The Vacation of a Lifetime: Noordam Cruise Review by Beepsmom
Overall Member Rating
The Vacation of a Lifetime
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
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. Less
Cabin review: SY6073 Signature Superior Verandah Suite
Nice location. Convenient to elevators but far enough away not to be effected by the noise. Very nice sized balcony. Wonderful bathroom with jetted tub and a separate shower stall. plenty of storage space.Read All Signature Superior Verandah Suite (SY) Reviews >>
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