35 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

Embarkation was a joke. Many of the Holland-America people at the port couldn't even speak English, and kept sending us all over the place. The cabin was fine, other than the fact that the shower wouldn't drain, and had several ... Read More
Embarkation was a joke. Many of the Holland-America people at the port couldn't even speak English, and kept sending us all over the place. The cabin was fine, other than the fact that the shower wouldn't drain, and had several problems with the toilet running all night, and unusable. The food in the main dining room was beyond awful. After a few nights, only a few tables were full. The main buffet was always the same...never a change. The fruit was never fresh looking. The breads and pastry tasted like they had been thawed then re-heated...never fresh. I could go on. A lot of people on board were getting sick...GI problems. I wonder why! The shore excursions were a joke. Many people, including myself, were so disgusted with some of the tours, we opted for a cab back to the ship. Many of us felt that it was the worst cruise ever! Shame on Holland-America. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
A message was sent by email the day before we were to embark on our cruise. We were already in Vancouver and did not receive this email until after the cruise. Even if we had received this message, it would have been expensive and ... Read More
A message was sent by email the day before we were to embark on our cruise. We were already in Vancouver and did not receive this email until after the cruise. Even if we had received this message, it would have been expensive and stressful to change our flights. Holland America did not offer any refunds or assistance in making alternate plans. IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION: Please be advised that we have been experiencing a heightened level of Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) on the ms Volendam. Therefore, the ship will follow a special cleaning and sanitizing protocol developed in conjunction with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prior to our departure from Vancouver, Canada, on September 17, 2014. Consequently, embarkation will begin at approximately 1:00pm for a 4:00pm departure. Our guests are encouraged to delay their arrival at the pier until 1:00pm, as there is limited seating at the Vancouver facility. We regret any inconvenience this may cause. Holland America's Volendam cruise ship is obsolete, dirty and diseased. Check on the age of the ship before you book a cruise. Take a cab to and from the airport. The cab would have been cheaper and faster than the big bus with passengers coughing and sneezing during the long slow ride from the ship to the airport. I rarely get sick but I came home with a painful deep cough and sore throat. We were handed a piece of paper while boarding informing us of an intestinal virus onboard. Too late to cancel. They had been having this problem for weeks. We would return from shore excursions to see people with rubber suits and what looked like gas masks working to sanitize a stateroom as we walked down the passageway. Not exactly reassuring. We were led to believe that this was a temporary problem but it persisted for the whole cruise. The ship desperately needed repairs and upgrades including: newer TVs (ours had a blurry picture), gym equipment (parts were missing). Age appropriate music in the gym would have been nice (this was not the hip hop or rap demographic). The fitness staff was uneducated staff. There were rude employees everywhere. They were broken toilets in the common areas. Older passengers who move slower were having trouble finding a working restroom. We were not allowed to borrow DVDs and books or serve ourselves at the buffet because of the virus. The servers at the buffet did not understand English very well so it was impossible to get your food the way you wanted it. They dumped buckets of dressing on the salads. Everything was over cooked. Most of the time the food was not hot enough, vegetables were limp and fish was dry.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I agree with the other Asia post about this voyage. Compared to other cruise liners Holland America really falls short on service standards from management. The waiting staff were fine, it is management I am upset with. The fine dining ... Read More
I agree with the other Asia post about this voyage. Compared to other cruise liners Holland America really falls short on service standards from management. The waiting staff were fine, it is management I am upset with. The fine dining restaurant Rotterdam served really tough food. Their salmon and steak was tough and undercooked. The Alaskan bake dessert came out all melted like it has been dropped a few times on the floor. The Lido buffet did serve a lot of luke warm food and towards the end of the trip the "fresh" fruit there had gone bad and smelt off. The entertainment was a hit and miss. There were a few nights where instead of a show all they gave you was a movie, Wolverine and can't remember the other one. The company makes a huge premium from additional items they sell you. Everyone is charged $45 usd and $55 usd for cambodia and Vietnam visas whether you get off at the port or not. All their port tours cost 2 to 3 times more than what you would pay if you joined another tour company. They even have a land tour that cost $3000 USD to visit Ankor Wat, Cambodia which is exorbitant as it is almost twice as much as I paid for the whole trip. In fact this is probably the reason they stop at Sihauanoukville port as there is nothing to see at that place other than 3rd world misery. As soon as we arrived in Sihuanouckville we were swarmed and followed by beggars. We hopped back on the ship within 1 hour because we were so scared and distressed with what we saw. However this is the stop where they have their $3000 USD tour so I guess this is why they stop here, and also so they can charge your the compulsory $45 visa for Cambodia. They charge you heaps for every drink you have on the ship. There are heaps of salesmen trying to sell you something (most of their show entertainers ask you to buy their cd afterwards, photographers snapping you throughout the trip then asking you to buy, the onboard shops having constant sales off their highly inflated prices. Not to mention there is a compulsory $11.50 per day tip charged to your ship account and you don't have control who that tip goes to. I don't mind if it goes to the waiting staff and my cabin stewards but definitely not the management at Volendam who are racist and offer poor service. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our experience was so bad, we disembarked in wellington after 4 days of the cruise. It was a floating nursing home and everything about the ship and it's itinerary of entertainment reflected that. The real 'rub of salt in the ... Read More
Our experience was so bad, we disembarked in wellington after 4 days of the cruise. It was a floating nursing home and everything about the ship and it's itinerary of entertainment reflected that. The real 'rub of salt in the wounds' came with the reply from Holland America: Thank you for the email regarding your ms Volendam . We truly appreciate the valuable feedback you have provided us. Please be advised that when guests do wish to personally disembark it is often for an emergency. Thus our front desk staff wills not inquire the reason unless it is volunteered. In addition, if none of your concerns were brought to our attention, we are unable to remedy them. In addition, we are very sorry that you were not pleased with the scope of activities available on your recent sailing. Holland America Line strives to offer a spectrum of activities and events, keeping in mind a wide range of age, interest, and ability, and we regularly update our choices. Many of our newer activities are enrichment-based, such as cooking classes, digital workshops, wine tastings, and in-depth presentations about ports of call. Plus, we retain the more traditional choices, such as movies and games, volleyball and tennis, and disco or ballroom dancing. In this way, we try to ensure that a balance of activities is available to all of our guests. Some of our travelers may choose to participate in onboard activities, while others will prefer to simply relax, lounge by the pool, or curl up in a quiet spot with a good book. We do regret your dissatisfaction with the activities offered, and assure you that your input on any cruise aspect is always welcome. Thank you again for contacting our office and bringing your issues to our attention. We assure you that we appreciate your comments, and hope that you will give us another opportunity to create the positive experience we know our sailings can offer. This was my reply: I'm somewhat bemused at your comment that I provided you with valuable feedback, because in my previous emails I gave little indication as to why we were so dissatisfied that we left the cruise after four days. You mention 'remedy'. It would have been fruitless gesture to mention at the front desk that we didn't want to travel on a floating nursing home. The atmosphere on-board was certainly indicative of a nursing home and my suspicions were confirmed with the ambulance crew dragging their stretcher on-board at Tauranga. I have nothing against the elderly. I spend a lot of my working life in their company, but if I had the information to hand at the age group that the cruise was pitched at, then we would have looked elsewhere. However the information that would have been extremely useful was the itinerary of events. Needless to say those activities are planned in advance, as those that deliver the events or presentations have to be booked on-board. That information available to view on the website for the ship and the cruise would have been very useful and as such we would have looked elsewhere for something more appropriate for us. As for making any other comments, I doubt they would have been actioned. We had to listen to the inane babble of Jeremy the cruise director, which was inescapable where ever we we're on the ship. There was a tannoy right outside our cabin. At one point he was asking us to count the holes in the face of an offshore rock which had been partially eroded by the wind. That was day one, and already the alarm bells were ringing for