Noordam Cruise Review by fedexretiree: Would I sail on Holland America again? NOT NO.... HAL NO
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Would I sail on Holland America again? NOT NO.... HAL NO
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Embarkation went smoothly, until we boarded the ship, I was disappointed that we didn't get a glass of champagne like we More typically get on Celebrity. That always made me feel just a bit special and welcome.
Instead, it felt more like a cattle drive heading everyone into the chutes. We located our room and it was an aft facing balcony. Nice big balcony, with a great view. I loved the room. Only issue was that it was hot in there. We located the cabin attendant and ask him if there was a problem with the A/C and he said it should get better after we were sailing and told us to keep the curtains closed....WHAT??? If I wanted to keep the curtains closed I could have gotten in interior room for 399.00 plus port charges. I also noticed the blanket on the bed in between the sheets, it was disgusting. Dirty and full of hair. That was changed immediately. (Not sure if this is true or not but was told that they have 24 cabins to keep up after, that's almost impossible to do.) We headed down to the embarkation lunch at the main dining room only to be told that it was full and to go to the Lido. We got to the Lido and it seemed very disorganized. No one seemed to know where the line began and ended. People cutting in line like the hadn't eaten in days. No place to sit. When you found a table that had been vacated it was another story trying to get the tables cleared. I chalked it up to the 1st day chaos. But after the 2nd day it was evident that they had cut the help in the Lido. Also rather annoying was the fact that people would just go there not to eat, but to grab the tables by the windows to play cards or just sit there. If you aren't eating be considerate enough to go to the lounges to sit.
Getting a drink was another issue. They were almost always out of drink glasses, all they had were small juice glasses and I might add you would have to look for the clean ones. Then maybe only 2 choices of drinks. When you would try to find someone to replace a drink that took forever. With all the concern about people getting sick, after the 1st day we never saw anyone with the sanitizer making people clean their hands. Seemed like we were the only ones doing it. But the most disgusting thing that I saw day after day was by the drink station. They had a large plastic tub with an ice scoop in there that people were to use to get ice for their drinks. After they handled it the scoop would fall back into the ice and water for the next person to dig out their ice...YUCK...I would NEVER use that ice, I always went to the machine.
The food in the Lido was subpar. The omelet station in the morning was good. But the only other food that I thought was good was the seafood salad and the drunken shrimp out by the pool. If you didn't grab a dessert before dinner and hide it in your fridge the choices were very limited by 7:00pm
Day 2 was Half Moon Cay and it was wonderful. We rented a cabana and glad we did as shortly after getting settled, the rain poured for just a few minutes. About 20 minutes later there was the most incredible rainbow I have ever seen. You could see where it began on the water. It was definitely a Kodak moment. The bbq that they had on the beach was nice. The jerk chicken was good, but again trying to get a drink from the machines that were empty was a pain. By the time they were filled up your food was cold
If you ever go to Grand Turk, get off and pass Margaritaville and go to the end of the beach to Jacks Shack. We are so glad that we did. Its only about a 5 minute walk, but the sand and the beach there was awesome. We rented an umbrella and chairs and literally had the place to ourselves. Plus the drinks were about 1/2 the price of Margaritaville.
We walked the ship hunting for some action and only thing we found was nothing to do. Even most of the bars were closed. Thanks heavens I stopped at Total Wine before boarding and grabbed 3 bottles of wine.
HAL is definitely set up to cater to the older 75+ crowd that is content to sit in the library reading a book or playing cards or just sitting looking out the window. So we decided to watch TV, again nothing on there either. You could watch reruns of Bonanza or watch the port excursions that you have already been to over and over. I didn't pay 350.00 a day to do nothing, I can do that at home for free. I'm not expecting a thrill a minute, but I do expect a little excitement. It seems like a lot of the crew, on top of their daily duties were parts of the entertainment as well. I wonder when they get some rest. I talked to several of them and they told me that they work 7 days a week 12-14 hours a day. No days off for months at a time. We did take 4 computer classes but the the room was so small and if you didn't get there 40 minutes before it was SRO. I spoke to several people while waiting in line and ALL of them said they were very disappointed in that sea day. So again, I chalked it up to it was a last minute thing and tomorrow (another sea day would be better) but boy was I wrong.
Those poor waiters are running themselves ragged. Seems like they have cut the staff there too. Sitting there for 2 to 2 1/2 hours for dinner is not fun to me. Couldn't get your tea refilled because they barely had time to blink. The night of the Captain dinner the "filet" was no more than 1/2 inch thick. Not a filet in my book. Just a hunk of mystery meat.
Because it took so long to eat we missed the show that night so again, nothing to do.
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