1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our first cruise on Holland America and our expectations were admittedly high. The Noordam was great, we loved it. Our cabin was nice and decently appointed, except that they don't have CNN. (Why not?)The public areas are ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Holland America and our expectations were admittedly high. The Noordam was great, we loved it. Our cabin was nice and decently appointed, except that they don't have CNN. (Why not?)The public areas are comfortable, nicely and tastfully done and offer a cozy atmosphere. The buffets are well laid out in a manner that makes them accessible, yet uncrowded. The main dining room is elegant and the two premium dining options, Pinnacle Grill and Canalettos, are well worth the few extra bucks. However, we were dissapointed in the lack of good quality cuts of meat and total lack of fresh seafood. There is no carvery where fresh cuts of beef, ham or lamb are served, and I was told by the Culinary Director himself that Holland America does NOT server fresh seafood. How unfortunate. During the course of the cruise we spoke with numerous other passengers, many who had sailed many cruises on Holland America ships, and almost all deemed this ship's food less than expected as compared to other Holland America Ships. Again, not my words, theirs. All the above having been said, the cruise and ports of call were fun and the good memories made are many. We highly recommend the cruise and the ship, but set your expectations low in the quality and variety of food department. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We have cruised HAL many times. After this cruise we both noted that service and shipboard life have slipped. Embarkation was good....lines moved, on board and into our balcony cabin in no time. We had been on the Noordam once before and ... Read More
We have cruised HAL many times. After this cruise we both noted that service and shipboard life have slipped. Embarkation was good....lines moved, on board and into our balcony cabin in no time. We had been on the Noordam once before and she is in good shape. Learned that she is going into drydock in February for an update...wish i checked on that prior to booking. But the ship was clean. Things that broke were quickly fixed (dvd player in cabin, shower in cabin). Our cabin steward was attentive but we noticed that he had a lot of cabins to service....he looked exhausted but very friendly each time we met. Food on board was good. The variety in the main dining room was OK, wait staff seemed to have many tables and the service suffered. We had "as you wish" dining and as we expected, it took several days for us to get a time and table that was suitable. We like a table for two for many reasons....and after 4 days we selected a good time and were seated with reservations. Service is much better with smaller tables. After our first night at a table for 10 and a 2.5 hr meal we ate in the Lido as the maitre'd said we could not reserve a table for 2 at a specific time. Dinner in the lido has changed ! They close one side at 7:30 and then announce on the other side that at 8 they will also close. Lido was packed the times we ate there ! Lido staff in am and lunch were mixed...50% helpful and 50% not. Lido staff stood in front of beverage dispensers not helping passengers, almost surly when asked to clean tables. A change for us ! HAL has cheaped out with rewarding past mariners...they now have a lunch...which i attended....after 1.5 hrs our table never got food ! They send out RSVPs .... both floors on the dining room were almost full ...one would think they could have planned for the numbers coming ! I left. That was disappointing! Entertainment was interesting. Same production (usually expected) numbers (different costumes and singers but same frantic dancing and head shaking)....one evening it was passengers in the marriage game, another it was a blues group (they also had a nightly venue on the ship). The comedian was OK but the piano player was fabulous. Both entertainers were on board the entire 11 days, but only performed one night each. Using passengers for main entertainment is a...cheap-out ! IMO. Daily activities were lame....ex: bird watchers meet, aviators meet, etc really???....no crafts, captains talk, local info (except for shopping). Other topics were sales pitches for the spa etc. The best was the tech time...I took advantage of many classes on Windows 8.1 and they were great ! Only 12 computers in the "lab" and almost each session was full. Perhaps more computers or more interesting sea day activities?? The culinary events were good. The movies selections (during the day showings) were awful ! No one kept track of the quality and in one showing I went to the front desk to complain the sounds was too low ....guess other passengers would just sit there and lip read ! I was thanked when i got back to my seat. We enjoyed the intense port schedule....hitting 2 we had never been to before...St. Kitts and Martinique. We took 2 ship tours...one snorkel at the private island and a train ride in St. Kitts. Both were good but the organization on shore...awful ! I don't think we will be sailing HAL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
Everything started out great. The cabin was very clean and the staff was helpful. All the ports were quiet which was a change from other cruises we have taken, just walk through the cities and enjoy them. The city markets were fun to see. ... Read More
Everything started out great. The cabin was very clean and the staff was helpful. All the ports were quiet which was a change from other cruises we have taken, just walk through the cities and enjoy them. The city markets were fun to see. Those were the good things. The over all quality of Holland America has declined over the past 20 years. They have done away with alot of passenger envolvment. Seems like you are on your own if you don't pay for an experience. The food has had a decline in quality and taste also. Breakfast was the same menu everyday for the 15 days . Lunch not much different. Dinner had the same selections just with a different sauce. After about 8 days there was quite a few people getting sick with what was a respritory problem. The doctors office was full, did not seem to alarm the staff. After a visit to the doctor and minor medication. We continued to get sicker and so did others. Disemberkation was a nightmare. Should not take 2 hours to get off the ship, we asked for help and were told not to worry we would make our flight. Only after complaining again were we helped and made our flight by 1 minute. totally unaccaptable. We waited in line to get in line for 2 hours then another 2 hours at immigration. Holland America needs a board meeting to fix problems. Don't think we will be using them or an affiliate again after 20 years. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We have only cruised 5 or 6 times, but we have experienced a number of cruise lines. We anticipated that Holland America would be at the 'high end' of cruise experiences but that wasn't our experience. I should say that many ... Read More
We have only cruised 5 or 6 times, but we have experienced a number of cruise lines. We anticipated that Holland America would be at the 'high end' of cruise experiences but that wasn't our experience. I should say that many of the issues stated in other reviews were not issues for us - the air conditioning worked; we had an aft stateroom with balcony and no problems with soot, and only very slight vibration when the ship started up; our on-board credit was in the room etc etc. The staff were universally friendly and helpful. The decor is a little old-fashioned, but that isn't a major issue for us. The issues for us were: the food and the 'hard sell' atmosphere. First, the food. We found the Lido buffet restaurant to be a very stressful experience. Waiting in queues; fighting through crowds; some of the food stations were not organised as we expected (baked beans on the Asian section?); lack of tea cups; my partner's order was overlooked and then everything he had ordered was finished. The food itself was cafeteria quality, the carveries served grisly, cheap cuts of meat. In the restaurant, the menu was good, but the delivery was often poor. Overall, the food was far too salty. Eventually, after complaining about this, my partner was offered a low sodium menu, which meant he had to choose his meal the previous night. Really, all that needed to happen was for the sauce to be served separately. The ingredients were not as expected and were inconsistent in quality. Steaks were not cooked properly; a 'New York' cheesecake was made with Ricotta which provided entirely the wrong outcome; a Bomb Alaska was served with egg whites which were not set at all. On the plus side, the bread rolls were superb. The Cannelleto speciality restaurant was especially disappointing. We saw no sign of the Italian plates to share. My pasta was uninspiring, we were served Tiramisu made of some sort of reconstructed powder! The Dive grill, next to the swimming pool, was the best option if you wanted fresh food! We decided not to take the drinks package and to see what we spent. As it turned out, this was a wise move, even though we like wine with dinner and the occasional Pina Colada by the pool. However the drinks were very expensive and we found the on-board system of presenting prices without including the tax and service charges, misleading. The house wine was very acceptable, and was available at a fairly reasonable price. All other wine was very expensive. My partner had booked me a massage as a birthday treat. This was very enjoyable, however straight after I was presented with the products that the masseuse recommended as if I was, of course, going to buy them - for $63 each! She had also correctly identified that I have trouble with my feet, and suggested I have a free footprint assessment after the massage. This I did, and my existing problem was correctly