Sail Date: July 2014
Sailing from Barcelona, Spain on July 1, 2014 - 11 Nights. Headline “How to open the show on a very, very poor performance.” Yesterday we boarded the ms Noordam in Barcelona, and are scheduled to spend the first full day after ... Read More
Sailing from Barcelona, Spain on July 1, 2014 - 11 Nights. Headline “How to open the show on a very, very poor performance.” Yesterday we boarded the ms Noordam in Barcelona, and are scheduled to spend the first full day after boarding still in port in Barcelona. As past mariners as part of the Holland America program, we have come to expect a consistent quality of service no matter what ship we choose to cruise on, but perhaps we have been spoiled since first sailing on the ms Amsterdam last year. Unfortunately, apparently all crews are clearly not trained to or operate at the same standards. When we first arrived into our Deluxe Verandah stateroom (4123), we thought that the room seemed hot. After adjusting the air conditioning as low as it could go and attempting to call the guest services lines and experiencing 20+ minute hold times, we decided to go to the front desk to ask them to assist. We were told that they would open a service ticket and that no one would even need to come to our room. A long time later, Mary Grace from the front desk came to our stateroom with a digital thermometer and decided that the minimal output from our air conditioning unit was putting out air at 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23.5 C), stated that it wasn’t working correctly, and that it would be fixed. She suggested that we open the door to the Verandah. For air conditioning to work, it should clearly be coming out cooler than the intended room temperature. After over 24 hours in port, they still have not repaired the air conditioning. When we spoke with Alex at the front desk after this 24 hour delay, we were told that he saw that a service ticket had been opened, but that he also saw that nothing had been done. Not only had nothing been done, but Alex at the Front Desk really seemed totally apathetic and non-caring as he told us to go back to our room and wait for them to call. Alex told us that it would be another hour waiting in the room for something to happen as he would have to speak to his supervisor, who would then have to speak to their supervisor, who would then speak to the assistant facility manager. Apparently the desk staff is not empowered to meet guest’s needs, which is another cause for concern when booking a cruise with this vessel. As we get back to the room to wait for the service that may or may not come, we find out that our scheduled stop in Marseilles has been cancelled due to a labor issue and we are going to be redirected to an alternate/back up port. Ironically there was a taxi strike in Barcelona yesterday that affected arrivals to the ship, but strangely enough we heard nothing from Holland America to tell us to expect these taxi issues affecting arrivals. Would it have been that hard to contact the passengers via their preferred communications channels with a simple message? Is this the Noordam’s idea of customer service? I’m sure others have had perfectly enjoyable cruises on the Noordam, however, so far, we are not impressed in the least. I understand that issues happen with labor disputes and with the ship’s infrastructure, but a caring crew would attempt to accommodate and address these issues. One thing is for certain, I wish I had paid more attention to some of the other reviews of the Noordam, as many of the same issues noted are still present and uncorrected. This is not how you demonstrate positive customer service. You may really wish to reconsider cruising on this ship. Unfortunately we are in the market for another Holland America ship that does seem to care, and barring that, we will then find another cruise line that understands that “good enough – isn’t”. So far, this is the worst cruise experience that we've ever had - and we haven't even left the first port yet.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
The cruise, in my mind, was an A. The ports were splendid; the crew members were top notch; entertainment was pretty good; and the food was excellent. The only downside is that this boat is beginning to show it's age. The maiden ... Read More
The cruise, in my mind, was an A. The ports were splendid; the crew members were top notch; entertainment was pretty good; and the food was excellent. The only downside is that this boat is beginning to show it's age. The maiden voyage was in early 20006 and I understand that these lovely ladies of the sea take a beating but there were some items that were less than appealing. Broken A/C that took forever to fix... in 95 degree heat that stinks. And it never really performed well the entire time. Shower stall wasn't really clean. Had to point out to get cleaned. Many wear and tear marks throughout the ship. I was a bit startled when the cruise director told us they just did a major upgrade on her recently... thank goodness cuz I wonder what it looked like before. So I may be a bit picky but for what we paid I was a little let down. Would I recommend this ship to others? YES... but it would be qualified. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
Holland America's 10-day western Mediterranean is a port intensive cruise that takes you to eight ports and six countries (Italy, Vatican, Monaco, France, Spain, Tunisia). The ship is a wonderful way to travel the Med. HAL tries to ... Read More
Holland America's 10-day western Mediterranean is a port intensive cruise that takes you to eight ports and six countries (Italy, Vatican, Monaco, France, Spain, Tunisia). The ship is a wonderful way to travel the Med. HAL tries to bring you to as many ports as possible, for as long as possible each day. It succeeds! Perhaps it was too successful. We found ourselves wishing for an extra day at sea to relax, recharge and enjoy the ship. This cruise only has one sea day. We splurged on one of those large aft balconies that wrap around the room on deck 7. We opted for a Deluxe Verandah Suite (SB) that entitled us to many extra benefits, which may have been a mistake for such a port intensive cruise. We didn't take advantage of many of the benefits (special suite guest luncheons, parties), because we were so busy in port. However, if you like to spend time on the balcony, this was an incredible luxury. We fit 15 people on the verandah for a Cruise Critic sail away party the first night. We would enjoy a nightcap in our bathrobes and watch the sun rise some mornings. A note of warning, these balconies do not offer complete privacy. They have slanted roofs, so people on decks above can see part of your deck. We had a small problem with trash blowing down from the pool deck, but nothing major. The two sided balcony meant we always had a spot in the shade on the warm afternoons. The cabin was large, although smaller, inside, than other SB cabins. They give you the extra balcony space, but take it away from the inside. We still had plenty of room. The bed was quite comfortable, as was the pull-out couch. There was plenty of storage space for three. We packed four large suitcases, and could not use all of the cabinets. Suitcases fit easily beneath the bed. This room comes with a nice bar, which we took advantage of. We pre-ordered several bottles of liquor and wine. The stewards made sure we had plenty of ice and clean glasses. The bathroom had double sinks, a shower and a whirlpool tub. I used it several mornings. The Neptune Lounge, which is reserved for suite guests, has a constant variety of snacks and beverages available in a quiet club-like setting from 7:30a-8:30p. The two concierges knew our names within the first day and always greeted us with a friendly smile. We used their services to book spa treatments and dinner reservations, exchange dollars to euros, and order hoers d'oeuvres for parties on that gigantic balcony of ours. I can't say enough about how nice Reyan and Doris were. One benefit of the suite life we took advantage of often was breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. This is the ship's upscale steakhouse. It serves breakfast to suite guests in a relaxed setting. The menu is the same as in the Vista Dining Room (MDR). The service was far superior. We ate dinner at the Pinnacle twice. The food and service are comparable to any fine steakhouse in the USA. Just as in the MDR, you can order as many appetizers, soups, salads, as you wish. BUT I suggest you save room for those steaks! Well worth the $20pp surcharge. We found service in the MDR a bit lacking this cruise. The food was great and the variety wonderful. However, service was slow. We missed shows the first three nights because we did not leave the MDR until close to 10:30. Show time is 10:00 for late seating. When I brought it to our waiter's attention, he apologized. He said he had a high maintenance table of nine that included one woman who loved to complain to ships officer, who was dining with them on formal nights. Service improved dramatically, once we explained we wanted time to see the shows. There are three formal nights on this cruise, so if you want to dress up, you'll have plenty of nights to shine. For planning purposes, our formal nights were after Monaco, the sea day, and after Sicily. Lunch in the Lido was great. We'd head there around 2:30 on port days for a lunch. Salads, burgers, pasta, and remarkably fresh fish. They do shut down late afternoon. One day we got back on board and settled for pizza and pasta. The demographics on this cruise skew to the older side. By that, I mean over 70. Much of the entertainment was geared to those folks. The comedian was funny, but G-Rated. The piano player in the piano bar loved tunes from the 50s & 60s. The feature singer knew all the OLD songs. There was a cute act, featuring dueling violinists. I'm not complaining about the entertainment. Just letting you know what to expect. I thought the shore excursions were also skewed to older folks. There were not enough active excursions for our family. We booked a lot of private tours. On board asctivities were also a little geriatric for my taste. I don't want this to sound like I'm bashing the cruise line. I'm not. I'm just telling you wnat to expect so you can plan. That much said, there were 90 teenagers (13-17 year-olds) on board and the teen director Jeremy rocked! I suspect many of those teens managed to sneak into the Northern Lights Disco when it opened at 10:00pm. I saw a lot of young faces the night I visited. Overall, my daughter (17-years-old) had a blast. The casino was decent, and never crowded. We actually won a couple hundred bucks. Nice array of slots, craps, roulette, video Texas hold 'em, and blackjack. Be careful, they have several blackjack tables that feature funky variations. My daughter had a massage, hair-do, facial and pedicure in the Greenhouse Salon. She liked the massage so much, she opted for a second one! It's the first time, ever on a cruise, I spent more on spa services than anything else! I settled for using the gym five mornings. There were plenty of aerobic machines available with TV screens to watch the tube. I preferred to look out the windows at the horizon. Decent variety of weight machines too. They offer chilled had towels after your workout, which was a great way to end a workout. The ships photographers were not intrusive, as on other ships. We usually buy several photos. They were expensive. The $39.99 sheet included a couple of wallet size, 5x7 and 8x11. We found so many photos we liked, we sprung for a $299 package that gives you every photo of you taken on board. My daughter took advantage and will have plenty of Holiday photos to give out. We literally walked off the ship with 100+ photos. We used the aft pool, which is supposed to be for adults only. The ship does not enforce this policy. However, the few children who used the pool were supervised by their parents and well behaved. Summing up, the Noordam is a clean comfortable ship. The staff is friendly and efficient. You will see a lot of Europe in 10 days. You will probably not see as much of the ship as you may want to. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
My wife and I sailed HAL Noordam through the eastern Mediterranean May 21-31, 2011. Ports of call included Dubrovnik, Corfu, Olympia, Santorin, Kusadasi/Ephesus, Athens and Messina. It was our first cruise on HAL, 4th cruise overall. ... Read More
My wife and I sailed HAL Noordam through the eastern Mediterranean May 21-31, 2011. Ports of call included Dubrovnik, Corfu, Olympia, Santorin, Kusadasi/Ephesus, Athens and Messina. It was our first cruise on HAL, 4th cruise overall. All in all, we give highest marks to the room, the crew who invariably were friendly and considerate and the ports of call. We opted for the superior veranda stateroom which offered room to move around, a king sized bed, reasonable sized bathroom including small Jacuzzi and, of course, the outside veranda. Less good was the food which was not overly special, even in the dining room. The Lido eating area on the top deck, which was open throughout the day, was cafeteria-like, and an absolute mess in the morning for breakfast, particularly if there were early morning tour departures. Biggest gripe was a sense of HAL 'nickling and diming' throughout the cruise. I don't think that it is unreasonable to offer soft drinks at meals. But on Noordam, everything other than water, coffee and lemonade costs extra. Wine at meals was priced upwards of 3x retail. I guess you don't mind if you're a teetotaller. If you're not, be sure to read about Dubrovnik option below. Also, internet access on board is satellite-driven so slow, and very expensive. Don't plan to do much internet browsing on board unless you've got a bottomless checking account. Tours were very expensive and a mixed bag. We opted to go our own in Dubrovnik, Croatia which was a fun walkabout in the walled city. Also, there is a major food store just outside the controlled area at dockside where you can stock up on snacks, soft drinks, wine, liquor and mixers to avoid the ridiculous prices on board ship (see above). Corfu: We opted for the ship's tour to Paleokastritsa & Corfu Town which turned out to be a bust. Instead, take the shuttle to Corfu and spend the day walking the city. That is what we ended up doing and that made the stop worthwhile. And if you are a senior you can access one of the town's two fortresses for only 2 Euro which includes access to a lovely WC and cafe and 360 degree views over the harbor and city. Olympia: Olympia turned out to be a sleeper high point of the trip. Be sure to visit the museum on site when you are there. Santorini: Crowds, crowds and more crowds. You can take the tram directly form the port up to Thira and avoid paying the price of the tour. But, the distance from Thira to Oia, the other urban highpoint on the island, probably means signing up for the tour. We were in port until 9PM so in principle there was time to walk to Oia from Thira and back but it would have been a stretch. Kusadasi: Ephesus was one of two primary targets of the cruise. We contracted with Osman Tourism (www.aboutephesus.com) for a private tour. It actually was cheaper than a ship's tour and provided quicker access to and a much more detailed tour of the site and the home of the Virgin Mary - important because of crowds. Be prepared to be sold Turkish carpets at the end of every tour. Leave your credit cards on board unless you are prepared to purchase a carpet. They are very persuasive. Athens: Athens was the other primary target so we also contracted with a local driver through Nikos Loukas (nikosloukas1@gmail.com). This option also proved to be very worthwhile, though expensive. In our case, we encountered a previously unannounced strike downtown so having a guide who knew city streets was really helpful. Drivers cannot guide in the various sites so read up ahead of time unless you want to pay extra for a guide. Be sure to see the new Acropolis Museum. Messina: Didn't know what to expect in Messina so took the tour to the Tindari Ruins and the Santuario della Madonna Nera Church. The tour was quite educational and fun. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
My wife and I have sailed with HAL several times and have enjoyed them. We were on the Noordam when she first came out and had a great time. This cruise was not good from day one. Embarkation: Was a disaster. According to HAL officials, ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed with HAL several times and have enjoyed them. We were on the Noordam when she first came out and had a great time. This cruise was not good from day one. Embarkation: Was a disaster. According to HAL officials, we were embarking at a pier that HAL does not usually use. The Gang Plank was not steady, so only a few people at a time could embark. Also the computer that reads room keys was not fully functioning so again this limited how many people could embark at one time. We waited over two hours to embark. Lido Buffet: Once on board everyone went to get lunch. The buffet was utter chaos. Due to preventative measures we were not allowed to get our own drinks or food. This went on for three days. Patience and nerves were strained already. This was supposed to be a vacation. Food Quality and Service: It seems that HAL is cutting back a lot. There were not enough waiters and busboys in the Vista Dining room. They are also having a hard time adjusting to Dine anytime. The food was cold and the servings very small. We waiting for entrees for an hour on several occasion's. Even during a mariners luncheon which we are part of was terrible. We waited an hour for our meal, which was a set menu ! This is not the HAL that we had sailed on previously. Entertainment and activities: The production shows were good and they had some good comedians and singers. The Noordam singers and dancers were good they work very hard. But the shows were the same ones as three years ago. Could they get some new shows ? Cabins: We were in a SS cabin. The size was good. But the ship is starting to show its age. Stains on the carpet grout in bathroom was moldy. Drain in tub and sinks did not work. It doesn't seem to be much maintenance being done. I don't think our sheets were cleaned every day. For the money paid we would like to have clean sheets every day. Port of Calls: Saint Maarten, Barbadoes, St. Thomas were good. The others Martinique and St. Lucia terrible. Shore excursion prices expensive. Disembarkation: Another snafu. Delay with luggage at pier so we had to go to color coding which takes longer. Was much better though than embarkation. Summary: It will awhile before we try HAL again. They did not live up to expectations and for the money paid, the value was not there. We were very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
My wife and I renewed acquaintences with Noordam this April, taking the repo cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona with a couple of ports along the way. We remembered the Noordam as being a very good ship and quite comfortable. However, ... Read More
My wife and I renewed acquaintences with Noordam this April, taking the repo cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona with a couple of ports along the way. We remembered the Noordam as being a very good ship and quite comfortable. However, along the way, there has been some serious upgrading. The ship is now exceptional! The Good: Staff of all levels were unfailingly helpful and uniformly friendly - not the "I have to say good morning to you" friendliness that we've seen on some other lines, but a genuine smile that brightens your whole day. This was true even for the young officers manning the Front Office desk, whose job seems to be principally hearing complaints. Boarding was absolutely painless and the new (at least to us) HAL policy of not requiring life jackets to be worn at boat drill made that part of the program a lot easier. Food in the main dining room was terrific. The first formal night (of 3) featured a surf and turf that would rival many 4 star restaurants. And the variety of offerings was such that we never got bored. The restaurant staff were friendly, professional and very good at what they do. The Lido cafe seemed to be a little off this time around - the selections were not very inspiring and they all seemed to be a little tired. However, for grabbing lunch when you're not in the mood for the full Dining Room deal it's fine - you certainly will never starve to death on HAL! The bars continue the wonderful HAL tradition of trotting our hot appetizers around 6:30 at no change, and it's hard to beat a pre-dinner cocktail (or two) in the Crow's Nest. The not so good: On the negative side, I have the distinct impression that they're cutting corners with the size of the shot. I tried several mixed drinks and in none of the could you taste the liquor at all. I think the might be able to do a little better for $6.00 plus/drink. Movies - HAL (at least on the Noordam) has the strangest schedule for showing movies - it changes from day to day, and never seems to make much sense. One day the feature will be at 1:00, 5:00, 7:00, etc., while the next the only showing may be at 10:00PM. Perhaps the most irritating was the showing of Shutter Island (which I really wanted to see) which was only offered for one showing starting at 5:30PM. Not available for those at first sitting for dinner at all, and since this was on a formal night, didn't leave enough time to get ready for the second sitting either. This is just a strange use of resources which seems to follow no rhyme or reason. Also - personal complaint - the free popcorn is horrible. It tastes like is was made in 1952 (although it is obviously freshly made). Either there's a problem with the corn itself or it's the fact that they use no butter, oil, salt, or anything else. Finally, another personal complaint. I know the days of the wonderful HAL packet containing tickets, luggage tags, etc. are long gone, but the idea of the paper luggage tags you get to print out on your own computer and then attach by whatever means you can think up is a bad one. We did it and of course the tags got lost in the transfer from shore to ship, necessitating the running around looking at 'unidentified luggage' that evening. Fortunately the bags made it aboard OK but this is a cost-savings that really works to the detriment of the passenger. Hopefully HAL will re-think this policy. Shore excursions in Spain - While the ship's tours mechanically are fine, the quality of the guides was abysmal. Out of four tours, only one spoke decent English - the other three had such a poor command of English as to be almost entirely unintelligible to all the passengers on the tour. I don't know what the problem is with getting decent bilingual guides in Spain, but HAL obviously has one. Be prepared for this if you sign up for one of the ship's tours. Bottom line - the Noordam is a remarkable ship, and HAL has it running at a standard of excellence which is pretty unusual in this day and age. We have been fans of HAL for a number of years, and this latest cruise only reaffirms that. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
My last cruise before this was a Princess ship to Alaska. As I said, a lot has changed since 1998. The Noordam was bigger and fancier than what I remember of our Princess ship, it was also a lot fuller with guests and staff. Embarkation ... Read More
My last cruise before this was a Princess ship to Alaska. As I said, a lot has changed since 1998. The Noordam was bigger and fancier than what I remember of our Princess ship, it was also a lot fuller with guests and staff. Embarkation was very smooth, we did not have a long wait to get our ID cards nor a long wait to get on the ship. Our first objective once aboard was to get lunch, which seemed to be the idea everyone else had too. Not being familiar with the ship, we went to the Lido Restaurant. It was very crowded with the only available tables next to the isle where people were constantly moving. Our first lunch was less than appealing. It also turns out that the only tour of the ship was offered on our departure day. I was somewhat rudely told that I missed the tour after we were at sea. I should have paid more attention! Our room was an upgrade to a Superior Verandah Suite which had plenty of space. The one thing I noticed right away were all the chairs in our room. There were three chairs, one stool, and one couch for 4 in the room, a table, two chairs and two sit-tees with foot rests on the balcony. Did I mention the coffee table in the room too? We didn't bring enough family to make use of all this furniture. A TV and DVD player were located in the room on a counter that sat at 90 deg to the bed, you could sit on the side of the bed to watch TV or on the couch at a sharp angle but there was no comfortable place to put one of the many chairs to watch tv. I was not comfortable to watch TV while in bed. The cabin staff were friendly and made up the room twice a day. Room service was prompt and friendly, however my breakfast was a little cold. There was always plenty to do on the ship. The entertainment was enjoyable, we had good singers and dancers, a good magician and a great comedian. The entertainment supervisor was good at this job and kept thing moving during the entire cruise. The trivia contest was a lot of fun and held at the same time as 2 for 1 drinks. The best part of the cruise! I found and read a great book in the ships library and read it during the voyage. My wife and I also took an offer to use the spa for 10 days for a price of $199, I thought that was a worthwhile deal. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
This was my 10th cruise but first on HAL. I have traveled with Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess previously. We decided to drive to Fort Lauderdale in order to make our trip be more than a cruise as well as being able to bring as much ... Read More
This was my 10th cruise but first on HAL. I have traveled with Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess previously. We decided to drive to Fort Lauderdale in order to make our trip be more than a cruise as well as being able to bring as much luggage as we wanted and not be constrained by the airlines. For us the main question was how much was parking going to cost us as well as a hotel. After much searching we spent the night before the cruise at the Hyatt Place North and although our room was $200, it did offer free parking for two weeks as well as a shuttle bus to and from the port. When we arrived, we found that we could have parked at the Park n Go for $12 a night or $10.50 if we were AAA members. They are right by the airport/port and will shuttle you over and back. After looking around for another hotel and finding that they were all sold out, we stayed with our original plan. There was no problem getting the shuttle the next morning, in fact, we met our new friends on the shuttle. We did not print off luggage tags and they were quite easy to get on the curb where we checked our luggage. We proceeded into the building with our travel documents, had our picture taken, given a number and waited for our group to be called. All this by 11:30 AM. All went very smoothly and no effort on our part. We were served juice while we had a short wait for our number. We proceeded onto the boat and immediately went to Lido deck for lunch. We are glad that we did because about 60 minutes later, it was packed and there were no tables to be had inside. We met another couple and decided to make reservations for Pinnacle as well as Canaletto's - the Italian restaurant that is no charge but does require reservations. By 1:30 we were allowed into our rooms. After having read some other reviews, I thought that storage was going to be a problem and it wasn't. All of our closets had shelves in them that could be folded up or down; two large drawers at the foot of our bed, nightstands with two drawers, stool whose lid came off that we used for dirty laundry, two cabinets over the loveseat and a shelf under the sink in the bathroom. I did bring along an alarm clock since I knew from other cruises that there were no clocks in the rooms. We were on the 5th deck, the floor above the lifeboats. We had a lovely view of the sea, sunsets and the ocean in general. Even though we couldn't look directly down into the water I felt safer since I knew that if I fell, I would land on the roof of the lifeboat. The balcony had two chairs and a little table. The room had a hair dryer so I didn't need to bring mine. I did bring a travel size steamer in case my clothes got wrinkle. I also brought extra coat hangers with me - never can have too many. We never saw our room steward and most days our rooms were not made up till after lunch even though we had the tag in our door that our room needed to be serviced. On the days that we were in port, it was not a problem but the at sea days, I would have preferred the room to be made up earlier. I took a tour of the ship and found out about the 3 cooking lessons ($29 each) in the Culinary Arts Center. Since each class was advertised as having only 12, I immediately went to the Front Desk to sign up. The spa services appeared to be very expensive and although I was tempted, I did not get any services. The other family that came with us, she had 3 acupuncture sessions which she said did not help her. I was impressed at how easy it was to navigate the ship. The explorations area where there is Internet, a fantastic library, card rooms was great! So much better than any ship I have been on. Although I never went on the Internet, I was in this area often - a comfortable place to be. We had the early dinner at 5:45 and had asked for a table of 8 (it was on our paperwork) but we found that we were at a table for 4. We were disappointed and thought about changing but once we saw how many older people were on the cruise, we decided to stay where we were. The food was absolutely delicious except for the Pot Roast - don't order it. They always seemed to get the beef just the right degree of being cooked the way that I like it. When we were at sea, we ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room on Deck 2; in port, we ate breakfast in Lido. My husband's favorite breakfast was Eggs Benedict - Scottish style (salmon). Plenty of herring, salmon, etc. At dinner, there was always a vegetarian meal. On Lido , there was an Asian bar with stirfry and sushi, and Italian Pasta section with four different sauces and pasta types, steamship round or whole chicken or ham, etc with potatoes, veggies. At lunch I tried on the their paninis and it was delicious. I loved all the fresh fruit. The fresh machine squeezed orange juice was the best. The only pain was that you had to wait in line for the one server to pour you a glass of water. Some days there were 20 people waiting for water, ice tea or lemonade. There has to be a better way. In the casino, you use your shipboard card. You can either put money into the machine or charge it to your cabin account. Once you were through, you withdrew your winnings through your shipboard card and your money stayed on it till you withdrew it either at the cashier's cage or when you went to another machine. Was confusing at first but I grew to like it quite a bit. Next to the casino was the Piano Bar - you need to go early and get seats. Lee was fantastic, often had request line open and always seemed to engage the crowd. That was one of the highlights for us. Alen, the waitress, was great as well. She was singing along and play acting. She made it fun as well. We also went to the Crow's Nest for Kat and the HAL cats. Great music from the 40's. 50's, 60's and 70's. We were all dancing and kicking up our heels. I hardly ever danced on other ships because it was much more disco and youth oriented and although I am not old (mid 50's) the music was more of what I was used to and loved to dance to. We had many fun nights in the Crow's Nest. Now, back to the cooking lesson that I mentioned earlier. I was very disappointed to find that we had 14 people in our class. Apparently they changed the times of the classes and on the first day, they were not able to reach everyone. The class I took was the second one so we got the overflow of those who didn't get notification early enough. The Party Planner left and we were with the Executive Chef and given recipes. There were no demonstrations and we were left on our own. As you can imagine some women were very bossy and others got left out. I would have liked more structure. The burners on the stove were not working to their full potential and the chicken that was stuffed with banana and prosciutto took forever, particularly since we had to cook 14. Lunch was suppose to be in the Pinnacle Grill and that didn't happen either - we ate in the Culinary Arts Center where we were cooking. Tables were brought in as well as wine for us. Unfortunately since everything took so much longer to cook, we ate later. As we were eating, people came in for the next program. This program had potential but was not executed as well as it could have been. In addition to the paid classes, they also had demonstration classes which were very good. Of particular note, go to the demonstration on the Cinnamon Buns - I am not saying anything else :D Mega trivial pursuit in the afternoons in Crows Nest was always packed and you needed to get there about 20 minutes early in order to get your table and chairs for your team. Cruise Director Mike was great in this game and everything that he did on the cruise. He made it fun. Most days had Bingo for $10,000 up to $100,000 (on the last day) and to win you had to bingo in 46 numbers which is almost impossible. I went the day where you could win a free cruise if you won bingo and guess what - I won it! Actually I tied for it and another gentleman and I had to go into Sudden Death. It was so nerve wracking but I did want you to know that people do win cruises on the cruise. Entertainment, in my mind, is never very good on a cruise boat but this was better than I expected particularly the concert pianist who gave two concerts to standing room only. For shows in the Vista Lounge at 8:00 be warned, you do need to get there early - seats are difficult to come by if you arrive a few minutes before the show. We were not bothered all the time to purchase drinks like we were on other ships. Half Moon Cay - we never made it due to moderate gale winds and choppy waters. Crew came up with things to do during day which were fun. I loved my trip on HAL and can't wait to take my next cruise with them (on them :D. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
This was our second time with HAL, we took our first cruise with them, and this set us up to enjoy cruise holidays.We orginally booked a best ocean view cabin, but we were given a balcony, very nice.  We always have had a balcony cabin, ... Read More
This was our second time with HAL, we took our first cruise with them, and this set us up to enjoy cruise holidays.We orginally booked a best ocean view cabin, but we were given a balcony, very nice.  We always have had a balcony cabin, but we were economising this cruise.  Bathroom was a bit small, and shower felt dark.  There was a small bath.  Plenty of drawer space.  Dressing table was a little small.  Noticed there wasn't as much info on tv as in previous cruises, couldn't book trips or view menu, or access your bill.  So much paper sent to rooms, advertising etc.  Was a daily 'paper' either UK and US.  Balconies ok, but perhaps chairs could be more comfortable.  Had breakfast in room a few times, always arrived on time, and what we asked for.  Was not cleaned one day, but when we told cabin steward was most apologetic. The check in was painless, and our rooms were ready more or less as soon as we boarded, and our cases followed quite soon.  A perfect start to our holiday.We asked for a table for two, second seating which we got.  The  food was excellent.  I  started off missing a course, but I couldn't resist the food.  The waiters were excellent always remembering our names, and any requests we made.  We purchased a five bottle wine package $149 dollars, which we thought a bit steep, but we realised you could purchase house wine for $19 dollars, which I wished we has seen before, as it was ok, unless you are a wine buff.The entertainment was a bit bland, a girl singer with a band, who were quite boring.  They tended to do the sail away parties, but made you feel like jumping over board.  Then there was a male singer with a guitar, who was ok, but always played slow songs, and I think one night I fell asleep listening to him, or was it the cocktails I had just drunk?.  There was a comedian one night who was funny.  We aren't much into the shows, ie, the singers and dancers so I can't comment.  It did tend to be quiet after 10.00pm, but we put it down to people doing the tours during the day.  There seemed to be a lot of card playing groups, and people reading.  We tried to do the 3 laps (1 Mile) around the deck to keep fit most days.  We did put our head in the gym, but never returned.  The spa looked lovely, but I think they are too expensive.The was usually a barbi on deck in the afternoon, you can't resist the smell can you.  The Lido restaurant was good for lunch.  We loved the stir frys.  You were always served your food, so no one came away overloaded, of course you can always go up for seconds!We booked a trip when we docked in Sciliy, which was good, Taomina, with a good view of Mt Etna, and a walk through the town.  The other ports we just got off the ship and walked around.  Pireaus was a pain as the taxi drivers wouldn't  let you alone as you exited the port, if you want a taxi you ask, you don't want to be hounded.  We were warned by friends about Kusadasi, another place they won't leave you alone, so we keep away from the shops, and just wandered along the sea front.  We like being on the ship, when it's docked, as its nice and peaceful.  The trips are quite expensive now, so it adds quite a lot to your billl at the end of your holiday.  We did book a trip on the day we docked back in Rome to kill time, as our flight was  not till 5pm, we were off the ship at 7.15am, and we did see Rome from tnhe coach, which was a marvellous sight, but we were dropped at the airport at 11.30am, so we had a long day.All in all we enjoyed our cruise, I prefer the caribbean ports, as the med one's aren't as pretty.  I can certainly recommed Holland America, but not if you want a rave up at night, try another cruise line, or take up cards. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2008
To start with first impressions:-slow embarking-sterile atmosphere and mainly old passengers-entertainment not suitable for younger age ( disco nearly empty ) .... and all from above was not written by a teenager but a middle age ... Read More
