I have read everything from bedbugs, to sewage in the drains, to vibrations for the Holland America Noordam ship. I simply cannot find anything recent on this cruise. Most are dated from last summer. As Holland America will be selling the Noordam after this cruise year, I would be VERY interested to hear from someone that has taken this Scandinavian cruise this year. I still like the classic style of the Noordam and the smaller ship size.
We were on the Noordam in February, not Baltic but Caribbean. We enjoyed the ship and crew. Even though the Noordam is older and smaller than the new mega ships, the atmosphere is lovely, the food great, very friendly Indonesian staff, Norwegian officers, good entertainment.
Our cabin had a porthole and was about the same size as other older ships we've been on. We loved the movie theatre with popcorn. The dessert and icecream at all times was a plus.
I just read a very bad review of the Noordam Dec. 7, 2003 Southern Caribbean cruise. The person stated the stateroom, the Explorer's Lounge and the dining room were hot the entire cruise, but that shouldn't be a problem in the Baltic unless there is an air-conditioning problem. They said the staff was great and the food served was hot.
There was also a comment about sewage odor, but I can tell you that there was sewage odor sometimes on our Veendam sailing, too.
I really like the shorter itinerary of the Noordam, since you can add some days on land without the entire trip becoming overwhelmingly long.
I just returned from the Noordam (we sailed on April 28 from Lisbon to Rome), and we did not experience any problems and did not talk to anyone who did (and we talked to a lot of the passengers). But it is good to go with the understanding that this is an older ship--I also like the fact that it is smaller--and will not be as elegant and nice as the new ships, in some ways. When we cruise Europe, we don't spend a ton of time on the ship and are off practically every hour that is available in port (and we sailed at 11:00 p.m. from two ports!!), so it wasn't a big deal to us. My husband was changing companies and we wanted to go ahead and take our vacation (and it's early in the Europe season, so there were not as many options) so we got a good last-minute special and have no complaints. Although I do think that after 13 cruises we just are not as fussy as some of the other passengers, some of the legitimate complaints about plumbing and other problems probably did make for a pretty miserable experience. I can tell you that we were on the NCL Dream last year, and the Noordam is much, much nicer.
Thanks, Donna, for the update. We're sailing on the Noordam August 1 and are really looking forward to the trip. We, too, like the older, more classic ships and are convinced we will enjoy the Noordam experience. It has to be pretty bad to make a cruise on HAL not a great experience given their great Indonesian crew.
I did not smell any sewage smells anywhere on the ship and did not hear anyone comment on that, so I'm fairly sure that this was not a problem on our sailing. In fact, I was surprised to hear about that. (But I don't mean to discount anyone else's experience if they had a problem with that and am just speaking for our sailing only).
I didn't notice any vibration anywhere on the ship, but I'm sure you would probably want to stay away from cabins located beneath the dining rooms, near main entries (noise problems), etc. like you would want to on any ship.
My husband and I do not get seasick, and we were pretty far forward on our ship. We ran into some storms on our cruise, and we had two rough nights with lots of motion on the entire ship. The movement was probably less substantial mid-ship, but we did have some rocking in our cabin. Personally, I prefer to deal with that at night and have generally good weather in port like we did rather than have the rain, etc. interfere with the sightseeing during the day. The captain was great and also left us docked at Livorno overnight on our last night instead of sailing straight to Civitavecchia at the end of the cruise (last day was a day at sea) to ride out another storm that night and let everyone get some rest. Rough seas can be a factor almost anywhere at any time, so I think it was handled very well under the circumstances. Even though we had some rough seas and the ship moved quite a bit, I think the stabilizers on the Noordam are pretty comparable to the newer ships that we've been on with other cruise lines.
Since this is an older ship, there isn't an abundance of outside and balcony cabins, so I guess my best suggestion would just be to go for a good location on whatever deck you choose.
I thought the service was very good on this ship all across the board on our sailing.
We're sailing on the Noordam in September, Copenhagen to Rome. I tried to read everything I could about the ship before booking, and found nothing to rule it out. I'm glad there were so many positive responses here! We're looking forward to it!