377 Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

NOORDAM was a beautiful ship and we enjoyed our cruise tremendously! It was our second venture onto Holland America Line and as we did with our transpacific cruise in 2014 we would highly recommend HAL. This trip was to New Zealand one ... Read More
NOORDAM was a beautiful ship and we enjoyed our cruise tremendously! It was our second venture onto Holland America Line and as we did with our transpacific cruise in 2014 we would highly recommend HAL. This trip was to New Zealand one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The people are friendly and the scenery spectacular. The service aboard could not be faulted, the cabin stewards were attentive and had a special treat each night with a towel animal creation which must have taken extra time and effort. The food and wine selections were amazing and we never dined anywhere except in the main dining room. We decided on an Admiral's selection of wines from all over the world something that we would not normally do (never drink much) so this was a real treat. It was a little too cold for swimming for us but some hardy soles braved the elements and looked to be enjoying themselves in the heated pool. I think there was something for everyone on board and as a senior person it was pleasant to be without too many youngsters on board. Thanks Holland America for keeping up the traditions of the sea we will definitely be back!! My partner and I are keen birders and we were not disappointed in New Zealand, we choose HAL short excursions that reflected our interest and we had the opportunity to add to our lifelist. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
At our friends' urging for us to try cruising, and not wanting a daily docking, we went all out with this 25 day, 10 port cruise. It took two days to get the gist of the routine, but by day three, we were hooked. HAL definitely met ... Read More
At our friends' urging for us to try cruising, and not wanting a daily docking, we went all out with this 25 day, 10 port cruise. It took two days to get the gist of the routine, but by day three, we were hooked. HAL definitely met our expectations and pleasantly so. We knew the average age would be senior and often less mobile, but that was ok. This was our first retirement getaway and we were under no time pressure. The cabin was prefect #6047. Midway between the main decks of #3 (dining and entertainment) and #9 (cafe, spa/gym, sun decks and pools). Not only did we get into the routine of using the gym and spa everyday, but we rarely used the elevators (only 6x's I remember). Cabin was as per our expectations. Lots of storage, a nice balcony, and a very comfortable bed as were the pillows. The cabin stewards, Rudi & Lee, were excellent and accommodating. The TV screen was small (14"+/-) and could have been larger as the 4 movies shown each day were well selected. Not that you couldn't choose from a large selections from the CD catalogue (free!). This is not to say we watched a lot of TV, but for what we did watch, the TV could have been larger. Food offerings were very good. The Lido cafeteria has nearly everything you would want for breakfast lunch and dinner. The more formal (mostly Smart Casual and once weekly Formal) Vista dining room was very good for dinner. Portions were smartly presented and were small in size, but a simple request for a larger portion when ordering was always pleasantly accepted. And second helpings are not an issue. Basically I saw this as a way to keep food waste to a minimum. We didn't try either of the "specialty" restaurants. We couldn't justify the added surcharge. But I did hear from many others that they very much like those offerings. We did take advantage of room service breakfast nearly everyday. Very effective way of starting each day. Overall we were very happy with this first cruise. Entertainment was very entertaining, and different every night over 25 nights. A very professionally run theatre program. We took full advance of the health club facilities and paid the surcharge for use of the hydro-thermal pool, steam rooms and thermal-beds (Love these!!!). For the 25 day cruise, these were well worth the surcharge. The administration and execution of activities, events and embarkation/disembarkation at the start, end and each port was well organized. If we have any criticism of the cruise, it was the background music and the age of the musical entertainment offerings. Yes, the average age of the guests were closer to 70+/-, but even a 70yr old was listening and concerting to Rock and Roll in the 60's and 70's. I am sure some entertainment playing music from the early Rolling Stone's, the Beatle's, CSNY I am confident would have been appreciated. I am only 55, but if I am on a ship when I'm 70, they better be playing music from "the Lost 80's". Hope this helps the next passenger. Ahoy!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We have cruised just about every cruise line including some 5* rated lines. This was our first trip on Holland America. I was so impressed with the real concern and service given. We had a problem with the air conditioning and they came ... Read More
We have cruised just about every cruise line including some 5* rated lines. This was our first trip on Holland America. I was so impressed with the real concern and service given. We had a problem with the air conditioning and they came immediately to fix it and followed up with a call to ensure it was fixed. When it wasn't, they came again and came again, and followed up again and again until it was done. When I requested a fruit that was not in the buffet, the server asked me to wait a moment, he went and got it and provided me with a plate of the lovely cut up fruit. EVERYONE was smiling and cordial and kind. What I particularly noted was at the end of the cruise instead of the push to give more tips, nothing more was said, no 'special' envelopes were provided. No stress was added to passengers, in my opinion, at any point. We enjoyed their onboard talks and activities. Found them a cut above in interest and free champagne seemed to flow freely at a lot of events. Unfortunately one of our party was taken off the ship by ambulance at the end of the cruise. Long after the ship had left the Honolulu port, Holland America staff continued to stay in touch with my friend concerning her husband and asking if they could do anything. By contrast once I broke my leg on Norwegian. They couldn't wait to get us off the ship and even though they offered help to my husband, when he called them, they said they were done with us and good bye. I love you Holland America! See you again I hope. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We just returned from a wonderful cruise to Southeast Alaska (the Tongass Rain Forest). I was concerned after reading some of the negative reviews but I didn't experience any of the problems others apparently did. The ship was ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful cruise to Southeast Alaska (the Tongass Rain Forest). I was concerned after reading some of the negative reviews but I didn't experience any of the problems others apparently did. The ship was beautiful, both outside and in, and perfectly maintained. Not a "tired ship" by any means. The staff was wonderful - friendly and responsive. The food was great, in my opinion, especially the Canaletto, which was some of the best Italian food I've ever eaten. The entertainment was good in most cases. I enjoyed the juggler and the production numbers (excellent). They had a comedian, Kevin Jordan, who was very good. But I'm not a fan of Dancing with the Stars. And one of the acts was "Recycled Percussion" which didn't appeal to me at all. Though I really liked the BB King band, it was too loud for the venue (the modest-sized Queens Lounge). The daily events were very interesting, especially the cooking demonstrations, a show on art history and a beer tasting. The ports were small towns devoted to cruise passengers (Ketchikan was the most commercial) but I enjoyed every excursion - whale watching and a glacier visit (in Juneau), a thrilling ride on the White Pass railway (in Skagway) and a visit to an Tlingit native tribe and lumberjack show (in Ketchikan). Also our day in Glacier Bay was an awesome experience. The glaciers are receding so if you're ever going to see them, get there as soon as possible. All in all, a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
ALASKA CRUISE---Summertime FIRST I want to give great thanks to Imam and Sam, who were our amazing cabin stewards! They were over-the-top in their attention to meeting our needs!!! They made you feel like you were their most important ... Read More
