596 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise mainly to get a taste of Vietnam and we were not disappointed. We checked our ports and shore excursions on Trip Advisor and selected shore excursion with both HAL and private providers according to what we wanted ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly to get a taste of Vietnam and we were not disappointed. We checked our ports and shore excursions on Trip Advisor and selected shore excursion with both HAL and private providers according to what we wanted to see. We were originally allocated ocean view cabin 3318 but pre cruise that changed to 3366 which was more mid ships and adjacent to stairs and lifts. The cabin was compact but well laid out. Plenty of storage. The bed was comfortable but the cabin was warm . The air conditioning did not provide adequate air flow no matter what setting was selected on the control. There was occasional noise at night from above as well (galley?) There is no minibar but a refrigerator can be hired for $2.00 per day. The trouble is there is no where convenient to locate it. We Also experienced hot spots rhrough the ship including the main dining room, level 4 starboard side. WIFI on board was too expensive. We only connected during shore excursions. Our other concern was the lack of entertainment around the bars and pool areas through the day and pre dinner time. The ship was quiet and more suited to over 65's. Other on board activities were plentiful. I availed myself of all Microsoft Windows 10 classes and found them most helpful. The food and service in all areas that we visited was 5 star. The food and beverage stewards and customer service staff were well trained, friendly and extremely accomodating. The onboard band and singers put on great shows. Other entertainers were average at best except for the comedian who put on an excellent show. Our overall impression was that HAL had their hand in our wallets all the time. We would probably choose Celebrity for our next cruise as we have found they provide one or two inclusions that make a difference such us a standard drinks package or wifi packages. We also did not appreciated the mandatory daily gratuity fee of $12.50US per passenger. We would much rather have the option of tipping, or paying it as part of the initial ticketing cost. Seeing it appear daily on our on board account was annoying. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This is difficult to rate because somethings were great, other were ordinary. We made the best of it and hard a great cruise but HAL could do some simple things to make it so much better. We are both early 50ś but felt like we were ... Read More
This is difficult to rate because somethings were great, other were ordinary. We made the best of it and hard a great cruise but HAL could do some simple things to make it so much better. We are both early 50ś but felt like we were the young ones on the cruise. The good; - The staff are excellent and very friendly - The food exceeded my expectations - The itinerary (ports) was excellent - The ship is small, which is a positive when cruising Asia. - There are very few children The areas for improvement; - All port visits are geared to those booking through Holland America. They don make it easy if you want to organise your on tours at the port. They don provide the terminal #/ address of the port (at large ports this is essential) and don provide maps on the town. - The entertainment is geared for an older clientele and was below expectation, and the number of bars is limited. - The on-board activities (those not included in fare) are very expenses. - Gratuities are on top of all drinks and also you are charged $12 per person per night for general gratuities. - The ship looks dated Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose Holland America as were impressed with their publicity and thought we would like a little luxury as the cruise lasted for 24 days. Embarkation was the first disappointment as we were not given any cabin number unitl we booked ... Read More
We chose Holland America as were impressed with their publicity and thought we would like a little luxury as the cruise lasted for 24 days. Embarkation was the first disappointment as we were not given any cabin number unitl we booked in due to us paying extra for a balcony suite. We were also told that we would have to take our own luggage aboard and were not even assisted when onboard. The cabin was a good size however the drains on the balcony appeared to be blocked which caused the balcony to flood during rain and in a reasonable swell. Although notified of the problem they tried to rectify the matter once and then ignored it completely. Meals were basic and if you wished to dine in the Rotterdam Restaurant there was a wait of between 20 to 30 minutes before you were given a table. There was not Captains welcome aboard for new guests or any introduction of senior staff members. The ship berthed in ports which were some distance from our intended destinations and guests were charged for shuttle services except where the Harbour Authority supplied these. There was approximately a 2 hour bus trip from the port to Saigon and bangkok and appeared as though ports were a cost cutting exercise. Tours arranged by the ship were very expensive and it was a lot cheaper to obtain a taxi at the wharf plus the drivers had a better knowledge of the areas. Very little information was given by the ship to guests who wished to visit areas independently and very few maps were available of the ports. Life boat drill was poorly organised with very elderly people having to stand on the deck for approx. 30 minutes. The internet was not only very expensive but was unreliable and often dropped off line for no apparent reason. Generally the ship was poorly run and could be compared to a floating hotel without the service however everything on the ship appeared to have an extra charge if you wanted anything other than a room, meals and entertainment. No fruit in room as advertised in their publicity. There was no free water in the suites and the ships price for water was over four times the charges from shops on shore. A few staff were excellent however many were not really concerned about their guests which is possibility a training issue. If you are a loyal Holland America cruiser don't bother to pay for a better suite as this will not get you any better service. A very disappointing cruise and have cruised with other companies and received much better service. Would not recommend Holland America if you wish to have a relaxing and enjoyable cruise Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Cruise companies must recognise that the world has changed and even grey cruisers are used to unrestricted free internet access. The issues concerning internet access spoils what ought to be a relaxing experience. First cruise, so ... Read More
