90 Holland America Volendam Family Cruise Reviews

In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland ... Read More
In reading many of the reviews and write-ups on this ship I started to think I was on the wrong ship. I did not experience any of the great service and food everyone else was raving about. By day 2 I had already written an email to Holland America expressing my concerns about the poor service and food quality on the ship. It felt like I was on a training voyage for most of the staff. Let's start with the Dining Room. On my first night I asked my server what my complimentary drink options were with dinner and he could not answer the question. Same result when the Wine Steward was asked. I was a little taken back when I was told a can of Coke would be $2.50 with dinner. Really? Seems like nickel and diming when I can get a nice steak for dinner but have to pay for a soda. (Carnival got this right!). I had numerous experiences where the staff had to clarify simple orders several times (I do not have an accent), and several occasions where the wrong meal was served. I had steaks that were way overcooked, I had fish & chips where the fish was still a gelatinous mass and totally inedible. Diner was served without cutlery, steaks served without steak knives, a nearly empty bottle of ketchup provided for the whole table and everyone had fish and chips and wanted to have some. The waiter disappeared when asked for a full bottle and never came back. Another server had to be asked. In general, the Dining Room staff seemed untrained and confused most of the time. The fish & chips lunch special was a farce. We were one of the first tables seated, and yet 45 minutes later, while most other tables were already on to desert, we hadn't been served yet. And when we finally were, the fish was extremely under cooked. My daughter was ill after eating her first bite. We ended up leaving and finding some food on the Lido deck. On to the Lido deck buffet. In general the food on the Lido was OK. It was not exceptional by any means. Many of the preparation staff were obviously untrained with under and over-cooked food, and improperly prepared food. I've had better food at cheap buffet restaurants. My previous Carnival cruises far outperformed Holland America's Lido Deck offerings. Many of the table staff were non-responsive when thanks were given for their service. The hot water dispenser was constantly running out of water, and the milk dispenser for tea and coffee was also often empty. I had staff disappear and never return when I asked for the for more the milk to be refilled. I had one server tell me to go to the other side of Lido deck when the ketchup dispenser was empty instead of sourcing some for me. My food was getting cold as I wandered around trying to find ketchup, and in the end the dispensers on both sides were empty. The server seemed miffed when I approached her and asked again. In general there didn't seem to be any pride or ownership in the food preparation, and the staff didn't really seem to remember why they were there. Guest Services also dropped the ball on more than one occasion. I decided to have a movie night with my daughter and ordered a couple DVDs to our stateroom. 30 minutes later the wrong DVD was delivered. I asked for the correct ones and was promised he'd be right back. 30 minutes later, with no calls from Guest Services and no delivery, I called again and was told they would call me right back with a status. 45 minutes later I went to Guest Services and the DVDs were still sitting there, and one was not the selection I had requested. So 1 3/4 hours after my initial call I finally had the DVDs. When Guest Services was made of aware of my email to Holland America head office, they addressed 1 of the issues and had no comment on any of the other issues. I had been relating my issues to one of the staff, and they passed the info to one of the ship's officers who later tracked me down. We had a long conversation about the issues I'd experienced and he agreed that most of the issues I'd experienced were totally unacceptable and they had dropped the ball on multiple occasions. He promised to speak with the various department heads and ensure the rest of the trip would be issue free. Unfortunately this was not the case as there was no change in the service for the rest of the trip. On the 2nd to last night in the Dining Room we were presented with a couple of complimentary glasses of Prosecco, which neither of us drink. The better option would have been to come up and tell us that they would like to offer us a complimentary drink and ask us what we would like. We never bothered going back to the Dining Room after that. The last drydock did make some nice upgrades to the stateroom bathrooms, but they should have replaced the old tube TVs while they were at it. Our TV looked like Alaska in winter. Almost not worth trying to watch anything on it. Certainly not the quality we'd have expected based on the cost of the room. We did have some great service from our room stewards, and 1 Lido deck server whom I recognized personally at the end of the cruise. I also had Guest Services remove all the gratuities from my final bill as they were definitely not earned. The cruise itself was great, and despite all the service and food issues we had a good time, however the added stress of dealing with my feelings of being shortchanged by the cruise line did put a damper on a lot of the cruise. I don't get a lot of opportunities to take vacations like this and to pay this much and then be so let down after being sold that Holland America was a premium cruise line. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as ... Read More
We took a 7 nights cruise with Holland America, Volendam Ship Tour for Alaska Inside Passage. We booked two cabins for our family of 4 adults and were perfectly comfortable for the duration of our stay. 
