Posted by: Renee Gerber | May 4, 2010

Holland America Veendam Ship Tour

Michael and I were invited to take a ship tour of the Holland America Veendam in New Your City on May 2, 2010. Since we didn’t want to leave really bright and early on 5/2 and drive up, we decided to drive up on 5/1, stay overnight and scout out some other good things to do. Here is the review.

We decided to drive up to Edison, NJ (top rated place to live) and stay the night before taking the ship tour. Michael did his research and we chose the Courtyard Edison Woodbridge as our hotel of choice. This is very conveniently located to the turnpike so getting on and off were a breeze. The hotel was in nice condition and very busy due to a family reunion. The staff were nice and attentive. Overall, a very good choice. And, at only $90 including all taxes, we couldn’t go wrong!

For dinner, we decided on the Skylark Diner. Yes, a diner. Although, this is not your typical diner. It is considered a “Finer Diner”. The decor is hip and has a travel theme. How perfect! This particular diner was even featured on the Food Network Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. If Guy likes it, you have to like it to. From the moment we stepped in we knew it would be good. The atmosphere was calm and not all hustle and bustle. The waiter (Mike) was incredible. I wasn’t sure what to order and he pointed me in the right direction all the way to dessert. The details in the diner were great even down to the clocks on the wall from all over the world. Yes, I did have to use my World Clock on my iPhone to see if the times were correct. I found some mistakes. Mike promised that the next time I come back, they would be right. I’m counting on you.

Sunday morning we got an early start. Since the Port of Bayonne was on the way, we decided to check it out. The port is very convenient, however, if you don’t pay attention to the signs, you could go the wrong way. Of course, the first two signs off the NJ Turnpike were the toughest to find. All went well from there and we found our way. I have to say this is not the most scenic of ports. They are building some new condos along the road leading to the port, this is a welcome addition. You will be driving through some abandoned warehouses (this part is straight out of a movie). Then all of a sudden, a ship appears. The Celebrity Summit was in town on this day.

Once we saw a glimpse of the Summit, it was off to the Port of NY to see the Holland America Veendam. The Veendam is an older ship built in 1996. She had a $40 million refurbishment in 2009. During the refurb, new decks were added on the rear of the ship. Lanai cabins are new…you basically have a balcony cabin where the sliding glass door opens up to a common walk way with chaise lounges. It is pretty cool. There is also the Retreat on the rear of the ship. This is a private area with a shallow pool and chaise lounges and the LCD tv above. The chaise lounges actually sit in about 3″ of water. You can get some sun and if you get hot, just put your feet down and you will cool off…but don’t drop your book! We even had an opportunity to eat in the Rotterdam Dining Room and experience the wonderful customer service that Holland America is known for. The food was incredible.

For photos and video of the Veendam, keep an eye out for our exclusive Cruise and Country video webcast of the ship tour coming soon.

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