ALASKA CRUISE---Summertime FIRST I want to give great thanks to Imam and Sam, who were our amazing cabin stewards! They were over-the-top in their attention to meeting our needs!!! They made you feel like you were their most important customer, like you were their only customer! Anyway we just returned from a 7 day Alaskan inside passage cruise with Holland America on the m/s Noordam, sailing dates August 8th thru 15th, 2015. My 3rd cruise, and my wife's 5th cruise. We were in 7106, a verandah cabin on the 7th level deck. Boarding went smoothly but we had some level of special care, so I am not 100% sure what it is like to board with everyone. As soon as you get on the ship everyone is there to help. In general, just board with a positive attitude and patience and it will be just fine. Weather is unpredictable; it can be rainy in the summer months. Bring layers, short sleeve shirts, some polyester undershirts (not all cotton), fleece and something to wear in the rain. I used both a rain jacket and rain pants on two different excursions! I brought a bunch of collared shirts and pants that were NOT jeans, and it was a waste of space. Now, I did not do the formal nights or go to the casino so that probably had something to do with what I did not need, but mostly I wore jeans in good shape and t-shirts (long), and it was fine. I never wore a sports coat! I was there for the excursions and views, not the entertainment or going out. Super casual dress was just fine for the shows! In fact, each evening a program is delivered to your room that lists all the activities/shows for the next day. The staff is amazing, always VERY friendly and super helpful (esp. Imam and Sam).The buffet is fine for most food-edible. The two specialty restaurants on board that require payment for lunch or dinner were very good; we had friends in a room where you could order room service from those restaurants and the quality was markedly better! The grill at the main pool has burgers and fries, hotdogs, and a taco bar; it was very good as well. And of course, there was ice cream at an ice cream bar-also good! Overall, we both agreed it was the best organized cruise with the best service of all we had previously. Order coffee in the morning? and it was there within 10-15 minutes! In fact, anytime we needed anything, we got it quickly and it was always correct! We used the laundry ($49 for unlimited use in our category) and it was amazing---always done quickly and done well. They were extremely detail oriented. By the way, we also had to pay for water and soda (in our category), but it was only a few bucks. I think it was $3.25 for a huge bottle of water. I forget how much soda was but it was inexpensive. Do not forget to bring BINOCULARS. I had some old ones and agonized about what new ones to buy. I did a ton of research and bought some Bushnell Legacy 8X42; and they were perfect-better than my wife's with higher magnification and better than my friends' who had super expensive brands. Binoculars are often specified by a set of numbers such as 7×35 or 8×40; the first number indicates the strength of magnification (how many times closer the subject is to you, 7 times closer, 8 times closer, 10 times closer) and the second number is the size of the objective lens measured in millimeters going across.The magnification of my Bushnell was fine for the distance of anything we saw on the cruise or excursions and the size of my objective lens was awesome compared to the 25-28 of my wife's and friends'. I do not think it is a good idea to buy super cheap ones, but no matter what, buy some! Of course, if you forget, they sell them on the ship but I'll bet they are more expensive for whatever quality they sell? We did excursions at each of the 3 ports we stopped at and were pleased with all 3. We pre-booked all 3 and used our local travel agent to research the best. If you are going to use a company, google it for reviews and tips. We did not use the cruise boat's companies. Our excursions and the related companies were as follows: August 10 – Juneau – in port 1pm to 9pm, excursion began at 2:30 Company: Above and Beyond Private Channel Islands Marine Park Kayaking – 5 hours Included transport to and from cruise ship Motorboat transport to Channel Islands (6 people each boat) Double Kayaks Light bag meal August 11 – Skagway – in port 7am to 9pm Company – Rainbow Adventures Chilkat Bald Eagle Rafting Adventure – 6.5 hours Included transport to and from cruise ship Included 45 minute shared ferry to Haines Guided rafting Lunch along the river August 13 – Ketchikan – in port 10am to 6pm Company – Where the Eagles Walk Tour with Tribal Elder through Native Village and Clan House Short tram ride, totem viewing Included transport to and from cruise ship THEY WERE ALL EXCELLENT AND GREAT FUN! I recommend all those companies and excursions! And finally, I want to again say Imam and Sam made our great experience even better! TIP your cabin stewards well!!! 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Sail Date August 2015
We were lucky enough to get an upgrade to a Neptune suite. This was wonderful! The girls in the lounge were the best as well as our cabin stewards. We loved the option of breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. Laundry services were much ... Read More
We were lucky enough to get an upgrade to a Neptune suite. This was wonderful! The girls in the lounge were the best as well as our cabin stewards. We loved the option of breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. Laundry services were much appreciated . I am prone to seasickness and must say no problem at all. We were midship which I think definitely helped. Took meclizine anyway, just wanted to be safe! Pinnacle Grill was excellent and we even enjoyed Canneletto, which doesn't get the best reviews! Main dining room waiters were excellent but didn't enjoy all food choices. Entertainment was excellent as well! Embarkation in Vancouver went well but disembarkation was a bit of a mess! Long line but finally added agents which sped things up! Arrived at Canada Place around 10:30 which seemed to be perfect! Took train from YVR with no problems at all, plenty of room for our luggage which had been a concern! Excursions were all great! The train in Skagway was our fave! Sad day in Ketchikan, with the Westerdam tragedy! All in all a great trip and loved the a Noordam! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Stateroom staff: best we have ever had, thank you to Rohman & Roni-they anticipated our needs and the first day we asked for something specific to be done every day and they never forgot. Great job! They always kept our fruit bowl ... Read More
Stateroom staff: best we have ever had, thank you to Rohman & Roni-they anticipated our needs and the first day we asked for something specific to be done every day and they never forgot. Great job! They always kept our fruit bowl stocked and ice in our cabin which was appreciated without asking. We also always had fresh flowers in our cabin that they replaced if they were dying. Food: We have never had a bad meal on HAL and love their food and presentation. We ate at all venues and enjoyed them all. Our preference is the main dining room and have never had a bad meal there. There was also an outdoor aft BBQ which was fantastic. I was not eager to do this but we did and they had salmon, ribs, pork, chicken, prawns and more. The prawns were my favorite. The Dive-in also has improved. Main Dining room: We had anytime dining. Seems the staffing level has diminished which puts much more pressure on the staff and they barely have time to breath let alone chat to guests which is a shame. We dined here for lunch a couple of times and for dinners often. Pinnacle Grill: we had breakfast here often since we were in a Neptune Suite and the service was top notch. Previous cruises we have found it very slow but not this time. We also dined one evening and we both had the filet mignon which was perfectly cooked and delicious. Again, staff were fantastic. $29 pp. Canaletto: A bit disappointed this time as they have changed it up. They suggest a lot of sharing. I would prefer smaller dishes and not be encouraged to share. You DO NOT have to share though. Food was good but not sure we would try it again. Miss the big antipasto plate they used to take around. $10 pp. Entertainment: BB Kings Club was very good but as others have said, very loud. Great band. Ocean Bar had good dancing music (and listening) and wish it was every night. Have to check the "On Location" to make sure the times there is entertainment as some evenings they don't and the time can vary. We did not go to Piano Bar so can't comment on that. In the Vista lounge when the Noordam Entertainers performed, I enjoy those shows but my husband not so much. I do think that HAL lacks in their entertainment in the evenings though. We have only been on Princess once before and found they have several venues at the same time and you could pick which you preferred. (for example either you like the music that you can ballroom dance to or if not there was another venue to choose from). We just felt HAL was lacking in this area. Entertainment guests on this cruise were: Bande Artistique; Comedian Buzz Sutherland; Count Dimas; Sephira; Sister Twist; Michael Menes; Matilda and Patrick Murray (ventriloquist); Salvtore Hasard; Kevin Jordan; Indy and Jeff Peterson. All were good but our favorites were comedian Kevin Jordan who was hilarious and Salvatore Hasard who could play numerous instruments and had a fabulous voice. Desserts: I have to comment on this because I think they have improved. I never liked their cheesecakes before but tried one this time and it was very good. I also tried the German cake (with coconut) and it was fabulous. Pools: We used both Lido pool and aft pool. The Lido pool I can stand up in and the lounge chairs are very comfy. We spent most of the time though in the non-smoking area of the aft pool, at a table in the shade as we play cards. Library, computers and Explorations Cafe: These are all located in the same spot. The library is huge and very impressive and used lot-the librarian/computer helper is kept very busy. Lots of computers to use but we were disappointed that they did not offer unlimited internet like they did for the Westerdam Panama cruise that left before us. It sounds like they are trying it out on various ships and I think would be