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My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 younger members of our party might enjoy the less formal atmosphere on Princess versus Holland America. We are well aware of the differences as we have sailed both many times. However, HAL offered a year end sale that was difficult/impossible to turn down. We flew into Vancouver the morning of the cruise and took the SkyTrain from the airport to Canada Place. Highly recommend this means of getting to the dock (very straight forward, about 30 minutes travel time at just C$9.50pp). Would also highly recommend a few days in Vancouver ahead of the cruise as it is a beautiful city with so many things to see and do. We passed on this as we have family in Vancouver and have been there dozens of times before. Embarkation was the longest we can remember experiencing but cannot blame this on the cruise line. The problem is going through US Customs and the interminable lineups. There were 3 cruise ships sailing that day which didn't help matters. The cruise lines should really put some pressure on the port authority to improve and shorten this process. Overall, we enjoyed our week long cruise. We had done an Alaskan cruise a number of years ago so the ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were not new to us. We did our own excursions. Our inside cabin was adequate, the service received from our cabin and dining room staff was exemplary and the food was good. However, there were a couple things that disappointed. The entertainment offered in the small venues was good (quartet in the Ocean Bar, Adagio Strings) but the entertainment in the main theatre was quite poor. While the service from crew who dealt with us every day (cabin, MDR) was excellent, we ran into a number of one-off situations where it wasn't. This included bar staff, the cooks behind the Lido counter, Lido serving staff, staff in the retail shops and staff in the spa. We have never encountered this level of malaise from crew on our previous 9 HAL cruises. The overall morale was not high and we are hoping that the new Hotel Director (Simon Tanner) can improve matters.

Nice family cruise

Volendam Cruise Review by cruising_canuck

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Large Interior Stateroom
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year.

We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 younger members of our party might enjoy the less formal atmosphere on Princess versus Holland America. We are well aware of the differences as we have sailed both many times. However, HAL offered a year end sale that was difficult/impossible to turn down.

We flew into Vancouver the morning of the cruise and took the SkyTrain from the airport to Canada Place. Highly recommend this means of getting to the dock (very straight forward, about 30 minutes travel time at just C$9.50pp). Would also highly recommend a few days in Vancouver ahead of the cruise as it is a beautiful city with so many things to see and do. We passed on this as we have family in Vancouver and have been there dozens of times before.

Embarkation was the longest we can remember experiencing but cannot blame this on the cruise line. The problem is going through US Customs and the interminable lineups. There were 3 cruise ships sailing that day which didn't help matters. The cruise lines should really put some pressure on the port authority to improve and shorten this process.

Overall, we enjoyed our week long cruise. We had done an Alaskan cruise a number of years ago so the ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were not new to us. We did our own excursions. Our inside cabin was adequate, the service received from our cabin and dining room staff was exemplary and the food was good.

However, there were a couple things that disappointed. The entertainment offered in the small venues was good (quartet in the Ocean Bar, Adagio Strings) but the entertainment in the main theatre was quite poor. While the service from crew who dealt with us every day (cabin, MDR) was excellent, we ran into a number of one-off situations where it wasn't. This included bar staff, the cooks behind the Lido counter, Lido serving staff, staff in the retail shops and staff in the spa. We have never encountered this level of malaise from crew on our previous 9 HAL cruises. The overall morale was not high and we are hoping that the new Hotel Director (Simon Tanner) can improve matters.
cruising_canuck’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Interior Stateroom
Cabin L 2531
Some of the furniture and carpet was a little dated. Bathroom seem to have been renovated recently. A small bar fridge would have been a nice addition. Storge space was not lacking. No problems with noise.
Lower Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews