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36 Holland America Hong Kong Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the 2 day stop in Shanghai and Beijing and ending in Japan. This was our first time cruising on HAL. It was just the 2 of us cruising and we stayed in a balcony cabin, which was very nice. We arrived at ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the 2 day stop in Shanghai and Beijing and ending in Japan. This was our first time cruising on HAL. It was just the 2 of us cruising and we stayed in a balcony cabin, which was very nice. We arrived at embarkation to find out we needed copies of our Passports and Visas on separate sheets of paper. We waiting in a line for 15 minutes + to have this done. If we knew prior to arriving, everyone would have these copies available. There were numerous agents to check us in and was quick. Unlike other cruise lines we've been on, the ship does not have a bright center atrium. It's quite small and dark. The ship as a whole in the interior is dark, the evening entertainment is just so-so, MANY people walk around with their bathrobes on visiting the pool/spa/buffet which we found strange and their were limited activities on sea days, All our tours were private with 8 people so can't comment on the ship's tours. We did attend several information sessions about ports, culture and various topics and found them well done and interesting. The service and food options in the Lido Marketplace, buffet, was very good. We ate our meals here for the variety and did not participate in the formal nights. We met friendly people since most times you share a table in the Lido Marketplace. For the first time ever, we took our luggage off by ourselves since we had reserved tickets for the bullet train. This worked well since we each only had 1 suitcase. Depending on the ports/cost, we would consider going again on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
First time visiting Asia. This itinerary covered the most countries of all we reviewed. Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore. Nice combination of port and sea days. Love being able to visit many countries and unpack only ... Read More
First time visiting Asia. This itinerary covered the most countries of all we reviewed. Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore. Nice combination of port and sea days. Love being able to visit many countries and unpack only once. Ship only held 1900 passengers so it was a nice size. Sit down dinner in the evening with good high quality food. Open seating allowed us to eat when we wanted and share a table by ourselves or with others. Sea days with many options of education (history, cooking, Microsoft) play ( Bingo, bridge) or entertainment. Enjoyed tour of kitchens and backstage. Ship decor basic but Classy. Multiple pieces IG artwork throughout the cruise. Love the bathtub in the room. Friendly crew who learned what we liked. And made things special. Ship excursions expensive but able to find reasonable yet great private tours. Did take ship overnight to Bangkok tour and it was totally worth it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
4 of us took a family trip on the Westerdam from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore. Excellent value for money -- the food and service was great and we enjoyed all the ports. There was a good mix of people on the ... Read More
4 of us took a family trip on the Westerdam from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore. Excellent value for money -- the food and service was great and we enjoyed all the ports. There was a good mix of people on the cruise and it was a nice change to experience Christmas and New Years on a ship. Our rooms were between mid-ship and aft on deck 4, and we didn't have any issues at all. On shorter port days we took some of the excursions organized by Holland America, which worked out well. And on the overnight stay in Laem Chabang we organized a round-trip taxi at the cruise terminal and stayed the night in Bangkok. For many of the ports, you can find reasonable taxis and tours when you get off the ship, if you're willing and able to negotiate. Looking forward to another cruise with Holland America! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We are a family of five with three young people aged 19, 17 and 16 and chose this cruise to celebrate our son's completion of high school. He wanted to visit Hong Kong and go on a cruise from Hong Kong. We spent 6 days in Hong Kong ... Read More
We are a family of five with three young people aged 19, 17 and 16 and chose this cruise to celebrate our son's completion of high school. He wanted to visit Hong Kong and go on a cruise from Hong Kong. We spent 6 days in Hong Kong prior to boarding the ship. This was a good amount of time to explore Hong Kong. Embarkation was smooth although the customs process onboard, before leaving port was slow and tedious. Our passports were retained by cruise staff at this time. We received a receipt and a photocopy of the passport was provided for each visited country which was something I hadn't experienced before. Passports were returned prior to disembarking the ship back in Hong Kong. The cruise took us to two ports in Japan, Naha and Ishigaki, two ports in Taiwan, Keelung (Taipei) and Kaohsiung, and Manila, Philippines before returning to Hong Kong, total of 10 nights. The balance of cruise days, 4 and ports, 5 was good. There was plenty to do in each port. Our cabins were excellent, the food terrific and provided entertainment fabulous. The only negative was that our 19 year old son's drink package was not honoured. This was despite prior written confirmation. He was not impressed! Otherwise everything went well and we would definitely travel on Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I loved the itinerary of my cruise on the Volendam. I sailed from Singapore to Shanghai and discovered many unknown ports and countries. As far as the itinerary was concerned the trip exceeded expectations. As usual the crew from ... Read More
