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Navy_Chief

LIVE From Noordam 12/6 to 12/16

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MS Noordam December 6th through December 16th

The day started out with excellent weather on the forecast. I was up real early and had watched the ship’s approach up the Hudson from the Empire State Building’s Tower Cam.

Hometown Motor coach: We were set up as part of our package with bus transportation from New London to New York. This was really a great deal that we had picked up as a promo after the fact and was well worth it. We arrived at the New London Amtrak station right about 08:15 to see my parents, my brother and sister in law just heading for the door to get out of the cold. Just as they got in, I saw the Academy Coach pull up, go figure. This was a good omen in my book, the bus had arrived 30 minutes early. Curious though, there were no other pax on board (more on that in a bit). Checking into and boarding the bus was a breeze and we pulled away right on time. First stop, New Haven where we picked up more pax. The bus was ¾ full now as we headed to New York and the Noordam, with a brief 20 minute rest stop in Milford along I95. I noticed another Academy bus; I didn’t think much of it as this company charters many busses. I decided to stretch my legs a bit and asked the driver why we saw no other passengers on the bus in New London. He said there were so many pax traveling from all the stops that they split the busses up. The bus next to us had the folks from Boston and Provenance on board.

Arrival and check-in: We arrived right around 12:30 as I suspected we would. We got off the bus and ensured our luggage came off the bus. We headed to the elevator which took us to Level 2. We were given a number (22) and were seated in the main hall to be called in. This wait was not that bad, about 10 or 15 minutes before we were called to pass through security. Once through security, we got to the check-in counter which wound around in the typical waiting line snake. It was about 10 or 15 more minutes until we had keys in hand and headed for the gangway. There was one couple behind us saying that Celebrity was easier to check into. Of course, it seemed to me that with all the busses pulling up as we arrived, this process went smooth enough (not more than 30 minutes).

On Board and to the stateroom: We got on board and headed to the stateroom. We are assigned a VB on the upper veranda deck starboard side near the aft elevators. My parents were assigned to port, same deck in a VB. These were the result of a GTY VF, we were most satisfied. We got to the stateroom which was very nice. Our first glitch I had noticed was that the Tux we pre-ordered was not in the stateroom. The second thing was we had ordered a “Let’s Celebrate” package for all three rooms (this package contains a picture frame, voucher for a picture of your choosing from the Photo Gallery, champagne of the domestic persuasion, a voucher for a cake, and fresh flowers). We seemed to be missing the flowers. Our first piece of luggage arrived shortly behind us and I asked our room steward where the tux and flowers were. He explained that the tuxes were a bit behind schedule but would arrive in the morning. That was fine considering our first formal was scheduled on the 8th. None the less, my wife wasn’t happy about the flowers not being in the stateroom, not so much for us, but for my parents and brother (this is their first cruise), they were too excited to really notice. Someone posted a review I read saying there was limited drawer space on the Noordam. I suppose you could look at it that way as all you see are the night stands however, look a bit closer. If you lift up the edging at the foot of the bed you will find two big drawers, full of extra linen, which could be quickly relocated to one of the large closets or taken away by the room steward. The bed is tall enough with ample space to stash a couple of large suitcases under (and then some).

Sail Away: Before departure, we had talked about doing sail away from the Crow’s Nest on our Roll Call. Little did we know we had a group on board who sucked up that space for their own and that was that (could be why our CC meeting got bumped out of there for the afternoon of the 7th?). We did meet dorothyl (Carolynn and Carmine) outside the Crow’s Nest and chatted briefly. We decided to take in the NYC skyline from my parent’s veranda instead of on the crowded Lido. We were scheduled for Early Lower dining and we headed for the dining room at about 5:30 for the first night. We were not disappointed with the table assignment, it was exactly what I had asked for when booking, Table for six next to the windows (port side aft). The shades were still drawn but enough passengers asked to have them raised and they were raised to let us view NYC falling away behind us. I must say that there is a bit of noise from the screws turning back there but nothing we couldn’t live with. After dinner, we headed back to the stateroom to find our last piece of luggage and fresh fruit had arrived. Still no flowers, I will have to correct that in the morning.

First night: I’d like to report on the first night’s show but we decided to get things squared away and unpack instead. We’ll have more time for shows later. I would note that we are sailing with a slight (from my perspective as an old navy “salt”) movement of the ship. Wave height seems to be 4-7 feet. This will be nice to get rocked to sleep by and is just fine by me (maybe not so fine to others not used to this).

Day one – At Sea: Fist let me say that these beds are out of this world. I can compare them to some of the Hilton Hotels I’ve been in on business trip, outstanding! Ok, so 06:00 up and about exploring this beautiful ship. This was the best time to get around as most passengers still aren’t moving about yet. I started on Deck 1 to drop off the Mariner paperwork at the Front Desk then continued to tour decks 2 and 3. Looking at this ship it’s no wonder I like HAL, wood and polished brass abounds on this ship. The Ship’s Atrium has a “Christmas Tree” hanging from the centerpiece and garland along all the railings. Christmas music (with a calypso kind of steel drum sound) is piped low through the ship’s PA system. The ship is nicely laid out and easy to get around on. Sea state is about the same and we are off the Virginia Capes (VACAPES). It is very grey today and I’ve noticed some weather off in the distance to the east (some cloud to cloud lightening strikes). Amazingly, the very first day is warm enough to be on the veranda without a jacket however, it is the ocean and, of course with that, comes the salt build up on the rails and such. I recommend that you use one of the towels to do a “Fresh Water Wipe Down” of the railings and table tops. This is probably done by your room steward but my wife won’t let him in the room until at least 11:00. One note of interest, we lost cabin power briefly around 11:00 for about 10 minutes. We didn’t lose speed so I’m sure this was an isolated incident and not ship wide (the passageway lights were still on as well). Also just about this time, the flowers arrived (a smile on my wife’s face), a nice little arrangement (still no tux). We had our CC Meet n Greet, had most of us there. The Hotel Manager, Captain, and Cruise Director all attended. It was great to finally put a face to the name. Finally, the Tux arrived after the evening meal. A minor adjustment to the sleeves and everything fit fine.

Just a taste of the decorations on board……

 

DSC00008.jpg

More to come……….

One other thing, there is no virus alerts currenty on Noordam

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Jefe:

Great review! Thanks so much for taking the effort to post from onboard. That is always a special treat to see here.

Keep it comig if you can.

Cheers

MarkB

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Thanks Navy Chief. Like you, I tend to be up and about very early, while onboard. There is something special about having the entire ship to yourself while you make the rounds. Looking forward to hearing more, if you can spare the time.

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Thanks for checking in. It's always great to hear "real time" reports. That Christmas tree is something else!!!

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Thank you so much for this real-time review. My husband and I are new to HAL and will be sailing on the Noordam later this month. I find myself on these boards more and more now that I'm getting closer.

HOpe you have a wonderful cruise.

LK

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Thanks Navy-Chief....ooohhhhh are we excited now!!!!!! Enjoy your cruise, & thanks so much for the briefing.....but, we WANT MORE!!!!! thanks for taking the time to wet our appetites.

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Chief -- Thanks for the report. Good to hear you had a smooth embarkation. As the temp here (Connecticut shoreline) was 15 this AM, I am ready now for my Jan 17 sailing in Noordam. I figure you would experience warming by late afternoon of first sea day as you hit the Gulf Stream -- I sailed out of Norfolk a lot in the 1960's (in far less comfort than HAL offers) and am looking forward to passing VACAPES - though I'd figure pretty far out. Keep sitreps coming if time permits.

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Thank you Navy Chief for the detailed and informative report. Will be looking for more reports. Nice picture of the Christmas decoration at the Atrium. Will be on board the Noordam in Feb.

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Navy Chief,

 

We all so appreciate you taking the time to let us know about your cruise. My husband and I will be "meeting you" on the 16th for our cruise and hearing about your good time certainly gets us all ready to go!

