Embarkation- We arrived in Civitavecchia (Rome) on the Navigator of the Seas, transatlantic from New Orleans. We took a bus to the entrance of the port and got on another bus going to the Noordam. We were the first to arrive at the check-in tent so we waited 45-60 minutes before boarding the ship. Everything was well organized and painless.
Ship information- The ship had been in dry dock for two weeks in Palermo, Sicily and it should had been left in dry dock for another two weeks to complete the work. They were adding more cabins on the 10th deck, painting, sanding, welding during the day and during the night. One couldn't sit by the pool without being disturbed by the construction noise. They had also just installed new carpet which was pilling badly and never seemed to be vacuumed. There were always crumbs on the floor under the tables from the night before. Since we had just left the Navigator of the Seas, with beautiful and elegant decor, the Noordam seemed to be "cheaply made".
Activities - There were plenty of activities to keep one busy, especially since this was a port intensive cruise. HA employees a person who gives a overview of each port, history of the area, and gives tips on getting around without a shore excursion. The information that he gave was so helpful and made each area more interesting.
Entertainment - The entertainment was generally good with few exceptions, like the opera singer. The cruise director, a gentleman from Atlanta was a hoot!! This cruise director added so much entertainment himself and I would love to go on another cruise where he was assigned as the cruise director.
Dining - The food and service were great, especially in the main or formal dining room. The Lido restaurant was crowded and difficult to maneuver around when it was crowded. A majority of the food was served from behind a food counter, so one had to stand in line to get the food. This method is safer from a food safety stand point, but frustrating when you only want one thing behind the counter.
Stateroom - we had an ocean view cabin, category DD, which was good. The drawers under the bed stored linens for the sofa-bed so they couldn't be used for our clothes. The attendants kept the room clean and neat. Since the room was on the lower deck, it was a lot of stairs up to the lido for the buffet restaurant, pool or the gym.
Embarkation - was easy and painless. We were flying out of Athens to Crete, so we took a taxi to the airport which was much cheaper than the cruise ship's transport to the airport.