ships, even though their policy states "Tipping Not Required", but that doesn't mean you can't tip. It just means that HAL will not tell you how much to tip, envelopes will not be waiting in your room with the names of the people they feel you should tip, nor will you be solicited for tips.
The Veendam is a beautiful, well run ship. I am sorry you did not enjoy it. We have been on it many times.
We enjoyed our last Alaska cruise so much that we are returning again this year. There is lots to do and see in all the ports. Just read over the Excursion brochure and I am sure you will find something. Last time we did an excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier, went to a Salmon Bake, went whale watching, shopped around the towns. This year we are booked for the White Pass Railway excursion in Skagway (don't know if Veendam goes to Skagway) and we have been told it is not to be missed.
I'm truly sorry your cruise did not live up to your expectations, Mr. V. However, with all your disappointments I'm surprised your overall grade was a 'B'. That seems high considering you seem to encounter so many things you didn't like. I have not cruised to Alaska or sailed on the Veendam, so I can't comment on what you have said. You might wish to try Crystal or Radisson. I wouldn't want you to give up after only one experience. Happy cruising in the future.
I sailed the Veendam to the Caribbean in April and will be taking the Sept. 21 Alaska cruise because I was impressed with the level of service (including the ability to speak English). They DO get tipped, just as on any other cruise line -- HAL just doesn't force you into it. I presume Mr. V chose to read HAL's policy as "Tipping Not Allowed". Saves a bunch of money I imagine.
The ports are pretty much the same for all the major cruise lines, so HAL can't be blamed for the "kitschy ticky tacky near the pire. [sic] Run, don't walk from them (I did)."
Cruising Soon! -- Dizy and Peaches are very experienced cruisers. Consult with them about the cruise before heeding Mr. V.
i just got off the veendam from alaska i'm sorry Mr. V did not have a good time i haver never had a problem in talking to a crew member or dealing with the casino dealers maybe Mr. V is not use to dealing with differnet cultures. the cruise was wonderful and the weather was better than what i have i NY right now. Dinig room meals were also good and a wide variety of items to choose from,though the shows are not like what you would find in vegas they were entertaing and as for the dancers and cast i found them vvery talented. Veendam is a wonderful ship and the crew is one the best afloat on the water. enjoy yourself and the differnet cultures you will meet it's a great world out there enjoy it.....firstname.lastname@example.org
We sailed on the Veendam this summer back to back first time on a cruise ship. I was nervous about doing a cruise. It was awesome. The staff and crew were outstanding. The ship was beautiful and the scenery was breathtaking. I can't wait to do another cruise. It was one of the best holidays I have ever had.
I have never sailed on HAL..thinking Rotterdam for March to Panama...I have taken several Cruises with Princess..Very impressed with service. We usually look for the itenary then pick a ship/line. I also was suprised/shocked at the chain jewerly"dutyFree" shops in the ports in Alaska..the comment about these shops bring in their own people..that maybe but they still do contribute to the local ecomomy..they eat/pay some sort of rent..etc. As crusie passangers who want to support the locals we don't have to shop in these stores..to each there own.
A question..how does the Rotterdam compare to the Veendam..size, crew, age.
"A new low in cuisine: the version of Chinese food the Indonesian cooks made for a late night (11PM - midnight) buffet. Truly loathesome, gag me with a spoon. Much was inedible."
I'll raise you one. The sushi on the Celebrity Mercury last month (a ship with fine food in the dining room, with the exception of Caesar salad made with powdery "cheese") was the worst sushi of my entire life. I actually spit it out in my napkin. Gross. Hard, plasticky rice. It had obviously been refrigerated. Sushi must be made fresh and the rice should not see the inside of a refrigerator, period. There was no wasabi between the fish and the rice. The fellow who served it up at the cafeteria played around with the pieces constantly, as if he were deeply involved in a game of mahjong and the sushi were tiles.
On the other hand, curry on the Mercury beat the INDONESIAN food on the Veendam, which was extremely gummy.
The best Asian food we had on a cruise ship this year was actually on the Star Princess, in the Horizon Court buffet area. It was Chinese jook, as I recall. It wasn't great, but was soothing, and definitely beat out the other two ships' Asian offerings.
On second thought, the single best Asian item was the crispy spring roll served on the Veendam during the Indonesian lunch. Very hot and fresh. The Mercury's spring roll was of the soft variety, but at least it was described that way, too.