The Holland America cruise brand is one of the oldest in the world, but the Volendam is an eloquent mix of this tradition and the luxuries and comforts of modern cruise ships. The Volendam cruise ship is one of four in her class, the R Class, and was the second to join this group after the Rotterdam.
Harking back to the company's origins and her city namesake in north Holland, the theme of the ship is flowers, which is evident throughout the vessel in everything from the soft furnishings to the blooming arrangements in vases on board.
After a refurbishment in 2006 to bring her in line with Holland America's 'Signature of Excellence' upgrades, and another in 2011 for more contemporary upgrades, the Volendam interior is a beautifully furnished, traditional yet modern vessel in which to enjoy a holiday at sea.
Originally launched in 1999, the Volendam is more than 15 years old, but remains up to date with regular refurbishments. When she was built, she had the largest passenger capacity of any Holland America ship with space for 1,432 guests and 615 crew members. She weighs 61,214 tonnes, can travel up to 23 knots and measures 781 feet in length.
The Volendam crosses the pacific regularly, stopping at ports all over Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific region such as Bali, Singapore, Fiji, and New Zealand before heading back to ports around Canada's west coast such as Vancouver, and up to Alaska. You'll never spend a dull day on land with Volendam excursions such as central city tours, wine tastings, farmers' markets, night-time safaris, riverboat rides and more.
Flowers remain the principal theme of the Volendam cruise ship, with a beautiful recurring floral motif in each of the staterooms and public rooms. With each port stop, crew refresh the vases of tropical bouquets for fresh arrangements throughout the voyage.
Another of Holland America's specialities is its dedication to fine art. Put together, the entire fleet's collection of exquisite artworks is valued at tens of millions of dollars. Public areas onboard the Volendam are decorated with these works, with a medley of styles, eras, and artists. A standout piece is a tulip painting by Tim Maguire, and you'll also find pre-Colombian works such as an earthenware female figure that dates back to approximately 100 BC. You can enjoy all of these works on a self-guided art tour. Download the tour to your iPod or MP3, and follow the directions to each piece as you listen to a history of the work with interviews with the artists and more interesting facts and information.
The Volendam food and drinks are similar in quality to anything you would find in a leading restaurant on land. The main eating area is the Rotterdam Dining Room, which is a beautiful two-storey venue with twinkling lights like stars in up above. The room is open seating for breakfast and lunch, and offers both traditional set times and set seats for scheduled meals, and 'As You Wish' dining for people who prefer to sit anywhere they like and dine at any time they like.
Aside from the Rotterdam, there is also the Pinnacle Grill, the Lido buffet restaurant, Canaletto, and the one night only per cruise Le Cirque.
Volendam bars are known for their delicious cocktails and evening entertainment, so you'll be spoilt for choice with the Piano Bar, Explorer's Lounge, and Crow's Nest Lounge.
Holland America's cabins are known for their spacious interiors and some of the nicest bathrooms at sea.
The interior Volendam rooms are the most affordable and offer luxuries such as Euro-Top mattresses, 100 percent Egyptian cotton towels, a flat-panel TV with DVD player, deluxe bathrobes and complimentary fresh fruit on request. The ocean view rooms offer all these same features, but with a window so you can watch the world go by.
The next cabin category up is the Lanai Rooms, which are largely similar to the interior and ocean view rooms, but have a sliding door with access to the lower promenade deck, so you get both a view out the window and direct access for walking in the fresh air.
Some of the more luxurious of the Volendam rooms are the Vista Suites, which offer a separate sitting area, a private verandah, a mini-bar and refrigerator, a whirlpool bathtub, floor-to-ceiling windows, fresh flowers, personalised stationery and access to a complimentary DVD library.
The most luxurious Volendam suite is the Neptune Suite. It has all the features of the Vista Suites, plus your own dressing room, endless complimentary services such as laundry, bottled water, and sparkling wine in the Neptune Lounge on embarkation. You will also enjoy priority dining, seating and boarding, a high tea service on request, a cocktail party with the ship's officers and a personal concierge service.
Whether you prefer casual dining, exotic menus, or hearty home-style meals, you'll find what you're after in the extensive range of food options on board the Volendam.
Complimentary meals as part of your Volendam tickets are available at:
Specialty dining (meals not included in your fare)
The Volendam schedule is packed full of events and activities so you'll be just as busy on board as you are on the shore â€“ unless, of course, you prefer to spend the entire time relaxing by the Volendam's pools.
Your Volendam photos will be full of snapshots from each day's activities. You can spend time in the pool or whirlpool, in the fitness centre, on the tennis or basketball courts on the sports deck, in the sauna or aerobics area, relaxing in the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, in the beauty salon or even on a massage table.
You can take a course at the Microsoft Digital Program to learn about using computers to create blogs, enhance photos, put videos on DVDs and more. There are shops to peruse, art tours to admire, and hours to be spent strolling the promenades.
By night, Volendam shows and activities offer as many engagements as any city.
The Wajang Theatre screens movies and the two-tiered Frans Hals Lounge hosts regular shows as well as the line's Dancing with the Stars: At Sea program, which teaches passengers dances before a grand performance on the final evening of the cruise.
An onboard casino lets you chance the roll of the die, and the Volendam bars such as the Piano Bar and Explorer Lounge add a touch of live music to the evening's entertainment.
Families with children are always welcome on board the Volendam, but please note that babies must be at least 6 months of age to travel, and any voyage that crosses the Pacific or Atlantic cannot have babies younger than 12 months on board.
Babysitting is available for children over the age of three, and there are a number of kids clubs designed for the young ones. The Loft is set out for 13-17 year olds, and there are separate clubs for those aged 8-12 and 3-7.
The staff on the ship were exceptional. The food was good and the choices were adequate. The entertainment was a bit average. The main problem was the cabin noise. We had a balcony cabin on deck 7 and directly overhead was the Lido buffet dining room which also has outside dining areas. There was
constant noise of furniture being moved around and across the deck, people walking around, trolleys being rolled across - it was extremely noisy and went on from 5am till around midnight every day. We were travelling in a group of 34 and all of the group on this deck suffered the same noise problem. After reporting it to customer service they stated that they would remind the crew to be quiet but it wasn't always the crew making the noise. It was impossible to relax in the cabin during the day and interrupted our sleep overnight. After a number of complaints from many people the cruise line line gave us a $200 credit on our bill. This was appreciated but didn't make up for the discomfort caused during the entire trip.
If travelling on this ship I would highly recommend deck 6 as the passengers in our group on this deck all had quiet cabins. A disappointing problem on an otherwise great cruise.
We recently cruised for the first time with HAL on the Volendam. It was a 28 day cruise from Singapore through Asia ending in Hong Kong.
Our cabin was nice and comfortable and our steward very helpful and pleasant. The food was good but service not as good as we have experienced on our previous cruises and at times we had to wait for other diners to arrive in the dining room before we could be allocated a table.The food and service at the Pinnacle grill was excellent. There was a Gastro outbreak on board which the crew managed admirably taking all precautions needed to prevent it spreading further.
The biggest disappointment on this cruise was the lack of entertainment during sea days. There was nothing fun to do or join in with and mainly consisted of seminars on various subjects related to the spa on board. Bridge lessons and bridge sessions and how to use digital camera and catologue photos , how to use Microsoft applications etc. There were none of the fun activities that we have experienced on previous cruises and we spent a lot of time in our cabin watching movies due to lack of entertainment on the ship. if i could have viewed the on board daily activities programme before booking we would not have booked with HAL but chosen another cruise line with more fun activities to offer.
I have sailed with a number of friends, who in their mature years, need special considerations. My friend, who is ceiliac needs gluten free meals, could not believe the care and attention getting her special toast each morning and a dishful of cookies for afternoon tea. Another friend loves to
start with lemon juice; before the trip had ended, freshly squeezed lemon juice awaited her as she walked up to breakfast. Two friends, who are single, felt that more could have been organised for the singles set, but enjoyed the trivia quiz sessions. I enjoyed the most informative talks given pre-berthing[ note the 'e'], and although the HAL tours were well organised, I enjoyed negotiating the local bus services, where possible.
While the Volendam is an older ship it still remains an elegant ship.The service from all the crew made me feel like a VIP. We required a disabled cabin which was set out for easy access to both bed and bathroom. Every night we received an animal made from a towel and two chocolates each. The buffet
food in the casual dining area was excellent with different menus every night. The other restaurants also had fantastic food. There were different shows every night,each being of high quality. Lots of games and demonstrations throughout the day for those at sea and shows in the evenings. 2 for the price of one cocktails and deliciuos hors'dourves. Going ashore at every town provided heaps of entertainment, with trips to see wildlife,culture,local towns and shopping. This sounds like a glowing review, well the Volendam is
The state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen offering interactive gourmet cooking lessons taught by Master Chefs or culinary guests.