23 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Asia

The Volendam had recently refurbished their bathrooms and public areas but unfortunately did not refurbish their cabins which were very tired indeed. Great storage though in Cabin. The ship was continually cold onboard and we were given a ... Read More
The Volendam had recently refurbished their bathrooms and public areas but unfortunately did not refurbish their cabins which were very tired indeed. Great storage though in Cabin. The ship was continually cold onboard and we were given a variety of reasons why the air conditioning continued to blast out cold air yet I have seen other reviews about HAL complaining about the cold onboard their ships. Many passengers continually wore coats throughout the ship, some even had blankets with them in the dining room. Two of our companions left the ship with chest infections. Entertainment day and evening was very poor with very few activities to choose from. At age 60 plus I felt like youngster on board with the averse age of guest being about 80 years old. For whatever reason the ship was deserted at 10 pm every evening! Staff were generally very helpful except when we complained about the cold. They continually repeated that they take all complaints seriously but couldn’t explain why the air conditioning was always blowing out very cold air. If I were to speculate why I would suggest they are trying to ensure germs cannot breed. They should have followed this up though with staff encouraging passengers to wash their hands as they entered the dining areas as I have experienced with other shipping lines. The hands cleansing machines were at every entrance but unfortunately not all passengers used them. I will definitely never sail with HAL again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise as it went to spots in Indonesia that would be difficult to arrange by air. We also like round trip vice lineal itineraries, The staff did not provide us with a tile at the Mariners luncheon, however guest services ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it went to spots in Indonesia that would be difficult to arrange by air. We also like round trip vice lineal itineraries, The staff did not provide us with a tile at the Mariners luncheon, however guest services was happy to give them when we requested at their counter, and also seemed surprised they had not been distributed, Missed seeing a ships log cruise summary that we had received at the end of other HAL voyages. The ships singers were weak and need to be replaced. Our cabin steward was long on smiles and pleasant conversation, but could not get the concept of ice or fruit to the cabin, or picking up soiled towels in the bathroom. Note: most cabins do not have a frig. The ships activities director let down the Protestant worship community by omitting to include the worship in the second Sunday of the cruise, as she directly promised that she would, and when this was brought to her attention on Saturday evening, she stated that it was a mistake and worship would be announced by the cruise director on the ships speaker system. This did not happen and the Wajang theater was not available at the time she directed, as it was utilized by blackout bingo during the afternoon. I did not make a fuss, but I was extremely disappointed in Christine as her actions denied our opportunity to worship. We are 4 star HAL Mariners and will avoid the Volendam in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and ... Read More
We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and Singapore. Overall, not too many days "at the sea" and nice ports of call selections. Good start and end ports (where you can come in earlier or stay more at the end - like three days for each) to you can better see and experience both Hong Kong and Singapore. The ship is not in a good shape anymore. The food is about average (the same food choice over and over again, day after day). The Lido on this ship closes at 8 pm (not at 9 pm as on other Holland America ships). The late dining takes way too long (one hour is the minimum - going up to 1.5 or 2 hrs) as they did cut on cooks and waiters as well - so be prepared to wait for your food if you want each night dining experience. We skipped the dining experience for the last couple of days as it was too long for getting the food. As usual, shore excursions as overpriced, but if you do your homework in advance - you can get at least 1/2 price if not even better. These are interesting ports of call - so the cruise is worth although it has all these issues (mentioned above). The late night entertainment was sub par (only 3 good shows in 14 days). Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary. My wife and I have been to several of the places around the world that HAL travels and this one has certainly been on my bucket list. I gave this particular cruise 4 stars rather that 5 ... Read More
Chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary. My wife and I have been to several of the places around the world that HAL travels and this one has certainly been on my bucket list. I gave this particular cruise 4 stars rather that 5 specifically due to some disappointment with the ship. As usual the crew, the service, and food were excellent but I was a little disappointed in the ship particularly since it had just been in dry dock for refurbishment within the past few months. We had expected some of the upgrades (ie: on demand television services, etc) from other ships and did not find them,. It appeared the what was primarily done was some paint, paper, and furniture. Not a grave disappointment but nevertheless below our expectations. As for the specific services everything was as we continue to expect on HAL cruises. Since we are 4 Star Mariners the embarkation and disembarkation was flawless as well as the priority tendering and other amenities that go along with that status. I was particularly impressed the new decoration, meals and service we encountered in the Pinnacle Grill and the Caneleto. Both beyond what we have come to expect. On the downside the on-board internet service leaves a lot to be desired. I have read many, many reviews from other passengers complaining of this and it seems they have fallen on deaf ears. Also, I was not aware until we got on board that this ship did not have the BB King Blues Club and band, big disappointment particularly since the regular on board entertainment was somewhat lacking. Overall I was pleased with this particular cruise and would certainly consider taking it again!! Read Less
Sail Date January 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
My mother chose this line as she had travelled with Holland America previously. It is a good way to see countries in Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and then stop in Hong Kong. The ship itself was comfortable. The food in the Lido ... Read More
My mother chose this line as she had travelled with Holland America previously. It is a good way to see countries in Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and then stop in Hong Kong. The ship itself was comfortable. The food in the Lido was so so, but the dining room food was better. It would be nice if there was a breakfast bar for smoothies, etc as a healthy alternative to fried bacon, eggs, sausages. The staff on board is, as I have always found, very nice and helpful. Lovely people. I was disappointed with the state of their tennis court - every day there was activities “meet for tennis”, but the court was always wet and sometimes the net was down. If you could not find any staff about the decks, you had to take pool towels and dry the court yourself. The tennis balls available were terribly old and in really bad shape. Pickle ball was also offered and the equipment for that was in better shape. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Second time with HAL, we were concerned about the length of the voyage at 28 days. But at the end, 28 days journey has gone by fast. We find this is one of the more enjoyable trips we experienced. The itinerary was good, there is enough at ... Read More
Second time with HAL, we were concerned about the length of the voyage at 28 days. But at the end, 28 days journey has gone by fast. We find this is one of the more enjoyable trips we experienced. The itinerary was good, there is enough at sea time to rest up, especially traveling in warm weather regions. During the voyage, HAL has a very good program on excursion and shore activities by the EXC group, in particular, the presenters Jeremy and Phil were excellent presenters, very knowledgeable with each and every stop of ports-of-calls. The information given is very valuable, not just for company sponsored excursions but for the people who want to roam on their own. Plenty of advice on the Do's and the Don'ts. We also appreciate the attentions given to handling visas to Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. HAL handled it well, seamlessly and painless. The food in general is very good, better than what we had in the previous HAL cruise. Lido Market has good varieties and the Main Dining Room service is quite well. The hamburgers and hotdogs served in the pool area are great, especially the fries. Though, during breakfast and lunch in the Lido Market is a bit chaotic, due to the medium size of the ship, the dining rooms are relatively small, guests often congregate in certain areas and not exactly know where to lineup to be served, and overwhelming the serving staff. Our interior room is located on Main Deck aft. It is a little noisy and high mechanical vibrations when the side-thrusters are operating during docking of the ship. The entertainment is OK, I have seen better but it is not the worst. The cooking shows in America Test Kitchen are quite good, library and game rooms (not casino) are well stocked. Lots of area to relax, live entertainment with live musics is quite good. The outside walking deck on the 3rd deck is quite good. All in all, HAL's Volendam is a pleasant ship to sail on, it has enough activities and food service to keep us busy on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We just finished our cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore over Christmas and New Year. What a great way to spend the holiday! We loved the ship. Just the perfect size. We thoroughly enjoyed all our excursions but, as we used private ... Read More
We just finished our cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore over Christmas and New Year. What a great way to spend the holiday! We loved the ship. Just the perfect size. We thoroughly enjoyed all our excursions but, as we used private tours, cannot comment on the ship's excursions. We booked an inside cabin and were pleasantly surprised how spacious the room was. Our cabin attendants were good and the waiters at our table in the Main Dining Room were fantastic. The food as always was really good. The staff on HAL and the service they provide has been outstanding on all of our cruises. The bartenders always have a smile and love to have a chat. The New Year's Eve party was a blast and the rest of the entertainment was ok. We did not find any fault with any of our holiday on HAL. We will definitely sail with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Chose this cruise to travel with family already booked. First time we have cruised with Holland America. Great selection of Ports. The ship was easy to move around. Staff excellent. Cabin was great with door opening onto lower promenade ... Read More
Chose this cruise to travel with family already booked. First time we have cruised with Holland America. Great selection of Ports. The ship was easy to move around. Staff excellent. Cabin was great with door opening onto lower promenade deck. Ideal for us. Dining was excellent with no delay in sèating. Fantastic food. Entertainment and activities limited for us. Could be improved. Main complaint was the air conditioner not operating. Too cold for first three days despite four complaints. The got too hot and this was not resolved.we know from a message on our phone that previous occupants had same issue. Poor service by technicians. Port s and shore excursions great. No problem embarking and disembarking at ports. Well organised. Handing back of passports for Thailand poor. Huge delays. Should be better than this. Would consider cruising again but would look at all alternative with better entertainment and activity options. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We recently finished a 14-day Hong Kong to Singapore cruise on the ms Volendam. We have sailed with Holland America before and, as always, the staff and the service they provide cannot be beat. The food was also very good. However, the ... Read More
We recently finished a 14-day Hong Kong to Singapore cruise on the ms Volendam. We have sailed with Holland America before and, as always, the staff and the service they provide cannot be beat. The food was also very good. However, the ship itself is showing its age and, fortunately, is going in for upgrades and refurbishing before the next cruise. We had an obstructed view cabin and the air conditioning never worked for the entire cruise. Considering that the temperatures were very hot the entire cruise and humidity was very high, this was a major concern. They did not seem to be able to address it but did give us a $300 credit at the end of the cruise to make up for it. There were also problems with several of the units in the fitness centre and we were told that they would not be addressed because the ship was going in for major work at the end of our cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed all our excursions but, as we used private tours, cannot comment on the ship's excursions. Holland America does need to put some extra effort in handling tenders though -- the set up for getting tender tickets and the process for boarding the tenders was handled extremely poorly at both ports where tenders were required. Come on, HAL -- this isn't something that you haven't done thousands of times! As noted at the start, our cabin attendants were fantastic, as were the waiters at our table in the Main Dining Room. The staff on HAL and the service they provide has been outstanding on all of our cruise. We will definitely sail with Holland America again but will be sure to check the status of a given ship before booking our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
14 days Japan, China, Taiwan -- Landed into Narita Airport 2 days prior to embarkation, took the Narita Express Train to Yokohama (4290 YEN/$38USD). We stayed at Hotel Monterey Yokohama, which is only 4 large blocks away from the ... Read More
14 days Japan, China, Taiwan -- Landed into Narita Airport 2 days prior to embarkation, took the Narita Express Train to Yokohama (4290 YEN/$38USD). We stayed at Hotel Monterey Yokohama, which is only 4 large blocks away from the cruise terminal. Narita Express Train: HIGHLY recommend. Train leaves airport roughly every half an hour. Yokohama was either 5th or 6th stop but there's TV screens about every 20ft down the main aisle that shows you what stops are coming up so youowon't miss your stop. There are also announcements in english. Ticket booth to purchase tickets are right when you exit the baggage claim area. Seat number & car numbers are on your ticket. Make sure you are in the correct car number because some of the cars splits throughout the route. From the main Yokohama Train Station, we took the Minatomirai Line to Motomachi-Chukagai station [~5 stops away, 8 minutes total], this station was the closest to the hotel, about 6-8 blocks away. Hotel: ~$140 USD per night booked through Expedia. Check in and out was easy. Employees spoke basic English. We had a non-smoking room but there were definitely still a lingering scent of smoke. We cracked open the window, turned on the fan and went out to dinner. By the time we got back, it was better. Great central location for the price! On embarkation day, hotel held our luggage for us (free) while we went out for breakfast and a little bit of exploring before we got on the ship. Volendam Ship: The main Cruise Critic review of this ship is pretty spot on. A bit outdated but honestly, I'm on this cruise to explore a different country. My onboard spending for 14 days was 1/3 of what it was on a previous 7-day Alaska cruise. I spent as much time on land as possible. Dining: I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the food. Both the lido deck and the dining room did not exceed my expectations. Above average but just not quite up to the Holland America standard that I was hoping for. **At least on 5 different occasions, drinking cups were not readily available at the drink station closest to the table I was at. Very minor issue since you can just walk over to the other 3 drink stations but little things like this can irk you if it keeps happening. Service: Holland America crew consistently go above and beyond. ****CHANGE IN ITINERARY **** Due to the "foggy" weather [pollution], Shanghai's pilot station closed down temporally. Once they opened it back up, the water level in the Yangtze River wasn't quite high enough for us to leave. We spent a good ~6 hours sitting at the mouth of the Yangtze River. Wasn't safe to speed up to make it to Naha, Japan so the ship skipped it and got into Keelung, Taipei half a day early. I'll do separate reviews for the 9 ports that we stopped in. Keep an eye out for them if you're interested. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Was a great cruise, missed one port because of bad weather. We stayed in Keelung, Taiwan an additional night to make up for it. Cruise Director Bruce was very good, Jeremy, the ports of call guide, was excellent, service was fantastic, ... Read More
Was a great cruise, missed one port because of bad weather. We stayed in Keelung, Taiwan an additional night to make up for it. Cruise Director Bruce was very good, Jeremy, the ports of call guide, was excellent, service was fantastic, menu selection in Lido Buffet could have been better, food was excellent though, entertainment was pretty good. They even had some local entertainment come on board at some ports, which added some local color and flavor. Embarkation and disembarkation was simple and quick. The only hassle of the cruise was all the passport meetings and documentation that was needed what with going into and leaving five different countries in a matter of four weeks. As far as the itinerary, we could have stayed in Yokohama, the port city for Tokyo, overnight. One day was just not enough time to explore a large city like that. The shuttle buses provided by HAL in most of the ports was a very nice feature. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My husband and I decided to spend our birthdays cruising South East Asia on board the Volendam. We decided to take this cruise late in the year and there were not that many room options available for us. We decided on the room 3381 and ... Read More
My husband and I decided to spend our birthdays cruising South East Asia on board the Volendam. We decided to take this cruise late in the year and there were not that many room options available for us. We decided on the room 3381 and the first few days went ok but then it started to leak water from the upstairs kitchen. Once we called the front office, the staff were very gracious and helpful moving us to another room and then to a nicer balcony few days after they realized we were celebrating our birthdays. This made all the difference in the world for us. It was a very thoughtful gesture we are very grateful for. They made sure we were enjoying the cruise and checked with us regularly. Special thanks to Iva Kreuzmannova who sent us flowers, champagne, voucher for dinner at Canaletto after issue with the water leak in our room in the middle of the night and realizing we were there to celebrate our birthdays. It was a very thoughtful and generous gift to compensate for our aggravation-Thanks again. The food was great in all venues. We ate in all food venues and enjoyed each one of them without any complaints. The food was superb in Canaletto and Pinnacle grill as well as the Rotterdam and Lido. I was very impressed with the food quality and presentation every single night. I did not have a bad meal there. Staff is very friendly and eager to serve. Our stewards on room 3381 and 4224 were amazing and caring. I had such a great time in this cruise that I would repeat this cruise in a heartbeat. I am currently looking into China and Japan cruise as well as Australia/ New Zealand cruise for next year. Thank You Holland America for making our Birthdays so special! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My Volendam experience overall was positive . The Indonesia and Far East discovery cruise was perfect length of time to experience the flavour of SE Asia. As a single traveler I found the itinerary and the price reasonable. This was my ... Read More
