92 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

Chose this cruise as it seemed to be one of the few to visit Glacier Bay. With climate change we found the glaciers disappointing especially after seeing the ones in Argentina. The Volendam is a small ship and we were again ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it seemed to be one of the few to visit Glacier Bay. With climate change we found the glaciers disappointing especially after seeing the ones in Argentina. The Volendam is a small ship and we were again disappointed by the entertainment, it wasn't a patch on larger ships ( as you might expect), but was outshone by Fred Olsen which is a similar size. We found the drinks expensive and didn't like the 15% on top for service when we had already paid a general daily service charge. We had freedom dining and for the most part it worked, except when we made a booking for a certain time on a formal night and we still had to wait for a table. However the food was quite good. In spite of what they say in the dress guidance, they do not enforce the formal dress code and when we took the trouble to dress formally it was a shame that many passengers didn't and arrived as if it was a casual night. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After ... Read More
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After dinner that night, other table guest were gone, wife mentioned it was our anniversary. The waiter did not know, told us to wait, ran off and got a cake for us, poor communication. Waiter, probably doing his job, trying to up sale dinners. Card on table, advertises a seafood dinner for $27 and a steak for $76 and waiter tells about it every night, nobody was impressed. Leave this to the specialty restaurants. If this is the way things are going, average people "the bread and butter" cruisers, will stop cruising. The "whole" dinning experience was disappointing, things are going downhill fast. Entertainment, not much better. Really not much to do on board. The Mariners Club lunch was poorly organized two of us stuck at a table for six, other people the same way. The Captain and staff did not even stay. No Captains cocktail party. The best thing was the assistance my wife received, getting on and off the ship thank you. Sailed three times with HAL and this was definitely the last. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as ... Read More
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as were the quality and condition of all facilities on board. The activities organised daily were well organised and allowed more than enough time to fully experience them. We enjoyed the overall experience. However, the dinning services inclusive of can be deemed terrible. There were no multiple vegetarian food options and we were stuck with no choice all throughout the various meals everyday and had to succumb to whatever was served. Additionally, there were absolutely no dessert options without egg content. To top this, the food tasted awful and often was inedible, not meeting the lowest expectations of food cooked by an Indian chef. It was very well informed that our dietary requirements were vegetarian not including both egg or fish. Despite this, the staff was not considerate and was often seen using the same tongs/gloves to serve sausages/meat and baked potatoes, contaminating the only obvious vegetarian food choice. When this was brought to their notice, the staff was impolite and discourteously disregarded our concern. Moreover, the staff, especially at the buffet counter was also not informed enough and served us lobsters as a part of the salad saying it was vegetarian, neither did they have the knowledge of the cheese served containing rennet, which made us avoid it altogether. Satisfactory food is essential and our experience with the Holland Cruise made our journey which could’ve been great, below average. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
One of the things I love about HAL, is the Neptune lounge, so I usually opt for the suite.. It's expensive-- about a thousand Cnd a day-- but worth it.. So this cruise, you couldn't have asked for nicer weather, and smooth ... Read More
One of the things I love about HAL, is the Neptune lounge, so I usually opt for the suite.. It's expensive-- about a thousand Cnd a day-- but worth it.. So this cruise, you couldn't have asked for nicer weather, and smooth seas.. It has been 9 years since I took my last cruise (a 7 day HAL Mexican on the Veendam), and I've noticed a few changes.. The boarding and departing has improved-- especially the departing.. Alas.. Still major line ups, and the security is worse now, than after 9-11.. But I guess it's over-kill everywhere today.. The first thing different, was now you go to the lifeboat drill, without putting on the life jacket.. Not the best idea, as even before, half the people had put the jacket on wrong, that their demise would have been expedited, should they needed to take a dip.. I still think the jackets should be slapped on, for the drill.. The cruise was pretty good, although I was surprised there was no departure on deck BBQ.. Actually, there were very few planned events.. I had my evening meals delivered to my room, as I was travelling single.. That worked out great, but most of the meals were cold.. However, they were good, nevertheless.. Especially, the Pinacle ones that I had to pay extra for.. I normally prefer a warmer climate, but I love the smaller ships-- Veendam, Ryndam, Stattendam etc. Thus.. when I saw this cruise was on the smaller Volendam, I jumped at it.. The staff were great-- as usual.. The entertainment sucked.. I miss the singers and dancers, along with the ship band. A Chilean quartet in the Ocean Bar, were very good. I'm really disappointed to see the end of the classy nights.. Most nights were smart casual, but the one formal night, I swear I was the only male passenger on board wearing a tuxedo.. I would say half the passengers were wearing T shirts and jeans, on this particular night.. The only time I saw the people dress up, was the smart casual Mother's day dinner.. OK.. It might be Alaska, and we all packed our plaid shirts and jeans, but it's still nice to dress up in the evening.. I was a little disappointed in the lido food, but times have changed.. I'd say almost a third to half the passengers were Asian, so I guess noodles were the norm for them.. I'm a lover of roast beef, but only had it once for dinner.. The itinerary was great.. I love Juneau.. I've eaten a lot of King crab, but never had it freshly cooked before.. Delicious !! The crab shack and the tram in Juneau, was the highlight of the cruise for me.. I enjoyed Skagway, but got tired of seeing the same old "made in China" authentic Alaskan souvenirs, in every store.. Overall;.. I would do the cruise again-- in a minute.. I'd like to see a little more fancy appetizers in the Neptune, such as the shrimp cocktail.. A Dungeness crab salad would have been great.. But nothing but smoked salmon-- everyday.. I couldn't believe the weather, as living my first 30 years on the Queen Charlottes (Haida Gwaii), I am well aware of the weather that one can normally expect in this area.. But even up in Glacier Bay, when the shipped turned, and my balcony was bathed in Sun, it was almost too hot to sit outdoors.. It was pretty sad to hear of the mid air plane crash in Ketchican, killing a number of people from a Princess ship.. This happened, about 3 hours after we arrived in Ketchican.. ..It was also great to be able to take this cruise on the smaller ship, as opposed to the Oosterdam, which I don't like.. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 ... Read More
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 younger members of our party might enjoy the less formal atmosphere on Princess versus Holland America. We are well aware of the differences as we have sailed both many times. However, HAL offered a year end sale that was difficult/impossible to turn down. We flew into Vancouver the morning of the cruise and took the SkyTrain from the airport to Canada Place. Highly recommend this means of getting to the dock (very straight forward, about 30 minutes travel time at just C$9.50pp). Would also highly recommend a few days in Vancouver ahead of the cruise as it is a beautiful city with so many things to see and do. We passed on this as we have family in Vancouver and have been there dozens of times before. Embarkation was the longest we can remember experiencing but cannot blame this on the cruise line. The problem is going through US Customs and the interminable lineups. There were 3 cruise ships sailing that day which didn't help matters. The cruise lines should really put some pressure on the port authority to improve and shorten this process. Overall, we enjoyed our week long cruise. We had done an Alaskan cruise a number of years ago so the ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were not new to us. We did our own excursions. Our inside cabin was adequate, the service received from our cabin and dining room staff was exemplary and the food was good. However, there were a couple things that disappointed. The entertainment offered in the small venues was good (quartet in the Ocean Bar, Adagio Strings) but the entertainment in the main theatre was quite poor. While the service from crew who dealt with us every day (cabin, MDR) was excellent, we ran into a number of one-off situations where it wasn't. This included bar staff, the cooks behind the Lido counter, Lido serving staff, staff in the retail shops and staff in the spa. We have never encountered this level of malaise from crew on our previous 9 HAL cruises. The overall morale was not high and we are hoping that the new Hotel Director (Simon Tanner) can improve matters. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Did this cruise before twice, and really liked the ports. So much more to see in each area. The excursions were really great, on board a different story. The EXC events were lacking in quality speakers, related to the itinerary. There was ... Read More
Did this cruise before twice, and really liked the ports. So much more to see in each area. The excursions were really great, on board a different story. The EXC events were lacking in quality speakers, related to the itinerary. There was one naturalist that was great but only gave 3 lectures. The Mexican Ambassadors gave a great performance on deck. On the down side, the usual lectures on culture, history or the region were lacking. The speakers seemed to talk down to the audience and read from brochures. They were not experts in the field. The EXC person talked to the audience as if they were kinder-gardeners. The food was outstanding as was the in stateroom staff. The service was great and the ship was well organized and on time. The culinary classes did not emphasize health promotion. There was heavy emphasis on taste drawn from fats and salts, hardly appropriate for the middle aged audience or above. The last time we did this same cruise there were more on board activities, lectures and enrichment programming. Considering the number of fabulous ports offering rich history, art, culture and welcoming people, it is too bad there was such a lack of enrichment opportunities. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because my husband wanted to sail through the Panama Canal and we had experienced an amazing transPacific cruise on the Holland America Noordam in 2018. This was a type of journeyman cruise compared to that on a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my husband wanted to sail through the Panama Canal and we had experienced an amazing transPacific cruise on the Holland America Noordam in 2018. This was a type of journeyman cruise compared to that on a smaller, older ship with fewer passengers, amenities and activities. The shop’s air conditioning was faulty with many of the public areas kept at painfully cold temperatures. I talked to the cruise director about reading of this issue on earlier Volendam cruises and he admitted the frigid air conditioning was an ongoing problem which they had not resolved. There was also, perhaps not coincidentally a ship wide respiratory infection. The crouping, coughing etc. must have affected half the passengers. Everyone had the Volendam virus. My husband and i both came down with it and are still affected more than two weeks after disembarking. The good: the meals in the dining room and Lido were very good. The EXC tour director, Jude, was excellent and entertaining. The Adagio violinist and pianist were excellent as was the pianist at the Ocean Bar. The rest of the entertainment was mediocre. The crew were friendly and helpful. But the boat is so in need of updating and repair. The ports were fine but most everyone was interestedin the canal experience which was remarkable. Gatun Lake was beautiful. Cartegena was impressive. We liked Huatalco and the city of Antigua in Guatemala. The port of Corinto Nicaragua was not good. Costa Rica was interesting and we enjoyed the combination aerial tram and river rafting tour. The commentator thriugh the canal was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
