Noordam Cruise Review by Jason_Zhu
- Sail Date: August 2008
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Large Interior Stateroom
The overall experience of the trip is great. The stateroom is good and clean, the food quality is good, the crews are friendly and helpful, the shore extension program is interesting, of course, those cities in the trip are great, and we already decided to visit those cities again.
We take Air China to Rome after a 14 hours fly and stay in a very historical hotel in Rome (very close to those famous site like Pantheon, Trevi...etc. The hotel name is Cesari, has 220 years history as a hotel and the building is 300 years.
We spent 4 days in Rome and then transfer to Civitavecchia for embarkation. The hotel arranged a van for us at Euro 160, which is cheaper that the HAL price. The checking process is quick, after 20 min. we are in our stateroom, faster then our checking process in airport.
Cabin: The inside stateroom is fine, have a queen size bed and a sofa bed for my daughter and still leave enough space for 3 people. Our room is in Upper Verandah Deck. Next time we will try those rooms with balcony so that we can enjoy breakfast in balcony. The house keeper service is great; we never know when he made up our rooms. And my daughter likes the towel creation (towel animals).
Food and Dining Experience: Although there are no Chinese food provide in the ship, my 70 years old parents and 8 years old daughter never complain to me. Because the western style food and dinner experience is great and the food quality is better than most 5 star hotel in China.
The open seating program for main dinner room is not good enough; sometimes we need wait 30 - 45 min for the table if we arrived the dinner room around 19:45 - 20:30. So we usually arrives the dinner room earlier like 18:30. The early dinner's another benefit for us is we may have enough time to enjoy the entertainment and relax programs in the ship, as we have old people and kid, we are not able to got to bed very late.
The service in the dinner room is fair, I guess there are too much people in the ship, so the waiter's response sometimes were slow. The wine waiter's experience and knowledge are not the same quality, some people understand their wine stock well for help you match the wine with the food you ordered and some people not. But overall, they're good.
I highly suggest you experience one time for their Pinnacle Grill, their Sterling Silver T-Bone and Rib Eye Steak are great, and the decoration of the dinner room is beautiful. The price is reasonable, compare with the food quality. It is a great experience.
In the 2nd formal day, there is a desert party on Lido pool side, a great desert show of deserts. One highlight point for the deserts in the ship is they offer many choices of non sugar deserts every day include 2-3 choice of non sugar ice-scream, so my parents feel very comfortable.
I booked all shore excursions for the trip in the first day, after a short conversation with Michael, the shore excursions expert of the ship. It is high recommend for book trips in the first day. Some trip will sold out very soon as there are 1800 guest on the ship.
And have my own arrangement in Livorno, Barcelona and Naples. The best shore excursion I selected is Valldemosa & Chopin in Palma de Mallorca, and the worst is Sidi Bou Said & Carthage as the tour guide lead us to two sites not in the list and only give us 20 min in Sidi Bou Said. In Monte Carlo, we attend the Stars of the Cote d'Azur tour, visited Canners, Grasse and St. Paul de Vence; include a Provence style lunch in garden. I made a mistake for remember the wrong time of back, so when we arrive the coach park, the coach has already gone! we have to call a taxi to Monaco from St. Paul de Vence, which cost 160 Euro and thanks god we catch up the ship before deadline. Thanks for the warm heart driver in St. Paul de Vence park, I even don't have time to ask his name.
This is a nice trip for my family, I hope this review can be a help for people from China. I think I will choice HAL again. ????????
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