585 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

I have been on over 20 cruises with numerous lines. While some were better than others I never complained about anything. This cruise was an absolute nightmare. This was a 14 day cruise that included Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, ... Read More
I have been on over 20 cruises with numerous lines. While some were better than others I never complained about anything. This cruise was an absolute nightmare. This was a 14 day cruise that included Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Hong Kong. On the first day of the cruise and the second, I wrote Holland America guest services and requested a refund and I would fly home from Asia at my own expense. The ship was filthy. Dead insects, soiled carpet, stained tables in the common area. The plumbing on the ship did not work properly. Many cabins were flooded, stench from the stale water, showers that were dribbles of water and virtually no public restrooms worked for the entire cruise. The hot tub was not working but they service it. After servicing they left the dirt at the bottom of the tub. The air conditioning did not work properly for the entire 14 days. Temperatures in the dining room were upper 80's to low 90's that was also true for the lounges. The entertainment included a Japanese juggler who could not juggle, a one man band with a guitar, harmonica and drums, plus a BBC film. The first two would be bounced from the gong show. To save money the ship docked in remote salvage container areas. At many cabs and UBER could not enter leaving HAL with the ability to gouge you on shore excursions. The only bright spot was the food which was very good. How did HAL handle my complaints as well as others? The basically said stick it and offered a paltry credit towards a future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We had never sailed on HA and had heard good things about this cruise line, so when a Dec cruise to Asia came up with ports we had never been to but wanted to see, we jumped at the chance to be a part of this experience. First off, the ... Read More
We had never sailed on HA and had heard good things about this cruise line, so when a Dec cruise to Asia came up with ports we had never been to but wanted to see, we jumped at the chance to be a part of this experience. First off, the crew and staff for the most part were great - very friendly, helpful and accommodating. In addition to the destinations, they were the best part of the cruise! Negatives: 1. our cabin - it looked good, but the air conditioning never worked so it was always 75°F or more, in countries that were already uncomfortably hot and humid. The staff were vigilant in trying to fix the problem but were not successful. Also, there was a leak somewhere that left a wet area outside our bathroom for the entire 2 weeks. To remedy the problem, a large, loud fan that blew hot air onto the spot was brought in, but as our cabin was already too warm, we sent the fan away after a few hours. 2. public areas - meanwhile, the hallways and public rooms (bars, theater, restaurants, library, etc.) were freezing cold, which other passengers also complained about. That finally got fixed on our last 2 days on board. It's a wonder that we didn't catch a cold. 3. the food - the food at the Lido and in the dining room was bland for our tastes (being foodies from SF who are 65+) and seemed geared to older people whose taste buds don't like surprises. I finally started asking for sambal to be brought out for my meals, which they did. We also thought that the meat and fish served was not the best quality... The fries at the Dive-in and the morning congee and omelettes at the Lido, however, were some of the best we had. The other problem with the food was that it was generally not served until 7am or after 8.30pm, so there were a few times we woke up or went to bed starving. Also, as everything at the Lido had to be served, there were long lines of impatient, sometimes rude, passengers. 4. the activities - On Princess cruises I'm usually racing from lectures to dance classes to trivia, and back again, often without enough time for a sit-down meal. On this HA cruise, I was rarely busy as there were few lectures and even fewer dance and arts and crafts classes. It was good to have down time, but I felt again that this cruise was geared to older, more sedentary passengers. The Test Kitchen and lectures that were given, however, were excellent and informative. 5. the excursions - Most ship excursions are expensive, and these were no exception, but the HA excursions were much better than the ones I've been on with Princess. The guides, transport and organization were generally excellent, but were worth paying the premium prices. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We booked with Holland American because of previous quality and service. We received an e mail prior to boarding asking us not to board before 1pm instead of before 12 noon as the ship had been in dry dock and would not be ready to use. ... Read More
We booked with Holland American because of previous quality and service. We received an e mail prior to boarding asking us not to board before 1pm instead of before 12 noon as the ship had been in dry dock and would not be ready to use. Then they sent another e mail saying that we could board on the normal time. On boarding the cabin had not been cleaned it had rubble on the carpets, dust all over everything inside, curtains were inside the draws, we complained. Later water was leaking into the cabin from the bottom of the toilet. There was no cold water apart from what was coming in via the toilet. The air conditioning was not working cabin was very hot did not work for 3 days. We complained in a long line of other people who were experiencing similar issues. In fact we spent the first day complaining rather than enjoying the cruise. The toilets in the main public areas were not working which caused them to be backed up and less than usable. There was several leaks in the public areas which needed to be zoned off and industrial dryers used to dry the area. One night while sitting in bar near the shops a large metal ceiling tile about 3 feet x 3 feet came crashing to the floor. Missing customers who were in the bar by inches witnessed by staff. Someone had made the decision to use this ship in an unserviceable condition. I have sent an e mail to Holland American customer services who acknowledged receipt and a follow up. I have had no reply in over two weeks. I do not feel they will reply as I feel there is no customer service with them. I will not book a cruise with them again unless I receive a reply. Sorry. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to sample Asia and picked Holland America as this was the most extensive itinerary. Unfortunately we did not believe we would be sacrificing the quality of our holiday. The cabin was not clean. No ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to sample Asia and picked Holland America as this was the most extensive itinerary. Unfortunately we did not believe we would be sacrificing the quality of our holiday. The cabin was not clean. No remote control for the TV. DVD player not working. No air conditioning for over a week. Basic soaps and bathroom supplies were missing. Then we have a major flood in our stateroom on day 1 due to a faulty toilet. We did not know the ship had been in dry dock until the day before we embarked. We were promised they would extract as much water as they could from the carpet and install fans to dry out the carpets but no-one came the next day and we spent most of the next 2 days complaining at guest services. The smell was now horrendous and the dampness was starting to affect our health. It was a week before the carpet was dry enough to walk on without shoes and they managed to mask the smell with shake and vac! This didn't smell particularly nice either. Over and above this the entertainment was pathetic. The singers and dancers had very lame material to work with and appeared very amateurish. Guest entertainers were very hit and miss with some acts being not very good kids party performers (embarrassing really). No buffet in the lido - chefs having to dish up food causing really long lines. Food was not good and cold. Lido closed at 8pm but stations were closing even before this. The ship air conditioning didn't work properly and the ship was hot at the hot time of the cruise then the last few days when the temperature outside was cold the air conditioning appeared to be working now and everyone on the ship was freezing! We were told the engineers couldn't get the system to work properly. If you enjoy spending your holiday waiting in the queue at guest services this is the cruise for you. A whole year of looking forward to this holiday became so so disappointing. Not the way we planned ending the year. This was our first and last experience of Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Great experienced with Volendam, The food in general is super, rate it 5 star, fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, That I love. Only kind of confusing to us that the tip( fooien) charge us daily They should include with the total price ... Read More
Great experienced with Volendam, The food in general is super, rate it 5 star, fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, That I love. Only kind of confusing to us that the tip( fooien) charge us daily They should include with the total price when we booked the cruise. Our excurshion we all booked through Volendam so no headache ( little kind of pricey), But It was worthy indeed, even booked also the airport transfer,.. All our local guides in every ports were super, excellent. Its small cruiseship but seem huge spaces.. The design, interior is excellent. Everywhere in the ship is clean, except the public toilet kind of no goed smell. I thought it was just my sensitive nose but more than few people complained about it. Certainly we will go again with Holland America line. The Embarkation in Singapore Harbourfront went smoothly, so as disembarkation in Hongkong, All were excellent organized. My husband and me love the Holland America Line, We love the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
As we lived in hong kong for 2 years while in the forces we always wanted to go back & see the changes plus we had never been to the places before apart from bangkok. We booked Trips with cruising excursion.com for every Port to make ... Read More
As we lived in hong kong for 2 years while in the forces we always wanted to go back & see the changes plus we had never been to the places before apart from bangkok. We booked Trips with cruising excursion.com for every Port to make the most of the Cruise, Ports of call were 06/12-singapore. 07/12 / at sea. 08/12 (koh samui). 09/12 &10/12 chaban (bangkok). 11/12-sihanoukville. 12/12 at sea. 13/12-phu my. 14/12-nha trang. 15/12--at sea.16/12-da nang (hue). 17/12-at sea. 18/12-halong bay. 19/12-at sea. 20/12-hong kong some of the ports were container bases so i was glad that we booked a trip for each port, we stayed in hong kong an extra 2 days to have a good look round. As for the ship when we boarder her after a 12 week refit there was a lot of problems in a lot of the staterooms with flooding from the toilets (some as much as 2" of water) so a lot of people were not happy, there was a smell from the carpets drying out plus a strong smell of diesel about, i spoke to someone who was moved to another stateroom & when he complains again about the noise from above (the galley) he told me that he was given ear plugs. The swimming pool at the aft was empty when boarding & the other pool was mucky & couldn't be used, i was told that the ship had to go to deep water to refresh. The food was excellent both in the mdr & buffet where you could get a steak cooked to your preference. Our shower room had all new fittings but the drawers on the bedside tables were old & sticking. The staff were welcoming & helpful. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
It was reasonably priced. No air conditioning for the first 6 days, and not of a great concern to the staff. A lot of rooms also had flooding, but ours didn’t. As it was, both my travel mate and Myself became quite ill with my friend ... Read More
It was reasonably priced. No air conditioning for the first 6 days, and not of a great concern to the staff. A lot of rooms also had flooding, but ours didn’t. As it was, both my travel mate and Myself became quite ill with my friend going to the clinic for IV therapy. As a matter of fact, many people ended up being sick. Poor food and service both in the dining room and Lido. I contacted Holland America and didn’t even get a reply. I’m a 3star Mariner and as far as I’m concerned Holland has hit rock bottom . They offered us a $75.00 dollar room credit which was nothing but an insult. I would not advise cruising with Holland America at this time and have been very vocal about our experience. When people pay hard earned money for a holiday they expect good service, good food, and good entertainment. The decks were like morgues during the day, absolutely nothing going on. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
For many passengers this was a cruise from hell. The following are most of the problems I was told by fellow passengers-- lots of problems-flooded rooms, pipes breaking, toilets overflowing or not working, water leaking from ceiling in ... Read More
For many passengers this was a cruise from hell. The following are most of the problems I was told by fellow passengers-- lots of problems-flooded rooms, pipes breaking, toilets overflowing or not working, water leaking from ceiling in dining room, lower promenade deck even number cabin side with bad smells, air conditioning not working. I was fortunate that my cabin did not experience any of the above mentioned difficulties. I did not feel that the entertainment in the theater was good overall. the young dancers and singers had talent but were not provided with productions that were not good. the comedian was very funny and the singer from australia had a beautiful voice. the impressionist was not good nor the harmonica playing japanese performer. the food was good and the staff were very friendly and helpful. the front desk staff were extremely nice and Christine was especially helpful to me when i dealt with her. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
