102 Holland America Noordam Family Cruise Reviews

Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is ... Read More
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is average. I will say the service especially in the dining room was outstanding. Our waiter was Nadi, assisted by Ed and Janela. These three people were the highlight of the trip. Very attentive and aware of everything. I hate being nickeled and dimed but that’s what this cruise line is all about. We paid a small fortune for our suite. One would think WiFi would be included....not. If you want to use a spin bike in the gym, nope.....unless you take an 8 am class for 15.00 per person. In the spa, be careful. They will ask you if you like this or that. If you say yes, they will upcharge your bill. Many people will look at the base price of a cruise line like this and think I’ll save money vs Regent. When you add up all the add in charges: Drink package Excursions Mini bar in the room (not included in drink package) Automatic small print tips of 16.00 per day per person and compare to the price of Regent, you’ll come out pretty close on total cost. All these things are included on Regent. I’ll not take another Holland America cruise and I recommend you look at Regent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have a big family reunion come all of the world. before this cruise the biggest worry for me was the condition of the ship, I saw many reviews that people talking about how bad the ship was. First the embarkation went smoothly, even ... Read More
We have a big family reunion come all of the world. before this cruise the biggest worry for me was the condition of the ship, I saw many reviews that people talking about how bad the ship was. First the embarkation went smoothly, even was raining that day at Seward, there were umbrellas available for walking up the ship, no long line at all, took us about 15-20 mins to get on ship. The ship was clean and well maintained, even it was an old ship from the décor I could tell, but it was tasteful and nice. we had various rooms from balcony to inside cabin, I visited all and they were nice and clean. Only first day one of our cabins had issue with hot water and they were moved to an ocean view from an inside room, One room had plumbing issues and was handled right away. The staff were very polite and helpful, the cabin-keeper introduced themselves to us and most impressed was Vista Dining room server, they are not only professional and also very friendly. As we expected the onboard activities was not much but the main stage show were fine, Lincoln Center performance were delightful, we did not attend any other shows. The food at Vista Dining Room were excellent, meet our expectation. Buffet had good days and some day were par. We bought some excursion on board, but we did find the price for similar tour were cheaper at the port off the ship. Unfortunately due to weather, they canceled helicopter glacier landing and dog sled. We did White Pass train ride, that was ok, I enjoy the ferry ride from Haines to Skagway better than the train ride. Over all, we really enjoy this cruise, HAL showed us great time. Disembarkation was little mess due to taxi line issue, so took us long time to get out Port Canada. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship ... Read More
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship is in need of some desperate overhaul as it is looking very old and run down. Their was no sail away party on any deck, only soft music which no one could hear on the back Lido deck. The bar staff on the Lido deck were outstanding and made the cruise a little more enjoyable with their outstanding service. ( maybe other staff members could look at them and learn something) Many thanks to Edwin,Leonard and Ed for their outstanding service. Lido restaurant was very blend with their food night after night. Same food just with different names often Luke warm served on very hot plates. My wife had a good talk with the Lido management one night about having different theme night for dinner EG Asian,Indian,Australian international type dinners. To the managers credit they did do Asian theme for one night only then went back to the old ways. The only entertainment on the back Lido deck was a music trivia every afternoon. A band playing music would have been a lot better. We had nothing but trouble with our cruise accounts being blocked by the front desk day after day, and we weren’t they only ones with this issue Maybe when HAL travel in Australian waters in the future the should accommodate fit the Australian market a bit more as 80% of guests are either AUS or NZ. best advertising in by mouth for any business and myself and my wife and other guests will not be doing any advertising. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and ... Read More
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and the staff are wonderful. The main issues were the food, entertainment and the Loft (lack of). Firstly, the food in the main dining room for the first few days of the cruises was very uninspiring. It was hard to find something to eat. The food did improve. Cannot fault the wait, wine and front of restaurant staff, they were very friendly and always smiling. The entertainment was very poor, the entertainment that did come on to the ship were very good (in particular Patrick McMahon) but there wasn't enough. In one week they had two guest artists that played individually and then together one night. Also, on two nights they should movies. We don't get the chance to see live entertainment much because of children so in the past the cruise night time entertainment was something to look forward to. There is BB Kings that play 3 times a night. They are good but unfortunately both singers got sick at the end of the cruise so they weren't able to sing and the head office wouldn't let anyone else stand in for them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no ... Read More
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no music to signal the start of the journey, although there were drinks available, you had to guess if they were alcoholic or not. There was no photographer taking photos for international tourists to capture the harbour sights either. The ship is in urgent need of upgrade and looks tired and dated. It is due for a refit towards the end of the year - this is only internal. There were issues with the airconditioner being cold, so they ran the ship on four generators to warm it up and when the swell got bigger, turned the fifth generator back on. When running on the lesser generators they also experienced electrical and power issues. Food in the Lido Market was below par and what was there for lunch appeared at dinner with a different name. We asked what the temperature of the food bays were set at and the reply " I don't know it isn't my area". I had yoghurt for breakfast and could almost pour it into a cup to drink. The desserts were in this same fridge and were never at the correct temperature. The meals from the hot bays were luke warm, the plates on the other hand were extremely hot and at times unsafe to carry back to the table unless you brought your napkin. The serving staff were hit and miss with personality.Our cabin was a verandah and adequate for the two of us and our stewards who cleaned it daily were accommodating and . The entertainment we found to be enjoyable and the people we met also had mixed views about the staff and overall appearance of the ship. We had 4 shore excursions - Port Arthur, Hobart, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. As these are all in US dollars research if there are companies that provide similar tours that can be booked from Australia to avoid the exchange rates. We enjoyed all our tours and only had one bad experience when in Kangaroo Island. Our 9 hour tour was uncomfortable as the airconditioning on the bus packed in 45 minutes into the tour and there were no other coaches available. The temperature inside the bus got to around 38 degress. The driver attempted to do all he could to make the best out of the situation, but by the end all us passengers couldn't wait to get of the coach and board the ship and get cold drinks. When we complained we were advised we would received a 15%refund that only equated to $60 dollars from a tour that was more than $300 USD. Should have pushed for a full refund. The only port where we felt welcomed was in South Australia were there was a bush band singing at arrivals and volunteers waiting to direct us to the buses, taxis or train to the city. The disembarkation at the ports was well managed and even the days we needed to use the tender boats. As I have used HAL prior, I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my son for his first cruise. Overall, regardless of the flaws mentioned, we had a relaxing time, but next time we cruise, will look at another company to compare the service and atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this sailing specifically to see Glacier Bay. At our first stop In Juneau it was pouring rain, we went on an excursion to Mendenhall glacier the bus was 1 hour overdue on picking us up to return to the ship, my parents, my ... Read More
