Noordam Cruise Review by j4clark: Noordam Christmas 2010
Overall Member Rating
Noordam Christmas 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
This was our first ever cruise with any line - thought it would be a perfect option for a Christmas get away.
We were lucky to have a free upgrade from a SZ class (Superior Verandah) to a Deluxe - nice perc (in principal). Loved having access to Neptune and Pinnacle for Breakfast.
Let me start our by saying we did have a decent time - note that this isn't really a complaint, its meant to better educate other cruisers in making decisions.
There was a big gap between our expectations and the reality of what you get on this ship. We expected luxury and high end - quite honestly didn't get that. The staff and crew were exceptional - I would never imply they did a poor job (in fact we felt horrible when one of the staff admitted to hating having missed the last 10 xmas's at home to work).
My wife and I are both 33 - the majority of the cruisers were 50+ but there was a good mix of families and children. One of the staff mentioned they usually have 40 More kids - this cruise had 400. The surprise in all of this was that they really didn't seem to change their planned activities around that.
Dining in the Vista and Lido was basically like eating at a 2 star restaurant - if you were paying to eat there, it would be one of those places I wouldn't go back to. The meals seems to get better as the cruise continued but the majority was bland and uninspiring. The Pinnacle Grill was spectacular - this is probably what ruined it for us as we expected that level of food elsewhere which obviously isn't possible.
Our Deluxe room was very unimpressive - the bathroom was literally what I would see in an old Holiday Inn (cracked and missing grout/plastic counter tops and fittings). I am critical of this since I travel for work 4-5 times a month, I know in 2 seconds the quality of accommodations - this wasn't up to what I expected. The wrap around deck was wonderful to have. The TV was snowy - even when playing their own promo videos which are on constant loop. If we had paid the premium for that room - my opinion would be much harsher.
The entertainment wasn't for us - specifically the Vista nightly 8/10pm items. There were 3 nights where people were walking out in large numbers. Enjoyed the piano room - the classical quartet in the Hudson room and some of the events. Tried some of the paid daily items like the mixology class - it was an awkward demo between the bartender and the director - not worth $12.50 per. Our most entertainment came from daily Bingo (kinda sad when its one of the only items on the itinerary that you look forward to).
We missed 1 port due to weather - I understand it happens. The response seemed poor though - refund of port credits (14.78 /p) and a free glass of champagne at dinner (5.95) - its SOP apparently but still seems light to me. Had a good time at the other stops though - loved Half Moon Cay.
All in all it comes down to our expectations being too high for what was offered. The Hilton Marina where we stayed the night before embarkation was light years beyond the fit/finish of this 4 year old ship. Less
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Cabin review: SA7145 Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite
smokers are above you on aft pool - quite room - dated interior and bathroomRead All Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite (SA) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Dolphin swim was a lot of fun - enjoyed the opportunity to do it.
Dunn's River was unique - enjoyed the trek up the waterfall. Didn't like the aggressive vendors and their scams/sales styles - keep walking and say no thank you and they seem to respect that - stop and good luck to you.
Classy Cruise Experience!
HAL Land and Sea Alaska should...