585 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

Last January I traveled from Hong Kong to Singapore on the Volendaam. I have thought long and hard about this review, and I tried to contact someone at Holland America to talk about it, but I got no response better than a brush off ... Read More
Last January I traveled from Hong Kong to Singapore on the Volendaam. I have thought long and hard about this review, and I tried to contact someone at Holland America to talk about it, but I got no response better than a brush off "You reported a sharp zip", which is an untruth. It is possible that they did act on my correspondence; if so, they gave no indication of that, so here it is. My concerns were about poor maintenance and safety. The poor maintenance applied to all parts of the ship. It was very cold throughout the ship for the first few days, people were leaving the dining room to go back and fetch their coats. Anyone with an engineering training kept noticing maintenance tasks that were just not being doing done when they should - engineers are trained to actively look for problems, it becomes a habit. The Lido area was in such a bad way that it just looked tatty. I did raise the issue with the front desk, and with the Lido manager (I think he said he was) but nothing got done. The overwhelming impression I received was that the Maintenance Department was seriously under staffed, or dreadfully badly managed. That was only disappointing. Then we got to Halong Bay and went ashore on a Tender. These Tenders have zip panels (4 in all) in sides for entry and exit which are a vital component of the Tender in a heavy sea. A heavy sea is what you will be in if the ship sinks and has to be abandoned, so it really matters. A heavy sea is what the Tender will find itself in, if during the 10 minute journey to shore it gets caught in a vicious sudden squall (it happens). If the panels don't zip up securely the water floods into the boat and passengers will get washed away. People will probably die. On this particular Tender the zips on the rear port side panel were completely shot, large sections of teeth missing, zip stitching failed and coming away from the canvas. There was no way that panel could have been closed, at all, not even slightly. It was appalling that passengers were being sent out in that boat, it was appalling that the seamen manning the Tender were apparently un-aware of its dangerous state, and were surprised when I pointed it out. It begged the question of who was responsible for ensuring this Tender was in a safe condition. As far as I could work out - no one. OK, one Tender, they got a report, I assumed that they would do what any organization would that has any kind of a safety culture, if one was wrong they would fix it and go round and check all the others. That is what you do, that is safety 101, and if you don't do that sooner or later, you get a serious accident. Then we went by Tender into Danang. This tender had similar problems (forward port side) in that the stitching had failed in three places. If a wave hit that weakened stitching it would rip the rest of it open in moments, and again people would likely be washed overboard. So bad stitching, shouldn't have happened. But it's worse that that. Those tenders are constructed as two fibreglass sections (top and bottom) joined together to form a monocoque structure. In the centre is a 2 metre high vertical steel square section that holds the steering gear and cabling up to the steering wheel on a mezzanine area. That square section also helps to hold the roof up and is an integral part of the strength of the roof of the Tender, the strength of the roof of the Tender that will be vital if a wave lands on it in a storm. The box section was formed from a C (aka U) channel with a plate screwed onto the front with screws every 15cms. That precisely regular distance between the screws tells you that the Engineer who designed the structure calculated how close together the screws need to be to get the full strength of a Box section, and not just the much weaker C section behind it. But most of the screws were missing. Clearly a maintenance worker had taken the plate off and when putting it back again decided he didn't need all those screws to hold a covering plate in place, and didn't bother with two thirds of them. But it's not a covering plate, it's a structural element; it really matters. Further there were no screws at all at the L bend at the bottom (where they were not conveniently accessible), which would be the most likely fracture point because bends are always a weak point. This was not a recent phenomenon. The empty screw holes had been over painted. So a maintenance engineer didn't do their job properly, whoever signed off that work didn't do their job, the Tender has subsequently undergone further maintenance, and the person who painted it didn't say "This isn't right", and whoever signed off that paint job didn't notice anything either. Further the dozens of seamen who have manned that Tender since haven't noticed or haven't commented. In the airline industry where safety is taken seriously any one of these people would have been sacked on the spot, immediate dismissal, and all their past work reviewed. But what does that mean for the sea worthiness of the Tender? Could it survive a heavy sea? Nobody knows; it is as simple as that, nobody knows. Unless you go back to the original designer's calculations, who will have designed for the roof to not collapse under a certain force (i.e. a great big wave landing on it), and put in a C channel to replace the Box section that was designed, you just don't know. It might be OK, it might not. Probably not, if it was OK without them the designer wouldn't have bothered with all those screws. Nobody designs in cost that isn't needed. So there we have it, it might be OK it might not, nobody's bothered. That seems to be the attitude to safety on the Volendaam. On the other hand, I hand traveled on the Zaandam the year before and found nothing to fault; nothing. How can two ships in the same company be so completely different? Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Extremely poor customer service from the front desk! I had completed and faxed in a Special Requirement form for my granny since she has special dietary needs due to her diabetes and prior kidney problems. Her insulin needs to be ... Read More
Extremely poor customer service from the front desk! I had completed and faxed in a Special Requirement form for my granny since she has special dietary needs due to her diabetes and prior kidney problems. Her insulin needs to be refrigerated, and she also required a needle dispenser in her room. When my parents and my granny got into their cabin, they realized there were no where to refrigerate the insulin and no needle dispenser. When we went to the front desk they said they did not receive any information about the requests made on the form. Seriously? What is the point in asking guests to complete the form when none of the information gets passed to the ship? They gave us the options of renting a fridge from them for $2 a day or have a cooler and ice packs delivered to the cabin. The ice packs will need to be replaced once every 24 hours. We opted for the cooler and ice pack option since we don't feel justified to pay for the fridge when we did our part in making the requests over a month prior to our sailing. I had even called the dept that handled the special requests and they confirmed the form had been received and processed. My parents waited in their cabin for 3 hours for the cooler, ice packs and needle dispenser to be delivered. They called the front desk at least four times during their wait. They kept telling them they are on their way on the first few calls. During one call the front desk rep hung up on my mom during mid-conversation! My mom was furious and called back right away. The same rep picked up the phone. When my mom questioned her about her hanging up the phone, she apologized and said she had an emergency call. No matter what the circumstances it is absolutely unacceptable for her to hang up on a guest without a single word of explanation or warning prior! The rep then told my mom they were out of coolers so they can only rent a fridge from them or place the insulin in the ice bucket and they will deliver ice every three hours. My family went on the cruise to enjoy a vacation not to sit around waiting for ice delivery! There is no way we will let strangers touch my granny's insulin so that means someone will always have to be around when they delivered the ice. My dad had a long and painful debate with the rep and her manager about the situation before they finally offered to waive the fridge rental fee. It is absolutely unacceptable the way they handled the whole situation! Of course the dietary requests were also non-existent. My granny was forced to eat whatever was served at the buffet and dining room. Most of the food was way too salty for the rest of our family. Due to the high sodium diet, my granny's feet swelled up so badly that she had difficulty walking! This was their first cruise and they sure put a very bad impression for them! My husband and I felt extremely guilty and embarrassed since we invited them on this cruise with us! They ended up having a miserable time. When we walked into our own cabin, we realized the garbage in our bathroom was half full from the previous guests. Throughout our cruise the room attendant did change our bedsheets daily. However, on most days these "fresh sheets" had stains all over them. This is truly disgusting! We also noticed how not a single TV or visual display screen onboard is HD quality. We tried attending a cooking show at the Culinary Arts Centre, but we couldn't see what was the chef doing most of the time since the screens were so blurry! My dad had trouble even making out the weather forecast in their room since the TV's visual quality was so bad. There were stains all around the edge of the pool on Lido deck. It was seriously an eye sore to look at! It does not seem like the staff even bothered attempt to scrub away the stains. The overall the food quality and variety selection was not good. Way too salty and greasy! We had submitted a complaint to HAL's guest relations dept right after we got off the ship. They responded with apologies and a long email boasting their excellence in service and how many guests had a time of their life on the cruise. At the end they offered each of us $75 credit for a future cruise. We feel extremely insulted that they think $75 credit per person will show their sincerity in trying to make things right. After this cruise we do not intend to ever sale with HAL again so your credit is of no use to us in the first place. This lady's email just made us even more certain it's not worth giving us this company any future business. My advise is to stay away from this ship and HAL! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Aussies Beware. Holland America Line (HAL) Our holiday (disaster), my wife and I were on the Volendam in stateroom 7062. We arrived in Vancouver May 4th, We boarded the ship in Yokohoma a 19 day cruise, the first night on board we ... Read More