We chose this sailing specifically to see Glacier Bay. At our first stop In Juneau it was pouring rain, we went on an excursion to Mendenhall glacier the bus was 1 hour overdue on picking us up to return to the ship, my parents, my wife and myself were soaked to the bone and freezing (mom 84yrs,dad 91yrs),they gave us a 40% discount!!. My dad's knees and hips were shot as a result for the rest of the cruise Unfortunately there was a medical emergency on the way into the bay and they turned the ship around and sailed back out . They wasted 2-3hrs sitting in fog waiting to see if a helicopter would come and get the passenger (no chance, the fog was soup thick), then we sailed a couple hours to a bay near Juneau to meet a coast guard boat, the Coast guard boat was too low, so they put the passenger on a lifeboat and lowered it to the water to make the transfer. That pretty much used up the entire day. They indicated they might ditch Ketchican and go to Glacier Bay. (most guest were in favor of this option) The Captain decided this was not practical, even though it seemed like it was his idea. (would imagine he was overruled by management). By not practical, I assume they meant paying for the extra fuel and refunding shore excursion money for Ketchican, then to add insult to injury they gave us a $15.38 credit for missing out on Glacier Bay (REALLY!). We lost out on 25% of the advertised adventure and they refund 15.38. it cost us $5336.00 US (4 people) for the trip, not really understanding Holland's math. Disembarkation was pretty chaotic, with not enough wheel chairs available inside the terminal, they pretty much rushed the people with mobility issues off the ship and dropped them in chairs to wait 45 mins to 1 hr for a second wheelchair to take them the rest of the way. When I contacted customer relations, I was told the president of Holland America issued a memo, that no compensation was allowed to be offered for missing Glacier Bay on this cruise. Interesting to say the least Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I traveled with my 13 year-old daughter and 3 other relatives northbound to Alaska from Vancouver, departing mid August. After reading a few of the other reviews, I kept my expectations of the ship and its amenities/entertainment fairly ... Read More
I traveled with my 13 year-old daughter and 3 other relatives northbound to Alaska from Vancouver, departing mid August. After reading a few of the other reviews, I kept my expectations of the ship and its amenities/entertainment fairly low and was just looking forward to spending time with family and seeing the beautiful scenery. I was very pleasantly surprised with everything about the ship and its activities. The best part was, I didn't pay extra for Wi-Fi, so my teen daughter was deprived of her I-phone all week and forced to interact with us!! First of all, I cannot say enough about the ship's amazing staff! The Noordam's Filipino staff were the most pleasant, friendly, organized group of people I have ever come across. Every single person would smile and greet you. The dining and cabin service was top-notch. We loved the folded towel animals they left in your room every night! When I ordered a goat cheese omlet to the room for breakfast, someone actually called the room afterwards to check whether I enjoyed it or not. Unbelievable service. The Noordam itself is a very classic, elegant ship. Some reviewers complain about things like "worn carpet" but I didn't notice or pay attention to that - the ship was very clean and decorated with artwork and sculptures everywhere.The trivial things people gripe about amaze me. It's not like the ship can replace thousands of square feet of carpet but every so often. The cabin was very nice, we had an oceanview room on Deck 1. It was adequate for the 2 of us. It was pretty small, but I expected it to be. The shower was great and beds were comfy. I had coffee delivered to the room every morning and sometimes breakfast. In-room dining service is included with the price which was a nice surprise. Room service food was excellent (we only tried breakfast). The Lido Deck had a big buffet every day for all 3 meals, with some varying selections and certain items you could get every day. As expected, it is crowded. I have to laugh when people complain about this - you are on a ship with almost 2000 people trying to eat at the same time. I really enjoyed the ethnic lunch selections- they had Indian, Asian, etc that altered daily. The ship did a great job providing variety and appealing to diverse tastes in food. Yes, some things were bland or overcooked but that is often the case with mass quantities of food. Other items were very good. The main dining room food was presented beautifully, though the entrees often lacked flavor. Desserts were excellent, however. Dinner at the Pinnacle Grill (specialty restaurant) was fantastic. We had the lamb, salmon and a steak - all were top notch. I disagree with the reviewers complaining about the lack of entertainment - there were plenty of choices of activities. No, it's not a Carnival "Party Ship." We had no interest in that anyway. But we did see the comedian and magician evening show twice - both were very good. We went to the "America's Test Kitchen" and enjoyed the demonstration there. I went to the gym and did other things, wasn't expecting the ship to entertain me constantly. Disembarkation was as smooth as it could possibly be. Everything on this ship is extremely well organized. I highly recommend this trip. We were very lucky with the weather and it didn't rain. But it often does during late summer, so be prepared for that. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I do not want to come across as sounding negative about this, since we did enjoy ourselves on this Alaska cruise/tour. We have cruised most frequently with Celebrity, but as first time HAL guests it's hard to avoid comparisons. Of ... Read More
I do not want to come across as sounding negative about this, since we did enjoy ourselves on this Alaska cruise/tour. We have cruised most frequently with Celebrity, but as first time HAL guests it's hard to avoid comparisons. Of course people have different impressions of things. Many people here have said that the Noordam is showing wear. We didn't really see much evidence of that. The outside decks are all gleaming white and look as though they've just been painted. All areas inside and out appear to be very clean and well maintained. Some of the negative comments may be due to the fact that a lot of the decor looks dated, although it's certainly not very old. Common areas: We found the Noordam to be thoughtfully designed and decorated in a mostly sophisticated fashion. There is some glitz but it's well placed. The ship was launched in 2006 and I think I've read that it was dry-docked for an overhaul in 2015. Much of the decor is tasteful and traditional, while in many places it looks like 1985 -- which obviously is not the case. There's a lot of dusky rose color and polished brass, well done but reminiscent of 30 years ago. The dark reds and rose shades, particularly in the otherwise attractive Vista Dining Room, make it feel a bit claustrophobic. If the ceilings were lightened up it might make the whole area seem more spacious. The ship features a lovely and interesting collection of European art pieces. There are some spectacular fresh floral arrangements around the ship. Certain details are pretty wonderful (like the elevator doors). All these features should make the Noordam feel somewhat classier overall than it does. I think this may be due to the otherwise dated and sometimes claustrophobic color schemes and traffic inefficiencies in certain areas. The ship's decor lacks a certain continuity and is somewhat disjointed. The ship has two pools. If only the Noordam were large enough to have an 'adults only' pool. Both pools were overridden with splashing, running kids the whole time; not particularly inviting for grownups desiring a peaceful poolside experience. Cabin: Our cabin was on Deck 1, the Main Deck. It had a window rather than a balcony. It was comfortable and the bed was good. The decor might have been a little frumpy but it was perfectly acceptable. Unbeknownst to us, our part of Deck 1 is beneath the BB King Blues Club. Don't plan to go to sleep early because the loud thumping music from the Club doesn't end until around 11:15. The cabin's layout where the closets are located makes for a particularly awkward area. That little hallway is always going to be tight, but the way the closet doors open, two people cannot easily access the closets at the same time. There are no lights in the closet and to