52 Seward Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

My husband and I just returned from an HAL Alaska land/sea cruise aboard the Noordam. Seeing Alaska is very ambitious and something we could not have navigated on our own, there is just too much land to cover. I think the two-week package ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from an HAL Alaska land/sea cruise aboard the Noordam. Seeing Alaska is very ambitious and something we could not have navigated on our own, there is just too much land to cover. I think the two-week package met many of our needs. However, I didn’t find it a perfect experience To start with our first hotel in Fairbanks was the WestMark and it was DISGUSTING. We slept in our clothes on top of the bedding. For the first two days much of the group could only talk about how gross our accommodations were. We were convinced we made the biggest mistake of our lives booking this tour. Fortunately, things got better. As with all organized tours, there has to be a spirit of compromise. We didn’t find everything interesting but we were part of a group and it wasn’t all about us. The staff was great with the luggage. We would leave our luggage outside in the morning and always find it waiting in our room at the next stop. This was great because we packed a lot, (Alaska was really part of longer vacation). We paid for a breakfast package and that was a good investment. But at our last hotel we had to pay for a breakfast because the hotel said they were not part of Holland America’s network. I can afford it and I don’t really care too much but I was told all the breakfasts were included and it wasn’t. The once we boarded the ship we were able to settle in and unpack. The ship itself is getting old around the edges and can use some TLC. There was some good talent at the venues. The cabin attendants were attentive and hardworking. The food was only mediocre; nothing was great. I also hate waiting on line for food so the Lido didn’t do it for us plus the food there reminded me of an average college cafeteria., You could get a decent omelet but lousy fruit, bacon and sausage.. Also, as members of the Starbucks generation, we love strong coffee; there wasn’t a decent cup of coffee available at any of the restaurants on board. We used to buy coffee and add two shots of espresso to make it acceptable. The main dining room and the other two speciality restaurants were better (still not great) and we would have returned to each one but we couldn’t get another reservation at either of them. In summation, I don’t regret the trip because I saw Alaska but I will explore other cruise lines before I cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The embarking process was very organized. Our bags were waiting for us at our room. Service was awesome in dining rooms and cocktail lounges. I am a late night person and would have like to have the lounges open late. Room service ... Read More
The embarking process was very organized. Our bags were waiting for us at our room. Service was awesome in dining rooms and cocktail lounges. I am a late night person and would have like to have the lounges open late. Room service and front desk crews were friendly and helpful. The food quality and selections were above expectation-all plates were prepared as requested. The wait staff accommodated all requested changes to substitute menu items. The staff was able to arrange a table for our entire party (8) each night of the cruise at the same time, having the same waiter enhanced the dining experience. Housekeeping on the boat was excellent everything was kept clean. The quality of the entertainment was very good, but repetitious each night. The shore excursions were informative, the tour guides were knowledgeable and made the excursions interesting. My expectations for the cruise were high and the crew delivered. Holland America stressed the importance of good hygiene during the cruise that helped insure a safe and healthy trip for all. We would travel again with Holland America Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our first cruise, and first time in Alaska, and both were amazing! The land tour was the first part of the trip, and the highlights of that tour were spending a day in Denali (recommend hiking the Savage Alpine Trail) and the ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and first time in Alaska, and both were amazing! The land tour was the first part of the trip, and the highlights of that tour were spending a day in Denali (recommend hiking the Savage Alpine Trail) and the train ride from Denali to Anchorage. Excellent tour guides made the transfers from city to city fun and informative. Once on the ship, the embarking process was very organized and our bags were waiting for us in our room. Service was excellent in the dining room and at the cabana, and the food in the main dining room was delicious. The cabin stewards were great and fixed a couple of problems with our inside cabin right away (plumbing and air conditioning issues). We also loved the "towel animals" that greeted us each night! For entertainment, we really enjoyed dancing to the BB King All Star band, the games and books in the Explorations Cafe, and our cabana. We didn't book any excursions through the cruise line, but we enjoyed all the ports. Overall, great service, yummy food, and fun live music to dance and listen to made this cruise a fantastic experience for this 30-something couple! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Picked this trip for Itinerary and HA reputation. We have cruised many times and this by far was one of the more expensive and least favorite. Fortunately Alaska is beautiful so the HA did not affect that. Sea days and lack of ... Read More
Picked this trip for Itinerary and HA reputation. We have cruised many times and this by far was one of the more expensive and least favorite. Fortunately Alaska is beautiful so the HA did not affect that. Sea days and lack of activities left for boring, wasteful time on the cruise. Bar tenders acted as though they were put out to get as drink and overall service was weak as they already are guaranteed their gratuity. Getting on and off the ship was well organized so that was good. The land portion was good, primarily because of the train and Denali park trip inside the park. The accommodations were just ok and pretty much on your own to figure out what to do. We did like the package f r purpose for complete laundry for the week. Thought it was fair and good. We did enjoy the comedian and magician they had on board. Casino was small but decent. no place to really dance as the house band would only play a 45 min set Rate the cruise and HA about a 3-4 out of 10 as we typically see at least a 7-8. We have cruised many times in many itineraries internationally Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Have wanted to do an Alaskan cruise for years and this was just the right time for us to do the cruise. From planning the cruise with our travel agent, to embarkation, after the "land portion", to debarkation everything was well ... Read More
Have wanted to do an Alaskan cruise for years and this was just the right time for us to do the cruise. From planning the cruise with our travel agent, to embarkation, after the "land portion", to debarkation everything was well planned and taken care of. No worries and no stress made for an awesome vacation. Stateroom was just the right size for the 2 of us and what can one say about the food --------- AWESOME! Our nightly visits to the "dessert bar" on the Lido deck should be the telling factor of how we enjoyed this cruise. We could hardly wait in the late evening (early mornings some times) to return to our cabin so we could find out what "towel animal" would greet us. From the cabin stewards to the dining room staff everyone is awesome and you are well taken care of and pampered to the maximum. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We don’t generally plan our vacations way in advance, and this was no exception. We started looking at our options around February. We were looking at Mediterranean &/or Greek Island Cruises, Canary Island cruises or a return trip ... Read More
We don’t generally plan our vacations way in advance, and this was no exception. We started looking at our options around February. We were looking at Mediterranean &/or Greek Island Cruises, Canary Island cruises or a return trip to Hawaii. Not sure why we threw Alaska into the mix, but everything we’d ever heard from people who’d been there was how great a trip it was. We finally settled on this cruise, which we booked about six weeks before the sailing date. Our first cruise on HAL was last September aboard the Rotterdam from Boston to Montreal, which we enjoyed immensely, so we did not hesitate to book another cruise on this line. Maybe it’s because the Rotterdam is a smaller ship, or maybe it’s because it was a less busy cruise, but we weren’t as pleased with the Noordam as we were with the Rotterdam. That is not to say, we didn’t enjoy the trip. It was fabulous! It’s just that the ship didn’t quite meet our expectations. The ship itself is lovely, in good condition, and the crew and staff were very friendly. The Captain was great – we enjoyed listening to his instructions and commentary over the loud speakers. Our biggest complaint is with the dining experience. Food in the main dining room was just okay. Pretty much the only meat choice at dinner was beef, which we don’t eat, so we ate a lot of fish. Mostly it was tasty, but it tended to be dry – probably overcooked. Except for the freshly made omelets for breakfast, food in the Lido was no better than a cafeteria. We ordered room service for breakfast twice – this wasn’t bad – it was delivered timely and was hot and fresh. Since we were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary on this trip we splurged on dinner at the Pinnacle Grill one evening. It was much better than the dining room, but we wouldn’t give