First Time Cruising Family: Noordam Cruise Review by isk

Noordam 5
Member Since 2011

Overall Member Rating

First Time Cruising Family

Sail Date: June 2011
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
This was our first cruising experience. We added the 10 day Roman Empire cruise to our 5 week European Adventure. It was my mother-in-law's life long dream to go to Europe. Unfortunately, she did not make the trip, however our family of 4 continued on with the plans we had made in April.

Let me say - I was reluctant to go on a cruise, but my mother-in-law had raved about her Mexico cruise and we thought this might be a nice way to see parts of Europe without the hassle of too much travel and most importantly, the packing, unpacking and shelping our luggage every couple of days. We also selected this cruise because it made a stop in Messina, Sicily where our older daughter had spent a year as an exchange student a couple of years ago.

We arrived in Civitavecchia, and experienced a very smooth check-in at the port. Our luggage was handled efficiently and courteously. We were on board the ship and in our room in less than a half hour. We met our friends in the check-in More line and were in the LIDO restaurant within 1 hour of arriving at the Port.

Overall our experiences on the Noordam was very positive. From the Captain, the crew, the front desk staff, Drew the Cruise Director, Christina the Travel Guide, Elizabeth the Party Planner, the Noordam Singers and Dancers were all very professional and outstanding at their jobs.

The cabin stewards that were assigned to us were most attentive and all the restaurant staff in the Vista, LIDO, Pinnacle Grill, Terrace Grill, the Bar were so friendly, and provided excellent customer service. The Chefs were also very friendly and willing to answer questions.

The Spa staff was always friendly as well as the personal trainers in the workout room.

The folks in the gift shops were nice and one man in particular was very friendly.

There are so many places in the ship that you could "hang out" that it didn't feel too crowded, except for the pool deck. People hoarding their lounge chairs is a problem. Especially when you are looking for a spot to sit after a long hot day on shore.

I thought the maintenance of the ship was in tip top shape and we didn't see any area of the ship that might have been less than stellar. It really seemed that the 800 employees on the ship really took pride in their positions. The customer service training that HAL provides for their staff is really noticeable and we (our family) thoroughly enjoyed our cruise experience and will cruise again. Less

Published 08/12/11
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Cabin review: VC5040 Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

Our interior suite was rather noisy for our daughters. The veranda suite was fantastic! Of course it was a bit small, but the compartments for storage was very organized and well laid out.

Read All Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom (VC) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

The Port was Piraeus. We took the HAL shore excursion to the Acropolis and Parthenon. In 100 degree heat, it was still very impressive! We were in awe with the size (even though under refurbishing) we could still imagine the beauty of the it.

Our tour guide who wore heels on the marble paths seemd at bit tired (as we were the afternoon tour) we did appreciate her finding shade for us to stand under while she described the site.

We wished we had time for the Museum (which is highly recommended) but that wasn't part of our tour.

The Greek Island of Corfu is stunning. This is another port where we explored on our own. You can walk from the ship to the main part of the town. If it is hot, take the bus into town, conserve your energy for the walk up the Old Fort and Museums. You can enjoy a wonderful meal in the Esplande but it will be pricey! You will see Kumquats (liquor, jelly, candied, sweet treats, cotlets) everything here. It is along the water, so it you get a nice breeze.

Make sure you have your water bottle with you.

Read 508 Corfu Reviews

What a beautiful Port. We opted to explore on our own in Dubrovnik. Our daughter walked up to the old town with our friends and it took them about 20 minutes. We (my husband, daughter and I) took the shuttle bus for $7. We met at Ploce Gate and walked around inside the walls. Lots of touristy shops, but the farther you go from the main path, it gets less crowded.

My husband and daughter took the cable car up the mountain was said that was well worth it. The weather had cleared up, they could see 360 degrees all around. It was spectacular.

The currency here is the Krona, so you can use your credit card. Some places were willing to take euros.

This was the Port to go to Olympia. My younger daughter had had enough of ruins, churches and forts. She just wanted to play at the beach so right off the ship was a small beach. For 5 euros I got a lounge chair and an umbrella. She was happy to splash in the Greek ocean and play in the sand, while I read my book. Lots of touristy shops in this town selling the same thing.

My husband, daughter and friends rented a car for 40 euros + 10 euros for gas and drove to Olympia. They said it was really easy and much cheaper than the train or the shore excursion cost off the ship.

This the Port that leads you to Ephesus. We took the HAL shore excursion to see the home of the Virgin Mary and Ephesus. It is amazing that only 18% of the city has been uncovered. Lots of history here and visually it was breathtaking. The Celsius Library stands tall and proud. We had an excellent tour guide, "Kai" who made the tour enjoyable and memorable.

After the tour, we got a carpet demonstration. To see the Turkish carpets, is most impressive. We didn't get sucked into buying one.

We had a Turkish sandwich (DONAR, comprised of shaved meat that has been brazing and pita. It came with a very salty yogurt drink.

We experienced shopping in the Turkish Bazaars. Some in my family were taken, others found some amazing treasures. The vendors which call out to you are a bit annoying but I guess that was part of the experience.

Read 614 Kusadasi Reviews

This is the Port where we had to be tendered ashore from the cruise ship. Then, three ways to get to the top 980' high. You can take the cable car (which I highly recommend), walk up and/or down, or the donkeys (which are really mules).

This is the where you can see the iconic views of Greece with the white buildings and blue domed roofs. It is amazing.

We took the public bus to Oia Village (about 20 minute ride). This was heaven! We enjoyed walking the paths, viewing the Aegean Sea and absorbing the gorgeous scenery.

Our daughters took the donkeys down for 4 euros - and would do it again.

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