13 Holland America Volendam Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

The cruise started with the worst embarkation situatin. We need wheelchair assistance to embark because of the long walks. Holland America's Ft. Lauderdale operation to have two wheelchairs used for a significant number of people. who ... Read More
The cruise started with the worst embarkation situatin. We need wheelchair assistance to embark because of the long walks. Holland America's Ft. Lauderdale operation to have two wheelchairs used for a significant number of people. who would be taken to a table top counter, processed and assigned to a holding area to await wheelchairs to board the ship. Never, in our 50 some cruise experiences, have we had to wait 2 1/2 hours to board a ship, NOT EVEN ON A MEGA SHIP! . If anyone thought this was an anomoly, debarkation was no better -- two wheechairs. It was quite apparent, from embarkation, no handicap assistance on the ship in the buffet or other area, and debarkation, the mobility challenged were treated as 2nd Class Citizens and Holland America was doing you a favor rather than providing service. It took three days for maintenance to fix the HVAC in our cabin as it went from FREEZING when we boarded ship to a SAUNA a day later back to Freezing. We asked at one point for Holland America to send us home from the first port stop in Curacao. New Years Night found the ship in a FREEZING mode with passengers wearing parkas and shipboard staff wearing sweatshirts and hoodies. And then, at midnight, the freezing became unbearably hot. Only one more day left -- thank goodness!!! Excursion vendors were not asked to accommodate the mobility challenged or handicapped. They were not asked to provide even step stools on high access vehicles. When I asked Sydney in Excursions about this she became belligerent and offensive. I discussed this with her supervisor, Abigail, who agree that vendors should be asked to provide easier access. I suggested Sydney would make great excursion director on a container ship. We were most surprised by the lack of service and accommodaion. Holland America has historically, and still does, market to more mature audiences. They were quality conscious and most considerate of the mobility challenged. We sailed with them on a number of occasions. Not anymore! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We simply chose the Holland America volendam because the dates fit in with several of the party we were cruising with. We do enjoy Holland America and our only bad experience out of 7 sailings with them has been on the veendam in the ... Read More
We simply chose the Holland America volendam because the dates fit in with several of the party we were cruising with. We do enjoy Holland America and our only bad experience out of 7 sailings with them has been on the veendam in the spring 2018 so we were a bit anxious about this booking on the volendam. We were absolutely delighted with our experience on the volume down. She is well maintained. Her food is excellent. The crew was extremely friendly. when we had any issue the staff bent over backwards to help us work it out. If we submitted a common card with anything the least bit negative we got a phone call to our stateroom and if we were not in our stateroom to take the call we got a note on our door. They then followed up to make sure every little thing was perfect. of the seven sailings with Holland America in the last two years I have to say this was probably our best overall experience, even though we did enjoy all of our other sailings except on the veendam. What I'm coming to realize is that most ships seem to go through a low period, And then if the company is smart measures are taken to get its act together and correct their weaknesses and make the ship much more pleasing and accommodating to passengers. The volendam is the same class of ship as the veendam and westerdam. As beautiful as a koningsdam and the eurodam are we do enjoy the smaller ships and this class a ship that the volume down is in is somewhere between 1300 and 1450 passengers. A great experience and we would definitely cruise on her again. It was really hard to even find constructive criticism to give on our end of cruise survey. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
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
Sail Date May 2018
There were three adults in our cabin, an inside cabin, that was supposed to be wheelchair-accessible, but when the third adult was added to the reservation, the travel agent changed us to the wrong sized cabin. Not the cruiseline's ... Read More
There were three adults in our cabin, an inside cabin, that was supposed to be wheelchair-accessible, but when the third adult was added to the reservation, the travel agent changed us to the wrong sized cabin. Not the cruiseline's fault. At once when we arrived with 14 pieces of luggage split between 3 adults in an interior tiny cabin, we called to ask for a larger cabin. At first we were categorically denied, then 5 days later, we had a long and loud discussion with the guest services people, asking for the head of GS but never, ever speaking to her even after multiple daily requests, and they offered to let two of us (the married couple) move to a wheelchair cabin down the hall for only $4000 more than we had already paid. We argued because it is simply not safe for three adults and 14 pieces of luggage to reside together in an emergency situation. After much talk about safety and lawsuits, (an empty wheelchair cabin was available 5 doors down) we agreed to pay another $700 for the second cabin, 1 week into a two week Japan cruise. That's down from a $4000 additional payment, mind you. The room steward refused to help us move, even though I am a wheelchair user. He said he would be right back, but never returned to help us, when he knew very well that we needed help. That second cabin was fine, but then