Sail Date: November 2013
We chose this cruise for its itinery:- Esperance, Port Lincoln, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island. We arrived in Perth 3 Days before Cruise, imagine our surprise when on a visit to Freemantle the day before the Volendam was due to dock, there she ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinery:- Esperance, Port Lincoln, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island. We arrived in Perth 3 Days before Cruise, imagine our surprise when on a visit to Freemantle the day before the Volendam was due to dock, there she was!!! We stayed at Miss Mauds in Perth- best food anywhere. Embarkation was a little slow, but fairly trouble free. Cabin was good size, with plenty storage, and it was nice to have a shower over the bath for a change. Delivery of luggage seemed disorganised. Paying $2.00US per day for a very small fridge seemed like overkill as it is a necessity in this part of the world in summer. BEWARE DVD rentals incur $30US if not returned. We rented a DVD on the 2nd night, and returned it next afternoon. there was no Fee on my account on the 2nd last afternoon, but miraculously a $30 fee appeared overnight. A quick trip to the Service desk had this removed, BUT other people there had the same problem, a bit convenient for the fee to be hidden among other costs on the account! We are 59 and 65, we lowered the average age, most people were in their 70s & 80s. The food on this cruise was the best quality I have had for years, some times the quantity was a bit small, but you do not need much on a cruise. Delivery time of food in Dining room was quite slow. Port information was woeful, the worst I have seen. One of the tour staff informed us that the cuddly Corella feed exclusivly on eucalyptus leaves which make them sleepy and they fall out of the trees. Entertainment was very ordinary. Like most cruise lines, the misinformation as to taxis, tours and public transport was terrible. And the ship tours and shuttles a RIP OFF. Some ports provided free shuttles that the ship charged $16 for! In short good cabin and food, service a bit ordinary, Entertainment Bad.(Except for Tanunda Brass Band) I would not think of doing a tour organised by the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We loved it! It was the longest cruise we've taken, and were afraid it might be too long. Bit it wasn't. It was just right! Interesting how the passenger profile changed from the Sydney - Singapore segment to the Singapore-Hong ... Read More
We loved it! It was the longest cruise we've taken, and were afraid it might be too long. Bit it wasn't. It was just right! Interesting how the passenger profile changed from the Sydney - Singapore segment to the Singapore-Hong Kong leg. The first segment included many from Australia, and many of passengers were older couples (like us--72). very few children. From Singapore to Hong Kong, many Chinese passengers and children replaced the older and Aussy passengers. So many great things about this cruise and ship! A comfortable cabin, friendly and efficient crew, good shows, wonderful lounge music and good food made the onboard experience a very good one. Shore excursions were interesting but at times exhausting--especially those to Hanoi, Ho Chi Mien City, and on Java and Balli. But the facinating sites made the long bus rides worthwhile. The one shore stop that was disappointing--and really the only negative on the whole cruise--was at Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Dirty, irritating vendors, ill-prepared for visitors--this stop should be eliminated from the cruise's itinerary! I hear Ankor Watt, Cambodia is wonderful and facinating, but how many will be willing to pay the $3,000-plus tab to take advantage of this multi-day side trip? Our pre-cruise side trip to New Zealand and post-cruise stay in Hong Kong helped make this a truly memorable trip. I would recommend it to anyone who can afford the time and expense of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Embarkation and disembarkion were very efficient, cases were delivered quickly. Cabin: main deck 2666 outside in good position towards aft quiet. When opening cabin door were surprised how dull the decor appeared, quite tired looking, ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkion were very efficient, cases were delivered quickly. Cabin: main deck 2666 outside in good position towards aft quiet. When opening cabin door were surprised how dull the decor appeared, quite tired looking, the only colour's were in the 4 cushions, but was clean and tidy. The beds were very comfortable in twins giving a feeling of space. There is no fridge in cabin, and when reqested ice bucket did melt very quickly. Unfortunately a hot water pipe burst in hallway 7days into cruise, we had to move out at 5am due to water seeping into cabin just covering our toes. When opening cabin door found staff trying to suck water out with machines. We were not advised to take any action but thought it adviseable to evacuate cabin as did not know what was happening, so after advising the pursers desk, we went and sat out on deck to watch the sunrise. We did NOT receive any help or information from staff until we revisited purser desk at 2pm, when were told we had been provided with a temporary cabin until our cabin had been tried out. This took 3days to dry and the smell from the wet carpet was dreadful. We had no help with moving, we left most of our clothes in the cabin and just kept going back to check on the progress of the clearing up. We were not the only cabin affected, and a very small amount of compensation was paid. The food was OK, but the service in the dinning room was not up to the standard of a 5 star cruise. The only time this standard was met was when you paid for the speciality restaurants. Some passengers did not seem to dress up in the evenings as one would expect. The entertainment was very outdated generally, there were some exceptions, the piano bar was popular. But the cost of excursions were very expensive, and the experience did not always match the expectations. Although we did enjoy the cruise there were many things which were disappointing and many British passengers were complaining about the service they were receiving onboard   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
This was our third cruise with HAL, the others being Alaska and Mediterranean, which they offered to us at an attractive rate for being returning cruisers. ( Mariner's Society members ). We cruised a sector of the Australian ... Read More
This was our third cruise with HAL, the others being Alaska and Mediterranean, which they offered to us at an attractive rate for being returning cruisers. ( Mariner's Society members ). We cruised a sector of the Australian Circumnavigation cruise and found it a very pleasant way to get to Melbourne. The ship was sick with GI problems ( probably norovirus but this was not mentioned by name. ) and the crew handled this very well, making sure of hand sanitising, cleaning stair handrails, lifts, crew serving food in the buffet etc. The ship was beautifully clean all over. The food was fine. The ship was well furbished. Our stateroom was very nice - quite roomy as far as cruise accommodation goes - and kept well cleaned by our steward. We were in the lower portion of the ship and right in the middle so felt no rocking and rolling even in the Bight. Our major complaint was the cost of the shore excursions and the lack of or inaccuracy of information about the ports. The shore excursion guide was a lady with quite a strong accent and she was hard to understand at times. She seemed a bit unsure of herself, or the information she was giving. She seemed to say, " ... and things like that." a lot. What really made us furious ( and we were not the only ones ) was in Adelaide where we were docked, as is usual, at Outer Harbour which is quite a distance from the CBD. There was no shuttle. ( that's OK ) but HAL offered us a bus @ $AUS45 each for a return trip to the city. As we were there for 2 days, this added up to a cost of $AUS180 for the two of us. We decided to get a taxi and hope to share it with other passengers. Then we all noticed the train station 150m away from the dock. Hmmmm. We had asked about public transport and were told it was the bus or the taxi.Over the 2 days of our South Australian visit we shared that train with a large number of disgruntled HAL guests who shared our feelings. It cost us a total of $AUS15 for the weekend. My husband travelled at no charge on all forms of public transport as he is an Australian Senior. I bought an all-day travel pass for $AUS10 and also paid for a one way $AUS5 ticket on the first day. At Kangaroo Island it was worse. The cheapest shore excursion was a whopping $AUS200 pp and the most expensive was $AUS595 pp and this got you a seat in a Landcruiser ( and a meal ) for the day! We decided to go ashore , by tender, and have a little look and then go back to the ship for lunch. On shore, the locals had put on some markets which included a $AUS50 pp boat and bus excursion for 75 mins. It was the best thing we could have done and we had a ball. They were the best photos I took on the whole cruise. We saw seals, dolphins playing close to the boat, cormorants and learnt all about Kangaroo Island from a local. The tour operator was thrilled because they had a full day's work taking happy people out in their boat twelve ppl at a time. It was very personal. At Port Lincoln, a local tour operator cancelled a day's worth of work to accommodate HAL to be told the day before we were due that the excursions with him were cancelled as no-one had booked. No wonder HAL had hiked up the price so much. He was on the dock with a sign, trying to drum up business so he made at least some money that day. The cruise lines do tend to put the frighteners on guests about the local operators and saying things like "We guarantee the ship won't leave without you if you use our ship's approved tour" and "We have checked out these tour for safety, comfort and value for money." Fair enough. But give the guests a choice, not just an expensive option. We are not risk-takers and would not go quad biking and bungy jumping ! We have never had a problem with any independently booked tour or shared taxi, although we have been careful, and were disappointed in regard to the HAL Shore Excursions   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Have been on a few Holland America ships and was the most disappointed one wasVolendam We did not get on in Sydney but Darwin. We found the staff quite unfriendly at the start and only into the trip did they warmed up and much nicer and ... Read More
Have been on a few Holland America ships and was the most disappointed one wasVolendam We did not get on in Sydney but Darwin. We found the staff quite unfriendly at the start and only into the trip did they warmed up and much nicer and smile. Out cabin staff were excellent. Cabin placement for us was terrible found we were not taken serious by the front desk they seem to say nothing wrong but finally they then agreeded with us that we were right but it took some time to get a vacant cabin.. Manager Dendi in Canaletto was excellent and thankyou to Oliver chef - sous in Lido as sometimes the food not hot and in Lido they always listened to what we had to say. They forgot we were Mariners and had to remind them on the front desk. Lido shut too early at 8.00pm we live in Queensland we do not eat that early and we dress casual we do not want to be made to dress up. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
Due to recent orthopaedic surgery I could not fly long distances so had to change our planned Alaska followed by Eastern Canada cruises to something closer to home. We were delighted to be able to embark at our home port. This is the first ... Read More
Due to recent orthopaedic surgery I could not fly long distances so had to change our planned Alaska followed by Eastern Canada cruises to something closer to home. We were delighted to be able to embark at our home port. This is the first time this has happened to our knowledge. A 1 Hour suburban train ride versus 14 hour flight! Unfortunately the Port staff were not familiar with HALs usual routines. We stood in the priority boarding queue but unfortunately none of the Port staff knew to serve us. Only after a complaint to a HAL officer was the problem rectified and I am sure it will not be a problem again. The ship was clean & well maintained and the fresh flowers were a delight. The night before we departed we received a second upgrade to a A balcony suite and as it was my birthday on departure day things started in fine form. The entertainment was great, this was the best group of HAL entertainers ever on a HAL ship. Not only the 4 leads could sing in perfect pitch but the remainder of the group as well. The Murder Mystery dinner was excellent. First time I have ever been offered this on any ship. A most entertaining evening with the best dessert ever. Dining was excellent in whichever venue we choose. Again we went Open Seating and never had a problem getting a seat at our requested time. We ate several times in Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto and in both places enjoyed the extra special service. As always all staff were cheerful and attentive, any request was dealt with quickly. The mature aged cruise director was one of the best we have come across. He managed to be efficient and entertaining with out too much of the "are we having fun" attitude. Our veranda suite was perfect for our needs and the bed, again one of the most comfortable at sea. We enjoyed using our balcony for a before dinner drink or occasional room service meals. After being disappointed that we couldn't make it to USA & Canada it was a pleasant surprise just how much we enjoyed cruising in our own backyard with a side trip to Indonesia. Yes, you can go more cheaply with other cruise lines but its worth the bit extra to go with an old friend who treats us so well. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
We are a married couple in our early 60s, veteran cruisers, and partial to HAL. This was our longest cruise, although we have enjoyed two trans-atlantic cruises. We left Maryland a day ahead and flew to LA. We stayed at the Comfort Inn ... Read More
We are a married couple in our early 60s, veteran cruisers, and partial to HAL. This was our longest cruise, although we have enjoyed two trans-atlantic cruises. We left Maryland a day ahead and flew to LA. We stayed at the Comfort Inn Cockatoo in Hawthorne (review on Trip Advisor). After unpacking a little, we ate dinner at El Pollo Loco and walked to find a grocery store. We finally found a large strip mall and bought Cokes and a few misc. items for the cruise. The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel, walked to the strip mall again for some exercise, and got the shuttle ($34/2, Super Shuttle) to the ship. We boarded the “Volendam” around noon and found our room: Lower Promenade deck (3410). Our ocean view room was more a promenade view, and while no one could see inside our cabin, it was disappointing to have to look past the walkers to see the ocean. We had booked a guarantee, so this is the risk we took, but I would not want