We choose this Holland America cruise on the Volendam for the great ports of call. Had a great time for our first time in Asia. The ship was clean, nice and small. We do not like large ship the smaller the better. The food and service was ... Read More
We choose this Holland America cruise on the Volendam for the great ports of call. Had a great time for our first time in Asia. The ship was clean, nice and small. We do not like large ship the smaller the better. The food and service was great. Our dining room steward was excellent. Good selection of wine. Most of the time the ship excursions were great. However in Japan it was very difficult to find a good english seeking guide. All of the crew were excellent. We loved the Team trivia. Bruce our cruise director was excellent. Very good in fact a great enrichment program this time. Terry Greenberg from the University of BC gave excellent lectures on the Japanese, Korean and Chinese culture. It was very informative. He should invited back on future cruise. We had a great time on our first Asian cruise. Very good time. Thank you Read Less
I chose this cruise ,28 days, intending to visit major cities in the far east and Japan in particular and with detail. Cruised on the Volendam sept 2016 to Alaska.
Summarize this cruise as a disappointment. To begin I got sick after 5 ... Read More
I chose this cruise ,28 days, intending to visit major cities in the far east and Japan in particular and with detail. Cruised on the Volendam sept 2016 to Alaska.
Summarize this cruise as a disappointment. To begin I got sick after 5 days on board. On the previous cruise sept 2016 had the same symptoms after 4 days.I can't see how it can happen unless the air conditioning system is infected. This is not a statistic fact but 5 out of 8 people seated on the same table for dinner for diner got ill.
The Frans Hals lounge is very dusty and many of guest sitting in lounge were coughing all their stay. I could feel the "dust screen" from a distance.
The menu in main dining room some how repeated it self to much.
On sea days not enough activities on board.
Chairs in Lido restaurant, seats worn out and very uncomfortable.
Air conditioning in main dining room poor.
Service for breakfast in main dining room very slow.
Would like to praise the Indonesian hotel staff who are very smiley and offer great service.
Compared to previous cruise sept 2016 ship condition deteriorated.
I think the ship needs refurbishing and maintenance very urgently.
This cruise had a wonderful itinerary leaving from Hong Kong,and visiting large ports like Shanghai, Tianjin (Beijing), Incheon (Seoul) and Yokohama (Tokyo) as well as smaller ports like Nagasaki, Kagoshima ,Osaka, Naha, Jeju Island , ... Read More
This cruise had a wonderful itinerary leaving from Hong Kong,and visiting large ports like Shanghai, Tianjin (Beijing), Incheon (Seoul) and Yokohama (Tokyo) as well as smaller ports like Nagasaki, Kagoshima ,Osaka, Naha, Jeju Island , Ishigaki Island and Hososhima.
The Volendam, although older, is a comfortable well-sized ship. We had a verandah stateroom which we feel is worth the extra price. The food, in general, was very good.
There were interesting lectures (kudos to Master Kam) and many activities to keep people busy. The passengers were mostly in the senior age-group but most were very well-travelled and active.
The service by our room stewards was wonderful, as usual on HAL. The Lido seemed understaffed with less service than on previous cruises. The staff were always friendly.
Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly for us. However, at some ports, particularly in Japan, there were long waits and line-ups to get off the ship.
We really enjoyed the cruise and our first visit to Asia. Read Less
We choose this cruise because it was to be our first time to visit Asia. The stops were super interesting with lots of variety. We hit the cherry blossoms almost perfectly.
The ship was in fine condition with the exception of the ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was to be our first time to visit Asia. The stops were super interesting with lots of variety. We hit the cherry blossoms almost perfectly.
The ship was in fine condition with the exception of the seating. It seems that the springs in the chairs in the high traffic areas (LIDO, MDR, and Franz Hals lounge) have lost their springs. They're pretty uncomfortable.
We ate virtually all of our meals in the LIDO so that we could control the portion sizes and eat fairly quickly. This paid off in spades as both of us did not gain any weight during the cruise. There seems to be fewer staff in the LIDO and MDR
The biggest challenge I found was with the way that HAL did immigration process for the ports in which we had shore excursions. For all of the times that HAL does immigration procedures, one would think that they would have it down. I realize they don't control the local authorities and my observations are not about them. It's about HAL. Sometimes they issue priority cards (and that process is varied and flawed), one time they did it by what stateroom deck you were on (the worst), On the positive side, the embarkation in HK was the best we've ever had, and the disembarkation in Vancouver went exactly as presented.
The highlight of the entertainment were two performances: Elliot Finkle and Savannah Jack. Mr. Finkle is an amazing pianist and entertainer. He's the kind of fellow you'd like to have in your home and just chat with. Savannah Jack was a 5 person band from Nashville that performed for the first time on HAL and ALL 4 shows (2 each on 2 separate days) were different. On the final night, they played to packed audiences for both 8 and 10pm shows. Normally HAL puts a low key venue in those last time slots, but they were so high energy.
The service continued at HAL's typical high standards (with the immigration process exception).
We traveled with a 15 year old granddaughter and it would have been nicer for her to have others of the same age.
We liked the cruise so much we booked it to start in Singapore in February, 2018 and sail to Yokohama. Read Less
We just returned from the Volendam China, Japan cruise. We chose it because of the ports of call and we had been on this ship previously. We enjoyed the trip very much but have to say the time wasted getting off the ship at the different ... Read More
We just returned from the Volendam China, Japan cruise. We chose it because of the ports of call and we had been on this ship previously. We enjoyed the trip very much but have to say the time wasted getting off the ship at the different ports if you are touring independently, is a big disappointment and time wasted at the port.
We did not use the dining room more than 3 times in our 2 weeks onboard because the service is so slow and the food isn't very hot when it does arrive. We ate a Lido buffet mostly. The breakfast and lunch is great there. The dinner food has the same "not hot enough" problem. One evening I was asked by a manager how our food was. I did ask him for some hot fried rice and got some. We observed that they put the food out on the buffet line at 5 pm and it doesn't open till 5;30, so that could be the problem. They do have many choices. The MIX martini bar and Ryan the bartender are super great. We were regulars there1
Most of the ports of call were fabulous with the exception of Nagasaki, which we thought wasn't very good and not enough time to really enjoy it. Shanghai and Tokyo were our favorites. Read Less
We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary. We really liked the Volendam. Smallish and an older ship, but kept up well. Food was excellent. Cabin (6157) was adequate but did not have much storage space, but that is due to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary. We really liked the Volendam. Smallish and an older ship, but kept up well. Food was excellent. Cabin (6157) was adequate but did not have much storage space, but that is due to the age of the ship we think. Balcony was quite large, although we did not get to use it much. Very smoggy for most of the cruise. Crew was really outstanding from cabin stewards to officers. Always willing to assist with smiles. Did not take in much entertainment, but did enjoy a flutist from Scotland and the trio in the Ocean Bar was really good. Port presentations were excellent. Pool was heated, which was nice. The buffet was very good and never terribly crowded. Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze. The crew was especially outstanding in their handling of the required immigration inspections at several of the ports. Those are always a pain, due to the local authorities, but the crew made them bearable. The ports were each fascinating in their own ways. We booked our own private tours in Shanghai and Beijing through a company called China Highlights. Had a guide, private car, and driver. So glad we did that as guides were really excellent. Only tour we did via Holland America was in Seoul and it was fine. We just got off the ship and wandered on our own in Nagasaki and Kagoshima. Read Less
This itinerary of HAL's Volendam attracted us without us knowing HAL had little experience in most of these ports and March was not a warm /good month to cruise in Asia. We liked the idea to get a sample of nine ports including Yokohama, ... Read More
This itinerary of HAL's Volendam attracted us without us knowing HAL had little experience in most of these ports and March was not a warm /good month to cruise in Asia. We liked the idea to get a sample of nine ports including Yokohama, Osaka, Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong but did not know that some of the ports had little to explore ( Shimizu, Hoshishima, Naha, Keelong, Kaoshing) But we did wisely not book the cost of a verandah or Lanai as the weather proved very cool with some nights below 40degrees F.
Our embarkation heralded two problems with this cruise.In the large reception area at Yokohama there were no HAL staff to help anyone with a mobility problem Each passenger was on their own to get aboard. Throughout this cruise the lack of HAL staff to assist those with mobility problems was evident .Many of the ports had very long walks to get to the ship and there were no wheelchairs and freindly Indonesian staff to help.
The other problem was HAL did not understand the Chinese governments ruling in October 2016 that cruise passengers did not need a Chinese visa to disembark in Shanghai if they had a Chinese government licensed tour prebooked for 2 or more peoplel HAL demanded waivers to be signed at embarkatiom that state we would perhaps pay fines, be put off the ship and other nasty threats and certainly not be allowed to board in Japan/Yokohama if we did not have a Chinese visa and sign their HAL lawyers' release of liability . Many statements put in front of us to sign were false such as we needed visas for Japan,Taiwan and Hong Kong. WE checked in at 3PM on March 14 and had various letters and notificaitons from the Volendam front office about our lack of Chinese visa until 9PM on March 18 when notice came that HAL Seattle had recognized the October 2016 China 15 day free visa program for passengers on this sailing of the Volendam arriving the next norning in Shanghai. Even at 7AM im the morning of arrival HAL staff were working out how to get their passengers through immigration under the new rules. This immigration stress continued fo rthe full cruise as we were troted around to present ourselves on and off the ship for the 2 weeks cruise for Japanese, Taiwan and Hong Kong immigration. Nothing was made easy for the passengers.
WE also had the strange occasion of the mandatory life/safety drill in the middle of dinner service so everyone had to get out on deck for the 40 minutes in the middle of dinner service when all client services and dinner was shut down aorund 7PM . Poor planning for an 11 PM departure.
The Volendam is a moderate sized ( 1432 passengers) older HAL ship launched in 1999. We sailed on it in 2006 and it has had some updates including lanai added to some promenade cabins The Explorer lounge has been enlarged and joined with the nighttime MIX venue But overall it has not changed There are fewer fresh flowers and plants which was the Volendam theme and far fewer staff in the dining rooms and as cabin stewards The HAL updates of BB King and Lincoln Center are not there. Rooms do not have refrigerators but you can rent one!
So we had a full ship with a busy itininerary and it was too cool for casually eating outdoors. So the Lido was crowded upon embaraktion and it sometimes became so crowded that finding s seat for breakfast or lunch became nasty with many internationsl guests not communicating well
Our first hours also saw a special ceremony as the Mayor of Yokohama honored the captain for bringing HAL to Yokohama instead of to Tokyo Harbor. This was this captain's first trip to Japan Volendam was now coming to Yokohama in a political/econimic decision. In return Yokohama and other new ports would provide cultural guests onboard fo rthe passengers. First were Japanese drummers from Yokohama. later came Geisha dancers, Japanese women instrumentalists, and Chinese acrobats in Shanghai. Shimizu welcomed our arrival with a faireboat Another town brought out its Japanese drummers for our embarkation. The message was HAL was new to most of these ports and some would get one HAL ship visit in 2017. . , .
So when we sought counsel from the shore excurison staff they had no idea what some of the tours were about They were without any clue how rigorous some of the tours might be They proved wrong on two as not easy but quite strenuous excursions Of course the passengers learned how strenuous when the tours were run for the first time.
So the Volendam started off on its itininerary and got the passengers off in Shanghai with many delays and unexplained quirks . Then the ship tried to leave Shanghai and found a pilot problem that not only delayed departure after 11PM but had the ship sitting anchored in Shanghai's harbor for about 13 hours. The captain finally notified the passengers he had winds and fog problems although no fog horns blared. There was no ship motion problems but we wer stalled and the captain canceled the Okinawa port Naha as he ahd not left Shamnghai on time. But he got to Taiwan a day early. Surprise we did not get back our port and taxes from Okinawa. "You got an extra day in Keelong". But there was no need to get an extra day in this industrial city. Did the captain just prefer not to go back to Japan na dOkinawa?
So the weather remained cool ( highs in the 50's ) until Hong Kong and limited everyone's energies as drizzle and rain came
Immoigraiton in Hong Kong was difficult for all as the demand was made that all passengers get a number and leave the ship on call between 4PM and 6:15Pm walkign through the barren hallways of the former Tai Kak airport now the HK cruise terminal. It took most peoole 90 minutes to do the deed. There were limited staff to help those with limited mobility as all staff needed to go through immigraiton esepcially those leaving the ship the next day. . Few wheel chairs were avallable to walk about 3/4 of a mile of corridors. Mandatory for all to walk off the ship but with no assistance.
Cabns were very standard on this vessel at just under 200sq ft Lots of closet space Renovation had nice showers. HAL had the cheapest quality toilet paper ever and saved on giving us only one bar of soap in 2 weeks and one 1 ounce of hand cream in 2 weeks No replacements. The common containers in the shower held the shampoo and conditioner. The bath wash there made a good air scent fo rthe bathroom Our cabin on the lower promenade did not get access to its deck most of the trip as workers tore apart the pipping, moved tenders painted and hammered away for 2 weeks Water got dumped daily over our windows on the the inner aspect of the promenade The workers made thi s hellish room in the night time and dining carts groaned overhead late at night
Activities were very limited on this cruise The Digital workshop have not been updated since 2015. The cooking classes were ludicrous unless oyu paid Trivia was the busiest activity with an internaitonal following. The casino has raised its minimums on everything so don't look for penny machines Bingo appeared late in the cruise.-not our thing,. The evening music was best in the Ocean Bar with a dynamic trio for dancing and light jazz. The Adagio classic duo was better than our last cruise- young musuicians with some life in them. The piano man was a bit "old college try" and not our thing with very old material .