To start with first impressions:-slow embarking-sterile atmosphere and mainly old passengers-entertainment not suitable for younger age ( disco nearly empty ) .... and all from above was not written by a teenager but a middle age personBefore real crising has sterted our 20 years old son reported alergic rush to the medical staff on Noordam ( the first day of the cruise ) skin change looked like rush or insect bites and we were given a cream to treat them and some pills.We enjoyed couple of days cruising, sightseeng, swimming in the top deck pool... After the  follow up visit to the doctor ( when the changes were majorly less visible ) the decision was made to lock the whole family in the cabines so we spent  2 days in carantine with no room service. After arrival to the next port we were submitted to the hospital ( on fake signatures ) as noone felt sick. There we were reffered to the wrong specialist (  cannot believe that doctor on the ship expected dermatologist to establish if we were contageous). we spent  12 hours in the hospital not accompanied by anyone from the ship, with no water of food offered for that time. Lots of visual and blood tests were undertaken although no high temperature was recorded or anyone felt ill. With no tests confirming any medical problem was evident the capetan of Noordam decided to not allow us to continue the cruise and we had to be disembarked in Barcelona and fly back home from there. Even after nearly a year from the event we still cannot beleive the lack of common sence ,profesionalism, etics and lawfullness around the whole event and it is only Noordam top management to be  blamed.. The staff was completely unresponsible not reacting on our first visit in case that something was really not right. No action was taken on the ship for 3 full days!!!! The whole event looks rather like a criminal story but we live too far from Sietle to address it with the authorities.Needless to say that Holland America never got back to us to check up on our helth after we were left in the port of Barcelona in the midle of the night with very little orientation where to be accomodated while waiting for our air tickets to be booked and medical file completealy cleared by hospital that was supprised to see us there at the first place The same hospital issued a bill to one of the USA insurance companies for more than $30000 as a result of the Capetan's expencive exercise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My husband and I did the Double Denali with 7 day cruise down the inner passage. What a mistake that was!! I had one day on-board the Noordam before I got ill. One day to enjoy the ship - that's all. I had one day before I fell ... Read More
My husband and I did the Double Denali with 7 day cruise down the inner passage. What a mistake that was!! I had one day on-board the Noordam before I got ill. One day to enjoy the ship - that's all. I had one day before I fell dreadfully ill with a virulent flu virus which I contracted while staying in the Holland America chalet in Denali a few days before (together with up to 90% of other people on the same holiday, according to what the medical staff on board told us). I was told by their medical staff that it takes up to 4 days to show after infection so that takes it firmly into the Denali stay period. It was also a ‘seasonal identified influenza virus’..Presumably a local virus? We certainly never heard a holiday maker on our bus/train etc coughing - not until we got on the Noordam. Certainly by the end of the cruise people were coughing all over the ship. My temperature reached 104 degrees and I was 'isolated' and 'sanitized' in my room for 3 days. This was done in the most insensitive and unkind way - making me sit there in the room feeling like a leper. I sat crying while staff in gloves and masks swilled the room over with cheap smelly disinfectant (which, by the way, aggravated my throat and cough). I was too ill to do anything about it except get very upset and later to get very very angry. We were told to use the room service. Most of the food offered in the room service booklet was inedible to me as I was feeling so ill. My husband spent 3 days going up and down the ship getting me glasses of water and bits of food I could eat (cold by the time he got it to me). Ringing room service was very difficult as the phones are so weak that it was difficult to hear anyone on the other end and always so busy, and the people answering them often had poor English. Room service always said there would be at least a 45 min wait for anything. At no point were we offered or told about anything that might be available to us to help us. My husband couldn't even get a jug for water - he was only allowed to bring water by the plastic glass. There weren't even any trays to carry things on. We have never done a cruise before so all this was new to us and we didn’t know how to cope with it. We didn't get our down-turn service or any other niceties. We missed the ships activities, nice dinners, and worst of all our bucket list excursions which we had planned and paid for months in advance. We didn't even get any reassurance we would get our money back from them until much later. We felt largely abandoned and sacrificed so that their epidemic wouldn’t spread -which was ironic really since the whole ship sounded like it had the same cough by the end of the trip. When I was eventually allowed out of my cabin after 3 days I was very angry indeed and I spoke to one of the managers in customer services but he was cold, distant and indifferent. He had no empathy what so ever and said in the end that - quote 'if he compensated me he'd have to compensate all the others and he wasn't going to do that'. He even inferred that it was my own fault for not knowing how to use room service more and asking for what I wanted. He seemed to want to blame me and any other staff - he had no empathy or conception that I had been deliriously ill with fever and was still very ill and that we had never been on a cruise before and didn't know the ropes. I even ended up with a medical bill of $348! The rest of the cruise was dreary because I had such a sore throat I couldn't speak, I lost my voice, and I was weak and unable to do much. I had no appetite. I still don’t feel completely well even now. In short, the cruise experience that my husband and I had with Holland America was absolutely abysmal and it has put us off ever going on a cruise again. Not only were we treated pretty dreadfully, we never got the experience we were promised and we had a holiday from hell, with no recompense or care or compassion. I have emailed them about this many times since we got home and they have totally ignored me – except to send adverts for cruise holidays!!! How insensitive and inappropriate is that? As a good tip I would say that when you are looking for a cruise it would be wise to first find out how the company will treat you if you get ill while you are with them. I got my flu virus while in the care of HAL, - I was infected while staying in their accommodation - but this is what happened to me and my husband. I wish I had looked into it more myself. I cannot review most of what the ship had to offer because I wasn't well enough to explore it properly. My husband and I did feel that the food was of very poor quality though. Our balcony floor had a huge mound of rotting metal in it. Our cabin was very comfortable - but it didnt make up for all the awful stuff!! There were many others ill like me on this cruise, and I read in a previous review in March this year that a flu epidemic swept the ship then. Maybe the air con is suspect? I hope my experience helps people make their minds up about whether to do this cruise or not. We regret doing it very much. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). ... Read More
