My wife and I will be heading for Rome for a 3 night pre-cruise stay and then boarding Holland Americas Noordam for a 10 day Mediterranean cruise. The cruise departs Civitavechia on September 23, 2003. 8 stops in 10 days a couple in greece, italy, france, and spain. We disembark in Barcelona Spain for a 3 night post cruise stay before heading back to Wisconsin. I've travleled with Holland Americas Westerdam before it went out of service and had a wonderful time. Am concerned about the Noordam as it is their oldest ship. Has it been maintained, and is the service, food etc., up to the normal Holland America standards. Any information anyone has regarding the Noordam or this particular trip will be appreciated. This is our first trip leaving from abroad. Normally we leave from within the USA. Also, we booked this tour/cruise through Grand Circle Travel out of Boston. First time I've used this agency. Anyone familiar with Grand Circle Travel.. The people I've dealt with on the phone seemed very helpful and knowledgeable. Any of you other cruisers ever heard or dealst with them? Thanks again for any information you can give us. Tom and Barb from Wisconsin
We have used GCT before on land and Cruises. You will not be disappointed. They tend to your every need. GCT and OAT are both good. We used GCT on a 28 day cruise from Istanbul to Capetown. Had a wonderful time.
On your Med cruise: all the ports are wonderful. While In Barcelona I recommend using the City bus with an upper deck. You pay for the ride and can get off anywhere , sight see, then get on the next bus. It is over 4 hour ride. Enjoyed it very much.
If you go into Cannes, France try to go to Monte Carlo by train. Walk to the Train station in Cannes and ride for about an hour to Monte Carlo. Worth the trip. Heck of a lot cheaper than taking the Shore Excursion from the ship. Be sure you have your ticket validated before you board the train. If you dont they will fine you. .
We sailed the Noordam on the Millenium New Year's cruise for 14 days. The food and service were excellent, but our cabin( a standard outside) was awful. The air conditioning never worked properly, and the bathroom plumbing was not functioning most of the time. The cabin temperature was so warm that I had to leave the cabin the minute I was dressed for dinner, or I would have been soaked with perspiration. I waited for my husband in one of the public lounges, or he waited for me.
I suggest that you test your air conditioning and plumbing upon boarding, and if it's not satisfactory, go to the front desk and have your cabin changed immediately. We did this too late, as many people seemed to have the same problem and they no longer had any cabins available. We would have taken an inside cabin, but they were occupied as well.
We have not sailed Holland America since, as we feel they should not have charged us this much money for a ship that's getting long in the tooth.