The Noordam is a Crowded and Unattractive Vessel Introduction: My husband and I have cruised twice previously: once on Royal Caribbean and once on Carnival. I arranged this cruise on the Noordam for us and 10 other family members, all of whom were first-time cruisers. Although our family had a wonderful time together at meals and in the entertainment venues, my husband and I were extremely disappointed because of our expectations based on our previous experiences. The Holland America Noordam didn't even compare favorably to the Carnival Pride. The main problems: Overcrowding: The most popular venues on the Noordam were extremely crowded. Specifically: 1) The Lido restaurant had terribly long lines and way too many people milling about, especially at peak hours--you can forget about finding a table by a window at meal times. 2) The showroom was always packed prior to every show and we often ended up in the balcony even though we arrived 15 minutes early. 3) The blackjack tables were so crowded that I once stood for an hour before getting a seat. If you don't mind playing the sucker games (face-up with dealer taking all pushes or blackjack with all the queens removed), you may find a seat because most of the blackjack games in the casino have a gimmick that favors the house. 4) The top deck during scenic cruising of Glacier Bay was packed and there was no space along the rail. 5) The two hot tubs in the adults-only area are usually taken and they are so tiny that you better be good friends if there's more than two of you. 6) Get in line very early for the dessert buffet or the wait will be horrific. All of these venues were much more crowded than similar venues on our other two cruises. Ugly dEcor and furnishings: The Noordam is not an attractive vessel. The carpets, furnishings, art work, etc. are not appealing The doors to the cabins look like plywood. The carpeting in the hallways is an ugly blue pattern, which clashes with the red and orange circles in the area by the elevators. Bizarre-looking silver benches can be found in each landing by the elevators. Poor maintenance and supervision in the adults-only pool area: Even though several people complained, neither of the hot tubs worked properly throughout the cruise. The jets in one of them were inoperable and the jets in the other blew cold air. Also, the "adults only" policy in that area was not enforced and kids were all over. The pools and hot tubs close very early. Victoria, BC shouldn't really be counted as a port of call: The ship docks at 6 p.m. and sails at 11:15 p.m. When we booked the cruise, we didn't look closely enough at the schedule and many of us were planning to visit the Buchart Gardens in Victoria. We were shocked to learn that the ship wouldn't arrive in Victoria until 6:00 p.m. and everything worth seeing was about 30-45 minutes away from the dock. We decided to get to the dining room at 5:00 p.m. and be ready to disembark right at 6:00. Well, we weren't the only ones! The line to enter the dining room began forming much earlier and we had a long wait to be seated. We disembarked only to turn around and get back on the ship again after discovering how far the gardens and the Empress Hotel and downtown area were from the dock. During the entertainment that night, the cruise director asked how everyone had enjoyed the various ports. Only a few hands went up when he mentioned Victoria. Embarkation: This process was proceeding efficiently when someone apparently fell on a ramp leading to the boat and the doors from the terminal were shut for over 30 minutes. We were not advised of the reason for the problem until later. The Positives: 1) The entertainment was great, especially Joel Mason and the magician, but be sure to get to the Vista Lounge early to get a decent seat. 2) The beds were very comfortable and the rooms were more attractive than the common areas in the Noordam. 3) The hard-working staff were just as wonderful as on the other ships we have been on. 4) The park rangers who came on board at Glacier Bay are terrific. 5) The cruise director was quite a comedian. 6) We enjoyed the question-and-answer session with the captain. Conclusion: We expected a lot more from Holland America and chose the Noordam because it's a relatively new ship. We won't be sailing on HAL again. Carnival is just as good and Royal Caribbean is much better in many ways.

Noordam - Alaska

Noordam Cruise Review by landlocked pisces

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2007
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Standard Interior Stateroom
The Noordam is a Crowded and Unattractive Vessel
Introduction: My husband and I have cruised twice previously: once on Royal Caribbean and once on Carnival. I arranged this cruise on the Noordam for us and 10 other family members, all of whom were first-time cruisers. Although our family had a wonderful time together at meals and in the entertainment venues, my husband and I were extremely disappointed because of our expectations based on our previous experiences. The Holland America Noordam didn't even compare favorably to the Carnival Pride. The main problems:
Overcrowding: The most popular venues on the Noordam were extremely crowded. Specifically: 1) The Lido restaurant had terribly long lines and way too many people milling about, especially at peak hours--you can forget about finding a table by a window at meal times. 2) The showroom was always packed prior to every show and we often ended up in the balcony even though we arrived 15 minutes early. 3) The blackjack tables were so crowded that I once stood for an hour before getting a seat. If you don't mind playing the sucker games (face-up with dealer taking all pushes or blackjack with all the queens removed), you may find a seat because most of the blackjack games in the casino have a gimmick that favors the house. 4) The top deck during scenic cruising of Glacier Bay was packed and there was no space along the rail. 5) The two hot tubs in the adults-only area are usually taken and they are so tiny that you better be good friends if there's more than two of you. 6) Get in line very early for the dessert buffet or the wait will be horrific. All of these venues were much more crowded than similar venues on our other two cruises.
Ugly dEcor and furnishings: The Noordam is not an attractive vessel. The carpets, furnishings, art work, etc. are not appealing The doors to the cabins look like plywood. The carpeting in the hallways is an ugly blue pattern, which clashes with the red and orange circles in the area by the elevators. Bizarre-looking silver benches can be found in each landing by the elevators.
Poor maintenance and supervision in the adults-only pool area: Even though several people complained, neither of the hot tubs worked properly throughout the cruise. The jets in one of them were inoperable and the jets in the other blew cold air. Also, the "adults only" policy in that area was not enforced and kids were all over. The pools and hot tubs close very early.
Victoria, BC shouldn't really be counted as a port of call: The ship docks at 6 p.m. and sails at 11:15 p.m. When we booked the cruise, we didn't look closely enough at the schedule and many of us were planning to visit the Buchart Gardens in Victoria. We were shocked to learn that the ship wouldn't arrive in Victoria until 6:00 p.m. and everything worth seeing was about 30-45 minutes away from the dock. We decided to get to the dining room at 5:00 p.m. and be ready to disembark right at 6:00. Well, we weren't the only ones! The line to enter the dining room began forming much earlier and we had a long wait to be seated. We disembarked only to turn around and get back on the ship again after discovering how far the gardens and the Empress Hotel and downtown area were from the dock. During the entertainment that night, the cruise director asked how everyone had enjoyed the various ports. Only a few hands went up when he mentioned Victoria.
Embarkation: This process was proceeding efficiently when someone apparently fell on a ramp leading to the boat and the doors from the terminal were shut for over 30 minutes. We were not advised of the reason for the problem until later.
The Positives: 1) The entertainment was great, especially Joel Mason and the magician, but be sure to get to the Vista Lounge early to get a decent seat. 2) The beds were very comfortable and the rooms were more attractive than the common areas in the Noordam. 3) The hard-working staff were just as wonderful as on the other ships we have been on. 4) The park rangers who came on board at Glacier Bay are terrific. 5) The cruise director was quite a comedian. 6) We enjoyed the question-and-answer session with the captain.
Conclusion: We expected a lot more from Holland America and chose the Noordam because it's a relatively new ship. We won't be sailing on HAL again. Carnival is just as good and Royal Caribbean is much better in many ways.
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