the officers of hotel services approached us a few days later and offered us a balcony cabin, (the third cabin) which we were very happy to move to. Now the story adds more depth: the reason why we were offered the balcony on another deck was because we had complained that our toilet was not cleaned by the room steward: there was still poo splatter inside the bowl. Because I complained, the room steward was angry and proceeded to enter my cabin without knocking, unannounced, to discuss the matter, while I was in the bathroom half naked. I told him to leave and called guest services and the hotel manager immediately. Not long after my security report, we were offered to move to a balcony on another deck. I was genuinely afraid of that room steward who saw me half naked. I hope he got in big trouble. As for the rest of the cruise, the dining room food was always the best, Master Kan, who did Tai Chi lessons and lectures was wonderful, the acrobats were great, and trivia was very fun. I am glad that HAL does not push the shops, bingo, and alcoholic drinks all the time. That gets old quick. The Lido tables were cleaned quickly for the next guest, the America's Test Kitchen was just wonderful. More of that, please. More games all day long, please. They had Chinese Mahjong, but never American Mahjongg. I play American and the Chinese guests would not let me join in. We were glad that there were no loud PA system announcements, so that people could nap in the daytime. We were disappointed that the cabin safes are only accessible by one single credit card, so that's not cool. If you are staying onboard and the one credit card to get into the safe is in a pocket of your roommate on shore, you are out of luck. Since this was a Japan cruise, we expected daily Japanese stuff to do like origami, Japanese calligraphy, you know, short language lessons, we are in Japan after all. Our first cabin had problems with the toilet refusing to flush. This is really bad knowing that we were three adults in a very small interior cabin. Also a dirty, used coffee cup in our room was never replaced, and we were afraid to drink out of the room cups and glasses. Of course we reported it immediately, but the room steward's work was never good. Once, we arrived 15 minutes late for dinner, and the manager refused to seat us, saying in a snide way, "You're a little late!!", but we finally got him to stop being rude and seat us. We never, ever ordered all the courses or stayed past 1 hour. Andrew did not receive any tip. We tipped our third cabin's stewards, who were wonderful, but not the one who walked into my cabin and caught me half naked, of course. We tipped our dinner wait staff. We deleted all the other regular daily tips because, 1. The cruise line should pay their employees a decent wage, 2. The gratuities keep increasing to an appalling rate, and finally, 3. Once we took a South American cruise filled with Brazilians, and there were No Daily Tips Charged to us. None. I asked why, and guest services said that Brazilians complain en mass, and they all refuse to follow American tipping practices. I feel that if the cruise lines can get some gravy money out of the guests, they will try. It's not going to work on me. Hate me if you want to. I really don't care. You do what you want with your money, I will decide about mine. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Warning, if you're not a foodie the first few paragraphs will bore you! FOOD & DINING VENUES I am a lowly two-star mariner, but know the ropes of HAL cruising and had been going to the specialty restaurants to reduce my ... Read More
Warning, if you're not a foodie the first few paragraphs will bore you! FOOD & DINING VENUES I am a lowly two-star mariner, but know the ropes of HAL cruising and had been going to the specialty restaurants to reduce my meals in the MDR on past cruises. After reading so much about HAL's cost-cutting measures I thought I'd be disappointed with my meals, but instead was pleasantly surprised. Certainly the portions are small, but not when it counts. On steak and lobster nights, it was more then enough (though I think some were ordering a second lobster tail -- and good for them!). My steak was perfectly medium-rare, and this was the first cruise it came out perfectly. Most of the lunches in the MDR, were even better than dinners. I was surprised to like even the chicken strips which appeared to be hand-breaded with a coating containing crispy almond slices. I loved them so much and knew my (12 year old) daughter would actually want to eat in the MDR if she could have them, so asked for it to be arranged, and no problem -- she had them for dinner that same evening. Curries, were mild and the lamb was fork-tender, and delicious. I usually don't order any ethnic food on HAL, because I mistakenly thought it would be food-fair quality. Shame on me! As for the paid dining venues, we had 3 dinners in Canaletto, 2 dinners and 2 lunches in Pinnacle Grill. Pinnacle was excellent (as had been our previous experience), and the menu also included a page of selections from Tamarind (which I had tried on the Eurodam previously). I had not liked Canaletto on a past cruise, but due to recent reviews here gave it a try again. It was really tasty. Not every dish was to my liking, but we did get to try most of the selections over the 3 meals, as there were 3 people sharing -- lots of food to choose from each evening. The service in Canaletto was just as attentive and kind as I've had in Tamarind, and I feel like I'm getting better value as the price has crept up over the years for PG. Breakfasts for us were primarily in the Lido. I liked the quiet atmosphere of MDR breakfasts, but the hours didn't always work. With my jetlag I was up early and waiting for Lido to open most mornings. I also seemed to have a better chance of getting my eggs done perfectly (for eggs benedict) as they were made to order instead of