12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our first cruise with Holland America, and we were not disappointed. We flew to Honolulu and sailed back to Sydney, a 15 night segment of a longer cruise. There were lots of sea days on this sector which is what we wanted to ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Holland America, and we were not disappointed. We flew to Honolulu and sailed back to Sydney, a 15 night segment of a longer cruise. There were lots of sea days on this sector which is what we wanted to just kick back and relax. If you are looking for a party this is probably not the ship for you as the average passenger age was probably 55-60+, which is also our demographic so it suited us. Initially we had booked a verandah cabin that was next to the glass elevators. Thankfully I saw a video online showing that anyone on the elevator would have full view of our verandah. As we spend a lot of time out there, we opted to change to a SY Suite (8047). That was a good move,and I doubt we will ever go back to a smaller cabin again. The ship is kept immaculate by very hard working and pleasant crew, who have a strong customer service ethic. Some reviews suggest the interior is dated, but we found it very comfortable and elegant. The public spaces are numerous and varied, and there are many interesting items on display around the ship. The library was particularly impressive with a vast array of material, a resident librarian, and a cafe. Internet connection however, is slow and expensive: avoid if possible. We did find the temperature in the public areas a bit warm, and a lot of passengers were complaining of inadequate air con in cabins. Ours was fine, but we had it constantly on the coldest setting. We had preordered wine and spirits for both the cabin and the dining room, and prebooked dinner in the Pinnacle Grill and Le Cirque. All services were delivered exactly as requested with no hassle. The Pinnacle Grill is worth the small surcharge, but we were extremely disappointed with Le Cirque and would not recommend that. However, the Master Chefs Table is worth the additional charge for a special treat. We were pleased with the Vista Dining room, which had a constantly changing menu for dinner. We had free time dining and had to wait a short while for a table on only 2 occasions. Food was always well cooked and arrived hot. The buffet is also very pleasant, with plenty of choice and chefs on hand to plate your food. Room service also gets a thumbs up from us. The Lido snack bar, BBQ, fruit buffet and more, all helped to add variety and interest to the dining options. It is impossible to go hungry! Overall, dining gets an 8.5/10 from us. A variety of evening entertainment was on offer, everything from classical music recitals, to piano bar and the Vista Lounge shows. There was sufficient to keep you occupied although none was a stand out for us. Similarly, there were lots of activities on offer during the day, and effort went into providing variety. We enjoyed the daily presentations of the guest speakers, and the Digital Workshop. We also participated in the on board fundraising walk for cancer organisations . Happy hour in the Crows Nest became part of our routine to watch the sunset and catch up with fellow cruisers. This was our first time on Holland America and we would definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We just got back! Getting to Vancouver - We flew into Seattle the day before and overnighted at the Seattle W. The W was a little younger crowd even for us...it was like walking into a rave that night. However, slept fine and it was ... Read More
We just got back! Getting to Vancouver - We flew into Seattle the day before and overnighted at the Seattle W. The W was a little younger crowd even for us...it was like walking into a rave that night. However, slept fine and it was only one night so no biggie. The next morning we woke up super early and headed to the Amtrak station to catch the morning train to Vancouver. This was actually a nice trip and super scenic. No delay issues and we even got there a little early. All the reviews about it being wonderful..true! Embarking - Wow. I felt like a rat going through a puzzle. It didn't take too long though, which was nice, but never so glad to be done and get on the ship. Still feel like this process could be improved though because just when you feel like you've made you end up in another line. Holland's process was fine...it was security and customs causing a majority of the bottleneck. Juneau- A little rainy the day we were there, but we did a whale watching cruise. Loved it..tons of activity by the humpbacks and orcas. We were able to snap some nice pics. Skagway - Beautiful day here...did the White Pass train. If you haven't done that..you totally should. Stunning scenery. Loved that you can go out back in the open space behind the train car to snap photos. Glacier Bay - Stunning. Jaw dropping...amazingly beautiful. Ketchikan - We did most of our shopping here. It was a nice laid back port. Do get some pizza at Fat Stans though...that was amazing! On the ship- We had a Neptune suite..great room in a corner aft. Loved all the space. Especially loved the Neptune Lounge coffee and treats. (Seriously, the coffee is amazing.) Room showed a little age, but really nothing major and we loved it. Concierges were very helpful in the Neptune with my shore excursions and if we needed anything specific. Room steward was very attentive and nice as well. Loved the complimentary laundry service as well...very helpful for packing lighter. Seemed like this time Holland was a little more lax on the hand sanitizing/serving when we first got on board..which I thought was a little weird. I did notice more people coughing towards the end of the cruise, but that could have just been me because I was starting to come down with a cold. Food was fine...breakfast in the Pinnacle..by far beats the Lido. (A solid suite perk...really, really nice.) Always able to find something for whatever meal wherever we ended up (Lido, Main, Canaletto)...and almost always came up to the Lido for an after dinner ice cream. (yay!) Disembarking - Great! Nothing bad to say here...we did self disembark and were off the ship in no time at all. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We just returned from a 7-day Alaskan round trip cruise out of Vancouver. The cruise took us (in this order) to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay State Park and Ketchikan, taking the Inside Passage on the way up and back. We had fair weather ... Read More
We just returned from a 7-day Alaskan round trip cruise out of Vancouver. The cruise took us (in this order) to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay State Park and Ketchikan, taking the Inside Passage on the way up and back. We had fair weather the entire way, with sunny skies everywhere except Ketchikan (cloudy but warm, with no rain until evening). There was a little rocking, but the ocean was generally smooth. Through the Inside Passage we saw a few humpbacks on the way up, and on the way back we were escorted for a short distance by what must have been nearly 100 porpoises. What a sight! Did not see any orcas on this particular cruise. Here's what I thought of the Noordam: Overall Condition: The ship appeared to be in generally good shape. You could see some wear and tear, but the overall condition of the ship was good. We experienced no unpleasant smells, and everything seemed to be functioning properly. There was plenty of ongoing maintenance (painting and continuous housekeeping), but nothing obtrusive. Room: We had an ocean view room on the main deck. The service was friendly and responsive, and kept the room in great shape. The TV was not working when we arrived. We called it in and the problem was resolved within minutes. We had no problems with the plumbing or the HVAC. Food: So subjective a subject, but here we go. Overall, I thought the food was very good. This is our third cruise with HAL and I know what to expect. The omelettes were very good. My steaks were made to order, and the other main dishes I had for dinner were very good. The hamburgers were a little hit and miss. One day, excellent. The next day, mediocre. The soups were generally good. The desserts were excellent. I thought that service at the Dive In was very slow. The Lido was the Lido. Some good, some not so good. Service: I thought the service throughout the ship was excellent. All the staff is friendly and responsive. They remembered our names and our preferences. Our room attendants did a very nice job of maintaining our room. Entertainment: The addition of the BB King Blues All-Star Band is a big hit. Really enjoyed them. The comedian, Lee Bayless, was very good. There was a juggler who was very good at what he did, but not so good with the crowd. Sometimes funny, sometimes reaching a bit. The Noordam singers and dancers were not great, but did a pretty good job. We did not spend a lot of time listening to Adagio, The Band or the piano player. Not because they weren't good, just because we were enjoying other things. Other Ship Comments: We really enjoyed the Explorations Café. The staff was friendly and engaging. It was nice to have the Signature Beverage Package if only for this. Speaking of the SBP, I find it a bit limited when it comes to wine. On this cruise it was particularly limited because they did not have the "house wine" available. If it is not included in a package, I am not getting the Signature Beverage Package. Excursions: On this cruise we arranged the excursions online through HAL. We did the mushers camp in Juneau (on Douglas Island), horseback riding in Skagway (near Dyea) and the Zodiac Adventure (small outboard pontoon boats) in Ketchikan. We enjoyed them all. It probably helped that we had good weather at all locations. The mushers camp was actually quite educational. A number of the dogs there do compete in the Iditarod. The horseback riding was amid beautiful surroundings. The Zodiac Adventure was a bit bumpy with some choppy waters. We saw a lot of seals and a number of eagles. A little disappointed to have not seen any whales. Maybe a little late in the season. Glacier Bay: Calving glaciers, beautiful waters, majestic mountains. What a gorgeous part of the world! Ports: 1) Juneau is getting a bit touristy. Another problem I had here was with how HAL handled access. We were docked at a relatively remote location. The distance was walkable, but took time away from actually seeing the city. A shuttle was provided, but at a cost of $3. Turned out that you could take a return trip for no charge. Odd. 2) Skagway is small, accessible and walkable. The small museum there was a nice find. It had a small exhibit about the Aurora Borealis. The exhibit mentioned that it would be visible that night, although not particularly intensive (4 on a scale of 10). We stayed up until 2 and did see something memorable, in spite of the ship's lights. 3)Ketchikan is a neat little town. Even with the excursion, we had time to explore Creek Street and the surrounding area. Given the combination of the ship, service, excursions and weather, the overall trip was wonderful. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This cruise was included in our package tour of the Rockies which my husband and I had undertaken to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our tour group was told that it may take a couple of hours to get through the embarkation process at ... Read More
This cruise was included in our package tour of the Rockies which my husband and I had undertaken to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our tour group was told that it may take a couple of hours to get through the embarkation process at Vancouver and onto the ship but we would be in time for lunch on board. Sadly US Customs decided to make this process as difficult and lengthy as possible and it took over four hours. We were disgusted, have been on many cruises but never been treated so poorly. We will never take out a cruise out of Vancouver again because of this experience. By the time we arrived on board we had missed lunch and the life boat muster so were expected to attend another drill at 6pm. We declined as we had a dinner booking at that time. They then requested we attend another drill the next day. The lady that turned up to do that drill was late and a big group of people were left waiting on the cold deck for her appearance. Very poor form I thought. It was our first cruise with Holland America and I was impressed with the ship, it has a lot of old world charm. We found the food in all dining rooms very nice. We loved having room service for breakfast! We had dinner at the Pinnacle Grill to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and it was really nice, the service was superb and the food wonderful. We chose to spoil ourselves with a signature suite. We had a bath and a shower and two basins. The extra room in the cabin and balcony was great, we loved it. We struck some very wet and windy weather during the cruise and had only one sunny day in Skagway. We did three shore excursions in 3 ports but they were a bit dismal at times due to rain and cold but I guess you expect that in that part of the world. What we did like was the organisation involved in the shore excursions. You just met at the end of the pier, on other ships you get crammed into the theatre and led out one group at a time. I didn't enjoy the entertainment as much as I had on other cruise lines. There wasn't a lot offered I felt. Embarkation was done well, waiting in your cabin for your group to be called, we were off the ship in no time. All in all we would cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was my very first Holland America Cruise, and first cruise to Alaska. I've been to 3 cruises before this, all of which were with Royal Caribbean and were in the Caribbean as well, most recently on the Oasis of the Seas. We ... Read More
This was my very first Holland America Cruise, and first cruise to Alaska. I've been to 3 cruises before this, all of which were with Royal Caribbean and were in the Caribbean as well, most recently on the Oasis of the Seas. We arrived in Vancouver on Friday and then headed to Canada Place (Vancouver Port) on Saturday morning. Embarkation: I found embarkation quite smooth overall and quick but we arrived quite early and thus had to wait about an hour in the waiting room as they did not begin embarking until 11:30am. Once we were let in, our room was already ready and lunch was already being served at Lido, the main buffet restaurant. Cabin: The cabin was very nice, clean and spacious. I was in a Verandah style room (a balcony) and found it was perfect for this type of cruise. I highly recommend a balcony if you are travelling to Alaska as the scenery is beautiful and is different every day, especially Glacier Bay. We were lucky as our neighbours were rarely outside and so we had no problems with smokers. Our stateroom attendants, Matt & Hawas, were excellent and we had no problems with our room. Dining: We only ate at two places throughout our cruise: Lido and the Vista Dining Room. Lido food was pretty good overall, with lots of different types of cuisines, though some food got quite repetitive after a few days. The majority of food is served for you, a part I did not like as the portions were often too much even after specifying a small portion. I really enjoyed the freshly squeezed orange juice as well as the ice cream served daily. The main dining room was excellent and I was never disappointed in what I ordered. Activities/Entertainment: This is probably the biggest disappointment out of the whole cruise. There are very limited activities going on throughout the ship, even on sea days. As others have said, most involved selling something or seminars on technology. There is a nice library that offers many books, board games and puzzles, and the ship has a huge collection of DVDs that you can borrow free of charge. The pool is very nice, and has a retractable roof so it was able to close on colder days. The entertainment at night often involved the Noordam singers and dancers, which were nice but nothing grand, and a comedian, who was very funny. We enjoyed listening to Adagio, a violin and piano duo, who played every evening around dinnertime. Shore Excursions: We booked an excursion at every port we visited. There is very little to do in Alaska if you plan on just walking around so I recommend booking tours at ports you are interested in seeing. In Juneau, we did dog sledding which was very fun and we got to meet and hold some puppies in the end. In Skagway, we did the train ride in the morning and went to do some gold panning at the end. In Ketchikan, we did the crab tour on the Aleutian Ballad, a nice tour if you want to learn some interesting fishing stories or want to see some crab up close. Disembarkation: We did the expedited disembarkation (first people to leave at 7:30am), and found it was extremely fast and smooth. It took us all of 5 minutes to grab our luggage, exit the ship and grab a taxi. If you are able to, I highly recommend doing this as it ensures you a fast exit off the ship especially if you have a flight to catch. Final Thoughts: Overall, I found that the weather was an important factor in your experience on this cruise. We were very lucky as it was clear skies for the majority of the week, with rain only on one day and so we were able to really enjoy our shore excursions as well as fully use our verandah. You will need to bring a light jacket/sweater and rain jacket as the weather is unpredictable throughout the day. I really enjoyed it overall, as I found it much more relaxing and less crowded than Oasis of the Seas, although with fewer activities. We travelled as a family and definitely found that the majority of the guests were aged 65+. If you enjoy the peacefulness and quiet, this cruise is definitely for you, but if you are someone who needs to be entertained constantly, then I would suggest a Royal Caribbean or Princess cruise instead. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Just returned from a 7 day Alaskan inside passage cruise with Holland America on the m/s Noordam, sailing dates July 11th thru 18th. Our first cruise, 3 of us in one stateroom; my wife and I along with our 14 year old granddaughter. We ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 day Alaskan inside passage cruise with Holland America on the m/s Noordam, sailing dates July 11th thru 18th. Our first cruise, 3 of us in one stateroom; my wife and I along with our 14 year old granddaughter. We choose a center ship inside main deck room as to keep the cost lower and to reduce possible motion sickness. We believe this was a good choice as we spent little time in the room. After reading some reviews on Cruise Critic my expectations were somewhat toned-down. When you put nearly 2000 people together in a confined space for 7 days it is a social experiment with most wanting a different outcome than the other person. Most of our pre conceived expectations were met and we are pleased about that. Boarding aka embarkation went well it somewhat like a mouse running thru a maze as you must go complete customs and various check points before you are allowed to board the ship. If you have some type of handicap it seems you will be well taken care of. The process is not bad as everyone involved on shore wants to be helpful and have good attitude. As soon as you get on the ship everyone is there to help answer questions and get you settled. Our luggage was delivered to our room in a timely manner and food was being served at the Lido restaurant. I think if you deal with boarding with a positive attitude it should be a breeze. Weather will vary as it is rainy in the summer months on the Alaskan coast. We experienced some clouds and rain during out trip, bring at least a good poncho if you plan to go ashore, as luck would have we never had to unpack ours. The staff is amazing, always friendly and helpful. However they are not mind readers and if you want something you have to ask. For instance in the food serving line at the Lido you need to tell the server what you want and how much you want of a particular item. Yes there is some self-service but due to health concerns most hot food is served by the staff. I found most prepared beef, pork, chicken and fish over cooked and again I believe that is a hearth and safety issue. Two specialty restaurants on board that require payment for lunch or dinner we did not dine in either. The Dive In at the main pool has burgers, fries and dogs, plus a taco bar not bad for a snack. Oh, if you like ice cream, I think you are for a treat. Entertainment I guess depends on what you like but we found it pretty good. Holland America hires in acts such a comedians, bands, etc. to supplement their own regular entertainers which gives a mix of evening entertainment. Stuff to do during the cruise is abundant, each evening a program is delivered to your room that lists all the activities for the next day, extra copies can be obtained from your cabin steward or at the main deck front desk. Do not forget to bring binoculars; we forgot; a much to see from the ship and land tours. The ship provides Alaska history and wildlife programs which we found interesting. We did an excursion at each of the 3 ports we stopped at and were pleased with all 3. We pre-booked all 3 and used trip advisor to do our research on the excursion providers. One of my annoyances is extra money must be paid for soda pop and beer; I guess I am spoiled by all-inclusive resorts. A shout to Chris show host and Gusty cabin steward. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Went on the Noordam out of Vancouver. Chose Vancouver for a couple of reasons. Lots of flights from our hometown ( Edmonton) and I read that seeing Alaska was better than taking a ship from Seattle. Not sure if that is true, but that is ... Read More
Went on the Noordam out of Vancouver. Chose Vancouver for a couple of reasons. Lots of flights from our hometown ( Edmonton) and I read that seeing Alaska was better than taking a ship from Seattle. Not sure if that is true, but that is what happened. Dad has health issues so it was really great to take advantage of HALS cancel for any reason insurance. Good piece of mind. Embarkation was really good. We prearranged that my Dad would need wheelchair service. As a result, we motored through U.S. Customs and was on the ship within 20 minutes of getting to the dock. Food was very good. I enjoyed it. We ate dinner in the dining room except on formal nights, we ate dinner in the buffet restaurant. Only issue with the buffet was a lot of times, it was not serve yourself so line ups to have the wait staff serve up things. If you had to wait, that is fine but it caused crowds to form and difficult to get around. Booked Alaska excursions through the ship. Prices were very close to if we booked ourselves independently. Happy hour, 2 similar drinks for about $8 U.S. $6.95 for the first and then $1 for the second. Very good deal. Became very crowded in the crows nest once everybody knew. Entertainment was good. It was an older crowd but the entertainment was for a younger audience which is fine as I'm younger. BB King band were excellent. Not a lot to do during sea days though. I went to the fitness room every day. Functional but equipment has seen better days. Debarkation was a breeze. Pre-arranged wheelchair and was off quickly as a result. Hal is for a older clientele. I would not recommend for Familes especially those with teenagers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our fifth HAL cruise and again a very good experience (we've taken over 20 cruises ranging from Epirotiki to Cunard and Renaissance), The ship was exceedingly clean and well maintained. The cabin service was tops, and the ... Read More
This was our fifth HAL cruise and again a very good experience (we've taken over 20 cruises ranging from Epirotiki to Cunard and Renaissance), The ship was exceedingly clean and well maintained. The cabin service was tops, and the stewards were most accommodating. Entertainment was above average for cruise ships. Michael in the Piano Bar was outstanding - he should be a headliner himself. The spa services were fine in their usual overpriced cruise ship way. Dining room service was good but the least personal we have experienced with the line. We were traveling with two grandchildren and the programs for them were excellent. The only disappointment was that the fish courses were cooked way to dry, even in the Pinnacle Grill. It was usually impossible to get a table for 8 (our group) in the buffet as there was no one preventing one or two passengers from taking over one of the large booths which was annoying by the end of the trip. Overall HAL presents a very good product at the higher end of the 7 day market. Embarkation was easy; we were on board in less than an hour with minimal waiting time in the chair hall. The crowd control was very good. On departing we were off the pier within 20 minutes of when our group was called. Can't do much better than that! Our train trip at Skagway was disrupted because the train in front of us broke down, so we never made it to the top of the pass. HAL immediately refunded 60% of the cost to everyone, a very nice gesture. Whale watching in Juneau definitely was the highlight of the shore excursions, though Glaciar Bay is outstanding every time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
First time cruisers, will definitely cruise again, though probably not with Holland America. We chose Alaska because if we did not like cruising the scenery and shore excursions would more than compensate. We arrived at Vancouver ... Read More
First time cruisers, will definitely cruise again, though probably not with Holland America. We chose Alaska because if we did not like cruising the scenery and shore excursions would more than compensate. We arrived at Vancouver International Airport, where we were to be met and transported to our Vancouver Hotel (Pan Pacific Canada Place, Excellent hotel, brilliant location) by HAL's local agent. Sadly no one to meet us however, HAL had provided us with a telephone number for their agent. Called the number and were informed someone would be sent straight away to meet us, after 45 minutes recalled agent only to be connected to an answer phone, called again 30 minutes later again only an answerphone. Decided to get a taxi $37.00 very quick and good value. Embarkation at Vancouver onto the Noordam was both quick and efficient. We had an outside cabin which was roomy, clean, lots of storage with a well equipped bathroom. The balcony was a good size and provided excellent views. The two stewards appointed to our cabin provided us with superb service as did in all the rest of the crew with whom we came into contact. The Noordam appeared to us to be well equipped and maintained. We ate in all four of the restaurants: the Lido(self service) large variety of cuisines through breakfast, lunch & dinner. The Vista (split level formal dining room) a more limited menu though the food was well presented and excellently cooked. The Pinnacle Grill, Noordam's signature restaurant was top class and well worth the additional charge. The Canaletto the Italian themed restaurant was like a fish out of water and just did not work. The menu was limited and the cooking was the poorest we encountered on the ship. I understand on HAL's newest ships the Caneletto has been dropped for an Asian themed restaurant. The two pools one covered one outdoor were well equipped with supporting hot tubs, the weather, more Californian than Alaskan, probably accounted for more use than normal. The Gym was well equipped offering superb views ahead. There were a good number of bars, some quiet, others offering entertainment from classical to soul. The acts in the Vista lounge theatre were excellent in particular the two comedians. However, the stand out class act on our cruise was provided by the scenery. From our departure from Vancouver to the inside passage, through to Glacier bay and back to Vancouver, it was breath-taking. We undertook two shore excursions, the first in Juneau was a whale watching boat trip followed by a rainforest trail which ended at the Mendenhall Glacier, the guides on this trip were of the highest standard. We saw Whales, Otters Sea Lions and Eagles galore on this trip. Our second excursion was on the Whitehorse Pass, again simply stunning, though again, the weather was gorgeous, allowing clear views all-round. My only fault echoed by other passengers on board was that we steamed past Tracy Arm whilst watching a Princess boat leaving and a Celebrity boat entering this world renowned Fjord. When I enquired at the front office I was informed HAL only stopped at Tracy Arm if passengers had booked a shore excursion. On all my correspondence with HAL and on my itineraries it was made clear we would be visiting Tracy Arm and was one of my reasons for booking with HAL, very unsatisfactory. As a first time cruiser do cruise lines frequently deviate from their itineraries or do they miss out Venice, Barbados etc??? Regrettably, HAL have missed their opportunity to make me a repeat cruiser with them, though I will look at both Princess and Celebrity. A pity but missing Tracy Arm was a gain changer for me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I did this first cruise together and on HA. We stayed at the Best Western/Cruise Location in Fort Lauderdale the night before, it was super. They had a shuttle to the ship and got us there by 10:30 AM, great staff at ... Read More
