33 Holland America Noordam Senior Cruise Reviews

This was our first real cruise and was one of our bucket list items so we took part in the cruise with great expectations. The cruise fulfilled all of our expectations. The cabin stateroom was wonderful and we enjoyed the time in our ... Read More
This was our first real cruise and was one of our bucket list items so we took part in the cruise with great expectations. The cruise fulfilled all of our expectations. The cabin stateroom was wonderful and we enjoyed the time in our stateroom. Bed was exceptionally comfortable. We dined in the main dining room for dinner, and although we were assigned open seating, we talked to our waiter and maitre de the first night and got the same table and time for the remaining nights, giving us the same wait staff. Dinners were exceptional in our opinion and we complemented the meal with a pricey but delicious bottle of california wine. The wine steward would keep the unused wine and bring it out for our dinner each night. We wold eat breakfast and lunch in the Lido buffet and thought the variety and type of foods was always changing, high quality, and appealing. I appreciate that the breakfast room would open early on mornings when we had early excursions so we could always have a good breakfast before embarking. On at sea days we took advantage of the America's Test Kitchen presentations and sat through all of them, sat in on a few naturalists presentations on the Alaskan wildlife, and even managed to attend a few Lincoln Center performances. There always seems like plenty of things to do if you wanted to stay engaged. Service on the ship seems always top notch...people were friendly, courteous, and made us feel welcome at all times. We did the typical shore excursions in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway and enjoyed the time off ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain ... Read More
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain about, sure the ship is a little worse for wear, and it can definitely do with a renovation, which I believe is going to happen at the end of 2019, or so I was told, but it is kept spotlessly clean at all times. And nothing is too much trouble for any crew.I loved the Dine-In free of charge cabin service to all cabins, 24 hours a day. I had the best mushroom vegetable omelette with goats cheese on top every morning, it came out hot and delicious. The toast often wasn't but that didn't worry me! Every meal I had, except for one, where the turkey schnitzel was a little dry, but it was replaced immediately. The ship does seem to cater for a more mature clientele, but once again that didn't bother me. I could choose from at least a thousand movies for my cabin DVD player free of charge, you order, a steward delivers and picks it up again, fantastic! Fresh fruit for my basket supplied daily without being asked. Beautiful great quality toiletries suppled as well. As I am not as mobile as I used to be, I cannot say what the actual Islands were like, as I did not get off, but fellow passengers were all impressed on their return. The only complaint I have are the 'compulsory gratuities' that are charged at US$14.50 every day, but in the long run they did deserve this tip and I am accepting of it! It used to be that you could remove it on going to the Service Desk, but I was told that now you must fill in a form to give the reason why you don't wish to pay it! But that is not the ship's fault but HAL! All in all I just loved the ship and can't wait to rebook another one with them Thank you Noordam! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Noordam was a great choice for us. The size and number of people made getting around the ship easy. Staff were very pleasant and always helpful. Cabin 8085 was comfortable, quiet and very well kept up (Thanks Esha & Nougy!). Lots of ... Read More
Noordam was a great choice for us. The size and number of people made getting around the ship easy. Staff were very pleasant and always helpful. Cabin 8085 was comfortable, quiet and very well kept up (Thanks Esha & Nougy!). Lots of choices on on the Lido deck, the dining room was great with good menus and service, room service was terrific. We had a wonderful experience. Recommend booking a meal at the Pinnacle Restaurant-wonderful food, service and decor. We sat on our balcony most of the first day of the cruise watching the changing landscape which was a great introduction. All excursions were excellent. Ketchikan's Misty Fiords Monument, Juneau's helicopter to walk around on the Mendenhall glacier and then an evening whale watching, Skagway's Street Car Tour-a must!- and the luxury White Pass railway was well worth the price. Of course the day at Glacier Bay was spectacular. We ran out of superlatives! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Overall a great cruise experience , the ship well maintained throughout , the cabin was very nicely appointed and there was plenty of storage . In addition , the cabin steward service was excellent . The main dinning room food was average ... Read More
Overall a great cruise experience , the ship well maintained throughout , the cabin was very nicely appointed and there was plenty of storage . In addition , the cabin steward service was excellent . The main dinning room food was average , however the upscale additional fee restaurants were very nice and the food was excellent . As a blues fans we really enjoyed the excellent entertainment in the BB King lounge , it was really top notch . The main shows in the large auditorium each night were also very entertaining , a combination of dance and music. . The crew was attentive and eager to please . Very few children on this voyage , so it was relaxing and quite. Additional on-board activities included art appreciation seminars and an on-board art auction . There was also several classical music recitals that were well preformed and you had an opportunity to get to know the artists. The ports were all enjoyable and the scenery to and from them was amazing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Embarkation: Since we live in Hawaii, it was just a short drive to Aloha Tower. First of all, as far as Holland was concern, it was great and fast. Very friendly and they were so helpful. Now regarding security at Aloha Tower, that ... Read More
Embarkation: Since we live in Hawaii, it was just a short drive to Aloha Tower. First of all, as far as Holland was concern, it was great and fast. Very friendly and they were so helpful. Now regarding security at Aloha Tower, that was a different story. They told us were to go and when we got there, they told us to go back to another place. Without getting into details, I thought TSA was bad, These guys take the cake. Ship: Been watching YouTube a lot regarding the ship so I was a bit familar with the lay out. I feel that helped with what to expect. Personally, I like the midsize ship. That being said, the disclaimer is that I never been on a mega-ship yet. But it was nicely laid out. The only thing I wished was that the atrium area was bigger and had more activities. They have a bar but it was only open whenever they had a tasting. Ship was very clean. Had a few nice quiet places if you just wanted to read a book. The canopy over the pool was good when it rained a little and when the weather got a little colder. Dining: Since we upgraded to the Neptune Suite, we where able to eat breakfast in the Pinnacle Grille. It was nice and quiet, unlike the MDR and buffet. After all, we just got up! Breakfast had the same menu as the MDR. Did a couple of nights there for dinner. I rarely ever get full of crab legs but the King Crab legs they served......I almost couldn’t eat dessert. And It tasted good. Food in the MDR was excellent too. Buffet was good. I would say it was one of the better buffets we had. Activities: To be honest, there really wasn’t much. However, one of the reasons I wanted to try this cruise was to unwind. With 5 days at sea, I was wondering if I would be bored to death. On the contrary, during those days, I joined my wife at the America Test Kitchen, went to the Windows classes twice a day, did on trivia contest, a meet and greet, and hung out by the pool a little. They had some shows but we only went to 2 out of the 3. It was okay. Honestly, I was okay with all of that since I really just wanted to unwind. Perhaps a few more things would be nice. Shore Actitivies: Since we live in Hawaii, we didn’t sign up for anything. Just took a walk down Front Street in Lahaina and a very small shopping center in Kauai. Service: Excellent. In our case, the Neptune Lounge relationship personal, Stewards, waiters and bartenders knew us and addressed us by name. Felt they went out of their way to make us welcome. Disembarkation: Fast and easy leaving the ship. Terminal was a little confusing in find out transport to the airport but since our flight was in the afternoon, no big deal. One bonus was that Holland lets you stay in your cabin until your group was called. Overall Impression: After talking it over with my wife, YES, I would sail with them again. Concerning what I wanted for this cruise, I got it. Granted, If I was going with a bunch of my friends, I would go on another cruise line with more activities like NCL. But for what I wanted, this was great. Thanks again Holland America!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The ship needs a little sprucing but is due for dry dock this fall. The service and the meals were excellent as usual. The ship is lovely, newer and well planned. We loved the cruise. The last 2 weeks, the rain and fog had been present ... Read More
The ship needs a little sprucing but is due for dry dock this fall. The service and the meals were excellent as usual. The ship is lovely, newer and well planned. We loved the cruise. The last 2 weeks, the rain and fog had been present daily but for us, things changed and the temperature was very good for the whole week. The embarkation was a breeze and there was no crowds on the ship during the week and we never had to line up except briefly at some more popular food stations in the Lido. Entertainment was varied but a bit weak. The BBC films and special activities were the best. Everybody did a good job. The cruise was pleasant and we enjoyed ourselves. We went to the Pinacle and Canelleto and enjoyed both venues with local specialties of fresh fish and gorgeous steaks. The staff everywhere did their utmost to please us. There were amost 200 children on board but we hardly saw them and they never bothered us. All were well behaved. It was one of our best Alaska cruise so far. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Both the wife and I wanted to do a cruise to Alaska. Several friends that had sailed to Alaska on different lines recommended Holland America as the one we would enjoy the most. They also said to book a balcony as you could just watch the ... Read More
Both the wife and I wanted to do a cruise to Alaska. Several friends that had sailed to Alaska on different lines recommended Holland America as the one we would enjoy the most. They also said to book a balcony as you could just watch the world go by your balcony. We ended up with an aft corner Neptune. The cabin could not have been better. There was plenty of room to do whatever we wanted and the balcony was huge. We could walk up the side and see what was coming up or sit in one of the chairs or lounges and see where we had been. Our cabin stewards filled every wish and whim we asked of them. We had fresh fruit and flowers every day along with plenty of ice in the bucket. We chose "open dining" so that we could meet new and different people each night. We never had to wait for a table when we walked up at the MDR. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night and at the Canaletto one night. Of the two I preferred the Canaletto, and my wife enjoyed both equally. We met so many interesting people during the entire cruise and enjoyed seeing them later on and comparing experiences. We booked at least one excursion each port, plus walked around on our own. We enjoyed the totem poles, whale watching, and the train ride. The only downside of the trip was our accommodations at Denali Park. After sleeping on the bedding on the ship the mattress on both beds left a lot to be desired. They said accommodations were "rustic" but I think a $79 mattress from Walmart would have slept better! The bus ride from Seward to Denali was long! It was broken up by the commentary of the bus driver and spotting Moose, and other wildlife. The stories of all the excursion drivers were delightful and added a lot to the trips. Did you know there is a Walmart in Alaska that sells more than 200 miles of duct tape every year? The train ride back to Anchorage was much better than the bus trip out. When we left Denali it started snowing. For the NC woman I am married to this was a highlight not to be missed! The hotel we stayed at in Anchorage had a fantastic view from our room. The next morning we flew back to Seattle where we spent the night. We had an early flight out the next morning. One of the advantages of a Neptune Suite was priority boarding. In Vancouver there were two cruise ships boarding at the same time. We zipped past all the people waiting in lines and it took us around 10 minutes to have our cabin cards in hand and walking up to the ship. I have been told it sometime takes 3 hours of standing in line at Vancouver to board. 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
my 3rd time on the Noordam, 9 weeks totol, so i know her well. For the price of apx 110 per night for a balcony the value is terrific. The BBKing band plays 3x per night and are an exellent ship dance band. The Theater ... Read More
my 3rd time on the Noordam, 9 weeks totol, so i know her well. For the price of apx 110 per night for a balcony the value is terrific. The BBKing band plays 3x per night and are an exellent ship dance band. The Theater is awsome, the shows ok. The piano bar is good, The room good, the food great. The evevators were fast and frequent and all over. There are two one hour happy hours per day, so two good coctails are only 12 dollars including tip. The Microsoft classes are very good and free. The personell are great, and knowledgeable. I would pick a balcony room on floor 4 because it is larger and near the action. I don't have any real complaints. but here are a few. FOR THE SAKE OF OUR PLANET -- I dislike people grabbing four towls for each visit to the pool, (why not take them back to your room for reuse) People throwing away lots of uneaten food, at the buffet seconds are free- so get small portions of what you do not know for shure you will enjoy. Maybe take back to your room what you can not finish for later. At the show if the theater will likely fill up do not leave on empty seat between the person your sittinng next to. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Three first time cruisers, 19 days from Honolulu to Sydney. Loved the ship, great size 1900 guests., not too big not too small. Found the ship to be elegant and stylish for my tastes. Our travel agent choose cabin F1001 on the main ... Read More
Three first time cruisers, 19 days from Honolulu to Sydney. Loved the ship, great size 1900 guests., not too big not too small. Found the ship to be elegant and stylish for my tastes. Our travel agent choose cabin F1001 on the main deck with window on the outside due to three sharing (two singles + sofa bed. Great size and very quite. Loved the MDR for breakfast and dinner, menu selections and quality of food was excellent. All servers were outstanding. Did not enjoy the Lido that much for both quality or choice (just me) the other two I travelled with did enjoy the Lido. Tried Cannoleto and enjoyed it, lunch at the Pinnacle Grill and found to be not as good as the MDR in both quality or service. We found the entertainment a bit lacking. The HAL singers & dancers (think Glee) we enjoyed and a couple of the featured singers. But overall a bit drab. BB Kings was a stand out and the cooking shows I enjoyed. The service generally was outstanding all over the ship, especially our cabin stewards, servers in the MDR. Just loved late night drinks in the Crowsnest (amazing team) Visited lots of South Pacific ports which were generally fun and interesting. Organised 4 ship excursions and 4 non-ship excursions. Ship excursions expensive in comparison but enjoyed them. The only place really didn't care for was Suva (on all sorts of levels) but didn't do a tour just walked the town and local museum Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had sailed HAL once previously for a Sea of Cortez cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. The entire cruise was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver, BC to Auckland, NZ however, because we are ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had sailed HAL once previously for a Sea of Cortez cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. The entire cruise was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver, BC to Auckland, NZ however, because we are not yet retired and the entire itinerary would have stretched our time off too much, we decided to pick it up for the Honolulu to Sydney segment. So when we got onboard, there were already many passengers who had been on the ship either from Vancouver or San Diego. Other than feeling we had missed out on some of the entertainment which came before we boarded, it was a good decision. We arrived at the port in Honolulu about 1:30 p.m. The ship was overnight here. About 800 passengers embarked along with us, but we were one of only about three other couples boarding when we did - so easy and quick! We got unpacked and went off to get reacquainted with Honolulu. Next day rented a car and circled Oahu - great day! Made stops at all our favorite places. Midnight on day 2, we set sail for Lahaina, Maui. It was a tender port and quite bumpy, in fact a fellow passenger fell between the tender and the ship, basically ruining her day while making her a minor celebrity. Won't attempt to place blame as we were not there when it happened. But we enjoyed Lahaina and then on to Hilo. Met up with good friends in Hilo and had a fun day. Then we were off for 5 days at sea on our way to Pago Pago, American Samoa. After Hawaii, the ports were all new to us and we had a great time visiting new places. We went to Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Caledonia. 10 ports of call in all including Hawaii and Sydney. As for the ship, I had read that it was getting tired, which I somewhat agree with, some of the furnishings - mirrored table surfaces in particular - were worn, but overall, it was a clean, classy, beautiful ship with enough room for all the passengers. There were some special little cabanas on deck 10 which seemed to get very little use. Also the spa therapy pool was underused. Should be opened up to all passengers. Of everything about our cruise, we most enjoyed the people - fellow passengers as well as staff. Service was superb and I'm always amazed when I read other reviews where people berate the staff in any way. Fellow passengers were open and friendly. We made many new friends. The enrichment program on the Noordam was wonderful. It is something we look forward to on any cruise. Bud Murch did a lecture series on Astronomy while Brian Stoddard covered the sociology of the South seas. Very interesting. We mainly attended Bud Murch's lectures and were enlightened and educated as well as entertained. Well done!!! The Hawaiian Troupe was very fun and they provided music and Hula along with local crafts and ukulele lessons. Great! Other entertainment was good with musical shows, comedians (loved seeing Bud Anderson again), ventriloquist, pianist, harmonica aficionado and magic/comedy. Was disappointed not to find any live music out on deck. Fellow passengers loved Adagio, a violinist/pianist duo and the pianist in the piano bar. We fell in love with Sydney. Can't say enough nice things about this place. People were especially friendly for a city of its size. For my usual complaints, smoking on the balconies is still permitted, drinks and excursions are overpriced. We did not use the casino. We booked shore excursions from local vendors (which is why I did not rate shore excursions) as we arrived and were not disappointed. Would definitely sail on Noordam again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
First time cruise, anniversary trip with my husband and sister and brother in law. Was one of the best vacations I have ever experienced. Holland knows customer service, we felt pampered every day, from the wonderful cabin stewards and ... Read More
First time cruise, anniversary trip with my husband and sister and brother in law. Was one of the best vacations I have ever experienced. Holland knows customer service, we felt pampered every day, from the wonderful cabin stewards and the folded towel animals to the dining stewards. They all took exceptional care of us and they were friendly and funny. Felt like traveling with lots of friends. Loved the staff entertainment night, where they sang songs from Indonesia and told stories. Excursions were great, Glacier Bay was beautiful, should have taken hats and gloves. Was very cold that day. Was able to buy a hat and gloves for a very reasonable price. The only downside was small, we paid for dinner in the pinnacle restaurant, would not do that again. Service was not as good as in the dining room and our steward never brought our tea or coffee. Seemed overpriced as the food in the dining room was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We were guided to this cruise to Alaska through the Inside Passage on the Noordam by Peter at Discount Cruises. The occasion was our 44th wedding anniversary combined with my husbands 50th class reunion. Four classmates and their wives ... Read More
We were guided to this cruise to Alaska through the Inside Passage on the Noordam by Peter at Discount Cruises. The occasion was our 44th wedding anniversary combined with my husbands 50th class reunion. Four classmates and their wives from India joined us. Peter arranged everything so that we were living next door to each other in beautiful balcony rooms, sitting together for our evening meals for 7 days and during the land portion of our trip to Denali and on to Anchorage, staying together on the train, bus, and in the hotel before our departure. Holland-America was over-the-top accommodating, kind, and efficient. We never wanted for anything. When our toilet stopped working, the steward fixed it immediately and we received a follow-up apology. We were amazed. The food was delicious whether we were eating at the Lido or in the dining room. The entertainment in the evening in various places brought us together in a different way. We danced and sang and enjoyed each night's events. In Denalli, we saw wildlife up close, including a mother moose with her young just outside the window of the Visitor's Center, a grizzly that stood up and began walking toward our bus. Leaving Denali for Anchorage by the Holland-America dome train was such a fabulous ending to our journey with great food, excellent commentary on the history of what we were seeing. All in all, our 11 days on this cruise/land journey was so memorable. We want to take another Holland-America cruise, perhaps to New Zealand. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Classy experience. Ship: Noordam. Well appointed, clean, well maintained. Hand sanitizers available everywhere, with overhead and live reminders to use or to wash hands. Great implementation! Excellent emergency training ... Read More
Classy experience. Ship: Noordam. Well appointed, clean, well maintained. Hand sanitizers available everywhere, with overhead and live reminders to use or to wash hands. Great implementation! Excellent emergency training pre-embarking. Captain Bos kept us informed on wildlife sightings and beautiful vistas as we approached. Ports: Departed Seward, AK, and charming town. The Sea Life Aquarium was wonderful, showing sea life from both above and below the water. Ports: Haines - tiny town, not much to do; schedule excursion this stop. Juneau - take the Tram to the top of the mountain for exquisite views & eagle sightings. Open-air Crab Shack serve King Crab legs for lunch, which was ourstanding! Ketchikan - was last port. Juneau & Ketchikan as very commercialized and similar, as one might expect. Shops open when the cruise ships dock! Lots of junky souvenir shops and Tanzanite/Diamond stores. We found most eateries and gift/jewelry shops overpriced. We'd recommend knowing which ports' attractions appeal to you most & select your cruise factoring in that. It seemed to us that many of the vendors onboard making presentations promoting certain jewelry or other stores were likely being compensated by stores at the various ports. Glacier Bay Cabana Rental: Reserve this as soon as you board, if your ship spends the day at Glacier Bay. $50 pp for private outdoor cabana with 2 chaises with wool blankets and 2 chairs with table. Irish coffee, Spanish coffee, and mulled wine served all day, and lunch was served.. While others were freezing on a lower deck, the cabanas broke the wind and protected us from the frigid air around the glaciers! Well worth it! Cabin: Stateroom 7142. We reserved a Neptune Suite on Rotterdam Deck (7th floor), with perks that enhanced our vacation experience...bottle of champagne; bottle of sparkling water; 2 large bottles of spring water; silver basket of fruit replenished daily; Elemis toiletries; separate tub & shower; access to the Neptune Lounge (with elegantly prepared hors d'oeuvres, chocolates, fruits, cookies, latte/cappuccino/coffee maker, tea, juices. Sodas & cocktails were extra); personal Concierge in lounge, and complimentary daily breakfast in their high end Pinnacle Grill. Additionally, our boarding, disembarkation and luggage handling were treated with priority as a suite guest. We were told to enter the Priority Entrance lane and passed about 500 other people waiting to board -- took us 15 minutes to check-in and be on the ship! If able, we would recommend traveling at this level. Regardless of room level, the staff were all friendly and eager to accommodate any request. Our room steward, Danang, besides being friendly and always with a smile, was a perfectionist and had our room looking crisp & fresh twice a day! A very polished, professional group of employees on ALL levels. TV was 18-24" size with very few channels & poor reception in port especially. ***There are no outlets next to the bed, so if you must plug in a medical device, or entertainment device, you will need an extension cord; OR, check with HAL before departure to see if one is available onboard. Dining: We ate breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, except for an excursion day when we ordered room service. Pinnacle Grill is exquisite - both food & service. Lunch was good at the Lido. It had very crowded feel, but many varieties of food; this is a help yourself-type restaurant. We never tried the Pool/Lido Deck fast food bar. Dinner was mostly done in the Vista Restaurant, and the food was delicious and beautifully prepared. Service was impeccable, and the servers knew our names in public after Day 2! Regarding dinner attire - Gala Night allowed dressy casual; we did not wear nor see formal wear. Entertainment: We did not attend any of the shows or visit any of the bars/lounges, though some of them had beautiful decor. Overall a great experience. We left with a very positive feeling about the Holland America Line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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
Sail Date September 2015
We just returned from a wonderful cruise to Southeast Alaska (the Tongass Rain Forest). I was concerned after reading some of the negative reviews but I didn't experience any of the problems others apparently did. The ship was ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful cruise to Southeast Alaska (the Tongass Rain Forest). I was concerned after reading some of the negative reviews but I didn't experience any of the problems others apparently did. The ship was beautiful, both outside and in, and perfectly maintained. Not a "tired ship" by any means. The staff was wonderful - friendly and responsive. The food was great, in my opinion, especially the Canaletto, which was some of the best Italian food I've ever eaten. The entertainment was good in most cases. I enjoyed the juggler and the production numbers (excellent). They had a comedian, Kevin Jordan, who was very good. But I'm not a fan of Dancing with the Stars. And one of the acts was "Recycled Percussion" which didn't appeal to me at all. Though I really liked the BB King band, it was too loud for the venue (the modest-sized Queens Lounge). The daily events were very interesting, especially the cooking demonstrations, a show on art history and a beer tasting. The ports were small towns devoted to cruise passengers (Ketchikan was the most commercial) but I enjoyed every excursion - whale watching and a glacier visit (in Juneau), a thrilling ride on the White Pass railway (in Skagway) and a visit to an Tlingit native tribe and lumberjack show (in Ketchikan). Also our day in Glacier Bay was an awesome experience. The glaciers are receding so if you're ever going to see them, get there as soon as possible. All in all, a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We were lucky enough to get an upgrade to a Neptune suite. This was wonderful! The girls in the lounge were the best as well as our cabin stewards. We loved the option of breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. Laundry services were much ... Read More
We were lucky enough to get an upgrade to a Neptune suite. This was wonderful! The girls in the lounge were the best as well as our cabin stewards. We loved the option of breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. Laundry services were much appreciated . I am prone to seasickness and must say no problem at all. We were midship which I think definitely helped. Took meclizine anyway, just wanted to be safe! Pinnacle Grill was excellent and we even enjoyed Canneletto, which doesn't get the best reviews! Main dining room waiters were excellent but didn't enjoy all food choices. Entertainment was excellent as well! Embarkation in Vancouver went well but disembarkation was a bit of a mess! Long line but finally added agents which sped things up! Arrived at Canada Place around 10:30 which seemed to be perfect! Took train from YVR with no problems at all, plenty of room for our luggage which had been a concern! Excursions were all great! The train in Skagway was our fave! Sad day in Ketchikan, with the Westerdam tragedy! All in all a great trip and loved the a Noordam! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
With a few exceptions (all too insignificant to even mention), this was another fantastic HAL cruise for us - we had some mechanical problems that Captain Jan handled flawlessly and some rough seas that he also handled without a hitch. We ... Read More
With a few exceptions (all too insignificant to even mention), this was another fantastic HAL cruise for us - we had some mechanical problems that Captain Jan handled flawlessly and some rough seas that he also handled without a hitch. We were privileged to experience the new "Evening at Le Cirque" menu and found it to be mostly an improvement over the previous one. We found the DiveIn to be a good idea well executed. Our stateroom attendants, Hetut and Dani, were as good as any we have ever had previously. MDR food selections were generally good and quality of food delivered was above average. The Lido offerings were par for the course, but the personal service provided to us by Nia was absolutely the best. Our most memorable part of the cruise was our dinner in Canaletto - it was far and away the best we have ever had at Canaletto and one of the very best Italian meals I have ever had. In case you haven't figured it out - we thoroughly enjoyed our latest Noordam cruise and, God willin', hope to make several more before we're finished. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We are a couple of seasoned seniors who have cruised on several different lines. We drive from our home and use the ParkNGo service for getting to the ship. This is our 4th on HAL and we like the "older" crowd. Service on the ... Read More
