4 Shanghai Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

Frankly, I chose this particular cruise because I got a good deal! I had cruised before and loved it (though my husband did not!) and from the moment of that first cruise, I knew I wanted to take my grown daughter on a cruise with me. ... Read More
Frankly, I chose this particular cruise because I got a good deal! I had cruised before and loved it (though my husband did not!) and from the moment of that first cruise, I knew I wanted to take my grown daughter on a cruise with me. She's like me -- very outgoing, loves games, loves starting conversations with people at the next table, etc. So I decided to ask her if she'd be willing to go on such a long cruise with me and leave my lovely granddaughters at home with their Dad so Erica and I could have a mother-daughter outing. And as I suspected, Erica loved the cruise. We had so much fun taking advantage of all the shipboard activities like trivia and bingo (I won $145 one day and a cruise for two another day!!!), meeting and getting to know people from all over the world, and making friends with another mother-daughter set whom we are going to visit in Holland for the new year! My daughter was the hit of the cruise -- every time we got on the elevator, by the time we reached our destination floor, we were buddies with everyone else on the elevator. The food was good, the staff was wonderful, and we just had a fabulous time. Now we are planning to augment the cruise for two I won by taking her husband and my granddaughters, and yes, even my husband on a cruise next year! I think I made a believer out of her!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Commencing your cruise in China, you do not need an expensive visa if certain conditions apply. My wife and I have recently returned (12-11-17) from a two week cruise in the Far East. We joined the ship (Holland Americas cruise ship ... Read More
Commencing your cruise in China, you do not need an expensive visa if certain conditions apply. My wife and I have recently returned (12-11-17) from a two week cruise in the Far East. We joined the ship (Holland Americas cruise ship VOLENDAM) in Shanghai China. Prior to the cruise I was informed by my external cruise agent’s documentation that a visa was required for entry into China. I researched the visa process and discovered that the Chinese embassies in the UK, located in Manchester and London utilise external agencies to process and issue access visas for China. I accessed online the SHANGHAI GENERAL STATION OF IMMIGRATION INSPECTION. The document listed several visa exemption possibilities depending upon your travel schedule. There are several visa agencies online and be aware, the charges vary considerably from £175.00 to £250.00 per person, and the process is not straight forward. Having explored various cruise advice pages on the web, it was intimated that there is a facility for Chinese visa exemption depending upon how many days you would be in China and where your cruise schedule was destined. I contacted my cruise agent and they were no help at all, stating that it was the passenger’s responsibility to sort it all out and they the agent would not provide any guidance apart from a contact number for CIBIT Visa processing agents (who just happen to be the most expensive visa processing company). E-mailed the British Embassy in Shanghai, yes, thank-you for your e-mail, but we don’t answer any questions concerned with visas, (so I wonder what they do, do over there.) Next, I contacted Holland and America, not a lot of help or enthusiasm there, same story they were not really interested, but they did have a visa specialist in America who may be able to answer my question, “do I need a visa for entry to China when I will only be in china for a short duration before sailing on to Japan, within 48 hours?” Well thank you, H&M, could you contact your specialist visa person and get back to me, yes, they didn’t. After 3 phone calls to H&M, three different advisers, eventually they decided that for this cruise as we were only in China for 30 hours and were going to a third party country (Japan) we did not need a visa. So, 7 days before we go, a letter arrives from Holland America via my cruise agent informing us that a visa is required for China. Grrr, frustration, once again contacted H&M, who were at this point not sure don’t think you need a visa, but here is a number for the visa agency we recommend so I could check with them, (just happened to also be the most expensive visa agent.) Success, rang the visa agent, informed them of my itinery travel plans, and they assured me a visa was not required. So, feeling 90% sure we did not require a visa, we set off to Manchester airport, at check-in they told us we needed a China entry visa, we said no we didn’t, they checked and verified we did not need one, the same situation in Amsterdam initially refused check in without a visa, Amsterdam checked and verified we did not require a visa. When we arrived at Shanghai airport, there was a special passport checking area for the issue of visa exemptions. Passport control checked our travel itinery cruise documentation and issued permits, process took approximately 20 minutes. Be very, very careful if you need a taxi at the airport, there are numerous taxis touts at the airport entrance that are not officially, registered taxis. We agreed a price for the 20 mile drive to the cruise terminal. I am sure that he was a racing car and dodgems driver in his spare time, horrendous journey to the cruise port and then he asked for more money, holding our luggage to ransom in the boot of his taxi and would not unload it until we paid double the fare. We conversed with many UK Passengers over the next 14 days, many repeated the same visa