With great anticipation, my partner and I were waiting for this cruise. This was my 25 cruise, 8th with Holland America and my partner's 12th cruise overall, so we knew what to expect. Once the plane had touched down in Miami and we had collected our luggage and been met by the Holland America meet and greet staff we knew we were in good hands. They were very organized, rounded everyone up and took us to our bus for the trip to Port Everglades. We didn't have a chatty driver this trip but he got us to our destination in good time. Embarkation was a breeze and we were in our cabin within half an hour of arriving. The main disappointment here was there was no boarding photo. Obviously they had packed up early. With this being a Christmas cruise it would have been nice to have a memento of the occasion. Rather than bring the subject up again, I will mention here that the ship's photographers on this cruise were the rudest and laziest that I had ever encountered. In particular the 2 male photographers. After exploring the ship and making it just in time to the embarkation buffet we had the usual lifeboat drill. No longer the exciting event that it used to be. I guess now will be a good time to break the cruise down into categories. Since I have reached dinner on the first night I'll start with dining. Dining for the most part on the Noordam was great. The food and service in the main dining room was good to very good. We had open seating and managed to get a table for 2 every night but one. The trick is to make your reservation promptly at 8am each morning. The service does seem better if you eat earlier than at 8pm for example. Then the dining stewards seem very rushed as their tables all seem to be at different points of a meal. The one exception to good service was the night we decided to eat in the Lido for dinner. It was very disorganized and slapdash. The system of half self serve and half table service just doesn't work. The best meal of the cruise was christmas eve and the most disappointing was christmas day. The christmas day menu was very ordinary and the dessert selection poor although the plum pudding was decent. Whereas the "international" christmas eve menu that included roast goose was excellent. Meals at the Lido for breakfast and lunch had a good variety and with little in the way of lineups or problems in finding seats. The dining room for lunch on the one occasion that we tried it was excellent, as was the dining room afternoon tea. The Cabin. Our cabin was located right at the front of the ship and was a verandah cabin. It was spacious enough for the two of us and had ample storage. The verandah had only a slight overhang so a good deal of sunlight was on the seating area and brightened the cabin. The DVD player that was a part of the cabin fixtures proved an excellent addition as it made up for the entertainment on board that was once again sadly lacking. A good selection of dvds were available in the library for $3. Shore Excursions. For this cruise the standard selection of Caribbean excursions were available. As we had been to many of these stops already we satisfied ourselves with sitting by the pool on a half deserted ship. It made for more space in the pool. We did however tale the Malibu Beach Break in Barbados which was very pleasant and a trip to Trunk Bay in St Johns. We also enjoyed our time in Half Moon Cay. Although the ship is here all day, get off early for the choice seating even if you have booked a clamshell to sit under. Overall this was an enjoyable cruise with only little things to bother us. Cabin service not as good as it used to be. Unenforced rules yet mentioned: children in adults pool, saving of deck chairs etc. Rude photoshop staff and still no real mint sauce carried in the dining room. Disembarkation was easy and quick with the only problems being at the FT Lauderdale airport. It seems this is the only airport that has problems when cruiseship passengers want to go home. We have departed from many others and this is definitely the worst. If you have a choice, fly home from Miami. We enjoyed our time on the Noordam and will travel with Holland America in the future. However our next cruise will be completely different as we will try an Atlantis charter cruise on the Mariner of the Seas.

Floating Home for the Holidays

Noordam Cruise Review by jac69

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2008
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
With great anticipation, my partner and I were waiting for this cruise. This was my 25 cruise, 8th with Holland America and my partner's 12th cruise overall, so we knew what to expect. Once the plane had touched down in Miami and we had collected our luggage and been met by the Holland America meet and greet staff we knew we were in good hands. They were very organized, rounded everyone up and took us to our bus for the trip to Port Everglades. We didn't have a chatty driver this trip but he got us to our destination in good time. Embarkation was a breeze and we were in our cabin within half an hour of arriving. The main disappointment here was there was no boarding photo. Obviously they had packed up early. With this being a Christmas cruise it would have been nice to have a memento of the occasion. Rather than bring the subject up again, I will mention here that the ship's photographers on this cruise were the rudest and laziest that I had ever encountered. In particular the 2 male photographers. After exploring the ship and making it just in time to the embarkation buffet we had the usual lifeboat drill. No longer the exciting event that it used to be. I guess now will be a good time to break the cruise down into categories. Since I have reached dinner on the first night I'll start with dining. Dining for the most part on the Noordam was great. The food and service in the main dining room was good to very good. We had open seating and managed to get a table for 2 every night but one. The trick is to make your reservation promptly at 8am each morning. The service does seem better if you eat earlier than at 8pm for example. Then the dining stewards seem very rushed as their tables all seem to be at different points of a meal. The one exception to good service was the night we decided to eat in the Lido for dinner. It was very disorganized and slapdash. The system of half self serve and half table service just doesn't work. The best meal of the cruise was christmas eve and the most disappointing was christmas day. The christmas day menu was very ordinary and the dessert selection poor although the plum pudding was decent. Whereas the "international" christmas eve menu that included roast goose was excellent. Meals at the Lido for breakfast and lunch had a good variety and with little in the way of lineups or problems in finding seats. The dining room for lunch on the one occasion that we tried it was excellent, as was the dining room afternoon tea. The Cabin. Our cabin was located right at the front of the ship and was a verandah cabin. It was spacious enough for the two of us and had ample storage. The verandah had only a slight overhang so a good deal of sunlight was on the seating area and brightened the cabin. The DVD player that was a part of the cabin fixtures proved an excellent addition as it made up for the entertainment on board that was once again sadly lacking. A good selection of dvds were available in the library for $3. Shore Excursions. For this cruise the standard selection of Caribbean excursions were available. As we had been to many of these stops already we satisfied ourselves with sitting by the pool on a half deserted ship. It made for more space in the pool. We did however tale the Malibu Beach Break in Barbados which was very pleasant and a trip to Trunk Bay in St Johns. We also enjoyed our time in Half Moon Cay. Although the ship is here all day, get off early for the choice seating even if you have booked a clamshell to sit under.
Overall this was an enjoyable cruise with only little things to bother us. Cabin service not as good as it used to be. Unenforced rules yet mentioned: children in adults pool, saving of deck chairs etc. Rude photoshop staff and still no real mint sauce carried in the dining room.
Disembarkation was easy and quick with the only problems being at the FT Lauderdale airport. It seems this is the only airport that has problems when cruiseship passengers want to go home. We have departed from many others and this is definitely the worst. If you have a choice, fly home from Miami. We enjoyed our time on the Noordam and will travel with Holland America in the future. However our next cruise will be completely different as we will try an Atlantis charter cruise on the Mariner of the Seas.
jac69’s Full Rating Summary
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