12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My husband and I just returned from an HAL Alaska land/sea cruise aboard the Noordam. Seeing Alaska is very ambitious and something we could not have navigated on our own, there is just too much land to cover. I think the two-week package ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from an HAL Alaska land/sea cruise aboard the Noordam. Seeing Alaska is very ambitious and something we could not have navigated on our own, there is just too much land to cover. I think the two-week package met many of our needs. However, I didn’t find it a perfect experience To start with our first hotel in Fairbanks was the WestMark and it was DISGUSTING. We slept in our clothes on top of the bedding. For the first two days much of the group could only talk about how gross our accommodations were. We were convinced we made the biggest mistake of our lives booking this tour. Fortunately, things got better. As with all organized tours, there has to be a spirit of compromise. We didn’t find everything interesting but we were part of a group and it wasn’t all about us. The staff was great with the luggage. We would leave our luggage outside in the morning and always find it waiting in our room at the next stop. This was great because we packed a lot, (Alaska was really part of longer vacation). We paid for a breakfast package and that was a good investment. But at our last hotel we had to pay for a breakfast because the hotel said they were not part of Holland America’s network. I can afford it and I don’t really care too much but I was told all the breakfasts were included and it wasn’t. The once we boarded the ship we were able to settle in and unpack. The ship itself is getting old around the edges and can use some TLC. There was some good talent at the venues. The cabin attendants were attentive and hardworking. The food was only mediocre; nothing was great. I also hate waiting on line for food so the Lido didn’t do it for us plus the food there reminded me of an average college cafeteria., You could get a decent omelet but lousy fruit, bacon and sausage.. Also, as members of the Starbucks generation, we love strong coffee; there wasn’t a decent cup of coffee available at any of the restaurants on board. We used to buy coffee and add two shots of espresso to make it acceptable. The main dining room and the other two speciality restaurants were better (still not great) and we would have returned to each one but we couldn’t get another reservation at either of them. In summation, I don’t regret the trip because I saw Alaska but I will explore other cruise lines before I cruise again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have cruised a variety of lines- Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney- and were really looking forward to trying Holland America for our Alaska cruise. Unfortunately, a serious dearth of on-board activities and entertainment ... Read More
We have cruised a variety of lines- Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney- and were really looking forward to trying Holland America for our Alaska cruise. Unfortunately, a serious dearth of on-board activities and entertainment left us struggling to find things to do any time we weren't on land. Good things about this cruise: the public areas are nice, embarkation was smooth and friendly, food was definitely a cut above what we have experienced on other lines, and the service was impeccable. Bad things about this cruise: itinerary was just okay (we loved Glacier Bay, thought Juneau and Skagway were okay, and got absolutely nothing out of Ketchikan), and as I mentioned in the overall comment.. there were so, so few activities on board. The daily programs that were delivered to our cabin each night after dinner could have fit on a cocktail napkin. We aren't the kind of people that need to participate in belly flop contests or need a rowdy crowd to have a good time. But it's nice to have SOMEthing to do when you're on the ship. We found ourselves bored and aimless quite frequently. The TVs haven't been upgraded yet and our stateroom's TV was fuzzy and of poor quality, so even relaxing in our rooms before bed wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been. HAL could take a cue from Celebrity in this regard; it's a stately, refined crowd, but there are all kinds of cooking demonstrations and informational lectures and different get-togethers that make being on-board and at sea enjoyable. Usually sea days are our favorite parts of cruises; on this cruise, we came to realize that once we weren't setting foot in Alaska, our options for entertainment and amusement decreased sharply. What's particularly frustrating about this is that I can see many of the same complaints on these boards, so HAL has to know that they're coming up short in this regard, but they do nothing. All I can say is, if you're thinking of booking a cruise with HAL and wondering if the negative reviews you're seeing that mention no entertainment or activities are true, let me assure you: there is truly a serious lack of entertainment on this ship, lovely and well-serviced though it may be. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My wife and I were looking for a quick get-away. We booked our cruise five weeks before departure as a package. The booking process went smoothly and all arrangements turned out as described. The boarding at the Pier in Honolulu was ... Read More
My wife and I were looking for a quick get-away. We booked our cruise five weeks before departure as a package. The booking process went smoothly and all arrangements turned out as described. The boarding at the Pier in Honolulu was efficient as there were only about 300 people joining the ship at that time and our photos were on file from a previous cruise with HAL. Our veranda stateroom was on the 7th deck had ample storage space and the main room was spotless. There were, however signs of wear and tear on the furniture and the wallpaper. There was a musty odour in the bathroom that we expected would dissipate as the day progressed. When it did not go away, I mentioned it to the room attendant who promptly attacked it with a spray and poured something in the drains. The odour returned and we reported it to the front desk. Again, it was attended to, but to no effect. I suspected that there was a water leak behind the bathtub or in the floor area that required a more intensive approach. I need to note that when we mentioned it again to an attendant at customer service when we settled accounts, she did not seem to note our concern or to really care. We did this so that the problem could be seen to before the next occupant of the room was subject to the same odour problem. A second problem emerged as the cruise progressed from the heat of Hawaii to the cooler waters of the North Pacific. The air vent in the room continued to blow cold air in our faces as we lay in bed and the temperature in the room became quite uncomfortable. Adjusting the thermostat had no effect. Calling customer service had no effect. I finally went down in person to voice my concern and a maintenance attendant soon appeared to adjust the fan and the thermostat. We did get some warm air for a few hours and then the unit returned to blowing cold air over us. Again, when we mentioned the problem at the desk on check out, we were met with an apathetic response from the customer service representative. The public areas of the ship were generally clean and in good shape. We had the early seating in the main dining room. When we arrived at our assigned table on the first evening aboard we met four other passengers who had just embarked and were assigned to our table. Unfortunately we also encountered another couple who had been assigned to that particular table since New Zealand. It was embarrassingly obvious that they had expected to retain that seating for the whole voyage. They were accommodated elsewhere, but did not seem too pleased, and with good reason. Our servers at dinner were very attentive and pleasant. However this was not always the case for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, when we had different attendants. Some days it was great, other times we had long waits for food and really had to search for a second cup of coffee. My wife and I were not overly impressed with the food on board. Portion control was inconsistent and generally the meals were not up to the quality that we expect from this line. On the evening that we had surf and turf, the meat was barely recognizable as filet mignon and came very rare instead of the medium rare that we had ordered. The lobster tasted and appeared to be undercooked. We were not expecting the same quality of dining that could be found in the specialty restaurants, but do expect well-prepared food served at an appropriate temperature. The entertainment on the Noordam was at best, spotty. The B.B. King Band was the best show on board. They are very talented musicians who put tremendous energy in to each performance. Of the main stage acts, only one stood out: a pianist, who was skilled and who also put a lot of himself into his act. The others could be described as “lame”. (I thought that we were beyond “fat” and “drunk” jokes.) The one production show that was scheduled had to be cancelled because of a problem with a computer. It was rescheduled but at a very inconvenient time. Perhaps it was just us, but the other activities did not have much of an appeal – attending a lecture about the “Indians” of the northwest, playing very expensive Bingo, or learning to make poutine was not what we were looking for. Other cruises that we have been on seemed to have a better selection of shipboard activities that suited the ages and stages of their guests. My overall impression was that the ship and crew were tired. The cruise began in New Zealand, proceeded to Australia and then through the South Pacific to Hawaii where we embarked. At each major port, some passengers left and others came onboard. On cruises where the whole contingent of guests turns over at the start of the voyage there seems to be an energy and an striving to impress that permeates all departments. This is what I missed on this cruise. Given the right itinerary and value, we might choose to cruise with HAL again, but I would need to be convinced that the myriad of difficulties that we encountered would not be repeated. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary - 9 ports in 14 days in both New Zealand and Southeast Australia. The ship is in pretty good shape for its age, but a little gaudy for our taste. Staff was very pleasant and ports were ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary - 9 ports in 14 days in both New Zealand and Southeast Australia. The ship is in pretty good shape for its age, but a little gaudy for our taste. Staff was very pleasant and ports were great, when the weather cooperated. We only signed up for one of the ship's excursions (due to the high price), but that excursion was very good (Melbourne). We primarily used Viator and several other local tour companies. We were amazed at the age of the passengers. I would say 80% were over or well over 60. Many were handicapped or needed wheelchairs, but the ship and crew handled this well. Signature suite was nice, but not that much bigger than a veranda room. Food n Highlights: 1. Ports, particularly Sydney, Dunedin, Tauranga, Akaroa and Hobart. 2. Pinnacle Grill 3. Embarkation and Disembarkation 4. Fiordland National Park, although we missed Milford Sound due to weather 5. Hobbitton and Rotorua 6. Sydney harbor cruise 7. Wiaheke wine tours (Auckland) 8. Bonarong Wildlife Reserve (Hobart) 9. Added time and later than scheduled departure in Hobart 10. Sydney Opera House Disappointing: 1. Average age of passengers (older than we expected) 2. Little to do on sea days, unless you like the spa or trivia 3. Entertainment was, at best, average 4. Christchurch 5. Prices in Auckland and Sydney - very expensive 6. Lines to get into dining room for anytime seating Having read many Cruise Critic reviews of the Noordam, we really didn't have high expectations for the Noordam, and were generally satisfied with the overall experience, apart from being pretty bored on sea days (we are port people). I would not cruise on Noordam again, but would likely give another Holland America ship a try, if the itinerary was good. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The few issues on the ship that occurred were handled and resolved promptly which we appreciated. The staff was courteous and the food was good. Good variety of ports, however, the excursions were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The few issues on the ship that occurred were handled and resolved promptly which we appreciated. The staff was courteous and the food was good. Good variety of ports, however, the excursions were absurdly overpriced. We used outside tour companies that cost a fraction or we went on our own. Entertainment in the show room was the poorest we have experienced on any cruise. The dancers and singers were terrible, off key, imbalanced, and lacked experience. Daily activities offered during the cruise were lack luster and few in between. Our cabin was fine for what we paid. Glad there was enough storage. Our cabin steward, once he knew our requests and preferences, worked hard to deliver good service. The same went for our waiters in the dining room at dinner time. We were fortunate to have fantastic table mates that made dinner something to look forward to each night. Not to say we would not sail on Holland America again, but it would not be our first choice for cruise lines. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
A repositioning cruise that took us 36 nights from Auckland/Sydney/Honolulu/Vancouver with no ship problems...so that is a very good and great thing! But service overall ('anytime' main dining) was a big hit & miss for the ... Read More
A repositioning cruise that took us 36 nights from Auckland/Sydney/Honolulu/Vancouver with no ship problems...so that is a very good and great thing! But service overall ('anytime' main dining) was a big hit & miss for the whole cruise - often 3-4 hr dinner service, cold coffee (both breakfast & dinner service), orders not taken right or forgotten, lots of cold and unappealing food served, dry and overcooked food - including fish, cold eggs benny (or solid eggs benny). More often than not dinner entree plates had been sitting 1/2 made up for some time with lumped, cold & glutinized rice or starch on the plate waiting for the meat portion. I never did get a caesar salad that did not have some problem like wilted warmed lettuce. By the end of the cruise nearly everyone was talking and experiencing the same problems in anytime dining....so much so that I've never cruised where so many people stated they'd removed their gratuities. Five star mariners were complaining and writing pages to the front office. Also people were saying never another Holland cruise and some couples cancelled a future cruise they were so upset. By mid cruise we figured out it was better to eat in the Lido...except so many were doing that, it was crowded all the time and you were always walking around looking for seating (breakfast and lunch too)....but at least the food was hot and you could pick and choose what you wanted. All over the ship there were many very cold common areas. And there were many areas where water constantly dripped from the ceilings above - interior Lido area, the spa area, Sports Bar, etc. Seating in the sports bar had pails on them, the Lido walkways had yellow cones where water was on the floor. Carpets in the spa area were sopping wet (and not from pool water, but water from above). And as well seating in the thermal spa area was soaking wet from above.The staff kept the interior shone and very clean, but many areas were in need of repair, carpet replacement, many seat cushions need repadding, etc. No librarian or bridge master anymore. The cruise director - Jeromy Whitehead was lack luster to say the least and his side kick - Marshall, not any better. Usually a cruise director can liven things up...change or set the tone of a cruise...but not this one...he was pretty much not seen and boring when he was...in a suit with a "talking" orange tie is about all. Ship board life got quite boring real fast for the lack of things to do of any real interest. Holland needs to greatly improve in this area - I blame the cruise director. The Neptune party at the equator crossing was put on with no great effort, nor thought compared to others I've experienced. The Crowe's Nest - a great venue onboard - sat empty EVERY night but one of the 36 night cruise!!! - nothing going on. Except for the nightly Vista Lounge entertainment, there was little of to do after dinner after you'd spent a night or two with the Adagio classical duo, or the piano guy, or covered your ears to look in at the BB Blues Band who were way to loud to be enjoyed or anywhere near for long. Even the casino was dead! The passengers who only went from Auckland to Sydney got short changed during the day with presenters as the Vista Lounge was not utilized during the daytime, instead the Queen's Lounge was used - ill-suited for the number of people wanting to attend...so people stood and listened, could not see and left. Even the Maori team were complaining about the wrong venue...but it was not changed. It was terribly crowded - seating/chairs all wrong and uncomfortable. This included using the venue for movies too...nearly unworkable, or any comfortable seating to see anything. The cultural groups aboard (Maori & Hawaiian) were very good and well received....were of great interest and variety...but the 3-4 lecturers were not that great after listening to them more than once. Their topics were just boring and dry...it just became a place to go and sit, kill some time for the most part. They seemed to be 'old hacks' with 'worn' material who were on a 'free' cruise. Holland needs to bring on people who are current, new and not so so boring. I sat at dinner with one of the them as he explained how he was selected (from his agent) and what little work he had to do to change up his presentation to meet some relevancy, but it really was a free cruise and his wife was already looking at choosing and sending another cruise request to his agent. The one thing that Holland does very well is embarkation and disembarkation as well as tendering - on time, smoothly organized. The ship's office is on their game with proper information to your cabin and it runs smoothly and that includes passport and visa work also. And how can I forget to mention the "GIFT" that the Noordam gave nearly all its passengers - a cold/flu virus that morphed to a terrible chest congestion and cough that spread like wildfire. At times in the Vista Lounge all you could hear was coughing...this continued the whole cruise. While I can't entirely blame staff, I can blame quite a few passengers for not remaining in their cabins for a few days and for coughing and sneezing directly into their hands while in the Lido - then proceeding to touch chair arms, serving spoons, etc and spreading it throughout the boat. Also, I saw Lido staff wipe down table after table with the same (now) dirty cloth, then proceed to place clean water glasses upside down onto a wet table top. I also greatly fault Holland for not making any mention of the situation...or for not asking to passengers take and adhere to better precautions. My 2 cents worth. While it was not a cruise from Hell, it was not the cruise I had longingly looked forward to either....despite the good port calls. It will be some time before I cruise with Holland again....from my experience Celebrity or Princess do it so much better. This was my 2nd more than 30-day Holland cruise. Perhaps it was just this cruise, this ship - Noordam, but after reading many other negative reports from Noordam passengers, I know the experiences I had first hand and agree with the negative comments many, many others have also written....so beware!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Don't get me wrong; this is a beautiful and well-maintained mid-sized ship, inside and out. It is well mannered in rough seas, the cabins are adequate but the verandas are small. Food is terrible if you are a healthy eater; fatty, ... Read More