verification nightmare, and in every case they had purchased very expensive China access visas, when they did not need them, because no one could or would give them positive visa requirements information. And yes this is a long story, but if it’s saved you £500.00 it’s been worth reading. And, so to the cruise ship itself, overall, average in every aspect. There were plenty of sitting/relaxing areas, good, as most cruise ships appear to have their relaxing areas replaced with specialist premium cost dining. Cabin was cramped due to excessive furniture. The dining experience, average in choice of menu and food quality and quantity. Standard cruise line overpriced drinks. The entertainment 50% outstanding (ships singers and dancers) the rest was dire with the exception of an outstanding guest violinist. The service was outstanding in every aspect. Ports of call, all city type, hence the overpowering traffic pollution. Interesting experience and lots to see and do. Shore excursions, they were probably the most expensive that I have ever come across, on any of the previous 14 cruises that we have experienced, hence, we did our own thing. There were very few children on the cruise. Would I go again, probably not, we enjoyed the experience and observing the different cultures, but in some respects it was all much of the same. The cruise line does need to offer promotional inducements, I doubt that we will be sailing with Holland America in the future. AND TO ALL YOU CRUISE COMPANIES AND AGENTS YOU DISAPPOINT ME, I EXPECT BETTER SERVICE, VERY EXPEDIENTLY YOU TAKE OUR MONEY, AND ARE CLEARLY NOT INTERESTED IN OUR WELFARE. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I have gone on several Holland America cruises in the past, but my 28-day cruise from Shanghai to Singapore is the last one I will ever take with Holland America. I agree with all the negative comments of the previous posters and have a ... Read More
I have gone on several Holland America cruises in the past, but my 28-day cruise from Shanghai to Singapore is the last one I will ever take with Holland America. I agree with all the negative comments of the previous posters and have a few more. The people who were satisfied must have never cruised before. A big disappointment was that in most ports we didn’t dock where the other cruise ships docked but at commercial docks that where cranes were loading and unloading freight all day. However, for $6.00 to $12.00 HAL would shuttle you into town. Once or twice it was free. The final straw, however, was when they didn’t get me to my flight at the end of the cruise. I had paid HAL for the shuttle service so I would be sure to get picked up when I arrived and get back to the airport for my flight when the cruise ended. When the ship informed me what time the shuttle was going to leave to take me to the airport, I immediately went to the front desk and told them I didn’t I would get to the airport in time for my flight. I was assured that I would not have any problems. The next morning while I was waiting for my turn to be shuttled, I went back to the front desk and asked to be transported to the airport sooner. Once again, I was told I would get there in plenty of time. They were wrong. I missed my flight. I called Holland America and was told they would book me on another flight, but I would have to pay for it. They recommended I contact Guest Relations when I got back to the US and request a reimbursement for the extra flight. I called. That was interesting. Guest Relations said they should not have sold me the transportation because company policy required a four-hour minimum time period between leaving the ship and the flight time; therefore, they could not reimburse me for the extra flight cost. They offered to reimburse me for the transportation service. When I mentioned that I gave the clerk my flight times when I booked the transportation and wasn’t told about the four-hour policy, Guest Relations said, “The clerk made a mistake selling you the transportation and that was why HAL would reimburse the transportation fee.” I want to say something positive about HAL, but nothing comes to mind. It is a company that no longer cares about the passengers. I would have given them two stars if They had gotten me to the airport on time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Chose this cruise as HAL always has excellent itineraries and we were meeting up with old cruise friends. Our Volendam is going into dry-dock in two weeks but I fear that will not be enough time to update our favorite ship. Despite a ... Read More
Chose this cruise as HAL always has excellent itineraries and we were meeting up with old cruise friends. Our Volendam is going into dry-dock in two weeks but I fear that will not be enough time to update our favorite ship. Despite a revised itinerary and missing a port of call (partially weather and partially politics) passengers were pleased with our little gem of a ship. We had a disastrous experience at the Pinnacle Grill and much prefer the gracious and professional service of the dining room staff. . We never take ship's excursions. The staff, especially Josh, was calm, collected, and professional working with passengers during a very trying time with revised itineraries. Entertainment was proper for this ship. The singers and dancers really worked hard and it was apparent. There should have been more attention placed on health restrictions as 20 - 30% of passengers had respiratory problems. We probably will not go back on the Volendam as we have traveled on her 3 times and covered most of her itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
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 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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