it a five star rating as we would some other specialty restaurants on, say, Celebrity. Our biggest issue with dining was the service in the main dining room and especially in the Lido. The waiters and staff were friendly enough, but service was poor, as both venues were definitely understaffed. We blame this on HAL management. Perhaps after 14 cruises we’ve just become a little fussier and more critical. The cruise itself was wonderful. Alaska is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and we enjoyed all the sights in the ports we visited, as well as the sights from the ship itself in Glacier Bay and through the inside passage. We visited the ports of Haines, Juneau and Ketichikan, and thoroughly enjoyed each one. The pictures you see of Alaska are beautiful and unbelievable, but to see it in person just takes your breath away. It’s an experience we’ll never forget. Now, the land tour: we chose a three day pre-cruise tour to Denali and Fairbanks. This is where better planning was needed. We knew Alaska is big, but coming from New Jersey where you can drive from north to south in about three hours, we just didn’t have a concept of how long it would take to get from one place to another, and the travel times were not included in the initial descriptions. Most of the three days, unfortunately, was spent on the road. We arrived in Anchorage late in the evening after a day long journey from New Jersey. After spending the night in the Captain Cook Hotel, which was lovely, we got up early, had breakfast and took a short walk to see a little bit of the town before getting on a coach to the train depot where we boarded the McKinley Express Dome Train for the eight hour journey to Danali. The train cars were very comfortable and the lunch in the dining car was very good – too bad it wasn’t as good on the ship. The scenery was beautiful, though we saw no wildlife – I’d run and hide, too, if I heard that train coming! Since we only had one night in Denali we were unable to go into the park itself. Instead we took two short excursions – an ATV adventure and barbecue in the evening, then a visit to Iditerod champion Jeff King’s Husky Homestead the next morning. By two that afternoon we were on another coach to Fairbanks, arriving early in the evening with only enough time to go to a salmon bake dinner and see a cute and rowdy show about the history of that gold rush town. Though we had been told by the tour booking agent before booking that we would have the next morning to explore Fairbanks before catching a flight to Anchorage followed by a coach to Seward, this was not the case. In fact, we had to get a 5:40 am shuttle to the airport for a 9:00 am flight. (The early shuttle really was not necessary. We were the only ones on the line to go through TSA and were told at the airline boarding desk we’d have had plenty of time if we didn’t get the airport until 8:00. We still would not have been able to do anything in Fairbanks, but we could have had a decent breakfast at the hotel instead of the absolutely awful one at the airport’s only eatery.) This is not to say we didn’t enjoy the excursions we took. We had a lot of fun on the ATV despite ending up soaked during a sudden and unexpected downpour – and we were wearing rain jackets! The husky kennel was amazing, especially getting to hold an adorable month old puppy and getting to hear Jeff talk about life on the trail. He is an amazing speaker! The salmon bake in Fairbanks was very good and the show was very well done and a lot of laughs. If you really want to see Denali or Fairbanks, though, you need at least two nights in each. If we knew then what we know now, we probably would have skipped Fairbanks and done the double Denali instead. Live and learn. Overall, we enjoyed the trip and highly recommend Alaska to those who love the beauty of the natural world and experiencing a simpler way of life. Our recommendation would be to do your research before booking. A cruise is probably the best way to see southern Alaska, as there are no roads between the port towns – you need to fly or sail in to each of them, so why not do it on a floating hotel. If you want to see wildlife you need to go later in the summer when the salmon are running. And if you want to see Denali, you need at least two days there, if not three. Because of the huge distance between the park and Anchorage and the cruise port, you are going to spend a lot of time traveling, but it is well worth it. Given the opportunity I would visit Alaska again – after spending a little more time planning before making the final booking. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This cruise was arranged by a travel agent friend. We enjoyed every part: the shuttle from Anchorage to the boat dock, the cabin, food, activities, ports of call, efficient embarkation and debarkation and the congenial staff. The room ... Read More
This cruise was arranged by a travel agent friend. We enjoyed every part: the shuttle from Anchorage to the boat dock, the cabin, food, activities, ports of call, efficient embarkation and debarkation and the congenial staff. The room was equivalent to a upscale hotel room with private bath. The ship diagrams posted all over helped us get around. The overall route maps in the crows nest were informative. The food was plentiful and we always managed to find a place to sit, even at the busiest times. Crew members constantly greeted us with smiles and seemed happy to answer any questions we had. There were plenty of activities to appeal to varying interests,and the days at port were leisurely We did not have to wait to get on and off the ship. The crew did their best to prevent illnesses by providing plenty of hand sanitizing stations, and periodically disinfecting handrails. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Holland America made many promises about Neptune class but failed to deliver:- 1. Promised express boarding for Neptune class - DID NOT Happen we had to wait among the hundreds of people - very slow. 2. Promised cocktail party with ... Read More
Holland America made many promises about Neptune class but failed to deliver:- 1. Promised express boarding for Neptune class - DID NOT Happen we had to wait among the hundreds of people - very slow. 2. Promised cocktail party with Captain/ senior officers - DID NOT happen 3. Promise priority bookings - DID NOT Happen 4. Promised express embarkation at ports - DID NOT happen 5. Entertainment we sub par - extremely poor, dancers out of time, singers very poor, th comedian was NOT funny and only catered to older Americans no one else could follow his alleged jokes - nothing for international travellers 6. Promised good food at all facilities - NOT the case, very average and often NOT tasty. 7. Speciality restaurants very average, sub par 8. Crew quite friendly 9. Ports generally ok but found the rice of excursions from the ship over the top - much cheaper at local venues. 10. We wanted to get to Scagway but NO help from ships crew, we found excellent help on shore. Found numerous other cruise ships in Scagway why was Holland America docked in a run down no where town? 11. We just finished (Jan 2019) a similar length cruise on P&O (in a suite similar too our previous HM suite) on an ex HM ship - this experience left HM for dead! Better service, better food, better entertainment, better everything!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have cruised a variety of lines- Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney- and were really looking forward to trying Holland America for our Alaska cruise. Unfortunately, a serious dearth of on-board activities and entertainment ... Read More
We have cruised a variety of lines- Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney- and were really looking forward to trying Holland America for our Alaska cruise. Unfortunately, a serious dearth of on-board activities and entertainment left us struggling to find things to do any time we weren't on land. Good things about this cruise: the public areas are nice, embarkation was smooth and friendly, food was definitely a cut above what we have experienced on other lines, and the service was impeccable. Bad things about this cruise: itinerary was just okay (we loved Glacier Bay, thought Juneau and Skagway were okay, and got absolutely nothing out of Ketchikan), and as I mentioned in the overall comment.. there were so, so few activities on board. The daily programs that were delivered to our cabin each night after dinner could have fit on a cocktail napkin. We aren't the kind of people that need to participate in belly flop contests or need a rowdy crowd to have a good time. But it's nice to have SOMEthing to do when you're on the ship. We found ourselves bored and aimless quite frequently. The TVs haven't been upgraded yet and our stateroom's TV was fuzzy and of poor quality, so even relaxing in our rooms before bed wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been. HAL could take a cue from Celebrity in this regard; it's a stately, refined crowd, but there are all kinds of cooking demonstrations and informational lectures and different get-togethers that make being on-board and at sea enjoyable. Usually sea days are our favorite parts of cruises; on this cruise, we came to realize that once we weren't setting foot in Alaska, our options for entertainment and amusement decreased sharply. What's particularly frustrating about this is that I can see many of the same complaints on these boards, so HAL has to know that they're coming up short in this regard, but they do nothing. All I can say is, if you're thinking of booking a cruise with HAL and wondering if the negative reviews you're seeing that mention no entertainment or activities are true, let me assure you: there is truly a serious lack of entertainment on this ship, lovely and well-serviced though it may be. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
