1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because there was a great deal (including gratuities) just a few weeks before sailing. We live in Vancouver, so the transportation to and from the ship was easy, as was the embarkation and disembarkation (just ... Read More
We chose this cruise because there was a great deal (including gratuities) just a few weeks before sailing. We live in Vancouver, so the transportation to and from the ship was easy, as was the embarkation and disembarkation (just about the smoothest we have experienced). We would consider the Noordam to be a mid-sized ship and although we generally prefer smaller vessels, the Noordam has retained some of the charm of the past (which we enjoy). Our sail-away inside cabin assignment was roomier than many and convenient (10th floor outside the Crow's Nest) although I think that we got an extra dose of the fog horn when it needed to be sounded (just a couple of nights). We also suffered from poor sound insulation and neighbours who kept their TV on loud all day and all night. A sound machine function on my phone managed to drown/muffle the sound enough for us to sleep. The cabin steward team was very capable and provided good service without being intrusive. The food in the main dining-room was generally very good as was the service. We ate breakfast and lunch at the Lido Market and generally enjoyed the food there as well, although sticky buns (dry), French toast (little egg content) and pancakes (under-cooked) were disappointments. Fortunately, they have kept the tea and that wonderful opportunity to relax and meet some interesting new people (a highlight of cruising for us). The vast majority of the crew were friendly and helpful. The Cruise Director (Stone) was very polished in her delivery and we valued her engaged but not hyped approach to her announcements and presentations. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss. The EXC and BBC enrichment presentations were very good, but not up to the standard we are used to with live presentations by people with real knowledge and experience. The production singers and dancers were about average. The comedians were mostly good, but one experiment with a comedy club style comedian died an ugly death. He just didn't research the demographics well and wasn't able to figure it out to adjust his material on the fly. I doubt that HAL or the comedian will try that again. The Lincoln Center musicians were very skilled, but a bit too stuffy for my tastes. I prefer the older Adagio duo approach with a mix of classical and popular music. Speaking of stuffy, the room they played in was way too small and way too hot for comfort. They did schedule some ballroom dancing on a few days at 5 pm, but really didn't make much of an effort. The first day they just plain forgot about it until someone called the front desk. Thereafter, music just started playing in BB Kings at 5 pm from an invisible DJ. Most of the time we were the only couple there. Bad venue, Bad timing and Bad music... A real disappointment after our last Amsterdam cruise with a trio playing dance music in Oceans Bar most evenings. It sad that there is so little live music and it all starts in the evening (even on sea days). It is too bad that they don't spread their entertainment investment a bit further and more frequently. We didn't do any excursions as we have been to the ports multiple times, but were able to find great hiking trails within walking distance at each port. All in all, it was a great experience, but sadly, some of the charm of HAL is slipping away and they seem to be following the bad example of bigger ships and less class. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having cruised on some of the bigger ships with RCL, Princess and others, we were not expecting much from Holland America and just thought the itinerary would make up for the ship, but what a surprise! It turned out to be a fantastic ... Read More
Having cruised on some of the bigger ships with RCL, Princess and others, we were not expecting much from Holland America and just thought the itinerary would make up for the ship, but what a surprise! It turned out to be a fantastic cruise. The staff were some of the friendliest we have ever met, the food was fabulous, and the fact that they served it to you in the buffet was a much better idea than the free for all on most ships, which encourages greed and mess. The one thing they need to address though, is that there is no insistence of hand washing before dining etc, we hardly saw anyone using the hand sanitizers, then they wonder why people get ill. It isn't the ships fault, its the people being unhygienic! We were on the same cruise as the lady who said people were coughing all over the ship, well we didn't encounter one of them. There was no illness on that cruise that we saw. The balcony cabin was very adequate with a few issues, like broken shower curtain, but nothing to complain about. 24 hour room service was amazing. So much choice, and beautifully presented. All in all it was a really great cruise, and we were lucky with the weather. I don't think I would sail on this ship to the Caribbean as the pool is so small and there isn't much entertainment, but for Alaska it was perfect! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
A couple of years ago, my husband and I went on our first cruise for out 40th anniversary to the Baltic - on Oceania. Maybe starting at close to the top wasn't the best idea! :) . We loved all of it. This summer we wanted to do ... Read More
A couple of years ago, my husband and I went on our first cruise for out 40th anniversary to the Baltic - on Oceania. Maybe starting at close to the top wasn't the best idea! :) . We loved all of it. This summer we wanted to do Alaska and our agent recommended Holland-America because we wanted to go to Denali and they are among the few lines that offer the Denali experience as a seamless part of the cruise. We knew our ship, the Noordam, was a few years past new, but decided to go for it. We really wanted a king size bed on the cruise and to get that had to have a suite. And, the suite was lovely and large with a fantastic deck. The stewards were amazing, too. That being said, this ship is ready to go into dry dock next year and it needs it. Nothing is worn or frayed, but it just feels middle-aged - a little saggier than before and not quite as glitzy! We departed from Vancouver and sat on our lovely, large deck all that afternoon as the weather was quite pleasant. Concierge service was good...first time I had used this. I'm not totally sure it was worth the extra money, except, again, we wanted the large deck and king bed and they were a combo. Food on the ship was okay - perhaps we were spoiled by the food on Oceania. This food was okay, but not outstanding, but then, they are feeding 2000 people. We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants for dinner, as there was a substantial upcharge - again on Oceania 1 dinner at each specialty was included. However, with a concierge suite, you get to eat in a specialty restaurant for breakfast and that was VERY lovely! (although it was a little unclear to me at the start....I thought it was one day, but it was every day...much better than room service with free mimosas!). Back to food - there are two "seatings" - something like 5 and 7:30.....we wanted to eat in-between, of course, and then we sometimes had to wait. Best food surprise - the hamburger stand on the Lido deck. GREAT burgers! All the amazing excursions we did through Holland America were well worth it (I'll review them separately). Entertainment was enjoyable - especially the piano bar near the casino. A not to miss is the Lincoln stage - 30-40 string quartet concerts at various times of the day. Just wonderful to sit that close and listen and relax. Also wonderful (if you are a cook) were the America's Test Kitchens demonstrations. The comedians were good, but you have to get there early to get a seat - it fills up too fast. The talk on the Iditarod was also fascinating. Do not get in the line for the free charm bracelet - poorly organized and the darn bracelet doesn't work well at all (and the charms are extra...plus the "free" charm doesn't fit the bracelet!). The day at Glacier Bay was awesome - get out on the deck and drink it all in! Other activities - we are early risers and were sad to learn that the hot tubs are not open until 8. Actually, they are drained every night (good news, bad news) and so really aren't ready at the time we would have liked - 6am with a cup of coffee! Also, the fitness center is adequate, but classes cost extra - if you use the ship's app to see what's going on that day, they don't tell you there is an upcharge for the class unless you actually click on it. If you just see there's a class, you won't know...and the yoga class was just very okay. In addition, on Oceania, guests can use the sauna, steam room, and quite room without a spa booking. Not true here...and the price for a message ($60 at home) is crazy ridiculous....how could I relax paying those prices! :) Finally, Holland America did a terrific job of moving people - after we docked in Seward, they got groups on a bus to Denali (us), others on buses to the airport, others on buses to Fairbanks, etc. Well done. We had a similar experience in Denali - well organized. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is ... Read More
