39 Holland America Volendam Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Asia

We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and ... Read More
We did choose this cruise for the ports of call selection (Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Da Nang - for Hue, Nha Trang, Phu My - for Saigon, Shianokville - for the beaches, Laem Chabang - for Bankok, Ko Samui - for temples and the beaches and Singapore. Overall, not too many days "at the sea" and nice ports of call selections. Good start and end ports (where you can come in earlier or stay more at the end - like three days for each) to you can better see and experience both Hong Kong and Singapore. The ship is not in a good shape anymore. The food is about average (the same food choice over and over again, day after day). The Lido on this ship closes at 8 pm (not at 9 pm as on other Holland America ships). The late dining takes way too long (one hour is the minimum - going up to 1.5 or 2 hrs) as they did cut on cooks and waiters as well - so be prepared to wait for your food if you want each night dining experience. We skipped the dining experience for the last couple of days as it was too long for getting the food. As usual, shore excursions as overpriced, but if you do your homework in advance - you can get at least 1/2 price if not even better. These are interesting ports of call - so the cruise is worth although it has all these issues (mentioned above). The late night entertainment was sub par (only 3 good shows in 14 days). Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was my first time on the Volendam, but not my last. The captain skillfully maneuvered this medium size cruise ship through high waves at the port of Nha Trang, Vietnam, and kept all the guests well informed. This my first HAL cruise ... Read More
This was my first time on the Volendam, but not my last. The captain skillfully maneuvered this medium size cruise ship through high waves at the port of Nha Trang, Vietnam, and kept all the guests well informed. This my first HAL cruise with in depth cultural sessions, such as feng shui, temple etiquette, or coffee culture, in addition to the regular tips for touring various ports. One minor quibble is that only maps of some ports/cities were readily available at the front desk. Major disappointment was the wait to disembark in Singapore due to long lines at immigration/customs. Although customs at Changi Airport experienced over the last 20 years is efficient, this disembarkation wasn't. However, the cruise itself was outstanding with a good food (loved the tropical fruits at the Lido Market daily -- guava, lychee, mango), flawless dinner service, and a variety of entertainment choices. Our compact cabin on the walking deck was comfortable and cozy with our own added décor; the steward furnished a vase for flowers acquired and used a bed runner also purchased in Vietnam. I was completely satisfied with 3 of the 4 tours, and highly recommend the My Son, an UNESCO World Heritage site, in Da Nang, Vietnam. The escort on the HCMC city transfer only provided general information on Vietnam and nothing city specific; he didn't even recognize that the street of the meeting point was the same where we were meeting our friends for lunch. We took shuttles (one paid & one free) in 2 cities and were able to explore on our own. Despite its location in a large, busy commercial port Terminal 1A in Laem Chabang Thailand has WiFi ($3.00 for 3 hours), an indoor souvenir market, and a small massage corner. Whether or not this is your first trip to Southeast Asia, you are in good hands sailing on the Volendam. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I was attracted to the itinerary which had 9 ports: Singapore, Thailand [2], Cambodia [1], Vietnam [4] and Hong Kong. The voyage was 16 days: January 16 - February 1, 2018. This would normally be the dry season for southeast Asia but ... Read More
I was attracted to the itinerary which had 9 ports: Singapore, Thailand [2], Cambodia [1], Vietnam [4] and Hong Kong. The voyage was 16 days: January 16 - February 1, 2018. This would normally be the dry season for southeast Asia but at least half the days were overcast but fortunately with minimal rain. Our veranda stateroom was roomy with recently updated bathroom with high quality amenities including shower wall dispensers for shampoo, conditioner and soap, ample high water and water pressure. Our stewards were competent and friendly. I enjoyed very tasty food in both the Lido and formal [Rotterdam] dining rooms, did not use the extra fare Pinnacle grill. The average age of the passengers was 65-70, with no children among the 1400 passengers, a primary thing to consider if you dislike unsupervised, badly behaved kids running around. The excursions were well done and reasonably priced. So why the three star rating? In every room of the ship except the library and stateroom, from early morning breakfast to late night, ceiling speakers emitted canned music [yes even in the formal dining room] 90% of which was pop vocal. The amplitude was unpleasantly loud for my ears. I had taken the Zuiderdam on a west Caribbean cruise a year earlier and there was no canned music on that trip. I can only assume that Holland-America in its wisdom decided to imitate cheaper entertainment and lower class restaurants that feel pre-recorded music is necessary to create a "carnival" [no pun intended] atmosphere. This was my 4th voyage on HAL including two early trans-atlantic but unless they cut the canned music, I will seek other means of travel. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We needed a cruise that would fit in with my husband's work commitments and had a suitable itinerary. This cruise fit the bill and as we had sailed on the Volendam before, we were happy to book the cruise.Embarkation in Singapore was ... Read More
We needed a cruise that would fit in with my husband's work commitments and had a suitable itinerary. This cruise fit the bill and as we had sailed on the Volendam before, we were happy to book the cruise.Embarkation in Singapore was smooth quick and efficient. We had an oceanview stateroom, midships, as I can suffer from motion sickness. The cruise was fairly calm and the only movement I felt was on the last sea day when it was a bit rougher. We enjoyed all our meals on board whether in the Lido or Dining Room, we didn't eat at the specialty restaurants. We found the nightly entertainment on the Mainstage to be of varying quality from very enjoyable to not so good. I found the Windows 10 sessions quite helpful and America's Test Kitchen enjoyable. All the staff we came in contact with were all cheerful and helpful, they gave us the feeling that nothing was too much for them. I had ordered the unlimited laundry package and everything was returned clean in a timely manner. There are no more self-serve laundries on board.The only problem we had in disembarking was waiting over an hour for a taxi at the terminal. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
My mother chose this line as she had travelled with Holland America previously. It is a good way to see countries in Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and then stop in Hong Kong. The ship itself was comfortable. The food in the Lido ... Read More
My mother chose this line as she had travelled with Holland America previously. It is a good way to see countries in Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and then stop in Hong Kong. The ship itself was comfortable. The food in the Lido was so so, but the dining room food was better. It would be nice if there was a breakfast bar for smoothies, etc as a healthy alternative to fried bacon, eggs, sausages. The staff on board is, as I have always found, very nice and helpful. Lovely people. I was disappointed with the state of their tennis court - every day there was activities “meet for tennis”, but the court was always wet and sometimes the net was down. If you could not find any staff about the decks, you had to take pool towels and dry the court yourself. The tennis balls available were terribly old and in really bad shape. Pickle ball was also offered and the equipment for that was in better shape. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The Volendam is a lovely medium sized ship. The staff are excellent extremely friendly and efficient. Food was very good both in the restaurant and in the Lido. My cabin 3331 was spacious with plenty of wardrobe space for a ship.It was ... Read More
The Volendam is a lovely medium sized ship. The staff are excellent extremely friendly and efficient. Food was very good both in the restaurant and in the Lido. My cabin 3331 was spacious with plenty of wardrobe space for a ship.It was spotlessly clean and our cabin steward was excellent. It was an Oceanview with a large window. The destinations were all very exciting. Embarkation and disembarkation was always quick and easy, Priority for tenders was not given to tours which made a refreshing change. There was plenty of help and information for people who wanted to travel independently.l The entertainments team were young and very enthusiastic and the shows enjoyable. At just over 61,000 tons and guest capacity of under 1500 the Volendam is an easy ship to get around and never felt crowded. Queues in the Lido were always fairly short and dinner in the dining room was a very leisurely affair. The two ships shore excursions I went on were good but very expensive compared with privately arranged tours. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Just out of dry dock and work still going on all over. AC in our cabin not working, far from ideal in tropical climate. We had an outside door to the lanai deck but this was broken!!! Temperature in our cabin was between 75-79 deg. I had ... Read More
Just out of dry dock and work still going on all over. AC in our cabin not working, far from ideal in tropical climate. We had an outside door to the lanai deck but this was broken!!! Temperature in our cabin was between 75-79 deg. I had to open the inner cabin door to let cool air from the interior corridor in to our cabin. The first few days had the smell of burning metal and sawdust but worst was an overpowering smell of soggy wet carpet from the many cabins with water leaks. Not surprising that my wife contracted a chest infection and ran up $2000 of medical bills and was confined to the cabin for a number of days. Funnily enough her chest infection cleared up totally as soon as the AC was fixed. Room service was appalling while my wife was unable to leave the cabin. I had to go to the restaurant myself to get the food she could eat. After repairs were carried out properly we enjoyed the rest of the voyage. Food and dining room were excellent. Service excellent. Wine at $40 a bottle and beer at $9 was bad, but a bottle of water at $3.95 + a bottle was a bit too much. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I chose this cruise because we wanted to revisit parts of Asia that we had been to years ago. We enjoyed all the ports; interesting. The food on board was wonderful, the service was excellent. The shows were o.k; many of the songs ... Read More
I chose this cruise because we wanted to revisit parts of Asia that we had been to years ago. We enjoyed all the ports; interesting. The food on board was wonderful, the service was excellent. The shows were o.k; many of the songs performed were not familiar to us. Our cabin was always kept neat and clean by the attendants; they work very hard! The ship itself is in good condition and also very clean. I enjoyed the port talks, they were extremely informative and to the point; excess information was not given. Embarcation and disembarcation was smooth and quick. Dining room service was excellent; our waiter was always ready to meet my requests for alterations or additions to the meal. We cruise on Holland America more than any other cruise line. I can still say I enjoy the company very much and would highly recommend the ship, the crew and the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We had never sailed on HA and had heard good things about this cruise line, so when a Dec cruise to Asia came up with ports we had never been to but wanted to see, we jumped at the chance to be a part of this experience. First off, the ... Read More