My Volendam experience overall was positive . The Indonesia and Far East discovery cruise was perfect length of time to experience the flavour of SE Asia. As a single traveler I found the itinerary and the price reasonable. This was my second HAL experience and it was a great way to embrace cruising in a safe and interesting way. I cannot comment about the ship other than to say it was clean and other than minor floods in the theatre ( no kidding) the crew fixed the problem. One of the things I observed was the Captains commitment to safety of the passengers. I loved having a cabin to myself. The stateroom stewards were great. I had a problem with a noisy fan in the bathroom and it was fixed promptly. I did not go on the cruise for the dinners but I thought the dining room staff were polite and accommodating. Some more helpful than others but all in all great. the food was not rock and roll wonderful but the special dinners were very nice. I had dinner in the cannetello and was underwhelmed - waste of money. maybe I went of a bad night. My favourite entertainment was the Adagio group they were a treasure. I went once or twice to the theatre shows - it was a hit or miss. some people loved the shows I was sorry I missed the mime. I heard he was wonderful. Barry from Boston grew a following in the evenings. he is goofy bold and has a huge repertoire of music he was talented at engaging everyone in sing alongs. He also was kookie in the kiss the fish event. the activities on the boat were fun, lots of people enjoyed then, The singles event coordinator was wonderful she also hosted some cooking shows lots of interesting ideas lots of fun. I liked the lectures in the Indonesian leg of the trip there were not too many ( it would have added a lot to that leg of the trip) the second leg was terrific, we had Tai chi and chi gong classes, history of china, fantastic Phil gave special sessions in the Hudson lounge. We were informed about Buddha, food and cultural characteristics of people. The special martini events were fun too. the gym was clean and the staff in the gym were very helpful. Service was good. the staff at the front desk were great. The Ports - thank goodness for cruise critic . the trips I participated in through cruise critic were wonderful the excursions the I took through HAL were because of the 2 hour drive back and forth from the location to the Ship. Boroduru was wonderful, the HAL bus trip was terrible the use tried to squeeze too many people into too little space . So the stop mid way at the Eva cafe was good the World heritage site was amazing I loved it . the dinner provided was delicious.coming back we stopped at a silver factory it was okay. we had a police escort to get to and from Boroduru. Other people that took private tours got back in time they just took other roads. the trip to AYATHUYA was interesting It was TOO expensive and I would not recommend it. the ship takes two to two and a half hours to get into Bangkok. I was hoping to get some shopping in but the Ayatthuya trip did not allow for that. the elephant ride was okay, I had had enough of Kenny our guide by 2 hours into the trip. waste of money waste of my time. Day two was more interesting the trip on the river, the grand palace was lovely still no time to shop. when you have only a few hours to sleep who need such an expensive hotel? Bottom line just take the shuttle in to Bangkok and do it on your own. Halong Bay was through HAL and I would recommend this trip. lovely and wonderful. Tommy tours in Da Nang is wonderful. I have written a review in trip advisor . loved that day. In Bali we had a driver Mertee from drivers with distinction that showed us around the island. He was fun accommodating and a terrific person to give us an overview of Bali. I would also recommend him. Our private tour in lombock was great. we saw all kinds of temples I joined another cruise critics tour and I cannot find the operators name, but it was very good. Gokomodo tours was good. also arranged trough cruise critic. this was the only place that I made a mistake. there were lots of kids and one darling boy came up begging, he said he had no mother or father I gave him some fruit. right away I had 1 million kids surrounding me. our tour operator said this was a typical strategy kids use. and that he most likely had parents. Viet nam wonderful but crowded. Jakarta dirty and smoggy Singapore - I would go in a heartbeat. that orchid garden in amazing would I go again ? Maybe to revisit some sites and other new ones. I would definitely have more confidence to go on my own. The other travellers you meet are great. all have a variety of background experience. they are also a treasure. all in all those are some of my thoughts on my adventure. all best Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Overall it was an enjoyable cruise and trip, however, some things made the overall experience a little sour. What we enjoyed: the destinations and the ship amenities and food service. What was quite poor: The guest relations. ... Read More
Overall it was an enjoyable cruise and trip, however, some things made the overall experience a little sour. What we enjoyed: the destinations and the ship amenities and food service. What was quite poor: The guest relations. McDonald's treats its customer better. Before we embarked we called the guest relations to get an address for where the ship was in port. The lady on the phone gave us the wrong address! We had to pay extra taxi fee to get to the correct destination. And had to find it and navigate with no phone or internet service. Which, in a foreign country is quite difficult to say the least. We also had a poor experience with guest relations after the cruise. My iPhone was misplaced the second to last day of the cruise and not found so we put our name on the lost and found items list. Of course it never showed up before we disembarked. I contacted the cruise line 2 weeks after the cruise asking if it had been found or turned in and they responded they had not found it. Well a week later they email me with a picture of the phone asking me if it was the correct phone and it was. So I said hooray please ship to my address. Well, it has been over a month since then and still no phone. I have emailed two times requesting some update or status and have not received an answer. My suspicion is that my phone was not "misplaced", but was stolen by the crew. But because I protect my phone with pin and password the member was not able to hack into it and eventually gave up and turned it in. I scoured everywhere I was the night I lost it, it had to have been taken by someone. So, anyway, we won't be using Holland America Cruise Line for any future cruises simply because of the guest relations. We love cruise travel and never have had anything like this as far as overall customer service. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have cruised with Holland America Line on 14 of their cruises on various vessels. This was our first experience on the ms Volendam. First of all, the employees on the ms Volendam, like nearly all of their sister vessels' ... Read More
