Far East Cruise in November

Volendam Cruise Review to Asia & Indian Ocean
Experience: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Vote: 1

Overall Rating:

4.1 out of 5
Volendam

Japan, South Korea & China

Sail Date: November 10, 2017

Ship: Volendam

Cabin Type: Oceanview

Cabin Number: 1950

Traveled As: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review Summary

First time with HollandAmerica Cruise Liner. Impressed with service on board. Will not discount another cruise with them. Would take more care with choosing tours, either with them, third party or private taxi. Far East was not a previous holiday destination but our brief excursions lead us to look at more inland holidays.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
No problems. Fast and efficient.

Ship Experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Breakfast buffet was excellent but lunch and evening buffet were average. Main dining room was good but food hit and miss. Pinnacle Grill excellent.

Wine Tastings

4 out of 5

Two wine tastings were both informative and enjoyable particularly the Premium tasting which was paired with different food types.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Didn't use the fitness centre. Pool decks were adequate for the number and age group of people on this cruise.

Entertainment

Didn't attend any of the entertainment but the lectures by the guest speaker,Master Kam, were excellent.

Crow''s Next

4 out of 5

The Crow's nest is missing from the bar pull down list. Which is where we frequented more than any of the others. It was friendly and had a panoramic view. Quizzes, live band (maybe too loud), entertaining DJ and happy hours.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Always smiling and friendly.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Not dirty but tired looking. Due to enter dry dock for refurbishment as we left.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Larger than expected. Adequate storage space (Suitcases can go under the bed). Light switches on headboard that switched on and off when putting head on pillow. Bathroom not dirty but tired looking. Due to enter dry dock for refurbishment as we left.

Ship Tip

Don't buy the water package. Iced water is served during meal times and freely available from machines in the Lido 24/7. $13.50 per person per day tipping charge is included on your bill. You can ask for this to be removed two days before disembarkation and then reward individual staff directly as you wish. Be aware there is a 15% service charge on all prices shown for drinks.

Ports Of Call

Hong Kong

5 out of 5
Stayed in HK four nights before joining the cruise. Excursion to Lantau island was very good. But disappointed that the cable car was closed for maintenance when we were there. Sky100 tower gave a great panoramic view.

Ha Long Bay City (Hanoi), Vietnam

3 out of 5
Didn't go to Hanoi as this was 7 hour return drive from the port. Pre-booked a tour independent of the cruise. Didn't see much of the bay. Pearl factory was interesting and informative. Very interesting fish market.

Hue (Da Nang), Vietnam

4 out of 5
Private tour. Taken to the marble mountain with great views and temples. Climbing through the caves was a bit scary and not easy. The guide took us for snacks (a very substantial snack at 10:30am) in a local restaurant off the beaten track and then for authentic Vietnamese coffee (think Tia Maria without alcohol).

Nha Trang, Vietnam

4 out of 5
Cruise excursion. Great white Buddha is a big but modern structure. The Cham towers was more interesting but not enough time was allowed there to explore. Taken to a market place that could have been missed and onto a silk embroidery shop where there was far to many people in a small shop.

Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam

3 out of 5
Took cruise transfer coach to Ho Chi Minh City (still called Saigon by the locals). Spent most of the time avoiding traffic. Very few things to see in the time allowed.

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

5 out of 5
Private tour. Lots of information given by guide and taken to Kbal Chhay Waterfalls which was an outdoor meeting area (raised platforms with roofs and hammocks) for businesses and local families. Impressive Golden Lion monument on a roundabout. Two temples, both impressive, one with lots of monkeys around. Really impressed with what is a very poor country trying to recover from a dark period in its history.

Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand

4 out of 5
Private group tour. The Grand Palace is a must see but very busy. Wat Po reclining Buddha is enormous and worth seeing. On the second day we went to The Sanctuary of Truth. This is worth five stars on its own. A massive, privately funded, completely wooden, temple. Elephant rides available. Much better to take a taxi there as we were rushed through on the cruise tour. Only there one hour which wasn't enough time. Wasted time going to a unimpressive view point and a large tacky souvenir shop.

Ko Samui, Thailand

5 out of 5
Small group tour. A couple of impressive temples (even after all the others we had seen). Very clean and lively. Convinced the guide that none of us wanted to go to a modern mall so she took us to the Fisherman's village area which was more of a holiday resort centre with shops, bars restaurants and beaches.

Singapore

5 out of 5
This was our second trip to Singapore (first in 2008). Fabulous place to visit. Slightly disappointed this time as Raffles Long Bar was closed for refurbishment and spirits dampened by torrential rain. Recommend the Botanical gardens, free entry and S$5 entry (S$1 for over 60's) to the Orchid gardens. Garden Bay area impressive as not there 9 years ago. Didn't have time for the domes but lots see just walking around. Plenty of other things to do there; Flyer, Duck tour, HOHO bus tour and lots of shopping malls.

Disembarkation

2 out of 5
Shambles. Sat for 30 minutes after our selected disembarkation time slot without any information given for the delay. Missed our booked taxi as it took two hours to disembark. Maybe not the cruise ships fault but this wasn't their first cruise here so maybe a realistic disembarkation time should have been given. Maybe a one-off but the ship was going into dry dock so preparations had already began and lounges, decks and some lifts were out of use.
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