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Old 07-14-2009, 05:27 PM
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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.
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Cruise Photos from Mexico and Alaska
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:12 PM
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Thanks for the review, Gary. Sounds like you had a great time. They do need to fix the problem of finding food when you get back late from a shore excursion. It's not a surprise to them that a lot of people will be getting on the ship hungry at that hour.

Where do you think your next cruise will sail to?

Sandy
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:39 AM
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Thank you for this review, Gary. Very honest and sounds like it was a great cruise. I'm a little puzzled about no late food. I guess they figure everyone's in bed at 8? Not! Princess has the Pizzeria open late where you can get salads, too. I can't remember what time the buffet closes, but I didn't think it was early. Room service is ok, but I much prefer being able to have a nice dinner, especially if I'm tired from an excursion. The ship sounds lovely. I am glad to hear there were plenty of places to sit and chat or listen to music. A lot of the new ships seem to forget people enjoy just spending some quiet time together. Can't wait to hear what y'all select next
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:26 AM
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Great review, Gary; sounds like you had a great cruise. You certainly got some great photographs.

I too am puzzled about the dining situation. I thought HAL was going to a combination of traditional seating and anytime dining (??). You would think the main dining room would be open until at least 10:00. There's probably a good explanation that we just are not aware of.
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:18 AM
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Thanks for the review Gary!

Dwayne
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:49 PM
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Thanks all it was a great cruise, we will do the same cruie again.
As You Wish Dinning would have been an option if I had known to reserve before 8:00pm. You also can not be seated any later than 8:15. BTW we did hear a group of 4 complainting that they wanted a table for 4, they did not want to share with other people. I think they got their way but it was not easy. We did assigned seating and it worked fine.
I spoke to our Assist manager about it. He said he agreed and he often received complaints about food service during late port stops. So far nothing has been done. On the Spirit we would just grab a pizza or a sandwich, plus I think lido is open later.
Room Service is very good. They have an "extended menus' for the dinner hours. It has a very good steak sandwich on it. main problem is it just takes tooooo long!!.
As far as our next cruise. I think it will be the Spirit out of San Diego mid to late Oct 2009. It is an 8 day cruise with 3 ports. Seems to be just the right amount of sea days and port days for us.
We also just got an email from HAL. If we book another cruise before Mid September we will get some extra OBC. That amount added to the pre deposit OBC would be nice. We usually shop for OBC along with cruise prices. So we will probably book Alaska by September.

I did catch a bug of some sort. Our Cabin Steward noted it to someone in a log. I stayed in the cabin on the last sea day just because, not because I was ordered to. HAL has the hand wash stations all over the place and we used them. I would be hard pressed to say I caught it on board. Thinking back I really think I caught it in Ketchikan. I bought some gum from a store. There were people there from another cruise ship buying cold stuff. I won't say the name of the ship because I am sure they take the same safety measures that every cruise lines does. I wonder if i might of caught it from "dirty money" I recieved back as change? Hey sometimes no matter what you just catch it no matter what.
The only reason I bring it up is that HAL called today, just to see how we were. They do monitor and that is good.
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Cruise Photos from Mexico and Alaska
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:18 PM
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I'm impressed that HAL called. Wonder if they're worried about the H1N1? Money, doors, just plain breathing has germs, you're right, sometimes no matter what, you're just going to get it. Hope you're feeling much better!
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:54 PM
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I am feeling fine now.. Thanks Penny. My wife now has it. The hazards of marriage!
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Cruise Photos from Mexico and Alaska
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:14 AM
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Gary, I am sorry to hear that you and your wife are under the weather.

Thank you so much for the review. I've often wondered about the category I cabins, and appreciate the detail. I look forward to your photos, particularly those of Endicott Arm!
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:52 PM
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Lisa on the Voledam and Zandam there are only 5 I category. Three of those are more mid ship, by the elevator and stairs, and do not have windows. . Those might not be so good. The ones we were in were at the very aft and had a widnow, looking back. those were very nice.
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Cruise Photos from Mexico and Alaska
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