us. At meal times we were given a napkin roll with cutlery. However the minute we left our seat to get another dish the staff would clean away. We would then have to get another napkin roll and find a different seat. That somewhat flies in the face of intended green credentials. I also found it somewhat strange that we were drinking long-life milk, when we were on the doorstep of one of the top dairy producers of the world. The Costa Concordia has dominated the news for all the wrong reasons, and I would mention that whilst on-board the Volendam and attending the, very brief, lifeboat drill the concept of making our way back to the cabin (with it's partial delay electronic key entry system), to retrieve our lifejackets was somewhat of a daunting prospect in the event of a real emergency. It was also noticeable that there was no escape panel fitted to the cabin doors for use in the event of a collision. Seriously, someone needs to look at that. It may make the difference between someone being to escape from their cabin when the ship's sinking or being condemned to death by drowning in a box. Anyway, Caitlin, again thanks for getting back to me. Your scripted response wasn't the best fob-off I've ever read, but nonetheless a reasonable effort. On closing please try to make information more readily available to potential customers, after all this is the age of information technology. It really isn't that difficult to get the information out. On closing, we will never book a cruise with Holland and America. There will be no return to try the experience again. It was without question the worst holiday experience ever and had little to recommend it for anyone under the age of 65.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I'd like to say something nice nicely, but if you care enough to read this, you should prefer the straight scoop. The repositioning cruise departing Vancouver on September 7th was a real disappointment. I was traveling with 16 ... Read More
I'd like to say something nice nicely, but if you care enough to read this, you should prefer the straight scoop. The repositioning cruise departing Vancouver on September 7th was a real disappointment. I was traveling with 16 family members including the agents who accomplished the booking. Although we all have unique perceptions of the cruise experience, we all agree that the service and the entertainment were poor. An exception was the recent addition of singer / performer Clint Holmes (maybe there is hope of a turnaround). The food? It was ample, as usual, but average (at best). It's hard to imagine that the passengers who are continuing have 27 days remaining as they journey towards Sydney, Australia. Mr. Holmes can only appear so many times. Maybe Holland America will take on some motivated new staff along the way, but this problem seems to be trickling down from the top. The captain was so poorly prepared to handle his simple public relations duties that he referred to San Francisco as the city that marks the border between Oregon and Washington. For our family, this cruise offered us a chance to 'enjoy' a quick celebration of a 50th anniversary. We made the best of it, but it was a grin and bear it situation. As individuals and as a group we've cruised many times. So let me finish by encouraging you to beware. This ship is an older ship, well maintained, but quaint and claustrophobic by modern standards. If you're looking for a first time experience, consider this ship for a short cruise of 3 to 7 nights. If you're at least a second timer, pass. Hopefully Holland America has some better ships and better crews in service, but maybe you should read reviews on the rest of their ships before you plunk down any money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
There were some good things like the time with loved ones, the scenery, the concierge, and the Pinnacle Dining Room. That is the end of the list of good things. The bad things go way too long for me to list, but the big ones that jump ... Read More
There were some good things like the time with loved ones, the scenery, the concierge, and the Pinnacle Dining Room. That is the end of the list of good things. The bad things go way too long for me to list, but the big ones that jump right out at you are the food (everywhere but the Pinnacle). Even the coffee was weak, except in the Neptune Lounge available to suite residents. The entertainment was average to below average. The activities on the ship are the same as all cruise lines (how many people make their towels look like a monkey?). The biggest surprise was the lack of night life. By midnight, all bars and the casino are closed. This is clearly a ship for old folk. The cost is never ending. Every thing you do or touch cost extra. Don't assume the cost of the cruise is it, heck that does not even include the "mandatory gratuity". Then the excursions are expensive, the drinks with exactly one oz. or less of alcohol are over the top expensive, and this list of extra cost items goes on and on. Some of the machines in the work out gym were broken the entire cruise. The only good excursion for us was the whale watching in Juneau. I don't understand the appeal of the train to no where in Skagway. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Stateroom staff were very friendly (to get a big tip) but the rest of the staff were unfriendly and at times quite rude. This cruise was included in an 18 day COSMOS Rockies and Alaska Masterpiece and all that is said on Holland America ... Read More
Stateroom staff were very friendly (to get a big tip) but the rest of the staff were unfriendly and at times quite rude. This cruise was included in an 18 day COSMOS Rockies and Alaska Masterpiece and all that is said on Holland America Line's web pages is correct about the facilities of the ship although it is all a bit tired but it is an attitude on board that allows me to make the decision not to travel with HAL ever again. I found staff would not speak when passing in hallways, would not stand aside for you especially when passing in the doorway of the LIDO deck restaurant and guest service staff would listen then ignore your request. We had paid extra for the Balcony Stateroom which included a fridge which broke down (not sure that it was working at all as our air-conditioning (heating) was broken and we froze for 4 days out of 7 and after numerable requests was repaired on the 4th night and it was the 5th morning that we noticed the the fridge was hot) and after 5 requests was finally replaced with another dumped under the bend where the chair goes. On checking our on-board account found we had been charged $4 rental for that night. This had not been removed the next morning on disembarkation when the account was due to be paid even though we had made it quite clear the previous day that it was to be reversed and would not be paid (not because of the money, it was the principle). LIDO deck staff were quite sharp, cleaned tables with cold water in a mayonnaise bucket of water under the bench and coffee machines were broken. There are only 3 floors with laundries, Deck 2, 3 and 6 to service 10 decks and Deck 6 had one 2 out of 4 dryers out of action for the whole 7 days. Overall, very disappointing as the scenery was beautiful and could have been perfect if we had been on the right ship!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I booked 4 staterooms on Holland America's 14 Day New Zealand & Australia cruise, departing January 30, 2011, on the Volendam. I booked 1 Deluxe Verandah Suite and 3 Veranda Suites for 9 people. The trip was a gift from me to my ... Read More
I booked 4 staterooms on Holland America's 14 Day New Zealand & Australia cruise, departing January 30, 2011, on the Volendam. I booked 1 Deluxe Verandah Suite and 3 Veranda Suites for 9 people. The trip was a gift from me to my family and the cruise was quite expensive. During the cruise for over half the time in all 4 cabins we experienced no hot water, one cabin only had hot water for 1 day. In 3 cabins we had no functional air conditioning for the entire trip and in the 4th cabin the air conditioning did not work 5 out of 14 days. It was summer in New Zealand and quite warm. We complained, but nothing was ever repaired. The cabins also were extremely dirty. The carpet was soiled to the point that you would not walk in bare feet and the upholstery was equally dirty. I wrote Holland America regarding my experience and requested a refund of 30-40% stating that they advertise a "premium cruise experience for discerning cruisers" and that was not what we received. We received 2 star accommodations. Holland America's response was to give each passenger an individual $250 credit toward a future cruise on Holland America. This in no way said we are sorry for your inconvenience, anyone can get a $250 credit toward a future cruise just for asking. I travel extensively and understand occasional mechanical failures and not everything is perfect all the time. I have never asked for a refund in my 35 years of travel, but this was blatantly selling a product and a condition of ship that did not exist. The ship Volendam should either have been taken out of service for upgrading or had a reduced price and a disclaimer that the ship was not a premium class vessel. Holland America obviously does not care about the customer or the experience they deliver. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We just had one of the WORST experiences of our lives on the Volendam. My entire family, including our baby, got gastrointeritis along with the violent vomiting and diarhea. Overall, the cleanliness of the cabins and hallways was extremely ... Read More
