1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Wanted some warmth and sunshine and chose this cruise as a different experience from the Caribbean. Weather was very good until the last few days but didn't prevent us from some very interesting excursions. Service and accommodation on ... Read More
Wanted some warmth and sunshine and chose this cruise as a different experience from the Caribbean. Weather was very good until the last few days but didn't prevent us from some very interesting excursions. Service and accommodation on the ship was excellent and we met many lovely people too. Entertainment was varied but always enjoyable. Dining was very enjoyable - able to turn up when convenient and by filling in on larger tables we met a wide range of interesting and very pleasant people. Managed 2 interesting half-day excursions arranged by HAL and 3 privately organised trips which were excellent - thanks to the Volendam Roll Call on this web site. All parts of the ship were used but not overly busy and there was always something to do if the sun wasn't shining. The food and service was excellent and so varied that even the most fussy eater could find lots of excellent options throughout the day. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary. My wife and I have been to several of the places around the world that HAL travels and this one has certainly been on my bucket list. I gave this particular cruise 4 stars rather that 5 ... Read More
Chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary. My wife and I have been to several of the places around the world that HAL travels and this one has certainly been on my bucket list. I gave this particular cruise 4 stars rather that 5 specifically due to some disappointment with the ship. As usual the crew, the service, and food were excellent but I was a little disappointed in the ship particularly since it had just been in dry dock for refurbishment within the past few months. We had expected some of the upgrades (ie: on demand television services, etc) from other ships and did not find them,. It appeared the what was primarily done was some paint, paper, and furniture. Not a grave disappointment but nevertheless below our expectations. As for the specific services everything was as we continue to expect on HAL cruises. Since we are 4 Star Mariners the embarkation and disembarkation was flawless as well as the priority tendering and other amenities that go along with that status. I was particularly impressed the new decoration, meals and service we encountered in the Pinnacle Grill and the Caneleto. Both beyond what we have come to expect. On the downside the on-board internet service leaves a lot to be desired. I have read many, many reviews from other passengers complaining of this and it seems they have fallen on deaf ears. Also, I was not aware until we got on board that this ship did not have the BB King Blues Club and band, big disappointment particularly since the regular on board entertainment was somewhat lacking. Overall I was pleased with this particular cruise and would certainly consider taking it again!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
My mother chose this line as she had travelled with Holland America previously. It is a good way to see countries in Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and then stop in Hong Kong. The ship itself was comfortable. The food in the Lido ... Read More
My mother chose this line as she had travelled with Holland America previously. It is a good way to see countries in Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and then stop in Hong Kong. The ship itself was comfortable. The food in the Lido was so so, but the dining room food was better. It would be nice if there was a breakfast bar for smoothies, etc as a healthy alternative to fried bacon, eggs, sausages. The staff on board is, as I have always found, very nice and helpful. Lovely people. I was disappointed with the state of their tennis court - every day there was activities “meet for tennis”, but the court was always wet and sometimes the net was down. If you could not find any staff about the decks, you had to take pool towels and dry the court yourself. The tennis balls available were terribly old and in really bad shape. Pickle ball was also offered and the equipment for that was in better shape. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We went to ports in Indonesia that we've never been to before and loved each one. We saw komodo dragons on Komodo Island, saw how 3rd world countries are growing and improving. The crew were the happiest of any group we've ever ... Read More
We went to ports in Indonesia that we've never been to before and loved each one. We saw komodo dragons on Komodo Island, saw how 3rd world countries are growing and improving. The crew were the happiest of any group we've ever experienced on a ship. HAL set up a meet and greet for our cruise critic roll call so we could put a face to a name. The Volendam singers and dancers are great, as they are on each HAL cruise, but the add on entertainment was quite average. The Test Kitchen can't provide taste samples of the foods any longer since they aren't prepared by an onboard chef. It's a very good chef provided through the contractor but the foods she prepares sometimes uses items not found in the ship's kitchens so they don't prepare enough for us to taste. Her cooking and implement suggestions and ideas were quite useful and the recipes and information sheets handed out are very good. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise because we have never been to Asia and thought it would be a great addition to cruises we have already taken. We were not disappointed. The ports were well worth seeing and the educational component ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because we have never been to Asia and thought it would be a great addition to cruises we have already taken. We were not disappointed. The ports were well worth seeing and the educational component was beyond our wildest dreams. The Volendam is a mid sized ship and had a refit in December, 2017. The dining was wonderful. Crew = as always - were amazing. It continues to amaze me how they can smile all the time when some passengers treat them poorly. We had a lanai cabin and enjoyed sitting in the shade just outside the cabin. The service on board was impeccable! Our choice was for the small private tours and they did not disappoint us. Our guides provided us with their personal thoughts and opinions on what was happening within their own countries. Some of them shared their fears for takeover by other nations and the casinos invading their land. The more touristy areas were crowded and the crowds spoilt the experience. We are retired and our children are grown. Would we do it again - definitely! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Warning, if you're not a foodie the first few paragraphs will bore you! FOOD & DINING VENUES I am a lowly two-star mariner, but know the ropes of HAL cruising and had been going to the specialty restaurants to reduce my meals in ... Read More
Warning, if you're not a foodie the first few paragraphs will bore you! FOOD & DINING VENUES I am a lowly two-star mariner, but know the ropes of HAL cruising and had been going to the specialty restaurants to reduce my meals in the MDR on past cruises. After reading so much about HAL's cost-cutting measures I thought I'd be disappointed with my meals, but instead was pleasantly surprised. Certainly the portions are small, but not when it counts. On steak and lobster nights, it was more then enough (though I think some were ordering a second lobster tail -- and good for them!). My steak was perfectly medium-rare, and this was the first cruise it came out perfectly. Most of the lunches in the MDR, were even better than dinners. I was surprised to like even the chicken strips which appeared to be hand-breaded with a coating containing crispy almond slices. I loved them so much and knew my (12 year old) daughter would actually want to eat in the MDR if she could have them, so asked for it to be arranged, and no problem -- she had them for dinner that same evening. Curries, were mild and the lamb was fork-tender, and delicious. I usually don't order any ethnic food on HAL, because I mistakenly thought it would be food-fair quality. Shame on me! As for the paid dining venues, we had 3 dinners in Canaletto, 2 dinners and 2 lunches in Pinnacle Grill. Pinnacle was excellent (as had been our previous experience), and the menu also included a page of selections from Tamarind (which I had tried on the Eurodam previously). I had not liked Canaletto on a past cruise, but due to recent reviews here gave it a try again. It was really tasty. Not every dish was to my liking, but we did get to try most of the selections over the 3 meals, as there were 3 people sharing -- lots of food to choose from each evening. The service in Canaletto was just as attentive and kind as I've had in Tamarind, and I feel like I'm getting better value as the price has crept up over the years for PG. Breakfasts for us were primarily in the Lido. I liked the quiet atmosphere of MDR breakfasts, but the hours didn't always work. With my jetlag I was up early and waiting for Lido to open most mornings. I also seemed to have a better chance of getting my eggs done perfectly (for eggs benedict) as they were made to order instead of having the poached eggs reheated. I think the food in the Lido starts out very good, but if it sits there it tastes terrible. There was a huge difference between getting french toast made to order, vs. them taking it out of the warming drawer. The waffles also suffer under the heat lamp, so my main trick to the Lido was to pick anything they would make in front of me. Prime lido breakfast times were terrible to get a seat. People were circling watching for any sign that you might be finishing, and if you were 4 people (at a table of 6 for instance), you could bet another couple would come to sit with you. Next cruise I think I will take those extra steps out to the pool deck -- it is such a quiet spacious atmosphere in comparison. Tea time wasn't as good as I remembered, they serve Bigelow teas (English Breakfast, Darjeeling and Early Grey primarily -- not sure if they have herbal choices) and can't really manage to get you milk for your tea like they do the silver cream jugs. They will bring milk in a juice glass (which you can then spill all over the table when aiming for your teacup). The hot water comes to you in small metal-ish pots, but is often not quite hot enough to really brew well (which is done in your cup not a teapot). That aside, there were a couple of tasty deserts and sandwiches -- most were rather bland but pretty. My husband and daughter raved about the tuna salad sandwich, so when I asked for one they were already done. The next batch of sandwiches to come out did not include the tuna -- so be warned, they are a good thing and will be gobbled up! Despite the great onboard food, don't fill up on a big breakfast for your days in port on this itinerary. Vietnam (in particular) is a treasure of AMAZING food! Eat in the lido on your day in Cambodia (you'll understand when you go!). Okay, enough about food. ENTERTAINMENT (or lack thereof) I will start by admitting my husband and I are in our mid 40's and do not fit the HAL demographic they are trying to serve. We LOVE Trivia and pretty much centered our schedule around it. The BBC Earth presentation to music and EXC talks about the ports you're seeing are also very good. The mainstage shows were often cringe-worthy (as my daughter and husband decided), and we walked out of many. Those talented Volendam dancers and singers are poorly choreographed, have old music, boring sets and some awfully ugly costumes to deal with. I hate to be negative, but only one of the 3 special acts they brought in were really enjoyable right to the end and kept me in my seat. I don't really want to mention the acts I didn't like, everyone needs to form their own opinion. The venues often