17 Barcelona Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

Everything started out great. The cabin was very clean and the staff was helpful. All the ports were quiet which was a change from other cruises we have taken, just walk through the cities and enjoy them. The city markets were fun to see. ... Read More
Everything started out great. The cabin was very clean and the staff was helpful. All the ports were quiet which was a change from other cruises we have taken, just walk through the cities and enjoy them. The city markets were fun to see. Those were the good things. The over all quality of Holland America has declined over the past 20 years. They have done away with alot of passenger envolvment. Seems like you are on your own if you don't pay for an experience. The food has had a decline in quality and taste also. Breakfast was the same menu everyday for the 15 days . Lunch not much different. Dinner had the same selections just with a different sauce. After about 8 days there was quite a few people getting sick with what was a respritory problem. The doctors office was full, did not seem to alarm the staff. After a visit to the doctor and minor medication. We continued to get sicker and so did others. Disemberkation was a nightmare. Should not take 2 hours to get off the ship, we asked for help and were told not to worry we would make our flight. Only after complaining again were we helped and made our flight by 1 minute. totally unaccaptable. We waited in line to get in line for 2 hours then another 2 hours at immigration. Holland America needs a board meeting to fix problems. Don't think we will be using them or an affiliate again after 20 years. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I have been on a total of 10 cruises in the past 10 years (8 of which were in Europe), four on Celebrity, two each on Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, one on Princess, and this one. I was under the mistaken belief that HAL would be on a par ... Read More
I have been on a total of 10 cruises in the past 10 years (8 of which were in Europe), four on Celebrity, two each on Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, one on Princess, and this one. I was under the mistaken belief that HAL would be on a par with Celebrity. Not only was that belief mistaken, but Holland America is far worse than any of the others. First, the good. Our stateroom accommodations (Superior Verandah Suite on Deck 8) were lovely. The ports of call were excellent, but that was the primary reason we chose this particular cruise. The quality of the food in the main dining room and the Italian specialty restaurant was good. The medical staff was outstanding. Room service was prompt and very good. Now, for the bad (in no particular order): The general level of service was abysmal. In the Lido and pool areas, items were not cleared from tables and surfaces. In fact, one Lido employee refused to clear items from our table. This was called to the attention of a supervisor, but his response was unintelligible. The service in the main dining room was hit or miss, depending on the server and the day. Some was excellent, but at other times the staff seemed overwhelmed. The amount of space in the Lido and pool areas was sometimes insufficient to meet the number of people on the cruise. People were eating on furniture in the elevator lobby area outside the restaurant when they couldn't find tables and were laying all over the deck when they couldn't find lounge chairs. Besides the aforementioned, the Lido had other problems as well. Lunch hours were insufficient given that many people returned from tours about the time lunch ended. The presentation of some of the items (e.g., salad bar, desserts, juices) was poor. Ice was frequently in short supply and drink dispensers ran out or dispensed the wrong thing (e.g., water instead of lemonade). The ship ran out of lemonade two or three days prior to the end of the cruise and lettuce the day prior to the end of cruise. The condition of some of the furnishings was in disrepair. For example, I think if I attempted to donate your pool lounge chairs to Goodwill, they would reject them as being not sellable even at Goodwill prices. The manner in which the Tunis port was cancelled was really unacceptable. Passengers were not advised officially of the cancellation until well after the time that the ship should have docked. Until the captain spoke, no ship employee would confirm anything. Since the decision was supposedly made around midnight, a letter should have been slipped under every cabin door so people would not have found it necessary to rush in the morning to prepare and have breakfast. No real reason was given for the cancellation except for the very vague safety concerns. Given the fact that other sailings had also skipped Tunis, the ship should have been prepared with a contingency plan to call upon another port, if necessary, rather than have a sea day. It was certainly foreseeable that a diversion might occur and alternative arrangements should have been made in advance. I had occasion to visit the medical staff because of a fall I took on a wet deck. The reason the deck was wet in that area was because an employe was pushing water from the deck above onto the deck below, directly in front of an entry door. Upon embarkation, we found that the toilet in our cabin was not clean. There was a caked on substance on the bottom of the seat that appeared to be feces. We advised our cabin steward and it was cleaned. On the last morning of the cruise at about 3:00 AM, there was a fire in the incinerator. The captain made repeated announcements about it, but some people apparently did not understand and donned life jackets and went into the hallways.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We were on a cruise of 3 eleven day legs and if not for the ports, which is what we took this cruise for, the experience of Holland America and the Noordam would turn you off from ever wanting to go cruising again. We are not novice ... Read More