The main shows were quite variable. The dancers were excellent. Best show was the dancers by themselves. The male singers were good and the women singers atrociaous with shrill voices that hurt the ears Either HAL needs to recruit better thier female cast singers, , put better filters on the women's microphones or get women who don't break glass with their shreaks.
This cruise was busy with ports WE did not use the pool as it was too cold. WE had to fend off crowds to get a seat at shows and meals. Dinner service was a quiet respite each night away from crowds as many did not use the dining room and went to the lido to avoid getting into nice clothes after 6PM
We saw little of the . officers and leadership in 2 weeks we had inadequate informaiton from the bridge The staffing everywhere has diminished on HAL and we rarely saw anyone to assist a handicapped person,. WE would arrive to a embarkation ramop to find no HAL person present at the bottom but security at the top so there was no effort to assist anyone up the ramnps.
Dining started off with quality fresh ingredients Soon we noticed the fresh fruits wer disappearing We went from luscious large navel oranges to small bitter oranges as inedible Large grapes the first week never reappeared. Pineapple disappeared into canned varieties, The management of ice cream declined over the two weeks from many flavors to Neapolitan either all three or as one of the three flavors melting as not frozen in a form Icecream in the Lido and dining room was soft and runny My frozen yogurt had large ice chunks from poor storage
Too many of HAL's dishes have chillis and hot spicy ingredients not appropriate for an older clientele Allergic to chilis I ofund themn in soups, salads, appetisers, everything.
The quality of the vegetables on this HAL ship was better than most HAL experiences. Both variety and appropriately cooked. WE saw lots of beef entrees but rare pork except in the Asian bar No BarB Q. The pasta bar was very slow to get a eprsonal order and had only 2 varieties.
In the Lido the prepared breakfast egg, potato and meat items were not warm This made us revert to personally made egg dishes and waiting long for fresh cooked food The food on the hot table was not warm.
Dinner entrees were not very inspired limited to one pasta, one salad, one beef, one fish, one chicken and an additional try Risotto was a common entree. Appetizers/starters included chilled fruit soups, occasional shrimp cocktail, foie gras, tartars, ec Soups wer served in a pretentions manner of serving the garnish or ingredients in a dry bowl and pouring the broth over it as done on Top Chef But really it did not add much. WE started asking for the broth witout the garnish! Salads at dinner were insipid with little fresh bounce.
Winter /root ingredients made them reserved Read Less
The itinerary and timing were perfect. We have been wanting to visit Asia (specifically Japan) for a long time. Having this cruise end in Hong Kong was also a factor, as HK is one of our all-time favorite cities. The timing was ... Read More
The itinerary and timing were perfect. We have been wanting to visit Asia (specifically Japan) for a long time. Having this cruise end in Hong Kong was also a factor, as HK is one of our all-time favorite cities. The timing was important as we were celebrating our 15 year anniversary.
Rather than having a specific room booked, my wife chose to book a Category in the hopes we would be upgraded at the last minute. We were. We were put in a handicapped room. She hated it. If was larger, but had an institutional feel, had not been remodeled, had nasty looking wall tile in the shower that had been repaired and was uneven - and the entire bathroom floor was tiled with a drain in the middle. It felt like a junior high locker room shower. The counter / makeup table had numerous gouged around the edges that had been badly patched and not even sanded, let alone sealed. The room overall looked pretty beat.
We spoke with the front desk and they found us another room that was a conventional style on the 2nd floor, which was fine. They both had windows and that's all we cared about. The new room had a recently remodeled bath, but the rest of the room looked a little ragged.
In terms of service, I'm not exaggerating much when I say you could sit in the buffet on Lido until cobwebs grew from your arms to the table before anyone would bring water or coffee. Going over to get your own would trigger a rapid response to try and get the carafe away from you and fill up a glass. But having anyone notice you had sat at a table and might need water... Good luck.
