Just back from our Noordam cruise, and we enjoyed nearly every bit of it. We have travelled on the Zuiderdam in Alaska, so we felt right at home on the Noordam. The cabin, crew and decor were all first class. Some of the ports and shore excursions were a little bit disappointing, but some of the problems were due to strikes in Greece and that was out of HAL's control.
Our cabin was near the stern on the port side and was above a galley area. Although I was concerned we may have noise or odour issues ( such as a lingering fried food smell) I was happy to find no such issues. Even being worried about the previous occupants being smokers was not an issue. Our cabin was fresh and pleasant smelling when we took it over.
Smoking on the Noordam did not seem to be much of a problem and I am a fervent anti smoker, terribly upset by smoke which gives me headaches and breathing problems. The worst place inside was having to pass by the casino en route to the Vista lounge, and I would have liked a flutter on the poker machines, but couldn't find one away from the smokers, so I left the casino after less than 2 minutes. Also we had a veranda cabin and regretfully I never seemed to catch more than 10 or 15 minutes out there before a nearby veranda was used for smoking. It was disappointing because they actually seemed to be the only veranda smokers in our vicinity, as far as I could tell.
As a member of cruise critic we were invited to several special functions by HAL and the Captain, they really went out of their way to make us feel especially welcome. We also enjoyed the special Aussie & NZ night get together the Captain hosted. All these events were well run and highly enjoyable, they certainly added a special shine to our Noordam experience.
The food was great in both the MDR and in the Lido buffet. We nearly always found a window table in the Lido, and we did eat quite a few evenings in the Lido instead of the MDR because it was a very port intensive cruise and many days we only wanted to tidy up to go to dinner,not shower and change for the MDR.
Overall, this cruise met and surpassed all our expectations and I can't wait to organise another one with Holland America, maybe Canada and New England next time.