ABOARD the MS VEERDAM — Our ship has arrived in Halifax as scheduled, on Thursday, and for the first time on this short cruise, Sara and I decided not to go ashore.
We have been to Halifax before, on a Crystal cruise from Europe and Iceland-Greenland. And on Wednesday evening we related some of our Nova Scotia experiences for the benefit for a few of our shipmates.
Nevertheless, taking a cruise is not all shore excursions. The ship itself is a valuable focus of enjoyment. The Veendam, at 18, may be considered an old lady in the cruise business. But she wears her age well, and is probably good for at least a couple more years of fun.
For me, the center of action on my two Veendam vacations has always been Deck 8. The casino is there, of course, along with several other well-designed venues. On this medium-size ship – much preferable to us than the leviathans which hold multiple thousands — I have been impressed with the layout of Deck 8.
One example: In the evening I can wander through simultaneous entertainment in (1) the Ocean Bar, usually containing a three-piece combo with dancing, (2) a talented performer in the piano bar called Mix, and finally (3) the Explorer’s Lounge, featuring some classical strings (Mozart and the like). Somehow the sounds don’t seem to compete with each other with any annoying discords, despite their close proximity.
But that’s at night. Today, I am savoring the specialty coffee and the library in the Exploration Café and adjoining Queen’s Room. It’s a quiet atmosphere, and everyone seems to understand that the way to enjoy it is not to bother anyone else unnecessarily. It’s also the ideal place to access the internet, as I am aboujt to do at this very moment.
From Deck 8, also, you can access the upper levels of both the Showroom At Sea, at the bow, or the large Rotterdam Dining Room in the stern. And the specialty (extra charge) dining area called the Pinnacle (not pinochle) Grill? That’s also on the friendly and commodious Deck 8.
Photos by Robert W. Bone