Noordam Cruise Review by Peter Christmas: Roman Empire Cruise September 2012
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Roman Empire Cruise September 2012
It may be somewhat of a shock for readers to read a less than perfect review of this ship following other glowing reports listed on this site so I will try to be totally honest and fair regarding our recent trip on the Noordam.
Our arrival at Leonardo Di Vinci airport was less than inspiring we dragged our cases out and had to follow someone in and out of the crowds in the terminal, dragging our cases a considerable distance over uneven and cobbled pavement to a rather large and scruffy lorry with two burly and menacing loader/drivers. after which we were led back to a rather busy and very dirty sweaty cafeteria and told to wait for the next shuttle bus (we chose to wait outside the terminal) arrival at the terminal was quick and efficient and we were on board within and estimated 20 minutes or less.
The ship to be fair is fitted out to a Very High standard and oozes class at every turn and is maintained to a very high & comfortable standard both in furniture and More cleanliness. The cabin we occupied was spacious and contained a small bath which was very pleasing, but one word of warning - if the description is that the view may be wholly or partially obscured by life boat - it pretty much means that you will get a fair amount of natural light but not much else, the only way my wife could look out was if she stood on the (very comfortable) bed and braced herself against my shoulders.
The staff for the most part are attentive, friendly, and mostly helpful (unless you have only just missed the breakfast line deadline in the Lido). The only other issue we had in the Lido was the slowness at times of removal of dirty plates when supervisory staff were absent in addition to the usual less than good natured "Scrum" at busy times of the day.
The problem we experienced after having traveled with many other cruise lines was the generally poor quality & level of entertainment on this particular cruise. With the exception of an opera singer on one night, and an excellent Guitarist another the entertainment was something that you would have expected to have experienced maybe 15 to 20 years ago on one of the cheaper middle range ships, on occasions it was very obvious that some of the performers where miming during the performance which could go someway to explain why this beautiful auditorium was at best only about a 3rd full every night for the duration of the cruise.
The poor experience in the Theatre was compounded by the total absence of any atmosphere around the ship later in the evening that just cannot be explained by age and gender. Every other cruise I have been on without exception has had a lively and friendly atmosphere through to the early morning but the Noordam was like a ghost ship from 10.30pm onwards. We commented on this on a customer feedback form half way through the cruise and duly received a telephone call the following day from the Cruise Director Shane who, after we had expressed our concerns, more or less told us that we were entitled to our opinions and left us with a closing statement to "try and enjoy the rest of our cruise as much as you are able to"!
The food generally was of a good quality with the exception of a few nights and the waiting staff were found to be quick and attentive in the main Vista Restaurant(even if the wine waiter was less than attentive to my wife's needs as she was unable to consume alcohol for the most part). We had one waiter that made the extra effort and entertained the table with card tricks and meal end towards the end of the cruise which was much appreciated and significantly more entertaining than most of the shows on offer.
The trips where found to be expensive in the extreme and my advice would be to arrange your own(a number of people cancelled theirs after one and rather poor experience which cost them a handling charge of 10% on all the trips booked which rather added insult to injury).
Our overall experience was not great - I enjoyed the comfort provided by the ship - met some great people and never (apart from the Lido at times) felt cramped but the ship just did not have anywhere near the level of atmosphere compared to previous many cruises taken with other much cheaper cruise lines.
There is much more I could say but feel that enough is enough - needless to say that it is very unlikely that we will book with Holland America again based on our recent experience as we believe that we just didn't get the experience we were expecting or value for money. Less
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