This was our first trip to New Zealand and our first cruise, and it was a wonderful vacation. Our experience was A+ on every level. The crew of the Volendam made our vacation very special, the service was outstanding. I consider myself a very tough consumer, and I was very pleased on this cruise. Please keep in mind that this was our first cruise, so this review might seem rather elementary to seasoned cruisers.
We had a verandah room, and we were greeted every day with a beautiful view. If you are able to spring for a balcony room, you will not be disappointed. *We were very fortunate to have booked via a HAL email with discounted pricing, otherwise we could never had afforded it. We were traveling with our 2 youngest (teenaged) sons, and we were able to pay only $399 for the second boy. The kids had an interior cabin on the dolphin deck. I am certain that he ate more than $399 in food alone from the buffet. :) We did find that the dolphin deck smelled strongly of mildew, at least in the port side hall.
Our cabin and dining stewards treated us like royalty on a daily basis. We could not have asked for more. We just cannot say enough about the staff, every interaction was genuinely pleasant. We never waited in line for anything, seating was readily available everywhere we went, and disembarkations were cleanly organized and easy. The only issue we encountered was getting the HAL airport shuttle to and from the airport. (This is an additional fee). This was highly disorganized, a few of these senior cruisers are really pushy. Once on the shuttle, all was well, but getting on the shuttle was difficult. No big deal, in the grand scheme of things. Most people were pleasant.
Great view, wonderful midship location on the port side, which is where most of the views will be on this particular cruise.
Dunedin is a lovely town, and there is a free shuttle from the ship to the center of the town, which is laid out for easy walking. You can walk to the train station to take the Taieri Gorge Railway, which is a nice trip. As with all NZ cities, Dunedin is safe, clean, and pretty.