2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Finishing the Trip – Lima to San Diego – February 15 to March 4 , 2019 Why this cruise? We had sailed from San Diego to Callao/Lima 5 years ago on the “old” Statendam and wanted to do the return trip. This time we would be on ... Read More
Finishing the Trip – Lima to San Diego – February 15 to March 4 , 2019 Why this cruise? We had sailed from San Diego to Callao/Lima 5 years ago on the “old” Statendam and wanted to do the return trip. This time we would be on Volendam, and there were fewer port stops and more sea days, but we were looking for a relaxing experience which we found. Holland America is not our most favorite cruise line; but deserves a 4 star rating for its efforts and wide ranging itinerary selections. Getting there. We flew American Airlines to LAX, and then boarded a LATAM Airlines plane. This company was formed by a merger of a Chilean airline and a Brazilian airline, and they bought some Boeing 987 Dreamliners, one of which we flew. It was a very nice plane with excellent service, although I can never sleep on planes, even when stretched out in Business class as on this flight. Lima. We arrived on Saturday, and stayed at a hotel in Lima that night since we could not board the ship until Sunday. We also contacted our tour guide from our prior trip – Monica of Monica Tours Peru, for tours on Saturday and Monday. We booked transportation from the airport to our hotel on line before we left and would highly recommend the company – taxidatum@gmail.com. The cost was $18.00 with a senior discount, although I paid the driver $20.00. We stayed at the BTH Hotel which we found on both Trip Advisor and Trivago. It was very reasonable, and a fairly nice place with an extremely helpful desk staff that spoke excellent English. The restaurant was quite nice, with a decent dinner and excellent breakfast. The breakfast was included in the $108.00 hotel price! Getting on board can be a problem in Lima/Callao. One must have a pass to get on the dock. The cruise lines pick up passengers who have purchased air through them at the airport and drive them to the ship. All others must go to a hotel site to catch a cruise bus. We were able to get hold of taxidatum and they picked us up at the BTH hotel on Sunday and drove us to the Marriot Hotel in Miraflores for $15.00where we caught the shuttle bus to the ship. Boarding was actually on board the ship since there were few of us, so we made it to our stateroom and unpacked quickly. We stayed on board the rest of the day, and met Monica for another tour of Lima on Monday before we did our own little muster drill and sailed away that afternoon The Volendam Our ship was constructed in 1999 and had been refurbished a few years ago. Its normal passenger complement is 1400 in a 60,000 gross tonnage craft which makes for a decent space ratio of 42.85 cubic feet per passenger. The public spaces have lots of seating and tend to have dark wood with old fashioned prints and decorative pieces. There are three elevator/stair banks which allow very decent passenger flow. It is easy to get around and the only crowds are in the theater for shows. There are two pools, one midships and the other aft – both on the Lido deck. The library is part of the computer room, but was never crowded. There is a separate Digital Workshop room. Our Stateroom We had a standard verandah cabin on Deck 6. Volendam shows its age in its offering of cabins. Only the upper two stateroom decks, 6 and 7 have verandahs. Decks 3, 4 and 5 staterooms have only windows. Our layout had a fair amount of room with a full length leather couch opposite a nice desk with 6 full drawers. The closets were opposite the bath which had a tub/ shower. The lighting was good, and we managed to get the temperature to a decent level. The verandah had a lounge chair as well as a side chair. We were only a few steps from the mid ships elevators, two decks below the Lido deck, and two above the main dining room and theater. Entertainment The production shows, with four singers and six dancers were not bad, although quite loud as is common. There was one other musician playing a variety of instruments, with a comic patter. There were three comedians, which we skipped. There was a trio of lady singers who were not bad. The classical music was provided by a violinist with a piano accompanist. They played 4 sets on most nights, but did not play at all on a few nights. We gave the whole entertainment panoply a 5 out of 10 rating. On Board Information Presentations. These were fairly extensive and well done. There was a Digital Workshop host – Frank – who did from one to four presentations every day and was quite knowledgeable. There were regular talks about the places we would visit. The ship has a large demonstration kitchen with a presentation cook doing at least one cooking show each morning and afternoon. In addition there were the usual bridge and mah jong games, along with arts and crafts, and the Wajang Theater showed movies three three times a day. All told, there was plenty to do on board. Food Holland America does a pretty good job with food, although it does not come close to Crystal or Oceania. The main dining room is on Decks 4 and 5, with 4 being for open seating and 5 for set seating. Service for dinner starts at 5:15 and is busy immediately sine the