36 Auckland Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

We booked a 14-day Australia and New Zealand cruise on the Noordam about 6 weeks before departure because of the incredible deal being offered. We had never sailed with Holland America before, and we were not disappointed. The Cruise ... Read More
We booked a 14-day Australia and New Zealand cruise on the Noordam about 6 weeks before departure because of the incredible deal being offered. We had never sailed with Holland America before, and we were not disappointed. The Cruise Critic overview of this line is pretty accurate. It is a different experience from Carnival, NCL or RCL, as the entertainment options are more limited and the ship is quieter overall (don't expect a live band at the pool). We felt the service and food were better than what we experienced on or last RCL cruise. Since we prefer a quieter ship their education offerings, we would definitely cruise with them again. We are 'value' cruisers and normally take an inside cabin. The one we were assigned was a bit odd (larger side-to-side than deep) which was not typical for this ship. It was a bit harder to navigate than other cabins we have had, but was comfortable, had adequate storage, and was better maintained than some we have had. We enjoyed every port-of-call in both New Zealand and Australia, especially Tauranga/Rotorua, in NZ. We booked one excursion through Holland (Eden, Australia because of limited alternatives), but all others on our own. No significant issues with any of them Read Less
Sail Date February 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
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
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
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 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
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
This 14 day cruise with 4 days pre-cruise and 3 days post cruise was amazing. We were a little inimidated with the long, long flight(20 hrs) but we survived and everything went well with connections etc. The ship, the entertainment, ... Read More
This 14 day cruise with 4 days pre-cruise and 3 days post cruise was amazing. We were a little inimidated with the long, long flight(20 hrs) but we survived and everything went well with connections etc. The ship, the entertainment, crew, cabin, food, service excellent. Embarkation and Disembarkation very smooth. This is the longest cruise we've done, previously did 12 days and 3 days at sea was just the right amount of time to relax as we were quite busy touring the 9 ports. We previously did 7 cruises,not all on the same cruise line, as we tend to choose the itinerary that suits us and not the cruise line. So far we have been very happy with every one. Through experience, we have found that tours taken off ship(from the port) are more affordable. As we travel with friends, it's easy for 4 people to share a cab or hire a tour guide. The only complaint I would have is the internet on the ship. I find it very expensive and very sporadic. I also liked being able to purchase wine for our cabin when in port visiting wineries, and not being charged corkage. Also, we were never pressured into purchasing drinks while sitting by the pool or in any of the lounges. 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
After sailing on Holland America Line (HAL), four times and the last on the Noordam in February 2017, we have come to the conclusion that HAL treats some places better than the south Pacific. 1. Ships meals have been reduced in quality ... Read More
After sailing on Holland America Line (HAL), four times and the last on the Noordam in February 2017, we have come to the conclusion that HAL treats some places better than the south Pacific. 1. Ships meals have been reduced in quality and service as 4 meals had to be sent back, due to; 1 being cold, 2 overcooked and dry, 3 a steak that was tough and suspect quality while, 4 the fish was again overcooked and tasteless, 5 a Pasta carbonara was dry without any sauce, some sauce was supplied after I ask for it, then it was edible. 2. The hygiene control on the ship was/is lacking, as my wife was infected with the cruise cough/flu like symptoms this was the second time (again Holland America) and yet has NEVER been infected on the other cruise lines we have sailed with. We have sailed around New Zealand 4 times, twice with HAL, once with Cunard and Celebrity X, however my wife was struck down with ship flu both times on HAL, but not on the other cruise lines. Therefore, the food/ships hygiene on HAL appears to be at fault. 3. It appears that HAL uses the sailing in Southern climes of Australia/New Zealand as a training ship or just the area with disdain, knowing that Australian/New Zealanders do not complain/demand as much as some other natation’s do/can. 4. The Gratuities that are expected are also in contrast to other means of transport, such as airlines where the crew wages are similar for respective position and ranks on HAL but only draw their wages/salary. Also, it has been rumoured that the crew do not get all the monies collected, but a proportion it goes into the company revenues. 5. Defects with the ship a. 3 windows cracked, 2 on the Crow’s Nest lounge forward windows and the 3rd on the external glass wall (ship) of the aft/rear right side elevator on the 4th deck b. 2 lifeboats had damaged entrance/exit hatches (the stitching had separated from the hatchway) allowing water to enter the lifeboat, which would jeopardise the safety and integrity of both, the lifeboats were 11 and 14. They were reported 3 times to the front desk and each time I was given incorrect/differing answers, they were finally repaired. Photos are available. c. In the Lido dining area, a glass tea bag caddie was cracked with glass splinters missing, it was reported and it was changed to another position, again it was reported and it was finally removed to??? d. The cup/mugs for tea/coffee in the Lido were not washed properly (suspect the dishwasher) with foreign bodies/food being left in/on the mugs. e. Our cabin bathroom was in disrepair as the floor tiles were adrift/lifting and the shower wall tiling grout was missing, with several areas having dark mildew type stains. As we were dissatisfied with the overall Hotel and engineering (safety equipment) we spoke to many other passengers and they were of the same opinion that Holland America have lowered their standards and treat the south pacific cruises as training. Also, you can see by the above list, this cruise with Holland America Line was not as comfortable or as pleasant as the other cruise lines we have sailed with, (some 10 in all) then being told that we must pay the gratuities, gives an idea of what they think of the south pacific, so much so that I doubt it very much that we will sail with Holland America Line again. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sail Date March 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
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
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
Sail Date November 2017
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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