Review of Noordam cruise Feb 8, 2013 Overall 5 stars Cabin 5 stars MDR 2 stars
Entertainment 5 stars to Brett Cave, singer pianist and Rich Purpura, comedian and "mind reader"
Embark/disembark - best ever. Quick, courteous, efficient and very nice for someone with limited mobility.
Pre-Flight hotel: Sleep Inn BWI - very hard to find. Taxi from airport upon return, $23 with tip - better than trying to get hotwl van. No Breakfast, although it was advertised that there would be continental breakfast.
Sheraton Ft L Beach. Not worth the money. $150 through Priceline. Next time will choose cheaper hotel closer to port with breakfast. Meals overpriced.
Taxis in FT L plentiful, ditto BWI
AirTran - check other prices. Too many add-ons, esp $25 per bag for luggage. We did like direct flights from BWI
Cruise Critic roll call - very helpful. 5 star party aboard ship. Sunset cruise in Curacao set up by Kampusa very nice. One of the nicest roll calls I've ever had!
Superior verandah cabin excellent! Lots of room, great balcony. Would do it again if we could afford to. Stewards very good, not perfect, but obliging.
MDR - ok for breakfast and lunch. One dinner - not very good and much too long. MDR understaffed. Lido fine, but pick your times. Chairs in both Lido and MDR very comfortable.
Condition of ship very clean, though a little shabbiness, especially in the Crow's Nest was observed. Not a problem for me - I like comfort and cleanliness over glitz any day!
Tendering a bad choice for someone with mobility issues. HMC over crowded, could not get clamshell, not enough chairs for two ships in port. BBQ crowded and lackluster.
Glad shore excursion on Samana was cancelled for lack of interest - tenders were bouncing around terribly - did not go ashore.
The Pinnacle menu is excellent. Good choices, great service! Would go again at least twice. Ate in Pinnacle three times for dinner, once for lunch, and once for Le Cirque. Le Cirque food was bland - not as good as regular Pinnacle menu. Would not book Le Cirque again.
Canaletto - service excellent, ambience very quiet. Ate there twice, once would have been more than enough. Lido evening buffet has excellent Italian choices. Disappointed in Canaletto menu - no veal or chicken marsala. An up charge for meatballs and spaghetti is not worth it.
Drinks - most are way too big and watered down. Could not find a decent gin martini- but Manhattans straight up were great.
Library excellent! Lots of computer terminals - no problem checking in with airline.
FLL airport. Could not check bags until 3 hours before flight. Good reason for using ship's luggage direct and/or Ft Lauderdale tours.
Overall staff and crew were 5 stars.
Daily Mass with priest aboard....wonderful.
Bottle of liquor in stateroom - reasonably priced.
Laundry efficient and not unreasonably priced.
Would take fewer clothes next time and not do formal. Yes, I know that sounds like heresy, but we really do not enjoy the longish dinners in the MDR anyway and would be perfectly happy on formal night to eat in the Lido - or on our balcony.
Having three banks of elevators, forward, aft and midship was very convenient and most times we did not have to wait long.
I loved the decor! Elegant without glitz!
This voyage on this ship contrasts very favorably with our previous voyage on Celebrity's Silhouette. Even though we are Celebrity Captain's Club elite, and the perks are much better than HAL, we would not book a Celebrity cruise again on an "S" class ship, and we would definitely book on HAL again! I hope soon!