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Volendam Cruise Review by jlunswor: Enjoyable cruise with some minor glitches

Volendam 4
Member Since 2012
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Member Rating

Cabin 4.0
Dining 4.0
Embarkation 5.0
Enrichment Activities 4.0
Entertainment 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Rates 4.0
Service 4.0
Shore Excursions 4.0
Value for Money 4.0

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Enjoyable cruise with some minor glitches

Sail Date: May 2012
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Vancouver

Overall I enjoyed my cruise to Alaska with Holland America & would recommend it, as long as you can handle a couple of "glitches".

My highlights:
- Food: I thought the food, and selection, was very good.
- Staff: the cruise director was charming & the support staff were gracious.
- Sights: the scenic cruising in BC is really lovely, and Glacier Bay was amazing.
- Activities: there was always something to do, although sometimes we chose to read or relax in the lounges. I loved the library.
- Entertainment: the nightly entertainment was decent quality. They have some good singers on board for sure!
- Ports: I enjoyed all the ports, especially Skagway. It was nice that the ship was always docked very close to the city & you didn't need to buy an excursion package to enjoy them.

Lowlights & glitches:
- Vodka I ordered via phone before the cruise never arrived & the front desk staff couldn't find record of it. However, I was charged for More it! I'm still trying to get this sorted:(
- Our room card had to be continuously replaced & we were NOT demagnetizing it; we missed a bus in Juneau when we were once again getting a replacement card.
- Front desk staff: some - especially one of the gentleman - was very unhelpful & not good at finding solutions to problems.
- We never went to Tracy Arm, & no mention/explanation was given. This was clearly listed on the itinerary, including the cruise confirmation I downloaded from the Hal website.

- If you order an item pre-cruise over the phone, get a confirmation #. If you deal with the front office, note down the name of who you talk to. Ask them to put a note on your account where appropriate.

- Get on the ship as early as possible, we didn't leave Vancouver until 5pm but as 12 noon you could go on board and have lunch, followed by ship orientations's a great time to get familiar with the ship.

- If you like to party past 11pm, invite other people to meet you at the Crow's Nest ("disco" on the top desk) was a ghost town most nights!

- Bring waterproof shoes, jacket, & maybe gloves. I wish I'd had a jacket with an attached hood that protected my ears/neck when we were in Glacier Bay!

Ports: We were on a budget so we only did one excursion. There was plenty to do if you are a "do it yourselfer" like us.

JUNEAU: We paid $14 (return) for a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier. You can buy these tickets from the booths in front of the ship. We walked around a bit & went to the glacier visitors centre. Then we returned to town & walked around. There is free hotspot Internet access at the library.

SKAGWAY: Skagway was my favourite port. We booked an excursion, the White Pass Railroad($130 each) and enjoyed it. We walked around town & bit out of town to the cemetery...I heard a rumour that a bit up from the cemetery is a lookout point. We visited the museum which was interesting. A fun place to wander.

KETCHICKAN: It was so wet here, a store clerk told us they had one day of sunshine last year! We caught a free bus in front of the ship that took us to one of the totem pole places. We caught the same bus back to town & wandered around. There is 1 free hour of hotspot internet access at the library & the museum is in the same building. Less

Published 05/15/12

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