Launched: November 1999.
Cruising speed: 23 knots.
Number of passengers: 1,432 at double occupancy.
Staterooms: 716, made up of interior, outside and verandah suites.
Where she cruises: Alaska, Asia, Australia/New Zealand.
Volendam is a ship boasting a garden theme with flowers found in abundance throughout the ship in one form or other. She is also a new addition to the Australasian market, offering a season of cruising between Australia and New Zealand.
Who Should Go?
Couples, families with older children.
Things You Might Not Know
Volendam’s esteemed godmother is the US tennis legend, Chris Evert. The ship also has an impressive collection of art on board featuring everything from pre-Columbian fetishes, to Renaissance-era fountains from Italy.
Volendam has four basic grades of accommodation ranging from interior staterooms to suites with private balconies. They are simply and tastefully appointed with twin beds which convert to a double, a private bathroom, flat panel TV and DVD player, telephone, mini-bar, hairdryer, magnifying makeup mirrors, terry robes, and air conditioning. Complimentary fresh fruit is available on request. Some staterooms are showing signs of wear and tear, which will be addressed in the dry dock makeover scheduled for early 2011.
Interior: Can be large or standard in size. Standard size is compact but has a sitting area, and some staterooms have a sofa bed and a pullman upper perfect for travelling with kids.
Ocean View: Compact but has a sitting area, and the bathroom has a bath with shower. Some staterooms have a sofa bed and pullman upper. Windows range from picture and porthole, to partial or obstructed ocean views.
Verandah Suites: Long and somewhat narrow with a sitting area, a whirlpool bath and shower, and floor to ceiling windows. Including the verandah they are approximately 292 square feet/27.2 square metres in size. Additional benefits include fresh flowers, complimentary DVD library and personalised cruise stationery.
Deluxe Verandah Suites: These are open plan and spacious with two beds which convert to king, a whirlpool bath and shower, sitting area, dressing room, and a sofa bed for two people. Including the verandah they are approximately 556 square feet/51.6 square metres in size. Additional benefits include complimentary laundry, pressing and dry cleaning for the duration of the cruise, hors d’oeuvres before dinner nightly, and access to the exclusive Neptune Lounge.
Penthouse Verandah Suites: These have separate bedroom and sitting areas, dressing room, dining room, and an oversized whirlpool bath. There is also a sofa bed for two people, a guest toilet, and additional benefits include the same as deluxe veranda suite guests. Including the verandah they are approximatey 1,159 square feet/107.6 square metres in size.
Facilities and Entertainment
Volendam has plenty going for it, even specific kid and teen facilities. Club HAL is aimed at three to 12-year olds, while The Loft and The Oasis are exclusively for teens aged 13-to-17. For grownups the Greenhouse Spa and Salon is a haven for beauty and wellness rituals, including a thermal suite to help you melt your tension and stress away. For foodies the Culinary Arts Centre, presented by Food & Wine Magazine, boasts a modern demonstration kitchen which presents gourmet cooking lessons.
Entertainment focusses around the Frans Hals Show Lounge, where you will see everything from full-production shows to performances by comedians, singers and variety acts. And for that room with a view you can’t beat the Crow’s Nest – quiet retreat by day, and buzzing nightclub after dark. For a decent caffeine hit and a quiet place to read a book, leaf through a newspaper or surf the internet, head for the Explorations Café, powered by the New York Times.
Holland America prides itself on having on board cuisine which is a cut above the rest, and a Master Chef in Rudi Sodermin at the helm, and the place to find it is the alternative restaurant, Pinnacle Grill. An intimate, reservations only venue, the menu has classic steakhouse dishes featuring premium Sterling Silver beef, seafood and highly rated wines. The atmosphere is quintessential elegance, from the Bulgari china and Riedel stemware, to the luxurious Frette linens.
The Rotterdam Dining Room is a two-level venue featuring continental cuisine with a decent amount of choices each night, and you can choose between As You Wish dining – eat when you want and with whom – or traditional pre-set dining in two sittings. The relaxed, casual option is the Lido Restaurant which serves buffet food each night – the only drawback is the rather early closing time at night, which is 8.30pm.
The Low Down
Volendam will be heading to dry dock in early 2011 for some much-needed TLC for her staterooms, but for people who like a smaller ship with big ship facilities, and a quieter crowd with a nice combination of good food and low key entertainment, she will be an ideal choice.