Our trip on the Noordam Holland America was planned by my in-laws. My preference is Regent Cruise lines. Coming on the ship I had very low expectations and I my expectations were correct. The ship is somewhat worn. The food is average. I will say the service especially in the dining room was outstanding. Our waiter was Nadi, assisted by Ed and Janela. These three people were the highlight of the trip. Very attentive and aware of everything. I hate being nickeled and dimed but that’s what this cruise line is all about. We paid a small fortune for our suite. One would think WiFi would be included....not. If you want to use a spin bike in the gym, nope.....unless you take an 8 am class for 15.00 per person. In the spa, be careful. They will ask you if you like this or that. If you say yes, they will upcharge your bill. Many people will look at the base price of a cruise line like this and think I’ll save money vs Regent. When you add up all the add in charges: Drink package Excursions Mini bar in the room (not included in drink package) Automatic small print tips of 16.00 per day per person and compare to the price of Regent, you’ll come out pretty close on total cost. All these things are included on Regent. I’ll not take another Holland America cruise and I recommend you look at Regent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
The land tour was extremely well organized. You never had to stand on line to register in the hotels.The hotels were very nice. Our hotel in Anchorage was a top hotel. Our rooms were a good size and very comfortable. The food on the ... Read More
The land tour was extremely well organized. You never had to stand on line to register in the hotels.The hotels were very nice. Our hotel in Anchorage was a top hotel. Our rooms were a good size and very comfortable. The food on the cruise was very good. The service was very good. The entertainment was good, although we had seen the same productions on the Koningsdam. My only criticism is the afternoon tea. I had noticed on the Koningsdam that the afternoon tea had gone downhill. It was worse in the Noordam. They have eliminated the scones. We had upgraded from a balcony to a Signature Suite for a nominal charge. We were very happy that we had. The other rooms are small with the bed taking up too much space. We had a double sink, jacuzzi tub and shower. My only criticism is that the shower is too small. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Cruise was part of 23 day Rockies and Alaska package. Paid extra $1200 to be upgraded to Verandah and had a cabin that was partially obstructed and the balconies from higher decks looked down on our balcony. Food in the main dining room ... Read More
Cruise was part of 23 day Rockies and Alaska package. Paid extra $1200 to be upgraded to Verandah and had a cabin that was partially obstructed and the balconies from higher decks looked down on our balcony. Food in the main dining room was extremely patchy and not of the standard promoted. The embarkation process at Vancouver was very prolonged as guests were herded like cattle from area to area. Once on the ship the cabins were available which was a plus. Found it almost impossible to hear announcements as they are not on the ships TV. The information provided on the ship tv was respective and the same movies/ shows played all day. Our cabin attendants were helpful but were not fluent in English - great service with always replacing towels etc. The whole experience was mediocre at best and it is an experience I do not wish to replicate Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked this cruise to get home to Australia from North America. We were assured when booking that the ship was to be refurnished in early 2018. On embarking we found a stateroom with tatty furniture - holes in the upholstery, peeling ... Read More
We booked this cruise to get home to Australia from North America. We were assured when booking that the ship was to be refurnished in early 2018. On embarking we found a stateroom with tatty furniture - holes in the upholstery, peeling wallpaper, chips in bath and sink and bathroom mirrors degrading. The public areas were no better. Meals in the dining room and lido were at best lukewarm no matter where or when we ate. The only way to get fresh hot food was to dine in the pinnacle grill or canalettos both of which were excellent. Having paid for one's food one shoukd not have to pay twice. A lot of the fruit on board was old from the start of the cruise and off by the time we reached Fiji. The ship ran out of english breakfast and tetley tea bags and corn flakes. Only one flavour of yoghurt available at a time. But notbto worry there were at any one time inumerable boxes of a full range of caffeine free teas! The numbers of servers has been reduced so much that the tables could not be cleared between diners and on some evenings it took over 25 minutes to place one's order for dinner. When it arrived the food was usually tepid at best and when returned to the kitchen to be reheated it came back no better. It was ridiculous that as we crossed the Pacific passengerd had to wear sweaters inside the ship because the airconditioning was so cold. The standard of evening entertainment was poor with large gaps when nothing was happening at all. The internet access was described by a member of Holland America staff as abysmal most passengers were much ruder about it. The 'range' of dvds available was a joke the staff asked psssengers for a list of requested titles then couldn't deliver any of them I am not sure what Holland Americ's agenda is; whether they are trying to move down market within the CCL group. If so they may well succeed but they alienated a whole lot of experienced mariners on this cruise. Many times I heard fellow passengers express the determinstion never to cruise HL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The ship is not new, but in good condition. Very beautiful design. Light colors in the interior visually increase the room. Paintings, fresh flowers, ship models adorn public spaces. Good service, friendly staff. Great breakfast. I love ... Read More
The ship is not new, but in good condition. Very beautiful design. Light colors in the interior visually increase the room. Paintings, fresh flowers, ship models adorn public spaces. Good service, friendly staff. Great breakfast. I love fresh berries, cottage cheese, pate, salted salmon. I have had many cruises, but HAL breakfasts are the best in my experience. In general, I liked the food on the ship. In the buffet and in the restaurant. I would like to mention the excellent cheese plate and carpaccio from what I still love. There is a pool with a retractable roof. It is very convenient for routes that have many days at sea and climate change. There is a circular walking platform. Very nice to admire the sea. You can walk, and you can sit. From the attractions I liked learning how to weave lei from orchids. Sports activities include table tennis and a basketball court. In the new ships of other companies, the choice is better. There is a free sauna, but it is very small. I enjoyed the journey on this ship as a whole. It is a pity that it was so short. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose to do this 38 day cruise from Vancouver to Auckland because it we had wanted to cross the Pacific and also visit New Zealand. We have cruised on Noordam about 5 times so we’re aware she is in need of refurbishment and ... Read More