this deck again. Furthermore, the lights were always on outside our window. Our room did not have a refrigerator, but we appreciated the lighted magnifying/regular mirror on the desk, the good hair dryer in the drawer (along with the dryer in the bathroom), and the tiled bathtub!! This ship has self-serve laundry with free laundry detergent. The ship printed The New York Times digest daily (plus Canadian and Australian versions); copies were available at the buffet and in the library. However, ask at the front desk, and they will deliver it to your stateroom. For the first 48 hours, we were served our food, a policy we appreciate on HAL. The MDR was not open on embarkation day, but the buffet was an excellent option (free sushi bar). We ate there almost every day, but we would check the MDR’s lunch options before going. We were assigned AnyTime dining and were pleased with the flexibility of eating when we liked and at how large a table. If we wanted to eat with friends, we could make a reservation. On a 21-day cruise, we enjoyed meeting so many different people, as opposed to eating with the same people nightly. The food was superb in the main dining room, and while I never requested the vegetarian menu I had read was available, every night’s menu had several vegetarian options. We were not as impressed with the service; the waiters seemed continually rushed, and we rarely had our water or iced tea glasses refilled without repeated requests. We tried the Caneletto one night ($10 charge); the food was excellent and the service outstanding. Outdoor afternoon food could be had by the pool: assorted Mexican offerings, delicious guacamole, and pizza. At 10:30pm, a themed buffet opened in the Lido. You can check out the menu in the afternoon. Cookies seemed to always be available, but the ice cream is dished up, not self-serve, so it was available only at meal times. Be sure to read the daily program, for an occasional specialty lunch was served on deck. The tropical fruit buffet was spectacular, with many unusual fruits as well as fresh coconuts carved open upon request. The shrimp bbq was also amazing. But we knew some people who missed these, as they were not announced anywhere but in the program. Ship activities were standard – but definitely enjoyable - fare, although one thing I had not seen before was “Good Morning, Volendam,” a live talk show with the cruise director and the culinary director. They bantered and always had a guest on. The ship provided a bridge director, a Protestant minister (who conducted Bible studies each sea day, a very welcomed activity and, again, one we‘d never seen before), a Catholic priest, and a Jewish rabbi (who left in Hawaii). Craft lessons, cooking demos, computer classes (go early to get a computer!!), and Dancing With the Stars at sea offered more opportunities to stay busy. Trivia games were so well-attended, we had to arrive well in advance to secure seats for our group and be near enough to the cruise director to hear the questions. HAL’s libraries are well-known for their excellence. The coffee bar (coffee drinks are priced reasonably; desserts and snacks are free) is right there, so be prepared to be tempted. The gym has the standard equipment and classes. Unfortunately, there is no running track, and signs prohibit jogging on the Promenade deck. We made do with a circuit on the sports deck, although it necessitated about fifty times around to equal a mile! Movies are shown daily in the theater (free popcorn runs out early), and if you miss one, it will be shown on the TV the next day. Hundreds of DVDs are available for in-room use; call the desk to have them delivered, or pick one up yourself (much quicker). The King Neptune ceremony to initiate those who had never crossed the equator was great fun. The lecturers are always good on HAL. We sailed with Destination Expert Ian before, and he had informative lectures on the ports with excellent tips for the do-it-yourselfer (a separate excursion woman had lectures on the ship’s offerings); he is funny, and his travel trivia is not to be missed. The oceanographer and astronomer were especially good; the Iranian refugee not so much. The evening entertainment is, again, standard fare. Some shows were great, even worth going to the second showing; others, so-so. Shows included a classical pianist, a harmonica player who played with an orchestra and was amazing, a ventriloquist with a Jamaican “dummy” (hilarious; best show of the trip), plenty of singing & dancing, two crew shows, a comedian, and Polynesian dancers from shore. Around the ship, various venues offered classical music (oh, I never saw free chocolates in the Explorers Lounge), a piano bar (very popular), and dancing opportunities. We had seven port stops. The first was Hilo. We watched the ship come in, and Hawaiian dancers were on our bow to sing a welcome chant and dance the hula; we received leis as we disembarked – a very nice touch. The federal gov’t was shut down, so our plans to hike in the VNP were scuttled. We had rented a car ($40) beforehand from Budget. A shuttle came right to the pier, and it