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257 Holland America Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

Cabin is smaller than any we have occupied on 18 prior HAL cruises (with the possibe exception of when we sailed on the MS Prinsendam) Pros: Centrallylocated amid ship. Easy access to Dining Room and Atrium area. Obstruction of view ... Read More
Cabin is smaller than any we have occupied on 18 prior HAL cruises (with the possibe exception of when we sailed on the MS Prinsendam) Pros: Centrallylocated amid ship. Easy access to Dining Room and Atrium area. Obstruction of view only about 35%. Friendly, efficient cabin stweards Yusuf & Nicko. Cons: Immediately below main gallery--constant noise (thudding, scraping of heavy objects, banging, etc. most of the night well into the wee hours of the morning). Minimal options for "mini-bar"--just sodas & water--no refrigerator. (Disadvantage for 4 & 5 star Mariners) Air condtioning inadequate to comfortably cool the cabin. Corridor outside the cabin is also noticebly warmer than most other interior public spaces on the vessel. Only a single electrical outlet in the area of the small desk. Outletr in bathroomis not capable of receiving polarized (let alone grounded) plugs. No USB receivers. Fortunately, cabin stewards will provide a power strip if you request one. Your mileage may vary, Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! ... Read More
This itinerary has been a bucket list cruise for a number of years. By the time we were finally able to book it, it had become an EXC cruise. I am so pleased with the lectures given by the EXC naturalists. What an amazing group! Chris Cook, the leader, is not only knowledgeable but entertaining. Erin, the crocodile specialist, is absolutely amazing! I was impressed with every one of them. Dr. Anita Heiss joined the cruise in its final days to add her expertise as well. I chose Holland America over other lines who do the circumnavigation for the itinerary which included Komodo Island and Tasmania. These two were the highlights for me. We saw the dragons and went to Gunns Plain Cave in Tasmania to see the elusive glowworms that I have wanted to see for so long. Other highlights were the ship's excursions to Billabong Sanctuary out of Townsville, trike ride in Broome, Wildlife (at marvelous Healesville) and Wineries out of Melbourne and private excursions to Litchfield, Yanchep and Pinnacles National Parks. I highly recommend any excursion which includes Healesville. It is a division of the Victoria Zoo which Chris Cook is affiliated with. We saw so much there. It is not to be missed as the Victoria Zoo does things the right way. We enjoyed trivia where we met wonderful partners from around the world. Food exceeded expectations and service was excellent. Our steward was exemplary. Our cabin was spacious with lots of storage. Only disappointments were missing Exmouth and Kangaroo Island, both tender ports. Seas were extremely rough and Captain Ryan Whittaker made the right decision not to attempt tendering. I regret not booking one of the zodiac tours. Those I heard from really enjoyed them. By the time I had an opening in our schedule and slots available, the weather had turned rough and we had colds which made us not game for it. The Maasdam is one of Holland America's older ships along with its sister ship the Veendam. I love both of them. The Maasdam is clean and well maintained. I would not hesitate to sail again on either of these. Their size and design is just what I like in a ship. The entertainment was better than expected. Initially EXE cruises did not have traditional entertainment. We enjoyed the shows most nights. Our favorites were IDA (very talented sopranos from the West End), the Jersey Tenors, and the OZ Boys. All three performed multiple shows which we enjoyed. I highly recommend joining your roll call group for any cruise. We enjoyed our three tours arranged through our active roll call. I arranged one to Litchfield National Park out of Darwin and enjoyed trips to Yanchep/Pinnacles National Parks out of Freemantle and a wine tour to to the Borossa Valley out of Adelaide planned by others. We enjoyed meeting others from roll call and the meet and greets (formal and informal) were well done by leaders from our roll call. We were even able to arrange shared cabs from airport to hotel and hotel to ship on roll call. We made our own hotel reservation at a reasonably priced hotel I found through others' recommendations here on CC. Had our ship embarked at the Quay where we disembarked, we could have walked to the ship. Overall I am glad we took this cruise and would consider EXE itineraries to other locations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as ... Read More
Here is our secret for a great cruise. Prior to embarkation and having read all the wonderful marketing material, we discount the hype by 20 per cent. Now let's be honest. Have you ever had a burger or sandwich that looked as good as the one on the T.V advertisement? Of course not. The Maasdam is now the oldest ship in the fleet but all public spaces are well maintained. In fact we believe the Rotterdam dining room and the Theatre/Showroom are beautiful. The size of the ship is a plus as there are plenty of seating in quiet places. We never waited more than a a couple of minutes for the elevator. During this 24 day crossing from Auckland to San Francisco there were about 11 sea days and this was when the library was appreciated. It is a great place to read about the American founding fathers American politicians and presidents, American sportspeople, and well known American authors. I particularly appreciated the stories of the American heroes of the integration of black Americans. Well, we must understand this is an American owned company. For the same reason we gave up on Trivia. Our cabin 140 on deck 9 was a disappointment. It was past being tired, it was exhausted and it was dominated by a four seater settee in dark brown vinyl that most likely could fold out into a bed. It looked like a refugee from a Salvation Army charity shop. But get this. Its unwanted presence in our tiny space now placed us in a Vista Suite which raised our gratuities to $16.00 U.S per day per person. The redeeming feature was the large covered balcony. Our total gratuity bill was around the equivalent of $1,100 Australian dollars. To the rest of the world that pays a livable wage to all workers this is a hangover from the days of the 18th century English Poorhouse where the poor were dependent on charity to survive. Meals in the Rotterdam dining room were very good, and while we avoid the rugby scrum of the buffet we were forced there when the dining room was closed. The food was surprisingly good. staff were better than good, they were wonderful. Entertainment was soloists such as a guy playing the flute while jumping all over the stage, a magician, a girl playing the piano accordion etc etc. And get this one. One evenings entertainment was a nature movie with the ship's talented musicians playing mood music. There were lots of complaints when usually the best nights entertainment is the crew, was relegated to 11.00pm. the Cruise Director known as K.K was the best we have ever seen. So here is the bottom line. We enjoyed this cruise and we love so much about HAL. Our 20 per cent discounting of the marketing hype was about right for the ship in general, but we should have discounted the cabin by 30 per cent. ps The guest lecturers saved us from being bored to death. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and ... Read More
Because of the ports of call around the Pacific and previous cruises with HAL had been quite good. Embarkation at Brisbane was fine. Our Neptune suite felt like the same as previous on the other HAL cruise, very comfortable and immaculately clean. How ever, the joy seemed to stop there! It appeared that the staffing levels had been reduced and things just took that little longer for serviceand attention. Prices have certainly increased and being in US$ for an Australian NZ Pacific cruise was a bit of a pocket hit when the service charge was then added. As we're the tours. This resulted in many of the passengers taking local tours upon going ashore. Including several US passengers. I will blame ourselves for not realising that it was an exploratory cruise with lectures mainly for entertainment. The result was a very dull and boring onboard cruise. At least during the day there could have been some life around the pool area. Nothing! People sat around bored looking at each other, looking at each other. If it wasn't so sad, it could have been funny. Then there's the food!! Oh dear!! The food was the worst I've had on the past 23 years of cruising. I am sure they constitute left overs in an attempt to make a curry. The curries were so bad, twice I attempted and had to bring to the attention of the food manager. The lunchtime pizza's were so heavy with grease, they were stuck to the pizza pan! I think the cheese was not pizza cheeses? Dining room food was OK, but the standard certainly has dropped. OXTAILS! My Lord, my mother served that on tight money days and it is now served as cruise cuisine. No more veggies served on the side, all piled under the meat selection and often not hot as the over run servers can't get it to you in an acceptable time. I do not fault the servers, they are marvellous, just not enough of them. As for the food quality and selection, again no fault of the kitchen hands, this come from above them. Being mainly Indonesian or Indian in the kitchen, they know how to make a good curry or Indonesian food, but cook what they are told to. The evening entertainment in the bars mostly were over before evening dinner was finished and the crows nest entertainment was a recording DJ when there was some passengers to try and entertain. The passengers were an older interesting mix but they were still alive and they were also disappointed in the lack of entertainment Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when ... Read More
When we booked last year we didn't know it would be an EXC cruise. We thought we'd give the new product a go but it seems to be a cost cutting venture. We went to the major ports of Noumea, Port Vila and Auckland on sundays when everything is closed and the other days to beaches where it didn't matter. The cruise hopped around with no order or reason to be in these ports on sunday....maybe cheaper docking charges? Entertainment was very poor with nothing organised for sea days other than lectures on photo, computers and upcoming ports given with no enthusiasm. The were lots of BBC wildlife documentaries on both the main stage and on the Tv in cabin. We have yet to find what the cruise director KK did other than make introductions on stage. Entertainers were " more classical than fun" and their appearance times were hard to fit in with dinner in the dining room. There were no fun activities and you felt you were in an old folks home although they have more organised for them! Everything was dead after 11pm. Food was plentiful but tasteless. One night after a drinks get together at 7 and then going to the show until 8.45 we found the restaurants were closed and we were told to order room service to get anything. The Explorations coffee shop closed at 9pm and you could only get tea or coffee from the Lido if you were lucky enough to find some milk. The whole cruise lacked atmosphere, not what you want on a long awaited holiday! The ship is old but spotlessly clean. The cabins are large and well equipped. The crew are amazing, always helpful and smiling. They made the trip worthwhile! The ports visited were Ok but as I said some would have been more enjoyable if they were open. The beaches and snorkeling were wonderful. HAL excursions were over priced and much cheaper and better bought on shore run by the locals. Come on Holland America pick up your game and give us back what we came to expect from you. There were a lot of us complaining about this voyage and we hope all cruises will not become EXC. We will be watching as we have booked South America and Antartica for next year and if it's an EXC we will be cancelling. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a ... Read More
We did a Auckland to Sydney cruise on the Maasdam just prior to Christmas last year. Needed to go to sea again(yes I am getting hooked) and found a great deal for a Brisbane to Auckland via South Pacific so jumped at it. Booked a outside cabin and a few days before we left we’re given a free upgrade to a balcony suite.woopee. Embarkation was as smooth as we had come to expect,this was our 6th HAL cruise and we were on board and enjoying lunch by 1.30pm. Cabin was great,level 9 forward. Nice size plenty of space and storage. HAL might want to upgrade the tv as the sets are getting a bit old. Quickly slipped into a routine. Cabin stewards introduced themselves that day and as usual greeted us by name thereafter. A few sea days in the cruise but days went quickly between talks workshops trivia etc. Blessed by good seas and weather throughout. The 3 excursions we went on ran like clockwork. The islands we visited were interesting and in most part beautiful. The colour of the water wow. Friendly locals. No complaints at all. Really appreciated the Mariners presentation and lunch. It’s just one of the things that HAL do that puts them above others in my opinion. It was only a 14 day cruise but we covered nearly 4000 nautical miles. Would recommend to anyone especially those thinking about doing a long voyage to test their ability to manage sea days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). ... Read More
This was a Dave Koz Charter Cruz! Ship was contaminated with a flu bug. Hundreds of passengers on Week 1 and Week 2 got seriously ill with a flu bug (Cough, sore throat, chills, fever and loss of appetite - lasted for over 4 days). The ship was very old and when we hit rough waters it showed. Many people were sick and also got sick in the main dining hall. Germs were spreading everywhere. Food selections were scarce and they up-charged you a 15% service charge regardless of the service received. a Would not cancel our massage during the heavy turbulence going to Tasmania and I got really ill on the table. Paid for a massage that I did not enjoy. I felt sorry for the crew being forced to work in this environment. Also had to organize our own excursions due to limitation of Holland America. I would never cruise on this line again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and to be honest that's the only good thing about it. Ship is very dated and the fabric of it needs a complete overhaul. Problems started as soon as we got to the cabin with holes in the sheets and ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and to be honest that's the only good thing about it. Ship is very dated and the fabric of it needs a complete overhaul. Problems started as soon as we got to the cabin with holes in the sheets and white stains on the overcover!!! Bedside lights were loose and dangerous, the bathroom door closer was loose too and was eventually removed completely, chips on the sink and foxing on the mirror. The sofa looked like the ships cat had used it as a scratching post. The sunloungers were stained badly and the legs were rusty with paint flaking off. There food was repetitive and only warm and the entertainment pretty 2nd rate. Really not sure what the ship showband actually did, in 2 weeks they were perhaps on stage for 8 hours, otherwise drinking and in the hot tubs. I'd like the cruise directors job, propping up the bar. Hardly any guest interaction. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We sailed recently on this ship from Sydney to New zealand on a two week voyage. Unfortunately we found that it is in need of a major overhaul -not just in terms of the decor itself, but also with the entertainments team -who appear to ... Read More
We sailed recently on this ship from Sydney to New zealand on a two week voyage. Unfortunately we found that it is in need of a major overhaul -not just in terms of the decor itself, but also with the entertainments team -who appear to be somewhat complacent in their approach to the job! Granted the general age of passengers is elderly, but the programme provided lacked fun and enthusiasm, and was more akin to an evening at an old people’s home - where the objective was to put something on to keep them happy for a while, then get them to bed early! Believe me we have cruised many many times on various cruise lines , and we were not looking brash or high energy entertainment- but a bit of fun and perhaps regular game shows might have been nice. Even the planned entertainment was not without problems. BB kings had to close for 2 nights because they had no drummer, and the piano player simply didn’t turn up at short notice on two separate occasions, because he was sick! I appreciate these things happen, but the cruise Directors ‘ solution to all of this was to simply put on a film in BB kings studio - which many passengers had already seen ! How’s that for intuition ! I fear some staff have been on this ship too long and it’s a case of “ the same old same old” approach Another missing element to mention was the shops- they were totally closed for refurbishment on the first 6 days of a 14 day cruise! AS most cruisers will know- on the sea days, many passengers like to browse around the shops , and their closure -coupled with poor or non existant entertainment, made for long and boring sea days! You could go to cookery demo if it was on or an educational lecture- but that was it,! It was my 60th birthday on departure day, and my husband had paid in advance for our cabin to be decorated , with flowers and champagne left in the room. When we arrived there was a warm bottle of champagne on the table , without glasses or an ice bucket and no flowers or decorations. The whole moment was lost- yet when he complained to guest relations , no one seemed to care or take charge of the situation. All we were told was to make sure we left the champagne out for collection so we’d get a refund- no apology - no compensatory gesture of any kind was given for spoiling what should have been a lovely memory !! My daughter who was miles away at home also ordered some birthday flowers to be delivered to my cabin- again they never came and again no apology- just money credited to an account without any cognisance being taken of what they were for, and the significance and importance of the gesture as intended. On the plus side the food in the main dining room was excellent and the staff were all welcoming and eager to please, but apart from this the ship is lacking in luster! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist ... Read More
Not an ardent cruiser but as land tours were really expensive this was a greay way to see New Zealand. I spent 4 nights on my own in Sydney and 3 in Auckland, both great ports. I am not fond of comedians but the comic and ventriloquist were hilarious. You can't top the Lincoln Center players. Met lots of people on the promenade deck-a great way to keep fit after all the delicious food. Had all breakfastsand dinners in the dining room, more civilized. Milford Sound and the trip through the fjords was worth the trip. The excursions were really good-did 3 ship and 2 private tours. All guides and drivers excellent. The visit to the Maori Marae in Tauranga was really interesting. The culture and history of New Zealand was fascinating. Crew and itinerary made for a wonderful 2 weeks,. Not sure what all the complaints are about. Be glad you can travel. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and ... Read More
Loved the itinerary because we often went on shore excursions outside of the small cities we stopped at (e.g. Tauranga, Akaroa, Dunedin, Napier). We visited the larger cities on our own. New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and nature, not so much about small cities. The ship is a little dated and will be sent to dry dock in the Fall. I can only hope they redo the decoration and some of the facilities. The worst we had to deal with that could be prevented is the common cold going around: we both ended up getting it and we washed our hands constantly. Contrary to other ships we have sailed on before (from other cruise lines), a lot of sections in the Lido market and pool food bar area sections were available to passengers directly. I have seen people get their hands around glass to go and help themselves, I have seen one man take a bowl and then put it back on the pile. The handles for the juice/mail/yogourt fridge are calling for viruses... You get your own bread, etc, etc, etc. It is simply not acceptable to have so many areas where germs can be spread on a ship that has so many passengers and personnel. It would cost more staff to block EVERYTHING off to passengers but then the chance of passing on germs would be a lot less. Other cruise ships such as Oceania does this. Rooms are small but comfortable. Staff was great and friendly. We hated the idea of being pressured into sitting with other people in the dining room. Our Valentine's night was a disaster. We could have potentially argued, waited to get something for just the two of us maybe. Next time, we will. At least if they tried to sit people of the same age category together would help. Food was good but not great often. Too many sea days for us. The passengers were simply maybe a little too elderly or had health issues for us. Next time, we will choose a cruise ship that attracts younger and more active passengers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and ... Read More
We chose this crew for the itinerary, and their "J" inside cabin rooms. Much about this cruise was amazing, but a few items need work. ITINERARY - Can't complain here. The time in shore was adequate on all but Napier, and I prefer a cruise that has its concentration of days at sea at the end of the cruise, so I return to work rested. SHIP - Our "J" category rooms were HUGE! This ship is scheduled for dry-dock in September, so I don't know if these rooms will remain as is. For this longer cruise length, we loved the extra room - without the extra price. In general, this ship needs an update, but obviously, Holland America already knows this. Although I found the decor dated, and a few spots were showing wear, the ship was spotless. I also think the arrangement of some of the public areas could be modernized - especially the gym and the buffet areas which would benefit from more square footage and more glass area. I would like to see the buffet area have glass along the entire front of the ship with doors directly leading to the deck, rather than locating service areas between the buffet & the lido deck. GYM - This area needs serious work. To attract the younger, more fitness-crazed generations, HAL needs modern equipment, and contemporary classes. This was also one of the few areas where you were forced to pay extra for pretty much anything worthwhile. I think HAL should try to be the first ship at sea to offer Bodypump classes - that would be a huge hit! The gym needs to remain open until at least 10:00 - 11:00 would be better. They closed at 9:00 reportedly to preserve quiet for those sleeping on the floor below. However, HAL did not have this same concern for those of us on Deck 1 whose rooms were under the BB King Lounge, which played well after 10:00 (which did not keep me up, so I doubt use of the gym after 9:00 would keep floor 9 guests awake either). Equipment in the gym was OLD! They only had 2 rowing machines - one broke on day 2 and was never repaired. And, if ANY machine should face the sea, it should be the rowing machines, which they didn't. FOOD - Amazing. Simply great. Service, quality, quantity, variety, everything was more than we could have asked for. My only complaint was the Russian Roulette for tables you played every morning in the buffet. Guests got visibly angry trying to find a table. Hopefully HAL will expand seating at their buffet when they refurbish the Noordam. SERVICE - Amazing! From the room stewards, to the dining, to the wine stewards, to the bar attendants to the front desk - these employees exude joy and positive service. How HAL keeps employees customer focused and joyful, when they live and work in such close quarters for 8 months at a time, should be the subject of a TED talk. I really admire what they have achieved. We brought a group of 30 customers for a wine focused tour. We had 3, private, wine events during our days at sea. We were BLOWN AWAY by the elegance of the service, and the expertise of their Director of Wine. Far exceeded expectations. ACTIVITIES - This needs work. Activities are uninspired. I have lots of suggestions for things HAL could offer that would modernize their cruises, without alienating their core customer base. Too long for this review. HAL: Contact me! I figure I can easily raise your per/person income by $100 by simply changing up your on-board offerings. Evening entertainment was sub-par with the exception of Daniel on the piano bar. My husband and I love to dance - especially swing. We never got the chance. The only faster paced music played in a venue with a dance floor, was the "Disco Bar" which got going at 10:30 pm. There was the BB King lounge, which offered our, slow blues music most nights. We are used to several lounges offering danceable music at times from early evening to midnight and beyond on other cruises we have taken. Really missed that. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. ... Read More
Noordam has pleasant public spaces but much of the interior seems to be from a couple of decades back. This may be what HAL passengers are looking for given the rather older demographic. Our cabin was clean but needed a complete refit. Bathroom was tired. Mirror, vanity and tub/shower needed replacement. Verandah railings, floor and window frames were on their last legs. Furniture and walls were old and damaged. TV was tiny and old. We read that Noordam is due for refit later this year and it’s needed. Condition of the ship was compensated by HAL’s well-earned reputation for good food, great staff and interesting itineraries. Main hope is HAL and other cruise lines understand that wifi is no longer a luxury for passengers and everyone should at least have access to a limited number of free minutes. The cruise lines that join the 21st century first will get the business. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be HAL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and ... Read More
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and service (except for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, even after complaining because they didn’t seem to care) was excellent. Shore excursions were all good but very expensive. Embarkation took too long (over an hour) but debarkation was a breeze - best ever. There wasn’t much to do onboard, especially on sea days. Mainly test kitchen offerings, if you like that. A couple of the entertainers were poor (ventriloquist and singer) but others were good (singers and dancers) or great (comedian, pianist). They offered a Lincoln Center Stage venue and the musicians were outstanding - that was an unexpected surprise we enjoyed. The other negative was they closed the ship stores during the last week to get it ready for a new opening (not sure why) so almost no merchandise even before closing - not good. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Australia or New Zealand and the itinerary was very attractive. Check in was somewhat chaotic. The ship was comfortable and our cabin was larger than usual. The entertainment was sometimes very good and at others poor. We enjoyed the shore days, the ports were all very interesting. Trips organised by the ship were very over priced and we made our own arrangements on arrival. Our main concern was that there was little or nothing to do during the sea days apart from bingo and trivia quizzes. There was no dancing, lectures, enrichment programmes, classes, craft - nothing at all. We therefore spent several of the days of our cruise sitting and reading, which is OK for a day but not for several. The food was varied and looked lovely, but was rather lacking in flavour and invariably drowned in sauce (sometimes more than one sauce on the same plate). The crew were excellent and the service, in the main, very good (there were one or two exceptions). The tendency to play loud 'background' music in public rooms even when there is no-one there was irritating, especially if people were trying to read. The charging of 15% gratuity on top of the cost of drinks as well as charging over £11 pp per day for tips is excessive. There were no laundry and ironing facilities and the only option to crumpled clothing was to pay rather a lot of money to have things ironed. I would not recommend HAL and would be unlikely to book with them again myself. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The stewards and waiters were unfailingly, and I mean unfailingly and without exception, cheerful, polite and helpful. They were the highlight of the cruise. I am unlikely to recommend a Holland American cruise, certainly to no one ... Read More
