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We loved our cruise itinerary. Seeing Japan was our goal and the added days in Shanghai, South Korea, and Alaska were nice additional perks. The ports were all fantastic and the excursions we took through HAL were very good but the excursions team had to make changes to some of the tours and itineraries and instead of being transperent with their reasons, hid behind no-blame disclosures in their letter to our stateroom. We were travelling with another couple and we received a letter telling us that they had to cancel one of our excursions because the departure time was earlier than our return from an earlier excursion that day. They ended the letter by telling us they were sorry but this had only happened to one other couple on the ship. Well, the couple we were with plus a dozen other couples we spoke to had all had the same change! It was clear we could make both events, but don't undermine our intelligence but telling us that it was an isolated incident. The glitch was that anyone who had pre-booked the excursion online prior to the cruise was given the option of the excursion on a date and time that were not valid. They had also mislabeled the level of activity required for many of the excursions, with some being more strenuous then suggested and others being less strenuous. There were also many errors in departure times printed on the tickets and we received multiple notes in our door updating times. We were disappointed in the lack of quality control from the excursions team. The third party providers of the excursion tours were excellent in all the cities We have sailed with HAL for 15 years and we could really see changes in amenities and services but "trimming the sails" is an economic reality and for the most part Holland America offers an excellent product. Our experience was excellent and thanks to the hard working and dedicated service crew we had the time of our lives. The cabin was perfect, the room steward, Sam, was excellent. The dining experience has two sides to it. The food was fantastic, but Holland America has got to address the open seating in the main dining room that isn't open seating at all. You cannot just show up and expect to be seated. They hand you a pager and the wait is as long as 45 minutes. Once they have started the 5:15 service they don't seem to seat anyone else until after 7:15 and when you show up at 7:15 they hand you a pager and you can wait up to 30 minutes to be seated. The staff cuts have been significant but the service is still an expectation of the ship's reputation as well as the clientele, so stewards are run off their feet, taking orders, replacing cutlery, brushing crumbs from the table, making sure the correct order is in front of you, prepping your next course and doing that 4 or 5 times per person. For the first time in 15 years of cruising we had waits between courses that were as long as 15 minutes. Our servers cannot be blamed they never stopped hustling, Either staff the dining room or change the service method in the open seating area. We were able to get set seating at 8:00 PM in the upper dining room on the last 15 days of this cruise and it was a far better experience because there was no chaos.

Great cruise with a wonderful itinerary - highly recommend it.

Volendam Cruise Review by 332266

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2018
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Verandah
We loved our cruise itinerary. Seeing Japan was our goal and the added days in Shanghai, South Korea, and Alaska were nice additional perks. The ports were all fantastic and the excursions we took through HAL were very good but the excursions team had to make changes to some of the tours and itineraries and instead of being transperent with their reasons, hid behind no-blame disclosures in their letter to our stateroom. We were travelling with another couple and we received a letter telling us that they had to cancel one of our excursions because the departure time was earlier than our return from an earlier excursion that day. They ended the letter by telling us they were sorry but this had only happened to one other couple on the ship. Well, the couple we were with plus a dozen other couples we spoke to had all had the same change! It was clear we could make both events, but don't undermine our intelligence but telling us that it was an isolated incident. The glitch was that anyone who had pre-booked the excursion online prior to the cruise was given the option of the excursion on a date and time that were not valid. They had also mislabeled the level of activity required for many of the excursions, with some being more strenuous then suggested and others being less strenuous. There were also many errors in departure times printed on the tickets and we received multiple notes in our door updating times. We were disappointed in the lack of quality control from the excursions team. The third party providers of the excursion tours were excellent in all the cities

We have sailed with HAL for 15 years and we could really see changes in amenities and services but "trimming the sails" is an economic reality and for the most part Holland America offers an excellent product. Our experience was excellent and thanks to the hard working and dedicated service crew we had the time of our lives.

The cabin was perfect, the room steward, Sam, was excellent. The dining experience has two sides to it. The food was fantastic, but Holland America has got to address the open seating in the main dining room that isn't open seating at all. You cannot just show up and expect to be seated. They hand you a pager and the wait is as long as 45 minutes. Once they have started the 5:15 service they don't seem to seat anyone else until after 7:15 and when you show up at 7:15 they hand you a pager and you can wait up to 30 minutes to be seated. The staff cuts have been significant but the service is still an expectation of the ship's reputation as well as the clientele, so stewards are run off their feet, taking orders, replacing cutlery, brushing crumbs from the table, making sure the correct order is in front of you, prepping your next course and doing that 4 or 5 times per person. For the first time in 15 years of cruising we had waits between courses that were as long as 15 minutes. Our servers cannot be blamed they never stopped hustling, Either staff the dining room or change the service method in the open seating area. We were able to get set seating at 8:00 PM in the upper dining room on the last 15 days of this cruise and it was a far better experience because there was no chaos.
332266’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Verandah
Cabin B 6101
The cabin was great and we would highly recommend it. The hallway door beyond our cabin led to the bridge and only staff used that door, so very quiet, very private. It is on the starboard side and lucky for us most of the ports we docked in pulled up on the starboard side including the spectacular view of The Bund in Shanghai. The port side of the Verandah deck has a door to a seldom used outside deck and it was perfect for taking in the spectacular views like Shanghai, Yokohama, Glacier Bay, and the port of Vancouver. We had read reviews about this room being directly above the main stage and yes, we could hear the rehearsals for the one hour at 5:00 PM but we were rarely in our stateroom at that time and we were at dinner during the first show and in The Mainstage for the second show so it didn't bother us at all. The daytime activities that take place in The Mainstage do not have musical accompaniment and we never heard anything when they were taking place. Other plus was most excursions start by asking you to gather in the Mainstage area and the Volendam used the forward door for leaving the ship meaning we just had to pop down the stairs and we were at our departure point. We were at the far end from the dining room but an 1/8 of a mile walk to dinner and back isn't a bad thing when you are eating as well as HAL feeds you.
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