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267 Holland America Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

This was a 30 day that was a rd trip from Sydney. Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, up the Queensland coast with several stops then Papua New Guinea (3), Conflict Islands, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane. The crew was second to ... Read More
This was a 30 day that was a rd trip from Sydney. Tasmania, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, up the Queensland coast with several stops then Papua New Guinea (3), Conflict Islands, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane. The crew was second to none! Fantastic food and service. Really good entertainment of all types brought on at many ports. Really enjoyed America's Test Kitchen and band in BB King. 4 Happy Hours every day. 2 each in 2 lounges. Jai, the CD was really professional but fun and very approachable. He is Dutch as most officers are. The mainly Filipino and Indonesian crew go out of their way to make you happy. We are Elite on Princess and Platinum on Carnival. Had only sailed HAL 25 years ago and were bored. This was far from It! We had a wonderful time and have already booked a 28 day to China and Japan. No, it's not all old people (I thought it would be). Granted very few children but guests of all ages. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary and the supposed reputation of Holland America being a classy cruise line. It was to be a continuation of a seven night cruise that we took on the Paul Gauguin. We were looking forward to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary and the supposed reputation of Holland America being a classy cruise line. It was to be a continuation of a seven night cruise that we took on the Paul Gauguin. We were looking forward to the stops at Rarotonga, Cook Islands - Alofi, Niue - Vava u, Tonga - Savusavu, Vanua Levi, Fiji - Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji - Dravuni, Fiji - Nuku alofa, Tonga. To set the stage for the tender rides to shore we need to say that prior to our cruise a woman was killed while getting on the tender at a stop. Of course like the military Holland America made a decision to screw all of it's passengers due to the actions of one unfortunate soul. They cancelled the first two stops stating the sea state was to high to go a shore. They must not have realized there were many passengers that had a great deal of experience with boating and knew that the sea state was not as bad as they were saying. Real big disappointment to all aboard. All of the remaining stops we did go ashore. Shore excursions were totally overpriced. We went ashore an picked up tours at far cheaper prices than Holland America offered. For a cruise line that is supposed to be classy Holland America made it far from that. Everytime you turned around they were trying to up sale you. From the over price bottled water and canned sodas in the state rooms, to the over priced additional restaurants, to the drastically overpriced cocktails and wine. Add to this the upscale jewelry stores which I very seldom saw passengers present. The casino that was almost as empty as the jewelry stores. Really do they really need to send out daily sales brochures trying to temp you with the 20% off sale which they raised the price on items 20% prior to the sale. It seems they could have used this space for more over priced restaurants or even heaven forbid a better stocked sundry store. Now let us talk about a dead ship. Even though we are 59 and 62 we seemed to have more life than the typical passenger that appeared to be above the age of 70 and no young 70s for sure. You would think that there would be South Pacific Island music playing all over the ship. You know to set the mood. But, no, Holland America plays elevator music when they play it at all. You would get more exciting music in a mortuary or morgue. Who knows maybe that is what the old folks really want. The musical entertainers actually play Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak tree, Really? The ship seemed to be in less than stealer condition. There was rust everywhere. The cover over the midship pool broke during the cruise and it didn't seem like the crew had the capability to fix it. The covers on the lifeboats seemed faded and strained. In fact on a couple of them they seemed to be torn or caved in. The tenders were filthy and unkempt. To think that the elderly passengers could have to use these boats in an emergency was disappointing and scary. The average crew member did a good job. Even when they were forced to sell things which they looked embarrassed and not comfortable doing. Our cabin steward was great. The dining room staff was great. Can't really say anything bad about the basic crew member on the Maasdam. The front desk personnel did a great job. There was a strange noise that kept happening in our first stateroom. We complained and they moved us to a new stateroom very quickly. Our stateroom was very clean and comfortable. We purchased the laundry service for the entire cruise. We felt it was a good value and the staff did a great job. The internet service was slow and expensive for what you received. We realize the signal has to travel many thousands of mile but really that slow? The food on the ship was good. However, no better than any other cruise ship we had been on. Holland America really needs to step it up to live up to a reputation that seems like it had gotten many years ago. Stop selling and make it a classy ship again or close the line down and save not only themselves but the passengers from a poor experience. Many folks that we had spoke to that had cruised Holland America in the passed said that this would be their last cruise on the line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the ... Read More
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the dining room and up in Lido did not change except for thanks giving evening. One evening in the dining the Lamb shank was very good. We found the Library a very good place to past the time of day. The shops were nothing to write home about, there was one big jewellery shop with some expensive items. Easy enough to get around the ship, lifts were never overcrowded except after a show when everyone was trying to either other places on the ship or to their cabins. The Hamburger/hot Dog place on deck 11 was great for lunch thou personally I did not like all the stuff that was put on the Hot Dog, Hamburgers were great. while having your lunch on deck it was quite often hard to hear the captain talking over the speaker. This was the part of cruise were looking forward to as my wife had lived on Niue and I was to get the conducted tour, it was not to be as the captain advised it was to rough at the wharf to land. We also did not land at Rarotonga as it was to rough to get into the tenders. Vava U Tonga was great as we were able to meet up with the wife's son and delivery a case of items that they wanted. Arranging to get off the ship with the case was a hassle from the front desk staff but in the end we saw customs when they came aboard and got cleared by them. Savusavu was ok, but Suva has not changed since we were last there apart from more high rise building. Dravuni Island was the best place for snorkelling and swimming. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Having been to a few of the ports before we were excited about the prospect of visiting Norfolk Island. However we were not able tho stop at Norfolk Island and two other ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Having been to a few of the ports before we were excited about the prospect of visiting Norfolk Island. However we were not able tho stop at Norfolk Island and two other ports. Out is believed only very few shops actually get their passengers onto Norfolk Island and so many had booked this trip with the promise of visiting Norfolk Island. In my opinion this port should be deleted from their itinerary as I believe it is only used as a lure tho get passengers to book the cruise with the company knowing it is very unlikely to ever happen. Feels like a bit of a con. Our major concern though on this cruise was the lack of first aid knowledge by the first responders. It was alarming to find the first responders to a heart attack didn't know how to take a pulse, didn't effectively know CPR or how to use the defibrillator. We feel these first responders should have better first aid training and at a minimum know how to take a pulse, do effective CPR and use the defib. It was discovered from this incident that the defib machines on the ship were the very old non speaking type. Please note this is not shipboard rumour but first hand experience at the incident. We were very impressed with the standard of food in the dining room. It was a huge step up from our last Holland America cruise. Most of the onboard entertainment was excellent however there were two acts on the second part of our cruise that were appalling. The ship had been recently very tastefully refurbished. Our cabin was very comfortable. The poor condition and incompleteness of some of the board games onboard needs immediate attention. It was very frustrating trying to find complete games to play. We were also very disappointed that a gym instructor was not immediately replaced during shore leave of the original instructor. This caused some gym activities to cease because of the absence of an instructor. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I like to go to places that I have not been to, I like to go at a good price and on a good ship. This cruise delivered all three. Papeete to Auckland for 26 days. Papeete is a loooooong way from Philadelphia but we eventually got there. ... Read More