We have cruised with Holland America Line on 14 of their cruises on various vessels. This was our first experience on the ms Volendam. First of all, the employees on the ms Volendam, like nearly all of their sister vessels' employees, were superb and met our expectations for the most part, with some issues noted below. Our Suite Stewards were Excellent! A. The Pinnacle Grille personnel were all superb from top to bottom, as well as the food, though the menu needs to be tweaked. We ate there three times in the 16 days we were on the ship and would have liked a little more variety, but all the food we ate was outstanding, and worth the extra expense. B. Check in and Embarkation worked extremely well in Hong Kong. C. Disembarkation in Yokohama was also seamless. D. Front Desk personnel were also superb and very very helpful. E. The Canaletto was a nice experience at minimal extra cost though we only used it once during our cruise, this time. The portions are huge and could be cut back a bit in our estimation. Problem Areas on the ms Volendam.: 1. Maintenance on the ship was not up to par in our estimation, with many many rust areas on the outside decks, and the suite we were in had scratches and nicks in the desk area and around the wooden parts of the door frames, etc. 2. Reduced man power in the main Dining Room - the Rotterdam, caused extremely slow service for all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that we ate there. 3. The lack of employees stretched those that were working in the Rotterdam to the point where 30 minutes was not unusal to get the first course or the main course, which were often luke warm by the time they were served. 4. Having so few personnel also meant it was difficult to get anyone's attention when you needed something extra or something simple like a cup of coffee. 5. Though most, but not all of the shore excursions that we took (costing over US$2500 in total for two people) were well done, the cattle car experiences of waiting in the Frans Hal theater for those excursions was very difficult with inadequate seating and the shore excursion staff in the Frans Hal were treating the guests as a bunch of children on a school outing rather than as paying adults. Repeating and being loud and "pushy" is not what should have been done. They need to break up the areas for assembling to more than this one venue, which could be done if they had adequate resources to man the Frans Hal and the Explorer's Lounge, or the theater as examples. 6. The Lido food and presentations need to be monitored better though we seldom use the Lido to avoid the buffet atmosphere and the "mobs" of people clamoring for food. This ship needs a dry docking to bring it back up to par with some of the other HAL ships. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We had a thoroughly enjoyable trip on the Volendam, great itinerary and well looked after by a really cheerful and efficient team on board. We really couldn't fault the overall "hotel" experience on board although a bit less ... Read More
We had a thoroughly enjoyable trip on the Volendam, great itinerary and well looked after by a really cheerful and efficient team on board. We really couldn't fault the overall "hotel" experience on board although a bit less "Asian" cuisine in the Lido towards the end of the cruise would have been nice. The daily "Afternoon Tea" was a plus point. We booked the "Evening at Le Cirque" dining option in the Pinnacle Grill on one evening, fabulous food with paired wines, well worth the extra expense even though the room space itself felt a bit odd. Embarkation and Disembarkation procedures were spot on. Entertainment in the main lounge was poor, the piano player "Barry from Boston" was excellent as were "The Neptunes". We had the added bonus of connecting with a pretty vibrant group of fellow travellers on the Cruise Critic forum and in the end virtually all our tours and excursions were organised privately via this method. We had one HAL trip through the cruise, very overpriced and a bit dull to be honest. Some tips:- Sihanoukville - I can't recommend the tour we did through the Don Bosco Hotel School enough, such an uplifting and valuable project making a real difference to local youth, a brilliant day. Bangkok - An overnight tour is well worth it, we used BKK tours and they were brilliant, saw so much in great company. Phu My for Saigon - We did a Cu Chi Tunnels tour and it was ok but Vietnam is such a traffic blackspot that the travel time got a bit too much. Wish we'd have just gone to Saigon for the day. Imperial Hue - Not an ideal trip from port, 6 hour round trip in that horrible Vietnamese traffic. Halong Bay - Spent a great day out on the Bay including food etc, saw such a lot more than with a HAL trip, definite highlight. Great holiday all round I'd say, the mid ship size of the Volendam definitely a plus, never felt lost amongst the crowd. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
The Indonesian ports selected were quite special and side trips offered to important sites:- A. Ports of Call Tanjung Priok (Jakarta): This is the port of Jakarta and it is in North Jakarta. I think this stop was set up for port ... Read More
The Indonesian ports selected were quite special and side trips offered to important sites:- A. Ports of Call Tanjung Priok (Jakarta): This is the port of Jakarta and it is in North Jakarta. I think this stop was set up for port and passport clearance. Not much to see here. Excursions offered glimpses of old Jakarta but the city is so massive and jammed up that tours here are frustratingly slow. A free shuttle took us to a shopping center in the North of Jakarta. Many stayed around but others took a taxi from the shopping center and visited parts of Jakarta. A short stopover, docked. Semarang: is more interesting as it is one of the smaller cities. Free shuttle provided to bring is to a mall named "Chiputra" at a location named Simpang Lima (five track junction). Two shopping centers side by side, one with a department store named Matahari. Lots of things to buy and eat. We caught at taxi cab to Junah shopping center, where the locals buy stuff and managed to get hold of many dresses, sarongs and shirts. Not many sights to see but many took a side trip to the Borobudur Temple (2 1/2 drive away). Fairly long stopover, docked. Probolinggo: A small town which has remained unchaged for many years. Again a free shuttle took is to KDS shopping center. We hopped onto a trishaw and asked to be taken for a ride around town. Ate at a Nasi Padang outlet "BeeJay" reaonably tasty it was. Short stopover and made shorter by tendering. Many took a side trip to see Mt Bromo. Bali: A lovely site for everyone. The port is in the south part at Benoa. Many wonderful locations to view: Seminyak, Jimbaran, Ubud, Kuta beach, downtown Denpasar, Nusa Dua. Glad that the docked overnight so that there was no need to rush back. Caught a taxi from the port to visit our favourite haunts: Kuta, Seminyak and lunch at Jimbaran. Spent the next day at Kuta, swimming, eating and shopping. Good stopover. Tours offered glimpses of Ubud (2 hr drive one way). rice fields, volcano. Lombok: one of the three reaons we signed up for this cruise. A lovely island that reminds you of the old Bali. We landed and took a taxi to visit Seringgi beach where Sheraton hotel is sited. Spend the day there. Licensed taxis are not allowed to enter the port area by the local mafia controlling the business, and we had to