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Loralu

Noordam Review from 11/4

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Hello fellow cruisers - I wanted to post my review of our 12 day Southern Caribbean cruise 11/4 - 11/15 departing from NY.

 

Embarking: NY cruise terminal - very smooth - we arrived at peek time and didn't have much of a wait at all - HAL has definately got this under control.

 

Food: Main dining - very good food (service a bit on the slow side) Lido also very good ( Peter and Burt Reynolds will remember your names and brighten your day), room service..so-so. Pinnacle - it was a lovely experience, but I was not too impressed with the filet.. not as tender as I had thought it would be, Mom had the shrimp and she loved it.

 

Staff: The best part of the cruise in my opinion. Our room steward "Danny" was excellent, we wanted to take him home. All of the staff were smiling, friendly, helpful, and made you really feel at home.. couldn't have asked for anything more. Side note: one staff member "Travis" snapped at me during a game of trivia - not very nice.. bad boy.

 

Ports of call: I got off the ship at every stop, and did not book any HAL excursions, but had a great time on my own. St Marteen was a dissapointment as all store were closed due to a Holiday, I think HAL could have redone the itenerary to accomodate this. A little dissapointed in that we only had 1/2 days in Tortola and San Juan.. but knew this ahead of time and went with the flow. side note: I had booked a shore excursion with Shoretrips in Dominica to do the Whale and Dolphin watch.. we waited on time for our tour guide - who showed up 20 min late just to tell us that the trip had been canceled.. I was very dissapointed and will not use Shoretrips again.

 

Entertainment: We did not see every show, missed the magician and comedian, but enjoyed the Vegas and Broadway shows (FYI, get there early for the Vegas show - it fills up fast and we ended up sitting on steps)

 

Activities: Always something to do - and I really enjoyed the Trivia, and the "Name that tune" in the Piano bar. This is a great way to meet people and make new friends.. I had fun.

 

Casino: As I mentioned on a previous post - we were very dissapointed in the new "NO SMOKING" rule for the casino put in place at the onset of this cruise. Yes I'm a smoker, but I have no problem with Non-smoking rules.. that was not my problem.. the Problem was that we were not informed about this "new and experimental" rule until we entered the casino.. Not nice on HAL's part to spring this on people without warning. Many people complained - but to no avail, and I think a compromise should have been worked out to accomodate everyone at least for this cruise. Please keep in mind when reading this that I am not debating any smoking issues... but only the fact that HAL did not let us know so that we may have had the option to choose another cruise instead so that we were not part of their experiment. Not fair HAL!

 

Cabin: We had SS/8062, and were very pleased with this suite. We had a large balcony - deeper than we are used to so this was a treat. My only complaint about the cabin is that there are fans above the bed and the one directly above me was very loud and noisy. I told our cabin steward and he was supposed to have someone look into it - but I really never noticed a difference.

 

Pool areas: Never sat around the Lido pool since that is entirely non-smoking ( most HAL ships have one side smoking I believe, at least the Zuiderdam did 2 years ago). The Aft pool was a great hang out place - the water was very refreshing - they had ice sculputre carvings, and even a "name that tune" game out there. It's nice to get your lunch at the Lido and go out here to eat and mingle.

 

Cruise Critic meeting: I had arranged for our group to have a meeting with HAL prior to the cruise and was sent an Email confirmation telling me that we would have refreshments and someone from the staff attend. We did have refreshments, but did not have any staff attend (dissapointing). Later I told the guest relations dept about this and they were sorry about it and wanted to get us together for cocktails, unfortuantely I did not have cabin numbers and last names for my list of people so that was not possible. I hope they will try to improve on this - and perhaps even start a regular program like Royal Caribbean has.. their meet and mingle was teriffic with the Captain in attendance.

 

Public areas: All very nice, and similiar to the Zuiderdam, with the exception of the Explorations Cafe, which is very nice.. they have good coffee, and snacks (try on of the scones.. teriffic) and a daily trivia sheet with daily winners. Internet access very slow and not cheap.. 3.95 to sigh up and 75cents a min unless you buy a package.

 

Sea days: this was our first cruise out of NY and the water was pretty rough on the way down.. and a bit chilly (I didnt pack enough warm clothes) Luckily we had smooth sailing on the way back - which I hear was unusual. I don't think I will book out of NY again - I'd rather spend my days of a cruise in warm weather leaving our of Florida.

 

Well that's all I have for now - if anyone has questions please let me know and I will try to help... just remember this is only my opinion.