I loved the itinerary of my cruise on the Volendam. I sailed from Singapore to Shanghai and discovered many unknown ports and countries. As far as the itinerary was concerned the trip exceeded expectations. As usual the crew from Holland Amerika was great as well. However there are some improvements that could be made. Especially during the second leg of the trip, from Hong Kong to Shanghai, the customs forms were rarely delivered to my room. I had to make sure that I read the daily programm to be sure I would not miss out on something last minute. I know customs are very demanding in this part of the world but if you say you will deliver forms to people's staterooms you should do it. It went wrong at least three times in my case. I was also annoyed by the fact that the laundry I sent out came back with the same stains I had sent it in for. This is the problem if you cannot do laundry by yourself. I would have treated the stains before putting things in the machine, they obviously don't. Last but not least, the menu was quite often the same or maybe I should say that I saw the same dishes come back over and over again. There was less variation then I am used to from other cruises. HAL also seems to cut on things like a pen, a note pad and a picture of the ship in your room. The in-room breakfast also offered less choice than I had on other HAL ships. Maybe this comes because this is a smaller ship, maybe it is a budget cut. On the bright side though were the new bathrooms, I loved the walk in shower. What a great improvement. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and ... Read More
We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and Singapore. Overall, not too many days "at the sea" and nice ports of call selections. Good start and end ports (where you can come in earlier or stay more at the end - like three days for each) to you can better see and experience both Hong Kong and Singapore. The ship is not in a good shape anymore. The food is about average (the same food choice over and over again, day after day). The Lido on this ship closes at 8 pm (not at 9 pm as on other Holland America ships). The late dining takes way too long (one hour is the minimum - going up to 1.5 or 2 hrs) as they did cut on cooks and waiters as well - so be prepared to wait for your food if you want each night dining experience. We skipped the dining experience for the last couple of days as it was too long for getting the food. As usual, shore excursions as overpriced, but if you do your homework in advance - you can get at least 1/2 price if not even better. These are interesting ports of call - so the cruise is worth although it has all these issues (mentioned above). The late night entertainment was sub par (only 3 good shows in 14 days). Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
3 star Mariners and prefer HAL to cruise due to service and food. We like how the staff is treated. If you are looking for good entertainment than you need to look elsewhere. This was our first time in this area of the world. This was also ... Read More
3 star Mariners and prefer HAL to cruise due to service and food. We like how the staff is treated. If you are looking for good entertainment than you need to look elsewhere. This was our first time in this area of the world. This was also part of an around the world trip for my husband and I - mostly on our own. We flew into Hong Kong and spent 3 nights in the city. The day of embarkation we took a taxi from our location to the pier which is easy to get to by taxi. Check in ran relatively smoothly except the person helping us didn't seem to know what she was doing. Others didn't have any issues. The wait room was very large and comfortable. Disembarking went extremely well and very organized. Holland America line is an excellent line for cruising. Food is always excellent and service is superb. This particular cruise was just ok as far as the port of calls. If you want to see this area and like cruising then it is easy to do. Lots of different options and cultural things to do on the excursions. Our favorite was Halong Bay. Beautiful location. We chose to do Bangkok on our own and had no problem. Arriving in Singapore we choose to be picked up by our hotel which was easy. Singapore was another favorite stop. Extremely beautiful city and very easy to get around on the MTR. However, we would probably not do this particular section of the world again. Our preference appears to be more European locations for the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We just finished our cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore over Christmas and New Year. What a great way to spend the holiday! We loved the ship. Just the perfect size. We thoroughly enjoyed all our excursions but, as we used private ... Read More
We just finished our cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore over Christmas and New Year. What a great way to spend the holiday! We loved the ship. Just the perfect size. We thoroughly enjoyed all our excursions but, as we used private tours, cannot comment on the ship's excursions. We booked an inside cabin and were pleasantly surprised how spacious the room was. Our cabin attendants were good and the waiters at our table in the Main Dining Room were fantastic. The food as always was really good. The staff on HAL and the service they provide has been outstanding on all of our cruises. The bartenders always have a smile and love to have a chat. The New Year's Eve party was a blast and the rest of the entertainment was ok. We did not find any fault with any of our holiday on HAL. We will definitely sail with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Chose this cruise to travel with family already booked. First time we have cruised with Holland America. Great selection of Ports. The ship was easy to move around. Staff excellent. Cabin was great with door opening onto lower promenade ... Read More
