840 Holland America Line Noordam Cruise Reviews

I had planned this cruise for many months and love the Holland America line. This was my second cruise (first was Niew Amsterdam Caribbean cruise) with this line, and I highly recommend. Their service and excellent cuisine is very good. ... Read More
I had planned this cruise for many months and love the Holland America line. This was my second cruise (first was Niew Amsterdam Caribbean cruise) with this line, and I highly recommend. Their service and excellent cuisine is very good. There were several special GOURMET barbeques on deck where the chefs created Mediterranean cuisine on the grill--it was exceptional! There are daily digital workshops given twice a day, tea service, etc--all at no additional cost. They had a "Dancing with the Stars" competition which was different. Daily movies, behind the scenes tours never left you with a lack of activities. I felt their tours, which I took 3, were well run and worth the price. I did go with a group on a private taxi in Monte Carlo which worked out great, if you meet some others on the cruise who want to go together for the day in a port. My room stewards were always cheerful and very helpful with any requests. There was always fresh fruit and ice each day, which they asked when I arrived if I would like. The wait staff in the dining and other food venues were always quick and efficient. There was a food 'scare' when we first came onto the ship and the other passengers who'd been on the ship (it was a 30 day start to finish cruise)all had to leave while the crew thoroughly cleaned the ship. I don't know how they were able to do it so quickly, but they did. The crew continued to clean into the night. Their health and safety standards are excellent. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
The boarding of the ship in Istanbul went smoothly no long lines. Our cabin was ready as soon as we boarded we met our friendly cabin stewards and then headed to the Lido for lunch. On returning to our cabin after lunch to our surprise our ... Read More
The boarding of the ship in Istanbul went smoothly no long lines. Our cabin was ready as soon as we boarded we met our friendly cabin stewards and then headed to the Lido for lunch. On returning to our cabin after lunch to our surprise our luggage was already there so we unpacked an settled into ship board life. Our cabin was what we expected clean and comfortable. We had booked a VE gty and had an upgrade to VA (when we booked 9 months before we could not book any verandah category only gty on all levels) our cabin was on deck 8 towards the aft under the Sea View Deck. It was under the designated smoking area. This created a lot of chairs noise on our ceiling it was even louder if you were sitting out on the balcony. The noise could be from 5:30 am to anywhere after midnight. After not being able to get to sleep the first night my husband went down to find out what could be done as he could not put up with the situation for 32 more nights. The front office staff were excellent advised us that the cruise was fully booked but they will contact Seattle to see what could be done. 24hours later were advised we could have a cabin change at the end of the first. 11 day sector in Athens. The cabin was on the other side of the ship about 6 cabins further forward. We took the change of cabins it was still under Sea View Pool deck but it was much quieter we could sit out on the balcony without any noise as well. We were on a full day tour the day of change over we left our bags packed and clothes hanging in the wardrobe when we arrived back everything was moved across for us. We had breakfastat at the Lido, Main Dining room and Room Service. The Lido was good we loved the fresh orange juice. Our dining room experience was just ok we went a few times just to make sure we were not being biased. The service was not great my husband asked 4 times for a cup of tea. The orange juice was not fresh just a mix. Room service seemed a bit hit and miss a couple of things we ordered did not arrive one time, then another time it arrived at least 1/2 hour earlier than the requested time frame. Lunches were had in the Lido and a few burgers from the grill at all times found the food very good and the deserts just far to tempting. The selections of ice cream each day was wonderful. We had early assigned dinner had a great table for 6 looking out the aft window. The meals on the first 11days were just wonderful every night all at our table would say how good everything was. Unfortunately there was a notable difference in the quality, taste and tenderness in the meals for the rest of the cruise. This was a great disappointment to us. Some of the menus were repeated which we expected and were very happy about. I know food can be very subjective but I am comparing food choices from same menus over the 33 days. The entertainment was enjoyable the musical shows by the ship entertainers was excellent we particularly liked Droom. The guest entertainers were varied and tried to meet most people's needs. Some we thought we great some just ok but the ones we did not enjoy was probably due more to our own likes and dislikes than the quality of the performers. The captain and crew had to deal with a GI Virus for 15 of the 33 days we were aboard. The crew worked tirelessly sanitising everywhere for the cabin and cleaning crews it must have been exhausting. I can not praise everyone of the ships crew for the work they did during that time to try and get the Virus under control. Fortunately we did not get the bug. We took a 33 day Thermal Suite package but because of the GI Virus we could not use it for 15 days we were reimbursed pro rata days of non use. We really loved the Thermal Suite it was so relaxing after a long day in port. We had 2 port changes because of unrest. Port Said and Tunis we were pleased that HAL was thinking of passenger safety. We enjoyed every port we went to although we were shocked at how dirty and rubbish bound Egypt was. We did one ship tour in Egypt not brave enough to to a private tour. The tour we did was good. At all other ports did private tours with other CC members, shared taxis or used hop on hop off buses as well as using Rick Steve's Ports of call Mediterranean book. What we noticed was that the private tours were at least 1/2 the price of ships tours. We had a wonderful wonderful cruise and the small things that annoyed us will not stop us from cruising with Holland again What we will do different next booking is not take a cabin Gty we will only make a booking if we can pick a particular cabin. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
It may be un fortunate that this review is on a HAL cruise immediately after we completed one with Azamara - the comparison was not positive for Holland America and our Noordam cruise. Having cruised Panama Canal and South America in ... Read More
It may be un fortunate that this review is on a HAL cruise immediately after we completed one with Azamara - the comparison was not positive for Holland America and our Noordam cruise. Having cruised Panama Canal and South America in Veendam last year we knew basically what to expect with Holland America. Azamara Club Cruises was a new experience. The score? Azamara Journey Spice Route 10, Noordam Ancient Mysteries 6.There is no doubt that those who cruise to enjoy the cruise experience and the cultural aspects of places visited are better suited to a smaller ship rather than the glitz and glamour, all you can eat, on-board entertainment activities of the larger ones. Noordam is larger, it had the spit and polish, bigger showroom, larger casino, more bingo sessions but never the phrase "bigger is not necessarily better' been more apt.The positives? Embarkation at Athens was seamless and painless. Our dining and beverage stewards were wonderful. Excursions were well organised and the ship's overall appearance was as you'd expect. Some negatives: The hard sell. The first thing we were handed as we boarded the Noordam was a flyer on the spa and it's "special" offers along with some raffle tickets, not only for the spa but also the ship's shop (of course you had to attend at particular times to see if you won and when you didn't you were expected to buy something. Then there were the endless announcements and brochures, pamphlets etc about wine tasting (at a price), cocktail mixing (at a price), the art auctions, the cruise photos and DVDs, the tacky souvenir and other "cheapies" at special times in the shop and at others on the pool deck. Even the short but interesting look through the ship's kitchen ended at the specialty restaurant where you were urged to make a booking. It never stopped and became annoying.The Lido buffet: Long lines, constantly running out of food and other items (after lining up to self serve coffee or tea only to find out there were no mugs, the machine had broken down (again) and there was no milk anyhow and no one was around to care or do something about it). We eventually gave up the Lido and ate breakfast in the dining room.Food quality in the Lido not up to what we had experienced on our other cruises. In the main dining room the standard initially was good but seemed to drop in quality as the cruise progressed.Themed shows were good and the guest entertainers, apart from one - a so called comedian who was heckled from the floor before most of the audience left - were good but the cruise director was wooden and lacked personality.Clearly the bottom line is everything and HAL must be hurting . The ship seemed to be understaffed, there were shortages, there were noticeable short cuts and there was the "hard sell". The poor staff whose work loads were heavy were also under pressure and in fear of losing their jobs. It became embarrassing for them to virtually beg to be given a 9 rating and then for the cruise director in his disembarkation talk spend five minutes appealing for survey returns and the importance of 9s.And to top it all off, the morning of disembarkation when we got our on board account there was a note that as we had not specified how we would pay our account our disembarkation would be delayed until this was rectified. Thinking this strange as the account had my masked out credit card number at the top and knowing that we had signed the appropriate forms I went to the front office to "sort it out". After waiting in line for 20 minutes I was told "No sir- everything on your account is OK. That appears on all accounts!!!!" Knowing for a fact it didn't as we had a friend whose account had nothing of the sort my comment to the desk person was "That's another reason why we are very unlikely to ever travel Holland America again". That still stands. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
For the last 7 years or so the trend has been for the cruise lines to position their ships around the world, and visiting more international ports than ever before. Which can only be great for the traveler. Part of that trend, especially ... Read More
For the last 7 years or so the trend has been for the cruise lines to position their ships around the world, and visiting more international ports than ever before. Which can only be great for the traveler. Part of that trend, especially in the last 2 or 3 years is to also create multiple itineraries as part of one big trip! I think Holland America is leading the way.THE ITINERARYThe embarkation was painless.I embarked on an 11-day "Ancient Mysteries" cruise on May 17th, 2013 out of Istanbul. That day there were also people who were beginning a 22 days or 33 days cruise! You could have booked each 11 day segment by itself. The itinerary took us from Istanbul, along the Dardanelles pasageway, to Mykonos, to Kusadasi, Turkey, to Rhodes, an overnight in Alexandria, Egypt, then to Iraklion, Crete and finally to Athens. After I booked this segment I wondered why I didnt book the 22 days as this would have pretty much covered for me all the places Ive ever needed to visit. Now I need to go back and spent more money for just a few more ports. I do not know people's tolerance to be at sea for 33 days, but that itinerary would have covered all the ports for you might otherwise need 4 mediterrenean cruises. The overnight in Alexandria, Egypt was in lieu of a stop at Port Said that was cancelled by the cruise line for safety reasons.There were really 3 days at sea, going and coming out of Egypt, and the cruising thru the Dardanelles. Another thing I noticed was that on this particular trip I never saw the ship go faster than 14 knots. So it was very leisurely!THE SHIPWhile we are in the era of the Mega Ship, not all of these ancent cities old ports can handle big ships. So most ships traveling the mediterrenean will be mid size ships (approx 2,000 passenger), usually built in the early 2000s. So be careful with your expectations.The Noordam is an elegant, quaint ship. Very European feel to it. Some of its rooms, like the Piano Bar and the Northern Lights (dancing club) are tucked away from the walking halls so you do not have to run into them if you dont want to. And while the Explorations Cafe is a little more open to the hallway, it is probably the most elegant room on the ship. It is the library/computer room with a coffee bar that we would like to have at home. It is only rivaled by the Crow's Nest on the aft portion of deck number 10. At the same time, some of the luxury restaurants do not have am exclusive area, but they are tucked away enough to make the privacy happen.For the working man the staterooms are average; the inside, the oceanview and balcony (veranda). Actually some of the inside rooms are larger than the other two mentioned. I was surprised to have a bathtub in my Veranda room, not that I was planning to take a bath, but for the first time I did not have to deal with water sipping out of my shower and onto the floor.The ship seemed to have plenty of lounging chairs at the main and aft pools and observation areas. The main pool might seem out of chairs at time, but that is just people leaving their towels after they leave the premises. I completely hated the idea of having to cross thru the SPA to go the Fitness Room . And the HydroPool cost makes it a non-issue. I would have paid 10 dollars to go in once, but not $149 for the 11 days. In this itinerary we never had to tender! What a plus of the mid-size ship! The Atrium, and therefore Front Office area was not as big as I have seen in other ships, but really, aside from that intial impression, how much time do you really spend in the area?FOODThe food and service in the dinning room was good. Nothing to complain about, nothing to write home about. Just what it should be. But definitely not a 9 rating. The food quality at the self serve Lido Restaurant was just like in any other ship; big ticket items like steaks, fish, chicken were good, while things like pancakes, omelets, pizza could be hit or miss. If anything I was surprised, and perturbed to find they would not have an item, say mashed potatoes, Corn Flakes or OJ, on one side, but yet you could walk around to the other side and find it. And their after hours snacks were the same and not that great. My friends did eat at Le Cirque at the Pinnacle Grill and thought it was excellent! The Cannaletto" restaurant was pretty much a made up section of the Lido and you could see the food being prepared and delivered, but other than that I have no idea of wheter it deserve paying the premium fee.Room service seemed to be a disappointmnet as I spoke with a few people who ordered food and never got it on time. I also left my room after waiting over 20 mins past the high range delivery time (50 minutes in total).THE STAFFIt seemed that the cruise staff was just 4 people; the cruise director and three others who were pretty busy taking care of other things on the ship (games, location expert, etc). They are really busy and you never see them out where you can 'mingle' with them. I could have easily stayed 33 days onboard with the cruise staff in my previous cruise.The Ships staff employed a policy where in the first 48 hours they would handle everything a passenger could touch in order to avoid any outbreaks once we were at sea. Two to three days before we stopped in Athens, it seemed an outbreak of GIS was prevalent, and the crew took immediate action to prevent the spreading of it. ** Editorial note** If you are reading this and are getting ready to go on a cruise, you are most likely to be the cause. Wash your hands everytime you leave your room, and use the sanitizing lotions available all over the ship, at all times. Sneeze onto the inside of your elbow, dont put your hands inside the covers of the food to show or touch what is it that you want, dont touch tongs all over and then lay then on top of the food you were picking up, touch elevator buttons with other than the tip of your fingers (fist, knuckles, elbows). Walking around the Lido Restaurant geting my food I saw behavior everyday that has no other repercussions but outbreaks of these diseases on enclosed quarters.Having said that, the Lido servers were excellent; better than at the main dining rooms. The room stewards, at least the ones I had, the best of any cruise line.THE ENTERTAINMENT While I have never sailed with Holland before, it seems that they are making some changes to the shows created by the line. On this Ship we were treated to the shows Classique, Aces High and Droom. And in ascendent order that is how I like them! DROOM was probably the best PRODUCTION I have seen on board any ship! The customes and stage arrangements are amazing! ON Aces High an interactive projection is happening for the audience to see as the entertainers do their thing on stage.Their partnering with Dancing with the Stars to run the Dancing with the Stars at Sea competition, might proof succesful! It involves the passengers by having available three dance lessons during the cruise days, and at the end it gives the audience something else other than another show. I was one of the particpants, and it gave me something to look forward (although very nervously) and it is one of the biggest memories I took with me. I am sure that then people that participated along with me feel the same.Yet, some of the entertaining was below average. A guitarist especialist was boring, maybe better suited for a smaller stage, the local Greek group that came to dance was good, but for how long can you do a local dance for, an entire hour? The magician was good, but, there is one in every cruise. He was actually better in the small setting teaching people magic tricks. And finally impersonators, especially those that can bring music and "nostalgia" to a stage will always catch people's attention.OTHERThe TV in the rooms had the best channels I have ever seen; CNN and ESPN! Woo hoo! Last year it took me three days to figure who had won a NBA finals game. And there were up todate movies. The abiltiy to rent CDs to watch in your room was awesome!THE PORTSISTANBUL -- Ok, it might seem remote, but it is as cosmopolitan as any city in the world! What a great city! And easy to "navigate"! And yes it is a Muslim city; lets respect each others differences and embrace our similarities! Most likely the majority of the restaurant servers and stateroom stewards are from Muslim countries, and yet, theyre the ones to give you a big smile everyday and treat you with respect! And in these countries where the economic system has not progressed as much as in other developed countries, someone will try to make a buck off of you; know that and deal with it from a business transaction point of view, not with a personal air of disdain for someone who has less. The Taxi might run you 50 Euros to the port from the airport.There is a train or tram just outside the port and for less than 4 Euros you can ride it into town ( a few stops away). After that you can walk to the main attractions. There is a HOP ON HOP OFF (HOHO) for approximately $25 worthly dollars. GO check out Istanbul! MYKONOS -- The ship provided a van from the port to town for $5.00. From there you can walk to town. You can do it from the ship, but there are no sidewalks on these very narrow, cliffy roads. We chose to rent an ATV for 15 Euros, and explored 3/4 of the Island. We were lucky to sail out late so that gave us the chance to return our ATV by four and walk around the town after it was not longer crowded. The town is maybe a tat bigger than Catalina Island, but get walking between any alleyway you can find to see its treasures!KUSSADASI -- Beautiful modern port, no offense to neighboring Izmir, and much closer to Ephesus and the Virgin Mary's last home. We found a taxi van outside the port which took us to both places for 12 Euros each. These taxi drivers have been doing this for years, so while obviously they will ask you for a higher price initially, they know their bread and butter lives with their responsibility. I have done this trip twice, the first time with the cruise tour and paid $89.00. So it is your choice. Still with either one, we had to stop by a carpet and leather factory, watch their demos and deal with the sales pitch. These are turks, the older sellers in history!RHODES -- No need to get a tour if you dont want to; Outside the port there is a HOHO that after 1230pm charges you 9 Euros instead of 12. The main gate to town is less than a mile from the ship, so you can walk around town all day long.ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT -- You would not know there is unrest in this country from stepping out of the ship onto this port. The Pyramids are 3 hours away, in a rather chaotic "highway". This is Egypt, it is, what it is. It is hot and sadly chaotic and dirty. The temperature reached 100 degrees in Cairo on May 24th, so be prepared. This temperature is way different from the one in port. The tours companies that you find in a place like Trip Advisor are reputable! They want your money, but also their reputation. Still they are way cheaper than the cruise tours. We used EMO Tours. Their guides are great at dealing with the pestering sellers. Dont commit to any transaction without their help. We heard of people being charge $10 USD for just a picture next to a Camel (which a nice Egyptian local will smiling bring to you, but wont let you go until you pay him), and up to $40 for a ride. With our guide's help we got a camel ride along the Pyramids, plenty of pictures and all for $10.00. We also went to a local Cairo Restaurant, and the food was EXCELLENT (and cheap)! We tend to think that it would be otherwise in these underdeveloped cities, but we dont think that these are people too with desire for good food. The best meals that I have had in the last two years have been in Turkey and this one in Egypt. I also talked to a few people that were brave enough to do the overnight, and they were very sattisfied.IRAKLION, CRETE -- Like in Rhodes the city center is within walking distance. The HOHO is right before you exit the port and is 20 Euros for the full day and 15 for half a day (till 1230pm). You can get off at the Knossos Palace (6 Euros), but acquaint yourself with its history first.ATHENS -- The HOHO is right at the exit of the port. Is about 17 Euros, and it will take you to all the places you need to see in Athens. You might want to wait until the afternoon to go up to the Acropolis, that way you let everyone on a cruiseship tour do their thing first. It gets crowded up there.The Marriot, Hitlon and Crowne Plaza are very good choice hotels. A taxi from the port to the Airport will run you close to 50 Euros with tip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We have cruised about ten times with various cruise lines before and have always considered HAL, along with Princess, among the better cruise lines for us (we are not exactly the younger generation). We last cruised with Princess in 2011 ... Read More
We have cruised about ten times with various cruise lines before and have always considered HAL, along with Princess, among the better cruise lines for us (we are not exactly the younger generation). We last cruised with Princess in 2011 in Asia. This is our third cruise with HAL on their 11-day Ancient Mystery starting off from Athens. We were very much disappointed. Noordam is a smaller ship and we are fine with that. However, there are smaller ship should not equate to smaller expectations. Room Service: We usually get room service for breakfast because it would be easier for our elderly mother. The delivery is usually on time. However, it was very rarely (in fact, never) that they got our simple order right. As we had three people in our state room, we would clearly mark our order for three and placed orders for at least two pots of coffee and one other hot beverage. They would however, never gave us three cups or three sets of cutlery. The orders were also never properly filled out. Despite of repeated request to the room service delivery staff, we finally gave up. We ended up ordering the hot food and drinks via room service and went up to Lido deck ourselves for items and cutlery/cup that was missing from our order. It worked out pretty good. Entertainment: In their desperate attempt to get good rating on their evaluation form, the Cruise Director reminded us at the beginning of our cruise that they could not please everyone and we should only judge entertainment on their effort. There is little doubt that the efforts made by the entertainers are good, but the type of entertainment effort provided by HAL was only fair. There were three big performances, including the DROOM show towards the end of the cruise which was excellent and full credit to the performing staff. Entertainment on other nights, however, consisted of solo guitarist, local Greek dancing group, and solo comedian/magician. These shows lasted usually for 30 minutes or less and most are more appropriate for smaller stage (eg bar or lounge setting) and not as the main attraction. Smaller ships should not equate to lesser entertainment shows. Organization: We took a private tour from Port Said with over-night stay in Cairo (try not to take shore excursions from any cruise lines because they are usually really expensive compared to the real world). We contacted HAL before sailing, informing them of our itinerary and received a confirmation letter stating that they ‘approved’ our overnight trip and would pass the information onto the ship personnel. When we came back on board at Alexandria, our cruise ship ID cards lit up at the check-in counter. We waited for the cruise line official to come out and gave us a stern talk about not letting them know that we were not returning to the ship at Port Said and that they had to wait for us. She finally let us back onboard. We promptly dropped off the official letter from HAL at the front desk noting that the breakdown in communication was within HAL, but we never heard from the front desk acknowledging their error or apologizing for their previous accusations. Shopping: They claimed price match/guarantee for jewellery. We bought a relatively inexpensive Swarovski Crystal bracelet on board but found exactly the same one in Mykonos for a lesser price. We bought the one in Mykonos with a receipt and pictures of the store and display. The two bracelets were exactly the same with the same colour combination and marking on the claps etc. Even the assistant manager confirmed that it was sterling silver and same make. However, the manager of the store said that we had to produce the lot and code number in order to meet the requirement of their price guarantee claim. I doubt any retailer can or will provide customers with the lot and code number for their products. And it would be impossible to see any diamond with the same cutting and carat weight in the same token. One can expect price to be a little more expensive on the cruise ship, however, if I think if they want to make a ‘price guarantee’ claim to draw in customers, they should make a honest and reasonable effort to honor their claim. So, buyers beware. We would also like to commend on a male Pilipino staff at the gift shop was very helpful. Boarding and Departure process: The boarding process was efficient and quick. The disembarking however was complete chaos. People were lining up on the stairs to disembark all the way up to the Lower Promenade level (exit three levels down) even though we abide to their exit color coded system. Words of advice: take the elevator no matter how long the wait- you can still get down to the lower exit level faster than lining up. Getting out of the Istanbul terminal to catch a private car was also difficult because of the limited space. Make sure you have previous discussion as to the pick-up point and arrive ahead of time (which could be difficult because of the line up). Food: Food in the dining room was acceptable yet unremarkable. Service provided by the staff, on the other hand, was good as expected. Dining room and Lido deck staff were also very good, attentive and friendly (except for one server on Lido deck who we avoided) and should be commended for their hard work. On Lido deck, most of their hot water dispensing machines were either not working or with the dispensing buttons badly worn out. It is always a guessing game as to where to get your hot water. The BBQ they provided at Mykonos was excellent and a nice break from the routine Others: When compared to our most recent Princess cruise in 2011, HAL came across as ‘cheap’. Simple example, on Princess, we got off the cruise just before our birthdays (three birthdays within 10 days of one other). However, on seeing our birthdays being so close to our time on the cruise, Princess made sure we had our birthday cakes etc on the last day of the cruise and decorated the outside of our room with balloons, very simple touch to make our cruise more memorable . This time we spent our birthdays on board HAL and HAL were aware of it. When there were no balloons, I approached the front desk and was told that if I wanted balloons, it would be $1.50 each. Wonder how much it will cost HAL for little balloons. By the way, all other cruisers liked the balloons on our door because they served as landmark to help identify the corridor, directions and cabins. Port-of-Calls: We got lucky and were able to tour all the cities without experiencing any riots and demonstrations; with Cairo and the pyramids being the highlight of the cruise. For the pyramids, don’t pay to go inside the Great pyramid. Instead, go to the smaller one (‘Third’ Pyramid) by the Sphinx. It is just as interesting. Make sure you have someone who can speak Egyptian to negotiate for you for the camel rides and pictures at the pyramid. We heard one lady passenger on our cruise line who just wanted to get on a camel for pictures but got taken out to the middle of the dessert without her permission and her husband had to hop on a second camel on hot pursuit. It was for good intent as the handler wanted her to have a nice view but without knowing what was happening (and you can’t jump off the camel), it was not a pleasant experience. For Istanbul, while one has to visit the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul because it is a tourist attraction, spent your time at the Spice Bazaar instead. We wanted to go back to the Grand Bazaar a second time for more shopping, but our guide recommended us going to the Spice Bazaar instead because it is cheaper, cleaner and sell roughly the same thing. He was right. Go to the Grand Bazaar for the experience but save your shopping at the Spice Bazaar. One thing you have to watch out for. The nice Turkish Delights samples we got at the stores were not the same as those packaged in boxes. They are made with sugar instead of honey (despite what the store owners may tell you) and there is hardly any nuts in them (as on the picture on the box). Also if you want the standard ‘cheap’ Turkish Delights, buy those offered at the cruise port in Kusadasi. The exact ones were sold at fraction of the cost as in Istanbul. Overall, the itinerary was excellent and port-of-calls provided great touring experience. The Noordam, in our opinion, failed to live up to HAL’s ‘Signature of Excellence’ claim.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My husband and I chose this particular cruise for the itinerary. Although we had visited some ports on other voyages, there were a few we wished to see. The ship is imposing and grand looking from its dock and I cannot fault the food; it ... Read More
My husband and I chose this particular cruise for the itinerary. Although we had visited some ports on other voyages, there were a few we wished to see. The ship is imposing and grand looking from its dock and I cannot fault the food; it was very good. From there it goes downhill fast. As we unpacked in our cabin, we opened our bedside tables to find 30+ candies and receipts from the previous traveler. The cabin looked shabby and not well kept; needs either some new upholstery or cleaning. The veranda deck looked as though it had never been cleaned. The public rooms were virtually empty either because most were ill (more about that later) or bcause the rooms are far from inviting. Instead being cold and austere. The dining room wait staff was poorly trained and either had not served aboard a ship or were new and not very knowledgeable. Cleanliness is a big minus on this ship. At breakfast one morning alone we had to have three water glasses and two coffee cups removed because they were dirty. It seems if you are short tableware including glasses or cups they are removed from a vacant table and placed in front of you. This is very unsanitary as one has no way of knowing who has touched this prior to your use. The Lido was an awful place to TRY and eat a meal. On some mornings with an early excursion we were forced to eat there. Without trays, trying to balance juice and coffee for two and then to get an entree. Well, before you even sat down everything was cold. We ate in LeCirque one evening. Small choices on the menu and not worth the price as the food in the dining room surpassed our dinner. The Noordam was a "sick ship". Although we had no knowledge of this, the ship had begun its journey in Egypt and traveled to other ports before our departure from Athens. Who knew that some awful Norwalk virus had made its way on this ship. Every day we were told by the captain that some more cases were reported and yes my husband was one of those. He thankfully recovered after 24 hours and was out of quarentine although others were not so lucky. At every restaurant and many public rooms a crew mamber would stand with his hand sanitizer bottle at the ready. Each passenger was given a bottle to use. When we reached Rome we were told to disembark whether we wanted to or not as a crew was boarding to try and sanitize the ship. None of these measures actually worked as more and more became ill. Some failed to report their sickness as we learned at breakfast one morning. A gentleman informed us he had had the Norwalk but treated himself with Immodium. This cruise probably should have limped into a port and been cancelled. By the end of the trip many were coughing and sneezing and went on their way with a virus. The cabin stewards were the friendliest and seemed to be the most efficient. The officers and other crew members seemed very cold, aloof especially those at the main desk. The shows were amateurish at best. The art auction was fun and the young ladies who assisted the auctioneer, Tanya and Michelle were outstanding in their friendliness. This ship, in my opinion lacks attention to detail that others of our experience have displayed. It also seems to operate on the premise that all is done for its convenience and not that of the passenger. Now, granted most lines may operate that way; economically sound. But, none in my experience has shown such a blatant disregard for the passengers well being. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We received a brochure in the mail from Holland America offering us a 50% discount on a truly amazing 26 day itinerary cruising the Mediterranean. This was a dream itinerary including a large number of ports that were on our "bucket ... Read More
