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95 Holland America Hong Kong Cruise Reviews

We chose the cruise for 2 reasons. To experience the Brand with a view to using them again and to see the destinations on this trip. That was - Hong Kong down to Indonesia. The ship is dated and the air con is ferocious everywhere. People ... Read More
We chose the cruise for 2 reasons. To experience the Brand with a view to using them again and to see the destinations on this trip. That was - Hong Kong down to Indonesia. The ship is dated and the air con is ferocious everywhere. People were in the show lounge each night with outdoor coats on. Whilst some people do stick to the dress code, it is not encouraged and there are people in the dining room with jeans and Tshirts at dinner. The food was good initially but was quickly repetative and the standard dropped after the first fortnight. The cost of the trips is eye watering and the ship docks at container ports and long distances away from the featured destinations. It is then necessary to take their trips as the time schedules for departures are tight and there is a danger of not being back on time if you decide to go independently.Many people complained about this as this cruise was all about the destinations! We chose an ocean view cabin but were very disappointed as the noise from the next cabin was terrible. After enquiries it turned out to be 4 children aged 8 and 12 years who were in the cabin alone and unsupervised. Reception refused to move us stating the ship was full. This was untrue as it was not full at that time. We then had to wait to the end of the first leg of the voyage and pay for an upgrade to get the peace we were entitled. Reception saw no problem with 4 children alone in a room. THIS IS VERY BAD HOLLAND AND AMERICA. The entertainment was often poor with much repetition and weak resident singers.They need a new cruise director. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Usually, when we get off a cruise, we wonder how we will endure everyday life without a room steward or all those wonderful meals that magically appear. After this cruise, 14 days on Holland America’s Volendam from Hong Kong to ... Read More
Usually, when we get off a cruise, we wonder how we will endure everyday life without a room steward or all those wonderful meals that magically appear. After this cruise, 14 days on Holland America’s Volendam from Hong Kong to Singapore, we didn’t find the transition back to day-to-day life difficult. For the most part, we found nearly everything okay on the cruise along with a few glitches. Today okay isn’t enough for us and especially for the experienced cruisers we met on the Volendam. The whole time we were onboard, we couldn’t help but remember Holland America’s history and the high standards set in years gone by. Those glory days are gone and Holland America’s standards are different now, perhaps because the cruise line is now part of Carnival Corporation. We boarded the ship in Hong Kong after a seemingly never ending 17 hour flight from Los Angeles. Exhausted, once we boarded the ship we stumbled through the day and the mandatory safety drill. We quietly sailed out of Hong Kong harbor during dinner heading for ports in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. It was a comforting feeling to know that tomorrow we had a leisurely day at sea and wouldn't set foot on land until our first port of call in two days. The ship, despite its size, runs surprisingly quiet. Walking out on deck you hear the whoosh of the wind and the smack of the waves against the hull. After a while the sounds become a soothing white noise. Weather did not cooperate during the transit to our first port of call, Halong Bay, Vietnam. Through the cooler than normal temperatures, fog, rain and gale force winds, there weren’t the usual passengers on deck marveling at the area's dramatic beauty. Some hardier passengers wrapped themselves in blankets and relaxed on the deck chairs under cover on Lower Promenade deck. On the five days at sea, passengers relaxed and enjoyed the comforts of our floating hotel. Our itinerary for most of the cruise was a day in port and then a day at sea. On the at-sea days, on-board activities ranged from tai chi, to trivia and karaoke challenges, to meetings of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Some of the activities that in days gone by were free now have a fee. You could indulge at the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, a fully equipped gym, (covered) tennis and basketball courts, two pools (one with a retractable roof) and hot tubs, performances by a comedian, and range of singers and dancers, several bars, a nightclub, movie theatre, library, an internet cafe, casino and duty free shops. Digital workshops on board help you learn about your computer and digital camera and software that would help you with both, while the Culinary Arts Centre featured cooking demonstrations which focused on the cuisines of our ports of call. Children between the ages of 3 and 17 are cared for in Club HAL, which has three age-specific areas stocked with games, toys, movies and activities to amuse younger travelers for hours. We tried to experience as much as we could - the seminar on folding towels into animals which the stateroom stewards do every night as part of the turn-down service was a highlight. Days at sea seem to revolve around the serious business of eating. To get the full cruise ship experience, it was our mission to attend at least one tea time held in the afternoon at the Explorer’s Lounge. The day we attended, there was a boisterous drink tasting held next to the tea time location. The antics of the drink tasting infringed on what should have been a relaxing atmosphere. Some people left disappointed. Not only was there noise, there were not enough seats for all who wanted to attend. And since the turnout was larger than expected, getting tea or pastries took much longer than it should. That experience isn’t the end of the world. But it shows the difference between Holland America in years gone by and today. Maybe that is why passenger loyalty isn’t what it used to be. Speaking with passengers, many who sailed on Holland America frequently, the reason they chose this cruise was the itinerary and price. For many cruisers, there no longer seems to be a loyalty to brand. To us it seemed that Holland America doesn’t give past passengers much incentive to sail on the cruise line again. On port days, there’s a range of excursions at a variety of costs or you can venture out on your own. Due to our size, we could only sail in the South China Sea. The ship was too large to dock in the heart of the cities of Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phu My, Sihanoukville and Bangkok. Instead we docked at commercial ports among cranes unloading cargo ships and trucks picking up containers. Not seeing lovely towns or the scenic countryside while in port was disappointing but not a deal-breaker. One down side was that in most of the ports you had to pay for a shuttle or bus fare into town which for the longer trips was pricey. The bus trip could take two hours or more one-way to get to Bangkok or Hanoi, which used up a big chunk of port time. The cost of shore excursions was one of the biggest complaints we heard from fellow passengers. Since many were seasoned cruisers, here are a few of their ideas and strategies. 