585 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

We have always wanted to see Alaska and this cruise fitted the bill perfectly. My wife is in a wheelchair and we were very impressed how accessible the whole of the ship was. We were very impressed that Holland America had a good ... Read More
We have always wanted to see Alaska and this cruise fitted the bill perfectly. My wife is in a wheelchair and we were very impressed how accessible the whole of the ship was. We were very impressed that Holland America had a good selection of wheelchair accessible excursions available (unlike other companies who we have cruised with in the past!) In Juneau we went whale watching and were transported in a coach with a wheelchair lift. In Skagway we did the White Pass Rail Journey where there were coaches with wheelchair lifts. The only problem we had was the White Pass Railway excursion where we were constantly told before that we disembarked by tender, that the train was specially reserved to our ship and would wait for us all to disembark. When our tender finaly docked the train had already left which upset a large number of people. However there was another train which was leaving in 3 hours so we spent the time looking around Skagway before catching the later train. The food in the MDR was some of the best we have had in all the cruises we have been on. We also ate in the 3 speciality restaurants - Pinnacle, Canaletto and Le Cirque - they were all excellent and we would recommend dining here. The choice of bars was good and the theatre shows were good. Overall we would recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
As background, we have cruised approximately 9 times before. We choose our cruise primarily according to the itinerary and we have spread our allegiance to a number of different cruise companies. Our first cruise was with HAL (Westerdam) ... Read More
As background, we have cruised approximately 9 times before. We choose our cruise primarily according to the itinerary and we have spread our allegiance to a number of different cruise companies. Our first cruise was with HAL (Westerdam) and we chose to cruise on the Volendam because we wanted to see Alaska. I had read the Cruise Critic reviews prior to booking / sailings. At the time there weren’t many recent reviews. On the positive side, we felt the food was good, plenty of choice and well presented. Our cabin steward gave us first class service and our cabin was in a great position – at the most forward position, underneath the bridge. The scenery and views on board ship of Alaska were nothing short of stunning. We opted for “freedom dining” and for a table for the 2 of us. This seems to be a bit of a misnomer, as it seemed difficult to get a table for 2 if you turned up not having booked. We were also frequently seated (until I complained) close to the serving stations. We felt the markup on (what seemed to us to be mediocre) wines was excessive, so we didn’t purchase any wine with our meals. I felt disappointed with the men’s dress approach on “gala nights”. I appreciate this is a matter of personal choice, but I feel that those who “make the effort” should be afforded the privilege e.g. of sitting in a designated part of the restaurant. The afternoon tea was exceptionally disappointing. The water for the tea was tepid and took the waiters ages to replace. It was a long time before they bought my coffee. There were 4 finger sandwiches, which we ate. We were joined by another couple later on and asked for some more sandwiches and the waiter muttered something about sharing the first plate! We didn’t go back. The ship is a bit tired (and maybe some of the crew are as well). She will have a refit later this year. Whoever decided that it was good idea to put the cabin light switches behind the pillows clearly hasn’t turned over in bed – not a pleasant awakening at 2 AM !! Also who had the bright idea that you should lock up the safe in your cabin with a credit card, clearly hadn’t thought this one through (what do you do with the credit card? Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our third cruise on the HAL Volendam to Alaska. We went because we had enjoyed the experience of a cruise. Having traveled in many parts of the world, mainly by flying or driving, we wanted to see what cruising had to offer. After ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the HAL Volendam to Alaska. We went because we had enjoyed the experience of a cruise. Having traveled in many parts of the world, mainly by flying or driving, we wanted to see what cruising had to offer. After three trips I can say if offers a pampered lifestyle that allows you to relax and enjoy the travel. The Alaska cruise is the perfect venue for a first timer and there are many different ships and cruise lines. We chose Holland America for the simple reason they catered to older folks but still offer something for the younger set. The prime reason for repeating with the Volendam is the dining venues. The Main Dining Room with set settings was our choice, the same waiter and wine steward was a refreshing service. The menu was varied and supported anything we may have wanted. The menu was the same, although differed daily, for all three cruises. The only disappointment was the oceanview cabin was obstructed, this was because all the other oceanview were sold out, because we had booked late. Our cabin was exactly like the previous oceanview, except there was a bulkhead out the window. I felt it was like an interior cabin, with a window. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My family and I have cruised with Holland America before and we have always enjoyed the experience on their ships. We chose this cruise because it suited our holiday itinerary. We explored Vancouver before and after our cruise so that was ... Read More
My family and I have cruised with Holland America before and we have always enjoyed the experience on their ships. We chose this cruise because it suited our holiday itinerary. We explored Vancouver before and after our cruise so that was very enjoyable. Embarkation was smooth and the staff were extremely welcoming. On first impressions of the ship, the interior decor seemed dated. However, all dining experiences were excellent, including our visit to The Pinnacle Restaurant. The staff were very attentive and there was a great choice of food. The entertainment and activities were a bit disappointing.The shops need a greater variety of items to purchase. There was a good selection of shore excursions to choose from but very expensive. The stateroom was compact and the air conditioning did not work if the lights were turned off, so it could become uncomfortably hot. Housekeeping was exceptional. Overall, would we go again, absolutely!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Choose this cruise because it was highly discounted due to my wife's play in the casino. We were looking for sometihng special as my 70th birthday and our 50th wedding anniversary occured during the time we were on this vacation. We ... Read More
Choose this cruise because it was highly discounted due to my wife's play in the casino. We were looking for sometihng special as my 70th birthday and our 50th wedding anniversary occured during the time we were on this vacation. We have sailed twice before on Holland America and found them to be not to our liking due to fair food quality and boring activities while onboard. We really wanted to see Alaska as we have been on over 30 cruises with several other lines, Celebrity and Oceania are our favorites, and HAL was be best land tours. We spent 3 days on the Volendam in a Neptune Suite sailing the inside passage. Not really sure where we were as the weather was lousy, foggy, rainy and windy. Never saw anything but water and a faint outline of the coast. Time on the ship was so-so. Never saw the Cruise Director. Ate at the main dining room one night, can't remember what I had, Lido buffet the next and the Pinnacle Grill the last night. For a restaurant that you have to pay an extra fee I think you should skip it. My wife had the King Crab Legs and she thought they were nothing special. Anyway, the Neptune Lounge was nice. We got off the ship in Juneau to begin the land portion of the trip. The 8 days travelling around the Yukon and Alaaska was great. Our tour guide, Crystal Letourno was wonderful. She really made the adventure look easy, with all the different hotels and changes. We took buses, trains and a short flight during the journey. HAL's hotels ranged from 3 to 4 stars and the handling of our luggage was amazing. We put the baggage outside our room at night and they magically appeared in the next day in your room. Anyway, see so much of the Yukon and Alaska in such a short time was great and HAL really knows how to do it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This trip was my first cruise. There was so much to do. Did not book any tours through the ship but did with smaller companies that were set up as we disembarked at each port. Cruising Glacier bay was fantastic and we got close to the ... Read More
This trip was my first cruise. There was so much to do. Did not book any tours through the ship but did with smaller companies that were set up as we disembarked at each port. Cruising Glacier bay was fantastic and we got close to the glaciers. A bear was running along the beach at one point and the ship moved as close as it could safely do so to see it. We had local guides on board to tell us about the area and the glaciers. I'm not into the entertainment on ships and would prefer to sit in a recliner and read. There was plenty of space to do this and never had trouble finding a nice spot to relax. The food changed daily and the menu in the free restaurant was enjoyable. We had the same waiter every night and he was excellent. Our cabin was clean and comfortable, kept at just the right temperature with enough room for the two of us to move around. Having said that, we did not spend much time in there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Booked this cruise in 2015 as I have wanted to cruise for 40+ years. You know, bucket list and all. Decided on 7 day first as didn't know how we would be on the ocean (motion sickness etc.) None of us (4) got sea sick although the ... Read More
Booked this cruise in 2015 as I have wanted to cruise for 40+ years. You know, bucket list and all. Decided on 7 day first as didn't know how we would be on the ocean (motion sickness etc.) None of us (4) got sea sick although the sea was a little rough. Loved the feeling of luxury. Felt like a queen. Everyone was so accommodating. Want to go again. Next time would like to go on the Asian cruise and for 2 weeks at least. MS Volendam was out dream come true. Loved the main dining room and also the Lido deck where you could almost eat all day. Loved the fact that there was someone there to assure everyone used the hand sanitizers before entering the dining rooms so were not cross contaminating anyone. Rained at the ports of call so didn't go off the ship for very long. That was okay because could do whatever you wanted on ship anytime. Even the children that were on board were so good. Never heard any loud chatter etc. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
To be fair we chose HAL for this trip simply because of the small travel window we had available and a last minute decision they were the only line that would work. I don't think this is probably a compatible line for our travel ... Read More
To be fair we chose HAL for this trip simply because of the small travel window we had available and a last minute decision they were the only line that would work. I don't think this is probably a compatible line for our travel type. Stateroom - wonderful. Almost the only inside cabin on that deck but no one on either side of us. So quiet, comfy bed and larger than expected. Stateroom attendants - did a fantastic job. Fast, thorough and so friendly. Earned every penny of the extra gratuity we left for the both of them. Bar staff - attentive, prompt, speedy, friendly Explorations cafe - Fantastic service!! Entertainment - standard cruise or all inclusive fare. Easy way to relax after dinner for 30 minutes. Dining room - we really felt that the dining experience must have changed in the past 15 years. We also did not have a set dining time which I feel maybe impacted our dining room experience. We felt that we were just filler between the "regulars". Our orders were taken promptly each time, conversation around not wanting wine with dinners were awkward (we do not drink wine but ordered other bar items), and food was hot and quick to arrive. Once the dessert was delivered to the table we never saw the server again. Food portions were tiny but not tasty enough to order a second. We usually visited the buffet each night even if we'd eaten in the dining room Buffet - was standard all inclusive fare. Food was fine but nothing really noteworthy. Buffet staff was great - so patient with the demanding passengers and very friendly with those of us who took the time to acknowledge them and their hard work. Pinnacle Grill was the best meal we had. Steaks were cooked perfectly and the staff was what we'd been looking for all week. We should have booked in there for every meal. Such an engaging group of servers with a sense of humour that we really appreciated. Ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were wonderful and Glacier Bay was the highlight - will return to Alaska for sure!! We enjoyed America's Test Kitchen. My husband is a chef and commented more than once about the way the recipes were presented and managed for the home cook. The casino took our money as most do but we enjoyed our time spent there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
The cruise industry is trending towards larger ships, but the applause during the "Meet the Captain" session for the smaller size of HAL's venerable 1500-person Volendam shows that there's much to be said for this class ... Read More
The cruise industry is trending towards larger ships, but the applause during the "Meet the Captain" session for the smaller size of HAL's venerable 1500-person Volendam shows that there's much to be said for this class of ship. And this vessel is perfect for visiting Alaska, winding through the narrow straits of the inside passage and especially navigating the spectacular Glacier Bay. We were a group of 10 (our family of four with two teens, my brother's family of four with two children, and my parents) and shared three adjacent staterooms on Deck 2. The ship is now 18 years old, but it has been well-maintained and is about to go in for another dry dock refurb later in 2017. Even with four in a room, our ocean-view room had plenty of storage space and we had enough room, not that we spent a great deal of time in our stateroom. The ship doesn't have a lot of the extras that newer, larger ships have. But while it lacks in some features, thankfully it also lacks in line-ups and waiting. Even though the cruise was fully-booked, we hardly had to wait for anything, and the ship never felt crowded. We really appreciated HAL's commitment to high-quality live music. The classical violin/piano duo, piano player, five-piece band, and especially Ashley Wey and her jazz trio were all very good. The shows and entertainers were good -- the productions are not 'broadway standard', but the entertainment was an improvement on our experience on this same cruise five years ago. I'm said that HAL no longer does their late night dutch chocolate extravaganza, I'm sad that they no longer have live music in the dining room on formal nights, I'm disappointed that there are no ice sculptures or carved watermelons, and it was a shame that the library books were unavailable for hygiene reasons. But these are small quibbles -- the overall experience was wonderful. It helped that the weather in Alaska was, reportedly, the best all season. Sunny clear skies every day; Skagway was actually uncomfortably hot. Glacier Bay was magical with such clear skies and calm seas. We had no problem making reservations for our group of 10 in the dining room, even though we had "anytime dining". The service in the dining room and throughout the ship was outstanding; everyone was very friendly and accommodating. Embarkation in Vancouver was tricky, with three large ships in port that day. Thankfully, everything went off without a hitch -- lots of extra staff were brought in to help move people through the process efficiently, and we had no problems whatsoever. Our advice: arrive early -- we showed up at 9:30 and we went through all the embarkation steps without a problem. The ship started boarding promptly at 11:30, and we were on and having lunch by noon. Disembarkation was similarly smooth, with good directions and very efficient staff. We loved our family cruise. We had the opportunity to spend time together in one large group, and other times different groups would do different things. In the evenings after dinner our teens enjoyed the teen club and our niece and nephew took in various activities in Club Hal. It was a great way to enjoy time together as a family while also enjoying the chance to each do our own thing if we wished. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We were very pleased with our cruise. I did a lot of researching before we chose this trip, and we were very happy with our decision. We were a little concerned before leaving as Holland American emailed us to say embarkation would be ... Read More
We were very pleased with our cruise. I did a lot of researching before we chose this trip, and we were very happy with our decision. We were a little concerned before leaving as Holland American emailed us to say embarkation would be later than usual as they were doing heavy disinfecting due to a higher than normal number of cases of Norovirus on the current trip. However, we had no issues on our trip, and I was impressed with their honesty. The ship was on the smaller size which suited us fine as we were not needing things like rock climbing or pool slides. We did appreciate the retractable roof in the Lido area. Very pleased with our inside cabin, as mentioned below. We chose open dining which worked out perfect for us. We thought we would have dinner in the main dining room each night, however sometimes after looking at the menu, we chose to eat at the buffet. We were very impressed with the Lido buffet, Lots of choices, tasty and can't say enough about the staff. Very friendly and so accommodating. We watched the main entertainment each evening, which had its ups and downs. Entertainment is probably HAL's weakness. The HAL singers/dancers were pretty good and we really liked the comedian. We are not big fans of magic shows, but he had a couple of good acts. There was one evening when they showed a film from BBC of Alaska's wildlife with the HAL band in the background. I don't really think anybody was impressed, and this was not what you would expect for main entertainment. It would have been fine in the movie theatre, We would also have liked to see some live entertainment by the pool. I did enjoy some of the trivia shows and the Windows 10 workshops. Be prepared for the usual ploys for more money, for example: photos, artwork, jewellry, alcohol, gambling, future trips and even foot supports. For excursions, we went whale watching in Juneau, and dog mushing in Skagway. Both were excellent. The ports were okay. Typical tourist shops and expensive jewellery. There were many opportunities to see wildlife both on our excursions and just off the ship. We saw Humpback & Orca Whales, Sea Otters, Stellar Sea Lions, Bald Eagles and jumping salmon. The scenery was truly breathtaking especially in Glacier Bay. I was really happy I chose to bring my binoculars. Overall, an amazing trip, What stands out the most is the excellent service from the staff (especially in our stateroom and the Lido buffet) and the wonderful views. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
All I can say is the entire trip was marvelous. A sincere and helpful tour guide, local guides and with excellent coordination of all details throughout. Denali Park was wonderful and we were fortunate to be among the 30% of people able ... Read More
All I can say is the entire trip was marvelous. A sincere and helpful tour guide, local guides and with excellent coordination of all details throughout. Denali Park was wonderful and we were fortunate to be among the 30% of people able to see Mt. Denali without a cloud cover. We were escorted by Holland American personnel at all times and even until the departure terminal at Vancouver airport. The Volendam ship was kept spotless with many hard working staff members. The caabin steward Benny was excellent and we even appreciated the towel animals left on the bed each evening. The food was very good and plentiful and we chose to eat in the buffet restaurant as we didn't like dressing up for the private eating restaurants and the one gala night. Embarkation and disembarkation were handled very well, and those with earlier flights were in the first groups leaving the ship. The ports and days at sea were well arranged and a daily schedule of events was left in the room each evening. All in all I would definitely recommend Holland American tours. The Volendame is a small and relatively older ship so there was also a coin operated laundry which was very much appreciated. I understand that the newer and larger ships do not offer this. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise because of our wish to see the inside passage and Alaska. It had reasonably good reviews but we had seen that previous passengers had commented about the constant "sales pitch". Embarkation went well but ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our wish to see the inside passage and Alaska. It had reasonably good reviews but we had seen that previous passengers had commented about the constant "sales pitch". Embarkation went well but we were given information about Norovirus and guidance about how to avoid it. The previous cruise had resulted in an undisclosed number of passengers being affected and the ship had been cleaned to prevent further infection. At all entry points and entry to restaurants there were sanitizers and staff encouraging their use. This was our first cruise and first impressions were of a very smart and well presented ship; food in the Lido was fresh and plentiful and we felt optimistic about the trip. We cannot fault the food or the cabins [staterooms as they are called] but what did start to irritate was the constant attempts to sell and sell more - it seemed every effort was made to part us with our money...We ordered wine and sometimes the waiter recommended a "better" wine; only US$10 more! [+15% of course]. We organised a couple of trips and were excited about them. The choice was huge almost too many to chose from? Everyday another "opportunity" to attend a presentation about jewellery or watches [in the hope you'd buy one] was posted to our cabin. What finally made me realise this wasn't for me was when I got Norovirus. We had been scrupulously careful about hand hygiene, but nevertheless I still got it. We declared that I had D&V and received a call from the Medical Centre asking questions about where we had eaten and how I was feeling. We discussed my quarantine, which I fully understood - I didn't want to go anywhere or speak to anyone! I was asked if I had medication for D&V; I said my husband could go to the shop and pick up something but the Practitioner offered to send medication along to the cabin. I thought that was thoughtful, that was until I saw I had been charged US$17! I was also advised that I could order what I wanted from the room service menu at no charge! I think the intention was supposed to be caring but I couldn't even face reading about food - let alone eating it! Maybe it was poor phraseology, I don't know but it felt like I was supposed to feel grateful???? Needless to say that mu quarantine was the day we had a trip planned and of course mine was immediately refunded, but my husband had to make a stand to get his refunded - of course he wanted to be around to look after me??? We discovered that quite a few passengers had been affected - being at the lower end of the age range I shook it off quite quickly but I would be concerned for some of the more frail passengers for whom the virus could be very debilitating. The scenery and wildlife that we saw was amazing and we learned about the history of Alaska and its heritage. The staff were welcoming and keen to ensure that guests had a good time. Many of the guests looked as thought they were having a good time and had been on other cruises and rated it well. Maybe its just me? I got off the ship feeling that I was just someone to be sold to and that there had been a quest to part me from my money. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I wanted to do an Alaskan cruise and the dates I was available suited this cruise. Overall it would have been an enjoyable experience but their inability to cater to my diet, spoiled the cruise. I am celiac and need a gluten free diet. ... Read More
I wanted to do an Alaskan cruise and the dates I was available suited this cruise. Overall it would have been an enjoyable experience but their inability to cater to my diet, spoiled the cruise. I am celiac and need a gluten free diet. I had a terrible time trying to access GF food and would strongly recommend no-one uses this cruise line if they have dietary issues. Apart from the main dining room, where I had to order 24 hours in advance (difficult if out late on a trip), I was constantly told at the buffet that nothing was GF except the salad and fruit, in spite of a sign on the buffet saying GF food available on request, that appeared to only apply to packet bread and muffins. The pool bar offered a GF burgher or hot dog with GF bun, but couldn't eat the chips as they were coated with flour. They also offered a mexican type buffet, but that wasn't particularly appetising and didn't want the same thing everyday. A friend has just been on a P & O cruise where the head waiter sought him out on the first day and sat down with him every evening to go through the menu. I had none of this, in spite of constantly approaching staff to ask what I could eat. HAL were told about me and sent through a list of GF food I could order but when, on the last day I went to the front desk in tears as I couldn't find anything to eat for lunch, they said they didn't know about me. Not true. Loved the coffee in the coffee place. However none of the complimentary pastries were gluten free. If I got there in the morning could get some fresh blueberries and strawberries. Excursions good, saw 2 types of whale. Wonderful buffet, but the outside caterer didn't know what was in the food, so couldn't eat much, after paying over $180 for the trip. The Goodtime girls excursion was brilliant in Skagway, would recommend it. Only put this up so help anyone with dietary issues but they've asked for more info about cruise so I'm now waffling. Embarkation an disembarkation efficient. Best entertainment was the Indonesian crew putting on a show. Enjoyed talk from the captain Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The vessel is not a premium luxury one by any stretch of the imagination. After my wife and I have cruised on the Star and Royal Caribbean cruise ships, the ms Volendam appears to be a boat. The vessel is in need of major renovation inside ... Read More