We had never sailed on HA and had heard good things about this cruise line, so when a Dec cruise to Asia came up with ports we had never been to but wanted to see, we jumped at the chance to be a part of this experience. First off, the crew and staff for the most part were great - very friendly, helpful and accommodating. In addition to the destinations, they were the best part of the cruise! Negatives: 1. our cabin - it looked good, but the air conditioning never worked so it was always 75°F or more, in countries that were already uncomfortably hot and humid. The staff were vigilant in trying to fix the problem but were not successful. Also, there was a leak somewhere that left a wet area outside our bathroom for the entire 2 weeks. To remedy the problem, a large, loud fan that blew hot air onto the spot was brought in, but as our cabin was already too warm, we sent the fan away after a few hours. 2. public areas - meanwhile, the hallways and public rooms (bars, theater, restaurants, library, etc.) were freezing cold, which other passengers also complained about. That finally got fixed on our last 2 days on board. It's a wonder that we didn't catch a cold. 3. the food - the food at the Lido and in the dining room was bland for our tastes (being foodies from SF who are 65+) and seemed geared to older people whose taste buds don't like surprises. I finally started asking for sambal to be brought out for my meals, which they did. We also thought that the meat and fish served was not the best quality... The fries at the Dive-in and the morning congee and omelettes at the Lido, however, were some of the best we had. The other problem with the food was that it was generally not served until 7am or after 8.30pm, so there were a few times we woke up or went to bed starving. Also, as everything at the Lido had to be served, there were long lines of impatient, sometimes rude, passengers. 4. the activities - On Princess cruises I'm usually racing from lectures to dance classes to trivia, and back again, often without enough time for a sit-down meal. On this HA cruise, I was rarely busy as there were few lectures and even fewer dance and arts and crafts classes. It was good to have down time, but I felt again that this cruise was geared to older, more sedentary passengers. The Test Kitchen and lectures that were given, however, were excellent and informative. 5. the excursions - Most ship excursions are expensive, and these were no exception, but the HA excursions were much better than the ones I've been on with Princess. The guides, transport and organization were generally excellent, but were worth paying the premium prices. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We booked with Holland American because of previous quality and service. We received an e mail prior to boarding asking us not to board before 1pm instead of before 12 noon as the ship had been in dry dock and would not be ready to use. ... Read More
We booked with Holland American because of previous quality and service. We received an e mail prior to boarding asking us not to board before 1pm instead of before 12 noon as the ship had been in dry dock and would not be ready to use. Then they sent another e mail saying that we could board on the normal time. On boarding the cabin had not been cleaned it had rubble on the carpets, dust all over everything inside, curtains were inside the draws, we complained. Later water was leaking into the cabin from the bottom of the toilet. There was no cold water apart from what was coming in via the toilet. The air conditioning was not working cabin was very hot did not work for 3 days. We complained in a long line of other people who were experiencing similar issues. In fact we spent the first day complaining rather than enjoying the cruise. The toilets in the main public areas were not working which caused them to be backed up and less than usable. There was several leaks in the public areas which needed to be zoned off and industrial dryers used to dry the area. One night while sitting in bar near the shops a large metal ceiling tile about 3 feet x 3 feet came crashing to the floor. Missing customers who were in the bar by inches witnessed by staff. Someone had made the decision to use this ship in an unserviceable condition. I have sent an e mail to Holland American customer services who acknowledged receipt and a follow up. I have had no reply in over two weeks. I do not feel they will reply as I feel there is no customer service with them. I will not book a cruise with them again unless I receive a reply. Sorry. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Just out of dry dock after a refit and many cabins unfit for human habitation. See other similar reviews. A/C in the cabin not working (75+ deg) while ice cold in the corridor outside!!! We had to leave the cabin door open to get cool at ... Read More
Just out of dry dock after a refit and many cabins unfit for human habitation. See other similar reviews. A/C in the cabin not working (75+ deg) while ice cold in the corridor outside!!! We had to leave the cabin door open to get cool at all. Our patio door out to the deck did not work so we could not even get a cool breeze. There were water leaks all over our deck ( although not in our cabin) and the smell of dampness permeated the atmosphere at times. There was a smell of burnt metal and sawdust for the first few days. maybe it went away, maybe we just got used to it. My wife, along with many other passengers, came down with a chest infection due to the poisonous air. Thankfully after $2000 of medical expenses she picked up by day 5 of our trip. Funnily enough this was just about the same time that the A/C and water leaks were repaired on our deck. Crewmen were welding or cutting metal outside our door on the lanai deck. A rail on the rear pool deck was missing a 3 foot length and was crudely repaired with a length of plank screwed across the gap.!!! I kid you not! (photos to follow when I find them) I know that some guests left the ship at the first port of call and if my wife had been well enough, and the port suitable, we to would also have disembarked. When my wife was quite ill and unable to leave the cabin "room service" got 5 orders in a row wrong. Eventually I started going to the restaurant myself and brought her meals to her. All of this was a great shame because the ship had the potential to be a very enjoyable experience. We found the crew to be generally very friendly and efficient. The dining room was an enjoyable experience and the food very good. ( to we cruise virgins.) I think that this ship would normally be an 8 or 9 out of 10 but for us, and many other people it was a very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
As we lived in hong kong for 2 years while in the forces we always wanted to go back & see the changes plus we had never been to the places before apart from bangkok. We booked Trips with cruising excursion.com for every Port to make ... Read More