didn’t take long to get the car. We drove to Punalu'u black sand beach, walked the beach, enjoyed the sea turtles, and ate a lunch we had brought (a small food truck there does serve some food). We drove back to Hilo and continued north to see Rainbow Falls and the Boiling Pots. We found Onomea Dr. for some stunning views and continued our drive along the coast. Back in town, we cruised along Banyan Dr. and walked through the Queen Lilio. Gardens before turning in the car The next day we docked in Honolulu for a long day (11pm) ashore. We booked a car here, too (Thrifty, $40), and while we found the shuttle quickly, it wasn’t long before we knew we’d made the mistake of getting the car at the airport. We had a long drive and hit terrible traffic. Once on our way, we hiked up Diamond Head ($5/car, hot and humid in mid-October, but we were rewarded with beautiful views) and then began our Oahu Circle driving tour: Hanauma bay ($1 to park, $7.50 to swim); Halona blow hole; hiked to the overlook of the lighthouse at Makapuu Pt (hot, humid, and – really - too long a walk on asphalt for the view); Macadamia Nut Complex (fantastic stop with myriad tasting stations: coffee, plain and flavored macadamia nuts, sauces, etc; outside, we approached a huge bin of macadamia nuts in the shell and could crack as many as we wanted, using their tree stumps and rocks); Kualoa Park (Chinaman’s Hat) where we walked the beach and marveled at the Koolau Mts. on the other side; Sunset Beach; and the Dole Plantation (get the pineapple whip, and stroll through their gardens)before returning the car. The ship had an expansive Hawaiian BBQ on deck, and after that, we went into town to walk around Chinatown and downtown (Iolani Palace and Capitol). It might be easy enough to get the bus to Waikiki, but we were led astray and finally gave up and went back to the ship and watched local Polynesian dancers for the evening show. A few more sea days, and then we arrived in Pago Pago. Again, owing to the federal gov’t shut-down, our plans to hike in the national park were stymied, so we chose instead to hunt for an internet café. We discovered McDonald's no longer offers it even though your device will show a McDonald network; the public library (a good walk to the left of the ship) charges $5 for all day; but one intrepid woman from our ship found the telecommunications building, and they magically turned on public access, and we used it for free at the market place (easy, short walk right from the ship). We returned to the ship to get snorkeling equipment, walked to the local bus depot, and went to Tisa's Barefoot Bar ($2 each, one way bus; $5 each entry; review on Trip Advisor). The water was warm, and the fish were abundant. We snorkeled an hour or so, and it started to storm, nixing plans to see more of the island on the bus or just walk around. It absolutely poured on the bus ride back, and the driver must have taken pity on us and took us right to the ship instead of the depot, and we got drenched getting on board. The storm continued well into the night, with the promenade deck closed and pools emptied. Suva, Fiji, was next. We enjoyed the pretty entrance into harbor, and a local native band played as we arrived. With another couple, we got a local taxi driver to take us to Colo-I-Suva Forest Park for $20 each, with him explaining he would show us some sights on the way and wait two hours for us at the rainforest. After having a local guide explain the map to us and tell us the key turns to take on the trail, we enjoyed a beautiful hike past 8 pools and small water falls. The last pool had a rope swing, and we saw several plunging into the very cold water! We took our time with the hike, spending almost 2 hours returning the way we came, although a shorter exit route is available. Our driver stopped at Raintree Lodge for some reason (hoping we’d buy something?) and then tried to get us to stay with him until 4pm. None of us wanted to. He dropped us at the ship, whereupon he told us we owed him another $40 for the extra hour! The other couple with us, having no more money, stood their ground, but – annoyed - we finally gave the cabbie our remaining $10. We changed, ate lunch, and went back out, finding free wifi right by the ship (outside a café providing internet)! We walked then to Thurston Gardens (don’t expect gardens, per se; this is more like a city park) and back into town for some stores (it was Sunday, so most were closed). A Fiji marching band thoroughly entertained us as the ship prepared to leave. Our plan in Pt. Vila, Vanatua, was to snorkel at Hideaway Island, but getting there proved a test of our patience. With another couple, we tried to get a taxi to Hideaway Island. It is a 5km walk into town, so we were at the mercy of aggressive, loud, and ultimately lying taxi drivers. We finally found a driver to take us, for $5 US each, to the town and insisted he let us off there. We then got a $3US/pp bus (privately owned, red "B" on license plate) to Hideaway Island. It was low tide, so we walked to the small picturesque island and paid 1250 vt (credit card; $15 AU) to