evening shows start at 8:00 and people start arriving at the theater at 7:00. In addition to the dining room, there is the Pinnacle Room with a charge of $50.00 per person. We ate there one night as the guest of our travel agent, and it was quite good. We also were guests at Canaletto, which is an Italian Restaurant set up each night at a section of the Lido buffet. For $15.00 extra per person it was quite good. The Lido buffet itself has good selections and keeps the food hot, but the service is somewhat short handed, both on the serving line and in the restaurant portion. Getting coffee in the morning was often a struggle. There was only one soup for lunch, but sushi was always available. The pastries were quite fine. My wife is a vegetarian and was almost always able to obtain a decent selection. I would rate the food experience at 8.5 out of 10, below the 9.4 and 9.5 of Oceania and Crystal; and in the same range as Princess and Celebrity. Fellow Passengers Holland America does not cater much to children, and there were only 3 on board. The overwhelming number of us were in the Medicare set, and mostly American and Canadian, with a few Germans. The clothing style was very casual, with only a slight improvement on the “formal” nights. This seems to be the way cruising is headed these days. Many had extensive cruising experience, and we had lots of pleasant conversations. The Crew As always, the crew was friendly and generally helpful. Most of the dining room and buffet staff, and all of the cabin workers were Indonesian, a practice this line has followed dating back to when Indonesia was the Dutch East Indies. They are uniformly friendly and smiling. The Captain, a German, was often seen about the ship. Holland America has a long sea faring history, and knows how to sail a ship quite well, thank you. Ports of Call. The first stop was 130 miles south of Callao at a place called General San Martin. It is only a pier and the town of Paracas is about 10 miles away. The area is the most barren desert we have ever seen. It probably could be called the Peruvian extension of Chile’s Atacama Desert, just about the driest place on earth. But, here was an excellent tour available to the off shore Ballestas Islands. I had found this tour on line and we paid $15.75 apiece. The ship’s tour cost $164.95 per person! That was a nice savings of $300.00 indeed. The tour was in an open boat holding about 40 people. There were several such boats and ours did not have any cruise passengers because we boarded through the company (Paracas Explorer – bookings@findlocaltrips.com) that sold us the tickets. The Ballestas Islands contain a variety of birds such as boobies, cormorants, pelicans and penguins as well as seals and dolphins. The birds provide a huge amount of guano, which is carefully guarded until it is removed and sold at a high price. The birds are evidently undisturbed by the removal process. On the way out we saw a huge carving on the side of a hill in the style of the ancient Nazca tribe. The boat trip took about two + hours and was well worth it, especially at $30.00 for both of us. All the rest of our tour were HAL tours. A very nice guide book showing all the tours was provided, and there was a wide selection in most ports. After three sea, days we arrived at Punta Arenas, Costa Rica where we took a ships bus tour and enjoyed a local dance show and later a stop at a souvenir shop. Costa Rica is a very nice country with a stable democratic government, no army and one of the highest literacy rates in the world. We did not get off the ship in Nicaragua, the next stop. The following day we toured the city of Antigua in Guatemala. This city is a UNESCO World Heritage site which means a real effort has been made at preservation. The first stop was the Jade Museum, where the presenter was a lady from Yorkshire. The individuals who discovered the jade were from Texas and the wife was present in the museum and store. The collection was quite beautiful. We also drove around town with a guide who was quite frank about the poor state of affairs in her country due to corruption and a concentration of wealth in 20 families. The literacy rate here is one of the worst in the world. But the cost of living is quite low. After two sea days we arrived at Manzanillo, Mexico, which is a pleasant town, where we did a typical tour which was hardly memorable. The next day was spent in Puerto Vallarta, where we have spent some time in the past. The tour was fairly short and again, not exciting, but pleasant. After two sea days we arrived in San Diego. Disembarkation went smoothly. Overall Rating We took this cruise for two reasons. The first was to finish the Inca Empire cruise which we had started five years ago. The second attraction was the number of sea days, and the way they were spaced. We find these days most relaxing. I was able to enjoy exercising in the pools, do a lot of reading, staring at the ocean, and of course, eat. So, while this was not our most exciting trip, it provided just what we wanted, 15 days at ease. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This cruise was chosen because the ports were places we had not visited yet. While 15 nights on board were about 7 too many, we were able to visit 6 new cities during that time. Our days at sea were restful & quiet overall, because ... Read More
