131 Holland America Line Noordam Cruise Reviews

We choose this cruise for the itinerary, which we loved. The Noordam is an older ship but is well designed and in good shape. The cabin decor was a bit dated but the cabin was well equipped and layed out well. The Positives: Room ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary, which we loved. The Noordam is an older ship but is well designed and in good shape. The cabin decor was a bit dated but the cabin was well equipped and layed out well. The Positives: Room Service was punctual, hot and got our orders right every time. It is a limited menu, but we were happy. Laundry Service was prompt and they did a good job washing folding or hanging the clothes. The unlimited laundry was well worth the price and they even replaced a broken zipper on a pair of jeans at no charge. The Room Attendants did a very good job and the Guest Service desk was helpful. Embarkation and Disembarkation were both easy. The team did a good job rerouting the ship to Burnie, Tasmania when it could not visit Eden due to the bushfires. The Negatives: The service in the Main Dining room was terrible. We experienced long waits for service, missing food, not getting what was ordered and a couple of servers with poor attitudes. We signed up for freestyle dining, which may have been part of the reason. HAL has not figured out how to properly service diners who are out of phase with the fixed meal times even though they tout this option's flexibility. Lido service simply did not exist. Sell baby, sell. There is a constant pressure to buy stuff you don't want or need. At the extreme this included books for making the towel animals and the history of HAL book but it permeates through all activities aboard, The internet service was terrible. The onboard execution for activities and shows was lacking, There was never enough space for the people who wanted to attend trivia, Lincoln Center Stage or other events. The Planet Earth II show would have been great but they set up the musicians in the way of the incredibly beautiful imagery. So, instead of seeing the exotic wildlife footage, we looked at the guitar player. The onboard talent was not good, but the outside talent was enjoyable. In general, there were not enough activities for the four sea days. If the weather had been better, that may not have been an issue. Shuffleboard did not work, due to the condition of the deck the discs would not slide. I still don't get the whole EXC thing. It seems like marketing/branding without any real content. This trip needed an onboard naturalist and someone who could add knowledge about the ports visited, These are all really easily solved things that an attention to detail can easily remedy; but, unfortunately, all of HAL's attention seems to be on the bottom line. We did not do any ship excursions but found great private excursions in advance. We stayed at the Auckland Hilton pre-cruise and highly recommend that hotel. After the cruise we stayed at the West (Hilton Curio Colllection) in Sydney which was also very nice, albeit not being as close to Circular Quay as other options. In summary, if you pick a cruise based on itinerary, HAL's Noordam is a fine choice. If you pick it for the shipboard experience, you can do better with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We are a family of 5, traveling with 3 daughters in their 20’s. Let me start by saying that we had a nice time on this cruise and it was a good value for the money for a holiday cruise. But there is certainly room for improvement by ... Read More
We are a family of 5, traveling with 3 daughters in their 20’s. Let me start by saying that we had a nice time on this cruise and it was a good value for the money for a holiday cruise. But there is certainly room for improvement by HAL. First the high points. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the crew. They work incredibly hard, always with smiles on their faces. A special mention goes to Yohannes, one of the maitre d’s in the Main Dining Room. Two of our daughters are vegetarians and Yohannes,along with our waiter Suarta, worked to make sure that they had plenty of choices for dinner. While the daily menus have vegetarian options, there are special vegetarian and Indian menus from which orders can be placed the evening before. Yohannes even worked on special requests for our daughters. The quality of the food overall is a step above similar cruise lines we have been on, but the choices were limited and repetitive in the Main Dining Room. The Lido Buffet is very good for breakfast and lunch with nice choices. We really enjoyed the Dive In Grill by the pool. The Pinnacle Grill is wonderful, but the upcharge was $39 pp. I am glad we splurged on that for one evening, and wish we had gone another evening as well (there is a slightly reduced price for a package of 2 dinners pp). Also, thank you to HAL for having a Catholic priest onboard to celebrate Mass daily. Father Joe was great. We would not have been on this cruise over Christmas without the opportunity to attend Mass. Now the areas for real improvement. There were very limited activities on this cruise, especially considering there were 5 sea days (one was cruising the Milford Sound and other fiords). On another HAL cruise, there was the America Test Kitchen with cooking demonstrations. There was nothing like that here. Also, on the other HAL cruise, there was someone talking about the birds and wildlife we were seeing. There were no talks given about that either, other than the day through the fiords. ( There were whales and dolphins that could be seen from the ship several times but there was not even an announcement about that.). Our biggest criticism was the limited information given about the ports. The cruise director did not do any reviews each night about what to expect the next day, and certainly no in-depth talks daily. I did find a port talk listed on the first night about the North Island of NZ, but it was scheduled during our dinner! There was a port talk on Tasmania on one of the sea days, and at least that gave us some information. Usually on other cruises we could go to the TV each morning to find the cruise director talking about the ports, but we never found that on this cruise — only information on ship excursions which were on the expensive side. As one prior review mentioned, the cruise director was missing in action when it came to important port information! And he certainly did not spend any time planning activities for the guests! Believe me, this was a constant discussion among all of the other passengers we met. Also, as pointed out by others, it appears that HAL has cut down on the number of servers in the Main Dining Room. These waiters worked incredibly hard carrying huge trays and actually running back and forth to serve their guests, but I believe that there is a failure by HAL to staff properly in order to provide reasonable waits in the Main Dining Room — both for dinner and breakfast. The evening entertainment certainly did not cater to an audience of all ages over the holiday season. The ship’s own singers and dancers are good, but the other entertainers were meant for a much older crowd — for example, a night of music from the 50s and 60s. And we did not understand the guy with his spinning tops. Having said that, the ports on this cruise gave us a good overview of New Zealand and at least a chance to visit Tasmania and Sydney. Our stop in Eden was cancelled due to the fires in Australia, so HAL worked to add a day in Burnie, Tasmania. Thank you to HAL for making that happen and a special thank you to the mayor, deputy mayor and volunteers in Burnie who came out to greet the ship and help organize tours for us with one day’s notice. This cruise was a very good way for our family to get at least a taste of this beautiful part of the world. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I will start with the title of this review. Embark, disembark all OK - most lines have this in the bag. We chose this cruise on Noordam, because we love Vancouver, we wanted to go to Sydney and we love sea days. This cruise bore not ... Read More
