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The Ultimate Guide To Holland America Noordam Cruise Ship

Holland America Line is a well-known name in the world of cruising. Its fleet of 14 ships travels to destinations all over the globe. However, this article will focus on one vessel, the Holland America Noordam.

The HAL Noordam is a Vista-class vessel launched in 2006. With a capacity of 1,924 passengers, she offers a comfortable and intimate cruising experience. From the moment we stepped on board, we were amazed by the ship’s elegant decor and friendly staff.

We were particularly impressed with the food quality, which exceeded our expectations at every meal. The ship also offered a wide range of entertainment options, from live music performances to Broadway-style shows.

Holland America Noordam docked in Skagway, Alaska

Overall, our experience on HAL Noordam was nothing short of exceptional, and we can’t wait to sail with Holland America again.

History And Overview

The Holland America Noordam is the fourth ship in the line to bear the name Noordam. She was constructed by Fincantieri in Marghera, Italy, and actress Marlee Matlin christened the vessel before her maiden voyage.

Refurbishments And Updates

The Noordam has undergone several refurbishments and updates over the years to keep it fresh and up to date. In 2015 and 2019, renovations added a new dining venue, refreshed upholstery, new furniture, and additional staterooms.

Itineraries And Destinations

During the summer, the Noordam offers trips to Alaska. Guests can choose from cruise itineraries or combine them with a land tour lasting up to 18 days.

We chose an Alaska sailing, enjoying a 7-day cruise with another seven days on land. We stayed one night in Anchorage and two nights in each destination: Girdwood, Denali, and Fairbanks.

Holland America is an excellent choice for Alaska, having cruised to the 49th state longer than any other cruise line.

On the Noordam in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
On the Noordam in Glacier Bay National Park

During the winter months, the Noordam embarks on a new adventure, sailing to Asia and Australia. She traverses the Pacific Ocean, offering passengers the unique opportunity to cruise between Seattle, Washington, and Sydney, Australia.

Onboard Experience

Our experience onboard the Holland America Noordam was exceptional. From the moment we stepped onto the ship, the crew greeted us with friendly smiles and warm welcomes.

Cabin Comfort And Options

We appreciated the range of cabin options, from cozy inside rooms to spacious suites with balconies and private hot tubs. No matter what your budget or preferences, there is a cabin option that will suit your needs.

I booked a last-minute cruise just four weeks before embarkation day. Only interior cabins were available, and I was okay with that since I was solo. However, upon booking the cruise, my sister decided to join me.

We found our cabin spacious and comfortable and appreciated its quiet location. While the stateroom has plenty of hanging space, it lacks drawers for folded items. We expanded our storage by adding heavy-duty magnetic hooks to the walls.

The two USB plugs on either side of the bed were helpful instead of one, usually found on older vessels. Since Holland America recently partnered with Lindt, we received Lindt LINDOR milk chocolate truffles during turndown service one night.

Neptune Suite
Neptune Suite

We particularly liked the large bath sheets instead of the standard bath towels in the bathroom.

I toured some of their other staterooms and was particularly impressed with the Pinnacle suites. It had a lovely living space, a large veranda with a whirlpool, and came with extras such as high-powered binoculars on a tripod, great for scenic viewing.

Dining Venues And Cuisine

The dining options on the Noordam were varied and delicious, with something to suit every palate.

We went to the main dining room for the majority of meals, and service was always top-notch. While Holland America doesn’t offer complimentary lobster, I thought the USD 25 fee for a giant 12 oz lobster was very reasonable. One evening, they featured a “Dutch” night.

We particularly enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill, which we tried for lunch on a sea day. The steakhouse offered a range of mouth-watering steaks and seafood dishes. Compared to competitor lines, we found the Pinnacle Grill reasonably priced and well worth the splurge.

West Coast-Style Seafood Cioppino
West Coast-Style Seafood Cioppino

We indulged in the West Coast-Style Seafood Cioppino and Shredded Chicken and Bibb Salad. Both were incredibly delicious.

Alternatively, the Canaletto Restaurant, next to the buffet, serves Italian classics. Select from an Antipasti Plate, Canaletto Salad, Italian Sausage Paccheri, and Tiramisu.

The Lido Market was also a favorite of ours. It offers a range of international cuisines in a casual, buffet-style setting. We loved the addition of fresh sushi, made-to-order salads, and British bacon at breakfast.

The Dive-In was a popular venue for hot dogs and burgers. Although I’m not a fast-food fan, I particularly enjoyed the chicken burger called a Back Flip, which came with lots of guacamole.

Since we were cruising in Alaska, a Seafood Broil was offered once as a “specialty” purchase. We enjoyed HAL’s classic Dutch hot pea soup on our day in Glacier Bay.

HAL Noordam afternoon tea tower
Afternoon tea tower

During our voyage, the dining room hosted afternoon tea multiple times. While “The Daily” featured “Dutch” and regular tea, we attended both but found the same items.

Entertainment And Activities

There was never a dull moment onboard the Noordam, with various entertainment and activities available day and night. Most events and entertainment were held in the Billboard Onboard, the World Stage, and the Rolling Stone Lounge.