As other cruisers have put it, this ship should have stayed in drydock. The information published on the internet about the refurbishment indicated some great changes that would certainly enhance the cruise. Coupled with our previous HAL ... Read More
As other cruisers have put it, this ship should have stayed in drydock. The information published on the internet about the refurbishment indicated some great changes that would certainly enhance the cruise. Coupled with our previous HAL experiences, we had high expectations. Unfortunately the information was inaccurate and, to be frank, this ship is a piece of junk. More info about the ship- leaky pipes and a near flood on our first day at sea. Some of the ship's public rooms were clearly renovated, while others were not. What HAL's calculus was in why certain places should be renovated first was unclear. Cabin- See below for cabin review. It was supposedly a suite, but I think that's false advertising. The AC system either didn't work at all or couldn't be turned off when we sailed into colder climates during the cruise. Fortunately, beyond the room being old and needing massive upkeep was the extent of my cabin's issues. A lot of fellow passengers had flooded rooms/toilets and other serious issues. Dining- Pinnacle Grill was great, and the Dive-In was pretty good. Beyond that, the food was not up to HAL standards. I hate to be so harsh, but some of the food tasted like something I would eat at my college dining hall. That all said, I thought it was great that they offered local cuisine from the countries we were visiting, so people could sample the fare without worrying about local cleaning standards. Entertainment/Activities- The America's Test Kitchen lectures were great, and the port lectures weren't too bad. Other cruise lines have subject matter experts on board who can do deep dives into what we will experience. I can't speak to any of the other entertainment beyond the movies at the Wajang Theater. Service- The major bright spot. My cabin stewards were excellent and the staff did a great job, I would also like to highlight the work of the maintenance people who were, unfortunately, constantly at work fixing issues that should have been identified during the drydock. Ports and Shore Excursions- The reason we booked this trip. All things being equal, we'd take a ship in lousy shape if it meant getting a chance to visit those places. Excellent itinerary. Embarkation was poorly organized, especially the lines to go through immigration. The guy "directing" was completely disorganized and eventually passengers took matters in to their own hands and just walked up. HAL, drydock the Volendam and do a top to bottom thorough check. I can think most passengers would have been happier if you had done that and pushed our cruise dates a bit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We recently finished a 14-day Hong Kong to Singapore cruise on the ms Volendam. We have sailed with Holland America before and, as always, the staff and the service they provide cannot be beat. The food was also very good. However, the ... Read More
We recently finished a 14-day Hong Kong to Singapore cruise on the ms Volendam. We have sailed with Holland America before and, as always, the staff and the service they provide cannot be beat. The food was also very good. However, the ship itself is showing its age and, fortunately, is going in for upgrades and refurbishing before the next cruise. We had an obstructed view cabin and the air conditioning never worked for the entire cruise. Considering that the temperatures were very hot the entire cruise and humidity was very high, this was a major concern. They did not seem to be able to address it but did give us a $300 credit at the end of the cruise to make up for it. There were also problems with several of the units in the fitness centre and we were told that they would not be addressed because the ship was going in for major work at the end of our cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed all our excursions but, as we used private tours, cannot comment on the ship's excursions. Holland America does need to put some extra effort in handling tenders though -- the set up for getting tender tickets and the process for boarding the tenders was handled extremely poorly at both ports where tenders were required. Come on, HAL -- this isn't something that you haven't done thousands of times! As noted at the start, our cabin attendants were fantastic, as were the waiters at our table in the Main Dining Room. The staff on HAL and the service they provide has been outstanding on all of our cruise. We will definitely sail with Holland America again but will be sure to check the status of a given ship before booking our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We always wanted to see Japan, have been all thru' China & Thailand before , the rest of the cruise was a very pleasant Bonus, especially Vietnam, loved the food and the people there. I tell you that having Dr. Kam's lectures ... Read More
We always wanted to see Japan, have been all thru' China & Thailand before , the rest of the cruise was a very pleasant Bonus, especially Vietnam, loved the food and the people there. I tell you that having Dr. Kam's lectures was so amazing, what a wonderful man he is, a real bonus for HA. I also would like to comment on Markus who gave the Gem-stone talks this boy knows his work, so fun. I journal for every cruise so I take notes on every lecture and presentation. I always want to learn. Josh and Phil were great too, took their notes as well. The entertainment was awesome, loved the Volendam dancers and singers, good variety. Movies pretty good. The cruise director never could spell her name, was awesome so fun at the trivia contests. The Captain too was great, he hd a lot to deal with, especially in Shanghai. All of the crew were superb going the extra mile for all of us. I heard some of the beef was tough but on the night we had surf and turf it was excellent. In general the food was good, could be a little hotter but it is hard to do for so many people, soup always hot and delicious, and the bread pudding, to die for. I just want to say some of the comments I have read were not pleasant, not all people are pleasant, you can please some of the people etc. It was a busy tour, but we made it and what a great place to end it but in Singapore---Wow what a beautiful place!!!!!!!!! Evelyn and Russell Green Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this 42 day cruise as a one-time trip to the Far East. It was supposed to include stops in Korea, which were prevented by Chinese sanctions, so that it was slightly disappointing before it even began. Things just seemed to go ... Read More
