Cruising: Plus Minus Interesting

I have been on the Noordam for over a week, so feel I am qualified to make some observations about what it’s like to be a passenger. I’ve used a PMI to delineate my observations:

Plus

> You only have to unpack once – that’s it!
> Cost of food is covered (except for exclusive restaurants like the Pinnacle Grill, where it’s around $25 plus the cost of alcohol)
> Rooms are spotless, and very well maintained
> The ship is a well-oiled machine; it’s an organised “super-sized” hotel
> I’ve managed to run most days by using the treadmills in the gym
> The service staff are second to none
> You get to meet some really lovely people.

Minus

> You have to pay for any alcohol you consume (but with the American dollar being what it is, it’s not that expensive. And you can buy wine at ports and bring it aboard to consume in your room)
> You have to pay for internet, and it is very expensive (and apparently slow and unreliable) – this should be a complementary service
> You generally have to pay for shuttle buses (should be complementary)
> You have to pay for bottled water (should be complementary)
> Passenger demographics are toward the older, American end of the scale (as in geriatric yanks)
> I got very sick of Americans very quickly (although I did meet a few who were fabulous)
> Being a solo traveller is difficult, as there are only minimal activities organised with the solo traveller in mind (90% of those on board this ship are old and married)
> Gastro has been an unwelcome guest on board – I haven’t caught it yet (touch wood)
> I got sick of having to sanitise my hands every five minutes (staff were around every corner with sanitiser)
> I feel like I have only scratched the surface with port visits (although most have been excellent)
> Ports and cities all start looking the same after a while
> Once you’ve seen one on board show, you’ve seen them all (they are repeated ad nauseum)
> You are “stuck” on board at nights (no local restaurants/pubs/shows etc. to visit)

Interesting

> Getting in and out of ports is a streamlined, easy process
> How easily I have fallen into a daily routine
> The service staff are 90% Indonesian, 10% Filippino; Dutch and Americans occupy the “higher” positions.

At this stage, would I do a cruise again?

Only if I had company e.g. family or friends OR the ship stayed in port for two or three days so you could experience the culture of the country to a greater extent AND it was a younger demographic on board. Even though touring on land is exhausting, I prefer it because you are “in amongst it” and you are with a set group of people for a specific amount of time. One always has company for breakfast and dinner!

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