My husband and I did this first cruise together and on HA. We stayed at the Best Western/Cruise Location in Fort Lauderdale the night before, it was super. They had a shuttle to the ship and got us there by 10:30 AM, great staff at the hotel, good location for a pub nearby for dinner and a supermarket to get our 2 bottles of wine for our cabin. You are entitled to take 2 onboard for no charge. Our room itself was fine, everything worked well. The TV was fine, we aren't on a cruise to watch TV. Temperature was good. The staff were beyond excellent. Room was kept in great condition, was so sad to get home and have to make my own bed!! Bed was comfy, no problem in getting extra blankets, loved the bathrobes. Lots of storage, and luggage fit under the bed no problem. No complaints at all. Loved the size of the ship, can't imagine going on one of those monster ships. 1900 folks is just right. Interesting decor.....very 1980s brass and light wood????? But fine. Loved the NY times being free, checked it fairly often in the cafe. Too many pieces of paper in your mailbox....the art gallery was handing out papers every day it seemed. Mark the cruise director was very good, personable and got the job done. Temperature in the common areas was fine, not cold at all. Appreciated in the Captain keeping us informed of delays and changes, he was super. We enjoyed the evening entertainment, went to most of it. Very good singers and dancers. Good variety of shows, sometimes a hit, sometimes a miss. But lots to do in the evening. We had a 6PM sitting for dining in the Vista room. Our staff there was super. Meals were all very good. Ate there most nights. Liked the formal nights, and we made the effort to 'look good' on the other nights. The Lido was good, breakfast was yummy. Always a variety of food, didn't see anyone going hungry! A few negatives......our cabin was directly below the aft pool/smoking area. Could hear chairs being dragged across the deck. There should be a warning when you book that you are directly below the bar. One night they moved what we think were stacks of chairs at 3 in the morning, we asked at the front desk for them to check on that. It never happened again. They were very nice and even offered to move us. Smoking.....time to make the WHOLE ship non-smoking, it's 2015 folks, stop!! Spent a good deal of time in the aft pool area, and the 'saving' of lounge chairs should be stopped. You aren't there for 30 minutes, and you lose it. People dump their stuff in the AM and don't show up for hours. Port Everglades was super, getting on board no problem. All ports were fine in arriving. In San Diego we were in the customs line for about 15 minutes, went very quick. US customs were great. Used the fitness club for yoga, which I enjoyed. In Cartagena we did our own tour, loved it. Claudia's tours it was. In the HA shore excursions we were often rushed. Antiqua was way too short, In Costa Rica, San Jose we were taken to a souvenir shop right off the ship, and stayed there for a whole hour of our 4 hour tour, BAD move on their part. In Nicaragua going to Leon, again, not enough time. Don't understand, you are in a port for so many hours, but the HA shore excursions are brief, when they could be extended/give you more time. And please stop ALL mandatory visits to stores for shopping. I am not in Leon, once in my life to go shopping!!! Since this was our first cruise we weren't sure how it all worked. Now we would never book a HA shore excursion again, each port had numerous people waiting to take you out. Others did this and we heard of no problems. San Diego, Huatulco, Cabo we did our own thing and had a great time. Really enjoyed the Panama day, with all to see and the information presented. Getting off in Vancouver was super easy as we filled out the customs forms early and Border Services checked them early. A great time, we were with 2 other couples and we all had a good time. Our cabins were side by side and we were able to have the barriers removed to have one big balcony. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
The food was excellent and the entertainment was great. Got to score that as close as possible to 10 out of 10. The port and shore excursions could have also been 10 out of 10 if San Diego was not included on the list. What a dirty place. ... Read More
The food was excellent and the entertainment was great. Got to score that as close as possible to 10 out of 10. The port and shore excursions could have also been 10 out of 10 if San Diego was not included on the list. What a dirty place. Looked more like a 3rd world country and the US security was both an embarrassment and a huge inconvenience. Suggest they could take some tips from any of the other countries. Now here is why I would never go again. We just froze on the ship due to the air conditioning. Lucky the weather was fantastic outside, so one could take his or her food out and eat it in comfort. If you plan to use the eating and entertaining areas, bring a ski jacket and wool socks. At first we thought it was just us, but after complaining to others sharing a table we heard from more than a dozen people, who felt the same. Most of us come for a warm get away not a meat locker experience. We ended up with awful colds and later heard from others that told us they too had to go to their family doctors after returning home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We were in a veranda stateroom on deck 5, and our cabin steward could not do enough for us. The dining room servers were top notch as well - always calling us by name, knowing what our choices would be, and so on. The entertainment, ... Read More
We were in a veranda stateroom on deck 5, and our cabin steward could not do enough for us. The dining room servers were top notch as well - always calling us by name, knowing what our choices would be, and so on. The entertainment, however, was mediocre. The ship's dancers were just OK, and the singers fell flat. The Cruise Director (Kearan) was great but there were, including himself, only 3 on the staff - Arias, the DJ, just came aboard the same day we did, and Samantha, the culinary specialist, was just leaving at the end of our cruise. There was just not much in the way of audience participation in activities - only one evening they had a "Liar's Club" or "Balderdash" type of activity. The dance venues were small, and when the 3 couples from Montreal did their never ending line dancing, there was not enough room to dance. The BB King Blues Band was so loud it was unbearable. The stage production designer - specifically the lighting - and I have seen this on several cruises of late - apparently thinks having spotlights and strobes shining into the audience creates "ambiance," and I was told this by Margot the program coordinator. The problem with this is that much of the audience cannot see what is happening on the stage. This definitely should be minimized or eliminated. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Just been on the southern Caribbean 10 day cruise and it was awesome. The ship is catered for the old folks and the food is better than other Cruises, but entertainment not as great. HAL allows smoking on the cabins which is the prime ... Read More
Just been on the southern Caribbean 10 day cruise and it was awesome. The ship is catered for the old folks and the food is better than other Cruises, but entertainment not as great. HAL allows smoking on the cabins which is the prime reason I like HAL. Excursions are plentiful but pricy if you book from Hal. On most ports you are better off just going to peer and there is lots of tour operators at half price for similar tours.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
This was our first cruise on Holland America. We have been on Celebrity and Princess enough to earn top status. The cabins stewards, waiters and all the crew were excellent. Overall we felt the food was good in both the dining room and the ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Holland America. We have been on Celebrity and Princess enough to earn top status. The cabins stewards, waiters and all the crew were excellent. Overall we felt the food was good in both the dining room and the buffet. We had no complaints. Some reviews indicated the entertainment was not up to par but we felt that the entertainment was on a par with other cruise lines. However, as we have recently seen with other cruise lines the performances are just too loud to the point that a couple of times we had to leave as did others. BB King band was a highlight of the Noordam, unfortunately we were unable to stay longer than a few minutes. Both embarkation and debarkation were handled better that on many other cruise lines we have been on. It was nice that they had both Catholic and Protestant services available. The library was the best we have ever seen and the internet speed was also the fastest we have ever experienced. It is time for some refurbishment. Some of the chairs in the Atrium were thread bare however the ship was very clean and well maintained outside of a few areas. We will look at Holland again for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Embarkation, information about the new Muster Drill requirements, service throughout the ship, food served in the Lido Restaurant as well as the Dining Room, and most of the entertainment available was excellent. Hot soups served in the ... Read More
Embarkation, information about the new Muster Drill requirements, service throughout the ship, food served in the Lido Restaurant as well as the Dining Room, and most of the entertainment available was excellent. Hot soups served in the Dining Room often were steaming and were delicious. My Wine Steward was Anthony: a more joyfull and knowledgable one I have ever had. Good Cabin Stewards and an excellent Dining Room team: Rudi and Ari. Entertainment was mostly good. The BB Kings Group did not have a wider range of music that I have experienced on other ships. On this cruise, the music was LOUD. The cast show Droom is not to be missed. The Adagio Strings duo were excellent and packed the Explorer's Lounge. No entertainment in the Crow's Nest. Happy Hour was only accommodating early sitting diners. Hot appetizers were not available until after Happy Hour was over. Even then, they had to be requested. There were so many 4 Star Mariners and above, we 4 Star folk were not invited to functions where we should have been. I do not think that the current ship's management is as guest friendly as it ought to be, particularly compared with my past HAL voyages. Shore Excursions that I booked were well run and worth the money. I booked The Master Chef's Table. Well worth while, but, oh, so much food and wine. A good experience, if one is so interested. This was a b2b, so we had to disembark the ship in Port Port Evergades for about 40 minutes. No place to sit while waiting to re-embark. Silliness in my opinion. Such does not need to be done in European ports. Why could this not be done aboard the vessel if it is really needed? Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I traveled alone for this cruise and it was my first one. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the Caribbean, so much so that I am traveling with my boyfriend in January on the Koningsdam to the Caribbean. Looking forward to the new ship ... Read More
I traveled alone for this cruise and it was my first one. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the Caribbean, so much so that I am traveling with my boyfriend in January on the Koningsdam to the Caribbean. Looking forward to the new ship and am sure that we won't be disappointed! I had a balcony cabin and have one booked for this trip as well. The extra that is does cost is more than worth that bit of privacy that a balcony affords you. Starting the day off and finishing it at the end of the day is a perfect way to have it. Enjoy your coffee as the sun comes up! I enjoyed a zip line ride in San Juan and have never spent Christmas Day like that before! I won't travel at Christmas again, but leaving right after New Year's Day in January will be a perfect way to start the year off!! The food was out of this world and every meal was scrumptious! I also appreciate that Holland America does tend to cater to the older crowd so it is nice to walk about the ship without having to worry about a ton of kids running around. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
This was the 11th cruise for my husband and I, the 9th with Holland America; we are 3-star Mariners. We had a good time, but there were things missing from this cruise that have been normal on previous HAL cruises. Our last cruise was a ... Read More
This was the 11th cruise for my husband and I, the 9th with Holland America; we are 3-star Mariners. We had a good time, but there were things missing from this cruise that have been normal on previous HAL cruises. Our last cruise was a year and a half before this one, maybe all HAL cruises have changed in that 18-month period. If so, that is unfortunate. 1. There was no Chocolate Extravaganza. 2. The chocolates left on our bed each night were generic - they weren't the HAL-logo chocolates. 3. There was no final Goodbye Show. This show was mostly to tell passengers how disembarkation is handled, but it is also traditionally the final goodbye with the crew all coming on stage and singing together and everyone joining in a final glass of champagne. At the last dinner in the dining room there was somewhat of a parade of the crew, but it was hard to see and hear for those sitting at tables away from the center of the room. It wasn't the same. 4. Trivia was unorganized and there was no final cruise champion. On our previous cruises there has been recognition of the team with the most points earned throughout the cruise. 5. There were very few drawings and raffles. 6. There were no cultural or history talks about the ports we visited. The only talks I know of is one about shopping in the ports and one about where to go on your next cruise. Since we were not able to dock at Half Moon Cay and had an extra sea day as a result, a little culture and history would have been welcome. 7. I liked that on previous cruises there were announcements throughout the day about events happening on board (so I didn't miss them). On this cruise that only happened once or twice a day. This, however, might be a welcome change to some who don't like hearing announcements. Otherwise: Embarkation was very slow. The ship arrived back in the States from 8 months in Europe the morning of our cruise. Customs and Coast Guard inspections took a lot of time and we didn't get on board until about 2 p.m., missing the Mariner lunch. We left port about 8 p.m.; one of the lifeboats had a hydraulic problem that needed to be fixed. We had fixed dining at 8 p.m. and our stewards were friendly and as attentive as they could be with the number of tables they had to cover. One night we missed the show entirely because courses were slow to be served, one night we were late to the show. However, the food was delicious as usual with HAL. When three of us at the table wanted escargot more than one night, that was no problem, it was ready for us. Service by our cabin stewards was well done. When I wanted more wine glasses or lotion, I left a note and they were there after the next time the room was cleaned. The only complaint with the room is that the water tasted bad, like too much chlorine or not enough filtering. We were not able to embark at Half Moon Cay. The captain anchored but winds were too strong to safely transport us in the tenders. The entertainment was very good, although at least one night there was no show. Dancing With The Stars final was held at 9:30 while the late dinner seating was still eating. We used expedited disembarkation because we had an early flight. We carried our luggage off and were in the first group to leave the ship. It went smoothly. The Noordam is a beautiful ship. She is clean and in good repair. Summary: We have always preferred the smaller HAL ships. The Vista class, like Noordam, have more public rooms, but they are more crowded, especially at the Lido. We will probably chose a smaller ship for our next cruise. We won't book a ship that has just come off a repositioning cruise again because of the long embarkation. The cruise was fun, we really enjoyed it, but before booking another cruise I will read reviews and weigh the pros and cons of each ship.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We really enjoyed our trip and had a lovely stateroom with balcony (7011). We have travelled Holland America before (Veendam, Vollendam and Statendam), all of which we enjoyed. We had never been on Noordam before and have to say that the ... Read More
We really enjoyed our trip and had a lovely stateroom with balcony (7011). We have travelled Holland America before (Veendam, Vollendam and Statendam), all of which we enjoyed. We had never been on Noordam before and have to say that the ship design is not to our liking. Some bizzare planning meant that Greenhouse staff at reception desk were continuously interrupted by guests travelling through their area on the way to Lido pools and restaurant. Also, one had to walk through the shop when travelling from one end of the desk to the other. Dining was fun with our table mates in second sitting, although we were surprised occasionally that the dishes didn't match the description. Although the courses were small, we never went hungry! We were disappointed that a restaurant breakfast and/or lunch were not offered more frequently as we really disliked the scrum of Lido. It was often so crowded that one of us had to sit at the table while the other was finding various sources of food. Hence, we rarely managed to eat a whole meal together other than in the Dining room. Like another reviewer commented, we too had an early morning rude awakening for a level one fire alarm. Luckily, as I had read the other review prior to our trip, I was not too concerned, but some fellow passengers had donned their lifeboats or sorted out warm clothes for evacuation. I'm glad that HAL take safety so seriously but alarming people in the muddles of the night was perhaps a little over-cautious. The entertainment was not as good as I remembered from previous cruises, and although the shows put on by the resident team were excellent, I would have liked more choice from guest performers. There two two during our cruise, a classical/jazz fusion pianist who was excellent but appealed to a very small number of guests. Perhaps it would have been better to have his performance in a smaller venue. The comedian also seemed popular, if not our cup of tea. Many of the remaining 'entertainment' were opportunities to make money - art auctions, sip and savour drinks, jewellery sales etc. not very entertaining! All in all, although we enjoyed our trip, we felt that there had been a lot of 'paring down' of what was offered, particularly for those guests on 2nd sitting dining. We had already booked for another cruise in January and are keeping everything crossed that we are not disappointed. The cost of wine, outside a wine package, is truly outrageous.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We are a couple of 65 year olds, who have not sailed with HAL before, but this was our fourth cruise. The embarkation process at Civitavechia, Rome, was speedy and efficient. Our luggage arrived in our stateroom 6003, just as we did. Our ... Read More
We are a couple of 65 year olds, who have not sailed with HAL before, but this was our fourth cruise. The embarkation process at Civitavechia, Rome, was speedy and efficient. Our luggage arrived in our stateroom 6003, just as we did. Our cabin was specifically for a disabled traveller, as I have mobility problems and use a scooter. The stateroom was situated right at the prow of the ship on the starboard side, quite a distance from restaurants, but it was quite spacious and had lots of storage space. I could drive my scooter right in, around the end of the bed and park it by the floor to ceiling verandah doors.There was a supporting pillar in the room, which I learned to negotiate. We put our large suitcases under the beds and there were two spacious drawers there too.We had a couch/ sofa bed, which was red and rather tatty, the bed valance was rose pink, quilted material, also showing signs of wear, the carpet was orange patterned and the drapes a pink mottled pattern. The throw was flowery and there were two orange cushions on the beds. Nothing in the decor seemed to match and it was very old fashioned. I was initially quite disappointed. However, everything was spotlessly clean. Our stewards, Going and Raymond, helped with our luggage and offered us adaptors for the electrical sockets, but we had our own.They were always helpful and cheery, quickly learning our first names. The bathroom was a wet room with a shower and shower stool attached to the wall Unfortunately, the plastic covering on the stool was split at the corner, which I considered disgustingly unhygienic and covered it with a towel.The shower worked well and we had good quality shower gel, shampoo and conditioner in containers on the wall. Like the bedroom, the bathroom was showing signs of wear, the grouting in the shower area was black with mould and the towels were greyish, not white.These were changed twice a day by our faithful stewards. We had anytime dining in the Vista Dining room. Often there were queues and a few times we were sent away with a buzzer to wait for a table inspite of us saying we would share. The food was good, not fantastic, but well presented and with adequate choice and servings. The service could be slow especially if you were on a big table. This didn't really concern me, as I like relaxed meals, but most people were not happy. I loved the soups and the appetisers especially, but the food was never hot. We ate breakfast in our room and were pleased with the room service. We did not order hot food. We found the daily phone call to check if the breakfast was satisfactory a little OTT, perhaps once a cruise would be enough.We ate lunch in the Lido and it was always a free-for-all with me finding a suitable table, while my husband collected food for me and himself. Trays were not provided, so he had lots of trips to the stations.We noticed that one side of the Bistro was closed very promptly, as was the Asian station and the whole restaurant closed very early,leaving only pizza available. The food was not well presented by the servers and was never hot. Luxwarm food is quite a risk and the temperature should be monitored. I did appreciate the care taken over serving for the first three days to prevent spread of disease. We did not use the speciality restaurants, as I feel the cruise is expensive enough, without extra being charged. We enjoyed the entertainment, especially the BB Kings Blues Band, their showcase show in the Vista Lounge was the highlight of our cruise. We enjoyed Classique and Droom by the resident cast, but were disappointed when these shows were repeated in a 22 night cruise. The Piano Bar entertainer was talented, but his rapport was very repetitive.We did not attend any other "entertainment", as they seemed to involve more dollars. We used the Lido Pool area for relaxation and to read or watch the sea. Often it was impossible to get a sunbed, as there were so many being hogged by a few people, who had beds in the shade and in the sun and vacated the beds for long periods. You have rules, give your stewards the power to enforce them and remove towels. Similarly with children in the jacuzzis, a big no-no.My major annoyance was the " musak" in the Lido Pool area. One CD on a loop played for four days!! I was getting to the stage that I was cringeing waiting for "Thriller" to be murdered yet again.People who want to listen to music have it on their 'phones or IPods, we should not have to endure this noise pollution. I complained to the front desk in person, by phone and in writing to no noticeable effect. It was even playing as we passed through on our way to the Lido for coffee at 11:30pm. My greatest concern during our 22 night cruise was the TWO First Alert alarms, one at 03:30. We were informed there was a fire in the Lido area and we were to wait for updates. Now I am disabled and need help to dress, so I knew I could not get ready quickly enough. My husband helped me dress and we collected my various medications. It was extremely upsetting until the Captain assured us the electrical fire in a dishwasher had been dealt with. Just over a week later, the First Alert was sounded again, this time in the afternoon. Smoke had been detected on the Main Deck between two named cabins. This was found to be coming from an air conditioning unit and was dealt with. I subsequently learned there had been a serious fire in an incinerator three weeks previously. Although I admire the very quick reaction of the crew in dealing with these events, I must question if three electrical fires in six weeks is normal? Perhaps it is time the Noordam was taken out of service for a check of the electrics and an update of its out of date decor? Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We have just competed our 11th cruise on a 22 night HAL Mediterranean cruise. Itinerery was great as was cabin amenity. Cabin boys were friendly and attentive. However standards have dropped since our previous two cruises with HAL. The ... Read More
We have just competed our 11th cruise on a 22 night HAL Mediterranean cruise. Itinerery was great as was cabin amenity. Cabin boys were friendly and attentive. However standards have dropped since our previous two cruises with HAL. The lack of variety and poor quality of the food was our main disappointment but a number of smaller issues also were frustrating. Incorrect and overcharging to our account needed several contacts with front office to rectify. Ship's shore shuttle bus service costly (previously free) with some long queues when cheaper taxi services were available on wharf. Dining room service varied from good to long waits up to 2.5 hours for 2 course meal. Did not use minibar but noticed seals on miniature liquors all broken and obviously been there for long time. Some lunch categories cleared away by 2.30 when a lot of guests are returning from shore excursions expecting to eat lunch or a snack. Overall the cruise was enjoyable primarily because of the great itinerary but HAL need to lift their game if they are to retain their previous high standard and reputation.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We picked this cruise especially for the ports of call. First time on Holland America. We were delighted to find the passengers mainly mature adults and that the staff welcomed family groups, many celebrating special reunions or other ... Read More
We picked this cruise especially for the ports of call. First time on Holland America. We were delighted to find the passengers mainly mature adults and that the staff welcomed family groups, many celebrating special reunions or other occasions. The staff was very kind and helpful to elderly passengers, many in wheelchairs or using walkers. However we found our cabin suite older and not as well appointed as the lower cabins, with no windows. The bathroom shower needed regrouting and did not look like it had been cleaned very well. Our cabin had a/c issues for most of the cruise and we were visited several times by crew taking measurements or doing repairs on the system. We slept with the balcony door open 2 nights as a result (blocked open with sturdy waste basket). When a taxi strike occurred at the disembarkment port, the staff had no information or any interest in assistance unless you booked airport transfer with them. Front desk personal very uninterested in providing any assistance. Warning for those expecting internet/wifi - not consistent and slow enough to be useless. Also want to warn passengers to check your bill as there were many issues with ours. Fortunately, they got settled by cruise end. The excursions are very expensive but many were well done; informative and hitting all the high spots of each port city. However, we had to walk quite a way to get to excursion buses either at port or for the return. Food onboard was adequate. The specialty restaurants were worth extra cost. I could not believe the size of glassware in the buffet section or at the bars and that you had to pay for soda, but iced tea and juices were included. I would recommend this cruise for my 55+ friends warning them to have low expectations about cabin and food. Would advise to book suite for upgrades and to research and plan your own excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We boarded the beautiful Noordam for the second time in two years on the understanding that we could use any part of the common area on the ship as on our previous cruise,only to find that we could not use the common area on deck 11 as ... Read More
We boarded the beautiful Noordam for the second time in two years on the understanding that we could use any part of the common area on the ship as on our previous cruise,only to find that we could not use the common area on deck 11 as there are now Cabanas. There is a clear notice that the area was private for paying Cabana users only, segregating the rest of the passengers from this previous common area, in our view turning the Noordam into a two class system. On this cruise we lost the privilege of bringing as much wine as we wished, new rules only now allowed two bottles each. Travelling in a balcony previously we were given complimentary personal stationary only to be told by the front office that service is no longer provided. We paid 60 Euros for shuttle buses on our overnight stay in Barcelona and getting to the city center of Marseilles, again the office told us the ship was berthed so far from both city centers you have to pay. The ports were interesting the food and service was good, the Captain went to sleep on us when we inquired why little or no information coming from the bridge or not much sighting of the Captain a senior officer told us he was having problems on the cruise. Front office as usual excellent as were our both cabin people and dining room servers. On board we took the time to fax HAL regarding our grievance, the Cabanas are turning the ship into a two class system, so far no response from the Carnival Corporation. We have heard comments nickle and diming, cutting costs etc but really all it is pure unadulterated greed and greed is not good. We are nearly up to four star with HAL and until they stop this greed we will continue to spend our money off the ship, would we recommend HAL to our friends and business associates at present no way! We are not naive enough to realize that HAL has to make a profit but enough is enough! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Stayed at FL Embassy Suites precruise. Always stay there because we like the way all the stores and many restaurants are within 3 blocks each way of the hotel. We learned not to take the huge transfer bus to the port. People sit around the ... Read More
Stayed at FL Embassy Suites precruise. Always stay there because we like the way all the stores and many restaurants are within 3 blocks each way of the hotel. We learned not to take the huge transfer bus to the port. People sit around the lobby just waiting to be herded on this large tour bus with luggage piled all over the parking lot - takes forever. We take a taxi or a small transport van ($8 each) IF and only IF the small van is ready to go as soon as we get in. Arrived at the port at 11:30 and we were in our stateroom by 12:30. All lines except the welcome aboard picture line moved in good time. Even that wasn’t that bad and instead of maneuvering our way through the person blockading the entrance around the pictures, we just did the picture thing as quickly as possible and moved on. It is just as easy to have the pictures taken than argue with the people. I did notice as the days went on that no one ever pressured us into having our picture taken even when getting off the ship in each port. Very low key and we appreciated that. To us the balcony cabin was the same as any on other line. For some reason it did seem a little narrower but I think it was just the way the closet doors and bathroom doors were situated. We cruise for the itinerary so aren’t loyal to any brand and have only been on one other HAL ship and that was the NA. On the HAL ships we have to take zip ties to hang the over the door shoe holder as the bathroom door has clothing pegs so we can’t use the metal over the top part of the hanger – works just as well to make circles with the zip ties and put them on the pegs. We like the tub just because it gives more room to the shower and bathroom in general, but can see that it might be tricky for people with mobility issues to ever take a shower. I missed having drawers in the desk area. I ended up putting our snorkel supplies in the round vanity/desk seat which worked well. We like to be near the elevators (the aft elevators) but this time I made a big mistake and booked a cabin near the front elevators. Turned out not to be that big of a deal as the ship is just the right size for walking from one end to the other. This is the first time on a ship where even though I never heard one peep from anyone in the halls, etc., I heard the elevator "beep" when it stopped on our deck. Not annoying but noticeable but not enough to ever hear when sleeping. The demographics on this ship definitely skewed to the over 75 crowd. I saw 2-3 kids the first night and then never saw them again. This makes for a great quiet cruise and the two times we took the dreaded ship snorkel excursions no kids meant no kids kicking me in the face. It also meant that the two ship snorkel trips we took were very lightly booked. In Half Moon Cay, only 5 people went. In Dominican Republic, fewer than 20 people were on a pretty good sized catamaran so we all had plenty of room for ourselves and our stuff. I have never been on a ship with so many VERY old people, however, I mean it seemed like there were many people in their mid to late 80s. It wasn’t the scooters or walkers that were an issue but it was sad to see so many people who were apparently suffering from some form of dementia – wondering aimlessly completely lost. I found one man just standing waiting for an elevator but he had never pressed the button and looked at me like he had no idea what I was saying. I asked him where he wanted to go and he said he wasn't sure but maybe "home." He ended up following me into the elevator but didn’t know what floor he wanted, of course, so he ended up once again following me out of the elevator and down the hall. I turned back and found a crew member and took him over to the man. It was so constant – looks of complete lack of awareness – it made for a sad environment at times. We are in our mid 60s so we aren’t young – but my husband said that he found seeing his future all around him every day very depressing. I actually met a younger woman who said that she takes her mother who has Alzheimer's on cruises simply because she can let her loose and she can't get too lost (go figure). We never ate in the dining room – ate only in the Lido except for a free night in the Pinnacle Grill with the Explore 4 package. Never found the seating too crowded but we do eat an early dinner. The food was fine but I’m not too picky as long as I don’t have to make it. The salad area was always fresh. Fruit selection typical. Food was average but we found the desserts better than average for a buffet. I can’t believe how much cheesecake I managed to eat in 10 days. Our Pinnacle Grill meal was very nice. My husband had the lamb chops and said although there wasn’t that much meat on them, they were very good. I had the halibut and shrimp and the 2 shrimp were so huge that I ate them and not too much of the halibut. The halibut was very thick and was like eating a hunk of dried out fish to me. They do shared sides so fortunately we like the same things. I guess you could order what you want, but they bring large servings to share and it would seem wasteful to not share. The grilled asparagus was very good and I liked the mashed potatoes although my husband said they tasted weird to him. We didn't care for the dessert selection - but once again I had cheesecake (raspberry). We never went to the pools, bars, and few activities. My husband is a smoker so we occasionally were in the smoking area next to the aft pool (very large and nice smoking area). Lots of loungers and I always saw empty loungers. I only went to two computer classes as I had done all of them before on the NA. These are great classes – IMO. The Techspert on this cruise, Emily, was excellent dealing with the senior crowd with the same questions over and over. She has the patience necessary to do well in that job. I went to one open time to ask one question and as I waited I couldn’t believe how many people asked her what computer they should buy. I watched her patiently explain over and over why she couldn’t tell them what to buy as she gave them the appropriate Microsoft web site for assistance. I have hired many MS software instructors on the college level during my career and I found myself wishing that