The level of service was good as were the quality and condition of all facilities on board. The activities organised daily were well organised and allowed more than enough time to fully experience them. We enjoyed the overall experience. However, the dinning services inclusive of can be deemed terrible. There were no multiple vegetarian food options and we were stuck with no choice all throughout the various meals everyday and had to succumb to whatever was served. Additionally, there were absolutely no dessert options without egg content. To top this, the food tasted awful and often was inedible, not meeting the lowest expectations of food cooked by an Indian chef. It was very well informed that our dietary requirements were vegetarian not including both egg or fish. Despite this, the staff was not considerate and was often seen using the same tongs/gloves to serve sausages/meat and baked potatoes, contaminating the only obvious vegetarian food choice. When this was brought to their notice, the staff was impolite and discourteously disregarded our concern. Moreover, the staff, especially at the buffet counter was also not informed enough and served us lobsters as a part of the salad saying it was vegetarian, neither did they have the knowledge of the cheese served containing rennet, which made us avoid it altogether. Satisfactory food is essential and our experience with the Holland Cruise made our journey which could’ve been great, below average. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have been cruising to Alaska many times because as resident in Vancouver, it is an easy trip for us. One hour leaving from our house, we will be sitting at the ship's top deck eating lunch. Volendam, compare to other ships I ... Read More
We have been cruising to Alaska many times because as resident in Vancouver, it is an easy trip for us. One hour leaving from our house, we will be sitting at the ship's top deck eating lunch. Volendam, compare to other ships I have been on, is a much simple in decor(but has interesting art works in their corridors), aged, and small, but a good ship. The advantages is less walking from one end to the other, the buffet area is not crowded even in the busy time, plenty of closet spaces in our room, good service and foods. We stayed in the picture window , a good size, suite on level one, our first at such low floor, but we discovered it is less rocky during an odd rolling sea day. The disadvantage was the dining room on the four level is complicated to find if one don't take the very end elevator, I took the mid elevator and got lost twice and ended in the front of the theatre twice. Good thing the ship was not too long to walk ,even twice. Second disadvantage was our room safe required a credit card with a magnetic strip (any magnetic strip). lucky we have a Starbuck card, otherwise we had to carry our credit card around (bring along an expired credit card, the third disadvantage was, in the buffet, most food are served by a server and the foods was not label clearly. So you have people asking what each dishes were(one asked what is liver and rather the beef was from a grass feed cow) and then take a minute of so to decide what to have. So in busy hour, the line up was long and the server was frustrated from repeating answering the same question. Entertainment: we like the Concert in Alaska, a beautiful video accompany with live music play by the ship's band. I also attained and enjoy the lesson on computer on how to use Windows 10 to edit and create videos from photos. Food: HAL always have a high standard for its food and that is the reason we choose this ship. Take in mind that the ship is cooking for thousand of passengers, so it could not compare to those of the top restaurant, but I did enjoyed their foods, the dessert has the right amount of sweetness. (As an Asian, I love their breakfast congee which I have it with smoke salmon or left over roast beef). Also,as a repeated HAL cruiser,we were invited to a Thank you lunch in the dining room on the last sea day heading home. The foods were delicious. Don't miss this invitation. Port: Juneau, the price of dedicated bus to Mandenhall glacier increased to $45 which is only 6 miles away. If you arrive the port early, say 9am, you could take the local bus, $3, which take one hour then and walk a mile or so to the park. Then walk another half mile to the big waterfall. The glacier itself is ok since you will see a lot more specular glaciers in Glacier Bay. I walk toward the bridge to see the new whale sculpture, wait for the water spray, it made it all the difference. I also recommend doing the counter or clockwise around the edge of the town. Lots of interesting things to see up the hill. Glacial Bay, it was perfect weather (overcast at first to bring out the blue in the ice, then turn sunny to bring out the white, saw many otters and some seals along the way. On the way out, over the