having the poached eggs reheated. I think the food in the Lido starts out very good, but if it sits there it tastes terrible. There was a huge difference between getting french toast made to order, vs. them taking it out of the warming drawer. The waffles also suffer under the heat lamp, so my main trick to the Lido was to pick anything they would make in front of me. Prime lido breakfast times were terrible to get a seat. People were circling watching for any sign that you might be finishing, and if you were 4 people (at a table of 6 for instance), you could bet another couple would come to sit with you. Next cruise I think I will take those extra steps out to the pool deck -- it is such a quiet spacious atmosphere in comparison. Tea time wasn't as good as I remembered, they serve Bigelow teas (English Breakfast, Darjeeling and Early Grey primarily -- not sure if they have herbal choices) and can't really manage to get you milk for your tea like they do the silver cream jugs. They will bring milk in a juice glass (which you can then spill all over the table when aiming for your teacup). The hot water comes to you in small metal-ish pots, but is often not quite hot enough to really brew well (which is done in your cup not a teapot). That aside, there were a couple of tasty deserts and sandwiches -- most were rather bland but pretty. My husband and daughter raved about the tuna salad sandwich, so when I asked for one they were already done. The next batch of sandwiches to come out did not include the tuna -- so be warned, they are a good thing and will be gobbled up! Despite the great onboard food, don't fill up on a big breakfast for your days in port on this itinerary. Vietnam (in particular) is a treasure of AMAZING food! Eat in the lido on your day in Cambodia (you'll understand when you go!). Okay, enough about food. ENTERTAINMENT (or lack thereof) I will start by admitting my husband and I are in our mid 40's and do not fit the HAL demographic they are trying to serve. We LOVE Trivia and pretty much centered our schedule around it. The BBC Earth presentation to music and EXC talks about the ports you're seeing are also very good. The mainstage shows were often cringe-worthy (as my daughter and husband decided), and we walked out of many. Those talented Volendam dancers and singers are poorly choreographed, have old music, boring sets and some awfully ugly costumes to deal with. I hate to be negative, but only one of the 3 special acts they brought in were really enjoyable right to the end and kept me in my seat. I don't really want to mention the acts I didn't like, everyone needs to form their own opinion. The venues often did not hold the crowd adequately -- standing room only (uncomfortably crowded) at the Test Kitchen presentations, the one good movie they showed we couldn't get a seat at. There were scheduling blunders so trivia got moved to a bar (yes, people had to leave the crows nest and head to The Mix, and there were hardly any seats for everyone. If you like classical violin, the couple who plays in the Explorers Lounge are excellent. As for our beloved Crow's Nest, the DJ request nights were awkward. When you have such a spread in ages wanting to dance, each song could have a whole new set of people going to the dance-floor or not at all. The disco set got a few tunes and was getting in their groove, when all of a sudden a ballroom dancing type song comes on and there is a complete change of the demographic. Same with 80s-now music -- a whole new crowd would come on. It made for a disjointed evening, and who wants to sit around and listen to 10 songs from a decade they don't related to, just to get to the ones they do like. They need another dance club on this ship and have a theme IMO. I'm not sure if wine-tasting counts as entertainment -- it was a paid event. It was a fun enough event but mostly mediocre wines. There was only one that I ended up purchasing for dinner, but it was a good way to spend a bit of the afternoon. People were relaxed and chatty -- it was quite social even though I attended solo. STAFF I love them. I had a list of names at the end of the cruise to make sure they got formally recognized in my review sent to HAL. I hope it helps them -- they are a wonderful crew. My room steward San, was amazing and predicted my every need. SERVICES This is the first cruise I purchased the unlimited laundry. OH MY WORD. Lovely and clean pressed clothing, bagged and folded neatly. It was almost the highlight of the day to get my clothes back! Also with this hot itinerary, I really needed those linen shirts more than I thought -- it was fantastic to have the laundry and I won't go without it on future cruises. SHORE EXCURSIONS I had 3 HAL excursions, and only one of the guides had fluent enough English that he was great to listen to. One of them practically shouted and kept spelling out words (to make up for her accent no doubt). It was very slow with such a large bus of people. I highly recommend going to the Sanctuary of Truth (it is stunningly beautiful, a marvel). However, I would have been much happier taking it at my own pace and hiring someone to get me there and back. The ships tour was too long and the guide appointed to us was loud and annoying to be around. I had 1 excursion with a group from Cruise Critic, and it was a smaller group for Ha Long Bay. I think that was much better, the smaller group made it more relaxed and this tour included an amazing seafood lunch. Three other tours we did were arranged privately for our family of 3. Now I know this is absolutely the way to go. We had amazing fun with our guides in Vietnam. On the back of scooters in Saigon, with insane traffic, driving into districts where they rarely see foreigners is really fun. They were very curious about us. It was food/sightseeing tours we had arranged and we had the most amazing food experiences. Things I can't get at my local Vietnamese restaurant for