First time for Panama Canal. Holland America received great reviews. The ship it self was like an ice box! When inquired we were told nothing could be done. Our cabin was never warm as was the rest of the ship. My wife received a ... Read More
First time for Panama Canal. Holland America received great reviews. The ship it self was like an ice box! When inquired we were told nothing could be done. Our cabin was never warm as was the rest of the ship. My wife received a bad rash and when we went to desk for assist they called doctor and I was informed there would be a charge to open the office and charge for any medication. After 9 PM the ship was dead. Staff very friendly, the one high point. Casino staff were great. Food was just average, nothing special. Tea at 3 was good, Shows were so so, One male singer who did Lionel Richey was very good. Magician was also very good. Rest of entertainment not very good. Sorry to say it let a bad taste for Holland America. I will never cruise Holland American again. I have been on 16+ cruises and this was the worst. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We wanted to do the Panama Canal so chose this cruise. The ship cannot handle the hot weather, the AC when finally repaired (5 days no AC at all in rooms) was still not enough to cool the rooms!!!!!!!!!! Dinning room food was very good ... Read More
We wanted to do the Panama Canal so chose this cruise. The ship cannot handle the hot weather, the AC when finally repaired (5 days no AC at all in rooms) was still not enough to cool the rooms!!!!!!!!!! Dinning room food was very good as expected. As was the food in the Lido. Tours were not very well organized, the usual stickers were not used. We were told just to go to the dock and find one of the in many cases 3 busses which resulted in much confusion. Entertainment was the usual Holland American shows in the showroom. Not great but some of the entertainers brought on board were good. The Oceans bar had a quartet that were very good and I encourage Holland America to not discontinue this entertainment. The room stewarts worked very hard to keep the many rooms clean under their responsibility. Towel animals in the room at night was always fun. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Left Vancouver 7/6 on cruise portion first. Spent a few nights in Vancouver before cruise. Our cruise was 3 nites followed by 7 day land tour. Ship was clean, stateroom attendant great. Food was so-so. Went to upscale Pinnacle ... Read More
Left Vancouver 7/6 on cruise portion first. Spent a few nights in Vancouver before cruise. Our cruise was 3 nites followed by 7 day land tour. Ship was clean, stateroom attendant great. Food was so-so. Went to upscale Pinnacle restaurant for dinner one night. Service was fine. However, both my brother in law and I ordered the halibut. Fish came served barely warm. Vegetables and potatoes were almost cool. Asked to have them reheated. They came back cool again. Fish was dry. Maitre'd offered us a bottle of wine to remedy the situation. However, we declined. We went there for a supposed fine meal. If any one is thinking of doing this Y3C cruisetour from HAL beware that you will spend an GREAT deal of time on the bus going to different towns. Dawson City was pretty good. Fairbanks and Anchorage disappointing. One day on bus was for an 8 hour trip to arrive at next stop. Another day was an 8 hour train ride. Saw a lot of trees. Our Tundra excursion in Denali was on a school bus with padded seats. Width of seats was for a 12 year old. Extremely long day (8 hours) and uncomfortable. We took the Tracy Arms Fiord excursion. Was very good. Also, gave us a chance to get off the cruise ship. Denali Lodge accommodations were nicest on trip. Anchorage hotel a 2 at best. Fairbanks hotel nice. Whitehorse and Skagway probably average. Spoke to about 15 people on our tour and most were very disappointed. Was glad to come home. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
There were three adults in our cabin, an inside cabin, that was supposed to be wheelchair-accessible, but when the third adult was added to the reservation, the travel agent changed us to the wrong sized cabin. Not the cruiseline's ... Read More
There were three adults in our cabin, an inside cabin, that was supposed to be wheelchair-accessible, but when the third adult was added to the reservation, the travel agent changed us to the wrong sized cabin. Not the cruiseline's fault. At once when we arrived with 14 pieces of luggage split between 3 adults in an interior tiny cabin, we called to ask for a larger cabin. At first we were categorically denied, then 5 days later, we had a long and loud discussion with the guest services people, asking for the head of GS but never, ever speaking to her even after multiple daily requests, and they offered to let two of us (the married couple) move to a wheelchair cabin down the hall for only $4000 more than we had already paid. We argued because it is simply not safe for three adults and 14 pieces of luggage to reside together in an emergency situation. After much talk about safety and lawsuits, (an empty wheelchair cabin was available 5 doors down) we agreed to pay another $700 for the second cabin, 1 week into a two week Japan cruise. That's down from a $4000 additional payment, mind you. The room steward refused to help us move, even though I am a wheelchair user. He said he would be right back, but never returned to help us, when he knew very well that we needed help. That second cabin was fine, but then the officers of hotel services approached us a few days later and offered us a balcony cabin, (the third cabin) which we were very happy to move to. Now the story adds more depth: the reason why we were offered the balcony on another deck was because we had complained that our toilet was not cleaned by the room steward: there was still poo splatter inside the bowl. Because I complained, the room steward was angry and proceeded to enter my cabin without knocking, unannounced, to discuss the matter, while I was in the bathroom half naked. I told him to leave and called guest services and the hotel manager immediately. Not long after my security report, we were offered to move to a balcony on another deck. I was genuinely afraid of that room steward who saw me half naked. I hope he got in big trouble. As for the rest of the cruise, the dining room food was always the best, Master Kan, who did Tai Chi lessons and lectures was wonderful, the acrobats were great, and trivia was very fun. I am glad that HAL does not push the shops, bingo, and alcoholic drinks all the time. That gets old quick. The Lido tables were cleaned