Poor selection of ports; limited entertainment on board; not well managed

Noordam Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 6
Helpful Votes: 79

Overall rating:

2 out of 5
Verified Review

19 Night Panama Canal Westbound (Ft. Lauderdale To Vancouver)

Sail date: April 20, 2015

Ship: Noordam

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 8024

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 5 years ago

Review summary

Some of the ports were just industrial areas with no"tourist" facilities. Shore excursions involved long drives and short tours.The cruise passed several ports which are scenic and/or interesting. 

If you like knitting, cooking, bingo, art and purse sales, or gambling, this is it. They also had ping-pong. If you like pleasant quiet music outside at lunch, forget it. 

They seemed to have no idea that a lot of people would be looking for coffee in the morning. Long lines, and sometimes working coffee makers. Did you want ice in your drink at lunch -- well maybe... Staffing and food operations seemed to be designed around an idea that there would be an even flow of passengers over two or three hours. So when the crowds all show up in a short time, they were completely unprepared.

One day we had no hot water. The first response was "I'm sorry you're having a problem with your plumbing. I'll send you someone to explain how to turn it on". Later it became "We're already aware of a problem. You don't need to tell us". The third time it was "The problem was fixed some time ago. You must not be running the hot water long enough".

The balcony had rust on the metal, and white paint drippings scattered around from the last paint job. 


Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
it got better as the cruise went on, but the early experience was meals the same as the last meal.

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
Mostly the activities that were available made it difficult to find a quiet spot.


3 out of 5
Shows were pretty good. Other than that not much variety. One violin/piano duo every night (very good); the big (loud) band every night. The singalong piano player every night (doing the same songs every night).

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
At the low end of the scale, people were really nice. Management obviously leaves a lot to be desired.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
In several respects the ship needs a big overhaul. Rust in rooms, clouded windows.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Furniture looked like old Super 8 or Days Inn. Bathtub drain doesn't work. Rust on the veranda.

Ship tip

Definitely NOT the ship you want to be on in the open seas. Not stable in wind like the bigger ships.

Ports of call

Cartagena, Colombia

5 out of 5

Enter Panama Canal At Cristobal

3 out of 5
would have been nice to be able to stop to look around.

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
beautiful area

Exit Panama Canal At Balboa

3 out of 5
would have been nice to be able to stop to look around.

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

5 out of 5
river tour was nice

Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua

5 out of 5
interesting city tour.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

1 out of 5
Nothing to do around the port.

Puerto Chiapas (Tapachula), Mexico

1 out of 5
Nothing to do around the port.

Huatulco, Mexico

3 out of 5
Don't do the land and sea tour. The boat captain said he wouldn't do it except that the Noordam wanted him to. Three people threw up.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

5 out of 5
Interesting area.

San Diego, California

5 out of 5
lousy tour management, but great place to see

Victoria, British Columbia

3 out of 5
would have been nice if we would have had time to actually see anything. Seems like it's thrown in just say they stopped at the port.
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