1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I did this first cruise together and on HA. We stayed at the Best Western/Cruise Location in Fort Lauderdale the night before, it was super. They had a shuttle to the ship and got us there by 10:30 AM, great staff at ... Read More
My husband and I did this first cruise together and on HA. We stayed at the Best Western/Cruise Location in Fort Lauderdale the night before, it was super. They had a shuttle to the ship and got us there by 10:30 AM, great staff at the hotel, good location for a pub nearby for dinner and a supermarket to get our 2 bottles of wine for our cabin. You are entitled to take 2 onboard for no charge. Our room itself was fine, everything worked well. The TV was fine, we aren't on a cruise to watch TV. Temperature was good. The staff were beyond excellent. Room was kept in great condition, was so sad to get home and have to make my own bed!! Bed was comfy, no problem in getting extra blankets, loved the bathrobes. Lots of storage, and luggage fit under the bed no problem. No complaints at all. Loved the size of the ship, can't imagine going on one of those monster ships. 1900 folks is just right. Interesting decor.....very 1980s brass and light wood????? But fine. Loved the NY times being free, checked it fairly often in the cafe. Too many pieces of paper in your mailbox....the art gallery was handing out papers every day it seemed. Mark the cruise director was very good, personable and got the job done. Temperature in the common areas was fine, not cold at all. Appreciated in the Captain keeping us informed of delays and changes, he was super. We enjoyed the evening entertainment, went to most of it. Very good singers and dancers. Good variety of shows, sometimes a hit, sometimes a miss. But lots to do in the evening. We had a 6PM sitting for dining in the Vista room. Our staff there was super. Meals were all very good. Ate there most nights. Liked the formal nights, and we made the effort to 'look good' on the other nights. The Lido was good, breakfast was yummy. Always a variety of food, didn't see anyone going hungry! A few negatives......our cabin was directly below the aft pool/smoking area. Could hear chairs being dragged across the deck. There should be a warning when you book that you are directly below the bar. One night they moved what we think were stacks of chairs at 3 in the morning, we asked at the front desk for them to check on that. It never happened again. They were very nice and even offered to move us. Smoking.....time to make the WHOLE ship non-smoking, it's 2015 folks, stop!! Spent a good deal of time in the aft pool area, and the 'saving' of lounge chairs should be stopped. You aren't there for 30 minutes, and you lose it. People dump their stuff in the AM and don't show up for hours. Port Everglades was super, getting on board no problem. All ports were fine in arriving. In San Diego we were in the customs line for about 15 minutes, went very quick. US customs were great. Used the fitness club for yoga, which I enjoyed. In Cartagena we did our own tour, loved it. Claudia's tours it was. In the HA shore excursions we were often rushed. Antiqua was way too short, In Costa Rica, San Jose we were taken to a souvenir shop right off the ship, and stayed there for a whole hour of our 4 hour tour, BAD move on their part. In Nicaragua going to Leon, again, not enough time. Don't understand, you are in a port for so many hours, but the HA shore excursions are brief, when they could be extended/give you more time. And please stop ALL mandatory visits to stores for shopping. I am not in Leon, once in my life to go shopping!!! Since this was our first cruise we weren't sure how it all worked. Now we would never book a HA shore excursion again, each port had numerous people waiting to take you out. Others did this and we heard of no problems. San Diego, Huatulco, Cabo we did our own thing and had a great time. Really enjoyed the Panama day, with all to see and the information presented. Getting off in Vancouver was super easy as we filled out the customs forms early and Border Services checked them early. A great time, we were with 2 other couples and we all had a good time. Our cabins were side by side and we were able to have the barriers removed to have one big balcony. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Stateroom staff: best we have ever had, thank you to Rohman & Roni-they anticipated our needs and the first day we asked for something specific to be done every day and they never forgot. Great job! They always kept our fruit bowl ... Read More
Stateroom staff: best we have ever had, thank you to Rohman & Roni-they anticipated our needs and the first day we asked for something specific to be done every day and they never forgot. Great job! They always kept our fruit bowl stocked and ice in our cabin which was appreciated without asking. We also always had fresh flowers in our cabin that they replaced if they were dying. Food: We have never had a bad meal on HAL and love their food and presentation. We ate at all venues and enjoyed them all. Our preference is the main dining room and have never had a bad meal there. There was also an outdoor aft BBQ which was fantastic. I was not eager to do this but we did and they had salmon, ribs, pork, chicken, prawns and more. The prawns were my favorite. The Dive-in also has improved. Main Dining room: We had anytime dining. Seems the staffing level has diminished which puts much more pressure on the staff and they barely have time to breath let alone chat to guests which is a shame. We dined here for lunch a couple of times and for dinners often. Pinnacle Grill: we had breakfast here often since we were in a Neptune Suite and the service was top notch. Previous cruises we have found it very slow but not this time. We also dined one evening and we both had the filet mignon which was perfectly cooked and delicious. Again, staff were fantastic. $29 pp. Canaletto: A bit disappointed this time as they have changed it up. They suggest a lot of sharing. I would prefer smaller dishes and not be encouraged to share. You DO NOT have to share though. Food was good but not sure we would try it again. Miss the big antipasto plate they used to take around. $10 pp. Entertainment: BB Kings Club was very good but as others have said, very loud. Great band. Ocean Bar had good dancing music (and listening) and wish it was every night. Have to check the "On Location" to make sure the times there is entertainment as some evenings they don't and the time can vary. We did not go to Piano Bar so can't comment on that. In the Vista lounge when the Noordam Entertainers performed, I enjoy those shows but my husband not so much. I do think that HAL lacks in their entertainment in the evenings though. We have only been on Princess once before and found they have several venues at the same time and you could pick which you preferred. (for example either you like the music that you can ballroom dance to or if not there was another venue to choose from). We just felt HAL was lacking in this area. Entertainment guests on this cruise were: Bande Artistique; Comedian Buzz Sutherland; Count Dimas; Sephira; Sister Twist; Michael Menes; Matilda and Patrick Murray (ventriloquist); Salvtore Hasard; Kevin Jordan; Indy and Jeff Peterson. All were good but our favorites were comedian Kevin Jordan who was hilarious and Salvatore Hasard who could play numerous instruments and had a fabulous voice. Desserts: I have to comment on this because I think they have improved. I never liked their cheesecakes before but tried one this time and it was very good. I also tried the German cake (with coconut) and it was fabulous. Pools: We used both Lido pool and aft pool. The Lido pool I can stand up in and the lounge chairs are very comfy. We spent most of the time though in the non-smoking area of the aft pool, at a table in the shade as we play cards. Library, computers and Explorations Cafe: These are all located in the same spot. The library is huge and very impressive and used lot-the librarian/computer helper is kept very busy. Lots of computers to use but we were disappointed that they did not offer unlimited internet like they did for the Westerdam Panama cruise that left before us. It sounds like they are trying it out on various ships and I think would be a smart thing to do. We bought the 250 minute package for $100 but it is very frustrating with the amount of time wasted just trying to get connection at times. Other times it was quick. Loved getting my latte at the Cafe and the staff are very nice. Flowers: The flower arrangements around the ship are beautiful and I'm glad to still see them. Hope they don't cut back too much on those. We flew to Ft Lauderdale 2 days early (luckily we did because AA lost my luggage until the next day) and stayed at the Hyatt Pier 66 Tower King room. It was a beautiful room with a view of the cruise port. The grounds and pool were beautiful and having the marina there for my husband to drool over the yachts was worth it! Final thoughts: We loved going through the Panama Canal and spent the day outside. We enjoyed the whole cruise but did not take excursions in all ports. In Columbia we booked with other CC members with Dora Tours and had a very interesting excursion. Mercedes was our tour guide and she was excellent. In Costa Rica we also did another excursion with CC members and booked with Odyssey Tours who again were very good. In Huatulco we did a snorkel trip and had another one booked through HAL for Cabo but it was canceled due to rough seas. In San Diego we took the HAL trolley which was interesting. The other ports we either just wandered at the port or stayed on the ship to enjoy the quietness by the pool. Arriving back to our home port of Vancouver is always wonderful too and it was a picture perfect, beautiful day. It was a breeze getting off the ship because we had already done the customs forms at our stop in Victoria. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
The food was excellent and the entertainment was great. Got to score that as close as possible to 10 out of 10. The port and shore excursions could have also been 10 out of 10 if San Diego was not included on the list. What a dirty place. ... Read More
The food was excellent and the entertainment was great. Got to score that as close as possible to 10 out of 10. The port and shore excursions could have also been 10 out of 10 if San Diego was not included on the list. What a dirty place. Looked more like a 3rd world country and the US security was both an embarrassment and a huge inconvenience. Suggest they could take some tips from any of the other countries. Now here is why I would never go again. We just froze on the ship due to the air conditioning. Lucky the weather was fantastic outside, so one could take his or her food out and eat it in comfort. If you plan to use the eating and entertaining areas, bring a ski jacket and wool socks. At first we thought it was just us, but after complaining to others sharing a table we heard from more than a dozen people, who felt the same. Most of us come for a warm get away not a meat locker experience. We ended up with awful colds and later heard from others that told us they too had to go to their family doctors after returning home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We were in a veranda stateroom on deck 5, and our cabin steward could not do enough for us. The dining room servers were top notch as well - always calling us by name, knowing what our choices would be, and so on. The entertainment, ... Read More
We were in a veranda stateroom on deck 5, and our cabin steward could not do enough for us. The dining room servers were top notch as well - always calling us by name, knowing what our choices would be, and so on. The entertainment, however, was mediocre. The ship's dancers were just OK, and the singers fell flat. The Cruise Director (Kearan) was great but there were, including himself, only 3 on the staff - Arias, the DJ, just came aboard the same day we did, and Samantha, the culinary specialist, was just leaving at the end of our cruise. There was just not much in the way of audience participation in activities - only one evening they had a "Liar's Club" or "Balderdash" type of activity. The dance venues were small, and when the 3 couples from Montreal did their never ending line dancing, there was not enough room to dance. The BB King Blues Band was so loud it was unbearable. The stage production designer - specifically the lighting - and I have seen this on several cruises of late - apparently thinks having spotlights and strobes shining into the audience creates "ambiance," and I was told this by Margot the program coordinator. The problem with this is that much of the audience cannot see what is happening on the stage. This definitely should be minimized or eliminated. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We love Holland. It's the most relaxing vacation ever! The crew, the food, the comfortable staterooms.... the feeling that our ship is on top of safety and we will be taken care of. It's all lovely. The Noordam has the same ... Read More
We love Holland. It's the most relaxing vacation ever! The crew, the food, the comfortable staterooms.... the feeling that our ship is on top of safety and we will be taken care of. It's all lovely. The Noordam has the same outstanding crew as the other Holland ships. Our stateroom is always perfect, and the cabin guys check in with us every day to make sure everything is fine. Food is wonderful. Entertainment used to be kind of dull but now with the BB King Blues lounge it is really fun. Liquor is fairly priced, and the upscale dining venues are a deal. We always get a balcony and love seeing the world go by from it...flying fish, whales, dolphins, or just other ships and sunsets. The only thing I think is kind of a rip off is the price of shore excursions. So we just do our own. Anytime we've had any sort of minor problem Holland was quick to fix it. Love this cruise line! Can't wait for our next cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Sailed on 20 March. First time with Holland America. Had high expectations, was let down. Ship felt dated. The ship did not appear to be maintained as a once beautiful ship built in Italy in 2006. Sound system around the pool cracked ... Read More
Sailed on 20 March. First time with Holland America. Had high expectations, was let down. Ship felt dated. The ship did not appear to be maintained as a once beautiful ship built in Italy in 2006. Sound system around the pool cracked and spit many times making it hard to enjoy music. The overhead retractable ceiling on the Lido deck leaks all over the lounge chairs when it rains. Pool just plain ugly. Painting around the outline of the pool white with black smears, not attractive.! Great crew, worked really hard to help everywhere. Loved the fruit options in the cabins, the orchids in the Lido buffet. The fresh flower arrangements were beautiful. Cabin staff kept rooms perfect. Problem with balcony door when wind picked up, whistled like three tea kettles going off at the same time different pitches. This sound was heard repeatedly on many decks as other rooms seemed to have the same problem with door seals. Reported to front desk multiple times and the solution was ear plugs. Don't think so. Need Plexiglas around outside railings of ship to keep small one from falling to their death. " Front office" name needs to be changed to Guest Services, reminded me of school days. Some staff in" front office" need retraining on problem resolution techniques. Loved the fresh squeezed orange juice included. First dinning felt rushed and hectic, kitchen could not keep up, making the dinning servers look bad. Too much paper used for adds daily, switch to digital and put it on the TV. Great safety presentation, well done. Deck chairs on Deck three need some attention and a little varnish. Cushions on Deck 3 no longer cushion. Food was good, but did not impress, except on last night. It was totally a 10. Serve food like that nightly and you will always have a full ship. Entertainment very good. Beautiful theater. Do not take the Curacao Trolley Train Tour over priced for what you get and not worth it. The other excursions from the cruise line in Bonaire was one of the best ever. The ship excursion in Aruba good too. The comment heard most often on the ship was "Well it's going into dry dock when it gets back" Most people were commenting on the great need for a facelift. The food served on the Lido deck at the food buffet outside by the pool was at deck temperature. Cold should be cold, and hot, hot. This was not.!! Chicken and beef at deck temp. for extended periods is not a good thing. Crew amazing. Always so helpful thank you. Would like to see the dinning room open daily for sit down service even if it is only one hour. It was not. The afternoon tea was delightful, great idea. The coupon for 1 hr free hydrotherapy pool was most appreciated while in Port. Thank you. If you paid the last minute price you would not be disappointed in this cruise, however, if you paid the price from two months earlier, think again. Curacao and Bonaire and Aruba great destinations. They were so different from the typical Easter/Western run. Must see. The library area is a nice change from the rest of the ship with books to read, magazines and games, comfortable seating. The coffee shop in the library area serves good coffee, maybe offer a reward card. Child care was wonderful, they took great care of the kids and offered a myriad of options. Confused when in port till 11pm, however child care area closed at 4pm.(unless on a ship excursion) I was told. No other cruise line shortens the child care available while in port whether you are on a ship excursion or not. Thank you to Katie and Katy for a great job. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our first cruise on Holland America and our expectations were admittedly high. The Noordam was great, we loved it. Our cabin was nice and decently appointed, except that they don't have CNN. (Why not?)The public areas are ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Holland America and our expectations were admittedly high. The Noordam was great, we loved it. Our cabin was nice and decently appointed, except that they don't have CNN. (Why not?)The public areas are comfortable, nicely and tastfully done and offer a cozy atmosphere. The buffets are well laid out in a manner that makes them accessible, yet uncrowded. The main dining room is elegant and the two premium dining options, Pinnacle Grill and Canalettos, are well worth the few extra bucks. However, we were dissapointed in the lack of good quality cuts of meat and total lack of fresh seafood. There is no carvery where fresh cuts of beef, ham or lamb are served, and I was told by the Culinary Director himself that Holland America does NOT server fresh seafood. How unfortunate. During the course of the cruise we spoke with numerous other passengers, many who had sailed many cruises on Holland America ships, and almost all deemed this ship's food less than expected as compared to other Holland America Ships. Again, not my words, theirs. All the above having been said, the cruise and ports of call were fun and the good memories made are many. We highly recommend the cruise and the ship, but set your expectations low in the quality and variety of food department. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
This was two consecutive cruises - one of 10 days, one 0f 11. I haven't been back to HAL for almost three years and I am a Five Star Mariner with HAL. All was fine except for the minor niggardly cutbacks that are facts of life with ... Read More
This was two consecutive cruises - one of 10 days, one 0f 11. I haven't been back to HAL for almost three years and I am a Five Star Mariner with HAL. All was fine except for the minor niggardly cutbacks that are facts of life with all lines today, e.g. lack of scratch pads, fruit bowls and ice by request only, somewhat slower service to clear dishes etc. in Lido due to less crew members which was also reflected in the Dining Room being closed at lunch on all port days. etc. to staff Lido. Embarkation was fairly slow - not as well handled as on RCI. Luggage delivery was better than other lines however, Ship was somewhat worn; however she is scheduled for a 14 day refurbishment in April. Large Balcony had lots of rust, badly stained floor, filthy chair cushions etc.; but all this will be taken care of in the refurbishment I'm sure, as will worn bath floors etc. HAL is famous for the profusion of beautiful flower arrangements about their ships - and that is still the case. Public rooms beautiful, excellent elevator service/speed. There are so many "cleaners" around that you almost trip over them. You never get within 10' of a crew member without a huge smile and friendly greeting Food and service in Dining Room excellent. Food in Lido also quite good, quite varied, and the usual HAL Indonesian service crews smiles and happy demeanor made for an enjoyable experience. Extra tariff restaurants - Pinnacle $10 lunch, $29 dinner very fine. Canaletto Italian restaurant at dinner, located in a section of the Lido, $10, also most fine. I noticed that almost all prices on HAL - liquor, photos, mini bar, soft drinks, tours etc. were only about 60% of what RCI charges. Nice to see "reasonable" prices. Entertainment mostly quite good as were the many musical groups about the ship. They also have a B B King Jazz orchestra in one venue, and a lovely classical duo (Adagio) in one of the lounges. Excellent HAL has created a niche for itself taking excellent care of its core group - the elderly - thus a profusion of walking assist devices, e.g. "trolley's, wheel chairs etc. Crew members are always available to carry trays, push wheelchairs etc. and do so with a smile. At 75 I can say that this was my age group and all was geared to making this age group comfortable and feel well taken care of. HAL is not inexpensive. My per diem was twice what it is on RCI; however it was well worth the difference and an excellent value for the money - a distinction that has been recognized by HAL consistently winning accolades from Cruise publications etc. as the best value for the money. I certainly feel that HAL continues to be at the very top of the "Premium" class of cruise lines. Disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale was effortless and I left the ship with little to complain about.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Just been on the southern Caribbean 10 day cruise and it was awesome. The ship is catered for the old folks and the food is better than other Cruises, but entertainment not as great. HAL allows smoking on the cabins which is the prime ... Read More
Just been on the southern Caribbean 10 day cruise and it was awesome. The ship is catered for the old folks and the food is better than other Cruises, but entertainment not as great. HAL allows smoking on the cabins which is the prime reason I like HAL. Excursions are plentiful but pricy if you book from Hal. On most ports you are better off just going to peer and there is lots of tour operators at half price for similar tours.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
This was the second cruise with HAL, our previous recency cruises were with our grandchildren on the Oasis and the Allure which present themselves as destination high energy cruises. We enjoyed that experience. Our previous HAL experience ... Read More
This was the second cruise with HAL, our previous recency cruises were with our grandchildren on the Oasis and the Allure which present themselves as destination high energy cruises. We enjoyed that experience. Our previous HAL experience was on the Zandaam and that was not enjoyable so we decided to give HAL a second chance in order to compare it with Princess,Cunard, Royal Caribbean and HAL The Noordam is a wonderful ship with a great crew. We chose this cruise because I have a high energy job and I wanted to relax. Also we had never been to the southern Caribbean before It is a traditional cruise line and we found that the fixed dining time gave us the best compromise between eating early and enjoying the evening entertainment. The food and service was excellent. The Culinary arts program was good and our view of the evening entertainment was mixed. The piano bar with Michael, the strings, the blues and the band were all excellent. The floor shows were not to our taste because they were disjointed. Lee Bayliss the comedian was excellent as a 'clean comic' We enjoyed his worshop the next day. The crew and the Ship are excellent. A nice touch was some of the crew lining up to say goodbye at the end of the crew. The age group of the particular cruise was older to elderly and the crew assisted passengers when needed. I don't think that I would take our grandkids on this ship because it is geared to a mature crowd. So as a traditional cruise it is excellent. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This was my 43rd cruise and 13th on HAL. 10 Day Southern Caribbean Cruise. Stateroom SA 7058: Just right. Room Attendants were most attentive and very nice. Neptune Lounge: Always a treat. Faye and Rick were perfect and REALLY went out ... Read More
This was my 43rd cruise and 13th on HAL. 10 Day Southern Caribbean Cruise. Stateroom SA 7058: Just right. Room Attendants were most attentive and very nice. Neptune Lounge: Always a treat. Faye and Rick were perfect and REALLY went out of their way to insure we had a great cruise. Ports of Call: Half Moon Key; Grand Turk; Samana DR; Bonaire; Curacao; Aruba. The ports of call were as always the same. So I won't dwell on them. The ship was spotless and most importantly the crew were effervescent in their courtesy and efficiency. PROBLEM AREAS: The first night we ate in the Vista Dining Room, Open Seating. It was a disaster. I had to find an officer to fetch a cup of coffee after 15 minutes. The food arrived late and cold. WE left and ate in the Lido. We later ot a call from the Dining Room Manager who apologized. We told him we wouldn't be back! We made reservations in the Pinnacle Grill every following night and one night in the Cannelato, their Italian specialty restaurant. Then to top it all off two days late we got a note that we were assigned to Open Seating in the main dining room at 8:00 PM. I thought Open Seating meant "When you want". Oh well. SMOKING: HAL has now relegated us smokers to two areas. Your balcony and the Sea View Bar at the stern of the ship. I predict the balconies will be the next to go. My first cruise on HAL smoking was permitted in every lounge on the ship. Vapeing is not allowed either. Other than the above it was a great cruise. We had a good time and met some lovely people. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