identified. However I was then offered two small shoe inserts for a special on-board price of $189! Is this hard sell? Well, I think some people might feel unable to say 'no' in these situations. I have trained myself to overcome my embarrassment and politely told him I was not going to buy them - a response that was politely taken. The price my partner had paid for the massage, unknown to him, had not included the tax and service charges. When it was added to our bill, there was an additional $20 to pay. This would be a nasty surprise for anyone who had been bought a gift and who then had to pay the service and tax themselves! We have 4 children and like children to be happy. However the 'adult' pool is not an adult pool and is not monitored, so children engaged in forbidden activities like diving and bombing, shrieking as they did so. They were having a great time, however it was rare that the pool was OK for us to swim in and on one occasion it had to be closed due to - well, you can guess what for. The 'no reserving beds' policy is also poorly monitored, although the attendants did remove towels from beds when we told them they had been unoccupied for an hour. These little things add up to influence your customer experience on an expensive cruise, and we had not anticipated that this would be the case with Holland America. However although we enjoyed the trip and the ports we visited, we find ourselves talking about the issues far more than the ports. I think we had been spoiled with Celebrity X - Solstice. Now that really was a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We are big fans of HAL and were very excited about our first European cruise with the line. First to get the negative out of the way: The staff was very pleasant but you could tell they were understaffed: long lines at the front desk, ... Read More
We are big fans of HAL and were very excited about our first European cruise with the line. First to get the negative out of the way: The staff was very pleasant but you could tell they were understaffed: long lines at the front desk, long hold times when calling guest services, sometimes not having the cabin cleaned until 4PM. Additionally, the ship was tired and worn- the toilet seat in our room was peeling, the robes in the spa were frayed or had holes in them, the sofa in our room was dirty and worn. Oh, and the swimming pool was a murky color, I suspect as a result of all of the small children swimming there. Now for the good, this is the perfect sized ship for easy cruising. The food was good, the atmosphere nice, the people friendly, and the verandah large. The Pinnacle Grill was well worth the expense but I cannot say the same for the "Le Cirque" evening. This was our first trip cruising with our child and she loved "Club HAL". There was never a shortage of activities for her and they kept her busy so mom and dad could enjoy some alone time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
Chose this cruise as am not a good sailor & ship docked every day! This meant only nights on board. I found the cabin with balcony to be a life saver!bused the balcony heaps - arriving & departing ports was great to watch. Best ... Read More
Chose this cruise as am not a good sailor & ship docked every day! This meant only nights on board. I found the cabin with balcony to be a life saver!bused the balcony heaps - arriving & departing ports was great to watch. Best exp was sailing into Venice - what a sight viewed from up high on the deckE had 2 days of sailing & were disappointed that there was no on board entertainment. We attended the Windows 8 lessons & that was all on offer! We did our own thing on shore - catching local busses or the hop on/off busses & exploring by ourselves. There was virtually no assistance if you wanted to do yr own stuff on shore. Some folk had dowloaded city info before boarding on their iPads. I will do this for our Baltic tour in June. We are returning to do another HAL - so fingers crossed. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We are regular cruisers and have been on the Nieuw Amsterdam and the Westerdam, as well as several ships from other companies. This was a 22 night cruise from Venice to Barcelona, and was very port intensive. First the good things: ... Read More
We are regular cruisers and have been on the Nieuw Amsterdam and the Westerdam, as well as several ships from other companies. This was a 22 night cruise from Venice to Barcelona, and was very port intensive. First the good things: Smooth embarkation, arrived 1130 just as they started boarding, and were able to drop our hand baggage in the cabin by 1215. Holland America always have 48 hours of not being able to serve yourself anything at the start of a cruise. This is to help stop the spread of norovirus. Our cases had been delivered to our stateroom by the time we had finished lunch. We were in Veranda cabin 4179, which was right at the back of the ship, a good size, clean and comfortable. Despite the position it was relatively quiet, although we did get a lot of noise and vibration from the engines when the ship was close to maximum speed. Thankfully this was very rare. When needed the tendering operations were very well organised and went smoothly with very little queuing. The ship was kept very clean by the hard working staff, and although it was launched in 2006, it appeared in a good state of repair. I understand the ship is going into dry dock early next year to be refurbished. Now the not so good: Air conditioning failed one night early in cruise which coincided with a lot of noise outside our cabin. Found out next day a belt associated with the aircon had failed and there had been smoke in the corridor. We did get a letter of apology the next day together with a free cook book, but this was very heavy and we wouldn't have used it. A bottle of wine or some onboard credit would have been much more useful. The plug for the bathroom sink did not seal properly so we couldn't fill sink with water. This had to be fixed twice during cruise. At least twice dirty towels that had been put on bathroom floor to be replaced were taken, but no clean ones left. Holland America leave 2 beach towels in your cabin which you can take off the ship. The procedure for getting clean ones is the same as for the normal cabin towels. So after a day on the beach we put ours on the bathroom floor and they were collected. However, it took 4 days and some enquiries to guest services before we had 2 clean ones delivered. The service in the anytime dining room was very inconsistent and often poor, with meals taking anything from 1 hour to 2 and half hours. We were not the only ones that thought this, and I believe several people including myself complained. One evening we waited 40 minutes after our first course, and then the waiter bought our main meal before our second starter. Okay he was very sorry and kept apologising, but this should not have happened. On another occasion we were brought and charged for the wrong wine, and it wasn’t easy to get a refund. The water in the aft pool on the Lido deck was cloudy for the first few days, and then soot particles and some dead insects appeared as well. Several people were moaning, but I was the only one that complained, and surprise, surprise, it was cleaned 24 hours later! Some of the staff seemed miserable and surly, an example being on two occasions when we had our breakfast in our cabin, and the steward who delivered it just dumped it without a word and left. This was actually two 11 night cruises back to back, but was booked as one with just one booking reference. However, Holland America treated it as one cruise for some things, but two for others. For example; you can take on a bottle of wine per person at the start of a cruise, but they would not let us take on another bottle at the beginning of the second 11 days. When we did a similar 2 leg cruise with Princess (which is also part of the Carnival group) we were allowed to take on another bottle of wine per person at the start of the second leg. Food: The food was generally good, but was sometimes not very warm by the time it reached the table. The choice and quality both in the Lido buffet and the MDR was better on the second 11 night leg. Entertainment: Acceptable is the best way to describe this, because although there was quite a good choice, it was almost the same most evenings, so it tended to get boring. The entertainers that we considered very good were Adagio (classical duo), and Michael in the piano bar. The BB King Blues Band were also good, but they were an acquired taste, and they were usually too loud. Most of the cast production shows were quite good, with 'Droom' being excellent. General: On the change over day between the two 11 night cruises, Holland America put a card in our cabin asking for our opinion. I filled this out with many of the things listed above which was the first time in our 26 cruises that I have ever complained in writing. However, it worked with many of these points sorted out. Holland America are advertised as 5 star ships, but we consider Princess and Royal Caribbean to be better, and they are 4 star.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
My wife and I had cruised on seven previous occasions and this was our eighth in total and first with Holland America. We had been led to believe that we were in for 'something special''. Not so, in fact almost everything ... Read More
