We were looking for a last minute deal either to or from our home port of Vancouver and this came up. We had never cruised Holland America before and thought that this would be a good chance to try it out. Unfortunately, the week before we got notice that our embarkation would be delayed as there had been a Norwalk outbreak. That sort of set the tone as we had 72 hours of heightened precautions followed by 24 hours of normal circumstances and the remainder of the trip on precautions again. Of course the precautions affected the cruise experience, but the worst thing was the lack of staff, preparation and organization of the ship's crew in responding to the unfortunate circumstances. We had done an Alaskan cruise before, so we skipped the excursions this time and tried to focus on the scenery and relaxation. We were rewarded with extraordinarily good weather and what seemed to be unexpectedly good food. Overall, a very good cruise, but HA could have done much better in dealing with the Norwalk. They said that is started and spread from the children and we wondered if Norwalk is more common on ships with lots of children or maybe that outbreaks spread faster... Ship was well appointed and being well taken care of. Carpets on stairs were being replaced during the cruise. No obvious signs of neglect. Some of the exercise equipment wasn't working perfectly, but that is pretty normal for any fitness facility. The cabin was one of the nicest we have been in. Larger that expected for the class and in good condition. Lots of storage although strangely, some of the spaces were locked and therefore not usable by passengers. Dining was very good, at least the food was. Desserts a bit less than the rest. Service was variable with two occasions when the food took much longer than usual. Entertainment was worse than average, but passable. One exception was a violin/piano duet that always had an audience for their excellent offerings. Although a partnership with BBC Earth was heavily advertised, there were a few days when there really were no enrichment activities from this reputable source. More promise than delivery. There were less than the usual number of games and trivia (one was advertised, but no staff showed up). Not a big problem for us, but some must have been disappointed. We did appreciate the general lack of hard sell for excursions, drink packages and internet. It was noticeably less than average and appreciated. The room was always tidy and towels replaced regularly, although the towel "art" was almost comical in its patheticness. A waste of time as far as we are concerned anyway, but just don't bother if you can't do it properly.

Good experience spoiled by Norwalk

Noordam Cruise Review by Dancefloor

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom
We were looking for a last minute deal either to or from our home port of Vancouver and this came up. We had never cruised Holland America before and thought that this would be a good chance to try it out. Unfortunately, the week before we got notice that our embarkation would be delayed as there had been a Norwalk outbreak. That sort of set the tone as we had 72 hours of heightened precautions followed by 24 hours of normal circumstances and the remainder of the trip on precautions again. Of course the precautions affected the cruise experience, but the worst thing was the lack of staff, preparation and organization of the ship's crew in responding to the unfortunate circumstances. We had done an Alaskan cruise before, so we skipped the excursions this time and tried to focus on the scenery and relaxation. We were rewarded with extraordinarily good weather and what seemed to be unexpectedly good food. Overall, a very good cruise, but HA could have done much better in dealing with the Norwalk. They said that is started and spread from the children and we wondered if Norwalk is more common on ships with lots of children or maybe that outbreaks spread faster...

Ship was well appointed and being well taken care of. Carpets on stairs were being replaced during the cruise. No obvious signs of neglect. Some of the exercise equipment wasn't working perfectly, but that is pretty normal for any fitness facility.

The cabin was one of the nicest we have been in. Larger that expected for the class and in good condition. Lots of storage although strangely, some of the spaces were locked and therefore not usable by passengers.

Dining was very good, at least the food was. Desserts a bit less than the rest. Service was variable with two occasions when the food took much longer than usual.

Entertainment was worse than average, but passable. One exception was a violin/piano duet that always had an audience for their excellent offerings. Although a partnership with BBC Earth was heavily advertised, there were a few days when there really were no enrichment activities from this reputable source. More promise than delivery.

There were less than the usual number of games and trivia (one was advertised, but no staff showed up). Not a big problem for us, but some must have been disappointed.

We did appreciate the general lack of hard sell for excursions, drink packages and internet. It was noticeably less than average and appreciated.

The room was always tidy and towels replaced regularly, although the towel "art" was almost comical in its patheticness. A waste of time as far as we are concerned anyway, but just don't bother if you can't do it properly.
Dancefloor’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
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Cabin Review

Interior Stateroom
Cabin K 1119
Likely the best interior cabin we have been in on many cruises. Larger and in good condition. The room was well laid out with lots of room for storage. A couple of strange things though: some drawers were locked (for no apparent reason) and therefore couldn't be used; and the TV couldn't be swivelled to be viewed from the bed. A shower door instead of the curtain would also have been nice. Not that it matters, but the fun towel sculptures were sort of sad, flat and we had to guess at what they were supposed to be.
Observation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews