Launched in 1999, ms Volendam has since undergone several upgrades in 2006, the vessel introduced us to Explorations Cafe, a comfortable onboard escape that includes computers with internet access, a library with areas for playing board games, and quality coffee and pastries. Cabins were all outfitted with flat-screen TV’s and DVD players and the restaurants kept getting better, providing dining options like never before. Most importantly, ms Volendam has remained true to the core Holland America values of providing quality cruising on spacious mid-sized ships.
Although not huge compared to some mega cruise ships, Volendam is big on décor that stimulates the senses. Passengers feel privileged and rather special on board ms Volendam, whether they are appreciating the garden theme that permeates the vessel, or admiring the classic artworks, sculptures and fountains adorning the hallways and public spaces. The three-story atrium provides the wow factor expected on modern cruise ships, with the centrepiece being a Luciano Vistosi sculpture.
You won’t find manic theme park diversions or garish playground colour schemes on Volendam. The passenger demographic are mostly mature yet adventurous adults who appreciate the amazing destinations as much as the onboard facilities. Volendam strikes the balance between traditional cruising where a high standard of service and comfortable facilities are matched by itineraries that encourage exploration and enlightenment. With a passenger capacity of just over 1,400, ms Volendam is large enough for those who want to mingle, yet small enough to provide a sense of intimacy.
Volendam has 10 passenger accessible decks, 15 lounges, including bars, 2 swimming pools including one with a retractable glass roof, and 2 jacuzzies. The vessel is easily accessed from bow to stern by 12 passenger elevators.
Cabins on ms Volendam
Of the many cabin choices on Volendam, the Deluxe and Veranda suites are the most popular. Competitive pricing means these categories sell out fast, so if you are considering a cruise on Volendam, get in early to avoid disappointment. However, all cabins have been upgraded to include the latest technology and comforts expected from Holland America.
- All ms Volendam cabins have a queen bed that converts into 2 single beds, an en-suite bathroom that includes bathtub, shower with massage shower-heads, hairdryer, quality bath products, a lounge/sitting area (sofa bed), vanity table, flat-screen TV, DVD player, phone, safe and air-conditioning.
- Suites allow natural light through ceiling-high sliding doors that lead to a private balcony with sunloungers, a table and chairs.
- Pinnacle and Neptune Suites contain a king bed that converts into twin beds, a whirlpool bathtub, double sofa, sitting room and a dressing room. Additional perks for guests include priority services for dining, check-in and debarkation, in-room afternoon tea, binoculars, umbrella and welcome gifts that include champagne and flowers.
- Oceanview cabins have a picture window or porthole window; some with obstructed views depending on the category.
- Wheelchair accessible cabins are available in Neptune Suite, Vista Suite, Oceanview and Interior categories
In all there are 717 staterooms on Volendam served by 650 crew.
Dining on Volendam
Volendam retains the traditions of cruising while embracing the changes that have swept the cruise ship industry. When it comes to dining, the changes mean plenty of options to suit the varied tastes of modern travellers. For those who enjoy the full gourmet experience, there are plenty of choices throughout the day, from an early morning continental breakfast to the midnight snack buffet featuring Indonesian cuisine. Fast food burgers, hot dogs and tacos will fill the void between major meal servings. Holland America understands that everyone is an individual, and even low-carb, diabetic and Kosher foods are available.
The major dining venue on-board, the Rotterdam Dining Room, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and provides traditional dining set seatings or personalised seatings that include plenty of tables for couples. The helpful staff at Rotterdam will mix and match portions depending on your appetite so you never need feel too bloated or too hungry. The range of foods is all-encompassing, from seafood, salads, meats, entrees, desserts and even a 22-dish vegetarian menu. Other dining venues include:
- The Lido Restaurant: A buffet experience that is a great casual breakfast alternative. The lunchtime pasta station and wok station are also popular. Salads, soups, fruit and ice cream are also on the menu. Indoor and outdoor dining options are available.
- Pinnacle Grill: Although not free, the $25 dining charge covers everything on the menu, from seafood and steak to delicious desserts.
