By Ashley Kosciolek
Cruise Critic Editor
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

Volendam is in the process of receiving major (and much-needed) updates to its cabins. As of the last dry dock, all suites and 60 percent of the regular cabins had received a renovated bathroom; by January 2018, all regular cabins will have the bathroom refit and every cabin and suite will also be refitted with new carpet, drapes, bed furnishings, sofa, chair (or chairs, in the suites) and accent pillows. The new look focuses on muted tones of light tan and gray, with sea-foam green accents. Tech upgrades include adding a USB port and converting TV programming to an interactive system.

All of Volendam's cabins, which we found to be mostly too small to be completely comfortable, and suites are equipped with a safe (opened by swiping a credit card), a powerful hair dryer and lighted, 5x-magnification makeup mirror (both located in the desk/vanity), drinking glasses and a classy brushed-metal ice bucket set on a chrome tray, as well as a chrome fruit basket. A bible is tucked into a bedside drawer. The cushy beds are covered with high thread-count sheets and down duvets.

All cabins also offer flat-screen TVs that feature the usual network channels, including news from BBC, Fox and MSNBC, as well as shipboard announcements, port lectures and movies. DVD players are standard in every cabin, and the ship carries an extensive DVD library. Check out the list found in your stateroom, and call the front desk to have your selections delivered. In our experience, though, requested titles were often unavailable and delivery time was as much as an hour -- so plan in advance and include backups. After the ship's November 2017, dry dock, the TV system will be upgraded to an interactive setup so, happily, this issue will go away.

Due to its age, Volendam is short on electrical sockets (regular cabins have only one outlet -- aside from the razors-only bathroom socket -- with a U.S.-type socket and a European-type socket), so if you're toting an array of tech gear, bring along a non-surge protector power strip or a multi-USB plug. The addition of a USB port to every cabin by 2018 will help this situation.

Befitting its dress policy, Volendam offers ample closet and cabinet space, with plenty of sturdy wooden hangers. Features like built-in tie and belt hangers are a nice touch. We also like the ability to customize the closets, converting hanging areas into shelf space with the fold-down shelves. A full-length mirror can be found on the inside of one closet door. There are also two wall hooks for clothing or robes on either side, at the foot of the bed.

If you've sailed on Volendam in the past, you'll do a double-take when you see the chic new bathrooms, which feature an upscale look of shades of gray, tan and beige, with modern, terrazzo-style countertops and travertine-look floor tiles. The corner cabinet is gone, replaced by three tiered shelves. A panel of textured gray wallpaper features subtle, tone-on-tone foliage designs. All bathroom vanities are equipped with two glasses, tissues, a generous bar of Elemis soap, a shower cap and lotion; showers feature large pump bottles of Elemis shampoo, conditioner and bath gel attached to the wall (ladies, use the refreshing, minty shower gel cautiously on delicate areas!). There are new, broader showerheads (which still offer a massage option) and, just like the old ones, they can either be hand-held or placed in a wall holder for a traditional-style overhead shower. Washcloths, hand towels and bath towels are fluffy Egyptian cotton, and a comfy, knitted waffle-fabric robe is provided for all passengers.

Services to all cabins include shoeshines, bed turn-down service with a chocolate and a towel animal, and keeping the ice bucket stocked. On appropriate itineraries, beach towels are also provided in the cabins.

Volendam offers 54 pairs of connecting cabins, mostly on Decks 1, 2 and 3. There are 197 triples available, deploying a sofa bed, in nearly every cabin class; some are included in the connecting cabin options. The 57 quads include a sofa bed and a pulldown upper bed, stored in the ceiling.

Accessible staterooms are divided into three groups. The four suites and one cabin that are "fully accessible" include wide interior and exterior doors, wheelchair access to both sides of the bed and a roll-in shower with grab bars, shower seat, accessible shower controls and hand-held showerhead. The three cabins and one suite that are "single-side accessible" only have wheelchair access to one side of the bed. Thirteen "ambulatory accessible" cabins have all of the above, minus wheelchair access to the bed.