use the island. The island has a restaurant, bungalows for longer stays, restrooms, a 650vt hamburger BBQ, coral beach, and beautiful water. We snorkeled and marveled at the number of fish (including a huge school of fish), saw some live coral, and the underwater post office! We laid in the sun for awhile, walked around the island and enjoyed the tidal pools, and took their boat back to shore where we paid $5US to get back to the ship. On ship days, many, many tents line the walkway from the pier, so we wandered through those. Lifou, New Caledonia, was a very welcomed respite from the madhouse we encountered in Pt. Vila. This is a laid-back, relatively unspoiled S. Pacific island. After tendering in, a small singing group met us at the jetty. We probably could have hired a driver at the pier, but no one was hawking their services, and we hadn’t planned on it anyway. We walked to Jinek Bay ($15 each to snorkel) which is stunningly beautiful. We didn’t pay to snorkel, but nothing prevented us from surveying the water and reef without walking the stairs to the entry point. The grounds are pretty, and we stayed in the shade for a while, gaping at the water! From there, we walked the hill to the church. It gets steep, but the views are impressive, and the small church is open. We walked back toward the ship and further on to a larger church and cemetery, spotting grass huts along the way. We walked a good deal further, but there’s really nothing to see, so we walked to the jetty and wandered the small market there. After lunch on the ship, we went back, and I enjoyed Easo Beach (right by the jetty) while my husband snorkeled (look for sea turtles). As with every island we have seen, the water is unbelievably beautiful. Last port stop was Noumea, New Caledonia. Dancers with drums greeted us. We needed an ATM (no US or AU dollars accepted), and one was just a few blocks away. While our plan had been to walk the entire way from the ship to Baie des Citrons and catch the water taxi to Duck Island, we ended up buying (500 cpf) cruise ship hop on-hop off (11 stops) bus tickets, walked to the Morning Market for fruit, and caught the bus to the first bay along our walking path. We walked along the marina in clouds and rain showers to Anse Vata, got (for 1250 cpf, each, r/t) water taxi to Duck Island, fearing we'd not be able to get in the water. But the sun came out! Duck Island is beautiful with walkways, bath houses, covered tables, landscaping, and a restaurant. The water was so cold, but we persevered for the best coral we've ever seen and for quite varied fish. We sunned a bit and walked around the island, watching wind surfers. Water taxi back, ho-ho bus back to ship. After changing clothes, we took the iPad and phone to the internet café right off the ship. Even paying for connectivity, we got none (too many people trying), so we walked around the town a bit, enjoyed the promenade, Chinatown, and Latin Quarter and then saw a McDonald's. A $3.50 Coke later, we quickly contacted family members. We were among the last ones to get on board. Local dancers and drummers were entertaining the ship again, and as we stopped to watch, the girls grabbed three of us to dance with them!! The next day we docked in Sydney, which was the end of the cruise for us. Be sure to get up early to see the entry into Sydney Harbor. It is magical!! We were off the ship by 8:30 (we enjoyed having a last breakfast on board and staying in our room until our number/color were called), breezed through customs, and got a taxi to our hotel. We stayed in the Meriton Serviced Apartments on Kent St., very close to Darling Harbor, Hyde Park, and Chinatown. The taxi fare said $14.50, but we were told $20 – perhaps some extra fee is involved from Circular Quay? Had we not had so much luggage, it would have been easy to catch the train or a bus; the transportation hub is right there. We enjoyed this trip thoroughly, continue to be impressed with HAL, and the days flew by. We spent three days in Sydney and then flew to Melbourne for ten days. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
After my last cruise this spring on the Nieuw Amsterdam we said we would not travel again on HAL due to the attitude of some crew members we experienced. My mother convinced us to try them again as she likes HAL. We left Vancouver on ... Read More
After my last cruise this spring on the Nieuw Amsterdam we said we would not travel again on HAL due to the attitude of some crew members we experienced. My mother convinced us to try them again as she likes HAL. We left Vancouver on Sept.11 and the embarkation process was flawless and very quick. Our room was ready and was in good condition. We had dinner in the Rotterdam dining room and our waiters were Hindi and Edi who were fantastic. Even though we had open seating we were able to reserve the same table each day and got to know them well over the week. They were the best pair of waiters we have had on HAL and they made for an enjoyable trip. The next day was cruising the inside passage and just after noon we sailed into a large fog bank for most of the day