see your things properly, you must turn on the hallway light, which is on the same circuit as the main ceiling lights in the cabin; not good if it's dark and someone is trying to sleep. I was surprised that the in-cabin TV did not have a channel where you can check on your bill to monitor expenses. I learned at the guest relations desk that they do not automatically provide a summary of your bill, you must request one. While the bathroom functioned just fine, what a dreary little place it is. A ship's bathroom is essentially one big plastic module and probably not easy to update. The color of these bathrooms is a peculiar tan, which reminded me of the color of panty hose; and the tub, sink, and door are that strange greenish-tan like degrading plastic computer components. Again, everything worked fine, but who ever chose the colors? Our mirrors were ready for replacing due to humidity damage around the edges. Lido Buffet: The Buffet is not self-serve, so there are big crowds at the serving areas. The kitchen crew serves everyone, order by order, so it can be slow-going and extremely cramped. I imagine it is not self-serve in the interest of preventing norovirus, which is admirable, but it makes for very inefficient service and crowding. The Vista Dining Room is not open at lunch, so the whole ship is at the Buffet, which is a mob scene at times. We occasionally escaped to the taco bar out by the pool. The Lido Buffet opens to a big aft deck, which has a lot of seating, but if the weather is inclement, everyone is crammed into the inside dining area. We are by no means foodies, but the Lido Buffet food was largely disappointing. Many of the offerings did not seem fresh and sometimes tasted leftover or of refrigerator. Some turn-offs were fat, grisly lamb shoulder; tough, stringy, overcooked asparagus; bleu cheese dressing with absolutely no flavor whatsoever; pre-made sandwiches in bags; and flavorless ice cream. All it has going for it is that it is cold. Of course the ship's cooking ingredients are not supermarket house brands, but it sure does taste like it. Coffee and cookies are excellent, as are the made to order salads (with an alternative dressing choice). Vista Dining Room: Service was excellent and the layout of the dining room is multi-level and interesting. We were seated in a different area for each dinner, which was nice. The food in the Vista Dining Room was head and shoulders better than that of the Lido Buffet, with a few exceptions. Buttermilk pancakes were rubbery and chewy; beef stroganoff was topped with two dry, stringy chunks of beef, and a few other items were lackluster. But most everything else was good to quite good. We never had dinner in the Buffet because the service, food, atmosphere, and stress level is so much better in the Vista Dining Room than in the Lido Buffet. Traditional afternoon high tea is also served in the Vista Dining Room. It's pleasant and the tea is good but many of the attractive-looking small pastries taste like supermarket house brand. A civilized tradition but sort of disappointing. Entertainment: First and foremost (and possibly tempting us to book with HAL again) is their Lincoln Center Stage. It's a chamber music venue that is too small for the number of people it attracts. The room opens to the hallway where clueless loudmouths often make hearing the exquisite music difficult, and is probably a distraction for the musicians as well. The quintet on board were brilliant musicians, accomplished and degreed, with delightful stage presence. We did not attend the BB King Blues Club since it's not our preferred type of music -- and as stated above, we were treated to a free show in our cabin every night. There were two production shows in the main theater during the week we were on the ship. The singers, dancers, sets, and effects are absolutely flawless and professional. The shows we saw were very loud, raucous rock-themed productions. No reflection on the performers, by any means, but I'm not sure if this type of show would be the choice of many of the guests on the ship. The comedian and especially the magician were excellent. My impression is that HAL, or at least this particular ship and cruise, is at a difficult crossroads as far as how to present its brand. I was expecting to find what its reputation is known for: catering to a fairly well-heeled mature clientele that prefers a traditional, rather sophisticated, classic cruise experience. The Noordam exhibits elements of a classic cruise liner, e.g., the teak steamer chairs, certain Deco details, railings and deckings; but is mixed with elements that make me fear that HAL may go the way of Carnival (I realize that's the parent company) and other lines which attract a more brusque, partying crowd. Of course any cruise line must update and reinvent itself to appeal to its current demographic, but HAL should take care not to lose its niche. Land portion: Our cruise began in Vancouver and we disembarked in Seward. A ten-hour motor coach ride (thankfully, with several stops and lunch) brought us to Denali National Park. HAL is to be complimented on how well they've accomplished handling enormous crowds, all working like clockwork. Our room in the Denali McKinley Lodge was comfortable and very attractive; we were in Building O, which seems to be within a fairly new enclave of buildings. And the train back to Anchorage was beautiful, spotless, and roomy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My DH and I have always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise. This was our 6th cruise with HAL. We brought two teens with us. We spent a few days in Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship for our cruise. We really liked Vancouver - ... Read More
My DH and I have always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise. This was our 6th cruise with HAL. We brought two teens with us. We spent a few days in Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship for our cruise. We really liked Vancouver - it's such a clean city. We stayed at an AirB&B and it was great. Much cozier than an impersonal hotel and we had more room, too. I'll review that on Air B&B later. I rate from a 5 star and reduce based on several things. My review would have been a 3.5 star if possible but that wasn't available and I do not feel that bumping it up to 4 stars would be right so we went down to the 3 star. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth - HAL has this figured out - the only thing is wear comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking involved on embarkation day. Now, lets talk about everything else: The ship overall is looking a little tired. Brass and fixtures that used to be shiny and bright are now somewhat dull, paint in places is worn off and things just look worn. This reduced the star rating by 1/2 to 3/4 of a star. The cabin, on the other hand was in good shape and the beds were comfortable. The cabin stewards did a great job. I can say that you rarely see them yet your room does get attention several times a day. I got the feeling that overall for the entire ship, the crew was not as large as it once was. It seems that the room stewards have more rooms to take care of then on previous cruises and this applies to the wait staff in the Lido and Dining rooms. I'll address that later. Perhaps steam cleaning the carpets in the cabins could be done at a better time. We have never encountered a cruise ship cleaning carpets in the cabins while we were on the ship - my hubby ended up with wet sox from walking on the still wet carpet. I would think this would be done at the end of a cruise when peoples cloths and belongings are not out on the carpets. It just seemed an odd time to clean carpets - at least to us, otherwise he cabin was fine. Dining: The dining was good but not excellent. The service was okay but nowhere near as good as on prior cruises and this reduced my rating by a full star. On prior HAL cruises the food was almost always excellent - this time it was good to average. The dining room menu the the first night had selections on the left side of the menu that said they would be available every night but this turned out not to be true. One night was devoted to selections from up and coming chefs or winners of some kind of culinary competition. Most of it was not particularly appealing. Items were fancied up for fancies sake and not necessarily appealing to the average eater. Teenagers were not thrilled with some of the selections - if they didn't know what it was they weren't going to eat it. I can't say that the food in the dining room was any better than the Lido market. Sometimes steaks were cooked the way I like them (med-rare) and sometimes it was a crap shoot. Some steaks were beautiful, lean and easy to eat - other times you had to trim off parts and cut out gristle and other tough parts. By the end of the cruise the ship was out of a lot of food - it looked like Asian selections