1 Venice to Mediterranean Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

We are regular cruisers and have been on the Nieuw Amsterdam and the Westerdam, as well as several ships from other companies. This was a 22 night cruise from Venice to Barcelona, and was very port intensive. First the good things: ... Read More
We are regular cruisers and have been on the Nieuw Amsterdam and the Westerdam, as well as several ships from other companies. This was a 22 night cruise from Venice to Barcelona, and was very port intensive. First the good things: Smooth embarkation, arrived 1130 just as they started boarding, and were able to drop our hand baggage in the cabin by 1215. Holland America always have 48 hours of not being able to serve yourself anything at the start of a cruise. This is to help stop the spread of norovirus. Our cases had been delivered to our stateroom by the time we had finished lunch. We were in Veranda cabin 4179, which was right at the back of the ship, a good size, clean and comfortable. Despite the position it was relatively quiet, although we did get a lot of noise and vibration from the engines when the ship was close to maximum speed. Thankfully this was very rare. When needed the tendering operations were very well organised and went smoothly with very little queuing. The ship was kept very clean by the hard working staff, and although it was launched in 2006, it appeared in a good state of repair. I understand the ship is going into dry dock early next year to be refurbished. Now the not so good: Air conditioning failed one night early in cruise which coincided with a lot of noise outside our cabin. Found out next day a belt associated with the aircon had failed and there had been smoke in the corridor. We did get a letter of apology the next day together with a free cook book, but this was very heavy and we wouldn't have used it. A bottle of wine or some onboard credit would have been much more useful. The plug for the bathroom sink did not seal properly so we couldn't fill sink with water. This had to be fixed twice during cruise. At least twice dirty towels that had been put on bathroom floor to be replaced were taken, but no clean ones left. Holland America leave 2 beach towels in your cabin which you can take off the ship. The procedure for getting clean ones is the same as for the normal cabin towels. So after a day on the beach we put ours on the bathroom floor and they were collected. However, it took 4 days and some enquiries to guest services before we had 2 clean ones delivered. The service in the anytime dining room was very inconsistent and often poor, with meals taking anything from 1 hour to 2 and half hours. We were not the only ones that thought this, and I believe several people including myself complained. One evening we waited 40 minutes after our first course, and then the waiter bought our main meal before our second starter. Okay he was very sorry and kept apologising, but this should not have happened. On another occasion we were brought and charged for the wrong wine, and it wasn’t easy to get a refund. The water in the aft pool on the Lido deck was cloudy for the first few days, and then soot particles and some dead insects appeared as well. Several people were moaning, but I was the only one that complained, and surprise, surprise, it was cleaned 24 hours later! Some of the staff seemed miserable and surly, an example being on two occasions when we had our breakfast in our cabin, and the steward who delivered it just dumped it without a word and left. This was actually two 11 night cruises back to back, but was booked as one with just one booking reference. However, Holland America treated it as one cruise for some things, but two for others. For example; you can take on a bottle of wine per person at the start of a cruise, but they would not let us take on another bottle at the beginning of the second 11 days. When we did a similar 2 leg cruise with Princess (which is also part of the Carnival group) we were allowed to take on another bottle of wine per person at the start of the second leg. Food: The food was generally good, but was sometimes not very warm by the time it reached the table. The choice and quality both in the Lido buffet and the MDR was better on the second 11 night leg. Entertainment: Acceptable is the best way to describe this, because although there was quite a good choice, it was almost the same most evenings, so it tended to get boring. The entertainers that we considered very good were Adagio (classical duo), and Michael in the piano bar. The BB King Blues Band were also good, but they were an acquired taste, and they were usually too loud. Most of the cast production shows were quite good, with 'Droom' being excellent. General: On the change over day between the two 11 night cruises, Holland America put a card in our cabin asking for our opinion. I filled this out with many of the things listed above which was the first time in our 26 cruises that I have ever complained in writing. However, it worked with many of these points sorted out. Holland America are advertised as 5 star ships, but we consider Princess and Royal Caribbean to be better, and they are 4 star.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
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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