We chose to do this 38 day cruise from Vancouver to Auckland because it we had wanted to cross the Pacific and also visit New Zealand. We have cruised on Noordam about 5 times so we’re aware she is in need of refurbishment and although parts were tired the ambience mostly made up for this. What we didn’t expect was the amount of infections throughout the ship. It was obvious from any of the communal areas that chest infections were rife. My husband caught it 5 days out from Vancouver, then I caught it, folks nearby at dinner had repeated visits to the Medical Centre and found many others there the same, some being confined to their cabins. 6 weeks on my husband is still coughing it is a virulent bug and one wonders what action is taken on board to ensure infection is not spread. On the good side the staff are mostly cheerful, friendly and go above and beyond to give passengers a great cruise. Sadly this time it was marred for us Shore excisions were overpriced and shuttle buses expensive and in the case of Samoa non existent! Entertainment by Ship’s singers and dancers is not nearly as professional as on previous cruises and very loud. We may be seniors but we are not deaf! Disembarkation was well organised. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We were on only the first part of the cruise and got off in Hawaii. I knew the ship was not new but I found very little wear and tear. The food was good, not exceptional, except for the Mariners lunch when ONO was offered, The travelers ... Read More
We were on only the first part of the cruise and got off in Hawaii. I knew the ship was not new but I found very little wear and tear. The food was good, not exceptional, except for the Mariners lunch when ONO was offered, The travelers were mostly seniors. The young people were polite but i think disappointed with the slow pace, I was with the one in four using a cane! The staff and travelers were all polite and friendly. Those staying on to do the entire 38 days settled in with knitting, books, etc. Very little was offered so the seats filled long before the few events. The lei making was well attended so only enough flowers to make a halo lei. The observation deck is the highlight of the ship. Nothing but ocean on this cruise but it would be a delightful way to cruise Alaska. I did not want to fly both ways to Hawaii so the cruise fit my needs. It is open ocean most of the way. I loved the rolls and dips from the swells.Our cabin, guaranteed balcony, was 4005 just three cabins from the aft. This meant lots of walking to the food on the opposite end of the ship. We had a little of the entertainment noise from the deck below but it did not disturb us. Sailing into Honolulu just at sunrise was beautiful. The city light were still on as the sun came up. The doors were opened on deck 4 for the arrival. Many passengers scurrying past our door! The lack of daily activity was my only complaint but I knew that ahead of time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Mainly chosen for the destinations on route, but also anticipated a 4* ship. Expected the passengers to be around retirement age because of he length of the cruise. Very disappointed with the geriatric nature of a lot of the entertainment, ... Read More
Mainly chosen for the destinations on route, but also anticipated a 4* ship. Expected the passengers to be around retirement age because of he length of the cruise. Very disappointed with the geriatric nature of a lot of the entertainment, which was also repetitive and lacking any fun. No deck parties, even though we spent around 3 weeks in the hot sunshine, no proper ‘ sailaways’ to remember. Food was OK, but the scrap in the Lido Bat was awful. Difficult to find a seat once you had been served. Ended up taking food down to the cabin to eat it. The food generally I could only call OK, as it was not as I remember the last cruise I took a few years back. I can see that everything has been cut back and is much more frugal generally. Cushions on the sum beds around the walking deck areas were turquoise coloured (once) and Covered in stains. Not at all what we expected to see. I had no desire to sit on any of them without putting down a towel first. On the lido deck, everything was brown and colourless, making the ship look drab and uninviting. In the gym, half the equipment was not working, and there were classes held in what was a very small area, making it difficult to even get in there. I should also post out that there was nowhere for people to dance (I mean proper dancing) lots f people like to walk, or maybe line dance, but there is no dance floor on Noordam apart from in BB Kings night club, (which doubles as America’s Test Kitchen during the day, twice a day, every day....) Overall, we were very disappointed with Holland America. If this is 4* cruising, then I would hate to be on a ship with only 3*. I would also say that HA needs to check out its up an coming geriatrics, ie those of us in our 60’s now, as we still have plenty of life in us. The older ‘old people’ currently cruising, won’t be around In another few years, and there will be no market for my generation if the nature of the cruise is not reviewed. I say this not only for myself but for others who we met on this cruise and who voiced similar comments. On. Plus note, the staff are incredible, and HA should be very grateful for that!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Over the past few cruises I have watched a deterioration in the services offered on Holland America cruises. I love to go on long cruises of a month or more and love the sea days. This time there was literally nothing to do on board unless ... Read More
Over the past few cruises I have watched a deterioration in the services offered on Holland America cruises. I love to go on long cruises of a month or more and love the sea days. This time there was literally nothing to do on board unless you were paying for an upgrade in the gym or drinking yourself into oblivion. No library service, no fun game activity program, no water aerobics or free fitness program. The constant up selling was really annoying. They have outsourced their shore excursions and they are a total ripoff. The food in the main dining room was a disgrace. Everything seemed to originate from the frozen food section of Costco. We were offered frozen green beans with every dinner entree from Vancouver to Sydney. The desserts were not made on board and were not up to previous standards. Offering bloody Mary's for breakfast? Really ? I am s four star mariner but I doubt I will return to Holland America or any other Carnival line ship Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The Noordam is badly needing refurbished in certain areas. Rust on balconies, grubby corridors. It looks a bit tired and dated. The sitting area immediately outside the Lincoln centre really needs attention. The windows are a mess with all ... Read More
