This was the third cruise on our holiday from Sydney Australia. Our first cruise and second cruises on our holiday were on Celebrity Solstice to Hawaii firstly then from Hawaii to Vancouver. We have been on Solstice many times including ... Read More
This was the third cruise on our holiday from Sydney Australia. Our first cruise and second cruises on our holiday were on Celebrity Solstice to Hawaii firstly then from Hawaii to Vancouver. We have been on Solstice many times including the same repositioning cruise in 2013, and the second cruise in 2013 concluded in Ensenada where we were conveyed by coach to San Diego (broke down 3 times).
Can I say that the Solstice cruises on this occasion were not up to Celebrity standard, I did write a review however, it would appear to have disappeared!
Holland America (HAL) ship Volendam was a very pleasant surprise after the Solstice debacles.
Was good dealing with HAL from our perspective they were very efficient and more than willing to make our embarkation express. However, US customs had 3 ships to process and were not organised to handle all of the non US and Canadian passengers. It took over 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach the ship, anyway!
We greeted at the entrance and informed that our rooms were ready immediately, we were most impressed. Being a mid sized vessel they were able to have all rooms available for embarking passengers.
We are in the HAL Mariners Club and consequently we are able to partake of lunch in the dining room. We made our way to the dining room and were seated at a table for two at he back of the ship with a lovely view of the harbour, fantastic service, food, and old world appearance of the dining room. The waiters were very efficient, friendly, and looked immaculate. Fantastic first impressions.
The ship is an older vessel, however, it is in very good condition, and unlike on the Solstice there was always maintenance people working hard to ensure the ship looked spic and span. The bistro area upstairs is set up like a pantry, as are many of ships now, and was clean and appeared to function well on the first day. The lounges were plentiful and music was played throughout the ship during the day and evening. The theatre was not large however is in good condition and the shows overall were good.
In fact all public areas were clean and in very good condition for a ship of its age.
Cabin was an outside cabin on floor 3 the main deck, it was a little dated, however it was clean, had a bath, (shower in the bath). The bed was very comfortable, the TV was not large, however functional, and there was plenty of storage space. The cabin was under the kitchen and late at night and in early hours of the morning it was noisy, our mistake, we for once didn't check the deck plans. Cabin stewards were efficient and at all times ensured our room was cleaned very well on time every time.
We chose any time dining and were able to be seated every night without delay at a table for two people, menu was large and varied and very scumptious every night! The service except for one night was efficient and faultless. We managed to make it to breakfast at least twice in the dining room, the restaurant was old world elegant, a very comprehensive menu, the food was delicious, cooked beautifully and hot! We made it to lunch only twice as it was an Alaskan cruise and there are many ports on this journey. The hamburger venu was excellent, streets ahead of Celebrity, beautiful burgers and chips, yum! The bistro as I mentioned previously was clean, very busy and the food at breakfast good quality, hot, and very good service. We didn't try the coffee shop, as we heard from other passengers that is was quite average. We have previously been on HAL Koningsdam and the Royal Dutch Cafe serves magnificent food and coffee!
We watched one crew show and we had seen most before and a comedian and both were fine.
Apart from one person in the dining room, who was a little abrupt on one day, the service was very good, the staff were well trained, respectful and efficient. Celebrity Solstice staff wouldn't be recruited for this ship, they were not good, except for a select few.
Ports and Shore Excursions
See below, we were happy good value for money for shore excursions
We purchased a wine package on board and we found the wines to be not too overpriced, quite a good range and good drinking.
It was an Alaskan cruise, it rained every day, however, Glacier Bay was beautiful, a must do! Ketchikan and Skagway was good, Juneau don't bother, not really a nice place. Vancouver was pleasant, inside passage cruising picturesque and beautiful, we loved it!
We are traveling with HAL again next January to Sth America and Antarctia, looking forward to it! Read Less