Emily had been one of them. I did buy an Internet package so I could keep in contact with our private tour people and also to check emails from family. I used the computers in the very large Explorations area - always several empty computers - and from my cabin with my small laptop. In both places the speed was about the same. Yes, it isn't like at home, but I didn't find it that slow. The computer tech person was on duty several hours a day. I found him very helpful. The library was also in the Explorations area and appeared to have lots of books. The strange thing however was the paperback exchange area. Hardly any books - we are used to 2-3 long shelves of books. We went to three shows. I forget what the first one was called but something with “rock” in the title. The song choices were just what we like and the singing was pretty good but the dancing was really painful to watch. Went to Droom and enjoyed that show and the same dancers for this show were good. So, it goes to show that choreography and costumes, etc., play a part. We went to the BB King club on the last night. I kept waiting for them to be showcased in the main showroom but they never were so we had to see them in the Queen’s Lounge. It really is too small of a venue for the loudness of the music, but we really enjoyed that show – too short. Also, the show times for the BB King group were usually 8:45, 9:45, and 10:45. We are fans of DWTS so we went to the Jive class just to watch and that was a fun way to spend 45 minutes. The weather was perfect but windy in most places particularly the ABC islands, which is normal for this time of year. We went on this cruise to get away from the cold in the north and to snorkel in each port. This time around the snorkeling excursion at HMC was actually a little above average – I enjoyed it. In Grand Turk, we booked a private trip but it was very windy and the water was very murky so that didn’t work out too well. In Dominican Republic we went with the only snorkel trip the ship offered. The snorkeling was below average – again a little murky. Unfortunately this was a sail, snorkel, and beach excursion so we had to spend about 45 minutes sailing around, 45 minutes snorkeling, and 45 minutes at a really bad beach. The beach was dirty, the water not inviting. We just sat there counting the minutes until we could leave. A few people tried to get a taxi back to town but couldn’t do it so they had to stick it out too. In Bonaire we went snorkeling with Woodwind. They were fully booked but they have handling 20 people down to an art. They split us into 3 groups each with its own in the water leader and we entered the water at different times so there was no feeling of being crowded. Very windy but the water clarity was perfect and it was a great snorkel trip. In Curacao I had booked a private trip with Curacao Actief. This time, we booked for just the two us and had a person drive us to several places for shore entry snorkeling. Again, windy but excellent water clarity and he took us to places where we were the only two in the water. Good snorkel trip. In Aruba I booked a small boat for just the two of us and the captain took us out to the reef, but it was too windy and the water very rough that we declined to get in the water – so no snorkeling that day. To us, Aruba had the best prices on the typical souvenir stuff and enough in the two cruise buildings where walking into town isn’t necessary. Our cabin stewards were Kay (Kadek) and Kadek. Great team who met all of our needs with a smile and always a greeting when we saw them. I found the lido team to be very friendly and efficient. In particular I enjoyed the always cheerful smiling and hard working Cherry. Asti was another person who always had a smile on her face. I also enjoyed Larry’s sense of humor as he served the hot food. He always made me laugh. It’s nice to see someone making an effort to have some fun on the job – why not? Two days into the cruise the captain announced that too many people had noro and that obviously someone had brought it onto the ship. So, we were on code orange until the last few days. Since we eat in the lido, that was fine with me. I have no problem waiting a little longer while someone dishes out the food instead of watching how some people act when serving themselves. Since the waters seemed calm to mostly calm on this cruise, I was surprised how much movement we felt walking around the ship. It wasn't terrible but noticeable. I would definitely cruise on HAL again based on the itinerary.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
While the Noordam feels behind in her maintenance and refurbishment, the same level of outstanding cabin and Vista service remains. Issues upon embarkation regarding luggage delivery were resolved after several attempts (including personal ... Read More
While the Noordam feels behind in her maintenance and refurbishment, the same level of outstanding cabin and Vista service remains. Issues upon embarkation regarding luggage delivery were resolved after several attempts (including personal visit to Front Office where misleading information was claimed as the reason for the delay, followed by phone call to Corporate HQ in Seattle which brought immediate results), and the rest of the voyage went smoothly. We were dismayed by certain aspects of our verandah (VE) cabin 5074, as you can see in the Cabin Review section elsewhere. The experience (our second) on Half Moon Cay was lackluster unless you went to rather high expense (for what you get) to enhance your day -- we returned to the ship much earlier than we had on our first visit, and have decided that future visits to that particular port will find us remaining on board and taking advantage of the specials offered there. We could have used more time in both San Juan and Charlotte Amalie, perhaps skipping Half Moon Cay completely. Our second visit to Turks & Caicos was also ho-hum, although we did enjoy having a cheeseburger-cum-Cuba-Libra while Cheeseburger in Paradise was playing at Margaritaville. Recent beach replenishment also made enjoyment of the excellent swimming opportunity hazardous for one of our group who had recent knee surgery -- feet sink several inches into the bottom, and you can easily torque a sensitive joint just trying to extract them. Maybe it's "just us," but shopping opportunities throughout are less than exciting -- an unexpected turn of events. Much of the same merchandise follows you everywhere you go -- except on Half Moon Cay, where the shops were nearly empty. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was our 1st cruise so cannot compare to others - however a few points that may assist future cruisers on this ship & line. On Service: Could only class as average. The cabin and floor staff are Indonesian - nothing racist here, ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise so cannot compare to others - however a few points that may assist future cruisers on this ship & line. On Service: Could only class as average. The cabin and floor staff are Indonesian - nothing racist here, but sometimes requests get lost in translation. ie they never got the room service right [ which they promote you to use] tea & milk - no milk! On reqest for milk, 2 glasses arrive 20 mins later! Cereal for 2 with 1 bowl, or toast for 2 with 1 plate! They are programmed to be very polite and friendly, but 2nd requests for a problem were on some occasions met with surliness. ie they lost our bottle of wine and said "there was not much in it anyway!" On Saving Your $: We bought wine and mineral water ashore for our cabin, there was no problem bringing on board; why should there be! Make sure you bring a corkscrew as Euro wine is still corked. The "Hotel Service charge " as they call it @ US$11.50 per person per day is charged to your room account progressively during the cruise - this is on top of the 15% added to all drink purchases. This $11.50 is deemed to be a 'pooled' gratuity for all staff. Well my definiion of a gratuity is an amount I choose to give to award good service. You can vary this amount by the following:- Go to the ships office 2 nights before disembarkation and explain you wish to vary the gratuity charge to $X per day - they will ask your reasons for their records - fair enough,but they really can't force this payement on you. The following 'last' night they will deliver your final shipboard account and you can check if the adjustment has been credited. On Laundry: There being no self laundry, its wash in your basin or the laundry service; $20 for a 'sleeping bag size' load. If you have a veranda purchase a suction cap with hook [about 3" or 7 mm diameter] and about 3 metres cord with pegs. Fix a line from your window out to the rail! The laundry service use industrial size dryers for all the ships laundry and yours - so beware of items coming back shrunk. On Disembarkation: They ask that all cases are put outside the cabin night before as they are offloaded during the night. We disembarked to the exit/baggage hall ashore next morning to find our luggage locks had been cut off and our cases rifled through. Fortunately no valubles were there to take! I would recommend you refuse this request and take you own cases off in the morning if you are capable - bear in mind depending on which deck you exit that may mean negotiating some stairs. We enjoyed our cruise and the fabulous Meditteranean ports in ideal Autumn weather - I hope my tips add to your enjoyment. Read Less
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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