We are a couple of seasoned seniors who have cruised on several different lines. We drive from our home and use the ParkNGo service for getting to the ship. This is our 4th on HAL and we like the "older" crowd. Service on the Noordam is excellent. We had a rocky start due to the high wind and seas but it settled down the second day. Our cabin was 6074 with fantastic A/C and a wonderful veranda. We have traveled in this type of cabin before and like the space and large bathroom. After 2 days our cabin steward finally got the message, we want ice at 4PM for cocktails, from them on things were fantastic. The first night dining was horrible, the table mates were loud, opinionated, and I really had trouble believing their "stories". We were at the back of the ship by a window and the vibrations was too much. This is Main Seating at 8pm. The next day I called and asked to be moved closer to the front which was quickly done. From that point on we had great table mates and excellent service. I am sorry to say no escargot, don't know why. The only bad note was the wine steward, never came around, was rude to another couple at our table and just seemed not to care about selling wine. Of the 4 couples, 3 brought their own wine glasses into the dining room each night. The ports we visited were great except in Barbados it was a holiday so all shopping was closed as well as Martinique (we would not get off there anyway). Our Concorde tour in Barbados was fantastic for retired airlines folks. If you are ever there don't miss this tour even the ride to the airport was nice with the guide telling us about the history of the island and things we passed along the way. We did stop at a local bar for free rum punch, beer, sodas or water. It was open air and had a lovely view. The Trolly Train in Dominica was just what we wanted, to see the town not the country side. We did not see any of the shows, I enjoy the casino of which I "bought" another slot machine. The payoffs are very few but we are on a cruise and this is just for fun. The casino staff is great and make friends quickly, those tips help. I enjoyed the blackjack and roulette, 3 card poker did not pay off at all. Embarkation was a breeze, disembarkation was crowded. I can not stand in line and our porter talked to a HAL lady who let us go to the head of the line, sorry we butted ahead. If I had know this was the way it was going I would have gotten a wheel chair. We then sailed through custom, immigration, etc. out for a very long walk to get our van back to ParkNGo. It was a fantastic cruise with us enjoying the veranda more than usual and booking another cruise on board to take advantage of those perks.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Noordam – October 20/13 Mediterranean and Tran-Atlantic cruise We love cruising and we particularly love cruising on Holland America ships. We'd had a lovely long cruise in the spring and did not plan on this holiday but the magic ... Read More
Noordam – October 20/13 Mediterranean and Tran-Atlantic cruise We love cruising and we particularly love cruising on Holland America ships. We'd had a lovely long cruise in the spring and did not plan on this holiday but the magic word 'Sale' appeared and we could not resist. We have taken more than a dozen trans-Atlantic cruises in the past so there had to be new (to us) ports of call to tempt us. This cruise fitted that requirement. One of the biggest expenses for us in the airfare. I spend many hours researching flights on line and finally determined the most economical way for us to get from eastern Canada to Greece was to fly from Halifax on Icelandair to London, spend a night in London and then fly to Athens on BA the following day. Instead of paying out $3500 per person to Air Canada - it cost us $800 per person and we flew in a lot more comfort! We spent our London night in the Premier Inn on the Bath Road at Heathrow. We have stayed there many times and it is always a favourite of ours. Our second night was at the Savoy Hotel in Piraeus. The hotel itself was reasonably comfortable - nothing special. The food in the dining room was very good - huge (far more than one could eat) servings and very reasonable prices. On October 20th we boarded the Noordam. We have previously cruised on the Noordam and find it a nice mid-sized ship. We prefer the smaller ships however this size is still very nice - not one of those behemoths where you get lost, still a size to get to know and recognize staff during your vacation. Embarkation was smooth and we thoroughly enjoyed our Mariner luncheon before re-acquainting ourselves with the ship. HAL ships have wonderful libraries and our first stop was to pick out some books to enjoy. I mentioned 'sale' earlier. Usually we cruise in an inside stateroom as it is more economical and we are really only in our cabin to sleep and change clothing. This time, however, the price of a balcony was so good that we booked it. And then received an upgrade to an even nicer balcony. We were thoroughly spoiled!! Our cabin was large, very comfortable with a nice sitting area inside and another couple of chairs and tables on the balcony. Dave spent many happy hours reading on the balcony. And I thoroughly enjoy being able to step outside and get a breath of fresh sea air whenever I like. The cabin bathroom was a revelation - there was even a bathtub. After cruises where you felt like you should just soap the walls and then turn around in the shower - it was a treat to have so much room. We definitely loved our accommodations - lots of storage room for all our things and lots of comfort for us. This cruise was very port-intensive at the start so other than playing a lot of trivia, we did not get very involved in other ship activities until the sea-days part of the cruise. We opted for traditional dining and had a nice table for two and were thoroughly spoiled by our waiters and wine stewards (two lovely ladies). Meals are always excellent on HAL ships. We feel they have the best meals of any line. We adore spices and look forward to Asian lunches in the Lido, There is always so much variety that no matter how long the cruise - one always has lots of choices. Quite frankly - my idea of heaven would be about 6 months on a HAL ship - however I would doubtless need a whole new wardrobe as it is very difficult to exercise will power all the time. We especially appreciate the fact there there are a variety of safe sugar free desserts for my diabetic husband to enjoy. The Rijsttafel luncheon on longer cruises is a real treat for the both of us. I appreciate the fact that rather than hiding their recipes - HAL has available for sale several wonderful cookbooks with recipes that have become favourites. It is nice to make a particular dish when back home and bring back memories of enjoying it on a cruise. We had the ship as our "hotel' for the night before sailing away from Piraeus. I really enjoy this - usually we have sail away a few hours after boarding. Somehow this seemed so much more relaxed and it was a treat to watch the sail away from our balcony. The weather was perfect - sunny and comfortably warm. Ports of Call Our first port of call was Kusadasi. We had not been here before and most of the folks going on tours headed off to visit Ephesus. We have been to Ephesus twice and chose instead to wander about and explore the city on our own. We had a wonderful time exploring the market, bargaining for our purchases and enjoying the sights and sounds. We walked up to the Caravanserai. It is a beautiful stone building and is now a hotel with some shops around the interior square. One can just picture many years ago and travellers on camels arriving there – the camels sitting down in the square and their owners in the many rooms resting after their travels. So many wonderful streets to stroll and shops to explore and then a stop at a sidewalk cafe for Raki for two and turkish coffee for Dave. Our next port of call was Rhodes. It was lovely getting off the ship and walking around the harbour to enter one of the gates to this ancient walled city. We love history and have read a great deal about the history of the Crusades and Rhodes figured heavily in any mention of that era. We visited the Archaeological museum - as much for the wonderful art treasures on display there as for the building itself. This building was originally the hospital run by the Knights Hospitalers who cared for ill pilgrims and injured and ill knights. It is a marvelous place - bigger than modern day hospitals in small towns - spread out over a large area with a variety of levels. There are wonderful courtyards with flowers and herbs and fishponds to sooth the spirit as well as the physical ills. Next we headed up the Street of the Knights towards the palace - stopping on the way to visit an interesting (and free) costume museum. It was a little gem - do not miss it. The Palace was the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitalers. After the Turkish empire attacked and battles the Knights - they earned such respect that they were allowed to leave Rhodes with all their weapons and they left and settled in Malta. There they became the Knights Templar and their focus was on amassing wealth instead of ministering to the ill. We found it very easy to explore Rhodes on foot and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. Our next stop was Haifa. We decided to take advantage of a ship tour and it was excellent. Our guide Sharon was wonderful. She had a degree in History and in English Literature and her knowledge of history really added to the enjoyment of the tour. First we were driven up Mount Carmel to the church of Stella Maris – the church of the Carmelite nuns. Next we visited the Bahai Gardens. They stretch down the mountainside with a beautiful golden shrine half way down and the gardens were absolutely beautiful. Then we were off to Akko which is the modern name of Acre – of fame in the Crusades. The Turks who over-ran the country and drove the Crusaders out of it – wanted no reminders and buried the fortress at Acre under tons of rubble. We visited the excavated buildings and went through one of the Knights escape tunnels from the fortress to the harbour. It was all fascinating. We visited a shop that made beautiful items in copper and silver. This was the 5th generation creating such beautiful items – the family originally from Iran. We brought some wonderful souvenirs back from that shop. We had a walk through a suq and then a lovely drive back to Haifa and the ship. It was an excellent tour and our guide Sharon was a fount of knowledge. We highly recommend that tour. Limasol in Cyprus was our next port of call. We did not book any tours and actually had a rest day as had done so much walking the day before in Haifa. This is not a port that offers a lot to do – it was a port that the ship visited after the Egypt ports were cancelled due to the political situation in Egypt. Our next port of call was Katakolon – which is actually called Katakolo by the local people. We had a most interesting visit there. There are three main streets and walking along the middle one we came to a lovely little Greek Orthodox church that had been destroyed in WWII and had been totally rebuilt by one man (who was there in the church at that time). It was a labour of love that has taken many years – and well worth a visit. We walked along towards a little park and there purchased tickets for €6 each for a ride on the train up in the hills. This was a 30 minute ride that took up up through a little village , to visit a winery, and then to stop at a big hotel that had access to a beach for swimming. If we ever go back there I will get that train first thing in the morning and enjoy some beach time as the train goes back and forth while ships are in port. One can get off at the winery (which we did – to sample and purchase some wine) and at the beach and get later trains back. This is a small town but we noticed lots of signs advertising Guest Houses and Hotels. A lot of tourists visit here because of the lovely climate and peace and quiet. Many visitors head off to Olympus and there are cars and scooters and mopeds and scooters to rent and a bus that goes there regularly. Messina was our next port of call and we were just there for a few hours in the afternoon. We wandered around the streets a bit but because we just arrived there at noon – it was much like a ghost town as everything was closed between noon and four. Sensible in the heat of summer but I would have thought having stores open for a ship load of tourists in the autumn might have benefited the economy a bit. We heard there was a tour bus – not a HOHO but it would have given a bit more insight into the town but could not find a location for it. Tourism does not appear to be a priority there. Naples was next and we had wonderful weather there for our tour of the city. Last time we were here Dave visited Pompeii and Herculaneum while our travelling companions had a tour of the Amalfi coast. This time we wanted to see more of the city so chose a HOHO bus and were delighted with our choice. There is so much to see in the city but be prepared to do is slowly as traffic in Naples is unbelievable. There are two HOHO routes – the red and the blue. We took the red line tour which is advertised as a one hour tour if you are staying on the bus rather than getting off at each stop. It took well over two hours because of the traffic. The tour was enlivened by good commentary, wonderful Neapolitan music and the frequent wailing of ambulances trying to get through traffic. I do not think anyone would ever die of old age in Naples – they would die of traffic – trying to get through the cars and buses to hospital. There are so many lovely churches and interesting museums in Naples – one really needs a week there and all we could spare on this visit was one day. Any before leaving the HOHO we asked about the wonderful music and the guide had CDs available for sale – a lovely souvenir of our day there. Citavecchia was our next port of call. We were in port from 7 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. This was the end of the first cruise for many, with more people joining the ship for the Trans-Atlantic crossing. Had we been in port longer – we might have taken the train up to Rome for the day. Having been to Rome several times before (even spending a week before embarking on one cruise) we decided that there really would not be enough time to enjoy the city as the train there and back takes a good hour or more each way. We opted for a ship day. Alicante was our next port of call. The last time we visited Alicante there was a huge rainstorm and we did not get to see a lot. We skipped the busy shuttle and walked through the port to the stop for the HOHO bus. This time it was sunny with a marvellous 27 degrees and fortunately a nice breeze while the bus is moving. We were just in port until 2:30 in the afternoon so had to be very selective about what to do. We decided to enjoy the sights of the city but stay on the bus until we reached the castle of Santa Barbara. This was a fortress built by the Moors on the top of a hill. It was renamed after the Spanish drove the Moors out of Spain. It is a wonderful place to visit and the views from the castle over the city and the water are simply magnificent. Thank goodness for digital photography as I would have run out of old fashioned film if I had been using that kind of camera. We only got to scratch the surface – would need a lot more time than we had available to explore all of the castle. There are other lovely spots in the city to explore but time was so limited. We came back to the port stop and then decided to walk about for a half hour – enjoying the lovely streets with the patterned tiles that look like waves, and the many stalls and vendors of local products before we headed back. There is a beautiful old sailing ship in the harbour that has been turned into a restaurant , local markets to explore and a casino for the gamblers. This is a city I want to visit again as so much more to see and not enough time to see it all. Malaga was our next port of call. More sunshine and hot temperatures greeted us and we headed for the HOHO bus here. Because we had been on the HOHO in Naples – our tickets were discounted here! The trip here is an 80 minute route with about 15 different stops – a wonderful way to really get to see Malaga. So many people go from this port to visit Granada. Having visited Granada twice on previous cruises we wanted to see more of Malaga and this bus tour was definitely the way to explore it. There is everything from a Moorish castle to cathedrals, museums, lovely gardens, a roman amphitheatre – so much to see and enjoy. Malaga was the home town of Picasso – so the Picasso Museum is a must for fans of the artist. Cadiz was the last mainland port of call on this cruise. Some folks opted to visit Seville but we love Cadiz. It is one of the easiest cities to walk around as different walking routes are painted on the pavement. . We love strolling the streets – finding new and interesting spots on each visit. This trip we discovered the Church of San Francisco which looks tiny on the outside but is big and amazing inside. There was a lovely little restaurant on that same square where we had lunch. Shrimp tortillas are a speciality of Cadiz and they are delicious! Those along with potatas bravas and some local wine – heaven... We always head over to Cathedral Square and explore the little side streets and visit the market. After all our walking we decided to head up to the Cathedral stop and catch the HoHo back to the ship. The hop-on hop-off bus here is wonderful and despite having taken it on other visits here, we could not resist taking it again here. Two sea days after leaving Cadiz we stopped at our last port of call Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores (or Acores as the locals call it). Ponta is a lovely place to visit and most people opted to go ashore – either to explore the city or take a tour. Because we had been there at least 10 times in the past we decided to take advantage of a quiet day on ship. Having covered the ports of call - which are secondary in my opinion - here is my view of the ship. The ship itself was immaculately clean and that was evidenced by the fact that there were no signs of illness on board other than colds. No gastric problems. That takes a lot of work to avoid on a ship as passengers are not always honest about health issues when boarding - bring Norvo type diseases on and spread them. Not this time though. No matter where one was on the ship - there was staff industriously cleaning and polishing. The entertainment on board ship was very good. The production shows were thoroughly enjoyable and we went to them despite having seen these new shows on the Ryndam in the spring. This ship is larger and has a larger cast so it gave these productions a different look. The guest entertainers were good - something for everyone there. Our favourite performers were Graffiti Classic – billed as 16 strings, 8 dancing feet and 4 voices. And they were a riot – great music and wonderful musical comedy. We actually enjoyed it so much we went to both the early and the late show and purchased their CDs. We enjoyed guest lecturers, and thoroughly enjoyed all our trivia matches hosted by Jeremy Hales of the cruise director staff. The music on ship was excellent, the HAL Cats, and the group in the Ocean Bar played wonderful music for ballroom dancing. There was a wide variety of music from guitar to piano bar to classical to dance groups. I enjoyed a few trips to the spa for the wonderful massages. It is the Holland America crew that make the cruise for us. The service is outstanding – far superior to any on shore. Our waiters and wine stewards quickly learn our likes and dislikes, our cabin stewards manage to restore order to chaos several times a day and everyone we meet on ship is pleasant and helpful. We thoroughly enjoyed the Rijsttafel luncheons, the afternoon teas and all of the lovely meals. We had fun at the Black and White Officers Ball, and all the crew was always adept at making us feel welcome and wanted in their home (as we are guests in the crew's home). Because we have sailed with HAL ships several times (we were awarded our bronze Mariner medals on this cruise) we often run into crew members that we have met on other sailings. Once again we renewed acquaintances as well as making new friends. The only downside of our whole cruise was the arrival in Fort Lauderdale. This was in no way the fault of the ship. We were delayed in leaving by almost an hour and as we moved off the ship found we were in long hot and uncomfortable lines because the authorities at Fort Lauderdale had insufficient staff to promptly process the passengers leaving the ship. They certainly would have been aware of the size of the ship and the number of passengers likely to be disembarking as well as any crew heading home on holiday. We were totally disgusted by the lack of preparation and organization by the emigration staff. We finally arrived at the airport an hour and a half later than the proper check-in time and were just lucky not to miss our flight. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, enjoyed the ports of call, loved the crew and the ship and just wish we could be back on the Noordam when it heads back to Europe in March. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I had planned this cruise for many months and love the Holland America line. This was my second cruise (first was Niew Amsterdam Caribbean cruise) with this line, and I highly recommend. Their service and excellent cuisine is very good. ... Read More
I had planned this cruise for many months and love the Holland America line. This was my second cruise (first was Niew Amsterdam Caribbean cruise) with this line, and I highly recommend. Their service and excellent cuisine is very good. There were several special GOURMET barbeques on deck where the chefs created Mediterranean cuisine on the grill--it was exceptional! There are daily digital workshops given twice a day, tea service, etc--all at no additional cost. They had a "Dancing with the Stars" competition which was different. Daily movies, behind the scenes tours never left you with a lack of activities. I felt their tours, which I took 3, were well run and worth the price. I did go with a group on a private taxi in Monte Carlo which worked out great, if you meet some others on the cruise who want to go together for the day in a port. My room stewards were always cheerful and very helpful with any requests. There was always fresh fruit and ice each day, which they asked when I arrived if I would like. The wait staff in the dining and other food venues were always quick and efficient. There was a food 'scare' when we first came onto the ship and the other passengers who'd been on the ship (it was a 30 day start to finish cruise)all had to leave while the crew thoroughly cleaned the ship. I don't know how they were able to do it so quickly, but they did. The crew continued to clean into the night. Their health and safety standards are excellent. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Review of Noordam cruise Feb 8, 2013 Overall 5 stars Cabin 5 stars MDR 2 stars Entertainment 5 stars to Brett Cave, singer pianist and Rich Purpura, comedian and "mind reader" Embark/disembark - best ever. Quick, courteous, ... Read More
Review of Noordam cruise Feb 8, 2013 Overall 5 stars Cabin 5 stars MDR 2 stars Entertainment 5 stars to Brett Cave, singer pianist and Rich Purpura, comedian and "mind reader" Embark/disembark - best ever. Quick, courteous, efficient and very nice for someone with limited mobility. Pre-Flight hotel: Sleep Inn BWI - very hard to find. Taxi from airport upon return, $23 with tip - better than trying to get hotwl van. No Breakfast, although it was advertised that there would be continental breakfast. Sheraton Ft L Beach. Not worth the money. $150 through Priceline. Next time will choose cheaper hotel closer to port with breakfast. Meals overpriced. Taxis in FT L plentiful, ditto BWI AirTran - check other prices. Too many add-ons, esp $25 per bag for luggage. We did like direct flights from BWI Cruise Critic roll call - very helpful. 5 star party aboard ship. Sunset cruise in Curacao set up by Kampusa very nice. One of the nicest roll calls I've ever had! Superior verandah cabin excellent! Lots of room, great balcony. Would do it again if we could afford to. Stewards very good, not perfect, but obliging. MDR - ok for breakfast and lunch. One dinner - not very good and much too long. MDR understaffed. Lido fine, but pick your times. Chairs in both Lido and MDR very comfortable. Condition of ship very clean, though a little shabbiness, especially in the Crow's Nest was observed. Not a problem for me - I like comfort and cleanliness over glitz any day! Tendering a bad choice for someone with mobility issues. HMC over crowded, could not get clamshell, not enough chairs for two ships in port. BBQ crowded and lackluster. Glad shore excursion on Samana was cancelled for lack of interest - tenders were bouncing around terribly - did not go ashore. The Pinnacle menu is excellent. Good choices, great service! Would go again at least twice. Ate in Pinnacle three times for dinner, once for lunch, and once for Le Cirque. Le Cirque food was bland - not as good as regular Pinnacle menu. Would not book Le Cirque again. Canaletto - service excellent, ambience very quiet. Ate there twice, once would have been more than enough. Lido evening buffet has excellent Italian choices. Disappointed in Canaletto menu - no veal or chicken marsala. An up charge for meatballs and spaghetti is not worth it. Drinks - most are way too big and watered down. Could not find a decent gin martini- but Manhattans straight up were great. Library excellent! Lots of computer terminals - no problem checking in with airline. FLL airport. Could not check bags until 3 hours before flight. Good reason for using ship's luggage direct and/or Ft Lauderdale tours. Overall staff and crew were 5 stars. Daily Mass with priest aboard....wonderful. Bottle of liquor in stateroom - reasonably priced. Laundry efficient and not unreasonably priced. Would take fewer clothes next time and not do formal. Yes, I know that sounds like heresy, but we really do not enjoy the longish dinners in the MDR anyway and would be perfectly happy on formal night to eat in the Lido - or on our balcony. Having three banks of elevators, forward, aft and midship was very convenient and most times we did not have to wait long. I loved the decor! Elegant without glitz! This voyage on this ship contrasts very favorably with our previous voyage on Celebrity's Silhouette. Even though we are Celebrity Captain's Club elite, and the perks are much better than HAL, we would not book a Celebrity cruise again on an "S" class ship, and we would definitely book on HAL again! I hope soon! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We took the 11-day South Caribbean Wayfarer Cruise on Holland America Noordam from November 5 to 16. This was our eighth cruise on Holland America, and we enjoy the size of the ships, the friendliness and attention, and the wonderful ... Read More
We took the 11-day South Caribbean Wayfarer Cruise on Holland America Noordam from November 5 to 16. This was our eighth cruise on Holland America, and we enjoy the size of the ships, the friendliness and attention, and the wonderful cuisine and service. We flew nonstop from Kansas City to Ft. Lauderdale via SW Airlines, arriving the day before the cruise. We took a taxi to the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Hotel. I would highly recommend the Hyatt for a pre-cruise hotel. They were very friendly and the room was quite large with a wonderful bathroom. We had a first floor room with a small patio overlooking the garden and pool area. The weather was beautiful and we had a late lunch at the Orchid's Pool Bar and Grill. I had the Pier Shrimp Salad and my husband had the Cheese Burger. Both were excellent! We ate dinner on the hotel property by the pier -- Grille 66 & Bar. Luckily, the weather was warm and mild, so we could eat outside once again. We had the special which was the Mixed Sea Grill -- absolutely fantastic. My husband also had the Key Lime Pie. We experienced great service and highly recommend it. The next morning, after an excellent breakfast buffet in the Mariner's Cafe, we took a cab to the pier, arriving around 10:15 a.m. Check-in went very smoothly and we were soon on the Noordam. Our rooms were ready and our luggage arrived around 4:45 p.m., so we were able to change for dinner held in the Main Dining Room. Meantime, we ate at the Mariner's Luncheon; reserved our table for the 5:15 p.m. seating in the Vista Dining Room; signed up for Internet minutes in the Exploration's Cafe; signed up for the Navigator's Wine Package; attended the emergency drill; and then read. After dinner, we listened to the Adagio Strings in the Explorer's Lounge. This was part of our daily routine as we enjoy their music immensely. The young group of two women and two men was from Moldova. I cannot say enough about this quartet -- they were absolutely outstanding. The members were Vadim Buinovski -- leader and violin; Daria Buinovski -- violin; Serghei Racenco -- viola; and Irina Solpan -- cello. Our day-to-day schedule was very routine. My husband and I do not do many excursions as the cruise ship is our destination. We cruise to enjoy the relaxation, cuisine, and entertainment. We like to read, attend the lectures and demonstrations, walk on the deck, go to wine tastings, play trivia, meet new people, dine, go to the shows, and watch the ocean. A short review of the ship follows: EMBARKATION: Went very smoothly. STATEROOM: We were in a large outside partially-obstructed-view room on upper promenade deck 4. Luckily, we had a good view of the ocean between the lifeboats. We are seldom in the cabin, so just having a window was nice. There was plenty of closet space and two small cabinets, with locks, beside the bed. There was also a safe in the closet. The small bathroom had a shower-tub combination. The beds were very comfortable with nice linens and the towels were nice and large. We did not experience any plumbing problems and the a/c worked perfectly. We very seldom saw our cabin stewards -- Mohammad and Rul, and they did a fantastic job. They had 30 rooms to clean each day (twice a day), plus their other duties. Cannot say enough good things about them. DINING: When we boarded the ship, we went directly to the Explorer's Lounge to make reservations for the same table each night in the MDR (open seating). This allows us to sit at the same table each evening and get to know our waiters and wine steward. It is very comparable to fixed seating which always seems to be closed when we make our reservations. Our excellent dining room stewards were Daeno and Arie and the wine steward was George. Every meal in the MDR was wonderful. We so enjoy trying different items and my husband always looks forward to the chilled soups. Contrary to many comments on Cruise Critic our service was beyond outstanding. As noted on the Cruise Critic boards, the passengers seem to be "dressing down" more and more. My opinion is that they should eat in the Lido if they prefer casual wear. It doesn't bother me a lot, and I am assuming these passengers would dress the same way if they were going out to an upscale restaurant in a large city. A pleasant surprise was that on formal nights, there were at least 40% of the men in tuxedos -- something we did not see on our last cruise (Alaska). We ate two lunches in the Pinnacle Grill which were very enjoyable. The food was wonderful and the service very good. We chose to eat breakfast in The Lido since we are early risers and the MDR did not open until 7:30 a.m. Personally, I do not care for The Lido, but the food was good, so I can tolerate breakfasts. ENTERTAINMENT: As I stated before, the Adagio Strings were outstanding. They also performed two concerts in the Queen's Lounge playing "From Bach to the Beatles" which drew standing ovations. We also enjoyed several shows in the Vista Lounge. Jeff Burghart, an impressionist-comedian; Barnaby -- a juggler, singer, and comedian; and Frank King, a comedian, were all outstanding. David Schofield, a British concert pianist was very talented; the Divas of Motown were talented; and the Noordam singers and dancers were very good. EXCURSIONS: Ports visited were: Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Fort-de-France, Martinque; Roseau, Dominica; St. Thomas; and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Other passengers reported the tours on the islands were very beautiful and fun, but since we did not do any excursions, we just enjoyed the quiet, peaceful Noordam. STAFF: The captain of the Noordam was Captain Robert Jan Kan, who did an excellent job keeping us informed of the weather conditions, etc. He was also easy to understand. Shane Michaels was the Cruise Director and he was the best we have had on our eight cruises. We played Team Trivia each day with him as the host, and he did an excellent job. Party Planner Sydney also did an excellent job coordinating the many Food & Entertaining Programs throughout the week which I attended. We also attended the Navigator's Wine Tasting and had a most enjoyable time. DISEMBARKATION: We were the second group to leave the ship as we used the Signature Express Baggage Service, so we didn't see our luggage until we arrived back in Kansas City. It was very convenient not to lug suitcases around at the airport as we had quite a long wait for our non-stop SW flight. We had a wonderful cruise on the Noordam and are looking forward to many more with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was a 21-day cruise that started in Civitavecchia, Italy and ended in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It combined two HAL cruises: a 7-day cruise with stops in Livorno (Florence, Pisa), Monaco, Barcelona, Caligari (Sardinia), Sicily (Palermo), ... Read More
