68 Hong Kong to Asia Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

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
The Volendam had recently refurbished their bathrooms and public areas but unfortunately did not refurbish their cabins which were very tired indeed. Great storage though in Cabin. The ship was continually cold onboard and we were given a ... Read More
The Volendam had recently refurbished their bathrooms and public areas but unfortunately did not refurbish their cabins which were very tired indeed. Great storage though in Cabin. The ship was continually cold onboard and we were given a variety of reasons why the air conditioning continued to blast out cold air yet I have seen other reviews about HAL complaining about the cold onboard their ships. Many passengers continually wore coats throughout the ship, some even had blankets with them in the dining room. Two of our companions left the ship with chest infections. Entertainment day and evening was very poor with very few activities to choose from. At age 60 plus I felt like youngster on board with the averse age of guest being about 80 years old. For whatever reason the ship was deserted at 10 pm every evening! Staff were generally very helpful except when we complained about the cold. They continually repeated that they take all complaints seriously but couldn’t explain why the air conditioning was always blowing out very cold air. If I were to speculate why I would suggest they are trying to ensure germs cannot breed. They should have followed this up though with staff encouraging passengers to wash their hands as they entered the dining areas as I have experienced with other shipping lines. The hands cleansing machines were at every entrance but unfortunately not all passengers used them. I will definitely never sail with HAL again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My experience on the January 31, 2018 sailing of the Volendam from Hong Kong to Singapore far exceeded my expectations. Having owned a large Incentive Travel planning company, I am admittedly very critical of services provided by hotels, ... Read More
My experience on the January 31, 2018 sailing of the Volendam from Hong Kong to Singapore far exceeded my expectations. Having owned a large Incentive Travel planning company, I am admittedly very critical of services provided by hotels, airlines and cruise companies. It was my job to provide the highest customer service and to make sure every detail was planned to perfection for my discriminating High Tech clients. For that reason, I am simply amazed that my experience on the Volendam was so wonderful. Let me explain....The ship was gracious and elegant. The food service was so outstanding, that it was shocking! The dining room, unlike other cruise lines, was quiet, spacious and every meals was better than the last. It was truly like dining at a fine restaurant. Even breakfasts were wonderful. Although the ship had nearly 2000 passengers, it felt empty. There was never the mad rush for a lounge by the pool, or fighting for a seat at the piano bar. The LIdo Market, while providing outstanding options,it was never a problem finding a table.It was delightful to sit outside by the pool and have breakfast, as we watched the sea. So, what makes this cruise so special, besides the dining experience? The shows were great, a small cast...but they really delivered delightful shows. The America's Test Kitchen surprised me by how great it was. I attended five classes. The lectures were wonderful. Our stateroom was very, very comfortable. It was clean, and when we had a problem, the Guest Services staff were right on it. Amazing! The Ports were great, too. I loved the itinerary, and especially with four stops in Vietnam. We spent three days in Hong Kong prior to the cruise, and then sailed for two weeks. Cambodia was not my favorite, but I think it was my fault, as I just took the transfer to the town and it left much to be desired. The two night stay in Bangkok was great, as we spent the night in Bangkok. If there is one challenge with this cruise, is the port is a long way from the major cities, like Hanoi, Saigon and Bangkok. Hoi An (Da Nang) was my favorite....beautiful town, with great shopping. I highly recommend Holland American Cruise line if peacefulness, great food, not feeling crowded or hassled, enrichment classes, and a beautfful library are important to you. Finding the right Ports is important,and I found the Asia cruise to be wonderful. PS: This is my eighth cruise, and our travelling companions 37th. They felt it was the best cruise they have had, as well. Read Less
Sail Date January 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
This was my first time on the Volendam, but not my last. The captain skillfully maneuvered this medium size cruise ship through high waves at the port of Nha Trang, Vietnam, and kept all the guests well informed. This my first HAL cruise ... Read More
This was my first time on the Volendam, but not my last. The captain skillfully maneuvered this medium size cruise ship through high waves at the port of Nha Trang, Vietnam, and kept all the guests well informed. This my first HAL cruise with in depth cultural sessions, such as feng shui, temple etiquette, or coffee culture, in addition to the regular tips for touring various ports. One minor quibble is that only maps of some ports/cities were readily available at the front desk. Major disappointment was the wait to disembark in Singapore due to long lines at immigration/customs. Although customs at Changi Airport experienced over the last 20 years is efficient, this disembarkation wasn't. However, the cruise itself was outstanding with a good food (loved the tropical fruits at the Lido Market daily -- guava, lychee, mango), flawless dinner service, and a variety of entertainment choices. Our compact cabin on the walking deck was comfortable and cozy with our own added décor; the steward furnished a vase for flowers acquired and used a bed runner also purchased in Vietnam. I was completely satisfied with 3 of the 4 tours, and highly recommend the My Son, an UNESCO World Heritage site, in Da Nang, Vietnam. The escort on the HCMC city transfer only provided general information on Vietnam and nothing city specific; he didn't even recognize that the street of the meeting point was the same where we were meeting our friends for lunch. We took shuttles (one paid & one free) in 2 cities and were able to explore on our own. Despite its location in a large, busy commercial port Terminal 1A in Laem Chabang Thailand has WiFi ($3.00 for 3 hours), an indoor souvenir market, and a small massage corner. Whether or not this is your first trip to Southeast Asia, you are in good hands sailing on the Volendam. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Choose this cruise for the itinerary and earlier good experiences with Holland America Line. Had a very comfortable outside cabin on Main deck with renovated bathroom, now having a spacious walk in shower. Cabin stewards did excellent ... Read More
Choose this cruise for the itinerary and earlier good experiences with Holland America Line. Had a very comfortable outside cabin on Main deck with renovated bathroom, now having a spacious walk in shower. Cabin stewards did excellent job, just everything was looked after very well. Food on Volendam was very good. We especially liked the meals and service in the Dining room. This cruise had great and very experienced Cruise Director, in charge of all the activities on board. He kept an eye on about everything and was always thefe for questions and so on. We very much recommand this cruise, next season to be operated by mv Westerdam. Only remark is that Thailand port Laem Chabang is rather far from Bangkok, 2,5 hours by car one way. For more time in Bangkok one should think of 1 overnight in a Bangkok hotel (tour or on individual basis, what is very well possible). Join HAL for this cruise and have fun! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
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
I chose this cruise because we wanted to revisit parts of Asia that we had been to years ago. We enjoyed all the ports; interesting. The food on board was wonderful, the service was excellent. The shows were o.k; many of the songs ... Read More
I chose this cruise because we wanted to revisit parts of Asia that we had been to years ago. We enjoyed all the ports; interesting. The food on board was wonderful, the service was excellent. The shows were o.k; many of the songs performed were not familiar to us. Our cabin was always kept neat and clean by the attendants; they work very hard! The ship itself is in good condition and also very clean. I enjoyed the port talks, they were extremely informative and to the point; excess information was not given. Embarcation and disembarcation was smooth and quick. Dining room service was excellent; our waiter was always ready to meet my requests for alterations or additions to the meal. We cruise on Holland America more than any other cruise line. I can still say I enjoy the company very much and would highly recommend the ship, the crew and the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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
Just out of dry dock and work still going on all over. AC in our cabin not working, far from ideal in tropical climate. We had an outside door to the lanai deck but this was broken!!! Temperature in our cabin was between 75-79 deg. I had ... Read More
Just out of dry dock and work still going on all over. AC in our cabin not working, far from ideal in tropical climate. We had an outside door to the lanai deck but this was broken!!! Temperature in our cabin was between 75-79 deg. I had to open the inner cabin door to let cool air from the interior corridor in to our cabin. The first few days had the smell of burning metal and sawdust but worst was an overpowering smell of soggy wet carpet from the many cabins with water leaks. Not surprising that my wife contracted a chest infection and ran up $2000 of medical bills and was confined to the cabin for a number of days. Funnily enough her chest infection cleared up totally as soon as the AC was fixed. Room service was appalling while my wife was unable to leave the cabin. I had to go to the restaurant myself to get the food she could eat. After repairs were carried out properly we enjoyed the rest of the voyage. Food and dining room were excellent. Service excellent. Wine at $40 a bottle and beer at $9 was bad, but a bottle of water at $3.95 + a bottle was a bit too much. 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
We chose this 42 day cruise as a one-time trip to the Far East. It was supposed to include stops in Korea, which were prevented by Chinese sanctions, so that it was slightly disappointing before it even began. Things just seemed to go ... Read More
We chose this 42 day cruise as a one-time trip to the Far East. It was supposed to include stops in Korea, which were prevented by Chinese sanctions, so that it was slightly disappointing before it even began. Things just seemed to go wrong whenever possible. We were awakened at 3am in Shanghai by an announcement that there might be contamination in the water (false alarm), we were kept in Shanghai an extra 38 hours by a storm without the ability to go ashore. No extra entertainment, other than a one hour open bar on sailing. The air conditioning went out and the captain blamed mussels in the inlets which had been acquired in Alaska and had to be flushed. There was a lack of organization in dealing with disembarkation in several ports, mainly blamed on the local officials, but often with the help of the staff. Although the cruise was 58, 42, 28 or 14 days, the entertainment was repeated every 2 weeks. The shows cast was talented, and the performances spirited, for such a small group, and quite entertaining the first time around. Additional entertainment was mixed. The repeating of a BBC documentary did not do much to enhance this aspect. The kitchen was light on no sugar food, having only no sugar added, and it ran out of ice cream 2 weeks before the end of the cruise. The food in the dining room was excellent, but portions were very small, and the service exceedingly slow. Several times meals lasted over 2 hours. Ashley Wade and her trio in the Ocean Bar were excellent for their Jazz, and she had a great rapport with her audience. The crew was exceptionally friendly and tried to be helpful. They made the voyage into a much more positive event. Working hard to please, they were the best we have seen. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I chose this cruise ,28 days, intending to visit major cities in the far east and Japan in particular and with detail. Cruised on the Volendam sept 2016 to Alaska. Summarize this cruise as a disappointment. To begin I got sick after 5 ... Read More
I chose this cruise ,28 days, intending to visit major cities in the far east and Japan in particular and with detail. Cruised on the Volendam sept 2016 to Alaska. Summarize this cruise as a disappointment. To begin I got sick after 5 days on board. On the previous cruise sept 2016 had the same symptoms after 4 days.I can't see how it can happen unless the air conditioning system is infected. This is not a statistic fact but 5 out of 8 people seated on the same table for dinner for diner got ill. The Frans Hals lounge is very dusty and many of guest sitting in lounge were coughing all their stay. I could feel the "dust screen" from a distance. The menu in main dining room some how repeated it self to much. On sea days not enough activities on board. Chairs in Lido restaurant, seats worn out and very uncomfortable. Air conditioning in main dining room poor. Service for breakfast in main dining room very slow. Would like to praise the Indonesian hotel staff who are very smiley and offer great service. Compared to previous cruise sept 2016 ship condition deteriorated. I think the ship needs refurbishing and maintenance very urgently. Read Less
Sail Date March 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 we loved the itinerary. We really liked the Volendam. Smallish and an older ship, but kept up well. Food was excellent. Cabin (6157) was adequate but did not have much storage space, but that is due to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary. We really liked the Volendam. Smallish and an older ship, but kept up well. Food was excellent. Cabin (6157) was adequate but did not have much storage space, but that is due to the age of the ship we think. Balcony was quite large, although we did not get to use it much. Very smoggy for most of the cruise. Crew was really outstanding from cabin stewards to officers. Always willing to assist with smiles. Did not take in much entertainment, but did enjoy a flutist from Scotland and the trio in the Ocean Bar was really good. Port presentations were excellent. Pool was heated, which was nice. The buffet was very good and never terribly crowded. Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze. The crew was especially outstanding in their handling of the required immigration inspections at several of the ports. Those are always a pain, due to the local authorities, but the crew made them bearable. The ports were each fascinating in their own ways. We booked our own private tours in Shanghai and Beijing through a company called China Highlights. Had a guide, private car, and driver. So glad we did that as guides were really excellent. Only tour we did via Holland America was in Seoul and it was fine. We just got off the ship and wandered on our own in Nagasaki and Kagoshima. Read Less
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
This was a very informative busy cruise. It was a great way to experience a lot of different Asian ports . The ship itself is small without any extra perks like climbing walls or skating rinks but the trip highlights some ... Read More
This was a very informative busy cruise. It was a great way to experience a lot of different Asian ports . The ship itself is small without any extra perks like climbing walls or skating rinks but the trip highlights some really interesting bustling Asian cities . The excursions were hit and miss . We rented a car with driver and guide from holland america for both days in Shanghai and Beijing. It was ridiculously expensive but worth it. A couple of tips about seeing Shanghai and Beijing this way. We got Chinese currency before we left home but still ran out of cash because we forgot touring this way doesn't take into account admission fees or tips . Also,when we booked the car and guide for 2 days in Beijing it was well worth our while to also book a hotel in Beijing because it's a 2 1/2 hour drive from the cruise terminal in Tianjin to Beijing . Sheraton hotel in Beijing was beautiful and cheap $163 US per night and included a wonderful breakfast . Read Less
Sail Date February 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
Last January I traveled from Hong Kong to Singapore on the Volendaam. I have thought long and hard about this review, and I tried to contact someone at Holland America to talk about it, but I got no response better than a brush off ... Read More
Last January I traveled from Hong Kong to Singapore on the Volendaam. I have thought long and hard about this review, and I tried to contact someone at Holland America to talk about it, but I got no response better than a brush off "You reported a sharp zip", which is an untruth. It is possible that they did act on my correspondence; if so, they gave no indication of that, so here it is. My concerns were about poor maintenance and safety. The poor maintenance applied to all parts of the ship. It was very cold throughout the ship for the first few days, people were leaving the dining room to go back and fetch their coats. Anyone with an engineering training kept noticing maintenance tasks that were just not being doing done when they should - engineers are trained to actively look for problems, it becomes a habit. The Lido area was in such a bad way that it just looked tatty. I did raise the issue with the front desk, and with the Lido manager (I think he said he was) but nothing got done. The overwhelming impression I received was that the Maintenance Department was seriously under staffed, or dreadfully badly managed. That was only disappointing. Then we got to Halong Bay and went ashore on a Tender. These Tenders have zip panels (4 in all) in sides for entry and exit which are a vital component of the Tender in a heavy sea. A heavy sea is what you will be in if the ship sinks and has to be abandoned, so it really matters. A heavy sea is what the Tender will find itself in, if during the 10 minute journey to shore it gets caught in a vicious sudden squall (it happens). If the panels don't zip up securely the water floods into the boat and passengers will get washed away. People will probably die. On this particular Tender the zips on the rear port side panel were completely shot, large sections of teeth missing, zip stitching failed and coming away from the canvas. There was no way that panel could have been closed, at all, not even slightly. It was appalling that passengers were being sent out in that boat, it was appalling that the seamen manning the Tender were apparently un-aware of its dangerous state, and were surprised when I pointed it out. It begged the question of who was responsible for ensuring this Tender was in a safe condition. As far as I could work out - no one. OK, one Tender, they got a report, I assumed that they would do what any organization would that has any kind of a safety culture, if one was wrong they would fix it and go round and check all the others. That is what you do, that is safety 101, and if you don't do that sooner or later, you get a serious accident. Then we went by Tender into Danang. This tender had similar problems (forward port side) in that the stitching had failed in three places. If a wave hit that weakened stitching it would rip the rest of it open in moments, and again people would likely be washed overboard. So bad stitching, shouldn't have happened. But it's worse that that. Those tenders are constructed as two fibreglass sections (top and bottom) joined together to form a monocoque structure. In the centre is a 2 metre high vertical steel square section that holds the steering gear and cabling up to the steering wheel on a mezzanine area. That square section also helps to hold the roof up and is an integral part of the strength of the roof of the Tender, the strength of the roof of the Tender that will be vital if a wave lands on it in a storm. The box section was formed from a C (aka U) channel with a plate screwed onto the front with screws every 15cms. That precisely regular distance between the screws tells you that the Engineer who designed the structure calculated how close together the screws need to be to get the full strength of a Box section, and not just the much weaker C section behind it. But most of the screws were missing. Clearly a maintenance worker had taken the plate off and when putting it back again decided he didn't need all those screws to hold a covering plate in place, and didn't bother with two thirds of them. But it's not a covering plate, it's a structural element; it really matters. Further there were no screws at all at the L bend at the bottom (where they were not conveniently accessible), which would be the most likely fracture point because bends are always a weak point. This was not a recent phenomenon. The empty screw holes had been over painted. So a maintenance engineer didn't do their job properly, whoever signed off that work didn't do their job, the Tender has subsequently undergone further maintenance, and the person who painted it didn't say "This isn't right", and whoever signed off that paint job didn't notice anything either. Further the dozens of seamen who have manned that Tender since haven't noticed or haven't commented. In the airline industry where safety is taken seriously any one of these people would have been sacked on the spot, immediate dismissal, and all their past work reviewed. But what does that mean for the sea worthiness of the Tender? Could it survive a heavy sea? Nobody knows; it is as simple as that, nobody knows. Unless you go back to the original designer's calculations, who will have designed for the roof to not collapse under a certain force (i.e. a great big wave landing on it), and put in a C channel to replace the Box section that was designed, you just don't know. It might be OK, it might not. Probably not, if it was OK without them the designer wouldn't have bothered with all those screws. Nobody designs in cost that isn't needed. So there we have it, it might be OK it might not, nobody's bothered. That seems to be the attitude to safety on the Volendaam. On the other hand, I hand traveled on the Zaandam the year before and found nothing to fault; nothing. How can two ships in the same company be so completely different? Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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