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Shore Excursions

Age: 38

Occupation:Radiation Therapist

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Noordam

Sailing Date: 01-3-2009

Itinerary: Southern Carribean

This was my first Holland America cruise. We have always taken Carnival before. HAL is many times better for the cruising experience. I'm hooked. They take tremendous attention to detail. The crew was extremely friendly. EVERY person you passed said hello or good morning. There was a guy that cleaned the stairways consantly, they were always spotless. I even saw him with a brush, brushing out the footprints on the stairs carpeting! They also had hand sanitizer stations everywhere. In a world of germs, that was very nice feature. After your day on shore, they had a welcome station that met you on the dock with water or lemonade, a rolled up cool towel, and a smile. That was very nice on some really warm days!! They also had "On deck for the cure," a 5K walk for Susan G Koman foundation. It was great to participate in such a worthy cause, and we got really cool shirts!! Their walking deck was great. It was on the third floor so you didn't have to walk around the smoke stack 300 times to go a mile! Also, the info on the Noordam is not correct. It is actually a large ship holding 1898 guests and 804 crew and is 81,769 gt. It is truely a great ship!!!
The food was just as good as expected, maybe a little better. The first night we ate on the lido deck. We didn't want to get dressed up every night for the dining room. We all agreed that the food on the lido was not as good and went to the dining room from then on. We had open seating. I wasn't sure we would like this, but it turned out to be a very good way to do it. I you go beofre 6:30, you can get a great seat in the back by the window. We ended up getting the same table almost every night. They would let us book the next night when we were going in for that nights dinner. You can either make reservations, or just show up, but you might have to wait a little while. It is a great system. Our stateroom was good. We did the inside room due to money, but it had everything we needed. There was plenty of room and plenty of clothes hangers in the closet!! That never happens! They had lots of trivia activities. It was a lot of fun for a group. People would team up and get to meet others folks. In the piano bar there was musical trivia. That was a lot of fun. They offered ballroom dance classes, line dancing, scrapbooking, drink making, and of course bingo. For most of the activities, they gave us Dam Dollars. You save them up, and on the last day, you trade them in on souvioner items. We actually had enough for a Holland America hat and t-shirt!! The #1, don't miss excursion, was the horseback ride on Half Moon Cay. They said they would ride in the water, but we have been told that beofre in Progresso. The horses only got about ankle deep. On Half Moon Cay, they were serious! We did a regular ride for about 30 minutes, then they took us back to get into our swimsuits. We got on more horses, almost bareback. There was a small cusion with a handle. It wasn't very comfortable, but as soon as we hit the water I forgot all about that!! They took us in where we were waistdeep. The horse only had his head above water, and they had the horses running!! It was the most exhilarating experience I have ever had!!!! Also the bus tour, Dominica's Favorites, was very good. We got to see the lush rainforest, and several gorgous waterfalls. It is a great island!! In St Thomas, we took the St John Trunk Bay snorkeling tour. The ferry ride over was great and the beach is probably the prettiest we saw, but we just didn't see many fish while snorkeling. It may have just been a bad day, but we were a little disappointed with no fish. This was by FAR, the best crusie I have ever been on. All of our stops, with the exception of Grenada, we all thought were very beautiful, in their own unique ways. The Southern Carribean is just gorgeous!! Holland America was definatley the way to go. I really can't see myself ever going back to Carnival. It was a truly fantastic experience!

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