I like to go to places that I have not been to, I like to go at a good price and on a good ship. This cruise delivered all three. Papeete to Auckland for 26 days. Papeete is a loooooong way from Philadelphia but we eventually got there. We landed the night before and enjoyed Tahitian music groups outside the airport. They were there on their accord and were having a great time. We stayed at a b & b with a gracious hostess. The house was surrounded with tropical plants and loud roosters. The views to Morrea were great. Great taxis. Maasdam. The ship is in very good shape. It had a dry dock in September 2018. There was no work in progress when we boarded. The public areas were all recarpeted and were very clean. The ship is dated in places but was always pleasant. The ship holds about 1,075 but only about 925 were on board. The ship was never crowded. There is a wrap around deck that's great for walking. We did the breast cancer walk and got a t shirt. The pools were in good shape, the retractable roof was good on windy days was was impressive closed at night. Lounge chairs were generally good. The self service laundry was very good, important on a 26 day cruise. The WIFI was very expensive and very bad. No host in the computer area. You had to go to the customer service deck on another deck, and get in line for help. Their answers were generally in the try this category. The pricing was in 3 quality tiers with the higher prices promising the better chance of working.Good hot tubs. Stateroom: The stateroom were not recarpeted. Ours was clean but had seen better days. The fixtures and furniture were dated but highly functional. We did not have any problems except for a slow draining tub one night. They fix it right away. The TV was good and I watched many cds from the customer service desk. Good variety. The bed was very comfortable. I was happy with the stateroom. MDR: very good condition, beautiful. Two tiered with bg, big viewing widows. Never crowded. We never waited for a table for 2 or sharing with 4 or 6. Many times at tables at the rear windows catching sunsets. Breakfast and lunch here were excellent. Dinner fell off.There seemed to ne a cut back in the number of soups, apps, salads, entrees and esp desserts. Some things were excellent with most things being good. It met my expectations and I always enjoyed going there. Buffet. Excellent condition. Very clean. Never "really crowded". Often wide open. Breakfast was excellent with made to order blueberry pancakes, omelets, eggs benedict, fried eggs. Very good meats. Lunch was very good. Made to order sandwiches and pasta. Lack of variety. Dinner fell off. The main entrees never looked good. I would get the pasta again. The desserts were always the same No variet. Nothing ever special. Good coffee. Dive in. Poolside burgers, dogs, tacos. Really excellent. Good toppings. Very good fries. Room service: Excellent. Always on time. Hot omelets were good. Coffee specialty cafe: No brewed coffee Soda card: Very good deal, pay $25 for a $50 card. Sodas were about $2.15. This is actually a better deal than Princess. Entertainment. Almost very bad. Lounges: Music seemed ok . Dated rooms. Crows nest was good. Folk presentations. These were generally good with music and dancing from Tonga, Fiji, and the Mauri people from New Zealand Service: Throughout the ship the service was excellent. MDR, buffet, room stewarts, customer service desk, shore excursion desk, all were were excellent. We missed 3 islands due to not be able to tender. Sadly a passenger had been killed on the previous voyage between the tender and the ship. I think the captain may have been overly cautious afterwards. We missed Rarotonga,( where the accident happened) Alofi, and Norfolk island Australia The ship could be boring at times. Esp with the added seadays. Once we left Fiji and headed for Auckland the weather changed and there was not much to do. Often boring at night as the entertainment was generally bad. Vava U Tonga is very poor. We had a taxi take us aroud. Not much to see. Very hot. We went to good beach with good sand and I enjoyed the water and the fish. Good beaches are hard to find. Savusavu Fiji. Not as poor as Vava U . We went to a resort that had seen better days. Free cab as we me t the owner at the pier. Went snorkeling on the resorts boat for about 2 hrs for $25. Lots of fish. Beautiful water. Then taxied to another beach. Not good as the island is surrounded by coral and the vaves break way out from the shore This was really for wading over the coral crest but saw some interesting sea creatures. Suva Fiji. More of a larger city but still small. We were at a pier here. Wlked around. Is a hike via vechicle to other parts of the island for things to do. Dirty market. Dravuni Island Fiji. More like the advertisements. Small island, 200 people, white sandy beaches, no real waves as they break far out. Some snorkeling is possible. Coral can be sharp. Great hiking trail up the mountain for 360 degree views out over the prettiest ocean you will ever see.We sat in on the one room school class for a lesson. I think the kids have to mocve to another island when they get a little older. Nuku Alofa, Kingdom of Tonga. Nice place. This is the capital. Interesting history.Ships tour was good. Poor beaches. Good cultural show. New Zealand: Beautiful country. Nicest people. We learned many interesting things. The cruise here was 12 days with 7 stops. We wasted 3 days going to and fro and then no landing at Norfolk Island Australia. These days would have been much better going to the National Park sounds and Fjords on the south island. Glow Worm cave trip was excellent, Old growth forests, Kiwi farms, Christchurch earthquake, Rotorua thermal park, were all great. The thing I liked the most were the mountains, endless mountains, and the esturaries, bays, sounds, and harbors that the ship had to get into. Excellent. I would recommend the Maasdam for the 3 reasons I opened with: Itinerary, price, nice ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Maasdam from Tahiti to Auckland via Fiji, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. Two of us in our 60's had a Neptune Suite midships (010) which was quiet, roomy, in excellent condition and fabulous. The staff were great, nothing was too ... Read More
Maasdam from Tahiti to Auckland via Fiji, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. Two of us in our 60's had a Neptune Suite midships (010) which was quiet, roomy, in excellent condition and fabulous. The staff were great, nothing was too much trouble, smiles and greetings everywhere, loved them. Food was the best of several cruises we have done (home made burgers were to die for), excellent range of food options all well presented, hygienicly handled and delicious. Evening entertainment was top class, especially "The Unexpected Boys" (similar to The Jersey Boys) who put on 4 different shows during the cruise. My only suggestion would be to improve the range of films and shows on ship TV - very limited range of boring news channels, and two movie channels (which repeated the same film for a day each) - fortunately we found the onboard video range and overdosed on Netflix shows. We have previously cruised with P&O, Carnival and Princess, and this ship was better than all of them. Would definitely cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary - a journey around some of the islands of French Polynesia - not because we specifically wanted to travel with Holland America. What we liked: - islands did not disappoint, itinerary was good ... Read More
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary - a journey around some of the islands of French Polynesia - not because we specifically wanted to travel with Holland America. What we liked: - islands did not disappoint, itinerary was good (one island was missed due to swells) - ship not crowded (around 1,200 people) - passengers well behaved (the cruise was heavily biased towards the over 60 crowd, which included us) - staff generally friendly and polite - cabin accomodation clean and comfortable What we didn't care for: - cruise expensive, we were prepared to pay but did not feel it offered 'value-for-money' - cabin lacked the space and amenities associated with a suite in other cruise lines - food in Lido buffet repetitive; more choice of cuisine urgently needed - shore excursions were conducted by outside companies (zodiacs not yet operating), ship just added a booking premium - encountered a number of staff with very limited English language capability (they should be offered lessons at the company's expense) - enterainment options could be improved eg onboard cinema - shops limited eg area dominated by an overly-large jewelry retailer Overall, an interesting experience but we would probably not sail with this line again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. ... Read More
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. Visiting islands via the ships tenders was an interesting experience. While the ship was of a mature age the crew and hotel staff kept in clean Our stateroom was 574 on the main deck slightly forward. We received an upgrade from the deck below. Our two cabin stewards kept the cabin clean and tidy. We asked for anytime dining in the dining room in the evening and was always able to be seated. Always asked if wanted to join others or be seated by ourselves. Personal option of the Dining room menu was sometimes good. Thanksgiving dinner good. Had Breakfast and lunch in the Lido and also dinner three or four times. Unfortunately food choices for dinner did not change except for the sweets. No dancing and the entertainment I would only give six out of ten. We did one shore excursion at Raiatea, Society Islands to visit a plantation and swim at a very nice island. We found that you had to use 8 US quarters in the washing machine and 4 quarters in the dryer. Shops on the Maasdam were nothing to write home about, big jewellery shop, If you where looking for pearls. Though you could find cheaper pearls in the island markets. Back at Papeete we received a in transit pass to get off the ship as we were on the second part of the cruise. Would I cruise with Holland America again, would depend on the itinerary but I did like the smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary! I have never seen such a low cost for a 28 day cruise that included such dreamy South Pacific Island ports. It was an opportunity I had not seen before on my favorite cruise line! We arrived a ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary! I have never seen such a low cost for a 28 day cruise that included such dreamy South Pacific Island ports. It was an opportunity I had not seen before on my favorite cruise line! We arrived a few days earlier into Papeete and took the ferry to Moorea and spent a few nights at the Hilton Moorea and the Intercontinental Moorea! Moorea turned out to be my favorite island and the over the water bungalows were even more amazing than the pictures! Being able to jump in the water from our deck and snorkel among corral and colorful fish was incredible! The green mountainous backdrop with the