13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
At our friends' urging for us to try cruising, and not wanting a daily docking, we went all out with this 25 day, 10 port cruise. It took two days to get the gist of the routine, but by day three, we were hooked. HAL definitely met ... Read More
At our friends' urging for us to try cruising, and not wanting a daily docking, we went all out with this 25 day, 10 port cruise. It took two days to get the gist of the routine, but by day three, we were hooked. HAL definitely met our expectations and pleasantly so. We knew the average age would be senior and often less mobile, but that was ok. This was our first retirement getaway and we were under no time pressure. The cabin was prefect #6047. Midway between the main decks of #3 (dining and entertainment) and #9 (cafe, spa/gym, sun decks and pools). Not only did we get into the routine of using the gym and spa everyday, but we rarely used the elevators (only 6x's I remember). Cabin was as per our expectations. Lots of storage, a nice balcony, and a very comfortable bed as were the pillows. The cabin stewards, Rudi & Lee, were excellent and accommodating. The TV screen was small (14"+/-) and could have been larger as the 4 movies shown each day were well selected. Not that you couldn't choose from a large selections from the CD catalogue (free!). This is not to say we watched a lot of TV, but for what we did watch, the TV could have been larger. Food offerings were very good. The Lido cafeteria has nearly everything you would want for breakfast lunch and dinner. The more formal (mostly Smart Casual and once weekly Formal) Vista dining room was very good for dinner. Portions were smartly presented and were small in size, but a simple request for a larger portion when ordering was always pleasantly accepted. And second helpings are not an issue. Basically I saw this as a way to keep food waste to a minimum. We didn't try either of the "specialty" restaurants. We couldn't justify the added surcharge. But I did hear from many others that they very much like those offerings. We did take advantage of room service breakfast nearly everyday. Very effective way of starting each day. Overall we were very happy with this first cruise. Entertainment was very entertaining, and different every night over 25 nights. A very professionally run theatre program. We took full advance of the health club facilities and paid the surcharge for use of the hydro-thermal pool, steam rooms and thermal-beds (Love these!!!). For the 25 day cruise, these were well worth the surcharge. The administration and execution of activities, events and embarkation/disembarkation at the start, end and each port was well organized. If we have any criticism of the cruise, it was the background music and the age of the musical entertainment offerings. Yes, the average age of the guests were closer to 70+/-, but even a 70yr old was listening and concerting to Rock and Roll in the 60's and 70's. I am sure some entertainment playing music from the early Rolling Stone's, the Beatle's, CSNY I am confident would have been appreciated. I am only 55, but if I am on a ship when I'm 70, they better be playing music from "the Lost 80's". Hope this helps the next passenger. Ahoy!!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Just returned from a 7 day Alaskan inside passage cruise with Holland America on the m/s Noordam, sailing dates July 11th thru 18th. Our first cruise, 3 of us in one stateroom; my wife and I along with our 14 year old granddaughter. We ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 day Alaskan inside passage cruise with Holland America on the m/s Noordam, sailing dates July 11th thru 18th. Our first cruise, 3 of us in one stateroom; my wife and I along with our 14 year old granddaughter. We choose a center ship inside main deck room as to keep the cost lower and to reduce possible motion sickness. We believe this was a good choice as we spent little time in the room. After reading some reviews on Cruise Critic my expectations were somewhat toned-down. When you put nearly 2000 people together in a confined space for 7 days it is a social experiment with most wanting a different outcome than the other person. Most of our pre conceived expectations were met and we are pleased about that. Boarding aka embarkation went well it somewhat like a mouse running thru a maze as you must go complete customs and various check points before you are allowed to board the ship. If you have some type of handicap it seems you will be well taken care of. The process is not bad as everyone involved on shore wants to be helpful and have good attitude. As soon as you get on the ship everyone is there to help answer questions and get you settled. Our luggage was delivered to our room in a timely manner and food was being served at the Lido restaurant. I think if you deal with boarding with a positive attitude it should be a breeze. Weather will vary as it is rainy in the summer months on the Alaskan coast. We experienced some clouds and rain during out trip, bring at least a good poncho if you plan to go ashore, as luck would have we never had to unpack ours. The staff is amazing, always friendly and helpful. However they are not mind readers and if you want something you have to ask. For instance in the food serving line at the Lido you need to tell the server what you want and how much you want of a particular item. Yes there is some self-service but due to health concerns most hot food is served by the staff. I found most prepared beef, pork, chicken and fish over cooked and again I believe that is a hearth and safety issue. Two specialty restaurants on board that require payment for lunch or dinner we did not dine in either. The Dive In at the main pool has burgers, fries and dogs, plus a taco bar not bad for a snack. Oh, if you like ice cream, I think you are for a treat. Entertainment I guess depends on what you like but we found it pretty good. Holland America hires in acts such a comedians, bands, etc. to supplement their own regular entertainers which gives a mix of evening entertainment. Stuff to do during the cruise is abundant, each evening a program is delivered to your room that lists all the activities for the next day, extra copies can be obtained from your cabin steward or at the main deck front desk. Do not forget to bring binoculars; we forgot; a much to see from the ship and land tours. The ship provides Alaska history and wildlife programs which we found interesting. We did an excursion at each of the 3 ports we stopped at and were pleased with all 3. We pre-booked all 3 and used trip advisor to do our research on the excursion providers. One of my annoyances is extra money must be paid for soda pop and beer; I guess I am spoiled by all-inclusive resorts. A shout to Chris show host and Gusty cabin steward. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This Holland America line Alaska cruise on the Noordham was sold to us as an add-on to the Rocky Mountaineer experience. Our cabin was an upgrade from the standard cabin Rocky Mountaineer usually books as an add-on. It was spacious with a ... Read More
This Holland America line Alaska cruise on the Noordham was sold to us as an add-on to the Rocky Mountaineer experience. Our cabin was an upgrade from the standard cabin Rocky Mountaineer usually books as an add-on. It was spacious with a large bed, the washroom had a separate bath and shower and the outside verandah had a table and chairs. Now for the bad news. During our conversations with Rocky Mountaineer and Holland America, no one ever mentioned that smoking was allowed on board the ship. After we booked our trip and paid, an information package was made available after we checked in online. This information package directs the reader to find another document which describes the Holland America smoking policy. My wife and I are non smokers. The smoking areas on the ship are restricted to the casino area, the rear top deck outside lounge and the outside verandahs of the cabins. We expected to be able to sit on our verandah and enjoy the scenery and fresh sea air. Instead smoke from the neighbouring verandah constantly drifted over and made our verandah unusable. We asked the ship's front office for a change of cabin and we were offered another one, but the staff would not ask the occupants of the neighbouring cabins if they were smokers. There was no guarantee that the new cabin would not have smoking neighbours so we declined to change cabins as our existing one was quiet and comfortable. Another item not mentioned by anyone is the US $12.00 per person daily hotel service charge automatically added on to your bill so the price quoted for your cruise is not what it will actually cost you. We have no problem tipping for extraordinary service but a gratuity added automatically for just doing your job is not acceptable. Meal service was sometimes a hit, at other times it was a miss. For meals we had open seating in the restaurant. The food quality was excellent though at times some dishes were too salty. The menu descriptions of the meals were often lacking in detail and surprise items and sauces would be present when the food appeared. Deserts though were excellent. On some occasions the wait staff had been shuffled around and the service left much to be desired. Food would take forever to appear. It took about up to two hours to have breakfast, lunch or dinner served!! We ordered in cabin breakfast a number of times. The food was delivered at the time requested. Quality was reasonable except for the last day when it was obvious that the watermelon pieces in the cut fruit bowl had been sitting around for quite some time. A daily list of activities is distributed each day. On the surface it appears that there is much to do on board, but upon closer look many of these activities and presentations are nothing more than attempts to sell something. Similarly, a number channels on the shipboard TV broadcast system are just Holland America "shopping channels". The cruise called at three ports. In each of those ports the weather was not the best and in advance we had decided not to take any organized sight seeing tours or flights. The highlight of the cruise was the slow sail past of the glacier. We could not, however, enjoy it from the comfort of our verandah because of the smoke from the neighbouring verandah. On the last day of the cruise the weather was warm and sunny. After lunch we decided to get some exercise and walk around the ship. While walking along the top deck cabins hallway we noticed the smell of fresh paint. When we got outside we saw numerous wet paint signs. Someone had decided to start repainting the ship during the cruise - not a good move, especially for those who had top deck cabins and are sensitive to paint solvents. To summarize, there were a number of tolerable annoyances during the cruise but thanks to the lack of disclosure of on board smoking and the daily service charge, this was our first and last Holland America cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
First time cruisers, will definitely cruise again, though probably not with Holland America. We chose Alaska because if we did not like cruising the scenery and shore excursions would more than compensate. We arrived at Vancouver ... Read More
First time cruisers, will definitely cruise again, though probably not with Holland America. We chose Alaska because if we did not like cruising the scenery and shore excursions would more than compensate. We arrived at Vancouver International Airport, where we were to be met and transported to our Vancouver Hotel (Pan Pacific Canada Place, Excellent hotel, brilliant location) by HAL's local agent. Sadly no one to meet us however, HAL had provided us with a telephone number for their agent. Called the number and were informed someone would be sent straight away to meet us, after 45 minutes recalled agent only to be connected to an answer phone, called again 30 minutes later again only an answerphone. Decided to get a taxi $37.00 very quick and good value. Embarkation at Vancouver onto the Noordam was both quick and efficient. We had an outside cabin which was roomy, clean, lots of storage with a well equipped bathroom. The balcony was a good size and provided excellent views. The two stewards appointed to our cabin provided us with superb service as did in all the rest of the crew with whom we came into contact. The Noordam appeared to us to be well equipped and maintained. We ate in all four of the restaurants: the Lido(self service) large variety of cuisines through breakfast, lunch & dinner. The Vista (split level formal dining room) a more limited menu though the food was well presented and excellently cooked. The Pinnacle Grill, Noordam's signature restaurant was top class and well worth the additional charge. The Canaletto the Italian themed restaurant was like a fish out of water and just did not work. The menu was limited and the cooking was the poorest we encountered on the ship. I understand on HAL's newest ships the Caneletto has been dropped for an Asian themed restaurant. The two pools one covered one outdoor were well equipped with supporting hot tubs, the weather, more Californian than Alaskan, probably accounted for more use than normal. The Gym was well equipped offering superb views ahead. There were a good number of bars, some quiet, others offering entertainment from classical to soul. The acts in the Vista lounge theatre were excellent in particular the two comedians. However, the stand out class act on our cruise was provided by the scenery. From our departure from Vancouver to the inside passage, through to Glacier bay and back to Vancouver, it was breath-taking. We undertook two shore excursions, the first in Juneau was a whale watching boat trip followed by a rainforest trail which ended at the Mendenhall Glacier, the guides on this trip were of the highest standard. We saw Whales, Otters Sea Lions and Eagles galore on this trip. Our second excursion was on the Whitehorse Pass, again simply stunning, though again, the weather was gorgeous, allowing clear views all-round. My only fault echoed by other passengers on board was that we steamed past Tracy Arm whilst watching a Princess boat leaving and a Celebrity boat entering this world renowned Fjord. When I enquired at the front office I was informed HAL only stopped at Tracy Arm if passengers had booked a shore excursion. On all my correspondence with HAL and on my itineraries it was made clear we would be visiting Tracy Arm and was one of my reasons for booking with HAL, very unsatisfactory. As a first time cruiser do cruise lines frequently deviate from their itineraries or do they miss out Venice, Barbados etc??? Regrettably, HAL have missed their opportunity to make me a repeat cruiser with them, though I will look at both Princess and Celebrity. A pity but missing Tracy Arm was a gain changer for me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I did this first cruise together and on HA. We stayed at the Best Western/Cruise Location in Fort Lauderdale the night before, it was super. They had a shuttle to the ship and got us there by 10:30 AM, great staff at ... Read More
My husband and I did this first cruise together and on HA. We stayed at the Best Western/Cruise Location in Fort Lauderdale the night before, it was super. They had a shuttle to the ship and got us there by 10:30 AM, great staff at the hotel, good location for a pub nearby for dinner and a supermarket to get our 2 bottles of wine for our cabin. You are entitled to take 2 onboard for no charge. Our room itself was fine, everything worked well. The TV was fine, we aren't on a cruise to watch TV. Temperature was good. The staff were beyond excellent. Room was kept in great condition, was so sad to get home and have to make my own bed!! Bed was comfy, no problem in getting extra blankets, loved the bathrobes. Lots of storage, and luggage fit under the bed no problem. No complaints at all. Loved the size of the ship, can't imagine going on one of those monster ships. 1900 folks is just right. Interesting decor.....very 1980s brass and light wood????? But fine. Loved the NY times being free, checked it fairly often in the cafe. Too many pieces of paper in your mailbox....the art gallery was handing out papers every day it seemed. Mark the cruise director was very good, personable and got the job done. Temperature in the common areas was fine, not cold at all. Appreciated in the Captain keeping us informed of delays and changes, he was super. We enjoyed the evening entertainment, went to most of it. Very good singers and dancers. Good variety of shows, sometimes a hit, sometimes a miss. But lots to do in the evening. We had a 6PM sitting for dining in the Vista room. Our staff there was super. Meals were all very good. Ate there most nights. Liked the formal nights, and we made the effort to 'look good' on the other nights. The Lido was good, breakfast was yummy. Always a variety of food, didn't see anyone going hungry! A few negatives......our cabin was directly below the aft pool/smoking area. Could hear chairs being dragged across the deck. There should be a warning when you book that you are directly below the bar. One night they moved what we think were stacks of chairs at 3 in the morning, we asked at the front desk for them to check on that. It never happened again. They were very nice and even offered to move us. Smoking.....time to make the WHOLE ship non-smoking, it's 2015 folks, stop!! Spent a good deal of time in the aft pool area, and the 'saving' of lounge chairs should be stopped. You aren't there for 30 minutes, and you lose it. People dump their stuff in the AM and don't show up for hours. Port Everglades was super, getting on board no problem. All ports were fine in arriving. In San Diego we were in the customs line for about 15 minutes, went very quick. US customs were great. Used the fitness club for yoga, which I enjoyed. In Cartagena we did our own tour, loved it. Claudia's tours it was. In the HA shore excursions we were often rushed. Antiqua was way too short, In Costa Rica, San Jose we were taken to a souvenir shop right off the ship, and stayed there for a whole hour of our 4 hour tour, BAD move on their part. In Nicaragua going to Leon, again, not enough time. Don't understand, you are in a port for so many hours, but the HA shore excursions are brief, when they could be extended/give you more time. And please stop ALL mandatory visits to stores for shopping. I am not in Leon, once in my life to go shopping!!! Since this was our first cruise we weren't sure how it all worked. Now we would never book a HA shore excursion again, each port had numerous people waiting to take you out. Others did this and we heard of no problems. San Diego, Huatulco, Cabo we did our own thing and had a great time. Really enjoyed the Panama day, with all to see and the information presented. Getting off in Vancouver was super easy as we filled out the customs forms early and Border Services checked them early. A great time, we were with 2 other couples and we all had a good time. Our cabins were side by side and we were able to have the barriers removed to have one big balcony. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
My wife & I returned a few weeks ago from an excellent 11 night cruise on the Noordam. Normally I wouldn't submit reviews, but after reading a few of the other Noordam reviews on Cruise Critic I feel I have to add my opinion as I ... Read More
My wife & I returned a few weeks ago from an excellent 11 night cruise on the Noordam. Normally I wouldn't submit reviews, but after reading a few of the other Noordam reviews on Cruise Critic I feel I have to add my opinion as I cannot believe that some of the recent reviews are genuine. We have no other ship to compare the Noordam against being first-timers, but we were blown away by practically everything we experienced on the cruise. The crew - everybody we dealt with were very pleasant and couldn't do enough to make our trip enjoyable. This includes the cabin attendants(?), our waiter(s) for our fixed seating in the MDR, and also the various bar staff many who became good friends by the end of the second day. A recent reviewer complained about the 'compulsory' tip that is added to your bill saying that they weren't aware that this would be charged, I find this hard to believe as it is made very clear on the Holland America website and also on my documentation. Also made clear is the option to remove/reduce this element from your invoice right up until the last night - so what's the problem. The food - we found the food to be prompt (mostly), hot and varied. All the menus had many options and most had something to tempt us. There were always fantastic steaks to fall back on if nothing took our fancy and the cold soups were also gorgeous - I would happily accept any of the meals offered in a formal restaurant. On one occasion we had to wait a long time for our main meal - apparently our order had been mislaid, after a little gentle arm twisting we were given a nice bottle of wine to compensate. Breakfasts were also excellent whether taken in the room, the MDR or the Lido. Tea was free in the Lido and both PG Tips & Typhoo were freely available, the free fruit juice was very refreshing and I must have drunk gallons. The Hotdogs and Burgers on the Lido deck were the best I have tasted with an excellent ordering system. We also tried other options for our meals including the less formal Lido and again found everyone to be both friendly and helpful. The only queue I can remember was for the freshly made omelettes in the Lido at breakfast time. The ship - we didn't think that the ship was in any way 'tired' and were impressed with the obsessive cleaning and polishing that we witnessed every day. We understand that there may be newer and more glitzy ships available from other cruise lines but we felt that the blend of traditional and modern that the Noordam offers to be perfect. We also found the size of the ship offered plenty of variety without becoming too impersonal. The various pools, bars and decks were all in fantastic condition, clean and always very comfortable. A special mention for the theater which was incredible. The entertainment - from reading other cruise line reviews I can see that some cruise lines place a greater emphasis (budget) on the on-board entertainment than HAL. However, we went to most of the shows and found them all to be very professional and entertaining - particularly 'Droom' which was well up to the standard of a London Musical. The live entertainment in the various bars were all very enjoyable and relaxing - Michael the piano player played to a packed bar every night and was great fun. A special mention must go to the band that played in BB Kings - they were incredible. I sat in on some of the instructional lectures (Windows and Digital Photography) which were very good and informative. I also loved public rooms like the extensive Library and Explorations (Internet) Cafe. The artwork scattered around the ship added to the overall classiness of the ship. The itinerary - this was the main reason we picked this cruise. Everywhere we went was brilliant and we had no problems, delays or changes. We started in Venice (spent 2 days there before the cruise), and went on to Katakolon (Olympia), Nafplion (Mycenae), Piraeus (Athens), Mykonos, Kusadasi (Ephasus), Rhodes, Santorini, Naples (Pompeii) and ended in Civitavecchia (Rome - where we stayed 2 days after the cruise). All the ancient locations were incredibly interesting and Mykonos & Santorini were especially beautiful. We also had 2 welcome sea days where we could relax and look around the ship. We booked a few formal excursions off the net before we left home and these were all fine - on the other shore days we made our own way around and never felt lost, threatened or that we would miss the sail-away. As may have guessed we absolutely loved our 12 days on the Noordam and would recommend HAL & Noordam to everyone. However, I would recommend that cruisers check out sites like Cruise Critic for reviews - but remember that there will always be some people who didn't have a good experience and they are more likely to write a (negative) review. I also realise that some cruisers may prefer a livelier atmosphere and opt for a different cruise line. We did a lot of research (the cruise line, the ships & itinerary) before choosing our cruise and felt that HAL would be a good match. The only surprise was that the whole experience was even better than expected.We also felt that the average cruiser 'age' was lower than expected. The only (expected) disappointments were the cost of the HAL organised excursions and the hopeless/expensive on-board Internet service. We didn't use HAL for excursions due to the cost - but we were told that they were great. However, nobody had a good word to say about the poor WiFi so I chose to relay upon using free Internet Cafes when we docked to keep in touch. The ship, the crew, the itinerary, the food and also the good friends we made, all helped make this our best holiday ever. We will cruise again with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We picked this cruise especially for the ports of call. First time on Holland America. We were delighted to find the passengers mainly mature adults and that the staff welcomed family groups, many celebrating special reunions or other ... Read More
