1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland ... Read More
In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland America expressing my concerns about the poor service and food quality on the ship. It felt like I was on a training voyage for most of the staff. Let's start with the Dining Room. On my first night I asked my server what my complimentary drink options were with dinner and he could not answer the question. Same result when the Wine Steward was asked. I was a little taken back when I was told a can of Coke would be $2.50 with dinner. Really? Seems like nickel and diming when I can get a nice steak for dinner but have to pay for a soda. (Carnival got this right!). I had numerous experiences where the staff had to clarify simple orders several times (I do not have an accent), and several occasions where the wrong meal was served. I had steaks that were way overcooked, I had fish & chips where the fish was still a gelatinous mass and totally inedible. Diner was served without cutlery, steaks served without steak knives, a nearly empty bottle of ketchup provided for the whole table and everyone had fish and chips and wanted to have some. The waiter disappeared when asked for a full bottle and never came back. Another server had to be asked. In general, the Dining Room staff seemed untrained and confused most of the time. The fish & chips lunch special was a farce. We were one of the first tables seated, and yet 45 minutes later, while most other tables were already on to desert, we hadn't been served yet. And when we finally were, the fish was extremely under cooked. My daughter was ill after eating her first bite. We ended up leaving and finding some food on the Lido deck. On to the Lido deck buffet. In general the food on the Lido was OK. It was not exceptional by any means. Many of the preparation staff were obviously untrained with under and over-cooked food, and improperly prepared food. I've had better food at cheap buffet restaurants. My previous Carnival cruises far outperformed Holland America's Lido Deck offerings. Many of the table staff were non-responsive when thanks were given for their service. The hot water dispenser was constantly running out of water, and the milk dispenser for tea and coffee was also often empty. I had staff disappear and never return when I asked for the for more the milk to be refilled. I had one server tell me to go to the other side of Lido deck when the ketchup dispenser was empty instead of sourcing some for me. My food was getting cold as I wandered around trying to find ketchup, and in the end the dispensers on both sides were empty. The server seemed miffed when I approached her and asked again. In general there didn't seem to be any pride or ownership in the food preparation, and the staff didn't really seem to remember why they were there. Guest Services also dropped the ball on more than one occasion. I decided to have a movie night with my daughter and ordered a couple DVDs to our stateroom. 30 minutes later the wrong DVD was delivered. I asked for the correct ones and was promised he'd be right back. 30 minutes later, with no calls from Guest Services and no delivery, I called again and was told they would call me right back with a status. 45 minutes later I went to Guest Services and the DVDs were still sitting there, and one was not the selection I had requested. So 1 3/4 hours after my initial call I finally had the DVDs. When Guest Services was made of aware of my email to Holland America head office, they addressed 1 of the issues and had no comment on any of the other issues. I had been relating my issues to one of the staff, and they passed the info to one of the ship's officers who later tracked me down. We had a long conversation about the issues I'd experienced and he agreed that most of the issues I'd experienced were totally unacceptable and they had dropped the ball on multiple occasions. He promised to speak with the various department heads and ensure the rest of the trip would be issue free. Unfortunately this was not the case as there was no change in the service for the rest of the trip. On the 2nd to last night in the Dining Room we were presented with a couple of complimentary glasses of Prosecco, which neither of us drink. The better option would have been to come up and tell us that they would like to offer us a complimentary drink and ask us what we would like. We never bothered going back to the Dining Room after that. The last drydock did make some nice upgrades to the stateroom bathrooms, but they should have replaced the old tube TVs while they were at it. Our TV looked like Alaska in winter. Almost not worth trying to watch anything on it. Certainly not the quality we'd have expected based on the cost of the room. We did have some great service from our room stewards, and 1 Lido deck server whom I recognized personally at the end of the cruise. I also had Guest Services remove all the gratuities from my final bill as they were definitely not earned. The cruise itself was great, and despite all the service and food issues we had a good time, however the added stress of dealing with my feelings of being shortchanged by the cruise line did put a damper on a lot of the cruise. I don't get a lot of opportunities to take vacations like this and to pay this much and then be so let down after being sold that Holland America was a premium cruise line. Never again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with ... Read More
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with HAL before and 8 of our previous cruises were with NCL. I had the impression that HAL cruises were for an older, quieter demographic and they seemed to offer less flash and dash as NCL so we had previously avoided booking. When we finally made the decision to join our friends and found out it was an older smaller ship we lowered our expectations accordingly and felt it would be an affordable way to see Alaska as the fare was quite low in comparison to what we usually pay. We booked a deck 3 promenade ocean view stateroom (3418) and over the course of three months added a few extras such as a couples thermal suite pass, specialty dining for the Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants and two excursions (Tracy Arm explorer and Skagway White Pass rail, Yukon tour). We arrived the night before and stayed at the Fairmont at Vancouver airport. The skytrain goes from the airport to Waterfront station and then a 1.5 block walk to the Canada Place cruise terminal. There were three ships embarking that day and we were impressed with how smooth everything went. I felt our 10:30 arrival time was too early though and a noon arrival would have likely allowed us less in terminal waiting time. The ship is twenty years old and the decor shows its age but it appeared to be very clean throughout and our cabin was clean and roomy compared to some Ocean view cabins we've had in the past. A nice surprise was the renovated washroom which I felt was just as nice as the NCL Bliss' washrooms. Our cabin steward Bach was very friendly and efficient with any requests we had. He was around and interacted with us just the right amount of time and we enjoyed our chats with him. He made it clear he was always available if anthing was not to our liking with the stateroom and provided excellent service throughout the entire cruise. The main dining room food was above average and breakfast was fine every morning as well. The Pinnicule was incredible. My surf and turf was delicious and my wife really enjoyed her salmon. It was a fine dining experience with incredible service from our waitress Sharin. Overall the food was as good as any NCL ship including the specialty restaurants. The cruise had an authentic traditional cruise feel to it and we were able to focus on the awesome scenery and wildlife that we seen throughout our cruise. All of the activities and information sessions we went to were informative and interesting. The Alaska beer tasting was fun and we met people from all over the world and shared a few laughs. I would have to give the entire cruise a solid 8 out of 10 and our low expectations were greatly exceeded in all areas. We now will put HAL on our "do again" list. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After ... Read More