were way down, fruit was hard to find - our last smoothie had to be made with a mix and I was told they were out of strawberries and pineapple. Some items seemed old and dried out sort of like eating heated up left over roast which is now dry and chewy. The folks working in the dining room and the Lido Market really tried to take care of everyone but you could see they were very busy and never just standing around but getting service for refills or even first fills of things like iced tea and coffee was difficult. I was disappointed with the eating facilities we visited. Due to a stroke, my DH drinks his liquids through a straw yet some of the staff on the Lido told him they did not have straws available while others found him one quickly - this appears due to a lack of training on HAL's part. Entertainment was okay but we don't go to much of it because my DH has a hearing problem. We do love the Explorations Cafe for puzzles, games and coffee, and the Observation area (Crow's Nest?) for watching the glaciers and great views. The teenagers loved the Loft and spent a lot of time at the pool, playing ping-pong and chess with the giant chess set near the pool. This trip I avoided the Spa - their prices are just astronomical. $70 for a pedicure is crazy - especially when the going price in my neck of the woods is $25 for the same services. It seems like a lot of nickle and dime charges and very expensive charges for things. I'm thinking of trying a Viking cruise next time - they may be more expensive initially but they do include more - including one land tour at each stop. As for Port and shore excursions, we did one on our own - in Ketchican we hired a taxi for an hour ($75.00) to give us a tour of the town. The teens loved this - we stopped and saw some of the local flora and fawna - they got to pick and eat Salmon Berries which they loved and heard about other things the Indians used for food and medicine. We saw the town and met some people. It was a fun little tour before we went shopping in town. We also did the White Pass Train Ride in Skagway - that was fun and interesting but not as much fun for the kids - one slept the whole way - that was an expensive nap, trust me. That was not the fault of the cruise - it's hard to tell what kids will and won't like but it's hard when the zip line tour requires an adult to accompany the kids and the adult is 72 and not into zip lining so it's hard to find an excursion that everyone can do and enjoy. I'm not saying we didn't enjoy our trip - we did. I'm rating in comparison to other cruises and see a downward slope in the quality of services and and upward slant in increased costs. We do notice this stuff and it does cause us to think about taking our business elsewhere. We have booked 2 back to back cruises totaling about 51 days for next fall and are seriously considering looking at other cruise lines to see if we want to change this - I don't know if this was a fluke in the dining and service and do I want to do this for 51 days in a row? Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The good: * Neptune Suite was spacious with sufficient storage area and was well maintained and clean. *. The staff were professional and friendly The Bad: * Entertainment options were significantly lacking. When there are ... Read More
The good: * Neptune Suite was spacious with sufficient storage area and was well maintained and clean. *. The staff were professional and friendly The Bad: * Entertainment options were significantly lacking. When there are was a show, the venue could not accommodate the guests. Really disappointed with lack of entertainment options. With 2 or 3 days out to sea, you’d really think they would have a few shows to attend. Other than the scenic views we were bored. *. The food was terrible. We believe the chef staff was on vacation. The menu also lacked options. Something simple like pizza was flavorless and like cardboard. The other problem was that because the food was so bad all of the paid restaurants were fully booked after day one for the remainder of the cruise. So we could t even pay the $50 per person dinner rate to get a decent meal. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The stateroom had a small we could not get rid off...finally found mold on shower curtain. Mirrors in staterooms were old and needed replacing. Dirt in corners remained throughout cruise. They were no activities for young ... Read More
The stateroom had a small we could not get rid off...finally found mold on shower curtain. Mirrors in staterooms were old and needed replacing. Dirt in corners remained throughout cruise. They were no activities for young adults..everything geared toward old retired crowd. All talks and presentaions geared to selling instead of onformation. Tv in state rooms did not work well....they were ancient. Service last night in main dining room was terrible..rest of time was good. Service in upscale restaurants and the value of food was worse than on lido deck and main dining room. All activities geared toward geriatric population. My young adult son's were bored to tears. Although the naturalist on board was great. We enjoyed his presentations. The shore excursions were either terrific...or horrid. Avoid the Duck tours. The glacier tour was great and going through Glacier park made it all worth. We had 3 in cabin...and all promotions wr re only for two leaving one of us out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I chose this cruise because it was the only cruise to go to glacier bay. I felt the ship was classic. Perfect size to not get lost and interact with others. Our cabin and bathroom was larger than other ships. The specialty dining in ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was the only cruise to go to glacier bay. I felt the ship was classic. Perfect size to not get lost and interact with others. Our cabin and bathroom was larger than other ships. The specialty dining in pinnacle and the Italian were extraordinary. The dining room and vista lounge food was very good and service excellent. We had a beverage package which was good but wine choices were limited. The entertainment in the B.B. king lounge was the best talent ever. We went to every show every night. The other shows were mediocre. The comedian was funny but the ship performance was boring. A bit of variety in the dance would have made it a bit better. The excursions were ok and ports terrific. I traveled with r couples of family and friends. There were a few children on the ship but cloud was older which was what I liked. The test kitchen was a great contribution to the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We have just returned from a cruise on Noordam to Alaska-our first with H&A. Although the ship needs some refurbishment in certain areas , we could not fault the staff 'service and food on board. We have been cruising for over ... Read More
We have just returned from a cruise on Noordam to Alaska-our first with H&A. Although the ship needs some refurbishment in certain areas , we could not fault the staff 'service and food on board. We have been cruising for over 20 years, and I have to say the atmosphere on board took us back to the days of "good old fashioned" cruising when water slides, dodgems and ice rinks at sea , had never been thought of. Our cabin was well serviced by our steward and we were impressed with the friendly staff and their ' can do 'attitude. The evening entertainment was good although the theatre needs a major fit out. During the daytime - the entertainment provided could have been of a better standard- as it mainly comprised of the crew staff giving talks on their jobs !! The shows at night were fairly good although as Uk citizens we failed to follow the humour of the American comedian?? We were provided with a drinks pAckage as part of our booking which was good value and well organised. I would definetly sail with this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises ... Read More
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises immensely. The trip started positively, embarkation was quick and friendly. Things went downhill from there. Cabin (and ship) decor is very dated and years overdue for a refit. Furniture and fittings are of low quality, and this was especially evident in the bathroom. Main dinning room was mediocre, decor again dated, dark and stuffy. Worst part was the food, despite an effusive menu littered with culinary terms, the food was basic, low quality, dumped on the plate and served lukewarm. We ate there twice and then never returned. Lido dinning was even worse. Very limited choice, mostly pizza and pasta, and poor process for dishing out food, leaving people waiting ages for their order to be filled. Worst was the service times, if you wanted food outside their designated times, only dried up pizza was available. Not a vegetable in sight. At 8.30pm most stations were closed, and I have a picture of staff coming through vacuuming while diners still eating ! By day three, we reverted to eating all meals onshore when in port. On sea days we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, which was excellent, but at an xtra cost of $35 per head each time. Enrichment program was limited and focused on selling stuff. Entertainment stage shows were okay, but cruise director was clearly just coasting and did not bring any energy or interest to the cruise. Officers were rude and uninterested on the rare occasion we saw them or spoke to them. The only redeeming factor was the general staff, who were worked so hard to make up for the inadequacies of the ship, the processs and the lack of leadership. They were without exception, cheerful, helpful and engaging. To all of them, our sincere thanks. Other passengers we spoke to had mixed views, many shared our views, but others were very happy, so maybe it’s a matter of expectations. For us, this was our first experience with HAL and based on this we would not book them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was ... Read More
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was round trip from Sydney. I normally cruise on Silversea but have also cruised one time each on RCCL, Paul Gauguin, Celebrity and Azamara. HOTEL: We stayed for 3 days pre cruise at Hotel Intercontinental which is a fantastic location and beautiful hotel. I have been to Sydney 4 times and this was by the best location. Circular Quay really is the heart of Sydney and is the easiest location to venture to other parts of the city. Definitely will stay here again or Marriott which is also right there as well. EMBARKATION: very easy. Porters met us as soon as we exited limo. We went inside, filled out health questionnaire and proceeded to desk to check in., No lines, very nice staff. In a matter of minutes we were on board. FIRST IMPRESSION: I had low expectations honestly . Having read cruise critic before trip and I had googled photos. But much to my dismay, the pictures I had seen actually made it look nicer than it really was. I knew it wouldn’t be modern and shiny like Silversea and Celebrity but was shocked the second I walked on. It was terrible. Ugly dark blue carpeting, with bright red accents and the lighting was literally yellow with ugly brass sculptures and trim. I know this ship was built in 2006 but cant imagine it was even stylish back then. We made our way to deck 6 and as we walked aft to our room , I couldn’t believe how ugly even the hallway was. Ugly wall covering, peeling in most places, cabin doors that looked like cork and ugly blue funky carpeting. My heart sank..The ship is so dated and worn. I know it’s going in to dry dock for a refurbishment in May....but I’m not sure HAL will do enough to make this ship really competitive in the industry. There are so many new ships out there and ships being remodeled, I would think HAL must be losing ground. I noticed when I got home they are advertising a lot and wonder if they are beginning to have trouble filling up ships with all the stiff competition out there. CABIN: See below on cabin review...but we had a Neptune Suite 6177. LOVED LOVED the huge wraparound veranda. DINING: i prepaid 6 specialty restaurants ,,,3 for Pinnacle and 3 for Canaletto. I was happy to find out that we had the same 2 top reserved for the whole cruise in the Main Dining Room . I dont know if that is normal, a suite perk or our travel agent set it up for us, but it was a lovely surprise. I loved the food on this cruise. I thought it was better than Celebrity and not too far off from Silversea. There were lots of choices every night. After eating one night each in Canaletto and Pinnacle, we decided that although very good, I dont think they are worth the upcharge as the MDR was so good and I dont think they were better than the MDR in my opinion, so we canceled the remaining reservations at specialties. We also had very good service in the MDR>. Loved our waiter and asst waiter and we felt the service was quicker in the MDR and a bit slow in Pinnacle and Canaletto. I dont like to linger at the table for hours on end during dinner, so I appreciated the quicker service in the MDR. Every meal I had was good (except room service). The only thing we didnt like at the restaurants was a ginger chocolate cake one night for dessert. Had no flavor, seemed a bit “wet”...just blah. It wa like a major ingredient was left out . We only ate at LIdo Buffet twice as I hate buffets. We did salads for 2 lunches and they were good. LIdo Buffet dining room was always packed and hard to find a place to sit. Decor looked straight out of Golden Girls episode. ROOM SERVICE: Definitelly needs improvement. Without going into detail on each item we ordered....just seemed like it lacked someone doing quality control. Missing or short ingredients in salad, food not to temperature, omelette bathed in butter/oil, only hot milk brought for cereal, Every time we got it, we were disappointed. Fortunately, we had access to Neptune’s Lounge and there are always snacks and sweets there all day long. ENTERTAINMENT: I dont normally like cruise ship entertainment, so i didnt go to any shows , so I cant really comment . I can only say that friends I made on the ship didnt have anything good to say about the shows. SERVICE: Noordam really shined here. Everyone from our cabin stewards, to our waiters, to bartenders etc, were all excellent. Everyone was so nice and friendly and even though it’s a larger ship than what I m used to, i was surprised at how many workers knew my name and used it frequently. The only place where employees werent friendly was Explorations Cafe....I felt like I was in the “soup nazi: episode of Seinfeld. Order quickly then move down counter to collect your coffee and pastry. They didnt smile, didnt seem like they enjoyed their job, seemed annoyed if you didnt know what you wanted right away. OVERALL: It was such a mixed bag of experiences. While I loved the service and the food and the passengers were pretty social (unlike Silversea sometimes). The dreariness of the ship tarnished the experience. I loved the pool aft, big open space and never crowded. I never did the midship pool because it seemed like every time I walked through it, the roof was closed and they were doing some type of sidewalk sale from the shops and there were tons of people clogging up the space and being noisy. I loved that HAL has happy hour from 4-5 and 9-10. The bars were packed and a lot of fun and dare i say a great value for dinks on a ship! I got 2 gin and tonics or old fashioned s for $11 total including gratuity. Celebirty is outrageous...so I was very pleased. SPA: so while i dont do spa treatments on cruise ships as I think they are way too expensive, my mom loves pampering herself and so I encouraged her to enjoy. What I will say is that on day one, we did a tour of the spa and fitness area and was totally turned off/irritated. There was such a hard sell on this ship like I have seen on no other. I dont like when they wont take no for an answer. I had to get pretty curt in order to overcome their hard core selling pressure. My mom did 5 spa services and after the first one , she came back to the cabin with hundreds of dollars of unneeded and overpriced products. She’s very soft and easily influenced and the spa crew definitely knew her number. I was furious...feeling like they take advantage of an older person. GYM: old equipment and too small of a free weight area. PORTS: SYDNEY...MY FAVORITE CITY IN AUSTRALIA...BEEN 4 TIMES, LOVE IT! MELBOURNE: feel like it is overrated. Surprisingly, I didnt care much for it. We did our own thing...lots of locals at port to help with tourism advice. We uber’d Everywhere and it was easy. We did the Royal Botanic Gardens...Amazing!! It’s huge and gorgeous. Probably the best I have done anywhere. Then we went to St Kilda Beach. A great beach town south of town. Beach not as nice as many in Sydney, but clean. The village there has lots of local boutiques, restaurants etc...kind of a funky, hip town. Had a good lunch there in one of the many sidewalk cafes. Then we went to city center for some shopping. Ugh, what a mistake. Felt like just another huge city, with too many cars , people etc....it was claustrophobic....didnt feel like it was unique or interesting. General consensus of my happy hour friends that night was the same....Melbourne was a bit of a disappointment. ADELAIDE: we overnighted here. However, it’s a 45 min train ride into the city, so not as convenient. Train was free that weekend....it isn’t usually, but for whatever reason, that line was free. We loved all the beautiful architecture in Adelaide. It’s a smaller city which I liked and easy to walk. We also did the botanical gardens there which were very nice as well. Shopping is good ...they have a huge pedestrian mall/street there with anything and everything you would want...and lots of restaurants. Seemed to be the hub of the city. . Would definitely go back. PORT LINCOLN: small town of about 15k. Did a ship excursion that gave us a bus tour of the highlights of this fishing village. Then we walked around the town, poked in some shops. Some might not like it since its small and not a lot to do, but i love small towns and enjoyed the slower pace very much! KANGAROO ISLAND: wow....this was probably everyone’s favorite destination. Anyone we talked to , raved about this island. You go here for wildlife. We did a ship excursion..but you could easily do it with a rental car as my friends did. It’s a sparsely populated island and easy to drive around and see the same sights we did on ship tour. Its gorgeous, the seals are amazing, seal lions, koalas, birds , kangaroos etc...it was a very long day, but absolutely stunning and magnicient. PORT ARTHUR TASMANIA: We did a ship tour. It was an eco cruise along the coastline for about 3 hours. It was a wild crazy fun ride. Swells were huge.....but it was such a gorgeous ride. A couple people got seasick...but the rest thought it was exhiliarating! HOBART TASMANIA. We did ship tour here to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They only gave us 1 hour here which was disappointing. Lots of kangaroos to feed and pet. But lots of other Australian wildlife. This place isi great and no one wanted to leave. Then we went to historic town of Richmond....no tour...just dropped us off the bus and gave us an hour to walk around. Town was boring...even the shopping wasn’t very good. My big purchase there was a Red Bull to keep me awake. Once back to Hobart, we walked over the city. REally cute quaint city...in particular the trendy area of Salamanca....beautiful old buildings turned in to cool restaurants and shops...loved it. DISEMBARKATION ...super easy and quick....took the ship arranged bus to Sydney airport for flight home. We had an amazing vacation and loved our trip, our time together, the food , the amazing new friends I met on the ship...just wish it had been on a beautiful ship where I felt more upscale and special. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of ... Read More
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of the European Union we didn't need any Visa or ETA. in New Zealand. The friendliness of the people of New Zealand and Australia has to be mentioned specially. No arrogance or security phobia by the embarkation in Auckland OR disembarkation in Sydney as experienced in an other big English speaking country! The cleanliness on board and on land is remarkable. On board were many citizen of not English countries.We would like to have a little less US american shows and more other main languages oriented activities, even subtitled! The songs of the entertainment group of the ship were purely sung in us american..even if they are of Italian, German or French origin. . The service in the lido by the Filipino cooks and Indonesian waitresses and waiters is remarkable. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this because it ended in Honolulu, our home. We sailed from Vancouver and stayed at the Pan Pacific which was right on the pier! I highly suggest that hotel if you are sailing from Vancouver. Bags went from hotel room to ... Read More
We chose this because it ended in Honolulu, our home. We sailed from Vancouver and stayed at the Pan Pacific which was right on the pier! I highly suggest that hotel if you are sailing from Vancouver. Bags went from hotel room to stateroom!!! We were on the Oosterdam last October and November in the Mediterranean and many of the employees were on this cruise so it was like home! They remembered us and what we liked! They will also be on in March and April when we do the other part of this itinerary beginning in Sydney and ending in Honolulu. The ship is definitely worn..."tired" is a better word. We were told it was to be dry docked soon but apparently not for another year plus. We were on the Noordam in 2014 and it was old then and has not been upgraded that we could see. We enjoyed the famous daily Happy Hours, buy one get one for $2...it used to be one dollar...but the servings were small! We normally get a bottle of champagne from the company, nothing this trip! We really felt unappreciated this time from the company. My main complaint was the On Deck For A Cause. I did it last October and it was wonderful. This year we all met before the walk and were offered "refreshments and fellowship" after the walk. After two rounds on the deck (less than a mile) most people had dropped out. I ran and walked and when I finished 3+ miles (it was a 5K) I went in and found everything cleaned up and the place empty! I had to go to a bar downstairs to get a drink of water. Others who finished after me were also surprised. We had been abandoned and only an hour out! What a slap in the face for those of us who did the entre walk! Again, it seemed as tho we were very unappreciated by the higher ups! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I traveled with my husband and 3 year old daughter on this 4 day re-positioning cruise. We wanted to try a short cruise with my daughter to see how she liked it before booking something longer. Embarkation went well. When I booked over ... Read More
I traveled with my husband and 3 year old daughter on this 4 day re-positioning cruise. We wanted to try a short cruise with my daughter to see how she liked it before booking something longer. Embarkation went well. When I booked over the phone I asked the CSR what time we should be there and he said between noon and 2:30 as the cruise departed at 4pm. We arrived at 1:30pm and there was a giant line up to get on. If I had it to do again, I would have arrived earlier. The ship itself is well maintained. In the rooms and pool areas I would say it's due for a face-lift. We only ate in the Lido buffet, burger & taco bar and room service, no formal sit down dining. The food was great, it would recommend it to everyone. The servers were awesome. We purchased the Signature drink package and that saved us a lot of money. I would recommend that to anyone who wants to have some casual drinks throughout the day. My daughter loved the entire experience. She mostly wanted to hang out in the pool. We tried to take her to the kids club but she wasn't interested. The staff at the kids club was disorganized when we were there and I wasn't impressed. We would do this cruise again because it's close to home for us, cheap and easy to fly back from. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My wife and I are 3 Star Mariners on Holland America and have taken many Holland American cruises since 1978. They have always been great, memorable cruises. My wife had been wanting to visit Alaska and Denali. This seemed to be the ... Read More
My wife and I are 3 Star Mariners on Holland America and have taken many Holland American cruises since 1978. They have always been great, memorable cruises. My wife had been wanting to visit Alaska and Denali. This seemed to be the perfect cruise. We left the Vancouver Port on Sunday,and cruised the inner passage all day Monday arriving in Ketchikan the following day. Ketchikan was a quaint little town that we just walked around enjoying the surroundings. A couple of days into the cruise, I didn't feel well and visited the ships doctor. She diagnosed and treated me for constipation. We then visited Juneau and traveled on to Skagway. We didn't participate in the shore excursions that we paid for since I was still feeling ill. I visited the ships doctor again and was told to continue the treatment she had previously prescribed for the constipation. . We were scheduled to travel the Inner Passage the next 2 days viewing Glacier Bay and arriving in Anchorage 2 days later with no scheduled stops. I felt pretty bad and thought that I might have had to have an emergency evacuation while we cruised for those 2 days if it got worse. I tried to get a plane out of Skagway with the conceriege's help so I could get to my own doctor in Alabama. No planes were available so we had to take a ferry back to Juneau to catch our flight to Seattle, stay overnight, and finish our trip to the East coast the following day. When we got home I visited my doctor who diagnosed me with a respiratory infection. He gave me a shot in the office and prescribed additional medications. I felt much better the next day, enough so that I could have continued with the cruise if I had been correctly diagnosed by the ships doctor and received the same treatment on board the ship. I called HA and explained the situation to them and asked if they would provide me credit for a follow-on cruise. They said that since I decided to discontinue our cruise, which was not authorized as an emergency by the doctor, they did not feel responsible. They said I should have gotten trip insurance. NOTE to Cruisers- Trip insurance will not provide any reimbursement when the ship's doctor did not call for an emergency evacuation or recommend the passenger discontinue the cruise. BEWARE-you can pay a lot of money for trip insurance and not get one cent in return if you felt it was an emergency but the ships doctor did not agree that you should discontinue the cruise. My last great cruise on HA was in 2006. This is not the same Premier Cruise line it once was. It has deteriorated greatly since being acquired by Carnival Corp. If I had known that when I booked my cruise I probably would not have used Holland America since I had cruised on Carnival one time and was so disappointed that I said "never again". NEVER again will I cruise Holland America, nor will I ever recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our first time cruising so we have nothing to compare the Noordam to but we have no complaints. The ship seems well maintained, is a good size, and the services were fine. The crew was exceptional. Our children didn't ... Read More
This was our first time cruising so we have nothing to compare the Noordam to but we have no complaints. The ship seems well maintained, is a good size, and the services were fine. The crew was exceptional. Our children didn't particularly enjoy the kids club but did enjoy the covered pool and spa, the DVD rental program. We're glad we booked a cabana for the length of the cruise. The price was a fraction of the cost of a balcony cabin and we were able to enjoy Glacier Bay from our very own perch with a 180-degree view. The service in the cabana was attentive and we were never without food or drinks. The Explorers Cafe was a great place to cozy up with coffee and write. I'm not sure when we will cruise again but when we do, it will be with Holland America. I can't imagine sailing on any of the larger, louder, frenetic lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Over the summer of 2017, my family and our close friends took an Alaskan cruise on the Noordam boat. My whole family enjoyed it and we all wished it had lasted longer. Everyone in the group had a special occasion, including anniversaries, ... Read More
Over the summer of 2017, my family and our close friends took an Alaskan cruise on the Noordam boat. My whole family enjoyed it and we all wished it had lasted longer. Everyone in the group had a special occasion, including anniversaries, 13th birthdays and 50th birthdays. Families or couples should make an effort to cruise on the Holland America Line because the food is great quality and taste, the rooms are tolerable, the activities and entertainment are chosen well, and the staff and customer services are extremely nice and helpful. The food on the boat was great quality and great taste. We had many options to choose from including, a burger and hot dog stand on the pool deck, a buffet and a dining room. They were all located on the 9th floor except the dining room was located in the back of the boat on the 2nd and 3rd floor. The buffet was open from 5am to 2pm then opened back up at 5pm till 10pm. The food to choose from was, pizza and pasta, salad bar, sandwiches and soups, sushi, and Asian and Indian food. The dessert bar was almost always open, with fruit and ice cream, cookies, pies and lots more. For breakfast it was always crowded. Options at that time where, waffles, cereal, omelets, crepes (which were a BIG hit), bacon and breakfast meats, fruit, yogurt and all types of juices. There was always a big thing about getting window seats. Since our group was so big (15 people) I would always walk around and try to find tables near each other, but that didn’t always work. Toward the end of the trip we found out that the dining room served breakfast so we started to eat there in the morning for breakfast. It would have been nice if we could have known at the beginning of the trip that the dinning room did breakfast. They would served almost the same things but more detailed. Dinner in the dining room was always a different menu, especially on gala nights. If you didn’t sign up for reservations before cruising then there was always a wait for dinner. Our group didn’t sign up for reservations, and with so many people we didn’t always sit with each other. Sometimes on gala nights, we called the dining room early to make a “day of reservation” but we were put on hold a lot. Since we were cruising to Alaska, Alaskan salmon was always a special. The food portions were not as big but always kept you enough room for dessert. You could order several meals one after another. One time my uncle ordered 4 entrees. Overall food quality and taste was great. The activities that took place on the Noordam were chosen very well and the entertainment was really amusing. Almost every night the music and dance team on the boat would put on a performance. When the cruise staff didn’t put on there own show, there was a comedian and a magician, which were fantastic. Also on board were several bands, a piano bar, cooking shows, trivia, bingo and even a 5k that raised money for cancer research for when we were at sea for a whole day. There were also kids clubs for different age groups. There was an inside and outside pool with 5 hot tubs. There was a spa for scheduling a massage and a gym that has classes or you can work out by yourself. For always being a person who is quickly bored, I was never bored on this trip. Having so many activities probably made the trip more fun. The customer services on the Noordam were extremely helpful and the staff were very nice. Our first night we met our favorite waiter his name was Suef, with a silent f. He memorized everyone’s names at the tables. Any other time we saw him the would say, “How‘s it going Cali?” or “What's up Finn!” Our room service staff were extremely kind and anytime we asked for something, they would always follow up with a big smile. The customer service on the main floor were always there to answer your questions. This trip couldn’t have been extremely relaxing without the help of all the staff. From memories of elevators and stair races to our room, magnificent views out every window, to eating ice cream at least 3 times a day, I had the best time ever. There is not a day I don't look back to that trip. By the time the trip was over and we were sitting in the Vista Lounge waiting for our bus, it didn't feel like the trip was 7 days. It went by very quickly. I am sure that everyone else sitting around me was thinking that too, whether they knew it or not. Altogether the trip was amazing, and everyone had a great time. Holland America did a great job planning the trip. I will definitely, in the future, be looking for more cruises on the Holland America Line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Cruised with HAL to Alaska on a 7 Day trip from Vancouver and we thoroughly enjoyed our trip seeing Alaska again. This time we visited Sitka,a picturesque town with a small harbour and lots of shops selling souvenirs and local crafts. ... Read More
Cruised with HAL to Alaska on a 7 Day trip from Vancouver and we thoroughly enjoyed our trip seeing Alaska again. This time we visited Sitka,a picturesque town with a small harbour and lots of shops selling souvenirs and local crafts. Another place worth mentioning was the Hubbard glacier. The ship stopped very nearby, where all can take photos and marvel at the truly amazing glacier formation.The weather was superb, glorious sunshine on the pristine and white landscape and we heard the caving of the glacier from our verandah stateroom. Food was satisfactory in all the food stations. The best food done by the chef was the roast carvery pork with the skins roasted to crispy perfection. We thoroughly enjoyed this food very much and compliments to the chef in delivering a superb roast pork. Our Verandah stateroom was very comfortable, rather narrow at the entrance to the room,but comfortable bed with a sofa and verandah. Bathroom adequate with lovely fluffy ,white towels and Elemis bath products provided and topped up daily. Very efficient embarkation and disembarkation procedures. Entertainment was also good, but needs more variety in the daily programme of activities. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The Alaska coastline and landscape is truly spectacular. Alaska is a vast state and a lot of it is uninhabited wilderness. For this reason, you cannot drive to most of it. Small planes are the best way to see a lot of it from the air. Of ... Read More
The Alaska coastline and landscape is truly spectacular. Alaska is a vast state and a lot of it is uninhabited wilderness. For this reason, you cannot drive to most of it. Small planes are the best way to see a lot of it from the air. Of course, cruise ships are the most popular way to see the coast. I definitely rank an Alaskan cruise as one of the top things everyone should enjoy at least once in their life. There are various routes to choose from. There are one way cruises from Anchorage, out of the port of Whittier, to Vancouver or vice versa. There are also round trip cruises, primarily out of Vancouver and Seattle, which make a loop within the Inside Passage. The Passage is the ocean and islands that are on the southeastern Alaska and British Colombia border. Of course, the one way cruises passes by more of the Alaska Coastline. The Southeastern part of Alaska is the small strip that is an afterthought when everyone thinks of the distinct shape of the state but a lot of its bigger cities, including its capital Juneau, are located there. I sailed on Holland America Line (HAL) Noordam. It was a 7 day roundtrip cruise out of Vancouver. Originally, the stops were Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway, and Ketchikan. Due to the amount of ship traffic, Glacier Bay and Skagway were swapped with Hubbard Glacier and Sitka. I did not look at Glacier Bay or Skagway before my trip. I figured that any destination in Alaska would be fantastic if I did not know any better. In retrospect, Hubbard Glacier was an amazing day. Looking at the pictures of Glacier Bay, both glaciers look stunning and comparable. As such, I do not feel shortchanged by Hubbard Glacier. In terms of Sitka, it is a cute town nestled in the middle of mountains. I liked it but there are definitely more activities to do in Skagway when I looked at the shore excursions there out of curiosity. I feel like I missed out a little bit but not too much. My family and I booked our trip in the fall when we saw a deal. The price actually dropped afterwards. For this reason, it is probably better to book your trip closer to the sail date (2-3 months out) when the route is definite. In regards to the HAL Noordam, it is an older ship. Nevertheless, it has all the amenities you would expect from a cruise ship. Like other cruise ships I have been on, everything [food, entertainment, etc.] is at a very good level of quality. They are trying to take care of a ship full of people so you really cannot expect more than consistently very good in all aspects. It has a casino, gym, basketball court, ping pong tables, hot tubs, pools, etc. Holland America is also for an older clientele. For context, the cruise director made a joke that they are committed to keeping the Northern Lights nightclub open until the last guest is ready to go to bed and that he was sure they could beat 11:02 PM from the night before. I spent most of my days eating and enjoying the views we were sailing past. There is decent entertainment provided by the ship but it is definitely not a party ship if you are looking for one. I was with my family and on the Noordam to enjoy Alaska so I had a great time. For anyone who has never been on a cruise, the ships are very big but the rooms are very small. The Noordam is similar but I had enough room to sleep comfortably with two other adults and a four year old in my room. There is a king sized bed, a bunk bed that pulls out from the wall over it if you need it, and a sofa bed. The one aspect that has impressed me the most on any cruise I have been on are the crews. The Noordam is no exception. The crews on ships are hardworking, decent people who go out of their way to make sure you have a great vacation. Of course, the star of the voyage was the views along the Inside Passage. While the Noordam met my expectations for a cruise ship, Alaska blew away my wildest expectations. As such, I will speak about the views and the ports we stopped at first. There are plenty of options for shore excursions to pick. Activities can be expensive. They are probably fun but I had a great time doing stuff that was a lot more economical. Consequently, I will share my tips and recommendations on what I did at Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan but definitely consider the seaplanes, whale watching, and dogsledding. For example, I took a helicopter ride in Kauai and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I am sure a plane ride over Alaska is just as if not more spectacular. Afterwards, I will touch upon my thoughts on various aspects of the Noordam, primarily food. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Chose cruise because it was at the right time, and we didn't have to fly. The ship was lovely and comfortable, and the crew was friendland seemed very happy to be working there. I need gluten free/lactose-free food, and, as usual, ... Read More
Chose cruise because it was at the right time, and we didn't have to fly. The ship was lovely and comfortable, and the crew was friendland seemed very happy to be working there. I need gluten free/lactose-free food, and, as usual, this was accomodated cheerfully with delicious food. Just ask to preorder the previous evening or before noon, to make it easier for the staff. By the way, this also worked in the Cannaletto and Pinnacle restaurants. There is free stretch & abs/TBC every morning, which I liked. Team trivia was lots of fun, and educational. Our grandaughter and parents' room steward was a "saint": he rearranged their oceanview stareroom perfectly to fit a crib in a good place for them, and even sterilized the baby feeding equipment every day, and made their chaos into a pristine clean tidiness twice daily. Embarkation and disembarkation were handled smoothly. The ports were a real treat - we just choses to do walking tours becasue of the baby carriage, and there was tourist info. in each port to expedite this. In Juneau, I got off in plenty of time to take back to Invisible World an alpaca sweater which we had torn, which they had time to repair and give back to me the same afternoon. Great service all around! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We got on at Vancouver and immediately say the huge ship at Canada Place (obvious where the ship was, but signs for where to get on the ship were less obvious). We got to the port early, so we had to stay in the waiting area around 90 ... Read More
We got on at Vancouver and immediately say the huge ship at Canada Place (obvious where the ship was, but signs for where to get on the ship were less obvious). We got to the port early, so we had to stay in the waiting area around 90 minutes. No added stress, no big deal. Disembarkation in Vancouver was even less stressful. Off the ship and in a taxi in a matter of minutes. Our verandah cabin and ship in general were well-kept and pleasant. The HAL crowd was older to be sure, but had a good number (around 30-40%) of people under 50, far from the Pacemakers R Us that other commenters would have you believe you are getting yourself into. Entertainment at the main theatre consisted of a comedian (off-colour, but hilarious... saw a few parents hastily escorting their teens after the first few jokes. Nothing that wouldn't be said in a middle school classroom for example, but that's their choice I guess), a magician with the standard cruise ship tricks, an excellent live music performance to scenes of animals in the wild, a crew performance, and broadway-style theatre, which was beyond amazing. They actually brought a broadway performer on board with CDs, autograph sessions, and everything. The more casual entertainment (string duet, game show, art lecture...) was great as well. Otherwise, the enrichment could be hit-or-miss. A few times nature interpretations would be listed as taking place on the pool deck, but once there the activity was not to be found. The staff were very nice and helpful on the whole. The front desk staff helped me more than once with great efficiency. The only downer was once in the Lido restaurant a server would serve all the tables around us (so we were in his section) but even after we flagged him down he promptly ignored our request for dirty dishes to be taken away. The cruise director was more than entertaining, and the cleaning staff were superb. We hit the ports of Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan. We did the ship's Mendenhall glacier tour, which was a stunning place but more than twice as expensive as joining your own tour from any of the kiosks on the pier at port. Sitka was our favourite port because it didn't scream cruise line; finally a break from every third person you meet wanting to sell you tanzanite rings. We didn't get to go to Skagway but got a few hours at Glacier Bay with some fantastic weather and finally went to Ketchikan. Did the crab feast, which served some very fresh, if over salted, crab. Speaking of crab, for great crab, go for the king crab shack next to the pier in Juneau. It definitely beats the frozen seafood on board; that said, food was of better quality than most. We enjoyed the dining room and the buffet. Personal favourites were the portobello burgers at the Dive-In and the bagged up sandwiches perfect for excursions. In all, would recommend the destination and liked the ship. Would love to see more of Alaska and British Columbia, not against going on this ship to do so. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
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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