Chose this cruise to travel with family already booked. First time we have cruised with Holland America. Great selection of Ports. The ship was easy to move around. Staff excellent. Cabin was great with door opening onto lower promenade deck. Ideal for us. Dining was excellent with no delay in sèating. Fantastic food. Entertainment and activities limited for us. Could be improved. Main complaint was the air conditioner not operating. Too cold for first three days despite four complaints. The got too hot and this was not resolved.we know from a message on our phone that previous occupants had same issue. Poor service by technicians. Port s and shore excursions great. No problem embarking and disembarking at ports. Well organised. Handing back of passports for Thailand poor. Huge delays. Should be better than this. Would consider cruising again but would look at all alternative with better entertainment and activity options. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We recently finished a 14-day Hong Kong to Singapore cruise on the ms Volendam. We have sailed with Holland America before and, as always, the staff and the service they provide cannot be beat. The food was also very good. However, the ... Read More
We recently finished a 14-day Hong Kong to Singapore cruise on the ms Volendam. We have sailed with Holland America before and, as always, the staff and the service they provide cannot be beat. The food was also very good. However, the ship itself is showing its age and, fortunately, is going in for upgrades and refurbishing before the next cruise. We had an obstructed view cabin and the air conditioning never worked for the entire cruise. Considering that the temperatures were very hot the entire cruise and humidity was very high, this was a major concern. They did not seem to be able to address it but did give us a $300 credit at the end of the cruise to make up for it. There were also problems with several of the units in the fitness centre and we were told that they would not be addressed because the ship was going in for major work at the end of our cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed all our excursions but, as we used private tours, cannot comment on the ship's excursions. Holland America does need to put some extra effort in handling tenders though -- the set up for getting tender tickets and the process for boarding the tenders was handled extremely poorly at both ports where tenders were required. Come on, HAL -- this isn't something that you haven't done thousands of times! As noted at the start, our cabin attendants were fantastic, as were the waiters at our table in the Main Dining Room. The staff on HAL and the service they provide has been outstanding on all of our cruise. We will definitely sail with Holland America again but will be sure to check the status of a given ship before booking our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We always wanted to see Japan, have been all thru' China & Thailand before , the rest of the cruise was a very pleasant Bonus, especially Vietnam, loved the food and the people there. I tell you that having Dr. Kam's lectures ... Read More
We always wanted to see Japan, have been all thru' China & Thailand before , the rest of the cruise was a very pleasant Bonus, especially Vietnam, loved the food and the people there. I tell you that having Dr. Kam's lectures was so amazing, what a wonderful man he is, a real bonus for HA. I also would like to comment on Markus who gave the Gem-stone talks this boy knows his work, so fun. I journal for every cruise so I take notes on every lecture and presentation. I always want to learn. Josh and Phil were great too, took their notes as well. The entertainment was awesome, loved the Volendam dancers and singers, good variety. Movies pretty good. The cruise director never could spell her name, was awesome so fun at the trivia contests. The Captain too was great, he hd a lot to deal with, especially in Shanghai. All of the crew were superb going the extra mile for all of us. I heard some of the beef was tough but on the night we had surf and turf it was excellent. In general the food was good, could be a little hotter but it is hard to do for so many people, soup always hot and delicious, and the bread pudding, to die for. I just want to say some of the comments I have read were not pleasant, not all people are pleasant, you can please some of the people etc. It was a busy tour, but we made it and what a great place to end it but in Singapore---Wow what a beautiful place!!!!!!!!! Evelyn and Russell Green Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
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
Sail Date March 2017
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
Sail Date March 2017
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
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Hong Kong-Shanghai-Beijing-Seoul-Nagasaki-Kagoshima-Kagoshima. Firstly, this was a "shoulder" cruise making it a bit chilly and down right cold in some ports. The balcony was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Hong Kong-Shanghai-Beijing-Seoul-Nagasaki-Kagoshima-Kagoshima. Firstly, this was a "shoulder" cruise making it a bit chilly and down right cold in some ports. The balcony was almost useless. Wish I had selected a cheaper cabin and used the extra money on excursions, wifi, beverages and the many other ways they find to increase your bill once on board. Entertainment was poor with the exception of the Shanghai Acrobats. Other shows were not worth going to and many people walked out. Not sure who they thought would be interested in harmonica players as an evening show. Even most movies shown on board had English subtitles and we left because we could not read, watch and enjoy. The public rooms were not usually crowded and were comfortable. Many people on the ship were doing back to back sailings and would be on board for 28 or more days. I was very ready to head home after 14 days. Food became repetitive and in spite of the effort HAL put into trying to prevent the spread of illness, my husband was sick for the last five days. In the main dining room, there was always a huge wait between appetizers and main course. We were at open seating so I am not sure if it was the same if you were in the assigned tables. For the most part, the food was good. In the Lido, the buffet option, I found it annoying to have to search for a table and often to have to bus it and find our own silverware and napkins. The staff working was very busy and trying hard but clearly it was understaffed. When you have numerous small plates to carry, you either need a tray(not available) or staff to help you get it to the table(also not available for the most part). After two weeks, I found the buffet to be repetitive but we tended to eat most of our meals