Seven day Alaska cruise, is easy for us, no flying It was for our 55th anniversary. HAL screwed up the delivery of flowers for my wife, they never showed up, had to go to service desk, to straighten it out. Finally got them. After dinner that night, other table guest were gone, wife mentioned it was our anniversary. The waiter did not know, told us to wait, ran off and got a cake for us, poor communication. Waiter, probably doing his job, trying to up sale dinners. Card on table, advertises a seafood dinner for $27 and a steak for $76 and waiter tells about it every night, nobody was impressed. Leave this to the specialty restaurants. If this is the way things are going, average people "the bread and butter" cruisers, will stop cruising. The "whole" dinning experience was disappointing, things are going downhill fast. Entertainment, not much better. Really not much to do on board. The Mariners Club lunch was poorly organized two of us stuck at a table for six, other people the same way. The Captain and staff did not even stay. No Captains cocktail party. The best thing was the assistance my wife received, getting on and off the ship thank you. Sailed three times with HAL and this was definitely the last. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as ... Read More
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as were the quality and condition of all facilities on board. The activities organised daily were well organised and allowed more than enough time to fully experience them. We enjoyed the overall experience. However, the dinning services inclusive of can be deemed terrible. There were no multiple vegetarian food options and we were stuck with no choice all throughout the various meals everyday and had to succumb to whatever was served. Additionally, there were absolutely no dessert options without egg content. To top this, the food tasted awful and often was inedible, not meeting the lowest expectations of food cooked by an Indian chef. It was very well informed that our dietary requirements were vegetarian not including both egg or fish. Despite this, the staff was not considerate and was often seen using the same tongs/gloves to serve sausages/meat and baked potatoes, contaminating the only obvious vegetarian food choice. When this was brought to their notice, the staff was impolite and discourteously disregarded our concern. Moreover, the staff, especially at the buffet counter was also not informed enough and served us lobsters as a part of the salad saying it was vegetarian, neither did they have the knowledge of the cheese served containing rennet, which made us avoid it altogether. Satisfactory food is essential and our experience with the Holland Cruise made our journey which could’ve been great, below average. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have been cruising to Alaska many times because as resident in Vancouver, it is an easy trip for us. One hour leaving from our house, we will be sitting at the ship's top deck eating lunch. Volendam, compare to other ships I ... Read More
We have been cruising to Alaska many times because as resident in Vancouver, it is an easy trip for us. One hour leaving from our house, we will be sitting at the ship's top deck eating lunch. Volendam, compare to other ships I have been on, is a much simple in decor(but has interesting art works in their corridors), aged, and small, but a good ship. The advantages is less walking from one end to the other, the buffet area is not crowded even in the busy time, plenty of closet spaces in our room, good service and foods. We stayed in the picture window , a good size, suite on level one, our first at such low floor, but we discovered it is less rocky during an odd rolling sea day. The disadvantage was the dining room on the four level is complicated to find if one don't take the very end elevator, I took the mid elevator and got lost twice and ended in the front of the theatre twice. Good thing the ship was not too long to walk ,even twice. Second disadvantage was our room safe required a credit card with a magnetic strip (any magnetic strip). lucky we have a Starbuck card, otherwise we had to carry our credit card around (bring along an expired credit card, the third disadvantage was, in the buffet, most food are served by a server and the foods was not label clearly. So you have people asking what each dishes were(one asked what is liver and rather the beef was from a grass feed cow) and then take a minute of so to decide what to have. So in busy hour, the line up was long and the server was frustrated from repeating answering the same question. Entertainment: we like the Concert in Alaska, a beautiful video accompany with live music play by the ship's band. I also attained and enjoy the lesson on computer on how to use Windows 10 to edit and create videos from photos. Food: HAL always have a high standard for its food and that is the reason we choose this ship. Take in mind that the ship is cooking for thousand of passengers, so it could not compare to those of the top restaurant, but I did enjoyed their foods, the dessert has the right amount of sweetness. (As an Asian, I love their breakfast congee which I have it with smoke salmon or left over roast beef). Also,as a repeated HAL cruiser,we were invited to a Thank you lunch in the dining room on the last sea day heading home. The foods were delicious. Don't miss this invitation. Port: Juneau, the price of dedicated bus to Mandenhall glacier increased to $45 which is only 6 miles away. If you arrive the port early, say 9am, you could take the local bus, $3, which take one hour then and walk a mile or so to the park. Then walk another half mile to the big waterfall. The glacier itself is ok since you will see a lot more specular glaciers in Glacier Bay. I walk toward the bridge to see the new whale sculpture, wait for the water spray, it made it all the difference. I also recommend doing the counter or clockwise around the edge of the town. Lots of interesting things to see up the hill. Glacial Bay, it was perfect weather (overcast at first to bring out the blue in the ice, then turn sunny to bring out the white, saw many otters and some seals along the way. On the way out, over the speaker, the ranger told us an island which we passed was full of sea lions and seagulls, thousand of them, but you need binocular to see them. Play attention on your exit to the park. Skagway, walk thru the town to the waterfall, a short walk pass the old cemetery. Ketchikan, walk along the creek to the hatchery, the park is quite nice now. Along the cruise, we saw otters, whale, dolphin/porpoise, and bear, some even saw mountain goal, but all from far distant. Bring a good binocular. Also, if you want an unobstructed front view of the ship, walk to the front of deck 6 and go out on the door marked exit. Actually both side of exits are good, but one marked for emergency exit only. For a good enjoyment, it is about talking to other guests and be respectful. Treat people the way you want them to treat you, even if they are the workers. Life is like throw a ball to a wall, wherever you put out, it will come back at you. Enjoy. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this because my Aunt always cruises with Holland. We are really enjoying it. Have a Vista Suite and it’s very comfortable. It was hard to tell from pictures how large it was but it’s plenty large. Tub is small but my 6 foot ... Read More
