Hope this is of use to anyone looking to book the Noordam. We are just home in the UK after a great vacation to Florida that included a 10 night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Noordam. I have sailed once previously with Holland America in 2010 and my wife twice, 2010 with me and 2013 on the Ryndam with her daughter (I was left behind to work to earn the money to pay for the cruises!). We used our Virgin Atlantic miles this time so the routing was Manchester/Heathrow/Miami which was fine other than the Manchester flight being late and them holding the Miami flight whilst it arrived and we were running (with about 10 others) between terminals. Arrived in Miami fine and got out hire car for the short drive to Ft Lauderdale and two nights stay and some shopping as Sawgrass Mills before our Monday departure on Noordam. We were reasonably early for check in but had a reasonable wait as the ship had just done it's Transatlantic thus had to have it's mandatory inspections by the US authorities so we were later boarding but it went smoothly with no issues. I like others missed the Mariner lunch but didn't let this get to me like some I heard complaining and mumbling. We went up to the Lido for lunch and as normal this was busy but we are used to that on first day. Went to our cabin, (5036 Port side balcony cabin) to fine one of our two cases had arrived so we unpacked that then went to explore. Having been on Nieuw Amsterdam it was a similar but not same layout and all in good order. There was much cleaning and general maintenance continually going on throughout the 10 days which was good to see, they certainly look after her well. My wife likes the fact you get a bath on this style of ship as opposed to shower only on some of the newer ships. Case two finally arrived and was unpacked as we were about to set sail late due to a technical issue when they tested a lifeboat that needed attention so again top marks, safety coming first. We open seating dining and although many do then book specific times we just go when we feel we are ready. Had a short wait a couple of times but then we were requesting tables for 2 and not to join mixed tables. The food in the Main Dining Room was good for the most part, one night I was brought the wrong meal but I decided to have it rather than wait for another correct one and to be honest it proved a real success. The waiting staff were all extremely friendly and efficient, a couple slower than others but no issues to note. We are not big drinkers but we did see most tables being well looked after with wine etc. There was a decent variation in the menu and the medium rare New York Strip steaks I had on several occasions was excellent. One waiter struggled to understand that on one occasion my wife wanted just the chicken off one menu taken and cut into slices and placed on top of a starter salad that she had asked to be done as a main portion. Next time she asked it was done perfectly without any misunderstanding. Breakfasts were always taken in the Lido and the speed of this improved after the two days of being served by their staff (a heath measure that I actually applaud), occasionally a bit of a job finding a table but we sorted that by changing our timings. Food was nice and a good choice although I heard some people saying breakfast were repetitive but I found that if you wanted something different there was sufficient choice. I do wonder if some people are just far to fussy, generally these were the American guests too. The guest make up was a lot of US and Canadian parties, just a few from the UK like us, Dutch, Germans and a couple from Australia and New Zealand but all got along well and it was a relaxed atmosphere. We took in the show all nights bar one and it was always entertaining and varied. Cruise Director was English and efficient and has obviously done the job a while, the wife said she had him on the Ryndam. The activities were varied but we did find ones we wanted clashed a few times and I did think a little more effort could have been put into sea days activities. Indonesian Crew Show late one night was very entertaining and a nice insight into their culture. The musicians were ALL first class. We really enjoyed a couple of sets a night in BB Kings Blues Club and would certainly look of another ship featuring this as the standard was excellent. A lot love the piano player in the piano bar, we heard him a few times from outside when it was packed and he sounded very good but he was also sick two days and signed off work. The piano and violin pre dinner were real classy musicians. We also enjoyed the deck BBQ night (only night we did not use the MDR) and the beef served that night was delightful. Lunches were spread between one in the MDR, several in the Lido, a couple at Dive In and I must congratulate them on the chicken burger, it was fantastic with a great sauce. We are now eagerly awaiting a painting that we bought at the art auction to be shipped - it is really nice and will be a great reminder of the cruise as will the watch that my wife won in the FREE raffle from the shops. First two days seas were higher than I have experienced in the Caribbean previously and weather less sunny but still enjoyable. We did witness a great lightning storm some miles from the ship one night. Ports of Call The captain did his best but could not tender us off at the private island due to winds that were quite high and he was worried that if he got guests on the island and wind increased it would not be possible to get them back on board so we got an extra sea day which was fine by us. Grand Turk Have been before but they have done some development since our last visit and we enjoyed walking and relaxing in the area around the Jimmy Buffets pool. Samarna (Dominican Republic) The sail into the bay was really nice, however the ship anchors a way off and it's quite a longer tender trip ashore. We had not booked a trip thinking we would look around and decide if we fancied one once ashore. My wife enjoyed the tender trip especially when I got soaked through the open front window as we were hit by the wake of a tender going in the opposite direction!!! We landed and walked along the promenade and around a simple market. It all looked quite a poor place and certainly not ready for cruise ship stops. The people were not pushy or anything however but in hind sight if we visit here again we will book a trip. Bonaire First time here and it's a lovely island and great for anyone wishing beaches/water sports. We toured the local shops and all were nice and people lovely. Curacao Visited here last year so we took a taxi tour this year and we hit lucky as the guide was really good and made many stops and described things well and showed lots of the history of the island. We then had a walk around the shops but being a Sunday many were closed or closing. Weather was really hot and it again is a nice island. The ship did not sail until late at night and it was nice to see all the town lit up etc. Aruba Again an island we have previously visited but just as nice as previous. Another great beach & water sports island and lots of the passengers enjoyed that. We arrived back at Ft Lauderdale at 7am and we were off the ship with our own luggage in hand, through immigration (oh why is there ever only two officers working) and were at the Alamo car hire depot by 8.10 am and on the road to Orlando by 8.30. Three days in Orlando, one in the Ft Myers/Sanibel Island and final day in Miami before 10:30pm flights back to the UK. All in all great value for money cruise that we will really enjoyed.

Really nice cruise

Noordam Cruise Review by Fralex

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2014
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Hope this is of use to anyone looking to book the Noordam.
We are just home in the UK after a great vacation to Florida that included a 10 night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Noordam. I have sailed once previously with Holland America in 2010 and my wife twice, 2010 with me and 2013 on the Ryndam with her daughter (I was left behind to work to earn the money to pay for the cruises!).
We used our Virgin Atlantic miles this time so the routing was Manchester/Heathrow/Miami which was fine other than the Manchester flight being late and them holding the Miami flight whilst it arrived and we were running (with about 10 others) between terminals.
Arrived in Miami fine and got out hire car for the short drive to Ft Lauderdale and two nights stay and some shopping as Sawgrass Mills before our Monday departure on Noordam. We were reasonably early for check in but had a reasonable wait as the ship had just done it's Transatlantic thus had to have it's mandatory inspections by the US authorities so we were later boarding but it went smoothly with no issues. I like others missed the Mariner lunch but didn't let this get to me like some I heard complaining and mumbling. We went up to the Lido for lunch and as normal this was busy but we are used to that on first day. Went to our cabin, (5036 Port side balcony cabin) to fine one of our two cases had arrived so we unpacked that then went to explore. Having been on Nieuw Amsterdam it was a similar but not same layout and all in good order.
There was much cleaning and general maintenance continually going on throughout the 10 days which was good to see, they certainly look after her well. My wife likes the fact you get a bath on this style of ship as opposed to shower only on some of the newer ships. Case two finally arrived and was unpacked as we were about to set sail late due to a technical issue when they tested a lifeboat that needed attention so again top marks, safety coming first.
We open seating dining and although many do then book specific times we just go when we feel we are ready. Had a short wait a couple of times but then we were requesting tables for 2 and not to join mixed tables. The food in the Main Dining Room was good for the most part, one night I was brought the wrong meal but I decided to have it rather than wait for another correct one and to be honest it proved a real success. The waiting staff were all extremely friendly and efficient, a couple slower than others but no issues to note. We are not big drinkers but we did see most tables being well looked after with wine etc. There was a decent variation in the menu and the medium rare New York Strip steaks I had on several occasions was excellent. One waiter struggled to understand that on one occasion my wife wanted just the chicken off one menu taken and cut into slices and placed on top of a starter salad that she had asked to be done as a main portion. Next time she asked it was done perfectly without any misunderstanding.