First time on Noordam. Have cruised in the past on the New Amsterdam and enjoyed it greatly. Our main complaint here was that dining arrangements through out the ship were poor. In the main dining room tables for eight or 10 prevailed. ... Read More
First time on Noordam. Have cruised in the past on the New Amsterdam and enjoyed it greatly. Our main complaint here was that dining arrangements through out the ship were poor. In the main dining room tables for eight or 10 prevailed. If wanted a table for 2 they were normally placed in high traffic areas and often required a wait. The one time we agreed to sit with others, we had to summon the pastry server because he had been to our table before we arrived. We were never offered juice. The staff was generally inattentive and often we didn't know who our main waiter was. A lunch one day my wife ordered a salad as a starter and I ordered a sandwich as my main. I had to watch my wife eat her salad and then she watched me eat my sandwich. Very odd. A particular Maitré Di was particularly unhelpful. We ended up leaving The Pinnacle Dining room on our one visit after waiting for 10 minutes after our plates were cleared and not being offered dessert. The Lido was a seating disaster with most tables set for six or four and the few tables for two in high traffic areas. The 6 and 4 person tables quickly filled up with parties of 2 leaving many people searching for a table despite the fact that there were many unoccupied seats at occupied tables. If you wanted wine or a drink with dinner, you had to bring it yourself because service was sparse. I saw several people clearing tables to find a spot. Disembarkation was a host of conflicting and incorrect instructions. And crew people contradicting each other. We enjoyed the sights, our stateroom was immaculately maintained. our only complaints were the food service and disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise as the second half of a 13 day D1 Denali land tour through Holland America. Fairbanks We flew into Fairbanks a day early and stayed at the Westmark Fairbanks. Upon arrival we unknowingly bypassed the HAL desk at ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the second half of a 13 day D1 Denali land tour through Holland America. Fairbanks We flew into Fairbanks a day early and stayed at the Westmark Fairbanks. Upon arrival we unknowingly bypassed the HAL desk at the airport and showed up at the hotel without our welcome packet. Christine, at the HAL tour desk, was so helpful. She issued us a temporary room key and let us go ahead and get settled in while she arranged for our packet to be shuttled to us. We enjoyed our room and our time at the Westmark. We enjoyed our meals at the Red Lantern, and our breakfast at the Northern Latitudes, both on site. We walked down to the riverside park on our extra day and enjoyed our time there.(Even though the phone system was down our last night and we failed to receive a wake up call to enjoy the Aurora Borealis.) :-( HAL made leaving on the bus to the Riverboat Cruise very easy, and we enjoyed the cruise, the meal following, and the bus ride to McKinley Chalet resort. Denali National Park and McKinley Chalet Resort We received our welcome packet on the bus, and were dropped off at the stop for our cabin. Our luggage was waiting for us there, and we settled in. We found our room to be very satisfactory. We were in room W206, next to the river. It seemed new and clean, and our only complaint about the room was the lack of anyplace to hang anything. There are no closets, but there is an offset area in the rear bedroom that might be appropriate for some hooks on the wall at least. We had absolutely no issues with transportation, either on site or to other locations. We rarely waited more than a few minutes for a shuttle bus, and it was nice to soak in the atmosphere while we did wait. We found our experience at the complex to be peaceful and relaxing, even the time we spent hauling our laundry to the Canyon Lodge. Some laundry facilities closer to the rear cabin areas would be appreciated! We ate most of our meals at Karsten's in Denali square, with the exception of one dinner at the steakhouse in the main lodge. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the food we had on site. We did the Tundra Wilderness Tour on our second day, and ran into the only weather of our two week trip that was less than ideal. It was a cloudy, misty morning, and we never had a chance of seeing Mount Denali. We saw caribou, dall sheep, and a very minimal look at a moose wrestling with a tree. By the time we were dropped back at the resort, the weather had improved, and was absolutely perfect for the rest of our trip. After a day of relaxation at the resort we gathered in Denali Square for the trip to the train station to board the McKinley Express to Anchorage. McKinley Wilderness Explorer The trip to Anchorage was quite enjoyable. The train is very comfortable, the food served was delicious, and the time went flying by. We got a measure of revenge as we were treated to views of Mt. Denali that were nothing short of spectacular! Anchorage Westmark We had room 502 in the Anchorage Westmark. We were transferred from the train depot to the hotel by bus. Again, we were given our welcome packet before leaving the bus and the entire transfer from the train to our room was flawless. Room 502 had two queen sized beds, one of which was somewhat jammed against the heating/air unit. The facility is adequate. Old, but clean and could use some updating. We had dinner and breakfast the next morning in the restaurant on site. The food was quite good. While waiting for the bus back to the train depot we saw an example of how adept HAL is at handling large amounts of luggage. It is impressive to see their system at work. Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Seward The excursion train from Anchorage to Seward, while not as comfortable as the McKinley Explorer, was very enjoyable, with good food and some absolutely incredible scenery. It was an experience well worth doing. This is a ride not to be missed. And it is extremely helpful that they complete the check-in process for the ship before you reach the port in Seward. Embarkation Embarkation could not have gone smoother for us. Having requested wheelchair assistance for embarking, we went straight through security and were onboard in no time. Thank you to the very helpful Noordam staff for making this process work so smoothly. With the train arriving late in the afternoon, we found our luggage waiting for us in our cabin, and were able to unpack somewhat before the muster drill. The muster drill was delayed slightly by a gentleman requiring emergency medical disembarkation. We sincerely hope that everything turned out well for him and his family. The MS Noordam We were in cabin 7057, a Neptune suite located adjacent to the Neptune lounge. This booking was the result of a last-week upsell offer from HAL that we accepted, having originally booked a verandah stateroom on the 8th deck. The suite was everything we could have hoped for, and more. Spacious and very comfortable, with a large verandah and far more storage than we could find a use for. Heri and Anang, our stewards, kept the cabin clean and in order in spite of us. :-) We would like to thank these gentlemen for all of their efforts and assistance. Should we never receive another upgrade/upsell offer from HAL, we will forever be glad we accepted this one. The Neptune lounge was very nice. Quiet and convenient for grabbing a quick drink or snack between meals. And there might not be adequate words to describe the patience, helpfulness, and did I mention, patience, of the Neptune concierge staff, Anne and Laura. They seemed to always have a smile and a yes answer to whatever question or request we asked of them, be it large or trivial. They are a very pleasant and positive asset, and we appreciate all of their help immensely. We very much enjoyed most of the meal experiences onboard the Noordam. Both breakfast and dinner in the Pinnacle Grill were excellent, and Rick gave us excellent service. We certainly wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. We found Canaletto to be very good and got some helpful assistance from the wine steward there. We enjoyed dressing for Gala nights in the MDR, and it was fun seeing the number of people who still find the experience worthy. We found Noordam to be a beautiful ship, with some signs of her age here and there. We could be as relaxed and as comfortable as we chose to be pretty much anywhere on board, and thought the overall décor to our liking. We spent the majority of our shipboard time relaxing in our cabin or on our verandah. We did not attend many shows, although we did enjoy an evening of B.B.King's All Stars and the Filipino Crew show. The Galley tour on the last day was informative and very popular. And we managed to squeeze in some shopping time.... Our time spent cruising Glacier Bay is unforgettable. It was a beautiful day and the sights and just the atmosphere of that place are incredible. Listening to the sounds emanating from Margerie Glacier as the ship spun slowly in front of the face was worth the entire trip. Overall, our time on board the Noordam was what we had hoped for. It was relaxing and exciting at the same time, comfortable, enjoyable, and we are so glad to have done this trip. Thank you to Captain Bos, his staff and crew, and everyone affiliated with Holland America for helping us to have a wonderful first cruise/trip experience. And thank you to the Good Lord for blessing us with two weeks of almost perfect weather. Excursions We did two Allen Marine excursions and enjoyed them both. The Best of Juneau whale watching/Orca point lunch/Mendenhall glacier tour was well worth the price. An hour at Mendenhall, which is a beautiful and very educational visit, followed by whale watching which delivered at least three whales and numerous sightings of Stellar sea lions and then a tasty lunch at Orca Point Lodge. The scenery visible on such a beautiful afternoon would have been worth the time even without the wildlife sightings. The Misty Fjords Wilderness Explorer took us on an extended jet boat ride into Misty Fjords National Monument. The vistas were amazing, with the boat drifting closely past waterfalls tumbling down from sheer rocky cliffs. It was a beautiful day, with abundant sunshine on our way into the park and some of the namesake mists settling in around the peaks as we exited. We enjoyed the ride, the scenery, and viewing the petroglyphs left by the native peoples. Disembarkation Unfortunately, our trip ended as it had begun, with a medical emergency. On the last night, someone required medical assistance which ultimately led to the ship pulling into Vancouver nearly two hours early for a medical disembarkation. Again, our thoughts and prayers go with those affected. The rest of the disembarkation process went fine for us. We chose to check our carry-on bags for the return flights home, so after having put our luggage out in the hall the night before we had an easy time making the transfer to the airport from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Everything was great. SKIP THE PINNACLE GRILL!!!!. The Pinnacle grill was at par with an Outback Steakhouse, except smaller, slower service, and more expensive. The steaks were over seasoned, and not worth paying the extra fee for this ... Read More
