Review of the Volendam
1) fine. Could have been spiced some more ; understand it must be reasonably standardized.
Had good “special“ days” : Asian Barbecue Day, Indonesian lunch, etc.
2) deserts not particularly good. often dry and tasteless. only ice cream good. improvement here definitely needed
3) As a collector voyage expect menus not to repeat; no such luck here
4) Tea in Afternoon: somewhat disappointing as “theme” teas not vary from regular teas
Staff and Service: excellent. Staff efficient and friendly. Captain very attentive to letting passengers know what is going on (weather, arrivals, departures, etc)
1) Singers and Dancers excellent but show repeats every cruise segment (to be expected)
2) outside entertainment: some excellent, some not so. However, outside entertainment did repeat themselves
3) Good at bringing onboard local entertainment from ports of call. . .
Specialty restaurants: Pinnacle. Excellent for lunch. Great for dinner. Very well done. Canaletto was good food but portion size small and favorites (lasagne, tortellini, etc) not offered.
Cabins; OK. Balcony furniture spartan. table we had was 6 inches; we would prefer a table that would allow us to enjoy drinks or snacks or even a meal on the balcony.
Library: outstanding. Large selection. KC managed it professionally and friendly and attentive too user needs. Many games available.
Culinary center: Excellent. Host Nicki very enthusiastic and knowledgable. Sometimes two or three events a day.
embarking/disembarking: no real problems here, went real smooth both times
Location guide; Outstanding. Before every port would provide an hour presentation on the port. This was not a ship shore excursion sale-a-thon. He provided tips for getting to/from the ship, information about taxis, buses, trains, etc and discussed what was available to see. He did at the end talk about what shore excursions were still available. Location guide was also available throughout day for guests to meet with and answer questions.
Shore excursions: Staff acceptable. Very pricey excursions often not provide sufficient value for price charged. Wide variety of excursions available. Organized well. Good guides. Discriminated against independents.
Park West Art Auctions occupy the Ocean Bar during every sea day.
Internet: expensive as always. But for most part speed acceptable (only 2 slow days in 45; in dead zone for 2 plus days of which no one had internet); of course if you tried to get on during peak periods it would be slow.
General shape of ship: Excellent for a 16 year old vessel. I do wish they would have washed the windows in the public spaces (Lido, Bars on deck 5, etc) as they were often so dirty one could barely see the scenery outside the ship.
activities: my only comment is too often several things at same time; in afternoon often very limited offerings; need to space them out more and provide additional afternoon items. Pub trivia needs a bigger venue. Bridge lecture and duplicate every day. Cribbage. Texas Hold’em Poker in Casino.
casino: tighest slots of any ship I have been on. I calculated it at 50% or less. Everyone frustrated.
Future cruise consultant: Friendly, Knowledgable but no hard sell
Shops on board: mostly luxury items
Photography: at every opportunity a photographer was present. A little pricey if you ask me.
Front Desk: Helpful. But when converting currency, you lost big both ways.
Guest Lecturers: Informative. Entertaining
We tendered to Koh Samui. Don’t know why but the ship anchored several km from the port which increased the time to tender which led to long waits (tenders started at 8am and many were still waiting to board a tender by 10am). Somewhat better in Hailong Bay. Same problem occurred at Kodiak. Those with ship excursions got priority. Independents had to wait. First tender by 9am. Some were waiting up to 2 hours for their number to be called. . . not a happy bunch of campers. . . especially those with private excursions. One couple we know had a 10 am excursion planned and due to slowness of tenders did not get off the ship until nearly noon, forty minutes after the guide had given up and went home. Much better at Sitka but I would be weary of tender ports.
Discrimination against independent excursions.
Had this occur numerous times during the cruise. The ship gave one time for all aboard for those “independents” (including cruise critic excursions) while giving their own ship excursions an all aboard time long afterwards. Same with top priority for tender boarding.
Other notes: Had “Code Red” for nearly 2 weeks in early April. No reoccurrence afterwards. Staff particularly protective of guests during that timeframe.