there(breakfasts, lunches and half the dinners) But the food there was prepared to order and hot. The lines were confusing (People coming from both sides) but the wait was not too long. We did use room service and found it to be good. The menu was limited but you could also request anything on the current dining room menu which they did not advertise. . We found the excursions expensive. But if you did not book with them, you were delayed significantly in disembarking so it really cut into the time you had to do any tours. Several of our stops were a long distance from the city of interest (Beijing, Seoul,Tokyo) so it almost forced you to do their tours so you knew you would be back in time. We used the fitness center most mornings. There was a water fountain but a water dispenser with cups would have been much better. Plus, I did not appreciate that many of the classes, (spin, yoga) were not free. I attended a fitness lecture and walked out as it was one of the worst on board experiences I have ever had. When I left the lecture, there were only two people left. Everyone else had already left and apparently had similar opinions of it. Bottom line, we had a good time. I am glad I got the cruise at a discount price as it would not have be worth it for full brochure price. Would I sail HAL again? Yes if the price was right and I would know what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we weren’t disappointed at all stopping off in China, South Korea and Japan. As first time cruisers and just turned 50 we were some of the youngest couples on board with the average age ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we weren’t disappointed at all stopping off in China, South Korea and Japan. As first time cruisers and just turned 50 we were some of the youngest couples on board with the average age of the guests around the 70+ age group mark. In fairness the cruise was targeted towards this group and a mainly American audience followed by the Aussies and Canadians. Only 124 Brits on board !!!!! The ship and cabins were very good in our opinion but we cannot compare to any rival. Rooms cleaned very efficiently and to a high standard by out 2 stewards.The food was spot on mostly with a great choice however the Lido self service restaurant is very much hit and miss with over dry and cold food served very often in the evening. The main Dining room “The Rotterdam” was excellent for breakfast, lunch and dinner service. Entertainment was generally of a poor standard from the on board production and I have seen better at my kids school play!! The guest entertainers were however very good and of high quality which included a magician, comedian, juggler and rock violinist. Most nights there were two showings and always a seat available. The Excursions were badly organised and a royal rip off for what they were. We found that the meals served were of a quality that was too be desired and best left to a night out having drunk 10 pints of beer !!!! It seems that that they inflate the prices and squeeze everything to make as much money as possible. Shame as the itinerary for the excursions were not at all bad. We had 2 days in Beijing ( note the ship docks in Tianjin which is 2.5 hours from Beijing) and completed 2 excursions with very early starts. We could have done the same excursions and fitted more with an overnight stay in a 4* star hotel for less than half of the price Holland and America are charging. My advice is go independent as we have learnt a very harsh lesson on this. Activities on board were generally poor and very scarce on sea days which meant we were bored and Holland and America need to get their act together if they want to entice a new and younger client but then we got the impression that they look after their high value return guests and do not bother or incentivise new guests. There seems to be a speech and education programme targeted to the older demographic on board. The whole cruise is very much a hard sell culture and you pay and I mean pay for everything at inflated rates plus a service charge even if I go and get things myself. The crew in general very warm and welcoming with the exception of a few in the spa area who were miserable and non engaging and the Captain of the ship who walked around the ship acting as if he were GOD and ignoring all guests other than the big spending regular Americans. All in all it was a pleasant first cruise with good food let down by a lack of sea day activities and overinflated prices. Finally although I have not been on any other cruise ship I would not consider Holland and America to be a premium brand imho from the experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Was a great cruise, missed one port because of bad weather. We stayed in Keelung, Taiwan an additional night to make up for it. Cruise Director Bruce was very good, Jeremy, the ports of call guide, was excellent, service was fantastic, ... Read More
Was a great cruise, missed one port because of bad weather. We stayed in Keelung, Taiwan an additional night to make up for it. Cruise Director Bruce was very good, Jeremy, the ports of call guide, was excellent, service was fantastic, menu selection in Lido Buffet could have been better, food was excellent though, entertainment was pretty good. They even had some local entertainment come on board at some ports, which added some local color and flavor. Embarkation and disembarkation was simple and quick. The only hassle of the cruise was all the passport meetings and documentation that was needed what with going into and leaving five different countries in a matter of four weeks. As far as the itinerary, we could have stayed in Yokohama, the port city for Tokyo, overnight. One day was just not enough time to explore a large city like that. The shuttle buses provided by HAL in most of the ports was a very nice feature. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My Volendam experience overall was positive . The Indonesia and Far East discovery cruise was perfect length of time to experience the flavour of SE Asia. As a single traveler I found the itinerary and the price reasonable. This was my ... Read More
My Volendam experience overall was positive . The Indonesia and Far East discovery cruise was perfect length of time to experience the flavour of SE Asia. As a single traveler I found the itinerary and the price reasonable. This was my second HAL experience and it was a great way to embrace cruising in a safe and interesting way. I cannot comment about the ship other than to say it was clean and other than minor floods in the theatre ( no kidding) the crew fixed the problem. One of the things I observed was the Captains commitment to safety of the passengers. I loved having a cabin to myself. The stateroom stewards were great. I had a problem with a noisy fan in the bathroom and it was fixed promptly. I did not go on the cruise for the dinners but I thought the dining room staff were polite and accommodating. Some more helpful than others but all in all great. the food was not rock and roll wonderful but the special dinners were very nice. I had dinner in the cannetello and was underwhelmed - waste of money. maybe I went of a bad night. My favourite entertainment was the Adagio group they were a treasure. I went once or twice to the theatre shows - it was a hit or miss. some people loved the shows I was sorry I missed the mime. I heard he was wonderful. Barry from Boston grew a following in the evenings. he is goofy bold and has a huge repertoire of music he was talented at engaging everyone in sing alongs. He also was kookie in the kiss the fish event. the activities on the boat were fun, lots of people enjoyed then, The singles event coordinator was wonderful she also hosted some cooking shows lots of interesting ideas lots of fun. I liked the lectures in the Indonesian leg of the trip there were not too many ( it would have added a lot to that leg of the trip) the second leg was terrific, we had Tai chi and chi gong classes, history of china, fantastic Phil gave special sessions in the Hudson lounge. We were informed about Buddha, food and cultural characteristics of people. The special martini events were fun too. the gym was clean and the staff in the gym were very helpful. Service was good. the staff at the front desk were great. The Ports - thank goodness for cruise critic . the trips I participated in through cruise critic were wonderful the excursions the I took through HAL were because of the 2 hour drive back and forth from the location to the Ship. Boroduru was wonderful, the HAL bus trip was terrible the use tried to squeeze too many people into too little space . So the stop mid way at the Eva cafe was good the World heritage site was amazing I loved it . the dinner provided was delicious.coming back we stopped at a silver factory it was okay. we had a police escort to get to and from Boroduru. Other people that took private tours got back in time they just took other roads. the trip to AYATHUYA was interesting It was TOO expensive and I would not recommend it. the ship takes two to two and a half hours to get into Bangkok. I was hoping to get some shopping in but the Ayatthuya trip did not allow for that. the elephant ride was okay, I had had enough of Kenny our guide by 2 hours into the trip. waste of money waste of my time. Day two was more interesting the trip on the river, the grand palace was lovely still no time to shop. when you have only a few hours to sleep who need such an expensive hotel? Bottom line just take the shuttle in to Bangkok and do it on your own. Halong Bay was through HAL and I would recommend this trip. lovely and wonderful. Tommy tours in Da Nang is wonderful. I have written a review in trip advisor . loved that day. In Bali we had a driver Mertee from drivers with distinction that showed us around the island. He was fun accommodating and a terrific person to give us an overview of Bali. I would also recommend him. Our private tour in lombock was great. we saw all kinds of temples I joined another cruise critics tour and I cannot find the operators name, but it was very good. Gokomodo tours was good. also arranged trough cruise critic. this was the only place that I made a mistake. there were lots of kids and one darling boy came up begging, he said he had no mother or father I gave him some fruit. right away I had 1 million kids surrounding me. our tour operator said this was a typical strategy kids use. and that he most likely had parents. Viet nam wonderful but crowded. Jakarta dirty and smoggy Singapore - I would go in a heartbeat. that orchid garden in amazing would I go again ? Maybe to revisit some sites and other new ones. I would definitely have more confidence to go on my own. The other travellers you meet are great. all have a variety of background experience. they are also a treasure. all in all those are some of my thoughts on my adventure. all best Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
The ship was looking great & wonderful service which Holland America is noted for. Loved the itinerary we sailed. Wish they allowed more time in Cambodia to make it worth the Visa fees while in Cambodia. Considering it was just a ... Read More
The ship was looking great & wonderful service which Holland America is noted for. Loved the itinerary we sailed. Wish they allowed more time in Cambodia to make it worth the Visa fees while in Cambodia. Considering it was just a "stop" to pick up guests who went to Angkor Wat days before. Everyone on the ship had to pay for the Cambodian Visa regardless if staying on the ship or getting off. Would have given a 5 rating if the food had been better. In the dining room the food looked like it stayed under the heat lamps way too long. Very tired looking & not fresh. Buffet food a bit better, but not by much. Best French fries on the pool deck!! Entertainment has never been a strong suite with HAL. Sadly it still isn't . . . Still our favorite cruise line for more of the positives we enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Cruise companies must recognise that the world has changed and even grey cruisers are used to unrestricted free internet access. The issues concerning internet access spoils what ought to be a relaxing experience. First cruise, so ... Read More
