6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. ... Read More
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. Bathroom was tired. Mirror, vanity and tub/shower needed replacement. Verandah railings, floor and window frames were on their last legs. Furniture and walls were old and damaged. TV was tiny and old. We read that Noordam is due for refit later this year and it’s needed. Condition of the ship was compensated by HAL’s well-earned reputation for good food, great staff and interesting itineraries. Main hope is HAL and other cruise lines understand that wifi is no longer a luxury for passengers and everyone should at least have access to a limited number of free minutes. The cruise lines that join the 21st century first will get the business. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be HAL. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and ... Read More
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and service (except for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, even after complaining because they didn’t seem to care) was excellent. Shore excursions were all good but very expensive. Embarkation took too long (over an hour) but debarkation was a breeze - best ever. There wasn’t much to do onboard, especially on sea days. Mainly test kitchen offerings, if you like that. A couple of the entertainers were poor (ventriloquist and singer) but others were good (singers and dancers) or great (comedian, pianist). They offered a Lincoln Center Stage venue and the musicians were outstanding - that was an unexpected surprise we enjoyed. The other negative was they closed the ship stores during the last week to get it ready for a new opening (not sure why) so almost no merchandise even before closing - not good. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and ... Read More
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and I prefer a cruise that has its concentration of days at sea at the end of the cruise, so I return to work rested. SHIP - Our "J" category rooms were HUGE! This ship is scheduled for dry-dock in September, so I don't know if these rooms will remain as is. For this longer cruise length, we loved the extra room - without the extra price. In general, this ship needs an update, but obviously, Holland America already knows this. Although I found the decor dated, and a few spots were showing wear, the ship was spotless. I also think the arrangement of some of the public areas could be modernized - especially the gym and the buffet areas which would benefit from more square footage and more glass area. I would like to see the buffet area have glass along the entire front of the ship with doors directly leading to the deck, rather than locating service areas between the buffet & the lido deck. GYM - This area needs serious work. To attract the younger, more fitness-crazed generations, HAL needs modern equipment, and contemporary classes. This was also one of the few areas where you were forced to pay extra for pretty much anything worthwhile. I think HAL should try to be the first ship at sea to offer Bodypump classes - that would be a huge hit! The gym needs to remain open until at least 10:00 - 11:00 would be better. They closed at 9:00 reportedly to preserve quiet for those sleeping on the floor below. However, HAL did not have this same concern for those of us on Deck 1 whose rooms were under the BB King Lounge, which played well after 10:00 (which did not keep me up, so I doubt use of the gym after 9:00 would keep floor 9 guests awake either). Equipment in the gym was OLD! They only had 2 rowing machines - one broke on day 2 and was never repaired. And, if ANY machine should face the sea, it should be the rowing machines, which they didn't. FOOD - Amazing. Simply great. Service, quality, quantity, variety, everything was more than we could have asked for. My only complaint was the Russian Roulette for tables you played every morning in the buffet. Guests got visibly angry trying to find a table. Hopefully HAL will expand seating at their buffet when they refurbish the Noordam. SERVICE - Amazing! From the room stewards, to the dining, to the wine stewards, to the bar attendants to the front desk - these employees exude joy and positive service. How HAL keeps employees customer focused and joyful, when they live and work in such close quarters for 8 months at a time, should be the subject of a TED talk. I really admire what they have achieved. We brought a group of 30 customers for a wine focused tour. We had 3, private, wine events during our days at sea. We were BLOWN AWAY by the elegance of the service, and the expertise of their Director of Wine. Far exceeded expectations. ACTIVITIES - This needs work. Activities are uninspired. I have lots of suggestions for things HAL could offer that would modernize their cruises, without alienating their core customer base. Too long for this review. HAL: Contact me! I figure I can easily raise your per/person income by $100 by simply changing up your on-board offerings. Evening entertainment was sub-par with the exception of Daniel on the piano bar. My husband and I love to dance - especially swing. We never got the chance. The only faster paced music played in a venue with a dance floor, was the "Disco Bar" which got going at 10:30 pm. There was the BB King lounge, which offered our, slow blues music most nights. We are used to several lounges offering danceable music at times from early evening to midnight and beyond on other cruises we have taken. Really missed that. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and ... Read More
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and nature, not so much about small cities. The ship is a little dated and will be sent to dry dock in the Fall. I can only hope they redo the decoration and some of the facilities. The worst we had to deal with that could be prevented is the common cold going around: we both ended up getting it and we washed our hands constantly. Contrary to other ships we have sailed on before (from other cruise lines), a lot of sections in the Lido market and pool food bar area sections were available to passengers directly. I have seen people get their hands around glass to go and help themselves, I have seen one man take a bowl and then put it back on the pile. The handles for the juice/mail/yogourt fridge are calling for viruses... You get your own bread, etc, etc, etc. It is simply not acceptable to have so many areas where germs can be spread on a ship that has so many passengers and personnel. It would cost more staff to block EVERYTHING off to passengers but then the chance of passing on germs would be a lot less. Other cruise ships such as Oceania does this. Rooms are small but comfortable. Staff was great and friendly. We hated the idea of being pressured into sitting with other people in the dining room. Our Valentine's night was a disaster. We could have potentially argued, waited to get something for just the two of us maybe. Next time, we will. At least if they tried to sit people of the same age category together would help. Food was good but not great often. Too many sea days for us. The passengers were simply maybe a little too elderly or had health issues for us. Next time, we will choose a cruise ship that attracts younger and more active passengers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes very good and at others poor. We enjoyed the shore days, the ports were all very interesting. Trips organised by the ship were very over priced and we made our own arrangements on arrival. Our main concern was that there was little or nothing to do during the sea days apart from bingo and trivia quizzes. There was no dancing, lectures, enrichment programmes, classes, craft - nothing at all. We therefore spent several of the days of our cruise sitting and reading, which is OK for a day but not for several. The food was varied and looked lovely, but was rather lacking in flavour and invariably drowned in sauce (sometimes more than one sauce on the same plate). The crew were excellent and the service, in the main, very good (there were one or two exceptions). The tendency to play loud 'background' music in public rooms even when there is no-one there was irritating, especially if people were trying to read. The charging of 15% gratuity on top of the cost of drinks as well as charging over £11 pp per day for tips is excessive. There were no laundry and ironing facilities and the only option to crumpled clothing was to pay rather a lot of money to have things ironed. I would not recommend HAL and would be unlikely to book with them again myself. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was on a 12 night cruise from New Zealand via Tasmania finishing up at Sydney Australia. The cruise was to include New Zealand North Island, New Zealand South Island, Tasmania, Melbourne and Sydney Australia. Embarkation in ... Read More
