14 Holland America Noordam Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). ... Read More
This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). The ship was very old and when we hit rough waters it showed. Many people were sick and also got sick in the main dining hall. Germs were spreading everywhere. Food selections were scarce and they up-charged you a 15% service charge regardless of the service received. a Would not cancel our massage during the heavy turbulence going to Tasmania and I got really ill on the table. Paid for a massage that I did not enjoy. I felt sorry for the crew being forced to work in this environment. Also had to organize our own excursions due to limitation of Holland America. I would never cruise on this line again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Our group of six couldn't be more pleased. The stewards (room and dinner) treated us like Kings and Queens. The daily service was exceptional in every way besides be so helpful and friendly, but truly respectful. When we go on a ... Read More
Our group of six couldn't be more pleased. The stewards (room and dinner) treated us like Kings and Queens. The daily service was exceptional in every way besides be so helpful and friendly, but truly respectful. When we go on a cruise again, I hope its this staff and crew. The ship was clean, the rooms always up to snuff. Oh the food, beyond our expectations. The dinner stewards that we had for our set dinner hour was top notch. Truly professional in all phases. Always there to please no matter what we asked, they provide without hesitation or difficulty. The set meals were four or five course dinners with all the trimmings served with the upmost standards anyone could accept. Our tour included several ports which were well organized with great organziation and throughput. We are truly amazed just how large Holland America line is. They of course have the ship line, sister line of Princes, along with all the land base hotels, were all owned by Holland America, which made every stop transparent and smooth going. No complaints there either. Just to notch in every since of comfort and price. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I am not a complainer and prefer positive feedback. This is a little of both. I can only compare to P. & O. Stateroom, food, staff exceptional. I did not find as much fun as P. & O. lines. The Gala nights were almost not, ... Read More
I am not a complainer and prefer positive feedback. This is a little of both. I can only compare to P. & O. Stateroom, food, staff exceptional. I did not find as much fun as P. & O. lines. The Gala nights were almost not, sure we dressed up but nothing special went on. I missed the buzz of theme nights. Activities were mostly, to me and my two daughters, boring. I mean who goes on a holiday to have lessons in cooking, computer and digital camera. The art was exceptional, the Spa was great albiet very overpriced. Shops were better than P. & O. and the bars were great altho the cocktails I love just did not taste the same as P. & O. We loved our rooms next door to each other and balconies which were opened so we enjoyed going in and out of each others rooms without having to knock. When I was sick it was great my daughters could check on me without me getting out of bed. The Restaurants were wonderful and staff everywhere as I said were exceptional,. Entertainment was mediocre but enjoyable. Summery: Theme nights more fun, activities which are fun rather than chores. Would I go on a Dam again. Not sure, but as an avid cruiser it is possible. I did win a "cruise" but was told that it is not actually a cruise you get whereas when I won one on Aria, myself and friend have a balcony suite for two and ten day cruise, so with P. & O. I did win a full cruise, have not rung yet but will be interested to see exactly what I won with Noordam. Excursions - unfortunately I am physically unable to get into a tender so could only do two shore excursions which I enjoyed immensely. I took a photography package and photographer was wonderful, we have everlasting memories. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Heard good things about Holland America and we agree. Food and service was exceptional. Our room with a balcony was very comfortable. Only negatives were that the excursions were pricey, charging for water when going on excursions, and ... Read More
Heard good things about Holland America and we agree. Food and service was exceptional. Our room with a balcony was very comfortable. Only negatives were that the excursions were pricey, charging for water when going on excursions, and charging for very poor internet. The excursions were expensive and thought they could have had a better selection. However, most the stops were very accessible on your own. The major cities were very crowded and involved a lot of waiting. Also, thought their ship announcements were very hard to hear. The ship offered a Windows 10 class which was excellent and was filled most of the time. The instructor was very good and they just needed more space. The ship was exceptionally clean and there was certainly no lack of food at any time. The exceptional service on the ship really made a difference as everyone smiled and made you feel special. Would definitely recommend Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I recently returned from an Alaskan land/sea cruise on Holland America. We were met at the Anchorage AK airport by a cruise line employee who directed us to the bus which took us to our Anchorage hotel for the land portion of our ... Read More