sure. And the ones I had tried at home were different there, and so delicious. It is shockingly cheap outside the tourist areas, we had a feast at lunch for 6 of us (3 guides and 3 in our family) and it came to the equivalent of $12 CDN. Getting off the beaten track, in to back-alleys and cooked in front of you almost primitively. Not something I would have experienced without a local guide for sure. Do not miss Hoi An. It is an absolute treasure and not to be missed. If you can stay into the evening, it is very beautifuol and atmospheric with the lanterns lit throughout the streets. Great shopping there too. If you need souvenirs in Vietnam, they are much classier in Hoi An. IN CLOSING Overall, we loved this cruise. It was an amazing itinerary, the ship was in good enough shape for us, food was great as were the kind gracious staff. I had a good book and a deck of cards so can entertain myself anywhere -- I didn't need HAL to do that in the end. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We had never sailed on HA and had heard good things about this cruise line, so when a Dec cruise to Asia came up with ports we had never been to but wanted to see, we jumped at the chance to be a part of this experience. First off, the ... Read More
We had never sailed on HA and had heard good things about this cruise line, so when a Dec cruise to Asia came up with ports we had never been to but wanted to see, we jumped at the chance to be a part of this experience. First off, the crew and staff for the most part were great - very friendly, helpful and accommodating. In addition to the destinations, they were the best part of the cruise! Negatives: 1. our cabin - it looked good, but the air conditioning never worked so it was always 75°F or more, in countries that were already uncomfortably hot and humid. The staff were vigilant in trying to fix the problem but were not successful. Also, there was a leak somewhere that left a wet area outside our bathroom for the entire 2 weeks. To remedy the problem, a large, loud fan that blew hot air onto the spot was brought in, but as our cabin was already too warm, we sent the fan away after a few hours. 2. public areas - meanwhile, the hallways and public rooms (bars, theater, restaurants, library, etc.) were freezing cold, which other passengers also complained about. That finally got fixed on our last 2 days on board. It's a wonder that we didn't catch a cold. 3. the food - the food at the Lido and in the dining room was bland for our tastes (being foodies from SF who are 65+) and seemed geared to older people whose taste buds don't like surprises. I finally started asking for sambal to be brought out for my meals, which they did. We also thought that the meat and fish served was not the best quality... The fries at the Dive-in and the morning congee and omelettes at the Lido, however, were some of the best we had. The other problem with the food was that it was generally not served until 7am or after 8.30pm, so there were a few times we woke up or went to bed starving. Also, as everything at the Lido had to be served, there were long lines of impatient, sometimes rude, passengers. 4. the activities - On Princess cruises I'm usually racing from lectures to dance classes to trivia, and back again, often without enough time for a sit-down meal. On this HA cruise, I was rarely busy as there were few lectures and even fewer dance and arts and crafts classes. It was good to have down time, but I felt again that this cruise was geared to older, more sedentary passengers. The Test Kitchen and lectures that were given, however, were excellent and informative. 5. the excursions - Most ship excursions are expensive, and these were no exception, but the HA excursions were much better than the ones I've been on with Princess. The guides, transport and organization were generally excellent, but were worth paying the premium prices. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date September 2017
This was a very informative busy cruise. It was a great way to experience a lot of different Asian ports . The ship itself is small without any extra perks like climbing walls or skating rinks but the trip highlights some ... Read More
This was a very informative busy cruise. It was a great way to experience a lot of different Asian ports . The ship itself is small without any extra perks like climbing walls or skating rinks but the trip highlights some really interesting bustling Asian cities . The excursions were hit and miss . We rented a car with driver and guide from holland america for both days in Shanghai and Beijing. It was ridiculously expensive but worth it. A couple of tips about seeing Shanghai and Beijing this way. We got Chinese currency before we left home but still ran out of cash because we forgot touring this way doesn't take into account admission fees or tips . Also,when we booked the car and guide for 2 days in Beijing it was well worth our while to also book a hotel in Beijing because it's a 2 1/2 hour drive from the cruise terminal in Tianjin to Beijing . Sheraton hotel in Beijing was beautiful and cheap $163 US per night and included a wonderful breakfast . Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Visited son who lives in Anchorage, then took the cruise from June 5 - 12 from Seward to Vancouver. It was nice time of year - light long and mild weather. We had no rain on the entire trip, unusual we were told. It even close to 80 on ... Read More