1. Avoid shore excursions that include a meal as there is usually a big price premium for the meal and the meal is mediocre at best. For instance, the Halong Bay cruise tour with lunch was $99.95 per person. Without lunch, the tour was $64.95 per person. 2. Check the cruise boards, such as Cruise Critic, and ask past passengers for independent tour recommendations. This needs to be done as early as possible. Our passenger informer booked all her tours online a month or two before the cruise and had several great tour experiences for half the price. 3. The three-day Angkor Watt and Saigon excursion was a whopping $2,899 per person (you can buy an eight-day land tour with airfare for half that cost). A savvy cruiser made his own arrangements for his group of fellow travelers. His travel agent arranged the same tour at the end of the cruise. In Singapore, the group flew into Siem Rep and stayed at a local hotel. Their Angkor Watt excursion cost them one-third of what Holland America charged for the excursion. 4. Wing it on your own. At many ports there are tour representatives roaming the docks. Just make sure you have plenty of time to get back onto the ship in case a bus or car breaks down or encounters traffic snarls. Little things seem to irritate long time cruisers. A number of passengers commented that Holland America now charges for things that were previously included. For instances, some classes in the fitness center now have a charge as do specialty coffees such as lattes and cappuccinos. In fact the Explorations Cafe by the computer center offers pastries and coffees, all at an extra charge. Not to mention the upcharge premium restaurants, the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto Restaurant. Another irritant for long time cruisers is comparing what your cruise line offers compared to another cruise. At Koh Samui, Thailand, the Volendam and a Princess Cruises ship both were in port the same day. Both ships had a covered waiting area at the pier so passengers can wait for the next tender. Holland America passengers noticed and commented that at the pier waiting area they were offered water and lemonade. Princess Cruises offered their passengers water, ice tea, lemonade and snacks such as cupcakes, fresh pineapple and coconut water. Dinner time was always a chance to try new foods or relish tried-and-true favorites. On the Voldendam, the two level Rotterdam Dining Room offers two dining options: dine “As you Wish” on the lower level any time from 5:15 to 9:00 p.m. Here you can choose to dine alone or with other passengers – your choice. The upper level offers the two traditional sittings at 5:45 or 8 p.m. at assigned tables. We selected a table for eight on the upper level and were lucky to be seated with six delightful table mates. We still keep in contact long after the cruise. Evening shows in the Frans Hals showroom are timed to the two sittings in the main dining room. Other dining options include the Lido Deck restaurant, which also serves breakfast and lunch and for-a-fee alternative restaurants such as the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto. For the most part, we found the 600-plus staff, largely made up of Filipinos and Indonesians, patient and friendly. Our dining room service for dinner was on the mark and consistently good. But breakfast and lunch service in the main dining room was inconsistent and disappointing. The staff in the main dining area ran around distracted as if they were unsure what to do. At times they simply disappeared. Servers came to our table and refilled the men’s coffee cups but completely ignored the women. This happened on several occasions. We were told many new servers came onboard when we did in Hong Kong. Maybe they had communication problems, or they didn’t know their duties or were tired from the long hours. Whatever the reason, we spoke with many people who left the main dining room after breakfast or lunch complaining and rethinking sailing on Holland America again. Breakfast in the Lido Restaurant wasn’t much better. It wasn’t the food, it was the staff and set-up. During breakfast, staff served and/or prepared the hot food for the Lido buffet. It was typical for long lines to form waiting for food and waiting for a table to open up. Waits of 10 to 15 minutes for food were common. Plus, there was no designation of where the line started. On several occasions, rude people cut in at the front of the line and arguments ensued. If you forgot something or wanted seconds, you had to face standing in line again. Things were particularly bad when the ship was in port and many people wanted to eat breakfast at the same time because they were heading out on excursions. The best solution was to order room service the night before. In tribute to the Southeast Asia itinerary by the covered pool on Lido deck, the area was transformed into an Asian food stall market for lunch and dinner one day. Even though we were at sea, it felt as if we were eating street food in Bangkok or Saigon sampling pha, exotic fruits, noodles, and Pad Thai. If you aren’t into Asian food, the Dive-In Restaurant still served burgers during lunch and the Rotterdam dining room offered a regular menu with a couple Asian specialties. Most of the people onboard won’t be youthful. These mature people were well- traveled and had lots of interesting travel insights to share. Everyone wasn’t a senior citizen. There were younger couples, singles and families on board: several couples with a toddler kids, a families with elementary school age kids and a number of families with teen age kids. Our room steward was attentive but the cabin had some short falls. We were assigned a handicapped accessible cabin on the lowest deck, Dolphin Deck – not our choice or request. The difference is that a wheelchair can wheel into the bathroom and shower. The cabin had two twin beds. If you wanted the beds placed together to form a queen bed, a wheel chair had trouble getting by the dresser and getting to one of the wardrobes. It wasn’t the best thought out design for a handicapped accessible cabin. Although the bathroom had a good amount of space because a wheel chair had to roll into it, there was little space on the bathroom vanity for toiletries. The medicine cabinet by the vanity offered little storage (poor design). The two wardrobes in the cabin had doors, rather than open space. One of the wardrobes was in the same space as access the bathroom. That meant if you had the wardrobe door open you couldn’t get into the bathroom. And if you opened the wardrobe door when someone was in the bathroom, they were trapped. A fridge was not available in the room, although an ice bucket was provided. There wasn’t a light stand on the bedside cabinets but a light was positioned above the bed. The design of the light switches over the bed made the controls difficult to find at night. And we accidently pushed the button for the front desk more than once. Since the Volendam is an older ship, launched in 1999 and most recently refurbished in 2014, in the next refurbishing go-round, it would be beneficial if more outlets are added in public rooms and cabins. We are in an electronic age where people travel with laptops, tablets, smart phones and cameras – all devices that