We were on a cruise of 3 eleven day legs and if not for the ports, which is what we took this cruise for, the experience of Holland America and the Noordam would turn you off from ever wanting to go cruising again. We are not novice cruisers and have taken at least 15 cruises on other cruise lines but this was the first and last on HAL and have never experienced such treatment. We were in cabin 1060, below the Queens Lounge which was the venue for BB Kings Blues Club. This went on for over 3 hours from 2030 finishing at approx. midnight. There was three of us in the cabin so we were using the bunk bed. On the first night the bunk bed vibrated, the walls and wardrobe doors vibrated and the air pounded in your ears from the sound. It was impossible to sleep or even relax in the cabin. We reported the issue to the front office in the hope of being moved to another cabin only to be given ear plugs and suggested that we find another venue every night they are on, until they finish and then go to bed. Naturally we informed the front office that this was not a suitable suggestion. We were informed that an effort would be made to move us the next day however we were later told that the ship was full and we would have to remain there for that leg and efforts made to find us another cabin for the next leg. I asked for the Hotel Director to contact us the next day to discuss the problem only to receive a phone call that morning indicating that he was in a meeting and would contact us later, never heard from him.Tried to see him on two more occasions but no response. I ended up sleeping on sofa bed for over 2 weeks as bunk could not be used and no other cabin available for 2nd leg. Can go on and on about this but the end result was they did offer compensation at the end of the 33 nights but what was offered was a complete insult to us for what we missed out on for the whole cruise. The ports on the cruise were great however it would have been good if the Captain was on board as the cruise logs given out at end of each cruise were incorrect with wrong port, wrong weather and wrong berthing indicated. Excursions are too expensive and at times do not meet expectations. The food in both the restaurant and Lido are at a very low standard when compared to other cruise lines and even food on RCL is of a better standard. I guess due to the bad experience all problems stand out like, luggage being damaged both embarking and dis-embarking, failure for linen to be changed that required us to ask, cabin set up for only two people and having to ask for extra needs, for first two legs volume in show lounge way too loud with many of the audience having to walk out (this was rectified on 3rd leg). My suggestion is that if you are planning a cruise that you think about another cruise line where possible as HAL is not a cruise line that puts passengers/guest first. The comments above are not a reflection on the crew themselves, except upper management, as they try hard however penny pinching and a drop in standards means they also have to try to stay within these constraints. One big thank you to Carlo, at front office, who was the only person to show some sympathy for our predicament.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We are big fans of HAL and were very excited about our first European cruise with the line. First to get the negative out of the way: The staff was very pleasant but you could tell they were understaffed: long lines at the front desk, ... Read More
We are big fans of HAL and were very excited about our first European cruise with the line. First to get the negative out of the way: The staff was very pleasant but you could tell they were understaffed: long lines at the front desk, long hold times when calling guest services, sometimes not having the cabin cleaned until 4PM. Additionally, the ship was tired and worn- the toilet seat in our room was peeling, the robes in the spa were frayed or had holes in them, the sofa in our room was dirty and worn. Oh, and the swimming pool was a murky color, I suspect as a result of all of the small children swimming there. Now for the good, this is the perfect sized ship for easy cruising. The food was good, the atmosphere nice, the people friendly, and the verandah large. The Pinnacle Grill was well worth the expense but I cannot say the same for the "Le Cirque" evening. This was our first trip cruising with our child and she loved "Club HAL". There was never a shortage of activities for her and they kept her busy so mom and dad could enjoy some alone time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Chose this cruise as am not a good sailor & ship docked every day! This meant only nights on board. I found the cabin with balcony to be a life saver!bused the balcony heaps - arriving & departing ports was great to watch. Best ... Read More
Chose this cruise as am not a good sailor & ship docked every day! This meant only nights on board. I found the cabin with balcony to be a life saver!bused the balcony heaps - arriving & departing ports was great to watch. Best exp was sailing into Venice - what a sight viewed from up high on the deckE had 2 days of sailing & were disappointed that there was no on board entertainment. We attended the Windows 8 lessons & that was all on offer! We did our own thing on shore - catching local busses or the hop on/off busses & exploring by ourselves. There was virtually no assistance if you wanted to do yr own stuff on shore. Some folk had dowloaded city info before boarding on their iPads. I will do this for our Baltic tour in June. We are returning to do another HAL - so fingers crossed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We took a 22 day cruise from Barcelona to Venice with stops in a multitude of ports. While we were not keen on Tunis we were surprised to discover Croatia and other ports. My wife and I cruise a lot and we found this particular Holland ... Read More
