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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
It was the worst cruise of the prior three. The ceiling in the lido restaurant leaked, as we carried our food past trying not to get drops of unhealthy, dirty, water on our food. The Wifi was crappy and cost a lot, they charged for ... Read More
It was the worst cruise of the prior three. The ceiling in the lido restaurant leaked, as we carried our food past trying not to get drops of unhealthy, dirty, water on our food. The Wifi was crappy and cost a lot, they charged for drinking water, pop, ever to ride the exercise bike 15 dollars, yoga cost 8 dollars, the food was repetitive at dinner and very bland. There next to no good entertainment around the pool on the sea days. The ports of course were excellent. The excursions on the ship were way over priced, could get them half price and better in port. I can't believe some of the fools liked that the ship, it was so sad. We also lost our air conditioning for 3 days, could barley sleep at night. The only good thing on the ship was the night time entertainment. It's a good thing we met 2 other passengers from the states who totally agreed with us about the ship. Our friends and us will never cruise MESSDAM again..............I spelt it like that for a reason, terrible money grabbing crappy ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal ... Read More
We like NZ and have been there on land, but wished to see the Sounds and ports offered. In the past HAL gave reasonable value for $ and "tried" to sort our differences. We are two 70yr olds and travel on ships geared for minimal children.This trip had abysmal dining and very poor entertainment and shore assistance. We could not get palatable food and found that the feedback forms gave no option for feedback so after the first form went off on day 2, I fired off another on day 5 with our contact details and problems. [ Food in Vista was too rich and/or spicy for our tastes and stomachs. Standards of dress had dropped. Children allowed unsupervised and intrusive.Wait staff abrupt/overworked. Supervisors would not listen/understand. Gassed out of cabin twice by maintenance painters. Heart monitor on bike in gym was erratic/busted and supervisor took little interest. Shore/port assistance very poor.] In sheer frustration I fired off another feedback form on day 10. We got to be able to preorder meals with notes regarding the spices on day 12!! We got some decent food for the last 2 days!! There was never any personal feedback until one supervisor gave us a free bottle of sparkling wine on the last day - but no discussion. As usual the cabin staff were good. The cabin was tidy but getting a little tired. Would we go again on HAL/Noordam? We'd go anywhere if the price is right and itinerary interesting - but only if there was personal interaction BEFORE and during the cruise. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was our 3rd cruise . We have previously cruised on the Disney Fantasy in 2014 and then Royal Caribbean Legend of the seas in 2015 . As we are still quite new to cruising we are keen to explore several cruise lines but we have been ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise . We have previously cruised on the Disney Fantasy in 2014 and then Royal Caribbean Legend of the seas in 2015 . As we are still quite new to cruising we are keen to explore several cruise lines but we have been warned by fellow cruisers already that we started with one of the best cruise lines so everything by comparison is going to be difficult to measure up . The departure was from Sydney and we arrived a couple of days before so that we could explore Sydney and enjoy the lead in time before starting the cruise . The ship left from White Bay terminal which is a little out of the CBD but an easy trip via taxi . The cruise terminal is well laid out . There were plenty of staff to greet you as you turned up at the terminal so we were directed to the bag drop off.which was a breeze but we did get there quite early around 11am so that may have been a factor . The staff at the entrance to the terminal then handed the customs cards and health check forms that we needed to fill out, Once inside the terminal there is plenty of seating and there is also a cafe , we managed to grab a table and had a coffee while we filled out our cards , then it was just a matter of waiting to start the registration process and get our photos taken and ship cards issued . Once commenced the entire process was very quick and painless , the boarding procedure was handled efficiently and before you knew it ,we were on board and exploring the ship and heading up to the Lido Market for lunch . One of the main things I liked about this ship is that it feels spacious enough to easily cater for the approx 2000 passengers , you never felt really crowded . The decor of the ship is looking a little dated , I felt that it was a little over the top but then again I suppose they have to make some grand statements with design to try and get the wow factor . The layout of the ship is