I will start with the title of this review. Embark, disembark all OK - most lines have this in the bag. We chose this cruise on Noordam, because we love Vancouver, we wanted to go to Sydney and we love sea days. This cruise bore not the remotest resemblance to our 2 x cruises on Volendam Dec.16 and April 18. Where has the elegance gone? The fresh flowers everywhere? The sophistication? Dancing? Cocktail bars? It's just not possible to be entertained for 26 days, of which 16 were "at sea", with Billboard, BB Kings and Lincoln Centre. The bars are all empty by 2000 hrs, and they do not refill after dinner and shows - there is just nothing to do. There is a limit to how many times you may be introduced to the BB King Band in just one night let alone 26. They perform in 3 x segments every night, and this intro stuff happens in every segment, every night for 26 nights! Well, we lasted 2 x nights and just didn't go back there. The 2 x pianists in Billboard seemed more bored than we were. The performances in the Lincoln Centre are in a closed off room - very serious, stuffy, a room full of people, seated, facing the stage, concentrating on classical music. We love classical music, but you are allowed to talk and laugh aren't you? Not in the Lincoln Centre, I wore a bracelet that jingled and got some serious looks! Paleese, it's a cruise! There is a bar on Deck 1 - next to Guest Relations - how peculiar! Only utilisation over 26 days was cocktail tasting at 1700 - no atmosphere, on a good evening you may hear someone balling out the staff, they are so close. There is a place called Nightlights or some such, between Casino and Theatre side entrance - what happens there? Never saw a soul in there. It's all black! There is a Grand Piano in Ocean Bar, on a dais! Never played - but no worries, the dance floor has been carpeted over. There is a "library" of 30 cruises, most >15 days and we love sea days so it answered those calls but was still boring. There were 2 x lecturers in the fields of Pacific peoples and The Stars - we went to a few, but again after 26 days the variety just was not there. Enough, something positive. Most of the crew are polite, caring and competent. We had several very sick pax taken to non scheduled or scheduled ports for medical evac. This was handled very well. We enjoy any time dining, but on this ship it was assigned to deck 1 and the engine noise and vibration was horrendous. Not to mention the dim lighting - most had to remove the tea lights from the table lamp to read the menu. We transferred to Deck 2 and the same 2 x person table every night, a first for us. The best outcome for this switch was our dinner crew - have rarely laughed so much, nor experienced the expertise of Maitre'D Johannes, wine expert Eric,and the lovely Sumatomo and Ambrullah, attentive food waiters. The food was mostly good - when it was good it was superlative, with stunning flavour and brilliant cooking skills. When it was not good, it was mostly inedible. The former was more prevalent than the latter, but it did puzzle us a little. We missed the contact with different dinner companions and conversation. We dined at the buffet a few times, and found it very good, easy to find a table, We did enjoy a couple of shows - the dance troupe were absolutely fabulous, very very talented, and the comedian was a clever chap with a very complex and funny routine involving (very willing) audience participation. The Filipino and Indonesian Crew shows were fabulous - nothing amateur about these performances, so much effort from everyone, even after all their hard work round the ship. I cannot comment on Excursions, Trivia, the Spa, the Pool Deck as we did not engage. Last but not least, the cost of liquor on board is daylight robbery. We loved old HAL, but not anymore. There were many very disappointed HAL devotees on board. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
To the traveler who complained that his November 23 cruise from Auckland had the food service "locked down", at least you didn't get Norovirus like more than 200 of us did on the trip from Sydney to Auckland! Someone ... Read More
To the traveler who complained that his November 23 cruise from Auckland had the food service "locked down", at least you didn't get Norovirus like more than 200 of us did on the trip from Sydney to Auckland! Someone brought Norovirus onboard in Sydney (we had been fine from Hawaii to Sydney). The result was mass illness - passengers, crew, entertainers; all due to NO lockdown of self-serve for the first 3 days. By the time they instituted a stop of self-serve and closed the taco bar, the virus had spread and 20-25 people PER DAY were getting sick! I would rather have the waiter salt my food than get sick with Noro again. I suspect that the virus continued to infect people on your cruise (although hopefully not as many) and that is why they maintained the sanitary practices. I am a 4 star Mariner - almost a 5 star - and I have already booked 3 cruises in the next 12 months. My husband (who was felled by a serious bacterial infection triggered by the Norovirus) has said that he wants to cancel at least 2 of those trips. We lost a week of our cruise to illness and my husband could have lost his life. For the record, the doctor on board is excellent and the medical center is supplied with IV antibiotics that saved my husband and prevented the medical evacuation that might have happened. In terms of the rest of the cruise, the service was good with the staff being very friendly and attentive. We did find it difficult to get the attention of servers in the Zlido at lunch if we just wanted tea. Everyone just wanted to sell liquor. Dining room food was mostly good but lacking in as much variety as in previous cruises. Desserts were much worse. There were no fruit pies at all and the crisps were more crisp than filling. Most nights there was not even one chocolate dessert which is horrible for a chocoholic! The exc lectures were terrific- when we weren’t too sick to attend - but the evening entertainment was lacking. We don’t like the singing and dancing but love comedians and magicians. One decent comedian and no magic on the entire 33 days. One guy did terrible yo-yo tricks! We mostly read our books or enjoyed the Lincoln Center group in the evenings. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is ... Read More
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is average. I will say the service especially in the dining room was outstanding. Our waiter was Nadi, assisted by Ed and Janela. These three people were the highlight of the trip. Very attentive and aware of everything. I hate being nickeled and dimed but that’s what this cruise line is all about. We paid a small fortune for our suite. One would think WiFi would be included....not. If you want to use a spin bike in the gym, nope.....unless you take an 8 am class for 15.00 per person. In the spa, be careful. They will ask you if you like this or that. If you say yes, they will upcharge your bill. Many people will look at the base price of a cruise line like this and think I’ll save money vs Regent. When you add up all the add in charges: Drink package Excursions Mini bar in the room (not included in drink package) Automatic small print tips of 16.00 per day per person and compare to the price of Regent, you’ll come out pretty close on total cost. All these things are included on Regent. I’ll not take another Holland America cruise and I recommend you look at Regent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was my 5th cruise, and I chose this ship because it was smaller than previous ones, thinking that the on board experience would be more personal. It didn’t get off to a good start when the muster drill confused everyone, and ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise, and I chose this ship because it was smaller than previous ones, thinking that the on board experience would be more personal. It didn’t get off to a good start when the muster drill confused everyone, and people waited in the wrong places, so it had to be redone. Even then, as everyone was crowded onto the outside of the ship, instructions could not be seen or heard. The cabins were clean and housekeeping was great, the staff in almost all areas of the ship were polite and helpful. The dining experiences were good, we had set seating in the Main dining room, but when we were in port, often didn’t get back in time and chose other dinner options. Compared to other ships, the entertainment was quite average, and was definitely aimed at a more mature crowd. We loved all the ports, with Skagway as our favourite. The white pass rail and Yukon expedition was the highlight of our holiday. We also loved Juneau, where we had a Taku lodge feast after a 5 glacier seaplane flight. Most of the shore excursions were great, but one was falsely represented, and because we booked it last minute, we were not given the proper description. We were left with a bad experience of our attempts to query the lack of service, and would advise anyone thinking of booking any salmon fishing experience to research reviews first. The thing that happened that would prevent me from ever sailing with them again actually happened after we disembarked. For some reason they debited our onshore account twice, leaving us with no funds for the rest of our stay on land. The money was eventually refunded almost a week later with no explanation or apology. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Cruise was part of 23 day Rockies and Alaska package. Paid extra $1200 to be upgraded to Verandah and had a cabin that was partially obstructed and the balconies from higher decks looked down on our balcony. Food in the main dining room ... Read More
Cruise was part of 23 day Rockies and Alaska package. Paid extra $1200 to be upgraded to Verandah and had a cabin that was partially obstructed and the balconies from higher decks looked down on our balcony. Food in the main dining room was extremely patchy and not of the standard promoted. The embarkation process at Vancouver was very prolonged as guests were herded like cattle from area to area. Once on the ship the cabins were available which was a plus. Found it almost impossible to hear announcements as they are not on the ships TV. The information provided on the ship tv was respective and the same movies/ shows played all day. Our cabin attendants were helpful but were not fluent in English - great service with always replacing towels etc. The whole experience was mediocre at best and it is an experience I do not wish to replicate Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and ... Read More
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and nature, not so much about small cities. The ship is a little dated and will be sent to dry dock in the Fall. I can only hope they redo the decoration and some of the facilities. The worst we had to deal with that could be prevented is the common cold going around: we both ended up getting it and we washed our hands constantly. Contrary to other ships we have sailed on before (from other cruise lines), a lot of sections in the Lido market and pool food bar area sections were available to passengers directly. I have seen people get their hands around glass to go and help themselves, I have seen one man take a bowl and then put it back on the pile. The handles for the juice/mail/yogourt fridge are calling for viruses... You get your own bread, etc, etc, etc. It is simply not acceptable to have so many areas where germs can be spread on a ship that has so many passengers and personnel. It would cost more staff to block EVERYTHING off to passengers but then the chance of passing on germs would be a lot less. Other cruise ships such as Oceania does this. Rooms are small but comfortable. Staff was great and friendly. We hated the idea of being pressured into sitting with other people in the dining room. Our Valentine's night was a disaster. We could have potentially argued, waited to get something for just the two of us maybe. Next time, we will. At least if they tried to sit people of the same age category together would help. Food was good but not great often. Too many sea days for us. The passengers were simply maybe a little too elderly or had health issues for us. Next time, we will choose a cruise ship that attracts younger and more active passengers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes very good and at others poor. We enjoyed the shore days, the ports were all very interesting. Trips organised by the ship were very over priced and we made our own arrangements on arrival. Our main concern was that there was little or nothing to do during the sea days apart from bingo and trivia quizzes. There was no dancing, lectures, enrichment programmes, classes, craft - nothing at all. We therefore spent several of the days of our cruise sitting and reading, which is OK for a day but not for several. The food was varied and looked lovely, but was rather lacking in flavour and invariably drowned in sauce (sometimes more than one sauce on the same plate). The crew were excellent and the service, in the main, very good (there were one or two exceptions). The tendency to play loud 'background' music in public rooms even when there is no-one there was irritating, especially if people were trying to read. The charging of 15% gratuity on top of the cost of drinks as well as charging over £11 pp per day for tips is excessive. There were no laundry and ironing facilities and the only option to crumpled clothing was to pay rather a lot of money to have things ironed. I would not recommend HAL and would be unlikely to book with them again myself. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and ... Read More
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and the staff are wonderful. The main issues were the food, entertainment and the Loft (lack of). Firstly, the food in the main dining room for the first few days of the cruises was very uninspiring. It was hard to find something to eat. The food did improve. Cannot fault the wait, wine and front of restaurant staff, they were very friendly and always smiling. The entertainment was very poor, the entertainment that did come on to the ship were very good (in particular Patrick McMahon) but there wasn't enough. In one week they had two guest artists that played individually and then together one night. Also, on two nights they should movies. We don't get the chance to see live entertainment much because of children so in the past the cruise night time entertainment was something to look forward to. There is BB Kings that play 3 times a night. They are good but unfortunately both singers got sick at the end of the cruise so they weren't able to sing and the head office wouldn't let anyone else stand in for them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no ... Read More
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no music to signal the start of the journey, although there were drinks available, you had to guess if they were alcoholic or not. There was no photographer taking photos for international tourists to capture the harbour sights either. The ship is in urgent need of upgrade and looks tired and dated. It is due for a refit towards the end of the year - this is only internal. There were issues with the airconditioner being cold, so they ran the ship on four generators to warm it up and when the swell got bigger, turned the fifth generator back on. When running on the lesser generators they also experienced electrical and power issues. Food in the Lido Market was below par and what was there for lunch appeared at dinner with a different name. We asked what the temperature of the food bays were set at and the reply " I don't know it isn't my area". I had yoghurt for breakfast and could almost pour it into a cup to drink. The desserts were in this same fridge and were never at the correct temperature. The meals from the hot bays were luke warm, the plates on the other hand were extremely hot and at times unsafe to carry back to the table unless you brought your napkin. The serving staff were hit and miss with personality.Our cabin was a verandah and adequate for the two of us and our stewards who cleaned it daily were accommodating and . The entertainment we found to be enjoyable and the people we met also had mixed views about the staff and overall appearance of the ship. We had 4 shore excursions - Port Arthur, Hobart, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. As these are all in US dollars research if there are companies that provide similar tours that can be booked from Australia to avoid the exchange rates. We enjoyed all our tours and only had one bad experience when in Kangaroo Island. Our 9 hour tour was uncomfortable as the airconditioning on the bus packed in 45 minutes into the tour and there were no other coaches available. The temperature inside the bus got to around 38 degress. The driver attempted to do all he could to make the best out of the situation, but by the end all us passengers couldn't wait to get of the coach and board the ship and get cold drinks. When we complained we were advised we would received a 15%refund that only equated to $60 dollars from a tour that was more than $300 USD. Should have pushed for a full refund. The only port where we felt welcomed was in South Australia were there was a bush band singing at arrivals and volunteers waiting to direct us to the buses, taxis or train to the city. The disembarkation at the ports was well managed and even the days we needed to use the tender boats. As I have used HAL prior, I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my son for his first cruise. Overall, regardless of the flaws mentioned, we had a relaxing time, but next time we cruise, will look at another company to compare the service and atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but ... Read More