We took a 22 day cruise from Barcelona to Venice with stops in a multitude of ports. While we were not keen on Tunis we were surprised to discover Croatia and other ports. My wife and I cruise a lot and we found this particular Holland America experience exhilarating - excellent . We adored our cabin (5091), we loved your fine selected ports…(smashing itinerary!) and we enjoyed the great fine selection of food. However, what made the trip even more special for my wife and myself was the staff. We felt that everyone went beyond what was required and always went the ‘extra mile’ . Whether it was the smiling happy egg cooking brigade at breakfast or the gal at the pasta bar – always most helpful. However, in particular we liked the Neptune Lounge staff - Dangil Hermoso and Sharlene Fontanilla. They were exceptional in their attention to detail, ever friendly, helpful and with an attitude of always ‘can do’. Even with some trying passengers, they always were professional. Neesha we also enjoyed – both in the Neptune Lounge and the Pinnacle Grill. (Le cirque dinner). Great attitude. The Vista Dining room host Rivay we found also exceptional. Not an easy job with that many people all wanting something different. No matter what the pressure, we felt he was always friendly, quick to smile and a joy to see. Since we did not have a permanent sitting, we changed dining room waiters often…always most professional service. We also felt your wine and spirits staff most helpful and competent. Ok, lest you think we are gushing…what we did not like was the internet policy. We feel that the suites should have either free wifi or at least a certain amount of free minutes given. However, we definitely will be back with Holland America   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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 ... Read More
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.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Sadly, we’ve just returned from an 11-night cruise aboard the ms Noordam. We booked the cruise about 10 days before departure as a last minute getaway from busy life in Turkey. My wife and I are in our early thirties and this is our 7th ... Read More
Sadly, we’ve just returned from an 11-night cruise aboard the ms Noordam. We booked the cruise about 10 days before departure as a last minute getaway from busy life in Turkey. My wife and I are in our early thirties and this is our 7th cruise. We're not loyal to any particular cruise line, but this is our second with Holland America. Before the July 1st embarkation date, we spent 2 wonderful nights in Barcelona. Our hotel was near the main Ramblas drag. We ate wonderful local food, drank cheap and delicious beer and walked…a lot! Post cruise, we spent 3 days in Rome. Embarkation was easy. Taxis in Barcelona were striking on July 1st leaving many without transport to the ship. Our hotel was within walking distance to the cruise shuttle near the port. It also helped that we packed extremely light for this trip as we planned on purchasing the laundry package on board. We arrived a bit early so we had to sit in the terminal for a while. I think we were in our stateroom by about 12:30. We had an inside stateroom (7026) on deck 7. The room was nice and roomy and we had more than enough storage for everything we brought on board. The AC/Heating worked perfectly well the entire trip. Our room attendant Kay and her partner Sam were absolutely incredible! Our ice bucket was always full, the room was always clean and we had different towel animals in our room every night. We ordered room service twice after hours and the services was pretty slow. That being said, food was always tasty and of high quality. The ship itself is looking a bit aged. It was spotless as the crew was always cleaning, but she is looking a bit tired. We spent a lot of time on the Lido deck for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We tried the anytime dinning in the main dinning room 3 times, but we found the service to be slow and didn’t get much attention from the servers. I heard the opposite from friends we met on board about the scheduled dinners. Our food was always hot and presentation was great, too. The itinerary was quite port intensive with only 2 sea days. I’ve visited some of these ports last may aboard the MSC Splendida. All the ports were great except for Livorno, Italy. The highlights were Calvi, France and Naples—surprisingly enough! We were scheduled to visit Marseille but the captain informed us of some unrest at the port so we called on Toulon instead. We pretty much did every single port on our own. We found the Holland America tours to be extremely overpriced. For example, they were charging 19 USD for a chartered (?) a ferry to take passengers to Toulon. When we exited the ship, we walked about 10 minutes and found a similar ferry going to the same place for 2 euros. Entertainment on board was ok. All the musicians, signers and dancers are highly talented. The absolute highlight of the entertainment was the BB King Blues Band. They were incredible and the talk of the ship! We had the chance to chat with some of the band members and they were very down to earth and friendly. The magician, guitarist and others brought on bored were good, too. I do want to mention that before leaving for the trip, I contacted HA customer service twice to ask about the cost of the unlimited laundry (which we used every day and found well worth the price) and the use of the steam room. Customer service quoted 77 USD for the unlimited laundry package and said use of the steam room was free. Upon boarding the ship, we found the laundry package was 99 USD and the steam room was in face not free. I brought this up to the front desk and the guy was less than helpful. I mentioned this to some other guests on board and they suggested I write the guest relations manager. After writing a message expressing my disappointment, she credited my account the difference of the laundry cost and gave us a 1-day guest pass to use the steam room in the spa. She apologized and said she would be contacting guest services to correct them on the information they gave me. With regards to the crew, almost all of them were helpful, smiley and nice. Many of the Indonesian crew were fasting due to Ramadan, but they seemed not to be affected by the lack of liquids or food. Once in a while you would come across someone that seemed to be having a bad day, but that was pretty rare. I prefer the likes of Celebrity and MSC as they employ crew from around the globe. It’s always nice meeting different people from different places and chatting with them. Disembarkation went very smooth, too. We carried our small luggage off the ship around 9 AM and were very sad to leave. This was my second cruise with HA and I would most certainly cruise with them again. All and all, it was a great trip. We met some really great people, we saw some beautiful places, we ate a lot of food and have memories that will last a lifetime.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I had been told my cruise with Holland America would be a step up from my usual line -- Royal Caribbean. It was a step. But a step down. I do not believe there is such a thing as a bad cruise. And I liked this one. But I would never ... Read More