quite easy to navigate once you have been on board a couple of days . All of the areas appeared clean and generally in decent condition but there were some signs of repairs and maintenance needing to be done , some of the areas of the carpet were looking somewhat worn , along with the interior of the staterooms that we were in . We stayed on deck 7 , we decided on this deck after reading several reviews of the ship and weighing the likelihood of referred noise from the restaurant, theater or deck 9 where the Lido Market and swimming pool is located . When deciding on your stateroom I think you always need to look at the entire layout of the ship and consider all possibilities of where noise is generated . We were a family of 4 and we stayed across 2 different staterooms . We were unable to get connecting staterooms but we settled on 7103 and 7112 because they were far enough away from the lifts and 7112 was a couple of doors down from a utility room that could have become noisy when staff started accessing it early in the morning . The cabins overall were quite good , they were inside staterooms , this is the first time we have done inside rooms , in the past we have had verandah and sea view , having done this I would always at least have sea view because not having any natural sunlight is not something I found enjoyable . The argument is that you only sleep in your stateroom so why do you need a sea view but there is something natural with your body clock that just makes me feel better if I wake up to sunlight . The size of the rooms was a little on the small size with no real seating other than one chair with a very small table and one stool at the desk area . The wardrobe space is very good and the size of the bathroom was also very good . As with most ships the space under the bed is a great situation for storing those suit cases . The decor of the cabins is a bit ho hum and overall I think the ship is definitely due for a refit . The beds were very comfortable and the pillows also great . quality of the towels when changed was variable , some really soft and luxurious others a bit scratchy and older . The lovely waffle texture robes provided for use during your stay was a nice touch and the beach towels provided during those beach shore excursions also a nice touch. On the evening of 7th Jan I had an issue with stateroom 7112 . There was an extremely loud banging noise which started between 9.30 pm - 10 pm and this continued until 6.45 am on 8th Jan . My son and I tried to get some sleep but it was impossible . I phoned the front desk at 2 am and I was offered earplugs having been told that nothing could be done until an engineer became available which would not be until we arrived at our next port at approx 6.30 in the morning . Now wearing the ear plugs we tried again to get some sleep but to no avail , I ended up getting up and going down to the desk . I was told that we could not be relocated because there was nothing available , the only spare cabin was being used for a medical emergency . There was no engineer available to attend to the issue and I had accepted the offer of earplugs - this made me feel that it was now my fault that because I accepted the earplugs they didn't bother trying to get it fixed . It turns out that several cabins were affected by this noise and it was some problem with a heating pump for the swimming pool . The next day for our port of Dunedin was ruined because my son and I were operating on no sleep . As an apology I was left a bottle of red wine - this was supposed to make up for no sleep for the entire night and a port day ruined due to exhaustion . I took the wine back as I don't drink red wine , I was then offered 2 meals at piccalo cafe - long story short I had to battle to get a small credit put onto my account of just $54.00 which I hardly think makes up for the cabin that was not fit for purpose for 1 night . The TV in the cabin was not great , my husband had a problem with the TV in his room , there were vertical and horizontal lines that made viewing very unpleasant , we phoned to get it seen to and the technician felt that it was fine , we pressed the point and said it was not good until it was finally changed over by a somewhat surly technician . Clearly they don't like being told when something is not up to scratch. We had problems with toilets not working in both of the staterooms and when talking to other passengers , it seemed that this was a persistent problem , again possibly a maintenance issue ? On a plus note the dining experience was for the most part fantastic , the quality and variety of the food was excellent . the Lido Market on deck 9 which is essentially the buffet is really well layed out with duplication of structure both sides . The think what HAL is doing really well here is having greater control over the hygiene of the food . Rather than having an open buffet style layout where people are serving themselves everything , you go to the various stations and say what you want and you get served , for breakfast there are some serve yourself situations for things like croissants , danishes