I was on a 12 night cruise from New Zealand via Tasmania finishing up at Sydney Australia. The cruise was to include New Zealand North Island, New Zealand South Island, Tasmania, Melbourne and Sydney Australia. Embarkation in Auckland was bad. Their boarding ramp broke and this added a few hours to the ordeal. Not a great start. The room (see below for cabin description) was very poor, dated and with quite a few issues. The ship itself was quite dated and in need of a lot of attention. Hit and miss on reception staff. I took pictures and videos which I presented to the reception staff who did a lot of nodding, agreed to do things and then didn't do anything. Needed constant chasing. That said, eventually one reception person did sort me out and was very good. (they are on shifts so quite hit and miss). I had also had a problem where my door didn't close at all. This was quickly sorted out. The other staff on the boat were very good (restaurant etc) and very friendly. I approached Holland America head office with these issues, offered to show them the evidence in the form of pictures and videos I took of the knocking noises, and of the poor customer service on the ship regarding this. They were not interested and all I got from them was a dismissive "Sorry you feel that way" type response, to quote them "extend our apologies if you feel their response was unacceptable". Very poor response. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak ... Read More
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak highly of their experiences. We spent two days in Auckland before departing to Gisborne, Wellington, Akaroa (Christchurch), Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne and Sydney. Boarding problems delayed our departure, but before long we were on our way. Being my first cruise, I wasn't really aware of and didn't pay attention to the fact that we were circling an island for several hours after we left Auckland and I am still unsure why we changed course. Atlantis Events and/or Holland America diverted the ship from making the planned stop in Akaroa (Christchurch) due to weather. Hard for me to believe that since Akaroa is a protected harbor. If you look on a map, the cruise was to go from Wellington to Akaroa and then south around the south island of New Zealand. Instead, we were stuck for three days at sea while we lumbered along at a leisurely pace to keep on schedule (i.e., not get to Hobart before we were scheduled). This significant change in schedule was, in my estimation, unnecessary, and definitely infuriating. The change in course lead to Holland America and/or Atlantis Events saving tens of thousands of dollars in fuel. We didn't get so much as a credit toward a future cruise. Keep in mind that many of the staff on the ship were lovely. Very attentive, happy to help and genuinely appeared to enjoy their jobs. Most were from Indonesia and the Philippines, and they were outstanding. Unfortunately, there were 20-25% of the employees that absolutely hated their job (or hated us). You could tell because they didn't smile, make eye contact or go beyond the minimum of what they were required. I have heard for years about how great the food is on cruises. Not being someone who enjoys eating large amounts of food (read, all-you-can-eat buffets), I wanted quality over quantity. I also don't eat a lot of meat, but there were plenty of hunks of unknown meats under heat lamps that didn't look particularly appetizing. The salad bar (not self-serve) on our cruise was ALWAYS busy and very understaffed. It was frustrating. You could go to a sit-down restaurant with table service (rather than the buffet-style food served on the lido deck), but this food was only marginally better. There was, of course, the extra-special option of going to a restaurant and actually paying for a high-end meal. Since I wasn't impressed with the food on the lido deck or the sit-down restaurant, I didn't bother. The number of deafeningly loud announcements through over-driven speakers by the crew at all hours was very disrupting and usually sounded like the adults on Peanuts. I felt like an announcement that loud should have been left for "abandon ship!" instead of "we're having a sale on (overpriced) watches on the lido deck" or whatever equally silly announcement they were making. It was ridiculous. The 'drinking' water on this ship tasted like it had been stored in a plastic container in the sun for a day or two, making it taste horrible. The upside was that we could drink the four $5 bottles of water (12 oz) left in our room every day when attendants came in to make our bed. If you're a coffee drinker, you'll need to lower your expectations considerably since the swill they served for coffee made instant coffee taste like Italian espresso, but you can go to their 'espresso bar' and pay $4.50 for a latte, so you aren't totally screwed. If you ask me, it takes a lot of chutzpah to provide undrinkable water and coffee, and then essentially force you to pay their outrageously over-priced bottled water and coffee. In the end, we paid an outrageous $1,354--almost all in drinks and one $100 bottle of wine for my birthday dinner. Holland America also enjoys using only US Dollars as its onboard currency and does not recognize the currency of those countries whose ports they frequent, so you won't enjoy any 'deals' on exchange rates. Buyer/cruiser beware! Take note of the year your ship was built. Read recent reviews of it so you know what you're getting yourself into. Ultimately, I don't think I would ever do another Atlantis Events cruise, and I would NEVER do another Holland America given this experience. Good luck! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the ... Read More
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the rooms had blasting a/c and the other half were saunas. Constant plumbing issues, power issues, and the fact that the maintenance staff were either so overworked or just past the point of caring that nothing seemed to get fixed. When i realized that part of why my room was so warm was that a prior passenger had squeezed a cruise daily into the a/c vent, i called and knowing that i wouldnt get much help i begged the person to bring a phillips head screwdriver so we could get it done rather than have them look, evaluate, and schedule. The promised they would...they brought a corkscrew. They called another staffer who brought a broken leatherman with a phillips bit so worn it was an icepick. They were discussing what to do and i grabbed the leatherman and used the flat head to get it open. That and the televisions on the ship are widescreen tubes that can only be watched in a totally dark room with tylenol for the static. Rooms were caked in salt and dust and mold. There are much nicer and newer vessels out there. Do NOT pick this one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of ... Read More
We stayed 3 days in Auckland before embarking after our flight from Manila. The embarkation was easy and smooth. the ship docks in the middle of Auckland, so its easy and very cheap to reach by public transportation. Being members of the European Union we didn't need any Visa or ETA. in New Zealand. The friendliness of the people of New Zealand and Australia has to be mentioned specially. No arrogance or security phobia by the embarkation in Auckland OR disembarkation in Sydney as experienced in an other big English speaking country! The cleanliness on board and on land is remarkable. On board were many citizen of not English countries.We would like to have a little less US american shows and more other main languages oriented activities, even subtitled! The songs of the entertainment group of the ship were purely sung in us american..even if they are of Italian, German or French origin. . The service in the lido by the Filipino cooks and Indonesian waitresses and waiters is remarkable. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Spent a few days in Auckland before boarding the Noordam. Embarkation takes awhile to get so many people onboard. Spent about an hour waiting in line. Once you get through the line, it is a quick process for getting your cruise card ... Read More
Spent a few days in Auckland before boarding the Noordam. Embarkation takes awhile to get so many people onboard. Spent about an hour waiting in line. Once you get through the line, it is a quick process for getting your cruise card and going through security. The ship is remarkably clean, and well maintained. Not a large ship, so it does not take long to walk from one end of the ship to the other. The crew is amazingly friendly and helpful. Incredible how so many crew can remember your name just after a few days. Really enjoyed the food and service in the Main Dining Room. Never felt rushed. Waiters were wonderful. Lido buffet for breakfast and lunch were always very crowded. Takes awhile to find a seat, but the food and service was also good. The cabin stewards kept the cabin clean and refreshed multiple times during the day. The production singers and dancers get and A for effort. Not the glitzy and highly produced productions you find on larger ships, but still fun entertainment. Comedians, vocalist, and instrumentalists filled the other nights shows, and were all very good. Piano bar entertainer was quite talented, and was fun to pop into at anytime in the evening. Great ports with beautiful scenery. A couple of tender ports that took some time waiting in line, but were handled quite efficiently. All in all a great cruise with a wonderful crew. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
If you are taking a cruise that takes over 20 hours to get to you should maximize your stay. We made sure we allowed for a couple of days in Auckland before the cruise and Sydney at the end of the cruise. Holland cruises are known for ... Read More
If you are taking a cruise that takes over 20 hours to get to you should maximize your stay. We made sure we allowed for a couple of days in Auckland before the cruise and Sydney at the end of the cruise. Holland cruises are known for catering to an older crowd and this cruise was no different. Being in our sixties puts is in the mean demographic of most of our fellow passengers. It was a diverse group that included passengers from all over the world. We always chose anytime dining and enjoy sitting with different passengers at every dinner. It makes for very interesting conversations. The Noordam has a large percentage of their cabins with balconies so the price to upgrade to a balcony is not very much and well worth it. The weather and the views make it a excellent place to enjoy the wonderful scenery. New Zealand is a magical place and one of the most beautiful places on earth. Tasmania and big brother Australia are also both wonderful places to visit. Not only are they beautiful but the people are some of the nicest you will ever encounter. You will never get lost in these places as somebody will always come up to you and ask if they can help. The ship was in great condition and as with all the Holland cruises we have experienced, the staff was wonderful. The Noordam carries only around 2000 passengers which these days is considered a smaller ship. The room was adequately sized with a very comfortable bed and our room steward took very good care of us. We never had to wait in lines for anything on this ship. The food was the consistent high quality I have always enjoyed on Holland both in the dining room and at the Lido Buffet. The Pinnacle Steak house if very much worth the up-charge for a intimate evening with your spouse. Selection was also excellent and should satisfy many different peoples requirements. Although onboard activities were limited due to the aggressive port schedule, Holland's association with Americas Test Kitchen was very popular and enjoyable. I would have enjoyed a bit more seminars on other activities like nature, finance etc. Entertainment in the main Vista Lounge I felt was a bit lacking although there were some decent one off comedians and musicians. The ships singers and dancers provided shows that in my eyes were just not contemporary and were boring. Holland has the B.B. King Blues Lounge which has three shows a night with a live R&B band. The house blues band on this ship and all the other Holland Cruises I have been on were excellent. Clearly, the most popular place in the evening for music and dancing. Holland offers port and shore excursions through it's EXC excursion product however we chose other operators Viator and AAA because we felt they offer better bank for our buck. All of our excursion were in smaller vans and were a bit more personal. We also prebooked some bike excursions that we enjoyed especially our tour with Bike Tour Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. Steve Connor, the owner, gives you an excellent tour of his city. We were fortunate to have perfect weather for the majority of our cruise. This from what I have heard is unusual; however, we must have been blessed. We sailed into Fjordlands National Park in New Zealand without a cloud in the sky! Most of the cruise was in calm waters. If you like cruising, this is a cruise you should look into. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Great itinerary but lack of on board activities, minimal cruise staff after cutbacks, and lack of live musical entertainment. Many of the activities in the program were actually revenue advertisements such as art auctions and spa ... Read More
Great itinerary but lack of on board activities, minimal cruise staff after cutbacks, and lack of live musical entertainment. Many of the activities in the program were actually revenue advertisements such as art auctions and spa promotions. The jazz trio (formerly known as "The Neptunes") and the solo guitarist/singer were sorely missed. Piano bar musician Stryker did a great job of keeping the Piano Bar packed out. There was no fitness instructor or location guide for half the cruise. The price of tours seems to have risen with the new tour company. The little niceties seem to be disappearing such as a daily quiz in the library, the pillow cards with good night wishes and time change reminders and also no Captain's Cruise Log any longer. Despite these disappointments the beauty of the ports and the passing scenery made up for some of what was lacking and the service of the staff was outstanding. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The ship is not up to the standards one expects from a modern cruise liner, the ship is old at 10years & tired. It is the only cruise line where you have to submit credit card details per passenger in order to get a boarding card they ... Read More
