Wendy, I'm going to jump in on this thread too.
I've only had one cruise on Holland America and it was on Veendam. We loved it. It was more expensive than Princess, but it was worth the extra money. Although I will say I still think Princess is the best value for the cruise dollar.
Given a choice between Veendam, Island Princess and Sapphire Princess, I would take Veendam, mostly because we love the smaller size ship; and the food and service was a cut above.