We chose this 42 day cruise as a one-time trip to the Far East. It was supposed to include stops in Korea, which were prevented by Chinese sanctions, so that it was slightly disappointing before it even began. Things just seemed to go wrong whenever possible. We were awakened at 3am in Shanghai by an announcement that there might be contamination in the water (false alarm), we were kept in Shanghai an extra 38 hours by a storm without the ability to go ashore. No extra entertainment, other than a one hour open bar on sailing. The air conditioning went out and the captain blamed mussels in the inlets which had been acquired in Alaska and had to be flushed. There was a lack of organization in dealing with disembarkation in several ports, mainly blamed on the local officials, but often with the help of the staff. Although the cruise was 58, 42, 28 or 14 days, the entertainment was repeated every 2 weeks. The shows cast was talented, and the performances spirited, for such a small group, and quite entertaining the first time around. Additional entertainment was mixed. The repeating of a BBC documentary did not do much to enhance this aspect. The kitchen was light on no sugar food, having only no sugar added, and it ran out of ice cream 2 weeks before the end of the cruise. The food in the dining room was excellent, but portions were very small, and the service exceedingly slow. Several times meals lasted over 2 hours. Ashley Wade and her trio in the Ocean Bar were excellent for their Jazz, and she had a great rapport with her audience. The crew was exceptionally friendly and tried to be helpful. They made the voyage into a much more positive event. Working hard to please, they were the best we have seen. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Frankly, I chose this particular cruise because I got a good deal! I had cruised before and loved it (though my husband did not!) and from the moment of that first cruise, I knew I wanted to take my grown daughter on a cruise with me. ... Read More
Frankly, I chose this particular cruise because I got a good deal! I had cruised before and loved it (though my husband did not!) and from the moment of that first cruise, I knew I wanted to take my grown daughter on a cruise with me. She's like me -- very outgoing, loves games, loves starting conversations with people at the next table, etc. So I decided to ask her if she'd be willing to go on such a long cruise with me and leave my lovely granddaughters at home with their Dad so Erica and I could have a mother-daughter outing. And as I suspected, Erica loved the cruise. We had so much fun taking advantage of all the shipboard activities like trivia and bingo (I won $145 one day and a cruise for two another day!!!), meeting and getting to know people from all over the world, and making friends with another mother-daughter set whom we are going to visit in Holland for the new year! My daughter was the hit of the cruise -- every time we got on the elevator, by the time we reached our destination floor, we were buddies with everyone else on the elevator. The food was good, the staff was wonderful, and we just had a fabulous time. Now we are planning to augment the cruise for two I won by taking her husband and my granddaughters, and yes, even my husband on a cruise next year! I think I made a believer out of her!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Commencing your cruise in China, you do not need an expensive visa if certain conditions apply. My wife and I have recently returned (12-11-17) from a two week cruise in the Far East. We joined the ship (Holland Americas cruise ship ... Read More
Commencing your cruise in China, you do not need an expensive visa if certain conditions apply. My wife and I have recently returned (12-11-17) from a two week cruise in the Far East. We joined the ship (Holland Americas cruise ship VOLENDAM) in Shanghai China. Prior to the cruise I was informed by my external cruise agent’s documentation that a visa was required for entry into China. I researched the visa process and discovered that the Chinese embassies in the UK, located in Manchester and London utilise external agencies to process and issue access visas for China. I accessed online the SHANGHAI GENERAL STATION OF IMMIGRATION INSPECTION. The document listed several visa exemption possibilities depending upon your travel schedule. There are several visa agencies online and be aware, the charges vary considerably from £175.00 to £250.00 per person, and the process is not straight forward. Having explored various cruise advice pages on the web, it was intimated that there is a facility for Chinese visa exemption depending upon how many days you would be in China and where your cruise schedule was destined. I contacted my cruise agent and they were no help at all, stating that it was the passenger’s responsibility to sort it all out and they the agent would not provide any guidance apart from a contact number for CIBIT Visa processing agents (who just happen to be the most expensive visa processing company). E-mailed the British Embassy in Shanghai, yes, thank-you for your e-mail, but we don’t answer any questions concerned with visas, (so I wonder what they do, do over there.) Next, I contacted Holland and America, not a lot of help or enthusiasm there, same story they were not really interested, but they did have a visa specialist in America who may be able to answer my question, “do I need a visa for entry to China when I will only be in china for a short duration before sailing on to Japan, within 48 hours?” Well thank you, H&M, could you contact your specialist visa person and get back to me, yes, they didn’t. After 3 phone calls to H&M, three different advisers, eventually they decided that for this cruise as we were only in China for 30 hours and were going to a third party country (Japan) we did not need a visa. So, 7 days before we go, a letter arrives from Holland America via my cruise agent informing us that a visa is required for China. Grrr, frustration, once again contacted H&M, who were at this point not sure don’t think you need a visa, but here is a number for the visa agency we recommend so I could check with them, (just happened to also be the most expensive visa agent.) Success, rang the visa agent, informed them of my itinery travel plans, and they assured me a visa was not required. So, feeling 90% sure we did not require a visa, we set off to Manchester airport, at check-in they told us we needed a China entry visa, we said no we didn’t, they checked and verified we did not need one, the same situation in Amsterdam initially refused check in without a visa, Amsterdam checked and verified we did not require a visa. When we arrived at Shanghai airport, there was a special passport checking area for the issue of visa exemptions. Passport control checked our travel itinery cruise documentation and issued permits, process took approximately 20 minutes. Be very, very careful if you need a taxi at the airport, there are numerous taxis touts at the airport entrance that are not officially, registered taxis. We agreed a price for the 20 mile drive to the cruise terminal. I am sure that he was a racing car and dodgems driver in his spare time, horrendous journey to the cruise port and then he asked for more money, holding our luggage to ransom in the boot of his taxi and would not unload it until we paid double the fare. We conversed with many UK Passengers over the next 14 days, many repeated the same visa verification nightmare, and in every case they had purchased very expensive China access visas, when they did not need them, because no one could or would give them positive visa requirements information. And yes this is a long story, but if it’s saved you £500.00 it’s been worth reading. And, so to the cruise ship itself, overall, average in every aspect. There were plenty of sitting/relaxing areas, good, as most cruise ships appear to have their relaxing areas replaced with specialist premium cost dining. Cabin was cramped due to excessive furniture. The dining experience, average in choice of menu and food quality and quantity. Standard cruise line overpriced drinks. The entertainment 50% outstanding (ships singers and dancers) the rest was dire with the exception of an outstanding guest violinist. The service was outstanding in every aspect. Ports of call, all city type, hence the overpowering traffic pollution. Interesting experience and lots to see and do. Shore excursions, they were probably the most expensive that I have ever come across, on any of the previous 14 cruises that we have experienced, hence, we did our own thing. There were very few children on the cruise. Would I go again, probably not, we enjoyed the experience and observing the different cultures, but in some respects it was all much of the same. The cruise line does need to offer promotional inducements, I doubt that we will be sailing with Holland America in the future. AND TO ALL YOU CRUISE COMPANIES AND AGENTS YOU DISAPPOINT ME, I EXPECT BETTER SERVICE, VERY EXPEDIENTLY YOU TAKE OUR MONEY, AND ARE CLEARLY NOT INTERESTED IN OUR WELFARE. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I have gone on several Holland America cruises in the past, but my 28-day cruise from Shanghai to Singapore is the last one I will ever take with Holland America. I agree with all the negative comments of the previous posters and have a ... Read More
I have gone on several Holland America cruises in the past, but my 28-day cruise from Shanghai to Singapore is the last one I will ever take with Holland America. I agree with all the negative comments of the previous posters and have a few more. The people who were satisfied must have never cruised before. A big disappointment was that in most ports we didn’t dock where the other cruise ships docked but at commercial docks that where cranes were loading and unloading freight all day. However, for $6.00 to $12.00 HAL would shuttle you into town. Once or twice it was free. The final straw, however, was when they didn’t get me to my flight at the end of the cruise. I had paid HAL for the shuttle service so I would be sure to get picked up when I arrived and get back to the airport for my flight when the cruise ended. When the ship informed me what time the shuttle was going to leave to take me to the airport, I immediately went to the front desk and told them I didn’t I would get to the airport in time for my flight. I was assured that I would not have any problems. The next morning while I was waiting for my turn to be shuttled, I went back to the front desk and asked to be transported to the airport sooner. Once again, I was told I would get there in plenty of time. They were wrong. I missed my flight. I called Holland America and was told they would book me on another flight, but I would have to pay for it. They recommended I contact Guest Relations when I got back to the US and request a reimbursement for the extra flight. I called. That was interesting. Guest Relations said they should not have sold me the transportation because company policy required a four-hour minimum time period between leaving the ship and the flight time; therefore, they could not reimburse me for the extra flight cost. They offered to reimburse me for the transportation service. When I mentioned that I gave the clerk my flight times when I booked the transportation and wasn’t told about the four-hour policy, Guest Relations said, “The clerk made a mistake selling you the transportation and that was why HAL would reimburse the transportation fee.” I want to say something positive about HAL, but nothing comes to mind. It is a company that no longer cares about the passengers. I would have given them two stars if They had gotten me to the airport on time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We enjoyed a wonderful 14-day cruise to Japan and China, starting in Tokyo and ending in Shanghai. Our flight was part of the cruise package and worked out well. We had a pre-cruise stay in Tokyo. Great hotel, but disorganized ... Read More
We enjoyed a wonderful 14-day cruise to Japan and China, starting in Tokyo and ending in Shanghai. Our flight was part of the cruise package and worked out well. We had a pre-cruise stay in Tokyo. Great hotel, but disorganized embarkation procedures at the hotel. Once on the ship, everything was fine. Service was exemplary by all the staff. They just couldn't do enough for us. When we told the Steward that the room was too cold, he reported it immediately and within a few hours it was fixed and the front desk called to verify that we were now satisfied. When my husband fell on an independent excursion, the front desk called to find out how he was doing and sent a plate of chocolate covered cherries to our room. When we couldn't get our phone to work on the ship, the front desk ushered us over to a complimentary phone to use. When we couldn't get the Wi-Fi to work, the people at the front desk patiently walked us through the procedures. When we arrived on board we found that our travel agency had paid for a free meal in the Pinnacle Grille. The card in our room said it was a free dinner, but that turned out to be a mistake - it was only supposed to be a free lunch. However, the ship graciously honored what the card said and gave us a free dinner. The meals in the dinning room were excellent. The dining staff gave great recommendations and graciously made any requested alterations to the stated menu items. On at-sea days we enjoyed the 'America's Test Kitchen' cooking demonstrations and lectures by Master Kam on China. We never attended any of the evening entertainment, so I can't comment there. Disembarkation was very smooth. We were organized into groups and called by group to go off the ship. Our luggage was waiting for us. We only did two ship excursions; we prefer independent ones. But there were no independent ones available in those two ports. The ship excursions were typical large group affairs. We also did one ship excursion to see an acrobatic show. It was not the famous one in Shanghai that I wanted to see. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the ship to give us adequate information ahead of time to determine what show we would be taken to. I called their excursion office twice before the cruise and each time they promised to call me back, but never did. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Chose this cruise as HAL always has excellent itineraries and we were meeting up with old cruise friends. Our Volendam is going into dry-dock in two weeks but I fear that will not be enough time to update our favorite ship. Despite a ... Read More
