2 San Francisco Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

I chose this short cruise to introduce a 'newb' to cruising. It was intended to give her a taste of cruising.......more than a one day overnight repositioning. By the time you add airfare to SF, and cost to get home as well ... Read More
I chose this short cruise to introduce a 'newb' to cruising. It was intended to give her a taste of cruising.......more than a one day overnight repositioning. By the time you add airfare to SF, and cost to get home as well as port fee's and taxes that matched the cabin charge.....it all add's up to a 'not cheap' cruise.......it's something to consider---cost to value. Arrived in SF to find an 'annual coast guard' inspection underway. The ship had been sailing out of Ft Laurderdale all winter so this wasn't a back to the USA deal......but it delayed getting on board, and then delays getting documents signed caused the departure at 5 pm to be closer to 6:30....... For those that have visited SF going under the Golden Gate bridge is a highlight........unfortunately the ebb tide and delays due to the inspection made a mess of the first night transit. The food in the MDR was less edible than anything I had experienced before. Very few choices for anyone with dietary needs. (GF) We were told more than once that there weren't choices because things cost too much in SF so they had not restocked the ship for the jaunt back to Vancouver. They were simply 'out' of things that they should have had. I believe this was accurate........and further degraded the experience. On the last day we had some good food! While that's nice to see they can produce good entree's.......it's all the more upsetting that they DID NOT, until the last meal. The Captain stated that they have 5 motors/engines on the ship but only need 4. A good thing since he also said the 5th one was not working during our trip. So you spend all day with the coast guard and go out to sea with less than a fully functional ship? I don't care that you only need 4........I'd bet you NEED that 5th one if anything happens to #'s 1-4. We faced Beaufort 10 conditions at sea.............hmmmm, plugging along as best we could with the knowledge that she was not fully rigged. Parts of the ship were extremely cold (Crows Nest, Lido, etc)..........like they had failed to turn off the air conditioning from a more tropical zone (Panama Canal). Thruster and docking procedures took forever---which everyone knows is not a pleasant experience for anyone. I have never listened to so much noise and vibrations as well as the inching of the ship into port or docking or leaving port. So, yet more time was 'lost' with these processes. After docking an hour (or more) late in Victoria--after arriving on time, they 'forgot' to tell folks the ship was cleared for people to get off. During the Captain's talk he made a comment about other captains when a question was asked about an Alaska route. Basically stating that he would not endanger a ship as if other captains had done so when traveling last summer. Very unprofessional given the route in question (Grenville Channel) is a route available to smaller cruise ships and it is a known route to Alaska. This was just plain unprofessional.........if he'll never sail that route, fine, but it's on my list of things to do and sorry I missed the opportunity last year...... I suspect it is not a preplanned route and dependent on tides/condition on the water........for the Captains that have chosen it. Thank you to them........the guests had a rare experience these days! Staff were good overall. Room stewards were great, MDR first night was very slow and not sure if that was new crew or ??? Next two nights we ended up at a different table and service was great. Too bad the food cannot match the service on board! While I have sailed HAL over 5 times, I think this may be the end of our relationship. It's not worth it to have problems with food and the ship. This is not a one off as the last HAL experience 3 years ago had similar issues on the Zaandam. So two strikes are now seen.......dare we try for three or cut our losses and move on. There are other cruise experiences that have been better than HAL' s with Carnival..........it's easier to remember the good ol' days and move on then throw good money after bad........... Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first cruise on HAL. Our check-in was okay, except for filling out the same boarding forms in the terminal that I previously filled out online. The terminal agent could pull them up on her computer screen, but said she ... Read More
This was our first cruise on HAL. Our check-in was okay, except for filling out the same boarding forms in the terminal that I previously filled out online. The terminal agent could pull them up on her computer screen, but said she couldn't print them out. Other than that our boarding was uneventful and our luggage was at our stateroom when we arrived. We found the stateroom to be very nice. We had more room than on Celebrity's Mercury with the same category. Lots of closet space and the whirlpool tub was a special treat. The Mercury did not have a tub. The dining room service and food were excellent. The portions were smaller than Celebrity's, but that was a plus in our minds. We also liked the idea of having nightly substitutions available, such as sirloin steak, in lieu of the offered entrees. I opted for the sirloin steak on the last night just to try it out and found it to be very good and cooked as I ordered. The buffet was very good every day as was the hamburger, pizza, and taco venues. Since this was a coastal trip, the weather was variable between sunny and light rain. We enjoyed having the movable cover over the Lido pool which was adjusted according to the weather conditions. While we did not attend any of the onboard entertainment, we just enjoyed the laid-back feeling of the ship. Our first port was Astoria, Oregon. It was raining, but we had prepared ourselves with raincoats and rain pants which proved to be invaluable. The local townspeople were very helpful in directing us to transportation to the downtown area, which looks as though they are trying to develop into a tourist area. The best spot we found was Lindbergh's Danish Bakery which had great pastry and really great prices. We walked back to the ship, approximately a mile or so, along a pleasant waterfront walkway. Astoria does have a weekend tram, but we found the walk very nice even in the rain. Our second stop was Victoria, Canada. We had bought a Butchart Garden and winery tour, but the night before arriving in Victoria, the ship's tour officer called to say the tour had been canceled and would we want to go on another tour. We had made previous appointments onboard the ship, so all the other tours we considered interfered with those appointments. A reason was not given for the cancellation. We took a bus to Victoria's inner harbor which was very nice. We walked around some shops and through the Empress Hotel. Upon our return to the ship, my fiancee (Vicki) went to the ship's spa for an "exotic" manicure which was to include a neck and shoulder massage. Vicki was extremely disappointed and quite upset at the results. The manicurist ripped and tore at her nailbed (didn't bother to soften the cuticle), which was quite painful and left Vicki's cuticles sore, jagged, and very unattractive. Thank God for Neosporin which she began applying immediately once she was back in our stateroom. Vicki had received a manicure in Sacramento just four days prior; the amateurish manicure given on board the ship left her nails in far worse shape. In addition, the neck and shoulder massage was extremely disappointing. The entire experience was far from relaxing or beneficial. In order to avoid this experience, Vicki recommends that you check credentials and inquire about experience. All in all, we had a nice, albeit short, cruise. HAL is in our plans for a possible October cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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