We just had one of the WORST experiences of our lives on the Volendam. My entire family, including our baby, got gastrointeritis along with the violent vomiting and diarhea. Overall, the cleanliness of the cabins and hallways was extremely poor as there were even puke stains on the carpet. As the outbreak grew more noticably among the passengers, it wasn't until the afternoon on the very last day of the cruise that they announced gastro was being reported and they just said to keep washing our hands. The ship's medical staff was next to useless and didn't seem to care, aside from quarantining us and keeping the situation hush-hush. For our infant they said they would normally give Pedialite but "it expired two cruises ago and they didn't restock it." My daughters both couldn't even hold a glass of water for minutes before vomitting so I was worried about dehydration.The ship's medical staff told us that they would be going to Code Red status and we were waiting for preventative measures to be taken, such as mass quarantine, extra sanitiation and the like.  That never happened and it became clear that they wanted to ride it out until we got back to Vancouver.After we complained, they offered to escort us off the ship before any of the disembarktion crowd mounted. That never happened and we were forced to wait, sweating and trying not to vomit, in a throng of passengers waiting to get off. They even lost our luggage at the end and we had additional delays. We immediately went to the hospital before going home when we were diagnosed.I am absolutely appalled and feel like we were treated like animals with little concern for containing the outbreak or comforting us at all. The conditions in the lido and elsewhere "seemed" clean but the staterooms and halls were disgusting. They sent a few kidsapparently supervisorsin masks to "sanitize" our room. They basically wiped down the bathroom and changed our towels. My kids probably vomitted on every surface in that room during the night, including the mattress and couch. They also clearly MOPPED vomit off the carpet in the hallway after another passenger couldn't make it to the toilet.Alaska was a nice sight to see but it was all ruined by the way HAL conducted themselves.  I would have gladly missed it all for a helicopter ride back home and to the hospital. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
I decided to take my son on an Alaska cruise as a high school graduation present, even though he really wanted to go to the Mediterranean- another victim of the falling dollar and rising fuel costs. I am a divorced mom, mid 50's, and ... Read More
I decided to take my son on an Alaska cruise as a high school graduation present, even though he really wanted to go to the Mediterranean- another victim of the falling dollar and rising fuel costs. I am a divorced mom, mid 50's, and have to admit that I tend to see the glass as half empty. I have traveled with my son all over the world. Prior cruise experience on Celebrity, RCCL, NCL and even the Disney Big Red Boat. So, although I had read all the bad reviews about HAL, I had also heard that they were making an effort to attract younger people, that the Alaska cruises have lots of teens and that their ships were elegant and understated. With that in mind, a great cruise price through an internet site and tickets on Alaska Air purchased with frequent flyer miles bought on ebay, we set out for Anchorage and the start of the southbound journey to Vancouver. I did not use any of the ship's transportation options. We flew to Anchorage, checked into the Hilton and spent a day in Anchorage. Visited the Native Heritage Center, which I frankly expected to be a boring tourist trap. Wrong! Fabulous is the only word I can use to describe it. The "college kids" working there actually grew up in the areas and in the types of dwellings represented. Next morning, bus to Seward. Called and made the reservation the day before. The bus let us off at a lodge a few miles outside of Seward, which checked the bags and delivered them directly to the ship for only a couple of dollars. Cheapest deal in Alaska. They even had a free shuttle which took us into Seward. My son was really anxious to get on board and start eating, so we boarded before lunch. The boarding process was effortless. We avoided the ubiquitous photo in front of the ship and no one chased us down. So far, so good. Then came the activities-or should I say lack thereof. I originally attributed it to the fact that it was boredom, oops, boarding day, but I would soon learn that this was every day. We were confined, until the rooms could be readied, to the eighth floor. This is the floor with the buffet, swimming pools, 2 "hot" tubs, work out room and spa. There was also 1 ping pong table and 1 floor sized chess set. ACTIVITIES - There are a lot of rooms for sitting. They have many, many names for these rooms. You can sit with a drink, a computer, a book or at a card table. If you like to sit, this is the ship for you. The internet room is also the library and is quite beautiful. Internet charges are the standard overpriced sea rates. The library has a wonderful collection of books-all of which are locked up at 10:00 PM every night. I wonder where they think you would take the stolen book? If it is before 10, you can check it out. You can also rent DVD's for a fee. One of the places that you cannot sit is a "hot" tub. This is because the tubs are never hot. They are closed with netting or drained at about 7PM every night. In the morning, they are ice cold. It became a running joke between another passenger and me. She would sit on a chaise by the hot tubs every morning until about lunch and I would say "are they hot yet?" every time I passed by. The hot tubs got hot by about 5PM, when most people went to dinner. Then they were shut off at 7PM, ready to start the cycle again. I was told that there was a "hot tub" in the spa which one could use for $80 or so for the week. I asked to see it and was told to