The buffet was marginal. I've been on a lot of cruises. There were no elaborate fruit / vegetable displays, no carvings (fruit / ice / anything) to dress up the area. The freshness of many stations was inconsistent. Also, coming back from HA excursions around 2 pm would find everything closed except the pasta station. You would think the ship would know when tours were coming back. Especially short tours where there was no food involved or opportunities to forage - and keep the buffet open until 30 minutes or so after the tours return.
But you'd be wrong if you thought that.
The taco bar on Lido was also a disappointment. It was frequently picked-over and looked pathetic. The burger window lists portobello burgers (I'm a vegetarian) on the menu, but the one day we went to get one, they are out of portobellos. Seriously?
The main dining room was pretty decent. Not spectacular, but OK. The staff was attentive and they always had options for vegetarians. I ordered the day before most of the time and was fairly happy with the outcome.
We had booked some independent tours in Tokyo and Shimizu through Triple Lights. Both were excellent. We loved our guides and the itinerary. We had booked numerous HA tours for other cities, but after our experience in Shanghai we cancelled all of them. We gathered a few like-minded travelers and booked taxis for the rest of the trip. This worked out very well.
In Shanghai, the first day it rained ALL DAY. The 2nd day it rained only sporadically. The first day we went to the museum and then to a shrine. We had some people on the tour that never should have gone. The amount of walking was far more than they should have attempted. On the way back to the ship, one woman could not take another step. The rest of us are standing on a street corner in a downpour waiting for the tour guide to manage this debacle. We all decided to go back to the transit station where we could at least wait indoors. They had to get a motorized rickshaw to retrieve the woman, as any other vehicle could not get through to her. Eventually we all got back, but over an hour late - and wet.
Our thoughts on this are:
People with mobility issues should have their own bus.
When the weather is bad, there should be a Plan B. Either stay in the museum (in this case) or head to another indoor destination.
Keep the buffet open until the tour returns or arrange a food stop.
The overall condition of the ship is very uneven. Some areas have been remodeled while others look very worn. The center column in the atrium looks like something out of a disco movie. The undersea-themed glass lamps in the buffet look cheap. They belong in a Caribbean party cruise.
We needed to do some laundry about a week into the cruise. When we got to the tiny ship laundry, only 2 of the 4 washing machines were working. Apparently this had been the situation for well over a week according to people who had been on the ship for some time. After bringing this to the attention of the front desk, they did arrange to do our laundry at no charge. I did take 2 days to get our clothes back though. I would have preferred to just do it myself and have been finished in the span of a few hours.
We were disappointed that we missed Okinawa. My wife and I both have connections to the island. Weather was the reason for having to remove it from the itinerary, so we can hardly blame HA for this.
Most of the entertainment was of marginal to zero interest for us. Early on in the cruise, we discovered Barry from Boston in the Mix Lounge. Barry is by far one of the best entertainers I've ever seen. He plays a piano with virtuoso intensity and what he lacks in vocal quality, he really makes up for in skill. If you ever get the opportunity to see Barry from Boston, do it. He is on several HA cruises. He's talented, funny, really knows how to handle a room and was by far our favorite part of the cruise.
We met some great people, made new permanent friends and overall had a great time.
We loved Taiwan and would definitely go back. Taroko Gorge was amazing. We were very fortunate that Mount Fuji was NOT obscured by clouds on the day we were there. This is an opportunity you don't always get, so we felt very fortunate.
Hopefully HA will work the kinks out of this particular cruise, as the itinerary was excellent - with the exception of Hososhima. They could have left Hososhima off the itinerary and added a day in Osaka. That would have been better in our estimation. Read Less
So let me start out by saying that my wife and I are optimists, and easy to please. We had only been on one cruise prior to this, and it was a Disney cruise line (which was amazing, minus the squadron of children running around screaming ... Read More
So let me start out by saying that my wife and I are optimists, and easy to please. We had only been on one cruise prior to this, and it was a Disney cruise line (which was amazing, minus the squadron of children running around screaming all day). We took this ship on our honeymoon for 14 days through Asia. The average age of the guests on this cruise was approximately late 50s to early 60s. The rooms looks a bit dated and the beds were pretty hard, but it was very clean as well as inviting, and that made up for it.
The only recommendation I have is DO NOT buy any drink packages... We bought a 17.95 a day all soft drinks, water, tea, coffee, etc. and drank tons and tons of fluids and 2 to three specialty tea lattes daily, and doing the math... there's no way we could have even come close to coming out ahead. The alcohol packages are the same... the drinks are so reasonably priced (8 dollars for a rocks pour of top shelf liquor and 4-5 dollar pints) that you don't need any type of package... unless you plan on downing 3-4 bottles of wine every day consistently.