Cruise companies must recognise that the world has changed and even grey cruisers are used to unrestricted free internet access. The issues concerning internet access spoils what ought to be a relaxing experience. First cruise, so impossible to compare to other ships or companies. Ship was about two-thirds full, so no queues and easy access to all facilities. Very relaxed. Most people go to bed at 10.30pm, so little night life. The extremely high cost of drinks might be a contributory factor. They made an error in what time to meet me at the airport, thought l should have arrived earlier, took quite an effort to persuade them to fulfill their responsibility and take me to the ship. However, the agent was extremely pleasant. All staff on the ship were polite and helpful. Food was excellent, as was the service in the Lido buffet and Rotterdam dining room. Not a lot laid on during days at sea to facilitate contact between the customers. I traveled alone and felt that the company did not recognise the needs of single passengers. The open dining facility in the semi-formal Rotterdam dining room meant that l was able to meet a wide and interesting range of people. Mixing with the elderly clientele that Holland America appeal to, was perfect for me, so the company would be high on my list for any future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were drawn to the Holland America Volendam cruise because of the itinerary. We did not take the entire 35 days, but opted for the 16 days from Hong Kong to Tokyo. The ship itself is smaller than many these days but just right for us. It ... Read More
We were drawn to the Holland America Volendam cruise because of the itinerary. We did not take the entire 35 days, but opted for the 16 days from Hong Kong to Tokyo. The ship itself is smaller than many these days but just right for us. It holds approximately 1240 passengers plus crew of course. We enjoyed a pre-cruise stay in Hong Kong for several nights at the InterContinental Hotel over looking Victoria Harbor. Absolutely a lovely hotel. We signed up for a private tour for half a day to see the highlights. A wonderful guide by the name of Dino. Embarkation was smooth as could be. Our veranda cabin was lovely and the beds extremely comfortable. Our cabin steward Handa and work mate, Roy were hard working pleasant professionals and took great care of our needs and our cabin. We enjoyed the Lido for breakfast and lunch almost every day and a few dinners. All the food was very good--wide selection and the staff was very helpful if you had questions or needed help. The Rotterdam dining room was elegant in appearance. We had the early seating and our servers were Anto and Rim. They were top notch. Kadek the maître de was truly a gentleman and ran the dining room with precision. Our only negative comment is that the food could have been server at a hotter temperature rather than simply being warm. Also, if you did not want gravy, you had to specify no gravy. Other than these two things, we were very pleased with the menu offerings and the service. This crew was hard working and aiming to please the passengers! We dined in the Pinnacle Grill and were delighted with the quality and preparation of the food! We also dined in the Cannaletto and enjoyed a delicious antipasto and entrees of pasta which were prepared to order and delicious! We attended lectures on board and also participated in Tai Chi every sea day. Simply wonderful and conducted by Ping Wing Kam, a retired dentist and scholar of Chinese history. The entertainment was varied and excellent! I think we only missed one show on the night we were in Beijing. The Explorations Café, Library and Computer Center were the hub of popularity on sea days. We loved the espressos and cappuccinos, the huge variety of books and of course liked having computer access to touch base with home. As for excursions, we booked all with HAL except for the pre and post cruise. HAL's excursions and group leaders were all excellent. The highlight for us was walking The Great Wall! Our pre-cruise excursions in Hong Kong was excellent but we were not pleased at all with the post cruise excursion in Tokyo. The "English" speaking guide was difficult to hear and to understand. She left us behind at the Imperial Palace. We were left there not knowing one word of Japanese; did not have a phone and could not find an English speaking person. We had to chase down a tour bus with our tour name on the side. The driver kindly phoned the tour office, asked them to phone our guide, had her phone this bus driver to tell where we were located and our bus came back to pick us up. Not a happy experience. Then, we find out that the tour only had provided pick up service and not drop off service so we had to hail a Taxi cab and pay almost $50 US to get back to our hotel. All in all it was a wonderful itinerary. We definitely would sail with Holland American again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
HAL is one of my favorite lines. . I like long cruises of 30 day and have already booked next year's HAL Cruise to S. AMERICA why? 1.dining room service w/ yudi was as good as the pinnacle and i tipped xtra. my roomie was gluten ... Read More
HAL is one of my favorite lines. . I like long cruises of 30 day and have already booked next year's HAL Cruise to S. AMERICA why? 1.dining room service w/ yudi was as good as the pinnacle and i tipped xtra. my roomie was gluten free and i am vegetarian.and diebetic yudi was told once and after that always asked what i wanted for my evening snack when a table became available he moved us to a window table. hal now offers a full vegetarian menu - very nice! of course, there was surf and turf on a night; lobster on another and gigantic steaks any time.the saladsandchilled fruit soups were to die for and the desserts were decedant w/ a non-sugar choice the female the female wine stewart. instead of asking again and again when we said :no" to wine .like the male stewart. instead she came every nite and enquired about our day..low key -- no pressure -- polite and friendly i only had dinner in the dining room because lunch interfered w/ my trivia game. the lido buffet was boring the chef thinks vegetarians eat pasta. luckily i like mac and cheese. but daily. once i had asian noodles and korean/japanese pickles -- yes! i am from vancouver and prefer asian food. the sushi was ho hum. a gala asian buffet held on the deck andmost enjoyed it hal decorated w/ chinese lanterns and served food in street stalls. unfortunately, no vegetarian fare. strange. many chinese. korean and japanese folk r buddhist hence vegetarian. they tried. but thy r dutch. the specialty dutch tea was british interpreted by americans. (myfather's a brit) -- the indonesian hi tea was also british altho the actual indonesian tea was terrific the server let me take some back to my cabin.great service the only disappointment is the 24 hr. room service. if u order continental all is well. tricks of trade. if u r having ci=offee for tow write "large" beside coffee. if you risk a poachd egg -- write 'soft' beside egg. the coffee was not starbucks. but drinkable the vegetarian thai wrap is delicious. but only available til 10 pm. after that vegetarians starve. cabin cleaning on par w/ other cruises -- minimal. lectures: mr. terry greenburg lectured on the history of china. japan and alaska. terrific. factural w. human elements. cultural info regarding japan wee fascinating. dr. helen ayers lectured on geology incl. ice burgs the talk on oil mining was an eye opener and really clarified the conflict regarding fraking. wonderful. pARK Rngers came on board when we entered glacier bay. i've been to alaska twice so i skipped it. down side -- cruised for 6 days over date line and changed time 1 hr fwd each day so i was in constant jet lag (time lag) then changed 2 hrs fwd just b4 vancouver. activities - mixed -- steve was a phenomenal bridge teacher for two wks, then katherine took over and she sucked windows 10 couraes helpful. dynamic and patient teacher. trivial always fun. library/wifi area the best of any line. jazzy shore manager a dud, but available to hand out maps and provide tips for those going ashore on their own did not take hal shore ex. cruised w/ craig travel and took their tours and cruise critic hal tours too expensive. cabin inside as good as an inside can be. better than ncl. carnival and princess. boarding and disembarkation smooth Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We boarded the Volendam in Hong Kong. Embarkation was a breeze and we were happy to hear that our cabins were ready even before noon. Our cabin had lots of storage space. The newly installed lanai cabins had great new showers ... Read More
We boarded the Volendam in Hong Kong. Embarkation was a breeze and we were happy to hear that our cabins were ready even before noon. Our cabin had lots of storage space. The newly installed lanai cabins had great new showers and we enjoyed the amenities like lotions and soaps. It was nice to have the shelves on the bathroom wall and the shelf under the sink. We did find that the thermostat made no difference to the temperature in the room. Since dry dock in December and the installation of the lanai cabins, the ship had obviously not sailed in cold temperatures. As soon as we left Japan and the weather cooled off, our cabin was freezing. A lot of cold air was coming in under the lanai door. Our stewards put wet towels on the door sill and that helped. We informed the front desk and they sent someone fairly promptly who checked our air conditioning. After several days of cold temps, weather stripping was installed around the lanai doors and this helped a lot. Meanwhile the front office phoned everyday to ask us about the temperature and they checked the room twice/day to monitor it. We were satisfied with how this was handled. There were also common areas on the ship that were very cold - particularly the Lido cafeteria. Servers there were wearing coats. The lanai door was very heavy and difficult to open and close. There was not sufficient space for your hand on the handle. Both of us jammed our hands between the handle and the door frame which caused our wedding rings to be crushed to ovals. We had to take them to a jeweler when we got home to have them straightened. We found the staff very friendly. There seemed to be good morale on board. Our cabin stewards, Dedi (big Daddy) and Joko were the best. They learned our names on the first day and called us by name whenever they saw us. They kept the room clean, responded promptly to requests and did a great job of chatting to the guests to smooth over problems. We very much enjoyed the evening shows. The performances by the HAL cast had beautiful costumes. We also enjoyed the violinist, Kateryna Sychova; pianist, Maiko Mori; and the Unexpected Boys. The Dancing with the Stars Competition seemed to reward those with the most popularity rather than their dancing ability. We often found that several things were scheduled at the same time and it was difficult to choose which one to attend. I was very disappointed that the Royal Dutch tea was scheduled on a port day when we were off the ship for an excursion. We very much enjoyed the Neptunes in the Ocean Bar every night. They played music that was both easy to dance and listen to. The Dansant tea in the showroom with music, dancing and tea on the last afternoon was a new, welcome activity. The results of the model ship-building competition were lots of fun to watch. Everyday we looked forward to attending the lectures. We really enjoyed Dr. George Sranko's talks. He was down to earth, humorous, and informative. Another great addition was the "On Location" guide, David Happe. He gave very informative, well-balanced presentations about the various ports and their history. He also provided good information about transportation, etc. for independent travelers. Mr. Ishibaru gave great insight into Japanese culture and we particularly enjoyed the demonstration of how to dress in a kimono. We enjoyed the food although the soups were very salty. It was really nice to have lobster on the menu on formal nights. For the most part service in the dining room was satisfactory. We appreciated being able to walk in at whatever time and secure a table. Occasionally we requested a table for 2 and were dismayed to be seated at a table that was only inches from another table for 2. It was awkward to know whether to converse with the other guests or if they wanted privacy. We liked the daily updates from the captain about our location, weather and sea conditions. Cruise Director Carlos made announcements only twice/day so it was nice to not be bombarded by announcements. I felt that this cruise had less emphasis on buying merchandise and photos than previous cruises. We took 4 HAL excursions. They were expensive but they were of very good quality with good guides and worthwhile sights. There were issues with the tenders when we were in Kodiak. Some people waited for many hours before getting off the ship. We were lucky to have a HAL excursion that day and were only delayed by 1/2 hour. We really appreciated having a self-serve laundry available on such a long voyage. It was always busy but the machines were all in working condition. Because of its smaller size, the Volendam was able to dock in excellent locations near the centre of cities, particularly in Shanghai and Tokyo. Disembarkation was efficient and timely. We took the expedited option and had no problem getting our luggage into the terminal. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our 3rd cruise with HAL. The first 2 were on Amsterdam,which immediatly set a high standard, which Volendam couldn't quite attain. More on that later. We had booked this itinerary a couple of years ago, but unfortunately ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise with HAL. The first 2 were on Amsterdam,which immediatly set a high standard, which Volendam couldn't quite attain. More on that later. We had booked this itinerary a couple of years ago, but unfortunately it was chartered away from under us.We ended up doing a 37 day Grand Voyage sector on Amsterdam from Fort Lauderdale to Sydney, which was absolutely magnificent. We flew from Melbourne to Hong Kong and spent 3 days at the beautiful Royal Pacific Hotel & Towers before boarding Volendam. Even though we enjoyed a wonderful tour of Lantau Island and the shopping, we were counting the hours.We got a taxi from the hotel to Ocean Terminal and felt sure he drove the longest possible way. Didn't matter, we were on a high. Checking in and doing the obligatory paper work went smoothly, and it wasn't long before we crossed that wonderful gangway and found ourselves "home". I had arranged for a small bar fridge to be in our room and half a dozen Budweisers which were on ice. I ordered a bottle of house chardonnay. So we were having a sip while unpacking. All good. Unfortunately our first visit to the Lido Buffet ended with my wife returning one our favorites, shepherds pie, because it was nothing but gristle. Definately not good enough after what we had been used to. Even though she is physically identical to Amsterdam, that's where the similarity ends. The sail aways were low key without the band at the back of the boat and the nibbles which were the norm on Amsterdam. There appeared to be more effort put in on the pier by the locals than on board. We left Tianjin hours after we were supposed to , without any explanation given. We also missed the little surprise gifts when we returned to our cabin. On a positive, the cabin stewards and the rest of the staff were hand picked and wonderful. One thing HAL has to look at is the tendering procedure. We had booked a tour independently in Kodiak and missed out after having booked it 6 months before. It seems HAL have 2 lots of catergories to board a tender. Those who booked a ships excursion, and those that didn't, which included us. We sat in the Franz Hals lounge for 2 hours with people who had no bookings of any kind. Our tour waited for one and a half hours with people already in her bus so had to leave. There has to be some consideration given to those who have not booked through HAL. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I write this review to be helpful - if you really want to go to the places this cruise goes to, my comment's won't really matter, but as a fairly experienced cruise passenger I hope that my comments will at least forewarn! My ... Read More
I write this review to be helpful - if you really want to go to the places this cruise goes to, my comment's won't really matter, but as a fairly experienced cruise passenger I hope that my comments will at least forewarn! My overall impression was one of being a walking ATM for HAL to tap into with every opportunity. Even after you've paid for the cruise, you're still expected to pay for every query via a premium phone line (About 13p per minute in UK) "Come and join us for a sail away Sangria party" booms the PA Great, you think, what a lovely idea - however the charge is $5 for a lemonade flavoured with red wine - it's a bit like the neighbour inviting you round and then charging you for attending! Unlike most other cruise lines, you'll be lucky to get any free drinks One half of deck 5 is given over to shopping - jewellery, watches etc. all with large slogans 70% off etc. however you never really know 70% of what price!!! The drinks packages are expensive, but if you drink even socially, say 3 or 4 drinks a day, this is the cheapest option to take. $7 is the minimum drink price then add 15%! Then add a further 'service' charge of $11.50 a day per person, per cabin!! Tough if one of you is teetotal however, the drinks package HAS to be taken by ALL cabin occupants!! Although not advertised, Coffee, tea and cold tea and iced water is available FREE most of the day We were on board leading to Superbowl week-end - join them for a ringside (Large TV) seat - only $49.50!!! You could, of course have watched it in your cabin, FREE The excursions are vastly overpriced and not good value (We managed to get out to a lovely beach, have 2 drinks each at a cost of $15 each - for the same excursion - to a far more crowded beach, after all there's a coachload with you, HAS will want $95 each, yes, I know, you could miss the boat, be mugged, have an accident etc. etc. But you Could have fun at sixth of the price!) On the plus side HAL rates no worse or less for amenities and quality of service - all staff are cheerful and helpful. Dress code on this particular cruise was non existent - I think formal night resulted in the Americans putting a belt on their slacks, the Australians changing their training slacks and the Brits finding a jacket - all so disrespectful to the ladies who all (with a few exceptions) made an effort. Just don't think of he dress code for 'casual' night! So as long as you aware that this is the cruise that keeps on costing and you don't need to take any smart clothes you'll do fine   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
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