1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
The cruise started with the worst embarkation situatin. We need wheelchair assistance to embark because of the long walks. Holland America's Ft. Lauderdale operation to have two wheelchairs used for a significant number of people. who ... Read More
The cruise started with the worst embarkation situatin. We need wheelchair assistance to embark because of the long walks. Holland America's Ft. Lauderdale operation to have two wheelchairs used for a significant number of people. who would be taken to a table top counter, processed and assigned to a holding area to await wheelchairs to board the ship. Never, in our 50 some cruise experiences, have we had to wait 2 1/2 hours to board a ship, NOT EVEN ON A MEGA SHIP! . If anyone thought this was an anomoly, debarkation was no better -- two wheechairs. It was quite apparent, from embarkation, no handicap assistance on the ship in the buffet or other area, and debarkation, the mobility challenged were treated as 2nd Class Citizens and Holland America was doing you a favor rather than providing service. It took three days for maintenance to fix the HVAC in our cabin as it went from FREEZING when we boarded ship to a SAUNA a day later back to Freezing. We asked at one point for Holland America to send us home from the first port stop in Curacao. New Years Night found the ship in a FREEZING mode with passengers wearing parkas and shipboard staff wearing sweatshirts and hoodies. And then, at midnight, the freezing became unbearably hot. Only one more day left -- thank goodness!!! Excursion vendors were not asked to accommodate the mobility challenged or handicapped. They were not asked to provide even step stools on high access vehicles. When I asked Sydney in Excursions about this she became belligerent and offensive. I discussed this with her supervisor, Abigail, who agree that vendors should be asked to provide easier access. I suggested Sydney would make great excursion director on a container ship. We were most surprised by the lack of service and accommodaion. Holland America has historically, and still does, market to more mature audiences. They were quality conscious and most considerate of the mobility challenged. We sailed with them on a number of occasions. Not anymore! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Drab ship and dated. We were only three nights on the ship as it was the gateway to an amazing tour of the Yukon and Alaska. Three days was more than enough. There was only one electrical outlet in our suite and it was placed between ... Read More
Drab ship and dated. We were only three nights on the ship as it was the gateway to an amazing tour of the Yukon and Alaska. Three days was more than enough. There was only one electrical outlet in our suite and it was placed between the mirror and the desk so we could not place our own power bar on it. These days people have electronic devices CPAP‘s and other things that need to be plugged in and one outlet is not enough. The room only had one very tiny television that was supposed to be swivelled for both rooms of the suite. We had planned this cruise for our 50th wedding anniversary and our travel agent gave us I lovely bottle of wine which was in our cabin. I phoned guest services to ask if we could bring it to dinner and we were told we had to consume it in the room. Then I asked for a corkscrew as there was no device in the room. It took a half an hour and two phone calls to get it. The next morning there was a note outside our cabin congratulating us on our honeymoon rather than our 50th wedding anniversary . I decided to go to guest services to show them the note and I was given an apology but no replacement note ever showed up. Also, I was told that I could have brought the wine to and that I was misinformed. The attention given to entertainment I felt was less than stellar. The performers were fine but in the three nights that we were on the ship there was no change in the sets, just a couple of staircases for the dancers. The sound was good and the theatre was fine but the show was not memorable. The lectures were excellent and the food was fine but I would recommend doing research in picking another Holland America ship. Other than walking the deck, there was a little fitness activity. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We took a land tour first. Our tour directer Merrin was incredible, knowledgable and very pleasant. All of the land tours we took were fantastic. We boarded in Skagway. Embarkation was fine. The first night dining experience was ... Read More
We took a land tour first. Our tour directer Merrin was incredible, knowledgable and very pleasant. All of the land tours we took were fantastic. We boarded in Skagway. Embarkation was fine. The first night dining experience was wonderful. Our waiter was pleasant and wanted to do a good job. He even asked if we had any allergies to food. I did. I told him I'm very allergic to mushrooms. The second night we had a waiter who brought me out a surf and turf. I was getting ready to eat it when I noticed a mushroom on it. I asked the waiter if I could have two lobster tails instead of the meat (as all the meat had mushroom sauce on it) He said I could. A few minutes later another waiter came back with my same food (all they did was take the mushroom off but the sauce was still there). We were eating with other people so I didn't say anything). I didn't realize that the lobster tail had some mushroom sauce on it. I put it in my mouth and took it right out I had to use my eppi-pen right away. I didn't want to get him into trouble so I made a comment about they should teach their wait