Cruise companies must recognise that the world has changed and even grey cruisers are used to unrestricted free internet access. The issues concerning internet access spoils what ought to be a relaxing experience. First cruise, so impossible to compare to other ships or companies. Ship was about two-thirds full, so no queues and easy access to all facilities. Very relaxed. Most people go to bed at 10.30pm, so little night life. The extremely high cost of drinks might be a contributory factor. They made an error in what time to meet me at the airport, thought l should have arrived earlier, took quite an effort to persuade them to fulfill their responsibility and take me to the ship. However, the agent was extremely pleasant. All staff on the ship were polite and helpful. Food was excellent, as was the service in the Lido buffet and Rotterdam dining room. Not a lot laid on during days at sea to facilitate contact between the customers. I traveled alone and felt that the company did not recognise the needs of single passengers. The open dining facility in the semi-formal Rotterdam dining room meant that l was able to meet a wide and interesting range of people. Mixing with the elderly clientele that Holland America appeal to, was perfect for me, so the company would be high on my list for any future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our fourth relatively long cruise aboard a HAL ship. The general hotel function was fantastic as usual with good food and very friendly/helpful staff. Our Vista Suite with verandah was kept neat, tidy and clean by hard working but ... Read More
This was our fourth relatively long cruise aboard a HAL ship. The general hotel function was fantastic as usual with good food and very friendly/helpful staff. Our Vista Suite with verandah was kept neat, tidy and clean by hard working but very friendly stewards. Evening shows were in general highly entertaining. However, the services/prices on board had declined, e.g. no longer any lectures during sea days, Pinnacle restaurant extra price was suddenly $ 35 instead of the customary $ 20, bar prices even increased by $ 1 during this cruise and appetizers were not of the type that should go with drinks. Prices for excursions had become absurdly high. The gravy on any cruise is the approach and arrival in ports during (early) morning daylight hours but on this cruise and all too often we were already tied up at quays before dawn. The so called "Hotel service charges" are hidden extra costs and should be included in the advertized overall cruise price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
First time Holland America. Smaller ship was refreshingly good with 1200 on board. Staff were very friendly and we were quickly on first name terms with many of them. Ian, Manager of shore excursions,was a hoot. He should have his own ... Read More
First time Holland America. Smaller ship was refreshingly good with 1200 on board. Staff were very friendly and we were quickly on first name terms with many of them. Ian, Manager of shore excursions,was a hoot. He should have his own comedy spot! We found the HAL excursions to be expensive and so booked 3rd party trips which all went very well. The show team were very professional and put on first class shows. Martin is the most polite man we have ever met. Food quality was fine both in dining room and Lido restuarant. Choice might have been better. Ship is getting on in age but has a delighful retro feel to it. HAL is definately high on the list for future cruises and might be top if they undertood that the cost of Wifi on board is ridiculously high. Like most people we all scurried ashore whenever possible to find free Wifi. In common with other cruise lines the drink prices are a joke. The full package for 2 weeks added another 30% to the cost of the cruise. Unlikely to book again unless we got a free or reduced rate package as is currently being offered by competitor cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Pick this cruise ( vancouver to tokyo) as a part of our round the world trip. We flew from London to vancouver cruise to Tokyo and then by air to Sri Lanka and London. We have had two previous cruises with the sister ship Zandaam and ... Read More
Pick this cruise ( vancouver to tokyo) as a part of our round the world trip. We flew from London to vancouver cruise to Tokyo and then by air to Sri Lanka and London. We have had two previous cruises with the sister ship Zandaam and this vessel is exactly the same. The crew was even better on this voyage, the food an average of the same quality, slight below par the entertainment. We had a lanai cabin on the promenade, but it was very noisy with squeaking and knocking if the sea was a bit rough, which you have to expect around Dutch Harbour in october. We have had only one excursion in Juneau to see the whales and although expensive well worth it because we spotted five or six from very close distance. All in all positive, even if drinking and the extra fees to dine in the dedicated restaurants are getting quite expensive together with the excursion, some of which have quite ludicrous prices.....but you have a choice of doing your own arrangements. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
In one word; FANTASTIC!! The food was excellent and hotel personnel was very professional. The cabin staff was very friendly and helpful. No complaints about the entertainment. Everything was done very professional. You did get the feeling ... Read More
In one word; FANTASTIC!! The food was excellent and hotel personnel was very professional. The cabin staff was very friendly and helpful. No complaints about the entertainment. Everything was done very professional. You did get the feeling that there was a good atmosphere among the staff. I would have liked the captain to be more visable but apparently there was an annual Port State Control inspection. Also, a minor detail, but the music in the 'Rotterdam' dining hall was every evening the same-the endless flute music.........maybe a guitar or piano would be a nice addition! Again, the food was superb, especially in the 'Rotterdam' dining hall. I can't say enough of the professional waiter/dining room staff - Indonesian/Philippino-fantastic! Getting on and off the ship while visiting the Alaskan towns and villages was very easy. This was my first cruise ever so I cannot make a comparison with other cruise companies but I will recommend the HAL to my friends and family. Great value for the money and worthy of repeat! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
If you are looking for a glamorous ship you are in the wrong place. Holland america ships do not provide all the "action" & "agadoo agadoo" like on other cruise companies. It provides a pleasant smooth trip with ... Read More
If you are looking for a glamorous ship you are in the wrong place. Holland america ships do not provide all the "action" & "agadoo agadoo" like on other cruise companies. It provides a pleasant smooth trip with very good food & outstanding service from crew members on board the ship. Found the cabin spacious & clean very good cabin staff. The ship is a bit aged but it is A cruise ship not a box of cabins & entertainment areas. Once again I suggest future travelers to buy A cruise after reading many articles regarding the profile of the company or ship and choose one that suites them the best. Embarkation procedures vere fast & smooth. Luggage arrived very fast to cabin. Some of the shore excursions were over priced. Disembarkation was a not in good order & crowded. Booked a cruise for march 2017. I had a great time on board the "VOLENDAM". Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This ship and Holland America were fantastic! We explored Vancouver for a few days before setting sail from there, and both the embarkation and disembarkation were organized like a finely-calibrated engine. The ship was extremely ... Read More
