We decided to take this cruise on HAL although my wife and myself have traveled extensively on just about all the cruise line this would be our first with Holland American Lines. We live in Florida so it was an easy trip to the Noorsdam which was at Birth 26 in ft Lauderdale. Everything went well and our stateroom which was just below the Lido deck on the 8 floor. Our bags arrived and the stateroom was available in a timely manner. our cabin attendant came in and introduced himself and everything seamed right until I turned on the lights and opened the blinds. My wife and my self both sounded out " the rooms decor was shabby the rugs were stained and the bathroom had a urine smell.
I called the attendant and pointed out the problems in the room he said" all the rooms were the same after looking at the next room to us ,it was clear all the passengers were in the same Boat. The Balcony was lined with rust on the aluminum trim and the Plexiglas on the Balcony was unclean or stained. it was apparent that we would have downgrade our expectations even though we paid considerable more for this cruise.
Our next stop was the dining room on the 3rd floor we had a small but nice table for 2 which was a nice and convient. The waiter was pleasant efficient and the food was very good. After dinner we took in a show on the second fl and the captain and staff welcomed us aboard. The show was predictable for a cruise ship, but the costumes seemed to be old fashioned and need of replacement.
The casino was just outside of the theater on the 2nd fl and to my surprise it was mostly empty and the dealers were just standing at there designated tables. The passengers were an older but spirited group and mostly found the pleasant and well mannered. To my surprise there were a few children on board " question is why" No activities for children on board no video games or play areas. I would not recommend parents bring children on the HAL at least not at this time of year. The cruise was low key the entertainment threw out the ship consisted of a steel drum player on the lido deck near the pool, when you can catch him. at night there were 3 young woman playing violins and a house band .If your into disco music better bring a radio. After the first show finished at 9pm we went to the Lido deck cafeteria and to my surprise it was closed except for coffee and ice-cream and a warm pizza. I was told it opens at 11 pm why when 75% of the boat are asleep at 11 pm. The bars like a Midwest city pull up the carpet at 11 am and the hint is GO TO SLEEP Already. The ports of calls were predictable and excursions were typical.
departing: all gratuities are added to your bill 11.50 a day per passenger. baggage transfers are 50.00 a bag or 100.00 for 3 bags. We elected on the last day to disinbark early and we signed up for a 7:30 departure. When we arrived on the 2nd fl gangplank area there were so many people crammed in the walkways with luggage it was hard to get a breath of air. And if that wasn't enough the ship had positioned itself at the wrong spot so the gang planks were pulled up and after it finally was tied up again they changed the departing spot to the 3rd floor. A mad dash ensued to the 3rd floor elevators and stairs were jammed with no ship personal present. what a mess glad this wasn't an emergency, confusion argument amongst passengers and just one female crew member who was totally overwhelmed.
My view is simple with all the newer cruise ship why this one it needs a total overhaul. oh forgot one thing we also had a breakout of a stomach virus . Good luck