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Old 07-14-2009, 06:27 PM
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gdjoslin gdjoslin is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Near Yosemite, California
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Volendam Alaskan Cruise 2009
Port of Calls Endicott Arm (had a large amount of ice blocking Tracy Arm) Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and Ketchikan. Round trip from Vancouver B.C.


I have to say HAL and Canada Place have got it down for getting you on and off ship, and in and out of Canada Place. We arrived at Canada Place early. We were told to expect to start loading around 11:00. While by 11:15 we were on the Volendam!! Our Cabin was to be ready by 2:00; it was ready at 1:30. I was amazed at how quick and easy the process was.
Getting off was a breeze also. The day before we reached Vancouver we were given a sheet to fill out. You were allowed to request a time block to get off the ship. We chose the 8:-8:30am slot. We were in a cab headed out of Canada place at 8:17am!!!! Our only hold up was those people who do not lesson. A few people did not have there custom forms, or passports ready, this slowed the line.

We were on deck 7 in I 7086. This is booked as an inside cabin, but it has a window. It is at the aft of the ship and only steps away from a very private, but public deck. We used it all the time. We saw very few people there. There is also stairs that go up to lido deck at the aft of the ship, a very quick way to get there!!
My wife says she preferred the room over a balcony, I won’t go that far but it is a very nice room. It is more of a square shape. I had found a few photos on the web of the cabin. I was afraid that the bed was too close to the wall and window, but it isn’t, it just looks that way it the photo. There is also a “dead space” on the other end of the cabin. It was the prefect place to store stuff. We loved it. I will post some photos of it later.
Our friends had cabin 7083. The rooms are the same except opposite floor plans, and are reached by different hallways. Our room was port, their was starboard. The major difference in the cabins was the view. 7083 has an unobstructed view as a hold. 7083 has the stairs that go up to lido deck blocks part of the view. Both rooms were very quiet.
We love the size of the Volendam, or her sister ships the Zandam. We were on the Zandam last year. We had problems with the toilet. It did not work for most of the cruise. HAL was very good and gave us some upgrades and OBC. Our toilet worked this time, but our friend’s did not. It took the staff about 2 days to fix it.
The dinning staff and our room staff was some of the best we have had. The called us by name the first day, and ask how we would prefer to be addressed. I noticed the Assistant Dining Manager greeting everyone by name. I don’t know how he remembered so many names. He also made his rounds nightly to each table.
The have changed the food since we were on the Zandam two years ago. As a whole we thought it was great. There is a very good selection on the menus. The only night that was a little lite was the last night. My only complaint is the temperature in which it was served. My salads were ‘limp’ as was the shrimp cocktail. The hot food was not real hot either. I think the Carnival ships we have been on have done better.
We also found the breakfast on lido deck better than the dinning room. Dinner was better in the dinning room that lido deck. It is curious; on the Carnival Ships we have Maitre D and asst Maitre D. On Hal we had a Dinning room Manager and an assist Manager. Seems like they are knocking themselves down a notch with semantics.
We eat at the Pinnacle Grill one night. The food is beyond words. The only thing better than the food was the service.
Entertainment aboard the ship as good as I remember it on the Zandam. I only wish the Dancers and singers would perform more than two nights. There are many many private seating areas. Each seemed to have a piano, or violin player. One can always find a place to talk with friends, or enjoy music.
The internet café is like most slow and over priced. Enough said there!!

One problem I had was finding a place to eat when coming in after 8:00pm from a shore excursion. EVERYTHING closes down. You can order from a very nice room serve menus. The problem there is it takes 1 ½ hour to get your order. Seems like the other ships we have been on have longer lido deck hours. I know Carnival has 24 hour pizza. They said it takes so long because everyone is returning from shore and is ordering. Seems like they would realize there is a need to keep serving food on lido!

I can not put my finger on the name of the Captain, but he is one of the best we have had. He really kept you informed as to any sights, or wildlife that was within view. The Zandam did not do this. He also changed the ships schedule twice. Once when leaving Juneau, another when leaving Skagway. Each time it allowed us to view the fireworks display.

We put down a couple deposits for cruises for each of us. We plan to sail HAL a few more times.
Any questions about the ship please ask. I plan to write a little review about each port and the excursions we took.
__________________
Gary
Cruise Photos from Mexico and Alaska
http://joslin-family-photos.smugmug.com/Cruises