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Noordam New Year 2013 Cruise

"A good cruise but not a great cruise."

Overall Rating: Good


Sail Date:12/27/2012
Destination:Caribbean - Southern
Departed From:Fort Lauderdale
# of Nights: 11-14 Nights
Cabin Type: Ocean View
Sailed As: Couple


Cabin:Very Good
Overall Value:Good
Embarkation: Excellent
Debarkation: Very Good
Staff/Service: Fair
Overall Rating: Good


Our eleven day New Year cruise on the Holland America Noordam Dec 27, 2012 to Jan 07, 2013 with a one day pre-cruise at the Homewood Suites in Dania beach, FL, which included free parking for the duration of the cruise and shuttle service to Port Everglades.

The itinerary:

Thu Dec 27 FLL

Fri Dec 28 at sea

Sat Dec 29 at sea

Sun Dec 30 St Martin

Mon Dec 31St Lucia

Tue Jan 01 Barbados

Wed Jan 02 Martinique

Thu Jan 03 Dominica

Fri Jan 04 St Thomas

Sat Jan 05 at sea

Sun Jan 06 Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Mon Jan 07 FLL

This is the second year in a row we left at zero dark 30 on Christmas as we were driving to FLL for our cruise on the 27th. We had our usual Christmas Eve with the 3 daughters, son-in-laws and all the grand kids and then bid them farewell early that evening. As it turned out we missed an 8” snowfall that began a couple hours after we left town. Since we were driving south and the weather was drifting in from the north all we encountered was a lot of heavy rain thru Atlanta. We drove to Palm Coast, FL which is about 35 miles north of Daytona, and spent the night. We slept in the next morning and still made it to our hotel by about 3:00. Our friends Frank and Ellie from near Orlando arrived about a half hour later. Also at the hotel was friends of theirs from SC that arrived the day before. Rita son Rob, also from the Orlando area, soon arrived bearing Christmas gifts for the two of us. Later that evening we went to dinner in FLL. Rob had to head back home late that evening since he had to work the next day.

The next morning we had a nice breakfast at the hotel and we took the 11:30 shuttle to Port Everglades and boarded the ship about 15 to 20 minutes later. This is the largest dam ship we've been on, however the layout was very similar to all the other HAL ships we've cruised. Our obstructed view stateroom on the Upper Promenade, 4064, was nice and roomy just like what we were use to. We did have somewhat of a view between two lifeboats. The service from our stateroom steward also lived up to our expectations for the duration of the cruise.

We had late dining in the Vista Dining Room at a table for six with our friends, including our new friends from SC. The service was really not up to the standards we are used to on Holland and other cruise lines. It seemed our waiter and his assistant did not communicate very well together. The standard answer when one forgot something was, “oh, I thought he did that.” The food was fair, not real good, however not real bad. We are not complainers so we did not say much about the food and the service. Speaking of service, for some reason it was difficult to get a wine steward to our table.

We dined in the Canaletto Italian two nights and the food and service was in one word, SUPERB! By the way, they now charge $10 a head to dine there. For us, it was well worth it!

As far as entertainment goes Rita and I attended a couple of the production shows in the Vista Lounge and they were fair. Rita probably enjoyed them more than I did. The highlight for us was the New Year Eve celebration there. We danced on stage to the music of Brensley and the HALcats. The band is top notch! Out with the old and in with the new at midnight and the champagne flowed freely as the balloons were released. The ship provided all with party favors and it was a very nice celebration.

Our biggest disappointment was the dance music in the Ocean Lounge. It was not good so we did not get to do much dancing there. Actually the music was okay until the male piano player with the peroxide blonde hair started singing. He was terrible! He was so unbearable to listen to we finally just quit going.We did go to the Crows Nest when Brensley and the HALcats played and we did some dancing there.

As far as ports go we had a couple of new ones for us, Fort de France, Martinique and Roseau, Dominica. We did not book any tours. We just roamed around on our own. I did try to buy a shirt from a French shop in downtown Fort de France, however the female French speaking proprietor told me in broken English, “American money no good!”

We also had a medical emergency stop at Grand Turk which delayed our time at Half Moon Cay. We did not get off at our favorite little cruise ship private island. When Rita saw the tender boats bouncing around in the waves she said “No way!” We had an enjoyable last day aboard ship playing cards.

All and all it was a good cruise with good friends and we made our own fun. Also, the weather was great! Our two day drive home was a little longer than usual but we did make it to our hotel just north of Atlanta in time to watch our Fighting Irish get humiliated by Alabama. Ouch!

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