As other cruisers have put it, this ship should have stayed in drydock. The information published on the internet about the refurbishment indicated some great changes that would certainly enhance the cruise. Coupled with our previous HAL experiences, we had high expectations. Unfortunately the information was inaccurate and, to be frank, this ship is a piece of junk.
More info about the ship- leaky pipes and a near flood on our first day at sea. Some of the ship's public rooms were clearly renovated, while others were not. What HAL's calculus was in why certain places should be renovated first was unclear.
Cabin- See below for cabin review. It was supposedly a suite, but I think that's false advertising. The AC system either didn't work at all or couldn't be turned off when we sailed into colder climates during the cruise. Fortunately, beyond the room being old and needing massive upkeep was the extent of my cabin's issues. A lot of fellow passengers had flooded rooms/toilets and other serious issues.
Dining- Pinnacle Grill was great, and the Dive-In was pretty good. Beyond that, the food was not up to HAL standards. I hate to be so harsh, but some of the food tasted like something I would eat at my college dining hall. That all said, I thought it was great that they offered local cuisine from the countries we were visiting, so people could sample the fare without worrying about local cleaning standards.
Entertainment/Activities- The America's Test Kitchen lectures were great, and the port lectures weren't too bad. Other cruise lines have subject matter experts on board who can do deep dives into what we will experience. I can't speak to any of the other entertainment beyond the movies at the Wajang Theater.
Service- The major bright spot. My cabin stewards were excellent and the staff did a great job, I would also like to highlight the work of the maintenance people who were, unfortunately, constantly at work fixing issues that should have been identified during the drydock.
Ports and Shore Excursions- The reason we booked this trip. All things being equal, we'd take a ship in lousy shape if it meant getting a chance to visit those places. Excellent itinerary.
Embarkation was poorly organized, especially the lines to go through immigration. The guy "directing" was completely disorganized and eventually passengers took matters in to their own hands and just walked up.
HAL, drydock the Volendam and do a top to bottom thorough check. I can think most passengers would have been happier if you had done that and pushed our cruise dates a bit.
ZERO renovations to the room...Cramped entryway, stained and old wallpaper. Furniture in the cabin and the verandah needs to be thrown out. Outdated technology to include an ancient television and a credit card open safe. Curtains were also stained, The verandah and its furniture was so nasty that I didn't want to sit out there.
We arrived in Singapore independently. It was a great city to start our journey.
Very nice city and views.View All 35 Hoi An Walking Tour Reviews
It was ok, definitely the least interesting of the ports we visited.
Bangkok was a hugely pleasant surprise for us. It's really an up and coming city.
Incredibly impressive. I wish we had more time to explore the Palace.View All 36 Grand Palace Reviews
Less than a foot away from Asian elephants and tigers. Can't beat that.View All 11 Nong Nooch Walking Tour Reviews
There's a reason why Angkor is on lists for places you must visit. Cambodia was actually an impressive developing country.
Beautiful cruise views.
Beautiful island, great tour and great guide. It was nice to have the tour in a small van with only 5 of us.View All undefined undefined Reviews