4 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Asia

We took this cruise because we wanted to see Japan, as well as Shanghai, Alaska and Vancouver. And this cruise did it all! We love the Volendam!! Just the right size, not crowded, great staff everywhere (except EXC tours, more on ... Read More
We took this cruise because we wanted to see Japan, as well as Shanghai, Alaska and Vancouver. And this cruise did it all! We love the Volendam!! Just the right size, not crowded, great staff everywhere (except EXC tours, more on that later). Nothing was "pushed:" photos, drinks, drink packages, unlike some other lines. Spent some time in the just-the-right-size casino. Embarkation: I liked the idea that in Yokohama you sat down until your number was called. Unfortunately, once you were called, you still have to wait on line until you check in. But once checked in, the rest was easy. Dining: We chose to eat in the Dining Room for dinner, and in the Lido breakfast and lunch. All were great for the meals we had. Lido did get a bit crowded and finding a table was sometimes tough. But again, a small wart. Dining Room food was very good, except for the soups. Didn't try the specialty restaurants, as we found that on other cruises they usually weren't worth the extra money. Cabin: Lovely oceanview cabin, large, plenty of storage, very comfy. Newly renovated bathroom was great. TV's in the cabins were ancient, and I'm surprised HAL didn't replace them. But that was a small wart. Entertainment: The usual mixed bag. They had a British group called the Emperors of Soul who were fantastic! The Volendam troup were very talented, but underutilized. They had a wonderful violinist. Other than that the entertainment was typical cruise ship. Ports: The highlight of the trip. The small cities we visited in Japan were just lovely. We arranged local guides through Toursbylocals.com and Goodwill Guides. All the guides were great: some volunteers, some paid but very reasonable. We enjoyed our time with all of them. Our experience with HAL's EXC Tours was something else. In Shanghai, the tour left my wife at the meeting point 43 kilometers north of Shanghai and she had to make her way back to the ship on her own. Too much detail to go into here, but when we reported this to the onboard EXC staff, they didn't even listen to her story, said they'd investigate, got back to us a week later and refunded a third of the tour price. We felt that being abandoned by the tour guide (when getting us back to the ship is one of the key selling points for all the cruise line tours) was inexcusable and we should have received a complete refund (EXC tours are not cheap). When we got home, we made our case to the EXC Tours office at HAL's headquarters in Seattle. Two months later, we are still waiting for a response. One really positive EXC feature: there was a guide on board providing detailed port information for passengers who are not taking tours. We never experienced that on other cruise lines, and thought it was wonderful. Bottom line: We like HAL (this was our first HAL cruise in 25 years), loved the Volendam and would definitely cruise with them again. But no more EXC tours for us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Holland continues to give you less on each cruise. Staff cutbacks and the quality of food products continues to degrade the experience. Have been sailing Holland for many years and have close to 500 actual days at sea with them. It looks ... Read More
Holland continues to give you less on each cruise. Staff cutbacks and the quality of food products continues to degrade the experience. Have been sailing Holland for many years and have close to 500 actual days at sea with them. It looks like Holland's management is more interested in they yearly bonus than the experience for the passengers. Ship was headed for drydock and needs for TLC to fix plumbing problems and water leaks in public spaces. gone is the lobster every Gala night, gone is the shrimp cocktail every night, gone is the librarian, gone is the fresh squeezed orange juice, gone is the great quality of steaks, gone is the free expresso at dinner, gone is great evening entertainment, gone is the ship's log at the end of the cruise, gone is the crew member that used to provide hand sanitizer in the public areas (replaced by machines that noone uses, thus many more sick days onboard a long cruise) and gone is the pleasant feeling that its really great being onboard (replaced by its OK) Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose the cruise for 2 reasons. To experience the Brand with a view to using them again and to see the destinations on this trip. That was - Hong Kong down to Indonesia. The ship is dated and the air con is ferocious everywhere. People ... Read More
We chose the cruise for 2 reasons. To experience the Brand with a view to using them again and to see the destinations on this trip. That was - Hong Kong down to Indonesia. The ship is dated and the air con is ferocious everywhere. People were in the show lounge each night with outdoor coats on. Whilst some people do stick to the dress code, it is not encouraged and there are people in the dining room with jeans and Tshirts at dinner. The food was good initially but was quickly repetative and the standard dropped after the first fortnight. The cost of the trips is eye watering and the ship docks at container ports and long distances away from the featured destinations. It is then necessary to take their trips as the time schedules for departures are tight and there is a danger of not being back on time if you decide to go independently.Many people complained about this as this cruise was all about the destinations! We chose an ocean view cabin but were very disappointed as the noise from the next cabin was terrible. After enquiries it turned out to be 4 children aged 8 and 12 years who were in the cabin alone and unsupervised. Reception refused to move us stating the ship was full. This was untrue as it was not full at that time. We then had to wait to the end of the first leg of the voyage and pay for an upgrade to get the peace we were entitled. Reception saw no problem with 4 children alone in a room. THIS IS VERY BAD HOLLAND AND AMERICA. The entertainment was often poor with much repetition and weak resident singers.They need a new cruise director. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Embarkation in Singapore was reasonably straight forward (in spite of being taken to the wrong cruise centre by the taxi driver). The only thing that could have been improved was the forms we had to fill out while standing in a mass of ... Read More
Embarkation in Singapore was reasonably straight forward (in spite of being taken to the wrong cruise centre by the taxi driver). The only thing that could have been improved was the forms we had to fill out while standing in a mass of other guests. Our cabin was fine apart from the fact we could barely see out of the window, a window clean now and again would not hurt HAL! Now for the bad bits. First night in the Rotterdam (open dining) we had to ask for water, then we had to ask for a wine list, then after about 20 minutes we had to ask for the wine waiter to order our wine which eventually arrived after we had finished our main course. And this standard of service only improved marginally over the ensuing 4 weeks. Food standard was good, entertainment marginal and other activities a bit ordinary. Then came the dreaded GI, along with a plumbing problem which delivered half the ship filthy dark brown water. this was sorted after a week or so. And have you spent a reasonable amount of time in a cabin when the toilet would not flush? At least 8 different occasions after which only by pounding on the front desk was this problem eventually fixed. Don't get me started on shore excursions and HAL's ridiculous charges. We only did one ship excursion, the rest were all organised privately for about a third of the price. Finally, as some other reviewers have mentioned, the 15% "service" charge levied on every thing, followed by the $11.50 per person per day tipping charge (which I refused to pay) is way overboard. Apart from the above it was a pretty good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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