come back at 5PM, when it wasn't so crowded. (Coincidentally, the same time the free hot tub heated up). As to other activities, the indoor pool was taken over by kids, so I never used it and the outdoor pool wasn't an option- for that you need a different cruise. The ping pong table was really popular. My son told me that he tried to play basketball one day on the outdoor deck but the net or the hoop or some other part was broken. He found a group of teenagers to socialize with and basically they wandered around the ship bored. The activities director (some 22 year old girl with a whistle) arranged some lame competitions to win points which could be exchanged for ship cups and such. One was a ping pong match. There were so many people, because there was nothing else to do, that she limited it to best of 5 points between each 2 persons in line. They also had a contest hitting a ping pong ball with a putter into a net in the swimming pool held by one of the kids swimming. Have I mentioned how boring this ship was? I spent most of the time in the gym. There was a lovely view and the requisite number of treadmills, bikes, cybex machines, weights, etc. They had a few t.v.'s which ran the news all the time. I took one pilates class, which was taught by a Russian male instructor. He claimed that no other staff showed up, so he taught all the classes, no matter what they were. I didn't take anything but the pilates and it was a killer. ENTERTAINMENT - If your idea of entertainment is having a guy sit at a piano and tell you to turn to number 71 in your book so you can sing along to "Climb Every Mountain," you have found paradise. This is the type of thing that poses as entertainment on this ship. It almost makes the adolescent bathroom and penis humor on RCCL look good. There are two shows every night. I (wrongly) assumed that the early (7PM) show was for the early diners and the late (I use that term loosely)show at 9PM was for the late diners. On HAL, the nightly show lasts approximately 45 minutes. So, I was told, the late diners, such as myself, were expected to go to the 7PM show. That would allow them to be at the dining room by 8 PM and presumably get to bed by 10-the time when most everything on this ship closes down. If you really want to stay up "late," there is a nightly movie. The last showing was usually around 10PM. There is also a casino. It has the usual slot machines, craps table, roulette table, 21, poker, etc. There is just no pizzazz. My son enjoyed the blackjack tournament one night, even though he ended up losing. FOOD - One good thing about the cruise-you won't gain weight. My son's plans for a 7 day eating binge were thwarted through no fault of his own. The comedians who make jokes about 24 hour hot and cold running food on cruise ships have never taken this line. Didn't happen. Since I'm fat enough, this was not really a downside for me, but my son had his heart set on huge portions of lobster tails and baked alaska. Beginning with breakfast, we ate it at the buffet twice. I don't think the dining room served breakfast After that, we skipped the meal altogether. It was the equivalent of a high school cafeteria. The one stand out was fresh squeezed orange juice- which was unfortunately served at room temperature. The ship is kept so hot that you are thirsty all the time for something cold to drink. All that is offered all day, except breakfast, is water, coffee, hot and iced tea. My son bought a soda card for $20 or so and he couldn't use it at the buffet or in the dining room. He had to go to the bar. And he wasn't allowed to sit at the bar because he is only 18, so the card went to waste and he was thirsty all the time. We never ate lunch in the dining room because they are only open for about 1 1/2 hours at lunch. We always ate at the buffet. Dinner we usually ate in the dining room. Generally, the food is the same. The menu in the dining is the same as the buffet. The only other option is the restaurant with a $20 per person surcharge. The night I tried to book reservations, they were full. After that, I passed by and saw the exact same occasion cake as was on our table in the dining room, so I decided to save my money. Some of the food was good-the prime rib, the Asian stir fries, the mushroom soup and the lobster tails, for example. Some of it was awful. Most of it was bland, boring and poor quality. The fresh fruit wasn't sweet, the vegetables were frozen, the danish were the same every day, the pastries were cloyingly sweet and the meat was not trimmed of fat. The dining room was set for dinner every night with a place setting consisting of no less than 10 pieces of silverware, with 4 pieces above the plate. The fish and steak knives were delivered separately. It gave the impression that Holland America in their past had an elegant dinner service and was trying to hang on to that time. Now it was just an out of place relic and seemed pompous and foolish in light of the poor sparse food. Dinner was only 3 to 4 courses and far less copious than that of other cruise ships. The menu was divided into appetizers, soup and salad as one category and a main dish. A dessert menu was presented afterwards. Portions were adequate. Food was poor and pointlessly