The vessel is not a premium luxury one by any stretch of the imagination. After my wife and I have cruised on the Star and Royal Caribbean cruise ships, the ms Volendam appears to be a boat. The vessel is in need of major renovation inside the cabins and out on the decks. Scary rattling noises emanate from the plumbing pipes above Deck 3 outside Cabin 3394. This rattling noise, and noise from the galley of dining room above the cabin posed serious problems for us to try to rest during the day, and to be able to sleep at night. Complaints made to the Front desk were inadequate. We were told to wear ear muffs. We were told that they asked the galley staff to minimize the noise. We were bribed by an offer of a free meal at one of their exclusive restaurants, and a $250 credit off our onboard expenses. They knew fully well that there was a noise problem in Cabin 3394, but they would not transfer us to a peaceful cabin. My advice to future travelers is not to accept any cabins below the galley of dining rooms. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We arrived in Anchorage on May 24, and two-thirds of our 15-day journey was spent in Alaska and the Yukon. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing it all, despite all the travel (six hotels in 10 days, about 1200 miles). We wish there had been an ... Read More
We arrived in Anchorage on May 24, and two-thirds of our 15-day journey was spent in Alaska and the Yukon. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing it all, despite all the travel (six hotels in 10 days, about 1200 miles). We wish there had been an extra day in Whitehorse. The train ride to Denali was a relaxing day, and the Tundra Wilderness Tour was a good overview of the park. We enjoyed both Dawson City and Whitehorse in the Yukon, despite the former's touristy feel on its main street. We tended to eat at the restaurants in the Westmark hotels we stayed in (usually for convenience). (Westmark is owned by HAL.) The hotel food was usually quite good, although we ate at other restaurants three times during the trip, and especially enjoyed the Aurora Inn restaurant in Dawson City, a short block from the hotel. We enjoyed our last two land days in Skagway, especially the city museum on Seventh Street: it was a gem that would not have been out of place in a big city. We boarded Volendam just before noon on day 11, had lunch in the Lido restaurant, and spent much of the afternoon in our (reserved) deck chairs soaking up the nice weather, having the knowledge we wouldn't have to get on a bus for four more days. The ship is elegant and understated, and it was a real pleasure to arise early, get our coffee in the Explorations Cafe, and sit there watching the world go by. This was an especially nice morning location as we entered Glacier Bay on our second day on board. After breakfast that day, we moved to our deck chairs for the rest of the day. On the third day, we arrived in Ketchikan around 9am in a drizzling rain. My wife went out briefly to find the local museum, but we otherwise stayed on board that day. Our general impression of Ketchikan's main street was that it had cornered much of the world supply of jewelry and souvenir stores. Our last full day sailing was at sea through the Inside Passage and was generally enjoyable. However, a wind came up mid-afternoon, and the ship started rolling a little. This wasn't a problem until I spent about 30 minutes concentrating on a computer monitor around 4pm while trying to check in for our flight home the next day. Because I concentrated too much on the monitor for too long, I felt woozy when I stood up to go back to our cabin. I won't repeat this mistake. I was very disappointed with the ship's Internet service. Since it was based on time rather than how much was downloaded, HAL has no incentive to improve the service. It took about 30 minutes to finish our Alaska Airlines check-in, and ended up costing about $1 per minute. I won't make this mistake again. During our time on board, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido restaurant (with one lunch exception), and all dinners in the upper Main Dining Room. The Lido food was quite good and varied, and I appreciated the opportunity to have some Asian dishes (like congee, an Asian rice porridge breakfast, and a Malaysian stir fry for lunch). We thought the Main Dining Room dinners were exceptional, although the desserts seemed commonplace and merely workmanlike. We attended the tea service one afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety of the tea cakes. Disembarking in Vancouver was smooth: we were in the first group off after some of the elevated Mariners (since we had to catch a flight at noon), but we were unhappy that we had to stand in line waiting for a bus to take us to the airport. Had we known about this, I'd have not packed our folding Walkstool to sit on (I have a problematic hip and knee). Overall, it was an enjoyable, fun, and memorable experience, well worth any of the small glitches we encountered. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was our first cruise on Holland America after 15 cruises on Celebrity, Disney, RCCL, NCL, Carnival, Windstar, and SilverSea. We picked the cruise probably for all the wrong reasons: we had a specific 7 day window that we could ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Holland America after 15 cruises on Celebrity, Disney, RCCL, NCL, Carnival, Windstar, and SilverSea. We picked the cruise probably for all the wrong reasons: we had a specific 7 day window that we could cruise on and the only itinerary available was HAL's Volendam to Alaska. The Ship The Volendam is almost 20 years old now but is extremely well maintained. All the public areas look very clean - the only place we saw any significant sign of wear was the ceilings. Looking up you could see dents, misaligned panels, missing screws, etc. probably from the wear and tear of maintaining the various systems hidden away. The Volendam is going in for a dry dock in September so I expect this will be corrected then. The ship seemed to be a perfect size for the number of travellers. Our cruise had just over 1400 passengers along with 600 crew and it never seemed crowded with one exception - the buffet (more on that below). The Cabin HAL had a promotion on and we ended up with a Neptune suite on the Navigation deck. This cabin was large and roomy, and the suite afforded us access to a lounge along with 'preferred' check in. The preferred check in came in handy as the Vancouver cruise terminal was swamped with 3 ships debarking. We were able to go directly to a check in counter and straight through to the Immigration agent (our Nexus cards helped here) resulting in getting on the ship in 15 minutes flat! I felt badly for those who were not from Canada or the US - it looked like a solid 2 hour wait to get onto the ship! I thought the storage could have been better thought out in the suite - there seemed to be a lot of space devoted to drawers and cupboards that you could never use on a 1 week cruise, let alone two or three weeks! We'd recently been on the Windstar in a 183 square foot cabin (about 1/3 the size of the Neptune suite) and felt like we had as much storage in that cabin. If HAL could redesign the storage they could probably reconfigure the suite to provide more usable space. The balcony was huge, with two loungers and a four seat table. Great views! The only thing to watch for is the morning wash - water tended