The ship is not up to the standards one expects from a modern cruise liner, the ship is old at 10years & tired. It is the only cruise line where you have to submit credit card details per passenger in order to get a boarding card they took the equivalent of 900$ from each of our accounts & that was before we had even stepped a foot outside the UK, Boarding was a farce, queuing up in an old warehouse with no seating no toilets that I could see . The cabin was barely adequate, very cramped you couldn't get out of the bathroom if someone wanted either to come in to the cabin or wanted to get at the wardrobe. The balcony or veranda as HA put it had furniture that looked as if it came from the 20s cushions that could not be removed so were continually wet. The public rooms were OK just, but there was no library as such just a collection of books in book shelves spread across two of the public rooms without rhyme or reason & very few at that. We always opt for fine dining, in this case it was anything but that, the menus looked impressive full of culinary terms no one understood, when the food came it was either cold or burnt or both, the staff soon learnt not to serve the table with cold food, The majority of the food was just about edible, as if the chef really didn't know the meaning of fine dining, a good example was one night we had roast beef & Yorkshire pudding, the beef was ok, not the best cut but the yorkshire pudding was terrible, it was so bad & tough that I could have used it to sole my boots, we later discovered that the chef was Indian, we asked him for an indian meal he said ok but it never materialised, throughout the ship the food seemed to be of an equally poor standard. No where on the ship could you get a half decent cup of coffee, apart from the coffee stall in the explorers lounge, else where it was stewed with in an inch of its life. For the most part the staff, Indonesian, were helpful & friendly, it was when you came to the american staff that the trouble started, the impression they gave was that they couldn't be bothered with you, an example was our cabin air conditioning seemed to be permanently stuck on very cold, even in New Zealand in November the weather is chilly, we reported the fault & eventually a young girl came to check it out, "nothing wrong with it" she said "it is meant to be cold" I pointed out that if that were the case why it the dial have red numbers on it. As nothing further was done I went back to the front desk & complained, after 2 days an engineer arrived, " your quite right, the thermostat is us" & promptly fitted a new one. I wont even talk about the entertainment, one or two good acts the rest rubbish. Shore excursions we chose not to take the ships advertised shore excursions but used an online agency who's prices were 60% cheaper than the ships & didn't include the 15% surcharge the ship puts on every thing. My wife & I are both over 70, we have been cruising every year for over 10 years, so we have had a lot of experience of what to expect from a cruise line, we have always wanted to visit this part of the world & due to other commitments we had to go at this time of the year. Holland America will I'm sure be pleased to know that we will never step foot on one of their ships ever again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Mediocre food. They have great sounding creative menus, seemingly quality ingredients, then ruin it with poor execution. Watery pasta dishes, overcooked meats, limp crusted pizza, hot food served cold or lukewarm, etc. Almost laughable ... Read More
Mediocre food. They have great sounding creative menus, seemingly quality ingredients, then ruin it with poor execution. Watery pasta dishes, overcooked meats, limp crusted pizza, hot food served cold or lukewarm, etc. Almost laughable at every meal. The hamburgers on the pool deck were really good, though. A dearth of entertainment options. Shows were boring and uninspired. Piano bar and blues club entertainment were great for a couple nights...not 15 in a row. It got really boring. Daytime activities almost non-existent. No cruise port talks the first week. Zero. No fitness center classes the first week--all were canceled. America's Test Kitchen is great, but the instructor missed the boat while in port one day and they did not wait for her or pick her up at the next port...they just canceled the rest of the classes. They could have provided substitute culinary related talks or demos...they certainly have the staff. I understand they are not allowed to use the Test Kitchen without the designated instructor because of their contract. That doesn't mean they couldn't use the showroom for an alternative food-related activity. No one cares. I was told it all comes down to the cruise director's decision, so, sorry Andy...you get a big fail. The ship needs a refurb really badly. Seems old and tired with no wow factor in any area. This goes for the cabins as well. Waiters, housekeeping, and food servers at the buffet were very friendly and tried to be helpful. Anyone in management in the buffet, however, just stood at their podium or walked around making sure not to make eye contact with passengers, like they were above it all. Never again, Holland. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
The Noordam is, on the whole, a beautiful, well-run ship and we were very comfortable on a 36 night cruise from Auckland, New Zealand to Vancouver, Canada. This was our retirement cruise, the longest vacation of our lives, and, of course, ... Read More
The Noordam is, on the whole, a beautiful, well-run ship and we were very comfortable on a 36 night cruise from Auckland, New Zealand to Vancouver, Canada. This was our retirement cruise, the longest vacation of our lives, and, of course, the most expensive. All in all, this cruise was a great way to “retire to luxury,” if only for a set period of time! We absolutely loved every port in New Zealand (Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Akaroa, Dunedin and Wellington even though the weather in Wellington was horrible), as well as in Australia (Hobart, Melbourne, and Sydney) and Hawaii (Hilo, Honolulu). We were far less impressed with the South Pacific ports, though American Samoa was interesting. There were a lot of sea days on this cruise, but we found ways to fill our time. The Ship The public areas on the Noordam are attractive and well-maintained, and generally serve to accommodate guests who wish to attend events in those venues. We especially liked the Pinnacle Bar, Explorations (2 areas; one is primarily a library, though there is no librarian), and the Vista Lounge, which is huge. The only areas where we noticed real issues were these: 1. The Culinary Arts Center/Queens Lounge: This is a terrible venue for just about anything, especially viewing movies. It is small and, unless you are on the front row, you cannot see anything! We tried to attend movies and cooking shows, but it was very frustrating and we gave up. It semi-works for the BB Kings and is a happening place on the ship during those performances. 2. The Northern Lights: This is supposedly the night club off the casino, though we never really saw anyone dancing in it. It is either dark or bright enough to land a helicopter. The seats are hard and uncomfortable. The ship kept trying to do trivia games and other activities here and all the passengers, including us, hated it. This space should be completely reallocated to something else! 3. In the Lido, several of the “rattan” type chairs are really, really old and worn and need to be replaced. 