I have had the pleasure of cruising the Noordam for 2 nights from Sydney to Mebourne in late February 2019.
Having done an inspection of Noordam earlier, on boarding it was easy to navigate my way to my cabin on Deck 4. On opening my cabin door, to my surprise I was assigned a lovely spacious balcony cabin with a queen bed all to myself to enjoy. The views from my balcony was spectacular, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House which I know I will miss once we set sail.
At mid afternoon, I wandered off to the Explorer Café to check out the specialty coffees, however ended up with a piping hot Earl Grey tea to enjoy with the complimentary macaroons and chocolate slice. At 4pm, we had to quickly make our way back to our cabin then to our respective muster station for the mandatory safety drill where our boarding passes were checked and passengers who skipped the drill would not be allowed to sail.
The real fun started at 6pm when we met up with our Holland America host, Helen Eves and the other 15 participants for a welcome cocktail party in the Crow Nest bar on Deck 10. Lots of Champagne was served along with delicious hordevours. As the ship sets sail at sunset, the 180 degree views from the Crow Nest were magical. After plenty of chatting, drinking and getting to know each other, we slowly made our way to dine at the elegant Pinnacle Restaurant.
Dinner at Pinnacle restaurant was sensational. Normally it would cost US$35 to dine here, however we were once again hosted by Holland America to enjoy the best of what this restaurant offers. For me, the starter was lobster bisque, a sip of chardonnay followed by broiled crab legs and claws, more sips of chardonnay to then finish off with a decadent chocolate soufflé. Finally midnight came, we had clues from the attentive and wonderful wait staff that we were the only remaining guests at the restaurant and it was time for bed.
The morning arrived too soon after a sound sleep on my comfortable bed. Time to check out the breakfast menu at the Lido Market on Deck 9. People were everywhere ordering omelet as you like it, bacon and eggs, pancakes - a vast menu of foods that I can’t describe. Unexpectedly I stopped at a counter and the chef called out “miso soup or congee madam?” Just the food that I needed after last night indulgence. Congee I must say is a kind of bland rice porridge topped with delicious pickled vegetables, salted tofu, roasted peanuts, chopped spring onions and sesame oil. You can create any version of congee by simply putting your choice of topping on it and the whole combination is guaranteed to be delicious. After a healthy bowl of congee, it was time to meet Helen Eves for a Holland America fleet slide presentation at the Half Moon room on Deck 2. At the completion of the presentation we decided to visit the Kids Club on Deck 9 to review the facilities. One young girl was in the under 10 year’s club so we were not allowed in due to security reasons.
My next itinerary was a walk around the ship on the outside of Deck 3. It says on the notice board that 3 laps around the entire ship make a mile which is about 1.6km. Many walkers were overtaking me to complete the miracle mile before the next meal.
Lunchtime, another opportunity to sample the delicious cuisine at the Lido Market. This time my choice was a simple steam fish with vegetables and fresh cut fruits for dessert.
Post lunch, it was time to secure a seat early at the Lincoln Center Centre to listen to three talented lady violinists, a young man on the cello and another on the piano performing famous classical music pieces. Next a rush to the American Test Kitchen to learn about cooking South Carolina snacks.
A quick rest later it was group happy hour with Helen at the Piano Bar. Many happy drinks later, we made our way to the Main Dining Room for our farewell dinner. The dinner menu did not disappoint, American size shrimp cocktail for starters, followed by vegetable soup then sole fish for mains and chocolate slice for dessert.
9.30pm came and it was a dash to go to see the BB King performers singing Motown songs and playing jazzy blues. Finally 12 midnight came and it was time to call it a night.
Last breakfast at The Lido Market again before making my way to Deck 2 to disembark the elegant Noordam who had looked after and entertained me so well for the enjoyable 3 days on the cruise.