19 Holland America Volendam Romantic Cruise Reviews

Embarkation day was great, lines were very short and moved quickly, check-in was fast,and they started letting us on the ship at 11:30. And we went right to deck 8 to get something to eat. Our cabin was on deck 3 it was an totally ... Read More
Embarkation day was great, lines were very short and moved quickly, check-in was fast,and they started letting us on the ship at 11:30. And we went right to deck 8 to get something to eat. Our cabin was on deck 3 it was an totally obstructed ocean view..it was fine, we had no idea that Volendam just came out of dry dock 2 weeks prior, and the ship looked great! Our bathroom was all re-done, new shower, flooring, sink etc...Well done, I think our mattress was new too, so comfortable. Our room steward “Diki” did an awesome job & was always offering to do more. The dinning room food was delicious and service was spot on, the buffet had many food choices some of which I didn’t get to try because I was so full. The casino was on the small side and I found the machines to be too tight, however I was pleasantly surprised to see that the entire casino was “no smoking” , that is the first ship I have ever been on with a smoke free casino. Volendam looks great with her new updates; good job Holland America, I would definitely sail on The Volendam again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with ... Read More
We made the decision to do an Alaskan cruise on the Volendam with HAL earlier in the spring when some friends suggested we join them as they knew we were cruise fanatics (10 previous cruises in the past 5 years). We had never cruised with HAL before and 8 of our previous cruises were with NCL. I had the impression that HAL cruises were for an older, quieter demographic and they seemed to offer less flash and dash as NCL so we had previously avoided booking. When we finally made the decision to join our friends and found out it was an older smaller ship we lowered our expectations accordingly and felt it would be an affordable way to see Alaska as the fare was quite low in comparison to what we usually pay. We booked a deck 3 promenade ocean view stateroom (3418) and over the course of three months added a few extras such as a couples thermal suite pass, specialty dining for the Pinnacle and Canaletto restaurants and two excursions (Tracy Arm explorer and Skagway White Pass rail, Yukon tour). We arrived the night before and stayed at the Fairmont at Vancouver airport. The skytrain goes from the airport to Waterfront station and then a 1.5 block walk to the Canada Place cruise terminal. There were three ships embarking that day and we were impressed with how smooth everything went. I felt our 10:30 arrival time was too early though and a noon arrival would have likely allowed us less in terminal waiting time. The ship is twenty years old and the decor shows its age but it appeared to be very clean throughout and our cabin was clean and roomy compared to some Ocean view cabins we've had in the past. A nice surprise was the renovated washroom which I felt was just as nice as the NCL Bliss' washrooms. Our cabin steward Bach was very friendly and efficient with any requests we had. He was around and interacted with us just the right amount of time and we enjoyed our chats with him. He made it clear he was always available if anthing was not to our liking with the stateroom and provided excellent service throughout the entire cruise. The main dining room food was above average and breakfast was fine every morning as well. The Pinnicule was incredible. My surf and turf was delicious and my wife really enjoyed her salmon. It was a fine dining experience with incredible service from our waitress Sharin. Overall the food was as good as any NCL ship including the specialty restaurants. The cruise had an authentic traditional cruise feel to it and we were able to focus on the awesome scenery and wildlife that we seen throughout our cruise. All of the activities and information sessions we went to were informative and interesting. The Alaska beer tasting was fun and we met people from all over the world and shared a few laughs. I would have to give the entire cruise a solid 8 out of 10 and our low expectations were greatly exceeded in all areas. We now will put HAL on our "do again" list. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My wife and I are seasoned travelers but we have never experienced a cruise. She choose a crossing of the Panama Canal for our 4oth wedding anniversary. A bit daring as it was 21 days and I am known to get sea sick and/or bored rather ... Read More
My wife and I are seasoned travelers but we have never experienced a cruise. She choose a crossing of the Panama Canal for our 4oth wedding anniversary. A bit daring as it was 21 days and I am known to get sea sick and/or bored rather easily..... -Booking was easy with Vacations to Go and Max Richardson (the agent) was friendly, professional and helpful. Our stateroom on board was # 1922 allowing a view to the outside but without balcony. The price difference was unjustifiable for the time that we actually planned to be in the room. However I recommend to ask for a fan, as the A/C was not sufficient to cool the room to our liking. With the fan it was perfect (and it helped to dry some of our minor laundry items!). Bed was comfortable (we also had extra pillows), bathroom and shower were fine and also was the water pressure. The room was adequate in size for our purpose. The stateroom was serviced by TRI and ANTON who did an extraordinarily efficient and friendly job. Food on board was plentiful, well presented, tasty and varied (although you should not expect "extravagances", Atlantic lobsters and/or Caspian caviar!) Service was outstanding (Our THANKS to JOJIT, EDGAR, RAT-TEE, GIOVANI, MICAH, NITTAYA, ANN, DAN, JASON,GUSTI, ANDRI (w/glasses!), FRANCISCO, WEMICK, etc, etc..... everybody on board went the"extra mile" to make us feel happy, and well looked after!) Our very special THANKS to HENRY and JANELLE and the harder worker on board, HIQMAL...(found mostly around the Lido pool) Entertainment was 50/50, some acts were good and some not so much .None were a Vegas act but they filled the time and were adequate.. Be aware that alcohol was extremely expensive! We drink very little so we did not "suffer" at all but we were a bit outraged at the prices on board.and some "drinkers" were quite upset and angry as Holland America does not allow anybody to bring any alcohol to the ship (So they make sure to sale their own!!) The trip went smoothly with minor waves and movement that I did not enjoy but were tolerable. Pool was small but fortunately not overcrowded, and there were no children! Lots of really elder people, but, I guess, that there are the ones with money....Regardless they were very pleasant and quiet indeed...! Time on ports of call were too short and did not allow for too much to do except buy souvenirs (which we do not do!). Some excursions were fine and, overall we had a good time. Maybe because communication was not a problem as between both of us we speak five languages! On the Volendam I was learning Indonesian, Tagalog and Thailand from the crew, and improving just about every day! Captain and officers were approachable and friendly and it was a pleasure meeting them........Our best regards to everyone and hopefully we will meet again..... Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Did this cruise before twice, and really liked the ports. So much more to see in each area. The excursions were really great, on board a different story. The EXC events were lacking in quality speakers, related to the itinerary. There was ... Read More