Breakfasts were always taken in the Lido and the speed of this improved after the two days of being served by their staff (a heath measure that I actually applaud), occasionally a bit of a job finding a table but we sorted that by changing our timings. Food was nice and a good choice although I heard some people saying breakfast were repetitive but I found that if you wanted something different there was sufficient choice. I do wonder if some people are just far to fussy, generally these were the American guests too.
The guest make up was a lot of US and Canadian parties, just a few from the UK like us, Dutch, Germans and a couple from Australia and New Zealand but all got along well and it was a relaxed atmosphere.
We took in the show all nights bar one and it was always entertaining and varied. Cruise Director was English and efficient and has obviously done the job a while, the wife said she had him on the Ryndam. The activities were varied but we did find ones we wanted clashed a few times and I did think a little more effort could have been put into sea days activities. Indonesian Crew Show late one night was very entertaining and a nice insight into their culture. The musicians were ALL first class.
We really enjoyed a couple of sets a night in BB Kings Blues Club and would certainly look of another ship featuring this as the standard was excellent. A lot love the piano player in the piano bar, we heard him a few times from outside when it was packed and he sounded very good but he was also sick two days and signed off work. The piano and violin pre dinner were real classy musicians. We also enjoyed the deck BBQ night (only night we did not use the MDR) and the beef served that night was delightful.
Lunches were spread between one in the MDR, several in the Lido, a couple at Dive In and I must congratulate them on the chicken burger, it was fantastic with a great sauce.
We are now eagerly awaiting a painting that we bought at the art auction to be shipped - it is really nice and will be a great reminder of the cruise as will the watch that my wife won in the FREE raffle from the shops.
First two days seas were higher than I have experienced in the Caribbean previously and weather less sunny but still enjoyable. We did witness a great lightning storm some miles from the ship one night.
Ports of Call
The captain did his best but could not tender us off at the private island due to winds that were quite high and he was worried that if he got guests on the island and wind increased it would not be possible to get them back on board so we got an extra sea day which was fine by us.
Grand Turk
Have been before but they have done some development since our last visit and we enjoyed walking and relaxing in the area around the Jimmy Buffets pool.
Samarna (Dominican Republic)
The sail into the bay was really nice, however the ship anchors a way off and it's quite a longer tender trip ashore. We had not booked a trip thinking we would look around and decide if we fancied one once ashore. My wife enjoyed the tender trip especially when I got soaked through the open front window as we were hit by the wake of a tender going in the opposite direction!!! We landed and walked along the promenade and around a simple market. It all looked quite a poor place and certainly not ready for cruise ship stops. The people were not pushy or anything however but in hind sight if we visit here again we will book a trip.
Bonaire
First time here and it's a lovely island and great for anyone wishing beaches/water sports. We toured the local shops and all were nice and people lovely.
Curacao
Visited here last year so we took a taxi tour this year and we hit lucky as the guide was really good and made many stops and described things well and showed lots of the history of the island. We then had a walk around the shops but being a Sunday many were closed or closing. Weather was really hot and it again is a nice island. The ship did not sail until late at night and it was nice to see all the town lit up etc.
Aruba
Again an island we have previously visited but just as nice as previous. Another great beach & water sports island and lots of the passengers enjoyed that.
We arrived back at Ft Lauderdale at 7am and we were off the ship with our own luggage in hand, through immigration (oh why is there ever only two officers working) and were at the Alamo car hire depot by 8.10 am and on the road to Orlando by 8.30. Three days in Orlando, one in the Ft Myers/Sanibel Island and final day in Miami before 10:30pm flights back to the UK.
All in all great value for money cruise that we will really enjoyed.
Fralex’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VC 5036
Nice well appointed cabin in good condition, wife really liked having the bath as opposed to just a shower. Bed and pillows very comfortable. Cabin steward VERY GOOD.
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