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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My husband and I stayed in a balcony room. We went on this Alaskan cruise for our 1 year anniversary but unfortunately it wasn't what we were expecting. The food was quite poor everywhere we went. The only place with great taste was the ... Read More
My husband and I stayed in a balcony room. We went on this Alaskan cruise for our 1 year anniversary but unfortunately it wasn't what we were expecting. The food was quite poor everywhere we went. The only place with great taste was the Asian Bistro! That place was excellent. Other than that the food tasted fake and very bland. The presentation was even bad. It was quite disheartening for the amount of money being invested in all of this. The ship was also outdated, seemed like it hadn't been renovated since the early 90s. The service of the ship however was quite nice. Everyone was pleasant and accommodating. The entertainment was average. There could have been more variety of it. The room was spacious, the tv and movie selection was great for the lazy moments of the cruise. The food was our number one complaint. We did not have a bad experience with the other cruise lines' food so we were expecting this one to be the same. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Chose the cruise for the itinerary over Princess Ruby. Wanted to see Glacier Bay this trip. Booked an ocean view which was fine as we spent most time outside, in the spa, on excursions, or in crows nest. Room is a little small but fine. ... Read More
Chose the cruise for the itinerary over Princess Ruby. Wanted to see Glacier Bay this trip. Booked an ocean view which was fine as we spent most time outside, in the spa, on excursions, or in crows nest. Room is a little small but fine. Great water pressure in shower. There were a few stray hairs in the shower when we got in the room so they could improve the cleaning a little. Also found a cracker under the bed, so they need to vacuum better. The food in the main dining room was surprisingly good. Not gourmet 5 star but far better than what I've had on Royal Caribbean. I would rate it equal to Celebrity. The drinks were very fairly priced. $8 for a nice wine or drink including tip. The Crows Nest coffee bar is excellent with a grande latte being $3.25, far better than Starbucks. Food in the Lido only average except for a great salad bar and bread pudding. It is hard to find a table as others have said so food gets cold by the time you sit down. We only went when the dining room was closed. Didn't try pizza or burgers or specialty restaurants. Entertainment was excellent, particularly BB Kings and classical. All very well done. Ports- we were insanely lucky with weather so had a totally sunny day in Ketchikan and did the float plane to Misty Fjords. Spectacular due to great weather and goof pilot. In Sitka, we had 10 humpback whales all around us. And in Juneau we saw whales and the Mendenhall Glacier. Best Glacier was Johns Hopkins which you can only get into after September 1. The Princess didn't go there but our ship did. We talked with someone on the Princess and they said we definitely picked the better ship. Staff was great across the board. Well trained and everyone super kind and friendly. I'd recommend this cruise. It's not luxury cruising but it's very good and fairly priced. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was the cruise that was on the bucket list and I am so glad that my husband and I decided to take it. I can only give you my thoughts as I have no comparisions with other cruise lines. Pro's - I purchased the pre hotel package ... Read More
This was the cruise that was on the bucket list and I am so glad that my husband and I decided to take it. I can only give you my thoughts as I have no comparisions with other cruise lines. Pro's - I purchased the pre hotel package through Holland and we were met late night at the airport by a rep and our luggage was taken and we were guided to the shuttle to take us directly to our Hotel. The next morning, our luggage was taken and we only saw it again onboard. We were taken by bus right to the terminal and were in our cabin before noon. It was very smooth and uncomplicated which we were thankful for. Our cabin was very well appointed and I thought very spacious given what I had previously read about size, the balcony was good sized and was the best part of the room. Bed was comfortable and we had everything we needed and we were very well taken care of. The ship was beautiful and very easy to get around in and find things easily. We did not take advantage of alot of the night life preferring to sit on our balcony or the promonade deck and relax. We mostly ate at the Lido and the food was really good especially the surf and turf night that my husband took full advantage of. We also had the New York Pizza and the caprese salad both were good. We had booked several excursions, evening whale watching the appetizers and drinks in Juneau and it was really awesome, we also took the sea otter and whale watching in Sitka and was thrilled to see so many. We did not book anything in Ketchican but did walk around the town and have an awesome crab lunch. This is a truly wonderful cruise and we fully enjoyed it. Oh, and the online Navigator app was really awesome to keep track of my account and all the activities that were available. I did purchase the highest internet package they had 1000 minutes for $250 and found it faster than I had thought it would be and the logging out was no problem and I snapped a picture each time since I had read it could be an issue. Con's - lol I have to say it too, I had read another review where it said what is it with spoons and I thought the exact same thing, put them with the rest of the silverware. I thought the food on the Lido was pretty good although we felt the desserts were lacking in variety and flavor, there were lots of dry cake and cream puffs. Ice cream seemed to be the big winner. I do not have many con's. The only thing about walking around in the enclosed areas of the ship was that I thought it was over warm at least for me. I found the disembarkment procedure to be pretty easy although I did also buy the post hotel package and while there was a bus to take us back to the hotel, we had to handle our own luggage and I felt that for the amount that I had paid it should have been taken care of on the return as well. Other than the above I had no complaints and the ones I had were not many. All in all we have a wonderful time and the things that were not exactly right were very minor and I would take the trip again or cruise with the line again. We loved Alaska and I will never forget the sights of Glacier Bay and all of the animals that we saw. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This cruise was excellent right from the start! This was a family get together, siblings and their spouses. Holland America was incredible, no lines to check in. Our cabin was ready immediately when we boarded at 12 noon. Our cabin was ... Read More
This cruise was excellent right from the start! This was a family get together, siblings and their spouses. Holland America was incredible, no lines to check in. Our cabin was ready immediately when we boarded at 12 noon. Our cabin was spotless ! Food really good, we have been on a lot of different cruise lines. Hats off to the chef on this ship he has great tatse!!! Lobster tails, cooked to perfection. Our family couldn't stop talking about the service and food. Only negative , during our cruise entertainment lacking on a few days. BB King night club, you ROCK. Main stage magician amazing, comic great ! Other nights where average, dancers, singers on stage. Still highly recommend this ship and staff, we had an amazing cruise!!!! The service staff, check in, steward, bartenders, cooks, everyone thank you for your excellent service. Keep setting the standard for others to emulate! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My partner made me promise I'd never make him sail to Alaska.... I persevered in persuading him and we finally did it. He rated the trip a solid 10/10. We love HAL and are very loyal to them- the Niew Amsterdam was exceptional. We ... Read More
My partner made me promise I'd never make him sail to Alaska.... I persevered in persuading him and we finally did it. He rated the trip a solid 10/10. We love HAL and are very loyal to them- the Niew Amsterdam was exceptional. We sailed 09/09/2017 Vanouver to Vancouver- Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and Glacier Bay. The itinerary was very interesting, and the scenery was incredible. As always, the service on the ship was first rate, the food was consistently great, the ship was immaculate and the overall experience was impressive. We enjoyed our cabin - 4157. Well located and well appointed. 4157 has an oversized balcony which we enjoyed daily. We enjoyed a night at the Pan Pacific in Vancouver- excellent location and lovely facility. Did the Mount Roberts tram in Juneau- at $33 US we felt it was good value. The white pass rail in Skagway is a "must do"- well worth the money. Meandered around Ketchikan and enjoyed it very much. Glacier Bay was simply STUNNING. Add it to your bucket list! We enjoy the casino, and must note that the casino hosts and staff are extremely helpful, friendly and professional. Shout out to Novi ( cabin steward for 4157 and also our steward on our Koningsdam holiday sailing last December) as well as to Ned and Roberto in the casino. A great trip- thanks as always, HAL!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our third cruise on the HAL Volendam to Alaska. We went because we had enjoyed the experience of a cruise. Having traveled in many parts of the world, mainly by flying or driving, we wanted to see what cruising had to offer. After ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the HAL Volendam to Alaska. We went because we had enjoyed the experience of a cruise. Having traveled in many parts of the world, mainly by flying or driving, we wanted to see what cruising had to offer. After three trips I can say if offers a pampered lifestyle that allows you to relax and enjoy the travel. The Alaska cruise is the perfect venue for a first timer and there are many different ships and cruise lines. We chose Holland America for the simple reason they catered to older folks but still offer something for the younger set. The prime reason for repeating with the Volendam is the dining venues. The Main Dining Room with set settings was our choice, the same waiter and wine steward was a refreshing service. The menu was varied and supported anything we may have wanted. The menu was the same, although differed daily, for all three cruises. The only disappointment was the oceanview cabin was obstructed, this was because all the other oceanview were sold out, because we had booked late. Our cabin was exactly like the previous oceanview, except there was a bulkhead out the window. I felt it was like an interior cabin, with a window. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
As background, we have cruised approximately 9 times before. We choose our cruise primarily according to the itinerary and we have spread our allegiance to a number of different cruise companies. Our first cruise was with HAL (Westerdam) ... Read More
As background, we have cruised approximately 9 times before. We choose our cruise primarily according to the itinerary and we have spread our allegiance to a number of different cruise companies. Our first cruise was with HAL (Westerdam) and we chose to cruise on the Volendam because we wanted to see Alaska. I had read the Cruise Critic reviews prior to booking / sailings. At the time there weren’t many recent reviews. On the positive side, we felt the food was good, plenty of choice and well presented. Our cabin steward gave us first class service and our cabin was in a great position – at the most forward position, underneath the bridge. The scenery and views on board ship of Alaska were nothing short of stunning. We opted for “freedom dining” and for a table for the 2 of us. This seems to be a bit of a misnomer, as it seemed difficult to get a table for 2 if you turned up not having booked. We were also frequently seated (until I complained) close to the serving stations. We felt the markup on (what seemed to us to be mediocre) wines was excessive, so we didn’t purchase any wine with our meals. I felt disappointed with the men’s dress approach on “gala nights”. I appreciate this is a matter of personal choice, but I feel that those who “make the effort” should be afforded the privilege e.g. of sitting in a designated part of the restaurant. The afternoon tea was exceptionally disappointing. The water for the tea was tepid and took the waiters ages to replace. It was a long time before they bought my coffee. There were 4 finger sandwiches, which we ate. We were joined by another couple later on and asked for some more sandwiches and the waiter muttered something about sharing the first plate! We didn’t go back. The ship is a bit tired (and maybe some of the crew are as well). She will have a refit later this year. Whoever decided that it was good idea to put the cabin light switches behind the pillows clearly hasn’t turned over in bed – not a pleasant awakening at 2 AM !! Also who had the bright idea that you should lock up the safe in your cabin with a credit card, clearly hadn’t thought this one through (what do you do with the credit card? Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We have always wanted to see Alaska and this cruise fitted the bill perfectly. My wife is in a wheelchair and we were very impressed how accessible the whole of the ship was. We were very impressed that Holland America had a good ... Read More
We have always wanted to see Alaska and this cruise fitted the bill perfectly. My wife is in a wheelchair and we were very impressed how accessible the whole of the ship was. We were very impressed that Holland America had a good selection of wheelchair accessible excursions available (unlike other companies who we have cruised with in the past!) In Juneau we went whale watching and were transported in a coach with a wheelchair lift. In Skagway we did the White Pass Rail Journey where there were coaches with wheelchair lifts. The only problem we had was the White Pass Railway excursion where we were constantly told before that we disembarked by tender, that the train was specially reserved to our ship and would wait for us all to disembark. When our tender finaly docked the train had already left which upset a large number of people. However there was another train which was leaving in 3 hours so we spent the time looking around Skagway before catching the later train. The food in the MDR was some of the best we have had in all the cruises we have been on. We also ate in the 3 speciality restaurants - Pinnacle, Canaletto and Le Cirque - they were all excellent and we would recommend dining here. The choice of bars was good and the theatre shows were good. Overall we would recommend this cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise after narrowing down the date range and what we wanted to do. I was happy to sail with Holland America again. I had a great experience with them many years ago. We were looking for a cruise and land package and ... Read More
We chose this cruise after narrowing down the date range and what we wanted to do. I was happy to sail with Holland America again. I had a great experience with them many years ago. We were looking for a cruise and land package and Holland America had just what we wanted. We booked a vista suite and it was spacious and comfortable. We enjoyed the balcony quite a bit. The food was excellent, we ate in the main dining room, the Lido market, the Dive In and Pinnacle Grill. We never had a bad meal. The entertainers onboard were fun and engaging. We enjoyed all of our excursions; fishing, gold panning, whale watching, northern lights, dog mushing. The ports were very safe and charming. The staff onboard were all professional, knowledgeable and friendly. The spa was wonderful, I took advantage of one of their specials while my husband did our laundry. It was so convenient to have a self-serve laundry room on a 12 day vacation. All transfers were handled smoothly. I have never experienced such a speedy embarkation or debarkation from a cruise ship. The land portion of our trip included train rides, Denali and seeing the northern lights, which was a highlight of the trip. Sadly, we did not see any bears, caribou or moose, but we saw plenty of sea life and eagles. It was a great and memorable way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We have always wanted to venture to Alaska, and the Inside Passage was truly amazing. So many islands, beautiful terrain. Lovely boat, overall, I must say. GREAT: America's Test Kitchen presentations were amazing. BB King club was ... Read More
We have always wanted to venture to Alaska, and the Inside Passage was truly amazing. So many islands, beautiful terrain. Lovely boat, overall, I must say. GREAT: America's Test Kitchen presentations were amazing. BB King club was also fantastic and fun! The best, however, was Fusion, the Quartet--such very talented musicians and just so entertaining. Erin was fantastic, and we loved her lovely voice as Cruise Director. The ship's staff was very friendly, mostly Filipino. (The friendliness, though, wasn't the kind of sincere relationships we have had with staff on past cruises. Seems like these poor people are paid miserably, and work very hard.) We loved Alaska and all the stops (Juneau, Ketichkan, & Sitka) -- recommend getting out into wilderness as much as you can. We saw bears and eagles. NOT SO GREAT: The classes at the fitness club were not great. Very mediocre, and meant for a "general" cruise crowd, not those athletic really. Young staff who talked down like you've never used a gym before. Decent gym, but more space needed for stretching and weights. Rudi's dining was a rip off--do not pay the extra money. The Palisade Cafe was good--fresh meat, filet, steak that was worth the extra mark up. In previous cruise experiences, you could get that kind of food on the regular menu. The drink packages are kind of a joke. Think carefully about what you want to consume and choose what package may work. My husband and I both bought the Signature Package, and were very upset that it wouldn't cover my favorite champagne by the glass (Veuve Cluvoe)... I would have been happy to pay the $2.50 difference from the $15.00 maximum charge for my package. They should be very clear about what you can and cannot buy, and the staff also seems to be very confused about this. Over $500 pp for the week is a lot to pay, and not worth all the confusion the packages can bring. The amount of time at the ports was dismal and rushed, especially the last stop in Victoria. Also, the ports are SO VERY touristy, with many of the jewelry and trinket shops being owned by the plethora of cruise companies. The excursions are way too expensive, and we would suggest booking with other, private companies. Read Less
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