Second time with HAL, we were concerned about the length of the voyage at 28 days. But at the end, 28 days journey has gone by fast. We find this is one of the more enjoyable trips we experienced. The itinerary was good, there is enough at sea time to rest up, especially traveling in warm weather regions. During the voyage,
HAL has a very good program on excursion and shore activities by the EXC group, in particular, the presenters Jeremy and Phil were excellent presenters, very knowledgeable with each and every stop of ports-of-calls. The information given is very valuable, not just for company sponsored excursions but for the people who want to roam on their own. Plenty of advice on the Do's and the Don'ts.
We also appreciate the attentions given to handling visas to Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. HAL handled it well, seamlessly and painless.
The food in general is very good, better than what we had in the previous HAL cruise. Lido Market has good varieties and the Main Dining Room service is quite well. The hamburgers and hotdogs served in the pool area are great, especially the fries. Though, during breakfast and lunch in the Lido Market is a bit chaotic, due to the medium size of the ship, the dining rooms are relatively small, guests often congregate in certain areas and not exactly know where to lineup to be served, and overwhelming the serving staff.
Our interior room is located on Main Deck aft. It is a little noisy and high mechanical vibrations when the side-thrusters are operating during docking of the ship.
The entertainment is OK, I have seen better but it is not the worst. The cooking shows in America Test Kitchen are quite good, library and game rooms (not casino) are well stocked. Lots of area to relax, live entertainment with live musics is quite good. The outside walking deck on the 3rd deck is quite good.
All in all, HAL's Volendam is a pleasant ship to sail on, it has enough activities and food service to keep us busy on this trip.
The interior room we have is larger than most cruise companies, like Princess or Royal Caribbean. No problem with our A/C. It has ample room for storage. The layout is very functional with a sofa. Good lighting and switches are in convenient places. It has only one 110V outlet, suggest to bring yourself a small extension cord if you need to charge your multiple phones or batteries at the same time. Room attendants keeps the room clean, but sometimes need to remind them for TP and soaps.
The ship docked next to the Vivo City Mall and we had almost 2 days. It is very convenient at the port. Get a 1-day or 2-day SMRT pass and you can get to anywhere in the island from the Port. Or you can get taxis from there. Go to Lau Pa Sat Food Centre, Chinatown, Little India, Albert Food Centre or near by Bugis Centre for local foods. Orchard Road for some fancy shopping. For other other touristic attractions, take ship sponsored organized tours, save time but not money.
The objective is to see the famous Komodo dragons, yes we saw quite a few of them. The were pre-fed with stomach full and not prong to run around in search of food. But because is is our first time, we went with the organized excursion from the ship, but you can save quite a bit of money if you do some homework ahead of time in the internet to buy an onshore tour with some Indonesian guides. One thing though, they don't allow anybody to do onshore without some kind of organized tour, it is an Indonesian National Park.
It is a lovely but small town, we went on our own with a few people who want to venture out but not joining an organized tour. But remember to negotiate your ride. They always start HIGH, but pretend to walk away to another one, they will come down in price!
This is an overblown tourist town. We didn't join the tour but went on our own. Same with all other Indonesian town, get your own driver with car, negotiate the price and go from the port. The port is a little away from the town. You need transport. If you are adventure enough, get on a motorbike to go around town. It is quite lovely around Denpasar. Ubud is nice.