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Arthur Gordon

Age: 72

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 20

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Noordam

Sailing Date: 2012-04-28

Itinerary: Transatlantic

We have cruised on Noordam six times since its launch, and total of fourteen cruises with Holland America. From our perspective, everything was top-notch - cabin, food, service, entertainment, amenities, ports of call, and general condition of the ships. The only complaints are the cost of alcohol beverages and wine, which are grossly overpriced on all the lines with which we have cruised, so I would not single out HAL for that, and the cost of Internet access, which is excessive even in recognition of the special circumstances for access by satellite. But alcoholic beverages and Internet access are optional and thus not forced on passengers who object to the cost.

Excellent preparation, presentation and taste. Choices across all categories of entree every meal in dining room. Lido buffet is generally very good. Breakfast in dining room is comparable to that of a fine hotel, with clean table linens, variety of food choices, and the excellent service for which HAL is noted. Also would like to mention that although this was a 17-day cruise, the dining room menu never repeated (although some specific entrees did show up more than once).

We cruise with balcony staterooms so we can enjoy the calm environment while sitting outside. The staterooms have always been of adequate size (upgraded a few times to a suite) and have been very clean, well appointed, and well serviced.

We don't participate in most activities, but find that there is enough variety to entertain most people of all age groups. Those in which we do participate have always been fun and/or educational.

Almost every excursion offered by the cruise line can be taken at lower cost with vendors at each port of call. However, the lower cost must be balanced against the risk of delays for any reason (bus breaks down, roads force slower travel, etc.) that can result in the ship leaving without you. The ship will always waiit for passengers on the ship's tours in the event of delays, but are not required to (and usually will not) wait for those who are on their own or on a non-sponsored excursion and fail to get back on time.

This transatlantic cruise was our first "crossing" and we can't wait to do it again. The only drawback is that in one direction or the other, a long flight is involved. We did see some ports in Europe we had not seen on previous cruises there, and enjoyed them. The cruise was very smooth, although the first night out we encountered thunderstorms at sea that produced some spectacular lightning shows!

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