2 Holland America Noordam Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

Why are disabled cabins either at the front or back of the ship? A trek to either the theatre or the restaurants. Our cabin 6003 was at the front, a good size with a pillar ( ideal for tying the wheelchair and walker to whilst crossing ... Read More
Why are disabled cabins either at the front or back of the ship? A trek to either the theatre or the restaurants. Our cabin 6003 was at the front, a good size with a pillar ( ideal for tying the wheelchair and walker to whilst crossing the Tasmin Sea ! ) It was clean but scruffy and worn, we placed a blanket over the sofa to cover stains and another over a chair to cover the threadbare arms. There was a dangerous narrow ramp leading to the balcony and a wider wooden ramp on the balcony itself which meant you couldn't turn a wheelchair round. As the cabin was under the bridge it had an electronic door curtain which could be operated from the room or the bridge, in theory that was fine but who installed it so the curtain closed over the door opening and not on the other side? You had to place the curtain behind the chair to be able to get out of the balcony door, the curtain hooks had broken and had to be re attached on each opening. As it was the cabins' situaition was so windy it was rarely able to be used on sea days. A great shame. We chose this adventure of a lifetime for the destinations and because we had enjoyed a wonderful 40 night cruise from Southampton to Singapore on ms Rotterdam 18 months previously. A mid ship disabled cabin with a restricted view which was lovely and really easy to move around the ship. Not only was it a very different ship it felt like we were travelling with a completely different company. We chose to eat in the Lido most days, the food was acceptable and the young staff really lovely and helpful. Its a great shame some of the passengers from the US had a need to be so rude to them. And they seemed to think it was beneath them to use the supped hand gel ! The Lido, like the rest of the ship had some serious maintenance problems including water leaks which could be experienced at the tables, whilst queuing to be served and whilst trying to walk on the main narrow walkthrough. I fell heavily on a wet floor causing unnecessary pain to my arthritic body. The cane chairs were worn and very scruffy, some had been replaced but ms Noordam really is in need of a major refit. We tried room service for breakfast on 8 occasions and only twice did we get what we ordered, we tried it for dinner just once and after a microwave burger and cold pasta arrived I had to fetch pizza from the Lido. Really not good. They also tried to charge for a bottle of vodka that we ordered but wasn't delivered. Entertainment. Oh dear ms Noordam really got that wrong ! During the first show the 'comedian' referred to someone as a "spas", we left the theatre and it didn't really get much better after that. If you wanted a seat it was best to get to the theatre approx 45-60 mins before any show or lecture and take a book ( I actually read 18 during this voyage !) The theatre has restricted viewing from the upper levels and really wasn't big enough for the amount of passengers on board. On the second sea day from Vancouver I asked the cruise director John what entertainment had been organised for the long sea days leading to and after Hawaii, a total of 10, his reply was "nothing, this is what head office have told us to do" The last long cruise was filled with quizzes, interesting lectures, art classes, craft classes, dance classes, language classes, music throughout at different venues throughout the day and evening and a cinema, deck games a brilliant library with games and puzzle boards, dancing and happy hour in several bars. Onboard ms Noordam there was so little to do, in the end we stopped looking at the 'Whats on' for the following day as there was nothing unless you wanted to spend at the highly priced spar, shop, play bingo or visit the casino. Its such a shame that with a total of 20 sea days that more thought into entertaining the guests wasn't given. It was a cruise that seemed to appeal to an 'older' passenger, the average age approx 70. That being the case then why couldn't the entertainment happen during the day or early evening? BB Kings was something we had been looking forward to, unfortunately we only went twice, same songs, same set list and it started at 8.45pm, by 9.15 the audience were up dancing. Great, except that when the band took a break at 9.30 the audience departed for their beds !!! Why not make the set longer at an earlier time and just 2 performances a night to correspond with the timings of the theatre show ? All the empty space on the ship and it could and should have been used and enjoyed. After all the cruise should be all about the passenger experience. Happy and contented passengers will spend and they will cruise again with that line. We are wanting to visit South America, a must on the bucket list, but although Holland America have many interesting itineraries for that area we are looking at other companies after this experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Firstly, my wife and i were first time cruisers. We wished to see Alaska as part of our vacation and had been recommended Holland America cruiseline. I contacted HAL prior to the start of the cruise and expected 5* experience. We were ... Read More
Firstly, my wife and i were first time cruisers. We wished to see Alaska as part of our vacation and had been recommended Holland America cruiseline. I contacted HAL prior to the start of the cruise and expected 5* experience. We were sorely let down. I'll break my review down into sections: Embarkation: - A shambles. We were shown to a large hall where we dropped our luggage. We were then given a ticket with a number and had to wait in a large seated area for over an hour before we were called. There was no refreshment or food facilities in the hall. Various excuses were given for the delay which didn't help while we sat around waiting. Rooms: We had a state room with a balcony which we were charged US 11.50 per person per day for services. The bathroom smelled of urine and when the cabin assistant came to greet us I advised him the bathroom was not clean. He cleaned the toilet area but the sink was unclean and I had to ask for that to be cleaned later. Not 5* as expected. After day 2 the room was kept clean, although this was not difficult as we are not untidy people. One big disappointment was no coffee / tea making facility in the room. All hotels I have previously stayed in had this facility as a basic service. I did, however, love the balcony as it was the one place away from the madding crowd that we could sit watching the world go by. The scenery was stunning. Meals: We ate mainly in the Lido restaurant, as the meals in the a la carte were really strange. I think the chefs were trying to think of concoctions that no one else had used and for us they just didn't work. The food in the Lido was ok but nothing more. I have stayed at 5* hotels in Mexico and the food on board ship was no where near Mexico standard. The service in the Lido was poor. Trying to spot a drinks waiter was as easy as spotting a whale (we didn't see any whales). We ate one night at the formal evening in the a la carte, as we had both brought clothes to dress formally. I could only eat two of the four courses. My main was steak with a couple of shrimp, a sliver of cooked spinach and four small roasted pineapple chunks. It tasted ok but whatever happened to steak with a nice sauce with potatoes and vegetables? This was the one night I felt the service was good as the waiters were literally falling over themselves to serve tables. Perhaps that's why there were no drinks waiters in the Lido. Drinks: There was a reasonable selection, but quite expensive. All drinks came with a 15% service charge. The service in the bars was good until the place got busy. During busy periods we experienced getting the wrong drinks and getting other peoples cards. Entertainment: This was pretty good. I enjoyed the Blues Band and the Casino (although again, you've guessed it, you suffered a service charge for buying chips to play the tables). Activities: I was disappointed with the activities. I expected something like volleyball, archery, soccer etc. but there were no activities like that. Most activities, other than the gym, seemed to be indoor and seated activities (cards etc). Also, the swimming pools are not accessible to customers with a disability. There were ladders in the 6ft end to climb out. My wife has a walking disability and could not use the ladders and therefore could not use the pool. HAL do not advertise that their swimming pools are not accessible. We spoke with the front desk about this and they were going to get back to us. We're still waiting. Front Desk: A major disappointment. We complained about no tea / coffee maker in the room. Front desk said we could order room service. This would not work, as my wife is an early riser and I like to lie in a bit longer. I did not wish wakened by room service. We therefore had to wait till the Lido restaurant opened at 7am. My wife complained about the non accessible swimming pools and we are still waiting on a response. We also visited front desk for information about the formal evening. We were advised that we could attend the event at the a la carte restaurants on floor 2 and 3. I asked if we needed to book and was advised we could just turn up at either restaurant when we wished or could book whatever suited. We decided not to reserve seating and turned up at the restaurant at level 3, which was a fair walk from the elevators only to be advised that level 3 dining was for reserved customers only. We were not too pleased as that contradicted front desk advice. Finally on the last night we received luggage tags which were not suitable for our situation. The tags were for luggage going to the airport and not independent travel on. I explained this to front desk and they asked if I had contacted my travel agent as if I didn't know what I was doing. Eventually I managed to convince front desk that I was not going to the airport and the assistant had to agree my change of disembarkation with her manager. The girl then suggested I still use the same tags and couldn't grasp the fact that if I did my cases would end up at the airport. After about 15 minutes and nearly at my wits end I managed to obtain luggage tags that suited our situation. Disembarkation: After our issues of the previous night it was a pleasant surprise that disembarkation went smoothly. Excursions: We did not book any through HAL. We had already booked Whale watching tour through out travel agent, which saved money. We also booked the Helicopter and Dog Sled Tour independently and saved around US 100. The independent trip was exactly the same as the ship excursion offered. In summary we were very disappointed with our cruise given the high expectations we had after contacting the HAL representatives. The cruise was not value for money the service charge extortionate for the level of service provided. We have certainly been put off cruising for the time being but may give another cruiseline a chance if it suited in future. I would not recommend HAL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.3

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