I recently returned from an Alaskan land/sea cruise on Holland America. We were met at the Anchorage AK airport by a cruise line employee who directed us to the bus which took us to our Anchorage hotel for the land portion of our cruise. The drop off point is the side entrance of the hotel (whose name escapes me) where we checked in with more cruise line personnel. The hotel itself was an absolute dump and one I would never have booked for myself. The place is in need of a total renovation from top to bottom. The following morning we were transported to the rail station where we boarded a glass top train to Denali National Park. The scenery from the train was absolutely beautiful and the train personnel were full of information. I loved the Denali part of the vacation. However once we boarded the boat things went downhill. We were part of a large retirement party that also included a wedding onboard. There were supposed to be champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a wedding invitation in our cabins upon arrival. Needless to say they did not appear until AFTER the wedding. Additionally, there was confusion as to the place for the ceremony itself. Apparently the site for the ceremony was changed and no one told the wedding guests or even the bride and groom. The day of embarkation I had a massage scheduled for 8:00 p.m. just as the ship was to leave port. Immediately after the safety meeting I went directly to the spa only to find absolute chaos. There were more than a hundred or so people milling around the spa/gym for some type of raffle. The employees were scrambling around and no one could point me in the right direction. When I finally checked in I was shown to the dressing room and told to undress and put on a robe. I did so and was then escorted through the halls full of people. I was mortified to be walking around with nothing but a robe through hall after hall. The massage thankfully was blissful and put me in a better mood, although I had to then go back through those same halls to get back to the dressing room. I returned to my room to relax and unpack and found a note advising that my dinner reservations for the Pinnacle Grill were that evening at 8:30. Obviously this wasn’t very helpful to me since it was now 10 p.m. It would have been nice to have this information ahead of time so that I could have changed the day and time. The dinner was part of a package. Unfortunately for me the dinner wasn’t the only reservation screw up. Prior to the trip I booked several excursions. While reviewing my itinerary online a few days before the trip I noticed two of the excursions were not on my itinerary. I contacted my Holland America rep and asked why they weren’t listed. She emailed back and noted the itinerary would be given to me once we reached Anchorage and checked into our hotel. This didn’t occur. Once onboard I went to the Excursions Desk to inquire about the issue and was told I was not booked on any of those tours. Fortunately the tours I booked still had availability and I didn’t have to blow my top. One morning I was jerked awake by workmen hammering and drilling at 8:30 a.m. Also that morning there was a drill scheduled for the crew at around 9:30ish that shut down the elevators while people were still headed to or from breakfast or off the ship. Why couldn’t these things have been scheduled for a bit later when the majority of the ship was off on excursions? As for the food – breakfast time on the Lido deck was an absolute mess. It was obvious there wasn’t enough staff and the lines for everything were ridiculously long. They also only had one waffle maker and one crepe maker on the entire deck. Really? There were also times when I went to eat and everything was closed down. Now I have only been on one other cruise before (a cruise through the Mediterranean on Celebrity which was phenomenal in every way) and food was available until after midnight. Grant it I didn’t expect to have every choice available but a few things at least. There were a few other issues but I’ve said enough. Overall this was a letdown for something that I spent a good amount of money for and was really looking forward to. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I’m torn. I wanted so much to be able to praise my recent cruise on the NOORDAM. In the past, I’ve had several wonderful experiences with HAL, and I was hoping this would just add to the list. Sadly, that’s not the case. Don’t get ... Read More
I’m torn. I wanted so much to be able to praise my recent cruise on the NOORDAM. In the past, I’ve had several wonderful experiences with HAL, and I was hoping this would just add to the list. Sadly, that’s not the case. Don’t get me wrong: I had a nice time. But, for me, it just wasn’t up to the standard that I’ve come to expect from HAL. Maybe it was because it was a short three night cruise, I’m not sure. When I arrived at the Vancouver airport, I found the HAL rep who directed me to where the bus would be for the ride to the pier. He said the bus would be there in thirty minutes. Fifty minutes later, there was still no bus, so I found him and asked him what the deal was. He went off on me, rambling on about whose fault it is that the bus wasn’t there, and that people don’t go on line and put in their flight info, so they have no idea when to pick people up. In mid-sentence, I stopped him in his tracks and said, “Forget it, I’ll take a cab. I’m not about to stand here and listen to you berate me about why there’s no bus.” The cab cost 35 dollars, Canadian, and took about 40 minutes. Check in at the pier took another 45 minutes. Once on board, I ran into some of the other folks who were waiting for the bus at the airport; they said it didn’t arrive for another hour after I left. Ridiculous. Cabin – I had a category VC balcony room, cabin VC6046 to be exact, and it was very nice. Although the room was small, the king bed was very comfortable, and there was plenty of storage space. There was a fold-out sleeper sofa that had seen better days…the material was faded, wrinkled and the arms were worn. Which brings me to another bone of contention. This room had a king bed, a sofa, a makeup table, a stool for the makeup table, an oval coffee table, and an extra side chair. No wonder the room seemed so small. I put the side chair on top of the sofa to make more room, and