Cure For the Summertime Blues: Volendam Cruise Review by sss10

Volendam 5
Member Since 2008
24 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Cure For the Summertime Blues

Sail Date: August 2010
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Vancouver
We arrived in Vancouver on a beautiful, sunny, warm day at the end of August to find a red blazered HAL rep waiting for us with a cab to the Pan Pacific Hotel. Our room was ready and we explored the city with a trip (by local bus) to Granville Island. That night we ate dinner in Gastown and had a leisurely walk back up the hill to Canada Place and our hotel. The next morning we boarded a 3 hr bus tour of the city (part of our package through HAL) stopping in Chinatown, Stanley Park and delivering us to the ship.

We had a painless embarkation, lunch in the Lido and a gorgeous night to sail away. Our room had a balcony which we enjoyed except for when our next door neighbor was smoking on his balcony. We ate half our dinners in the Lido, half in the Rotterdam. The food was delicious and plentiful. We always asked for a table for two in the MDR with no reservation, except for the one formal night we attended. We never had to wait at all for a table and never had to share at More table. Service all over the ship was excellent. Sometimes it was difficult to find a table in the Lido and then we'd have to eat in the pool area, which was sometimes cold and damp. One morning we had room service but found the coffee lukewarm so didn't repeat that. Our room was comfortable and our stewards must have refilled our ice bucket 3 times a day. Chocolate was waiting nightly and half the nights we found towel animals.

We attended all the shows which featured the singers and dancers which we enjoyed. The entertainers are a very talented group of young people. We did not attend the comedian, magician or crew shows. We watched a movie one night. Each night we'd go to the Crow's Nest to listen to Monica and the HALcats. Great band!!! We also enjoyed the string quartet and the 3 piece lounge band. We gambled some in the slot machines, won more than we lost. Each morning my husband would work out in the gym and I would walk the deck for an hour. Other times on the ship, we would read in the library, watch movies in our room, or just nap.

Disembarking was also a breeze. Aside from my suitcase losing a wheel (could happen anywhere) we were out of the ship area in about 5 mins.

With the heat of the East Coast summer, this was a wonderful break. We came home to some more 90+ weather, but just looking at my pictures of the glaciers took off some of the heat and humidity.

Glacier Bay National Park, although not a port, was in my opinion the high point of the cruise. Capt. Bos's enthusiasm for this area "my favorite place in the world" was certainly contagious. He announced each sighting of bear, whale, goat, white lightning (when part of the glacier breaks off into the water) and steered the ship here and there for just the right amount of time to enjoy the scenery from every angle. He told us numerous times to get outside to fully enjoy this day and I'm so glad we took his advise. We stood for a long time on the bow and felt up close and personal with nature. What an experience! Less

Published 09/03/10
Helpful? Thank sss10
1 Helpful Vote

Cabin review: BB Vista Suite with Verandah

Cabin was very comfortable. We had a tub with jets but never used it as the tub was very small. We had to endure our neighbor's smoking on the balcony which was not fun. Our bedding had holes here and there. Bed was comfortable and the room was always cool or hot enough. Bathrobes were great! The waste of paper (jewelry advertisements) was ridiculous. All information, scheduling, etc could have easily been on one of the tv channels. Our cabin near the elevators was always quiet, loved the balcony, lots of drawers and closet space.

Read All Vista Suite with Verandah (BB) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

In Juneau we took the Blue bus out to Mendenhall Glacier. It was less expensive than the ship's excursion and was very easy to find. One at the glacier, we walked about 1/2 mile towards the waterfall. Very lovely and not at all crowded. The town of Juneau was full of souvenir and jewelry shops. Very touristy and not very interesting shopping.

Read 1189 Juneau Reviews

This was my favorite town of the three, although we didn't do any excursions here. The town is very cute, picturesque and has a lot of good walking. We took the little tram up to the Lodge (no cost for some reason....) and sat outside the lodge for awhile. The took a walk down the mountain, through the town, along Creek Street, out along the water and back through town and to the ship. The salmon were in full force swimming against the river flow. Hold your nose around the river, lots of dead fish!

Read 1343 Ketchikan Reviews

In Skagway we booked a tour with Chilkoot Tours online. They offered one way on the White Pass Railroad and the other direction on a van. Our driver arrived exactly on time to drive us the short distance to the train where we had a reserved seat. The train ride up to Frazier was beautiful!!! Our weather was very clear and you could see right down to the ship in the harbor. The train allows you to stand outside, between the cars, for photo ops. My pictures are breathtaking! At the end of the train ride, our driver was waiting for us. He gave us a 45 min tour (we were the only people on the van) and stopped here and there for more pictures. He was a very interesting man full of information and anecdotes. We wandered through the town and again....not impressed with all the souvenir and jewelry shops. Although these towns are picturesque, you can't help but think you are in Disney World in Frontier Town!

Read 880 Skagway Reviews

In the beginning of our trip we had a transfer from YVR. We visited Granville Island for some delicious food and meandering. We were given a room at the Pan Pacific (beautiful hotel), a 3 hr city bus tour (with a delightful Vancouverian driver) and dropped off right at the boat. Vancouver is a great city! Very friendly with bike paths, walking, shopping and gardens.

At the end of our trip, we had only 2 hours until we had to make our way to YVR (Canada Line train, under $4.00 for a one-way ticket, 1/2 hr trip.) We took a walk along the sea wall to Stanley Park.

Compare Prices on Volendam Alaska Cruises

Read more Volendam cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Volendam Review >>

Compare Prices on Volendam Alaska Cruises

Member Since 2008
24 Forum Posts
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Share feedback
Thank you!  Cruise Critic values your feedback.
How can we improve this page?
Skip X

See Volendam deals up to 82% off:

September Deals
Volendam 71% Loved It

15-day North Pacific Crossing
See all Volendam Deals >>