turquoise water was surreal! The Hilton Moorea was one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at in my life! Embarkation was a breeze, stepped off the ferry from Moorea, walked 5 minutes to where our ship was docked and was on board within 15 minutes! We had a quiet, comfortable inside cabin on a lower deck with the best room stewards, Jenni and Carlos who take care of everything for us, always insuring we were comfortable! We had early dining in the main dining room, and our biggest complaint was we were torn between eating outside in the back of the Lido watching the amazing sunsets or the excellent, fun service we had in the dining room with Sugi and Andre! We always found something delicious to eat and really loved the salads! They were the best ever! The entertainment was different than your typical cruise. No flashy productions. We thoroughly enjoyed the Polynesian show and the comedian! The ship is small and I loved that! We were always able to find a lounger somewhere to hang out and read with incredible views! I enjoyed the EXC classes and presentations! I learned some interesting recipes and just enjoyed the cultural learning experiences! The ports were the reason we came on this cruise, and our only disappointment was having to miss 3 of the stops. Papeete: We did a tour with Dave's VIP tours and we really enjoyed the tour. The minivan was a little crowded, and the AC did not work, but our group made the best of it and we had a great introductory tour of Tahiti. Dave was an excellent tour guide. Highly recommended! We also walked around the colorful market which was bustling! Our first port stop, Hiva Oa, was cancelled due to rough water! Our second stop, Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, was fantastic! I booked a horseback riding tour with Sabine, and she was not there when we disembarked, in fact she was late as she had gone to church. The tourist office was very helpful and called her, and so we waited. I am so glad we did. It was an incredible adventure. She picked us up in her old pickup truck and drove us 30 minutes into the mountains to her incredibly beautiful ranch. The horses are well cared for and it was a fantastic ride! We asked her if we could do another ride, she said yes and this time drove us back to town to ride horses around town. (my new friend on the tour was immediately bucked off) and decided she was done for the day. Sabine gave me her horse and we rode on through town and around down to the beach. I would not recommend this part of the ride for novice riders as there are many potential hazards, cars, dogs, attacking bees, precipitous drops, and other crazy distractions! This was definitely the most wild adventure of the trip! The scenery was unforgettable! Sabine and her husband were very kind and invited us into their home for refreshments. Rangiroa was next, and this was my husband's favorite excursion. We were able to go to the Blue Lagoon. It took about an hour by boat to get there, and once there we snorkeled with black tip sharks, then walked around a pink sand beach, then did a kind of drift snorkel, then a picnic on a motu while sitting in the pretty blue water, then a snorkel in the aquarium (amazing), then a boat ride through the pass watching dolphins jump!!! Made it back to the ship with a few minutes to spare. Highly recommended! Huahine Iti was next. We rented an ATV for the day from Europcar! It was pricey but what a great way to explore on our own. We went to the vanilla farm, saw some eels, the pearl farm ( I bought most of my pearls here and thought the prices were reasonable), some beautiful beaches, some ancient ruins.... also highly recommended! Bora Bora was the next stop. I believe my expectations were too high for Bora Bora! We rented scooters and explored the island. It has a very tourist trap like feel to it! Matira Beach was nice and crowded. There were some really gross things floating in a certain area of it which was a little concerning! Overall, my least favorite port and I don't think I would want to return to it ever! Rarotonga was a nice surprise! We rented e-bikes and had a blast! We circled the island and spent a lot of time on the beautiful Muri Beach. Raiatea was a blast. We booked our excursions right at the port! We did a drift snorkel where we took a boat to another motu and drifted slowly through an amazing reef! When we returned back to port, I did another tour, this time a 4x4 up in the beautiful mountains! The scenery was incredible! Moorea was also a port stop for us and I was excited to be back. We booked a private tour with Albert and another great couple we had met on the cruise, and had an amazing day exploring the island! Albert's stories made the tour even more fantastic! Vava'u Tonga was another stop on the cruise. We had nothing planned as we had miss the whale season. At port we met a few other cruisers who were going to a beach and chipped in on an inexpensive taxi. When we got to the beach, it looked kind of desolate and trashy, so I apologized and told the rest of the group we were going to go to another beach. They stayed and we ended up at the Tongan Beach Resort. We had to pay a small fee to stay there, but the loungers were nice and we had a nice relaxing day! Savusavu, Fiji was a friendly port. We ended up joining another couple on an inexpensive private tour to a beach where survivor, Australia had been filmed and then a tour around the island. I got some great deals on souvenirs at the booths by the port. Suva, Fiji. We booked a private river tubing trip on the Navua river! I highly reccommend booking an excursion at this port since it seemed a little gritty and maybe a little dangerous to walk around. The river tubing trip was amazing. Waterfalls and rapids, it was a blast! Dravuni Island was amazing. No excursion needed here! Great snorkeling if you walk to the other side. A nice hike up the top of the little mountain was beautiful Cheap massage and boat rides were readily available. A cheap makeshift bar with local beer. I brought a flotation device and just floated in the beautiful water! Fantastic day! Nuku Alofa Tonga was next and we took a taxi to the shuttle to Big Mama's yacht club. A funky little place where we snorkeled and hung out on the beach We had the best fish and chips of our life (real tuna). Auckland, NZ was our final stop! What a beautiful city. We booked an e-bike guided tour and had such a great time. We definitely want to go back to this place! Disembarkation was super easy, grabbed a taxi and checked into our hotel room at the Intercontinental Auckland. There is an airport shuttle that is much cheaper than the taxis we used for our trip to the airport. All in all, an unforgettable cruise! HAL continues to be my favorite cruiseline!!! In fact, I will be taking another cruise with HAL (and Oprah) in less than a month!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
PREFACE - This was our 34th cruise, 5th time cruising Tahiti. Ship was a bit older than our other cruise ships and it showed. Lots of wear and tear, rust everywhere. CABIN #058 - Cabin a/c never worked correctly, cabin never cooler ... Read More
PREFACE - This was our 34th cruise, 5th time cruising Tahiti. Ship was a bit older than our other cruise ships and it showed. Lots of wear and tear, rust everywhere. CABIN #058 - Cabin a/c never worked correctly, cabin never cooler than 75 and cabin had seen better days appearance wise. Rugs somewhat dirty, paint worn, veranda furniture well used. We cruised with Oceania, the Marina twice and Windstar twice. Both ships were well maintained. Cabin steward Daha was great, one of the best ever. DINING - The main dining room was ok, not great but just ok. Thought food portions were on the small side, average presentation. Don't order the shrimp cocktail, ordered it twice, shrimp has been frozen prior to serving and they were soggy and tasteless. Oh, here's something. NO BANANAS!! Never saw one the entire cruise. Was told by manager that the bananas were not up to HAL standards. You mean that in this tropical paradise HAL could not find bananas! Every port we stopped at had local vendors with them and they were delicious. A few things that bothered us was at the buffet. No self-serve iced tea or juice, no working ice machine. Watched this happen a lot, you know, people handling fruit, bread items, etc. than replacing them. Also saw other unsanitary things like wiping the tables with the same rag over and over again after rinsing out the rag in a bucket of something. Servers rubbing their nose, coughing, etc. Just didn't want to be watching what the staff was doing before eating. Twice had to wait almost 30 mintues for a hamburger, I timed it, at the Wave In burger stand by the pool. All and all, food just a little above Golden Corral .Ate at the Pinnacle one night. Better than the buffet, a little better than the main restaurant. Service was great at both the Pinnacle and our main dining table. One thing about the food, there is not one dinner that we felt was outstanding, just average. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITES This one is easy. Worst comedian ever, really didn't care for the other group, can't remember their names, something like the Best Boys. That was it for the acts. 14 days of not having to rush thru dinner to make a show. Now for the casino. My honey killed them on the slot machines, cleared almost $900.00 while playing them everyday. Was surprised that the machines were available even while we where in port. Never saw that before. Small set of table games. One crap table, never saw anyone playing there, one roulette wheel with spotty play. Poker tables and blackjack. I like to play craps and blackjack. Never like to play alone at the crap table and as for the blackjack table first time I played there discovered that if you get blackjack it pays 6 to 5, not 2 to 1. So a $10 bet pays $12, not $15. Also, all the kings are removed from the deck. Anyone who knows how to play the game knows that cards worth 10 hurt the dealer so removing them tilts the game even further to the house. Every Texas hold'm tournament never was played do to lack of players. Oh, never saw a cocktail waitress, had to ask several times for someone to bring a drink. Won a little playing blackjack the first night, never played again. I had budgeted a bunch of money for both of us to gamble with during the cruise, took it all home. SERVICE - Service for the most part was great. Cabin steward, Daha was one of the best we have ever had. Main dining room staff, table #50, also did a great job. Wine steward was a little overworked, had too many guests but he did the best he could. Head waiter very attentive. Liked having the late dinner time, never felt there was a rush to get us out. Front desk very helpful as were the tour staff. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS - Since we have cruised here in the past we didn't take any but did buy a daily pass at a major hotel on Bora Bora. All in all, this cruise was booked because 14 days in Tahiti is not to be missed the price for our cabin was greatly reduced by HAL because of our prior casino play. Would we cruise on HAL in the future, only if they give us the discounted casino rate, but most likely not. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because of the unique itinerary. We are visiting many ports Holland America has never been to before or hardly ever in the past decade . The EXC guides are excellent. They offer more information about each port ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the unique itinerary. We are visiting many ports Holland America has never been to before or hardly ever in the past decade . The EXC guides are excellent. They offer more information about each port /country than the usual cruise so you really are so much more immersed in their culture. It almost feels like we are in a University at Sea! The live entertainment is not as elaborate as some ships but still very good and enjoyable. The crew is wonderful and the food is good too. The ship is older but seems to be well maintained. I hope this program is a success and continues on for a long time. If they are still going to remain in the Asia + Australia / NZ area, I hope they consider going to ports in the Philippines, India (4 + ports for fuller immersion of each of these countries) , Myanmar, Taiwan and repeating popular ports like the Maldives and Bali would be very welcome as well) Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak ... Read More
This review is for an Atlantis Events cruise from Auckland to Sydney with six stops on a Holland America ship, Noordam (built circa 2006). This was my first cruise. We chose this cruise because many of our friends have done them and speak highly of their experiences. We spent two days in Auckland before departing to Gisborne, Wellington, Akaroa (Christchurch), Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne and Sydney. Boarding problems delayed our departure, but before long we were on our way. Being my first cruise, I wasn't really aware of and didn't pay attention to the fact that we were circling an island for several hours after we left Auckland and I am still unsure why we changed course. Atlantis Events and/or Holland America diverted the ship from making the planned stop in Akaroa (Christchurch) due to weather. Hard for me to believe that since Akaroa is a protected harbor. If you look on a map, the cruise was to go from Wellington to Akaroa and then south around the south island of New Zealand. Instead, we were stuck for three days at sea while we lumbered along at a leisurely pace to keep on schedule (i.e., not get to Hobart before we were scheduled). This significant change in schedule was, in my estimation, unnecessary, and definitely infuriating. The change in course lead to Holland America and/or Atlantis Events saving tens of thousands of dollars in fuel. We didn't get so much as a credit toward a future cruise. Keep in mind that many of the staff on the ship were lovely. Very attentive, happy to help and genuinely appeared to enjoy their jobs. Most were from Indonesia and the Philippines, and they were outstanding. Unfortunately, there were 20-25% of the employees that absolutely hated their job (or hated us). You could tell because they didn't smile, make eye contact or go beyond the minimum of what they were required. I have heard for years about how great the food is on cruises. Not being someone who enjoys eating large amounts of food (read, all-you-can-eat buffets), I wanted quality over quantity. I also don't eat a lot of meat, but there were plenty of hunks of unknown meats under heat lamps that didn't look particularly appetizing. The salad bar (not self-serve) on our cruise was ALWAYS busy and very understaffed. It was frustrating. You could go to a sit-down restaurant with table service (rather than the buffet-style food served on the lido deck), but this food was only marginally better. There was, of course, the extra-special option of going to a restaurant and actually paying for a high-end meal. Since I wasn't impressed with the food on the lido deck or the sit-down restaurant, I didn't bother. The number of deafeningly loud announcements through over-driven speakers by the crew at all hours was very disrupting and usually sounded like the adults on Peanuts. I felt like an announcement that loud should have been left for "abandon ship!" instead of "we're having a sale on (overpriced) watches on the lido deck" or whatever equally silly announcement they were making. It was ridiculous. The 'drinking' water on this ship tasted like it had been stored in a plastic container in the sun for a day or two, making it taste horrible. The upside was that we could drink the four $5 bottles of water (12 oz) left in our room every day when attendants came in to make our bed. If you're a coffee drinker, you'll need to lower your expectations considerably since the swill they served for coffee made instant coffee taste like Italian espresso, but you can go to their 'espresso bar' and pay $4.50 for a latte, so you aren't totally screwed. If you ask me, it takes a lot of chutzpah to provide undrinkable water and coffee, and then essentially force you to pay their outrageously over-priced bottled water and coffee. In the end, we paid an outrageous $1,354--almost all in drinks and one $100 bottle of wine for my birthday dinner. Holland America also enjoys using only US Dollars as its onboard currency and does not recognize the currency of those countries whose ports they frequent, so you won't enjoy any 'deals' on exchange rates. Buyer/cruiser beware! Take note of the year your ship was built. Read recent reviews of it so you know what you're getting yourself into. Ultimately, I don't think I would ever do another Atlantis Events cruise, and I would NEVER do another Holland America given this experience. Good luck! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the ... Read More
Ship was chose for us as a charter cause i would not have picked it myself. While the crew were overall very nice and glad to see us, the ship itself was extremely dated and not worth the money. The furniture was worn and torn, half the rooms had blasting a/c and the other half were saunas. Constant plumbing issues, power issues, and the fact that the maintenance staff were either so overworked or just past the point of caring that nothing seemed to get fixed. When i realized that part of why my room was so warm was that a prior passenger had squeezed a cruise daily into the a/c vent, i called and knowing that i wouldnt get much help i begged the person to bring a phillips head screwdriver so we could get it done rather than have them look, evaluate, and schedule. The promised they would...they brought a corkscrew. They called another staffer who brought a broken leatherman with a phillips bit so worn it was an icepick. They were discussing what to do and i grabbed the leatherman and used the flat head to get it open. That and the televisions on the ship are widescreen tubes that can only be watched in a totally dark room with tylenol for the static. Rooms were caked in salt and dust and mold. There are much nicer and newer vessels out there. Do NOT pick this one. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Loved this ship. Beautiful suite on the Rotterdam deck, which was huge and luxurious. Scrupulously keen, and the American know hoe to do wonderful service. Plenty of staff for every want and we had two stewards and two concierges. The ... Read More
Loved this ship. Beautiful suite on the Rotterdam deck, which was huge and luxurious. Scrupulously keen, and the American know hoe to do wonderful service. Plenty of staff for every want and we had two stewards and two concierges. The Neptune Lounge for people in Suites was excellent, and just added to the excellent services. Entertainment a bit patchy, and the resident dancers and singers were simply appalling. Guest entertainers were pretty good mostly. Great food very day and the night time dining was exceptional . wasn't that impressed with the Pinnacle Grill even though we could have had breakfast there every day....preferred room service, Trip was a week in various parts of Australia, and then 12 days in New Zealand. Disappointed that our time in Fiordland was reduced and spent longer in Hobart (lovely place, not a lot to do). The only disappointment was the rude, foul mouthed, deeply offensive and downright belligerent Maori Troupe on board. I was amazed that they as staff could use the guest facilities making making it impossible for paying guests to use the facilities... e.g. the spa pools on the aft deck. They lay in there for hours (one was very obese and took most of the space so his fellow troupe members were a bit squeezed in.) They made it quite clear in a foul mouthed tirade that they weren't getting out for anyone......almost if you were white you should humble yourselves before them in view of what they allege their people suffered ( all grossly untrue as I was born and raised in New Zealand, and still consider myself a New Zealander). This was a great disappointment as by and large in NZ the Maori are mostly a lovely people. Other interactions with them were just as unsettling and upsetting. I found myself wondering why there wasn't an Australian Aboriginal Troupe on board. So whilst I enjoy, indeed love, the Holland America ships I think I will avoid the cruise to New Zealand again, because of this Maori "cultural" group. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Summary: We chose this cruise for the itinerary after first looking at a similar Oceania cruise; we saved substantially on HAL, and for this itinerary that was more important to us than the expected diminution of values relating to the ... Read More