Visited son who lives in Anchorage, then took the cruise from June 5 - 12 from Seward to Vancouver. It was nice time of year - light long and mild weather. We had no rain on the entire trip, unusual we were told. It even close to 80 on shore in :Haines & Juneau. There were optional trips to Skagway, but we enjoyed Haines, since we had visited Skagway on other trips. The town was welcoming and a complimentary bus to several of the sites was helpful. The entertainment was tops; we especially enjoyed the magician, comedian Garry Carson. Also, the films shown each day were an added benefit, since we hardly ever go to films at home. In Glacier Bay, several National Park rangers came on board and gave 2 talks before we got near the glaciers, then had a continuing narative while we were near the glaciers. One also did something special with the children on board. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was the first time after my husband was confined to a wheelchair that we were cruising, and we were so looking forward to it The Volendam was an old ship but quite nice. We were in an wheelchair assissible cabin, with a restricted ... Read More
This was the first time after my husband was confined to a wheelchair that we were cruising, and we were so looking forward to it The Volendam was an old ship but quite nice. We were in an wheelchair assissible cabin, with a restricted view. The entrance to the cabin was slightly wider to accommodate a wheelchair, though I must add, I had to stand in the way to hold the door open! If only these cabins had push button opening doors, it would have been so helpful! The cabin was rather small and we had to request that the beds be separated so as to have enough room to manoeuvre to the bed. The bathroom was comfortable with a 180° opening door. The grab bars too were adequate. There were a number of hooks on the door for hanging things which was really very welcome. The cabin had ample wordrobe space and for the first time the hangers were more than enough. There were emergency call buttons located near the bedhead, this could be so useful but there was a time when my husband while reaching for the light switch at 2 am, pressed the emergency switch. We had a call immediately from reception asking if we needed any help!!! The rest of the ship was all wheelchair assissible, the theatre was slightly difficult.... But we did manage. The staff was really wonderful and always ready to help us. There were three tender ports but with good assistance we managed fine. Entertainment was good and so was the food. The atmosphere for Xmas and the Ney Year party were great. The cooking demos were really good. We did our own port excursions and hired taxis from the port areas. Embarkation and disembarkation was well handled. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Due to recent orthopaedic surgery I could not fly long distances so had to change our planned Alaska followed by Eastern Canada cruises to something closer to home. We were delighted to be able to embark at our home port. This is the first ... Read More
Due to recent orthopaedic surgery I could not fly long distances so had to change our planned Alaska followed by Eastern Canada cruises to something closer to home. We were delighted to be able to embark at our home port. This is the first time this has happened to our knowledge. A 1 Hour suburban train ride versus 14 hour flight! Unfortunately the Port staff were not familiar with HALs usual routines. We stood in the priority boarding queue but unfortunately none of the Port staff knew to serve us. Only after a complaint to a HAL officer was the problem rectified and I am sure it will not be a problem again. The ship was clean & well maintained and the fresh flowers were a delight. The night before we departed we received a second upgrade to a A balcony suite and as it was my birthday on departure day things started in fine form. The entertainment was great, this was the best group of HAL entertainers ever on a HAL ship. Not only the 4 leads could sing in perfect pitch but the remainder of the group as well. The Murder Mystery dinner was excellent. First time I have ever been offered this on any ship. A most entertaining evening with the best dessert ever. Dining was excellent in whichever venue we choose. Again we went Open Seating and never had a problem getting a seat at our requested time. We ate several times in Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto and in both places enjoyed the extra special service. As always all staff were cheerful and attentive, any request was dealt with quickly. The mature aged cruise director was one of the best we have come across. He managed to be efficient and entertaining with out too much of the "are we having fun" attitude. Our veranda suite was perfect for our needs and the bed, again one of the most comfortable at sea. We enjoyed using our balcony for a before dinner drink or occasional room service meals. After being disappointed that we couldn't make it to USA & Canada it was a pleasant surprise just how much we enjoyed cruising in our own backyard with a side trip to Indonesia. Yes, you can go more cheaply with other cruise lines but its worth the bit extra to go with an old friend who treats us so well. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Background Information. A cruise has been a dream for many years, and for many, dreams don't come true; so I'm fortunate that mine did! I'm single, 60, and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 10 years old. ... Read More
Background Information. A cruise has been a dream for many years, and for many, dreams don't come true; so I'm fortunate that mine did! I'm single, 60, and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 10 years old. Life has been a challenge and very unpredictable, due to long hospitalizations for joint replacement surgeries, pain control, and infections, so it's not easy to plan ahead. I'm 95% independent in my own home and have a positive attitude, but the real world presents some difficulties especially when traveling. Prior to sailing, my concerns were steep ship gangways, bathroom facilities, unlocking and opening a heavy  cabin door, and struggling to cut up my food in front of others. I use a small power wheelchair and can walk short distances. I'd booked a HC cabin and I knew if I ran into difficulties my friends Carole and Stan were only a phone call away on the next deck up. Travel To Port of Embarkation. I picked Carole & Stan up in Red Deer and headed for the airport in Calgary. We parked at Park2Go ($11.95 a day) then took the shuttle bus (free) for the 9 minute drive to the West Jet departure drop off. A speedy check in as always with West Jet. At 3pm I headed through security to pre-board the flight to Vancouver, leaving Carole & Stan to check into the Delta Hotel as they weren't flying out until the next morning. It was an excellent smooth flight with great views of the snow capped Rocky Mountains. Our arrival was on time and the temp was 25c in Vancouver. West Jet  had my wheelchair ready at the door of the plane, helped with my luggage, and escorted me to a wheelchair accessible taxi; even helping the taxi guy secure my  wheelchair down. WEST JET YOU ARE THE BEST! Hotel Information. Fare to the Delta Suites on West Hastings Street was $30. I used air miles so only had the taxes to pay for. It's a lovely hotel, very clean with friendly and efficient staff. Check in was swift (no warm cookie though) and my luggage was taken to my room on the 5th floor. Nice room. Spacious, clean, comfy bed, and I loved the lemon soap in the bathroom. I ordered a plate of cheese, fruit and crackers plus a glass of wine. The bill was $27 which included the room service charge of $4 but it was very nice and presentation was lovely. After a good nights sleep I checked out, with reception calling for a wheelchair accessible taxi. Within minutes it arrived to take me to the pier (a $5 fare.) Embarkation at Canada Place. Suitcase was whisked away by a porter. There were scooters available for rent at $55 a day inside the terminal. At 10:55am I'm through immigration and directed over to the "HAL Welcome to the Volendam sign."  I'm escorted by HAL personnel to a long bank teller type arrangement where I show my passport, ticket, fill in a short form, have a photo taken with a web cam, and then given my ship card. It wasn't too long before an announcement was made saying that boarding would be delayed until 1pm (an hour later than scheduled.) This was because the Volendam had arrived into Vancouver with the norovirus and was being disinfected. I did ask if we would be in code red and was told no, which was true. During the delay we were given tea, coffee, orange juice, cookies and coupon books. All HAL personnel looking smart in navy & red, & were friendly and courteous during this waiting period. Actual embarking was smooth, with crew welcoming us aboard and directing us to the Lido for lunch. Stateroom. At approx. 2:30pm an announcement was made that the cabins were ready. I headed down to the Dolphin Deck and found aft FF1955 which was wheelchair accessible. It was the last cabin at the end of a very long corridor (thank goodness for my wheels!) Used the ship card to unlock the door (not heavy) which had a handle (much easier than a knob.)  Wide doorway with no lip for easy entry. Cabin was roomy and clean. Lots of closet, shelf and drawer space. Note 1:  Drawers had no handles, they were the type you have to place your fingers under the front edge to open, which I found a little difficult, as would the majority of seniors with arthritis. Suggestion 1: Add handles. Note 2: Closet doors had the recessed handles, again a little difficult for crippled fingers. Suggestion 2: Add handles. A safe was located in 1 of the closets and 2 lockable drawers were located between the beds. Beds were a good height for my type of disability, and very comfortable. Note 3: Only 1 electrical outlet but in a good location on the wall above the dresser. Suggestion 3: Add an additional outlet in HC rooms.  My wheelchair had to be recharged every night but I had brought an extension cord with extra outlets. An alarm switch & light switches (which controlled all lights) were conveniently located at the head of each bed. Also a phone beside the bed was neatly labeled with extension numbers and 911. Nice wide door into the bathroom which was spacious and very clean. High toilet (yippee) and a good sized roll in shower. Hand held shower and controls were well located for wheelchair users. Good grab rails and a seat which folded down. Now that I know my main concerns are not a concern, I can relax. Ship Info. I loved the size of the Volendam with approx. 1450 passengers and 650 crew. This meant after meeting them, I'd see them out and about to say hi too. There were beautiful arrangements of fresh flowers everywhere, and rose bowls on desks and dining room tables. In the Lido there were flowering orchids on each table and  some great art work on the walls all around the ship. Personally I loved the dEcor of reds and purples! It looked clean and well cared for (despite it's age of 10 years) and you could always see crew (unobtrusibly) vacuuming and polishing. Windows were washed in each port, and in Ketchikan I even saw them painting the outside of the ship!! It was easy to navigate around the Volendam in a wheelchair. I quickly learned when going over those aluminum strips on the floors that if I approached them on the sides, rather than the middle, it wasn't as much of a bump!!! I spent a lot of time on the aft Lido deck  where the outer glass doors opened automatically, but the inner ones didn't. It was never a problem though, as there were always crew or passengers to do the honors. Another favorite place was the promenade deck which goes right around the ship. These doors where heavier and opened manually.  Also the door lip was thicker and not as easy to navigate over, and there was a little bit of a slope on the outside of the door.  