This was our first cruise on Holland America. We have been on Celebrity and Princess enough to earn top status. The cabins stewards, waiters and all the crew were excellent. Overall we felt the food was good in both the dining room and the ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Holland America. We have been on Celebrity and Princess enough to earn top status. The cabins stewards, waiters and all the crew were excellent. Overall we felt the food was good in both the dining room and the buffet. We had no complaints. Some reviews indicated the entertainment was not up to par but we felt that the entertainment was on a par with other cruise lines. However, as we have recently seen with other cruise lines the performances are just too loud to the point that a couple of times we had to leave as did others. BB King band was a highlight of the Noordam, unfortunately we were unable to stay longer than a few minutes. Both embarkation and debarkation were handled better that on many other cruise lines we have been on. It was nice that they had both Catholic and Protestant services available. The library was the best we have ever seen and the internet speed was also the fastest we have ever experienced. It is time for some refurbishment. Some of the chairs in the Atrium were thread bare however the ship was very clean and well maintained outside of a few areas. We will look at Holland again for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Embarkation, information about the new Muster Drill requirements, service throughout the ship, food served in the Lido Restaurant as well as the Dining Room, and most of the entertainment available was excellent. Hot soups served in the ... Read More
Embarkation, information about the new Muster Drill requirements, service throughout the ship, food served in the Lido Restaurant as well as the Dining Room, and most of the entertainment available was excellent. Hot soups served in the Dining Room often were steaming and were delicious. My Wine Steward was Anthony: a more joyfull and knowledgable one I have ever had. Good Cabin Stewards and an excellent Dining Room team: Rudi and Ari. Entertainment was mostly good. The BB Kings Group did not have a wider range of music that I have experienced on other ships. On this cruise, the music was LOUD. The cast show Droom is not to be missed. The Adagio Strings duo were excellent and packed the Explorer's Lounge. No entertainment in the Crow's Nest. Happy Hour was only accommodating early sitting diners. Hot appetizers were not available until after Happy Hour was over. Even then, they had to be requested. There were so many 4 Star Mariners and above, we 4 Star folk were not invited to functions where we should have been. I do not think that the current ship's management is as guest friendly as it ought to be, particularly compared with my past HAL voyages. Shore Excursions that I booked were well run and worth the money. I booked The Master Chef's Table. Well worth while, but, oh, so much food and wine. A good experience, if one is so interested. This was a b2b, so we had to disembark the ship in Port Port Evergades for about 40 minutes. No place to sit while waiting to re-embark. Silliness in my opinion. Such does not need to be done in European ports. Why could this not be done aboard the vessel if it is really needed? Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
With a few exceptions (all too insignificant to even mention), this was another fantastic HAL cruise for us - we had some mechanical problems that Captain Jan handled flawlessly and some rough seas that he also handled without a hitch. We ... Read More
With a few exceptions (all too insignificant to even mention), this was another fantastic HAL cruise for us - we had some mechanical problems that Captain Jan handled flawlessly and some rough seas that he also handled without a hitch. We were privileged to experience the new "Evening at Le Cirque" menu and found it to be mostly an improvement over the previous one. We found the DiveIn to be a good idea well executed. Our stateroom attendants, Hetut and Dani, were as good as any we have ever had previously. MDR food selections were generally good and quality of food delivered was above average. The Lido offerings were par for the course, but the personal service provided to us by Nia was absolutely the best. Our most memorable part of the cruise was our dinner in Canaletto - it was far and away the best we have ever had at Canaletto and one of the very best Italian meals I have ever had. In case you haven't figured it out - we thoroughly enjoyed our latest Noordam cruise and, God willin', hope to make several more before we're finished. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
We did this same cruise 2 years ago, on Noordam, so we knew pretty much what to expect. Ship: Decent condition. Going into dry dock soon. Some upholstery by Promenade deck atrium is threadbare. Overall, the ship is clean and well kept. ... Read More
We did this same cruise 2 years ago, on Noordam, so we knew pretty much what to expect. Ship: Decent condition. Going into dry dock soon. Some upholstery by Promenade deck atrium is threadbare. Overall, the ship is clean and well kept. Embarkation / Disembarkation: Orderly, efficient and rooms were ready promptly upon embarkation. On turnaround there were arrangements for those of us staying on to go through customs and immediately reenter the ship if we did not want to go ashore in Ft. Lauderdale. The customs officials made an exception, at the last minute, and we were allowed to just stay aboard. We self disembarked the ship at the end with no problem. Fellow Passengers: Mostly an older crowd. Average age around 75 years. People were sociable and friendly. Well traveled and helpful. Mariners Arrival Lunch: Limited menu but good. Prefer to be served as there is no Code Orange anymore. (Avoid getting sick from all the utensil handling of guests in the Lido) Mariners Brunch: Fiasco. We had the first seating at 11:00 for the brunch. Our table ordered quiche but received fish. The waiter simply announced “we’re out of quiche” and plopped down a fish entrée, but not everyone at our table would eat fish. We also didn’t have our Champaign in time for the toast. The brunch was unorganized and not pleasant. We were invited to another bunch on the second leg of our back to back but did not bother to attend that one. Dress: Casual evenings were very casual but guests at second seating looked very nice on formal evenings. Overall people dressed up more on the second half of our cruise. Lido: We enjoyed eating outside for breakfast. The lady that makes crepes, Feby, is so sweet and her Nutella crepes are sweet too! The guys that make fantastic omelets were so nice, especially Paolo. We also enjoyed the deli sandwiches. I never had problems with getting enough meat on my sandwiches from the deli, in fact I had them grill a few of the already made up subs and some of the workers would even ask if you wanted any other meats added before they grilled them. Dive In: We refuse to eat hot dogs and hamburgers on a cruise. However, this dining option offers a grilled chicken sandwich called “the Backflip” which is really quite good! We enjoyed our Backflips with the tortilla chips and fresh salsa that are on the poolside taco bar rather than having French fries with our sandwiches. Great for holding us over until our 8:00 late seating dinner. Pool Area Music: While we enjoyed eating outside in the pool areas, the canned “tinny music” that came over the speakers was quite annoying. One morning, by Lido pool there was a solid half hour of what sounded like someone tapping a brake drum with a hammer non-stop!!! Other times there were other percussion sounds that were playing over the speakers, not music but more like something that should be a background accompaniment to a live musician. The fresh air, seas and sunshine are more than enough entertainment and the canned “music” was annoying. Maybe HAL believes these sounds sell more drinks or something but silence is golden during times when there is no live entertainment. Steel Drum Music: Deborah is awesome at both playing the steel drum and singing. We liked it best when Deborah played from the middle of the Lido pool area by the hot tubs, however one time they set Deborah up underneath to the side and too close to the tables so the sound was way too load in the more confined area and we had to move off the deck those times. Deborah’s singing gives a really nice island sound. I took one of Deborah’s classes on playing the steel drum and she was so nice and patient with us rookies! Coffee & Tea: I believe that the coffee has improved. The tea drinkers were not happy with the new tasteless brand of teabags that replaced the Bigelow teas. Indonesian Tea was nice as they still have the special teas especially Jasmine tea. Dutch Tea had no ice sculpture anymore and the teas were the same tasteless offerings as the Lido but the pastries were still special. Ice Cream: Always good in the Lido and not always as good in the Vista dining room. In the Lido the ice cream was always firm and many good flavors available. Freezers did their job and the experience was so much better than ice cream on the Maasdam that was always melting. Main Dining Room: The Vista Dining Room food was much better that our Maasdam cruise of last year. The chilled soups were actually chilled, not warm. We had more good meals than bad. Waiter 1st portion: The waiter for the first half of the cruise took the order politely and delivered the food efficiently. No personal interaction. Never asked if food was okay or even if it was what we ordered. This waiter was going home soon and I don’t think he cared. He didn’t remove the lobster from the shells, as was normally done on our other cruises. Instead, we removed the lobster tails and placed our shells on our bread plates where they remained until dessert course (very tacky!). Our waiter wasn’t super busy, there were a table of 8 and a table of 6 in this waiter’s area that were empty most evenings of this cruise. Waiter 2nd portion: Wow!!! This was a pleasant surprise! It was HAL as it used to be – our waiter Doni and his assistant Wayne were both very friendly, attentive, and helpful. The first night Doni asked us our names and called us by name every evening. They acknowledged us when we came into the dining room. On the night we had lobster, the waiter removed the lobster from the shell for everyone at our table. The waiter and assistant were very pleasant and wanted to please, a very different and positive experience that we liked a lot. Cabin 6143: Our cabin Steward, SLAM, and his partner DWE, provided all we needed and wanted without our asking. No problems with our linens, ice, plumbing, or air conditioning. We did leave behind all 42 of our bedtime chocolate squares, the “new” chocolate squares are not tempting in the least. Adjoining Room: Our cabin was an interior cabin with an adjoining room. Even though there are two doors thickness separating the cabins, there is less sound separation between the cabins, hardly noticeable on the first half but new occupants on the second half changed all that. The second couple that was in the adjoining room were constantly coughing all night and even heard them during the day when we would stop by the cabin for things. It was loud enough to keep us awake at times. Their cabin was also an inside cabin so we think the couple was quarantined because they never seemed to leave their cabin, we could hear them taking meals inside their cabin and we saw their “privacy please” card seemed to always be in the door slot. Again, the first couple we never heard anything but them using their ice bucket once or twice and we never heard anything unusual through our other cabin walls. Health of passengers: The captain and the cruise director didn’t remind the guests to wash their hands and cover their mouths for coughs and sneezes as we have experiences on most other cruises. Guests were much sicker for the 2nd part of our cruise. It was impossible to move away from the coughers – there were just too many of them. There were more coughers on the second leg of our cruise than any of the 30 other cruises that we have been on. Tours: We did 2 ship tours. Artist Tour in St. Martin is excellent, our second time doing this same tour. We visited 5 artists with 2 of them being different than the tour we took two years ago, and we were so glad to repeat the 3 other artists that we previously visited. The other ship tour we took was in Samana – beach transfer. It was that tour or stay on the ship. The beach was nice enough but we only had 2 hours on the beach and 1 hour travel each way to and from the beach. We don’t know why the ship even stops in Samana. Missed Port: Antigua was missed, unfortunately, the winds were too strong for this larger ship to make it safely through the narrow passage. However, we were able to visit the Private Island twice and that was fantastic! Great weather both times. On our back to back, the Private Island was the very first day and the very last day of our cruise, a big plus to taking the back to back. Entertainment: Holland America still just doesn’t get it. They need to admit they have an older audience and serve that unique niche. I want to go home with my hearing intact. It sounds like HAL’s objective is to make me go deaf. We attempt to go to their shows. Most of the time we leave because it is too LOUD!!!!! The only show that wasn’t at ear bleed level was “Droom”. We did enjoy the Droom show. We left an evening pianists performance because it was overamplified and accompanied by the “Hell Cats”. This same special pianist did put on a lovely afternoon concert when we skipped the Antigua port. We thought that it was a wonderful show at normal sound levels and with no Hell Cats. (Good riddance to the departure of the Hell Cats from HAL!) B.B. King Blues Club: The first half of the cruise, we attended about every night and they had a lot of people at their shows. The second half of the cruise the volume seemed cranked up and there were maybe 5 people in the Queens Lounge where they played. People seemed to stop in the hallway outside and briefly listen before walking on because the music was too loud. This could be a great addition to the entertainment offerings if only the volume was tolerable. If it gets any louder it would be like the Vista Showroom, GOOD BYE!!! Louder is not better, these B.B. King Blues Club performers are really talented and they could have a much greater draw if people could stick around to listen to them. I’ve never heard anyone complain that they can’t hear the performers, quite the opposite. The main complaint is TOO LOUD. We ended up in the Piano Bar when other venues were too loud. The piano bar is fine. Pianist played well and had a great voice (I believe his name was Michael Sara). We were looking to get out of snow and ice with all this winter weather. We enjoyed sunshine and warm temperatures. We would take this cruise again and recommend it to others. We loved our get away on the Noordam. Twenty-one days wasn’t long enough.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
We had a lovely relaxing cruise on the Noordam to St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Antigua (which we missed due to windy weather) St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. We are 59 and 64 and were with friends roughly the same age. We ... Read More
We had a lovely relaxing cruise on the Noordam to St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Antigua (which we missed due to windy weather) St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. We are 59 and 64 and were with friends roughly the same age. We were in Balcony cabins 4026 and 4028. Our cabin stewards, Gaga and Musali, were great, our cabin was always made up while we were away and any requests were completed immediately. The balcony dividers were opened so was nice to spend time together enjoying our sea views. Food was good, I am not picky, I like most anything. I like the new menus as I try to order only a 3 course or sometimes 2 course meal. My husband loves the Caesar salad and always orders double. Personally, I never order it, but to each his own. I enjoyed the fish selections, weiner schnitzel, and vegetables. Breakfast on the Lido was great. "Yum Yum " Bacon, one of the servers in the bacon and eggs sections, was a hoot! Selection was great, I had omelettes only when there was no line up, which happened three times. Usually there were less than 5 people in line, but I am impatient! No mango this year, missed that. Lunch at Lido was fun. I had the buttermilk chicken the first day (and only time it is there), it is amazing, melt in your mouth great. Don't miss it by thinking you will be able to try it later in the cruise. Lots of choices-salads, sandwiches, hot entries, pizza, and tried the burgers one day at the pool. Was good, but takes too long for me. I did enjoy the nachos and fruit salsa near the burger joint. We enjoyed the aft pool and hot tub on sea days. We choose HAL because we aren't interested in rock climbing walls, rinks, etc. We tend to book port intensive cruises so lots of activities aren't needed. The Noordam was very clean, but as others have said, I missed the "Days of the Week" carpets in the elevators. I really looked for the thread bare carpet, but couldn't find it. Where different carpets met in front of the elevator on deck 2 there was some threads beginning to unravel, but that was being very picky on my part and wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't been looking. We chose Anytime dining. After seeing the lineups to be seated in the early seating, I am glad we did. We usually chose a time between 5:30 and 6:00 pm and didn't have to wait for a table. We enjoyed Dottie's section and asked for him each night. We found we had the best of both worlds, we ate when we wanted and had the same waiter who gave us great and personable service. Was the service slower, some nights, but I think part of it was not ordering 2 appetizers as we have in the past. One little negative comment, is the butter is slabs rather than the rosettes from the past. We booked three shore excursions with HAL, two were excellent, one disappointing. "Art Around the Island "in St. Maarten-great tour, visiting the homes/gallery of 5 artists. Doris, our guide, was excellent pointing our points of interest and answering questions on our tour. I bought a small piece as a momento of our tour. Our second tour was the Segways on Barbados. Again combined a tour of the island and an one and a half hour tour on the Segways. Great time! St. Thomas tour was very disappointing. Safari bus loaded 5 per row and tour guide going through the motions. Last year we had taken a tour that we picked up at the cruise port, not as crowded and our guide was so proud of his island and our 3 hour tour was over 4 hours, dropped off downtown and picked up later, free of charge. On St. Lucia, we picked up a tour at the cruise port. Great choice, included a eco tour spot that was very informative and included tasting of fruit, island fare and history. Entertainment was good. Especially enjoyed the pianist in the theatre, comedian and magician. Spent some time in the piano bar, wish they would make it larger or better configure, bench seating in front of the piano very uncomfortable. Lovely cruise, would recommend the itinerary and Noordam. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I traveled alone for this cruise and it was my first one. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the Caribbean, so much so that I am traveling with my boyfriend in January on the Koningsdam to the Caribbean. Looking forward to the new ship ... Read More