Summary: We chose this cruise for the itinerary after first looking at a similar Oceania cruise; we saved substantially on HAL, and for this itinerary that was more important to us than the expected diminution of values relating to the cabin, passengers and food. We were very pleasantly surprised at the high quality of service we received from the Maitre D, Waiter and Assistant Waiter; cabin service was excellent and we found the crew as a whole very pleasant. Food and Entertainment greatly exceeded our expectations. Embarkation: We did not board until 2:30 as were were enjoying Sydney (we spent 4 days pre-cruise there and wish we had spent 6); when we did board the process was efficient and fast. We brought on board 6 bottles of wine purchased in Australia; we were charged for 2 immediately (and the others as we used them in the Dining Room). No issues there. Cabin: When we reached our cabin we received our luggage in short order; our cabin steward came by and we requested that the fridge be emptied as we were only going to use it to cool wine bottles and water; this was seen to very quickly and for the rest of the cruise the fridge, not being overfilled, worked quite well. Twice a day service kept the cabin in good shape. See below for more detail. Dining: We had an early assignment in the Dining Room as requested, and were seated at the higher level at a table for 4, but occupied only by us - this was better than the two top we requested. During the cruise the 3 course dinners were served very quickly (45-50 minutes) which was fine with us; we had time to go to the Lincoln Center and other entertainment thereafter if we chose. Service including water refills was excellent. If we wanted an additional appetizer this was never an issue. Given the temperature limitations of cooking meats on a cruise ship we thought the chefs did quite well; medium rare was usually medium rate though not as juicy as at a land based restaurant. Some of the dinner apps and mains were really excellent, including Veal Roast in a mushroom sauce, and perfectly prepared Tuna. Pretty much everything was good or better. We tried Canaletto one night; it was decent but not outstanding. Pinnacle was great for lunch, and good at dinner but the wonderful Bouilliabaisse served at lunch was unavailable at dinner. Sel De Mer (X2) was very very good, with the sweetest lobster with brown butter sauce, Torchon of foie gras, a heaping plate of very fresh seafood for from clams to crab legs for a measly $25, great truffled potatoes and a very good classic souffle for dessert. Cellar Master's Dinner was very very well done and a real bargain compared to more expensive dinners we experienced on Oceania's Riviera. Beef tenderloin had very good flavor. Desserts in all venues were usually quite good. We asked our Maitre D if we could experience an Indonesian dinner and he provided us with an off menu dinner one night and an Indian dinner another, both very enjoyable. Only had dinner once in Lido; had pasta and enjoyed it.We had all but one of our breakfasts in the Lido, which was very crowded; omelets were very well made in accordance with instructions; good smoked salmon every day; tried to get creamed herring every day but failed (despite promises); the only downsides at breakfast were absence of fresh berries and overworked wait staff making it hard to get beverage refills. The other down side, in virtually every setting, was the fact that we could overhear our neighbors, which was usually annoying and at times painful; I would vote for higher noise level so that we wouldn't have that repeated experience. The Ship: Noordam is not new, but we don't have a fetish about that and we found it and its condition more than good enough. There were a few leaks (one big one just outside the Lido) on rainy days but otherwise no issues. Covered pool area was nice on cool days; hot tubs being available early and last was nice. Music played in various public areas and the Lido was just a weird mix, though sometimes the crew liked to sing along. I was told that the same music is played in all ships which suggests that little though is put into it. Pinnacle thankfully had some quieter classical music. Compared to Riviera, the ship has fewer quiet public spaces but we found a few; there is at times a near claustrophobic feel especially when large numbers of people are rambling towards Vista Lounge for a show. The small cabins can get that way as well. Photography and Cruise Art areas which must be passed several times a day were tiresome as well (haven' been on a cruise with those in about 15 years), but this was a minor annoyance. Noordam still has a nice library (as of now). We had very good weather for the whole cruise and almost no rocking or vibration. Crew (Service) :Great, the Captain made timely and good announcements, Cruise Director was fine. Entertainment: Lincoln Center featured 5 very talented musicians playing different concerts 5 nights a week in a very nice dedicated space with good sound - a mix of classical concerts, and other types of music all played very well. This truly made a huge difference for us. BB Kings was enjoyable. The Comedian and Violinist who played at Vista were fun; I did not like the pianist "Hyperbole" Knight, who performed a Readers Digest version of Rachmaninoff, but I was definitely in the minority. Port information shows were very good. That's about it for entertainment for us: we didn't do trivia etc. We also didn't do bars. My wife enjoyed her one beauty treatment (expensive as expected). Ships' stores had a few pleasant items (magnets and earrings) but nothing serious. Ports and Shore Excursions: We did our own excursions except one ship excursion which was rather disappointing. Captain did a great job showing everyone Milford Sound. Very nicely arranged shuttle buses where needed. Passengers: the vast majority ranged in age from 50 to 75, with the largest number from the US, followed by Australia. The Americans were from all over the US, but the majority (from conversations we couldn't avoid hearing) were conservative and if they weren't comparing notes on their cruise experiences they would share their social observations; the group was much more conservative in their expression than any cruise I've been on; since we traveled in part to escape that it was disappointing. Aside from that e were very happy with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises ... Read More
As this was a special occasion, we spared no expense and booked a Neptune Suite with large aft wrap around balcony. Expectations were high, more so as we have cruised extensively before and enjoyed our Cunard and Celebrity cruises immensely. The trip started positively, embarkation was quick and friendly. Things went downhill from there. Cabin (and ship) decor is very dated and years overdue for a refit. Furniture and fittings are of low quality, and this was especially evident in the bathroom. Main dinning room was mediocre, decor again dated, dark and stuffy. Worst part was the food, despite an effusive menu littered with culinary terms, the food was basic, low quality, dumped on the plate and served lukewarm. We ate there twice and then never returned. Lido dinning was even worse. Very limited choice, mostly pizza and pasta, and poor process for dishing out food, leaving people waiting ages for their order to be filled. Worst was the service times, if you wanted food outside their designated times, only dried up pizza was available. Not a vegetable in sight. At 8.30pm most stations were closed, and I have a picture of staff coming through vacuuming while diners still eating ! By day three, we reverted to eating all meals onshore when in port. On sea days we ate at the Pinnacle Grill, which was excellent, but at an xtra cost of $35 per head each time. Enrichment program was limited and focused on selling stuff. Entertainment stage shows were okay, but cruise director was clearly just coasting and did not bring any energy or interest to the cruise. Officers were rude and uninterested on the rare occasion we saw them or spoke to them. The only redeeming factor was the general staff, who were worked so hard to make up for the inadequacies of the ship, the processs and the lack of leadership. They were without exception, cheerful, helpful and engaging. To all of them, our sincere thanks. Other passengers we spoke to had mixed views, many shared our views, but others were very happy, so maybe it’s a matter of expectations. For us, this was our first experience with HAL and based on this we would not book them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was ... Read More
BACKGROUND: Took my mom on this cruise. It was #1 on her bucket list to travel to Australia. I’m 50 , she’s 71. We chose this 12 day cruise based on itinerary, not cruise line. It covered South Australia including Tasmania and was round trip from Sydney. I normally cruise on Silversea but have also cruised one time each on RCCL, Paul Gauguin, Celebrity and Azamara. HOTEL: We stayed for 3 days pre cruise at Hotel Intercontinental which is a fantastic location and beautiful hotel. I have been to Sydney 4 times and this was by the best location. Circular Quay really is the heart of Sydney and is the easiest location to venture to other parts of the city. Definitely will stay here again or Marriott which is also right there as well. EMBARKATION: very easy. Porters met us as soon as we exited limo. We went inside, filled out health questionnaire and proceeded to desk to check in., No lines, very nice staff. In a matter of minutes we were on board. FIRST IMPRESSION: I had low expectations honestly . Having read cruise critic before trip and I had googled photos. But much to my dismay, the pictures I had seen actually made it look nicer than it really was. I knew it wouldn’t be modern and shiny like Silversea and Celebrity but was shocked the second I walked on. It was terrible. Ugly dark blue carpeting, with bright red accents and the lighting was literally yellow with ugly brass sculptures and trim. I know this ship was built in 2006 but cant imagine it was even stylish back then. We made our way to deck 6 and as we walked aft to our room , I couldn’t believe how ugly even the hallway was. Ugly wall covering, peeling in most places, cabin doors that looked like cork and ugly blue funky carpeting. My heart sank..The ship is so dated and worn. I know it’s going in to dry dock for a refurbishment in May....but I’m not sure HAL will do enough to make this ship really competitive in the industry. There are so many new ships out there and ships being remodeled, I would think HAL must be losing ground. I noticed when I got