Am considering the Noordam 14 day cruise out of Tampa. Realize Noordam is an older ship, portholes, etc. but can anyone give me input on their recent experience sailing on this ship? Was food, service, decor, maintenance, etc. up to usual Holland America standards? Have sailed H-A, Princess, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean previously, want to get back on H-A and this looks like an interesting cruise. Any comments welcome. Thank you.
I spent three weeks on the Noordam last fall on a wonderful Mediterranean cruise. While the ship is older and does not have the amenities of the newbuilds, we found everything to be just fine, including very good food. She is a very friendly and comfortable ship. My caution is that I have read other recent reviews - and heard from friends who sailed on the 14-day Caribbean itinerary last year - that indicate lots of complaints about food, although they seem otherwise positve. There is either some real inconsistency about food on the Noordam or a lot of vocal people [me included] have widely differing opinions about food. All I can say is that we had no difficulty getting the dining room staff and kitchen to accommodate our preferences - from the pacing of courses to wanting our beef very rare, and not overcooking the asparagus. We'd happily sail on the Noordam again.
Just returned from my SECOND voyage on the Noordam. Our first experience was Nov 18, 2000 my husband and I did the last Western Med cruise from Rome to Lisbon -- 10 days. Of the 900 passengers on this cruise more then 600 continued (back to back) Transatlantic to Ft. Lauderdale. On my cruise many of the staff were new -- ie the beginning of their 6 or 9 month contract. The dining room service was not quite up to standards, but the food was EXCELLENT.
On May 17, 2001 we were again on the Noordam, this time to the Eastern Med visiting the Ancient Ruins of Turkey, Greece, and Italy. We met some 'old' staff friends in the dining room. Believe it or not, these waiters and some of the crew staff actually remembered us. This time the dining service was impeccable. Glasses were filled without asking, ice tea was on our table every night. There was seamless harmony between the waiter and the bus boy (a true co-ordinated team). Again the food was excellent.
The Noordam has no balcony rooms. Only the A, B, and C categories (room numbers 001 - 299) have double beds. All other categories have twin beds which are NOT moveable. The ship is about 34,000 tons and holds approximately 1,200 passengers. No one was crowded. Of course there were lines for the tours and tenders, but that is to be expected. Most ports were tender ports and the ship ran 4 continuous tenders all day long. After the initial 'rush' the tenders were 'empty'. In fact one trip we had the tender to ourselves with some crew who had shore leave.
We have earned our 'red pin' for 50 days of sailing on HAL. 3 times on the 'old' Rotterdam, the Ryndam, and the Noordam.
Bottom line, the ship may be old -- have no atrium -- no glitz, but expect first class service, first class food, excellent tours, and a magical experience on Noordam -- you won't be disappointed.
The pre-cruise hotel package in Istanbul was excellent. All the transfers from the airport to the hotel and the hotel to the ship were available. We checked out of our room at the hotel, put the luggage outside the hotel room door and when we arrived at the ship (a bus tour of Istanbul and a cruise on the Bosphoris were included in the transfer from the hotel to the ship) our luggage was already in our room.
Holland America had a concerige at the hotel to meet our every need and answer any questions as well as make dinner arrangements and order transportation to our restaurant in a private car.
The disembarkation procedure was also very efficient and transfers to the airport were also available.
Also remember that most passengers on HAL are more mature, so some passengers were in wheelchairs, walkers, etc. The staff was always available to help them get around while on board.
I will say the TV entertainment was sparse. We had 2 channels with 2 movies per day (a total of 4 movies each day which were replayed after about 4 days). The repeating shore excursion and port information were on one channel and the repeating casino, spa, and ship information were on another. No CNN (we were probably out of satallite coverage in Turkey and Greece), no rolling news from API. So don't expect much in room entertainment.
There is also no internet cafe.
I also found out the the chief chef was changed between cruise #1 in November and cruise #2 in May, but truefully I did not notice any difference in quality between the two, both were great.
I don't know the itinerary you have chosen, but I can assure you that you will have a wonderful time on the Noordam.Jack wrote:
> Am considering the Noordam 14 day cruise out of Tampa.
> Realize Noordam is an older ship, portholes, etc. but can
> anyone give me input on their recent experience sailing on
> this ship? Was food, service, decor, maintenance, etc. up to
> usual Holland America standards? Have sailed H-A, Princess,
> Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean previously, want to get back
> on H-A and this looks like an interesting cruise. Any
> comments welcome. Thank you.