The Noordam is badly needing refurbished in certain areas. Rust on balconies, grubby corridors. It looks a bit tired and dated. The sitting area immediately outside the Lincoln centre really needs attention. The windows are a mess with all the botched efforts to patch up seals. The crew is fantastic. Nothing is too much trouble. Certain things niggled with regard to food. They twice ran out of cornflakes and once out of Special K.. There was melon until it was coming out of your ears. I thought that we would have had pineapple or kiwi or mango but that was very seldom. Often the food could have been warmer. The Lido is just a very big and noisy cafeteria but saying that there was plenty of choice. The service in the dining room was superb.Something which we found annoying was the never ending rubbish piped music everywhere on the ship, right from very early morning in the Lido. We were fed up with it. The artistes, musicians and singers in both the BB KINGS and LINCOLN CENTRE were absolutely superb. The BBC earth shown in Vista lounge and accompanied by the ships musicians was fantastic. The rest of the entertainment ranged from very good to average. The cruise director Jai is a real jewel for Holland America. In my opinion he could not be bettered. The EXC excursions were very expensive and many just not worth the money. You can do it much cheaper with the tours at the quayside but bear in mind EXC tours do guarantee to get you back and the ship will wait. I understand that the ship is to be refurbished in October 2019. We enjoyed our cruise and would sail with Holland America again. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked a signature suite on this cruise which showed on the HAL website as being a newly refurbished suite with new couch and chairs,marble top counters ,big screen TV on the wall and bright fresh interior but what we actually got when ... Read More
We booked a signature suite on this cruise which showed on the HAL website as being a newly refurbished suite with new couch and chairs,marble top counters ,big screen TV on the wall and bright fresh interior but what we actually got when we came onboard is a tired old suite with marks all over the walls,an old bathroom with old grubby shower curtains, an old TV that you couldn’t make out what was on the screen due to the fuzziness on it. boy were we disappointed! They have since replaced the TV but have stuck paper serviettes under it for whatever reason which looks terrible but at least we have a clearer picture, . We have complained to the customer relations desk onboard who were really disinterested and said we should have read the fine print that says the photos of the cabin are not necessarily representing the actual cabin!!!! That is false advertising as ok the layout may vary or the colour scheme but not when the photos are actually under the Noordam and showing a new cabin and not a dinghy old cabin that is desperate to be refurbished. A number of suite passengers have complained as it is all suites and cabins that have not been fefurbished, The Noordam overall throughout the vessel is very worn with old grubby carpets throughout the dining rooms,stairwells and quite a bit of the public rooms. Around the covered pool area they have set up long trestle tables with plastic chairs which has made the whole area overcrowded and very tacky looking. The room service has delivered us cold toast and cold water for tea so now on day 4 we have despaired with room service and will have to tackle the throngs of people in the Lido. We are 4 star mariners and are very dissatisfied with what is happening with HAL and the standard of the ship as it once was a fantastic line to sail with. On a positive note the Staff are always a pleasure but with the cutbacks on staff they are working twice as hard and consequently the tables in the pool area are not being cleared and no delivery of water or tea and coffee any more but of course you can still purchase a beer because that creates revenue. If you are booking the Noordam for travel before I understand November 2019 just bear in mind you are not getting the cabin as shown in the pictures or on the website As there are a lot of disgruntled passengers onboard. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this sailing specifically to see Glacier Bay. At our first stop In Juneau it was pouring rain, we went on an excursion to Mendenhall glacier the bus was 1 hour overdue on picking us up to return to the ship, my parents, my ... Read More
We chose this sailing specifically to see Glacier Bay. At our first stop In Juneau it was pouring rain, we went on an excursion to Mendenhall glacier the bus was 1 hour overdue on picking us up to return to the ship, my parents, my wife and myself were soaked to the bone and freezing (mom 84yrs,dad 91yrs),they gave us a 40% discount!!. My dad's knees and hips were shot as a result for the rest of the cruise Unfortunately there was a medical emergency on the way into the bay and they turned the ship around and sailed back out . They wasted 2-3hrs sitting in fog waiting to see if a helicopter would come and get the passenger (no chance, the fog was soup thick), then we sailed a couple hours to a bay near Juneau to meet a coast guard boat, the Coast guard boat was too low, so they put the passenger on a lifeboat and lowered it to the water to make the transfer. That pretty much used up the entire day. They indicated they might ditch Ketchican and go to Glacier Bay. (most guest were in favor of this option) The Captain decided this was not practical, even though it seemed like it was his idea. (would imagine he was overruled by management). By not practical, I assume they meant paying for the extra fuel and refunding shore excursion money for Ketchican, then to add insult to injury they gave us a $15.38 credit for missing out on Glacier Bay (REALLY!). We lost out on 25% of the advertised adventure and they refund 15.38. it cost us $5336.00 US (4 people) for the trip, not really understanding Holland's math. Disembarkation was pretty chaotic, with not enough wheel chairs available inside the terminal, they pretty much rushed the people with mobility issues off the ship and dropped them in chairs to wait 45 mins to 1 hr for a second wheelchair to take them the rest of the way. When I contacted customer relations, I was told the president of Holland America issued a memo, that no compensation was allowed to be offered for missing Glacier Bay on this cruise. Interesting to say the least Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the timing. One friend could only travel this week. We really wanted to experience Alaska, the glaciers, and the Inside Passage. The food aboard Noordam was outstanding in all areas of the ship. ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the timing. One friend could only travel this week. We really wanted to experience Alaska, the glaciers, and the Inside Passage. The food aboard Noordam was outstanding in all areas of the ship. The Lido restaurant offered a large choice for breakfast. I really enjoyed the Filipino bread for breakfast which was more like a donut with a buttery spread served beside the Miso soup pot. I had one each morning. The Vista dining lounge was also a big hit. The food was tasty, presented beautifully, and the service was friendly and professional. We were always certain to receive well-timed service - if we ordered baked potatoes, the sour cream and fixings were always offered right away, if you ordered lobster, the waiter was right there to help shell it for you, etc. Exceptional food service, variety, and presentation. The entertainment also exceeded our expectations. There was a comedian and a magician on board and both were very entertaining. The singers/dancers were typical of a cruise ship. The sets and costumes were colourful, well-maintained, and artistic. We really enjoyed the BB Kings Blues Band. The band played all kinds of music despite the name (which would have kept us away except we walked by one evening and was drawn to the music and energy of the room). It was extremely entertaining - the brass of the saxophone and horn really made the room come alive. The singers were incredible and had an amazing repertoire of several kinds of music from the oldies to Bruno Mars. The female sang a Whitney Houston classic and everyone had to stand it was so amazing and the male singer could sing the pages of a dictionary and be entertaining. You could always get snacks at the café but unfortunately if you just wanted a regular coffee or tea you didn't need to pay extra or you still had to go up to the Lido. Not much is offered during the day to do though when at sea and we would have liked to see much more activities or interesting venues offered (although you could go to a presentation on how to use your binoculars!) We did not take part in any of the ship's excursions but did take shuttles offered on land. In Juneau we took the shuttle to Mendenhaul Glacier which is highly recommended. We also walked to the waterfalls which is only an easy 30 min walk. Make sure you take the walk off of the parking lot by the creek where you may be lucky enough to see bear. We saw a mom and her 2 cubs. We enjoyed a beer at the Red Dog Saloon. Worth a stop as you feel like you are back in the Gold Rush era with costumed servers, sawdust on the floor, and lively, era music from a gentleman on a keyboard. In Skagway we hiked up to the lower Dewey lake. This is a beautiful hike up a mountain path to a mountain lake. It is about 1 1/2 hour return and is well-marked and groomed. It offers a fairly strenuous hike through a pretty forest and offers a viewpoint over the ships docked and a pretty lake. You can also walk around the lake but we felt that would take quite a long time. After lunch we took a Smart bus to a historical cemetery. The walk from the bus stop was still over a mile but the cemetery is worth a look. There is a board with stories of some of the people buried there and is very interesting. There is a very short walk to a waterfall which is beautiful. We walked back to the ship from the cemetery which took about an hour. In Ketchikan we walked up to the fish hatchery. At this time it was the pink salmon that were running. Turns out there were no bears or eagles as they find this type of salmon to be unappetizing. Bears and eagles are salmon snobs - who knew? This was disappointing but we did see lots of fish and seals by Creek Street. The hatchery didn't offer a lot but the girl working there was a fountain of knowledge and readily shared her insights and passion for the fish. We finished by walking back to town along Creek Street. We stopped at the Fish House for chowder and a beer sampler. We saw lots of dolphins on the cruise, some otters, and we did see some whales but unfortunately the whales weren't very close and really just saw the blowholes or a flash of black. I think if we went earlier in the month we would have seen more wildlife. We unfortunately had to turn back in Glacier Bay due to a medical emergency so we didn't get to go see the glaciers. Will definitely have to return there is so much we didn't get to see. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I traveled with my 13 year-old daughter and 3 other relatives northbound to Alaska from Vancouver, departing mid August. After reading a few of the other reviews, I kept my expectations of the ship and its amenities/entertainment fairly ... Read More
I traveled with my 13 year-old daughter and 3 other relatives northbound to Alaska from Vancouver, departing mid August. After reading a few of the other reviews, I kept my expectations of the ship and its amenities/entertainment fairly low and was just looking forward to spending time with family and seeing the beautiful scenery. I was very pleasantly surprised with everything about the ship and its activities. The best part was, I didn't pay extra for Wi-Fi, so my teen daughter was deprived of her I-phone all week and forced to interact with us!! First of all, I cannot say enough about the ship's amazing staff! The Noordam's Filipino staff were the most pleasant, friendly, organized group of people I have ever come across. Every single person would smile and greet you. The dining and cabin service was top-notch. We loved the folded towel animals they left in your room every night! When I ordered a goat cheese omlet to the room for breakfast, someone actually called the room afterwards to check whether I enjoyed it or not. Unbelievable service. The Noordam itself is a very classic, elegant ship. Some reviewers complain about things like "worn carpet" but I didn't notice or pay attention to that - the ship was very clean and decorated with artwork and sculptures everywhere.The trivial things people gripe about amaze me. It's not like the ship can replace thousands of square feet of carpet but every so often. The cabin was very nice, we had an oceanview room on Deck 1. It was adequate for the 2 of us. It was pretty small, but I expected it to be. The shower was great and beds were comfy. I had coffee delivered to the room every morning and sometimes breakfast. In-room dining service is included with the price which was a nice surprise. Room service food was excellent (we only tried breakfast). The Lido Deck had a big buffet every day for all 3 meals, with some varying selections and certain items you could get every day. As expected, it is crowded. I have to laugh when people complain about this - you are on a ship with almost 2000 people trying to eat at the same time. I really enjoyed the ethnic lunch selections- they had Indian, Asian, etc that altered daily. The ship did a great job providing variety and appealing to diverse tastes in food. Yes, some things were bland or overcooked but that is often the case with mass quantities of food. Other items were very good. The main dining room food was presented beautifully, though the entrees often lacked flavor. Desserts were excellent, however. Dinner at the Pinnacle Grill (specialty restaurant) was fantastic. We had the lamb, salmon and a steak - all were top notch. I disagree with the reviewers complaining about the lack of entertainment - there were plenty of choices of activities. No, it's not a Carnival "Party Ship." We had no interest in that anyway. But we did see the comedian and magician evening show twice - both were very good. We went to the "America's Test Kitchen" and enjoyed the demonstration there. I went to the gym and did other things, wasn't expecting the ship to entertain me constantly. Disembarkation was as smooth as it could possibly be. Everything on this ship is extremely well organized. I highly recommend this trip. We were very lucky with the weather and it didn't rain. But it often does during late summer, so be prepared for that. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I do not want to come across as sounding negative about this, since we did enjoy ourselves on this Alaska cruise/tour. We have cruised most frequently with Celebrity, but as first time HAL guests it's hard to avoid comparisons. Of ... Read More
I do not want to come across as sounding negative about this, since we did enjoy ourselves on this Alaska cruise/tour. We have cruised most frequently with Celebrity, but as first time HAL guests it's hard to avoid comparisons. Of course people have different impressions of things. Many people here have said that the Noordam is showing wear. We didn't really see much evidence of that. The outside decks are all gleaming white and look as though they've just been painted. All areas inside and out appear to be very clean and well maintained. Some of the negative comments may be due to the fact that a lot of the decor looks dated, although it's certainly not very old. Common areas: We found the Noordam to be thoughtfully designed and decorated in a mostly sophisticated fashion. There is some glitz but it's well placed. The ship was launched in 2006 and I think I've read that it was dry-docked for an overhaul in 2015. Much of the decor is tasteful and traditional, while in many places it looks like 1985 -- which obviously is not the case. There's a lot of dusky rose color and polished brass, well done but reminiscent of 30 years ago. The dark reds and rose shades, particularly in the otherwise attractive Vista Dining Room, make it feel a bit claustrophobic. If the ceilings were lightened up it might make the whole area seem more spacious. The ship features a lovely and interesting collection of European art pieces. There are some spectacular fresh floral arrangements around the ship. Certain details are pretty wonderful (like the elevator doors). All these features should make the Noordam feel somewhat classier overall than it does. I think this may be due to the otherwise dated and sometimes claustrophobic color schemes and traffic inefficiencies in certain areas. The ship's decor lacks a certain continuity and is somewhat disjointed. The ship has two pools. If only the Noordam were large enough to have an 'adults only' pool. Both pools were overridden with splashing, running kids the whole time; not particularly inviting for grownups desiring a peaceful poolside experience. Cabin: Our cabin was on Deck 1, the Main Deck. It had a window rather than a balcony. It was comfortable and the bed was good. The decor might have been a little frumpy but it was perfectly acceptable. Unbeknownst to us, our part of Deck 1 is beneath the BB King Blues Club. Don't plan to go to sleep early because the loud thumping music from the Club doesn't end until around 11:15. The cabin's layout where the closets are located makes for a particularly awkward area. That little hallway is always going to be tight, but the way the closet doors open, two people cannot easily access the closets at the same time. There are no lights in the closet and to see your things properly, you must turn on the hallway light, which is on the same circuit as the main ceiling lights in the cabin; not good if it's dark and someone is trying to sleep. I was surprised that the in-cabin TV did not have a channel where you can check on your bill to monitor expenses. I learned at the guest relations desk that they do not automatically provide a summary of your bill, you must request one. While the bathroom functioned just fine, what a dreary little place it is. A ship's bathroom is essentially one big plastic module and probably not easy to update. The color of these bathrooms is a peculiar tan, which reminded me of the color of panty hose; and the tub, sink, and door are that strange greenish-tan like degrading plastic computer components. Again, everything worked fine, but who ever chose the colors? Our mirrors were ready for replacing due to humidity damage around the edges. Lido Buffet: The Buffet is not self-serve, so there are big crowds at the serving areas. The kitchen crew serves everyone, order by order, so it can be slow-going and extremely cramped. I imagine it is not self-serve in the interest of preventing norovirus, which is admirable, but it makes for very inefficient service and crowding. The Vista Dining Room is not open at lunch, so the whole ship is at the Buffet, which is a mob scene at times. We occasionally escaped to the taco bar out by the pool. The Lido Buffet opens to a big aft deck, which has a lot of seating, but if the weather is inclement, everyone is crammed into the inside dining area. We are by no means foodies, but the Lido Buffet food was largely disappointing. Many of the offerings did not seem fresh and sometimes tasted leftover or of refrigerator. Some turn-offs were fat, grisly lamb shoulder; tough, stringy, overcooked asparagus; bleu cheese dressing with absolutely no flavor whatsoever; pre-made sandwiches in bags; and flavorless ice cream. All it has going for it is that it is cold. Of course the ship's cooking ingredients are not supermarket house brands, but it sure does taste like it. Coffee and cookies are excellent, as are the made to order salads (with an alternative dressing choice). Vista Dining Room: Service was excellent and the layout of the dining room is multi-level and interesting. We were seated in a different area for each dinner, which was nice. The food in the Vista Dining Room was head and shoulders better than that of the Lido Buffet, with a few exceptions. Buttermilk pancakes were rubbery and chewy; beef stroganoff was topped with two dry, stringy chunks of beef, and a few other items were lackluster. But most everything else was good to quite good. We never had dinner in the Buffet because the service, food, atmosphere, and stress level is so much better in the Vista Dining Room than in the Lido Buffet. Traditional afternoon high tea is also served in the Vista Dining Room. It's pleasant and the tea is good but many of the attractive-looking small pastries taste like supermarket house brand. A civilized tradition but sort of disappointing. Entertainment: First and foremost (and possibly tempting us to book with HAL again) is their Lincoln Center Stage. It's a chamber music venue that is too small for the number of people it attracts. The room opens to the hallway where clueless loudmouths often make hearing the exquisite music difficult, and is probably a distraction for the musicians as well. The quintet on board were brilliant musicians, accomplished and degreed, with delightful stage presence. We did not attend the BB King Blues Club since it's not our preferred type of music -- and as stated above, we were treated to a free show in our cabin every night. There were two production shows in the main theater during the week we were on the ship. The singers, dancers, sets, and effects are absolutely flawless and professional. The shows we saw were very loud, raucous rock-themed productions. No reflection on the performers, by any means, but I'm not sure if this type of show would be the choice of many of the guests on the ship. The comedian and especially the magician were excellent. My impression is that HAL, or at least this particular ship and cruise, is at a difficult crossroads as far as how to present its brand. I was expecting to find what its reputation is known for: catering to a fairly well-heeled mature clientele that prefers a traditional, rather sophisticated, classic cruise experience. The Noordam exhibits elements of a classic cruise liner, e.g., the teak steamer chairs, certain Deco details, railings and deckings; but is mixed with elements that make me fear that HAL may go the way of Carnival (I realize that's the parent company) and other lines which attract a more brusque, partying crowd. Of course any cruise line must update and reinvent itself to appeal to its current demographic, but HAL should take care not to lose its niche. Land portion: Our cruise began in Vancouver and we disembarked in Seward. A ten-hour motor coach ride (thankfully, with several stops and lunch) brought us to Denali National Park. HAL is to be complimented on how well they've accomplished handling enormous crowds, all working like clockwork. Our room in the Denali McKinley Lodge was comfortable and very attractive; we were in Building O, which seems to be within a fairly new enclave of buildings. And the train back to Anchorage was beautiful, spotless, and roomy. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My DH and I have always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise. This was our 6th cruise with HAL. We brought two teens with us. We spent a few days in Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship for our cruise. We really liked Vancouver - ... Read More
My DH and I have always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise. This was our 6th cruise with HAL. We brought two teens with us. We spent a few days in Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship for our cruise. We really liked Vancouver - it's such a clean city. We stayed at an AirB&B and it was great. Much cozier than an impersonal hotel and we had more room, too. I'll review that on Air B&B later. I rate from a 5 star and reduce based on several things. My review would have been a 3.5 star if possible but that wasn't available and I do not feel that bumping it up to 4 stars would be right so we went down to the 3 star. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth - HAL has this figured out - the only thing is wear comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking involved on embarkation day. Now, lets talk about everything else: The ship overall is looking a little tired. Brass and fixtures that used to be shiny and bright are now somewhat dull, paint in places is worn off and things just look worn. This reduced the star rating by 1/2 to 3/4 of a star. The cabin, on the other hand was in good shape and the beds were comfortable. The cabin stewards did a great job. I can say that you rarely see them yet your room does get attention several times a day. I got the feeling that overall for the entire ship, the crew was not as large as it once was. It seems that the room stewards have more rooms to take care of then on previous cruises and this applies to the wait staff in the Lido and Dining rooms. I'll address that later. Perhaps steam cleaning the carpets in the cabins could be done at a better time. We have never encountered a cruise ship cleaning carpets in the cabins while we were on the ship - my hubby ended up with wet sox from walking on the still wet carpet. I would think this would be done at the end of a cruise when peoples