a smart thing to do. We bought the 250 minute package for $100 but it is very frustrating with the amount of time wasted just trying to get connection at times. Other times it was quick. Loved getting my latte at the Cafe and the staff are very nice. Flowers: The flower arrangements around the ship are beautiful and I'm glad to still see them. Hope they don't cut back too much on those. We flew to Ft Lauderdale 2 days early (luckily we did because AA lost my luggage until the next day) and stayed at the Hyatt Pier 66 Tower King room. It was a beautiful room with a view of the cruise port. The grounds and pool were beautiful and having the marina there for my husband to drool over the yachts was worth it! Final thoughts: We loved going through the Panama Canal and spent the day outside. We enjoyed the whole cruise but did not take excursions in all ports. In Columbia we booked with other CC members with Dora Tours and had a very interesting excursion. Mercedes was our tour guide and she was excellent. In Costa Rica we also did another excursion with CC members and booked with Odyssey Tours who again were very good. In Huatulco we did a snorkel trip and had another one booked through HAL for Cabo but it was canceled due to rough seas. In San Diego we took the HAL trolley which was interesting. The other ports we either just wandered at the port or stayed on the ship to enjoy the quietness by the pool. Arriving back to our home port of Vancouver is always wonderful too and it was a picture perfect, beautiful day. It was a breeze getting off the ship because we had already done the customs forms at our stop in Victoria. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We love Holland. It's the most relaxing vacation ever! The crew, the food, the comfortable staterooms.... the feeling that our ship is on top of safety and we will be taken care of. It's all lovely. The Noordam has the same ... Read More
We love Holland. It's the most relaxing vacation ever! The crew, the food, the comfortable staterooms.... the feeling that our ship is on top of safety and we will be taken care of. It's all lovely. The Noordam has the same outstanding crew as the other Holland ships. Our stateroom is always perfect, and the cabin guys check in with us every day to make sure everything is fine. Food is wonderful. Entertainment used to be kind of dull but now with the BB King Blues lounge it is really fun. Liquor is fairly priced, and the upscale dining venues are a deal. We always get a balcony and love seeing the world go by from it...flying fish, whales, dolphins, or just other ships and sunsets. The only thing I think is kind of a rip off is the price of shore excursions. So we just do our own. Anytime we've had any sort of minor problem Holland was quick to fix it. Love this cruise line! Can't wait for our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was two consecutive cruises - one of 10 days, one 0f 11. I haven't been back to HAL for almost three years and I am a Five Star Mariner with HAL. All was fine except for the minor niggardly cutbacks that are facts of life with ... Read More
This was two consecutive cruises - one of 10 days, one 0f 11. I haven't been back to HAL for almost three years and I am a Five Star Mariner with HAL. All was fine except for the minor niggardly cutbacks that are facts of life with all lines today, e.g. lack of scratch pads, fruit bowls and ice by request only, somewhat slower service to clear dishes etc. in Lido due to less crew members which was also reflected in the Dining Room being closed at lunch on all port days. etc. to staff Lido. Embarkation was fairly slow - not as well handled as on RCI. Luggage delivery was better than other lines however, Ship was somewhat worn; however she is scheduled for a 14 day refurbishment in April. Large Balcony had lots of rust, badly stained floor, filthy chair cushions etc.; but all this will be taken care of in the refurbishment I'm sure, as will worn bath floors etc. HAL is famous for the profusion of beautiful flower arrangements about their ships - and that is still the case. Public rooms beautiful, excellent elevator service/speed. There are so many "cleaners" around that you almost trip over them. You never get within 10' of a crew member without a huge smile and friendly greeting Food and service in Dining Room excellent. Food in Lido also quite good, quite varied, and the usual HAL Indonesian service crews smiles and happy demeanor made for an enjoyable experience. Extra tariff restaurants - Pinnacle $10 lunch, $29 dinner very fine. Canaletto Italian restaurant at dinner, located in a section of the Lido, $10, also most fine. I noticed that almost all prices on HAL - liquor, photos, mini bar, soft drinks, tours etc. were only about 60% of what RCI charges. Nice to see "reasonable" prices. Entertainment mostly quite good as were the many musical groups about the ship. They also have a B B King Jazz orchestra in one venue, and a lovely classical duo (Adagio) in one of the lounges. Excellent HAL has created a niche for itself taking excellent care of its core group - the elderly - thus a profusion of walking assist devices, e.g. "trolley's, wheel chairs etc. Crew members are always available to carry trays, push wheelchairs etc. and do so with a smile. At 75 I can say that this was my age group and all was geared to making this age group comfortable and feel well taken care of. HAL is not inexpensive. My per diem was twice what it is on RCI; however it was well worth the difference and an excellent value for the money - a distinction that has been recognized by HAL consistently winning accolades from Cruise publications etc. as the best value for the money. I certainly feel that HAL continues to be at the very top of the "Premium" class of cruise lines. Disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale was effortless and I left the ship with little to complain about.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was the second cruise with HAL, our previous recency cruises were with our grandchildren on the Oasis and the Allure which present themselves as destination high energy cruises. We enjoyed that experience. Our previous HAL experience ... Read More
This was the second cruise with HAL, our previous recency cruises were with our grandchildren on the Oasis and the Allure which present themselves as destination high energy cruises. We enjoyed that experience. Our previous HAL experience was on the Zandaam and that was not enjoyable so we decided to give HAL a second chance in order to compare it with Princess,Cunard, Royal Caribbean and HAL The Noordam is a wonderful ship with a great crew. We chose this cruise because I have a high energy job and I wanted to relax. Also we had never been to the southern Caribbean before It is a traditional cruise line and we found that the fixed dining time gave us the best compromise between eating early and enjoying the evening entertainment. The food and service was excellent. The Culinary arts program was good and our view of the evening entertainment was mixed. The piano bar with Michael, the strings, the blues and the band were all excellent. The floor shows were not to our taste because they were disjointed. Lee Bayliss the comedian was excellent as a 'clean comic' We enjoyed his worshop the next day. The crew and the Ship are excellent. A nice touch was some of the crew lining up to say goodbye at the end of the crew. The age group of the particular cruise was older to elderly and the crew assisted passengers when needed. I don't think that I would take our grandkids on this ship because it is geared to a mature crowd. So as a traditional cruise it is excellent. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was my 43rd cruise and 13th on HAL. 10 Day Southern Caribbean Cruise. Stateroom SA 7058: Just right. Room Attendants were most attentive and very nice. Neptune Lounge: Always a treat. Faye and Rick were perfect and REALLY went out ... Read More
This was my 43rd cruise and 13th on HAL. 10 Day Southern Caribbean Cruise. Stateroom SA 7058: Just right. Room Attendants were most attentive and very nice. Neptune Lounge: Always a treat. Faye and Rick were perfect and REALLY went out of their way to insure we had a great cruise. Ports of Call: Half Moon Key; Grand Turk; Samana DR; Bonaire; Curacao; Aruba. The ports of call were as always the same. So I won't dwell on them. The ship was spotless and most importantly the crew were effervescent in their courtesy and efficiency. PROBLEM AREAS: The first night we ate in the Vista Dining Room, Open Seating. It was a disaster. I had to find an officer to fetch a cup of coffee after 15 minutes. The food arrived late and cold. WE left and ate in the Lido. We later ot a call from the Dining Room Manager who apologized. We told him we wouldn't be back! We made reservations in the Pinnacle Grill every following night and one night in the Cannelato, their Italian specialty restaurant. Then to top it all off two days late we got a note that we were assigned to Open Seating in the main dining room at 8:00 PM. I thought Open Seating meant "When you want". Oh well. SMOKING: HAL has now relegated us smokers to two areas. Your balcony and the Sea View Bar at the stern of the ship. I predict the balconies will be the next to go. My first cruise on HAL smoking was permitted in every lounge on the ship. Vapeing is not allowed either. Other than the above it was a great cruise. We had a good time and met some lovely people. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
