13 Auckland Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
Sail Date February 2019
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
Sail Date December 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
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
Sail Date March 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
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
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We wanted to visit Tasmania and Melbourne, and this cruise went to both. In retrospect, an overnight in melbourne would have been good, Pros- The food in the Main Dining Room was wonderful. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We wanted to visit Tasmania and Melbourne, and this cruise went to both. In retrospect, an overnight in melbourne would have been good, Pros- The food in the Main Dining Room was wonderful. The $99 package for unlimited laundry was great - we could have traveled with one small suitcase. The staff was friendly and accommodating. Our cabin was super confortable. Cons - Embarkation was a mess. Standing in the rain, waiting to get our luggage accepted, and then an hour long wait inside the terminal to be checked in was really unacceptable. No organization at all. Disembarcation was better,but just barely. They forgot to send down one of the bins with some of our luggage, Internet was non-existent for most purposes. There is little to do aboard the ship on At Sea days. I like Trivia, but not 3 tines a day Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We booked this cruise to celebate my retirement and to visit ports we had missed on a previous driving holiday of NZ. We booked an inside cabin on an upper deck as we have found it difficult to sleep in lower deck, outside and veranda ... Read More
We booked this cruise to celebate my retirement and to visit ports we had missed on a previous driving holiday of NZ. We booked an inside cabin on an upper deck as we have found it difficult to sleep in lower deck, outside and veranda cabins on past HAL cruises. As trivia tragics we had connected with like-minded cruisers on the Cruise Critic Roll Call to form a team and they were a perfect match, contributing to our many victories and making the cruise fun. We collected many prizes including 4 bottles of champagne which we shared at dinner. We also connected with members of the Cruise Critic Roll Call to organise private tours as we found the HAL tours rather expensive. Unfortunately I became ill with the flu (contracted before we embarked) which developed into bronchitis. I made an appointment with the ship's doctor, who prescribed fluvax, antibiotics and decongestants. The bill was US$400! We found the Lido restaurant crowded and noisy and the food was not generally to our liking with a couple of exceptions. We have no idea why it is called the Lido Market as it was no different to the Lido restaurant on the Volendam. The chairs were in need of refurbishment. We had breakfast in the Vista Restaurant a few times, the food was excellent but it usually took too long to arrive. This meant that a couple of times we had to leave before we were finished to get to a tour or activity. We had dinner in the Vista Restaurant most of the time and the food and service was generally good although some servings were rather small and the soups were very salty. We enjoyed the menus for the Gala Nights. We had dinner in The Pinnacle Grill a couple of times, once for Le Cirque. While the food and service was excellent, we found Le Cirque rather underwhelming as there was no special ambience, the only difference to the normal Pinnacle experience was different china and a different menu. We missed the chocaholics spread that we had enjoyed on Volendam. The activities were many and varied. Our favourites were the daily trivia quizzes run by the excellent Cruise Director and his assistant, and the BB King Blues Club. The band was excellent and added new numbers each day to keep their shows varied. Although we are in our late 60's we enjoy dancing to the hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s and were disappointed that there wasn't a DJ to get things moving in the Northern Lights Lounge which is set up as a disco. The Assistant Cruise Director played records for a short time, but there was no commentary and no atmosphere. We enjoyed the coffees in the Explorations Cafe. We missed the presence of a librarian and of the library trivia quizzes and NY Times crosswords that we had enjoyed on the Volendam. It seems that the cruise line's owners are cutting down on staff and services to the detriment of passengers. Although the weather was not good in NZ we were happy that no ports were missed and enjoyed our time ashore. We were particularly pleased that the ship sailed into Milford Sound despite rough seas and heavy rain. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This is my review of the Holland America MS Noordam cruise from Auckland New Zealand to Sydney Australia departing on November 8, 2016. My review is intended to be honest and give some advice to future cruise passengers, I will try and ... Read More
