7 Barcelona to Mediterranean Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

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 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
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
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
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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