I had been told my cruise with Holland America would be a step up from my usual line -- Royal Caribbean. It was a step. But a step down. I do not believe there is such a thing as a bad cruise. And I liked this one. But I would never recommend HAL to anyone else. The cabin was excellent. We had a fantail suite with a great wrap-around deck -- which we used extensively. And our cabin stewards were top notch. The rest of the cruise was so-so. Like most cruise dining room food, the meals were banquet food. Special requests were generally ignored. HAL must have cut their dining room staff. Water and wine glasses went unfilled. Plates with meals uneaten did not cause any inquiry. Even the specialty restaurant had slow service and mediocre steak. I go on cruises for the entertainment. On this cruise, the entertainment would not have made a good pier show. With the exception of an American jazz pianist, Judy Carmichael, who actually attempted to teach the audience and stretch their minds. Our concierge duo, Homer and Celine, made yeoman efforts to make up for the shortcomings elsewhere on the ship. They were gems. I do not expect much from ship shore excursions. And that is what I got. The excursions I most looked forward to were cancelled. Those that I took were over-crowded and far too hurried for the expense. I would advice anyone who takes a cruise in this area of the Mediterranean to skip te shore excursions. Most can be done on foot -- or with the help of a local taxi. I do not regret taking the cruise. I just would not make the same mistake twice. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
For some background, we are a Canadian couple in our 50’s/60’s who have only previously cruised with Holland America. Our itinerary was the Western Mediterranean - May 18th – 29th. This was our first time on the Noordam. We flew ... Read More
For some background, we are a Canadian couple in our 50’s/60’s who have only previously cruised with Holland America. Our itinerary was the Western Mediterranean - May 18th – 29th. This was our first time on the Noordam. We flew business class from Toronto to Barcelona via Frankfurt and returned Rome, Frankfurt, Toronto. In Barcelona we stayed one night at the Hilton Diagonal Mar Hotel.We had an Executive Level room which provided access to a nice lounge with non- alcohol beverages as well as beer and wine in the evening after 6:30 pm, a good continental breakfast in the morning and a wonderful patio high above the city. The hotel is across from a large shopping centre that we enjoyed strolling through and is also a block from the beach. We took a taxi from the airport to the hotel for a cost of 35. Euro and a taxi from the hotel to the cruise port for a cost of 25. Euro. Our cabin was a Deluxe Veranda Suite very close to the Neptune Lounge. We arrived at the cruise port at 11:45 am. Embarkation was very prompt with suite guests having access immediately. Our suite was ready upon arrival. We were invited to the Neptune Lounge for sparkling wine and snacks and shortly thereafter our luggage arrived. We also had a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine in our suite. We did not attend the suite party the first night and we did not attend the Mariners luncheon near the end of the cruise. The suite was in good condition however the rooms are ready for some updating. While very clean and in good repair, the bathroom was showing its age. We have no complaints about the air conditioning or plumbing. Everything worked very well the entire cruise. Our room attendants were amazing and took very good care of us. As well, Celine, Homer and Kim in the Neptune Lounge were very accommodating and efficient and provided excellent service. The Neptune Lounge offered the usual cold drink self-serve dispensers, deluxe coffee machine, morning continental breakfast, lunch time sandwiches and desserts and late afternoon hors d'oeuvres. Everything was fresh and perfectly presented. The only thing we missed this time was a toaster on the side board. We felt that the ship was in excellent condition and very clean. Staff were continuously cleaning in all areas. We did not eat in the Lido this trip so cannot comment other than when we did pass through it looked very busy. We enjoyed breakfast either in the Pinnacle or in the Neptune Lounge. When on the ship, we had our lunches in the MDR or from the Dive In at the Lido Pool. We really enjoyed the hamburgers and french fries at the Dive In. I don’t usually eat this food at home but for some reason really enjoyed them on this cruise. We found the new menu with fresh meat to be excellent. Service was fast and the introduction of a pager system made it perfect. We could place our order, order a drink and within minutes the pager would alert us to pick up our freshly prepared order. We enjoyed dinner most nights at the MDR. We did however notice the reduction in staffing and its resulting impact on the wait staff that were run off their feet each evening. They did an incredible job however. We did feel that the taking of orders was rushed and there was little time for interaction. They work so hard to ensure that guests are well served. The food was okay – nothing spectacular. We certainly didn’t starve and always found something enjoyable to order. We had dinner one night in the Pinnacle and it was very