My wife and I had cruised on seven previous occasions and this was our eighth in total and first with Holland America. We had been led to believe that we were in for 'something special''. Not so, in fact almost everything was very average. Our stateroom balcony cabin and attendant were excellent but everything quickly fell away after that. The ship was drab and dreary. The dining room staff were dressed in uniforms more usually found on motor mechanics. The same people did not have a good grasp of the English language. Food in the main dining rooms was ordinary but with an improvement on formal dining occasions. Main courses were often served on cold plates and warm food was often cold by the time it was served (we were probably the furthest table from the food collection area). We opted for less expensive wines with our meals but half the wines we selected were "not available". Front office staff were courteous and friendly. Embarkation and disembarkation procedures were good. Selection of ports was OK but the usual excessive charges were applied if you purchase a shore excursion On board entertainment was not good with maybe one or two exceptions although the piano bar entertainer and B B King went against this trend. Daytime entertainment was 75% aimed at bodily health functions. The ship's photographers were in your face from day one - just how many times do you need your picture taken? If I don't sound happy - I'm not. Not surprisingly, we have cruised with HAL for the last time. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Taxi from Riverside hotel was about 10-15 minutes ($20). The Riverside Hotel is in Los Olsos and was a fun place to stay for a couple of days prior to departure. There is many restaurants close by. The room we had was 12th floor new ... Read More
Taxi from Riverside hotel was about 10-15 minutes ($20). The Riverside Hotel is in Los Olsos and was a fun place to stay for a couple of days prior to departure. There is many restaurants close by. The room we had was 12th floor new building on the corner with a large wrap around balcony and huge bathroom with jacuzzi tub. On traveling to port the dropping off luggage with porters was immediate/efficeint. Embarkation was efficient. Stateroom available immediately. We arrived about 12 ish. Room steward introduced himself & his assistant to both DH and I and asked if we needed anything. Our balcony was above the canister life rafts and the cabin 4025 is recessed back on the ship. this means that the cabins that protrude to the right and left that are on higher decks can seeing into your balcony somewhat. I thought this would be an inconvenience but unfortunately what was worse was the continuous smell of cigarette smoke. It made the balcony unusable and a complete waste of money. I wanted to dine on the balcony, but I would of been miserable. The cabin has white pipes below the balcony and you can see the life boats to the right and left. there is no clear view straight down from the balcony. The cabin has a door connected to the room 4027 if needed. the door needed to be locked when we arrived, my DH opened the door on the neighbors. yikes. I will not sail with HAL again due to their smoking policy. The food was acceptable in the MDR. My favorite dishes were found on Lido (Indian and taco salad bar- I need some flavor). My favorite dessert was in the Lido desk too pineapple upside down cake. In the MDR, I find that the waiters have so many tables and they work so hard to be efficient yet cannot interact much with the guest. They remember your names which is amazing, They remember your after dinner drink, I don't know how they do this. The ports were interesting. Not many excursions to take that varied from island to island. No scuba diving excursion on island of Curacao-arranged own excursion for scuba. Arrange own excursion on Dominican Republic and on Bonaire and on Grand Turk. The cruise as a whole was good and relaxing. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
This was a fabulous ship with excellent dining options. We enjoyed all meals on board, even the buffet for breakfast and lunch. We enjoyed the entertainment and guest speakers at art auction. Our ports of call were great - Half Moon Cay ... Read More
This was a fabulous ship with excellent dining options. We enjoyed all meals on board, even the buffet for breakfast and lunch. We enjoyed the entertainment and guest speakers at art auction. Our ports of call were great - Half Moon Cay (gorgeous), Grand Turk (lovely), Samana (the Best beach & snorkel), Bonaire (stunning), Curacao (great food). I must elaborate on Samana which tends to get a bad rap. We shared a van/taxi with 2 other couples and went to a gorgeous, secluded beach for the entire afternoon. The town of Samana had a charming malecon/boardwalk all along the shore with a stunning view. Samana was very picturesque and locals were so very friendly. We read reviews of folks saying "stay on the ship". Big mistake! This was one of our favorite stops - quite beautiful. We will never sail on Holland America again until they eliminate the smoking! Though smoking is in casino and on all balcony's, we were constantly exposed to the smoke throughout the ship. Even taking any elevators or stairways, we got hit with the noxious smoke. The worst was our balcony. We paid extra for this lovey balcony, only to be confined to our room because of our smoking neighbors! We would order breakfast and take it out to the balcony. The cabin next door had 2 heavy smokers and we would end up hastily bringing our tray back into our cabin! The smoke was too much! Later in the day when we would be departing during sunset, we took our wine on the balcony. Again, we had to come indoors due to the excessive smoke! We were so angry that we paid for this balcony yet not able to use it without being choked with smoke. Holland America needs to realize the harm they are causing so many folks, esp. the seniors who breath the Casino air. The casino is open to the entire ship! Therefore, the central atrium all the way to the top floor (elevators included) reaks of smoke. Thank goodness for the cruise lines who have elimanated smoking. BTW, the staff was so very friendly and completely accomodating. They bent over backwards to make sure we were happy! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Embarking was a breeze - good start. Cabin 4010 - very nice, balcony cabin- clean and spacious. Room attendants greeted us and provided a card with their names and contact details. I was very disappointed that the ship had no ... Read More
Embarking was a breeze - good start. Cabin 4010 - very nice, balcony cabin- clean and spacious. Room attendants greeted us and provided a card with their names and contact details. I was very disappointed that the ship had no "wow" factor, compared to 2 Royal Carribbean Ships I have sailed on - it was very boring,no fabulous staircase or art work to look at. The meals in the a la carte restaurant were excellent along with the service. No problems getting served at the bars. The croupiers in the casino were pretty dull and one of them kept making mistakes. The entertainment was dire - especially for Xmas - very much same old same old as the singers stayed with the ship, unlike RC where they fly in and out. One of the singers should really not have been there. I have to say, in the end, we stopped going to the shows but went on the last night and it was just as bad. Photographers were terrible - we had some formal shots done, only one was full length and showed off my lovely new long gown but sadly the faces were out of focus. In one really nice photo I had my eyes closed and the photographer told me that they were not closed - in the print, my eyes were closed! Didn't buy any photos as they were poor. Shore excursions were very "tourist trap based". Diving excursion got cancelled as their boat had broken down, so we found a dive centre ourselves and dived - for half the cost the ship was charging. Internet is ridiculously priced - don't understand why they charge so much. No good for teenagers trying to study. Very helpful and friendly staff all round the ship without exception. I would not recommend this cruise line for families with older teenagers - the no alcohol rule was not such an issue - although it was a shame they were not allowed to join us with some champagne on Xmas day - but there was nothing for them to do in the evening - this ship better suits the older generation. Disembarkation again was a breeze - very good and efficient. We won't use this cruise line again as it does not have the glamour appeal that you would expect on a cruise ship - no champagne on Xmas Day and poor entertainment….. RC here we come…..   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
November 15 – 25, 2013 This is my cruise review. All opinions are personal and subjective. My wife and I are 3 star Mariners who have nearly 100 days on HAL. We have been sailing Hal since 1998. We are in our late 50’s and this trip ... Read More
November 15 – 25, 2013 This is my cruise review. All opinions are personal and subjective. My wife and I are 3 star Mariners who have nearly 100 days on HAL. We have been sailing Hal since 1998. We are in our late 50’s and this trip we were joined by great friends. Our vacation started with a flight to Ft. Lauderdale the evening before the cruise. We stayed locally and lingered at the hotel the next morning through lunch. We wanted to avoid the crush of people who like to board as soon as they can. It proved to be a good strategy. Embarkation was a breeze. We were suite passengers so we did not have to wait to board. We had done all the paperwork on line and had our passports so everything went smoothly. Escort is no longer provided to the cabin, but we were in aft suite 6166 so I knew where to go. The elevators midship where we boarded had a long line so we went aft. That didn’t help. Two elevators were being used for luggage and the one of the other two was malfunctioning. We gave up waiting and lugged our carry ons up 4 decks. Our cabin was ready and we made ourselves at home. We love the aft cabins for the view and for the large wrap around balcony. Our friends stopped by and we discussed dinner plans. We were open dining, so we went to the Neptune Lounge and made dinner reservations for the first 4 nights. We were disappointed that we could not reserve for all 10 nights, but we were told 4 nights out is as far out as they would go. Later in the cruise we did not have reservations but we were seated without a wait. Our cabin was clean and well kept. We met our steward and his assistant, who did a fine job throughout the cruise. The safety drill