We picked this cruise especially for the ports of call. First time on Holland America. We were delighted to find the passengers mainly mature adults and that the staff welcomed family groups, many celebrating special reunions or other occasions. The staff was very kind and helpful to elderly passengers, many in wheelchairs or using walkers. However we found our cabin suite older and not as well appointed as the lower cabins, with no windows. The bathroom shower needed regrouting and did not look like it had been cleaned very well. Our cabin had a/c issues for most of the cruise and we were visited several times by crew taking measurements or doing repairs on the system. We slept with the balcony door open 2 nights as a result (blocked open with sturdy waste basket). When a taxi strike occurred at the disembarkment port, the staff had no information or any interest in assistance unless you booked airport transfer with them. Front desk personal very uninterested in providing any assistance. Warning for those expecting internet/wifi - not consistent and slow enough to be useless. Also want to warn passengers to check your bill as there were many issues with ours. Fortunately, they got settled by cruise end. The excursions are very expensive but many were well done; informative and hitting all the high spots of each port city. However, we had to walk quite a way to get to excursion buses either at port or for the return. Food onboard was adequate. The specialty restaurants were worth extra cost. I could not believe the size of glassware in the buffet section or at the bars and that you had to pay for soda, but iced tea and juices were included. I would recommend this cruise for my 55+ friends warning them to have low expectations about cabin and food. Would advise to book suite for upgrades and to research and plan your own excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
My wife and I decided to celebrate our 25th anniversary on the Noordam last month. We had looked at the Holland America website and joined up with the HAL community forum, but were still not prepared for the high standard of service and ... Read More
My wife and I decided to celebrate our 25th anniversary on the Noordam last month. We had looked at the Holland America website and joined up with the HAL community forum, but were still not prepared for the high standard of service and luxury we were exposed to on the ship. Our stateroom was large enough despite being a standard one and the portholw was larger than we expected providing a good view whenever we needed one - not often as we hardly spent any time in our stateroom. The organisation of the excursions, onboard activities and shows was outstanding and we were made to feel like royalty. We did not use the gym or the spa and we didn't spend much time watching the many shows that were available - we were exhausted from the excursions, but those we did see were very well done and the variety was good. The few negatives: Lack of friendliness of a few of the older dining staff (in the minority) & the prices of the sodas and alcoholic drinks and of most of the goods for sale in the Signature shops which were over the top. Also, because the beverage staff earn 15% on each drink they sell, they only showed interest if you ordered sodas or alcohol regularly and ignored you if they got to know that you only ordered water on the pool decks.Nafplion and Antalya were added due to our not being able to get to Israel due to the Syrian crisis. Nafplion was really a stunning town and the Palamidi castle above it was well worth the 971 steps! We also visited ancient Corinth and the Corinth canal from there as part of an official excursion arranged by Holland America at the last minute. It was extremely enjoyable. Antalya is intersting, but we did not have enough time to explore what it offers. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
From the steward who offered us a blanket while we were lounging in a deck chair to the Lido deck outside rear deck staff who treated us like royalty despite no gratuity earned on tea, coffee and water, we were spoiled from start to ... Read More
From the steward who offered us a blanket while we were lounging in a deck chair to the Lido deck outside rear deck staff who treated us like royalty despite no gratuity earned on tea, coffee and water, we were spoiled from start to finish. Efficient boarding and disembarking, perfect service in our room with fruit and ice fresh every day.The cleaning was excellent and the kitchens and service areas were spotless which gave us great comfort and we had a very healthy ship. Can't say enough about the Lido and dining room crew. Amazing folks. Special shout out to Ryan, JJ, Oscar and Ramil. We fell in love with the staff and the activities were varied and interesting. My only criticism of the activities is the extreme simplicity of the cooking demos. I would have paid a fee for some advanced hands on classes but ok anyways because even the simpler things were good and we can all use a few of those.Throughout the cruise we met great folks who, despite the billing of Holland America age ranges as older, cross cut all ages even though overall there was a tendency to an older crowd. Great sea days to totally relax and kick off all of the stress. Sorry we missed the Azores but really glad the Captain was more attuned to our safety that passenger complaints. Love this ship, I want to adopt a few of the staff. Kudos to the staff as they are the Holland America reputation. Read Less
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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