Roman Empire Cruise September 2012: Noordam Cruise Review by Peter Christmas

Noordam 4
Peter Christmas
Member Since 2012

Overall Member Rating

Roman Empire Cruise September 2012

Sail Date: September 2012
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Other
It may be somewhat of a shock for readers to read a less than perfect review of this ship following other glowing reports listed on this site so I will try to be totally honest and fair regarding our recent trip on the Noordam.

Our arrival at Leonardo Di Vinci airport was less than inspiring we dragged our cases out and had to follow someone in and out of the crowds in the terminal, dragging our cases a considerable distance over uneven and cobbled pavement to a rather large and scruffy lorry with two burly and menacing loader/drivers. after which we were led back to a rather busy and very dirty sweaty cafeteria and told to wait for the next shuttle bus (we chose to wait outside the terminal) arrival at the terminal was quick and efficient and we were on board within and estimated 20 minutes or less.

The ship to be fair is fitted out to a Very High standard and oozes class at every turn and is maintained to a very high & comfortable standard both in furniture and More cleanliness. The cabin we occupied was spacious and contained a small bath which was very pleasing, but one word of warning - if the description is that the view may be wholly or partially obscured by life boat - it pretty much means that you will get a fair amount of natural light but not much else, the only way my wife could look out was if she stood on the (very comfortable) bed and braced herself against my shoulders.
The staff for the most part are attentive, friendly, and mostly helpful (unless you have only just missed the breakfast line deadline in the Lido). The only other issue we had in the Lido was the slowness at times of removal of dirty plates when supervisory staff were absent in addition to the usual less than good natured "Scrum" at busy times of the day.

The problem we experienced after having traveled with many other cruise lines was the generally poor quality & level of entertainment on this particular cruise. With the exception of an opera singer on one night, and an excellent Guitarist another the entertainment was something that you would have expected to have experienced maybe 15 to 20 years ago on one of the cheaper middle range ships, on occasions it was very obvious that some of the performers where miming during the performance which could go someway to explain why this beautiful auditorium was at best only about a 3rd full every night for the duration of the cruise.

The poor experience in the Theatre was compounded by the total absence of any atmosphere around the ship later in the evening that just cannot be explained by age and gender. Every other cruise I have been on without exception has had a lively and friendly atmosphere through to the early morning but the Noordam was like a ghost ship from 10.30pm onwards. We commented on this on a customer feedback form half way through the cruise and duly received a telephone call the following day from the Cruise Director Shane who, after we had expressed our concerns, more or less told us that we were entitled to our opinions and left us with a closing statement to "try and enjoy the rest of our cruise as much as you are able to"!

The food generally was of a good quality with the exception of a few nights and the waiting staff were found to be quick and attentive in the main Vista Restaurant(even if the wine waiter was less than attentive to my wife's needs as she was unable to consume alcohol for the most part). We had one waiter that made the extra effort and entertained the table with card tricks and meal end towards the end of the cruise which was much appreciated and significantly more entertaining than most of the shows on offer.

The trips where found to be expensive in the extreme and my advice would be to arrange your own(a number of people cancelled theirs after one and rather poor experience which cost them a handling charge of 10% on all the trips booked which rather added insult to injury).

Our overall experience was not great - I enjoyed the comfort provided by the ship - met some great people and never (apart from the Lido at times) felt cramped but the ship just did not have anywhere near the level of atmosphere compared to previous many cruises taken with other much cheaper cruise lines.

There is much more I could say but feel that enough is enough - needless to say that it is very unlikely that we will book with Holland America again based on our recent experience as we believe that we just didn't get the experience we were expecting or value for money. Less

Published 09/29/12

Cabin review: HH4068 Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)

Very comfortable, spacious and light cabin but view completely obstructed by Life Boat (unless 6Ft 2" or taller.)

Read All Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views) (HH) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

City Tour

good insight in to city with views & photo stops for all the main tourist points - rather over priced but enjoyable apart from the backstreet tacky souvenir shop which they drop off at for 25 minutes!

Again took the rather expensive transfer from the port (pay both ways) Town is quite fun (providing you like shopping) and quite rustic.
Read 500 Corfu Reviews

Very easy to make ones way around - you can walk to the old town but takes a while. Transfers available for this albeit at a rather inflated price (you pay both directions - tickets available from front desk). Dubrovnik well worth the time beautiful & historic city - take the cable car if you are able - just under 10 pounds for a return journey, but be aware that there could be a bit of a Que at certain times of the day.

Very easy walking distance from the berth nice little town. we opted not to take the Olimpia trip abd had a peacefull roam around the town before taking the road train to a unspoilt beach on the other side.


Reasonable value for money - would recommend you shop around if possible, but be prepared to be pestered by shop keepers and other vendors - if you are bothered then it may be worth paying to go with the cruise ship. Ephesus not to be missed!
Read 231 Ephesus Reviews

City Tour

An awful & bad value for money Trip around a scary and very unsafe city we were glad to get back to the ship. Having visited Sorrento, Capri, and the amalfi coast before I would recommend you take any trip other than the city. One female passenger was unfortunate to have a necklace she was wearing ripped from her neck by passing thieves on a scooter(of which there are many in this city) They say see naples and die - i would say that you would be lucky to see it and come out unscathed!

Beautiful island and very easily accessed on own - be aware of the ques at the cable car but the view from the top is to die for. We threw our lot in with 4 other people at the town at the top and engaged the services of a chauffeur and a people carrier for a 3 hour trip around the island viewing most o the places offered by the ship but at a mere fraction of the cost - far more enjoyable and informative!

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Peter Christmas
Member Since 2012
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