quickly for the next guest, the America's Test Kitchen was just wonderful. More of that, please. More games all day long, please. They had Chinese Mahjong, but never American Mahjongg. I play American and the Chinese guests would not let me join in. We were glad that there were no loud PA system announcements, so that people could nap in the daytime. We were disappointed that the cabin safes are only accessible by one single credit card, so that's not cool. If you are staying onboard and the one credit card to get into the safe is in a pocket of your roommate on shore, you are out of luck. Since this was a Japan cruise, we expected daily Japanese stuff to do like origami, Japanese calligraphy, you know, short language lessons, we are in Japan after all. Our first cabin had problems with the toilet refusing to flush. This is really bad knowing that we were three adults in a very small interior cabin. Also a dirty, used coffee cup in our room was never replaced, and we were afraid to drink out of the room cups and glasses. Of course we reported it immediately, but the room steward's work was never good. Once, we arrived 15 minutes late for dinner, and the manager refused to seat us, saying in a snide way, "You're a little late!!", but we finally got him to stop being rude and seat us. We never, ever ordered all the courses or stayed past 1 hour. Andrew did not receive any tip. We tipped our third cabin's stewards, who were wonderful, but not the one who walked into my cabin and caught me half naked, of course. We tipped our dinner wait staff. We deleted all the other regular daily tips because, 1. The cruise line should pay their employees a decent wage, 2. The gratuities keep increasing to an appalling rate, and finally, 3. Once we took a South American cruise filled with Brazilians, and there were No Daily Tips Charged to us. None. I asked why, and guest services said that Brazilians complain en mass, and they all refuse to follow American tipping practices. I feel that if the cruise lines can get some gravy money out of the guests, they will try. It's not going to work on me. Hate me if you want to. I really don't care. You do what you want with your money, I will decide about mine. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We took this cruise because we wanted to see Japan, as well as Shanghai, Alaska and Vancouver. And this cruise did it all! We love the Volendam!! Just the right size, not crowded, great staff everywhere (except EXC tours, more on ... Read More
We took this cruise because we wanted to see Japan, as well as Shanghai, Alaska and Vancouver. And this cruise did it all! We love the Volendam!! Just the right size, not crowded, great staff everywhere (except EXC tours, more on that later). Nothing was "pushed:" photos, drinks, drink packages, unlike some other lines. Spent some time in the just-the-right-size casino. Embarkation: I liked the idea that in Yokohama you sat down until your number was called. Unfortunately, once you were called, you still have to wait on line until you check in. But once checked in, the rest was easy. Dining: We chose to eat in the Dining Room for dinner, and in the Lido breakfast and lunch. All were great for the meals we had. Lido did get a bit crowded and finding a table was sometimes tough. But again, a small wart. Dining Room food was very good, except for the soups. Didn't try the specialty restaurants, as we found that on other cruises they usually weren't worth the extra money. Cabin: Lovely oceanview cabin, large, plenty of storage, very comfy. Newly renovated bathroom was great. TV's in the cabins were ancient, and I'm surprised HAL didn't replace them. But that was a small wart. Entertainment: The usual mixed bag. They had a British group called the Emperors of Soul who were fantastic! The Volendam troup were very talented, but underutilized. They had a wonderful violinist. Other than that the entertainment was typical cruise ship. Ports: The highlight of the trip. The small cities we visited in Japan were just lovely. We arranged local guides through Toursbylocals.com and Goodwill Guides. All the guides were great: some volunteers, some paid but very reasonable. We enjoyed our time with all of them. Our experience with HAL's EXC Tours was something else. In Shanghai, the tour left my wife at the meeting point 43 kilometers north of Shanghai and she had to make her way back to the ship on her own. Too much detail to go into here, but when we reported this to the onboard EXC staff, they didn't even listen to her story, said they'd investigate, got back to us a week later and refunded a third of the tour price. We felt that being abandoned by the tour guide (when getting us back to the ship is one of the key selling points for all the cruise line tours) was inexcusable and we should have received a complete refund (EXC tours are not cheap). When we got home, we made our case to the EXC Tours office at HAL's headquarters in Seattle. Two months later, we are still waiting for a response. One really positive EXC feature: there was a guide on board providing detailed port information for passengers who are not taking tours. We never experienced that on other cruise lines, and thought it was wonderful. Bottom line: We like HAL (this was our first HAL cruise in 25 years), loved the Volendam and would definitely cruise with them again. But no more EXC tours for us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The Volendam had recently refurbished their bathrooms and public areas but unfortunately did not refurbish their cabins which were very tired indeed. Great storage though in Cabin. The ship was continually cold onboard and we were given a ... Read More
The Volendam had recently refurbished their bathrooms and public areas but unfortunately did not refurbish their cabins which were very tired indeed. Great storage though in Cabin. The ship was continually cold onboard and we were given a variety of reasons why the air conditioning continued to blast out cold air yet I have seen other reviews about HAL complaining about the cold onboard their ships. Many passengers continually wore coats throughout the ship, some even had blankets with them in the dining room. Two of our companions left the ship with chest infections. Entertainment day and evening was very poor with very few activities to choose from. At age 60 plus I felt like youngster on board with the averse age of guest being about 80 years old. For whatever reason the ship was deserted at 10 pm every evening! Staff were generally very helpful except when we complained about the cold. They continually repeated that they take all complaints seriously but couldn’t explain why the air conditioning was always blowing out very cold air. If I were to speculate why I would suggest they are trying to ensure germs cannot breed. They should have followed this up though with staff encouraging passengers to wash their hands as they entered the dining areas as I have experienced with other shipping lines. The hands cleansing machines were at every entrance but unfortunately not all passengers used them. I will definitely never sail with HAL again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise as it went to spots in Indonesia that would be difficult to arrange by air. We also like round trip vice lineal itineraries, The staff did not provide us with a tile at the Mariners luncheon, however guest services ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it went to spots in Indonesia that would be difficult to arrange by air. We also like round trip vice lineal itineraries, The staff did not provide us with a tile at the Mariners luncheon, however guest services was happy to give them when we requested at their counter, and also seemed surprised they had not been distributed, Missed seeing a ships log cruise summary that we had received at the end of other HAL voyages. The ships singers were weak and need to be replaced. Our cabin steward was long on smiles and pleasant conversation, but could not get the concept of ice or fruit to the cabin, or picking up soiled towels in the bathroom. Note: most cabins do not have a frig. The ships activities director let down the Protestant worship community by omitting to include the worship in the second Sunday of the cruise, as she directly promised that she would, and when this was brought to her attention on Saturday evening, she stated that it was a mistake and worship would be announced by the cruise director on the ships speaker system. This did not happen and the Wajang theater was not available at the time she directed, as it was utilized by blackout bingo during the afternoon. I did not make a fuss, but I was extremely disappointed in Christine as her actions denied our opportunity to worship. We are 4 star HAL Mariners and will avoid the Volendam in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I was attracted to the itinerary which had 9 ports: Singapore, Thailand [2], Cambodia [1], Vietnam [4] and Hong Kong. The voyage was 16 days: January 16 - February 1, 2018. This would normally be the dry season for southeast Asia but ... Read More
I was attracted to the itinerary which had 9 ports: Singapore, Thailand [2], Cambodia [1], Vietnam [4] and Hong Kong. The voyage was 16 days: January 16 - February 1, 2018. This would normally be the dry season for southeast Asia but at least half the days were overcast but fortunately with minimal rain. Our veranda stateroom was roomy with recently updated bathroom with high quality amenities including shower wall dispensers for shampoo, conditioner and soap, ample high water and water pressure. Our stewards were competent and friendly. I enjoyed very tasty food in both the Lido and formal [Rotterdam] dining rooms, did not use the extra fare Pinnacle grill. The average age of the passengers was 65-70, with no children among the 1400 passengers, a primary thing to consider if you dislike unsupervised, badly behaved kids running around. The excursions were well done and reasonably priced. So why the three star rating? In every room of the ship except the library and stateroom, from early morning breakfast to late night, ceiling speakers emitted canned music [yes even in the formal dining room] 90% of which was pop vocal. The amplitude was unpleasantly loud for my ears. I had taken the Zuiderdam on a west Caribbean cruise a year earlier and there was no canned music on that trip. I can only assume that Holland-America in its wisdom decided to imitate cheaper entertainment and lower class restaurants that feel pre-recorded music is necessary to create a "carnival" [no pun intended] atmosphere. This was my 4th voyage on HAL including two early trans-atlantic but unless they cut the canned music, I will seek other means of travel. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this 28 day back to back for the itinerary. Overall, the cruise was good but not outstanding in any aspect really. The ship had just come out of another dry dock. It still looks aged in many areas but is very clean. The ... Read More
We chose this 28 day back to back for the itinerary. Overall, the cruise was good but not outstanding in any aspect really. The ship had just come out of another dry dock. It still looks aged in many areas but is very clean. The public areas were kept clean and polished. The crow's nest is a nice place to relax, especially during the daily happy hour. The daily team trivia was in the crow's nest and was fun as well as a good way to meet people. The hors derves were often left on a tray for a period of time prior to serving and not kept hot/cold. The explorer lounge was a good place to have a coffee and read the daily news or do a sudoku puzzle. The internet was extremely slow as is typical on cruise ships. The classes offered for computers were only geared toward non IOS, so useless for those with Apple products. Decent size library available. The lectures were dry but offered interesting info. We only went to 3 shows during the 28 days and they were typical small entourage productions. The violinist was good, the trio was good. America's Test Kitchen was not very interesting as there is no audience participation or tastings. The classes are also on a repeat cycle so there is nothing new if you are on a back to back. The EXC info lectures were good, helpful for preparing for ports. The menu offered in the lido deck usually offered items being served in the main dining room. There is no self service there and they even make your salad for you. The food was very good on the whole. The dining room had very slow service (up to 2 hours for a meal) and not any better tasting than the Lido. The room service menu is very limited, mainly a salad or choice of 2 sandwiches for lunch and dinner. There were never "items of the day" offered. We had ended up quarantined for 4 days and the room service menu made it even more frustrating. Usually there was a nice selection of desserts available on the Lido, as well as scooped ice cream. The wait staff was very attentive and made it a point to learn your drink preferences and offer a cheerful greeting. There was a fairly quick table turnover so even at peak times, you could find a place to sit. The ship baked breads were fabulous. We only used the Canneleto special dining (10 of us) and none of us was impressed. You could basically get the same thing on the buffet line and the food for the restaurant came from a section of the buffet. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Holland America is our 1st choice for cruising but the Volendam didn't meet expectations. As usual the service employees were attentive and friendly. The itinerary and the excursions were also excellent. The problems on this cruise ... Read More