Chose this cruise as HAL always has excellent itineraries and we were meeting up with old cruise friends. Our Volendam is going into dry-dock in two weeks but I fear that will not be enough time to update our favorite ship. Despite a revised itinerary and missing a port of call (partially weather and partially politics) passengers were pleased with our little gem of a ship. We had a disastrous experience at the Pinnacle Grill and much prefer the gracious and professional service of the dining room staff. . We never take ship's excursions. The staff, especially Josh, was calm, collected, and professional working with passengers during a very trying time with revised itineraries. Entertainment was proper for this ship. The singers and dancers really worked hard and it was apparent. There should have been more attention placed on health restrictions as 20 - 30% of passengers had respiratory problems. We probably will not go back on the Volendam as we have traveled on her 3 times and covered most of her itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our third cruise (2nd with Holland) and we had a fantastic time. I think the Volendam is in need of some updating though - which I believe is taking place in the upcoming months. The service once again was extremely good - along ... Read More
This was our third cruise (2nd with Holland) and we had a fantastic time. I think the Volendam is in need of some updating though - which I believe is taking place in the upcoming months. The service once again was extremely good - along with the fantastic food. We ate at the Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants which we thought were just average and not worth the extra money. The entertainment was very good every night - a good variation of shows. Having a before dinner drink and dancing in the Ocean's Bar was a great way to start off the evening. The embarkation and disembarkation went extremely smooth and very well organized and staffed. The excursions were a bit pricey and very rushed. We didn't get any time for shopping. The day we were to see the Great Wall of China we got caught in a 7 hour traffic jam which was horrible and got to the Wall with less than an hour of daylight left. We also never got to see the Summer Palace. The "lunch" that we finally ate at 6:30 was very good. When we returned to the ship that night the staff all met us outside to welcome us back and purposely kept the buffet open. They also refunded our money back for the excursion - once again very good service by Holland. A new stop for Holland was Quindao, China which really was not very interesting at all for the money you pay for excursion - there wasn't enough interesting places to see there. The tour guides that they used could barely speak English and were so young and inexperienced that it made for not a very good day. The overall experience with Holland was very good and we will be traveling with them again on another cruise to Australia/New Zealand next year. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this trip for two main reasons: 1. the Holland America experience (this was my 8th cruise with HAL) 2. the locations to be visited (Japan & China) We planned this trip, with our dear friends from the U.K. whom we had ... Read More
We chose this trip for two main reasons: 1. the Holland America experience (this was my 8th cruise with HAL) 2. the locations to be visited (Japan & China) We planned this trip, with our dear friends from the U.K. whom we had met on a previous HAL cruise, for over a year. We were so looking forward to our journey!!! What we experienced was a huge & bitter disappointment! Our cabin had a distinctive & very strong smell of urine (akin to an outhouse) which seemed to come on and off through the pipes. Given that the cruise was completely sold out there was no point in complaining as there was no alternative cabin to move to. There were other areas where it appeared that the company has cut back, perhaps cost saving measures had been applied (service, food, entertainment), which was also disappointing. For example: the entertainment included a few nights with no show, a few nights of the "Volendam singers & dancers", a harmonica duo, an accordion player and a man sitting at a table doing card tricks. As mentioned I've been on 7 previous cruises with HAL and am used to cruise ship entertainment but this was a poor showing indeed. However, the worst experiences were the shore excursions! I have never felt so cheated & used in all of my previous travels and I am still smarting from the experience. For the entire time we were in Japan it was raining, cloudy and gray which was absolutely no fault of HAL. However, what they decided to do with the shore excursions was another matter. In Shimizu we booked (at a cost of just under $100 USD each) a visit to a lookout to see Mt. Fuji and then a visit to a shrine. As we boarded our tour bus it was evident that our guide knew that we could not visit the lookout and would not see Mt. Fuji. This was not their fault but what they did instead was unacceptable. We drove to an isolated, very small tea store where we were told we had to wait an hour. We stood under an awning looking out at a gray, hazy world for an hour before boarding the bus once again for our next stop. We visited a shrine where we saw everything there was to see in about 15 minutes and then, once again, were told we had to wait an hour in the wet miserable weather with nowhere to go before we could head back to the ship. I can't for the life of me understand why they didn't cancel the excursion or, at the very least, offer us a refund so we could explore alternatives as they knew we could not do what our itinerary listed. Another, extremely sad & disappointing excursion was the overnight trip to Beijing. This trip cost each of us almost $1,000 USD and we were so very, very excited about all that we would enjoy. Our bus was absolutely filthy, the seatbelts were inaccessible (though we would be spending hours on the highway) and some of the seats randomly reclined on their own crushing the knees of the person sitting behind. At lunch neither the guide, nor the HAL rep on the trip, would help ensure the 4 of us could sit together but instead insisted we squeeze in at two separate tables earmarked for bus #16. There were lots of places, in the same room, that we could have sat together but this was not a part of their agenda. Finally, after a dismal lunch we headed off to the main event, the Great Wall of China! However, because we still had to visit another temple we were only allowed a brief time at the wall - not nearly enough time to climb to the top as planned. After a long and extremely disappointing day we finally headed towards our hotel. The four of us were really hoping to salvage something of the day by exploring the nightlife of Beijing on this, our one and only night in this amazing city. However, the hotel selected by HAL was way off in the business district and so there was nothing near by. We felt trapped in the hotel where drinks were approximately $20 each so sad, tired and disappointed we went off to bed at 9:00. In the