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We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Hong Kong-Shanghai-Beijing-Seoul-Nagasaki-Kagoshima-Kagoshima. Firstly, this was a "shoulder" cruise making it a bit chilly and down right cold in some ports. The balcony was almost useless. Wish I had selected a cheaper cabin and used the extra money on excursions, wifi, beverages and the many other ways they find to increase your bill once on board. Entertainment was poor with the exception of the Shanghai Acrobats. Other shows were not worth going to and many people walked out. Not sure who they thought would be interested in harmonica players as an evening show. Even most movies shown on board had English subtitles and we left because we could not read, watch and enjoy. The public rooms were not usually crowded and were comfortable. Many people on the ship were doing back to back sailings and would be on board for 28 or more days. I was very ready to head home after 14 days. Food became repetitive and in spite of the effort HAL put into trying to prevent the spread of illness, my husband was sick for the last five days. In the main dining room, there was always a huge wait between appetizers and main course. We were at open seating so I am not sure if it was the same if you were in the assigned tables. For the most part, the food was good. In the Lido, the buffet option, I found it annoying to have to search for a table and often to have to bus it and find our own silverware and napkins. The staff working was very busy and trying hard but clearly it was understaffed. When you have numerous small plates to carry, you either need a tray(not available) or staff to help you get it to the table(also not available for the most part). After two weeks, I found the buffet to be repetitive but we tended to eat most of our meals there(breakfasts, lunches and half the dinners) But the food there was prepared to order and hot. The lines were confusing (People coming from both sides) but the wait was not too long. We did use room service and found it to be good. The menu was limited but you could also request anything on the current dining room menu which they did not advertise. . We found the excursions expensive. But if you did not book with them, you were delayed significantly in disembarking so it really cut into the time you had to do any tours. Several of our stops were a long distance from the city of interest (Beijing, Seoul,Tokyo) so it almost forced you to do their tours so you knew you would be back in time. We used the fitness center most mornings. There was a water fountain but a water dispenser with cups would have been much better. Plus, I did not appreciate that many of the classes, (spin, yoga) were not free. I attended a fitness lecture and walked out as it was one of the worst on board experiences I have ever had. When I left the lecture, there were only two people left. Everyone else had already left and apparently had similar opinions of it. Bottom line, we had a good time. I am glad I got the cruise at a discount price as it would not have be worth it for full brochure price. Would I sail HAL again? Yes if the price was right and I would know what to expect.

Good cruise, met expectations, had fun, glad I had a bargain rate

Volendam Cruise Review by BucketLst54

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2017
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Verandah
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call. Hong Kong-Shanghai-Beijing-Seoul-Nagasaki-Kagoshima-Kagoshima. Firstly, this was a "shoulder" cruise making it a bit chilly and down right cold in some ports. The balcony was almost useless. Wish I had selected a cheaper cabin and used the extra money on excursions, wifi, beverages and the many other ways they find to increase your bill once on board.

Entertainment was poor with the exception of the Shanghai Acrobats. Other shows were not worth going to and many people walked out. Not sure who they thought would be interested in harmonica players as an evening show. Even most movies shown on board had English subtitles and we left because we could not read, watch and enjoy.

The public rooms were not usually crowded and were comfortable.

Many people on the ship were doing back to back sailings and would be on board for 28 or more days. I was very ready to head home after 14 days. Food became repetitive and in spite of the effort HAL put into trying to prevent the spread of illness, my husband was sick for the last five days.

In the main dining room, there was always a huge wait between appetizers and main course. We were at open seating so I am not sure if it was the same if you were in the assigned tables. For the most part, the food was good. In the Lido, the buffet option, I found it annoying to have to search for a table and often to have to bus it and find our own silverware and napkins. The staff working was very busy and trying hard but clearly it was understaffed. When you have numerous small plates to carry, you either need a tray(not available) or staff to help you get it to the table(also not available for the most part). After two weeks, I found the buffet to be repetitive but we tended to eat most of our meals there(breakfasts, lunches and half the dinners) But the food there was prepared to order and hot. The lines were confusing (People coming from both sides) but the wait was not too long.

We did use room service and found it to be good. The menu was limited but you could also request anything on the current dining room menu which they did not advertise. .

We found the excursions expensive. But if you did not book with them, you were delayed significantly in disembarking so it really cut into the time you had to do any tours. Several of our stops were a long distance from the city of interest (Beijing, Seoul,Tokyo) so it almost forced you to do their tours so you knew you would be back in time.

We used the fitness center most mornings. There was a water fountain but a water dispenser with cups would have been much better. Plus, I did not appreciate that many of the classes, (spin, yoga) were not free. I attended a fitness lecture and walked out as it was one of the worst on board experiences I have ever had. When I left the lecture, there were only two people left. Everyone else had already left and apparently had similar opinions of it.

Bottom line, we had a good time. I am glad I got the cruise at a discount price as it would not have be worth it for full brochure price. Would I sail HAL again? Yes if the price was right and I would know what to expect.
BucketLst54’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
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Service
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Verandah
Cabin A 6169
Cabin was over 200 sq ft and plenty large. Jetted tub, veranda. All in working order and well maintained. Mid ship and mid deck so it was comfortable and convenient.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins