CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Noordam by charles schliem Transatlantic Crossing September 28, 2006

My wife and I looked forward to this cruise for a long time. We wanted to do some shopping in the ports of Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Valencia, Cadiz, the Azores, and Bermuda. Unfortunately, the cruise line had no recommended shops in any of the ports, in fact were really not even familiar with the ports so they information given to you was poor at best. An example came when we took a tour from the ship to the Lladro factory. We wanted to purchase one for an aniversary gift and have it sent home. However we were then told by the salesperson that your passport was required. We did not have uors as they are not required to leave and reenter the ship. As a result we were not able to make the purchase. Is this not the job of the port ambassador on the ship to know these things? Our port ambassador knew very little if anything about the ports, as you sensed when you tried to ask a question.

Another example came in Monte Carlo, after we asked this ambassador the best places to shop for jewelry. His directions were so bad we never were able to do any shopping. We finally came to the conclusion that we were better off just doing our own thing and asking other passengers for recommendations. I know this is a repositioning cruise but they had done these ports before.

The cruise itself was a really great experience. The food was great and the service was great. We were however very disappionted in the Pinnacle Dining room. Usually whenever you go to the specialty dining rooms with a special fee, they are really special experience. On this cruise it was no better than the regular dining room, plus the attitude of the waiters left a lot to be desired.

Overall, we had a great time even with the problems we encountered. I would recommend the cruise to everyone but do your own research on ports.

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