On to the good things! The staff across the board was so friendly, so polite, and went out of their way in every aspect to make sure you were having the best possible time. Our housekeeping staff was 2 gentlemen named Made and Joni, and they made it their mission to find us every day to say hello and wish us all the best. The dining staff at the Rotterdam was equally as entertaining and despite being exhausted from walking for 6-8 hours on the daily, we made an effort to get to the sit down dining because the food was fantastic, but the staff made it something to look forward to. The food on the ship as a whole was good. Even the buffet style breakfast, lunch, and dinner weren't boring and had many options.
The ports of call for this specific cruise were also mostly great stops. My wife and I didn't book any excursions, but we looked through their daily itinerary for specifics, and made our way around town with help from those as well as tripadvisor which made it more of an adventure for us.
The entertainment was also a lot of fun... Taylor was a young jack of all trades for entertainment that went out of his way to get to know us as well as other guests who attended some of the daily entertainment such as Bingo, trivia, music, etc. and once again having the staff be so friendly that it made everything that much better. The exercise equipment is limited from the viewpoint of a fitness enthusiast, but there's more than enough to get a good workout in daily. I do however recommend to the Holland American line that they ease up on pushing their spa services... I know that's their business, but when you're done getting a massage and the therapists push so much in sales that it's kind of awkward, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth about coming back.
All in all, the Holland America line was a great experience and we had such a good time that we plan on sticking to sea cruising for the majority of our vacations. We also plan on using Holland America again for our future cruises. Enjoy! Read Less
Husband and I had never been to Japan or Taiwan or Korea. 42 days should give us an opportunity to check these countries off our list. We did not plan any days before or after cruise. This makes our third trip on the Volendam and it has ... Read More
Husband and I had never been to Japan or Taiwan or Korea. 42 days should give us an opportunity to check these countries off our list. We did not plan any days before or after cruise. This makes our third trip on the Volendam and it has been updated somewhat since our last visit. We liked the fact the sea days were interspersed with port days.
Stellar talent on this trip: Master Kam for his numerous talks on Japan-Hong Kong, China and the different dynasties, Buddha followers. Excellent. Sea days he led Qi Chi meditation and Tai Chi. Jeremy for this port talks one of the most knowledgeable we have heard and his co-hort Oliver for his talks on culture, etc. Singers: Austin, Jenny, Nick and Corrina and all the dancers were among the best of any troupe we have seen on any cruise. May they remain together for many cruises. The other entertainment was somewhat below average, but with the talent of the HAL cast didn't mind.
Food was better on this trip than I remember from the last Volendam trip. I always tried to eat in the Rotterdam dining room because I don't like the combat aspect of the Lido. Also, all of the chairs are "butt sprung" in Lido and are very uncomfortable.
Hubby walks with a rollator (wheels on a walker), so sometimes it is a challenge getting on and off the ship. 90 per cent of the time crew members were there to help make sure he was safely able to navigate. We took one excursion with the ship in Osaka. The guide was always way ahead and we could barely hear. Not a good experience for the money. Although HAL description gives a general idea of how much walking is involved, if there is bumpy ground or a lot of stairs - hard to tell. We tried to take private excursions with our CC groups.
Wang Theatre is not a comfortable venue for movies, it is a challenge to find a seat where the screen can be seen. Sometimes there was popcorn and sometimes not. Consistency would have been nice.
Medical service was excellent. My husband had a naggy cough so we went to medical to see what they suggest. After checking him over they noticed some irregularities. To make a long story shorter, they were very thorough and considerate of our medical needs while on the cruise. A couple of times we were afraid we would not be able to continue, but we were given every consideration.
Ports: Shuttle service was nice and complimentary at ports where ship was not close to city.
Shanghai was one of our favorite because the ship was docked close to the Bund which is one of the major attractions. It was close to HO HO bus and tunnel under the river to the modern side of the city. We were there four days total.
Disembarkation was not as we had hoped. We had booked with HAL for transport to the airport - our flight wasn't until 9:30pm. We had made arrangements to have friends pick us up for a tour of the city before dropping us off at airport. We were not allowed to receive a refund for a change in plans. We could have cancelled, but $200 is a lot of green to us. So.... HAL dropped us off at airport at 10am at a spot far away from where we needed to be. By the time we located our airline, checked our bags my husband was too exhausted to take the train or find anything else to do. We sat at the airport for ten hours waiting for our flight. Not a good end. So, word to the wise don't book with HAL until you are sure that is what you want to do. Read Less
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