must be recharged. Our cabin had one receptacle located near the dresser. There was a receptacle built into a non-functioning wall mounted hair dryer, but neither the receptacle or hair dryer worked. The dresser location was convenient to recharge electronics but an awkward place to plug in a hairdryer. Every day, we did the co-ordination dance, timing when our laptops, smart phones and cameras had to be charged. Lower Promenade deck cabins with large windows or sliding glass doors onto the deck are some of the more expensive cabins. We found that people who paid the premium price for those cabins did not get the full benefit due to their location. The Lower Promenade deck is the only deck that lets you walk completely around the ship on the outside. That means people are continuously walking around the deck as 3 ½ laps equaled a mile. Many passengers got their exercise by walking. The passengers who paid a premium for promenade deck cabins kept their curtains down and drawn shut as privacy and noise was an ongoing issue. A number of passengers seemed frustrated with the self-service laundry and commented that it was purposely ill-conceived so you use the expensive on-board laundry service. The main complaint was there was no change machine. Instead you must go to the Purser’s desk for change where there was usually a wait. Additionally, the washers and dryers were small and would only fit several pieces of clothes. What you thought would be one load turned out to be two loads. The laundry was also a source for conflict as some passengers put their clothes in the washers and/or dryers and left. On their return, they discovered waiting passengers took their completed loads of clothes out and placed them in laundry baskets because the owners were not around. This led to heated discussions on several occasions. The Voldendam can use some refreshing. A few areas on the ship are looking old and worn. Hallways walls in some places were scraped and gouged. Carpets were worn in several areas. During our cruise, the carpets were being replaced on some of the stair wells. Regardless the public rooms throughout the ship were still comfortable, with hidden nooks ideal for quiet reading time or intimate conversation. Holland America today can’t compare with Holland America of yesteryear. Even with the cons we experienced sailing on the Volendam, the cruise was pleasant and the routine was low-key and casual. All in all okay. But not the luxurious, pampering experience of years gone by. Your best strategy may be what many of the passengers did - wait until Holland America runs one of their deal promotions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise mainly to get a taste of Vietnam and we were not disappointed. We checked our ports and shore excursions on Trip Advisor and selected shore excursion with both HAL and private providers according to what we wanted ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly to get a taste of Vietnam and we were not disappointed. We checked our ports and shore excursions on Trip Advisor and selected shore excursion with both HAL and private providers according to what we wanted to see. We were originally allocated ocean view cabin 3318 but pre cruise that changed to 3366 which was more mid ships and adjacent to stairs and lifts. The cabin was compact but well laid out. Plenty of storage. The bed was comfortable but the cabin was warm . The air conditioning did not provide adequate air flow no matter what setting was selected on the control. There was occasional noise at night from above as well (galley?) There is no minibar but a refrigerator can be hired for $2.00 per day. The trouble is there is no where convenient to locate it. We Also experienced hot spots rhrough the ship including the main dining room, level 4 starboard side. WIFI on board was too expensive. We only connected during shore excursions. Our other concern was the lack of entertainment around the bars and pool areas through the day and pre dinner time. The ship was quiet and more suited to over 65's. Other on board activities were plentiful. I availed myself of all Microsoft Windows 10 classes and found them most helpful. The food and service in all areas that we visited was 5 star. The food and beverage stewards and customer service staff were well trained, friendly and extremely accomodating. The onboard band and singers put on great shows. Other entertainers were average at best except for the comedian who put on an excellent show. Our overall impression was that HAL had their hand in our wallets all the time. We would probably choose Celebrity for our next cruise as we have found they provide one or two inclusions that make a difference such us a standard drinks package or wifi packages. We also did not appreciated the mandatory daily gratuity fee of $12.50US per passenger. We would much rather have the option of tipping, or paying it as part of the initial ticketing cost. Seeing it appear daily on our on board account was annoying. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose Holland America as were impressed with their publicity and thought we would like a little luxury as the cruise lasted for 24 days. Embarkation was the first disappointment as we were not given any cabin number unitl we booked ... Read More
We chose Holland America as were impressed with their publicity and thought we would like a little luxury as the cruise lasted for 24 days. Embarkation was the first disappointment as we were not given any cabin number unitl we booked in due to us paying extra for a balcony suite. We were also told that we would have to take our own luggage aboard and were not even assisted when onboard. The cabin was a good size however the drains on the balcony appeared to be blocked which caused the balcony to flood during rain and in a reasonable swell. Although notified of the problem they tried to rectify the matter once and then ignored it completely. Meals were basic and if you wished to dine in the Rotterdam Restaurant there was a wait of between 20 to 30 minutes before you were given a table. There was not Captains welcome aboard for new guests or any introduction of senior staff members. The ship berthed in ports which were some distance from our intended destinations and guests were charged for shuttle services except where the Harbour Authority supplied these. There was approximately a 2 hour bus trip from the port to Saigon and bangkok and appeared as though ports were a cost cutting exercise. Tours arranged by the ship were very expensive and it was a lot cheaper to obtain a taxi at the wharf plus the drivers had a better knowledge of the areas. Very little information was given by the ship to guests who wished to visit areas independently and very few maps were available of the ports. Life boat drill was poorly organised with very elderly people having to stand on the deck for approx. 30 minutes. The internet was not only very expensive but was unreliable and often dropped off line for no apparent reason. Generally the ship was poorly run and could be compared to a floating hotel without the service however everything on the ship appeared to have an extra charge if you wanted anything other than a room, meals and entertainment. No fruit in room as advertised in their publicity. There was no free water in the suites and the ships price for water was over four times the charges from shops on shore. A few staff were excellent however many were not really concerned about their guests which is possibility a training issue. If you are a loyal Holland America cruiser don't bother to pay for a better suite as this will not get you any better service. A very disappointing cruise and have cruised with other companies and received much better service. Would not recommend Holland America if you wish to have a relaxing and enjoyable cruise Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our fourth relatively long cruise aboard a HAL ship. The general hotel function was fantastic as usual with good food and very friendly/helpful staff. Our Vista Suite with verandah was kept neat, tidy and clean by hard working but ... Read More
