On arrival it was easy checking in and one of the staff gave me a tour around the ship. It was very helpful to know where to find the places I like to go to best.
The food was fabulous and I love the new open seating in the dining room for dinner. Made it easier to plan where you would like to eat dinner each day. Very convenient set-up with the call reservations each day you would like seating. Also, the staff was very careful to make sure I did not receive any meals or desert with my food allergy items included. This was quite an undertaking on their part as one of my allergies is strawberries and it seems strawberry are the garnish of the ships fruit salads and desserts.
I enjoyed Aruba and the shopping. It was a very warm day but still comfortable for walking around. I visited lots of the jewelry shops that were suggested in a lecture by Jason on the Volendam. Jason was very informative and handed out packets which included maps for easy travel around Aruba. Jason definitely goes the extra mile!
My room was very nice. It was quickly cleaned and the staff was very friendly and helpful. I had one problem with a small water leak that was taken care of immediately after a phone call.
The art auctions were well managed and quite interesting. As I am not an expert in art, I found them very educational and to get an idea of what I might like to bid on at some time in the future.
I planned on going to some of the plays, etc. but must admit I was addicted to the piano bar from the first night of hearing the Piano Man Charley perform. Charley is the most gifted entertainer I have ever encountered on a cruise. His interaction with his audience and ability to play and sing any song that was requested was remarkable. Charley the Piano Man Rocks the Boat (or should I say ship?).
I did hear some of the other musical talent while walking through the ship, but the ability of the musicians was not remarkable and therefore did not spend a lot of time in their areas.
The movies were quite a treat. I love the bags of popcorn made available when you enter to watch the movie. The Volendam had a lot of nice little extra touches that I found extremely nice.
I did treat myself to a facial and that too was an excellent experience. The staff was all very friendly and I would definitely treat myself again on the next cruise.
The Panama Canal was an experience that every person needs to have. I spent time on many of the different decks to get views from many angles. It is so interesting going through the canal. Lots of fun and great to talk about with family.
I have to say that the staff that cleans the restrooms are all so friendly. I made a point to talk to them and they seemed to enjoy talking about where they are from and about their families. It really is amazing how smooth the Volendam staff runs things and keeps everything so spotless. It is very impressive!
The library was also a must spot for me each day. It is so comfortable and easy to just read your book and totally relax! The librarian and staff were very helpful with the computers and books.
Another very worthy mention has to be the photographers. The photos were top notch and the photographers all seem to really like what they are doing. I purchased some photos as keepsakes!I found the cruise expenses to be fair. I do not purchase a lot of extras, but felt that I did get good value for my money on what I did buy.
One negative part of my trip was people smoking. Makes it difficult for non-smoking people such as myself that have allergies. I am hoping Holland America considers to have either smoking rooms or only outside smoking on their cruises.
My main objective for taking this cruise was to get a lot of relaxation time. I came back from the cruise very relaxed and with a new bounce in my step. Am really looking forward to booking another Holland America cruise.