We chose this because my Aunt always cruises with Holland. We are really enjoying it. Have a Vista Suite and it’s very comfortable. It was hard to tell from pictures how large it was but it’s plenty large. Tub is small but my 6 foot husband is able to use it. Food is a bit so-so in my opinion but I didn’t really come on the cruise to eat! The portions are small, and I felt that service in the main dining room was just okay. Also, they have an Alaska special which they said they were out of on the first night, which was frankly, weird. The Pinnacle Grill was okay, but just okay. I expected food like a fine restaurant and the crab cakes were awful and my salmon was undercooked. All that being said I still think it’s terrific. The time in Glacier bay was spectacular. The service is very good. We are in Ketchikan now surrounded by behemoth cruise ships. I like that Volendam is small. I did think it would be more formal, but I guess they are trying to make cruising more accessible to people. We plan to take more cruises. Overall, it’s great. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
One of the things I love about HAL, is the Neptune lounge, so I usually opt for the suite.. It's expensive-- about a thousand Cnd a day-- but worth it.. So this cruise, you couldn't have asked for nicer weather, and smooth ... Read More
One of the things I love about HAL, is the Neptune lounge, so I usually opt for the suite.. It's expensive-- about a thousand Cnd a day-- but worth it.. So this cruise, you couldn't have asked for nicer weather, and smooth seas.. It has been 9 years since I took my last cruise (a 7 day HAL Mexican on the Veendam), and I've noticed a few changes.. The boarding and departing has improved-- especially the departing.. Alas.. Still major line ups, and the security is worse now, than after 9-11.. But I guess it's over-kill everywhere today.. The first thing different, was now you go to the lifeboat drill, without putting on the life jacket.. Not the best idea, as even before, half the people had put the jacket on wrong, that their demise would have been expedited, should they needed to take a dip.. I still think the jackets should be slapped on, for the drill.. The cruise was pretty good, although I was surprised there was no departure on deck BBQ.. Actually, there were very few planned events.. I had my evening meals delivered to my room, as I was travelling single.. That worked out great, but most of the meals were cold.. However, they were good, nevertheless.. Especially, the Pinacle ones that I had to pay extra for.. I normally prefer a warmer climate, but I love the smaller ships-- Veendam, Ryndam, Stattendam etc. Thus.. when I saw this cruise was on the smaller Volendam, I jumped at it.. The staff were great-- as usual.. The entertainment sucked.. I miss the singers and dancers, along with the ship band. A Chilean quartet in the Ocean Bar, were very good. I'm really disappointed to see the end of the classy nights.. Most nights were smart casual, but the one formal night, I swear I was the only male passenger on board wearing a tuxedo.. I would say half the passengers were wearing T shirts and jeans, on this particular night.. The only time I saw the people dress up, was the smart casual Mother's day dinner.. OK.. It might be Alaska, and we all packed our plaid shirts and jeans, but it's still nice to dress up in the evening.. I was a little disappointed in the lido food, but times have changed.. I'd say almost a third to half the passengers were Asian, so I guess noodles were the norm for them.. I'm a lover of roast beef, but only had it once for dinner.. The itinerary was great.. I love Juneau.. I've eaten a lot of King crab, but never had it freshly cooked before.. Delicious !! The crab shack and the tram in Juneau, was the highlight of the cruise for me.. I enjoyed Skagway, but got tired of seeing the same old "made in China" authentic Alaskan souvenirs, in every store.. Overall;.. I would do the cruise again-- in a minute.. I'd like to see a little more fancy appetizers in the Neptune, such as the shrimp cocktail.. A Dungeness crab salad would have been great.. But nothing but smoked salmon-- everyday.. I couldn't believe the weather, as living my first 30 years on the Queen Charlottes (Haida Gwaii), I am well aware of the weather that one can normally expect in this area.. But even up in Glacier Bay, when the shipped turned, and my balcony was bathed in Sun, it was almost too hot to sit outdoors.. It was pretty sad to hear of the mid air plane crash in Ketchican, killing a number of people from a Princess ship.. This happened, about 3 hours after we arrived in Ketchican.. ..It was also great to be able to take this cruise on the smaller ship, as opposed to the Oosterdam, which I don't like.. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I are seasoned travelers but we have never experienced a cruise. She choose a crossing of the Panama Canal for our 4oth wedding anniversary. A bit daring as it was 21 days and I am known to get sea sick and/or bored rather ... Read More
My wife and I are seasoned travelers but we have never experienced a cruise. She choose a crossing of the Panama Canal for our 4oth wedding anniversary. A bit daring as it was 21 days and I am known to get sea sick and/or bored rather easily..... -Booking was easy with Vacations to Go and Max Richardson (the agent) was friendly, professional and helpful. Our stateroom on board was # 1922 allowing a view to the outside but without balcony. The price difference was unjustifiable for the time that we actually planned to be in the room. However I recommend to ask for a fan, as the A/C was not sufficient to cool the room to our liking. With the fan it was perfect (and it helped to dry some of our minor laundry items!). Bed was comfortable (we also had extra pillows), bathroom and shower were fine and also was the water pressure. The room was adequate in size for our purpose. The stateroom was serviced by TRI and ANTON who did an extraordinarily efficient and friendly job. Food on board was plentiful, well presented, tasty and varied (although you should not expect "extravagances", Atlantic lobsters and/or Caspian caviar!) Service was outstanding (Our THANKS to JOJIT, EDGAR, RAT-TEE, GIOVANI, MICAH, NITTAYA, ANN, DAN, JASON,GUSTI, ANDRI (w/glasses!), FRANCISCO, WEMICK, etc, etc..... everybody on board went the"extra mile" to make us feel happy, and well looked after!) Our very special THANKS to HENRY and JANELLE and the harder worker on board, HIQMAL...(found mostly around the Lido pool) Entertainment was 50/50, some acts were good and some not so much .None were a Vegas act but they filled the time and were adequate.. Be aware that alcohol was extremely expensive! We drink very little so we did not "suffer" at all but we were a bit outraged at the prices on board.and some "drinkers" were quite upset and angry as Holland America does not allow anybody to bring any alcohol to the ship (So they make sure to sale their own!!) The trip went smoothly with minor waves and movement that I did not enjoy but were tolerable. Pool was small but fortunately not overcrowded, and there were no children! Lots of really elder people, but, I guess, that there are the ones with money....Regardless they were very pleasant and quiet indeed...! Time on ports of call were too short and did not allow for too much to do except buy souvenirs (which we do not do!). Some excursions were fine and, overall we had a good time. Maybe because communication was not a problem as between both of us we speak five languages! On the Volendam I was learning Indonesian, Tagalog and Thailand from the crew, and improving just about every day! Captain and officers were approachable and friendly and it was a pleasure meeting them........Our best regards to everyone and hopefully we will meet again..... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 ... Read More
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 younger members of our party might enjoy the less formal atmosphere on Princess versus Holland America. We are well aware of the differences as we have sailed both many times. However, HAL offered a year end sale that was difficult/impossible to turn down. We flew into Vancouver the morning of the cruise and took the SkyTrain from the airport to Canada Place. Highly recommend this means of getting to the dock (very straight forward, about 30 minutes travel time at just C$9.50pp). Would also highly recommend a few days in Vancouver ahead of the cruise as it is a beautiful city with so many things to see and do. We passed on this as we have family in Vancouver and have been there dozens of times before. Embarkation was the longest we can remember experiencing but cannot blame this on the cruise line. The problem is going through US Customs and the interminable lineups. There were 3 cruise ships sailing that day which didn't help matters. The cruise lines should really put some pressure on the port authority to improve and shorten this process. Overall, we enjoyed our week long cruise. We had done an Alaskan cruise a number of years ago so the ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were not new to us. We did our own excursions. Our inside cabin was adequate, the service received from our cabin and dining room staff was exemplary and the food was good. However, there were a couple things that disappointed. The entertainment offered in the small venues was good (quartet in the Ocean Bar, Adagio Strings) but the entertainment in the main theatre was quite poor. While the service from crew who dealt with us every day (cabin, MDR) was excellent, we ran into a number of one-off situations where it wasn't. This included bar staff, the cooks behind the Lido counter, Lido serving staff, staff in the retail shops and staff in the spa. We have never encountered this level of malaise from crew on our previous 9 HAL cruises. The overall morale was not high and we are hoping that the new Hotel Director (Simon Tanner) can improve matters. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We had a great cruise on the Volendam. So first things first, the Alaskan destination was great, This is clearly why we were on the cruise - to see Alaska. What a fantastic place it was. It was one majestic vista after another. ... Read More
We had a great cruise on the Volendam. So first things first, the Alaskan destination was great, This is clearly why we were on the cruise - to see Alaska. What a fantastic place it was. It was one majestic vista after another. Juneau and Skagway had very little to offer in themselves but the excursions from there were great. We booked a Harv and Marv whale watching tour in Juneau instead of the Holland America excursion and it was a great choice. The small boat and the excellent staff there had us up close with whales in no time. I definitely recommend the excursion. But Juneau itself didn't have a great deal to see. It was interesting to walk around for an hour or so but after that, we just wanted our whale watching tour to start. Skagway seemed to exist only to sell tourist tat. It was OK for a little wander but the value in the destination was in the excursions. We opted for a Glacier Expedition with Alaska Excursions and loved it. Ketchikan was the best of the 3 stops. It was an interesting place to wander about and we ended up hiking the Deer Mountain Trail. Very enjoyable. Back on-board the ship, the service was excellent. Wherever we went the staff were helpful and welcoming. I was surprised how many staff go to know our names personally. We had a Netpune suite and really enjoyed the extra space it offered. But perhaps the best feature was the excellent concierge staff in the Neptune lounge. The food in the main dining room was great as was the Pinnacle Grill. But the food on the lido deck was so-so. It wasn't bad...it just wasn't that great either. Our cabin was great. The location was excellent and it was quiet and comfortable. The ship entertainment wasn't bad but it was a little cheesy at times. The thing that let down Holland America was the quality of the on-board activities. Really these were pretty few and far between. The Microsoft computer labs and the cooking lessons were of little interest. If it wasn't for the Explorations Cafe and the games and books there, we would have really struggled. I think it might be more noticeable on an Alaskan cruise as there are more days on the ship. The ship is older but the decorative order was fine. It would have been nice to have a bigger TV in the room and for the ship to offer in-cabin video streaming services rather than a DVD library from the front desk. Maybe this was a feature of the ship rather than Holland America. Overall a great cruise but there are opportunities for Holland America to improve. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
First, a bit of a disclaimer; my wife and I are retired airline employees and have travelled extensively but our last cruise was about 20 years ago. That being said, after our latest cruise with Holland America, we are now looking forward ... Read More
First, a bit of a disclaimer; my wife and I are retired airline employees and have travelled extensively but our last cruise was about 20 years ago. That being said, after our latest cruise with Holland America, we are now looking forward to our next cruise. We loved the great communications we had from HAL and felt we were fully prepared for our cruise. The crew was friendly and exceptional, the food amazing, and the fact that the majority of the passenger population was in our age group (60+). We loved having the drink package as this made our vacation similar to all-inclusive resorts that we often travel to. HAL also had online availability to check your dining reservations, excursions and daily billing. Finally, we never had to wait in line at the dining room because of the smaller passenger capacity. Shore excursions were more expensive via HAL than with our listing agency, but it seemed that it was easier to find the tours once in port if you booked with HAL. A valued surprise for us was the availability of Catholic Mass on a daily basis. This alone would have put HAL high on our cruise list. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Drab ship and dated. We were only three nights on the ship as it was the gateway to an amazing tour of the Yukon and Alaska. Three days was more than enough. There was only one electrical outlet in our suite and it was placed between ... Read More