to drip into our balcony, rendering it unusable for a few hours each morning. The king bed was very nice with a great assortment of pillows and firm mattress. There was a dressing area with a small sink outside of the bathroom. The bathroom had a whirlpool bathtub/shower combo (we didn't use the whirlpool). I had a few nits about the bathroom. First off, the bathtub seemed like a compromise -- it was quite small and certainly didn't look like one could have a comfortable soak. But the tub seemed to compromise the shower as well -- I much prefer a shower stall over the combination approach. Secondly, HAL does not provide shampoo/conditioner/body wash in bottles. They have these chintzy dispensers fixed to the wall. Seems very cheap given what one pays for a suite -- and something I only ever recall seeing in a Carnival ship. Our steward kept the suite clean and tidy - one of the highlights. I suspect the Neptune suites will look even better after the dry dock in September - I look forward to seeing pictures of the new and improved suites! Dining HAL really stumbles on the dining. We've recently been taking celebrity cruises with access to Blu and our experiences are compared to our experiences with Blu (what we paid on HAL would have gotten us a Spa Suite on X). I found the food to be okay (banquet food probably best describes it) but my wife, a vegetarian, characterized HAL as the worst she can recall. HAL has a vegetarian menu - unfortunately you need to select what you want for the following night; there is no ordering off the vegetarian menu for that day. This struck as as extremely odd and out of place with the other cruise line offerings. We could have lived with this but unfortunately what was ordered off of the vegetarian menu wasn't what was delivered. For some mysterious reason the HAL chefs couldn't actually prepare what was ordered even with 24 hours notice. And what was delivered was pretty much inedible. Vegetables, both for the vegetarian dishes and as accompaniments on main dishes, were horribly overcooked and inedible. Sauces, in a nod to the rather older clientele that HAL services, were quite bland and tasteless. The buffet was much smaller than what we were used to and tended not to change very much day over day. Vegetarian options here, beyond a salad and pasta, were pretty much non-existant. We also found the buffet quite crowded regardless of what time we arrived for lunch. We did two dinners at the Pinnacle Grill. The Grill is a $35pp surcharge ($49 for Le Cirque night) and features outstanding steaks. Everything here was cooked properly and the service was fantastic. Be sure to try their version of Baked Alaska! Somewhat interesting was that the Pinnacle, a steakhouse, had the best vegetarian options on the ship! Entertainment and Activities The Volendam is a small to mid size ship and, as such, has limited entertainment. The nightly entertainment consisted of the Volendam singers and dancers butchering pop and rock songs, and a guest comedian and guest magician on a couple of nights. We didn't expect much here and HAL didn't disappoint. The trip up Glacier Bay National Park was terrific - we had not been able to go to Glacier Bay on a previous cruise (not sure who the park is restricted to). This was a highlight. Service We found the cabin crew to be fantastic. The Neptune lounge was terrific - everyone knew our names by the end of the first day. The food service was mixed. In particular, the MDR staff were a mixed bag; often bringing the incorrect order or bringing something that wasn't even requested! Ports/Shore Excursions The ship stopped at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. All three are quite small towns that you can walk through in no more than 90 minutes. We booked one excursion through HAL - the Yukon Rail trip to White's Pass. This was pretty much as billed; it was nice to be able to hop off the ship and walk 100 yards to the train. We booked a whale watching tour through a third party in Juneau. This was a highlight and I recommend doing a whale watching tour in Juneau if you go to Alaska. HAL excursion prices seemed to be only slightly more than the independent tours available online or dockside. We certainly would consider the HAL ones if time was an issue. Would we go Again? This is a bit of a tossup. We really liked the amenities of the ship and the itinerary. The smaller size meant that the ship never felt crowded (buffet aside) and we really enjoyed that. However, the food really fell short for the vegetarian and that was a significant issue for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
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. Embarkation 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. Ship 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 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. Dining 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! Entertainment We watched one crew show and we had seen most before and a comedian and both were fine. Service 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 Drinks We purchased a wine package on board and we found the wines to be not too overpriced, quite a good range and good drinking. Cruise 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
Sail Date May 2017
Our previous experience made us want to return for another Alaska cruise. Same ship, same cabin - almost the same experience. The only disappointment was that training sessions were limited. The time aboard was as good as we remember. We ... Read More
Our previous experience made us want to return for another Alaska cruise. Same ship, same cabin - almost the same experience. The only disappointment was that training sessions were limited. The time aboard was as good as we remember. We feel that because this was the first cruise of the season for the Volendam, that we should cut them some slack. There really were no surprises and the crew were outstanding. The entertainment was a little short. The crew's dance and signing performance could very easily be classed as professional, the dancing for people whose normal function is working aboard ship was outstanding itself. We found ourselves frequenting the "Ocean Bar", the servers (Michael & Catherine) gave us excellent service, we would, and have recommended their service to Holland America. Cruising to Alaska should be on everyone's Bucket List. For those who have never cruised, this is probably the best on to take. Holland America's Inside Passage routing is the best routing and the choice of cities to visit cannot be faulted. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The Japan to Vancouver 16 day cruise was our fourth on HAL. Volendam is the smallest of the four ships we have been on, but it has all the characteristics of the larger versions and we felt right at home from the outset. The crew is ... Read More
