First I must state that this is my very first review and that no one cruise line is going to please every passenger all the time. I have been on 10 cruises with 6 different cruise lines. I am a very young minded 50 year old, and have been cruising since I was 30 something. First 2 cruises , I traveled with kids, the last 8 cruises, happily without. My opinions have changed through the years, due to life style changes, however, Holland America and Celebrity have got my vote for now. My idea of cruising is to rest, relax, and still be able to let it all GO, if you want to. Some describe Holland America(HAL), as being more suited for seniors, don't let this influence your perception of HAL. I was able to do all the things I wanted to do on this ship, that I would want to do on the others. On choosing a specific cruise, I first look at ports to visit, # of sea days,cruise line, ship. I would research a certain ship with the help of reviews by cruise critic and reader reviews. All ships will have many happy cruisers, but it seems that there are those who cannot be pleased at all.
Its the few negative views that I will look at, and surprisingly, there is a common thread among them.If this doesn't affect my style of cruising, I would book this ship. Food on HAL all I can say is that it was EXCEPTIONAL!!!!!!I am not a picky eater, but compared to my past cruises, HAL and Celebrity are the best. Food served at main dining... The Prime Rib literally melted in your mouth, very tender. This was there best beef entree. the sirloin and beef loin both very tasty. Seafood also very good , I had scallops, lobster,(served 1 night and was perfect) tuna, mahi mahi,orange roughy. Soups all had very distinctive tastes, not watered down at all, very flavorful. Desserts were very well done, try the chocolate dishes...its real Dutch chocolate. Food served on Lido deck(buffet style) was very good even for buffet style food. If you want a really good hamburger, try the Lido grill(next to pool) some passengers complaining of how slow they were prepared..chef was very cautious that center of burgers were done, after all these burgers had been frozen solid. I would prefer the wait. Also try the OJ in the morning, its real freshly squeezed..you can watch them make it in their machine behind the area that its made.
Service-this was an all Indonesian crew, I never was greeted by so many friendly faces. Everyone from the stateroom attendants (on every floor)to the maintenance workers, all greeted you with a smile and a kind HELLO or GOOD MORNING.
The Captain-Finally I must give accolades to the ms NOORDAM captain Hans Mateboer. First, due to a general strike in Martinique, we were not able to stop, this happened while in route. He was able to get us into Dominica, which although I have already been there and some passengers doing a back to back cruise had seen this port earlier, we were able to get something at short notice, others may not have been so lucky. Second, after leaving St.Thomas heading back, he made a decision to take a different route to Half Moon Cay to avoid rough water caused by weather conditions coming out of Texas. He was able to avoid 14' to 20' sea swells. This decision caused our day 9 sea day to be most enjoyable. Some or the other officers I talked with said that they had talked with the other Princess ship that left St Thomas the same day, and did not alter course. They did not have as pleasant sea day due to rougher water.