I've read poor reviews about this ship. Mostly about the noticeable vibrations almost everywhere. Have you sailed with them recently? I'm not one to get seasick , will this bother me? Is the ship as bad (torn carpet, etc.) as they say? I'd be sailing it for the destinations but I do want to spend my cruise money wisely.
I am looking at the European Capitals voyage on HAL's Noordam in 2003 and love the itinerary (it will work real well for pre and post cruise extensions) - however, based upon reader and ship reviews on this site, should I be wary?
A little bit about us - 45 year old professional couple; 5 Celebrity (our favorite line) cruises - 4 on smaller Horizon and Zenith (Panama, Carribean and Bermuda), 14 night Baltic cruise on the Galaxy (our favorite so far), 1 Princess cruise, 1 NCL to NE and a few enjoyable Carnival party voyages in our younger days. We are comfortable doing our own excursions and like at least a little nightlife and tasty (not neccesarily gourmet food) - we enjoy live music with dancing and a nice cocktail every now and then for after dinner entertainment. We like a traditional cruise experience with the assigned dining since we have met the most wonderful people on our trips!
This is for our 20th anniversary, so I do not want to blow it by choosing the wrong trip...(I was the one who chose the Baltic cruise so I have high expectations to live up to)
Personally, I would choose one of HAL's new ships, if they are doing the Baltic itinerary, over the Noordam, especially as you will be celebrating your 20th anniversary. The Noordam is at least 18 years old and although we loved the ship when we sailed on her have not done so since the S class of ships came out. I also have heard many complaints about her but cannot confirm this.
I would choose any other of HAL's ships before I would again sail Noordam. Common sense must give you a hint that it is not up to the standard of the newer ships.
The price for the itineraries offered is VERY LOW. Must be a reason??? Maybe that's the best way for them to get people to book it???
If you are able to go with an open mind and a realistic expectation of what this older, smaller ship can possibly offer in comparison to the newer, much larger ships....then you might may be satisified. If you go expecting what they cannot provide, you will be disappointed. IMO
I have been on the Noordam twice in the last two years. Last May, we did 10 day Istanbul to Rome. The year before we did 10 day Rome to Lisbon.
Here are my pros and cons of the ship:
1. Yes, it is an 'old' ship and doesn't have the atrium or the glitz of the newer ships.
2. Unless you get a "C" category room or higher, expect twin beds which cannot be moved and put together.
3. It is NOT a party ship. Most passengers retired early because of the tour schedules which start early the next morning.
1. It is a smaller more intimate ship. By the end of the cruise, you recognize the faces of most of the passengers and easily itentify them while in port.
2. The food was excellent
3. The service was TOP NOTCH. In fact, our first cruise in November was the beginning of many crew contracts, so when we cruised with them again the following May, the same dining room staff remembered us AND that we liked iced tea with our meals and very rarely ordered salad. Now, that's service!!
Would I go on a third cruise on the Noordam, probably not. But I will say that I enjoyed my cruising experience very much, based on the unique qualities of the staff on the ship.
I sailed on the Noordam last February and my suggestion would be to avoid it if you are not a sound sleeper or have touble with vibrations. This ship does have vibration problems in many areas of the ship. Several people I spoke with were somewhat uncomfortale during or after meals because most areas like the Lido and Show Lounge suffer the most from the vibrations. To give you an example each morning you never knew if you were docked or if you were at sea because of the engine vibrations. For some reasons certain areas of the ship appear to be affected and some don't.
The Noordam is not like the new ships that are being build. It looks and feel much like a ship not like the floating hotels that have been building recently. This ships does appeal to a much older crowd, however don't let that stop you(everyone seem to have fun).