585 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

As fairly experienced cruisers, this cruise did not meet our expectations and having read some of the previous reviews for this ship, I fully undertsnad where they are coming from. The service in the Open Seating restaurant was ... Read More
As fairly experienced cruisers, this cruise did not meet our expectations and having read some of the previous reviews for this ship, I fully undertsnad where they are coming from. The service in the Open Seating restaurant was diabolical from the 20 minute wait before being allowed into the restaurant to the delays in being served. Watch the wine server also who will try to sell you additional glasses of wine without your knowledge by filling up glasses without being asked to. The formal (Gala Attire) nights were not adhered to and very inconsistent with some passengers dressed in T shirts being allowed into the restaurants/bars whereas I was told to wear a jacket The entertainment was also poor. The production shows were fairly average, the comedian was bad and the pianist although very good was creepy in my view. The best performer who sang Frank Sinatra songs was placed in a small venue with few seats. Films were shown at regular intervals on shore days but on the last day at sea, two showings at 7pm (in the middle of meal time) and 10pm with an after midnight finish (when you have to have your bags out at midnight and be off the ship early the next morning) were nothing short of ludicrous. There was also little to do around the ship on sea days. I completely agree with the comments about the pushy woman trying to get you shopping, this was a scenic cruise not a shopping expedition. We had two problems with the toilet not working but were not in the cabin when the repairs were carried out by the plumber so cannot comment on his hygiene while carrying out the repairs, although repairs were carried out quickly. While we enjoyed the cruise generally, especially the scenery, it did not meet our expecations having read how good Holland America are supposed to be and did not compare favourably with previous cruises from the UK usually with P&O Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Our cruise on the Volendam -- 22 November - 8 December 2014 -- from Sydney to Singapore was a serious disappointment on many levels. First, there were many annoyances, such as the cruise director choosing to make some routine public ... Read More
Our cruise on the Volendam -- 22 November - 8 December 2014 -- from Sydney to Singapore was a serious disappointment on many levels. First, there were many annoyances, such as the cruise director choosing to make some routine public address announcements during scheduled church services on Sunday morning. The itinerary skipped major ports, except for Darwin, and chose to stop at isolated ports with very limited opportunities. Moreover, the procedures for disembarking at ports was time-consuming and poorly organized. Most annoying were the "hidden" costs and fees. In the small print of the itinerary document, and toward the last of a bulky multipage brochure, it states that the ship charges a "service charge" of $12 per day per person. Other costs were way out of line: $17.25 for each glass of wine with dinner, $67.85 for the cheapest bottle of wine, 15% "tax" on beverage purchases, and exorbitant fees for shore excursions. For example, one shore excursion to visit the Great Barrier Reef was $295 per person, but on shore, several vendors were offering the same excursion for $110. Holland America's margin in that case was excessive to say the least. The capper was an $86.20 fee per person at the end of the cruise for "taxes, fees, and port expenses," which was and remains unexplained. Anyone choosing Holland America needs to be cognizant of the unexpected (and mostly unexplained) charges and fees. The fees on this cruise increased the cost by well over 10%. This was our 7th cruise and Holland America leads the other cruise lines in excessive fees and charges. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
First off I'm a 4star mariner very loyal to HAL until now .this ship had to be the coldest ship Ive ever sailedonand .so extremely cold in the crows nest on deck 9 u needed mukluks and a parka.no control over the temperature in the ... Read More
First off I'm a 4star mariner very loyal to HAL until now .this ship had to be the coldest ship Ive ever sailedonand .so extremely cold in the crows nest on deck 9 u needed mukluks and a parka.no control over the temperature in the wajang theatre either..freezing cold.. My hsband and I were in an outside cabin and there was no "cooler"and when I asked for one I was told they would rent one for $2.00aday.after all the cruises and money spent on their cruises and the boutiques,andthe tips that was really nickel and dime as far as im concerned and when I e-mailed my travel agent about this matter,her company said they would arrange for a credit and pay for the cooler,but the front desk claimed they were never told about a credit and then saidthere were no more coolers available but several passengers saw crew wheeling coolers ondollies in the hallways.. Also several members at the front desk couldn't get their stories straight on other matters.the food wasn't up to snuff in the Lido and the main diningroom and because a shortage of staff one didn't always receive fast service in the dining roomand because the ship had "Norwalk virus" on the Alaskan part of the cruise no one could even use the salt&pepper until 3 days out of LA..very inconvenient to say the least. so I would have tobe given a very inexpensive cruise and many perks to EVER sail with HAL again..Our 2 cabin stewards were wonderful and the staff in the lounges were great,they helped make the cruise a little enjoyable.and half the ship were Aussies and they were not a happy lot.the entertainment and lectureswere wonderful.. I also broke one of my crowns on a bone in a supposedly boneless pork dish and HAL assured me they will pay the dental costs..we shall see.I,m sure many passengers will be complaining on facebook and twitter re:this cruise.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our 5th cruise and I was very excited to cruise on HAL. Here are my thoughts on the things you probably care about: 1. Food: well below average, hots often served cold in main dining room. Lido buffet food was less inviting. ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise and I was very excited to cruise on HAL. Here are my thoughts on the things you probably care about: 1. Food: well below average, hots often served cold in main dining room. Lido buffet food was less inviting. Service was very spotty, Difficult to communicate needs with staff due to language barrier. Getting a cup of coffee required an act of congress on this ship. 2. Stateroom: Good size, a little worn around the edges. Comfortable bed. Larger than averge bathroom. Great shower. 3. Entertainment: Comedian was funny otherwise don't waste your time. 4. Excursions: Hit or miss. 5. Ship: needs a visit to the yard, getting old. It is scheduled for 2 weeks in dry dock this fall/winter. Disclaimers: Weather- rain most every day, Medical code red for the whole cruise due to GI virus.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Recently completed HAL Indonesia cruise, round trip Singapore. Was not impressed. Embarkation was a little slow, but not a big negative. Cabin was adequate in size, had plenty of closet/storage space, especially as I was travelling solo. ... Read More
Recently completed HAL Indonesia cruise, round trip Singapore. Was not impressed. Embarkation was a little slow, but not a big negative. Cabin was adequate in size, had plenty of closet/storage space, especially as I was travelling solo. Cabin attendant was excellent – always had my room ready early in the day and evening. The ship appeared old and drab, with a blah color scheme (beige, brown, rust) but was kept fairly clean. Fellow passengers included Dutch, the largest group at over 300 (related to the fact that this was the first real Indonesian cruise), North American, other European, Australian, and some Asian. Because of the large number of non-native-English speaking passengers and crew trying to communicate in English, problems ensued. People were talking over English language announcements and during tour explanations, lots of misunderstandings on elevators and in food lines. Sometimes you had to actually push your way out of the elevator when the group to whom you repeatedly said “Excuse me, this is my floor” were too busy talking to each other to hear you. Then, of course, you were a “rude American.” Food was mediocre. I ate primarily in the Lido and appreciated the fact that the menu there mirrored the menu in the MDR. A few good items, overshadowed by tasteless, overcooked, cold food. Most potatoes, other than fries, were cold and tasted stale. Meat was generally overcooked and tough. A few fish items were delicious, but many suffered from too long at the steam table. Veggies were OK, but very unimaginative. Soups and starters were good. Logistically, the buffet line was a nightmare. It was set up to allow you to serve your own cold items, and be served the hot items. Unfortunately, the first two days, we were required to be served everything by a server, which is a fairly normal infection control policy. That meant no salt/pepper at the tables, no condiments to use freely, etc. After the required two day period we were allowed to serve ourselves the cold items and drinks, use condiments, salt/pepper shakers. This only lasted for a few days, then, due to some GI illness, we were back to “lock down”. I understand the need for this, but the execution was awkward. Since everything is handed to you at different areas along the line, on separate plates (no trays), you have to run back and forth to your table to set things down, then run back to get the rest of your meal. For example, start with your cold appetizer, run to table, go back for soup, run back to table, eat soup, since it will be cold before you can get everything else, run back, get in line for your main course, run back to table, eat it. It was almost impossible to safely carry more than one item because of the jostling crowds. And do not forget to ask for salt/pepper, cutlery, condiments, etc. Oops, you forget to get a drink – back up to the drink line. Oh, no! They forgot to put the sauce on the Duck A L’Orange, back to the line…. Breakfast was the worst – should I consume cold eggs or cold coffee, because I could not have both hot. And of course we had the Indonesian server, who is really not knowledgeable of the food he is serving, trying to explain to the German passenger what a particular food item was, in a language they were both not fluent in. It was like a bad, overlong Abbot and Costello routine. And I must mention the single worst food item – the stuffed cabbage rolls – dry, unseasoned rice stuffing (no meat whatsoever), pale tasteless cabbage, and no sauce, not a drop. Isn’t it supposed to be braised in a tomatoey sauce? One bite was enough. Entertainment has taken a big hit. Over the 14 night cruise, there were 4 nights when there were no prime time shows in the show room. One night, the CD touted