3 Auckland to Transpacific Holland America Noordam Cruise Reviews

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
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
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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