Everything was great. SKIP THE PINNACLE GRILL!!!!. The Pinnacle grill was at par with an Outback Steakhouse, except smaller, slower service, and more expensive. The steaks were over seasoned, and not worth paying the extra fee for this dining option. The Italian restaurant, however was very good. When in Skagway, rent a car to travel to the yukon and Whites Pass. There is an Avis location in Skagway and you can book the car before your cruise. It is much cheaper, and more comfortable than riding in a train/bus. In Ketchikan, we enlisted Ketchikan Taxicab Tours to show us the area via mini van. Again, a cheaper and less crowded alternative to the normal tour options. Again, we booked this tour before he cruise. Your driver will make sure you see the salmon run, if they are there. To get one of the good lounge seats on the observation deck, you have to get there early and stay there. Its the best place to see the world go by. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
For years our bucket list has included a trip to Alaska. We are newly retired and chose the 14-day land/sea package offered by HAL. Having only cruised two other times, both with other cruise lines, this was our first HAL experience. We ... Read More
For years our bucket list has included a trip to Alaska. We are newly retired and chose the 14-day land/sea package offered by HAL. Having only cruised two other times, both with other cruise lines, this was our first HAL experience. We arrived in Fairbanks on July 26th, 2016 at around 2 pm. HAL’s bus pickup in Fairbanks went smoothly. There was limited confusion – as with most things, anyone who listened had no problems. After check-in at the Westmark hotel, we had the evening to ourselves. We chose to walk to Bobby’s for dinner. We were very happy with our food. My salmon was juicy and flavorful. My husband said his meal was excellent and he raved about the carrots – HA! Our Westmark room was typical. The bed was hard and uncomfortable for me, but I find most hotel beds to be that way. And I HATE the tiny pillows everybody seems to be using these days! Jul 27th: We took the three-hour sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery tour. The weather was very warm and clear, which added to our experience. We enjoyed this excursion very much and would recommend it to anyone going to Alaska for the first time. The guides were informative and fun. The lunch provided at Steamboat Landing was fantastic and very well organized. Later in the day, we were bussed to Denali National Park. When we arrived at the McKinley Chalet Resort, we were bussed right to our building, the Cottonwoods, which was at the very far bottom end of a large complex of buildings. We were told shuttles came by often but we didn’t find that to be the case. It was a very long uphill run to the main lodge, where we rushed immediately when we were informed our evening excursion (river jet boating) had been cancelled due to mechanical problems. The desk supervisor was extremely ambivalent about our situation, pausing just long enough to say our money would be refunded before she went back to her office. She offered no alternatives, but we were lucky enough to find a young man who reviewed our options and got us on a jeep tour instead. In hindsight, we are glad this happened. We had a great time in our own jeep, and we actually saw Denali Peak, something only 20% of tourists ever see. We also saw moose and beaver, and picked wild blueberries before it got dark. Our room in the Cottonwoods building of the McKinley Chalet was a big disappointment. Although fairly clean, it was decorated with furniture that looked like second-hand store rejects. The carpet was soiled and the bedspread (yes, bedspread, yuck) was ancient. The room was hot and there was no air conditioning. Apparently HAL doesn’t plan on it getting hot in Denali. When I tried to open the window, I discovered it had no screen, and since mosquitoes are the size of small airplanes, I couldn’t open it until the screen was replaced. That was completed while we were on the jeep excursion. However, the replacement screen was severely bent and didn’t fit well. We asked for a fan, then found another one in the bottom of our wardrobe (I use that term loosely), so we turned both fans on us for the night. That seemed to work for our three-night stay. There was a small deck off of our room, just big enough for one chair. It was covered with spider webs and wasn’t very appealing to us since only one of us could be on it at a time, but the view was beautiful and the sound of the river was very nice. July 28th: I wish someone had warned us about the 8-hour Tundra Wilderness tour into the national park. It was about 6 hours too long. The day was drizzly and foggy, and we were smashed into repurposed school buses with no restrooms. The windows were possibly the originals, miserable vertical sliders that people had difficulty opening and closing. They got foggy and dirty really quick. One of the guests on our bus kindly cleaned the windows at the rest stops. Thank goodness those stops came about every 2 hours or so – the women all made a mad rush to stand in lines at the biffies. We were provided with “hearty snacks” for the day, but my husband and I purchased sandwiches before we boarded, and we were glad we did. During the day, I heard quite a few complaints about the cramped busses, the lack of restroom facilities, and the sheer madness of an 8-hour ride in the fog. We saw very little wildlife and it was foggy so we didn’t see Denali either. July 29th: In the afternoon we went on the water rafting excursion. We had a blast – we recommend you do this. They put you in dry suits, it’s great. My head was soaked, but my body stayed dry and warm. The water was quick and high so we got a great ride. That evening we went to the dinner and show on the chalet property. The show was cute enough and we were entertained. The food was served family style, and although it was hot, it was very mediocre. The salmon was so dry I choked on it and had to leave the table for a few minutes. July 30th: We were transferred to the McKinley Explorer, a two-story train, and we loved everything about it. The views were extraordinary. The food was good. Our tour guide was witty, knowledgeable, and very personable. We arrived in Anchorage and were bussed to our hotel, the Hilton Anchorage. That evening we walked to Club Paris for dinner and weren’t disappointed – the food and service were both outstanding. I slept more comfortably on the Hilton bed. July 31st: We rode the Cruisetrain to Seward, which is a narrated journey. Although not a double-decker like the McKinley Explorer, we had wonderful views, sat at tables for the entire journey, and were served by a well-informed guide who has spent most of her life in Alaska. She even had her own photo album of fishing and hunting experiences for us to peruse. This was one of our favorite days simply because of the unbelievable scenery. We were gob-smacked at the beautiful country. The train took us right to the dock in Seward, where we boarded HAL’s Noordam. We left port that evening. We were pleasantly surprised at our room, #4054 on the port side. Our deck gave us great views both straight out and forward. To the rear our view was blocked by life vessels, but we didn’t find that to be an annoyance. Our bathroom was very adequate. The room was quiet – the only thing that ever disturbed me was the slamming of other guest’s deck doors as they went out or in. The room seemed to be neat and clean except for several quarter-size spots along the sides of the bed, and our deck looked like it hadn’t been maintained or even washed and cleaned in quite some time. Our evenings onboard were usually spent wandering after dinner. We enjoyed a comedian one night, a performance of the cruise employee’s orchestra alongside a video one night, and a night in the piano bar, where that talented lady could play anything you yelled out. We didn’t lack for things to do, and aside from our ‘luggage debacle’, we were satisfied with our cruise. The “Luggage Debacle”: Our luggage arrived late the first evening onboard and I was shocked when I saw the severe damage to my bag. I purchased what I thought was a very nice set for this trip, and the largest bag had been grossly mishandled. The adjustable handle at the top of the bag had been wrenched so hard from the bag that it had even ripped the stitching down both sides for a distance. The exposed handle end showed not just a hard plastic sheet had been ripped through, but also a metal sheet! This was not normal wear and tear. And somebody knew they had