The stewards and waiters were unfailingly, and I mean unfailingly and without exception, cheerful, polite and helpful. They were the highlight of the cruise. I am unlikely to recommend a Holland American cruise, certainly to no one in my peer group. It is not my scene, but that says more about me than Holland American! My disappointment is probably the result of nostalgia for the 5 or 6 voyages my wife and I did in the 1950s and '60s when sea travel was the usual way of travel between continents. There is a world of difference between a voyage and a cruise. A voyage then was a gracious and civilised way to travel. We travelled with a purpose, not to kill time and be entertained. Those voyages were much more enjoyable than our recent cruise, with its very contrived "entertainment". On the voyages of the '50s and '60s I found friendly people of bridge with and we had some excellent games, without the ship advertising bridge. On this cruise there were few games in spite of bridge being advertised, I had difficulty in finding a partner and in the few games I had, people were aggressive and unfriendly - not the fault of Holland America perhaps, though maybe reflection of the on-board culture. The food was good, but the coffee appalling, except the coffee purchased in the cafe, which was exorbitantly expensive. Exorbitant expense characterised everything for sold on the ship - the wine and the tours. All about 2 or 3 times the cost at the ports we visited. These costs give the impression of the cruise as a money gouging exercise by Holland American, which I am sure was not the intention. The “Noordam” purported to be a Dutch boat. Certainly, the officers were Dutch and the interior decor was Dutch, but the social culture was overwhelmingly and suffocatingly American. And the passengers were overwhelmingly American. A broader multinational mix would be preferable. When I arrived home 10 days after the cruise ended, two emails awaited my from Holland America inviting me to complete a survey and assuring we my opinion was important. Yet when I tried to complete the surveys, I found they were closed. So I don't think my opinion could be that important to Holland America! I am not one of these millennials addicted to staying in constant electronic contact reading emails every day! As a result my negative opinion is now public, instead of "for Holland America eyes only", had I been able to complete the survey. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship ... Read More
We have been on many cruises before this one and by far this was our worst cruise every by a country mile. Embarkation was quick and efficient and on the ship in no time ( which turned out to be the best part of the cruise) The ship is in need of some desperate overhaul as it is looking very old and run down. Their was no sail away party on any deck, only soft music which no one could hear on the back Lido deck. The bar staff on the Lido deck were outstanding and made the cruise a little more enjoyable with their outstanding service. ( maybe other staff members could look at them and learn something) Many thanks to Edwin,Leonard and Ed for their outstanding service. Lido restaurant was very blend with their food night after night. Same food just with different names often Luke warm served on very hot plates. My wife had a good talk with the Lido management one night about having different theme night for dinner EG Asian,Indian,Australian international type dinners. To the managers credit they did do Asian theme for one night only then went back to the old ways. The only entertainment on the back Lido deck was a music trivia every afternoon. A band playing music would have been a lot better. We had nothing but trouble with our cruise accounts being blocked by the front desk day after day, and we weren’t they only ones with this issue Maybe when HAL travel in Australian waters in the future the should accommodate fit the Australian market a bit more as 80% of guests are either AUS or NZ. best advertising in by mouth for any business and myself and my wife and other guests will not be doing any advertising. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and ... Read More
Unfortunately, HAL has gone downhill in our opinion. We haven't cruised with them for a few years due to dates and prices, so were expecting similar experiences that we had before. The ship itself is kept extremely clean and the staff are wonderful. The main issues were the food, entertainment and the Loft (lack of). Firstly, the food in the main dining room for the first few days of the cruises was very uninspiring. It was hard to find something to eat. The food did improve. Cannot fault the wait, wine and front of restaurant staff, they were very friendly and always smiling. The entertainment was very poor, the entertainment that did come on to the ship were very good (in particular Patrick McMahon) but there wasn't enough. In one week they had two guest artists that played individually and then together one night. Also, on two nights they should movies. We don't get the chance to see live entertainment much because of children so in the past the cruise night time entertainment was something to look forward to. There is BB Kings that play 3 times a night. They are good but unfortunately both singers got sick at the end of the cruise so they weren't able to sing and the head office wouldn't let anyone else stand in for them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain ... Read More
I have just returned from a Vanuatu, New Caledonia 14 day cruise from Sydney returning back to Sydney cruise, and it was fabulous. What fantastic service, what wonderful delicious food served every day! I could not find a thing to complain about, sure the ship is a little worse for wear, and it can definitely do with a renovation, which I believe is going to happen at the end of 2019, or so I was told, but it is kept spotlessly clean at all times. And nothing is too much trouble for any crew.I loved the Dine-In free of charge cabin service to all cabins, 24 hours a day. I had the best mushroom vegetable omelette with goats cheese on top every morning, it came out hot and delicious. The toast often wasn't but that didn't worry me! Every meal I had, except for one, where the turkey schnitzel was a little dry, but it was replaced immediately. The ship does seem to cater for a more mature clientele, but once again that didn't bother me. I could choose from at least a thousand movies for my cabin DVD player free of charge, you order, a steward delivers and picks it up again, fantastic! Fresh fruit for my basket supplied daily without being asked. Beautiful great quality toiletries suppled as well. As I am not as mobile as I used to be, I cannot say what the actual Islands were like, as I did not get off, but fellow passengers were all impressed on their return. The only complaint I have are the 'compulsory gratuities' that are charged at US$14.50 every day, but in the long run they did deserve this tip and I am accepting of it! It used to be that you could remove it on going to the Service Desk, but I was told that now you must fill in a form to give the reason why you don't wish to pay it! But that is not the ship's fault but HAL! All in all I just loved the ship and can't wait to rebook another one with them Thank you Noordam! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no ... Read More
When we booked the cruise we were unaware that our departure was from the White Bay Cruise Terminal. Only good point was you sail right under the Harbour Bridge. On the back deck when leaving Sydney, the atmosphere was very lack luster, no music to signal the start of the journey, although there were drinks available, you had to guess if they were alcoholic or not. There was no photographer taking photos for international tourists to capture the harbour sights either. The ship is in urgent need of upgrade and looks tired and dated. It is due for a refit towards the end of the year - this is only internal. There were issues with the airconditioner being cold, so they ran the ship on four generators to warm it up and when the swell got bigger, turned the fifth generator back on. When running on the lesser generators they also experienced electrical and power issues. Food in the Lido Market was below par and what was there for lunch appeared at dinner with a different name. We asked what the temperature of the food bays were set at and the reply " I don't know it isn't my area". I had yoghurt for breakfast and could almost pour it into a cup to drink. The desserts were in this same fridge and were never at the correct temperature. The meals from the hot bays were luke warm, the plates on the other hand were extremely hot and at times unsafe to carry back to the table unless you brought your napkin. The serving staff were hit and miss with personality.Our cabin was a verandah and adequate for the two of us and our stewards who cleaned it daily were accommodating and . The entertainment we found to be enjoyable and the people we met also had mixed views about the staff and overall appearance of the ship. We had 4 shore excursions - Port Arthur, Hobart, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. As these are all in US dollars research if there are companies that provide similar tours that can be booked from Australia to avoid the exchange rates. We enjoyed all our tours and only had one bad experience when in Kangaroo Island. Our 9 hour tour was uncomfortable as the airconditioning on the bus packed in 45 minutes into the tour and there were no other coaches available. The temperature inside the bus got to around 38 degress. The driver attempted to do all he could to make the best out of the situation, but by the end all us passengers couldn't wait to get of the coach and board the ship and get cold drinks. When we complained we were advised we would received a 15%refund that only equated to $60 dollars from a tour that was more than $300 USD. Should have pushed for a full refund. The only port where we felt welcomed was in South Australia were there was a bush band singing at arrivals and volunteers waiting to direct us to the buses, taxis or train to the city. The disembarkation at the ports was well managed and even the days we needed to use the tender boats. As I have used HAL prior, I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my son for his first cruise. Overall, regardless of the flaws mentioned, we had a relaxing time, but next time we cruise, will look at another company to compare the service and atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but ... Read More
All ports were good. Cruise Tours were very expensive so we organised our own. Left from White Bay and getting aboard was smooth and easy. Once we departed things were a bit disorganised. On stern pool deck there was a table of drinks but no assistance from wait staff as to price/type of cocktail. There was none of the usual atmosphere of departure (same at every port). Only advantage was going under Harbour Bridge. Cabin was fine albeit a pretty small balcony. Whole ship needs a real freshen up/full refurb. Lido lounge food was average. Some hot foods not hot but if asked for fresh cooked steak/fish then this was done (that's the clue!). Breakfast omelette was the best choice. Entertainment was very ordinary. Magician/Comedian was good. movies were on a very small screen and sound ordinary. Cabin staff were excellent. Stern Pool Bar staff were great, especially Troy! This ship seems to cater to older travellers. I'm 58 and there weren't many younger than me. Most people we spoke to were not happy with entertainment, bar times, Lido Market food. The day time food demos were good. Trivia bar quizzes were ok as were bar happy hours (if you could work out where/times). in summary, cabin was very good, quiet. Whole ship was immaculately clean. All Bar staff and some Lido Market staff were excellent. Dining Room was top shelf, staff, ambience and food. Would I travel Noordam again? No.Have travelled Celebrity before and they are chalk and cheese apart. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise mainly due to the Australian itinerary & to see Kangaroo Island. We had low expectations of the condition of the Noordam given the reviews I had read were not very complimentary about the condition of the ship. ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly due to the Australian itinerary & to see Kangaroo Island. We had low expectations of the condition of the Noordam given the reviews I had read were not very complimentary about the condition of the ship. We were pleasantly surprised that it really wasn’t as bad as some of the reviews I had read had indicated. Yes the ship is due for refurbishment but the staff seem to go to enormous lengths to try and keep everything as pristine as possible. Our embarkation time was 1pm at White Bay Terminal. We had to wait in the queue for about 1.5 hours as it seemed a lot of other people decided to ignore their dedicated time and come earlier. We went to the mandatory safety muster but for some odd reason our passes didn’t register as having attended and we kept on receiving letters in our cabin telling us we had to do it until we went to reception to get it sorted out. Leaving Sydney harbour on a sunny afternoon is nothing short of spectacular even though we live in Sydney it is an amazing experience. We had an aft facing balcony cabin 8145 which was just under the Lido deck. Walking to and from the back of the ship was never an issue for us. The room was reasonably spacious with plenty of cupboard space. The only issue was the chair scraping noise coming from the Lido deck about 5:30am every morning. The noise lasted about 20 minutes. We would definitely book an aft cabin again as it’s wonderful watching the wake while sitting on the balcony. I would make sure it’s not under the Lido in future. We found the main dining room food ok. We went to Canaletto three times as the food is amazing along with the service and for an extra USD15 it is definitely worth it. We also went to the Pinnacle Grill twice although we preferred Canaletto. We loved the refined style of service on the ship. It was really good to not have pushy photographers like some other cruise lines and while there are lovely art works to view there were no dodgy art auctions either. Kangaroo Island is very beautiful. We did the day tour through the ship which went to Admirals Arch, Remarkable rocks and Hansen Bay Koala Park. While we thought the tour was extremely expensive through the ship we wanted the piece of mind as there is quite a lot of road travel involved. Lunch was included in the tour and there was loads of sandwiches available so no one would have gone hungry as there were many spare after lunch. There is no iPhone reception on the island and I was relieved we didn’t do our own tour as we would have had no way of contacting anyone if something went wrong. This was our first time on a HAL ship and I would definitely go on one again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Overall Rating - Pacific Isles, Tasman & Bass Srts 1/5 We have completed over 50 cruises including World cruises on Cunard, Celebrity, Princess et al, with another booked in April on Celebrity Solstice. This cruise on the ... Read More
Overall Rating - Pacific Isles, Tasman & Bass Srts 1/5 We have completed over 50 cruises including World cruises on Cunard, Celebrity, Princess et al, with another booked in April on Celebrity Solstice. This cruise on the Noordam has been our worst ever, never to be repeated. I do not enjoy writing a bad review, but this needed to be said, honestly and fairly as it happened. Here is a sampling: ship and verandah room in disrepair (visible rust everywhere, wallpaper peeling, bedding old and uncomfortable), food lackluster (served luke warm, absent seasoning in Lido and Main), evident influenza epidemic, but only a warning issued of “Seasonal Flu” at the end of 1st segment). We cannot help but believe that this cruise cut corners at every level. It was short on entertainment (except for Noordam singers & dancers), food quality (except for Canaletto), things to do, dilapidation of the ship (rusting in every corner). Frankly, there is too much competition and too may choices of better cruise lines, and we have sailed with many. Further, the Australia routes are gouged price wise compared to USA and European routes, but then again, Australia is gouged at every level anyway as an easy unsuspecting target. Stateroom Location #8134 AFT: 1/5 What a terrible mistake we made through our Agent. The Navigation deck AFT is right below the pool deck area. Constant moving of chairs beginning at 5.30am every day and picking up around mid morning and mid afternoon. Also the room is too small, making it difficult to navigate. Barely room to walk past the bed! The deck is so small it does not serve any useful purpose., so it went unused. Our previous cruise on the Noordam we had a Neptune Suite. Finally, refuse from the above pool deck collects on the small balcony! The TV is located to the right of the balcony sliding doors, where you need to be a contortionist to see it! Conclusion: Be prepared to pay the significantly extra cost for a Neptune or Mini Suite, otherwise pass on the Noordam. We will pass anyway. Too many other choices of great cruise lines. Ship Quality: 1/5 Sorry, this ship is very much in need of a complete renovation. The ship was already tired during our last voyage, 2 years ago. and it is worse on this cruise. The only reason for taking this cruise again was a decision to take a cruise over the Xmas/NY Season. Rust and corrosion everywhere, dingy carpeting, peeling wallpaper. Conclusion: This ship has not been maintained. We did not see one person painting rust during the 2 segments. During our quarantine for illness for 5 days, the balcony wash washed down very briefly and poorly once, insufficient to remove the debris collected from the above pool deck! We suggest waiting until the renovation takes place if you are considering the Noordam! Health & Influenza: 1/5 We encountered several passengers who were down with either the gastro infections, the flu or the Influenza virus. We took every precaution to avoid it, unsuccessfully. There had been no alert issued by the Noordam. Notwithstanding taking every precaution to avoid infection, I first contracted gastro infection, then my wife came down with the flu, then I came down with influenza, which was horrible, quarantined to the cabin for 5 days. There was neither any mention nor WARNING of these pervasive infections from Noordam until the last day of the 1st segment to be aware of “Seasonal Flu”. Evidently Noordam management opted to put their head in the sand, and let the passengers fend for themselves! It seems the preference is to raise no alert! Restaurants: 2/5 Canaletto (Service and Food) – Syarif & attendants great servce 5/5 Pinnacle Grill (Service Excellent, food very good) – Stephen and Wohan great service 5/5 Main (Gilroy tries hard but all other Service fair, food poor) 1/5 Lido (no trays available, table service very good, ) Food station service poor, food poor) 1/5 Kyrisha @ Pasta Station has consistently poor attitude, having observed her rudeness with passengers over the course of the Cruise. If you prefer hot food, you will need to pay extra at the Canaletto or the Pinnacle. We had food delivered to the room several times from the Canaletto and the Pinnacle, but it would arrive warm or cold. Entertainment: average at best 2/5 Noordam singers and Dancers 5/5 Other entertainment (Comedians, Magicians etc) 1/5 Cruise Director 1/5 Constant barrage of announcements made by Jae, Cruise Director,who likes to hear himself over the speaker morning noon and night, with little tangible effort beyond that. Spoke directly with the Jae on New Years Eve, questioning why there were no chairs provided on the Lido deck. He responded in an insolent, rude and undignified manner, and laid the blame squarely on a decision and directive made by Home Office that no chairs should be provided. If this is true, and if this is the level of Head Office involvement on the Noordam, what is the need for Jae? Both my wife and I agreed that this must have been a decision taken on the Noordam, with Jae shifting blame for a stupid decision, and an unwillingness to take any responsibility for a stupid decision. Then, for the final stage performance by the Noordam Singers and Dancers, with all passengers having been kept waiting15 minutes past start time, Jae, Cruise Director, arrived on stage as though all is great, asking how everyone is enjoying the cruise, only to announce that due to audio problems, the show has been cancelled. This is clearly Jae’s responsibility to ensure all systems are a go, where audio etc should be validated well prior to the performance. This is yet another example of the ineptness, with no admission of responsibility nor apology. We have been on many cruises where the Cruise Director steps up when needed. Not in this case. Guest Services: Request to move to a Suite 2/5 We spoke with Guest Services at the start of our cruise on the 1st segment, requesting to move from #8134. A Neptune Suite was available. We were quoted an extra US$4,000 for the upgrade on the 1st segment only, with no guarantee on the 2nd segment, or where we would be located! We offered US$2,500 given the move and the uncertainty for the 2nd segment. Guest Services countered with their final offer of US$3,500. We passed. We requested an upgrade to a mini suite on the 2nd segment. After two calls to follow up with guest services, being informed they were checking with Corporate, and in the middle of the 2nd segment without a response, we contacted guest services a 3rd time asking why they had not extended the courtesy of a response. They were failed to provide any reasonable response, simply apologizing profusely. Festivities: 2/5 Christmas Eve & Day Celebrations – very basic 2/5 New Year Eve Celebration 2/5 Both celebrations missed the mark by a long shot. Nothing special or memorable offered. NYE celebrations were held on the Lido decks, with windy conditions outside, and NO CHAIRS provided inside. Room Service 2/5 Since we were ill and isolated in our cabin, we were required to order room service. The order taking over the telephone resulted in incorrect deliveries, cold food, one very late delivery on the Canaletto, with totally COLD food (where it had been sitting for some time), or missing items. On one occasion room service called us to see if we enjoyed our meal. We responded we were still waiting for it to be delivered. Embarkation Sydney: 5/5 Fast check in, went smoothly. Bags arrived at Stateroom before us! Suggestion: arrive at port around 2pm after the crowd for easy no hassle check in. Disembarkation Ports & Tenders: 5/5 Few wait lines, efficiently handled Ports of Call: 3/5 1st Segment: Mostly Island beaches and sparsely populated. You need to like beaches and seclusion with few things to do. The French in New Caledonia were neither warm nor friendly, living up to the French reputation. Non French Islanders were warm and receptive, appreciative of the Tourist Dollars. The Noordam failed to deliver nightly information in advance of ports of call, which is a first! The weather was mixed and unpredictable. 2nd segment: limited with Port Arthur (a must see for Australia history), Auckland, Adelaide, and Kangaroo Island, collectively difficult to justify. Spa Thermal Pool 3/5 Upon boarding the Noordam we visited the Spa to sign up for the Hydra pool package, only to be told they were sold out! We enjoyed this on our prior cruise on the Noordam. We were able to sign up on port days in the afternoons. We were able to sign up for the package on the 2nd segment, but since we came down with influenza, we had to cancel. The package is definitely worth it, as it is one of the few things worthy on the Noordam. Spa Hairdresser 5/5 Sally gave cuts and styling to both my wife and self. Sally was very professional and gave great cuts and styles. Stores on board: 2/5 General items are sparse. Purchased needed items at port visits. Internet 1/5 Signed up for the package with full access excluding video. The Internet Is VERY SLOW, and often kicked me off the Internet entirely, or unable to connect. It was Impossible to search on the Web. Its only use was emails & basics, if you can connect! This Internet Service is in serious need of an upgrade, comparable with the Internet connections available on more advanced liners Reception: 5/5 Responsive.. Standout is “Roma”. Be prepared for long lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major ... Read More
We chose this as Holland America once had a good reputation for cruises. The dining was very poor quality food with very little choices offered ( no turkey for Christmas day dinner). The ship is very outdated and in dire need of major refurbishment and we found that the balcony in our cabin to be extremely small given the extra cost paid to have one. Only just about enough room for two deck chairs. We found that it compares very badly with its competition eg Celebrity Cruises. Entertainment on board only moderate to fair and very limited. Port and shore excursions were quite good and well organised with an interesting variety. Neither I or my partner would recommend Holland America line for any cruises on the the Noordam unless as stated previously that it improved the quality and choices in its dining room and a full refurbishment of this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted a quiet restful trip. We did our research and discovered that Holland America are aimed at an older age group with not so many families/children on board. We found the Maasdam suited us perfectly. The Service and quality of food on this ship was excellent!! We didn't make use of the Casino as that's not our thing. There were plenty of bars and areas to sit and read or just relax. We mostly ate in the Main Dining room or had room service. We sat in the open dining on Deck 7 on the Port side and our waiter Imam & Wine Steward Iyvette were both lovely and looked after us very well. We enjoyed the Burgers at the Dive In Burger Bar on the Lido Deck.We did our sums and decided to take our own Wine on board as we weren't prepared to pay $827Usd each for a drinks package and we are so glad we didn't. We bought 13 bottles of Wine and 1 of Champagne on board and paid the $18Usd Corkage on 12 of them and it was still much cheaper to do this than get 2 drinks packages. We only had a couple of beers during the day from time to time and drank wine with our dinner each evening and occasionally in our room and had a cocktail/beer after dinner a few times plus the odd coffee - with the cost of our Alcohol purchased before boarding and all other drinks we still only spent about $650Usd. We made use of the free water refill at the Lido bar. The Itinerary was fabulous as we got to see parts of Australia we had never visited before and the parts we loved we will visit again. We haven't cruised a lot before and found the continuous up selling a bit annoying but you can always say no. The entertainment was just ok. We spoke to some people who said it was average and others who thought it was ok. We didn't do any shore excursions as we have been to some of the places and hired a car and did our own thing in other places so I cant comment other then to say we thought they were expensive. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
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