We cruised on the Volendam from 9 to 21 December 2013 - from Singapore to Hong Kong. This was our seventh cruise on five different cruise lines.
We liked the fact that we never had to wait for the lifts and we liked the option of being able to have a bath.
Our cabin was fine, lots of storage space, but the smoke alarm kept going off for fifteen to twenty minutes every time we entered the cabin. But on the sixth night, it went off continually throughout the night. Despite reporting the problem on day one and our cabin steward reporting it three days later, it took seven days to fix the problem.
A couple on the same deck as us, but about six or seven cabins away, were not so lucky. They boarded in Sydney and by the time they got to Singapore, which was the first section of their cruise, they had changed cabins three times. On the second section, after a day at Koh Samui, they came back to find this cabin flooded, but as the ship was now full, they were not able to change to another cabin.
Another passenger took advantage of the special deal on a massage package at $149 and ended up paying 15% on top of that. A service charge on top of a service charge.
The food was very disappointing in the Lido. The hot food was always lukewarm and having to stand in queues waiting to be served made matters worse. There were only two chefs frying eggs every morning for the two/three hundred people having breakfast in the buffet. And we have never been on a cruise ship where the buffet closed at 8.00pm and the other dining rooms closed at 9.00pm.
Wait staff at the bar on the open decks showed little enthusiasm to perform their duties. On one occasion after waiting some time for a member of the bar staff to appear, my husband signalled the waiter who came over and asked "Is there a problem?"
In keeping with most cruise lines, the cost of shore excursions was exorbitant and passengers were charged for Visas even if they did not go ashore, or intend going ashore. So I presume all the cruise staff also had to have Visas as well - even if they were not going ashore.
We went to Sihanoukville in Cambodia and quite frankly this should not have been a port of call for holiday makers. The poverty was so overwhelming; it was distressing to see.
Still, we did meet some lovely people from various parts of the world.