We had a great time on Volendam’s 14 day, February 14 Indonesia sailing from/to Singapore. The crew was great, food was very good and the ship is in excellent condition. It had been several years since we sailed HAL and thoroughly ... Read More
We had a great time on Volendam’s 14 day, February 14 Indonesia sailing from/to Singapore. The crew was great, food was very good and the ship is in excellent condition. It had been several years since we sailed HAL and thoroughly enjoyed this sailing. For the past several years, we have been Celebrity faithfuls and I will post what we saw as very minor differences between the two brands. The most significant difference to us was the lack of entertainment. The Tai Chi expert served as a speaker about a few SE Asia topics, but the presentations were superficial. The first two cast shows were, at best, amateurish and onboard solo entertainers were weak. We received an offer for a discounted upgrade to a veranda from ocean view a few weeks before sailing and were assigned cabin 6138, a slightly forward A category veranda which was a better draw than anticipated. Cabin attendants, maitre ‘d, and dining stewards were friendly and enjoyed talking about their home, Indonesia, as we visited their port. At each non-tendered port, hundreds of family and friends were invited aboard to see where their relative/friend worked. It was a pleasure seeing them aboard, although in most cases they were off the the ship by the time we reboarded late in the afternoon. The master, Captain Frank van der Hoeven, and other officers were not particularly visible the ship and did not engage with the passengers, but morale and enthusiasm of the crew was evident. Most of our tours were arranged on CC before hand, although we did three ship’s tours. The privately arranged ones were far better. Traffic in all the Indonesian ports was heavy and unpredictable which made planning for the independent guides challenging to ensure we were back well before the all aboard. For example, one day in Bali, it took over an hour to go ten miles. The next day we took the same route in less than 30 minutes. Volendam used the old cruise terminal at VivoCity and it cannot accommodate the number of pax embarking if there are any delays and there were. Disembarkation was fine. Read Less
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the price. Apart from Bali, the ports of call were nothing to write home about.....but we loved this holiday because of the ship...not too big, well appointed, quiet, delicious food, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the price. Apart from Bali, the ports of call were nothing to write home about.....but we loved this holiday because of the ship...not too big, well appointed, quiet, delicious food, excellent service, lovely cabin....we really appreciated the recently refurbished bathrooms. Our cabin stewards did a great job and the nightly towel sculptures brought smiles to our faces. If you are looking for a medium sized ship without the bells and whistles, Volendam is for you.
We particularly enjoyed sitting on deck three..perfect if you are looking for a shady spot....the loungers are excellent and the deck has a spacious walkway.
The happy hours with delicious snacks, and sampling at the martini bar were excellent value. I was pleased to be offered a welcome drink at the captain’s reception.....some cruise lines seem to have dispensed with this.
If Volendam is typical of the Holland America line, I would not hesitate to use it again, or to recommend it to others. Read Less
For an older ship we were impressed. Dining room dinners were great, both the selection of food and quality of wait staff. Lido food as expected was mediocre but about as expected. the burger bar on Lido deck was better than expected. ... Read More
For an older ship we were impressed. Dining room dinners were great, both the selection of food and quality of wait staff. Lido food as expected was mediocre but about as expected. the burger bar on Lido deck was better than expected. Several quality burger offerings.
Everything was on time; the Captain appeared at several occasions in the showroom and was nice to listen to about some of his experiences.
the small dance (6 people) and singer team (4 people) were excellent, much better than expected. The guest entertainers were a mixed bunch but overall good, many better than expected for a smaller ship like this.
We seldom if ever sign up for the Ship shore excursions as we find them a poor value (grossly overpriced and many include a full cattle call bus including the occasional guest who is always late getting back, etc.). Most of our shore excursions are booked based on interactions with other passengers on the ship's roll call.
This particular cruise started from Hong Kong and included Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore and a bunch of ports in Indonesia including Bali, Lombok and Komodo - so a lot of ground to cover/new experiences in the 28 days on board.
