We had never been on a cruise and an Alaska cruise had been on our bucket list for many years. We chose Holland America because the ship was a little smaller than some of the other lines and the average customer was a bit older. The cruise was very good and we would do it again. We arrived in Vancouver the evening before the cruise to get a small taste of this great city and to ensure we wouldn't literally miss the boat by arriving too late due to a flight delay or bad weather. We embarked at Canada Centre and it seemed to go very well. Total time for embarkation was probably under two hours. Our luggage had been transferred from the hotel to the ship and was already in our stateroom when we arrived on ship. The ms Noordam was just refurbished a couple years ago and it's quite impressive. Lots of art, including an Andy Warhol print at the front information desk, and some truly beautiful spaces. I enjoyed the Ocean Bar and the Explorations Cafe. Both were beautifully decorated and nice places to just hang out during the afternoons. The external elevators were a nice touch, too, giving you great views of the surrounding mountains and islands. We used them much more than the inside elevators. I was impressed with the quality and selections of food, both in the Lido Restaurant (buffet style) for breakfast and lunch and in the Vista Dining Room for dinner. Since we don't drink a lot we skipped the prepaid drink card and purchased alcoholic beverages individually (hot tip- take advantage of the happy hours). The only thing that wasn't quite right was the grits, which were under-cooked and way too runny. The Lido Restaurant can be quite busy, with window seats at a premium, so get there early if you want a good seat. The nightly entertainment was great. We spent a little time each night in the B. B. King Blues Club, caught two shows with comedians (both were very funny) and one of the musical shows, which was much better than I had anticipated. I would advise you to arrive early as a lot of the shows were standing room only and there are several spots where columns block your view. We had great service from the cabin steward, the information desk, and the waiters and staff in the restaurants. Everyone seemed to have a great attitude and made dealing with them a pleasure. The highlight of the cruise was probably Glacier Bay. The weather held out for us (no rain) and we spent a great day cruising one of the truly beautiful natural places in the world. Marjorie Glacier was the star but Reid Glacier, Johns Hopkins Glacier, Lamplugh Glacier, and yes, even Grand Pacific Glacier were awe inspiring. Our excursions were the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching Tour, in Juneau, and the White Pass and Yukon Route RR Yukon Expedition in Skagway. We booked both through Holland America. Both excursions were very well done, the tour guides were great, and we had no bad experiences on either of the excursions. The weather was great, we saw a lot of Orcas and Humpbacks on the whale tour and we did see a black bear on the Yukon Expedition. The scenery alongside the White Pass and Yukon Route RR was incredible. The ports were what you would expect - rain in Ketchikan, beautiful scenery in Juneau, and a lot of interesting historical points in Skagway. Anchorage is probably one of the prettiest cities I've ever visited. Debarkation was very well done and everything was handled for us. We were continuing on to Denali and our luggage was in our room when we arrived. We were able to go straight from the motor coach to our room, with no stop at the hotel check in desk. Since this was our first cruise and we weren't sure what to expect, we were surprised at the number of "opportunities" on board to spend your money. We managed to avoid all the jewelry, botox, spa treatments, etc., as well as the casino and came away with a reasonable on board charge. We came home with relatively few physical souvenirs but lots of photos and memories. All in all, it was a great experience.

Inside Passage Cruise, May 2016

Noordam Cruise Review by Auburngrad82

26 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2016
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean-View Stateroom
We had never been on a cruise and an Alaska cruise had been on our bucket list for many years. We chose Holland America because the ship was a little smaller than some of the other lines and the average customer was a bit older. The cruise was very good and we would do it again.

We arrived in Vancouver the evening before the cruise to get a small taste of this great city and to ensure we wouldn't literally miss the boat by arriving too late due to a flight delay or bad weather. We embarked at Canada Centre and it seemed to go very well. Total time for embarkation was probably under two hours. Our luggage had been transferred from the hotel to the ship and was already in our stateroom when we arrived on ship.

The ms Noordam was just refurbished a couple years ago and it's quite impressive. Lots of art, including an Andy Warhol print at the front information desk, and some truly beautiful spaces. I enjoyed the Ocean Bar and the Explorations Cafe. Both were beautifully decorated and nice places to just hang out during the afternoons. The external elevators were a nice touch, too, giving you great views of the surrounding mountains and islands. We used them much more than the inside elevators.

I was impressed with the quality and selections of food, both in the Lido Restaurant (buffet style) for breakfast and lunch and in the Vista Dining Room for dinner. Since we don't drink a lot we skipped the prepaid drink card and purchased alcoholic beverages individually (hot tip- take advantage of the happy hours). The only thing that wasn't quite right was the grits, which were under-cooked and way too runny. The Lido Restaurant can be quite busy, with window seats at a premium, so get there early if you want a good seat.

The nightly entertainment was great. We spent a little time each night in the B. B. King Blues Club, caught two shows with comedians (both were very funny) and one of the musical shows, which was much better than I had anticipated. I would advise you to arrive early as a lot of the shows were standing room only and there are several spots where columns block your view.

We had great service from the cabin steward, the information desk, and the waiters and staff in the restaurants. Everyone seemed to have a great attitude and made dealing with them a pleasure.

The highlight of the cruise was probably Glacier Bay. The weather held out for us (no rain) and we spent a great day cruising one of the truly beautiful natural places in the world. Marjorie Glacier was the star but Reid Glacier, Johns Hopkins Glacier, Lamplugh Glacier, and yes, even Grand Pacific Glacier were awe inspiring.

Our excursions were the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching Tour, in Juneau, and the White Pass and Yukon Route RR Yukon Expedition in Skagway. We booked both through Holland America. Both excursions were very well done, the tour guides were great, and we had no bad experiences on either of the excursions. The weather was great, we saw a lot of Orcas and Humpbacks on the whale tour and we did see a black bear on the Yukon Expedition. The scenery alongside the White Pass and Yukon Route RR was incredible.

The ports were what you would expect - rain in Ketchikan, beautiful scenery in Juneau, and a lot of interesting historical points in Skagway. Anchorage is probably one of the prettiest cities I've ever visited.

Debarkation was very well done and everything was handled for us. We were continuing on to Denali and our luggage was in our room when we arrived. We were able to go straight from the motor coach to our room, with no stop at the hotel check in desk.

Since this was our first cruise and we weren't sure what to expect, we were surprised at the number of "opportunities" on board to spend your money. We managed to avoid all the jewelry, botox, spa treatments, etc., as well as the casino and came away with a reasonable on board charge. We came home with relatively few physical souvenirs but lots of photos and memories.

All in all, it was a great experience.
Auburngrad82’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Cabin D 1090
The cabin was a bit cramped but that's what we expected. There was quite a bit of storage, i.e. closet and drawer space, so we were able to keep everything stored and out of the way. We did have a window, and with the beautiful scenery of the Inside Passage, I would opt for a window or a balcony. You'd miss a lot with an inside cabin.
Upper Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins