Noordam Cruise Review by firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sail Date: June 2016
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
We were met at the Anchorage AK airport by a cruise line employee who directed us to the bus which took us to our Anchorage hotel for the land portion of our cruise. The drop off point is the side entrance of the hotel (whose name escapes me) where we checked in with more cruise line personnel. The hotel itself was an absolute dump and one I would never have booked for myself. The place is in need of a total renovation from top to bottom. The following morning we were transported to the rail station where we boarded a glass top train to Denali National Park. The scenery from the train was absolutely beautiful and the train personnel were full of information. I loved the Denali part of the vacation. However once we boarded the boat things went downhill. We were part of a large retirement party that also included a wedding onboard. There were supposed to be champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a wedding invitation in our cabins upon arrival. Needless to say they did not appear until AFTER the wedding. Additionally, there was confusion as to the place for the ceremony itself. Apparently the site for the ceremony was changed and no one told the wedding guests or even the bride and groom.
The day of embarkation I had a massage scheduled for 8:00 p.m. just as the ship was to leave port. Immediately after the safety meeting I went directly to the spa only to find absolute chaos. There were more than a hundred or so people milling around the spa/gym for some type of raffle. The employees were scrambling around and no one could point me in the right direction. When I finally checked in I was shown to the dressing room and told to undress and put on a robe. I did so and was then escorted through the halls full of people. I was mortified to be walking around with nothing but a robe through hall after hall. The massage thankfully was blissful and put me in a better mood, although I had to then go back through those same halls to get back to the dressing room.
I returned to my room to relax and unpack and found a note advising that my dinner reservations for the Pinnacle Grill were that evening at 8:30. Obviously this wasn’t very helpful to me since it was now 10 p.m. It would have been nice to have this information ahead of time so that I could have changed the day and time. The dinner was part of a package. Unfortunately for me the dinner wasn’t the only reservation screw up. Prior to the trip I booked several excursions. While reviewing my itinerary online a few days before the trip I noticed two of the excursions were not on my itinerary. I contacted my Holland America rep and asked why they weren’t listed. She emailed back and noted the itinerary would be given to me once we reached Anchorage and checked into our hotel. This didn’t occur. Once onboard I went to the Excursions Desk to inquire about the issue and was told I was not booked on any of those tours. Fortunately the tours I booked still had availability and I didn’t have to blow my top.
One morning I was jerked awake by workmen hammering and drilling at 8:30 a.m. Also that morning there was a drill scheduled for the crew at around 9:30ish that shut down the elevators while people were still headed to or from breakfast or off the ship. Why couldn’t these things have been scheduled for a bit later when the majority of the ship was off on excursions?
As for the food – breakfast time on the Lido deck was an absolute mess. It was obvious there wasn’t enough staff and the lines for everything were ridiculously long. They also only had one waffle maker and one crepe maker on the entire deck. Really? There were also times when I went to eat and everything was closed down. Now I have only been on one other cruise before (a cruise through the Mediterranean on Celebrity which was phenomenal in every way) and food was available until after midnight. Grant it I didn’t expect to have every choice available but a few things at least.
There were a few other issues but I’ve said enough. Overall this was a letdown for something that I spent a good amount of money for and was really looking forward to.
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