staff to take allergies serious. We didn't go back for our meals in the dining room. The tour we took in Ketchikan was wonderful. It was educational and informative, I did hurt my leg while walking on gravel paths. By the time we got back on the ship I was having a hard time walking on it. The next day we spent at sea seeing Glacier Bay. We went to Guest Services to inquire about a wheelchair. We were shocked when the woman told us it would be $200.00 for the day (and we would not get the money back). We do understand that there has to be rules. We also understand that there are times in life that rules need to be bent. . I asked her if she could please have a wheelchair sent to our room the next morning for disembarkation. She said she would. The wheelchair never came. By the time we got to the disembarkation area I was in tears from the pain. People all around us were asking the crew to get me a wheelchair. No one did until i held up the line when it was our turn for disembarkation (because I couldn't walk). The wheelchair came real fast then. As one gentleman stated, "The crew tells the passengers if we need anything they will do it for us. The man then stated, If it's easy they will do it but if someone really needs help then they are on their own." Another man stated, " it's a good thing we didn't have a real emergency because then it would be every person for themselves." We did send a comment to Holland America. When they got back to us they said, "That is the policy. The person at Guest Services did the right thing." This person then told my husband that to make up for this the next time we book a cruise on this ship they will give us two vouchers for the Pinnicle Grill. Basically, they could care less. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
First up, the good. Our room was nice...actually bigger than we thought. The daily service for the room was excellent too. We found the floor staff very courteous and attentive. As for the bad, well, my wife and I found it very ... Read More
First up, the good. Our room was nice...actually bigger than we thought. The daily service for the room was excellent too. We found the floor staff very courteous and attentive. As for the bad, well, my wife and I found it very difficult to communicate with most of the staff on board. I will go out on a limb and say that english is not their first language and several times we just had to walk away and find someone else who we could acutally understand. If you're going on a cruise, I highly advise you do it in the Caribbean or somewhere else where it's warm. Honestly, taking a cruise through Alaska is pretty boring. After you see a couple of glaciers and a few pieces of ice floating around you've pretty much seen it all. There is really NOTHING to do on board. It's too cool to swim or play games outside. The shows we saw on board were...uh, how do you say it politely...awful. They had a "rock show" on our trip and my wife and I were actually embarrassed for some of the performers. Almost comical. The word, "cheese" comes to mind. *FAIR WARNING* I don't care how bored you get, DO NOT go into what they call a "Casino". It is not a casino. There are only about 50 slot machines (for all 1,400+ passengers) and while you can put cash into them, you cannot get cash out. It's all done electronically threw your cruise charge card...so they know EXACTLY how much you have put in and they know exactly how much you've won. You settle up at the end of your trip and trust me, you are not going to come out ahead. Promise you that. When you see the casino on the Volendam it's alway empty for a reason...even with 1,400 passengers on board. It's the worst one I've ever seen on a ship and I've been on a ton of them. Seriously, ridiculously bad. Food? There is plenty of it. Overall, I give their food an 8. A lot of it was really good...especially breakfast. Be prepared to gain weight. Most of it isn't very healthy and well, as I mentioned before, there really isn't a lot to do on board so you wind up eating and planning on when and what to eat next. Overall I give the cruise a 4.5 out of 10. Alaska is for hiking/driving and seeing all the beauty it has to offer. TRUST ME...that's best done on land, not on a cruise. Save yourself some money and do land tours and water/air excursions if you really want to see and appreicate Alaska. An "Alaskan Cruise" sounds wonderful until you take one. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Just out of dry dock and work still going on all over. AC in our cabin not working, far from ideal in tropical climate. We had an outside door to the lanai deck but this was broken!!! Temperature in our cabin was between 75-79 deg. I had ... Read More
Just out of dry dock and work still going on all over. AC in our cabin not working, far from ideal in tropical climate. We had an outside door to the lanai deck but this was broken!!! Temperature in our cabin was between 75-79 deg. I had to open the inner cabin door to let cool air from the interior corridor in to our cabin. The first few days had the smell of burning metal and sawdust but worst was an overpowering smell of soggy wet carpet from the many cabins with water leaks. Not surprising that my wife contracted a chest infection and ran up $2000 of medical bills and was confined to the cabin for a number of days. Funnily enough her chest infection cleared up totally as soon as the AC was fixed. Room service was appalling while my wife was unable to leave the cabin. I had to go to the restaurant myself to get the food she could eat. After repairs were carried out properly we enjoyed the rest of the voyage. Food and dining room were excellent. Service excellent. Wine at $40 a bottle and beer at $9 was bad, but a bottle of water at $3.95 + a bottle was a bit too much. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Just out of dry dock after a refit and many cabins unfit for human habitation. See other similar reviews. A/C in the cabin not working (75+ deg) while ice cold in the corridor outside!!! We had to leave the cabin door open to get cool at ... Read More
