Noordam Review

Editor Rating:  3.5
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Noordam Ratings

  • Category
    Member
    Editor
  • Dining
    4.1
    4.0
  • Public Rooms
    4.4
    4.0
  • Cabins
    4.3
    4.0
  • Entertainment
    3.5
    4.0
  • Spa & Fitness
    3.9
    3.0
  • Family & Children
    3.5
    2.0
  • Shore Excursions
    3.7
    3.0
  • Enrichment
    3.7
    4.0
  • Service
    4.4
    4.0
  • Value-for-Money
    4.0
    3.0
Editor Rating
3.5
Member Rating
Why Choose Noordam?
  • Pro: A full-service, midsize ship with lots of quiet, intimate spaces
  • Con: Limited bells-and-whistles entertainment options
  • Bottom Line: A good choice for mature travelers seeking a traditional cruise experience

Noordam Overview

By Tiana Templeman, Cruise Critic contributor

Holland America Line aims to strike a balance between classic and contemporary, and Noordam, christened in 2006, manages this well. The ship's smaller size, with fewer than 2,000 passengers, gives Noordam an intimate feel that makes it easy to meet people and make new friends. There are lots of nooks for conversation and quiet diversions like backgammon or settling back with a good book. Dinners in the main dining rooms and two specialty restaurants are leisurely. Pre-dinner entertainment includes listening to a violin-piano duo perform and dancing to ballroom and show-tune classics. Afternoon tea is served daily.

The best of Noordam's onboard programming skews toward the educational, such as cooking presentations and Microsoft-sponsored computer workshops. On our Alaska sailing, the piano bar was about as rowdy as things got. Australian and New Zealand cruises attract a slightly more lively crowd, although the vibe still tends to be low-key. The excellent B.B. King's Blues Club is the top pick for those seeking some less sedate late-night fun.

By day, the Explorations Cafe -- with its clubby, coffeehouse vibe and free online access to the New York Times, plus a nice selection of books and games -- was a steady hub of activity. Unfortunately, there is no free online access to Australian newspapers.

Compared with some HAL vessels' decor, Noordam's is downright glitzy. A three-story atrium midship sports a curvy green glass stairway crowned by a colossal Waterford Crystal compass. Gold-hued tiles mirror the surrounding walls. In the elevator lobbies, oversize urns sprout artificial foliage and busts of the Dutch royal family mix it up with ornate metal settees. However, there is little need to sit down when it comes to elevators. Noordam has an impressive number for such a small ship, which means there is seldom a wait for those who prefer not to take the stairs. As in other HAL vessels, some impressive and eclectic artwork provides lovely visual surprises throughout the ship. Historic photos of HAL cruisers from days gone by line the hallways and are a good fit for the ship's traditional feel.

The youngest of HAL's four early-2000s-vintage Vista-class ships, Noordam shows some signs of wear (separating wallpaper seams, worn carpet in areas). But the overall ambiance makes the ship a good choice for those who don't need water slides, ziplines or climbing walls to find their bliss at sea.

Noordam Fellow Passengers

With an average age of 55, Holland America passengers skew slightly older than those of some major lines. On Alaska cruises, about 80 percent of cruisers are older than 50; about 40 percent are over 65. Ages were similar on our recent Australia and New Zealand cruise. In general, Alaska cruises and those taking place during the Australia and New Zealand school holidays attract more families.

On most Alaska sailings, Holland America cruisers are 60 to 80 percent North American, although this percentage skews towards Australian and New Zealand cruisers when the ship comes Down Under. However, you will still find many nationalities onboard, with Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians making up the majority of the passenger base.

Noordam Dress Code

Daytime attire is casual, though shorts and tank tops aren't allowed in the dining rooms. The Lido Restaurant is more laid-back but does request that diners wear shoes and a shirt. Recommended attire on most nights is "smart casual," meaning skirts or pants for women and casual slacks and shirts for men. Two formal nights on our cruise brought out a smattering of tuxes and sequins. Cocktail dresses for women and sport coats and slacks for men predominated. Alaska, Australia and New Zealand, and Pacific Island itineraries are typically fairly informal on Holland America. On European sailings, passengers tend to dress up more.

Noordam Gratuity

An automatic $13.50 ($15 for suites) per-person tip is charged daily. In addition, a 15 percent gratuity is added for spa services and bar tabs. The amount can be adjusted up or down at the service desk.

Next:  Noordam Cabins

By Tiana Templeman, Cruise Critic contributor

650 Noordam Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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maxwell7034
Member Since 2011
1 review
2 forum posts
0 helpful votes
We wanted to go to Alaska at some point, and saw a pretty good deal so we decided to go with it, despite some reservations about going in May. We were satisfied overall with our cruise, understanding that Holland America is considerably ... Read more
GradUT
Member Since 2010
8 reviews
2,508 forum posts
0 helpful votes
We booked this cruise for May 21 - 28 in order to take advantage of the drier weather (May is the least rainy month in these ports) and to avoid large numbers of children since school is still in session during the last week of May. We ... Read more
lramirez2000
Member Since 2017
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Who we are: A middle aged married couple who has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America-- but never on a cruise! Travel details: Vancouver to Seward, May 21- May 28 Cabin: We stayed on the Upper ... Read more
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2,777 Professional Noordam Photos

We spent almost a full week on board the Noordam with multiple photographers and took 2,777 pictures of the ship.  When you visit our new photo galleries you can be assured that what you see is what you get!

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