6 Skagway Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews

We took a land tour first. Our tour directer Merrin was incredible, knowledgable and very pleasant. All of the land tours we took were fantastic. We boarded in Skagway. Embarkation was fine. The first night dining experience was ... Read More
We took a land tour first. Our tour directer Merrin was incredible, knowledgable and very pleasant. All of the land tours we took were fantastic. We boarded in Skagway. Embarkation was fine. The first night dining experience was wonderful. Our waiter was pleasant and wanted to do a good job. He even asked if we had any allergies to food. I did. I told him I'm very allergic to mushrooms. The second night we had a waiter who brought me out a surf and turf. I was getting ready to eat it when I noticed a mushroom on it. I asked the waiter if I could have two lobster tails instead of the meat (as all the meat had mushroom sauce on it) He said I could. A few minutes later another waiter came back with my same food (all they did was take the mushroom off but the sauce was still there). We were eating with other people so I didn't say anything). I didn't realize that the lobster tail had some mushroom sauce on it. I put it in my mouth and took it right out I had to use my eppi-pen right away. I didn't want to get him into trouble so I made a comment about they should teach their wait staff to take allergies serious. We didn't go back for our meals in the dining room. The tour we took in Ketchikan was wonderful. It was educational and informative, I did hurt my leg while walking on gravel paths. By the time we got back on the ship I was having a hard time walking on it. The next day we spent at sea seeing Glacier Bay. We went to Guest Services to inquire about a wheelchair. We were shocked when the woman told us it would be $200.00 for the day (and we would not get the money back). We do understand that there has to be rules. We also understand that there are times in life that rules need to be bent. . I asked her if she could please have a wheelchair sent to our room the next morning for disembarkation. She said she would. The wheelchair never came. By the time we got to the disembarkation area I was in tears from the pain. People all around us were asking the crew to get me a wheelchair. No one did until i held up the line when it was our turn for disembarkation (because I couldn't walk). The wheelchair came real fast then. As one gentleman stated, "The crew tells the passengers if we need anything they will do it for us. The man then stated, If it's easy they will do it but if someone really needs help then they are on their own." Another man stated, " it's a good thing we didn't have a real emergency because then it would be every person for themselves." We did send a comment to Holland America. When they got back to us they said, "That is the policy. The person at Guest Services did the right thing." This person then told my husband that to make up for this the next time we book a cruise on this ship they will give us two vouchers for the Pinnicle Grill. Basically, they could care less. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We arrived in Anchorage on May 24, and two-thirds of our 15-day journey was spent in Alaska and the Yukon. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing it all, despite all the travel (six hotels in 10 days, about 1200 miles). We wish there had been an ... Read More
We arrived in Anchorage on May 24, and two-thirds of our 15-day journey was spent in Alaska and the Yukon. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing it all, despite all the travel (six hotels in 10 days, about 1200 miles). We wish there had been an extra day in Whitehorse. The train ride to Denali was a relaxing day, and the Tundra Wilderness Tour was a good overview of the park. We enjoyed both Dawson City and Whitehorse in the Yukon, despite the former's touristy feel on its main street. We tended to eat at the restaurants in the Westmark hotels we stayed in (usually for convenience). (Westmark is owned by HAL.) The hotel food was usually quite good, although we ate at other restaurants three times during the trip, and especially enjoyed the Aurora Inn restaurant in Dawson City, a short block from the hotel. We enjoyed our last two land days in Skagway, especially the city museum on Seventh Street: it was a gem that would not have been out of place in a big city. We boarded Volendam just before noon on day 11, had lunch in the Lido restaurant, and spent much of the afternoon in our (reserved) deck chairs soaking up the nice weather, having the knowledge we wouldn't have to get on a bus for four more days. The ship is elegant and understated, and it was a real pleasure to arise early, get our coffee in the Explorations Cafe, and sit there watching the world go by. This was an especially nice morning location as we entered Glacier Bay on our second day on board. After breakfast that day, we moved to our deck chairs for the rest of the day. On the third day, we arrived in Ketchikan around 9am in a drizzling rain. My wife went out briefly to find the local museum, but we otherwise stayed on board that day. Our general impression of Ketchikan's main street was that it had cornered much of the world supply of jewelry and souvenir stores. Our last full day sailing was at sea through