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.
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.
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
With a guest capacity of 1,432 and a crew of 615, the Volendam is a smaller, more intimate cruise than many. She is 781 feet long, has a beam of of 105.8 feet, and a maximum speed of 23 knots.
In between ports, you can pass the time in the casino, the gym, the thermal suite, at the lido pool, or check out the nightly live shows and entertainment on at the two-tiered Frans Hals Show Lounge. There are a number of lounges where you can sit back with a cocktail, and there's even a piano bar for something a little different.
The Dancing with the Stars at Sea is a highlight of the trip, held in the Frans Hals Show Lounge and running much like the television show, except with volunteer passengers on the stage and a live audience to judge the winners.
The Volendam offers diners the choice of traditional meals at specific times or more relaxed dining options throughout the ship as part of the As You Wish dining package.
You can also opt to stay in and simply order complimentary room service at any time of the day or night.
There are a range of staterooms on board the Volendam to suit any style of traveller and any budget.
An interior room is within the ship with elegant decor, a sofa bed, a TV and DVD player and a number of other amenities. An oceanview room gives you a window to the world, while a Lanai room has access to the lower promenade deck balcony. At the top of the range are the Vista and Neptune suites, complete with spacious sitting areas, balcony access, and floor-to-ceiling windows.