fussed over. For example, they served escargots on one night and chose to douse them with a thick cream sauce and place the thick mixture in a pastry shell. The baked alaska was a ball of egg whites covering a cake that tasted like a mix with a tablespoon of ice cream. Service was slow and pretentious. It took approximately 2 hours to serve 3 to 4 courses of pre-prepared plates. The buffet was staffed beautifully. It was not a chow line. Everything was served to you. Lunch began at 11:30 and closed promptly I think at 1:30. There was a tea service in the dining room from 3-4. I went to it one day. They used the same tea bags as usual and the staff had no idea what clotted cream or watercress were. The buffet also had some interim light meal before dinner. Dinner at the buffet closed about the same time as the dining room, probably 9PM. Then there was a 1 hour buffet at 11PM. Nothing was served in the Casino or any of the sitting rooms, although the library had a specialty coffee bar where drinks were for sale. If you have memories of things staff greeting you with hot chocolate or cool drinks after port, they are just that. On glacier viewing day, staff came around early in the morning hawking commuter cups for sale, so you could fill up your coffee and take it outside. My son said to just describe the food as "horrible" and stop using so many words. So much for the teenage prospective. THE SHIP AND CABIN- The cleanest ship I have ever been on. The staff spent most of their time cleaning and they were insistent on standards with the passengers. You had to purify your hands every time you entered the dining room, the buffet line or came back from port. The public areas are lovely. They are mainly wood and afford ocean views everywhere. The walls have interesting art and it is worth stopping to look. We were in a cheap inside cabin. It was fine. Lots of room, lots of storage space. Suited our needs. Staff were constantly coming in to clean. PORTS- The ship spent the longest port time in HAINES, where there is nothing to do. We were there for about 12 hours. Some people took the ferry to Skagway to shop. We just walked around. The totem pole store was interesting. I enjoyed speaking with the carvers. The fort is not a fort, but a bunch of buildings and the town is tiny. An eagle watching tour is offered at over $100 per person, which we considered taking, but later were glad we didn't bother. Lots of eagles to come. On a cruise to Alaska, the ship fare is like the base sticker price of a car. My price actually doubled when the activities in port were added. And, there is not a lot of difference if you book yourself. Usually, I save a lot of money by booking shore excursions myself. In Alaska, you won't. All the money is made in the very short summer season, so prices are ridiculously expensive. And, since there are not a lot of suppliers, prices among them are pretty uniform. You can save about $50 per person on some of the flight trips, which we didn't take, booking them independently, but for the things we did, prices were exactly the same. JUNEAU - We booked sport fishing through the ship, which delivered it through Juneau Sports fishing. We were bussed to the pier and assigned to a boat with 2 other people. Had an absolutely great time. The captain was terrific. The other fisherman were lots of fun. Cost was $219 per person plus $20 each for a fishing license. We each caught a salmon (Yeah!). The captain arranged to have the fish sent to Alaskan Sea Food, where it was smoked, packed and shipped to us in CA for a charge of $77. Wanted to see more of Juneau, but after the fishing, we were exhausted and went back to the ship GLACIER BAY- Although this is not a port, it is an attraction. Spent the day on the highest deck covered in blankets watching ice fall into water and listening to the rangers describe the geology of the area. Ketchikan- The absolutely best port. We spent the shortest time there. We booked the deadliest catch tour at $145 per person. It was worth the money. At one point, the fisherman threw bait into the water and we watched eagles swoop down from the tries to catch it. Watching the eagles was glorious. The fisherman were fun and the entire experience was just great in every way. Luckily the ship had pulled in a little early so we had time to walk around. But there are many shops and so much to do there. We would have gone fishing again if there was time. In summary, if you are over 80, handicapped or expecting to have a medical emergency at sea, this is the ship for you. They actually were able to call the coast guard, turn the ship around and have a passenger taken off to the hospital by helicopter in less time than it took them to serve dinner in the dining room. Apparently, this happens with some regularity. The staff was wonderful with people in wheelchairs and those who needed assistance. If you have to go to a nursing home, for the same price you can cruise. If I live pass 80 or fall into really poor health, I will reconsider taking HAL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
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 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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