the Inside Passage and was generally enjoyable. However, a wind came up mid-afternoon, and the ship started rolling a little. This wasn't a problem until I spent about 30 minutes concentrating on a computer monitor around 4pm while trying to check in for our flight home the next day. Because I concentrated too much on the monitor for too long, I felt woozy when I stood up to go back to our cabin. I won't repeat this mistake. I was very disappointed with the ship's Internet service. Since it was based on time rather than how much was downloaded, HAL has no incentive to improve the service. It took about 30 minutes to finish our Alaska Airlines check-in, and ended up costing about $1 per minute. I won't make this mistake again. During our time on board, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido restaurant (with one lunch exception), and all dinners in the upper Main Dining Room. The Lido food was quite good and varied, and I appreciated the opportunity to have some Asian dishes (like congee, an Asian rice porridge breakfast, and a Malaysian stir fry for lunch). We thought the Main Dining Room dinners were exceptional, although the desserts seemed commonplace and merely workmanlike. We attended the tea service one afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety of the tea cakes. Disembarking in Vancouver was smooth: we were in the first group off after some of the elevated Mariners (since we had to catch a flight at noon), but we were unhappy that we had to stand in line waiting for a bus to take us to the airport. Had we known about this, I'd have not packed our folding Walkstool to sit on (I have a problematic hip and knee). Overall, it was an enjoyable, fun, and memorable experience, well worth any of the small glitches we encountered. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
For a cruise that was marketed as about seeing wildlife, the crew seemed particularly lacking in knowledge on this area with apparently no ranger on board except for the short time when we were cruising through Glacier Bay. Most of the ... Read More
For a cruise that was marketed as about seeing wildlife, the crew seemed particularly lacking in knowledge on this area with apparently no ranger on board except for the short time when we were cruising through Glacier Bay. Most of the time we simply motored around at speed and the chances of seeing a whale or any other animal showed in the marketing seemed to be extremely limited. This was a big disappointment as the cruise felt more like a ferry taking us from A to B than a cruise to see the wildlife we would have liked to see. However our biggest gripe with the cruise was the amount of shops on board and the endless focus of the staff on encouraging us to buy everything from jewellery to art. This seemed to have annoyed a lot of fellow passengers as well. In particular it was a shame that whilst trying to flog a lot of stuff we didn't need, they didn't seem to sell the basic things we might have wanted to buy on a cruise like sunhats, coats, memory cards for the camera etc. Lastly the food was very mediocre in our opinion. We will be staying away from this line in future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Awful from the beginning. Rude people and nobody to help with problems. This was a trip with so much that was wrong that it would take more space than allowed. We spent extra money for this ship thinking it would be better for us as ... Read More
Awful from the beginning. Rude people and nobody to help with problems. This was a trip with so much that was wrong that it would take more space than allowed. We spent extra money for this ship thinking it would be better for us as first time cruisers, WRONG. THE TOILET in our stateroom was to the rim with water when we got into our room. They got it to go down but the next morning it was the same. They sent a plumber 3 times and could not put us in another room. All in all I had to put towels on the floor 4 different times. We took the elevator to a different floor to use the public restroom. Awful. The main dinning room was only open for lunch 1 hour every day. We spent money for formal wear for our big night, could have saved our money. This diner was a joke. The only buffet style restaurant was so small we had to wait for seats. Entertainment was employees dancing with cruise people for a contest. A piano player, a magician that is out of a county fair and tries to sell you a cheap magic kit in a Ziploc bag. There was a movie playing several times a day in the theater, free popcorn, Wow. At every turn there is someone trying to sell you something, good God art of all things. Who goes on a cruise for fun to buy art. Ridiculous. Wine seems to be the main thing they try to sell. On almost every channel on TV is a ship commercial telling you about this and that in on board store. If you play cards this is your ship. We do not. It has a very small casino. All in all this was terrible for the 3 of us. The 20 year old was bored as was myself 60 & my husband 65. Everyone that's cruised tells us to go again because they are not this bad. Just never Holland America again. We might but it will be a while, this was a very bad experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The embarkation part of this trip felt like a cattle call. there were five or more buses trying to board at the same time. Crew members were barking orders and expecting instant obedience. On the flip side, it was the smoothest ... Read More
The embarkation part of this trip felt like a cattle call. there were five or more buses trying to board at the same time. Crew members were barking orders and expecting instant obedience. On the flip side, it was the smoothest disembarkation I have ever seen. Kudos to them for this. We only had three dinners on board the ship. the Pinnacle was good and the service was good. The Italian restaurant was ok. Our first server handed us the menus and explained the unique qualities of ordering, unfortunately, we only understood about three isolated words during her 60 second explanation. The menu did explain what she had said, but I had to confirm what I thought is was saying with the next waiter. Fortunately he was more fluent in English. In the Rotterdam the server was in between the two in his ability to speak English. It appears the great majority of the crew are from Indonesia. I love the Indonesian people and these people were delightful. Unfortunately, many of those expected to interact with the guests were not fluent in English. The more fluent ones were selling in the gift shops. That makes sense since visiting them is more voluntary than the restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The land tour (8 days with HAL) was awesome and exceeded our expectations, Anchorage/Denali/Fairbanks/Dawson City/ whitehorse/ Skagway but the sea part to Vancouver was not fun. I would not cruise with HAL on their ships again. 1. ... Read More
The land tour (8 days with HAL) was awesome and exceeded our expectations, Anchorage/Denali/Fairbanks/Dawson City/ whitehorse/ Skagway but the sea part to Vancouver was not fun. I would not cruise with HAL on their ships again. 1. Indonesian and Filipino staff have poor English comprehension - a big problem in the case of an emergency (Costa Concordia). They try hard, but lack English language skill. 2. Customer service at the front desk is very poor. The worst of any cruise ship we have seen. 3. Overall Poor maintenance - the ship is WAY overdue for a major refurbishment Below are my comments on the HAL follow up survey: As an experienced cruiser (35+ cruises) , I can say this Volendam cruise was absolutely the worst cruise that we have ever been on. My wife and I are NOT chronic complainers, we are not demanding - but we expect a decent cruise experience. The experience started on Saturday 6/27 when (dead tired) we flopped down in our cabin at 2:00 to take a nap. The room was cold (62.4F to be exact 16C). I awoke at 4:30PM with the sniffles (had a cough for the rest of the cruise) and tried to turn the temperature up. It did not respond. We called the hotel desk at 5:00PM and they said that they would "send a technician to our cabin' - #1939. No response - at 5:25 I called again. This time the hotel sent a clerk to check the temp which he confirmed at 16C. Then we went to dinner and the show. Back in the room at 9:45 and still cold at 16C. This time we went to the desk and asked to be shifted to another room. The staff person refused. Told us to sit and wait a while while the same desk clerk rechecked the temperature. Sick of waiting, we went down to the room. Finally a tech came at about 10:30 and reset the control unit. It continued to operate imperfectly for the next three days. Day two - no water was running in the sink or toilet from 6:00-7:00AM - the toilet packed up after a BM at 8:00AM. Afraid to use the room toilet for the next three days, my wife and I did all of our necessities in the public rest rooms which were also operating imperfectly. After a terrific (yes, I said terrific) land tour (8 days) we were of a mindset for a good sea experience. If the staff had given us another room, all would have probably been fine and the cold room would have been forgotten. Lord forgive them if they had needed to upgrade us to a higher level (sic). Might have cost HAL $20. But with the bad temperature controller, and the defective toilet, we were set up for a negative experience. The food was so so and the entertainment was ok, but our room experience was terrible. We also also became much more critical of the ship. After an 11:00PM general emergency alarm due to a bad pulley in a cabinet that was emitting smoke, it became evident to us that the Volendam needs to be taken from service and gone over with a fine tooth comb. The systems are in desperate need of proper maintenance and a good deep cleaning program. The sewer system, the mechanical systems, and the guest ventilation systems. Somebody threw up in the aft promenade deck vestibule early on in the cruise and the vomit smell was there till we left the ship. Poor maintenance in general. It is VERY doubtful that we will cruise with HAL for a third cruise. Princess and Celebrity have much higher standards and do not cost that much more. Many of the staff are great and went out of their way to serve us. These include the cabin steward, the bar staff, and the waiters. The front office delivers very poor customer service despite the phalanx of awards on the board. The English proficiency of the staff is a big problem. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
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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