Being our second cruise and reading the positive reviews of HAM & the Noordam, we were looking forward in anticipation of at least the same standard ( if not better ) as our first cruise ( Dawn Princess 14 days Melbourne- NZ -Melbourne). While we did enjoy the cruise, the Noordam/HAM/crew disappointed.
On arrival, there was no positive greeting, just formalities and a keycard. Looking forward to quickly unpacking, securing our valuables and heading up top for a drink, our plans fouled almost immediately.
Our cabin ( 8114). The safe wouldn't work. After 4 phone calls, 4 crew visits, 24 hours and 3 trips to queue at the 'front desk' for deposit box access, finally someone turned up and replaced the batteries! We also found that there were no robes, no wine glasses and one of the balcony chairs looked like it had been salvaged from a street-side collection. Poor standards and no checking.
Second seating in the main dining room, we rarely finished in time to see a 10:00 show. Our wine waiter was (deservedly) 'fired' after 2 weeks (not our doing) . Our favoured wines ( NZ Sauvignon Blanc, French Pinot Noir or Beaujolais were 'out of stock' or ran out early in the cruise. American, Chilean or Argentinian substitutes were the only 'options'.
There were so many details where the Noordam dining experience was found to be lacking in comparison to the Dawn Princess.
Pinnacle Grill - Unless you are keen to have a big piece of meat ( very nice I will admit ) don't bother. As a 'fine dining' experience, it was very poor. The service and presentation were 'average'. Staff training, oversight and adherence to standards seems to be the issue. After being seated at 8:30, we had the lights turned off/down at 10:30! A polite word from the maitre-de perhaps? Astounding!
Cheapest they could find? We walked out on most of the shows. Very disappointing.
Overall - There were so many areas which didn't measure up to the standard we experienced on the Princess ship. I could elaborate but I think the opinion of a gentleman I met on the bow one morning perhaps says it all.
" I've travelled with Holland America many times since 1964. It's not the same any more, they just seem to be nickel & diming us all the time now"
Supposedly the top verandah category, this ( and like cabins ) should be a much lower level. Situated just below the shaded aft deck seating area, the noise of scraping furniture started at about 6:30 and went all day. Trying to have a lie-in or an afternoon siesta ( Nanna Nap ) was nigh on impossible. More so when the crew was setting up for a 'sail out'. Probably one of the worst cabins in this category. Far better to be 1 or 2 decks down!