I booked the VOLENDAM mainly due to her Wednesday departure dates, which insured fewer other cruise ships in port. Only in Ketchikan did we encounter other passenger ships. The voyage itself was just what we wanted, 7 days, inside passage, and visiting Glacier Bay. We lucked out by having very good weather. Only completely rainy on one day, sunny most other days. The VOLENDAM was a pleasant surprise. Food and dining room service better than I expected. This certainly was not best food I have had on a cruise ship but it was top notch. Dining room service in main dining room was very good and quick which is important with kids, who do not want to waiting between courses. We had not trouble with our open seating policy, if you reserved the size table you wanted a day ahead of time you could get what you wanted without any hassle. Since we booked a Suite (really a large room and not technically a suite) we had access to the Neptune Lounge and all of its perks. The staff in the lounge provided us with a lot of special requests, no ? asked. We also greatly enjoyed the daily breakfast service in Pinnacle Grill. So upsides to VOLENDAM were good food, fine service, nicely decorated ship, walk around promenade, no crowding , and large rooms.
The worst part of the ship experience was the night time entertainment. It was so BAD it was funny. No live music with production shows and the singers and dancers could not sing or dance. One magician they had one night was OKAY. Highlight of the entertainment program was a showing of Jack London's WHITE FANG movie about Alaska. Of course we did not embark on an Alaska cruise for the shows, so this did not bother me. But you can tell costs have been cut in this area.
We enjoyed all the Alaska ports, especially sailing in Glacier Bay where we had sunny weather. If you like wildlife and mountain scenery you will love Alaska.