speaker, the ranger told us an island which we passed was full of sea lions and seagulls, thousand of them, but you need binocular to see them. Play attention on your exit to the park. Skagway, walk thru the town to the waterfall, a short walk pass the old cemetery. Ketchikan, walk along the creek to the hatchery, the park is quite nice now. Along the cruise, we saw otters, whale, dolphin/porpoise, and bear, some even saw mountain goal, but all from far distant. Bring a good binocular. Also, if you want an unobstructed front view of the ship, walk to the front of deck 6 and go out on the door marked exit. Actually both side of exits are good, but one marked for emergency exit only. For a good enjoyment, it is about talking to other guests and be respectful. Treat people the way you want them to treat you, even if they are the workers. Life is like throw a ball to a wall, wherever you put out, it will come back at you. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 ... Read More
My wife and I took our 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and nephew (all young adults) on a family cruise as all of us were celebrating a "milestone" birthday this year. We had originally booked on Princess because we thought the 5 younger members of our party might enjoy the less formal atmosphere on Princess versus Holland America. We are well aware of the differences as we have sailed both many times. However, HAL offered a year end sale that was difficult/impossible to turn down. We flew into Vancouver the morning of the cruise and took the SkyTrain from the airport to Canada Place. Highly recommend this means of getting to the dock (very straight forward, about 30 minutes travel time at just C$9.50pp). Would also highly recommend a few days in Vancouver ahead of the cruise as it is a beautiful city with so many things to see and do. We passed on this as we have family in Vancouver and have been there dozens of times before. Embarkation was the longest we can remember experiencing but cannot blame this on the cruise line. The problem is going through US Customs and the interminable lineups. There were 3 cruise ships sailing that day which didn't help matters. The cruise lines should really put some pressure on the port authority to improve and shorten this process. Overall, we enjoyed our week long cruise. We had done an Alaskan cruise a number of years ago so the ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan were not new to us. We did our own excursions. Our inside cabin was adequate, the service received from our cabin and dining room staff was exemplary and the food was good. However, there were a couple things that disappointed. The entertainment offered in the small venues was good (quartet in the Ocean Bar, Adagio Strings) but the entertainment in the main theatre was quite poor. While the service from crew who dealt with us every day (cabin, MDR) was excellent, we ran into a number of one-off situations where it wasn't. This included bar staff, the cooks behind the Lido counter, Lido serving staff, staff in the retail shops and staff in the spa. We have never encountered this level of malaise from crew on our previous 9 HAL cruises. The overall morale was not high and we are hoping that the new Hotel Director (Simon Tanner) can improve matters. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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
We had a great cruise on the Volendam. So first things first, the Alaskan destination was great, This is clearly why we were on the cruise - to see Alaska. What a fantastic place it was. It was one majestic vista after another. ... Read More
We had a great cruise on the Volendam. So first things first, the Alaskan destination was great, This is clearly why we were on the cruise - to see Alaska. What a fantastic place it was. It was one majestic vista after another. Juneau and Skagway had very little to offer in themselves but the excursions from there were great. We booked a Harv and Marv whale watching tour in Juneau instead of the Holland America excursion and it was a great choice. The small boat and the excellent staff there had us up close with whales in no time. I definitely recommend the excursion. But Juneau itself didn't have a great deal to see. It was interesting to walk around for an hour or so but after that, we just wanted our whale watching tour to start. Skagway seemed to exist only to sell tourist tat. It was OK for a little wander but the value in the destination was in the excursions. We opted for a Glacier Expedition with Alaska Excursions and loved it. Ketchikan was the best of the 3 stops. It was an interesting place to wander about and we ended up hiking the Deer Mountain Trail. Very enjoyable. Back on-board the ship, the service was excellent. Wherever we went the staff were helpful and welcoming. I was surprised how many staff go to know our names personally. We had a Netpune suite and really enjoyed the extra space it offered. But perhaps the best feature was the excellent concierge staff in the Neptune lounge. The food in the main dining room was great as was the Pinnacle Grill. But the food on the lido deck was so-so. It wasn't bad...it just wasn't that great either. Our cabin was great. The location was excellent and it was quiet and comfortable. The ship entertainment wasn't bad but it was a little cheesy at times. The thing that let down Holland America was the quality of the on-board activities. Really these were pretty few and far between. The Microsoft computer labs and the cooking lessons were of little interest. If it wasn't for the Explorations Cafe and the games and books there, we would have really struggled. I think it might be more noticeable on an Alaskan cruise as there are more days on the ship. The ship is older but the decorative order was fine. It would have been nice to have a bigger TV in the room and for the ship to offer in-cabin video streaming services rather than a DVD library from the front desk. Maybe this was a feature of the ship rather than Holland America. Overall a great cruise but there are opportunities for Holland America to improve. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Left Vancouver 7/6 on cruise portion first. Spent a few nights in Vancouver before cruise. Our cruise was 3 nites followed by 7 day land tour. Ship was clean, stateroom attendant great. Food was so-so. Went to upscale Pinnacle ... Read More
Left Vancouver 7/6 on cruise portion first. Spent a few nights in Vancouver before cruise. Our cruise was 3 nites followed by 7 day land tour. Ship was clean, stateroom attendant great. Food was so-so. Went to upscale Pinnacle restaurant for dinner one night. Service was fine. However, both my brother in law and I ordered the halibut. Fish came served barely warm. Vegetables and potatoes were almost cool. Asked to have them reheated. They came back cool again. Fish was dry. Maitre'd offered us a bottle of wine to remedy the situation. However, we declined. We went there for a supposed fine meal. If any one is thinking of doing this Y3C cruisetour from HAL beware that you will spend an GREAT deal of time on the bus going to different towns. Dawson City was pretty good. Fairbanks and Anchorage disappointing. One day on bus was for an 8 hour trip to arrive at next stop. Another day was an 8 hour train ride. Saw a lot of trees. Our Tundra excursion in Denali was on a school bus with padded seats. Width of seats was for a 12 year old. Extremely long day (8 hours) and uncomfortable. We took the Tracy Arms Fiord excursion. Was very good. Also, gave us a chance to get off the cruise ship. Denali Lodge accommodations were nicest on trip. Anchorage hotel a 2 at best. Fairbanks hotel nice. Whitehorse and Skagway probably average. Spoke to about 15 people on our tour and most were very disappointed. Was glad to come home. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I choose this ship for our 3 generation trip due to size and itinery, like everyone advised. We all had a great time and no complaints. We arrived the night before, made our way down to the port the next morning around 11:00, and was on ... Read More
I choose this ship for our 3 generation trip due to size and itinery, like everyone advised. We all had a great time and no complaints. We arrived the night before, made our way down to the port the next morning around 11:00, and was on the ship within about 30 minutes. We found our cabins (interior 6132, 6134, 7025 and Vista Suite 7084) and met the stewards. The room was clean, larger than expected and storage was only half used-do not worry about having room to unpack! Stewards come twice a day, leaving a surprise in cabin every night! Loved how the staff remembered our names and how friendly they all were! Yes, the tv’s were older and kid’s cabin had lines on their screen, but we weren’t there to spend much time on that. Bathroom was good size, interior room had twice the counter space than the vista suite. Suite had a tub/shower, interior only a small shower. My favorite restaurants were the Dive-In (awesome hamburgers) and Dining Room, then the Lido (buffet). Tried room service once and was good, order came about 10 minutes early. Did not try Pinnacle Grill, only because there was not a view, but the menu looked great. We really enjoyed the daily trivia and bingo, never won any games, but it was still lots of fun! The indoor pool was heated most days, hot tubs every day. Husband enjoyed casino, but never won. My dad enjoyed the computer classes, my sister the cooking classes. I loved the art of towel making class. We took in a movie and swam in pool. My kids, 17 and 12, did not attend HAL Club. Everyone’s favorite stop was Glacier Bay! We got to see lots of calving...it was awesome and beyond words of description! Skagway we did the train/shuttle thru Chilkoot