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Patricia Ibbotson

Age: 51 to 60


Number of Cruises: 21 to 49

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Volendam

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: NOT FOUND

Ship: Volendam

The Volendam is a new ship and it is a very attractive ship with light woods and a floral theme.  There were many fresh flowers on the ship as well as floral artwork. This ship also has a Promenade Deck that can be used for walking around the ship, a feature that many new ships don't have.

My inside cabin on the Navigation Deck was large and very nicely decorated and had a queen-sized bed, a sitting area, plenty of closet space, a large bathroom with a hair dryer, and a credit card activated safe.

The food was generally good, both on the Lido deck and in the dining room.  The Lido deck also has a grill that makes great hamburgers, and there is also a taco bar and great stir-fry.  One night they had a barbecue on the deck with steak, salmon, sausages, chicken, salads and lots of desserts.  The food was great, but it was pouring rain, so the effect was not what it should have been. The dome was opened only a crack to let the smoke escape. They did have a great steel band playing during the barbecue

Service in the dining room was not what it should have been due to the fact that we had no assistant waiter.  That was the only real negative about this cruise other than the check-in that was a long wait with people being herded from one area to another.

This ship has an alternative dining room called the Marco Polo.  There is no charge, but reservations are required for dinner.  Lunch is on a walk-in basis.  It is an elegant restaurant, beautifully decorated, and it serves northern Italian cuisine.  The two meals I ate there, one lunch and one dinner, were very good.  The food was superior to the dining room food.

The entertainment was typical cruise ship except for the excellent steel band and the singers and dancers who did the production shows.  Fairly new movies were shown twice daily in the movie theater.

There was a much better passenger mix on this ship than on my first cruise with Holland America on the Westerdam two-years ago.  The passengers on that cruise were nearly all very elderly.

This 10-day cruise took us to six ports and we had three days at sea.  

The first port was Antigua, and since, I'd been there before, I just walked around the town.  

Our next port was St. Lucia.   This is one place I'd wanted to see and it did not disappoint.  Took a ship shore excursion that drove through the winding, mountainous roads through banana plantations and a rain forest and visited a "drive in" volcano, botanical gardens and Diamond Waterfall.  We had lunch at an old sugar mill at Soufriere.  The lunch was served buffet-style and featured a Caribbean menu of flying fish, chicken with raisins, breadfruit, plantain, rice with spinach, coleslaw and ice cream with fresh shredded coconut for dessert.  It was a nice treat to eat the local food in such a lovely setting.  St. Lucia is very beautiful and is more like a South Pacific island than the typical Caribbean island. 

Our next port was Barbados .  Even though I'd been there in 1994, I took the same shore excursion with a shipboard friend and enjoyed seeing some of the same sights  again.  

Next came Guadeloupe where I took the "Volcano and Grand Island Drive" tour in the afternoon.  The tour took us to the Soufriere volcano, but low clouds obscured the view of the volcano.  

Then came St. Thomas where there were six or seven other ships in port and we had to tender in due to lack of dock space. St. Thomas is beautiful, but all the tourists descending off the mega-ships are a negative.  

Our last port was Nassau and we were only there for a few hours on the last day of the cruise.  Here I took the shore excursion to Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre where we saw marching flamingoes.  It is a beautiful garden with many exotic plant and animal species on display.  It was a nice way to end the cruise.

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