the fact that they were going to show a movie in the show room, as opposed to the smaller movie theater. The movie was “House of the Flying Daggers.” Really!!?? For a ship full of European and North American octogenarians? Also, I suspect that HAL is doing away with most of their resident entertainers. The six singers and two dancers did only two shows in 14 nights, and neither show featured all of them. Of these, only one real production show (“Amore”), which was excellent. The rest of the time they were stationed around the ship squirting disinfectant onto passengers hands. The other showroom entertainment included a male quartet singing music from the 50s and 60s, a concert pianist, a magician, a comic, and Sally Jones, a musical theater pro, who was excellent. During the day, there were lots of trivia contests, but almost everything else involved additional cost or was a marketing gimmick. I won one contest and got a cheap HAL pin. C’mon, couldn’t they at least give a coupon for a free specialty coffee or a bar drink? I love culinary demonstrations, but these were very basic and somewhat awkwardly handled. Wrong information was spouted, e.g., “can I use sugar substitute in place of sugar on top of my Crème Brulee?” “Of course.” Yeah, try brulee-ing Splenda. The CD did one in which he made a Shrimp Po’Boy. He made the sandwich sauce with mayonaise, hot sauce, etc. Then he added some buttermilk in which his RAW shrimp had been marinating. When questioned, he said it was no problem because buttermilk would kill any pathogenic bacteria. So now I will wash all my surgical instruments in buttermilk. Library/internet café was very good – until we went into “lockdown” – nothing was left out to browse – all books locked up. You had to peek through the barrier to find something you might like to read, and ask the one attendant to get it out for you. Again, I understand why, but it was just one more restriction. Internet was slow, but that is not unusual. Shore excursions were overpriced, and did not produce much bang for the buck. E.g. two hour bus ride, stop for coffee, continue for another half hour, have lunch, walk up to temple for an hour, then repeat the journey back to the ship. CruiseAsia seemed to handle most of the excursions – the busses were comfortable and not packed, and they provided free water and soft drinks on the bus – although HAL never told us this and continued to hawk their own non-free water prior to our leaving the ship. Included excursion meals were fine. All in all, not a satisfying experience and HAL’s last chance. I am going on a Princess Hawaii cruise next month, so I can make some comparisons. My best recent cruise was on Azamara – the ship was not special, but the experience was - it showed that good food, excellent service, and skilled management can overcome anything.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Recently completed HAL Indonesia cruise, round trip Singapore. Was not impressed. Embarkation was a little slow, but not a big negative. Cabin was adequate in size, had plenty of closet/storage space, especially as I was travelling solo. ... Read More
Recently completed HAL Indonesia cruise, round trip Singapore. Was not impressed. Embarkation was a little slow, but not a big negative. Cabin was adequate in size, had plenty of closet/storage space, especially as I was travelling solo. Cabin attendant was excellent – always had my room ready early in the day and evening. The ship appeared old and drab, with a blah color scheme (beige, brown, rust) but was kept fairly clean. Fellow passengers included Dutch, the largest group at over 300 (related to the fact that this was the first real Indonesian cruise), North American, other European, Australian, and some Asian. Because of the large number of non-native-English speaking passengers and crew trying to communicate in English, problems ensued. People were talking over English language announcements and during tour explanations, lots of misunderstandings on elevators and in food lines. Sometimes you had to actually push your way out of the elevator when the group to whom you repeatedly said “Excuse me, this is my floor” were too busy talking to each other to hear you. Then, of course, you were a “rude American.” Food was mediocre. I ate primarily in the Lido and appreciated the fact that the menu there mirrored the menu in the MDR. A few good items, overshadowed by tasteless, overcooked, cold food. Most potatoes, other than fries, were cold and tasted stale. Meat was generally overcooked and tough. A few fish items were delicious, but many suffered from too long at the steam table. Veggies were OK, but very unimaginative. Soups and starters were good. Logistically, the buffet line was a nightmare. It was set up to allow you to serve your own cold items, and be served the hot items. Unfortunately, the first two days, we were required to be served everything by a server, which is a fairly normal infection control policy. That meant no salt/pepper at the tables, no condiments to use freely, etc. After the required two day period we were allowed to serve ourselves the cold items and drinks, use condiments, salt/pepper shakers. This only lasted for a few days, then, due to some GI illness, we were back to “lock down”. I understand the need for this, but the execution was awkward. Since everything is handed to you at different areas along the line, on separate plates (no trays), you have to run back and forth to your table to set things down, then run back to get the rest of your meal. For example, start with your cold appetizer, run to table, go back for soup, run back to table, eat soup, since it will be cold before you can get everything else, run back, get in line for your main course, run back to table, eat it. It was almost impossible to safely carry more than one item because of the jostling crowds. And do not forget to ask for salt/pepper, cutlery, condiments, etc. Oops, you forget to get a drink – back up to the drink line. Oh, no! They forgot to put the sauce on the Duck A L’Orange, back to the line…. Breakfast was the worst – should I consume cold eggs or cold coffee, because I could not have both hot. And of course we had the Indonesian server, who is really not knowledgeable of the food he is serving, trying to explain to the German passenger what a particular food item was, in a language they were both not fluent in. It was like a bad, overlong Abbot and Costello routine. And I must mention the single worst food item – the stuffed cabbage rolls – dry, unseasoned rice stuffing (no meat whatsoever), pale tasteless cabbage, and no sauce, not a drop. Isn’t it supposed to be braised in a tomatoey sauce? One bite was enough. Entertainment has taken a big hit. Over the 14 night cruise, there were 4 nights when there were no prime time shows in the show room. One night, the CD touted the fact that they were going to show a movie in the show room, as opposed to the smaller movie theater. The movie was “House of the Flying Daggers.” Really!!?? For a ship full of European and North American octogenarians? Also, I suspect that HAL is doing away with most of their resident entertainers. The six singers and two dancers did only two shows in 14 nights, and neither show featured all of them. Of these, only one real production show (“Amore”), which was excellent. The rest of the time they were stationed around the ship squirting disinfectant onto passengers hands. The other showroom entertainment included a male quartet singing music from the 50s and 60s, a concert pianist, a magician, a comic, and Sally Jones, a musical theater pro, who was excellent. During the day, there were lots of trivia contests, but almost everything else involved additional cost or was a marketing gimmick. I won one contest and got a cheap HAL pin. C’mon, couldn’t they at least give a coupon for a free specialty coffee or a bar drink? I love culinary demonstrations, but these were very basic and somewhat awkwardly handled. Wrong information was spouted, e.g., “can I use sugar substitute in place of sugar on top of my Crème Brulee?” “Of course.” Yeah, try brulee-ing Splenda. The CD did one in which he made a Shrimp Po’Boy. He made the sandwich sauce with mayonaise, hot sauce, etc. Then he added some buttermilk in which his RAW shrimp had been marinating. When questioned, he said it was no problem because buttermilk would kill any pathogenic bacteria. So now I will wash all my surgical instruments in buttermilk. Library/internet café was very good – until we went into “lockdown” – nothing was left out to browse – all books locked up. You had to peek through the barrier to find something you might like to read, and ask the one attendant to get it out for you. Again, I understand why, but it was just one more restriction. Internet was slow, but that is not unusual. Shore excursions were overpriced, and did not produce much bang for the buck. E.g. two hour bus ride, stop for coffee, continue for another half hour, have lunch, walk up to temple for an hour, then repeat the journey back to the ship. CruiseAsia seemed to handle most of the excursions – the busses were comfortable and not packed, and they provided free water and soft drinks on the bus – although HAL never told us this and continued to hawk their own non-free water prior to our leaving the ship. Included excursion meals were fine. All in all, not a satisfying experience and HAL’s last chance. I am going on a Princess Hawaii cruise next month, so I can make some comparisons. My best recent cruise was on Azamara – the ship was not special, but the experience was - it showed that good food, excellent service, and skilled management can overcome anything.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Report from the Volendam - Jan 6th. 2014 - Singapore to Singapore, Indonesian Islands. As seasoned cruise travellers including previous excellent cruises on Holland American, I have to report that this was like a shake down cruise which ... Read More
Report from the Volendam - Jan 6th. 2014 - Singapore to Singapore, Indonesian Islands. As seasoned cruise travellers including previous excellent cruises on Holland American, I have to report that this was like a shake down cruise which was surprising as the ship was 15 years old & Holland America has been going for ever, yet so many things were disorganised. The good points: We were pleased with our cabin, a window cabin on deck 1 which was a good size with a bath & very well planned; the food in the dining room which was very good & the entertainment was also very good. The bad points: Embarcation in Singapore was chaotic & took 2 hours. The service was poor particularly in the Lido restaurant which we tended to use most days for breakfast & lunch rather than waste up to 2 hours in the main restaurant; The Lido was more like a mediocre cafeteria with the tables being dirty & having to wait for them to be wiped down. There were rarely any officers around & when there were, they were always busy staring at the computer screen & if you could attract their attention, they did not smile & were not friendly. The Lido closed at 2P.M. prompt & from then, there were only sandwiches available which were made to order by just one member of staff so that when 500 people returned from a ships tour (which were quite often an hour late) at 2.30P.M., there could be 25 people waiting in line for up to an hour. This was pointed out to the officer in charge who said that they were looking at this, as though it was a new occurrence on a 15 year old ship! The deck chairs are very uncomfortable, dirty, & of the few chairs which had cushions, some were ripped & torn & well past their sell by date which goes for the whole ship which is long overdue for a complete re-fit. We did not disembark at one port of call as we were informed by the Captain, after waiting an hour for the tender, that this was a new port of call & they had not been informed by the port agent that they could only get one tender through the channel at a time causing considerable delay. I have to say that in spite of the above problems showing complete disorganisation, we still enjoyed the cruise although Holland America will be at the bottom of the list for a future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