This is my review of the Holland America MS Noordam cruise from Auckland New Zealand to Sydney Australia departing on November 8, 2016. My review is intended to be honest and give some advice to future cruise passengers, I will try and keep realistic in my comments. Firstly if you Google details about the Noordam like we did there are internet posts saying the Noordam was refitted in 2015, this is not true the refit was postponed until 2018 so Noordam is showing it’s age in relation to 2016 styles, fashion and technology. We bought this cruise for two reasons, first it is a bucket list worthy cruise if we had a bucket list. My Wife and I have never been to Australia and New Zealand and it’s about time we did, secondly this was a Holland America Top 10 offer, the price was a steal for a 14 day cruise in a Verandah state room, we paid Canadian $1600 each, just too good to pass up. A tip here Verandah state rooms on Noordam do not get the little extra touches that they do on a Vista class Holland America ship, so no slippers, flowers, binoculars and bigger balcony (six feet). The price of our Verandah stateroom was a guarantee room from the top 10 sale, so we were pleasantly surprised to be allocated a cabin in the midships on deck 5, the balconies on deck 5 are shorter around four feet deep but with a glass railing instead of the solid metal we had technically bought, still adequate but a little snug. Our stateroom was tired, I was disappointed to see the opening door to the balcony had been scratched extensively into “artwork”, the scratches were into the window film they use. That’s the worst, everything else was OK, no thread bare furniture just old tired like an older style Days Inn Motel on a popular Interstate. The room Stewards make it great, they try incredibly hard to give you a special vacation, I had pre ordered a bottle of Scotch so everyday day and evening my ice bucket was full of fresh ice without asking. Everything was cleaned as well as could be expected, we tried to help our Stewards by putting the room service card in the door as we left and if we saw them saying good morning and that we were out to breakfast, so we always came back to a freshly made up room. This is our third cruise this year with Holland America, we have been on the Veendam, Volendam and now the Noordam, when lining up at the port if you are a one or two star mariner, make sure you ask for mariner preference for boarding. If you expect to attend the Mariners lunch you need to be lining up at 11.00 to 11.30 am on the dockside. Sailing out of Auckland, New Zealand was great the city skyline is nice to see, there were local beer and wine from New Zealand available to buy on the rear deck and the weather was great, a good start to the cruise. My suitcase was held up for a long time as I had a bottle of wine in it, you are meant to have the wine you carry on in your carry on luggage. Another learning point, each cruise this year we have been on has had a different set of rules for boarding. The items we purchased before boarding the ship were in our room when we arrived, some scotch and beer. We found out as were cruising around New Zealand and Australia that liquor is heavily taxed in the local stores so buying the liquor from Holland America before hand turned out to be the cheapest option. We found the Lido restaurant to be overcrowded and the wait staff to be indifferent to us, we did notice if you were Asian or had pretty young women in your party then the service to those clients was excellent. The Lido was good for quick casual food service and they had 90% of the items in the main restaurant. What we really enjoyed this trip and had not used before was the Dive In fast food counter at the pool area, the burgers and fries were the best and the choices very good, we had them for lunches and were never disappointed and the service from ordering was quick, they use a beeper pager to let you know when your order is ready. We mostly booked day trips privately as we found the HAL prices at the top end and the day trip itineraries short in comparison. For instance at Picton the HAL wine tour went to two maybe three wineries and was priced in U.S. dollars, whereas our private tour went in a 12 seater mini bus to 5 smaller wineries that were not busy and had a wine tour host extremely knowledgeable about the area and wineries and priced in NZ$ so we won on the exchange rate also. We found this tour through the Cruise Critic Role Call for our cruise in their forums from other passengers. The entertainment on the ship was good, we went to the evening show mostly to the Noordam dancers and put on a very good show with singing and dancing and it lasted just long enough, a nice finish to the day after dinner. We never made it to the BB King show as it was too late. We don’t expect a Vegas quality show on a cruise ship. Most of the presentations for the ports of call we went to made by David the Port guide did an excellent presentation in the show lounge and primer for what we could see ashore and refreshingly