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Loralu, your review was very helpful for us... we are leaving on the same itinerary this coming Saturday. Thanks for your help. I am planning to pack some warm clothes for the beginning and the end.

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Side note: one staff member "Travis" snapped at me during a game of trivia - not very nice.. bad boy.

 

Hi All,

I am shocked to hear that Travis, of The Cruise Directors Staff, actions were descripted in such fashion.

 

During our 11 day Oct 14th Cruise, he was very polite and very accommodating to many of the passengers during the cruise in all the activities that he was part of onboard ex. Trivia, Bingo, American Idol, etc..

 

Also on entering and leaving the Vista Lounge at Showtime, greeted each of the passengers wishing them a good evening and also welcoming their comments of the preformance.

 

We "all have a day sometimes" both staff & passengers.

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Casino: As I mentioned on a previous post - we were very dissapointed in the new "NO SMOKING" rule for the casino put in place at the onset of this cruise. Yes I'm a smoker, but I have no problem with Non-smoking rules.. that was not my problem.. the Problem was that we were not informed about this "new and experimental" rule until we entered the casino.. Not nice on HAL's part to spring this on people without warning. Many people complained - but to no avail, and I think a compromise should have been worked out to accomodate everyone at least for this cruise. Please keep in mind when reading this that I am not debating any smoking issues... but only the fact that HAL did not let us know so that we may have had the option to choose another cruise instead so that we were not part of their experiment. Not fair HAL!

 

 

 

Cruise Critic meeting: I had arranged for our group to have a meeting with HAL prior to the cruise and was sent an Email confirmation telling me that we would have refreshments and someone from the staff attend. We did have refreshments, but did not have any staff attend (dissapointing). Later I told the guest relations dept about this and they were sorry about it and wanted to get us together for cocktails, unfortuantely I did not have cabin numbers and last names for my list of people so that was not possible. I hope they will try to improve on this - and perhaps even start a regular program like Royal Caribbean has.. their meet and mingle was teriffic with the Captain in attendance.

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to write a review. I enjoyed reading it. :)

 

I think it was WRONG what Hal did with the experimental no smoking in the casino. Pax should have been informed way ahead of time.

 

Hal cannot have a program like RCL for CC meetings / get togethers on board. Hal made an attempt to do this late last year and was stopped by CC. Apparently RCL has had some kind of deal with CC from day 1. There is also a copywrite thing on the name Cruise Critic. Hal cannot use it. You can still have get togethers but Hal cannot announce it in their daily paper or promote it.

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Thanks for taking the time to write a review. I enjoyed reading it. :)

 

I think it was WRONG what Hal did with the experimental no smoking in the casino. Pax should have been informed way ahead of time.

 

Hal cannot have a program like RCL for CC meetings / get togethers on board. Hal made an attempt to do this late last year and was stopped by CC. Apparently RCL has had some kind of deal with CC from day 1. There is also a copywrite thing on the name Cruise Critic. Hal cannot use it. You can still have get togethers but Hal cannot announce it in their daily paper or promote it.

 

If ya wanna smoke go outside. Its so nasty being around smelly toxic smokers. I cant really see why anyone would need advance notice of this, unless its enough to make you not go on your cruise.

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If ya wanna smoke go outside. Its so nasty being around smelly toxic smokers. I cant really see why anyone would need advance notice of this, unless its enough to make you not go on your cruise.
For some people, it might be, and it would be nice to be given the option. I'm not a smoker, and I agree with the person who wrote the review that it was not quite fair of HAL to "spring" the change on you.

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If after the ship embarked HAL announced smoking wherever you want onboard go outside for fresh air would it have been fair? Works both ways IMHO:rolleyes:

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Thank you for the great review! As I organized a meet and greet, I will make a sign in sheet to collect last names and room numbers just in case. Thanks for letting us know about that!

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Very good review. Loralu. I was glad to enjoy our final breakfast with your Mother and you after we had docked in New York. And, thanks again, for your efforts to set up the CC gathering. We had a nice group of people--as usual!

 

Bob

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Thanks Bob, and everyone else who read my review and appreciated yet another opinion, I enjoy reading others reviews to get a feel for my cruises. Of course only one nut out there can't seem to understand the nature of the issue - as many times as you explain it - there is always someone who has to bash the smoking.. when that wasn't even the REAL issue.. oh well I expected it.

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Thanks for your input. Like you, I enjoyed myself on board.

 

Just hope others who are sailing soon will talk to the HM, and ask "What in tarnation is goin on ??" :D

 

 

Hope to sail on that ship again.

 

 

 

:)

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