Abounding in modern touches yet preserving the well-loved traditions of classic cruising, Holland America Line’s ms Volendam harnesses the company’s signature luxury cruising service. Exquisite and varied cuisine, exciting entertainment options and an unsurpassed enrichment programme are complemented by indulgent spa facilities, ultra-spacious cabins and interiors steeped in refined elegance for a truly unforgettable voyage.
The beautiful ms Volendam is creatively inspired by the theme of flowers and they can be found budding and blooming all across the ship’s spacious decks. From the extravagant tropical flower arrangements for which Holland America Line is known, down to the floral fabrics and tapestries strewn about the interiors, this ship exudes vibrant colour and ornate detail. Cosy nooks and crannies pepper the ship’s lavish, sociable spaces for a vessel that takes luxury cruising to soaring new heights, while the state-of-the-art entertainment facilities ensure a world-class experience that you will be talking about for years to come.
Carrying just 1,432 passengers in her grand 10-deck, 781 foot-long quarters, Volendam’s staterooms are sprawling and expansive with plenty of space to relax, while away a quiet afternoon or get dressed up for a formal dinner. Every stateroom proudly bears Holland America Line’s renowned “Signature of Excellence”, deeming them to be of premium quality and equipped with the finest amenities: sumptuously soft Mariner’s Dream™ beds, fine linens and plush Euro-top mattresses promise a supremely peaceful night’s sleep, while high-end luxury bath and body products, Egyptian cotton towels and deep bathtubs in every cabin make for an unsurpassably indulgent bathing experience. Meanwhile, the flat-panel TV and DVD player, premium massage showerheads, ice service, salon-quality hairdryer and complimentary shoeshine service cater to absolutely every creature comfort for a cruise steeped in relaxation. For a truly luxurious experience, spoil yourself with a Deluxe or Verandah Suite. Featuring complimentary hors d’oeuvres, down duvets, whirlpool tubs and seating areas – to say nothing of the beautifully appointed verandah to bask in panoramic sea views – they truly encapsulate the spirit of luxury ocean cruising; while the single Penthouse Suite goes one step further with its eight-person dining table, powder room, enormous verandah and pantry. Deluxe and Penthouse Suite passengers are granted access the industry-leading Neptune Lounge, an exclusive haven offering such enhanced amenities as concierge services, refreshments, a big-screen TV and even a small private library. All rooms are decorated in warm pastel shades, accented with vibrant splashes of red and blue for an ambience that is both inviting and elegant. Newly-appointed Lanai staterooms feature floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, which not only bathe the room in light but also allow passengers to step from their room directly onto the Promenade – ideal for those who simply live for the sea breeze.
Volendam is abundant with dining options; whether you are after an elegant snack, leisurely lunch or high-end sit-down meal, there is bound to be something to tempt your taste buds. Spread over two storeys and decorated with rich reds and luxurious golds, the lavish Rotterdam Dining Room features an elegant star-studded ceiling of twinkling lights for a glamorous and intimate meal. Cuisine is varied in choice yet universally wonderful in quality; expect multi-course masterpieces of regional and classic dishes for dinner and comforting gourmet favourites for lunch. For something a little different, Volendam is also home to the famous Canaletto: a tiny Italian eatery tucked away in the corner of the Lido restaurant. Offering culinary delights such as pastas, tiramisus and gelato – graciously served by waiters in gondolier get-up – it evokes an artisanal, boutique feel and is a pleasant complement to the Rotterdam’s sweeping grandeur. However, if it is truly high-end cuisine that you wish to indulge in, a visit to the Pinnacle Grill is positively essential. Inspired by the American Pacific Northwest, this luxurious restaurant specialises in sumptuous and mouth-watering seafood and steaks that have earned it a world-class reputation for terrific cuisine. Sample the incomparable lobster macaroni cheese, or the exquisite Filet Mignon – perhaps accompanied by a traditional steakhouse side such as creamed spinach or mashed potatoes – and be sure to stick around for the delectable chocolate-gorged desserts. With dishes that are artfully presented and impeccably prepared, the Pinnacle Grill truly lives up to its name. Lighter eaters will find a haven in the Explorations Café, which offers delicate finger sandwiches, fruit and pastries to enjoy with a refreshing cup of coffee or tea. Room service is also available 24 hours a day, so those not wanting to venture out to the bustling eateries can enjoy an exquisite restaurant-quality meal from the comfort of their own rooms.