Just out of dry dock after a refit and many cabins unfit for human habitation. See other similar reviews. A/C in the cabin not working (75+ deg) while ice cold in the corridor outside!!! We had to leave the cabin door open to get cool at all. Our patio door out to the deck did not work so we could not even get a cool breeze. There were water leaks all over our deck ( although not in our cabin) and the smell of dampness permeated the atmosphere at times. There was a smell of burnt metal and sawdust for the first few days. maybe it went away, maybe we just got used to it. My wife, along with many other passengers, came down with a chest infection due to the poisonous air. Thankfully after $2000 of medical expenses she picked up by day 5 of our trip. Funnily enough this was just about the same time that the A/C and water leaks were repaired on our deck. Crewmen were welding or cutting metal outside our door on the lanai deck. A rail on the rear pool deck was missing a 3 foot length and was crudely repaired with a length of plank screwed across the gap.!!! I kid you not! (photos to follow when I find them) I know that some guests left the ship at the first port of call and if my wife had been well enough, and the port suitable, we to would also have disembarked. When my wife was quite ill and unable to leave the cabin "room service" got 5 orders in a row wrong. Eventually I started going to the restaurant myself and brought her meals to her. All of this was a great shame because the ship had the potential to be a very enjoyable experience. We found the crew to be generally very friendly and efficient. The dining room was an enjoyable experience and the food very good. ( to we cruise virgins.) I think that this ship would normally be an 8 or 9 out of 10 but for us, and many other people it was a very disappointing. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had never sailed on HA and had heard good things about this cruise line, so when a Dec cruise to Asia came up with ports we had never been to but wanted to see, we jumped at the chance to be a part of this experience. First off, the ... Read More
We had never sailed on HA and had heard good things about this cruise line, so when a Dec cruise to Asia came up with ports we had never been to but wanted to see, we jumped at the chance to be a part of this experience. First off, the crew and staff for the most part were great - very friendly, helpful and accommodating. In addition to the destinations, they were the best part of the cruise! Negatives: 1. our cabin - it looked good, but the air conditioning never worked so it was always 75°F or more, in countries that were already uncomfortably hot and humid. The staff were vigilant in trying to fix the problem but were not successful. Also, there was a leak somewhere that left a wet area outside our bathroom for the entire 2 weeks. To remedy the problem, a large, loud fan that blew hot air onto the spot was brought in, but as our cabin was already too warm, we sent the fan away after a few hours. 2. public areas - meanwhile, the hallways and public rooms (bars, theater, restaurants, library, etc.) were freezing cold, which other passengers also complained about. That finally got fixed on our last 2 days on board. It's a wonder that we didn't catch a cold. 3. the food - the food at the Lido and in the dining room was bland for our tastes (being foodies from SF who are 65+) and seemed geared to older people whose taste buds don't like surprises. I finally started asking for sambal to be brought out for my meals, which they did. We also thought that the meat and fish served was not the best quality... The fries at the Dive-in and the morning congee and omelettes at the Lido, however, were some of the best we had. The other problem with the food was that it was generally not served until 7am or after 8.30pm, so there were a few times we woke up or went to bed starving. Also, as everything at the Lido had to be served, there were long lines of impatient, sometimes rude, passengers. 4. the activities - On Princess cruises I'm usually racing from lectures to dance classes to trivia, and back again, often without enough time for a sit-down meal. On this HA cruise, I was rarely busy as there were few lectures and even fewer dance and arts and crafts classes. It was good to have down time, but I felt again that this cruise was geared to older, more sedentary passengers. The Test Kitchen and lectures that were given, however, were excellent and informative. 5. the excursions - Most ship excursions are expensive, and these were no exception, but the HA excursions were much better than the ones I've been on with Princess. The guides, transport and organization were generally excellent, but were worth paying the premium prices. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We booked with Holland American because of previous quality and service. We received an e mail prior to boarding asking us not to board before 1pm instead of before 12 noon as the ship had been in dry dock and would not be ready to use. ... Read More
