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B Emanuel

Age: 31 to 40

Occupation:physician

Number of Cruises: 6 to 10

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Veendam

Sailing Date: June, 1999

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

I have read several books where "The Critics" score her down for entertainment and food compared to other premium lines such as Celebrity.  Please ignore this nonsense.  The food was first rate and included fresh vegetables, a variety of fresh seafood entres prepared with a light and deft touch and even caviar with some meals.  The food was fresh, well prepared, and plentiful.

The entertainment was in my opinion excellent.  From the usual Broadway style reviews to a comic jugglar and an astoundingly good Neil Diamond impressionist, every evening had first rate entertainment.

The ship is beautiful and gleems in a positively sparkling elegance.  While perhaps not as "flashy" as some of the newer megaships, it is a stately and majestic work of art with plenty of sparkle nonetheless.  If you will allow me an analogy:  If some of the newer ships are flashy neon signs with strobe lights; Veendam is finely cut crystal.

Another area where the critics occasionally downgrade Veendam is communication with the staff.  As the staff are Phillipino and Indonesian, there are rare occasions when communication can be a bit of a bother, but only rarely.  HOWEVER, any small deficiencies in communication are EASILY compensated by the fact that the staff will do ANYTHING to please.  There can not be a harder working or more eager staff afloat and they define the term "Service" to me.

In short, this is a beautiful ship with a wonderful energetic crew who go to any lengths to please.  The cruise was a bargain at the price and I highly recommend it for the right passengers.

Who should not go:  All night partiers, drunken college kids and folks "looking for love"

Who should go:  Honeymooner of any age, couples wanting to enjoy an upscale experience and families wanting a high degree of luxury at a reasonable price.

I love Veendam and therefore Holland America and plan on cruising with them again.

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