Just back from a 14 day cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong. I honestly thought about NOT writing a review on the trip because it was so "Un newsworthy" . The Volendam was in excellent condition, everything "worked", the weather was great, and the crew performed up to all expectations. As on all previous HAL cruises, the entertainment was very low key, and "unremarkable". (Entertainment in the main theater was poor, and the entertainment in the individual lounges was excellent )
For those not used to HAL ships, the Volendam is a nicely laid out smaller ship. (1800 passengers) Unlike larger ships, you rarely (if ever.) have to wait in a line, and we have never felt crowded anywhere on board. We especially enjoy the full walk around deck, and put in a couple miles a day trying to walk off all the food.
Speaking of food, the food onboard was "cruise line typical", noting bad, but nothing to rave about. (Having sailed on both RCCL and NCL over the past 6 months, I would rate the food on board the Voldndam a step above both of them, but not up to the standards set 10-15 years ago on any of the cruise lines) I did enjoy the fact that the company went out of their way to stock "real" exotic fruit from the far east. Snake fruit, Lychee fruit, Mangosteen, Dragon Fruit, Passion fruit and more were available from time to time. (NCL's idea of "exotic local fruit" seems to be canned Dole fruit cocktail)
While I can not comment on any of the shore excursions, (We set up our own at each port through the message boards here.) I heard no complaints from fellow passengers who did use ship excursions. Port times were generous, with no shore stays so short so as to be an issue. .
As usual both my wife and I enjoyed the "little things" HAL does, from the cold wet towels and lemonade waiting for you when you board each day, to the several themed "parties" that are thrown each cruise. Kudo's also to the tech person at the computer lab who helped us with our malfunctioning camera, and the librarian who watched over the extensive (For a cruise ship) library.
Bottom line? HAL is not for those who want all the fancy bells and whistles in their cruise, but for those who like smaller ships, are "port" driven, or who enjoy cruising the way it "used" to be, this may be the line/ship for you.