Interior: The interior cabins on Volendam come in a variety of configurations, ranging from 182 to 293 square feet for an accessible cabin. Check the deck plan carefully when booking, and you could end up with truly spacious digs! Generally, these cabins include a sofa bed or love seat, a desk/vanity with three drawers and a stool or chair, nightstands with two drawers, and a small, oval, adjustable-height table large enough to park a room-service tray -- though this is the one piece of furniture that's likely to get in your way (good thing there's no porthole, or you might be tempted to toss this table overboard!). The cabins with love seats also include an end-table cabinet with a lamp. There is typically a bank of three closets (larger cabins have more), with both shelves and hanger rods.

Most beds can be configured as either twins (actually giving the cabin a more spacious feeling) or one queen but, in a few cabins, the beds can't be moved. There are built-in reading lights over the beds, and two sets of master light switches on the padded headboard. Just be careful that you don't accidentally hit the switches when readjusting your pillow, as we did. A set of curtains above the bed mimics the decor of ocean-view rooms -- so try imagining there's a window back there and save some cash! There are no mini-fridges, but for-purchase bottled water and soft drinks are placed on the desk. Complimentary fresh fruit will be placed in your cabin upon request.

Beige walls, coupled with blond woods and pale burled-birch laminate on the built-ins keeps things light. The look will become even airier and modern when the current dark sofas and melon-colored stools or chairs are reupholstered with light beige fabrics in the late-2017 refurb.

All inside-cabin bathrooms are equipped with showers, which have a shower curtain, grab bars, a chrome-wire corner shelf and a massage-style showerhead. The impressive, renovated bathrooms have more stylish, modern finishes and additional recessed lights built into either side of the mirror. However, if you're sharing a cabin, don't count on two people being able to prep here at the same time. The lighted makeup mirror on the desk definitely comes in handy!

Tip: If you want a longer sofa, rather than a love seat, book a stateroom designated as a "triple," which has a sofa bed. You give up the largely unnecessary cabinet at the end of the love seat in double rooms -- but the trade-off is worth it.

Ocean-view: These cabins range in size from 140 to 319 square feet, with similar furnishings and decor to the inside cabins. Typically, there is more closet space, with as many as five closet sections. Your ocean views will be through portholes or rectangular windows, so take note of the difference when booking. In most cabins, the head of the bed (or beds) is against the window wall, with both sheer and blackout curtains covering the window.

Outside staterooms on the Lower Promenade Deck (Deck 3) are on the smaller side, yet they're a favorite of many repeat cruisers because of the easy access to the wide teak promenade, complete with teak loungers evoking an era of true ocean liners, that circles the ship. (Some of these outsides have fully obstructed views.)

Twenty-one cabins on this deck are Lanai-category (196 to 240 square feet), with sliding-glass doors that directly access the promenade and include reserved deck chairs just outside the doors. The wide overhang of the Promenade Deck makes all Lower Promenade Deck cabins darker, and although the windows are covered with a one-way film, prying eyes can still see inside when the lights are on. Unless you're an incurable exhibitionist, keeping the curtains closed whenever the interior is illuminated is necessary.

While some outside cabins will have bathtubs up until the November 2017 dry dock, all tubs in these cabins will be converted to shower stalls (similar to the ones described above for interior cabins) during the bathroom remodel. If you want a tub, your only choice will be to book a suite.

Tip: Some of the Lower Promenade cabins that are listed as "fully obstructed" really aren't; they are "partially" blocked by the outside bulkheads around the promenade, and from a few, you still have a limited ocean view. They are priced comparably to an inside and can be a fantastic bargain, especially the ones at the aft of the ship.