it was still tight. I was traveling as a single; I can only imagine if there had been more people in the room with me. The bathroom had a small tub, and everything was in good repair. The balcony was of a nice size, and there was no obstruction whatsoever. The Ship – NOORDAM is a nice-looking ship. Her exterior lines are appealing, and she’s a very manageable size. That being said, her interior layout is a mess. It looks like they just slapped anything anywhere they could. Walking through the ship is like walking through a funhouse…curves, turns, hallways, dead ends, etc. The décor is tired and, while pleasant, there’s no wow factor at all. Perhaps that’s the way HAL passengers wanted things years ago, but those people are falling to the wayside, and the line needs to keep up. Don’t get me wrong: she’s very pretty inside….but nothing sticks out as being memorable. The fittings are also getting shabby; time for new carpet, furniture, etc. I can only hope that HAL is planning a major refit to bring her up to speed. The atrium is small, and there’s never much going on…..even in the few bars that surround it. It’s not a center hub for activities – in fact, nowhere on board is there a place that serves as ‘activity central’. On Main Deck, the atrium is flanked by the front office, shore excursions desk and future cruise sales. Even that seemed like a ghost town. The view from The Crow’s Nest is breathtaking, and it’s a very pretty, open room. In fact, it’s one of the few rooms on the ship that doesn’t feel cluttered or closed in. Her outer decks are all discombobulated. Forward on the Observation Deck is The Retreat (HAL’s version of Princess’ Sanctuary and Carnival’s Serenity). There are private cabanas that can be rented. Problem is many of the cabanas overlook the sliding metal and glass dome that covers the lido pool one deck below on Lido Deck. Why would anyone want to spend money to look at that? Also, there are no outdoor staircases in the area of the main pool leading to the deck above…people have to walk inside to get up there. Crazy. I will say that I absolutely LOVED the wraparound promenade…IMO, it’s the ship’s best outdoor feature. Nice and wide, plenty of real teak deck chairs, and, best all, no going inside to cut across to the other side. I was pleased to see several open decks that offer forward-facing views over the bow, but was totally disappointed when I found everyone one of them closed off to passengers. I finally went out anyway. I waved up to the guys on the bridge, and they waved back, so I guess it was okay. Dining – For the most part, everything was good. The food in the main dining room was just fine, and the lido restaurant offered a lot of variety. The problem (for me anyway) is the main dining room’s layout; another total mess. Walking through it, having to wind through tables that seem to be just plopped down anywhere, is ridiculous. The Lido Restaurant is even worse. Lines everywhere, super crowded, and very hectic. Another area I hope they revamp when it comes time for a refit. Unfortunately, because it was such a short cruise, I didn’t have the opportunity to try Canaletto or the Pinnacle Grill. I did enjoy the taco stand out by the pool….lots of choices, and usually very fresh. Service – Here’s where I was reminded of my past HAL cruises. Service throughout the ship, and on deck, was excellent. It was never pushy or intrusive, they were always smiling, and they couldn’t do enough to make you happy. I’ve always thought that HAL’s crew is its biggest asset, and, while I wasn’t elated by the ship, I can find no fault in the service whatsoever. Entertainment – Here’s where everything really goes south. Well, maybe not everything, but almost everything. First, I’ll say that the live band that played in the B.B. King Lounge was incredible. Great musicians, good song selection, lot of energy…just fantastic. Unfortunately, that’s where the good entertainment ended. The cast of the production shows had absolutely no soul or mojo to them at all. Everything was just so homogenized and sterile. They were also sharp and/or flat a good part of the time. The last evening they had a pianist in the main show lounge, and while this guy could play, he was cheesy to the point of being insulting. He rambled on and on about where he was from, what he majored in, his life story, etc. Who cares? Just play the piano. After suffering through three of his tunes, we left. From there we stopped by the piano bar. What a hilarious mistake. This guy couldn’t sing his way out of a paper bag, and he had an attitude. I know that HAL isn’t known for strong entertainment, but all this was just sad. Seattle & Victoria – So, HAL doesn’t dock in downtown Seattle. While it’s sort of a pain, they do provide free shuttle service to downtown, dropping and picking people up close to the market. The market itself is wonderful, and good for, maybe, two hours at the most. In addition to the market, a group of us did a basic tour of Seattle, which was very nice. As far as stuff to see and do right by where the ship docks, there’s nothing. And I mean nothing. That being said, the ship nut in me appreciated the fact that I could walk around the pier area and take photos without being harassed by security. Victoria is a lovely city, and the ships dock about a 25 minute walk from the downtown area, which is very nice. Of course the big draw is Butchart Gardens, but it takes about 45 minutes to get there by taxi or bus….and there’s no free shuttle service. A taxi costs 55 dollars, Canadian, each way, and admission into the gardens is 31 dollars per person. They also offered afternoon tea at the gardens for an additional 30 dollars. Ouch! I found four other people who wanted to share a taxi, so that took some of the sting out of the cost. The HAL excursion was about $79 usd per person, so, in the end, that might be the way to go. The gardens are incredible; I’ve never seen anything like it on this side of the Atlantic. However, I can look at flowers for only so long, so about 90 minutes was enough of that. The area around the ship in Victoria was sort of cool in that there’s a finger pier with a light house at the end of it, and you can walk out and get some great photos. The DISNEY MAGIC and an NCL ship were also in port, and I could walk right up to the front of it them and take photos. Conclusion – I realize I had many negative things to say about this trip, but, in the long run, I did have a nice time. I’m just not in any hurry to go back on HAL again anytime soon. Once the new ship comes out, or if I have the opportunity to go on one of their newer ships, like EURODAM or NIEUW AMSTERDAM, I might feel differently. I also understand that, being a short cruise, this might not be the best trip to base that decision on…at this point, I simply reporting my experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My second cruise on the Noordam. The food & food service were great (very very good about handling Gluten Free requirement.). The LeCirque dinner was not as good. The excursion staff are not knowledgeable enough about the ... Read More
My second cruise on the Noordam. The food & food service were great (very very good about handling Gluten Free requirement.). The LeCirque dinner was not as good. The excursion staff are not knowledgeable enough about the walking/stairs requirements of the tours, which they should given the average age of HA cruisers. Rooms were added on deck 10 and we were excited to be up where we'd have great views from our balcony. We did, but we froze... the temp in the room ranged from cold to freezing. The main desk and maintenance staff tried to tell us the temp in our room was mormal. Finally, the last day, someone came snd admitted it was very cold and it got fixed... the LAST DAY!! :-( Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
HOLLAND AMERICA WAYFARER SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE ON NOORDAM. The private garden tours led by Andre Viette were fabulous. The only positive aspect of the trip. Embarkation was slow. Once on the ship there were very few crew members ... Read More
HOLLAND AMERICA WAYFARER SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE ON NOORDAM. The private garden tours led by Andre Viette were fabulous. The only positive aspect of the trip. Embarkation was slow. Once on the ship there were very few crew members available to ask for directions. The ship smelled like mildew. The ship maps kind of matched the ship layout. We had a verandah room in the forward of the ship though we requested a midship room (travel agent issue). At the front desk we learned the travel agent had not given us the on board credit and they would not honor the promotion even though I had the paperwork. Also, they would not move us to another stateroom. About the cruise and Holland America, I would never recommend Holland America Noordam ship. The ship is old, public areas had peeling wallpaper and scruffy carpet, lighting very dim and overall dingy. In the stateroom there are no safes or coffee pots. For several days, there was intermittent toilet service on the ship. At night you would go to bathroom only to find it would not flush. A couple of days the water in the sink did not work for a few hours. The Dining option "as you wish" does not work. Reservations were available for 8.30pm or later unless you go to Italian restaurant or Pinnacle; both have a service charge. Neither should have a service charge; it is simply not worth it. In the main dining room the tables for "as you wish" diners are near the service stations along the walkways. Constantly being bumped and ignored by staff meant we used room service or went to the buffet. We missed many of the special dinners like surf and turf. Room service has a limited menu of sandwiches and salads. Other cruise lines offer whatever is being served in the dining room. Other than breakfast, room service is slow and generally unresponsive. The room service can take 45 minutes or 1 hour 45 minutes. The pickup of the trays is delayed. Seven nights our dinner room service tray was not picked up. In the morning the breakfast guy could not take the dinner room service tray. We learned to put trays on balcony - oh well, sometimes stuff vanished in the night. The ship is not well ventilated. You can smell the cooking even outside of the buffet area. Some areas have strong smell of mold and mildew. Outside buffets had gnats and flies. Beverage service was quick. The cleaning off of tables was not -- once during rough seas we watched many an item fly off of the tables and hit people. The beverage folks did not do much about it. The entertainment of the "Vegas Style" shows were very bad. My mother commented that the dance recitals I was in as a child were better done with prettier costumes. The scenery was minimal. The comedy was all about married couples and often I found it demeaning to women. They painted the ship several days and the strong smell invaded the ship. The cleaning of the stateroom is haphazard at best. We had to request that our bed linens were changed after 3 days. I took a warm washcloth and wiped the walls and the cloth came back brown. Gross! Nausea was our constant companion. The spa had vinyl cushions in the pedicure chair that were cracked with exposed foam. The ship shops were nice and service there was far beyond that found elsewhere. A bad value for the cost of the trip. After the perpetual news about the Carnival ship problems, since this experience, NEVER again will I go on Holland America or any Carnival owned ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was our 17th cruise, 3rd on Holland America(HAL). We chose this cruise because it included 7 ports: St Martin, St Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Dominica, St Thomas and Half Moon Cay. We've visited Dominica and Martinique only ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise, 3rd on Holland America(HAL). We chose this cruise because it included 7 ports: St Martin, St Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Dominica, St Thomas and Half Moon Cay. We've visited Dominica and Martinique only once prior but the remainder several times. Our favorites remain St Lucia and Barbados. The people and country side are very different but they have the most to offer in scenery and hospitality. This reinforced our original impression of HAL that it caters to the very senior population. Actually our two previous cruises on HAL were much better. This cruise had a "very" senior population. It felt like a cruising nursing home with a myriad of walkers, canes, motorized chairs, and men in shorts with compression stockings. Embarkation seemed very slow in comparison to other cruises. We boarded early but had to wait in a large warehouse with about 700 other cruisers till our number was called. Lines moved slowly. As always, the rooms weren't ready so you are directed to the Lido for a late lunch where everyone is confused due to the wierd buffet design of HAL. All food is lined on two narrow traffic ways with two cross overs to each side. Can you imagine a bunch of seniors navigating this food arrangement, much less trying to make a decision on what to eat. If you want pasta and salad, you have to walk the length of the ship to obtain each. We mostly ate in the Vista Dining Room. We enjoy meeting other people and were seated with 3 other couples from Georgia, Canada and Florida. The selection was adequate but taste frequently marginal becoming boring as the cruise progressed. The wait staff was good while the matre'd was annoying. The highlite was eating at the Pinnacle Grill. Food was excellent but be prepared to eat at a very slow pace. The ship's decor can best be described as "heavy." My wife described it as somewhat Old World and somewhat modern. Rather eclectic. Large lamp shades, ornate furniture with the colors of rose, bold aquas and royal blue. We were surprised at the amount of excess smoking on this cruise. The smell of cigarette smoke was common in the room hallways, much of the 2nd Deck, Deck 9 and on our verandah at times. Again, we never experienced this on other cruises. To compound this, we frequently experienced fresh paint smells in the hallways. Many railings were being varnished. Most ship excursions are overpriced so we generally hire a local driver as we did in Barbados. Outstanding tour of the West Coast for $20. We did a ship tours in St Lucia and St Thomas. The best value was the World Heritage Tour in St Lucia due to a young tour guide named Mitch. We traveled from Castries to Soufrier where the ship came to pick us up next to the Pitons. In St Thomas we generally go to St Johns. This turned out to be a bummer. After arriving on St Johns by Boat, we boarded our safari truck only to go around the corner for a 35 minute rest room break. Who wants to waste 35 minutes on this beautiful island? Then the driver proceeded to tell us all about Cruz Bay for another 15 minutes all of which we heard on the ferry. Entertainment in the Vista Lounge was just average. Several comedians, a pianist and several ship sponsored variety shows which lacked spark. Exception was the combo called Halcats. The small combos in the various lounges were excellent such as the Neptunes in the Ocean Bar and the Adagio Strings. The bar tenders in the Ocean Bar were great. We met what will be life long friends from England at the Ocean Bar. Overall, the cruise just lacked enthusiasm. Maybe it was due to the population. HAL does seem to be doing some cost cutting and squeezing of the dollar which is showing in service. Very sad! It may take awhile before we again select HAL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We took a 20 day cruise (16 ports of call) with Holland America on July 16th 2012 and the first thing they do is loose are luggage. The one with $2,000.00 worth of RX's in it.! The Cabin boy put it in someone else's room and they ... Read More
We took a 20 day cruise (16 ports of call) with Holland America on July 16th 2012 and the first thing they do is loose are luggage. The one with $2,000.00 worth of RX's in it.! The Cabin boy put it in someone else's room and they had to do a search of the ship to find it, 8 hours later we received it thank god. the bag had are cabin number on two tags, one red and are name on three tags, but English is they second or third language after all! The entertainment was enjoyable but average, and because it was 20 days they repeated four shows. But sold the cruise as a 20 day cruise? What were they thinking! The food was good but not exceptionable. The first 10 day we had the best waiters, but the 2nd 10 days it was a different waiters and the service was nowhere close to the other waiter and was mostly one not two waiters. The staff is friendly. The ship is great. The verandah was ok but small as you hit the bed a lot moving around the room. The lighting in the room was poor at best. You open the closet door and it blocked all the light and the safe was in it. Bring a flashlight! HAL is one of the few lines that doesn't sell a "coke" card. You buy it in $25.00 sums? The bed was great and very comfortable. The verandah was small and of course on the wrong side of the ship, in most ports of call. (left) Your view was little or nothing, containers mostly! The tender in one port was the the last one and you had to walk foever to get to it. Overall the cruise was good but could of been a lot better. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
My hubby and I have traveled to a few destinations and for the most part have always enjoyed where we have been. When I knew that we would be leaving on a 7 night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean I can honestly say I was one nervous girl. ... Read More
My hubby and I have traveled to a few destinations and for the most part have always enjoyed where we have been. When I knew that we would be leaving on a 7 night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean I can honestly say I was one nervous girl. For anyone who knows me they will know that nothing makes me more nerved up than boarding an airplane. However, this cruise had that beat. So I began talking to everyone that I knew that had ever been on a cruise and I made sure I listened to everyone's advice. So I started preparing. I had packed all the sunscreen (Mainly for my hubby),cloths for every occasion,and all the meds for any possible sickness ( well at least the ones that will help with motion sickness anyway). And did a lot of praying for nice weather. We arrived in FT. Lauderdale and spent the night before at the Hilton and enjoyed just relaxing before our big day. When the time came to board our ship I was amazed at the smooth process. My idea of boarding a ship was walking through a gate and onto the ship we would go. But that is not exactly how it is done. We were apart of one of the first groups to board MS Noordam. And it was about noon when we were on the ship and ready for an adventure. We got to go right to our cabin. Our cabin had a balcony and that made us feel like we were in a suite. Shortly after we were in our room our luggage was delivered. We had no problems with finding room for everything that we had brought. I had read on cruise critic to make sure you bring extra hangers and so that is what I did and I used them all. Then all the luggage was kept under the bed along with anything else that we didn't seem to need. My husband and I then went to the Lido Pool area where we met up with our friends and had lunch and enjoyed watching everyone else board the ship. We did do a little exploring around the ship while waited to leave Ft.Lauderdale. The Spa was giving free 5 min massages and tours of their area. We did partake in that and even won a free Bamboo massage for myself. I was thrilled. 6 PM arrived and we were off..... Out to sea we went and good bye US... See you in a week. Our first night on the ship we ate at the Pinnacle Grill and absolutely loved it. I could of eaten there every night. The only part we didn't like was the wine waiter talked our friends into a bottle of wine and neglected to tell them how much it was.... That was an OUCH and we learned to not order wine with out knowing what the cost is. However, we had a fabulous evening. Our First Day at Sea was spent relaxing by the Lido Pool. This pool is for families and the kids were having a blast. They also have a grill there along with live entertainment. So never a dull moment. It didn't take long for us to decide that we should be at the sea pool and let the families have the room at the Lido Pool. The Sea Pool too has live entertainment, but they also have water games and plenty of fun things for the adults to do while they are soaking up the sun. The one thing that I loved about the crew/ship is every day we had a list of everything that was going on all over the ship and if we were at a port they had everything that you can do at the port also. They were offering a class on the shopping at each of the ports so I attended that and was thrilled at the discounts we would receive and the information about each port. That was so helpful. Before our trip I had booked a couples massage and that was the one thing that I will tell anyone to do. It was worth every dime we spent. Our first day at sea was fabulous and it went by so fast. Day 2.... We awoke to porting at Grand Turks. We were only there for about 4 hours but did sign up for the Coast to Coast tour. It was good to get to see the whole island and some of the history. The Light House was my favorite part. Once we were back at the port my hubby and I boarded the ship early and we got to watch a Carnival ship come in. That was so interesting. Every time we left a port they had a sail away party and we enjoyed them all. Day 3....Welcome to St.Thomas. This island is breath taking. We signed up for the Island tour and shopping. They took us to all the most important sights, then to Black Beard's Castle and that is where we could hang there and enjoy their pools or work our way to the shopping district. Loved it all. Each of the jewelry stores give away freebies and I made sure I picked them up. But we enjoyed all the shopping and even took in a wonderful little restaurant. Very Friendly community and would love to go back. Day 4.... So pleased to be in St. Martin. Unfortunately we encountered rough seas the night before. I was thankful I was wearing a patch and didn't get sick at all. But the rocking of the ship was somewhat unsettling for many people. For me..... I was nervous more than anything.... for my hubby....a little sick...But there is where planning comes in. I was thankful that I had brought the necessities so we could still enjoy our vacation. So it was so nice to be able to be in St Martin. We did our shopping and then rented a cab to the beach/airport to watch those amazing planes come in. Our cab driver was awesome as he gave us a lot of history of the island and would stop for us take photos. He even waited for us while we were at the beach. Then back to the port we went to finish with some dinner and a little more shopping. Day 5 we were at sea all day. Day 6 we were at Half Moon Cay and enjoyed the beach and all the activities that they offer. Day 7.... Welcome back to the US. The food: All the food was awesome. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill twice. Very hard to get into as everyone loved it so much. Very popular. Every morning we ate at the Lido and they offer everything you can imagine. You will gain at least 10 lbs on this cruise so make sure you diet before you leave. The crew/Stewards: Our Stewards were wonderful. If you needed something they immediately would get it for you. No waiting around. Their number 1 priority is making sure you are happy and well taken care of. All the crew on this ship is right there when needed. When we were having rough seas I had called down to the front desk and the next day they called our room checking to see if I was better and if we needed anything. They also were informing us that the seas would continue to be rough for about 24 more hours. What a wonderful gesture that was. Entertainment was fabulous. There is something for everybody and all day long too. The kids always had movies to go to and activities to keep them busy too. All the children on this cruise were well behaved and absolutely fun to be around. Cabins: They are bright and homey. We enjoyed our balcony everyday. I would pay the extra cost to have a balcony. Waking every morning and spending sometime on the balcony was my favorite part of the day. Nothing more peaceful than sitting and watching the ocean seas. Loved it. After a week on a ship I can honestly say that I enjoyed our first cruise and would recommend anyone to try one out. No more nervousness for me. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This was my second cruise with HAL and my first in the mediterranean, although we are frequent visitors of the region. I travelled with my husband, for him it was his first cruise ever. Arriving at the ship terminal by taxi (€ 140, 1,5 ... Read More
This was my second cruise with HAL and my first in the mediterranean, although we are frequent visitors of the region. I travelled with my husband, for him it was his first cruise ever. Arriving at the ship terminal by taxi (€ 140, 1,5 hrs ride from Rome center), our luggage was swiftly taken out of our hands. Embarkation went smoothly, we arrived between 11:00 and noon and there weren no lines at all. Within 10 minutes of arrival we were on the ship and in our stateroom! Amazing...even our suitcases arrived within the hour. Stateroom 8044 Our Superior Verandah suite (category SS) was surprisingly big with plenty of closet space. We didn't use all of it. Everything was clean and it must be said, although we never actually saw our steward, whenever we entered our stateroom during the entire trip, towels were replaced and everything was clean. The bathroom had a double sink, one whirlpool and a separate shower. The shower is rather small. One thing we found odd: although we always locked our balcony door whenever we left our stateroom, we always found it was open after cleaning. I would have preferred to keep the balcony door locked at all times when we're not in our cabins. Our stateroom was right below the Lido pool. This meant we had some noise from children running above us and chairs being moved. It was not obtrusive and it certainly didn't wake us up or gave us trouble sleeping, but still, if you're spending a lot of time on the veranda or if you love a daytime nap it can be disturbing. Also, this stateroom is across from a little galley. We didn't find it disturbing, although some mornings you could hear some noise from it. Food We opted for main seating in the Vista dining room. Service was great, with special thanks to Danah and Sammy. Food was great too, with ample of choice. But with a seating at 8pm it might you're running late for the late shows (10pm). I do think, in future we'll opt for open seating. The Lido food was always good, either at breakfast or lunch. The Asian counter (lunch) had some trouble keeping up sometimes. People were often waiting in long lines till the noodles were ready, or the sauce and than only giving out small (really small) portions. The bread & butter pudding -served between 1pm and 3 pm - is a classic I quite enjoyed! We ate in the Pinnacle one night and unfortunately we were not impressed. Service was really slow and we didn't feel the quality outclassed the Vista Lounge. Internet The Noordam is a beautiful ship, resembling her sister Oosterdam, with one difference: the Exploration cafe is situated on third deck instead of in the Crow's Nest on deck 10. We purchased the Internet package of $55 (100 minutes). Although internet connection is really slow, sometimes infuriatingly so, the 110 minutes (we received 10 free minutes with the package) proved to be enough for checking email and the latest news. One day the internet connection really wouldn't come through at all, but the internet manager refunded us for the full 15 minutes we used. I forgot his name, but he was really helpful in setting up the wifi connection with laptops and iPhones. Service Of all the wonderful people working on board, Denny especially made an impression on me. He served in the Lido restaurant and was always ready with a smile and a joke, making you feel special. The lines waiting for coffee can be long, especially during breakfast and with one machine constantly being out of service. So it was quite an improvement during this cruise, that coffee, tea and lemonade and jus d'orange was also served at the table in the Lido. I loved the fact that you were welcomed back on board after each shore excursion with fresh lemonade and cold towels. We had our laundry done 1 time (full bag $20) and it came back the next day, within 24 hours, pressed and clean. No problems there. Overall Since this is only my second cruise, and again with HAL, I can't compare to other cruiselines. Like the Oosterdam last year, the Noordam didn't dissappoint. My husband enjoyed his first as much as I enjoyed the recognition. I know we certainly will return to HAL! We didn't book any shore excursions (except for Tunis). This was mostly because we were familiar with the countries and the towns we visited. It was a complete trip, with us revisiting a lot of places we already visited by car one time or the other. Just in a more relaxing pace. If you want to see as much as is possible around the western MED in 10 days, I certainly would recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Just the facts: Day 1: Flight on-time leaving city. Arrived in Fort Lauderdale (the Saturday before embarkation as planned), followed instructions to call hotel for courtesy van to hotel, only to find out that I had no reservation for ... Read More
