This was our tenth cruise with five cruiselines over a period of 14 years. We always choose verandah or mini-suite accommodation and have been happy with every experience so far. We had read differing views of Volendam but were prepared to take the chance on a 16-day round-trip cruise, Sydney to New Zealand, for Christmas and New Year.
What a surprise! This is the most gorgeous ship that measures up to, and often exceeds, some other high-end vessels. The decor is simply stunning in the Florentine style and lounge areas extremely comfortable and inviting. The only comparison we can make is Pacific Princess, also beautiful. We always begin the day with a light room-service breakfast, the only type usually available. Another surprise - a full breakfast menu for the first time, served on Rosenthal china with HOT tea and coffee. Also, we often eat lunch in the dining room, but we found the atmosphere and environment in the Lido buffet was quiet and spotlessly clean with genuinely friendly staff. Not the noisy mosh pit we've experienced many times! The Lido food was better than that offered by some dining rooms on other ships, especially the dreadful Rhapsody of the Seas, with a wide variety clearly separated into Asian, Italian, entrees, etc.
We had pre-dinner drinks in the Ocean Bar every night and found the staff and service friendly. Music from jazz to modern was provided by the Neptune Trio, piano, bass and drums. It was a perfect background for a view of the sea or a whizz around the dance floor at the end of the day.
6156 Verandah DeckTiny entry, plenty of storage, shower over small but adequate bath, sneaky but good large drawers in the end of beds, bathroom facilities (a three way mirror!) very good. The usual problem with little privacy from partially screened balconies - pray that you don't have party animals next to you. Quiet with no noise internally, especially since there are no interior rooms opposite.
We've experienced the usual places offered in Dunedin and have enjoyed them all. It's a town with a Scottish feel and its people are similarly welcoming. Don't miss Larnach Castle and in case you aren't told, there was once a servant below the ground at the back who pedalled furiously to keep the chandeliers alight.