This double Holiday Cruise was a good Southern Caribbean value on Holland America’s vintage Volendam. The services crew was excellent and attentive with a responsive Front Office for any problems. The lack of production shows left a vacuum, but it was filled by the specialty stage shows, Lincoln Center Stage, and Billboard Onboard. Bar Service and Food and Beverage/Dining was excellent. The combo every night at the Ocean Bar put the icing on the cake and Robbie, the Las Vegas act was the tympany. Thank you Volendam Officers and Crew!
5 out of 5
Embarkation was quick and made improved use of optical scanning. Cabin was ready when I boarded in early afternoon. My dining table assignment was according to my request.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
Dining Room was excellent. Service, menu, selection were first class. Table mates enjoyable. Wine steward and chief and associate Dining Stewards were excellent. I used only for dinners this trip.
Lido buffet had great attendants and good selection of fresh foods and sandwiches. I used only for lunch on this trip.
Dive-In restaurant on Lido Deck/Pool produced excellent hot dogs, burgers and fries. The only down side was the long waiting time for the order.
Room Service breakfast was on-time and perfect every time.
I did not use Pinnacle Grill or Canaletto this trip.
4 out of 5
I did not participate in activities due to problems with my legs and feet. I walked the teak deck to the extent I could.
4 out of 5
There was no cast and no production shows, quite stunning for a well-rated Cruise line. The Volendam did not have the Holland signature BB King Blues Club either.
The two pianists for Billboard Onboard were excellent entertainers, both singing and playing theme night performances. I attended 7 of their shows. The atmosphere was intimate and clubby.
The Main Stage had a collection of old-fashioned variety acts, but did include two excellent shows by the Jersey “Tenors” and the two shows by the Mo-Town style “Flyrights”. The crew also presented a Christmas music show with Santa.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
All cabin, dining, and wine stewards were excellent and couldn’t do enough for you. Also, the Lido, Dive-In, and Bar Tenders and servers were excellent. The Ocean Bar tenders and servers were especially good and welcoming.
5 out of 5
The Volendam is 20 years old and has been refurbished to some degree, including the newer interactive TV system which operated flawlessly, providing news, recorded TV programs, and a good selection of on-demand movies.
Otherwise, the fittings and decor seemed somewhat dated, but all was well-kept and well-maintained. Everything was fastidiously cleaned.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
The size of this style cabin is probably a little above average with ample closet and drawer space and 110/120 v service plus 220. I used an extension cord device to expand to three 110/220 v outlets and 3 USB jacks for devices and recharging. The room was daily provided with ice and had a setup of sodas, beers, and liquors (50% discount for 4 and 5-Star Mariners). The cabin, with a queen bed, was kept very clean and a fan was provided for the cabin upon request. The partially obstructed view provided ample daylight with a Seaview perpendicular to the ship.
The bed and chair were very comfortable and the convertible sofa and coffee table were a great sitting area and a good place for in-cabin breakfast service about 5 times on this trip.
This cabin is just aft of amidship on the port side, deck 3 and is a good central location for Main stage, the dining room, the Lido, the boat station, the lower promenade teak deck, Billboard Onboard venue, Pinnacle Grill, etc.
Be prepared for the lack of production shows. The vacuum of Broadway-style entertainment is noticeable. The ship’s smaller size creates a more comfortable and friendlier environment. The ship’s internet is still the old-style slow system.
Efficiently handled, in general, with a short line at Customs for Global Entry customers. Luggage was arranged logically and by color coding so it was easy to find your luggage before going through Customs. The tour and shuttle area had been greatly expanded and was not well-labeled, but good never the less. I had a post cruise a Holland hotel and transfer package, so this part was seamless. The Holland-sponsored Renaissance hotel was good and the transfer provider to the airport was excellent and delivered me to the airport right on time for a 1 pm flight the day after disembarkation.
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