which was eerie but soothing. Next day arrived in Juneau and walked around town, did some geocaching then back on board. Next day was Skagway and I went out by myself to do my geocaching then came back on board to get my wife and mother and took a trolley ride around town which was interesting. Next day was spent mostly in Glacier Bay National Park which was great. On the 16th we arrived in Ketchikan and again did geocaching and tourist shopping. What was remarkable was other then the fog on the second day we had fantastic weather with mostly sunny days and no wind and NO RAIN which is hard to believe. We did not have a bad experience anywhere on this trip which put some faith back in HAL. Even though we spent time in the Casino I do not believe that anyone won any jackpots and payouts were very low. Lots of people around were very dismayed at the lack of payouts especially on the bonuses. Richard, the casino host was very good and friendly however. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Since the moment we stepped on the boat, we were treated like royalty. The stateroom attendants, waitstaff, bartenders and even managers knew us by name. Every step we took we had a welcoming smile, good day mam/sir, and may I assist you. ... Read More
Since the moment we stepped on the boat, we were treated like royalty. The stateroom attendants, waitstaff, bartenders and even managers knew us by name. Every step we took we had a welcoming smile, good day mam/sir, and may I assist you. We could not be more happy. The food was incredible. Lots of options for a variety of eaters (vegan/vegetarian/gluten free/ even low sodium). The staff kept us busy with activities daily. The shows were incredible! Comedian, magician, professional singers, dancers and musicians entertained every night. Again, we were extremely satisfied with the plethora of options on the boat. We had new movies running in the theatre daily and running on the tele in your room the next day. Our stateroom was an inside cabin 2691. We have been on several cruises before, and the size of this room was considerably larger than others. My husband and I agreed that the queen bed was more comfortable than expected too! We had a pull out coach that we never used, but it was nice to sit on and eat room service at the table. We found it difficult to live for 3 weeks without a fridge, but with talking to other passengers found that you can rent a fridge for $2 day. (not advertised) Just ask at main office. We did not have a tub either, but we wouldn't have used it if we did (too small). All port days we did our own thing. We were on a budget, so we did not book any excursions. We walked through the main port and hopped on a local bus. At Hilo, Hawaii there is the best travel company called Hoppa On, Hoppa Off. Well worth the money for what you get. Very friendly and affordable transportation that shows you the island. The rest of is;ands we took city buses for a dollar or 2 each way and had a great time. The snorkeling was the most memorable experience. TAKE YOUR OWN SCUBA MASK! We brought our own and so glad we did. The beaches would rent them for 15-20 dollars, but you can buy your own from walmart for $5-10 and be set the entire time. -Waikiki on Oahu Hawaii is beautiful- check out punchbowl cemetaary and the view. -Pago, Pago- take city bus for $2 and go to $2 dollar beach. Best place in the world! -Vanuatu- hideaway beach and underwater post office is amazing! -Fiji- take a tour to rainforest and waterfalls. Check out their local markets, huts and culture. Stay out of Suva! -New Caledonia- french speaking, so learn how to say "i'm sorry I do not speak french, do you speak english?" The locals will respond easier to that than "english?" You will get laughed at -Sydney- take the bridge walk. It's amazing!   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
From embarkation to disembarkation this cruise was fun and easy. There were no hassles at all.Being a smaller ship it was easy to make friends and after 24 days you start to get to know most faces. The food was amazing and service ... Read More
From embarkation to disembarkation this cruise was fun and easy. There were no hassles at all.Being a smaller ship it was easy to make friends and after 24 days you start to get to know most faces. The food was amazing and service excellent as usual. The only thing i could complain about is the activities during the day were sparse, many people were complaining about being bored but i think that was down to the cruise director being in the job to long and having blinkers on when it came to his area of responsibility. The Vista suit stateroom we had was the best we have had so far with spa bath and extra long cabin and good size balcony.My husband got a blood infection on the first night and was looked after very well by the doctor and his team,because of there care we were able to carry on our cruise.Overall a dam good cruise and would not hesitate to recommend Holland America to anyone.   Read Less
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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