caused the damage because they had to reattach my identification tag to another one of the handles. Yet there was no note, no explanation, no call, no contact. The bag was just left in my room like nothing had happened. I was very upset but left the situation until morning, then went to customer service for reparations. The service employee that dealt with me for the next three days gave me the distinct impression he wished I’d just go away. He had very limited decision-making capability. I just mean that he was there to give lip service, not given the authority to make decisions. He said he’d like to take my luggage to the ship ‘upholsterer’ for a fix. WHAT?! OK, here’s where I went off the rails a bit. I knew it couldn’t be fixed. And he said I couldn’t go with my bag to the upholsterer to talk with that person or see what he intended to do. I was told I couldn’t know where my bag was going, it’s a secret place they don’t want tourists to know about. But over all my objections, I was pressured to give my bag up for ‘repair’. It was returned the next evening. The broken handle end was tucked inside the bag, held there by a huge hex bolt and nut! The bolt was about 1-1/2” long and protruded into my bag over an inch. A metal washer had been put on the outside of the bag and had been crushed by the head of the bolt until it curved up like a saucer. Heavy-duty blue thread (my bag is black, gray, and orange) was used to stitch a few very large running stitches along the ripped fabric and tie a large exposed knot. Now I was really upset. Again no note, no explanation, no call, no contact. I guessed I was just supposed to like what I saw. I returned to customer service the next day with my bag in tow. The service employee asked me if I liked the repair?!?!?! When I assured him I didn’t, he said he would like to let the “upholsterer” try again. I was very frustrated but gave him the bag and returned to my room. This problem was running on for two days and was beginning to take over my vacation. After another day with no bag and no resolution, both my husband and I returned to Customer Service and demanded the problem be elevated. But again we saw the same employee. He said the decision had been made that HAL would not reimburse me, so I asked to see the person who made that decision. He reaffirmed his position and said HAL sub-contracts out their luggage handling so it’s not their fault. He said I should try to see their side. We said that sub-contractors don’t mean anything to us, we paid HAL and HAL has to accept the liability/responsibility. We demanded to talk to the manager who had made the decisions, and he finally left us. Another woman came out in a few minutes, very kindly apologized for our inconvenience, and agreed to give a refund. But she said HAL needed to keep my luggage. When I asked her how I was supposed to get my belongings back home, she suggested I go ashore at one of the next ports and buy another piece of luggage! I had to explain why I had a problem with this suggestion. First of all, my damaged bag was part of a set, so where in Alaska was I supposed to get a match? Second, where was I going to get a good deal on a piece of luggage offered at one of the next tourist-trap ports we stopped in? Third, I had booked excursions – was I supposed to miss those so I could shop for luggage??? She finally saw my point and said the photos they’d already taken should be adequate for HAL. So I was reimbursed and came home with a piece of jerry-rigged luggage. But I digress. Aug 1st: This was a full day at sea and we had a great time looking for wildlife. The food on the Lido was typical and we usually had breakfast/lunch there. We enjoyed the Vista for our dinners, and we found the food to be pleasing, always hot and fresh. We were quite amazed at how organized the Vista was. We never had to wait for a table and the servers were all very happy and accommodating. Aug 2nd: We loved the full day at Glacier Bay. We especially loved our deck because we had our own viewing area and didn’t have to join the crowds on deck. August 3rd: Haines. This was the only time we booked a non-HAL excursion. We went with First Choice Charters on a halibut fishing trip for five hours. There were only two other people with us. The weather was a bit wet but we had a great time August 4th: Juneau. We took the Mendenhall Glacier excursion in the morning and loved it. While there we were able to see two black bears up close and personal, fishing in the river for spawning salmon. We were standing within 20 feet of them, on the bridge above, and it was fascinating. In the afternoon we took the “Best of Juneau Whale Watching” excursion and had another great time. This was probably the highlight of my whole vacation. We saw nine hump-back whales feeding in a “bubble net” formation that was just amazing. We would definitely suggest these excursions for first-time travelers to Alaska. August 5th: Ketchikan. We took the “Behring Sea Crab Fisherman’s Fishing” excursion and were glad we did. This is another excursion we would recommend to others. Very informative, hands-on with craband prawns, and they take you to a place where they feed the eagles so you can see them up close and personal. Just awesome! August 6: Another day at sea, cruising the inside passage. This was a very relaxing day where we watched more sea life, bears on the shore, etc. A perfect last day at sea. August 7th: HAL shuttled us right to the Vancouver airport steps. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We cruised on the Noordam from Seward to Vancouver on July 31, 2016. We enjoyed the cruise. It is a smaller boat than we are used to but quite nice. The cabins were a little tight but serviceable and plenty of storage space. The food ... Read More
We cruised on the Noordam from Seward to Vancouver on July 31, 2016. We enjoyed the cruise. It is a smaller boat than we are used to but quite nice. The cabins were a little tight but serviceable and plenty of storage space. The food was good...small portions however the option is there to request more but you would have to wait. Choice of menu was fine however on other cruise lines there has always been a few everyday choices (good standbys) and then the nights choices, therefore if you did not like, or could not eat the nights choices, (as I can't eat shell or regular fish) you could always chose the steak, etc. The buffet was always good with plenty of choices. The crew was good, no complaints. All the crew (including officers) were friendly and helpful. We felt the entertainment was lacking. The comedian and the house dancers/singers were great, however they performed only once or twice. Other times it was a movie????? Also, for the cruising days, there was not enough activities offered. We enjoyed the Digital computer/photo classes however room was VERY limited. We attended the Trivia games a few times but boring. All summed up, if there had not been land stops, there was not enough to do. The Captain was very good notifying us know when there was sea life to view in the area. P.S. we did have a 2:30am emergency wake up with smoke in the engine room. The Captain was very good in notifying and keeping us informed that after checking, it was taking care of. My husband and I had dressed and gathered necessary items but was glad to put them away and go back to sleep. Would we cruise Holland again????? Maybe !!!!! not sure Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My wife and I took "Double Denali" package in July on HA. We spent the night in Anchorage then took the breathtaking and comfortable McKinley Explorer train to Denali National Park. Each glass-domed car has a narrator/guide, a ... Read More
My wife and I took "Double Denali" package in July on HA. We spent the night in Anchorage then took the breathtaking and comfortable McKinley Explorer train to Denali National Park. Each glass-domed car has a narrator/guide, a bartender (of course) and a waitress. Our guide was excellent. The scenery was magnificent. The sky was clear making Denali and the other mountains clearly visible.The lower level of each car contained a dining car and outdoor viewing platforms. We stayed at the McKinley Chalet Resort owned by HA. It's a vast property with great public spaces and decent food. There are a variety of good restaurants across the road from the main entrance to the hotel, as well as extensive and well maintained trails. Unfortunately it's not air conditioned and our room was stifling, even with two fans going. The next day we got up very early (again-it's a good thing Alaska's three hours behind CDST) to board the seven hour Tundra Wilderness Tour. To be honest I had some trepidation about spending seven hours in a bus in the middle of nowhere but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. The scenery was amazingly pristine and the wildlife viewing was beyond our expectations. The bus makes regular bathroom/stretch your legs stops and we were able to get good, reasonably priced box lunches at the hotel. Again we were lucky to have an entertaining, knowledgeable driver/guide. Another overnight in Denali then up early (again) for a "10 hour" bus ride to Seward where we would embark. Again I was pleasantly surprised that it actually didn't take quite that long and again the driver/guide did a great job. Embarkation took much longer than we expected but once we got on board it was fantastic. The stateroom, food and service were top notch. We had Signature Suite which gave us a roomy balcony and an upgraded bathroom (though many people on the ship wouldn't have fit in the shower stall). One obvious sign of the ship's age is that the stateroom's audiovisual amenities are really dated. The TV's are small and poor quality (and poorly positioned). The selection of channels is pathetic. If you want to watch a movie in your stateroom you have to call the "Front Office" and ask someone if the DVD is available to rent. If it is you have to get it (or I think you can ask them to have someone deliver it). An on-demand system would offer a better selection without having to deal with discs. Generally speaking the service was excellent. Our room was made up twice daily and was supplied with fresh fruit. Bottled water, which my wife consumes in great quantities is not free and the one problem we had with service was trying to get someone to understand when we wanted more water and when we didn't. The Alaska scenery was fantastic. In Glacier Bay you sail so close to a glacier that you can hear it groaning and cracking, The entire voyage was quite smooth, suitable to motion-intolerant people. Port of call were Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan with disembarkation in Vancouver. The food was generally excellent but I would advise you to skip the Pinnacle Grill. The service was very slow and people all around us were complaining of that and the fact that when the food finally came a lot of it was sent back because it wasn't cooked as ordered (like mine). The manager actually came around to see how everything was and we told her. There was no offer of compensation. All in all it was a fantastic experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose the Alaska land and cruise package that included the 3 night Denali pre-cruise trip. We flew into Anchorage on July 12, two days before the official start (always concerned about flight delays). Flights on Delta from ... Read More
We chose the Alaska land and cruise package that included the 3 night Denali pre-cruise trip. We flew into Anchorage on July 12, two days before the official start (always concerned about flight delays). Flights on Delta from Syracuse-Minneapolis-Seattle-Anchorage were all on time. Arrived in Anchorage on time and met at the airport by HAL staff and, after collecting checked bags, promptly boarded a bus to our hotel (the Westmark). The hotel was conveniently located and definitely had an older feel but the room was clean and comfortable. While in Anchorage we had dinners at Crush (a wine and tapas bar) and the 49th State Brewery - both were excellent - and we visited the Alaska Museum, worth the time if you can make it. On the morning of the 14th, we were bused to the domed rail cars at the train station (a five minute drive) for our trip up to Denali. This trip was fantastic. The scenery was magnificent and the host/commentator gave us plenty of great information along the way. We had lunch in the dining area of the car (it's the lower level) and the food was very good. We had several sightings of Denali itself - very impressive as it towers well above everything around it. Arrived at the McKinley Lodge around 5PM. McKinley Lodge is a very nice property. It's more of a campus with several restaurants and shops and rooms are in many buildings. They have an effective shuttle system to get you around if you don't care to walk. Food in the restaurants was very good and, I thought, reasonably priced considering where you were. It's more than you'd probably pay at home but certainly less than if you were in NYC or any other large city. On the 15th we embarked on our Tundra Wilderness tour of Denali Park. You ride in a bus and at first you think it's rather uncomfortable but you forget all about that when you spot your first wildlife. Our driver, Joe, was very informative all along the way. We spotted grizzlies, caribou, Dall Sheep, brown bear and more. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular. It's basically an all day thing and well worth it. Our helicopter/glacier landing on the 16th was cancelled because of the weather (fog at the glacier) so we had free time to explore on our own and get some much needed rest. Had dinner that night at the Salmon Bake - great food and a really quirky place. On the 17th we boarded our bus to Seward for the start of our cruise. This trip took all day, starting at 8:30 and arriving at 6PM. They try to coordinate the arrivals with the train so that the lines for embarkation don't get too long. Once again, our driver was a wealth of knowledge and offered commentary as we traveled. Lunch was included. Embarkation was quick and easy and all of our luggage was in our room when we arrived. We unpacked and then headed to the dining room at 8 for dinner. Cruise notes: We ate in the main dining room every night but one. Food was always very good, hot and tasty, no bad meals. Service was outstanding. Tuesday night we at in the Pinnacle Grill - excellent meal - the filet mignon was fork tender and delicious. We also ate all of our breakfasts and lunches in the main dining room (except when we were off the ship). Only had one meal from the Lido so no comments on that. We didn't do much in the way of entertainment - a few trips to the casino. We're more interested in the Alaska scenery than the shows. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 just below the spa. Great cabin attendants, room was always clean and made up while we were at breakfast. The balcony was a plus for enjoying the scenery. Ports: Our first treat was not a port at all but the ship cruised through Glacier Bay. Everywhere you looked we were impressed. We spotted many bald eagles and seals. The high point was getting very close to the Margery Glacier and hearing the ice cracking (sounds like thunder) and seeing it fall into the bay. Next, in Skagway we did the White Pass Rail trip. Well worth it. Again, the views and the scenery were awesome. A box lunch is provided. In Juneau we did a hovercraft trip to the Taku Glacier - also well worth it. You get up close and personal with the face of the glacier as it makes its way to the water - it's one of the few that are still advancing. Where a sweater as your standing really close to millions of tons of ice. In Ketchikan, we walked the town on our own with no excursion planned. On to Vancouver with a sea day in between, we sailed the inside passage for more awesome scenery and whale and seal sightings. Spent the night in Vancouver at the Four Seasons before returning home the next day. Air Canada flights were on time and very pleasant. This trip has to be on everyone's bucket list. Alaska is one of, if not the, most beautiful places on earth. So much of it is untouched. The air is fresh and clean and the wild life seems to be everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We went on a land/sea cruise with Holland America to Alaska, starting first with the land portion. The package deal provides one night in Anchorage before you set off for Denali National Park. We choose to extend our hotel stay to two ... Read More
We went on a land/sea cruise with Holland America to Alaska, starting first with the land portion. The package deal provides one night in Anchorage before you set off for Denali National Park. We choose to extend our hotel stay to two nights in order to give ourselves a little longer to adjust to 10 hours of flying and 4 time zone changes. Holland America puts you in the Anchorage Westmark Hotel because it owns the hotel. The Westmark will not be the highlight of your trip. It is showing lots of wear and tear. The staff was friendly, but always seemed overwhelmed with the number of people. The Glacier Brewhouse is very close by and we had a good dinner there, but get reservations or you have an hour long wait. The departure to the train station for the trip to Denali is very early in the morning. There is a Starbucks in the restaurant, but with limited staff, it is very slow. There is coffee available on the train, as well as other soft and hard beverages and food items/service. If you have opted for a double night in Denali, the schedule calls for an 7-8 hour train ride to Denali, a 7 hour bus tour of the park the next day, and then a 10 hour bus ride (with a lunch stop) down to Seward to join the ship the day after that. It can be three long days of riding. If you have been to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Anchorage before starting the trip to Denali, you may find the day-long tour of the park repetitive and without any up-close animal sighting. The bus around the park stops frequently when someone thinks they see sheep, bears, or other animals, but the animals are a long way away. You do learn about the ecology of the park on the tour. You will be advised to get a box lunch for the bus tour around the park. It can be purchased in the lobby of the McKinley Chalet where you will stay, but you need to order it the night before and the line to pick it up in the morning can be long. The Park Service bus you take on the park tour provides snacks and water. If you stick to the schedule that Holland America has for those days, the only time for excursions is at night and you have no control over when your bus leaves the next day -- and they can leave as early as 6 am up to 9 am. Our night of river rafting left us with a very short night before the bus tour of the park. The Chalet at Denali is actually a collection of buildings. Our room was in a building a good walk away from the main lodge where you were picked up for various trips and the walk includes a substantial hill. There were three shuttle buses that provided service around the property, but they did not work well when you are on a schedule. The two small ones filled up quickly and the bigger bus was a slow trip to the lodge. The rooms were alright, but rather dark. The bus to Seward was comfortable and our driver played a DVD on the Iditarod to help the time go a little faster. Lunch was pleasant and well organized. We had traveled on a sister ship of the Noordam two years ago so found the ship and our verandah room very familiar and comfortable. We really enjoyed Glacier Bay and Haines. Glacier Bay gave us great views of the glaciers and Haines seemed such a genuine Alaska town. The Mayor of Haines even greeted us as we got off the ship!! The town is small and is not inundated with shops for tourists as you will find in Ketchikan, but that made it all the more pleasant to see. There is a shuttle around the small town. Our bus driver talked with great pride about the extent of medical care available in the town, despite its size (2,500), and their award-winning library. When we got back to the ship (around 5:30), there was a group of native dancers performing at the dock. They were very friendly and answered all our questions. It was just nice to see a real Alaska Town! We have made several trips to Alaska, but always enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the chance to see so many things we never see in urban America. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I have been wanting to visit Alaska, this cruise seemed like the perfect opportunity. The ship was granted access to cruise through Glacier Bay and through the Inside Passage. The cruise itself was amazing. The captain made daily ... Read More
I have been wanting to visit Alaska, this cruise seemed like the perfect opportunity. The ship was granted access to cruise through Glacier Bay and through the Inside Passage. The cruise itself was amazing. The captain made daily long winded announcements regarding the ship's travel path and the wild life surrounding the ship. The onboard activities were truly lacking Unless you want to play Bingo everyday!!! The evening entertainment was subpar. The magician (and his assistant; his wife) were totally ridiculous. The show was appropriate for a child's birthday party! The ship's dancers / singers were okay at best. Their shows were nothing special. The cruise director made a big deal about a new movie that was only being shown on Holland America in collaboration with BBC. Well, it was good for the first five to ten minutes but that's all. My husband fell asleep. I looked around the audience, many of the guests either walked out OR fell asleep too. The only highlight was the comedian, he was excellent. Luckily he performed one and a half times during the entire 7 day voyage. If you like a night life, this is not the ship for you. Nothing to do after 10:45 PM except the Casino. Unfortunately there is no comedy after hours. The cruise is really for an older crowd that sleeps early. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We joined the Noordam in Seward for one way to Vancouver after doing the land portion to Denali. We had a signature suite on deck 6 which was quite spacious with plenty of closet and storage space. The bathroom had double sinks and a ... Read More
We joined the Noordam in Seward for one way to Vancouver after doing the land portion to Denali. We had a signature suite on deck 6 which was quite spacious with plenty of closet and storage space. The bathroom had double sinks and a separate tub and shower. All in all the suite was extremely nice. Our room stewards Dada and Zulu were exceptional and responded to every request promptly. They were always pleasant and wanted to make certain we had what we needed or wanted. The captain of the Noordam is the most communicative of any captain we have ever had prior, either on HAL or the other cruise lines we have sailed. He pointed out special points of interest, informed us of where we were, where we were going and where to look for wild life. He always ended his dialogue with "Wash your hands", which became humorous but was much appreciated as there did not appear to be any illness on the ship. The food in the dining room was very good and they even made certain that my peanut allergy was noted and that I did not get any items which might contain any peanuts. (THANKS for that). The ports we visited, Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan, were interesting with new things to see and do even though we had been there before. The excursions were very interesting, some of my favorites this time were the animal rescue and rehab, the Cristal gardens (a do not miss excursion) and the Totem Village. Disembarkation in Vancouver was the quickest and easiest I have ever experienced. We did the land portion of this cruise and land package first and I would highly recommend this as getting onto the cruise ship after the land portion allows some time to rest from all the land portion activities. We were booked into the Hilton in Anchorage (an absolutely gorgeous city) and actually arrived a day early as it is a long flight from Nashville to Anchorage. This gave us a free day in Anchorage and we took in the sights there. We did the trolley trip (1 hr) in the morning and I would highly recommend it as an oversight of Anchorage. The Hilton is basically one block from the trolley stop and an easy walk. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide and learned a lot about Anchorage. We saw Earthquake park and even saw some moose along the highway. Very interesting. That afternoon we did the Seward Highway Turnagin tour with Salmon Berry tours. This tour is OUTSTANDING and John H. was an exceptional guide. We traveled one of the most scenic highways in America, saw Dall sheep and the high tides, we rode a tram to the top of Aleska (?) mountain, which afforded gorgeous views. Lunch was provided and consisted of delicious tomato basil soup, homemade sourdough bread and the yummiest cinnamon rolls ever. John even served our lunch and cleared our tables. Next we went to an animal rescue area and saw moose, bears, caribou, wolves, foxes and even Peggy the porcupine. It was very informative and entertaining. All in all a wonderful tour. Thanks John, you made our day in Anchorage. The next morning we were taken to the train for our trip to Denali. I so enjoyed the train trip with the domed cars which afforded great views and the seats were very comfortable for the long train trip. HAL owns the cars and they are first class. Lunch in the dining car was very good also. Upon arrival in Denali we were checked into the McKinley Resort which is absolutely beautiful. Comfort is first rate and the suites are spacious and inviting. The entire resort is outstanding. The only bad experience in our entire 11 day trip was that night when we went to the Theater and Dinner Show at the resort. Ok I realize the actors are amateurs and it shows painfully. That I could have tolerated but the food was terrible. The salmon was served basically as a whole fish with the skin on it (yuck) and the bar b que was some dried out baked chicken with some bar b que sauce thrown on it. I would skip this one by all means. It quite definitely is NOT worth the price and you will get a better meal in the dining room of the resort. The next day we did the Tundra trip to Denali, which is amazing. We saw so much wildlife, including grizzly bears, caribou, moose, ground squirrels, foxes and even a red eagle. Our tour guide was great and she definitely knew her stuff. It was a beautiful day and we could see Denali which we were told only happens about 30% of the time. One thing to note, it is a full day excursion and they only provide snacks so order a box lunch at the resort the night before and take with you. You will be glad you did. At one point on the excursion, we could not get off the bus due to the fact that a grizzly was very near. Very exciting to see one so close. This is a must do (don't take the short trip as it does not go very far into the park) . That evening we did the Husky Homestead tour and it by far was one of my favorites. YOU GET TO HOLD A HUSKY PUPPY. Just a little ball of fur and so adorable. Jeff King is very knowledgeable and entertaining and gives insight of the huskies, how they are trained and the Iditarod race experience. Very enjoyable. The following morning we boarded a motor coach for the long trip to Seward to join the ship. If you have a good coach driver who knows when to talk and when to be quiet this could be fairly pleasant. We did not.....I can tell you this guy's whole life story, his wife's life story and he even got into politics. Not what I wanted to listen to for about 8 hours. We did have a nice lunch provide along the way and finally made it to Seward. Our driver kept telling us how he is always the first one there (there were several coaches) however we were the LAST coach to arrive at the ship. Glad that part was over and ready to board the ship. All in all this was a once in a life time experience and I am so glad I did it and would recommend going through HAL for the Land and Sea Alaska adventure to all my friends. 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
I recently returned from an Alaskan land/sea cruise on Holland America. We were met at the Anchorage AK airport by a cruise line employee who directed us to the bus which took us to our Anchorage hotel for the land portion of our ... Read More