4. The Explorer’s Lounge was severely under-utilized, which is too bad as it was a nice venue. Our Cabin Because of the length of the cruise, we treated ourselves to a Signature Suite and were generally pleased. There were two desks, two sinks in the bathroom both a stall shower and a tub with a whirlpool and shower in the bathroom and ample space on the balcony. We were on Deck 6 mid-ship and found we liked that location; it was close to the elevators and the stairs, quiet, and the motion of the ship (we had rough seas on more than one occasion) was reduced. Our steward produced additional hangers when we asked and maintained our room well. If cost were not an issue, we would always travel in this type of cabin. Food The food on the ship was generally good, though after 36 days it was getting a bit old. The Lido: The Lido was where we generally had breakfast and about half our lunches. We really liked the fact that there were two omelet stations with two cooks each, so four people were preparing omelets to order right in front of you. At lunch, the omelet station became the salad station with the same type of service. There were two main service lines for general breakfast items and the main menu items for lunch. Juices (a wide variety) and cold cereals were also available at two stations; this becomes the dessert/ice cream station at lunch. The waffle station was to port while the eggs benedict station was to starboard; at lunch these became the Asian Grill and the Pasta/Pizza Grill. My only minor complaints are that fresh fruit for breakfast is served “mixed” (if you want sliced cantaloupe you will get a slice on a plate with a slice of pineapple, watermelon, and maybe kiwi and a grape) and the poached eggs just were never properly drained of water (get them on a separate plate and assemble the benedict yourself). Dive-In: This is the burger bar and we loved it! The burgers, grilled chicken, hot dogs and french fries were consistently fresh and good. Taco Bar: This is an interesting pool-side concept for a quick lunch, and it is popular, but we found that it missed the mark. Admittedly, we are from the southwestern part of the US and our “Tex-Mex” standards are exceedingly high. Main Dining Room: We had excellent service throughout the cruise in the Main Dining room, both from our waiters and our wine stewards. The food was generally good. Oddly, the only times we had trouble finding something that appealed were on the special occasions where the “chefs” were featured. We ate lunch several times in the main dining room and actually found those entrees a cut above dinner. The only time the main dining room failed us was at the one breakfast we ate there; the service was slow and our food was cold and mediocre. The Pinnacle Grill: We ate there three times; once for lunch and twice for dinner. The food was excellent and the service impeccable. Well worth the upcharge! The Canaletto: We had dinner there once and had excellent service. However, we simply were simply not impressed with the food and do not care for the “sharing” concept. Room Service: We used room service for several breakfasts and a few lunches. Breakfast service, when ordered from the “door hanger,” was prompt and accurate. When we called for food, the wait was never less than 45 minutes to an hour. Bars We generally had good service in the bars, particularly the Crow’s Nest and the Pinnacle Bar. Service by the pool can be slow, as can service in the Lido since the waiters have to go to one of the pool bars. On the rare occasions that we ate dinner in the Lido and wanted a glass of wine with it, we got it at one of the bars before getting our food. Staff We found the staff, overall, to be accommodating and eager to please. Activities The first part of the cruise, from Auckland to Sydney, was very “port intensive” and we did long, full day excursions in almost all of them, so we concentrated on resting up for our next excursion and did not participate in many of the ship’s activities until we left Sydney (day 13), when we finally joined in. Here is what we enjoyed: 1. Wine tastings: We did three, plus a port wine/chocolate tasting. All of them were well run by the cellar master and the wines were almost always good. We also liked the “Sip and Savor” evenings conducted by the cellar master and the culinary director on sea days. 2. Trivia: We love it and had a good time playing. 3. Astronomy Lectures: The ship collected three guest lecturers in Sydney; we heard all of them at least once and really, really liked the astronomer who was an excellent, entertaining speaker. General Comments for Holland America: The Holland America Line, as a whole, seems to be going through a period where it is seeking new direction, but not quite sure how to proceed. The reputation of the line is that it is for older people who don’t want as much “action” as younger travelers. (That is fine by us, we are in our mid-60s and these are our people). In an effort to become more “hip,” the cruise line is doing away with librarians, cutting back Explorations, re-evaluating the guest speakers, and has eliminated formal attire for the cruise staff on Gala nights. (The new uniforms are gray and white with orange accents and are truly heinous; bring back the tuxedos and the long dresses, please). Our ship held one of the last Le Cirque dinners; the new order will be a seafood night in the Pinnacle Grill which holds no allure for us at all. In our opinion, Holland should stick to what it does best – offer a classy cruise to mature individuals who want a quality vacation. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Chose it because it went where we wanted to go but didn't ant to go all the way to Vancouver but we were told we couldn't get off in Honolulu unless we paid for entire leg to Canada. That being said the reasons we were terribly ... Read More
Chose it because it went where we wanted to go but didn't ant to go all the way to Vancouver but we were told we couldn't get off in Honolulu unless we paid for entire leg to Canada. That being said the reasons we were terribly disappointed are many. I got food poisoning in the formal dining room and was treated like a criminal for even suggesting that the escargot was bad. The front desk told me to go to my room and stay there until they released me. No one in the medical staff saw me, took my temperature or helped me at all. When I wanted food while in my room no one answered the phone in room service or the front desk for at least an hour. When I finally went to the front desk (yes, I left my room!) they had room service call me.15 ins later they called and took an order for me and my husband they said it would be there in 30 mins. which ended up being an hour and a half later. I called the medical staff to find out when I would be able to leave my room, she told me she would let me know sometime the next day after 9 a.m. and then hung up on me before I could saying anything more. Before they released me they came to "sanitize" our room. Which included wiping down a few surfaces but NOT the phone, door handles or bathroom door or the arm chairs. After they supposedly had sanitized the bathroom, I took a wad of TP and wiped under the rim of the toilet seat. It was filled with brown slime and black mold!!!! I let the front desk know this and they said they would mention it to the proper staff, but it never got cleaned. At least 70-80% of passengers were sick with a cold for the entire 36 days. There weren't any waste cans to dispose of used tissues so people were putting them on their used plates, behind curtains next to the tables etc. on Lido deck. I never saw anyone wipe off the chair arms (sticky, oily film covered the arms) I did see them wipe off the handrails but nothing else. The excursions were pretty lame in some cases very good in a few cases. Orcas were touted on the ship as being plentiful on the Orca Whale watch in Victoria but were nonexistent after 3 hours in the cod and rain. To be honest they should call it a wildlife tour since they said while we were on the tour that they hadn't seen or heard of any Orcas being seen for a long time. There was no more to do on sea days than on in port days but much more crowded of course. No games or entertainment around the pool on sea days. In fact one day they took most of the pool chairs away and had a "big sale" on stuff they hadn't been able to get rid of in the last 30 something days. Service in the Lido dining room was the best thing we experienced. The service people were friendly and hard working. Many times though on sea days we had to bus our own tables and get our own beverages because the help was over worked, not enough help. Roasting the same meats is not my idea of cooking. Pretty much roast pork leg and fried chicken every day. Lots of mashed potatoes and carrots. The salad bar was wonderful and was the saving grace for the food department. Finally the last day was the crowning insult. We paid (through the excursions department) $58 for the 2 of us to be transported to the airport to catch our flight. The whole process was chaos both the ship and the bus company were to blame. There was no sense of urgency through the whole chaotic ordeal and culminated in many of us on our bus missing our flights which of course incurred even more fees and getting home 8 hours later than our original flight. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our first cruise to Australia and the South Pacific. We rented an AirBnB in Sydney (near KingsCross) a week before the cruise to explore the many sights. As always with Holland America, the embarkation went smoothly and ... Read More
This was our first cruise to Australia and the South Pacific. We rented an AirBnB in Sydney (near KingsCross) a week before the cruise to explore the many sights. As always with Holland America, the embarkation went smoothly and quickly. Our luggage arrived to our cabin before we did and we were able to get unpacked and ready for our adventure. We set sail in the evening while taking in the beautiful night lights of Sydney harbour. We found the ports extremely interesting and we tried to learn as much as we could in the time alloted on shore. In Hilo and Honolulu we rented a car and travelled to the many sights which were noted on the ships shore excursions. There was no need to book an excursion in Dravuni as the passengers are tendered to the Island. Don't stay on the ship as you will miss this perfect Island! We hope to return one day to spend more time with the locals. Our ship couldn't go to two ports in New Caledonia because of typhoon season so we sailed to Vanuatu instead and went on a wonderful shore excursion to a small village. This was absolutely our favourite as we learned so much about the culture. When not in port, our days were filled with cultural activities and the speakers (Alan Wright, Paul Raffaele, George Sranko) were well informed as they shared a plethora of information to their captivated audiences. Certainly our favourite! The staff were professional as always and the food divine. If you are looking for a high energy cruise this one is not for you. If you appreciate a slower, more relaxed pace make sure you book this cruise. There is a large amount of sea days which allow you to do just that. Read, play board games and cards, sunbath, learn about different cultures and join in the simple daily activities offered. We loved this cruise and can't wait to do another!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary - 9 ports in 14 days in both New Zealand and Southeast Australia. The ship is in pretty good shape for its age, but a little gaudy for our taste. Staff was very pleasant and ports were ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary - 9 ports in 14 days in both New Zealand and Southeast Australia. The ship is in pretty good shape for its age, but a little gaudy for our taste. Staff was very pleasant and ports were great, when the weather cooperated. We only signed up for one of the ship's excursions (due to the high price), but that excursion was very good (Melbourne). We primarily used Viator and several other local tour companies. We were amazed at the age of the passengers. I would say 80% were over or well over 60. Many were handicapped or needed wheelchairs, but the ship and crew handled this well. Signature suite was nice, but not that much bigger than a veranda room. Food n Highlights: 1. Ports, particularly Sydney, Dunedin, Tauranga, Akaroa and Hobart. 2. Pinnacle Grill 3. Embarkation and Disembarkation 4. Fiordland National Park, although we missed Milford Sound due to weather 5. Hobbitton and Rotorua 6. Sydney harbor cruise 7. Wiaheke wine tours (Auckland) 8. Bonarong Wildlife Reserve (Hobart) 9. Added time and later than scheduled departure in Hobart 10. Sydney Opera House Disappointing: 1. Average age of passengers (older than we expected) 2. Little to do on sea days, unless you like the spa or trivia 3. Entertainment was, at best, average 4. Christchurch 5. Prices in Auckland and Sydney - very expensive 6. Lines to get into dining room for anytime seating Having read many Cruise Critic reviews of the Noordam, we really didn't have high expectations for the Noordam, and were generally satisfied with the overall experience, apart from being pretty bored on sea days (we are port people). I would not cruise on Noordam again, but would likely give another Holland America ship a try, if the itinerary was good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I never sailed the islands of the Pacific, and this was a perfect opportunity to do so. A few days in Sydney prior to sailing allowed two visits to Hunter Valley (two different companies) and a lunch at the top of the Sydney Tower. ... Read More
I never sailed the islands of the Pacific, and this was a perfect opportunity to do so. A few days in Sydney prior to sailing allowed two visits to Hunter Valley (two different companies) and a lunch at the top of the Sydney Tower. Staying at the Sydney Harbor Marriott allowed wheeling your luggage right up to the ship with no problem....very handy! Boarding was quick and easy. Tropical Cyclone Cook interrupted our visit to two ports in New Caledonia, but one stop in Vanauatu was substituted. Days were hot and sunny as we visited Fiji and Samoa - great for those who are wild about beaches, but not much in the way of historic signts. Lots of sea days - some five in a row - gave plenty of time to kick back and read if you weren't attending a cooking demo, lecture, movie or bingo. The daily "Sip & Savor" with two wines ($4 per glass) and a good snack were led by the somalier with explanation of the wines. Something new each day, and always interesting and tasty. The wine package offerered two levels of wines - Navigator and Admiral - a variety of choices in either. I chose the lower priced Navigator and was never disappointed. My major concern was the fact that my 3-star Mariner rate allowed a 25% discount on the wine package (but a 15% service charge was added) - making it 10% lower than the price listed in the brochure. The 3-star rating didn't do a thing toward discount pricing of a glass of wine at any lounge or even the purchase of a full bottle of wine in the dining room. All coffee at the Explorations Cafe was also discounted, but specialty coffee elsewhere was full price. Dinners at LeCirque were enjoyable but not that exceptional considering the charge. At my second one, the Sea Bass offered was replaced with baramundi which is just not the same thing at all. On the other hand, the Cellar Master's Dinner was excellent. Aside from food and wine - my favorite thing on board was the Piano Bar lounge that was packed every night. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Repositioning cruises are a wonderful way to avoid tedious air travel. Noordam had a great itinerary and the timing was perfect. Noordam was scheduled for a refit in 2015 but it still hasn't happened and its looking a bit tired. ... Read More
Repositioning cruises are a wonderful way to avoid tedious air travel. Noordam had a great itinerary and the timing was perfect. Noordam was scheduled for a refit in 2015 but it still hasn't happened and its looking a bit tired. The soft furnishings are worn in the staterooms and some public areas. Although the colors in the bathroom are dismal, the size of the bathroom is good with a lovely sitting size tub. Dining on Deck 3 in the Vista dining Room was fine, good food and a wonderful waiter on table 71, but breakfasts and lunches on Deck 2 were inconsistent due to insufficient staffing. Wait staff worked hard and were pleasant but they were stretched too thin. Room stewards were lovely and particularly thoughtful. HAL has cut back on entertainment staff, no sports staff, no poolside activities, no sailaway parties at each port. There are fitness classes (fee) and staff in the gym. I enjoyed the thermal spa a great deal and found the spa staff very welcoming and friendly. There were no enrichment lectures for the seadays between Auckland and Sydney. We have been told enrichment lectures may not be continued at all. After Sydney, they had 3 lectures most seadays and these were generally worthy. Evening entertainment was hampered by a dreadful sound system, and inability to turn down the recorded background music so the singers could be heard. In general music was TOO LOUD unless unamplifed. In general we loved the itinerary but are not likely to do this one again and certainly NOT on Noordam. Communication from staff over changed/missed ports was slow or absent, and when information needed to be timely it wasn't. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The few issues on the ship that occurred were handled and resolved promptly which we appreciated. The staff was courteous and the food was good. Good variety of ports, however, the excursions were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. The few issues on the ship that occurred were handled and resolved promptly which we appreciated. The staff was courteous and the food was good. Good variety of ports, however, the excursions were absurdly overpriced. We used outside tour companies that cost a fraction or we went on our own. Entertainment in the show room was the poorest we have experienced on any cruise. The dancers and singers were terrible, off key, imbalanced, and lacked experience. Daily activities offered during the cruise were lack luster and few in between. Our cabin was fine for what we paid. Glad there was enough storage. Our cabin steward, once he knew our requests and preferences, worked hard to deliver good service. The same went for our waiters in the dining room at dinner time. We were fortunate to have fantastic table mates that made dinner something to look forward to each night. Not to say we would not sail on Holland America again, but it would not be our first choice for cruise lines. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
A repositioning cruise that took us 36 nights from Auckland/Sydney/Honolulu/Vancouver with no ship problems...so that is a very good and great thing! But service overall ('anytime' main dining) was a big hit & miss for the ... Read More
A repositioning cruise that took us 36 nights from Auckland/Sydney/Honolulu/Vancouver with no ship problems...so that is a very good and great thing! But service overall ('anytime' main dining) was a big hit & miss for the whole cruise - often 3-4 hr dinner service, cold coffee (both breakfast & dinner service), orders not taken right or forgotten, lots of cold and unappealing food served, dry and overcooked food - including fish, cold eggs benny (or solid eggs benny). More often than not dinner entree plates had been sitting 1/2 made up for some time with lumped, cold & glutinized rice or starch on the plate waiting for the meat portion. I never did get a caesar salad that did not have some problem like wilted warmed lettuce. By the end of the cruise nearly everyone was talking and experiencing the same problems in anytime dining....so much so that I've never cruised where so many people stated they'd removed their gratuities. Five star mariners were complaining and writing pages to the front office. Also people were saying never another Holland cruise and some couples cancelled a future cruise they were so upset. By mid cruise we figured out it was better to eat in the Lido...except so many were doing that, it was crowded all the time and you were always walking around looking for seating (breakfast and lunch too)....but at least the food was hot and you could pick and choose what you wanted. All over the ship there were many very cold common areas. And there were many areas where water constantly dripped from the ceilings above - interior Lido area, the spa area, Sports Bar, etc. Seating in the sports bar had pails on them, the Lido walkways had yellow cones where water was on the floor. Carpets in the spa area were sopping wet (and not from pool water, but water from above). And as well seating in the thermal spa area was soaking wet from above.The staff kept the interior shone and very clean, but many areas were in need of repair, carpet replacement, many seat cushions need repadding, etc. No librarian or bridge master anymore. The cruise director - Jeromy Whitehead was lack luster to say the least and his side kick - Marshall, not any better. Usually a cruise director can liven things up...change or set the tone of a cruise...but not this one...he was pretty much not seen and boring when he was...in a suit with a "talking" orange tie is about all. Ship board life got quite boring real fast for the lack of things to do of any real interest. Holland needs to greatly improve in this area - I blame the cruise director. The Neptune party at the equator crossing was put on with no great effort, nor thought compared to others I've experienced. The Crowe's Nest - a great venue onboard - sat empty EVERY night but one of the 36 night cruise!!! - nothing going on. Except for the nightly Vista Lounge entertainment, there was little of to do after dinner after you'd spent a night or two with the Adagio classical duo, or the piano guy, or covered your ears to look in at the BB Blues Band who were way to loud to be enjoyed or anywhere near for long. Even the casino was dead! The passengers who only went from Auckland to Sydney got short changed during the day with presenters as the Vista Lounge was not utilized during the daytime, instead the Queen's Lounge was used - ill-suited for the number of people wanting to attend...so people stood and listened, could not see and left. Even the Maori team were complaining about the wrong venue...but it was not changed. It was terribly crowded - seating/chairs all wrong and uncomfortable. This included using the venue for movies too...nearly unworkable, or any comfortable seating to see anything. The cultural groups aboard (Maori & Hawaiian) were very good and well received....were of great interest and variety...but the 3-4 lecturers were not that great after listening to them more than once. Their topics were just boring and dry...it just became a place to go and sit, kill some time for the most part. They seemed to be 'old hacks' with 'worn' material who were on a 'free' cruise. Holland needs to bring on people who are current, new and not so so boring. I sat at dinner with one of the them as he explained how he was selected (from his agent) and what little work he had to do to change up his presentation to meet some relevancy, but it really was a free cruise and his wife was already looking at choosing and sending another cruise request to his agent. The one thing that Holland does very well is embarkation and disembarkation as well as tendering - on time, smoothly organized. The ship's office is on their game with proper information to your cabin and it runs smoothly and that includes passport and visa work also. And how can I forget to mention the "GIFT" that the Noordam gave nearly all its passengers - a cold/flu virus that morphed to a terrible chest congestion and cough that spread like wildfire. At times in the Vista Lounge all you could hear was coughing...this continued the whole cruise. While I can't entirely blame staff, I can blame quite a few passengers for not remaining in their cabins for a few days and for coughing and sneezing directly into their hands while in the Lido - then proceeding to touch chair arms, serving spoons, etc and spreading it throughout the boat. Also, I saw Lido staff wipe down table after table with the same (now) dirty cloth, then proceed to place clean water glasses upside down onto a wet table top. I also greatly fault Holland for not making any mention of the situation...or for not asking to passengers take and adhere to better precautions. My 2 cents worth. While it was not a cruise from Hell, it was not the cruise I had longingly looked forward to either....despite the good port calls. It will be some time before I cruise with Holland again....from my experience Celebrity or Princess do it so much better. This was my 2nd more than 30-day Holland cruise. Perhaps it was just this cruise, this ship - Noordam, but after reading many other negative reports from Noordam passengers, I know the experiences I had first hand and agree with the negative comments many, many others have also written....so beware!!! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Having been with HAL before we where very dissapointed with this cruise no music or dancing before dinner.In fact the ship was like a ghost ship most of the time except meal times when everybody appeard.First two nights dine as you wish ... Read More