I traveled alone for this cruise and it was my first one. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the Caribbean, so much so that I am traveling with my boyfriend in January on the Koningsdam to the Caribbean. Looking forward to the new ship and am sure that we won't be disappointed! I had a balcony cabin and have one booked for this trip as well. The extra that is does cost is more than worth that bit of privacy that a balcony affords you. Starting the day off and finishing it at the end of the day is a perfect way to have it. Enjoy your coffee as the sun comes up! I enjoyed a zip line ride in San Juan and have never spent Christmas Day like that before! I won't travel at Christmas again, but leaving right after New Year's Day in January will be a perfect way to start the year off!! The food was out of this world and every meal was scrumptious! I also appreciate that Holland America does tend to cater to the older crowd so it is nice to walk about the ship without having to worry about a ton of kids running around. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Guess it has been awhile since I cruised with Holland America. Right away I found the crew and staff extrememly friendly and accomdating. The Food was the best I can remember either on land or sea and I am pretty picky. For us the biggest ... Read More
Guess it has been awhile since I cruised with Holland America. Right away I found the crew and staff extrememly friendly and accomdating. The Food was the best I can remember either on land or sea and I am pretty picky. For us the biggest disappointment is not having scuba offered at the ports or at their private island. Deffinately more of an older crowd and I am ancient so activities late at night on this cruise were lacking. Will go again just for the menu the line also managed to take the Buffet line and upgrade it and make that experience more unique, very good idea.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We have cruised HAL many times. After this cruise we both noted that service and shipboard life have slipped. Embarkation was good....lines moved, on board and into our balcony cabin in no time. We had been on the Noordam once before and ... Read More
We have cruised HAL many times. After this cruise we both noted that service and shipboard life have slipped. Embarkation was good....lines moved, on board and into our balcony cabin in no time. We had been on the Noordam once before and she is in good shape. Learned that she is going into drydock in February for an update...wish i checked on that prior to booking. But the ship was clean. Things that broke were quickly fixed (dvd player in cabin, shower in cabin). Our cabin steward was attentive but we noticed that he had a lot of cabins to service....he looked exhausted but very friendly each time we met. Food on board was good. The variety in the main dining room was OK, wait staff seemed to have many tables and the service suffered. We had "as you wish" dining and as we expected, it took several days for us to get a time and table that was suitable. We like a table for two for many reasons....and after 4 days we selected a good time and were seated with reservations. Service is much better with smaller tables. After our first night at a table for 10 and a 2.5 hr meal we ate in the Lido as the maitre'd said we could not reserve a table for 2 at a specific time. Dinner in the lido has changed ! They close one side at 7:30 and then announce on the other side that at 8 they will also close. Lido was packed the times we ate there ! Lido staff in am and lunch were mixed...50% helpful and 50% not. Lido staff stood in front of beverage dispensers not helping passengers, almost surly when asked to clean tables. A change for us ! HAL has cheaped out with rewarding past mariners...they now have a lunch...which i attended....after 1.5 hrs our table never got food ! They send out RSVPs .... both floors on the dining room were almost full ...one would think they could have planned for the numbers coming ! I left. That was disappointing! Entertainment was interesting. Same production (usually expected) numbers (different costumes and singers but same frantic dancing and head shaking)....one evening it was passengers in the marriage game, another it was a blues group (they also had a nightly venue on the ship). The comedian was OK but the piano player was fabulous. Both entertainers were on board the entire 11 days, but only performed one night each. Using passengers for main entertainment is a...cheap-out ! IMO. Daily activities were lame....ex: bird watchers meet, aviators meet, etc really???....no crafts, captains talk, local info (except for shopping). Other topics were sales pitches for the spa etc. The best was the tech time...I took advantage of many classes on Windows 8.1 and they were great ! Only 12 computers in the "lab" and almost each session was full. Perhaps more computers or more interesting sea day activities?? The culinary events were good. The movies selections (during the day showings) were awful ! No one kept track of the quality and in one showing I went to the front desk to complain the sounds was too low ....guess other passengers would just sit there and lip read ! I was thanked when i got back to my seat. We enjoyed the intense port schedule....hitting 2 we had never been to before...St. Kitts and Martinique. We took 2 ship tours...one snorkel at the private island and a train ride in St. Kitts. Both were good but the organization on shore...awful ! I don't think we will be sailing HAL again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
Hope this is of use to anyone looking to book the Noordam. We are just home in the UK after a great vacation to Florida that included a 10 night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Noordam. I have sailed once previously with Holland America ... Read More
Hope this is of use to anyone looking to book the Noordam. We are just home in the UK after a great vacation to Florida that included a 10 night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Noordam. I have sailed once previously with Holland America in 2010 and my wife twice, 2010 with me and 2013 on the Ryndam with her daughter (I was left behind to work to earn the money to pay for the cruises!). We used our Virgin Atlantic miles this time so the routing was Manchester/Heathrow/Miami which was fine other than the Manchester flight being late and them holding the Miami flight whilst it arrived and we were running (with about 10 others) between terminals. Arrived in Miami fine and got out hire car for the short drive to Ft Lauderdale and two nights stay and some shopping as Sawgrass Mills before our Monday departure on Noordam. We were reasonably early for check in but had a reasonable wait as the ship had just done it's Transatlantic thus had to have it's mandatory inspections by the US authorities so we were later boarding but it went smoothly with no issues. I like others missed the Mariner lunch but didn't let this get to me like some I heard complaining and mumbling. We went up to the Lido for lunch and as normal this was busy but we are used to that on first day. Went to our cabin, (5036 Port side balcony cabin) to fine one of our two cases had arrived so we unpacked that then went to explore. Having been on Nieuw Amsterdam it was a similar but not same layout and all in good order. There was much cleaning and general maintenance continually going on throughout the 10 days which was good to see, they certainly look after her well. My wife likes the fact you get a bath on this style of ship as opposed to shower only on some of the newer ships. Case two finally arrived and was unpacked as we were about to set sail late due to a technical issue when they tested a lifeboat that needed attention so again top marks, safety coming first. We open seating dining and although many do then book specific times we just go when we feel we are ready. Had a short wait a couple of times but then we were requesting tables for 2 and not to join mixed tables. The food in the Main Dining Room was good for the most part, one night I was brought the wrong meal but I decided to have it rather than wait for another correct one and to be honest it proved a real success. The waiting staff were all extremely friendly and efficient, a couple slower than others but no issues to note. We are not big drinkers but we did see most tables being well looked after with wine etc. There was a decent variation in the menu and the medium rare New York Strip steaks I had on several occasions was excellent. One waiter struggled to understand that on one occasion my wife wanted just the chicken off one menu taken and cut into slices and placed on top of a starter