What a disappointment after all we had heard about HAL and particularly after paying an extra $2,000 for a upgrade and being placed under the lido deck and being woken up at 5.30am every morning by the crew scraping chairs and tables ... Read More
What a disappointment after all we had heard about HAL and particularly after paying an extra $2,000 for a upgrade and being placed under the lido deck and being woken up at 5.30am every morning by the crew scraping chairs and tables around the deck. It is very hard for me to say anything nice about this cruise from the cold food to the weird thumping at the rear of the ship that mysteriously stopped in Ho Chi Min. The whole ship was just badly managed. Unfortunately from day 1 the signs were there ,at lifeboat drill one of the officers made a man pushing his wife in a wheelchair stand in a different line -even when the wheelchair started rolling off down the deck with the woamn still in it all the officer did was put the brake on and still made them stay in different lines ? We went to the service desk and all five people in front of us were there complaining (still day one) We went for dinner that night and ended up on a table with Seven people (we asked for a table for Two) when we ordered all the meals placed in front of us were wrong -then the waiter with the senior waiter worked out the meals weren't even for our table -by this time they had been there 10 minutes -but they just picked them up and delivered them to another table -they must have been stone cold by then (still day one). I could go on and on - with the waiting for shore trips, camera shop not selling batteries (go ask the general shop we're told -general shop -sorry we are stocked out) people being charged on their on board accounts for returning a video a few hours late ($30.00) without being told - they discovered it on the last day. This cruise was purely a money making exercise - which can be expected but not with poor management -food that looked a million dollars and tasted like 20 cents- bland!! Docking in places hours away from the advertised destination - $70.00each for a shuttle to Ho Chi Min city (for one day -we were there for Two) so had we used this ship service both days myself and my wife would have payed $280.00 US dollars just to get a ride into town -similar situations in other ports. Most of this we shrugged off determined to enjoy the holiday we had worked so hard for all yearhowever we could not get past Two things -One the pompous attitude of the Senior officers & the arrogance of the service desk (they walked right past you without even a glance your way like you didn't exist -and the other was the fact that breakfast ,lunch or dinner -the food was served luke warm at best - and I could just go on - but whats the point this will fall on deaf ears just as it did with everyone else at the service desk every day complaining. HAL time you got out of the game ,there are many better cruise lines and ships better value than yours. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We cruised on the Volendam from 9 to 21 December 2013 - from Singapore to Hong Kong. This was our seventh cruise on five different cruise lines. We liked the fact that we never had to wait for the lifts and we liked the option of being ... Read More
We cruised on the Volendam from 9 to 21 December 2013 - from Singapore to Hong Kong. This was our seventh cruise on five different cruise lines. We liked the fact that we never had to wait for the lifts and we liked the option of being able to have a bath. Our cabin was fine, lots of storage space, but the smoke alarm kept going off for fifteen to twenty minutes every time we entered the cabin. But on the sixth night, it went off continually throughout the night. Despite reporting the problem on day one and our cabin steward reporting it three days later, it took seven days to fix the problem. A couple on the same deck as us, but about six or seven cabins away, were not so lucky. They boarded in Sydney and by the time they got to Singapore, which was the first section of their cruise, they had changed cabins three times. On the second section, after a day at Koh Samui, they came back to find this cabin flooded, but as the ship was now full, they were not able to change to another cabin. Another passenger took advantage of the special deal on a massage package at $149 and ended up paying 15% on top of that. A service charge on top of a service charge. The food was very disappointing in the Lido. The hot food was always lukewarm and having to stand in queues waiting to be served made matters worse. There were only two chefs frying eggs every morning for the two/three hundred people having breakfast in the buffet. And we have never been on a cruise ship where the buffet closed at 8.00pm and the other dining rooms closed at 9.00pm. Wait staff at the bar on the open decks showed little enthusiasm to perform their duties. On one occasion after waiting some time for a member of the bar staff to appear, my husband signalled the waiter who came over and asked "Is there a problem?" In keeping with most cruise lines, the cost of shore excursions was exorbitant and passengers were charged for Visas even if they did not go ashore, or intend going ashore. So I presume all the cruise staff also had to have Visas as well - even if they were not going ashore. We went to Sihanoukville in Cambodia and quite frankly this should not have been a port of call for holiday makers. The poverty was so overwhelming; it was distressing to see. Still, we did meet some lovely people from various parts of the world.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Have been on a few Holland America ships and was the most disappointed one wasVolendam We did not get on in Sydney but Darwin. We found the staff quite unfriendly at the start and only into the trip did they warmed up and much nicer and ... Read More
Have been on a few Holland America ships and was the most disappointed one wasVolendam We did not get on in Sydney but Darwin. We found the staff quite unfriendly at the start and only into the trip did they warmed up and much nicer and smile. Out cabin staff were excellent. Cabin placement for us was terrible found we were not taken serious by the front desk they seem to say nothing wrong but finally they then agreeded with us that we were right but it took some time to get a vacant cabin.. Manager Dendi in Canaletto was excellent and thankyou to Oliver chef - sous in Lido as sometimes the food not hot and in Lido they always listened to what we had to say. They forgot we were Mariners and had to remind them on the front desk. Lido shut too early at 8.00pm we live in Queensland we do not eat that early and we dress casual we do not want to be made to dress up. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My wife and I just returned from a 7 day cruise to Alaska including the inner passage and glacier bay. Having traveled on Holland America many years back, we had expected the same kind of top notch service, food and entertainment. My only ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a 7 day cruise to Alaska including the inner passage and glacier bay. Having traveled on Holland America many years back, we had expected the same kind of top notch service, food and entertainment. My only explanation for not coming anywhere near our expectations might be the fact that Holland America is now owned by Carnival. We were very disappointed in many aspects, not the least being the service (in most areas of the ship with the exception of our room steward) and caliber of the food and its presentation. To be fair our last cruise was on Oceania's Marina, and this cruised paled badly in comparison.Let's start with embarkation. No real problems here except for late delivery of our bags to our rooms. As is custom on most cruises there were tables set up in the embarkation area to make/check dining reservations. This went ok, but there simply weren't enough staff for the number of people waiting to check or set up their dining reservations This is the #1 negative about this cruise...it appeared to us the ship was understaffed. Our overall number two gripe is that EVERYTHING is a profit center. I hope you com on the ship with deep pockets, because your hand will be in them at every turn. I understand cruise lines are in business to make money, but the hawking of goods and drinks that went on in this ship was offensive. At every turn there was someone selling something. I'm surprised that Holland American didn't put pay toilets on their ships! If this doesn't bother you, then you will probably have a good cruise. If it does, it will taunt you from the moment you walk on the ship to the minute you disembark when the cruise is over. It reminded me of a seven day infomercial and flea market. Some other negatives. The organization of moving passengers on and off the ship at port stops was horrendous. Long lines with apparently no organization to how to get passengers on and off the ship. At one port we waited a half hour in a crowed stairwell to get off the ship. My only thought was what if there were a fire...few would survive. The signage on the ship was also terrible. While there were maps at the elevators, once you wandered from them you had no idea where anything was. Of course after a week on board walking in the wrong direction to get to your destination, all was well. A lot of time was wasted going to the wrong floor and turning the wrong way, and this is a relatively small ship!Then there was the issue of language. Most of the crew originate from Indonesia and the Philippines. Conversing with many was a definite challenge as it was obvious that English was definitely not very well learned. It because really frustrating asking a question and the person had no idea what you were talking about. This happened many times during the week aboard the ship. There was also the incessant photographer in your face looking to take your photo and selling you the finished product back at outrageous prices. In this age of digital photography, the cost of those photos should have been at least half the price...if you want photos at all. Some other cruise lines have done away with photos altogether. But this goes back to what I said about everything being a profit center. The most offensive were the people who took drink orders. They were constantly asking walking around you if you wanted to purchase a drink. When all we wanted was two glasses of water, there was no one to be found!Probably the worst service was in the dining room. The brochure and information we received said you had a choice of open seating or a set reservation to dine in the dining room. This turned out to not be the case. There is a two tiered dining room; the top is for people who wanted open seating, the bottom for people who opted for reserved seating. These choices by the way had to be made in advance. This was very inconvenient. My wife and I chose open seating, but more times than not we could not get a table for two and if we wanted to have any dinner at all we had to share a table with other folks. One night in particularly, we were celebrating our anniversary on the ship, and couldn't get a table for two because we did not reserve one ahead of time. There simply were not enough tables for two. On a positive note (and there are not many of them), our cabin steward was great. The room was always ready and cleaned after we left it. He was very efficient and served us well. The other surprise was the roominess of our stateroom. While we did not have a balcony, the size was certainly more than adequate for the two of us. Thank goodness we had fantastic weather in all the ports we visited in Alaska. We brought rain gear and warm clothing which we never had to put on. I don't know what I would have done if I couldn't get off the ship for extended periods of time. Our ports were Juneau, Skagway, and Kethikan. We did not have time to journey north on this trip, but would consider it in the future. Alaska is a beautiful state and should be visited. We will not be cruising with Holland America Line again. For my money and enjoyment, I will stick with Oceania. They have obviously studied the cruising habits and listened to what people want in a cruise and for me have perfected it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We chose the Volendam as we wanted a smaller ship with 5* accommodation and food to explore the Inner Passage of Alaska. This was to be our first cruise and we had carefully chosen what we thought would meet our requirements. We booked a ... Read More
We chose the Volendam as we wanted a smaller ship with 5* accommodation and food to explore the Inner Passage of Alaska. This was to be our first cruise and we had carefully chosen what we thought would meet our requirements. We booked a stateroom with a balcony, unfortunately a neighbour chose to smoke his cigars on his balcony without any thought or respect for the environment or his neighbours. The bed was very comfortable and the stewards kept the room very clean. Despite the ship being an older model, the facilities, for example the library, were very comfortable. The ship was kept in good order througout the voyage. Sadly the dining facilities on board were not of 5* standard - they appeared to be more akin to a cheap all inclusive deal, without the wine. Eating in the Lido was not something to be recommended unless one enjoys a rugby scrum. Obtaining a table requires the skills of a fast forward player and then one's partner has to negotiate the hordes who are piling their plates with assorted foods. The Rotterdam offers a more civilised, relaxed style of eating but is only open for short periods of time thus one has to be quick off the mark to get a table for breakfast or lunch. Dinner is easier to achieve as seating can be booked and the service is very good. However the food in both restaurants is of lamentably poor quality and invariably cold, including the soups. The breads resemble cotton wool thus toast is not recommended. The food is generally tasteless and the desserts are very sweet. Neither of these cooking styles appear to suit the European palate as members of our tour group (all European) had similar views and complaints about the quality of the food. The trip and ports of call were splendid, however the poor dining standards would preclude us from booking another cruise   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Ultimate Japan & China. March 2013 Very disappointed with Holland America, not up to 5 star standard expected. Kobe Japan, Check in experience very chaotic. Nearly every passenger was extremely jet lagged after long haul ... Read More
Ultimate Japan & China. March 2013 Very disappointed with Holland America, not up to 5 star standard expected. Kobe Japan, Check in experience very chaotic. Nearly every passenger was extremely jet lagged after long haul flights, this was not taken into consideration. Our luggage was not put on our transfer coach it was taken to a truck, this included my hand luggage which contained articles that I needed in the cabin. I had to chase around up and down stairs with an assistant to look for it. Cabin On entering the cabin strong smell of sweat, on bed especially pillows. Blood on floor and wall of bathroom not ours, reported then it was cleaned. Bath slip mat black around logos. Dirty black stains on pillow case before use, reported it,they changed pillow case. Thick streak of dark blue paint across window, rectified after about a week Dirty windows for the duration of the cruise, not cleaned in port. The painting around the window has been poorly executed, smudged and sloppy. Promenade Deck The painting on promenade desk was amateurish, there is no excuse sloppiness Lounger cushions dirty with bird droppings. Rugs were left out to get soaked and could not be used when needed. White plastic tooth pick/floss tool was in the gutter for days. Restaurant Trying to get a 2 table each night was a joke, staff stared blankly at the screen as though no one had ever asked for a table for two before, always had to wait even though there were loads of empty tables. Service patchy, waiters seemed to be novices or bored, working by rote. Muddled orders and long waits, stacked food left for 10 minutes to get cold before taking to tables. Lido, Outdoor table-tops stained and worn not clean, these should be replaced, even on 3 star ships they are not this bad. Coffee mugs often dirty and stained inside. Plates are badly crazed, we would have thrown them out at home ages ago. Some Food not hot enough, thermometers should be used surely? Last day on board the passengers and outside tables on lido deck were showered with large flakes of black soot. That's a first on a cruise! No attempt by the crew to remove the dirt from tables or the deck, they just took a couple of empty glasses away and left. The soot was getting into peoples hair and onto their light coloured clothes. Red Tape Disorganised 'face to face' with .Chinese officials Excessive queuing due to passengers arriving too early, before their allocated times, just because they were not told NOT TO. Surely their vast customer research has taught them to manipulate crowds, or at least keep them happy while waiting. Ports of Call We feel that Independent travellers were treated as second class passengers NOT 5 star ones. When booking a cruise, the most important thing for us are the ports of call, each one is analysed for the length of stay. All our previous cruises have allowed half an hour before departure - for all aboard. As one example 6.30 departure normally means 6 .00 all aboard, not 4:30 last shuttle for a ten minute coach trip, or 6:30 last shuttle when we are overnight onboard!. Shuttles were too late departing and too early coming back,this made it impossible to achieve our planned itineraries on several occasions. Their excuse to us was Chinese Red Tape, so does lengthy red tape only apply to those not on excursions? The shore excursions were leaving hours earlier and coming back 30 mins before sailing This was a once only holiday, we cannot consider repeating it to catch up on the missed sights. In all aspects a very tired ship. Crew suffer from lack of motivation and loss of any identity. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Where do you begin exactly....check-in. Chaos, nightmare....and it all went downhill there after. It took around 2 hours to be herded through checkin, it felt more like passing through some boot camp rather than starting a relaxing ... Read More
Where do you begin exactly....check-in. Chaos, nightmare....and it all went downhill there after. It took around 2 hours to be herded through checkin, it felt more like passing through some boot camp rather than starting a relaxing upmarket vacation, it was hot, uncomfortable and totally lacked any form of organisation or privacy for the weary traveller. Having survived this ordeal it was time to set foot on ship....and oh what a warm welcome there was NOT to be had, not a single HAL representative to meet and greet, just the security team. Overall a very good first impression. A Travel Lodge would do better. Food! Spectacular only by its awfulness, bland, always over cooked, meat without fail was tough. Plates were cold and food often little more than warm. HAL should feel thoroughly ashamed at what arrives on the plate and the fact that animals died in vain to produce it. A major part of our cruising enjoyment comes from the dining experience, however after several table changes and the fact that the food was so poor for the first time in 13 cruises we were prepared to opt out of evening dining, sadly the lido was on a par with a works canteen and there was no real alternative. Thankfully we were able to savour some exceptional local food during our shore excursions or we would have returned home having lost weight! Another bone of contention was that of feeling constantly hounded to spend money...this started as we arrived in the stateroom to find a mountain of info re treatments, sales and special offers. It was hard to sit quietly in the public area without being repeatedly asked for a bar order...why is it not possible for staff to hover rather than hound.....after all any decent hotel manages to achieve this balance the world over. Another HAL initiative is charging for after dinner cappuccino this is apparently because they are now using a better quality coffee, not just adding frothy milk.... The latest HAL earner seems to be the charges for the shuttle buses.....come on now surely we have paid to travel to a destination so why is this cost not factored into the overall holiday price? And as for scrimping on the port fees and docking in Hong Kong's freight dock that surely will take some beating, the hours travel we were forced to endure to get us where we should have arrived in the first place was just the final nail in HALs coffin as far as we are concerned. Oh and finally HAL staff were there to thank us for sailing with them etc etc...again NOT Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Stateroom requested Suite G2706 ... Paid $3850 per person march 2012 The same stateroom selling for $2200 per person in December 2012 two months before sailing. Called Holland America office and talked with supervisor who informed me that ... Read More