This cruise was chosen because the ports were places we had not visited yet. While 15 nights on board were about 7 too many, we were able to visit 6 new cities during that time. Our days at sea were restful & quiet overall, because most of the passengers were well past 80 years of age. The noise level was low & service by staff attentive & friendly. Holland does a good job overall. Internet service should be offered & fresher fruit served on the buffet table. The 'nickel & diming' of the passengers is annoying & why many choose other cruise lines for future trips. The on shore excursions were better than those on the Westerdam Mediterranean cruise 2018. I feel for the staff who have to accommodate so many seriously handicapped individuals who often put others in jeopardy due to there physical limitations. May the staff receive extra pay for these duties. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our second sailing on the Volendam (Sixth on Holland America, twenty sixth overall) It was a simple 15 day Panama Canal crossing from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale. What was remarkable to me about this cruise was that there was so ... Read More
This was our second sailing on the Volendam (Sixth on Holland America, twenty sixth overall) It was a simple 15 day Panama Canal crossing from San Diego to Ft Lauderdale. What was remarkable to me about this cruise was that there was so LITTLE to remark on. Everything worked, everything ran smoothly, the food was great, the ports were as advertised. On the subject of ports, we called on eight, and with one exception, we were the only ship at each port. That made for VERY pleasant days. As has always been our experience on HAL, the ship was full of "Baby Boomers", with few younger people on board, and virtually NO children. (Perhaps because the school holidays had just ended?) This led to all of the (many) enrichment lectures on board being VERY well attended, and late night entertainment being almost non existent. The ship itself was in very good condition, with virtually no issues. The only thing we noticed was one flooded bathroom, and that was (According to one of the engineering officers) due to "something" (I will refrain from being graphic) being flushed down the toilet that should not have been. Reaction by the crew as fast and efficient, and the effected passengers were well taken care of. Food on board this ship was "cruise normal", with meals in the main dining room being slightly above average, the food in the LIDO above what I have come to expect, (on mainline cruise lines) and the food in the Pinnicle Grill well above expectations. All in all a great cruise, well worth the cost, and highly recommended (IF you have no children with you, and IF you can entertain yourself and are not looking for the ship to entertain you all day every day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Iren & Vadim Timof (72 years old. Fremont California). That was our 13-th cruise. We enjoyed with our Panama cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego (December 18,2018 to January 3, 2019). Service on board was excellent, but ... Read More
Iren & Vadim Timof (72 years old. Fremont California). That was our 13-th cruise. We enjoyed with our Panama cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego (December 18,2018 to January 3, 2019). Service on board was excellent, but dining menu in restaurant and buffet was poor. The same we can say about shops range. Very sorry. We liked all our excursions. It was very good arranged. Cabin service was very good. Everything was on time and with smile. We were exited with Christmas and New Year celebration, especially with lighting Christmas Tree and singing Christmas songs! Special thanks to a little girl who lighted Christmas Tree!. The most pleasure we got from Adagio music duo violinist Cristian and pianist Nadya. Cristian is an exceptional artistic talent. He excites the audience emotionally and engages each listener intellectually. He sparks a love for chamber music in the hearts of every listener. Thanks. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had a great cruise on the Volendam. So first things first, the Alaskan destination was great, This is clearly why we were on the cruise - to see Alaska. What a fantastic place it was. It was one majestic vista after another. ... Read More
We had a great cruise on the Volendam. So first things first, the Alaskan destination was great, This is clearly why we were on the cruise - to see Alaska. What a fantastic place it was. It was one majestic vista after another. Juneau and Skagway had very little to offer in themselves but the excursions from there were great. We booked a Harv and Marv whale watching tour in Juneau instead of the Holland America excursion and it was a great choice. The small boat and the excellent staff there had us up close with whales in no time. I definitely recommend the excursion. But Juneau itself didn't have a great deal to see. It was interesting to walk around for an hour or so but after that, we just wanted our whale watching tour to start. Skagway seemed to exist only to sell tourist tat. It was OK for a little wander but the value in the destination was in the excursions. We opted for a Glacier Expedition with Alaska Excursions and loved it. Ketchikan was the best of the 3 stops. It was an interesting place to wander about and we ended up hiking the Deer Mountain Trail. Very enjoyable. Back on-board the ship, the service was excellent. Wherever we went the staff were helpful and welcoming. I was surprised how many staff go to know our names personally. We had a Netpune suite and really enjoyed the extra space it offered. But perhaps the best feature was the excellent concierge staff in the Neptune lounge. The food in the main dining room was great as was the Pinnacle Grill. But the food on the lido deck was so-so. It wasn't bad...it just wasn't that great either. Our cabin was great. The location was excellent and it was quiet and comfortable. The ship entertainment wasn't bad but it was a little cheesy at times. The thing that let down Holland America was the quality of the on-board activities. Really these were pretty few and far between. The Microsoft computer labs and the cooking lessons were of little interest. If it wasn't for the Explorations Cafe and the games and books there, we would have really struggled. I think it might be more noticeable on an Alaskan cruise as there are more days on the ship. The ship is older but the decorative order was fine. It would have been nice to have a bigger TV in the room and for the ship to offer in-cabin video streaming services rather than a DVD library from the front desk. Maybe this was a feature of the ship rather than Holland America. Overall a great cruise but there are opportunities for Holland America to improve. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We booked this cruise as ports looked great (japan to Vancouver via Alaska) and thought would try holland America line. Overall we enjoyed everything - staff great, food amazing, efficient off and on boat, shows pretty good. A different ... Read More
We booked this cruise as ports looked great (japan to Vancouver via Alaska) and thought would try holland America line. Overall we enjoyed everything - staff great, food amazing, efficient off and on boat, shows pretty good. A different culture compared to our previous celebrity, princess and royal Caribbean cruises. Found the cruise to be very relaxing with lots of time to read, play games and chill. Loved the bridge classes offered every mornings. A great activity. Only issue was our cabin was in a terrible position as very noisy. We normally book a verandah cabin but thought as winter cruise would just book an ocean view cabin. Big mistake!! We were right over the propellers or thrusters so everytime we arrived in port for two hours prior (around 2 hours) from 5.00 am our whole cabin would vibrate and generate loud noises. Tried to change cabins but all full. We were compensated but I don’t know how they can get away with selling these rooms! At least six days at sea had quiet mornings! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We loved our cruise itinerary. Seeing Japan was our goal and the added days in Shanghai, South Korea, and Alaska were nice additional perks. The ports were all fantastic and the excursions we took through HAL were very good but the ... Read More
We loved our cruise itinerary. Seeing Japan was our goal and the added days in Shanghai, South Korea, and Alaska were nice additional perks. The ports were all fantastic and the excursions we took through HAL were very good but the excursions team had to make changes to some of the tours and itineraries and instead of being transperent with their reasons, hid behind no-blame disclosures in their letter to our stateroom. We were travelling with another couple and we received a letter telling us that they had to cancel one of our excursions because the departure time was earlier than our return from an earlier excursion that day. They ended the letter by telling us they were sorry but this had only happened to one other couple on the ship. Well, the couple we were with plus a dozen other couples we spoke to had all had the same change! It was clear we could make both events, but don't undermine our intelligence but telling us that it was an isolated incident. The glitch was that anyone who had pre-booked the excursion online prior to the cruise was given the option of the excursion on a date and time that were not valid. They had also mislabeled the level of activity required for many of the excursions, with some being more strenuous then suggested and others being less strenuous. There were also many errors in departure times printed on the tickets and we received multiple notes in our door updating times. We were disappointed in the lack of quality control from the excursions team. The third party providers of the excursion tours were excellent in all the cities We have sailed with HAL for 15 years and we could really see changes in amenities and services but "trimming the sails" is an economic reality and for the most part Holland America offers an excellent product. Our experience was excellent and thanks to the hard working and dedicated service crew we had the time of our lives. The cabin was perfect, the room steward, Sam, was excellent. The dining experience has two sides to it. The food was fantastic, but Holland America has got to address the open seating in the main dining room that isn't open seating at all. You cannot just show up and expect to be seated. They hand you a pager and the wait is as long as 45 minutes. Once they have started the 5:15 service they don't seem to seat anyone else until after 7:15 and when you show up at 7:15 they hand you a pager and you can wait up to 30 minutes to be seated. The staff cuts have been significant but the service is still an expectation of the ship's reputation as well as the clientele, so stewards are run off their feet, taking orders, replacing cutlery, brushing crumbs from the table, making sure the correct order is in front of you, prepping your next course and doing that 4 or 5 times per person. For the first time in 15 years of cruising we had waits between courses that were as long as 15 minutes. Our servers cannot be blamed they never stopped hustling, Either staff the dining room or change the service method in the open seating area. We were able to get set seating at 8:00 PM in the upper dining room on the last 15 days of this cruise and it was a far better experience because there was no chaos. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I loved the itinerary of my cruise on the Volendam. I sailed from Singapore to Shanghai and discovered many unknown ports and countries. As far as the itinerary was concerned the trip exceeded expectations. As usual the crew from ... Read More
I loved the itinerary of my cruise on the Volendam. I sailed from Singapore to Shanghai and discovered many unknown ports and countries. As far as the itinerary was concerned the trip exceeded expectations. As usual the crew from Holland Amerika was great as well. However there are some improvements that could be made. Especially during the second leg of the trip, from Hong Kong to Shanghai, the customs forms were rarely delivered to my room. I had to make sure that I read the daily programm to be sure I would not miss out on something last minute. I know customs are very demanding in this part of the world but if you say you will deliver forms to people's staterooms you should do it. It went wrong at least three times in my case. I was also annoyed by the fact that the laundry I sent out came back with the same stains I had sent it in for. This is the problem if you cannot do laundry by yourself. I would have treated the stains before putting things in the machine, they obviously don't. Last but not least, the menu was quite often the same or maybe I should say that I saw the same dishes come back over and over again. There was less variation then I am used to from other cruises. HAL also seems to cut on things like a pen, a note pad and a picture of the ship in your room. The in-room breakfast also offered less choice than I had on other HAL ships. Maybe this comes because this is a smaller ship, maybe it is a budget cut. On the bright side though were the new bathrooms, I loved the walk in shower. What a great improvement. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the price. Apart from Bali, the ports of call were nothing to write home about.....but we loved this holiday because of the ship...not too big, well appointed, quiet, delicious food, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the price. Apart from Bali, the ports of call were nothing to write home about.....but we loved this holiday because of the ship...not too big, well appointed, quiet, delicious food, excellent service, lovely cabin....we really appreciated the recently refurbished bathrooms. Our cabin stewards did a great job and the nightly towel sculptures brought smiles to our faces. If you are looking for a medium sized ship without the bells and whistles, Volendam is for you. We particularly enjoyed sitting on deck three..perfect if you are looking for a shady spot....the loungers are excellent and the deck has a spacious walkway. The happy hours with delicious snacks, and sampling at the martini bar were excellent value. I was pleased to be offered a welcome drink at the captain’s reception.....some cruise lines seem to have dispensed with this. If Volendam is typical of the Holland America line, I would not hesitate to use it again, or to recommend it to others. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and ... Read More
We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and Singapore. Overall, not too many days "at the sea" and nice ports of call selections. Good start and end ports (where you can come in earlier or stay more at the end - like three days for each) to you can better see and experience both Hong Kong and Singapore. The ship is not in a good shape anymore. The food is about average (the same food choice over and over again, day after day). The Lido on this ship closes at 8 pm (not at 9 pm as on other Holland America ships). The late dining takes way too long (one hour is the minimum - going up to 1.5 or 2 hrs) as they did cut on cooks and waiters as well - so be prepared to wait for your food if you want each night dining experience. We skipped the dining experience for the last couple of days as it was too long for getting the food. As usual, shore excursions as overpriced, but if you do your homework in advance - you can get at least 1/2 price if not even better. These are interesting ports of call - so the cruise is worth although it has all these issues (mentioned above). The late night entertainment was sub par (only 3 good shows in 14 days). 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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