trot out about 1km from the ship to meet this taxi - Blue Bird. Beach was lovely, not to clear water, food at Sheraton was good. Tendered and rather short. Komodo: Main reason for joining this cruise. Arrived at about 10am, took the tender to shore and hooked up with our private tour: Took a 2 km walk around the park, saw and hpotographed 10 Komodo dragons, then caught a boat to an Island opposite from the park and spent the afternoon swimming at "Pink Beach". Pink because of bits of pink coral missed with the white and. Very good beach, clear water and surprising cold (about 16deg C). Surabaya: Cruise liner cancelled this stop much to my disappointment. This was the third reason for us to join the cruise. B. The ship Rather old, but well maintained. Medium sized - about 1200 passengers. Overall a good ship. Complaint: My room on the the third deck suffered from vibrations with sailing, thankfully the vibration did not run through to shake the bed. C. Staff Excellent service staff, room attendants, food service, crew and sailors. Polite at all times, attentive to details. D. Entertainment Smallish theatre but good internatinal class singers, dancers and musicians. Enjoyed all the shows. Particularly like to mention Paul McD at the Piano bar who kept us laughing and involved for many of the nights. E. Food Sit down service three meals a day (except for onshore where lunch is not served). 70% of the dishes were very good, the remaining 30% mediocre at best. Highlights were - prime rib roast - swordfish steaks - veal cutlets - striploin beef - lobster tails - escargots - sea trout Asian food served was at best mediocre. This ship serves very good Western food. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I liked the itinerary. I had visited some of the places on the itinerary, already. But I had never visited Indonesia or Da Nang. I also had been on the Volendam on a previous cruise before. Embarkation: Was fast and efficient. ... Read More
I liked the itinerary. I had visited some of the places on the itinerary, already. But I had never visited Indonesia or Da Nang. I also had been on the Volendam on a previous cruise before. Embarkation: Was fast and efficient. Its also nice that the Singapore port was close to the transit system to get into the city area. Cabin: Clean, but a little outdated. Dining: For the first part of the cruise was fine, but then the second part the cuisine was very repetitious. Service was good. Ports: not all locations were places I would have gotten off ship. These particular ports had nothing around them. One place in particular would have been interesting if the Cruise ship provided some type of map and directions to get around the local area. No children along. One of the other main reasons we choose Holland is that it is one of the only cruise lines now that allow you to smoke on your cabin balconies. I don't smoke but I have to make sure that both of us are happy. It will be a BIG disappointment if Holland follows the pattern of no smoking on your own cabin balconies. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our first and probably last trip with Holland America. We had previously done a 19 night trip with Cunard which we thoroughly enjoyed. The cruise ticked all the boxes when we booked. It was travelling from Hong Kong to Japan and ... Read More
This was our first and probably last trip with Holland America. We had previously done a 19 night trip with Cunard which we thoroughly enjoyed. The cruise ticked all the boxes when we booked. It was travelling from Hong Kong to Japan and was stopping at Shanghai, Beijing, Nagasaki and Osaka. The cruise was really a way of getting from Hong Kong to Osaka and the visited ports. I am just glad it was only a 14 cruise and not a 6 week cruise like Independents. My wife was ready to get off after 12 of the 14 days! We did a short independent holiday in Hong Kong first. We stayed at the Peninsula and everything was more perfect than even we expected. We then moved to the Marco Polo Hong Kong where we stayed in a continental club room. It was also good place to stay and it had the advantage of being close to the cruise terminal. A hotel porter took our luggage to the terminal and we appreciated the service. My concerns about the cruise arose on boarding when the gentleman ahead tried to collect my wife's purse and he had to be pulled away by his wife. He clearly was not with it. It soon became apparent that we were one of the few people of working age on the cruise and that the number of older cruisers on board was at an exceptionally high level. It was also apparent that it was more of a floating old peoples home than anything else. One of our friends had travelled on Holland America on a Mediterranean cruise and he had not encountered this problem. Things got off to a bad start as we were not told that there was a problem with the water. After my wife had a shower the face washer was very brown. We are not used to brown water where we live and it is not something that you should have to endure on your cruise. It took days for the problem to be acknowledged and it had not been resolved by the time we disembarked. My wife's experience with the front office in relation to this was very negative. Dining was another experience. We ended up giving up asking for a table for two in the Rotterdam dining room as it was invariably unavailable without an extended wait. Nor were we able to secure a reservation for a table for two. The treatment we received from the staff member allocating the tables is almost identical to that noted by a previous reviewer. That is, almost a sense of pleasure in saying that a table was not available despite us then walking past vacant tables for two. The range of meals and the quality of meals was below expectations as was the service. However, it tended to better than the food in the Lido which was more in the way of institutional food. The chicken was overcooked and the curries undercooked. The food was quite bland, which might be a reflection of what it is thought the target market want. Then again, it might be what they do want. After returning from the Beijing excursion where not surprisingly, Chinese banquet food was served, one traveller remarked how nice it was to come back to 'real food'. The fruit was problem. It was either too ripe or too unripe. When we were in Beijing there was a vendor's cart at the Tomb and they had a really nice range of fresh fruit. I would have liked some of it as what was on the boat was not great. We did go to the Pinnacle Grill and it was a real contrast. The food and the service was what you would expect of an up-market restaurant. If we were on the boat any longer I suspect we would have eaten there more even though you have to pay extra to eat there. Unlike the Cunard cruise, there was minimal to be offered in the way of intellectual stimulation. Lectures about gems etc were really not so thinly veiled sales pitches. Nor would I count casino activities as such activities. We paid for nearly all the Holland America shore excursions and while there were some issues that ought to be addressed they were good. We