home they are advertising a lot and wonder if they are beginning to have trouble filling up ships with all the stiff competition out there. CABIN: See below on cabin review...but we had a Neptune Suite 6177. LOVED LOVED the huge wraparound veranda. DINING: i prepaid 6 specialty restaurants ,,,3 for Pinnacle and 3 for Canaletto. I was happy to find out that we had the same 2 top reserved for the whole cruise in the Main Dining Room . I dont know if that is normal, a suite perk or our travel agent set it up for us, but it was a lovely surprise. I loved the food on this cruise. I thought it was better than Celebrity and not too far off from Silversea. There were lots of choices every night. After eating one night each in Canaletto and Pinnacle, we decided that although very good, I dont think they are worth the upcharge as the MDR was so good and I dont think they were better than the MDR in my opinion, so we canceled the remaining reservations at specialties. We also had very good service in the MDR>. Loved our waiter and asst waiter and we felt the service was quicker in the MDR and a bit slow in Pinnacle and Canaletto. I dont like to linger at the table for hours on end during dinner, so I appreciated the quicker service in the MDR. Every meal I had was good (except room service). The only thing we didnt like at the restaurants was a ginger chocolate cake one night for dessert. Had no flavor, seemed a bit “wet”...just blah. It wa like a major ingredient was left out . We only ate at LIdo Buffet twice as I hate buffets. We did salads for 2 lunches and they were good. LIdo Buffet dining room was always packed and hard to find a place to sit. Decor looked straight out of Golden Girls episode. ROOM SERVICE: Definitelly needs improvement. Without going into detail on each item we ordered....just seemed like it lacked someone doing quality control. Missing or short ingredients in salad, food not to temperature, omelette bathed in butter/oil, only hot milk brought for cereal, Every time we got it, we were disappointed. Fortunately, we had access to Neptune’s Lounge and there are always snacks and sweets there all day long. ENTERTAINMENT: I dont normally like cruise ship entertainment, so i didnt go to any shows , so I cant really comment . I can only say that friends I made on the ship didnt have anything good to say about the shows. SERVICE: Noordam really shined here. Everyone from our cabin stewards, to our waiters, to bartenders etc, were all excellent. Everyone was so nice and friendly and even though it’s a larger ship than what I m used to, i was surprised at how many workers knew my name and used it frequently. The only place where employees werent friendly was Explorations Cafe....I felt like I was in the “soup nazi: episode of Seinfeld. Order quickly then move down counter to collect your coffee and pastry. They didnt smile, didnt seem like they enjoyed their job, seemed annoyed if you didnt know what you wanted right away. OVERALL: It was such a mixed bag of experiences. While I loved the service and the food and the passengers were pretty social (unlike Silversea sometimes). The dreariness of the ship tarnished the experience. I loved the pool aft, big open space and never crowded. I never did the midship pool because it seemed like every time I walked through it, the roof was closed and they were doing some type of sidewalk sale from the shops and there were tons of people clogging up the space and being noisy. I loved that HAL has happy hour from 4-5 and 9-10. The bars were packed and a lot of fun and dare i say a great value for dinks on a ship! I got 2 gin and tonics or old fashioned s for $11 total including gratuity. Celebirty is outrageous...so I was very pleased. SPA: so while i dont do spa treatments on cruise ships as I think they are way too expensive, my mom loves pampering herself and so I encouraged her to enjoy. What I will say is that on day one, we did a tour of the spa and fitness area and was totally turned off/irritated. There was such a hard sell on this ship like I have seen on no other. I dont like when they wont take no for an answer. I had to get pretty curt in order to overcome their hard core selling pressure. My mom did 5 spa services and after the first one , she came back to the cabin with hundreds of dollars of unneeded and overpriced products. She’s very soft and easily influenced and the spa crew definitely knew her number. I was furious...feeling like they take advantage of an older person. GYM: old equipment and too small of a free weight area. PORTS: SYDNEY...MY FAVORITE CITY IN AUSTRALIA...BEEN 4 TIMES, LOVE IT! MELBOURNE: feel like it is overrated. Surprisingly, I didnt care much for it. We did our own thing...lots of locals at port to help with tourism advice. We uber’d Everywhere and it was easy. We did the Royal Botanic Gardens...Amazing!! It’s huge and gorgeous. Probably the best I have done anywhere. Then we went to St Kilda Beach. A great beach town south of town. Beach not as nice as many in Sydney, but clean. The village there has lots of local boutiques, restaurants etc...kind of a funky, hip town. Had a good lunch there in one of the many sidewalk cafes. Then we went to city center for some shopping. Ugh, what a mistake. Felt like just another huge city, with too many cars , people etc....it was claustrophobic....didnt feel like it was unique or interesting. General consensus of my happy hour friends that night was the same....Melbourne was a bit of a disappointment. ADELAIDE: we overnighted here. However, it’s a 45 min train ride into the city, so not as convenient. Train was free that weekend....it isn’t usually, but for whatever reason, that line was free. We loved all the beautiful architecture in Adelaide. It’s a smaller city which I liked and easy to walk. We also did the botanical gardens there which were very nice as well. Shopping is good ...they have a huge pedestrian mall/street there with anything and everything you would want...and lots of restaurants. Seemed to be the hub of the city. . Would definitely go back. PORT LINCOLN: small town of about 15k. Did a ship excursion that gave us a bus tour of the highlights of this fishing village. Then we walked around the town, poked in some shops. Some might not like it since its small and not a lot to do, but i love small towns and enjoyed the slower pace very much! KANGAROO ISLAND: wow....this was probably everyone’s favorite destination. Anyone we talked to , raved about this island. You go here for wildlife. We did a ship excursion..but you could easily do it with a rental car as my friends did. It’s a sparsely populated island and easy to drive around and see the same sights we did on ship tour. Its gorgeous, the seals are amazing, seal lions, koalas, birds , kangaroos etc...it was a very long day, but absolutely stunning and magnicient. PORT ARTHUR TASMANIA: We did a ship tour. It was an eco cruise along the coastline for about 3 hours. It was a wild crazy fun ride. Swells were huge.....but it was such a gorgeous ride. A couple people got seasick...but the rest thought it was exhiliarating! HOBART TASMANIA. We did ship tour here to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They only gave us 1 hour here which was disappointing. Lots of kangaroos to feed and pet. But lots of other Australian wildlife. This place isi great and no one wanted to leave. Then we went to historic town of Richmond....no tour...just dropped us off the bus and gave us an hour to walk around. Town was boring...even the shopping wasn’t very good. My big purchase there was a Red Bull to keep me awake. Once back to Hobart, we walked over the city. REally cute quaint city...in particular the trendy area of Salamanca....beautiful old buildings turned in to cool restaurants and shops...loved it. DISEMBARKATION ...super easy and quick....took the ship arranged bus to Sydney airport for flight home. We had an amazing vacation and loved our trip, our time together, the food , the amazing new friends I met on the ship...just wish it had been on a beautiful ship where I felt more upscale and special. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was a bucket list trip for my husband and I. Always wanted to go to New Zealand and Australia and this cruise was a great way to do it! It was a celebration of our 30th anniversary. We just did one excursion through Holland ... Read More
This was a bucket list trip for my husband and I. Always wanted to go to New Zealand and Australia and this cruise was a great way to do it! It was a celebration of our 30th anniversary. We just did one excursion through Holland America, as we found their prices to be rather high. Booked excursions on our own and with a group of Cruise Critic members. Very happy all around. The Maasdam was a little dated but very well maintained. The crew was constantly cleaning everywhere. Cleanliness was obviously a top priority on the boat. We used the gym daily. Very pleased with their offerings. I went to the morning stretch and abs classes most days, they were great. Entertainment was fair. A few good nights but nothing special. I really liked the Americas Test Kitchen cooking demos. Very interesting and well taught. Overall we had a fabulous time! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We choose this ship and the itinerary to see New Zealand and Australia. We enjoy Holland America and the itinerary, plus an aft cabin fit all we wanted in the cruise. We are in our late 50s & early 60s. We made airline reservations ... Read More