Did this cruise before twice, and really liked the ports. So much more to see in each area. The excursions were really great, on board a different story. The EXC events were lacking in quality speakers, related to the itinerary. There was one naturalist that was great but only gave 3 lectures. The Mexican Ambassadors gave a great performance on deck. On the down side, the usual lectures on culture, history or the region were lacking. The speakers seemed to talk down to the audience and read from brochures. They were not experts in the field. The EXC person talked to the audience as if they were kinder-gardeners. The food was outstanding as was the in stateroom staff. The service was great and the ship was well organized and on time. The culinary classes did not emphasize health promotion. There was heavy emphasis on taste drawn from fats and salts, hardly appropriate for the middle aged audience or above. The last time we did this same cruise there were more on board activities, lectures and enrichment programming. Considering the number of fabulous ports offering rich history, art, culture and welcoming people, it is too bad there was such a lack of enrichment opportunities. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Great experienced with Volendam, The food in general is super, rate it 5 star, fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, That I love. Only kind of confusing to us that the tip( fooien) charge us daily They should include with the total price ... Read More
Great experienced with Volendam, The food in general is super, rate it 5 star, fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, That I love. Only kind of confusing to us that the tip( fooien) charge us daily They should include with the total price when we booked the cruise. Our excurshion we all booked through Volendam so no headache ( little kind of pricey), But It was worthy indeed, even booked also the airport transfer,.. All our local guides in every ports were super, excellent. Its small cruiseship but seem huge spaces.. The design, interior is excellent. Everywhere in the ship is clean, except the public toilet kind of no goed smell. I thought it was just my sensitive nose but more than few people complained about it. Certainly we will go again with Holland America line. The Embarkation in Singapore Harbourfront went smoothly, so as disembarkation in Hongkong, All were excellent organized. My husband and me love the Holland America Line, We love the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Choose this cruise because it was highly discounted due to my wife's play in the casino. We were looking for sometihng special as my 70th birthday and our 50th wedding anniversary occured during the time we were on this vacation. We ... Read More
Choose this cruise because it was highly discounted due to my wife's play in the casino. We were looking for sometihng special as my 70th birthday and our 50th wedding anniversary occured during the time we were on this vacation. We have sailed twice before on Holland America and found them to be not to our liking due to fair food quality and boring activities while onboard. We really wanted to see Alaska as we have been on over 30 cruises with several other lines, Celebrity and Oceania are our favorites, and HAL was be best land tours. We spent 3 days on the Volendam in a Neptune Suite sailing the inside passage. Not really sure where we were as the weather was lousy, foggy, rainy and windy. Never saw anything but water and a faint outline of the coast. Time on the ship was so-so. Never saw the Cruise Director. Ate at the main dining room one night, can't remember what I had, Lido buffet the next and the Pinnacle Grill the last night. For a restaurant that you have to pay an extra fee I think you should skip it. My wife had the King Crab Legs and she thought they were nothing special. Anyway, the Neptune Lounge was nice. We got off the ship in Juneau to begin the land portion of the trip. The 8 days travelling around the Yukon and Alaaska was great. Our tour guide, Crystal Letourno was wonderful. She really made the adventure look easy, with all the different hotels and changes. We took buses, trains and a short flight during the journey. HAL's hotels ranged from 3 to 4 stars and the handling of our luggage was amazing. We put the baggage outside our room at night and they magically appeared in the next day in your room. Anyway, see so much of the Yukon and Alaska in such a short time was great and HAL really knows how to do it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was the third cruise on our holiday from Sydney Australia. Our first cruise and second cruises on our holiday were on Celebrity Solstice to Hawaii firstly then from Hawaii to Vancouver. We have been on Solstice many times including ... Read More
This was the third cruise on our holiday from Sydney Australia. Our first cruise and second cruises on our holiday were on Celebrity Solstice to Hawaii firstly then from Hawaii to Vancouver. We have been on Solstice many times including the same repositioning cruise in 2013, and the second cruise in 2013 concluded in Ensenada where we were conveyed by coach to San Diego (broke down 3 times). Can I say that the Solstice cruises on this occasion were not up to Celebrity standard, I did write a review however, it would appear to have disappeared! Holland America (HAL) ship Volendam was a very pleasant surprise after the Solstice debacles. Embarkation Was good dealing with HAL from our perspective they were very efficient and more than willing to make our embarkation express. However, US customs had 3 ships to process and were not organised to handle all of the non US and Canadian passengers. It took over 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach the ship, anyway! We greeted at the entrance and informed that our rooms were ready immediately, we were most impressed. Being a mid sized vessel they were able to have all rooms available for embarking passengers. We are in the HAL Mariners Club and consequently we are able to partake of lunch in the dining room. We made our way to the dining room and were seated at a table for two at he back of the ship with a lovely view of the harbour, fantastic service, food, and old world appearance of the dining room. The waiters were very efficient, friendly, and looked immaculate. Fantastic first impressions. Ship The ship is an older vessel, however, it is in very good condition, and unlike on the Solstice there was always maintenance people working hard to ensure the ship looked spic and span. The bistro area upstairs is set up like a pantry, as are many of ships now, and was clean and appeared to function well on the first day. The lounges were plentiful and music was played throughout the ship during the day and evening. The theatre was not large however is in good condition and the shows overall were good. In fact all public areas were clean and in very good condition for a ship of its age. Cabin Cabin was an outside cabin on floor 3 the main deck, it was a little dated, however it was clean, had a bath, (shower in the bath). The bed was very comfortable, the TV was not large, however functional, and there was plenty of storage space. The cabin was under the kitchen and late at night and in early hours of the morning it was noisy, our mistake, we for once didn't check the deck plans. Cabin stewards were efficient and at all times ensured our room was cleaned very well on time every time. Dining We chose any time dining and were able to be seated every night without delay at a table for two people, menu was large