This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). The ship was very old and when we hit rough waters it showed. Many people were sick and also got sick in the main dining hall. Germs were spreading everywhere. Food selections were scarce and they up-charged you a 15% service charge regardless of the service received. a Would not cancel our massage during the heavy turbulence going to Tasmania and I got really ill on the table. Paid for a massage that I did not enjoy. I felt sorry for the crew being forced to work in this environment. Also had to organize our own excursions due to limitation of Holland America. I would never cruise on this line again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Overall Rating - Pacific Isles, Tasman & Bass Srts 1/5 We have completed over 50 cruises including World cruises on Cunard, Celebrity, Princess et al, with another booked in April on Celebrity Solstice. This cruise on the ... Read More
Overall Rating - Pacific Isles, Tasman & Bass Srts 1/5 We have completed over 50 cruises including World cruises on Cunard, Celebrity, Princess et al, with another booked in April on Celebrity Solstice. This cruise on the Noordam has been our worst ever, never to be repeated. I do not enjoy writing a bad review, but this needed to be said, honestly and fairly as it happened. Here is a sampling: ship and verandah room in disrepair (visible rust everywhere, wallpaper peeling, bedding old and uncomfortable), food lackluster (served luke warm, absent seasoning in Lido and Main), evident influenza epidemic, but only a warning issued of “Seasonal Flu” at the end of 1st segment). We cannot help but believe that this cruise cut corners at every level. It was short on entertainment (except for Noordam singers & dancers), food quality (except for Canaletto), things to do, dilapidation of the ship (rusting in every corner). Frankly, there is too much competition and too may choices of better cruise lines, and we have sailed with many. Further, the Australia routes are gouged price wise compared to USA and European routes, but then again, Australia is gouged at every level anyway as an easy unsuspecting target. Stateroom Location #8134 AFT: 1/5 What a terrible mistake we made through our Agent. The Navigation deck AFT is right below the pool deck area. Constant moving of chairs beginning at 5.30am every day and picking up around mid morning and mid afternoon. Also the room is too small, making it difficult to navigate. Barely room to walk past the bed! The deck is so small it does not serve any useful purpose., so it went unused. Our previous cruise on the Noordam we had a Neptune Suite. Finally, refuse from the above pool deck collects on the small balcony! The TV is located to the right of the balcony sliding doors, where you need to be a contortionist to see it! Conclusion: Be prepared to pay the significantly extra cost for a Neptune or Mini Suite, otherwise pass on the Noordam. We will pass anyway. Too many other choices of great cruise lines. Ship Quality: 1/5 Sorry, this ship is very much in need of a complete renovation. The ship was already tired during our last voyage, 2 years ago. and it is worse on this cruise. The only reason for taking this cruise again was a decision to take a cruise over the Xmas/NY Season. Rust and corrosion everywhere, dingy carpeting, peeling wallpaper. Conclusion: This ship has not been maintained. We did not see one person painting rust during the 2 segments. During our quarantine for illness for 5 days, the balcony wash washed down very briefly and poorly once, insufficient to remove the debris collected from the above pool deck! We suggest waiting until the renovation takes place if you are considering the Noordam! Health & Influenza: 1/5 We encountered several passengers who were down with either the gastro infections, the flu or the Influenza virus. We took every precaution to avoid it, unsuccessfully. There had been no alert issued by the Noordam. Notwithstanding taking every precaution to avoid infection, I first contracted gastro infection, then my wife came down with the flu, then I came down with influenza, which was horrible, quarantined to the cabin for 5 days. There was neither any mention nor WARNING of these pervasive infections from Noordam until the last day of the 1st segment to be aware of “Seasonal Flu”. Evidently Noordam management opted to put their head in the sand, and let the passengers fend for themselves! It seems the preference is to raise no alert! Restaurants: 2/5 Canaletto (Service and Food) – Syarif & attendants great servce 5/5 Pinnacle Grill (Service Excellent, food very good) – Stephen and Wohan great service 5/5 Main (Gilroy tries hard but all other Service fair, food poor) 1/5 Lido (no trays available, table service very good, ) Food station service poor, food poor) 1/5 Kyrisha @ Pasta Station has consistently poor attitude, having observed her rudeness with passengers over the course of the Cruise. If you prefer hot food, you will need to pay extra at the Canaletto or the Pinnacle. We had food delivered to the room several times from the Canaletto and the Pinnacle, but it would arrive warm or cold. Entertainment: average at best 2/5 Noordam singers and Dancers 5/5 Other entertainment (Comedians, Magicians etc) 1/5 Cruise Director 1/5 Constant barrage of announcements made by Jae, Cruise Director,who likes to hear himself over the speaker morning noon and night, with little tangible effort beyond that. Spoke directly with the Jae on New Years Eve, questioning why there were no chairs provided on the Lido deck. He responded in an insolent, rude and undignified manner, and laid the blame squarely on a decision and directive made by Home Office that no chairs should be provided. If this is true, and if this is the level of Head Office involvement on the Noordam, what is the need for Jae? Both my wife and I agreed that this must have been a decision taken on the Noordam, with Jae shifting blame for a stupid decision, and an unwillingness to take any responsibility for a stupid decision. Then, for the final stage performance by the Noordam Singers and Dancers, with all passengers having been kept waiting15 minutes past start time, Jae, Cruise Director, arrived on stage as though all is great, asking how everyone is enjoying the cruise, only to announce that due to audio problems, the show has been cancelled. This is clearly Jae’s responsibility to ensure all systems are a go, where audio etc should be validated well prior to the performance. This is yet another example of the ineptness, with no admission of responsibility nor apology. We have been on many cruises where the Cruise Director steps up when needed. Not in this case. Guest Services: Request to move to a Suite 2/5 We spoke with Guest Services at the start of our cruise on the 1st segment, requesting to move from #8134. A Neptune Suite was available. We were quoted an extra US$4,000 for the upgrade on the 1st segment only, with no guarantee on the 2nd segment, or where we would be located! We offered US$2,500 given the move and the uncertainty for the 2nd segment. Guest Services countered with their final offer of US$3,500. We passed. We requested an upgrade to a mini suite on the 2nd segment. After two calls to follow up with guest services, being informed they were checking with Corporate, and in the middle of the 2nd segment without a response, we contacted guest services a 3rd time asking why they had not extended the courtesy of a response. They were failed to provide any reasonable response, simply apologizing profusely. Festivities: 2/5 Christmas Eve & Day Celebrations – very basic 2/5 New Year Eve Celebration 2/5 Both celebrations missed the mark by a long shot. Nothing special or memorable offered. NYE celebrations were held on the Lido decks, with windy conditions outside, and NO CHAIRS provided inside. Room Service 2/5 Since we were ill and isolated in our cabin, we were required to order room service. The order taking over the telephone resulted in incorrect deliveries, cold food, one very late delivery on the Canaletto, with totally COLD food (where it had been sitting for some time), or missing items. On one occasion room service called us to see if we enjoyed our meal. We responded we were still waiting for it to be delivered. Embarkation Sydney: 5/5 Fast check in, went smoothly. Bags arrived at Stateroom before us! Suggestion: arrive at port around 2pm after the crowd for easy no hassle check in. Disembarkation Ports & Tenders: 5/5 Few wait lines, efficiently handled Ports of Call: 3/5 1st Segment: Mostly Island beaches and sparsely populated. You need to like beaches and seclusion with few things to do. The French in New Caledonia were neither warm nor friendly, living up to the French reputation. Non French Islanders were warm and receptive, appreciative of the Tourist Dollars. The Noordam failed to deliver nightly information in advance of ports of call, which is a first! The weather was mixed and unpredictable. 