597 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

The ports. The ports. The ports. The Price. The line (HAL). These are the things that attracted me to this voyage. This voyage of 11 weeks was my first cruise with a duration of over three weeks, and that alone turns the experience ... Read More
The ports. The ports. The ports. The Price. The line (HAL). These are the things that attracted me to this voyage. This voyage of 11 weeks was my first cruise with a duration of over three weeks, and that alone turns the experience completely around. You see the same people, passengers & crew, over and over again and you get to know them. That was mostly good. Ran into many knowledgeable, seasoned travelers. Several of the enrichment activities (basically lectures) were great. In the negative column, the disembarkation was very disorganized and took a long time, with them calling for people (to disembark) who then accumulated at the gangway area but then couldn't leave due to wheelchairs being brought on board. Given the passengers, there were a lot of wheelchairs. Almost all things sold be HAL were excessively expensive. The big excursions and internet costs were astronomical. Liquor prices are up $2 over the last time I cruised (which wasn't long ago). I won't even consider the "premium dining" anymore. (Do they not realize that we've already paid for fine dining for every meal?) Tips are higher by $2 per day above the last time I cruised, but the fantastic Volendam crew deserved it. My final assessment will be tempered by how HAL treats the passengers for the sudden cruise termination. I realize it was beyond everyone's control, but how it is handled is not beyond control. Especially galling was that we lost the port of French Guiana, the sole reason for my obtaining $550 of vaccinations. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Just what you want for a Southern Caribbean Cruise, relaxation. Wonderful ports plus lots of days at Sea on a smaller ship with about a 1000 passengers. Tobago was like the Caribbean of past decades.. beach pretty empty, water clear to 10 ... Read More
Just what you want for a Southern Caribbean Cruise, relaxation. Wonderful ports plus lots of days at Sea on a smaller ship with about a 1000 passengers. Tobago was like the Caribbean of past decades.. beach pretty empty, water clear to 10 feet, beautiful brightly colored fish swimming all around. Barbados still our number 1 Island, Aruba, Curaçao, Trinidad, Tobago, St. John, St. Martin, grand Cayman, and well Jamaica which is like a day at sea for us. Entertainment for HAL was ok... just added two pianos plus Lincoln Center, quintet of Classical musicians. Some of the special entertainers were great, some so so.. one poor comedian was horrible..painful to,watch. Never a problem with pool chairs, come out at 1 if you wish, still get your choice. Fellow cruisers very nice. On such a small ship you get to know many of them quite well in 16 days. New Years Eve party was nicely done and the newly added Orange Night was a blast. I had no idea HAL could be so lively! Lots of dancing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Because of this cruise, I am no longer feeling the love I used to feel as a 3 star mariner on HAL. We had a very spacious cabin 2555, but in the 16 days we were in it, the air conditioning never worked and the toilet never flushed ... Read More
Because of this cruise, I am no longer feeling the love I used to feel as a 3 star mariner on HAL. We had a very spacious cabin 2555, but in the 16 days we were in it, the air conditioning never worked and the toilet never flushed properly. This is an inside wheelchair cabin, so in the hot Caribbean temperatures, a non-working toilet plus no a/c was a living hell. I of course complained multiple times daily, but the only option was a desk fan which simply circulated the foul-smelling air. The guest services office gave us a free dinner at Cannaletto, but then insisted that the temp of our cabin was 18 degrees celcius. Maybe it was if you hold the meter up at the a/c vent, but that doesn't help that there was no air blowing into the 80 degree F cabin! We laid in the wet bedsheets every night, sweating like pigs in the sewage-smelling inside air. Sickening! Enbarcation was smooth, disembarcation was also smooth. The impressionist Robbie Howard was fantastic! The Jersey Boys and the FlyRight trio were exceptionally great. The food in the MDR was delicious, and they never made any mistakes regarding the accommodation of my tomato food allergy. Our MDR waiters, Awan and GeDe were fantastic. Our room stewards on deck 2 were great! Our southern Caribbean ports of call were fantastic, all of them. Now we have been on 30 cruises, not all with HAL, and 74 foreign countries total. With a manual wheelchair I might add. The best meal I had was the filet mignon/ lobster tail entree with chocolate souffle dessert. Just wonderful! The service in the LIDO was hit or miss, depending on who was the staff in that section. If we sat in the Cannaletto area for breakfast, the staff came around with hot, delicious coffee every 5 minutes. Anything you wanted. The further we sat away from that section, we got less to no service whatsoever. I had to clean my own table and fetch my own coffee twice. Once in the MDR breakfast I requested scrambled eggs and got some terrible tasting powdered eggs instead. I refused them and it took 30 minutes to receive hot, real chicken eggs. Not good! Again in the MDR if we were seated far away from other larger tables, we got no service at all. Most of the guests were of retirement age, but there was a group of very annoying and loud teenagers who ruined the peaceful quiet several times in the Explorer Lounge area. Some of those teenagers and their families were escorted off the ship in Aruba because they got into a bloody fist fight.. That helped the noise level on the ship. I was cerytainly glad to see those families leave the ship in Aruba. Many people complained about the noise those teens were causing. Also, the casino noise was overwhelming, and when I complained to Nicu the casino supervisor that the noise was spilling into the Hudson room and the Explorer Lounge, he smiled because he encouraged that noise. I called security to intervene, but they never arrived on scene. HAL wants more to make money in that casino than to offer a quiet spot for people to play cards and read. Making money is HAL's agenda goal. The daily gratuities continue to increase, so we asked that they be deleted. The HAL corporation is not getting my gratuities as gravy for themselves; instead I give cash to those employees who serve me personally. I figure that this vacation was paid for at least 90 days before I stepped on the ship, and I know for a fact that those gratuities do not reach my stewards and waiters specifically. HAL is worth millions. They pay the staff the same whether or not I pay the $14.50 daily gratuities per person so I will not add to that if there is an option to deny the corporation even more money than I agreed to pay. Your opinion may vary, but it's my vacation and my money. The hotel supervisor tried to get us to accept a cabin 1/4 the size of 2555 that he claimed was an upgrade. It was an insult. I feel that if HAL really wanted to make us happy after putting us in a cabin without a working toilet or a/c they could have done so; the ship was not full. Instead they chose not to make us happy. We will certainly remember that when we decide to book another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
As always, the ship, crew and food were great! The biggest issue was that more modern venues for entertainment have been shut down on the smaller boats. In the Ocean bar, the trio band (think older standards for ballroom dancing) played ... Read More
As always, the ship, crew and food were great! The biggest issue was that more modern venues for entertainment have been shut down on the smaller boats. In the Ocean bar, the trio band (think older standards for ballroom dancing) played every night till 10pm and then at 11pm the cruise entertainment person took on the additional duty of DJ for the only dance floor left on the boat. Since it was so late that some modern music was being played, there were few guests staying up to go dancing. And it is not like we do not enjoy older music -- my wife and I often go to WWII dances that play the music of the 40's and 50's. But 16 days of the trio was a bit too much. The dance floor at the Crow's nest has been covered over with carpet and we were told all the other boats on Holland were like this also. The Crow's Nest is totally dead at night and the only reason to go there is happy hour at 10pm to get you 2 drinks to take with you to other venues. The dueling piano players lacked something on this trip and ruined many a song. Generally, the under 70 crowd walked around after the evening show looking for something to do or watch sports at the Billboard venue. My wife and I have been on many Holland trips and prefer this cruise line over others, but we both agreed that we may have to look at other lines. We had a great time on last year's Holland trip over New Year's. We enjoy smaller boats, but we may have to give this up and go on larger capacity boats on Holland or other lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
One star for Lincoln Center Stage and One more for our waiters and cabin steward, I'm behind generous. We chose this 30 day itinerary, round trip Fort Lauderdale, because we were anxious to sail on the Amazon River in Brazil and ... Read More
One star for Lincoln Center Stage and One more for our waiters and cabin steward, I'm behind generous. We chose this 30 day itinerary, round trip Fort Lauderdale, because we were anxious to sail on the Amazon River in Brazil and see the towns and villages that were scheduled. As always I'll try to indicate the good points and not so good experiences so you can make your own decisions as to what might matter to you. The good points were very few: > Lincoln Center Stage was a home run and became the one on board offering that we enjoyed whenever they played. Flawless. > The evening meal in the MDR was very good with both food and service meeting our expectations. We enjoyed late seating and were very lucky with our wait staff. We enjoy wine with meals, bought two different wine packages that were OK but quite expensive for what you got. Sadly, that wraps up the positives, If you book, choose your cabin carefully. We took a cabin on deck three (promenade). The mornings were very noisy with crew moving deck chairs. I didn't love the lack of privacy on that deck. My fault in not thinking through my decision. They were not successful in many ways: > If you enjoy dancing you need to bear in mind that there is only one very small dance floor on the entire ship, in the Ocean Bar. The trio will be playing mostly foxtrots and waltzes with most music having been written in the 30's through 50's. There is no longer a dance floor in the Crow's New as the floor has been carpeted over and the bandstand removed. > Staying on the topic of music, besides the LCS which was great and the down tempo, pretty boring after 3 days trio, they offer dueling pianos (not our thing). Most importantly they have no "band" at all. The small orchestra that plays on occasion on the Main Stage never entertains anywhere. No band. No live music on the pool deck, ever. Such a waste of space, the Crow's Nest was a ghost town in the evening. Imagine a ship with nowhere to throw a party and no band to play. The "Orange" event in the Ocean Bar was music off a laptop and was far too small to accommodate the ship. > The rumor has always been that HAL caters to an older crowd. I find that to be somewhat exaggerated, they simply act older as the entertainment and daily schedules are so boring. > The buffet was very mediocre with food that was consistantly served at the wrong temperature. The poolside grill produced very ordinary burgers and dogs most often after a wait of 20-30 minutes. Ridiculous. The specialty coffee shop doesn't offer anything to eat (unlike the International Cafe on Princess) and we never, literally never, over 30 days saw them make coffee for anyone that didn't work on the ship. > The evening entertainment was terrible. 2 or 3 three good headliners over the entire cruise. No singers and dancers, no production shows and no energy whatsoever. > The Cruise and Travel Director had one job too many as he was the absolute lowest energy CD we've seen, and we've seen many. The daily activities were a joke. The enrichment programs were very hit and miss with the main speaker as his very strong accent made his, probably interesting lectures, meaningless to us because we simply couldn't understand him. That was a shame. A few things to note that may or may not be specific to this cruise. > The tender operation was the worst we've seen. We gave up twice and stayed on the ship instead of waiting for hours in the cold theater. > The ship ran aground on the river, settling on a sand bar where we sat for eight hours until we got free. As a result we got to that days port after dark, left the next morning at eight (so we missed the port completely) and then, because we stayed overnight we missed the next (once in a lifetime) port as well. The captain took no responsibility for the mishap, blaming the pilots. Very unprofessional in my view. > The excursions were managed terribly. On one occasion, after spending 2.5 hours on a bus and in a city that we were just supposed to drive by (maybe 20 minutes) on route to our overnight in an Eco Lodge, I complained. A HAL employee on the excursion told me if I wanted to get off the bus we could leave, get to the ship on our own (in a very third world, unsafe environment) and as far as the $1300 we paid, I could discuss that when I got back.. We chose to continue but the point is that we did not feel well taken care off, we didn't get we bought and our safety seemed irrelevant. > Aside from our steward and waiters the crew was grim, literally grim. I suspect they felt as I did that not much more could go wrong. There's probably more to say but I'll leave it here with the following summary. Dancers beware, if you like uptempo music beware, if you relish a good evening in the theater beware, if you're booking a trip with tender stops beware, if you enjoy some energy throughout the ship beware, if you like a live band that plays rock and roll, disco, latin music beware. Imagine a cruise where they didn't have the capacity to sing the corny songs like YMCA or Last Dance. If you like going to your cabin after dinner to watch a movie, this is the ship for you. Just my humble opinion. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
After sailing on the Eurodam in March, 2019 on an extended cruise to the south pacific, we were hoping that the Volendam would be an improvement concerning food quality. We were pleasantly surprised and did not have a single issue on the ... Read More
After sailing on the Eurodam in March, 2019 on an extended cruise to the south pacific, we were hoping that the Volendam would be an improvement concerning food quality. We were pleasantly surprised and did not have a single issue on the Volendam the entire cruise. We are 4 Star Mariners and have sailed with Holland America for many years and have recently seen major issues with food quality; this was not the case on the Volendm. We hope that Holland America is getting the message and improvements with food quality are being made fleet wide. As usual, the staff was excellent and always the highlight . Cabin attendants were always excellent and attentive to every need. Another improvement is that they recently raised the maximum for the Signature Drink Package from $9 to $11 which had limited some choices as a result of recent price changes. Still a drawback, you can not get a more expensive drink on the plan without paying the full price for the drink (there is no method for just paying the difference). With all the technology available, this shouldn't continue to be an issue! The entertainment in the Ocean bar was great with a trio that played and sang almost every night until 11. The theater dancers were great but other shows were very poor quality, including the dueling pianos. More live entertainment should be provided during the day. Although an older ship, it is kept in excellent condition. The bathroom in our cabin had a new shower with no tub (water pressure could be improved). It was spotless and a pleasant surprise. Cabin temperature control was adequate. The public restrooms throughout the ship (with the exception of the ones near the main dining room) although always clean, had a strong smell of urine. Something should be done in this area. The restroom in the Crows Nest was particularly nasty. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly with no issues. We had previously booked another (extended) cruise through Asia in early 2020. and were having second thoughts after our experience on the Eurodam. We hope that it turns out to be as good as the Volendam! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Embarkation day was great, lines were very short and moved quickly, check-in was fast,and they started letting us on the ship at 11:30. And we went right to deck 8 to get something to eat. Our cabin was on deck 3 it was an totally ... Read More
Embarkation day was great, lines were very short and moved quickly, check-in was fast,and they started letting us on the ship at 11:30. And we went right to deck 8 to get something to eat. Our cabin was on deck 3 it was an totally obstructed ocean view..it was fine, we had no idea that Volendam just came out of dry dock 2 weeks prior, and the ship looked great! Our bathroom was all re-done, new shower, flooring, sink etc...Well done, I think our mattress was new too, so comfortable. Our room steward “Diki” did an awesome job & was always offering to do more. The dinning room food was delicious and service was spot on, the buffet had many food choices some of which I didn’t get to try because I was so full. The casino was on the small side and I found the machines to be too tight, however I was pleasantly surprised to see that the entire casino was “no smoking” , that is the first ship I have ever been on with a smoke free casino. Volendam looks great with her new updates; good job Holland America, I would definitely sail on The Volendam again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My daughter and I booked this cruise wanting some sun and fun and a vacation over a week long. This was great. We know HAL well and her pace suits our needs. We LOVE food, being waited on, quiet time, and a little entertainment. We ... Read More
My daughter and I booked this cruise wanting some sun and fun and a vacation over a week long. This was great. We know HAL well and her pace suits our needs. We LOVE food, being waited on, quiet time, and a little entertainment. We don't care about lot of drinking and don't want to be onboard with a bunch of screaming kids or drunks. So that did eliminate some cruise lines for us. This was a great value for the money and we got a last minute balcony upgrade which was super. The ship is small and we wanted that specifically. She had been dry docked as she is 20 years old and showing a bit of wear. Our cabin was super and perfect, but a few did have hot water or a/c issues. This was a lot of older people and there was a lot of cranky complaining.....hurt them more than me, but let's get real people. Food was excellent; Canaletto outshined Pinnacle Grill which was surprising. Main dining was good - a couple nights slow and meals were weren't thrilled with, but all in all above average. Excursions were fun and priced well. Service, as always, is top notch....though I was shocked there wasn't more pushing of antibacterial hand washing; usually a huge focus of HAL. We took elderberry in large quantities to avoid any illness, but there were a few sick people (handwashing, handwashing, handwashing - and don't touch the surfaces!) Entertainment in the tertiary facilities was really amazing; Lincoln Center Stage had unbelievable talent. World Stage was sub par and seems to be an area HAL has decided to abandon. The crew is the shining pride of HAL and did not disappoint. The only exception here was that the entertainment crew is given a lot of freedom of facility (unlike the hard working service staff who may not fraternize). They ran around the ship a bit out of control and I've never seen HAL permit that before. Usually they can roam public areas and eat at Lido, but not make a spectacle of themselves. Here they did and I must say it made me a bit sad to see this lax. All in all I'd go again and consider it a fabulous vacation, but I do worry for HAL that the slight lapses in loosey goosey operations are just a fluke and not a new trend. I'm stiil a fan and huge recommender of HAL for those who want service, food, and quiet. If you want an amusement park - you won't want HAL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
You may wonder why I only gave this a 4 star review, when for all the sub-items below I have rated them as 5 stars. The answer is because the ship had just come out of a two week dry dock, and as a result, many cabins, and some hallways ... Read More
You may wonder why I only gave this a 4 star review, when for all the sub-items below I have rated them as 5 stars. The answer is because the ship had just come out of a two week dry dock, and as a result, many cabins, and some hallways had been flooded, and had no hot water or HVAC. One is always warned never to take the first cruise after a refit, and fortunately, I was not significantly inconvenienced, suffering just 3 days without hot water,(and in the Caribbean, that is not really an issue). However, what was of concern was the lines of 40+ people every day for three days at the front desk trying to get new cabins, and the complete indifference of the staff, and captain, to their plight. I am a management consultant, and while every customer expects everything to be perfect, sometimes things go wrong. When this happens, the company should acknowledge their mistake and try to make amends (although a number of customers will never be satisfied). In the case of the burst water pipes, the captain should have had all of his engineering staff working flat out to fix them, instead of just putting buckets out to catch the water, and should have put all of his administrative staff on front desk duties to relieve the load on the three regular staff. He should have instructed those staff to acknowledge that there was an issue rather than trying to minimize it, and given out free drink vouchers to affected passengers. An announcement of apologies might have helped as well. His failure to do this led a very large number of passengers to swear that they will never take a HAL cruise again, which is a shame, because where the ship was ship shape, it was sparkling. The food was excellent. The Lido restaurant has been improved so much in terms of service level and food choice that I ate every breakfast there. Lincoln Center Stage provides erudite performances for those who want "a cut above" in terms of entertainment, but the enlarged piano bar is also obviously a huge success as it was full to overflowing every night. Long time cruisers please note: Main Stage entertainment times have now been brought forward half an hour, to 1930 and 2130, so that it is difficult to attend the second performance if you are on the late Fixed Seating. As a result, I moved to "As You Wish" so that I could attend the performances. This years "cost cutting miserlyness" has been the removal of all small flower decorations from dining tables, and most large ones from the public areas of the ship. As a result, it looks somewhat spartan and minimalist, and I wonder how many hundreds of thousands they paid some nit-picker at head office to do away with something which added class and panache. Such nit-picker can probably tell management how many thousand dollars will be saved by not providing flowers, but what he can't ascertain is how many sailings will NOT be booked by customers who see this as a downgrade of their overall experience and will transfer their loyalty to Oceania instead. Embarkation was efficient, although the "VIP Lounge" was just a separate seating area - no snacks or coffee - very disappointing. Debarkation was the most efficient I have ever encountered. 45 minutes from leaving the ship to being at my departure gate at FLL! BTW, do NOT use taxis from the port. I learned from my last cruise that they are corrupt and take you two miles north before doubling back, and thus charging $20+ for a 20 minute ride. The taxi commissioner does not care. So use shared vans or Uber as they take you the direct way, 4.1 miles for $11 in 7 minutes. Finally, this itinerary was fantastic for me, as a diver and snorkeler. There were options to do this on almost all the islands. I will be taking this itinerary again, as I enjoyed it so much. And I will take Volendam again as the cabin and dining stewards were so exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe ... Read More
