It seems to be the consensus of most fellow cruisers I talked with that Holland America didn't measure up to expectations this time. EMBARKATION. Our embarkation was virtually painless as we parked our car at the terminal and started the registration process. We moved quickly and had just had my husband's picture taken when the power went out. (We joked that he had broken the camera.) The crisis was handled quickly and we felt good about the professional and calm way the situation was handled. Our luggage arrived quickly. STATEROOM. Our room was beautiful. We had a verandah suite with a large balcony. The bed and pillows were extremely comfortable. The showerhead in the bathroom was broken and the sink stopper was broken. Both were fixed quickly. Our phone was broken and we asked to have that fixed. We were on the ship ten days and it never got fixed.The last night before we disembarked our steward cleaned the bathroom of all shampoo and shower gel so you had nothing to wash with in the morning. The soap was never replaced. They seemed stingy in that department.We were supposed to get a basket of fruit and we had to ask for it. It was never refilled and had been advertised. SHOWS. We thoroughly enjoyed the shows. FOOD SERVICE. Where the Noordam fell short was in the food and food service department. Usually we would order coffee and danish in our room because breakfast was served so early. Most days we would get a pot of coffee covered with a piece of aluminum foil. I was told that was because they had run out of the good pots. Consequently, our coffee was usually lukewarm. The food in the dining room was mediocre at best. The tables were very close together and the waiters were having trouble properly serving because of the crowded conditions. We were happy to have such pleasant tablemates, but we did spend a lot of time commiserating about the poor food service. We all looked forward to surf and turf on Valentine's Day. It was a huge disappointment. The surf was a very sickly looking lobster tail and the steak was nothing to write home about. I got a filet mignon since I am not a lobster eater. When it arrived, I was shocked. It was the thinnest filet mignon I've ever seen. It actually looked and tasted like liver. One noontime we decided to take a more leisurely lunch in the dining room instead of braving the very long lines on the Lido deck. We waited an hour and fifteen minutes for a very overcooked hamburger. The waiter's excuse was that everyone was ordering hamburgers that day. We didn't wait for dessert. The Lido buffet was very disorganized and they would close down all food lines in order to shift to the next meal. It meant that if you wanted breakfast you had to be up on deck before 9:55. Lunch was only served for a very short time and dinner was closed by 8PM. We couldn't be leisurely about our mealtimes if we expected to eat. The only thing open later was pizza and pasta - not really what we were looking for. CODE RED.The second day out we were informed that the ship was going into a code red mode because of an outbreak of gastrointestinal flu. That meant that the hot tubs and spa were closed and the Lido buffet was no longer self-serve. Everything needed to be served to us, including coffee and iced tea. This put an incredible strain on the crew and although they put their best face on it, we all felt the fallout. Everywhere you went you had to re-apply hand sanitizer until we were all sure it could no longer be effective. When you asked for an extra cookie the server looked at you like you were the pig of the century. It was a very discomfiting feeling and the language barrier that pervaded the crew made it very difficult to convey your needs and desires. SHOPS. As compared to other cruise lines we've been on, the Noordam shops were extremely limited in their selection and presentation. A big disappointment. DISEMBARKATION. Our departure from the ship was painless. We virtually ran off the ship, feeling less rested than usual. PORTS. The port choices were great. We enjoyed Grand Turk and the little village that awaited us just off the dock. We didn't like having to rise early to go through customs in St Thomas and it seemed as though the stop in San Juan was a waste of time because we were there for such a short length of time. When all is said and done, we met some very nice people and enjoyed their company and the ambiance of the ship and ports, but I know we will not choose Holland America again unless we begin to see some really superior reviews in the future.

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Noordam Cruise Review by mjandthebigguy

Trip Details
It seems to be the consensus of most fellow cruisers I talked with that Holland America didn't measure up to expectations this time. EMBARKATION. Our embarkation was virtually painless as we parked our car at the terminal and started the registration process. We moved quickly and had just had my husband's picture taken when the power went out. (We joked that he had broken the camera.) The crisis was handled quickly and we felt good about the professional and calm way the situation was handled. Our luggage arrived quickly. STATEROOM. Our room was beautiful. We had a verandah suite with a large balcony. The bed and pillows were extremely comfortable. The showerhead in the bathroom was broken and the sink stopper was broken. Both were fixed quickly. Our phone was broken and we asked to have that fixed. We were on the ship ten days and it never got fixed.The last night before we disembarked our steward cleaned the bathroom of all shampoo and shower gel so you had nothing to wash with in the morning. The soap was never replaced. They seemed stingy in that department.We were supposed to get a basket of fruit and we had to ask for it. It was never refilled and had been advertised. SHOWS. We thoroughly enjoyed the shows. FOOD SERVICE. Where the Noordam fell short was in the food and food service department. Usually we would order coffee and danish in our room because breakfast was served so early. Most days we would get a pot of coffee covered with a piece of aluminum foil. I was told that was because they had run out of the good pots. Consequently, our coffee was usually lukewarm. The food in the dining room was mediocre at best. The tables were very close together and the waiters were having trouble properly serving because of the crowded conditions. We were happy to have such pleasant tablemates, but we did spend a lot of time commiserating about the poor food service. We all looked forward to surf and turf on Valentine's Day. It was a huge disappointment. The surf was a very sickly looking lobster tail and the steak was nothing to write home about. I got a filet mignon since I am not a lobster eater. When it arrived, I was shocked. It was the thinnest filet mignon I've ever seen. It actually looked and tasted like liver. One noontime we decided to take a more leisurely lunch in the dining room instead of braving the very long lines on the Lido deck. We waited an hour and fifteen minutes for a very overcooked hamburger. The waiter's excuse was that everyone was ordering hamburgers that day. We didn't wait for dessert. The Lido buffet was very disorganized and they would close down all food lines in order to shift to the next meal. It meant that if you wanted breakfast you had to be up on deck before 9:55. Lunch was only served for a very short time and dinner was closed by 8PM. We couldn't be leisurely about our mealtimes if we expected to eat. The only thing open later was pizza and pasta - not really what we were looking for.
CODE RED.The second day out we were informed that the ship was going into a code red mode because of an outbreak of gastrointestinal flu. That meant that the hot tubs and spa were closed and the Lido buffet was no longer self-serve. Everything needed to be served to us, including coffee and iced tea. This put an incredible strain on the crew and although they put their best face on it, we all felt the fallout. Everywhere you went you had to re-apply hand sanitizer until we were all sure it could no longer be effective. When you asked for an extra cookie the server looked at you like you were the pig of the century. It was a very discomfiting feeling and the language barrier that pervaded the crew made it very difficult to convey your needs and desires. SHOPS. As compared to other cruise lines we've been on, the Noordam shops were extremely limited in their selection and presentation. A big disappointment. DISEMBARKATION. Our departure from the ship was painless. We virtually ran off the ship, feeling less rested than usual.
PORTS. The port choices were great. We enjoyed Grand Turk and the little village that awaited us just off the dock. We didn't like having to rise early to go through customs in St Thomas and it seemed as though the stop in San Juan was a waste of time because we were there for such a short length of time.
When all is said and done, we met some very nice people and enjoyed their company and the ambiance of the ship and ports, but I know we will not choose Holland America again unless we begin to see some really superior reviews in the future.
mjandthebigguy’s Full Rating Summary
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