We received a brochure in the mail from Holland America offering us a 50% discount on a truly amazing 26 day itinerary cruising the Mediterranean. This was a dream itinerary including a large number of ports that were on our "bucket list". It was an offer we couldn't refuse! We booked through our local AAA travel agency. We arranged everything through Holland America, including the airfare and the pre-cruise hotel package in Rome. This was our first experience booking a "big cruise" so we thought we'd be safer to cover all of our bases including transfers to and from the airport/hotel/ship. Now, after having had the experience and talking with more experienced cruisers, we realize that we would have saved a LOT of money and had a much easier time making air changes if we had booked these things ourselves and not through HAL. When you book airfare through a cruiseline, it totally eliminates the possibility of upgrading your ticket from coach to first class because HAL uses a group booking code for your ticket and the airlines won't even put you on a list to PAY for a first class upgrade without cancelling your whole ticket and starting from scratch which is VERY expensive! So this is the only thing we would do differently the next time. The cruise itself was truly amazing! Our cabin, 6073, was one of their "signature suites" (one of the smaller suites) but it was in a great location and offered more than enough room for the 2 of us for an almost month long cruise. The bathroom had a double vanity, a full sized bathtub with jacuzzi style jet AND a separate shower stall. The queen sized bed was a little too firm for our liking, but was nice all the same. The cabin staff couldn't have been better. They attended to our every need at least twice a day and were on call anytime we needed them. There were a lot of "public spaces" on board the Noordam. They all felt cozy and personal. There was never a time that we felt crowded even though it was a sold out cruise. There were numerous dining choices. We had "as you like" dining where we made our own reservations every night to go along with our schedule each day. We did find a particular table with a particular waiter that we really loved and we were able to make a "standing reservation" for that table at a time that we preferred. Over the course of 26 days, there were only 1 or 2 entrees that were repeated which we found truly amazing. The specialty restaurants were out of this world. Canaletto, the Italian restaurant was truly good and very intimate. The Pinnacle Grill was an experience not to be missed. On certain nights, it had "an evening at Le Cirque" with an exceptional menu not found anywhere except the real Le Cirque. On "normal" nights, the food offered was truly that of a 5 star Steakhouse with service to match. The auxiliary services offered on this ship were exceptional as were the crew members who ran them...The Fine Art Dept (Park West Gallery), The Photo dept., The Greenhouse Spa and even the front desk offered service beyond compare. The crew members greeted you by name every time they saw you whether on or off the ship truly making us feel special. The entertainment on the ship was top notch with the BEST performances being by the Noordam Singers and Dancers...they presented several world premiers while we were onboard with the production Droom being the best show, by far, that we have ever seen on a cruise ship. These men and women were very obviously quite well trained in both dance and voice and all of the shows they did were so good that it was not unusual for us to go to more than one of the 3 nightly performances. We took only 1 shore excursion from Holland America and it was a good one to Murano and Burano Islands in Venice. We decided to take this excursion at the last minute when it was too late to arrange a private option. We took 11 other tours/shore excursions from private companies after researching the options on Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor. Every single one of those tours were quite wonderful and much more reasonably priced than those offered by the ship. This was our first cruise that we decided to try taking tours offered by someone other than the cruise line...we were always afraid that we would be "left behind" if the outside tour didn't get us back in time....a belief that is often encouraged by all cruise lines. This was absolutely NOT the case. Every private tour that we took made extreme efforts to get us back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. This survey only let us list the #8 as the most ports we visited. We actually visited many more than that. The ports there weren't room for in the survey below were: Argostoli (a nice town that we toured on our own. GREAT seafood restaurants by the sea wall), Katakolon Greece (where we took a private tour to Ancient Olympia...the museum and the archeological site...both were quite wonderful), Santorini Greece where we took a private tour with OceanWave Tours....a wonderful day on a beautiful island. We very seriously want to return here and spend a week or more exploring this fabulous island, Athens Greece where we spent 2 days, took 2 private tours with 2 different companies....there is a lot to see here!, Iraklion (Crete) Greece where we toured Knossos Palace on our own. There is a hop on/hop off bus you can take here, Port Said Egypt...we took a private tour here spending the night at the Mena House Hotel in Giza next to the Pyramids, toured Cairo then re-joined our ship the next day in Alexandria Egypt, Rhodes Greece where we walked around the old town on our own...this was one of the really pleasant surprises on our cruise....there was a lot to see here and we could have spent much more time than we had exploring, Kusadasi (Ephesus) Turkey where we took a private tour around the area...quite impressive especially the Terrace Houses in Ephesus....a site really worth paying the extra money to see!, Mykonos Greece...a nice little town that we just walked around for about an hour then went back to the ship, and finally, Istanbul Turkey where we took a private day long tour of the major sights of the city. It was a wonderful place and quite beautiful. The people were warm and welcoming here. All in all, this cruise was absolutely terrific! The service couldn't have been better....the price was amazing and the itinerary the best I've ever seen on one cruise....the disembarkation process was great in one way...this was the first time we'd ever been allowed to just wait in our cabin until our number was called....the bus to the airport was a little chaotic...there wasn't enough room under the bus for all of the luggage so some people's luggage was put in the aisle of the bus, blocking people in the seats next to the luggage....and the airport in Istanbul is a lesson in chaos. Delta airlines handling of disabled passengers was less than optimum....we ended up with a VERY uncomfortable 11 hour flight from Istanbul to NYC because they changed planes the night before the flight and did not provide us with seats equal to the ones we had arranged previously....they also did not provide wheelchair assistance down to the door of the plane as previously arranged and offered no help with our carry on luggage either. It was quite disappointing compared to our wonderful experience with United Airlines on the way over to Rome for the beginning of the cruise. But as they say, live and learn! After this cruise, Holland America has certainly become our cruise line of choice....and we plan to schedule many more in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was an excellent cruise for seeing the Eastern Med. We have now seen pretty well every place we ever wanted to visit there. We had two excellent hotels - the Tenuta Dell Argento during a two day stopover in Civitavecchia between ... Read More
This was an excellent cruise for seeing the Eastern Med. We have now seen pretty well every place we ever wanted to visit there. We had two excellent hotels - the Tenuta Dell Argento during a two day stopover in Civitavecchia between cruises, and the Esans Hotel in Istanbul at the end of the cruise. Both were selected based on TripAdvisor reviews. The Noordam had good cabins and facilities, although there were a few plumbing problems for the first day or two. The entertainment was mixed. Spectacular productions were being introduced, but some were more enjoyable than others despite outstanding talent, choreography, costumes and sets. I sometimes longed for more traditional or popular music. Some other acts were kind of lame, especially one poor comedian. There were the normal activities, including classes, demonstrations, exercise, etc. HAL shore excursions were so terribly expensive that we did not use them, but found alternatives. We used open dining and enjoyed meeting and conversing with other passengers - a good thing, as service in the dining room was very slow (and the coffee was terrible). The ports of call were what really made this cruise. We have seen the Acropolis, climbed to the tomb inside the Great Pyramid, had a nighttime gondola ride in Venice and seen all kinds of scenic and historic sites. It really was great. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
From the steward who offered us a blanket while we were lounging in a deck chair to the Lido deck outside rear deck staff who treated us like royalty despite no gratuity earned on tea, coffee and water, we were spoiled from start to ... Read More
From the steward who offered us a blanket while we were lounging in a deck chair to the Lido deck outside rear deck staff who treated us like royalty despite no gratuity earned on tea, coffee and water, we were spoiled from start to finish. Efficient boarding and disembarking, perfect service in our room with fruit and ice fresh every day.The cleaning was excellent and the kitchens and service areas were spotless which gave us great comfort and we had a very healthy ship. Can't say enough about the Lido and dining room crew. Amazing folks. Special shout out to Ryan, JJ, Oscar and Ramil. We fell in love with the staff and the activities were varied and interesting. My only criticism of the activities is the extreme simplicity of the cooking demos. I would have paid a fee for some advanced hands on classes but ok anyways because even the simpler things were good and we can all use a few of those.Throughout the cruise we met great folks who, despite the billing of Holland America age ranges as older, cross cut all ages even though overall there was a tendency to an older crowd. Great sea days to totally relax and kick off all of the stress. Sorry we missed the Azores but really glad the Captain was more attuned to our safety that passenger complaints. Love this ship, I want to adopt a few of the staff. Kudos to the staff as they are the Holland America reputation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Noordam 3/11/-3/22/13 11 days 6 ports and Half Moon Cay After 24 total cruises, this was our first on HAL. Majority of previous cruises were on NCL Overall rating: Excellent Embarkation: Arrived at 11 am at Port Everglades, ... Read More
Noordam 3/11/-3/22/13 11 days 6 ports and Half Moon Cay After 24 total cruises, this was our first on HAL. Majority of previous cruises were on NCL Overall rating: Excellent Embarkation: Arrived at 11 am at Port Everglades, on board at 12 noon. Bags in room at 1:00 pm Cabin # 8122: Excellent room and located near elevators. Room steward "HAN" was excellent. Very attentive, towel animals every day, cheerful and omnipresent Food: Excellent selections and taste. We were on "anytime" dining but had a standing reservation for table #308 for 5:30 pm each evening. Some nights we arrived late due to daily activities and were seated elsewhere in the Vista MDR. We never waited more than a few minutes for a table. The Maitre 'D memorized every one's name after the first day. Entertainment: Very good to excellent. Standard musical, comedian, magician, acrobatic and audience participation shows. Chris Watkins and Rondell Sheridan were stand-outs. Special attraction was the "Dancing with the Stars" dance show on last night. This included a musical presentation by the dance troupe and competition starring passengers dancing with members of the troupe for points. Winner will go on to compete in a future theme cruise with professionals from the TV show of the same name. (I participated but did not win) Lounges and bars: Found the Ocean Bar and Queen's Lounge to be very good. Both had "HALcats" bands (there were 2 of them on-board) Lead singers were Ben and Lynn for their respective groups. Good dance music every night. Special notice to Serena, musical director. The Piano Bar with Diana was well attended. Classes and activities: Excellent line-up of classes and activities. Much better than our previous cruises on other lines. Also, most were free. Culinary Arts demos were great. Computer courses in dedicated computer lab were excellent, informative and well attended. TECHspert Jessica was excellent. Movies were shown daily. Very nice touch with recent block-busters. Pools and public spaces: Never lacked enough lounges/chairs at the pool. Nice taco bar located by the main pool. Ice water and lemonade available here all day. Adult pool located on aft deck. Very nice. Staff: Great bunch of people. No complaints ever. We hope to see some of them on future cruises The ship: exceeded our expectations. It had more than we had hoped for and was a beautiful, tastefully appointed ship Fellow shipmates: As we had been told, this was an older demographic. The pace of the group was a bit slower but every one was very nice. We met some incredibly nice new friends during the week and were sad to leave at the end of the cruise. We talked to many who had done back-to-back cruises from the previous cruise and others who were staying on for the repositioning to Europe. BOTTOM LINE: Wish we could have stayed on board. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our first TA and, hopefully, not our last! We sailed 16 days Ft. Lauderdale to Rome. EMBARKATION: Smooth and easy from the port. Arrived at 11 AM and there were no lines to get checked in. Waited until noon before we were all ... Read More
This was our first TA and, hopefully, not our last! We sailed 16 days Ft. Lauderdale to Rome. EMBARKATION: Smooth and easy from the port. Arrived at 11 AM and there were no lines to get checked in. Waited until noon before we were all let aboard by group numbers. Went to our room and dropped off our carry ons, called for reservations in the Canaletto and went to the MDR for lunch. Did tour of the ship. DH signed up for the spa package, which he used everyday. CABIN: We were in 7089 verendah . It was an upsell from a category G partially obstructed and were happy with the room. It was the cabin just behind the first verendah suites, just off the aft stairway. It was convenient to the MDR and the lido. The only negative was it was across from the maintainence closet and the closet where the ice maker was. There was noise from the steward getting the ice as early as 6 AM. Funny tho...I didn't notice it until the first port day, then I heard it every morning thereafter. I should have said something, but I usually went back to sleep and DH never heard it. FOOD: We did the anytime dining, ate around 6:30 and never had a wait longer than 4-5 minutes. We always ate with others and met some fascinating people that made the experience very enjoyable. The food in the MDR was excellent, as usual. I was less impressed with the dinner food in the Lido. Besides the frustration of finding a table and never being able to get food and be on the same course as DH, it seemed that the food was just luke warm and, of course, the presentation was lacking. I didn't remember not having all the same choices and the MDR, but it seemed like there was a lot less and the dessert choices were few. Breakfast and lunch were great and there was never a lack of choices. We did prefer breakfast in the MDR. It is nice to be waited on and eat at the same time, like I mentioned before. We got the 11+ Navigator wine package. It was 5 bottles, plus a Chef Rudi cabernet delivered to the room the first day, plus Pinnacle for two, two wine tastings and a gift of HA pewter wine charms. The bottle we had in the Pinnacle we did not finish and it could not be found the next night. The replaced it with a full bottle. We ate at the Canaletto once. We were not impressed. I think food is better in the Lido...see above for my thoughts on that. We won't go back. Ate at the Pinnacle once and that was so worth it! Food was excellent and the service was spot on. We both had lobster and the creme brule and were stuffed. THE CROSSING: Rolling seas started on the third day with 12-16 foot swells. The wind was behind us, so the ship just gently rocked side to side. DH has severe motion sickness problems, but did not have any difficulty at this point. There was a storm north of the ship and the captain kept us informed of the direction he was going in order to avoid rougher seas. The swells stayed with us, gradually increasing in height, but the ship handled it extremely well. We eventually had to head to our first port, Ponta Delgata but we had to bypass it due to the rough seas. That meant 9 straight days at sea before we got to the next port. We were disappointed, but one cannot control nature and the captain was not about to put us all in jeopardy just to get to the port. We continued to rock and roll and we were assured once we got into the Mediterranean Sea, it would be calmer...WRONG! Early evening before the last sea day we hit a major storm with 60 mile an hour winds and swells I am gauging to have been 20-25 feet(we weren't told how high they were). Doors to the outside were closed and we were told to keep the doors to the outside in our rooms closed. Plus it rained like crazy. The ship took on the up and down and rocking motion and that is when DH turned that peculiar shade of yellow/green. We slapped the patch on and he slept until it took effect...about 5 hours...and then was fine. The sea sick bags were by the elevators. I think alot of people just stayed in their cabins as the ship was pretty deserted. Next morning on disembarkation I saw a few elderly people with bruises on their faces. I would guess they fell trying to get about as you really had to hold on to something in order to walk. Not good for people with balance problems. ENTERTAINMENT: We went to most shows and really enjoyed them. We thought the quality was very good for the most part. PORTS: Lisbon: Took a half day tour to Obidos, then walked the city on our own. Rain showers on and off. Found a bistro with free wifi and spend the rest of the afternoon and early evening drinking good beer. Bought a bottle of wine to bring back on the ship. We left port at 11 AM next day, so just hung around the port in the morning. Cadiz: Got tickets on the hop on bus to the old town. The minute we stepped off the bus, it started to rain and it poured for hours. We got soaked to the bone trying to get back to the bus. Of course, the rain stopped the minute we got to the bus stop by the port. Malaga: Did the hop on bus again around town and found the cathedral, then walked and ate lunch at a cafe. It started to rain, so we made our way back to the ship. Cartagena: Nice sunny day. Walked into town, first chance to shop for goodies to bring back. Ate lunch at outside cafe. All around nice day. DISEMBARKATION: We had color for later disembarkation as we were staying in Rome for one night before taking off the next day. It went very smoothly, no problems. Would we do a TA again? You bet! You roll the dice with the weather, especially in the spring. We talked to people who had done this exact cruise before and said the seas were like glass. Nine sea days in a row were a little too many. Six would have been perfect. When we discussed HA with people who had sailed othere lines, the preferred HA to a person. Count me in with those people! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
(Please note I put this full review in the HAL boards with many photos.) Mom is a four star Mariner who had cruised for decades. She hadn't been for the last two years due to various health issues that make it difficult for her to ... Read More