Having been with HAL before we where very dissapointed with this cruise no music or dancing before dinner.In fact the ship was like a ghost ship most of the time except meal times when everybody appeard.First two nights dine as you wish took three hours from turning up to leaving, the service was poor, waiters surly,the food was only average.We ate most of the time in the lido the food there was not much better but you could pick and chose. The ship is old and worn needs an upgrade.No entertainment before 7.30 then only violin and piano.Sevice was poor all round we cancelled our gratuitys for the full cruise.Our room stewerd was very good and looked after us well,he got a good tip.Room sevice for breakfast (only twice) was always on time but the waiters miserable and the food cold.Shore excursion to expensive we did our own through Viator very good.Sorry HAl thats your lot from us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We wanted to go to the Antipodes, and this schedule fit ours. We'd cruised on the Zuiderdam in 2016 and enjoyed it. Noordam is Zuiderdam's sister ship, with the identical layout, except for non-structural spaces like the ... Read More
We wanted to go to the Antipodes, and this schedule fit ours. We'd cruised on the Zuiderdam in 2016 and enjoyed it. Noordam is Zuiderdam's sister ship, with the identical layout, except for non-structural spaces like the library. We like that it carries 1928 passengers - bigger than that would be too big for us, and we can't afford smaller. We splurged on a Signature suite, which was twice the size of our earlier Verandah suite. Full-sized sofa, double sinks in the bathroom, etc. Very roomy for us and comfortable. And the verandah was twice the size because we were on Deck 6 instead of 5, without the lifeboats in front of us. Twice in the week before we left, we got a phone call from HAL offering us progressively cheaper upgrades to a Neptune suite, but it was still too expensive. We loved our Signature cabin and didn't need more room. We also got a pretty good deal on it - a splurge for us, but worth it. As before, we found the staff to be exemplary. Friendly, efficient, eager to please. We expressed an interest in them, which may be why they were so good to us. Our cabin stewards were outstanding, and the bar and restaurant staff matched them. As before, we tipped them when we left, in the form of all our currency that we could no longer use. (Yes, we know that tips are built into our fare, but a little extra never hurts, and these guys were ALWAYS working.) The food was good. We had some breakfasts and lunches in the Lido buffet and enjoyed the large selection. The lack of trays was inconvenient at worst, but we learned that the line is saving about $3 million a year because of less wasted food, so we're all for it - there's no excuse for wasting food, in my book. Having to carry a plate or two at a time forces you to think about whether you REALLY want that dessert. We enjoyed two celebratory meals in the Pinnacle and enjoyed them a lot. Excellent food and service. The rest of our meals were in the Main Dining Room. We opted, as before, not to commit to a specific dining time, but we never had to wait more than five minutes to be seated, and we enjoyed being seated with different people every time. The servers knew us after a few meals which is quite a feat of memory. We had coffee delivered to our room at 6:30 every morning, a real luxury. Entertainment isn't an issue for us. We LOVE the BB King band and went to hear them every night - superlative entertainers. The "seminars" are all thinly disguised attempts to sell something, so we don't bother. We rarely enjoy the main lounge evening shows, so stayed away. The library is fairly well stocked with a variety of books, although on the Noordam it's in two rooms on Deck 3 or 4, while on the Zuiderdam it's in one space next to the Crow's Nest - more convenient by far. We read, walked the deck, enjoyed chatting with people, and generally enjoyed our time on board. Didn't use the pool. I enjoyed the spa services, especially when they ran a special, but don't like the constant attempt to sell product at the end of each service. Unfortunately, the staff gets paid by how much stuff they sell rather than salary, which is unpleasant and unfair. Ship tours tend to be more expensive than those offered by independent tour operators, so we mostly set up our own. But the few that we did were quite good. The bars are all pleasant but Happy Hour happens in just a small handful of them, not all. And you can get a twofer, but they are both the same drink and have to be ordered at the same time, so the second one is sometimes warmish by the time you get to it. You can't share. We are in our 70s but noticed how old most of the passengers were! We're really just 35 inside, but have never seen so many walkers and canes in one place before. Wifi can be an issue, but we decided against buying the package and enjoying a vacation from connectedness. You can use the computers in the Crow's Nest, either with the prepaid package or by minute-by-minute charge. But it's terribly slow, so you sit there watching it try to connect while your paid-for minutes drain into the ocean. Fancier cabins get complementary Wifi, but I found that I did't miss it that much. What used to be called "Formal nights" are now "Gala nights." You're expected to dress up for the MDR and Pinnacle, but if you don't want to, you can always dine at the Lido buffet. We dressed nicely but not formally - shirt and tie, long "harem" pants and sparkly top. Part of our definition of "vacation" is not having to worry about dressing up, so we're not interested in tuxedos and evening gowns. Everyone looked appropriately festive. Overall, we've enjoyed our cruises with HAL. We may try another cruise line just to compare, but as sedate as they tend to be, HAL suite us fine. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This cruise was for the New Zealand Destinations... with a lot of great port stops along the way. Noordam is our fifth HA ship, and much the same facilities as the others. It seemed that the temperature control was much better than some ... Read More
This cruise was for the New Zealand Destinations... with a lot of great port stops along the way. Noordam is our fifth HA ship, and much the same facilities as the others. It seemed that the temperature control was much better than some of the other HA ships we have been on, so we were not freezing in some venues this trip. We opted for a cabin with the steel balcony near the bow, and it proved to be great... only minor problems with some exterior panels rattling in the wind, which were quickly attended to by the staff. We enjoyed the trivia, Windows 10 courses, daily devotions, Piano bar, and all of the special sessions keyed to the locations on route, like learning the "Haaka" before arriving in New Zealand. The evening entertainment was mostly good, with a couple of weaker evenings with entertainers that were not of our tastes. The HAL players were good, but of course started to repeat as we did a double length cruise. The service was good on open dining, except some tables near the back farthest from the kitchen seemed to take much longer between courses. The choices in the Lido buffet were good and never more than a few in the lineups in front of us. Had to ask for lactose free sorbet, but it was available on request, just not on the signs. We did all independent touring supported by the cruise critic forum, and made many friends through the meet and greets and activities organized on the forum. We really enjoyed the Noordam, and are planning to book another HA cruise in the future. .. and 43 days was about the right length, and 5 sea days at a time is not too many!. Read Less
Noordam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.3

Find a Noordam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise