First, the good stuff. Check-in and boarding were great --fast, efficient. Our cabin was ready and our luggage came at a reasonable time. No problems. Food. Disappointing. We could see the effects of cost-cutting. We did not use the Pinnacle Grill so we can't rate that, although others told us it was excellent. We did have dinner at Canelleto's, the Italian optional dinner choice, which was outstanding in food and service. The problems were with the dining room and especially, the Lido buffet. We opted for open seating, so had different servers each time. Some were good, some not, but that is to be expected. The problem was the choices. There was rarely anything outstanding being served. I can't actually remember any of the meals. We did notice that the prime rib serving was rather thin and the steak sometimes "chewy." It was never served as ordered. We ordered rare and usually got medium. The Lido buffet at breakfast and lunch suffered from lack of supervision. The tables were not being bussed promptly, resulting in passengers having to clear and clean their own tables at times. The stewards in attendance stood around in groups or walked around aimlessly, perhaps picking up one plate here or there but not doing their jobs very well. We spoke to other passengers and they, too, were upset by the lack of service. The coffee cart was rarely seen, but the cart with water for sale made frequent appearances. The stewards rarely asked if they could be of help or offered assistance. After many days of this, we observed a woman with young children come to the breakfast buffet and stand around looking at empty tables and chairs, but covered with dirty dishes. She cleared the dishes on to another table, wet a napkin, wiped down a table and seated her children. We were upset and went to the Front Desk and filed a complaint, something we have never done before on any ship and wwere reluctant to do it. After we complained, service improved dramatically and apologies were issued.The breakfast buffet fruit was limited in choices. Bananas seemed to be in short supply; you had to ask for them and someone would go to storage and get you one. A few mornings, they had cut-up banana, but they ran out before the cruise end. Pineapple supply was also skimpy. There was no mango or papaya offered and we are in mango season in the tropics. Most of the fruit was cut up melons. Oatmeal was thin and watery, more like a soup. The egg service was good, if slow, with a lot of omelet choices. The breads were OK, but nothing special. Lunch was as unimaginative as dinner, except for the pizza, which was excellent and the Asian alternative, which was very good and appreciated. The grill outside offered hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken breast, veggie burger and turkey burgers to start with, but they ran out of everything but hamburgers before the cruise ended. They had make-you-own taco and nacho stand which was very good. On previous Holland America cruises, the ice cream was outstanding. On this cruise, not so much. The chocolate chip had about one chip per scoop, the rum raisin had little rum flavor and three raisins per scoop and the praline had one tiny bit per scoop. Holland America's famous chocolate extravaganza was missing, too, and missed by all. In it's place was a dessert buffet, featuring what we had had all cruise in smaller pieces and a chocolate fountain, like the one at Golden Corral restaurants.Other than the Lido, service was very good at bars and lounges and in our cabin. The ship was very clean and the crew friendly, except for the Cruise Director who seemed unwilling to engage with the passengers. Very strange for someone in his position. The DJ who did a lot of the Trivia program was much more engaging and friendly. The gym was adequate and uncrowded, very clean as expected. I enjoyed the Tai Chi classes run by Rynae --twice a day and, on Half Moon Cay, on the beach. They were an unexpected treat. There was a 5K breast cancer walk on the promenade for a $15 contribution, $3.75 of which went to your T Shirt and wristband. This is an excellent idea and should be featured for other cruises. Entertainment. Judy Barr, comic and Barnaby, juggler, were outstanding. The singers and dancers not so much. We've seen better on other lines. Someone doing the staging was apparently enamored of stage mechanics. Various portions of the stage were raised, lowered, turned, etc. for absolutely no reason and did nothing to enhance the show, especially the first one. That show was really below par and could be bettered at the average high school. The Explorations Cafe had an outstanding library and many computer terminals. Wonderful. All in all, we wish Holland America would charge a bit more and keep their former high standards.

