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Noordam's Maiden Voyage

Morgan & Owens The living room of suite No. 7045 on Holland America's <em>Noordam</em>.

Photo: Morgan & Owens

The New York skyline, seen from the ship's deck Berthed in its home port on the Hudson, the Noordam has the classic bow of a traditional ocean liner— but the interior is more suited to a Busby Berkeley musical, with a glass spiral staircase, swirling patterned carpets, and a crystal chandelier in the grand-entrance foyer.

A dapper cabin steward, at your service There's a steward for every suite—he'll tiptoe in at turndown to deposit a note containing the evening message from the captain and crew. Those blue-carpeted passageways may be unremarkable, but they lead to the ship's best offerings: a cooking school, a Greenhouse spa, a cabaret-style theater, and a casino. We found the ship's most enticing view in the Crow's Nest lounge on the upper deck.

The dining room Each suite has its own mahogany table, where the steward can serve a snack (such as prosciutto with cheese, above) from the Neptune Lounge—one of nine onboard lounges—just down the passageway. All suites are outfitted with Waterford crystal and Rosenthal china; however, we're a little disappointed that the Dale Chihuly anemone–knockoff overhead lights are made of plastic resin rather than blown glass.

The suite's balcony The two 1,318-square-foot penthouse suites are on the seventh-floor Rotterdam deck; each has its own private outdoor veranda. Sliding glass doors lead from the main stateroom to a teak deck, where you can watch the nautical miles slip away from the rattan deck chairs (with those thoughtfully provided binoculars). Added bonus: an alfresco whirlpool bath for two—filled with bubbles on request.

The bathroom King Neptune spouts enough water to sink a toy battleship in the oversize whirlpool bathtub. A separate shower stall adds a nice element to a typically tiny ship bathroom. The terra-cotta–colored Francia marble embellishes the two presidential cabins; passengers staying in the Noordam's 60 other deluxe veranda suites have to make do with porcelain-tiled, cramped tub-showers.

The living room A leather lounger is ideally positioned for watching a 37-inch flat-screen television tucked into a breakfront cabinet. Sealy customized the king-size mattress, dressed with 300-thread-count Calderon sheets, in the master bedroom. And although an 18th-century lacquered Sujibachi-Kabuto samurai helmet is an unsettling decorative choice, we found these sleeping quarters to be fit for an admiral. Holland America Noordam; 877/724-5425; www.hollandamerica.com; penthouse suite from $11,589 for a 10-day European cruise.

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