CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Volendam Panama Canal October 2, 2004

I blame myself for not reading the reviews on this ship prior to signing up. I would have known that this was a floating nursing home. While it was hearth warming to see how well the crew treated all those in wheelchairs of all kinds, using canes and variety of walkers, we would have not sign up on this ship.

We are older people also, but the general mood on the ship was lethargic, spiritless. Tere were a handful of people on the dance floor around 7 pm, by 10pm bars were pretty empty. Walking around the public rooms during the day one saw just about every seat/couch occupied by passengers who were asleep. I guess everyone woke up to stand in the immensely long lunch line in the Lido deck.

Service was excellent in every aspect, captain, crew, all officers were great, friendly, caring. Food sounded good until you tasted it. Soups and desserts are excellent, main dishes are nothing to write home about. Dried out porkchops, overcooked venison, thougher than tough lobster, mushy red cabbage, tastless wursts, pheasant that was actually a cornish game hen, and so on. Once tyhe sabove mentioned items made it to the salad bar, there was improvement, the various dressings softened them up a bit and the taste was better.

Ship is very good, state rooms are comfy, we had a balcony that was lovely.

Airconditioning: we felt as we were in a meat locker, brrrrrr, perhaps 65 degrees? We froze everywhere except in our room. Perhaps the heat and humidity outside (just about 100F the whole way through) made the temperature difference more profound. I have seen people wearing an overcoat, smart.

Entertainment: during the 16 days, we had a few comedians whom we liked. The too were old, with old-old jokes, but at least we laughed. The rest of the shows we didn't care for.

Like the reviewer before me, I too say that the experience was bittersweet. While there is nothing wrong with being elderly, we don't have to pay $6000 to be on a floating assisted living facility.

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