New Lanai Staterooms Debut on VeendamJune 10, 2009 By: Susan Young Travel Agent
More Cabin Options for Agents to Sell
Holland America’s refurbished Veendam has attractive new décor in its accommodations and several new categories of staterooms. As a result of those changes, the capacity of Veendam has increased from 1,258 guests to 1,350 guests.
Holland America also created 15 new spa staterooms on Veendam. The new staterooms boast a light and airy interior décor. Spa accommodations also include use of organic cotton bathrobes and slippers; an iPod docking station; in-room table-top water feature; a yoga mat; pedometer for use onboard; a mini-bar stocked with specialty waters and fresh fruit tray upon embarkation; invigorating showerhead; wooden bath mat; a special room service spa breakfast and more.
Inside one of the Staterooms
Verandahs also were added to 12 staterooms on Deck 9 forward. In addition, the aft end of the ship was lengthened to accommodate the addition of 32 verandah staterooms and a varying number of inside staterooms.
Most interestingly for agents, perhaps, Holland America has created 38 new Lanai category staterooms on the Deck 6 Lower Promenade level. These 197-square-foot staterooms now occupy space that was formerly comprised of oceanview staterooms and crew offices.
A Veranda Suite
Our Lanai Stateroom Experience
We stayed in one of the new Lanai staterooms during a week-long Alaska voyage in late May. Essentially, these new category staterooms feature a sliding glass door that opens onto the exterior lower promenade deck that encircles the ship.
Because this covered teak deck is a popular walking venue for guests from all decks, a constant stream of people flows by; two laps around the deck equals one mile. If your clients enjoy people watching, the Lanai stateroom category may be a good choice.
One of the Lanai Staterooms on the Veendam
The big plus? I enjoyed the freedom and ability to just pop out my sliding glass door to the open deck whenever I chose. The instant accessibility is a great perk for photo buffs and those who love scenic views.
In addition, if your client’s selected Lanai stateroom is in the middle of the ship, the wide open spaces of the deck on either side deliver a panoramic view even from inside the cabin – perhaps even more so than from a private balcony.
When I first entered this stateroom at the Port of Vancouver, I was amazed to look out and see a seabird perched on the exterior railing. And the ship hadn’t even left the dock.
On the first day of each cruise, Lanai stateroom guests receive an access card for their sliding glass door. We received this card in an envelope left on our bed. This card is different from the guest’s cabin key card (which provides access to the stateroom from the interior corridor).
To unlock the sliding glass door and exit the stateroom directly to the open deck, the guest just hits a green button adjacent to the door. The sliding door then unlocks, the guest exits, and the door shuts and automatically locks.
To re-enter from the open deck, the guest then waves the sliding door access card over a small panel outside the cabin. Presto, a small orange light turns green; the door unlocks and can be slid open.
Each Lanai stateroom boasts what the line terms “dedicated lounge chairs.” These are nice teak chairs with cushions on the open deck. It’s prudent, however, to advise clients that the chairs are not blocked off from walkers or guests who come to Deck 6 to get some fresh air and relax.
As a result, the Lanai concept is a work in progress for Holland America. Fine-tuning is under way. The goal is to strike a balance between those who have booked the new Lanai staterooms with dedicated exterior deck chairs and other guests in other accommodations – many traditional Holland America clients -- who may be accustomed to sitting on these lounge chairs on the covered outside deck.
Lounging on the deck chairs
Tiny signage at the base of each chair states that this seating is reserved for Lanai stateroom guests, but the signs are small and low. Many guests simply don’t notice them.
I watched over and over again as guests from other decks just plopped down in the chairs reserved for my stateroom. Another Lanai stateroom guest just a few doors away had quite a time convincing people preparing to sit in her chairs that the chairs were dedicated to that cabin and that she planned to use them soon. One person in the group said “oh I don’t think so” before begrudgingly moving.
While Holland America has placed non-dedicated loungers for any guest to use on one end of Deck 6, the more advantageous location and better views available from the “dedicated” Lanai stateroom loungers makes them a target for interlopers.
That said, I truly believe the Lanai stateroom concept is a good one. Holland America says it’s presently looking at some different signage and plans to add more non-dedicated loungers on this deck.
Personally, I’d like to see the signage at eye level and prolifically along the walls and at all deck entrances from interior corridors. The signs should state that the loungers are reserved for guests in specific Lanai staterooms, but that “open” loungers are available further down the deck. Cushions of two different colors might help guests identify the proper chairs to use.
Inside, the Lanai staterooms are both comfortable and attractive. The new décor is similar in many ways to the look of the spa staterooms but the cabins don’t have spa amenities.
The Lanai stateroom’s crisp white linens are accented by a cream coverlet draped across the base of the bed. The bed coverlet’s black and tan patterns are repeated in decorative pillows atop the bed. Curtains for the sliding glass doors are light and airy, yet they darken the room well.
A leather-like settee with matching pillows; small table; and one chair create a living area within the cabin. A small combination desk/make-up table features a round leather-like stool for sitting; a selection of soft drinks and water for purchase; a large mirror, good lighting; and writing paper and postcards.
An elevated flat screen television and DVD player are nicely visible from both the living area and the queen bed (convertible to a twin-twin configuration as well). Two small nightstands, each with two drawers are located on either side of the bed.
Guests in Lanai staterooms receive a small floral display and a fresh fruit bowl; clients write down what they want – a choice of pears, oranges, apples, bananas or a combination. Attractive framed prints of historic Dutch scenes grace one cabin wall.
Two closets open to reveal flexible storage space with fold-down shelves. So guests may pull up the shelves to create a space for long hanging items such as dresses or coats. Or, with the shelves down, the guest can still hang shorter items up top but use shelving below for other things. The back of one door is a full-length mirror.
A third closet features two bars for hanging sweaters, shirts or skirts. The fourth closet offers a small chest with three drawers, multiple shelves and a personal safe.
The Lanai stateroom private bathroom features a single sink; two glass shelves with line-provided Elemis products; one shelf below the sink; toilet; and a bathtub/shower combination.
Another interesting tidbit about the Lanai stateroom category? Cabins are on the muster station deck. It was nice to just step outside for the drill, and, when it was completed, to return to my stateroom without climbing flights of stairs or waiting with the crowds to board an elevator!
Overall, we had a very nice time on our recent Alaska cruise on Veendam. And we loved the ability to zip outside at will from our Lanai stateroom. Agents will discover the new spaces and accommodations décor and amenities a pleasant update for a ship that’s still highly popular with guests.