did not hold the crowd adequately -- standing room only (uncomfortably crowded) at the Test Kitchen presentations, the one good movie they showed we couldn't get a seat at. There were scheduling blunders so trivia got moved to a bar (yes, people had to leave the crows nest and head to The Mix, and there were hardly any seats for everyone. If you like classical violin, the couple who plays in the Explorers Lounge are excellent. As for our beloved Crow's Nest, the DJ request nights were awkward. When you have such a spread in ages wanting to dance, each song could have a whole new set of people going to the dance-floor or not at all. The disco set got a few tunes and was getting in their groove, when all of a sudden a ballroom dancing type song comes on and there is a complete change of the demographic. Same with 80s-now music -- a whole new crowd would come on. It made for a disjointed evening, and who wants to sit around and listen to 10 songs from a decade they don't related to, just to get to the ones they do like. They need another dance club on this ship and have a theme IMO. I'm not sure if wine-tasting counts as entertainment -- it was a paid event. It was a fun enough event but mostly mediocre wines. There was only one that I ended up purchasing for dinner, but it was a good way to spend a bit of the afternoon. People were relaxed and chatty -- it was quite social even though I attended solo. STAFF I love them. I had a list of names at the end of the cruise to make sure they got formally recognized in my review sent to HAL. I hope it helps them -- they are a wonderful crew. My room steward San, was amazing and predicted my every need. SERVICES This is the first cruise I purchased the unlimited laundry. OH MY WORD. Lovely and clean pressed clothing, bagged and folded neatly. It was almost the highlight of the day to get my clothes back! Also with this hot itinerary, I really needed those linen shirts more than I thought -- it was fantastic to have the laundry and I won't go without it on future cruises. SHORE EXCURSIONS I had 3 HAL excursions, and only one of the guides had fluent enough English that he was great to listen to. One of them practically shouted and kept spelling out words (to make up for her accent no doubt). It was very slow with such a large bus of people. I highly recommend going to the Sanctuary of Truth (it is stunningly beautiful, a marvel). However, I would have been much happier taking it at my own pace and hiring someone to get me there and back. The ships tour was too long and the guide appointed to us was loud and annoying to be around. I had 1 excursion with a group from Cruise Critic, and it was a smaller group for Ha Long Bay. I think that was much better, the smaller group made it more relaxed and this tour included an amazing seafood lunch. Three other tours we did were arranged privately for our family of 3. Now I know this is absolutely the way to go. We had amazing fun with our guides in Vietnam. On the back of scooters in Saigon, with insane traffic, driving into districts where they rarely see foreigners is really fun. They were very curious about us. It was food/sightseeing tours we had arranged and we had the most amazing food experiences. Things I can't get at my local Vietnamese restaurant for sure. And the ones I had tried at home were different there, and so delicious. It is shockingly cheap outside the tourist areas, we had a feast at lunch for 6 of us (3 guides and 3 in our family) and it came to the equivalent of $12 CDN. Getting off the beaten track, in to back-alleys and cooked in front of you almost primitively. Not something I would have experienced without a local guide for sure. Do not miss Hoi An. It is an absolute treasure and not to be missed. If you can stay into the evening, it is very beautifuol and atmospheric with the lanterns lit throughout the streets. Great shopping there too. If you need souvenirs in Vietnam, they are much classier in Hoi An. IN CLOSING Overall, we loved this cruise. It was an amazing itinerary, the ship was in good enough shape for us, food was great as were the kind gracious staff. I had a good book and a deck of cards so can entertain myself anywhere -- I didn't need HAL to do that in the end. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We needed a cruise that would fit in with my husband's work commitments and had a suitable itinerary. This cruise fit the bill and as we had sailed on the Volendam before, we were happy to book the cruise.Embarkation in Singapore was ... Read More
We needed a cruise that would fit in with my husband's work commitments and had a suitable itinerary. This cruise fit the bill and as we had sailed on the Volendam before, we were happy to book the cruise.Embarkation in Singapore was smooth quick and efficient. We had an oceanview stateroom, midships, as I can suffer from motion sickness. The cruise was fairly calm and the only movement I felt was on the last sea day when it was a bit rougher. We enjoyed all our meals on board whether in the Lido or Dining Room, we didn't eat at the specialty restaurants. We found the nightly entertainment on the Mainstage to be of varying quality from very enjoyable to not so good. I found the Windows 10 sessions quite helpful and America's Test Kitchen enjoyable. All the staff we came in contact with were all cheerful and helpful, they gave us the feeling that nothing was too much for them. I had ordered the unlimited laundry package and everything was returned clean in a timely manner. There are no more self-serve laundries on board.The only problem we had in disembarking was waiting over an hour for a taxi at the terminal. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Second time with HAL, we were concerned about the length of the voyage at 28 days. But at the end, 28 days journey has gone by fast. We find this is one of the more enjoyable trips we experienced. The itinerary was good, there is enough at ... Read More