and varied and very scumptious every night! The service except for one night was efficient and faultless. We managed to make it to breakfast at least twice in the dining room, the restaurant was old world elegant, a very comprehensive menu, the food was delicious, cooked beautifully and hot! We made it to lunch only twice as it was an Alaskan cruise and there are many ports on this journey. The hamburger venu was excellent, streets ahead of Celebrity, beautiful burgers and chips, yum! The bistro as I mentioned previously was clean, very busy and the food at breakfast good quality, hot, and very good service. We didn't try the coffee shop, as we heard from other passengers that is was quite average. We have previously been on HAL Koningsdam and the Royal Dutch Cafe serves magnificent food and coffee! Entertainment We watched one crew show and we had seen most before and a comedian and both were fine. Service Apart from one person in the dining room, who was a little abrupt on one day, the service was very good, the staff were well trained, respectful and efficient. Celebrity Solstice staff wouldn't be recruited for this ship, they were not good, except for a select few. Ports and Shore Excursions See below, we were happy good value for money for shore excursions Drinks We purchased a wine package on board and we found the wines to be not too overpriced, quite a good range and good drinking. Cruise It was an Alaskan cruise, it rained every day, however, Glacier Bay was beautiful, a must do! Ketchikan and Skagway was good, Juneau don't bother, not really a nice place. Vancouver was pleasant, inside passage cruising picturesque and beautiful, we loved it! We are traveling with HAL again next January to Sth America and Antarctia, looking forward to it! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The itinerary and timing were perfect. We have been wanting to visit Asia (specifically Japan) for a long time. Having this cruise end in Hong Kong was also a factor, as HK is one of our all-time favorite cities. The timing was ... Read More
The itinerary and timing were perfect. We have been wanting to visit Asia (specifically Japan) for a long time. Having this cruise end in Hong Kong was also a factor, as HK is one of our all-time favorite cities. The timing was important as we were celebrating our 15 year anniversary. Rather than having a specific room booked, my wife chose to book a Category in the hopes we would be upgraded at the last minute. We were. We were put in a handicapped room. She hated it. If was larger, but had an institutional feel, had not been remodeled, had nasty looking wall tile in the shower that had been repaired and was uneven - and the entire bathroom floor was tiled with a drain in the middle. It felt like a junior high locker room shower. The counter / makeup table had numerous gouged around the edges that had been badly patched and not even sanded, let alone sealed. The room overall looked pretty beat. We spoke with the front desk and they found us another room that was a conventional style on the 2nd floor, which was fine. They both had windows and that's all we cared about. The new room had a recently remodeled bath, but the rest of the room looked a little ragged. In terms of service, I'm not exaggerating much when I say you could sit in the buffet on Lido until cobwebs grew from your arms to the table before anyone would bring water or coffee. Going over to get your own would trigger a rapid response to try and get the carafe away from you and fill up a glass. But having anyone notice you had sat at a table and might need water... Good luck. The buffet was marginal. I've been on a lot of cruises. There were no elaborate fruit / vegetable displays, no carvings (fruit / ice / anything) to dress up the area. The freshness of many stations was inconsistent. Also, coming back from HA excursions around 2 pm would find everything closed except the pasta station. You would think the ship would know when tours were coming back. Especially short tours where there was no food involved or opportunities to forage - and keep the buffet open until 30 minutes or so after the tours return. But you'd be wrong if you thought that. The taco bar on Lido was also a disappointment. It was frequently picked-over and looked pathetic. The burger window lists portobello burgers (I'm a vegetarian) on the menu, but the one day we went to get one, they are out of portobellos. Seriously? The main dining room was pretty decent. Not spectacular, but OK. The staff was attentive and they always had options for vegetarians. I ordered the day before most of the time and was fairly happy with the outcome. Tours: We had booked some independent tours in Tokyo and Shimizu through Triple Lights. Both were excellent. We loved our guides and the itinerary. We had booked numerous HA tours for other cities, but after our experience in Shanghai we cancelled all of them. We gathered a few like-minded travelers and booked taxis for the rest of the trip. This worked out very well. In Shanghai, the first day it rained ALL DAY. The 2nd day it rained only sporadically. The first day we went to the museum and then to a shrine. We had some people on the tour that never should have gone. The amount of walking was far more than they should have attempted. On the way back to the ship, one woman could not take another step. The rest of us are standing on a street corner in a downpour waiting for the tour guide to manage this debacle. We all decided to go back to the transit station where we could at least wait indoors. They had to get a motorized rickshaw to retrieve the woman, as any other vehicle could not get through to her. Eventually we all got back, but over an hour late - and wet. Our thoughts on this are: People with mobility issues should have their own bus. When the weather is bad, there should be a Plan B. Either stay in the museum (in this case) or head to another indoor destination. Keep the buffet open until the tour returns or arrange a food stop. The overall condition of the ship is very uneven. Some areas have been remodeled while others look very worn. The center column in the atrium looks like something out of a disco movie. The undersea-themed glass lamps in the buffet look cheap. They belong in a Caribbean party cruise. We needed to do some laundry about a week into the cruise. When we got to the tiny ship laundry, only 2 of the 4 washing machines were working. Apparently this had been the situation for well over a week according to people who had been on the ship for some time. After bringing this to the attention of the front desk, they did arrange to do our laundry at no charge. I did take 2 days to get our clothes back though. I would have preferred to just do it myself and have been finished in the span of a few hours. We were disappointed that we missed Okinawa. My wife and I both have connections to the island. Weather was the reason for having to remove it from the itinerary, so we can hardly blame HA for this. Entertainment. Most of the entertainment was of marginal to zero interest for us. Early on in the cruise, we discovered Barry from Boston in the Mix Lounge. Barry is by far one of the best entertainers I've ever seen. He plays a piano with virtuoso intensity and what he lacks in vocal quality, he really makes up for in skill. If you ever get the opportunity to see Barry from Boston, do it. He is on several HA cruises. He's talented, funny, really knows how to handle a room and was by far our favorite part of the cruise. We met some great people, made new permanent friends and overall had a great time. We loved Taiwan and would definitely go back. Taroko Gorge was amazing. We were very fortunate that Mount Fuji was NOT obscured by clouds on the day we were there. This is an opportunity you don't always get, so we felt very fortunate. Hopefully HA will work the kinks out of this particular cruise, as the itinerary was excellent - with the exception of Hososhima. They could have left Hososhima off the itinerary and added a day in Osaka. That would have been better in our estimation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we weren’t disappointed at all stopping off in China, South Korea and Japan. As first time cruisers and just turned 50 we were some of the youngest couples on board with the average age ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we weren’t disappointed at all stopping off in China, South Korea and Japan. As first time cruisers and just turned 50 we were some of the youngest couples on board with the average age of the guests around the 70+ age group mark. In fairness the cruise was targeted towards this group and a mainly American audience followed by the Aussies and Canadians. Only 124 Brits on board !!!!! The ship and cabins were very good in our opinion but we cannot compare to any rival. Rooms cleaned very efficiently and to a high standard by out 2 stewards.The food was spot on mostly with a great choice however the Lido self service restaurant is very much hit and miss with over dry and cold food served very often in the evening. The main Dining room “The Rotterdam” was excellent for breakfast, lunch and dinner service. Entertainment was generally of a poor standard from the on board production and I have seen better at my kids school play!! The guest entertainers were however very good and of high quality which included a magician, comedian, juggler and rock violinist. Most nights there were two showings and always a seat available. The Excursions were badly organised and a royal rip off for what they were. We found that the meals served were of a quality that was too be desired and best left to a night out having drunk 10 pints of beer !!!! It seems that that they inflate the prices and squeeze everything to make as much money as possible. Shame as the itinerary for the excursions were not at all bad. We had 2 days in Beijing ( note the ship docks in Tianjin which is 2.5 hours from Beijing) and completed 2 excursions with very early starts. We could have done the same excursions and fitted more with an overnight stay in a 4* star hotel for less than half of the price Holland and America are charging. My advice is go independent as we have learnt a very harsh lesson on this. Activities on board were generally poor and very scarce on sea days which meant we were bored and Holland and America need to get their act together if they want to entice a new and younger client but then we got the impression that they look after their high value return guests and do not bother or incentivise new guests. There seems to be a speech and education programme targeted to the older demographic on board. The whole cruise is very much a hard sell culture and you pay and I mean pay for everything at inflated rates plus a service charge even if I go and get things myself. The crew in general very warm and welcoming with the exception of a few in the spa area who were miserable and non engaging and the Captain of the ship who walked around the ship acting as if he were GOD and ignoring all guests other than the big spending regular Americans. All in all it was a pleasant first cruise with good food let down by a lack of sea day activities and overinflated prices. Finally although I have not been on any other cruise ship I would not consider Holland and America to be a premium brand imho from the experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
This was our fourth relatively long cruise aboard a HAL ship. The general hotel function was fantastic as usual with good food and very friendly/helpful staff. Our Vista Suite with verandah was kept neat, tidy and clean by hard working but ... Read More
This was our fourth relatively long cruise aboard a HAL ship. The general hotel function was fantastic as usual with good food and very friendly/helpful staff. Our Vista Suite with verandah was kept neat, tidy and clean by hard working but very friendly stewards. Evening shows were in general highly entertaining. However, the services/prices on board had declined, e.g. no longer any lectures during sea days, Pinnacle restaurant extra price was suddenly $ 35 instead of the customary $ 20, bar prices even increased by $ 1 during this cruise and appetizers were not of the type that should go with drinks. Prices for excursions had become absurdly high. The gravy on any cruise is the approach and arrival in ports during (early) morning daylight hours but on this cruise and all too often we were already tied up at quays before dawn. The so called "Hotel service charges" are hidden extra costs and should be included in the advertized overall cruise price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This ship and Holland America were fantastic! We explored Vancouver for a few days before setting sail from there, and both the embarkation and disembarkation were organized like a finely-calibrated engine. The ship was extremely ... Read More
This ship and Holland America were fantastic! We explored Vancouver for a few days before setting sail from there, and both the embarkation and disembarkation were organized like a finely-calibrated engine. The ship was extremely well-maintained and cleaned. Our cabin was fabulous in size and accoutrements, aided by Adit and Abdul, our cabin stewards. If you couldn't find a dining room or situation to your liking, there had to be something wrong with you. The Lido Buffet was clean and the food was plentiful, and the options - from burgers, hot dogs and Mexican to top-drawer experiences at The Pinnacle and Il Canaletto - were perfect. You could always find a seat in one of the dining areas or sit by the pool. Ahhhhh! Every day brought a fabulous line-up of things to do, from a towel-folding demonstration and bingo to Vegas-quality dancers and singers. Never a dull moment - unless you just wanted to sit on a balcony and watch the gorgeous Alaskan and Canadian sights roll by. We participated in three shore excursions, and all were wonderful. Also wonderful was the fact that in all three ports, the Volendam pulled right up to the town docks (no tenders). Yay. Our captain was very conscious of time, weather and the like, giving us an update every day. For map fans, there was a detailed one hanging in the atrium for you to follow, plus there were Waze-like maps on your room's TV. Everything was very well thought-out, and we'll be cruising with Holland America again in 2017. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
The Volendam is a wonderful ship, elegant and not too big. The crew were excellent especially the Rotterdam dining team. The casual Lido was also good as well as the burgers and hotdogs by the pool. Just be careful when you order drinks. ... Read More
