9 Auckland Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

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
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
Sail Date February 2019
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
Sail Date November 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
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
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
Sail Date March 2017
Don't get me wrong; this is a beautiful and well-maintained mid-sized ship, inside and out. It is well mannered in rough seas, the cabins are adequate but the verandas are small. Food is terrible if you are a healthy eater; fatty, ... Read More
Don't get me wrong; this is a beautiful and well-maintained mid-sized ship, inside and out. It is well mannered in rough seas, the cabins are adequate but the verandas are small. Food is terrible if you are a healthy eater; fatty, sweet, salty; few green vegetables and almost no nuts, terrible tea. The biggest group of passengers (in more ways that one) were from the USA and they were fairly old; there is nothing on this ship that would appeal to families. The ship has a troupe of dancers who are probably competent in what they do and appeal to the age/cultural demographic of the majority of passengers. We enjoyed the visiting artists who came on between ports much more (they were all Australians). There are a couple of excellent bands. Apart from the usual seminars flogging stuff (gems, Windows 10, botox etc), there were no lectures of general interest. Our cruise was only spoilt by a bunch of ship's officers using foul language in the Pinnacle Grill on the last night of our cruise. That was bad enough, but no-one would give us their names, and we were fobbed off at the Front desk with a suggestion slip when we asked for a complaint form. We got off the ship disgusted and angry. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our sixth cruise and the 4th line we've been on. We liked the ability to visit Australia and New Zealand in one trip. Most of the ports were very interesting, with the exception of Picton, New Zealand. The ship is older ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise and the 4th line we've been on. We liked the ability to visit Australia and New Zealand in one trip. Most of the ports were very interesting, with the exception of Picton, New Zealand. The ship is older and has low ceilings with often dark carpet, ceilings or walls which makes public spaces seem small. We were usually back at the ship for dinner and ate in the dining room. The food was mixed, sometimes very good and sometimes not good at all. This is the only line we've been on with fixed seating. When they issue your ID card it includes your table. If we had chosen anytime dining I'm sure this wouldn't be an issue, but we like having the same wait staff who know our preferences. We were on our anniversary so not having a table with some quiet and privacy was a big negative. All the staff on the ship were very friendly and the room stewards and wait staff were excellent. The only frustration was taking eight days to properly fix our toilet. The in room entertainment is from the dark ages. We had a balcony room and the TV was small and in a corner so not convenient to watch, the remote didn't have numbers so you had to scroll slowly to get from one channel to the next, there had few non-news stations to choose from, reception was good to poor and the TV guide can't be advanced so if it 10 pm when you turn on the TV and the guide is at 6 am you have to wait a couple of minutes before it gets to 10 pm. There is a DVD player so you can go to the front desk a get a DVD but I don't think any are movies released within the past 10 years. We typically do shore excursions because the cruise line excursions tend to be less organized, slower getting started and are over priced. We used Zealander and Canterbury Leisure Tours and we very pleased with both. We did an excursion with the ship in Napier, Hawke's Bay Express which was fine. Melbourne is probably the most confusing port. Go to the terminal at Pier Station and by Tram or Bus tickets. The Tram is a bit faster but you have to walk a block to get to the stop, so if the weather is bad, take the bus. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We arrived in Auckland 4 days early to enjoy the sights and sounds. Nice small city- easy to walk around. Jump on-off bus service available daily to see the sights and boat trips available round the bay. Lovely clean and fresh feel to ... Read More
We arrived in Auckland 4 days early to enjoy the sights and sounds. Nice small city- easy to walk around. Jump on-off bus service available daily to see the sights and boat trips available round the bay. Lovely clean and fresh feel to the air and warm enough in March! Because I owned up to having a sore throat had to wait 20 minutes for the nurse to reappear. Thought we were not going to be allowed on the cruise liner. People were being processed rapidly but not us. Nurse was miffed when a staff member pointed out that we had been waiting for her to reappear after her departure. Surprise, surprise once on board my sore throat did not seem to be a problem to anyone. (It developed into a full blown cold but I bought medication and treated myself for the next two weeks. We also made sure that we kept to ourselves to contain the germs.) Thought we could enjoy a leisurely cruise round New Zealand and part of Australia seeing plenty of scenery. This was our first cruise and it was a special anniversary! Most of sailing done at night so little to see and too far off shore anyway. What we did see we generally enjoyed. Napier gave the cruise ship arrival a very good welcome followed by a great jazz band send off. For us the boat was too crowded. Breakfast and lunch you had to search to find clear/clean tables. It looked as though the dining facilities had been increased at some time with extra chairs and tables put along the walkways into the dining facilities. Staff tried to cope but everyone trying to eat at once made it a trial. The odd member of staff looked out of place walking round displaying cans of coke etc could have been better utilised. Will say that dining staff morning, noon and night were good and did their best for passengers! Disappointed in the Gala Night. In 4/5 star hotels it is a completely different experience! Evening meal generally were good and fair selection of courses. Felt charging guests 15% extra on top of cost of wine bit excessive. Attended a wine tasting session (paid extra) it was said to be a fun session but it ended rather quickly (one hour) and felt that it was a good way to get rid of wines that were not selling very well. (oh synical me!) Cabin was roomy enough and staff attentative. There was one evening we attended a show and there was a very good ventriloquist - had everyone in tucks laughing. Saw him again a few nights later - different program - very good. Plenty of excursions and it depended on how much you wanted to do. We generally chose to do our own thing visiting museums, botanical gardens. Being elderly did not want to over tax ourselves. One point - we had requested a cabin in a quiet location. It was great until the last few days when it sounded as though there was a child running and jumping overhead. We ignored it initially but the next evening (usually between 5.00 pm and 8.00 pm the noise started again. I phoned the 'Front Desk' to ask could someone have a word. Nothing appeared to happen. Next night - again the noise started up only more so. Rang 'Front Desk' again. A representative came to the cabin to talk to us - by this time it had gone a bit quiet. Whilst we were talking there was some noise but not as much. The representative said that they had tried calling the cabin but had not received an answer so they had not been able to do anything. (Don't think it occurred to the lady that perhaps the child had been left in the cabin whilst the grown ups were elsewhere.) She did suggest that perhaps we should use earplugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Overall we would not have missed visiting New Zealand and Australia but would never ever go on a cruise that had so many passengers (1500). That is if we ever go again. On disembarking at Sydney, stayed four days seeing the sights. Went then mainly via Greyhound up to Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour (staying one night each). Then to Lennox Head via Ballina for four days. The Northern Rivers area is lovely. Great long beaches and very good weather. Finally we traveled to Brisbane for a couple of nights - again a great compact city with good public transport facilities. See the botanical gardens and the beach on the river where there are numerous eateries. Love to visit again. Greyhound service great! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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

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