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.  

Noordam B2B Jan 16 thru Feb 6

Noordam Cruise Review by July_Cruiser

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2015
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Standard Interior Stateroom
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.
 
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Cabin Review

Standard Interior Stateroom
Cabin L 6143
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.
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