As we lived in hong kong for 2 years while in the forces we always wanted to go back & see the changes plus we had never been to the places before apart from bangkok. We booked Trips with cruising excursion.com for every Port to make the most of the Cruise, Ports of call were 06/12-singapore. 07/12 / at sea. 08/12 (koh samui). 09/12 &10/12 chaban (bangkok). 11/12-sihanoukville. 12/12 at sea. 13/12-phu my. 14/12-nha trang. 15/12--at sea.16/12-da nang (hue). 17/12-at sea. 18/12-halong bay. 19/12-at sea. 20/12-hong kong some of the ports were container bases so i was glad that we booked a trip for each port, we stayed in hong kong an extra 2 days to have a good look round. As for the ship when we boarder her after a 12 week refit there was a lot of problems in a lot of the staterooms with flooding from the toilets (some as much as 2" of water) so a lot of people were not happy, there was a smell from the carpets drying out plus a strong smell of diesel about, i spoke to someone who was moved to another stateroom & when he complains again about the noise from above (the galley) he told me that he was given ear plugs. The swimming pool at the aft was empty when boarding & the other pool was mucky & couldn't be used, i was told that the ship had to go to deep water to refresh. The food was excellent both in the mdr & buffet where you could get a steak cooked to your preference. Our shower room had all new fittings but the drawers on the bedside tables were old & sticking. The staff were welcoming & helpful. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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
Commencing your cruise in China, you do not need an expensive visa if certain conditions apply. My wife and I have recently returned (12-11-17) from a two week cruise in the Far East. We joined the ship (Holland Americas cruise ship ... Read More
Commencing your cruise in China, you do not need an expensive visa if certain conditions apply. My wife and I have recently returned (12-11-17) from a two week cruise in the Far East. We joined the ship (Holland Americas cruise ship VOLENDAM) in Shanghai China. Prior to the cruise I was informed by my external cruise agent’s documentation that a visa was required for entry into China. I researched the visa process and discovered that the Chinese embassies in the UK, located in Manchester and London utilise external agencies to process and issue access visas for China. I accessed online the SHANGHAI GENERAL STATION OF IMMIGRATION INSPECTION. The document listed several visa exemption possibilities depending upon your travel schedule. There are several visa agencies online and be aware, the charges vary considerably from £175.00 to £250.00 per person, and the process is not straight forward. Having explored various cruise advice pages on the web, it was intimated that there is a facility for Chinese visa exemption depending upon how many days you would be in China and where your cruise schedule was destined. I contacted my cruise agent and they were no help at all, stating that it was the passenger’s responsibility to sort it all out and they the agent would not provide any guidance apart from a contact number for CIBIT Visa processing agents (who just happen to be the most expensive visa processing company). E-mailed the British Embassy in Shanghai, yes, thank-you for your e-mail, but we don’t answer any questions concerned with visas, (so I wonder what they do, do over there.) Next, I contacted Holland and America, not a lot of help or enthusiasm there, same story they were not really interested, but they did have a visa specialist in America who may be able to answer my question, “do I need a visa for entry to China when I will only be in china for a short duration before sailing on to Japan, within 48 hours?” Well thank you, H&M, could you contact your specialist visa person and get back to me, yes, they didn’t. After 3 phone calls to H&M, three different advisers, eventually they decided that for this cruise as we were only in China for 30 hours and were going to a third party country (Japan) we did not need a visa. So, 7 days before we go, a letter arrives from Holland America via my cruise agent informing us that a visa is required for China. Grrr, frustration, once again contacted H&M, who were at this point not sure don’t think you need a visa, but here is a number for the visa agency we recommend so I could check with them, (just happened to also be the most expensive visa agent.) Success, rang the visa agent, informed them of my itinery travel plans, and they assured me a visa was not required. So, feeling 90% sure we did not require a visa, we set off to Manchester airport, at check-in they told us we needed a China entry visa, we said no we didn’t, they checked and verified we did not need one, the same situation in Amsterdam initially refused check in without a visa, Amsterdam checked and verified we did not require a visa. When we arrived at Shanghai airport, there was a special passport checking area for the issue of visa exemptions. Passport control checked our travel itinery cruise documentation and issued permits, process took approximately 20 minutes. Be very, very careful if you need a taxi at the airport, there are numerous taxis touts at the airport entrance that are not officially, registered taxis. We agreed a price for the 20 mile drive to the cruise terminal. I am sure that he was a racing car and dodgems driver in his spare time, horrendous journey to the cruise port and then he asked for more money, holding our luggage to ransom in the boot of his taxi and would not unload it until we paid double the fare. We conversed with many UK Passengers over the next 14 days, many repeated the same visa verification nightmare, and in every case they had purchased very expensive China access visas, when they did not need them, because no one could or would give them positive visa requirements information. And yes this is a long story, but if it’s saved you £500.00 it’s been worth reading. And, so to the cruise ship itself, overall, average in every aspect. There were plenty of sitting/relaxing areas, good, as most cruise ships appear to have their relaxing areas replaced with specialist premium cost dining. Cabin was cramped due to excessive furniture. The dining experience, average in choice of menu and food quality and quantity. Standard cruise line overpriced drinks. The entertainment 50% outstanding (ships singers and dancers) the rest was dire with the exception of an outstanding guest violinist. The service was outstanding in every aspect. Ports of call, all city type, hence the overpowering traffic pollution. Interesting experience and lots to see and do. Shore excursions, they were probably the most expensive that I have ever come across, on any of the previous 14 cruises that we have experienced, hence, we did our own thing. There were very few children on the cruise. Would I go again, probably not, we enjoyed the experience and observing the different cultures, but in some respects it was all much of the same. The cruise line does need to offer promotional inducements, I doubt that we will be sailing with Holland America in the future. AND TO ALL YOU CRUISE COMPANIES AND AGENTS YOU DISAPPOINT ME, I EXPECT BETTER SERVICE, VERY EXPEDIENTLY YOU TAKE OUR MONEY, AND ARE CLEARLY NOT INTERESTED IN OUR WELFARE. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We enjoyed a wonderful 14-day cruise to Japan and China, starting in Tokyo and ending in Shanghai. Our flight was part of the cruise package and worked out well. We had a pre-cruise stay in Tokyo. Great hotel, but disorganized ... Read More