This ship and Holland America were fantastic! We explored Vancouver for a few days before setting sail from there, and both the embarkation and disembarkation were organized like a finely-calibrated engine. The ship was extremely well-maintained and cleaned. Our cabin was fabulous in size and accoutrements, aided by Adit and Abdul, our cabin stewards. If you couldn't find a dining room or situation to your liking, there had to be something wrong with you. The Lido Buffet was clean and the food was plentiful, and the options - from burgers, hot dogs and Mexican to top-drawer experiences at The Pinnacle and Il Canaletto - were perfect. You could always find a seat in one of the dining areas or sit by the pool. Ahhhhh! Every day brought a fabulous line-up of things to do, from a towel-folding demonstration and bingo to Vegas-quality dancers and singers. Never a dull moment - unless you just wanted to sit on a balcony and watch the gorgeous Alaskan and Canadian sights roll by. We participated in three shore excursions, and all were wonderful. Also wonderful was the fact that in all three ports, the Volendam pulled right up to the town docks (no tenders). Yay. Our captain was very conscious of time, weather and the like, giving us an update every day. For map fans, there was a detailed one hanging in the atrium for you to follow, plus there were Waze-like maps on your room's TV. Everything was very well thought-out, and we'll be cruising with Holland America again in 2017. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Only reason was that we had to pay for 3 other people and the fact this cruise was a "roundtrip" was helpful n accommodating 2 elderly people in our group as well! We Will never go cack to HAL. The FRONT DESK staff needs major ... Read More
Only reason was that we had to pay for 3 other people and the fact this cruise was a "roundtrip" was helpful n accommodating 2 elderly people in our group as well! We Will never go cack to HAL. The FRONT DESK staff needs major training in how to "smile" and be empathetic addressing guests concerns.Not one of them did anything to make us feel welcomed and excited. On another note however, the dining experience was excellent. Both in terms of staff and the quality of food in Lido and Rotterdam. One observation was that as oppose to Celebrity and Carnival, the buffet area had one hour "pauses" for serving the food!! There was NO FOOD between 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning and also NO FOOD between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. Our experience in other cruise lines were that there were ALWAYS at least one or two stations open with snacks and light food that was available between breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have other choices than than HAL, definitely chose the other lines! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our first cruise, after checking several websites we decided that we wanted a medium size vessel and chose "Travel Best Bets" from Vancouver to complete our plans. They did a wonderful job and Megan Stone was most ... Read More
This was our first cruise, after checking several websites we decided that we wanted a medium size vessel and chose "Travel Best Bets" from Vancouver to complete our plans. They did a wonderful job and Megan Stone was most helpful with her suggestions and tips. We chose to travel with Holland America's Volendam. It can be very daunting to find the day you are leaving that there are three cruise ships, all headed to Alaska within an hour of each other. We had completed our paperwork prior to boarding so the whole operation was even more simple than getting on an airline. we parked our vehicle in the Cruise Ship Parking area, which really saves time and effort. We had decided to select an outside cabin with a window, and on Megan's suggestion chose one on the third deck near the stern. Comments about engine noise were really unfounded and after a while one gets used to the minor vibration, which you can feel throughout the vessel. We found the meals to be above reproach, every we tried was very good, even the hot dogs from the dive-In was great. We had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill one night which was as good as others had told us about. We took most of our dinners and the main dining room and the waiters and the quality of the food was marvelous, everything was very tasty. On-board entertainment was very well done, there was something for everyone. It would be hard to fault the programs offered. The highlight of the Alaska Cruise had to be the visit to Glacier Bay, it was a slow cruise through the area, really great for getting good photographs. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Our first cruise with Holland America, to Alaska on the 7-day Inside Passage cruise, was wonderful. We booked almost at the last minute based on the suggestion of our daughter and son-in-law, who travelled with us. We both had ocean view ... Read More
Our first cruise with Holland America, to Alaska on the 7-day Inside Passage cruise, was wonderful. We booked almost at the last minute based on the suggestion of our daughter and son-in-law, who travelled with us. We both had ocean view cabins on C deck, with a large window and a very nice up-dated bathroom, loads of storage space. Everything about our cabin was first-rate: comfy bed, nice linens and towels, immaculately clean and well-kept, thanks to our cabin stewards. My only complaint would be that ocean-view cabins don't have fridges. Our steward kept our ice bucket refreshed for us to chill our water bottles, and wine we brought on board. As soon as we were welcomed aboard the Volendam, I knew I'd love it: from the gorgeous teak Promenade deck and classic loungers, the warm welcome from the fabulously well-trained crew, the attention to cleanliness with hand sanitizers everywhere and questions to boarding passengers about their current health. The standard of health and food safety in the dining areas was outstanding. Bravo Holland America for doing such a good job with a caring manner. We loved how, in the Lido buffet restaurant, you lined up for your food to be served to you from behind a counter. Very little risk of cross-contamination and spread of illness there, which you get when people dip and pick in open bowls of food, dirty sleeves and unclean hands over food that others are going to eat - ugh! Being on a gluten-free diet, I was very impressed with the g-f service in the Lido, no risk of cross-contamination there. In the Rotterdam Dining Room, I was always served g-f bread, and invited to select my dinner choices from the next day's menu so that my food choices would be guaranteed to be gluten-free. Very impressive.The crew will willingly and graciously serve passengers warm and cold beverages from