 

Thanks again,

Linda

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Thank you so much for your report! :) I was so glad to read that NYC seems to have figured out a better way to handle embarkation from earlier this year; it was the most disorganized then.

And only 4-7 foot seas! WOW. That's practically flat---especially this time of year. Way to go!

If you post more updates I would be grateful if you would report who is playing in the Piano Bar, and if he'll still be there for the Jan. 6th cruise.

Also, I'd love to read who the featured entertainers are (and what you think of them.;) )

Thank you, again, for the "live from...". I've getting kind of excited about boarding the Noordam again. :D

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Thank You "Navy Chief" for your very interesting report on your cruise so far. It is very nice of you to take the time to give us all updates as your cruise progresses. Will be waiting for your next report. Have a great time on your cruise. IKE

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Day 2 – At Sea, First Formal Night: The day went well, we had really nice weather. The Military Veterans met today; this meeting is a nice touch and enables Vets from all generations to share their experiences. This leads into some lively discussions and is usually enjoyed by all. I won’t bore everyone with details. A note about the Crow’s Nest, It appears that this “Group” has the Crow’s Nest all to themselves during the day throughout the cruise and no other passengers can use it. That’s a shame because it is nice to go up there during the day to read or just to sit and watch the day go by. I’m not letting it spoil or distract from the cruise any. I have a veranda to myself if I want it unlike the folks who may have just an inside cabin. The Captain’s Reception went well although; there were no handshakes by the officers on board as an understandable preventative. I applaud HAL for taking such preventatives into consideration for passenger safety. We went to our first show, a Las Vegas review, put on by the Noordam Cast. Here is the breakdown from our first time cruisers (Parents and Brother/Sister n law):

  • Artistic presentation: 4
  • Choreography: 3
  • Technical Presentation: 4

Scale of 1 to 5.

Overall an enjoyable show and everyone had a good time. The after show activities were taking place in the Crow’s Nest with some good dance music and everyone appeared to be having a really good time. So far, the crew has been its usual “up beat” tempo and a very high level in attention to detail. The stewards, waiters and bar tenders are starting to remember the passengers they deal with everyday and that’s just another reason I like these “Dam” ships. They all seem to give 110% all the time and they all deserve a big hand for that. Little things like that make cruising more memorable. Well tomorrow is Grand Turk, our first Port of Call. I’ll report back with my impressions.

More to come……….

PS: Routh, I'll look into your queries and report back.

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Chief,

Good to hear you and your mates are enjoying the trip... hope the dining has been up to par. We are looking forward to this adventure in January..... enjoy the beaches!:)

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Thanks NavyChief! Appreciate your reports, can't wait for the next installment.

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Really enjoying your reports from Noordam. Sounds like everything is wonderful aboard. Thanks for taking time from your enjoyment to share with us.

 

How do you think the dining experiment is working out? Are you hearing much grumbling about it? Presumably, seeing as you are with your own group of family, it is fine for you???

 

Continue to have a wonderful cruise!!!

 

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Thank you for your play by play, Navy Chief! How kind of you to do such a lengthy report...I enjoyed every word! :D

 

We, too, will be taking the bus...departing from Boston.