salad that she had asked to be done as a main portion. Next time she asked it was done perfectly without any misunderstanding. Breakfasts were always taken in the Lido and the speed of this improved after the two days of being served by their staff (a heath measure that I actually applaud), occasionally a bit of a job finding a table but we sorted that by changing our timings. Food was nice and a good choice although I heard some people saying breakfast were repetitive but I found that if you wanted something different there was sufficient choice. I do wonder if some people are just far to fussy, generally these were the American guests too. The guest make up was a lot of US and Canadian parties, just a few from the UK like us, Dutch, Germans and a couple from Australia and New Zealand but all got along well and it was a relaxed atmosphere. We took in the show all nights bar one and it was always entertaining and varied. Cruise Director was English and efficient and has obviously done the job a while, the wife said she had him on the Ryndam. The activities were varied but we did find ones we wanted clashed a few times and I did think a little more effort could have been put into sea days activities. Indonesian Crew Show late one night was very entertaining and a nice insight into their culture. The musicians were ALL first class. We really enjoyed a couple of sets a night in BB Kings Blues Club and would certainly look of another ship featuring this as the standard was excellent. A lot love the piano player in the piano bar, we heard him a few times from outside when it was packed and he sounded very good but he was also sick two days and signed off work. The piano and violin pre dinner were real classy musicians. We also enjoyed the deck BBQ night (only night we did not use the MDR) and the beef served that night was delightful. Lunches were spread between one in the MDR, several in the Lido, a couple at Dive In and I must congratulate them on the chicken burger, it was fantastic with a great sauce. We are now eagerly awaiting a painting that we bought at the art auction to be shipped - it is really nice and will be a great reminder of the cruise as will the watch that my wife won in the FREE raffle from the shops. First two days seas were higher than I have experienced in the Caribbean previously and weather less sunny but still enjoyable. We did witness a great lightning storm some miles from the ship one night. Ports of Call The captain did his best but could not tender us off at the private island due to winds that were quite high and he was worried that if he got guests on the island and wind increased it would not be possible to get them back on board so we got an extra sea day which was fine by us. Grand Turk Have been before but they have done some development since our last visit and we enjoyed walking and relaxing in the area around the Jimmy Buffets pool. Samarna (Dominican Republic) The sail into the bay was really nice, however the ship anchors a way off and it's quite a longer tender trip ashore. We had not booked a trip thinking we would look around and decide if we fancied one once ashore. My wife enjoyed the tender trip especially when I got soaked through the open front window as we were hit by the wake of a tender going in the opposite direction!!! We landed and walked along the promenade and around a simple market. It all looked quite a poor place and certainly not ready for cruise ship stops. The people were not pushy or anything however but in hind sight if we visit here again we will book a trip. Bonaire First time here and it's a lovely island and great for anyone wishing beaches/water sports. We toured the local shops and all were nice and people lovely. Curacao Visited here last year so we took a taxi tour this year and we hit lucky as the guide was really good and made many stops and described things well and showed lots of the history of the island. We then had a walk around the shops but being a Sunday many were closed or closing. Weather was really hot and it again is a nice island. The ship did not sail until late at night and it was nice to see all the town lit up etc. Aruba Again an island we have previously visited but just as nice as previous. Another great beach & water sports island and lots of the passengers enjoyed that. We arrived back at Ft Lauderdale at 7am and we were off the ship with our own luggage in hand, through immigration (oh why is there ever only two officers working) and were at the Alamo car hire depot by 8.10 am and on the road to Orlando by 8.30. Three days in Orlando, one in the Ft Myers/Sanibel Island and final day in Miami before 10:30pm flights back to the UK. All in all great value for money cruise that we will really enjoyed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
This was the 3rd cruise on HAL, the second on the Noordam. In the time between Jan 2013 to Nov 2014 this ship has seen a Major overall decline. The room, verandah, was so outdated and worn, the air conditioning never worked right, even ... Read More
This was the 3rd cruise on HAL, the second on the Noordam. In the time between Jan 2013 to Nov 2014 this ship has seen a Major overall decline. The room, verandah, was so outdated and worn, the air conditioning never worked right, even with numerous calls and supposedly work by technicians, and the bathroom sink plugged. The pillows were hard and the decorative pillows that were placed on top of the ones I lay my head on were dirty and stained. Food - eatable but not at all like it was before. There was no presentation on the plates (I am a foodie and eat with my eyes first); there was nothing that made me think wow. Same things every nite, Really, just with a different sauce. I really think the Lido deck had better choices than the Vista dining room. The food on the plate was minimal at best and very bland. Wilted Caesar salads. Instead of anchovies one nite it was sardines! Thanksgiving dinner was horrible!!!! Pinnacle Grill - the only bright spot of the whole culinary experience. Menu delicious, but it was $29 pp surcharge. Le circ - horrible dinner. Dry beef, fish with bones. $49 pp surcharge was definately not worth it. Really really bad. If I were part of the Culinary Council and had my name associated with this food ( as many top chefs do) I would be embarressed. No chocolate or special desert nite where people line up to take pictures and eat delectable pastries. Was told by staff it was eliminated at the beginning of the year. This was such a special part of the cruise experience, why would the eliminate it? Entertainment - really lacking here. Out of 10 nites two had comics and one had a fiddle (Irish) player. One night had guests trying to win a cruise, Dancing with the stars concept, dancing with the dancers ( last nite), and the rest were the singers and dancers. Singers - there was one guy who was pretty good, but the girls sounded more like opera singers and too screeching for my taste. Dancers - very often not in sync, nothing special. The one really good nite with them was their play Droon. The costumes were beautiful and the play very entertaining. In 2013 there was a hyptonist, a ventriloquist, a comic; a variety. I have been told that HAL has been cutting corners and staff have been reduced. Cabin stewards have more rooms to take care of and waiters more tables, which lend to a decrease in Service. Captains Brunch - no captain, not even for a moment. It was his brunch! An officer gave the toast! Other than at the beginning of the cruise when the captain gave a toast and introduced his staff we never saw him! Since this cruise gave me 2 star status we wanted to continue grow our relationship with HAL but after this experience We have changed our mind. I wonder if Princess or Celebrity is doing the same? Ports of call - samana, Dominican Republic. Wow, this is a place where we should not have stopped. Nothing, absolutely nothing, here to do. So very very poor, dirty. Not good. We did take a tour outside of ship excursions that showed us the area. While the people are very poor they are a very proud people. We were also told my locals that it is very unsafe, a lot of drugs and robbing of tourists! The other ports were established ports.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
This was the 11th cruise for my husband and I, the 9th with Holland America; we are 3-star Mariners. We had a good time, but there were things missing from this cruise that have been normal on previous HAL cruises. Our last cruise was a ... Read More