the central stations, and will fill passengers' water bottles, to avoid passengers putting potentially 'unclean' hands and contaminated bottles all over the water station spiggots etc. FYI, I'm not OCD but we're all very conscious of how easily passengers can get sick on board ships. (Previously, on a Russian river cruise, I fell very ill with a Norovirus, as did approximately 60% of the other passengers. The other 35% got sick with a nasty bronchial illness and maybe less that 5% fortunately didn't get sick at all). We loved the Volendam's information talks and the Captain's Q&A session.The evening entertainment was better than expected: the trio in one of the bars was superb, the magician, comedian, and the dancers were all great fun. We're not 'foodies', shoppers or gamblers so can't comment on those aspects offered on the Volendam. We loved the views from the Crow's Nest, the pretty central Atrium, a welcoming meeting place, and the decor on the ship, very gracious, lovely flowers everywhere, gentle art, understated, classy elegance, nothing 'in your face'. All the crew are so good, and happy in their work, that alone won me over and wold make me choose HAL again and again. Watching the magnificent scenery from the stern and Promenade decks, watching for whales and dolphins was our favourite pastime. The solitude of Glacier Bay is remarkable. The only negatives were the prohibitively-high costs of the ship's shore excursions, which precluded us from booking any of those, and possibly missing out on a great shore excursion. The other 'beef' was the 15% service charge on any beverages we bought. Currently, the Canadian dollar is low against the US dollar and these previously unknown additional costs are unacceptable in current markets. However, I'd love to sail again on the Volendam. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
An Alaskan Inside Passage cruise was a bucket list trip, we have only recently started taking cruises, in fact all our cruise so far have been in 2016 and all with Holland America, it just worked out this way, we had no prior knowledge of ... Read More
An Alaskan Inside Passage cruise was a bucket list trip, we have only recently started taking cruises, in fact all our cruise so far have been in 2016 and all with Holland America, it just worked out this way, we had no prior knowledge of HAL. We embarked in Vancouver Canada Place and thought the whole embarkation process to be quick and very well organized, quicker than the cruise we took from Tampa. This could possibly be because we were early as we had earned a Mariner Star, so took advantage of early boarding and the Mariners Lunch. Our cabin had a balcony and I really recommend a balcony for the inside passage as this sea cruise is the nearest you will get to a river cruise, so apart from the first one day at sea getting to the inside passage where it's just sea, then onwards there is always something to sea, islands, mountains etc. Most being very close to the boat. Bear in mind that the further north you sail the longer the daylight, so 4.30 am in the morning daylight and stuff to see! My Wife and I had cabin 6138 and liked it, there were two attendants, the first morning we came back to the cabin after breakfast and the room was not made up, we thought next morning we would put the make up room tab in the outside lock and from then on we had our stateroom made up after breakfast. I guess we were helping the Attendants know the room was empty. The ports we stopped at were Juno, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan all excellent although we could have passed on Juno. We also bought the excursion to the Sawyer Glacier where we boarded a smaller faster whale watching boat in mid sea and got to go close to the Sawyer Glacier which was our first stop on the second day, the Volendam continued to Juno without us and we rejoined the ship in Juno from the smaller tour boat, this was a 5 hour tour and worth every penny to see our first glacier. Our first cruise in March 2016 with HAL on the Veendam we felt the wait staff especially in the Lido restaurant to be better more attentive than the staff on the Volendam. We bought dinner at the Pinnacle Grill one evening, ordering this by our cabin phone for two nights ahead and they managed to make the reservation for a different night. The service in the Pinnacle was not as good or as friendly as the Rotterdam, although the rib steak was huge. I didn't think the Maitre 'D booking tables at the Rotterdam was very good or caring and didn't try to accommodate on open seating. Do not miss the pea soup served while the ship is in Glacier Bay, also do not miss the salmon BBQ at the outdoor Lido pool area, nothing quite like eating salmon from the grill outdoors. We didn't buy any other tours but instead explored the towns we stopped at, Skagway and Ketchikan were our favourites, in Ketchikan walk around Creek Street in Skagway ride for $2 the inclined railway to the Cape Fox Hotel a two minute ride with aerial views of the ship. Holland America seems to get prime docking spots in these towns, in Ketchikan our room was directly opposite the famous Ketchikan "Salmon Capital" sign when berthed in town. Alaska feels safe and familiar if not a little expensive, Ketchikan we got slow wifi included with a cup of coffee at the cafe next door to the canned Salmon shop up from the Salmon Capital sign. Free wifi in Juno and Skagway at the towns library. All in all a fantastic cruise plenty to do and amazing landscapes to take your breath away, Glacier Bay is one of those wonders of the world. Our trip was mid July and we had great weather with smooth sea and sunny blue skies apart from Juno. If you are seeing deals in May/June or September expect weather to be a negative aspect of this cruise, the week we booked was cheaper than the following week but we lucked out with the weather, no rain during the day and warm sunny weather in Glacier Bay, Skagway and Ketchikan. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Prices, food, nice rooms, sightseeing, awesome staff. We saw everything from our verandah whales and dolphins. Room service was awesome and always arrived promptly. Dining was great with very attentive staff. Entertainment eas ok have had ... Read More
Prices, food, nice rooms, sightseeing, awesome staff. We saw everything from our verandah whales and dolphins. Room service was awesome and always arrived promptly. Dining was great with very attentive staff. Entertainment eas ok have had better. Laundry service was great I had to see the ships physician and his treatment and diagnosis were correct. Getting on and off the ship was great we moved swiftly compared to other cruises I have taken. Also we had excellent fast fire drills unlike any I had ever experienced on prior cruises. We met nice people who were very friendly, and informative about Alaska. When we arrived in Vancouver for a onenight stay our accommodation s made by the cruise line was excellent . I would definitely recommend this ship and cruise line to anyone if it is entertainment you are after choose another line. I look forward one day to booking again with Holland America Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
