Sail Date: February 2019
Did this cruise before twice, and really liked the ports. So much more to see in each area. The excursions were really great, on board a different story. The EXC events were lacking in quality speakers, related to the itinerary. There was ... Read More
Did this cruise before twice, and really liked the ports. So much more to see in each area. The excursions were really great, on board a different story. The EXC events were lacking in quality speakers, related to the itinerary. There was one naturalist that was great but only gave 3 lectures. The Mexican Ambassadors gave a great performance on deck. On the down side, the usual lectures on culture, history or the region were lacking. The speakers seemed to talk down to the audience and read from brochures. They were not experts in the field. The EXC person talked to the audience as if they were kinder-gardeners. The food was outstanding as was the in stateroom staff. The service was great and the ship was well organized and on time. The culinary classes did not emphasize health promotion. There was heavy emphasis on taste drawn from fats and salts, hardly appropriate for the middle aged audience or above. The last time we did this same cruise there were more on board activities, lectures and enrichment programming. Considering the number of fabulous ports offering rich history, art, culture and welcoming people, it is too bad there was such a lack of enrichment opportunities. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because my husband wanted to sail through the Panama Canal and we had experienced an amazing transPacific cruise on the Holland America Noordam in 2018. This was a type of journeyman cruise compared to that on a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my husband wanted to sail through the Panama Canal and we had experienced an amazing transPacific cruise on the Holland America Noordam in 2018. This was a type of journeyman cruise compared to that on a smaller, older ship with fewer passengers, amenities and activities. The shop’s air conditioning was faulty with many of the public areas kept at painfully cold temperatures. I talked to the cruise director about reading of this issue on earlier Volendam cruises and he admitted the frigid air conditioning was an ongoing problem which they had not resolved. There was also, perhaps not coincidentally a ship wide respiratory infection. The crouping, coughing etc. must have affected half the passengers. Everyone had the Volendam virus. My husband and i both came down with it and are still affected more than two weeks after disembarking. The good: the meals in the dining room and Lido were very good. The EXC tour director, Jude, was excellent and entertaining. The Adagio violinist and pianist were excellent as was the pianist at the Ocean Bar. The rest of the entertainment was mediocre. The crew were friendly and helpful. But the boat is so in need of updating and repair. The ports were fine but most everyone was interestedin the canal experience which was remarkable. Gatun Lake was beautiful. Cartegena was impressive. We liked Huatalco and the city of Antigua in Guatemala. The port of Corinto Nicaragua was not good. Costa Rica was interesting and we enjoyed the combination aerial tram and river rafting tour. The commentator thriugh the canal was excellent. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
First time for Panama Canal. Holland America received great reviews. The ship it self was like an ice box! When inquired we were told nothing could be done. Our cabin was never warm as was the rest of the ship. My wife received a ... Read More
First time for Panama Canal. Holland America received great reviews. The ship it self was like an ice box! When inquired we were told nothing could be done. Our cabin was never warm as was the rest of the ship. My wife received a bad rash and when we went to desk for assist they called doctor and I was informed there would be a charge to open the office and charge for any medication. After 9 PM the ship was dead. Staff very friendly, the one high point. Casino staff were great. Food was just average, nothing special. Tea at 3 was good, Shows were so so, One male singer who did Lionel Richey was very good. Magician was also very good. Rest of entertainment not very good. Sorry to say it let a bad taste for Holland America. I will never cruise Holland American again. I have been on 16+ cruises and this was the worst. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We wanted to do the Panama Canal so chose this cruise. The ship cannot handle the hot weather, the AC when finally repaired (5 days no AC at all in rooms) was still not enough to cool the rooms!!!!!!!!!! Dinning room food was very good ... Read More
