We are so pleased with our cruise on the Holland America MS Noordam. We are a family of 5. Couple in early 40s, with 3 kids, 9, 11, and 14. We had 2 rooms,
a Deluxe Verahndah with a balcony, and an interior across the hall.
First of all, the staff was wonderful. They take safetly and drills very seriously, All kids under 12 have on a wristband with their deck number: in case of emergency, they are directed to go to meet with you. Very smart.
Our rooms were lovely. We LOVED the DVD players and FLAT screens in EVERY room. Extensive library to check out DVDs, kids LOVED this. The BEDS were awesome, and I slept GREAT! Loved the soaps/shampoos in the shower with dispensers, smelled wonderful. Loved the robes for everyone, a nice touch!
I was worried that after our Disney cruise, my kids wouldn't have enough to do. Let me tell you, the Noordam crew went out of their way to make sure the kids were having fun, entertained, and had LOTS to do. My teen and 11 year old LOVED the movies offered every day. Free popcorn! (Disney charged us). ALL of them loved the "family" pool. there were 254 kids on board our cruise, but the pool never felt crowded. Fun music playing, beautiful pool deck with great lighting, and sculptures, plenty of chairs. The neat thing about this ship is the roof that can close or open above this pool. One night it rained, but my 9 year old still went swimming--they closed the roof, while my husband and I soaked in one of the three hot tubs by the family pool. Great concept! The Terrace grill is right near this pool, so kids loved the burgers/hot dogs and fries offered at lunch time. I loved the sweet potato fries..yum!
My 9 year old LOVED the "Tween" room, and begged us, begged us to take her every night from 7-10. She cried the first night when we came at 9:30! We had ruined her fun ;). I loved that they had a little kid area, and 2 groups of Tweens 8-10, and 11-12, There is a BIG difference between 8 and 12, and the Noordam had figured this out! yea! There was also a Teen Loft area. My teen is a little shy, and went to the movies every night which were right up her alley. Mission Impoosible, Sherlock Holmes, Moneyball, They also played the Muppets, and Adventures of Tin Tin. Something for everyone, and their Theaters were beautiful.
The breakfast was wonderful at the Lido buffett. Loved all the windows. My husband thought the waffles were to die for, I felt the same way about the omelette station! Kids loved the pancakes, bacon, and toasted bagels. Fruit was just excellent every day.
We loved their ice cream cones in the Lido buffett every afternoon!
We went to the Main dining room each night, sometimes all of us, sometimes my husband and I depending on what the kids were doing. EVERY meal was the BEST!! the MS Noordam knows how to deliver a wonderful meal!! We miss those meals!! they have something for everyone. Many choices each evening. They have a kids menu, and kids were welcome to order off either. My husbands's favorite meal the Veal Parmesean, Mine: the Linguini Alfredo. The little kids loved the chicken strips (of course), My teen loved the grilled chicken with potatoes, and any pasta. The desserts were extra special. Loved the warm fruit tarts with vanilla ice cream, My husband loved anything chocolate :).
We ALL loved the Exploration Cafe, check out books from their library, dark paneling, wonderful area. You can also buy internet minutes, We bought 100, and it was plenty, not time to check emails!. WE also loved their coffee in the exploration cafe. You can use your beverage card here--speciality coffee drinks (like starbucks), which we recommend purchasing. Regarding the soda cards, buy one and share it, and buy another if needed. We didn't drink as much soda as we thought we would.
The first night all 5 of us, they have a kid/teen spa service also. Kids got neck/shoulder/arm massage, Hubby and I got the "pick 3" salon service, we choose scalp, neck/shoulder/and paraffin hand. WONDERFUL!! Highly recommend treating yourself and your family. Very nice, got all the "travel" kinks out.
We loved the Turks and Caicos our first stop. We didn't do any "ship excursions" We did our own thing. Turks Caicos, went to the beach by the pier, lots of fish!, and Margaritaville for lunch. KIDS loved it, they swam in the ocean, the pool at Margaritaville, we had a very good lunch, shopped--very clean and pretty!
St Thomas, we took a "taxi" to Magens Bay. We spent the day, floating, swimming, had lunch at their grill, and lots of fun.
St Maarten we shopped and shopped. Recommend Goldfinger jewelry, very excellent service. Shipwreck is great for souvenir type gifts.
Half Moon Cay. Great clear water, loved the "mats" to sun on. Great food for lunch with lots of shade and plenty of seating.
Overall: Wonderful time, would go back, my kids LOVED it, wish I was there right now! :)