We enjoyed the Step One Dance Company, which performed two shows on the World Stage. Unlike conventional shows, their presentations feature dancing but no singing to pulsing songs.

The entertaining highlight of the voyage was a piano duet couple, Megan and Gabe. They played most evenings in the Billboard Onboard, and their shows were inspiring.

Even when the crowd put in requests, they were able to seamlessly create a melody without any practice.

Since we were cruising in Alaska, some of the entertainment was destination focused. If it’s your first cruise to the Last Frontier, these presentations provide a plethora of information.

Learn about the salmon runs, what types of whales are in Alaskan waters, when and where to spot wildlife, and much more. Many days, there were wildlife spotting sessions with a guide on the Promenade deck.

Polar Bear Plunge
Polar Bear Plunge

One of the most entertaining events was the Polar Bear Plunge. Buckets of ice cubes were added to the Sea View pool before brave souls took the plunge.

Wellness And Relaxation

The Noordam offers wellness and relaxation options for those looking to relax and unwind. In addition to the treatments and services, the Greenhouse Spa has a lovely Thermal Spa to keep guests relaxed and pampered.

I liked that the heated loungers had ocean views, and the hydro-therapy pool had stronger massaging jets.

The thermal spa hydro-therapy pool
Thermal spa hydro-therapy pool

The adjacent fitness center has state-of-the-art equipment and a range of classes and programs. Like the heated loungers, the gym offers lovely ocean views.

On the last afternoon of our cruise, the ship hosted “On Deck for a Cause.” Guests were invited to walk 5K to raise money for a worthy cause.

I had done this event on the Koningsdam to raise money for Ukrainian refugees. This time, the event was raising money for Alaska’s parks. With a minimum USD 25 donation, walkers get a Holland America On Deck for a Cause t-shirt and a wristband.

Kids Club

While Holland America typically only attracts a small number of children, it does provide a kids’ club program. The club is situated on the Observation Deck in the middle of the ship, and the children are grouped by age.

The youngest age group is for children aged three to six, with separate groups aged 7 to 12 and 13 and older. Each group has toys, games, and crafts suitable for their respective age ranges.

Kids Club
Kids Club

Deck Plans And Public Areas

As we explored the Noordam, we found that its well-designed layout made it easy to navigate. With 11 passenger decks, we took the stairs rather than using elevators most of the time.

Key Facilities And Lounges

The vessel has a range of facilities and lounges to suit all tastes. We particularly enjoyed the Crow’s Nest, which is located on the top deck and offers stunning panoramic views.

The Ocean Bar is another excellent venue. Although we don’t drink alcohol, it’s a nice venue to relax and enjoy the ocean views.

The Lido Pool is a popular spot for sunbathing and relaxing, and there is also a retractable roof over the pool area, making it usable in all weather conditions. Since we were cruising in Alaska, the roof remained closed.

Lido Pool and hot tub
Lido Pool and hot tub

By the pool, the Dive In provided an easy snack or quick lunch option. We enjoyed the make-your-own tacos and nachos, while the menu also included the usual hot dogs and burgers.

One thing I appreciated about the Noordam is that there are plenty of quiet spaces on the ship. As a blogger, I work as I travel, so the Explorations Café, Hudson, and Half Moon rooms provided quiet areas to work on a laptop.

Value For Money

Regarding value for money, our cruise on the Noordam was an excellent choice. We took a 14-day cruise and land tour, which included multiple tours. When I priced out the cost of seven hotel stays, including excursions, and a cruise, our package came out far less.

Another aspect of the Noordam that adds value is the quality of the food and service. The ship’s dining options were varied, and our meals were always delicious.

We had a consistent dining time and table each evening. Our wait staff were friendly and attentive, ensuring my meals were made without gluten and lactose.

Comparisons With Other HAL Ships

When comparing the Noordam with other Holland America Line (HAL) ships, this vessel is smaller than the newest ships. This smaller size gives it an intimate feel, making it easy to meet people and make new friends.

We liked that we met many people from afar and continued to run into them during our seven days at sea.

Regarding entertainment, Nieuw Amsterdam has a wider range of choices than Noordam. However, the Noordam has plenty of nooks for conversation and quiet relaxation.

Holland America Koningsdam cruise ship
Holland America Koningsdam docked in Vancouver

HAL Koningsdam is another excellent choice for Alaska. Since that vessel can accommodate 600 more guests, it also offers more venues. The B. B. King’s Blues Club is popular on the Music Walk. The ship’s artwork is second to none, and I was seduced by every piece.

I liked that the Koningsdam has more specialty restaurants. Additional venues included Tamarind, Nami Sushi, and my favorite, Rudi’s Sel de Mer.

Final Thoughts

My experience on the Holland America Noordam ship was delightful. The ship’s smaller size provided an intimate feel and I could walk from one end of the vessel to another without feeling like I was in a marathon each day.

We were impressed with the level of service provided by the staff, and it made our stay on the ship even more enjoyable.

The ship’s amenities were also top-notch, and we enjoyed exploring them during our stay. We especially enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill, which offered an upscale dining experience.

Holland America Noordam in Alaska and her Lido pool area