We booked with Holland American because of previous quality and service. We received an e mail prior to boarding asking us not to board before 1pm instead of before 12 noon as the ship had been in dry dock and would not be ready to use. Then they sent another e mail saying that we could board on the normal time. On boarding the cabin had not been cleaned it had rubble on the carpets, dust all over everything inside, curtains were inside the draws, we complained. Later water was leaking into the cabin from the bottom of the toilet. There was no cold water apart from what was coming in via the toilet. The air conditioning was not working cabin was very hot did not work for 3 days. We complained in a long line of other people who were experiencing similar issues. In fact we spent the first day complaining rather than enjoying the cruise. The toilets in the main public areas were not working which caused them to be backed up and less than usable. There was several leaks in the public areas which needed to be zoned off and industrial dryers used to dry the area. One night while sitting in bar near the shops a large metal ceiling tile about 3 feet x 3 feet came crashing to the floor. Missing customers who were in the bar by inches witnessed by staff. Someone had made the decision to use this ship in an unserviceable condition. I have sent an e mail to Holland American customer services who acknowledged receipt and a follow up. I have had no reply in over two weeks. I do not feel they will reply as I feel there is no customer service with them. I will not book a cruise with them again unless I receive a reply. Sorry. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
As other cruisers have put it, this ship should have stayed in drydock. The information published on the internet about the refurbishment indicated some great changes that would certainly enhance the cruise. Coupled with our previous HAL ... Read More
As other cruisers have put it, this ship should have stayed in drydock. The information published on the internet about the refurbishment indicated some great changes that would certainly enhance the cruise. Coupled with our previous HAL experiences, we had high expectations. Unfortunately the information was inaccurate and, to be frank, this ship is a piece of junk. More info about the ship- leaky pipes and a near flood on our first day at sea. Some of the ship's public rooms were clearly renovated, while others were not. What HAL's calculus was in why certain places should be renovated first was unclear. Cabin- See below for cabin review. It was supposedly a suite, but I think that's false advertising. The AC system either didn't work at all or couldn't be turned off when we sailed into colder climates during the cruise. Fortunately, beyond the room being old and needing massive upkeep was the extent of my cabin's issues. A lot of fellow passengers had flooded rooms/toilets and other serious issues. Dining- Pinnacle Grill was great, and the Dive-In was pretty good. Beyond that, the food was not up to HAL standards. I hate to be so harsh, but some of the food tasted like something I would eat at my college dining hall. That all said, I thought it was great that they offered local cuisine from the countries we were visiting, so people could sample the fare without worrying about local cleaning standards. Entertainment/Activities- The America's Test Kitchen lectures were great, and the port lectures weren't too bad. Other cruise lines have subject matter experts on board who can do deep dives into what we will experience. I can't speak to any of the other entertainment beyond the movies at the Wajang Theater. Service- The major bright spot. My cabin stewards were excellent and the staff did a great job, I would also like to highlight the work of the maintenance people who were, unfortunately, constantly at work fixing issues that should have been identified during the drydock. Ports and Shore Excursions- The reason we booked this trip. All things being equal, we'd take a ship in lousy shape if it meant getting a chance to visit those places. Excellent itinerary. Embarkation was poorly organized, especially the lines to go through immigration. The guy "directing" was completely disorganized and eventually passengers took matters in to their own hands and just walked up. HAL, drydock the Volendam and do a top to bottom thorough check. I can think most passengers would have been happier if you had done that and pushed our cruise dates a bit. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this trip for two main reasons: 1. the Holland America experience (this was my 8th cruise with HAL) 2. the locations to be visited (Japan & China) We planned this trip, with our dear friends from the U.K. whom we had ... Read More
We chose this trip for two main reasons: 1. the Holland America experience (this was my 8th cruise with HAL) 2. the locations to be visited (Japan & China) We planned this trip, with our dear friends from the U.K. whom we had met on a previous HAL cruise, for over a year. We were so looking forward to our journey!!! What we experienced was a huge & bitter disappointment! Our cabin had a distinctive & very strong smell of urine (akin to an outhouse) which seemed to come on and off through the pipes. Given that the cruise was completely sold out there was no point in complaining as there was no alternative cabin to move to. There were other areas where it appeared that the company has cut back, perhaps cost saving measures had been applied (service, food, entertainment), which was also disappointing. For example: the entertainment included a few nights with no show, a few nights of the "Volendam singers & dancers", a harmonica duo, an accordion player and a man sitting at a table doing card tricks. As mentioned I've been on 7 previous cruises with HAL and am used to cruise ship entertainment but this was a poor showing indeed. However, the worst experiences were the shore excursions! I have never felt so cheated & used in all of my previous travels and I am still smarting from the experience. For the entire time we were in Japan it was raining, cloudy and gray which was absolutely no fault of HAL. However, what they decided to do with the shore excursions was another matter. In Shimizu we booked (at a cost of just under $100 USD each) a visit to a lookout to see Mt. Fuji and then a visit to a shrine. As we boarded our tour bus it was evident that our guide knew that we could not visit the lookout and would not see Mt. Fuji. This was not their fault but what they did instead was unacceptable. We drove to an isolated, very small tea store where we were told we had to wait an hour. We stood under an awning looking out at a gray, hazy world for an hour before boarding the bus once again for our next stop. We visited a shrine where we saw everything there was to see in about 15 minutes and then, once again, were told we had to wait an hour in the wet miserable weather with nowhere to go before we could head back to the ship. I can't for the life of me understand why they didn't cancel the excursion or, at the very least, offer us a refund so we could explore alternatives as they knew we could not do what our itinerary listed. Another, extremely sad & disappointing excursion was the overnight trip to Beijing. This trip cost each of us almost $1,000 USD and we were so very, very excited about all that we would enjoy. Our bus was absolutely filthy, the seatbelts were inaccessible (though we would be spending hours on the highway) and some of the seats randomly reclined on their own crushing the knees of the person sitting behind. At lunch neither the guide, nor the HAL rep on the trip, would help ensure the 4 of us could sit together but instead insisted we squeeze in at two separate tables earmarked for bus #16. There were lots of places, in the same room, that we could have sat together but this was not a part of their agenda. Finally, after a dismal lunch we headed off to the main event, the Great Wall of China! However, because we still had to visit another temple we were only allowed a brief time at the wall - not nearly enough time to climb to the top as planned. After a long and extremely disappointing day we finally headed towards our hotel. The four of us were really hoping to salvage something of the day by exploring the nightlife of Beijing on this, our one and only night in this amazing city. However, the hotel selected by HAL was way off in the business district and so there was nothing near by. We felt trapped in the hotel where drinks were approximately $20 each so sad, tired and disappointed we went off to bed at 9:00. In the morning we headed off to breakfast determined to start the day with a good attitude. I won't go into detail about the appalling way things went at breakfast but suffice it to say it took the 4 of us over half an hour to chase down a simple cup of coffee after being told that they had "run out of cups" at the hotel. Wow, that was a new one! I honestly felt sick to my stomach that I had convinced our dear friends to pay the $1000 USD for this excursion which proved to be worth considerably less than what was paid! I was so unhappy that the next day I went down to the front office to complain about the experience. This is something I have never done before! Later that day I received a call from the excursions office "thanking me for my feedback." On yet another excursion we were to visit a silk factory to watch how silk is made. However, that turned out to be nothing more than a sales pitch after which we had to stand around and wait for an hour while people were encouraged to buy silk bedding. While standing around we learned that a number of people had received refunds for an excursion where they didn't get enough time to visit one of their temples. I was stunned by this news given that we spent an hour standing in the rain at a tea shop, rather than visit the scheduled lookout, but no one had ever offered us any kind of refund. I have always loved travelling with HAL but this was one of the worst experiences I have ever had on a vacation. My husband and I are not wealthy and the cost of this cruise + the multiple shore excursions was considerable. I truly felt horribly cheated by most of the shore excursions in which we participated and I am deeply disappointed and saddened by Holland America's response. We had previously booked two additional cruises with Holland America this year (one in the winter and another in the spring) and given our unpleasant experience in October we cancelled our winter cruise upon our return home. We asked that our agent tell Holland America why we were doing so and she kindly did so. I was deeply offended by the response from Holland America. They did not offer to reimburse the $100 USD each that we paid to stand in the rain at a tea shop nor did they offer any recompense for any of our other excursions. Instead they offered us some shipboard credit, NOT on the cruise we still have booked for the spring, but instead only available if we book yet another new cruise on Holland America within the next year. Wow! That is a stunning response. My husband and I are 4 Star Mariners who have enjoyed a wonderful, lengthy relationship with Holland America. However, I'm afraid this incredible response (i.e. buy yet another cruise and you will receive some extra credit) has pretty much determined that our relationship with Holland America has likely come to an end. Shame on you, Holland America. 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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