Drab ship and dated. We were only three nights on the ship as it was the gateway to an amazing tour of the Yukon and Alaska. Three days was more than enough. There was only one electrical outlet in our suite and it was placed between the mirror and the desk so we could not place our own power bar on it. These days people have electronic devices CPAP‘s and other things that need to be plugged in and one outlet is not enough. The room only had one very tiny television that was supposed to be swivelled for both rooms of the suite. We had planned this cruise for our 50th wedding anniversary and our travel agent gave us I lovely bottle of wine which was in our cabin. I phoned guest services to ask if we could bring it to dinner and we were told we had to consume it in the room. Then I asked for a corkscrew as there was no device in the room. It took a half an hour and two phone calls to get it. The next morning there was a note outside our cabin congratulating us on our honeymoon rather than our 50th wedding anniversary . I decided to go to guest services to show them the note and I was given an apology but no replacement note ever showed up. Also, I was told that I could have brought the wine to and that I was misinformed. The attention given to entertainment I felt was less than stellar. The performers were fine but in the three nights that we were on the ship there was no change in the sets, just a couple of staircases for the dancers. The sound was good and the theatre was fine but the show was not memorable. The lectures were excellent and the food was fine but I would recommend doing research in picking another Holland America ship. Other than walking the deck, there was a little fitness activity. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
First up, the good. Our room was nice...actually bigger than we thought. The daily service for the room was excellent too. We found the floor staff very courteous and attentive. As for the bad, well, my wife and I found it very ... Read More
First up, the good. Our room was nice...actually bigger than we thought. The daily service for the room was excellent too. We found the floor staff very courteous and attentive. As for the bad, well, my wife and I found it very difficult to communicate with most of the staff on board. I will go out on a limb and say that english is not their first language and several times we just had to walk away and find someone else who we could acutally understand. If you're going on a cruise, I highly advise you do it in the Caribbean or somewhere else where it's warm. Honestly, taking a cruise through Alaska is pretty boring. After you see a couple of glaciers and a few pieces of ice floating around you've pretty much seen it all. There is really NOTHING to do on board. It's too cool to swim or play games outside. The shows we saw on board were...uh, how do you say it politely...awful. They had a "rock show" on our trip and my wife and I were actually embarrassed for some of the performers. Almost comical. The word, "cheese" comes to mind. *FAIR WARNING* I don't care how bored you get, DO NOT go into what they call a "Casino". It is not a casino. There are only about 50 slot machines (for all 1,400+ passengers) and while you can put cash into them, you cannot get cash out. It's all done electronically threw your cruise charge card...so they know EXACTLY how much you have put in and they know exactly how much you've won. You settle up at the end of your trip and trust me, you are not going to come out ahead. Promise you that. When you see the casino on the Volendam it's alway empty for a reason...even with 1,400 passengers on board. It's the worst one I've ever seen on a ship and I've been on a ton of them. Seriously, ridiculously bad. Food? There is plenty of it. Overall, I give their food an 8. A lot of it was really good...especially breakfast. Be prepared to gain weight. Most of it isn't very healthy and well, as I mentioned before, there really isn't a lot to do on board so you wind up eating and planning on when and what to eat next. Overall I give the cruise a 4.5 out of 10. Alaska is for hiking/driving and seeing all the beauty it has to offer. TRUST ME...that's best done on land, not on a cruise. Save yourself some money and do land tours and water/air excursions if you really want to see and appreicate Alaska. An "Alaskan Cruise" sounds wonderful until you take one. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I choose this ship for our 3 generation trip due to size and itinery, like everyone advised. We all had a great time and no complaints. We arrived the night before, made our way down to the port the next morning around 11:00, and was on ... Read More
I choose this ship for our 3 generation trip due to size and itinery, like everyone advised. We all had a great time and no complaints. We arrived the night before, made our way down to the port the next morning around 11:00, and was on the ship within about 30 minutes. We found our cabins (interior 6132, 6134, 7025 and Vista Suite 7084) and met the stewards. The room was clean, larger than expected and storage was only half used-do not worry about having room to unpack! Stewards come twice a day, leaving a surprise in cabin every night! Loved how the staff remembered our names and how friendly they all were! Yes, the tv’s were older and kid’s cabin had lines on their screen, but we weren’t there to spend much time on that. Bathroom was good size, interior room had twice the counter space than the vista suite. Suite had a tub/shower, interior only a small shower. My favorite restaurants were the Dive-In (awesome hamburgers) and Dining Room, then the Lido (buffet). Tried room service once and was good, order came about 10 minutes early. Did not try Pinnacle Grill, only because there was not a view, but the menu looked great. We really enjoyed the daily trivia and bingo, never won any games, but it was still lots of fun! The indoor pool was heated most days, hot tubs every day. Husband enjoyed casino, but never won. My dad enjoyed the computer classes, my sister the cooking classes. I loved the art of towel making class. We took in a movie and swam in pool. My kids, 17 and 12, did not attend HAL Club. Everyone’s favorite stop was Glacier Bay! We got to see lots of calving...it was awesome and beyond words of description! Skagway we did the train/shuttle thru Chilkoot Charters. Juneau the Mendenhall Glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls. Ketchikan we booked the Misty Fjord’s Wilderness Adventure thru HAL...we returned an hour later, I guess because we kept stopping for wildlife sightings, but it also made me miss doing other things in port. Again, service was awesome! From the staff remembering our names and faces, helping us celebrate a special occasion and doing whatever they could to help in any way, they were phenomenal! We did self- disembarking, and requested early departure as we had an 11:42 am flight. There were 2 ships in port and we walked straight thru everything. We then had to wait on our reserved car with Aerocar, which was 10 minutes late. Made it to airport and security with little to no wait time. In fact, drive time and traffic was longer than the whole airport entry process! Highly recommend Holland America Volendam! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Left Vancouver 7/6 on cruise portion first. Spent a few nights in Vancouver before cruise. Our cruise was 3 nites followed by 7 day land tour. Ship was clean, stateroom attendant great. Food was so-so. Went to upscale Pinnacle ... Read More
Left Vancouver 7/6 on cruise portion first. Spent a few nights in Vancouver before cruise. Our cruise was 3 nites followed by 7 day land tour. Ship was clean, stateroom attendant great. Food was so-so. Went to upscale Pinnacle restaurant for dinner one night. Service was fine. However, both my brother in law and I ordered the halibut. Fish came served barely warm. Vegetables and potatoes were almost cool. Asked to have them reheated. They came back cool again. Fish was dry. Maitre'd offered us a bottle of wine to remedy the situation. However, we declined. We went there for a supposed fine meal. If any one is thinking of doing this Y3C cruisetour from HAL beware that you will spend an GREAT deal of time on the bus going to different towns. Dawson City was pretty good. Fairbanks and Anchorage disappointing. One day on bus was for an 8 hour trip to arrive at next stop. Another day was an 8 hour train ride. Saw a lot of trees. Our Tundra excursion in Denali was on a school bus with padded seats. Width of seats was for a 12 year old. Extremely long day (8 hours) and uncomfortable. We took the Tracy Arms Fiord excursion. Was very good. Also, gave us a chance to get off the cruise ship. Denali Lodge accommodations were nicest on trip. Anchorage hotel a 2 at best. Fairbanks hotel nice. Whitehorse and Skagway probably average. Spoke to about 15 people on our tour and most were very disappointed. Was glad to come home. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Check in: My mom has special needs. She’s is loosing her sight for many eyears. They separated us on the check in (I felt as cattle). We lost the welcome picture. Also they denied to carrie my laundry clothes. After theree long ... Read More
Check in: My mom has special needs. She’s is loosing her sight for many eyears. They separated us on the check in (I felt as cattle). We lost the welcome picture. Also they denied to carrie my laundry clothes. After theree long lines. They arrived all rugged on the ship. Cassino; Texas Holden; 15% of rate every hand; and the price isn’t the problem here; but it’s good have a sensation that you can win. I won the money from every person seated on the table. We did the math; I won 40% of the money of everyone’s buy in, the cassino took 60%. The time to cash out. My money wasn’t there. The celebration moment was gone. The cassino manager was tired, and said that I lost my money. No fun. First stop in Juneau Alaska. My mom, three of her friends and my self bought 5 tickets to see the whales and glaciers for 1:30pm. The ship arrived 1:00 pm at the port, but there was a huge line to leave the ship. HUGE. 15% of the people who pay $200 for the excursion lost it. I was one of them. The laid from the excursion said that she couldn’t know if my mom was with the excursion or not. But she was just lianing. She actually was with her ticket in her hands. I lost my mom again, and my mind. This time I was so frustrated. I love whales since I was very young. I was so excited about this experience. They ruined for me and 7 people of 50. I cursed them. I came back to the ship without showing my key. I left the ship without showing my key. They call the cops and put me out of the ship. This was a security problem to them, I couldn’t think about. I assume my responsibility here. It seems that I cannot lose my mom. The capitan did not take the time to listen my version. The officers, I cannot complain, they were gentlemen, and treat me with a lot of respect; a proud to apply to American citizenship those guys gave to me. I lost the rest of the trip like my mom did. I’m paying $700 to come back to Denver plus one night of hotel in Juneau. My mom just stay on the ship because would costed some thousand dollars to go to Seattle, and Brazil on rush, losing her already bought ticked. I cannot say that I will come back to any cruise again. Ler make justice with Diana from guest service, Deden my room service, and Gabriel who took care of our food, and dutch woman from the excursion, I forgot her name though. . And Ash, from Mumbai who cut my hair. Terrific people. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This cruise was supposed to be highly rated but it turned into a nightmare. Some of the extremely wrong encounters are as follow. If I have to list all that were wrong and unsatisfactory I will end up writing a few chapters. - the ... Read More
This cruise was supposed to be highly rated but it turned into a nightmare. Some of the extremely wrong encounters are as follow. If I have to list all that were wrong and unsatisfactory I will end up writing a few chapters. - the ship is very old and has an stale odour from time to time - bathroom fixtures are mounted lopsided besides visibly unclean and unhygienic - mini fridge door was not closed properly and we had to fix theproblem ourselves - vanity fixtures are stained and dirty looking - beddings had large patches of yellow stains - female staff in officer uniform was hostile towards the crew and passengers during the life boat drill - most of the staff incapable of giving accurate information - some of the staff incapable of communicating in basic English - probably the first "reputable" cruise line that served expired food items to passengers and insisted on payments - placement of staff at the serving stations on Lido Deck was extremely inappropriate as a few of them had no cooking experience - rotten vegetables served to passengers - being told only one side plate of food allowed because they were standing together as a couple - most of the menu items in the Dinning Room came in small decorative portions except on the very last night of the cruise - cloth napkins have dangling loose threads everywhere - so-called "midnight buffet" end at 23:30 - some salon/spa staff did not provide all the services as printed but still charged us full price for it - it was absolutely innappropriate for spa staff to give specific medical advice under false pretense and intentionally misinterpreted findings - there was no embarkation assistance to mobility challenged passengers - disembarkation forms and instructions were all so different from what were supposed to be - many touch screen casino slot machines had irresponsive key pads - etc. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I have always cruised on Holland America. This would have been my 4th Holland America cruise & second Alaska cruise. On the first night we went to the Lido Dinner Buffett. The line server said only 1 side item per plate. They ... Read More