good. Service was excellent and we found the food quality good. Caesar salad was made table side. Room service was utilized a few times for coffee before the Neptune Lounge opened and one night for dinner. We did not enjoy our room service dinner. Perhaps it was what we ordered. We had the Signature drink package as we booked our cruise during the Explore 4 program. Explore 4 included the Signature drink package (up to 15 drinks per day which included alcohol up to $7.00 per drink, specialty coffees, water, very limited wine selection and soda), $75.00 per person on board credit and an evening dinner at the Pinnacle. We enjoyed this package. While we didn’t come close to 15 drinks per day, we enjoyed the ease of using the card and not having to worry about receipts and charges to our on board account. I hope that Holland offers this again for future cruises. Since it was a very port intensive cruise (only two sea days), we were off ship all of the port days and therefore we did not participate in on board activities. However the daily program showed many offerings from trivia contests, bingo, casino tournaments, dance and cooking classes, Windows classes, digital photography etc. The cruise director was very engaging and did a good job. We booked several HAL shore excursions as well as two private drivers for Rome and the Amalfi coast. The HAL excursions were well done in our view although the Sardinia tour was our least favorite. We really enjoyed the port of Calvi, Corsica. A lovely location. We were extremely disappointed that our visit to Monte Carlo became a tender port and due to rough seas we were not able to tender in Monte Carlo but the Captain made quick arrangements to have us tender in Ville France and offered shore excursions. Ville France was lovely however we booked this itinerary specifically because the ship was to dock in Monte Carlo. We were not made aware of the change to a tender service until the evening before arriving in port. Had we known that this was going to be a tender port for this cruise we would not have booked this itinerary. I won’t go into our reason in this review. Also due to visa issues for some passengers on the ship, we could not visit Tunisia. Instead we made a trip to Sardinia which was not a favorite for us. Our private tours – Lovely Amalfi Coast Tours and our private driver in Rome were excellent. For entertainment pre dinner we visited the Ocean Bar and after dinner each evening we really enjoyed the BB King Lounge. My husband is a musician and really enjoyed the band each evening. We hope that Holland America continues on this track to offer this music alternative on future cruises. Disembarkation was very well organized. All in all we had a great cruise with no issues and our only disappointment was the Monte Carlo switch up. I will be writing Holland America about this issue. Otherwise it was excellent and we have no complaints.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
50 year old couple cruising with 75 year old in-laws, Barcelona to Rome, outside cabin with balcony Overall, satisfactory for price Ship built in 2006, beginning to show noticeable but not severe wear (chairs, carpet, rust on balcony, ... Read More
50 year old couple cruising with 75 year old in-laws, Barcelona to Rome, outside cabin with balcony Overall, satisfactory for price Ship built in 2006, beginning to show noticeable but not severe wear (chairs, carpet, rust on balcony, bathroom fixtures cracked). Common areas shipboard very clean. Cabin steward tries very hard but one gets the idea that their supervision and training is not at an elite level, small but annoying details recur. some surfaces left dusty, some mold in bath, but ask for service and they are right there to respond cheerfully. Room was larger that expected with high quality furnishings for the price in the room, furnishings on the balcony nice but scanty. Hot water on this ship consistently lacking at high use times, shower at off times Staff almost always very friendly and eager. some laxity noted of the wait staff at the various bars esp at the fantail and especially in busing tables. Bartending mostly good but quality of the drinks inconsistent. Had only one experience with surly staff once at bar, otherwise seems that the level of service could be raised with closer, better trained and more experienced junior officers Entertainment brought in from outside was of the highest quality, far exceeding expectations. The house blues band was excellent, though it consistently overpowered its venue. House dancers and most of their shows were at about expected quality. other shipboard performers were good Port and excursion support from staff was also excellent. The woman in charge was excellent and worked like a dog. Don't use their tuxedo rental: wrong size, dirty coats. wrong # of shirts, just say no Quality and variety of food was very good, although there was a rare big miss or two. The premium dining rooms demonstrated excellent food and service, well worth the small extra price. embarking and disembarking was exceptionally easy and well organized. It is clear that the line has put much thought into health and safety and this was evident throughout the cruise. very reassuring For a cruise visiting world class wine destinations, the wine cellar featured overpriced and indifferent wines, relatively few of which were from the regions we visited. there was an annoying and also overpriced corkage fee for bringing wine on board from ports. The need for corkage is understandable, but the gross lack of any regional wines from Provence, Naples, Tunis, Catalonia, Campania detracted a bit from our enjoyment of the cruise. If you are gonna cruise to famous wine regions, you really should stock wines from there (or at least not charge for a bottle that someone brings on) The on-board marketing for add-ons (shops, salon, excursions, photos, art etc...) was relentless and breathtaking in scope, be prepared, I expected less based on the relative cost and quality of the cruise. It became distracting. Avoid the cruise related shore tours, outrageously overpriced and almost always ending in a stop at, you guessed