Holland America is our 1st choice for cruising but the Volendam didn't meet expectations. As usual the service employees were attentive and friendly. The itinerary and the excursions were also excellent. The problems on this cruise were all ship related. The ship had been in dry dock supposedly being refurbished. They didn't stay in dry dock long enough as there were numerous problems. Numerous rooms got flooded, there were strong odors in many of the cabins, a section of railing broke off at the stern on the lido deck, air conditioning/thermostat problems, mini-bars were empty and never filled, and noises and vibrations were some of the worst I've experienced. Our suite didn't appear to be refurbished as some cabinet hinges were broken, the make-up mirror was old and corroded, the phone by the bed didn't work, and the TV was so old it had no USB or HDMI ports so you couldn't view the pictures on your camera through it. Disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
For many passengers this was a cruise from hell. The following are most of the problems I was told by fellow passengers-- lots of problems-flooded rooms, pipes breaking, toilets overflowing or not working, water leaking from ceiling in ... Read More
For many passengers this was a cruise from hell. The following are most of the problems I was told by fellow passengers-- lots of problems-flooded rooms, pipes breaking, toilets overflowing or not working, water leaking from ceiling in dining room, lower promenade deck even number cabin side with bad smells, air conditioning not working. I was fortunate that my cabin did not experience any of the above mentioned difficulties. I did not feel that the entertainment in the theater was good overall. the young dancers and singers had talent but were not provided with productions that were not good. the comedian was very funny and the singer from australia had a beautiful voice. the impressionist was not good nor the harmonica playing japanese performer. the food was good and the staff were very friendly and helpful. the front desk staff were extremely nice and Christine was especially helpful to me when i dealt with her. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this 42 day cruise as a one-time trip to the Far East. It was supposed to include stops in Korea, which were prevented by Chinese sanctions, so that it was slightly disappointing before it even began. Things just seemed to go ... Read More
We chose this 42 day cruise as a one-time trip to the Far East. It was supposed to include stops in Korea, which were prevented by Chinese sanctions, so that it was slightly disappointing before it even began. Things just seemed to go wrong whenever possible. We were awakened at 3am in Shanghai by an announcement that there might be contamination in the water (false alarm), we were kept in Shanghai an extra 38 hours by a storm without the ability to go ashore. No extra entertainment, other than a one hour open bar on sailing. The air conditioning went out and the captain blamed mussels in the inlets which had been acquired in Alaska and had to be flushed. There was a lack of organization in dealing with disembarkation in several ports, mainly blamed on the local officials, but often with the help of the staff. Although the cruise was 58, 42, 28 or 14 days, the entertainment was repeated every 2 weeks. The shows cast was talented, and the performances spirited, for such a small group, and quite entertaining the first time around. Additional entertainment was mixed. The repeating of a BBC documentary did not do much to enhance this aspect. The kitchen was light on no sugar food, having only no sugar added, and it ran out of ice cream 2 weeks before the end of the cruise. The food in the dining room was excellent, but portions were very small, and the service exceedingly slow. Several times meals lasted over 2 hours. Ashley Wade and her trio in the Ocean Bar were excellent for their Jazz, and she had a great rapport with her audience. The crew was exceptionally friendly and tried to be helpful. They made the voyage into a much more positive event. Working hard to please, they were the best we have seen. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Commencing your cruise in China, you do not need an expensive visa if certain conditions apply. My wife and I have recently returned (12-11-17) from a two week cruise in the Far East. We joined the ship (Holland Americas cruise ship ... Read More
Commencing your cruise in China, you do not need an expensive visa if certain conditions apply. My wife and I have recently returned (12-11-17) from a two week cruise in the Far East. We joined the ship (Holland Americas cruise ship VOLENDAM) in Shanghai China. Prior to the cruise I was informed by my external cruise agent’s documentation that a visa was required for entry into China. I researched the visa process and discovered that the Chinese embassies in the UK, located in Manchester and London utilise external agencies to process and issue access visas for China. I accessed online the SHANGHAI GENERAL STATION OF IMMIGRATION INSPECTION. The document listed several visa exemption possibilities depending upon your travel schedule. There are several visa agencies online and be aware, the charges vary considerably from £175.00 to £250.00 per person, and the process is not straight forward. Having explored various cruise advice pages on the web, it was intimated that there is a facility for Chinese visa exemption depending upon how many days you would be in China and where your cruise schedule was destined. I contacted my cruise agent and they were no help at all, stating that it was the passenger’s responsibility to sort it all out and they the agent would not provide any guidance apart from a contact number for CIBIT Visa processing agents (who just happen to be the most expensive visa processing company). E-mailed the British Embassy in Shanghai, yes, thank-you for your e-mail, but we don’t answer any questions concerned with visas, (so I wonder what they do, do over there.) Next, I contacted Holland and America, not a lot of help or enthusiasm there, same story they were