Aussies Beware. Holland America Line (HAL) Our holiday (disaster), my wife and I were on the Volendam in stateroom 7062. We arrived in Vancouver May 4th, We boarded the ship in Yokohoma a 19 day cruise, the first night on board we had very little sleep the noise above our stateroom was excessive with the moving of the table and chairs and the trolley that they use to move things around in this lasted until about midnight, then the trolley was moved again at 3am the the table and chairs were again put out for breakfast at around 4:45am. at around 11 am the next day the noise started again, I quickly went up stairs and found 3 deckhands dragging the chairs and tables around. apparently there is a store room above which contains a lot of props for decorations which are constantly being moved. My husband spoke the the deck steward about the noise, he told him he would also speak to the night deck hand. We then started my complaints to the front office trying to get a room change. we complained regularly about this as it happened every day and night until I was told that compensation would be paid and nothing else could be done. We were fobbed off. At the end of the cruise $250 taken off our bill. Not one night did we have a full sleep and forget about catching up during the day just as bad, if you are unlucky enough to have a bad stateroom they have your money and you are not getting it back. Forget Australian Consumer Guarantee laws they don't apply. Complaints get you no where. I have been in touch with ATAS was told nothing could be done and the travel agent could not be held responsible, I have been in communication with office of the president of HAL and their ombudsman what a waste of time. Its not the money but the thought that nowadays you can still get ripped off so easy. I cruise quite a bit, HAL is not up to standard and would not recommend. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We sailed back to back on the solar eclipse Indonesia cruise and then the Thailand, Vietnam to Hong Kong cruise (31 days) . We are 4 star mariners with HAL so We have sailed with them many times. We have sailed on every class of ship ... Read More
We sailed back to back on the solar eclipse Indonesia cruise and then the Thailand, Vietnam to Hong Kong cruise (31 days) . We are 4 star mariners with HAL so We have sailed with them many times. We have sailed on every class of ship except the Prinsdendam, which we know is too old and small for us. This was our first sailing on the Volendam and it will be our last on this size ship! We were in a very expensive, handicap cabin on the top cabin deck (seventh floor, Navigator deck), and it was by far the worst cabin we have ever stayed in on a HAL ship or any other. The thrusters vibrated and shook our cabin at every docking, dispute how high up we were. That meant very early, unwanted awakenings and many sleepless nights. The shake, rattle and roll experiences were on going, even during days at sea. The banging noises and furniture scraping above and around us was ridiculous! This ship must have no soundproofing at all. In addition, the migration of cigerate smoke from the deck above and from neighboring balconies, was absolutely awful. This is a problem on all HAL ships as smoking is still allowed on cabin balconies but smokers are not put on "smoker only" floors (or in "smoker only" areas of the ship). It is hard to take seriously HAL's "commitment" to great stewardship of the oceans and its inhabitants while it continues to facilitate the pollution of the lungs of its passengers with a indisputable carcinogen! Many cruise lines have banned smoking on balconies so everyone paying for this amenity can enjoy what they paid for. It's time that HAL bans balcony smoking as well. I have never had so many things to complain about on a HAL cruise. The front desk staff was ineffective. Complaints were handled by supposedly sending a email to some other person with the promise of follow up, which never occurred. I had to get the front desk manager involved (Suzzana), before things were properly addressed. She is outstanding. She got everything corrected that she could and followed up almost daily (epitomizing the HAL service focused brand). But she could not save us from the poor condition of this ship. Plumbing problems, water leaks causing musty smells in the hallways, no soundproofing between or above and below cabins, poor internet service (still), etc. The entertainment and activities on this cruise were very disappointing as well. The solar eclipse cruise did not have the level of educational and other programs they should and could have had given they rarity of this event. The captain did an outstanding job of getting us into position to see a spectacular eclipse, however. But to my point, whoever is the marketing director did not even make sure there was cruise memorabilia available for purchase! No tee shirts, solar gazing glasses, etc., which was a missed opportunity big time. Instead of trying to sell off old Hawaii cruise tee shirts, hundreds of solar eclipse shirts and other monentos could (and would) have sold out. Vaudeville days are over. Ventriloquists, magicians and mediocre lounge singers don't entertain most people today. Your singers and dancers are amazing and their shows were a highlight. Use them more. Get lecturers and arts and crafts back on board and less sales related "activities". I don't cruise to get whiter teeth, reduced wrinkles or body sculpting! I truly love HAL and have been a loyal customer for years. I hope it is just this ship and its classmates (which I will avoid in the future), that have these condition problems. Unfortunately that limits my opportunity to explore many geographic areas with HAL as they use the same ships in the same areas. Having sailed with many other cruise lines, I think HAL has some of the best itineraries at sea and I am saddened that I won't be able to sail many of them because of these older ships. I am booked on 3 cruise on the new Koningsdam, but unless it or a newer ship takes over these other itineraries, I will have to sail with some other cruise line. Only so many times one can sail the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Northern Europe. I hope that in the future HAL will truly overhaul their older ship's as they go into dry dock and not just fluff them up. The food is still the best, the cabin and dining room crew amazing and the itineraries superior. However none of that will carry the day if your passengers are often annoyed, can't sleep, can't breathe and/or can't relax on their own balconies for much of their cruise! Very disappointed with this cruise but I hope the Koningsdam restores my faith in HAL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Awful from the beginning. Rude people and nobody to help with problems. This was a trip with so much that was wrong that it would take more space than allowed. We spent extra money for this ship thinking it would be better for us as ... Read More
Awful from the beginning. Rude people and nobody to help with problems. This was a trip with so much that was wrong that it would take more space than allowed. We spent extra money for this ship thinking it would be better for us as first time cruisers, WRONG. THE TOILET in our stateroom was to the rim with water when we got into our room. They got it to go down but the next morning it was the same. They sent a plumber 3 times and could not put us in another room. All in all I had to put towels on the floor 4 different times. We took the elevator to a different floor to use the public restroom. Awful. The main dinning room was only open for lunch 1 hour every day. We spent money for formal wear for our big night, could have saved our money. This diner was a joke. The only buffet style restaurant was so small we had to wait for seats. Entertainment was employees dancing with cruise people for a contest. A piano player, a magician that is out of a county fair and tries to sell you a cheap magic kit in a Ziploc bag. There was a movie playing several times a day in the theater, free popcorn, Wow. At every turn there is someone trying to sell you something, good God art of all things. Who goes on a cruise for fun to buy art. Ridiculous. Wine seems to be the main thing they try to sell. On almost every channel on TV is a ship commercial telling you about this and that in on board store. If you play cards this is your ship. We do not. It has a very small casino. All in all this was terrible for the 3 of us. The 20 year old was bored as was myself 60 & my husband 65. Everyone that's cruised tells us to go again because they are not this bad. Just never Holland America again. We might but it will be a while, this was a very bad experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The land tour (8 days with HAL) was awesome and exceeded our expectations, Anchorage/Denali/Fairbanks/Dawson City/ whitehorse/ Skagway but the sea part to Vancouver was not fun. I would not cruise with HAL on their ships again. 1. ... Read More
The land tour (8 days with HAL) was awesome and exceeded our expectations, Anchorage/Denali/Fairbanks/Dawson City/ whitehorse/ Skagway but the sea part to Vancouver was not fun. I would not cruise with HAL on their ships again. 1. Indonesian and Filipino staff have poor English comprehension - a big problem in the case of an emergency (Costa Concordia). They try hard, but lack English language skill. 2. Customer service at the front desk is very poor. The worst of any cruise ship we have seen. 3. Overall Poor maintenance - the ship is WAY overdue for a major refurbishment Below are my comments on the HAL follow up survey: As an experienced cruiser (35+ cruises) , I can say this Volendam cruise was absolutely the worst cruise that we have ever been on. My wife and I are NOT chronic complainers, we are not demanding - but we expect a decent cruise experience. The experience started on Saturday 6/27 when (dead tired) we flopped down in our cabin at 2:00 to take a nap. The room was cold (62.4F to be exact 16C). I awoke at 4:30PM with the sniffles (had a cough for the rest of the cruise) and tried to turn the temperature up. It did not respond. We called the hotel desk at 5:00PM and they said that they would "send a technician to our cabin' - #1939. No response - at 5:25 I called again. This time the hotel sent a clerk to check the temp which he confirmed at 16C. Then we went to dinner and the show. Back in the room at 9:45 and still cold at 16C. This time we went to the desk and asked to be shifted to another room. The staff person refused. Told us to sit and wait a while while the same desk clerk rechecked the temperature. Sick of waiting, we went down to the room. Finally a tech came at about 10:30 and reset the control unit. It continued to operate imperfectly for the next three days. Day two - no water was running in the sink or toilet from 6:00-7:00AM - the toilet packed up after a BM at 8:00AM. Afraid to use the room toilet for the next three days, my wife and I did all of our necessities in the public rest rooms which were also operating imperfectly. After a terrific (yes, I said terrific) land tour (8 days) we were of a mindset for a good sea experience. If the staff had given us another room, all would have probably been fine and the cold room would have been forgotten. Lord forgive them if they had needed to upgrade us to a higher level (sic). Might have cost HAL $20. But with the bad temperature controller, and the defective toilet, we were set up for a negative experience. The food was so so and the entertainment was ok, but our room experience was terrible. We also also became much more critical of the ship. After an 11:00PM general emergency alarm due to a bad pulley in a cabinet that was emitting smoke, it became evident to us that the Volendam needs to be taken from service and gone over with a fine tooth comb. The systems are in desperate need of proper maintenance and a good deep cleaning program. The sewer system, the mechanical systems, and the guest ventilation systems. Somebody threw up in the aft promenade deck vestibule early on in the cruise and the vomit smell was there till we left the ship. Poor maintenance in general. It is VERY doubtful that we will cruise with HAL for a third cruise. Princess and Celebrity have much higher standards and do not cost that much more. Many of the staff are great and went out of their way to serve us. These include the cabin steward, the bar staff, and the waiters. The front office delivers very poor customer service despite the phalanx of awards on the board. The English proficiency of the staff is a big problem. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our first and probably last trip with Holland America. We had previously done a 19 night trip with Cunard which we thoroughly enjoyed. The cruise ticked all the boxes when we booked. It was travelling from Hong Kong to Japan and ... Read More
This was our first and probably last trip with Holland America. We had previously done a 19 night trip with Cunard which we thoroughly enjoyed. The cruise ticked all the boxes when we booked. It was travelling from Hong Kong to Japan and was stopping at Shanghai, Beijing, Nagasaki and Osaka. The cruise was really a way of getting from Hong Kong to Osaka and the visited ports. I am just glad it was only a 14 cruise and not a 6 week cruise like Independents. My wife was ready to get off after 12 of the 14 days! We did a short independent holiday in Hong Kong first. We stayed at the Peninsula and everything was more perfect than even we expected. We then moved to the Marco Polo Hong Kong where we stayed in a continental club room. It was also good place to stay and it had the advantage of being close to the cruise terminal. A hotel porter took our luggage to the terminal and we appreciated the service. My concerns about the cruise arose on boarding when the gentleman ahead tried to collect my wife's purse and he had to be pulled away by his wife. He clearly was not with it. It soon became apparent that we were one of the few people of working age on the cruise and that the number of older cruisers on board was at an exceptionally high level. It was also apparent that it was more of a floating old peoples home than anything else. One of our friends had travelled on Holland America on a Mediterranean cruise and he had not encountered this problem. Things got off to a bad start as we were not told that there was a problem with the water. After my wife had a shower the face washer was very brown. We are not used to brown water where we live and it is not something that you should have to endure on your cruise. It took days for the problem to be acknowledged and it had not been resolved by the time we disembarked. My wife's experience with the front office in relation to this was very negative. Dining was another experience. We ended up giving up asking for a table for two in the Rotterdam dining room as it was invariably unavailable without an extended wait. Nor were we able to secure a reservation for a table for two. The treatment we received from the staff member allocating the tables is almost identical to that noted by a previous reviewer. That is, almost a sense of pleasure in saying that a table was not available despite us then walking past vacant tables for two. The range of meals and the quality of meals was below expectations as was the service. However, it tended to better than the food in the Lido which was more in the way of institutional food. The chicken was overcooked and the curries undercooked. The food was quite bland, which might be a reflection of what it is thought the target market want. Then again, it might be what they do want. After returning from the Beijing excursion where not surprisingly, Chinese banquet food was served, one traveller remarked how nice it was to come back to 'real food'. The fruit was problem. It was either too ripe or too unripe. When we were in Beijing there was a vendor's cart at the Tomb and they had a really nice range of fresh fruit. I would have liked some of it as what was on the boat was not great. We did go to the Pinnacle Grill and it was a real contrast. The food and the service was what you would expect of an up-market restaurant. If we were on the boat any longer I suspect we would have eaten there more even though you have to pay extra to eat there. Unlike the Cunard cruise, there was minimal to be offered in the way of intellectual stimulation. Lectures about gems etc were really not so thinly veiled sales pitches. Nor would I count casino activities as such activities. We paid for nearly all the Holland America shore excursions and while there were some issues that ought to be addressed they were good. We paid top dollar to stay in Beijing overnight.The main issue is that some of the passengers who had mobility issues did not seem to understand the Holland America brochures. Some wag suggested that the three people sign stood for "needs three carers to push you". They did not understand that structures built in a time before lifts and escalators have access and mobility issues associated with them and that it is not easy with a walking frame on cobble stones. They are also world heritage listed so it is not as though lifts and escalators could be installed without desecrating these sites. These issues were poorly dealt with by the boat's shore excursion staff. Those who suffered were the more mobile. If you have only 20 minutes to see something and it takes the person with mobility issues 10 minutes to get off the bus then you are impacted on adversely. I have to say there was one person where there was mobility issues and they were very responsible. They waited until everybody else was off the bus before getting off but this was the exception rather than the norm. There is also a problem with disembarking at ports. We were told that the Holland America groups would have priority in Nagasaki but when we got to the immigration hall it was full of independent travellers who had been let off the ship before us. It took about 40 minutes for us to get through immigration and it took the edge off the excursion before we even got on the bus. Disembarkation was also a bad experience. We waited 20 minutes in our bus for a rude traveller who did not care about their fellow travellers. There was no apology offered and apparently this traveller had 'form' for this type of behaviour. We stayed at the Imperial Hotel Osaka after disembarkation. This was arranged through Holland America. The Holland America staff in Osaka in contrast to the staff in the boat front office were very helpful and the hotel was also excellent. It was quite a contrast to the service on the boat. Australians do not believe in tipping and that is an issue that Holland America needs to address when selling cruises to Australians. The underlying philosophy in Australia, as often repeated in travel pages here, is that wages should be adequate to live on rather than having to depend on tips. It was not all negative on the boat. The service from the room attendant was superb. I have looked at the reviews since we have returned home and find myself in agreement with Independant and wonder whether the favourable reviewers travelled on the same boat. Maybe our expectations are higher. As you can see our issues were primarily with the service on the boat and as people who paid top dollar we were left somewhat underwhelmed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My first cruise on Holland America and my LAST Have done at least a dozen cruises with all companies and this was without a doubt the very worst. The food was dreadful, the photos on HALs website are certainly not from Volendam. Portion ... Read More
My first cruise on Holland America and my LAST Have done at least a dozen cruises with all companies and this was without a doubt the very worst. The food was dreadful, the photos on HALs website are certainly not from Volendam. Portion sizes are very small and most people ate in the Lido buffet - tell you anything? Cabin was spacious and very nice but one small cake of soap for 2 wks? ( had to buy soap ourselves) No hand cream so took a glass from the cabin and filled it with cream from the public toilets. Our toilet didn't work for 2 days so had to run up 2 floors to use a bathroom. Brown water coming through the taps on and off for the entire cruise (reception was so fed up with complaints!!) Had a flood in our cabin while we ashore. Had the smell of stinking wet carpet for a week and a huge big fan in cabin running night and day to dry it. Both of us had food poisoning from Room Service. Both started vomiting around an hour after eating the suspect hamburgers! Really slow embarkation, no one to show us our cabin on boarding. Have NEVER had my water bottle confiscated on boarding -we did here. Brought a bottle of champagne on board ( as per regulations) what we went through with recording it, signing for it and being abused over it! Even found those little plastic things you clean between your teeth with, from the past passenger on our dressing table when we arrived in cabin! Staff were grossly undertrained If you ordered a 4 glass carafe of wine you HAD TO HAVE 4 glasses even though there were two of you. It just went on and on. The ports were fabulous and we had a great time in port but NEVER NEVER NEVER book a trip on Volendam. Don't waste your money Princess would leave them for dead on ALL fronts. Wrote to HAL with all the above complaints and they replied that through the " isolated incidents" we still should have had a great time. FORGET IT, DON'T DO IT TO YOURSELF. There are heaps of cruise companies out there all competing for your $$$$ and who offer a memorable experience. We were advised by our cruise specialist to try HAL and from what I gather they used to be good. We were told we would never want to cruise with anyone else. NOT SO YOUVE LOST US HAL! Hated every minute onboard and have NEVER complained EVER on any other cruise. We're very easy to please. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
The ship was clean and the Indonesian (only) staff was very friendly and gave their best. The cabins were O.K. and the ship, though old, was very clean. However the negative aspects were overwhelming. The food , besides being on ... Read More
