This was to be our first ever cruise, would it be our last? We arrived at port having spent a night at Marriott Hollywood beach hotel which was loveley.Our first sight of the Noordam can only be described as magnificent,the boarding procedure went smoothly and all passengers were instucted to make their way to the lido deck where lunch was being served.This was the one and only moment that our hearts sank,we were faced with what can only be described as chaotic food frenzy!There was no seating available to allow us to enjoy our lunch,after three circuits of the restaurant we gave up and made our way outside where we managed to find the bar and a couple of free barstools.Its amazing what a difference an hour makes-a couple of drinks later the madness had disappeared and we were able to get a snack.The ships PA announced that all cabins were ready and so we went with anticipation for our first view of our room. We were in an inside cabin on deck six which was more than adequate for our needs,the bed was very comfortable the bathroom was of a good size and enough storage space for clothes etc. The noordam is an elegant ship with lots of antiques and valuable articles dotted all over the various decks.There are a number of bars to choose from all have a different atmosphere,our favourite was The Crows nest (Raul and Reggie are the best barmen on board). There are three restaurants on board, The Lido which is the everyday informal place to eat,The Vista restaurant which is where most people eat in the evening and finaly The Pinacle which is the small select restaurant where diners pay a $20 fee for the priviledge of eating.The food throughout the whole cruise was exceptional as was the service we received.From our experience it would be advisable to loose a few pounds before sailing as its unbelievable how quickly the weight goes on!There are two pools on board and also a spa,none of which we had time to use.There are a couple of shops on board which were a little disappointing in their content although the jewelry shop had excellent choice and were very competative with their prices,they would also have daily promotions which were worth a look.
There was entertainment every night although passengers that had sailed with other companies were not complimentary of the standard provided. We only saw a comedian on one night who was very good and we also watched the Las Vegas review night which was just OK. There was also a cinema,card room and reading room to chill out in. Overall our experience of our HAL cruise was brilliant,we would not hesitate to go back again, its an experience for all ages although i would say that the majority of people on board were 50+ (we are 46 and 52).It is a company you sail with if you appreciate good food,quality surroundings and exceptional service.