cloths and belongings are not out on the carpets. It just seemed an odd time to clean carpets - at least to us, otherwise he cabin was fine. Dining: The dining was good but not excellent. The service was okay but nowhere near as good as on prior cruises and this reduced my rating by a full star. On prior HAL cruises the food was almost always excellent - this time it was good to average. The dining room menu the the first night had selections on the left side of the menu that said they would be available every night but this turned out not to be true. One night was devoted to selections from up and coming chefs or winners of some kind of culinary competition. Most of it was not particularly appealing. Items were fancied up for fancies sake and not necessarily appealing to the average eater. Teenagers were not thrilled with some of the selections - if they didn't know what it was they weren't going to eat it. I can't say that the food in the dining room was any better than the Lido market. Sometimes steaks were cooked the way I like them (med-rare) and sometimes it was a crap shoot. Some steaks were beautiful, lean and easy to eat - other times you had to trim off parts and cut out gristle and other tough parts. By the end of the cruise the ship was out of a lot of food - it looked like Asian selections were way down, fruit was hard to find - our last smoothie had to be made with a mix and I was told they were out of strawberries and pineapple. Some items seemed old and dried out sort of like eating heated up left over roast which is now dry and chewy. The folks working in the dining room and the Lido Market really tried to take care of everyone but you could see they were very busy and never just standing around but getting service for refills or even first fills of things like iced tea and coffee was difficult. I was disappointed with the eating facilities we visited. Due to a stroke, my DH drinks his liquids through a straw yet some of the staff on the Lido told him they did not have straws available while others found him one quickly - this appears due to a lack of training on HAL's part. Entertainment was okay but we don't go to much of it because my DH has a hearing problem. We do love the Explorations Cafe for puzzles, games and coffee, and the Observation area (Crow's Nest?) for watching the glaciers and great views. The teenagers loved the Loft and spent a lot of time at the pool, playing ping-pong and chess with the giant chess set near the pool. This trip I avoided the Spa - their prices are just astronomical. $70 for a pedicure is crazy - especially when the going price in my neck of the woods is $25 for the same services. It seems like a lot of nickle and dime charges and very expensive charges for things. I'm thinking of trying a Viking cruise next time - they may be more expensive initially but they do include more - including one land tour at each stop. As for Port and shore excursions, we did one on our own - in Ketchican we hired a taxi for an hour ($75.00) to give us a tour of the town. The teens loved this - we stopped and saw some of the local flora and fawna - they got to pick and eat Salmon Berries which they loved and heard about other things the Indians used for food and medicine. We saw the town and met some people. It was a fun little tour before we went shopping in town. We also did the White Pass Train Ride in Skagway - that was fun and interesting but not as much fun for the kids - one slept the whole way - that was an expensive nap, trust me. That was not the fault of the cruise - it's hard to tell what kids will and won't like but it's hard when the zip line tour requires an adult to accompany the kids and the adult is 72 and not into zip lining so it's hard to find an excursion that everyone can do and enjoy. I'm not saying we didn't enjoy our trip - we did. I'm rating in comparison to other cruises and see a downward slope in the quality of services and and upward slant in increased costs. We do notice this stuff and it does cause us to think about taking our business elsewhere. We have booked 2 back to back cruises totaling about 51 days for next fall and are seriously considering looking at other cruise lines to see if we want to change this - I don't know if this was a fluke in the dining and service and do I want to do this for 51 days in a row? Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Embarked from Vancouver's Canada Place. Very confusing entrance to building, very long walk to the ship. Disembark at Seward was very quick. Ship: looks very worn in some places. Crew spent a lot of time polishing the bottoms of ... Read More
Embarked from Vancouver's Canada Place. Very confusing entrance to building, very long walk to the ship. Disembark at Seward was very quick. Ship: looks very worn in some places. Crew spent a lot of time polishing the bottoms of columns, stool pedestals, restaurant glassware, while Lido deck restaurants were very understaffed. Ship diagram signs signifying fore and aft, venue locations, etc were poorly placed, poorly designed (muted color), and thus difficult to read, resulting in crowds around them trying to figure out were things were and where to go. Suggestion: not sure why HAL couldn't have paper diagram maps at main desk, and in rooms and in library, as well as these hard to read ones. Suggestion: how about having the carpets in front of elevators having "fore" and "aft" designations woven into them (part of problem solved)! Two swimming pools were each too small. And the placement of the hot tubs was poor (too exposed to Dive-In tables). Also hot tub hours were too short (opened at 10:00, closed in early evening; hot tubs are best when it's cool, like in early morning and at night, not in the middle of the day, and who want's to expose their fat bellies to diners, anyway!). Also, the so-called maps they put in the cabins before each port are worthless as town maps. All they show it jewelry stores. Why can't they give us usable street maps that show locations of coffee shops, ice cream stores, pharmacies, restaurants, etc? BTW: they had very nice bouquets of fresh flowers everywhere, which is kind of nice, but seems like a poor use of money when they seem to skimp on crew (more on this follows below) Cabin: ours, with vestibule, on deck 5, was smaller than we've experienced with our other (NCL and RC) cabins. Toilets are too low to the ground, and with no grab bars (hard for me, with bad knees to sit down and get up, they were so low...how about installing ADA-sized toilets!). Also labels on the shampoo/conditioner/soap dispenser bottles had type too small to read, for someone who doesn't wear their eyeglasses while showering. HAL, how about a big S,C and BW on each bottle. Also the ship channel on the in-room TV has a static presentation. Takes forever for it to shift from one screen to another. And why does one screen reveal the hot tub and pool temperatures, when they never change? And why can't HAL include on those static screens the ship diagram. And in these modern times, why can't they make that channel interactive from the remote control device. Get with the times, HAL! Dining: Big sore spot, for many reasons. Lido buffet restaurant food was poor, stations placed to close to one another, lines were too slow and long, seats and table insufficient, dining hours short, station staffing sparse and staff impolite, wording on menu signs too small to read until right on them (thus slowing down the line) and some not even there. When food and drink ran out it sometimes took 5 minutes to replenish items. Also, Dive-In Grill hours too short (and fries weren't as great as Cruise Critic review says). Vista restaurant food was better, a was it's staffing. Canalito Italian restaurant not very "Italian." Room service food reasonably good. Entertainment: Pretty good. Main theater nicely designed. Side room for Lincoln Center entertainment open to corridor, so too noisy. But Lincoln Center chamber group was great!! I heard several people them their musicians they made the trip worthwhile for the. I second that opinion. Also comedian on main stage was excellent. Ships house singers/dancers were pretty good, though one of their night was hoky. Room service: fine. Ports