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Noordam Review

3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
795 reviews
24 Awards

Another Excellent Vista Class Cruise!

Review for Noordam to the Southern Caribbean
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Candy
10+ Cruises • Age 70s

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Sail Date: Nov 2010
Cabin: Deluxe Verandah Suite

We're Copper 3-star Mariners in our 60s and this was our second Noordam. We've sailed Zuiderdam (11 times, our fave), the old Noordam, old Westerdam, Zaandam, Maasdam, several on RCI, Celebrity & Princess... 27 all day. The ship is our destination, and on HAL we always experience the finest in service and accommodations... that's why we keep coming back.Pre-Cruise:We drove to Jacksonville and flew Southwest to Ft. Lauderdale, where we stayed at LaQuinta in a very nice smoking King with a view of the intercoastal waterway. It's right next door to a shopping center, but it's too far (for us) to walk there. We took a cab there and had dinner at Red Lobster. In the morning we were treated to a nice breakfast buffet, and went to pack for the free shuttle to the pier. I found that my glasses had broken and we had to skip the shuttle & take a taxi next door to Pearle Vision where they fixed my glasses for no charge. A quick trip to the pier started the check-in phase which went very smoothly.Embarkation:Once we got in the suite line, we found there were agents assisting both the suite pax and the handicapped. The 20 minutes in line was annoying, but we were able to board the ship immediately after, so it wasn't too bad. Our suite was right outside the Neptune Lounge, so we stashed our carryons and went to the Vista Dining Room for a lovely Mariners' lunch.The Noordam is a beautiful ship... lovely flower arrangements everywhere, polished glass and brass, and comfortably furnished common areas with bright but pleasant color schemes. We love the Explorations Cafe, Crow's Nest, and our favorite Oak Room.Officers & Staff:Captain John ScottHotel Manager James DeeringCriuse Director Glenn CoenenBeverage Manager Mark MaelingCabin:Our cabin (7053, a typical SA suite) was across from the Neptune Lounge, which was extremely convenient as we are both diabetics and are in need of frequent snacks. All upholstery, carpeting and tiling were in very good condition. Our stewards were very attentive, considering we sleep very late and it's hard to find a time to clean. We always had plenty of ice, fresh towels and amenities.I am always amazed at the level of service we receive on HAL ships, but it seems as if the officers, staff and crew of the Noordam take service to the next level. In all areas and at all levels we received prompt, polite and professional attention.As the ship itself is our destination, we rarely go into town. Unfortunately, we got up too late to visit Half Moon Cay. We figured that if we were last off the ship, and with two ships in port, there wouldn't be any loungers close to the dock, so we stayed aboard. Jim and I visited Grand Turk for an hour or so, on a quest for something that doesn't exist. I found some nice shopping in Bonaire and walked over to the hotel shopping area in Curacao. Unfortunately we had rain for nearly the entire cruise. The rest of the cruise was spent in the spa, pool and casino. Casino was a little disappointing. Several "regulars" at the Hold'em table were actually casino owners/managers and had played in the WSOP. There were several 'tournaments', but even though they were advertised, they did not have the play moderated, announced nor the prizes 'awarded'. It should have received the same attention as the Blackjack or Slots Tourneys.We were assigned a table for four (but set for only two), by the window on the upper level of the Vista Dining Room. We dined there every night, forgoing the Pinnacle, as we had enjoyed the very same menu many times before. Selections were varied, but a bit more limited than those in the past. Day 1 - Embarkation at Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, FloridaQueens Lounge - Welcome Aboard Bash with Natalie & the HalCatsOcean Bar - Great American Songbook with the NeptunesPiano Bar - Buddy MitchellExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - vocalist/Guitarist Zach WinninghamNorthern Lights Disco - DJ DaveVista Lounge - Let Us Entertain You - CD introduces the Noordam Singers &s DancersDay 2 - Half Moon CayQueens Lounge - 50s & 60s NightOcean Bar - Latin FavoritesPiano Bar - Buddy MitchellExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - Pub Trivia & Zach on GuitarNorthern Lights Disco - Broadway Name That Tune & All Request NightVista Lounge - Captain Scott's Welcome Toast, followed by the Noordam singers & dancers in Ballroom BlitzDay 3 - Grand TurkQueens Lounge - The Disco BallOcean Bar - Easy Dance Class - Quick StepPiano Bar - Golden Oldies NightExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - Pub Trivia & Zach on GuitarNorthern Lights Disco - 50s & 60s Name that Tune & Music MixVista Lounge - comedian Milt AbelDay 4 - Samana, Dominican RepublicQueens Lounge - Tropical RhythmsOcean Bar - Easy Cha Cha classPiano Bar - MargaritavilleExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - Pub Trivia & Zach on GuitarNorthern Lights Disco - 80s Name that Tune & Island BeatsVista Lounge - Noordam singers & dancers in If Walls Could RockDay 5 - At SeaQueens Lounge - movie "Salt"Ocean Bar - Easy Dance Class - WaltzPiano Bar - Buddy MitchellExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - Pub Trivia, Zach on Guitar & Merengue ClassNorthern Lights Disco - Motown Name That Tune & 60s & 70s HourVista Lounge - the Music of Mark DonoghueDay 6 - BonaireQueens Lounge - Liars ClubOcean Bar - Easy Dance Class - FoxtrotPiano Bar - Name that TuneExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - Pub Trivia & Zach on GuitarNorthern Lights Disco - Music MixVista Lounge - Noordam Singers and Dancers in Simply BroadwayDay 7 - CuracaoPool PartyQueens Lounge - Battle of the Sexes & Caribbean Shirt Express bingoOcean Bar - Music & Dancing with The NeptunesPiano Bar - Open Mic NightExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - Pub Trivia, Zach on Guitar & Easy Dance Classes - Jive & TangoNorthern Lights Disco - Top 40 NightVista Lounge - Filipino Crew ShowDay 8 - ArubaQueens Lounge - KaraokeOcean Bar - The NeptunesPiano Bar - Country Name that TuneExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - Pub Trivia, Zach on Guitar & Easy Dance Class - RhumbaNorthern Lights Disco - All Request NightVista Lounge - Arias & Broadway melodies by Fiona Jessica WilsonDay 9 - At SeaNear gale - rough seas - partly cloudyQueens Lounge - The Marriage Game & Sing with the HALCatsOcean Bar - The NeptunesPiano Bar - 70s Name that TuneExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - Pub Trivia & Zach on GuitarNorthern Lights Disco - Music MixVista Lounge - Noordam Singers & Dancers in "That's Vegas"Day 10 - At SeaStrong breeze - rather rough seas - cloudy - roll back clocks one hourQueens Lounge - Bye Bye BoogieOcean Bar - The NeptunesPiano Bar - Farewell Sing-a-LongExplorer's Lounge - Adagio StringsCrow's Nest - Pub Trivia & Zach on GuitarNorthern Lights Disco - Name that TV Tune & Rock It 'Til We Dock ItVista Lounge - Action comedy of Scotty CavanaughDebarkation:Debarkation is done on the honor system, but there IS NO HONOR on debarkation day. Passengers may stay in their cabins or public venues until their specifically assigned time (based on their flight times and/or requests) to proceed to the gangway. We were scheduled for 8:15 - 8:30, and we couldn't get out of the elevator because the area was PACKED with passengers waiting for their time to go. There was no one checking colors or asking anyone to leave the area. I have been disappointed with this system since it started, and it hasn't gotten any better. Unfortunately, it's too late to complain on the comment card, so it doesn't get any better.Once we left the gangway, a ship representative stopped us and told us that "luckily" we were selected for expedited service, and by following her we could cut 30 minutes off our transfer time. She waited with us while our porter loaded up our bags, and directed us to a short line leading to some cubicles. After 20 minutes in this line, we found several Customs Agents with calculators and a list of passengers who had made sizable purchases while onboard. After 20 minutes or so they collected their excess duty and we were able to leave. The other line seemed to go MUCH faster. Lesson learned? If you have an early flight, don't buy anything pricey in the gift shop.That said, we are very much looking forward to "Holland America Line's new Stateroom Direct Service". All Holland America Line ships will have guests' staterooms ready for them as early as 11:30am, allowing embarking guests to settle comfortably and quickly in their staterooms as soon as they board. This will require intense cooperation from all members of the crew, and I have no doubt they will be able to give us a much more pleasant embarkation experience. I'm not certain how they'll be able to let departing passengers linger in their cabins and still open up our cabins at 11:30ish for new cruisers. If anybody can do it, HAL can. Finally:The Noordam has now joined the Zuiderdam as our favorite ship(s). There's something about her that just makes it a good 'fit'. The officers, staff and crew were professional, courteous and accommodating in every way. The only two things I'd suggest are increased hotspots throughout the ship and a return to the old debarkation process.Candy the ZuiderPrincess (and Sir James)

Cabin Review

Deluxe Verandah Suite

Cabin SA
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