Be warned!!! Reduce speed, especially if your wheelchair has small back wheels like mine does....you could easily be catapulted out!!! I encountered the same set up when getting on or off the ship's gangway. It's a little scary until you've done it a few times, but crew are readily available to help out, so it was never a problem. The lower level of The Frans Hals Lounge is wheelchair accessible but the upper level has 3 steps. Dining. Breakfast and lunch  were eaten in the Lido Restaurant and there were NO trays! I later learnt from David, the Cruise Consultant, this was only the 3rd week without trays on the Volendam, and that food wastage had decreased dramatically. I never found this to be a problem despite all the hoopla on CC. I was helped by staff that went with me, so all I had to do was say what I wanted; they put it on the plate, and  took it to my table. Excellent variety of food and hot. I loved breakfast, and my fried eggs were flipped while those boys smiled, sang and waved. The Lido was busy and it was the only place I encountered crowds. I liked the fact that you didn't have to line up but could go directly to the station you wanted i.e. bread, salad, meat, fruit, Italian etc. Cutlery was wrapped in the napkin and already on the table. We chose early fixed dining in the Upper Rotterdam Dining Room (the only way to go in my opinion) at a table for 8. It was lovely getting to know our other dining companions, as well as David (the Future Cruise Consultant)  who joined us for two evenings. Pipit the Assistant Dining Room Manager was delightful, as were our waiters Wiwit and Suparta. I had decided to ask to speak to the Maitre'd in regards to having my meat cut up, rather than struggle in front of strangers!!!! When I asked Wiwit about speaking to him, he asked if he could help, so I told him my situation. His response was "I will cut it up for you. I am your waiter you are my queen." I never had to ask again! The menus (I have copies) had a good variety for all courses. The food was delicious; cooked to perfection,  and beautifully presented. Service could not be faulted in any way. I just wish I could have sampled everything, (one night I did have 2 desserts!!!) Pipit thank you for all your  kindness. ....I miss you!  It was always a pleasure to see you in the dining room, and along with Wiwit and Suparta you made our evening meals memorable and fun. We also enjoyed a lovely dinner in the Pinnacle one evening. I had the filet mignon which was cooked to perfection, and the chocolate volcano cake was to die for! Service was impeccable. A wonderful dining experience and well worth the cover charge of $20. However, we did miss Pipit and "our boys" from the dining room, and my filet mignon there was just as good! The Master Chef's  Dinner was very enjoyable, although the menu was more limited. Service was quicker than I anticipated despite the dancing between act 1 & 2. I thought the cut out menu and chef's hat were a nice touch. The Dutch High Tea and Dessert Extravaganza were awesome. There were also late night buffets and the Salmon Bake on the Lido Deck which I didn't even sample!! The only food I found that wasn't to my taste was the pizza from the Terrance Grill. It was the 4 cheese one. The taste was there but it was very dry, as though there wasn't any sauce on it. On the evening before leaving the ship I decided to try out in room dining. The burger was one of the best I've ever had! Service was prompt and the burger was hot. I had also planned on having breakfast in my cabin the next morning, but it was the only night the card menu wasn't in my room. I called in room dining and they said to call the office. I did, but after waiting for a full 5 minutes there was no reply so I  abandoned the idea. Activities. Although there were lots going on I never participated in anything. I would have liked to do the trivia, attend some of the culinary classes and the Microsoft workshop. The weather was just so warm that I spent most of the time on the aft deck enjoying the scenery and watching for wildlife. Entertainment. The shows were great, and the Volendam singers and dancers are actually people that work on the ship too!!! The John Denver Tribute with Jim and Anne Curry was excellent, as were the jugglers Wilde & James. The comedian and magician were OK. Patti the cruise director was great in getting passengers involved in various game shows which were fun to watch. I didn't enjoy Frankie in the Piano Bar or Janel & the Hal Cats in the Crow's Nest. The Neptunes in the Ocean Bar  played great music to listen or dance too. Not to be missed is the Indonesian Crew Show. Truly talented singers and dancers who entertained us for an hour and played 3 music pieces with an instrument called an angklung which is made out of bamboo. I could have listened to them all night. Very well done in my opinion. Port & Shore Excursions. We cruised  around Tracy Arm Fjord but because of so much ice in the water we only got 12 miles in.  It was sunny and warm and I enjoyed the scenery while relaxing. Glacier Bay was another beautiful day and the glaciers were awesome with the various colors of blues and greens. Pea soup and hot chocolate were served outside on the deck. I Saw some small glacier calving and you could hear them. I can only imagine the sound of larger calving as we were a little early in the season for that. We did see some whales at the entrance of the Bay but they were too far away and too quick to take a photo. Captain Bos was good at letting us know when wildlife was spotted. It was hot in Juneau and a lovely clear day for going on the tram up Mount Roberts ($27 and you can go up and down as many times as you want.) Got some great photos of the Volendam from up there, as well as the Island Princess who was in port with us.  The 20 minute show (free) about the Tlingit  community was very interesting. Juneau and the tram were completely wheelchair accessible. It was also a clear day in Skagway so we browsed the stores then boarded the White Pass Railway for the 3 hour train ride. It's located directly across from where the ship docks. The scenery with the snow capped mountains was magnificent as we went through tunnels and over bridges. It was well worth the $127  for the ride and to hear the history. Complimentary bottled water was certainly appreciated on this hot day. Skagway is wheelchair accessible as is one of the coaches of the train. It was cloudy coming into Ketchikan but it turned into another warm day. It was also very crowded as the Carnival Spirit, Norwegian Star and Island Princess were in port too.They are bigger ships than the Volendam. Again Ketchikan is wheelchair accessible but those boardwalks make for a bumpy ride! After a quick look around town and a fish (Alaskan halibut) and chip lunch at the Ketchikan Fish House, (I'm sorry but we get better fish (Alaskan halibut) and chips at Original Joes in Red Deer,) we were happy to get back on our "little" ship. Misc. Observations. The Muster Drill went well and in an orderly fashion. I did have to ask for help in putting my life jacket on though, and friends were shocked that nobody had come to my cabin to get me. I was also told to stand in the back row and I would have thought that children and the disabled would have been placed in the front row. However, this was only a practice! When I arrived in my cabin the first day there was a letter saying if  I needed help with my wheelchair to contact the front office. This was followed up with a phone call the next day. Thanks HAL for this kind gesture which was greatly appreciated but thankfully not needed. Overall I found the ship to be very warm and the air conditioning wasn't working for a couple of hours after leaving Vancouver. In my cabin I had the control turned to the lowest setting but it never seemed to cool down. This was rectified by asking for a fan, which helped especially at night time. Staff in the ship stores were not that friendly and very slow. I bought a "gold by the inch" necklace and was told to pick it up the next morning at 9am. I went the next afternoon and it wasn't ready, so I had to wait in line for them to put the clasp on. I appreciated the fact that photographers were not 'always in your face,' and  when photos were taken they were displayed in the gallery for purchasing, so there was no pressure to buy. Captain Bos kept us informed of points of interest, weather and wildlife. He  reminded us about how important it was to wash our hands and use the hand sanitizer, and explained they don't shake hands for sanitary reasons. Instead they put knuckles to knuckles or elbow to elbow. This worked very well for me with my crippled hands!! Although I never felt a thing, he made the announcement that it had been confirmed there had been a small earthquake under the sea one day. Our C.C. Meet and Greet was held on our first sea day in the Crow's Nest. Although we were a small group of 9 everyone showed up plus 2 who hadn't registered. It was lovely to meet in person those we had come to know over the computer, especially as we were all "newbies" to cruising! Sincere thanks to Jacqueline for being my partner in crime in putting it together, and for the collages and bookmarks that we now have to remember our time together. Special thanks to Captain Peter Bos, Francis - Guest Relations Manager, Matt - Beverage Manager, Willem - Hotel Manager and Arun - Culinary Operations Manager for attending our C.C. Meet and Greet, and for the complimentary champagne, mimosas, bloody marys, tea, coffee and cookies. Thanks to Arun, Thomas and Chef Ron for the private tour of the well run (and spotlessly clean) galley. We all appreciated you taking time out of your busy schedules, and for explaining the procedures that go on in your domain. I must remember to take a leaf out of your book and only open my fridge once a day! Also thanks to Anna Babcock & Jocelyn at the HAL office in Seattle for the prompt and efficient response to my phone call, and continuing contact in arranging our C.C. Meet & Greet. Service. I couldn't have asked for better! This was consistent throughout the ship.  Hasan my cabin steward remembered my name, kept my room clean & orderly, filled the ice bucket, made me wonderful towel animals, left a chocolate and turned the bed down every night. Office staff delivered invitations, answered queries, and contacted individual CC'ers about the galley tour. Dining room staff were superb. Pipit welcomed us with a warm smile every evening, and was always available to help me in the Lido for breakfast and lunch. Happy smiling faces around the ship show they love what they are doing, despite being away from family and loved ones for long periods of time. It is unfortunate that our many countries don't get along as well as the personnel on a cruise ship despite their different nationalities and cultures. If they did our world would be a much happier and peaceful one. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Disembarkation. The disembarkation package was in the cabin the day before leaving the ship. Luggage tags where color coded and numbered and tagged luggage was to be put outside the cabin door before midnight. After breakfast in the Lido and a last goodbye to Pipit and the boys, I waited sadly for my color & number to be called at 9am. At 9:15am they were announced along with the deck where I had to disembark. There were no line ups as my ship card was scanned one last time. I went through immigration and out to a taxi and was at the airport by 10am.  LLL  Summary. HAL! I'm hooked!! It truly was a wonderful cruise, and I shall never forget the kindness and friendship extended to me by the crew and passengers onboard  the Volendam June 3 - 10, 2009. I wouldn't hesitate to cruise alone in the future, and it by far exceeded my expectations (and research) in every way. I came home feeling as though I'd left my family behind!!!! I've already paid a deposit on a future cruise and can't wait until I'm back on the Volendam again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
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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