volendam backdeck

Ship Review: Holland America Line's MS Volendam

Posted February 10th, 2016

I recently embarked on a cruising journey with Holland America Line's (HAL) MS Volendam, which set up a fun few days on the ocean.

Overall, I was very impressed with the ship, which featured a number of fantastic onboard dining, drinking and entertainment options. Read on for my full review about cruising aboard MS Volendam.

MS Volendam


  • My cabin was an Oceanview, Category D on the Dolphin Deck.
  • I was happy to be staying below the promenade deck so people couldn't look through my window.
  • The cabin was spacious with newly refurbished bathrooms that included a shower with wide glass doors and rain shower head.
  • There was also generous wardrobe space for my garments.


  • The onboard dining highlight was easily Canaletto's, which only served Italian share plates. The US$10 cover charge was exceptional value.
  • Room service was complimentary, with an extensive menu to choose from including pre-ordering breakfast items the day before.
  • The Rotterdam Dining Room lived up to its reputation and then some!
  • In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Lido Market also had a late-night buffet with French/Spanish influences. I really enjoyed the American-style iced tea available free of charge, and the ice-cream corner!
  • The Dive-In burger joint at the pool area was a great quick-eats option for burgers, hot dogs, hot chips and build-it-yourself Mexican-style salads and burritos.
  • Exploration's Cafe had a great location near the library, puzzle, internet area, conference rooms and Future Cruise Sales desk, making it a popular spot for coffee. Complimentary snacks included muffins, cookies, sandwiches and other light bites.

Volendam Library


  • How could anyone complain about the bars with happy hour twice a day, once in the afternoon at 4pm and again at 9pm.
  • There were plenty of watering hole options around the ship including the elegant Crow's Nest, Mix, Ocean Bar, Piano Bar, Sea View Bar and Lido.

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  • The spa services were exceptional with plenty of treatments to choose from. However, guests should expect to pay a fair amount.
  • The range of onboard activities was very impressive with ballroom dancing classes; mixology cocktail classed; bridge & card lessons; Culinary Arts Centre for cooking classes; trivia; basketball & tennis court; digital workshops; special interest lectures & guest speakers; behind-the-scenes galley tour; knitting group; art auction; fitness classes; yoga classes; wine tasting and more.

Volendam Library

Highlights & Impressions

  • The Canaletto's specialty restaurant was hands-down the best dining option.
  • I felt an amazing sense of personal space on board.
  • The library area near Exploration's Cafe was my favourite place to curl up with a book. The chairs looked straight out to the ocean!
  • The Culinary Arts Centre was a great space for people interested in cooking, with theatre-style seating and live TV coverage so everyone had a close-up view of the chef's preparing and cooking. There were always free tastings afterwards as well!
  • It was a beautifully presented ship with a romantic and classic style. However, the recent refurbishments also bring modern touches that fit seamlessly with the original look.
  • Families on holiday will enjoy having the kids' club area at the back of the ship, which includes an outdoor play space with waterfall.

Words by Anna Baelz-Stead, travel consultant & assistant team leader, Cruiseabout West Lakes

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