The Volendam is a wonderful ship, elegant and not too big. The crew were excellent especially the Rotterdam dining team. The casual Lido was also good as well as the burgers and hotdogs by the pool. Just be careful when you order drinks. Not all are free on board, including the softdrinks and water in your cabin. Since American coffee are all the same anyway, just order regular coffee. Otherwise you will be charged for latte or cappucino. On our first night at the main dining, we were asked if we wanted sparkling water and of course we said yes. Got charged $5.50 for it. Hubby ordered Coke and got charged too. Lesson learnt early. We didn't ask for our room to be serviced everyday as we were hardly in it esp during port days. The weather was awesome the entire time that we didn't even wear our jackets. If you travel in July, just buy from Vancouver souvenir shops or even on-board, the prices were surprisingly very competitive. You can get a decent jacket for US$40 and it even has the Holland america logo or Alaska. Every Alaska port we disembarked from had so many jewelry shops?! - Juneau port was full of souvenir items but we went to the Mendelhall Glacier and the falls. It was a long hike to the waterfall but worth it when you get there. The gondola and dinner at the restaurant up there was just ok, we could have picked another restaurant below. Very sunny and hot, I got sunburnt on the way to the falls. - Skagway was our favourite. We took the half-day trip to the Yukon by bus and that was where we really appreciated the beauty of Alaska and Canada. So many great stops for photos, I think it's better than taking the train non-stop. Very beautiful sunny day again. - We booked the Lumberjack show at Ketchikan through the ship cruise on a whim and it was the best show. So much fun and laughter too. The Duck tour in the afternoon was just okay, we should have taken the excursion to the totem poles. But it was quite showery so at least we didn't get wet inside the 'duck'. Laundry - if you are travelling from elsewhere like us and going to another city after, take the $49 Laundry package. Worth every dollar. We had all our clothes we used from LA and San Francisco washed on the first night and everyday. When we disembarked, we had clean clothes for our next journey. Better than hanging out in the laundry room and waiting for your turn (4 w/m and 4 dryers). But if you're only cruising and going home immediately after, I would just wait till I get home to do my laundry. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Saw add in paper for Alaskan cruises, went to one of their presentations and booked it. We had a great time!!! Stopped in Juneau, Skagway, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Fairbanks, Anchorage. I would recommend not having an early flight home ... Read More
Saw add in paper for Alaskan cruises, went to one of their presentations and booked it. We had a great time!!! Stopped in Juneau, Skagway, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Fairbanks, Anchorage. I would recommend not having an early flight home out of Anchorage, we did not get a chance to look around much. Everyone was very nice on each mode of transportation. Planes, trains, ship, and buses. It was great to talk to people from all over, different states, different countries, and natives to Alaska. We had a great tour guide, Simon, and we also had a small group for each stop. We had a great time getting to know these people. Never felt overcrowded on ship. Plenty of things to do on ship, Cabin was very nice. Service by all on ship, in hotels, and bus drivers was great! Dining had different times and locations to accommodate everyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This Cruise was supposed to be part of a 19 day treat for my wife to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. I booked a mini suite (6118) and once on board disappointment set in as the rooms were old and dated with trim missing and ... Read More
This Cruise was supposed to be part of a 19 day treat for my wife to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. I booked a mini suite (6118) and once on board disappointment set in as the rooms were old and dated with trim missing and paper coming away on the wall, the bath side panel kept popping out and the balcony was dirty and rusty. Lido service was dreadful, front desk staff frosty, had taken out drinks package however checked my receipts every time as 2 waiters constantly over charged me. Excursions booked on board were expensive and quite honestly this ship spoilt our holiday as the entertainment was poor compared to other cruise lines we had used. Would we use Holland America again...... NO!! We have travelled before with other major cruise companies who offered far higher standards of accommodation and their entertainment was of a far higher standard and had much friendlier staff. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our third cruise and first time with HAL. We had a great time and would choose the Volendam and HAL again. There were no problems during embarkation or disembarkation. We liked that it is a smaller ship and thus doesn't ... Read More
This was our third cruise and first time with HAL. We had a great time and would choose the Volendam and HAL again. There were no problems during embarkation or disembarkation. We liked that it is a smaller ship and thus doesn't take too much time to learn the layout. There are however, enough public spaces. This cruise had a nice mix of ages, although we were 30 yrs. younger than our table mates for the formal nights. We only ate in the main dining room for those nights and both times the entrees were very good, but the starters were very small and nothing special. The deserts, again too small for my husband, were very good. We ordered room service for breakfast one time when we had a very early shore excursion. It was delivered promptly w/no missing items and was very convenient vs. going to the Lido buffet. The rest of the cruise we did eat in the Lido for the majority of meals. We felt that there was more than enough variety and overall the food was above average. The staff was very helpful and courteous, both in the serving line and seating area. We tried the snack bar & taco bar twice. My husband didn't like the burgers, but the tacos and fixings were a nice option to the Lido. Yes, sometimes we had to walk around and search for seats, but so what? I saw elderly people w/mobility issues helped by staff to carry plates and find seats. We didn't go to that many day time activities on the sailing days. We did however, watch two films -- history of Ketchikan and one on the Goldrush that were very interesting and informative. We also attended the local guide presentation on Glacier Bay and Klondike history that was very good. In the evening, we attended the first night's show. It was a nice touch to get free champagne and the performance was average, but I liked that some crew were introduced and the captain spoke for a bit. We did not like the magician, but enjoyed the ventriloquist. We booked all shore excursions privately, except one. Through HAL, we went on a Hike & Float trip from Skagway, which was very good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We have no complaints about this cruise. We stayed in a Neptune suite and maybe you get what you pay for in accommodations. No one can predict the natural occurrences but we sure lucked out with glacier calving, orca and humpback whales, ... Read More
We have no complaints about this cruise. We stayed in a Neptune suite and maybe you get what you pay for in accommodations. No one can predict the natural occurrences but we sure lucked out with glacier calving, orca and humpback whales, herds of porpoise, and rainbows galore. Food was very good at all dining options. Activities were fine for us too. I probably would not get off the boat if I were to make a return cruise since we weren't all that fascinated with ports or some of the excursions we took but that has nothing to do with ship just our comments on what we chose to do. White Pass train was very nice though. I have spoke with several repeat cruisers and our "neighbors" on the next door veranda. They all had cruised on several lines and comment that HAL is their favorite. We had 1500 guests on ship and 600 employees and there were times that no one was around. Walked on Prommenade almost alone. Never felt crowded which I did not expect but sure appreciated. I also had a very nice experience in salon. Embarkation could be improved Choose HAL Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Background Information My husband and I have cruised about 10 times, different ships, different parts of the world. Took this cruise to celebrate our 40th Bdays. This cruise we had Stateroom D. Oceanview Stateroom, center ship. Too ... Read More