morning we headed off to breakfast determined to start the day with a good attitude. I won't go into detail about the appalling way things went at breakfast but suffice it to say it took the 4 of us over half an hour to chase down a simple cup of coffee after being told that they had "run out of cups" at the hotel. Wow, that was a new one! I honestly felt sick to my stomach that I had convinced our dear friends to pay the $1000 USD for this excursion which proved to be worth considerably less than what was paid! I was so unhappy that the next day I went down to the front office to complain about the experience. This is something I have never done before! Later that day I received a call from the excursions office "thanking me for my feedback." On yet another excursion we were to visit a silk factory to watch how silk is made. However, that turned out to be nothing more than a sales pitch after which we had to stand around and wait for an hour while people were encouraged to buy silk bedding. While standing around we learned that a number of people had received refunds for an excursion where they didn't get enough time to visit one of their temples. I was stunned by this news given that we spent an hour standing in the rain at a tea shop, rather than visit the scheduled lookout, but no one had ever offered us any kind of refund. I have always loved travelling with HAL but this was one of the worst experiences I have ever had on a vacation. My husband and I are not wealthy and the cost of this cruise + the multiple shore excursions was considerable. I truly felt horribly cheated by most of the shore excursions in which we participated and I am deeply disappointed and saddened by Holland America's response. We had previously booked two additional cruises with Holland America this year (one in the winter and another in the spring) and given our unpleasant experience in October we cancelled our winter cruise upon our return home. We asked that our agent tell Holland America why we were doing so and she kindly did so. I was deeply offended by the response from Holland America. They did not offer to reimburse the $100 USD each that we paid to stand in the rain at a tea shop nor did they offer any recompense for any of our other excursions. Instead they offered us some shipboard credit, NOT on the cruise we still have booked for the spring, but instead only available if we book yet another new cruise on Holland America within the next year. Wow! That is a stunning response. My husband and I are 4 Star Mariners who have enjoyed a wonderful, lengthy relationship with Holland America. However, I'm afraid this incredible response (i.e. buy yet another cruise and you will receive some extra credit) has pretty much determined that our relationship with Holland America has likely come to an end. Shame on you, Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Holland continues to give you less on each cruise. Staff cutbacks and the quality of food products continues to degrade the experience. Have been sailing Holland for many years and have close to 500 actual days at sea with them. It looks ... Read More
Holland continues to give you less on each cruise. Staff cutbacks and the quality of food products continues to degrade the experience. Have been sailing Holland for many years and have close to 500 actual days at sea with them. It looks like Holland's management is more interested in they yearly bonus than the experience for the passengers. Ship was headed for drydock and needs for TLC to fix plumbing problems and water leaks in public spaces. gone is the lobster every Gala night, gone is the shrimp cocktail every night, gone is the librarian, gone is the fresh squeezed orange juice, gone is the great quality of steaks, gone is the free expresso at dinner, gone is great evening entertainment, gone is the ship's log at the end of the cruise, gone is the crew member that used to provide hand sanitizer in the public areas (replaced by machines that noone uses, thus many more sick days onboard a long cruise) and gone is the pleasant feeling that its really great being onboard (replaced by its OK) Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Thought it was an exciting way to avoid flying to Japan and do some hiking in Alaska. One cruise port (Dutch Harbour) was cancelled for good reason I guess and we were credited but made it boring especially when all the theme were ... Read More
Thought it was an exciting way to avoid flying to Japan and do some hiking in Alaska. One cruise port (Dutch Harbour) was cancelled for good reason I guess and we were credited but made it boring especially when all the theme were Japanese. Seemed like the cruise director made it a Japanese theme cruise. What happened to those high demand line dancing. Totally ignored. It was a good way to introduce the Japanese culture to the public but not everyone took this cruise because of that. The stretch program in the morning needs improvement. May be because of the wave that the trainer cannot do a proper stretch program. Or may be because this space was limited. The spa also made a mistake of advertising a paid yoga session as free. About 6 -8 showed up but none of us stayed because they didn't honor their mistake. The Microsoft sponsored digital classes were excellent though. The instructor was very professional and knew her stuff well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I wanted to wait a few months to go by to write this review of our trip on the Volendam which left Vancouver on Sept 29, and ended in Shanghai a month later. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America and longest by far. Having never ... Read More
I wanted to wait a few months to go by to write this review of our trip on the Volendam which left Vancouver on Sept 29, and ended in Shanghai a month later. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America and longest by far. Having never been to the Far East, this cruise had us very excited with anticipation. The itinerary looked wonderful and we were curious to see if we would have any cruise fatigue for what was for us, a long cruise. The Volendam is one of HAL's small ships, and just the right size for us. The ship was clean and appeared to be in fine shape, and our outside cabin on deck one was perfect. We planned excursions for every port, but also savored the 14 sea days. To summarize, the Alaska portion of the cruise was very enjoyable. It rained in Ketchikan, but that did not stop us from having an enjoyable time with the Native Culture tour. A trip to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau is always fun, and the cruise through Glacier Bay was spectacular beyond belief, the weather being perfect that day. The ranger that gave the onboard commentary said that it was one of the best days of the year; the visibility was breathtaking. There was a scheduled stop after that, Dutch Harbor, that was cancelled, but more about that later. I could go on and on about our stops in Japan, but I will just say that it was a dream come true to see a little bit of Japanese culture and hospitality up close. Kyoto and Tokyo was amazing with its shrines and temples, and we were