It was my 65 th birthday have never been keen to cruise but wanted to see glacier bay. We chose the Volendam because it is a small ship taking 1400 passengers. We booked an inside cabin and were allocated one on deck 3 the lower ... Read More
It was my 65 th birthday have never been keen to cruise but wanted to see glacier bay. We chose the Volendam because it is a small ship taking 1400 passengers. We booked an inside cabin and were allocated one on deck 3 the lower promenade. It was much larger than we were expecting and we came out the door right next to the promenade deck,nearly as good as an outside cabin, as there were loungers right by the door. The food was good in the lido bar and the Rotterdam restaurant was very good. We had a window table on 3 occasions which was lovely.We were always greeted with a smile and nothing too much trouble. The staff were excellent especially the cabin staff.we hardly ever saw them but there was always a towel animal and chocolates on the bed when we returned from dinner The entertainment was low key but enjoyable.I think we were all too tired most evenings to be too bothered. I was a bit worried about the 'dressing up' but again it was very low key. The ladies looked lovely nearly every night and the men smart casual most of the time. As we are in the 21 st century ,and a lot more informal than years ago it suited us Would I cruise again? It would have to be another spectacular destination. Would I choose HAL again Yes. All in all a n excellent choice and a wonderful holiday. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The Volendam is a wonderful ship, elegant and not too big. The crew were excellent especially the Rotterdam dining team. The casual Lido was also good as well as the burgers and hotdogs by the pool. Just be careful when you order drinks. ... Read More
The Volendam is a wonderful ship, elegant and not too big. The crew were excellent especially the Rotterdam dining team. The casual Lido was also good as well as the burgers and hotdogs by the pool. Just be careful when you order drinks. Not all are free on board, including the softdrinks and water in your cabin. Since American coffee are all the same anyway, just order regular coffee. Otherwise you will be charged for latte or cappucino. On our first night at the main dining, we were asked if we wanted sparkling water and of course we said yes. Got charged $5.50 for it. Hubby ordered Coke and got charged too. Lesson learnt early. We didn't ask for our room to be serviced everyday as we were hardly in it esp during port days. The weather was awesome the entire time that we didn't even wear our jackets. If you travel in July, just buy from Vancouver souvenir shops or even on-board, the prices were surprisingly very competitive. You can get a decent jacket for US$40 and it even has the Holland america logo or Alaska. Every Alaska port we disembarked from had so many jewelry shops?! - Juneau port was full of souvenir items but we went to the Mendelhall Glacier and the falls. It was a long hike to the waterfall but worth it when you get there. The gondola and dinner at the restaurant up there was just ok, we could have picked another restaurant below. Very sunny and hot, I got sunburnt on the way to the falls. - Skagway was our favourite. We took the half-day trip to the Yukon by bus and that was where we really appreciated the beauty of Alaska and Canada. So many great stops for photos, I think it's better than taking the train non-stop. Very beautiful sunny day again. - We booked the Lumberjack show at Ketchikan through the ship cruise on a whim and it was the best show. So much fun and laughter too. The Duck tour in the afternoon was just okay, we should have taken the excursion to the totem poles. But it was quite showery so at least we didn't get wet inside the 'duck'. Laundry - if you are travelling from elsewhere like us and going to another city after, take the $49 Laundry package. Worth every dollar. We had all our clothes we used from LA and San Francisco washed on the first night and everyday. When we disembarked, we had clean clothes for our next journey. Better than hanging out in the laundry room and waiting for your turn (4 w/m and 4 dryers). But if you're only cruising and going home immediately after, I would just wait till I get home to do my laundry. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Saw add in paper for Alaskan cruises, went to one of their presentations and booked it. We had a great time!!! Stopped in Juneau, Skagway, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Fairbanks, Anchorage. I would recommend not having an early flight home ... Read More
Saw add in paper for Alaskan cruises, went to one of their presentations and booked it. We had a great time!!! Stopped in Juneau, Skagway, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Fairbanks, Anchorage. I would recommend not having an early flight home out of Anchorage, we did not get a chance to look around much. Everyone was very nice on each mode of transportation. Planes, trains, ship, and buses. It was great to talk to people from all over, different states, different countries, and natives to Alaska. We had a great tour guide, Simon, and we also had a small group for each stop. We had a great time getting to know these people. Never felt overcrowded on ship. Plenty of things to do on ship, Cabin was very nice. Service by all on ship, in hotels, and bus drivers was great! Dining had different times and locations to accommodate everyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
All in all, good cruise and good value. Our June sailing gave us a lot of animal sightings. Whales and porpoise seemed to follow our ship. We took a whale watch excursion in Juneau, although we had already seen a lot of whales from the ... Read More
All in all, good cruise and good value. Our June sailing gave us a lot of animal sightings. Whales and porpoise seemed to follow our ship. We took a whale watch excursion in Juneau, although we had already seen a lot of whales from the ship. Took a non-ship excursion in Ketchikan with Southeast Kayaks to Orca Cove. My daughter called it a "best day ever." We had harbor seals follow us and saw plenty of eagles. We did the Whie Pass RR in Skagway, and saw bear cubs 50 feet from the train, running up the hillside. Staff was good on this ship. Liked the brevity of a likable cruise director. The ship singers and dancers were good...not great, but it may have related to the choice of performance material. The juggler and the xylophone player were both very good. Food quality was excellent at all venues. Great experience at the Pinnacle Grill. Liked the way they put health first in the service of food in the Lido buffet. There was not a huge selection or variety at the buffet like you might get on a big new ship....but the freshness and quality was good. MDR food and service was outstanding. While this is an older smaller, it looked fine. Additionally, the ship never seemed crowded. Plenty of room everywhere. Embarkation an disembarkation was easy. Overall, our cruise was very very good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Visited son who lives in Anchorage, then took the cruise from June 5 - 12 from Seward to Vancouver. It was nice time of year - light long and mild weather. We had no rain on the entire trip, unusual we were told. It even close to 80 on ... Read More