We enjoyed a wonderful 14-day cruise to Japan and China, starting in Tokyo and ending in Shanghai. Our flight was part of the cruise package and worked out well. We had a pre-cruise stay in Tokyo. Great hotel, but disorganized embarkation procedures at the hotel. Once on the ship, everything was fine. Service was exemplary by all the staff. They just couldn't do enough for us. When we told the Steward that the room was too cold, he reported it immediately and within a few hours it was fixed and the front desk called to verify that we were now satisfied. When my husband fell on an independent excursion, the front desk called to find out how he was doing and sent a plate of chocolate covered cherries to our room. When we couldn't get our phone to work on the ship, the front desk ushered us over to a complimentary phone to use. When we couldn't get the Wi-Fi to work, the people at the front desk patiently walked us through the procedures. When we arrived on board we found that our travel agency had paid for a free meal in the Pinnacle Grille. The card in our room said it was a free dinner, but that turned out to be a mistake - it was only supposed to be a free lunch. However, the ship graciously honored what the card said and gave us a free dinner. The meals in the dinning room were excellent. The dining staff gave great recommendations and graciously made any requested alterations to the stated menu items. On at-sea days we enjoyed the 'America's Test Kitchen' cooking demonstrations and lectures by Master Kam on China. We never attended any of the evening entertainment, so I can't comment there. Disembarkation was very smooth. We were organized into groups and called by group to go off the ship. Our luggage was waiting for us. We only did two ship excursions; we prefer independent ones. But there were no independent ones available in those two ports. The ship excursions were typical large group affairs. We also did one ship excursion to see an acrobatic show. It was not the famous one in Shanghai that I wanted to see. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the ship to give us adequate information ahead of time to determine what show we would be taken to. I called their excursion office twice before the cruise and each time they promised to call me back, but never did. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We just returned from the Volendam China, Japan cruise. We chose it because of the ports of call and we had been on this ship previously. We enjoyed the trip very much but have to say the time wasted getting off the ship at the different ... Read More
We just returned from the Volendam China, Japan cruise. We chose it because of the ports of call and we had been on this ship previously. We enjoyed the trip very much but have to say the time wasted getting off the ship at the different ports if you are touring independently, is a big disappointment and time wasted at the port. We did not use the dining room more than 3 times in our 2 weeks onboard because the service is so slow and the food isn't very hot when it does arrive. We ate a Lido buffet mostly. The breakfast and lunch is great there. The dinner food has the same "not hot enough" problem. One evening I was asked by a manager how our food was. I did ask him for some hot fried rice and got some. We observed that they put the food out on the buffet line at 5 pm and it doesn't open till 5;30, so that could be the problem. They do have many choices. The MIX martini bar and Ryan the bartender are super great. We were regulars there1 Most of the ports of call were fabulous with the exception of Nagasaki, which we thought wasn't very good and not enough time to really enjoy it. Shanghai and Tokyo were our favorites. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This itinerary of HAL's Volendam attracted us without us knowing HAL had little experience in most of these ports and March was not a warm /good month to cruise in Asia. We liked the idea to get a sample of nine ports including ... Read More
This itinerary of HAL's Volendam attracted us without us knowing HAL had little experience in most of these ports and March was not a warm /good month to cruise in Asia. We liked the idea to get a sample of nine ports including Yokohama, Osaka, Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong but did not know that some of the ports had little to explore ( Shimizu, Hoshishima, Naha, Keelong, Kaoshing) But we did wisely not book the cost of a verandah or Lanai as the weather proved very cool with some nights below 40degrees F. Our embarkation heralded two problems with this cruise.In the large reception area at Yokohama there were no HAL staff to help anyone with a mobility problem Each passenger was on their own to get aboard. Throughout this cruise the lack of HAL staff to assist those with mobility problems was evident .Many of the ports had very long walks to get to the ship and there were no wheelchairs and freindly Indonesian staff to help. The other problem was HAL did not understand the Chinese governments ruling in October 2016 that cruise passengers did not need a Chinese visa to disembark in Shanghai if they had a Chinese government licensed tour prebooked for 2 or more peoplel HAL demanded waivers to be signed at embarkatiom that state we would perhaps pay fines, be put off the ship and other nasty threats and certainly not be allowed to board in Japan/Yokohama if we did not have a Chinese visa and sign their HAL lawyers' release of liability . Many statements put in front of us to sign were false such as we needed visas for Japan,Taiwan and Hong Kong. WE checked in at 3PM on March 14 and