This was the 11th cruise for my husband and I, the 9th with Holland America; we are 3-star Mariners. We had a good time, but there were things missing from this cruise that have been normal on previous HAL cruises. Our last cruise was a year and a half before this one, maybe all HAL cruises have changed in that 18-month period. If so, that is unfortunate. 1. There was no Chocolate Extravaganza. 2. The chocolates left on our bed each night were generic - they weren't the HAL-logo chocolates. 3. There was no final Goodbye Show. This show was mostly to tell passengers how disembarkation is handled, but it is also traditionally the final goodbye with the crew all coming on stage and singing together and everyone joining in a final glass of champagne. At the last dinner in the dining room there was somewhat of a parade of the crew, but it was hard to see and hear for those sitting at tables away from the center of the room. It wasn't the same. 4. Trivia was unorganized and there was no final cruise champion. On our previous cruises there has been recognition of the team with the most points earned throughout the cruise. 5. There were very few drawings and raffles. 6. There were no cultural or history talks about the ports we visited. The only talks I know of is one about shopping in the ports and one about where to go on your next cruise. Since we were not able to dock at Half Moon Cay and had an extra sea day as a result, a little culture and history would have been welcome. 7. I liked that on previous cruises there were announcements throughout the day about events happening on board (so I didn't miss them). On this cruise that only happened once or twice a day. This, however, might be a welcome change to some who don't like hearing announcements. Otherwise: Embarkation was very slow. The ship arrived back in the States from 8 months in Europe the morning of our cruise. Customs and Coast Guard inspections took a lot of time and we didn't get on board until about 2 p.m., missing the Mariner lunch. We left port about 8 p.m.; one of the lifeboats had a hydraulic problem that needed to be fixed. We had fixed dining at 8 p.m. and our stewards were friendly and as attentive as they could be with the number of tables they had to cover. One night we missed the show entirely because courses were slow to be served, one night we were late to the show. However, the food was delicious as usual with HAL. When three of us at the table wanted escargot more than one night, that was no problem, it was ready for us. Service by our cabin stewards was well done. When I wanted more wine glasses or lotion, I left a note and they were there after the next time the room was cleaned. The only complaint with the room is that the water tasted bad, like too much chlorine or not enough filtering. We were not able to embark at Half Moon Cay. The captain anchored but winds were too strong to safely transport us in the tenders. The entertainment was very good, although at least one night there was no show. Dancing With The Stars final was held at 9:30 while the late dinner seating was still eating. We used expedited disembarkation because we had an early flight. We carried our luggage off and were in the first group to leave the ship. It went smoothly. The Noordam is a beautiful ship. She is clean and in good repair. Summary: We have always preferred the smaller HAL ships. The Vista class, like Noordam, have more public rooms, but they are more crowded, especially at the Lido. We will probably chose a smaller ship for our next cruise. We won't book a ship that has just come off a repositioning cruise again because of the long embarkation. The cruise was fun, we really enjoyed it, but before booking another cruise I will read reviews and weigh the pros and cons of each ship.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We are new to Caribbean cruising, having only sailed on European river cruises before, and we were very pleasantly surprised by our cruise on the Noordam. Food was excellent, good variety in both the buffet and dining room, portions not ... Read More
We are new to Caribbean cruising, having only sailed on European river cruises before, and we were very pleasantly surprised by our cruise on the Noordam. Food was excellent, good variety in both the buffet and dining room, portions not too large so that you could have more than one appetizer or even dessert. People online complain about the cost of alcoholic beverages and pop, but there was always water, coffee, tea available for free in the buffet, 2hr room service, and beer and pop in the bars was reasonably priced in our opinion. The service was uniformly excellent -- our cabin steward Yassa and waiter Juan anticipated every need. The ship is just the right size to provide the amenities we enjoyed -- multiple dining rooms, entertainment areas, full promenade deck to walk around outside, two pools and hot tubs -- but small enough to find our way around and get into ports like Bonaire. We neither felt trapped nor lost. We never had to wait for elevators or line up for lunch or to leave or return to the ship (unlike the Carnival ship docked beside us at Grand Turk, whose passengers had to wait more than an hour in the hot sun to go aboard). Entertainment was pretty good, but the comedian Matthew DiSero was hilarious. The cruise was excellent value for money, with two exceptions, luckily both optional: 1. internet access is expensive and unreliable. Wait for the free or cheap wifi available at most ports. If you do use the ship's wifi, make sure you log out, not just shut down your device or quit your browser or turn off wifi. 2. excursions offered by the ship are two to three times as costly as those you can get onshore, and no better. Next time I would just arrange something as we disembarked and there are lots of good options in every port, with the possible exception of Samana. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We live in Upstate N.Y so we left the day before and stayed at a great hotel my wife got on priceline called B Hotel.Their are good reviews about the hotel on Trip Advisor. We arrived at the port at about 11:00 and embarkment was very well ... Read More
We live in Upstate N.Y so we left the day before and stayed at a great hotel my wife got on priceline called B Hotel.Their are good reviews about the hotel on Trip Advisor. We arrived at the port at about 11:00 and embarkment was very well organized and quick. Dropped our stuff off and went to Lido for lunch by 12:00. This was only or 2nd Holland Cruise we have cruised 12 other times 6 Princess and 6 Royal Carib. I will keep this as brief as possible, but hopefully informative. Room: Very Nice and spacious with a decent bath with tub, It is a back balcony not any type of suite. Our room stewart coudn't do enough for you, excellent service. Lido: Good variety, great food have to say that I got the pasta with meat sauce often but tried a couple of other items and all were great. esp. the pizza. Dinner: Again good variety every night but if you didn't like what they had they have a good alternative menu, steak chicken etc. Great service, Greenhouse Spa: Great Thermal suite, well worth the money, stone beds were nice and very warm over looking the ocean, steam rooms wonderful and the Hydro pool was was perfect. Great relaxing time. Entertainment : It was better than what we had expected, shows were good B.B King show was great. It was a great cruise with an older crowd but that didn't seem to matter a bit. It is worth taking a look at. Met two other wonderful couples at dinner Fred and Ginny and Hugo and Jan. We had a fantastic time with good friends and lots of laughter, Thanks for being a part of our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We boarded the beautiful Noordam for the second time in two years on the understanding that we could use any part of the common area on the ship as on our previous cruise,only to find that we could not use the common area on deck 11 as ... Read More
We boarded the beautiful Noordam for the second time in two years on the understanding that we could use any part of the common area on the ship as on our previous cruise,only to find that we could not use the common area on deck 11 as there are now Cabanas. There is a clear notice that the area was private for paying Cabana users only, segregating the rest of the passengers from this previous common area, in our view turning the Noordam into a two class system. On this cruise we lost the privilege of bringing as much wine as we wished, new rules only now allowed two bottles each. Travelling in a balcony previously we were given complimentary personal stationary only to be told by the front office that service is no longer provided. We paid 60 Euros for shuttle buses on our overnight stay in Barcelona and getting to the city center of Marseilles, again the office told us the ship was berthed so far from both city centers you have to pay. The ports were interesting the food and service was good, the Captain went to sleep on us when we inquired why little or no information coming from the bridge or not much sighting of the Captain a senior officer told us he was having problems on the cruise. Front office as usual excellent as were our both cabin people and dining room servers. On board we took the time to fax HAL regarding our grievance, the Cabanas are turning the ship into a two class system, so far no response from the Carnival Corporation. We have heard comments nickle and diming, cutting costs etc but really all it is pure unadulterated greed and greed is not good. We are nearly up to four star with HAL and until they stop this greed we will continue to spend our money off the ship, would we recommend HAL to our friends and business associates at present no way! We are not naive enough to realize that HAL has to make a profit but enough is enough! 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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