The Japan to Vancouver 16 day cruise was our fourth on HAL. Volendam is the smallest of the four ships we have been on, but it has all the characteristics of the larger versions and we felt right at home from the outset. The crew is probably the biggest plus - as with all our other HAL experiences, with minor exception, all crew members were friendly, polite and could not have been more helpful. The cruise itself was exactly what we had expected - and with the six sea days it was a relaxing way to recover after two months travelling in SE Asia. While the northern Japan ports were for the most part largely forgettable, the Alaska portion was very memorable. The Ship. The ship is very well laid out, and although small, still has most of the amenities one would expect. However, while some will say the ship is in great shape - it is really not, and the upcoming refurbishment (this fall?) should spruce things up considerably. The crew works very hard to keep it clean, but there are many examples where age is creeping in. The chairs in some of the bars are tattered and ripped in places. Carpets are getting old and worn, The bathroom in our stateroom needs an upgrade. Some of the public rooms need repainting. To name a few. Nothing significant enough to ruin a cruise - but things that do need to be upgraded. Stateroom. We had an inside cabin (older ship - very few balcony cabins put their price at a premium - for this type of cruise inside worked just fine). It was well laid out, lots of space for storing belongings and was very quiet. Bed very comfortable. Dining Room. We tend to eat most of our meals in the MDR but this time for the reasons below we ended up taking many breakfast and lunches elsewhere. All the dinners in the MDR were either very good or excellent. However, breakfasts were - to be blunt - abysmal. Service was exceptionally slow and the impact on temperature was as to be expected - warm to cold. The lunch experience was not a great deal better - slow - cold and often not quite what one had asked for. I have no idea why (maybe two different supervisors) but whatever it was there was a hugely noticeable difference between breakfast/lunch and dinner. Lido. On the whole, quite good once you can get by the herd mentality of buffet dining. The approach of having staff serve (ie no self serve) has certainly slowed things down a great deal - particularly for the popular "cooked to order" stations. But on the whole - the food was warm to hot, relatively fresh, and usually refilled quickly. If a HAL rep reads this - one suggestion for the Lido - why cannot there be a toaster station where people can at least do their own toast? Nothing is more frustrating then getting cooked eggs (or whatever) and then having to find the station where toast is made (it is not the egg station by the way) - and then waiting while one of the staff has to cook the toast (it normally takes three times to get it brown), while serving other customers? There has to be a better way. Pinnacle Grill. A huge disappointment! We have been to the PG twice before and this time we were not impressed with the steaks or the King Crab. In fact, we had steak and crab legs two days later in the MDR and both were superior to what we had had in the PG. Menu could use a change once in while as well. Caneletto (sp?). The Italian extra charge (minimal) was Outstanding - no other way to put it. Signature Drinks Package. We received this as a perk for early booking. On the whole it was fine, although the selection of wines covered by the package available by the glass in the MDR was extremely limited. Not sure why they could not offer a bit better selection there. Also, when we tried to address this by asking if we could upgrade our Signature Package to Premium (at our cost) we were told we could not. I don't really get the "no, we don't want your money" and if you are not happy, too bad", approach. Bar tenders were, without exception, fabulous. Entertainment. The entertainment on this cruise was probably the best on ANY cruise we have been on. Lots of activities programmed each day, including interesting talks, bridge, games, port visit talks (and not endless attempts to sell excursions), movies etc etc. The entertainers ranged from good to outstanding. No complaints here at all. Gym. Good, clean, well laid out with sufficient apparatus. It did get tiresome when working out to have to constantly listen to the gym rats trying to sell the benefits of eating seaweed, cleansing or using specially designed insoles. The promenade deck is outstanding for walking. Dress Code. Ah yes - the dress code. HAL has abandoned formal nights and adopted Gala Nights at about the same frequency of the old formal night. However, the definition what constitutes "Normal" and/or "Gala" dress is not well laid out and subsequently the result is confusion and inconsistency. HAL has to get a grip on how they define gala or they will continue to confuse guests, cause embarrassment and potentially lose business. In summary, this was an enjoyable cruise, good value for money and reflected exactly what we have come to expect from HAL. There were a few areas where our expectations were not met, however this has always been the case regardless of the line we have chosen. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Japan, 6 sea days and Alaska : a great intinerary for us . Ship is in very good condition, no complaints. I read somewhere on the CC forum about the not yet upgraded bathrooms in some cabins on the Dolphin deck. We had a cabin with a ... Read More
Japan, 6 sea days and Alaska : a great intinerary for us . Ship is in very good condition, no complaints. I read somewhere on the CC forum about the not yet upgraded bathrooms in some cabins on the Dolphin deck. We had a cabin with a non upgraded bathroom. It was nothing like the post on the froum which described it at as 70's motel room style. Maybe a bit outdated ,but clean and in perfect working order, so why complain about it ? The whole ships looks good, painted, clean carpets etc. Too bad there is no librarian anymore, the place used to be in a better shape with books and games returnted to the right shelves, it was a bit messy now. Food in MDR as well as Lido was varied and good. Service still same HAL style that we like, I heard some complaints about the speedm, but we don't mind not having the main course right after the appetizer. In general a dinner took about an hour, so pretty normal. Entertainment was surprisingly good and varied: a great band called Savannah Jack, a capella singers The Alleycats , a comedian and a ventriloquist were outstanding ! Best so far on the 10 th HAL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
My travel partner has a son living in Japan and this seemed a good way to visit Japan and come home easily. What a great decision that was. This was a well done cruise with three lecturers discussing the Japanese culture and as we ... Read More