One thing we don't like about Holland America is their poor rewards program. We are elite on Princess and receive a nice internet package for free - Internet on Holland America was $250 for a 1,000 minute package and much higher for shorter packages. I require internet for my home business. Speed of the internet on the ship was better than expected, not great but historically pretty good for a ship. Read Less
We chose this cruise as it went to spots in Indonesia that would be difficult to arrange by air. We also like round trip vice lineal itineraries, The staff did not provide us with a tile at the Mariners luncheon, however guest services ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it went to spots in Indonesia that would be difficult to arrange by air. We also like round trip vice lineal itineraries, The staff did not provide us with a tile at the Mariners luncheon, however guest services was happy to give them when we requested at their counter, and also seemed surprised they had not been distributed, Missed seeing a ships log cruise summary that we had received at the end of other HAL voyages. The ships singers were weak and need to be replaced. Our cabin steward was long on smiles and pleasant conversation, but could not get the concept of ice or fruit to the cabin, or picking up soiled towels in the bathroom. Note: most cabins do not have a frig.
The ships activities director let down the Protestant worship community by omitting to include the worship in the second Sunday of the cruise, as she directly promised that she would, and when this was brought to her attention on Saturday evening, she stated that it was a mistake and worship would be announced by the cruise director on the ships speaker system. This did not happen and the Wajang theater was not available at the time she directed, as it was utilized by blackout bingo during the afternoon. I did not make a fuss, but I was extremely disappointed in Christine as her actions denied our opportunity to worship.
We are 4 star HAL Mariners and will avoid the Volendam in the future. Read Less
My experience on the January 31, 2018 sailing of the Volendam from Hong Kong to Singapore far exceeded my expectations. Having owned a large Incentive Travel planning company, I am admittedly very critical of services provided by hotels, ... Read More
My experience on the January 31, 2018 sailing of the Volendam from Hong Kong to Singapore far exceeded my expectations. Having owned a large Incentive Travel planning company, I am admittedly very critical of services provided by hotels, airlines and cruise companies. It was my job to provide the highest customer service and to make sure every detail was planned to perfection for my discriminating High Tech clients. For that reason, I am simply amazed that my experience on the Volendam was so wonderful.
Let me explain....The ship was gracious and elegant. The food service was so outstanding, that it was shocking! The dining room, unlike other cruise lines, was quiet, spacious and every meals was better than the last. It was truly like dining at a fine restaurant. Even breakfasts were wonderful.
Although the ship had nearly 2000 passengers, it felt empty. There was never the mad rush for a lounge by the pool, or fighting for a seat at the piano bar. The LIdo Market, while providing outstanding options,it was never a problem finding a table.It was delightful to sit outside by the pool and have breakfast, as we watched the sea.
So, what makes this cruise so special, besides the dining experience? The shows were great, a small cast...but they really delivered delightful shows. The America's Test Kitchen surprised me by how great it was. I attended five classes. The lectures were wonderful. Our stateroom was very, very comfortable. It was clean, and when we had a problem, the Guest Services staff were right on it. Amazing!
The Ports were great, too. I loved the itinerary, and especially with four stops in Vietnam. We spent three days in Hong Kong prior to the cruise, and then sailed for two weeks. Cambodia was not my favorite, but I think it was my fault, as I just took the transfer to the town and it left much to be desired. The two night stay in Bangkok was great, as we spent the night in Bangkok. If there is one challenge with this cruise, is the port is a long way from the major cities, like Hanoi, Saigon and Bangkok. Hoi An (Da Nang) was my favorite....beautiful town, with great shopping.
I highly recommend Holland American Cruise line if peacefulness, great food, not feeling crowded or hassled, enrichment classes, and a beautfful library are important to you. Finding the right Ports is important,and I found the Asia cruise to be wonderful.
PS: This is my eighth cruise, and our travelling companions 37th. They felt it was the best cruise they have had, as well. Read Less
We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and ... Read More
We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and Singapore. Overall, not too many days "at the sea" and nice ports of call selections. Good start and end ports (where you can come in earlier or stay more at the end - like three days for each) to you can better see and experience both Hong Kong and Singapore.