Second time with HAL, we were concerned about the length of the voyage at 28 days. But at the end, 28 days journey has gone by fast. We find this is one of the more enjoyable trips we experienced. The itinerary was good, there is enough at sea time to rest up, especially traveling in warm weather regions. During the voyage, HAL has a very good program on excursion and shore activities by the EXC group, in particular, the presenters Jeremy and Phil were excellent presenters, very knowledgeable with each and every stop of ports-of-calls. The information given is very valuable, not just for company sponsored excursions but for the people who want to roam on their own. Plenty of advice on the Do's and the Don'ts. We also appreciate the attentions given to handling visas to Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. HAL handled it well, seamlessly and painless. The food in general is very good, better than what we had in the previous HAL cruise. Lido Market has good varieties and the Main Dining Room service is quite well. The hamburgers and hotdogs served in the pool area are great, especially the fries. Though, during breakfast and lunch in the Lido Market is a bit chaotic, due to the medium size of the ship, the dining rooms are relatively small, guests often congregate in certain areas and not exactly know where to lineup to be served, and overwhelming the serving staff. Our interior room is located on Main Deck aft. It is a little noisy and high mechanical vibrations when the side-thrusters are operating during docking of the ship. The entertainment is OK, I have seen better but it is not the worst. The cooking shows in America Test Kitchen are quite good, library and game rooms (not casino) are well stocked. Lots of area to relax, live entertainment with live musics is quite good. The outside walking deck on the 3rd deck is quite good. All in all, HAL's Volendam is a pleasant ship to sail on, it has enough activities and food service to keep us busy on this trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
The Volendam is a lovely medium sized ship. The staff are excellent extremely friendly and efficient. Food was very good both in the restaurant and in the Lido. My cabin 3331 was spacious with plenty of wardrobe space for a ship.It was ... Read More
The Volendam is a lovely medium sized ship. The staff are excellent extremely friendly and efficient. Food was very good both in the restaurant and in the Lido. My cabin 3331 was spacious with plenty of wardrobe space for a ship.It was spotlessly clean and our cabin steward was excellent. It was an Oceanview with a large window. The destinations were all very exciting. Embarkation and disembarkation was always quick and easy, Priority for tenders was not given to tours which made a refreshing change. There was plenty of help and information for people who wanted to travel independently.l The entertainments team were young and very enthusiastic and the shows enjoyable. At just over 61,000 tons and guest capacity of under 1500 the Volendam is an easy ship to get around and never felt crowded. Queues in the Lido were always fairly short and dinner in the dining room was a very leisurely affair. The two ships shore excursions I went on were good but very expensive compared with privately arranged tours. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this 28 day back to back for the itinerary. Overall, the cruise was good but not outstanding in any aspect really. The ship had just come out of another dry dock. It still looks aged in many areas but is very clean. The ... Read More
We chose this 28 day back to back for the itinerary. Overall, the cruise was good but not outstanding in any aspect really. The ship had just come out of another dry dock. It still looks aged in many areas but is very clean. The public areas were kept clean and polished. The crow's nest is a nice place to relax, especially during the daily happy hour. The daily team trivia was in the crow's nest and was fun as well as a good way to meet people. The hors derves were often left on a tray for a period of time prior to serving and not kept hot/cold. The explorer lounge was a good place to have a coffee and read the daily news or do a sudoku puzzle. The internet was extremely slow as is typical on cruise ships. The classes offered for computers were only geared toward non IOS, so useless for those with Apple products. Decent size library available. The lectures were dry but offered interesting info. We only went to 3 shows during the 28 days and they were typical small entourage productions. The violinist was good, the trio was good. America's Test Kitchen was not very interesting as there is no audience participation or tastings. The classes are also on a repeat cycle so there is nothing new if you are on a back to back. The EXC info lectures were good, helpful for preparing for ports. The menu offered in the lido deck usually offered items being served in the main dining room. There is no self service there and they even make your salad for you. The food was very good on the whole. The dining room had very slow service (up to 2 hours for a meal) and not any better tasting than the Lido. The room service menu is very limited, mainly a salad or choice of 2 sandwiches for lunch and dinner. There were never "items of the day" offered. We had ended up quarantined for 4 days and the room service menu made it even more frustrating. Usually there was a nice selection of desserts available on the Lido, as well as scooped ice cream. The wait staff was very attentive and made it a point to learn your drink preferences and offer a cheerful greeting. There was a fairly quick table turnover so even at peak times, you could find a place to sit. The ship baked breads were fabulous. We only used the Canneleto special dining (10 of us) and none of us was impressed. You could basically get the same thing on the buffet line and the food for the restaurant came from a section of the buffet. Read Less
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.1
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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