The glitzy Frans Hals lounge is at the epicentre of the nightly entertainment; awash with reds and gilded accents for a plush, glamorous ambience, it spans two decks of tiered seating and has a fully-equipped stage and sound system for an unforgettable night of showbiz. Every night, top-class performers take to the stage to wow audiences with anything from music, comedy and magic to folkloric presentations from the ship’s hardworking crew. It is also the host to Volendam’s famous Dancing With the Stars at Sea competition, whereby passengers are partnered with professional dancers on board to be taught to strut their stuff on the dancefloor. On the last night, the couples go head-to-head in a dazzling competition to see who will be crowned the winner. More classic after-dinner entertainment is hosted in the distinguished Explorer Lounge. Be enchanted by the resident musician’s baroque performances as you swirl a brandy, or waltz with your partner on the small dancefloor – or for a poppier night, the Ocean Bar plays chart-topping dance music for a high-energy evening of fun. Throughout the day, activities as far-ranging as karaoke, interactive games, bingo, art auctions and scavenger hunts fill the ship’s decks with life. The Wajang Theater shows newly-released films in its intimate cinema – accompanied, of course, by freshly-popped popcorn for a truly authentic experience. The Explorations Café proves a cosy, bookish spot to peruse the library, sit quietly with a puzzle or challenge a fellow passenger to a game of chess. Meanwhile, the open sun decks are a heavenly place to soak in the sun’s rays and lose yourself in the ever-changing sky and seascapes that surround you… or, on cooler evenings, cuddle up in one of the woollen blankets with a steaming cup of coffee.
Pamper yourself as you sail the seas with a visit to the luxurious Ocean Spa, which offers soothing spa treatments, aromatherapy, indulgent massages and beauty treatments to relax the body and refresh the mind. Saunas and steam rooms provide spaces to detox, while the extensive array of sports options provide ample choices to let off some steam; group exercise workshops in yoga, Pilates and spin, along with a ping-pong table, fully-equipped gym, 5k walking track and tennis and basketball court will ensure that you can work out in a way that suits you: be it individually, as part of a group or with a touch of friendly competition. Of course, there is always the option to take a well-deserved dip in one of Volendam’s swimming pools: lounge in the calming waters of the Lido Pool, encased in a retractable dome for all-weather swimming, or immerse yourself in the outdoor Sea View pool for panoramic views of the stunning surrounding scenery – followed, perhaps, by a rejuvenating dip in the hot tub.
Club HAL, the onboard programme for kids (aged 3-7) and tweens (aged 8-12), offers an extensive array of activities to entertain and enthral youngsters throughout the voyage. From arts and crafts, scavenger hunts and video games to cooking classes and age-appropriate movie screenings, this fun and colourful space gives children plenty to look forward to. The Loft, meanwhile, is a lounge-like space full of comfy sofas, video games and industrial-inspired design for loafing teenagers – as is The Oasis, a no-parents-allowed outdoor club area full of loungers and alcoves for socialising and relaxing.
Enrichment activities abound on Volendam, offering passengers the rare chance to learn new skills, become better-informed about the surrounding areas and develop their knowledge on a wide range of fascinating subjects. The Culinary Arts Center, for example, comprises a fully-equipped show kitchen whereby professional chefs both local and onboard give highly-regarded cooking demonstrations (and the occasional hands-on workshop) to an audience of passengers. Engaging and knowledgeable guest lecturers are also invited onboard to deliver seminars about anything from wine tasting to art, wellness to wildlife – and the popular presentations on the wonders of the local regions allow you to cast a better-informed eye as you step ashore.
One of the more popular enrichment classes is the Digital Workshop, a Windows® initiative powered by Microsoft-trained “Techsperts”. These sessions, run regularly across the cruise, offer classes on how to digitally edit, share and immortalise your valuable holiday snaps. From transferring photos from the camera to the computer to more sophisticated lessons on photo editing, website construction and film-making, this programme is a must for anyone wanting to get the most out of their technology – no matter what their knowledge level.