was in the rain but we didn’t melt. It was time to sail and we were soon on our way. Like most lines, HAL has significantly reduced staff over the years. This was immediately apparent in the main dining room. The worst service of the trip was the first night. It took us 2 hours to eat at our table for 4, with long delays between courses. The wine stewards were few and far between and harried at best. Portion sizes continue to shrink, but we were pleased with the quality of the food. There were good choices every evening along with staples available every day. The service was irregular through the cruise. Some tables had better waiters than others. The guys work incredibly hard and were always kind and polite despite being understaffed. We love the HAL crews, which are always a highlight of a HAL cruise. They all do everything they can to help you enjoy your vacation. We ate twice in the Pinnacle Grill. The food and service is a decided upgrade from the main dining room. The portions were too big here, but we enjoyed delicious steak, fish and chicken. I lost 3 pounds on this cruise, which would not have happened had we eaten here every night. As a treat it can’t be beat! The ports were typical Caribbean. Half Moon Key is pretty. We rented a cabana, which was comfortable and helped protect us from the sun. Grand Turk is similar to Half Moon Key with the cruise industry development and shops. Samana, DR was poor and polluted, as we were warned. We took a tour but there was not much to see except for the nice Taino Park. The ABC Islands are beautiful and always nice to visit. We dodged occasional showers along the way, including a loud thunderstorm just north of Cuba on our last sea day. The entertainment early in the cruise was excellent. The first show was hysterical Canadian ventriloquist Mike Robinson. His talent is amazing! Other fine acts we enjoyed were Scottish comic Scotty McLean and the talented singer and impressionist Tricia Kelly. One night Robinson and Kelly performed back to back, which was fun. The Noordam Singers and Dancers were typical cruise entertainment and nothing special. Later in the trip was a Swing artist but I’m a rock & roll guy so I didn’t go. The captain was Jeroen Van Donselaar. He kept us well informed throughout the cruise. He said there were 1810 passengers and 810 staff. That low staff ratio was evident in the bars as there was sometimes no one to take drink orders, so we had to go to locations with bartenders to get drinks. That was disappointing. The cruise director was Shane Michaels. He was nothing special but did his job. In general I would rate the cruise 4 stars out of 5 – with one glaring exception that will prevent us from sailing HAL again unless it is changed. Many cruise lines have banned smoking from cabins and balconies. HAL continues to allow smoking on the balconies. We had the misfortune to be surrounded by smokers, in particular one adjacent cabin with chain smokers from morning until late at night. The ship movement and wind even in port wrapped the smoke around our balcony, making it impossible to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. We’ve never encountered smoking this bad, and we won’t deal with that stench again. I suspect smokers have changed to HAL because the other lines prohibit smoking on the balconies. It’s HAL’s business decision to allow the smoking, but it’s a deal breaker for us. Our health and comfort are an important part of our cruise experience, as is enjoying the balcony. There are plenty of no smoking alternatives to HAL, so we will continue to cruise. We will reconsider HAL if they change their smoking policy.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Being our second cruise and reading the positive reviews of HAM & the Noordam, we were looking forward in anticipation of at least the same standard ( if not better ) as our first cruise ( Dawn Princess 14 days Melbourne- NZ ... Read More
Being our second cruise and reading the positive reviews of HAM & the Noordam, we were looking forward in anticipation of at least the same standard ( if not better ) as our first cruise ( Dawn Princess 14 days Melbourne- NZ -Melbourne). While we did enjoy the cruise, the Noordam/HAM/crew disappointed. On arrival, there was no positive greeting, just formalities and a keycard. Looking forward to quickly unpacking, securing our valuables and heading up top for a drink, our plans fouled almost immediately. Our cabin ( 8114). The safe wouldn't work. After 4 phone calls, 4 crew visits, 24 hours and 3 trips to queue at the 'front desk' for deposit box access, finally someone turned up and replaced the batteries! We also found that there were no robes, no wine glasses and one of the balcony chairs looked like it had been salvaged from a street-side collection. Poor standards and no checking. Dining Second seating in the main dining room, we rarely finished in time to see a 10:00 show. Our wine waiter was (deservedly) 'fired' after 2 weeks (not our doing) . Our favoured wines ( NZ Sauvignon Blanc, French Pinot Noir or Beaujolais were 'out of stock' or ran out early in the cruise. American, Chilean or Argentinian substitutes were the only 'options'. There were so many details where the Noordam dining experience was found to be lacking in comparison to the Dawn Princess. Pinnacle Grill - Unless you are keen to have a big piece of meat ( very nice I will admit ) don't bother. As a 'fine dining' experience, it was very poor. The service and presentation were 'average'. Staff training, oversight and adherence to standards seems to be the issue. After being seated at 8:30, we had the lights turned off/down at 10:30! A polite word from the maitre-de perhaps? Astounding! Entertainment Cheapest they could find? We walked out on most of the shows. Very disappointing. Overall - There were so many areas which didn't measure up to the standard we experienced on the Princess ship. I could elaborate but I think the opinion of a gentleman I met on the bow one morning perhaps says it all. " I've travelled with Holland America many times since 1964. It's not the same any more, they just seem to be nickel & diming us all the time now"   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My wife and I generally choose a cruise because of the ports visited and not the ship, however we did find the Noordam was a poor choice compared to other ships we have been on. Our verandah stateroom, 4016, was poorly positioned, jutting ... Read More
My wife and I generally choose a cruise because of the ports visited and not the ship, however we did find the Noordam was a poor choice compared to other ships we have been on. Our verandah stateroom, 4016, was poorly positioned, jutting out from the decks above, resulting in coffee spills,wine spills, cigarette ash, etc from above. At times the verandah was unusable because of smokers above and alongside, (many cruise ships do not allow smoking in staterooms or on verandahs). The stateroom also had problems with the toilet, bath, verandah door, (wind noise). There was no coin operated laundry, which does not help on a 22 day cruise. One major control error was that signatures were never required for on board purchases - in a few cases we were double charged and could not prove they were not ours - to Noordam's credit, they did credit us, but we wonder what would have happened if they refused, or our ship's card was used wrongly! The food was adequate without being great, however the staff in the Vista Dining room were dysfunctional, and often got orders mixed up. On many nights we were more than halfway through our meal before a wine steward turned up. On the credit side, arrival/departure/embarking/disembarking was excellent, as were the shore excursion organisation.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We have cruised about ten times with various cruise lines before and have always considered HAL, along with Princess, among the better cruise lines for us (we are not exactly the younger generation). We last cruised with Princess in 2011 ... Read More
We have cruised about ten times with various cruise lines before and have always considered HAL, along with Princess, among the better cruise lines for us (we are not exactly the younger generation). We last cruised with Princess in 2011 in Asia. This is our third cruise with HAL on their 11-day Ancient Mystery starting off from Athens. We were very much disappointed. Noordam is a smaller ship and we are fine with that. However, there are smaller ship should not equate to smaller expectations. Room Service: We usually get room service for breakfast because it would be easier for our elderly mother. The delivery is usually on time. However, it was very rarely (in fact, never) that they got our simple order right. As we had three people in our state room, we would clearly mark our order for three and placed orders for at least two pots of coffee and one other hot beverage. They would however, never gave us three cups or three sets of cutlery. The orders were also never properly filled out. Despite of repeated request to the room service delivery staff, we finally gave up. We ended up ordering the hot food and drinks via room service and went up to Lido deck ourselves for items and cutlery/cup that was missing from our order. It worked out pretty good. Entertainment: In their desperate attempt to get good rating on their evaluation form, the Cruise Director reminded us at the beginning of our cruise that they could not please everyone and we should only judge entertainment on their effort. There is little doubt that the efforts made by the entertainers are good, but the type of entertainment effort provided by HAL was only fair. There were three big performances, including the DROOM show towards the end of the cruise which was excellent and full credit to the performing staff. Entertainment on other nights, however, consisted of solo guitarist, local Greek dancing group, and solo comedian/magician. These shows lasted usually for 30 minutes or less and most are more appropriate for smaller stage (eg bar or lounge setting) and not as the main attraction. Smaller ships should not equate to lesser entertainment shows. Organization: We took a private tour from Port Said with over-night stay in Cairo (try not to take shore excursions from any cruise lines because they are usually really expensive compared to the real world). We contacted HAL before sailing, informing them of our itinerary and received a confirmation letter stating that they ‘approved’ our overnight trip and would pass the information onto the ship personnel. When we came back on board at Alexandria, our cruise ship ID cards lit up at the check-in counter. We waited for the cruise line official to come out and gave us a stern talk about not letting them know that we were not returning to the ship at Port Said and that they had to wait for us. She finally let us back onboard. We promptly dropped off the official letter from HAL at the front desk noting that the breakdown in communication was within HAL, but we never heard from the front desk acknowledging their error or apologizing for their previous accusations. Shopping: They claimed price match/guarantee for jewellery. We bought a relatively inexpensive Swarovski Crystal bracelet on board but found exactly the same one in Mykonos for a lesser price. We bought the one in Mykonos with a receipt and pictures of the store and display. The two bracelets were exactly the same with the same colour combination and marking on the claps etc. Even the assistant manager confirmed that it was sterling silver and same make. However, the manager of the store said that we had to produce the lot and code number in order to meet the requirement of their price guarantee claim. I doubt any retailer can or will provide customers with the lot and code number for their products. And it would be impossible to see any diamond with the same cutting and carat weight in the same token. One can expect price to be a little more expensive on the cruise ship, however, if I think if they want to make a ‘price guarantee’ claim to draw in customers, they should make a honest and reasonable effort to honor their claim. So, buyers beware. We would also like to commend on a male Pilipino staff at the gift shop was very helpful. Boarding and Departure process: The boarding process was efficient and quick. The disembarking however was complete chaos. People were lining up on the stairs to disembark all the way up to the Lower Promenade level (exit three levels down) even though we abide to their exit color coded system. Words of advice: take the elevator no matter how long the wait- you can still get down to the lower exit level faster than lining up. Getting out of the Istanbul terminal to catch a private car was also difficult because of the limited space. Make sure you have previous discussion as to the pick-up point and arrive ahead of time (which could be difficult because of the line up). Food: Food in the dining room was acceptable yet unremarkable. Service provided by the staff, on the other hand, was good as expected. Dining room and Lido deck staff were also very good, attentive and friendly (except for one server on Lido deck who we avoided) and should be commended for their hard work. On Lido deck, most of their hot water dispensing machines were either not working or with the dispensing buttons badly worn out. It is always a guessing game as to where to get your hot water. The BBQ they provided at Mykonos was excellent and a nice break from the routine Others: When compared to our most recent Princess cruise in 2011, HAL came across as ‘cheap’. Simple example, on Princess, we got off the cruise just before our birthdays (three birthdays within 10 days of one other). However, on seeing our birthdays being so close to our time on the cruise, Princess made sure we had our birthday cakes etc on the last day of the cruise and decorated the outside of our room with balloons, very simple touch to make our cruise more memorable . This time we spent our birthdays on board HAL and HAL were aware of it. When there were no balloons, I approached the front desk and was told that if I wanted balloons, it would be $1.50 each. Wonder how much it will cost HAL for little balloons. By the way, all other cruisers liked the balloons on our door because they served as landmark to help identify the corridor, directions and cabins. Port-of-Calls: We got lucky and were able to tour all the cities without experiencing any riots and demonstrations; with Cairo and the pyramids being the highlight of the cruise. For the pyramids, don’t pay to go inside the Great pyramid. Instead, go to the smaller one (‘Third’ Pyramid) by the Sphinx. It is just as interesting. Make sure you have someone who can speak Egyptian to negotiate for you for the camel rides and pictures at the pyramid. We heard one lady passenger on our cruise line who just wanted to get on a camel for pictures but got taken out to the middle of the dessert without her permission and her husband had to hop on a second camel on hot pursuit. It was for good intent as the handler wanted her to have a nice view but without knowing what was happening (and you can’t jump off the camel), it was not a pleasant experience. For Istanbul, while one has to visit the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul because it is a tourist attraction, spent your time at the Spice Bazaar instead. We wanted to go back to the Grand Bazaar a second time for more shopping, but our guide recommended us going to the Spice Bazaar instead because it is cheaper, cleaner and sell roughly the same thing. He was right. Go to the Grand Bazaar for the experience but save your shopping at the Spice Bazaar. One thing you have to watch out for. The nice Turkish Delights samples we got at the stores were not the same as those packaged in boxes. They are made with sugar instead of honey (despite what the store owners may tell you) and there is hardly any nuts in them (as on the picture on the box). Also if you want the standard ‘cheap’ Turkish Delights, buy those offered at the cruise port in Kusadasi. The exact ones were sold at fraction of the cost as in Istanbul. Overall, the itinerary was excellent and port-of-calls provided great touring experience. The Noordam, in our opinion, failed to live up to HAL’s ‘Signature of Excellence’ claim.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We booked a Deluxe Veranda Suite through HAL and arrived at Civitavecchia around 2:00 PM for embarkation. We opted to take Italian rail from Rome at a little over 5 Euros each rather than the exhorbitant rates charged for transfer by HAL. ... Read More
We booked a Deluxe Veranda Suite through HAL and arrived at Civitavecchia around 2:00 PM for embarkation. We opted to take Italian rail from Rome at a little over 5 Euros each rather than the exhorbitant rates charged for transfer by HAL. The Civitavecchia train station is about a five minute walk from the port entrance, and there is a free shuttle from the port entrance to the ship. Absolutely no wait at embarkation, so we walked right onboard. Our stateroom was immaculate and was kept that way for the entire ship, our stewards were superb. The condition of the ship was excellent and was spotless and well maintained throughout. The staff at the Neptune Lounge were always helpful, especially after my cruise partner had her luggage lost courtesy of US Airways. US Airways, BTW, made almost no effort to reunite her with her luggage until Athens when the cruise was almost finished. The girls in the Neptune Lounge however were great and loaned her clothing and personal items from spares they had in stock and kept on US Air in an attempt to get her luggage to the ship ASAP. The ports of call were all very good, except Katakolon. We opted not to go to Olympia since the time devoted to it and it's size and condition seemed to not be worth the trip. Dubrovinik was extremely crowded with two ships in port, but was ok otherwise. Corfu was nice, Santorini nice but Oia I found to be kitschy. Ephesus is magnificent and a must see. For $240 we had a private tour guide, private vehicle and received a personal tour of Ephesus, Mary's house, Terrace Houses,the Ephesus museum, ruins of the Cathedral of St. John and Temple of Artemis, Mosque and lunch topped off by coffee at the home of our tour guide, Bulent Orkus. This was about the same price as the HAL tour. The private tour was worth every cent. Athens is all about the Akropolis. The Plaka is mostly a tourist trap, but has some nice areas off the pedestrian zones. Messina was an afterthought. It was a feast day in Messina and we left just as it was staring, Palermo would be a better stop. Time would not be an issue if they eliminated Katakolon and Olympia. Local transportation between the ship and towns/attractions were at least one tenth of the price of the HAL shuttles at the port. I cannot see why anyone would use the HAL shuttles when the local transportation at all ports of call were adequate. The ship's staff were all extremely courteous and helpful, which is one of the reasons we have been faithful HAL customers. The food on the other hand, has steadily deteriorated over the past few years and is now simply unacceptable. Some items that are braised are excellent, such as the osso bucco. The lobster served with the surf and turf was inedible. The filet was tasteless and poorly cooked. The food at the Lido trough was mediocre at best and atrocious at worst. I am not overly picky, but I do expect good quality food. Pinnacle Grill food was quite good except for the steak Diane which was doused with way too much brandy and not "cooked out". The dining room staff worked hard, but it appeared that not enough staff were serving too many tables. IMHO HAL has tried to keep costs down by cutting back on food quality, quantity and the amount of wait staff. The celebrity chefs who attach their names to the HAL menu really need to make an inspection tour and see what is coming out of the kitchen. Disembarkation went smoothly without any problem. We will not be sailing with HAL in the future. This is entirely due to the poor quality of the food. This is unfortunate as the staff and maintenance of the ship are outstanding. We have noticed the quality of the food deteriorating over a period of several years, so we believe that it was not an aberration, but more indicative of cost saving measures by HAL. We would not be averse to modest increases in prices if food quality was not sacrificed. It is time we checked out Seabourne Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
