This was our first cruise. We went with our two young children (boys: 7 and 4) and their grandparents, who are seasoned cruisers. I have never considered myself a cruiser; in fact, I was probably somewhat opposed to it prior to this cruise. We are experienced travelers and understand the challenges that come with traveling with kids, especially on a multiple-leg journey.
Going on this Noordam cruise was great, first and foremost, because of the ports and sites we visited, allowing us to sample a bunch of locations in a two week period. Some ports we loved and will plan on going back to (Dubrovnik, for example) and others we consider one and done. I was also pleasantly surprised at the ease with which we were able to see so many places without the hassle of checking in and out of hotels and the associated transit and packing/unpacking. It is now safe to say that we are cruise converts.
The HAL ship was in great shape, the staff was superb, and the food was good. The demographics leaned older, as is expected, but there were enough kids to make it fun--especially at one of the pools. All in all a big thumbs up (flying from SFO to Rome and back with a 4 year old is a whole other story. Ouch!:-)