Stateroom requested Suite G2706 ... Paid $3850 per person march 2012 The same stateroom selling for $2200 per person in December 2012 two months before sailing. Called Holland America office and talked with supervisor who informed me that he could not refund the difference but would upgrade to window stateroom. No refund but an update from HAL offered........BIG MISTAKE..DO NOT ACCEPT UPGRADES...... LIES FROM HAL #1 FEB 4 Day 1 to Day 14 To our shock and dismay the uPdated Stateroom is below galley kitchen Suite number 3372--- avoid any even numbered unit between 3300 to approx 3400. Noise started at 5:30 am every morning lasted (2 weeks). It sounded like large industrial mixers and chains being dragged through the walls of our suite. Notice that the location of the galley kitchen is never advertised on their website, on any brochure or on any ship map.. They show it as a blank spit with no information. LIES FROM HAL # 2. Asked to be moved to verandah suite for the last 2 weeks of our 4 weeks cruise. Estimate given to us $699 per person for 14 days left on the cruise...... We said yes because we were desperate..before we moved I found an old email listing the price for a verandah upgrade to be for $599 per person for entire 28 day cruise....caught HAL again in a lie. LIES FROM HAL #3..... FOOD SERVICE ON A 28 DAY TRIP FROM HAL Breakfast : stick to toast butter and jams... Milk imported from china...it smells. Be careful if you are coming from North America No respect for vegetarian cooking...all pasta dishes cooked with same utensils whether meat sauce or vegetarian in the Lido.. Chef is too busy trying to sweet talk the single women guests rather than worrying about serving good quality food by his untrained young staff. If he starts with Hello Darling ...move to another place to eat....LIES FROM HAL #4. The quality of food in both the main dining room and the Lido is mostly mediocre served by waiters that would never eat it themselves. Reminds me of my college dorm days.. Day 2,5,8, 12,16 The Main Dinning Room (Ida the evil matire'd) Look out for the maitre 'd on the 4th floor dinning room. He basically does not want to give you a nice table for 2... Most nights we waited for 15 minutes even when there were many small tables open. We wondered if he had something personal against us although we were polite and appropriately dressed. it would seem that this man needs some multi-cultural and manners training. The smile he use shows when his supervisor is around is not sincere. More Lies from HAL #5. Day 18 The last time we ate in the main dining room was on our 18th day of a 28 day cruise. The dinner started with us finally getting a nice table by a window, for once. We ordered some wine and had our dinner. We expected to enjoy our evening , as we were leaving Shanghai. But as The ship left the magnificent lights of Shanghai our nightmare started.. We usually go to bed around 10 pm as we are not much of late night people. I went to bed as my wife watched tv in bed next to me. All of a sudden, I start to feel my fish and bok choi started to rise in my stomach. I barely made my way to the washroom where my dinner flew out of my mouth at full speed. This lasted the next 4 hours as I sat by the bathtub making sure not to make too much of a mess. After each throw up I ran the shower to make it disappear... Next morning my wife went down to the doctors office and picked up some anti-diarrheal pills ... We were told I was on voluntary quarantine, in our room. As I slowly waited out my condition in a room with no heat , while the temp in China dropped below freezing.... Calls regarding the lack of heat were ignored. LIES from HAL #6. Day 19 Next morning while freezing in our verandah suite my wife took charge as I lay in bed shivering. She got me tea one cup at a time because if you order the flask from room service, it was at most lukewarm , not hot. She cancelled my excursion bookings for Beijing and the Great Wall of China. . I could not bear the thought of a twelve hour excursion, riding buses 3 hrs each way without a rest room on the bus. My wife was determined to go see the Great Wall the next day... So she would have to go alone. Day 20 The day started with me still in bed and my wife running around the ship to get me some HOT soup. Lido serves two kinds of soup everyday. One is usually cream based the other being vegetarian. She brought me a cup of the vegetarian soup which I have to describe as smelling of rotten eggs with green leafs floating on the top. The smell of this soup started me into throwing up again. Please take a can of chicken noodle just in case you catch a bug as consomme is not available. My wife noticed that she was feeling a little tired. As she rested in the afternoon on her bed, I knew that she too would be sick. It happened around 3 pm. She ran to the bathroom and threw up so violently that I was afraid for her. I jumped out of my bed and took charge. Now I had to be in control. She had magnificently handled my sickness , now it was my turn. As she sat near the bathtub spilling out her guts, I phoned the doctor and asked for more pills. The nurse came to our stateroom and informd us that we were both quarantined. If we violated quarantine we would be expelled from the ship and have to find our own way home. This seemed an extreme threat when we were left extremely ill, in a room with no heat. We stayed in bed watched some movies and drank lot's of water $3.75/ bottle. A night from hell..no heat in our room. Temp outside approaching freezing. Both confined to our stateroom. God help us.. A day from HAL...More Lies from HAL#7. Day 21 A new day dawned with me feeling better and my wife still feeling the effects of up chucking all night... Breakfast meant calling room service ....some cereal and toast with tea...we could not look at any other food. The joy of eating was gone. Phoned the front office. Requested that they clean our room and give us some fresh towels. We were informed that they would send someone in the evening to clean up. We basically lived in the filth of our stomach up chucking for 48 hours. Our normal stewards did not want to clean up. Also, no heat in the room. We were told that someone would check the heater but it had been days since our first request. We sat in our room waiting for some help which came at 7pm with a knock on the door. An officer named Arpalata appeard with 2 stewards. The Stewart's cleaned the washroom and disinfected the room. We were grateful. Next came the guy to fix the heater. We finally had a clean room with some heat. Things were looking up. The doctor called and inquired about our condition. We told him we were feeling much better. He informed us that we were no longer in quarantine. We were free to roam the ship. Free at last...I so much wanted to see Tianmann Square and salute the heroes of 1989. It was not to be. Thanks HAL. Day 22 Beijing day 2 We stayed on the ship in Bejing . Had a quiet breakfast of hot cereal and toast with lot's of Earl Grey tea....so many lies constantly told have made us fearful of trying another long cruise with HAL. We will try cruise lines that are modern with new technology and newer ship.. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Very few positives to report from this cruise. We checked in at Singapore on 7th of January. We found it very regimented, with little care for customer service. We were asked to stand in line several times, by impolite staff. Not a great ... Read More
Very few positives to report from this cruise. We checked in at Singapore on 7th of January. We found it very regimented, with little care for customer service. We were asked to stand in line several times, by impolite staff. Not a great experience.. The stateroom (1809) was very disappointing. Small, stale smelling with dated decor. We asked to be moved a couple of times, with no success (ship not full, but still no joy). The bed was very comfortable, but it filled the cabin. I got a couple of bruises and scratches on my legs, climbing past the corner of the bed, because it was too close to the walls. No fridge supplied. Bottled water supplied, but charged for(US$3+). The front desk staff were very poor. Whenever we asked for help with anything (such as a request to move cabins, collect our passports, change for quarters etc.) they always told us to come back later. Didn't find them friendly at all. The food quality in the main restaurant was average, at best, although we paid extra (US$25 per head) a few times to eat at the Pinnacle Grill, which was top class. The Canaletto (US$10 extra per person) was poor, and not recommended. The ship is relatively small, compared with other ships we've been on (I think around 65,000 tonnes), and this, together with poor stability, meant that the storm we had on the first night was a very uncomfortable experience!! Some of the entertainment on board was extremely cheesy!! One or two good comedians, but we mostly left after a few minutes. On a positive note, there was always plenty of seating available, and we found this to be the case throughout the ship. We found the beer and wine on board very expensive.Two bottles of Grolsch (not even full sized) was US$16!! The wine at dinner should be cheaper than it is. We paid between US$30 and US$75 for standard quality wines. Being charged extra for a stronger coffee (only 50 cents, but the principle is annoying) was laughable. The ports were often industrial areas, and Holland America offered (for a payment) to transport you away from the area, into local towns. Independant travellers were left to deal with rip off local taxi drivers, charging extortionate rates for short journeys. I'm sure Holland America could do more to help with this, or at least make their customers fully aware of what to expect. The 14 night cruise could have easily been condensed to around 10 nights. A couple of days at sea we were travelling at as low as 6 nauts, just to drag it out a bit. I found days at sea very boring - very little to do. Disembarking at Hong Kong was also chaos. We went to an area where our bags were to be collected, to find an enormous crowd of people all doing the same, then hundreds of people waiting in line for taxis!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
On August 24, my wife and I took a family of 10 on the Alaskan Cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We chose HAL because Skagway was one of the ports of call and the company is often regarded as a premium cruise line. We built up the ... Read More
