Holland America enabled us to enjoy a first class, once-in-a-lifetime adventure for my daughter (graduating High School) and the total cost was less than one might expect to spend for a week in Europe. The service was excellent throughout the ship with delicious food, tasteful decor, great entertainment and a fun teen club for my daughter (17). With so many exciting ports to explore (18 ports in 22 days!) my only complaint is the cost of the ship sponsored excursions. The cost was about triple or quadruple what you would pay if you arranged the tour yourself. We had a FANTASTIC onboard location expert, a Holland America employee. She gave us expert advice and thanks to her we visited unforgettable places that we certainly would have missed. We primarily took subways, buses &/or trains to go it alone and met up with other fellow travelers doing the same thing. In Tunisia we even took a local train to the Medina and that was an experience we'll never forget! We found the lowest cost for us to get to Europe was via Munich so we got to Venice via Deutschebahn train and it was a nice scenic trip (for the part we didn't sleep through!). Ordering the train ticket was fairly easy online--although the tickets were issued in German so we had to do a Google translate to be sure we understood what it said so we got to the correct platform to catch the train. In Livorno a goup of us caught an immaculately clean minivan taxi (with Wifi, too) directly as you exit the ship. It took us to Florence and then Pisa. At a cost of $80 per person this was a third of the cost of a Cruise Sponsored similar tour. Also the onboard Internet Speed was absurdly slow so I would recommend going online once in port versus facing this frustration. We booked this cruise last minute and were lucky to be offered an upgrade (for a small extra fee) to a balcony room. Watch your emails for special upgrade offers from Holland America! When we disembarked in Barcelona we took a Vueling (low cost) flight to Paris and stayed in an AirBnB studio flat in a nice area close to the Metro for a couple of days. We then took a high speed TGV train to Munich and stayed at a nice hotel near the main train station for a couple of nights before returning back to Tampa. On another Holland America carribbean cruise the average age of the passenger was about 80 years old (lots of walkers and motor scooters!) but on this one there was a younger crowd and many Aussies onboard.

Incredible Adventure - 22 days with 18 ports in Mediterranean

Noordam Cruise Review by kikirose

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2014
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Holland America enabled us to enjoy a first class, once-in-a-lifetime adventure for my daughter (graduating High School) and the total cost was less than one might expect to spend for a week in Europe. The service was excellent throughout the ship with delicious food, tasteful decor, great entertainment and a fun teen club for my daughter (17). With so many exciting ports to explore (18 ports in 22 days!) my only complaint is the cost of the ship sponsored excursions. The cost was about triple or quadruple what you would pay if you arranged the tour yourself. We had a FANTASTIC onboard location expert, a Holland America employee. She gave us expert advice and thanks to her we visited unforgettable places that we certainly would have missed. We primarily took subways, buses &/or trains to go it alone and met up with other fellow travelers doing the same thing. In Tunisia we even took a local train to the Medina and that was an experience we'll never forget!
We found the lowest cost for us to get to Europe was via Munich so we got to Venice via Deutschebahn train and it was a nice scenic trip (for the part we didn't sleep through!). Ordering the train ticket was fairly easy online--although the tickets were issued in German so we had to do a Google translate to be sure we understood what it said so we got to the correct platform to catch the train.
In Livorno a goup of us caught an immaculately clean minivan taxi (with Wifi, too) directly as you exit the ship. It took us to Florence and then Pisa. At a cost of $80 per person this was a third of the cost of a Cruise Sponsored similar tour.
Also the onboard Internet Speed was absurdly slow so I would recommend going online once in port versus facing this frustration.
We booked this cruise last minute and were lucky to be offered an upgrade (for a small extra fee) to a balcony room. Watch your emails for special upgrade offers from Holland America!
When we disembarked in Barcelona we took a Vueling (low cost) flight to Paris and stayed in an AirBnB studio flat in a nice area close to the Metro for a couple of days. We then took a high speed TGV train to Munich and stayed at a nice hotel near the main train station for a couple of nights before returning back to Tampa.
On another Holland America carribbean cruise the average age of the passenger was about 80 years old (lots of walkers and motor scooters!) but on this one there was a younger crowd and many Aussies onboard.
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VB Balcony - can't remember
Comfortably designed and spacious layout. Excellent service.
Observation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Athens (Piraeus)
    The subway is excellent and about a 20 minute walk from Piraeus. The hike up the Acropolis is something everyone should see. Then lunch in the Plaka was a delicious whole fish with a guitarist playing in the background.
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  • Ephesus
    The ruins of Ephesus should not be missed. We booked this directly with the ship and the tour guide was very informative. The ruins are spectacular. On the way back to the ship we stopped at a turkish carpet manufacturer/sales presentation and we were given a glass of wine and small lunch in exchange for listening to their sales pitch. It was done with low pressure and was somewhat interesting.
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  • Santorini
    My daughter took a donkey up the mountain with her new friends she met onboard. I went with the parents on the trolly instead. Santorini has the unforgettable white and blue homes and scenic views. We enjoyed appetizers and local beers overlooking the sea. We tried the overly sweet Vinsanto wine and cannot recommend it.
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  • Medina Walking Tour
    We walked quite a distance and took a local Tunisian train to the Medina. We had to have local currency to buy our tickets so we got it at a shop immediately in the cruise terminal. The train was overcrowed with broken out windows and passengers hanging outside the doors! When we got to the stop at the Medina we were fortunate to have a nice local lady point us in the right direction. It was quite a long walk but once we arrived in the Medina it was a great cultural adventure. We bought a pretty dress, a cruise employee bought a small live turtle for his cabin, and a sterling silver Hamsa necklace. On our way back to the ship we decided to take a taxi and it was fairly inexpensive.
    View All 7 Medina Walking Tour Reviews
  • Venice
    Venice is even more beautiful than the photos! We took the local vaporetto boats to get to St. Marks square and enjoyed a glass of champagne with a scenic canal background. To get to the port of Venice we took a taxi from our hotel and it was very expensive. Not sure if Uber or Lyft is available in Venice but may be worth trying to save significant money.
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