This was a 21-day cruise that started in Civitavecchia, Italy and ended in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It combined two HAL cruises: a 7-day cruise with stops in Livorno (Florence, Pisa), Monaco, Barcelona, Caligari (Sardinia), Sicily (Palermo), and then back to Civitavecchia followed by a 14-day cruise that stopped at Alicante, Malaga, Cadiz, and Madeira before heading on a 7-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. What attracted us were (1) the cost savings -- HAL gives you a discount when you combine two cruises together like that; in addition, the 2nd part of it was a repositioning cruise, which also saves money; (2) the itinerary; and (3) the mix of interesting ports with lots of at sea days. We flew out early so that we could spend three nights in Rome before our cruise. We booked our airline and hotel (Visconti Palace in Rome) through HAL. This worked out extremely well. I don't think that we could have gotten a better deal on airfare, and the Visconti Palace turned out to be an excellent choice: great location (you can walk from there to the Vatican or to the Spanish Steps or the Pantheon, etc.) and a surprisingly fine buffet breakfast each morning. There was a HAL rep onsite at the hotel. The transfers from airport to hotel and from hotel to the Noordam went very smoothly. It made schlepping luggage much less of a problem than it would have been if we had made our own arrangements. For most of the ports, we wandered about on our own and enjoyed ourselves and found something interesting in all of them. Owing to a US State Department advisory, HAL cancelled the stop in Tunisia. That was a big disappointment, since I had been looking forward to seeing Carthage. (Those of you who studied Latin in school and remember their Cicero will understand my desire to see what all the fuss was about.) HAL substituted Sardinia. We did use HAL tours for the following ports: 1. Livorno: Transfer to Florence HAL has a somewhat pricey bus trip that takes you from the ship to Florence. The guide on board did a great job of pointing out sights to us, though it was primarily a way to get from the ship to Florence and back. Before we left, we had ordered tickets online for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. That turns out to have been a wise move: it is virtually impossible to get in if you don't have an advanced reservation. We spent most of our time in the Uffizi. 2. Malaga: Excursion to Granada and The Alhambra This is a region that boasts 320 days of sunny weather per year. We, however, managed to arrive on one of the 45 rainy days. And, boy, was it rainy! It was a cold and constant rain all day long, which complicated the Alhambra tour, since much of it is outdoors. That said, the Alhambra was still spectacular and well worth the very l-o-n-g journey (2+ hours travel each way). It was one of the most visually exciting places I saw on this cruise. 3. Cadiz: Panoramic Cadiz & Jerez with Sherry Tasting Not bad. We had a good tour guide on the bus, and the sherry tasting was instructive -- and fun! 4. Funchal (Madeira): Panoramic Island Landscapes Great tour guide on the bus. She was knowledgeable and clearly enjoyed what she was doing. Unfortunately, the day became progressively cloudier and foggier, and that affected the views from the tops of those very steep mountains. I will add that enjoying this tour does require that you have a high tolerance for being on a bus that wends its way through narrow, winding, mountain roads with some hairpin curves. Kudos to the intrepid bus driver! As for the cruise: the Noordam is a beautiful ship with interesting artwork and sculpture throughout the ship. Although we spent three weeks onboard, I was still discovering artwork up to the last day of the cruise. As we noticed on previous HAL cruises, staff are constantly cleaning it, and the result is that it was spotless. We were in a Deluxe Veranda Suite. On balance, we have always felt that it is worth the extra cost, but it's a close call, and certainly the folks we met who were in other veranda rooms seems very pleased with the accommodations. Some comments and observations: The friendliness, cheerfulness, and helpfulness of the staff are a BIG plus. This was true everywhere we went on board from stateroom to dining venues to lounges. Even the crew who were vacuuming the stairwells when I walked down to the Explorations Cafe (aka "library") at 6:30 a.m. always gave me a cheerful "good morning." While I realize that HAL's customer service training has something to do with this, I don't think it can explain it entirely. You can fake enthusiasm, at least not day in and day out. The sense you get everywhere is that there is a high level of staff morale on board this ship -- this despite the fact that most of the crew are either Filipino or Indonesian, work long hours, and are on long contracts that keep them away from their homes and families for many months of the year. Our stewards (Andi and RaH) were always quick to service our stateroom, and knew us by name after the first day. Christine and Maryann in the Neptune Lounge were terrific. The Neptune is one of the perks of booking a Deluxe Veranda Suite, and they are the quintessentially helpful concierges who can handle just about any problem or issue that might arise. We had the same good service in the Vista Dining Room. We got to know our servers (Putu and Eke) and wine steward well, and we have nothing but high praise for the three of them, as well as for Muji, who was made the table assignments. Since we are not buffet fans, we rarely ate in the Lido, though the few times we did use it we were happy with it. Except for three nights at the Pinnacle Grill (one of which was the special Cirque meal), we dined in the Vista. We also had several lunches there. We took some meals in our room -- breakfast always arrived on time, and if you order during the lunch hour, you can order your lunch off of the Vista Dining Room menu, which is generally a much more interesting selection than the standard room service menu. We liked the food! We found it imaginative and well-presented. We especially liked the soups. The cold fruit-soups were among the most delicious I've tasted, and HAL chefs know how to create a great stock for their hot soups that was never greasy nor overly salty. There were nights where I skipped an appetizer or salad and settled for two different soups, instead, before I headed onto the main course. Desserts were well-presented, but I am such an ice cream enthusiast, that I am probably not the best judge of these: most nights, I settled for some variant of ice cream and chocolate syrup. That said, I've noticed that no matter whether it is a luxury, premium, or mass market cruise ship, the Cruise Critic reviews seem to show the widest divergence on the subject of food. Yes, there were people we met on board who complained about the food, though it was hard to pin down why they disliked something that we found so enjoyable. I think it is fair to say that HAL dinner menus try to be more international than many Americans are used to, and they try to include a few items that are aimed at "foodies" along with items that are more mainstream if not downright comfort food. Vista Dining Room menus, therefore, included everything from duck pate with caviar to meatloaf with gravy. I think that most can generally find what they want, but, of course, it will never compete with a five-star restaurant in a major world city nor will it ever satisfy the folks who are frustrated with the international focus of many of their menus. I mentioned dining at the Pinnacle. The steaks we had were excellent -- exactly what you'd expect at a fine steakhouse. Their onion soup was big disappointment to me, but I suppose that's not primarily why one dines at a steakhouse. The Cirque was also very good and probably worth the extra money we paid for it. We are not a good source of information concerning the entertainment on board. The few times we went to the Vista Lounge showroom what we saw was fair-to-OK, but since didn't see all that many shows, it is probably unfair to pass judgments. The Adagio String Quartet, however, is another matter. Noordam's version of it included classical musicians from Moldova, and they were wonderful. They held forth each night in the Explorer's Lounge (where they offer free chocolates and the encouragement to buy a cognac or a liqueur). They developed quite a following, and the attendance kept growing each night to the point where it started to get a bit crowded. They also did a few special performances in the Queen's Lounge. What a deliciously civilized experience! I hope that this group appears on future HAL cruises. The days included lectures (on subjects such as astronomy and the explorations of the New World), and the card room and game rooms and the Explorer's Cafe were well attended. I would have liked more lecture options. In short, this is a cruise that would appeal to people who enjoy reading, good conversation, meeting interesting people (most retirees), dancing, eating good food, and the magic of watching the ocean as one crosses the Atlantic. Those who want lots of physical activity and lots of parties will be disappointed. The passengers were mostly people 60 and over, but there were some younger couples. Very few children, but then you don't expect to see school-aged children on a cruise in October. A few final observations: HAL ships all have a wonderful teak promenade deck. Three laps around the deck equals one mile. Lots of us took advantage of this. The ship's business office was willing to exchange dollars for euros at the day's official rate of exchange. That is much cheaper than using the ATM machines in port to get euros, where there is always an additional transaction fee. One big question before we cruised was what the weather and the sea would be like on a transatlantic crossing in late October. The weather was typically in the 70's and occasionally low 80's -- very comfortable, in other words, though rather breezy. On most days, we were able to sit on our veranda. I'm told, however, that sometimes the temperature can get colder than that. On two of the days, there were significant waves (20-foot high, I believe), mainly due to some distant remnants of Hurricane Sandy. We never felt queasy, but we did have to be careful walking around the ship since things were rather rocky. On several occasions they closed off access to the outside decks as a safety measure. When we booked this cruise, we opted for a port-side stateroom. Since we were heading west across the Atlantic, our veranda faced south/southeast, which meant that it had more exposure to the sun. When we were in port, it made very little difference. In some cases, the view from the port-side was actually better than the starboard view. In others, it made no difference because the cruise terminal was in an industrialized area where the only "view" was of cargo containers. I appreciate the fact that HAL is a cruise line that doesn't keep bombarding you with intrusive public address announcements. It's nice to be treated like an adult. Every day, they put a bulletin of events and notices in every stateroom. Once a day the captain and cruise directors would come on to update us on the progress of the cruise and to highlight a few things. Even then, the announcements were in the public areas and hallways. One's stateroom was generally a sanctuary free from public address announcements. Several websites warned folks about being on the lookout for pickpockets at some of the ports we were visiting. For the first time, I tried using a money belt (I wound up getting Rick Steeves' Money Belt from Amazon), and I found it very convenient for safely holding euros and credit cards. Complaints? 1. The folks at the Spa did not seem to exude the same level of friendliness and warmth that we felt from others on board. They Spa is run as a concession, and that may have something to do with this perception. Still, we enjoyed using it. I used the thermal suite, and my wife and I both had messages. 2. Since many new people were boarding the ship after the first 7 days, we had to go through a second lifeboat drill, even though we had been through one just a week earlier. That's not the end of the world, and to HAL's credit, they do take attendance, but it seemed odd that they couldn't find a way to require it only of those who were new to the ship. 3. Like many others who have posted reviews on Cruise Critic, we, too, were put off by the stench of cigarette smoke as one walked through the Casino. Since it is midship on Deck 2, it is hard to avoid walking through there when you are on Deck 2. There were some non-smoking tables in the Casino, by the way, but I don't think that helps much. HAL bans smoking in the staterooms, but allows it on one's veranda. That, too, can be unpleasant. I wish that HAL would ban smoking on the verandas. In sum, this was a wonderful, professionally run cruise on a beautiful ship. While we were on board, we booked another cruise on the Noordam. I supposed that's probably the most ringing endorsement one can offer . . . . Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Forgive the length of this diatribe, but we have to tell someone! Background First time Kiwi cruisers not originally contemplating cruising as a preferred form of travel but decided to opt for this one as it allowed the ... Read More
Forgive the length of this diatribe, but we have to tell someone! Background First time Kiwi cruisers not originally contemplating cruising as a preferred form of travel but decided to opt for this one as it allowed the opportunity onshore at ports in several different countries. Obviously for us "down under" the major handicap is the distance to travel to get to the ship but with a good airline (Emirates) and a stopover in Dubai it made things a little easier. We booked through a local travel agent and were transferred from Fiumicino airport to our Rome hotel, the Quirinale, as part of the package very efficiently and the hotel was just fine. Stateroom Next day transfer to the ship went as planned and the embarkation was very efficiently handled and it was all very exciting. We had a cabin with balcony, (a surprise for the good lady!) and this was well worth while. Very pleased with the cabin (stateroom). Plenty of storeage space, excellent beds, good shower over bath, lighting, dEcor, amenities (inc fridge) Happy with forward, starboard position on the Rotterdam deck. Cabin crew very good (Made & Gede) as were the majority of the ship's crew. Tucker Most reviewers talk a lot about the food, which of course is important and most have different opinions and experiences. We thought that in the main the quality and choices were good and as good as we had expected from our research. Sure we had different experiences at each of the restaurants, for example we went twice to the Pinnacle Grill with the first visit just great. Lot of interaction with the waitress and we enjoyed the fare. My wife still drools over the table side prepared Caesar salad she had. The next visit though was a let down with a great looking steak pretty hard to chew and the lobster tail offered in place of very poor. But other courses were fine. Must take issue with a reviewer who thought the menu wasn't much different than other restaurants, just not correct. The Canaletto Italian style restaurant was also pretty good for a change and although the menu didn't vary we enjoyed the 2/3 times we went there. The Misto de Mare (seafood/pasta) was very good. The Vista restaurant, the main dining area, we found just fine for breakfast if you weren't in a hurry and lunch if you came back off shore. Had dinner once there and we shared a table with two other couples which is fine if you want to socialise. The meal from memory was quite adequate. The Lido restaurant which is the more casual buffet style one open longer hours than the others was the most popular. We thought again the quality and variety of food quite adequate. On the first night the steak offered was just beaut. The problem with the venue has been documented in other reviews in that on shore days it is a real bun fight to get a table for breakfast and quite often the same for an evening meal as well. To get a window seat was quite impossible unless you arrive early evening and we are sure some people must camp in those seats from lunch time! And when they cordon off a large section for the crew, and there are tables not being used there, well it isn't a good look. We went and sat there one night out of desperation and they said that was fine but you didn't get table service but that was fine to. There was also the Terrace Grill open for lunch. All in all there was adequate variety and apart from the above room service was a good option for breakfast prior to going ashore, and evening meals if you wished to relax away from the maddening crowds after a days outing. The service for this was spot on. Activities A wide variety of activities on board and a comment here about the guy who ran the ship, the Cruise Director Drew Smith who was very good at his job from introducing the shows, conducting an interview with the Captain, presenting the early morning T V show or fronting the line dancing! For an Aussie, he was pretty damn good! Our comments re the shows echo others in that the performers were loud and not that expert, Vivienne and the HALCats were a pretty good band, she had a good strong versatile voice and the string quartet playing modern classics were excellent. You can't please everyone and the majority of folk on board were 60+ so who do you cater mainly cater for? We thought the activities and entertainment were many and varied and even included a couple of good comedians. On Shore In regard to shore excursions we, in the main "did our own thing" or went on private tours with another couple or a small group. The HAL excursions are expensive and you are with a group of 40 folk or so being guided around and travelling in a large bus which is not to everyone's liking. Having said that we did go on two HAL excursions, a pre cruise booked one to the villages of Cinque Terre and a last minute decision to join a short one in Tunisia. The guides on both were very good it should be said. However on the former tour after viewing three of the five villages our return journey consisted of a 20 min wait for the 20 min train trip to La Spezia where we reboarded our coach for the 1 ½ hour drive to Livorno without any commentary or comfort stops. The Tunisia tour luckily was only for four hours and our original decision to stay on board may have been the best option. Otherwise "doing our own thing" was quite successful. Will mention here the following. Very good private tour in Athens arranged though Nikos Loukas of Private Greece Tours (nikosloukas1@gmail.com) with the commendable guide Alex. Highly recommended. Also in Palermo we discovered quite by chance Alessandra, a very bright lady who speaks very good English and she looked after us well taking us to Monreale and other places of interest. (sicilyintrip@libero.it) Last but not least a private tour from Naples to Pompeii, down the Amorfi coast to Positano and Sorrento. Organised through AP Tours (info@aptours.it) handsome Vittorio looked after us for a great day only ruined by the shipping company (see below). This is a tour you must take and private car is best as you get to Pompeii before the crowds and being in a smaller vehicle you can navigate the narrow streets particularly in Positano which is just magical! Now going back to our shore trip in Naples, a bit of a gripe in regard to our departure time which may relate to 'Gratuities' below in an oblique way! The itinerary stated that we departed the port at 6.00 p.m. but in fact we were asked to be back on board at 4.30 p.m. for a 5.00 p.m. departure. This impacted on our day's excursion which was a shame as a lovely day it was for our last of the cruise. We steamed for our final port at just over 13 knots. The captain told me that if you steamed for a day at 11 knots instead of 17 knots you could save USD70,000. Average speed over the second 10 days of the cruise was just over 12 knots. Good savings made perhaps and if so (see gratuities) could the crew benefit that way? Actually if you have a look at the Ship's Log departure times from ports we in several instances left earlier than scheduled on the itinerary. Skippers in for a bonus perhaps, he said cynically! Tips (Gratuities) A brief note about gratuities as we see an Aussie gentleman pontificating about why he reckons they should be paid without question. For the uninitiated on HAL accounts USD11 per person per day is added to your shipboard account at the end of a cruise to be divided up amongst crew members as a gratuity to supplement their wages. At the end of a cruise you have the right to adjust the amount you wish to contribute either up or down. On our cruise(s) totalling 20 days there was an average of 1950 guests. So doing the maths USD429,000 could be available to say 600 crew (officers, entertainers, retail outlet folk wouldn't be in the mix I guess) so that equates to USD715 per crew member. We think what you pay or don't pay is up to the individual and his or hers personal particular circumstances. Some folk prefer to tip one to one. We noted that the Cruise Director made an appeal to passengers to dig deep for the crew who we all agreed do a great job. The cynic could suggest that the shipping line pay them a little more and avoid all this scenario. Another point here, and this is peculiar to Kiwis perhaps, is the cost of travelling further than anyone to the destination. Also at the time of the trip the NZD was only buying USD.75c. The AUD was on a par or stronger than the USD. So some folk have it a bit better off and there is a case for others to look closer at expenses. We thought the majority of the crew were just great, many of them, particularly the staff serving in the Lido being under a lot of pressure and had to put up with some demanding people. They deserved a bit extra on the side we reckoned. Tips (helpful?) Mainly for first time cruisers. Most things, particularly internet, laundry, drinks, photos and HAL excursions are expensive. So do your homework. If you have to be involved with the internet take your laptop or iPad and/or find an internet cafe ashore. Alcohol. Well you can take wine on board for use in your stateroom but there is no bother in wandering up to the Lido with a glass of wine in your hand. If you purchase a wine package it may be a good idea to have all the bottles delivered to your stateroom and then take it to the restaurant, with proof that it is a ship's package, as we only got one of our selection as that particular wine ran out. Very annoying. We also found that if we took a few cans or bottles of beer back to the ship for private consumption the crew didn't clap us in irons. If you like an early morning hot drink the way you like it take a little immersion heater. We found the coffee on board not to our liking. Had some great coffee ashore though. An extra little clothes line is handy (there is one installed over the bath) if you are washing out your own smalls and shirts. They dry quick (don't hang them out on your balcony in view of the rest of the world!) A length of rope as others have mentioned if you want to hold your balcony door open now and then for some fresh air. You don't have to get involved with formal nights if you don't wish to, enjoy the Lido Restaurant or have a rest with room service (it's free!) All in all it was a marvellous experience and any negatives were certainly outweighed by the positives. We would certainly travel Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
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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