Noordam's Maiden Voyage
Holland America's 1,918-passenger Noordam recently took its maiden voyage. We checked into suite No. 7045 to test the seaworthiness of the line's latest arrival.
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 anemoneknockoff 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-cottacolored 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.