Great Cruise on the Noordam: Noordam Cruise Review by HHI-Cruisers

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Great Cruise on the Noordam

Sail Date: February 2009
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
This was our 9th cruise, the second on Holland America, 1 on Royal Caribbean, 1 on Celebrity and 5 on Carnival. We are retired and 73 and 74 years of age (I married an older woman). We drove to Ft. Lauderdale so I can't provide much info on airline connections or lodging.

WEBSITE First, Holland America needs to get up to speed with Carnival and Princess and update their website. It should be easier to navigate and contain more basic info, like directions to the pier, parking and up dated info on your personal booking.

PARKING Holland America provided a coupon for 1 free day of parking at Park n Fly and I called them to find that they were a few miles from the pier, parking was $12.00 per day, and shuttle service was provided. For what I thought was only $12.00 more we opted to park at the pier, only to find out on check out that parking there was $15.00 per day. This is the kind of info the website should include.

EMBARKATION Probably the More smoothest boarding we have experienced. We were on the ship minutes after our arrival at the pier. A TIP-Try not to arrive too early as the early boarders make a mad dash to the Lido deck and start shovelling in food like they haven't eaten in a week. If you arrive an hour or two after boarding starts you can go directly to your stateroom and then have a leisurely bite to eat before sailing.

THE NOORDAM Nicely decorated, without the gaudy trim and cavernous atrium of Carnival. Staterooms are a little on the small size, but after a day we got used to it and it was by all means adequate. The Noordam was spotless throughout, especially the staterooms. Towels were plentiful at poolside with no threats of imprisonment if they were't returned. Real towels in the public restrooms was a nice touch. It was also nice to have a live calypso band at poolside instead of a deejay. What a pleasure to not be constantly hounded by photographers and the Blue team, Red team shenanigans at dinner.

THE CREW The crew was friendly and attentive. A good guide is when they treat you the same on debarkation day as they did at embarkation, a credit to their training program.

DINING This was a weak spot. The food was nicely served, however, the menu selection was not near as good as Carnival. One evening when my choices would have been eggplant or stuffed pepper we opted for the Pinnacle Grill which was well worth the $20.00 per person surcharge. Be sure to try it at least once. Also, we asked for early seating, but were relegated to open seating. It seemed to be a bit disorganized and you miss the attentiveness of the wait staff when they get to see you each evening. A big surprise was the past guest luncheon, served with wine. They made you feel as if they really appreciated your loyalty, instead of the cattle call watered down cocktail party we were used to on Carnival. Opportunity to purchase reduced price drink cards was a big plus.

ENTERTAINMENT Standard cruise ship fare with a couple of comedians and a hard working song and dance group.

DEBARKATION Just like embarkation, smooth as glass. We were given an assigned time to leave the ship and could stay in our stateroom instead of being herded into a lounge. We were off the ship within minutes of the appointed time and were on the road shortly after buying my car back.

CONSENSUS All in all a great cruise on a very nice ship. The few little problems didn't distract from our experience and we will definitely be back on Holland America, a real value in tough times. Less

Published 03/11/09

Cabin review: VA8022 Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

Our location was great, with the Spa above us. Overall the room was smaller than Carnival, another foot in width would allow for a different configuration of the furniture so you wouldn't be bumping into things. All in all there was enough space for clothing, luggage, etc.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Another beautiful Caribbean paradise. Here we booked a tour of the island through Holland America. We saw the beautiful hotels along the leeward side of the island and visited the aloe factory. The bus driver/tour guide wasn't the greatest and about halfway through our tour he drove over a curb and damaged the underside of the bus. We had to wait about 45 minutes to be picked up by another bus and the rest of the tour was rushed and cut short. I'm still waiting to hear from Holland America about a partial refund.
Read 1289 Aruba Reviews

A beautiful island. After walking around town for an hour or so we opted for an island tour with a private contractor on shore. We visited a good part of the island, including a trip to the beach. I would recommend trying the on shore operators.
Read 917 Curacao Reviews

There isn't much to see at the port, plus it was raining lighly the whole time of our stay. We did the nearby shops and spent most of the day on board the ship. However, we talked to a number of people who enjoyed the tour to the rain forest.
Read 669 Dominica Reviews

St. Thomas is always a nice port to visit, We have been here enough times that we did not do a tour, though I do seem to buy a watch on each visit.
Read 4002 St. Thomas Reviews

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