(Please note I put this full review in the HAL boards with many photos.) Mom is a four star Mariner who had cruised for decades. She hadn't been for the last two years due to various health issues that make it difficult for her to travel alone. So I volunteered to go with her (twist my arm) , picked HAL because that was her favorite line, and chose the 10 day Southern Caribbean Seafarer because I was interested in the ports. Mom just wanted to see if she could still cruise and didn't mean to leave the ship. She wanted her own cabin (actually her own bathroom) and refused to put me in an inside cabin. I was able to find side-by-side veranda cabins behind the aft elevators. This was very convenient for dining but a bit of a walk for everything else. We flew down to FLL the afternoon before the cruise. Our flight was on time, we got a porter and our luggage at FLL, then called the Hampton Inn Cruiseport North for the shuttle. We had to wait half an hour for the next shuttle to come. The hotel was fine, a decent typical Hampton, and we booked the 10:15 am shuttle to the port for the next morning. I ran across the street to Winn Dixie for sun tan lotion and a couple of bottles of wine. We took the hotel shuttle to Lester's Diner for dinner. March 1: The next morning we were up early and caught the 10:15 shuttle. Luggage was taken away, and we waited on a bench outside for about 10 minutes. The doors opened about 10:50; Mom declined a wheelchair for inside the terminal so we checked in at the VIP counter then waited in the VIP lounge. This was just a separate room, nothing fancy, but they did offer water, lemonade, and cookies. At about 11:30 they brought over a wheelchair (Mom didn't want to walk up the ramp) and due to her 4 star status we actually were the first to board! I thought this was very cool. After dropping Mom at her cabin, making sure everything was OK for her, and throwing my suitcase into my cabin, I ran around the ship taking pictures of all the empty venues. We went to the Mariner's lunch and I had a nice chicken mango salad and a delicious chocolate mousse cake. Then we went to correct our table assignments - even though our bookings were linked, they assigned us to different tables (late seating). We then checked at the front desk for a few requests. I had read on CC that Mom could wait out the lifeboat drill at the bottom of the atrium but that was not the case; she had to attend. She was annoyed with me for making her go because she used to hide in the cabin but I told her they didn't allow that anymore. I went early and saved her a spot on the one bench in our muster area. After the drill we unpacked, then watched sailaway from our verandas. We were on the port side, deck 6, and the people on the deck above us were flying a huge Union Jack. So we were able to tell brother/husband/son where to look and everyone saw us on the webcam! We then went to the Seaview bar for margaritas and music. Mom went back to the cabin; I roamed the ship, had a snack at Lido, and set up internet so I could email my private excursions about the change in itinerary between Curacao and Bonaire. I paid by the minute onboard and was able to access free wifi on Grand Turk, Bonaire, and Curacao. Altogether I used 15 minutes of internet so with the activation fee spent $15.20; not too bad. The rest of my communication was an occasional text via cell phone, $.50 outgoing and $.20 incoming. We had a pleasant but slow dinner; I asked for a thick cut of prime rib and got a giant plateful. I wanted to see the opening show in the Vista Lounge but arrived as it was getting out. This was quite a problem for late seating - we were among the last tables to get out every night, and there were several shows that were timed so that late seating guests could not attend. I felt this was a very big problem; not that I would have gone to everything but that HAL did not care that a large share of their guests were prevented from attending entertainment due to the scheduling. Based on the Explorers, here are the shows that were impossible for late dinner seating guests to attend: Night 1: 9:30pm, Vista Lounge, "Let Us Entertain You" Night 2: 9:00-10:00pm Queen's Lounge "50's and 60's Rock 'n Roll Party" Night 3: 9:00pm Queen's Lounge Karaoke Night Night 4: 9:00pm Queen's Lounge "Call My Bluff" gameshow Night 5: 9:00pm Queen's Lounge "Battle of the Sexes" gameshow Night 6: 8:00pm Queen's Lounge Karaoke Fun Night 6: 9:30pm Lido Pool Party - we could attend, but all the tables and chairs were taken Night 8: 9:00pm Queen's Lounge "The Match Game" gameshow Night 8: 9:30pm Piano Bar "Pop Music Trivia" Night 9: 9:30pm Queen's Lounge "The Marriage Game" gameshow Night 10: 9:30pm Vista Lounge "Variety Show" Night 10: 8:00 pm Queen's Lounge "Majority Rules" gameshow March 2: Half Moon Cay. See port review for details; cool and overcast day. I went back to the ship at 12:30 and right into the hot tub. Had lunch and crafted wine charms, then went with Mom to her 4 star Mariner free wine tasting. It really was a sales pitch for the wine packages although we did taste four lower priced wines. Got dressed for formal night and had my photo done at all the locations, ate the "Captain Gala Dinner", and saw the show "Ballroom Blitz." (This show really made me appreciate the Royal Caribbean entertainment.) The HAL dancers and singers worked hard but were really only average; my comment was that they were at least as good as Bristol Palin. By this I meant that the routines were at the level of difficulty that made Bristol look good. I would have left but didn't want to disturb the people on either side. I brought my own bottle of wine to dinner, prepared to pay the corkage fee. However, it was a screw top and the waiter brought us wine glasses. I kept both my bottles in the cabin refrigerator and brought them separately to dinners, poured ourselves, and never got charged. I think the wine steward may have seen it but never said anything. March 3: Grand Turk. This morning was our Meet & Greet from the CC rollcall. It was a lovely layout in the Crow's Nest; they had endless mimosas, a chocolate fountain, pastries, and coffee. We met the rollcall, a very nice group of people. No free gifts from HAL; our RCI Meet & Mingles gave out ship stuff to the guests. I went ashore at Grand Turk only to learn that my snorkeling excursion (HAL Ultimate Snorkel) had been cancelled due to high winds. I was extremely disappointed and it was even too cool to swim at Margaritaville. I did pick up wifi for a few minutes before it dropped, went back to the ship for lunch, then back onshore to get a bit more wifi at Froot. I shopped for a few minutes then returned to the ship as it started to rain. Mom wanted to see the comic after dinner (Julie Barr); she was decent but had too much interaction with one drunk in the audience. March 4: Samana. I had room service breakfast which was delivered right on time as we approached Samana. After breakfast I walked three times around the promenade deck (one mile) and once around the Observation Deck. I tendered over to Samana; it took about 20 minutes. Then I walked along the waterfront to the end of the craft stands and back. I vaguely looked for a larimar ring but no one had the style, color, and size I wanted. This was actually the only island where I felt there were true hand made native crafts. Not necessarily great stuff, but at least some of it seemed authentic. There were plenty of people trying to offer taxi tours, kids were selling shells at $1, and the vendors kept calling out "Hola lady, for you I give great deal!" I just kept smiling, shaking my head, saying no, and walking on. It was less intrusive than I'd feared. Then back to the ship for (finally) some sunshine. Mom and I had been invited to the VIP Captain's "Cocktail or After Drinks" party at 7:30pm at the terrace off the Crow's Nest. Mom stayed inside and was served champagne and hors d'oevres. I went outside and got fresh made cosmopolitans and passed on meeting the captain and crew. (Our invitation advised us to "refrain from hand shaking at this event.") Then we were off to Pinnacle for our 50% off dinner (nice traveling with a four star). It was a delicious meal and excellent service. One caveat, however, was that Mom and I were seated at a secluded romantic booth far to one end of the restaurant. It would have been nice to be more in the middle of the restaurant since it wasn't very crowded. You can have as many appetizers, sides, and desserts as you want, plus one entree. They started with a bread basket, three kinds of whipped butter, and three kinds of salt. Mom had a great lobster bisque ("would you like brandy?" " Sure!") and we both had Caesar's Salad prepared tableside (actually just assembled tableside; I've had it made from scratch in my day and there's a big difference. But it tasted fine.) Mom had the Steak Diane and I had filet mignon with bernaise. Great cuts of beef. We got sides of onions, mushrooms, scalloped potato, and french fries. And sorry to admit that we got three desserts - the creme brulee (three great flavors), chocolate souffle (served in a junior size ramekin), and Baked Alaska flamed tableside with bing cherry sauce. I was a bit surprised to see soft instead of hard meringue, different from the Baked Alaska I've had in the past. March 5: At sea. Woken at 5:10 am by the captain announcing that we were turning NE towards Puerto Rico because an ill passenger required a helicopter evacuation. We were asked to not go on deck, and to not take flash pictures from the balcony because we would blind the helicopter pilots. The captain woke us again at 5:45 am (just as I was falling back to sleep) to announce the evacuation was over and successful. Otherwise a quiet sea day, which I started with a mile walk on the promenade deck. After breakfast I did the kitchen tour. I think it was basically set up for a photo op with the chef. I had done the kitchen tour on the Mariner of the Seas and saw a lot more. On the Noordam, I thought I was heading to a second part of the kitchen when I realized I was exiting through the Pinnacle. I spent most of the rest of the day sunbathing at the Sea View aft pool. Late in the afternoon I got the Ipod art tour from the librarian at the Explorations Cafe and followed along with the 36 minute tour, pausing to take pictures and move to different spots. It gave a lot of background information on much of the art in the forward part of the ship and the atrium, and is definitely worth doing. Among other things, I learned that the forward staircase had paintings of all four Noordams. Both Mom and a man at our dinner table made special trips to see those paintings. This was the second formal night. March 6: Bonaire See individual port review for details. The weather got sunnier as the day progressed so it got warm in town; the humidity (85%) was now higher than the temperature (79 degrees F). After dinner this evening was the Lido Pool party; Mom wanted to go and it only took me 10 minute to track down a chair for her. (Took another 20 minutes to find me one.) We came straight from dinner so couldn't eat; didn't look like much of a buffet and pretty simple ice sculptures. March 7: Curacao. First words out of Mom's mouth on the veranda: "I'm so disappointed." We were docked at the MegaPier instead of the one across from town so no great view. See port review for details. I went to "Caribbean Night" at the ship shops, "complimentary tastings of Rum and Tortuga Rum Cakes." This consisted of one woman behind the counter pouring thimble size helpings of one kind of rum, and 1/2 inch squares of a few flavors of cake. On RCI, they had a vodka tasting with three people pouring at least five kinds of vodka. Boo on HAL. March 8: Aruba See port review for details. I found Mom onboard and convinced her she could easily walk to and around those shops so finally got her off the ship. Not very far off the ship, but we both regarded it as an accomplishment. Then we had our own sailaway party on the verandas with a couple of cheese plates from room service. For a ship that prides itself on service, they were poor cheese choices and the bread basket was composed of Saltines, Melba Toast, and Rye Krisp. They should have been ashamed. The next day I assembled my own cheese selection from the lunch choices in the Lido, added some bagettes and bread sticks, and kept it in the fridge until late afternoon. So much better! March 9: At sea. A quiet day (and the second formal night); mainly lounged around the Sea View pool and ate too much ice cream and cookies. We did go to the Mariner's lunch and got our tiles. Mom was surprised that they didn't even offer our table coffee or tea with dessert. The last formal night. After dinner was the Dessert Extravaganza; some of the bread/pastry sculptures were looking a bit the worse for wear. I had a nice little crepe Suzette and tracked down a chocolate truffle hidden behind some marzipan. March 10: At sea. Mostly a repeat of the day before except for packing (suitcases had to be in the hall by 1:00 am). We also got preliminary copies of our bills to make sure everything was OK and I bought a couple of formal portraits. I thought the HAL packages were very rip-off. They printed "sheets" - for formal posed portraits, each sheet had one 8x10, one 5x7, and two wallet sizes - it cost $39.95. Each informal sheet (like pictures at embarkation, dinner table shots, and at the ports) was half the size and half the price. You could buy six formal sheets for $199 and six informal sheets for $99; each included the DVD of those prints. You could buy all pictures taken of you for $349 which included a DVD. I don't know if it's changed since 2009, but on RCI you could buy a variety of packages that included a mix of different sizes and both formal and informal. It was clear HAL was mainly pushing the expensive packages. At dinner, we were just being served our entrees when the "Baked Alaska parade" started. This consisted of a number of waiters and chefs marching around and two people carrying Baked Alaskas. Then the head chef made a short speech, they all sang a goodbye song, and marched off. March 11: Disembarkation. We had gotten Pink 1 tags for our luggage, which was supposed to be priority wheelchair assisted early disembarkation. We were told our time was 8:15 to 8:30, and that we should be in the Pinnacle bar 15 minutes early. So we arrived there well before 8:00 am and found half a dozen passengers waiting in wheelchairs in a line, and another couple of dozen passengers waiting for wheelchairs. I asked the man in charge what to do, and he said to have a seat for a while. How long is a while, I asked? Half an hour, he replied; he was having trouble getting customs to clear his staff to take the wheelchairs off the ship. We had a 10:55 am flight from FLL. Mom said she was prepared to walk off the ship rather than wait. We already knew from embarkation that they had different people to handle wheelchairs in the terminal. We kept getting conflicting information about whether we could walk off. First they allowed off the people carrying their own luggage, then they started the Luggage Direct crowd. At that point I basically bullied our way off the ship, although they claimed our luggage wouldn't be available. We walked off into the terminal and took the elevator down to luggage claim. I noticed a Pinnacle employee from the ship with an empty wheelchair and we started walking in his direction. A security guard saw us coming and insisted the ship guy put my mom in the chair. We went over to luggage where I did find our three suitcases. Then I looked for a porter; a port employee claimed they were unloading luggage but we espied one man with a cart and grabbed him. The wheelchair was handed off to a delightful older gentleman who worked for the terminal who took us on an end run around the lines and right to the head of customs, where we breezed through. Our little entourage headed out and down to the taxi line, where we were in a cab and arriving at the airport at 8:15. I consider this my great triumph in manipulation and believe if we'd followed all the contradictory instructions on the ship that we'd have missed our plane. We checked our luggage at the curb and Mom got a wheelchair almost immediately. Another skip to the head of security and we were at our gate with two hours to spare and I could stop worrying. General thoughts: Mom claimed this was her last HAL cruise although I suspect with time she'll change her mind. She thought the ship was too large and that venues used to be more open and accessible. She also thought everything was becoming separate cost centers rather than a cohesive experience. Her only complaint about the room was that she remembered long desks with drawers; I pointed out the four night table drawers and she was OK. She liked the coded room safes much better than the old card system. She slept very comfortably. She liked the pump bottles in the shower and enjoyed the veranda. She enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill which was her first specialty restaurant dining on a cruise. She found her favorite Clinique cream in the shops. I only had my RCI cruises to compare but thought that HAL came off poorer in entertainment and also the openness of some venues. For example, the piano bar was in a separate room next to the casino rather than somewhere you could easily drop by. The ship itself was attractive and the staff were very friendly and generally tried their best to be helpful. I caught each of the music groups at least once and they were all OK but nothing special. I most enjoyed the steel drum player at the SeaView pool. I much appreciated the cold water and towels when returning to the ship from ports. And the public restrooms were great. The dining room food varied from mediocre to excellent and you never knew what you would get so choices were a gamble. The menus were inaccurate at times and the waiters not that well informed. As an example, one appetizer was described as pineapple spears with coconut flakes. The pineapple was topped with peppercorns instead of coconut. Another time the chocolate dessert was supposed to have a dollop of whipped cream - no dollop. Herbs and spices were not always as described. Our servers were very nice but our service took much too long. This was even after they promised to put us first on the third night and I complained on the sixth night. It's a good thing we liked our tablemates! I had breakfast in the MDR once and it was good but extremely slow service. I also noticed both that day and at the Mariner's lunch that you heard and felt the engines much more on the lower level than on the upper level dining area. I would not have liked to experience that every night so was glad we dined upstairs. I liked most of the food I ate at the Lido for breakfast and lunch but didn't get many of the hot dishes. Nice sandwiches made to order, quite decent pizza, good omelets (although the line was too slow), good salads, dangerous ice cream and cookies (I only gained three pounds on the cruise and hold them mostly to blame. Well, that and the bread and butter). Terrible coffee, though. I had to wait a few times for pastries and cheeses to be replenished. I appreciated being able to carry food out of the Lido and back to the cabin or my chair by the pool, and the free 24/7 room service and being able to bring my own wine on. I was always able to find a chair at the Sea View pool (the Lido pool looked packed), and also eventually was able to always find a place at Lido restaurant, although sometimes that took a hunt. When I was alone, I brought a book to leave on the table while I was off getting more food, and draped my napkin over the back of the chair and never had trouble. The cabin was plenty big enough for me! The bed was very comfortable although the sheets were clearly low thread count; slightly rough to the touch. There was lots of storage; I used the space inside the round desk chair to store the larger bottles from the fridge. That made room in the fridge for my wine and some snacks from the Lido . The lighting at the desk was not very good for drying hair - one vertical light to one side facing me and the rest behind me - but the outlet in the bathroom couldn't run the hair dryer so I made the best of it. I figured out how to work the DVD player (they should have provided instructions though). We had the door opened between our verandas and it made a nice long "porch", as Mom said. We were very lucky that there were no smokers anywhere near us so we could enjoy sitting out on the verandas with no problems. But as a I noted at the start, what surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed the other passengers. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but everyone I talked to was so friendly and nice. On RCI, people were pleasant but more focused on their own families and groups. But HAL passengers were happy to reach out - maybe HAL has more couples and singles traveling? Anyway, I suspect I'm not really meant to be a cruiser but if I went again, I'd look for a smaller ship that can go into smaller ports or maybe the river cruises; it's getting too chancy with the bigger ships these days what with weather and germs and breakdowns. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Background -- We are 4 Canadians in their mid 50's. We are not committed to any one cruise line. We pick each cruise based on itinerary, price and then preferably a ship that is not too old. Pre-cruise -- We had stayed at the ... Read More
Background -- We are 4 Canadians in their mid 50's. We are not committed to any one cruise line. We pick each cruise based on itinerary, price and then preferably a ship that is not too old. Pre-cruise -- We had stayed at the Hampton Inn for the last 2 cruises but prices had gone up enough to warrant looking into a new hotel. We decided to try the Sleep Inn Dania on 5th & Sheridan and were quite comfortable there. They include breakfast (eggs, sausage, waffles, etc). Admittedly, it is not near the port but they do have a free shuttle from the airport (as long as you don't arrive at midnight) and a shuttle to the port for $10. The hotel was clean and that's all we really require. There is a Publix (with 2 wine aisles) across the street as well as a few small restaurants. If you are in reasonable walking condition, you can walk to the beach (about ½ hr taking it slow and stopping for pictures). From there you can pick up a water taxi and tour around. We were very happy that we flew in 2 days early rather than the day before as our friends got caught in a re-routing nightmare and arrived in Fort Lauderdale only hours before the cruise sailed. Embarkation -- Easy, kudos to the very friendly staff at the check in counter. We only have 5 cruises under our belt but I think this is the first cruise that we didn't have anyone meeting us at the end of the gangway to welcome us to the ship (except for someone from the spa giving out phamplets). This is just an observation, certainly did not affect our cruise. Cabin -- We were on the 4th floor (4032) and had a metal verandah opposed to the glass ones. This means that when you are sitting down, you can't see the water. While we appreciated the extra footage and it certainly was private, I think we will return to the glass fronts should we book another verandah. Our cabin was clean; beds were comfortable; and we found our stateroom attendants unobtrusive while keeping the room spotless and we always had ice if we required it. I enjoyed having the luxury of a bathtub although the drain didn't seem to be able to hold any water for long. The showers had good water pressure. We did notice the lack of carts and dirty dish trays in the hallways -- a nice touch. A thank you here to cruise critic member "Gma Pajama" and the staff of the Noordam for organizing a well attended meet and greet with delicious goodies in the Crows Nest.Dining -- MDR - We had requested a table for 8 and were sat with 4 other Canadians. We spent many enjoyable dinners and after dinner drinks with them. Although I had read some questionable reviews about the food in the dining room, we had no complaints with the food or service. I tried the steak once from the everyday menu and found it very tender and quite enough for two! Again, thanks to Deddy and Adi for their attentive service and for the plates of chocolate we were treated to a few times. Lido Buffet - The Lido had a good variety of choices and again, no complaints. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants as we were happy with the Main Dining Room and the Lido. The Lido staff was very helpful and attentive, probably the best we've seen on any ship. Entertainment -- We enjoyed most shows but thought that the pianist "Brett Cave" was the best. (Ever!) The solo guitarist David that played in the Crow's Nest in the evenings was enjoyable as well. We were not wild about the Noordam Dancers shows. I guess we were comparing it to the Cirque type entertainment on the Celebrity Equinox last year and it just didn't measure up in our humble opinion. Activities -- While we saw many things we would have enjoyed doing, this was a pretty laid back cruise for us and we spent a lot of time relaxing on deck, on the verandah, in the bars, and just wandering around.Ports -- Grand Turk: cancelled due to high winds -- this was not a disappointment to us as we had done this port before and we do love our "sea" days. Half Moon Cay -- Water was stunning, beach was the most perfect powdery sand. Buffet was decent. We were so happy that we were able to get off here. Samana -- We had a zip lining tour planned here. Unfortunately, since we arrived early, they sent off a group that had gotten off the ship early and we didn't have a group large enough to take. Book a tour here if you plan to get off the ship. Curacao -- What a beautiful port! The colors of the buildings were beautiful and we enjoyed strolling around the port. We also took a tour with Irie Tours which was interesting with a brief stop at a beach. Thanks to the Irie Tours office which allowed us to access their internet for free while waiting for the bus to depart. Bonaire -- By far, this was our favorite port. We did the snorkeling tour with Woodwind in the morning and wandered around the port in the afternoon. The Woodwind staff was very patient with this beginner who is very leary around ocean waves. The reef is truly magical here and we saw thousands of fish. This is the least commercialized port and we enjoyed talking with the local vendors selling their own products rather than the usual mass marketed "treasures" with the islands name stamped on it. Aruba -- A very commercialized island but still enjoyable. We picked up a 2 hour bus tour here at the last minute ( a large air conditioned bus; not our favorite tour -- too many people -- less personal). At the end we had a quick lunch at Iguana Joes and walked up and down the strip, checking out the stores. Disembarkment -- Easy, easy, easy. Cabs were plentiful. I only wish ships offered the quick luggage service for Canadian bound flights but I'm sure that is a customs prerequisite, not HAL's. Con's -- smoking in the casino which kept us out of it, a consistently draining bathtub, a slight sewer odor for a few days in our corridor and worst of all - they made us leave the ship after only 10 days of pampering! Pro's -- GREAT service and great ports. Special thanks to DJ Jazzy who kept the Northern Lights Lounge open late for 4 Canadians who wanted to dance one night. The Noordam is a very pretty ship. Would we sail HAL again? Yes - if the itinerary and price are right. We've never had a "bad" cruise and only wish we weren't so landlocked so we could enjoy more of them. Happy Sailing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My husband and I have cruised 5 times, all with Holland America, 4 times in the Caribbean. This was our first time on the Noordam. We like HAL's mid size ships and have never been disappointed with their service. We arrived in ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised 5 times, all with Holland America, 4 times in the Caribbean. This was our first time on the Noordam. We like HAL's mid size ships and have never been disappointed with their service. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale without incident the day before our cruise, happy to have just missed the big snowstorm that caused so much havoc for travellers. We stayed at The Renaissance Cruise Port Hotel. Our room was ready for us. It was spotless and the bed was very comfortable. Although expensive, it is in an ideal location, being not far from the airport and extremely close to the cruise port terminal. There is a Walgreens across the street and many restaurants within a short walking distance. We were also able to walk to the water taxi stop. We did not eat in the hotel, choosing instead Panera Bread which was located in a small plaza nearby. It was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also took advantage of the free WiFi there as we did not want to pay extra for it at the hotel. Once on board the Noordam, we were quickly impressed with the cleanliness and excellent service. The crew are very hard working, friendly and helpful. The ship has many very nice areas. My favourites were the atrium and the Explorations Cafe where the library and Internet computer terminals are located. Our cabin was a partially obstructed ocean view which was fine for us. It was kept spotless by our cabin stewards and we had no problems. We ate every night in the main dining room at a table for 8. There were always plenty of options on the menu and the service was always good. Food presentation was excellent. The cold soups are to be recommended and also the Caesar salad. Twice I chose the salmon fillet from the available every day menu and it was excellent. Breakfast and lunch we ate at the Lido buffet where the choices were plentiful, food was always good and the staff were always smiling and helpful.Loved the Dutch raisin buns at breakfast and the rotisserie chicken at lunch. We also enjoyed ice cream every afternoon and the fresh baked cookies that seemed to be always available. Entertainment - We went to most of the shows in the evening. The Noordam singers and dancers were good, but we've seen better shows on other cruises. Twice we chose to watch a movie instead of the show - we saw Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Lincoln. We also attended some of the game shows and listened to the entertainers in different lounges. There was a steel drum player in the afternoons by the Seaview pool- it was very nice to relax in the sun and listen to him. On Valentine's day there was a party in the Lido pool area. There were Valentine themed ice sculptures and heart shaped red balloons. The ship's band( the Halcats) played and there was dancing. I must mention the dessert extravaganza that is on the last formal night of the cruise. It is amazing to see the chefs' creations made out of chocolate, pastries and bread dough. Activities on board ship are too numerous to mention and we couldn't possibly participate in all of them. This is a feature of cruising that we like - you can be doing something every minute or you can just relax. We enjoyed all the ports on this cruise. Half Moon Cay is truly a beautiful beach - we have been there 3 times and love it. The ship was unable to dock as scheduled at Grand Turk Island due to high winds,but it was not too disappointing as we were spending a sea day on a lovely ship. My husband and I did not go ashore at Samana, Dominican Republic, as the tender boat ride was 20 minutes and it was drizzling. Spent another relaxing day on board ship. Curacao is an interesting port. We had been there a few years ago but enjoyed seeing the colourful Dutch Colonial buildings again. We walked across the pontoon bridge and ended up at an outdoor cafe for lunch. Since our ship was docked until 11:30p.m. we went ashore again after dark in order to look at the Noordam with all the lights on - so pretty. Bonaire was a delightful surprise. The weather was perfect.We spent the morning walking around the city of Kralendijk taking photos. In the afternoon took an island tour with Bonaire Vista Tours. We had booked this online prior to the cruise. Our guide was wonderful - he took us to many interesting and lovely spots and he was very knowledgeable about his island. Bonaire is very charming, unspoiled by commercialism. Aruba was the last port of call. We had also been there a few years ago, but I had forgotten how nice it is. We walked into Oranjestad to shop, take photos and visit the iguanas in an area near the Renaissance Hotel. Sadly,disembarkation came too soon. However it went very smoothly and right on schedule. This was a very relaxing, enjoyable cruise. Can't wait for the next one, whenever and wherever it may be. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Review of Noordam cruise Feb 8, 2013 Overall 5 stars Cabin 5 stars MDR 2 stars Entertainment 5 stars to Brett Cave, singer pianist and Rich Purpura, comedian and "mind reader" Embark/disembark - best ever. Quick, courteous, ... Read More
Review of Noordam cruise Feb 8, 2013 Overall 5 stars Cabin 5 stars MDR 2 stars Entertainment 5 stars to Brett Cave, singer pianist and Rich Purpura, comedian and "mind reader" Embark/disembark - best ever. Quick, courteous, efficient and very nice for someone with limited mobility. Pre-Flight hotel: Sleep Inn BWI - very hard to find. Taxi from airport upon return, $23 with tip - better than trying to get hotwl van. No Breakfast, although it was advertised that there would be continental breakfast. Sheraton Ft L Beach. Not worth the money. $150 through Priceline. Next time will choose cheaper hotel closer to port with breakfast. Meals overpriced. Taxis in FT L plentiful, ditto BWI AirTran - check other prices. Too many add-ons, esp $25 per bag for luggage. We did like direct flights from BWI Cruise Critic roll call - very helpful. 5 star party aboard ship. Sunset cruise in Curacao set up by Kampusa very nice. One of the nicest roll calls I've ever had! Superior verandah cabin excellent! Lots of room, great balcony. Would do it again if we could afford to. Stewards very good, not perfect, but obliging. MDR - ok for breakfast and lunch. One dinner - not very good and much too long. MDR understaffed. Lido fine, but pick your times. Chairs in both Lido and MDR very comfortable. Condition of ship very clean, though a little shabbiness, especially in the Crow's Nest was observed. Not a problem for me - I like comfort and cleanliness over glitz any day! Tendering a bad choice for someone with mobility issues. HMC over crowded, could not get clamshell, not enough chairs for two ships in port. BBQ crowded and lackluster. Glad shore excursion on Samana was cancelled for lack of interest - tenders were bouncing around terribly - did not go ashore. The Pinnacle menu is excellent. Good choices, great service! Would go again at least twice. Ate in Pinnacle three times for dinner, once for lunch, and once for Le Cirque. Le Cirque food was bland - not as good as regular Pinnacle menu. Would not book Le Cirque again. Canaletto - service excellent, ambience very quiet. Ate there twice, once would have been more than enough. Lido evening buffet has excellent Italian choices. Disappointed in Canaletto menu - no veal or chicken marsala. An up charge for meatballs and spaghetti is not worth it. Drinks - most are way too big and watered down. Could not find a decent gin martini- but Manhattans straight up were great. Library excellent! Lots of computer terminals - no problem checking in with airline. FLL airport. Could not check bags until 3 hours before flight. Good reason for using ship's luggage direct and/or Ft Lauderdale tours. Overall staff and crew were 5 stars. Daily Mass with priest aboard....wonderful. Bottle of liquor in stateroom - reasonably priced. Laundry efficient and not unreasonably priced. Would take fewer clothes next time and not do formal. Yes, I know that sounds like heresy, but we really do not enjoy the longish dinners in the MDR anyway and would be perfectly happy on formal night to eat in the Lido - or on our balcony. Having three banks of elevators, forward, aft and midship was very convenient and most times we did not have to wait long. I loved the decor! Elegant without glitz! This voyage on this ship contrasts very favorably with our previous voyage on Celebrity's Silhouette. Even though we are Celebrity Captain's Club elite, and the perks are much better than HAL, we would not book a Celebrity cruise again on an "S" class ship, and we would definitely book on HAL again! I hope soon! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
HOLLAND AMERICA WAYFARER SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE ON NOORDAM. The private garden tours led by Andre Viette were fabulous. The only positive aspect of the trip. Embarkation was slow. Once on the ship there were very few crew members ... Read More
HOLLAND AMERICA WAYFARER SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE ON NOORDAM. The private garden tours led by Andre Viette were fabulous. The only positive aspect of the trip. Embarkation was slow. Once on the ship there were very few crew members available to ask for directions. The ship smelled like mildew. The ship maps kind of matched the ship layout. We had a verandah room in the forward of the ship though we requested a midship room (travel agent issue). At the front desk we learned the travel agent had not given us the on board credit and they would not honor the promotion even though I had the paperwork. Also, they would not move us to another stateroom. About the cruise and Holland America, I would never recommend Holland America Noordam ship. The ship is old, public areas had peeling wallpaper and scruffy carpet, lighting very dim and overall dingy. In the stateroom there are no safes or coffee pots. For several days, there was intermittent toilet service on the ship. At night you would go to bathroom only to find it would not flush. A couple of days the water in the sink did not work for a few hours. The Dining option "as you wish" does not work. Reservations were available for 8.30pm or later unless you go to Italian restaurant or Pinnacle; both have a service charge. Neither should have a service charge; it is simply not worth it. In the main dining room the tables for "as you wish" diners are near the service stations along the walkways. Constantly being bumped and ignored by staff meant we used room service or went to the buffet. We missed many of the special dinners like surf and turf. Room service has a limited menu of sandwiches and salads. Other cruise lines offer whatever is being served in the dining room. Other than breakfast, room service is slow and generally unresponsive. The room service can take 45 minutes or 1 hour 45 minutes. The pickup of the trays is delayed. Seven nights our dinner room service tray was not picked up. In the morning the breakfast guy could not take the dinner room service tray. We learned to put trays on balcony - oh well, sometimes stuff vanished in the night. The ship is not well ventilated. You can smell the cooking even outside of the buffet area. Some areas have strong smell of mold and mildew. Outside buffets had gnats and flies. Beverage service was quick. The cleaning off of tables was not -- once during rough seas we watched many an item fly off of the tables and hit people. The beverage folks did not do much about it. The entertainment of the "Vegas Style" shows were very bad. My mother commented that the dance recitals I was in as a child were better done with prettier costumes. The scenery was minimal. The comedy was all about married couples and often I found it demeaning to women. They painted the ship several days and the strong smell invaded the ship. The cleaning of the stateroom is haphazard at best. We had to request that our bed linens were changed after 3 days. I took a warm washcloth and wiped the walls and the cloth came back brown. Gross! Nausea was our constant companion. The spa had vinyl cushions in the pedicure chair that were cracked with exposed foam. The ship shops were nice and service there was far beyond that found elsewhere. A bad value for the cost of the trip. After the perpetual news about the Carnival ship problems, since this experience, NEVER again will I go on Holland America or any Carnival owned ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Pre-cruise:We flew in 2 days before the cruise. Instead of a hotel stay, we went the couch surfing route and stayed at a new friend's home. Embarkation was impressively smooth, well-organized, and easy. Finding our way around was ... Read More
Pre-cruise:We flew in 2 days before the cruise. Instead of a hotel stay, we went the couch surfing route and stayed at a new friend's home. Embarkation was impressively smooth, well-organized, and easy. Finding our way around was made easier because of having been on Noordam's sister ship, the Westerdam. We went to the Mariners' Lunch, settled into our cabin, then enjoyed an informal Sailaway party with some of our fellow Cruise Critic members. Cabin: We thoroughly enjoyed our verandah for 5142. It was somehow smaller than I remembered but it was in fact very comfortable with more than enough room. Our room stewards, Danang and Gede, were great. They were unfailingly cheerful and efficient. entertainment: We enjoyed most of the shows we attended. The only exception was a so-called comedian my husband and I walked out on. The best show was Brett Cave, an entertainer of the best kind. Team Trivia with some of our fellow Cruise Critic members was a huge amount of fun. My team even won a couple of times. The library was excellent. Internet speed was not bad this cruise. We tried the casino but did not stay long because of the smoke, Dining: we had 1st seating, at what turned out to be a table for 8, though had requested a table for 6. Perhaps if had to do with booking fairly late. Thanks to pleasant table companions and wonderful Febi and Daniel, we enjoyed each meal in the MDR, except for the time we celebrated my birthday in the Pinnacle Grill. Virtually all the food was very good. Ports: We really enjoyed each of the ports. Each had something to recommend it. We also enjoyed finding geocaches at each port, which added another dimension, We took ship shore excursions in the Dominican Republic, and on Aruba. We also did our own thing and did one private tour, on Bonaire. The Port review section does not include Samana in the Dominican Republic, so I will describe it here. We would recommend the Cultural Highlights of Samana tour.. The best parts were the small but quality whale museum, and the Taino Park. The hour-long tour at the recreated Indian village uses personal ipods and quality headphones. As soon as we got back from that tour, we hired a local taxi using a motorcycle pulling an open cart to take us to the bridge to Cayo Vigio. The taxi driver walked with us to and from the island, which s a beautiful walk, and then took us to La Churcha. It was an easy walk back to the pier. We were disappointed, of course, that it was not safe to dock at Grand Turk The Noordam is a wonderful. Ship, and this is a great itinerary. Would we recommend it? Oh,yes! Post cruise: disembarkation was a breeze, very well organized. We couch surfed for 2 days, and this time enjoyed the exhilaration of air boat rides in the Everglades. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Background Information: This cruise was planned about a year in advance. I chose HAL since it was a long time I cruised with them. Hotel Information: I made reservations at the Hyatt Convention Center 17th St. When I got there I was ... Read More
Background Information: This cruise was planned about a year in advance. I chose HAL since it was a long time I cruised with them. Hotel Information: I made reservations at the Hyatt Convention Center 17th St. When I got there I was happy about the location as it was near an area I was familiar with, near the cruiseport, malls and restaurants. In short a nice location for someone with feet as transportation. Ship Information: Activities: There were plenty of activities. Often I would have liked to participate in several events. Cabin: I had cabin 6104, located between amidships and aft, 10 cabins away from the center elevators and 5 from the aft elevators. This was handy because the aft elevators took me to dinner in the Vista Dining Room on Deck 3 & to breakfast in the Lido Restaurant on Deck 9. My room stewards were Gede & Bagus, they told me they were responsible for 29 cabins. Captain: John Scott kept us well informed daily of the ships navigation and our daily progress as well as weather information. Children's Clubs: N/A Cruise Director: Shane Michaels was good but I've had better. Dining: Service & food were outstanding. ...The Pinnacle Grill was well worth the visit but I only ate there once a free gift from HAL thanking me for choosing the .....21 day cruise. ...Le Cirque at the Pinnacle Grill: To me it wasn't worth the price as I was used to hospital food. ...Mexican Food: This is near the Terrace Grill; I did not taste the food but they have quite a variety. ...Terrace Grill: This is on Lido 9 amidships & specializes in cheeseburgers, hotdogs, hamburgers, French fries etc. ...Canaletto Restaurant: Serves Italian food; I did not eat there & passengers were upset because there was a $10 charge .....& it used to be free. ...Coffee: Various people complained that the coffee was very strong. Embarkation: This went rather smoothly as we embarked on a Friday & the port was not crowded. Disembarkation: This was rather swift. I signed up for luggage direct which means you put your luggage out Sunday night & don't see it again until Monday at your home airport. I was off the ship & on the transportation to the airport in less than ½ hour. With luggage direct we were one of the first to leave the ship but we waited close to an hour (it seemed like that) on the ...bus. Entertainment: The Noordam seemed to excel here & most of the evening's entertainment received a standing ovation. Popcorn: This was available at all movies & was free naturally. Port & Shore Excursions: At Half Moon Cay I rented a clamshell, in Aruba I took a bus tour of the island, & in the other ports I just left the ship & did a bit of sightseeing. Sanitation: There were plenty of Purell hand sanitizers throughout the ship & all food handlers wore gloves. I did not notice anyone coughing and there appeared to be little chance of the Norovirus that causes cruise ships to delay boarding. Sanitation aboard the Noordam was even cleaner than some hospitals. The first 48 hours, you are served by the stewards in the Lido Restaurant. There was an attendant throughout the voyage serving cold drinks in the morning for the entire cruise. Service: This was outstanding service but HAL seems to be known for service. Tours: In most of the islands, taxi tours are available at the pier. If you want to go to a beach, take a taxi & request that you be picked up at a certain time. Wi-Fi: This was available at some ports with either Wi-Fi or internet service or both. Summary: I enjoyed my 10 days aboard the Noordam & look forward to my next voyage with HAL. Travel to Port of Embarkation: When I travel to Fort Lauderdale I usually stay at the Holiday Inn Cruiseport. This time I went to Priceline & stayed at the Hyatt Cruiseport of 17th St. a nice hotel but they did charge for shuttle to the cruiseport. ITINERARY Fri Jan 18 FLL 7/4 -- pc (Casual): We arrived at 7am but I was on the next cruise also so this was turn around for me (btb). We met in the Vista Lounge at 10am & followed the leader who took us off the ship, through customs (a formality) then back on the ship again. Customs (so I was told) likes a zero count of the ship (believe that & I have a bridge to sell you). Tonight's entertainment was Let us Entertain You with the Noordam singers and dancers. Sat Jan 19 Half Moon Cay Bahamas tender 8/4 -- pc (Formal): After lunch I went to the movie "The Bourne Legacy" in the Queens Lounge then the Cooking Show "That Souper" in the Culinary Arts Center. Tonight's entertainment was "Ballroom Blitz" with the Noordam Singers and Dancers. Sun Jan 20 Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos docked 12-6 - pc (Casual): I went ashore hoping to find Wi-Fi then returned to the ship, had lunch & saw the movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in the Queens Lounge. Tonight's entertainment "Fireworks On Four Strings" with Chris Watkins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NJSi-pNbr4 and he was great. The audience gave him a standing ovation. Mon Jan 21 Samana, Dominican Republic tender 10/5 -- pc (Casual): This was an island I would like to have spent more time in as the scenery was just beautiful but we were told the area is very rustic, rural, a developing nation, & some areas may be poverty stricken. I went ashore, walked past booths selling souvenirs then returned to the ship & after lunch saw Snow White and the Huntsman. Tonight's entertainment was Chris Blackmore http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wrx1oorXbw comedian & magician. Tue Jan 22 at sea pc (Formal): I went to "Transferring Photos" in the Digital Workshop followed by "Introductory Photo Editing". After lunch there was a "Future Cruise Presentation" in the Vista Lounge, "Custodians of the Seas" in the Hudson Room, & "Indonesian Tea" in the dining room. The Vista Dining Room had Surf and Turf with Filet Mignon and Prawns tonight. This evening's entertainment was singer Jordan Bennett http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0ktRrIeslo but I left after 15 minutes because there was a group of instrumentalists called the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering http://www.mlag.org/ , so I sat in on the session held in the Hudson Room. Wed Jan 23 Kralendijk (Bonaire) Antilles - docked 8/5 pc (Casual): I went ashore for a few hours then saw the movie "This Means War" which turned out to be funnier than expected. Tonight's Showtime was "If Walls Could Rock" with the Noordam singers and dancers, but I left early to hear the autoharp jam session in the Hudson room. Thu Jan 24 Willemstad (Curaccao) Antilles docked 7/11 -- pc (Casual): Went to lunch & met a couple who said that there is Wi-Fi on the island but as far as they are concerned, any business can wait until they get home. I walked to town passing a few Wi-Fi spots, roamed around taking in a few sights I had missed on previous cruises then returned to the ship for lunch. Today's movie was Trouble with the Curve" with Clint Eastwood & Showtime tonight at 10:30 was comedian Kevin Jordan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1n8_8MeCBw ; one would think at that hour it would be Adult Content but such was not the case. Between supper & Showtime I sat in the autoharp jam session in the Hudson Room. Fri Jan 25 Oranjestad, Aruba docked 7-5 -- pc (Casual): For once during this cruise I had breakfast at 6:30am & managed to stay awake. I went to town hoping to find Wi-Fi in the Renaissance Mall & according to people I talked to Wi-Fi was there but I couldn't get it, so I returned to the ship & had lunch. In the afternoon I took a tour of the island sponsored by HAL. Tonight's entertainment was pianist and singer Vladimir Zaitsev http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaVNUf457o0 but I went to see the bluegrass jam session instead. Sat Jan 26 at sea -- pc (Formal): I had a rather large breakfast so had a sandwich for lunch leaving room for the escargot & lobster we might be having tonight. As there was nothing in the Caribbean Sidewalk Sale, I ended up reading my Nook. At dinner Edgar & Pauline told us of their tour of the ship ($150 each) with Captain Scott. It was very interesting, & although they did get about $50 for more in free merchandise, at the time I thought it was not worth it; looking back I now realize that maybe it would have been worth it. Tonight's entertainment was "That's Vegas" with the Noordam singers and dancers but I sat in the autoharp jam session. Sun Jan 27 at sea -- pc (Casual): I woke at 5am & again at 7am going to the Lido for breakfast then back to my cabin to pack. Tonight's entertainment was Kevin Jordan & Chris Watkins. I went to the bluegrass show until 10pm then saw tonight's entertainment but returned to my cabin for last minute packing. As I was participating in luggage direct, I left my checked baggage outside my cabin tonight for pickup at Logan airport tomorrow. This service cost $20 & transportation from pier to airport was another $20; to me the expense was well worth the price. Mon Jan 28 FLL -- pc: We arrived in Ft Lauderdale at 7am; I was one of the first to leave the ship at 7:30 but waited on the bus for what felt like an hour. LOG: The cruise log showed the number of guests to be 1859 for this voyage. According to my stewards the ship's capacity was 1922 -- 2306. The Officers were: Captain John Scott, Hotel Manager Mark Pells, Cruise Director Shane Michaels as well as the entire ship's complement. 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Sail Date January 2013
We left Montreal 3 days prior to our cruise in order to spend time in FLL . Westjet was wonderful to us We will definitely choose them again 2 carry ons is a real plus plus crew and staff were very nice both in Montreal and Fort ... Read More
We left Montreal 3 days prior to our cruise in order to spend time in FLL . Westjet was wonderful to us We will definitely choose them again 2 carry ons is a real plus plus crew and staff were very nice both in Montreal and Fort Lauderdale GOOD JOB WESTJET WE stayed at the HYATT place near the port . Happy to say they cleaned it up very nicely ..no more mildew smell plus nice breakfaST AND BIG ROOMS We will use this hotel again Shopped and visited for 3 days...PERFECT WEnt to port with hotel shuttle ...very easy Our cabin was well located aft near elevators .I found storage space for 21 days limited but we managed .Loved our balcony and spent many hours on it reading and watching the waves until second leg ..... Our itinerary was the best .Nothing beats the ABC islands ...wonderful for shopping snorkeling and enjoying the heat Loved Barbados and Martinique on first leg THe service on Noordam was excellent and food was really good except Pinmnacl grill ..I think the chef really missed that one ..food was downright horrid ...very bitter I thought the dining room was much better WE had anytime dining and table 133 every night and shared with different people which wasvery enjoyable WE will choose anytime again They took great care of my food allergies Thank you ASHfor being a great waiter with a smile !!! My only beef about this trip is the smoking policy allowing CIGARS on balconies our cigar smoker spoiled our second leg He smoked nonstop and the stench filled the air and our cabin. I hope HAL will change their policy soon and join other companies in banning smoking indooers and on balconies .The Casino was horrid because it does not have proper ventilation .One night after some time there I ended up coughing all night back in my cabin. Needless to say I did not return People played pennies in front of me to keep on smoking ....I was told Casino could not ask them to leave even if they played 1 penny .They also never had a smokefree night I was told they were in the process of changing the policy THe demographics of HAL are quite different in winter and summer In winter many older people in wheelchairs,scooters and walkers and many not beach people In summer many families I loved scenic cruising in St Lucia and Martinique very enjoyable Production shows lacked pizzaz and decor but other musical performers were fine Adagio Strings was always enjoyable Loved the aft pool but steel drums nonstop was a bit much I would have prefereed a little more quiet .Library was great with many books Our cabin steward was very nice ..I loved our towel animals ...too cute for words Will return to Hal if they change their smoking policy ...I am told soon Loved the Southern Caribbean ...always a great choice For snorkeling nothing beats Bonaire and Dominica /s Champagne reef For those 2 stops our cruise was the best Kudos to ASSIA at pursers office for being so nice as always Loved our cruise now back in the cold and snow I miss it already Until next time ..... Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Background Information: This cruise was planned about a year in advance. I chose HAL since it was a long time I cruised with them. Hotel Information: I made reservations at the Hyatt Convention Center 17th St. When I got there I was ... Read More
Background Information: This cruise was planned about a year in advance. I chose HAL since it was a long time I cruised with them. Hotel Information: I made reservations at the Hyatt Convention Center 17th St. When I got there I was happy about the location as it was near an area I was familiar with, near the cruiseport, malls and restaurants. In short a nice location for someone with feet as transportation. Ship Information: Activities: There were plenty of activities. Often I would have liked to participate in several events. Cabin: I had cabin 6104, located between amidships and aft, 10 cabins away from the center elevators and 5 from the aft elevators. This was handy because the aft elevators took me to dinner in the Vista Dining Room on Deck 3 & to breakfast in the Lido Restaurant on Deck 9. My room stewards were Gede & Bagus, they told me they were responsible for 29 cabins. Captain: John Scott kept us well informed daily of the ships navigation and our daily progress as well as weather information. Children's Clubs: N/A Cruise Director: Shane Michaels was good but I've had better. Dining: Service & food were outstanding. ...The Pinnacle Grill was well worth the visit but I only ate there once as it was free as was thanking me for choosing the .....21 day cruise. ...Le Cirque at the Pinnacle Grill: Not worth the price as I was used to hospital food. ...Mexican Food: This is near the Terrace Grill; I did not taste the food but they have quite a variety. ...Terrace Grill: This is on Lido 9 amidships & specializes in cheeseburgers, hotdogs, hamburgers, French fries & etc. ...Canaletto Restaurant: Serves Italian food; I did not eat there & passengers were upset as they charged $10 & it used to ......be free. ...Coffee: Various people complained that the coffee was very strong. Embarkation: This went rather smoothly as we embarked on a Monday and there were only 3 ships in port. I left on the 12 noon shuttle to the cruise port and was finished unpacking in my stateroom by 2pm. Disembarkation: This was rather swift. I signed up for luggage direct which means you put your luggage out Sunday night & don't see it again until Monday at your home airport. I was off the ship & on the transportation to the airport in less than '½ hour. With luggage direct we were one of the first to leave the ship but we waited about an hour (it seemed like that) on the ...bus. Entertainment: The Noordam seemed to excel here & most of the evening's entertainment received a standing ovation. Popcorn: This was available at all movies & was free naturally. Port & Shore Excursions: On both days at Half Moon Cay I rented a clamshell, in Philipsburg (St. Maarten) I went to the beach, in Aruba I took a ...tour of the island. Sanitation: There were plenty of Purell hand sanitizers throughout the ship & all food handlers wore gloves. I did not notice anyone coughing and there appeared to be little chance of the Norovirus that causes cruise ships to delay boarding. Sanitation aboard the Noordam was even cleaner than some hospitals. The first 48 hours, you are served by the stewards in the Lido Restaurant. There was an attendant throughout the voyage serving cold drinks in the morning for the entire cruise. Service: This was outstanding service but HAL seems to be known for service. Tours: In most of the islands, taxi tours are available at the pier. If you want to go to a beach, take a taxi & request that you be picked up at a certain time. Wi-Fi: This was available at some ports with either Wi-Fi or internet service or both. Summary: I enjoyed my 21 days aboard the Noordam & look forward to my next voyage with HAL. Travel to Port of Embarkation: When I travel to Fort Lauderdale I usually stay at the Holiday Inn Cruiseport. This time I went to Priceline & stayed at the Hyatt Cruiseport of 17th St. a nice hotel but they did charge for shuttle to the cruiseport. ITINERARY Sat Jan 5 Fort Lauderdale - pc: I left Boston on Jet Blue flight 965 arriving in FLL about 11am. I could not check in so went to the Harbor Cafe, which has a sanitary problem & probably could be shut down, for some steak and eggs which tasted good as I did not have breakfast then to Publix Supermarket for some shopping. Supper consisted of a tuna fish salad as I had a rather large lunch; lunch to me is usually only a sandwich. The 42" TV at the hotel was quite a difference from the 13" I have a home. Sun Jan 6 Fort Lauderdale - pc: I set the radio alarm for 5:45am & went to the free hotel breakfast, had lunch at Joe's Cafe then went next door to Publix Market & walked the isles enjoying their free air-conditioning. Mon Jan 07 Fort Lauderdale -- pc (Casual): After checking out of the hotel, I took the 12 noon shuttle to the cruise port & was in my cabin by 2pm with packing finished as I took my luggage with me. But it should be remembered that this was a Monday and there were only 3 ships in port. I did not see anyone at the 2:30pm Informal M&G and only 2 showed up at the Informal M&G after the muster (we had 2 M&G's). The Muster was interesting for we were told that it would last 30 minutes but 15 of those 30 was making sure all cabins were accounted for. Oh, & people taking the second cruise must also attend the muster & life jackets at the muster were not required. Back in cabin there was a note thanking me for taking the 21 day cruise & inviting me to eat at the Pinnacle Grill free, which I did along with my nook (e-reader). I had a nice time reading & eating, mostly reading for that type of ambiance I am not used too. I did not go to tonight's entertainment of Let Us Entertain You with the Noordam Singers and Dancers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6tSaoGqm6A . Tue Jan 08 at sea - party cloudy, humid (Formal): At the M&G today the Food Director said that the islands we will be visiting are more tropical in nature. He also said that if we have a grievance HAL would rather hear it when it occurs rather than at the end of the voyage. After the M&G, lunch then to the spa to use the thermal hydropool then to my cabin where I read my e-reader on the verandah. At supper at table 54 we had Ziggy & his wife Kay, John & his wife Betty, Kim & her sister Noralee & their mother Nina. Tonight's entertainment was Ballroom Blitz with the Noordam Singers and Dancers. I purchased a bathing suit at the gift shop which turned out to be a fine purchase. Wed Jan 09 at sea - cloudy all day (Casual): It seems the sea gets rougher the more south we go; I had a rather large breakfast at 7am for a change. I purchased some sandals at the gift shop only to return them at the end of the cruise, returned to my cabin to put them away then went to the cabin crawl organized by "14 days and counting"; we visited 6 cabins. I had lunch in the Lido Restaurant & met some people from the cabin crawl who reminded me about the luncheon for Mariner's. So for supper I was not very hungry although I managed to eat all 3 courses. Tonight's entertainment was Julie Barr http://delafont.com/comedians/Julie-Barr.htm. Thu Jan 10 Philipsburg (St Maarten AN) - docked 8am/3pm - cloudy with rain showers (Casual); My bus tour today was "The French Riviera Beach Rendezvous" where you are taken to Orient Beach for about 3 '½ hours, lounge chairs, lunch and 2 drinks are included all for $60 adult. We left about 9:15am, returned about 2:15 pm. The weather at the beach was windy & mostly cloudy. It rained as we were driving there by bus but the tour director guaranteed the rain would let up by the time we reached the beach & she was correct. Tonight's entertainment was pianist, singer, comedienne Siobhan Phillips http://www.costelloentertainments.co.uk/3771/1652/objects/artists/siobhan-phillips.aspx from England. No doubt she is talented but I didn't understand the English accent. Fri Jan 11 Castries, St. Lucia - docked 8/3 -- pc (Casual): Went ashore to the shops, forgot to bring any money (out of habit). I did not see anything I liked & even if I did there was no room in my luggage. Wi-Fi was available but went back on board, had lunch, then went to a Windows 8 seminar. At 10pm tonight was Late Night R-Rated Adult Comedy with Julie Barr. Most agreed that it was really not R-Rated but Julie again put on a star performance. Jan 11 Scenic Cruising Soufriere Bay Jan 11 Soufriere St Lucia 5-6 Sat Jan 12 Bridgetown, Barbados - docked 8/5 -- pc (Formal): I went on a chocolate factory tour organized by a Cruise Critic member. We took a taxi to the factory even though it was just several blocks from the ship as there was one elderly person who could not walk the distance. It was a good tour and lasted about 3 hours. Tonight's entertainment was Simply Broadway featuring the Noordam Singers; I didn't care for it but the audience appreciated it. Sun Jan 13 Fort-De-France, Martinique -- docked 8/5 -- pc (Casual): Today everything was closed as it was Sunday. I got off the ship because one steward said that Wi-Fi might be available but the Wi-Fi at the pier was not working. I mailed a post card but decided that all future postcards will be in the form of emails. As the distance from Martinique to Roseau was 47 miles the Captain said he will be doing only 8 knots per hour. Tonight's entertainment was Comedian & other Dangerous Stuff of Benji Hill http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5J9T5KdRu8 .The audience gave him a standing ovation. Jan 13 Daylight passing Mount Pelee Mon Jan 14 Roseau, Dominica tender 7/3 -- pc (Casual): I went ashore expecting to find Wi-Fi but could only find a place located on the 2nd floor & I have a phobia for heights. A person later told me that there was Wi-Fi at a hotel but I was back on the ship & Wi-Fi then was really an issue. At 3pm I went to the Filipino Crew Show http://www.flickr.com/photos/36498457@N00/2451355193/in/photostream/ which was interesting. Tonight's entertainment was Piano Entertainer Elliot Finkel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln2oyjAJybo; the audience gave him a standing ovation. Tue Jan 15 St Thomas USVI docked 8/5 -- pc (Casual): I got off the ship expecting to find Wi-Fi but didn't. Saw an armadillo sunning himself on a rock. I went into the movie Robot & Frank then Introduction to the Cloud in the Digital Workshop. Tonight's entertainment was comedian and impressionist Jeff Burghart http://www.jeffburghart.com/ ; the audience liked him. Wed Jan 16 at sea -- pc (Formal): I went to the Caribbean Side Walk Sale on Lido 9 Pool Area but didn't see anything then the Cooking Show "A Taste Of The Caribbean", next "Custodians of the Sea" followed by Driving the Hotel with Captain John Scott. Tonight's entertainment was "That's Vegas" with the Noordam Singers and Dancers. Thu Jan 17 Half Moon Cay Bahamas tender 8/4 -- pc (Casual): I rented a clamshell staying there from 9-12 upon which I returned to the ship, had lunch, saw the movie Women in Black followed by the cooking show "A Taste Of Excellence". This evening's entertainment was Elliott Finkel & Jeff Burghart. Jeff was first followed by Elliott sort of like comparing a Ford to a Peugot. Fri Jan 18 FLL 7/4 -- pc: We arrived at 7am. LOG: The cruise log showed the number of guests to be 1857 for this voyage. The Officers were: Captain John Scott, Hotel Manager Mark Pells, Cruise Director Shane Michaels as well as the entire ship's complement. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Our first cruise took some careful planning using the internet ( no thanks to Imagine Cruising who were hopeless ) we siled from Port Everglade in Fort Lauderdale on the Noordam. Boarding was easy and luggage arrived at our cabin very ... Read More
Our first cruise took some careful planning using the internet ( no thanks to Imagine Cruising who were hopeless ) we siled from Port Everglade in Fort Lauderdale on the Noordam. Boarding was easy and luggage arrived at our cabin very quickly. Our cabin stewards Heru 1 and Heru 2 were truely excellent . Cabin 6171 had reasonable amount of space but shower only no bath . It was comfortable with a nice balcony to sit out on and enjoy a glass of vino. Food & sevice in the pinacle grill is splendid, staff including the guys from Turkey are first class. We ate here 4 nights and enjoyed the menu selections. Vista Dining room any time dining saw us eat at table for two, or with a group on some evenings , again good service and very polite staff .Lido we ate in this resturant mainly light breakfast and light lunch, excellent selection of food, clean , good service. Pools of the two we preffered the aft pool, also the jacussi . Live music at times and bar service was really on the ball especially Boosy and Len . These guys also worked in the Ocean bar in the venings and are a credit to HAL as they were great. Lots of shore trips, by golf cart, taxis and bus also a submarine trip which was a blast , you really should try this. Weather perfect and you get to meet a lot of very nice people . We can recomend the Noordam, as its first priority is to look after the passengers, from Captain Scott and throughout the crew who make this ship function brilliantly. We now plan a longer cruise next year perhaps Far East/Australia with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My husband and I are in our early 40's and have taken 11 cruises. We took this exact cruise in March 2012 and loved it so much we booked it again in December. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the day before the cruise and stayed at the ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 40's and have taken 11 cruises. We took this exact cruise in March 2012 and loved it so much we booked it again in December. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the day before the cruise and stayed at the Comfort Inn airport and cruise. This hotel provided free transportation from the airport and to the pier. This is the only positive thing about this hotel. I wouldn't recommend it. We arrived at the pier around 1030. Our check in took 15 mins but were weren't allowed to actually board the ship until 1130. There was adequate sitting room while we were waiting to board the ship but the waiting area was a bit warm. We booked a balcony room (VH) but were upgraded to a VA room on the 8th floor. The room was well maintained with the exception of the leaky water valve on the deck that caused a steady water trail. The room had adequate storage space and modern decor. Our cabin steward's were great. They were friendly, prompt, and did a great job of maintaining our room. The food was good. The variety seemed a little less than we cruised in December. The fruit in the Lido was not very good. It was over ripe. The desserts were lacking as on all the ships we have cruised on. The staff in the Lido was friendly and helpful if we needed anything. The Lido was never overly crowded. The dining room staff was all friendly but there were areas of the dining room where service was very slow. Disembarkment was easy as we booked a shore excursion before our plane left. We would recommend this ship, cruise line and the ports. The activities on the ship were lacking which made the days at sea long. The entertainment was good. The Vegas style shows were good and the comedian was the best we have ever seen. The Pinnacle grill was fabulous. The food was exceptional with good variety. The staff was very attentive and accurate. This was well worth the extra fee. All the staff on the ship were friendly and helpful. The remembered us by name. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Noordam 21 day Christmas, New Years Caribbean cruise Getting to the ship We flew from San Francisco to Ft Lauderdale on JetBlue nonstop overnight getting into Ft Lauderdale at around 7:30am the day before the cruise. We like the ... Read More
Noordam 21 day Christmas, New Years Caribbean cruise Getting to the ship We flew from San Francisco to Ft Lauderdale on JetBlue nonstop overnight getting into Ft Lauderdale at around 7:30am the day before the cruise. We like the overnight flight because it allows for a full day of hanging out on the beach and getting a good night's sleep the day before the cruise. We usually stay at the Extended Stay hotel on the 17th st. Causeway because they have four things we like, 1. they have free airport pickup, 2. they have a free shuttle to the ships the hotel is 1 block for the port, 3. they have a kitchen in the room, and 4. it's close enough to the beach that we can easily walk there. There are also plenty of stores and restaurants nearby. The Noordam The ship is in great shape! Most everything was clean and shiny. I had an obstructed ocean view cabin on deck 4. The great thing about these cabins on deck 4 is the window is floor to ceiling so you get lots of light and this particular cabin has the backend of a smaller lifeboat in front of the window of which I could see over the top and the back so my view was good, I could see lots of the water as well as any land we were going by. On deck 1 the ocean view cabin are not obstructed and the window is the usual square window which was about a quarter the size of ours. I usually always get an obstructed ocean view cabin in between lifeboats and the view is always good and the price was right, in fact the price was great since this was both a Christmas day and new year's day cruise and it was the regular price. I compared it to the Emerald Princess 20 day cruise that had similar ports and dates and it was $1,000.00 more per person! All the cruise lines usually jack up the price during the holidays so I was surprised to see this one at the regular price! My cabin was always clean and well maintained, one thing that seemed a bit strange was that the room steward wasn't filling up the soap dispenser in the shower. I ended up calling the front desk twice to get some more soap. When I saw him he said he was having a hard time getting soap as they were low on it. If that's the real reason then management isn't doing their job! The other thing that was a bit out of the ordinary was that we had come back from an excursion at 2:30pm and our room hadn't been made up. One thing different about HA and Princess is that HA doesn't have any big carts in the hallways, the room attendants work in pairs and carry around small handheld containers with supplies rather than a whole cart that blocks half of the isle on Princess ships. Throughout the entire ship in all of the passenger hallways there are black and white photos of various HA ships from past to present, along with pictures of the insides of ships, some ports and shipyards, along with lots of paintings of Venice. It was always a pleasure to walk down any of the corridors and view the pictures, I frequently went of different decks to get to my cabin so I could look at all of the photos. You get a great feeling for what HA is all about. The public rooms are great; We saw all of the shows in the main theater and never had a problem finding a great seat. The ship is set up to feel more like a small ship. Compared to either the Coral or the Island Princess which are similar in size the Noordams public rooms are smaller as is the atrium. The promenade deck is nice and wide similar to that of the Queen Mary 2. The Food Since I have food allergies I ate both breakfast and lunch at the Lido buffet every day. For breakfast I usually have fruit and hot cereal of which there is always an abundant supply of. The fruit was always fresh, ripe and delicious. For lunch I made a huge salad of which there was a great salad bar always full of a variety of veggies to choose from. The hot food was plentiful and good. The food in the buffet is as good as Princess. The Lido buffet area gets very crowded at breakfast and lunch time and a line forms that moves quite slowly. Part of the slow line problem is they need to put another staff member on the line to help everyone get their food faster and they need to expand the hot food area, there is a lot of wasted space on the counter. (Princess has remodeled their buffet and they have taken the toast, bread and dessert area and put it in the eating area making it much easier and quicker getting your food). The isle space is too small to handle all the people so there is a lot of bumping going on. I'd like to talk to the designer and find out how they came up with this floor plan. The other problem was the service in the buffet indoor and outdoor seating. The main thing I noticed is the lack of staff. Princess has quite a bit more staff keeping the tables clean at all times and they always make sure I have some lemonade. I usually ate both breakfast and lunch out on the back deck and had to find my own silverware numerous times while staff members were standing around talking to themselves or trying to sell me a "bar" drink. I took a cruise on the Eurodam 3 years ago and found the same problem on that ship as well. I had read about this on cruise critic for the Eurodam 3 years ago and it's still happening on the Noordam as well. I asked one of the "bar" waiters for some lemonade and they said I had to get it myself, on Princess they always got me some lemonade no matter who I asked. It also took a while to clear the tables They are very good about asking you if you want some drinks from the bar, that was never a problem. I think with a bit more training the staff would be able to provide the "Signature of Excellence" service HA boasts about. I would think the management would want the whole ship to shine brightly. For dinner we always ate in the main dining room at the earlier seating. The Rembrandt dining room is nicely done although the isles are a bit cramped. All the dinners were great every night. I order a special salad, sauteed vegetables and a yam for each night, while choosing between the various fish, lamb steak and chicken items. For dessert I either had a bowl of berries, or they made me an Apple Tart Tatin. One of the great things about cruising is that you can get almost anything you want when it comes to food, if you ask they will make it for you. The service in the dining room varied, we started downstairs and found the service was hit or miss. Downstairs is the "as you wish dinning" area. On the third day we went upstairs to the traditional seating and had great service from day one, a much better experience. Downstairs the first waiter we had was very slow in getting the food to the table. The second waiter was better although the times varied as to how long it took to get our food. The waiter said the kitchen was slow at times and that was the reason for the delay. Upstairs was always a pleasure, our head waiter was exceptional at getting us everything we wanted and on time. The terrace grill is great with a nice selection of hamburgers, turkey burgers, lamb burgers, and salmon burgers along with hot dogs and fries. The problem with the Terrace Grill is that the opening to it is too small and they put a huge display of the food in the middle of it so it's hard to see and talk to the servers and cooks making the food. I especially enjoy the lamb burgers and had one every day without the bun. What I noticed was the staff needs some more English lessons and the display needs to removed. Almost no one ever looked at the displays to make their choices, they looked at the sign board or knew what they wanted before making their order. The staff behind the counter would consistently get the order wrong or have to ask again and again what everyone wanted, some passengers were very frustrated with this back and forth confusion. The solution is to get rid of the displays and have the staff take some more English lessons, all very doable at little or no cost to HAL and with a big benefit. I was there every day at lunchtime for 21 days and I saw the same thing going on every day. Entertainment The HAL dancers did a good job with their shows and the, singers, pianists, comedians and magicians were all fabulous! We saw all of the shows. The theater is great from just about any seat. The other entertainment throughout the ship was great as well. Spa and Gym We used the gym about 15 times - We lift weights and there were no real problems waiting for the machines or the dumbells. The equipment was enough for us to do maintenance workouts. We was there at 3-5pm and there was never any waiting for equipment. Everything was clean and worked! The spa area is mostly a "pay for it" item. If you want to use a locker they are in the pay zone and the "complimentary" sauna is tiny! In the mornings we walked the Promenade deck for an hour everyday and never use the elevators. We only gained 1 pounds on this entire trip. Excursions I booked all my tours through HA before getting on the ship for peace of mind regarding schedules and getting back to the ship on time. If it's a HA tour, they'll wait for you if it's late getting back to the ship. We were usually always right on schedule, arriving spot on time at every port. We took snorkel trips at most of the islands and they were always fun. All in all the process was organized and smooth. All the tours were right on time and everyone was very helpful in making sure we all had a great time. The Captain was great at giving a 12:55pm update on our progress. He also informed us as to our course when heading out of each port. The weather was good for most of the trip, calm and warm, mostly sunny, with some rain in Bonaire.. On deck 9 you can get out on the front of the ship and see everything up close and personal, it's a great place for viewing coming into ports as well as leaving. Disembarkation On the mornings of disembarkation I usually get up eat breakfast and find a nice lounge chair either on top deck if it's nice or down on the promenade deck and wait there for my color code to be called thus avoiding the congestion at get off time. HA has a color system of which you get a tag for you bag and when your color and number is called you are able to disembark, ours was brown number 1. The disembarkation was smooth and peaceful with little crowding, we found our bags in the terminal and off we went!. I would hope the management at HA does some more training with their staff to bring the level of service up to "Signature Class". The ship is great and with a little shining up it will be a winner. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This is our first cruise with Holland America, although we have cruised with different cruise lines. We booked this cruise for the itinerary and the super low price. . We drove to Fort Lauderdale,stayed at the Comfort ... Read More
This is our first cruise with Holland America, although we have cruised with different cruise lines. We booked this cruise for the itinerary and the super low price. . We drove to Fort Lauderdale,stayed at the Comfort Inn,Hollywood,the price of one night's stay,included the 10 day parking, drop off and pick up with their shuttle at the cruise port, excellent service, excellent price. We arrived at the cruise port, embarking took no time, we were on the ship and immediately in our room, loved that, no dragging around carry ons, etc. Impressed with this. We liked the size of the ship -- not overly crowded, easy to get around- and although we like kids, nice to see that there were hardly any on the cruise. We have been on ships that parents allow kids to run wild. Not a lot of announcements, or waiters pushing drinks, we liked that. I had read that the Hal cruises were mostly elderly guests, well, there was a cross section of ages, elderly, middle age, and varying ages of younger people, nice mix. I had also read reviews, saying that many of the passengers, were elderly people in wheel chairs,using scooters, canes,walkers...yes, there were plenty, but we only wish both sets of our parents were still alive, that they could be with us, enjoying a cruise using their walkers,if they had to, to see them enjoying life and not in a nursing home. We arrived at the cruise port, embarking took no time, we were on the ship and immediately in our room, loved that, no dragging around carry ons, etc. Impressed with this. We had a veranda stateroom on the Rotterdam deck. Lots of storage, bed and pillows super comfortable, loved the Elemis products provided -- I wish I had bought the conditioner when it was on sale at the spa. Our stewards were super nice guys, great service, lots of ice, we brought one bottle of wine with use and they kept us supplied with ice. We always put the card in the door to haver tohe room make up when we went out in the morning. There are DVD's you can order from a huge selection, if you wish to watch a movie in your stateroom. Food is subjective -- We enjoyed our meals. Waiters were all really nice, and dinner usually took about 1-1/2 hours. The only meal we didn't enjoy was the last evening, the Master Chefs, just wasn't anything on the menu either of us really wanted to order. We aren't food critics, hey,we are on vacation I don't have to cook, clean up, wash dishes. I am not complaining. We ate breakfast every morning in the main dining room, I have no problem eating in the Lido buffet but trying to get coffee,juice, your food, table,etc is a pain, unless you are in port and have to be off the ship early, then that is fine with me. We ate dinner in the Vista Dining Room, almost every night, we had Open Seating and we never waited for a table. We went to 2 formal nights -- men you have to have a jacket on -- we seen one night a passenger was given a jacket to wear. On casual evenings, men, you have to wear long pants. We loved the Explorations Cafe. Lots of books to take out to read, magazines to read while you are there, chess games, checkers, etc. We took advantage of the Tech classes, went to a Windows 8 seminar, very informative. Lots of cooking classes, cake decorating, etc...tons of things to do. We went to a couple of movies in the Queens Lounge. We really liked the Crow's Nest for relaxing. Internet -- the only big complaint I have. I signed up for 100 minutes for $55.00 plus the activations fee, fine, I know it is satellite and super super slow, but we needed to trying check emails and let family member know things were fine. Last day on the ship I had 20 minutes left, used it checking emails, etc, it seemed it was a big longer and hey I didn't have my stop watch with me. To make a long story short, when I got our on board account, we were charged an extra $14.30 for internet. We found out what happens that, when the 100 minutes was used, the system does not sign out, or advise you that you need to purchase more internet time, it will automatically start billing you for the extra minutes. Did not like this, so much like negative billing. It is not the $14.30 that we were charged it is the principal of the matter. I deduct major points for this. Maybe I missed reading the fine print when I initially set up for the internet and next I will be super clear what is involved. Buyer beware. But when we were in Bonaire, there is an internet cafe that had 1 hour internet for $7.00 and in Aruba we found an internet cafe that had 1 hour for $4.00....had I done research before we left I would have gone the internet cafe route and never purchased internet time on the ship. Nightly Shows- There were 2 shows Tony Pace and Rondell Sherridan, both excellent, the rest were most the Noordam Singers and Dancers, after you seen one of their shows, that was enough. They really need better shows at night. Ports- Half Moon Cay -- loved it -- we rented a clam shell, good choice as there wasn't much shade and sun was hot. We went back to the ship early, so we asked some people if they wanted to use the clam shell,as we were leaving and it was paid for, for the day, they were sitting in the hot sun. We enjoyed the bbq lunch, loved the roosters running around. Grand Turk -- We took a private tour which we found on the dock, Hartley Forbes -- mini van, AC, $30.00 each, drove us all around, seen the lighthouse, herds of horses running wild, donkeys...Then we spent the rest of the day at the beach at Margaritaville, lots of loungers, warm water, sandy beach...loved it.. Samana-DR After a few tenders went ashore, the Captain had to cancel the tendering, as the seas were super rough. We had only planned to go into Samana and walk around. We have been to the DR before and not our favourite place. Bonaire -- again, got a private tour with Farid, from Ayubi's Tours and Taxi, the singing driver, great tour $25.00 each lots of fun and very informative. Curacaos -- we decided to just take a walk around, loved the Poontoon Bridge, the floating market, we did some shopping. We were in port until 11pm and after dinner we took a walk down around Fort Fi . Aruba- We took a private tour again, with Fofoti Tours, AC bus, 2 hour tour of Aruba, then the driver dropped us off at Palm Beach for 2 hours and came back and picked us up, all for $20.00 each. Debarking- We opted to take our own luggage off the ship, we were off in no time, through Customs, and the minute we stepped out of the Cruise Port, our shuttle was right there and we were back picking up our car in less than a half hour. We would cruise again with Holland America, if we got another good deal. We would give this cruise a 9 out of 10. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our 3rd cruise on Holland, Alaska, Mexican Rivera, and now Caribbean. Two of the cruises I rate as poor and one (Alaska) very good. Pre Cruise Hotel: Arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day ahead of the cruise and stayed at the ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on Holland, Alaska, Mexican Rivera, and now Caribbean. Two of the cruises I rate as poor and one (Alaska) very good. Pre Cruise Hotel: Arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day ahead of the cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express near the cruise port. Hotel offered shuttle service to/from the airport at no charge. Room was adequate with free WI FI both in the room and common areas. Upon check in I was presented with a Priority Club Members welcome gift consisting of a snack, newspaper, 2 bottles of water and hotel and information about the surrounding area. Hotel is close to the cruise port and many restaurants, shops, Rx, and a Publix where you can purchase some wine. Highly recommend this hotel and advise one to sign up for the Priority Club for future benefits. In fact recommend you sign up for any hotel chains member programs. Upon arrival and after retrieving our baggage I contacted the hotel via the free phone in the baggage claim area. The shuttle driver arrived in about 20-30 minutes and promptly (excluding traffic congestion) delivered us to the hotel. Check in time is 3:00 PM but we arrived prior to that and were immediately checked in. A morning breakfast is furnished at no charge and is more than a continental breakfast with all you desire to eat an a selection of juices, breads, yogurt, scrambled eggs, bacon, hot and cold cereal and coffee, milk and tea. Shuttle service was available for a fee with 3 departure times. We opted for the 10:30 time, and sped off to the port. Embarkation: Upon arrival at the port our luggage was handed off to a porter with the exception of a small carryon. Check in was swift and then we headed off to the waiting area. We waited about 30-40 minutes before boarding just prior to noon. We immediately went to our stateroom to drop off our carryon tote and headed to the Lido deck for lunch. Stateroom: We normally choose an inboard stateroom and did so this time. Since we only spend time in the cabin to sleep, shower and change clothes an interior is normally adequate, especially when cruising in warm weather as we spend our days outside on the various decks. Our cabin was not assigned to us until about a week prior to the cruise and we were able to print our Holland luggage tags pre cruise, and attach them at the hotel prior to boarding the shuttle. The cabin 6015 was not as depicted on the website and was one of the smallest cabins in our 12 prior cruises. It was adequate but we found ourselves constantly getting in each others way when going to/from the bathroom or to the closets. A plus on the cabin was that it was very easy to find from day one, and close to the forward elevators. Stateroom Service: We met our cabin steward shortly after embarkation and our visit to the Lido restaurant. He introduced himself and provided a business card with his contact information. I requested two wine glasses and a bucket of ice to chill our wine. Neither of these was delivered until the 2nd day. The cabin had a small refrigerator so I emptied it and placed our wine to chill. Bathrobes were not furnished until day 3. Towels were large and adequate as were the bathroom supply of shampoo, conditioner and soap. Negative was how long it took to make up the cabin. This was not accomplished until early afternoon unless we requested by placing a request card in the door entrance lock. Ship: The size of the ship made it easy to find your way around without feeling like being in a maze. Maybe because we had a forward cabin we only had one option (aft) upon exiting an elevator. We would travel to the deck of choice and head aft to find anything and everything we needed (restaurants MDR and Lido) bars, library, purser desk etc. There was always an ample supply of clean beach towels and more than enough deck chairs on all areas except the immediate pool area. The ship was clean and well maintained with a few of the canvas awnings on the aft Lido deck and forward deck 10 that were torn or missing. Service/food: Lido and bars. The service met expectations with the bar servers and food servers in the Lido restaurant being very friendly and not pushing one to buy drinks. The food was for the most part adequate providing numerous selections. Two concerns: Asian food line: We enjoy sushi and it was not always at the Asian line. One day it was and another it was located by the cheese and fruit area. Lack of consistency was an inconvenience. Lido pool area Mexican buffet offered the same selections daily including salsa but no chips. If you wanted chips with the salsa you had to break up taco shells. Service/food: MDR: service and menu in the main dining room 2nd seating was subpar compared to other cruise lines and cruises. On day one our table of six made several requests for the week: A pre dinner plate of cheese and crackers, iced tea with dinner and coffee post dinner. The cheese plate was delivered 4 times and without crackers. Iced tea was sporadic and had to be requested as was the coffee. All table mates made the same comments about the menu selections: "I am having a difficult time finding something or I feel I am choosing the best of the worst items." We never once saw a wine steward during the entire cruise. One evening we experienced a long delay and shortage in food service. Per the matre d' this was due to the captain's reception. One would think that Holland should be better prepared as this was not the inaugural cruise for this ship. Disembarkation: This was very smooth with baggage tags supplied and an adequate number of customs stations to process departing passengers. Shuttle to the airport was again timely delivering us to the airport in plenty of time to catch our flight home. 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Sail Date December 2012
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3
Value for Money 3.0 N/A

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