Volendam Cruise Review by Wozzie29: Give Volendam a miss
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Give Volendam a miss
We will not cruise HAL Volendam again and won't recommend it though we had a Veranda Room
Our room was in such poor condition with a huge smashed window that looked like it had been like that for some time; peeling paint; rust marks and the edge of the desk area so badly broken that I scratched and cut my arm any time I sat there. Ended up with a towel over the edge to make it safe but the sharp edges still poked through. However, the bed was comfortable and bathroom a reasonable size.
Room was very warm but we were lucky to be able to keep our veranda door open to cool off, even though we had the aircon set to the lowest possible setting. Too hot for sleeping.
The food on board was fairly unappetising; one night we even paid the extravagant $25 ea to eat at a specialty restaurant which proved a total waste of time. The steak was no better than in the Main Dining Room which at least had changing menus daily.
Because we insisted on our pre-requested More anytime dining, we seemed to be treated as pests with tables often not available though we saw empty ones. They really seemed to dislike this option and tried hard to push us to late permanent seating. One of the door staff was fine but the "main man" was surly and unhelpful each time we encountered him.
The buffet offered little variety and closed quickly; some days lunch was only for one hour then all was shut down allowing only the Terrace Grill as a place for a snack. Many times during the day there was nowhere to get a snack unless you paid extra.
That said, cocktails were great with some interesting daily specials.
The Main Dining Room also liked to rush you out, we found. Staff we encountered had poor English skills frequently misunderstanding our request and then being nigh on unintelligible in their reply. It took effort each night to make sure we got what we ordered.
The onboard entertainment was very poor - we only saw the first show which was an embarrassment of cliches badly presented on the tiny stage; it was cringeworthy so we missed the others. The magician was hohum.
Not much in the way of onboard events anyone in our group wanted to attend and no interesting speakers.
The microsoft free computer classes were helpful and I did find some of them a good thing to attend once.
In Glacier Bay the weather was spectacularly good but all talks were inside with no views and nothing was broadcast outside. We missed these because we didn't want to miss what we really came to Alaska to see and do. I wish they had broadcast when they saw wildlife because if you were on the side where, eg whales appeared, you were lucky if someone pointed it out but you had no chance otherwise.
For $90 I had a hot stone massage which was worthless to me - it was delivered by their beautician! If I could I'd ask for my money back instantly since others in my party had great experiences. Less
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Cabin review: B6222 Vista Suite with Verandah
Dreadful - HAL should be ashamed. Our room was in such poor condition with a huge smashed window that looked like it had been like that for some time; peeling paint; rust marks and the edge of the desk area so badly broken that I scratched and cut my arm any time I sat there. Ended up with a towel over the edge to make it safe but the sharp edges still poked through. However, the bed was comfortable, pillows ok and bathroom a reasonable size.
Port and Shore Excursions
The Five Glaciers flight is my personal highlight and the pilot was excellent.
Perfect weather and a playful young whale made this a wonderful cruise. Food was good too.
Good fun and very informative tour - need to be able to climb a short ladder in/out of the Duck
Misty Fjords Flightseeing
Beautiful flight and excellent pilot. We landed on the water mid-flight and it was lovely. A perfect day meant there was no mist. We even saw a pod of killer whales.
White Pass Scenic Railway
A smaller bus/van to the Yukon territories allowed us to see bears and marmots plus distant goats; spectacular lakes and great stops for photos with an ertaining guide/dirver. Lunch at Carcross (Caribou Crossing actually) was good then returned in the van to Fraser where we took the White Pass & Yukon Train back to Skagway.
Highly recommend this and much better than doing it with the ship.