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but no assistance from wait staff as to price/type of cocktail. There was none of the usual atmosphere of departure (same at every port). Only advantage was going under Harbour Bridge. Cabin was fine albeit a pretty small balcony. Whole ship needs a real freshen up/full refurb. Lido lounge food was average. Some hot foods not hot but if asked for fresh cooked steak/fish then this was done (that's the clue!). Breakfast omelette was the best choice. Entertainment was very ordinary. Magician/Comedian was good. movies were on a very small screen and sound ordinary. Cabin staff were excellent. Stern Pool Bar staff were great, especially Troy! This ship seems to cater to older travellers. I'm 58 and there weren't many younger than me. Most people we spoke to were not happy with entertainment, bar times, Lido Market food. The day time food demos were good. Trivia bar quizzes were ok as were bar happy hours (if you could work out where/times). in summary, cabin was very good, quiet. Whole ship was immaculately clean. All Bar staff and some Lido Market staff were excellent. Dining Room was top shelf, staff, ambience and food. Would I travel Noordam again? No.Have travelled Celebrity before and they are chalk and cheese apart. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to have Christmas and New Year on a cruise and the HAL had been recommended by some American friends. We had a wonderful surprise when we were upgraded from a SS midship to a Neptune suite at the back of the ship.A really big cabin with an L shaped veranda at the back. Having access to the Neptune lounge was a plus, the 2 concierges could not have been more friendly and helpful and the free capuchino was another plus! As a handicapped person I did find the long distances to other places on the ship was a problem,which was why we booked midship, but we worked around that problem by choosing room service a lot of the time.We had some problems the first few days, with cold food and missing items, but after a visit to the desk and a talk with Gilroy, the maitre d, it was soon fixed. Our main problem, which caused us to leave the cruise after the 1st section, was the ship's doctor.We had problems understanding him, and the other medical staff, and he did not seem to understand us.He seemed to be very unsure about what procedure to take, even after speaking to my own home doctor on the phone. He did not seem to have had any experience with my problem, a U.T.I. and said that he was not happy about me staying onboard for the last 2 weeks of the cruise in case the infection got worse and he would have no facilities to help if we were at sea or in the small islands that were next on the itinerary. So we had to leave the cruise after the 1st 2 weeks of what should have been 4 wonderful weeks. So much for our much anticipated month in the Pacific!! Now I have to deal with our travel insurance office and try to get reimbursed for the 2 weeks we missed. NOT how I expected to be spending my time at New Year!! This was our 1st and last cruise with H.A.L. after 27 cruises with Princess I think we will be staying with them. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had sailed with HAL on 3 previous cruises. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had just been on Celebrity Solstice six weeks prior to this one and so comparisons between them were fresh in our minds. Where Solstice is clean ... Read More
We had sailed with HAL on 3 previous cruises. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had just been on Celebrity Solstice six weeks prior to this one and so comparisons between them were fresh in our minds. Where Solstice is clean crisp lines with what we thought were much higher ceilings, Noordam is lower ceiling, less open spaces, fine arts but darkened lounge areas. Noordam did not come close to Solstice from the quality of their food, attention to detail and service of the crew. Embarkation for Noordam was slow. Our cabin was spotless our only complaint were the lumpy pillows. Our attendants always had a smile and were happy to assist to meet our needs. Dining - this is one of the features of cruising that we enjoy and were let down terribly. The menu selection and quality of food was poor, even in the Pinnacle Grill. We thought the standard in the Main Dining Room had dropped from our previous cruise with HAL but had improved measurably in the Buffet Dining (Lido). At all three dining venues we found the selection of deserts (and slices) disappointing. The attention to hygiene on board the ship was lacking. Rarely did we see a crew member ensuring that passengers used the sanitizers before entering the dining areas. The Air conditioning was poorly balanced and some areas of the ship were warm and others were very cold. Hence there were a lot of sick people on board. In the theatre during lecture and showtime there was constant coughing by passengers. Activities - not a great deal of variety or imagination used in planning the activity programme. The Test Kitchen was American food which was not to the Australian culinary style. exc Talks - Two great speakers were the Barrier Reef Pilot and Brian Stoddart who did a series on the Pacific the influences through history, art, internationalisation etc. The other speaker did a series on World War II in the Pacific is content was very disappointing. Entertainment - The highlight was the Planet Earth documentary accompanied by the String Quartet and Band. Fantastic! Mix of entertainers and three dance/shows. The BB King had us all tapping along with the music - they were great. Our first port of call was Gladstone....A wasted day. Not much to do or see the city tour included pointing out Bunnings and the local Library as sites of the town! Alotaou was not so much scenic as historically interesting port. If you are interested in the Second World War and the fighting in Milne Bay you will find doing a tour/excursion worthwhile. You will find locals portside who will take you on a tour of Alotaou. The next 2 ports were Kiriwina and Kitava Islands. Both beautiful islands where you can meet friendly tribal people These islands surpass the South Pacific Islands for swimming and snorkling in their lovely clear coral waters. You could buy wooden bowls carved by the village men or woven bags from the ladies. They do appreciate KENNA currency. Buy your currency before you leave home. Dont buy it off HAL they would not take back any unused currency (and they could sell you notes in poor condition that a bank will not accept - this happened to one passenger on our cruise). Next stop was Conflict Islands - this is a group of Islands owned by an Australian. It is very picturesque but very commercialized. (Buy any carvings or bags on this Island and expect to pay at least four times the price as on the other two islands... and you are not buying from the tribes person direct.) Our other ports were Cairns (Yorkies Knob) and Airlie Beach and then Brisbane. This cruise is not a cruise for those with disability issues. Only 3 ports were to a dock, five ports were by tender. The tenders were efficiently run and we did have to wait more than a couple of minutes at each port. It was extremely hot and it was lovely to have ice water and iced handtowels to greet us on and off the islands. One thing we did appreciate was the limited "on-sell" of spa, dining & drinks packages. It only occurred the first day or two. There are two issues that really were unsatisfactory.... 1. US$25 per person to get a shuttle bus from the wharf to Brisbane CBD. At Airlie Beach we paid A$5 in Australian dollars. Didn't add up paying Australian dollars on one occasion and USA dollars (at an exorbitant price) on the other. 2. No Christmas Carols on board the ships PA system. The ship was decorated with Christmas Decorations but no music. At requesting at the Guest Relations for some Carols to be played on the PA we were advised that the company had made a directive that no HOLIDAY MUSIC be played until the 22nd December. Yet they were quite happy for us to pay the ship's photographer to take "our CHRISTMAS PHOTO taken by the CHRISTMAS TREE". This is not the cruise line for children.. and especially around Christmas time. We were so disappointed at not being put into the Christmas spirit, that I doubt we will ever go on a cruise at Christmastime again with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
As we wanted to see Australia & try a cruise that was more than 2 - 3 weeks, this cruise fit the bill. We flew in a day before our cruise from Vancouver, mainly to re-coup from the long flight & see a bit of Sydney before ... Read More
