Noordam Cruise Review by Surfari1: A wonderful experience
Overall Member Rating
A wonderful experience
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
My wife and I decided to celebrate our 25th anniversary on the Noordam last month. We had looked at the Holland America website and joined up with the HAL community forum, but were still not prepared for the high standard of service and luxury we were exposed to on the ship. Our stateroom was large enough despite being a standard one and the portholw was larger than we expected providing a good view whenever we needed one - not often as we hardly spent any time in our stateroom.
The organisation of the excursions, onboard activities and shows was outstanding and we were made to feel like royalty. We did not use the gym or the spa and we didn't spend much time watching the many shows that were available - we were exhausted from the excursions, but those we did see were very well done and the variety was good.
The few negatives: Lack of friendliness of a few of the older dining staff (in the minority) & the prices of the sodas and alcoholic drinks and of most of More the goods for sale in the Signature shops which were over the top. Also, because the beverage staff earn 15% on each drink they sell, they only showed interest if you ordered sodas or alcohol regularly and ignored you if they got to know that you only ordered water on the pool decks.
Nafplion and Antalya were added due to our not being able to get to Israel due to the Syrian crisis. Nafplion was really a stunning town and the Palamidi castle above it was well worth the 971 steps! We also visited ancient Corinth and the Corinth canal from there as part of an official excursion arranged by Holland America at the last minute. It was extremely enjoyable.
Antalya is intersting, but we did not have enough time to explore what it offers. Less
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Cabin review: C1118 Large Ocean-View Stateroom
Bit of a vibration due to the screws being almost directly below the stateroom with it being the third cabin from the rear of the ship. In addition, being on the main deck and on the port side, it was directly below the galleys on decks 2 and 3 which are also on the port side. This meant that we could hear the noise of the trolleys being haulled around before and after each meal.Read All Large Ocean-View Stateroom (C) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
We caught a dolmus to Gumusluk (ancient port of Myndos) where we swam at the beach and heard about the island where Brutus planned Caesar's murder. Great value and a charming and historic place.
we then entered St Peter's castle in the town. Very interesting with picture perfect views of the bay.
We caught a bus (very cheap and efficient) to the Palace of Knossos wher we toured the ruins (big queues) and then returned and caught another bus to Arena beach where we had a refreshing swim. The rip was extremely strong but the water was warm and inviting. We then enjoyed walking through the main streets and seeing the interesting restaurants, etc
Dilek was knowledgeable and very helpful and tolerant!
Very rushed and guide was not not very knowledgable. No time to get out of the bus to photograph the Hagia Sofia or Blue Mosque.
Very enjoyable with rich colours and frangrances. Enjoyed haggling with the store owners. Some even spoke Afrikaans!
Dilek our guide was extremely friendly, knowledgable and organised. She dealt with the blind member of our tour group and his guide dog very patiently.
Nearly got left nehind at the end of the tour, but otherwise good.
Topkapi Walking Tour
Dilek our guide was, again, excellent.
rich cultural history and gorgeous - (the palace)
The most incredible ancient buildings I've ever seen.
Ayshe was a wonderfully knowledgeable guide and her English was superb. The history oozing out of every building in Ephesus was powerful.
All part of the same excursion
We took a bus to Psarou beach, a gorgeoud setting below a cliff with warm blue water and plenty of room to lie on the beach. It took 10 minutes from Chora and was well worth it. We then walked to Platis Agios and then caught a small boat to Paradise and Super Paradise where we swam some more. Both beaches were packed with mainly youngsters with loud rock mucis, but we enjoyed it thoroughly. We then caught the boat and bus back to Chora where were photographed the charming alleyways and restaurants and of course, Petros the pelikan and the windmills. A stunningly beautiful, although stark, setting!
We took a family owned fishing boat to three beaches: Afandou, Anthony Quinn's Beach and Kalithea beach where we swam in warm azure blue water offshore. The weather was great and it was excellent value.
We then walked around the old city walls and through the charming main Rhodes Town streets and walkways.
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