I recently returned from an Alaskan land/sea cruise on Holland America. We were met at the Anchorage AK airport by a cruise line employee who directed us to the bus which took us to our Anchorage hotel for the land portion of our cruise. The drop off point is the side entrance of the hotel (whose name escapes me) where we checked in with more cruise line personnel. The hotel itself was an absolute dump and one I would never have booked for myself. The place is in need of a total renovation from top to bottom. The following morning we were transported to the rail station where we boarded a glass top train to Denali National Park. The scenery from the train was absolutely beautiful and the train personnel were full of information. I loved the Denali part of the vacation. However once we boarded the boat things went downhill. We were part of a large retirement party that also included a wedding onboard. There were supposed to be champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a wedding invitation in our cabins upon arrival. Needless to say they did not appear until AFTER the wedding. Additionally, there was confusion as to the place for the ceremony itself. Apparently the site for the ceremony was changed and no one told the wedding guests or even the bride and groom. The day of embarkation I had a massage scheduled for 8:00 p.m. just as the ship was to leave port. Immediately after the safety meeting I went directly to the spa only to find absolute chaos. There were more than a hundred or so people milling around the spa/gym for some type of raffle. The employees were scrambling around and no one could point me in the right direction. When I finally checked in I was shown to the dressing room and told to undress and put on a robe. I did so and was then escorted through the halls full of people. I was mortified to be walking around with nothing but a robe through hall after hall. The massage thankfully was blissful and put me in a better mood, although I had to then go back through those same halls to get back to the dressing room. I returned to my room to relax and unpack and found a note advising that my dinner reservations for the Pinnacle Grill were that evening at 8:30. Obviously this wasn’t very helpful to me since it was now 10 p.m. It would have been nice to have this information ahead of time so that I could have changed the day and time. The dinner was part of a package. Unfortunately for me the dinner wasn’t the only reservation screw up. Prior to the trip I booked several excursions. While reviewing my itinerary online a few days before the trip I noticed two of the excursions were not on my itinerary. I contacted my Holland America rep and asked why they weren’t listed. She emailed back and noted the itinerary would be given to me once we reached Anchorage and checked into our hotel. This didn’t occur. Once onboard I went to the Excursions Desk to inquire about the issue and was told I was not booked on any of those tours. Fortunately the tours I booked still had availability and I didn’t have to blow my top. One morning I was jerked awake by workmen hammering and drilling at 8:30 a.m. Also that morning there was a drill scheduled for the crew at around 9:30ish that shut down the elevators while people were still headed to or from breakfast or off the ship. Why couldn’t these things have been scheduled for a bit later when the majority of the ship was off on excursions? As for the food – breakfast time on the Lido deck was an absolute mess. It was obvious there wasn’t enough staff and the lines for everything were ridiculously long. They also only had one waffle maker and one crepe maker on the entire deck. Really? There were also times when I went to eat and everything was closed down. Now I have only been on one other cruise before (a cruise through the Mediterranean on Celebrity which was phenomenal in every way) and food was available until after midnight. Grant it I didn’t expect to have every choice available but a few things at least. There were a few other issues but I’ve said enough. Overall this was a letdown for something that I spent a good amount of money for and was really looking forward to. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
My rating is really based on Holland America Line in general.. This review of Noordam just confirms past experiences. My choice of HAL was based on convenience rather than comfort. All onboard services have degraded to poor. The focus ... Read More
My rating is really based on Holland America Line in general.. This review of Noordam just confirms past experiences. My choice of HAL was based on convenience rather than comfort. All onboard services have degraded to poor. The focus of HAL is generating onboard revenue, not guest quality. Meals in Vista dining room are poorly prepared, I expect due to reduced meal budgets from corporate. Menu has been significantly reduced with few options which were plentiful in past years. The only meal with reasonable quality was in Pinnacle Grill always at increased cost. I object to new tipping policy which is automatically added to folio without prior notification. I recommend always to request modification of gratuity as soon as you board. HAL has gone from tippng not required to virually mandatatory tipping policy. This is how HAL increases revenue at the expense of reduced labor cost by pushing the labor cost to already paid passengers. This is unfair to passengers and service personnel onboard the ships. Any other cruise line will be better than HAL Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Before my father passed away last year he told my sister and I to take a cruise after he was gone. My brother in law has been to every state in the USA except Alaska. We chose the land and sea Alaskan package through Holland America. ... Read More
Before my father passed away last year he told my sister and I to take a cruise after he was gone. My brother in law has been to every state in the USA except Alaska. We chose the land and sea Alaskan package through Holland America. Everything was very good through Holland America. They provided details about cruise excursions, as an example how long the excursion would be and what level of activity. The only thing we didn't know is on the land portion, there was a lot of walking, bus rides, going up and down steps. We didn't have problems with this, but someone older with limitations, it would be nice to know ahead of time. We arrived at Seward, AK by train. Holland America gave us our sea pass on the train, all we had to do was wait in line to go through security. They only had 1 lane opened, which took about 45 minutes to get through. Expect to wait in line for a while. We had a suite and it was a great size. We have traveled on Royal Caribbean and their junior suite was smaller than Holland America. We had a double sink, separate shower and bathtub/shower in the bathroom. We found accommodations on Holland America very nice. We had open seating for dining and we never had to wait to be seated. We did notice however, it was difficult to get cocktails in a timely manner, so we learned to bring one in with us to the dining room. As activities go, they were okay. With the open seating we were able to be at the earlier shows. Every excursion we went on was great, we did whale watching and saw several whales with their babies, we were able to go places on our own to find the history of Alaska and we went on the Crab fishing boat, which was the best. If you do any excursions this is the one that was worth the money. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but the crew had a personal touch and showed us more than how they crab fished. Just a side note, Holland America had a generator go down in their sports bar, so the ship had to get into Vancouver early to repair for their next cruise. We also felt that once you are going through the disembarkation process the crew were not very friendly, they left you an impression of "get your stuff and get off". We traveled with 4 adults and no children. We are scheduled to take another cruise in February on Holland America, because I won a free cruise playing Bingo onboard, so yes, because of the free cruise we are traveling on Holland America. Would I choose Holland America again if I didn't win the cruise, the answer is yes. Room was bigger, food was very good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We are in our mid 60's and are not interested in noisy entertainment ship life. Travelled around Yukon and Alaska with HAL then returned to Vancouver on Noordam. Boarding at Seward very quick, with just the security check. Ship is ... Read More
We are in our mid 60's and are not interested in noisy entertainment ship life. Travelled around Yukon and Alaska with HAL then returned to Vancouver on Noordam. Boarding at Seward very quick, with just the security check. Ship is beginning to show its 10 years old but not a real negative yet. We had used HAL about 10 years ago (Volendam - about 900 passengers) and found Noordam too large. All dining was had in Lido Bistro as we are not the dinner dress up types, but you had to be early to get table with view. Service was good, however food was generally too sweat for our Australian tastes. Wife spent most nights in piano bar as it catered for music from 50's through to current. We found the service by cabin staff very good as they kept our cabin (6039) very clean and remembered how the wife liked her bed made each day (not tucked in, and like a tidy disaster area) and bistro staff possibly over attentive at times. Over all we had a good stay on the Noordam and I only have one minor whine, that was the A$1 per minute for casual WiFi usage (plans were available from US$50 for 100 minutes) so I used free WiFi available in at coffee lounges at each port of call. Disembarkation at Vancouver was well planned and coordinated with priority going to those who needed to meet other transport. We waited about 2 hours mainly in cabin and bistro. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
But it went downhill from there. the dinning room was 1 1/2 hours to eat, the service just to get water refills was next to impossible, nobody liked the lobster it was very tough, and waited 3 days for a ashtray on our verandah, as far as ... Read More
But it went downhill from there. the dinning room was 1 1/2 hours to eat, the service just to get water refills was next to impossible, nobody liked the lobster it was very tough, and waited 3 days for a ashtray on our verandah, as far as the band, they were constantly being pulled for show night, we always enjoyed dancing before and we now have BB king show, so loud we couldn't stay. i found the staff really not that friendly. The last 2 cruises have not been good. It was good with the Dancing with the Stars. the next one we were stuck in the elevator, couldn't turn the hot water down in the room, and had no air for a day and a half, I slept on the balcony and we never knew where the AA meeting was they would change it without anyone knowing but we were compensated now on our cruise we booked for Jan 4th there is no smoking on balcony to make it short we enjoy danceable music Holland's is in slow motion so our next cruise with be with another line Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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

Find a Noordam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click