and muffins ,but if you want bagels or toast you get served by someone , if you want omelettes made you pick your ingredients and they make it for you , this means you don't get people touching things with their fingers or sneezing or coughing into a bowl of bacon or eggs . I think the system is really going to cut down on people getting sick. The vista restaurant is very nice and the menu selection quite good although I did not think much of the entrees . There is the Dive In burger and hot dog station which was fantastic , the burgers were amazing and it only takes around 15 minutes for your order to be ready . Explorations care does amazing coffees and frappe's . overall HAL gets a big tick of approval for the food . Out biggest dissapointment on this cruise was the entertainment , there just didn't seem to be enough of it . The Noordam singers and dancers were very good and the shows that they put on were very good although one of the male singers had a much weaker voice than the others but they harmonised well . The guest entertainment was a mixed bag. there were only a couple that were any good . There was a band playing in the Atrium in the late afternoons and Adagio near the explorations cafe in the evenings . BB kings was quite good but after being on board for almost 4 weeks their sets became quite repetitive . This was a real issue for me because we were sold this cruise as being a 27 night cruise but in reality it is 2 cruises back to back so all of the shows from the Noordam singers and dancers that were performed for the NZ leg were then performed again for the Pacific Islands leg . I don't think they have really made maximum use of the atrium area , it would be nice if there was musical entertainment there or near the pool from around 11am . There was a good array of books , puzzles and board games at explorations cafe but this place got very busy , I think this was evidence of a lack of entertainment as well . What was a big negative was that there no real cinema on board , they did show movies in the vista lounge on port days but really there were no current movies being shown . You had your usual fair of trivia quizzes and the dancers did dance lessons in the observation lounge on deck 10 but I get the feeling that the entertainment is operation on a lean budget . The worst effort was the Japanese ventriloquist that was booked , I have never walked out of a show but I walked out of this one , it was absolutely disgusting . Overall the service was pretty good . Our room stewards did a very good job and were friendly and helpful , the bar staff were overall pretty good but a few were a bit surly and grumpy to deal with but some were absolute stars . We felt overall there the ship was operating on lean staff numbers which could be putting those staff that are there under increasing pressure . There were times when public bathrooms had not been cleaned or they were closed due to maintenance problems . The staff at the front desk were less than fun to deal with on occassions. When trying to sort out my issue with the noise problem in my room I was met with almost a robotic response from the staff . I think there is a real problem with their training because they deal with confrontation by having a wooden , distant and non emotional response which then comes across as being arrogant and unfeeling . The ports that we visited were all great and we know NZ quite well so we were well equipped for our various stops , it was very useful to go to the talks about the various stops on the Pacific Island leg of the cruise but we never booked any excursions via the ship because the mark up is ridiculous . One of the things we did have to fork out a bit of money for was the laundry service . for the 27 nights it costs USD 196.00 for unlimited laundry . The quality of the work was wonderful and the clothes arrived back the next day beautifully folded with shirts etc on hangers , this was a great service but again very expensive . The reality is that they keep the cruise fair down to a reasonable cost but boy do you pay for everything else . We paid the USD 12.50 per person, per day gratuities fee even though we did have the option to reduce it because we did not want to penalise the staff that did work very hard even though management decisions on how things are done is damaging the overall experience for the guests . Overall we did have a good time but HAL can do better and I feel that if they want to get return customers , particularly in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market , they need to seriously look at some of the decisions they are making, there is a lot of room for improvement and one of the key areas they need to work on is that customer relationship when things do go wrong. I feel that they need to fairly compensate the guest when they are inconvenienced . I have come away feeling that although, yes I did get the benefit of everything else that the cruise had to offer , what sticks in my mind is how I was treated with the noise problem and the lack of compensation for a cabin not fit for purpose for 1 night . One final note - I think it is fitting for the captain and master of the ship to make announcements as to weather and conditions arrivals and departures along with rules and regulations and by all means remind people about hygiene and wash those hands , however I think it demeans the position for him to act like a salesman and promote going to the casino or spending those last holiday dollars at the shops . You are the captain not the marketing manager . Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our annual company closedown in January each year, when we must take most of our annual holiday leave. The price was great for this peak holiday time in Australia. Both the embarkation and disembarkation processes ran extremely well, no queues All food was fresh and good quality, with the dining room providing gourmet meals each night. We initially asked for extra vegetables with our meal, thereafter a separate plate of steamed vegetables was automatically provided for our table to share each night. Dining room service was excellent. The free food on the swimming pool deck was welcome, we have cruised with other lines three times & always needed to pay for food outside the dining room & cafeteria. In addition, each day a self-serve Mexican food bar was set up on that deck, enabling us to enjoy tacos & nachos - the pulled beef was yummy! WE dined in the Pinnacle Grill for lunch on two occasions. For an extra US$10 per head for three courses plus tea or expresso coffee, this was most worthwhile. The prawn bruschetta (entree) & seafood in tomato broth (main) were highlights. We were each able to take a 750ml bottle of wine aboard on embarkation, which we could drink in our cabin. To take a bottle to the main dining room incurred a corkage fee of US$18. When we visited a wine region in New Zealand, we were each permitted to take a further bottle aboard for use in the dining room, without incurring the corkage fee. A good move by Holland America. The first sitting for dining was at 5.30pm, which meant we sometimes missed dining there due to still being ashore on port days, or missed viewing the ship's departure from ports as we were in the dining room. In hindsight we would choose the later dining option. Our major gripe was with the cost on internet on board the ship, very expensive. Also quite slow according to those who did use it. Accordingly, we waited for port days to use free wifi at local libraries or cafes. However, in NZ this was not always satisfactory as it appears they are still using 3G, at times we were unable to read incoming emails & text messages, & most times could not send emails, although text messages were fine. The entertainment on board was first class, ranging from an in-house band, in-house singers & dancers, to guest comedians, musicians, & singers. There were a variety of classes especially on sea days, including a unique series of computer classes dealing with all aspects of Windows 10, & also several computer Q & A sessions .Everyone found these classes very helpful. Other activities included cooking demonstration, DIY cocktails, galley tour, fitness classes, health & beauty talks, excursion previews, just to name a few. We didn't take any ship organised excursions, mainly due to cost. As we travelled with another couple, we hired cars at two ports to travel further afield, & noticed other groups especially families, did this as well. One excursion I saw advertised privately online prior to the cruise for NZ$50 (Napier town tour 1 hr), yet the ship charged US$69 for exactly the same tour, with the same company, which was double the price (taking into account the exchange rate). This is something cruise ships need to look at closely, to encourage more use of their own shore excursions. For the cost of our cruise, we would definitely sail with Holland America again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We sailed on the Noordam with our two teenagers leaving Sydney on the 4th January. It was spectacular leaving from White Bay as the ship had to wait for the tide to drop; so we could sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was amazing to ... Read More
We sailed on the Noordam with our two teenagers leaving Sydney on the 4th January. It was spectacular leaving from White Bay as the ship had to wait for the tide to drop; so we could sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was amazing to sail past the iconic Opera house and coastline. The boarding process was very quick, no wait time and staff were friendly and welcoming. We had a balcony cabin 6012 for ourselves and the teenagers had an interior cabin adjacent. The cabins were tiny by comparison to other ships we have been on, however they were extremely clean and our cabin stewards Judtih and Zon were amongst the best we have experienced. Nothing was too much trouble and their service was discreet and helpful. Yes, the decor and the furniture in the cabins is worn never the less, it was still pleasant. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it did not disappoint. The opportunity to circumnavigate the South and North Islands of New Zealand was one not to be missed. There are only two tender ports Akaroa and Waitangi so exploring on your own without the need of ship shore excursions is possible. Shore excursions were expensive and to be honest if travelling in a family or group car hire is a more affordable option with destinations easy to get to. E.g. Rotarua is an easy 1 hour drive as is Hobbiton nearby. Food on board was quite good. Plenty of variety between the buffet and the dining room. The Pinnacle Grill is worth every cent. We cruise quite often on NCL so I do have to make a comment about the price point of this cruise. In terms of value for money NCL offers a far superior product. Gratuities were extra once on board the Noordam adding a hefty $750 US to the on board bill. By comparison the NCL suite product we access often offers free speciality dining, drinks, reduced guest rates, pre paid gratuities, free shore excursions, free wifi all inclusive. So when we added up our cruise fares, gratuities, drinks, specialty dining etc a penthouse on the NCL would have been cheaper. But they don't offer this itinerary, yet! Overall, we enjoyed the ship. Public areas are clean, staff are friendly (Toni Barillo - pool bar and Casino Bar) was exceptional. Entertainment was disappointing compared to NCL. If booking for the itinerary only you will enjoy it! If you want a 'bang for buck' value cruise this isn't it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I'm 66 and retired and I don't usually cruise during school holidays for obvious reasons but this year choose the Noordam in early January around New Zealand and with the hope that not many kids would be on board. There weren't many and ... Read More
I'm 66 and retired and I don't usually cruise during school holidays for obvious reasons but this year choose the Noordam in early January around New Zealand and with the hope that not many kids would be on board. There weren't many and they were mostly well behaved. Not like some cruises lines that encourage a few too many of them. I traveled alone and thoroughly enjoyed myself on this cruise. Its my 5th cruise with HAL and it won't be my last. Cabin was quiet and restful. I had nice quiet neighbours besides, above and below me.. Dining was well up to expectation. Lido for Breakfast and Lunch, Vista Dining Room for early anytime dining. Service staff in all areas of the ship were just wonderful.10/10 I did not feel the need for Specialty Dining but I heard it was great value and memorable. The entertainment was a bit sad. From a lack lustre Cruise Director down to the hoofers in the theatre. Seen it all, heard it all over and over and over again during my many cruises. Sorry to say, time for a re-invention. Did not use HAL's shore excursions. On shore the same thing is much cheaper. Quite good shopping on board and great duty free liquor prices - even if they were in US dollars. I guess Australians are gonna have to get used to the USD being much higher than the AUD again ? Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We like the size of the ship as well as the ports. We were pleased with our choice. We had a balcony room that gave us some added space. The rooms are not overly fancy, but comfortable. The ship is beginning to show some wear and tear ... Read More
We like the size of the ship as well as the ports. We were pleased with our choice. We had a balcony room that gave us some added space. The rooms are not overly fancy, but comfortable. The ship is beginning to show some wear and tear but overall, in good shape. Food was plentiful and we really enjoyed the salad bar where you could have your salad made to order. Room service for breakfast was prompt and hot. Dining room service was awesome! We purchased the beverage package and found the biggest draw back was that you couldn't use it in your room and you could only order one drink at a time. We would have enjoyed being able to enjoy our balcony with more than one drink at a time. Cost wise, well, we didn't come out ahead, but it was convenient. There is a $12.50 charge, per person a day, automatically added to your bill as a gratuity. Also all drinks have a 15% charge added automatically to your tab. This adds up real quick, especially if you have tipped staff previously. We didn't book tours with the ship because we found the cost was very high. We booked all our New Zealand tours through Zealander Tours and saved a bundle. Not only was it less expensive, the tours were much smaller and allowed for more interaction with the wonderful guides. We also found that getting help from the staff as to what to do or what to see as an independent traveller was impossible. We cruised for close to 30 days and did use their laundry service. $20 a bag was totally worth it! Quick and folded and hung! Entertainment was pretty good. The group that does their productions did very well. There was and awful ventriloquist from Japan! The Australian "Michael Buble" was awesome as were the other special entertainers. As for other night life, it is pretty quiet. The outside pool area is nice as is the interior pool. The spa is overly expensive