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New Noordam

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I'll be sailing on the new HAL Noordam in November, but I wasn't a sufficiently "elite" HAL Mariner to merit a tour of the ship or a meal while the ship is in port in NYC. The ship leaves on its maiden voyage on Wednesday, 2/22.

I decided to view the ship from across the river in NJ, so I drove to a spot on top of the cliffs, directly opposite the docks. I then drove to two spots right on the water, the ferry dock and a codo development. I took a whole roll of pictures.

What impressed me was the difference between the sleek, ocean liner lines of the old Noordam (on which we took our first cruise in 1998) and the blocky lines of the new Noordam. The old ship looked like a ship, the new one like a floating hotel. The reason, of course, is all the balcony rooms. They make for lovely sailing, but not a lovely appearance.

Has anyone else either seen the Noordam or (lucky you) been onboard? If so, please share your impressions. Joe

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I've seen the Oosterdam, a sister ship. Since the Zuiderdam came out, we've known these ships would look bascially like any other ship of comparable size, so I'm not surprised. It's hard to make a ship look nice and still have the balconies everyone wants these days.

Cunard's new Queen Victoria, which will be a similar size ship, is supposed to be a liner design, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

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