As we wanted to see Australia & try a cruise that was more than 2 - 3 weeks, this cruise fit the bill. We flew in a day before our cruise from Vancouver, mainly to re-coup from the long flight & see a bit of Sydney before embarking on our journey. As it turned out, we did mostly re-couping than sight seeing. We stayed at a hotel in the Mascot area, near the international airport, which was also a block away from the train station. Understandably the hotels by the airports are more reasonably price than the ones in the city, especially around the Rocks & Circular Quay. The next day, after a leisurely breakfast, we took the train to Circular Quay & strolled to the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) to embark the Noordam. The train ride was around 20 minutes & cost about $4.50 AUD/person. The distance from the train station to the OPT was an easy 2 flat block walk along a beautiful waterfront. Enroute, we walked into the many stores along the waterfront & took a whole bunch of pictures. Remember you can't check in until about noon, so you have a lot of time. There were around 10 - 15 stations (maybe more) for check in & a point person to tell you which station to go to. However, when the 4 or 5 star folks arrive & sometime in large bunches, they understandably get priority check in. That could be a little frustrating especially if you've waited for a long period of time. Notwithstanding, the check in went as smooth as possible. We had a post night stay following our cruise & elected for a late disembarkation, as such, it went smoothly. As titled, the Noordam is an old reliable friend. She is dated, but she is still capable & reliable especially when we encountered the rough seas. I found her clean, comfortable and with friendly helpful staff. I found the service to be very good. My cabin review is shown hereunder. We found the dining to be average to good. There was certainly no "wow" factor. In fact, I found the food a little on the salty side & repetitive, especially at the "Lido". Again, I found the service at the Lido & in the dining room to be very good. I don't really enjoy "Broadway" type productions, but I did like the "sandman" from New Zealand & Patrick McMahon the Australian musician. A comment about the gym. For those who like to use the free weights (dumb bells), there are cabins situated under this station, as such you have to place your weights down VERY quietly, or else. This station should be moved. A couple of comments respecting the ports in Papua New Guinea (PNG). We were led to believe that PNG prerfers passengers spending in PNG kinas, as the Australian, let alone US dollar was hard for the locals to exchange back to kinas. As such, Holland America brought in someone to convert your money to PNG kina (1 USD = 3.36 kina, 1 AUD = 2.39 kina, Jan./19 rate). Understandably, for this service, you will not be getting a good, let alone, a best rate. I was a little disappointed that when we attended a ship's shore excursion, most if not all the arts & crafts were in Australian dollars. A little more lost money in conversion, albeit small, but still another lost. Just saying. The locals on the islands that we visited in PNG were friendly, even if no purchases were made. The port of Gladstone, Queensland was a new stop for Holland America. During cruise ship season, a local market is set up about a 5 minute walk from where the ships are docked. The locals makes this as a day out there and were friendly & happy to see us. We docked on a Sunday, a day where most things were closed in town. Not knowing this, we purchased shuttle tickets for $30 pp, from the ship to go into town. You would have thought Holland America ought to have known that most, if not all things were closed in Gladstone on a Sunday. Just saying, again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose to do this 38 day cruise from Vancouver to Auckland because it we had wanted to cross the Pacific and also visit New Zealand. We have cruised on Noordam about 5 times so we’re aware she is in need of refurbishment and ... Read More
We chose to do this 38 day cruise from Vancouver to Auckland because it we had wanted to cross the Pacific and also visit New Zealand. We have cruised on Noordam about 5 times so we’re aware she is in need of refurbishment and although parts were tired the ambience mostly made up for this. What we didn’t expect was the amount of infections throughout the ship. It was obvious from any of the communal areas that chest infections were rife. My husband caught it 5 days out from Vancouver, then I caught it, folks nearby at dinner had repeated visits to the Medical Centre and found many others there the same, some being confined to their cabins. 6 weeks on my husband is still coughing it is a virulent bug and one wonders what action is taken on board to ensure infection is not spread. On the good side the staff are mostly cheerful, friendly and go above and beyond to give passengers a great cruise. Sadly this time it was marred for us Shore excisions were overpriced and shuttle buses expensive and in the case of Samoa non existent! Entertainment by Ship’s singers and dancers is not nearly as professional as on previous cruises and very loud. We may be seniors but we are not deaf! Disembarkation was well organised. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We were on only the first part of the cruise and got off in Hawaii. I knew the ship was not new but I found very little wear and tear. The food was good, not exceptional, except for the Mariners lunch when ONO was offered, The travelers ... Read More
We were on only the first part of the cruise and got off in Hawaii. I knew the ship was not new but I found very little wear and tear. The food was good, not exceptional, except for the Mariners lunch when ONO was offered, The travelers were mostly seniors. The young people were polite but i think disappointed with the slow pace, I was with the one in four using a cane! The staff and travelers were all polite and friendly. Those staying on to do the entire 38 days settled in with knitting, books, etc. Very little was offered so the seats filled long before the few events. The lei making was well attended so only enough flowers to make a halo lei. The observation deck is the highlight of the ship. Nothing but ocean on this cruise but it would be a delightful way to cruise Alaska. I did not want to fly both ways to Hawaii so the cruise fit my needs. It is open ocean most of the way. I loved the rolls and dips from the swells.Our cabin, guaranteed balcony, was 4005 just three cabins from the aft. This meant lots of walking to the food on the opposite end of the ship. We had a little of the entertainment noise from the deck below but it did not disturb us. Sailing into Honolulu just at sunrise was beautiful. The city light were still on as the sun came up. The doors were opened on deck 4 for the arrival. Many passengers scurrying past our door! The lack of daily activity was my only complaint but I knew that ahead of time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Mainly chosen for the destinations on route, but also anticipated a 4* ship. Expected the passengers to be around retirement age because of he length of the cruise. Very disappointed with the geriatric nature of a lot of the entertainment, ... Read More
Mainly chosen for the destinations on route, but also anticipated a 4* ship. Expected the passengers to be around retirement age because of he length of the cruise. Very disappointed with the geriatric nature of a lot of the entertainment, which was also repetitive and lacking any fun. No deck parties, even though we spent around 3 weeks in the hot sunshine, no proper ‘ sailaways’ to remember. Food was OK, but the scrap in the Lido Bat was awful. Difficult to find a seat once you had been served. Ended up taking food down to the cabin to eat it. The food generally I could only call OK, as it was not as I remember the last cruise I took a few years back. I can see that everything has been cut back and is much more frugal generally. Cushions on the sum beds around the walking deck areas were turquoise coloured (once) and Covered in stains. Not at all what we expected to see. I had no desire to sit on any of them without putting down a towel first. On the lido deck, everything was brown and colourless, making the ship look drab and uninviting. In the gym, half the equipment was not working, and there were classes held in what was a very small area, making it difficult to even get in there. I should also post out that there was nowhere for people to dance (I mean proper dancing) lots f people like to walk, or maybe line dance, but there is no dance floor on Noordam apart from in BB Kings night club, (which doubles as America’s Test Kitchen during the day, twice a day, every day....) Overall, we were very disappointed with Holland America. If this is 4* cruising, then I would hate to be on a ship with only 3*. I would also say that HA needs to check out its up an coming geriatrics, ie those of us in our 60’s now, as we still have plenty of life in us. The older ‘old people’ currently cruising, won’t be around In another few years, and there will be no market for my generation if the nature of the cruise is not reviewed. I say this not only for myself but for others who we met on this cruise and who voiced similar comments. On. Plus note, the staff are incredible, and HA should be very grateful for that!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Over the past few cruises I have watched a deterioration in the services offered on Holland America cruises. I love to go on long cruises of a month or more and love the sea days. This time there was literally nothing to do on board unless ... Read More