and I didn't find it worth going to. The gym is small and there is a surcharge for many activities. The front desk was a bit rude and really didn't help, although they do have "smile training". We had some issues with our bill and it took a number of visits to the front desk to fix. For "our convenience" they made us come down as we were departing the ship, even though we had been ensured that it would be fixed on our final bill. If you have cruised before, you know it isn't "convenient" at all to wait in line on the last day of a cruise. The room stewards work so hard to make sure that your room is looked after. They even supplied us with beach towels for our beach stops! The internet is awful! Very slow and very expensive. It takes so long to even get a connection that you are out $5.00 without even doing anything. We found free wi-fi sights at most ports in New Zealand and did without on the tiny islands. We would travel with Holland America again, we just wish that the nickle and diming in charges would stop. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Ship is older and needs updating, especially in pool area. Entertainment was very basic. Other entertainment was unvaried, I could almost hum the soundtrack to the ship by the third night. No departure party, lack of fun, entertaining ... Read More
Ship is older and needs updating, especially in pool area. Entertainment was very basic. Other entertainment was unvaried, I could almost hum the soundtrack to the ship by the third night. No departure party, lack of fun, entertaining atmosphere. Gala nights lackluster at the best. Realize weather out of control, but missing Christchurch, and then sitting in Wellington the night before without being able to get off the ship was too much. Cruise in the national park was joke, only lasted barely 1 1/2 hrs, then practically two full days at sea until reaching Tasmania, where many elected to get of the ship early and just fly back to either Melbourne or Sydney. You can see more of New Zealand on your own. Restaurant seemed ok at first but then menu became highly imaginative in its description. At least they didn't mess up steaks. Also, Gala night menus completely underwhelming and not special compared to regular nights. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Very good schedule of ports to visit and staff all very helpful and friendly. We loved the "Neptunes" and their jazz music. The hotel staff did respond to a request to not close the promenade deck for maintenance during sea ... Read More
Very good schedule of ports to visit and staff all very helpful and friendly. We loved the "Neptunes" and their jazz music. The hotel staff did respond to a request to not close the promenade deck for maintenance during sea days. (This was a problem on the Zuitterdam as well this summer and it seems the ship crew has a different agenda that passenger schedules). Food was excellent. We felt like we were "nickeled and dimed" constantly with the service charges on everything, including the cabin attendants. There was also the constant emphasis on sales at the shops. Being retired from a medical background, we asked for clinical studies for a "detoxifying" very expensive product at the spa that was heavily promoted, and they were not able to produce them. We are glad we took the trip, but will look for a smaller, more inclusive based cruise for another trip. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We have never been to New Zealand and Australia before, and figured out that a cruise could be a good way to get a glimpe of this part of the world. The result exceeded our expectations. We had a great cruise and visited new, interesting ... Read More
We have never been to New Zealand and Australia before, and figured out that a cruise could be a good way to get a glimpe of this part of the world. The result exceeded our expectations. We had a great cruise and visited new, interesting places. We found the route to be beautiful. The ship was nice, the cabin very comfortable, the food was excellent. We liked the informal dinning at the buffets, however we tried the dinning room as well. Both served gourmet food. The main entertainment show performed twice every evening was weak in compare to other cruises, yet the ship's artists were good. The gym was good and well equipped. The service was terrific. The staff, mainly Indonesian, has been very friendly, efficient, ready to help and fluent in English. All other ships's facilities were good, clean and well maintained. Embarkation and disembarkation were short and easy. Shore excursions were unreasonably expensive. We hated to be "captive customers" so we organized our own tours once off the ship. Whenever we docked there was a tourists office with lots of tour suggestions. Holland America should seriously reconsider its tour exursions prices. Yet another constructive comment: The channel selection in the cabin TV is poor and should be augmented. Summary: A great cruise with a great company. We will certainly go again with Holland America. Read Less
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