Mini-suite: The 297- to 379-square-foot (including the private veranda) Vista Suites, located on Decks 6 and 7, offer a bit more room, floor-to-ceiling windows, upgraded decor and an outdoor area large enough to hold a lounger, chair and small table. Inside are a leather sofa and an end table adjacent to the outside door. In many of the suites, the sofa converts to a bed. The desk is fitted with six drawers, the table is larger than in regular cabins and there are four closet sections. Additional perks include binoculars, fresh flowers, slippers, umbrellas, a variety of pillows and concierge service. Bathroom tubs are jetted, and additional toiletries include Elemis bath salts, mitt and elixir, plus temple balm, eye gel and lip balm.

Suite: The 558- to 566-square-foot (including the 170-square-foot veranda) Neptune Suites are a big step up in luxury, with a long list of perks and amenities. A marble-floored foyer leads to the living room area, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a large sectional sofa, including a sofa bed sleeping two persons, flanked by a round glass coffee table, two upholstered chairs and an end table with lamp. In the bedroom area, a long dresser with 12 drawers and two cabinets line the exterior wall, topped by more windows. The TV is housed on the dresser, on a turntable that swivels to face the bed area or the living room area. In the cabinet below it, you'll find the DVD player. There's also a Bose Bluetooth-enabled Soundlink speaker you can sync to your smartphone to play some tunes.

A door from the living room area leads to the ample veranda, which is large enough to hold a dining table with four rattan chairs, two mesh-fabric loungers and a side table.

Next to the bed are nightstands; one nightstand has two drawers and the other nightstand has a cabinet. Wood finishes are blond and the beige wall coverings have a subtle satin striping effect. A built-in cabinet just past the foyer holds the mini-fridge stocked with beverages (all carry a charge), ice bucket and a pod-style espresso machine with three choices of coffee, creamers, sweeteners and cups.

Off the bedroom you'll find the spacious dressing room, with three generous closet sections (one includes a full-length mirror) against the back wall. On one side, a marble-topped vanity, stocked with cotton balls, tissues and a hair dryer, thoughtfully includes a small sink; underneath, are three drawers and a cabinet. Above the vanity, there's a mirror and a lighted 5x-magnifying mirror attached to a swinging arm. An upholstered stool tucks under the vanity. The dressing room leads to the bathroom, with a single sink and jetted tub. Although the upgraded finishes are chic, the bathroom seemed small compared to suite bathrooms on newer ships.

In addition to all the Vista Suite perks, Neptune suite occupants also receive complimentary laundry, pressing and dry cleaning; an expanded room service breakfast menu -- or an option to have breakfast in the Pinnacle restaurant; corsages and boutonnieres for the first gala night; priority boarding for tendered ports, as well as priority dining and seating requests. They can also wake up to complimentary mimosas with room-service breakfast, enjoy afternoon tea in their suite and nosh on complimentary evening hors d'oeuvres. And, they gain access to the exclusive Neptune Lounge on Deck 7, including sparkling wine served at embarkation.

This ship also includes a single 1,296-square foot (including the 180-square-foot veranda) Pinnacle Suite, located just behind the bridge on Deck 7. These swanky digs offer a dining room that seats eight (with a bar-topped buffet), a pantry complete with microwave and a U-shaped leather sofa in the living room, flanked by two chairs, a coffee table and a side table. On the opposite wall, there's also a desk and chair. Rich wood paneling and niches for original art or fresh floral arrangements complete the look.

The curtained-off bedroom holds a king-sized bed, vanity and upholstered chair. A door leads to the bathroom, with double sink, shower, jetted tub and separate toilet area. From the bathroom, another door leads to the huge walk-in closet, with five storage sections. Just past the suite's entrance foyer is a guest powder room, with toilet and sink.

Balcony furnishings are the same as the Neptune Suites.

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Deck:
Dolphin Deck
Main Deck
Lower Promenade Deck
Promenade Deck
Upper Promenade Deck
Verandah Deck
Navigation Deck
Lido Deck
Sports Deck
Sky Deck

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