I am sure that if you look hard enough in any service industry, you will find matters to criticise. The measure of how good a company is how they respond to those criticisms. I have to say that our trip around NZ on the Volendam was a very pleasant experience and we enjoyed the cruise very much. We were travelling with 2 other couples and did our own thing generally during the day and then met at night for drinks and dinner.
The positives: room was a good size, with large bathroom; cabin stewards unobtrusive and efficient; food was excellent (some of the best beef I have eaten); on-board credit was a welcome surprise; the Volendam singers and dancers were excellent; most of the guest entertainers were also excellent; the staff in the main dining room were great (we tried to sit in the same area each night); the gym was excellent with very good staff on hand; the Captain was excellent with his twice-daily briefings (although he seemed shy when we tried to chat with him More
informally); my wife loved her almost daily omelette; the cost of wine was quite reasonable (it helped that the Aus dollar was better than parity while we were on the ship); my wife found some moisturised that was about a third of the price she pays at home;
The negatives: smoking areas pervaded the non-smokers (HAL are considering this issue); our friends found the kids were VERY noisy in the pool area; the coffee generally was rubbish; the TV in the room was set up too high; Eugene, the guitarist on the pool deck could not sing and was a tad annoying if you were trying to read a book or just relax (a nice guy though!);
The disappointments: we were unable to get into Milford Sound because of bad weather; we didn't win the bingo; my wife did not get a Royal Flush at the poker!; Christmas dinner was quite disappointing; the weather was not great but we expected that.
Other comments: we did not go on any excursions, but did our own thing, really enjoying Napier. Mt Manganui and the Bay of Islands; there were no problems with us bringing a couple of bottles of wine on to the ship at each port.
I enjoyed this cruise and would like to experience the service on a higher rated HAL ship. Less