Visited son who lives in Anchorage, then took the cruise from June 5 - 12 from Seward to Vancouver. It was nice time of year - light long and mild weather. We had no rain on the entire trip, unusual we were told. It even close to 80 on shore in :Haines & Juneau. There were optional trips to Skagway, but we enjoyed Haines, since we had visited Skagway on other trips. The town was welcoming and a complimentary bus to several of the sites was helpful. The entertainment was tops; we especially enjoyed the magician, comedian Garry Carson. Also, the films shown each day were an added benefit, since we hardly ever go to films at home. In Glacier Bay, several National Park rangers came on board and gave 2 talks before we got near the glaciers, then had a continuing narative while we were near the glaciers. One also did something special with the children on board. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
For a cruise that was marketed as about seeing wildlife, the crew seemed particularly lacking in knowledge on this area with apparently no ranger on board except for the short time when we were cruising through Glacier Bay. Most of the ... Read More
For a cruise that was marketed as about seeing wildlife, the crew seemed particularly lacking in knowledge on this area with apparently no ranger on board except for the short time when we were cruising through Glacier Bay. Most of the time we simply motored around at speed and the chances of seeing a whale or any other animal showed in the marketing seemed to be extremely limited. This was a big disappointment as the cruise felt more like a ferry taking us from A to B than a cruise to see the wildlife we would have liked to see. However our biggest gripe with the cruise was the amount of shops on board and the endless focus of the staff on encouraging us to buy everything from jewellery to art. This seemed to have annoyed a lot of fellow passengers as well. In particular it was a shame that whilst trying to flog a lot of stuff we didn't need, they didn't seem to sell the basic things we might have wanted to buy on a cruise like sunhats, coats, memory cards for the camera etc. Lastly the food was very mediocre in our opinion. We will be staying away from this line in future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise as part of a Newmarket holiday - Rockies/ Alaska cruise and Vancouver, on the recommendation of a friend who travelled last year. I struggle to recognise our trip from some of the negative reviews posted. From start to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as part of a Newmarket holiday - Rockies/ Alaska cruise and Vancouver, on the recommendation of a friend who travelled last year. I struggle to recognise our trip from some of the negative reviews posted. From start to finish we had an amazing trip. As a first time cruiser and an optimist perhaps I am not the best judge but my friend who I travelled with is a seasoned cruiser and a realist and agrees whole heartedly that it was a great trip. The ship was excellent and very smooth. there was plenty of space for it not to feel crowded . There were a variety of environments to choose from depending on your mood. The cabin ( an outside standard twin cabin) was excellent ; clean, well furnished and with plenty of space. The cabin attendants were friendly, attentive and efficient. the shower was very large and very powerful. We took 3 trips - Tracy arm ( although we went to Endicott arm as ice in the way) was a fantastic day and worth the cost. The scenery was spectacular and we saw whales and eagles aswell as a close up and leisurely stop in front of the glacier - stunning. We also did the brothels tour of Skagway - not as sleazy as it sounds - great history walk with a delightful actress being our guide - and went kayaking to eagle island, seeing the promised eagles. There was a vast number of trips but all optional and easy to select or not as you choose. The food was plentiful and excellent with a variety of dining options. we used the Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch and the Rotterdam dining room for evening dinner. We chose to share a table each night which meant we met a variety of other travellers and this only enhanced the trip. there was a choice of entertainment each night and we attended several of the shows, listened to the music and also just stood on deck drinking in the scenery at sunset. all were of very good standard. Every single member of staff we encountered was friendly, greeting us whenever they passed. All staff were helpful - front desk staff answered all queries, however trivial, shore excursion staff were very helpful in choosing trips, dining room staff were efficient and friendly and smoothly did their job very unobtrusively. the staff in the bar we used ( crows nest for a pre dinner drink with the best view|)were delightful. we were also happy to join in the 5k fundraising walk which has over the past 10 years as a company raised millions of dollars for cancer charities in the 6 main countries used by the cruiseline - this suggests a great company ethos. My only complaint about the trip is it was over all too soon but I have fantastic memories and would thoroughly recommend it Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After reading many different cruise site articles, speaking to friends and relatives, we decided on a total Inside Passage offered by HAL round trip from Vancouver. We wanted to avoid the choppy waters completely, as such Seattle round ... Read More
After reading many different cruise site articles, speaking to friends and relatives, we decided on a total Inside Passage offered by HAL round trip from Vancouver. We wanted to avoid the choppy waters completely, as such Seattle round trip itinerary was out. We also read a few ‘Must Do’ reviews of Amtrak ride from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. which helped us decide on flying to Seattle, WA. Spending 2 nights sightseeing the wonderful city and the Boeing Museum and Factory. The Amtrak was so worth taking in being able to see lovely scenery and a whole bunch of (about 25+ perched as pointed out by the Conductor on speakers) bald headed eagles. We spent 2 nights at the Pan Pacific hotel on the Canal Place port that is built to look like a ship. Our suite had a panoramic view of the water, with floating planes landing, helicopter and ferry rides, sail boats and freighters plus cruise ships; besides awesome scenery of snowcapped mountains far on our left, water being bordered by the lush green land and hills. All this took a lot of discussion, planning, by my husband and I with all the bookings coordinated all by us, without a travel agent. All our bookings were direct with each of the service provider. HAL, in spite of agreeing to provide a wheel chair for embarkation due to my inability to stand for a long time, did not come forth with it, with the excuse that they only agreed to do so after checking in! Our hotel was in the port and fortunately, an extra conscientious employee that escorts all the cruise passengers