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This was a very informative busy cruise. It was a great way to experience a lot of different Asian ports . The ship itself is small without any extra perks like climbing walls or skating rinks but the trip highlights some really interesting bustling Asian cities . The excursions were hit and miss . We rented a car with driver and guide from holland america for both days in Shanghai and Beijing. It was ridiculously expensive but worth it. A couple of tips about seeing Shanghai and Beijing this way. We got Chinese currency before we left home but still ran out of cash because we forgot touring this way doesn't take into account admission fees or tips . Also,when we booked the car and guide for 2 days in Beijing it was well worth our while to also book a hotel in Beijing because it's a 2 1/2 hour drive from the cruise terminal in Tianjin to Beijing . Sheraton hotel in Beijing was beautiful and cheap $163 US per night and included a wonderful breakfast .

Great, friendly service

Volendam Cruise Review by CHAN83

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2017
  • Destination: Asia
This was a very informative busy cruise. It was a great way to experience a lot of different Asian ports . The ship itself is small without any extra perks like climbing walls or skating rinks but the trip highlights some really interesting bustling Asian cities . The excursions were hit and miss . We rented a car with driver and guide from holland america for both days in Shanghai and Beijing. It was ridiculously expensive but worth it. A couple of tips about seeing Shanghai and Beijing this way. We got Chinese currency before we left home but still ran out of cash because we forgot touring this way doesn't take into account admission fees or tips . Also,when we booked the car and guide for 2 days in Beijing it was well worth our while to also book a hotel in Beijing because it's a 2 1/2 hour drive from the cruise terminal in Tianjin to Beijing . Sheraton hotel in Beijing was beautiful and cheap $163 US per night and included a wonderful breakfast .
CHAN83’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Beijing
    Fantastic performance! A Danish ambassador likened it to the Chinese version of Riverdance. At approx. $70 US per ticket it was well worth it. Approximately 1& 1/2 hour show. Intriguing combination of classical dance and kung fu with a little cirque de soleil thrown in!
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  • Badaling Great Wall
    Definitely one of the highlights of the trip! The wall is awe inspiring. It was a real feat to climb to the top. A little cold and windy. Not to be missed.
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  • Forbidden City
    Fascinating history. Fairly accessible. We had a private driver and guide. We booked the Sheraton hotel which is a 5 star hotel through the ship to avoid having to drive 6 hours back and forth to the cruise terminal and at $163 US it was worth every penny!
    View All 31 Forbidden City Reviews
  • Hutong Tour
    We had a private driver and guide. She took us to the "real" Hutong and we saw a fabulous neighborhood market. If we weren't so stuffed we would have loved to try more of the food stall foods..Beijing pancakes, dumplings, noodles.
    View All 17 Hutong Tour Reviews
  • Summer Palace
    Not at all like the palaces in Europe where you see rooms and furniture. More like beautiful, tranquil grounds and gardens. Not overly busy in March. Very enjoyable! We had a private driver and guide.
    View All 10 Summer Palace Reviews
  • Temple of Heaven
    Beautiful grounds and gardens. One of the highlights was watching locals play poker on one of the walkways! They'd even let you photograph them.
    View All 2 Temple of Heaven Reviews
  • Hong Kong
    Only took about 1/2 hour. Very enjoyable! Old world feel!
    View All 12,794 Hong Kong Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Victoria Peak
    We took the Hop on Hop off bus because it was very accessible for my friend with a motorized wheelchair. They had wheelchair ramps. Although somewhat expensive this covered admission plus allows front of the line for the gondola ride up which can become very busy and congested.
    View All 19 Victoria Peak Reviews
  • Kagoshima
    We did the ferry ride to Mt. Sakurajima. It was very exciting to see an active volcano and the views were spectacular. Kagoshima is a beautiful, interesting clean port. Right next to the cruise terminal was a large clean park filled with locals picnicking, playing sports, running. It was nice just spending an hour walking around the large track there. We would have loved to spend time in downtown Kagoshima..it looked very interesting,clean and safe but we ran out of time.
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  • Nagasaki
    Great views but when we went it was cold and extremely congested more than 40 minute wait each way for gondola. We were late getting back to the ship (we were 10 minutes past all aboard). Not worth the stress of being late.
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  • Nagasaki Peace Park
    Lovely grounds and memorials.
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  • The Atomic Bomb Museum
    A very powerful, well thought out museum. Very sombering experience. The museum chronicles the dropping of the second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki in a very unbiased non judgemental way. We witnessed Japanese tourists weeping at the exhibits.
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  • Folk Village & Namdaemun Market
    Fantastic lunch included.. kimchee, bulgogi ! A lot of walking for people with mobility issues. Very entertaining . Village was extremely clean and not too busy.
    View All 6 Folk Village & Namdaemun Market Reviews
  • Shanghai
    This museum was free of charge and we were the only Caucasian visitors. High security! We even got fingerprinted. Very interesting and informative. Only takes about 1/2 hour to go through. Well worth visiting if you're already in the French Xiantindi area.
    View All 12,794 Shanghai Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Pearl TV Tower
    Great views of the city. A little pricey. Only need about 1/2 hour here.
    View All 1 Pearl TV Tower Reviews
  • Shanghai Museum
    Beautiful, clean museum. Can easily spend 1-2 hours here. The fountains outside are also very beautiful.
    View All 15 Shanghai Museum Reviews
  • The Bund
    Very interesting area. Not too busy in the mornings.
    View All 19 The Bund Reviews
  • Zhujiajiao Watertown
    Really enjoyable! Lots of local market flavour. Can easily spend 3 hours here. Lunch and souvenirs were very cheap and authentic. A litle difficult to navigate for people with disabilities but worth it. We took a water gondola back to parking lot from the end of the village. Known as the "Venice of Asia".
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