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe it had a leak at sometime and hadn’t been cleaned properly. My friend had gone through some lung issues just before the cruise so the second day he was sick it. So they moved us to new cabin. So now the new cabin had no hot water for four days Then the fifth day no cold water just scalding hot both sides. So after talking among passengers and crew that this was problems throughout much of the ship . Then the ship was just of dry dock and were also experiencing HVAC problems. We talked with several people among the staff and after several meetings with staff was offered compensation but was kept silent to the passengers and the ones I talked to were offered much less to nothing basically saying that if said nothing then that’s wat you or you if didn’t stay on their ads you got a much smaller competition. Not on a different topic entrainment what they had was ok but you could tell they didn’t budget much for entertainment. There was never a band of any kind poolside or around during the day. But I guess that didn’t make too much a splash poolside as we only had about half or time with the pool in service. On the positive side the food was spectacular and the wait staff was equally as good Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The price was right and we were traveling with friends who had never been through the Panama Canal. We usually always travel with Holland America and always pleased with travel Volendam was small and getting from bow to stern difficult ... Read More
The price was right and we were traveling with friends who had never been through the Panama Canal. We usually always travel with Holland America and always pleased with travel Volendam was small and getting from bow to stern difficult since galley is inconveniently located thus creating a safety hazard. The entertainment was mediocre except for the ventriloquist. A comedian was so crude and awful that several people walked out, including us. I did enjoy America’s Test Kitchen. We missed the crew show which is always a popular inclusion in entertainment. The Allegro Strings was a poor replacement for Lincoln Center on other ships. The lifeboat safety drill was disastrous. The announcement was unintelligible in cabins to announce the drill and once on deck, deck crew microphones were out of batteries or dysfunctional. The initial drill is important since it is supposed to indicate the competency of the crew. We didn’t even have to put on life preservers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our voyage on the MS Volendam was short, but sweet! This ship is still in very good shape. It is scheduled for another retrofit next month. We flew to Vancouver to join the ship on it's transition from Alaska to the Caribbean. ... Read More
Our voyage on the MS Volendam was short, but sweet! This ship is still in very good shape. It is scheduled for another retrofit next month. We flew to Vancouver to join the ship on it's transition from Alaska to the Caribbean. Many people on this voyage were settling in for the extended Panama Canal cruise. We had limited time as we had another trip planed, so we decided to take the 6 night cruise from Vancouver to San Diego. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Uptown Hotel in Vancouver. It's only 4 miles (12 minutes to the cruise terminal) and is about half the price of the downtown properties. We found it clean, friendly and in a very nice neighborhood filled with restaurants. Embarkation was very fast and our rooms were ready when we boarded around 11:00 a.m. Our cabin was a Guaranteed Ocean view Cabin. We were very satisfied with our location on Dolphin deck near the Aft part of the ship. The cabins are a bit dated, especially the TVs and the safe; other than that, a great clean cabin with plenty of storage space. We enjoyed the limited entertainment onboard, especially the comedian and the magician. Both were excellent. The BB King All Star band was also great. We have heard many of these bands play on other HAL ships and HAL does a great job recruiting these bands. We also enjoyed early evening entertainment in the Ocean Bar. The food onboard was fine. We enjoyed all of the food and service in the Main Dining Room. Our servers, Rudy and Eko, were outstanding. The Lido Buffet is fine for what it is, along with the Dive In area. We did not partake of the Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto this voyage as we are going on another HAL ship in thirty days and will book then. Victoria is always a great walking port. We did not get off the ship in Astoria, Oregon. San Francisco is always a wonderful city to visit and we were fortunate to spend from 7 am until 11 pm in the city. Debarkation in San Diego was effortless and we were at the airport in minutes. As always, the crew on HAL REALLY make the difference. These people bust their buns each and every day to make sure all guests are having the best experience while onboard. A shout out to Henry and Jerry in the Ocean Bar, as well as Sol and Teddy, our cabin stewards. We look forward to our upcoming trip on MS Koningsdam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose HAL again after examining the Alaska ports visited, length of cruise, & the passenger capacity of the Volendam. It can accommodate (per the HAL website) 1432 guests and only has about 9 floors. We booked directly with HAL ... Read More
We chose HAL again after examining the Alaska ports visited, length of cruise, & the passenger capacity of the Volendam. It can accommodate (per the HAL website) 1432 guests and only has about 9 floors. We booked directly with HAL & received no perks, just their lowest price for a Large Ocean View stateroom for 2 adults, roundtrip airfare, transfer from/to airports, & travel insurance. We also "guaranteed" the type of stateroom desired, selected open dining & paid all at once on our credit card which gave us air miles for the purchase. Exactly 90 days before our cruise date we received the exact category of room assignment & confirmation of our airline tickets. We were directed to website called FlightEase to see the exact info about the tickets. Our airline confirmation number was listed there-- the "Airline Locator" number -- so we could also lookup the info on the airline's website. If you go to any cruise-related website &/or the HAL website you can search for the cabin category & find the location of the cabin category you are assigned. Our cabin was initially in the farthest back, lowest deck on the ship. Twenty days before sailing & up until the day before, the email offers started coming in -- "Club Orange" offer for $25/person/day (which apparently is included in the price of any HAL suite); 4 times we were offered an ever decreasing price to upgrade to a CA category, which if you look on the chart is a Lanai cabin with a sliding door to the ship's exterior deck and 2 reserved deck chairs. In the middle of all these offers we were automatically upgraded one floor up, & moved toward to middle of the ship to the DA category with out any action from us. Ten days prior to sailing we booked 2 shore excursions (Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer, White Pass Summit Scenic Railroad) thru the HAL website. Looking back, we should have booked thru a travel agent to see what free perks we could have received with our booking at the same price;we should have waited to book our excursions onboard the first day to receive the onboard spending credit which counts toward your "Mariner Society" loyalty program (every $300 converts to one bonus cruise day to help you move up the program levels); we also should have paid out the balance over time. If the price decreased, we could have called & asked for the lower price. Once you pay for it all, they wont make any adjustments. After the major walk thru "Canada Place" boarding dock to check in, the stateroom was underwhelming to say the least. Despite being very clean, one could not overlook the tired look of the furnishings. The drapery hung limply on the rods, obviously needing pressing; the upholstery was worn, showing obvious signs of wear. The TV was an 18' type from the the 1990s. The window needed exterior cleaning. We were amazed at the large amount of closet space for hanging. We didnt even use 2 of the 4 closets available. There are even drawer units under the bed. Each bedside table had 2 ample drawers. The bed was 2 twin mattresses pushed together -- very comfortable. With "Open Seating" dining, one can still call for a reservation. However they are available at only 530pm or 745pm. Nothing in between. If you tell them you will sit at a 4-8 person table you will have to wait till all are seated before you can order. We were 30 minutes late to our 515 reservation & had to wait in the long line with those lacking reservations. We tried our luck other nights, opting for walking up whenever we were ready to eat dinner & being led to a table having 2 available seats. Only once we opted to dine in the Lido Market on the 8th floor due to a 20min wait time for 2. In the main dining room, you order all your courses at once & you can order more than one item if you desire it. Alcohol orders are taken & served by servers different from food servers. The food is delicious, beautifully presented, with modest-sized portions. Dont expect very attentive service. The servers are quite concerned with taking orders quickly, clearing other tables away, bringing dishes to be washed & bringing out the food. They are literally rushing as fast as they can to perform those duties first. We found attentive service to the diners is LAST. It appeared wait staff was under-staffed: many websites state the Volendam crew number at about 675. The "Voyage Log" we received in our cabin on the last night stated they had only 567! It sure is felt in the dining room. The attentive service is felt in the bar areas. The ship has an abundance of areas to serve drinks. Wherever people gather, the ship takes the opportunity to sell drinks--even when lining up to disembark! Happy hour specials occur almost ever 2 hours: second drink for $2; 5 wine sampler $25; food wine pairing $7. You'll also feel in-room dining is well done. We had coffee delivered EVERY morning including the last morning. When thy didnt get something quite right, they called the next time to see if all was good with the order. The last morning on the ship we ordered full breakfast for 6am. Our attendant advised we take that delivery time & not gamble with the 7am delivery option (You fill out a card & hang it on your outer door knob before 2am). Feel free to write-in whatever else you would like if its not listed--they aim to please. At night we enjoyed the casino, the double piano bar & looking thru the shops occasionally. We seemed to be the only ones that didnt know the "Mainstage" theater has been renamed "BB King Blue Club", another live music venue. All the ship maps still have the old name, but the "Where & When" daily planner doesnt mention the name change. A large band with 2 singers would play there some nights. It was fun seeing the musicians stroll around the ship & speak to them. Same for the speakers who would lead nature talks during the day. By far the most enjoyable day on ship was the morning spent in Glacier Bay, narrated by a US Forest Ranger. Words cannot describe the other beautiful ports we saw: Juneau (& excursion to Tracy Arm), Skagway (& excursion on White Pass Railway); Ketchikan (we rented a car for the day, $100). We were pretty tuckered out after all this fun & sightseeing, the dinner, drinks & music afterward were just right. Sailing days were spent sleeping in, going to the spa (wait to book on board when the daily specials start arriving in your stateroom), in the "Crows Nest" looking at the scenery, going to nature talks, having a fancy coffee at the coffee bar, religious observation, taking afternoon tea, in addition to breakfast, lunch & dinner! The swimming pools were unremarkable & I didnt see many folks in them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Although the cruise was nice, going through customs at the Vancouver Airport PLUS the registration at Holland America requires a ton of walking and standing. My feet throbbed for two days after getting on the ship. We are both in our ... Read More
Although the cruise was nice, going through customs at the Vancouver Airport PLUS the registration at Holland America requires a ton of walking and standing. My feet throbbed for two days after getting on the ship. We are both in our 70's and are fortunate to not need a wheelchair. However, there was a lot of unnecessary walking at the warehouse prior to boarding. On one leg of the walk we had to go up the escalator, walk down the hall into a room, check-in, down to the end of the room, turn left, turn left again, only to see we were leaving the same room. We had circled rows and rows of empty folding chairs when we could have simply turned around and gone out the same door we came in. After going through customs at the Airport,which was a ton of waiting and walking, we were tired. All of the unnecessry walking involved in Holland America registration just made it worse. I heard many guests complaining about the amount of walking to get there. One said, "it was torture". Another said, "they make you do all that walking so when you get here, you think everything is wonderful". I also wanted to comment on the Totem Pole tour. they should describe is as a "walking tour". If we had known it was all walking, we never would have signed up. Yes, you take the bus to the Totem Pole Park, but you have to walk the entire tour. If you are bothered by cigarette smoke, don't plan on going into their Casino as they allow smoking in the Casino. As soon as you get off the elevator on the 5th level, you can smell the smoke. It was very annoying and prevented us from going into the Casino as much as we would have liked. All in all, the cruise was very nice. The Holland America team offered excellent customer service at every turn. We would use your Cruise line again, but never, never, will we ever cruise out of Vancouver again. Thank you for your time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose this cruise as it seemed to be one of the few to visit Glacier Bay. With climate change we found the glaciers disappointing especially after seeing the ones in Argentina. The Volendam is a small ship and we were again ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it seemed to be one of the few to visit Glacier Bay. With climate change we found the glaciers disappointing especially after seeing the ones in Argentina. The Volendam is a small ship and we were again disappointed by the entertainment, it wasn't a patch on larger ships ( as you might expect), but was outshone by Fred Olsen which is a similar size. We found the drinks expensive and didn't like the 15% on top for service when we had already paid a general daily service charge. We had freedom dining and for the most part it worked, except when we made a booking for a certain time on a formal night and we still had to wait for a table. However the food was quite good. In spite of what they say in the dress guidance, they do not enforce the formal dress code and when we took the trouble to dress formally it was a shame that many passengers didn't and arrived as if it was a casual night. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland ... Read More
In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland America expressing my concerns about the poor service and food quality on the ship. It felt like I was on a training voyage for most of the staff. Let's start with the Dining Room. On my first night I asked my server what my complimentary drink options were with dinner and he could not answer the question. Same result when the Wine Steward was asked. I was a little taken back when I was told a can of Coke would be $2.50 with dinner. Really? Seems like nickel and diming when I can get a nice steak for dinner but have to pay for a soda. (Carnival got this right!). I had numerous experiences where the staff had to clarify simple orders several times (I do not have an accent), and several occasions where the wrong meal was served. I had steaks that were way overcooked, I had fish & chips where the fish was still a gelatinous mass and totally inedible. Diner was served without cutlery, steaks served without steak knives, a nearly empty bottle of ketchup provided for the whole table and everyone had fish and chips and wanted to have some. The waiter disappeared when asked for a full bottle and never came back. Another server had to be asked. In general, the Dining Room staff seemed untrained and confused most of the time. The fish & chips lunch special was a farce. We were one of the first tables seated, and yet 45 minutes later, while most other tables were already on to desert, we hadn't been served yet. And when we finally were, the fish was extremely under cooked. My daughter was ill after eating her first bite. We ended up leaving and finding some food on the Lido deck. On to the Lido deck buffet. In general the food on the Lido was OK. It was not exceptional by any means. Many of the preparation staff were obviously untrained with under and over-cooked food, and improperly prepared food. I've had better food at cheap buffet restaurants. My previous Carnival cruises far outperformed Holland America's Lido Deck offerings. Many of the table staff were non-responsive when thanks were given for their service. The hot water dispenser was constantly running out of water, and the milk dispenser for tea and coffee was also often empty. I had staff disappear and never return when I asked for the for more the milk to be refilled. I had one server tell me to go to the other side of Lido deck when the ketchup dispenser was empty instead of sourcing some for me. My food was getting cold as I wandered around trying to find ketchup, and in the end the dispensers on both sides were empty. The server seemed miffed when I approached her and asked again. In general there didn't seem to be any pride or ownership in the food preparation, and the staff didn't really seem to remember why they were there. Guest Services also dropped the ball on more than one occasion. I decided to have a movie night with my daughter and ordered a couple DVDs to our stateroom. 