Charters. Juneau the Mendenhall Glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls. Ketchikan we booked the Misty Fjord’s Wilderness Adventure thru HAL...we returned an hour later, I guess because we kept stopping for wildlife sightings, but it also made me miss doing other things in port. Again, service was awesome! From the staff remembering our names and faces, helping us celebrate a special occasion and doing whatever they could to help in any way, they were phenomenal! We did self- disembarking, and requested early departure as we had an 11:42 am flight. There were 2 ships in port and we walked straight thru everything. We then had to wait on our reserved car with Aerocar, which was 10 minutes late. Made it to airport and security with little to no wait time. In fact, drive time and traffic was longer than the whole airport entry process! Highly recommend Holland America Volendam! Read Less
Sail Date June 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
We booked this cruise as ports looked great (japan to Vancouver via Alaska) and thought would try holland America line. Overall we enjoyed everything - staff great, food amazing, efficient off and on boat, shows pretty good. A different ... Read More
We booked this cruise as ports looked great (japan to Vancouver via Alaska) and thought would try holland America line. Overall we enjoyed everything - staff great, food amazing, efficient off and on boat, shows pretty good. A different culture compared to our previous celebrity, princess and royal Caribbean cruises. Found the cruise to be very relaxing with lots of time to read, play games and chill. Loved the bridge classes offered every mornings. A great activity. Only issue was our cabin was in a terrible position as very noisy. We normally book a verandah cabin but thought as winter cruise would just book an ocean view cabin. Big mistake!! We were right over the propellers or thrusters so everytime we arrived in port for two hours prior (around 2 hours) from 5.00 am our whole cabin would vibrate and generate loud noises. Tried to change cabins but all full. We were compensated but I don’t know how they can get away with selling these rooms! At least six days at sea had quiet mornings! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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
This was our third cruise on the HAL Volendam to Alaska. We went because we had enjoyed the experience of a cruise. Having traveled in many parts of the world, mainly by flying or driving, we wanted to see what cruising had to offer. After ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the HAL Volendam to Alaska. We went because we had enjoyed the experience of a cruise. Having traveled in many parts of the world, mainly by flying or driving, we wanted to see what cruising had to offer. After three trips I can say if offers a pampered lifestyle that allows you to relax and enjoy the travel. The Alaska cruise is the perfect venue for a first timer and there are many different ships and cruise lines. We chose Holland America for the simple reason they catered to older folks but still offer something for the younger set. The prime reason for repeating with the Volendam is the dining venues. The Main Dining Room with set settings was our choice, the same waiter and wine steward was a refreshing service. The menu was varied and supported anything we may have wanted. The menu was the same, although differed daily, for all three cruises. The only disappointment was the oceanview cabin was obstructed, this was because all the other oceanview were sold out, because we had booked late. Our cabin was exactly like the previous oceanview, except there was a bulkhead out the window. I felt it was like an interior cabin, with a window. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My family and I have cruised with Holland America before and we have always enjoyed the experience on their ships. We chose this cruise because it suited our holiday itinerary. We explored Vancouver before and after our cruise so that was ... Read More
My family and I have cruised with Holland America before and we have always enjoyed the experience on their ships. We chose this cruise because it suited our holiday itinerary. We explored Vancouver before and after our cruise so that was very enjoyable. Embarkation was smooth and the staff were extremely welcoming. On first impressions of the ship, the interior decor seemed dated. However, all dining experiences were excellent, including our visit to The Pinnacle Restaurant. The staff were very attentive and there was a great choice of food. The entertainment and activities were a bit disappointing.The shops need a greater variety of items to purchase. There was a good selection of shore excursions to choose from but very expensive. The stateroom was compact and the air conditioning did not work if the lights were turned off, so it could become uncomfortably hot. Housekeeping was exceptional. Overall, would we go again, absolutely!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Booked this cruise in 2015 as I have wanted to cruise for 40+ years. You know, bucket list and all. Decided on 7 day first as didn't know how we would be on the ocean (motion sickness etc.) None of us (4) got sea sick although the ... Read More
