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Noordam Cruise Review by hjharri

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Noordam
Noordam
Member Name: hjharri
Cruise Date: December 2012
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Cabin Category: VH
Cabin Number: 7135
Booking Method: Local Travel Agency
See More About: Noordam Cruise Reviews | Southern Caribbean Cruise Reviews | Holland America Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 5.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 3.0
Spa & Fitness Not Rated
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 4.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 5.0
Value-for-Money 5.0
Rates 5+
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Ship Facts: Noordam Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Noordam Deck Plans
Southern Caribbean Dec 7-17th
This is our first cruise with Holland America, although we have cruised with different cruise lines. We booked this cruise for the itinerary and the super low price. .

We drove to Fort Lauderdale,stayed at the Comfort Inn,Hollywood,the price of one night's stay,included the 10 day parking, drop off and pick up with their shuttle at the cruise port, excellent service, excellent price.

We arrived at the cruise port, embarking took no time, we were on the ship and immediately in our room, loved that, no dragging around carry ons, etc. Impressed with this.

We liked the size of the ship -- not overly crowded, easy to get around- and although we like kids, nice to see that there were hardly any on the cruise. We have been on ships that parents allow kids to run wild. Not a lot of announcements, or waiters pushing drinks, we liked that.

I had read that the Hal cruises were mostly elderly guests, well, there was a cross section of ages, elderly, middle age, and varying ages of younger people, nice mix. I had also read reviews, saying that many of the passengers, were elderly people in wheel chairs,using scooters, canes,walkers...yes, there were plenty, but we only wish both sets of our parents were still alive, that they could be with us, enjoying a cruise using their walkers,if they had to, to see them enjoying life and not in a nursing home.

We arrived at the cruise port, embarking took no time, we were on the ship and immediately in our room, loved that, no dragging around carry ons, etc. Impressed with this.

We had a veranda stateroom on the Rotterdam deck. Lots of storage, bed and pillows super comfortable, loved the Elemis products provided -- I wish I had bought the conditioner when it was on sale at the spa. Our stewards were super nice guys, great service, lots of ice, we brought one bottle of wine with use and they kept us supplied with ice. We always put the card in the door to haver tohe room make up when we went out in the morning. There are DVD's you can order from a huge selection, if you wish to watch a movie in your stateroom.

Food is subjective -- We enjoyed our meals. Waiters were all really nice, and dinner usually took about 1-1/2 hours. The only meal we didn't enjoy was the last evening, the Master Chefs, just wasn't anything on the menu either of us really wanted to order. We aren't food critics, hey,we are on vacation I don't have to cook, clean up, wash dishes. I am not complaining.

We ate breakfast every morning in the main dining room, I have no problem eating in the Lido buffet but trying to get coffee,juice, your food, table,etc is a pain, unless you are in port and have to be off the ship early, then that is fine with me.

We ate dinner in the Vista Dining Room, almost every night, we had Open Seating and we never waited for a table. We went to 2 formal nights -- men you have to have a jacket on -- we seen one night a passenger was given a jacket to wear. On casual evenings, men, you have to wear long pants.

We loved the Explorations Cafe. Lots of books to take out to read, magazines to read while you are there, chess games, checkers, etc.

We took advantage of the Tech classes, went to a Windows 8 seminar, very informative. Lots of cooking classes, cake decorating, etc...tons of things to do. We went to a couple of movies in the Queens Lounge.

We really liked the Crow's Nest for relaxing.

Internet -- the only big complaint I have. I signed up for 100 minutes for $55.00 plus the activations fee, fine, I know it is satellite and super super slow, but we needed to trying check emails and let family member know things were fine. Last day on the ship I had 20 minutes left, used it checking emails, etc, it seemed it was a big longer and hey I didn't have my stop watch with me. To make a long story short, when I got our on board account, we were charged an extra $14.30 for internet. We found out what happens that, when the 100 minutes was used, the system does not sign out, or advise you that you need to purchase more internet time, it will automatically start billing you for the extra minutes. Did not like this, so much like negative billing. It is not the $14.30 that we were charged it is the principal of the matter. I deduct major points for this. Maybe I missed reading the fine print when I initially set up for the internet and next I will be super clear what is involved. Buyer beware.

But when we were in Bonaire, there is an internet cafe that had 1 hour internet for $7.00 and in Aruba we found an internet cafe that had 1 hour for $4.00....had I done research before we left I would have gone the internet cafe route and never purchased internet time on the ship.

Nightly Shows- There were 2 shows Tony Pace and Rondell Sherridan, both excellent, the rest were most the Noordam Singers and Dancers, after you seen one of their shows, that was enough. They really need better shows at night.

Ports-

Half Moon Cay -- loved it -- we rented a clam shell, good choice as there wasn't much shade and sun was hot. We went back to the ship early, so we asked some people if they wanted to use the clam shell,as we were leaving and it was paid for, for the day, they were sitting in the hot sun. We enjoyed the bbq lunch, loved the roosters running around.

Grand Turk -- We took a private tour which we found on the dock, Hartley Forbes -- mini van, AC, $30.00 each, drove us all around, seen the lighthouse, herds of horses running wild, donkeys...Then we spent the rest of the day at the beach at Margaritaville, lots of loungers, warm water, sandy beach...loved it..

Samana-DR After a few tenders went ashore, the Captain had to cancel the tendering, as the seas were super rough. We had only planned to go into Samana and walk around. We have been to the DR before and not our favourite place.

Bonaire -- again, got a private tour with Farid, from Ayubi's Tours and Taxi, the singing driver, great tour $25.00 each lots of fun and very informative.

Curacaos -- we decided to just take a walk around, loved the Poontoon Bridge, the floating market, we did some shopping. We were in port until 11pm and after dinner we took a walk down around Fort Fi .

Aruba- We took a private tour again, with Fofoti Tours, AC bus, 2 hour tour of Aruba, then the driver dropped us off at Palm Beach for 2 hours and came back and picked us up, all for $20.00 each.

Debarking- We opted to take our own luggage off the ship, we were off in no time, through Customs, and the minute we stepped out of the Cruise Port, our shuttle was right there and we were back picking up our car in less than a half hour.

We would cruise again with Holland America, if we got another good deal. We would give this cruise a 9 out of 10.

Publication Date: 12/30/12
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