On August 24, my wife and I took a family of 10 on the Alaskan Cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We chose HAL because Skagway was one of the ports of call and the company is often regarded as a premium cruise line. We built up the cruise beforehand, describing how excellent the food and activities would be, using our previous Alaskan cruise experience with Celebrity. Well, what a disappointment the Volendam was! The food was mediocre at best and on the first night of dining at the Rotterdam restaurant, we were totally ignored for 20 to 25 minutes. I had to ask for water for the table and the waiter did not even introduce himself as waiters have on our previous 13 cruises. The restaurant seemed understaffed. We were also disappointed to see that guests with bluejeans were permitted in the restaurant. During our seven dinners in the Rotterdam, we saw no evidence of fine dining or outstanding service. Activities on the ship were few and far between. On the morning of entering Tracy Arm, our group assembled in the Crow's Nest because we were interested in hearing the commentary advertised in the ship's daily newsletter. Many others were also assembled there to hear the commentary. Well, we heard only loud music and we were disappointed to hear later that the commentary was heard on the outside deck, but did not reach the Crow's Nest. What a disappointment! We had been looking forward to learning about Tracy Arm on the public address system, but someone had neglected to channel the commentary into the Crow's Nest. Why advertise falsely in the daily newsletter and disappoint so many people? No apologies were given. The room steward and his assistant did an excellent job on the cruise. The comedian in the showroom was also outstanding. Embarkation was also very efficient. These were about the only positive things we can say about the cruise. Prices for photos were ridiculous - $39.99 for a photo - very expensive compared to Carnival! The young people in our group of 10 were bored - really there was little offered for them while on-board. No more Holland America cruises for us. Our Volendam experience has turned us off HAL. We will return our business to Princess and Celebrity, which have never disappointed us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
For some reason the town of Skagway was not listed in the embarkation drop-down. Alright, I'll preface this review by mentioning that I am not a world-weary, sophisticated traveler that is easily bored and has an axe to grind against ... Read More
For some reason the town of Skagway was not listed in the embarkation drop-down. Alright, I'll preface this review by mentioning that I am not a world-weary, sophisticated traveler that is easily bored and has an axe to grind against Holland America but I also do not like tour-oriented vacations where the travelers are led around like cattle which is what the land portion was. This is a type of tour that my girlfriend and I would not normally be interested in but it was a family vacation and our tickets were paid for. Our trip was the 8A 8 day land tour to the n catch the Volendam in Skagway for a cruise through Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage and ending up In Vancouver for disembarkation. If you want the quick review and don't want to read the following, skip the painfully drawn out land tour and do the entire thin via cruise ship. So we traveled by air to Anchorage where we stayed at a Hilton which was a very nice hotel. We woke up early the next day at around 6 AM for 12 hour train ride to Denali park. One of the engines broke down hence the long time. This was of course the day after most guests had spent the better part of the previous day traveling to Anchorage so it was a long day indeed. But the train was nice, the food was fair, and the guides on board were funny and friendly. We finally pull in to our lodging in Denali park which was agreeable. The next day we were scheduled to have an 8 hour tour throughout the park on a school bus to see bear, moose, etc., that started at 5:45 am and your luggage had to be out before that!!! Yes, you read that right. No thanks. That would have been 3 straight days of sitting with no hiking or real physical activity. So we slept in, did some shopping, and got a quick workout in. We then boarded one of the park buses for a 30 min tour and saw a bear, Dall sheep, and a caribou and her baby. Got lots of pics and had a great Korean War vet bus driver. He was my favorite person on the whole trip. Several couples mentioned after the 8 hour tour that had they known, they definitely should have skipped it. By now the days were blending together and I couldn't tell what town I was in unless I consulted the itinerary. I was in a daze where time meant nothing and was reminded of my time in Iraq. I had developed the fabled 1000 yard stare actually outside of a combat zone. Sleep was a welcome time shrinker but that was robbed from me as a silly game was started on the bus. Alaska has potholes in it's roads. Big deal. So does every state. Well, on our bus anytime someone said "pothole" the entire bus screamed that word in unison waking anyone foolish enough to grab a few winks. Next morning we had to have our bags out by 6 am to get an early start. This is a theme that happens throughout the entire land tour. Make no mistake, this is a working vacation as far as hours put in are concerned. The aggravating part is that during the day the tour guide announces how there's extra time so we end up making "additional" stops at crappy gift shops to purchase future thrift-store fodder. You know the items I'm talking about-stuff that when you give it to someone they wait till you leave and say "Really?" So the "we have extra time nonsense" happened on several days and got old real fast. Why not give everyone an extra hour to sleep in and grab a decent breakfast? The answer is that some of the gift shops are owned by Holland America. Please exit through the gift shop!! Frustrating as well is the fact that we rolled into our evening destinations so late that there's little to do but eat, clean up, and go to bed for another very early rise for more hours of sitting. At about the 4th day the aggravation among guests was getting palpable. The median age was around 65 or so and I was naively thinking these older folks were having a ball. Indeed some were but 65 is apparently the new 45 and they wanted to get out and do more. Sorry, no can do. Sally's gift shop is waiting. Gold-panning at the El Dorado gold mine was quite fun and me and my girl could have done that all week. The people that run the operation are colorful, knowledgeable, and the real deal since it's a commercial mine. For those of you that end up here take this on board: you'll be given a bag of dirt to pan for gold. It goes quick and when it's gone that's it unless you reach down into the trough you're sitting at and grab more dirt. We increased our day's take from 14.50 to 15 bucks utilizing that method!! Enough for more tracks to download on my overworked iPod or coffee. Or sleeping pills. Also, more evidence that this great country is on the decline is that the water is warmed for the tourists. What would the "Greatest Generation" think of the rampant wimpification of Americans??? I digress. The riverboat excursion to a native village was cool and the riverboat dishes out free smoked salmon which I happened to love. What I don't love is 200 people in an enclosed area on the paddle boat with salmon breath. Next day was lunch in a town called Tok with a population of about the amount of people working in the obligatory gift shop and restaurant. What was the point of that stop? I remember now, technically it was for lunch but also to procure cheesy dream catcher thingys and other authentic made-in-Alaska by way of China goods. Next stop was at Beaver creek with a dinner and show. The venue was a cool, open air design with smores for the kiddos to make on an open flame. The show was hokey but not bad. Next stop was White Horse, not terribly memorable. We finally boarded a cool, old train for a very scenic two hour ride into Skagway to board the Volendam. That train ride eclipsed the rest of the scenery thus far. We could have just done that and still seen some of the best terrain in all of Alaska. Overall in my opinion though, the landscapes of Yellowstone and Zion Nat'l park offer much more bang for your buck. Yes, Alaska is of course beautiful but this is not the way to see it. If there's something you'd like to see more of, you can't because the schedule is so preplanned and you have to sit thru the things you don't. We finally arrived in Skagway and boarded. For a line that's supposedly a step up from Princess for example, I wasn't that impressed. It was nice but is an older ship with not much to do for younger people and especially kids although there was a kid's club but that was about it. There were plenty of activities and some were cool such as a beer tasting. For the most part though, it was bridge lessons and seminars on things like how to photoshop and other simple how-to courses. We had a standard stateroom and it exceeded our expectations. Well appointed and spacious. The food was good and I enjoyed the salmon and clam bake held around one of the pools. The staff was attentive and polite. No issues there. I'm usually not to big on entertainment aboard ship but my girl talked me into going to see a comedian one night. He was marginal at best. Not what I'd call edgy or clever comedy. Pretty tame and predictable and obviously geared toward the older crowd. The one shore excursion was a good time and that was Ketchikan. It's a great little town with good food and interesting sights to see like a salmon hatchery. You can definitely get your relax on to decompress from the previous Bataan-esque march. There's even a gym and you're all but guaranteed that it won't be crowded. It's also a good spot to see the whales since it's perched up high towards the bow. Glacier bay and the Inside Passage were fun. We grabbed drinks and scanned for wildlife with binos that I brought. Oh yeah, if you're young and single and looking to hook up, hook up elsewhere unless you have a penchat for white hair and the bewitching odor of aspercreme. Not knocking old people at all, that's just a demographic fact of this tour.Disembarkation was very smooth and took just a few minutes. You can even leave early with your own bags instead of having to leave at your assigned time. There were other a few excursions I didn't mention and some of the above may be out of order. I wrote this to let people know how this trip really goes down. It's one of those trips that likely doesn't get repeat customers so I think it will remain as drawn out as it currently is. As I said before, I know some people thought this trip was just the best ever and think this review is way off but I know what the price was for our party of 11. If I were paying, I would definitely feel that I didn't get a fair shake unless I had traveled the entire time aboard the ship which is what I recommend. The land portion was just too much bus and train riding, subpar activities/entertainment at the stops (some locales did have interesting excursions for an additional fee but that's after you've been on the road all day), too early mornings, and too many gift shop stops. In addition, we spoke with another 4 couples once on the boat to ask their overall impression and all were disappointed and at the least would not do the land tour again and these were travelers who normally did tour style vacations. We were all just glad to get to the boat. Too much sitting, not the best time management for a vacation setting, and really not much to see in many of the towns on the land tour. I'd like to go back to Alaska but on my terms, to the towns and hiking areas I want, and for less money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Unfortunately, because we did not hold either a USA or a Canadian passport we were segregated at Canada Quay Vancouver and had to stand aside while the fortunate others got priority. NOT welcoming. The Volendam was not plush by ... Read More
Unfortunately, because we did not hold either a USA or a Canadian passport we were segregated at Canada Quay Vancouver and had to stand aside while the fortunate others got priority. NOT welcoming. The Volendam was not plush by modern standards but acceptable. Our outside stateroom was on the main deck but only two cabins from the stern. It both vibrated and was noisy when the ship was moving at any speed. Holland America know this full well. Good accommodation for clothes. Staff were helpful and pleasant. We had open-dining in the Rotterdam restaurant. Food was better than on The Queen Mary 11. Met many interesting people by opting to share a table. One disappointment was an opinionated Toronto Canadian "lady" travel agent who was sharing her free "taster" trip with her poor father. He was her father but that was his only fault. Theatre entertainment is repetitive, somewhat unimaginative and uninspiring. If you buy a watch from the travelling vendors' stalls on-board make sure that if it has a main face supplemented by two other dials that there are three adjustment winders as the Chinese ones that we bought were a total con -- bad news, bad CR, Holland America!! We enjoyed better than average weather. The Skagway railway was excellent but VERY expensive. Nothing much to do in the ports if the weather is bad [ Ketchican boasts that it is wet 359/365 days per annum.] Sailing during the night limits your enjoyment of the scenery. The ports are hill-billy in many respects and several fellow guests had their Credit Cards cloned when they bought jewellery and other goods at ports. Each port has the same retail outlets, at the same prices. becomes tedious. Enjoyed the Fiords and Glacier scenery. Saw whales, Orka, porpoises, sea-birds, calving glaciers and amateur sailors who had a definite death-wish when ignoring the fog horn warning of their lack of sailing skills. Enjoyed holiday/vacation but Inside Passage is not a repeat venue. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Embarkation process in Sydney was well organised. Problems arose when we actually got inside the ship and saw the stained carpets, unswept areas under chairs and tables, dirty windows, clumps of old brasso stuck in the corner of the ... Read More
Embarkation process in Sydney was well organised. Problems arose when we actually got inside the ship and saw the stained carpets, unswept areas under chairs and tables, dirty windows, clumps of old brasso stuck in the corner of the windows, chipped paintwork etc. The ship is overdue for a refit yet charges as though it was an Oceania or Silversea. Rotterdam dining room was disorganised on many occasions with staff sending customers to one level, then back again,then up again. Food there was consistently shopping centre food court standard ie cold, overcooked,dried out. We dubbed it the rottendam, and ate there only through hunger. Lido restaurant was similar quality but less formal. Room service was slow (50 minutes for a steak sandwich)and the food cold and unpalatable. I lost weight on this voyage which I have always thought to be impossible. The Pinnacle specialty restaurant was first class. We were told by the manager that it had separate kitchen and chef. Neptune lounge personnel were efficient and personable. The rest of the experience was comparable to the bad old days when the Russian boats like "Southern Cross" cruised out of Australia. Never again. We will stay with Oceania which I had the pleasure of reviewing last year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was our first time with Holland America, 16 days Christmas/New year trip to New Zealand. Overall I found the crew to be great, especially the waiters in the buffet were we ate most of our meals. The food was really good and well ... Read More
This was our first time with Holland America, 16 days Christmas/New year trip to New Zealand. Overall I found the crew to be great, especially the waiters in the buffet were we ate most of our meals. The food was really good and well presented. Our cabin stewards were very nice, always polite and very helpful. The Captain was one of the best and very informative of what was going on. I was very disappointed in this cruise. Being a Christmas one I was expecting a lot more festive things, no passenger Christmas caroles etc. The daily program was the worst I have seen, very boring, repetitive, and hardly any choices, no passenger interaction. If you like cooking or digital stuff then this is the ship for you. The shows were ok, they had a couple of artists on there that were really very good. This ship was built old, and badly needs work. Our cabin had patched holes in the walls, and the air con leaked which took three days to fix. We did one shore excursion with HAL which was very good, but expensive. We were very surprised at the free things that were given to us. Wine, on board credit, speciality dinners etc. That was very good to see. DO NOT leave your account in credit, they won't let you off the ship. I was stopped from going off the ship as THEY owed me $5.00. No last minute account, hung up on when trying to find out where it was. When I was stopped from leaving the ship (red flagged) I was told to go to the front desk and sort it out, my wife had already got off and told to stay on deck. The line for the front desk was going down the stairs. I jumped the line and asked them what was going on, they owe me $5.00. I could not believe they had stopped me for $5.00 dollars. They had my MasterCard details. I signed a form saying they could keep it. We had made arrangements to meet friends in Sydney before flying home. By the time we got off the ship,went through customs, and finally caught a cab it was to late to meet them. We were originally one of the first to get off the ship at 7.15am. We will never sail with HAL again, this was our 14th cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I was very spoiled after taking an April 2010 transatlantic Celebrity Equinox cruise then turning around less than 2 months later for this June 2010 Volendam trip. I really didn't pay that much more per day on Celebrity than I did on ... Read More
I was very spoiled after taking an April 2010 transatlantic Celebrity Equinox cruise then turning around less than 2 months later for this June 2010 Volendam trip. I really didn't pay that much more per day on Celebrity than I did on the Volendam. But what a difference! Celebrity is a floating W while the Volendam is closer to a Days Inn! And the sad fact is I was taking a first-time cruiser who clearly saw how sub-par the ship is in many respects. I continually apologized and ensured him that it wasn't like this on Celebrity. The scenery on the whole trip is unbelievable; it's difficult to pull yourself away especially when the sun didn't set til after 10pm! Now the bad: The ship though built in 1999 is a riot of tacky colors, sheens and patterns; it looks like the worst of 70's tacky disco decor. All this is weirdly juxtaposed by some pretty dark and gloomy original Dutch (I think) paintings from the 1800s or so. The main dining room's vaulted ceiling is BLACK with BLACK chandeliers; a very macabre place to have dinner indeed. Waiters lacked attention to detail (I always had to remind them I ordered iced tea) and the dining room food was pretty bad. Seating was also a nightmare ( I had such an easy time with Celebrity's no reservation dining, that I chose it for the Volendam--what a mistake!) We eventually gave up and found the food more pleasing in the general buffet area (where they served buffet breakfasts). Unlike Celebrity Equinox (though I did have 3 extra days on board that ship)I didn't get to know any of the staff (some of Celebrity's staffers are my Facebook. friends). Funny thing, I realized later that I had been on an Holland America Caribbean cruise 5 years prior. For some reason, I don't remember anything about it good or bad. But now that I've sailed Celebrity, the bar has been raised for the kind of quality I expect on a cruise. Port stops: Except for so-so Juneau (but see Mendenhall Glacier), the port stops were excellent with plenty of excursion options or just for walking around. In Ketchikan we did the more adult-oriented zipline excursion (there are two offerings) which was not for the faint of heart but fun. If you like the dares on The Amazing Race, this is the one to take!!! TIPS: #1 Bring binoculars! As you cruise in and out of Glacier Bay National park (unworldly and beautiful), the ranger will point out wildlife on the shore which is pretty far away for the naked eye. #2 If your cruise is out of Vancouver and you are of average fitness, take the metro to/from the airport. It's only $3 each way and the metro stop is a few blocks from the ship terminal. Their metros are frightfully clean! #3 Vancouver is gorgeous (at least in June); spend time there. #4 If you are arriving by foot, go inside the terminal and ask for directions; the outdoor signs make you think you board somewhere outside (you don't). We wasted a half hour trying to find the boarding area. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
The condition of the Volendam was shabby by cruise ship standards, including other Holland America cruises we took. Crew members would cut in front of us, or ignore us while they chatted with each other. This is my 11th cruise and the ... Read More
The condition of the Volendam was shabby by cruise ship standards, including other Holland America cruises we took. Crew members would cut in front of us, or ignore us while they chatted with each other. This is my 11th cruise and the worst of the lot. It wasn't Holland America that was at fault, but the guy in charge of the Volendam. Things that were not tidy when we first boarded still were not tidy when we left. By contrast, our land tour (by Holland America) was marvelous, organized, and fun. Scott Carter is the best tour director on the 10 cruises I've been on and handled everything so well via train, bus and river boat. Avoid the Volendam at all costs. Even the pianist sounded like an amateur, in contrast to what we enjoyed on other cruises, including those on Holland America ships. Someone in charge did a miserable supervising job, and it seems like Holland America put the worst and least-trained personnel all on one ship. Again, it's our first experience of this kind, and we've traveled from China to Turkey, most of Europe, North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Other passengers filed complaints, too, on their survey cards, as we did. There needs to be a complete overhaul of management on the Volendam. Soon! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
I'd like to give my comments on our recent Holland Anerica cruise round New Zealand & Australia. I started the cruise with no preconceptions about Holland America, or how they may compare to other lines.  We have been on ... Read More
I'd like to give my comments on our recent Holland Anerica cruise round New Zealand & Australia. I started the cruise with no preconceptions about Holland America, or how they may compare to other lines.  We have been on several cruises before, all on different lines, to different continents. The cruise was 17 days and over the Christmas & New Year period Overview : Let me start off with my thoughts on the ship, the 'Volendam.'.   In all honesty it is starting to look it's age. It might be only 10 years old, but seems more.  I would like to say that it has "understated elegance",  but that wouldn't really be true.  It doesn't really fit into any category. Neither lavish, nor modern.  That's not to say it's a bad ship.  Perhaps 'bland' would be the best way to describe it. Whilst it is aimed at the family sector, it shouldn't be.  We are in our 40s with children, and at times felt quite out of place. Most of the older passengers are clearly uncomfortable with children on the ship, and were not shy in coming forward to say that. If you are a family with children then Holland America is probably not for you.   Now on to facilities : Volendam is a midsized ship, so has most of the necessities, but not in any great numbers or variety. Our cruise included 6 sea days in total, and 3 in a row.  We felt that more facilities would have been better, and certainly more activities laid on than they did Before I go on to my in depth review, my short appraisal would be 5/10.  It's not my best cruise experience, not by a long shot.  There was nothing terribly wrong with it.... we just left feeling the ship, staff, and facilities could have been much better. Now in detail : Cabins :  here I have no complaints at all.  They are quite spacious, with good storage, and perfectly adequate bathrooms.  The Tv system has the usual mix of CNN, Espn, in house movies and ship channels showing tour guides, events etc. There is also a Dvd player, and movies you can rent. Restaurants.  The main restaurant is the Rotterdam, straddling 2 floors on the 4th and 5th.  The Volendam had both fixed seating, and dine as you wish.  We had the latter, which worked perfectly well.  We started off the cruise by making prior bookings for each evening, but found out that really wasn't necessary.  We were a table of 6  and never had s difficulty being seated as we rolled up.  The food  in general was excellent, nicely prepared and presented.  There was good choice, though the menu did repeat itself on a few occasions. In particular, great effort wad made for both the Christmas & New Year meals. The 'Pinnacle.'. -  the alternative, chargeable restaurant. ($20 pp for dinner and $10 for lunch.). This was a disappointment.  We found the food to be below the standard of the main dining room,  which should not be the case.  There is a small selection on offer and is limited to 3 courses.  (as opposed to the dining room which has a far more varied selection.) The qualility of cuisine was just not up to standard. We ordered a selection of steak, seafood and vegetarian. None were exceptional.  If you request anything in addition or different to the 3 courses, there is a further charge.  We were scheduled to dine there 4 times,  but cancelled after 1. Lido Buffet restaurant.  Pretty much does what is says on the can.  Breakfasts generally are good, with plenty of selection.  Lunch was more changeable, some days better than others.  On the odd occasion we ate there in the evening we found it to he lacking in imagination, and the least good of the meals.  By the lido deck pool there is an all day grill section that offers up burgers, pizza, tacos etc.  Useful if you get hungry in between .   Bars: There are a selection around the ship, which have music at varying times. Pool deck : known as the Lido.  There are 2 pools.  One is mid-ship with a retractable roof, and other other is open air at the stern.  Most of the time there was sufficient seating, with a mix of chairs & recliners.  However, there is little entertainment, and this was a recurring theme.  Whilst there was a band-stand, there was little to no live music being played on it, nor background music over the speakers.  So you'd better like a quiet pool-side exeperience. Evening Shows :  on 5 nights there was the ships singers/dancers.  Mostly good and polished.  Other nights there was a selection of singers/comedians/jugglers.  They were mostly poor and pretty second rate.  Think amateur cabaret night. Kids club.  This is not the ships best facet.  Hours are limited, and you really have the over riding feeling that Holland America is providing it through clenched teeth.  The staff are cheery and do their best,  but there is only so much they can do.  Added to which, note my earlier comment that most passengers are hostile to children on board.  We had 2 particularly nasty incidents where our children were lashed out at. Ports of call Here we have mixed feelings.  Whilst we booked this cruise, and thus must be ultimately to blame,  we felt the itinerary thoroughly lacked imagination. Some stops were fantastic, while others left you thinking  "why on earth did we stop there for." Whilst this was a 17 night cruise, it could easily have been compacted down to 12 or 13 by cutting out the tedious places.  Many of the passengers were complaining and/or suspicious of some of the port selections ( more on that below.) Is Holland America being offered incentives to stop at some clearly tedious places? Ports of Call: The Cruise started in Auckland, New Zealand.  We got here 30 hours before departure.  This is probably more than enough.  Once you seen the Sky Tower, the harbour and downtown area, you have got the essencece of it all.  Do make sure to visit Parnell Villagebom the outskirts.  It is a quaint and picturesque suburb. Tauranga - a good stop, the most intetesting part being the thermal springs and geysers at Rotarua.  Our tour only permitted 1 1/2 hours there.  We could have done with much more. Napier -  a pretty art deco town.  We strolled round the town and enjoyed the photography. Gisborne -  what on earth did we go there for?  In advance the captain proudly advised us we were the first ship of this size to come.  I can understand why.  Nothing of merit there.  Wellington.  Lived up to it's nickname, and was windy.  Unfortunately we came on a Sunday, and the city was all closed up.  The government buildings and botanical gardens are pretty.  The over-hyped Te Mata museum didn't live up to expectations. Christchurch - very pretty.  We did the trams/punting/gondola.  A great stop Dunedin - a bleak day, weatherwise.  Made it feel even more Scottish. We visited Speights brewery and there after found the town a little drab. Sorry about that. Oban - on Stewart Island.  This was the most controversial stop of all.  The township has a population of 300 and our cruise had 1400.  What would Oban do if we all descended upon it.  In the end it was a mute point as it was a rough day and many opted not to tender in.  For the record, it was just ok.  A bit quaint, you did see a remote lifestyle, 2 shops, a pub and a post office.  Next day scenic cruising in the New Zealand Fjords.  One of the real highlights of the cruise.  Stunningly beautiful, especially in Milford Sound. We then had 2 days crossing the Tasman Sea.  At times it got very rough, at the peak it was force 12.  The First Officer later commented it was the worst seas they had encountered for some time.  For 2 days the public areas were very empty. Burnie, Tasmania.  Big topic of annoyance amongst passengers.  Most felt we should be going to Hobart, or at least somewhere more interesting in Tasmania.  The town is small and has very little to offer. Melbourne -  a pleasure to visit.  You catch the tram into town right from the dock.  The City is vibrant, picturesque, and friendly.  Why weren't we here for 2 days?  We could easily have cut out Oban or Gisborne or Burnie and spent more tome here.  To add insult to injury we didn't even have a long day here and had to he on board by 5.30. The cruise ended in Sydney.  Always iconic to sail under the harbour bridge and dock right oppposite the Opera House.  It was our last full day and perfectly central. In conclusion :  the cruise could have been so much better....  Why : The ports of call were oddly chosen.  Gisborne, Oban, and Burnie quite simply should not have been on the schedule. And where we could have spent more time, we were short changed - think Christchurch & Melbourne. Was Holland America deliberately trying to spin this out to 17 days?   The entertainment on board was lacking, and where provided was unimaginative.  There were many days when there was virtually nothing on. Crew interaction -  there was almost none.  The staff don't seem to want to mingle or meet you. If you want to air any issue with them, or even to say hello you pretty much can't.  Especially so the cruise director, who made no attempt to meet with you.  Apart from coffee tea and water, no other drinks are available without cost. Small note about Captain Bos -  odd guy.  Never saw him,  gives his daily briefings over the tannoy.  Seems kindly.  Has a fettish about cleaning your hands. The pool was closed for 3 straight days, with poor excuses given. Did we enjoy the cruise?  Yes,  but not so as we would do it again. 5/10 e-mail - tropical.co@gmail.com Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Having sailed before we knew what to expect, but we had never been on the Volendam. There were three couples in our group and everyone had the same opinions. Two couples, myself included had a total of 8 prior Holland America cruises. ... Read More
Having sailed before we knew what to expect, but we had never been on the Volendam. There were three couples in our group and everyone had the same opinions. Two couples, myself included had a total of 8 prior Holland America cruises. The ship was a mess and the best description would be unkept. Windows were very dirty as well as some public areas. Our stateroom greeted us with mold on the sink, tile shower grout and hair on the floor all of which was present during the entire cruise. There was not a tiny bit of mold it was all over! There was also tile missing in the shower. We found restrooms on the ship that stunk and were unkept. We experienced the same problem in the same restrooms every time. One morning the water in our stateroom was as dark as coffee and stunk. Everyone we talked to had the same issues. For the entire cruise the bathrooms periodically stopped functioning on our stateroom level and the entire area around our cabins smelled of sewage! Disembarkation was a joke! All of the passengers with a certain tag were told to all meet on deck 2. After a 1/2 hour of being packed in the halls we were all told to go to deck 3 where we stood for another 15 minutes before being told to go to the theater on deck 4. After 45 minutes of waiting we were able to leave the ship. What a way to end a cruise running from here to there and standing in lines for 1-1/2 hours. Not what I have seen before. For the first 2 days of the cruise the staff was unfriendly at best and some were basically rude. Apparently after the "all hands" meeting on day 3 the staff became friendly and it was more of a normal cruise. The entertainment was the worst we have ever experienced, like going to a bad movie. I don't plan on another cruise with them. We did enjoy the side trips and the scenery was breathtaking. The food wasn't as good as prior trips but still was very good, The people who had the crab legs said they were the worst they had ever had. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
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

Find a Volendam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click