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Day 3 – Grand Turk: The weather was scattered and broken clouds as we entered the port this morning; winds were whipping up fairly strong. There isn’t very much to see here on this island so the plan was for us to take in the shops seeing the visit was short (07:30 to 13:30 on board). A note of interest, Grand Turk is in EST and therefore shore time is different than ship’s time (at least this is what was passed over the PA system after the ship had cleared customs). One of our CC group members, cottagequilter (Donna) had set up an arrangement for some of the CCrs to have a day at the Grand Turk Inn. I’ll ask her to amend this thread with a report of how that went. As far as the shops go, some prices were reasonable, others were not. Dan, the ships “Shopping Guru” gives talks about shops in the cruise guide but the shops are what they are here. My wife continues to play her “Snowball Bingo” (hasn’t won anything yet) but the annoying announcements about the game seem to have faded away since I sailed on Rotterdam in 04 (probably due to the many things I saw posted regarding that). I attended an invitational cocktail hour sponcored by Captain Scott and Hotel Manager Henk Mensink. It was a great time and they remembered me strait away. Henk asked directly if there was any problems that he could address; I did relate the story with the flowers and unfortunately, this was a delivery problem outside of HALs control. I also mentioned about the Crow’s Nest but the type of activity and group size made it impossible to place them anywhere else. Again, unfortunate to those folks on board who have no veranda but considering the size of Vista Class ships and their many public rooms with nice views, it is a minor inconvenience (it would cause more of an issue on S or R class ships); the Crow’s Nest remains open in the evening. My overall impression of MS Noordam, her officers and crew is that this ship rates five stars in my book. For the entertainment this evening, it was the comedy duo of Wilde & Haines. These guys kept us all rolling throughout their whole show. I’m not going to give anything else away about that, it wouldn’t be fair to the folks who haven’t caught their act; you won’t be disappointed! We also took in round one of the “Noordam Superstars” (the ship’s version of “American Idol”). This was made up of different passengers singing karaoke and was entertaining with those who could sing and comical with those who could not sing that well; overall, we were entertained.

RuthC asked directly about the entertainment on board. Here is a rundown of what is currently available:

  • Jessie and the HAL Cats – mostly on the Lido Deck
  • Emily – Pianist in the Crow’s Nest
  • Porto Fino – can be found in the Ocean Bar
  • Champagne Strings can be found in the Explorer’s Lounge
  • Randall Powell can be found in the Piano Bar (I haven’t had a chance to chat with him on his schedule)
  • DJ Dustin is in the Northern Lights Disco.

With regard to the Vista Lounge:

Departure Day – Michael Ziegfeld (comedian) – did not attend this show, he is scheduled for a late show (adults only) at 10 PM after we get underway from Road Town.

Day 1 – Will Allenby (singer, baritone) – did not attend this show either.

Day 2 – “That’s Vegas” by the Noordam cast (see above)

Day 3 – Wilde and Haines (Comedy Team) Very good

That’s it for now, more to come………Oh I almost forgot, I'll set up a link to the photos I've been taking later today:D

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Navy Cheif.. thank you for your reports, they have been helpful in raising my anticapation level..

 

Sorry to hear about a group in the Crows Nest.. What type of group are they??

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Day 2 – At Sea, First Formal Night: The day went well, we had really nice weather. The Military Veterans met today; this meeting is a nice touch and enables Vets from all generations to share their experiences. This leads into some lively discussions and is usually enjoyed by all. I won’t bore everyone with details.

 

Thanks for the wonderful updates Navy Chief... I'm interested in the who, what, whens and how and wheres of the Military Veterans meet. Any info is appreciated. And Thank You very much for your great "on board" reports....

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Thank you so much Navy-Chief.....just want to say that everything you write is appreciated....you are taking the time out of your beautiful cruise to inform us of what's to come......happy to hear that you're having a great time....Lynne

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Thank you for your detailed reports. We were part of a group that took over the Crow's Nest Lounge all day long on a sea day and I really wish we could have been accomodated elsewhere on the ship. We were in the Queen's Lounge (the theatre, on Vista class ships) most of the time, but if there were conflicts there, they moved us to the Crow's Nest.

 

Now get your tail down to the Piano Bar and tell Randall that Grumpy and Slinkie said "Hi".:D

 

It sounds like you are enjoying your cruise, and I imagine it's a bit different than it was when Uncle Sam was paying you to cruise.:D

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Chief, thank you so very much for the information on the entertainers aboard. Although I don't care to attend the production shows I do enjoy some of the featured entertainers. You have given me some good info on what to be on the look-out for.

And thank you, too, for the info about Randall Powell. I remember Grumpy (and others) posting about him and am hoping he'll still be there when I arrive. It's been posted that he's leaving "in January", so I don't know if I'll get the pleasure this trip.

I'm really enjoying this thread! :)

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