treated with utmost courtesy everywhere we went. The smaller places we went, like Shimizu and Hakodate, were also welcoming and always interesting. The onboard lectures about Japanese culture and the upcoming Chinese ports kept us entertained as well as informed. After a little over a week in Japan, it was on to Beijing. We saw the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, the Ming Tombs, and the fantastic Forbidden City. We did this over two days on a HAL overnight excursion. We had a fantastic guide, which we both thought was the best guide on any HAL excursion we had ever had. A one day stay at Qingdao followed, which was also very enjoyable. Last was Shanghai, which really blew us both away with its beautiful and modern skyline. We left the Volendam very happy, but actually wishing we could stay for more. The main point I want to make about this trip is that if you look for positives, and stay upbeat, little problems (even some big ones) can be overlooked. I can't say this cruise was "perfect". No cruise is. Just to list a few issues - our dining reservations were mishandled somehow, and we originally were assigned to open seating, but it was quickly resolved. When we did get out preferred seating, one of the couples never showed up the entire cruise. The other couple spoke limited English. No problem, we made friends with them after only one evening. It rained off and on in Japan the whole time. However, if you take in the sights and appreciate the wonderful things you are experiencing, this is not such a big problem. The HAL front desk gave us a fright when they said that we had no disembarkation trip to the airport (we did). However, they later corrected their mistake. We missed a port, Dutch Harbor when a storm made the ship rock and roll and the Captain had to change direction. I got a little sea sick one day, which is always no fun. The entire Korean itinerary had been scrapped a few weeks before and replaced with more stops in Japan. When these little glitches happened, I kept one thought in my mind - how lucky are we that we get to see these wonderful places and enjoy this ship where you can take it easy on the sea days, and look forward to the next port ? I read some of the negative reviews on here and I simply can't relate to them,.Yes, I know that some people experience problems that are greater than the ones we had, but the overall experience is all important. Focus on the positive things. We loved this cruise and will be going back for more. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I have had my eye on this cruise for some time. Actually we booked the Yokohama to Vancouver this spring, but had to cancel. So now we did the Vancouver-Yokohama-Shanghai cruise. It was a pleasant experience. The Volendam is a nice ... Read More
I have had my eye on this cruise for some time. Actually we booked the Yokohama to Vancouver this spring, but had to cancel. So now we did the Vancouver-Yokohama-Shanghai cruise. It was a pleasant experience. The Volendam is a nice ship, not too big, with an excellent crew. The information from the bridge was good and the presentation by the two 3rd officers avout the things they do were excellent. You can't book the weather, and this cruise lacked badly in sunshine. Lots of fog and clouded skies, Japan rained. An exception, Glacier Bay on a sunny Sunday! When we booked we were supposed ro visit Korea after Japan. Some polilitical issues forced the dompany to change the itinary, no Korea, more Japan, which was fine with me as I'm a Japan fan. Japa, Hokkaido brought us some nice autumn colors and cranes. From Osaka we visited the Takarazuka theater, by train and as usual the people helped us to get tickets and the right train. Everybody will help you. The excursion department was well organised. Chaos was avoided. About dining, we dined some evenings in Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants. We used the Dining room but occasionally. Most evenings we dined at the Lido. The atmosfeer there was cosy, of course you get your own food but the interaction with the mostly Indonesian crew was very pleasant. It felt very much like Terrace Cafe on Oceania. Management did good thing there! Our overall feeling was that this holiday was excellent. After the lightshow in Shanghai it was tije to go home. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Great service generally, great food, Made lots of new friends. We were disappointed to miss Dutch Harbour, but understood the Captain's decision to avoid bad weather. Embarkation speed was impressive, and disembarkation went smoothly. ... Read More
Great service generally, great food, Made lots of new friends. We were disappointed to miss Dutch Harbour, but understood the Captain's decision to avoid bad weather. Embarkation speed was impressive, and disembarkation went smoothly. The cabin was much the same as most, the service was vert good. Dining was excellent except persons who do not like spices are poorly catered for. The evening entertainment was very good, catering for many tastes. However we were very disappointed to find that daytime activities were extremely limited. We and others found that at times during the day we had to resort to reading, when normally we are flat out all day and evening. The ship is small, but We have been on a number of ships of the same class, but different lines, and daytime activities were plentiful. It seemed at times that we were being force fed sales pitches and not much else. The line has still not recognised the previous cruising of one of us, despite repeated requests to update their data. Consequently that person was deprived of all the benefits they were entitled to. Bad move Holland America,! We only took one shore excursion, it was very good, but we considered in general the shore trips were expensive, so we preferred to "wing it" most times. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We have never been on a traditional cruise before, and we were so impressed by the excellent service from every member of staff on board this ship, from the Captain to the waiters and the room service. All the staff spoke to us whenever ... Read More
We have never been on a traditional cruise before, and we were so impressed by the excellent service from every member of staff on board this ship, from the Captain to the waiters and the room service. All the staff spoke to us whenever they saw us, and made us feel so welcome. The food was delicious, with such variety, and available at all times. Over eating was a real temptation, as it was all so tempting. We enjoyed our expeditions ashore, and the days spent on board were relaxing and comfortable. A truly memorable cruise with all the wildlife we had hoped to see. We saw humpback whales, dolphins, orca, sea otters, porpoises and so much more. We dined in all the restaurants and they were all excellent, especially the Pinnacle restaurant. Every day we received details of all available activities for the next day in a smart newsletter, so we could plan what we wanted to do, or decide to do nothing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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