Far East Explorer: Volendam Cruise Review by Eveshamgirl

Volendam 5
Member Since 2009
87 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Far East Explorer

Sail Date: January 2013
Destination: Asia
Embarkation: Hong Kong
We have never been to the Far East before and so were very excited about this HAL cruise. We made excellent use to the CC forum and booked all our trips as part of our 51 strong CC group. We found the forum invaluable and made many friends on our numerous trips.

We flew out to Hong Kong and spent an extra day exploring this fascinating city. Embarkation was very chaotic and as previous reviews have stated the visa process paper the most complicated l have ever seen! You do only need group visas if you are not staying over night anywhere. This will save you loads.

Ship is very comfortable and cabin spacious. I especially liked the amount of room in the bathroom. We were worried about being so far aft and wondered if we would hear engine noise. I'm pleased to report that except for 1 night when it was rough and the Captain had his foot down we heard nothing. It was also very handy for stairs to the LP deck at the back.

Crew without exception were wonderful and More seemed to have time to interact with passengers. The best crew on any ship we have sailed on. Food was very good, ample, hot and tasty. We did not however feel the Pinnacle Grill was worth the extra 50 USD. The steaks were massive and just too much for us. Maybe we just choose wrong on the night. Entertainment was very poor and the worst we've had on any major cruise line. This was the one thing HAL should work on otherwise everything else was excellent.Itinerary was great - full of fascinating ports:

Halong Bay - easy to arrange on the day. 4 hours is enough and the caves are really worth seeing. It was a wonderful hot sunny day here which l am told is very rare. We went with 20 other CCs and booked a whole junk with transport to and from the pier for 20 USD each with a guide

Saigon - arranged in advance with CCs. Wonderful day out especially enjoyed the water puppets and the sight of all the bikes I think this was 65 USD each Less

Published 02/11/13
3 Helpful Votes

Cabin review: E2709 Large Ocean-View Stateroom

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Port and Shore Excursions

City Tour

Hugh city, long drive, enjoyed visit but wouldn't do again.

Hoi am and marble mountain. Booked in advance with Ann Tours but many other CCs just sorted out on the day as it was easy to do. Enjoyed Hoi am very much. One of our group had a suit made which was delivered by 4 to the ship! He was very pleased with it. Marble Mountain was fascinating and very interesting. Walked up but took lift down.
Read 61 Da Nang Reviews

Arranged this tour for 20 CCs in advance with the Don Bosco Hotel School. It was a fantastic day out with wonderful people. The school students and a teacher acted as guides as we visited the fishing village, a water fall, the market and other sites in the morning. We stopped at their coffee shop and all the students were stood outside to welcome us! We had a wonderful stop with coffee, cake, ice creams included. Later we visited the Hotel School for lunch and again were welcomed with a line up and a refreshing fruit cocktail. Then we were entrained with traditional dancing and a 3 course lunch served and cooked by the students. We ended the day at the beach and it was one of those special days to remember! It's a wonderful charity and l urge you all to visit. It cost 49 USD each and was the best value of the whole cruise

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Member Since 2009
87 Forum Posts
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