This was our fourth relatively long cruise aboard a HAL ship. The general hotel function was fantastic as usual with good food and very friendly/helpful staff. Our Vista Suite with verandah was kept neat, tidy and clean by hard working but very friendly stewards. Evening shows were in general highly entertaining. However, the services/prices on board had declined, e.g. no longer any lectures during sea days, Pinnacle restaurant extra price was suddenly $ 35 instead of the customary $ 20, bar prices even increased by $ 1 during this cruise and appetizers were not of the type that should go with drinks. Prices for excursions had become absurdly high. The gravy on any cruise is the approach and arrival in ports during (early) morning daylight hours but on this cruise and all too often we were already tied up at quays before dawn. The so called "Hotel service charges" are hidden extra costs and should be included in the advertized overall cruise price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We have cruised with Holland America Line on 14 of their cruises on various vessels. This was our first experience on the ms Volendam. First of all, the employees on the ms Volendam, like nearly all of their sister vessels' ... Read More
We have cruised with Holland America Line on 14 of their cruises on various vessels. This was our first experience on the ms Volendam. First of all, the employees on the ms Volendam, like nearly all of their sister vessels' employees, were superb and met our expectations for the most part, with some issues noted below. Our Suite Stewards were Excellent! A. The Pinnacle Grille personnel were all superb from top to bottom, as well as the food, though the menu needs to be tweaked. We ate there three times in the 16 days we were on the ship and would have liked a little more variety, but all the food we ate was outstanding, and worth the extra expense. B. Check in and Embarkation worked extremely well in Hong Kong. C. Disembarkation in Yokohama was also seamless. D. Front Desk personnel were also superb and very very helpful. E. The Canaletto was a nice experience at minimal extra cost though we only used it once during our cruise, this time. The portions are huge and could be cut back a bit in our estimation. Problem Areas on the ms Volendam.: 1. Maintenance on the ship was not up to par in our estimation, with many many rust areas on the outside decks, and the suite we were in had scratches and nicks in the desk area and around the wooden parts of the door frames, etc. 2. Reduced man power in the main Dining Room - the Rotterdam, caused extremely slow service for all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that we ate there. 3. The lack of employees stretched those that were working in the Rotterdam to the point where 30 minutes was not unusal to get the first course or the main course, which were often luke warm by the time they were served. 4. Having so few personnel also meant it was difficult to get anyone's attention when you needed something extra or something simple like a cup of coffee. 5. Though most, but not all of the shore excursions that we took (costing over US$2500 in total for two people) were well done, the cattle car experiences of waiting in the Frans Hal theater for those excursions was very difficult with inadequate seating and the shore excursion staff in the Frans Hal were treating the guests as a bunch of children on a school outing rather than as paying adults. Repeating and being loud and "pushy" is not what should have been done. They need to break up the areas for assembling to more than this one venue, which could be done if they had adequate resources to man the Frans Hal and the Explorer's Lounge, or the theater as examples. 6. The Lido food and presentations need to be monitored better though we seldom use the Lido to avoid the buffet atmosphere and the "mobs" of people clamoring for food. This ship needs a dry docking to bring it back up to par with some of the other HAL ships. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We were really looking forward to this cruise. Embarkation was fairly swift via a shopping mall in Hong Kong. Well signposted and staff to send us in right direction. Good idea to take passports at check in to arrange visas for Vietnam ... Read More
We were really looking forward to this cruise. Embarkation was fairly swift via a shopping mall in Hong Kong. Well signposted and staff to send us in right direction. Good idea to take passports at check in to arrange visas for Vietnam and Cambodia. Glad we did this, rather than arrange back in U.K. O.k. more expensive, but a lot less hassle. Cabin was adequate for our requirements, and bathroom was well equiped. Don't think our bathroom had been updated, but shower was perfectly good. Our friends had cabin next door, and although supposed to be same size, only had 1 chair instead of sofa and stool. That is not satisfactory, there are 2 people in the cabin, where is 1 person supposed to sit? Food in Lido good, athough finishing lunch service at 2p.m. did not allow for people who were late back from a morning excursion, or the 8p.m. finish in the evening. I, for one, do not want to start eating my main meal of the day, at 7.15p.m. and finish at 8p.m. Food in main restaurant was alright. Choice was limiting and there were the 4 options every day the same, making the choice look larger than it was. Can't Holland America put a separate sheet in to offer these options should the days choice not be satisfactory rather than make it look bigger choice? Other cruise lines do. Formal nights - as a previous critic has said - is virtually non existant. Why bother when no one else does? Jeans and t shirts are, in my mind, not formal wear. Ports of call - The only one which should definately be removed is Sihanoukville. Absolutely awful. We arrived for the shuttle transfer into the town at 9.30a.m. Buses coming back had people on them. We had only docked at 8a.m so that should have told us how bad it was. I am sure the only reason the boat stopped here was to collect the people who had been to Ankar Watt and needed collecting 2 days later. Think again Holland America with regard to this stop. One thing that caused us great concern - one morning at 5.15a.m. the alarm bell sounded for a short time. No explanation until 5.45a.m. by which time, people were thinking the worst. The Staff Captain told us that smoke had been detected in the Crows Nest. All fine now. What he didn't tell us, the Captain did at 8.30a.m. (or thereabouts) was that the PA system went down at the same time! That is very frightening to think that we COULD have been in trouble with no means on alerting the passengers, other than trying to get staff to allert everyone. Surely, that is something that must be checked out. The library, where we spent a lot of time, is excellent. Wonderful seating and good atmosphere. Disembarkation at Singapore, satisfactorily done. All in all, a good cruise apart from a few niggles which should be addressed. Not sure I would consider Holland America again unless good bargain price for destination I wanted to go to. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our cruise from Hong Kong to Kobe this year was our seventh HAL cruise and the second on Volendam. Whilst she is remains a comfortable mid sized ship with spacious public areas and decently sized cabins, she is showing her age. My main ... Read More
Our cruise from Hong Kong to Kobe this year was our seventh HAL cruise and the second on Volendam. Whilst she is remains a comfortable mid sized ship with spacious public areas and decently sized cabins, she is showing her age. My main observation is not so much about the ship but what appears to be cost cutting by HAL. Compared with our last cruise on the same ship, there were far fewer activities, virtually no lectures or talks except by the port lecturer who showed a collection of novelty photos, and fewer serving staff at the Lido. A cruise to Asia provides a wealth of opportunity for presentations on local history and culture, not lease about China. What a pity that this opportunity was lost. The port lecturer appeared to be confused as to his clients. This is not unusual on HAL cruises, but on this cruise in particular, the port lecturer came down pretty much on the side of the HAL Shore Excursions Unit, rather than providing accurate, comprehensive and timely information for those (like us) who prefer to make our own arrangements. For example, the lecture on Beijing made it clear that it was far too difficult to catch the bullet train from Tianjin to Beijing. Much better, we were told, to take the two hour "luxury coach" journey provided by HAL, than spend half an hour on the fast train. HAL also has a preoccupation with on-ship wifi. So the port lecturer only reluctantly provides information on on-shore wi-fi, and much of that is inaccurate.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
To put things into perspective, we have cruised on over a dozen cruise lines for a total of about 800 days – almost 500 of which were logged on Holland America Line. Most of our friends know that we enjoy longer cruises, but frankly, ... Read More
To put things into perspective, we have cruised on over a dozen cruise lines for a total of about 800 days – almost 500 of which were logged on Holland America Line. Most of our friends know that we enjoy longer cruises, but frankly, this one was boring. While there are probably many reasons for this, I think the major one is the large number of sequential sea days (as the ship bypasses what might be interesting ports – such as in Vietnam, the Maldives, Madagascar and so on). While my watercolor painting is improving (I’m still having difficulty using the word “art”) and trivia and bridge are entertaining, I am still not old or sedentary enough to adopt sitting on cruise ships as a life style, so I will be paying more attention next time and avoid cruises which exhibit this property (especially when charged for at a premium as a “World Cruise”). I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that the average age of the passengers on this cruise was about 77 and many had been on multiple World Cruises – and maybe that’s the reason HAL thought that more sea days was the sort of itinerary this constituency would tolerate. Ah well, in for a penny, in for a pound, but at least forewarned is forearmed. While we will likely take long non-sequential cruises in the future (some of which may be world cruises – whether on HAL or one of their competitors), we will pay more attention to the itinerary and be more willing to link together a string of short cruises with an aggregate more interesting itinerary. With specific regards to Holland America, they seem to be penny pinching at every conceivable level and have changed the feel of this cruise, which sells at a premium, into one which has feelings of belt tightening. Despite our elite “loyalty program” status on this cruise line it is important to remain agnostic and our next scheduled cruise (is on one of their competitors – we’ll see (I have always felt that loyalty programs are to show how loyal the vendor is to the customer, rather than the other way around). While the service is excellent, as is the food, the entertainment is mediocre and the itinerary was almost 2/3 sea days. In addition, because of a concern about stopping on the west coast of Africa, one of the segments we booked turned into a transatlantic sailing capped by a couple of stops in the Caribbean. Until HAL makes an effort to address my desires and structures their World Cruises accordingly, they will have to do without my business on this type of cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We have just returned from our Volendam cruise from Hong Kong to Kobe. Firstly, the company is let down by poor administration. Questions emailed to HAL in both the US and Australia were sometimes responded to in very vague terms, or ... Read More
We have just returned from our Volendam cruise from Hong Kong to Kobe. Firstly, the company is let down by poor administration. Questions emailed to HAL in both the US and Australia were sometimes responded to in very vague terms, or were ignored altogether. A requested "Roll Call" meeting was not advertised on the relevant web page until several days before departure, consequently its existence was unknown to most of the 40+ registered users. This was very disappointing. There was a late change to embarkation dock in Hong Kong, identified on page 1 of the check-in documentation, but on page 3, the previous dock was identified. Whilst acknowledging that the change of embarkation port is beyond the control of HAL, they could have been a little more helpful to their customers on how to find the dock. Many of the passengers reported that their taxi drivers did not know where to find the right port entrance and indeed our own went through three different port gates before finding the right one. Otherwise, embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and with little wait. Our cabin was ready by midday. On entering the cabin, it smelt very stale. It took some days to track down the cause of the odour as the pillows. They really needed washing or replacing and the smell could not be disguised by fresh linen. The WC in our cabin was not functioning properly and a plumber had to be called on the first day, and again several days later as the problem was not fixed properly the first time. The ship underwent some refurbishment recently. Curtains and cushion covers in the cabins have been replaced. Some resealing around the bath had taken place. Otherwise, the ship is showing its age somewhat. As an on-board video explained, it is important to think carefully about the location of your chosen cabin, particularly in relations to its proximity to the laundry (lots of passing traffic), proximity to lifts and stairwells (if walking long distances on board is not what you want). In our case it was a location underneath the galley of the Dining Room. The clanging and banging above our heads, late at night and very early each morning was unwelcome. Like a previous reviewer, we do not understand why HAL does not warn people about this. It is a far more important consideration than knowing whether your sea view is partly blocked - something they do tell you about, and adjust the fare appropriately. The crew, as usual, are extremely polite and helpful. Meals in the Rotterdam Dining Room and the Lido were generally good, with a wide variety. The standard appears to have dropped slightly from previous cruises. Stewards occasionally got meal orders muddled and there were occasional other issues in the Rotterdam Dining Room, but nothing major. The introduction of a fee for "special" coffees in the Rotterdam Dining Room (such as an espresso) was diappointing. The Pinnacle Grill experience was excellent. Afternoon teas in the Rotterdam Dining Room were very good. The entertainment was "so-so". Some acts were very good, some downright awful. Movies seemed often to shown at puzzling times so that it was very difficult to complete dinner in time to go, or to get any dinner after the show! Craft activities were infrequent, but Microsoft lectures were held daily. There was a daily "happy hour" in the Crow's Nest, and wine tastings for a modest fee. Shore excursions were expensive and many passengers had made their own arrangements for excursions, especially in Xingang (for Beijing) at a fraction of the cost. Information on ports of call was limited. Maps were generally not helpful, especially when asking locals for assistance, as maps made no sense to them whatsoever! There was a great encouragement, on the part of HAL, to take shore excursions rather than risk getting lost/not seeing the right sites/not getting back to the ship on time. Tourist authorities in Pusan and Nagasaki met the ship and provided helpful advice, maps etc. Free shuttle buses were provided in some ports. It would be so much more helpful if that information was made available prior to embarkation, since some passengers will always want to do their own exploring. The repeated reminders of the wonderfulness of the crew, the fabulousness of the cruise and the importance of the hotel service charge became irritating. If the crew rely on the distribution of this optional service charge, in order to draw a reasonable wage, then it would be preferable for HAL to pay them a respectable wage, and raise their fares accordingly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have just returned from our Volendam cruise from Hong Kong to Kobe. Firstly, the company is let down by poor administration. Questions emailed to HAL in both the US and Australia were sometimes responded to in very vague terms, or ... Read More
We have just returned from our Volendam cruise from Hong Kong to Kobe. Firstly, the company is let down by poor administration. Questions emailed to HAL in both the US and Australia were sometimes responded to in very vague terms, or were ignored altogether. A requested "Roll Call" meeting was not advertised on the relevant web page until several days before departure, consequently its existence was unknown to most of the 40+ registered users. This was very disappointing. There was a late change to embarkation dock in Hong Kong, identified on page 1 of the check-in documentation, but on page 3, the previous dock was identified. Whilst acknowledging that the change of embarkation port is beyond the control of HAL, they could have been a little more helpful to their customers on how to find the dock. Many of the passengers reported that their taxi drivers did not know where to find the right port entrance and indeed our own went through three different port gates before finding the right one. Otherwise, embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and with little wait. Our cabin was ready by midday. On entering the cabin, it smelt very stale. It took some days to track down the cause of the odour as the pillows. They really needed washing or replacing and the smell could not be disguised by fresh linen. The WC in our cabin was not functioning properly and a plumber had to be called on the first day, and again several days later as the problem was not fixed properly the first time. The ship underwent some refurbishment recently. Curtains and cushion covers in the cabins have been replaced. Some resealing around the bath had taken place. Otherwise, the ship is showing its age somewhat. As an on-board video explained, it is important to think carefully about the location of your chosen cabin, particularly in relations to its proximity to the laundry (lots of passing traffic), proximity to lifts and stairwells (if walking long distances on board is not what you want). In our case it was a location underneath the galley of the Dining Room. The clanging and banging above our heads, late at night and very early each morning was unwelcome. Like a previous reviewer, we do not understand why HAL does not warn people about this. It is a far more important consideration than knowing whether your sea view is partly blocked - something they do tell you about, and adjust the fare appropriately. The crew, as usual, are extremely polite and helpful. Meals in the Rotterdam Dining Room and the Lido were generally good, with a wide variety. The standard appears to have dropped slightly from previous cruises. Stewards occasionally got meal orders muddled and there were occasional other issues in the Rotterdam Dining Room, but nothing major. The introduction of a fee for "special" coffees in the Rotterdam Dining Room (such as an espresso) was diappointing. The Pinnacle Grill experience was excellent. Afternoon teas in the Rotterdam Dining Room were very good. The entertainment was "so-so". Some acts were very good, some downright awful. Movies seemed often to shown at puzzling times so that it was very difficult to complete dinner in time to go, or to get any dinner after the show! Craft activities were infrequent, but Microsoft lectures were held daily. There was a daily "happy hour" in the Crow's Nest, and wine tastings for a modest fee. Shore excursions were expensive and many passengers had made their own arrangements for excursions, especially in Xingang (for Beijing) at a fraction of the cost. Information on ports of call was limited. Maps were generally not helpful, especially when asking locals for assistance, as maps made no sense to them whatsoever! There was a great encouragement, on the part of HAL, to take shore excursions rather than risk getting lost/not seeing the right sites/not getting back to the ship on time. Tourist authorities in Pusan and Nagasaki met the ship and provided helpful advice, maps etc. Free shuttle buses were provided in some ports. It would be so much more helpful if that information was made available prior to embarkation, since some passengers will always want to do their own exploring. The repeated reminders of the wonderfulness of the crew, the fabulousness of the cruise and the importance of the hotel service charge became irritating. If the crew rely on the distribution of this optional service charge, in order to draw a reasonable wage, then it would be preferable for HAL to pay them a respectable wage, and raise their fares accordingly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The review by "dockman" is spot on. It's remarkable how sometimes one might think that one is the only person feeling in a certain way when in fact many would be feeling likewise. Like "dockman" I consider it a ... Read More
The review by "dockman" is spot on. It's remarkable how sometimes one might think that one is the only person feeling in a certain way when in fact many would be feeling likewise. Like "dockman" I consider it a pity that much of this review is negative; but I make no apology for this as Holland America has been in this business for over 150 years and should know better than to try to hoodwink its passengers especially those like me who have sailed with them and others scores times. As to the taxi mafia in the ports on this itinerary, Holland America has been to these ports over and over just in the last few months alone so they would be aware of what's going on. They know what's going to happen to us hapless independent cruisers and should use their muscle to protect its customers; rather it fed us to the wolves. It was especially galling when I discovered that in Laem Chebang, Thailand, as the independent cruisers were being ripped off $US50 for a one way trip to Pattaya, (5 or 6 times the taxi meter price) the crew had a special deal and 5 of them could travel by taxi for US20. This is profiteering from secret deals derived from the rip off of the independent cruisers. This is criminal and hurtful. I propose to report this to Better Business Bureau in the USA. I realize that these shady business practices are taking place in foreign ports, but US companies have a responsibility to behave responsibly wherever they operate if they are to uphold their reputations as good corporate citizens. The itinerary This itinerary left a lot to be desired. Spending 8 hours in a bus to achieve 2 hours in Saigon was a joke I refused to be part of. Likewise Bangkok which was described as a 90 minute trip from Laem Chabang "if there is NO traffic". When is there "NO" traffic going into Bangkok. And why did we need TWO visas to get into Vietnam? This was because the ship went from Halong Bay to (Sanya)China and back to Vietnam so two separate entrries. Why couldn't the ship go Hong Kong, Sanya and then Vietnam? The ship The ship itself was fine and the food acceptable. I did point to the head chef wwhile he was running a cookery class that the beautiful aromas he was concocting were decidedly absent from the meals in the dining room, which were on the bland side. Evidently they cook for the digestive systems of eldrly Americans. This needs to change so that people who like spicy foods can get them. Some decks do not have fridges in the staterooms; but you can hire one. I have never heard of anything more ridiculous in my life. Which hotel even in darkest Africa does NOT provide a fridge? Which cruise line? Yet they provide soda cans for purchase in these cabins; do they expect us to drink them warm? I objected and got a fridge. I think that Holland America should state this on their ticket (which it does NOT) as I consider it outside the expectation of any passenger taking a cruise on a recently refurbished Volendam to find that there is no fridge in their stateroom. This is unacceptable and dishonest advertising. The quality and price of the wines are an ongoing sore point with all cruise lines. The $40+ wines are rubbish and you wouldn't drink them if you paid the $5 per bottle they are worth. After trying a few ordinary wine bottles at rip-off prices we gave up and bought good French wine ashore and drank that. From time to time we took a glass with us to the dining room and no one seemed to mind. Holland America Generally I tried to report this by phoning Holland America in Seattle. The Guest Relations person who answered shouldn't be anywhere neqar anything called "Guest Relations". He excuse was that this is an exotic itinerary and HA goes there a "couple of times a year". I couldn't get through to her that the Volendam has probably done this itinerary backwards and forwards half a dozen times this season alone. Holland America has a lot going for it. The crew and staff are usually exceptionally good with people. However I have yet to get off a cruise without thinking, why do they go through so much trouble and then shoot themselves in the foot every time"... Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
It costs around $1000 a night for a deluxe verandah suite on most Holland America ships and, sometimes, an extra .50c for ear plugs to get a decent rest. Due to an original design fault, up to 144 of the most expensive suites on eight ... Read More
It costs around $1000 a night for a deluxe verandah suite on most Holland America ships and, sometimes, an extra .50c for ear plugs to get a decent rest. Due to an original design fault, up to 144 of the most expensive suites on eight HAL ships -- Volendam, Maasdam, Ryandan, Statendam, Veendam, Rotterdam, Zaandam and Amsterdam -- are located directly under the often-noisy pool deck. The sound of deck chairs and tables scraping, running, footsteps and even table tennis can be heard in many staterooms directly below. Guests who complain loudly enough and cannot be switched to quieter suites nearer the bow and aft are offered substantial monetary compensation and other sweeteners. Holland America (HAL) while painfully aware of the problem despite years of investigation and attempts at insulation, adopts a policy of denial in its day-to-day operations. Certainly that was the case on the ms Volendam on which my wife and I recently cruised from Hong Kong to Singapore for 16 nights in suite 7011. From day one we could hear heavy footsteps and scraping noises from overhead which woke us up during afternoon naps and in the early hours of the morning. Initially, complaints were met with feigned wide-eyed surprise. But the cat was out of the bag when a crew member in the Neptune Lounge (for suite guests only) opened a desk drawer and came up with a handful of ear plugs. As the cruise progressed and our stress levels increased, senior officers somewhat reluctantly began to take notice. An angry guest relations person twice burst into our cabin claiming that no one else had complained, and was appalled that I had dared to poll other suite passengers, several of whom, I discovered, were having similar problems, but were reluctant to complain. This guest relations person eventually was persuaded to walk up and down on the pool deck while another crew member stood in our suite below, listening. After switching places, they both agreed, grudgingly, that our complaint was justified. Most damning was a conversation I had with Volendam's Future Cruise Consultant, a no-nonsense veteran of more than 100 cruises. Yes, he said he knew all about the suite deck possible noise problems on the eight "S" and "R" class ships in the 15 vessels of the Holland America fleet. They had all been built with expensive suites right under the pool deck. Later ships were designed with a buffer of cheaper cabins above the suites. No, he said, he didn't specifically warn potential customers, but if they asked which were the best cabins, then he steered them to quieter ones. "But you have to remember", he said, "strange noises are the physical reality of ships". Official written responses included one from Christine Ferris, Special Advisor in the Office of the President (HAL in Seattle, not the White House): "Your concerns are not particularly common on our vessels; however we empathise and understand the resulting discomfort". Julie G. Pineda, Guest Relations Manager on board Volendam suggested that HAL didn't make the noise deliberately just to annoy passengers. She wrote: "It is certainly not our intention for our guests to experience unforseen technical difficulties". By the end of the cruise we had received an offer to move to a lower deck (rejected) a free bottle of wine, $700 in compensation (accepted) -- and tacit confirmation that, yes, HAL does indeed have an elephant in the room. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Talking to fellow cruisers as we were transferred from the airport in Hong Kong we felt that the ship was going to be sparkly and exciting, a big step up from our previous cruises (that were both excellent) with Thompsons. Embarkation was ... Read More