it, a shop that wants your money. Private tours through cruise one etc, offered much much better value without wasting your time at the end. Heck, even a cab tour is better. Ports: Barcelona: get there early, give yourself an extra day, ship docs right at the base of the city, tour a Gaudi house, Holy Family Church, Barcelona Cathedral, walk les Rambles (a pedestrian mall) Take the gondola to the castle at the top of the city. The city was clean and busy and fun Marseille: ship docs at new port so you need a transfer to city. port sponsored bus cheap but lines long. negotiated cab fare not much more. Walk the old port, esp early in the morning when the fishermen are in. go up a side street for some Bouillabaisse, the trip to the Ise D'Ife (where the fictional Count of Monte Cristo was jailed) is not to be missed, neither is the view from the cathedral. Those who went on the various trips to Provence were uniform in their assessment of too much time and nothing special. spend your time in the city Monte Carlo: ship docs right at the base of the city, if you don't mind hills, you can walk, very pedestrian city, see the national cathedral where grace kelly was married and buried, touring the national palace was interesting and not too long, the Casino is worth a brief visit. Calvi: wonderful small beautiful. not much to do but very relaxing. ship anchors off shore so you have to take boats in. this was handled very professionally and very well. Just walk around the city for a couple of hours and enjoy Florence: we booked a private tour into pisa and florence. ship docs at port about 90 min away. again the verdict on the cruise line tours was lots of time, forced shopping, not much time at sites. a few hours in Florence wets the taste buds, you need a week there to even begin to see it. VERY crowded Tunis (really a bunch of cities altogether, like New York): took the cruiseline's tour of carthage due to (unfounded) security concerns. It was fine as far as it went but we found ourselves stuck for 90 min in a souk pestered by salesmen. Tunis is just now getting tourism back after the Arab spring and they seem desperate for our dollars. The port is outside the city so you will need a taxi ride to get there on your own. Parenthetically, the city smelled wonderful with all the flowers blooming, all in all much nicer than I expected. I suggest booking a private tour. Palermo: ship docks at base of city so you can walk in, The city is dirty, crowded and confusing but everyone was friendly. take a taxi up to Monte Pellegrino, takes a total of 90 min and the view is breathtaking. Naples: ship docs at commercial port so everything is a ride in. we booked a private tour of pompeii and Herculaneum. I suggest you do so as well. Unspeakably fascinating Rome: we stayed a few days there before coming home, use Private Tours of Rome. ask for Alessandra.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
The entire Noordam staff were graduates of smile school, and were very accommodating to any need that we expressed. - The Maitre 'd made a point of soliciting our comments about the Vista Dining Room ("tepid soup, slower service ... Read More
The entire Noordam staff were graduates of smile school, and were very accommodating to any need that we expressed. - The Maitre 'd made a point of soliciting our comments about the Vista Dining Room ("tepid soup, slower service between courses than expected"- which he remedied). Portions seemed smaller than I remember from previous cruises, so we often visited the Lido deck later to get a bite. - The Excursion Director, KK, provided an informative overview of the destinations and had scheduled hours at her Main Deck desk to respond to individual questions; she had unlimited patience in dealing with people who did absolutely nothing on their own to become informed (and who also wasted everyone else's time). We took one HAL excursion and explored other destinations on our own- I find that privately arranged tours are about half the charge of HAL's and you can alter them as you'd like. Hop On-Hop Off buses are also a fairly quick and inexpensive way to get the lay of the land. - The crew was especially attentive to passenger safety during tendering operations at ports where the ship couldn't dock. Our single significant disappointment was that complimentary wifi wasn't available- not in the cabins nor in a central location such as the library. Cruisers get pumped about their activities and increasingly want to share their excitement through email and facebook (generating some buzz for potential HAL cruisers?). While Motel 6 provides it free, HAL gouges passengers 75c a minute, or lesser amounts if you shell out for a package of minutes, starting at $55 for 100 minutes ($.55 a minute). If capacity was a significant factor, I'd suggest providing some basic minutes free and charging for usage over that amount. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
As usual the service, was exemplary. We have sailed previously on Zaandam, Zuiderdam, and the maiden season of Niew Amsterdam. So, we felt right at home almost immediately when we boarded Noordam at Barcelona. The Collector Cruise was ... Read More
As usual the service, was exemplary. We have sailed previously on Zaandam, Zuiderdam, and the maiden season of Niew Amsterdam. So, we felt right at home almost immediately when we boarded Noordam at Barcelona. The Collector Cruise was also a new experience for us but the connection between the two cruises was handled seamlessly, with no interruption in our itinerary. We booked our own air, but used HAL's airport transfer service, which was hassle free and timely. We did notice the slower service in the Vista Dining room mentioned in another review, and the somewhat smaller portions. However, there was still more food in a meal than we could comfortably consume. We did our best. Also the Dessert Extravaganza was considerably less extensive than we recall from previous cruises, and there was limited table seating available for sitting and enjoying all those delicious concoctions. Also as mentioned in other reviews, the Holland America attention to client comfort and safety is still a priority. We experienced two days of Gale Force winds on our cruise which caused us to by pass stops at Katakolon and Santorini in Greece. We were surprised and pleased by the coordinated effort between the ship and Seattle HQ to orchestrate overnight a stop at Heraklion, Crete. Crete is the central site of the Minoan Civilization and the Archaeological Museum is an amazing must see. Our early morning (3:00 AM) airport transfer was all taken care of. All we had to do was show up at the boarding ramp at the appointed time. The continental breakfast provided was an unexpected treat though it would have been even better if there had been cream for the coffee on the tray. LOL Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was our fourth cruise with Holland America and it was extremely disappointing. 1) We were told we were upgraded to cabin 8026. If this was an upgrade, I would truly hate to think what our other cabin would have been. When I made our ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with Holland America and it was extremely disappointing. 1) We were told we were upgraded to cabin 8026. If this was an upgrade, I would truly hate to think what our other cabin would have been. When I made our reservations, I specifically asked for a midship verandah cabin as my husband has difficulty with long walks. Well we ended up on the 8th floor, very close to the bow of the ship. Hardly close to being midship. 2) When we boarded in Barcelona it was quite warm. We went to our cabin to discover the air conditioning wasn't working. We made a call to the front desk and they did send someone up. They asked us to give it 4 hours as the a/c had been turned off. Four hours later we called again to tell them it was no better and probably worse. They sent someone up with a digital thermometer and agreed it was no better. We asked to change cabins and were told none were available. They sent a fan and told us to keep our drapes drawn. My response was that I paid for a verandah to see it, not close it off! For 11 days we had a noisy fan acting as our a/c. We called repeatedly and they did send an engineer and he made an adjustment that helped a slight bit. I will say the Front Desk staff were very pleasant and understanding, but they couldn't do anything to fix the problem. 3) The next major problem was the hot water in the bathroom. It was scalding hot! You would adjust it to a moderate temperature and never knew when it would go back to scalding. When you took a shower, you hoped you wouldn't be boiled before you could finish. This is a very dangerous situation. Nothing was done. I was told that it was a problem while in port, but since most days we were in port, it was a real problem. 4) A very strong mildew/mold smell in the bathroom. I had the room stewards pour bleach down the drain and it did help for a day or so, but kept coming back. Disgusting! 5) It was our 50th Wedding Anniversary and 2 months before boarding I booked the Pinnacle for our anniversary. When we arrived at the Pinnacle, we were told our reservations had been cancelled by PMG...have no idea who that was, certainly no one we knew. Fortunately, it wasn't very crowded and Andrew, the Pinnacle captain was able to accommodate us for dinner. 6) We paid HAL $79 for a transfer ride to Rome airport. Bus had ashtrays that were filled and overflowing with used tissues. DISGUSTING!!! In spite of the Noordam, we had a wonderful cruise and will cherish the memories from the various ports we visited. Throughout the ship, we heard numerous complaints about the Noordam and the downgrade of level of service we have come to expect from HAL....this from seasoned HAL cruisers. We were issued a credit, but frankly it didn't come close to what an interior cabin vs a verandah cabin would cost and since we had to keep the drapes drawn it might as well have been an interior cabin.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was our 5th and last cruise with HAL. From the moment we arrived in Barcelona to be met by a porter with no English (The HAL rep was 20 minutes late) and a taxi driver who could not find his cab in the airport car park we should have ... Read More
This was our 5th and last cruise with HAL. From the moment we arrived in Barcelona to be met by a porter with no English (The HAL rep was 20 minutes late) and a taxi driver who could not find his cab in the airport car park we should have realised this was a sign of things to come!!! The HAL ***** hotel was not conveniently located, had a trainee receptionist who took 20 minutes to check us in and out (rendering some else's bill in the process). The bathroom fittings were hanging off the wall. Our fist night in our Superior Verandah Suite was spoilt by flooding from the pool valve. No plan of action just a blower in our cabin for 5 days. $300 in compensation for living in a jet engine. Service everywhere was lacking and not what we are used to, cabin not made up in a timely manner, 10-15 minutes to get a drink in the bars and by the pool, tables not cleared in the Lido, no coffee or tea trolley on the pool deck and in the Lido. HAL has always been fanatical about hygine, but no longer! The hand wash stations were mostly unsupervised and many times people entered public areas, restaraunts and returned to the ship with out sanitising their hands. Fortunately the ports on the trip were great and we really enjoyed the land experience. Tour guides on HAL organised excursions particularly in Spain, France and Italy left a lot to be desired. English was definitely a second language and in some cases almost a mystery. The insistence on the shopping experience was extremely annoying especially on tours that specified shopping as optional at the tours end. We gave up being polite and simply returned to the ship on our own and we were not alone in doing so. We have always enjoyed the Pinnacle Grille, well no longer. Staff cuts were also evident here, the service was terrible and on one occasion we weren't offered desserts or coffees simply rendered the bill. The night HAL paid for in compensation for some of our experiences was the same and it took 5 days and many requests to have the charge credited. HAL have obviously severely cut staff in all areas and this shows in lack of service and no attention to detail. The crew, what there is of it, worked their butts off but could not match the previous HAL service. The Officers were extremely stand offish and obviously did not want to converse with the passengers. Maybe too many complaints? The show were at best ammeter and poorly presented in most cases. The sound technician in the theatre seemed to have a hearing problem as the volume was set to high even for talks and presentations. Oh well Celebrity for Christmas and Princess for South America in Feb 14, hopefully these will live to expectation and not disappoint as badly as HAL.