4 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Asia

We loved our cruise itinerary. Seeing Japan was our goal and the added days in Shanghai, South Korea, and Alaska were nice additional perks. The ports were all fantastic and the excursions we took through HAL were very good but the ... Read More
We loved our cruise itinerary. Seeing Japan was our goal and the added days in Shanghai, South Korea, and Alaska were nice additional perks. The ports were all fantastic and the excursions we took through HAL were very good but the excursions team had to make changes to some of the tours and itineraries and instead of being transperent with their reasons, hid behind no-blame disclosures in their letter to our stateroom. We were travelling with another couple and we received a letter telling us that they had to cancel one of our excursions because the departure time was earlier than our return from an earlier excursion that day. They ended the letter by telling us they were sorry but this had only happened to one other couple on the ship. Well, the couple we were with plus a dozen other couples we spoke to had all had the same change! It was clear we could make both events, but don't undermine our intelligence but telling us that it was an isolated incident. The glitch was that anyone who had pre-booked the excursion online prior to the cruise was given the option of the excursion on a date and time that were not valid. They had also mislabeled the level of activity required for many of the excursions, with some being more strenuous then suggested and others being less strenuous. There were also many errors in departure times printed on the tickets and we received multiple notes in our door updating times. We were disappointed in the lack of quality control from the excursions team. The third party providers of the excursion tours were excellent in all the cities We have sailed with HAL for 15 years and we could really see changes in amenities and services but "trimming the sails" is an economic reality and for the most part Holland America offers an excellent product. Our experience was excellent and thanks to the hard working and dedicated service crew we had the time of our lives. The cabin was perfect, the room steward, Sam, was excellent. The dining experience has two sides to it. The food was fantastic, but Holland America has got to address the open seating in the main dining room that isn't open seating at all. You cannot just show up and expect to be seated. They hand you a pager and the wait is as long as 45 minutes. Once they have started the 5:15 service they don't seem to seat anyone else until after 7:15 and when you show up at 7:15 they hand you a pager and you can wait up to 30 minutes to be seated. The staff cuts have been significant but the service is still an expectation of the ship's reputation as well as the clientele, so stewards are run off their feet, taking orders, replacing cutlery, brushing crumbs from the table, making sure the correct order is in front of you, prepping your next course and doing that 4 or 5 times per person. For the first time in 15 years of cruising we had waits between courses that were as long as 15 minutes. Our servers cannot be blamed they never stopped hustling, Either staff the dining room or change the service method in the open seating area. We were able to get set seating at 8:00 PM in the upper dining room on the last 15 days of this cruise and it was a far better experience because there was no chaos. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Pick this cruise ( vancouver to tokyo) as a part of our round the world trip. We flew from London to vancouver cruise to Tokyo and then by air to Sri Lanka and London. We have had two previous cruises with the sister ship Zandaam and ... Read More
Pick this cruise ( vancouver to tokyo) as a part of our round the world trip. We flew from London to vancouver cruise to Tokyo and then by air to Sri Lanka and London. We have had two previous cruises with the sister ship Zandaam and this vessel is exactly the same. The crew was even better on this voyage, the food an average of the same quality, slight below par the entertainment. We had a lanai cabin on the promenade, but it was very noisy with squeaking and knocking if the sea was a bit rough, which you have to expect around Dutch Harbour in october. We have had only one excursion in Juneau to see the whales and although expensive well worth it because we spotted five or six from very close distance. All in all positive, even if drinking and the extra fees to dine in the dedicated restaurants are getting quite expensive together with the excursion, some of which have quite ludicrous prices.....but you have a choice of doing your own arrangements. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We boarded the Volendam in Hong Kong. Embarkation was a breeze and we were happy to hear that our cabins were ready even before noon. Our cabin had lots of storage space. The newly installed lanai cabins had great new showers ... Read More
We boarded the Volendam in Hong Kong. Embarkation was a breeze and we were happy to hear that our cabins were ready even before noon. Our cabin had lots of storage space. The newly installed lanai cabins had great new showers and we enjoyed the amenities like lotions and soaps. It was nice to have the shelves on the bathroom wall and the shelf under the sink. We did find that the thermostat made no difference to the temperature in the room. Since dry dock in December and the installation of the lanai cabins, the ship had obviously not sailed in cold temperatures. As soon as we left Japan and the weather cooled off, our cabin was freezing. A lot of cold air was coming in under the lanai door. Our stewards put wet towels on the door sill and that helped. We informed the front desk and they sent someone fairly promptly who checked our air conditioning. After several days of cold temps, weather stripping was installed around the lanai doors and this helped a lot. Meanwhile the front office phoned everyday to ask us about the temperature and they checked the room twice/day to monitor it. We were satisfied with how this was handled. There were also common areas on the ship that were very cold - particularly the Lido cafeteria. Servers there were wearing coats. The lanai door was very heavy and difficult to open and close. There was not sufficient space for your hand on the handle. Both of us jammed our hands between the handle and the door frame which caused our wedding rings to be crushed to ovals. We had to take them to a jeweler when we got home to have them straightened. We found the staff very friendly. There seemed to be good morale on board. Our cabin stewards, Dedi (big Daddy) and