Over the past few cruises I have watched a deterioration in the services offered on Holland America cruises. I love to go on long cruises of a month or more and love the sea days. This time there was literally nothing to do on board unless you were paying for an upgrade in the gym or drinking yourself into oblivion. No library service, no fun game activity program, no water aerobics or free fitness program. The constant up selling was really annoying. They have outsourced their shore excursions and they are a total ripoff. The food in the main dining room was a disgrace. Everything seemed to originate from the frozen food section of Costco. We were offered frozen green beans with every dinner entree from Vancouver to Sydney. The desserts were not made on board and were not up to previous standards. Offering bloody Mary's for breakfast? Really ? I am s four star mariner but I doubt I will return to Holland America or any other Carnival line ship Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I do not want to come across as sounding negative about this, since we did enjoy ourselves on this Alaska cruise/tour. We have cruised most frequently with Celebrity, but as first time HAL guests it's hard to avoid comparisons. Of ... Read More
I do not want to come across as sounding negative about this, since we did enjoy ourselves on this Alaska cruise/tour. We have cruised most frequently with Celebrity, but as first time HAL guests it's hard to avoid comparisons. Of course people have different impressions of things. Many people here have said that the Noordam is showing wear. We didn't really see much evidence of that. The outside decks are all gleaming white and look as though they've just been painted. All areas inside and out appear to be very clean and well maintained. Some of the negative comments may be due to the fact that a lot of the decor looks dated, although it's certainly not very old. Common areas: We found the Noordam to be thoughtfully designed and decorated in a mostly sophisticated fashion. There is some glitz but it's well placed. The ship was launched in 2006 and I think I've read that it was dry-docked for an overhaul in 2015. Much of the decor is tasteful and traditional, while in many places it looks like 1985 -- which obviously is not the case. There's a lot of dusky rose color and polished brass, well done but reminiscent of 30 years ago. The dark reds and rose shades, particularly in the otherwise attractive Vista Dining Room, make it feel a bit claustrophobic. If the ceilings were lightened up it might make the whole area seem more spacious. The ship features a lovely and interesting collection of European art pieces. There are some spectacular fresh floral arrangements around the ship. Certain details are pretty wonderful (like the elevator doors). All these features should make the Noordam feel somewhat classier overall than it does. I think this may be due to the otherwise dated and sometimes claustrophobic color schemes and traffic inefficiencies in certain areas. The ship's decor lacks a certain continuity and is somewhat disjointed. The ship has two pools. If only the Noordam were large enough to have an 'adults only' pool. Both pools were overridden with splashing, running kids the whole time; not particularly inviting for grownups desiring a peaceful poolside experience. Cabin: Our cabin was on Deck 1, the Main Deck. It had a window rather than a balcony. It was comfortable and the bed was good. The decor might have been a little frumpy but it was perfectly acceptable. Unbeknownst to us, our part of Deck 1 is beneath the BB King Blues Club. Don't plan to go to sleep early because the loud thumping music from the Club doesn't end until around 11:15. The cabin's layout where the closets are located makes for a particularly awkward area. That little hallway is always going to be tight, but the way the closet doors open, two people cannot easily access the closets at the same time. There are no lights in the closet and to see your things properly, you must turn on the hallway light, which is on the same circuit as the main ceiling lights in the cabin; not good if it's dark and someone is trying to sleep. I was surprised that the in-cabin TV did not have a channel where you can check on your bill to monitor expenses. I learned at the guest relations desk that they do not automatically provide a summary of your bill, you must request one. While the bathroom functioned just fine, what a dreary little place it is. A ship's bathroom is essentially one big plastic module and probably not easy to update. The color of these bathrooms is a peculiar tan, which reminded me of the color of panty hose; and the tub, sink, and door are that strange greenish-tan like degrading plastic computer components. Again, everything worked fine, but who ever chose the colors? Our mirrors were ready for replacing due to humidity damage around the edges. Lido Buffet: The Buffet is not self-serve, so there are big crowds at the serving areas. The kitchen crew serves everyone, order by order, so it can be slow-going and extremely cramped. I imagine it is not self-serve in the interest of preventing norovirus, which is admirable, but it makes for very inefficient service and crowding. The Vista Dining Room is not open at lunch, so the whole ship is at the Buffet, which is a mob scene at times. We occasionally escaped to the taco bar out by the pool. The Lido Buffet opens to a big aft deck, which has a lot of seating, but if the weather is inclement, everyone is crammed into the inside dining area. We are by no means foodies, but the Lido Buffet food was largely disappointing. Many of the offerings did not seem fresh and sometimes tasted leftover or of refrigerator. Some turn-offs were fat, grisly lamb shoulder; tough, stringy, overcooked asparagus; bleu cheese dressing with absolutely no flavor whatsoever; pre-made sandwiches in bags; and flavorless ice cream. All it has going for it is that it is cold. Of course the ship's cooking ingredients are not supermarket house brands, but it sure does taste like it. Coffee and cookies are excellent, as are the made to order salads (with an alternative dressing choice). Vista Dining Room: Service was excellent and the layout of the dining room is multi-level and interesting. We were seated in a different area for each dinner, which was nice. The food in the Vista Dining Room was head and shoulders better than that of the Lido Buffet, with a few exceptions. Buttermilk pancakes were rubbery and chewy; beef stroganoff was topped with two dry, stringy chunks of beef, and a few other items were lackluster. But most everything else was good to quite good. We never had dinner in the Buffet because the service, food, atmosphere, and stress level is so much better in the Vista Dining Room than in the Lido Buffet. Traditional afternoon high tea is also served in the Vista Dining Room. It's pleasant and the tea is good but many of the attractive-looking small pastries taste like supermarket house brand. A civilized tradition but sort of disappointing. Entertainment: First and foremost (and possibly tempting us to book with HAL again) is their Lincoln Center Stage. It's a chamber music venue that is too small for the number of people it attracts. The room opens to the hallway where clueless loudmouths often make hearing the exquisite music difficult, and is probably a distraction for the musicians as well. The quintet on board were brilliant musicians, accomplished and degreed, with delightful stage presence. We did not attend the BB King Blues Club since it's not our preferred type of music -- and as stated above, we were treated to a free show in our cabin every night. There were two production shows in the main theater during the week we were on the ship. The singers, dancers, sets, and effects are absolutely flawless and professional. The shows we saw were very loud, raucous rock-themed productions. No reflection on the performers, by any means, but I'm not sure if this type of show would be the choice of many of the guests on the ship. The comedian and especially the magician were excellent. My impression is that HAL, or at least this particular ship and cruise, is at a difficult crossroads as far as how to present its brand. I was expecting to find what its reputation is known for: catering to a fairly well-heeled mature clientele that prefers a traditional, rather sophisticated, classic cruise experience. The Noordam exhibits elements of a classic cruise liner, e.g., the teak steamer chairs, certain Deco details, railings and deckings; but is mixed with elements that make me fear that HAL may go the way of Carnival (I realize that's the parent company) and other lines which attract a more brusque, partying crowd. Of course any cruise line must update and reinvent itself to appeal to its current demographic, but HAL should take care not to lose its niche. Land portion: Our cruise began in Vancouver and we disembarked in Seward. A ten-hour motor coach ride (thankfully, with several stops and lunch) brought us to Denali National Park. HAL is to be complimented on how well they've accomplished handling enormous crowds, all working like clockwork. Our room in the Denali McKinley Lodge was comfortable and very attractive; we were in Building O, which seems to be within a fairly new enclave of buildings. And the train back to Anchorage was beautiful, spotless, and roomy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My DH and I have always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise. This was our 6th cruise with HAL. We brought two teens with us. We spent a few days in Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship for our cruise. We really liked Vancouver - ... Read More
My DH and I have always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise. This was our 6th cruise with HAL. We brought two teens with us. We spent a few days in Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship for our cruise. We really liked Vancouver - it's such a clean city. We stayed at an AirB&B and it was great. Much cozier than an impersonal hotel and we had more room, too. I'll review that on Air B&B later. I rate from a 5 star and reduce based on several things. My review would have been a 3.5 star if possible but that wasn't available and I do not feel that bumping it up to 4 stars would be right so we went down to the 3 star. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth - HAL has this figured out - the only thing is wear comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking involved on embarkation day. Now, lets talk about everything else: The ship overall is looking a little tired. Brass and fixtures that used to be shiny and bright are now somewhat dull, paint in places is worn off and things just look worn. This reduced the star rating by 1/2 to 3/4 of a star. The cabin, on the other hand was in good shape and the beds were comfortable. The cabin stewards did a great job. I can say that you rarely see them yet your room does get attention several times a day. I got the feeling that overall for the entire ship, the crew was not as large as it once was. It seems that the room stewards have more rooms to take care of then on previous cruises and this applies to the wait staff in the Lido and Dining rooms. I'll address that later. Perhaps steam cleaning the carpets in the cabins could be done at a better time. We have never encountered a cruise ship cleaning carpets in the cabins while we were on the ship - my hubby ended up with wet sox from walking on the still wet carpet. I would think this would be done at the end of a cruise when peoples cloths and belongings are not out on the carpets. It just seemed an odd time to clean carpets - at least to us, otherwise he cabin was fine. Dining: The dining was good but not excellent. The service was okay but nowhere near as good as on prior cruises and this reduced my rating by a full star. On prior HAL cruises the food was almost always excellent - this time it was good to average. The dining room menu the the first night had selections on the left side of the menu that said they would be available every night but this turned out not to be true. One night was devoted to selections from up and coming chefs or winners of some kind of culinary competition. Most of it was not particularly appealing. Items were fancied up for fancies sake and not necessarily appealing to the average eater. Teenagers were not thrilled with some of the selections - if they didn't know what it was they weren't going to eat it. I can't say that the food in the dining room was any better than the Lido market. Sometimes steaks were cooked the way I like them (med-rare) and sometimes it was a crap shoot. Some steaks were beautiful, lean and easy to eat - other times you had to trim off parts and cut out gristle and other tough parts. By the end of the cruise the ship was out of a lot of food - it looked like Asian selections were way down, fruit was hard to find - our last smoothie had to be made with a mix and I was told they were out of strawberries and pineapple. Some items seemed old and dried out sort of like eating heated up left over roast which is now dry and chewy. The folks working in the dining room and the Lido Market really tried to take care of everyone but you could see they were very busy and never just standing around but getting service for refills or even first fills of things like iced tea and coffee was difficult. I was disappointed with the eating facilities we visited. Due to a stroke, my DH drinks his liquids through a straw yet some of the staff on the Lido told him they did not have straws available while others found him one quickly - this appears due to a lack of training on HAL's part. Entertainment was okay but we don't go to much of it because my DH has a hearing problem. We do love the Explorations Cafe for puzzles, games and coffee, and the Observation area (Crow's Nest?) for watching the glaciers and great views. The teenagers loved the Loft and spent a lot of time at the pool, playing ping-pong and chess with the giant chess set near the pool. This trip I avoided the Spa - their prices are just astronomical. $70 for a pedicure is crazy - especially when the going price in my neck of the woods is $25 for the same services. It seems like a lot of nickle and dime charges and very expensive charges for things. I'm thinking of trying a Viking cruise next time - they may be more expensive initially but they do include more - including one land tour at each stop. As for Port and shore excursions, we did one on our own - in Ketchican we hired a taxi for an hour ($75.00) to give us a tour of the town. The teens loved this - we stopped and saw some of the local flora and fawna - they got to pick and eat Salmon Berries which they loved and heard about other things the Indians used for food and medicine. We saw the town and met some people. It was a fun little tour before we went shopping in town. We also did the White Pass Train Ride in Skagway - that was fun and interesting but not as much fun for the kids - one slept the whole way - that was an expensive nap, trust me. That was not the fault of the cruise - it's hard to tell what kids will and won't like but it's hard when the zip line tour requires an adult to accompany the kids and the adult is 72 and not into zip lining so it's hard to find an excursion that everyone can do and enjoy. I'm not saying we didn't enjoy our trip - we did. I'm rating in comparison to other cruises and see a downward slope in the quality of services and and upward slant in increased costs. We do notice this stuff and it does cause us to think about taking our business elsewhere. We have booked 2 back to back cruises totaling about 51 days for next fall and are seriously considering looking at other cruise lines to see if we want to change this - I don't know if this was a fluke in the dining and service and do I want to do this for 51 days in a row? Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Embarked from Vancouver's Canada Place. Very confusing entrance to building, very long walk to the ship. Disembark at Seward was very quick. Ship: looks very worn in some places. Crew spent a lot of time polishing the bottoms of ... Read More