that booked the same hotel thru HAL, went out of her way to help us. Watch out for the reservation department employees make promises that are not honored. Embarkation went fast, was well organized with HAL guides all over the port, Customs, Security and all the way into the ship! I liked how organized everyone was unlike on our prior cruises on other lines that we boarded in NYC. The de-embarkation was also excellent, without any crowding, the same went for port excursions. The ship is old, we were in Vista suite #6049 mid ship – port side for all the best scenery. The bathroom is a step up with shower in the tub. As always, the room stewards were excellent, very trust worthy and honest. In spite of my husband leaving them a couple of dollars tip on the bed on the first night, we found it was still there when we returned for the night. Got some really good pictures and videos. We were able to see dolphins, whale from the main dining room, eagles, bear and mountain goat. The scenic cruising in the Glacier Bay, was the highlight of our cruise. The Captain, gives ample time as he turns the ship, maneuvering slowly, to view, take pictures of the calving that occurs almost every 3 minutes or so. We may have watched 9 to 10 times at least. The sea gulls try to share your balcony railing too during this stationery time. The Q & A program with the Captain was very educational on one of the sea days. He even came to the Main dining room to thank us with champagne, though he had to toast with ginger ale! Food was excellent and it really surprised me at the Chefs’ caring efforts and ingenuity to meet my no ginger, no garlic, no nuts and no salt with vegetarian and white fish diet, yet be served a flavorful meal at every sitting, no matter which dining room, restaurant we chose. My food arrived at the same time as those at our table, thanks to the brilliant idea of letting those of us with restricted diets, selecting our options at prior meal. Hats off to HAL chefs! Service is excellent in the dining rooms, as good as or better than a 5 star restaurant! We were not assigned a seating time by the reservation dept. in spite of our request. However, the host supervisor that receives you, placed us with perfect dinner mates. Ours must have been the most enjoyed table, with 2 other couples with good sense of humor – one from UK and the other from Canada. You are led to your table, chair pushed in once seated, napkin spread on your lap! They even cut the meat, lobster and some of the other foods for those that ordered it. We ordered room service daily and it arrived so hot off the stove, that it made us realize how hard these foreigners work for little money with gratitude for the job! We were surprised to find how the rank system affects how long the work on board a ship – 9 months is the usual work period, with 3 months off. They get to de embark on a port only if they had the most accumulated guest compliments in writing or verbally submitted to the ship’s office as per our room steward! Job well done by the Dining room supervisors, waiters, other staff and Maître D, all of who speak perfect English, though some of the guests had trouble understanding them and remembering them! We never used the fitness room though I was in there for a complimentary foot analysis which led to efforts of selling foot inserts. Spa was not up to standards, the massage room needed pillows and good chair in which one can relax for a shoulder, arms and foot massage. The masseuse that gave leg therapy, was more focused on selling the products than a good 45 minute massage as paid for. Hair stylist was excellent both at making you comfortable, not getting you wet with even a drop of water, leaving looking like a model – fully satisfied with your style. She also gave the scalp, shoulders and foot massage and was excellent at it. Entertainment was really great and enjoyable. The ship’s entertaining staff has talented singers, dancers, with acrobatic skills and the costumes were beautiful, the lighting incredible for awesome Broadway style musical productions. We enjoyed two such productions. One night, the Indonesian staff was on stage at the last moment for a second entertainment event late in the night at 11.00 p.m. We were surprised to see the house full! They got the standing ovation. The comedian was very good, with American jokes went over the head, we heard, from other guests on a ship full of Canadians and Aussies plus Brits (being too tired from the shore excursions to attend). The next one by the same artist, left the whole audience in stitches. The magician was entertaining with inter active tricks that kept our blood pressure steady and happy. The various bars had entertainment - Piano music and the coffee in the exploration cafe was really good. Karaoke was entertaining and seemed to be enjoyed by all. We did not get to experience the HALcats dancing. The stores were many with inexpensive pricing that got even better on final days. however, the business that came on board to sell jackets and other outerwear did so at double the price of those very same sold in the port stores! Glad we did not need any due to a heat wave during our cruise with 70 degree weather in Juneau and Skagway in May. Ketchican had a bit of a cloudy weather with a little drizzle. Shore excursions were sold at a similar rate both on board and at the port. We had checked on line, at Viator and other sites and found HAL’s combination to be the most reasonably priced. My husband did the helicopter ride with dog sledding on Ice field, when I opted for rain forest, salmon hatchery and city tour of Juneau, being unable to fly. My husband raved about his experience, while mine was mediocre. In Skagway, we took the guided bus tour of the city along with Liarsville history camp where we had a really well prepared camp lunch, an act of storytelling in song and act by actors dressed in period clothes of the AK’n gold history, ending in gold panning experience. It combined with Red Onion Salon and White Pass & Yukon rail road trip combo that was worth paying every penny! In Ketchikan, we did the bus tour that combined Saxman village – actually lived in by the natives, the totem pole park. A ritual of festive dance was performed by the native Americans in traditional faux garbs, which were transferred to the volunteers from the audience and taught to perform by a little boy. Yes, my husband was happy to comply our tour bus driver’s prodding and participate, that I video-taped! All the tour bus drivers and other operators are young people, mostly college students from all over the USA. Internet was way too slow and quite expensive, The computers antique to say the best! What we were disappointed with: Most of the passengers on board the ship were tourists taking tours of Canada and Alaska from mostly Australia, UK and various parts of Canada, with very few independent travelers like us. unfortunately they were not too social and not quite friendly, hanging out with their own travel buddies and the tour guide who shepherded them together for convenience. We were fortunate to have been matched with independent travelers for dining. The highlight of Alaskan Cruise on board the ship: Daily lectures combined with short documentaries on Alaskan history. On final day prior to the Ketchikan stop, a Native American of the Ravens tribe boarded the ship at the Glacier Bay in her genuine traditional garbs, showed documentary and shared her personal story. Yes, we would cruise HAL again, but not so soon since we do like and enjoy colorfully decorated ship’s interiors, fancy stair cases and glass elevators. Ms.Volendam was an art oriented and flower themed ship, with the usual art sale. The flower bouquets were nice and some of the sculptures and wall arts were worth taking a second and third look. The colors were drab inside the very small Verandah cabin that we paid the price of a mini suite! There was a pair of binoculars for our use to view from the verandah. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We're an active, retired couple who take 3 or 4 trips abroad each year. This 7-day Alaska cruise (Vancouver to Vancouver) on the Volendam was our second with Holland America. Our first HAL cruise was on the Nieuw Amsterdam which ... Read More