he was not trying to sell us tours but just educated us about the town or area we would visit. He used a lot of his own photographs to show us major landmarks. I didn’t go to the Windows 10 seminars but did pass by the room before and during the classes and they were standing room only and very popular, we saw people lining up at least thirty minutes before the room opened to get a seat with a computer. I use Mac computers so had no interest in the Windows 10 or surface products and software. We did buy some coffee at the Explorers cafe mostly Latte or Cappuccino and got a few cakes from there, the coffee was good and not that expensive compared to buying ashore in both New Zealand and Australia. Cruising through the sounds, the crew opened the forward deck area that is normally off limits to passengers, so we could get a unobstructed forward view, they also on this day laid on the Dutch pea soup which was thick and hot on a very chilly overcast day on this forward open air deck. If you buy the Navigators wine package and see that they have a Sauvignon Blanc as a choice for white wine and bearing in mind that we are cruising in New Zealand where the best SB comes from and the name of this wine is a New Zealand award wining winery, you are not getting this wine instead you get a Californian Sauvignon Blanc of the same name! That was our only big argument of the trip and a disappointment but the Cellar Manager did substitute another New Zealand SB for us in the end for which we were grateful. This is what we did find on the Noordam that the staff were prepared to try and make things right if they could. The main dining room experience for us was faultless, our theory especially on a ship with 1900 passengers is to go for the first sitting when the crew are still fresh and keen, our ticket was for open dining and we went at 5.30 pm and requested a table for two, we got one just where we wanted, the waiter and his assistant were extremely attentive also our wine waiter fussed over us each night. So after the first night on the way out of the dining room we always stop by the Maitre D who records your attendance at the front of the restaurant and ask very nicely if we could have the same table, same time the next night they nearly always agree and then that becomes our table for the cruise at dinner time and the servers get to know us well and things go extremely smoothly. Room service, every morning we had either breakfast or coffee juice and pastries delivered around 6.30 to 7.00 am. We would have breakfast if we would be arriving in port for the morning or going on a shore excursion and a full fry up breakfast is the same in your room as the main dining room. A tip if you like coffee - the menu has a tick for coffee if you tick it you get a smaller carafe, so tick the box and write next to it “large carafe please”, then the coffee you get is twice as big, if just one of you takes cream, order two creams as the cream container is quite small. I used to joke to my wife when we were ordering breakfast on the room service menu at night to hang outside our room, “have you ordered the large Giraffe”. We highly recommend a balcony on this cruise as there is a lot to see from your room, especially as we were entering some ports very early, nothing like standing on your balcony in your dressing gown drinking hot coffee watching the arrival. We also stayed on our balcony for the third sound we cruised in, Milford and didn’t have to fight for space to photograph from. The increase in some prices isn’t very nice especially on an older ship, happy hour now is $2.00 for the second drink instead of $1.00, the beer, wine and liquor prices went up in July this year. All speciality restaurants went up in price, but we still went to Le Cirque at the Pinnacle Grill and to be honest it was worth the price. So for the price we paid the cruise was well worth it, we met some great fellow passengers had fun and saw a destination we might never had got to, was it perfect , no but close to it. The ship needs a refit it is outdated the stateroom TV’s are antiques, the picture and sound bad but it was value for the money we paid. The staff worked hard for all passengers and made your requests possible if they could. A shout out to our stateroom stewards Han and Yogi, our main dining room steward Arnest C. and assistant steward Temy, Cellar Manager Miguel and our wine waiter Eric. At the last Gala dinner we did get surf and turf (lobster), I asked Arnest if my wife could keep a copy of the menu and he said yes but took it away and later returned it with a very nice personal message to us, that typified the level of service we received. I could complain at the Tasman sea for being rough as we crossed from New Zealand to Tasmania or for being disembarked in Sydney at an out of the way port but it was no big deal really. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We have previously cruised 4 times with P&O from Southampton,though we would prefer a Departure port in the North, but we had wanted to cruise New Zealand in particular to celebrate a number of personal landmarks and the itinerary for ... Read More