With a few exceptions (all too insignificant to even mention), this was another fantastic HAL cruise for us - we had some mechanical problems that Captain Jan handled flawlessly and some rough seas that he also handled without a hitch. We ... Read More
With a few exceptions (all too insignificant to even mention), this was another fantastic HAL cruise for us - we had some mechanical problems that Captain Jan handled flawlessly and some rough seas that he also handled without a hitch. We were privileged to experience the new "Evening at Le Cirque" menu and found it to be mostly an improvement over the previous one. We found the DiveIn to be a good idea well executed. Our stateroom attendants, Hetut and Dani, were as good as any we have ever had previously. MDR food selections were generally good and quality of food delivered was above average. The Lido offerings were par for the course, but the personal service provided to us by Nia was absolutely the best. Our most memorable part of the cruise was our dinner in Canaletto - it was far and away the best we have ever had at Canaletto and one of the very best Italian meals I have ever had. In case you haven't figured it out - we thoroughly enjoyed our latest Noordam cruise and, God willin', hope to make several more before we're finished. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We did this same cruise 2 years ago, on Noordam, so we knew pretty much what to expect. Ship: Decent condition. Going into dry dock soon. Some upholstery by Promenade deck atrium is threadbare. Overall, the ship is clean and well kept. ... Read More
We did this same cruise 2 years ago, on Noordam, so we knew pretty much what to expect. Ship: Decent condition. Going into dry dock soon. Some upholstery by Promenade deck atrium is threadbare. Overall, the ship is clean and well kept. Embarkation / Disembarkation: Orderly, efficient and rooms were ready promptly upon embarkation. On turnaround there were arrangements for those of us staying on to go through customs and immediately reenter the ship if we did not want to go ashore in Ft. Lauderdale. The customs officials made an exception, at the last minute, and we were allowed to just stay aboard. We self disembarked the ship at the end with no problem. Fellow Passengers: Mostly an older crowd. Average age around 75 years. People were sociable and friendly. Well traveled and helpful. Mariners Arrival Lunch: Limited menu but good. Prefer to be served as there is no Code Orange anymore. (Avoid getting sick from all the utensil handling of guests in the Lido) Mariners Brunch: Fiasco. We had the first seating at 11:00 for the brunch. Our table ordered quiche but received fish. The waiter simply announced “we’re out of quiche” and plopped down a fish entrée, but not everyone at our table would eat fish. We also didn’t have our Champaign in time for the toast. The brunch was unorganized and not pleasant. We were invited to another bunch on the second leg of our back to back but did not bother to attend that one. Dress: Casual evenings were very casual but guests at second seating looked very nice on formal evenings. Overall people dressed up more on the second half of our cruise. Lido: We enjoyed eating outside for breakfast. The lady that makes crepes, Feby, is so sweet and her Nutella crepes are sweet too! The guys that make fantastic omelets were so nice, especially Paolo. We also enjoyed the deli sandwiches. I never had problems with getting enough meat on my sandwiches from the deli, in fact I had them grill a few of the already made up subs and some of the workers would even ask if you wanted any other meats added before they grilled them. Dive In: We refuse to eat hot dogs and hamburgers on a cruise. However, this dining option offers a grilled chicken sandwich called “the Backflip” which is really quite good! We enjoyed our Backflips with the tortilla chips and fresh salsa that are on the poolside taco bar rather than having French fries with our sandwiches. Great for holding us over until our 8:00 late seating dinner. Pool Area Music: While we enjoyed eating outside in the pool areas, the canned “tinny music” that came over the speakers was quite annoying. One morning, by Lido pool there was a solid half hour of what sounded like someone tapping a brake drum with a hammer non-stop!!! Other times there were other percussion sounds that were playing over the speakers, not music but more like something that should be a background accompaniment to a live musician. The fresh air, seas and sunshine are more than enough entertainment and the canned “music” was annoying. Maybe HAL believes these sounds sell more drinks or something but silence is golden during times when there is no live entertainment. Steel Drum Music: Deborah is awesome at both playing the steel drum and singing. We liked it best when Deborah played from the middle of the Lido pool area by the hot tubs, however one time they set Deborah up underneath to the side and too close to the tables so the sound was way too load in the more confined area and we had to move off the deck those times. Deborah’s singing gives a really nice island sound. I took one of Deborah’s classes on playing the steel drum and she was so nice and patient with us rookies! Coffee & Tea: I believe that the coffee has improved. The tea drinkers were not happy with the new tasteless brand of teabags that replaced the Bigelow teas. Indonesian Tea was nice as they still have the special teas especially Jasmine tea. Dutch Tea had no ice sculpture anymore and the teas were the same tasteless offerings as the Lido but the pastries were still special. Ice Cream: Always good in the Lido and not always as good in the Vista dining room. In the Lido the ice cream was always firm and many good flavors available. Freezers did their job and the experience was so much better than ice cream on the Maasdam that was always melting. Main Dining Room: The Vista Dining Room food was much better that our Maasdam cruise of last year. The chilled soups were actually chilled, not warm. We had more good meals than bad. Waiter 1st portion: The waiter for the first half of the cruise took the order politely and delivered the food efficiently. No personal interaction. Never asked if food was okay or even if it was what we ordered. This waiter was going home soon and I don’t think he cared. He didn’t remove the lobster from the shells, as was normally done on our other cruises. Instead, we removed the lobster tails and placed our shells on our bread plates where they remained until dessert course (very tacky!). Our waiter wasn’t super busy, there were a table of 8 and a table of 6 in this waiter’s area that were empty most evenings of this cruise. Waiter 2nd portion: Wow!!! This was a pleasant surprise! It was HAL as it used to be – our waiter Doni and his assistant Wayne were both very friendly, attentive, and helpful. The first night Doni asked us our names and called us by name every evening. They acknowledged us when we came into the dining room. On the night we had lobster, the waiter removed the lobster from the shell for everyone at our table. The waiter and assistant were very pleasant and wanted to please, a very different and positive experience that we liked a lot. Cabin 6143: Our cabin Steward, SLAM, and his partner DWE, provided all we needed and wanted without our asking. No problems with our linens, ice, plumbing, or air conditioning. We did leave behind all 42 of our bedtime chocolate squares, the “new” chocolate squares are not tempting in the least. Adjoining Room: Our cabin was an interior cabin with an adjoining room. Even though there are two doors thickness separating the cabins, there is less sound separation between the cabins, hardly noticeable on the first half but new occupants on the second half changed all that. The second couple that was in the adjoining room were constantly coughing all night and even heard them during the day when we would stop by the cabin for things. It was loud enough to keep us awake at times. Their cabin was also an inside cabin so we think the couple was quarantined because they never seemed to leave their cabin, we could hear them taking meals inside their cabin and we saw their “privacy please” card seemed to always be in the door slot. Again, the first couple we never heard anything but them using their ice bucket once or twice and we never heard anything unusual through our other cabin walls. Health of passengers: The captain and the cruise director didn’t remind the guests to wash their hands and cover their mouths for coughs and sneezes as we have experiences on most other cruises. Guests were much sicker for the 2nd part of our cruise. It was impossible to move away from the coughers – there were just too many of them. There were more coughers on the second leg of our cruise than any of the 30 other cruises that we have been on. Tours: We did 2 ship tours. Artist Tour in St. Martin is excellent, our second time doing this same tour. We visited 5 artists with 2 of them being different than the tour we took two years ago, and we were so glad to repeat the 3 other artists that we previously visited. The other ship tour we took was in Samana – beach transfer. It was that tour or stay on the ship. The beach was nice enough but we only had 2 hours on the beach and 1 hour travel each way to and from the beach. We don’t know why the ship even stops in Samana. Missed Port: Antigua was missed, unfortunately, the winds were too strong for this larger ship to make it safely through the narrow passage. However, we were able to visit the Private Island twice and that was fantastic! Great weather both times. On our back to back, the Private Island was the very first day and the very last day of our cruise, a big plus to taking the back to back. Entertainment: Holland America still just doesn’t get it. They need to admit they have an older audience and serve that unique niche. I want to go home with my hearing intact. It sounds like HAL’s objective is to make me go deaf. We attempt to go to their shows. Most of the time we leave because it is too LOUD!!!!! The only show that wasn’t at ear bleed level was “Droom”. We did enjoy the Droom show. We left an evening pianists performance because it was overamplified and accompanied by the “Hell Cats”. This same special pianist did put on a lovely afternoon concert when we skipped the Antigua port. We thought that it was a wonderful show at normal sound levels and with no Hell Cats. (Good riddance to the departure of the Hell Cats from HAL!) B.B. King Blues Club: The first half of the cruise, we attended about every night and they had a lot of people at their shows. The second half of the cruise the volume seemed cranked up and there were maybe 5 people in the Queens Lounge where they played. People seemed to stop in the hallway outside and briefly listen before walking on because the music was too loud. This could be a great addition to the entertainment offerings if only the volume was tolerable. If it gets any louder it would be like the Vista Showroom, GOOD BYE!!! Louder is not better, these B.B. King Blues Club performers are really talented and they could have a much greater draw if people could stick around to listen to them. I’ve never heard anyone complain that they can’t hear the performers, quite the opposite. The main complaint is TOO LOUD. We ended up in the Piano Bar when other venues were too loud. The piano bar is fine. Pianist played well and had a great voice (I believe his name was Michael Sara). We were looking to get out of snow and ice with all this winter weather. We enjoyed sunshine and warm temperatures. We would take this cruise again and recommend it to others. We loved our get away on the Noordam. Twenty-one days wasn’t long enough.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We had a lovely relaxing cruise on the Noordam to St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Antigua (which we missed due to windy weather) St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. We are 59 and 64 and were with friends roughly the same age. We ... Read More
We had a lovely relaxing cruise on the Noordam to St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Antigua (which we missed due to windy weather) St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. We are 59 and 64 and were with friends roughly the same age. We were in Balcony cabins 4026 and 4028. Our cabin stewards, Gaga and Musali, were great, our cabin was always made up while we were away and any requests were completed immediately. The balcony dividers were opened so was nice to spend time together enjoying our sea views. Food was good, I am not picky, I like most anything. I like the new menus as I try to order only a 3 course or sometimes 2 course meal. My husband loves the Caesar salad and always orders double. Personally, I never order it, but to each his own. I enjoyed the fish selections, weiner schnitzel, and vegetables. Breakfast on the Lido was great. "Yum Yum " Bacon, one of the servers in the bacon and eggs sections, was a hoot! Selection was great, I had omelettes only when there was no line up, which happened three times. Usually there were less than 5 people in line, but I am impatient! No mango this year, missed that. Lunch at Lido was fun. I had the buttermilk chicken the first day (and only time it is there), it is amazing, melt in your mouth great. Don't miss it by thinking you will be able to try it later in the cruise. Lots of choices-salads, sandwiches, hot entries, pizza, and tried the burgers one day at the pool. Was good, but takes too long for me. I did enjoy the nachos and fruit salsa near the burger joint. We enjoyed the aft pool and hot tub on sea days. We choose HAL because we aren't interested in rock climbing walls, rinks, etc. We tend to book port intensive cruises so lots of activities aren't needed. The Noordam was very clean, but as others have said, I missed the "Days of the Week" carpets in the elevators. I really looked for the thread bare carpet, but couldn't find it. Where different carpets met in front of the elevator on deck 2 there was some threads beginning to unravel, but that was being very picky on my part and wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't been looking. We chose Anytime dining. After seeing the lineups to be seated in the early seating, I am glad we did. We usually chose a time between 5:30 and 6:00 pm and didn't have to wait for a table. We enjoyed Dottie's section and asked for him each night. We found we had the best of both worlds, we ate when we wanted and had the same waiter who gave us great and personable service. Was the service slower, some nights, but I think part of it was not ordering 2 appetizers as we have in the past. One little negative comment, is the butter is slabs rather than the rosettes from the past. We booked three shore excursions with HAL, two were excellent, one disappointing. "Art Around the Island "in St. Maarten-great tour, visiting the homes/gallery of 5 artists. Doris, our guide, was excellent pointing our points of interest and answering questions on our tour. I bought a small piece as a momento of our tour. Our second tour was the Segways on Barbados. Again combined a tour of the island and an one and a half hour tour on the Segways. Great time! St. Thomas tour was very disappointing. Safari bus loaded 5 per row and tour guide going through the motions. Last year we had taken a tour that we picked up at the cruise port, not as crowded and our guide was so proud of his island and our 3 hour tour was over 4 hours, dropped off downtown and picked up later, free of charge. On St. Lucia, we picked up a tour at the cruise port. Great choice, included a eco tour spot that was very informative and included tasting of fruit, island fare and history. Entertainment was good. Especially enjoyed the pianist in the theatre, comedian and magician. Spent some time in the piano bar, wish they would make it larger or better configure, bench seating in front of the piano very uncomfortable. Lovely cruise, would recommend the itinerary and Noordam. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Guess it has been awhile since I cruised with Holland America. Right away I found the crew and staff extrememly friendly and accomdating. The Food was the best I can remember either on land or sea and I am pretty picky. For us the biggest ... Read More
Guess it has been awhile since I cruised with Holland America. Right away I found the crew and staff extrememly friendly and accomdating. The Food was the best I can remember either on land or sea and I am pretty picky. For us the biggest disappointment is not having scuba offered at the ports or at their private island. Deffinately more of an older crowd and I am ancient so activities late at night on this cruise were lacking. Will go again just for the menu the line also managed to take the Buffet line and upgrade it and make that experience more unique, very good idea.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Hope this is of use to anyone looking to book the Noordam. We are just home in the UK after a great vacation to Florida that included a 10 night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Noordam. I have sailed once previously with Holland America ... Read More
Hope this is of use to anyone looking to book the Noordam. We are just home in the UK after a great vacation to Florida that included a 10 night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Noordam. I have sailed once previously with Holland America in 2010 and my wife twice, 2010 with me and 2013 on the Ryndam with her daughter (I was left behind to work to earn the money to pay for the cruises!). We used our Virgin Atlantic miles this time so the routing was Manchester/Heathrow/Miami which was fine other than the Manchester flight being late and them holding the Miami flight whilst it arrived and we were running (with about 10 others) between terminals. Arrived in Miami fine and got out hire car for the short drive to Ft Lauderdale and two nights stay and some shopping as Sawgrass Mills before our Monday departure on Noordam. We were reasonably early for check in but had a reasonable wait as the ship had just done it's Transatlantic thus had to have it's mandatory inspections by the US authorities so we were later boarding but it went smoothly with no issues. I like others missed the Mariner lunch but didn't let this get to me like some I heard complaining and mumbling. We went up to the Lido for lunch and as normal this was busy but we are used to that on first day. Went to our cabin, (5036 Port side balcony cabin) to fine one of our two cases had arrived so we unpacked that then went to explore. Having been on Nieuw Amsterdam it was a similar but not same layout and all in good order. There was much cleaning and general maintenance continually going on throughout the 10 days which was good to see, they certainly look after her well. My wife likes the fact you get a bath on this style of ship as opposed to shower only on some of the newer ships. Case two finally arrived and was unpacked as we were about to set sail late due to a technical issue when they tested a lifeboat