I believe most everyone looks forward to an enjoyable, relaxing and fun cruise as soon as they have decided on a cruise line, a ship, its itinerary and booked it. Then, if a situation arises on ship that's unacceptable or unpleasant you do your best to remedy it and expect some satisfaction from staff to fix the problem.
Two satisfying previous cruises on Holland America's ships Amsterdam (The World Tour) and Volendam brought us back to select Holland America for our next cruise.
Wow - what we didn't expect was staff and service on the Noordam to be unprofessional, poorly trained, rude and frankly uncooperative to remedy concerns and complaints as follows:
1. Cabin Privacy: was violated when a staff person entered our cabin while my wife was taking a shower to remove the breakfast tray. I was outside on deck #3's walking exercise track. We did not telephone #92 to have it removed. I reported it and requested the hotel manager investigate to find out who came into the cabin to remove our breakfast tray to insure there isn't a recurrence. No response.
2. Our inside cabin 7025 had a single chair. No couch. Where are 2 passengers supposed to sit to have in-room food service like breakfast and watch TV? This cabin was suitable for one passenger. The first day of the cruise - August 26, 2013 in Istanbul we requested a cabin change to an another inside cabin with a couch. We were told the ship was booked solid. None available. Maybe when the ship docks in Athens. No follow-up from Reception Staff after the ship left Athens. So, I followed up only to be told again the ship is booked solid. My wife met another passenger in an inside cabin 6027 who had a problem. She was moved to another cabin with a couch shortly after departing Athens.
3. Our dining room table for 2 - #67 was poorly located adjacent to a pole that created a situation where the table and chairs were sticking out in the aisle leaving little space between the next table for 6 and us. So, we requested a table change the first day of the cruise. No follow-up. We inquired again when the ship docked in Athens. 2-days later we were assigned a table for 2 next to a noisy waiters station.
4. DVD movies - nothing current in stock. Ship's staff is good at timely delivery of movies to your cabin. Most are badly scratched and dirty. Also, they aren't cleaned. We had a maintenance service repair 3 times for our DVD player. A staff maintenance person told us DVD's are not cleaned after they are used but should always be. We were mislead by reception staff telling us that the movies we requested James Bond: From Russia With Love and Jaws were not available. They accepted a reserve for the 2 movies. No follow-up. So, we telephone ext. #90 and after asking if the DVD movies are being held by another passenger beyond the allotted time, we were told the 2 movies are missing and were never returned from a prior cruise.
5. LIDO DECK self-service cafeteria hot food staff poorly trained and at times rude.
6. Security Staff rude when leaving ship at port calls and especially when returning by rushing you and pulling your small hand held complimentary Holland America tote bag from your hands to put on the conveyor belt for scanning. Many times our personal itmes came out of the tote bag on the belt.
7. Cabin cleaning was very good although hand washing bar soap was hardly replaced (twice during a 22-day cruise). One day we returned from a shore excursion in the evening to find our room wasn't cleaned. We left the ship at 8:30 a.m. and we did not put the privacy card in the outside door slot. The cabin steward apologized.
8. Safety hazard: the passenger in cabin #7033 across the hallway from our cabin placed their tray with dishes, glasses, table ware, etc. in the hallway outside their cabin creating a safety hazard against ship's policy. Six separate telephone calls to Reception Staff at ext. #90 and to the Dining Room Manager at ext. #92 reporting the safety hazard after my wife accidentally stepped into the full tray of dishes and galsses, did not resolve the problem. The staff claimed they contacted the passenger about it. However, it continued for 20 days before it finally ended.
9. HOTEL MANAGER refused to meet with us about our cabin privacy, cabin change and dining room concerns in addition to some suggestions we had concerning the DVD movies, in-room food service delivery and rudeness by some of his staff. All of our attempts to for the ship's staff to remedy or fix our concerns were mostly ignored. This isn't professionalism nor would it be tolerated in a Intercontinental, Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, and even a Days Inn.
We were able to rate the Noordam accordingly comparing it to The Amsterdam and The Volendam ships we cruised on. Therefore, no gold standard for The Noordam and its Hotel Manager. Our rating = Poor and Unacceptable