Holland America's Vista Class is one of six in the company's fleet, and within the Vista Class, there are just four cruise ships. MS Noordam is the fourth and final ship to be added to the class in 2006, when it was named Noordam, meaning 'north', as each ship in the class is named after a point on the compass.
The Vista Class was the first in the Holland America line to introduce larger public areas than ever before, more cabins with ocean views, and luxury touches such as glass-walled elevators. Such changes in the class were the beginning of a new era for Holland America, which had always offered a highly traditional style of cruising and largely only appealed to older markets. With the introduction of the Noordam cruise ship and the others in her class, Holland America began to focus on new generations and families with more modern and spacious ships than ever before.
Launched in 2006 and having undergone a refurbishment just four years later, the Noordam is a modern, stylish cruise ship. She weighs just over 82,000 tons, requires 800 crew members and can carry up to 1,918 passengers. Her maximum speed is 24 knots and she is 936 feet long with a beam of 105.8 feet.
Noordam itinerary and shore excursions
The Noordam schedule includes exciting destinations around the world such as Alaska, British Columbia, Washington state, Australia, New Zealand, Honolulu, and Fiji. Step on shore in these far-flung locations for Noordam excursions and spend time enjoying ziplining adventures, visiting luminous glow worm caves, walking across frozen glaciers, flying over snow-covered landscapes in a sea plane, discovering beautiful wildlife and so much more.
One of the most notable aspects of life on board the Noordam is the artwork. Altogether, there are millions of dollars worth of original pieces dotted about the ship, which you can view and learn about at any time with the help of an iPod self-guided tour. For example, there is an incredible chest on board that was built in Germany in 1885 that is decorated with precious stones, carved with 17th century Baroque columns and inlaid with rich ebony. Another outstanding piece is an 1842 oil painting of the Dutch city of Utrecht, which contrasts beautifully with the contemporary art on board such as the photographs of musicians Dizzy Gillespie and BB King.
Furthering the Holland America initiative to modernise the fleet, the Noordam features many new amenities for the comfort and experience of guests. These includes everything from flat screen TVs and DVD players, to the Culinary Arts Centre that offers demonstrations and cooking classes by day before transforming into a dining venue each evening.
Noordam restaurants and bars
Dining on board the Noordam is an experience in itself, with tantalising menus at every turn. Guests can now also opt for flexible 'As You Wish' dining, which allows you to walk in to dinner in any of the on-board restaurants at a time of your choosing, or even to book ahead at a time that suits you. If you prefer the more traditional option of pre-set scheduled meals, you can also dine this way at either the 6pm sitting or the 8.15pm sitting (times may vary depending on the itinerary).
When it comes to Noordam food, you'll be spoilt for choice with several restaurants on board as well as a 24-hour complimentary room service option. The Lido Café is the largest of the three, serving countless varieties of food at its 'stations', the Canaletto is an Italian restaurant, and the Vista Dining Room offers an array of tasty meals and the Pinnacle Grill serves upscale dinners.
Six of the 11 decks on board the Noordam are dedicated to guest cabins, of which there are five different categories.
The most basic of the Noordam rooms are the interior suites, which are hardly basic at all. They each have premium euro-top mattresses, luxurious bathrobes, Egyptian cotton towels, and flatscreen TVs and DVD players. The Ocean View rooms offer similar features, but with a window to the world so you can wake up to a new sight every day of your cruise.
The Verandah Suites offer you your own little balcony so you can step out into the fresh air at any time. And while the amenities of these rooms are the same as the interior cabins, the Verandah Suites come in sizes of up to 359 square feet for plenty of room to move about.
For a luxury experience in a Noordam suite, consider the Signature Suites, which have their own balconies, sitting areas, personalised cruise stationery and whirlpool baths. Alternatively, the top-of-the-line Neptune Suites offer all of the above plus a king size bed, dressing room, a complimentary laundry service, priority dining and embarkation, and much more.
The meals and drinks available at the Noordam bars, restaurants and cafes are second to none.
Complimentary meals as part of your Noordam tickets are available at:
Specialty dining (meals not included in your fare)
Events and activities on the Noordam never stop, and when there's so much to do and see around the ship, you won't want to either. You'll find entertainment for the whole family, for those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, and for those ready for a night of cocktails and dancing as well.
What to do on the Noordam during the day
The aforementioned art tour should be one of your day-time activities early on in the trip. Not only will you get to enjoy the exceptional art on board, it will also help you learn your way around.
The Culinary Arts Center is quite new to the Holland America line, and it is well worth a visit. Either a senior member of the kitchen staff or a guest chef will create a delicious meal right in front of you, talking you through the instructions as he or she cooks.
When it comes to Noordam pools, you have the choice of the Lido Pool or the Hydro Pool up on deck 9. This is also where you will find the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, the fitness centre and the thermal suites where you can easily while away a day or five.
For those looking for something a little educational, the Microsoft Digital Workshops program is the perfect way to pass the day. You can learn to use computers to enhance your holiday and Noordam photos, produce and publish videos and make your own webpage or blog.
Throughout the voyage, there are often other daily activities such as art auctions, unofficial ship building contests, and more.
What to do on the Noordam at night
The B.B. King Blues Club is a fantastic music venue that shows professional live musicians, the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea program gets you up and dancing with lessons so you can learn as you go, and the Vista lounge is a massive venue for Noordam shows such as theatre, dance, and music.
There's a piano bar for live piano music, an Ocean Bar for jazz and the Explorer's Lounge for a classical quartet performance. You can try your luck at the casino or dance the night away at the Northern Lights Nightclub.
Looking after the kids on the Noordam
If you're bringing the kids along with you, note that they must be 6 months old for any cruise, and at least 12 months old to travel on any transpacific cruise.
There is babysitting available for children over the age of 3, and three different kids clubs catering to 3-7 year olds, 8-12 year olds and 13-17 year olds.
High chairs and cribs are available on request and you can order diapers, wipes and formula in advance at your own expense.
We took the 14 day re positioning cruise from Honolulu to Sydney on the Noordam. This was only our second time on a cruise ship and the thought of such a long time on the water was a bit daunting. This concern soon disappeared. As with our first cruise, we chose a balcony cabin which we really
made use of. Leaving Honolulu, the first 5 days straight were at sea, and many hours were spent on the balcony just watching the ocean pass by. The weather was near perfect and often we had glass out seas. The Noordam exceeded our expectations in almost every way:, food, service, facilities, activities etc. The common areas on Decks 2 and 3 were great for a quiet read, coffee or a drink at one of the bars. The 5 o'clock happy hours with two-for-one drinks were also a good time to get together with the new cruise buddies. Our only disappointment was the band playing live music, which did not live up to their billing of "BB King All Stars". However, for the age group of most passengers on the ship, I'm pretty sure there was plenty of good entertainment throughout the cruise. Especially good was the comedian and ventriloquist, who would have had many people coming back for multiple shows.
2 lower beds convertible to 1 king-size bed, bathroom with dual sink vanity, full-size whirlpool bath, shower and additional shower stall, large sitting area, dressing room, private verandah, 1 sofa bed for 2 persons, floor-to-ceiling windows. Approximately 500–712 sq. ft. including verandah.
Noordam offers 2 x Pinnacle Suites: Bedroom with 1 king-size bed, oversize whirlpool bath & shower & additional shower stall, living room, dining room, dressing room, private verandah with whirlpool, pantry, 1 sofa bed for 2 persons, microwave, refrigerator, guest toilet, private stereo system, floor-to-ceiling windows. Approximately 1,150 sq. ft. including baclony.
2 lower beds convertible to 1 queen-size bed, bathroom with dual-sink vanity, full-size whirlpool bath & shower & additional shower stall, large sitting area, private verandah, 1 sofa bed for 1 person, floor-to-ceiling windows. Approximately 372–384 sq. ft. including verandah.
This elegant two-story dining room is Holland America's signature restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides of the room. New are two grand staircases on either side of the atrium.
A relaxed dining area with fresh cooked to order selections and a choice of seating either indoors or al fresco . Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner as will offering late evening snacks.
A comfortable, coffee house environment onboard Noordam, where you can browse through an extensive library, surf the Internet and check email or simply read the morning paper.
For a perfectly grilled burger on brioche, gourmet hot dog, crispy French fries or a taco bar with all the fixings, there's no better place than Dive-In at the Terrace Grill, offering alfresco dining by the pool.
Named for the famous 18th century Venetian artist, new menu is designed around this authentic Italian experience and offers a variety of dishes to enjoy and share with family and friends.
Surcharges apply at $10.00 per person, per evening (subject to change and availability)
Guests who dine at the intimate, reservations-only Pinnacle Grill enjoy a dining experience themed to reflect the Pacific Northwest. Candlelight and fine décor create a romantic ambiance that sets the stage for fresh Northwest dishes and select wines.
Surcharges apply from $29.00 per person, per evening. Lunch reservations may also be available
B.B. Kings Blues Club
Northern Lights Nightclub
Culinary Arts Center
Greenhouse Spa & Thermal Suites
Seaview Pool & Bar