Don't get me wrong; this is a beautiful and well-maintained mid-sized ship, inside and out. It is well mannered in rough seas, the cabins are adequate but the verandas are small. Food is terrible if you are a healthy eater; fatty, sweet, salty; few green vegetables and almost no nuts, terrible tea. The biggest group of passengers (in more ways that one) were from the USA and they were fairly old; there is nothing on this ship that would appeal to families. The ship has a troupe of dancers who are probably competent in what they do and appeal to the age/cultural demographic of the majority of passengers. We enjoyed the visiting artists who came on between ports much more (they were all Australians). There are a couple of excellent bands. Apart from the usual seminars flogging stuff (gems, Windows 10, botox etc), there were no lectures of general interest. Our cruise was only spoilt by a bunch of ship's officers using foul language in the Pinnacle Grill on the last night of our cruise. That was bad enough, but no-one would give us their names, and we were fobbed off at the Front desk with a suggestion slip when we asked for a complaint form. We got off the ship disgusted and angry. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We always find the South Pacific to be a beautiful and very relaxing place to visit and the people are so friendly. Always glad to return to the South Pacific... wish it was closer as the flight is long. We stayed 2 nights precruise at ... Read More
We always find the South Pacific to be a beautiful and very relaxing place to visit and the people are so friendly. Always glad to return to the South Pacific... wish it was closer as the flight is long. We stayed 2 nights precruise at Ovolo Woolloomooloo hotel, very clean and quiet (on the HOHO bus line and walking distance to Circular quay and parks. We hit a heat wave in January. We did not realize that this is summer break for the Australians so there was a lot of children onboard so keep in mind if this is a concern to you. Hope the following youtubes are of help to you in your planning of the ports we visited https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVmQFwCb0y4quUfQWyoCQsieQQ6hF6szd 1. NOUMEA, New Caledonia --took the HopOn/Off bus around -$10.pp/USD at cruiseport. Enjoyed the Market and all the different produce. Also shops by market took USD and AUD$...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eus4rvE8AJE&t=2s 2. LIFOU, New Caledonia -Melanesian experience tour... see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2doAVL7j4K0 3. PORT VILA, Vanuatu -Around the Island Safari /interesting tour -enjoyed the Iarofa Cultural village...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGUvRreGTsQ 4. DRAVUNI ISLAND,Fiji -only 150 people on island; took boat ride around the small island/$10 USD/pp. Went for a swim in the warm waters. Enjoyed the people...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR1fNjp-e68 5. LAUTOKA, Fiji -Took Oolala Savala island day cruise - fun -however, there was not enough seating for everyone. Water is very very shallow-hard to swim without touching coral. Be sure to use lots of sunscreen here ...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRmByxKUn-0 ** We took South Seas Island tour on next cruise and there were better swimming conditions and enough seating for everyone on tour ...see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDoUOCRe93k 6. ILE DES PINS, New Caledonia - Pretty island. We just walked around and went for a swim...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMcFUGECrUk Feel entertainment was poor in quality except for the Explorers Lounge. Food quality has really gone down on HAL in last few years. We got off Noordam and got on RC Voyager of Seas the same day for our back to back cruise and we really saw the difference in quality of foods. Service was good on HAL. Found we could use USD$ and AUD$ at all ports. Definitely recommend a South Pacific cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was very misrepresented in the website and available information from the cruise line. It was only "back to back cruises" not a separate all in one cruise. entertainment and activities were mostly repeated the second two ... Read More
This was very misrepresented in the website and available information from the cruise line. It was only "back to back cruises" not a separate all in one cruise. entertainment and activities were mostly repeated the second two weeks (which were slim pickings even the first two weeks). Everyone had to disembark in Sydney and could not get back on the boat until time for new passengers to board. Would have been good to understand all of this before deciding to book this cruise. Destination was unbelievable! Did almost all private prearranged tours and really saw New Zealand. 10 days of port calls there! First time on Holland America. Best a embarkment, allowed on early and went straight to rooms! Excellent disembarkment also. Very nice staff. Staterooms have a lot of storage space. Beds and linen amazingly comfortable. Free room service wonderful, but could have had increased selection of items. Buffet eating with staff serving made utilizing this area much nicer and safer (decreased germs from passengers!), so much more comfortable utilizing this option than on many other cruise lines. Loved Explorers' Lounge area, except puzzles and may items were old and missing pieces. All need to be thrown out and new ones bought. Excellent Microsoft classes and teacher! Added more new computers after trip completed, but not enough and not enough space for these popular classes. Culinary Center was beautiful, but most times was empty and not well utilized. Salad bar and pasta bar were excellent, but terrible pizza and premade Italian dishes. Many of foods in buffet area were not warm when served. Salmon was always great, as well as shrimp. Ship is old and staterooms not completely updated and our balcony had several large rusty holes in it that were not even covered with rugs to protect us (we had to ask for this). Pictures very old and not worth looking in stateroom area and halls. Entertainment was very poor. I love entertainment on cruises and not much by cruises' performance staff and only one act that was great one night. Only showed movies in theater during port days while docked! Stateroom TV's and system were antique and very poor reception on top of that. Menu was also antique and slowly scrolled three hr span, but you had to watch time spans already completed and next day before getting to your time, then info screen then start all over and you were so bored you blinked and missed the time you were looking for! This was really disappointing. Activity choices were slim pickings! Except for the occasional item in the Culinary Arts Center, local related program and Microsoft classes there was nothing much going on activity wise on the ship! Most of my time spent walking on the outside walking deck (did help me eat too much and keep the same weight though!). Vegetarian menu was nice to order from. Should have had menus more easily available, as well as ordering options improved for days did not eat the night before in the dinning room. Also, "Dive in" eating area by pool should have other vegetarian choice such as regular vegetable burger, not just mushroom burger and grilled cheese would be nice. Signature Suites were very misrepresented online. Often read about "Suites" and thought this referred to all suites, but only was for non-Signature suites. Extra space and separate tub & shower were great. No concierge ,no pillow menu or choices and not much else. Food and choices were very nice the first few days, but declined as cruise continued. Much smaller portions and presented as two course meals, though you can order a three course meal or whatever you want. Quantity was good for me, but many who have more of appetites or binge on cruises will be surprised compared to other cruise lines. Not many standard choice that are available every day. Thank goodness the salmon was good and I could eat it. One of the few entrees available most days, but on gala nights/ special occasion nights, the menu was had even less choices and the daily items were not available. Invited to many special occasion lunches/ meals but expected to eat provided meal, even if on a special diet. No one cared to even try to eat dietary needs these days. Many days after the first week, I was tired of the vegetarian choices and had nothing I could eat on the regular menu and they did not care enough to fix something for me as always do on other cruise lines. Desert choices were slim, especially on gala nights (which is good for the waistline, but not what I expect on a cruise. Only once got a real piece of regular cheesecake which is so unusual and most of their ice cream is not worth the calories to me with most days having only vanilla, chocolate and strawberry plus sometimes one other choice. ( which is very unusual from what I am used to when sailing!). Not many vegetables served and in the dining room it was only like a garnishment (except potatoes & rice were always available). Never had so many of the staff being fairly close to the start of their contract. Tried to be helpful, but not aware of many things when asked. Always nice, but just did not display that "at your service/ cruise ship" attitude I am used to.. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We’d like to provide our thoughts on our 27 day South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand cruise-which is our 16th cruise and our 5th on Holland America. The itinerary was perfect-great port stops-and the food was exceptionally ... Read More
We’d like to provide our thoughts on our 27 day South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand cruise-which is our 16th cruise and our 5th on Holland America. The itinerary was perfect-great port stops-and the food was exceptionally good-perhaps the best we have had on any cruise line. We enjoyed the Lido buffet, the main dining room and both the Canalleto and Pinnacle dining rooms as well as the beautiful and plentiful foods in the Neptune Lounge. The staff service was also among the best we have encountered. Our cabin stewards were great and the two Neptune Lounge concierge attendants were also competent, helpful, and cheerful. We also like the fact that the Casino is now smoke free-a particular issue with us on past cruises. Our disappointment with the overall cruise and our reluctance to book another HAL cruise centers on the on board entertainment, or lack of it, as well as the marketing direction that Jan, our Cruise Director, indicated HAL is taking. In several discussions with Jan, he advised us to find another cruise line more suited to our taste since HAL is committed to eliminating social/ballroom dance venues in the Crow’s Nest and Ocean Bar and replacing them with carpeted areas with kiosks for researching shore excursions and providing more videos. He indicated that there will be more BBC videos shown (the same ones I can get on my cable television at home) and these will provide a significant portion of HAL’s entertainment offerings. We were also disappointed to learn that HAL has eliminated the dedicated dance combo we enjoyed on past HAL cruises. The result of this on our cruise meant that the orchestra was providing dance music (excellent by the way) but only on nights that they were not performing in the VISTA Lounge. This left many nights without pre and post dinner musical entertainment including a GALA night that had no entertainment because both the orchestra and Adagio were doing live music as a BBC video was being played. The ship was like a funeral parlor-hardly gala and many people commented on how dull and boring. It is interesting to note that the dance lessons provided by the ship’s dancers were well attended-usually 80+ per class and while elementary in nature, they indicated a sincere interest in dancing by many people. Yet we are told that HAL is eliminating these and the dance venues as well. There were huge gaps in many evening’s entertainment with nothing going on except for the ship’s dancers and singers which by the way repeated the same dull performances during the 2nd leg of a “Collector’s Voyage”- a title that still baffles me. Our Cruise Director said he would try to fill in some of these but the only option he had was to schedule more Adagio performances. While we enjoyed these excellent classical musicians, there is a limit to how many of these concerts you can enjoy. Jan indicated that HAL’s marketing direction is committed to providing top quality entertainment on board yet we saw little instance of this. Many of the performers were merely 2nd rate and some were downright bad. Better screening and more selective decision making is needed. Why doesn’t HAL consider eliminating the ship’s dancers and singers altogether and replace them with top drawer entertainers? I must mention that the sound level in BB King was totally above acceptable DB limits and painful to ourselves and many of the guests on board. I have administered hearing loss programs in industry and know prolonged exposure to levels above 85 DB result in permanent hearing loss. If I were a staff member assigned to that venue night after night, I would be filing for Worker’s Compensation due to hearing loss. Jan indicated he told Seattle that many guests had complained about the sound being too loud but Seattle’s response was that they were within the contract limits so Jan could do nothing about it. Hardly makes sense to me to have a field commander overruled by Washington bureaucrats but that happens also. To summarize our concerns, the ship’s atmosphere was just plain dull, the entertainment was mostly second rate and many times nonexistent, BB King venue too loud to enjoy for more than 30 seconds and I am not exaggerating, the Crow’s Nest was empty at night -we remember dancing with a DJ till late night on other ships and not in a dark hole like the Northern Lights that is allocated to the DJ now. It took approximately 30 days for Holland America to reply to my concerns and they offered no encouragement that any if these issues would be changed. We have cancelled a suite booked on a July trip to the Norwegian Fjords on Koningsdam and have booked with another cruise line. We d not anticipate booking with HAL in the future. Read Less
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

Find a Noordam Cruise

Email me when prices drop