My wife and I managed to finally get away for a holiday, prior to the hurly-burly of Christmas, and back onto a HAL ship. It had been a year since our last cruise (in Dec. '09) and, reading some of the reviews and boards, we wondered how things would be. Generally, No Worries! We had a very enjoyable cruise on the Noordam and concluded that Holland America Line continues to reliably deliver a solid vacation product. Cabin: we were in a deluxe verandah suite, via a paid upgrade from a superiour suite (itself a very nice category that has satisfied us in the past) which was too good to turn down. We do enjoy the cosseting from the Neptune's Lounge, with the snacks and the related services, meaning one never has to line up anywhere for any reason. Service in the Neptune's Lounge was overall quite good and attentive. Food: of course, everyone has different taste and food is subjective, but we were satisfied with the meals in the main dining room. We often ate there for lunch, avoiding the Lido on most days except when returning late from a port. Lunch in the main dining room was lovely--I mean, for someone still in the workforce who often has take-out at my desk, how nice it is to be well served with a lovely three course luncheon! Dinners were also in the main excellent. We found the choice of menu items most days to be sufficiently varied. While on one day we were not "wowed" by anything, we then took advantage of the "always available" selection--service was very good to great at our table for two, food was reliably tasty and, happily, the use of salt was not excessive. We enjoyed wine from one of the wine packages, and of course there is a mark-up but we felt it was reasonable for the wine served. We dined in the Pinnacle on several occasions, including for the new Le Cirque menu. We found it a pleasant change. The Pinnacle in the Noordam was one of the better ones we have encountered in recent trips. We enjoyed many room service breakfasts, (plus at leat one late lunch when back from port after the dining room was closed) and the steward did indeed help set us up on the verandah--a nice way to start the day. Sometimes we grabbed a lighter breakfast in the Neptune's Lounge, also a good choice. Bars: we enjoyed the Piano Bar and the pianist on this ship--everyone sang along and it was a convivial crowd. A nice way to enjoy some time after dinner. While we usually go to the Ocean Bar pre-dinner (second seating), on this cruise the band stopped at 7:30pm, for a break right up until dinner was served at 8:00 pm, so we decided not to go to to the Ocean Bar before dinner. I would suggest that the band's schedule be changed so that they break after the peak "pre-main-dinner" time. The Ocean Bar was dead without music! Shows: I went to a few, my wife did not (she waited for me at the Piano bar). I thought they were fine, for what they are. It is not Broadway, but its a nice way to pass an hour. Ports: we have done all these ports before, and they were not the reason for the trip. Pretty places, nice beaches which we found. A suggestion for HAL is that, as they want not only retired customers but those still working, is to not have every tour depart early in the morning, when one is in a port all day. When on holidays I enjoy sleeping in and the last thing I want to do is rush around early in the a.m. if I can avoid it. The one exception I make is for Half Moon Cay, because there never is enough time at that wonderful island--once again, it made for a great last day. All in all, it was a very nice cruise and we were sorry it came to an end. We look forward to returning to HAL, hopefully before another year goes by. If you are looking for a nice ship, with pleasant and helpful staff, and for the most part very pleasant fellow passengers, then the Noordam is for you.

Nice Noordam Cruise

Noordam Cruise Review by ON cruiser

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2010
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite
My wife and I managed to finally get away for a holiday, prior to the hurly-burly of Christmas, and back onto a HAL ship. It had been a year since our last cruise (in Dec. '09) and, reading some of the reviews and boards, we wondered how things would be. Generally, No Worries! We had a very enjoyable cruise on the Noordam and concluded that Holland America Line continues to reliably deliver a solid vacation product.



Cabin: we were in a deluxe verandah suite, via a paid upgrade from a superiour suite (itself a very nice category that has satisfied us in the past) which was too good to turn down. We do enjoy the cosseting from the Neptune's Lounge, with the snacks and the related services, meaning one never has to line up anywhere for any reason. Service in the Neptune's Lounge was overall quite good and attentive.



Food: of course, everyone has different taste and food is subjective, but we were satisfied with the meals in the main dining room. We often ate there for lunch, avoiding the Lido on most days except when returning late from a port. Lunch in the main dining room was lovely--I mean, for someone still in the workforce who often has take-out at my desk, how nice it is to be well served with a lovely three course luncheon! Dinners were also in the main excellent. We found the choice of menu items most days to be sufficiently varied. While on one day we were not "wowed" by anything, we then took advantage of the "always available" selection--service was very good to great at our table for two, food was reliably tasty and, happily, the use of salt was not excessive. We enjoyed wine from one of the wine packages, and of course there is a mark-up but we felt it was reasonable for the wine served.



We dined in the Pinnacle on several occasions, including for the new Le Cirque menu. We found it a pleasant change. The Pinnacle in the Noordam was one of the better ones we have encountered in recent trips.



We enjoyed many room service breakfasts, (plus at leat one late lunch when back from port after the dining room was closed) and the steward did indeed help set us up on the verandah--a nice way to start the day. Sometimes we grabbed a lighter breakfast in the Neptune's Lounge, also a good choice.



Bars: we enjoyed the Piano Bar and the pianist on this ship--everyone sang along and it was a convivial crowd. A nice way to enjoy some time after dinner. While we usually go to the Ocean Bar pre-dinner (second seating), on this cruise the band stopped at 7:30pm, for a break right up until dinner was served at 8:00 pm, so we decided not to go to to the Ocean Bar before dinner. I would suggest that the band's schedule be changed so that they break after the peak "pre-main-dinner" time. The Ocean Bar was dead without music!



Shows: I went to a few, my wife did not (she waited for me at the Piano bar). I thought they were fine, for what they are. It is not Broadway, but its a nice way to pass an hour.



Ports: we have done all these ports before, and they were not the reason for the trip. Pretty places, nice beaches which we found. A suggestion for HAL is that, as they want not only retired customers but those still working, is to not have every tour depart early in the morning, when one is in a port all day. When on holidays I enjoy sleeping in and the last thing I want to do is rush around early in the a.m. if I can avoid it. The one exception I make is for Half Moon Cay, because there never is enough time at that wonderful island--once again, it made for a great last day.



All in all, it was a very nice cruise and we were sorry it came to an end. We look forward to returning to HAL, hopefully before another year goes by. If you are looking for a nice ship, with pleasant and helpful staff, and for the most part very pleasant fellow passengers, then the Noordam is for you.
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