Launched in 1996 and refurbished in 2009, Veendam is one of four ships of the Statendam class. It’s handsome and traditional and bears all the hallmarks of the Holland America Line: Flowers freshen up the staterooms, pea soup is offered in cold weather, and high tea is served every afternoon.
What We Love
Pinnacle Grill: The cuts of this Pacific Northwest-inspired steakhouse are prepared well, but you'll also want to reserve a night to return when the restaurant transforms itself into Le Cirque.
Lanai Staterooms: These unique cabins open up into a shared wraparound deck that’s also a walking track. (Don’t worry, the sliding doors only open one way.)
Best Known For
World-Class Art Collections: Italian glass chandeliers, portraits by Dutch masters, and contemporary sculptures, among other impressive pieces, make this ship feel like a floating museum. These are top-notch works you’d actually want to look at, not the kitschy pieces you usually find at a cruise art auction.
Explorations Cafe: This Internet cafe is the most popular spot on board on sea days. Created in partnership with the New York Times, it includes an extensive lending library, board games, newspapers, and magazines, as well as a coffee shop and computer stations. You can even borrow an iPod for an audio tour of the art collection.
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Who It's Best For
A Mature Crowd: This ship isn't for the just-out-of-college set. Although there are multigenerational groups, the bulk of the passengers fall into the 55-plus range.
Quiet Cruisers: Although the piano bar always seems to draw a crowd, this isn’t a ship that parties hard into the night.
Culture Lovers: Veendam does a good job of bringing local culture on board. Look for hockey-themed casino nights in Montreal and a clambake lunch and chowder-making classes in Maine, for example.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Food Is Inconsistent: Culinary Council dishes tend to shine, and the Dive-In burger bar is excellent. But lunch buffets could use more effort, and the Italian specialty restaurant, Canaletto, has off nights.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.
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Veendam at a Glance
- Line: Holland America Line
- Class: Statendam
- Number of Passengers: 1350
- Ship Size: Large
- Launch Date: 1996
- Refurbish Date: 2009