Sailing from Barcelona, Spain on July 1, 2014 - 11 Nights.
Headline “How to open the show on a very, very poor performance.”
Yesterday we boarded the ms Noordam in Barcelona, and are scheduled to spend the first full day after boarding still in port in Barcelona. As past mariners as part of the Holland America program, we have come to expect a consistent quality of service no matter what ship we choose to cruise on, but perhaps we have been spoiled since first sailing on the ms Amsterdam last year. Unfortunately, apparently all crews are clearly not trained to or operate at the same standards.
When we first arrived into our Deluxe Verandah stateroom (4123), we thought that the room seemed hot. After adjusting the air conditioning as low as it could go and attempting to call the guest services lines and experiencing 20+ minute hold times, we decided to go to the front desk to ask them to assist. We were told that they would open a service ticket and that no one would even need to come to our room. A long time later, Mary Grace from the front desk came to our stateroom with a digital thermometer and decided that the minimal output from our air conditioning unit was putting out air at 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23.5 C), stated that it wasn’t working correctly, and that it would be fixed. She suggested that we open the door to the Verandah. For air conditioning to work, it should clearly be coming out cooler than the intended room temperature. After over 24 hours in port, they still have not repaired the air conditioning. When we spoke with Alex at the front desk after this 24 hour delay, we were told that he saw that a service ticket had been opened, but that he also saw that nothing had been done. Not only had nothing been done, but Alex at the Front Desk really seemed totally apathetic and non-caring as he told us to go back to our room and wait for them to call. Alex told us that it would be another hour waiting in the room for something to happen as he would have to speak to his supervisor, who would then have to speak to their supervisor, who would then speak to the assistant facility manager. Apparently the desk staff is not empowered to meet guest’s needs, which is another cause for concern when booking a cruise with this vessel.
As we get back to the room to wait for the service that may or may not come, we find out that our scheduled stop in Marseilles has been cancelled due to a labor issue and we are going to be redirected to an alternate/back up port. Ironically there was a taxi strike in Barcelona yesterday that affected arrivals to the ship, but strangely enough we heard nothing from Holland America to tell us to expect these taxi issues affecting arrivals. Would it have been that hard to contact the passengers via their preferred communications channels with a simple message? Is this the Noordam’s idea of customer service?
I’m sure others have had perfectly enjoyable cruises on the Noordam, however, so far, we are not impressed in the least. I understand that issues happen with labor disputes and with the ship’s infrastructure, but a caring crew would attempt to accommodate and address these issues. One thing is for certain, I wish I had paid more attention to some of the other reviews of the Noordam, as many of the same issues noted are still present and uncorrected. This is not how you demonstrate positive customer service.
You may really wish to reconsider cruising on this ship. Unfortunately we are in the market for another Holland America ship that does seem to care, and barring that, we will then find another cruise line that understands that “good enough – isn’t”.
So far, this is the worst cruise experience that we've ever had - and we haven't even left the first port yet.