We choose this ship and the itinerary to see New Zealand and Australia. We enjoy Holland America and the itinerary, plus an aft cabin fit all we wanted in the cruise. We are in our late 50s & early 60s. We made airline reservations to stay in Auckland 3 days before embarkation. However, when we were just about to go out the door for our flight on American Air, we received a call that our flight was canceled and they would re-book the same flight the next day. They did, but the available seating was not very good. The flight was very, very long St Louis to Los Angeles, then 13 hours from Los Angeles to Auckland. Needless to say that we were worn out when we arrived in Auckland. We left St Louis 5 below zero and were greeted in Auckland with 66 and light rain. Everyone apologized for the bad weather, but we enjoyed the warm moist weather. The rain restricted our ability to do sight see, but gave us a chance to rest up. We took a ferry from our B&B directly to the pier for embarkation on the Maasdam. A very nice way to board the ship. The dining was very nice. We ate in the Rotterdam Main Dining room for a majority of our meals. The menus provided a wide variety to select just the right meal to satisfy any desire. The presentation and quality of the food was out standing. We ate at the 2 alternative dining venues and were pleased with the quality of the food. We had a few meals in the Lido buffet and enjoyed those meals. I made it to the ice cream station at least once a day, but sometimes twice. We had a Dive-in burger once after our shore excursion came in after the lunch time. The burgers were good. Overall the food was great. Shore Excursions: Tauranga - We visited Hobbiton where the outdoor filming of the Shire was done for the Lord of the Ring and Hobbit movies. What a wonderful excursion. Both myself & my wife have watched those movies and read the books to make it a very memorable day with lots of pictures. The scenery along the way was very pleasant. An excellent excursion. Napier - We visited a Maori homeland, Arch of the Ancestors. They explained the history of their ancestors, the customs and their lives today. Again the scenery to & from was very nice. An excellent excursion. Wellington - We had a tour of the city with details of the history. It included a ride on the cable car and a visit to the WETA Cave, the studio where the Lord of the Ring and Hobbit movies were made. Many more photos and memories.The tour guide was an actor in the Lord of the Ring 3rd movie and gave us some in depth details in the making of the movies. An excellent excursion Akaroa - Our excursion was Journey to Middle Earth, you guessed it, it was where the the filming of the Rohan in the Lord o the Rings was done. The tour guide was with the sound crew for the Lord of the Ring movies. He was able to explain many details of the production of the movies. The scenery of the Southern Alps was breath taking. Our favorite shore excursion. Dunedin - We took a ride on the Taieri Gorge railroad. The train went through the gorge and the scenery was great. An excellent excursion. Oban Stewart Island - This island is south of the South Island. We did not have a shore excursion, but chose to walk around the small town and have lunch at the Hill Top Restaurant. When we got there it was closed but we found a hotel in town and had Blue Cod Fish & Chips. The best fish & chips I have had. It was cool and windy in town and we spent about 4 hours visiting shops and a nature center. Very beautiful town. Fjordland - A day cruising with outstanding scenery. They were glacier cut with tops of the mountains 6,000 feet, nearly straight up from the water. It is a day that we will remember. An excellent day. We had two days at sea from New Zealand across the Tasman Sea. The seas were both rough and smooth. All the sea days had two session of Americas Test Kitchen. They were great. The first night crossing the Tasman Sea, the singers and dancers show was canceled because of the rough seas. But it was a very relaxing time at sea. Burnie Tasmania - A trip to Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake. The countryside was very nice. We saw Kookaburra in gum trees, a Wallaby with her Joey, a wombat, and many other animals. We hiked a short distance to Dove Lake and had a wonderful view of Cradle Mountain. The weather was cool and windy. The tour was great. Melbourne - Hopped on a tram and visited St Patrick Cathedral. A Gothic cathedral that was built in the 1800's. It is beautiful. We then walk through Fitzroy's Garden. After about 4 hours we hopped on the tram and made it back to the ship. Melbourne is a large city, a clean city, with excellent public transportation. It was a very nice day. Sydney - We disembarked in Sydney across the harbor from the Opera House and next to the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Very photogenic. We stayed at a hotel one block from the pier and walked over to the Opera House, then to the Botanical Gardens. What caught my attention were the many large tree. Many of the trunks were 10 feet wide and larger. The flowers and the birds were spectacular. We saw Cockatoos, Lorikeets, Magpie and many other birds. There were acres of flowers. After about 5 hours and sore feet we made it back to the hotel for a rest. The next day we strolled around the port area called The Rocks, had lunch and made way to the airport. Trouble again, the flight was late leaving Sydney and late arriving in Dallas. After a 15 hour flight, you guessed it, we missed our connecting flight and American Air booked us on the next flight out. We made it to St Louis 2 hours later than our original flight but our bags did not. But American delivered them the next Day. In summary, the cruise was excellent, the flights were not. We would love to spend more time in New Zealand, an extremely beautiful country, and the people were very friendly. At every port there were volunteers that dressed up, sang, a Scottish band, vintage cars, and so on to entertain us as we sailed away. A great country. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was a Bucket List cruise for us as well as a 50th Anniversary Cruise for our friends. We had been looking at cruises for several years and this cruise hit all of the marks. We're also Holland America fans and the Maasdam is the ... Read More
This was a Bucket List cruise for us as well as a 50th Anniversary Cruise for our friends. We had been looking at cruises for several years and this cruise hit all of the marks. We're also Holland America fans and the Maasdam is the perfect size. Age is 66 to 77. We boarded the Maasdam in Auckland, New Zealand on a rainy day. Embarkation was a breeze as HA seemed to have it all together. After checking in, we were escorted to our suite and after having lunch, return to the cabin to unpack. We stopped at a supermarket in Auckland and purchased several bottles of wine to bring on board with us as Holland America allows you to bring 1 - 750 ml bottle each. We ordered a bottle of vodka which was waiting in our cabin when we arrived. We also order a gallon of distilled water for my husbands C-Pap machine which was also in the suite when we arrived. We did not take the liquor package as, when all was totaled up, did not drink near enough to cover the cost. We ordered a 3 wine package and bought a second one. HA allows you to take your bottle to your cabin and, with having an extra bottle at the end of the cruise, took it with us to our hotel after leaving the ship. (we had 2 nights in Sydney at the end of the cruise.) Our cabin steward brought my husband an extension cord so he was able to plug in the C-Pap. We had coffee and buns delivered every morning and most mornings enjoyed coffee on the balcony while taking my "arriving in port" pictures. The food in the dining room and Lido restaurant was good nothing spectacular. All you can east with seconds if you wanted. The Pinnacle Lounge was worth the additional money as we enjoyed filetmignon and lobster tails. We have shore excursions in every port purchased from Viator and Trip Advisor as they were similar to the ship tours but much less expensive. Every tour operator was very aware of getting us back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. Most of our tours were small for the 4 of us and we were able to tailor the tour to what/where we wanted to go and see. In Sydney, we road the ferry and stopped at a few ports to walk around and enjoy lunch and a glass of wine. Very easy to move around Sydney. We were in shorts and capris most days and the weather was sunny (after the 3rd day) and high 60's and low 70's. The Maasdam is showing signs of age and will be taken down for refurbishment soon. We highly recommend the Maasdam and Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
15 day Christmas and New Year cruise on the Noordam it sounded wonderful we had sailed with Holland American befor but it was our first time on the Noordam We Decided to pay the extra and book a Signature suite but was upgraded to a ... Read More
15 day Christmas and New Year cruise on the Noordam it sounded wonderful we had sailed with Holland American befor but it was our first time on the Noordam We Decided to pay the extra and book a Signature suite but was upgraded to a Neptune Suite we were very excited with this came prioritie boarding it was so good we got on the ship so fast.The first impression of our suite was fantastic,large room extra large wrap around balcony we were at the back of the ship good location .Our problems started from the first day . We had a good size bathroom .I noticed a great deal of mold between the tiles in the shower and on the floor I called our room Stewart and asked him to clean it before we would use it he did twice then a maintenance person came to inspect it and we were informed it wasn't mold but the bathroom needed grouting this person came to do the job and he stated it didn't need grouting it was dirt and he reported it again again they tried to clean it this all happened befor we left port not a good start and it's not what you would expect to happen in any cabin category.Then we tried to use the toilet on the first day but found problems with flushing they came and fix it we hope our toilet broke down every day for the first ten days out of a 15 day cruise we often had to find a public toilet to use we weren't happy this issue causes us a great deal of stress.Our bed doona was dirty,stained and it smelled I had to request all the linen to be changed at once .Then on top of all this I sent a new skirt to the cleaners and it came back with a big cut and no explanation. On board the staff are limited to what they can do to help if something goes wrong once I returned to Sydney I have sent several emails to Holland American head office but have had no reply or acknowledgement of my email it would seem they don't want to know You once your cruise has finished .Now about the ship good size very friendly staff food is basic ,room service is good but the menu is the same daily, not much to do on see days that doesn't involve money,excursions are expensive if you book on the ship We booked all our excursions On sure for a fraction of the price you can also do deals with taxi drivers to take you around we did and had a wonderful time and if you can get extra people to go with you you can split the cost. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I am not a complainer and prefer positive feedback. This is a little of both. I can only compare to P. & O. Stateroom, food, staff exceptional. I did not find as much fun as P. & O. lines. The Gala nights were almost not, ... Read More