2nd segment: limited with Port Arthur (a must see for Australia history), Auckland, Adelaide, and Kangaroo Island, collectively difficult to justify. Spa Thermal Pool 3/5 Upon boarding the Noordam we visited the Spa to sign up for the Hydra pool package, only to be told they were sold out! We enjoyed this on our prior cruise on the Noordam. We were able to sign up on port days in the afternoons. We were able to sign up for the package on the 2nd segment, but since we came down with influenza, we had to cancel. The package is definitely worth it, as it is one of the few things worthy on the Noordam. Spa Hairdresser 5/5 Sally gave cuts and styling to both my wife and self. Sally was very professional and gave great cuts and styles. Stores on board: 2/5 General items are sparse. Purchased needed items at port visits. Internet 1/5 Signed up for the package with full access excluding video. The Internet Is VERY SLOW, and often kicked me off the Internet entirely, or unable to connect. It was Impossible to search on the Web. Its only use was emails & basics, if you can connect! This Internet Service is in serious need of an upgrade, comparable with the Internet connections available on more advanced liners Reception: 5/5 Responsive.. Standout is “Roma”. Be prepared for long lines. 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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The ship is not up to the standards one expects from a modern cruise liner, the ship is old at 10years & tired. It is the only cruise line where you have to submit credit card details per passenger in order to get a boarding card they ... Read More
The ship is not up to the standards one expects from a modern cruise liner, the ship is old at 10years & tired. It is the only cruise line where you have to submit credit card details per passenger in order to get a boarding card they took the equivalent of 900$ from each of our accounts & that was before we had even stepped a foot outside the UK, Boarding was a farce, queuing up in an old warehouse with no seating no toilets that I could see . The cabin was barely adequate, very cramped you couldn't get out of the bathroom if someone wanted either to come in to the cabin or wanted to get at the wardrobe. The balcony or veranda as HA put it had furniture that looked as if it came from the 20s cushions that could not be removed so were continually wet. The public rooms were OK just, but there was no library as such just a collection of books in book shelves spread across two of the public rooms without rhyme or reason & very few at that. We always opt for fine dining, in this case it was anything but that, the menus looked impressive full of culinary terms no one understood, when the food came it was either cold or burnt or both, the staff soon learnt not to serve the table with cold food, The majority of the food was just about edible, as if the chef really didn't know the meaning of fine dining, a good example was one night we had roast beef & Yorkshire pudding, the beef was ok, not the best cut but the yorkshire pudding was terrible, it was so bad & tough that I could have used it to sole my boots, we later discovered that the chef was Indian, we asked him for an indian meal he said ok but it never materialised, throughout the ship the food seemed to be of an equally poor standard. No where on the ship could you get a half decent cup of coffee, apart from the coffee stall in the explorers lounge, else where it was stewed with in an inch of its life. For the most part the staff, Indonesian, were helpful & friendly, it was when you came to the american staff that the trouble started, the impression they gave was that they couldn't be bothered with you, an example was our cabin air conditioning seemed to be permanently stuck on very cold, even in New Zealand in November the weather is chilly, we reported the fault & eventually a young girl came to check it out, "nothing wrong with it" she said "it is meant to be cold" I pointed out that if that were the case why it the dial have red numbers on it. As nothing further was done I went back to the front desk & complained, after 2 days an engineer arrived, " your quite right, the thermostat is us" & promptly fitted a new one. I wont even talk about the entertainment, one or two good acts the rest rubbish. Shore excursions we chose not to take the ships advertised shore excursions but used an online agency who's prices were 60% cheaper than the ships & didn't include the 15% surcharge the ship puts on every thing. My wife & I are both over 70, we have been cruising every year for over 10 years, so we have had a lot of experience of what to expect from a cruise line, we have always wanted to visit this part of the world & due to other commitments we had to go at this time of the year. Holland America will I'm sure be pleased to know that we will never step foot on one of their ships ever again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Mediocre food. They have great sounding creative menus, seemingly quality ingredients, then ruin it with poor execution. Watery pasta dishes, overcooked meats, limp crusted pizza, hot food served cold or lukewarm, etc. Almost laughable ... Read More
Mediocre food. They have great sounding creative menus, seemingly quality ingredients, then ruin it with poor execution. Watery pasta dishes, overcooked meats, limp crusted pizza, hot food served cold or lukewarm, etc. Almost laughable at every meal. The hamburgers on the pool deck were really good, though. A dearth of entertainment options. Shows were boring and uninspired. Piano bar and blues club entertainment were great for a couple nights...not 15 in a row. It got really boring. Daytime activities almost non-existent. No cruise port talks the first week. Zero. No fitness center classes the first week--all were canceled. America's Test Kitchen is great, but the instructor missed the boat while in port one day and they did not wait for her or pick her up at the next port...they just canceled the rest of the classes. They could have provided substitute culinary related talks or demos...they certainly have the staff. I understand they are not allowed to use the Test Kitchen without the designated instructor because of their contract. That doesn't mean they couldn't use the showroom for an alternative food-related activity. No one cares. I was told it all comes down to the cruise director's decision, so, sorry Andy...you get a big fail. The ship needs a refurb really badly. Seems old and tired with no wow factor in any area. This goes for the cabins as well. Waiters, housekeeping, and food servers at the buffet were very friendly and tried to be helpful. Anyone in management in the buffet, however, just stood at their podium or walked around making sure not to make eye contact with passengers, like they were above it all. Never again, Holland. 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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