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.
The room was adequate and acceptable. Nothing special, but no complaints.