had various letters and notificaitons from the Volendam front office about our lack of Chinese visa until 9PM on March 18 when notice came that HAL Seattle had recognized the October 2016 China 15 day free visa program for passengers on this sailing of the Volendam arriving the next norning in Shanghai. Even at 7AM im the morning of arrival HAL staff were working out how to get their passengers through immigration under the new rules. This immigration stress continued fo rthe full cruise as we were troted around to present ourselves on and off the ship for the 2 weeks cruise for Japanese, Taiwan and Hong Kong immigration. Nothing was made easy for the passengers. WE also had the strange occasion of the mandatory life/safety drill in the middle of dinner service so everyone had to get out on deck for the 40 minutes in the middle of dinner service when all client services and dinner was shut down aorund 7PM . Poor planning for an 11 PM departure. The Volendam is a moderate sized ( 1432 passengers) older HAL ship launched in 1999. We sailed on it in 2006 and it has had some updates including lanai added to some promenade cabins The Explorer lounge has been enlarged and joined with the nighttime MIX venue But overall it has not changed There are fewer fresh flowers and plants which was the Volendam theme and far fewer staff in the dining rooms and as cabin stewards The HAL updates of BB King and Lincoln Center are not there. Rooms do not have refrigerators but you can rent one! So we had a full ship with a busy itininerary and it was too cool for casually eating outdoors. So the Lido was crowded upon embaraktion and it sometimes became so crowded that finding s seat for breakfast or lunch became nasty with many internationsl guests not communicating well Our first hours also saw a special ceremony as the Mayor of Yokohama honored the captain for bringing HAL to Yokohama instead of to Tokyo Harbor. This was this captain's first trip to Japan Volendam was now coming to Yokohama in a political/econimic decision. In return Yokohama and other new ports would provide cultural guests onboard fo rthe passengers. First were Japanese drummers from Yokohama. later came Geisha dancers, Japanese women instrumentalists, and Chinese acrobats in Shanghai. Shimizu welcomed our arrival with a faireboat Another town brought out its Japanese drummers for our embarkation. The message was HAL was new to most of these ports and some would get one HAL ship visit in 2017. . , . So when we sought counsel from the shore excurison staff they had no idea what some of the tours were about They were without any clue how rigorous some of the tours might be They proved wrong on two as not easy but quite strenuous excursions Of course the passengers learned how strenuous when the tours were run for the first time. So the Volendam started off on its itininerary and got the passengers off in Shanghai with many delays and unexplained quirks . Then the ship tried to leave Shanghai and found a pilot problem that not only delayed departure after 11PM but had the ship sitting anchored in Shanghai's harbor for about 13 hours. The captain finally notified the passengers he had winds and fog problems although no fog horns blared. There was no ship motion problems but we wer stalled and the captain canceled the Okinawa port Naha as he ahd not left Shamnghai on time. But he got to Taiwan a day early. Surprise we did not get back our port and taxes from Okinawa. "You got an extra day in Keelong". But there was no need to get an extra day in this industrial city. Did the captain just prefer not to go back to Japan na dOkinawa? So the weather remained cool ( highs in the 50's ) until Hong Kong and limited everyone's energies as drizzle and rain came Immoigraiton in Hong Kong was difficult for all as the demand was made that all passengers get a number and leave the ship on call between 4PM and 6:15Pm walkign through the barren hallways of the former Tai Kak airport now the HK cruise terminal. It took most peoole 90 minutes to do the deed. There were limited staff to help those with limited mobility as all staff needed to go through immigraiton esepcially those leaving the ship the next day. . Few wheel chairs were avallable to walk about 3/4 of a mile of corridors. Mandatory for all to walk off the ship but with no assistance. Cabns were very standard on this vessel at just under 200sq ft Lots of closet space Renovation had nice showers. HAL had the cheapest quality toilet paper ever and saved on giving us only one bar of soap in 2 weeks and one 1 ounce of hand cream in 2 weeks No replacements. The common containers in the shower held the shampoo and conditioner. The bath wash there made a good air scent fo rthe bathroom Our cabin on the lower promenade did not get access to its deck most of the trip as workers tore apart the pipping, moved tenders painted and hammered away for 2 weeks Water got dumped daily over our windows on the the inner aspect of the promenade The workers made thi s hellish room in the night time and dining carts groaned overhead late at night Activities were very limited on this cruise The Digital workshop have not been updated since 2015. The cooking classes were ludicrous unless oyu paid Trivia was the busiest activity with an internaitonal following. The casino has raised its minimums on everything so don't look for penny machines Bingo appeared late in the cruise.-not our thing,. The evening music was best in the Ocean Bar with a dynamic trio for dancing and light jazz. The Adagio classic duo was better than our last cruise- young musuicians with some life in them. The piano man was a bit "old college try" and not our thing with very old material . The main shows were quite variable. The dancers were excellent. Best show was the dancers by themselves. The male singers were good and the women singers atrociaous with shrill voices that hurt the ears Either HAL needs to recruit better thier female cast singers, , put better filters on the women's microphones or get women who don't break glass with their shreaks. This cruise was busy with ports WE did not use the pool as it was too cold. WE had to fend off crowds to get a seat at shows and meals. Dinner service was a quiet respite each night away from crowds as many did not use the dining room and went to the lido to avoid getting into nice clothes after 6PM We saw little of the . officers and leadership in 2 weeks we had inadequate informaiton from the bridge The staffing everywhere has diminished on HAL and we rarely saw anyone to assist a handicapped person,. WE would arrive to a embarkation ramop to find no HAL person present at the bottom but security at the top so there was no effort to assist anyone up the ramnps. Dining started off with quality fresh ingredients Soon we noticed the fresh fruits wer disappearing We went from luscious large navel oranges to small bitter oranges as inedible Large grapes the first week never reappeared. Pineapple disappeared into canned varieties, The management of ice cream declined over the two weeks from many flavors to Neapolitan either all three or as one of the three flavors melting as not frozen in a form Icecream in the Lido and dining room was soft and runny My frozen yogurt had large ice chunks from poor storage Too many of HAL's dishes have chillis and hot spicy ingredients not appropriate for an older clientele Allergic to chilis I ofund themn in soups, salads, appetisers, everything. The quality of the vegetables on this HAL ship was better than most HAL experiences. Both variety and appropriately cooked. WE saw lots of beef entrees but rare pork except in the Asian bar No BarB Q. The pasta bar was very slow to get a eprsonal order and had only 2 varieties. In the Lido the prepared breakfast egg, potato and meat items were not warm This made us revert to personally made egg dishes and waiting long for fresh cooked food The food on the hot table was not warm. Dinner entrees were not very inspired limited to one pasta, one salad, one beef, one fish, one chicken and an additional try Risotto was a common entree. Appetizers/starters included chilled fruit soups, occasional shrimp cocktail, foie gras, tartars, ec Soups wer served in a pretentions manner of serving the garnish or ingredients in a dry bowl and pouring the broth over it as done on Top Chef But really it did not add much. WE started asking for the broth witout the garnish! Salads at dinner were insipid with little fresh bounce. Winter /root ingredients made them reserved Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We loved the ports in Jspan, Tsiwan, Shanghai and HongKong, missed Okinawa due to a weather delay. The captain was a very good communicator with frequent updates. The food was very good, lots of fresh fish and delicious osso buca and ... Read More
We loved the ports in Jspan, Tsiwan, Shanghai and HongKong, missed Okinawa due to a weather delay. The captain was a very good communicator with frequent updates. The food was very good, lots of fresh fish and delicious osso buca and lamb shanks. Nice selection of baked goods at breakfast in Lido, long lines for omelets but worth the wait. The Pinacle dinner was a little disappointing in food and service. Ant time dining is difficult between 5:45 and 8:00, hard to get a table. Overall the service was fine, in dining room, Lido buffet and bars. We loved the Explorations Cafe and the library, but sorry they no longer have a librarian on board. Last time had a two week book club on board going to Hawaii. Excellent Chinese lecturer and Tai Chi teacher on sea days. Wonderfully entertaining piano man, Barry from Boston, always a treat. Beautiful classical music from the Rumanian couple on violin and piano, Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Selected primarily because of the itinerary. Our cabin was quite satisfactory. The ship's own floor show entertainment group was excellent, but most of their shows were repeated during the 28 days cruise. All the other lounge ... Read More
Selected primarily because of the itinerary. Our cabin was quite satisfactory. The ship's own floor show entertainment group was excellent, but most of their shows were repeated during the 28 days cruise. All the other lounge entertainment was one-person acts and were generally mediocre or not appealing to a wide audience. The piano player, "Barry from Boston", was terrible but tolerated by a surprising number of folks. Ship excursions were terribly expensive. We did two, plus many good independent tours arranged via Cruise Critic contacts with fellow passengers. Our worst excursion was HAL's "Best of Jakarta", a true waste of money. Our independent tour to Borrobodur (sp?) included a high speed police escort for our two vans and was far superior to the ship's escorted tour. On Komodo Island we had our a guide and park ranger for just the two of us while the ship's tours were large groups. Bali was far more densely populated than we had realized and less enjoyable than expected. Singapore and Hong Kong were standout, wonderful places to visit. Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam were all great places to visit. The scenery from a lengthy boat ride at Halong Bay was spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We just returned from our trip to Indonesia. This was our 20 something cruise. We've tried to think of something to review that hasn't already been mentioned to help future travelers. First, some positives: 1. Indonesian ... Read More
We just returned from our trip to Indonesia. This was our 20 something cruise. We've tried to think of something to review that hasn't already been mentioned to help future travelers. First, some positives: 1. Indonesian serve staff are great: friendly, happy, and helpful 2. Breakfast in the Lido: They prepare things fresh as you order, like waffles, pancakes, french toast, so it doesn't sit under the heat lamps. 3. The professional staff, front desk, cruise director, location guides were friendly, approachable, and liked talking to passengers. 4. Everything was super clean ~ hallways, railings, bathrooms 5. Dive In bar has beeper so food is cooked to order and fresh. Some negatives: 1. Staff are overworked and on long contracts so they don't get to see their families much. 2. They don't chill the soda (served room temperature with a glass of ice). 3. There isn't much variety on dinner menu. They had prime rib four times in two weeks. 4. Ship excursions cost three times more than private, less crowded excursions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We are a 3 star Mariner with Holland America working towards our 4 star. We go away every winter and liked the itinerary of this cruise. We were on for a total of 42 days. We like to listen to the piano and violin entertainment with a ... Read More
