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Arthur Gordon

Age: 72

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 20

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Noordam

Sailing Date: 2012-03-25

Itinerary: Transatlantic

With 20 cruises in the past 8 years on a few different cruise lines and several different ships, we find the Noordam to be the ship that most often meets or exceeds our expectations. This was our sixth cruise on Noordam, and our first transatlantic voyage. It had its moments of excitement, but all in all was a comfortable, entertaining and educational cruise. While the passenger consist seems to be predominantly seniors, the ship has activities especially for teens and young children, and plenty of activities for young adults as well. Of course, the activities appealing to seniors are almost unlimited.

The food in the main dining room was excellent in preparation, presentation and taste. Each evening featured a diversified menu with only a few specific entrees repeated over the 17 days of the cruise. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room was also very well prepared, a wide range of choices, and very good. The food in the Lido buffet had good points and a few not so good, but overall a fine choice for each meal at breakfast, lunch or supper. Of the different cruise lines we've sailed, Holland America's ships have individually and collectively had the best food.

Our verandah stateroom was well fitted, very clean and comfortable. While we would have liked having somewhat more space, the size was adequate and did not feel claustrophobic. Our cabin steward was very attentive and checked often to see if any touch-up was necessary and all amenities replenished.. The verandah was clean and the chairs were very comfortable, very conducive to just sitting there and reading or watching the sea.

While we do not participate in most activities, it was pleasant to note the wide variety available during the day and evening, and they appeared to be well attended.

Excursions are always a matter of individual preference, whether to participate or not. The cost of excursions offered and managed by the ship's staff is generally high, and far in excess of what similar excursions cost when booked on shore directly with local vendors. The catch, however, is that the ship will wait for passengers on ship-booked excursions delayed by weather, traffic, or mechanical problems, while they will leave without anyone getting back to the pier late from a locally booked tour or even just wandering about on one's own agenda. So it is a balance of cost vs. convenience.

A really great crossing and interesting ports of call. The cruise was a bit long - 17 days - but enough points of interest and certainly comfort to make it fun the whole time.

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