paid top dollar to stay in Beijing overnight.The main issue is that some of the passengers who had mobility issues did not seem to understand the Holland America brochures. Some wag suggested that the three people sign stood for "needs three carers to push you". They did not understand that structures built in a time before lifts and escalators have access and mobility issues associated with them and that it is not easy with a walking frame on cobble stones. They are also world heritage listed so it is not as though lifts and escalators could be installed without desecrating these sites. These issues were poorly dealt with by the boat's shore excursion staff. Those who suffered were the more mobile. If you have only 20 minutes to see something and it takes the person with mobility issues 10 minutes to get off the bus then you are impacted on adversely. I have to say there was one person where there was mobility issues and they were very responsible. They waited until everybody else was off the bus before getting off but this was the exception rather than the norm. There is also a problem with disembarking at ports. We were told that the Holland America groups would have priority in Nagasaki but when we got to the immigration hall it was full of independent travellers who had been let off the ship before us. It took about 40 minutes for us to get through immigration and it took the edge off the excursion before we even got on the bus. Disembarkation was also a bad experience. We waited 20 minutes in our bus for a rude traveller who did not care about their fellow travellers. There was no apology offered and apparently this traveller had 'form' for this type of behaviour. We stayed at the Imperial Hotel Osaka after disembarkation. This was arranged through Holland America. The Holland America staff in Osaka in contrast to the staff in the boat front office were very helpful and the hotel was also excellent. It was quite a contrast to the service on the boat. Australians do not believe in tipping and that is an issue that Holland America needs to address when selling cruises to Australians. The underlying philosophy in Australia, as often repeated in travel pages here, is that wages should be adequate to live on rather than having to depend on tips. It was not all negative on the boat. The service from the room attendant was superb. I have looked at the reviews since we have returned home and find myself in agreement with Independant and wonder whether the favourable reviewers travelled on the same boat. Maybe our expectations are higher. As you can see our issues were primarily with the service on the boat and as people who paid top dollar we were left somewhat underwhelmed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Our cruise got off to a bad start, the drink packages we had prepaid for did not appear on our cards so the drinks were charged to our room, the other family we were travelling with the same thing happened. Easy fix you should think but ... Read More
Our cruise got off to a bad start, the drink packages we had prepaid for did not appear on our cards so the drinks were charged to our room, the other family we were travelling with the same thing happened. Easy fix you should think but for the next two weeks our wives complained daily to try and get our account fixed. They complained to the front office the head of the beverages (Ferdinand) all to no avail. Ferdinand's excuse was 'I'm not good with computers.' We also found him to be very condescending to our wives, there was a real feeling on our wives part that all male staff look down on female passengers who complain. We slept badly the thrusters on the boat vibrated us out the bed on every port call early in the morning. We were also woken by maintenance staff banging on metal early in the morning. Also if you have kids don’t even consider Holland America. We had 3 teenagers travelling with us, who were not looked after at all. They had a daily activities list for them an nearly every time they turn up to the venue, no staff turned up to run them. On one occasion on the pool deck they had a table tennis comp for them at 4pm, they turned up and no staff were there. We watched these staff lazily walk through at 4.10pm chatting away to each other as if without a care in the world they did not even give the kids a second glance. Things only improved slightly after we complained, which we seemed to be doing all the time. My wife finally won a carribean cruise for two to the carribean, she was so excited at the time. Little did we know that the man who approached her and whispered ‘its not all its cracked up to be’ would be so right. It had a note on the certificate that we could transfer it to another cruise of our choice and as we could not afford the $5000 dollars in flights it would cost us to get there we decided to use it on one from Australia. When we tried they said they give us the equivalent of $900 US value off any cruise. Subsequently we picked a cruise from Australia on their website, which was on sale (every cruise is on sale anyway). When my wife rang them we were told we had to pay full price so it ended up just being $100 less than the sale price!!!! Needless to say we won’t ever cruise with Holland America again. We have since booked two cruises for 2016 with Royal Caribbean, we’ve had 3 cruises with them and had no problems.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Second time cruising with HAL. Had previously been on the Oosterdam to New Zealand and this time was introducing my father to cruising as he has long been a critic and swore he would never go on a large ship. We had two days in Hong Kong ... Read More
Second time cruising with HAL. Had previously been on the Oosterdam to New Zealand and this time was introducing my father to cruising as he has long been a critic and swore he would never go on a large ship. We had two days in Hong Kong prior to departure and it was busy in town as was Chinese new year. Embarkation went smoothly after a fairly long walk through the shopping centre. It was quite amusing as the route that you had to take traversed a number of floors and corridors of a busy shopping centre and HAL had placed staff at each point to direct you. There was an orderly system in place using numbers and drinks available. Seemed to be a large number of Australians on board but also considerable Americans and Canadians. We were very happy with the size and amenities of our Oceanview stateroom. To be honest it was larger than our room in Hong Kong. Beds were comfortable, plenty of storage space and a nice lounge. I had read extensive reviews about the Volendam and was slightly apprehensive about the conditions on board. I needn't have worried. I can't comprehend how previous reviewers have described this ship as old and run down. My father is extremely discerning and not once did he find something to complain about. There were so many nooks and crannies to explore and the artwork was great to look at. We became regulars on the Lido poolside for the sail-away music sessions and also loved the Explorations café and library. Crows nest chairs were extremely comfortable and one of my only gripes was that you couldn't get coffee service up there (the bar staff there told me to go down to the Lido and bring up my own cup of coffee and we saw a few people doing this. I recall on the Oosterdam the café was next to the Crows nest so this wasn't a problem. We loved the Lido restaurant and the regular Philippine and Indonesian themed nights. Food was of an extremely high standard in all restaurants and only negative was the night my father had rack of lamb when it was served very rare. My father didn't send it back but the server was aghast that he hadn't eaten it. We loved the formal nights and the final night international night. Activities onboard were many and varied. I did the Asian beer tasting and found it excellent (as was the beer). The entertainment was varied and of a pretty good standard. The comedian from South Africa was excellent (can't recall his name), we went most nights and would generally sit up the back as my father would want to leave after a few songs/minutes. The one exception was the 'amore' performance on the second last night. He loves his music and both the male and female lead vocals were exceptional and the performers had obviously put in a lot of practice and thought. We loved it so much we almost went back for the 10pm act. Service was of a high standard and I really take my hat off to the long suffering front office staff who had to endure the ridiculous questions and downright rude people. I had the misfortune to lose my credit card in Hong Kong so had to spend some time at reception sorting out a cash deposit and got to see the staff in action. They all deserve medals. My favourite was a man who came across to complain that the tour desk had refused to book him on a tour (which was booked out), "I don't care if it's booked out-I want you to book me on the tour right &^*%$ now '. The team handled it well. Our room attendants were both very discreet and always seemed to be able to sneak in and do the room when we were away. The briefings by 'Ian' on what to expect in each new port were exceptional and spot on. His photos of each port and what to do were insightful, knowledgeable and amusing. We did the Halong Bay cruise and the transfer to Saigon from Phu My. In Laem Chabang we took a privately arranged tour for just the two of us (Thailand Attractions with Jo- thoroughly recommend it). We went to the Bridge on the River Kwai and the Thai Burma Death Railway cemeteries and Hellfire Pass and museum. Was a 3am departure from the ship (and we still got served in the lido at 2.30am) but well worth it as Hellfire pass was humbling. Coming back to the ship on time was a nightmare as it was a 4 hour drive and it was raining and traffic was heavy. We returned to the Volendam with 20 minutes to spare. Loved all the ports and especially Sianhookville. So undeveloped it was hard to find commercial souvenirs. We walked a few blocks away from the markets and found the most amazing little cafes and bars. Saigon was also excellent and if you are doing this cruise certainly look at the HAL transfer option as it gives you the freedom to wander at your own pace around Saigon. All in all we loved the cruise on the Volendam and it converted my father (he's already planning his next cruise). I would cruise on this ship again. Disembarkation was smooth Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
It costs around $1000 a night for a deluxe verandah suite on most Holland America ships and, sometimes, an extra .50c for ear plugs to get a decent rest. Due to an original design fault, up to 144 of the most expensive suites on eight ... Read More
It costs around $1000 a night for a deluxe verandah suite on most Holland America ships and, sometimes, an extra .50c for ear plugs to get a decent rest. Due to an original design fault, up to 144 of the most expensive suites on eight HAL ships -- Volendam, Maasdam, Ryandan, Statendam, Veendam, Rotterdam, Zaandam and Amsterdam -- are located directly under the often-noisy pool deck. The sound of deck chairs and tables scraping, running, footsteps and even table tennis can be heard in many staterooms directly below. Guests who complain loudly enough and cannot be switched to quieter suites nearer the bow and aft are offered substantial monetary compensation and other sweeteners. Holland America (HAL) while painfully aware of the problem despite years of investigation and attempts at insulation, adopts a policy of denial in its day-to-day operations. Certainly that was the case on the ms Volendam on which my wife and I recently cruised from Hong Kong to Singapore for 16 nights in suite 7011. From day one we could hear heavy footsteps and scraping noises from overhead which woke us up during afternoon naps and in the early hours of the morning. Initially, complaints were met with feigned wide-eyed surprise. But the cat was out of the bag when a crew member in the Neptune Lounge (for suite guests only) opened a desk drawer and came up with a handful of ear plugs. As the cruise progressed and our stress levels increased, senior officers somewhat reluctantly began to take notice. An angry guest relations person twice burst into our cabin claiming that no one else had complained, and was appalled that I had dared to poll other suite passengers, several of whom, I discovered, were having similar problems, but were reluctant to complain. This guest relations person eventually was persuaded to walk up and down on the pool deck while another crew member stood in our suite below, listening. After switching places, they both agreed, grudgingly, that our complaint was justified. Most damning was a conversation I had with Volendam's Future Cruise Consultant, a no-nonsense veteran of more than 100 cruises. Yes, he said he knew all about the suite deck possible noise problems on the eight "S" and "R" class ships in the 15 vessels of the Holland America fleet. They had all been built with expensive suites right under the pool deck. Later ships were designed with a buffer of cheaper cabins above the suites. No, he said, he didn't specifically warn potential customers, but if they asked which were the best cabins, then he steered them to quieter ones. "But you have to remember", he said, "strange noises are the physical reality of ships". Official written responses included one from Christine Ferris, Special Advisor in the Office of the President (HAL in Seattle, not the White House): "Your concerns are not particularly common on our vessels; however we empathise and understand the resulting discomfort". Julie G. Pineda, Guest Relations Manager on board Volendam suggested that HAL didn't make the noise deliberately just to annoy passengers. She wrote: "It is certainly not our intention for our guests to experience unforseen technical difficulties". By the end of the cruise we had received an offer to move to a lower deck (rejected) a free bottle of wine, $700 in compensation (accepted) -- and tacit confirmation that, yes, HAL does indeed have an elephant in the room. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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