Noordam Cruise Review by Riverbound
- Sail Date: February 2019
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
- Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom
ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and I prefer a cruise that has its concentration of days at sea at the end of the cruise, so I return to work rested.
SHIP - Our "J" category rooms were HUGE! This ship is scheduled for dry-dock in September, so I don't know if these rooms will remain as is. For this longer cruise length, we loved the extra room - without the extra price. In general, this ship needs an update, but obviously, Holland America already knows this. Although I found the decor dated, and a few spots were showing wear, the ship was spotless. I also think the arrangement of some of the public areas could be modernized - especially the gym and the buffet areas which would benefit from more square footage and more glass area. I would like to see the buffet area have glass along the entire front of the ship with doors directly leading to the deck, rather than locating service areas between the buffet & the lido deck.
GYM - This area needs serious work. To attract the younger, more fitness-crazed generations, HAL needs modern equipment, and contemporary classes. This was also one of the few areas where you were forced to pay extra for pretty much anything worthwhile. I think HAL should try to be the first ship at sea to offer Bodypump classes - that would be a huge hit! The gym needs to remain open until at least 10:00 - 11:00 would be better. They closed at 9:00 reportedly to preserve quiet for those sleeping on the floor below. However, HAL did not have this same concern for those of us on Deck 1 whose rooms were under the BB King Lounge, which played well after 10:00 (which did not keep me up, so I doubt use of the gym after 9:00 would keep floor 9 guests awake either). Equipment in the gym was OLD! They only had 2 rowing machines - one broke on day 2 and was never repaired. And, if ANY machine should face the sea, it should be the rowing machines, which they didn't.
FOOD - Amazing. Simply great. Service, quality, quantity, variety, everything was more than we could have asked for. My only complaint was the Russian Roulette for tables you played every morning in the buffet. Guests got visibly angry trying to find a table. Hopefully HAL will expand seating at their buffet when they refurbish the Noordam.
SERVICE - Amazing! From the room stewards, to the dining, to the wine stewards, to the bar attendants to the front desk - these employees exude joy and positive service. How HAL keeps employees customer focused and joyful, when they live and work in such close quarters for 8 months at a time, should be the subject of a TED talk. I really admire what they have achieved. We brought a group of 30 customers for a wine focused tour. We had 3, private, wine events during our days at sea. We were BLOWN AWAY by the elegance of the service, and the expertise of their Director of Wine. Far exceeded expectations.
ACTIVITIES - This needs work. Activities are uninspired. I have lots of suggestions for things HAL could offer that would modernize their cruises, without alienating their core customer base. Too long for this review. HAL: Contact me! I figure I can easily raise your per/person income by $100 by simply changing up your on-board offerings. Evening entertainment was sub-par with the exception of Daniel on the piano bar. My husband and I love to dance - especially swing. We never got the chance. The only faster paced music played in a venue with a dance floor, was the "Disco Bar" which got going at 10:30 pm. There was the BB King lounge, which offered our, slow blues music most nights. We are used to several lounges offering danceable music at times from early evening to midnight and beyond on other cruises we have taken. Really missed that.
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