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7 Night Alaska Cruise from Vancouver

7 Night Alaska Cruise from Vancouver

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Volendam
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Vancouver
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Juneau
  • Day 4
    Skagway
  • Day 5
    Glacier Bay
  • Day 6
    Ketchikan
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Vancouver

Volendam

Volendam - Holland America Line

Pros

Incredibly polished service from friendly, well-trained crew

Cons

Does show its age in several areas throughout the ship

Bottom Line

Nice variety of activities, amenities and enrichment on a manageable midsize vessel


Cruise Reviews

1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland ... Read More
In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland America expressing my concerns about the poor service and food quality on the ship. It felt like I was on a training voyage for most of the staff. Let's start with the Dining Room. On my first night I asked my server what my complimentary drink options were with dinner and he could not answer the question. Same result when the Wine Steward was asked. I was a little taken back when I was told a can of Coke would be $2.50 with dinner. Really? Seems like nickel and diming when I can get a nice steak for dinner but have to pay for a soda. (Carnival got this right!). I had numerous experiences where the staff had to clarify simple orders several times (I do not have an accent), and several occasions where the wrong meal was served. I had steaks that were way overcooked, I had fish & chips where the fish was still a gelatinous mass and totally inedible. Diner was served without cutlery, steaks served without steak knives, a nearly empty bottle of ketchup provided for the whole table and everyone had fish and chips and wanted to have some. The waiter disappeared when asked for a full bottle and never came back. Another server had to be asked. In general, the Dining Room staff seemed untrained and confused most of the time. The fish & chips lunch special was a farce. We were one of the first tables seated, and yet 45 minutes later, while most other tables were already on to desert, we hadn't been served yet. And when we finally were, the fish was extremely under cooked. My daughter was ill after eating her first bite. We ended up leaving and finding some food on the Lido deck. On to the Lido deck buffet. In general the food on the Lido was OK. It was not exceptional by any means. Many of the preparation staff were obviously untrained with under and over-cooked food, and improperly prepared food. I've had better food at cheap buffet restaurants. My previous Carnival cruises far outperformed Holland America's Lido Deck offerings. Many of the table staff were non-responsive when thanks were given for their service. The hot water dispenser was constantly running out of water, and the milk dispenser for tea and coffee was also often empty. I had staff disappear and never return when I asked for the for more the milk to be refilled. I had one server tell me to go to the other side of Lido deck when the ketchup dispenser was empty instead of sourcing some for me. My food was getting cold as I wandered around trying to find ketchup, and in the end the dispensers on both sides were empty. The server seemed miffed when I approached her and asked again. In general there didn't seem to be any pride or ownership in the food preparation, and the staff didn't really seem to remember why they were there. Guest Services also dropped the ball on more than one occasion. I decided to have a movie night with my daughter and ordered a couple DVDs to our stateroom. 30 minutes later the wrong DVD was delivered. I asked for the correct ones and was promised he'd be right back. 30 minutes later, with no calls from Guest Services and no delivery, I called again and was told they would call me right back with a status. 45 minutes later I went to Guest Services and the DVDs were still sitting there, and one was not the selection I had requested. So 1 3/4 hours after my initial call I finally had the DVDs. When Guest Services was made of aware of my email to Holland America head office, they addressed 1 of the issues and had no comment on any of the other issues. I had been relating my issues to one of the staff, and they passed the info to one of the ship's officers who later tracked me down. We had a long conversation about the issues I'd experienced and he agreed that most of the issues I'd experienced were totally unacceptable and they had dropped the ball on multiple occasions. He promised to speak with the various department heads and ensure the rest of the trip would be issue free. Unfortunately this was not the case as there was no change in the service for the rest of the trip. On the 2nd to last night in the Dining Room we were presented with a couple of complimentary glasses of Prosecco, which neither of us drink. The better option would have been to come up and tell us that they would like to offer us a complimentary drink and ask us what we would like. We never bothered going back to the Dining Room after that. The last drydock did make some nice upgrades to the stateroom bathrooms, but they should have replaced the old tube TVs while they were at it. Our TV looked like Alaska in winter. Almost not worth trying to watch anything on it. Certainly not the quality we'd have expected based on the cost of the room. We did have some great service from our room stewards, and 1 Lido deck server whom I recognized personally at the end of the cruise. I also had Guest Services remove all the gratuities from my final bill as they were definitely not earned. The cruise itself was great, and despite all the service and food issues we had a good time, however the added stress of dealing with my feelings of being shortchanged by the cruise line did put a damper on a lot of the cruise. I don't get a lot of opportunities to take vacations like this and to pay this much and then be so let down after being sold that Holland America was a premium cruise line. Never again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with ... Read More
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with HAL before and 8 of our previous cruises were with NCL. I had the impression that HAL cruises were for an older, quieter demographic and they seemed to offer less flash and dash as NCL so we had previously avoided booking. When we finally made the decision to join our friends and found out it was an older smaller ship we lowered our expectations accordingly and felt it would be an affordable way to see Alaska as the fare was quite low in comparison to what we usually pay. We booked a deck 3 promenade ocean view stateroom (3418) and over the course of three months added a few extras such as a couples thermal suite pass, specialty dining for the Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants and two excursions (Tracy Arm explorer and Skagway White Pass rail, Yukon tour). We arrived the night before and stayed at the Fairmont at Vancouver airport. The skytrain goes from the airport to Waterfront station and then a 1.5 block walk to the Canada Place cruise terminal. There were three ships embarking that day and we were impressed with how smooth everything went. I felt our 10:30 arrival time was too early though and a noon arrival would have likely allowed us less in terminal waiting time. The ship is twenty years old and the decor shows its age but it appeared to be very clean throughout and our cabin was clean and roomy compared to some Ocean view cabins we've had in the past. A nice surprise was the renovated washroom which I felt was just as nice as the NCL Bliss' washrooms. Our cabin steward Bach was very friendly and efficient with any requests we had. He was around and interacted with us just the right amount of time and we enjoyed our chats with him. He made it clear he was always available if anthing was not to our liking with the stateroom and provided excellent service throughout the entire cruise. The main dining room food was above average and breakfast was fine every morning as well. The Pinnicule was incredible. My surf and turf was delicious and my wife really enjoyed her salmon. It was a fine dining experience with incredible service from our waitress Sharin. Overall the food was as good as any NCL ship including the specialty restaurants. The cruise had an authentic traditional cruise feel to it and we were able to focus on the awesome scenery and wildlife that we seen throughout our cruise. All of the activities and information sessions we went to were informative and interesting. The Alaska beer tasting was fun and we met people from all over the world and shared a few laughs. I would have to give the entire cruise a solid 8 out of 10 and our low expectations were greatly exceeded in all areas. We now will put HAL on our "do again" list. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After ... Read More
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After dinner that night, other table guest were gone, wife mentioned it was our anniversary. The waiter did not know, told us to wait, ran off and got a cake for us, poor communication. Waiter, probably doing his job, trying to up sale dinners. Card on table, advertises a seafood dinner for $27 and a steak for $76 and waiter tells about it every night, nobody was impressed. Leave this to the specialty restaurants. If this is the way things are going, average people "the bread and butter" cruisers, will stop cruising. The "whole" dinning experience was disappointing, things are going downhill fast. Entertainment, not much better. Really not much to do on board. The Mariners Club lunch was poorly organized two of us stuck at a table for six, other people the same way. The Captain and staff did not even stay. No Captains cocktail party. The best thing was the assistance my wife received, getting on and off the ship thank you. Sailed three times with HAL and this was definitely the last. Read Less
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