My travel partner has a son living in Japan and this seemed a good way to visit Japan and come home easily. What a great decision that was. This was a well done cruise with three lecturers discussing the Japanese culture and as we crossed the ocean the topic changed to first Nations people. We also had lectures on the "One Ocean" and physics, which left us all with something to think about. There were navigation lectures and many other things to do on this ship. The Volendam is a smaller older ship so people looking for lots to do and big flashy ships would not want to choose this one. But, if personal attention and well done dining appeal then this is the ship for you. There were 1360 passengers and 1000 of them were returning guests. We were served by 598 crew. This was an older crowd but very well traveled and very interesting. Different ships and cruise lines for different people and so this would not appeal to everyone. There were very few children on board so there was a great sense of peace and quiet. Food was excellent. The shows at night were wonderful and we often left the show lounge chuckling to ourselves. A really great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We took the Volendam from Japan and the immediate reaction to the ship was that it was kept in great shape. It was just a beautiful ship maintained very nicely. Our room which was with a window was in good shape with all things working ... Read More
We took the Volendam from Japan and the immediate reaction to the ship was that it was kept in great shape. It was just a beautiful ship maintained very nicely. Our room which was with a window was in good shape with all things working properly. Our room attendants were excellent. Food in the main dining room was very good. The buffet during lunch was at times disappointing. The pizza was inedible and I even brought a slice to an officer to taste and the next day we had several officers checking out the food during lunch time. Service in the dining room was very good. What shocked me was when we were in the Pinnacle, and asked for another portion, the waiter said that we don't do that anymore. That got me very annoyed since that never happened to us and we have traveled the HAL at least 6 times. In all it was a good cruise around Japan. Service was good but not great. Food was good and in the private restaurants very good. Shows were adequate and enjoyable. We did enjoy ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
The itinerary for this cruise - Japan, South Korea and the N Pacific crossing was great. We enjoyed all the ports. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth in Yokohama. Going ashore in the other ports was easy - the only hold ups ... Read More
The itinerary for this cruise - Japan, South Korea and the N Pacific crossing was great. We enjoyed all the ports. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth in Yokohama. Going ashore in the other ports was easy - the only hold ups were Japanese immigration but that is to be expected. Favourite ports - Osaka and Incheon Service on the ship was very good but the cutbacks in staffing are putting a huge burden on the remaining staff. This was very apparent in the dining room where service was very slow. The ship is an older ship - it is kept very clean and tidy - but it badly needs to go in to drydock. The only chairs that the bottoms weren't falling out of was in the Canneletto dining room. Seriously, there was a 2" depression in the Rotterdam chairs! Uncomfortable for a leisurely meal! Food - we were not impressed! The meals in the Rotterdam were just okay - biggest complaint was that there were very few vegetables accompanying the entree and we routinely ordered a bowl of steamed vegetables for the table. The food served in the Lido was very much below what I expect on a cruise ship. I have no food issues - I love food - but the choices were over salted and way too many things were fried. I had difficulty finding items for lunch other than a salad. The Asian food bar was usually good but still oversalted. The fresh fruit was awful! Apples and oranges were soft and tasteless, bananas were slimy and black. The fruit salad was a mixture of over ripe and under ripe choices cut so small that it was mushy very quickly. There were very few activities planned for the 6 sea days as we crossed the Pacific - not a lot to do. We may avoid doing another HAL cruise Positive - we saw some of the best entertainment we have seen on a ship. The dancers and singers were exceptional! Very much enjoyed our evenings! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We choose this Holland America cruise on the Volendam for the great ports of call. Had a great time for our first time in Asia. The ship was clean, nice and small. We do not like large ship the smaller the better. The food and service was ... Read More
We choose this Holland America cruise on the Volendam for the great ports of call. Had a great time for our first time in Asia. The ship was clean, nice and small. We do not like large ship the smaller the better. The food and service was great. Our dining room steward was excellent. Good selection of wine. Most of the time the ship excursions were great. However in Japan it was very difficult to find a good english seeking guide. All of the crew were excellent. We loved the Team trivia. Bruce our cruise director was excellent. Very good in fact a great enrichment program this time. Terry Greenberg from the University of BC gave excellent lectures on the Japanese, Korean and Chinese culture. It was very informative. He should invited back on future cruise. We had a great time on our first Asian cruise. Very good time. Thank you Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I chose this cruise ,28 days, intending to visit major cities in the far east and Japan in particular and with detail. Cruised on the Volendam sept 2016 to Alaska. Summarize this cruise as a disappointment. To begin I got sick after 5 ... Read More
I chose this cruise ,28 days, intending to visit major cities in the far east and Japan in particular and with detail. Cruised on the Volendam sept 2016 to Alaska. Summarize this cruise as a disappointment. To begin I got sick after 5 days on board. On the previous cruise sept 2016 had the same symptoms after 4 days.I can't see how it can happen unless the air conditioning system is infected. This is not a statistic fact but 5 out of 8 people seated on the same table for dinner for diner got ill. The Frans Hals lounge is very dusty and many of guest sitting in lounge were coughing all their stay. I could feel the "dust screen" from a distance. The menu in main dining room some how repeated it self to much. On sea days not enough activities on board. Chairs in Lido restaurant, seats worn out and very uncomfortable. Air conditioning in main dining room poor. Service for breakfast in main dining room very slow. Would like to praise the Indonesian hotel staff who are very smiley and offer great service. Compared to previous cruise sept 2016 ship condition deteriorated. I think the ship needs refurbishing and maintenance very urgently. Read Less
Sail Date March 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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