This was our 3rd cruise on Holland America and the first on this Noordam ship. We sailed on March 16th and since this was our longest cruise (10 days) we were a little unsure of whether we would enjoy it. Boy did we ever. It was our best cruise ever. It really helped that there were only 3 sea days and the itinerary was great.
Our cabin was lovely, yes the ship is looking a little older, but aren't we all? It was clean and we loved the larger balcony and being on the port side of the ship, the sail-aways were fun. Our room steward team was fabulous. They took such good care of us, from ice cubes to clean glasses. We did have an issue with our air conditioning not working 100%. It took 2 days to get someone to look at it and they claimed they fixed it, but it only worked well for a day and then stopped again. Our TV also needed a half hour to warm up and stop flickering. But we don't go on vacation to watch TV, so that did not bother us.
We did not take advantage of all the on-board activities. We cruise to relax and enjoy each other's company. There were plenty of activities to choose from. The first 2 days at sea found me at the spa which was very good. Yes, they did try to sell me their products, but it was a soft sell. We enjoyed the late show each night. We saw musical and dance numbers as well as a gymnast and magician. All were quite entertaining. Remember, this is not Vegas.
The food in the lido was quite good, except for breakfast. We found the breakfast ordered via room service to be better. Actually hotter if you can believe that. We ate in the Pinnacle one night, but were disappointed. The food in the main dining room was better, as was the service. We brought on own wine on-board and still felt it was worth it even with the $18 corkage fee. The Happy Hours offered in 2 of the bars made up for the higher prices. Our dining room team was awesome. They went out of their way to provide us with the best in everything. My only complaint was that the steaks were always cooked too much. We had a lovely table for two for the fixed late dinner.
The ports were some of the best I've encountered. Samana needs a little time to develop, so you need to keep that in mind when you visit. Grand Turk was my favorite and we will be back for a longer visit. Half Moon Cay is the best cruise line owned island we've been to. Of course the perfect weather we had helped with the overall enjoyment of this cruise. I believe March is the perfect month.
This cruise line does attract an older passenger and there were a lot of Europeans sailing with us. Keep that in mind as well when you book your cruise with Holland, you'll need to tap into your patience locker. We will definitely sail on Holland again.