30 minutes later the wrong DVD was delivered. I asked for the correct ones and was promised he'd be right back. 30 minutes later, with no calls from Guest Services and no delivery, I called again and was told they would call me right back with a status. 45 minutes later I went to Guest Services and the DVDs were still sitting there, and one was not the selection I had requested. So 1 3/4 hours after my initial call I finally had the DVDs. When Guest Services was made of aware of my email to Holland America head office, they addressed 1 of the issues and had no comment on any of the other issues. I had been relating my issues to one of the staff, and they passed the info to one of the ship's officers who later tracked me down. We had a long conversation about the issues I'd experienced and he agreed that most of the issues I'd experienced were totally unacceptable and they had dropped the ball on multiple occasions. He promised to speak with the various department heads and ensure the rest of the trip would be issue free. Unfortunately this was not the case as there was no change in the service for the rest of the trip. On the 2nd to last night in the Dining Room we were presented with a couple of complimentary glasses of Prosecco, which neither of us drink. The better option would have been to come up and tell us that they would like to offer us a complimentary drink and ask us what we would like. We never bothered going back to the Dining Room after that. The last drydock did make some nice upgrades to the stateroom bathrooms, but they should have replaced the old tube TVs while they were at it. Our TV looked like Alaska in winter. Almost not worth trying to watch anything on it. Certainly not the quality we'd have expected based on the cost of the room. We did have some great service from our room stewards, and 1 Lido deck server whom I recognized personally at the end of the cruise. I also had Guest Services remove all the gratuities from my final bill as they were definitely not earned. The cruise itself was great, and despite all the service and food issues we had a good time, however the added stress of dealing with my feelings of being shortchanged by the cruise line did put a damper on a lot of the cruise. I don't get a lot of opportunities to take vacations like this and to pay this much and then be so let down after being sold that Holland America was a premium cruise line. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had never been to Alaska and as we're getting up in years we felt that if we were going to do it, we would do it all in one go. So when we saw a Holland America three-day cruise, followed by a nine-day land tour, followed by ... Read More
We had never been to Alaska and as we're getting up in years we felt that if we were going to do it, we would do it all in one go. So when we saw a Holland America three-day cruise, followed by a nine-day land tour, followed by another seven-day cruise advertised, we jumped on it. Having never cruised with Holland America before we weren't sure what to expect. Our entire cruise history was with Carnival (many many years ago) and more recently with several cruises on Celebrity and Azamara. So with that level of expectation set, we boarded the Volendam in Vancouver. The boarding process was fine, and we got on the ship very quickly, and even found our cabins ready (though the bags had not yet arrived). It took a while to find our room steward to ask for some special requests, but finally found him. We had not purchased a drink package for the cruise so the first thing we asked for was to have someone empty our refrigerator. We didn't want to be accidentally charged for any beverages. We were instructed to take out all the bottles and cans and place them on the top of the refrigerator, and that someone would be there shortly to remove them. Well, by the end of the next day they were still there, and we had to call again to get them removed. Our next not-so-great experience was in the Marketplace, their buffet. Every Celebrity ship we have been on had numerous stations throughout the buffet area so that people could get different types of food in an orderly fashion. Holland America has everyone queued in one line for all the main dishes and sides, so that you have to wait for everyone else to clear, even if you only want one item from that area. I assume one of the reasons they have done this is to ensure that not a lot of guests touch the serving utensils and food, but it seemed really inefficient to us and to everyone we spoke with in the line. The last thing I'll mention is the general lack of consideration of the guests by the staff. This was noticed in the main dining room, where, as one example, it took 15 minutes to get a dessert menu; to lounges where not a single ship employee could be found most times. You get the feeling that the staff knows they will get their gratuities regardless, so why bother? We were quite happy to get off the ship after our three days. We followed that cruise with an Alaska land tour, and I have to say it was very well orchestrated and coordinated, with all the motor coaches, a boat trip, a plane ride, and train rides. Good job with that one Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our 7 night dream Alaskan cruise was greatly marred due to the horrid cabin location. Cabin 392 and neighbouring cabins should not be used for paying guests (especially NOT as an UPGRADE) unless passengers made aware that the kitchen is ... Read More
Our 7 night dream Alaskan cruise was greatly marred due to the horrid cabin location. Cabin 392 and neighbouring cabins should not be used for paying guests (especially NOT as an UPGRADE) unless passengers made aware that the kitchen is located directly above. If you are wanting a decent nights sleep at all during your cruise ensure you check your cabin location. A late night here and there and early mornings to make the most of your day is what we expected but certainly didn’t get. Kept awake until after midnight every night and woken again early hours (sometimes as early as 4.30am) due to the noise from the kitchen preparation/cleaning? above us. The cabin itself was comfortable and a fairly good size but again the location DREADFULLY. We enjoyed the food and the dining areas were pleasant but found the counter service in the buffet very disorganised and slow a lot of the times. Very put off by the tipping that was automatically added to our account daily and then the expectation of further tipping at the bars, is this not double dipping? Would much rather tip the staff personally ensuring the full amount went to deserving staff and not only a small portion making it to them with the rest going back to the cruise company. Activities and shows were enjoyable but found the music in the lounge very repetitive. The majority of the shore excursions were just to expensive to participate in but enjoyed the time exploring the beautiful little ports. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with ... Read More
