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Noordam Cruise Review by Fawkes66: Noordam - Mediterranean Enchantment - 10 wonderful days!


Fawkes66
2 Reviews
Member Since 2011
35 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 5.0
Dining 5.0
Embarkation 5.0
Enrichment Activities 5.0
Entertainment 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 5.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Rates 5.0
Service 5.0
Shore Excursions 3.0
Value for Money 5.0

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Noordam - Mediterranean Enchantment - 10 wonderful days!

Sail Date: June 2011
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)

This was my second cruise with HAL and my first in the mediterranean, although we are frequent visitors of the region. I travelled with my husband, for him it was his first cruise ever. Arriving at the ship terminal by taxi (€ 140, 1,5 hrs ride from Rome center), our luggage was swiftly taken out of our hands. Embarkation went smoothly, we arrived between 11:00 and noon and there weren no lines at all. Within 10 minutes of arrival we were on the ship and in our stateroom! Amazing...even our suitcases arrived within the hour.

Stateroom 8044

Our Superior Verandah suite (category SS) was surprisingly big with plenty of closet space. We didn't use all of it. Everything was clean and it must be said, although we never actually saw our steward, whenever we entered our stateroom during the entire trip, towels were replaced and everything was clean. The bathroom had a double sink, one whirlpool and a separate shower. The shower is rather small.

One thing we found More odd: although we always locked our balcony door whenever we left our stateroom, we always found it was open after cleaning. I would have preferred to keep the balcony door locked at all times when we're not in our cabins. Our stateroom was right below the Lido pool. This meant we had some noise from children running above us and chairs being moved. It was not obtrusive and it certainly didn't wake us up or gave us trouble sleeping, but still, if you're spending a lot of time on the veranda or if you love a daytime nap it can be disturbing. Also, this stateroom is across from a little galley. We didn't find it disturbing, although some mornings you could hear some noise from it.

Food

We opted for main seating in the Vista dining room. Service was great, with special thanks to Danah and Sammy. Food was great too, with ample of choice. But with a seating at 8pm it might you're running late for the late shows (10pm). I do think, in future we'll opt for open seating. The Lido food was always good, either at breakfast or lunch. The Asian counter (lunch) had some trouble keeping up sometimes. People were often waiting in long lines till the noodles were ready, or the sauce and than only giving out small (really small) portions. The bread & butter pudding -served between 1pm and 3 pm - is a classic I quite enjoyed! We ate in the Pinnacle one night and unfortunately we were not impressed. Service was really slow and we didn't feel the quality outclassed the Vista Lounge.

Internet

The Noordam is a beautiful ship, resembling her sister Oosterdam, with one difference: the Exploration cafe is situated on third deck instead of in the Crow's Nest on deck 10. We purchased the Internet package of $55 (100 minutes). Although internet connection is really slow, sometimes infuriatingly so, the 110 minutes (we received 10 free minutes with the package) proved to be enough for checking email and the latest news. One day the internet connection really wouldn't come through at all, but the internet manager refunded us for the full 15 minutes we used. I forgot his name, but he was really helpful in setting up the wifi connection with laptops and iPhones.

Service

Of all the wonderful people working on board, Denny especially made an impression on me. He served in the Lido restaurant and was always ready with a smile and a joke, making you feel special. The lines waiting for coffee can be long, especially during breakfast and with one machine constantly being out of service. So it was quite an improvement during this cruise, that coffee, tea and lemonade and jus d'orange was also served at the table in the Lido. I loved the fact that you were welcomed back on board after each shore excursion with fresh lemonade and cold towels. We had our laundry done 1 time (full bag $20) and it came back the next day, within 24 hours, pressed and clean. No problems there.

Overall

Since this is only my second cruise, and again with HAL, I can't compare to other cruiselines. Like the Oosterdam last year, the Noordam didn't dissappoint. My husband enjoyed his first as much as I enjoyed the recognition. I know we certainly will return to HAL! We didn't book any shore excursions (except for Tunis). This was mostly because we were familiar with the countries and the towns we visited. It was a complete trip, with us revisiting a lot of places we already visited by car one time or the other. Just in a more relaxing pace. If you want to see as much as is possible around the western MED in 10 days, I certainly would recommend this cruise. Less


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Cabin review: Noordam Superior Verandah Suite Navigation 8044

Stateroom 8044 Our Superior Verandah suite (category SS) was surprisingly big with plenty of closet space. We didn't use all of it. Our stateroom was right below the Lido pool. This meant we had some noise from children running above us and chairs being moved. It was not obtrusive and it certainly didn't wake us up or gave us trouble sleeping, but still, if you're spending a lot of time on the veranda or if you love a daytime nap it can be disturbing. It's also across from a galley. It didn't cause much disturbance, but the couple of times I noticed it, it was early morning.

Port and Shore Excursions


The Noordam stayed overnight in Barcelona, which meant almost two days in port. HAL asks $ 5 each way per person for a shuttle from the ship to the Statue of Columbo. Itís the starting point of the Ramblas in Barcelona.

Walk the Ramblas all the way to Plaza Catalunya or make good use of your time by navigating the city by Metro. A ticket for one day will cost you Ä 6,90.


The ship docked a short walk from the center of Monte Carlo. In port you can hire a golf cart, or take a little tram that takes you around town. We opted for walking up to the palace and the old part of town. Itís not a long walk (about 15 minutes), but itís steep. On a hot day it can be quiet strenous. The view from the old town is amazing! The town was preparing for the Royal wedding of Prince Albert and his Charlene when we visited. This meant construction workers everywhere putting up scaffoldings. But overall itís lovely, quiet with beautiful view on the harbour. Try taking a swim in the pool on the Lidodeck and leave the pool facing Monte Carlo. There's scenery for you!

Read 192 Monaco Reviews

Palma de Mallorca is perfect for a day relaxing on the beach. We took a taxi in port (4 people). The driver took us to the nearest beach, Playa de Palmanova - Es Carregador for only Ä16. Two beds and a parasol cost Ä5. Most important for some of the guests: Free wi-fi at the beach! perfect for catching up on your email. If you can stay out of the beautiful water, that is!


Our hotel in the center of Rome (Residenza Cellini) arranged a taxi shuttle to the cruise terminal in Civitavecchia, which is a 1,5 hours drive from the center of Rome (Ä 140). The limo drove us directly in front of the ship. While this is a comfortable way to travel, especially if you've got a lot of luggage, it's not cheap.

A one way ticket with the train Civitavecchia - Rome Termini is Ä 4,50 per person, so if you're on a tight budget, or are in town for just one day, this is another option. We used this on our way back into Rome and it went smoothly, even with the luggage. The train station is a 10 minute walk from the Main port entrance and it will bring you to Rome Termini.

While in port, HAL provides a free shuttle bus from the ship to the Main port entrance. There's also a fast train to San Pietro for only Ä 15 roundtrip, if you're only in port for 1 day. Rome has a perfect Metro system, easy to navigate to the main sites of Rome. The ticket terminals are easy to handle and do provide English instructions if needed.

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