We have previously cruised 4 times with P&O from Southampton,though we would prefer a Departure port in the North, but we had wanted to cruise New Zealand in particular to celebrate a number of personal landmarks and the itinerary for our cruise met our wishes. Our cabin which was a signature suite on deck 6 was very good and whilst our stewards,there were 2 of them working as a team,maintained the room well we did feel at times they were keen to get us out of the room so they could finish their work especially in the evening when we didn't go to dinner until after 8 but not much after. We ate downstairs in the main restaurant, partly because our first encounter with the lido deck restaurant was chaotic and even more so at breakfast,when you couldn't necessarily get your full cooked breakfast from one station, but mainly because the service in the formal restaurant was very good. The restaurant reception staff and waiters were very friendly and most welcoming.The food was good rather than excellent though if you like your vegetables especially greens then don't hold your breath and nor would I recommend bothering with the afternoon tea which compared to P&O was a big disappointment. Our ports of call were interesting throughout our trip though the weather was not always so kind.We had prebooked two exercusions,both related to our like of the Hobbitt and Lord of the Rings but the price,over £700 for just two of us seemed very expensive,the fall in sterling to the dollar didn't help ,but even so it was still costly and put us off booking others though we did really enjoy both trips.The fact the sun shone both days helped.We made our own way at the other ports but bad weather at Wellington and Picton and to a lesser degree Dunedin meant we were restricted in what we managed to see outdoors though in Wellington we did spend an excellent few hours at the Te Papa Museum We didn't make full use of the evening entertainment partly because our itinerary was for port after port for the first 6 days and we didn't want to stay up late but also because we weren't particularly excited by what was on offer.What we did see was OK but no more tthan that except where we treated to a one off performance of the didgeridoo which was fun as well as entertaining. Whilst the initial cruise costs was reasonable the add ons of the gratuities 27US dollars per day and the 15% service charge on drinks seemed excessive when the latter was not cheap to start with. One gripe was that we were scheduled to go to Burnie then Melbourne but this was changed.Although we were informed a few days before leaving the Uk we had ,and we know of others it affected ,arranged to meet people,in our case relatives in Melbourne on the Saturday.Due to the change we were only able to meet up with our cousin but not her husband.Whilst the reason given though only after we had been on board a few days was that there were insufficient immigration personnel at a Burnie to process all passengers into Australia I would have thought this would have been known much earlier and to be honest at the time the cruise details were first put together.The irony was there were not that many in Melbourne to be honest! Did we enjoy our cruise.Yes.would we use HAL and the Noordam again.Yes but only in the right circumstances as overall we would still prefer P&O if in a Europe especially a boat like the Arcadia which is similar in design and layout to the Noordam but we feel has more character. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I've been on 5 cruises, 4 of them 13 nights or longer and Noordam has the best cruise director, Kieron Humphrey. Kieron could double up as on-board entertainer anytime. I dare say he was a better comedian than some of the featured ... Read More
I've been on 5 cruises, 4 of them 13 nights or longer and Noordam has the best cruise director, Kieron Humphrey. Kieron could double up as on-board entertainer anytime. I dare say he was a better comedian than some of the featured comedians. He dressed well and sang wonderfully. Made a great trivia/game host too. Christina, the culinary host was fantastic too. She was enthusiastic, organised and kept me engrossed and entertained throughout each cooking activity (I attended all of them). The recipes were well chosen (simple and tasty) and her choice of demonstrating chef/crew were excellent. If they could not express themselves effectively, she was fast and clear in interpreting their thoughts. The onboard entertainment cast was very average. lets say I would prefer the singers to sing and the dancers to dance and not do both. Crew was excellent! Toiletries in the cabin toilet is not too bad but the soap can be done away. It took a long time to wash off so should be replaced with liquid hand soap. Smoking is allowed on the verandah but a no no to me. It's not pleasant to open the balcony door and smell smoke instead of fresh sea air. 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

Find a Noordam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click