I have always cruised on Holland America. This would have been my 4th Holland America cruise & second Alaska cruise. On the first night we went to the Lido Dinner Buffett. The line server said only 1 side item per plate. They gave us only 1 baked potato per plate. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as that the baked potato was rotten. A person at our table ordered and paid for a can of coke. After he drank the can of soda he looked at the bottom of the can and saw it was expired. The pasta station was awful. The station attendant joked that he had just been promoted from the ice cream station to the pasta station a month earlier. He had yet to have any training on how to make pasta. It showed. Chef Boy A R dee would have been better. The silverware was quite tarnished. The settings needed to be replaced. The balance of the cruise we ate in the main Dining room. I was going to forgive all that except for the future cruise deposit. I have always done a future cruise deposit while onboard to get the perks. I went to the future cruise desk on the last afternoon. It was closed. Usually they have a display or stack of blank future deposit forms on the desk. I saw the box where you can deposit the completed forms into but no blank forms. I then went to the customer desk and asked for a blank form. They said there was none. I tried in good faith to give them money but to no avail. When I got back home I asked my cruise agent to contact Holland America to see if I could do a deposit now. They said "No". They insisted that the blank forms were available on the future cruise desk. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Holland continues to give you less on each cruise. Staff cutbacks and the quality of food products continues to degrade the experience. Have been sailing Holland for many years and have close to 500 actual days at sea with them. It looks ... Read More
Holland continues to give you less on each cruise. Staff cutbacks and the quality of food products continues to degrade the experience. Have been sailing Holland for many years and have close to 500 actual days at sea with them. It looks like Holland's management is more interested in they yearly bonus than the experience for the passengers. Ship was headed for drydock and needs for TLC to fix plumbing problems and water leaks in public spaces. gone is the lobster every Gala night, gone is the shrimp cocktail every night, gone is the librarian, gone is the fresh squeezed orange juice, gone is the great quality of steaks, gone is the free expresso at dinner, gone is great evening entertainment, gone is the ship's log at the end of the cruise, gone is the crew member that used to provide hand sanitizer in the public areas (replaced by machines that noone uses, thus many more sick days onboard a long cruise) and gone is the pleasant feeling that its really great being onboard (replaced by its OK) Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Thought it was an exciting way to avoid flying to Japan and do some hiking in Alaska. One cruise port (Dutch Harbour) was cancelled for good reason I guess and we were credited but made it boring especially when all the theme were ... Read More
Thought it was an exciting way to avoid flying to Japan and do some hiking in Alaska. One cruise port (Dutch Harbour) was cancelled for good reason I guess and we were credited but made it boring especially when all the theme were Japanese. Seemed like the cruise director made it a Japanese theme cruise. What happened to those high demand line dancing. Totally ignored. It was a good way to introduce the Japanese culture to the public but not everyone took this cruise because of that. The stretch program in the morning needs improvement. May be because of the wave that the trainer cannot do a proper stretch program. Or may be because this space was limited. The spa also made a mistake of advertising a paid yoga session as free. About 6 -8 showed up but none of us stayed because they didn't honor their mistake. The Microsoft sponsored digital classes were excellent though. The instructor was very professional and knew her stuff well. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I wanted to wait a few months to go by to write this review of our trip on the Volendam which left Vancouver on Sept 29, and ended in Shanghai a month later. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America and longest by far. Having never ... Read More
I wanted to wait a few months to go by to write this review of our trip on the Volendam which left Vancouver on Sept 29, and ended in Shanghai a month later. This was our fifth cruise on Holland America and longest by far. Having never been to the Far East, this cruise had us very excited with anticipation. The itinerary looked wonderful and we were curious to see if we would have any cruise fatigue for what was for us, a long cruise. The Volendam is one of HAL's small ships, and just the right size for us. The ship was clean and appeared to be in fine shape, and our outside cabin on deck one was perfect. We planned excursions for every port, but also savored the 14 sea days. To summarize, the Alaska portion of the cruise was very enjoyable. It rained in Ketchikan, but that did not stop us from having an enjoyable time with the Native Culture tour. A trip to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau is always fun, and the cruise through Glacier Bay was spectacular beyond belief, the weather being perfect that day. The ranger that gave the onboard commentary said that it was one of the best days of the year; the visibility was breathtaking. There was a scheduled stop after that, Dutch Harbor, that was cancelled, but more about that later. I could go on and on about our stops in Japan, but I will just say that it was a dream come true to see a little bit of Japanese culture and hospitality up close. Kyoto and Tokyo was amazing with its shrines and temples, and we were treated with utmost courtesy everywhere we went. The smaller places we went, like Shimizu and Hakodate, were also welcoming and always interesting. The onboard lectures about Japanese culture and the upcoming Chinese ports kept us entertained as well as informed. After a little over a week in Japan, it was on to Beijing. We saw the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, the Ming Tombs, and the fantastic Forbidden City. We did this over two days on a HAL overnight excursion. We had a fantastic guide, which we both thought was the best guide on any HAL excursion we had ever had. A one day stay at Qingdao followed, which was also very enjoyable. Last was Shanghai, which really blew us both away with its beautiful and modern skyline. We left the Volendam very happy, but actually wishing we could stay for more. The main point I want to make about this trip is that if you look for positives, and stay upbeat, little problems (even some big ones) can be overlooked. I can't say this cruise was "perfect". No cruise is. Just to list a few issues - our dining reservations were mishandled somehow, and we originally were assigned to open seating, but it was quickly resolved. When we did get out preferred seating, one of the couples never showed up the entire cruise. The other couple spoke limited English. No problem, we made friends with them after only one evening. It rained off and on in Japan the whole time. However, if you take in the sights and appreciate the wonderful things you are experiencing, this is not such a big problem. The HAL front desk gave us a fright when they said that we had no disembarkation trip to the airport (we did). However, they later corrected their mistake. We missed a port, Dutch Harbor when a storm made the ship rock and roll and the Captain had to change direction. I got a little sea sick one day, which is always no fun. The entire Korean itinerary had been scrapped a few weeks before and replaced with more stops in Japan. When these little glitches happened, I kept one thought in my mind - how lucky are we that we get to see these wonderful places and enjoy this ship where you can take it easy on the sea days, and look forward to the next port ? I read some of the negative reviews on here and I simply can't relate to them,.Yes, I know that some people experience problems that are greater than the ones we had, but the overall experience is all important. Focus on the positive things. We loved this cruise and will be going back for more. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
I have had my eye on this cruise for some time. Actually we booked the Yokohama to Vancouver this spring, but had to cancel. So now we did the Vancouver-Yokohama-Shanghai cruise. It was a pleasant experience. The Volendam is a nice ... Read More
I have had my eye on this cruise for some time. Actually we booked the Yokohama to Vancouver this spring, but had to cancel. So now we did the Vancouver-Yokohama-Shanghai cruise. It was a pleasant experience. The Volendam is a nice ship, not too big, with an excellent crew. The information from the bridge was good and the presentation by the two 3rd officers avout the things they do were excellent. You can't book the weather, and this cruise lacked badly in sunshine. Lots of fog and clouded skies, Japan rained. An exception, Glacier Bay on a sunny Sunday! When we booked we were supposed ro visit Korea after Japan. Some polilitical issues forced the dompany to change the itinary, no Korea, more Japan, which was fine with me as I'm a Japan fan. Japa, Hokkaido brought us some nice autumn colors and cranes. From Osaka we visited the Takarazuka theater, by train and as usual the people helped us to get tickets and the right train. Everybody will help you. The excursion department was well organised. Chaos was avoided. About dining, we dined some evenings in Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants. We used the Dining room but occasionally. Most evenings we dined at the Lido. The atmosfeer there was cosy, of course you get your own food but the interaction with the mostly Indonesian crew was very pleasant. It felt very much like Terrace Cafe on Oceania. Management did good thing there! Our overall feeling was that this holiday was excellent. After the lightshow in Shanghai it was tije to go home. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Great service generally, great food, Made lots of new friends. We were disappointed to miss Dutch Harbour, but understood the Captain's decision to avoid bad weather. Embarkation speed was impressive, and disembarkation went smoothly. ... Read More
Great service generally, great food, Made lots of new friends. We were disappointed to miss Dutch Harbour, but understood the Captain's decision to avoid bad weather. Embarkation speed was impressive, and disembarkation went smoothly. The cabin was much the same as most, the service was vert good. Dining was excellent except persons who do not like spices are poorly catered for. The evening entertainment was very good, catering for many tastes. However we were very disappointed to find that daytime activities were extremely limited. We and others found that at times during the day we had to resort to reading, when normally we are flat out all day and evening. The ship is small, but We have been on a number of ships of the same class, but different lines, and daytime activities were plentiful. It seemed at times that we were being force fed sales pitches and not much else. The line has still not recognised the previous cruising of one of us, despite repeated requests to update their data. Consequently that person was deprived of all the benefits they were entitled to. Bad move Holland America,! We only took one shore excursion, it was very good, but we considered in general the shore trips were expensive, so we preferred to "wing it" most times. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We have never been on a traditional cruise before, and we were so impressed by the excellent service from every member of staff on board this ship, from the Captain to the waiters and the room service. All the staff spoke to us whenever ... Read More
We have never been on a traditional cruise before, and we were so impressed by the excellent service from every member of staff on board this ship, from the Captain to the waiters and the room service. All the staff spoke to us whenever they saw us, and made us feel so welcome. The food was delicious, with such variety, and available at all times. Over eating was a real temptation, as it was all so tempting. We enjoyed our expeditions ashore, and the days spent on board were relaxing and comfortable. A truly memorable cruise with all the wildlife we had hoped to see. We saw humpback whales, dolphins, orca, sea otters, porpoises and so much more. We dined in all the restaurants and they were all excellent, especially the Pinnacle restaurant. Every day we received details of all available activities for the next day in a smart newsletter, so we could plan what we wanted to do, or decide to do nothing. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We have always wanted to see Alaska and this cruise fitted the bill perfectly. My wife is in a wheelchair and we were very impressed how accessible the whole of the ship was. We were very impressed that Holland America had a good ... Read More
We have always wanted to see Alaska and this cruise fitted the bill perfectly. My wife is in a wheelchair and we were very impressed how accessible the whole of the ship was. We were very impressed that Holland America had a good selection of wheelchair accessible excursions available (unlike other companies who we have cruised with in the past!) In Juneau we went whale watching and were transported in a coach with a wheelchair lift. In Skagway we did the White Pass Rail Journey where there were coaches with wheelchair lifts. The only problem we had was the White Pass Railway excursion where we were constantly told before that we disembarked by tender, that the train was specially reserved to our ship and would wait for us all to disembark. When our tender finaly docked the train had already left which upset a large number of people. However there was another train which was leaving in 3 hours so we spent the time looking around Skagway before catching the later train. The food in the MDR was some of the best we have had in all the cruises we have been on. We also ate in the 3 speciality restaurants - Pinnacle, Canaletto and Le Cirque - they were all excellent and we would recommend dining here. The choice of bars was good and the theatre shows were good. Overall we would recommend this cruise. Read Less
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.1
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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