We are a 3 star Mariner with Holland America working towards our 4 star. We go away every winter and liked the itinerary of this cruise. We were on for a total of 42 days. We like to listen to the piano and violin entertainment with a martini before dinner. Adagio, Andreea and Alexandru were fantastic. The food on this ship has slipped. The worst French Onion soup I have ever had. The service at dinner was very slow and the food often arrived cold. We like to eat breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck aft however this ship offered no service for these tables. That is no juice or coffee in the morning and nothing at lunch. We often had to get our own cutlery and clear a space at the tables. We used to enjoy the Culinary Centre and related activities however now Holland America has invited America's Test Kitchen to do the shows and they are very dry and poorly presented. Plus there are no samples. This is a big mistake on Holland America's part. We like Holland America however it seems evident that there is some serious cost cutting going on, at least on this ship. We will never book the Volendam again. Read Less
Sail Date January 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
We arrived the day prior to embarkation. We flew with Singapore Airlines and they offer a deal on hotel and shuttle to the hotel. The hotel we stayed in was good but only offered a buffet breakfast at $28 Singapore dollars/person. We got ... Read More
We arrived the day prior to embarkation. We flew with Singapore Airlines and they offer a deal on hotel and shuttle to the hotel. The hotel we stayed in was good but only offered a buffet breakfast at $28 Singapore dollars/person. We got some food from a mini mart and had our breakfast for under $10 for the two of us. We took a taxi to the Singapore Cruise terminal (there are two in the city) arriving about 11 AM. Since we are 4 star, we had expedited embarkation. After answering the health questions and going thru customs, we were directed to sit and wait. In less than three minutes we were called and went right onto the ship and into our cabin. From there, we went to the Mariner's lunch and got excellent service. Debarkation was just as well organized. We took a taxi to the airport where we were able to check our bags. Cost of the taxi was under $20 Singapore dollars. The ship was in very good condition. Some things have changed since our last HAL cruise. Small things were no longer offered such as an ink pen in the room, the Librarian position was cut, menus were new, the daily bulletin was different and so forth. It seems like the bean counters are looking to cut here and there. We did most of our excursions based on recommendations of Cruise Critic bulletin board members. We enjoyed them. We did the short Komoto Dragons tour. We saw at least nine dragons and talked to others who did the longer tour. They said the longer tour just amounted to more walking in the jungle without more dragons spotted or other wildlife.While the short tour was not cheap, it is a once in a lifetime change to see there animals in their habitat. Some of the first few cities were very crowded with heavy holiday time traffic. Most ports had a good port terminal. But the last port was about as run down as I've seen. No terminal building and no wi-fi. HAL allows the crew to bring their families on board for the day. They provide meals in the Ledo and toured the ship with their loved ones. It was great to visit with our cabin steward’s family and it is very good for the crew and their families. Well done, HAL!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have previously completed HAL cruises to Myanmar and Hong Kong from Singapore. This Indonesia cruise was the missing link. We have been to Singapore many, many times. Stayed at Sofitel So. The only highlights were the Telok Ayer Food ... Read More
We have previously completed HAL cruises to Myanmar and Hong Kong from Singapore. This Indonesia cruise was the missing link. We have been to Singapore many, many times. Stayed at Sofitel So. The only highlights were the Telok Ayer Food Market next door to the hotel. and the Botanic Gardens. Most ports of call were forgettable with heavy traffic. Shuttles only went to shopping malls. Lombok was the highlight. Komodo Island lizards are not much bigger than our large monitor lizards and much smaller than our crocodiles. We highly recommend Putu Supartana, a private driver in Bali (putusupartana@yahoo.com). He intimately knows the island, will recommend places to visit and can bypass the horrible traffic congestion. Overall an average cruise. HAL service is becoming less customer focussed but the ship staff were still excellent. Port information was minimal but port transfers were good. We did not do any ship excursions as they are too expensive and poor value. Other passenger statements reflected a lot of time in traffic on shore excursions. Main dining room food was good but the Pinnacle Grill needs to change its menu as it is still the same from 3 cruises ago. The lack of a cocktail of the day was a disappointment. Oceanview cabin better than other cruise lines and cabin staff excellent. Nightly entertainment was average. Two local culture shows were poor. Being a christmas/new year cruise the number of children was relatively low, unobtrusive and well behaved. A typical mid-60's HAL crowd. We would not do this cruise again as the ports of call are poor. However Indonesia is our nearest neighbour and we have been to more interesting, less tourist orientated places. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The ship was looking great & wonderful service which Holland America is noted for. Loved the itinerary we sailed. Wish they allowed more time in Cambodia to make it worth the Visa fees while in Cambodia. Considering it was just a ... Read More
The ship was looking great & wonderful service which Holland America is noted for. Loved the itinerary we sailed. Wish they allowed more time in Cambodia to make it worth the Visa fees while in Cambodia. Considering it was just a "stop" to pick up guests who went to Angkor Wat days before. Everyone on the ship had to pay for the Cambodian Visa regardless if staying on the ship or getting off. Would have given a 5 rating if the food had been better. In the dining room the food looked like it stayed under the heat lamps way too long. Very tired looking & not fresh. Buffet food a bit better, but not by much. Best French fries on the pool deck!! Entertainment has never been a strong suite with HAL. Sadly it still isn't . . . Still our favorite cruise line for more of the positives we enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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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