I am not a complainer and prefer positive feedback. This is a little of both. I can only compare to P. & O. Stateroom, food, staff exceptional. I did not find as much fun as P. & O. lines. The Gala nights were almost not, sure we dressed up but nothing special went on. I missed the buzz of theme nights. Activities were mostly, to me and my two daughters, boring. I mean who goes on a holiday to have lessons in cooking, computer and digital camera. The art was exceptional, the Spa was great albiet very overpriced. Shops were better than P. & O. and the bars were great altho the cocktails I love just did not taste the same as P. & O. We loved our rooms next door to each other and balconies which were opened so we enjoyed going in and out of each others rooms without having to knock. When I was sick it was great my daughters could check on me without me getting out of bed. The Restaurants were wonderful and staff everywhere as I said were exceptional,. Entertainment was mediocre but enjoyable. Summery: Theme nights more fun, activities which are fun rather than chores. Would I go on a Dam again. Not sure, but as an avid cruiser it is possible. I did win a "cruise" but was told that it is not actually a cruise you get whereas when I won one on Aria, myself and friend have a balcony suite for two and ten day cruise, so with P. & O. I did win a full cruise, have not rung yet but will be interested to see exactly what I won with Noordam. Excursions - unfortunately I am physically unable to get into a tender so could only do two shore excursions which I enjoyed immensely. I took a photography package and photographer was wonderful, we have everlasting memories. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We are an early 40's married couple who travel permanently and have taken about 10 cruises in the last 18 months. We have sailed HAL, Celebrity, NCL, P/O Australia and Regent. Our previous experience on HAL has only been on the ... Read More
We are an early 40's married couple who travel permanently and have taken about 10 cruises in the last 18 months. We have sailed HAL, Celebrity, NCL, P/O Australia and Regent. Our previous experience on HAL has only been on the Koningsdam. We chose this cruise to celebrate Xmas and NYE after loving a similar cruise last year and to see some of the south pacific we have not visited before. We had amazing weather on this cruise and very smooth seas which helped make it a great cruise. As with our other HAL cruise the average age of fellow passengers was quite high and the overall vibe of the ship more conservative than what we have found on Celebrity and NCL. We embarked in Sydney (where we are originally from) at the White Bay terminal. Embarkation was reasonably smooth bar the annoyingly condescending terminal staff who seem to suffer from self importance delusions. The Noordam is similar in size to most other ships we have been on. The layout was simple to follow. It is about 10 years old and probably needs a make over. The theme is nautical with dark colours. It was kept very clean and seemed to be maintained well. We loved the promenade deck which was a nice place to walk and a great place to relax in the shade and we had no problem finding a lounger. The explorations cafe is a nice large area with books and games. The crows nest was also a favourite and much better than on the Koningsdam. There were 2 pool areas on either side of the Lido. We had an inside cabin which we found smaller than other cabins we have had. The storage also felt less than usual. The bed was large and very comfortable. The tv was basic but we rarely used it. The shower was a bit small and we didn't like the use of a curtain. Also the layout meant that one person exiting the bathroom while the other was getting changed was completely incompatible and dangerous if a warning was not given of exiting the bathroom. Our attendant was superb. Dining: Breakfast we either used room service or the Lido. Room service was on time but the eggs were awful (powder I assume). The Lido had good options with different egg options, different bacon and plenty of smoked salmon with a reasonable selection of breads. We like that it is not self serve although it did make it slower. The layout of the tables etc was good and service was reasonable. We used the MDR for lunch on sea days and always prefer it there, food was basic but tasty. Other times we had a burger from the burger bar which are a high standard or a freshly made salad from the Lido (great healthy option). Dinner - we didn't use the specialty restaurants as did on our last cruise and found them to be inconsistent, it also annoys me that most of the other patrons are staff and officers and hence you feel like you are subsidising them. The MDR had good quality food (not bread) and in particular desserts were the best we have seen for some time. Service was generally very good although on the few occasions there was an issue they were poor at dealing with (eg a hair in one of the dishes did not receive an apology or even a change to another dish). The issue was the seating at the MDR, queues were common, reservations did not help as you still had to join the same queue. Requests to eat at other times didn't help either. The sommeliers were far too slow and often we did not get any wine until half way thru our main course and in the end I often left the MDR and got my own from nearby bars. Entertainment - we appreciate the effort the ship made for Xmas (lots of carols, decorations, xmas food, special cocktails etc) and nye (fun outdoors party). The production singers were of a high standard but some of the shows seemed very short and it would be good to see a live orchestra used more. Guest entertainers were mostly singers and generally entertaining. Jo Little was a highlight. The cruise director was friendly and knew us by name and we found him (Andy Knox) to be highly visible. He was usually at the tenders in the morning and could always be found fraternising after the shows. Erin the assistant cruise director was absolutely charming and took on a huge amount of activities and dj'ing. We enjoy activities and found this cruise to have less than normal especially in comparison to NCL or P/O. Some more dance classes would have been great. The cooking demonstrations were so tedious we didn't bother. The aboriginal art and didgeridoo classes were terrific. Service was generally of a high standard. The front desk was inconsistent in knowledge and generally rude in dealing with accounting errors (always their fault but always presumed it was ours). Bar staff was about average but generally friendly but they would at all times try and get you to order away from the bar and use a waiter. This is fine but then they would always give priority to those who refused and stayed at the bar. We bought the SBP, we think it is a good deal for us as we like to try a number of different drinks and allows us to get sparkling water regularly and plenty of specialty coffees. We also like that we can take unopened drinks back to our cabin. The wine choices were too limited. There is a 15 drink limit which is fine but there is a lot of confusion around whether this is only alcoholic drinks (all bar tenders say it is and front desk says it is not - poor policy) and there is no way of the ship keeping a record?? The itinerary was mostly beach oriented which was fine by us and we found some great snorkelling options. Noumea - xmas day so most things closed. We went to duck island using the lyvia HOHO. Very nice snorkelling. Isle of Pines - spectacular place - we snorkelled all over Kunamera Bay (not just the rock) and walked and relaxed on Kuto Beach. Private tours were available but not to the natural aquarium which was a shame. Lifou - we spent the entire day at Jinek Bay as it was a snorkelers paradise! Mystery Island - unfortunately blue bottles on the snorkelling side so just relaxed on beach. Port Villa - fought off the touts took a water taxi to town and then a bus out to the cascades. Nice place but expensive for what it is then walked to the Secret Garden which was ok. Luganville - ignored touts walked into town and finally found a fair taxi. Went to million dollar point, took canoe on riri river and blue hole and did water dance cultural visit. Champagne Bay - snorkelling and beach. Easo - only half day so went to the beach and snorkelled. HAL has price guarantee on tours but it was obvious they threatened local ports to not allow tour companies to offer private options. Disembarkation very easy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was our first time cruising at sea and will not be our last. We especially liked the Holland & America style and ambiance, not a chav in sight. Our fellow cruisers seem well mannered, courteous, professional types and retirees. ... Read More
This was our first time cruising at sea and will not be our last. We especially liked the Holland & America style and ambiance, not a chav in sight. Our fellow cruisers seem well mannered, courteous, professional types and retirees. They knew how to behave well in a group ensuring they did not adversely impact on others enjoyment. A rare experience when there are so many self-indulgence idiots out there. Perhaps that is why so many were return cruisers to not only the line but, also this ship. With only 1200 fellow guest we always found a seat at the show’s, in the bar’s and on loungers by the pool. It was just not crowded or packed, plenty of space and amenities for everyone. The food in the main dinning room was superb as was the speciality restaurants but, the main restaurant was so good it was hard to justify using the other ones. Our balcony suite was large in comparison to floor plans on other lines and we found the fittings and service first class. We really liked the entertainment from the evening shows to the different singers and musicians in the various bars. The explorers lounge was also lovely and well used. I was also very impressed by the cooking shows, very professional and much better than the dross on tv. Finally, we loved the Mastddam, the captain called her an regal lady and she was. Lovely looking ship, lovely open spaces on a variety of decks and just the right size for cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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