not really interested, but they did have a visa specialist in America who may be able to answer my question, “do I need a visa for entry to China when I will only be in china for a short duration before sailing on to Japan, within 48 hours?” Well thank you, H&M, could you contact your specialist visa person and get back to me, yes, they didn’t. After 3 phone calls to H&M, three different advisers, eventually they decided that for this cruise as we were only in China for 30 hours and were going to a third party country (Japan) we did not need a visa. So, 7 days before we go, a letter arrives from Holland America via my cruise agent informing us that a visa is required for China. Grrr, frustration, once again contacted H&M, who were at this point not sure don’t think you need a visa, but here is a number for the visa agency we recommend so I could check with them, (just happened to also be the most expensive visa agent.) Success, rang the visa agent, informed them of my itinery travel plans, and they assured me a visa was not required. So, feeling 90% sure we did not require a visa, we set off to Manchester airport, at check-in they told us we needed a China entry visa, we said no we didn’t, they checked and verified we did not need one, the same situation in Amsterdam initially refused check in without a visa, Amsterdam checked and verified we did not require a visa. When we arrived at Shanghai airport, there was a special passport checking area for the issue of visa exemptions. Passport control checked our travel itinery cruise documentation and issued permits, process took approximately 20 minutes. Be very, very careful if you need a taxi at the airport, there are numerous taxis touts at the airport entrance that are not officially, registered taxis. We agreed a price for the 20 mile drive to the cruise terminal. I am sure that he was a racing car and dodgems driver in his spare time, horrendous journey to the cruise port and then he asked for more money, holding our luggage to ransom in the boot of his taxi and would not unload it until we paid double the fare. We conversed with many UK Passengers over the next 14 days, many repeated the same visa verification nightmare, and in every case they had purchased very expensive China access visas, when they did not need them, because no one could or would give them positive visa requirements information. And yes this is a long story, but if it’s saved you £500.00 it’s been worth reading. And, so to the cruise ship itself, overall, average in every aspect. There were plenty of sitting/relaxing areas, good, as most cruise ships appear to have their relaxing areas replaced with specialist premium cost dining. Cabin was cramped due to excessive furniture. The dining experience, average in choice of menu and food quality and quantity. Standard cruise line overpriced drinks. The entertainment 50% outstanding (ships singers and dancers) the rest was dire with the exception of an outstanding guest violinist. The service was outstanding in every aspect. Ports of call, all city type, hence the overpowering traffic pollution. Interesting experience and lots to see and do. Shore excursions, they were probably the most expensive that I have ever come across, on any of the previous 14 cruises that we have experienced, hence, we did our own thing. There were very few children on the cruise. Would I go again, probably not, we enjoyed the experience and observing the different cultures, but in some respects it was all much of the same. The cruise line does need to offer promotional inducements, I doubt that we will be sailing with Holland America in the future. AND TO ALL YOU CRUISE COMPANIES AND AGENTS YOU DISAPPOINT ME, I EXPECT BETTER SERVICE, VERY EXPEDIENTLY YOU TAKE OUR MONEY, AND ARE CLEARLY NOT INTERESTED IN OUR WELFARE. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Chose this cruise as HAL always has excellent itineraries and we were meeting up with old cruise friends. Our Volendam is going into dry-dock in two weeks but I fear that will not be enough time to update our favorite ship. Despite a ... Read More
Chose this cruise as HAL always has excellent itineraries and we were meeting up with old cruise friends. Our Volendam is going into dry-dock in two weeks but I fear that will not be enough time to update our favorite ship. Despite a revised itinerary and missing a port of call (partially weather and partially politics) passengers were pleased with our little gem of a ship. We had a disastrous experience at the Pinnacle Grill and much prefer the gracious and professional service of the dining room staff. . We never take ship's excursions. The staff, especially Josh, was calm, collected, and professional working with passengers during a very trying time with revised itineraries. Entertainment was proper for this ship. The singers and dancers really worked hard and it was apparent. There should have been more attention placed on health restrictions as 20 - 30% of passengers had respiratory problems. We probably will not go back on the Volendam as we have traveled on her 3 times and covered most of her itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Holland continues to give you less on each cruise. Staff cutbacks and the quality of food products continues to degrade the experience. Have been sailing Holland for many years and have close to 500 actual days at sea with them. It looks ... Read More
Holland continues to give you less on each cruise. Staff cutbacks and the quality of food products continues to degrade the experience. Have been sailing Holland for many years and have close to 500 actual days at sea with them. It looks like Holland's management is more interested in they yearly bonus than the experience for the passengers. Ship was headed for drydock and needs for TLC to fix plumbing problems and water leaks in public spaces. gone is the lobster every Gala night, gone is the shrimp cocktail every night, gone is the librarian, gone is the fresh squeezed orange juice, gone is the great quality of steaks, gone is the free expresso at dinner, gone is great evening entertainment, gone is the ship's log at the end of the cruise, gone is the crew member that used to provide hand sanitizer in the public areas (replaced by machines that noone uses, thus many more sick days onboard a long cruise) and gone is the pleasant feeling that its really great being onboard (replaced by its OK) Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Thought it was an exciting way to avoid flying to Japan and do some hiking in Alaska. One cruise port (Dutch Harbour) was cancelled for good reason I guess and we were credited but made it boring especially when all the theme were ... Read More
Thought it was an exciting way to avoid flying to Japan and do some hiking in Alaska. One cruise port (Dutch Harbour) was cancelled for good reason I guess and we were credited but made it boring especially when all the theme were Japanese. Seemed like the cruise director made it a Japanese theme cruise. What happened to those high demand line dancing. Totally ignored. It was a good way to introduce the Japanese culture to the public but not everyone took this cruise because of that. The stretch program in the morning needs improvement. May be because of the wave that the trainer cannot do a proper stretch program. Or may be because this space was limited. The spa also made a mistake of advertising a paid yoga session as free. About 6 -8 showed up but none of us stayed because they didn't honor their mistake. The Microsoft sponsored digital classes were excellent though. The instructor was very professional and knew her stuff well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Choose this cruise because it was highly discounted due to my wife's play in the casino. We were looking for sometihng special as my 70th birthday and our 50th wedding anniversary occured during the time we were on this vacation. We ... Read More
Choose this cruise because it was highly discounted due to my wife's play in the casino. We were looking for sometihng special as my 70th birthday and our 50th wedding anniversary occured during the time we were on this vacation. We have sailed twice before on Holland America and found them to be not to our liking due to fair food quality and boring activities while onboard. We really wanted to see Alaska as we have been on over 30 cruises with several other lines, Celebrity and Oceania are our favorites, and HAL was be best land tours. We spent 3 days on the Volendam in a Neptune Suite sailing the inside passage. Not really sure where we were as the weather was lousy, foggy, rainy and windy. Never saw anything but water and a faint outline of the coast. Time on the ship was so-so. Never saw the Cruise Director. Ate at the main dining room one night, can't remember what I had, Lido buffet the next and the Pinnacle Grill the last night. For a restaurant that you have to pay an extra fee I think you should skip it. My wife had the King Crab Legs and she thought they were nothing special. Anyway, the Neptune Lounge was nice. We got off the ship in Juneau to begin the land portion of the trip. The 8 days travelling around the Yukon and Alaaska was great. Our tour guide, Crystal Letourno was wonderful. She really made the adventure look easy, with all the different hotels and changes. We took buses, trains and a short flight during the journey. HAL's hotels ranged from 3 to 4 stars and the handling of our luggage was amazing. We put the baggage outside our room at night and they magically appeared in the next day in your room. Anyway, see so much of the Yukon and Alaska in such a short time was great and HAL really knows how to do it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise because of our wish to see the inside passage and Alaska. It had reasonably good reviews but we had seen that previous passengers had commented about the constant "sales pitch". Embarkation went well but ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our wish to see the inside passage and Alaska. It had reasonably good reviews but we had seen that previous passengers had commented about the constant "sales pitch". Embarkation went well but we were given information about Norovirus and guidance about how to avoid it. The previous cruise had resulted in an undisclosed number of passengers being affected and the ship had been cleaned to prevent further infection. At all entry points and entry to restaurants there were sanitizers and staff encouraging their use. This was our first cruise and first impressions were of a very smart and well presented ship; food in the Lido was fresh and plentiful and we felt optimistic about the trip. We cannot fault the food or the cabins [staterooms as they are called] but what did start to irritate was the constant attempts to sell and sell more - it seemed every effort was made to part us with our money...We ordered wine and sometimes the waiter recommended a "better" wine; only US$10 more! [+15% of course]. We organised a couple of trips and were excited about them. The choice was huge almost too many to chose from? Everyday another "opportunity" to attend a presentation about jewellery or watches [in the hope you'd buy one] was posted to our cabin. What finally made me realise this wasn't for me was when I got Norovirus. We had been scrupulously careful about hand hygiene, but nevertheless I still got it. We declared that I had D&V and received a call from the Medical Centre asking questions about where we had eaten and how I was feeling. We discussed my quarantine, which I fully understood - I didn't want to go anywhere or speak to anyone! I was asked if I had medication for D&V; I said my husband could go to the shop and pick up something but the Practitioner offered to send medication along to the cabin. I thought that was thoughtful, that was until I saw I had been charged US$17! I was also advised that I could order what I wanted from the room service menu at no charge! I think the intention was supposed to be caring but I couldn't even face reading about food - let alone eating it! Maybe it was poor phraseology, I don't know but it felt like I was supposed to feel grateful???? Needless to say that mu quarantine was the day we had a trip planned and of course mine was immediately refunded, but my husband had to make a stand to get his refunded - of course he wanted to be around to look after me??? We discovered that quite a few passengers had been affected - being at the lower end of the age range I shook it off quite quickly but I would be concerned for some of the more frail passengers for whom the virus could be very debilitating. The scenery and wildlife that we saw was amazing and we learned about the history of Alaska and its heritage. The staff were welcoming and keen to ensure that guests had a good time. Many of the guests looked as thought they were having a good time and had been on other cruises and rated it well. Maybe its just me? I got off the ship feeling that I was just someone to be sold to and that there had been a quest to part me from my money. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
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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