Food on a cruise ship is always plentiful and almost always available. Like most cruise ships, the Holland America Veendam has a number of food choices each meal. For breakfast passengers can fill out the handy card in the room, hang it on the door, and have room service served at the chosen time. (At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. We tried that once on the Veendam and the food never came, but the filled-out card returned to haunt us every day even after throwing it in the garbage can.) I’m not sure why we got the card back in the evening rather than breakfast that morning, but the system probably worked for other people as it has for me in the past on other ships.
Other breakfast options include the dining room or the Lido buffet. Dining room breakfasts are good, but can take awhile and this cruise had port stops every day but one so we chose the quicker Lido buffet for our daily breakfast. It has lots of choices including omlettes made while you wait (pick this option only when the line is short if you are in a hurry or don’t like long waits.) They had a variety of hot and cold food selections and my favorite, the almost never crowded station serving eggs Benedict which they made fresh right there.
Lunchtime also had options from a sit-down meal in the dining room to a variety of options on the Lido. I pretty much stuck with the Lido salad bar for lunches this cruise. They also had deli sandwiches, hot lunches, a burger stand and taco bar. For later eaters the burger stand and taco bar stayed open past the closing of the regular buffet, and the pizza stand opened for the afternoon at 2pm. They also had excellent daily dessert choices and ice cream cones or sundaes.
Holland America has great afternoon teas, some days with themes varying from cupcakes to High Tea and other days traditional English tea treats. Tea is served with hot water in individual little silver pots and a selection of teas to choose from. People can ask for coffee if they wish.
The Veendam dining room serves such delicious food it’s hard to tear yourself away at dinnertime to try anything else, but if you take a night off to go to the upscale Pinnacle Grill when they have their regular menu the food there is so superb it’s worth whatever you missed in the dining room to try it. Other dinner options include pizza or the Lido buffet and each night a section of the Lido transforms into Canaletto, an Italian restaurant. Pinnacle Grill and Caneletto have surcharges, but everything else is included in the price of the cruise.
Everything in Pinnacle Grill is upscale from the décor to the dishes to the food and service. They even have a little tool to clean the crumbs off the tablecloth between each course. People each picked a main dish which came just to them, and a side which came in a serving dish with enough for the whole table so everyone got to try a variety of things. Desserts were individual.
Canaletto also served most items in the family style manner so diners could try more things. Dessert options included several flavors of gelato, and swapping out the vanilla gelato that came with the chocolate cake for pistachio meant a chance to try both the chocolate cake and the pistachio gelato rather than choosing between the two. (Both tasted very good.)
Food on the Veendam was the best I have ever had on a cruise ship. Perhaps it was the chef or the galley crew on the ship at the time I sailed or perhaps that ship always excels. I don’t know the answer to that, just that during my time on the ship we had extremely excellent meals.