and excursions: I can't remember which port was which, but I recall that the White Pass bus trip was a waste of time. Tundra tour was good. Rail to Denali was good. All tour guides were good. HAL hotels were pretty bad (old, lots of noise transmission between floors). The one in Fairbanks was a nice one. though, but it's wi-fi wasn't working, and staff said it hadn't been working for several days (they said Seattle office "was working on it"). I complained to front desk and they said "sorry." I said "sorry" wasn't good enough, that they had to compensate me. They gave me two free drink coupons. I said "not enough for two days without wi-fi." They then gave me two free meal coupons for their restaurant. Used just one. Meal was surprisingly good for a hotel restaurant. SUMMARY: I think HAL cheaps-out and also has it's eyes closed to what it offers. Do HAL executives ever take their own cruises? Is their vision clouded by what they've designed for us? Why don't they hire some independent "mystery shoppers" to take cruises and turn in independent reviews. Bases on my one experience with HAL, I'll think twice before I use them again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Our group of six couldn't be more pleased. The stewards (room and dinner) treated us like Kings and Queens. The daily service was exceptional in every way besides be so helpful and friendly, but truly respectful. When we go on a ... Read More
Our group of six couldn't be more pleased. The stewards (room and dinner) treated us like Kings and Queens. The daily service was exceptional in every way besides be so helpful and friendly, but truly respectful. When we go on a cruise again, I hope its this staff and crew. The ship was clean, the rooms always up to snuff. Oh the food, beyond our expectations. The dinner stewards that we had for our set dinner hour was top notch. Truly professional in all phases. Always there to please no matter what we asked, they provide without hesitation or difficulty. The set meals were four or five course dinners with all the trimmings served with the upmost standards anyone could accept. Our tour included several ports which were well organized with great organziation and throughput. We are truly amazed just how large Holland America line is. They of course have the ship line, sister line of Princes, along with all the land base hotels, were all owned by Holland America, which made every stop transparent and smooth going. No complaints there either. Just to notch in every since of comfort and price. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Experienced a wonderful vacation trip on the Noordam 7- night cruise to Alaska via the Inside Passage. Really enjoyed spending the day/night in Vancouver pre-cruise. The Alaskan scenery was just jaw-dropping, humbling, and we really hit it ... Read More
Experienced a wonderful vacation trip on the Noordam 7- night cruise to Alaska via the Inside Passage. Really enjoyed spending the day/night in Vancouver pre-cruise. The Alaskan scenery was just jaw-dropping, humbling, and we really hit it well for the weather. The cruise was definitely tilted towards older cruisers. My wife and I are on either side of 60 and we were completely comfortable. Food was excellent throughout. But the real difference makers were the Holland America staff. Without exception they were gracious, welcoming, helpful and seemed very genuine. Our only other cruise experience was with NCL in Hawaii -the experiences were completely, definitely at opposite ends of the spectrum. We were able to do some exceptional port trips. In Ketchikan I took a float plane trip into Misty Fjords Nat Monument with Mountain Air. An experience I will remember forever. Great scenery and a wonderful day - landed on a mountain lake and saw a brown bear mom and cub - WOW! In Juneau we took a whale watching/glacier hike/ photo safari. I'd go again in a minute Gastineau Tours are total professionals and provided us a great day. In Skagway we took a river raft float trip on the Chikat River. Again a beautiful day and trip. Couple of pleasant surprises for us were how easy it was to embark/disembark absolutely no hassle, very organized. The free laundry service is an underpublicized perk - I could have packed a lot lighter. Bit of a throw-back experience in that we dressed for dinner 3 nights - very enjoyable. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
First time cruising, though both my wife and I are in our 60s. I usually prefer the control that planning your own trip involves with maybe a short guided excursion here and there. This time I decided to forgo the stress of planning, ... Read More
First time cruising, though both my wife and I are in our 60s. I usually prefer the control that planning your own trip involves with maybe a short guided excursion here and there. This time I decided to forgo the stress of planning, driving and navigating . . . particularly since Alaska seemed like the ideal trip to try a cruise instead. We were not disappointed in that regard. Our travel agent said Alaska is often the destination for first-time cruisers and I can now see why. The trip was pleasant and quite memorable. It did take some adjusting. Traveling by ourselves as we usually do, we were not prepared for the crowded eating venues, the long lines for just about anything, the annoying folks with the it's-all-about-me attitude who didn't care if they spoiled your vacation experiences with their loud comments or their view-hawking photography. But we also were not prepared to be treated like royalty by the Noordam crew, or to be awed by the sights and sounds of nature, or to learn that true love may really involve those folks helping family members with serious medical issues enjoy what could be their last "trip of a lifetime." Our favorite shipboard entertainment was the Wild Alaska film with live accompaniment from some very talented musicians. Simply took your breath away. My least favorite experience was trying to find a table at mealtime. Seemed like the Noordam frowns on couples who just want to eat by themselves. If we wanted our own table at the LIDO buffet (and I don't know why they call it LIDO), we often had to snag one right off the main drag where getting up from your seat sometimes meant you could get bowled over by someone enthusiastically rushing the pasta bar. But if you wanted a table for two, you had to sit in traffic it seemed. I tried making reservations at a table for two in the formal dining area, but was told on two separate days that the only times available were 7:45 and 8. That meant probably missing the early evening entertainment. The food was good enough though I thought we ate better fish entrees in ports. We chose Holland-America over Princess simply for the itinerary. And that Princess would not promise a Denali Wilderness Tundra tour which we very much wanted to take (and was TRULY a trip highlight). Embarkation, debarkation went without a hitch. The Noordam may be an 'older' ship but they were always cleaning and refurbishing parts of it. We liked the boat. We had booked the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour in Ketchikan and the White Pass Summit round trip railroad tour in Skagway. Enjoyed both though I enjoyed the stories told aboard the crab boat much more. That was a lot of fun. My biggest disappointment came during the encounter with the tidewater glacier in Glacier Bay. We were fortunate to have an iceberg calve during our hour cruising by this particular glacier. But despite the naturalist telling observers to listen closely to hear the sounds of the glacier, people treated the event as if it were a football game with hooting and hollering. I think it might be better to experience a tidewater glacier like this with a smaller crowd, aboard a smaller boat. Will probably take another cruise some time but I'm not sold on this as the best way for my wife and I to travel and experience what our nation and world has to offer. It is an expensive, crowded and often impersonal way of vacationing. But as first-time cruisers, it was still better than I expected it to be. Read Less
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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