that needed attention so again top marks, safety coming first. We open seating dining and although many do then book specific times we just go when we feel we are ready. Had a short wait a couple of times but then we were requesting tables for 2 and not to join mixed tables. The food in the Main Dining Room was good for the most part, one night I was brought the wrong meal but I decided to have it rather than wait for another correct one and to be honest it proved a real success. The waiting staff were all extremely friendly and efficient, a couple slower than others but no issues to note. We are not big drinkers but we did see most tables being well looked after with wine etc. There was a decent variation in the menu and the medium rare New York Strip steaks I had on several occasions was excellent. One waiter struggled to understand that on one occasion my wife wanted just the chicken off one menu taken and cut into slices and placed on top of a starter salad that she had asked to be done as a main portion. Next time she asked it was done perfectly without any misunderstanding. Breakfasts were always taken in the Lido and the speed of this improved after the two days of being served by their staff (a heath measure that I actually applaud), occasionally a bit of a job finding a table but we sorted that by changing our timings. Food was nice and a good choice although I heard some people saying breakfast were repetitive but I found that if you wanted something different there was sufficient choice. I do wonder if some people are just far to fussy, generally these were the American guests too. The guest make up was a lot of US and Canadian parties, just a few from the UK like us, Dutch, Germans and a couple from Australia and New Zealand but all got along well and it was a relaxed atmosphere. We took in the show all nights bar one and it was always entertaining and varied. Cruise Director was English and efficient and has obviously done the job a while, the wife said she had him on the Ryndam. The activities were varied but we did find ones we wanted clashed a few times and I did think a little more effort could have been put into sea days activities. Indonesian Crew Show late one night was very entertaining and a nice insight into their culture. The musicians were ALL first class. We really enjoyed a couple of sets a night in BB Kings Blues Club and would certainly look of another ship featuring this as the standard was excellent. A lot love the piano player in the piano bar, we heard him a few times from outside when it was packed and he sounded very good but he was also sick two days and signed off work. The piano and violin pre dinner were real classy musicians. We also enjoyed the deck BBQ night (only night we did not use the MDR) and the beef served that night was delightful. Lunches were spread between one in the MDR, several in the Lido, a couple at Dive In and I must congratulate them on the chicken burger, it was fantastic with a great sauce. We are now eagerly awaiting a painting that we bought at the art auction to be shipped - it is really nice and will be a great reminder of the cruise as will the watch that my wife won in the FREE raffle from the shops. First two days seas were higher than I have experienced in the Caribbean previously and weather less sunny but still enjoyable. We did witness a great lightning storm some miles from the ship one night. Ports of Call The captain did his best but could not tender us off at the private island due to winds that were quite high and he was worried that if he got guests on the island and wind increased it would not be possible to get them back on board so we got an extra sea day which was fine by us. Grand Turk Have been before but they have done some development since our last visit and we enjoyed walking and relaxing in the area around the Jimmy Buffets pool. Samarna (Dominican Republic) The sail into the bay was really nice, however the ship anchors a way off and it's quite a longer tender trip ashore. We had not booked a trip thinking we would look around and decide if we fancied one once ashore. My wife enjoyed the tender trip especially when I got soaked through the open front window as we were hit by the wake of a tender going in the opposite direction!!! We landed and walked along the promenade and around a simple market. It all looked quite a poor place and certainly not ready for cruise ship stops. The people were not pushy or anything however but in hind sight if we visit here again we will book a trip. Bonaire First time here and it's a lovely island and great for anyone wishing beaches/water sports. We toured the local shops and all were nice and people lovely. Curacao Visited here last year so we took a taxi tour this year and we hit lucky as the guide was really good and made many stops and described things well and showed lots of the history of the island. We then had a walk around the shops but being a Sunday many were closed or closing. Weather was really hot and it again is a nice island. The ship did not sail until late at night and it was nice to see all the town lit up etc. Aruba Again an island we have previously visited but just as nice as previous. Another great beach & water sports island and lots of the passengers enjoyed that. We arrived back at Ft Lauderdale at 7am and we were off the ship with our own luggage in hand, through immigration (oh why is there ever only two officers working) and were at the Alamo car hire depot by 8.10 am and on the road to Orlando by 8.30. Three days in Orlando, one in the Ft Myers/Sanibel Island and final day in Miami before 10:30pm flights back to the UK. All in all great value for money cruise that we will really enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We are new to Caribbean cruising, having only sailed on European river cruises before, and we were very pleasantly surprised by our cruise on the Noordam. Food was excellent, good variety in both the buffet and dining room, portions not ... Read More
We are new to Caribbean cruising, having only sailed on European river cruises before, and we were very pleasantly surprised by our cruise on the Noordam. Food was excellent, good variety in both the buffet and dining room, portions not too large so that you could have more than one appetizer or even dessert. People online complain about the cost of alcoholic beverages and pop, but there was always water, coffee, tea available for free in the buffet, 2hr room service, and beer and pop in the bars was reasonably priced in our opinion. The service was uniformly excellent -- our cabin steward Yassa and waiter Juan anticipated every need. The ship is just the right size to provide the amenities we enjoyed -- multiple dining rooms, entertainment areas, full promenade deck to walk around outside, two pools and hot tubs -- but small enough to find our way around and get into ports like Bonaire. We neither felt trapped nor lost. We never had to wait for elevators or line up for lunch or to leave or return to the ship (unlike the Carnival ship docked beside us at Grand Turk, whose passengers had to wait more than an hour in the hot sun to go aboard). Entertainment was pretty good, but the comedian Matthew DiSero was hilarious. The cruise was excellent value for money, with two exceptions, luckily both optional: 1. internet access is expensive and unreliable. Wait for the free or cheap wifi available at most ports. If you do use the ship's wifi, make sure you log out, not just shut down your device or quit your browser or turn off wifi. 2. excursions offered by the ship are two to three times as costly as those you can get onshore, and no better. Next time I would just arrange something as we disembarked and there are lots of good options in every port, with the possible exception of Samana. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We wanted to see many of the main famous and historic Greece sights including Olympia, Corinth, Mycenae, Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Santorini (Thira). We had almost perfect weather (the one day of rain was At-Sea). The food, services, ... Read More
We wanted to see many of the main famous and historic Greece sights including Olympia, Corinth, Mycenae, Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Santorini (Thira). We had almost perfect weather (the one day of rain was At-Sea). The food, services, and activities on the ship were excellent for us (60 years olds). And we went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy on the way back which was spectacular. The excursions were very good, particularly Olympia, Mycenae, and Rhodes. We enjoyed our time on the ship and off the ship. Our hotel in Rome, before the cruise, was in a nice area and the hotel was very nice. We enjoyed seeing Rome sights for two days before the cruise, plus we had nice dinners outside those two nights. We had excellent weather in Rome too. Overall, it was a wonderful experience. Seeing Rome and Athens historic sights was a highlight. We would go back in a minute. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We are in our 70s, celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary and are 4 star mariners. We had a verandah cabin on the Verandah deck. We had a table for 2, early sitting. All the excursions we took were booked through Holland America. All ... Read More