- La Cirque: On one night per cruise, La Cirque replaces Pinnacle Grill with a French cuisine. The $39 dining charge will transport you to the next level of fine dining comparable to La Cirque land-based restaurants.
- Explorations Cafe: Here you can grab sandwiches, pastries and cookies to enjoy with a fine cup of coffee or tea.
- Room service: As with most cruise ships, the Volendam room service menu is fairly simple, but who can complain about the opportunity to have burgers, salads and even omelettes delivered to your room 24 hours a day.
Activities and Entertainment
Although ms Volendam caters to all age groups, a large percentage of passengers are mature-aged, and activities reflect this demographic. Music and dance on board is popular and diverse. Nightly shows held in the Frans Hals lounge, with a seating capacity of 580, always attract a big crowd. Three performances are held per night, ranging from Broadway-style to pop and country music revues. This is also the venue for Dancing with the Stars at Sea, where passengers can be partnered with professionals to learn some new moves.
Most service crew, apart from the highest ranked members, are from Indonesia and the Philippines, and even they have the opportunity to wow audiences with folk music and dance presentations from their native countries.
The Volendam casino is relatively small, but can be action-packed as gamers take their chance at roulette, blackjack, poker and slot machines.
For a more laid-back experience, passengers head to the Explorer Lounge after dinner to soak up classical and Baroque sounds while sampling brandy, coffee and chocolates. More up-tempo dance music is enjoyed at the Ocean Bar. Another night-time alternative is to head to the Wajang Theatre and watch a recent-release movie while downing fresh popcorn. Alternative daytime and evening activities include art auctions, karaoke and high-stakes bingo.
Volendam hosts a good range of enrichment programs also. Passengers take advantage of Microsoft Digital Workshops hosted by tech experts. Here you can learn photo editing, video publishing and web design. The Culinary Arts Centre is the place for cooking demonstrations and tastings. By the end of the cruise you will have visited great destinations, and also have plenty of new skills to show off.
Some of the best features on Volendam are the smaller intimate nooks and crannies where you can hang out and relax. The layout of the vessel is made for convenience and manoeuvrability. Floral decorations and ornate tapestries abound. There are plenty of soft sofas and comfortable armchairs available for relaxation, taking in the scenery, meeting fellow passengers, or just reading a book.
Health and Fitness on Volendam
One of the great things about ms Volendam is the feeling of abundance on a mid-sized ship. The gym is no exception, providing treadmills, stationary bikes, rowing machines, weights and exercise balls. Wall mounted flat-screen TV’s will distract you from the hard work, as will the view to scenic vistas outside. There are plenty of classes at the gym also for those who want to join in with Pilates, yoga or a professional health consultation.
The Ocean Spa contains eight rooms dedicated to an array of treatments that include massage, manicures and hair care. Men and women are provided with separate saunas and there is also a coed steam room. Purchase of a special pass will allow access to heated stone loungers, aromatherapy chambers and a thalassotherapy pool.
The focal point of the Lido Deck is the pool with retractable cover. There are also two hot tubs at one end. This social hub is enlivened by the Dolphin Bar and Terrace Grill nearby. The alternative Sea View Pool is a sunny space at the stern of the ship. The Promenade deck is perfect for stretching out for a walk while enjoying sea air or for cosying up on a teak lounger.
Volendam is a favourite with Australian and New Zealand cruisers. Apart from Alaska cruising, this vessel spends a lot of time in the South Pacific and Asia. Amazing destination include pristine Pacific Islands, a host of majestic ports around the coast and cities of Australia, Bali, Singapore and much more. Volendam remains in Australasia during the peak summer sailing season to take advantage of great cruising weather and fantastic destinations. You can check the latest ms Volendam cruises on the official Holland America website.
ms Volendam deck plans
ms Volendam stats
|Max Speed||23 knots|
|Length||777.6 ft / 237 m|
|Beam||106 ft / 32.3 m|
|Draught||27 ft / 8.1 m|