Hello! First let me say that I've greatly enjoyed reading your forum, thanks! Secondly, my husband and I are booked on HAL's Noordam in mid-February for 11 days to the Caribbean from NYC.
We enjoy travel but this is our first cruise and we are very excited about it. We're the kind of mid-thirties couple that enjoys fine dining, music of all styles, art, people from all over, and while he's in the casino, I expect to be in the spa - HAL sounded like a perfect fit for us.
That said, we're having a hard time finding information and reviews on the shore excursions. What we AREN'T looking for is the major tourist spots - we love off the beaten path and hidden treasures. We're doing tons of research (how I found you!) and would love some advice on how to spend our time....are the excursions worth the money? Should we go our own way and hunt down the 'find' or trust that the cruiseline uses a vendor that knows what it's doing?
I think what we don't want is to book an excursion we think is a 'hidden treasure' and find out it's a zoo or disney-esque tram ride. (I hope that doesn't sound snobbish - those things have their place for sure...just not our thing)
Thanks in advance!!
Congrats on the booking. I have sailed the Rotterdam, and the Noordam. We were about the 4th sailing on her last year when she was brand new! I am booked on the Jan 6 11 day cruise out of New York this year. It's the same "everything" as when we sailed in March. That should tell you how I feel about it!
One of the nice things about going with Holland America shore excursions, is that you have almost no chance of not getting back to the boat on time. If you go off on your own, well, you are on your own. The boat will not wait for you! Because this is the same trip as last time, I will most likly not do many shore excursions this time. One that I will not miss for anything is the Orient Beach trip in St. Marrten. Includes a great lunch and beach chairs. Well worth the price. Can't say that I have ever had a bad time on a HA arranged trip, and not knowing the islands that well, I think it's the way to go.
You can see some photos of the ship and my trip on my web page at http://www.tdpowers.com
If I can answer any specific questions for you contact me by email at W1TDP@arrl.net
Thanks so much! I'm glad to know you found the excursions favorable - I've had so much trouble finding ANY opinion one way or the other. If I have any questions I'll be sure and send an email. Thanks again!
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