The ship was clean and the Indonesian (only) staff was very friendly and gave their best. The cabins were O.K. and the ship, though old, was very clean. However the negative aspects were overwhelming. The food , besides being on the cheap side (excluding the occasional crayfish) was often tasteless and the meats basically tasted all alike . Every day (for 6 weeks) the same salads, 3 kinds of cheeses, oversweat deserts, disgusting pizzas, rice and noodles of the cheapest kind and the potatoes were not even peeled (incl. the mashed postatoes). Practically no cooked vegetables, Nearly every day the only fruit were apples, melons, pinapples and occasionally nearly rotten strawberries and grapes. The pinaeapple had twice fungus and the tomatoes once. The "free" drinking water was so much loaded with Chloride ,that even the small waiters were buying they drinking water outside. Some bread and croissants were O.K. as was the orange juice in the morning. The NON- Indonesian staff, especially at the "front desk" was often arrogant and did not care about complaints except with sweet calming words, like "we are working on it". On the way from Japan to Alaska the public rooms were so cold for days, that the passangers had to sit at the restaurant with thick coats. All their show have been repeated 3 times during the 6 weeks cruise and were generally of low quality. Exception the Russian of Ukrainian violinest, one Japanese and and Australian piano player and maybe some shows with jokes only understandable for English native speakers. The excursians were EXTREMELY expencive and we preferred to go on our own. The docking times at interesting places like Shanghai, Peking, Kobe (Kyoto) and Tokyo were too short in favour of docking at uninteresting places (with many tours for sale). Our impression was, that the company wants to squeeze as much money as possible from their customers (passangers or "guests").Continuously it was tried to sell all kinds of services like massages and "beauty treatments" and drinks ,like Coca Cola and wine at inflated prices. The company also forced us of purchasing a Visas for Cambodiy for USD 65,-- which normally only cost USD 30,-- of USD 20,--for groups. We were threatened by the people at the desk to buy that visa from them, otherwise we should leave the ship in Thailand and join it again in Hongkong even though we did not want to go ashore in Cambodia (which was anyhow for a few hours only). In some places like Bangkok and Saigon the boat docked at containerports and unless one booked one of the exaggerated H-A. tours one could only walk around containers or take expencive Thai taxis (5 times higher than Bangkok for the distance). This cruise was no fun and we very happy when we finally reached Vancouver to fly home from there. On a daily basis this cruise was more expencive than comparable once with ships of similar size from other companies. (we had to fly there at out own expences) Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our cruise got off to a bad start, the drink packages we had prepaid for did not appear on our cards so the drinks were charged to our room, the other family we were travelling with the same thing happened. Easy fix you should think but ... Read More
Our cruise got off to a bad start, the drink packages we had prepaid for did not appear on our cards so the drinks were charged to our room, the other family we were travelling with the same thing happened. Easy fix you should think but for the next two weeks our wives complained daily to try and get our account fixed. They complained to the front office the head of the beverages (Ferdinand) all to no avail. Ferdinand's excuse was 'I'm not good with computers.' We also found him to be very condescending to our wives, there was a real feeling on our wives part that all male staff look down on female passengers who complain. We slept badly the thrusters on the boat vibrated us out the bed on every port call early in the morning. We were also woken by maintenance staff banging on metal early in the morning. Also if you have kids don’t even consider Holland America. We had 3 teenagers travelling with us, who were not looked after at all. They had a daily activities list for them an nearly every time they turn up to the venue, no staff turned up to run them. On one occasion on the pool deck they had a table tennis comp for them at 4pm, they turned up and no staff were there. We watched these staff lazily walk through at 4.10pm chatting away to each other as if without a care in the world they did not even give the kids a second glance. Things only improved slightly after we complained, which we seemed to be doing all the time. My wife finally won a carribean cruise for two to the carribean, she was so excited at the time. Little did we know that the man who approached her and whispered ‘its not all its cracked up to be’ would be so right. It had a note on the certificate that we could transfer it to another cruise of our choice and as we could not afford the $5000 dollars in flights it would cost us to get there we decided to use it on one from Australia. When we tried they said they give us the equivalent of $900 US value off any cruise. Subsequently we picked a cruise from Australia on their website, which was on sale (every cruise is on sale anyway). When my wife rang them we were told we had to pay full price so it ended up just being $100 less than the sale price!!!! Needless to say we won’t ever cruise with Holland America again. We have since booked two cruises for 2016 with Royal Caribbean, we’ve had 3 cruises with them and had no problems.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We are active cruisers and have enjoyed many trips on HAL! This was not the HAL we knew and loved. First, the cutbacks are very obvious: from the food to the tissues, fewer staff, lecturers and quality entertainers. But, more dramatic ... Read More
We are active cruisers and have enjoyed many trips on HAL! This was not the HAL we knew and loved. First, the cutbacks are very obvious: from the food to the tissues, fewer staff, lecturers and quality entertainers. But, more dramatic was the huge number of passengers who refused to wear appropriate dress for the evening/venue and the staff's refusal to do anything about it. We cruise for the shipboard experience and HAL gets our nod for their itineraries. However, when they encourage and permit Caribbean daywear on Formal Nights, they tell me that they no longer care about providing a memorable cruise experience - only filling the cabins. Sorry HAL - you were the top of the mass market - you no longer come close to many of your competitors Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Any relationship is based on trust. After close to 200 days sailing with HAL, I expect that I will be treated with respect and the trust I put into the company to work in my best interest be upheld. I do not know how HAL will heal the ... Read More
Any relationship is based on trust. After close to 200 days sailing with HAL, I expect that I will be treated with respect and the trust I put into the company to work in my best interest be upheld. I do not know how HAL will heal the distrust I hold after this trip. I realize that Carnival, the "mother-ship" holds all the cards. But as an "almost" 4 Star Mariner, I will not be back on board for quite a while. I went through 4 cabins (Deck 2 forward... brown water; Deck 1 midship...vibrations; Deck 3 aft...a constant "thumping"; Deck 2 forward...brown water) before realizing the situation had no remedy on this cruise. The "GI" outbreak began about 4 days into the cruise (and must be noted that it was held in check by immediate attention).Though there was no handling of common items as newspapers and books, salt and pepper shakers, handshaking...the casino stayed open. Though the staff did disinfect the casino before and after operations, the cards, chips and slot machines were handled by any number of possibly contaminated people. I guess there is a price to the passenger's welfare! The cost of the HAL excursions are outrageous! I do not want to have my time in port wasted with stops at shopping areas / malls or restaurants.When there is a port with an extended stay (ie: into the evening, overnight as in Yangon), I do not want to be back on board by 4 or 5pm. Seeing a city at night is another experience of the visit. I understand the Excursion agents, using deception and "scare tactics", are to make money for the company, but, I believe, the Shore Desk agent should be working for the guest. Withholding information that would make the shore time of guests easier (and less expensive) is, I feel, wrong. (ie: there is a train that goes from Port Klang to KL for about $1.25, available city maps for other than shopping centers, going to a port in Cambodia, having paid the $63 visa fee and being too far from anything of interest (Angor Wat or Phnom Penh). The cruise director, Jonathan, was the WORST in the position I have ever experienced on HAL's or any other company's ship. His closing was "see you around the ship" but you never, ever did! He had no communication with guests, no sense of humor. He was obnoxious, selfish and very, very arrogant! Tom, in the piano bar, could play the piano and sing (a bit). But he had NO personality. He basically played with his head down with no interaction with those in the room. He had no flair, no fun banter or musical "games" / jokes. There were no sing-alongs unless the guests took it upon themselves to sing (the hundredth time he would play his "My Fair Lady" medley). The Front Office staff tries to be helpful but their hands are tied by company policy (I was "subtly" warned my third room was not suitable but didn't heed the warning). The restaurant, deck and cabin staff were always up-beat and friendly. Chase, the assistant social director (though not given that title) did a Herculean job of lifting spirits. He was incredibly kind, cheery with a good sense of humor, thorough and available. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I just backed my cruising from Hong Kong-Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand-Singapore for 15 days by m/s Volendam-Holland America Line. This is my first time for Holland America Line. So, I was so excited before we cruised with Holland American ... Read More
I just backed my cruising from Hong Kong-Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand-Singapore for 15 days by m/s Volendam-Holland America Line. This is my first time for Holland America Line. So, I was so excited before we cruised with Holland American Line. Before that I have experience with Cunnard, Princess and Royal Carribean even Star Cruise. 1. No entertainment all the time even at sea. 2. Cruise Director always disappeared. 3. HAL Cats Band during show time they wouldn't show up on time and one day at poolside show, she said that she felt it's so hot and stop the show immediately and say good bye, Is it professional? 4. Food too salty, not the 4 star standard. 5. All restaurants menu are the same, never changed within 15 days. 6. So many flies flow over the Dining Room until we complaint, 7. Shore excursions are very expenses. 8. No free shuttle buses provided at port, except Cambodia due to Cambodia Tourist Association provided. 9. Visa fee overcharged than the other cruise, such as Vietnam Visa US$65, Princess only charged US$31. Cambodia Visa US$60, the other cruise only charged US$25. 10. Beware of it looks like as mobile cash Debit Machine, everything will charge to your room bill automatically, such as mini bar even you have not consumed. And they have charged me the Thailand Visa Fee(my nationality is no need to appy any visa in Thailand). I have to approach to Front Office to explain what nationality I am, and disputed the mini bar charges. So I have to check my room bill at Front Office daily to avoid they overcharged. 11. Toilet always clog. 12. One day in Vietnam, it was around 28C, The generator was out of order. No air conditioning, No Escalator, No flush water. 13. Sometimes, you need to inform room attendants to refill the amenities. But, the servers of the Lido Restaurant and Rotterdam Dining Room are good. Finally, consider before you take the HOLLAND AMERICA LINES. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We joined the Volendam at Singapore ( a lovely city by the way) and found the process easy and pretty quick. The cabin was larger than expected and included a small bath which was a bonus! The carpet in the cabin was a bit ... Read More
We joined the Volendam at Singapore ( a lovely city by the way) and found the process easy and pretty quick. The cabin was larger than expected and included a small bath which was a bonus! The carpet in the cabin was a bit 'suspect' in places however, overall it was a typical layout of any cruise line and spotless. The cabin stewards were extremely friendly and did a great job during the cruise. However ........ unlike other cruise lines there was no sail away parties from any port and speaking of ports ....... we berthed at industrial shipping container ports which were awful to look at and in one case over 30 miles from the major town. Yes, you read that right - over 30 miles from town which necessitated an expensive cab ride thus negating any 'bargain shopping' opportunities. Believe me, you will get fed up of seeing containers on this cruise. At this port there were no staff around the gangway on the dockside and we were left to find our way out of the port to the main gates. Shame on you Holland America for not caring about independent travellers. By independent travellers I mean those passengers who do not buy the very expensive shore excursions but prefer to do their own thing. We 'did our own' excursions and saved well over half the price and enjoyed experiences denied the Holland America shore excursion passengers (for example a lovely rowing boat ride in Halong Bay - you won't get this opportunity if you book the Holland America shore excursion. Overall, the Holland America shore excursions are VERY expensive and at least double the price of independently arranged excursions. And yes, I am comparing apples to apples here. My advice - do your own thing and save a small fortune (we saved over $90 US on just one trip alone). Highlights include the Marble Mountain and Hoi Ann from the Da Nang port - both not to be missed. Just step ashore and arrange your own taxi (around $60 US for the car and driver and you can halve this if you share with others). Or you can book the Holland America tour of the same sights and pay $70 US EACH! Get the picture? You will have to pay for visas for Cambodia and Vietnam even if you don't get off the ship you still have to pay for visas. As an example the visa for Cambodia (with just one port in this country) is $63 US EACH. The actual cost is $38 US and Holland America add a $25 US 'arrangement fee' on top. Getting the picture? The food in the Lido cafeteria was actually pretty good whilst the food in the Pinnacle Grill - $29 US each cover charge and the Italian restaurant Canalleto - $10 US each cover charge was abysmal. We tried a meal in both and found the meat undercooked / tough and the service was terrible. In the Pinnacle grill there were Alaskan King Crab legs on the menu at an extra $25. This same dish was available on the main dining room menu the following night at no additional cost! So, don't bother with the supposedly fine dining restaurants - they aren't and are largely empty anyway. We spoke to a member of staff who let slip that there had been a reduction in the number of staff and for those who remained a cut in pay was the reward. The standard of entertainment was well below other cruise line standards. We enjoyed the pianist, two lady violinists and the magician. That's three nights out of the 14. The actual theatre productions (sound/stage settings/lighting design were actually very good but the ships theatre company - oh dear, the ladies sang very nasally and were off key. Dancers were way better than the singers. Holland America will charge your account $11:50 US per person per day for service charges. That's on top of the service charges on everything you purchase on board. Over a 2 week cruise that's nearly $300 US per couple. Here's a tip - YOU CAN OPT OUT of this charge by simply filling in a form obtained from the on board service desk (deck 4). Would I rebook another Holland America cruise - Absolutely no way. Quality of menu/food/cooking/service in the fine dining restaurants was atrocious, We had the distinct impression that independent travellers were not well regarded (Holland America want you to buy their own vastly inflated shore excursions), they moor up in awful, industrial shipping container ports (we assume this is cheaper) Overall, we had the impression that Holland America view you as a cash cow and will rinse every dollar they can from you. My advice is find another cruise line for an Asian adventure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
When we disembarked in Singapore I was ready to write a really nice review, then we disembarked (reason for the 1 star) The Food - I didn't take the cruise to eat, and basically the food was good, we had open seating so we were put ... Read More
When we disembarked in Singapore I was ready to write a really nice review, then we disembarked (reason for the 1 star) The Food - I didn't take the cruise to eat, and basically the food was good, we had open seating so we were put on the lower lever, and the first night was a zoo, but we believe that was due to the safety training at the lifeboat stations, so everything ran behind. Like other reviewers said...anything extra be prepared to pull out that card because it will cost you...we enjoyed eating at the Italian restaurant because of the small plates offered, and we enjoyed the pinnacle grill, it would have been better had they offered different daily menus. I enjoyed the spa, but I hate the sale pitch at the end, all I want was the spa treatments and not the products. Can't offer any insight on the shows, we didn't attended any. All of the staff we encountered was always nice and courteous (see end). Being on deck 7 we had access to the Neptune Lounge, and John C was a great Concierge and always so friendly and helpful. The excursions - Halong Bay we did he deluxe where lunch was included and it was fun. The islands were beautiful, the guy friendly and attempted to tell jokes, if you go on shore be prepared for girls on motor bikes to pull over and want to sell you pearls...which we bought for the grand girls (better than a t-shirt). Just go back and forth on $. We had private drivers in the other Vietnam locations because we're not big bus people and this was a return trip for my husband so it was special. THe one tour we did that wasn't from the ship was a country side and cooking class http://www.vietnamprivatetour.com great great tour, and it was less than other tour cost, plus it was so much fun, Big bus tour in Cambodia, just be prepared it's a 3rd world country, there are little children smiling and saying money but they are clueless to what they are asking for. Unlike our brats that cry because they don't have, or they need...they looked fine happy and dirty because they don't know what they don't have. If you don't want to see this, then don't go...if you want to educate yourself and want to make a difference someday, then go! We did go to the pepper plantation which was interesting. also big bus to Thailand, and pretty much it was what we expected. Departing in Singapore, easy.....But then my nightmare. My fault I know it, but when getting ready I got distracted and then the call came for us to depart. I left my ring, necklace and bracelet on the table. As soon as I cleared customs I realized it. Ran back thru security had to have an escort back on board, in tears ran in to the suite and in less than 30 minutes time - they were gone! GONE, I was sobbing, tore the room apart went and got John, told him the 2 guys that came in the room to clean balcony as we left, about the guy that was in the room when I ran back in (he came to get breakfast tray). My 2 days in Singapore was miserable, my ring which I just got for Christmas, my priceless necklace that my deacsed dad had given me back in the 70's gone. They did a 2 week investigation and were sorry to inform me it had not be found. So no matter how nice, helpful or whatever - it doesn't matter. I would have gone on another Holland vessel, but never again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Embarkation was a joke. Many of the Holland-America people at the port couldn't even speak English, and kept sending us all over the place. The cabin was fine, other than the fact that the shower wouldn't drain, and had several ... Read More
Embarkation was a joke. Many of the Holland-America people at the port couldn't even speak English, and kept sending us all over the place. The cabin was fine, other than the fact that the shower wouldn't drain, and had several problems with the toilet running all night, and unusable. The food in the main dining room was beyond awful. After a few nights, only a few tables were full. The main buffet was always the same...never a change. The fruit was never fresh looking. The breads and pastry tasted like they had been thawed then re-heated...never fresh. I could go on. A lot of people on board were getting sick...GI problems. I wonder why! The shore excursions were a joke. Many people, including myself, were so disgusted with some of the tours, we opted for a cab back to the ship. Many of us felt that it was the worst cruise ever! Shame on Holland-America. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
A message was sent by email the day before we were to embark on our cruise. We were already in Vancouver and did not receive this email until after the cruise. Even if we had received this message, it would have been expensive and ... Read More
A message was sent by email the day before we were to embark on our cruise. We were already in Vancouver and did not receive this email until after the cruise. Even if we had received this message, it would have been expensive and stressful to change our flights. Holland America did not offer any refunds or assistance in making alternate plans. IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION: Please be advised that we have been experiencing a heightened level of Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) on the ms Volendam. Therefore, the ship will follow a special cleaning and sanitizing protocol developed in conjunction with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prior to our departure from Vancouver, Canada, on September 17, 2014. Consequently, embarkation will begin at approximately 1:00pm for a 4:00pm departure. Our guests are encouraged to delay their arrival at the pier until 1:00pm, as there is limited seating at the Vancouver facility. We regret any inconvenience this may cause. Holland America's Volendam cruise ship is obsolete, dirty and diseased. Check on the age of the ship before you book a cruise. Take a cab to and from the airport. The cab would have been cheaper and faster than the big bus with passengers coughing and sneezing during the long slow ride from the ship to the airport. I rarely get sick but I came home with a painful deep cough and sore throat. We were handed a piece of paper while boarding informing us of an intestinal virus onboard. Too late to cancel. They had been having this problem for weeks. We would return from shore excursions to see people with rubber suits and what looked like gas masks working to sanitize a stateroom as we walked down the passageway. Not exactly reassuring. We were led to believe that this was a temporary problem but it persisted for the whole cruise. The ship desperately needed repairs and upgrades including: newer TVs (ours had a blurry picture), gym equipment (parts were missing). Age appropriate music in the gym would have been nice (this was not the hip hop or rap demographic). The fitness staff was uneducated staff. There were rude employees everywhere. They were broken toilets in the common areas. Older passengers who move slower were having trouble finding a working restroom. We were not allowed to borrow DVDs and books or serve ourselves at the buffet because of the virus. The servers at the buffet did not understand English very well so it was impossible to get your food the way you wanted it. They dumped buckets of dressing on the salads. Everything was over cooked. Most of the time the food was not hot enough, vegetables were limp and fish was dry.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I agree with the other Asia post about this voyage. Compared to other cruise liners Holland America really falls short on service standards from management. The waiting staff were fine, it is management I am upset with. The fine dining ... Read More
I agree with the other Asia post about this voyage. Compared to other cruise liners Holland America really falls short on service standards from management. The waiting staff were fine, it is management I am upset with. The fine dining restaurant Rotterdam served really tough food. Their salmon and steak was tough and undercooked. The Alaskan bake dessert came out all melted like it has been dropped a few times on the floor. The Lido buffet did serve a lot of luke warm food and towards the end of the trip the "fresh" fruit there had gone bad and smelt off. The entertainment was a hit and miss. There were a few nights where instead of a show all they gave you was a movie, Wolverine and can't remember the other one. The company makes a huge premium from additional items they sell you. Everyone is charged $45 usd and $55 usd for cambodia and Vietnam visas whether you get off at the port or not. All their port tours cost 2 to 3 times more than what you would pay if you joined another tour company. They even have a land tour that cost $3000 USD to visit Ankor Wat, Cambodia which is exorbitant as it is almost twice as much as I paid for the whole trip. In fact this is probably the reason they stop at Sihauanoukville port as there is nothing to see at that place other than 3rd world misery. As soon as we arrived in Sihuanouckville we were swarmed and followed by beggars. We hopped back on the ship within 1 hour because we were so scared and distressed with what we saw. However this is the stop where they have their $3000 USD tour so I guess this is why they stop here, and also so they can charge your the compulsory $45 visa for Cambodia. They charge you heaps for every drink you have on the ship. There are heaps of salesmen trying to sell you something (most of their show entertainers ask you to buy their cd afterwards, photographers snapping you throughout the trip then asking you to buy, the onboard shops having constant sales off their highly inflated prices. Not to mention there is a compulsory $11.50 per day tip charged to your ship account and you don't have control who that tip goes to. I don't mind if it goes to the waiting staff and my cabin stewards but definitely not the management at Volendam who are racist and offer poor service. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our experience was so bad, we disembarked in wellington after 4 days of the cruise. It was a floating nursing home and everything about the ship and it's itinerary of entertainment reflected that. The real 'rub of salt in the ... Read More
Our experience was so bad, we disembarked in wellington after 4 days of the cruise. It was a floating nursing home and everything about the ship and it's itinerary of entertainment reflected that. The real 'rub of salt in the wounds' came with the reply from Holland America: Thank you for the email regarding your ms Volendam . We truly appreciate the valuable feedback you have provided us. Please be advised that when guests do wish to personally disembark it is often for an emergency. Thus our front desk staff wills not inquire the reason unless it is volunteered. In addition, if none of your concerns were brought to our attention, we are unable to remedy them. In addition, we are very sorry that you were not pleased with the scope of activities available on your recent sailing. Holland America Line strives to offer a spectrum of activities and events, keeping in mind a wide range of age, interest, and ability, and we regularly update our choices. Many of our newer activities are enrichment-based, such as cooking classes, digital workshops, wine tastings, and in-depth presentations about ports of call. Plus, we retain the more traditional choices, such as movies and games, volleyball and tennis, and disco or ballroom dancing. In this way, we try to ensure that a balance of activities is available to all of our guests. Some of our travelers may choose to participate in onboard activities, while others will prefer to simply relax, lounge by the pool, or curl up in a quiet spot with a good book. We do regret your dissatisfaction with the activities offered, and assure you that your input on any cruise aspect is always welcome. Thank you again for contacting our office and bringing your issues to our attention. We assure you that we appreciate your comments, and hope that you will give us another opportunity to create the positive experience we know our sailings can offer. This was my reply: I'm somewhat bemused at your comment that I provided you with valuable feedback, because in my previous emails I gave little indication as to why we were so dissatisfied that we left the cruise after four days. You mention 'remedy'. It would have been fruitless gesture to mention at the front desk that we didn't want to travel on a floating nursing home. The atmosphere on-board was certainly indicative of a nursing home and my suspicions were confirmed with the ambulance crew dragging their stretcher on-board at Tauranga. I have nothing against the elderly. I spend a lot of my working life in their company, but if I had the information to hand at the age group that the cruise was pitched at, then we would have looked elsewhere. However the information that would have been extremely useful was the itinerary of events. Needless to say those activities are planned in advance, as those that deliver the events or presentations have to be booked on-board. That information available to view on the website for the ship and the cruise would have been very useful and as such we would have looked elsewhere for something more appropriate for us. As for making any other comments, I doubt they would have been actioned. We had to listen to the inane babble of Jeremy the cruise director, which was inescapable where ever we we're on the ship. There was a tannoy right outside our cabin. At one point he was asking us to count the holes in the face of an offshore rock which had been partially eroded by the wind. That was day one, and already the alarm bells were ringing for us. At meal times we were given a napkin roll with cutlery. However the minute we left our seat to get another dish the staff would clean away. We would then have to get another napkin roll and find a different seat. That somewhat flies in the face of intended green credentials. I also found it somewhat strange that we were drinking long-life milk, when we were on the doorstep of one of the top dairy producers of the world. The Costa Concordia has dominated the news for all the wrong reasons, and I would mention that whilst on-board the Volendam and attending the, very brief, lifeboat drill the concept of making our way back to the cabin (with it's partial delay electronic key entry system), to retrieve our lifejackets was somewhat of a daunting prospect in the event of a real emergency. It was also noticeable that there was no escape panel fitted to the cabin doors for use in the event of a collision. Seriously, someone needs to look at that. It may make the difference between someone being to escape from their cabin when the ship's sinking or being condemned to death by drowning in a box. Anyway, Caitlin, again thanks for getting back to me. Your scripted response wasn't the best fob-off I've ever read, but nonetheless a reasonable effort. On closing please try to make information more readily available to potential customers, after all this is the age of information technology. It really isn't that difficult to get the information out. On closing, we will never book a cruise with Holland and America. There will be no return to try the experience again. It was without question the worst holiday experience ever and had little to recommend it for anyone under the age of 65.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I'd like to say something nice nicely, but if you care enough to read this, you should prefer the straight scoop. The repositioning cruise departing Vancouver on September 7th was a real disappointment. I was traveling with 16 ... Read More
I'd like to say something nice nicely, but if you care enough to read this, you should prefer the straight scoop. The repositioning cruise departing Vancouver on September 7th was a real disappointment. I was traveling with 16 family members including the agents who accomplished the booking. Although we all have unique perceptions of the cruise experience, we all agree that the service and the entertainment were poor. An exception was the recent addition of singer / performer Clint Holmes (maybe there is hope of a turnaround). The food? It was ample, as usual, but average (at best). It's hard to imagine that the passengers who are continuing have 27 days remaining as they journey towards Sydney, Australia. Mr. Holmes can only appear so many times. Maybe Holland America will take on some motivated new staff along the way, but this problem seems to be trickling down from the top. The captain was so poorly prepared to handle his simple public relations duties that he referred to San Francisco as the city that marks the border between Oregon and Washington. For our family, this cruise offered us a chance to 'enjoy' a quick celebration of a 50th anniversary. We made the best of it, but it was a grin and bear it situation. As individuals and as a group we've cruised many times. So let me finish by encouraging you to beware. This ship is an older ship, well maintained, but quaint and claustrophobic by modern standards. If you're looking for a first time experience, consider this ship for a short cruise of 3 to 7 nights. If you're at least a second timer, pass. Hopefully Holland America has some better ships and better crews in service, but maybe you should read reviews on the rest of their ships before you plunk down any money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
There were some good things like the time with loved ones, the scenery, the concierge, and the Pinnacle Dining Room. That is the end of the list of good things. The bad things go way too long for me to list, but the big ones that jump ... Read More
There were some good things like the time with loved ones, the scenery, the concierge, and the Pinnacle Dining Room. That is the end of the list of good things. The bad things go way too long for me to list, but the big ones that jump right out at you are the food (everywhere but the Pinnacle). Even the coffee was weak, except in the Neptune Lounge available to suite residents. The entertainment was average to below average. The activities on the ship are the same as all cruise lines (how many people make their towels look like a monkey?). The biggest surprise was the lack of night life. By midnight, all bars and the casino are closed. This is clearly a ship for old folk. The cost is never ending. Every thing you do or touch cost extra. Don't assume the cost of the cruise is it, heck that does not even include the "mandatory gratuity". Then the excursions are expensive, the drinks with exactly one oz. or less of alcohol are over the top expensive, and this list of extra cost items goes on and on. Some of the machines in the work out gym were broken the entire cruise. The only good excursion for us was the whale watching in Juneau. I don't understand the appeal of the train to no where in Skagway. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Stateroom staff were very friendly (to get a big tip) but the rest of the staff were unfriendly and at times quite rude. This cruise was included in an 18 day COSMOS Rockies and Alaska Masterpiece and all that is said on Holland America ... Read More
Stateroom staff were very friendly (to get a big tip) but the rest of the staff were unfriendly and at times quite rude. This cruise was included in an 18 day COSMOS Rockies and Alaska Masterpiece and all that is said on Holland America Line's web pages is correct about the facilities of the ship although it is all a bit tired but it is an attitude on board that allows me to make the decision not to travel with HAL ever again. I found staff would not speak when passing in hallways, would not stand aside for you especially when passing in the doorway of the LIDO deck restaurant and guest service staff would listen then ignore your request. We had paid extra for the Balcony Stateroom which included a fridge which broke down (not sure that it was working at all as our air-conditioning (heating) was broken and we froze for 4 days out of 7 and after numerable requests was repaired on the 4th night and it was the 5th morning that we noticed the the fridge was hot) and after 5 requests was finally replaced with another dumped under the bend where the chair goes. On checking our on-board account found we had been charged $4 rental for that night. This had not been removed the next morning on disembarkation when the account was due to be paid even though we had made it quite clear the previous day that it was to be reversed and would not be paid (not because of the money, it was the principle). LIDO deck staff were quite sharp, cleaned tables with cold water in a mayonnaise bucket of water under the bench and coffee machines were broken. There are only 3 floors with laundries, Deck 2, 3 and 6 to service 10 decks and Deck 6 had one 2 out of 4 dryers out of action for the whole 7 days. Overall, very disappointing as the scenery was beautiful and could have been perfect if we had been on the right ship!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I booked 4 staterooms on Holland America's 14 Day New Zealand & Australia cruise, departing January 30, 2011, on the Volendam. I booked 1 Deluxe Verandah Suite and 3 Veranda Suites for 9 people. The trip was a gift from me to my ... Read More
I booked 4 staterooms on Holland America's 14 Day New Zealand & Australia cruise, departing January 30, 2011, on the Volendam. I booked 1 Deluxe Verandah Suite and 3 Veranda Suites for 9 people. The trip was a gift from me to my family and the cruise was quite expensive. During the cruise for over half the time in all 4 cabins we experienced no hot water, one cabin only had hot water for 1 day. In 3 cabins we had no functional air conditioning for the entire trip and in the 4th cabin the air conditioning did not work 5 out of 14 days. It was summer in New Zealand and quite warm. We complained, but nothing was ever repaired. The cabins also were extremely dirty. The carpet was soiled to the point that you would not walk in bare feet and the upholstery was equally dirty. I wrote Holland America regarding my experience and requested a refund of 30-40% stating that they advertise a "premium cruise experience for discerning cruisers" and that was not what we received. We received 2 star accommodations. Holland America's response was to give each passenger an individual $250 credit toward a future cruise on Holland America. This in no way said we are sorry for your inconvenience, anyone can get a $250 credit toward a future cruise just for asking. I travel extensively and understand occasional mechanical failures and not everything is perfect all the time. I have never asked for a refund in my 35 years of travel, but this was blatantly selling a product and a condition of ship that did not exist. The ship Volendam should either have been taken out of service for upgrading or had a reduced price and a disclaimer that the ship was not a premium class vessel. Holland America obviously does not care about the customer or the experience they deliver. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We just had one of the WORST experiences of our lives on the Volendam. My entire family, including our baby, got gastrointeritis along with the violent vomiting and diarhea. Overall, the cleanliness of the cabins and hallways was extremely ... Read More
We just had one of the WORST experiences of our lives on the Volendam. My entire family, including our baby, got gastrointeritis along with the violent vomiting and diarhea. Overall, the cleanliness of the cabins and hallways was extremely poor as there were even puke stains on the carpet. As the outbreak grew more noticably among the passengers, it wasn't until the afternoon on the very last day of the cruise that they announced gastro was being reported and they just said to keep washing our hands. The ship's medical staff was next to useless and didn't seem to care, aside from quarantining us and keeping the situation hush-hush. For our infant they said they would normally give Pedialite but "it expired two cruises ago and they didn't restock it." My daughters both couldn't even hold a glass of water for minutes before vomitting so I was worried about dehydration.The ship's medical staff told us that they would be going to Code Red status and we were waiting for preventative measures to be taken, such as mass quarantine, extra sanitiation and the like.  That never happened and it became clear that they wanted to ride it out until we got back to Vancouver.After we complained, they offered to escort us off the ship before any of the disembarktion crowd mounted. That never happened and we were forced to wait, sweating and trying not to vomit, in a throng of passengers waiting to get off. They even lost our luggage at the end and we had additional delays. We immediately went to the hospital before going home when we were diagnosed.I am absolutely appalled and feel like we were treated like animals with little concern for containing the outbreak or comforting us at all. The conditions in the lido and elsewhere "seemed" clean but the staterooms and halls were disgusting. They sent a few kidsapparently supervisorsin masks to "sanitize" our room. They basically wiped down the bathroom and changed our towels. My kids probably vomitted on every surface in that room during the night, including the mattress and couch. They also clearly MOPPED vomit off the carpet in the hallway after another passenger couldn't make it to the toilet.Alaska was a nice sight to see but it was all ruined by the way HAL conducted themselves.  I would have gladly missed it all for a helicopter ride back home and to the hospital. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
I decided to take my son on an Alaska cruise as a high school graduation present, even though he really wanted to go to the Mediterranean- another victim of the falling dollar and rising fuel costs. I am a divorced mom, mid 50's, and ... Read More
I decided to take my son on an Alaska cruise as a high school graduation present, even though he really wanted to go to the Mediterranean- another victim of the falling dollar and rising fuel costs. I am a divorced mom, mid 50's, and have to admit that I tend to see the glass as half empty. I have traveled with my son all over the world. Prior cruise experience on Celebrity, RCCL, NCL and even the Disney Big Red Boat. So, although I had read all the bad reviews about HAL, I had also heard that they were making an effort to attract younger people, that the Alaska cruises have lots of teens and that their ships were elegant and understated. With that in mind, a great cruise price through an internet site and tickets on Alaska Air purchased with frequent flyer miles bought on ebay, we set out for Anchorage and the start of the southbound journey to Vancouver. I did not use any of the ship's transportation options. We flew to Anchorage, checked into the Hilton and spent a day in Anchorage. Visited the Native Heritage Center, which I frankly expected to be a boring tourist trap. Wrong! Fabulous is the only word I can use to describe it. The "college kids" working there actually grew up in the areas and in the types of dwellings represented. Next morning, bus to Seward. Called and made the reservation the day before. The bus let us off at a lodge a few miles outside of Seward, which checked the bags and delivered them directly to the ship for only a couple of dollars. Cheapest deal in Alaska. They even had a free shuttle which took us into Seward. My son was really anxious to get on board and start eating, so we boarded before lunch. The boarding process was effortless. We avoided the ubiquitous photo in front of the ship and no one chased us down. So far, so good. Then came the activities-or should I say lack thereof. I originally attributed it to the fact that it was boredom, oops, boarding day, but I would soon learn that this was every day. We were confined, until the rooms could be readied, to the eighth floor. This is the floor with the buffet, swimming pools, 2 "hot" tubs, work out room and spa. There was also 1 ping pong table and 1 floor sized chess set. ACTIVITIES - There are a lot of rooms for sitting. They have many, many names for these rooms. You can sit with a drink, a computer, a book or at a card table. If you like to sit, this is the ship for you. The internet room is also the library and is quite beautiful. Internet charges are the standard overpriced sea rates. The library has a wonderful collection of books-all of which are locked up at 10:00 PM every night. I wonder where they think you would take the stolen book? If it is before 10, you can check it out. You can also rent DVD's for a fee. One of the places that you cannot sit is a "hot" tub. This is because the tubs are never hot. They are closed with netting or drained at about 7PM every night. In the morning, they are ice cold. It became a running joke between another passenger and me. She would sit on a chaise by the hot tubs every morning until about lunch and I would say "are they hot yet?" every time I passed by. The hot tubs got hot by about 5PM, when most people went to dinner. Then they were shut off at 7PM, ready to start the cycle again. I was told that there was a "hot tub" in the spa which one could use for $80 or so for the week. I asked to see it and was told to come back at 5PM, when it wasn't so crowded. (Coincidentally, the same time the free hot tub heated up). As to other activities, the indoor pool was taken over by kids, so I never used it and the outdoor pool wasn't an option- for that you need a different cruise. The ping pong table was really popular. My son told me that he tried to play basketball one day on the outdoor deck but the net or the hoop or some other part was broken. He found a group of teenagers to socialize with and basically they wandered around the ship bored. The activities director (some 22 year old girl with a whistle) arranged some lame competitions to win points which could be exchanged for ship cups and such. One was a ping pong match. There were so many people, because there was nothing else to do, that she limited it to best of 5 points between each 2 persons in line. They also had a contest hitting a ping pong ball with a putter into a net in the swimming pool held by one of the kids swimming. Have I mentioned how boring this ship was? I spent most of the time in the gym. There was a lovely view and the requisite number of treadmills, bikes, cybex machines, weights, etc. They had a few t.v.'s which ran the news all the time. I took one pilates class, which was taught by a Russian male instructor. He claimed that no other staff showed up, so he taught all the classes, no matter what they were. I didn't take anything but the pilates and it was a killer. ENTERTAINMENT - If your idea of entertainment is having a guy sit at a piano and tell you to turn to number 71 in your book so you can sing along to "Climb Every Mountain," you have found paradise. This is the type of thing that poses as entertainment on this ship. It almost makes the adolescent bathroom and penis humor on RCCL look good. There are two shows every night. I (wrongly) assumed that the early (7PM) show was for the early diners and the late (I use that term loosely)show at 9PM was for the late diners. On HAL, the nightly show lasts approximately 45 minutes. So, I was told, the late diners, such as myself, were expected to go to the 7PM show. That would allow them to be at the dining room by 8 PM and presumably get to bed by 10-the time when most everything on this ship closes down. If you really want to stay up "late," there is a nightly movie. The last showing was usually around 10PM. There is also a casino. It has the usual slot machines, craps table, roulette table, 21, poker, etc. There is just no pizzazz. My son enjoyed the blackjack tournament one night, even though he ended up losing. FOOD - One good thing about the cruise-you won't gain weight. My son's plans for a 7 day eating binge were thwarted through no fault of his own. The comedians who make jokes about 24 hour hot and cold running food on cruise ships have never taken this line. Didn't happen. Since I'm fat enough, this was not really a downside for me, but my son had his heart set on huge portions of lobster tails and baked alaska. Beginning with breakfast, we ate it at the buffet twice. I don't think the dining room served breakfast After that, we skipped the meal altogether. It was the equivalent of a high school cafeteria. The one stand out was fresh squeezed orange juice- which was unfortunately served at room temperature. The ship is kept so hot that you are thirsty all the time for something cold to drink. All that is offered all day, except breakfast, is water, coffee, hot and iced tea. My son bought a soda card for $20 or so and he couldn't use it at the buffet or in the dining room. He had to go to the bar. And he wasn't allowed to sit at the bar because he is only 18, so the card went to waste and he was thirsty all the time. We never ate lunch in the dining room because they are only open for about 1 1/2 hours at lunch. We always ate at the buffet. Dinner we usually ate in the dining room. Generally, the food is the same. The menu in the dining is the same as the buffet. The only other option is the restaurant with a $20 per person surcharge. The night I tried to book reservations, they were full. After that, I passed by and saw the exact same occasion cake as was on our table in the dining room, so I decided to save my money. Some of the food was good-the prime rib, the Asian stir fries, the mushroom soup and the lobster tails, for example. Some of it was awful. Most of it was bland, boring and poor quality. The fresh fruit wasn't sweet, the vegetables were frozen, the danish were the same every day, the pastries were cloyingly sweet and the meat was not trimmed of fat. The dining room was set for dinner every night with a place setting consisting of no less than 10 pieces of silverware, with 4 pieces above the plate. The fish and steak knives were delivered separately. It gave the impression that Holland America in their past had an elegant dinner service and was trying to hang on to that time. Now it was just an out of place relic and seemed pompous and foolish in light of the poor sparse food. Dinner was only 3 to 4 courses and far less copious than that of other cruise ships. The menu was divided into appetizers, soup and salad as one category and a main dish. A dessert menu was presented afterwards. Portions were adequate. Food was poor and pointlessly fussed over. For example, they served escargots on one night and chose to douse them with a thick cream sauce and place the thick mixture in a pastry shell. The baked alaska was a ball of egg whites covering a cake that tasted like a mix with a tablespoon of ice cream. Service was slow and pretentious. It took approximately 2 hours to serve 3 to 4 courses of pre-prepared plates. The buffet was staffed beautifully. It was not a chow line. Everything was served to you. Lunch began at 11:30 and closed promptly I think at 1:30. There was a tea service in the dining room from 3-4. I went to it one day. They used the same tea bags as usual and the staff had no idea what clotted cream or watercress were. The buffet also had some interim light meal before dinner. Dinner at the buffet closed about the same time as the dining room, probably 9PM. Then there was a 1 hour buffet at 11PM. Nothing was served in the Casino or any of the sitting rooms, although the library had a specialty coffee bar where drinks were for sale. If you have memories of things staff greeting you with hot chocolate or cool drinks after port, they are just that. On glacier viewing day, staff came around early in the morning hawking commuter cups for sale, so you could fill up your coffee and take it outside. My son said to just describe the food as "horrible" and stop using so many words. So much for the teenage prospective. THE SHIP AND CABIN- The cleanest ship I have ever been on. The staff spent most of their time cleaning and they were insistent on standards with the passengers. You had to purify your hands every time you entered the dining room, the buffet line or came back from port. The public areas are lovely. They are mainly wood and afford ocean views everywhere. The walls have interesting art and it is worth stopping to look. We were in a cheap inside cabin. It was fine. Lots of room, lots of storage space. Suited our needs. Staff were constantly coming in to clean. PORTS- The ship spent the longest port time in HAINES, where there is nothing to do. We were there for about 12 hours. Some people took the ferry to Skagway to shop. We just walked around. The totem pole store was interesting. I enjoyed speaking with the carvers. The fort is not a fort, but a bunch of buildings and the town is tiny. An eagle watching tour is offered at over $100 per person, which we considered taking, but later were glad we didn't bother. Lots of eagles to come. On a cruise to Alaska, the ship fare is like the base sticker price of a car. My price actually doubled when the activities in port were added. And, there is not a lot of difference if you book yourself. Usually, I save a lot of money by booking shore excursions myself. In Alaska, you won't. All the money is made in the very short summer season, so prices are ridiculously expensive. And, since there are not a lot of suppliers, prices among them are pretty uniform. You can save about $50 per person on some of the flight trips, which we didn't take, booking them independently, but for the things we did, prices were exactly the same. JUNEAU - We booked sport fishing through the ship, which delivered it through Juneau Sports fishing. We were bussed to the pier and assigned to a boat with 2 other people. Had an absolutely great time. The captain was terrific. The other fisherman were lots of fun. Cost was $219 per person plus $20 each for a fishing license. We each caught a salmon (Yeah!). The captain arranged to have the fish sent to Alaskan Sea Food, where it was smoked, packed and shipped to us in CA for a charge of $77. Wanted to see more of Juneau, but after the fishing, we were exhausted and went back to the ship GLACIER BAY- Although this is not a port, it is an attraction. Spent the day on the highest deck covered in blankets watching ice fall into water and listening to the rangers describe the geology of the area. Ketchikan- The absolutely best port. We spent the shortest time there. We booked the deadliest catch tour at $145 per person. It was worth the money. At one point, the fisherman threw bait into the water and we watched eagles swoop down from the tries to catch it. Watching the eagles was glorious. The fisherman were fun and the entire experience was just great in every way. Luckily the ship had pulled in a little early so we had time to walk around. But there are many shops and so much to do there. We would have gone fishing again if there was time. In summary, if you are over 80, handicapped or expecting to have a medical emergency at sea, this is the ship for you. They actually were able to call the coast guard, turn the ship around and have a passenger taken off to the hospital by helicopter in less time than it took them to serve dinner in the dining room. Apparently, this happens with some regularity. The staff was wonderful with people in wheelchairs and those who needed assistance. If you have to go to a nursing home, for the same price you can cruise. If I live pass 80 or fall into really poor health, I will reconsider taking HAL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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