WE boarded Holland America cruise ship Noordam in Civitavecchia on Sunday 19th June. We travelled by train First Class ( Italian Joke ) from Rome Termini a big mistake as cases were being stolen as the train was way overcrowded for beach ... Read More
WE boarded Holland America cruise ship Noordam in Civitavecchia on Sunday 19th June. We travelled by train First Class ( Italian Joke ) from Rome Termini a big mistake as cases were being stolen as the train was way overcrowded for beach goers and thieves. . Check in was painless as we has submitted our details on line. Our stateroom was changed from the 4th deck to 7Th. We went immediately to the Vista Dining supervisor and booked our 8 seat table for 8pm. What a great table on the first 10 days with such laughter. The service from Muto was brilliant. The food was excellent but started to be repetitive in choice. Therese from the Philippians wine waiter looked after us well but prices are way over the top $27 plus 15% service is the starter for average tasting wine. The first 10days we traveled from Florence to Monte Carlo , Barcelona , Majorca . Tunis , Sicily and finishing in Naples and back to Civitavecchia. The second part of the cruise took us to the Eastern Mediterranean starting in Dubrovnik and finishing in Medina before heading back to Rome The food became boring and the salad starters and soups were average . Lamb shanks looked washed up on the plate but tasted ok . The sweats were repetitive but were enjoyable all the same. The Lido restaurant was a great place to eat for the very hungry . The Asian counter was popular but portions were small and second visits became the norm. The only complaint I have was the entertainment which was very poor. It was not a patch on our other cruises. The only night were a standing ovation was given the cruise director closed proceedings too early and ignored the passengers request. Black tie nights were ignored and guests were allowed into the dining room and not properly dressed even for smart casual. This spoiled the black tie nights which our ladies so enjoy. There was no special entertainment to spice Black Tie Nights . Overall I think Holland America Noordam crew are committed to guests comforts and a special emphasis was put on safety drills. Crew did special drills during port visits . Holland America is an efficient company who seem to push profit too far with on board drinks etc and shore excursions which are way over the top in pricing. Would i rush back to Holland America in comparison to the other Cruise Company probably not. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Selected this cruise because of the itinerary, had best selection of Mediterranean ports at a pretty good price. Arrived in Rome three and a half days prior to cruise. It was warmer than most mid June, didn't do a lot of day time ... Read More
Selected this cruise because of the itinerary, had best selection of Mediterranean ports at a pretty good price. Arrived in Rome three and a half days prior to cruise. It was warmer than most mid June, didn't do a lot of day time walking. Found a tourist apartment for less than half of what a hotel would have cost. Was located 20 minute walk from Spanish Steps and 15 minute walk from Colosseum. Made arrangements with private tour operator to pick up at airport, provide day long site seeing of Rome and to take us to the pier. Arrived at the port about 1030, driver suggest we leave early because lots of people from Rome travel to the beaches around Civitavecchia on Sunday. Took us over an hour and a half. Dock of embarkation was well set up. Even though check in hadn't started there was a place in the air conditioning to sit and wait. We were checked in and were on board by about 1130. Staterooms were set up and ready so we could drop our hand carry items before heading to the Lido for lunch and explore the ship. The room was a good size, don't really think it was that much bigger than a balcony cabin on Princess, other than it had a fold out love seat. Balcony, thought the width of the cabin was only about four feet deep, didn't allow must room to stretch out you legs sitting in one of the two chairs. The cabins on deck six looked like the balconies were about three feet wider. Even though didn't use the tub as a tub it was nice having the extra room in the bathroom. Didn't get mugged by the shower curtain. For all the hype I've read about Holland Americas dining, I wasn't that impressed. It was just standard cruise line food. Just as every other cruise I've been on we don't know how to cook a baked potato. The menu was not put together well. One night there may be one item I really wanted to try, then the next night would have five out of six items I would have liked. Wait staff was pretty good but did have to complain that they were slow to refill water and remove dirty plates. Some of this was due that even though the seating was suppose to be at 8:00, they were still allowing people to show up at 9:15 and still be seated. Vista Lounge entertainment was very disappointing. It wasn't until about day eight that I realized the stage had more than just a star cur tin. Seemed like every night started the same way with the same female singer singing some ballad. One night the show was nothing more than the four primary singers sitting on chairs taking turns at singing. Most nights the ship band didn't support the stage production, was a recording. Other than ship provided musical venues, they had no other nightly entertainment. No nightly comedy show or other act. Their process for shore excursions was one of the better I've seen. They could have staggered the times a bit better to avoid crowding in the Vista Lounge. They would call each tour and as you and your family left the lounge you were given a number assigning you to a bus. Saved having everyone crowd around to swarm on to buses. Nothing against the excursion staff of the Noordam, but Holland America needs to do a better job of screening their tour operators. Tour guides need to have more than just basic English skills. The guide in Palm was so bad everyone was just happy it was over. Disembarkation was smooth. Preassigned times based on color and number on baggage tag. We were able to either wait in our cabin or anywhere on the ship we pleased. Luggage stations were spread out enough that there was no congestion. We disembarked at a different terminal than the one we left from. It looked like the people getting on didn't have the same space and amenities we had. Over all I'd say this was just an okay cruise. Nothing really special, don't know if I'd sail Holland America again or not. Itinerary was port heavy, only had one day at sea. I think at most ports they could have offered the ability to take two tours a day. Most times tours were four hours and were back on board by 1:30 to 2:00. Ship could have stayed in port another two hours and we could have made the next port call with no problem. Most days we only averages 11.5 knots on a ship with a max speed of 22 or 24, so he really wasn't pushing it to the next port. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
I booked this cruise ON MY OWN. I contacted HAL on several occasions to ask about the cruise, the facilities,the ports and I was ALWAYS met with half answers and fairly nasty attitudes. Their reply to me was to "Contact your travel ... Read More
I booked this cruise ON MY OWN. I contacted HAL on several occasions to ask about the cruise, the facilities,the ports and I was ALWAYS met with half answers and fairly nasty attitudes. Their reply to me was to "Contact your travel professional for these answers"...HELLO! Because of their lack of information, I spent a great deal of additional time researching the ports and actually did quite well. Things about the ship remained a mystery until we actually got there! The ship was old, but nice enough. Our room was on the end of the ship with an extra large verandah. Our room stewards were wonderful and very attentive. The dinning room waiters were slow, the passengers were not all that friendly and basically kept to themselves. It may be because of the busy schedule and lack of activities on the ship. The front desk people were great but I sent post cards from every port to the grandchildren and paid the going rate for that port, but I see that a lot were mailed from the same port with the same stamps so they must have just held on to them and mailed when they could. They promised the mail went out everyday. I think not. My BIG pet peeve was the travel desk. They were NEVER there. I needed to ask questions, maybe book a tour but wanted more information, needed info if not taking a tour. NEVER there! The tours were well run and were pretty good. They sent a crew member on each one to check them out.Even when we bought port shuttle tickets, they were sold by a front desk person and they could not tell me anything about that port! The other problem was the computer GEEK. He was seldom there and I spent a great deal of my paid computer time helping others sign up and get onto the Internet. He was basically worthless. Oh, and forget your 3G, you have to purchase and use their Internet service. We took what was two different cruises combined. The food was the same old, same old every day. The buffet was very nice except when it was closed, there was no food to be had. On Disney and QM2 there are always places to grab a bite to eat or some ice cream...not on the Noordam! The entertainment was lousy...the casino was dead, and the only bar that had any action was the piano bar