We wanted to do the Panama Canal so chose this cruise. The ship cannot handle the hot weather, the AC when finally repaired (5 days no AC at all in rooms) was still not enough to cool the rooms!!!!!!!!!! Dinning room food was very good as expected. As was the food in the Lido. Tours were not very well organized, the usual stickers were not used. We were told just to go to the dock and find one of the in many cases 3 busses which resulted in much confusion. Entertainment was the usual Holland American shows in the showroom. Not great but some of the entertainers brought on board were good. The Oceans bar had a quartet that were very good and I encourage Holland America to not discontinue this entertainment. The room stewarts worked very hard to keep the many rooms clean under their responsibility. Towel animals in the room at night was always fun. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Left Vancouver 7/6 on cruise portion first. Spent a few nights in Vancouver before cruise. Our cruise was 3 nites followed by 7 day land tour. Ship was clean, stateroom attendant great. Food was so-so. Went to upscale Pinnacle ... Read More
Left Vancouver 7/6 on cruise portion first. Spent a few nights in Vancouver before cruise. Our cruise was 3 nites followed by 7 day land tour. Ship was clean, stateroom attendant great. Food was so-so. Went to upscale Pinnacle restaurant for dinner one night. Service was fine. However, both my brother in law and I ordered the halibut. Fish came served barely warm. Vegetables and potatoes were almost cool. Asked to have them reheated. They came back cool again. Fish was dry. Maitre'd offered us a bottle of wine to remedy the situation. However, we declined. We went there for a supposed fine meal. If any one is thinking of doing this Y3C cruisetour from HAL beware that you will spend an GREAT deal of time on the bus going to different towns. Dawson City was pretty good. Fairbanks and Anchorage disappointing. One day on bus was for an 8 hour trip to arrive at next stop. Another day was an 8 hour train ride. Saw a lot of trees. Our Tundra excursion in Denali was on a school bus with padded seats. Width of seats was for a 12 year old. Extremely long day (8 hours) and uncomfortable. We took the Tracy Arms Fiord excursion. Was very good. Also, gave us a chance to get off the cruise ship. Denali Lodge accommodations were nicest on trip. Anchorage hotel a 2 at best. Fairbanks hotel nice. Whitehorse and Skagway probably average. Spoke to about 15 people on our tour and most were very disappointed. Was glad to come home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
There were three adults in our cabin, an inside cabin, that was supposed to be wheelchair-accessible, but when the third adult was added to the reservation, the travel agent changed us to the wrong sized cabin. Not the cruiseline's ... Read More
There were three adults in our cabin, an inside cabin, that was supposed to be wheelchair-accessible, but when the third adult was added to the reservation, the travel agent changed us to the wrong sized cabin. Not the cruiseline's fault. At once when we arrived with 14 pieces of luggage split between 3 adults in an interior tiny cabin, we called to ask for a larger cabin. At first we were categorically denied, then 5 days later, we had a long and loud discussion with the guest services people, asking for the head of GS but never, ever speaking to her even after multiple daily requests, and they offered to let two of us (the married couple) move to a wheelchair cabin down the hall for only $4000 more than we had already paid. We argued because it is simply not safe for three adults and 14 pieces of luggage to reside together in an emergency situation. After much talk about safety and lawsuits, (an empty wheelchair cabin was available 5 doors down) we agreed to pay another $700 for the second cabin, 1 week into a two week Japan cruise. That's down from a $4000 additional payment, mind you. The room steward refused to help us move, even though I am a wheelchair user. He said he would be right back, but never returned to help us, when he knew very well that we needed help. That second cabin was fine, but then the officers of hotel services approached us a few days later and offered us a balcony cabin, (the third cabin) which we were very happy to move to. Now the story adds more depth: the reason why we were offered the balcony on another deck was because we had complained that our toilet was not cleaned by the room steward: there was still poo splatter inside the bowl. Because I complained, the room steward was angry and proceeded to enter my cabin without knocking, unannounced, to discuss the matter, while I was in the bathroom half naked. I told him to leave and called guest services and the hotel manager immediately. Not long after my security report, we were offered to move to a balcony on another deck. I was genuinely afraid of that room steward who saw me half naked. I hope he got in big trouble. As for the rest of the cruise, the dining room food was always the best, Master Kan, who did Tai Chi lessons and lectures was wonderful, the acrobats were great, and trivia was very fun. I am glad that HAL does not push the shops, bingo, and alcoholic drinks all the time. That gets old quick. The Lido tables were cleaned quickly for the next guest, the America's Test Kitchen was just wonderful. More of that, please. More games all day long, please. They had Chinese Mahjong, but never American Mahjongg. I play American and the Chinese guests would not let me join in. We were glad that there were no loud PA system announcements, so that people could nap in the daytime. We were disappointed that the cabin safes are only accessible by one single credit card, so that's not cool. If you are staying onboard and the one credit card to get into the safe is in a pocket of your roommate on shore, you are out of luck. Since this was a Japan cruise, we expected daily Japanese stuff to do like origami, Japanese calligraphy, you know, short language lessons, we are in Japan after all. Our first cabin had problems with the toilet refusing to flush. This is really bad knowing that we were three adults in a very small interior cabin. Also a dirty, used coffee cup in our room was never replaced, and we were afraid to drink out of the room cups and glasses. Of course we reported it immediately, but the room steward's work was never good. Once, we arrived 15 minutes late for dinner, and the manager refused to seat us, saying in a snide way, "You're a little late!!", but we finally got him to stop being rude and seat us. We never, ever ordered all the courses or stayed past 1 hour. Andrew did not receive any tip. We tipped our third cabin's stewards, who were wonderful, but not the one who walked into my cabin and caught me half naked, of course. We tipped our dinner wait staff. We deleted all the other regular daily tips because, 1. The cruise line should pay their employees a decent wage, 2. The gratuities keep increasing to an appalling rate, and finally, 3. Once we took a South American cruise filled with Brazilians, and there were No Daily Tips Charged to us. None. I asked why, and guest services said that Brazilians complain en mass, and they all refuse to follow American tipping practices. I feel that if the cruise lines can get some gravy money out of the guests, they will try. It's not going to work on me. Hate me if you want to. I really don't care. You do what you want with your money, I will decide about mine. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We took this cruise because we wanted to see Japan, as well as Shanghai, Alaska and Vancouver. And this cruise did it all! We love the Volendam!! Just the right size, not crowded, great staff everywhere (except EXC tours, more on ... Read More
We took this cruise because we wanted to see Japan, as well as Shanghai, Alaska and Vancouver. And this cruise did it all! We love the Volendam!! Just the right size, not crowded, great staff everywhere (except EXC tours, more on that later). Nothing was "pushed:" photos, drinks, drink packages, unlike some other lines. Spent some time in the just-the-right-size casino. Embarkation: I liked the idea that in Yokohama you sat down until your number was called. Unfortunately, once you were called, you still have to wait on line until you check in. But once checked in, the rest was easy. Dining: We chose to eat in the Dining Room for dinner, and in the Lido breakfast and lunch. All were great for the meals we had. Lido did get a bit crowded and finding a table was sometimes tough. But again, a small wart. Dining Room food was very good, except for the soups. Didn't try the specialty restaurants, as we found that on other cruises they usually weren't worth the extra money. Cabin: Lovely oceanview cabin, large, plenty of storage, very comfy. Newly renovated bathroom was great. TV's in the cabins were ancient, and I'm surprised HAL didn't replace them. But that was a small wart. Entertainment: The usual mixed bag. They had a British group called the Emperors of Soul who were fantastic! The Volendam troup were very talented, but underutilized. They had a wonderful violinist. Other than that the entertainment was typical cruise ship. Ports: The highlight of the trip. The small cities we visited in Japan were just lovely. We arranged local guides through Toursbylocals.com and Goodwill Guides. All the guides were great: some volunteers, some paid but very reasonable. We enjoyed our time with all of them. Our experience with HAL's EXC Tours was something else. In Shanghai, the tour left my wife at the meeting point 43 kilometers north of Shanghai and she had to make her way back to the ship on her own. Too much detail to go into here, but when we reported this to the onboard EXC staff, they didn't even listen to her story, said they'd investigate, got back to us a week later and refunded a third of the tour price. We felt that being abandoned by the tour guide (when getting us back to the ship is one of the key selling points for all the cruise line tours) was inexcusable and we should have received a complete refund (EXC tours are not cheap). When we got home, we made our case to the EXC Tours office at HAL's headquarters in Seattle. Two months later, we are still waiting for a response. One really positive EXC feature: there was a guide on board providing detailed port information for passengers who are not taking tours. We never experienced that on other cruise lines, and thought it was wonderful. Bottom line: We like HAL (this was our first HAL cruise in 25 years), loved the Volendam and would definitely cruise with them again. But no more EXC tours for us. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
The Volendam had recently refurbished their bathrooms and public areas but unfortunately did not refurbish their cabins which were very tired indeed. Great storage though in Cabin. The ship was continually cold onboard and we were given a ... Read More
The Volendam had recently refurbished their bathrooms and public areas but unfortunately did not refurbish their cabins which were very tired indeed. Great storage though in Cabin. The ship was continually cold onboard and we were given a variety of reasons why the air conditioning continued to blast out cold air yet I have seen other reviews about HAL complaining about the cold onboard their ships. Many passengers continually wore coats throughout the ship, some even had blankets with them in the dining room. Two of our companions left the ship with chest infections. Entertainment day and evening was very poor with very few activities to choose from. At age 60 plus I felt like youngster on board with the averse age of guest being about 80 years old. For whatever reason the ship was deserted at 10 pm every evening! Staff were generally very helpful except when we complained about the cold. They continually repeated that they take all complaints seriously but couldn’t explain why the air conditioning was always blowing out very cold air. If I were to speculate why I would suggest they are trying to ensure germs cannot breed. They should have followed this up though with staff encouraging passengers to wash their hands as they entered the dining areas as I have experienced with other shipping lines. The hands cleansing machines were at every entrance but unfortunately not all passengers used them. I will definitely never sail with HAL again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise as it went to spots in Indonesia that would be difficult to arrange by air. We also like round trip vice lineal itineraries, The staff did not provide us with a tile at the Mariners luncheon, however guest services ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it went to spots in Indonesia that would be difficult to arrange by air. We also like round trip vice lineal itineraries, The staff did not provide us with a tile at the Mariners luncheon, however guest services was happy to give them when we requested at their counter, and also seemed surprised they had not been distributed, Missed seeing a ships log cruise summary that we had received at the end of other HAL voyages. The ships singers were weak and need to be replaced. Our cabin steward was long on smiles and pleasant conversation, but could not get the concept of ice or fruit to the cabin, or picking up soiled towels in the bathroom. Note: most cabins do not have a frig. The ships activities director let down the Protestant worship community by omitting to include the worship in the second Sunday of the cruise, as she directly promised that she would, and when this was brought to her attention on Saturday evening, she stated that it was a mistake and worship would be announced by the cruise director on the ships speaker system. This did not happen and the Wajang theater was not available at the time she directed, as it was utilized by blackout bingo during the afternoon. I did not make a fuss, but I was extremely disappointed in Christine as her actions denied our opportunity to worship. We are 4 star HAL Mariners and will avoid the Volendam in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
I was attracted to the itinerary which had 9 ports: Singapore, Thailand [2], Cambodia [1], Vietnam [4] and Hong Kong. The voyage was 16 days: January 16 - February 1, 2018. This would normally be the dry season for southeast Asia but ... Read More
I was attracted to the itinerary which had 9 ports: Singapore, Thailand [2], Cambodia [1], Vietnam [4] and Hong Kong. The voyage was 16 days: January 16 - February 1, 2018. This would normally be the dry season for southeast Asia but at least half the days were overcast but fortunately with minimal rain. Our veranda stateroom was roomy with recently updated bathroom with high quality amenities including shower wall dispensers for shampoo, conditioner and soap, ample high water and water pressure. Our stewards were competent and friendly. I enjoyed very tasty food in both the Lido and formal [Rotterdam] dining rooms, did not use the extra fare Pinnacle grill. The average age of the passengers was 65-70, with no children among the 1400 passengers, a primary thing to consider if you dislike unsupervised, badly behaved kids running around. The excursions were well done and reasonably priced. So why the three star rating? In every room of the ship except the library and stateroom, from early morning breakfast to late night, ceiling speakers emitted canned music [yes even in the formal dining room] 90% of which was pop vocal. The amplitude was unpleasantly loud for my ears. I had taken the Zuiderdam on a west Caribbean cruise a year earlier and there was no canned music on that trip. I can only assume that Holland-America in its wisdom decided to imitate cheaper entertainment and lower class restaurants that feel pre-recorded music is necessary to create a "carnival" [no pun intended] atmosphere. This was my 4th voyage on HAL including two early trans-atlantic but unless they cut the canned music, I will seek other means of travel. Read Less
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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