Background Information My husband and I have cruised about 10 times, different ships, different parts of the world. Took this cruise to celebrate our 40th Bdays. This cruise we had Stateroom D. Oceanview Stateroom, center ship. Too cold for balcony use. And center ship below teak deck you can run up one flight of stairs and be outside in a minute if you wanted to get a quick pix. Never heard walkers on teak deck. And no smells in room or in halls like I read about. But the smells were reported near end of ship. Guess lots of fresh air comes off elevators midship. We had great weather entire cruise. Hotel Info Airport shuttle to Hilton Auckland is $26 for 2 people. Heard it has lots of stops, so we took a cab $65. Use reputable Corporate, Rengency or Co-op cab companies. 30-50 mins depending on traffic. Hilton Auckland is the bomb if taking a cruise. It's not pricey, it's an awesome place with killer service and you walk right out the door onto ship. If you pay for a balcony ocean view room, be aware there will be ships parked right outside your balcony at some point! In Sydney, we took 30 min cab ride to Sir Stamford at Circular Quay. Read it's a fave on Trip Advisor. If you book through hotel you will get room early in day. If you book through a discount site, like we did, you will not be allowed to check in before the advertised check in time of 3pm. So we toured the Opera House and the giant gardens across street from hotel. With this and lunch our time was full. Hotel is luxe. Get pix with costumed bellman. Staff are really nice there. Restaurant is killer pricey. We had the unique chocolate dessert. It was the MOST unique dessert, but not the tastiest. You crack open a chocolate egg and hot chocolate goo comes out onto coffee icecream I think it was. The best thing we ate here was the cheese plate, which had quince paste. We'd never had it and have since found it at Whole Foods and eat it regularly. It's a type of fruit that is used like solid honey. On apples with cheese and some wine, good goodness! For food, go in the bar. It's a good menu and everything we ate there late night after the Opera show was delicious. And they will deliver it to your room. $45 taxi to airport from hotel. On way back to U.S. we stayed at The Langham hotel in Auckland. It seems realy nice when you walk in, but our room was super cramped, dated, tiny bathroom. Liked the water carafe/glass on nightstand. Nice touch. No chocolate croissants that stay as raved about by Trip Advisor writers. Ship Info Decide when booking if you want land view inbetween sounds. Port side faces ocean. Starboard has more land views. Ship is pretty and clean. Rooms comfy, just dated. Loved walking the covered teak deck and top open air deck. Food was great. Service great. Activities/Excursions Auckland: SkyTower is 15 minute walk from hotel. Once inside, take escalators down. Whole Sky Walk takes about 75 minutes. You are suited up leaving cameras, hair bands, sunglasses, hats, jewelry.... in a locker. It's windy up there, so expect your eyes to tear a lot if it's cold. We all felt tour/walk was too long. Worth the money, just too long. My group was bored and tired of the views at the end. If walk was shorter in duration, people would leave on a way higher vibe or whatever. There's 6 people in a group and we all bought a pix at the end. They also throw in a funny certificate. There's a video to buy, but we all looked ridiculous up there and nobody bought it. If you have the $, the Rebo Cafe & Bar on bldg's ground floor was delicious. Minus 5 ice restaurant: $25 a person. Worth it in day time as it's empty. Get the peachacolada. Yum. You can choose your own music and have pix guy get some fun/crazy shots. We bought several pix. They don't let you take Anything in. Purses, cameras... all held at desk for you. You can trust them. You are suited up and it's funny trying to hold your ice glass when drinking with those big mitts. You get to smash your glass when done. Loud and fun! On ship, walk teak deck at night. It's Empty. Never did find the vibrating chairs someone wrote about. Tauranga/Rotorua Waitmo Caves w/Crosshills Gardens Lunch and kiwi house. Ship tour is FANTASTIC. Noboday had a better day than us considering all the tours choices and dinner talk later. The caves and glow worms, you see just enough to leave on such a high. The gardens lunch was beyond charming and delicious, the property and people there, I can't tell you how at home they make you feel and you just revel in all the beauty of nature. The Kiwi House was super cool/cute big birds. Napier If you can ride a bike for a few hours, you Can't Beat this excursion we took. It's not offered by the ship, but we researched a LOT for this cruise, and this was the best offered. Bike D'Vine Winery & Sightseeing Tour. Do easy Rout 1. $40 a person. The owners pick you up at visitor center and it's a 15 min ride to first stop where they get you set up on your bike with a map,safety gear, bike locks. We started at a cool wooden place called The Filter Room. $12 got us a beer/cider sampler. You can pick from lots of choices/tastes. Along the bike route are various winers, a chocolate factory, a lavender farm. We did lav farm for souvenirs (put the oil on our pillows each night of cruise, wonderful!), and went by lots of amazing scenery of wine fields and sheep fields, and a pretty tile decorated bldg, downtown shops and on to just one winery, Mission Estate. The classiest. We sat out back and had 5* service of their cheese/fruits/nuts/breads/dipping oils/wines..... It was Heaven! For a fee we just had the van driver pick us up there as I was too tipsy to bike ride back! Wellington Ship's Lord of the Rings Tour: it was a FANTASTIC day. And I went grudgingly w/my husband as I'm not a movie buff. The tour fixes that Real quick. You watch an infomational movie at the Weta Cave museum that left everyone in awe and speechless. Next you stop at the coolest cafe you'll ever snack at. It's ON the water, super contemporary. Everything's home made. Then it's off to see killer scenery and learn about movie. The guide was IN movies so has lots of inside info and great stories. He was cool to take pix for everyone whenever. Lunch will be at the most scenic garden you can imagine. Breathtaking. Food was great and served family style. Bread was cutely served in clay flower pots. Then it's off to more scenery. I am positive that the ship's tour beats any and all LOTR tours you're going to research. Picton We stayed on ship for a spa day. Place was empty so we had place all to ourselves. HIGHLY recommend this. Heated tile chairs, hot tub surrounded by windows to a great view outside, steam and sauna rooms with lovely smells... Also got a mani/pedi. Girl is great. I just don't like that they make guests face the wall while workers get ocean view. That seems messed up!!! Husband and I got the double massage. He loved his, mine was weak. You gotta speak up a Lot throughout to get what you want! Whole spa area is great with fresh juices and fruit and super clean locker rooms. Christchurch Took a taxi to the Botanic Gardens. After two hours we hadn't seen a quarter of the place, huge! Wear correct shoes for this!!! Sneakers required. All kinds of terrain on paths. Beauty beauty and more gorgeous nature everywhere we went. LOVED it! Then we met our driver downtown to take us to Adrenaline Forest. This again is NOT a ship excursion. But my husband said this place was the highlight of the Entire Cruise! For $35pp plus $10pp each way van shuttle you are taken 15 minutes north of Christchurch to an obstacle course in the trees. Various levels take you higher and higher. It is the coolest guy thing we'd ever seen, although women were doing it too. Not me though due to neck injury. You are responsible for your own safety, in that you hook yourself onto line cables as you go along. Sooo many different obstables and you'll spend hours there. We went for the last two hours and it was perfect/not crowded. A crowd would really hold you up. Do bring your own food and water. Nothing right there, but you can walk across street to bathrooms/food place. It's not close though. Do 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th course in that order. My husband is fit and couldn't do 6th. He was soo sore next day, but would go every week if he could. Dunedin/Port Chalmers Took free shuttle to Otago Museum, also free. VERY cool museum and had the best sandwich in my life at cafe. It's the smoked chix, brie, salad in pita w/raspberry sauce. Served warm. And the caramel bar is super delicious also. Super cool gift store there too if you have kids. Dine w/the Chef night: Sign up! Great fun/great food with just a few other guests. Lots of drinking involved with this event! Cruising sounds for 3 days Be outside on ship's front deck for Milford Sound. You're enveloped in stunning beauty. Crossing Caspian Sea Outside of ship will be closed. It's rough seas. Got some awesome big wave pix! We booked a year in advance to get center ship. We barely felt motion here. Hobart We did the ship's Tahune Airwalk tour. This was ok. It's a long drive to get there. The Airwalk is relativley short. Then there's a cafe for lunch you have to pay for everything. It rained and 3/4 of the tour group sat in the cafe the whole time miserable. SO, bring warm jacket in case it's windy. Bring a sturdy umbrella. Bring a rain poncho. If you're prepared, as only my husband and I were!!! you will enjoy this place. Even in the rain. We thought it romantic. The tour guide ended up being our personal photographer! Eden Cool whaling info story about famous whale that helped whalers. Capt. told story over intercom system. We didn't get off ship. Thought it a sad stop. We tried Pinnacle Grill that night. It was fine. But main dining room food was great every night, so it wasn't necessary. If you go, the lobster mac and cheese was my fave. Sydney Reserve ahead for first tour tix at Opera House, or go straight there and get in line to get them. As performers show up for practice, the rooms are closed off to the public, or you can peek in, but no pix. The first tour all the rooms were empty and we got to take pix of Eveything. We had breakfast right there in front of theatre, sidewalk cafe. Great bridge view. After tour we went to the gardens up the street. They are Huge and pretty and lots of screaming flying squirrels which we thought were vampire bats. We had lunch at Cafe Sydney, at top of bldg facing bridge/ship. It's a mod place with great sceenery and great food. But it is costly. Expect every seat taken during lunch rush. Book ahead! Don't forget to get off elevator on floor with architect business listed on pannel. There's a lucite model of the opera house we found on accident. Cool! And lobby of bldg restauant has a glass floor with a model of Sydney in the floor!!!!! Have your video camera ready as you walk around feeling like you're flying over the city. We saw Pirates of Panzance. Great show! Brisbane Not part of cruise. We stayed at Hilton Brisbane, it's SUPER. Dinner at Rhubarb Rhubarb. It's a small bar with fancy food. Need reservations. Good time. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary $30pp, $16 for photos, $1 for roo food. Wear stuff you don't mind getting dirty if you want to really enjoy animal interaction, and there's plenty of it. Go opening to close, there's that much fun to be had! It was the highlight of trip/cruise for me! Service It was great all over ship. Only complaint was laundry service. Several times clothing items were lost, but most were found/returned at end of cruise. This was distressing as we packed one suitcase to last three weeks. We were Very limited in what we had and needing EACH and every item packed. Also, several items were ruined. Things came back stained or marked or with holes in them that weren't there when we sent them off. At end of cruise we filed to get money for 5 shirts and pants, but didn't get our money's worth. I was devasted they ruined one of my formal wear outfits. Brand new, never even worn, but I sent it for pressing along with everything else once we boarded. It came back with an iron imprint. I cried. As there was a limit to how much money you could file for for damages, this item didn't even make the cut. It alone was over $300. I've Never had such awful laundry service on a ship. And RCL has the Chinese Laundry. We've actually taken stuff with stains our local cleaner couldn't get out, and they get it looking good as new! Summary Spent over $15k on trip. All the old people kept saying they were on their retirement dream vacation, but due to age they were having a hard time fitting it all in. They kept telling us we did it right, did it when young. Travel To Port of Embarkation We flew Qantas. Superb coach experience going over. Opted to pay extra for exit door seat on way home. Bathroom light and door slamming and people traffic kept us up all the way home. Not worth money/won't ever sit there again. Dining We did the Any Time Dining/ Open Seating and LOVED LOVED it. We requested a table of 6-8 and met amazing people each night at dinner. Just be sure to book your dinner reservation like the second you wake up to get the time you want. Otherwise you will WAIT to be seated. Reservations a Must for timely seating. There's 4 formal, 10 Smart/Casual. Few tuxes on formal. Lots of dark suits though. Children's Clubs The guests on the cruise were older. Being 40, we were told there were only 2 other couples close to our age. They had a couple kids and so they took over places like the teen club and lounge and .... Seemed silly to have soo much for 4 kids. Oh well. Heard they were having a great time. Entertainment First time we never went to a ship dance show!!! We booked lots of early excursions, so just weren't up to the Broadway shows. We also shut the main dining room down several times with ongoing chatting with dinner mates. The comedian was good. The ventrilaquist awful. The cellist ok. Disembarkation As easy as getting on. If there's a problem, do NOT hesitate to ask for help. Like, if you have a flight and the lines are holding up for too long, they have a separate line elsewhere on ship which can get you off quick. I'd read about that line, and we used it! My husband was a nervous wreck about how long the self service line was, seemed like the entire ship wanted to be the first off. The elevator to exit to customs was taking forever as soo many people had wheelchairs and walkers and huge luggage that took up soo much elevator space. I surprised my husband by lingering at breakfast and then getting us to the "speed lane". Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Overall: Our trip aboard the Volendam was everything we dreamed. It was relaxing yet exhilarating. We were pampered yet enjoyed privacy. Alaska was beautiful! Our weather wasn't always sunny, but the rain gear and winter coats were ... Read More
Overall: Our trip aboard the Volendam was everything we dreamed. It was relaxing yet exhilarating. We were pampered yet enjoyed privacy. Alaska was beautiful! Our weather wasn't always sunny, but the rain gear and winter coats were only needed for rare moments. About Us: We are mid 40's couple celebrating 25 years of marital bliss. We do not gamble or drink. We enjoy dressing up for dinner and a show. Our best vacations are relaxing with beautiful nature and/or wildlife. The Volendam: She is an elegant ship but not gaudy. The most elegant space is not at the atrium like many other ships. Her most elegant spaces are on Deck 5 surrounding the casino. The Exploration Cafe and Library is the highlight of these spaces. The Rotterdam Dining Room is well maintained, spacious, and comfortable. The Show Lounge is mostly comfortable. We found the balcony more comfortable than the main floor. We spent much time on the Lower Promenade walking track, the Crow's Nest, and on the bow (accessible from the Lower Promenade via a stairwell). Our outside cabin was adequately spacious and comfortable. Bedding quality is as you will find at a 4-star hotel. Food: a. MDR: We found the food in the Rotterdam Dining Room to be very good to excellent. My favorite was the short ribs. We ate most dinners, a couple lunches, and one breakfast in the dining room. The wait staff had the right balance of attention without being annoying. I only recall one occasion where the glass got empty and the throat was dry. b. Lido: The food in the Lido (buffet) was good to very good. Desserts were very good. Omelets were very good. Tables were sometimes slow being cleared off for the next person to be seated. c. Canaletto: The food in the Canaletto was very good. The service was excellent. The Italian menu is somewhat limited for those who do not just love everything Italian. d. Pinnacle: We enjoyed a lunch at Pinnacle compliments of booking with Expedia. The food was very good and the service very good although we did feel like we would have been more favorably treated if we were a fully paying customer. c. Terrace Grill: The food was adequate. Cheeseburger was good. We found the brats and pizza only adequate. It was difficult to get drinks from the pool servers and going to the Lido for a drink was a hassle. d. Room Service: We used room service once for breakfast and were well pleased. Drinks: We do not drink but quite by accident the one time we wanted a soda it was during Happy Hour in the Crow's Nest so two cans of Sprite for $2.24 wasn't too bad (yes, Coke products. No Pepsi or Mountain Dew so carry a few on). Service: Room Stewards were quite nice as we met them in the halls as they greeted us by name. They were quite attentive to everything in the room. The Front Desk was good but inadequately staffed. Every time we passed by there was a line at least four deep. Entertainment: We made 5 of 7 performances in the Show Lounge. Quality was very good. We also enjoyed three movies in the Wajang Theatre. We did not get an opportunity to enjoy the nightly entertainers. Ship Activities: We enjoyed walks on the Lower Promenade, sightseeing while reading in the Crow's Nest, the Library, Intro to the Volendam, and the Kitchen Tour. We avoided the casino and nearby sports bar because of smokers. Wildlife: We saw one grizzly on shore, a single black bear, a couple mountain goats, both orcas and humpbacks, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, and eagles. The captain was very good at pointing out these and controlling the ship for maximum enjoyment Pre-Cruise: We flew into Seattle, rented a car and drove to Vancouver. We enjoyed driving by the largest building in the world at Boeing, the ferry to Whidbey Island, Deception Pass, and Chuckanut Drive Scenic Drive before dropping off the car at Avis on Hornby in Vancouver. Avis shuttle dropped us at Canada Place. Embarkation: Embarkation was painless and efficient. Our stateroom was ready when we embarked at 12:30. Bags arrived soon after. We were soon unpacked and ready to explore the ship. Disembarkation: We chose self-disembarkation and would do it again. We were off the ship and at our Vancouver hotel before 8:30am. Post-Cruise: The Sheraton Wall Centre booked on Priceline was perfect. We assumed we would be leaving our bags for the day with the bellman but to our surprise our room was ready at 8:30am! A short walk got us to the Burrard Station of TransLink. A $9 pp Day Pass on TransLink allowed us bus transportation to Stanley Park (one block away on Pender Street), SkyTrain east to get a taste of the city, Skytrain to the former Olympic Village (Science World station), and SeaBus to Lonsdale Quay Public Market. A short walk from Waterfront Station and SeaBus was Gastown Steam Clock to the east and the Olympic Cauldron to the west at Convention Centre West. An evening of dining and Improv was found at Granville Island. Two days followed in Seattle. The itinerary included Pikes Place Market, Space Needle, Olympic Sculpture Park, and The Museum of Flight. Ports of Call: 1. Tracy Arm: We chose this itinerary over a Seattle departure to experience Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier. We were terribly disappointed to find out we would not be sailing Tracy Arm. Tides and currents in the Inside Passage did not allow time to experience this scenery. 2. Juneau: Has to be the smallest state capitol in the U.S. We enjoyed Mighty Great Tours Glacier Express to the Mendenhall Glacier. Nettles Fall Trail was flooded so we hiked East Glacier Trail (almost 4 miles) for closer views of the glacier. We skipped Mount Roberts Tram because of cloud cover. Spend Thrift Insight - Alaska T-Shirt Company had the best prices for souvenirs. 3. Skagway: We enjoyed very much Chilkoot Charters for a bus trip to Fraser and the White Pass Railroad back to Skagway. After lunch on the ship we walked the town in a light rain. Spend Thrift Insight - The National Park Service leads a very good walking tour (free service). 4. Cruising Glacier Bay: This day began at 5am in the Crow's Nest for whale watching and ended at a midnight view of the lighted northern sky. Not quite midnight sun but never got totally dark either. This is where we saw our bears, mountain goats, seals, sea lions and the majority of our whales. We viewed a total of four glaciers. The weather was cold, overcast, and foggy. The sky cleared momentarily for Reid and Johns Hopkins glaciers. 5. Ketchikan: We enjoyed the Alaskan Lumberjack show, Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, Ketchikan Walking Tour, and Creek Street. We did not see any salmon. This is where we saw the bald eagles. Spend Thrift Insight - Tongass Trading Company had the best prices for souvenirs. What to Pack (early July): Yes, layered clothing is the best advice. The walking shorts might be needed but probably not. Begin with long sleeves. Add a fleece and/or hooded sweatshirt. You will need a rain coat with a hood. A winter coat, gloves, and hat are definitely warranted in Glacier Bay. Take binoculars! Final Comments: This was the almost perfect vacation. The Volendam is a grand ship. Holland America offers a very good sailing experience. Alaska offers tremendous beauty and cordial people. The cool weather is a welcomed break from the summer heat in the continental U.S. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
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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