BUT they allow people to sit and listen so when someone like us who wanted to have a few drinks go in, there is no room for us. That was just messed up! You are allowed to bring on all the wine you want and if you buy hard liquor on the pier, you can also bring it on. We left every port on the verandah, having a drink, and a toast, "Been there, Done THAT!". As for the itinerary, it was full and covered all you would want to see. We visited Asia (Turkey) and Africa (Tunisia) and many ports in Europe. You only have to unpack once and you wake up in a new place every day. We have now seen it all and loved it. It wore us out being so busy but we did not tour long during the days and were able to relax on the ship. There are no laundry facilities on the ship. You must use their laundry and pay well for it. I am not going to wash my clothes by hand and hang all over the room so I had no choice. I also had to beg for laundry bags, they made it very difficult. I was told larger ships have no self serve laundry rooms but I beg to differ. Disney has on all decks and the QM2 (larger than any HAL ship)has FREE laundry facilities! By the way, I had no problem with the closets or hangers and there is a lot of storage...LOOK UNDER THE COUCH...huge drawers! I read blogs that said there was no storage! Oh, and there were NO CLOCKS in the rooms, bring one! We are Mariner members also. We were not invited to any brunches with the captain or any cocktail parties as noted on their site. There was a luncheon the day we left, but it was a crazy, crowded mess so we left and went to the buffet. The Mariner club is a crock. Would we go HAL again? I think not. It was nice to try something new but after Disney and Cunard...it is not worth settling for less. there were good points and bad points..as on all cruises, but this will be the last HAL trip. **** In Rome, call RomeCabs (Sophia) they took us right to the baggage men on the pier and were right by our bags when we left the ship at the end of the cruise. It was less expensive and MUCH better than the bus HAL has you go on! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Pre and post cruise Hilton Marina, we just love Ft. Lauderdale and next time we will spend more than the two nights after our cruise. Boarding was a dream and the Noordam looked good both inside and out, had lunch at the Lido and got to ... Read More
Pre and post cruise Hilton Marina, we just love Ft. Lauderdale and next time we will spend more than the two nights after our cruise. Boarding was a dream and the Noordam looked good both inside and out, had lunch at the Lido and got to know our ship which was spotless in the true HAL tradition. We cruise to relax from the rigours of work and enjoyed our cabin so much we did not do one show, after late dinner it was a walk on the prom. deck and back home to our cabin. Great staff and a great full breakfast in our room most mornings. First part of the cruise was great only to be spoiled by a old goat who insisted smoking cigars on his balcony, front office supervisor became defensive when it took nearly 24 hours to try and solve our problem, " we can't get hold of him " was the excuse which led me to believe we were not being taken seriously. " I have the right to smoke on the balcony " he informed the supervisor who agreed the smell was terrible, what rights have we I asked, we have none according to the staff, cigars are allowed on balconies! I could put up with the cabin next door smoking but not the cigar smoke two cabins from us, you pay your hard earned money to use your balcony and can't, there is something wrong with the system. Food was hit and miss and after the head chef gave a cooking demonstration with eggs the most important ingredient according to him, he broke the first one which was hard and the next one which again was hard, with this commitment we were prepared for hit and miss in the dining room. I personally would like to see French and Italian chefs who appear to have the flair and presentation which sometimes lacks on HAL. For what we pay we do expect the Ritz but consistenty is lacking, they are crossing the T's but not dotting the I's. The second part of the cruise was a holiday crowd with 150 extra children which we hardly noticed, we did notice longer lines and late night neighbours at 2.30 AM in the morning, we were like that thirty years ago but not now. Never again on a holiday cruise which to us was advertised as a 16 night Collectors voyage and had no inkling this was about to happen, the whole ambience of the ship changed in the last seven days. The ports were great as well as the staff but I still notice the bar people aloof if you are not buying drinks, front office were lovely and a big thank you to the photography people who kept charging my video batteries as I had forgotten my charger and of course the shop people just great and not forgetting HAL in Seattle for a lovely cabin. With Captain John Scott our New Zealand Captain who by the way remembered our names and cabin number and was so very intresting to talk to especially if you are intrested in ships and the sea, his PR was incredible in such a very low key way, made for a very enjoyable trip. We booked another trip on board and will seriously consider when buying a balcony cabin due to cigar smokers, would we recommend HAL to our friends, not at the moment as there is something lacking to mark it a five star experience. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
A one week HAL Alaska cruise was our introduction to cruising. It was great! Yes, inclement weather forced cancellation of several excursions, but we had a wonderful time. Much of the scenery reminded us of our PNW home, but we still ... Read More
A one week HAL Alaska cruise was our introduction to cruising. It was great! Yes, inclement weather forced cancellation of several excursions, but we had a wonderful time. Much of the scenery reminded us of our PNW home, but we still had a wonderful time. Several years later we booked a two week Panama Canal cruise on Celebrity. They offered a better rate and we were not disappointed by an aspect of that trip. Ready for an extended Caribbean cruise, we checked itineraries, prices, and reviews and decided to return to Holland America. The itinerary was great and the boat appeared to be well maintained. But from disembarkation on, most things seemed a little lacking: lower energy, less friendly, more hurried. Food was acceptable, but generally not wonderful. Several entrees were VERY poor: overcooked fish and veal, lukewarm steak and vegetables. Our dining steward was a very nice person, but either poorly trained and forgetful and overworked. The original seating for our group of four was at a table for six right next to the servers' station. The new assignment was in a far corner, again by the servers' station. Our dining 'entertainment' included a birds-eye view of the staff's work: sorting entrees, clearing dishes, cleaning and sorting silverware. We spoke to the staff about the pace of our meal [originally too rushed] and then it was sooooo slow we were regularly late to the evening's entertainment. The continued errors became comical as it became easier to laugh than continually complain. Generally enjoy the tea opportunities and dessert extravaganzas, but here too, on this cruise - things were lacking. Mediocre food, presentation, and service. Caribbean barbecue ran out of fish and staff was complacent when advised. The use of the culinary center was disappointing and mediocre. Only one demonstration included a tasting. Many others were very simple and amateurish. The party planner offered only simple rote comments and her other activities reflected her lack of knowledge and experience. Multiple wine trivia events also became laughable as she regularly mispronounced the name of virtually every wine! Shore Excursions generally met our expectations. River-tubing on Dominica was wonderful. The 4X4 beach and island tour on Barbados was well done. Our historic guide on St. Thomas seemed to have been trained by the military. Lining by correctly and boarding the bus on time seemed his highest priority. He offered little description of the sites and thankfully it was a short itinerary and we were quickly on our own. HAL did the island of Martinque a disservice. A Sunday stop, we were regularly informed that NOTHING would be open and shore excursions were limited. One began to wonder why this port was included. Local staff from the tourism office answered questions on the dock and we were sent by them to a wonderful 90 music and dance performance which we followed with a visit to the main church, pastries from a street vendor, and lunch at a wonderful 'French' Caribbean site with outdoor dining. HAL staff should be embarrassed to have recommended McDonald's! Weather preempted several things, including any activity at Half Moon Cay. Entertainment generally was mediocre. We too wondered about the dance choreography - was it designed to show off the moving stage parts? The HAL band had low energy and was not engaging. The Piano Bar was enjoyable but as a group that dined at the late seating and took in the late show, it did not fit into our day - a competing cruise line had two 'sets' at the piano bar which was great. Wonderful spot for a pre-dinner drink. Consider it HAL! We generally travel independently and this experience leaves us wondering if we will cruise again - and if so, would we book with Holland America. Although we are on the young side of the typical HAL passenger, we appreciated the class, style, and decorum on our first cruise. We are not looking for a PARTY boat, but a re-commitment to first class service, entertainment, and food is needed on Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We decided to take this cruise on HAL although my wife and myself have traveled extensively on just about all the cruise line this would be our first with Holland American Lines. We live in Florida so it was an easy trip to the Noorsdam ... Read More
