After a couple of nights at the Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour and a day at the cricket, we caught a taxi down to Darling Harbour#8. Just as we were dropped off, four buses of North Americans arrived at the terminal direct from their long flights. The organization was lacking terribly.The representatives failed to give the same directions and older passengers struggled due to the lack of seats, refreshments and a line stretching out the door. Dick, a gentleman from Washington DC certainly voiced his displeasure.
After 45 minutes or more, we were on the escalators going up to the Volendam.Smiling faces greeted us and directed us to the Lido Deck for lunch while we waited for our cabin to be ready. Within an hour, our stateroom (inside cabin) was ready.Our cabin was reasonable in size and cleaned to an excellent standard. For the next fourteen days, everything went almost perfectly. The skies were sunny except for Melbourne, the scenery amazing, the seas were smooth to moderate, the meals were varied and delicious and the entertainment was excellent considering the size of the ship. To top it off, we met a group of people who enjoyed every minute of their cruise by ignoring those minor issues which occur on any vacation.
Unlike previous cruises, there didn't seem to be level of hard sell which did affect my level of enjoyment on those cruises. The only constant complaint I heard from other passengers was that they felt ripped off when they did excursions through the ship's shore excursions. I did the Taieri Gorge Railway using the city bus, online booking and lunch and beers onboard for $70US while the ship's excursion price was $237 US.
Due to the cruise being in the summer vacation for Australia, lots of kids were onboard. Although most were well behaved and supervised by their parents, some did too often run near the pool, in passageways and in areas where they should not have been. The Captain did mention the responsibilities of parents onboard in his initial address to all passengers but unfortunately some parents did take in the message.
This was my second Holland America Cruise. Like the previous one, the crew certainly are first class. Service of the highest standard was provided with a smile by every crew member. My family had a great time with outstanding value. It was great to visit new ports like Burnie and Picton. Milford Sound at daybreak is unforgettable!!