The ship is not in a good shape anymore. The food is about average (the same food choice over and over again, day after day). The Lido on this ship closes at 8 pm (not at 9 pm as on other Holland America ships). The late dining takes way too long (one hour is the minimum - going up to 1.5 or 2 hrs) as they did cut on cooks and waiters as well - so be prepared to wait for your food if you want each night dining experience. We skipped the dining experience for the last couple of days as it was too long for getting the food. As usual, shore excursions as overpriced, but if you do your homework in advance - you can get at least 1/2 price if not even better. These are interesting ports of call - so the cruise is worth although it has all these issues (mentioned above). The late night entertainment was sub par (only 3 good shows in 14 days). Read Less
3 star Mariners and prefer HAL to cruise due to service and food. We like how the staff is treated. If you are looking for good entertainment than you need to look elsewhere. This was our first time in this area of the world. This was also ... Read More
3 star Mariners and prefer HAL to cruise due to service and food. We like how the staff is treated. If you are looking for good entertainment than you need to look elsewhere. This was our first time in this area of the world. This was also part of an around the world trip for my husband and I - mostly on our own. We flew into Hong Kong and spent 3 nights in the city. The day of embarkation we took a taxi from our location to the pier which is easy to get to by taxi. Check in ran relatively smoothly except the person helping us didn't seem to know what she was doing. Others didn't have any issues. The wait room was very large and comfortable. Disembarking went extremely well and very organized. Holland America line is an excellent line for cruising. Food is always excellent and service is superb. This particular cruise was just ok as far as the port of calls. If you want to see this area and like cruising then it is easy to do. Lots of different options and cultural things to do on the excursions. Our favorite was Halong Bay. Beautiful location. We chose to do Bangkok on our own and had no problem. Arriving in Singapore we choose to be picked up by our hotel which was easy. Singapore was another favorite stop. Extremely beautiful city and very easy to get around on the MTR. However, we would probably not do this particular section of the world again. Our preference appears to be more European locations for the future. Read Less
This was my first time on the Volendam, but not my last. The captain skillfully maneuvered this medium size cruise ship through high waves at the port of Nha Trang, Vietnam, and kept all the guests well informed. This my first HAL cruise ... Read More
This was my first time on the Volendam, but not my last. The captain skillfully maneuvered this medium size cruise ship through high waves at the port of Nha Trang, Vietnam, and kept all the guests well informed. This my first HAL cruise with in depth cultural sessions, such as feng shui, temple etiquette, or coffee culture, in addition to the regular tips for touring various ports. One minor quibble is that only maps of some ports/cities were readily available at the front desk. Major disappointment was the wait to disembark in Singapore due to long lines at immigration/customs. Although customs at Changi Airport experienced over the last 20 years is efficient, this disembarkation wasn't. However, the cruise itself was outstanding with a good food (loved the tropical fruits at the Lido Market daily -- guava, lychee, mango), flawless dinner service, and a variety of entertainment choices. Our compact cabin on the walking deck was comfortable and cozy with our own added décor; the steward furnished a vase for flowers acquired and used a bed runner also purchased in Vietnam. I was completely satisfied with 3 of the 4 tours, and highly recommend the My Son, an UNESCO World Heritage site, in Da Nang, Vietnam. The escort on the HCMC city transfer only provided general information on Vietnam and nothing city specific; he didn't even recognize that the street of the meeting point was the same where we were meeting our friends for lunch. We took shuttles (one paid & one free) in 2 cities and were able to explore on our own. Despite its location in a large, busy commercial port Terminal 1A in Laem Chabang Thailand has WiFi ($3.00 for 3 hours), an indoor souvenir market, and a small massage corner. Whether or not this is your first trip to Southeast Asia, you are in good hands sailing on the Volendam. Read Less
Choose this cruise for the itinerary and earlier good experiences with Holland America Line.
Had a very comfortable outside cabin on Main deck with renovated bathroom, now having a spacious walk in shower. Cabin stewards did excellent ... Read More
Choose this cruise for the itinerary and earlier good experiences with Holland America Line.
Had a very comfortable outside cabin on Main deck with renovated bathroom, now having a spacious walk in shower. Cabin stewards did excellent job, just everything was looked after very well.
Food on Volendam was very good. We especially liked the meals and service in the Dining room.
This cruise had great and very experienced Cruise Director, in charge of all the activities on board. He kept an eye on about everything and was always thefe for questions and so on.
We very much recommand this cruise, next season to be operated by mv Westerdam.
Only remark is that Thailand port Laem Chabang is rather far from Bangkok, 2,5 hours by car one way. For more time in Bangkok one should think of 1 overnight in a Bangkok hotel (tour or on individual basis, what is very well possible).
Join HAL for this cruise and have fun! Read Less