Talking to fellow cruisers as we were transferred from the airport in Hong Kong we felt that the ship was going to be sparkly and exciting, a big step up from our previous cruises (that were both excellent) with Thompsons. Embarkation was fast and efficient, but the initial impression of the ship was poor. We were due to sail at 11pm on the following evening, nothing happened till about 12:30 am as some Russians had not cleared customs. Then an extra port charge was added to everyone's onboard account!!! Was this because we had overstayed our time in Hong Kong because of the Russians? I wonder!! Other people have mentioned the cold - we were too hot, obviously the heating had been turned up too far by the time the ship was back in Hong Kong. Others have also mentioned the drabness and overall run down appearance of the ship, I totally agree. They have also mentioned the unexciting menus. I will add that I had always thought you were able to eat whenever you wanted 24 hours a day on a cruise. Not so on this ship. Unless you wanted burgers, cake or ice cream you had no chance as the main dining room closed at 9:30 in the evening for anytime diners, and the Lido closed its hot buffet section at 8pm. Also if you came back onto the ship mid afternoon expecting to get a late lunch the same limited choice was all that was available. The menu changed little from day to day and meat was often well undercooked even if requested as well done.We felt that entertainment could and should have been of a far higher standard. Guest entertainers were excellent, but only performed for about 3/4 of an hour at most so really should have been part of the night's show not the only act. The ship's own singer/dance troupe were very poor, often seeming to mime and when they appeared to be really singing were very out of tune. There was no glamour or glitz to these shows. The best shows were by the Vietnamese artists and the Indonesian staff. Entertainment during the day, even on days at sea was too specialised and had to be hunted down. The band playing on the Lido deck were good, but it was far too hot and humid to sit in there for long. We enjoyed the destinations though many excursions were badly organized as far as getting off the ship to the coach was concerned. The staff at the Front Office did not seem to care or want to help anyone in any way, and there was often a queue of people complaining about something. On the final day our transfer from the port in Singapore to the hotel room we had at the airport was unbelievably bad. We had pink 1 labels, our cases went in the truck labeled pink 1. We were going to The Crown Plaza Hotel at TERMINAL 3. We found the coach with the label for this hotel, sat on it for over half an hour as those in charge rushed around aimlessly. We were then told it was not our coach. The coach we were on was in fact blue 2 (no label to tell us that) so we had to get off and eventually found the right coach(that had no label at al) We were then dropped at Terminal 1 and had to pick up our own cases and get ourselves to the hotel in Terminal 3!!! Such wonderful service and organization has made us decide never to even think about Holland America Cruise Line ever again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Far East Discovery - HK to Singapore Firstly let me say that this was not our first cruise, having cruised regularly with many cruise companies since the early 1990s.This was our first with HAL and was used due to the area visited. I ... Read More
Far East Discovery - HK to Singapore Firstly let me say that this was not our first cruise, having cruised regularly with many cruise companies since the early 1990s.This was our first with HAL and was used due to the area visited. I have read reviews of the ship/cruise and would agree completely that it is not a 5 star ship following our experience.However - Embarkation Having stayed in HK prior to the cruise we arrived early at the cruise terminal(noon approx). It was organised and our luggage was collected ,receipt given. Later delivered to the cabin in reasonable time. We had "checked in" on line and the process was organised and was not too long. Prior to leaving the UK we had checked that Visa's could be obtained and this was dealt with at check in. We arrived at the cabin and was quite satisfied - an Ocean View. Plenty of space including a spacial Bathroom(A good sized Bath). Bath Robes provided. Restaurants Any Time Dining - Accommodated us as when we arrived.Food pleasant but not the best. One occasion when the main coarse was refused alternative offered. Always had to "push" for coffee and once never delivered. Staff pleasant but overall service very slow.Be careful where you sit, if under the AIR CON it really blows cold. LIDO(Cafeteria)Nothing outstanding and not spoilt for choice. Not the best dining experiences. Specialised Restaurants not used. Room Service included. Excursions Due to Ports of Call Ships Excursions used. Fairly well organised and better organised than some other ships we have been on. Expensive but that seems to be the norm nowadays. Daily Entertainment A choice to keep you busy if you wish but nothing to really grab your interest DVD players in cabins with an extensive FREE DVD library. Book Library is small, so get there early but should be adequate for the ship size. Cinema on board. Port Lecturer Very informative with humour, kept our interest Evening Entertainment Theatre Not bad but not the best seen. Not many ships company shows with guests artistes taking most evenings. Take a "woolly". The Theatre is cold, again the Air Con blowing down. Best views upstairs and as the cruise progressed it would seem many agreed as seats became hard to find. Early Diners making the most. Disembarkation Organised to get us off the ship early in Singapore, however that left us to queue(one only)which was slow. Overall Impression Not a 5 star ship which could improve its dining. It has not put us off going on it again - depends on the itineraries/price. It served us well for an area not previously visited. Niggles but no serious complaints Singapore a place to visit not transit Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
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
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