Disappointed

Noordam Cruise Review by simchabayla

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2011
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
First, the good stuff. Check-in and boarding were great --fast, efficient. Our cabin was ready and our luggage came at a reasonable time. No problems.
Food. Disappointing. We could see the effects of cost-cutting. We did not use the Pinnacle Grill so we can't rate that, although others told us it was excellent. We did have dinner at Canelleto's, the Italian optional dinner choice, which was outstanding in food and service. The problems were with the dining room and especially, the Lido buffet.
We opted for open seating, so had different servers each time. Some were good, some not, but that is to be expected. The problem was the choices. There was rarely anything outstanding being served. I can't actually remember any of the meals. We did notice that the prime rib serving was rather thin and the steak sometimes "chewy." It was never served as ordered. We ordered rare and usually got medium.
The Lido buffet at breakfast and lunch suffered from lack of supervision. The tables were not being bussed promptly, resulting in passengers having to clear and clean their own tables at times. The stewards in attendance stood around in groups or walked around aimlessly, perhaps picking up one plate here or there but not doing their jobs very well. We spoke to other passengers and they, too, were upset by the lack of service. The coffee cart was rarely seen, but the cart with water for sale made frequent appearances.
The stewards rarely asked if they could be of help or offered assistance. After many days of this, we observed a woman with young children come to the breakfast buffet and stand around looking at empty tables and chairs, but covered with dirty dishes. She cleared the dishes on to another table, wet a napkin, wiped down a table and seated her children. We were upset and went to the Front Desk and filed a complaint, something we have never done before on any ship and wwere reluctant to do it. After we complained, service improved dramatically and apologies were issued.The breakfast buffet fruit was limited in choices. Bananas seemed to be in short supply; you had to ask for them and someone would go to storage and get you one. A few mornings, they had cut-up banana, but they ran out before the cruise end. Pineapple supply was also skimpy. There was no mango or papaya offered and we are in mango season in the tropics. Most of the fruit was cut up melons.
Oatmeal was thin and watery, more like a soup. The egg service was good, if slow, with a lot of omelet choices. The breads were OK, but nothing special.
Lunch was as unimaginative as dinner, except for the pizza, which was excellent and the Asian alternative, which was very good and appreciated. The grill outside offered hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken breast, veggie burger and turkey burgers to start with, but they ran out of everything but hamburgers before the cruise ended. They had make-you-own taco and nacho stand which was very good.
On previous Holland America cruises, the ice cream was outstanding. On this cruise, not so much. The chocolate chip had about one chip per scoop, the rum raisin had little rum flavor and three raisins per scoop and the praline had one tiny bit per scoop. Holland America's famous chocolate extravaganza was missing, too, and missed by all. In it's place was a dessert buffet, featuring what we had had all cruise in smaller pieces and a chocolate fountain, like the one at Golden Corral restaurants.Other than the Lido, service was very good at bars and lounges and in our cabin. The ship was very clean and the crew friendly, except for the Cruise Director who seemed unwilling to engage with the passengers. Very strange for someone in his position. The DJ who did a lot of the Trivia program was much more engaging and friendly.
The gym was adequate and uncrowded, very clean as expected. I enjoyed the Tai Chi classes run by Rynae --twice a day and, on Half Moon Cay, on the beach. They were an unexpected treat. There was a 5K breast cancer walk on the promenade for a $15 contribution, $3.75 of which went to your T Shirt and wristband. This is an excellent idea and should be featured for other cruises.
Entertainment. Judy Barr, comic and Barnaby, juggler, were outstanding. The singers and dancers not so much. We've seen better on other lines. Someone doing the staging was apparently enamored of stage mechanics. Various portions of the stage were raised, lowered, turned, etc. for absolutely no reason and did nothing to enhance the show, especially the first one. That show was really below par and could be bettered at the average high school.
The Explorations Cafe had an outstanding library and many computer terminals. Wonderful.
All in all, we wish Holland America would charge a bit more and keep their former high standards.
simchabayla’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Holland America Noordam price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VD 6006
6006 Near the front of the ship. Great if you enjoy the motion of the ocean. We loved it. Very quiet.
Rotterdam Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins