Noordam Review

Well Done HAL!

Review for Alaska Cruise on Noordam
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colewade
10+ Cruises • Age 50s

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Sail Date: Jun 2023
Cabin: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

We chose the Southbound Glacier Discovery cruise on the Noordam because we wanted to see as much as possible of the great Alaskan coastline in a 7-day period. This included both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park.

If you are doing this cruise, I would venture to say that arriving at least one day early is almost essential for most people in the lower 48. Connections are not great if you are traveling from the Southeast. Spending two nights was perfect for us as it allowed for the jet lag adjustment, and we got a great overview of Anchorage and the stunning Alaska Railroad trip to Whittier. Like the Noordam, the Wingate by Wyndham at Ship Creek rebranded with new ownership proved to be much better than the recent reviews I had read. The Deluxe Anchorage Trolley Tour, Anchorage Museum, cheap local drinks at the Pioneer Bar, and dinner at Haute Quarter made for a perfect day in Anchorage from our downtown base.

Departing from Whittier we experienced the easiest embarkation I have ever had on a cruise ship. It was almost a walk on. Though I had been disappointed that HAL had recently pulled out of Seward because it has so much more to offer, I must say Whittier’s location was surprisingly spectacular and puts you directly on the ship with no logistics or distractions involved. Just an FYI, even if you travel on the Alaska Railroad independently like us, your luggage will show up in your stateroom much later in the afternoon.

Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

Aiming for the highest balcony on the port side, our VB Category balcony stateroom was awfully snug for three people, and about right for two. Though we adjusted, the top deck 11 has smaller balcony rooms with small balconies. I have had larger standard outside rooms with 1/3 more storage on the old Maasdam. On day one we merged our twins to make a Queen and more room. On day two, my nephew switched from a top bunk to the sofa bed because it was warm on the top bunk. To his surprise (due to past experiences), the sofa bed proved to be more comfortable anyway, but when the sofa bed is pulled out you cannot get to the balcony. The stewards changed it all with a smile and for the remainder could not have been more responsive or kind. The room stayed orderly, and we all enjoyed a decent night’s sleep. No problems with motion in spite of the location. Having the Crow’s Nest next door with an impressive book collection and the adjacent outside decks were a big pluses. The nearby Oak Room is no longer cigar or smoking lounge. It has no particular purpose but is nice if you need to be alone or have a reading room.

Port Reviews

Hubbard Glacier (Cruising)

Bring your telephoto for this Glacier stop. Most ships get around 4 miles from the Glacier. It is still breathtaking. Those that splurge on the tour boat said it was worth every cent. They saw calving from a fairly close range. The big ship views are better at Glacier Bay.

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