Just the facts: Day 1: Flight on-time leaving city. Arrived in Fort Lauderdale (the Saturday before embarkation as planned), followed instructions to call hotel for courtesy van to hotel, only to find out that I had no reservation for Jan. 15th (even though I was holding reservation numbers for January 15th and 23rd e-mailed to me from the Smooth Jazz Cruise travel agent). That snafu was handled well. I was relocated to another hotel (Hilton at the same price as the Hampton Inn). Thank you Day 2: Transported on courtesy bus from Hilton to the Hampton where I boarded the bus to the pier. The trip/transfer of luggage to the pier went smoothly. Embarkation went quickly, even though there was a line it moved quickly. Boarded the ship, had lunch/drinks met great people, immediately. Room was ready (with luggage delivered) in an hour. THIS IS GOING TO BE A GREAT VACATION!! Info regarding which artists will be appearing in each of the many music venues also left in the stateroom so I can plan what I'm going to do tonight! Stateroom and veranda were smaller than I had anticipated, but enough room for 2 had it been necessary (remember, I'm traveling solo). There was plenty of closet space for 2 and the bathroom was more than adequate and very clean. No complaints about the cleanliness of stateroom throughout the cruise. Stewards (Mohammad and Bah)were great. Enjoyed a great concert, took a picture with Jeff Goelub and Phillipe Saisse. I am on my way to a Smooth Jazz lover's heaven. Had dinner in the Vista Dining Room after the show where I shared a table with another solo traveler. We pretty much hung together for the remainder of the trip. Great variety on the menu, although the food could have been a tad warmer. Did the Crow's Nest Lounge until about 3 A.M. OH, MY GOODNESS! Day 3-6: More of the same - meeting and hanging out with great people, enjoying awesome (I mean breathtaking) concerts, mixing/mingling with the Smooth Jazz artists (many of whom I was photographed with) and fantastic food. Enjoyed the Italian restaurant one evening(the name escapes me, now). Delicious food, also. The barbecues were awesome, as well. This entire cruise was everything I anticipated. It was truly an ageless, international gathering which in itself speaks to the power of music. Thank you Smooth Jazz Cruise sponsors and participating artists, stewards, cooks, Chef Roy (who prepared a special dish for me daily and had it delivered to my table in the Lido buffet), bartenders, front desk personnel, and Amy Grove my Smooth Jazz travel rep. This was truly the vacation of a lifetime for me. I will do it, again! Day 7: I chose the independent disembarkation (my flight out of Fort Lauderdale was an early one). Disembarkation went smoothly. I placed my luggage outside the door the night before and it was waiting for me in a color-coded area outside the ship Sunday morning. I was met by a very friendly, knowledgeable baggage handler who retrieved my luggage, walked me through customs outside to where he hailed me a taxi and off to the airport I went (about a 15 minute drive). My Southwest flight(s) were on-time and even though I had to change planes in Nashville, Tenn., the gate for the plane I was boarding in Nashville, was right next to the gate of the plane that I got off of. Arrived on-time to my final destination. If you're a Smooth Jazz lover, you owe this to yourself! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We recently took a cruise on Holland America. This was our 1st with HAL but have taken many other cruises. I will probably never cruise with them again. EMBARKATION was very slow. We have never had to wait in such long lines as this. Once ... Read More
We recently took a cruise on Holland America. This was our 1st with HAL but have taken many other cruises. I will probably never cruise with them again. EMBARKATION was very slow. We have never had to wait in such long lines as this. Once onboard it was very crowded in the Lido Dining area. I had read in previous reviews many of the same things but ignored them. Another tip: When you first get onboard they try to sell everyone these cocktail cards but then one wants to take them. Probably because I don't think they get a tip on these. If you like lots of martinis or specialty drinks then do buy it but otherwise I would say stay away. ONBOARD ACTIVITIES: I would say that probably 85% of the passengers were over 75. We always enjoy the nightlife on the ships and would go into the disco maybe to find 4 to 6 people. We are used to them being packed with people on Royal Caribbean. We also had a problem with our room. We were awakened every morning by what sounded like chairs being dragged above our room.We were on the deck below the pool deck close to midship. When we complained, we were told they could not move us because there were no other rooms available. They did send a bottle of wine and give us a small room credit but this was no compensation. HALF MOON CAY- We were really looking forward to this. We had planned horsebacking riding and also rented beach chairs but this stop was cancelled due to bad weather. Which was a good decision because the weather was awful, very strong wind and rain. To sum everything up I would definitely do a Southern Caribbean Cruise again but next time will do more research and find a better fit.My husband and I are in our forties and had it not been for the fun group we were with, we would have been very bored. Also, one more note of interest. In order to get the advantage of using the Neptune lounge you must book a Deluxe Suite or better. We booked a superior suite thinking this would be for all suites and paid $1000 extra. The only perk this gets you is DVD Rental and who about free DVD rental we want to have fun on the ship. We really enjoyed our time much more off on the boat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
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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