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with HAL before and 8 of our previous cruises were with NCL. I had the impression that HAL cruises were for an older, quieter demographic and they seemed to offer less flash and dash as NCL so we had previously avoided booking. When we finally made the decision to join our friends and found out it was an older smaller ship we lowered our expectations accordingly and felt it would be an affordable way to see Alaska as the fare was quite low in comparison to what we usually pay. We booked a deck 3 promenade ocean view stateroom (3418) and over the course of three months added a few extras such as a couples thermal suite pass, specialty dining for the Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants and two excursions (Tracy Arm explorer and Skagway White Pass rail, Yukon tour). We arrived the night before and stayed at the Fairmont at Vancouver airport. The skytrain goes from the airport to Waterfront station and then a 1.5 block walk to the Canada Place cruise terminal. There were three ships embarking that day and we were impressed with how smooth everything went. I felt our 10:30 arrival time was too early though and a noon arrival would have likely allowed us less in terminal waiting time. The ship is twenty years old and the decor shows its age but it appeared to be very clean throughout and our cabin was clean and roomy compared to some Ocean view cabins we've had in the past. A nice surprise was the renovated washroom which I felt was just as nice as the NCL Bliss' washrooms. Our cabin steward Bach was very friendly and efficient with any requests we had. He was around and interacted with us just the right amount of time and we enjoyed our chats with him. He made it clear he was always available if anthing was not to our liking with the stateroom and provided excellent service throughout the entire cruise. The main dining room food was above average and breakfast was fine every morning as well. The Pinnicule was incredible. My surf and turf was delicious and my wife really enjoyed her salmon. It was a fine dining experience with incredible service from our waitress Sharin. Overall the food was as good as any NCL ship including the specialty restaurants. The cruise had an authentic traditional cruise feel to it and we were able to focus on the awesome scenery and wildlife that we seen throughout our cruise. All of the activities and information sessions we went to were informative and interesting. The Alaska beer tasting was fun and we met people from all over the world and shared a few laughs. I would have to give the entire cruise a solid 8 out of 10 and our low expectations were greatly exceeded in all areas. We now will put HAL on our "do again" list. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After ... Read More
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After dinner that night, other table guest were gone, wife mentioned it was our anniversary. The waiter did not know, told us to wait, ran off and got a cake for us, poor communication. Waiter, probably doing his job, trying to up sale dinners. Card on table, advertises a seafood dinner for $27 and a steak for $76 and waiter tells about it every night, nobody was impressed. Leave this to the specialty restaurants. If this is the way things are going, average people "the bread and butter" cruisers, will stop cruising. The "whole" dinning experience was disappointing, things are going downhill fast. Entertainment, not much better. Really not much to do on board. The Mariners Club lunch was poorly organized two of us stuck at a table for six, other people the same way. The Captain and staff did not even stay. No Captains cocktail party. The best thing was the assistance my wife received, getting on and off the ship thank you. Sailed three times with HAL and this was definitely the last. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as ... Read More
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as were the quality and condition of all facilities on board. The activities organised daily were well organised and allowed more than enough time to fully experience them. We enjoyed the overall experience. However, the dinning services inclusive of can be deemed terrible. There were no multiple vegetarian food options and we were stuck with no choice all throughout the various meals everyday and had to succumb to whatever was served. Additionally, there were absolutely no dessert options without egg content. To top this, the food tasted awful and often was inedible, not meeting the lowest expectations of food cooked by an Indian chef. It was very well informed that our dietary requirements were vegetarian not including both egg or fish. Despite this, the staff was not considerate and was often seen using the same tongs/gloves to serve sausages/meat and baked potatoes, contaminating the only obvious vegetarian food choice. When this was brought to their notice, the staff was impolite and discourteously disregarded our concern. Moreover, the staff, especially at the buffet counter was also not informed enough and served us lobsters as a part of the salad saying it was vegetarian, neither did they have the knowledge of the cheese served containing rennet, which made us avoid it altogether. Satisfactory food is essential and our experience with the Holland Cruise made our journey which could’ve been great, below average. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have been cruising to Alaska many times because as resident in Vancouver, it is an easy trip for us. One hour leaving from our house, we will be sitting at the ship's top deck eating lunch. Volendam, compare to other ships I ... Read More
We have been cruising to Alaska many times because as resident in Vancouver, it is an easy trip for us. One hour leaving from our house, we will be sitting at the ship's top deck eating lunch. Volendam, compare to other ships I have been on, is a much simple in decor(but has interesting art works in their corridors), aged, and small, but a good ship. The advantages is less walking from one end to the other, the buffet area is not crowded even in the busy time, plenty of closet spaces in our room, good service and foods. We stayed in the picture window , a good size, suite on level one, our first at such low floor, but we discovered it is less rocky during an odd rolling sea day. The disadvantage was the dining room on the four level is complicated to find if one don't take the very end elevator, I took the mid elevator and got lost twice and ended in the front of the theatre twice. Good thing the ship was not too long to walk ,even twice. Second disadvantage was our room safe required a credit card with a magnetic strip (any magnetic strip). lucky we have a Starbuck card, otherwise we had to carry our credit card around (bring along an expired credit card, the third disadvantage was, in the buffet, most food are served by a server and the foods was not label clearly. So you have people asking what each dishes were(one asked what is liver and rather the beef was from a grass feed cow) and then take a minute of so to decide what to have. So in busy hour, the line up was long and the server was frustrated from repeating answering the same question. Entertainment: we like the Concert in Alaska, a beautiful video accompany with live music play by the ship's band. I also attained and enjoy the lesson on computer on how to use Windows 10 to edit and create videos from photos. Food: HAL always have a high standard for its food and that is the reason we choose this ship. Take in mind that the ship is cooking for thousand of passengers, so it could not compare to those of the top restaurant, but I did enjoyed their foods, the dessert has the right amount of sweetness. (As an Asian, I love their breakfast congee which I have it with smoke salmon or left over roast beef). Also,as a repeated HAL cruiser,we were invited to a Thank you lunch in the dining room on the last sea day heading home. The foods were delicious. Don't miss this invitation. Port: Juneau, the price of dedicated bus to Mandenhall glacier increased to $45 which is only 6 miles away. If you arrive the port early, say 9am, you could take the local bus, $3, which take one hour then and walk a mile or so to the park. Then walk another half mile to the big waterfall. The glacier itself is ok since you will see a lot more specular glaciers in Glacier Bay. I walk toward the bridge to see the new whale sculpture, wait for the water spray, it made it all the difference. I also recommend doing the counter or clockwise around the edge of the town. Lots of interesting things to see up the hill. Glacial Bay, it was perfect weather (overcast at first to bring out the blue in the ice, then turn sunny to bring out the white, saw many otters and some seals along the way. On the way out, over the speaker, the ranger told us an island which we passed was full of sea lions and seagulls, thousand of them, but you need binocular to see them. Play attention on your exit to the park. Skagway, walk thru the town to the waterfall, a short walk pass the old cemetery. Ketchikan, walk along the creek to the hatchery, the park is quite nice now. Along the cruise, we saw otters, whale, dolphin/porpoise, and bear, some even saw mountain goal, but all from far distant. Bring a good binocular. Also, if you want an unobstructed front view of the ship, walk to the front of deck 6 and go out on the door marked exit. Actually both side of exits are good, but one marked for emergency exit only. For a good enjoyment, it is about talking to other guests and be respectful. Treat people the way you want them to treat you, even if they are the workers. Life is like throw a ball to a wall, wherever you put out, it will come back at you. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this because my Aunt always cruises with Holland. We are really enjoying it. Have a Vista Suite and it’s very comfortable. It was hard to tell from pictures how large it was but it’s plenty large. Tub is small but my 6 foot ... Read More