Booked this cruise in 2015 as I have wanted to cruise for 40+ years. You know, bucket list and all. Decided on 7 day first as didn't know how we would be on the ocean (motion sickness etc.) None of us (4) got sea sick although the sea was a little rough. Loved the feeling of luxury. Felt like a queen. Everyone was so accommodating. Want to go again. Next time would like to go on the Asian cruise and for 2 weeks at least. MS Volendam was out dream come true. Loved the main dining room and also the Lido deck where you could almost eat all day. Loved the fact that there was someone there to assure everyone used the hand sanitizers before entering the dining rooms so were not cross contaminating anyone. Rained at the ports of call so didn't go off the ship for very long. That was okay because could do whatever you wanted on ship anytime. Even the children that were on board were so good. Never heard any loud chatter etc. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
The cruise industry is trending towards larger ships, but the applause during the "Meet the Captain" session for the smaller size of HAL's venerable 1500-person Volendam shows that there's much to be said for this class ... Read More
The cruise industry is trending towards larger ships, but the applause during the "Meet the Captain" session for the smaller size of HAL's venerable 1500-person Volendam shows that there's much to be said for this class of ship. And this vessel is perfect for visiting Alaska, winding through the narrow straits of the inside passage and especially navigating the spectacular Glacier Bay. We were a group of 10 (our family of four with two teens, my brother's family of four with two children, and my parents) and shared three adjacent staterooms on Deck 2. The ship is now 18 years old, but it has been well-maintained and is about to go in for another dry dock refurb later in 2017. Even with four in a room, our ocean-view room had plenty of storage space and we had enough room, not that we spent a great deal of time in our stateroom. The ship doesn't have a lot of the extras that newer, larger ships have. But while it lacks in some features, thankfully it also lacks in line-ups and waiting. Even though the cruise was fully-booked, we hardly had to wait for anything, and the ship never felt crowded. We really appreciated HAL's commitment to high-quality live music. The classical violin/piano duo, piano player, five-piece band, and especially Ashley Wey and her jazz trio were all very good. The shows and entertainers were good -- the productions are not 'broadway standard', but the entertainment was an improvement on our experience on this same cruise five years ago. I'm said that HAL no longer does their late night dutch chocolate extravaganza, I'm sad that they no longer have live music in the dining room on formal nights, I'm disappointed that there are no ice sculptures or carved watermelons, and it was a shame that the library books were unavailable for hygiene reasons. But these are small quibbles -- the overall experience was wonderful. It helped that the weather in Alaska was, reportedly, the best all season. Sunny clear skies every day; Skagway was actually uncomfortably hot. Glacier Bay was magical with such clear skies and calm seas. We had no problem making reservations for our group of 10 in the dining room, even though we had "anytime dining". The service in the dining room and throughout the ship was outstanding; everyone was very friendly and accommodating. Embarkation in Vancouver was tricky, with three large ships in port that day. Thankfully, everything went off without a hitch -- lots of extra staff were brought in to help move people through the process efficiently, and we had no problems whatsoever. Our advice: arrive early -- we showed up at 9:30 and we went through all the embarkation steps without a problem. The ship started boarding promptly at 11:30, and we were on and having lunch by noon. Disembarkation was similarly smooth, with good directions and very efficient staff. We loved our family cruise. We had the opportunity to spend time together in one large group, and other times different groups would do different things. In the evenings after dinner our teens enjoyed the teen club and our niece and nephew took in various activities in Club Hal. It was a great way to enjoy time together as a family while also enjoying the chance to each do our own thing if we wished. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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