Embarked from Vancouver's Canada Place. Very confusing entrance to building, very long walk to the ship. Disembark at Seward was very quick. Ship: looks very worn in some places. Crew spent a lot of time polishing the bottoms of columns, stool pedestals, restaurant glassware, while Lido deck restaurants were very understaffed. Ship diagram signs signifying fore and aft, venue locations, etc were poorly placed, poorly designed (muted color), and thus difficult to read, resulting in crowds around them trying to figure out were things were and where to go. Suggestion: not sure why HAL couldn't have paper diagram maps at main desk, and in rooms and in library, as well as these hard to read ones. Suggestion: how about having the carpets in front of elevators having "fore" and "aft" designations woven into them (part of problem solved)! Two swimming pools were each too small. And the placement of the hot tubs was poor (too exposed to Dive-In tables). Also hot tub hours were too short (opened at 10:00, closed in early evening; hot tubs are best when it's cool, like in early morning and at night, not in the middle of the day, and who want's to expose their fat bellies to diners, anyway!). Also, the so-called maps they put in the cabins before each port are worthless as town maps. All they show it jewelry stores. Why can't they give us usable street maps that show locations of coffee shops, ice cream stores, pharmacies, restaurants, etc? BTW: they had very nice bouquets of fresh flowers everywhere, which is kind of nice, but seems like a poor use of money when they seem to skimp on crew (more on this follows below) Cabin: ours, with vestibule, on deck 5, was smaller than we've experienced with our other (NCL and RC) cabins. Toilets are too low to the ground, and with no grab bars (hard for me, with bad knees to sit down and get up, they were so low...how about installing ADA-sized toilets!). Also labels on the shampoo/conditioner/soap dispenser bottles had type too small to read, for someone who doesn't wear their eyeglasses while showering. HAL, how about a big S,C and BW on each bottle. Also the ship channel on the in-room TV has a static presentation. Takes forever for it to shift from one screen to another. And why does one screen reveal the hot tub and pool temperatures, when they never change? And why can't HAL include on those static screens the ship diagram. And in these modern times, why can't they make that channel interactive from the remote control device. Get with the times, HAL! Dining: Big sore spot, for many reasons. Lido buffet restaurant food was poor, stations placed to close to one another, lines were too slow and long, seats and table insufficient, dining hours short, station staffing sparse and staff impolite, wording on menu signs too small to read until right on them (thus slowing down the line) and some not even there. When food and drink ran out it sometimes took 5 minutes to replenish items. Also, Dive-In Grill hours too short (and fries weren't as great as Cruise Critic review says). Vista restaurant food was better, a was it's staffing. Canalito Italian restaurant not very "Italian." Room service food reasonably good. Entertainment: Pretty good. Main theater nicely designed. Side room for Lincoln Center entertainment open to corridor, so too noisy. But Lincoln Center chamber group was great!! I heard several people them their musicians they made the trip worthwhile for the. I second that opinion. Also comedian on main stage was excellent. Ships house singers/dancers were pretty good, though one of their night was hoky. Room service: fine. Ports and excursions: I can't remember which port was which, but I recall that the White Pass bus trip was a waste of time. Tundra tour was good. Rail to Denali was good. All tour guides were good. HAL hotels were pretty bad (old, lots of noise transmission between floors). The one in Fairbanks was a nice one. though, but it's wi-fi wasn't working, and staff said it hadn't been working for several days (they said Seattle office "was working on it"). I complained to front desk and they said "sorry." I said "sorry" wasn't good enough, that they had to compensate me. They gave me two free drink coupons. I said "not enough for two days without wi-fi." They then gave me two free meal coupons for their restaurant. Used just one. Meal was surprisingly good for a hotel restaurant. SUMMARY: I think HAL cheaps-out and also has it's eyes closed to what it offers. Do HAL executives ever take their own cruises? Is their vision clouded by what they've designed for us? Why don't they hire some independent "mystery shoppers" to take cruises and turn in independent reviews. Bases on my one experience with HAL, I'll think twice before I use them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The stateroom had a small we could not get rid off...finally found mold on shower curtain. Mirrors in staterooms were old and needed replacing. Dirt in corners remained throughout cruise. They were no activities for young ... Read More
The stateroom had a small we could not get rid off...finally found mold on shower curtain. Mirrors in staterooms were old and needed replacing. Dirt in corners remained throughout cruise. They were no activities for young adults..everything geared toward old retired crowd. All talks and presentaions geared to selling instead of onformation. Tv in state rooms did not work well....they were ancient. Service last night in main dining room was terrible..rest of time was good. Service in upscale restaurants and the value of food was worse than on lido deck and main dining room. All activities geared toward geriatric population. My young adult son's were bored to tears. Although the naturalist on board was great. We enjoyed his presentations. The shore excursions were either terrific...or horrid. Avoid the Duck tours. The glacier tour was great and going through Glacier park made it all worth. We had 3 in cabin...and all promotions wr re only for two leaving one of us out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We did the cruise tour. This was the first time I did the cruise tour. The tour was before the cruise. The boarding pass has good information as to how the luggage is going to be handled. Hotel check in at Anchorage was smooth and the ... Read More
We did the cruise tour. This was the first time I did the cruise tour. The tour was before the cruise. The boarding pass has good information as to how the luggage is going to be handled. Hotel check in at Anchorage was smooth and the agents there was helpful. Check in at Denali was easy. But I found the agents there were very unorganized and most of the time we didn't even know what was going on. We booked excursions both days and there were no agent there to tell us which one is our excursion. We had to look for the buses and at times asked almost every bus driver. On our way to Seward at a buffet lunch, the bus driver never explained what we were supposed to do and we had to just follow other people. Or maybe he did say something but most of the people couldn't even hear him! We were sitting in the middle of the bus! But the scenery was amazing! I am glad we did the tour part! The cruise was very good. The Glacier National Park was just beautiful. Love the photographer took my photo at the deck by the glacier! What a memorable photo! The captain was nice to stay at the Margerie Glacier for a long time so we can see calvings! It was amazing! Our cabin was at the back of deck 4 with amazing balcony with great views! The cabin is a lot more spacious than other balconies. My complain is the server at the buffet. There were couple people looked like they were mad at everyone! When we ordered something, no eye contact, no thank you, not even a word came out of his mouth! His attitude was a little better after a few days! Then the food, both the dinning room and the buffet were just ok. The buffet menu repeated, it was just a 7 day cruise! Excursions were over priced but good. We didn't go to any of the entertainment. We were group of 4 high school friends, reunion! I don't think I want to go to the Noordam again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We had a nice cruise. We had a neptune suite which was spacious but it was old and not very luxurious. We did three excusions. The tram in juneau, and a combo hatchery, mendenhal glacier and salmon bake. Then in ketchican we did the ... Read More
We had a nice cruise. We had a neptune suite which was spacious but it was old and not very luxurious. We did three excusions. The tram in juneau, and a combo hatchery, mendenhal glacier and salmon bake. Then in ketchican we did the logger show. The glacier was cool. I would recommend just doing that. The hatchery was a waste of time and the salmon bake was just ok. The tram and the logger show you can do on your own and it was not busy enough to warrant the hassle of buying tickets and waiting for a group. Don't waste valuable shore time on it. To wrap up the excursions I would recommend going on shore and look around for a bit and then get a taxi, hire a car or just book directly the things that look good. The pinnacle grill food was much better than the dining room. Overall the service was good on the ship and we really enjoy the suite perks of laundry, pinnacle breakfasts priority embarkation and such. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3
Value for Money 3.0 N/A

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