CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Noordam by Pere Eastern Caribbean October 25, 2006

This was our fifth Holland America cruise -- merest trivia in comparison to the legions of Former Floaters who attended the "thanx for repeat business" mid-cruise gala.

We love the line. Reasonably quiet, formal, mature. Has a "kids" program, but doesn't exactly encourage the kids-and-family set. Lovely dinner service. User-friendly staff. Nice.

Noordam was a knock-out.

The staff were both competent (nobody screwed anything up) and ridiculously obsequious. All over the boat, everybody knew our names and our drinks and our dinner seating and our entertainment preferences, almost from embarkation.

Our room steward did the animal sculpture thing with our bath towels every night. Laundry (a bargain on HAL) was faster than promised. We searched for something to complain about; there just wasn't anything. (Ok, the corkage fee, which they don't exactly HAVE TO assess, they assessed every night {but not at lunch}{But even so, HAL lets you bring on your own wine!})

Superlative was the entertainment. This was our tenth cruise. We've never encountered cruise entertainers above the level of "decent community theater" performers. (We live an easy train ride from Broadway.) These folk were as good as it gets. I'd pay $50 for a ticket to see them do their stuff in Poughkeepsie.

And the cruise left from Manhattan. If you're within 100 miles (or maybe 200) of this terminal, you have to realize what a Godsend it is. Parking is not just convenient; we could easily have hit our (recently parked) car with jelly beans from the Noordam's Lido deck. Upon return (exhausted, vacationed ... whatever) the porter-person didn't just collect our bags; he carted them all the way into the trunk of my car.

We got everything we paid for and a lot that we didn't expect from this cruise.

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