Holland America Line


Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Holland America Line
Cruise StylePremium
Ship SizeSmall

The fourth and final Vista-class ship, Noordam launched in 2006. Named for the Northern compass point, the ship carries such museum-quality paintings as an oil portrait of the city of Utrecht from 1842, as well as contemporary art pieces like the series of photographs of music greats Dizzy Gillespie and BB King.Read More

Vista-class vessels integrate new, youthful, and family-friendly elements into Holland America Line’s classic fleet. Exquisite Waterford-crystal sculptures adorn triple-deck atriums and reflect vivid, almost daring color schemes throughout. Although all the public rooms carry the traditional Holland America names (Ocean Bar, Explorer’s Lounge, Crow’s Nest) and aren’t much different in atmosphere, their louder decor (toned down a bit since the introduction of the Zuiderdam) may make them unfamiliar to returning passengers.

Veterans of cruises on older Holland America ships will find the layout of public spaces somewhat different; still, everyone’s favorite Crow’s Nest lounges continue to offer those commanding views.

Holland America Line has enjoyed a distinguished record of traditional cruises, world exploration, and transatlantic crossings since 1873—all facets of its history that are reflected in the fleet’s multimillion-dollar shipboard art and antiques collections. Even the ships’ names follow a pattern set long ago: all end in the suffix dam and are either derived from the names of various dams that cross Holland’s rivers, important Dutch landmarks, or points of the compass. The names are even recycled when vessels are retired, and some are in their fifth and sixth generation of use.

Noted for focusing on passenger comfort, Holland America Line cruises are classic in design and style, and with an infusion of younger adults and families onboard, they remain refined without being stuffy or stodgy. Following a basic design theme, returning passengers feel as at home on the newest Holland America vessels as they do on older ones.

  • 11 passenger decks
  • specialty restaurant, dining room, buffet, pizzeria
  • Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator, DVD
  • 2 pools (1 indoor)
  • fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, spa
  • 9 bars, casino, 2 dance clubs, library, showroom, video game room
  • children’s programs
  • dry cleaning, laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • no-smoking cabins


Next to the Crow’s Nest, an outdoor seating area is a quiet hideaway
Exterior panoramic elevators offer an elevated view of the seascape
You can borrow iPod shipboard art tours
Vista-class ships do not have self-service laundry rooms
Murals in Pinnacle Grill restaurants look out of place alongside priceless art found throughout the rest of the ships
Some chairs in Pinnacle Grill are so heavy that they barely budge without effort

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins


Comfortable and roomy, 85% of all Vista-class accommodations have an ocean view, and almost 80% of those also have the luxury of a private balcony furnished with chairs, loungers, and tables. Every cabin has adequate closet and drawer/shelf storage, as well as bathroom shelves. Some suites have a whirlpool tub, powder room, and walk-in closet.

Suites include duvets on beds and a fully stocked minibar; some also have a whirlpool tub, powder room, and walk-in closet. Penthouse and Deluxe Verandah suites have exclusive use of the private Neptune Lounge, personal concierge service, canapés before dinner, and complimentary laundry, pressing, and dry-cleaning services.

All staterooms and suites are appointed with pillow-top mattresses, 250-thread-count cotton bed linens, magnifying halogen-lighted makeup mirrors, hair dryers, a fruit basket, and flat-panel TVs. Bathroom extras include Egyptian cotton towels, shampoo, body lotion, and bath gel, plus deluxe bathrobes to use during the cruise.

Twenty-eight staterooms are wheelchair accessible.

Food & Drink


The formal dining room offers open seating breakfast and lunch, with a choice at dinner between two assigned seatings or open seating. The Pinnacle Grill (reservation, cover charge) serves lunch and dinner. A casual Lido restaurant serves buffet breakfast and lunch; at dinner the Lido offers a combination buffet/table service with entrées from both the Lido and main dining room menus, and Italian fare is served in the adjacent Canaletto Restaurant (reservation, cover charge). Poolside lunch at Dive In at the Terrace Grill includes hamburgers, and hot dogs with all the trimmings. The Explorations Café offers extra-charge specialty coffees and free pastries. Daily afternoon tea service is elevated to Royal Dutch High Tea once per cruise. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres are served by waiters during cocktail hour, hand-dipped chocolates are offered after dinner in the Explorer’s Lounge, and a late-night buffet and chocolate extravaganza is served in the Lido restaurant during every cruise. Room service is available 24 hours.


Before dinner, the Ocean Club and Explorer’s Lounge are popular spots where servers pass through with appetizers. After dinner and a show or concert, those bars are quiet spots for drinks and conversation. For livelier action, there’s B.B. King’s Blues Club or the Crow’s Nest for late-night dancing.

Spa & Fitness

The Greenhouse Spa treatments include a variety of massages, body wraps, and facials, as well as acupuncture and tooth-whitening services. A hydrotherapy pool and thermal suite with heated ceramic lounges for relaxation and dry sauna and steam rooms are free to use when a spa appointment is booked and available for a fee to all other passengers.

Key cruising tips


Entered Service
Number of Cabins
Passenger Capacity
Crew Members
Passengers to Crew Ratio
Gross Tons
106 feet
936 feet
206/281–3535 or 800/577–1728

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