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My wife and twin 10 y/o girls had a great time on the Noordam. We started in Barcelona and ended in Rome. Our cabin was a Neptune Suite 7081 which we took as a last minute upgrade. Great room, great service and we enjoyed the services of ... Read More
My wife and twin 10 y/o girls had a great time on the Noordam. We started in Barcelona and ended in Rome. Our cabin was a Neptune Suite 7081 which we took as a last minute upgrade. Great room, great service and we enjoyed the services of the Neptune Lounge. We arrived in Barcelona and spent our first night at the Majestic Hotel which I would recommend for location and service. The next day we got on the ship late in the day and there was no line and no waiting for our bags which showed up in our room about 20 minutes after we did. The ship was staying in port over night. The next day we took a ship tour to Sitges beach about 45 minutes south of the city. Very nice day at the beach. Food - We had room service just about every morning for breakfast which showed up on time and only once did they forget an item. The food in the Lido was good and we I never had a problem with lines or finding a table. But we never had breakfast there and most of our lunches were off the ship. We did have dinner in the Lido one night. In the MDR I found the main dishes most very good and we had a different menu every night of the cruise. I thought the desserts were average at best. No problems with service. Shows - I went to 3-4 shows and thought they were all well done and short - 45 minutes which was perfect for me and the family after a busy day.We had 3 sea days, two planned and one when we could not get into Monaco because of weather. On those days I used they gym which has plenty of bikes, treadmills etc. The weight area is a little small and should be expanded. Also, I don't think they should charge $12 extra for a yoga or spin class. The kids pool was fine but there were some crazy kids pushing each other and running around and Holland America should have someone to police them besides me. My kids were getting knocked around and it made them leave the pool. My kids did love Club Hal and I have to give credit to the staff there b/c they have not always enjoyed Club Hal on other cruises. On the last day we choose to carry our own bags off the ship. They only give you a 15 minute window and the elevators did not go down to the floor we were to get off so everyone had to carry their bags down the last flight of steps. Otherwise, no problem getting off ship. We liked the ship and Holland America and this was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Honestly couldn't have asked for much better! Although there were slight glitches at certain times it was overall quite good! FOOD was great I ordered room service a few nights very late yet they still managed to show up on time at ... Read More
Honestly couldn't have asked for much better! Although there were slight glitches at certain times it was overall quite good! FOOD was great I ordered room service a few nights very late yet they still managed to show up on time at my room 90% of the time and always got my order right! Breakfasts and lunches were well organized and suppers were quite outstanding, they had so many options and all very tasty in fact.The slight glitch was that half way through the cruise the (very popular) hot chocolate machine had ran out of powder which disappointed a lot of the kids and adults. But overall excellent! ENTERTAINMENT was outstanding they had many shows such as "divas night", "Latin night", HASBRO'S family game night which was very exciting for the children, 2 or 3 different comedians, a piano bar, karaoke almost every day i believe. There was 2 water slides and a water park at the top of the ship, a ropes coarse, mini golf,liquid night club(over 18), clubs for kids!, ETC.also there was a 5D theater which was great for the 2 or 3 days that it worked but it kinda bummed not having it for a solid 9 days on board! But in general Ive never heard of a cruise with this kind of entertainment it was amazing! BOARDING/DEPARTURE PROCESS boarding was very decent certain days it took only 10 minutes to board while other times it took nearly an hour. Not trying to complain but an hour can feel like forever when you're tired and waiting in the drenching heat of the sun. But you could tell they were doing they're best because once you were at security they kind of rushed you! So just make sure to have all stuff going on board ready! On the other hand departure was always very quick and efficient taking max 10 minutes and minimum was 1 min!! PORT-OF-CALLS the only time we bought a deal package from the boat was when we went to Dubrovnik,Croatia it was good! But i found that the price was a little excessive for what it gave. In my opinion I had a better time just touring around the city and stopping in little shops and going to the places I had really wanted to visit! We went to all the ports as planned and I found we had a good amount of time given at each port! P.S I just wanted to share a little idea with you all! For my cruise I decided to take a journal with myself and at the end of each day I would wright in it what I had done! I thought this was a cool idea! I read it back a few days ago and it left me smiling:)) Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.3

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