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This was our first cruise on HAL. Our check-in was okay, except for filling out the same boarding forms in the terminal that I previously filled out online. The terminal agent could pull them up on her computer screen, but said she couldn't print them out. Other than that our boarding was uneventful and our luggage was at our stateroom when we arrived. We found the stateroom to be very nice. We had more room than on Celebrity's Mercury with the same category. Lots of closet space and the whirlpool tub was a special treat. The Mercury did not have a tub. The dining room service and food were excellent. The portions were smaller than Celebrity's, but that was a plus in our minds. We also liked the idea of having nightly substitutions available, such as sirloin steak, in lieu of the offered entrees. I opted for the sirloin steak on the last night just to try it out and found it to be very good and cooked as I ordered. The buffet was very good every day as was the hamburger, pizza, and taco venues. Since this was a coastal trip, the weather was variable between sunny and light rain. We enjoyed having the movable cover over the Lido pool which was adjusted according to the weather conditions. While we did not attend any of the onboard entertainment, we just enjoyed the laid-back feeling of the ship. Our first port was Astoria, Oregon. It was raining, but we had prepared ourselves with raincoats and rain pants which proved to be invaluable. The local townspeople were very helpful in directing us to transportation to the downtown area, which looks as though they are trying to develop into a tourist area. The best spot we found was Lindbergh's Danish Bakery which had great pastry and really great prices. We walked back to the ship, approximately a mile or so, along a pleasant waterfront walkway. Astoria does have a weekend tram, but we found the walk very nice even in the rain. Our second stop was Victoria, Canada. We had bought a Butchart Garden and winery tour, but the night before arriving in Victoria, the ship's tour officer called to say the tour had been canceled and would we want to go on another tour. We had made previous appointments onboard the ship, so all the other tours we considered interfered with those appointments. A reason was not given for the cancellation. We took a bus to Victoria's inner harbor which was very nice. We walked around some shops and through the Empress Hotel. Upon our return to the ship, my fiancee (Vicki) went to the ship's spa for an "exotic" manicure which was to include a neck and shoulder massage. Vicki was extremely disappointed and quite upset at the results. The manicurist ripped and tore at her nailbed (didn't bother to soften the cuticle), which was quite painful and left Vicki's cuticles sore, jagged, and very unattractive. Thank God for Neosporin which she began applying immediately once she was back in our stateroom. Vicki had received a manicure in Sacramento just four days prior; the amateurish manicure given on board the ship left her nails in far worse shape. In addition, the neck and shoulder massage was extremely disappointing. The entire experience was far from relaxing or beneficial. In order to avoid this experience, Vicki recommends that you check credentials and inquire about experience. All in all, we had a nice, albeit short, cruise. HAL is in our plans for a possible October cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.

Volendam - Pacific Coastal

Volendam Cruise Review by Jerry Carpenter

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2005
  • Destination: British Columbia
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Verandah
This was our first cruise on HAL. Our check-in was okay, except for filling out the same boarding forms in the terminal that I previously filled out online. The terminal agent could pull them up on her computer screen, but said she couldn't print them out. Other than that our boarding was uneventful and our luggage was at our stateroom when we arrived.
We found the stateroom to be very nice. We had more room than on Celebrity's Mercury with the same category. Lots of closet space and the whirlpool tub was a special treat. The Mercury did not have a tub.
The dining room service and food were excellent. The portions were smaller than Celebrity's, but that was a plus in our minds. We also liked the idea of having nightly substitutions available, such as sirloin steak, in lieu of the offered entrees. I opted for the sirloin steak on the last night just to try it out and found it to be very good and cooked as I ordered.
The buffet was very good every day as was the hamburger, pizza, and taco venues.
Since this was a coastal trip, the weather was variable between sunny and light rain. We enjoyed having the movable cover over the Lido pool which was adjusted according to the weather conditions.
While we did not attend any of the onboard entertainment, we just enjoyed the laid-back feeling of the ship.
Our first port was Astoria, Oregon. It was raining, but we had prepared ourselves with raincoats and rain pants which proved to be invaluable. The local townspeople were very helpful in directing us to transportation to the downtown area, which looks as though they are trying to develop into a tourist area. The best spot we found was Lindbergh's Danish Bakery which had great pastry and really great prices. We walked back to the ship, approximately a mile or so, along a pleasant waterfront walkway. Astoria does have a weekend tram, but we found the walk very nice even in the rain.
Our second stop was Victoria, Canada. We had bought a Butchart Garden and winery tour, but the night before arriving in Victoria, the ship's tour officer called to say the tour had been canceled and would we want to go on another tour. We had made previous appointments onboard the ship, so all the other tours we considered interfered with those appointments. A reason was not given for the cancellation.
We took a bus to Victoria's inner harbor which was very nice. We walked around some shops and through the Empress Hotel.
Upon our return to the ship, my fiancee (Vicki) went to the ship's spa for an "exotic" manicure which was to include a neck and shoulder massage. Vicki was extremely disappointed and quite upset at the results. The manicurist ripped and tore at her nailbed (didn't bother to soften the cuticle), which was quite painful and left Vicki's cuticles sore, jagged, and very unattractive. Thank God for Neosporin which she began applying immediately once she was back in our stateroom. Vicki had received a manicure in Sacramento just four days prior; the amateurish manicure given on board the ship left her nails in far worse shape. In addition, the neck and shoulder massage was extremely disappointing. The entire experience was far from relaxing or beneficial. In order to avoid this experience, Vicki recommends that you check credentials and inquire about experience.
All in all, we had a nice, albeit short, cruise. HAL is in our plans for a possible October cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.
Jerry Carpenter’s Full Rating Summary
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