Joko were the best. They learned our names on the first day and called us by name whenever they saw us. They kept the room clean, responded promptly to requests and did a great job of chatting to the guests to smooth over problems. We very much enjoyed the evening shows. The performances by the HAL cast had beautiful costumes. We also enjoyed the violinist, Kateryna Sychova; pianist, Maiko Mori; and the Unexpected Boys. The Dancing with the Stars Competition seemed to reward those with the most popularity rather than their dancing ability. We often found that several things were scheduled at the same time and it was difficult to choose which one to attend. I was very disappointed that the Royal Dutch tea was scheduled on a port day when we were off the ship for an excursion. We very much enjoyed the Neptunes in the Ocean Bar every night. They played music that was both easy to dance and listen to. The Dansant tea in the showroom with music, dancing and tea on the last afternoon was a new, welcome activity. The results of the model ship-building competition were lots of fun to watch. Everyday we looked forward to attending the lectures. We really enjoyed Dr. George Sranko's talks. He was down to earth, humorous, and informative. Another great addition was the "On Location" guide, David Happe. He gave very informative, well-balanced presentations about the various ports and their history. He also provided good information about transportation, etc. for independent travelers. Mr. Ishibaru gave great insight into Japanese culture and we particularly enjoyed the demonstration of how to dress in a kimono. We enjoyed the food although the soups were very salty. It was really nice to have lobster on the menu on formal nights. For the most part service in the dining room was satisfactory. We appreciated being able to walk in at whatever time and secure a table. Occasionally we requested a table for 2 and were dismayed to be seated at a table that was only inches from another table for 2. It was awkward to know whether to converse with the other guests or if they wanted privacy. We liked the daily updates from the captain about our location, weather and sea conditions. Cruise Director Carlos made announcements only twice/day so it was nice to not be bombarded by announcements. I felt that this cruise had less emphasis on buying merchandise and photos than previous cruises. We took 4 HAL excursions. They were expensive but they were of very good quality with good guides and worthwhile sights. There were issues with the tenders when we were in Kodiak. Some people waited for many hours before getting off the ship. We were lucky to have a HAL excursion that day and were only delayed by 1/2 hour. We really appreciated having a self-serve laundry available on such a long voyage. It was always busy but the machines were all in working condition. Because of its smaller size, the Volendam was able to dock in excellent locations near the centre of cities, particularly in Shanghai and Tokyo. Disembarkation was efficient and timely. We took the expedited option and had no problem getting our luggage into the terminal. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Cruise Critic's embarkation port selection did not have Kobe, so I typed in Osaka which is near Kobe.We were very impressed when we arrived Vancouver, our final destination. All passengers could wait in the stateroom until the ... Read More
Cruise Critic's embarkation port selection did not have Kobe, so I typed in Osaka which is near Kobe.We were very impressed when we arrived Vancouver, our final destination. All passengers could wait in the stateroom until the announcement was made to disembark.  It was very comfortable waiting. It took us only less than 30 minutes from stateroom to the taxi stand at the very user friendly port of Vancouver.Volendam's lunch and dinner improved a lot on May 18 and 20, 2009, on last two days.  Maybe the company wanted us to forget the past 17 days of budget oriented dinner menu with fancy names and explanations.  First time Lobster appeard on the dinner menu was May 18th, and the lobster they served there as well as in the Pinnacle Grill was a warm water lobster and not the cold water lobster like Maine Lobster.   Even  Carnival's 7 day Western Caribbean Cruise serves a lobster and filet mignon once during their 7 day cruise ! We had to wait 17 days to see our only Lobster and Filet.At the speciality Coffee station, I saw the attendant opening a milk carton made in China, obviously Volendam uses milk materials made in China.  So I start to drink my coffee black and avoided all milk products. Somebody should check each Cruise Line to see which product they buy and use aboard the ship from China. I do not want to dine on food made in China.On our  10th day, we still had the same bed lines from Kobe. There were 61 Japanese guests travelling as a group and one of them told me that I had to request personally if I want my linens changed.  So on our 11th day, we had a bed linen changed. I requested bed linens to  be changed on every fourth day and the cabin steward followed my request.In Ketchikan, I returned to my cabin,exhausted from the shore excursion and found out that my bed was neatly made with 3 day old linens.  Cabin steward told me that the fresh linens were not available on the morning of May 18th and when he came back with the fresh linens at 1:30pm, my husband was asleep and could not change the linens.   This shows that cabin steward is doing their best: making bed neatly each morning with the same sheets, and the fresh sheets were not available some mornings.  I suspect it is Holland America's policy to cut the cost, therefore, they instruct the cabin stewards to use the same old sheets as long as they can. I do not blame ship employees as it was obvious everyone was working very hard and they were always pleasant and kind.  I blame Holland America's Corporate Office to put a cheap.policy on bed linens and foods the guests consume daily.I suggest the Line to start offering the eco-friendly card indicating if a guest wants clean linen and towels, to indicate a guest's request as done in most of US Hotels.There was a great Musician/Pianist/Band Leader called Jim. But his Afro American female vocalist was not good.We had sailed Holland America in the Mediterranean and the Carribbean about 15 years ago and our most recent trip was a sad experience for us.  Is there any hope for Holland America to return to the past LEADER of the Cruise Industry ? Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Volendam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 5.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

Find a Volendam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click