We're an active, retired couple who take 3 or 4 trips abroad each year. This 7-day Alaska cruise (Vancouver to Vancouver) on the Volendam was our second with Holland America. Our first HAL cruise was on the Nieuw Amsterdam which took us to the Caribbean for a week. We did not enjoy that cruise, probably because as long-time (spoiled) Viking clients we did not know what to expect. However, this cruise on the Volendam exceeded our expectations for Holland America. Embarkation was handled extremely efficiently. Although we had to go through 5 lineups, we were into our room, with baggage delivered, in less than an hour. Contrary to what some reviewers have said, we found the ship to be in beautiful condition, considering it is 20 years old. Carpeting and wall coverings looked near-new and everything was sparkly and clean. After reading several 2016 reviews, we wondered what our room would be like, particularly with regard to clean water and a properly flushing toilet. Thankfully, we found everything was in perfect condition. We were especially impressed by the large number of drawers and cupboards. The only annoyance was the safe, which could only be opened or closed with a single magnetic strip card supplied by us. Our suggestion: bring a non-bank card with a magnetic strip and keep it hidden in the room so that either occupant can access the safe at any time. We were glad we did not buy a lanai stateroom, advertised as having a sliding glass door which opens onto a lanai with your own deck chairs. That's a joke! What you get is a sliding glass door that opens onto the main deck. Two deck chairs sit against that door and a sign says they are reserved for your use. However, there is no privacy; people are walking right in front of your chairs all day long. We chose the As You Wish dining option for dinner in the 4th floor Rotterdam restaurant. Service was superb and we liked the fact that there was no enforcement of the formal wear requirement on the 2 Gala Nights. Our waiter even accommodated our dislike of garlic by giving us the next day's dinner menu 24 hours ahead of time so we could pre-order and give the kitchen time to prepare our meals with alternative spices. After our first dinner, we were pleasantly surprised to have the head waiter suggest he would reserve for us the same table for 2, at the same time, every evening. We tried the Pinnacle Grill which is one of the specialty restaurants that charge an admission fee of between $10 and $49. In our case, the lunch was a gift from our fabulous Hagen's travel agent. It was a nice change, and much appreciated, but we didn't choose to visit a second time. There are no windows in the place and although the menu has good choices, some items come with an additional charge varying from $10 to $59 (for a large lobster tail). We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the 8th floor Lido buffet restaurant. The food was excellent, there was lots of variety and many healthy food choices. We did not order the drinks package (soda and booze) which cost a ridiculous $45 per day for each person in a stateroom. HAL advertises ahead of the cruise that only water, tea and coffee are served at meal times, --- but that only applies at dinner time in the full service restaurants. All day long at the Lido buffet, a large selection of fruit juices are available in addition to tea, coffee, water, ice-tea and milk. Our recommendation: Give your body a rest from booze and soda for a week and save yourself over $600 per couple on the drinks package. The on-board entertainment was good. There were 4 different musical group options, from classical to jazz. The evening shows were not up to Viking standards but we enjoyed most of them nevertheless. We were able to find, on average, one lecture per day that taught us something about Alaska and the places we were visiting. Almost all the other lectures or demonstrations were thinly-veiled advertisements for the boutiques, casino, bars, or excursions. The day in Glacier Bay was exceptional with park rangers coming on board to give lectures and a running PA commentary on what we were seeing. We did not go on any of the HAL shore excursions because of their exorbitant cost. Instead, we used Tripadvisor, Google Maps, and local tourism websites to plan excellent activities in each port, which cost us 10% of the price for similar excursions sold by the ship. Moreover, going out on our own allowed us to see things at our own pace and get away from the “herd” for a few hours. We were impressed by how fast the crew members got us off the ship at each port. We made extensive use of the sports facilities and activities. The free stretching and abs classes with the fitness instructor were excellent. The gym was well equipped. And it was really nice to find a half-size practice tennis court on board. Our recommendation: Bring your own racquet and balls if you like to practice serving or hitting against a wall. The ship's library is large and quiet, with comfortable chairs and tables. A full time librarian keeps the extensive book and games collection well organized. There is a "mandatory hotel service charge" of $12.50 per person per day which totals $175 per couple for the week. HAL says that this money is distributed to all crew members. If, like us, you do not agree with forced, impersonal tipping, then simply go to the Front Office at the beginning of your cruise and fill out a form requesting a reduction of the fee to $0.00. Then you can personally tip the people who actually serve you. Embarkation was a breeze! We were able to choose the time we wished to exit the ship. When we were called it took only 20 minutes to clear customs and be on our way home. In summary, we would highly recommend this HAL cruise to anyone looking for a reasonably priced scenic vacation and an opportunity to enjoy and learn about south-eastern Alaska. We booked 2 weeks before the cruise departed and paid $925 (CAD) per person for a large ocean-view room. We thought we received good value for the money spent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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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