5 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Transpacific

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
Great service generally, great food, Made lots of new friends. We were disappointed to miss Dutch Harbour, but understood the Captain's decision to avoid bad weather. Embarkation speed was impressive, and disembarkation went smoothly. ... Read More
Great service generally, great food, Made lots of new friends. We were disappointed to miss Dutch Harbour, but understood the Captain's decision to avoid bad weather. Embarkation speed was impressive, and disembarkation went smoothly. The cabin was much the same as most, the service was vert good. Dining was excellent except persons who do not like spices are poorly catered for. The evening entertainment was very good, catering for many tastes. However we were very disappointed to find that daytime activities were extremely limited. We and others found that at times during the day we had to resort to reading, when normally we are flat out all day and evening. The ship is small, but We have been on a number of ships of the same class, but different lines, and daytime activities were plentiful. It seemed at times that we were being force fed sales pitches and not much else. The line has still not recognised the previous cruising of one of us, despite repeated requests to update their data. Consequently that person was deprived of all the benefits they were entitled to. Bad move Holland America,! We only took one shore excursion, it was very good, but we considered in general the shore trips were expensive, so we preferred to "wing it" most times. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The Japan to Vancouver 16 day cruise was our fourth on HAL. Volendam is the smallest of the four ships we have been on, but it has all the characteristics of the larger versions and we felt right at home from the outset. The crew is ... Read More
The Japan to Vancouver 16 day cruise was our fourth on HAL. Volendam is the smallest of the four ships we have been on, but it has all the characteristics of the larger versions and we felt right at home from the outset. The crew is probably the biggest plus - as with all our other HAL experiences, with minor exception, all crew members were friendly, polite and could not have been more helpful. The cruise itself was exactly what we had expected - and with the six sea days it was a relaxing way to recover after two months travelling in SE Asia. While the northern Japan ports were for the most part largely forgettable, the Alaska portion was very memorable. The Ship. The ship is very well laid out, and although small, still has most of the amenities one would expect. However, while some will say the ship is in great shape - it is really not, and the upcoming refurbishment (this fall?) should spruce things up considerably. The crew works very hard to keep it clean, but there are many examples where age is creeping in. The chairs in some of the bars are tattered and ripped in places. Carpets are getting old and worn, The bathroom in our stateroom needs an upgrade. Some of the public rooms need repainting. To name a few. Nothing significant enough to ruin a cruise - but things that do need to be upgraded. Stateroom. We had an inside cabin (older ship - very few balcony cabins put their price at a premium - for this type of cruise inside worked just fine). It was well laid out, lots of space for storing belongings and was very quiet. Bed very comfortable. Dining Room. We tend to eat most of our meals in the MDR but this time for the reasons below we ended up taking many breakfast and lunches elsewhere. All the dinners in the MDR were either very good or excellent. However, breakfasts were - to be blunt - abysmal. Service was exceptionally slow and the impact on temperature was as to be expected - warm to cold. The lunch experience was not a great deal better - slow - cold and often not quite what one had asked for. I have no idea why (maybe two different supervisors) but whatever it was there was a hugely noticeable difference between breakfast/lunch and dinner. Lido. On the whole, quite good once you can get by the herd mentality of buffet dining. The approach of having staff serve (ie no self serve) has certainly slowed things down a great deal - particularly for the popular "cooked to order" stations. But on the whole - the food was warm to hot, relatively fresh, and usually refilled quickly. If a HAL rep reads this - one suggestion for the Lido - why cannot there be a toaster station where people can at least do their own toast? Nothing is more frustrating then getting cooked eggs (or whatever) and then having to find the station where toast is made (it is not the egg station by the way) - and then waiting while one of the staff has to cook the toast (it normally takes three times to get it brown), while serving other customers? There has to be a better way. Pinnacle Grill. A huge disappointment! We have been to the PG twice before and this time we were not impressed with the steaks or the King Crab. In fact, we had steak and crab legs two days later in the MDR and both were superior to what we had had in the PG. Menu could use a change once in while as well. Caneletto (sp?). The Italian extra charge (minimal) was Outstanding - no other way to put it. Signature Drinks Package. We received this as a perk for early booking. On the whole it was fine, although the selection of wines covered by the package available by the glass in the MDR was extremely limited. Not sure why they could not offer a bit better selection there. Also, when we tried to address this by asking if we could upgrade our Signature Package to Premium (at our cost) we were told we could not. I don't really get the "no, we don't want your money" and if you are not happy, too bad", approach. Bar tenders were, without exception, fabulous. Entertainment. The entertainment on this cruise was probably the best on ANY cruise we have been on. Lots of activities programmed each day, including interesting talks, bridge, games, port visit talks (and not endless attempts to sell excursions), movies etc etc. The entertainers ranged from good to outstanding. No complaints here at all. Gym. Good, clean, well laid out with sufficient apparatus. It did get tiresome when working out to have to constantly listen to the gym rats trying to sell the benefits of eating seaweed, cleansing or using specially designed insoles. The promenade deck is outstanding for walking. Dress Code. Ah yes - the dress code. HAL has abandoned formal nights and adopted Gala Nights at about the same frequency of the old formal night. However, the definition what constitutes "Normal" and/or "Gala" dress is not well laid out and subsequently the result is confusion and inconsistency. HAL has to get a grip on how they define gala or they will continue to confuse guests, cause embarrassment and potentially lose business. In summary, this was an enjoyable cruise, good value for money and reflected exactly what we have come to expect from HAL. There were a few areas where our expectations were not met, however this has always been the case regardless of the line we have chosen. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
HAL is one of my favorite lines. . I like long cruises of 30 day and have already booked next year's HAL Cruise to S. AMERICA why? 1.dining room service w/ yudi was as good as the pinnacle and i tipped xtra. my roomie was gluten ... Read More
HAL is one of my favorite lines. . I like long cruises of 30 day and have already booked next year's HAL Cruise to S. AMERICA why? 1.dining room service w/ yudi was as good as the pinnacle and i tipped xtra. my roomie was gluten free and i am vegetarian.and diebetic yudi was told once and after that always asked what i wanted for my evening snack when a table became available he moved us to a window table. hal now offers a full vegetarian menu - very nice! of course, there was surf and turf on a night; lobster on another and gigantic steaks any time.the saladsandchilled fruit soups were to die for and the desserts were decedant w/ a non-sugar choice the female the female wine stewart. instead of asking again and again when we said :no" to wine .like the male stewart. instead she came every nite and enquired about our day..low key -- no pressure -- polite and friendly i only had dinner in the dining room because lunch interfered w/ my trivia game. the lido buffet was boring the chef thinks vegetarians eat pasta. luckily i like mac and cheese. but daily. once i had asian noodles and korean/japanese pickles -- yes! i am from vancouver and prefer asian food. the sushi was ho hum. a gala asian buffet held on the deck andmost enjoyed it hal decorated w/ chinese lanterns and served food in street stalls. unfortunately, no vegetarian fare. strange. many chinese. korean and japanese folk r buddhist hence vegetarian. they tried. but thy r dutch. the specialty dutch tea was british interpreted by americans. (myfather's a brit) -- the indonesian hi tea was also british altho the actual indonesian tea was terrific the server let me take some back to my cabin.great service the only disappointment is the 24 hr. room service. if u order continental all is well. tricks of trade. if u r having ci=offee for tow write "large" beside coffee. if you risk a poachd egg -- write 'soft' beside egg. the coffee was not starbucks. but drinkable the vegetarian thai wrap is delicious. but only available til 10 pm. after that vegetarians starve. cabin cleaning on par w/ other cruises -- minimal. lectures: mr. terry greenburg lectured on the history of china. japan and alaska. terrific. factural w. human elements. cultural info regarding japan wee fascinating. dr. helen ayers lectured on geology incl. ice burgs the talk on oil mining was an eye opener and really clarified the conflict regarding fraking. wonderful. pARK Rngers came on board when we entered glacier bay. i've been to alaska twice so i skipped it. down side -- cruised for 6 days over date line and changed time 1 hr fwd each day so i was in constant jet lag (time lag) then changed 2 hrs fwd just b4 vancouver. activities - mixed -- steve was a phenomenal bridge teacher for two wks, then katherine took over and she sucked windows 10 couraes helpful. dynamic and patient teacher. trivial always fun. library/wifi area the best of any line. jazzy shore manager a dud, but available to hand out maps and provide tips for those going ashore on their own did not take hal shore ex. cruised w/ craig travel and took their tours and cruise critic hal tours too expensive. cabin inside as good as an inside can be. better than ncl. carnival and princess. boarding and disembarkation smooth Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Review of the Volendam Food: 1) fine. Could have been spiced some more ; understand it must be reasonably standardized. Had good “special“ days” : Asian Barbecue Day, Indonesian lunch, etc. 2) deserts not ... Read More
Review of the Volendam Food: 1) fine. Could have been spiced some more ; understand it must be reasonably standardized. Had good “special“ days” : Asian Barbecue Day, Indonesian lunch, etc. 2) deserts not particularly good. often dry and tasteless. only ice cream good. improvement here definitely needed 3) As a collector voyage expect menus not to repeat; no such luck here 4) Tea in Afternoon: somewhat disappointing as “theme” teas not vary from regular teas Staff and Service: excellent. Staff efficient and friendly. Captain very attentive to letting passengers know what is going on (weather, arrivals, departures, etc) Entertainment 1) Singers and Dancers excellent but show repeats every cruise segment (to be expected) 2) outside entertainment: some excellent, some not so. However, outside entertainment did repeat themselves 3) Good at bringing onboard local entertainment from ports of call. . . Specialty restaurants: Pinnacle. Excellent for lunch. Great for dinner. Very well done. Canaletto was good food but portion size small and favorites (lasagne, tortellini, etc) not offered. Cabins; OK. Balcony furniture spartan. table we had was 6 inches; we would prefer a table that would allow us to enjoy drinks or snacks or even a meal on the balcony. Library: outstanding. Large selection. KC managed it professionally and friendly and attentive too user needs. Many games available. Culinary center: Excellent. Host Nicki very enthusiastic and knowledgable. Sometimes two or three events a day. embarking/disembarking: no real problems here, went real smooth both times Location guide; Outstanding. Before every port would provide an hour presentation on the port. This was not a ship shore excursion sale-a-thon. He provided tips for getting to/from the ship, information about taxis, buses, trains, etc and discussed what was available to see. He did at the end talk about what shore excursions were still available. Location guide was also available throughout day for guests to meet with and answer questions. Shore excursions: Staff acceptable. Very pricey excursions often not provide sufficient value for price charged. Wide variety of excursions available. Organized well. Good guides. Discriminated against independents. Park West Art Auctions occupy the Ocean Bar during every sea day. Internet: expensive as always. But for most part speed acceptable (only 2 slow days in 45; in dead zone for 2 plus days of which no one had internet); of course if you tried to get on during peak periods it would be slow. General shape of ship: Excellent for a 16 year old vessel. I do wish they would have washed the windows in the public spaces (Lido, Bars on deck 5, etc) as they were often so dirty one could barely see the scenery outside the ship. activities: my only comment is too often several things at same time; in afternoon often very limited offerings; need to space them out more and provide additional afternoon items. Pub trivia needs a bigger venue. Bridge lecture and duplicate every day. Cribbage. Texas Hold’em Poker in Casino. casino: tighest slots of any ship I have been on. I calculated it at 50% or less. Everyone frustrated. Future cruise consultant: Friendly, Knowledgable but no hard sell Shops on board: mostly luxury items Photography: at every opportunity a photographer was present. A little pricey if you ask me. Front Desk: Helpful. But when converting currency, you lost big both ways. Guest Lecturers: Informative. Entertaining Tenders We tendered to Koh Samui. Don’t know why but the ship anchored several km from the port which increased the time to tender which led to long waits (tenders started at 8am and many were still waiting to board a tender by 10am). Somewhat better in Hailong Bay. Same problem occurred at Kodiak. Those with ship excursions got priority. Independents had to wait. First tender by 9am. Some were waiting up to 2 hours for their number to be called. . . not a happy bunch of campers. . . especially those with private excursions. One couple we know had a 10 am excursion planned and due to slowness of tenders did not get off the ship until nearly noon, forty minutes after the guide had given up and went home. Much better at Sitka but I would be weary of tender ports. Discrimination against independent excursions. Had this occur numerous times during the cruise. The ship gave one time for all aboard for those “independents” (including cruise critic excursions) while giving their own ship excursions an all aboard time long afterwards. Same with top priority for tender boarding. Other notes: Had “Code Red” for nearly 2 weeks in early April. No reoccurrence afterwards. Staff particularly protective of guests during that timeframe. 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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