This a review of the Volendam's 5 December 11 voyage around New Zealand, a Sydney to Sydney round trip. But there is a back story to this review.
In July my wife Gail, who posts on these boards as Abby Ruth, was diagnosed with ALS (motor neurone disease for those in the UK). The disease is marked by a progressive weakening of the voluntary muscles. We got evidence of this on an earlier Black Sea cruise, when Gail literally fell off a tour bus trying to get up a very high set of steps. We canceled all remaining ships tours, and either got around ports on our own or made a deal with a cab driver to take us around. By early Fall, Gail was using a walker, and three months before leaving, we decided to rent a wheelchair in Sydney and take it with us on the ship. We had already made arrangements for private tours in vehicles which Gail could enter and which could carry the folded chair.
3429 - Wheelchair accessible cabin. Huge, with room for the manual chair to stay open, and closet space for three. Ingenious drainage system in the roll-in shower. Downside is that cabin window looks out onto the promenade deck. Window is heavily silvered, so it is difficult to look into the room from outside during the day, but at night the curtains must be drawn. Very quiet.