Embarkation - We arrived quite late, but registration was very smooth, something we heartily appreciated as my wife and I were traveling with our 4 young children. Unfortunately, some of our suitcases were covered in mud when they arrived at the cabin. Public Rooms - Plenty on board, and generally tastefully decorated. The public swimming area has a retractable roof, which comes in handy the first and last days of the cruise when traveling out of / to New York City. Cabin - We had two adjoining cabins on the upper promenade deck, one for our children, the other for ourselves. The cabins were smaller then we were used to, but they were intelligently laid out which mitigated the cramped feeling. The balconies were much larger than normal, and we were able to open the partition between them which was rather nice. We quickly found the extra balcony length to be a mixed blessing... it extended out from the decks above and was open to falling water each time balconies were cleaned. Having dirty water fall on you several times a day is not a pleasant experience. Dining - The service and food at the main restaurant were above average and compared closely to what you'd find on a Celebrity cruise. Our waiters were very attentive, prompt and gave wonderful advice. With the exception noted below, Noordam dining was the highlight of the trip. Entertainment - About average. The Noordam dancing/singing troupe gets mixed reviews as some of its members were quite talented while others seemed out of place in a professional production. The external acts were good and the multi-million dollar stage was quite impressive. Ports - We chose this cruise because Dominica was on the itinerary, and we were not disappointed. Dominica is a relatively new island in geological terms that still has jagged peaks and tropic rain-forests intact. Especially impressive was the Emerald Pool located a 15 minute walk down into ravine in the rain forest. At the bottom, surrounded by tropical vegetation, is a rocky pool fed by 30 foot waterfall. You can reach the waterfall and the cave behind it by swimming across the pool. Very natural, and very impressive. The unpleasant stuff - The second day at sea, I ate something in the main dining room that made me quite ill over the next several days. I passed out during a shore excursion and spooked my wife and children when I did not come to after several minutes. As the symptoms multiplied, my wife turned to the crew for help, but they could not care less. At one point, my wife was admonished and insulted by a Club Hal staffer upset that my wife asked for help looking after the children during a port day while I was sick in bed. When we complained about the cold, uncaring attitude of the cruise staff to the front office, and eventually to the captain, we were not even provided the courtesy of a response. Even before the cruise started, HAL came to us one month after we booked and paid for the cruise asking for another $1000 per cabin due to an "internal error" in the original pricing. We had no choice to comply given we had already made non-refundable travel plans. Conclusion - This was our 8th cruise, and our first with HAL. A nice ship, some good ports of call, and exceptional food and service at the main dining room. But after having been cheated, poisoned, insulted and ignored by HAL and the Noordam crew, I doubt I will be sailing with HAL again.

Noordam - Southern Caribbean

Noordam Cruise Review by Tony K

Trip Details
Embarkation - We arrived quite late, but registration was very smooth, something we heartily appreciated as my wife and I were traveling with our 4 young children. Unfortunately, some of our suitcases were covered in mud when they arrived at the cabin.
Public Rooms - Plenty on board, and generally tastefully decorated. The public swimming area has a retractable roof, which comes in handy the first and last days of the cruise when traveling out of / to New York City.
Cabin - We had two adjoining cabins on the upper promenade deck, one for our children, the other for ourselves. The cabins were smaller then we were used to, but they were intelligently laid out which mitigated the cramped feeling. The balconies were much larger than normal, and we were able to open the partition between them which was rather nice. We quickly found the extra balcony length to be a mixed blessing... it extended out from the decks above and was open to falling water each time balconies were cleaned. Having dirty water fall on you several times a day is not a pleasant experience.
Dining - The service and food at the main restaurant were above average and compared closely to what you'd find on a Celebrity cruise. Our waiters were very attentive, prompt and gave wonderful advice. With the exception noted below, Noordam dining was the highlight of the trip.
Entertainment - About average. The Noordam dancing/singing troupe gets mixed reviews as some of its members were quite talented while others seemed out of place in a professional production. The external acts were good and the multi-million dollar stage was quite impressive.
Ports - We chose this cruise because Dominica was on the itinerary, and we were not disappointed. Dominica is a relatively new island in geological terms that still has jagged peaks and tropic rain-forests intact. Especially impressive was the Emerald Pool located a 15 minute walk down into ravine in the rain forest. At the bottom, surrounded by tropical vegetation, is a rocky pool fed by 30 foot waterfall. You can reach the waterfall and the cave behind it by swimming across the pool. Very natural, and very impressive.
The unpleasant stuff - The second day at sea, I ate something in the main dining room that made me quite ill over the next several days. I passed out during a shore excursion and spooked my wife and children when I did not come to after several minutes. As the symptoms multiplied, my wife turned to the crew for help, but they could not care less. At one point, my wife was admonished and insulted by a Club Hal staffer upset that my wife asked for help looking after the children during a port day while I was sick in bed. When we complained about the cold, uncaring attitude of the cruise staff to the front office, and eventually to the captain, we were not even provided the courtesy of a response. Even before the cruise started, HAL came to us one month after we booked and paid for the cruise asking for another $1000 per cabin due to an "internal error" in the original pricing. We had no choice to comply given we had already made non-refundable travel plans.
Conclusion - This was our 8th cruise, and our first with HAL. A nice ship, some good ports of call, and exceptional food and service at the main dining room. But after having been cheated, poisoned, insulted and ignored by HAL and the Noordam crew, I doubt I will be sailing with HAL again.
Tony K’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
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Ages 3 to 6
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
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