We decided to take this cruise on HAL although my wife and myself have traveled extensively on just about all the cruise line this would be our first with Holland American Lines. We live in Florida so it was an easy trip to the Noorsdam which was at Birth 26 in ft Lauderdale. Everything went well and our stateroom which was just below the Lido deck on the 8 floor. Our bags arrived and the stateroom was available in a timely manner. our cabin attendant came in and introduced himself and everything seamed right until I turned on the lights and opened the blinds. My wife and my self both sounded out " the rooms decor was shabby the rugs were stained and the bathroom had a urine smell. I called the attendant and pointed out the problems in the room he said" all the rooms were the same after looking at the next room to us ,it was clear all the passengers were in the same Boat. The Balcony was lined with rust on the aluminum trim and the Plexiglas on the Balcony was unclean or stained. it was apparent that we would have downgrade our expectations even though we paid considerable more for this cruise. Our next stop was the dining room on the 3rd floor we had a small but nice table for 2 which was a nice and convient. The waiter was pleasant efficient and the food was very good. After dinner we took in a show on the second fl and the captain and staff welcomed us aboard. The show was predictable for a cruise ship, but the costumes seemed to be old fashioned and need of replacement. The casino was just outside of the theater on the 2nd fl and to my surprise it was mostly empty and the dealers were just standing at there designated tables. The passengers were an older but spirited group and mostly found the pleasant and well mannered. To my surprise there were a few children on board " question is why" No activities for children on board no video games or play areas. I would not recommend parents bring children on the HAL at least not at this time of year. The cruise was low key the entertainment threw out the ship consisted of a steel drum player on the lido deck near the pool, when you can catch him. at night there were 3 young woman playing violins and a house band .If your into disco music better bring a radio. After the first show finished at 9pm we went to the Lido deck cafeteria and to my surprise it was closed except for coffee and ice-cream and a warm pizza. I was told it opens at 11 pm why when 75% of the boat are asleep at 11 pm. The bars like a Midwest city pull up the carpet at 11 am and the hint is GO TO SLEEP Already. The ports of calls were predictable and excursions were typical. departing: all gratuities are added to your bill 11.50 a day per passenger. baggage transfers are 50.00 a bag or 100.00 for 3 bags. We elected on the last day to disinbark early and we signed up for a 7:30 departure. When we arrived on the 2nd fl gangplank area there were so many people crammed in the walkways with luggage it was hard to get a breath of air. And if that wasn't enough the ship had positioned itself at the wrong spot so the gang planks were pulled up and after it finally was tied up again they changed the departing spot to the 3rd floor. A mad dash ensued to the 3rd floor elevators and stairs were jammed with no ship personal present. what a mess glad this wasn't an emergency, confusion argument amongst passengers and just one female crew member who was totally overwhelmed. My view is simple with all the newer cruise ship why this one it needs a total overhaul. oh forgot one thing we also had a breakout of a stomach virus . Good luck Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
We travelled on the Noordam to the Caribbean back to back cruise in November 2011 The ship was very clean and the staff were excellent. We found the excursions to be expensive we did three and did not find them value for money so we ... Read More
We travelled on the Noordam to the Caribbean back to back cruise in November 2011 The ship was very clean and the staff were excellent. We found the excursions to be expensive we did three and did not find them value for money so we organised our own from the pier and they proved to be very good and much cheaper. We ate in the Vista most nights and had the same table 136 as the waiter was excellent could not have had a better standard of service in any London hotel. We had 2 meals in the Cannelto which were very good and the staff excellent. We did eat in the Lido the food was not as nice as in the Vista but if you were in a hurry it was okay but big queues. The shows were a real dissappointment so amateurish The only good act was Kenny James and he was only on 1 night. We found there was not enough to do in the evenings the cookery shows were in the daytime and the computer courses were right on meal times. We are too old for disco so it would have been nice to have something besides the show to do at night The pool area was very good plenty of beds and very clean. we did wonder why we stopped in Martinque on a Sunday when everything was closed We had excellent bedroom stewards Angung and Aknes nothing too much trouble and the cabin was kept spotless. All in all I would say our only problem was boredom Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We have cruised with HAL 6 times before and twice before on Noordam so were looking forward to a repeat of the cruise we took in Noordam 2 years ago. Time and cutbacks have had a drastic effect on our HAL uise experience! First the ... Read More
We have cruised with HAL 6 times before and twice before on Noordam so were looking forward to a repeat of the cruise we took in Noordam 2 years ago. Time and cutbacks have had a drastic effect on our HAL uise experience! First the good: embarkation and disembarkation were speedy and efficient. We went to our cabin as soon as we boarded and our luggage was in the cabin after we returned from lunch. There was plenty of storage space and our bed appeared comfortable. The public areas in the ship were clean and the staff kept them that way. As regards entertainment there were several excellent visiting acts,a jazz band, a ventriloquist and a comedienne particularly who were all very good and activities around the ship organised by DJ Reggie were excellent! Next the bad: Our cabin was not very clean, there was a used towel in the drawers under the bed - the table on the balcony was filthy, the sheets on our bed at 'turn down' were torn and the towels in the bathroom had seen better days many years ago! (Not exactly the 5 star cruise line that HAL advertises!) Things got worse! In the first 5 days our vacuum toilet system was unreliable at one point overflowing sewage across the bathroom floor!! When we complained to the front desk they said these things happen, someone was working on it and they couldn't promise it wouldn't happen again! It appeared the problem affected quite a few of the adjacent cabins also and one wonders about the spread of Norovirus with this situation in the ship! Two days later a bottle of house wine appeared on our bed with a short note of apology!! We were not kept in touch at all about the situation; we had to do all the asking! When we received our end of cruise account there was a $200 credit attached with no explanation, we assume recompense for the problems we had experienced but this hardly compensated for a horrible situation! The food in the MDR was mostly ok but service was considerably slower than we have experienced on previous HAL ships as our waiter Bobby was very efficient but he had far too many tables to look after and cut backs were obvious during the Gala Dinners! The fiasco that is the Master Chef's dinner (ballet)is more suited to a boarding school refectory! Service in the bars on the ship were also slow. We were so disappointed with these experiences as all previous cruises with HAL have been excellent but would say we heard more passengers expressing dissatisfaction about aspects of their cruise than we have ever heard before. We felt that Noordam was in urgent need of overall maintenance and we personally have doubts about cruising with HAL again Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We went on 10 day Noordam cruise of Eastern Med in August cruising out of Rome. The Cabin was fairly good, and cabin staff excellent. The itinerary and weather were great. The other guests on board were fun and a great mix of ages and ... Read More
We went on 10 day Noordam cruise of Eastern Med in August cruising out of Rome. The Cabin was fairly good, and cabin staff excellent. The itinerary and weather were great. The other guests on board were fun and a great mix of ages and nationalities. However the entertainment was not very exciting. The only good nights showtime were the lady singer and male comedian magician (reminded me of Dennis Thatcher. There was little other entertainment around the boat compared to other ships. Our main problem however was the restaurant. Whilst most of the restaurant staff were good and friendly, they didn't seem to have a good system. We had chosen Open Dining - ie we could eat any time. However on the first 3 nights of our cruise we had waits of between 30 mins to 1 hour. After the 3rd night I complained in writing and in detail. The response was a preprinted card from the restaurant manager and a plate of 6 strawberries dipped in slimy chocolate in our cabin, and of course the service didn't improve. I subsequently went to the office desk to say I didn't think much of their apology, but didn't hear back from them (or get better service in the restaurant that night). I eventually followed this up with a phone call, and mentioned 'cruise critic' and from then on we received amazing service in the restaurant - interesting! The food was okay but I wouldn't say it was great, and take care as we had ordered the house wine, but were told they had run out but another wine would be served at the same price. When we received the bill it was more expensive. This happened on two nights in the dining room. 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

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise