Number of Cruises: 20+
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: February 4th, 2007
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
verall Noordam is a great ship. Facilities are excellent from the dining rooms to the restrooms. Staff constantly cleaning the ship day and night, and I've never seen a ship so clean and well kept. This is not a city sized "Mega Ship," but I think the perfect size - not too large, not too small. I would travel anywhere in the world on this ship. My guess at the average age range of the passengers on this ship was between 55 and 70. At 55, I was at the young end of the range, with a hand full in the 30s and 40s.
Service: The staff and service on this ship are outstanding. That is one reason why a lot of older and less able passengers travel on many of Holland America ships, because they have exceptional service and understand the special needs of older passengers. However, my 39 year old wife and I were looking for a little more lively action.
Regardless, the trip was great.
Itinerary & Excursions: I thought this 10 day agenda was outstanding, a perfect set of ports, whether young or old. Grand Turk and St. Maarten were two of my favorite ports, but the others were good too, such as Tortola (British Virgin Islands), Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands, and San Juan, PR. These ports are loaded with excursion opportunities, and they are very good. For example, at Grand Turk, my wife and I took an Aqua-Boat and Snorkeling excursion, and it was fantastic. While jetting over the ocean on our two-person boat, we ran into two large whales about 50 yards from us, just awesome. The water was sky blue and beautiful. This is a small island, but I loved it. In Tortola, you can swim and play with the Dolphins among other great adventures. Had a terrific time in Saint Maarten, with an island tour in the morning, and an all-you-can-drink rum punch beach bash in the afternoon at Orient Beach. Orient Beach, on the French side of the island, was absolutely breathtaking, and I just never wanted to leave. Like the beaches in France, this is a clothing optional beach, particularly at one end, but you do get some nice cross-over to help the view. You can also go jet skiing and parasailing at Orient Beach. Can't wait to return to this paradise. On the other hand, St. Thomas is great for shopping and taking island tours. San Juan has a nice Tropical Rain Forest tour that was very interesting.
Food: We are very picky and spoiled regarding food, but I rate Holland America very good, especially considering the amount people they are feeding. Desserts were their weak point, such as a Butterscotch Sundae with no Butterscotch. That really ticked me off. However, overall, no complaints with the main dining room. The informal/casual Lido dining room was buffet style, and "ok." The top rated and optional "Pinnacle Grill" dining was outstanding in both food and service. It costs extra to dine here, but Wow, what a dinner!
Rooms: I had an ocean stateroom with a balcony. Absolutely no complaints about the cabin, it was great and had everything including a shower and tub, lots of closet space, hair dryer, TV, vanity/desk, sopha bed and chair, etc. My four large pieces of luggage fit under the bed with no problem and room for more. The bed was big and comfortable. Loved the cabin.
Entertainment, Casino, Ship Store: The Casino was probably average size, not very large, but there was a lot of action going on there. Not enough slot machines, especially nickel and penny slot machines. They were the most used, but the fewest in number. Wish it was bigger, but had lots of fun. The entertainment they had was very good, but not enough of it in my opinion. Love the Piano Bar, and had some great nights there. However, this is not a swingers and party cruise for sure. The Ship store was a waste, with mostly tourist junk rather than practical goods, such as waterproof cameras, suntan lotion, and other needed items that were in short supply.
Summary: I would recommend this beautiful ship to almost anyone because of its service, great staff, good food, and exceptional itinerary. However, I would not recommend it for singles, families with kids, or a younger crowd with lots of partying in mind age 15 to 40). That's a shame, because this is one good ship and Holland America proved they are a premium line with exceptional facilities, service, and itineraries.