We chose this because my Aunt always cruises with Holland. We are really enjoying it. Have a Vista Suite and it’s very comfortable. It was hard to tell from pictures how large it was but it’s plenty large. Tub is small but my 6 foot husband is able to use it. Food is a bit so-so in my opinion but I didn’t really come on the cruise to eat! The portions are small, and I felt that service in the main dining room was just okay. Also, they have an Alaska special which they said they were out of on the first night, which was frankly, weird. The Pinnacle Grill was okay, but just okay. I expected food like a fine restaurant and the crab cakes were awful and my salmon was undercooked. All that being said I still think it’s terrific. The time in Glacier bay was spectacular. The service is very good. We are in Ketchikan now surrounded by behemoth cruise ships. I like that Volendam is small. I did think it would be more formal, but I guess they are trying to make cruising more accessible to people. We plan to take more cruises. Overall, it’s great. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
One of the things I love about HAL, is the Neptune lounge, so I usually opt for the suite.. It's expensive-- about a thousand Cnd a day-- but worth it.. So this cruise, you couldn't have asked for nicer weather, and smooth ... Read More
One of the things I love about HAL, is the Neptune lounge, so I usually opt for the suite.. It's expensive-- about a thousand Cnd a day-- but worth it.. So this cruise, you couldn't have asked for nicer weather, and smooth seas.. It has been 9 years since I took my last cruise (a 7 day HAL Mexican on the Veendam), and I've noticed a few changes.. The boarding and departing has improved-- especially the departing.. Alas.. Still major line ups, and the security is worse now, than after 9-11.. But I guess it's over-kill everywhere today.. The first thing different, was now you go to the lifeboat drill, without putting on the life jacket.. Not the best idea, as even before, half the people had put the jacket on wrong, that their demise would have been expedited, should they needed to take a dip.. I still think the jackets should be slapped on, for the drill.. The cruise was pretty good, although I was surprised there was no departure on deck BBQ.. Actually, there were very few planned events.. I had my evening meals delivered to my room, as I was travelling single.. That worked out great, but most of the meals were cold.. However, they were good, nevertheless.. Especially, the Pinacle ones that I had to pay extra for.. I normally prefer a warmer climate, but I love the smaller ships-- Veendam, Ryndam, Stattendam etc. Thus.. when I saw this cruise was on the smaller Volendam, I jumped at it.. The staff were great-- as usual.. The entertainment sucked.. I miss the singers and dancers, along with the ship band. A Chilean quartet in the Ocean Bar, were very good. I'm really disappointed to see the end of the classy nights.. Most nights were smart casual, but the one formal night, I swear I was the only male passenger on board wearing a tuxedo.. I would say half the passengers were wearing T shirts and jeans, on this particular night.. The only time I saw the people dress up, was the smart casual Mother's day dinner.. OK.. It might be Alaska, and we all packed our plaid shirts and jeans, but it's still nice to dress up in the evening.. I was a little disappointed in the lido food, but times have changed.. I'd say almost a third to half the passengers were Asian, so I guess noodles were the norm for them.. I'm a lover of roast beef, but only had it once for dinner.. The itinerary was great.. I love Juneau.. I've eaten a lot of King crab, but never had it freshly cooked before.. Delicious !! The crab shack and the tram in Juneau, was the highlight of the cruise for me.. I enjoyed Skagway, but got tired of seeing the same old "made in China" authentic Alaskan souvenirs, in every store.. Overall;.. I would do the cruise again-- in a minute.. I'd like to see a little more fancy appetizers in the Neptune, such as the shrimp cocktail.. A Dungeness crab salad would have been great.. But nothing but smoked salmon-- everyday.. I couldn't believe the weather, as living my first 30 years on the Queen Charlottes (Haida Gwaii), I am well aware of the weather that one can normally expect in this area.. But even up in Glacier Bay, when the shipped turned, and my balcony was bathed in Sun, it was almost too hot to sit outdoors.. It was pretty sad to hear of the mid air plane crash in Ketchican, killing a number of people from a Princess ship.. This happened, about 3 hours after we arrived in Ketchican.. ..It was also great to be able to take this cruise on the smaller ship, as opposed to the Oosterdam, which I don't like.. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife and I are seasoned travelers but we have never experienced a cruise. She choose a crossing of the Panama Canal for our 4oth wedding anniversary. A bit daring as it was 21 days and I am known to get sea sick and/or bored rather ... Read More
My wife and I are seasoned travelers but we have never experienced a cruise. She choose a crossing of the Panama Canal for our 4oth wedding anniversary. A bit daring as it was 21 days and I am known to get sea sick and/or bored rather easily..... -Booking was easy with Vacations to Go and Max Richardson (the agent) was friendly, professional and helpful. Our stateroom on board was # 1922 allowing a view to the outside but without balcony. The price difference was unjustifiable for the time that we actually planned to be in the room. However I recommend to ask for a fan, as the A/C was not sufficient to cool the room to our liking. With the fan it was perfect (and it helped to dry some of our minor laundry items!). Bed was comfortable (we also had extra pillows), bathroom and shower were fine and also was the water pressure. The room was adequate in size for our purpose. The stateroom was serviced by TRI and ANTON who did an extraordinarily efficient and friendly job. Food on board was plentiful, well presented, tasty and varied (although you should not expect "extravagances", Atlantic lobsters and/or Caspian caviar!) Service was outstanding (Our THANKS to JOJIT, EDGAR, RAT-TEE, GIOVANI, MICAH, NITTAYA, ANN, DAN, JASON,GUSTI, ANDRI (w/glasses!), FRANCISCO, WEMICK, etc, etc..... everybody on board went the"extra mile" to make us feel happy, and well looked after!) Our very special THANKS to HENRY and JANELLE and the harder worker on board, HIQMAL...(found mostly around the Lido pool) Entertainment was 50/50, some acts were good and some not so much .None were a Vegas act but they filled the time and were adequate.. Be aware that alcohol was extremely expensive! We drink very little so we did not "suffer" at all but we were a bit outraged at the prices on board.and some "drinkers" were quite upset and angry as Holland America does not allow anybody to bring any alcohol to the ship (So they make sure to sale their own!!) The trip went smoothly with minor waves and movement that I did not enjoy but were tolerable. Pool was small but fortunately not overcrowded, and there were no children! Lots of really elder people, but, I guess, that there are the ones with money....Regardless they were very pleasant and quiet indeed...! Time on ports of call were too short and did not allow for too much to do except buy souvenirs (which we do not do!). Some excursions were fine and, overall we had a good time. Maybe because communication was not a problem as between both of us we speak five languages! On the Volendam I was learning Indonesian, Tagalog and Thailand from the crew, and improving just about every day! Captain and officers were approachable and friendly and it was a pleasure meeting them........Our best regards to everyone and hopefully we will meet again..... Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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