CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Volendam by Ed Southern Caribbean February 17, 2003

Where to begin? This was our first cruise so it's very difficult to say if this cruise was "better or worse" then others. I can say however that I cannot imagine a better vacation.

Check in went like clockwork, everyone we met, from the dockside helpers to the HAL reps could not have been more professional and pleasant.

We are 55 years old and I was afraid that the Crowd was going to be much older. There was a nice mix of ages on this cruise.

We did have second seating, and noticed a much older crowd heading for dinner at 5 as we were getting ready for our "afternoon" swim.

The entertainment was fine, for what it was. Although I could have done with out the Barry Manlow Review and the Evening with "The World's Best Banjo Player". (There goes that age thing again.)

The staff could not have been more helpful, happy and professional. Not once in 10 days did I feel like anything less then "an honored guest".

The food was fantastic and plentiful. I did hear a few complaints about the tenderness of the beef, I also noticed that these people never brought it to the attention of the servers or asked for another cut.

A few of the more active shore excursions were cancelled due to lack of interest. Kayaking and skin diving to name a few. (Age?)

One busy afternoon on the Lido deck I went to get an iced tea. The pre-poured iced tea glasses were empty. I simply took an ice water, emptied it, filled it with ice and then held it under the iced tea spigot to pour my own glass. An older gentleman was watching me, as he also wanted an iced tea. I was absolutely astonished when he made the following statement. "So this is what it's come to on Holland America, pouring my own iced tea! I will never sail on this line again!" Go figure.

Anyway as I stated this was our first cruise but it will not be out last. The next time we might try a different cruise line, just to check out the differences.

But it sure is hard to imagine, friendlier service, bigger cabins (cat. B with Balcony) better food or a lovelier overall experience. (Even though I did have to pour my own iced tea!)

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