We are in our 70s, celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary and are 4 star mariners. We had a verandah cabin on the Verandah deck. We had a table for 2, early sitting. All the excursions we took were booked through Holland America. All that being said, our cabin was wonderful as was our room stewards. Everything was clean, neat and in good repair. We really enjoyed our meals in the main dining room. I especially noticed that there were more vegetarian choices which I often chose. We appreciated that the serving sizes were smaller than in the past so we could enjoy all 5 courses. If you had a large appetite you could order two or more servings of anything. We ate two evenings in the Pinnacle Grill. The steak was cooked exactly as asked for and the second evening I had the halibut and it was absolutely wonderful. We usually had breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck. We experienced excellent service from all wait staff, especially those in the main dining room. We also thought the food throughout the ship was very good to excellent. The entertainment in the Vista from the HAL singers & dancers was excellent. We do not enjoy magicians or comedians but the BB King group was amazing and we also enjoyed the guest violinist. Many evenings we relaxed in the Explorers Lounge listening to the duo from the Ukraine. We also found the musician in the piano lounge to be very personable and an excellent entertainer. The only complaint re the entertainment was sometimes the volume was too loud in the Vista. Re the condition of the ship we thought it looked good with the only exception being a few chairs in the Explorers Lounge which needed to be repaired. All shore excursions (except for one) met or exceeded our expectations. Holland America do an excellent job searching for topnotch tours. The one exception was one hour shorter than scheduled and the guide was not "topnotch" -- we wrote a note to Shore Excursions and the same day received a refund of 1/3 of the cost and a letter from Shore Excursions (we believe other passengers also complained). All in all, we had an excellent cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation both were smooth. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We were in a VB veranda on Deck 5 and have previously sailed with RCCL and Celebrity. There have been mixed reviews of the Noordam of late, but we found little fault and the experience exceeded that of our RCCL cruise and came close to ... Read More
We were in a VB veranda on Deck 5 and have previously sailed with RCCL and Celebrity. There have been mixed reviews of the Noordam of late, but we found little fault and the experience exceeded that of our RCCL cruise and came close to that of Celebrity. The stateroom was in fine condition with no faults of note and it was well attended to by Tee and Dodik. The air con worked efficiently and the bathroom was in great order. We found the food to be of a high standard, the As You Wish section of the Main Dining Room work well, we got tables quickly and there were no delays in the service. The food came cooked to the correct level, the portion sizes were just right, and if you wanted something extra it was never a problem. We enjoyed breakfast and a light lunch in the Lido and here again we found the food to be of a good standard, especially the Bread & Butter pudding !! There were no unacceptably long queues and stocks of hot food were being constantly replenished. It was also good to see the senior catering staff present on the floor monitoring the situation and chatting to the guests. We had room service breakfast on 5 of our 11 mornings, and it was delivered on time with the eggs still warm and runny. The Pinnacle Grill was a great experience and the staff were most attentive, we went three times, so you can see we enjoyed it. The Rome to Venice and back itenary was fantastic, we took three HAL shore excursions, Taormina in Sicily, Cavtat in Dubrovnik and the palace trip in Corfu. They were enjoyable, but we would have like a bit more time in both Taormina (you had about one hour of free time) and Cavtat where there was a rather miserly 45 mins to enjoy this delightful resort. We didn't go to any of the main shows, but did enjoy the HAL Cats and the BB King bands. All in all, we found Noordam to be in great condition, the crew and staff were all pleasant and welcoming and we had a relaxing cruise with enough attention to make us feel special, Well Done Captain Robert and Cruise Director Kieran. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We could find nothing wrong with the Noordam, no worn carpets, poor paint work, stained cushions. We cruise to visit ports and don't really use mainly of the facilities on board such as the casino - would never enter it; or other ... Read More
We could find nothing wrong with the Noordam, no worn carpets, poor paint work, stained cushions. We cruise to visit ports and don't really use mainly of the facilities on board such as the casino - would never enter it; or other facilities. However we found the food to be good and the service excellent. The cabin was clean and not worn in anyway. Overall a very good holiday. The one improvement would be more talks on the history of the places visited, but given the talk on the Punic Wars was so barely attended I guess that's not the type of cruiser HAL attracts. We avoid HAL shore tours as these like most lines are poor value for money compared with DIY but I guess they appeal to some. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We are a family with 2 teenage children and have enjoyed 4 cruises with HAL. There must be something quite satisfying about a HAL cruise which keeps us coming back. Venice is a fantastic place to visit and from which to embark, the sail ... Read More
We are a family with 2 teenage children and have enjoyed 4 cruises with HAL. There must be something quite satisfying about a HAL cruise which keeps us coming back. Venice is a fantastic place to visit and from which to embark, the sail out passed the island and St Marks etc. is something to behold. We booked cabin 4015 which has a more spacious balcony but has a metal balcony front (not glass). This wasn't a problem as we were glad to have the extra space. The cabin is ok for 4 with one pullman (pull down bed which comes down over the head end of the double bed, and a sofa bed, although it's difficult to navigate to the balcony when the sofabed is extended, not a big deal though. The friidge is very handy. I've read the ship has signs of wear, I didn't see anything particularly displeasing. The entertainment was ok but we were quite content to amble around the ship, stop and have a drink, preferably the Crows Nest which was very enjoyable. We always find the staff friendly and accommodating and have seldom had cause to make any representations. The ports of call offered a variety of attractions. We tend to make our own arrangements and either book rental cars or private excursions before setting off. What works particularly well for us is we always go ashore together but the children find new friends aboard and have great fun. They stay in touch with children from all over the world and coincidentally bumped into some old friends from previous cruises this time around. The food is everything we expect it to be and our waiters have been an excellent source of entertainment. It's well worth asking their advice on where to visit ashore or where to get a good Wifi signal etc. We have previously had some excellent meals in the Pinnacle Grill and booked a table for a family celebration. Once again, we weren't disappointed albeit the service can sometimes be a little bit hit and miss. Pools were obviously very busy but could always find a lounger if we wanted. The pool side burger bar was well worth the wait. Ports: Athens, we walked 20 minutes (out of port and left along shoreline to train station) return tickets to centre of Athens were about 24 euros for 4 of us and takes about 30 minutes, it's reasonably easy to walk around the main attractions. Santorini Walked up through the donkeys, it's a good workout but preferable to waiting for the cable car or paying to sit on a donkey.(wear proper shoes, not flip-flops) Once in the main road on the other side from the tourist shops, we turned left and walked against the traffic for 5 - 10 minutes and found a quad bike rental shop on right. 50 euros for a day, we hired 2 and had a great day zipping about the island. Napflio We pre-arranged a cab to take us to Tolo (watersports beach resort) it's 20 minutes and about 30 euros return. We rented a small motorboat from poseidon for 50 euros for the whole day including fuel. Absolutely fantastic, stopped off for lunch in a little harbour, no tourists to be seen anywhere. Kusadasi Walked up the hill to the Atta Turk statue, great view over the harbour. The locals pester tourists quite a bit but not oppressively. I took my 13 year old son to a Hamam, 5 minute walk in back streets from port shops. Cost about 35 euros for us both and took about 1 hour 15 mins. What an experience but nothing to worry about. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Just completed an 11 day cruise on Noordam from Venice to Civitavecchia. This was our fourth HAL cruise and the second time on the Noordam. Again it was a great experience but there were one or two areas where we felt HAL's usual ... Read More
Just completed an 11 day cruise on Noordam from Venice to Civitavecchia. This was our fourth HAL cruise and the second time on the Noordam. Again it was a great experience but there were one or two areas where we felt HAL's usual standard of excellence were perhaps slipping. First the suite. It was 6177 - a Deluxe Verandah right at the back of the ship on a corner with wrap around balcony for views to the starboard and aft of the ship. Great for leaving Venice for example. The stewards were their usual excellent selves, friendly and efficient. We seldom had to ask for anything - it was always there. However the room amd bathroom were showing a bit of wear and tear. Perhaps time for a refurb? Next the dining. Our suite status allowed us breakfast each morning in the premium restaurant Pinnacle Grill. However we only went there twice as the service and food there was poor. We breakfasted in the Lido self serve or in-room. The Pinnacle could not serve hot coffee which was a pretty basic morning requirement, and often we had to strive to catch the waiters eye for service despite there being few other tables occupied. We also went there one night for dinner (the first night) and again the service was deficient although the food was exceptional. The wine waiter knew little about his wines and gave us a bottle which despite our wanting a dry wine, was so much on the sweet side we couldn't finish it. Another table that night also sent a bottle back for that same reason. We love our wines and are familiar with our own (Australian) ones, but needed help with the European and US wines featured so much on board. By contrast the wine waiter in the main dining room where we ate for the remainder of the cruise was pleasant, friendly and attentive and she knew her wines. Also the service in the main dining room was excellent and the menus there had lots of interesting choices. We only took three HAL excursions, and these were marred by the usual compulsory visits to cameo shops and carpet shops. By all means include them as an option at the end of an excursion, but making them unavoidable put us off booking further tours. Also we thought it was a bit steep to take us to wineries, which we enjoyed, but charge us $18 to bring a bottle on board to consume. As the local wines were around $7 or $8 we did not buy any which was a shame for the local producers. This "corkage" charge is simply a money grab by HAL and prevented us enjoying local wines from the ports we visited. A corkage charge of, say, $5, would have been reasonable. All in all we enjoyed our fourth cruise with HAL and would consider them again although we might try another cruise line next time as these little irritations have eroded our loyalty somewhat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We took a 22 day cruise from Barcelona to Venice with stops in a multitude of ports. While we were not keen on Tunis we were surprised to discover Croatia and other ports. My wife and I cruise a lot and we found this particular Holland ... Read More
We took a 22 day cruise from Barcelona to Venice with stops in a multitude of ports. While we were not keen on Tunis we were surprised to discover Croatia and other ports. My wife and I cruise a lot and we found this particular Holland America experience exhilarating - excellent . We adored our cabin (5091), we loved your fine selected ports…(smashing itinerary!) and we enjoyed the great fine selection of food. However, what made the trip even more special for my wife and myself was the staff. We felt that everyone went beyond what was required and always went the ‘extra mile’ . Whether it was the smiling happy egg cooking brigade at breakfast or the gal at the pasta bar – always most helpful. However, in particular we liked the Neptune Lounge staff - Dangil Hermoso and Sharlene Fontanilla. They were exceptional in their attention to detail, ever friendly, helpful and with an attitude of always ‘can do’. Even with some trying passengers, they always were professional. Neesha we also enjoyed – both in the Neptune Lounge and the Pinnacle Grill. (Le cirque dinner). Great attitude. The Vista Dining room host Rivay we found also exceptional. Not an easy job with that many people all wanting something different. No matter what the pressure, we felt he was always friendly, quick to smile and a joy to see. Since we did not have a permanent sitting, we changed dining room waiters often…always most professional service. We also felt your wine and spirits staff most helpful and competent. Ok, lest you think we are gushing…what we did not like was the internet policy. We feel that the suites should have either free wifi or at least a certain amount of free minutes given. However, we definitely will be back with Holland America   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Sadly, we’ve just returned from an 11-night cruise aboard the ms Noordam. We booked the cruise about 10 days before departure as a last minute getaway from busy life in Turkey. My wife and I are in our early thirties and this is our 7th ... Read More
Sadly, we’ve just returned from an 11-night cruise aboard the ms Noordam. We booked the cruise about 10 days before departure as a last minute getaway from busy life in Turkey. My wife and I are in our early thirties and this is our 7th cruise. We're not loyal to any particular cruise line, but this is our second with Holland America. Before the July 1st embarkation date, we spent 2 wonderful nights in Barcelona. Our hotel was near the main Ramblas drag. We ate wonderful local food, drank cheap and delicious beer and walked…a lot! Post cruise, we spent 3 days in Rome. Embarkation was easy. Taxis in Barcelona were striking on July 1st leaving many without transport to the ship. Our hotel was within walking distance to the cruise shuttle near the port. It also helped that we packed extremely light for this trip as we planned on purchasing the laundry package on board. We arrived a bit early so we had to sit in the terminal for a while. I think we were in our stateroom by about 12:30. We had an inside stateroom (7026) on deck 7. The room was nice and roomy and we had more than enough storage for everything we brought on board. The AC/Heating worked perfectly well the entire trip. Our room attendant Kay and her partner Sam were absolutely incredible! Our ice bucket was always full, the room was always clean and we had different towel animals in our room every night. We ordered room service twice after hours and the services was pretty slow. That being said, food was always tasty and of high quality. The ship itself is looking a bit aged. It was spotless as the crew was always cleaning, but she is looking a bit tired. We spent a lot of time on the Lido deck for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We tried the anytime dinning in the main dinning room 3 times, but we found the service to be slow and didn’t get much attention from the servers. I heard the opposite from friends we met on board about the scheduled dinners. Our food was always hot and presentation was great, too. The itinerary was quite port intensive with only 2 sea days. I’ve visited some of these ports last may aboard the MSC Splendida. All the ports were great except for Livorno, Italy. The highlights were Calvi, France and Naples—surprisingly enough! We were scheduled to visit Marseille but the captain informed us of some unrest at the port so we called on Toulon instead. We pretty much did every single port on our own. We found the Holland America tours to be extremely overpriced. For example, they were charging 19 USD for a chartered (?) a ferry to take passengers to Toulon. When we exited the ship, we walked about 10 minutes and found a similar ferry going to the same place for 2 euros. Entertainment on board was ok. All the musicians, signers and dancers are highly talented. The absolute highlight of the entertainment was the BB King Blues Band. They were incredible and the talk of the ship! We had the chance to chat with some of the band members and they were very down to earth and friendly. The magician, guitarist and others brought on bored were good, too. I do want to mention that before leaving for the trip, I contacted HA customer service twice to ask about the cost of the unlimited laundry (which we used every day and found well worth the price) and the use of the steam room. Customer service quoted 77 USD for the unlimited laundry package and said use of the steam room was free. Upon boarding the ship, we found the laundry package was 99 USD and the steam room was in face not free. I brought this up to the front desk and the guy was less than helpful. I mentioned this to some other guests on board and they suggested I write the guest relations manager. After writing a message expressing my disappointment, she credited my account the difference of the laundry cost and gave us a 1-day guest pass to use the steam room in the spa. She apologized and said she would be contacting guest services to correct them on the information they gave me. With regards to the crew, almost all of them were helpful, smiley and nice. Many of the Indonesian crew were fasting due to Ramadan, but they seemed not to be affected by the lack of liquids or food. Once in a while you would come across someone that seemed to be having a bad day, but that was pretty rare. I prefer the likes of Celebrity and MSC as they employ crew from around the globe. It’s always nice meeting different people from different places and chatting with them. Disembarkation went very smooth, too. We carried our small luggage off the ship around 9 AM and were very sad to leave. This was my second cruise with HA and I would most certainly cruise with them again. All and all, it was a great trip. We met some really great people, we saw some beautiful places, we ate a lot of food and have memories that will last a lifetime.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.3

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